Sunday, August 31, 2014

Top 5 / September 1-6

September? Well, hello!
This time of year, many people seem to be crying "pumpkin spice lattes, jeans, boots, & scarves (and I love all those things). But my mind also tends to drift to "no more flip flops, the jacket battles are coming, we'll be stuck in the house, help!" :) So we will squeeze in all the outdoor fun we can while we still have these warm days.
 
Here is my Top 5 list for the week - most of these family-friendly venues are open every day which make it flexible for scheduling day, evening or weekend visits!


Park of the Week: North Park's Black & Yellow Playground. Located next to the North Park Community Pool, it has 3 playgrounds, with the Black & Yellow one being the largest one.  It has new updated equipment which includes an assortment of swings, slides, ladders and tunnels that are also suited for children with disabilities. Located at Hemlock Dr., McCandless Township, PA 15101.
 
Library FunFor the month of September, the West End & East Liberty Carnegie Libraries are starting (free) Family Playshops. It combines play, early childhood education, parent support, and innovative library services in an exciting program for children 6 months - 4 years old. Space is limited and you must register ahead of time. More info on dates & times here.
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Playdate: Join the Pgh Momtourage at E2 Toys to Try this Thursday!  There is an indoor & outdoor playspace and lots of fun for kids of all ages! Bring your lunch and we'll eat at the outdoor picnic area.  More details and RSVP here. 
 
Beat the Heat: The Carnegie Science Center has a new fantastic indoor exhibit called BLUE! and it is one of my favorites! It's an immersive, hands-on exhibit featuring molded foam blocks of all shapes and sizes. It encourages lots of imagination in kids and kept my kiddos occupied for a long time. Now is also the perfect time to hit the museums between kids going back to school and not as many field trips at the beginning of school. :)

Family Fun: If you've never been to Living Treasures Wild Animal Park, this is a great time of year to go! There are 2 locations - Moraine & Laurel Highlands. LT is an amazing interactive zoo where you can get closer to animals than you can at most other zoos.You can purchase food on-site to feed to the animals where it is allowed.  Feed the giraffes from the palm of your hand, ride a pony or camel, hold a baby kangaroo, and reach out and touch wildlife! My only downer about these parks is that the paths are gravel, so they aren't great with strollers that don't have the jogging stroller-type wheels. But definitely worth the trip!

 Enjoy fun in Pittsburgh this week!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Join the Momtourage at the Pineapple Classic!

If you're like me, running for long distances for the fun of it aren't my favorite. So when I do races, I've loved finding ones that add some extra fun in such as Color Me Rad or Foamfest. This year I was excited when the organizers of the Pineapple Classic 5k contacted me about their event. It definitely sounds like our family's fun race for this summer! 

Pineapple Classic 5k Obstacle Race
& Children's Obstacle Course
 
I have one more code for 50% off registration if you would like to join our team of 4! We've already established that we are not the world's fastest runners :), so don't feel like you have to be super-athlete to join us! Email me at pghmoms@live.com if you would like to receive the code (first come, first served.)

Saturday, September 20th, 2014
Hartwood Acres | 9:00 am
The Pineapple Classic 5k obstacle course race is a fun and challenging Hawaiian-themed event. Participants will be crawling, climbing, bouncing and bending to raise funds for blood cancer research and patient services. Each team is responsible for carrying one pineapple through the course without letting it touch the ground. Upon crossing the finish line, participants and sponsors are invited to enjoy a luau complete with Hawaiian food, drinks and steel drums!
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And I love that there is a children's event as well! Kids ages 2 - 11 years old can join the fun at the Children's Obstacle Course! For a $10 donation, each child will receive a wrist band; which will allow him/her to go through the course as many times as desired and eat at the luau. Children will NOT be assigned start times; all children will go through the course on a first come, first serve basis. 
The Children's Obstacle Course will be less than one mile long. The obstacles include: climbing through tires, jumping hurdles, sliding down a slide, crawling through a tunnel, etc. Just like the 5k race, each participant will have to carry a pineapple! (This time its a tissue pineapple) After completing the course, each child is permitted to select ONE of the available giveaway items.  Go here to register your kids!
There will also be an inflatable bounce unit (separate from the obstacle course) for all kids. 


