Category: Northern Virginia



July 15, 2011

Howdy, DC!

Sarah-Ava-CharlieMy family and I have been in Austin, TX since fall 2009, but I'm grateful to have remained so connected to Washington and to you all - thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, my ongoing consulting work with DC clients, and old-fashioned visits.

The Revised 2nd Edition of the DC BABY book (November 2008) is still available from Amazon.com - and right here. It's also still selling at DC-area bookstores, and is available for purchase as an e-book. (Looks nice on Kindle!)

We can also now connect on DC BABY's Facebook page, where I'll be sharing favorite events and resources, as well as updates to book content. In time the page will grow into a hub for DC moms and dads to share info and support. So come check it out, and say hello. I'd love to hear from you.

Posted by Sarah at 12:20 PM. Permanent link to "Howdy, DC!."

July 29, 2009

Last love letter to Washington

Washington, I miss you already!

Tomorrow morning I'll be on a plane to Texas with my children. Between now and then we have the dreaded, inevitably tearful goodbyes with our our dear friends, their son (our daughter's best pal and pseudo-sibling), and the beloved caregiver who has been part of our family for the past four+ years. Ava and I were already in tears this morning. It's that kind of day.

I hate goodbyes more than the average person, I think. Maybe it's because I'm a child of divorce, but they just kill me. But I need to formally, finally thank you all for reading this blog, for buying my books, for lending your tips and input over the years. I will miss this work, and I wish all the very best to you and your families. I appreciate the way you helped make DC BABY a success.

As for DC itself. This has been my second stint calling it home, and I still say this city is a knockout. It's like no other on earth. I'll miss the thrill of driving across the Memorial Bridge toward the white columns of the Lincoln, with the sun bouncing off the Potomac and the breeze blowing through my open windows. I'll miss Eastern Market on a Saturday morning, and cheering on the bagpipers on the streets of Old Town at Christmas. I'll miss riding the metro and showing off our museums to out-of-towners. I'll miss the politicos and their politics. I'll miss knowing Ben's Chili Bowl is 15 minutes away. I'll miss spring's big blooms and winter's whiteness, and the reds and oranges of fall. I will miss calling it "mine."

Take care of this fabulous city, and take care of each other.

Posted by Sarah at 4:39 PM. Permanent link to "Last love letter to Washington."

July 28, 2009

Where will you turn? Here's where!

This one's for all of you who have (very kindly) written to me about your dismay that the DCB blog will no longer be updated after my move to Austin (now less than 2 days away).

While it's genuinely gratifying to know that what I've spent the past four+ years working on has been useful and well-liked... and while I will miss you, too... I just want to let you know that there's no shortage of other web-based resources for parents in the DC metro area. Each has its own style. Browse around and find some that suit you. Here are some of our favorite online parenting resources with a local focus - several of which are also featured in my book:

Our-Kids.com
The champion, gold-star resource. Can't say enough good things. Love the free website and love the weekly subscription e-newsletter even more. Worth EVERY penny, and then some. Local mom-owned and mom-staffed.

Daily Candy DC-Kids
Hip, concise, and stylishly select. We've always loved Daily Candy as a decadent treat, and the DC-Kids edition is no exception.

Washington Parent magazine's website
The online supplement to the local print magazine. Nice features and columns, and some calendar listings.

Washington Family magazine's website
The online supplement to the local print magazine. Access to features, etc. - but also some blogs penned by DC-area mamas.

Washington Post's Going Out Guide, Kid-Friendly section
Subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter, or just check out their web page when you're looking for coming events and ideas for seasonal outings.

Washington Post's KidsPost
Great for young school-age children.

A Parent in Silver Spring blog
Nice local blog penned by a Silver Spring, MD mom.

DC Urban Moms & Dads (DCUM)
The original big-ass Mother of All DC Parents' Listservs... but it now also has its own standalone site, topic-specific message boards, sub-listservs, and a blog.

DC Metro Moms
A blog penned by a talented, interesting gaggle of Beltway mamas.

GoCityKids - Washington, DC edition
A relative newcomer, but getting better all the time. The site has potential as a go-to resource.

Feel free to post info about your own favorite online resource for DC-area parents in the "comments." And I challenge and encourage any of you who are toying w/ the idea of starting your own blog, or establishing your own listserv, to fill the info gaps: You can do it! All it takes is one mama (or daddy) with a good idea, who is willing to follow through and be patient while it grows. If you start it, they will come. They really will.

Posted by Sarah at 9:45 AM. Permanent link to "Where will you turn? Here's where!."

July 21, 2009

Amazon.com reviews + free e-books of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition

So as most of you know from recent monthly newsletters, the clock is ticking on my time as a Washingtonian. We will be leaving for Austin, TX on the 30th.

While the blog will fall quiet, the four years of archives will remain here for your reference. And my book will still be available for sale at local stores and online (including here at dc-baby.com). But I have to admit that, considering how nicely the books have been selling since the Revised Second Edition came out last year, I feel a little dejected saying farewell with no reader reviews on Amazon.com. It's a trifling thing, sure... But it sure would feel nice to have some of the many kind comments about the book you've emailed to me shared on Amazon in support of my work.

So here's my offer. If any of you who have read my book, DC BABY, and found it useful are willing to post a reader review on the book's Amazon page - I will gladly send you a (free) e-book copy as a "thank you." Just send me an email (sarah-at-dc-baby-dot-com) after posting your review and I'll reply with a nifty PDF copy attached.

I'll be blogging through next Wednesday the 29th. Stay tuned. And thanks again for your 4+ years of support and friendship!

Posted by Sarah at 3:08 PM. Permanent link to "Amazon.com reviews + free e-books of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition."

July 20, 2009

THREE summer sales in Old Town

Three of our favorite local baby and children's boutiques, both in Old Town Alexandria, have good sales underway.

Apple Seed maternity and baby/toddler boutique is offering 25% off ALL summer children's clothing.

Nina's Closet (1017 King St., @ Henry St.) is celebrating an anniversary with a range of markdowns on their sweet, traditional clothing and accessories. (Don't know if they're marked down, but our favorite purchase here was a pair of the Pipsqueeks shoes for our daughter when she was a new walker.)

And, Pink & Brown's summer sale runs now through July 31st, with 25 percent off ALL summer clothing.

If you're needing something boutique-y special, now's the time to find it at a reasonable price. Happy shopping!

Posted by Sarah at 8:12 PM. Permanent link to "THREE summer sales in Old Town."

July 17, 2009

Weekend Watch: Summer Safari in Gaithersburg

The best ticket of the weekend is the second annual Summer Safari family concert and festival, Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the City Hall Concert Pavilion in Gaithersburg - with live shows from our family's favorite, Recess Monkey (from Seattle), and local kids' band Rocknocerus and Sirius XM's Robbie Schaefer.

You can also expect: mini-carnival, petting zoo, face painting, balloons, crafts and games, food, and lots of vendors. This event was a HUGE success last year, and I expect will be even better the second time around.

If by chance you can't make it to the festival... you have one more chance to take your kids to a Recess Monkey live show, Saturday at 11 a.m. at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA. We caught them there on last summer's tour and have been listening to their CDs... including the rockin' newest one... ever since. Get your tix advance tix on Jammin' Java's website.

Posted by Sarah at 2:47 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Summer Safari in Gaithersburg."

July 16, 2009

New play space in NoVa

I'm happy to help spread the news that there's a new play space in Reston, VA!

The independent, locally-owned and operated At Play Cafe is an indoor play area for young children, coffee shop for parents, and preschool classroom all in one. Best of all, if you ask me, is the fact that the play area is supervised by qualified staff, so parents can meet to enjoy a cup of coffee, conversation with a friend, or just a few minutes of well-deserved off-duty time.

Be sure to check out Our Kids' recent review of At Play Cafe.

Posted by Sarah at 3:18 PM. Permanent link to "New play space in NoVa."

July 14, 2009

Just for DCB readers: Special FREE drop-in play sessions @ Parenting Playgroups

Parenting Playgroups has graciously set up two FREE drop-in play events exclusively for DC BABY readers. You can bring the kids for up to two hours of free play on either of the following dates:

Monday, July 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. @ the Alexandria location (6161 Fuller Ct.)
OR
Friday, August 7 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. @ the new Falls Church location (246A W. Broad St., Arlington).

These events are geared toward age 15 months through preschoolers.

You MUST rsvp that you will attend a specific event by directly emailing Dr. Rene Hackney, Parenting Playgroups founder, at: drrene (at) parentingplaygroups (dot) com. Max capacity is 25 participants with their children, first registered first served.

Thanks to Rene and her team for offering this to my readers.

p.s. LAST CHANCE! PLEASE VOTE FOR US TODAY!

Posted by Sarah at 1:15 PM. Permanent link to "Just for DCB readers: Special FREE drop-in play sessions @ Parenting Playgroups."

Correction to yesterday's post

Argh! I've just received updated info about the free storytimes @ Jabberu, featured in yesterday's post: These sessions have gone on hiatus for a summer break, but will return in September.

However, their Bastille Day party is still ON for this evening. Enjoy!

Apologies for the confusion.... And another new post coming later today, with a free opportunity to sample Parenting Playgroups.

Posted by Sarah at 10:40 AM. Permanent link to "Correction to yesterday's post."

July 3, 2009

Weekend Watch: Get a jumpstart on your kid-friendly Fourth

If you've been-there-done-that with the insane crowds on the National Mall, or just want something with less hassle and more for little kids, here's a nice alternative:

The Gaylord Resort at the swanky National Harbor is hosting a family-oriented "July 3rd Celebration" TONIGHT from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.

There will be a Kid Zone with carnival rides, face painting, balloon sculpting, and caricature artists; great food options (including Lefty's BBQ); live rock/country/ and Caribbean music, a wine garden for the adults, and a 15-minute fireworks display over the Potomac after sundown.

Not a bad way to low-key the holiday, while still giving your children their promised fireworks fix.

p.s. I will be offline for the next week, but the blog will return Monday, July 13 through Wednesday, July 29th when I depart for Austin.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Posted by Sarah at 4:58 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Get a jumpstart on your kid-friendly Fourth."

July 1, 2009

Thursday: FREE mom & preschooler yoga in Alexandria

One of our personal favorites, mom-owned Mind the Mat in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, will host a FREE mom-and-preschooler yoga session tomorrow, Thursday the 2nd, at 10:15 a.m.

We're told it'll be a fun yoga session for the children and a mini- yoga boot camp for the mamas. (A caregiver other than mom herself is also welcome.)

No obligation if you attend, but this is a chance to preview the class, which will meet all summer, Thursdays at 10:15 a.m.

After the session, we highly recommend visiting the other family-friendly stops along Mt. Vernon Ave., like St. Elmo's coffee shop, The Dairy Godmother (best frozen custard), Tex-Mex lunch at Los Tios (where the waiters will be SO sweet to your children and will remember them by name the next time you come in), kids' clothes/shoe shopping at The Purple Goose, and the Mt. Vernon School playground (across from Los Tios). The front entrance of the school (on Commonwealth Ave.) also has a vintage red train caboose, beloved by little kids. And a good public library next door.

Posted by Sarah at 10:17 AM. Permanent link to "Thursday: FREE mom & preschooler yoga in Alexandria."

June 30, 2009

Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods underway

The very positively-reviewed Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods program, held every summer at Wolf Trap in NoVa, just kicked off its '09 season.

While some of the performances are best for kindergarteners+, there are several entertainers on this year's lineup who would be perfect preschoolers! I especially think SteveSongs, Cathy & Marcy, Rocknocerus, and Bob Brown Puppets will appeal to the littlest kids.

The schedule includes 70 performances for young audiences, June through August, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. A lovely introduction to live performance in a natural setting. Bring a picnic.... and your bug spray.

Tix sell out fairly quickly, so buying in advance for the show you'd like to see is advised.

Posted by Sarah at 4:52 PM. Permanent link to "Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods underway."

June 29, 2009

This week: Half-price open play at Monkey Business

If you've been meaning to check out Monkey Business in Falls Church, now's the time: They're hosting half-price open play today through Sunday.

Beat the heat for just $4 an hour. Today and Tuesday, 1 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 1 to 5 p.m., Thursday 1 to 6:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday (the 4th) from 1 to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This Friday night, they're also hosting a "Parents' Night Out" from 5:30 to 8 p.m. F/ more info or registration, you can reach Monkey Business at 703.241.PLAY.

Posted by Sarah at 2:12 PM. Permanent link to "This week: Half-price open play at Monkey Business."

June 19, 2009

Weekend Watch: Dad's Day & the Waterfront Festival

Happy Father's Day, DC dads! Hope it's a good one. If you're taking Pop out for a good meal this weekend, check OpenTable's list of who's open and who's doing special menus.

With the weather looking decent for the weekend, our pick is the 28th Annual Waterfront Festival in Alexandria, to benefit the Red Cross. Year after year, this is our daughter's favorite outing of the summer, with loads of kids' carnival rides, good food, and live music by the Potomac.

Our best advice for families with young children is to arrive as close to opening time as possible (10 a.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday), before it gets too crowded...and in time for the kids' music acts: This year featuring two of the favorites I've blogged about. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo performs Saturday from 11:30 to 12:30, and Rocknoceros on Sunday from 12 noon to 12:50. Kids can also tour a tall ship, learn about the life of pirates with authentically-attired "pirate guides," and make Father's Day cards and get their little faces painted in the arts & crafts tent. If your children are old enough to stay up late, there will be fireworks Saturday night!

Advance tix online are just $10 per adult - and two children get in free with each paying adult. All kids under age three get in for free.

Posted by Sarah at 10:23 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Dad's Day & the Waterfront Festival."

June 18, 2009

NoVa's all-ages faves

The June issue of Northern Virginia Magazine spotlights readers' picks for all-ages services and shopping. Several of the chosen ones have also been featured in the two editions of my book!

Here's how the magazine's votes shake out:

Kids' Birthday Cake: Edibles Incredible (with multiple NoVa locations)

Children's Clothes: Doodlehopper in Falls Church & Springfield

Children's Furniture: Baby 2 Teen in Manassas and Fredericksburg

Toddler Class: "Music with Maddy" (Music Together) in Falls Church & Ashburn

Activity Center: Jumping Jack Sports in Ashburn

Arts & Crafts: Maverick Mosaics in Vienna

Museum: UdvarHazy Air & Space Museum in Chantilly

Check out the magazine for complete reviews!

