Giveaway: Kids N Motion

Ah, Kids N Motion.  We have spent some serious birthday party time there!! My oldest son used to have the "if you want to invite one person you must invite the class" mandate, which meant everyone was not going to fit into our townhouse- but they'd definitely fit (and need a nap) after Kids N Motion.  My daughter actually decided to have her birthday party there this year, which was fantastic because it was the week before Silver Sparkles and I didn't have to do a thing except send an evite and pick up the cake.

In addition to birthday parties that will fit your entire class, Kids N Motion also offers open play, parents night out, a preschool program, and a drop-in Summer Fitness Program, which is fantastic if you need a morning off-duty but don't want to pay for a week of camp, or if you have an appointment to get to.

As a bonus for those of you with allergies, Kids N Motion is a peanut-free facility.  I know that is a concern for many of you on the page!  They also do school fundraisers.

For today's giveaway, Kids N Motion is offering a $50 gift card good for Parents Night, Open Plays, Parties, Preschool and Camps (anything they offer).  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. 

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Disclosure: By entering you are agreeing to all of our giveaway rules.  Gift Card is provided by KNM and any issues/liability/play-related difficulties should be directed to them upon claiming your prize. PwcMoms is further not responsible if your kids fall asleep in the car after open play and then wake up when you get to your house and won't go back to sleep and do the "I'm so cranky" thing all afternoon.  We've all been there, but it's not my bad. Good luck, have fun.


Review: The Bouqs

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was invited to check out a relatively new floral company called "The Bouqs", which several of you mentioned having seen on Shark Tank.  They invited me to check out a bouquet and share a little about the process with you guys.

On their website, they operate with the idea that "Sending online flowers sucks" and they've worked to streamline the process for you.  Pick the flowers you like from the side of a volcano, schedule delivery- but know it takes at least 6 days, pay, and boom.  Alternatively, you can select flowers from California for faster delivery. Flowers arrive 5 days after being cut, and Bouqs farmers are provided with living wages, healthcare, childcare, and education benefits.  I'm into ethical business, so I think that's really cool.

 I was a little nervous when my Bouq arrived because the package was pretty damaged and I wasn't sure how long it had been on my porch.  My son was smart enough to point out that if the flowers grew on a tropical volcano, they probably wouldn't be bothered by a little Virginia heatwave.  He's a sharp one, that kid.
 Inside the flowers were well wrapped and didn't seem at all damaged by whatever got the box.
A little info card on the business practices of the Bouqs company.
The flowers came in two bundles, which I washed, gave a fresh cut, and took off a few outer leaves before arranging in my own vase.
The flowers come with this weird gel goop on them, which I assume is to keep them hydrated during shipping.  The kids wanted to know where they could get more of that gel for the purposes of having a goo fight. 
 It's a little weird sending flowers to yourself.  What do you write on the card? What can you possibly say to yourself? I went with "Stay Awesome", mainly because that was what the shirt my 7-year-old was wearing said the day I ordered.  The Bouqs offers several "occasions" and I picked "Talk Like a Pirate Day" but I don't think that my card looks any more pirate-y than normal.

 Here are my flowers all outer-petals removed and trimmed to fit my vase.  I am not a florist, but I play one on the internet!! These flowers arrived on July 23rd....
And this is them before I went to bed last night (July 28).  The yellow roses opened up really well and are gorgeous.  The peach ones, for whatever reason, all drooped over and aren't happy.  I think tomorrow when I change the water I'm going to pull them out. Grower Direct (the first people to come up on a Google search) says that cut roses should last an average of 4-12 days in a vase, so they seem to be right on target.

You can check out The Bouqs for your flower needs, and they also have a contest going on right now to win free flowers for 6 months- check it out! 
Disclaimer: I was provided with free flowers in order to complete this review.  Yes, I really picked "Talk Like a Pirate Day" as my occasion.  I'm weird. If you guys haven't figured that out by now, I really don't know how to help you.  Tell your husband to buy you flowers to help make up for this startling new revelation.  Oh, and make sure he tries out a random holiday, too, so we can all be funny together. 


