Expressions of a People Black History Month Celebration

One of the things I love about living in the DC metro area is all of the events that occur for every holiday, every celebration. That means this Black History month there is no shortage of things to do all over the area.

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On Sunday we were able to partake in the Expression of a People at Harmony Hall in Fort Washington, MD. I do not frequent Fort Washington much as it is a bit away from me, but this event seemed very interesting so I headed out that way. It was amazing!

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There was a caricature artist who was very personable and quick. There was face painting, tattoos, balloon artistry, pottery making, mask making, story telling, dance performances, etc. It was truly a day filled with Black richness! We had a ball.

To top it all off the staff was phenomenal. They answered all questions with a smile and were genuinely courteous. I will not hesitate to enjoy an event at harmony hall in the future.

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If you are interested in future events, please visit them here. There is a lot going on throughout the year and I have no doubt you will have as good a time as we did.

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Epic Supergirl Party For My Super 7 Year Old!

When planning Johanna’s 7th birthday party I was…tired. Tired and confused. She wasn’t really clear on what she wanted and I was still super exhausted from planning Isabella’s (that post is super late, yet coming soon). To know me is to know that I like to be very hands on when it comes to my parties. The thought of having to plan yet another one was overwhelming to say the least. We threw around so many ideas: Emoji party, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland… The emoji party sounded very blah to me, I loved the idea of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (still not sure why we didn’t go with that one), and Alice in Wonderland was just too much. There were too many decorations I would simply have to do and I would run myself into the ground trying to make my vision happen. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a flash of Johanna in a superhero outfit went through my mind and I knew that was it.

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But I also knew that I did NOT want to do your typical Spiderman/Avengers/etc. party. I also did not want to do wonder woman or any other supergirl character party. I wanted the party to be focused on Johanna and her friends specifically being superheroes. That’s when I jumped on good ole fiverr and began the first step in having an african american superhero girl created. In fact, I had 2 different people turn a photo of Johanna into a superhero. I was not very happy with either of them – shout out to my graphic artist friend Amanda for fixing the drawing I liked the best (you can find her contact info down below)! In the end it worked out and it gave me a great starting point for the party. With that photo I began to scour the internet for invitation ideas and I felt pretty darn good about myself for getting the invitations out before 2018!

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So here’s the thing. I knew Johanna was watching me with this party. She saw how much work I put into Isabella’s party. She also saw how for months I had supplies rolling in so that I could make all the things for the party. She was watching to make sure that she received equal treatment and I was trying my darndest to make sure that happened.

But then the Christmas season came. And I forgot. Forgot all about the party.

So right after New Year’s I looked to see what was on my plate and was shook to find that not only was her party coming up, but I hadn’t done a darn thing for it! We had secured Badlands in Rockville, MD for the party, but that was all that was done. No cake was ordered, no cookies, nothing! And while I do love making cakes for family and friends, Isabella has sucked every bit of energy I ever had in the last year and it just wasn’t going to happen, so I had to get moving.

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Thanks to Instagram I found a baker. A week before the party we headed to his bakery at Iverson Mall and I tried a cupcake. The cupcake was good, so I went ahead and inquired about ordering a cake. After some back and forth of trying to work with my meager budget ($100 or less) I got the cake order and felt darn good about that. Next I dug through facebook trying to find the cookie decorator I had met at a local Homemakers Ministry I attend, as my usual cake person was on vacation until the day AFTER party! Thankfully I found her, and she was able to fill my order with iced sugar cookies that were so soft and yummy! I was on a roll!

Then thanks to my creativity and at times, some help from etsy, we got things rolling. Johanna was constantly peeking over my shoulders and I could tell she was starting to feel very excited about how things were coming together for the party. But then I remembered that the child needed something to wear. Oy! I hit up my friend Mallory who is famous for making an outfit for her girls in a day, and gave her my vision for Johanna’s cape. I also need one made for her cake topper (more on that later). She was able to whip it up and get it to me in a week, and I am forever thankful. I bought a plain white shirt from Walmart and do to limited time I shoved my silhouette into the corner and created a simple and quick iron for her shirt instead of vinyl. I also made one for the whole family. I ordered a tutu off of amazon (which arrived smelling very much so like fish and had to be washed 2x to get the smell out) and some gold pants (wear once and done type pants, if you know what I mean). I forgot all about the mask, but thankfully a wonderful etsy shop was able to get that to me in 3 days.

By the time the day of the party arrived I was dizzy with exhaustion and so happy that I was almost done. However, my annoyance at how tired and frantic I was dissipated when I saw how happy and excited Johanna was at her party. I barely saw the child because everytime I looked around I would just see a flash of gold sprint down a hill, or a slide, or climbing up. There was laughter, much exercise and the sounds of kids becoming exhausted from the fun.

