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Does the search for your kid’s perfect preschool seem more challenging than your own college hunt ever was? You’re not alone. But there’s an option for your little one’s first school experience that you may not have explored: the cooperative preschool (a.k.a. co-op), which gives parents and caregivers the opportunity to regularly volunteer in the classroom (and in some cases, the board room). Intrigued? Here’s the down-low on a few co-ops—and one “Montessori Share”—that parents are raving about. 

Photo: Rod Raglin via Flickr

Concord-St. Andrew’s Cooperative Nursery School
Founded in 1958, Concord-St. Andrew’s (CSACNS) has offered kids a nurturing place to learn for almost 60 years. But CSACNS’ approach to early childhood education is hardly old school. Recent additions at this play-based co-op include a STEM-focused “Discovery Room,” an indoor play gym, and a weekly music class. Have a baby or one on the way? Not to worry. CSACNS sponsors a “sibling sitting” program where younger children can have their own fun while mom or dad help out in their sibling’s classroom.

Ages: 2-4 years
Cost: $260-$390 month (2, 3, and 5-day/week classes are offered)
Why Parents Love It: “CSACNS offers a supportive and social parent community, a creative and thoughtful curriculum, and a thorough prep for kindergarten. My kids love their classroom’s activities and want to do them at home!”

5910 Goldsboro Rd. (Bethesda, Md.)
301-229-5225
Online: csacns.org

Intown Playgroup
One big preschool “do or don’t” is the drop-off. Both are options at Georgetown’s Intown Playgroup. The school year starts off as a family affair with students attending each session with their parents or caregivers. Once they are comfortable in the classroom, children can participate in the “On My Own” program and attend independently up to three times a week. Parents or caregivers also volunteer monthly in the classroom and serve on the school’s board of directors.

Ages: 1-3 years
Cost: $420-440/month (classes meet 5 days/week) Why Parents Love It: After relocating last year, Intown has been such a warm and welcoming place for our family. Our son has the opportunity to explore, learn, and engage in a fun and interactive setting. He has found great friends and is excited to go to school each morning. What more can you ask for!?”

1334 29th St., NW (Georgetown)
202-337-2720
Online: intownplaygroup.com

Photo: Amanda Nunes via Montesshare

Montesshare
Created by Joy Wilder, a mom-of-four and co-founder of the award winning TOTH Montessori preschool, Montesshare is a Montessori, Spanish bilingual preschool set in an intimate, home environment. Thanks to the share set-up, no building expenses and plenty of parent participation–i.e. families are charged with bringing in the students’ daily snacks–fees for this state licensed, high level educational program are kept competitive.

Ages: 3-6 years
Cost: $285-$565 (2-5 days/week)
Why Parents Love It: “I seriously didn’t think I could have such peace each morning as I wave goodbye to my daughter before heading to work. With our extended family overseas, we’ve found a second a home for our daughter and wouldn’t ever look back.”

5908 Bond Ct. (Alexandria, VA)
Online: montesshare.org

Petworth Co-op
Community is the name of the game at Petworth Coop, which local parents founded in 2012 to support new families moving to the neighborhood. The parents also hired facilitators for two classrooms – the Guppies (young two year olds) and the Goldfish (older two-and three-year-olds). Parents volunteer between four and six times a semester and also participate in community events to promote the school, like the St. Paul’s Strawberry Festival and the Petworth Jazz Project’s outdoor concerts.

Ages: 2-3 years
Cost: $110-$220/month (2 and 3-day/week classes are offered)
Why Parents Love It: “I love that the kids and parents are all from the Petworth area. It makes it really easy to get together outside of the co-op too.”

201 Allison St., NW (Petworth)
Online: petworthcoop.com

Photo: Children’s Weekday Program

Children’s Weekday Program
Arlington’s Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) offers two options for families seeking socialization and support. The Parent’s Day Out Program, which runs from 9:30 am-2:30 pm, two days a week, provides parents a much-needed break as babes as young as three months old enjoy songs, stories, and outdoor play. A more traditional preschool program is also offered at CWP, which features a play-based curriculum with fun elements like “walking field trips” to local parks and libraries and an annual visit from the Baltimore Aquarium. The fun at CWP doesn’t end when summer starts: there’s a June session with water play, sports, and more!

Ages: 3 months – 4 years
Cost: Parent’s Day Out – $140-$280/month; non-co-op $200-$400/month; Preschool – $300-$490/month (3 and 5-day/week classes are offered)
Why Parents Love It: The teachers are the true gems of this school. The care and love they show the kids, parents, and co-opers is genuine and special. Also, I love the art projects that the kids bring home — they are unique and different; a fresh escape from those go-to handprint turkeys and pom-pom pics. Think: photo art, 3-D sculptures, and live “beanstalks.”

