Moms of Fredericksburg Blog

Awesome Snow Tubing Near Fredericksburg

Most of us have heard the old saying, “The family that prays together…stays together.” Yes, our family has absolutely seen the divine power of this phrase. We’ve also learned to mix it up a little by adding the verb, “Plays.” Yes, it’s also true…”The family that plays together stays together!”

A profitable investment in your family is making time for “Balance” activities.” These type of events may require parents to take a vacation day, plan ahead, and ultimately, put forth some more effort ON TOP of normally scheduled activities. While the children are still following OUR agendas, we should invest as much time as possible because, sadly, it’s going by too quickly! Before we know it, the kids will be scheduling us into their itineraries!

This past week, my family took advantage of a homeschool fringe benefit for discount tickets to snow tubing in the beautiful mountains of Virginia. We belong to the REACH Home School group for $35 annually, and take full advantage of discounted field trips/activities/educational classes, etc! We are SO grateful to the organizer of this group and would love to give her a shout out: “Thank you, Wanda, for all that you do!”

"Magic Carpet" ride up to the top

Okay, back to the tubing part. If you’re interested in snow-tubing before the winter season ends, you MUST try Massanutten Ski Resort, located in Massanutten, Virginia! The drive from Fredericksburg took a little less than 2 hours, one way. That may seem a bit long but, trust us, it was WELL worth the effort. Having gone on a weekday, the traffic was minimal, and most of the trip was quite beautiful with all of the historic locations, horse farms and white mountains. We are SO blessed to live in an area where we can enjoy fairly easy access to, both the ocean, AND the mountains.

snow tubing at Massunutten Resort, Virginia

I have attached THIS link for rates and pertinent details regarding snow-tubing. You can also explore all the other exciting things to do at the resort. One thing I’d like to point out about the snow-tubing…You catch a “magic carpet” ride up to the top every time. No lugging yourself, kiddos, and heavy tube up a dozen times!

Here’s some pictures, and even a video of me, my husband, and 5 year old son going down with our tubes attached. It was SO cold but totally worth the experience!!

snow tubing at Massunutten Resort

Try Hockey for Free – Fredericksburg Boys AND Girls

What makes Moms of Fredericksburg a great option for advice on most things having to do with families in our area? First of all, we’e a diverse group of moms with children ranging in ages from 4 to 17 year olds. Secondly, we’ve explored and tested several businesses in the Fredericksburg area and can, therefore, greatly assist you in making the MOST informed decision about who and what to patronize. Moms helping moms is OUR motto!

If you’re aware of something we haven’t written a blog post about, just drop us an email and we will do our best to get you some feedback.

Why just today, my supermom friend, Rose, who is always current with family friendly happenings in our area, sent me a message about a really neat event my family has personally attended! Two years ago, Rose told me about a free activity for boys and girls called, “Try Hockey for Free USA.” We took her advice and signed our three sons up for the event. I wrote about it in this blog and even posted pictures of my boys all geared up.

Guess what, moms…It’s that time of year again. Click on this link if you are interested in the DETAILS.

Prince William Ice Center - Try Hockey for Free 2013

Kids’ Birthday Party Venues – Fredericksburg

You know that feeling of satisfaction you get after celebrating one of your children’s birthday? Another successful milestone completed with kudos from the guest of honor…Whew! With each passing year, we try to make them feel loved, cherished, and special. Yes, we celebrate, but even more importantly, we give thanks to God for the greatest gifts He’s ever bestowed upon us!

Our middle son was the latest recipient of our loving efforts. Having lived in Fredericksburg for almost 5 years now, we’ve scouted out a gazillion birthday party venue options. We’ve celebrated at the Fredericksburg Field House, our own backyard with a giant moon bounce from Inflatable Jump Rentals, invited Engineering for Kids to our home one year, pool parties, an outdoor Nerf party, and yes, even the dreaded Chucky Cheese experience. Actually, Chucky Cheese isn’t THAT bad if you plan for an early day Monday thru Thursday event.

This year my skater/surfer/X-Games loving boy wanted to do gymnastics! I know what you’re thinking…Gymnastics isn’t very extreme. Well, HIS version is called PARKOUR, and it’s anything but ordinary! So, mommy detective investigated the possibilities and uncovered a local PARKOUR studio through which I reserved a 90 minute lesson for he and his friends. Most folks aren’t familiar with term PARKOUR which is generally described as the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing. Now, if any of your kids use those big red balls outside Target like an impromptu obstacle course, imagine a huge warehouse full of similar obstacles just begging to be used in all sorts of imaginative ways. I have 3 sons who are ALWAYS on the lookout for opportunities to climb, jump, balance, swing, and jump on forbidden fruit. An evening of parkour lessons and freestyle was the PERFECT activity for a group of young boys literally bursting with pent up energy!

Here’s a picture of the parkour studio at Polar Fitness in Fredericksburg.

Parkour Studio at Polar Fitness - Fredericksburg

Cool, huh?! Owner and trainer, Jason Yusko, did a great job instructing the children in warm-up exercises and free play. As a father of two, he knew exactly how to introduce the kids to the sport in a safe and productive manner. Jason wrapped up the fun filled evening by leading each child through to the grand finale: an obstacle course complete with a jump to and from a big wall. The kids remained focused and determined to complete each level of instruction, and accompanying obstacle. By the end of our 90 minute lesson, the boys were totally pumped AND thoroughly wiped out from workout. The next day, the boys were sore but satisfied. Sore from the strenuous activity…Satisfied in having successfully met the challenges posed by the activity and the obstacles. Quite an experience, let me tell you! A minimum charge of $90, or 6 kid minimum was required to reserve our party.

Our boys judged it “BEST party ever!”

Our party agenda looked something like this:

5:30 pm pizza and basketball at our house
6:15 pm cake and happy birthday
6:45 pm parkour studio for our lesson
8:45 pm – Home and all kids crashed!

Kids Play Hockey, Fredericksburg, VA

It was only a matter of time before one of our three sons decided they wanted to play hockey. After all, having lived in Fredericksburg for almost 5 years now, we’ve dabbled in just about every other sport including soccer, flag football, martial arts, swimming, and lacrosse!

Our middle son will be turning 8 this month. The ONLY thing he’s interested in lately is hockey. Since Lance never really differentiated his interest between ice or street hockey, I just assumed it would be the colder version and called the only local “hockey mom” I know, our wonderful calendar manager, Rose. It was perfect timing on our part, because the registration deadline to participate in a local USA HOCKEY program called “Try Hockey for Free Day,” fast approached.

The closest participating ice rink to Fredericksburg was the Prince William Ice Center, a ride of no more than 35 minutes on Saturday afternoon.

Upon arrival, we checked in and were immediately taken care of by polite staff members and high school volunteers. Our sons (ages 4, 8 and 9) were fitted with hockey gear from head to toe, with helmets, pads, jersey, hockey skates, and a stick. We had plenty of assistance with finding the correct sizes and getting suited up. After being led to the rink, the boys received one on one coaching. I cannot tell you how awesome it was for us to watch such a large group of children trying so hard to stand up, skate, and play hockey!

