Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mega Giveaway: Celebrating Moms in May

It's May and I think it's ok to celebrate mamas all month long! Being a mom is one of the sweetest gifts to be given. But we also know there are weary days, sleepless nights and many constant demands of us. This month is a chance for us to celebrate motherhood in many special ways!


For our annual Mother's Day giveaway, we have some amazing prizes up for grabs as well as sharing some great Pittsburgh mom-owned businesses. Here's what we're giving away:

  • $25 to MKN Apparel
  • $50 to Levana Bratique
  • $100 to Ikea
  • $100 to Ross Park Mall

MKN Apparel knows that sometimes you need just the right shirt to make you smile and keep you motivated! MKN Apparel has a line of fun shirts for moms, dads & kids. MKN Apparel is owned by a Pittsburgh mama who loves to see other moms enjoying the fun shirts she designs. Check out their website for their full inventory of shirts with the perfect slogan just for you! ❤

MKN Apparel is giving a $25 gift card to their online store!



We love that MKN Apparel is our shop of choice to print our Pgh Momtourage t-shirts! This fun design was created by one of our very own Momtourage mamas. If you join us at our Momtourage playdates, look for our group in the teal shirts! You can also order your own Momtourage tshirt here.

Levana Bratique is a woman owned and operated business. They are the only independently owned store of it's kind in the greater Pittsburgh area! Owner Judy Masucci says, Great bras are my passion!  After spending 9+ years helping nursing moms to find great bras, I decided to close my maternity business and open a business where I can help all women to find great bras! 
judybras.jpgI have been an entrepreneur since 2007 when I opened my first business, A Mother's Boutique®.  This business started out as a nursingwear shop and gradually morphed into the largest selection of nursing bras in the greater Pittsburgh area.  As time went on, I decided I wanted to help all women, not just new moms, to find great bras. From this desire, Levana Bratique was born.  
Levana Bratique carries bras for every woman and specializes in hard to find sizes. Underwire bras, soft cup bras, sports bras, sexy bras, nursing bras - you name it - if you are looking for it, chances are they have it. They carry bras in sizes ranging from 28-60 bands and A to W cups - something for everyone!  Levana Bratique includes the selling floor, 3 fitting rooms, a refreshment area and a small room where classes are regularly held. So many women are not wearing the correct size of bra and having the right fit is essential for comfort & confidence! Judy and her team know exactly how to find you the perfect fit. You will definitely get a personalized and focused experience at Levana! Judy Masucci has a passion for her business. She says, “I love helping women to feel better in their own bodies. I have met so many women who have never worn the right bra size, and when they finally have a bra that fits them correctly; it is literally a life-changing event. You wear your bra all day, every day, and wearing one that doesn’t fit or isn’t comfortable can really have an impact on your overall well-being. I love being able to make a difference for women.” 

Levana Bratique will be giving a $50 gift card to their store to one lucky mama!


Who doesn't love a trip making wish lists and wandering the winding aisles of Ikea? (I know this mama does!)  Amazing eye-catching products at great prices, a kid's drop off play area, kids eat free Tuesdays  + more! My hubby and I have definitely taken advantage of dropping our kids at their fun Smaland and having some uninterrupted shopping time together.
Are you looking for a part-time job? Did you know IKEA is a great option for moms? If you work at least 20 hours you get paid vacation and sick days. There are also benefits to work nights and weekends and after 3 years, maternity leave is covered 100%. 
IKEA is generously giving you the chance for a $100 shopping spree....I'm sure you'll have a hard time choosing what to buy! 

Another favorite stopping point for many is the Ross Park Mall. They are anchored by 4 major department stores, but have 170 specialty shops as well. Some of my favorites there include JCrew, H&M, Crate & Barrel, Francesca's, GAP, Apple, Sephora + many more! They also have a great kid's play area for those days you can't get outside. There are multiple options in the food court, including the newly added Panera. The Cheesecake Factory is an added bonus for a sweet treat! 

One mama is going to have a great time spending $100 on herself with a fun shopping spree! 


Project OM. Join the Movement.

Ross Park Mall is proud to support Manduka and Susan G. Komen on project: OM, a yoga class of one million to battle breast cancer. Donate $10 to Susan G. Komen and receive a FREE yoga class plus a discount card offering 25% off participating retailers. Make your donation and sign up for a class by visiting https://bddy.me/xxxxxx
You can also sign up for a free class at South Hills Village here


GIVEAWAY:
Enter to win one of these 4 great prizes at link below! 


If your kids are little, there isn't always a lot of thank you's to go around. I hope those around you, whether it's your husband, your own mom, your sister or your friends will encourage you in your journey of raising little people this month! 💗

Thank you to MKN Apparel, Levana Bratique, Ikea and Ross Park Mall for showing their appreciation for moms in this special giveaway! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Remake Learning Days: 350 Innovative Events



We have many great opportunities here in Pittsburgh for our kids to excel and learn in a variety of ways. One of those great opportunities is the second annual Remake Learning Days. Last year, more than 30,000 people attended the events noted as The world's largest open house of hands-on learning. This year, Remake Learning Days will host more than 350 fun and mostly free events from May 15-26, 2017.  Parents, families, and kids are invited to experience hands-on, technology infused, engaging learning experiences in neighborhoods across southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


The 5 Main Themes include:
  • Arts
  • Maker
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Outdoor Learning
  • Youth Voice

These 350 events will be hosted by local schools, museums, libraries, companies, recreation centers, and community-based organizations. Each day will feature a specific theme. From coding and gaming to inventing and making, every young person will find events connected to their own passions and interest.


The Kickoff is a free family-friendly, drop-in event featuring dozens of fun and creative hands-on activities along with light refreshments. It will be a one-of-a-kind showcase of the future of learning for kids of all ages in the Pittsburgh region! Please register here for the Remake Learning Days Kickoff. 

