Tuesday, July 5, 2016

We're ready to Hack the Summer in Pittsburgh!


Are you in full swing summer mode yet? We just returned from two weeks out of state, so I feel like our summer has just begun! Having 4 kids in close age range (7, 5, 5, 4) means I have to be very strategic about planning activities for us to do together that won't involve crazy conflict. :-/ We don't make a lot of specific plans too far in advance as I like for our summers to feel very carefree. But I love that summer is an opportunity for our family to explore together a multitude of fun areas all around Pittsburgh without the rush of schedules and other commitments. We try to soak up all the sun we can and spend as much time outdoors as possible! Before we left for our vacation, I gathered with a few in-the-know Pittsburgh mamas and we came up with a lot of great ideas for summer fun. 


The best part? Many of these won't cost you anything! We also experience many of these venues together at our twice-a-month Pgh Momtourage playdates. You can find our full schedule here. 
Check out some of our favorites listed below!


Here are a few other ideas from our mamas of summer family fun: 
  • Head to Moraine State Park to rent bikes, rent boats, hike the trails or swim at the Lake Arthur beach.
  • Three Rivers Regatta (North Shore, August 5-7) where your kids will love watching boat races, playing on the temporary beach, walking through the mist’ers  + much more.  You Gotta Regatta!
  • Beechwood Farms offers a beautiful natural playground, walking trails and room to explore. All free and open to the public!
  • Cranberry Township Community Waterpark has an affordable admission fee that includes a pool, waterslides, splash pad, mini beach + more!
  • The (free) outdoor gardens at Phipps Conservatory and Frick Park both offer beautiful settings surrounded by nature!  Schenley Plaza also offers a large, green space with plenty of room for kids to run and play. Take advantage of the carousal or head to Carnegie Library to cool off and spend time in their kid’s area.
  • Sewickley Night Mart & Squirrel Hill Night Mart (certain Friday evenings) both include vendors, food trucks & family fun.
  • Beat the heat with Free movies at Phoenix Theatres three times a week or  the $1 Summer Movie Clubhouse at Cinemark Settlers Ridge or McCandless Crossing!
  • CafĂ© Date 4 Kids in Brookline is one of our favorite indoor play areas and makes a great rainy day venue!  Includes a bounce house, ball pit, seesaw, monkey bars, climbing wall, jungle gym, enclosed baby area, snack bar + more.



If I have learned anything in motherhood, it's that FOOD must follow the crowd. I'm constantly packing lunches and snacks to take on the go. There is no fury like a HANGRY toddler, am I right? :) :) But sometimes you get caught with a need for food asap and that's why I am loving the new option from Chick-Fil-A to order from my phone and have our food ready when we get there!
I met up with my mama friends at Chick-Fil-A where they introduced us to their new CFA One app. This is truly revolutionary for any parent that has ever stood in a restaurant food line with kids running circles around their legs. 82 percent of parents would do almost anything to avoid long lines at fast food restaurants when you have your children in tow, so I guess I'm not alone! :)


What is Chick-fil-A One? Simply put, it’s a digital app that brings together mobile ordering, mobile payment, fun giveaways and even a way to place online catering orders. Chick-fil-A is a company known to put customers first. They developed this app based on customer feedback, so it was specifically designed to give guests an even more convenient and personalized experience in their restaurants.

How Chick-fil-A One is helpful for families:
  • Order and pay in advance, meaning you can skip the line at the register, speeding up the process of waiting at the counter or drive-thru.
  • Customize your order so each person gets exactly what they want.
  • Bypassing the line at Chick-fil-A is an awesome perk, especially if you visit during peak lunch and dinner times!
  • A new way of saying “thank you” to guests with free food offers, based on their preferences and previous orders. When you order or purchase through Chick-fil-A One, you get closer to your next free offering and can track your progress in the app.
  • It makes families’ dining experiences at Chick-fil-A easy and convenient – and there are some built in surprises as well!
  • A-List, Kids Club and other ways that guests interact with your local Chick-fil-A will also be a part of Chick-fil-A One.
  •  Membership is open to anyone over the age of 13.

So don't delay! Download Chick-fil-A One via iTunes or Google Play, or simply by tweeting #CFAOne with the horizontal cow emoji to receive a prompt to download the app from Twitter directly to their mobile device.
Share how you use Chick-fil-A One! Use the hasthags #CFAPgh and #CFAOne to spread the word about this incredible mobile experience.