They colored airplanes, got inside of one, and had fun with some stuff that looked like playdoh but was actually much nicer than any playdoh I’ve ever had. And then there was cake!

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So my regular cake topper lady was also on vacation when I went to place my order. Instead I decided to buy this really cute doll I saw and I was going to use her for the cake topper. She arrived and she was MUCH too big. I tried to get a couple of people to make her a doll. One wanted entirely too much money, and the other just…it just…yeah, no. I couldn’t. So that was scary because I was really stuck. 2 days before the party I drug the kids to Target in a final effort to find the dang cake topper. I prayed that the Lord would guide me, and he did. In my favorite aisle (you know which one) I looked down and there was exactly one doll that was $5 and could totally work for the cake topper! I jazzed her up with the cake and a little sticker I attached to her shirt and voila! It really worked out, don’t you think?! And I intended on making cupcakes, but then I saw this hot pink cake at my local grocery store for only $14 and I thought about how much time I would be saying and decided what the heck? Two cakes it is! I also stepped on the cake before leaving for the party so there’s that…

The kids loved their favors! I’m so thankful to oriental trading for the sunglasses and cupcake (turned candy apple) stand I was able to get from them. Although I must say that was absolute favorite favor to give out was the tumblers I bought from Dollar Tree. I glittered them, added a sticker, and boom! I also really enjoyed making the placemats. For the backside I was able to print a cute table setting guide for the kids. I really do like for my favors to be functional and I thought the parents would appreciate that.

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It was an amazing party and everyone had a super time. And I am beyond happy that in 2016 we decided that the girls would have a birthday party every other year instead of every year, so mama gets some rest in 2018.

If you would like for me to do a review on my experience having a party at Badlands let me know!

Location: Badlands PlaySpace, Rockville, MD
Cake: Pro Cakes, Iverson Mall, Temple Hills, MD
Safeway, Bowie, MD
Cookies: Adrien of Sweet Treats Couture, MD.
Cupcake Stand: Oriental Trading
Cake “topper”: Target
Water Bottle Labels: PrintablesMirtaGyles
Supergirl Candy Bar Wrapper: SimplyEverydayMe
Superhero Birthday Sign: SimplyDovie
Mask: Monichelle Designs
Metallic Leggings: Amazon
Graphic Design Artist: Amanda Carlson

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Navigating Badlands Play Space

I love summer, I really do. However, when it is 90 degrees outside I have very little interest in taking the kids outside to play, and frankly they would prefer to not get burnt by the sun as well. Because of this I am always looking for really shaded playgrounds, or indoor play centers that will allow Johanna to run wild and free without me worrying that she will get a heat stroke. That is why I was beyond elated to hear of a brand new indoor play space in Rockville, Maryland called Badlands. I immediately googled it. I loved what I saw so I immediately posted about it in my DC area homeschool field trip group and set a date.

What I did not love was the price. It is a whopping $22.50 per child over the age of 3 ($12.50 if they are between 1-3)! My immediate response after choking on my Starbucks Midnight Mint Mocha was wait, what??? But looking at that open space I just knew Johanna would love it. I had to say goodbye to at least 5 mochas for awhile. So off we went.

The space was pretty. It was everything an indoor girl like myself could dream of. Rock climbing, tall trees, grass, and tunnels all indoors. You know, away from the brutal sun, the biting mosquitos and all the other creepy crawlers that live out in nature. And there was air conditioning my friends. Air conditioning! This mama was happy.

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Badlands also offers 4 party pavilions, which are super cute! If you book your next party there you will get a party host as well as an activity leader. You cannot bring in outside food, except for your cake. This is because Badlands also has its own cafe! Huge mommy perk right there. Isabella and I enjoyed some vital vittles while big sister rock climbed like a boss. There is also a Workshop where kids and adults can use real tools to make all the things, a Builders Room, Ropes Course, Screening Room, and an Exhibit that will change what will be featured every 3 months. For our visit it housed butterflies! It’s an interactive exhibit which makes it very, very cool.

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So, I’m going to sound like a total weirdo when I say this, but one of my absolute favorite areas of Badlands was the bathroom area! Behind quite a few doors (I didn’t count, but there were at the least 5) there were individual bathrooms that smelled amazing and looked sparkly clean. Right outside of the bathrooms was a nice, clean, sterile looking waiting area. There is nothing worse than going to an indoor playground and finding the bathrooms to be completely disgusting…except port-o-potties. I don’t think anything beats those for me. Yack!

