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!
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.
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.
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. 
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

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.

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!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Top 5 / August 11 - 16

Looking for something to do in Pittsburgh?
Here's my Top 5 list for the week of family-friendly venues that are open throughout the week!

Park of the Week: Dormont Playground - a great castle structure that has lots of fun features for kids!  It is also surrounded by beautiful grassy areas and sits around the corner from the great Dormont Pool. Best address to use is 1694 Dormont Ave., Pittsburgh, PA.
Sweet Treats: Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor is an authentic antique 1920's Ice Cream Parlor located in the Strip District.  A destination everyone should check out! Try delicious hand-dipped ice cream cones, old-fashioned sodas or find your favorite in their complete line of old-fashioned candy.
(Photos taken at grand re-opening in 2013)
Water Fun: the North Shore Water Steps are a fun, free water destination! With water ranging from a few inches to about 2 feet deep, it's perfect for babies, toddlers, & big kids! Enjoy a beautiful walk along the North Shore as well, the wide, paved paths are very stroller friendly.  Located along North Shore Drive, you do have to pay for parking in a lot or meter.
Beat the Heat: Jump Zone! has massive inflatable play structures such as obstacle courses, slides and bounce houses.  $5 FRIDAYS - $5.00 ADMISSION PRICE FOR ANY AGE! Kids 2 & under are free. Open Play is 10am-1pm & 5pm-8pm.
*Saturday Family Fun: Check out the (new this year) Swissvale Farmers Market! Locally-sourced, great-quality produce, along with fresh pasta, cheese, chocolate, tea, salsas, baked goods, crafts, food vendors, fresh cut flowers, usually music, and more. 9am-1pm on Saturdays, June through October, located on Church St. in Swissvale. Nominated for Best Farmer's Market of 2014 by Pittsburgh A-List for their annual Best-Of Pittsburgh List!
(Photos courtesy of Swissvale Farmers Market)
Enjoy fun in Pittsburgh this week!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Road Trippin' With Littles

Traveling with kids is not always a picnic, but when your families live 8 & 15 hours away (as ours do), road trips aren't really optional! My hubby & I have always loved traveling, and we continue to do as much as we can, even dragging our posse along with us. :) In December, we did a 35 hour round trip with 4 kids under 4 (2 of whom were foster kids and untested in a long road trip!), in June we did a 23 hour round trip with the same crew, except they were now 5, 3, 2, & 1.
But now I'm facing a new challenge, driving solo on the 30 hour round trip with my 2 kiddos (5 & 3)! So while I know my kids are good travelers, I'm still working ahead to make the trip as seamless as possible. 
A long time ago, I heard a friend mention in passing about making little bags to hand over to your kids each time you enter a new state. I filed it in my brain-stash of "do this sometime" and now, I feel the time is here! While we will have an open basket of toys & books to keep them occupied in the car, getting handed their own little bag of goodies at each state line will definitely be helpful in preserving everyone's sanity. :) Here's what I've been compiling......
First thing I did was hit up Five Below & The Dollar Tree. These bags can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. You don't have to spend much or anything at all. There might be plenty of little gadgets around your house that your kids don't play with often, but sticking it in a goody bag might bring it new life! I spent less than $15 on some new art supplies & trinkets.
Stickers are always a good road trip item for my kids, a notebook & pen, book, toy, & a few snacks. Probably the least exciting bag, but we'll still be pretty fresh into the trip. Saving the "big guns" for later. :)
A fresh notebook, new box of crayons, & stickers.  I thought these binoculars (Melissa & Doug / we already owned them) might be a fun road trip toy!
I will add celery to dip in the peanut butter and we love Trader Joe's organic suckers which don't have any artificial dyes, synthetic chemicals, or artificial sweeteners. I'm not saying they're health food, but a better sweet treat for the road. :)  
 Silly putty - yes! A shared movie to watch together.
 Color by numbers book, dot paint (love that stuff!) and a robot transformer. Seriously, $3 total is sure worth a lot of sanity saving!!
 Modeling clay and a new baby doll will make a happytraveler. :)
And we know that getting there is only half the journey, so I am keeping out some items and will try to re-build the bags for the trip home!
Another idea to include is coupons for screen time (phone, ipad, movie, ect...)
I know that squabbles are inevitable and so that's why I'm also bringing along my handy-dandy timer. (It can also be used to track the coupon for screen time). If there is fighting or whining that is driving me crazy, I'm calling out TIMER TIME!! Timer is set for 5 minutes during which there is NO talking. Usually after 5 minutes, they've forgotten what they're upset about and peace can resume. :) .
Maybe you're not traveling 5 states away, if your drive is 6 hours, you can plan bags to pull out every 2 hours or whatever is adaptable for your get the idea!
Traveling with kids CAN be fun and for sure, the destination is always worth the journey! 
Like these ideas? Feel free to hit the "Pin" or "share on facebook" buttons below!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Everybody needs labels!

It's that time of year again when many of us are getting ready to pack up our little ones and send them out the door for the day. As we HOPE they come with all the belongings we sent along with them! I've discovered the magical uses of super durable peel-and-stick washable labels (washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant) from Label Daddy! I now put them on everything....water bottles, lunch bags, backpacks, baseball gloves, jackets, sweatshirts, hats, toys, diaper bags and anything else I think has the potential to walk away! They have all stayed put and I have had no issues with them peeling off, even after lots of dishwasher and washing machine washes.
They are great for day care, preschool, school, camp, sleepovers, & vacations. Some adults are using them on their parents items in nursing homes. Design your own labels and pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including Disney (Frozen!) and Marvel characters, MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. They have an exclusive laminated coating that gives labels an extra layer of protection and are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide. 
We have a discount code for you!
 Save 20% on your entire Label Daddy order! This is the best discount available anywhere!
Go here to order and use code USFAMILY20 at checkout.

