Mother of All Baby Showers Features Newest Baby Products

If you ever have the chance to attend a Mother of All Baby Showers event, clear your calendar, grab a friend, pawn off your kids and make sure to attend. This event is loads of fun, there are tons of prizes and it is packed with the latest and best items for expectant moms, babies and families with littles.

I have attended several years and always come home loaded with swag and learning after meeting with experts for new and expanding families. Last week’s Mother of All Baby Showers Luxe event in Tysons Corner was no exception. It was a parents night out connecting new and expecting parents (and parenting bloggers, too) with hand-picked pregnancy and parenting brands.

I brought my sister-in-law Mary and her baby daughter Maria came along in the baby carrier (I was one excited aunt!) The highlight of the night included a keynote from Maria Bailey, host of Mom Talk Radio and co-founder of Mother Nurture and founder of Pre-Mama. Maria talked about balancing a growing career when her four children were very young, and how moms and career DO go hand in hand. Her insights on how to make your family your priority while working towards career goals you love – whether through social media careers or creating products fellow moms can really use – were fascinating.

Maria’s new products for expecting and nursing moms are amazing. As someone who was nauseous every single day of my pregnancies, but also anemic, I wish that I had had Premama and Mother Nurture and when I was expecting. Premama is complete prenatal nutrition requirements as required by our doctors, with flavor, that dissolve into water — taking the barf factor out of those prenatal vitamins. No more choking on horse pills, and you can actually get that folic acid and other essential vitamins into your system and to your baby!  Mother Nurture flavored waters help expectant moms stay hydrated with all natural sweeteners and flavors, and Mother Nurture truffles are nutrition-enhanced chocolate treats with good stuff for mom and baby. Although I am not currently pregnant, I am a regular imbiber of these ingenious products for a healthy life.

One find at The Mother of All Baby Showers Luxe that made me want another baby? Bratt Decor. This brand has the most gorgeous nursery furniture and bedding I have ever seen. Check out Bratt Decor’s online offerings, or head to the Bratt Decor Baltimore Closeout Warehouse to snag nursery decor items on deep, crazy-low discount! The warehouse is open to the public 10am-4pm at 5 N Haven Street Baltimore, MD. Call 410-327-4600 for details.

I could not believe the car seats and strollers I saw at the BabiesRUs booth at The Mother of All Baby Showers. They are so much lighter, safer and more high tech than even five years ago when my youngest Alice was born.

Aveda Tysons Corner was also on hand at the event to give all the moms and moms-to-be in attendance some pampering. Hand and shoulder massages, aromatherapy and custom consultations for wellness and beauty made the night feel like a spa. I love that their products are natural, made from pure plants and flowers…perfect for expectant mothers.

Although neither Mary nor I won any of the massively awesome door prizes (car seats! nursery furniture! mega big prizes!) we went home laden with swag and happy from a fabulous night out. You have to come with me to the next Mother of All Baby Showers in the DC area, or look for one coming to a town near you!

Medieval Times Spring Break Savings and Junior Knight Training

The last time we went to Medieval Times’ Baltimore/Washington, DC castle was in 2012. Five years later, we saw that our favorite elements had remained intact, but exciting new features (and special savings for Spring Break 2017) have been added to the medieval tournament show!

New Junior Knight Training Experience at the April 11, 12 and 13th, 2017 5pm Shows 
Your children ages 5-12 can have the chance to train with the Knights of the Realm, free with their child’s admission! At 3:30pm, before the April 11, 12 and 13 5pm shows, the first 80 kids who sign up get the amazing chance to enter the ring with the real knights of the show. Parents watch in the stands as the boys and girls enter the ring and line up behind small wooden swords. There they are addressed by the king himself and then they learn sword moves and courtly procedures from the knights of the show. After their special training, they kneel to be knighted themselves.

Space is limited and training is available on a first come first serve basis for the first 80 kids. This exciting bonus for kids is only happening at the Medieval Times Baltimore/Washington, DC castle!

