Friday, April 2, 2010


It's time to dig out your old Easter basket, or get crafty and make a new one! Here's a small sampling of what's hoppin' around town this weekend.

EGGstravaganza 2010
When: Sunday, April 4th at noon.
Where: Walter Pierce Park
Details: There will be two egg hunts, the first kicking off around 12:10. There will be games, stories, and plenty of fun!

Common Good City Farm Local Community OPENING DAY
When: Saturday, April 3rd. 11:30 am until 1:30 pm.
Where: 300 V St. NW
Details: Celebration of opening day, and Easter for the local LeDroit, Shaw, Bloomingdale, and Eckington communities. Easter egg hunt for the kids, egg toss for the older kids, and lots of farm fun for the whole family! More details on the farm can be found here.

5th Annual Dupont Circle Egg Hunt
When: Saturday, April 3rd from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm.
Where: Stead Park Field. 1625 P St. NW
Details: Pictures with the Easter Bunny, Face Painting, Balloon Artist, Snacks, and Treats for all to enjoy! Please bring any egg donations to Stead Park no later than 10:30 am on Saturday. Hunt for children 3+ years begins at 11:30 am, children 0-3 years at noon. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Sponsors: DC Department of Parks & Recreation, Friends of Stead, & Lindsay Reishman Real Estate. To sign up for this event and to learn more about community events contact Elise@ReishmanRealE

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Seminar for New and Expecting Parents

Who: Lindsay Reishman Real Estate
What: A seminar for local parents to include the following topics:
1. Neighborhood Resources for New Parents
2. What You Need to Know About Education & Applying to Schools
3. A Smart Way to Find a Home for Your Family
4. Popular DC Neighborhoods Among Families
5. Life & Long Term Disability Insurance
6. Living Wills & Estate Planning
When: February 20, 2010
10am - 12pm
Where: 1514 P Street NW. Parking available in the rear of building.

RSVP to Elise Reid at or 202.560.5541.

Get out, meet fellow parents, learn about what the neighborhood has to offer you and your little people, and enjoy host provided refreshments and snacks!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I thought I'd spread the word on this...
What: The National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) will be conducting a Survival Kit Drive for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
When: Sunday, January 17 from 11:00am-4:00pm.
Where: Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

ITEMS BEING COLLECTED: Baby formula (dry/powder), Baby wipes, Baby bottles, Diapers, Baby clothes, Toiletries (shampoo, soap, toothpaste), Hand sanitizer, Vitamins, First aid kits, Over the counter medicines, Socks, Blankets, Mosquito repellent, Flashlights, Batteries, Candles, Flip flops, T-shirts, pants, lightweight jackets, Non perishable food--in openable cans.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Ever wonder what is happening at the Shaw Middle School? Why the students are in the Garnet-Patterson Building on 10th & U St. NW, and not at the Shaw campus? This weekend Principal Brian Betts will be opening the doors of his school to the community to answer these questions and more.

Where: The Garnet-Patterson Building, 2001 10th St. NW
When: Saturday, January 9th, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm with lunch provided
What: Open house sessions to include:
-Daily life of students.
-Literacy/math initiatives.
-On-going teacher professional development.
-Data driven instruction.
-Frequent monitoring of student progress.
-Full service school model.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I'm not going to put myself on either side of this hotly debated issue of getting our kids mass vaccinated for H1N1 (swine flu). Instead, I found a couple of links to help find where to go if you want one.

*For the DC Government's list of where to go if you're an expectant mother or youth go here.
*H1n1 expected availability for other (non-pregnant, non-kid) groups in DC, go here.
*For the entire metro area, see the Washington Post.
*For general information, check out the CDC.

I hope you and your family will stay healthy this cold and flu season. If anything, maybe this scare has taught us all about proper hand washing, covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing, and the amazing gift that is hand sanitizer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009



Halloween at Historic Eastern Market
Where: Eastern Market (7th St. between C & D Streets SE)
When: Friday, October 30th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm
What: Trick-or-treating, live music, pumpkin carving, moon bounce and face painting. Read more about it here.

Dupont Circle Halloween Parade for Toddlers and Babies
Where: The fountain in Dupont Circle
When: Friday, October 30th at 5pm (rain date 5pm Saturday, October 31)
What: An informal event for children too young for trick-or-treating to parade around Dupont Circle in costume!


Halloween Haunt
Where: Common Good City Farm (3rd. and V St. NW)
When: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
What: Join the folks at Common Good for a Halloween/Fall Fest. Activities include a costume contest, pumpkin picking right from their pumpkin patch, enjoy cider, and eat baked goodies. The event is free, but donations to the farm are always welcome.

Fall Fest at Harrison Square
Where: The courtyard of Harrison Square (12th Place between V and W Streets)
When: 4:30 pm, with a costume parade beginning at 6pm
What: Halloween crafts for the whole family, cotton candy spinning, chili, refreshments, costume parade, and trick-or-treating. Everyone is encouraged to dress up!

