Wilson Acquatic Center Closing for Maintenance & Spray Park Season is Almost Over!

Heads up moms!  The Wilson Aquatic Center is scheduled to close for its yearly maintenance / cleaning from Sunday, August 26 through Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Also, after labor day weekend (September 3, 2012) the sprinkler parks across the city will be shutting down for the 2012 summer season.

Violet enjoys the last moments of summer fun at Chevy Chase Rec. It's been fun, Summer 2012!

So get out there and enjoy them while you can! And get ready to head back to the Wilson Aquatic Center once it re opens in September!

For all the details regarding the closing and maintenance schedule for ALL the DC DPR Spray Parks, Outdoor pools, and Indoor Aquatic Centers, check out the DC Department of Parks and Recreation website.

Free Party at Turtle Park on July 27th!

Come and enjoy a free party at Turtle Park on Friday, July 27th from 5:30 – 8:00 PM.

A moon bouce, hot dogs, and sno cones - basically my son's idea of heaven. And it's free!

Bring the kids and the whole family and enjoy FREE Sno-cones, moon bounces, face painting, popcorn, music, hot dogs.

This event is brought to you by Restoration Church is collaboration with Friendship Recreation Center (Turtle Park), DC Parks & Recreation.

I will be there with my kiddos – see you there!

FYI – I found out about this event via the Friends of Turtle Park email list serv – if you’d like to sign up for it, check out their website.  And to keep up with what the Department of Parks and Rec is doing, follow them on twitter!

Do You Like Mommy FTW on Facebook?

Life has been really busy for me this summer and I haven’t been posting on the blog as much as I’d like – but I wanted to remind all my readers that I have a facebook fan page for Mommy FTW which I do post on much more frequently – especially about local news (what sprinkler parks might not be working, extended pool hours, local happenings etc).

Do you like me? Then Like me!

If you live in the NW DC area – or just want more Mommy FTW, then Like my page on Facebook! And I promise, more blog posts are in the works!

Get Your Kiddos Into Gardening With ‘We Grew It, Let’s Eat It!’

When I was growing up my mom always grew food in her garden, and I loved participating in the process, and of course, eating the proceeds!  I have tried very hard to pass on this love of homegrown foods and gardening (both the growing, and the eating) to my kids.

So, I was excited to hear about a book called We Grew It, Let’s Eat It.  It was written by two young twins in Washington, DC who learned about the White House Garden and wanted to start one of their own – but they lived in an apartment with no outdoor space.  They started their project at a Community Garden – planting, tending, harvesting, and preparing their homegrown food, and writing about it.

Help your kids get excited about gardening and homegrown food!

Simply put, We Grew It, Let’s Eat It illustrates how exciting and rewarding creating and enjoying homegrown food can be to little ones.  And, this weekend (April 14th at 3:00 pm) at the Tenley Friendship Library (Wisconsin Ave at Albemarle St) the twin authors Annie and Veda will be reading excerpts from their book and talking to fellow gardeners (young and old) about their experience.  Bring your little ones and learn and help them get excited about gardening!

To learn more about Tenley Circle Press, the publishers of We Grew It, Let’s Eat It!, check out their website.

What’s Violet Eating? Chicken Noodle Soup (Without the Soup!)

Unfortunately Violet and I have been really sick lately – and what is better when you are sick than chicken soup?  The other morning we found ourselves at Whole Foods in Tenleytown and I got some soup for Violet and I.  I remembered that Cameron used to eat chicken soup without the soup – and that it was an easy, protein and veggie filled meal that we could share.

Yummy yummy in my tummy!

So get yourself some chicken soup, and fish out all the chunks – the veggies are usually really nice and soft and easy for baby to handle (Violet still only has 2 teeth!) and the chicken bits and noodles are easily made into little pieces.  Violet even let me feed her little spoonfuls of broth.  Just make sure it’s not too hot!

A Week Of Storytime Options – for Free (In NW DC)

Now that Violet has decided to drop her morning nap (not my idea!) I have found myself with a lot less free time on my hands (hence the slow down in posting) and researching ways to keep her occupied while my son Cameron is in preschool.  I decided to look into all the local (FREE!) story time options near where we live.  As it turns out, there is a story time for every week day – most of them offered by the local libraries.  FYI, the post below is filled with links to the locations as well as the schedules of the events – be sure to click through for more details.  Also, I added my favorite nearby lunch spots in case you happen to be hungry after listening to all those stories.

"I'm totally not napping mom, so make with the entertainment already!"

Monday -

10:30 am Politics and Prose Story Time with BearSong the Guitar man If you need a snack or some lunch, Politics and Prose has a coffee shop, and there is also one of my favorites, Marvelous Market, just down the block.

10:30 am Palisades Library Crafty Tales for Toddlers age 2  Palisades Library is my favorite library for kiddos near me – they have a train table and lots of spots for the kids to draw and do puzzles.  And, FYI, there is a Safeway just around the corner from the Palisades Library which makes really yummy deli sandwiches if you are looking to pick up some lunch while you are around!