Thanks to Chick Fil A and The Motherhood for sponsoring this post and to Brown Mamas & Sugar Aunts for all working together for these Pittsburgh Summer Hacks! All opinions remain my own. 

#CFAPgh
#CFAOne

Friday, June 17, 2016

Honoring Dads this Father's Day (super giveaway!)

Dads are so important in the lives of kids and there are so many amazing dads out there that are encouraging their kid's hearts by the love, care and time they give to their children's lives. So this Father's Day, I wanted to have the chance to give a couple of dads some extra moments of fun with their family. I have partnered up with three local Pittsburgh venues that my family loves and I hope your family will love doing these activities together as well!



Three fantastic Pittsburgh venues for family fun are offering these prizes:




If you haven't had a chance to cruise aboard the GCF, you are missing out on a special Pittsburgh experience! Riding on the boat on the river through our beautiful city is the best way to travel. You might learn some fun facts about Pittsburgh that you never realized and you'll definitely take in some gorgeous views. 


And what could make the cruise any better? Well, fantastic food, of course! GCF is offering 4 tickets to one lucky winner for their Chicken & Ribs Dinner Cruise
This cruise happens every Tuesday & Thursday from June - August! Boards at 6pm, sails from 7-9pm. 

Menu:
  • Hickory Smoked Barbecued Pork Ribs
  • Whole Chicken Leg with Peach BBQ Glaze
  • Quartered Red Skin Potatoes with Parsley
  • Buttered Corn on the Cobb
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Slow Roasted Baked Beans with Sweet Sausage
  • Creamy Cole Slaw
  • Chocolate Mocha & Apple Spiced Cake
  • Fresh Dinner Rolls & Corn Muffins with Butter
  • Hot Coffee & Tea Service 

This summer they will also be offering a wine tasting dinner, kid-friendly Pirate dinner, picnic luncheon, and a family favorite, the Good Ship Lollipop Cruise + many more!

And don't miss.....kids ride for $1 on sightseeing cruises over holiday weekends this summer! 



Everyone knows that sports in Pittsburgh is a really big deal. (Hello, Stanley Cup Champions!!) One of our newest & most affordable Pittsburgh sports is the Riverhounds Soccer team. In the beautiful river setting of Station Square, you and your family can enjoy a night of family fun with the world's most popular sport.  

There are only 10 games left in the home season for this summer, so head here to purchase tickets!




This past fall, my family had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Monroeville. If you have ever wanted to find an activity to burn energy for your kids and burn calories for yourself, this is is! At Sky Zone you can bound on the trampolines, play basketball or dodgeball, jump into the foam pit or take a fitness class. It's a great venue to do as a family! 


Sky Zone provides you with Sky Socks for jumping and they separate jumpers by age and size. They highly recommend you reserve your time slot online ahead of time to avoid sell outs. They are closed on Mondays. Go here for more info about Sky Zone!

___________________________________________
  
Three dads will each win one of the following prizes!

For your first entry, leave a blog post comment on what you love about being a dad or what you appreciate most about your dad or the dad of your kiddos. 

Head to link to enter to win!


I hope you have a wonderful Father's Day celebrating the dads in your life! Thank you to Gateway Clipper Fleet, Riverhounds Soccer and Sky Zone Monroeville for providing these fun family opportunities in Pittsburgh.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Giveaway for British Soccer Camp (Pittsburgh region)


Last year, my son decided he wanted to try soccer. I just happened to be contacted by British Soccer Camps, through Challenger Sports, which gave us the perfect opportunity for him to try out the sport in which he was showing interest. The camp was fantastic! They bring in a whole crew of soccer players, both guys and girls, who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic in teaching the kids new skills.


Needless to say, he loved the camp! He managed to fall in love with soccer and England all in the same week, haha!  This year, he can't wait for soccer camp again!


There are several options of camps for a variety of ages. 

First Kicks: ages 3-4
Mini Soccer: ages 5-6
Half Day Camp: ages 6-10
Full Day Camp: ages 6-10


Challenger Sports British Soccer Camps will host 20 different camps in the Pittsburgh region this summer! Go here to find a convenient location for you. Sign up here for Pittsburgh camps. 


Shaler Soccer Club will also be hosting a special needs soccer camp! And BIG NEWS.....

