4th of July 5k!

Freedom Firecracker 5K : Fun Run Racing is excited to partner with The Freedom Center for this family friendly celebration of July 4th. Feel free to wear your patriotic themed gear. As with all FRR races, this will be a festive affair – music, fun race giveaways at the start line, ‘in-race’ awards for best costumes, and FRR “surprize” awards in the finish line chute – including our ‘Golden Ticket’ awards {just hope fora “Willy Wonka-like” golden ticket}. :)

Kids 1K Fun Run also available. 


30 Acts of Kindness 15-21: The Easy Ones With No Pictures

During February, March (because snow is not my friend) I'm celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers The point of these posts isn't to "brag" about what I've been doing, but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince William County and share how you and your family can get involved in making our area a better place to live.  If you'd like to join me in any of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I'd love to get your picture and/or story to share!! I'd love to think this is making a difference, and I hope that you'll join me!  

I am a bad blogger.  I am so very far behind on these posts- but I definitely wanted to do an update!! Last we spoke, I'd completed task 14 at the Bill Mehr Drop in Shelter thanks to Chick Fil A. 

Let's continue with some of the easy ones that I don't have pictures for because of privacy/inability to take a picture of the person benefitting:

15- Drive Thru Difference.  
This one was super easy! You can read more about it and even print a letter by visiting WGTS or you can just drop some extra money off with the drive-thru cashier.  You don't have to pay for someone's whole order (we lucked out and the person behind us just got lunch for one, I was sure when I agreed to this one I was going to end up with a full conversion van of 20 people behind me) you can just do $5 or $10- it'll make a difference in their day!

16/17- Get someone's coffee (Bonus: Pet Treats)
We happened to be at Walmart in Manassas one day and there were two gentlemen sitting outside in the rain with their dog trying to pick up some work.  We picked up some dog treats, hot coffee, and cookies and told them to have a great day.  It was cold, so hopefully it was a helpful pick me up! 

18- Dinner at an ACTS Shelter (My contribution was cupcakes)
A very sweet Girl Scout troop offered me the opportunity to join their dinner at the Domestic Violence Shelter, I made cupcakes and they served.  Thank you, girl scouts!

19- Fill up all the vending machines (We did CiCis Pizza)
This was a fun one for my kids to help with.  We got quarters and left them in the vending machines at CiCis so that when the next group of kids got there, they'd get a fun treat.  The kids actually had a lot of fun imagining who was going to get each thing. 

20- Take someone dinner
This worked out well because we had friends who were adopting! Even if you're not the best cook in the world, Boston Market is a nice change from Pizza! 

21- Volunteer with a kids group-
I'm counting volunteering at Cub Scout Day Camp.  Because I did, and I can :) Additionally, I got to shoot a bow and arrow, at which I am not horrible.  Bonus. 


Freedom Center Summer Camps 2014

Camps at the Freedom Center start June 19th and they have a little something for everyone! Whether your child just needs a few hours of enrichment or you're looking for full-time childcare during the summer months, there's probably something that's a great fit for you!  There's also before and after care available to extend days for commuters from 6:30am-6:30pm, which is no extra charge for full-day campers! 

Camps include the following:

All Sports
In-line Skating
In-line Biking
Boys and Girls Basketball
Camp Freedom
Camp Freedom for Kindergartners
Camp Freedom for Preschoolers
Drama Kids
Engineering for Kids
Jiu Jitsu
Journey Camp
Martial Arts
Mountain Biking
Rock Climbing
Spy Camp
Zumba for Kids

Let's be honest- if there's not SOMETHING on that list that interests your child, they have either some totally off-the-wall specialty or they don't like anything.  Full Day camps start at $210, and half day camps range from $108 and up.  The week of July 4th is prorated for the missing day of camp.  Camps that are more materials-heavy and/or require transportation off-site are more expensive (for example, the Paintball camp).

Options are available for preschoolers (age 3) to high schoolers (age 15).  There is also an option to add swim lessons to your child's day for $45 a week.

Camp counselors are all over 18, background checked, and trained in CPR/first aid.  For a full camp listing, as well as details on specific camps and registration, visit the Freedom Center's Summer Camp Guide HERE.


Camping at Prince William Forest Park

I am a little more of an "outdoor adventure followed by a warm shower" girl.  Especially after they chopped my neck in half last year for my brain surgery.  Sleeping on rocks just doesn't appeal to me, no matter how many months of recovery I've had.

