Author Archives: meg1rl

Jul 02, 2015
Jul 01, 2015

Special thanks to guest blogger Meg Jewett for her review of Kaizen’s brunch!

I don’t know about your family, but for the 5 of us, weekends race by at a pretty incredible clip. Sometimes I feel like I should just hurl hardboiled eggs and a clementine or two out the window to passing kids as they race to soccer or swim or between sleepovers and birthday parties. Every once in a while, when all of the stars align, and generally there is a torrential downpour or half the class has chicken pox, we have time for a family brunch, and darn it, we are going to enjoy it. Next comes the selection process though, and that is almost as exhausting. Between wheat intolerance, vegetarian principles, and insatiable appetites, there lies a small patch of agreement where a yummy breakfast could land. We’ve just recently stumbled upon a restaurant that lands just there and serves something other than a Frappuccino. Join us sometime at KAiZEN Tavern. First, get over that “You’ve got a baby, in a bar.” moment, and the fact that at night they serve sushi. There is something to their quirky mix of neighborhood warmth, streamlined Asian aesthetic and the add-ins that just happen to be favorites of the smiling manger, Allen Smith. Our picky eater scarfed down the French toast and passed the sausage to her little sister, who loved the fact that Mr. Smith babied her with some extra tweaks to her breakfast tacos so there was nothing to spicy or too red (her latest phase!). Our more adventurous teen went for the bento box, feeling proud to have avoided anything with syrup and made Mom proud with thought about a balanced plate of protein and veggies. The mood there is relaxed and cheerful and the small space is definitely filled with lots of “regulars” chatting with the staff and friends at other tables. They are happy to make orders to go for family members who slept in or for anyone needing to get scooting to the day’s events. This includes sending you off with sake or something bubbly too, if you have a festive picnic in mind or maybe just brunch in bed for someone extra deserving of a little peace. My husband and I enjoyed trading tastes of each other’s Pork Belly BLT and the breakfast take on a Philly, washed down with Del Ray Fizz—the house mimosa that was just the extravagance our easy morning deserved. We’ve never been much of short stack of flapjacks and grits and gravy gang, but this blend of comfort foods and stylized fair was refreshing and fun without making a family feel out of place on a savored Saturday morning together. Now I’m sort of hoping no one makes it to All-Stars, or is invited to the PaintThis birthday next weekend either. Hope your crew can sneak in a little time together this week too over some great local eats, and maybe we’ll see you on the Avenue!
Kaizen is located on 1909 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria VA 22302. They are open Monday through Friday. 4:30-9:30pm with a happy hour specials from 4:30-7pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10:30-2pm for Brunch and 4:30-9:30pm for Dinner. Children are Welcome and reservations are welcome but not required.

Jun 15, 2015

Every Summer Alexandria Library SummerQuest and SummerQuest Jr. puts together an amazing line up of fun and educational programs for kids during the summer months. You can find the incredible schedule of events of the Alexandria Library Websiteshazam

Programs include Alexandria’a Mobile Art Lab, Rocknoceros, Kaydee Puppets, Science Night, Dance Parties, Live Animal Shows, Uncle Devin, Movies, Groovy Nate, Mad Science, Magician Joe Romano, Shazam Magic, C. Shells, Oh Susannah, Kofi Dennis Storyteller, Wii Gaming, The Great Zucchini, Barefoot Puppet Theatre, Lego Event and more!RocknoLogo

In addition to events, the library has a summer reading program to promote reading.SummerQuest

Beginning Monday, June 22, 2015, you can sign up for Alexandria Library’s summer reading program! This year’s theme is “Every Hero Has a Story.” Students can only register for one summer reading program:

SummerQuest Jr., Ages 0-5
Kids between the ages of newborn and five years old can sign up for SummerQuest, Jr. They can either log books read or read to them or complete an early literacy activity sheet for a surprise. SummerQuest, Jr. also features fun programs such as funny puppet shows and lively music concerts.

