Disney on Ice 2015 and a Giveaway!

Guess what time of year it is!!


Did you say fall? No, silly rabbit! 

It's Disney Time!!
Although, I mean, I'm not going to lie, I would also accept "Pumpkin Spice Latte Time".  That's equally valid.

Disney shows are always so well done, and we love the artistry and, as people who skate, we really appreciate the athleticism of the performers, at every Disney show!

Disney on Ice Presents 100 Years of Magic Presented by YoKids will be at the Patriot Center from October 21-25th.  I have heard a rumor that some people are now calling it "Eagle Bank Arena".....but, I am not yet at the point where I can do that.  I called "Jiffy Lube Live" Nissan Pavilion forever, change takes time...

So, anyway the Patriot/Eagle/America/Freedom/RedWhiteBlue Arena/Center (of Doom 3000) at George Mason University is a great venue for us in PWC because it's super close and easy to get to.  Leave time for parking, but unlike going into DC, you won't need to set aside $40 and hand your keys over to a stranger! Use code MOM2015 and get $6 off your tickets!

And the show? Well, it goes without saying that will be amazing.

Here's the description:
Grab your Mickey ears and get ready for the ultimate Disney experience at Disney On Icecelebrates 100 Years of Magic Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt! Be charmed by a cast of over 50, with Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, sweetheart Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. Relive the magic of Disney’s Frozen with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Sing-along to over 30 unforgettable songs including “Let It Go,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Exciting moments from Disney•Pixar’s Toy StoryFinding Nemo, Disney’s The Lion KingBeauty and the BeastAladdin and more will leave the whole family with memories to last a lifetime. Show off your moves at the Disney Magic of Healthy Living dance-along pre-show inspired by the Disney Healthy Living commitment as the celebration of the century skates into your hometown!

Wanna go? I know you do.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below to win a family 4 pack of tickets to the opening night (that's a Wednesday, so make sure you're free!) show! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
By entering, you agree to our giveaway rulesDisclaimer: I am a Feld Family Ambassador. I receive free tickets for my own family for sharing this information. All opinions are my own. The Walt Disney Company is neither a sponsor nor endorser of this sweepstakes.

Barbie @Potomac Mills 2015


Barbie Invites Girls to Raise Their Voice at LIVE Show at Potomac Mills on October 4, 2015
Barbie in Rock 'N Royals Comes to Life with Interactive Concert Experience for Girls
WHAT: This fall, families are invited to a LIVE show starring Barbie in her all new movie, Rock ‘N Royals, which debuted nationwide on 9/8!
During this rockin' music experience, local fans will have the opportunity to:
  • See LIVE concert performance of songs from the movie including, "Raise Our Voices," "What if I Shine," and "Unlock your Dreams."
  • Meet the stars of the film, Princess Courtney and Rockstar Erika
  • Sing-along with interactive karaoke
  • Barbie photo-opp
  • Play with new Barbie in Rock 'N Royals dolls and toys available now
To learn more about Barbie in Rock 'N Royals, visit BeSuper.com and follow along on social with #BeSuper.

WHEN: October 4, 2015
            12PM - 6PM

WHERE: Potomac Mills Mall
              Grand Court
              2700 Potomac Mills Circle, Woodbridge, VA 22192

MEDIA CONTACTS: Robert Schwartz

                                Marissa Beck, Mattel

About Potomac Mills
Potomac Mills is the Washington, DC area’s largest outlet mall with more than 220 stores including Bloomingdale’s – The Outlet Store, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, True Religion Outlet, Michael Kors Outlet, Talbots Outlet, Tommy Bahama Outlet, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, J.Crew | Crewcuts and Ann Taylor Factory Store.  In addition, the center boasts over 25 eateries and the AMC Potomac Mills 18 Theatres with IMAX.  Potomac Mills also boasts a delicious trio of dining experiences: The Cheesecake Factory and first-in-market locations from Bahama Breeze and Bobby’s Burger Palace. 

Potomac Mills is conveniently located immediately off of I-95 in Woodbridge, VA and is just 30 miles from Washington, D.C.  Regular hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday.  For more information, please call (703) 496-9330 or visit www.potomacmills.com.  Like Potomac Mills on Facebook at facebook.com/PotomacMills and follow us on Twitter @shoPotomacMills and on Instagram @shoPotomacMills.