And feel free to share your own NoVa favorites here, in the "comments."

Posted by Sarah at 9:33 AM. Permanent link to "NoVa's all-ages faves."

June 16, 2009

Summer book love

When I was a kid growing up in extra-sweaty Texas, summer meant extra-many trips to the (air-conditioned) library with my grandmother and my cousin, where we piled stacks so high we could barely carry them home. Hot afternoons were for snuggling under a cotton quilt on the day-bed and escaping into a good book.

While it's not quite as miserably sweaty here in Washington, summer's still a great time to luxuriate in books with your little one(s). Unfortunately some (though not all) of the DC area's public libraries are cutting back on their hours and storytime offerings due to budget woes - but you can still check out books to your heart's content.

Here are some of my other local faves for falling in love with new books this summer:

Politics & Prose storytime: Mondays @ 10:30 a.m. They also offer a discount on a "signed book of the week." Check out the current selection in the store or on their website.

Hooray for Books storytimes: Saturdays from 10:30 to 11 a.m. (for ages two and under) and from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon (for ages three to five). Also, they've added Tuesday storytimes for all ages in Japanese - from 10:30 to 11 a.m. And check out a day-long anniversary party at the store this Saturday, the 20th, with balloons, face painting, raffles, and special visits from local children's authors.

The Pajama Squid summer storytimes: Fridays at 10:30 a.m. until August 28th, with fabulous reader Karen Payne and occasional guest-reader Jessica from the "A Parent in Silver Spring" blog. Geared toward ages three to six years, but all ages are welcome. The store also stocks a brilliantly select offering of books - a mix of classics and will-be-classics. Check out owner Tiffany King's video book reviews on their homepage.

Aladdin's Lamp storytimes: This Saturday the 20th, local author Laura Melmed will celebrate Father's Day by reading her new book, "My Love Will be With You," @ 11 a.m. (suggested for ages three+).

Kinder Haus storytimes: Every Monday and Friday at 10:30 a.m. with "Ms. Laura" - and they have a nice book section in the store, too.

Feel free to post your own favorite storytime or book-related events in the "comments."

Posted by Sarah at 2:44 PM. Permanent link to "Summer book love."

June 15, 2009

Thumbs up for "Dinosaur Pop"

An outtake from our recent newsletter that's well worth sharing again on the blog:

DC-area dad and musician Paul Legrady, inspired by his young son's dinosaur mania, is the dominant talent behind a new kids' CD, "Dinosaur Pop." We recently had the opportunity to test-drive the music with the most discerning critics we know... our very own five-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. It was a hit!

Think pop-rock composition and instrumentation reminiscent of early R.E.M., with dinosaur-themed lyrics that hook the younger set. A welcome antidote to the much of the tired, uninspired "children's music" on the market. Check out their website, sample the tunes, and buy your CD at www.dinosaurpop.com.

Posted by Sarah at 9:10 AM. Permanent link to "Thumbs up for "Dinosaur Pop"."

June 12, 2009

Weekend Watch: Pirate cruising on the Potomac

Have a pirate-obsessed youngster in your family? The Potomac Riverboat Company's "Pirate Cruises" for kids are now running...Setting sail Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. through September 7.

It's a 40-minute cruise with pirate-themed music and entertainment, departing from Old Town's historic riverfront. Tix are $15 per adult, $9 per child (ages 2-11), and little ones under age two cruise for free.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 2:00 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Pirate cruising on the Potomac."

June 9, 2009

Kids (& moms) eat free tomorrow @ California Tortilla

We really like locally-owned California Tortilla for yummy affordable meals out with our children... So we were happy to hear that tomorrow - Wednesday, June 10 - is "Kids Eat Free Day" at all California Tortilla locations. One child eats for free with each adult purchase. And all stores will be collecting donations for Make a Wish, rewarding donors with a $1-off coupon for their next visit.

At the Cleveland Park location only (Connecticut Ave. next to the metro entrance), tomorrow is "Moms AND Kids Eat Free" from 1 to 2 p.m. Just say "Mama Mia" to get your free meal(s). They'll also have some extra goodies on hand for families.

Posted by Sarah at 1:51 PM. Permanent link to "Kids (& moms) eat free tomorrow @ California Tortilla."

June 3, 2009

Coming back to DC: Recess Monkey!

At our house, the guys from Seattle-based band Recess Monkey are mammoth rock stars. We became devotees after catching their kids' show at Jammin' Java last year, and have been listening and singing along ever since. And they're coming back to Jammin' Java this summer! Buy your tix now for the Saturday, July 18th show, part of their "Field Trip" national tour to celebrate the release of their (really good) fifth CD.

Recess Monkey's live performances are a rockin good time for both kids and adults. (Seriously.) They have a wacky interactive vibe with the kids throughout the show, and their hip, cleverly hooked Beatles-esque songs are at their best in the live setting. Part magical Mystery Tour, part Mr. Rogers, part Muppet Show. Much like taking your kid to see Dan Zanes live for the first time, it's an experience that will ensure you'll never again tolerate Raffi or the Wiggles.

Tix are just $8. Call Jammin' Java at 703.255.1566 or go to www.jamminjava.com. See you @ the show!

Posted by Sarah at 10:04 AM. Permanent link to "Coming back to DC: Recess Monkey!."

June 2, 2009

2 weeks only: BIG summer book sale

Preparing to move to Austin! For you, that means a big book sale. Through June 14th only, your online order of DC BABY: Revised Second Edition in paperback is 35% off PLUS free shipping. (That comes to just $14.92.)

If you've been planning to buy the book or have an upcoming baby shower/gift need, now's the time. Thanks f/ your support, and thanks f/ reading!

Posted by Sarah at 10:49 AM. Permanent link to "2 weeks only: BIG summer book sale."

May 31, 2009

Tweet

It was bound to happen, eventually. I gave in and joined the Twitter revolution.

Is it just me, or is this simultaneously the most promising and claustrophobic technology EVER? And what mother has the time or the stomach to tweet every mundane move of her day, anyhow? I sure as heck won't be bombarding myself and others with anything approaching a complete transcript of my tedium. I'm not convinced that I want to stalk and be stalked by my friends, associates, and loved ones "in all those moments between the emails and the blog posts and the IMs and the phone calls," as the Twitter promo video tells me I should. I'm a girl who likes to be unplugged, unreachable, and unknowable on a regular basis, thank you very much. So I mostly consider my Twitter account a noble experiment in staying young. Join me in it, dear readers, if you're game.

Posted by Sarah at 5:33 PM. Permanent link to "Tweet."

May 29, 2009

Weekend Watch: Carnival in Springfield & Family Sing in Bethesda

Good stuff on both sides of the Potomac this weekend:

Springfield Days is underway in NoVa, now through Sunday, with kids' carnival rides and games, live entertainment, a PetFest, and Paws Parade at the Springfield mall - plus a cardboard boat regatta, concert, and movie-under-the-stars at Lake Accotink Park, and a fitness fest at the South Run Rec Center.

If you've been meaning to check out the (fabulous, fabulous) musiKids program, or if you're already one of their loyal families, plan to attend their FREE Family Sing this Sunday, May 31 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon in Bethesda. Space is limited, so you do need to RSVP that you plan to attend. Send email to: info-at-musikids-dot-com.

p.s. Also this weekend, for the grownups (and older preschoolers/school age kids who might be interested in dance and performance, like my daughter!)... My friend and neighbor Sara Lavan - who is featured in the second edition of my book as a local prenatal/postpartum pilates instructor and nutrition consultant for mamas - will be performing with the Choreographers Collaboration Project Saturday, 7 p.m. at the Durant Center in Old Town Alexandria. Sara's a great inspiration those of us who need reminders to never fully relinquish our "former," pre-mommy passions... Congrats to her for getting back to the professional dance world, and proving that there's life after New York City!

Posted by Sarah at 9:42 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Carnival in Springfield & Family Sing in Bethesda."

May 22, 2009

Weekend Watch: Memorial Day weekend

Two great, FREE Memorial Day events appropriate for young kids this holiday weekend: On Monday, check out the 28th Annual Parade & Festival in Falls Church or the National Memorial Day Parade in downtown DC.

The Falls Church event runs all day on the grounds of City Hall, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with live music, carnival rides, pony rides, food vendors, and arts & crafts booths. Parade starts at 2:00.

The DC parade begins at 2 p.m. and moves down Constitution Ave. It's huge - and so are the crowds - so take metro and leave early.

Enjoy a fun and safe extended weekend!

Posted by Sarah at 2:24 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Memorial Day weekend."

May 19, 2009

Giving kids-in-need a boost with the Shop Campagna Kids Card

A great shopping and dining discount in Alexandria for a great cause: The Campagna Center, like many nonprofits that provide services to children, has fallen on tough times in this economy. To help provide a much-needed boost, the Junior Friends of the Campagna Center have launched a new program that's a win-win for everyone.

For $50 - 100 percent of which is tax-deductible - you can purchase a Shop Campagna Kids Card, which entitles you to two 10-day discount shopping/dining period at many Alexandria boutiques, wine stores and restaurants. Cardholders will also be invited to monthly "Sip 'n Save" events, after-hours private shopping nights.

You can purchase your Shop Campagna Kids Card at The Shoe Hive in Old Town, on Saturdays at the Stanton Gallery in Old Town, or at one of the montlhy "Sip 'n Save" events. For the complete scoop, visit www.shopcampagnakidscard.blogspot.com. More questions? Send email to: shopcampagnakidscard-at-gmail-dot-com.


Posted by Sarah at 9:43 AM. Permanent link to "Giving kids-in-need a boost with the Shop Campagna Kids Card."

May 14, 2009

The parenting pain of weekend rain

The Washington Post's "Capital Weather Gang" meteorologist (and DC dad) Dan Stillman has been blogging about the parenting pain of weekend rain. And brother, I empathize.

Since it looks like we'll get yet more of the wet stuff this weekend, be sure to check out the reader comments beneath Stillman's entry for rainy-weekend tips and commiseration from other local parents - and be sure to add your own! We also recommend consulting the stellar compilations of indoor play areas and indoor pools/water parks from the Our Kids website.

Posted by Sarah at 2:57 PM. Permanent link to "The parenting pain of weekend rain."

May 13, 2009

Please vote for us!

I'm honored that Nickelodeon has selected my blog as a finalist in its "2009 Parent Picks" awards for the Washington, DC area!

Fine, loyal readers that you are, will you cast your votes for DC BABY?

You can vote once a day, every day, until July 15, 2009. No registration is required to cast your votes. But while you're there, be sure to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win $2,000 cash. Your very own stimulus package!

Recognition like this makes the four+ years of hard (and often uncompensated) work feel worthwhile! Thank you to Nickelodeon for nominating the DC BABY blog!

Posted by Sarah at 10:52 AM. Permanent link to "Please vote for us!."

May 12, 2009

Limited time only: Special discount on Our Kids membership!

Just for you, DC BABY readers - and for a limited time only: The area's best local resource for families, Our Kids, is offering you a discounted membership. Until May 31st, enter promotion code DC2 to receive $2 off your subscription price.

We've been Our Kids members since 2005, and it's still, hands down, our go-to source for information about kid-friendly DC-area events and activities, reviews, special discounts and raffle giveaways, calendars of upcoming consignment sales and camp/school open houses, support programs for parents, classifieds...and the list goes on.

Yes, Our Kids also provides a great free service through its accessible website...but subscription to the weekly newsletter comes with many additional perks and gives a wealth of information not found by searching the website alone. The volume of information and weekly offers makes the modest subscription price worth every penny, and then some.

The Our Kids weekly e-newsletter is genuinely comprehensive...covering DC, suburban Maryland, and NoVa in equal measure...and it's handy for parents with kids of ALL ages - from infants to tweens. At our house, we've discovered that the newsletter really grows with us over time. There's as much good content for the parents of school-agers as for families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. And it's a mom-founded, mom-owned, mom-powered business that we're proud to support.

For all these reasons and more, I wrote rave, first-hand reviews about Our Kids in both editions of my book. Enjoy your discounted subscription!

Posted by Sarah at 2:11 PM. Permanent link to "Limited time only: Special discount on Our Kids membership!."

May 11, 2009

Best Mother's Day yet - + "Moms Do Lunch" tomorrow in NoVa

Hope you all enjoyed a Happy Mother's Day!

This year, with the help of my husband, I took my own sage advice. I slept (after booting my 14-month-old son out of my bed at 7 a.m. and luxuriating in being able to both stretch out and turn over in the bed at will!), didn't get dressed until almost noon, skipped or postponed or delegated the usual Sunday chores, planned zero family fun...and best of all, in the afternoon got help for my stiff neck and knotty shoulders with a massage from Mary at the fabulous Hela Spa. Thumbs up!

While I was there, I got a look at Hela's extensive new Baby Spa Menu. In short, it rocks. Along with several prenatal and postpartum massage and body treatments for mamas, the menu also features creative services for baby showers and gift packages. (I love the Seated Massage, where every gal at your baby shower gets a chair massage, with extra special treatment for the mom-to-be). And infant massage and couples' massage instruction. And express treatments and add-ons to ease some of the the uniquely unpleasant stresses of pregnancy. And Hela is providing free skincare consultation with any other Baby Spa Service, to help expectant moms care for the changes that often come with crazy hormones.

New topic: DCB friend and our official photographer Elizabeth Dranitzke will be at the "Moms Do Lunch" event tomorrow, May 12, at 11 a.m. at Generous George's Positive Pizza in Herndon (2321-C Dulles Station Blvd.). Come with OR without your children. Elizabeth will be on hand doing free portraits of the kids and a drawing for a free portrait session.

The event starts with door prizes and a snack for the kids, followed by a short program on "Estate Planning and Selecting a Guardian for Your Children," led by Carrie Tipton of the Arbor Law Firm, and plenty of time for moms to network.

Posted by Sarah at 10:35 AM. Permanent link to "Best Mother's Day yet - + "Moms Do Lunch" tomorrow in NoVa."

May 7, 2009

Weekend Watch: Mother's Day

Can I be frank? I recommend that my fellow mamas plan to attend zero kid-friendly events this weekend, and to orchestrate zero family outings. It's Mother's Day, and mothers need to take a little self-ish time. Really.

But feel free to forward this info to the dads, so that THEY can orchestrate the weekend's family fun:

In the May DCB newsletter I covered the International Children's Festival at DC's Meridian Center, set for Saturday. Check it out!