MONDAY 08/08/16, WEDNESDAY 08/10/16 AND FRIDAY 08/12/16 ONLY . 
The first 55 campers to register will attend for FREE due to the generosity of Shaler Soccer Club, the Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh among other community donors. To find out if you are one of the 55 campers please contact Brian Dourlain atbrian@shalersoccerclub.com or 724 407 3567. 



If you register soon, your child will also receive a free soccer jersey and soccer ball! My son has been practicing with his all year long. 


Another fun aspect of British Soccer Camps is that you have the option to host some of the visiting coaches during the week. They really do come from the UK, so they will need a place to stay during their week in our city. It's a fun way to expose your kids to cultures that may be a little different than ours. And don't forget those great accents! We had the pleasure of having Max and Sam stay with us for a week and my kids still talk about the fun they had with them. You will receive a stipend to cover extra expenses. 




GIVEAWAY:

British Sports Camp has generously offered to give away a free week of camp to one lucky child! Winner will be able to choose one week of camp happening in either July or August. Enter at link below.



This post sponsored by Challenger Sports, British Sports Camp. All opinions remain my own as I don't endorse venues that I don't love!

Summer 16 in Pittsburgh

I feel it. Sunshine, smiles, unscheduled time......SUMMER must be here. We are soaking it up! I am so happy for a break from regular alarm clocks (if you don't count my kids, of course!), school schedules and cold days cooped up inside. We are ready to enjoy Pittsburgh summer to the max!!


We have SO MANY amazing opportunities for summer fun in Pittsburgh. The hard decision is which activities do we choose? This summer, I've partnered with the Summer 16 Campaign which is providing a website dedicated to helping your kids stay active and find learning activities, events and even youth employment opportunities.

My kids are ready to help me choose some summer fun from pghsummer16.com!


Our Summer 16 team includes Mayor William Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, United Way's Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time and other organizations to promote Summer 16 Dream! Explore! Do!

Summer 16 Dream! Explore! Do! provides thousands of local children, grades K-12, with fun, learning activities. The goal of Summer 16 is to engage at least 16,000 youth throughout the city and county in meaningful summer learning opportunities. The Summer 16 website includes a checklist for parents, an activities calendar and a centralized repository of summer programs to ensure that all children have a safe, healthy and productive summer. The website also enables parents and youth of all ages to request information on no cost and fee-based activities in the region this summer.


One of our family's favorite free summer activities is being involved in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Summer Reading Contest. I'm always amazed at the amount of free books (and even free Pirates tickets) my kids have been able to earn through reading. Join us in helping CLP reach their goal to have 90,000 books logged by Pittsburgh readers this summer!



Some other resources that might be helpful to your family, depending on the ages of your kids, include:
• Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (3RWIB), the City of Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County Learn and Earn Initiative: http://www.trwib.org/learnandearn/
• Citiparks programming: http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/
• Youth Express: http://youthexpress.org/


What are your favorite activities planned for this summer?

Let us know how you’re spending the summer by participating in the Summer 16 Selfie Promotion! Snap a selfie and share it on social media (#PghSummer16).

If you're on Twitter, come join us on Friday, June 17, 12:30-1:30pm, for the #PghSummer16 Twitter Party. You'll find out more about events and activities for your family that happening this summer.



HAPPY SUMMER!

I’ve teamed up with Summer 16 to help ensure all Allegheny County children have a safe, healthy and productive summer. Although I am receiving some form of compensation, all opinions remain my own. #PghSummer16

The Summer 16 campaign is generously supported by PNC.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Giveaway: Family Getaway at Jellystone Park Kozy Rest


This past weekend will probably go on record as one our favorite family memories! We were invited for a weekend stay at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest. "Glamping" is my favorite. When you can combine a cozy cabin (with it's own bathroom and kitchen) + the amazing, relaxed feel of a campground, you have the best of the best! Kozy Rest has a variety of cabins, yurts and camp sites available for rent to perfectly fit the needs for your family. And it's only a little over an hour from Pittsburgh so you can have the feeling of getting away without spending a lot of time in the car!