About The Mills
The Mills®, a part of Simon, offers a unique brand of shopping with a mix of popular name brand outlets, value retailers and full-price stores, plus family-oriented dining and entertainment concepts. The Mills are well-located in major metropolitan markets and many are recognized as leading tourism destinations. Notable properties include Arundel Mills (Baltimore), Gurnee Mills (Chicago), Grapevine Mills (Dallas), Ontario Mills (Los Angeles), Opry Mills (Nashville), Potomac Mills (Washington, DC) and Sawgrass Mills (Ft. Lauderdale/Miami).

Simon is a global leader in retail real estate ownership, management and development and a S&P100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE:SPG). Our industry-leading retail properties and investments across North America, Europe and Asia provide shopping experiences for millions of consumers every day and generate billions in annual retail sales. For more information, visit simon.com.


Allergies and HVAC

Today, we are highlighting Fred McCollum, founder and owner of Pride Air Conditioning and Heating. Pride is a family business based in Manassas, serving Northern Virginia. The company “prides” itself in providing the finest state-of-the-art heating, cooling and air purification products, as well as actually guaranteeing work, not just equipment.

Fred is an expert in air filtration and has options for kids with indoor allergies and asthma. 

PwcMoms: Fred, a fair number of my readers deal with asthma and allergy issues. How you can help out with that? 

FM: Well first, you have to know there’s an allergy problem. Generally (and I’m not a doctor), dark circles under the eyes are one of the telltale signs of childhood allergies. Then there’s the itchy, watering and stinging eyes, sneezing and dripping nose and sometimes coughing and wheezing that kids have to deal with when their allergies or asthma flare. Here’s the thing. The United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental dangers. The quality of indoor air can be two to five times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted than the worst outside air. Air Scrubber Plus® with Active Pure technology reduces up to 99.9 percent of the harmful contaminants throughout your home, and that’s important when you’re talking allergies. 

PwcMoms: What does that kind of HVAC filtration do, exactly? 

FM: The main purposes of a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (or HVAC) system is to help maintain good indoor air quality through ventilation with filtration and provide thermal comfort. Proper air filtration and care for your HVAC system will result in better air quality and a healthier environment for your family in your home, as well as increase the efficiency and longevity your HVAC system.

Placing air filters in your home’s ventilation system can block airborne particles, including animal dander, pollen, mold spores, bacteria and viruses.

Here is some technical information. Depending on the minimum efficiency rating value (or MERV) of your air filters, more or less particles are blocked. For an HVAC system, it is recommended that you use air filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13. The higher the rating, the more contaminants that will be blocked, better protecting your equipment and your family’s lungs.

PwcMoms: How many treatments are we talking about to help alleviate a child's symptoms? 

FM: Families should change their home’s air filters every 30-60 days. This will depend on how dirty the air ducts are and if your family has pets that shed.

PwcMoms: NIH reports that asthma is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in school children.  Have you had any families report that your services have helped with that? 

 FM: The NIH report makes sense. The effects of childhood allergies and asthma don’t stop with the visible symptoms. They can make kids feel tired and sick at school, which affects their performance. Allergies and asthma can even make it difficult or dangerous for kids to participate in sports. And many allergy medications leave kids in zombie mode, so they have to stay home. 

I can tell you from my personal experience that my wife suffers from asthma and was taking her medication as much as three to four times daily. I installed the Air Scrubber Plus® in my home and within two to three weeks, she was down to only taking her medication one to two times a week.

I believe the Air Scrubber Plus® made tremendous improvements in her quality of life. This may not be the result for everyone, but it will make the home air almost sterile.  

PwcMoms: Can you add filtration to any HVAC system or only certain types?

FM: Air filtration can be added to any system. The application varies from job to job.

PwcMoms: Do children with allergies or asthma need to be out of the house for any period of time after cleaning and installation of a system? 

FM: No. The Air Scrubber Plus® product is installed inside the air duct system. It works with the indoor fan to remove airborne bacteria and is completely safe.

PwcMoms: Can it help with pet hair and dander?

FM: Yes indeed. Air Scrubber Plus® is designed to help eliminate indoor air quality risks by reducing air pollutants (including hair and dander), VOCs (chemical odors), cigarette smoke, dust, pollen, mold, odor-causing bacteria and odors caused by pets and cooking.

Here’s the more technical description. Air Scrubber Plus® with Active Pure technology cleans, freshens and purifies the air using special germicidal UV light waves along with a catalytic process that creates enviro-scrubbing molecules of oxygen and hydrogen.

