Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chick-fil-A: Dinner Giveaway for 4 families

A common phrase used by Chick-fil-A is Where Good Meets Gracious. If you've ever stepped into one of their restaurants, you instantly know that they are effectively putting that into practice. Whether your thank you is met with a my pleasure, your table is cleared for you, a refill is offered without getting up, or they see your arms are full of kids and offer extra help, their customer service is outstanding. Their stores are incredibly kid-friendly with their indoor play areas. Did you know a parent with young children can even order through the drive-thru and they'll deliver it to a table inside for you? I've been there trying to order and corral multiple kids at the same time, so I love that option!

I was recently invited to gather with a few other Pittsburgh mommy bloggers, local Chick-fil-A restaurant owners, and friends from The Motherhood to learn more of what goes on behind the scenes at Chick-fil-A. Their hospitality was outstanding for the evening! We gathered at the Manchester Bidwell facility which was pretty amazing in itself. 

Chick-fil-A's culinary chefs, at their home base in Atlanta, continually work to bring new, nutritious and craveable food items to their menu. Some of the delectable new choices we'll see rolled out this next year will be their broccoli-kale salad (we tried it and it's awesome!), the southwest spicy chicken salad, egg white grilled breakfast sandwich, frosted coffee, and cranberry-lime lemonade. CFA has removed high fructose corn syrup from 2/3 of their menu, are working on a gluten-free bun option, and continually strive to create a more healthy and sustainable menu! Kid's meals offer healthier options such grilled nuggets, fruit, and organic apple juice. One mom shared with us that her child has a multitude of food allergies, including dairy/soy/oats, which greatly limits their family in eating out. But he can still enjoy the grilled nuggets and fruit at CFA!

Their new Greek yogurt parfait was so delicious and probably my favorite item of the night.  The new broccoli-kale salad includes roasted nuts and dried sour cherries. It was tasty as well!

Most Pittsburgh area CFA's host a a monthly family night where kids can do a special craft and get a free dessert - check with individual locations for details. They are also introducing a new kids club which will encourage character traits such as bravery and courage. Go here to sign up to be a part of it (currently only available in the South Hills, Waterfront & Greensburg locations, but hopefully expanding in our area very soon!)

Nicole and I had the chance to have a little contest to hand-squeeze lemons as that is exactly how their lemonade is made. We're still debating who won (wink, wink).  Lemons, water and sugar....can't beat that combo!

 If you are watching your calories, but still want to enjoy eating out, their grilled chicken sandwich and side salad is a great lunch or dinner!

Their new frozen lemonade is awesome! 


Chick-fil-A's generosity is extending to YOU! They have graciously offered to provide 4 families a free meal (for your immediate family) at CFA. (Limited to Pittsburgh area locations). Click link below to enter.....please note that a blog post comment is required as part of your entry, TY!

We also were able to take a quick tour of the Manchester Bidwell facility. They create empowering educational environments for adults-in-transition as well as urban and at-risk youth which includes free art and culinary classes, greenhouse growth, exposure to world-class jazz musicians and much more. We loved hearing the ways they are fulfilling hopes and dreams for people here in our community. 


This post was sponsored by Chick-fil-A. All opinions remain my own. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Triple B Farms: Fall Festival Giveaway

It's that time of year again as the air turns crisp, pumpkin explodes into everything, and apples are begging to be picked! Our Fall family tradition has become picking apples as well as choosing pumpkins and mums for the front porch and my kids are already asking when we get to head to the farm! We love the local fall festivals and Triple B Farms has stayed at the top of our list. Ride a wagon to the pumpkin patch to view Storybook Pumpkinland, pick apples from the trees at kid height, slide down the Liberty Tube, munch on apple cider donuts + much more!

Triple B Farms
823 Berry Lane
Monongahela, PA 15063

The Fall Festival opens the last weekend in September (9/26-27) and runs each weekend through the end of October. Open Saturday/Sunday, 10am-6pm. Beginning Oct. 7th, they will also be open W-F, 4-7pm. A wristband gets you unlimited access to all activities! Adults: $8 / Kids: $12. Face painting + pony rides are $4 each. 

A hayride to the pumpkin patch takes you through Storybook Pumpkinland where your kids will delight to identify 250 storybook characters from nursery rhymes and children's movies. 

The corn maze, bounce houses, duck derby, farm animals and wooden play structures are just a few places around the farm that you will want to stop!