Review: Bobby McKeys Piano Bar

I love date nights.  I think they're really important to keeping your family emotionally healthy.  I know some parents don't like to leave their kids or don't have a sitter (although there are lots of options for kids nights out on our calendar!) but I really think it's worth doing, even if it's initially uncomfortable to leave your babies.  Heck, I know people who pick up grandma and grandpa from the airport, drop them at home, and don't come back until Monday.  #ByAnyMeansNecessary.

I also really like to keep it interesting.  Dinner and a movie is awesome, but if we can do something different, then I'd like to do that :) Last weekend, we checked out Bobby McKey's with some friends.  I'd never been to a dueling piano bar before, but it sounded like fun!

We paid extra to have a table, and I'm really glad we did. I figure that the $40 we spent works out to be the same as we'd pay at the movies for tickets and popcorn- and the bar stools/standing room only didn't look as comfortable. If you have a special event you can even get a light-up table at the very front.  We had to be there by 8 to ensure they didn't give our table away at 8:30, we actually go to National Harbor a little earlier and enjoyed walking around, and a member of our double-date party ate some hot sauce so hot that he had to sign a waiver.  He got a sticker- we were all very impressed!

When you check in, you'll of course need your ID, and then if you're sitting at a table you get glow necklaces!

Well hot dog!

(No joke, I was excited about this! My kids get these all the time, but I never do! Yes, yes, I know I'm 30 and they're in Elementary School.  You trying to make some kind of a point?)
I was a little worried that we were going to be the oldest people there, but there were some younger folks doing bachelor/bachelorette parties (probably just barely making the 21 cutoff) and there were people in their 70s and 80s there, too! Service isn't exactly quick or attentive, even at the tables, but we did okay.  I am always the DD for everything, so I had a coke, which sat empty the vast majority of the time, but my tablemates ordered a beer tower that lit up on the top (so everyone knew you ordered it!) which was $40- although I don't remember how many drinks that worked out to being for them- so their glasses were refilled easily.

Next, two pianists came up and got things rolling.  They don't really "duel" in any way- they just play songs requested by people on napkins.  You write your request on a napkin, put it on the piano with a tip, and the bigger the tip the sooner it plays. At one point, they'd accumulated a few requests for "Let It Go" and offered to stop if someone topped the $16 they had to play the song.  "$17 bucks can save you all!", but unfortunately I didn't have cash- so that was probably the low-point of the evening for me!

There are a total of 4 musicians who alternate in throughout the night in groups of two, and when they swap out, the 4 of them play together, including drums, keyboard, and even a really great electric violin moment when one of the pianists played "Devil Went Down to Georgia" standing on top of the baby grands.  I really enjoyed myself! We were laughing and clapping and singing along- and most of the songs were classic hits that everyone knew. Oh, and, there was a confetti cannon! Whooo!

I will definitely say that the show is R-rated. There are two mirrors behind the pianos that you can pay to have a "Phrase of the Night" written on in dry-erase marker, and with bachelor parties in full force, these phrases were definitely a little raunchy.  They also sang a version of "It's a Small World" that I had NEVER heard before for someone's birthday- and if you're easily offended this is probably not the place for you. (In fact, since I am not a photoshop-er, be sure not to read these mirrors!)

I thought it was hilarious- mainly because the birthday boy was such a good sport about the whole thing. Also worth noting- it's a bar and there's live music, so obviously things are a little loud for conversation, although we were able to talk between sets (loudly) with our friends.

The piano players were all really talented, the humor kept going all night, and we had an excellent time.  We all stayed out way too late, especially since the couple we went with also had swim team in the morning!! But, it was well worth it for a memorable night out! I would definitely go to Bobby McKey's again- we had a blast! 

(PS- they also do Kids' Days- which would be fun to try as a family!)

Disclosure: This was not a solicited review, all opinions are my own.  Don't be a jerkface if you go out and drive home buzzed, have a designated driver.  If you can't find one, hire one.  Or, become friends with me, I always DD. Also, they were out of mozzarella sticks.  Which was sad. I'm not sure why that goes in the disclosure, but I just wanted you to know.