716 S. Glebe Rd. (Arlington, Va.)
703-521-9452
Online: childrensweekdayprogram.com

Beverley Hills Church Preschool
Creative types will love the arts-focused approach to learning at this Alexandria co-op. Two teachers, along with a parent volunteer, spend mornings encouraging children to learn through exploration, a key component of the Reggio Emilia curriculum. There’s also a designated teacher, known as an aterlierista, whose sole focus is managing a special studio space where children can build and strengthen then creativity. Another perk? A new “natural playground” (and a certified wildlife habitat) developed to inspire play and promote life lessons. Mud pie, anyone?

Ages: 2 ½ 5 years
Cost: $308-$554/month (2, 3, and 4-day/week classes are offered. Financial aid is also available.)
Why Parents Love It: This is one of the oldest co-ops in Virginia, and we love being part of it! They follow Reggio Emilia philosophy, and it’s truly amazing what the kids are doing. Also, the playground is huge for the area!”

3512 Old Dominion Blvd. (Alexandria, Va.)
703-549-7441
Online: bhcpnet.org

–Sarah Vogel and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

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‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Is one of yours eating healthier? That goal can be hard to achieve when your focus is also on your family’s busy schedule. Enter the healthy fast food restaurant. We’ve scouted out these local joints that offer salads, soups, and even burgers with a better for you bend:

screenshot-2017-01-03-at-6-41-58-pmPhoto: Beefsteak via Yelp

Beefsteak
Get in your greens on the go at Beefsteak, a new spot for a nutritious nosh in the DMV. The brainchild of gourmand Jose Andres, Beefsteak offers diners the chance to mix and match countless combinations of their favorite grains and veggies or try one of the restaurant’s speciality salads, bowls, or sandwiches (including the namesake Beefsteak Tomato Burger). Fear not, carnivores: Beefsteak also serves smoked salmon and chicken sausage to amp up your meal.

Four Locations in Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Md.
Online: beefsteakveggies.com

Elevation Burger
At Elevation Burger, you can enjoy fast food favorites like burgers and fries without the side of guilt. From offering 100% organic, grass-fed beef to serving up shakes and sodas in sustainable cups, Elevation’s mission is to make the world a better place “one bite at a time.” Looking for lighter fare? The restaurant also offers vegetarian and vegan versions of their burgers (on bread buns or wrapped in lettuce) as well as fresh fruit and salads.

11 Locations in Washington, D.C., Md., and Va.
Online: elevationburger.com

 

Modern Market
Colorado-based Modern Market made its DMV debut in 2016, and the restaurant is quickly becoming a favorite for those looking for healthy options any time of day. Early birds will enjoy egg scrambles and whole grain waffles while their superfood salad and squash soup are great for a noontime nosh. Modern Market also offers a kids menu with a build-your-own salad selection as well as the standard pizza and mac and cheese (made with organic cheese, of course!)

4930 Elm St. (Bethesda, Md.)
240-800-4733
Online: modernmarket.com

screenshot-2017-01-03-at-7-59-57-pmPhoto: Ayren Jackson-Cannady 

South Block Juice Co.
Looking to hop on the juicing train? Look no further than South Block Juice Co. Their eight locations in D.C. and Virginia offer locally-made cold-pressed juices in flavors ranging from Easy Greens (apple, celery, spinach, parsley and lemon) to Glow (apple, lemon, aloe, pineapple, lemon and mint) as well as smoothies and acai bowls. Whatever option you pick, you’re guaranteed to get in your daily dose of fruits and veggies. Not in the mood to sip your supper? Cafe locations also offer made-to-order salads, sandwiches, and bowls.

Eight locations in Virginia and D.C.
Online: southblockjuice.com

The Little Beet
Billed as “100% guiltin’ free,” Little Beet offers locally-sourced, seasonal fare that makes you feel good about going out to eat. This time of year, you’ll find items like sauteed kale, salmon with ponzu sauce, and golden cauliflower on the menu. Try out one of the Beet’s special “rolls and bowls” or pick and choose to create your own plate. An added bonus: every option is gluten-free.

1212 18th St., NW (Washington, D.C.)
202-796-5100
Online: thelittebeet.com

Toli Moli
Satisfy your sweet tooth and stay on track with a falooda from Toli Moli. This Union Market establishment offers falooda, Burmese take on a milkshake, without all the added sugar. Mango, pomegranates, and nut milks are what make up these delicious drinks. Toppings include seeds, homemade syrups, and if you’re feeling indulgent, marshmallows.

