Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Date Night

We're big fans of "dates" in our family.
Spouse dates, kid dates, family dates............we do 'em all!
But they definitely take a little planning, intentionality, and
maybe even a little luck. :)
Most couples I know have a hard time getting consistent spouse dates.
Unless you have a gazillion dollars, sometimes it can be hard to afford to pay a babysitter (or find a great one!) + spend money on a date.
 (our solution: we do swaps and find lots of free or inexpensive things to do).
Some people are most fortunate to live near family who are more than happy to spend time with your kiddos {consider yourself super blessed!}.
For the first 2 years of my son's life, we were in the boat of not being able to get a good routine for dates. But about a year ago, we finally connected with 2 other families with whom regular kid-swapping has worked (it's hard to find the right fit sometimes!). For the past year, my hubby & I have been able to go out at least once or twice a month for dates - love that! Because we don't want to impose too much on our {free} sitters, we have chosen to do our date nights after the kid's bedtime. Our kiddos go down at 7pm, so we're usually able to get out the door by 7:30. Then our sitter only has to hang out & be there. We also have an amazing teen, who my kiddos love, and will come & sit for us sometimes as well.
All that to say, we are so thankful for these times alone & away from the craziness :), even for a brief time. If you don't have a consistent date routine in place, the momtourage is a good place to find swap friends. (wink, wink)
And if we can't get out on a date, we try to make an intentional date night at home. (Doesn't happen unless we plan it.) Couch + coffee + chat = date. Sometimes it's followed up by a favorite show or movie.  
My in-laws have a plaque that has always hung in their home -
The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
If mommy & daddy aren't connecting well during the week, everything is off for sure!   
When our 2nd child was born, we started taking our son on either mommy or daddy dates. We have learned that they don't have to extravagant or expensive (at all!), but they mean the world to our son. He frequently says,  'member when I went on that playdate with dad, 'member that?
Daddy usually takes him to the {free} monthly Home Depot workships where they get to build something together (good man stuff!). I recently took him to the library after dinner where we sat & read new books together. Then we stopped for a 99 cent frosty - his day was made!
After we had been there a while, I suggested it was time to go.
He looked at me and said, Well................maybe we could just talk some more.
At the end of the night, he gave me a hug and said, you're the best mom the whole world.
I will buy him plenty of frostys in the future no doubt. =)
There are 1000 things in a day that we attend to. As we lay down in bed, we recall the 1000 things that we still need to do. But let's not forget to carve out those special times where we connect with those we love the most.
And who love us unconditionally,
even when our to-do list remains un-done.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Earth Day Celebration

Mt. Lebanon Park
 Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh
Saturday, April 28
10am - 2pm
 It's Free!

Earth day in Mt Lebanon is a free environmental fair with over 50 displays and vendors expected. Many regional and township non-profits plan to provide lots of helpful information and demonstrations on saving energy, conserving resources, yes – saving our planet!
 It’s a fun festival with live music, farmers market, kids activities, + more.

Bring to the Event:
*old, worn out sneakers for NIKE REUSE-A-SHOE collection!!!
*laptop, cell phone, digital camers, and MP3 recycling
*empty/old mascara wands, lipsticks, compacts recycling
*old/used-up tape rolls and dispensers, pens, markers, & glue sticks
* old game pieces, jewelry, "things!" for recycled jewelry making (Mellon)
*white t-shirt for iron oxide tie dyeing
*energy for energy bike demos
*extra reusable grocery bags to donate to food bank
*plastic bottle caps (detergent, peanut butter, milk, juice, water, etc)
*used-up gift cards
*your appetite
*binoculars! for the 2pm bird walk...right from the event
Ever dream about being part of a flash mob?
Well now you can!
Practice will take place at Mt Lebanon Park
Wednesday (4/25) at 6:30pm.
All the details here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 + FREE card!