Johanna thoroughly enjoyed her time at Badlands. She played for a solid 3 hours and still wasn’t ready to leave. I was though. Adult A.D.D. is real. While I found just a couple of areas that could use improvement, I really did enjoy it overall.

Obviously Badlands won’t be a regular part of my life at the current price and with it being so far from me (Rockville is quite a hike for us), but I’m so glad that I enjoyed it, and I can see us having a party there in the near future.

To see more of our adventure at Badland, checkout my latest youtube video. Don’t forget to subscribe and give it a thumbs up!

 

Badlands Play Space
301.618.0009
5200 Randolph Road, Rockville, MD 20852
Open 9 am to 6 pm Tuesday to Sunday (Closed Mondays)

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Top 5 Favorite Christmas Events in the DMV Area

Do you smell it? Do you feel it? Can you sense the buzz all around you? My senses are alive with the presence of all things CHRISTmas! As soon as thanksgiving is over in my house we ease right into the Christmas mode. Suddenly we’re humming Christmas tunes and watching Christmas movies. I’m scanning pinterest for new Christmas treat ideas, and checking out local websites for fun adventures to go on during this wonderful season. I try very hard every year to stick to the traditions I started with Johanna and to expand upon them in little ways. No matter what, we have our outings around the area that we simply adore and must do every year. Some of you may have a new family and are looking for traditions, while others may already have your traditions, but are wondering if you’re missing something. For that reason I wanted to compile our top 5 favorite events in the DMV area during the Christmas season.

The Wharf’s Annual Parade of Lights

December 3, 6p.m. – 8p.m.
50+ Decorated Vessels Set to Sail Across the Potomac River to The Wharf from Old Town Alexandria in Grand Holiday Tradition

The annual holiday Parade will feature more than 50 decorated boats sailing across the Potomac River to Washington, DC, from Old Town Alexandria, and will include FREE landside events along The Wharf, including the first snow fall of the holiday season; lighting of the Gangplank Marina Christmas Tree; photos with Santa Claus; live holiday music; a roaring s’mores fire pit; gingerbread cooking tasting; holiday sailboat making; a hot chocolate toast to the season; the illumination of vessels docked at Gangplank Marina and the Capital Yacht Club; and enjoy holiday brews in the Corona Beer Garden. For more information, checkout the website here.

Watkins Park Festival of Lights

Now thru January 1, 2017
5-9:30pm
$5 per car
This spectacular holiday drive-through event features more than one million twinkling lights, wonderful themed displays, and one of the tallest tree displays in the state! Visit the pg parks website for more information.

Winternational

December 7, 11a.m.-2p.m.
Winternational is an exciting celebration showcasing the cultural and culinary traditions of Washington’s diplomatic community. This festival has the atmosphere of a bustling global marketplace with each embassy promoting their country through vibrant displays of visual art, food, handcrafts as well as travel and tourism exhibits. Free and open to the public, guests have the opportunity to travel the world and do some holiday shopping — all during the lunch hour!

Zoolights

Now thru January 1, 2017
5-9p.m.
Zoolights is a free event, featuring live music performances, tasty winter treats, and plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland complete with a dazzling light show set to music!

Holy Trinity Student Association Presents A Dr. Seuss Christmas

December 10, 2016
8am-noon
Adults – $10/Kid’s – $8. $5 for Paint and Sip Session

Join the Holy Trinity family for their annual Breakfast with Santa!  It’s a pancake breakfast, picture session with Santa and Mrs.Claus, a concert featuring young carolers, a wonderful gift raffle, sip & paint, face painting, Christmas Bazaar and much, much more! Visit eventbrite to purchase your tickets.

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Your Guide to the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

monument-600x450I’m late, I know. Prayerfully next week I can post about why I’ve been so MIA and all that’s going on with me, but as tired as I am I still couldn’t just not post about the Cherry Blossom Festival. You guys know it’s one of my very favorite events in all of the DC area! So without further ado, here are the events that are still coming up so that you too can get in on the celebration!