After a little over an hour, the kids posed for a group shot and received a certificate of completion. They even got to KEEP their hockey jerseys!

Prince Wiliam Ice Center
Thanks again, to Rose for directing me to this program, which runs twice a year! If you’re interested in a reminder for the next free hockey day (I heard it will be during the Fall), just “like” Try Hockey for Free Day on Facebook. I imagine they will include a post on Facebook when the next registration starts.

Great Train Race, Fredericksburg

Hang on moms…Spring weather is finally headed our way and, before long, the kids will be actively playing outdoors on a regular basis! Next week, our sons will start training with their school’s Running Club. I’m very encouraged by the opportunity because it’ll help our two oldest prepare for the Great Train Race.

If you’re unfamiliar with Fredericksburg’s largest children’s race, check out some of my previously published articles describing the event. Since we ONLY advertise and/or endorse events we’ve had an opportunity to try out with our own families, I quickly recommended it to other locals.

This year’s race will take place on Sunday, May 4, 2014. Race details as well as registration is available online at

One last reminder – the deadline for submissions to the T-Shirt Content is March 15, 2014. For details on the logo design contest, visit GTF online.

Snow Ice Cream – Snow Day Fun in Fredericksburg

I recently read about snow ice cream in the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America’s Largest Families–How they Do It. This family AMAZES us, and we really enjoyed watching their tv show before we disconnected our cable. I grew up in the Northeast, and NEVER heard of making ice cream with snow! So today, before the snow piles up any higher in Fredericksburg, I’m sending someone out (note the task delegation) with a few plastic bowls to gather fresh snow…WAY before our Goldendoodle, Jack gets to it . Here’s a recipe to follow below. My disclaimer to our kids is that it will NOT taste like Sweet Frog or Carl’s. However, it’s worth experimenting with, and I betcha it’ll come pretty close to Chick Fil A’s frozen dessert! I mean, “Come on,” they can’t REALLY call that stuff, ice cream, can they? At least, not with a straight face! :)

Snow Ice Cream

1-1/2 to 2 cups sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon imitation vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla
1 quart heavy whipping cream or half-and-half
6 quarts clean, fresh snow (fluffy, not packed)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream.
Add snow, 2 cups at a time.
Stir until mixture is ice cream consistency.
*This recipe is found on page 160 of the Duggars’ first book, “20 and Counting.”

Jack, "The King of Doodle Land."

Keeping Busy – Snow Days in Fredericksburg

This week, Mother Nature handed us an unexpected break from the normal routine of school, work, etc. My husband and I looked at it as an opportunity to tackle our family mudroom. It was in need of a serious makeover and since we do have our home on the market…Why not, right?! I regret not taking a “before” photo to compare but, with excitement, I will share that we spent less than $20 on THIS final product!

1 gallon of “less than $10″ paint from Walmart, a roller, tape, and some time is all it took!
The boat shelf was bought secondhand from a lady in Fredericksburg a few years back, and has now been put to proper use. The baskets were also purchased secondhand in Annapolis. They are from Pottery Barn, and have lasted 5 years!

As you can see, we brightened up the room, and cleared our kitchen counters that were normally piled high with school papers, books, pens, etc.

If this post has you thinking about tackling your own small home project during these bitter cold winter days, we have a GIVEAWAY that just might give you that little extra push to get started!

Sarah Hardy, a local mom and Thirty One Director is giving away a Your Way Rectangle!
Here it is!

TO WIN: Just comment on our Facebook page what room in your home is in great need of a makeover!

Also anyone who books from this blog post/site will get an extra $10 in free product! Book a show/shop by visiting Sarah online.

The LEGO Movie Hands-On Learning Event, Fredericksburg

Ladies, during our family’s recent trip to Barnes and Noble in Central Park I noticed an advertisement for a FREE Hands-On learning event featuring the upcoming motion picture release, THE LEGO Movie. My sons are all super excited for this movie and according to the folks at Barnes and Noble, they have 50 spots and the last I checked 30 spaces were still available! To register your children, just call Barnes and Noble in Central Park at 540-785-3504.

Wholesome Fun for Families in Fredericksburg – A birthday party venue

By: Gina Terry, Phd

Chuck-e-Cheese’s slogan of “where a kid can be a kid” has always seemed inaccurate to me.  I find nothing reminiscent of childhood in a commercially crafted space that sends my kids into a sugar-induced frenzy and sends birthday parties scattered to the winds as each child scrambles to earn much-coveted tickets to exchange for junk. Trips to the place usually end with me craving Tylenol or a glass of wine – or both.

My children’s ideal birthday party space involves open spaces for play, room for adventure, and time outside.  Thus, for our daughter’s sixth birthday party we headed to Braehead Farm.  We rented the Red Shed, which provided us a shelter from the fall temperatures and a private space for cake and presents. Party guests gained admission to the playground in the barn lot and could swing on “horses” and “steers,” feed pigs, pet goats, play in huge sand piles (our son’s favorite activity), swing in a hayloft, and follow free-range hens across the yard.  We had the added benefit of having Alison’s party coincide with their Fall Festival (which runs through Nov. 3), but the farm is fun any time of the year. 
Braehead Farm, Fredericksburg
Braehead is the last remaining working farm within Fredericksburg city limits, and it is a gem of a place.  Events on the farm follow the seasons; they have strawberry picking in the summer, a pumpkin patch and hayrides in the fall, and they will have holiday events through December.  Season passes for the playground in the barn lot are available.  For the party, we had a group hayride, ran through the corn maze pretending to be chickens, balanced across a log trying to avoid the “troll” (me), and took turns swinging in the hayloft. I had planned a few party games, but we did not need them — the kids had so much fun, you guessed it, just being kids.

Free Family Activity in Fredericksburg

By: Gina Terry, Phd

For my birthday weekend we were supposed to go hiking at Shenandoah National Park; I’m not quite up to Dina’s Old Rag Birthday Hike, but nonetheless I wanted to spend the day hiking in the mountains with my family. The shutdown shut down that plan. Our subsequent plan involved apple picking, but the rain rained that plan out. We opted instead for a more fail-proof plan—brunch.

When we left home to try Mason Dixon Café & Bakery for brunch, we had no idea what we would do with the rest of our day. We drove past the Rappahannock Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society Museum on our way to the restaurant, and after a yummy meal, we made an impromptu decision to stop and check the place out.

The museum is staffed entirely by enthusiastic volunteers and while small, it had plenty to hold our kids’ attention. Both kids enjoyed touring the restored railcars, but their favorite part was the ride we took on the Maintenance of Way (MOW) vehicle. The small open-air train took us out across Tidewater Trail and to the main tracks that cross our region. To the kids’ delight, a freight train was on the main tracks and the conductor waved at them as he passed. The MOW does not go fast, but it was a pretty ride through the misty woods and the kids loved the experience. I should be honest here; this Mom of Fredericksburg loves trains, so I was having as much fun as the kids.

family on Rappahannock Chapter's Little Yellow Train.
The insanity of the shutdown and the persistent rain may have put a damper on my birthday plans, but I am thankful for such a fun day with my family. After all, sometimes the best birthday presents involve unplanned adventures.
The museum is open on Saturdays from 9-12; the museum and MOW are free but donations are welcome.