Many of you have used now the same company is now
Treat Mother's Day Greeting Cards
  Have you heard about the new personalized greeting card company, Treat? Treat is a new brand from the folks at Shutterfly and Tiny Prints that lets you create unique, personalized greeting cards. With more than 4,500 customized card designs at launch, the Treat service offers one of the industry’s largest selections from the best designers, including Hallmark. To ensure that you never miss an important date like a birthday or anniversary, Treat also offers an integrated service that will remind you of all those important events. A Treat calendar can be set up with reminders for anniversaries, events, family holidays and more. Plus, users can use Facebook Connect to link their Facebook and Treat accounts to import friends’ birthdays. 
  • Choose your card from their thousands of designs, including the Mother’s Day Collection. Personalize it with photos, nicknames, inside jokes, whatever you want to add. This is your chance to make it YOUR card. Be creative. Be funny. Be sappy. Make them laugh, cry, or just smile. You can also add an embedded gift card from stores such as Amazon, Target, Pottery Barn and more.
  • When you checkout, get unlimited cards for $0.99 each through Mother’s Day. Use the code AFFTREAT to get this special deal. Or, you can also choose to get just one card for free. Use code FREETREAT for that. (Note: These offers are good for first time Treat customers only, so you have to pick one or the other. The good news is that this includes previous Tiny Prints customers). If you are ordering more than one card, the $.99 cent offer will save you the most as each card is normally $2.99.
Treat will truly brighten your day…and the day of the recipients of your new cards! So check them out now and take advantage of their two awesome promotions. They have cards for all kinds of occasions including Birthdays, Friendship Cards,Thank You Cards,Thinking of You and more.

So grab your free card now!

Tea Collection - Summer Style

Check out some of the breezy & fun summer items from Tea Collection - globally inspired!

Lot 26 Studio - Mother's Day promo

Need a unique gift for Mother's Day?
Shop Lot 26 Studio and find creative and fun wall decals that your mom can display all year long.
 Lot 26 is offering 15% off the entire store with promo code THXMOM15 valid through 5/13/12.
If you shop April 16th through the 22nd, Lot 26 Studio is offering 5% of their sales to National Geographic in honor of Earth Day.
Why not shop for Mother Earth while you're looking for something special to give to your mom this Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Need a little getaway? This deal's for you!

Amazing deal on Certifikid right now!
*Note: this is for a tent/rv spot. $9/person to upgrade to a Cozy Cabin.
But kids 3 & under are free!

Enter Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, located just outside of Hagerstown in beautiful Western Maryland – a little over an hour’s drive from the Baltimore-Washington area. With this Certifikid deal, you can pitch your family tent – or upgrade to a cozy cabin – and enjoy two nights of family fun and activities at Jellystone Park. 

This deal includes the amenities fee for up to 4 people. Among the amenities are free, unlimited use of:
  • *Interactive Water Zone with two 400 ft waterslides. Water Zone Schedule: Open weekends only from May 19th - May 31st. Open daily starting June 1st.
  • 18 hole mini-golf course
  • LaZer Tag and Cindy 500 Speedway
  • Outdoor movies at Sunset Theater
  • Horseshoe pits, basketball, sand volleyball, soccer and playgrounds

Moms & Dads?
Jellystone offers express check in, Sunset Theater for old style drive-in movies, Ranger Smith’s quieter pool, a campfire ring at every campsite and cabin, wood delivery and trash pickup, an on-site ATM – and FREE Wifi!

Location: Yogi Jellstone Park in Hagerstown 
 16519 Lappans Road, Williamsport, MD 21795 (301) 223-7117
Good for a 2-night standard campsite for a tent or RV (normally $132) including the amenities fee for up to 4 people (normally $72) from now thru June 28th. Good on both weekdays and weekends.

Go here to get in on this great deal before it's gone!


