Monthly Archives: July 2018

10 Best DC-Area Outdoor Places to Spend Time with Your Kids in August

It’s already the end of July and I don’t know how we got here so quickly! In just a few weeks the kids will be back in school and the crazy mornings of packing lunches and getting everyone ready to rush out the door will return. Here’s to making the most of our last month of summer break!

Top picks for things to do in August:

  1. Visit the animals, go on rides, and splurge on jumbo sugary treats at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair August 10-18.MaeFair
  2. Catch one of the final performances of the summer at Wolf Trap’s Children’s-Theatre-In-The-Woods. Wolftrap (1 of 1)
  3. In between the field trips have some good old fashioned summer fun in your own backyard with a slip n’ slide, sprinkler, or water balloons. We have been spending a lot of time in our backyard and it’s been so nice to enjoy bug-free! We get regular mosquito and gnat treatments from the DC Mosquito Squad and have had no bug bites from our yard this summer! Mosquito Squad logo
  4. Cool off at the South Germantown Splash Park. This is one of the bigger splash parks in Montgomery County and it is sure to wear out your kids between all the fun water features and the jumping pillow.
  5. Take your crew to the Frying Pan Farm Park 4H Fair and Carnival for rides, games and live entertainment August 2-5.FryingPanCarnival
  6. Go for a hike in the morning when it’s cooler at Great Falls Park on either the Virginia or Maryland side. Kids can complete the Junior Ranger Program to earn a badge.
  7. Head to Clemijontri Park in McLean, VA where your kids can swing, slide, and run around the vast playground. There is also a trackless train and a carousel.
  8. Go for a whirl on the carousel at Glen Echo Park. While there you can also go to the playground, catch a puppet show at The Puppet Co. or see Tinker Bell at Adventure Theatre. GlenEchoCarousel
  9. Attend a Washington Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park. For insider tips read this guide to visiting with kids.
  10. Splash, picnic, and play the day away at Yards Park. Read this article before planning your visit. TidalBasin (1 of 1)

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with D.C. Mosquito Squad who is providing standard barrier treatment for our yard this summer.

The Inside Ski Training Center is a Must-do!

insideski-logo-350I have loved skiing since I was a little girl and my parents first enrolled me in ski school at age 5. Some of my favorite memories from growing up are our ski trips to Colorado with family and friends. I was so excited to take my oldest daughter Clara skiing for her first time a few years ago and now it is something we look forward to doing together every winter.

I first heard about The Inside Ski Training Center just a couple weeks ago through Certifikid and thought it sounded so amazing…..a place in Leesburg, Virginia where you can ski or snowboard all year round! We had to try it!

When we first arrived at The Inside Ski Training Center we met the owners, Nancy and Brian who were super friendly. I filled out a couple forms and then Brian got us set up with equipment – boots, skis, and helmets. It’s all the same equipment used out on the mountain.


While we were waiting for the lesson before us to finish, Brian had Clara practice a couple things on the carpeted slope and then she was ready to try the infinite slope.


The simulator is a revolving carpet made out of a material similar to astro turf that is sprayed with water. Wondering how it works exactly? The upward revolving surface simulates the slope that slides underneath you, like a treadmill. With variable pitch and speed, the slope can be tailored to the ability of the skiers or boarders on the slope. A support bar at the bottom of the slope offers stability and confidence for less experienced students. A large mirror at the base of the slope gives you real-time feedback.


It takes a little bit of time and practice to get used to but our instructor, Nancy was so great at getting us up to speed quickly. We started out at the bottom of the slope, holding on to the bar while the simulator turned on. Then we practiced pushing off the bar a little bit and moving across the bar and slope to get the feel of things.


Once Clara was comfortable, Nancy started working with her on “pizza and french fries” and she played “red light/yellow light/green light” with her to work on controlling her speed. Nancy also had Clara “draw” shapes on the slope to help her work a little on turning. As a beginner skier, this was so helpful for Clara to work on these skills.


A group lesson is divided into 3 ten minute sessions per student (equal to a whole day of skiing out on a mountain), so Clara and I alternated our ski time. Once I was comfortable on the slope, Nancy worked with me on turning. It was extremely helpful to have the huge mirror in front of me to watch my form. When she would tell me to square my hips or shoulders I could easily make the correction by looking at myself in the mirror. Even though I’ve skied for many, many years I haven’t had a lesson since I was a kid, so this was extremely helpful! I really focused on the little things that actually do make a big difference in improving skills like pressing down on my pinkie toes while turning.


At the end of our lesson, Clara and I skied together. She stayed towards the bottom and I skied at the top. This was so much fun but a little trickier as we had to make sure we didn’t run into each other. I did fall down once and I can assure you it doesn’t hurt at all! The surface is made of soft fibers so it’s not nearly as bad as falling on ice or packed snow. The instructor also carries a hand-held remote at all times and will stop the slope immediately if you fall.