However, my husband and kids are so darn cute, and they really love camping, so I will do it anyway.  Prince William Forest Park offers several lovely camping areas including three "frontcountry", one "backcountry" and 5 cabin sites.  This time, we opted for Oak Ridge, which allows tents and RVs.  Loops B and C are reservation only, but loop A is first come first served. Turkey Run is great for groups, and we've camped there with Cub Scouts before. 
 We made sure to bring my daughter's American Heritage Girls handbook (similar: Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Trail Life, etc) so that we could do the fire safety section and she could get a badge.  She just recently discovered that anything in life worth doing has a badge associated with it.
 Of course when you're camping, you need a few essential items.  I refuse to camp without hats and DEET because Lyme Disease is no joke.  Camping chairs, firewood, matches, all essential.

Also sleeping bags.  PWC Dad may have taken us on our first family camping trip when our kids were 6 months, 3, and 5 and forgotten the sleeping bags.  I may have also driven back from Lake Anna with said 6 month old at 2am, and because of that I always double check that the sleeping bags made it in the van.
 And, of course, you need S'more fixings.  My kids prefer to completely burn the marshmallows and eat the chocolate, although for those of us with a little more patience, a carefully toasted marshmallow is a thing of beauty.
 Tin foil (the heavy duty stuff)  is also a good idea if you're going to be using a site-provided campfire grill.  Those things don't get cleaned very often, and I don't care how hot they get.

I just don't.
Trash bags- also a good idea, and in our case we kept the cooler in our van so that we wouldn't attract any little critters. Obviously, a lovely time was had by all.

Want to have your own camping fun? Here are a few site recommendations, both from myself and from readers, in and around Prince William County.

Prince William Forest Park (Dumfries/Triangle) sites start at $20/night or $10 for seniors/passholders.  Note that you'll still apparently need to stop at the Visitors Center and pay the park entry fee ($5/week) on top of that.  We assumed it was included in the price, which was apparently wrong, but luckily we have a pass. Tent or RV or Cabin.  Showers, bathrooms, activities.

Greenville Family Farm (Haymarket) site prices aren't listed, but apparently vary based on whether or not you want electricity.  Fishing ponds, showers, bathrooms.

Leesylvania State Park only offers group camping.

Out-of-County (Virginia)
Burke Lake Park (Fairfax) sites are $28/night and Burke Lake Park offers lots of fun (including a train and carousel).  However, sites are first-come, so be sure to plan to arrive early.

Shenandoah National Park (Front Royal-Wayensboro) start at $15/night and include tent and limited RV

Christopher Run Campground (Lake Anna) starts at $32/night cabins, lodges and tent sites available. This is one of my family's favorite sites when we camp with my parents, who have a boat.

Todd Lake (Stokesville) $16/night for tent camping, showers/bathrooms/drinking water available.

Sherando Lake (Shenandoah) has reserved or first-come camping for tents and RVs.

Out-of-County (Bit of a Drive)
Starlight Camping Resort (Pennsylvania) $42/day for 2 people, $3/day for each additional child or $5/adult.


Review: Vertical Rock

I don't really know how to start this other than to say that Vertical Rock was absolutely awesome.  Just so much fun.  Any age, any level, any ability, your family can have fun doing this.  If your child is old enough to try to scale your bookshelves or the kitchen pantry, they can rock climb.

I know that trying a completely new activity at a completely new place can be intimidating, so here's how it works.

1) Enter the address (10225 Nokesville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110) into your GPS/Garmin/iPhone.  
2) Follow directions
3) Arrive. 

That's really it.  Everything else that you need is taken care of.  Get a day pass and climb all you want for $18 (adults), $16 (students), or $12 (military).  You'll need your own equipment, or you can rent what you'll need ($11 for everything).  Alternatively, if you're new, you can try it out for $20, which includes your harness, 3 climbs ($5 for each additional) and a Vertical Rock belayer to help you figure it all out.  For $35 you can take their "Learn the Ropes" course, during which you'll learn how to top-rope, how to "tie in", and how to belay safely for your partner. Classes are drop-in and offered Monday-Friday from 6-8pm and Sundays from 3-5.  

Really love it? You don't need a Bally's membership- you can join Vertical Rock as your gym! In addition to climbing, they have a fitness room, and offer "Rock Ready" (which looks a lot like the class that rhymes with "Boss Bit"), Krav Maga, Yoga, and a host of other fun stuff to keep you in shape without relying solely on a treadmill, which, let's be honest, is boring. 

We did an open climb, and the one thing I'll say is that you should spring for the $5 to rent shoes.  They're sexy like bowling shoes:

But they are SO MUCH EASIER to climb in.  Seriously.  I was informed that if "they're not tight, they're not right" so don't hop up a size because your toes are giving each other a bear hug.  