APASSIONATA has been Europe's most popular live arena show for nearly a decade, thrilling more than five million fans across 15 countries with a breathtaking display of the beauty and the bond between horse and rider.
(scroll to bottom to pause site music, if needed)

Now APASSIONATA comes to Pittsburgh to take you through a magical adventure featuring more than 40 horses, with exhilarating equine stunts by the world's best performers. Breeds from Friesians to Bretons - some rarely seen in North America - and their riders were brought from Europe to create this evocative theatrical event. From trick riding to liberty dressage, these teams have honed their craft on a single breed for generations. With graceful horsemanship and enchanting music, this equestrian sensation captivates families and horse lovers alike.
Directed by Scott Faris ("Walking with Dinosaurs") and featuring an award-winning Broadway creative team, APASSIONATA "THE BEGINNING" is sure to give audiences of all ages an unforgettable experience

Friday, September 7: 8:00pm
Saturday, September 8: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday, September 9: 3:00pm

Tickets are available at the Dick's Sporting Goods Box Office at CONSOL Energy Center, all Ticketmaster locations including select Giant Eagle locations, and Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone at 1-800-745-3000. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover are accepted.

Home products - 70% off

Who needs Spring cleaning? How about Spring decorating?!
One Kings Lane is welcoming in Spring with a sales event that will help you breath new life into every space in your home. Each day this week One Kings Lane is featuring fresh ideas and beautiful furnishings up to 70% off retail in their 5 Rooms in Five Days.
Check out entire looks for spaces from furnishings, wall decor, floor coverings, and more--everything you need to spruce up your home this Spring.
This amazing sale is going on right now through Friday, so head over to One Kings Lane before it's over! 
One Kings Lane

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upcoming Events in the 'Burgh

Saturday, April 14th

Storybook Spring: FREE Family Day at The Frick Pittsburgh! 
The Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze is joining forces with the Pittsburgh ToonSeum to present Storybook Spring, a READ-iculously fun family day at The Frick Art Museum.
Meet popular children’s book authors and illustrators; storytelling by special guests throughout the day, art making activities, film screenings, and so much more!
Details here.

Chili with the Works
South Side Works, 27th & Sidney Streets
Dozens of restaurants will sample their chili in hopes of being named best in the ‘Burgh! Enjoy chili samples, a children’s area, live music, sidewalk sales, and so much more. I Made It! Market will also be on hand, showcasing their local, crafty wares.
 Free to attend.
Tastings are 4 for $5, 8 for $8, and 12 for $11.
$1 off all packages with a college ID!
Details here.

Pitt Play-a-Palooza
10:00 am-3:00 pm
 Schenley Plaza
4100 Forbes Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  All kids and families from the Pittsburgh community are invited for a FREE day of play! Experiment, explore, and expand your imagination through creative use of everyday materials
For more information, visit the Pitt Play-a-Palooza Facebook Page.

Sunday, April 15th

4th Annual Autism Awareness Day
 at Children's Museum Pittsburgh
The museum will open their doors to local families dealing with autism for two hours prior to opening to the general public.
Local Service providers will have resources and information available to families.
Regular admission rates apply. 
Families are welcome & encouraged to stay all day.
Details here.

Friday, April 20th

Children's Museum Kindergarden Transition Day
No registration required.
Free Admission for All Children Entering Kindergarten and One Parent
{Half-priced admission for any additional guests}
  •  Sit on a real bus
  • Take part in a live radio broadcast
  • Meet crossing guards & other community helpers
  • Receive a free vision screening
  • Meet the Ready Freddy school readiness mascot
  • Enjoy art projects, live performance and story times
  • Receive a free book, t-shirt and more. While supplies last. 
  • Meet local child development experts
  • Ask health & immunization questions
Details here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fund It Forward

Have you heard of Fund It Forward? Their mission is to ease the burdens of families with special needs children by raising money for adaptive equipment - what an amazing cause! 

      They have several events coming up - be sure to check them out!

Inaugural Pittsburgh Founder's Event "Fiesta on Friday!"

