Monday, December 15, 2014

Healthy Together Pittsburgh

I am partnering with Allies for Children and Moms Rising to promote the Healthy Together campaign, which aims to cover 100 percent of children and youth in the City of Pittsburgh with quality, affordable health insurance. This is a sponsored post, however all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Health coverage is a major part of our lives and, in America, it has changed drastically for many of us in the past few years. When you have children, the last thing you want to think about is whether you can afford to take your child to the doctor. I will never forget moving to Pittsburgh and PA for the first time with an infant and finding out about CHIP. Even though my husband's job offered insurance, we were still able to take advantage of this fantastic resource available to kids in PA. Another reason I am so grateful for the coverage afforded to kids in Pittsburgh is because of my role as a foster mom. Children that enter the foster system are automatically enrolled in health care. This is an immediate burden lifted off the foster families shoulders. Many of these kids haven't had regular well visits or been seen at the doctor when they should have been, and so getting them into good health care immediately is extremely vital.  Even if you think your income is above the requirements, it's still worth checking into. There are varying levels of CHIP, some are completely free, if you have higher income you may have to pay some out of pocket costs. But there is a good chance it is still much cheaper than a company's insurance plan.

I recently had a chance to learn more about the Healthy Together initiative at a gathering at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. It was wonderful to learn about the many ways that kids are going to benefit from this resource. 

There are currently 2,000 uninsured children in the Pittsburgh area, but many are working hard to drastically change that statistic. The Office of Mayor William Peduto is partnering with Allies for Children, the Consumer Health Coalition, the Allegheny County Health Department and other child-serving organizations to implement the Healthy Together campaign. Healthy Together will be implementing strategies to make ensure that families are aware of the health insurance resources available to their children. They will be holding enrollment activities in various neighborhoods, working with the above noted organizations to connect with these families, as well as work with Pittsburgh Public Schools to identify uninsured students and connect families to enrollment activities.

Want to attend an enrollment event or learn more about this initiative? Check the Healthy Together website by logging onto Need health insurance? Dial   2-1-1 to be connected to the Consumer Health Coalition. They will provide assistance at no cost. 

Watch this video for more info: 

I'm grateful to those who are working hard to ensure all kids have health insurance. If you think this might be a benefit to your family, don't hesitate to learn more about the options available for your kids!


Facebook: Healthy Together Twitter:
Facebook: Allies for Children Twitter:
Facebook: Consumer Health Coalition Twitter:
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kennywood Holiday Lights ticket giveaway

My family was invited to visit Kennywood for our first experience at the Holiday Lights. What a cool experience! I have never been to an amusement park in the winter and it was decked out in full holiday spirit! We loved the festive atmosphere with so many Christmas lights and the Christmas music playing throughout the park was enough to  put everyone in a jolly mood.

Holiday Lights is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from November 28 – December 21, 2014. Hours are 5 – 9pm.

Admission at the Gate: $16.99 (+ $1 amusement tax). Save $2.00 at Giant Eagle or Purchase online for $14.99  ($1.25 processing fee & $1 amusement tax). Kids 2 and under are FREE! Parking is also free in the Kennywood lot. 

There are over 1 million sparkling lights as well as fun, festive opportunities to decorate cookies, ride the Gingerbread Express, visit Santa, and hear choirs singing throughout the park. You'll find hot chocolate and apple cider added to refreshment stands to help you warm up!

Rides in the main park are open on a limited basis, the carousel is open. Kiddieland has up to 8 rides open which kept my kids plenty busy. This is hands down all 4 of my kid's favorite ride! :)

Your kids might also enjoy a special opportunity to have dinner with Santa! Dinner reservations can be made for Dec. 13, 14 or 20. Dinner is an all-you-can-eat buffet from 3:30-4:30 pm with a visit from Santa from 4-4:45 pm. After that you're welcome to enjoy the evening at the Festival of Lights.
 $26.99 / adults. $23.99 / ages 3-12. Kids 2 and under are free. Space is limited and reservations are required here

You might run into a few fun characters on your visit!

