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Fresh Voices

Sofie’s Scoop: Sunken Well Tavern

This little tavern is near Fredericksburg National Cemetery at the intersection of Hanover and Littlepage in Downtown Fredericksburg. We decided to give the place a try for the first time one Saturday morning with a friend and his six year old son, Wilder.

We parked on the side of the road in an alley beside the restaurant and entered the back entrance and sat at a table. Almost all the tables were full of people ordering their 11:00 brunch, but they emptied out as we were there. The walls on both sides of the restaurant had pictures of people posing in swimsuits and underwear, which might be something parents would like to know before bringing their children. There was also no kids' menu, but they offered brunch from 9:00am to 2:00pm Saturday to Sunday.

I ordered the Classic Club off their lunch menu, described as “thinly sliced turkey, ham, crispy bacon, lettuce, onion, and tomato. Served on three pieces of your choice of bread.” and a side of fries. Luke and Wilder ordered the Be Well Pancake Breakfast (buttermilk pancake with two eggs and your choice of meat, $9), and the chocolate chip pancake, $8, part of the brunch menu. Jack, my brother, created his own sandwich of house roasted ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise on whole wheat bread with a side of onion rings and said it was, “very yummy”.

After a significant wait, huge portions of food were brought to our table. Jack and I were delightfully surprised by the size of our sandwiches, and Luke and Wilder were wide-eyed at the sight of the pancakes bigger than their heads. Needless to say, my sandwich was enormous. I could barely wrap my mouth around it. I ate half of it at the restaurant and the other two quarters for the next two lunches. It was delicious; all the flavors mixed well. The sandwich got better with every bite, or should I say serving?

Sunken Well sandwich

Wilder’s pancake looked, and tasted, really good. With all the chocolate chips inside it looked like a Nutella pancake. He ate a small portion of it and was full. Next time, we could get one pancake to share between all the kids. I suggest that if you plan to bring small kids to split one pancake between all of them. You’ll save money, and you might even have leftovers!

Sunken Well pancake

Sunken Well Tavern was a great experience. I enjoyed my generous serving of food and would definitely go back a second time.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Special Needs Siblings: A Kind of Our Own

Danielle Fresh VoicesHello everyone! My name is Danielle, and I’m 15 years old. I have two autistic siblings, and am the mommy to the bestest labrador in the world. I play several musical instruments (my favorite one being my ukulele), and I want to be an international missionary when I’m older (see Matthew 28:19). I love reading, playing Just Dance on the Wii, and I have an incredible talent for inserting sarcasm into any conversation.


If parents of special needs children are the backbone of support, then siblings are practically every other bone that help hold up and encourage these incredibly complex and beautiful human beings. I sincerely think that we siblings are a kind of our own. We, along with our parents, have practically super-human patience, creative problem solving skills, and a plethora of information on developmental issues.

However, I believe that siblings don’t think their voices are as important, and we sometimes feel our issues are inferior to those of our sibling(s). Trust me, I can say this with what I feel is credible authority, as both of my siblings are autistic, and can claim several other learning and behavioral anomalies. Sometimes I feel like the only one who is clinically sane in our household. That’s normal and okay; because here’s a little secret for you siblings out are the only one who is clinically sane in your household... And see it as a gift, not some kind of burden you have to bear. Being clinically sane is super underrated!

I really want to divert everyone’s attention to us, if only just for the few minutes it takes you to read this blog post. That may sound selfish, but to quote Eeyore, my favorite mopey donkey, “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

We siblings are afraid of talking about our problems and our issues, because we know that our brothers and sisters with special needs have so many more. For example, earlier this year my sister was going through testing to receive a full diagnosis of her brain. Basically, our family therapist trying to discover everything that could possibly be different with her, whether it be developmental or behavioral.

As we were going through this testing, it was revealed to us that there was a possibility of my sister displaying seizure activity in her brain. This, as you can imagine, shocked and terrified us, as Katie never seemed to have an issue as serious as this. At the same time, I was going through a very difficult time with my own mental health. I was experiencing depression and anxiety to the point where I wanted to sit in bed all day, and just read. I was seeing a therapist at the time, and the car ride to and from was the only time where I felt like I could talk to my parents about the feelings I was experiencing.