            In essence, it’s just like nature’s outdoor scrubbers. That’s one of the reasons it’s safe.

It’s important remember, though, that this is not just an air filter. Every home still needs a regular filter for dust and dirt.

PwcMoms: Thanks, Fred! 

As one of the leading heating and cooling contractors in Virginia, Pride is ready, willing and able to help you reduce the effects of allergies and take care of all your HVAC needs. They consider energy efficiency when recommending products, as well as adhere to EPA standards. When it is time for upgrading, retrofitting or installing a new heating or air conditioning system, skilled technicians guide customers through the process. Pride also offers preventive maintenance and service agreements designed to keep systems running at peak capacity and prevent unforeseen repairs.

For more information on the company and its services, visit www.prideacandheating.com.
Disclosure: Pride is a sponsor of PwcMoms.com


Reader Meetup/Giveaway: Center Street Pilates

I am really excited to invite you for our next reader meet up, which is going to be grown-ups only :) 

Lesley from Center Street Studios is inviting us out to enjoy a few sample workouts and end the evening with snacks, drinks, and some giveaways!! 

I have 16 spots available, so I'll give them out in sets of 2.  (So if you win, you can bring a friend).  If you'd like to come alone, no worries, I'll give the second spot out to people further down the list!! 

You'll be able to enter on Facebook to win a spot- just comment on our post about the event (look for the logo for Center Street Studios).  

Here's the schedule: 
Saturday night October 10th: 6-8pm
6-6:15 Get everyone set up with mat/equipments
6:15-6:45: Sample Barre Class 
6:45-7:15: Sample Pilates Class
7:15-7:45: Sample Yoga Class and Cool-Down
7:45-8: Prize Drawings, Drinks and snacks


Fire and Rescue Preparedness Fair 2016

Manassas Park Fire and Rescue will host their 2016 Preparedness Fair on Saturday, September 26th from 10am-2pm.  Free event. 


Touch a Truck Giveaway

Discovery Junction Children's Museum will be hosting a Touch a Truck event on Sunday, September 27th from 11am-3pm at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center.  Siren-free hours will be 11am-1pm (in case you have a little one who is noise sensitive!)

Wanna go?
Discovery Junction has very kindly offered us 2 sets of family four packs to give away to lucky readers who want to go!! 

Enter using the rafflecopter below- winners will be drawn on Wednesday! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, by entering you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules.  All prizes provided by Discovery Junction, PwcMoms was not compensated for this giveaway.  We are not responsible for weather related cancelations, your child really wanting to become a trash collector because they like the truck, or any adorable pictures of your kiddo in fireman gear, although we're certainly happy to take the credit for good things that happen, if you want to assign us the blame for those.


Volunteer Op: Dove Landing Opening

On Saturday, September 26, 2015 Keep PW Beautiful and  PWC Parks Dept will sponsor a workday at Doves Landing Park.  Join them as they extend the trail to points with scenic views of the waterway that borders the Park.  Additional projects include installing boardwalk on wet sections of the trail, and doing some landscaping (planting) at the parking area.  If you would like to participate, please register here.  Registration will help them to plan for the workday, and allow them to contact you if the event is postponed due to weather.


Fall Fun 2015

Friday, September 18th, the Marketplace at Madison Crescent will show Cinderella.  Movies begin once it is dark enough to start.

Annual International Food Festival at Harris Pavilion September 18 from 4-9pm and September 19 from 11am-9pm.  Free to attend...but you'll want to buy lunch :) Various countries represented from Nativity of Our Lord Orthodox Church (Greek, Ukranian, Russian, etc). tasty tasty goodies made by all the church ladies! Don't leave without getting some Baklava! 

Stonebridge PTC Fall Festival has moved to September 19th, as well.   Chili Tasting, Food Vendors, Exhibitors, Entertainment, Prizes, DJ, Food, and a 7pm movie on the Jumbotron. 11am-6pm, movie at 7pm. 

Lake Ridge Nursery opens their pumpkin patch on September 22nd.  Opens September 22 -October 31 Monday—Thursday 12pm to 8pm Friday, Saturday, 9am to 8pm last admission 7pm Sunday 9am to 7pm last admission 6pm Last admission of the day will be at 7pm Call 703–590–0178 for more info. $12 per child Monday through Thursday  $15 per child Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Columbus Day (Additional attractions open) with your Choice of 1 of the following: Apple, or Ice Cream with the price of admission..