Don't miss the Lagoon where the reflections are gorgeous! The fantastic light show at the Lagoon runs every 30 minutes and is choreographed to some of our favorite Christmas songs. 
Show times: 5:30 pm, 6:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00pm, 8:30 pm. Shows last 10 minutes 

I have the chance to share with you a chance to enjoy the Kennywood Holiday Lights with your family! 
One lucky winner will win 4 tickets for the day of your choice. 
Your tickets will be held at Guest Relations under will call. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Kennywood, for being a great Pittsburgh holiday tradition!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

In review: Minted

We received our Christmas cards and loved trying out Minted cards for the first time! I also decided to try another new thing this year: postcards. If you are looking to save a little money on both cards and postage, postcards are a great option! You can have a personal message included on the back as well.  Now my biggest challenge is to get them addressed and sent out before Christmas actually passes. :)
I love the quality of Minted, the cards are on wonderful, thick paper. AND they do include FREE addressing on envelopes - what a deal that is! (Postcards aren't included in the free addressing option.)
Being a blogger and playdate coordinator, I am always on the lookout for great business or "mommy cards". Ohhhh, do I love the selection from Minted! Love the option of a square shape, their lovely modern designs, and that they come with a great little carrier box. (I'm also notorious for pulling a bent one out of a bag. :)

Still in need of Christmas cards? Through 12/9,  take advantage of 15% off + free shipping on holiday cards. Code: JOLLY15FS.

Minted provided me with holiday cards. Review contains my own opinions.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Giveaway: Tickets for the Harlem Globetrotters

My 5yo son has spent much of the last 6 months asking when the Globetrotters will be back! This is one of his favorite shows of the year and it is finally almost here! The Globetrotters always put on a fantastic family-friendly show that is engaging and fun for the audience. And those mascots? Killer!

CONSOL Energy Center
December 26
1:00pm and 6:00pm
Tickets at and 1-800-745-3000.

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters come to town with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family – creating memories that will last a lifetime.

The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year, as the infamous Washington Generals are more determined than ever to beat the Globetrotters.  The Generals, the last team to beat the Globetrotters, are now coached by a former member of that 1971 team.  They are on a mission and will do whatever it takes to win, with a new strategy that’s sure to give the Globetrotters a run for their money.

I love how they interact with the audience!

Tickets would make a great Christmas gift for kids! 

FIVE lucky families will each win 4 tickets for the show - which makes great day after Christmas family fun! 
You will receive vouchers that you can exchange at the CONSOL Box Office for either the 1pm or 6pm show on Dec. 26.  You will 24 hours to confirm your win or a new winner will be chosen. 

Go here to enter: 

I was given tickets for my family in exchange for the promotion. All opinions remain my own. Photos used by permission of the Harlem Globetrotters. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Events at Fifth Avenue Place

We love taking our family Downtown and Fifth Avenue Place is a great family holiday destination! It's inside, has a food court and restrooms, and lots of Christmas fun to offer, what's not to love? :) Add to the excitement and take the T to Downtown with a drop-off in close proximity to Fifth Ave.

Creation Stations - FREE Family Fun with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Saturday, December 6
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Frozen In Time
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will help your kids freeze favorite memories with time capsules.  Snap a photo with your favorite holiday snowman.  Be amazed as Chris Handa brings the magic of the holidays to life!  Then showcase your very own magic by creating a water color masterpiece.

Saturday, December 13
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. It’s A Frozen Wonderland
Freeze frame and strike a holiday pose for a fun keepsake photo or caricature.  Create a frozen favorite – Ice Cream! – with the Carnegie Science Center.  And join cheerful elves from The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh making reindeer crowns.

Saturday, December 20
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Frozen Life
Snowmen and snowflakes take center stage.  Join The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh designing these frosty treasures.  And visit with their cheerful elves for balloon art and holiday face painting.

