Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer fun at Sandcastle + Discount Tickets

Yes. Finally. Summer has arrived! It might be the middle of July, but better late than never, right? What is a kid's favorite part of summer? Water fun, of course! And this is the perfect time to head to Sandcastle Water Park. Sandcastle is set in a beautiful city location at the Waterfront area.

Sandcastle spans 60-acres set along the Monongahela River and offers 15 waterslide attractions, a wave pool, mushroom pool, relaxing lazy river, and two children’s areas. With little kids, having multiple choices of zero depth entry is imperative!

Of course, nothing beats a little sand play as well!

We can save you $7 on One Day Tickets! Sandcastle is offering tickets to Pgh Momtourage readers for only $24 (not including tax and processing fees) to visit Sandcastle! Children 48 inches and under are $22.99 at the gate. Children 3 and under are FREE.

Go here to purchase tickets. Promo is good through September 7, 2015 (even though the web page says July 30).

If you have bigger kids or want to take in some thrill rides for yourself, Sandcastle has you covered there as well!

Where else can you enjoy a wave pool with this view?!

We can't wait to beat the heat and have some Sandcastle fun! Go here for more info and to get your discounted tickets. 

This post sponsored by Sandcastle Water Park. All opinions remain my own. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mom Hacks for #MoreMinutes

I think we all have lots of days where we wish we had just a few more minutes! Here in Pittsburgh, as we have been flooded with rain, we want to soak up every second of summer sun when it shows its pretty face, right?! I asked my kids what they would do with more minutes and their answers were "Go to Idlewild", "play with my friends", "go to Ikea" (smaland fans here) and "eat cupcakes"! I've dabbled in once-a-month freezer meal cooking, but my best recent time saver was finding the website New Leaf Wellness with 17 EASY freezer meal recipes. I found I don't have to devote an entire day and hundreds of dollars to freezer cooking. I can set aside 30 minutes after a grocery trip and make up 6-8 quick meals. These recipes are all healthy, easy, and most important, my kids have eaten them! My hubby and I recently went away for a week to celebrate our 10th anniversary and I was able to leave a freezer stocked with crockpot meals to help my parents out while they were watching out kiddos. There is no better time hack than throwing dinner in the crockpot in the morning and having it ready when you're ready!

It's so hard to say that school is right around the corner, but the sad truth is that it will be here before we know it. Back to school readiness includes so many details with doctor appointments, school supplies and clothes shopping, and don't forget, the perfect haircut! When I heard about Great Clips new Back-to-School campaign to save more minutes, I tuned in to learn more.

First time saver: online check-in. I LOVE apps that let you check in on wait times ahead of time. One of my favorites is the No Wait restaurant app which lets you see what wait times are for local restaurants and lets you "get in line" before you're even there! So Great Clips now has this app as well, go here to check it out! My son was definitely in need of a haircut, so this was perfect timing. We checked the app wait time which said 15 minutes and quickly checked in. Just enough time to get out the door!

We were in and out in 30 minutes, which was a happy time frame in my book!

Thanks, Great Clips, for a way for busy families to help streamline those necessary appointments. Go here to check out Great Clips for your family. And join the fun on social media with your own snaps!

What would You do with #MoreMinutes in your day?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

AdoramaPix Photo Books + 25% off

I don't know about you, but I love creating online photo books! I try to make one or two each year and they are certainly the easiest way I have found to create permanent copies of my family's memories and milestones. I was recently introduced to AdoramaPix and I am looking forward to trying them out for my next book! AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their custom photo books display your captured memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Thick, durable, professional grade photo paper resists fading and ensures that your photos will be just as colorful for future generations. The binding is lay-flat, so even panoramic images can splash across two pages without any separation. Keep your memories in a stylish, archival home with AdoramaPix photo books

Find lots of fun gift ideas HERE.  And what's more? They are currently offering 25% off their square photo books (6x6,8x8,10x10,12x12). 
Use code: pxusfam25 to get your 25% savings! 
Promotion ends 09/30/2015 11:59 pm EST. 

I am working with AdoramaPix in promotion.. However, all opinions remain my own. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun at Idlewild + special discount for tickets

It is always a treat to check out what has been voted “Best Kids Park in the World” by Amusement Today, and “Best Park for Families” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. Of course I'm talking about the beautiful Idlewild and Soak Zone destination! Since 1878, the park has been providing smiles all around and it seems like every mom I talk to tells me how much they love Idlewild. One of the reasons I love Idlewild is because of the variety of attractions for kids of all ages. There are 18 major rides and 14 kiddie rides, but Story Book Forest and Jumpin’ Jungle provide extra unique features. Add in a large water park and you've got a pretty spectacular destination!

I suggest getting there right at opening time and heading to the rides your kids love the best. This helps avoid long lines!