1309 5th St., NE (Washington, D.C.)
Online: tolimolidc.com

What is your favorite healthy eating spot? Let us know in the comments section.

–Sarah Volger

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School is back in full swing. Have you found your favorite study spot yet? This year, look beyond the local library and check out one of the many inspiring (and sometimes, unconventional) workspaces the DMV has to offer. Here are a few of our favorite places to hit the books.

oPhoto Credit: The Java Shack via Yelp

Java Shack
Socially-conscious students can get their caffeine (or hot cocoa) fix and help save the earth at the same time while studying at Arlington’s Java Shack. The coffee shop is known for its sustainability efforts, including composting used coffee grounds, offering coffee cups made from corn-based materials, and running exclusively on wind power. Young customers also get a lesson in philanthropy at Java Shack: a portion of the cafe’s profits go to several Arlington-based charities.

2507 Franklin Rd. (Arlington, Va.)
Online: javashack.com

8337986963_8edae9627f_zPhoto: Dottie Day via Flickr

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
There are several spots to get your creative juices flowing at the Smithsonian’s home for contemporary art. Check out the Lerner Room, located on the third floor of the ring-shaped museum. It’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer an amazing view of the National Mall along with tables, chairs, wi-fi access, and a curvy couch that’s perfect for cuddling up with a textbook. You can also bring a blanket with your books and take your studies outdoors to the museum’s sculpture garden.

700 Independence Ave., SW (Downtown)
Online: hirshorn.si.edu

DSCN0405Photo Credit: Ken Mayer via flickr

Hillwood Museum, Estate and Gardens
Whether you’re studying history or horticulture, Hillwood is one of D.C.’s hidden homework gems. Purchased by Marjorie Merriweather Post (as in The Washington Post) in 1955, this estate is home to impressive European art collections as well as 25 acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands. Looking for artistic inspiration? Snag a seat in the Special Collections Library and surround yourself with nearly 38,000 pieces of art. You can also sip tea as you do schoolwork in the estate’s cafe or brush up on local history in Hillwood’s archives.

4155 Linnean Ave., NW (Van Ness)
Online: hillwoodmuseum.org

3781465900_2792a1d7eb_zPhoto: Joevare via Flickr

Kogod Courtyard
Sick of stuffy study spots? Take a trip to Kogod Courtyard, a 28,000-square-foot space filled with natural light, plants, and water scrims. The courtyard also features loads of seating, free wi-fi, and a cafe with brain-boosting snacks like fruit and yogurt parfaits. Housed in the same building as the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museums, the courtyard’s the perfect place for those looking for extra ideas and inspiration.

8th and F Streets (Chinatown)
Online: npg.si.edu

oPhoto Credit: Sarah C. via Yelp

Bump ‘n Grind
Budding Bachs and Bowies alike can get into the homework groove at this Silver Spring cafe/record shop hybrid. Snag a spot in the records nook and curate a personalized study soundtrack using Bump ‘n Grind’s two listening stations. Musicians in the making can also take a spin on community turntables or sample snacks named after local music institutions (Ft. Reno sandwich, anyone?).

1200 East-West Hwy (Silver Spring, Md.)
Online: bumpngrind.co  

15936072656_4e416cff41_z-1Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via flickr

Library of Congress
Bookworms young and old will love studying like our forefathers did at the nation’s largest library. The gorgeous Main Reading Room, which is open to those with a LoC-issued ID, is a large circular space where 226 desks are housed under a copper-domed ceiling. Fair warning: this homework haven is also a tourist attraction (translation: thousands of visitors peer through plexiglass at the room during library tours).

101 Independence Ave., SE (Downtown)
Online: loc.gov

Does your crew have a favorite place to cram? Share your study spots in the comments section below.

–Sarah Vogel

Cool D.C. Parent to Know: The Knit Wit

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Do you go crazy for crocheting? Are you looking to up your knitting know-how? Then you need to meet Danielle Romanetti, the owner of fibre space in Old Town Alexandria. Known as a “yarn universe,” DMV locals flock to fibre space to shop for speciality yarns, hunt down the perfect pattern, and sit in on classes with crafting experts. If running a successful business wasn’t enough, Danielle also wears another title: mom to daughter, Maddie. Here, Danielle gives us a behind the scenes look at her biz and shares a few tips for balancing work and parenting in the nation’s capital.

46-AB01092015Photo: Danielle Romanetti

You opened fibre space in 2009 after a few years of offering knitting classes throughout the DC area. What inspired you to open a dedicated space for your work?
My students really wanted a community center – one place that they could get supplies for their craft and get help fixing mistakes. Their encouragement is what pushed me to write the business plan for a retail shop.