Blossom Kite Festival
Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue
Saturday, April 2nd, 10am – 4:30pm
**SCHEDULE**
Depending on wind and weather, schedule is subject to change
Opening Ceremony
Opening Remarks 10 am
National Anthem
Step into Spring Kick-off Parade

*Competition & Demonstration Field
Kite Ballets and Demonstrations 10:30 – 11 am
Adult Kite Makers Competition 11am – 1 pm
Demonstration: Kites of the Decades 1 – 2 PM
Hot Tricks Showdown 2 – 3 PM
Rokkaku Battle 3 – 4 PM
Puzzle Rokkaku 4 – 4:15 PM
Kite Arch and Awards 4:15 – 4:30 PM

*Family Field
Practice Fly for Youth Kite Makers 10:30 – 11 AM
Youth Kite Makers Competition 11 AM – 12 Noon
Youth Kite Makers Awards 12 Noon – 12:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Practice 12:30 – 1 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 5-9) 1 – 1:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 10-15) 1:45 – 2 PM
Bol Races 2 – 3 PM
Family Open Fly 3 – 4:30 PM

Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, located at the intersection of Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues and D Street NW Washington, DC.
Saturday, April 2nd, 9am – 12pm
This walk aims to bring awareness about what life was like for Japanese Americans during World War II. The walk will conclude with traditional Japanese and Palestinian folk dancing.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Southwest Waterfront – 600 Water Street, SW
Saturday, April 9th, 1pm – 9pm (Fireworks start at 8:30 PM)
This event is always a family favorite. It’s our favorite simply because it combines three of our favorite things – face painting, food, and crafts! There’s also live music, and of course, the big fireworks show to end the night.

CHERRY BLOSSOM PLAZA
• Harris Teeter Experience
• Cherry Blossom Photos – sponsored by Harris Teeter
• Caligraphy
• DC Dragon Boats and Excursions
• Beer and Cider Garden – sales stop at 8:15 PM, services stops at 8:30 pm
• Product Samples provided – by Harris Teeter and Procter and Gamble

GANGPLANK MARINA/ COPPER BEACH PARK
• Food Truck Rally
• Coffee and Hot Chocolate Samples – sponsored by Dunkin Donuts
• Sailboat Making
• Hot 99.5 Music and Giveaways – special appearance by DJ Toby Knapp from 2-4 PM
• Blossom Art
• Character Appearances – sponsored by WETA

WATER STREET CIRCLE
• Food Truck Rally and Picnic Area
• Blossom Hair Styles and Photo Shoot – sponsored by Hair Cuttery
• Blossom Ink Temporary Tattoos
• Family Comfort Station sponsored by Pampers, Luvs and Dreft

WATERFRONT PARK
• Paper Bag Puppets
• T-shirt Crafting – by Harbor Patrol
• Kasa Hat Creations
• Paper Kite Gliders
• Face Painting
• Family Games
• Koi Windsocks

Lantern Making Family Day at Yards Park
Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – 2pm
There will be two sessions of lantern making for children and adults, at 10:00 am and at 12:00 pm. As an official event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the lantern making day will feature a variety of Japanese cultural activities, as well as a moon bounce for all children to enjoy.

SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration
Smithsonian American Art Museum – 8th and G Streets, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 11:30am – 4:30pm
A taiko drumming performance kicks off the afternoon, followed by other traditional Japanese music and dance, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Colleagues from the Freer|Sackler can help you make your own Japanese fan. Create a koinobori windsock at one of our crafting tables or check out the spring book corner with our friends from MLK Jr. Memorial Library.

Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival
500 New York Ave, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 1-4pm
Drink the District is back with the annual Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival. With tickets this year starting at just $45, attendees can enjoy unlimited beer and wine, food trucks, and live entertainment all day.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
TIDAL BASIN AT Independence Avenue and 17th Street, SW
Sunday, April 10th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
The ceremony takes place at the newly dedicated Japanese Rock Garden. It includes traditional music by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, DC presents the colors.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Constitution Avenue – From 7th to 17th streets, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – Noon
The parade runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue featuring giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and celebrity entertainers, and performers. Individual tickets start at $20. Group tickets are on sale as well. Get your tickets here. Standing along the Parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, NW is FREE and open to the public. Arrive early for the best views.

Who Is Performing:

  • Cast members from the award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys
  • Pop sensation Tiffany
  • Chart topping artist and The Voice contestant Sisaundra Lewis
  • R&B Grammy-nominated artist and DC native Raheem DeVaughn
  • Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell
  • Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
  • Latin vocal group Viva Mas, who recently performed for Pope Francis
  • Local talent, including winners of the third annual Sing Into Spring Competition and the Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir

 

Sakura Matsuri
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Head right on over after the parade, rain or shine! Adult tickets are $8 in advance, $10 after April 8. Children under the age of 13 are free. Buy your tickets in advance here.

Cherry Blast!
Carnegie Library – 801 k Street, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 6pm
Every spring this vibrant gathering proves a popular combination of Japanese sights, sounds and tastes, and this year, the event creatively spotlights all things related to anime, cosplay and gaming. This April, the fun launches in a new location –in the heart of downtown DC —at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

The Japanese-inspired event brings the energy and excitement surrounding its pop cultural experiences to the Festival. At Carnegie Library, revelers can enjoy a range of activities from manga and gaming to electric drifting competitions. Attendees can also partake in creative cosplay contests and learn about the latest Japanese fashion trends – straight from the runway. And the opportunity to relish in mouth-watering Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops are just a few of the experiences available. Just when guests think it can’t get any better, they discover DC’s largest Japanese-inspired dance party, which showcases Asia’s alluring club and techno scenes.