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

Unmask — Teen Reading Challenge, Ages 12-18
Students between the ages of 12-18 may register for the “Unmask” Teen Reading Challenge. After logging in 5 or more books, their names will be entered in a raffle to win one of two $50 gift cards. Rising 6th and 7th grade students may sign up for either “Every Hero Has a Story” for ages 6-12 or for the teen program, “Unmask.” Overdue fines up to $25 will be forgiven for middle and high school students who register, read, and add at least one book to their reading logs.

May 13, 2015

This Saturday, May 16 come to Mount Vernon Community School with the whole family for a plant seedling sale, potted plants, floral bouquets, bake sale, live music, an advice table with straw hat gardeners, pour over coffee, and more! All to benefit the MVCS Playground Fund.
From 8 am-2 pm at Mount Vernon Community School Playground

May 01, 2015

I recently visited Local Motion Studio on the edge of Old Town and had the opportunity to meet with the owner Sara Lavan and Children’s Program Director Kylie Murray. I was so excited to hear about all the amazing programs that Local Motion Studio has for children and even more excited to hear about the hot summer programs that they have coming up. Local Motion has two types of programs that they are offering children. The first is a basic weekly class set up and the second is an enrichment camp structure where the children attend for the week.

group pic wild thingsTheir ‘basic’ classes are anything but basic when it comes to the curriculum. Their creative movement class starts at age 2 (with a caregiver) and goes up to age 6. In this youngest class kids learn movement and parents take away concepts to use at home. This class also helps kids learn the structure and organization of being in a class. Local Motion Studio brings in multi-cultural music, incorporates props, collaboration and coordination into all of their movement classes.  The 5-6 year olds even begin to create choreography. Also as part of their ‘basic’ summer classes, they will be offering kids’ yoga. Children will learn in a fun environment basic mindfulness, breathing, meditation and asana. All of their summer classes are set up so that you can choose to attend for 8, 9 or 10 weeks. It’s all about flexibility for your summer schedule!

The enrichment camps offered this summer at Local Motion are week-long camps that are two hours in length each day and will enrich your child’s body and mind. The Yoga Camp incorporates storytelling, creative movement, games and crafts. This class is offered for children ages 5-7. Dance Camp brings together exploration of movement and culminates in an original performance piece they will perform at the end of the week. This camp is for children going into grades 1st through 4th. The Theater Camp will be the final camp offered during the summer and it is also for children going into grades 1st through 4th. In theater camp children will work together in games, improvisational theater, playwriting and movement activities to help develop basic theater skills of vocal expression, storytelling and character creation.

You can sign up today on Local Motion Studio’s website!

Leaping boy

Apr 15, 2015

New parents have to make many tough decisions. Among them is how to handle all the crap that comes out of our precious new children. I grew up wearing cloth diapers. My mother swore by them. The diaper pins held sentimental attachment for me as I grew older and remembered seeing my youngest sibling toddle around in her cloth diaper. My mom was a trooper and did all the cleaning herself. When I had my first child, I decided that I didn’t have the time to invest in cloth diapers although I hated seeing the loads of diapers that we sent out to the landfill. Fast forward nine years out of diapers and I stumbled upon Modern Diaper Service. My oldest was at rock climbing camp and needs a harness now more than a diaper but I was curious when I saw their sign and went in for more information. The owner, Dennis, was very kind and gave my son and I a tour of their facility. I was blown away. I felt like I had stepped back in time. I had no idea that Alexandria has been home to a full service diaper company since 1974 (that’s one year before I was born for those wondering). Even my son enjoyed seeing the testing that they do on each and ever load of laundered diapers to ensure that they are PH balanced to fight diaper rash.IMG_2443[1]

Modern Diaper advertises that for less than the cost of many brands of disposable diapers you can give your baby the Comfort of 100% Cotton Diapers and free yourself from the inconvenience of washing diapers at home. They have incredible industrial equipment that ensures that their diapers get the cleanest wash possible. Each diaper is inspected by hand!IMG_2445[1]

Now the details of their service! Your first delivery of diapers includes a plastic diaper pail along with waterproof velcro diaper cover and instructions. You’re not going at this alone moms and dads! They also sale additional velcro diaper covers, waterproof pants, diaper pins, liners and training pants. They offer 2 Sizes of Diapers and 6 Choices of thickness. They pick-up and deliver at your door step in Alexandria and through out the DMV and your service date is the same each week. Looking for a great shower gift for new parents? You can get new parents a gift certificate for their services.