From classes to yarn tastings and movie nights, fibre space offers creatives and crafters a built-in community. What can visitors expect the first time they visit the shop?
We love to show everyone around with a bit of a shop tour! We like to share the organization of the shop with our new customers and also point out our unique way of storing and displaying needles and notions (we have a massive vintage mail sorter that holds all of our needles). You will likely be greeted by Nemo, our shop Italian Greyhound. He is usually on a sofa waiting for a lap to sit on. There are usually a few folks sitting and stitching at our help bar or in our lounge area as well.

Fibre Space also sells patterns, including pint-sized creations for babies and kids. Do you have a favorite pattern for parents?
I am a big fan of the Walt Chevron Baby Blanket, which is a free pattern on our website. The pattern gives you a chance to really play with fun color combos, while using a stitch pattern that is easy to memorize. Hand-knit baby blankets won’t be outgrown like a sweater or a hat – the child will have it forever and will always remember who made it! I made two for my own daughter and have gifted many many more.

29-rf062016Photo: Danielle Romanetti

Old Town is known for it’s historical sites and kid-friendly hot spots. Can you share a few of your family’s Old Town favorites?
We start every weekend with a coffee and chocolate croissant at Misha’s Coffeehouse. The baristas keep a cup of letter magnets behind the counter that Maddie likes to play with after she finishes her treat. They also give her their famous orange cup with some milk in it so that she feels like the adults. For a coffee shop, it is surprisingly child friendly.

Sometimes the best thing to do in Old Town with your kid is ride the trolley to the waterfront! We usually end up on the docks to see the ducks and the fish. My husband is a big fan of sailboats, and Maddie has started to share his love for them as well.

You’ve got a free hour between appointments and pick-up. Where do you go for some “me time”?
I like to hide at La Fromagerie, which is across the street from our shop. The food is absolutely exquisite and their staff always have a great wine recommendation (as I know nothing about wine). It’s my favorite place to eat but also my favorite place for a quiet moment and some knitting time.

What’s the best thing about being a parent in the DMV?
There are SO MANY things to see and do! We are really lucky to have so many free museums, parks, and one amazing zoo here in the DMV. Amazingly, we are also only a quick ride from some awesome parks and farms. I love having all of the activities of our big city while also having access to great weekend hikes, historical sites, and natural wonders.

Do you know a super-cool parent? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

–Sarah Vogel

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For most parents, a visit to a fine dining restaurant like Georgetown’s 1789 is a treat. For chef Samuel Kim, it’s just another day on the job. A DMV native, Chef Kim started his career at 1789 before spending several years in the Big Apple refining his skill at gourmet mainstays like Per Se, Jean Georges, and Colicchio & Sons. In 2014, Kim returned to 1789 as Executive Chef. Soon after, he met another milestone: becoming a dad. Chef Kim shares his experience balancing his culinary career and fatherhood as well as a special recipe for the tiniest of gourmands.

chef kim 1789

You started your culinary career at 1789 and spent several years moving up the ranks of New York’s dining scene. What brought you back to the District?
Washington, D.C. will always be home. It’s where my parents and sister live, and the area where I grew up as a kid. While I technically still live in New York (my wife and daughter still reside just outside New York City), I chose to come down here because of the support I knew I would receive with the Clyde’s Restaurant Group (CRG). I came back to DC was because I knew with CRG’s support, I could do great things at 1789.

1789 is known as an “old guard” Washington restaurant. How do you balance tradition and innovation in your work as Executive Chef?
It has been something that I have tried to embrace. 1789 will always be considered the place to celebrate family occasions and holidays. I, more than anyone, appreciate the role this restaurant plays for Washington, DC because my own family celebrated multiple graduations and big birthdays at the restaurant. So instead of trying to completely remake 1789, I have just tried to expand the opportunities people would consider visiting.  I really feel that you can come in any night, without having something special to celebrate, and get a fantastic experience at the restaurant.

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In addition to being a chef, you’re also a father and husband. When you’re not at the restaurant, what’s your favorite meal to cook up for your crew?
We do not eat fancy at my house. The style of food I cook at home is so much different than what I serve at the restaurant.  At home, we eat a lot of homey food which many times centers on Korean food. Really, more the style of food that would be served at my mother’s table and not a table in 1789. I recently made this deep, rich bone broth. After the broth is made, I use it as the liquid to cook rice in. This not only imparts great flavor to plain rice, but also injects it with all the nutrients you would normally get from bones:

Ingredients:
2 pounds oxtail
1 pound daikon radish
¼ pound kombu
2 gallons water

Instructions:
Place oxtails overnight in ice water to draw out blood and impurities. Drain from water and place bones into a pot. Fill with cold water to cover and slowly bring to a boil. This first blanching stage will pull out more impurities that exist in the bones. Strain out bones and all liquid from pot. In a new clean pot, place bones and refill with cold water. Bring to a boil and then drop to a low simmer. Cook gently for six hours until meat falls off oxtail bones. Take out bones and pick meat. In stock, add remaining ingredients and cook for another hour.  Strain liquid and reserve.