FREE Fifth Avenue Place Holly Trolley 
Every Saturday through December 20 / 11 a.m. – 5 p.m
Discover all the sights and sounds of the holiday season in downtown Pittsburgh aboard the FREE Fifth Avenue Place Holly Trolley.  Hosted by Santa’s little helpers, trolleys circle downtown each weekend picking up at stops approximately every 15 minutes. Visit for a listing of all trolley stops.  
Friday, November 28 – Tuesday, December 23 

Monday – Friday Holiday Lunchtime Concerts, 12 p.m
Daily  Live musical performances from some of Pittsburgh’s favorite artists bring the sounds of the season to life during the always entertaining Lunchtime Concert Series.

Friday, December 5 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

Come meet Josh Miller and Shawn Allen, authors of the new book, “Always a Home Game” which chronicles the black and gold nation all over the country.  Pick up a copy and have it personalized during their appearance at Welcome Pittsburgh.

Thursday, December 10 & Friday, December 19 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Jim O’Brien Book Signing He's back!  Pittsburgh sports author and historian, Jim O'Brien returns to Fifth Avenue Place.  He will be in Center Court December 10 and December 19 autographing all of your sports collection favorites.  

Thursday, December 11 – Saturday, December 13 11 a.m. – Close 

Gift Certificate BONUS Days Only a few shopping days left!  Find the perfect gift at Fifth Avenue Place and earn a FREE Fifth Avenue Place Gift Certificate with qualifying retail purchases.  Redeem receipts from 11 a.m. – close in Center Court.  
Receipt Total  Receive
$25-$49.99  $5 Gift Certificate
$50-$99.99  $10 Gift Certificate
$100+   $25 Gift Certificate

Wednesday, December 10 – Friday, December 12 10:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.  
Glass Eye Studio Trunk Show & Sale at Crystal River Gems The much anticipated holiday sale returns. Stop by Fifth Avenue Place Wednesday, December 10 - Friday, December 12 and explore the world of glass art – from ornaments and paperweights to vases and bowls.  Crystal River Gems will be selling a variety of hand-crafted gift items exclusively from Glass Eye Studio.

Friday, December 12 & Monday-Tuesday, December 15- 16 6 – 9 a.m.
Make-A-Wish & Wish 99.7 FM Light Up A Child’s Life Campaign Help make a child’s wish come true this holiday season!  Stop by Fifth Avenue Place for the annual Make-A-Wish fundraiser with WISH Radio.  Ron Antill and representatives from Make-A-Wish will be broadcasting live from 6 – 9 a.m. in Center Court, collecting donations and raising awareness for Make-A-Wish.

 Friday, November 28 – Monday Wednesday, December 24 After 4 p.m.
Weekdays Holiday Parking Validation All Day Saturdays  Enjoy FREE Parking with any $20 Fifth Avenue Place retail purchase in the Fifth Avenue Place Garage on Evenings (enter after 4pm) and Weekends.

120 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15222


This post sponsored by Fifth Avenue Place. All opinions remains my own.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Shop local kid's stores this holiday season

I used to enjoy the fun and excitement of going to stand in line at 6am on Black Friday for some cool deals. But when it became 3am, then midnight, and now Thanksgiving, I pretty much checked out of any shopping at big chain stores on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Consumerism has become such a priority in our country, that people have even been trampled in the process. It’s a mess and not one that I want to have a part in. So this year, I decided it would be fun to team up with some of the top local small businesses that only sell kid’s items and promote their love for kids, great products, and building a strong community here in Pittsburgh. I have been to each of these stores and they are fantastic, not only in their creative product lines, but in cleanliness and wonderful customer service. We all know that small businesses usually come out on top in the customer service departments, and these stores are no exception! Every single one of these stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day as they will be home celebrating with their families. But come Black Friday & Small Business Saturday, they have some amazing deals set to launch and are ready for YOU! So as you start checking off your gift list, please make these local Pittsburgh stores a must-stop for any kids on your list!