Anacostia River Festival
Anacostia Park – 1900 Anacostia Drive, SE
Sunday, April 17th, 1-5pm
Head out to the Anacosita River to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, bike riding, and nature walks.

Japanese Jazz Series at Blues Alley
1073 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
April 18-20, 8pm & 10pm
Celebrating Cherry Blossoms! Enjoy the music of young Japanese jazz artists at Blues Alley, performing as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival! Purchase tickets here.

 

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Autumn Fun: Adventure Filled Pumpkin Picking in the DMV Area

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Photo Courtesy of Cox Farms, Centreville, VA

I’m super sad. Summer has ended and I miss it already. It’s crazy to believe that I used to hate summer, but my my my, how that has changed. A few too many frigid cold winters in the DMV area and I’m ready to hike it to Texas! Although I’m melancholy about the joy of summer being gone, I can’t help, but to ride on the delicious happy train of autumn. Leaves changing to the sumptuous tones of yellows, oranges, and reds, crisp air, pumpkin and apple picking… Almost enough to make me forget my love affair with summer. Almost.

If you’re like me, those last two items I mentioned are high on your list of fun fall activities and thankfully, this area has a ton of great farms to visit to delight your pumpkin picking heart. Here is a list of awesome Orchards and Farms located in the Suburbs of DC to enjoy much more than picking produce.

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*Baughers Orchards and Farms
1015 Baugher Rd, Westminster, MD (410) 848-5541
October Weekends 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Enjoy Hayrides & Pumpkin Pickin’, Apple Picking, a Petting Zoo, Pit Beef, Ham & Burgers, Pony Rides, Kettle Korn, Homemade Baked Goods, Homemade Ice Cream, and much much more!

*Butler’s Orchard
22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown, Maryland (301) 972-3299
Tuesdays through Fridays in October, plus the Monday before Halloween. 9:30 to 5:00.
$7 per person. *Reservations online for groups of 2 or more are preferred.
Pumpkin Harvest Days activities include exploring the learning stations, jumping in the hayloft barn, swooshing down the giant slides, visiting barnyard animals, picking a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, and exploring the straw maze. Pumpkin Harvest Days are self-guided and all activities run continuously. You may do any activity in any order as many times as you like! Our picnic area is also open for you to enjoy if you bring a bag lunch.

*Catoctin Mountain Orchard
15036 N Franklinville Rd, Thurmont, MD (301) 271-2737
Come out between the hours of 9-5 and pick your own apples. Call for the days events.

*Clark’s Elioak Farm
10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, Maryland (410) 730-4049
Open every day in October. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy the petting farm, a pumpkin patch, hayrides, pony rides and storybook characters from the Enchanted Forest.

*Crumland Farms
7612 Willow Road, Frederick, Maryland. (301) 845-8099.
Saturday, September 26th – Sunday, November 1st; Monday-Friday, noon-5:00pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10:00am – 5:00pm Last admission at 5:00pm

Admission: Weekday- $7.00 per person (2 & Under: Free), Weekend- $10 per person (2 & Under: Free). Halloween weekend reduced admission $7.
INCLUDED IN ADMISSION:
• CORN MAZE
• PUMPKIN PATCH- Admission and hayride* to Pumpkin Patch is free. Pumpkins are $0.50 per pound. *Hayrides to the pumpkin patch are available on the weekends. (Hayrides may run during the week if demand is high enough.)
• Feed the animals in the mini-barnyard
• Watch the goats on the overhead walkabout
• Take a spin on a pedal cart
• Leap into a pile of soft, fresh hay
• Ride on the MooChoo Train
• Slip down the Giant Slide
• Enjoy the Giant Tricycles
• Tire playground
• Climbable Straw Bale “Maze”
Additional Fee:
• Corn Cannon ($1 for 3 shots)
• Snack Stand
• Fall Market Products
• Escape the Woodshed
• Zombie Paintball

*Gaver Pumpkin Patch
5501 Detrick Road, Mt. Airy, Maryland (301) 865-3515
The Fall Fun Festival is open every day from 10 am – 6 pm during our fall season. Free hayrides available Fri-Sun. Enjoy fall on the farm by conquering the twists and turns of the corn maze, jumping on the giant pillow, petting and feeding the farm animals and cruising down the giant slides. There are over 45 attractions, appropriate for any age including the Cow Train, mini mazes, playgrounds, duck races, ball games, photo centers and so much more!