Don't forget National Train Day events @ Union Station.

Local award-winning children's author Erica S. Perl will do an interactive storytime and signing for her funny new picture book, Chicken Butt!, Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Bethesda (4801 Bethesda Ave.) . Her first picture book, Chicken Bedtime is Really Early, got a starred review from Booklist and was featured in Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos. She followed that success with Ninety-Three in My Family, which received the Reuben Award and was a Book Sense Pick. (Thank you to Apple Seed co-owner Elleni for turning me on to Erica's work!)

Or catch the French storytime on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at Hooray for Books children's bookstore in Old Town Alexandria. Expanding the cultural horizons is free for all.

And if the weather holds, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. head to the FREE Stead Park Day Celebration (1625 P St. NW near Dupont Circle), sponsored by DC Parks & Rec and Friends of Stead. There will be carnival activities, face painting and kid-friendly snacks. This year's event will unveil some long-awaited renovations, inclduing two age-appropriate playgrounds for toddlers and older children, a climbing wall, a turf picnic zone, and a resurfaced basketball court.

Happy Mother's Day, moms! May you all have a relaxing, rejuvenating day.

Posted by Sarah at 10:28 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Mother's Day."

May 1, 2009

Weekend Watch: So many choices!

LOTS going on this weekend for families with young children, including...

Kentlands Day in Gaithersburg (complete with a parade!), Family Day at Glen Echo Park, a big Cinco de Mayo Fiesta on the National Mall, Bird Fest at the National Zoo, a Celebrate Mothers Day Open House at Hot Mama Fitness Studio and the Celebrate Mama event, both in downtown Bethesda.

And my colleague/friend/DCB reader Heather Alderman is hosting an Usborne Book Fair at her home in Arlington on Sunday at 2 p.m. (418 N. Granada St.) - All are welcome, but please RSVP by the end of the day TODAY if you plan to stop by: fishfacegirl-at-yahoo-dot-com. We really like the Usborne books...Highly recommend them.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 1:24 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: So many choices!."

April 30, 2009

Alexandria's Biggest Baby Shower

Attention, Alexandrians: Now through June 5, nonprofit group Community Partners for Children is sponsoring Alexandria's Biggest Baby Shower, to benefit families of the Arlandria Health Center, the Casey Clinic, the Center for Alexandria's Children, the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry, and the Tiny Titans at T.C. Williams High School.

NEW and unopened items needed include diapers, wipes, bottles and formula, blankets, burp cloths, and gift certificates. Drop off your donation at any of the following spots in Del Ray and Old Town:

A Show of Hands (2301 Mt. Vernon Ave.)
Burke & Herbert Bank (306 E. Monroe Ave.)
The Dairy Godmother (2310 Mt. Vernon Ave.)
St. Elmo's Coffee Pub (2300 Mt. Vernon ave.)
Video Vault (113 S. Columbus St.)
Yoga in Daily Life (2402 Mt. Vernon Ave.)
Today's Cargo (1102 King St.)

For more info, contact Community Partners for Children at 703.683.2570.

Posted by Sarah at 10:46 AM. Permanent link to "Alexandria's Biggest Baby Shower."

April 28, 2009

Mother's Day gift from Let's Dish!

Have you given birth or adopted a baby in the past year? If so, you should take advantage of a special promotion at one of the five DC-area Let's Dish! locations. Their annual Salute to New Moms special will be offered May 5-23 to any of you who became a mama since Mother's Day last year (May 11, 2008).

To get a "free dinner for 2-3" from your neighborhood Let's Dish!, you just need to present a valid email address and proof of your baby's birth or adoption date. You'll get to pick among several meal choices to assemble your fave.

For more details, contact your L.D. location:

Alexandria (6550 Little River Turnpike, 703.750.0790)
Ashburn (44260 Ice Rink Plaza, 703.858.7900)
Fairfax (11215 Lee Hwy., 703.359.1450)
Columbia (6925 Oakland Mills Rd., 410.309.3415)
Baltimore (9602 Deereco Rd., 410.560.5634)

We found Let's Dish! to be a lifesaver during a tough pregnancy #2 and for several months after the birth of our son - so I gave them a big thumbs-up recommendation in DC BABY, Revised Second Edition. Gift certificates make great baby shower gifts, too.

Posted by Sarah at 1:41 PM. Permanent link to "Mother's Day gift from Let's Dish!."

April 24, 2009

Weekend Watch: Annual KIDSTUFF sale, NCM event, + a Lily & Serena trunk show

On Saturday, Mt. Olivet Preschool in Arlington will hold its mondo 13th Annual KIDSTUFF sale. Stop by for great finds at great prices. Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church is super easy to find, at 1500 N. Glebe Rd. near its intersection w/ 66. Proceeds will go to benefit the school's programming.

Both Saturday and Sunday, the still-under-development National Children's Museum at the National Harbor will host a Grand Opening Celebration for its "Launch Zone," where kids can enjoy free performances, make a recycled art/craft project, and make chalk drawings.

Also this weekend...One of our favorite Old Town shops (owned by local mama Amy Rutherford), Red Barn Mercantile, will host a Serena & Lily trunk show on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., with a 15% discount on purchases. Designers will be on hand - as well as a Serena & Lily rep - to help you choose bedding and design your rooms. Serena & Lily does crib/nursery all the way up to king-size bedding, so there's something for everyone. And it's beautiful stuff! Treats and bevs will be served.

Posted by Sarah at 2:36 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Annual KIDSTUFF sale, NCM event, + a Lily & Serena trunk show."

April 22, 2009

Mother's Day pampering with Jennifer Moore

Yoga instructor and reflexology practitioner Jennifer Moore is offering her fabulous Annual Mother's Day Out workshop Saturday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Bethel UCC in Arlington.

I've done this workshop with Jennifer and it's a great way to get two hours of personal time (running errands and doing the grocery shopping alone don't count!) to relax and replenish with yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation and deep relaxation, relfexology, and massage. Plus, Jennifer gives you a wonderful little goodie bag and does drawings for door prizes at the end of the class.

All women are welcome, and I highly recommend bringing a friend, your mother or sister with you. Pre-reigster no later than Tuesday, May 5 to secure your spot. Cost is $35 for pre-registrants. Visit the website or contact Jennifer at 703.671.2435.

Posted by Sarah at 9:47 AM. Permanent link to "Mother's Day pampering with Jennifer Moore."

April 20, 2009

THE face painter you must hire for your next kids' party!

Tigers.jpg

Last weekend we celebrated our daughter's birthday with a gang of 4- and 5-year-olds. It was a beautiful day to eat cupcakes and romp at the park...but the highlight was the discovery of our new favorite face painting artist for children, who was THE hit of the party. Erica Exline, who also happens to be a local mama of young children, was brilliantly talented, friendly and patient with the kids, and a great pleasure to work with.

Thumbs up - We love her work! And we're not talking about a lame little rainbow or smiley face drawn on your cheek (of the caliber I would personally produce, if asked to paint children's faces)... We're talking full-face paint that transforms the kids into the most creative, elaborate animals, princesses, fairies, butterflies, you name it. It was fun to watch our daughter and her party guests take on the "roles" of the animals and other characters they'd become, as they played happily and independently for a solid two hours and gave the parents the little leisure of chatting and eating leftover cupcakes.

Once upon a time I wrote rave reviews for local artist and face painter Greta Gonzalez, whose work I also love...but unfortunately she's moving out of the DC area. While I'm sad to see Greta go, I am thrilled to know about Erica's talent, and honored and to be able to give her a personal recommendation.

To get more info or to hire Erica Exline for your next party/festival/special event, send email to: erica-at-sweetcheeksfp.com, or call 703.946.0203. Visit her site at www.sweetcheeksfp.com. And tell her you were sent by her biggest fans at DC BABY.

Posted by Sarah at 8:40 PM. Permanent link to "THE face painter you must hire for your next kids' party!."

April 17, 2009

Weekend Watch: Earth Day party on the Mall + Face painting @ IKEA

If Saturday's your shopping day, you should know that the Woodbridge/Potomac Mills IKEA will host free face painting for kids from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., upstairs in the restaurant area.

Also this weekend, Earth Day will be celebrated on the National Mall this Sunday from 12 noon through the evening. Free admission, lots of live musical performances (including headliners The Flaming Lips that night, if you've got a sitter!), and activities for all ages throughout the afternoon.

Posted by Sarah at 5:01 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Earth Day party on the Mall + Face painting @ IKEA."

April 8, 2009

Hanna-Me-Downs at Montgomery Mall & Tysons Corner

For those of you who love the high-quality Hanna Andersson kids' clothes as much as we do: They're sponsoring a Hanna-Me-Downs event April 13-26 at their Montgomery Mall and Tysons Corner stores. Bring in your gently-used, good-condition Hannas, which will be passed along to local children in need, and get 20% off your purchase.

Your generous donations will be distributed with help from the United Way. A few no-no items: Swimwear, shoes, socks, and underwear.

As always, I advise that you give your store-of-choice a call before you go in, to verify and get any additional details.

Posted by Sarah at 2:29 PM. Permanent link to "Hanna-Me-Downs at Montgomery Mall & Tysons Corner."

April 1, 2009

More free preview classes in Bethesda, Arlington

Two more FREE demo classes for families interested in these early childhood enrichment programs:

Hola Baby founder and instructor Maria Elena Greene will do a free demo class at Aladdin's Lamp children's bookstore in Arlington, tomorrow, Wednesday April 1, at 11 a.m. No RSVP needed. Hola Baby's spring session begins April 14, and spots are still available in a few of the classes.

And...This Friday, April 3, musiKids will host an open house with free trial classes at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. at their downtown Bethesda location. No reservations needed. Just show up.

If you know of additional preview classes for DC-area early childhood programs, you're welcome to post them in the "comments" after this entry.

Posted by Sarah at 4:20 PM. Permanent link to "More free preview classes in Bethesda, Arlington."

March 31, 2009

Free previews of Classic Tales 'n Tunes in Falls Church

Classic Tales 'n Tunes, one of our favorite early childhood enrichment programs in the area, will offer a couple of FREE preview classes in April. Here's the scoop:

Wednesday, April 15
@ 10:15 a.m.
Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.
Enjoy a free preview class of this award-winning program of stories, music, movement and puppetry enriched with Spanish and ASL, offered by the ever popular Susan Hayes. Ages 1 1/2 - 5 with an adult. Younger siblings are welcome to attend. Registration is not required. Feel free to bring a friend. Regular spring session starts in April in Arlington, Falls Church or Vienna.

Wednesday, April 15
@ 11:15 a.m.
Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls St.
Beloved teacher Susan Hayes leads this "Tiny Tunes" session for ages birth to 17 months with an adult. Music, movement, puppetry, and sign language are all part of the experience. Registration not required. Feel free to bring a friend. Regular spring session for this group starts in April in Arlington, Falls Church or Vienna.

Posted by Sarah at 11:10 AM. Permanent link to "Free previews of Classic Tales 'n Tunes in Falls Church."

March 23, 2009

This weekend: "Adoption 101" program in Fairfax

National infertility organization RESOLVE will host an "Adoption 101" program this Saturday, March 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA.

A mental health expert will discuss making the decision to adopt and parenting adopted children, and you'll have the chance to hear speakers on international, domestic agency and private adoption, and to meet parents and their adoptive children as they tell their stories. If you are just starting to think about adoption, or if you have decided to adopt but are unsure of which way to turn, this program is for you. (FYI, RESOLVE also offers support groups for those considering adoption as a family-building option.)

Cost is $10 per person for RESOLVE members, $25 per person for non-members. Go to www.midatlantic.resolve.org to register or get more info.

Posted by Sarah at 2:35 PM. Permanent link to "This weekend: "Adoption 101" program in Fairfax."

March 19, 2009

Children's portrait special @ the Tidal Basin

One of DCB's featured child/family photographers, Stacey Vaeth, is offering her annual "Cherry Blossom Mini-Session" on Saturday, April 4 between 7 and 10 a.m. at the Tidal Basin.

For the low, low sitting fee of $35 (which includes all images available online for ordering and sharing, and a 10% discount coupon toward a family session), Stacey will capture a portrait of your child that could only be taken in DC at cherry blossom time.

And get this: Stacey will provide animal crackers, juice, water, and a few blankets for you to relax on as you wait for your session - You're also welcome to bring your own picnic and toys.

Spaces are limited, so you need to RSVP pronto if you want to take part: info-at-staceyvaeth-dot-com or 202.276.2481.

Posted by Sarah at 11:06 AM. Permanent link to "Children's portrait special @ the Tidal Basin."

March 11, 2009

Next week: Pachyderm Parade + special discount on circus tix

It's an annual tradition in DC: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Pachyderm Parade on Capitol Hill is set for next Tuesday, March 17 - complete with a bagpiper to mark St. Patrick's Day.

Scheduled start time is 10 a.m., and the route is: East on Virginia Ave. SE (by Garfield Park), north on 4th St. SE to East Capitol st., continuing north on 4th St. NE to Stanton Park. It will then continue west on Mass Ave. NE to Columbus Circle (in front of Union Station), to E St. NW, and down 3rd St. NW to G St. NW to the Verizon Center.

Important sidenote: I'm told that due to unpredictable train schedules, the start time and route are subject to change. Continuous updates will be available on the Animal Walk Hotline: 1.866.683.3670.

The circus will be in town at the Verizon Center March 19-22, at the First Mariner Arena in Baltimore March 25-April 5, and at the Patriot Center in Fairfax April 8-19. Special discount: Use the coupon code "mom" (no quotation marks) to get four tix for $44.

Other special events at this year's DC dates: On opening night, Thursday March 19, there will be a special tribute to the troops, with Ringling Bros. honoring wounded veterans from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. And on Friday the 20th at 5 p.m., Ringling Bros. will partner with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to host an on-site naturalization ceremony for new citizens.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 11:10 AM. Permanent link to "Next week: Pachyderm Parade + special discount on circus tix."

March 9, 2009

Last day for celebratory book discount

Happy first birthday to my baby boy! Today is the last day to take advantage of the 25% off (+ free shipping) discount for online orders of the paperback, DC BABY: Revised Second Edition.