These slides are one of the highlights of our visit for my kiddos! Grab a burlap sack, chug up the hill and get ready to take on the Liberty Tubeslide. 

Nothing beats a freshly picked sack of apples and we have a hard time making sure we come home with a full sack. :) The dwarf apple trees are at perfect kid-height, so parents can sit back and let them do the work! 

The food barn has been known to hold such treats such as apple cider donuts and pumpkin fries with caramel dip. I don't know for sure what they have planned for this year, but I have no doubt it will be tasty!

 There are plenty of beautiful options for your front porch pumpkin display! My kids can't wait to pick their special pumpkin. Orange, blue, white or gnarly.....we love them all.

Triple B Farms has kindly offered to give away a family 4 pack of tickets to one family for their Fall festival! Enter below (please note that a blog post comment is required for an entry): 

Sept. 26-27: Build Your Own Scarecrow Benefits Autism Speaks. 11-3pm. $20 per scarecrow. Call to reserve.724.258.3557

Oct. 3-4: Build Your Own Scarecrow Weekend Benefits Autism Speaks. 11-3pm. $20 per scarecrow. Call to reserve.724.258.3557     
Spookley Scavenger Hunt 10-12pm.

Oct. 10: Special Music by Glassport Swing Band. 1pm
Oct. 11: Al-Amazing Magician 12-3pm
Oct. 12: COLUMBUS DAY. ALL Activities Open 12-6pm. Extra Day of Fall Fun!    
Oct. 17: Special Music Presentation.
Oct. 18: Al-Amazing Magician 12-3pm      
Oct. 24-25: Mad Science Experiments 12-3pm  
Oct. 31: Treats for Children ALL Day! Happy Halloween!
Nov. 1: LAST Day Savings! Stock Up for Winter! Call for details. 724.258.3557.

This post sponsored by Triple B Farms. All opinions remain my own. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

JBF Consignment Sale + Giveaway

It's one of my favorite times of year......consignment sale season! If you haven't been to the Just Between Friends Consignment sale, it's time to check it out. I have found amazing deals on a wide variety of items that have benefited our family. Some of my favorite purchases include kids bikes, Hunter rain boots, outdoor play equipment, toys for Christmas gifts, books, and of course, clothing! I love how I've been able to find items in great condition for my kids, but at less than half price for what you would pay brand new.


RMU Island Sports Center, Neville Island

7600 Grand Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA  15225

The Just Between Friends Sale Pittsburgh North is Pittsburgh's leading children's and maternity consignment sale event and we want you to join us! Come be a part of the sale voted BEST Consignment Sale in Pittsburgh for 2013!   JBF is your one-stop-shop to buy and sell new & gently-used clothing, toys, baby gear & equipment, furniture, and so much more!  It just keeps getting bigger and better!

The shopping hours & restrictions vary, so read the following info carefully! 

Thursday, September 17th
9am-9pm- Pre-Sale Shopping!
9 am: Consignor + Guest Pre-Sale (No children or strollers permitted)
10 am:  Prime Time Public Shopping ($10 per person.  Purchase tickets here. (No children or strollers permitted)
11 am:  First Time Parents/Grandparents/Foster & Adoptive Parents Pre-Sale (No children or strollers permitted) Reserve your presale pass here.
12 pm:  Military Family & Teacher Pre-Sale (No children or strollers permitted) Reserve your Teacher presale pass here Reserve your Military Family presale pass here.
6pm: *Children & Strollers ARE Permitted beginning at 6pm
9 pm:  Sale Closes

Friday, September 18th
9am-8pm: Sale Opens to the Public! 
$3 admission fee all day
Join our mailing list to get your FREE ADMISSION pass!

Saturday, September 19th
9am-5pm: Public Sale & NEW Merchandise!  
Admission is FREE!
Sunday, September 20th
9am-5pm: 50% OFF Public Sale! 
MANY items 50% and admission is FREE!  

