Dutch Wonderland – Summer 2019

Dutch Wonderland is a 48-acre amusement park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is truly a “Kingdom For Kids” with over 35 fun filled rides, attractions, games, and shows. The park is designed for smaller children so it has been a perfect fit for my family the past few years. My daughters talk about it all year long; it is that special and memorable to them! We visited for our third time on Monday and as always had so much fun!


One of the reasons I love Dutch Wonderland is because the park is small and easily manageable with young children. I have found that less is actually more with little ones. Here kids can walk the entire park and won’t complain that their legs are tired and demand a piggy-back ride. We have always visited on a Monday and the lines and wait times are zero to minimal. Kids are much happier when not having to wait in lines! You can even stay on a ride for several rounds if there is no one in line, which is common here! Weekends are more crowded but you would most likely never wait more than 20-25 minutes at most for the top attractions. And even though it is small, we still never do everything in one visit!


This was Teddy’s first time on the rides and he was amazed! When we visited last summer, he was only 9 months old so he was just watching his big sisters and taking it all in! There are many toddler rides at Dutch Wonderland; some you can go on with them and others they can ride by themselves. These were Teddy’s favorites (he is 20 months old): Duke’s Dozers (pictured above), Panda Party (pictured below), Merry-go-Round, Leapin’ Frogs, Balloon Chase, Turtle Whirl, and Off-Road Rally.


We went on rides for a couple of hours; with no lines, you can do a lot in a short amount of time! My girls favorites were Merlin’s Mayhem, Pipeline Plunge, Kingdom Coaster, Frog Hopper, and Kite Flight. Then we caught “The Adventures of the Frog Prince” show in the Aqua Stadium. There are diving boards and platforms high atop the castle where the performers do quite impressive jumps and dives into the pool down below. Kids can also meet the characters after the show.


After the show, my kids were ready for lunch so we grabbed a bite to eat from one of the food stands (there are many located all around the park). They offer all the typical amusement park fare: pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, soft pretzels, ice cream, etc. They also offer salads and healthier sandwich options at the Bean Sprout cafe. You are not allowed to bring in picnic lunches but you could keep it in a cooler in your car and eat outside the park in the picnic pavilion.


After lunch, we went to Duke’s Lagoon to cool off in the water! I recommend paying a little extra for preferred parking that is right in front of the entrance to the park. So then it makes it super easy to run out to your car to get your pool bag. There are changing rooms and bathrooms located in Duke’s Lagoon where you can put on your bathing suits and flip flops. Make sure to bring water shoes or flip flops for everyone in your family if you plan on going down the two big slides as they are required. If you happen to forget, they do sell flip flops in the store located just across from the water slides.

Duke’s Lagoon also has a few smaller slides for kids around the ages of 2-7. There is no pool, so you don’t have to bring floatation devices. It is more of a splash park type set up with spray nozzles, jets, tipping buckets, etc. There is plenty of seating including chairs and tables with umbrellas. You can also rent your own personal cabana if you wish.


Dutch Wonderland is about a 2 hour drive from the DC area, so it makes for an easy day trip. There are many options for accommodations nearby as well, if you wanted to stay a night or two. They also offer a “park preview”, so your tickets are valid for the last 3 operating hours the night before your planned full day visit. We are already looking forward to visiting again next summer!

Tickets are normally $44.99 but with promo code summerblog19, you can save $5 per ticket. Click here to purchase. 

Pool Safety Tips from British Swim School

Summer is here, pools are open, and school is almost out! Swimming is such a fun activity for kids and a great way to cool off during the hot and humid days here in DC. Taking kids to the pool can be stressful but with good planning and safety tips, it is fun for all! Whether it be your backyard pool, a public pool, swim club, lake or ocean, there are important water safety tips to keep in mind.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury death in U.S. children ages 1-4 years and the third leading cause of unintentional injury death in children and adolescents ages 5-19 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Young children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water, and it can happen quickly and silently. In March 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidelines for drowning prevention to combat the dangers of water for children.

Below is a helpful safety checklist from the British Swim School if you have a backyard pool. Most drownings happen in backyard pools, so please read this if you have a pool or will visit family or friends with a pool over the summer.


The AAP recommends swim lessons for all children, and their parents, as another layer of water safety. Recent studies suggest that water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk by as much as 88% for all children including those ages 1 to 4 years old.