The new book's cover features a photo I took of my son when he was just a few months old. And how he has grown and changed since then. You mothers know what I mean when I say that the first year is the hardest, the most draining, and the most amazing time. More than any other phase of parenting, during that first year the days have a way of simultaneously grinding forward tediously and slipping away too quickly. And poof, suddenly babyhood is gone. Granted, I'm really ready to start regaining some freedom and sense of "myself" again...But he's my last baby, so these days do feel extra precious. [Sob!]

Posted by Sarah at 2:07 PM. Permanent link to "Last day for celebratory book discount."

March 6, 2009

Weekend Watch: St. Patty's Parade in Alexandria

If we get the promised warm-up this weekend, we can all (at last) unleash the cabin-fevered children into the great outdoors. Just in time to catch the 27th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and related festivities in Old Town Alexandria.

Here's the lineup:

10 a.m. Classic Car Show Competition (N. Pitt St. adjacent to King St.)

10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Fun Dog Show (at Market Square)

12:30 to 2 p.m. Parade down King St. (starting at King & West Sts. and moving east toward the Potomac)

Several streets will close and parking will be tricky, so arrive extra early or take metro to the King St. station. Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 10:15 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: St. Patty's Parade in Alexandria."

March 5, 2009

Time for spring consignment sales

'Tis almost the season for spring consignment sales.

Thanks to DCB reader Lisa R. for tipping me off to the Montgomery County Parents of Multiples (MCPOM) Semi-Annual Children's Clothing and Gear Sale, set for Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Julius West Middle School in Rockville (651 Great Falls Rd.) Most items will be half-price near the end of the sale, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They'll have clothing (preemie to 5T, maternity, summer clothing, swimsuits), childproofing gear, strollers, high chairs, playpens, bathtubs, toys, furniture, and more. Cash and checks accepted. Admission at the door is $2/person, to benefit MCPOM, a not-for-profit organization. For more info, call 301.419.8008 or send email to: sale-at-mcpom-dot-org.

For more great spring consignment sales for maternity, baby, and kids' stuff, you've got to consult the local online bible for such things, courtesy of Our Kids. Their list is continually updated - So If you're involved with a sale not already listed there, be sure to email the Our Kids staff to have your event added.

Please also feel free to post a "comment" here, at the end of this blog post, to let DCB readers know about your own neighborhood sales!

Posted by Sarah at 10:38 AM. Permanent link to "Time for spring consignment sales."

March 4, 2009

Left Noodle-Right Noodle offers day camps & after-school fun for pre-k+

A new-to-me resource! Left Noodle-Right Noodle, which offers creative after-school and day-camp enrichment classes for ages pre-k through grade schoolers at sites throughout the NoVa and Montgomery County 'burbs.

Founded by Arlington moms/teachers/artists Moley Evans and Lola Lombard, Left Noodle-Right Noodle is now registering for Day Camps located at Arlington elementary campuses on Friday, March 6 and Friday, March 20 - as well as a Spring Break Camp April 6-10 at an Arlington middle school. Sibling discounts are available, and the kids will enjoy theme-based games and fun, art projects, movement, and a pizza lunch.

To get more info, to register, or to find out how to bring Left Noodle-Right Noodle programming to your neighborhood school, send email to: moleyevans-at-yahoo-dot-com.

Thanks to DCB reader Heather A., for letting me know about this great program!

Posted by Sarah at 11:25 AM. Permanent link to "Left Noodle-Right Noodle offers day camps & after-school fun for pre-k+."

February 26, 2009

Can you help? Need gently-used cribs & baby items for local families

Have baby stuff you've outgrown? Can you give it a new home? A fabulous local nonprofit group, A Wider Circle, is in need of cribs and baby items for low-income moms and infants.

Cribs and gently-used baby items in good condition can be dropped off at their Center for Community Service in Silver Spring (9159-C Brookville Rd., 20910) - OR you can call to schedule a pick-up of items that can not be dropped off. Send email to: contact-at-awidercircle-dot-org.

Here's the scoop I received on the situation and the needs:

"Mothers having to put their babies in laundry baskets to sleep - that is what one local agency told us they have to advise these days. They and many other agencies just can not find the cribs they need. But we know there are enough gently used cribs in good condition in our homes, and I am hoping you can help us to get them in the hands of these young moms.

"We have received more than a half dozen calls in the last week from agencies that can no longer find or provide basic need/essential items for young mothers and their babies. Fortunately we have been able to respond with cribs, changing tables, strollers, etc. We will continue to respond with the grassroots, volunteer-led system we have in place for other furniture and home goods, and we are creating partnerships with some of the agencies that have called so we can work together to ensure their clients get what they need."

Hope some of you generous DCB readers might be able to help!

Posted by Sarah at 11:49 AM. Permanent link to "Can you help? Need gently-used cribs & baby items for local families."

February 25, 2009

Next week: 3rd Annual Lunafest benefits Postpartum Support VA

Last year I had a great time at this event for a cause near and dear to me. So I encourage you to schedule a girls' night out with your friends, a solo evening with no kids attached, or a date night with your partner, for the 3rd Annual Lunafest, a film festival with movies about - and made by - women, which raises funds for local nonprofit organization Postpartum Support Virginia, as well as The Breast Cancer Fund.

When: Next Wednesday, March 4
7 p.m. Silent Auction
7:30 p.m. Movies begin

Where: Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)

What: The movies, while munching on food & drinks you can order from the Drafthouse menu, and special giveaways and informational booths

Tix: $10 in advance, or $15 at the door

Hosted by: Stroller Strides & Luna
For more info: Call 703.243.

Postpartum Support Virginia was founded by my friend and colleague Adrienne Griffen, Arlington mama of three, survivor of severe postpartum depression, and tireless advocate for women's health. A great organization making a real difference in the lives of local moms and their families. I hope you'll turn out to support their work!

Posted by Sarah at 10:22 AM. Permanent link to "Next week: 3rd Annual Lunafest benefits Postpartum Support VA."

February 23, 2009

Spring Break camps for preschoolers

We've compiled a few of our favorite Spring Break day-camp options for preschoolers:

Andy's Parties will offer Spring Break Camp the week of April 6-13 at their Gaithersburg and Great Falls locations. Half-day programs for ages three to six meet in the morning, while older kids, ages five to eight, have camp in the afternoon. You can participate just one day, or the entire week.

The Tiny Dancers preschool dance program offers a Bunny Hop Camp April 6-10 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, with games, crafts, and treats in addition to the dancing fun.

Several of the metro-area YMCA locations are offering Spring Break Camps for preschoolers and older kids. Check with your neighborhood branch office for details.

Know of others? Please post a "comment" after this blog post to share the info with DCB readers.

Posted by Sarah at 1:05 PM. Permanent link to "Spring Break camps for preschoolers."

February 17, 2009

Free life-coaching session for mamas

Local professional life coach Amy Goslee recently launched her own coaching practice, focused on the needs of moms. And she's offering a FREE 30-minute sample coaching session for those of you curious about the coaching relationship and how it can help you.

Amy's work focuses on dealing with and triumphing over the common feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious as mothers, and addresses the overlooked personal needs that can affect all areas of mothers' lives.

The website for Amy's practice, Embracing Transformation, is under construction. You can also contact her at 703.568.1763 or by email at: agoslee-at-embracingtransformation-dot-net.

Posted by Sarah at 1:25 PM. Permanent link to "Free life-coaching session for mamas."

February 13, 2009

Weekend Watch: Washington's Birthday Parade in Old Town

This Valentine's and Presidents Day weekend, the hot ticket for kids is George Washington's Birthday Parade on Monday the 16th in Old Town Alexandria from 1 to 3 p.m. It's the biggest parade celebrating Washington's birthday in the U.S. And, with any luck, the weather will cooperate for the parade, whose route starts at S. St. Asaph at Wilkes St. and ends at the intersection of Fairfax and Gibbons Sts.

To celebrate the holiday, historic sites in Old Town will be open and FREE of charge on Monday, including the Friendship Firehouse Museum on S. Alfred St., Gasby's Tavern Museum on N. Royal, and the Lyceum on S. Washington St. Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the History Center and Museum Store (101 N. Union St.), local children's author Cheryl Barnes will be on hand to sign copies of her books Alexander the Old Town Mouse, Woodrow the White House Mouse, Woodrow for President, and President Adams' Alligator, all of which will be available for purchase. And kids can have their picture taken with Woodrow, the White House Mouse, while they're there.

Can't make it on Monday? Mt. Vernon is hosting its own Breakfast with George and "America's Smallest Hometown Parade," complete with fife and drum and "General Washington" himself, Saturday and Sunday.

p.s. Don't forget the V-Day Gustafer Yellowgold show at the Avalon Theater. Tix are still available. And tomorrow is your LAST DAY for the 25% discount + free shipping for online orders of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition.

Posted by Sarah at 10:57 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Washington's Birthday Parade in Old Town."

February 12, 2009

New: Song & activity books from Classic TNT

Classic Tales 'n Tunes, reviewed in DC BABY as one of the best early childhood enrichment programs in the DC area, has published two new books of songs, rhymes, and activities for the whole family - a perfect antidote to the cold, cabin-fevered winter weather scheduled to return any minute now.

Both books include selected works in English with Spanish adaptations, American Sign Language (ASL) and colorful art and photographs. More than 100 photos of ASL signs are included in each book, as well as a Spanish pronunciation guide. Ideal for infants to age six. We have the first of the books at home, and have found it a fun resource for cooped-up days.

You can preview the books, read reviews, and purchase at the Classic Tales 'n Tunes site.

Posted by Sarah at 3:28 PM. Permanent link to "New: Song & activity books from Classic TNT."

February 9, 2009

Happy V-Day from DCB

We heart our readers. So, as our valentine thank-you, it's 25% off + free shipping on website orders of the paperback DC BABY, Revised Second Edition - this week only, through Saturday, February 14.

Thanks for your 3+ years of supporting a local mom-author! Your readership and friendship makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Posted by Sarah at 2:57 PM. Permanent link to "Happy V-Day from DCB."

February 5, 2009

New Apple Seed program: Doing great things with your used maternity & baby stuff

We are thrilled to share the news that one of our favorite local boutiques, Apple Seed in Old Town, has launched a new program partnering with the DC-based Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care, channeling your gently-used maternity and baby items to families in need - and offering you an extra incentive, to boot (beyond feeling great about helping your neighbors, and clearing out your unneeded clutter).

Maternity and infant clothing and gear - from any store or retailer - may be brought to Apple Seed, who will handle transport of them to Mary's Center. AND, as a thank-you for making this tax deductible donation to benefit your neighbors, you can earn Apple Seed dollars toward any purchase in the boutique ($1 per donated item, up to $50 max).

I am personally familiar with the Mary's Center through my work in communications consulting, and I know them to be an effective, class-act community health clinic with excellent staff and programs that truly make a difference. They provide affordable, culturally competent, personalized prenatal and parental care to low-income DC-area residents, with an emphasis on immigrant and other underserved populations.

Guidelines for the Apple Seed Donation Program:
1) All items MUST be cleaned prior to donating.
2) Undergarments (including nursing wear, bras, tanks, Bella Bands, and underwear) cannot be accepted. Items with stains, holes, rips, or missing buttons also cannot be accepted.
3) All items will be examined and are subject to review by the Apple Seed staff before donations are accepted.

Questions about the program and what they can or cannot accept? Call Apple Seed at 703.535.5446, send email to: shop(at)appleseedboutique(dot)com, or stop by the shop at 115 S. Columbus St., Alexandria.

Posted by Sarah at 9:57 AM. Permanent link to "New Apple Seed program: Doing great things with your used maternity & baby stuff."

February 4, 2009

Podcast: Amy Miller on Parents' Perspective radio show

The fabulous Amy Miller, local mama and owner of our favorite resource, Our Kids, was just on the national radio show Parents' Perspective, discussing outings and activities with and for kids of all ages. And she very kindly gave a shout-out to DC BABY as a resource for Washingtonians, as well as for tourists visiting DC! (We are very flattered.)

Amy also shared some of her favorite locally-owned and -operated websites and publications for finding activities in major cities across the country, including Boston, Chicago, NYC, Seattle, and San Francisco. And she gives some great tips on finding and enjoying age-appropriate fun, wherever you live - and how to find a healthy balance between scheduled fun vs. free play and unstructured downtime.

Lots of great insights you'll want to hear: Listen to the podcast here.

Posted by Sarah at 4:09 PM. Permanent link to "Podcast: Amy Miller on Parents' Perspective radio show."

February 3, 2009

FREE baby sign language workshop to be filmed by CNN

A great opportunity for those of you interested in baby and toddler sign language: Tiny Fingers is offering a FREE workshop for parents and babies ages six to 24 months old on Monday, February 9 from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Parenting Playgroups office in Alexandria. And in the process, you get to be a TV star: CNN will be filming the workshop and talking with parents for a story on early childhood sign language.

You'll learn 15-20 important "first signs" for everyday use, the signs to a couple of familiar songs, and the strategies to make it all work for you and your child. Families who have already taken a Tiny Fingers class or workshop are welcome, and so are newbies. Pre-registration is required: Click here.

If you're considering taking advantage of this opportunity, or pursuing early childhood sign language classes in general, you might want to check out this ABC News videoclip, while you're at it.

Posted by Sarah at 9:43 AM. Permanent link to "FREE baby sign language workshop to be filmed by CNN."

January 28, 2009

This Saturday: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo @ Jammin' Java

Get your tickets now: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo will perform his live show for kids at Jammin' Java this Saturday, January 31 at 10:30 a.m. Tix are $8.

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's positive hip hop, a.k.a. "KID HOP," is showcased on his hot-selling, one-year-old debut release, "Easy," which has been number one on XMKids and Kids Korner, reviewed by Cookie magazine as "a revelation," and praised by OutwiththeKids.com in Philly as "one tremendous musical experience."

He's known for genre-bending production and great storytelling, putting on a dance party mixing classic breaks with fun, reggae, and even bluegrass. Adults who really know hip hop will appreciate the writing and delivery, but the kids will appreciate the dragons, mermaids, robots, and sea monsters. Secret Agent 23 Skiddoo was a professional, nationally-touring hip hop artist long before he became a dad and created a niche especially for the wee ones - So he knows what he's doing.

Take a listen at www.secretagent23skidoo.com.

Posted by Sarah at 9:42 AM. Permanent link to "This Saturday: Secret Agent 23 Skidoo @ Jammin' Java."

