Add the Artechouse to Your Visit DC List

If you are heading to DC anytime soon, or live here, then you need to be heading over to the Artechouse! Artechhouse is a digital art experience, heavy on the experience. I kept hearing about it all over social media but had never made the time to visit. Today I packed up the kids and headed over. From now until March 10th you can see the current installation by Fuse* – Everything in Existence. It was one of the most incredible things that I have experienced recently, and my kids loved it!

Combing art and technology, the purpose of this current exhibition is to push the boundaries of what you believe our existence truly is. Stretching your senses and overloading you totally. It was such a hypnotizing experience, both soothing and over-stimulating. How that was accomplished I have no idea, but in the midst of the sound and sites, I found my children laying down on bean bags just taking it all in. Make sure to download the Artechouse app before going in!

You can visit the Artechouse during the daytime, or come back in the evening for a 21+ experience. There is a bar located inside Artechouse that includes the drinks in the visual arts experience through their app. Artechouse also offers military and student discounts, so take advantage of that.



Add Artechouse to your list, and check out our

DC/NoVA Adventures here!!!

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Explore Your City with an Urban Adventure Quest!

This post is in partnership with US Family Guide and Urban Adventure Quest


Explore Your City!

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for awhile you might know that I am a huge fan of being a tourist in your own city. I say this especially for military families. Embracing where you are can sometimes help combat any of the negative feelings that you have about your duty station. Having been in places that are rural and pretty desolate before, I get it when it sucks! Urban Adventure Quest is one way that you can explore your city in a fun way, and also provide any visitors with some fun as well. Its also something I will keep in my back pocket for vacations!

20% off Urban Adventure Quest's Scavenger Hunt Code: FGBLOG Click To Tweet

What is Urban Adventure Quest?

The idea for Urban Adventure Quest came from the favorite tv show of its creators, the Amazing Race! Wouldn’t it be fun to go on your own amazing race in the comfort of your own city? The answer is of course yes!! Get a quest, go on the stops, complete the challenges and score points! Create your team of 2-5 people and embark on your own three hour tour {insert Gilligan’s Island theme music}. Because the owners love adventures as much as their customers they take their creations seriously. They want to create quests that they themselves would enjoy.

Where is Urban Adventure Quest?

UAQ has over 50 quests available! Some cities have more than one type of adventure available to you. From Sacramento to Boise, Baltimore to Dallas, UAQ is growing!

They are also afforable, and I will be adding them to my Free and Cheap in DC list. You can purchase an adventure for up to five people for $49, $30 for a mini-quest. They also offer a rather large 25% military discount. All you have to do is call to receive a promotion code, which I can handle for sure. For schools and non-profit groups they offer 20%, no matter how many teams you purchase. I love a company that gives back like this. Its something that I want to support and encourage others to support as well.

Be A Tourist in your Own Town Pinterest

Turn YOUR CITY into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt adventure. Combine the excitement of the Amazing Race with a three-hour city tour. Guided from any smart phone, teams make their way among well known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Play anytime during daylight hours. Start when you want and play at your pace.

And I’m so excited because Adventure Quest has offered my readers 20% off a Quest! For only $39.20 for a team of 2-5 people you can enjoy a night of fun with friends! Use code: FGBLOG. Sign up online at

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Cheap Date Night in Washington, DC

DC is one of those places that can easily overwhelm, and for several reasons. Obviously the first thing that comes to mind is TRAFFIC! Whoa! You try to explain it to people who are moving here and most of the time its something they can’t really appreciate until they live here; no matter what you say to convince them. The sheer magnitude of historical sites is also overwhelming.  We have seen and done so much in the two and a half years we’ve lived here but I feel like we haven’t even scratched the service.  In fact we keep a running list of thing we want to do and see and I’m pretty sure its taking up a huge chunk of my hard drive. The third is expense. It’s expensive to live here, its just the way it is. Its something we’ve had to factor in to our daily living, this includes Date Nights. Date Nights are not generally something I’m okay with living without. So you come up with creative ideas to be cheap and you make it work. Now, we opted to go to a fancy restaurant in Georgetown, so that did up our price tag, but its a very affordable place when you compare it a lot of DC eateries. So, if you’re looking for a fun, and yummy, place to eat in DC check out Martin’s Tavern. I never get tired of it.

first stop was Martin’s Tavern and the “proposal booth”

A favorite cheap date night for us is the “walking tour”. There are a plethora of options in the area. But a really fun and romantic one is through the streets of Georgetown. Georgetown is probably one of the coolest “historic” towns that I’ve ever been in. It’s quaint and old-fashioned and charming. It was founded in the mid-1700s and predates DC itself. It’s adorable row-houses and federalist architecture is a treat for the eye. And while the whole place is one giant walking tour and shopping bonanza, it is the one centered around the Kennedy’s that I truly love. It’s important history, and while not in my life time, its not so ancient that its hard to imagine.  We have pictures and video that really can connect us to the Kennedy’s and the beautiful Jacqueline. Georgetown is their stomping grounds.

the house they lived in pre-Presidency

lived here as Senator

On this tour you can visit the homes where they lived before his Presidency, after President Kennedy’s Assassination, their church and several other important Kennedy landmarks.  Walking up and down the pint-size streets and you can’t help but be swept up in the rich history and the sweet whimsy of it all. And while the transportation and the babysitting (although I strongly suggest you swap with friends! It’s cheap and encourages community. We do it!) isn’t free, the walking tour is.