Mid-September through October, you can also visit Burnside Farms in Haymarket.  "Although we don't have all the bells and whistles the larger fall farms have. We do have a few fun things for the little ones and there's always an opportunity to snap a some great photos. " 

Friday, September 25th, the Marketplace at Madison Crescent will show Into the Woods.  Movies begin once it is dark enough to start.  

September 26th is opening day for the Yankey Farms Pumpkin Patch. 

September 26th from 10am-3pm Old Town Manassas Annual Chili Cook-Off and Kids Fest. Sign up to cook your favorite chili on-site, sample the chili at 1:00 and enjoy the sounds of the Southern Persuasion Band.Lots of games, face painting and a clown show for the children!

September 27th, Discovery Junction Children's Museum will host a Touch a Truck Event at the Freedom Center. 11am-3pm.  Watch for our FB giveaway! Visit their FB page for more information. 

The Annual Fall Jubilee, in Historic Downtown Manassas will be held on October 3, 2015 from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. This year’s Jubilee will include an assortment of live entertainment for both kids and adults with over 100 crafter and community booths, live music and entertainment, and more! The Fall Jubilee is free to the public and is scheduled rain or shine. Bring your family out for a day of fun – play games, shop at unique crafter booths, pick out your pumpkins for fall, and so much more.  Visit their website for additional details and information as it becomes available.

October 3rd will be the 2015 Joe Gibbs Country Fair and Auctions benefitting Youth for Tomorrow in
Bristow, VA.  Admission is $10 adult, $5 kids 16 and under, ages 3 and under are free.  This is a HUGE event and we were really happy we went last year! 10am-5pm

St. Paul UMC in Woodbridge hosts their annual Pumpkin Patch from October 4th-31st.

St Paul's will also host a fall festival and corn hole contest Saturday, Oct. 10 from 11am - 3pm. Fun for the whole family!  Fall activities, moon bounce, games, and food. Plus for the first time, this year, we will have a Corn Hole Contest!  Bring your team and your boards and come for friendly competition as we seek to name the St. Paul Pumpkin Patch Corn Hole champion!

Dumfries, VA will have their annual fall festival on October 17th from 11am-4pm.  There is a bbq competition for those who would like to participate.  Find more details on the Facebook event page. 

Also on October 17th, Pettoberfest at Stonebridge will feature entertainment for the whole family including Fido.  12-4pm, all pets must be leashed.

Join Linton Hall School for their Community Fun Fair Saturday, October 17th, 2015 10am-3pm $5pp or $20 per family.  Saddle-up and ride on over for a day full of wild west fun for the kids of ALL ages!

DRIVE-IN MOVIE IN THE PARKING LOT at St Paul UMC Friday, Oct. 23 (rain date, Oct 30)
7:00pm Come enjoy a family double feature from the parking lot! Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin & Monster's Inc will be played on the big screen!

The Freedom Center will have FREE ADMISSION ALL WEEK October 19-25th.

This special week will also feature a Friday Family Fun Night on October 23rd.  Join the Freedom Center for a bunch of fun raffles and giveaways, activities, and a movie in the pool!!

Saturday, Oct 24 6:00pm St Paul UMC Trunk or Treat. Come in costume in search of candy from car to car in the pumpkin patch parking lot!  Cars will be decorated for the occasion, and the parking lot will be a fun and safe place to show off your costumes!  Awards will be given for various costume categories.

October 31st the Marketplace at Madison Crescent will host a trick or treat event.  No other details are currently available on their website, so watch for details.


Tips on De-Stressing Your School Week Recipes

So...we go to school.  On Thursdays.  :)

WJLA was very kind to invite me out to their News Channel 8 "Good Morning Washington" segment to talk about tips for de-stressing your school day.  You can watch the video here.

If you'd like recipes for any of the items I made on the show, here they are:

Egg Muffins
1 carton liquid egg whites (16 oz)
2-3 whole eggs (to add yellow color, optional)
Salt and pepper to taste (the sausage is salty, so go easy)
1 chopped bell pepper
1 chopped sweet onion
12 count turkey sausage links, sliced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese for sprinkling
**Optional add-ins, other veggies, sriracha, mustard, turmeric, etc.

