Monday, April 17, 2017

Ticket Giveaway: EQT Children's Theater Festival

One of our favorite Pittsburgh family events of the year is just a month away! The EQT Children's Theater Festival is a 4 day event with live performances, free activities, outdoor fun + much more! Affordable tickets make this a great option for family fun on Thursday, May 18 - Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Located in the Downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District, this year's EQT Children's Theater Festival includes:
  • Professional theater performances from around the world
  • Over 40 FREE hands-on educational and cultural activities!
  • Family-friendly gallery installations, public art and interactive art!
  • FREE outdoor pop-up performances featuring local and regional artists!
  • Frog Stop Scavenger Hunt throughout the Cultural District featuring a free, fun prize!

Festival Grounds
The festival grounds will include a variety of food options and vendors, visual art programming at local galleries, pop-up green spaces, free hands-on activities, and free outdoor performances coordinated with Youth Express. 

Festival hours 
10:00am-2:00pm on Thursday, May 18 and 10:00am-6:00pm on Friday, May 19, through Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Featured Performances
MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS by Dallas Children’s Theater
United States 
Ages 5-11 | 65 minutes
Venue: August Wilson Center, 980 Liberty Avenue
When Mufaro learns that a great African king wants to meet the most worthy and beautiful women in order to choose a wife, he decides that both of his daughters should go.  During their journey to the King, Mufaro’s beautiful daughters Manyara and Nyasha encounter mysterious situations that test their courage, kindness and strength of spirit.  Celebrate goodness, generosity and love with traditional chanting, rhythmic drumming, and glorious African song in this beautiful Zimbabwe-based Cinderella tale based on the 1988 Caldecott Honor Award book by John Steptoe.  The story was adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott, with music and lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa.
THE WAY BACK HOME by Teater Refleksion and Branar Theater
Denmark and Northern Ireland
Ages 3-6 | 40 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue
When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: he flies into outer space!  Millions of miles from earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake.  The boy makes a daring landing on the moon where he realizes he’s not alone up there.  Based on the book by Oliver Jeffers, The Way Back Home explores the boundless imagination of children through puppetry, wonderful music, and creative wordless storytelling. 
All Ages | 30 minutes
Venue: 7th Street & Penn Avenue, Outdoor interactive installation, with partial tentThe whole family will enjoy building the cities of their dreams in this giant cardboard construction site.  Thousands of cardboard boxes take over in this interactive performance where children build entire cities and towns of skyscrapers, tunnels, and sprawling estates that reflect the time and place of their immediate culture.  With a rocking soundtrack and Polyglot Theatre artists roaming the site, We Built This City is one of the happiest projects you will ever experience.  We Built This City is made possible in-part by the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment.  Established in 2015, the Maranne P. Welch Family Endowment supports adventurous theater for young audiences.
United States
Ages 3-8 | 60 minutes
Venue: Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street
Elephant Gerald and Piggie sing and dance their way through plenty of pachydermal peril and swiney suspense in Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!  This vaudevillian romp of a musical is based on Mo Willems’s beloved, award-winning, best-selling children’s books.  Together, these best friends face fundamental questions like: What do you wear to a fancy pool costume party? Should you share your ice cream? And how can two friends play with one toy? Backed by the nutty backup singers The Squirrelles, the duo even gets the audience involved in the action. You’ll be doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance all night long!  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series.
*Sensory Friendly Performances, which will include interactivity, rhythm, repetition, reduced sound levels and gentle lighting are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
SIMPLE GIFTS by Cashore Marionettes
United States
Ages 7+ | 60 minutes
Venue: Trust Arts Education Center, 805-807 Liberty Avenue
Experience a series of touching and poignant scenes from everyday life told through a beautiful and skillful manipulation of marionettes.  Set to music, this theatrical and artistic program will provide an entertaining and sensitive vision of what it is to be human.  This performance is also part of the 2016-2017 EQT Bridge Theater Series.  
PULSE by Teatro al Vacio
Ages 0-2 | 30 minutes
Venue: Cabaret at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue
Carefully designed for the youngest of theatergoers, Pulse uses soft textures and lively games to invite infants and toddlers into a safe, positive, and friendly environment that will stimulate their sense of creativity. Actors create an extraordinary space ready for exploration, connecting with simple materials to transform their surroundings into a world of play.  This event is a U.S. premiere.
Sensory-Friendly Performances Schedule
Sensory-friendly events during this year’s festival include ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE’S WE ARE IN A PLAY! taking placed at the Byham Theater, 101 6th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Sensory-friendly performances will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Tickets and Information
Tickets are $9 for features performances. Multi-show packs are available and offered for as low as $6 per show! Flex Vouchers from the Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series and EQT Bridge Theater Series are honored for all ticketed events taking place during the festival. Visit, call (416) 456-6666, or pick up tickets in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call (412) 471-6930, or visit 
Ticket Giveaway
We are excited to give away two sets of tickets to two lucky families!
(Tickets can be redeemed for any show EXCEPT Elephant and Piggie's We Are In A Play.)
Click link to enter to win!