Featured Organization Friday: The Lego Movie/FMSC Fundraiser

 Feed My Starving Children is one of my favorite charities.  I love that their model is to provide help immediately as well as training.  Their goal is to put themselves out of business by helping people become self-sufficient, not charity dependent.  Our church does a HUGE mobile pack every year (so much fun!) and to raise money to pack EVEN MORE meals, they've been doing a number of family-friendly events.  One coming up- watch the Lego Movie and raise money for FMSC! Hope to see you there! 

Please join us on August 2nd for a family movie night to help raise funds for New Hope's 2014 FMSC MobilePack event. We will be watching The Lego Movie following the Saturday evening service from 7-9 pm.

We have many different options for you to make the FMSC Movie Night a great event. We will start the Lego Movie at 7pm. We are offering a Movie Night Package for $25!!!! Think about it…..a fun night of entertainment for 4 for only $25! This package includes 1 large pizza, 4 drink cups, and 4 tickets to the movie. We have individual food options to make it easy for everyone to come and enjoy the movie. Additionally, we will have popcorn and candy available for purchase the night of.



Guest Post: Miss Rivershore One Hour Tour

Look! It's another guest post! The blogging gods have smiled upon me! Well, in this case, since Sarah is a Pastor's Wife, I guess it's Jesus smiling on me- but I'm good with that :) 
Hooray!! Thanks to Sarah from The Wild Ruby!!

Miss Rivershore One Hour Tour

            This is a one hour boat ride on the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers.  For a decent price ($6 per child from ages 4-12, 0-3 free and $12 per adult -  but they sometimes offer Groupons for 2 adults for $14, so be on the lookout for that) you get a 1 hour tour on a mostly-enclosed large pontoon boat with a bar.  As far as I could tell it's pretty much first come, first served -  no reservations needed.  However, I'd recommend scheduling in advance if you have a group.  There was a family reunion group of about 30 people assembled as we were getting ready to load and thankfully it appeared they had chartered their own boat, otherwise the rest of us would've been out of luck -  or part of their group would've been left waving on shore.

            There are vending machine-style snacks available as well as canned sodas, bottled water, beer and wine for reasonable prices ($1 for a bag of Cheetos, $2 for soda and water,  $5 for a beer and $6 for a plastic cup of wine -  we're almost on the open sea, so safety first!).

            On our tour at 4 p.m. on a Saturday in July the boat was almost at capacity at about 35 guests.  There are cushioned bench seats along both sides and plastic folding tables with plastic folding chairs down the center.  The windows were all open to allow for a bit of a breeze, but I saw a portable AC unit as well as a heater in case of extreme temperatures.  There is a very small space at the front of the boat for people to stand or sit outside.   In the back of the boat was a basic bar with the aforementioned snacks and drinks.  There was also a bathroom on board.

            Boarding took place at the four tall posts on the pier to the right of the boat loading area/kayak input at Occoquan Regional Park (located on Route 123, just over the Occoquan bridge as you're heading into Fairfax County.  If you pass the Workhouse Arts Center, you've gone too far.) .  Our first stop was to the town of Occoquan to drop off a family-  evidently there is a way you can board there as well.  Then we turned back around and took a leisurely cruise past several marinas as the captain told some of the history of the area.  It was fun going under all the bridges for I-95, Route 1 and the railroad track next to Route 1.  We also learned a little about ospreys and saw some baby ospreys in a nest on our journey.  I found it relaxing and my only complaint was that 1 hour was too short.   In a perfect world I'd love to experience this same location for a longer period of time and on a boat with more outdoor options, but for the price and the novelty of the experience, it was worth it.  

            This company does offer a variety of longer tours including a round trip to Tim's Rivershore Restaurant on the weekends, which I'd love to try sometime!  http://www.missrivershorecharters.com/


Giveaway: Smart Wash

If you're anything like me, this summer has been filled with swim team (wet towels), VBS (glitter!), back-to-back activities (lunch in the car!), and fun outdoor activities (sand/gravel/mulch).

That means that your car looks like some kind of demented scrapbook of all the things above.  The floor of my van is covered in goldfish, sand, craft materials, and dirt.  I feel like I can admit that to you guys, because if you haven't ever had a messy car, you're not really a parent, so you can stop reading my website.

Still here? Excellent.

PwcMoms sponsor The Smart Car Wash of Woodbridge is not only 100% eco-friendly, they also do a bang-up job of clearing out your kids' ongoing summer memories collection, at least as it's found on the floor of your sedan.