The Inside Ski Training Center is for all ages and levels. It’s especially great if you have little kids that you want to get out on the mountain with you next winter. I’m planning on taking my younger daughter Mae who just turned 5 to the training center to see if it’s something she’ll enjoy before I take her up to the mountain. It’s also the perfect place to work on your skills if you are a more advanced skier. Most importantly it’s a ton of fun! It’s such a unique thing to try as there are only a handful of these infinite slopes in the entire U.S.

The lessons are very reasonably priced at $49 for a group lesson and $89 for a private lesson. Plus right now there’s a deal on Certifikid for a group lesson for only $35! Click here to purchase. You can also click here for more details on packages. Additionally, the Inside Ski Training Center is offering a kids summer camp August 6-9 and you can find a deal on Certifikid for that too, click here!

Dutch Wonderland is the Perfect First Amusement Park!

dutchwonderlandWe visited Dutch Wonderland for the first time last summer and my girls had a blast! It was also a nice experience for my husband and I since it was such a manageable park to conquer with little ones. We went on a weekday and the crowds were not bad so we were really able to enjoy our girls. We decided to go again this year since they loved it so much and we had just as much fun the second time around!

It’s a little over a 2 hour drive from the D.C. area so we decided to just drive up for the day again. We arrived right when the park was opening at 10am. There are two options for parking and I highly recommend the preferred parking for $15 per day. This lot is right in front of the entrance and is a very short walk. It made it easy to run out and grab our pool bag when we were ready to go to the water park. General parking is only $5 but you have a longer walk to the park entrance.


One of the great things about Dutch Wonderland is that it’s very family friendly and the 35 rides are mostly designed for smaller kids under about age 9. So my 5 year old could go on all the rides except for the 2 big roller coasters and my 7 year old could go on everything. There are even a few rides that baby Teddy could go on like the carousel, train, and gondola cruise.


The park is pretty compact so there isn’t a ton of walking which is nice for little legs on a long day. You would only need to bring a stroller for babies and toddlers. There is also quite a bit of shade, although you will still need sunscreen. There are lots of different dining options for lunch or dinner. Dutch Wonderland does not permit food or drink to be brought into the park, but they do permit one water bottle per person as well as some small snacks to be brought into the park. Picnic lunches can be enjoyed outside the park in the picnic pavilion.


There are lots of fun carnival games where kids can win stuffed animal prizes. We can never leave a theme park without at least a few new stuffies! Mae’s day was made with this giant pink dolphin and a slushie!


Dutch Wonderland also has great live entertainment options throughout the day from storytimes to high dive shows in the Aqua Stadium. Last summer we saw “A Dragon’s Tale” and it was fantastic. This year I couldn’t get my girls to stop going on rides and once they were done with rides they only wanted to head to the water park. So maybe next year we will catch one of the shows again!


Another thing we love about Dutch Wonderland is Duke’s Lagoon – “It’s an oasis of summer water fun for kids”. There is plenty of seating for parents, many under umbrellas so there is some shade to keep cool. They also have several private cabanas that you can rent for the day. There are areas for babies to enjoy and large water slides for big kids.


If you are on the fence about visiting Dutch Wonderland, let me help you decide…… just go! Your family will have the best time! It’s perfect for little kids, so if yours are under age 10 make sure to visit before they age out. Tickets are very reasonably priced and children ages 2 and under are free! Click here for more details on ticket prices and packages.

Disclosure: My family received complimentary tickets in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at Imagination Stage


I have been a big fan of Imagination Stage since taking my oldest daughter Clara, now age 7 to her first early childhood show at the theater when she was just a toddler. Once she was old enough to sit through the longer shows we started attending the productions in the Lerner Family Theatre and have rarely missed a show. It’s become a fun tradition for us and also quality momma-daughter time. We were super excited to see “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”.

Don’t miss your chance to see the comic strip characters of the lovable “Peanuts” gang comic brought to life in Summer 2018! This hit Off-Broadway musical is directed by acclaimed playwright and director Aaron Posner (Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and many more!). Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Sally, and Schroeder as they sing and dance their way through the timeless struggles of childhood. This show features catchy songs, including “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, and is the perfect family outing for the young and young at heart!

We loved everything about the show! It had a great energy and kept us all engaged throughout the entire performance. The cast members did an outstanding job of bringing the lovable characters to life. The set and costumes were top notch as usual at Imagination Stage. The songs were very catchy, humorous, and highly entertaining. Overall, it was a fun theater experience; definitely take your kids to see it this summer!

It’s showing now through August 12th so there’s still plenty of time to catch a show!

Weekday performances at 10:30 am, Weekend performances at 1:30 and 4:00 pm

Click here for tickets.

Based on the Comic Strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Clark M. Gesner
Additional Dialogue by Michael Mayer
Additional Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Directed by Aaron Posner
Best for Ages 5+