Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spring Break April 6-10

Need ideas for things to do in Northern Virginia with  the kids? Check out these activities:

Monday April 6

Forest Fledgling: Mice are Nice
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale 9:45-10:30 am or 11-11:45 am
Discover both the good and bad news about mice through stories, live animals, crafts, nature activities and an outdoor exploration. Prepaid reservations are required. This program is suited for children age three to five. The cost is $5 per child. To reserve, call 703-941-1065.

Tavern Toddlers
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum
134 North Royal Street, Alexandria 10:30 am-Noon
A special program for toddlers (walkers through 36 months) and their caregivers! Tavern Toddlers features a weekly open playtime in Gadsby’s historic ballroom Mondays, excluding Federal holidays, any time between 10:30 a.m. and noon. Cost is $7 for a group of three, which must include one adult, or purchase a 5 week pass for $30. Call 703.838.4242.

Mommy & Me!
Whole Foods Fair Lakes 11am-noon FREE
Join us as Miss Celia returns for her much anticipated Mommy & Me class on April Fun! The theme for this month is April Showers Bring May Flowers! The children will be making daffodils out of recycled egg cartons. Miss Celia will bring her guitar and there will be music sing-a-long and treats for the children as well. This event is FREE but we do ask that you pre-register at our Customer Service desk by calling 703-222-2058. Event is limited to 20 children.

Family Gaming Day
Shirlington Branch Library    1-4 pm FREE
Try your hand (or feet) at Wii Sports, Super Smash Bros., Dance, Dance Revolution and other games. Recommended for children 6 and older.

How To Get Outdoors and Play 101
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale   1-2 pm
Rediscover the old-fashioned, unplugged fun of four-square, hopscotch and spud, and learn new games. This program is suited for families with children age two and older. Reservations are required. The cost is $5 per family. To reserve, call 703-941-1065.

Spring Break Movie Matinee
Ashburn Library    2 pm FREE
Bring your pillows and blankets to get comfy and watch a movie on the big screen! Don’t forget your favorite snacks! Today’s movie: Tinker Bell, Rated G, 70 minutes.

Movies on the Big Screen
Cascades Library   2 pm FREE
Bring your own popcorn & drinks! Today’s movie: The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning. Rated G, 77 minutes.

Movies on the Big Screen
Purcellville Library   2 pm FREE
Today’s movie: Kung Fu Panda (Rated PG)

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 2pm FREE
Today’s movie: Wall-E, Rated G

Open Mic Poetry Reading
Reston Regional Library 3 pm FREE
Celebrate National Poetry Month with local area poet Mary Kipps.
Bring a poem you`ve written to read aloud, or just come to listen. Learn techniques and aids for writing poetry. Ages 8-12. Register online.

The Great Game Escape
Dolley Madison Library 4 pm FREE
Challenge your friends to some fun and brain-stretching games. Ages 6-12. Register online.

Peeps, Snores and Trills
Great Falls Library 4:30 pm FREE
Meet a toad, feed him dinner and learn more about our local amphibians. Feeding done by naturalist. Ages 6-12. Register online.

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 6:30 pm FREE
Tonight’s movie: City of Ember, Rated PG. Recommended for ages 13 & up.

Washington National Opera Workshop
George Mason Library, Annandale   7 pm FREE
Hands-on workshop for 4 to 10 year olds and their families in which the children will learn about opera through the story of Madama Butterfly. Presented by Washington National Opera teaching artists. Register online.

Tuesday, April 7

Wake up with Wii
Arlington Central Library 10-11 am FREE
Celebrate Spring Break with some Nintendo Wii and breakfast snacks.

Tuesday Theater
Potomac Community Library, Woodbridge 11 am FREE
Bring your lunch or a snack to eat, and join the Earth-bound robot WALL∙E as he follows the space probe, EVE, to find our planet’s former inhabitants. For all ages; limit 100. Drop in; no registration is required.