Halloween Meet up at Westminster Park
Where: Westminster Park, 911 Westminster St. NW
When: 2:00 - 5:00 pm
What: An informal gathering of parents and costumed tots in the park.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I've been riding my bike for exactly one week now and have learned a lot about negotiating bike lanes, traffic, and how to avoid getting the bike stolen. Other lessons include budgeting extra time because it's such a conversation starter, and getting Milo not to toss groceries out of open bags.

I'm extra careful riding around, not because my bike is new and unique, but because I am hauling my most precious cargo around the streets of Washington. I use the bike lane on V St. for heading east, 14th St. for going north/south, and T St. for heading west. Just because the bike lane is there, doesn't mean it's safe. I find that I am dodging cars and delivery trucks parked in the lane, car doors that fly open with no warning, and the occasional bus that blocks the lane when it can't make it to the curb for its stop. There are so many obstacles. You really can't stop paying attention, not even for a second.

Several days ago, a friend of mine convinced me that there were packs of bicycle thieves working the city. She said these weren't just easy criminals, but groups of individuals equipped with tools to open bike locks, or simply cut them. We have no choice but to store the bike outdoors, so this scared me into buying a couple of new locks. I bought a new Kryptonite lock, because mine had the older, barrel style key (easy to open by thieves), and also a very thick chain lock.

Both of the locks come with registration info and some kind of confusing financial guarantee that the bike won't get stolen if locked properly. I registered the locks, and also registered my bike through the National Bike Registry. I 'm feeling pretty safe knowing that it is double locked, and triple registered.

Hey, moms, do you remember when you were pregnant and people would stop you on the street to offer you advice, or talk to you about it? Well, having a Madsen is a little bit like this. I can't go anywhere without being stopped to chat about the bike or about the cute kid riding in back. I am always happy to spread the good word about how fantastic the bike is, but 5, 6, 7 people in front of Whole Foods is a bit much. Brace yourself for this if you live in DC and buy this bike!

Last but not least, is getting Milo not to pilfer through and throw out various grocery items from open paper sacks. He can lean forward just enough to reach the goods, and after quick examination, he'll toss them onto the sidewalk or street. I learned this lesson the hard way, and now I use two zippered canvas bags to distribute the weight evenly, and to keep little fingers out.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I have been loving Greater Goods for their cool reusable bags and extensive collection of green household products since before I became a mama. Now I love them even more. They have increased their children's section to include diapers, clothing, feeding supplies, and toys. You can pick from a large selection of Klean Kanteens, Sigg water bottles, natural teethers, and bamboo forks.

During a recent trip I discovered something new: LunchSkins. If you at all consider yourself hip or green or both, you must rush over to Greater Goods now and buy some for your whole family. Buy a couple of extra for your friends too--they make great gifts!

LunchSkins are reusable canvas pouches that eliminate the need for throwaway sandwich baggies. Made by 3greenmoms from the Bethesda area, these little fabric bags are made of cotton with a food safe polyurethane liner. The fabric is imported by a German manufacturer, but rest of the work is done just beyond the beltway. A small, family owned company cuts, screens, and sews them together.

The brightly colored fabrics are eye catching and fun, and they seal shut with a sturdy velcro. According to their website, LunchSkins have saved an estimated 1.2 million lunch baggies from the landfill. If that number doesn't shock you into a little sustainability, I don't know what will. Join the movement and stop using plastic baggies.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


This Saturday, October 3rd (from 10am - 5pm) is one of my favorite events, Crafty Bastards. It's an arts & crafts fair with an alternative twist. You'll find fun for the whole family on the grounds of the Marie Reed Learning center at 18th and Wyoming NW.

Are you in the market for punk rock clothes for your little darling? How about sock monkeys or other plush toys? Hand-made jewlery? Even if you're not in the market for a darn thing, stop by to have a look at unconventional craft, and meet the crafters, and maybe even see a belly dancer or two!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Apple Tree Early Learning Public Charter School
2750 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Meet Principal Anne Zummo (pictured left), she is most proud of her schools ability to provide the necessary skills needed for students to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. After talking at length with Ms. Zummo, I am convinced that at Apple Tree, it's all about the children.

About the school
-AELPCS is a DC public charter school open to all three and four year olds in the District.
-They have been open in this location for 3 years.
-They are accredited in accordance with DC Public Charter School law.
-They have a research-based instructional program that supports the development of young children's language, literacy, and behavioral skills as well as their understanding of the world around them.
-They use a comprehensive, integrated curriculum designed to engage young children in playful activities and to build their natural eagerness to learn.
-School mission: to provide young children with the social, emotional, and cognitive foundations that will enable them to succeed in school.
-The classrooms are spacious and brightly lit.