Save BIG with the Medieval Times Spring Break Deal…up to $22 off per person! 
During March and April, Kids and Student tickets are just $29.95, Adult tickets are $37.95. This deal is valid for every show in March and April 2017. Use Code: SB3729 when booking online.

The Medieval Times Experience 

So you’ve snagged that super spring break deal and you are all set to arrive at 3:30pm sharp if you are interested in the Junior Knight Training on April 11, 12 or 13. What else is in store?

The castle opens 75 minutes prior to the show, and be sure and get there at opening to reap all the fun possible. You will get to see the King, Princess and Knights arrive, heralded by trumpets. After you show your tickets or pick them up at Will Call, you will be assigned a Knight to cheer for and your crown will reflect your knight’s banner colors. Once you have entered the castle, you  can explore the Dungeon (if you dare!), meet the falconer and his bird of prey, explore the exhibits, peruse the medieval swords for sale, get a drink and get into the middle ages spirit.

Before everyone is welcomed into the arena, the crowd gathers to cheer for the Medieval Times special celebration honorees. Birthday party packages are just $7 extra per person, and can include a special knighting by the king!

Then everyone is admitted inside to find their seats for the show. You sit in your knight’s section, and settle in for great food and entertainment. The king and his court arrive with great pageantry and theatrics. The knights ride in on their horses and the cheering begins. Next you will watch the flight of the royal falcon, and then be wowed by a dressage show in which the horses leap and “dance.”

Then the medieval jousting tournament between the six knights begins. They really joust, from atop their real horses, and then they battle in sword combat using real weapons. It is awesome!

All the while, you are chowing down on your four course meal, hands only. You will enjoy soup, bread, roast chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob and cake for dessert. There are vegetarian meals available as well as special accommodations for allergies. You can choose several beverage options, and order a drink at additional cost from the roaming bartender.

Make your spring break super special and get your Medieval Times tickets today.

My family and I received general admission tickets for review and two of my children experienced the Junior Knight training. All opinions are my own. 


GIVEAWAY: Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Last Hurrah in DC!


One More Time: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Final Farewell

If you are fans of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show On Earth, be sure to catch it one last time before it permanently closes this spring. The Out of This World production of the circus will be our last chance to see the extraordinary performers and exotic animals in this ultimate circus spectacle.

In this production, prepare to blast off on an intergalactic adventure for space-age family fun. Audiences will take the helm to join the Circus Space Fleet on a heroic quest to bring the most spectacular and talented performers back to Earth after years in outer space. There will be gravity-defying acrobats, orbital aerialists, majestic animals, fearless daredevils and humorous clowns.

You can get tickets to the circus at Verizon Center March 31 – April 2 and the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax April 7 – 16.

Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 31       10:30AM 7:30PM

Saturday, April 1    11:30AM 3:30PM 7:30PM

Sunday, April 2     11:30AM 3:30PM 7:30PM

Eagle Bank Arena (Formerly Patriot Center), Fairfax, VA

Friday, April 7 10:30AM 7:30PM

Sat. April 8 11:30AM 3:30PM 7:30PM

Sun. April 9 1:00PM 5:00PM

Thurs. April 13 7:00PM

Friday April 14 10:30AM 7:30PM

Sat. April 14 11:30AM 3:30PM 7:30PM

Sun. April 16 1:00PM 5:00PM (Easter Sunday)


Ticket Prices: 

$15 -$75 at the box offices or at Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000.

And one lucky reader will win four tickets – enter below!
4 Tickets to Ringling Bros Fairfax April 7 @7:30pm

Sport and Health at Pike and Rose: Best Montgomery County Gym, Best Personal Training #PikeFit

I have been working out for the last five years at a small, outdated gym near my home. It has the bare basics: old cardio machines, group exercise classes, ’90’s style spinning and a basement weight room without windows. Nothing to write (er, blog) home about.

So imagine my delight at an invitation to a month’s review at the new and state of the art Pike & Rose Sport&Health in North Bethesda. This brand new Sport&Health gym is gorgeous. Swanky yet warm. All of the equipment is top-notch and they have everything. The cardio machine selection blew me away. The group exercise schedule in the four classrooms was packed with options. They even have a Pilates reformer studio, as well as a Namaste studio that has the vibe of a boutique yoga or barre shop. The spin classes have a projection screen and all of the energy of the smaller, cult-favorite city spin studios.

The weight room, instead of relegated to a stinky boys’ club basement, is on the top floor, flooded with light from floor-to-ceiling windows. And this top floor has an outdoor turf balcony for outdoor workouts in the sun, overlooking Pike&Rose and the town!

This gorgeous space is where I spent four glorious personal training sessions with Pike & Rose Sport&Health’s master trainer, Peter Kwon. (Follow his awesome on Instagram at @pkwonn.) After working with several trainers over the years, I was skeptical. Some were flakey. Some were critical of my post-kids bod. Some were just phoning it in. Peter and the Sport&Health personal training team were none of those. Peter was committed to helping me get stronger and achieve better fitness and heath. I had the pleasure of four action-packed personal training sessions that were all completely different, and pushed me to my limit without injury or undue pressure. I learned so much about how to navigate the weight room and use the entire gym, rather than simply the cardio machines and classes.

Each week I worked out hard for an entire hour, guided by an elite training expert. There was no way I would ever have done the amount of sets or seen the results I achieved in one month on my own. We scanned my body composition before we started and again at the end of the month. Although I did not work out as hard other times in the week as I did when I was with Peter, I still lost fat, gained muscle and lost weight. I improved my strength and endurance. And maybe most importantly, I always looked forward to working out with Peter because he was so encouraging, positive and just an all-around amazing person. Check out these smiles – I NEVER smile like this at the gym!

Peter is a husband and dad himself of two toddler boys, so he completely got my goals, stresses and fears of working out, even though he himself is a competitive weight lifter and pro athlete! And Pike&Rose Sport&Health also gets busy parents, as they offer during-your-workout parking (2.5 hours free) and a beautiful and super fun Kidz Klub that looks like a constant party! I did not need to use the Kidz Klub, but I popped in and the childcare staff I met on-site were friendly and engaged with the children.

My friend Sandie Angulo Chen, editor of The DC Moms, also had an awesome experience with the gym and trainers at Pike & Rose Sport&Health!

Although I received the month’s membership and four personal training sessions for review here on A Parent in Silver Spring. I am seriously considering joining this gym as a paying member. I would also love to continue with Peter as my personal trainer. The gorgeous, light-filled facility and completely stocked and brand-new amenities have me hooked. The personal training I know would be a crucial move in truly changing my body, strength and health. I enthusiastically recommend Pike & Rose Sport&Health gym and personal training.

Pike & Rose Sport&Health

11594 Old Georgetown Road • North Bethesda, MD 20852 • (301) 245-3908

Silver Spring Family Run April 1st: Ben’s Run to Benefit Children’s National and Pediatric Cancer Research

Ben’s Run on April 1st in Silver Spring – Great Time, Great Cause

Each year my family and I run for Ben Goldfogle, a boy in our neighborhood who we sadly did not get the honor of meeting. Ben bravely fought leukemia under the care of Children’s National for six and a half years, until he passed away from an infection in September 2009 after his second bone marrow transplant. He was just one month from his 12th birthday. This race honors Ben’s amazing spirit and the many other children who battle life-threatening illnesses every day.

This April 1st, 2017 will be the 7th annual Ben’s Run, a 5 miler, 5 K and 1 mile family- and dog-friendly race to “Ben-a-Fit” pediatric cancer research. Funds raised support clinical trials to find better treatments for kids like Ben who fought cancer and then relapsed. The run has raised more than $430,000 total, and this year our registrations and donations will bring that total over the $500,000 level.

My children, their classmates and friends in the community are deeply connected to this cause. They see Ben’s photo, and hear stories from his friends and family, and feel committed to doing what they can to support the research so that more children’s lives can be saved. My kids also have a great time running and walking with their friends and family, and participating in the fun after the run. Although we love attending lots of 1 mile and 5K runs as a family, we do believe Ben’s Run in Silver Spring is one of the most fun races a local family can attend.