This post sponsored by Label Daddy and U.S. Family.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Top 5 / August 4 - 9

We love that Pittsburgh is full of family-friendly events on our summer weekends! But sometimes parents work on the weekends, or we are scheduled with other commitments and of course, stay at home parents are always looking for ideas throughout the week. So each week I am highlighting 5 awesome Pittsburgh family venues. Many of these are open every day and planning a visit is very flexible. Hope it's helpful!
  • Monday, August 4th, is FREE admission day at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens! These days can be busy, but it's also a great way to check out local venues and see if they are worth it to go back. Enjoy the Summer Flower Show, Butterfly Forest and Tropical Forest Conservatory. The Summer Flower Show takes you on a grand journey as small-scale trains wind through summer flowers in the glasshouse and the Garden Railroad takes center stage. It features a variety of imaginative railroad displays enhanced by flowers, plants and interactive features. 
  • The Citiparks Roving Art Cart features great art projects from around the world. Sadly, this is the last week for this summer for the Roving Art Cart!  Have fun making Amazon rain sticks, Chinese dragons, colorful masks and much more. These are all FREE as well! Find the Art Cark this week 10am - 1pm here:
August 5th / Swisshelm Playground – Swisshelm Park
August 6th / Banksville Park – Banksville
August 7th / Davis Park – Hobart Street – Squirrel Hill
August 8th / Riverview Park – Observatory Entrance.
  • Join the Pgh Momtourage on Wednesday at Wiltshire Park! Park amenities include a seal that sprays water, a sand box, playground & swings. There is also a small creek that runs through the park. Only downside is there are no restrooms, so you may want to bring a portable potty if you have a child that might need one. :)  Bring your lunch and a picnic blanket, sand toys, towel, & lots of water for a warm August! Wiltshire Park, Upper St Clair, PA 15241. RSVP here.
  • Beat the heat and head to Fun Fore AllBallocity is FREE all day on Thursday and is three stories of fun for the whole family! Each level has something different that adds up to over 30 interactive things to enjoy. Air cannons shoot foam balls, “Ballcano” - blasts foam balls high into the air and a four story slide! It’s big enough for adults to get in on the fun also and there is also a separate toddler area for the little ones. (The air cannons can be loud!)
  • Bloomfield Saturday Market - this is an extra special week to check this out because of the Snack Drive to benefit Jeremiah's Place! Read full details of how you can be a part of the snack drive here. But besides the fun of the Farmers Market, there will also be great kids activities including free face painting, the Volunteer Princesses, live music, and lots more! Saturday, August 9, 9am - 1pm. 5050 Liberty Avenue, 15224, (between S. Winebiddle and Gross Streets).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Jeremiah's Place / Healthy Snack Drive

Jeremiah's Place, the community's first crisis nursery, is now open for 24/7 child care - all day and all night! They are open to all children ages 6 and under for free, temporary short-term care when families are in crises or experiencing an emergency situation and need safe care for their children.
 Located at 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 in the Kingsley Center building. Call them at 412-924-0726 or email at for details.
Jeremiah's Place is a nonprofit organization advocating for the safety and well-being of young children.Our mission is to protect children and strengthen families by providing a safe haven of respite, health, renewal, and support for children and families during times of crisis.  We strive to serve as a leading voice for child abuse prevention thereby transforming the community into a place that is safe, stable, and loving for all children.
Having been a foster mom to 7 sweet children, I know that many kids in crisis situations are not getting the good & healthy nutrition they need. We have seen the bodies of our little ones go through weeks of detox when they have come into our home and began eating a more whole foods diet. Healthy food & eating is something I am very passionate about, which is why I was thrilled to hear about this healthy snack initiative for Jeremiah's Place.
Champions for Kids SIMPLE Giving Snack Drive to Benefit JP
Saturday, August 9, 2014
9am - 1pm
Bloomfield Saturday Market, 5050 Liberty Avenue, 15224
(between S. Winebiddle and Gross Streets)
Join The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and Champions for Kids as they host a healthy snack food drive to benefit Jeremiah's Place!
 Looking for healthy, individually-packaged, nonperishable, nut-free snack food items like:
  • Trail mix – NO NUTS
  • Raisins and other dried fruits
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Low sodium pretzels
  • Low sodium popcorn and/or Pirate's Booty
  • Rice cakes
  • Apple sauce
  • Fruit cups, NOT in syrup
  • Squeezable packages of pureed fruits/vegetables/etc.
  • Water bottles
  • 100% fruit juice boxes
There will be a table at the Bloomfield Saturday Market (look for the balloons!) with information about Jeremiah's Place and a collection box.
 So pick up some healthy snacks to donate and then explore the Bloomfield Saturday Market and all the kid-friendly programming it will offer that day including free face painting, the Volunteer Princesses, live music, and lots more!
 Whether you can bring one box or five boxes of an item, everything helps! You can RSVP for the event here (but it's not required.) And if you can’t make it to the event, but would still like to donate, you can email Nadine at to set up a time to drop items off.