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You can get the best of Out by Ten (and much, much more!) on Out by Ten's Facebook page "Family Friendly Prince George's."

I'm now a full-time work-outside-the-home mom and while we're still going on TONS of family adventures, making time for the adventures (verses making time for writing about them!) has taken priority in my life right now.

But have no fear! Our new Facebook page is a great resource for all the wonderful family-friendly stuff happening in Prince George's County and the greater Metro DC area. Be sure to check out the Out by Ten archives on the right for lots of great activities!

Head over and give me a like and I'll see you on your wall soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wee Wonders at the National Children's Museum -- December Events

The Wee Wonders program at the National Children's Museum (NCM) Launch Zone continues in December!

You can practically create your own preschool for your toddler with the help of the National Children's Museum and their Wee Wonders program. Each month, the NCM is offering programs on a different theme for children ages 2-3. According to the NCM, "these fun, fast-paced learning events typically include stories, games, art, music, experiments, drama, and movement around a different theme."

Please note: each month the same program is offered multiple times. But knowing how much my own son loved repetition as a toddler, you may want to visit more than once a month!

December 1, 8, and 15 from 10 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.
Wee Wonders' Winter Wonderland

Discover what happens during the winter including winter weather, ice and snow, and how different animals adapt to the changing season.

Additional Details:

National Children's Museum Launch Zone
112 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745

Limit two children per adult; all non-infant children with an adult must pay and must participate; additional siblings are not permitted.

Fee: $10 per child. Pre-registration and advance payment (by check or credit card only) is required by the Friday prior to the event.

Please call 202-675-4120 or email to register.


For more information about visiting National Harbor and The Launch Zone, please check out my previous post. For the full schedule of Wee Wonders programming, check out this post.

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway

I recently had the opportunity to review four wonderful books from Pretty Please Press. Of course, how could I pass up the opportunity when the founder of this company is a woman named Lauren Aimee Garn? (I'm a total sucker for anyone and everything that uses the name Aimee spelled just like me!) But, seriously, I love reading with Lucas and love discovering new books so immediately said Yes!

Pretty Please Press was founded in 2001 and publishes children's books that are designed to be read aloud and talked about. Each book contains a message about character and values that helps parents and children think and talk about a variety of issues. In addition, the website offers parents and teachers additional free resources like vocabulary guides, reading comprehension materials and lesson plans for each book.

I know that especially during this time of year we parents are trying hard to make our celebrations about more than food and presents and general excess. But, it's tough, isn't it?

For our family, the strategy isn't One Big Talk but rather trying to incorporate discussions about our values into the every day throughout the year. And, with that, Pretty Please Press is here to help.

Each of the four books above is lovely and thought-provoking. The one Lucas and I have come back to several times since receiving our copies is Kick Block Punch. Lucas is already a pretty rough and tumble kid. Add to that his recent obsession with the movie Kung Fu Panda and we've got a budding martial artist on our hands. There are many areas for discussion within Kick Block Punch but I've been able to use it to discuss the fact that real martial artists don't pick fights or practice on their friends or siblings. In fact, in real life they'd run away from a fight or a stranger.

At almost four, Lucas is definitely on the young end for taking advantage of all that the books from Pretty Please Press have to offer. I am certain we'll keep them in our collection and come back to them again and again over the next few years with each reading leading to a rich discussion.

And, now, dear readers, Pretty Please Press and Out by Ten have a great offer for you! Leave a comment below and you'll be entered to win your very own set of four Pretty Please Press books! Even if you aren't the lucky winner, you can take advantage of a special discount price: 4 books for the price of 3 or 20% off the list price of all books purchased. Click here to order, offer expires December 31.

Here's the fine print:

This contest is open to readers in the United States (sorry, overseas shipping is just a bit too pricey). Leave a comment, any comment, on this post by Monday, November 30 at 8pm. You must include an e-mail address on the comment form or in your comment so that I can reach you. Winner will be chosen via and notified by Tuesday, December 1 and will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping address. If I am not able to reach the winner via e-mail or if I do not hear back from them with a shipping address within 48 hours then I will select another winner.

Disclosure: I received free review copies of these four books from Pretty Please Press. They are also providing four free copies to the lucky winner. I was not compensated in any other way for this post.

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

National American Indian Festival: Saturday, November 14

image of Clayton Old Elk via Reznet

Are you or your children interested in American Indian heritage? Then you're in luck! November is National American Indian Heritage Month and a great FREE event is taking place right here in Prince George's County this Saturday, November 14.

The National American Indian Festival will take place this Saturday from 10am until 3pm at the Patuxent River 4-H Center in Upper Marlboro. Come on out to the festival to learn all about the culture and history of the people of the First Nations.

Very respected elder Clayton Old Elk will emcee a program featuring live music from Ron Warren and Janice Torres. Never heard of them? Me either, but apparently they are pretty renound Native American musicians performing on the flute and vocals/percussion, respectively.

You can also try some archery and canoeing (try not to fall in, I bet the water is pretty cold these days!). There will be artifacts, exhibits and demonstrations. You can make crafts, play games and listen to stories. And, of course, you can eat! Yummy food including including Indian tacos, fry bread and more will be available.