After the rice is cooked, I add a fine dice of sauteed carrots, onions, squash, edamame, and mushrooms to the cooked rice. My daughter gobbles it up.

Chef’s schedules tend to be erratic. When you’re free, where does your family head for fun?
This is especially true for me. Considering I’m only back at home two days a week, I really cherish the time I get with my wife and baby daughter. A big part of our free time is spent going out to a restaurant to grab a bite. And now that my daughter is getting older, hanging out in the park with her is a favorite pastime of ours.

What do you like the most about being a parent in DC?
While my family is still in New York, having grown up in the area, I like the exposure D.C. gives in the mix of people, thoughts, and customs. The city is so transient, you will meet so many new people from all walks of life. Furthermore, having grown up in Maryland, I love the mix of suburban/city life you can find here.

Do you know any cool D.C. parents doing really cool stuff? Tell us about them in the comments below. 

–Sarah Vogel

 

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A Mississippi native, Kimberly Nelson Hill came to Washington with political aspirations and party-planning prowess after being bred on the principles of gracious entertaining, family recipes, and the fine art of the thank you note. Today, as the owner of Party Bee Events, she uses her Southern charm to help Washingtonians host fabulous fetes for guests of all ages. Before your next celebration, check out this NoVA mom’s ideas for party planning and local family fun.

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You started your career as a Senate staffer. How did you make the transition from politico to Party Bee?
The Party Bee was really just meant to be a creative outlet that would help friends throw parties. I started keeping a blog nearly 10 years ago and had business cards printed up. That was about the extent of my hobby business. I never would have envisioned this being my career! I followed my heart and what made me happy and it has made all the
difference. I often refer to this as my calling and I don’t say that lightly.  I truly believe my business is divine and the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know how to pray.

From food to decor, your Southern roots are a Party Bee
staple. What does Southern Hospitality mean to you?
I was raised in Mississippi, The Hospitality State. My mother and grandmothers taught me everything I know about entertaining and being a gracious hostess. The idea of Southern hospitality and opening your home to others is so intimate and special. It is all about attending to every detail and really putting in the effort to show others that you care. Whether you are on the farm or in a grand home, Southern hospitality is about sharing the best of whatever you have with those around you.

You recently opened The Bee Hive, a party design studio in Arlington. What will visitors find in this space?
A mess! But a beautiful mess. That’s because The Bee Hive is where all the buzz happens each day. I store all those goodies you’ve got to have to pull off a perfect event – tables, linens, china, glassware, custom colored napkins, and cases of fresh tonic water. Plus, I have my treasured collection of client thank you and congratulations cards I’ve received on a bulletin board. One sweet friend gave me a sign that reads: “Be Kind, Work Hard.” That’s hanging on the wall next to the staff aprons that we check in and out for each party. The BeeHive is just open by appointment and special occasion, but  I do host pop-up shop events there (think: Southern-style ice cream social, book signings, and mini dinners-for-two). To learn more you can follow me on Instagram and tag what you love about Southern entertaining with the hashtag #thatswhatIlikeaboutthesouth.

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What’s your favorite party-planning tip for parents looking to host a fabulous fete for their little one?
I have three little boys and with the last one, I finally started following the rule of having as many guests as the age of the child. It’s so civilized and meaningful. I also do lots of “adult” parties with a kid component, and I find that having a zone for kiddos to graze at a popcorn bar or at a snack bar is popular. I make sure that there are things at their
height, and chairs of their size. That way, kids can draw on or sticker the little popcorn boxes and get to pick their own snacks. I recommend putting fruit and veggies into individual serving cups so that little ones can grab two apple slices and a carrot stick that’s already pre-portioned and their little fingers don’t touch everyone else’s serving. Make sure to have lots of tubs of wet wipes and paper towels around as well as hidden trash bags so you can triage throughout the party and keep the area looking nice. Hiding things under a skirted table is the way to go. You can keep extra crackers under the cheese board area and  juice boxes under the ice tub.