Day Trip from Fredericksburg – Old Rag Mountain, Shenandoah

I celebrated my birthday this weekend and had a chance to experience the amazingly beautiful scenery of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. A low-key day trip was exactly what the doctor prescribed as I entered the first day of my last year in my 30′s. The weather was out of character for a Virginia August, crisp, blue skies, and little humidity. My inner voice couldn’t stop saying, “this weather could not be more ideal for a hike!” I also couldn’t help but remind myself that the views from the top of Old Rag Mountain would be even more spectacular. Fresh air, beautiful views, exercise, and tranquility could not be more ideal for the “namaste state of mind” I intended on acquiring. Another perk with this year’s birthday extravaganza, it did not break the household bank.

old rag mountain

Did you know that our beautiful State of Virginia has over 40 national parks? The Shenandoah National Park is one of the larger most enjoyable locations in my opinion because of the variety of family friendly activities: camping, hiking, Skyline Drive, waterfalls, wildlife and more. Old Rag is one of the most popular hikes in the park and I soon discovered that it takes skill to make it to the top. But I’ve been training for about 9 years now; ironically the number of years ago that I gave birth to my oldest son. Lol!

old rag mountain
The drive to Old Rag Mountain was less than 1.5 hours of country back roads. Since it’s a day-trip, be sure to pack lunch, water, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the great views. Here’s a great link with information to help prepare to hike Old Rag Mountain. Based on my first hand experience, I would say the following tips are very helpful:

  • Hikers should be physically able to hike about 9 miles with significant elevation change and strenuous rock scrambles. A shout out to my Pitaiyo instructors for helping me strengthen my core. Upper body strength also helped me reach the summit.
  • Sturdy shoes with a grip to avoid slipping. No sneakers because the rocks are slippery suckers!
  • Plan to be on your feet for 7 to 8 hours. It’s not a “pt” event so pace yourself and enjoy the stunning views.
  • No cell coverage. For safety reasons, be sure to hike with a partner and stay with a group if possible. Our first mile up we found a man that needed medical attention, but luckily, with the help of other hikers, he got quick medical attention. It was a scary situation because we had no way of reaching help other than to wait for a quick thinking hiker to run back down to the ranger station for assistance.

moms of fredericksburg hiking old rag mountain
Prepared with these tips hikers can enjoy the journey – and the view. The summit of Old Rag Mountain was breathtaking! It was worth the effort, and I’m looking forward to sharing this experience with friends during future hikes.

Lil’ Kickers Soccer – Fredericksburg Field House

I’m a soccer mom. I’m not just the type of soccer mom that drives her kids around town with a soccer magnet on the back of her minivan. No, I like to go big or go home; I manage my son’s travel team and run the website for my daughter’s travel team. I’m a wee bit involved. It’s a family thing; my husband has been coaching for 20 years and coaches a U9 travel team for a local club. We are definitely a soccer family!
We have been amused by the antics of our 2 year old lately. Following in her older siblings’ footsteps, she kicks anything resembling a ball while toddling around the house. She’s got a wicked left foot and can even get the ball into the air! I lovingly call her my little Abby Wambach. So imagine our excitement when we heard about the Lil’ Kickers Open House at Fredericksburg Field House! Finally, she was going to get to kick around a real soccer ball on a real field. She was so excited and even brought her own little ball.

toddler girl with soccer ball

When we got to the Fredericksburg Field House we were greeted by an enthusiastic young woman who said, “HI! Are you here for the Open House?” I guess the little munchkins trailing behind me gave this away. She gave me some information about the program and then we headed over to the field.
I have 5 children and my 2 year old is my fourth. One would think I would know better than to take a toddler to an event during naptime. The minute she stepped on the field she started crying. This was going to be fun.

dad and daughter playing soccer
Despite my daughter’s fussiness, the coaches were so welcoming to her, and tried to make her feel at ease. I felt bad for them because they were trying, but they weren’t getting anywhere. Most of the time she just stood there, but towards the end she started to warm up and enjoy the activities.
The folks at Fredericksburg Field House have done a wonderful job creating a program that teaches soccer skills to even the youngest (and fussiest) players. One of the games involved having the children use their feet to turn a toppled cone upright. Sure, it was a game, but it helped to build the foundations for future soccer skills, such as rollovers. The staff is kind, helpful, and knowledgeable—all of which are keys to fostering a love of soccer in your child!
The Lil’ Kickers program is for children aged 18 months to 6 years. Classes are divided by age and skill level; the first 3 age groups involve the parents, so plan on wearing comfortable clothing because you’ll be stretching and running around right next to your little one!
The cost of the Lil’ Kickers program is $125 for 10 classes; enrollment is ongoing so kids can join any time. The Fredericksburg Field House offers morning or afternoon classes Tuesday through Saturday, and there are several time slots from which to choose. We’re excited for the next class—and this time we’ll be there before nap time! I hope to see you there!

Fredericksburg’s July 4th Heritage Festival Itinerary

fredericksburg's July 4th Heritage Festival


*Note* As of 7/2/13, the 11:30 am Rappahannock River Raft Race has been postponed due to unsafe river conditions. It’s rained for too many days! The race will now take place at 11:30 am on Saturday, July 20 at the Falmouth Waterfront Park.

We’ll mark OUR events calendar accordingly!

Southpoint Cinemas Fredericksburg Free Summer Movies

Free Marquee Cinemas Summer Movie Guide

Fredericksburg Scavenger Hunt

Are you looking for something fun to do this weekend? Well, look no further than our very own Downtown Fredericksburg. This weekend, April the historic district of Fredericksburg will host the 2nd annual Fairy Godmother Project’s Scavenger Hunt!!!

Their fearless leader and chief godmother, Andie McConnell, has been hard at work with her team of interns and volunteers to make this year’s event brilliantly fun!

The event kicks off on April 20th at 11am and goes until 1pm. Participants form teams who then collect clues and follow their keen instincts and, of course, their map! Each team member will receive an event t-shirt, raffle tickets, goodie bags, and yummy food to fuel your hunt! Numerous downtown businesses participate in making this day a success as well by providing gift certificates and merchandise that all the participants can win.

Fairy Godmother Project Scavenger Hunt, Fredericksburg
To get your team signed up – please visit their website for the easy enrollment form.

This event is more than just a fundraiser for the Fairy Godmother project – it’s a way to get the local community active, having fun, and learning a lot about the participating businesses. Executive Director, Andie McConnell, is a huge advocate of supporting local business in her personal life and for her organization. If you’re not familiar with the Fairy Godmother Project please visit their website and read the very touching story of how cancer touched Andie’s life and transformed her life mission.