My two youngest kids have been enrolled in the British Swim School for the past four months and I highly recommend them for swim lessons! They first teach water acclimation and water survival skills before they teach swim strokes. So you can enroll your babies as early as 3 months old; the earlier, the better. British Swim School focuses on learning the back float first because children can breathe without obstruction or difficulty and call out for help in the event of a water emergency.

Teddy is only 20 months old and he is almost able to float on his back unassisted. He is in the Swimboree level at the British Swim School. Along with working on his back float he is working on submersions, separating from me, independence in the swim ring, and an assisted submerged Torpedo rollover (this teaches the child to turn over under water and get into a back float position if they were to fall in). He is also practicing holding on to the pool wall, moving along the wall, and exiting the pool from the wall.


My daughter, Mae is in the Starfish level and has overcome a lot of her fears associated with swim lessons. She started working one-on-one with Ms. Bonnie a couple weeks ago and is making great progress. Ms. Bonnie is the owner of British Swim School Central Maryland, which provides over 1300 swim lessons a week in Montgomery County. She is an amazing swim instructor and has a lot of patience with Mae, who can be a challenging student. This past week Ms. Bonnie was able to get Mae to do a few submersions! This was a big, big deal for Mae and I’m so proud of her! Ms. Bonnie’s approach is gentle and fun and she knows just what to do in order to get great results. We couldn’t be more appreciative and thankful for her!


If you are interested in enrolling your child in the British Swim School, use code CapMom19 for $20.19 off first month of group lessons. Click here to find a class near you.

Kids Obstacle Challenge Coming to DC! + Ticket GIVEAWAY!


Kids Obstacle Challenge is coming to the DC area on Saturday, June 29th! KOC is an obstacle and adventure course event series for kids ages 5-16 and their parents. The mission is to inspire and challenge kids, and forge family bonds, through adventure and obstacles. They are committed to helping foster a more active, adventurous, and perseverant younger generation.

Hosted on Saturday – June 29th
Located at BULL RUN SPECIAL EVENTS CENTER in Centreville, VA
Waves released every 20 minutes from 8:30am-12:20pm
1.5-2-mile course with 14-15 fun and challenging obstacles
Estimated attendance of 5,000-7,000

Tickets can be purchased here. Use code BEBRAVE15 for a 15% discount!

Also, I’m giving away TWO FREE TICKETS! To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. I’ll draw and notify a winner on Friday, June 14th. Good luck!

My new favorite thing – Motive Pure


I tried Motive Pure a few weeks ago for the first time and am now completely hooked! I drink at least one a day and absolutely believe it helps me! I have always been interested in things that can improve my health and help me feel better. I think this is especially important for us busy moms who are sleep deprived and need all the energy we can get to keep up with the demands of raising children.

So what is Motive Pure? Simply, electrolytes for your water. Motive Pure contains sodium and potassium, electrolytes that help our bodies absorb and retain water. Packaged as a portable liquid concentrate, Motive Pure mixes easily with water to create a naturally flavored, zero-calorie, electrolyte hydration solution. This is good stuff!

12316532_952452411501186_5555076614753790231_nThe first time I tried Motive Pure was after arriving in NYC with my daughter for a quick trip to celebrate her birthday. That morning I was up at 5am, chugging coffee and then got on the train to head up to the city. We checked in to our hotel and I was feeling dehydrated and low on energy but we still had a full 12 hour day of sight seeing and activities ahead of us. So, I mixed a mini bottle of Motive Pure with 16oz of water and felt like a new person!

Once we were back home from our trip I ordered more Motive Pure and now I’m in the habit of drinking it every morning before I go to the gym and during my workout classes. I noticed a HUGE difference in my energy level and feel like I’m getting a better workout being well hydrated. It’s also great for mornings after a moms night out! And I wish I had known about Motive Pure when I was pregnant. It would be so helpful with the dehydration caused by nausea and morning sickness.

There are so many overlooked benefits to drinking more water – increases brain power and improves energy, boosts immune system, puts you in a better mood, prevents headaches, helps with weight loss/weight management, improves your complexion, and flushes out toxins. I know it can be hard as a busy mom to make sure to drink enough water while running around doing a million things for everyone in your family during the day. I used to not be so good at remembering but now that I mix in Motive Pure with my water, I’m doing a lot better. The flavors taste great and that also helps me to drink more.

