Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cleaning with less chemicals (+ a giveaway!)

Cleaning. I don't think I ever realized how much of my life would be spent cleaning with 4 kids, haha! Anyone with kids knows it's kind of like vacuuming in the midst of a tornado, but yet, you gotta keep up with it or it gets out of control quickly. 😰
I'm always looking for ways to cut out toxins and chemicals for our family, so I was intrigued when my friend, Jennifer, began sharing more about Norwex. I love how their cloths clean with water only! They are really amazing! Jennifer gave me the EnviroCloth and Window Cloth to try.

Window/Mirror cleaning is one of my daughter's favorite chores around the house. (And it's something that fairly young kids can do). Look at those dirty mirrors! 😲

Usually I just spritz the window for her instead of handing her a bottle of cleaner. With the Window Cloth, she loves getting a spray bottle of water and getting to do it herself. My mirrors have never been cleaner! The Window Cloth works so well! So as a newbie, I later realized these cloths can actually be used without any spray at all. So extra bonus on an easy job for kids to do!

The Norwex microfiber is unique because it is equivalent to 1/200th the size of a human hair (vs traditional microfiber you can purchase in the store which is often 1/6th the size of a human hair).  Because of how fine the Norwex fiber is it removes 99% of bacteria from a surface (that’s why you can replace all of your chemical cleaners...think about the money savings when switching to Norwex) and is SUPER absorbent (think about never having to purchase paper towels again!).  When you use traditional chemical cleaners you are leaving a residue behind that attracts dust, dirt, and grime and you have to clean frequently.  When you use Norwex microfiber and just water, you leave nothing behind and will not have to clean as often because it stays cleaner longer!  Not only are you saving time & money when using Norwex but you are protecting your health because you are not exposing yourself to toxic chemicals (over the past 50 years 80,000 new chemicals have been created and only 200 have been tested for toxicity...so all chemicals are considered safe until proven otherwise) AND you are protecting the environment because Norwex offers items that are reusable vs disposable!

Another feature of Norwex (which is a patented technology) is the Baclock (used to be called Antibac) technology….microsilver that is physically embedded in most of the cloths.  Silver is not new and is used in the healthcare environment!  When the Norwex microfiber cloth is wet the silver is activated which then self sanitizes the cloths by inhibiting the growth of bacteria!  This means that you don’t have to launder the cloth as frequently...HUGE savings!!!

Here are some ways to use the EnviroCloth (wet with just water) and Window Cloth (dry to polish) together....
  • Windows (house and vehicle)
  • Mirrors
  • Stainless Steel appliances
  • Fixtures in the sink & bathroom
  • Flat, glass-top stove
Whenever you are inclined to reach for any chemical cleaners, go for the EnviroCloth instead.  You can clean ANYTHING…
  • Microwave explosions
  • Refrigerator cleanout
  • Surfaces in the kitchen
  • Bathroom (yes, including toilets)
  • Spills on furniture, carpet, rugs
I admit, I'm a major paper towel user. And we have a lot of spills and messes in our house!
Enter my new solution: Counter Cloths. These ultra-absorbent, reusable cloths feature a unique new weave to quickly pick up spills and messes in the kitchen, bathroom—really anywhere! Constructed from Norwex Microfiber made from 50% recycled materials in the same size as a half-sheet of paper towel, each set contains almost a whole recycled plastic bottle (500 ml), so you’re helping to clean up the world every time you quickly clean up! They dry fast and you can use them multiple times before laundering. Best of all, they look great in their stylish Counter Cloth Box, where they’re always ready when you need one.

I have begun to love reaching for the Norwex cloths instead of my typical cleaners and they are so easy for my kids to use as well. 

The EnviroCloth and Window Cloth.  These two cloths come in a package called the Basic Package (item # 1505) for $34.99.  These 2 cloths will replace most of your traditional chemical cleaners.  The EnviroCloth is used wet with JUST water to clean EVERYTHING!  The Window Cloth is used dry to create a shiny, streak-free surface!

Jennifer is generously giving away a set of the EnviroCloth and Window Cloth to one lucky winner! Here's an awesome opportunity to try to win this set to get you started. Enter below!

So who is ready to try these right away??? Most of us can do more in removing more chemicals from our homes (I know I can!).
1) visit the website: www.jenniferkang.norwex.biz
2) shop (check "I'm not here for a party")
3) at checkout you will be prompted to search for your host, please use KELLY HUGHES to continue to support the Pgh Momtourage.

Norwex is a global company, started in Norway in 1994, and is spread through the direct sale industry.  You can purchase products from a Norwex Consultant OR earn your wishlist for FREE when you host your own party.  My hosts earn, on average, $360 in free products, with some earning $500+!

This post sponsored by Jennifer Kang. It is very rare for me to spotlight a direct sales company, but I think these products are very valuable in helping our environment and being more chemical free in our homes. And I'm all about supporting a Pittsburgh mama and her beautiful family! All opinions remain my own.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ticket Giveaway for Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark

My firstborn turned 9 recently. Cue all the tears when you realize you're at the halfway mark of your child turning 18! 😭 But I can't be sad in the joy of watching him grow, mature, pursue passions and watch how his life will be able to impact others. I love both my two boys and two girls and it is certainly interesting in watching their relationships with their friends. My oldest son is pretty drama free with his friends and I love watching a group of 9yo dudes give hugs to each other when they haven't seen each other in, say....48 hours. 😊

I love this group of guys, but let me tell ya, they're full of life! So when it came to picking a birthday party venue, we knew it had to be somewhere active with lots of space and ways to burn energy. We looked at the options in our area and ultimately, my son decided that Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark was the best choice. It turned out to be the perfect option (and contrary to how hard it is to get eleven boys to smile at once!!), they all had a great time!

So what exactly is carpet skating? It's strapping small plastic (flat) "skates" onto your shoes and heading down the ramps! 

A safer yet thrilling alternative to skate boarding, inline and ice skating, carpet skating is fun for all ages (4 and up).  Unlike other sports that take lots of practice, carpet skating takes only minutes until you are confidently sliding around. Once you get the hang of it, you can become an advanced skater with just a couple of days of practice. We have small ramps for beginners and areas to get extreme. All first time skaters are assigned a skate instructor until they are comfortable to skate on their own. 

They have a variety of ramp options and the boys enjoyed the carpet skating. I love that it is big and open with so much room to move around. But a boy's day isn't complete without nailing each other with dodgeballs, is it? The boys had a blast in the dodgeball court! There is also a carpet hockey rink coming soon. I imagine that will be some fun competition as well!

By far their favorite activity of the day was the Ninja course (in the theme of American Ninja Warrior). Each of their runs were timed, so of course, it was quite the competition of who could get the best time! But I loved how they cheered and encouraged each other through their runs as well. They went through this course so many times, I'm pretty sure they all slept great that night. 

This was a feat harder than American Ninja Warrior - going through the course with carpet skates on! That is not easy to do!


The boys enjoyed a briefer stint in the Bounce N' Slide area. It's also perfect for little ones! 

Fun Slides has great party rooms for each group as well. A staff member will be assigned to your party and they take care of you well! We had a great host and she made sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do and where to go. You can also order pizza from Fun Slides and then bring in your own birthday treat. They provide all the paperware needed! 

If you've ever stressed over Pinterest-y party favors, what could be better than souvenir cups and a coupon for a return visit! Stress free? I'm in! Go here to see all of their great party options. 

They have recently added some earlier open times (10AM) on certain days of the week. Be sure to check out their hours if day time works better for you. The park is geared for ages 3 and up. 3yo's can do body slides that you can sit or lay on and slide down the ramps. Kids ages 4 and older can use the skates.


jAnd we want to pass on the fun of Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark to you! Fun Slides is generously giving away two tickets each to THREE families to go try out their indoor skatepark. Click link below to enter to win!

Thank you to Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark for providing our birthday party! We only promote venues we love and this is super fun for kids in the Pittsburgh region!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Use the app, avoid the doctor's office!

OK, fellow parents, anyone else ready to put this winter and sick season in the rear view mirror? 🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋🙋 We just came through a week of a virus that went through all six in my family. Thankfully, it wasn't the flu, but whew, it wasn't a picnic. Now that every piece of bedding has been washed and everything has been sanitized, my fingers are crossed for avoiding any more viruses this season. 😷

I know I'm not alone as we're in the peak of cold and flu season, one of the worst flu seasons ever. :( We LOVE our pediatrician, but right now I'm trying to avoid her office if at all possible! It's a busy place as we recently waited 50 minutes to be seen (this is extremely rare, so I know there were a lot of sick babies there!) But hey, selfies took up at least 5 minutes of our waiting time. ☺

And that is why I'm extra excited about the new UPMC AnywhereCare app! The UPMC AnywhereCare can connect you with health care providers on all devices to help with symptoms like colds, coughs and sore throats. Your child wakes up at 2AM with symptoms? How great to first check in remotely with a medical professional to determine if they need to be seen! Anyone can sign up for UPMC AnywhereCare online or download the app at UPMCAnywhereCare.com.  One thing to note: UPMC AnywhereCare cannot be used for children under three.

UPMC AnywhereCare offers patients with non-emergency symptoms quick online access to high-quality care — anytime, anywhere. If needed, we can send prescriptions directly to your pharmacy.

It only takes a moment to download the app, so do it now and give it a try!

You’ll also have a chance to win a free digital thermometer when you sign up here by March 5.

 Here's to healthy kids and the help of an app when they're not!

This post sponsored by UPMC Health Plan. I only endorse companies or products that are beneficial to our families.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

Foster Love in February!

For the month of February we're ready to show some extra * LOVE * to Foster Love Project

Foster Love Project provides love in action to foster children as well as support to the foster families who are providing care for them. They operate a free donation center and provide baby gear, clothing, diapers, formula, luggage + much more to kids in transition. 

We are excited to team up with Hobby Prodigy at The Mall at Robinson for a night of fun to benefit Foster Love Project. Hobby Prodigy is a unique DIY creating venue where they provide the supplies and instructions and you create a personalized project for your home. Photo coasters, breakfast trays, 6-pack caddies, bottle openers, photo frames, and jewelry are just some of the options to create! 

Join us at Hobby Prodigy on Wednesday, February 21, 6:00 - 9:00PM. 

Hobby Prodigy will be donating 10% of all craft proceeds to Foster Love Project on 2/21/18. 

Bring your spouse for a date night (you don't have to hang with us!), bring your friends, mom, sister, daughter......

Go here to view full crafting menu.  

*You must register ahead of time and select your craft in order to have a full pick of the craft menu. Otherwise, there will be a limited number of crafts available for you to choose to create. Please go here to register --> https://www.hobbyprodigy.com/reservation/.

It's also BYOB and BYOFood. 

Most crafts take over 2 hours to create, so be sure to arrive close to 6 to be able to finish in time. 

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Be a Food Rescue Hero!

By now, you may have seen me share about 412 Food Rescue several times! Why do I keep sharing? Because I love how the Pittsburgh community is coming together to ensure that food surplus does not go to waste! We're so thankful for all the restaurants, grocery stores and other organizations who are passing on their food surplus to those who can use it. 

Some important factors to remember about 412 Food Rescue:

  • They do not rescue spoiled food, wilted vegetables, expired food or consumer waste. 
  • They do not rescue food that has been served to the public (e.g. at buffets) 
  • They only rescue food that we would eat ourselves and instruct volunteers to ask themselves if they would eat it themselves.  
It's a great family endeavor and an easy way for your kids to come along with you and participate! 