Next, our friendly belayers helped us get into our harnesses.  One thing I didn't know about rock climbing is how fashionable it is ;) 
 Yesssss! Work it! Work it!
 So now you head to the walls.  Courses are rated with cards (and they have funny names like "I should be with my mommy right now" or "Fried Squirrel Brains").  They start at 5.5, or as I like to call it "That sounds about right" and move up to 5.10, which then get letters after them.  Obviously the higher you go the more difficulty is involved.  The idea is to follow the tape color for the course you're doing.  Some specify that you can use "any feet" which means that you can use an of the grips you can get your hoofs on, and others want you to just use the color you're following.  Rock climbing involves a good deal of thinking when you add those caveats- you have to check where you are and think about where you're going- I was surprised the first time I climbed myself into a corner and had to back up and think about how to approach where I was going!
 This is the wall that Logan, Savannah, and I started on.  It has about a bijillion grips on it, and you can "climb the rainbow" and pick anything you want.  Here's where the staff really came in.  Logan got to this point (above) and was like "Yup, I'm scared and I'm done" and Zack, our belayer, was like "Yeah, totally hear that buddy- just touch that green one first" and by the time he did that, he realized he was just a few "rocks" from the brown section.....
And well, then it was just a few hand grips to the green spongy thing....and at that point, you may as well touch the top.  He was too nervous to rappel down the side, which I get, because it's a big exercise in trust to have someone you just met tell you to let go of the wall and trust them to not drop you.  Especially when you're 8.  He climbed down slowly, but surely. However, he did rappel on his last climb of the day, which was great! 
We had a few tears on the harder wall- somebody made the mistake of looking down.  (I climbed to the top of this one- but I didn't look anywhere but the place I was currently at- I probably would've cried, too!) but, again, the belayers did a great job of providing direction and assured us that they've had to climb up before to help someone down, but they didn't have to.  

The minute his feet touched the floor, he asked to go up again. I guess Belayer Anna did a good job :) 

In addition to open climbs and classes and memberships, Vertical Rock also offers a kids night, birthday parties, climbing teams (Team meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 530-730! VR hosts competitions and travels to other gyms to participate in competitions), indoor and outdoor camps, scout merit badges, LOCK INS(!!!), corporate events and outdoor climbing tours.  There's also a bouldering wall if you really want to climb but not quite so high:
Best part about their kids night is that you don't have to reserve (although you can) so you can just be like "It's Friday night and my kids are making me crazy!! Vertical Rock!" and drop them off from 7-9pm for $25 for Non Members and $15 For Members, Safety equipment included.   I am informed that the kids "come home tired", which is just what I like to hear :) 

If you'd like to give your child a chance to try Rock Climbing, but aren't ready to strap in yourself, check out the Vertical Rock Summer camps!

**Thinking about a membership? Here's a note from owner Lindsey**

Memberships receive the Learn the ropes class for Free, Yoga, Rock Ready, Discounts on Youth Teams and Summer Camps and much more. A Family of 4 can have access to a fitness activity that they will love doing together M-S for just $31.25 a person a month. A 2 person family membership is only $47.50 a month. Why go to the movies!?
We are family owned and operated facility who really get to know our members. We introduce members to each other through cookouts and parties to keep the community strong. Parents meet each other and climb with each other while their kids play and climb together. The family environment is amazing and we are so excited to share it with more people!

Disclosure: Vertical Rock is a sponsor of PwcMoms and allowed us to come climb.  However, all opinions and experiences are true and my own.  If I had looked down, I think I would've cried- and I really do think the ugly shoes make it way easier.  #TrueStory. 


Soccer Skills School Summer Sessions

Registrations now open for upcoming summer sessions!!

Training will be held at SNF (Sports Network & Fitness) 8320 Quarry Rd, Manassas VA

Includes 6 sessions at 1.5 hours each. Each session will take place once a week over the summer season.

Training will focus on shooting, passing, shooting in transition and finishing.

Ages 6-9 will be held Wednesday starting June 25th from 7-8:30pm
Ages 10-13 will be held Thursday June 26th from 7-8:30pm

$99 per child – Sign up now through June 15th and receive a $15 discount!!

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Soccer Skills School. 


Kids Fishing Tournaments Summer 2014

Coming up in a few weeks at Lake Ridge Park! Ages 4 - 12. Call 703-494-5565 to register.

Leesylvania State Park hosts a kids fishing tournament each month starting May-September the first Saturday of each month.  Ages range from 2-15 years old and there is no program fee! 
WHERE: Tournaments take place at the marina in lot #1 (your first right after Bushy Point) at Leesylvania State Park.
WHEN: First Saturday of the month May thru Sept from 9a.m-11a.m. at Leesylvania State Park!
WHAT: No worries if you don't have your own fishing equipment, participants can borrow from the park, but we encourage folks to bring their own. 
WHO: Kids ages 2-15 years old can fish for free! There are several volunteers on hand to give participants help where help is needed. No Fishing license required!


Engineering for Kids STEM Discovery Center Grand Opening!