Did I mention it's all free? (Well, probably not the food, but that's to be expected.)

Additional Information:

National American Indian Festival
Saturday, November 14
10 am-3 pm

Patuxent River 4-H Center
18405 Queen Anne Road, Upper Marlboro 20774

All ages welcome.

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Birthday Party Ideas

Lucas's birthday is just a few days before Christmas and so the poor guy is doomed to have his birthday coincide with frantic Christmas preparations, holiday travel and, most years, no in-school cupcakes on his actual birthday. Thus far in his short little life, we've never even been home for his birthday! His birthday celebrations have been lovely affairs but also have been very low-key with guest lists comprised of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

This year one of the items on my "To Do Before Baby" list is "throw Lucas a real birthday party with his friends." The only problems are that by the time his birthday rolls around, I'll be a solid 8 months pregnant, it will be very cold outside, and our not-very-large house will (hopefully!) already be decorated for Christmas. (Christmas tree + lots of preschoolers = trouble.) All these factors combined with the fact that his grandmothers completely funded birthdays #1, #2 and #3 have led me to want to splurge for birthday #4. We're going to throw Lucas's party at a fun location in Prince George's County!

Here are some local out-of-the-house birthday party options I've discovered in my research. After the big par-tay I'll let you know which one we chose and how it went.

College Park Aviation Museum
I've already professed my love of the College Park Aviation Museum. Hopefully you've taken my advice to visit. But, did you know they offer birthday party packages as well? Packages include access to the museum and party room, aviation carnival games, gift bags, a t-shirt for the birthday boy or girl and a craft. Click here for all the details.

Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex
You know how much I love the open gymnastics at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex but they have so much more to offer, including a leisure pool. You can host a birthday party there for kids ages 3-12. Features include a one-hour open swim and additional hour in the party room. They provide invitations, tablecloths, plates, cups, silverware and napkins. However, based on their website information, it appears that you can not supply your own homemade food. Food must be prepared by a "licensed food service manager." Click here for all the details.

Pump It Up!
Lucas and I had a blast at the Lanham-Bowie location's Pump it Up Pop In Playtime last winter and I imagine this would be a really fun place to have a birthday party. They have several birthday party packages with weekday parties being cheaper than weekend parties. All packages include plenty of time with the inflatables and the use of a private party room. Additional amenities include free full color invitations, complimentary paper products, party set up and clean-up. Click here to see the package options.

Watkins Park Nature Center
Watkins Park would be our top pick for a summer birthday party. We'd have a picnic and then take the kids on a carousel and miniature train ride. But, those just aren't options during the winter. Luckily, the indoor Watkins Park Nature Center offers a great winter (and year round!) destination for a birthday party. Their "Wild Things" birthday package includes a 30-minute animal show, private use of the workshop room for the party and a coloring book for each guest. Of course guests can also enjoy the public Nature Center exhibits. Click here (and scroll down) for all the details.

Please help me make this a great resource for other parents! Tell us where have you celebrated your child(ren)'s birthdays. Where have you attended fun birthday parties hosted by others?

Original post by Smiling Mama at Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex Gymnastics Workshops

Photo via

Lucas and I went to an Open Gymnastics Workshop at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex for the first time in March 2008. That afternoon, I wrote a post titled $6 = 3 hour nap = Priceless. Seriously, that $6 and the many more $6 I've spent on subsequent visits have been some of the best money I've ever spent on Lucas.

The Gymnastics Center at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex is truly a first-class facility. They have a complete set of competition-grade men's and women's gymnastics equipment as well as wonderful tot-sized equipment and fun extra things like a rope swing.

Each week, the Sports and Learning Complex offers open gymnastics workshops for children ages walking to 12 years old. This is unstructured, free time for your kids to basically run around and go crazy! Some of the professional equipment (full-size uneven bars, horse, etc.) are off-limits but there is still so much to do! Kids can jump on the trampolines, walk on the balance beams, run and jump on the practice mats, swing on the rope swing into the foam pit, etc. Trust me, they--and you!--will burn off a ton of energy in one hour of open gymnastics.

Two cautions: First, it is really up to you to keep your child safe. There are 1-2 employees on duty during open gymnastics but they seem to only enforce rules occasionally. Be ready to move quickly to keep up with younger children. Second, jump into the foam pit at your own risk! You'll see your child and others quickly climb out of the pit. For you, it will be another story: think quicksand!

Now through December 19, Open Gymnastics Workshops will take place:

Tuesdays from 11:30am-12:30pm (no workshop on Nov. 24)
Wednesdays from 11:30am-12:30pm (no workshop on Nov. 11 or Nov. 25)
Fridays from 4:30-5:30pm (no workshop on Nov. 27)
Saturdays from 1:30-2:30 pm (no workshop on Oct. 31, Nov. 7 or Nov. 28)

Spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of 30 kids total and a maximum of 3 children per adult. Parents are required to be on the floor with their children. Fee: $6 per child.

Additional Information:

Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785

Phone: 301-853-2400; TTY 301-853 2483

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!