January 27, 2009

Wanted: Your changing station reviews & news

A couple of ingenious local parents have put together a new website that researches and rates local diaper-changing facilities in restaurants and shopping areas.

It's ChangingStationEvaluation.com, and they'd love to have your input! Know of a great changing spot in the DC area - or want to warn others away from places that are lacking, or particularly foul? Help them help others via this handy compilation of insider knowledge.

As those of you who bought the first edition of my book (back in 2005-2006) will remember, I included a brief and thoroughly unscientific "Changing Table Tour," reviewing a random sampling of public baby-changing facilities throughout DC and its suburbs. The results were mixed... but I understand at least one of the major offenders has made significant improvements since I gave them the thumbs down. (Connection? I'd like to think so!)

Three+ years after my Changing Table Tour, your mileage may vary. But at the time, I gave thumbs-up to the facilities at Nordstrom's department stores (especially Pentagon City and Tyson's), the National Museum of Natural History, Buy Buy Baby stores in Springfield and Rockville, Babies R Us locations throughout the area, Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Barnes & Noble on Rockville Pike, and the Chinquapin Rec Center in Alexandria.

The National Cathedral facilities got mixed reviews, as did many Starbucks locations (which are hit-or-miss). At the time, the big thumbs-downs went to RFK Stadium, the Tenleytown McDonald's on Wisconsin Ave., Dulles Airport, and American City Diner on Connecticut Ave. I'm told that RFK mended its ways about a year after the first edition of my book came out. (Bravo!)

Posted by Sarah at 1:44 PM. Permanent link to "Wanted: Your changing station reviews & news."

January 26, 2009

In memory of Lisa Flaxman, local mom & founder of musiKids

I'm saddened to share the news that community leader, Chevy Chase mom, and founder/president of the wildly popular musiKids program Lisa Flaxman has died after a valiant battle with breast cancer. Lisa leaves behind her three children and husband, as well as a strong legacy as an advocate for kids and a patron of the local arts.

To honor Lisa's life and continue her work, you can contribute to the Lisa J. Flaxman MusiKares Fund for the Celebration of the Performing Arts, through the Montgomery County Community Fund. The funding will be used to support performing arts celebrations, elementary school artist-in-residence programs, public school performances, and scholarships for local students to attend performing arts institutions or to gain access to private arts instruction. You can donate online - or make a check payable to "Lisa J. Flaxman MusiKares Fund/MCCF" and mailed to:

Lisa J. Flaxman MusiKares Fund/MCCF
c/o The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region
Attention: Kenny Emson
1201 15th St. NW, Suite 420
Washington, D.C. 20005

Our thoughts and prayers are with Lisa's family. She will be missed.

Posted by Sarah at 1:54 PM. Permanent link to "In memory of Lisa Flaxman, local mom & founder of musiKids."

January 23, 2009

Weekend Watch: Baby races in Fairfax, & Chinese New Year in DC

This just in for News of the Weird: Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, VA will host a "Diaper Derby" Saturday morning, in which crawlers under 14 months old will race to the finish line, winning you tix to the Nissan Pavilion or a two-night stay at the Gaylord Resort at the new National Harbor. Co-sponsored by local radio station 98.7 WMZQ.

I'm so serious. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and the race starts at 11:00. You must bring legally-valid proof showing that the baby is younger than 14 months.

For those of you not into jockeying your baby, there's the Chinese New Year. The Smithsonian American Art Museum downtown will host a FREE, all-ages celebration Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. Check out the amazing Lion Dance Parade and the Fairfax Chinese Dance Troupe, plus martial arts demos and the chance to make your own red paper lanterns. Happy Year of the Ox!

Posted by Sarah at 10:03 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Baby races in Fairfax, & Chinese New Year in DC."

January 22, 2009

Children's parties, Confetti-style

A fantastic new-to-me resource for stress-free, fun, and memorable kids' soirees: Confetti Event Planning, based out of Alexandria to serve the DC metro area, founded and operated by attorney-mom Brandy Falk.

Confetti's high-profile clients have included CEOs and the U.S. military, but the parties Brandy creates for children and families are extra-special works of art, with themes like "Ahoy Matey," "Pink Princess Tea," "Safari Soiree," "Garden Fairies," "Barnyard Bash," "Under the Sea," and "Picasso Paints."

Depending upon your needs, Confetti does some - or all - of the party-planning, invitations, decorations, entertainment, favors, and food for your event. And they can handle parties held in your own home or at another location of your choice. Confetti's online photo album, which includes several shots from their children's parties, is a must-see!

Posted by Sarah at 10:10 AM. Permanent link to "Children's parties, Confetti-style."

January 21, 2009

Special discount from Parent Child University

One of the things we like best about Parent Child University is their willingness to offer evening (and weekend - even Sunday) classes for families in which both parents work outside the home - allowing these parents to take part in programs with their young children that they would otherwise have to miss out on.

PCU is now offering you a $10 coupon off the cost of home materials for any of their upcoming evening classes. Just register at 703.228.4747 and then send email to: MissTracey at ParentChildU dot com, telling her you want to apply the discount code DCBabyRocks! to your registration. Complete details on classes and registration here.

You can take advantage of this discount on evening classes including beginner-level Signing Smart (Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. at the Fairlington Community Center in Arlington) and Kindermusik Family Time (Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., also at the Fairlington Community Center).

Thanks to PCU for offering this discount to working families!

Posted by Sarah at 10:20 AM. Permanent link to "Special discount from Parent Child University."

January 16, 2009

Weekend Watch: Children's Theater Fest, & National Day of Service

Get warm and cozy on Saturday at the Children's Theater Festival in Rosslyn, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Rosslyn Spectrum. It's an all-day lineup of bilingual English-Spanish theater and fun from Teatro de la Luna, with activities including face painting, puppet-making, arts and crafts, and storytelling. Children ages four and under get in FREE.

Also during this long MLK and inauguration holiday weekend...If you're thinking of taking part in the National Day of Service to honor Dr. King, check out the online listings of opportunities and events happening across the DC metro area. Some are kid-friendly and would make for a good day out together as a family. In DC, click here. For those who live in the suburbs, enter your zipcode at this national website to look up the Day of Service events near you.

Posted by Sarah at 10:51 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Children's Theater Fest, & National Day of Service."

January 13, 2009

New workshops from Foundations for Families

Foundations for Families has announced a new lineup of parenting workshops for January through February and beyond, to be held at their Old Town Alexandria offices.

Workshops are offered at both morning and evening times, covering a wide range of topics affecting new and expectant parents, parents of infants/toddlers, parents of preschoolers, and those with school-age children. Cost to attend is $20 per workshop.

Here's just a sampling from their calendar:

January 26, 9:30-11 a.m.:
A Practical Guide to Selecting High-Quality Childcare

January 29, 9:30-11 a.m.
From Managing Sibling Rivalry to Supporting Sibling Relationships

February 3, 9:30-11 a.m.
Parenting Strategies to Match Your Baby's Personality

Posted by Sarah at 11:08 AM. Permanent link to "New workshops from Foundations for Families."

January 12, 2009

It's sale season

Now that the holidays are past and retailers are starting to focus on spring inventory, several of the boutiques recommended in my book(s) are hosting nifty sales. Here's a sampling:

The Pajama Squid's 30% off sale is on now, for both clothing and shoes, in their Takoma Park boutique AND online.

In our own 'hood, Pink & Brown's 30 to 50% off sale is underway now.

Also in our 'hood, Apple Seed has significant markdowns on maternity clothing, baby and toddler clothing, Hotslings, and more - BOTH in-store in Old Town and online.

In Bethesda, a clearance sale is now underway at Wiggle Room.

Piccolo Piggies in Georgetown and Bethesda currently has its clothing AND shoes marked down 30 to 60%.

Dawn Price Baby's semi-annual "crawl, walk, run sale" at both locations (Georgetown and Cap Hill/Eastern Market) goes now through March 15. Current discounts are 30 percent off, but will increase to 40 percent off in early February and 50 to 75 percent off after February 20. Best selection early on, deepest discounts later on.

If you know of other good local sales for maternity, infants, and kids, feel free to share them by posting a "comment" here at the blog entry.

Posted by Sarah at 9:44 AM. Permanent link to "It's sale season."

January 7, 2009

Kids @ the inauguration: Crazy, or what?

So here we are, locals living a stone's throw away from one of the biggest moments in American history. And we have kids.

I know I'm not alone in entertaining two lines of thought about the situation. They go something like this: 1) We MUST take our pre-k-age daughter to see this moment she'll tell her children and grandchildren about, and watching it on TV while we sit a few miles from the action is lame and lazy, 2) We are INSANE to consider taking our pre-k-age daughter into this crowd-control/security/transportation nightmare amid 2.5 million tourists in the dead of winter.

I don't know yet what I'll decide. And I'm not lucky or important enough to have tix to the swearing-in, so that's not an issue - It's the parade and the other unticketed mayhem I've been pondering. If you, like me, are trying to do the due-diligence and make an informed decision about taking children, of any age, to inaugural celebrations, here are a few online resources you should consult:

Comprehensive "Getting There" guide to deciding if you should attend - and planning your trip to the inauguration

Overview of several official events, including a lower-key thing @ the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday the 18th

Advisory for parents of young children attending swearing-in ceremony

Spectator info for the parade

Using the metro system during inauguration week

Issues affecting District of Columbia residents during inauguration week

Info on a free youth concert @ the Verizon Center on Monday the 19th (complete info forthcoming, but you can sign up for email updates)

More on the Verizon Center kids' concert from the Post

Tips for families from Chesapeake Family magazine

Nickelodeon kids' cable channel coverage of the inauguration

Know of other important info or resources on this topic? Please share with the rest of us by posting your "comment" at the end of this blog entry.

p.s. Tix to the children's inaugural ball hosted by the NCM are now SOLD OUT!

Posted by Sarah at 1:15 PM. Permanent link to "Kids @ the inauguration: Crazy, or what?."

January 5, 2009

New must-know resource: Mommy Blueprint

A new resource based out of Silver Spring, founded by three mamas (and sisters): Mommy Blueprint produces handy tablets and notepads for organizing your parenting and family life. A step beyond that crowded daytimer you're lugging around. Brilliant little tools, they are!

But in addition to their products, Mommy Blueprint also hosts an online community, e-newsletter, and blog where they share organizing and time-saving tips - as well as plentiful freebies you can take advantage of. No purchase necessary to enjoy these free perks.

Posted by Sarah at 9:43 AM. Permanent link to "New must-know resource: Mommy Blueprint."

December 30, 2008

Last chance for Holiday Shopper discounts

It's your LAST CHANCE to take advantage of the discounts offered in our Holiday Shopper! Among the deals you can redeem through December 31st only:

15% off online orders of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition - PLUS free shipping

15% off your entire order from The Silken Thread (use code DCBABY08 at checkout)

20% off one item at Apple Seed (print our Holiday Shopper page and bring with you to the store to redeem)

20% off Serena & Lily nursery bedding at Red Barn Mercantile, in-store or online (print the page, or enter code serenalily at checkout)

15% off one item at Pink & Brown (print our Holiday Shopper page and bring with you to the store to redeem)

Complimentary mani and pedi with the purchase of a gift certificate from Hela Spa

$75 credit on a photo session booked with pregnancy/child/family photographer Elizabeth Dranitzke of PHOTOPIA

Discounted private/small-group infant/child CPR class from Safe Start Baby (just $40 per person) when you mention DC BABY and book by December 31st

Happy New Year!

Posted by Sarah at 2:51 PM. Permanent link to "Last chance for Holiday Shopper discounts."

December 29, 2008

More New Year's Eve kid fun @ Jammin' Java

The fabulous Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA will host their Second Annual Kids' New Year's Eve Party on the 31st with live music from Robbie Schaeffer and Rocknocerus... plus a full-fledged "countdown" and an apple juice toast for all.

Two shows, and the 11 a.m. is already sold out. But, as of this posting, tix are still available for the 2 p.m. Cost is $12 per person (infants under one year get a free ride). Reserve yours online - Pronto, before they're gone.

Posted by Sarah at 9:41 PM. Permanent link to "More New Year's Eve kid fun @ Jammin' Java."

December 27, 2008

New Year's Eve for kids, Capitol Hill & Alexandria

Two good options for celebrating NYE with children, in DC and Alexandria:

The Family Room on Capitol Hill will host a celebration on the 31st from 3 to 7 p.m., with a "countdown" and sparkling cider toast at 6:00. They provide the food and drinks and noisemakers...You supply the kids. Discounted tix in advance, until the 28th.

Also on the 31st is First Night Alexandria, a multi-venue, family-oriented, alcohol-free celebration of the arts with live entertainment and activities for children of all ages in and around Old Town. Choose from 65 acts at 38 indoor stages, plus opportunities for face painting, moonbounces, arts and crafts, balloon animals, etc. Tix required for adults, but kids age 12 and under get in FREE.

Posted by Sarah at 9:11 PM. Permanent link to "New Year's Eve for kids, Capitol Hill & Alexandria."

December 22, 2008

Kid's Days @ Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda & Arlington

The fabulous and child-friendly Lebanese Taverna local chain of restaurants has added new Kid's Day events at its downtown Bethesda location. On Tuesdays they host live children's music performed by local favorites from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch... and kids eat FREE with an adult meal.

Thanks to local mama and Lebanese Taverna co-owner Grace Abi-Najm Shea for sharing the December and January lineup for Bethesda:

Tuesday, December 23: The Banjo Man
Tuesday, December 30: Miss Belle
Tuesday, January 6: Oh Susannah
Tuesday, january 13: Mr. Nate
Tuesday, January 20: Miss Belle
Tuesday, January 27: The Banjo Man

Lebanese Taverna also hosts weekly Kid's Days at the Arlington location, Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

Posted by Sarah at 8:49 AM. Permanent link to "Kid's Days @ Lebanese Taverna in Bethesda & Arlington."

December 19, 2008

Weekend Watch: Countdown to Hanukkah & Christmas

Hanukkah's almost here and it's the last weekend before Christmas... so there's plenty happening around town. Also, orders for copies of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition placed today should arrive by December 24 to households in the DC/MD/VA area. All orders are shipped via priority mail, and the book is discounted 15% - plus free shipping - through December 31 only.