We've worked with Engineering for Kids before on some of their awesome STEM programs for children, and now they're going to have their own STEM Discovery Center! Join them this Saturday, June 14th from 9am-1pm, with a ribbon cutting at 10am, to tour the new space and enter some great giveaways! This is also a fantastic time to register for camps, classes, and parties!! For more information visit engineeringforkids.com

Join Engineering For Kids as we celebrate the grand opening of our brand new S.T.E.M. Discovery Center in Lakeridge, VA. All parents and children are invited to join us along side Congressman Rob Wittman and other local officials to cut the ceremonial ribbon and check out all the new activities we have to offer. 

Children will be able to participate in a variety of hands on activities at different stations in the center. Parents will be able to socialize and learn more about our new program offerings.

Date: Saturday, June 14th
Time: 9:00am - 1:00pm (ribbon cutting at 10:00am)
Location: 1243 Dillingham Square. Lakeridge, VA 22192

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Engineering for Kids. 


Painting in the Park Father's Day Event

FREE Father's Day activity idea in the Woodbridge, Dumfries, Triangle vicinity! Take your artistic dad to the Marine Corps Museum for a contest and some painting, and then get dinner at a 10% discount!

FREE Family Arts Festival June 14th, 2014

Edgemoor Art Studio is presenting a grand opening in conjunction with Tackett's Mill Summerfest! The event will run from 12-4, followed by Jazz and Art on the Water with the naming of the PWC Poet Laureate from 3-6!

Show up at 12- you won't want to miss your chance to win a free week of summer camp just for showing up!

We'll have storytellers, face painting, several children's art activities, art fairies from the Academy of Russian Ballet, shopping for moms, an ice truck (cash for this, all other activities are free), balloons, and tours of the new studio space!

Can't wait to see you there!! Let us know you're coming (or just show up) and get more information HERE


My Link Teen Bus Pass Summer 2014

Teens ages 13-19 may use MyLink on OmniLink and Cross County Connector buses between 

Monday, June 2 and Saturday, August 30, 2014.  The pass costs $30, and in return teens get an

 unlimited number of local bus rides for the entire summer!  With the cost of a regular one-way bus 

ride currently at $1.30, a teen who takes at least 12 round-trips during the summer will save money

 by riding with a MyLink pass.  Passes will be sold at multiple locations from June 2 – August 1,


Getting three months of unlimited bus rides for $30 is a bargain, but teens can save even more when 

they showing their MyLink pass at these attractions:

– Potomac Nationals, Pfitzner Stadium, Woodbridge –$1 off general admission at Friday home 


– Prince William Ice Center, 5180 Dale Boulevard, Woodbridge –$2 off public skate entry;

– Bowl America, 13409 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 9000 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – one free 

game per visit, per day;

– Manassas 4 Cinemas, 8890 Mathis Avenue, Manassas – $1 off admission on Fridays, Saturdays and


– Stonewall Pool, 8531 Stonewall Road, Manassas – $1 off admission.

With MyLink, teens won’t need to borrow the family car or beg for gas money to get around town.

  MyLink enables teens to have a safe, reliable ride to get to summer jobs, shopping centers, 

recreation centers, libraries and lots of other places where they want to go.

For the convenience of teens and their parents, passes will be sold June 2 – August 1 at:

– The PRTC Transit Center, at the intersection of Potomac Mills Road and Telegraph Road in 

Woodbridge, Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

– Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Thursday 5 a.m. – 9 p.m.; 

Friday 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Sharron Baucom – Dale City Recreation Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 9 

p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

– Ben Lomond Community Center (cash or credit only), Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Manassas Park City Hall Treasurer’s Office (cash only), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

and 3-5 p.m.

Teens who have a photo ID should bring it with them when purchasing a MyLink pass because a 

sticker will be applied to the front of their ID.  Teens who don’t have a photo ID will be given a

 MyLink card with a sticker.  Teens simply show their ID or MyLink card to the bus operator each

 time they board.

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, PRTC, provides transportation services

 in Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.  OmniLink local buses 

serve routes in Manassas and Manassas Park on Mondays through Fridays and serve routes in Dale

 City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Quantico, the Route 1 Corridor and Woodbridge on Mondays through

 Saturdays.  The Cross County Connector operates Mondays through Fridays and connects eastern

 Prince William County with the Manassas area.

MyLink is one of three PRTC programs designed to educate youth about public transportation.

  PRTC also offers a preschool and elementary program focusing on bus safety, and a middle school 

program that shows how public transportation helps to preserve our environment and natural


For more information about MyLink or any of PRTC’s transportation services, contact 

Customer Service at (703) 730-6664 or visit PRTCtransit.org


Summer 2014 Little Tots Series

People always love the Little Tots series during the summer, so here's the list for June to August! (Sorry if you missed April/May!) Enjoy!!