THE CAUSE:
Each team that registers online will receive a Team Fund-raising page that can be customized and emailed to friends, family, co-workers, etc. In addition, each participant that registers online will also receive a personal fund-raising page that can be customized and emailed to request online donations toward your fund-raising goal. You do NOT have to fund raise in order to participate. 
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. Founded in 1949, we are relentless in pursuit of our mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. As a non-profit, we rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations. Major annual fundraising campaigns include Team In Training, Light The Night Walk, School & Youth Programs and Man & Woman of the Year Campaigns. Special events such as the Pineapple Classic 5k are newer events that are gaining momentum around the country to support our mission. 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fruit Shoot #StuntHunt

This article is sponsored and financially supported by Fruit Shoot.
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Robinson's Fruit Shoot is a kid's drink-on-the-go. It has 10% real fruit juice from concentrate, no high-fructose corn syrup, and is available in regular or no sugar added. An easy, no-spill sports-capped bottle makes it a good option for kids! I am a stickler on not giving my kids food/drink with artificial dyes, so I was very happy to find that Fruit Shoot does not have them! Available in Orange, Strawberry Raspberry, Berry Burst & Apple. See locations to purchase it here.
 
It currently has a great campaign going on which encourages kids to be creative, active & have fun!
Welcome to the Fruit Shoot / Have a Ball Stunt Hunt      
Fruit Shoot is looking to families across the U.S. to share videos of your kids doing amazingly active stunts. Here's the trick: Your submission has to feature a Fruit Shoot bottle and a ball of your choice. The best of your videos will get the Hollywood treatment with special effects added to bring your kids' imagination to life!

My kids loved the idea of creating a video! My 3yo decided to carefully put all the bottles set up in the middle. Let your kids have fun with it! Thanks to my hubby for his fun editing skills. :)
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You'll instantly receive a coupon for a free bottle of Fruit Shoot just for registering! Need a cool ball to shoot your video with? Any time you buy 6 bottles of Fruit Shoot in-store, you can send away for a FREE Waboba ball, the ball that bounces on water!
So grab your phone/camera, and show them what you can do. You can shoot and enter all on your smartphone!
Submit your entry here.
You can submit entries through Wednesday, September 10th.

My kids also loved seeing some of the other videos that have been entered in the contest. You can view those here.
And while you're there, you can give the Pgh Momtourage video a big 'ole LIKE! :)

#FruitShoot #StuntHunt
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Thanks to Fruit Shoot for sponsoring today's discussion!

Monday, August 25, 2014

6 Great Schools to Move Near in Pittsburgh

Today we have a guest post, sponsored by Zillow.com, that shares some helpful info about local schools!
 
6 Great Schools to Move Near in Pittsburgh
By Emily Creswick of Zillow
Pittsburgh may be the perfect city to raise a family. The economy is steady, job opportunities are abundant and crime rates are low. Pittsburgh also offers a unique mix of family-friendly neighborhoods, close to highly-recommended elementary and high schools. 
Review these six premier educational facilities within the Pittsburgh School District. They’ve been recognized by GreatSchools.com for impressive test scores, high parental ratings and optimal teacher-to-student ratios.
 
Elementary Schools

Crafton Elementary School
Crafton Elementary is a public school suitable for kindergarteners through 6th graders. It is located five miles northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. Crafton Elementary School has a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 and is located five miles southwest of downtown. Crafton is a charming town with many beautiful & affordable homes and has easy access to Downtown & Robinson Township!

Highcliff Elementary School
Highcliff Elementary is a public school suitable for kindergarteners through to 6th graders. The school has a GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10 and teaches 524 students. Highcliff Elementary is located in West View, less than 9 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh. West View is a part of the Ross Township where the median home price is $137,500 and rent $1,403. Public transport offers convenient buses to downtown every 20 and 30 minutes. Additionally, the neighborhood is close by to convenient retailers and amenities including Sam’s Club and the Shannopin Country Club.

Lincoln Elementary School
Lincoln Elementary is a public school for children starting in kindergarten to 5th grade. The school has an impressive 10/10 great school with 413 students and 14:1 student to teacher ratio. Lincoln Elementary has a technology emphasis, providing students with the solid foundations allowing them to succeed in technology programs in highschool and further education. The school is located in South Hills, close by to the affluent family friendly neighborhood of Mount Lebanon where the median home value is $240,000 and rent $1,899. This neighborhood is known for its 14 highly rated primary and secondary schools with GreatSchool ratings of 9 or higher.

High Schools

Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12
Pittsburgh CAPA is a Creative and Performing Arts high school for children in grades 6 to 12. Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, the school aims to nurture student’s creativity through a special curriculum of dance, music, literary arts, production technology and visual art. The school services 877 students and boasts an impressive GreatSchools rating of 9 out of 10. Homes available in downtown Pittsburgh include a mix of apartments and condos. Families living downtown enjoy the spoils of the fruitful Pittsburgh cultural scene and the scenic Allegheny River. For close by residential living, look in the northern neighborhood of Perry South with an affordable median home value of $59,700 and monthly rent of $800. 