I didn’t think I was entitled to help for my anxiety and depression because other people (including my siblings) have issues that are much more serious. This, I realized, just isn’t true. Just because you may feel that your issues are miniscule in comparison to others doesn’t cancel them out. Pain is a relative force. I’m talking to the siblings here. If you feel that your problems aren’t problems because they’re different than your sibling’s issues, then you are wrong. You need to communicate with your parents, and tell them what’s going on. If they’re too busy to listen, then schedule a time to sit down and make them listen. Trust me, your parents want to know that you are okay. They love you and care for you. Don’t ever think they don’t.

Talk to your friends at school about what it’s like at home. Help them to understand so they can build you up when you get overwhelmed... not IF you get overwhelmed, WHEN you get overwhelmed. And honestly, it feels so good to rant sometimes. Try and befriend another person who has a special needs sibling. Those are the people you’ll grow closest to, because you really understand what it’s like for each other. Ask your parents to set up a “me night”. About once a week, find someplace you can go for an hour or so, ALONE (I like to go to the library). I can’t stress the alone part enough. We need time to center ourselves, and catch a breath. Parents get to do it on date nights and such, so why can’t we? Everyone needs a break now and then. Don’t feel guilty about it.

The most important thing you can do is COMMUNICATE. Don’t ever not say something because you feel it’s inferior. You are important. You matter.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Dear Young Trick or Treaters Everywhere,

Here are some things that you may not know about Halloween.

1 All the decorations in people’s yards are fake (like tombstones, skeletons, ghosts, and spiders) so there is no need to get scared by them. And those creepy guys who dress up at places like Kings Dominion are, like I said, just people in costumes.

2 If you’re two to four years old, wear the cute stuff like Care Bears, or Elsa. You will get tons of candy; the adults will say, “Aw (s)he is so cute!” You will still rake in a lot a lot of candy even as four year old storm trooper, but you can’t beat cuteness!

3 Word to the wise, if you don’t want to lose a lot of your candy because the handle to the pumpkin that you carried all night gets broken...

A. Don’t stay out trick or treating super late, so late that the candy in your pumpkin is too heavy.


B. Use a pillow case or cloth bag!!! (What was written up above is TRUE! It happened to me!).

4 If you have a mom who only lets you keep 15 pieces of your Halloween candy, eat some on the walk, not enough so that your mom notices but enough so that you feel like you got a good haul, not 15 measly pieces.

5 Also, if you have a sibling, trade the candy you don’t like (for me that means anything with tree nuts and Reese’s Pieces). Younger siblings are preferable; because the older ones will try to cheat you out of the good candy just like you would do to your younger sibling.

When trading, make the little sibling feel like they got a good deal. Say they have a King-sized Twix and you have 4 small ones. The King-sized are (let’s just say) made up of 5 normal sized Twix, so give your, preferably younger, sibling the four small ones and get the big one from them. Hopefully they will think it is an even trade.

(Now some of you may think that’s mean. It is; the only reason I’m putting it in is because it happened to ME! One year my sister gave a King-sized candy bar for 5 normal sized ones). But I learned. I’ll never be fooled like that again!

If you have allergies don’t just dive in and shove your face in the candy, read the ingredients, or ask a grown up to read them for you...or a happy night could end badly. I’ve never had this happen, but since I have a tree nut allergy, I have to be careful, too.

Happy trick-or-treating!

I’m a 6th grader in Stafford County. When I’m not in school, I enjoy reading, biking, playing ping-pong, hiking and jumping off cliffs (into pools of water). I also enjoy writing and have been writing short stories since I was four.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Queen of Katwe - A Movie Review

Queen of Katwe 2

Queen of Katwe is the inspiring true story of a girl named Phiona Mutesi as she becomes a chess legend. There were times in the movie where I didn’t completely understand what was being said due to the character’s accents, but I still enjoyed it.

Phiona lives in Katwe, an area of crime and slums in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, in Africa. She lives with her younger brother Brian Mugabi, a baby brother, an older sister, and their widowed mother Nakku Harriet. Phiona has to sell corn, or “maize” as they call it, to help pay for food and rent. Phiona finds a chess club for other kids in the slums while out following Brian one day and she is teased for her smell. She had given up all hope and wasn’t taking care of herself, as shown by her personal hygiene. She fights back and the organizer of the club or “coach” as the kids call him, Robert Katende, is impressed with her fiery attitude and invites her to join. To find out the rest, watch the movie. You didn’t think I would tell you details about the whole movie, did you? Muhahaha.