In addition to your party concierge services, you’re mom to three sons. What’s your favorite way to spend time with them?
We LIVE outside! I love watching them scooter in the street, ride bikes, play in the sandbox, participate in soccer and t-ball, and garden. We do it all together. I also love the simple one-on-one moments with each of them. Graham loves to play cars and transformers, Oliver loves building anything, and Hayden loves legos and pokemon. So while I am a pretty girly only child, I’ve learned all sorts of boy things from my sons, like the difference between a digger and a backhoe. Actually, I still don’t understand the difference.

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It’s family date night! Where will we find you and your brood?
That would be Sunday night when I am tired of cooking and we go to Uncle Julio’s Rio Grande Cafe. The kids watch the tortilla machine and I have a margarita. Or, we just have family night in the yard and grill out and eat in with our neighbors.

 

What is your favorite part about being a parent in the DMV?
My husband and I are both very keen on raising our kids like we grew up. He is from a small town in Texas and I am from Mississippi. We love the other families and friends up here and the connections we have with fellow transplanted southerners. I am also lucky to have sweet mom friends who are trying to find their own way and resist all the busyness and competition that creeps from our career lives to our parenting lives. That’s the best part of being a parent up here. It’s the friends who also came here and are now trying to form a little community where we can share all the wonderful reasons we came here in the first place and now all the wonderful reasons we (and our kids) are making it work.

Do you know a super-cool parent? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

–Sarah Vogel

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The lazy days of summer–while we love them so–can also be some of the most stressful days of the year. There are camps to schedule, sports to shuttle to and fro, and grandparent visits to make. If your sleepless nights and busy days are catching up with you and the crew, it may be time for a break from it all. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to plan a vacation. Whether you’re into sports or spa days, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite places in the DMV for families to chillax.

Kogod Courtyard

After a day of museum-hopping (or shopping or noshing in Chinatown), find refuge in the glass-enclosed courtyard of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. There are tables and chairs, plus a slew of large marble benches for resting tired legs. Hot and antsy kids (and grownups) can get their feet wet in the water scrim that stretches the full length of the courtyard. If you're lucky you'll show up on one of the many days that the courtyard hosts free performances. 8th and F Sts., NW (Judiciary Square) 202-633-8300 Online: <a target="_blank" href="http://npg.si.edu/visit/kogod-courtyard">npg.si.edu</a>fuck

What’s your family’s favorite spot to recharge? Let us know in the comments below.

—Sarah Vogel and Ayren Jackson-Cannady

Cool D.C. Parent to Know: The Foodie Dad

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Tired of takeout, tech exec Ian Costello and his colleague Alan Clifford started Galley Foods in 2014 as a healthy alternative to food delivery standards like pizza and wings. Today, Galley cooks and delivers fresh, healthy meals within 30 minutes to households across the DMV. And with prices under $14 a serving (including tax, delivery, and tip), Galley’s meals are also a bargain. Ian, however, isn’t just a entrepreneur. He’s also a D.C.-based dad of two. Here, Ian shares more about Galley’s family-friendly offerings as well as his own crew’s picks for food and fun.

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Galley is known for its healthy, locally-produced meals. What is the process for turning a meal idea into a doorstop-delivered dish?

I like the phrase “doorstop-delivered dish!” I’m happy to answer, but I also give full credit for our menu to our phenomenal Food Director and her amazing team of sous chefs. The team is always–always–trying out new meal ideas and introducing them to our menu. One of the great things about having a menu that changes on a daily basis is it allows us to be creative and try new things. For example, just this week we’re introducing dishes like strawberry and mango salmon, balsamic glazed steak with caramelized onions, and a summer lemon verde snapper. Every time our customers order from Galley, we ask them for feedback about the meal, and then we read every one of these comments. In this way, we’re able to adapt very quickly to our customers’ tastes, likes, and dislikes!

You co-founded Galley as a tech executive. Now, you’re a husband and father, too. Have these changes influenced Galley’s offerings?

Now I’m even more appreciative of something – anything!  – that gives back some time during the day. When it was just my fiancé and I, a busy work schedule often meant eating dinner out many times per week. Now that we have two kids, we’re less likely to use restaurants as our primary dinner answer. Galley helps hugely with this. Recently, Galley launched a program for parents to order kids’ lunch boxes with their dinner delivery. Instead of pulling all sorts of food out of the fridge – you already have a packaged, healthy lunch ready to go for school, camp, or other outings. It’s just one more way Galley can give busy parents a few minutes back at a crucial time.

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When the six o’clock dinner scramble happens at your house, what Galley meal is most likely to come to the rescue?