I have found that it is definitely an advantage to be one of the first shoppers and that is why I am thrilled to be working directly with JBF event organizer, Kelly Robie, and able to offer 2 lucky winners a pre-sale shopping pass...and you'll get one for a friend as well! This shopping pass will give you free admission to the Thursday pre-sale opening from 9am-9pm. (Please keep in mind that children and strollers are not permitted until 6pm that day.) This giveaway is only open for 3 days, so enter below. Don't forget that a blog comment is required as an entry. 
This post sponsored by JBF Pittsburgh. All opinions remain my own. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Our bunk bed adventure

We recently made a kid's room overhaul that was lots of fun! It was time to move both sets of kids into bunk beds and thus, the Pinterest searching began. :) After researching prices, we decided we would try to build one set to get the quality we wanted and well as a fun and unique look. I found a beautiful set on Pinterest, but unfortunately, I couldn't get the plans downloaded! So I showed my hubby the picture and said "could you build these?" I love having a husband that isn't afraid to delve into a project like this! And so he started.......

The extra fun part for Mom was finding just the right bedding! I was so grateful when Land of Nod (love them!) kindly offered bedding sets for each of my kids. I wanted something that would fit each of their personalities, but not be too matchy-matchy. They had a lot of fun picking out their quilts and it was a happy mail day when they arrived! We found the Land of Nod quilts to be just the right thickness to work well for year round and they are comfy and durable as well!

We've got superheroes, balloons, Lately Lily, and a beloved orange. Beds later, camp out in the living room first. :) 

Our boys bunk beds were already in place and they settled right in as new roommates. I know this isn't the greatest picture quality, but it was such a sweet moment I walked in to and managed to catch. :) 

 Meanwhile....the girl's beds continued.....Andrew built the top one right on to the wall.

 After it was built, we went it to sand and stain. I don't highly suggest this progression, haha!

We decided to do a natural stain and tried using both tea leaves and a vinegar/steel wool concoction. The tea ended up being darker that what we wanted, so used the vinegar. A very easy and non-toxic stain! The wood ended up taking the stain a little differently, but we love the unique look it created.

Yay for completion!!

Ikea bookshelves and under the bed bins were great space savers!

My daughter had picked out an adorable Lately Lily quilt (currently on clearance!). This was our first discovery of Lately Lily and we found out she is such a fun character! Lily travels the world and shares her adventures which is such a fun way to teach your kids about happenings around the world. Find some fun gift ideas here. Thank you, Lately Lily, for sending my daughter this doll, book & tshirt, she loves them!

I wanted to be sure we had a local store that could be a part of our kids room makeovers as well and USA Baby to Teen was the perfect fit. Local kids store can be very difficult to keep in business as it's hard to compete with big box stores as well as sites such as Amazon. USA Baby to Teen (North Hills) has so many beautiful products for kids including beds, bunk beds, dressers, strollers, car seats, room decor and much more! Be sure to stop in next you're looking for baby/kids items. And their employees are wonderful - you can't beat customer service at a locally owned business!

This Fatboy beanbag is the perfect seat and lounger for my boys room. 

My girls love their sweet little rocker that is a perfect fit for their room!

With doing foster care, our kids had to be flexible in their room situations for a couple of years and we are grateful for their good spirits about it. But with our adoption recently being finalized, it was so fun to be able to have complete and permanent spaces for all four of our kiddos! Thank you to each company who was a part of it and all the fun products you provide to make special spaces for kids. :)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pittsburgh Irish Festival: Ticket Giveaway

Growing up with a name like 'Kelly O'Neil' and having red, curly hair, I had more than a few Irish comments sent my way when I was younger! Now that my last name has changed and the red has faded from my hair, no one refers to my Irish heritage any longer. But those roots are still there and I am excited to take part for the first time in the Pittsburgh Irish Festival. It will be held at the Riverplex (between Sandcastle and Waterfront). 1000 Sandcastle Drive, West Homestead (Pittsburgh), PA 15120
Friday, September 11,  4:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Saturday, September 12, 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Sunday, September 13,  9:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Pittsburgh Irish Festival is a celebration to bring together the Pittsburgh community for three days of Celtic camaraderie. The goal is to contribute to the rich cultural expression of Irish history and tradition that exists in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Irish Festival is also the largest Irish festival in the state!