Honorary co-chairs are Grammy-award winning singer Daya and hip-hop artist Jasiri X!


Other Remake Learning Days highlights:

• Across the key themes, there are 89 maker events, 83 arts events, 77 technology events, 40 science events, 30 outdoor learning events, and 27 youth voice events

• The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will host 25 events across its branch system, featuring a robot raceway, virtual reality, Labs workshops for teens, the Labsy Awards Art Show and more

• Innovative corporations such as Duolingo, Schell Games, Inventionland and TechShop Pittsburgh will host open houses for the public to gain insights into the latest technology and their work

• Many museums and arts organizations will host hands-on learning sessions for youth of all ages, including the Heinz History Center, Carnegie Science Center, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Manchester Craftsmen Guild, and more

• Across the Pittsburgh region, 29 school districts are hosting showcases and events for Remake Learning Days

• A partner committed to reducing the Digital Divide, Comcast encourages all families who qualify for the National School Lunch program to explore its Internet Essentials program, which offers low-cost internet

• There will be 45 professional development opportunities across the region for educators to explore “remake learning” on a deeper level.


It's going to be an exciting week of events in our city! Head to their website for all the details and to view the full schedule.

Follow Remake Learning Days on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @remakelearning or #RemakeDays


This post sponsored in collaboration with Remake Learning Days.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh’s Hero Night


Mother's Day is right around the corner and we are celebrating MOMS, our every day heroes. I was asked to share about a special mom who is an every day hero to me. But when I think of the many amazing moms I know, it's hard to narrow down to just one. If you're a mom, I know you give of yourself sacrificially every day and that's why we love to celebrate Mother's Day! Here are a few special friends that came to my mind who continually amaze me in their strength and resilience.

❤ My own mom. She battles chronic pain daily and lives far away from us, but pushes through the pain to enjoy whatever activities she can when she's with us. She shares her love for her family in many ways including regular visits and special sewing projects.

❤ The mom with grown children who offers to watch my kids when I have appointments to alleviate the stress of bringing all my children.

❤ Two moms who have both adopted more than 15 children, many with special needs.

❤ The mom with grown children who pours herself into giving encouragement (and help when she can) to moms with young children.

❤ The adoptive moms who are continually learning how to help their children triumph through trauma and loss.

❤ The mom whose disabled 8yo is currently 100% dependent on her for care. She forgoes date nights, vacations, and time for herself. She also advocates tirelessly for better programs and help for not only her son, but other families in the same situation.

❤ The mom whose nonverbal, autistic son is graduating and she is actively fighting for what happens to adults who cannot care for themselves.

❤ The mamas who are raising kids from foster care and constantly advocating that they don't get lost in the system.

❤ The single moms who juggle all the duties of parenting without a partner to step in and help carry the load.

❤ The mom who left her grown children and grandchildren to serve the people of Africa. Then had to make the difficult choice to come back and care for her grandson facing a life-threatening illness.

❤ The mom who took in 3 children when their mom went to rehab in order to keep the kids out of foster care and pays all their expenses out of their own finances.

❤ YOU. Every mom gives of herself tirelessly every day. She gets less sleep than she needs, lets her kids eat her food, deals with a lot of poop 😉, cleans the same space a million times a day, plans activities, comforts boo-boos, rocks away tears, gives lots of hugs, receives sticky kisses and listens to stories that can go on.....and on.....and on.....😃


Chick-fil-A recognizes the challenges of motherhood and is throwing an incredible party for MOMS. ROCKSTAR MOMS, come out and join this awesome event!

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
Saturday, May 13, 2017
6:30 - 9:30pm

Tickets are just $10 a person and includes museum admission, food and additional family fun activities. You can walk the red carpet fit for every hero as well as have fun & dance with your family on the dance floor! Get your tickets here before they sell out!


All ticket proceeds benefit A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based breast cancer foundation that was started by Diana Napper in 1994 to honor the wishes of her best friend, Carol Jo Weiss Friedman, who lost her battle with the disease in 1990. There will be additional opportunities to give back to A Glimmer of Hope Foundation at the event as well. Visit the art studio, where you can design action her kid capes, decorate your action hero mask or purchase a customized mini-plush Chick-fil-A cow. Follow A Glimmer of Hope on facebook for more updates. 


You'll have the opportunity to leave your mark on the "Thank you Mom Tree" as well as participate in commemorative photos, balloon art designs, face painting, and hair braiding/chalk design. You can also enjoy Chick-fil-A food and snacks from The Children’s Museum’s Red Room Catering.


Thank you, Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh for this special event to celebrate MOMS! We know it's going to be a fantastic evening! 


This post sponsored by Chick-fil-A and The Motherhood. 

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. 
WE BUILT THIS CITY by Polyglot
Australia
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.
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ELEPHANT AND PIGGIE’S WE ARE IN A PLAY!
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
Mexico
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.
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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 www.TrustArts.org/PGHkids, 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 GroupSales@TrustArts.org. 
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!

GIVEAWAY:

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: http://bit.ly/2nTiW6L
o    Twitter: http://bit.ly/2oRkEmY
o    Instagram:  http://bit.ly/2oR0rxF
o    YouTube: http://bit.ly/2nPjU2m

#412FoodRescue 
#FoodRescueHeroes
#EndFoodWaste

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.
minisoccerMINISOCCER
4 – 5 year olds • 1.5 hours per day
Fundamental practices, fun activities and small sided games.
half-dayHALF DAY CAMPS
5 – 16 year olds • 3 hours per day
Emphasis is placed upon individual skill development and technique.
full-dayFULL DAY CAMPS
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. 


GIVEAWAY: 
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.