The scavenger hunt was born out of Andie’s s sense of adventure and her sense of adventure in entertaining her own children. In an email correspondence about the event Andie wrote, “I do scavenger hunts for my kids all the time and LOVE them which is one of the reasons we started it last year. And, of course, we are trying to raise money to support our families.”

Please – come out to support an amazing local non-profit organization, have some fun learning about the downtown shopping district, and maybe even win some amazing prizes!

Structured Fitness and Fun for Fredericksburg Kids

I can still remember, like it was yesterday. My husband and I moving to a new suburb just outside Philadelphia with our nearly 1 year old son, Cole, AND another on the way. I was eager to get him out and about, meeting new playmates, and developing a regular routine for my “soon-to-be walker.” My overall goal, at that stage of parenthood, was to provide Cole with plenty of opportunities for socializing, learning motor skills, and experiencing new environments.

Here I am, three sons later (the youngest of whom recently turned 3), and now must focus on creating a balance between home, work, school, and fun. Finding the time and proper environment to truly focus on distraction-free interaction with your children will create lasting memories. I can personally attest to this because I still remember the happiness and laughter Cole and I shared during his first tumbling class 7 years ago!

Many of you may be familiar with Fredericksburg’s newest indoor children’s gym, Great Play. If you are, that’s great! If you aren’t, and are looking for a Mommy & Me class designed just for you and your little one (ages 6 months to 3 1/2 years), you’ve GOT to check it out! My 3 year old and I attended an intro motor skills class at GREAT PLAY, and it was fantastic. For an hour, he and I were part of a small group of moms and kids, sharing in structured activities and led by 3 coaches. Together, we sang, climbed, crawled through tunnels, pushed on indoor swings, and just let loose! The best part is, no two classes are alike because the instructors constantly mix up the activities, creating settings that are exciting and unique, all in a brand new, clean, and cheerful environment.

In addition, Great Play offers classes geared toward older school age children. For instance, in their “Interactive Arena, children have fun learning skills to succeed in a variety of sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, flag football, and more! Two versions of this program are offered: 1) a continuous multisport program geared toward the development of an all around athlete and 2) a focused seasonal program for children who would like to gain greater expertise in one specific sport.

Another is called “Play 50.” Essentially, 50 minutes of fun-filled play designed to develop fitness, coordination, teamwork, and advanced motor skills. With this particular program, athleticism is the focus, not sports. As such, children who aren’t interested in sports can still develop athletic abilities and overall fitness, but in a fun, non-competitive atmosphere.

Last, but definitely not least, there is also “Zumbatomic!” Think of it like a carefully orchestrated, high energy mixture of fun, fitness, and rockin dance moves!

Birthday parties are a GREATPLAY specialty.
Make your child the star of his or her birthday with one of their award winning events. They have several party themes, each one customized to suit your child’s interests, personality, and age range. General themes include Field Day (ages 3-10), Fun and Games (ages 1-6), and Multi-sport (ages 4-10).

Party time availability is as follows: On Fridays, times are available upon request. Time is also available on Saturdays (1:30pm and 3:30pm), and Sundays (11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30PM). Prices are $225 for enrolled members, for up to 18 children, for 90 minutes. For non-members, it is $250 for the same number of children and time.
kids playing Great Play Fredericksburgtoddler jumping on trampoline Great Play fredericksburg
toddler riding bike Great Play Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg’s Resource for Swimming Lessons and Pool Parties

Little Fish Swimming offers swim lessons to children of all
ages at an indoor heated pool facility in Fredericksburg, VA. The company was born in a backyard pool, fueled by the dream of owners, Keri Rayford and Rochelle Preut. Having been life long competitive swimmers, these two sisters decided to turn their experience, and passion, into a full time job opportunity. Six years later, Little Fish Swimming continues to provide quality swimming lessons to Fredericksburg area residents. The company is currently operated out of St. Michael’s High School, which is located off of rt. 3 just behind the Rite Aid at Five Mile Fork.

Children swimming indoors with swim instructor
At Little Fish Swimming, children are immediately set up for success because the group classes have a maximum of only 4 swimmers. This allows for much more individualized attention per swimmer, and is in direct contrast to the 8-10 swimmer limit with most other options. For those parents who desire an even faster track to accomplish their children’s swimming goals, Little Fish Swimming offers semi-private and private class options as well.

toddler boy swimming in pool with female swim instructor
Each week, Little Fish swimmers become more comfortable in the water, and with their coach, as they progress through the different levels of swim instruction. The program provides lessons based upon the ability of each swimmer, and allows for an increasing level of competitiveness, up to and including, participation on a swim team.

While many parents have different goals for their children, swim lessons provide an essential life skill, ensuring long term safety, and fun.

Little Fish Swimming also offers swim parties for any occasion. Come celebrate your next party at the pool with an hour of swimming, followed by another hour on the party deck. Participants also have the option to upgrade and use the Little Fish Water Ball, to literally “walk on water.”

iD Tech Camps & iD Teen Academies

Do you have kids who like gaming, programming, or filmmaking? How about 3D modeling, robotics, ad design, or photography? This summer, iD Tech Camps is providing a creative outlet where students can take their hobbies further to gain a competitive edge!

ID TEch Camp Students
Offering summer camps in Virginia held at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg – and other prestigious universities across the country – iD Tech camps has seen over 130,000 students worldwide immerse in hands-on learning to create iPhone apps, programs with C++ and Java, video games, websites, movies, 3D models, ad designs, robots, and more. Beginner to advanced students ages 7-17 enroll in these fun and challenging, weeklong, day and overnight summer camps.

By guaranteeing small class sizes (max 8:1) that are taught by adult-only instructors, iD Tech Camps provides personalized 1-on-1 instruction, with teens, pre-teens, and younger students separated into different classes. This type of camp environment allows students to engage in personalized curriculum with a small group of peers to optimize learning and social experiences.

For instance, many iD alumni have gone on to do something BIG, taking what they’ve learned at iD and applying it to life outside of camp.  They’ve done impressive things like sell their iPhone apps to raise money for college, create websites for local businesses, and write programming books. They’ve also gone on to take leadership roles in school, start clubs, and enter competitions with the projects they’ve created.

iD-Tech Camps Students
Also, there are 2-week, pre-college, overnight summer programs for teens at iD Gaming Academy, iD Programming Academy, and iD Visual Arts Academy (filmmaking and photography).  These summer academies are for ages 13-18 and are located at American University, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, and other locations throughout the U.S. 

Interested parents can visit for more information and to register online (check real-time-up-to-the-minute-availability).  You can also call 1-888-709-TECH (8324) to speak to a Program Advisor who can recommend a customized summer schedule to develop a student’s interest.

Springtime Fun at Fredericksburg’s Biggest Children’s Race

If it happens to be your first Spring in Fredericksburg, you’ll no doubt soon hear plenty of chatter at local playgrounds about the City’s annual “Great Train 1 Mile Race and Caboose Run.”

colorful train with word numbers

This morning, I knew it was time to help spread the word when my toddler came into the living room wearing his older brother’s medal from last year’s race. I sure hope Dad isn’t away this year because I’ll now have 3 children participating in the race which is scheduled for May 6, 2012. My two older boys will run the mile race while my youngest tackles the quarter mile downhill run from Lafayette Boulevard to City Block on Sophia Street. I know he’s ready because it seems like all I ever do is chase him around!