You can contact them at 301-853-3993 or 703-82303993 or even go visit them at 5318 Eisenhower Ave. in Alexandria. www.moderndiaperservice.com/

 

 

Mar 13, 2015

After such a cold and bitter winter we’re all feeling a little giddy about the signs of spring. One sure sign of spring is my new panic of having to find a spring break camp for the kids. Spring break for Alexandria City Public Schools is March 30-April 3rd. I highly recommend a trip to a tropical location for Spring Break but if you’re like me and need to stick around and work, you’ll need to find a camp to keep the littles entertained for the week. Here are a few Alexandria options that we’ve come across:

SewLab Classes, Ages 7+
SewLab is offering week-long 2 hours/day Spring Break Kid/Teen Sew classes. March 23 – 27, 9-11 am or April 6 – 10, 9-11 am. Instruction is tailored to meet the needs of each individual based on their current sewing level. Small class size. Register online. Need more info? Please email sewlabva@gmail.com
SewLab is located at 1315 Mount Vernon Ave, in Del Ray, Alexandria, three blocks north of G.W. Middle School and 10 minute walk from the Braddock Road Metro Station. On street parking only.

Hoop Life Spring Basketball Camp
March 30 – April 3 from 9AM – 4PM For Boys & Girls ages 5-14 years old. At GW Middle School $205 for Alexandria City Residents, $230 for Non Residents
Children will learn the fundamentals of basketball from professional basketball trainers with real life experience on multiple levels of basketball including the NBA. Campers will learn fundamentals at skill stations and get an opportunity to display their newly acquired skills during skill competitions and scrimmages for prizes and awards. Each camper will leave with improved skills, a heightened basketball IQ, and a renewed passion for the game. No previous experience is required.

British Soccer Camp will be at  Chinquapin Recreation Center. Each day is based around a different soccer topic as our coaches build up each player’s skills in a fun and relaxed environment that encourages development. For ages 3-17

Need a creative activity for spring break? Metamorphosis Art and Enrichment Center is providing 90 minute art workshops for parents and children. Choose 1 or more than 1 as you and your child will create original pieces side by side. No art experience is needed just a fun a relaxed attitude.  They are located at Convergence on 1801 N Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22302. All workshops are 90 minutes $45 for 1 parent/1 child. Art supplies are included. Register at Workshops

Super Doodlers Art Camp will be held at two locations: Lee Rec Center and Charles Houston Rec Center. For ages 3-12. With Super Size, Superheros, and Super FUN. You’re a kid! You’re an artist! You’re a Super Doodler! Create super-sized drawings and masks! Imagine superheroes and your own superpowers! Make a paint super-mess to produce spectacular sculptures and paintings! Blast off with super space art! Super Doodlers create nonstop super FUN in this super-duper camp! See the city’s website for hours and details

Tennis Camp for ages 5-14 will be held at Chinquapin Rec Center with a half day and full day option. The court is a great place to have fun and learn new skills while making new friends. Kids will learn basic tennis strokes including forehand, backhand, volley, overhead and serve. A variety of great games will keep kids moving with time to cool down at Rixse Pool each day. Sign up on the city’s website.