City Charter High School
City Charter High school has a solid GreatSchools rating of 8 out of 10 with an impressive 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio. The 574 students enjoy a technology-focused curriculum fostering solid foundations for college education or higher training. The school is conveniently located in Gateway Centre Park in downtown Pittsburgh and is easily accessible by public transportation from the surrounding neighborhoods. Located a convenient five miles northeast of the school is the family neighborhood of Shadyside. This neighborhood, conveniently located near grocery stores including Whole Foods and Trader Joes, has a median home value of $285,600 and monthly rent of $2,044. Shadyside is also home to elementary schools Pittsburgh Obama 6-12 (GreatSchools rating of 6) and Pittsburgh Liberty K-5 (GreatSchools rating of 5).

Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy
Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy is a public high school teaching grades 6 to 12. The school is located in Oakland, four miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. The academy, which has a GreatSchools rating of 7 out of 10, teaches 358 students. The curriculum is tailored for children passionate about science, technology, engineering and math. Oakland is the ideal neighborhood to raise an academically-minded family. The neighborhood is home to prestigious universities, museums and impressive architecture. Schenley Park is also close, which is perfect for family visits on weekends. Oakland has a mix of single-family homes and condos. The median home value is $102,300 and rent is $1,289. 
 
Before buying a new home or signing a lease, take a tour of preferred schools in the neighborhood and visit local business areas to determine suitability for the family. Commute time is another major determining factor for those searching for homes in Pittsburgh. Investigate the local public transportation options and complete commutes during peak hours before purchasing properties.
 
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Zillow.com was a huge help to us in our recent home search! Whether you're looking to buy, rent, or just checking out details for a house you love (and dream of buying!), it's an easy one-stop shop. Find pictures, price, history, & taxes, as well as neighborhood & school district details + more!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pittsburgh's Hidden Water Park!

Back in January, I saw a picture of this waterpark & posted it on our facebook page. Judging by the 1,200+ shares, there was a lot of interest in this venue! But we ran into a small problem....very few of us could figure out where this venue was located or what it was called. We couldn't find a website and very little info online about it. But I was recently dropping my son off at a summer camp and when I pulled into the parking lot, BINGO, this gem was before my eyes. I was so excited to accidentally find it! :)
I was able to track down their marketing supervisor who was more than kind in showing me around the facility, telling me about the waterpark, and sharing passes for my family to check it out.
Here's what I found out:
1551 Mayview Road Upper St.Clair, Pennsylvania 15241 
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My family loved spending the day here, my kids had a wonderful time!
The Outdoor Aquatics Area hosts 6,000 sq. ft. of water with zero depth entry, interactive water structure and gadgets including a 60,000 gallon bucket which teeters over and splashes over the crowd, tot and teen slides, lily pads, handicap lift and three lane leisure pool with underwater benches. Surrounding the aquatics area are lounge chairs, a grassy lawn, covered pavilions where members and guests picnic, vending machines and separate outdoor men's/women's locker rooms and family changing rooms. 

And when kids are looking for a change of scenery or waiting out the hourly 10 minute water break, having this sandy beach area is ideal!
Although the outdoor water area is only open through Labor Day, the exciting news is the indoor waterpark is open year round!
The Indoor Aquatics Center hosts an interactive water structure and gadgets, slides, tots area, handicap lift, four lane lap pool and large whirlpool.
Zero depth entry makes it ideal for little ones!
 
If you are also looking for a fitness center, the Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park has it all!
The center's first floor offers a large community gathering area, two group exercise studios, children's playroom (babysitting), two poolside party rooms in addition to a 3,600 sq. ft. community room, men's/women's locker rooms, family changing rooms and two full size gymnasiums. The large gymnasium can be subdivided and used for numerous recreation programs for all ages such as volleyball, basketball, pickleball, after school programs, boot camp, summer camps, teen events, and many others.
The second floor contains a state of the art fitness area with Hammer Strength, Life Fitness and Expresso exercise equipment. The cardio equipment as well as the Expresso Bikes offer individual television/ multi-media screens and virtual trainers with an abundance of course and work out options. The low impact floor 1/8 mile walking/jogging track overlooks the first floor amenities as well as many outdoor view corridors.
 
Indoor Facility
Mon-Thurs
5:30am - 10pm
Friday
 5:30am - 9pm
Saturday
6:30am - 5pm
Sunday
12pm - 5pm
 
Outdoor Aquatics Facility
Memorial Day - Labor Day
ONE MORE WEEK!
 11am - 7pm
Aquatic and Fitness areas will close 15 minutes prior to building closing.
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Memberships are available for use of this facility year-round, but you can also purchase a daily pass which includes all of their facilities, as well as the water venues, for only $12 a day.
You do not have to be a member to purchase the $12 venue ticket!
If you have questions, contact their Admin Offices.
Monday - Friday
8am - 4pm
 412-221-1099