The Smart Car Wash recycles wash water, uses bio-degradable chemicals, hand-drys vehicles, uses local brick/recycled materials/forest council certified lumber on its buildings, wind turbine power, and takes all the steps they can to keep the environment clean while cleaning your vehicle.

To help get you on your way to sparkling clean, The Smart Car Wash is offering a lucky winner a $50 gift card! Use it for whatever services you'd like including exterior-only wash, full-service wash, or interior/exterior detailing packages!

Good luck!

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By entering, you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules . 
PwcMoms.com is hosting this giveaway on behalf of The Smart Car Wash, and is not responsible for services rendered, or how jealous people are of your car once it's so fresh and so clean clean. Or for any Lego pieces that are lost from under the seats in your car when it's vacuumed.  Just sayin.  This giveaway is not affiliated with Apple/Google/Facebook or anyone else using a forklift to empty their bank account. Good luck :) 


Children's Museum of Richmond Fredericksburg Location

FREE Physicals/Sports Physicals

Hylton High School will host a free Health Fair including physicals, vision and hearing screenings, concussion training, enrollment assistance, giveaways and more.  To schedule an appointment, call 703-967-3772.


Summer Food Pantry Crisis

I know we talked the other day about how House of Mercy was running low on food.  It's not just them.  I'm gonna use the word crisis here.  On purpose.  Because this (Pictures taken from the ACTS Facebook Page):
 That is a crisis.  There is NO RICE AT ALL. There's no pasta sauce.  There are two shelves of pasta.  ACTS serves hundreds of people a month. It's only the 17th.  This is not Old Mother Hubbard going to the cupboard, guys, these are our neighbors and their children.
Now you know I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for ACTS, but you can go to wherever your favorite organization houses their food.  I am willing to bet money that they won't turn you away.

Here's a list of most-needed items (I'm emailing some frugal blogger friends to see if I can align this list with current grocery deals):

Most Needed Items
Peanut butterJelly
TunaBoxed Mac and Cheese
SpaghettiPasta Sauce
Canned FruitCanned Vegetables
Canned SoupMilk
Diapers (larger sizes 3+)Deodorant
ToothpasteToilet Paper

Please help if you can.  Nobody cares if it's brand-name spaghetti or the 10 for $10 stuff at Giant.  Nobody cares if it's Del Monte Green Beans or the ones from Wegmans (what's that, like $.29/can?).  Just Be Awesome And Help.  Thanks.


Playskool Playdate

Note: Local Mom Debbi attended the same high school as me, and was kind enough to attend the Playskool Playdate at Top of the Town in Arlington for me since my kids are a little too old! She has three children, ages 4, 2.5, and 6 months. Here she shares a little about the toys and experience.  You can find more of Debbi's writing on her blog or follow her on Instagram.

Instead of lounging around the house on this rainy morning, we got to test out new toys at the Playskool Playdate in Arlington, VA.  I knew the girls would enjoy themselves but baby Matthew (6m) seemed to have the most fun. 
There was tons to do for the infant / toddler age group.  A variety of Elmo toys were available and they were all approved by Matthew – the big eyes and squishy hands and feet were a hit.  Cailin (age 2) also enjoyed the Sesame Street Talking ABC Elmo.  Elmo’s guitar was a fun prop for the girls and Matthew was happy to use it as a teether.  The Shapes ‘n Colors Turtle was bright and loud and Matthew could operate it on his own (always a plus).  His favorite toy seemed to be the Stack n Spin Monkey Gears. 
The toys were all available on a foam ABC mat which was inviting but as soon as kids began to pull apart the letters, choking hazards were everywhere.  This was a smaller version of the ABC foam mat often seen in play areas. 