This will be our families’ third year of participation, and I’ve got to tell you, this is one of the most organized children’s events in Fredericksburg! I sincerely believe that almost every kid in the area participates and, in my opinion, the more the merrier! If you’ve ever run in a race (short or long,) you understand the sense of accomplishment one feels at the finish line. Well, just imagine hundreds of children smiling with their heads held up high for the day!
Fredericksburg kids at Great Train Race
A quick, and funny, story… My husband was out of town and I couldn’t have my oldest son (6, at the time) participating in the 1 mile run at the same time my younger son, (5, at the time) ran the 1/4 mile run. Two separate places at once with a third baby in tow was just not going to work. SO, I fibbed and told the 5 year old he was running the 1/4 mile, when, in reality, he was running the mile with his older brother. You should have seen his face near the end!!! I was running along with them (well, actually, I couldn’t keep up with my oldest) so I kept encouraging my 5 year old to keep moving until the end. He did it, and was super excited to realize he finished the mile run!
Okay – enough babbling, here’s the scoop:

Caboose Run (1/4 miles perfect for ages 5 and under)

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012
Time: Approx. 11:30 am (plan on arriving early because you’ll need time to find parking)
Register: Race Timing Unlimited or in person at VA Runner.

Great Train (1 mile run for ages 5 – 18)

Date: Sunday, May 6, 2012
Time: First Heat Starts at 7:30 am
Register: Race Timing Unlimited or in person at VA Runner.

Richmond Day Trip from Fredericksburg

Last Sunday happened to be one of those days when I just HAD to get away from my normal routine. For those of you who know me personally, you understand, as I’ve had quite a few weekends of double duty while my husband works. Anyway, I was looking for something fun (READ: different) to keep the kids entertained while daddy was at work. Since we hadn’t visited Richmond in a while, I decide to venture down for the day. Especially, since it’s such an easy trip from Fredericksburg!

science museum of virginia

You may think my decision to “go-it-alone” and visit a museum with three small, boisterous children was, shall we say, “a bit adventurous.” BUT, that’s never stopped me before so, why start now, right? Let me tell you…we had a VERY nice time exploring the Science Museum of Virginia that day. My kids truly enjoyed the variety of activities available during our tour.

Learning about the ocean and posing with God of the sea - Neptune!

Some of our favorite exhibits:

  • Imagination Playground – There were so many “hands on” activities for the kids (even for my toddler). We spent most of our time running around, exploring, building, and becoming more educated about the basic components of science, engineering and physics.
  • Gravity Alley – My two older boys got to try out a SEGWAY, something they had never really seen before. It was amazing to watch how well they both controlled their balance as they maneuvered around the floor.

toddler posing on submarine at Science Museum of Virginia

Chase (2) thought it was so cool to stand on a real submarine!

A little about the Science Museum of Virginia

2500 West Broad Street, Richmond VA 23220

From Fredericksburg, take 95 South; take the Boulevard exit #78; bear right onto Boulevard; take Boulevard to West Broad Street (US 250) (4th traffic light); turn left onto West Broad Street and go two blocks; the Museum is on your left.
(Note: the museum is located in a historic train station)

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 am – 5pm. Open Monday January 16, 2012.

Cost: Exhibit Only $11 (Adult 13-59)
Kids (4-12) $10

Memberships are available. Visit for more details.

Stay tuned for our next visit to Richmond’s Children Museum!!

New Year’s Day Outdoor Hunt and Hike For Kids

If you’re looking for some outdoor family fun on New Year’s Day that doesn’t involve money, crowds/lines, or over-stimulation…check this out! Every one of Virginias’ beautiful state parks are participating in a First Day Hikes on January 1, 2012.
Happy Family Hike in Autumn
And, as a further incentive to encourage family participation in physical activities, “Virginia Outdoors” is sponsoring a contest with the grand prize being a week long stay at Virginia State Park cabin. Click here for more details about how to enter.

For your convenience, below we’ve highlighted the specific details from 2 participating parks, both of which happen to be less than 30 miles from Fredericksburg.

    Caledon State Park First Day Hike and Possum Present Hunt for Kids!

Caledon is located in King George County, between Fairview Beach and Owens, about 23 miles east of Fredericksburg on Route 218. From Fredericksburg, take 218 East for 23 miles. Caledon is on the left. Or you can take Rt. 3 east 18 miles, then make a left onto Rt. 206 for another six miles. Next, you’ll turn left onto Rt. 218 and go about one mile where you’ll see Caledon on the right.

Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

The Christmas Possum has hidden some final gifts around the trails. Help him find them and your children will earn a holiday reward (think egg hunt). Before the search begins, volunteers will tell the story of the Christmas Possum and then go over the rules for the hunt. After the hunt, hot chocolate will be served along with a warm fire to warm up any cold toes. You can call the park to pre-register (although not required) at 540-663-3861. Just leave a message, if they don’t answer.

Lake Anna State Park

Location: The park lies adjacent to Route 601 off Route 208, 25 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. From I-95, take Exit 118 at Thornburg and travel about four miles on Rt. 606. At Snell, Rt. 606 becomes Rt. 208. Stay on Rt. 208 west for another 11 miles. Turn right onto Rt. 601 (Lawyers Road) and drive three miles. You’ll see the state park sign on your left.

Time: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Details: Free – Children Allowed. Lake Anna State Park is offering a free self-guided hike on Railroad Ford Trail as part of the American’s State Park’s 1st Day Hike program. The trail guide for all of Lake Anna State Park is available online or you can pick one up at the park. For more information, or to make arrangements for groups, contact Lake Anna State Parks’ Visitor Center at 540-854-6245.

Winter Activities for Fredericksburg Kids

I’m sure there are a lot of Fredericksburg moms around who would agree that two words immediately come to mind when searching for an activity to occupy our children during the coldest, and hottest, months of the year – FIELD HOUSE.

kids playing sports
Although the December weather in Fredericksburg has been fairly mild…don’t be fooled. I’m sure we’ll all be freezing our buns off during the next couple of months! And, if your kids are ANYTHING like mine, they NEED an outlet to release their pent up energy. This generally involves activities requiring a large, open space, something most homes lack. Many times, it’s probably cheaper, in the long run, to involve kids in a winter sport versus splurging on last minute activities like bowling, movies, trips to the mall, etc, over the course of the season.

I highly encourage you moms to take advantage of our local indoor sports center and register your kiddos for sports at the Fredericksburg Field House. Today, December 31, 2011, is last day to take advantage of registration for Winter sports! Visit the Field House website where you’ll find detailed information on youth and high school soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and the Sports Stars Academy, which is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!