I applaud the movie and I thought it was very inspiring. It does however deal with some topics that might be a little too mature for younger audiences. For example, *SPOILERS BEGIN* Brian is hit by a motorcycle and has to go to the hospital. The hospital has no pain medication and they have to stitch him up without it. The actual stitches aren’t shown, but Brian cries in a way that would be scary for younger children to witness. There are also a couple of scenes that hint at sexual activities. *SPOILERS END* I suggest that parents watch this movie before their kids do to see if they think it is appropriate.

It wasn’t all dark though. There were many heartwarming and joyful scenes that were very pleasant and amusing to watch. The music was very fitting and mirrored the mood and tone of each scene nicely. Warning; if you are emotional you will cry. I only cried a little bit, but my mom cried throughout the whole thing. I thought that, overall, this was a great movie and I highly recommend it. I felt that the only thing lacking was a bigger bag of popcorn, Mom.

About Gabrielle: I am a 9th grader in King George County. When I’m not at school I’m plugged into my phone and hiding from the world.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Nine Super Fun Things To Do At Belvedere

Hi I am Emily Kilmartin. I am 8 years old and a third grader. I go to Battlefield Elementary School. I am going to review Belvedere. Belvedere is a fall festival.

The first thing I need to tell you about is the jumping pillow! The jumping pillow is something colorful and very big. Even though it is very fun you need to be very careful because one time I was jumping on it and then I bumped heads with someone and it really hurt. Watch where you’re jumping!


2Next there are the pedal cars. There are big kid pedal cars and little kid pedal cars. The little kid pedal cars are very easy. There is no downhill or uphill. I think older people should be allowed to do the little kid pedal cars because the big kid pedal cars are very hard to go uphill. I am now old enough to go on the older kid pedal cars so I tried them. I was nervous because my mom and my older brother Daniel told me that it was hard to get up the hill. I watched other people do it and one of them got stuck on the uphill. Then it was my turn. I was going pretty fast at first. Then it got hard to pedal as I was going uphill. I finally got uphill! I think it’s too hard to go uphill if you just started to do big kid pedal cars.


3The next thing is the Fun Barn. There are rope swings in the hay barn. There aren’t as many rope swings as there were last year when I came, but it is still fun.


4One thing I love to do is play in the huge pile of uncooked corn kernels. There is a lot of corn and they feel really weird and good. Be careful not to get corn in your mouth or in your ear. Daniel got some in his ear the last time he was at the farm and it was NOT fun (though it did come out with tweezers, whew!).

corn kernals


5There are also blue and green zip lines. If you stand up next to the measuring bar and you are tall enough, you can go to a blue zip line, if you are too short, then you go to a green zip line. I think they should raise the height requirement for blue. One time I saw a little kid on the blue zip line and he was too short to grab it and got stuck and dangled from the zip line until a worker had to help him.


6There are animals you can pet in front of the pig races. Make sure to bring a quarter so you can feed them.


7I also love the pig races. The pig races are really fun to watch. The trick to get picked as a Pig Pal is to go in the least crowded section and to yell the loudest. If you are a Pig Pal and your pig wins then you get a plastic pig nose.


8Another thing that is pretty fun is the mazes. There are levels one, two, and three. The mazes can get really hard but they are still fun. Don’t try the mazes when it is really hot!

corn maze


9The last thing is the hay ride. You can get pumpkins from the hay ride. Make sure to get the pumpkins last so you are not carrying pumpkins around all day.

As you can see, there are a lot of very fun things to do at Belvedere. Some things I did not mention are the slide, scarecrow decorations, bingo, the sports wall, and the bonfires at night. Belvedere is one of the best things to do in the fall!

User Rating: 4 / 5

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Pouches' Community Corner

Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Splash EventMassadYMCA

For the past seven years, Smart Beginnings has thrown the Splash Pool Party fundraiser. This summer, the event will be held on June 24, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA. Tickets range in price from $12 for a single ticket, $20 for couples and $35 for a family/group of four and each ticket also covers a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink.