Each year, my family makes the trip up to National Harbor to experience one of our favorite holiday events of the season: ICE! at the Gaylord National Convention Center. This year's theme is Santa Claus is Comin' to Town! You can also enjoy a special bonus area – The Frostbite Factory – a LIVE ice carving zone. And, don’t forget about Gingerbread Decorating Corner, The Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt and much more to get you in the spirit of the season!
Excluive coupon code for ICE! at Gaylord National: WeLoveICE will save you $4 off non-peak tickets. This code will last until December 17.
Here is the disclaimer: $4.00 off is valid for adult (12+) and children (ages 3-11) tickets only on non-peak days . Cannot be combined with any other discount. Not valid on Military or Group tickets. Code muse be used online only to purchase your tickets. Code is not valid at the box office. Subject to 10% entertainment tax and service fees per ticket. Subject to change without notice. Regular non-peak ticket price is $28 for adults and $20 for kids.
Want to earn discounts and prizes for the upcoming Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shows? Become a DC Ambassador and join their #SocialToaster program for upcoming shows at the Verizon Center, March 31 - April 3 and Eagle Bank Arena April 6 - 17, 2016! Click the following link to join the program: Social Toaster Ambassadors DC
Last week I hosted a blogger happy hour and behind the scenes tour of the new StoneSprings Hospital Center that's slated to open up in just a few days. We met up at Ford's Fish Shack for drinks + apps before hopping on a Reston Limousine charter over to the new StoneSprings Hospital facility. We met with the directors of different units, and toured the peds and labor and delivery units. This hospital is spectacular - take a look at some of the photos below of the state of the art rooms! Just walking through the labor and delivery unit gave me baby fever!
Want to make your Black Friday Shopping a little easier? Fair Oaks Mall will provide a unique VIP concierge experience to shoppers beginning Thursday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Nov. 28! Complimentary customer amenities will include golf cart shuttle services to/from vehicles, customer service brand ambassadors posted near every main entrance to answer questions and hand out exclusive coupons, free stroller and wheel chair rentals, and free bottled water available at the mall’s customer service desk (While supplies last).
Mall hours this weekend are: Thursday, Nov. 26, 6 p.m. -12 a.m.; Friday, Nov. 27, 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Golf cart shuttles will run during peak mall hours. For more information, visit: www.shopfairoaks.com.
After a busy day of ice skating and lunch at Tysons Corner, Brennan wouldn't let us just walk past the beautifully decorated Santa HQ without stopping to see Santa himself! We had stopped by Santa last year, but we waited later in the season when there was a really long wait. The HGTV Santa HQ at Tysons Corner actually lets you book a reservation online so that you can avoid the long lines once you get into the mall.
Santa HQ included a digital "naughty or nice" meter, a station to take an "Elfie Selfie". While we were in Santa's Workshop, we used our Elfie Selfies to star in our own holiday dancing elves video that was emailed to us! It was a really neat experience - and included an app that you can download for the kids to use while walking through the North Pole Observatory. The app lets you experience Elf-Ray Vision in 3D. If you can't download the app, there were iPads on-site for the kids to use.
My favorite part of Santa HQ: The family picture opportunity. When I look back at our family memories, I find that I don't have many photos of the three of us together -- unless it's a selfie that I've begged my two loves to take with me. Santa HQ has a family photo area when you can snap a picture before you get to see the big man in red.
Thanks to Santa's elves for walking us through HGTV's Santa HQ experience! For more information, you can check out My Santa Experience.
Yesterday, we had lunch at the brand new American Tandoor restaurant at Tysons Corner. American Tandoor offers a fusion of authentic Indian dishes with a contemporary American twist. We tried a few things off the menu including the butter chicken, Tandoor scallops, and Mother's 24 Hour Dal, and spicy sheesh kabobs.
Of course, we had to try the fresh, super crispy naan - which was hands-down my favorite part of the meal. Dipping the naan in the butter chicken is heaven! Of course, no Indian meal is complete without a mango lassis. And if you're feeling adventurous, check out the "Mango Swizzle" -- authentic mango lassis with a splash of rum! There were also house made sodas on the menu. B loved the coconut soda.
If you go, check out the samosas filled with sweet potato and marshmallow or the saag paneer (my favorite!), a dish made creamy spinach and paneer cheese.
A little warning: there's no kids menu. It was fine for us because B has never really been a chicken fingers kind of kid. He loved the rice, chickpeas, spicy kabobs, and lentils!
American Tandoor offers a brunch buffet on weekends from 10-3. Also, you can order an Indian inspired breakfasts like chocolate dosa waffles or eggs benedict on grilled naan with tandoor bacon! You can check out the menu or make a reservation online: www.americantandoor.com.
ps, check out their Street Kitchen next door for grab and go authentic Indian street fare!