Register for Ben’s Run today and save! 

If you register for Ben’s Run before March 19 you will receive a fabulous discount: Registration is just $30! Starting March 20 registration goes up to $35.

There’s a great deal on family registration, too: Families of 4 (and up to 8) can register for a flat rate of $100.

Children under age 5 are free. Kid-friendly, leashed dogs can participate in the 5K and 1 mile runs.

You and your family can also fundraise for Ben’s Run through your race participation.  And although I hope you will join us there, if you cannot attend Ben’s Run you also donate to this amazing cause.

Ben’s Run Important dates & times 

Friday, March 31, 2017: Packet pick up from 6-8 p.m. at Stonegate Elementary School, 14811 Notley Road, Silver Spring MD 20905.

Saturday, April 1, 2017: Race day

7 a.m. Packet pick up/late registration

8 a.m. Welcome and warm-ups

8:30 a.m. 5 mile, 5K and 1 mile races begin

The races will start and finish at Stonegate Elementary School.

Register for Ben’s Run and join us on the course! 

West End Plastic Surgery Botox and Facial Fillers Event on March 14 at Bella Bethesda

Beautiful young woman gets beauty injection in forehead from sergeant. Isolated over white background.

Book your easy evening Botox appointment with West End Plastic Surgery‘s Dr. Paul Ruff at Bella Bethesda Salon!

Every few months Bella Bethesda Salon brings Dr. Ruff from his Foggy Bottom West End Plastic Surgery offices to the convenient downtown Bethesda location for Bella Beauty nights.

The next Bella Beauty evening with Dr. Ruff of West End Plastic Surgery is on Tuesday March 14th from 6-8pm, and you are invited. 

Botox and fillers

The Bella Beauty event will offer Botox & Filler injections. I will tell you from experience that a conservative bit of Botox by an experienced plastic surgery professional such as Dr. Ruff will seriously change your over-35 face. I have had a high forehead with genetic expressive wrinkles my entire life. But in my thirties, the lines across the forehead became more permanent, even leaving deep, dark lines across faces when I was not raising my eyebrows. 

Last year I began receiving a small amount of Botox in my forehead and brow, and those deep lines are completely gone. Otherwise my face looks like me. Well, like the younger and fresher and better me, but the integrity and features of my face are the same. There is no alien-like, unnatural or creepy results. After all the facial appointments and expensive products could not diminish those hard, aging lines, this is $350 well-spent on real results.

Dr. Ruff will also be on hand for the other popular non-surgical anti-aging treatment: fillers. I have not experienced these but I can attest that Dr. Ruff is all about a completely natural look. You will be safe and gorgeous in his very experienced hands. In fact, Dr. Ruff was voted in The Washingtonian by area doctors one of the top plastic surgeons in the DC area. Check out the surgical solutions offered by Dr. Ruff at West End Plastic Surgery.

How to book your spot 

A $50 deposit is required to reserve your appointment, however it will be refunded if you do not receive a service. Skin consultations are complimentary, and even those new to injectables are welcome to come by for one-to-one advice on what will give you the most youthful results. Call Bella Bethesda to schedule your appointment before all the spots are gone! 301-718-9111.

Blow outs discounted

As an added bonus, blow dry appointments including complimentary treatments will be available at Bella Beauty that evening for $36, garnering you $15-$20 savings on their regular blow out prices.

Do not miss this event! 

Disclosure: I have received discounted services from Bella Bethesda and West End Plastic Surgery in the past, per older posts on A Parent in Silver Spring. No additional compensation received. Choosing to share on social media and all opinions are my own. 

GIVEAWAY: Ella Enchanted at Adventure Theatre MTC

Catch Ella Enchanted at Adventure Theatre MTC…and enter for a chance to win 4 free tickets for your family!