Motive Pure is available in 5 different flavors: Berry, Pink Lemonade, Orange, Grape, and Lemon-Lime. I have tried all of them and they all taste amazing. They aren’t overly sweet or too strong; just gives the water a subtle flavor. How is Motive Pure different than the other products on the market? Traditional electrolyte sports drinks contain sugars, artificial coloring, and other ingredients that have nothing to do with hydration. “Enhanced waters” often do not have even a functional amount of electrolytes. 


Products can be ordered on the Motive Pure website here.  Motive Pure is also available on Amazon as well as select specialty stores, markets, grocery stores, and fitness centers.

Here are a couple of other testimonials:

“I’m always on the look out for new ways to work out and push myself whether on a fitness modeling job or in the gym. I started using Motive Pure about a year and a half ago and I absolutely believe it has helped me. I’ve always been prone to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, so this is the perfect solution for me. Motive pure keeps me energized, hydrated and focused to bring my fitness to the next level, plus, it tastes amazing!”

– Shelby Schlange, Sports, Lifestyle and Fitness Model

“My favorite thing is called Motive Pure electrolyte hydration. It comes in different flavors. I had a problem with dehydration and exhaustion when I was in Israel. It comes in these mini bottles and then you pour it into 16 oz. of cold water. I also put Motive Pure in my water bottle when I’m working out.”

– Kathie Lee Gifford, Host, The Today Show

Strawberry Picking at Wegmeyer Farms 2019

Strawberry season is here! Wegmeyer farms has become our favorite for strawberry picking and we look forward to visiting every year. They opened last week and we had the chance to go out and pick at their Oatlands location on Saturday.


The picking is excellent at Oatlands; there are tons of huge, ripe berries. Wegmeyer’s strawberries are grown on raised plastic beds, which keeps the berries clean, dirt-free and makes for easy picking.


The field was super muddy on Saturday since it had rained Friday night. We left covered in mud but these berries were worth it! As you can tell, Teddy agrees! It is definitely a good idea to wear boots.


Strawberries are sold by the pound – $3.99 per pound; there is NO admission fee, so you only pay for what you pick.


You can get a 25% discount on your strawberries by mentioning “Capitol Momma” at the register when you pick on weekdays (M-F).  

Wegmeyer Farms has three u-pick locations:

  • Hamilton, VA boutique farm setting – Tucked away on back roads of Lincoln (between Purcellville and Leesburg) at a historic homestead, our farm provides the most scenic views of rolling farmlands.  We offer picnic tables for you to bring your own lunch and refreshments available for sale. After you pick berries, we invite you to stick around with the kids and let them play on the John Deere tractor slide and playground. 38299 Hughesville Road, Hamilton, VA
  • Historic Oatlands – our strawberry patch and era-themed attire at this historic mansion will whisk  you back to the 1800’s. Parking is now available right beside the strawberry field down Little Oatlands Lane. While visiting our strawberry patch is free, you can choose to make a day of it by purchasing tour passes for the historical garden and/or mansion in addition to strawberry picking. Little Oatlands Lane, Leesburg, VA.
  • Gilbert’s Corner – strawberry picking in its most natural state.  This no-fuss location is perfect for a simple outing.  Parking is available right at the site.  Intersection of Route 15 and Route 50 in Aldie, VA.
Customers are encouraged to call the strawberry field hotline at (540) 751-1782 or visit www. wegmeyerfarms.com to check field conditions.

Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic : Review



This past weekend I took my little guy to see Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic at the Eagle Bank arena in Fairfax. Teddy is a huge fan of Elmo and he loved the show. It is geared towards children ages 1-6 and includes multiple acts and engaging visuals to keep children’s attention. The performance had great music and the kids loved to sing along and dance in front of their seats or in the aisles.


The show begins when magician extraordinaire Justin visits Sesame Street to put on a magic show. Elmo wants to be a part of the show. But there’s one problem…Elmo doesn’t know how to do magic!  Through Justin’s encouragement to practice, work hard and never give up, Elmo embarks on an extraordinary journey.  He learns that it’s okay to make mistakes and that magic can be found anywhere when you believe in yourself and the power of what’s yet to be.


The performance includes all the favorite Sesame Street characters including Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Grover, and Big Bird. It is an inspirational introduction to live theater for little ones and families to enjoy.


The show was about 90 minutes with a 15 minute intermission. If you have small children, Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic is a Must!


British Swim School – Teddy Earns His Blue Cap!