Sunday, December 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Fairfax Corner kicks off the Festival of Lights with a FREE "Magical Hanukkah" event for kids. It includes a performance by The Great Zucchini, live music, the lighting of a giant menorah, Hanukkah storytelling, and a paint-your-own menorah or dreidel craft. Stores in Fairfax Corner will also participate with small giveaways.

The lighting of the National Menorah at the Ellipse near the White House is set for Sunday, December 21 at 4 p.m. The event is free, but tix are required. Call 202.332.5600 for info.

Also on the Ellipse, now through January 1, is the beautifully lit National Christmas Tree. Nightly live holiday music performances by local choirs and groups are scheduled through Tuesday the 23rd.

Posted by Sarah at 1:28 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Countdown to Hanukkah & Christmas."

December 16, 2008

Free classes & Kindermusik sale from Parent Child University

Parent Child University has joined our Holiday Shopper to announce FREE preview classes in December and January - plus a mondo 20-80% off sale on Kindermusik instruments, toys, books, and music.

Parent Child University's free demo classes are set for this Friday, December 19, and again on January 9, 10, and 31st. Click here for more info and to register.

PCU, which offers early childhood enrichment classes and parenting workshops in Arlington, Falls Church, and throughout the DC metro area, gets two-thumbs-up in the new edition of my book. Among their vast lineup: Signing Smart play classes and parent workshops, Kindermusik classes, ABC Music & Me preschool and childcare music classes, music/movement/ASL storytimes, Happiest Baby on the Block parenting classes, and a popular conflict resolution class, "Playground Diplomacy." They also host a parenting book club, after-school programs, birthday party entertainment, and an online store with award-winning music toys and resources. Founder Tracey Kretzer is a respected child advocate and educator. Take advantage of one of the free preview classes to get a personal feel for what they offer.

Posted by Sarah at 2:20 PM. Permanent link to "Free classes & Kindermusik sale from Parent Child University."

December 15, 2008

New local chapter of Holistic Moms Network

News of particular interest to crunchy-leaning NoVa parents: A new chapter of the Holistic Moms Network is forming for Arlington/Alexandria, with a launch party and open house set for Thursday, January 22 from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. at the Burke Branch Library in Alexandria (4701 Seminary Rd.).

DCB reader Jessica Haney is the hardworking founder of this new group. She tells me there will be food, prizes, and healing touch demonstrations at the inaugural meeting. Subsequent meetings are set for the same place and time on the fourth Thursday of the month through the spring - February 26, March 26, and April 23. Both moms and dads are welcome.

To learn more about the national organization, Holistic Moms Network, click here. Want to volunteer with, or even co-lead, the new chapter? Contact Jessica at: holisticmomsarlalex-at-gmail-dot-com.

Posted by Sarah at 1:11 PM. Permanent link to "New local chapter of Holistic Moms Network."

December 12, 2008

Weekend Watch: Hanukkah fun, + Christmas live nativity on the Hill

UPDATE: How great is the interfaith friendliness of DCB readers? I love it. Thanks to Deborah S., who passed a sign for this on her way to the Washington Hebrew Congregation and sent the info my way: On Sundays December 14th & 21st from 6 to 8 p.m., Christ Church on Embassy Row in DC is hosting an outdoor "Living Nativity." Petting zoo animals, live characters, music, cookies, hot chocolate, and good cheer. Sounds like it'll be v. child-oriented.

To all of you who celebrate it, Happy Hanukkah! There's a ton of kid-oriented fun for the holiday this weekend. Here are our favorite picks:

The Washington DCJCC at 16th and Q Sts. in the District will host its Community Hanukkah Celebration on Sunday, the 14th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a recommended donation of $10-15 per family, your children can enjoy a sing-along with kids' musician Joanie Leeds, arts and crafts, face painting, dreidel games, and faux tattoos.

On Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m., Chevy Chase Pavilion's Hanukkah Celebration features the Lox and Vodka klezmer band, dreidel games, blaloon sculptures, and arts and crafts. Free admission.

And at the JCC of Greater Washington in Rockville on Sunday from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Hands-On Hanukkah will feature edible treats, arts and crafts, a treasure hunt for school-age kids, and more. The event will have a range of activities for ages two+. Adults and toddlers under age two get in free. Kids ove rage two are $7 each 9with a $20 per family max).

Also this weekend, families who celebrate Christmas will enjoy a live nativity scene and Christmas pageant at Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. Saturday, the 13th, from 4 to 6 p.m. We're told there will be beautiful choir music, live animals, a manger scene, and hot chocolate and cookies served. Free admission. Sponsored by National Community Church and Ebeneezer's Coffee.

Do you know of other Hanukkah or Christmas events for kids and families happening this weekend? You can share them with other readers by filling in the "comment" field below this blog post. Don't be shy, people! Others would really appreciate hearing from you, and I'd love for all of us to make better use of this interactive feature on the DCB site. Happy holidays!

Posted by Sarah at 2:08 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Hanukkah fun, + Christmas live nativity on the Hill."

December 10, 2008

Discount from Onesies DC

Onesies DC - about which I wrote a glowing review in the revised second edition of my book - is offering a 15% discount on their winter session if you register before December 20. (They're also offering program gift cards, which make nice holiday presents for new mothers.)

Onesies DC is six weeks of a rotating sampling of DC-area enrichment programs, with plenty of opportunity to make new playdate friends during the ride. As I say in the newest edition of DC BABY: "Brilliant! Long overdue!...This innovative program exposes both newbie and veteran moms to a wide variety of early childhood and parent ed opportunities...saving potentialy expensive trial-and-error while making new friends...No commitment needed to a single program or a long session that might or might not turn out to be the right fit. Onesies DC partners with local favorites like PEP and Hot Mama Fitness to offer you a smorgasboard of baby fun."

Among its many other program partners, Onesies DC has recently joined forces with the JCC of Greater Washington and with Kidville (a popular new import from NYC). So their lineup is continually expanding. Hope some of you will be able to take advantage of the winter discount.

Posted by Sarah at 2:39 PM. Permanent link to "Discount from Onesies DC."

December 9, 2008

Tree Top Kids, now in Friendship Heights

Thanks to Sonya S. for tipping me off to this one: There's a new Tree Top Kids location at Chevy Chase Pavilion in Friendship Heights. On Wisconsin Ave., on the bottom level of the mall across the street from Mazza Gallerie, next to World Market.

Sonya and I agree that this is a long-overdue addition to Friendship Heights, since there's been little in the way of children's shopping in the neighborhood. And if you've never been to a Tree Top Kids store, now's the time. They're a great independent local retail chain featured in both editions of my book. They carry a big selection of toys, games, arts and crafts supplies, books, baby and kids' clothing, accessories and gifts. And they host some of the best in-store events in the DC area - many of them free.

In addition to the new Friendship Heights location, you'll find Tree Top Kids in the AU Park neighborhood at Foxhall Square, in Potomac at Cabin John Mall, in Bethesda at Wildwood Shopping Center, additional spots in Maryland, and throughout NoVa (with stores in Arlington, McLean, Falls Church, Fairfax, etc.). To find the TTK nearest you, click here.

Posted by Sarah at 1:13 PM. Permanent link to "Tree Top Kids, now in Friendship Heights."

December 5, 2008

Weekend Watch: This & that around town

The weekend's picks are an eclectic bunch of goings-on, with events in Old Town, NW DC, and Wolf Trap's Filene Center.

This afternoon, Friday the 5th from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Anne Leslie Silhouettes is at Hooray for Books children's bookstore in Old Town Alexandria. Her last appearance of the year! Anne's art is unique and memorable... and makes a much better grandparent gift than, say, another necktie. The silhouettes are hand-cut, and surprisingly affordable for the detail and quality of the work. It's also Scottish Walk Weekend in Old Town... our favorite neighborhood tradition every year. (With Willard Scott as grand marshal, no less!)

Thanks to Heather A. for sharing this one: Tonight, Friday the 5th from 6 to 10 p.m., the University of DC's David Clarke School of Law will host another in its series of Eco/Justice Cafe events, at the university's Firebird Inn on Connecticut Ave. NW. Heather tells me it's a v. kid-friendly happening with lots of children's activities - including a play area with toys and games for all ages, stamps and ink, modeling clay, craft materials/glue and glitter, bubble wands, and milk and juice to drink. A tabling area for the grownups features environmental and social justice organizations and businesses. There's also "live music, poetry, an open mike session, god food, good beer, good people, and good karma!" Accessible from the Van Ness/UDC red line metro stop, west exit. Suggested donation $15/$10 students/$5 kids.

And don't forget that Sunday at 4 p.m. is the FREE-admission annual Holiday Sing-Along @ Wolf Trap in NoVa. Quite the beautiful spectacle and a fun time... complete w/ music from the U.S. Marine Band. Bring your own jingle bells and candles. Arrive early - Parking is free but fills up quickly. And dress WARMLY - you'll be outdoors.

Enjoy.

Posted by Sarah at 10:08 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: This & that around town."

December 4, 2008

Kids Eat Free - with Santa - @ Austin Grill

As anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time knows, deep down I'm still an Austin girl, even after years in Washington. We eat at Austin Grill in Old Town with perhaps alarming frequency - It's as close as I can get to "home food" in DC, and they are exceptionally kid-friendly.

This month they're hosting "Kids Eat Free" evenings with Santa Claus (including photo opps w/ the bearded man) at several DC-area locations:

Friday, December 12 at the Centreville, VA Austin Grill
Wednesday, December 17 at the Silver Spring, MD Austin Grill
Wednesday, December 17 at the Springfield, VA Austin Grill
Thursday, December 18 at the downtown Bethesda, MD Austin Grill
Thursday, December 18 at the Old Town Alexandria, VA Austin Grill
Thursday, December 18 at the Annapolis, MD Austin Grill

Happy Tex-Mex Xmas.

Posted by Sarah at 10:25 AM. Permanent link to "Kids Eat Free - with Santa - @ Austin Grill."

November 28, 2008

Special discount from Pineapple Grove

Local-mama-owned Pineapple Grove Gifts is offering a special discount to DCB readers this holiday season: 15% off online purchases. Just enter discount code CUSOON15 at checkout.

We love their personalized gifts (especially the children's plates) for holiday giving... as well as their fun selection of stationary and papers, and sweet hair clips for girls.

Happy shopping.

Posted by Sarah at 6:44 PM. Permanent link to "Special discount from Pineapple Grove."

November 27, 2008

More Black Friday sales

Three more post-Thanksgiving sales you should know about: At Dawn Price Baby, with two locations in DC (Capitol Hill near Eastern Market and M St. in Georgetown), Wiggle Room in Bethesda, and Pink & Brown in Old Town.

Friday only, Dawn Price Baby is offering 20% off fall and winter clothing, furniture floor models, bedding, and other select items.

All weekend, Friday through Sunday, Wiggle Room is offering 15% off ALL Melissa & Doug toys. We love these. They're classic, safe, colorful... and non-plastic. Wiggle Room just got a new shipment of M&D toys, including blocks and puzzles, so the stock is plentiful.

Friday only, Pink & Brown is offering 15% off your total purchase from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Their only exclusions are furniture, mattresses, and strollers.

Happy Turkey Day.

Posted by Sarah at 8:44 AM. Permanent link to "More Black Friday sales."

November 26, 2008

Early Santa sightings in Georgetown & Old Town

The holidays are officially upon us. And for families who celebrate Christmas, the guy in the red suit is on his way to town. Here are our favorites among his early appearances:

Welcome a new local tradition this year, when Santa takes to the Potomac by boat. The Christmas Attic in Old Town is partnering with The Potomac Riverboat Co. to offer Christmas cruises with Santa... Saturdays and Sundays starting this weekend, November 29, through December 21. Three departure times daily. You start on Union St. at The Christmas Attic, a block from the waterfront, to pick up your tix and get treats and hot chocolate. Then your group will proceed - led by a friendly elf, no less - to the boat where you'll meet Mr. Claus and take a cruise with him to the new National Harbor. There will be holiday sing-alongs and stories from Santa during the ride, and the opportunity to have your child's picture taken. For more info, contact Jill Walker at 703.684.0580 or jwalker-at-potomacriverboatco-dot-com. Reservations are required, and you can make them online at www.potomacriverboatco.com.

Santa will also make appearances at the Georgetown Mall this weekend. I'll say this: I'm generally not into mall Santas - or the mall, period. But I do like this Santa, at this mall. It's not so huge, loud, and chaotic as, say, Pentagon City or Tyson's Corner (neither of which I can tolerate myself, much less subject my children to). There's a parking garage, so you're doing city shopping without having to search for a street space. The crowds are more reasonable. Santa's setup is relatively classy and simple. Plus, you have easy access to good restaurants and strolling on M St. while you're there. Anthropologie - in the mall, and my personal "happy place" - has the sweetest Christmas ornaments and children's specialty clothing this year. And for the kids, there's the new Creativity inside the mall - Definitely worth a visit!

These are just a couple of our faves to kick off the season. We recommend checking out Our-Kids.com for holiday happenings in the District, NoVa, and suburban Maryland. On their website, under "Seasonal Activities," you'll find extensive lists of Santa sightings, holiday shows, and holiday lights. Subscribers to their weekly newsletter get all that, and loads more.

Happy Thanksgiving! And may you reign victoriously on-budget this Black Friday.

Posted by Sarah at 10:54 AM. Permanent link to "Early Santa sightings in Georgetown & Old Town."

November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving & winter camps for (little) kids

Heads up: Parenting Playgroups is offering a new program this week: A Thanksgiving drop-off camp for ages two to six years, with preschool teachers leading art projects, sing-alongs, circle games, snacks, storytimes and free play. Offered today through Wednesday the 26th, and again on Friday the 28th. A morning option from 9:15 to 11:45, or afternoon from 12:30 to 3 p.m. You can participate every day or just one - giving you a window of time to run holiday errands, shop, cook, clean...or just take a deep breath while your little ones have fun in a safe, fun, and nurturing setting.

The Parenting Playgroups drop-off camp will be offered again, at the same times, during winter break: December 22-23, 29, and 30. They're located close to great shopping in Alexandria. And yes, they're even welcoming the two-year-olds who are still in diapers. Reservations are required: Call 703.922.0044 or send email to: rene-at-parentingplaygroups-dot-com.

Over in Falls Church, Monkey Business will offer a winter day camp, December 23, 29, 30-31. Mornings from 9:15 to 12:15 or afternoons from 1:30 to 4:30. The half-day drop-off camp is for ages three to five years, with fun winter-themed arts and crafts, music and movement, playdough, snacks, and more. Registration is required: Call 703.241.PLAY or visit www.monkeybiz4kids.com.