Omni William Penn Hotel Pittsburgh, PA
530 William Penn Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Friday, May 4, 2012 – 6 pm
Please mark your calendar for Pittsburgh’s most Fashionable Fiesta,
May 4!
Our Board of Director’s invites you to join us for an evening of Latin-inspired luxuries in celebration of our Inaugural Pittsburgh Founder’s Event.
Hosted by Kelly Frey, WTAE Channel 4 News
Tickets: $125 per person or $225 per couple
We will auction off very special items such as a one week stay in Kure Beach, Wilmington,  North Carolina (200 feet from the ocean) or Lunch with Former Ms. America Kimberly Aiken Cockerham.
Arthur Murray will be attending and showing off their "Dancing with the Stars" skills as well as giving a complementary dance lesson to start the night of dancing.
So slip on something chic and fiesta in style with fabulous cocktails, cuisine & flamenco fusion dancing...
All while helping “Fund it Forward” families receive life altering medical equipment for their special needs.
Fabulous... Fiesta... Fun!
Fund It Forward Group Outing @ Kalahari Resorts
Sandusky, Ohio
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Join other Fund It Forward friends and families in an overnight stay at Kalahari Resort WHILE making money for our organization! A portion of each room booked will go back to us! Just $109.00 per night!
Have a BLAST at America's LARGEST indoor waterpark! Mention "Fund It Forward" when making reservations for this very special group rate. Please call 877-KALAHARI (877-525-2427) to make your reservation. Make your reservations ASAP to avoid being shut out.Details here. *
{I think that's a pretty amazing price for a hotel + waterpark, not to mention benefiting FIT!}

Best Wishes to Fund in Forward in these 2 great events!

Monday, April 9, 2012

In Review: bd's Mongolian Grill

bd's Mongolian Grill recently opened in SouthSide Works!
They graciously offered lunch to my family so we could check out how it's family friendly-ness. If you never been to a bd's, you are missing out!
bd's Mongolian Grill is a fresh, fun, healthy concept that's entertaining for the whole family. They are a create-your-own-stir-fry. You grab a bowl and fill it with everything from meat to veggies to sauces to spices - however you want it! Then you take it to their huge open grill, hand it to the cook and watch them expertly grill it for you within minutes. You also get a choice side of rice or tortillas.
And they have a full soup/salad bar.
Wow, I loved how many fresh vegetables were in this place!
The staff was super friendly. One of the employees (first sanitized - thank you!)  brought out 2 toys for my kids to play with. There were booster seats & high chairs and someone offering balloons to all the kiddos.
There was a staff member at the bar who was there to give helpful tips & suggestions on building your perfect stir-fry, as well as keep the line moving & organized on who was waiting for food.
FYI - kids 2 and under eat FREE!
But we know not all kids will want stir-fry - so the good news is that they do have a separate kids menu. Which did include chicken tenders, so my kiddos were happy. :) However, when they brought their meal, it was simply 5 chicken tenders, no fruit or veggie sides were offered. :-/ We were able to compensate by getting them some fruit/veggies from the salad bar. So in the future maybe I would know to bring these sides ahead of time, or hopefully they will tweak this menu option soon! =)
Welcome to Pittsburgh, bd's!
It's in a great location - we love to hang out & walk around at
Southside Works on a warm night! 
If stir-fry is your thing, you have to try bd's Mongolian Grill!
Find menus, directions, and any other info you might want here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Review: Disney's Beauty & the Beast

rapt attention.
Get your tickets now - you won't be disappointed!
Thank you to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for allowing me the opportunity to attend the smash hit Broadway musical Disney's Beauty & the Beast.  

The sets/scene changes were amazing, the use of technology was subtle but brilliant, the costumes were beautiful, and of course, the music was incredible. But what may have surprised me & my hubby the most was the humor! It was very, very funny. The main characters were amazing, but the supporting cast did such an incredible job as well. Whether it was Lefou (Gaston's sidekick) or the servants of the enchanted castle, the audience was very entertained!

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast performance dates and times are
Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 5, 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 6, 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 7, 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 8, 1:00 p.m.
Tickets are now on sale for performances by calling (412) 392-4900, visiting the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue) or online at For more information about the PNC Broadway Across America – Pittsburgh subscription series, please call (412) 456-1390. Groups of 10 or more may call (412) 471-6930.