What’s on your holiday wishlist this year? Make it something meaningful. By donating to 412 Food Rescue, you ensure that good food is reaching individuals and families struggling with food insecurity, rather than landfills. There are variety of ways to financially support #412FoodRescue. 

Here is how you can directly support 412 Food Rescue this holiday season: 
  • Make a monetary donation 
  • Ask friends and family to donate in your name 
  • Host a fundraiser / raise money online or in person (such as at a holiday party or similar event with friends, family, coworkers, or similar group) on behalf of 412 Food Rescue
Our family enjoyed a fun superhero-themed event last spring to benefit 412 Food Rescue! 

The holiday season is often a time to reflect on what we are most grateful for and when we resolve to do more to make a difference. Join us as we seek to spread joy, comfort, and sustenance with those who need it most. 
  • Family rescues - kids home for the holidays? Want to take part in a meaningful activity together that benefits our community? Download the 412 Food Rescue Hero app today to explore real-time rescue opportunities. 
  • Already an experienced #FoodRescueHero? Take the next step and commit to rescuing on a regular basis. There will be a growing number of available rescues this holiday season and into the new year. Email Mel at volunteer@412foodrescue.org if you can help! 

And finally, here are some easy and practical ways to end food waste this season. The holidays are a time of abundance during parties, gatherings, and get together. To be more thoughtful this season, take these steps to reduce food waste. 

At the Grocery Store 
  • Make a list and stick to it. 
  • Buy fresh veggies that you know you will use and use them rfist, and augment with frozen veggies so you know they won’t go to waste if you can’t get to them right away. 
  • Before you go to a warehouse club, ask yourself if you will really eat a 5 pound bag of that product.
  • Only buy food you know you will eat. 
At Home 
  • Have one day of the week (maybe the day before your weekly grocery trip) where you use everything up in the fridge. 
  • If you take home leftovers from a restaurant, don’t forget about them - explore how to repurpose them and be sure to use them within a few days! 
  • If a recipe says it serves four, but there are only two people, halve every ingredient. 
  • Only cut fruits and veggies right before you cook or eat them. 
  • Remove rotten apples right away! They will make all other fruits go bad. 
  • Do not wash grapes or other fruits until you are ready to eat them. 
  • Sour milk can be used in recipes for baked goods and cottage cheese. 
  • Freeze fresh meat unless you plan to use it within a couple of days. 
  • To revive limp broccoli or greens, plunge them into an ice bath. 
  • Cracked eggs should be used within 2 days. 
  • 412 Food Rescue - facts from savethefood.com.

Ready to be a #412FoodRescueHero? Download the app here via iTunes/iPhone or GooglePlay/Android. Find a tutorial for using the app here

Follow 412 Food Rescue social media channels: 

This post sponsored by 412 Food Rescue in conjunction with The Motherhood. All opinions remain my own. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Giving the gift of water safety

As the holidays arrive, gift-giving goes into full  motion. My kids definitely enjoy creating a list of wishes and the joy of granting some of those wishes is very special! But we also know our households can only handle so much "stuff". So I love the idea of giving experiences for our kids rather than just gifts. Swimming lessons are such a high priority for our family and I think they make a fantastic Christmas gift!

We started swimming lessons with British Swim School almost two years ago. Our kids were 6, 4, 4 & 3. They all started as yellow cap and hey - when you have 4 kids close in age you can fill your own swim class! 😃

The first focus for lessons with British Swim School is water safety. Learning to float on your back and call for help and even lessons with clothing on to practice if a child were to fall into the water unexpectedly.

One of my kids has extreme fear of not being able to touch the bottom of the pool and also is extra sensitive to uncomfortable water temps. So the fact that BSS uses indoor heated pools has been a huge boost in alleviating that discomfort. The instructors have also been patient, kind and encouraging through their process of learning to overcome those fears.