Enrollment, times, and cost
-The licensed capacity is 108 students.
-Enrollment is based on the lottery system.
-The wait list is usually long, but Ms. Zummo assures me that anything can happen. She's seen dozens of kids come off of the wait list due to late decision in August.
-This is a FREE school because it is a public charter school.
-Children need to be potty trained to attend.
-Before school starts, there is a teacher/parent/family meeting. This gives the kids a chance to meet in the classroom and get used to the space.
-On the first day of school, parents are expected to arrive on time with children at 8am, and are allowed to stay until 9:30, at which time need to leave so the kids can get on with their day and start a routine.
-School hours are from 8:00 am until 3:15 pm.
-For an extra fee ($400/mo full price or $80/mo if you qualify for reduced lunch) there is an after school program that runs until 6 for parents who work.
-There is a 4 week summer school program from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm that only has a meal cost.
-They follow the DCPS calendar for days off, and take an extra 6 days for staff development per school year.
-If your child is not in the after school program, he must be picked up between 3:15 and 3:30. After that you are charged $10 for every ten minute increment you are late. The same policy is in place for children who say until 6:00 pm.

Parent interaction
-Parents are expected to be involved in their kids education.
-Ms. Zummo says that parents are the child's first educator. They are teaching the kids behaviorally, socially, and academically.
-Parents can come to the school if they want to teach a lesson, share about their families, or read to the children.
-There are emails, letters, and soon there will be a listserv to communicate with parents.
-There are 2-3 formal parent/teacher conferences per school year, or as many as needed. The child's progress based on DCPS standards is discussed at this time and a report card is given.

About the staff
-There are 19 full time teachers, a one on one support aid, 2 coaches, a social worker, and a speech and language pathologist on staff.
-To be hired by the school, staff first submit a resume, have a lengthy phone call with the principal. Then they come to the school, spend 45 minutes in the classroom observing and then have a panel interview with a teacher, the principal, and 1-2 specialists in the school.
-There is a required background check, and a yearly physical.
-They are all certified in CPR and First Aid.

Health, Hygiene, and Safety
-Children must be immunized in accordance with DC law.
-The sick policy is: fever free for 24 hours, or if contagious, on medication for 24 hours.
-Only prescription medications are given to children. One teacher in every class is authorized to administer meds.
-Children are taught to wash their hands by teachers. There are signs and pictures in bathrooms.
-The school is equipped with automatic faucets.
-Teachers are in charge of cleaning toys. This is done depending on use, weekly if not daily.
-Safety is important at Apple Tree. Front doors are secure, and interior doors are only accessed by key card.
-There is a sign in/out sheet at the front door.

Activities, learning, and social skills
-To guide classroom instruction, they use Opening the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum.
-This type of curriculum engages the children in playful activities and builds on their natural eagerness to learn.
-Each month the children are learning a new subject or theme. In association with this theme, there is a related monthly field trip.
-Everything is made into an exercise on literacy. For example if they're riding the metro, they discuss the purchase of the ticket, and where it goes into the machine. They also look at the metro map and count the stops.
-There are flatscreen tv's in each classroom for teachers to show educational films, or movies for fun on rainy days.
-There is an outdoor playground for the use of Apple Tree only. Only one or two classes are outside at a time.
-Children are disciplined by sitting and watching others from a chair that sits facing the group.
-Ms. Zummo calls this a modified time out. Before the children would go into the chair, they are given several positive reminders to change their behavior.
-There is a two step process to comforting children. The first is in every room there is a calm down spot. This is an area with a red circle where the child can go with a teacher and put names to their feelings as learned in part of their social/emotional curriculum. The second step is using language to solve the problem. The teacher can talk and explain what together they can do about solving the problem.

Typical day in this school
8:00 am - Arrive, eat, when finished play with manipulatives and puzzles.
9:00 am - After cleaning up, sit on carpet for morning meeting and talk about the day of the week, the date, and the weather.
9:15 am -Center time: learn and play at sand or water tables, art table, manipulative area, the library, listening center, blocks, dramatic play, or writing center.
10:00 am - Read a story, explain new words, characters, and how we're feeling.
10:20 am - Snack time (snack + fruit) at tables.
10:35 am - Playground outside.
11:25 am - Sit and sing songs, play games.
11:45 am - Lunch time.
12:15 pm - Bathroom and time for naps. Calming music played.
1:45 pm - Wake up and bathroom. Play with friends in classroom, dramatic play, art table, or play with blocks.
2:40 pm - Small group activities. Painting or alphabet bingo.
3:00 pm - Story, talk about day, then back to tables for snack. Some kids are picked up, while others stay to play outside or inside, and do activities with after-school teachers.
6:00 pm - pick up and collect important notes and reminders for family from the top of the cubby.