11:15 am Palisades Library Baby Lap Time ages birth – 12 months

Tuesday -

10 am Chevy Chase Library Toddler Story Time Stories, songs and so much more ages 1-5

10:30 am National Zoo Bird House Story Time in the Bird Resource Room for special stories featuring our feathered friends. Come for the story time, but stay for the zoo!  There’s so much to see, be sure to make a morning of it!  And, if you are looking for some yummy lunch, check out my favorite Italian Delicatessen Vace just down Connecticut Ave for some to-die-for (and cheap) pizza and sandwiches.

Wednesday -

10 am Cleveland Park Library Terrific Twos Storytime ages 2-3 FYI – Vace is right across the street from the Cleveland Park Library – now you just have to try it!

10:30 am Palisades Library Preschool Story Time ages 2-5

11:15 am Palisades Library Music and Movement Music, dancing and instrument playing ages birth – 5

Thursday -

11 am Chevy Chase Library Toddler Story Time Stories, songs and so much more ages 1-5

10 am Tenley-Friendship Library Bilingual (English/Spanish) Story Time Stories, songs, rhymes and lots of fun with Miss Veronica 2nd and 4th Thursdays only

Friday -

10 am Tenley-Friendship Library Tales for Twos and Three Listen to stories and enjoy music, movement and other fun activities ages 2-3 Whole foods, and a just added Panera Bread are right across the street from the Tenley-Friendship Library.  These are both great spots to grab some snacks or lunch.

11 am Tenley Friendship Library Baby Toddler Lap Time ages birth – 24 months

I realize that a lot of you don’t live near me -  sorry that was so hyper local.  But, I do suggest that you check out your local library and see what they have going.  I am so impressed with the DC Public libraries – they offer so many incredible programs!  And when we were living in Brooklyn, Cameron was a big fan of the story time at Clinton Hill Library.  It’s great that there are so many free options out there to get our little ones interested in books – so be sure to take advantage of them!!

UPDATE! As of this week, story time on Tuesday at the Bird House is on break for the summer, but a new story time is starting up at the Kids Farm.  Check out this post for more information.

DC Public Library Fine Forgiveness Campaign!

I have a new found love for the library now that I have kids.  We go all the time to pick up books I’ve requested (see my post on putting books on hold) as well as to browse the shelves for something new and excited.  So I was happy to hear about the Check it In Fine Forgiveness Campaign that the DC Public Libraries have in effect.  Here are the details:

Don't worry, the library still loves you. Bring it back!

The “Check It In” campaign is an effort to encourage DC Public Library cardholders who haven’t used the library in a while because of overdue, lost or damaged books or other library materials to return to the library.  The DC Public Library will forgive all fines and fees on any overdue, lost and damaged item.

The DC Public Library wants to get back as many overdue books as possible to benefit more District residents. The Library wants to also ensure we have your most up-to-date information so this is an opportunity for you to update your customer record with your new email address, phone number or mailing address.

How long is the campaign?
The 60-day campaign will run from Monday, Dec. 5, 2011 – Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012.

How does it work?
No matter how long you’ve had the book. No matter the condition of the CD. You can return them to any DC Public Library. No questions asked. And best of all NO FINES OR FEES charged. You lost it? No problem. Stop by your local library and we’ll forgive that too.  When returning your book, you must see a library staff person in order to clear your record of fines and fees.

What are you waiting for? Check it in and discover the joy of using your library again.

I remember as a child I lost a book and was so scared of paying the fines (my allowance was non-existent) that I never went to the library again.  It wasn’t until I came back to DC as and adult (with a new last name from my marriage – ha!) that I started using the library again.  Don’t let this happen to you!  The DC Public Libraries want to give you a clean slate.  Start your love affair with the library again!

For more information on where to find your local DC Public Library branch, check out their website.  Also be sure to read my post on placing books on hold (my favorite way to get the most out of the library) and check out what Cameron is reading if you need some inspiration!

It’s Trick or Treat Time – Here’s Some Tips for Taking Your Toddler Out!

I did a post on the topic of trick or treating with your toddler last year, and it was pretty popular, so I am doing a repost since it’s that time of year again!  I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and fun Halloween!

Our pumpkins this year. Cameron's is the cat!

Choose a costume that is comfortable and don’t cover your child’s eyes. If your child is working on potty training, think about how easy it will be to remove for a bathroom break. If your child’s costume has a hat, try putting it on them a few times before the big day so they can warm up to it. Also, put it on your head to show them how cool it is.

Try and go visiting before your toddler’s bedtime. No one says you have to wait until dark to visit your neighbors in your Halloween costume. This will help avoid crankyness! I think we will head out after dinner, but before bath time.

If you are going to go around the neighborhood, bring a stroller or wagon. That way if they get tired of walking you have a back up plan that doesn’t involve you carrying them.

Take a flashlight with you if you are going out after dark. Also, Give your toddler something that is lit to hold. A flashlight, glow bracelet or necklace work great. You want others to see them coming

Make sure your toddler is wearing comfortable shoes – even if they don’t go with the costume!