This was the first year all my kids loved the "big" roller coaster. We went to this ride first and got in three or four rides immediately! (Although keep in mind, some of the rides don't start operation until 11a.m.)

And then there's Jumpin' Jungle. A work out just looking at it, right? 

Send them up the ropes......

And across the bridge......

Grab your burlap sack and head down the slide!

The ball pit is also in Jumpin' Jungle. You may find your kids doing flips into the balls by the time you're done. (Agh!!)

If it's a hot summer day, by this time you might be ready for a little SoakZone action! SoakZone has something for all ages including the a toddler pool, wave pool, pirate ship, lazy river, big fast water slides + more. 

A pirate ship with a tipping bucket!

My kids rode this short slide approximately a million times. :) 

And perfect for babies and toddlers is the Little Squirts pool and water area. Maxing out at two feet deep with zero depth entry and lots of fun water features. 

The exhibit that everyone was waiting for last summer has arrived...Daniel Tiger! Take a ride on the Trolley through Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and invite everyone to come to the Hug N' Song. (That phrase will get stuck in your head!) The new face lift of all the exhibits look great. 

And don't forget to take in the interactive afternoon shows where Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kittykat make an appearance. 

StoryBook Forest also has a new addition! In addition to Daniel Tiger, Mother Goose and all her
Story Book friends, Ricky Raccoon, and Duke the Dragon, Idlewild is welcoming “Grigsby” as their newest colorful character. This friendly monster will provide lots of smiles as he makes three daily appearances.

IF your kids have any energy left at the end of the day, it is also prime time for short ride times! 

Here are some upcoming special character events:

• July 7, 8, 9 - Spider-Man & Captain America
• July 21, 22, 23 - Hulk & Thor

• July 14, 15, 16 - Cinderella & Snow White
• July 28, 29, 30 - Rapunzel & Beauty

I also have a special discount code to save $11 on Regular Gate Admission tickets! Valid from June 1st, 2015 - September 7, 2015.
• Regular Gate Price: $34.99 +tax
• Discounted Gate Price: $30.99 +tax/fee

Go here to purchase these discounted tickets!

Idlewild & SoakZone is located at 2574 U.S. 30, Ligonier, PA 15658.

They are open 10:30am - 8pm. Some rides do not open until 11 or 11:30. 

Be sure to check their website for inclement weather announcements as well as days of limited operation. And use these hashtags when sharing your memories on social media: #IdlewildPark #SeeThemSmile

I was provided tickets by Idlewild Park, however all opinions remain my own. I don't endorse venues I don't love. :) 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Campaign for Fair Education Funding

I've been learning a lot in the past few weeks about the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. I've learned that Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a Basic Education Funding formula. I've also learned that Pennsylvania has the widest spending gap between wealthy and poor public school districts of any state in the country, and research shows that gap has widened since 2010. Not good! I've learned that the current state funding system is based on political considerations and deals that lawmakers make in Harrisburg. This must change! A child's zip code should not determine the opportunities he'she receives in school. My family lives in the City of Pittsburgh and we want to stay here. We know that sometimes families flee to suburban school districts for better education options. But we choose to stay. And we will make our voices heard to be sure all of our students are set up for success! Without a funding formula, students suffer, whether they attend a city, suburban or rural public school. With an adequate and equitable funding formula in place, it will ensure that all schools have the resources needed for all children to get the education they deserve. 

An education is comprehensive. Recently, my six year old won 1st place for this drawing. What if funding for art classes was to be cut? He can already draw better than I can! 

This is why I am supporting the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. And you can too! The Campaign for Fair Education Funding is a statewide non-partisan effort made up of organizations that, collectively, represent Pennsylvanians from every corner of the state. The campaign includes more than 50 organizations and people, including child advocates, teachers and school administrators, charter schools representatives, church congregations and business leaders. For a complete list of members, visit this page.  

They're fighting for every public school to have the resources necessary to enable every child to meet state academic standards, be prepared for post-secondary success, and become productive, knowledgeable, and engaged adults.  

And you can join them! 

  • Support the Campaign. (Simply sign up for the newsletter to stay informed.)
  • Contact Your State Legislators. (Time commitment: 5 minutes!)
  • Speak Out On Social Media. (A tweet only takes a moment!)
  • Participate in an Event. (Two call to action events are coming up.) 

On Tuesday, June 23, there will be a rally in Harrisburg to share your concern with legislators. FREE transportation is being provided for any Pittsburgh families. Go here for more info.  

You can also join this Twitter chat happening on Monday. Let your voice be heard!


I am hoping for the Fair Funding initiative to be in effect by the time my youngest goes to school! 