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Top 5 / August 18 - 23

Looking for something to do in Pittsburgh this week?
My Top 5 list for the week - most of these family-friendly venues are open every day which make it flexible for scheduling day, evening or weekend visits!
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Park of the Week: It's always a good time to check out Pittsburgh's famous Blue Slide Playground. Bring your cardboard box and experience this fun & unique playground! A castle-themed playground occupies the lower level of the playground, ascending to the Blue Slide, and then finally to a climbing structure where kids can see the downtown Pittsburgh skyline. At the corner of Beechwood Boulevard and English Lane, there is free on street parking.
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Family FunIf you're considering eating out this week, try Walnut Grill (Wexford). Monday night is family night and a big screen movie is set up in the banquet room along with other kids activities. Kids also eat free with each purchase of an adult entrĂ©e! You can see our full list of Kid's Eat Free here.
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Water Fun: Join the Pgh Momtourage at Troy Hill Spray Park this Wednesday.  One of our favorites and one of the largest spray parks in Pittsburgh. FREE water fun that kids of all ages can enjoy. We recommend having kids in water shoes/sandals and bringing buckets and water toys to play with in the water. Bonus: there's a playground right next to the spray park! RSVP here. 

Beat the Heat: The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is one of the best kid-friendly destinations around town. This is the perfect time to stop by because throughout the month of August they are running big discounts & deals!! Daily deals include Member Mondays, T-Shirt Tuesdays, Weather Wednesdays, Throwback Thursday,  Costume-Themed Weekends, + more!  See complete details here.
Weekend Fun: The Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival opens this weekend!
10:30 am - 6:30 pm / Rain or Shine / No Pets / FREE PARKING
Opening weekend: "An Adventure to the Past" August 23 & 24 
Join in a celebration of music and dance as they put out the royal welcome mat for King Henry and Queen Katherine’s arrival at the castle. Meet the new cast of villagers, enjoy first-class entertainers and revisit old favorites. See the full line-up of entertainment here. Best of all, take advantage of the “Buy-One-Get-One Free” offer this first weekend only - BOGO tickets ONLY available at participating Wendy’s Restaurants!
*Children's Weekend: "Prince, Princess & Pirate Party" August 30, 31 & September 1 
 Throughout this weekend dedicated to young lads and lasses, children ages 12 and under experience the Festival for FREE with a paying adult. Special activities including the Prince, Princess and Pirate Costume Contest, the Royal Quest, knighting ceremonies and photos with the King and Queen. Also, be sure to enjoy medieval rides and games of skill!
Open each weekend through the end of September (+ Labor Day). You can purchase tickets ahead online for a better deal and they are also available at the best discount at all Walgreens locations. Kids under 5 are free!
 
Enjoy fun in Pittsburgh this week!
 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Play is on sale at the Children's Museum!

Without a doubt, one of the best family gems in our city is the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Whether your kids want to build something, play in the water (I always suggest bringing an extra outfit!), drive trains, explore the garden, do art projects + much more, there is something for everyone from babies to big kids! Some of the many creative, fun, and educational exhibits to explore throughout the Children's Museum include:
Throughout the month of August, they are offering special events & LOTS of discounts! Read on for complete details.
 Play Is On Sale! this Summer at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and you can enjoy Museum admission discounts* and giveaways every day of the week through August 29, 2014. 
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Fantasy Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays)
All Museum visitors dressed in a costume relating to the weekend's theme receive $3 off admission:

 Dress like a Movie Character - August 9-10
 
Dress like an Alien, Monster or Space Hero- August 16-17

Dress like an Animal - August 23-24
 

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Member Mondays
Museum members park free (as space permits) and have a chance to win prizes. Learn the weekly prizes here.

T-Shirt Tuesdays
Free Museum t-shirt to the first 200 children visiting the Museum

Weather Wednesdays
Child admission for children 2 and up is based on that day's forecasted high temperature for Pittsburgh, PA, by the National Weather Service, as forecasted at 5:00 pm the previous day
e.g. 73 degrees = $7 child admission, 87 degrees = $8 child admission, etc.

July 23: 84 degrees = $8 child admission

If purchasing tickets online, use code WEATHER when checking out to receive the discount

Throwback Thursdays
Child admission = $7 - the child admission price in 2004 when we opened the expanded Museum

If purchasing tickets online, use code THROWBACK when checking out to receive the discount

Hot Dog Friday
A free hot dog to the first 500 children visiting the Museum

*Play Is On Sale admission discounts (Weather Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays and Fantasy Weekends) cannot be combined with other admission discounts.
 

 Hours
10:00 am - 5:00 pm Every Day
 Studio and MAKESHOP close at 4:30 pm daily.
 

 Get the latest Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Deal here.
Get more details here! https://pittsburghkids.org/sale