FUNtastic Spring Break Camp at Lee Rec Center. Ages 5-17. Sign your kids up for a 5 day Spring Break adventure! Enjoy a variety of structured activities, that include exploring nature, hiking, scavenger hunts and much more! You can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your camper is enjoying enrichment activities, meeting new friends and experiencing just the right mix of activities your child is sure to enjoy! Participants are required to bring a bag lunch and drink. Sign up on the city’s website

Nature Spring Break Camp will be held at the Jerome Buddie Ford Nature Center on Sanger Ave. for ages 7-11 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. A fun-packed, week-long, full-day adventure camp where children learn about the history of Native Americans. Activities include woodland hikes, live animal exhibitions, storytelling, games, crafts and much more all while using natural materials! Museum and fishing field trips included. Sign up on the city’s website

I know it’s not Alexandria but Baroody Camps is offering a Spring Break in Annandale, just straight down Duke St.

 

Mar 05, 2015

Do you have a child that loves gymnastic? Does your kids like to tumble, balance and bounce? Be sure to check out Del Ray’s only full fledged gymnastics facility, Bounce.

photo 3 - CopyThe owner, Lanette opened the doors last summer and the classes are becoming more popular as families hear about this new gymnastic facility. Bounce is in Del Ray 
at CrossFit MVA (you do not have to be a member) & UpCycle Bldg 1712 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria 22301

photo 4My daughter began taking classes with Lanette last fall and I have the highest praise for the classes and teachers. It’s great for kids of all skill level. Lanette keeps the class fun, fast paced and challenging. Lanette’s enthusiasm and  positivity shines throughout all of her interactions with her students. She allows students to try one introductory class for free.  photo 2

Bounce is a recreational program with fabulous, portable equipment from Tumbl Trak. They have a 20′ tumble track and landing mat, a cheerleading tumbling floor with carpet bonded foam, Jr. Parallel Bars, Jr. Balance Beams, Vaulting Mat, Wedge Mats, a Developmental Fitness Wheel, as well as pull up bars, rings and ropes. Their classes are beginner to intermediate. They follow USAG fundamental skills that lead to skill progressions and routines.

Sign up for all classes at Bouncealexandria.com

Nov 06, 2014

photo 1We stop by the newly renovated Hooff run playground recently to check out the new space.The city has replaced all of the existing play structures and installed a new rubberized safety surfacing. The play structures includes swings for children, infants and children with disabilities. There’s a nice large see-saw that accommodates multiple riders on each side.photo 4The main play structure has plenty of slides and several fun areas to climb and tunnels to explore. There’s also a seperate imaginative play area for preschool children. photo 2Several children were enjoying the lone rotating equipment which is essentially a spinning stick, for lack of a better description. photoThere’s also a climbing/bridge structure which is nice for older children. photo 3I would say that the plate area is most suitable for children ages 2 to 5. Park also includes grassy areas and a basketball court. The landscaping work around the park is still in progress. Hooff run is tucked in off the street at 99 E. Rosemont Ave.

Oct 16, 2014

If you’re looking for a play group for your little one, the City of Alexandria has several low cost options!

ch soft playMount Vernon Rec Center, right here in Del Ray has Kids Rock Social Hour for ages 0-4 years on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. You can drop into the Rec. Center and sign up for only $25 per season and this session goes until Nov. 24th. The group meets in the large play room and encourages development through music, movement and play.

chinquapinThere are also drop in hours at Charles Houston Rec Center (CHRC) & Chinquapin Park Rec Center (CQRC) offer Soft Time Players Mon-Fri. This unstructured play for ages 0-5 years encourages motor skill development on three-dimensional soft play equipment. CHRC soft play is open from 9 a.m.- 9 p.m. M-F, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat. and 1-5 p.m. Sun. CQRC is open for soft play from 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. M-Thur. and 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Both locations are $5 for 1/2 hour play for city residents.

IMG_3675Cora Kelly Rec Center (CKRC), CHRC and Nannie Lee Rec Center (NLRC) offer Lil Gymmies drop in play time for children 2-5 years old. The play sessions have toys, balls, hulla hoops, moon bounce inflatables and more. RKRC Lil Gymmies is on M-W from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. CKRC is on Sat. from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. NLRC is on Thur. & Fri from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Play time is $5 per half hour for residents.