Snapology (1699 Washington Road / Bethel Park, opened in 2010) 
Snapology offers creative play great for kids of all ages and includes Lego® Building Station, Lego® Minecraft® Station, Lego® Slot Car Racing, Giant Soft Blocks®, Zoobs®, Lego® Duplo® Blocks + much more! They also offer birthday parties, classes, camps, workshops, parent’s nights out, scouting events, field trips, playdates and special events in their Discovery Center in Bethel Park as well as in schools, recreation centers, libraries and other facilities in North, South, East and West Pittsburgh. Their programs focus on educational play using Lego bricks and other building toys.  They also have some retail building sets for sale at their Discovery Center. Their most popular classes, camps and birthday party themes are Lego Minecraft, Lego Animation, Lego Robotics and Lego Superheroes.  Their most popular building sets are sports-themed OYO sets and mini-figures.
Black Friday Specials: offering creative play as well as both half-day and full-day camps on Black Friday.  Drop the kids off (ages 5+) and get some serious shopping done. How cool is that?!
Small Business Saturday specials: 10% off all building sets.  BOGO creative play [Pay for one hour of Lego Lab, get the second hour free…per child.] A great deal for a lot of fun!

Learning Express of Robinson (290 Settlers Ridge Center Drive, opened November 2009)
Learning Express of Bakery Square (172 Bakery Square Blvd., opened November 2010)

(Please note: there are other Learning Express stores, but they will not have the same products/specials as these listed.)
The Learning Express product mix is carefully selected from manufacturers around the world that produce toys with exceptional play value. Among these distinguished affiliates are Alex, American Girl, Blue Orange, Calico Critters, Choon’s Design LLC / Rainbow Loom, Cloud B, Creativity for Kids, International Playthings, Klutz, Learning Resources, LEGO, Mattel, Melissa & Doug, Playmobil, Schylling, Scientific Explorer, Small World Toys, Sticky Mosaics, ThinkFun, Three Cheers for Girls, Toysmith, Ty, and Workman Publishing. “We are really excited about a lot of great new products on our shelves this year. Some of our hottest toys are a throwback to toys from our own childhood; Simon, Lite Brite, Booby Trap, Spirograph and Fashion Plates. Of course we have the classic favorites too; Lego, Calico Critters, Elf on the Shelf, and Magnatiles. And we will also be featuring a lot of great promotions and special prices throughout the season!”
Black Friday Specials: 20% OFF Storewide Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Early Bird Special - Extra 10% OFF on Friday from 6AM-9AM! $5 in Bonus Bucks for every $50 spent.
Small Business Saturday specials: customers will be eligible for the
$10 credit through AMEX when they shop on Saturday and the storewide sale of 20% off will continue through the weekend!
We also have Complimentary Gift Wrapping, Free Personalization, and Expert Gift Advice! 

Kidz & Company (5815 Forbes Avenue/Squirrel Hill, opened in 2012)
Kidz & Company specializes in carrying fun, unique children's clothing, toys, gifts, and activities, for newborns - Size 12 for girls / Size 10 for boys.  They will begin carrying size 14’s for girls starting this spring. Some of their current best-selling products for girls includes their collection from Mayoral, Lemon Loves Lime, and Biscotti. For boys, Kapital K and Bitz Kids have been very popular. Some of their most popular toys are anything from Hape Toys as well as activities and puzzles from Djeco.
Black Friday Specials: We will be kicking off our sale season in general, and always pick things to mark down more significantly!
Small Business Saturday specials: Our Black Friday Specials will carry on into Small Business Saturday assuming they're still available.  If we actually sell out of everything we had put on special, we'll make new specials!