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 2pm FREE
Today’s movie: High School Musical 3, Rated G

Spring Break Movie Matinee
Ashburn Library 2 pm FREE
Bring your pillows and blankets to get comfy and watch a movie on the big screen! Don’t forget your favorite snacks! Today’s movie: Horton Hears a Who, Rated G, 86 minutes

Movies on the Big Screen
Purcellville Library 2 pm FREE
Today’s movie:Tinker Bell (Rated G)

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 6:30 pm FREE
Tonight’s movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Rated PG-13. Recommended for ages 13 & up.

Family Craft Night
Potomac Community Library, Woodbridge 7 pm FREE
Crafts for the entire family; all ages are welcome. Please pick up a free pass beginning at 6:30 p.m.; a pass will be required for each crafter attending the program. Limit 24 crafters. April is “National Garden Month” and the perfect time to celebrate the earth and its lovely trees and plants. Bring the family to make a colorful flowerpot craft and cards.

Wednesday, April 8

Frying Pan Farm Park, Herndon 10:30-11:15 a.m. or noon-12:45 p.m
Join Magictainment, featuring magical illusions and a whimsical clown, for a delightful and entertaining stage show in the Visitor Center. Children must be at least 3 years. Prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $4 per person. To register, call 703-437-9101.

National Library Week Celebration
Bull Run Regional Library, Manassas 10:30 am FREE
For all ages. Free tickets may be picked up, in person, beginning April 1. Funded by The Friends of the Central and Bull Run Libraries. Mr. Don, aka Don Bridges, will sing many old and new favorites.

Bunny Bonanza
Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum
21668 Heritage Farm Lane, Sterling 10 am-1 pm
Learn about responsible pet ownership from the members of local animal organizations. Live animals, hands-on activities and demonstrations. Co-Sponsored by the Department of Animal Care and Control. Bunny Bonanza is free with paid admission: $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/child ages 2-12. For more info call 571-258-3800 or visit

Wild Things Puppet Show
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale 10-10:45 am
Find out what the “Sticky Dilemma” is for Charlotte the Spider and the mystery behind “Tooth Truth” in these educational and entertaining puppet presentations. This program is suited for children ages 3 to 8. Prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $5 per child. To reserve, call 703-941-1065.

Early American Games – No Batteries Required!
Sully Historic Site, Chantilly 11 am-3 pm
Run off your energy playing relay games, hoop and stick, graces and tag. Learn how 18th and 19th century children enjoyed the outdoors. The cost is $2 per person. Make a take-home project for an additional $2. For information, call 703-437-1794.

Movies on the Big Screen
Cascades Library 2 pm FREE
Bring your own popcorn & drinks! Today’s movie:Kung Fu Panda, Rated PG, 88 minutes.

Movies on the Big Screen
Purcellville Library 2 pm FREE
Today’s movie: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Rated PG)

Family Movie
Shirlington Branch Library 2-3:30 pm, 6 pm FREE
The library hosts a double feature: “Madagascar” at 2 p.m. and its sequel, Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa,” at 6 p.m.

Bug Juice and Beetle Sandwiches
Pohick Library 2:30 pm FREE
Find out why people and animals need bugs, and why exterminating insects can have unintended consequences. Presented by the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Register online.

Careers in Law Enforcement
Lorton Regional Library 4:30 pm FREE
A Fairfax County Police Department officer discusses career options in law enforcement. Age 13-18. Register online.

Swamp Serenade
Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria 7:15-8:45 pm
Listen to the frogs and toads as their courtship songs fill the wetland. The minimum age for this program is five. Families should bring a flashlight. Reservations are required. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child. To reserve, call 703-768-2525.

Thursday, April 9

Nature Playce: Story Time and Play
Hidden Oaks Nature Center 10-11 am
Listen to stories presented by a naturalist, chase soap bubbles and enjoy playing outdoors in the woodland play area especially designed to introduce young families to the joys and wonders of outdoor play. Become an official Nature Snooper. Receive a gift, the “key” to exploring nature’s wonders from Friends of Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Reservations are required. Donations are requested. This program is suited for children age 2 and older with an adult. To reserve, call 703-941-1065.