Our family cabin had a bedroom with two sets of bunk beds + a loft that slept more! Cozy Rest is family-owned and one of the first details you will notice during your stay is how attentive the staff is to all those who are their guests. From checking you into your cabin, helping you back up your camper or simply being available to answer any questions, everyone is extremely helpful and attentive! There is definitely good reason why Kozy Rest has been ranked #1 in the country out of 16,000 campgrounds in recent years. Free wifi is also included, but since you're in the middle of the woods, it's pretty limited. Plan to UNPLUG during your stay which will add to the relaxation factor!


Our cabin also included dishes, a full refrigerator, stove top (no oven), coffeepot, toaster, a grill, firepit and outdoor furniture which was a big help! Some amenities vary by cabin size. You'll want to bring your own bedding, pillows, towels and hand soap. Some cabins allow pets, others are pet-free. 


And definitely alllll the ingredients for these nomnoms. :)  


The myriad of activities to do with your family at the campground is amazing! The pool, playground and hiking trails are all free for everyone. 



For $15 per kid / $7 per adult, you can get wristbands that allow you unlimited access to trail bikes, mini golf and the jump pads (for up to 7 days). Totally worth it as we enjoyed all these activities immensely during our stay!

Seriously, every campground should have these bikes. My kids spent hours on them over the days we were there! You're allowed to sign them out for 1/2 hour at a time and will need a $5 deposit that you will get returned each time you check it back in. They have bike helmets for you to use, but I also suggest bringing your own bike helmets from home if you have them. 

They have quad, double + single bikes so all the family can enjoy the fun! And hey, if like me, you're always looking for ways to sneak in some fun exercise, this is the perfect activity! 'Cuz rolling those quads are no joke. :)  




An 18-hole mini-golf course, included in the wristbands, means you don't have to worry if your kids only want to play a couple of holes before they're ready to move to the next activity. 


My kids loved the jump pads as well! They're surrounded by sand (and require socks) which is also a fun play space for little ones.



Some of the other free amenities they offer on the weekends are fire truck rides, train rides and wagon rides. How fun are these vehicles? My kids loved them! 




Every weekend this summer will have a different theme such as Chocolate Fun, Wizarding Weekend, Christmas in July, Western Weekend, Water Fun + more! Go here to see their full schedule. Our weekend was Carnival Games and part of the fun included a foam fest with their bubble machine. My kids loved it so much!




Ever have the desire to spend some family time in a YURT? 
This Pacific Yurt features two sets of combo double/single bunk beds for six campers. Includes a table & chairs, small refrigerator, and a microwave. For your enjoyment, a charcoal grill, picnic table, and fire-ring are provided right outside. All you need to bring is eating and cooking utensils, water, bedding, pillows, towels, & toiletries. Six people max. Restrooms & showers nearby. No smoking inside yurt. Pets are not permitted inside or on yurt site. No tents can be added.

How quaint is that?!


You would think that One Direction appeared to a group of tweens when these celebrities arrived! :) You might find them stopping by your cabin or holding dance parties and you can even arrange for them to come read a bedtime story to your kiddos!


And if the rain happens to appear during your stay, as it did for us, you'll be grateful for a little arcade fun! Have you ever been on vacation and have a need for something only to find it's double or triple the price of a regular store? One of the things my husband and I greatly appreciated about items for purchase at the camp store is that they weren't price gouging you for anything. My son spiked a fever while we were there and I was able to get him some ibuprofen for the same cost as Walmart. Arcade games? As cheap as 25 cents! Ice cream, ice and other camp store items were also normally priced. So thank you, Cozy Rest Campground!


Are you ready to plan your family adventure yet??? Cabins will fill up quickly this summer, especially on the weekends, so book now for this fun family getaway! 

GIVEAWAY: 

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campground at Kozy Rest has generously offered to give away a FREE night stay in a cabin to one lucky family (up to 7 people). 

Free night stay on a week night (S-TH), you may also purchase additional nights. If you prefer to stay on a weekend (Friday or Saturday) you will be required to purchase an additional night for their required 2 night stays on the weekend. 

OR

If you prefer tent camping, you can choose to win a camping spot for two free nights. 

Not available to redeem on holiday weekends. 
Must be redeemed by September, 2016. 

Enter at link below, good luck!



Thank you, Kozy Rest Campground, for providing our family with such a great getaway! 

I was provided a free stay in exchange for my review. All opinions remain my own as I don't endorse venues that I don't love!

For your first entry, leave a comment on the blog post below on what activity would your family most enjoy at Jellystone Campground at Kozy Rest?