Getting Around Downtown

Here are some ways to make your trip to the Festival easier!

This post sponsored by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. If I don't love it, I don't endorse it. ❤

Thursday, April 6, 2017

412 Food Rescue

40% of food goes to waste. 
1 in 7 people go hungry. 

I'm so thankful that people have taken the initiative to change these statistics here in Pittsburgh. I'm thankful that grocery stores, markets and restaurants have a desire to see their surplus food passed on to people who can use it and that thousands of volunteers have come together to make this happen. 

The mission of 412 Food Rescue is to prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream.

412 Food Rescue is the only Pittsburgh organization that directly addresses the fact that we waste 40% of our food while 1 in 7 go hungry. Founded in 2015, 412 Food Rescue and its growing corps of over 2,000 volunteers in the Pittsburgh region have recovered over 1 million pounds of food from over 200 retailers and donated to over 250 nonprofits! 

412 Food Rescue is providing huge resources of ending food waste in our community. They are facilitating thousands of pounds of food from stores and restaurants that would typically be thrown away and engaging a volunteer army to move it to organizations that will put it to use.  It's important to note that this is not "food waste". They do not rescue spoiled food, wilted vegetables, expired food or consumer waste. They recover perfectly good, healthy food –mostly fruits and vegetables. Food is donated for many reasons:
  • They are approaching their sell-by dates and need to be used within the day or a few days.
  • They are not up to consumers’ “cosmetic standards” for food – consumers want the perfect apple, tomato etc.
  • They need to be cooked or eaten today or in a few days – e.g. yellow bananas and other ripe fruit, day old bread that are still good, vegetables that are ready to be cooked today or in a few days. All perfectly good but will need to be consumed soon. 

"412 Food Rescue has helped to ensure that no HACP resident will be denied access to fresh, healthy food. Despite major cuts to the federal SNAP program....412 Food Rescue has managed to effectively end hunger in our public housing communities."
Michelle SandidgeHousing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh

My daughter and I recently had the opportunity to do a Food Rescue. It was shockingly easy, close to our home and took less than an hour of time out of our day! We were able to sign up for a pick at a local Giant Eagle and drop off at a family center that were both within 10 minutes of our house. With hundreds of food donors in our region, you can most likely find a location near you as well!

As more food donors come together to eradicate food waste in our city, more and more volunteers are needed! It's a simple task that many of us could add into our weekly schedule. The first step is to download the 412FR app. Go here for  iTunes/iPhone and here for GooglePlay/Android. 
The app allows you to login, see if there are any food rescues needed in your area and allows you to accept the rescue. It's so easy to use! This tutorial explains exactly how to use the app for your rescue. 