Many older toys were re-presented in new ways:
- Glow worms (Matthew snuggled one in the stroller as I reminisced about my old green glow worm …from times of yore)
- Mr Potato Heads- with super hero capes and transformer pieces (Mixable Mashable Heroes)
- Ele-fun ball poppers – looked similar to the original, minus the flimsy trunk that always collapsed
Charlotte (4) and Cailin (2.5) were enthralled with the balloon maker, the face painter, and the fried macaroni and cheese balls.  Many of the preschool aged toys were targeted towards boys: Transformers, Spiderman (figurines and cars), and Marvel Super Heroes.  My girls stopped to give these toys a quick look but moved on quickly.  They were hoping for something representing Elsa and Anna (what preschool girl isn’t?). 
Juice boxes and hot dogs proved to be a success at lunch but the toddler chairs and tables were shaky at best.  I think they’re made to disassemble for storage which has its perks… but it wouldn’t be long before one of my squirmy kids would be crying on the floor. 

We had a very fun morning and are very excited about the swag we got to bring home!  Thanks for sharing the opportunity with us Kristina!


Beaches Near Prince William County

We had a reader request for beaches somewhere closer than VA Beach (which is about a four hour drive).  Here are our results from readers about beaches that are local to Manassas, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Dale City, Lake Ridge and Bristow (and any other city in Prince William County. Don't hate me for trying to get google to get my website to come up!)

Obviously I haven't been to all of these beaches, although I'm willing to give that a try.

You know, in the name of science.

Here's what I've got! Are we missing your favorite? Leave a comment below and add your thoughts!

If you'd like to stay under 2 hours (minus DMV traffic which cannot be helped on any given day)
Aquia Beach
"off courthouse rd.  Its secluded but its connected to the Potomac river...good fishing a beach and bathrooms! 25 mins."

Breezy Point
"1.5 hours from Manassas"

Calvert Cliffs
"In MD, about an hour and a half from Manassas. Beach, shallow water, and shark teeth fossils!"

Colonial Beach
"Only about an hour and 15 min away and a pretty decent beach.  We went there for Memorial Day and it wasn't packed.  If you follow the water down to the right of the pier area there's also all day parking for $5 as opposed to the 2 hour parking by the pier"
"Colonial Beach is like an hour and a half or so from 95 south entrance"
"1 1/2 hour sometimes only 45 minutes giving traffic but it is awesome, they have playground for kids, ice cream shops, little art shops where the kids can participate and for the adults there is the river boat casino and the best part, you rent golf carts to drive around the town. My kids love it there and on the 4th of July there is a firework show"
"Yes!! Colonial beach is only an hour and a half from Woodbridge! Best local places to eat, too!"
"We went to Colonial Beach last 4th of July. My 4 boys loved it!
"To those of you who went to Colonial, I found it very rocky and almost unmanageable.  Was I just in the wrong places?"
(Not copying this comment, but suffice it to say someone was less than impressed with the ambiance at this beach.)

Falmouth Beach 
"Right off the highway Falmouth exit...30 mins. Have grassy area a beach and a couple of grills...they also give out life jackets to the kids!"
"We go to River Beaches, not quite the coast. Not fancy, but the kids love it.  Free parking, 30 mins from Dale City"

Half Moon Beach 
"Past Strasburg" (Google maps says 1.5 hours from Manassas)

Lake Arrowhead Beach
"In Luray VA you have Lake Arrowhead Beach, very nice and cost very low"

"Leesylvania has two tiny beaches.  Woodbridge/Dumfries area."

North Beach 
"I have heard good things about North Beach, MD but I have never personally been.  Google says it takes about 1 hour 15 min from Montclair.
"North Beach is okay, but it's a pay beach"
"No waves to worry about for the little ones.  Cute shops and a nice boardwalk."

Rappahannock Beach
"Off Rt 1. Quiet, safe, good for kids. 20 minutes from Dumfries"

Sandy Point
"Never been, but looking into Sandy Point"

Shenandoah River
"Second best for us, least crowded every time we've gone is Shenandoah River at the Shenandoah State Park.  About an hour drive."

Westmoreland State Park
"Only 90 minutes away and a nice beach"

If you think 2+ Hours is local (or worth the drive, but either way, I'm separating them out)

Bethany Beach
"Delaware. 3 to 3.5 hours. We have done day trips. They are long days, but so worth it."