American Arts and Music
Sully Historic Site, Chantilly 11 am-3 pm
How did the Lee family and African-American slaves spend their non-working hours? Learn about music, dancing and storytelling. The cost is $2 per person. Make a take-home project for $2. For information, call 703-437-1794.

Spring Break Movie Matinee
Ashburn Library 2 pm FREE
Bring your pillows and blankets to get comfy and watch a movie on the big screen! Don’t forget your favorite snacks! Today’s movie: Kung Fu Panda, Rated PG, 92 minutes.

Movies on the Big Screen
Purcellville Library 2 pm FREE
Today’s movie: Horton Hears a Who (Rated G)

Thursday, April 9

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 2pm FREE
Today’s movie: Kung-Fu Panda, Rated PG

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 6:30 pm FREE
Tonight’s movie: Twilight, Rated PG-13. Recommended for ages 13 & up.

Mr. Skip – Music & Fun
Chantilly Regional Library 7 pm FREE
Music and movement for young children. All ages.

Friday, April 10

Little Acorns: Springtime Flowers
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Anndale 9:45-10:30 am or 11-11:45 am
See if those April showers brought May flowers. Through a story, song, activities and crafts, explore wildflowers in the woods and garden. This program is suited for children age two to three. Prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $5 per child. To reserve, call 703-941-1065

Early American Textile Work
Sully Historic Site, Chantilly 11 am-3 pm
Learn how to spin, sew and dye fabrics, then take home a historic souvenir. The cost is $2 per person. Make a take-home project for an additional $2. For information, call 703-437-1794.

Backyard Animal Petting Zoo
Chinn Park Regional Library, Prince William 11 am-2 pm FREE
Pet the baby animals from the Bar C Ranch. Tickets for timed intervals available beginning Friday, April 3. or all ages.

Bunny Storytime
Purcellville Library 11:15 am FREE
For all ages.

Spring Break Movie Matinee
Ashburn Library 2 pm FREE
Bring your pillows and blankets to get comfy and watch a movie on the big screen! Don’t forget your favorite snacks! Today’s movie: Wall-E, Rated G, 98 minutes.

Movies on the Big Screen
Purcellville Library 2 pm FREE
Today’s movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth (Rated PG)

Spring Break Movie Fest
Sterling Library 2pm FREE
Today’s movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth, Rated PG. Recommended for all ages.

Friday Fun: Create a Caring Heart
Potomac Community Library, Woodbridge 2 pm FREE
Join Michele Hirata in decorating a small, wooden heart to accompany one of a kind Chemo Beanies. These are free gifts to people all over the world suffering illnesses involving hair loss. A small note telling the recipient a little about the artist will be included along with the heart pin. For ages 3 and up. Pick up a free pass at the Information Desk to participate in the program; a pass will be required for each heart made

Strategy Games
Chantilly Regional Library 2:30 pm FREE
Strategy board games for teens. Age 12-18.

Pokemon League
Patrick Henry Library 3 pm FREE
Learn and play. Age 5-18.

Riverside Campfire – Toads and Tadpoles
Riverbend Visitor Center, Great Falls 6:30-7:30 pm
Enjoy games and stories as you learn about toads, frogs and salamanders. Enjoy s’mores. Come early if you want to bring a picnic or hotdogs. Bring toasting sticks, a flashlight and a blanket. Prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $4 per person. To reserve, call 703-759-9018.


Eczema Cure 2.0

B6 supplement OK, I know, I claimed Aquaphor cured my son’s eczema, but I’ve come to realize it was really the B-6 supplements he was taking. The Aquaphor helped ease the itchiness and redness of the skin on the backs of his knees, inside his elbows, and worst, around his mouth and eyelids. But when my mom visited us last summer, she reminded that she had given him B6 when we had lived on Guam and brought a bottle with her.