 In 2017, 412 Food Rescue is set to hit two million pounds of food rescued and is gearing up to launch its technology in other cities. In less than two years, 412 Food Rescue has been recognized nationally as a leader in food recovery. It is so exciting to see the way food surplus can be distributed in a city and to see other cities getting ready to follow the model that has been initiated in Pittsburgh!


Want to help spread the word about 412 Food Rescue? Enter our giveaway to win special 412FR swag! Includes a t-shirt, an apron, a bag and stickers (valued at $50).

Want to learn more about 412 Food Rescue in person? One of the 412FR co-founders,  Leah Lizarando, will be speaking at NextFest Pittsburgh on Friday, April 7. Go here for more information. 

·    See more on the 412 Food Rescue social media channels:
o    Facebook:
o    Twitter:
o    Instagram:
o    YouTube:


Sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood on behalf of 412 Food Rescue. 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Camp Giveaway: British Soccer Camp

We are blessed in Pittsburgh to have a wide range of summer camps to choose from for our kids. The past few years, my kids have participated in British Soccer Camp of Challenger Sports and it is definitely one of the highlights of their summer!

One of my desires as a parent is to help give my kids a wide worldview and help them learn about cultures that may look differently than ours. One of the cool things about British Soccer Camp is that all the coaches come from cities in/around England. So, not only do they have those fun accents, but they give our kids another perspective from another county. Another great aspect is that you can host the coaches in your home for the week as well. We have done this and my kids have loved getting to know their coaches in this way! (You can also receive a rebate towards the cost of your camp if you host a coach!)

Another aspect I love about British Soccer Camp is that they learn a lot of interesting facts about other countries throughout the week. Each team is assigned a different country for the week and they spend the week learning about the flag and facts about the country which is an awesome learning experience!

One of their assignments was making the flag of their team, so my son to chose to make the largest one. 😃

The coaches are all very personable and extremely good with the kids! They are very encouraging while teaching them great soccer skills.

Each camp program includes a free ball, camp t-shirt, action poster, and a camp report, plus if you register 45 days or more before camp they will ship you this free British Soccer jersey (s&h applies). 

They have programs for all ages! Each day includes individual foot skills, technical drills, tactical practices, small-sided games, coached scrimmages, and a daily World Cup tournament.

first-kicksFIRST KICKS
3 – 4 year olds • 1 hour per day
A fun introduction to the very basic elements of the game.
4 – 5 year olds • 1.5 hours per day
Fundamental practices, fun activities and small sided games.
5 – 16 year olds • 3 hours per day
Emphasis is placed upon individual skill development and technique.
10 – 18 year olds • 6 hours per day
For serious players focusing on techniques & tactical development.

There will be close to 20 British Soccer Camps in the Pittsburgh region this summer so there's a good chance you'll be able to find a summer camp that works for your schedule and location! Go here to see their full schedule. 

I am thrilled that we have a free week of camp to giveaway to one lucky winner! Whether your child is a first time player or has played before in a league, this will be a great option for summer fun.

We're looking forward to a great week of soccer fun this summer! 

This post is sponsored so I received compensation or products in exchange for my promotion. All opinions remain my own as I don't endorse companies that I don't value.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair

Sponsored post in partnership with The Motherhood on behalf of Covestro.

If you have kids in or near Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Science Center is a local must-see. My family loves the hands-on, interactive nature of the exhibits, which are a wonderful resource for teaching kids about science in fun new ways.

I recently learned that one of Carnegie Science Center’s sponsors, Pittsburgh-based Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialScience), is the title sponsor of a terrific event taking place at Heinz Field this weekend that also encourages kids to learn and have fun with science – the 2017 Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science & Engineering Fair (Covestro PRSEF).

The Science Fair has been a Pittsburgh tradition since 1940. This year, a whopping 1,000 participating students in grades 6-12 will be competing for more than $1 million in cash prizes and scholarships from local companies and universities by designing, implementing and communicating an original experiment.