Chincoteague Island/Assteague Beach
"I am a single mom and I love taking my 7 year old daughter to Chincoteague every August.  "Is that where the horses are?" is the top question I get.  Yes, but there is way more.  It is 3.5-4 hours east of us and only 30 minutes south of Ocean City. There are plenty of hotels and it is a top family vacation destination in the area.  We also like to camp there as well for only $30 a night tent camping.  The beach is really nice and has lifeguards.  Assateague beach is a notion park so there are no board walks, just shower and parking.  There is a small fee for the beach because it is a park.
"We loved Chincoteague"

Fenwick Island
"About 2.5 hours away and super family friendly. It's right next to Ocean city but removed from the crazy college crowd."

Dewey Beach
"DE, and it's beautiful and not too far, but not great for families.  Bethany, just a few minutes away is much better."

Ocean City 
"I load the kids up at 5am and head to OCMD.  It's before the traffic rush so we can be there by 8, even with a bathroom break.  Spend all day and load up the sleepy kids back into the car around 7 and they wake up in their beds.  It's a drive, but not awful."

Ocean View
"We just moved here from Norfolk.  VA Beach is cool for ocean beaches but I have small kids and we always like the Ocean View beaches in Norfolk better because the waves are smaller and the beaches are less crowded.  On a good day it's 2.5 hours from here, but it's more like 3-3.5 hours."

Outer Banks
"31/2 to 4 HRS"

In addition to reader suggestions, here are a few from the Washington Post.


Giveaway: Madame Tussaud's DC

Where can you and your kids visit all your favorite celebrities in one swoop? Madame Tussaud's, of course! Pose with your favorite historical figures, celebrities, and politicians all day long- they don't mind at all because they're wax!

Recently, Madame Tussaud's added Katy Perry to their ranks!

But you can also visit Barack Obama in the Oval Office:
Along with every other US president, for that matter!

Want to go? Enter to win your tickets using the Rafflecopter below!

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Want more info? Here's some details from a review I did a few years ago:

Madame Tussaud's is very easy to get to.  There's easy metro access, but we ended up driving (395-14th street-F street) and were there in about 30 minutes, including parking.  There's a $10 a day parking garage right across the street, but there's also lots of on-street parking available if you go on a day that isn't full of Cherry Blossom visitors trying to beat the snow!

When you enter Madame Tussaud's, there's a line to pay, then a few steps down to a brief video where they demonstrate how the wax figures are made.  You then head to the left (I'm mentioning this because I was a little unclear on where to go!)  and go through a few halls of presidents.  Several of the exhibits have a way to interact with the figures- for exmaple, George Washington has a "boat" that you can sit in and don a Washington-esque coat for a pictures.  Lincoln (depicted sitting in the balcony at Ford's theatre) also has a coat you can wear for your picture.  Bring. Your. Camera. If your kids are anything like the kids I took, you will hear "take my picture!! take my picture!!!" around 3,000 times :)

After you move through the presidents, there's a spot at the end where they take commemorative pictures in the "White House" or with the "Obamas", and then you move into some historical figures.  There's Rosa Parks and a bus background, Martin Luther King Junior, Malcom X, and also some historical figures in with the presidents like Jackie O, the Apollo astronauts, Winston Churchill, and others. 

The final two sections are famous athletes and movie stars/singers.  The little girl that we brought was excited to point out the Jonas Brothers.  I took a picture with my future ex-husband, George Clooney ;) and my only complaint was probably that there was a Robert Pattinson who wasn't sparkly, and there was no shirtless Taylor Lautner.  Just saying.

The kids I took (all 7 years old) had a really great time.  They were super excited about people they recognized (Washington, Lincoln, Obama, Tiger Woods, Britney Spears, Jonas Brothers, astronauts) and anything that had an interactive component. They were also happy to have me take their picture with anyone who they thought looked cool.  I think that the ideal age to take here would be 9 or older, just because they would have exposure to more of the historical people and would be more excited to see them, and would be able to read the fun-facts more independently.  That said, I was totally happy with our trip and my 7's had a great time!! Fair Warning: The end of the tour dumps you into the gift shop, so be prepared to stop any wandering little hands.
Disclosure: This giveaway provided by Madame Tussaud's DC location.  All opinions are my own. By entering you're agreeing to all of our Giveaway Rules and regulations. I'm not responsible for traffic, weather, your kids being sad the real Katy Perry isn't there, or any other drama you encounter.