YMCA Hosts 19th Annual Turkey Trot in Fredericksburg, VA

It’s already November again, and for many of us Fredericksburg runners, it’s time to gear up for two local holiday traditions: the 19th Annual Mary Washington Healthcare YMCA Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5K and Tot Trot 1 Miler on the morning of Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 24, 2011. Last year, my husband and I loaded up our jogging strollers and ran the entire race while pushing our three sons! When it was all over, we headed back home and enjoyed our holiday feast without the guilt – mommy and daddy earned each and every calorie.

turkey running

Whether you’re new to Fredericksburg, or have been running the Turkey Trot as a yearly family tradition, I think we would all agree that participating in such a community oriented activity makes you feel right at home. For many local families, this may be your first year spending the holidays in the Fredericksburg area. These races are a great way to join the community and combat the sadness of missing family and friends during the holiday season!

Visit the YMCA’s racing website for more details on the Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk and the Youth 1 Mile Run.
To register online visit Race Timing

Hot Tip: If you are unable to pick up your race packet on Wednesday, November 23rd (between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm at James Monroe High School), plan to arrive extra early on race day. Fredericksburg has HUNDREDS of faithful turkey trotters!

Sports Registration for Fredericksburg Girls and Boys

If you’re new to the area, or even if you’ve been around for a while, you likely know there are two sports that have been steadily increasing in popularity here in the Fredericksburg area – Soccer and Lacrosse! When my family first moved to Fredericksburg, my husband and I quickly learned the area offered a few different options for introducing soccer to our children. Many parents who’ve been living in Fredericksburg will advise you to start with the Field House for soccer basics if your children are preschool age.

young kids in sports gear

Another well respected option in Fredericksburg is FASA or Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association. My older sons have played the last couple of seasons with FASA and, personally, I think it’s a wonderful option for instilling those necessary soccer skills to succeed as they grow and mature.

Yet another option is to seek out one of the well organized soccer teams available through the county Parks & Recreation Department. You will find active links on the Activities Page of our website under Fitness for the Entire Family. ALL of these choices are recommended options. It’s entirely up to you to decide which best fits the needs and interests of your family.

There are several factors we as parents look for prior to committing to a team sport. The cost and schedule are usually the two biggest issues for many families.

As far as lacrosse goes, this year will be my family’s first foray into the sport itself. My oldest son will strap on his VERY expensive gear to begin what his father and I hope to be many year’s worth of enjoyment.

If you are unfamiliar with Lacrosse clubs in our area, the Spotsylvania County Lacrosse Club (a/k/a SCLC Ravens) is another good option for youth and high shcool level lacrosse. Spring registration is now open for boys and girls lacrosse.

Speaking of which, although we’re a little apprehensive about the initial financial investment for required lacrosse gear which can exceed $200, (especially considering our son likes EVERY sport!) I am truly grateful to live in an area where there are so many unique sports opportunities for my children. We have our fingers crossed that his interest in the sport grows as he begins training with a grassroots lacrosse camp at the Field House later this month. If, for some reason, lacrosse doesn’t make our sons’ list of “things I want to be signed up for,” at least his father and I know we can swap out any unused gear at our local Play it Again Sports.

It wasn’t very long ago that it would have seemed somewhat absurd of me to put this much time and energy into organized sports for my children. After all, they seemed to switch sports interests faster than they changed their socks! But I’ve quickly come to realize just how important sports are with regard to shaping our children’s perceptions about life and what role they play within it. Keeping your kids too busy to get into trouble is just one of the many perks, however, it really is more about the benefits your entire family reaps as you become more embedded in your community. I mean, think about. How many times have you ended up making long lasting friendships with the parents, coaches, and volunteers? And how about the team spirit and comraderie created through countless games, practices and season-ending celebrations?

There is much, much more, to be gained by our children from participating in organized sports. If you were involved in any as a child, I”m sure you too can relate to the following list of character building benefits attributed to being part of a sports team:

Physical exercise – even for the youngest child, helps to get them prepared for a vital, healthy lifestyle.

Confidence – practice, dedication, and commitment all play a significant role in developing self-confidence. Sports introduce, refine, and showcase this invaluable character trait which can then be utilized in ALL aspects of life.

Academics – studies show that children who are involved in team sports are more likely to achieve academic success.

Leadership and Dedication – as our children mature, their involvement with sports becomes greatly imbedded in who they are as adults. They are taking that unnecessary extra step to exercise, practice, and remain focused to a season of hard work, some of which doesn’t always pay off in a win for the team. It will, however, teach your child vitally important skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.

Prince William Forest Park Heritage Festival – October 15, 2011

On Saturday, October 15, 2011 from 11 am to 4 pm, the Prince William Forest Park Heritage Festival will celebrate the park’s history as colonial-era farmland, a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, and a World War II era spy training camp. Musicians, artists, cultural demonstrators, antique car owners, exhibitors, and park staff will gather together in historic Cabin Camp 3 for a day of historic and inexpensive family fun! Children will enjoy plenty of hands-on activities, crafts and games in the Kids Kabin and throughout the event. The park entrance fee of $5 per car provides access to the festival as well as a whole day in a national park that is right in Fredericksburg’s backyard!

Food, music, candle and soap making, contra and square dancing, civil war children’s crafts, antique cars and more!

kids and park ranger at Prince William Heritage Festival

Moms of Fredericksburg Marine Corps Museum Day Trip

Fredericksburg families who are looking for a great indoor activity to catch a break from the summer heat need to visit the Marine Corps Museum, located in Quantico, Virginia. I have no doubt that each and every member of your family will find this absolutely beautiful facility an interesting, exciting, and educational experience! Last weekend, when the humidity seemed to be reaching the unbearable point, I packed my family up and drove the 20 miles north to the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

By the way, if you’d like additional information regarding fun day trips in and around the greater Fredericksburg area, please visit our Activities page which continues to expand with wonderful places to visit locally!

Mom and three kids in front of museum

From the moment we pulled up and I caught a glimpse of that magnificent building, constructed to resemble the famous flag raisers at Iwo Jima, I knew we were in for QUITE an educational lesson.

kids at marine corps museum by helicopter

Your children will really love the cool things to see and do here!

little boy soldier

This is THE place for Fredericksburg families looking for a lesson in Marine Corps history (and overall US history, for that matter). This museum packs over 200 years worth of art work, pictures, film, video, and computer aided interactive stops to fascinate grandparents and babies alike. There are full-size planes, jets, and helicopters hanging high above, as well as tanks, trucks, and many other modes of transportation littered throughout the different sections of the museum (each depicting a different period of history). Visitors can get a great idea of exactly what it takes to become a Marine by venturing into the “Making Marines” section. Here your child , or husband, can test their shooting skills with the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Simulator, a mock-up range featuring a rifle that fires harmless laser beams rather than real bullets.