My little fish are still going strong with their water survival classes at British Swim School. This past month was especially exciting as we had a major accomplishment with Teddy – he graduated from the Tadpole level! It was so rewarding to see his progression each week and then complete all the goals. He earned his blue cap and is now in the Swimboree level:

Beginner Water Survival: 3 Months to 36 Months with Parent
(4 Children Max, Parent-assisted class)

Building on our Tadpole skills, little ones begin their water survival skills through a structured program of songs, games and fun. Your instructor will work one-on-one with you and your child.  Students must meet Tadpole goals in order to enroll in Swimboree.

The Swimboree class is a lot different than the Tadpole class. In the Tadpole class, the focus is much more on water acclimation with whole class engagement, songs, and play. Most of the time the student is with the parent except for practicing a couple skills with the instructor. Swimboree on the other hand is more focused on the one-on-one interaction of the instructor and student. The instructor takes turns working directly with each child in the class on all the skills. While she is working with other students the parent practices the skills with their child. Since the maximum class size is 4, there is still a lot of time working directly with the instructor.


These are the 5 Goals of Swimboree:

Assisted back floating (or independent)

Teddy is doing great with his assisted back float. The instructors make it fun and sing a song while practicing. He has learned to relax and knows that he has to stay in the position until the song is over. Occasionally he will get squirmy or impatient but for the most part he does really well. I have been able to get him to do the float with his head completely off my shoulders and resting in my hands. He also loves to practice his back float in the bathtub at home. It is really cute!

Assisted submerged Torpedo rollover (or independent rollover)

This is a new skill that wasn’t part of the Tadpole class and the hardest skill in the Swimboree level. The child is submerged and then rolled over into a back float while still under water. The first time the instructor did this with Teddy he came up looking a bit surprised but didn’t even cry, so that was great! It is still pretty new to him as we have only had three Swimboree classes so far.

Full submersion sitting or standing

At the Swimboree level, the children  are given the chance to either sit and fall into the water, or stand and jump into the water. Teddy is happy doing either and thinks it is fun! And he doesn’t cry after the submersion, so that is a big win!

Able to separate from the parent

Teddy got a new instructor when he moved into the Swimboree class and he had no problem transitioning. He immediately took to Ms. Alyssa after she let him dump his cup of water on her head. He thought this was hilarious and had so much fun with her! We did have to do a make up class this past week and had a different instructor. There were a couple times when Teddy was whining and reaching his arms out for me but he still did pretty good with the separation.

Independent in the swim ring

Teddy mastered this in the Tadpole class. He had come a long way, since first practicing using the swim ring – he hated it and would cling to me. But then each week he got more and more comfortable. Now he takes off when he’s in it and gets around by himself really well.

I’m so happy with how Teddy is doing in the Swimboree class! I have no doubt he’s going to continue to make great progress. We are looking forward to the outdoor pools opening later this month and that will give me more opportunities to practice his skills with him outside of our regular class time.


Mae is also doing great as a Starfish! She loves the class and is often so excited to go that she has her bathing suit and coverup on two hours in advance, lol! (She does have great swim style – see below :)) But she is still being her stubborn self and refuses to try a submersion. I know that in time it will come and I’m just so happy that she enjoys the class because we’ve come a long way with overcoming her swim lesson fears. Her regular instructor has been absent so she has had a lot of different substitute teachers. I think it will help her once there is a permanent replacement. All of the instructors have been fantastic; Mae is just the type of kid who really has to trust and feel comfortable with the instructor/coach. She is completing all of the other goals at the Starfish level including her assisted back float, so we will keep working on getting her to try the submersion.


I am thrilled to share an enrollment special for $20.19 off your first month of group lessons with code #CapMom19.  There are 10 different pools in the area where classes are held, so it’s easy to find a convenient location. Information for the Central Maryland British Swim Schools can be found here.


Sesame Street Live! Coming to Fairfax May 4-5


Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic is a brand new show coming to Fairfax May 4-5 with 4 performances at Eagle Bank Arena. I’m looking forward to taking my little guy who is obsessed with Elmo! Click below to print out a fun coloring sheet featuring favorite Sesame Street pals!