In a blender, combine the eggs, liquid egg whites, and any add ins.  We like to use hot sauce and turmeric in ours.  Blend to combine.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin heavily with cooking spray.  Add the bell peppers, onions, and sausage evenly.  Pour over the egg mixture to just slightly under fill the cups.  They will puff up in the oven a great deal, so do not over fill.  Top with a sprinkle of cheese. You will most likely have egg mixture remaining, it can be scrambled or made in to an omelette! Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch.  Depending on the toppings that you use, these egg cups are about 70-100 calories each.

Baked Oatmeal
5 cups of quick oats
2-3 T flax seeds (you can use chia if you prefer)
1 mashed banana
2 cups of applesauce (if you buy the unsweetened variety, these stay sugar free)
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t pumpkin pie spice
1 T baking powder
2 cups of milk
**Toppings of your choice: blueberries, chopped peaches, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

Line two cupcake pans (this recipe makes 18) with cooking spray or muffin liners.  Mix in any toppings you'd like to add. Fill each just slightly under the top (they don't rise much) with oatmeal mixture.  Add any additional ingredients (chocolate chips are best on top- you need fewer to convince the kids they're in there!). Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Freezer Stew
You can use your favorite stew recipe here....but this is mine
2 pounds beef stew meat
1 package baby carrots (or more, if you're feeding my husband)
1 head of celery, cleaned and chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 package frozen peas
2 cups of chopped potatoes (I like red or fingerling so I don't have to peel)
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
(any other additions you'd like, rosemary, wine, worcester sauce)
Place in a gallon ziplock and freeze.  When you want to eat, dump in the crock pot with salt to taste and 5 cups of beef stock. I know there are times on most crock pot meals but mine is always "Cook on low until you get home from whatever fresh heck your schedule looks like today"
Thicken with cornstarch (2T of starch and 2T cold water mixed to avoid lumps) for a nice gravy before eating :)


Fall Family Weekend Fun

My original topic for News Channel 8 was supposed to be weekend fall fun.  Then it changed.  So, here are my original talking points, because I thought you guys would like them anyway :) Not all PWC, but a lot of fun ideas!! 

This last part of summer/early part of fall is perfect for getting outside.  It’s not too hot, not too cold, and the bugs are, hopefully, starting to die off.  One local park we really love is Potomac Overlook just off of 123.  They’ve got a great nature center and some gorgeous hiking.
If you have a little more time and you’ve got a 4th grader, you can get a FREE pass for them, and anyone else in their car, through the White House’s “Every Kid in a Park” campaign.  It’s not available until Sept 1, so mark your calendar, but we have so many great national parks to choose from- Shenandoah is one of our favorites- whether you’re cruising up and down Skyline Drive just to take in the scenery or doing a hike, we really like South River Falls and Rose River Halls for hiking- they’re both 2.6 miles, totally do-able with elementary kids, or toddlers in a backpack, even if you need to park it for lunch for a bit!
If you’re looking to take up the better part of a weekend- it’s not too late to go camping, either.  Even if you’re not ready to get the long johns out, there are several places that offer cabin camping.  My pick, though, is to go ahead and splurge on a $43 treehouse rental in Maryland.  (http://thetreehousecamp.com) If your family is a little bigger, for $70 you can rent a tree cottage.  This pretty much meets every requirement for my childhood dreams that I actually belonged in Swiss Family Robinson. Lake Anna (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/lake-anna.shtml#cabins_camping) and Prince William Forest Park also have rental cabins. (http://www.nps.gov/prwi/planyourvisit/individual-cabins.htm)

One more great outdoor option is the Adventure Park at Sandy Springs School in Maryland.  This is a ropes course where you clip into a safety line- there’s a double carabeener system for safety, and you navigate through a challenge course and zipline down.  My son did this with us when he was in first grade, which was okay, but he’d have way more fun now because on some of the higher courses you need to have some leg reach- and he was a little short for some of the cool things he wanted to do.  But, if you’ve got taller kids aged 7 and up- you’re all set! http://sandyspringadventurepark.org