I would set aside at least a few hours to really get the full experience and, if you get hungry, there are two very tasty options to settle your little ones’ tummy hunger pains: The Mess Hall, or the Tun Tavern. Moms, this is truly a great family experience, whether or not you have a family member who served with the Marine Corps. And the best part – it’s free!!

kids at museum

children by 9/11 tribute

What we took away from this museum tour – Marines Rock!

marine corps museum

Fredericksburg Grand Opening Event For Families

This week, check out the “grand opening” of Fredericksburg’s newest Tires Plus located at 4632 on Mine Road in Fredericksburg!  Tires Plus is planning 4 days worth of fun-filled, family oriented activities suitable for the entire family.  You won’t want to miss out, and neither will your children.    

tires plus store

Tires Plus Grand Opening - 4632 Mine Road, Fredericksburg

There will be cookouts on both Friday and Saturday, including popcorn and sno-cones for your little ones.  A “BIGFOOT” truck will also be on hand to satisfy the “off-roaders” in your family.  Moms, if your husband has any interest in cars and racing (mine is fixated on both), please bring him by on Thursday when one of professional racing’s greatest living legends, Mario Andretti, stops by to sign autographs.  Between Mario and the monster truck, I don’t who is going to be more excited about the grand opening – my husband or my children.  Not that it really matters because my entire family will have a great time supporting a new local business.  

Fredericksburg moms, please come out and join us as we welcome Tires Plus to our area.  Here is a timeline of events for the grand opening: 

Thursday, July 28

3:00 to 6:00 pm – Mario Andretti Autograph Session

Friday, July 29

10:00 am to 3:00 pm – Cookout 

12:00 pm to 6:00 pm  - Bigfoot Truck 

Saturday, July 30 

10:00 am to 3:00 pm – Cookout 

12:00 pm to 6:00 pm  - Bigfoot Truck  

Sunday, August 1

9:00 am to 5:00pm – Grand Opening 


Fredericksburg Children’s Art Expo

Moms, wouldn’t you agree with me that even the most rough and tumble kids out there still take immense pride in creating their very own works of art? Whether it’s just crayons and a coloring book, or a more involved project utilizing paint, brushes, and canvas; we as moms understand what it means when our kid’s faces shine with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as they happliy display their latest “masterpieces.”

chid's painting

Cole (6) painted a picture for Father's Day this year.

Jennifer Heiller, a local mom and Special Events Coordinator for Fredericksburg City Parks and Recreation Facility, shares her run-down of events for this weekend with Moms of Fredericksburg:

Do you have a budding Picasso or Van Gogh at home? If so, THIS is the weekend for them! The Children’s Art Expo will be held this Saturday, July 23rd, at the Dorothy Hart Community Center. The Art Expo was designed to foster kid’s imagination, creativity, and love for the arts. This year’s expo features a multitude of fun art stations for children to explore, plus there is a new science addition.

children's art canvas

DIY room art created by Lance (5)

Since art has long been proven to help children develop and learn other subjects, we’ve added an art/science booth this year, along with a roaming MAD scientist! Our mad scientist will be combining some Dry Ice with Super Duper Bubble Solution to get one of the most intriguing objects in the universe – a “smoking” bubble! Children can also play “catch a bubble”, do the bubble bounce, taste “air” soda, and perform our “genius” test as we educate young attendees about the amazing properties of Carbon Dioxide. We guarantee all participants, both young and old, will be completely captivated.

Other art stations include:

Queen or King for a day – decorate your own crown using markers, glitter, rhinestones, sequins, and more to feel like royalty for the day!

CO2lor Creations -With a little vinegar and baking soda, you’ll observe a chemical reaction that explodes with color! When everything is done, you’ll reveal a hidden masterpiece that could be the fizz of the art biz.
Back Pack Buddies -Create your own back pack buddy using yarn and googly eyes.
Mosaic Magic – Create your own mosaic by gluing items onto a mat board. Make shapes, patterns, or your own original design.
Junque Jewelry- Using macaroni, sequins, buttons, and yarn – you’ll become a jewelry designer and be able to wear your creation home!
Art to Eat – Make a candy necklace or bracelet out of licorice, gummi savers, and more.
Funny Faces -Create your own silly faces or bugs using paper plates, pom poms, and more.
Wind Discs – Create your own wind disc using CDs, colored tape, and labels.
Sticky Shapes – Design your own shape using feathers, glitter, sequins, and colored paper.
Archi-Texture – Help paint the town red…or blue, green, even yellow!! Our cardboard town will come to life as children showcase their painting skills.
Radical Rocks - Make a bug, or a rainbow, or whatever your creative mind can think of. They’ll make great paper weights or door stoppers.
Goody Bags – Decorate your own goody bag using markers, sticker, glitter glue, and more! Take your other masterpieces home in the goody bag or use it as your lunch bag.

We will have Chick-Fil-A available to purchase for lunch. This event will be a great, inexpensive way to foster your kid’s creativity and imagination! Children can do all 14 activities for $5.00, and see the roaming scientist.
Where: Dorothy Hart Community Center @ 408 Canal St. Fredericksburg, VA 22401
When:Saturday, July 23, 2011 from 10:00AM- 2:00PM
FREE Admission- some art activities are free. Others cost between 25 cents and 1 dollar. Or, do all the activities in the entire place for $5.00

Fredericksburg Families Welcome Reptiles Alive!

One of the most wonderful things about living in the Greater Fredericksburg area is having access to activities sponsored by three different, but equally engaging, Parks and Recreation Departments very nearby! Take this morning, for example. A large number of local moms and their children packed into the Stafford Rowser Complex for a great one hour presentation given by Reptiles Alive’s Rockin Reptile Rachel. For less than $15, my three small children (ages 2 to 6) and I were able to catch some quality indoor entertainment, which included an informative lesson regarding the importance of our environment and how it affects many wetlands species.
kids petting large snake

By far though, the highlight of the presentation was getting to see, and feel, some live animals – a bull frog, sea turtle, soft shell turtle, alligator and a gigantic snake!

kids looking at turtles

Fredericksburg Water Park Day Trip for Families

As a Fredericksburg based mother of three VERY active little children, I am always on the lookout for some new and exciting local day trips for us to spend quality family time together. While the summer continues to heat up, I naturally gravitate more and more toward water-based activities.

This past Sunday, we packed up our two older boys and took them to the Massad Family Branch YMCA’s Water Park, conveniently located on the North side of Fredericksburg. We thought we’d test the waters, literally and figuratively, with them first to see if it’s appropriate for our toddler. Moms, I am very happy to report that this place was an absolute hit with our children! The physical grounds were very neat and clean, to include restrooms, and it was completely fenced in. No matter where you looked, there was always a lifeguard standing by to ensure everyone’s safety.

Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park - Massad Family YMCA

Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park - Massad Family YMCA, Fredericksburg

With such a wide variety of water slides available, families won’t become bored easily. Two of the slides are almost three stories high, while others are small enough to accommodate a toddler. In addition to the water slides, the facility features other amenities sure to please both child and parent alike, such as an olympic-sized pool, plus a few water obstacles and a large sprayer.

water park slides

Unfortunately, patrons cannot bring food and beverages, BUT you can either purchase these items on-site (cash only) or pack a cooler and keep it in your car for snack time. There are also plenty of beach chairs for moms and dads who want to catch some rays while the kids play.