Since then, he’s been taking half a pill daily, and his eczema has cleared up entirely. When he skips a couple of days, it returns. The results are pretty clear. I give him half of a 100 mg pill of B-6 by Nature Made every day.

But, as with everything involving your child’s health, talk to your child’s doctor before giving her any supplements. On Medem, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that

If taken in excessive amounts … some supplements – particularly the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) – can be toxic.

However, so-called megavitamin therapy or orthomolecular medicine – in which vitamins are given in extremely large doses for conditions ranging from mental retardation to hyperactivity to dyslexia – has no proven scientific validity and may pose some risks. Vitamin C, for example, when consumed in megadoses in hopes of undermining a cold, can sometimes cause headaches, diarrhea, nausea and cramps.


I am NOT a physician and this is NOT medical advice, merely my family’s experience with a home remedy for eczema.

Thinking about homeschooling your kids?

If so, you’ll want to check out the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers’ Beginning Homeschooling Seminar on Feb. 23. The group is a nonprofit that is not affiliated with any religious or political organization, it says on their Web site. At the seminar, they’re going to offer info on the legal aspects of homeschooling in Virginia, what papers you need to file, homeschooling methods, curriculum options, common mistakes, options for testing and assessments, and more. The seminar takes place from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Dranesville United Methodist Church, 1089 Liberty Meeting Court, in Herndon. For more info, contact

Is it ADHD or not?

Argh. Got an e-mail from the first-grader’s teacher asking to meet to talk about his focus in the classroom, or more to the point, his inability to focus in the classroom. I knew his transition from a Montessori setting in kindergarten, where they emphasize unstructured learning activities and taking their teaching cues from the child, to public school in first grade would probably be difficult but I didn’t realize it would be so hard as to make me question my fitness as a mother.

We had a rocky start to the school year; she immediately noticed he was having trouble keeping still during “rug time,” when the kids all sit in a circle on a rug and listen to her while she focuses on a particular lesson. He wouldn’t bother the other kids, but would be playing with his hands and making sounds as he acted out his own scenarios, oblivious to the teacher. Giving him a ball to squish so he could keep his hands busy but still focus during the lesson helped for a little bit, until he started playing with the ball.

She’s tried other methods, bless her heart, like keep him situated so he doesn’t get as distracted and has her full attention, but obviously, it hasn’t worked. We’re going to talk about a new “behavior plan” that she wants to try, and while I’m so grateful that he has a teacher who so clearly wants to help my son, I’m also feeling powerless and frustrated that what I’ve been trying at home hasn’t been working.

When the class problems first cropped up, I literally read every book on the sheves of our local library on ADHD, teaching boys, and behavioral strategies. I came across some really helpful books, but the majority were just primers on what ADHD is. After reading all I could, I came to the tentative conclusion that he probably wasn’t ADHD, but to address the impulse control issue anyway, I instituted a token reward system, tried to provide a balance of praise for the positive and consequences for the negative, reduced TV and videogame playing time, and instituted the dietary restrictions (no artificial flavors or colors, no high fructose corn syrup). Of course, since I thought he had been doing so well, I had been easing up on the last two but now it’s back to the strict regime.

So now the next step I’m taking is to medically determine as best as they can whether he truly is ADHD. His pediatrician gave me official forms for me and his teacher to fill out, then they’ll do the testing or interview. I don’t want him on medication (I’ll homeschool him myself rather than doing that), but I do want the medical and educational resources that come with an official classification. I was hoping I could take care of this myself but it looks like I’m going to need help, which is difficult for the inner and outer control freak in me to admit.


In the mind’s eye of the mom I’d like to be, I’d be taking my 4-year-old daughter to storytimes and other events at the library. Haven’t gotten around to it yet, though, because there’s always other things we want to do. Not to mention the fact that she can’t sit still and would ask the storyteller to hurry up, already.

But in fits of optimism, I check the events at all the county libraries to see what their events are. I’ve only lived in NoVa for two years now, so I don’t know where all the libraries are located and whether it’s worth driving that far to get to an event.