*Homestead Farm
15600 Sugarland Road, Poolesville, Maryland (301) 977-3761
Harvest festival is held weekends through October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take a hayride, pick your own apples or pumpkins, find your way through the hay maze.

*Jumbo’s Pumpkin Patch
6521 Holter Rd., Middletown, Maryland (301) 371-6874
Open daily September 19 – October 31, 2015, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
30 Acres of Pick Yer’ Own Pumpkins, 14 Acre Corn Maze, Hayrides, Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Face Painting, Mini Wagon Rides, Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, Concession Stands with Meals, Drinks, Snacks, 3,000 sq. ft. of Fall Shopping, Craft Attic with Handmade Items & much more. Click here for a full schedule.

*Larriland Farms
2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine, Maryland (301) 854-6110
Hayrides are offered Saturdays and Sundays in October during the day from 9:30am-4:30pm. Pumpkin hayride’s are offered on the weekdays in October. This wagon ride fords the stream, goes through the woods and includes a stop at the pumpkin field where everyone selects their favorite pumpkin. Then go through the straw maze on foot and try to find the way back out. Reservations are required and is designed for groups of 20 or more. The Boo Barn is for children ages 4 – 6. It is a dark passage in the bottom of the Red Barn and is filled with animated, not too scary ghosts and goblins. The Boo Barn is open every day the farm is open in October.

*Milburn Orchards
1495 Appleton Rd, Elkton, MD, (410) 398-1349
Through November 1, Saturday & Sunday 10am – 4pm, Weekday BIG BackYard Mon-Fri 9am – 7pm
Ages 2 & under are free! Seniors 60+: $5.00. All others ages 3-59: $10.00
There are bunnies, goats, horses, a miniature donkey, chickens, pigs, ducks, turkeys and more. You’ll love watching the goats navigate the narrow goat walks high above your head. Drop a quarter in our feed machines and make a new furry friend! There are also lots of large play areas for kids to climb on and explore.

Weekend Fall Harvest Festival Admissions includes:

Hayrides
Corn Maze (Bigger maze for bigger kids & adults)
Boo Barn (Not haunted, appropriate for all ages)
Bale Trail (Straw Maze for all ages)
MilkySway Tunnel
Cycle Circle
Straw Jump
Tractor Tunnel
Obstacle Bounce
Giant Spider Web
Rope Maze Family Challenge
Tractor Tire Tower
Farmyard Playground
BarnYard Buddies Zoo
GroundHog Hill
and other mini-family fun events!
Optional Upgrades Not Included with basic Admission fees: Paint Ball Shooting Gallery, Remote Control Derby, games, arts & crafts, food & craft vendors, and Pony Rides sponsored by Fairwinds Farm. Pony Rides available October weekends only, 11am-3pm

*Montpelier Farms
1720 North Crain Highway, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (410) 320-0464
Fall festival runs on weekends, September – October. Hours are Fri. 5-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m., & Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch!
Pumpkins 5 lbs. and under – $3.00
All others – $.60 per pound
Pumpkins are NOT included in General Admission purchase. Pumpkins must be purchased in our pumpkin patch.Pumpkin Patch closes at 10:00 pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s and 7:00 pm on Sunday’s.

*Rockhill Orchard
28600 Ridge Rd, Mt Airy, MD (301) 831-7427
Come out and pick your own apples, enjoy the nine acre corn maze, and the wonderful farm animals!

*Sharp’s at Waterford Farm
4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville, Maryland (410) 489-2572
Fall festival held each weekend from mid-September to mid-November. Activities include pumpkin picking, corn mazes, hayrides, campfires, feeding animals, and more.

*Shlagel Farms
12850 Shlagel Rd. Waldorf, Maryland (301) 645-4554
Open Saturday and Sunday beginning on 10/3/15 and ending on 11/1/ 15.
Our admission fee is $8. per person; adults and children 25 months and older. 24 months and under are free. Pumpkins are extra and are .69 cents per pound. The farm offers wagon rides, a petting zoo, a straw maze for those under 10, and educational tours for school or private groups.

*Summers Farm
5620 Butterfly Lane, Frederick, Maryland (301) 620-9316
Pumpkinland festival is open September 26 – October 31, 2015.
Open in the Fall each year with an old-fashioned Harvest Festival — featuring a Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Barnyard animals, more than 30 activities, live weekend music, fireworks, finger-lickin’ good food … and lots more!