It's been fun to see them progress from yellow to red to blue to green caps. Each level is celebrated! 

My kids love swimming, so lessons during the winter is perfect. They love getting to swim every week throughout the year and FUN is always incorporated into every lesson!

British Swim School offers lessons beginning at 3 months. Go here to check out the variety of programs they offer. They also offer lessons at 10 locations throughout the Pittsburgh region so you can find the one that is most convenient for your family. 

My kids are so confident and comfortable in the water now. It definitely makes water activities less stressful for this mama of 4! 

Need a gift idea for your kids that will be with them for the rest of their lives? Swimming lessons would make a fantastic and fun gift. Be sure to mention Pgh Momtourage when signing up to receive FREE registration! 

This post sponsored by British Swim School with whom we partner for swimming lessons. We only endorse companies that pass the test of our family! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Family Get-Away in DC

A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when the George Washington Mt. Vernon organization reached out to me to come for a visit! Since our family is always up for a road trip and we weren't able to be with our out-of-state families over Thanksgiving, we decided it was the perfect time for a little family get-away. If you've been to DC, you know it's an awesome spot to take your family because of all the free venues! DC is only about 4 hours from Pittsburgh, so it makes a great weekend destination. 

We had never taken the opportunity to visit Mt. Vernon, so this was a special chance. And it was extra fun to do the candlelight tour

Visiting Mt. Vernon was a great opportunity to teach our kids about some pieces of American history. It was fun to see how the Washington's home operated and learn about all the entertaining they did, how their household functioned and even see their original bed! Fun fact: they never lived in the White House as it was still under construction during his presidency. 

You'll see characters on site including the blacksmith, cooks, house manager and Martha Washington. You can even learn to square dance!

The tour concludes with seeing George Washington's camel, hot cider, cookies & Christmas carols!
We were bundled up for the evening and it was a fun family night. If you're looking to do a DC road trip, it's definitely a great stop on your list. You can make reservations ahead for the Mt. Vernon Inn Restaurant to add to your evening tour as well. Go here for more info on the candlelight tour.

Besides visiting Mt. Vernon, we then had the hard decision of what else to pack in for our 2 day visit. So many choices! The Museum of Natural History was our kids favorite stop on a previous trip. We also really want to visit the new African American History Museum, but find it's very hard to get tickets since it's opened! But top of our list was the DC Zoo since we had never before been to this venue. It did not disappoint!

We were lucky to get a 60 degree day and so it was perfect for walking around the zoo! Staying hydrated is important obviously, and whatever was in these kids drinks we brought with us was totally gross!! 😆 

It was fun to see some animals that our local zoo doesn't have on site. 

We made a brief stop at the National Air & Space Museum - also a previous favorite for our kids! 

Another new one to us that a friend had recommended was the National Postal Museum. We learned about our national postal system from the time of the Pony Express to the current mail-sorting system of today. It was fun, informational and hands-on for the kids!

They loved being able to make stamps with their picture and then getting it emailed to us.

Checking out all the stamps ever made. And they got to choose 6 stamps to take with them!

So here's my mom-to-mom disclaimer for taking kids to DC. 😊 We waited until our youngest was 5 to do a significant trip here. There is a LOT of walking and if it's too cold or too hot.....well you know that WHINING comes out in full force. 😮 Kids of all ages can definitely enjoy the city and learning more about American history through all the beautiful monuments, memorials, museums + more. But when you go, know your kids limits and plan accordingly, so that it doesn't become full of stress and fussing.

With a family of 6, we often first look to Air B&B for accommodations, but the lure of the pool and free breakfast for the family made a hotel win out this time!

My son's one request was playing football at the Washington Monument, so that's how we ended our final evening.

Thank you, Mt. Vernon, for inspiring our fun, family get-away to DC! We look forward to more weekend trips in the future!

Disclaimer: Mt. Vernon provided us with tickets and compensation to share about their venue. We don't share venues that don't pass the test of our family for fun!