Day passes are available for $10 to Y members and $15 to non-members. Children under 2 are free. Having had such a pleasant first experience, you can bet I’ll be returning here with my 2 year-old in the near future.

frog water slide

Follow me as I continue to find Fredericksburg family friendly activities which will then be added to the site’s activities directory. Please remember to post a comment if you’ve discovered a Fredericksburg summer HOT SPOT for families!

Fredericksburg Day Trips FOR Kids ONLY

As we near the half way mark of summer vacation, I’m beginning to hear those two FAMOUS words, “I’m bored!” more and more often.
Moms, let’s face it…, by mid July, the less structured days of summer we long so much for around the new year are beginning to drag somewhat as we search for new and exciting activities to occupy our kids. As a stay-at-home Mom, our job description has always included duties as the family event planner, however, summer times seems to elevate this added responsibility a few levels, right?

One of my biggest challenges this summer vacation is staying within our “extra curricular” budget. As our boys get older (a whopping 5 & 6!), the activities and camps get more and more expensive. As we can all attest, our children have a limitless supply of energy and, by this time of the month, I’ve just about exhausted the funds for day trips. So, one morning this past week, I called a neighborhood friend to see what her itinerary looked like for the day. I was shocked to learn she intended to take her children to a local beach for the day, a simple 45 minute drive east of Fredericksburg.

Deciding to be spontaneous for the day, I packed up the kids and pointed our SUV east for some sun and, hopefully, some surf. Now, please understand, I absolutely LOVE THE BEACH! As such, my expectations for a day trip to the beach are MUCH greater than those of my three little boys. I cannot, however, just pack up and drive 3-4 hours to a more traditional Atlantic Ocean beach town similar to what I grew up with. So, taking this short trip to Colonial Beach brought so many smiles, giggles, and excitement to my three little guys, it was well worth my concession as a beach lover. So I made the decision to place my beach expectations on the back burner so that my children could do something fun with their friends for the dayI saw this opportunity for fun through my children’s eyes and it was well worth it!

"Look at me Mom - Making my own fun!"

For those unfamiliar with Colonial Beach, it’s a small town located off a bend in the Potomac River.

colonial beach, va

baby playing at beach

Here’s a list of the great things about a trip to Colonial Beach from Fredericksburg:

1. It doesn’t use a whole lot of gas.
2. You don’t have to pay to park, play and/or swim.
3. You can pack your own lunch.
4. There aren’t any huge white seagulls swooping down to attack your cooler.
5. There’s a fantastic homemade candy shop on the way home in King George called Mary’s Cakery & Candy Kitchen!

Mary's Cakery and Candy Kitchen

On the downside,

1. There aren’t any lifeguards on duty so you’ll have to be extremely diligent about watching your little ones splash and play in this brackish body of water.
2. Because the town fell on some hard times after being a hot tourism spot over 50 years ago, it’s been trying to “revitalize” it’s image.

3. NOT too much published information on the internet regarding water quality. I did, however, find an outdated article from 2007 on the VA Department of Environmental Quality regarding Algai Bloom in the Potomac. I can report that the water at Colonial Beach was a “reddish brown” color. This is an topic I will conduct additional research on before swimming in the water at Colonial Beach again.

Fredericksburg Field House Run “N Fun Camp Giveaway

Moms of has the greatest fans! Help us spread the word about our website and enter for a chance to win 1 free week of Run “N Fun Camp at the Fredericksburg Field House!

Here’s how to enter:

1. Post the comment “I shared” on our wall. This will be your entry to win.

2. SHARE this post on your Facebook wall with your friends and comment “I helped spread the word for Moms of”

One lucky Moms of Fredericksburg Fan will be selected on Friday, July 1st.

Thanks again fans! Your support helps promote this mommy created and “approved” resource for Fredericksburg families!

Fredericksburg Kids’ Summer Reading Events

MOMS: Need to get your children motivated to read this summer? The Borders bookstore in Fredericksburg is having a “Double Dog Dare Challenge” to encourage summer reading. Participating children, ages 12 and under, will receive a FREE book.

Now that school is out and the summer has officially begun, I’ve noticed myself repeatedly telling my oldest son (a 6 year old who thinks he’s 16) to sit down and read a book in preparation for 1st grade this Fall.

Kid reading book

To this day, one of the best parental “words of wisdom” I’ve ever heard was that reading to your children at a young age is like giving them gold coins to invest in their future. Bearing that in mind over the summer break, my Husband and I are committed to maintaining our nightly ritual of story time, which we hope will encourage our boys to see reading as an enjoyable past time. Even if it’s Scooby Doo!

I would like to encourage all you Fredericksburg Mothers to seek out opportunities for your children with regard to reading. One fantastic way I found for your kids to discover new books and revisit classics is by signing up for the free summer reading program at our local library. Boys and girls of all ages can get involved in the fun and enter to win prizes!

Day Trips for Families in Fredericksburg – Washington Nationals

Need to expand your horizons beyond the immediate Fredericksburg area? Numerous day trips are available to adventurous mothers. Today, my Husband and I took our kids 50 miles north to Washington DC, home of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. On Signature Sundays, Harris Teeter Family Fun Pack tickets generally range in price from $14-$25, depending upon seat location within the stadium. With each ticket, you are eligible to receive a voucher redeemable for 1 “NatsDogs” hot dog, 1 bag of chips, and 1 drink. (HINT: You must pick up your voucher PRIOR to entering the park at the Ticket Services Office.) In addition, kids aged 4-12 can run the bases immediately following the game. Great fun if your child has an interest in baseball!

We were able to park at the garages attached directly to the stadium which made things much easier, although it tacked on another $40 expense to our entertainment budget for the day. (There are cheaper garages in the vicinity that are priced more reasonably at $25). My children were absolutely thrilled to receive a free bat and ball as we entered the stadium. The stadium employees were pleasant and courteous, not always the case in other cities. A great resource to learn more about the Nationals stadium, as well as any other ball park is Baseball

Tips for making the best out of your trip to the ballpark from Fredericksburg:

1. Purchase tickets on (try to find a season ticket holder looking to sell premium seats for a fraction of the price.)
2. An informative ballpark blog with a few articles on the Nationals Stadium – visit Ballpark Insider.
3. Because food is extremely expensive to buy inside the park, I HIGHLY suggest you pack all of your snacks and beverages. Unless, that is, you have a limitless budget for food.
4. Have realistic expectations regarding your child’s ability to tolerate the heat. On Sunday, it was hot and humid with little breeze to mitigate the situation. So, unless you are fortunate enough to find seats in the air conditioned sections, you’ll most likely be dealing with some intense heat.
5. For Signature Sundays, plan to arrive at the game at least 90 minutes prior to the start. You’ll definitely want a good spot in line for the meet and greet with designated players who sign autographs and pose for pictures. This usually begins at 12 noon and is not to be missed. Players will only sign 1 item per fan and they are only available for 15 minutes.
6. You’ll have to wait until the game is over but children (ages 4-12) can actually run the bases down on the field.