Both Carnegie Science Center and Covestro PRSEF serve such an important purpose in our community and for our kids! Studies have projected that there will be one million more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs in the next decade – vastly outpacing non-STEM careers in job opportunities.

The Science Center and Science Fair are designed to spark inspiration and perhaps start kids on a rewarding career path, something we parents can appreciate as we think about their futures. During the fair, students learn how to think like a scientist, ask questions, interpret data and draw conclusions – and how to explain and defend their work to a team of expert judges.

Following the judging, during the awards ceremony on Saturday, April 1, Covestro employee Paige Kassalen will be giving the keynote speech, sharing her experience as a member of the Solar Impulse ground crew – an impressive Swiss-based venture that became the first plane to circle the globe powered only by the sun. Covestro provided key materials and its expertise for several Solar Impulse applications, including the plane’s silver coating, door, cockpit window and insulation, and Paige was the only U.S. female engineer on the support team (as well as being its youngest member). She’s an incredible inspiration for girls interested in STEM.

Paige recently shared in an interview about Covestro PRSEF, “I think it’s important to give back, and I’m honored to be able to share my experiences with the next generation. It wasn’t too long ago that I was sitting in their shoes! I hope that my story shows that if you stay true to who you are, you’ll find your own path and have amazing experiences along the way.”

Innovation at Covestro, like the work on Solar Impulse, wouldn’t be possible without a world-class STEM workforce, which is why Covestro is committed to advancing STEM. The Science Fair sponsorship is part of Covestro’s U.S. corporate social responsibility initiative, i3, which stands for ignite, imagine, innovate. It’s wonderful to have a company committed to STEM education and corporate giving right here in Pittsburgh!

Visit their Facebook pages to learn more about Covestro and Carnegie Science Center. You can also use Twitter to connect with Paige Kassalen (@paigekassalen), Covestro (@CovestroGroup) and Carnegie Science Center (@CarnegieSciCtr).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Families For Good Challenge

This past year, we've seen of lot of mess, a lot of ugliness, a whole lot of brokenness in our world. Whether it's the amount of children being orphaned in our own state because of the opioid crisis, the nonstop political battles that are raging, race relations and tensions or the sadness of cancer and car accidents that claim so many lives. It's easy to get discouraged by the bad. But there is GOOD. There are organ donors that step forward and save lives, there are Free Stores, there are caregivers for the elderly, handicapped and foster children, there are people that are doing everyday, mundane GOOD in their communities. It's up to us to step away from the ugly sparring that too often happens on social media and ask what we can do to be part of the GOOD.

 One of the best things we can teach our children is to be part of the GOOD. This can be done by intentionally finding ways that our families can participate in ways to give back in our communities. I was thrilled to be contacted by United Way to partner with them in their first #FamiliesForGoodChallenge. This initiative was launched last Saturday (March 18) at United Way’s annual Be My Neighbor Day event. United Way’s first-ever #FamiliesForGoodChallenge seeks to inspire families to volunteer together and challenge their friends and loved ones to do the same on social media to make a big impact throughout the community.

The goal of the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge is to have the local community log 5,000 collective hours of family volunteerism from now – May 20, 2017. United Way, along with its agency partners, offer a variety of family volunteer activities, including at-home opportunities, for the community to participate in whatever way is most impactful and convenient to them.

“It is United Way’s goal to create meaningful, fun family volunteer opportunities where our community can work together with their families to make a real difference,” said Lois Mufuka Martin, chief volunteer engagement officer. “The challenge is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children the value and importance of giving back. We hope to see people of all ages participating in family volunteer activities through the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge.”

Families who want to participate in the challenge should start by visiting, where they can sign up for United Way’s volunteer activities, which include building literacy kits for local children, supporting women in crisis, painting youth centers, cleaning up local parks, building spring cleaning kits for veterans, decorating pots for seniors and more. While these opportunities are available, United Way invites the community to log their hours after participating in any volunteer activity across the city with their family.