*Weber’s Farm
2526 Proctor Ln, Parkville, MD (410) 668-4488
Through November 1st, Mon- Sun 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 pm
Weekends: Children 2-17 $9.00, Adults 18+ $7.00. Weekdays: Children 2-17 $6.00, Adults 18+ $5.00.
Autumn is a magical time on the farm, when everything from apples to pumpkins are ready for harvest. Your family will love a day on the farm. Barnyard Fun is available with the purchase of a general admission ticket and includes Hayrides, Straw Maze & Mini Maze for the younger ones, The Boo Barn, Giant Hillside Slide, Duck Races, Farm Animals, Tire Mountain.

NoVa

*Burke Nursery and Garden Center
9401 Burke Road, Burke, Virginia (703) 323-1188
October 1-31, 2015. The annual Fall Festival and Pumpkin Playground runs daily from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. through October. Highlights include pirate and western-themed activities, Native American storytellers, and more.

*Clark’s Farm
721 Courthouse Rd (Rte. 630), Stafford, Virginia (540) 659-2172
Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily through October.
Enjoy a moon bounce, maze, face painting, pumpkin painting, straw mountain with tunnels, penny pit, corn box, pumpkin bowling, barn yard animals, pony rides and more.

*Cox Farms
15621 Braddock Road, Centreville, Virginia (703) 830-4121. From September 26-November 3, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., enjoy 5 giant slides, hayrides, rope swings, farm animals, CORNundrum cornfield adventure, straw tunnels, Farm Chores, Kiddie Zone, goat village, apples & cider, food, entertainment, over 90 acres of fun! Take home a small patch pumpkin free with paid admission.

*Great Country Farms
18780 Foggy Bottom Road Bluemont, Virginia (540) 554-2073
September 26-October 31, 2015, open 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where else can you pick your pumpkins and apples, fire pumpkins from a cannon, enjoy cider donuts, get lost in a corn maze, visit with the pumpkin princess, cheer for your favorite swine at the infamous Oinkintucky Derby, and watch P-Rex our pumpkin munchin’ dinosaur? Only at Great Country Farms!

*Heather Hill Gardens
8111 Ox Rd., Fairfax Station, Virginia (703) 690-6060
Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Sundays 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Throughout October. The fall festival includes a pumpkin fort, slide, rope swing, mini zipline, moon bounce, farm animals, and more.

*Hollins Farms Orchard
1524 Snowden Road Delaplane, Virginia (540) 592-3574.
Open Wednesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October.
Pick a pumpkin, see farm animals and baby calves, take a pony ride, enjoy live music, hiking, and more.

*Leesburg Animal Park
Pumpkin Village Fall Fest at the Leesburg Animal Park is open daily from September 19th through November 3rd, 2015! Activites include Giant Hill Slides, Hay wagon rides, moon bounces, pet and feed live animals, free apple & cider snack, free mini-pumpkin to take home, kid’s maze, pumpkin playhouse village, spider web crawl, giant pumpkin bounce, pedal carts, pony rides, camel rides on weekends, and live entertainment on weekends.

*Mount Vernon Fall Harvest Family Days
George Washington Parkway, Mount Vernon, Virginia (703)780-2000
October 24 – 25, 2015, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy autumn activities including horse-drawn wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, a straw bale maze, early-American games, music and demonstrations. This is a huge fall festival with traditional harvest activities, but no pumpkins.

*Ticonderoga Farms
26469 Ticonderoga Road, Chantilly, Virginia (703) 327-4424
Mid-September to first week of November, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy picking your own pumpkin, spooky fun zones, hayrides, hillside slides and tunnels, giant jumping pillow, cow pow train ride, Noah’s Ark, petting animals, giant xylophone, bamboo panda puzzle maze, swinging bridge, antique tractors, fire pits, park-like log cabin play areas, picnic areas, weekend specials and more.

*Wayside Farm
5273 Harry Byrd Highway, Berryville, Virginia (540) 539-3276
Open September 19 – November 1, 2015, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
10-acre corn maze and beautiful pumpkin patch anchor the farm. Hayrides, pig races, barnyard animals, hay slides and much more await at Wayside Farm Fun!

*Wegmeyer Farms
38299 Hughesville Road, Hamilton, Virginia. (540) 751-1782
September 19 – November 1, 2015, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Pumpkins, hayrides and a corn maze. Travel off the beaten path to an authentic working farm and pick your own pumpkin right from the vine.

What’s your favorite farm in the area? Did I miss a really good one? Which one is on your list to visit this fall? Tell me in the comments below.

Signature

Library Summer Reading Programs for Kids and Adults in the DMV Area

Every Hero Has a Sto#91B101 (2)Washington, DC

May 30-Aug. 31

Win prizes for reading!