Next up, there are a TON of fall festivals that start happening and these are great for weekend fun! I am a little bit obsessed with Old Town Manassas (http://visitmanassas.org/events/page_offset:1/action:agenda/time_limit:1443267001/)  right now, I think it’s adorable and they host tons of fun events.  They’ve got Bands, Brews, and Barbeque on September 12th, an Orthodox Festival on September 18th, and a Chili Cook-Off and Kids Fest on September 26th.  However, no matter where you are, you can definitely find a great fall festival.  A few more options include:
·      Stonebridge Fall fest and Chili Cook Off (Woodbridge) http://stonebridgefallfest.com which ends with a family movie on the Jumbotron
·        The Maryland Renaissance Festival (http://www.rennfest.com/) runs from August to October, so that’s always an option
·      Be on the lookout for farm tours- these are awesome self-guided tours in places like Faquier and Prince William that let you visit a bunch of different farms in one day.  My favorite is the alpacas- they meep just like road runner! So cute! (http://www.pwcfarmtour.org)
·      Joe Gibbs Country Fair and Auction (http://www.youthfortomorrow.org/country-fair-and-auctions) helps a great cause and it’s really fun!
·      Kings Dominon and Busch Gardens both have fall hours on weekends
·      Your local fire station is also a great place to check for fun ideas! They often have fall open houses with moonbounces, facepainting, fire safety, and, of course, you get to try on the equipment!

There are also lots of family fun runs, most with a 5k option if you’re running enthusiasts, and those can be really fun for kids to do.  A lot of them have some kind of a fun activity at the end- my son and husband did the Freedom Center Turkey Trot for his birthday last year and had a great time.

If you’ve got time this weekend and are willing to take a drive, the Family Drive In Theatre in Stephens City does an amazing Labor Day Movie Marathon- it’s ALL NIGHT MOVIES!! We had so much fun doing this.  You can leave anytime or stay all night.  We popped open the tailgate and laid out sleeping bags in the back of our van- but the kids made it longer than I did! This year’s movies are Inside Out, Minions, Avengers Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, and South Paw.  And, get this- it’s $8 for adults, $4 for kids up to age 11, and you can pay a $5 per car fee and bring your own food in.  We actually brought a picnic dinner and then later in the evening got the popcorn.  You just can’t resist that smell! If you’ve got older kids/teens, they’ve also got a second screen and will be showing “grown up” movies on that side, and ladies, Magic Mike XXL is on the lineup, if you’re into that. http://www.thefamilydriveintheatre.com

Obviously, we’re also heading into fall and that means you can officially break out the apples and pumpkins.  On the Maryland side of things, check out the Darlington Apple Festival the first weekend in October (http://www.darlingtonapplefestival.com) or you can just take the kids out to a pick your own farm.  We love to visit Hartland Orchard out 66 in Virginia, in Markham, and the kids love to help me peel apples to make crock pot applesauce when we get home.  You can also always pick a few extra to send into school, or make into a pie to send into school, if your child has already gotten on the teacher’s bad side!

For a little weekend fun on the cheap, it’s also never too early to get your kids a little school spirit.  Your local high school is a great option for fall football games, you pay so little you can leave when the kids get tired, and be on the lookout for their homecoming designated game, usually near the end of September.  I know around us the schools do parades that the kids love to attend, as well as the game being extra exciting with big halftime shows from the marching band.

If you need a few indoor ideas- sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate! There are lots of fun inside places to try new things! With younger kids, indoor thinking playspaces like at Animated Child in Montclair or at Vertical Rock in Manassas are fantastic! (You don’t have to climb, but I like to!) Also, if your child is studying something they are either struggling to appreciate or REALLY like, why not take a field trip to a museum? This seems so obvious, but a lot of families don’t think about all the great FREE museums we have!

Another great thing that our family just loves to do is volunteering together.  Places like ACTS in Dumfries, Reston Interfaith, or the DC Food Bank all have different requirements, but can usually take even younger students to help count or package rice.  Hypothermia shelters start opening and they don’t always provide dinner, so a supper in a sack project is great, or check out Feed My Starving Children, which we do every year at New Hope Church in Lorton, but they are around all over the place for packing events.  Kids as young as 6 can typically participate, and they get a hairnet!


Featured Organization Friday: Keep Mothers Alive

A new non-profit based in Prince William County is aimed at saving expectant mothers in Africa.

Dr. Diagaunet Dodie's Keep Mothers Alive pilot project aims to save at least one more expectant mother in Africa.  The program will officially begin in the fall of 2015. 

Dr. Dodie's project will begin in Duekoue, Cote D'Ivoire.  

Per their press release, Duekoue is a small town of about 72,000 people in the Western part of the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In 2011 during the Civil War, the city experienced the largest massacre in the history of the country. Over 1,000 people were killed in a single day and many of the country’s infrastructures were destroyed. Women and children paid the heaviest price in this war. Four years later, the consequences of the civil war still persist. Maternal mortality crisis is now one of the highest in the country. The community has endured hardship, the women have become even more vulnerable and something needs to be done immediately. 