Posted by Sarah at 5:35 PM. Permanent link to "Thanksgiving & winter camps for (little) kids."

November 23, 2008

New discounts added to the Holiday Shopper, + Black Friday sale in Old Town

Two additions since our Holiday Shopper went live last week: 20% off all Serena & Lily nursery bedding at Red Barn Mercantile, and 15% off the cover price of DC BABY, Revised Second Edition in paperback (plus free shipping!).

You can shop the fabulous Red Barn Mercantile online (use coupon code "serenalily" at checkout to redeem your 20% off), or at their store in Old Town, next door to Apple Seed (which is offering 20% off any one item in the store).

If you plan to shop for bargains the day after Thanksgiving, several of the best Old Town retailers are participating in a Black Friday Sale - A great alternative to crowded malls and big-box stores. If you shop in any of the Old Town Boutique District's member stores on November 28, you get 10% off your entire purchase at all the other participating stores. So... If you buy something at Apple Seed, you pay full price. But then you go to Red Barn and get 10% off your entire purchase. And then you go down King St. to Nina's Closet and get 10% off everything you buy. And so on and son on. No limit on how many stores you can redeem your 10% off at. But it's one day ONLY. So strike while that iron's hot.

Posted by Sarah at 7:13 PM. Permanent link to "New discounts added to the Holiday Shopper, + Black Friday sale in Old Town."

November 21, 2008

Weekend Watch: Ice skating, parade, & free kids' yoga

This weekend: Cold weather fun on the National Mall, a Thanksgiving parade in Silver Spring, and free kids' classes in Alexandria.

Downtown, the outdoor ice skating rink at the National Gallery's sculpture garden is OPEN for the season. Saturdays the skating starts at 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Enjoy the music while you're teaching the little ones to skate, and grab a hot chocolate or cider at the pavilion cafe next to the rink. While you're in the neighborhood, you can check out the grand re-opening (at last) of the Museum of American History, with special activities planned for all ages.

On Saturday, Silver Spring holds its annual Thanksgiving Parade from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Huge helium balloons, floats, and marching bands.

Sunday in Del Ray, Alexandria, the fabulous new Mind the Mat studio offers two FREE classes: Kids' Yoga at 4:15 p.m. (ages 5-8) - and if you happen to have an older child, check out their free Tween Yoga at 3:30 (ages 9-12).

Posted by Sarah at 9:03 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Ice skating, parade, & free kids' yoga."

November 20, 2008

Special discount from JuneBee Baby

We love love love the sweet and soft handknitted clothes from JuneBee Baby. And they're offering a special discount to DCB readers, through December 31: Enter promo code HOLIDAY08 for 25% off your order of anything in their stock, which includes sizes 0-6 months to 3T. Plus, free shipping on all domestic orders

JuneBee Baby is a mom-founded online boutique whose products are handmade with 100% natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, cashmere, and wool - Each piece is one-of-a-kind. They've been featured recently by American Baby magazine, The Daily Stroll, Urban Baby, and SheFinds. As the Urban Baby reviewer says, "Designs are whimsical and classic; most styles feature hand crocheted decorations..All are soft and cozy, can be dressed up or down, and are hand-me-down worthy. Keep in mind they'll be plenty of time for ironic T-shirts, designer jeans, and cropped shirts in loud colors when they're tweens, but the era of sweet strawberry pockets passes quickly."

Enjoy the discount!

Posted by Sarah at 11:45 AM. Permanent link to "Special discount from JuneBee Baby."

November 17, 2008

Great deals in the DC BABY Holiday Shopper

It's live! Check out our 2008 Holiday Shopper for some nice perks this shopping season.

Among the special offers for DC BABY readers:

* 15% off an item at Pink & Brown
* 20% off an item at Apple Seed
* 15% off an entire order from The Silken Thread
* $75 credit on a photo session with Elizabeth Dranitzke of PHOTOPIA, when you book by 11/30. (Some recent pics of our own little fam are now on Elizabeth's blog, where you can see samples of her beautiful work. We are happy clients!)
* Complimentary manicure/pedicure with the purchase of a gift certificate from Hela Spa
* And in the practical-and-important-department: A private, small-group CPR class discount from Safe Start Baby - Just $40/person (when you mention DC BABY and book by 12/31)
* + more!

Thanks to these local, independent retailers (and artist!) for offering great deals to our readers - I hope you'll support them with your holiday shopping dollars.

If you are a local retailer or service provider serving children/pregnant gals/families and would like a spot in the Holiday Shopper, drop us a line at: sales(at)dc-baby(dot)com.

Posted by Sarah at 4:48 PM. Permanent link to "Great deals in the DC BABY Holiday Shopper."

November 14, 2008

Weekend Watch: Nutcracker in Clarendon + concerts in DC

This weekend it's the unofficial launch of Nutcracker season - and a fundraiser for a great children's charity - in Arlington's Clarendon neighbhorhood... plus a coupla big-name kiddie concerts in the District.

Thanks to DCB reader (and my friend) Heather for the heads up: This weekend the Barnes & Noble Clarendon will host a couple of family happenings. A special storytime, Saturday at 10 a.m. features characters from the Nutcracker ballet. Kids can get up close and personal with The Sugar Plum Fairy, the Prince, and other costumed dancers from the Center Dance Co.

And Saturday and Sunday, the store hosts a book fair to benefit First Book, a nonprofit organization that gives low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. A percentage of in-store purchases this weekend will go toward First Book. IMPORTANT: Tell the clerk at checkout that you are there for the First Book benefit. (Or you can participate at any other B&N bookstore or cafe by giving them the First Book fair code. Jot it down before you go: 415323.) And yes, you can buy a copy of DC BABY's Revised Second Edition at B&N - and have a portion of your purchase go to the First Book program!

In DC, The Laurie Berkner Band performs Saturday at GW's Lisner Auditorium. And Lisa Loeb & Friends (performing stuff from her new CD of kids' camp songs) will do a show Saturday at National Geographic's Grosvenor Auditorium downtown.

p.s. Quick reminder that on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Celebrate Mama! event goes to Loudon County, at the Claude Moore Rec Center in Sterling. Free admission (fee for some services and activities once you're in the door). Goodie bags to the first 300 families.

Posted by Sarah at 10:14 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Nutcracker in Clarendon + concerts in DC."

November 11, 2008

Get your tix NOW: Enchanted Forest, November 22-23 in NoVa

It's almost time for the annual Enchanted Forest, set for the weekend of November 22-23 in Reston, with loads of stuff for young kids.

With this annual extravaganza, the gals of the Junior League of Northern Virginia raise $$ that goes directly back to meet the educational and social needs of NoVa's neediest children. The festival has holiday shopping and theme-decorated trees... but also live music and children's entertainers, a Polar Express train, games and crafts for kids, breakfast and photos with Santa, cupcakes and cocoa with the "Snow Fairy Princess," balloon artists, face painters, pirate "tattoos," a pirate magic show, and gingerbread house decorating.

Click here for complete details and to buy your tickets. A lot of kid fun, for a very worthy cause.

Posted by Sarah at 2:52 PM. Permanent link to "Get your tix NOW: Enchanted Forest, November 22-23 in NoVa."

November 8, 2008

Thanks, DC!

Mr. Knick Knack at book release party

Thanks to all of you who turned out to the book release party for DC BABY's Revised Second Edition at Hooray for Books this weekend!

We had a fun live show with Mr. Knick Knack (aka Steve Rossi), a storytime with the store's fabulous Mr. Patrick, and some good eats from Mom Made Foods and Whole Foods Market.

It was fun to get to meet some of you in person for the very first time. I appreciate your support of the book - as well as your support of a great independent children's bookstore!

If you didn't make it to the party but want a copy of the book, you can order online, here. Or at any of these DC-area booksellers and boutiques.

Posted by Sarah at 10:28 PM. Permanent link to "Thanks, DC!."

November 7, 2008

Weekend Watch: Our party in Old Town, + Kids' Euro Fest in DC

We hope you'll join us tomorrow morning, Saturday the 8th, for the celebration of the release of the revised second edition of DC BABY in paperback! Starts at 10 a.m. with a free show by kids' musician Mr. Knick Knack, followed by storytime at 11 a.m. and refreshments/signing/time to chat at 11:30. It all takes place at Hooray for Books children's bookstore in Old Town. RSVP to the e-vite.

Also this weekend, check out the Kids' Euro Fest in DC. It's a children's arts festival starring European kids' entertainers in more than 100 FREE performances taking place at locations throughout the District. Puppeteers, bubble-blowers, storytellers, mimes, a virtual orchestra...you name it. All in partnership with 27 EU embassies and more than a dozen cultural institutions. The festival is ideal for ages six+... BUT there are a number of performances that will be great for preschoolers, too. Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 2:27 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Our party in Old Town, + Kids' Euro Fest in DC."

October 31, 2008

Weekend watch: Happy haunting

Wishing you and yours a happy, safe, and memorable Halloween.

Friday evening starting at 5 p.m. is the informally-organized and irresistably cute Dupont Circle children's Halloween parade. Gather by the fountain, with the costumed little ones to start their walk at 5:15. Open to children of all ages, but is especially geared toward families with babies and toddlers who can't stay up late, can't yet trick-or-treat with the big kids, but would still enjoy a little Halloween fun. Participants can bring treats to hand out (but not required). Many parents come in costume, too - So don't be shy.

In MD, don't forget about kid-centric Halloween Rocks at the Kentlands, Halloween afternoon from 3 to 6:30 p.m., with a live show from kids' band Rocknocerus. In VA, Halloween night and Saturday, November 1 is the free and fabulous Halloween Art Show of elaborately carved and illuminated jack-o-lanterns in Vienna, from dusk to 10 p.m.

And before you head out, better safe than sorry: Check out this Halloween candy safety alert from MomsRising.

Posted by Sarah at 6:04 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend watch: Happy haunting."

October 26, 2008

Join us November 8: Mr. Knick Knack performs @ our book release party!

Please come! We're celebrating the release of the Revised Second Edition of my book, DC BABY, with a (free!) performance by the fabulous Mr. Knick Knack - plus refreshments and book-signing and a chance for me to meet more of my readers in person - on Saturday, November 8 starting at 10 a.m. at Hooray for Books children's bookstore in Old Town Alexandria.

We named Mr. Knick Knack, aka Steve Rossi, our "favorite local children's performer" and we are thrilled to have him perform at the book release party. We're also thrilled to have the book available at our own neighborhood independent children's bookstore.

Here's the lineup:

10 a.m. Mr. Knick Knack live performance
11 a.m. Storytime (with a special Karen Katz theme)
11:30 a.m. Refreshments, book signing, chatting, and a jumpstart on holiday shopping

To RSVP that you can join us, please visit the e-vite. See you there!

Posted by Sarah at 10:16 PM. Permanent link to "Join us November 8: Mr. Knick Knack performs @ our book release party!."

October 21, 2008

Halloween kicks for (little) kids: Our picks

It's that time! Loads going on in celebration of Halloween. Here are our picks for the little ones:

In Rockville, Cabin John Regional Park is doing their annual Eye Spy Halloween Train in the evenings from 6 to 9 p.m, Thursday the 23rd through Thursday the 30th. Just $4 with a canned food item to donate. (Intended for children under age 8, and not older-kid-scary like the Wheaton Regional Park train.)

Boo at the Zoo is also right around the corner, this Thursday the 23rd through Sunday the 26th. Limited tix are still available for all dates except Saturday (sold out). Metro strongly advised, unless you're a FONZ member and able to secure the (very limited) parking. Last year we scrambled to buy tix and second-hand parking at the last minute, only to have it rain cats and dogs. Bummer. Better luck to those of you giving it a go this year.

This Friday, the 24th at Fairlington Center in Arlington, Parent Child University will host their Annual Halloween Fashion Show - a fun chance for the little ones to don their costumes early - along with a FREE demo class from 10 to 10:40 a.m. Intended for infants to five-year-olds. No cost, but you must RSVP in advance. Send your name, names and ages of your children, and email address to: classes-at-parentchildu-dot-com or by calling 571.643.1002.

Saturday the 25th is the annual Fall Frolic at Glen Echo Park in Maryland, with trick-or-treating and a costume parade through the park, pumpkin painting, decorating trick-or-treat bags, and more arts and crafts fun. If you want to make a day of it, ride the carousel and catch the Three Billy Goats Gruff at the puppet playhouse or Harold and the Purple Crayon at the Adventure Theater (advance tix for both strongly advised).

Sunday the 26th in Alexandria is the annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, starting at 2 p.m. All are welcome to march down Mt. Vernon Ave. in costume - decorated strollers included! - to the Mt. Vernon Community School, where there will be live music and food to follow, as well as the Jaycees-hosted Goblin Games for all ages. We love this parade - So many kids and adults alike in a show of the most creative costuming! It's a BIG event with a big crowd, so get there early to hunt for parking.

Finally, on pumpkin night proper: It's the FREE-admission Second Annual Halloween Rocks Festival for kids at Market Square, Kentlands in Gaithersburg, October 31, 3 to 6:30 p.m. A concert by Rocknocerus, plus other live performances, a petting zoo, trick-or-treating, creative costume contest, face painting, carnival and moonbounces, crafts and games. A safe, fun, non-terrifying Halloween-day destination.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 2:53 PM. Permanent link to "Halloween kicks for (little) kids: Our picks."

October 15, 2008

Childcare needs in NoVa? Check out ASAP Sitters

Landing quality, reliable childcare when and where you need it can be a challenge of epic proportions. So I have to share this great, new-to-me resource, owned and directed by local mama and DCB reader Ewa Skoczylas. ASAP Sitters is a professional babysitting service placing sitters in and around Alexandria and Fairfax, VA. Their referrals run the gamut of childcare needs, from last-minute sitters to permanent sitters/nannies.

They do the legwork for you by pre-screening and interviewing care providers. When you register, one phone call or email gets the ball rolling. Client applications, a complete Q&A on how it works, and up-front information about the agency's fees are available at their website. You can even preview the profiles of selected sitters available for assignments!

ASAP Sitters can be reached at 703.209.4717, or send email to: asapsitters-at-gmail-dot-com.

Posted by Sarah at 9:12 PM. Permanent link to "Childcare needs in NoVa? Check out ASAP Sitters."