What is there to do at the festival? 
Children’s Arts and Crafts for the wee folk: Take home a handmade souvenir, enjoy an Irish story sing-a-long, and dance an Irish jig! There will also be traditional and contemporary entertainment, Irish food and refreshments, Irish marketplace, children’s activities-performances-sing-a-longs, storytelling, Irish dance workshops and performances, ceili dancing, Irish Mass (Sun 10am), Irish conversation, Irish musical instrument demos, Hedge School, Whiskey and Cider Tastings, Blarney Bingo, Sheep, and more. Visit with dogs native to Ireland in the Irish Dog Tent! Meet breeds such as Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Terrier, Kerry Beagle, and the Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier.
Are you ready to try some mouth-watering Irish eats? Menus will include Irish sausage, Irish stew, boxty pancakes, corned beef and cabbage, Dublin Coddle, potato soup, fish, colcannon, ham and cabbage and more. The desserts will be plentiful and delicious as well!
Here are a few of the Irish entertainment acts you can enjoy: 
Gaelic Storm, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Screaming Orphans, Makem and Spain, The Willis Clan, We Banjo 3, The High Kings, JigJam, Matt and Shannon Heaton, Rice Brothers, and Dennis Doyle. Local Entertainers: Abbots Cross, Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Bell School of Irish Dance, Burke Conroy School of Irish Dance, Corned Beef and Curry, Devilish Merry, Donnie Irish, Cahal Dunne, Mike Gallagher, Terry Griffith, Hooley with Liz Shovlin, Alan Irvine, Macdonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh, Matthew Craig and The Kerry Tipper Band, NaGaels, Pittsburgh Ceili Club, Pittsburgh Irish Reelers, Pittsburgh Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Band, Jack Puskar, Red Hand Paddy, Patrick Regan, The Rivermen, Shovlin Academy of Irish Dance, and The Wild Geese. (Program subject to change)
Have you seen The Willis Clan on America's Got Talent or their recent TLC show? A family of 12 kids who are fantastic musicians! We are excited to see them and they will be performing all 3 days of the festival. 
$12.00 - adult advance, $14.00 - at the gate, $30 - weekend pass, $8.00 - Senior (60+), Students with ID, Military Active/Retired and Public Safety Officers with ID,
Kids, 12 and younger, are FREE!!
Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance at
$5.00 ADMISSION FRIDAY 4:00-6:00PM ages 13 +,

We have a giveaway for 2 tickets (keeping in mind that kids under 12 are free). Go here to enter:
This post sponsored by Pittsburgh Irish Festival. All opinions remain my own. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our Adoption Celebration

On July 1, 2013, an 11 month old and 23 month old entered our home as children #6 and #7 to stay with us through foster care. The first year they were with us entailed a long roller coaster as we weren't sure what their future would hold. At the end of a year with us they were moved to another state to live with relatives. This was a heart-breaking transition for us, but we knew this is how foster care works and we knew what we signed up for in the process. However, the home where they were placed did not end of being a place where they could stay long term and after five weeks they came to stay with us. We were overjoyed to welcome them back and they were giddy with happiness to be back as well. After that the courts began to talk to us about the option of adoption and we said without a doubt we would welcome the chance to be their forever family. It still took most of the next year, but on July 30, 1015 we were pronounced an official family in a downtown courthouse! It is an amazing feeling to have so many stresses behind us: no more questions on how to answer their questions about their future, no more case workers who had to make regular stops in our home, no more challenges on whether we have authority to oversee their medical care or make school
decisions, no more anxiousness about their future, no more, no more! God has been good, faithful and gracious to us in so many ways. We are thrilled to have ended one stage of the journey and to be standing at the beginning of the next phase.

Here are some beautiful snaps by Journeyings Photography (highly recommend!) of our recent celebration. 

These special people are all adoptive families who we have met along our foster-to-adopt journey. They are such a source of encouragement!

We rented a shelter in North Park which was a perfect space! (FYI, their shelters are waaayyyy cheaper than city shelters!) Most of the shelters have playgrounds close to them and there are plenty of shade trees and areas for kids to roam and play. 

Six of my family members (including my sweet sister here) flew in to surprise us. We were so excited to see them!

We had a framed picture of the kids for all our guests to sign. 

And then entered.....AL MAZING! I was so grateful when Al cleared time in his schedule to be at our event. Al Mazing has long been my favorite Pittsburgh kids entertainer and his magic show at our party was simply awesome. Kids absolutely love him and he manages to get quite a few laughs from the adults as well. If you are looking for someone to capture kid's attention, book Al for your next event!


He had belly laughs coming from my son at the imaginary coins clinking in the bucket. 

We can't begin to thank all the people who have supported us during this two year process. Without a doubt, it takes a village and God has gifted us with a beautiful village.