On Saturday, I hosted a VIP event for bloggers and their families to check out the opening weekend of the Tysons Corner Ice Rink that's right on the plaza of Tysons Corner Mall. It is always fun to see my blogger friends - but even more fun when the kids get together! During the breaks, we warmed up on the couches by the outdoor fire pits and the brand new Earls Kitchen + Bar provided hot chocolate and treats for us to enjoy!
I haven't ice skated in probably 15 years... but I did take lessons when I was little. I was nervous to get out there, but it was just like riding a bike! After the event was over, we went to have a sit-down lunch and then saw Santa in the mall... and on the way to the parking lot, B asked us to take him ice skating AGAIN! We went back for a second round in the afternoon! Such a great family event -- I'm sure we'll be back for round 3!
Brennan's FAVORITE author right now is Mo Willems -- so when I found out that one of Mo's plays is returning to The Kennedy Center over the holidays, I knew I had to share! His classmates enjoy the books so much that his first grade teacher requested that instead of getting her gifts for the holidays, parents send in Mo Willems books for the kids and the classroom!
The Kennedy Center presents the return of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! in the Family Theater from November 25, 2015 to January 3, 2016. Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, the family-friendly musical made its world premiere in the Family Theater on November 23, 2013. The production is written by six-time Emmy Award-winner and popular children’s book author Mo Willems and directed by Jerry Whiddon, with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma.
The performance on Saturday, December 12 at 11 a.m. is sensory-friendly. Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! is recommended for ages four and up.
TICKET INFORMATION: Performances of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! run in the Kennedy Center Family Theater from November 25, 2015 to January 3, 2016. All seats are $20. Please visit the Kennedy Center website at www.kennedy-center.org or by calling Instant Charge at (202) 467-4600.
On Tuesday night, my friend Jenn and I went to the VIP Grand Opening reception for the new Stone Springs Hospital Center in Loudoun. If you pulled up and saw the lights, ice sculptures and live music, you never would have known you were at a hospital. StoneSprings Hospital Center is Loudoun County’s first new hospital to be built in 100 years and will bring much needed healthcare services to the area.
Every aspect of StoneSprings Hospital Center was thoughtfully planned to enhance the patient experience. StoneSprings Hospital offers the convenience of all private rooms, personalized attention, complimentary valet parking and an easily accessible suburban location with the top-quality professional expertise. StoneSprings is a vital member of the HCA Healthcare System, StoneSprings Hospital shares the strength of more than 163 hospitals across the United States and England, including Reston Hospital Center.
Join my family on Saturday morning at StoneSprings Hospital Center for the FREE Community Open House Fall Festival! There will be fun fall activities, including: Hot Coffee & Cider Bar, Behind-the-Scenes Hospital Tours, WINC FM Live Remote Broadcast, Teddy Bear Clinic, Ambulance & Fire Truck Tours and lots more! Check the Facebook Event page for more details.
Don't miss this free event that's fun for the whole family! For more information, visit: www.stonespringshospital.com.
Growing up, I remember how much fun we used to have on Friday nights when my mom and dad would let us have a "pizza party" with friends over at our house. We'd watch TGIF (throwback!) or sometimes we'd play Nintendo and be allowed to stay up until 11pm. It was always a big deal and a whole lot of fun memories were made! When zpizza asked me to throw a pizza party for B and his friends, I couldn't pass up the offer! But this wasn't any ordinary pizza party - this was a hands on, fingers dirty, make your own creation style of party that was perfect to bring our cul-de-sac together!
zpizza is an artisan-inspired pizza chain with a location here in Alexandria (and others across Northern Virginia). They delivered some of the Jr. Chef pizza kits to the house and we had everyone over on Monday night after school. To celebrate this special event (ps, I think this would be a PERFECT at-home birthday party idea!), we received the Jr. Chef party package that included aprons, chef Jr. hats, certificates and fun pizza-themed activities. By the end of the party, the kids to became “Jr. Chef certified”!
The Jr. Chef pizzas come with non-GMO wheat flour dough made fresh daily with sides of organic tomato sauce, award-winning low fat mozzarella cheese (or vegan cheese) and a choice of two toppings like all natural pepperoni, avocado, pineapple or roasted red peppers. When you're at zpizza, all pizzas are brick-oven baked... at my house, we just threw them in the oven and they turned out delish! If you have any food allergies or avoidances, kids can even get Gluten free or Vegan Jr. Chef pizzas.
We had an awesome party - even the adults had fun! Check out our pics below! Special thanks to zpizza for allowing us to host the event!
*sponsored content provided by zpizza
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.