“The economic challenge in some west and east African countries is so severe that pregnant women hardly get the right drugs, infrastructures or medical help needed.  Delivery is like having one leg in the grave. I lost a dear cousin and her twins to preventable maternal death. KeepMothers Alive is to give families the chance to happiness and the joy of having one more life full of potentials added to them.” Stated, Dr. Diagaunet Dodie, the KMA Founder and CEO.

Keep Mothers Alive will kick off their DESPAIR TO HOPE campaign with the primary aim of saving an African mother’s life through a PIIPE approach:
·       Provide medical supplies and equipment.
·       Improve the quality of data.
·       Increase antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and postpartum visits.
·       Provide additional training for health workers.
·       Empower women.

Founded in 2015, Keep Mothers Alive was born from the pain of losing a close cousin to eclampsia and driven by the passion of ending every birthing experience in joy. 

“Keep Mothers Alive is an international partner of public health specialists who is committed to preventing maternal mortality in the most economically challenged areas of Africa by improving women’s accessibility to health care; engaging communities to prevent mother and child mortality; strengthening the health care system to provide quality of care for women; advocating for a call for action on maternal death; partnering with community leaders, government officials, and other NGOs to raise awareness of maternal mortality and its economic and social impact; empowering women about maternal health issues and the risks of home births; applying mobile technology to increase prenatal care utilization and healthy behaviors.” 

To learn more about Keep Mothers Alive, visit www.Keepmothersalive.org


Giveaway: DPGolf Academy

We're super excited about all of the great fall options at DPGolf Academy! They include after-school, family lessons, classes for adults, and even homeschool classes!

This week, DPGolf Academy is offering a super fun giveaway for our readers! Use the Rafflecopter to enter to win! 

One winner will be randomly selected to win either: One (1) Free 30-minute private golf lesson with Terry Collins OR a 50% off Coupon for After School or Home School class registration for your child.

So much fun! Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A reminder that by entering you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules. Good luck!


Stitch Fix

A few people I know have had fantastic luck with getting clothes through Stitch Fix, and I decided that I was going to give it a go!

If you haven't heard about it, Stitch Fix is an online shopping service that sends you a package of clothes selected for you based on an online profile that you fill out about what you like, don't like, like to flaunt, like to hide, colors you don't like, fabrics you don't like, etc.

You can also add a link to your Pinterest clothing board, if you have one.  Who says all that time you spend picking out outfits is useless?

So, how did it go? 
 Here is my box. 
 There are suggestions on outfits that you can make with the pieces in your box.
 There are prices for all of the pieces in your box (your $20 styling fee goes towards the purchase of your items).
 It's like Christmas!
Oh....but this is yellow.
 This is kinda cute? Maybe? But I'm fat so I'm never sure how stripes will work out on me.
 Oh....this is also yellow.
 This is a huge black poncho sweater thingy.
 These are pants that my stylist says feel like sweats. 
This is the print on the pants. 
Now it's time to torture the 11 year old and make him take pictures of me in all my new outfits since Daddy is sleeping in!

 So, this is the blue pants and the black sweater.  I felt enormous in the sweater, and the pants were okay, but they were the most expensive item in the box and I wasn't totally in love with them.  I definitely wasn't $98 in love with them.
 I think my eyes are closed in all of these....but I actually like this one.  The stripes give some kind of illusion shape that I find to be acceptable.
 Yup, it's still mustard yellow, even after I tried it on...

So, what did I end up doing? Well, as part of your fix box, you get a postage paid envelope to return anything that you don't like.  I kept the striped shirt (in fact, I am wearing it right now).  I sent back everything else.  Mustard is apparently the "it" color for fall, but I felt ugly in it and I have to feel pretty in my brain about what I'm wearing, or else I don't wear it, even if it's trendy. 

Would I do another Stitch Fix? I would, actually.  I love getting mail (because I'm four, don't judge me), and I love trying on new things but I rarely have time to shop.  Plus, I have it on good authority that the more things they see you like/don't like, the better your boxes get.  I'll send them the link to my review, and they'll know that I am too Casper the Friendly Ghost Colored to handle mustard yellow in the future ;)

(Note: I wasn't paid to do this review, but you should know that the links I put in give me credits when people sign up.  If you don't like that, you can visit stitchfix.com and avoid crediting my account when you order).

Have you tried Stitch Fix? Leave a link to your review on our facebook page!