As my son says when I get home (if he’s not melting down at the moment): “Dad’s home from work… And he brought Galley again!” We definitely have our favorites, but part of the fun is trying lots of different dishes from Galley. Since our menu has different options each day, and reflects the best seasonal ingredients, we’re more likely to try something we haven’t before. That said, you asked for favorites. My three-year-old Eric’s favorite is probably the chicken quesadillas, though he also likes the forbidden rice with salmon. Mine is the lamb bolognese during colder months or seared steak over penne in the summer. My wife’s favorite is probably the chicken pot pie. And we ALL love the Galley seared green beans a ton!

It’s the weekend! Where are some of your favorite spots for family-friendly fun?

When we’re in town, weekend mornings are for catching our breath a bit. We always start the day at The Coffee Bar for coffee and bagels. Lately, we’re at DC Super Soccer Stars on Saturday mornings, which has a great program with wonderful coaches, and is a fun way to start the weekend for the whole family (followed usually by brunch somewhere). We also spend time playground-hopping around the neighborhood, from Garrison Elementary to Harrison Recreation Center to Westminster Playground (those last two have splash features for the summer!). Like Dad, my son is also into golf, so we’ll head to East Potomac Park and have lunch while hitting balls at the range. If we’re going out for dinner, we will usually be at two favorites right in our 14th Street neighborhood: Matchbox or The BBQ Joint.

Your family now includes a newborn. What’s the one piece of advice you would give to local expecting parents?

My wife will laugh when she reads this question! A lot of times having a newborn can feel like survival-mode. We’re keeping the two kids fed and happy while making sure not to go (too) crazy ourselves. The one thing I would tell someone in a similar situation is that, while it can be tempting to be homebound, for us getting out of the house is important and helps keep us ‘balanced.’ Even if it’s going around the block for frozen yogurt or to the local playground, keeping active has been something strive to maintain, with Ryan, our 1-month-old, in tow.

What is your favorite thing about being a parent in DC?

My wife and I love DC. We both went to college here and moved back about 6 years ago. Since then, the city has slowly, but definitely, become “home.” We love the number of activities going on in the city on a weekly and daily basis. One aspect we’ve learned since becoming parents is how much open space is accessible within the city. Innumerable parks, the National Mall, the National  Arboretum, and the Georgetown Waterfront are great places for kids to run, play, and become exposed to the sights, sounds and people of this city. Last but not least, we love that DC has so much around the city! Many weekend mornings, we’ll jump in the car for a daytrip to explore the area. Some favorites are the Eastern Shore, Annapolis, Williamsburg, Virginia Wine Country, and Shenandoah Park. Next up – Baltimore’s National Aquarium!

Ian and Galley want more families to have the chance to try out their meals. That’s why they are offering Red Tricycle readers a special discount! Enter the code RedTri at online checkout to receive $10 off your first order.

Have you tried Galley? Tell us about it in the comments section.

–Sarah Volger

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Another day with nothing to wear? You’re not alone. Lots of us parents have put feedings and fairy tales before fashion. That’s why we want to introduce you to Julia Miles-Davis. This Howard University grad is a self-described “balance of brains and Balenciaga” that loves to help people find their most stylish selves through closet editing, personal shopping, and more. Keep reading as Julia, who lives in her Northeast, D.C. with her husband and kiddos, Dillon and Jagger, gives us a scoop of some of her style savvy and family favorites.

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Your business offers image consulting as well as fashion editing services. What does the typical “edit” look like?
Imagine a spring cleaning on steroids. During the editing process, I’ve had many clients say “I’m going to need a glass of wine for this.” So, I started bringing a bottle of wine along to edits because it definitely helps the client let go of items easier. All joking aside, our company is called The EDITORS because we come into your closet and we get rid of items that are no longer needed in your wardrobe. Everything from undergarments to accessories is fair game. Then, we create different piles which consist of items that you are going to donate, sell (we can help here, too), or have altered. After we’ve completed this process, we organize your closet to make it look like your personal boutique.

“Fashion” and “parenthood” are two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence. How can parents keep up with their kid-related responsibilities while staying stylish?
Basically, you have to look at the items that are trending each season and then find a way to wear them in a way that’s comfortable for you and your lifestyle.Here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up along the way:

1. Each season, there are key items that allow you to stay fashionable and on-trend while taking care of your tots. Take the thigh-high boot. Yes, it looks great with a 4-inch heel on it, but there are kid-friendly alternatives. For example, Stuart Weitzman came out with a great over-the-knee flat boot.

2. Make affordable, but stylish, denim a wardrobe staple. Rather than indulging in a $300 pair of jeans, buy something that you can throw in the washing machine over and over again. You can go to Zara and buy a $39 pair of jeans that look just as good as a more expensive pair, and you don’t care as much about getting ice cream on them.