If your child is potty trained, suggest they go to the bathroom before you go. If not, put on a fresh diaper.  (Even thought Cameron is mostly trained, I might try and get a diaper on him anyways to avoid any tricky situations).

Consider using a backpack as a goody bag. It’s easier to carry if things get heavy, and it keeps those little hands free to carry a flashlight.

Be sure to bring a bottle of water or your toddler’s sippy cup so that they can have a drink.

Take pictures before you go out trick or treating while everyone is well-rested, well fed, and happy.

I hope everyone has fun! Please feel free to post pictures of your little one in costume on our Facebook Fan Page!!  Cameron is going as Thomas the train – is anyone surprised?!

PS: if any readers live nn NW DC I hear that Brandywine St is closed to traffic between 46th and 47th streets from 5-8:30.  There will be a fire truck there around 6:30. That’s where we will be!

Pete’s A Pizza – Kid Friendly, Adult Tasty!

I’m always on the look out for a kid friendly place to take Cameron for a meal – and when I can find a place that I also enjoy eating it’s a bonus! Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza is perfect for us. There are a few locations, but the one we frequent is in Friendship Heights (4940 Wisconsin Ave). Their pizza is “New Haven Style” – I’m not exactly sure what that means – but having moved to DC from New York (and having eaten a lot of really good pizza) – I can say that “New Haven Style” must mean “tasty.”

It’s a thin crust pie with sophisticated, quality, locally sourced toppings available (don’t worry, they also have peperoni – Cameron’s favorite) like broccoli rabe, roasted while garlic, and sautéed wild mushrooms to name a few. This isn’t Dominos, people! They also have super delicious salads, some pasta dishes (which I admit I’ve never tried) and desserts.

If you head there for lunch, which is what we do, be sure to consider one of the lunch specials – 2 slices of cheese pizza + a fountain drink, or 1 slice of cheese and a small salad + a fountain drink for $5.99 (you can get toppings on your pizza for 25 cents each).

After you order, the food comes out quickly. There’s plenty of places to sit, and it isn’t a huge deal if your kid is a little rambunctious. There are plenty of high chairs and booster seats, they have kids cups with lids, and a bathroom for the all important potty break.

If you are a fan of Pete’s A Pizza like me, be sure to sign up for their email list so you can hear about specials. For example, October’s special is on Tuesdays 25% off your order, all day, all three locations (dine in or take out only). Not bad! You can also follow Pete’s on twitter.

Where to Play on a Rainy Day in Washington DC – Round Up!

The Hurricane is coming!  It’s time to batten down the hatches, and figure out what the heck to do with your kids!  Here’s a round up of my favorite rainy day activities in Washington DC if you need to get the little ones out of the house, most of them FREE!

Some ideas to beat the rainy day blues. Of course, there's always puddle stompin'!

Wilson Aquatic Center – The Aquatic Center is currently closed for it’s yearly “deep clean” but will re open Sunday, August 28th all refreshed.  Given that Sunday is supposed to be one of the more rainy days, this seems like great timing to me!  Check out my earlier post on the Wilson Aquatic Center to learn more about this fabulous, free spot.  It’s the perfect place to take your kiddos and really tire them out!

Rock Creek Park Nature Center – While not the most glamorous spot, it’s a great little gem for a rainy day.  There’s lots of things for your little explorer to look at and touch, and plenty of free parking.  Check out my earlier post on the Rock Creek Park Nature Center for more information.

The National Museum of Natural History – This museum has Dinosaurs, bugs, a huge Elephant, gems, and so much more.  Both my son and daughter loved being able to hold the bugs, and were amazed by the butterfly exhibit.  Check out the National Museum of Natural History website for more information on the current exhibits and hours.

National Museum of American History – If your little one loves trains, trucks, machines, and hands on activities don’t miss the Spark Lab!), then you definitely want to check out this Museum.  Check out the website for more information on exhibits and hours of operation.

National Air and Space Museum – There is something amazing about giant planes hanging indoors just a few feet away from you – even to an adult!  Air and Space is a guaranteed winner for kids.  Be sure to check out the How Flight Works exhibit which has lots of fun hands on activities.  Check the Air and Space website for more info.

Wisconsin Place Rec Center – This isn’t the most exciting outing, but if you are desperate to get your little on out of the house, this is a decent option.  Check out my previous post on the Rec Center to learn more.

Metro Train Ride – If your toddler loves trains as much as mine does, they might enjoy just a train ride on the Metro.  I know I’ve done this before!  Cameron really loves the “underground train.”  Seems silly…. but you never know what is exciting to a little one.  Kids under 4 ride free.

National Zoo – Yes, much of the Zoo is outside, but there are lots of indoor exhibits too.  Cameron’s favorites are the Bird House and Amazonia.  Check the Zoo website for more info on exhibits and hours.

Palisades Library – Did you know the Palisades library has a train table, and a whole floor devoted to the kids section?  It’s the best kids library I’ve ever encountered.  The library isn’t open Sunday, but it’s a good option for this Saturday (or any other rainy day!)  Check out the Palisades Library page on the DC Public Library website for more info.