Ella Enchanted 

February 3 – March 19, 2017

A co-commission with First Stage, Milwaukee, WI
Adapted from the Newberry Honor book by Gail Carson Levine
By Karen Zacarias – Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma – Directed by Mary Hall Surface
Recommended for all ages

Our daughters were fans of the Anne Hathaway version of Ella Enchanted, but that favorite status has been usurped by the Adventure Theatre MTC version! This production is riotously funny, especially beloved local actor Lara Zinn playing the trouble-prone fairy Lucinda. (Eve immediately recognized her as Ariel from the Olney Theatre’s Little Mermaid a few years back.)

Gorgeous puppetry adds fantasy to the scenes, putting the audience under the always-imaginative spell of the Adventure Theatre. The main character of Ella is a strong role model for girls. As the actor who portrays her, Malinda Kathleen Reese, told The Washington Post, “I think Ella is the ultimate fairy-tale feminist. She doesn’t let herself sit in self-pity when something awful happens to her; she picks herself back up and fights.”

Make it a sure thing and get tickets.

Or try your luck at this giveaway! You just might win four tickets to the Ella Enchanted time and date of your choice (subject to availability).

Win 4 tickets to Ella Enchanted

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre Presents a Dress Up Ballet Tea Party and Cinderella

This February and March you can make your child’s weekends pretty special thanks to these two Cinderella-riffic offerings from MBT!

Sunday February 26: Dress-Up Ballet Tea Party at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre

Want to meet the characters from MBT’s upcoming ballet, Cinderella, before the performance? You are cordially invited to join us at our Dress-up Ballet Tea Party in February! Geared towards children age preschool – elementary, young attendees will enjoy:

– Meeting Cinderella and other characters from the ballet
– Experiencing a ballet class and a craft
– A delicious sweet tea party

Choose from three tea times on Sunday, February 26th: 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, & 2:00 PM

Tickets are $18 per child (parents are free). Reserve your tickets online (this will sell out!) or call 301.762.1757.

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy
220 Perry Parkway
Gaithersburg, MD 20877 

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre presents Cinderella, A Ballet in Two Acts

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre presents a different full-length ballet each spring, and this years production of Cinderella, A Ballet in Two Acts is sure to delight audiences of all ages. You will watch as the lovely Cinderella meets her whimsical Fairy Godmother, the fateful Fairies of the Four Seasons, and then before midnight, she meets her handsome Prince. The stepsisters and stepmother might try to diminish Cinderella’s beautiful spirit, but Cinderella, with the help of her friends, is destined to become the kingdom’s Princess and live happily ever after. Choreography by Elizabeth Odell Catlett and Katerina Rodgaard.

Performance Dates:
Saturday, March 18th 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Sunday, March 19th 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM
There is a special post-performance “cast chat” for children of all ages after performances on March 18 at 12pm and March 19 at 5 PM.

Get tickets online or by calling 301.762.1757. 

Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center
Montgomery College
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850

My latest in Washington Post: Best Indoor Play Places for DC Kids in Winter

These indoor destinations are the fun-filled remedy for your kid’s winter blues

by Jessica McFadden for The Washington Post Weekend & Going Out Guide

We love raising our kids in the D.C. area — except in January, February and March, when outdoor play options are limited, cold weather drives us indoors and schools are often inexplicably closed. If you and your crew have had your fill of family-focused hygge this winter, check out these 12 get-out-of-the-house destinations filled with adventure, learning and exercise for kids.

Read full article.

Artwork for this Weekend print cover story and online version by Brenna Thummler

Stories of Dr. Seuss at Arts Barn Gaithersburg


Stories of Dr. Seuss

Presented by Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

February 20, 2017 • 11am • Special Presidents’ Day show! 
Tickets: $12 – Purchase Tickets Online

The whimsical and wonderful Dr. Seuss stories, “The Cat in the Hat,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” come to life through dance, performed by the Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble. Afterward, celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday with activities, crafts, treats and snacks. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

What a great activity for a no-school day!

This post is sponsored by Arts Barn Gaithersburg.