What go-to piece should every parent have in their closet?
Basic pieces that parents should have in their closets include a great fitting pair of jeans, a basic tee, a pair of cool sneakers like the Stan Smith Adidas or Golden Goose, and a great slide for the summer. A fashionable backpack or crossbody purse can also be used for your diaper bag to keep  your hands-free. As we are approaching the summer months, you could use a fedora and pair of shades when going outside with the kids. I know you asked for one thing, but I could go on all day about what to add to your wardrobe.

Enough with the grown-ups. What’s your favorite local place to find kiddie couture?
I absolutely adore Little Birdies Boutique in Georgetown. It’s the cutest store for kids.

What’s your favorite restaurant for family dinners?
Cactus Cantina in Upper NW has great food and is super family-friendly. The tortilla machine is amazing to kids!

What’s the best thing about being a parent in the DMV?
I love being a parent in D.C. because there are so many opportunities to expose my children to different cultures and ideas. The museums always have new exhibits and doesn’t hurt that many of them are free!

Do you know a cool mom or dad that everyone in the District should know, too? Tell us about them in the comments below. 

—Sarah Vogel

The Best of the Spring Fests

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When it comes to spring festivals, the National Cherry Blossom Festival isn’t the only game in town. In fact, our area is home to several family-friendly celebrations of everything from picture books to produce. Here’s our list of local can’t-miss festivals for this season:

7871461912_a00e13c0a5_zPhoto: Owen Allen via Flickr

Culpeper Tells Annual Storytelling Festival
Fans of fairy tales and family legends will love this day dedicated to the art of storytelling. Held in historic Culpeper, professional and amateur storytellers will take to the stage to share famous fables and new narratives for all ages at this self-proclaimed “festival of words.” Another reason you’ll find a happy ending here? There’s free admission for children under 12!

When: March 12
Culpeper Center
137 S. Main St. (Culpeper, Va.)
Online: culpepertells.com

kite festival _18-XLPhoto: Ryan Somma via flickr

Blossom Kite Festival: April 2
Channel your inner Mary Poppins and celebrate 50 years of flying kites on the National Mall! This festival, one of our favorite parts of the cherry blossom celebration, features kite flying demonstrations and competitions among fliers from across the country. You can BYOK (bring your own kite) or make one at the festival’s free activity stations.

When: April 2
Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th St., NW and Constitution Ave. (Washington, D.C.)
Online: nationacherryblossomfestival.org

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Photo: Woodleywonderworks via flickr 

Big Band Jam
It’s time to tune your trumpet and bust out your bass.The Big Band Jam is coming to D.C.! Celebrating its 12th year, this festival is the nation’s only jazz festival created for kids by kids. The two-week schedule is packed with classes, concerts, and informal jam sessions at famous locales like Blues Alley and the National Press Club. Check out their free tribute performance to introduce your youngins to the styles of John Coltrane.

When: April 18-30
Various Locations
202-337-4141
Online: bigbandjam.org

3482471484_b42bf03077_zPhoto: Mike D via Flickr

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival: April 22-May 1, 2016
Let your city kids in on the secrets of small town fun with a road trip to this Winchester festival. In just 90 minutes, you may find your fam catching candy at a firefighters’ parade, running in the “Bloomin’ Mile” race, or playing in the inflatable playground. Other featured events include a classic car cruise-in, a pie baking contest and the Miss Apple Blossom pageant. Need a pit stop on the way back? Check out the Shenandoah Kids Trail to hike off that extra piece of apple pie.

When: April 22-May 1
135 North Cameron St. (Winchester, Va.)
Online: thebloom.com

FineArtsFest3Photo: Bethesda Fine Arts Festival 

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
Have a budding Picasso or Mozart on your hands? Share some of the nation’s finest art with him or her at this annual event. More than 130 artists gather in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle for the weekend to showcase their visual art while musicians, mimes, and other entertainers take to the stage for family-friendly performances. Attendees also have access to free parking – definitely a perk in busy Bethesda!

When: May 14-15
Woodmont Triangle (Bethesda, Md.)
Online: bethesda.org

4667500148_8f41fcb10f_zPhoto: Bethany King via Flickr

ViVa! Vienna! Memorial Day Festival: May 28-30, 2016
If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate Memorial Day, look no further than the ViVa! Vienna! festival. From rides to fried food, your littles will get the quintessential fair experience just 45 minutes outside the city limits. But’s it’s not just about funnel cakes and ferris wheels. ViVa! Vienna! also features a special children’s music stage, crafts, and visits from the local fire and police departments.

When: May 28-30
245 Maple Ave. W (Vienna, Va.)
Online: vivavienna.org

Let us know your family’s favorite festivals in the comments section below.

–Sarah Vogel