 I’m teaming up with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding to speak out for students across Pennsylvania. Although I am receiving some form of compensation, all opinions remain my own. #FairFundingPA

Friday, June 5, 2015

Giveaway: Tickets to the Royal Ball

If you haven’t been able to participate in an event with Gemini Children’s Theater, then you are missing out!  Gemini hosts acting classes, summer camps, and fun productions that are perfect for kids to enjoy. On Saturday, June 20th, they will host their annual Royal Ball.  
Activities will include singing, dancing, Favorite Storybook Characters, Interactive Musical Numbers, Games, Prizes, Silent Auction, Magic by David Lawrence and much more!

 The Royal Ball is an annual fundraising gala benefiting Gemini Children’s Theater and all its programs for young children and teens. The Gemini Theater officially opened in 1996 at The Factory in Pittsburgh, bringing classic children's stories to life on stage!

Saturday, June 20, 2015
12:00pm to 4:00pm
Syria Shrine Center
$50 (Adults & Children)
Children 2 & under: Free (must reserve a seat)
Full Table: $450 (Table of 10 - Save $50)

Syria Shrine Center / 1877 Shriners Way, Cheswick, PA 15024

Go here to order tickets!

Dinner for the Royal Masquerade Ball will be served buffet style with lots of yummy food for adults and kids! Carved Ham, Boneless Breaded Chicken Filet, Pasta Salad, Chicken Tenders, Macaroni and Cheese, Whipped Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Tossed Salad, Fruit Salad, Cookie Table and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Royal Catering Provided by Stratwood Caterers.


Gemini Children’s Theater has generously offered to give away 2 tickets to this fun event! Go here to enter: 

. Almost twenty years after opening, the Gemini Family is working hard to move and build a new theater so the programs they have created can have more room to grow.  They are finding that there are so many children and teens in need of arts education and providing a place for that experience is more important than ever.  A possible new home is on the horizon, but it seems that, just like in fairy tales, some obstacles have to be overcome that need a little more than magic to get by them. Head to their Go Fund Me page to help ensure that this wonderful venue for Pittsburgh in children will continue to thrive. We wish you all the best GCT! 

This post sponsored by Gemini Children's Theater. .All opinions remain my own. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Raising awareness for Fair Education Funding

My husband and I recently enjoyed watching an episode of Undercover Boss that featured Mayor Wiliam Peduto. One thing that stuck out was to see quite a few people in the episode who were working extra hours in order to avoid putting their kids in public schools. There are many reasons people might choose to enroll their childen in private schools and that's more than okay if that's your preference! But what is not okay is if people feel they have to make this choice because public schools can't offer a high quality education because they simply don't have the funding. Has the music or art program been cut because the resources aren't there to provide these classes? Are computers or iPads not available for the kids to use for learning? This is something we want to make sure does not happen! My family lives in the city and we want our schools to be a place for all children to learn and thrive. We are excited for our son to begin his studies at a Pittsburgh Public School this fall. And that's a big reason that I want to share about the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. This highlights the need for Pennsylvania to adopt and maintain an adequate and equitable system of funding public education by 2016. Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a Basic Education Funding formula. The current system fails to provide enough resources to educate all students to academic standards, and produces racial disparities and a wide gap between the wealthiest and poorest schools. You can read the top ten reasons why Pennsylvania needs a better education funding system here. Whether you live in the city or your kids go to a suburban or rural public school, Pennsylvania needs a better public school funding system throughout the state!

So what do we do to ensure our schools are getting the funding they need to provide the best possible education for our children? Some of the first steps you can take is to go to the Campaign for Fair Funding website and sign up for the campaign’s e-newsletter. Then contact your legislators to urge them to prioritize the issue. Another way to be involved is let your child's voice be heard! My son and I enjoyed recording his thoughts through Hear Me. Hear Me is part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Create Lab. Hear Me amplifies kids' voices using media and technology to create a world where kids are heard, acknowledged and understood, giving them the power to inspire social change. 
Click on Graham's Words to hear my six year old's view on his school!  

You can go to the Hear Me website and record your own child's voice to be heard. 
All preK-12 students are encouraged to participate and share their voices.
The Campaign for Fair Education Funding is a statewide non-partisan effort made up of organizations that, collectively, represent Pennsylvanians from every corner of the state. Our campaign includes more than 50 education advocacy organizations; teachers and school administrators; representatives of charter schools and traditional public schools; urban and rural interests; business and organized labor; faith-based groups; and community groups. Go here for a complete list of members. 

Parents can have the strongest and loudest voices in our children's education. So let's be heard when we let our wishes be known for strong education in Pennsylvania and Fair Funding across our state!

I’m teaming up with the Campaign for Fair Education Funding to speak out for students across Pennsylvania. Although I am receiving some form of compensation, all opinions remain my own. #FairFundingPA