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! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kid-friendly benefits of Xfinity

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Xfinity. All opinions are my own. 

Along with some fellow Pittsburgh bloggers, I was recently invited to the new Xfinity store in Upper St. Clair.  Full disclosure: we use Comcast internet in our home, but do not currently have cable.

We try to do limited screen time in our home and as my kids have gotten older, it's not unusual for us not to watch any TV Monday - Thursday. To mamas of toddlers, I definitely used some afternoon shows to give us all a break when we were home all day every day. :) My kids use some devices as part of their homework, but the evenings go fast between off the bus and bedtime. Too fast!

Ever since my husband and I have been married, we chose to cut the cable bill and rely on our 3 local channels + Netflix for down time. We also were grandfathered into a monthly $20 internet bill for several years which made that an easy choice. But unfortunately, that nice perk has now gone away and we have been thinking through some other options. We've realized that we can now bundle and get cable for only $10 more per month that we are currently paying for our internet. So this was perfect timing to see what the Xfinity experience could offer us!

Our guide first introduced us to the X1 experience and Common Sense Media. First awesome perk - voice feature of the remote. Can your kids say "kids zone"? Then they can operate it by themselves! (This obviously has pros and cons. ☺) One of the best options for this is that there is a ton of parental control for wifi + TV . Once they get into kids zone, they cannot get back out without a password. That brings peace of mind that they won't be surfing through content that you haven't already screened!

X1 will give you a clear review of each show and movie as to what elements will be appropriate for your kids. You have the option to block any shows or movies from kids zone that you don't want them to see. 

Some other benefits of parental control options: 
  • Can pause a device from your app 
  • Can monitor the usage and see what times they were on their device. 
  • Bedtime pause 
  • Control wifi during dinner, bed time, ect....

Another important option that we learned about is the Xfinity Home system. This gives great control and peace of mind for who's coming in & out of your home. It can be extremely personalized based on your needs. You can download an app that will allow you to control cameras, thermostats, lights, sensors and monitor activity in your home from afar. But you also don't have to get cameras to use many of the benefits of the home system.  You can monitor anytime doors or windows are opened in your home - for example checking to see that your kids arrived home after their scheduled bus drop off.

And lastly, for those that may be interested in their phone options - they have Xfinity mobile. They work off the very reliable Verizon network. Currently, you need to buy their device, but can bring your own device beginning in 2018. 
  • Pay by the gig which is shared with all phones.
  • Up to 5 lines which can each be on a different plan. Customize to each person.
  • Unlimited for $45 a month
  • Unlimited calls & texts
  • Port your number
  • Free upgrades
  • Buy back program for your device

This was a very informative evening to learn about so many family-friendly and safety features that Xfinity offers! I hope passing this information on to you will be helpful in the decisions you are making for your family as well.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giveaway: Holiday Lights Mini Golf

There's a new holiday tradition in the Pittsburgh region! That would be Holiday Lights Mini Golf at Fun Fore All Family Fun Park in Cranberry Twp., Pa. 36 holes of award-winning miniature golf decked in holiday lights, as well as tons of great events centered around the holiday season!

Fun Fore All's Holiday Lights Mini Golf is a NEW Christmas tradition in the making!  Fun Fore All is turning their two award-winning miniature golf courses (Cave Course and Lighthouse Course) into a fully playable walk-through holiday lights show. You will experience various animated themed holiday lights (country western, penguins, Taj Mahal, under the sea, Victorian Christmas + more) in the most FUNtastic way possible! 

Complete with two walk through light tunnels, a twenty-foot Christmas tree, and a holiday musical show that plays several times an hour, Fun Fore All’s Holiday Lights Mini Golf is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!

You can view a full schedule of special events here, including some of these specially-themed evenings!







Best of all, each mini golf admission benefits the Highmark Caring Place. 


    The death of a loved one is devastating to a child. The impact can be overwhelming and the children and family often need support. The Highmark Caring Place can provide that support through its various programs. Thousands of community members are helped by the Caring Place each year at no cost through our peer support programs, and our education, consultation, and referral services.

After a brisk game of mini golf, you can head inside and warm up with more fun activities. Their 4-story, soft-style play area (Ballocity) is one of my kids favorite play areas! There are also arcade games, the NEW XD Dark Ride, rock climbing wall + more. 

So, who wants to take the family for a fun outing? I have 4 tickets to give away! 

This post sponsored by Fun Fore All. I have received product or compensation for my review. I don't endorse things I don't love!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Giveaway with Jord Watches

Gift giving season is here! I love buying gifts for others and enjoying the joy in giving. But does anyone else have trouble with finding the right gifts for their husband? My hubby is notoriously picky. And that's ok! He has great taste. But it definitely makes gift-giving a challenge!

So I'm always on the lookout for things that he might like. When JORD Watches approached me with the opportunity to try one of their beautiful watches, I was pretty sure we had a sure winner!

Wood Watches by JORD  are created out of unique and beautiful woods. There are so many gorgeous choices, it's hard to pick just one!

What's to love about JORD?
Hand-crafted wood timepieces. Raw material, refined design. JORD is run by artists, designers, marketers, and minders. We are focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. 


For anyone that might want to snap up one of these beauties for yourself or choose to give one as a gift this holiday season, I'm excited to offer a $100 giveaway to JORD! 

Simply go here to enter to win!

And if you don't want to wait to see if you win....I can offer you all a 25% promo code today! Simply use code pghmoms where it asks for a gift code. 

Would you choose a Ladies Wood Watch Ladies Wood Watch or a Guys Wood Watches by JORD? TOUGH CHOICE! All I can say is you can't go wrong either way and getting a his + hers might be the way to go. ☺

Happy shopping! 

This post sponsored by JORD Watches. I have received product or compensation for my review. I don't endorse things I don't love!