Bundle up and bring your hot chocolate, coffee or tea from home and enjoy a nice leisurely stroll in Georgetown. I guarantee you’ll love it!

For more information on the self-guided Kennedy walking tour, visit GeorgetownDC

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Visiting the Washington Monument with Kids – DC/NoVA Adventures

We have been waiting since we moved here to go in the Washington Monument.  My oldest son has just been chomping at the bit to do it.  If you ask him what his favorite place in DC is, he would answer with this landmark. I have to admit, the fact that it just hangs out in my backyard is still probably the coolest thing. Its something you see on tv, in movies, documentaries, even in books that I read as a child {The Bobbsey Twins in Washington D.C.}.  Then, you move to where it is and its just there for you to see whenever you want. As you may or may not know the monument was damaged in the earthquake that occurred here a couple years ago. We’ve watched it being repaired in various ways, the coolest for the kids being when they put all the lighted scaffolding up.  It seemed like it had been up there forever.  But the time finally came….

We purchased our tickets online and way in advance.  This was mostly because everyone and their brother wanted to get in during the first few days of it opening, which I completely understand. You may a very small fee, like two dollars a ticket, when you would usually visit completely free. Visiting the monument during the summer without purchasing before hand could go either way.  If you’re looking to get in for free I would show up early to the gift shop because they are first come, first serve. I personally like the convenience of purchasing online for the exact date and time I want. The visit is not a long one, but you have to show up early to get in line because they go by groups and load you into the monuments “waiting room” of sorts, near the elevators inside. The kids loved it, even Phillip.  You look out the windows, there are old pieces of the monument to touch and various other historical things to read and check out.  On the way back down you get to check out all the donated placemarkers that line the inside of the monument. There’s also a “Stair Way Tour” you can take, which is on Mr. Air Force’s and my bucket list.

If you are going with kids I definitely recommend picking up the Junior Ranger booklet.  We try to get these wherever we go.  It provides an education experience and the kids usually get a patch or pin marking the occasion.

For more information on the Washington Monument visit the National Park Service’s website on it or leave questions here for me to answer.

If you are looking for tips for being a tourist with kids, check out my Five Tips post, here.
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5 Tips for Being a Tourist with Kids

 Let’s be honest…traveling with kids can be quite an experience, but more often then not when you are creating a family trip you do with children in mind.  Whether that be to Disneyland or another theme park, or maybe even a camping or beach trip, usually you have your children in mind and you are staying within that one location.  But what if you want to be a tourist?  Or maybe you have family coming into your town and you will be serving as their tour guide.  How do you do that with kids?  Walking around for hours staring at landmarks or going through museums might not be the ideal situation for children under a certain age.  For us, living in a location where people want to visit (and not just because of us) is pretty cool.  It not only gives us the opportunity to really SEE our city, but have our children experience it as well.  So how do we keep our kids busy and involved on our many tourist visits?

1. Keep them actively engaged!
If you happen to be visiting anything associated with the National Parks they have what is called The Junior Ranger program.  I remember going through the Junior Ranger Program and it can be lots of fun.  You can morph the program to fit your needs, ranging from tons of involvement from you, to self-guided for older kids.  The programs include simple booklets for kids to fill out and turn in for a patch or pin, or actual events run by park rangers.  If it’s a place your children have been before have them help you be the tour guide.  My oldest loves to tell people all about the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.  You’d be surprised at what they might be able to tell you.

acting out a scene for the Washington Times at Madame Tussauds, DC

2. Get them a camera
Pick up a disposable camera or let them use a phone or other point and shoot.  Yes, they do make disposable cameras still and my kids love them.  Have them take pictures from their own perspectives.  Bring them out once an hour or so if you know you are going to be out.  Its a great distraction for your kids and an opportunity to engage them in whats going on around them.

3. Pencil and Paper
This is one of my simplest tips and tricks for traveling with children.  We try to refrain from technology with them if possible.  It’s not a need, it’s a want.  This last week we were out in DC for at least five hours and not once did we take out technology for any of them.  At their antsiest times we pull out that pad of paper and pencil/pen and they are quite content.  We let them go to Michael’s/Target dollar bins and pick out their own little notebooks.  We take these with us everywhere, car trips, restaurants or any other time we might be waiting for a long time.

4. Snacks
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I’ll just include it.  When we are walking around for long periods of time we tend to snack a lot.  We often don’t eat regular meals when we are out like that, and we usually pack a lot.  Pack hearty foods like granola bars, but easy to eat foods like fruit snacks or go-gurts are good ideas as well.  I make use of the ziploc snack bags when we are on trips like this.  They are easy to hold and fit the perfect amount of food in them.  We also keep in mind hydration, bring more then you think you need and we always pack juice because I know that I tend to feel like I have low-blood sugar on trips like this.  A little juice goes a long way.

5. Just Have Fun
Surprisingly enough this can be hard for me.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming to travel with three kids and I let life pass me by freaking out with the kids over silly things.  You’re making memories, even though they might not be ones they will remember, they are memories none the less.  To see the looks of awe and wonder on my kids faces when they see really neat things, or when they really begin to understand what it is they are looking at is priceless!

inside the Washington Monument the Week it opened!  The best day
of my Seven Year Old’s life! 

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