October 9, 2008

Weekend Watch: Big consignment sales, Oktoberfests, & free class previews

A long holiday weekend, and plenty to do. Among the highlights: Two of the biggest and best consignment/benefit sales in NoVa, Oktoberfests on both sides of the Potomac, and free class previews in DC.

Among the weekend's biggest discount children's clothing and gear events are the mondo Dani's Duds sale @ Dulles Expo Center and the positively famous NoVa Parents of Multiples Semi-Annual Sale in Falls Church.

Oktoberfest celebrations are also happening this weekend at The Kentlands in Gaithersburg, in Accokeek, and Reston.

Last but not least, Friday from 3 to 5 p.m., Jonah's Treehouse is hosting more FREE preview classes for any child age six months to three years. A chance to learn about their program and meet other parents from Georgetown, Glover Park, Spring Valley, Palisades, Wesley Heights, Cleveland-Woodley-AU Park, and all over NW. You do need to call ahead to reserve your free preview spot: 202.298.6805. And take note of this bit of news: Jonah's Treehouse now offers a flex schedule allowing you to come to classes at different days and times throughout the session.

Enjoy your Columbus Day weekend!

Posted by Sarah at 9:50 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Big consignment sales, Oktoberfests, & free class previews."

October 7, 2008

DC BABY discount: 25 percent off ANY service @ Hela Spa

Hela Spa really loves DC BABY. So much that they're giving my readers a generous 25 percent discount on any service! Just mention DC BABY when you call to make your appointment.

(You can also take advantage of their limited number of appointments for a special promotion: 45-minute massages for $50.)

Among their many services, Hela Spa offers prenatal massage, infant massage instruction (at both the Georgetown and Chevy Chase locations), and a monthly mother's tea where you can meet other DC moms and get your questions answered about prenatal and/or infant massage. They also host a monthly drop-in group you can sample an intro to infant massage without committing to an entire session of classes. Even a small lending library of books and DVDs that clients can borrow - And they've been known to lend a body pillow to an expectant mom with sleeping troubles.

Senior massage therapist Mary Szegda draws heavily on her previous work as a movement psychotherapist and licensed counselor, with an interest in developmental movement patterns and the non-verbal relationship between parents and young children. And she has hired infant massage instructors with similar backgrounds. According to one reviewer mom, "Going to Mary at Hela Spa for a pregnancy massage was heaven. I could not have survived the second and third trimesters without my regular visits... After my daughter was born, I signed up for the infant massage class...This was a great bonding activity and a wonderful way to meet other moms in the area."

Enjoy your 25 percent off Swedish spa experience! Contact Mary at: mary-at-helaspa-dot-com, or call 202.333.4445.

Posted by Sarah at 2:06 PM. Permanent link to "DC BABY discount: 25 percent off ANY service @ Hela Spa."

October 6, 2008

Mom Made goodness, online

Our friends at Alexandria-based Mom Made Foods have launched a beautiful, user-friendly new website with some swanky features, including yummy recipes and tips for fostering healthy eating habits (and dealing with eating challenges) for all ages - infants, toddlers, and big kids.

The site also includes an events section, where you can find out about Mom Made tastings and classes - such as their monthly class at the fabulous Breastfeeding Center in DC. You can also use the "find us" feature on the homepage to locate all the stores in your neighborhood stocking their tasty treats. And you can sign up for their free newsletter to get more recipes and info about events and special offers.

As I write in a review of Mom Made Foods in the revised second edition of my book, they're a local success story, founded and managed by local mama Heather Stouffer and featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and in the Wall Street Journal. You can find their line of organic foods for babies and children at Whole Foods, Balducci's, Wegmans, Super Targets, and more. We love their award-winning sweet potatoes!

Posted by Sarah at 11:34 AM. Permanent link to "Mom Made goodness, online."

October 3, 2008

Weekend Watch: Street festivals & shopping opps

This weekend in Bethesda and Alexandria there are two great street festivals with activities for kids - plus the added perk of discount shopping nearby.

Taste of Bethesda is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. And while you're there, stop into neighboring Wiggle Room for a very rare Ergo carrier sale, prize giveaway, and demo. They'll be raffling a FREE Ergo carrier ($105 value), plus offering 10 percent off all Ergo merchandise (Saturday only). Also free demos and your questions answered by Ergobabycarrier rep Karin Buck between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. And you can preview their new designs, out this fall. As the mama of an exceptionally long, heavy, and active baby boy, I can't say enough good things about the Ergo. Just yesterday while out for a walk in Old Town, a new mother stopped me to ask about the carrier. Like most everyone I talk to, she shared my experience of pain and aggravation with other baby carriers - so I was v. happy to plug a product that I truly LOVE.

But I digress. Saturday in Alexandria, it's Art on the Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. More kids' activities, tasty treats, and live entertainment. And while you're in this neck of the woods, be sure to stop by the BIG yard sale at our family's very own Meeting House Cooperative Preschool in Old Town (318 S. Royal St.) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Loads of baby and kid gear, toys, books, and clothing - plus adult clothes and household stuff. At low, low bargain prices! I personally donated some goodies in perfect condition - including a Maclaren baby seat, an infant play gym, loads of baby boy clothes and sleepers, and some nice J. Crew jeans/pants and dressy Ann Taylor skirts that I can no longer fit into postpartum. (Alas and alack.)

p.s. Thanks to DCB reader Maria for sharing this: "There's also a Greek festival this weekend, Oct. 3-5, at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church. These are always fun, with lots of activities and yummy sweets! Free admission."

Posted by Sarah at 1:04 PM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Street festivals & shopping opps."

September 29, 2008

New morning class: "How to Talk..." in Annandale

Can't make it to evening events? Francine Ronis, LPC, is now offering a new morning session of her popular parenting workshop based on the principles of the bestselling book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen.

The class runs six Tuesdays, beginning October 28, from 9:45 to 11:30 a.m. in Annandale. With on-site childcare for those who reserve it first.

The session covers positive discipline, attachment, alternatives to punishment, engaging cooperation, enhancing your child's self-esteem, and more. For more info or to register, contact Francine at: francine.ronis(at)gmail(dot)com or 571.213.9215.

Posted by Sarah at 7:49 PM. Permanent link to "New morning class: "How to Talk..." in Annandale."

September 25, 2008

Sunday events: PPD Awareness Day at LUCY - and ICAN support group in DC

Two informative, supportive events this weekend specifically for mamas (and one of them comes with a shopping discount, to boot!):

The LUCY store (coolest, coziest women's fitness wear ever) at Pentagon Row in Arlington will host a PPD Awareness Day this Sunday, September 28, to benefit new nonprofit organization Postpartum Support Virginia. Just mention you're with Postpartum Support Virginia and you'll receive 25 percent off all purchases! Stop by LUCY at 10:30 a.m. for coffee and an informative discussion about postpartum depression (PPD), with an opportunity to get more info about free local support groups and other resources. Shopping to follow, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also this weekend, the DC chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) is back in action. This free support group is open to all, and will meet this Sunday, September 28 at 7 p.m. at Healing Arts of Capitol Hill (320 G St. NE). The presentation and discussion session, "Healing After Cesarean: Postpartum Recovery and Beyond," will focus on a variety of post-surgical treatments and emotional support resources in the DC area - and will be led by Janet Brown, Licensed Massage Therapist and owner of Integrative Health Massage Therapy, and Laura Possessky, ICAN of DC leader and birth rights advocate. For more info, contact Janet at 703.863.3156 or jbrownlmt(-at-)yahoo(-dot-)com.

Posted by Sarah at 10:01 AM. Permanent link to "Sunday events: PPD Awareness Day at LUCY - and ICAN support group in DC."

September 24, 2008

It's here! DC BABY, Revised Second Edition, now in paperback

It's rolling off the press this week! I'm pleased (and exhausted) to announce that the Revised Second Edition of my book, DC BABY, is now available for pre-order! Copies ordered this week will ship via priority mail approx. October 1.

By mid- to late-October the book will also be on the shelves of DC-area bookstores and select baby boutiques. Also on Amazon.com.

It's been a long time coming and a lot of hard work. The new edition represents a complete overhaul, with tons of updates, new information, and a more user-friendly organization. Did I mention it's over 300 pages?

Thanks to all of you who sent me your tips and recommendations over the past few years, since the book's first edition sold out in early 2006. You provided invaluable insight as I did the research that would make this handbook a more useful tool for expectant mamas and the parents of young children. I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you, THANK YOU again for your support. And thank you for reading!

p.s. For those of you who have purchased an e-book version of the Revised Second Edition any time this year... Yesterday you should have received a new email linking you to a FREE e-book that reflects the final additions and edits made to the paperback book before it went to press. The latest and greatest version, if you will. Our apologies that this email did not go out with an explanatory note. Rest assured, you were NOT charged for another e-book!

Posted by Sarah at 8:33 AM. Permanent link to "It's here! DC BABY, Revised Second Edition, now in paperback."

September 23, 2008

Wednesday evening: Shopping perks at Old Town boutiques

To celebrate the launch of the consortium and its new website, Old Town's boutique district is sponsoring a special night of "shopping under the stars" tomorrow evening, Wednesday the 24th, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Among the Old Town boutiques catering to babies, children, and expectant moms are Apple Seed, Nina's Closet, Tickled Pink, and Whistle Stop Hobbies. There will be refreshments, gift bags, and special deals. If you visit all participating stores in Old Town during the event, you'll be entered to win an $1,100 shopping spree - a $100 gift certificate from each store.

At Apple Seed maternity and baby boutique, customers who make a purchase on Wednesday evening will be entered to win the new Emily Storksak diaper bag. (Which I love primarily because it looks NOTHING like a diaper bag!)

Happy shopping!

Posted by Sarah at 8:30 AM. Permanent link to "Wednesday evening: Shopping perks at Old Town boutiques."

September 15, 2008

Saturday in Sterling: Portraits & ballerina fun for a great cause

Do you have a young prima ballerina in the family? Baby Ballerina in Sterling will host a special event this Saturday, September 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Photographer Johanna Waisley (featured in the soon-to-be-released revised second edition of my book) will take mini-sessions of your tu-tu cuties in the ballet studio, wearing their favorite dancer attire.

The best part: Your entire session fee and a portion of any prints you order will be donated to benefit nonprofit organization The Band of Parents, to help raise funds for a cure for neuroblastoma - and for Taylor Love, a three-year-old in Ashburn, VA who has spent the past year and a half of her young life fighting stage four neuroblastoma, a devastating pediatric cancer.

DCB reader Jennifer Militello tells me, "The session fee is an incredible deal for the quality of photography. I have personally used Johanna Waisley of Simply Create Photography for the last four years, and she is an incredible artist."

These portraits would make cute holiday gifts, while at the same time helping to treat and find a cure for this childhood disease. For more info, contact the photographer at 571.223.1938 or the ballet studio at 703.430.3033.

Posted by Sarah at 1:32 PM. Permanent link to "Saturday in Sterling: Portraits & ballerina fun for a great cause."

September 12, 2008

Weekend Watch: Fall festivals in DC, Takoma Park, & Old Town

'Tis now officially the season for fall festivals - with several this weekend, great for getting outdoors with the kids. And each of these promises a decent dose of entertainers and activities for children.

Saturday is the Arts on Foot Festival in DC's Penn Quarter. Sunday is the Takoma Park Folk Festival and the Adams Morgan Day Festival. The Alexandria Festival of the Arts along Old Town's King St. runs both days.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah at 6:24 AM. Permanent link to "Weekend Watch: Fall festivals in DC, Takoma Park, & Old Town."

September 11, 2008

Free kids' & postpartum classes at Mind the Mat

The new and fabulous Mind the Mat pilates and yoga studio in Alexandria's Del Ray neighborhood is offering three FREE classes you might want to take advantage of:

Free preview - Kids' Yoga on Sunday, September 14 at 4 p.m. for ages six+

Free preview - Kids' Yoga on Sunday, September 14 at 4:45 p.m. for ages three to five
(Both children's yoga classes are taught by popular children's instructor Patrick Good, aka "Patch" to the kids)

Free preview - Mommy & Me Yoga on Wednesday, September 17 at 10:15 a.m. (for moms with babies ages six weeks to crawling)

If you're new to Del Ray's Mt. Vernon Ave., there's good coffee and eats at St. Elmo's and good children's shopping at The Purple Goose.

Posted by Sarah at 11:11 AM. Permanent link to "Free kids' & postpartum classes at Mind the Mat."

September 9, 2008

Kudos to - and news from - Classic Tales 'n Tunes

Many thanks to Classic Tales 'n Tunes for sponsoring the DCB website this month (which helps keep our e-publications free-of-charge for you, the reader!).

This fall the integrated early childhood arts program created by local mama Jody Katz has expanded class offerings at the Vienna, VA location (in addition to Arlington and Falls Church), and welcomes a new instructor who is fluent in several languages and working toward her master's degree in vocal performance at Catholic University.

Classic Tales 'n Tunes has been on the receiving end of several awards, including Fairfax County's Human Rights Award for 2007, an honor previously bestowed on giants like Booz Allen Hamilton and Marriott Corporation. And because of the many, many positive reviews I received from families participating in the program, they also get a prominent recommendation in the forthcoming edition of my book! Visit the Classic Tales 'n Tunes website for upcoming preview classes (fee required), and to register for their fall session.

Posted by Sarah at 1:20 PM. Permanent link to "Kudos to - and news from - Classic Tales 'n Tunes."

September 8, 2008

Put this on your fridge: National Capital Poison Center hotline

A must-know resource for all DC-area parents and kiddo-caregivers: The National Capital Poison Center in DC, 1.800.222.1222. If it's not posted on your refrigerator with all the other emergency numbers, it should be!

Each year The National Capital Poison Center receives 55,000 phone calls from residents and health professionals in the metro area - Most of them from mothers whose children have gotten into household products and who are panicked about what to do. The Poison Center is a nonprofit, non-government organization providing medical guidance in poison emergencies. Their services are FREE, and they are open all day, every day, providing confidential information. They even provide translation services for parents and childcare providers who don't speak fluent English.

I know how easy it is for me to fall into the "that stuff happens to other people" mindset. And I bet I'm not alone. Better to take a few moments to be prepared.

Posted by Sarah at 8:42 PM. Permanent link to "Put this on your fridge: National Capital Poison Center hotline."