This year, DC Public Library is teaming up with The Washington Nationals. All kids and teens who reach their summer reading goal win two tickets to catch a Nationals baseball game. Kids, teens and adults who complete will win free Chipotle too.

Check our calendar for a schedule of special events at your library.

Fun for All Ages

For children birth to age 5 and their parent or caregiver. It’s never too early to foster a love of reading in your child.

For children 6 to 12 years old — Win prizes for reading. Ask a librarian about joining the League of Extraordinary Readers and a chance to win a special lunch with 7 famous children’s authors.

For teens ages 13 to 19  Win prizes and have more fun by earning badges!

For adults — Win prizes for reading and learning new skills.

For more information please visit the DC Public Library Website.


Prince Georges County

Every Hero Has a Story: May 15-Aug. 15, 2015

Did you know that children who read at least 20 minutes a day during the summer months perform better in school than those who do not? Summer is the perfect time to explore books and reading. Here’s How!

  • Sign up for Summer @ Your Library (May 15-Aug 15) and get your gameboard. The first 3,500 students to register in person at a branch library will receive a free tee shirt. Sign up at any branch!
  • Complete the activities to earn a prize and enter to win the grand prize drawing for electronics, event tickets and more.
  • Check out the recommended reading lists to find great books for all ages! Don’t forget about ebooks and audiobooks, too. Children’s book lists  Teen book lists
  • Help your child get their very own library card.  See the Student Library Card Agreement.
  • Attend events and performances like Superhero Training Academy, puppet and magic shows, superhero movie nights, and community hero storytimes (events calendar on gameboards below).
  • Contact your local branch library for more information!

Visit the PG Library System website for more information.


Anne Arundel County

Summer Reading Club 2015 – Branch Kickoffs

Hero Training Academy

Create your secret identity and hone your powers at our drop-in hero academies. Be prepared to put your physical, mental and creative abilities to the ultimate test! Activities may vary by branch.

Annapolis

Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm

Broadneck

Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Brooklyn Park

Thursday, June 25 – 6:30 pm

Crofton

Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm

Deale

Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm

Eastport-Annapolis Neck

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

Edgewater

Monday, June 22 – 9:00 am

Glen Burnie

Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Linthicum

Thursday, June 25 – 6:00 pm

Maryland City at Russett

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:30 pm

Mountain Road

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

Odenton

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

Riviera Beach

Saturday, June 27 – 2:00 pm

Severn

Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Severna Park

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

For more information please visit the Anne Arundel County Library Website.


For information on the Montgomery County Library System Summer Reading Program, please visit their website.


Fairfax County, VA

June 19 – September 5

Watch this video for more details and great ideas on places to read, books to read and more!

Get ready to enjoy “Read to the Rhythm” during the 2015 Summer Reading Program at the Fairfax County Public Library. You will be able to register online or in person at your local library beginning June 19.

Preschoolers through high schoolers earn a coupon book with great prizes including free and discounted items by completing their reading and going to their local library branch by September 5.

Activities are planned for families, preschoolers, school-age youngsters, teens and adults throughout the summer. Search our calendar of events or pick up a printed copy of the summer calendar at your local branch.

Come back on June 19 to register and learn all the details. Read for fun this summer!

For more information please visit the Fairfax County Library System Website.


Alexandria, VA

Calling all kids! Beginning Monday, June 22, 2015, you can sign up for Alexandria Library’s summer reading program! This year’s theme is “Every Story Has a Hero.”

Click to access SummerQuest Jr. Click to access SummerQuest Click to access Unmask
SummerQuest Jr.   

Ages 0-5

SummerQuest

Ages 6-12

Unmask

Ages 12-18

SummerQuest Jr.
If you are between the ages of just born and five years old, you can sign up for SummerQuest, Jr. You will receive an early literacy activity sheet. When you are finished, show us your completed sheet and receive a surprise! SummerQuest, Jr. also features fun programs such as funny puppet shows and lively music concerts.

SummerQuest
Starting on June 22nd, kids between the ages of 6 and 12 get to sign up for the Every Hero Has a Story SummerQuest reading challenge. SummerQuest participants also track the books they read and receive a special prize after reading ten books. The Library has also invited a group of special guests to entertain with music, magic and much more!

Unmask — Teen Reading Challenge
Students between the ages of 12-18 may register for the “Unmask” Teen Reading Challenge. After logging in 5 or more books, their names will be entered in a raffle to win one of two $50 gift cards. Rising 6th and 7th grade students may sign up for either “Every Hero Has a Story” for ages 6-12 or for the teen program, “Unmask.”

For more information please visit the Alexandria Library Website.

Happy Reading!

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