From baking to taking walks: What we’re looking forward to this week, March 30-April 5

This week, the Northern Virginia Magazine editorial team is looking forward to cake pops, hikes, virtual tours, entertaining the kids and reading heartfelt stories.

people standing at volcano in Hawaii
Children and adults alike can explore the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, shown here, thanks to a new platform from the National Park Service. (© NPS Photo/Janice Wei)

This story appears in our weekly Things to Do newsletter, sent to subscribers every Monday. Get it in your inbox by signing up here.

By Katie BiancoJess FeldmanHolly GambrellMichele Kettner and Jennifer Zeleski

Sugar rush
When I get stressed I like to bake. It’s an attainable sense of control that ends in a sweet treat. And, it’s safe to say that we’ve all been stressed to the max over the last few weeks, and that we’re all craving what little control we can get right now. It’s chaos out there, and if the only thing I have power over right now is my own kitchen, then that’s where I’m going to spend my time until the pandemic ends. So far through the past two-ish weeks of staying home, I’ve made a sour cream coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Next up: cake pops. I’ve ordered molds, some ingredients and other supplies from Fran’s Cake & Candy Supplies to get me started. The local baking business ships nationwide and is currently offering curbside pickup. Want more at-home DIY ideas? Click here. -Holly Gambrell, Digital Editor // Fran’s Cake & Candy Supplies: 10927 Main St., Fairfax; prices vary

Walking on sunshine
I don’t know about all of you, but I need a change in location. The daily walk around the neighborhood with my two pups is nice, especially with the beautiful spring blooms, but the same scenery for two straight weeks is getting a little boring. Don’t get me wrong, being the introvert that I am, social distancing doesn’t bother me as much as my extrovert friends, but I am starting to miss venturing out on my own. Luckily, we’ll have some nice spring weather this week, so I plan to head over to White Ford’s Regional Park, since NOVA Parks is still open, for a relaxing afternoon on the trails. Don’t worry, social distancing is still a priority even when outside. As recommended, I’ll keep a 6-foot barrier with anyone I come across on the trail and won’t touch any communal spaces in order to stay safe and healthy. But during these stressful times, a hike in the trees and sun will be a good remedy for these social distancing blues. -Michele Kettner, Editorial Assistant // White Ford’s Regional Park: 43646 Hibler Road, Leesburg; free

Thankful for my screen
On a normal day, I complain about humanity’s (as well as my own) addiction to technology at least once. From iPhones to computers, we’re constantly consumed by the bright lights that lead into never-ending rabbit holes of information, and that typically bothers me. Right now though, as children lack viable access to in-person education, grandparents are locked away in isolation and new research is discovered every hour surrounding the coronavirus, I am grateful for these glass windows into undiscovered worlds. This week, I have plans to go on great adventures every day after work for a change of scenery. Monday, I’ll check out what Mei Ziang and Tian Tian—the National Zoo’s pandas—are up to, Wednesday I will go on a tour of the National Portrait Gallery’s latest exhibition and come Friday, I’ll explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, all while in my pajamas from the couch. Interested in other ways to enlighten both you and your kids right now? Click here for 15 things to do. -Jess Feldman, Editorial Assistant 

A little learning
Fellow parents, I’ll be the first to say it out loud: Disney+ has pretty much become my kids’ teacher during this crazy time. As my days are spent working to get the next issue of Northern Virginia Magazine out, there hasn’t been a lot of time to lead circle time, practice tracing our letters and other activities I had envisioned for my preschool-aged children. The silver lining for my family is that my kids are young and I’m not too concerned about their education being impacted by a few weeks (or months) out of school. But that doesn’t mean I want them to spend all day every day watching TV (as much as I love the entire catalog of Toy Story movies). So I was thrilled to see that Robcyns in Alexandria, a store known for its dancewear, is now offering Activity Bundles for preschool and elementary school kids. They’ll put together a custom bundle with STEAM-based games, activity pads, trivia card sets and more. You can do curbside pickup or home delivery in some areas in and around Alexandria. Here’s hoping this will alleviate a bit of the homeschooling (or lack thereof) Mom guilt and support a local business. Win win. -Katie Bianco, Editor // 3660 King St., Alexandria; bundles $40-$60

Generosity will help us all
It’s hard to not let the weight of the world crumble you at times like these. Social media platforms are filled with heart-wrenching stories of families affected by the spread of COVID-19. The trials and tribulations of health care workers and first responders continue to be headline news due to a widespread shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment). But alas, there is hope. Yesterday, I teared up over a heartfelt video of Atlanta residents cheering for hospital staff during a shift change. Again, near waterworks when I read about a 7-year-old Ashburn resident who has gathered over 2,000 shower caps, 3,000 gloves and 900 masks to donate to hospital workers from local hotels. And finally, I couldn’t help but smile when I read our quick feature on budding fashion designer Skylar Raiyn Johnson, the 12-year-old Gainesville resident and founder of Sew Fky Sky, who has a goal of sewing 500 masks for local hospital workers. It’s people like these, no matter what their age, that help remind me we will get through this together. Jennifer Zeleski, Editorial Assistant 

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