E2 Toys to Try (426 James Street/Bridgeville, opened six years ago)  
E2 is a wonderful indoor playspace combined with a unique toy store. Owner Meredyth has a background in Speech, Language Pathology and Early Intervention with an emphasis on Social Communication so their toys are geared toward enhancing social communication. They choose toys that encourage cognitive development and social play over toys that do the work of play for kids. E2 has made the indoor picnic space larger during the cold months. They've also added a new morning tot-time from 9-10am which is a special play time for kids 3 and under. E2 has created a special time for younger kids, who can sometimes feel intimidated by older ones, to really use and explore the playground. During this time the bubble machine will be turned on, there will be younger-themed art activities and a parachute is available as well!  Cost is $5.00 (kids can stay and play after that too).
One of their best-selling toys is the Name Train line. Meredyth says, I love Name Trains because they teach reading in a social way. You can make up all kinds of adventures for the train to find the missing letter to turn "at" into "cat" or "in" into "win". Teaching reading in a social way makes it more fun and actually helps kids remember better because it uses more of their brain to process the language associated with reading. They also make great stocking suffers! :)Their Ravensburger puzzles and Haba teethers are also very popular.
Black Friday Specials: spend $40.00 or more and you’ll get a pass for a free playground entry (good anytime). Don't have kids of your own? Can be given as a gift!
Small Business Saturday Specials: spend $40.00 or more and you’ll get a pass for a free playground entry (good anytime).
Play passes for the indoor playspace make great gifts for kids!!

Happy Baby Company (558 Lincoln Avenue/Bellevue, opened 5 years ago.)

Happy Baby Company carries a wide range of natural parenting products. Cloth diapers and accessories, baby carriers of all kinds, amber teething necklaces and lots of great teethers, extended rear facing car seats, body care products for baby and mom, eco-friendly and wooden toys, a small bit of furniture and clothing, blankets & bibs, and much more! The current owners first started a diaper service, Green Cheeks, about 4 years ago, and took over Happy Baby about a year and a half ago, when the store moved to Bellevue. Owner Judy says, We have been selling a lot of Munchie Mugs lately, which are wonderful snack cups for toddlers.  Sakura Bloom ring slings (for wearing your baby) have also been selling quickly, as have many of our toys and teethers.  Amber teething necklaces are always a big seller as well.
Black Friday Specials:  They are still in the works, but we always have great specials online and in store.  We'll have some fantastic gifts with purchase at different levels, and we'll definitely have some in store only specials as well. They'll all be announced on our facebook page as soon as we have them finalized.

Small Business Saturday specials: Many Black Friday specials will carry through the weekend, but there will also be an in store giveaway and a few extra specials for Saturday, so stop by! Judy says, We really appreciate the community coming out to support us on SBS and throughout the year.  We love our loyal customers! :-)

Love these great stores and that each of them are run by hard-working moms & dads right here in Pittsburgh.  I hope you'll be able to stock up on some great gifts from their stores this Christmas season! If you are an American Express cardholder, be sure to register your card online here and on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, Spend $10+, Get $10 Back. Up to 3X!! 

Happy Shopping!

This post sponsored in part by each of the stores listed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2 family events for Pittsburgh Light Up Night

There are many options for fun on Pittsburgh's Light Up Night, which will be this Friday, November 21. You can view the full Downtown schedule here. But I wanted to showcase 2 great family-focused events this Friday:

Winter Wonderland at the West End Overlook, Friday, 11/21, 7-10 p.m.
  • Santa arrives with police or fire truck escort
  • Photos and visit with Santa
  • Raffle
  • Candy cane limbo!
  • Food and hot cocoa for sale
  • Music: Pittsburgh Musical Theatre performance
  • Where: At the Overlook Lot, 601 Fairview Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15220
  • Bonus: Awesome view of the city and you'll be able to see the Downtown fireworks as well!
Photo credit: Cris Mooney / Elliott Community Group
This family event will take place at Station Square and will be extra fun for all those Frozen fans out there!