Here are some of the opportunities listed on their website:

  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school - March 31 (2 hours)
  • Pick up, paint and plant together at a neighborhood cleanup in Braddock - April 1 (3 hours)
  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school – April 22, 9:30-11am (1.5 hours)
  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school – April 22, 11am-12:30pm (1.5 hours)
  • Paint at Youthplaces to make hallways more welcoming to students - April 29 (4 hours)
  • Tidy up a park in Clairton to create a safer community space for kids to play - May 6 (3 hours)
  • Join United Way's fitUnited initiative at a Turtle Creek playground for our Day of Action - June 10 (4 hours)
(Pick one of the suggested at-home activities or you can tell them what you're doing on your own!)
  • Build spring cleaning kits for veterans as a family - At Home (2 hours)
  • Put together summer enrichment kits for children in need - At Home (2 hours)
  • Brighten a senior's day when you create a "sunshine kit" - At Home (2 hours)
  • Assemble safety kits for seniors - At Home (2 hours)
  • Host a family book drive for local kids in need - At Home (2 hours)
  • Collect flip-flops for women living in shelters and write notes of encouragement - At Home (2 hours)
Additional opportunities for Westmoreland and Fayette counties are also listed.

While at a local volunteer activity, families can join the conversation by sharing their photos and experiences on Facebook and Twitter and tagging United Way of Southwestern PA and #FamiliesForGoodChallenge.

Many of you know that I started the nonprofit, Foster Love Project, to help foster children in Western PA. I am so thankful for all the families that have volunteered together and participated in our holiday bag drive! This has provided a lot of opportunities for my kids to help give back and help in our community.

Whatever mission you choose to take on, I hope you will take the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge! What better way to welcome spring than giving back with your family for GOOD to our community? 

The #FamiliesForGoodChallenge will run through May 20, 2017. 

is post is sponsored so I received compensation or products in exchange for my promotion. All opinions remain my own as I don't endorse companies that I don't value.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

$25 + Pre-Sale Pass Giveaway: JBF Consignment Sale

There are a few things that are true for me as a busy mom of 4. #1) My time to shop for the family is VERY limited. #2) My kids keep growing out of their clothes 😌. #3) I'm always on the hunt for the best deals.
Those are some of the reasons I love JBF Consignment sale! A one-stop shop is the easiest for me to find what I need and there are many great deals to be found at JBF. Clothing, shoes, bikes, outdoor equipment, sports equipment, costumes, books, and toys are just some of the items that I have picked up at JBF the past few years. 😊 

JBF Pittsburgh Consignment Sale

March 31 - April 2, 2017

David L. Lawrence Convention Center

These sales are a great place to stock up for upcoming birthdays or even Christmas gifts. You can find many options of a huge variety of toys, books, outdoor play equipment + much more!

You will find a great selection of clothing options to browse! Keep in mind that the spring sale will focus more on the upcoming summer season. 

The shoe tables are always a great place to stop. You never know when you're going to find some great deals on shoes in "like-new" condition. 

Books, books & more books! ✔

The bikes go fast, but if you get there early, you might find a good one! 

Pre-Sale shopping is a great perk! Pre-Sale means you'll have the chance to be one of the first through the doors and have first pick of the sale options. Pre-Sale shopping is the best! (Not to mention you can beat the bigger crowds!!) Keep in mind that kids + strollers are not allowed during the pre-sale.

You may qualify for a free pre-sale pass if you are: 
  • First Time Parents and Grandparents
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
  • Military Families
  • Teachers

Anyone else can purchase a pre-sale pass for $10. Go here to get your pre-sale pass. 

JBF Consignment Sale is kindly giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of our readers! This winner + 2 others will also win a PRE-SALE shopping pass. Head to link below to enter to win. 

JBF Consignment Sale is a great place to consign kids items that you no longer need as well! Go here for more info on consigning with JBF. 

This post is sponsored so I received compensation or products in exchange for my promotion. All opinions remain my own as I don't endorse companies that I don't value.