Sesame Street Live! Coloring Sheet

Tickets for Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic start at $20. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at the EagleBank Arena, by calling 800-745-3000 or on line www.ticketmaster.com .  For group rates and information, reach out to 202-661-5061. Stay current on the latest developments through social media:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SesameStreetLive
Twitter: @SesameStLive # SesameStreetLive
YouTube: www.youtube.com/SesameSteetLive
Instagram: @SesameStreetLive

GIVEAWAY! STOMP at The National Theatre


 GIVEAWAY!!! I have a pair of tickets for the opening night performance on Tuesday, April 23rd at 7:30pm at The National Theatre to give away! Enter to win by simply leaving a comment on this blog post. I will randomly draw and notify a winner on Tuesday, April 16th. Good luck! 

STOMP is explosive, provocative, sophisticated, utterly unique and appeals to audiences of all ages. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. The return of the percussive hit also brings some new surprises, with some sections of the show now updated and restructured, utilizing props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans. As USA Today says, “STOMP finds beautiful noises in the strangest places.” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.

Run time: Approximately 95 minutes with no intermission. Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

Tuesday, April 23 – 28
The National Theatre
Sizzle Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v6oj9Bqb4s


Making Waves at British Swim School


It has been 2 months since I enrolled Teddy in swim classes at British Swim School and I am thrilled to see such great progress already. My daughter Mae started about a month and a half ago and is also doing very well! It is so rewarding for both the kids and I to see their efforts paying off and I am excited to see their next steps here at British Swim School!


Teddy is 18 months now and is in the first level, the Tadpole class:

Water Acclimation: 3 Months to 36 Months with Parent
(6 Children Max, Parent-assisted class)

A water acclimation class for infants and toddlers to introduce them to the water for the first time, reducing their fear and the potential of tears. We’ll introduce an assisted back float and submersion in this level. You should expect a lot of songs and splashing in this class while your infant freely and independently explores the water environment.

5 Goals of Tadpole:

  1. Water acclimation
  2. No tears/no fear
  3. Assisted back float with ears in
  4. Full gentle submersion
  5. Comfortable in the swim ring

Teddy cried during parts of his first few classes and the instructors assured me it was completely normal and that eventually he would get used to it. And he did! Our lesson this Sunday was his best yet. He would typically cling to me and whine during his assisted back float but he has stopped! He knows what to expect now and was super relaxed doing his back float! He also completed 3 submersions without tears and was even okay with me letting go of him while he was in the swim ring. Pretty amazing since he always clung to me like a baby koala before. It is easy to get discouraged when your child is scared or crying but it is so important to not give up! I see how the British Swim School program works and how the results will come!

Mae is 5 years old and in the Starfish class:

Water Acclimation: 3+ Years
(4 Children Max)

Geared towards gentle water exploration and developing the child’s awareness to the aquatic environment while introducing the water survival exercises used in later classes. The total aim is to build confidence and self-esteem as well as develop awareness, and the ability to respond to new challenges while giving your child independence to explore the aquatic environment.

5 Goals of Starfish:

  1. Water acclimation
  2. No fear, no tears
  3. Supported back float
  4. Full submersion
  5. Independence in the swim ring


Mae is my kid who loves the pool but has always had a big fear of going under the water. I have tried several different swim schools in the area over the past few years and we never found a great fit for her. There were many lessons that she painfully cried through. I had a private instructor come to our backyard pool last summer to give her lessons thinking she would be more comfortable at home. She did do much better but was still very stubborn and wouldn’t go underwater for the private instructor either. Feedback from other swim coaches was to try group lessons again because it helps to see other children doing the skills along side them. After I started classes with Teddy at British Swim School, I felt that the program and instructors would also work for Mae. She is doing great and looks forward to her lesson each week, asking me “how many days until my swim class?”. This is a huge improvement since she would always dread swim lessons at other places and cry even before we arrived at the pool.

Mae has completed all the goals of Starfish except for the full submersion. She is comfortable putting her face in the water for a brief second but is still very stubborn about going under. I know she can do it but she just doesn’t want to! I have no doubt she will gain her confidence as we continue lessons and when she is good and ready she will go for it! Until then we will just keep practicing and keep her enjoying the water until she will take that next step!

British Swim School is the best option (in my opinion!) for young children beginning to learn water safety skills. We have really had a fantastic experience and I’m happy to extend an enrollment special for $20.19 off your first month of group lessons with code #CapMom19.  There are 10 different pools in the area where classes are held, so it’s easy to find a convenient location. Information for the Central Maryland British Swim Schools can be found here.