So, I made myself a Googlemap of Fairfax County libraries. I can easily see now the distance from any library from my house, and can even plot a driving route. I plan to add mini-reviews with photos/video of the libraries as well later, as well a Loudoun County map. Gotta love Google.

Assateague State Park, Maryland

Thinking about a last trip to the beach? If you’re thinking the Eastern Shore, my vote would be for Assateague State Park and if you’re looking for a celebratory atmosphere with like-minded families, go on Sept. 15. That’s Maryland Coast Day, when they waive entrance fees ($4 per person, free for kids 5 or 6–can’t remember–and under).

First off, some general observations about Assateague, a barrier island with 2 miles of ocean beaches, according to the park Web site. In July, the surf was moderate, with smaller swells than say, Fenwick Island State Park. I really liked this park, though, because:

* They have the added attraction of wild horses! While it wasn’t the primary appeal for my visit with my kids, I thought it would be a change of pace from the other Eastern Shore beaches we had visited. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll see a wild horse, which are free to roam the island, but we ended up coming across a couple along the roadside as we were leaving Assateague, as you can see from the picture. A word of caution, though: don’t give in to temptation and feed the horses. A camper we met on the beach said she had heard ambulance sirens going back and forth frequently to treat people who had been bitten.
* They have a neat small nature center with aquarium displays. I’d visit the center for a quick tour before heading to the beach, then you’ll be able to recognize unfamiliar things on the beach like stingray pods, or egg cases (a photo of one is in the photo gallery, see link below).
* Like Fenwick, they offered beachgoers plastic bags to encourage beachgoers to keep their trash off the beach. Those plastic bags are also handy for storing wet swimsuits, goggles, masks, etc. for the drive home.

Some tips if you go:

* The state park is just part of the Assateague Island National Seashore, which is administered by National Park Service. You want to go the state park entrance, which is north of the national seashore entrance.
* If your primary purpose is to enjoy the beach, park near the bath house (you can download a map of the island on the park Web site below) so you can take advantage of the shower facilities. Bring your own soap and shampoo.
* The Web site said the park doesn’t post a life guard on the beaches after Labor Day, and if they don’t on Coast Day, keep a careful eye on your kids in the water.
* I imagine the camping might be limited on Coast Day, but you can make reservations for the park’s 350 campsites online; the campsites are available until Oct. 29.
* If you want to take advantage of the Coast Day festivities, consider bringing bikes and pedaling along the bike trail to the various activities. They’re expecting thousands of people to come and celebrate from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Besides live music and food vendors Coast Day entertainment will include:

– live animals including red-tailed hawks, screech owls, box turtles, king snakes, whelks, terrapins, horseshoe crabs, flounder, spot, moon snails, and starfish
– sea creature touch tanks
– sand-castle building lessons
– decoy carving
– Native American dance
– guided canoe tours

For more information about Coast Day, call Dave Wilson at 410-213-2297 or e-mail him at

For more information about Assateague, visit

For my photos of the beach and bath house, visit

Port Discovery Homeschool Program

Got this as an e-mail; this place is different than the Maryland Science Center, but you can perhaps take one of the Friday classes at the center, then go here for a full day in Baltimore!

Great Deal at Baltimore’s Port Discovery on Fridays in September
For the month of September, all out-of-state home schoolers can enjoy Port Discovery for only $5.50 from 1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M., a wonderful deal for a day of fun in downtown Baltimore! This offer is open to home school students in Pre-Kindergarten to Fifth Grade, and pre-registration is required.
Please e-mail or call (410) 864-2666 or (410) 864-2664.Ranked by Child Magazine as one of the top ten children’s museums in the United States, Port Discovery in Baltimore, MD offers educational, hands-on exhibits and programs for children ages 2-10. Imagine! Play! Learn! Grow!
Address: 35 Market Place, Baltimore, MD 21202Phone: 410-727-8120Fax: 410-727-3042
General Email: info@portdiscovery.orgWeb: