Friday, March 24, 2017

Families For Good Challenge

This past year, we've seen of lot of mess, a lot of ugliness, a whole lot of brokenness in our world. Whether it's the amount of children being orphaned in our own state because of the opioid crisis, the nonstop political battles that are raging, race relations and tensions or the sadness of cancer and car accidents that claim so many lives. It's easy to get discouraged by the bad. But there is GOOD. There are organ donors that step forward and save lives, there are Free Stores, there are caregivers for the elderly, handicapped and foster children, there are people that are doing everyday, mundane GOOD in their communities. It's up to us to step away from the ugly sparring that too often happens on social media and ask what we can do to be part of the GOOD.


 One of the best things we can teach our children is to be part of the GOOD. This can be done by intentionally finding ways that our families can participate in ways to give back in our communities. I was thrilled to be contacted by United Way to partner with them in their first #FamiliesForGoodChallenge. This initiative was launched last Saturday (March 18) at United Way’s annual Be My Neighbor Day event. United Way’s first-ever #FamiliesForGoodChallenge seeks to inspire families to volunteer together and challenge their friends and loved ones to do the same on social media to make a big impact throughout the community.


The goal of the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge is to have the local community log 5,000 collective hours of family volunteerism from now – May 20, 2017. United Way, along with its agency partners, offer a variety of family volunteer activities, including at-home opportunities, for the community to participate in whatever way is most impactful and convenient to them.

“It is United Way’s goal to create meaningful, fun family volunteer opportunities where our community can work together with their families to make a real difference,” said Lois Mufuka Martin, chief volunteer engagement officer. “The challenge is a great opportunity for parents to teach their children the value and importance of giving back. We hope to see people of all ages participating in family volunteer activities through the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge.”


Families who want to participate in the challenge should start by visiting familiesforgood.org, where they can sign up for United Way’s volunteer activities, which include building literacy kits for local children, supporting women in crisis, painting youth centers, cleaning up local parks, building spring cleaning kits for veterans, decorating pots for seniors and more. While these opportunities are available, United Way invites the community to log their hours after participating in any volunteer activity across the city with their family.


Here are some of the opportunities listed on their website:


  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school - March 31 (2 hours)
  • Pick up, paint and plant together at a neighborhood cleanup in Braddock - April 1 (3 hours)
  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school – April 22, 9:30-11am (1.5 hours)
  • Build literacy kits that help kids ages PreK-3rd grade increase literacy skills so they can succeed in school – April 22, 11am-12:30pm (1.5 hours)
  • Paint at Youthplaces to make hallways more welcoming to students - April 29 (4 hours)
  • Tidy up a park in Clairton to create a safer community space for kids to play - May 6 (3 hours)
  • Join United Way's fitUnited initiative at a Turtle Creek playground for our Day of Action - June 10 (4 hours)
(Pick one of the suggested at-home activities or you can tell them what you're doing on your own!)
  • Build spring cleaning kits for veterans as a family - At Home (2 hours)
  • Put together summer enrichment kits for children in need - At Home (2 hours)
  • Brighten a senior's day when you create a "sunshine kit" - At Home (2 hours)
  • Assemble safety kits for seniors - At Home (2 hours)
  • Host a family book drive for local kids in need - At Home (2 hours)
  • Collect flip-flops for women living in shelters and write notes of encouragement - At Home (2 hours)
Additional opportunities for Westmoreland and Fayette counties are also listed.

While at a local volunteer activity, families can join the conversation by sharing their photos and experiences on Facebook and Twitter and tagging United Way of Southwestern PA and #FamiliesForGoodChallenge.


Many of you know that I started the nonprofit, Foster Love Project, to help foster children in Western PA. I am so thankful for all the families that have volunteered together and participated in our holiday bag drive! This has provided a lot of opportunities for my kids to help give back and help in our community.



Whatever mission you choose to take on, I hope you will take the #FamiliesForGoodChallenge! What better way to welcome spring than giving back with your family for GOOD to our community? 

The #FamiliesForGoodChallenge will run through May 20, 2017. 


is 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.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

$25 + Pre-Sale Pass Giveaway: JBF Consignment Sale

There are a few things that are true for me as a busy mom of 4. #1) My time to shop for the family is VERY limited. #2) My kids keep growing out of their clothes 😌. #3) I'm always on the hunt for the best deals.
Those are some of the reasons I love JBF Consignment sale! A one-stop shop is the easiest for me to find what I need and there are many great deals to be found at JBF. Clothing, shoes, bikes, outdoor equipment, sports equipment, costumes, books, and toys are just some of the items that I have picked up at JBF the past few years. 😊 


JBF Pittsburgh Consignment Sale

March 31 - April 2, 2017

David L. Lawrence Convention Center


These sales are a great place to stock up for upcoming birthdays or even Christmas gifts. You can find many options of a huge variety of toys, books, outdoor play equipment + much more!


You will find a great selection of clothing options to browse! Keep in mind that the spring sale will focus more on the upcoming summer season. 


The shoe tables are always a great place to stop. You never know when you're going to find some great deals on shoes in "like-new" condition. 


Books, books & more books! ✔


The bikes go fast, but if you get there early, you might find a good one! 

Pre-Sale shopping is a great perk! Pre-Sale means you'll have the chance to be one of the first through the doors and have first pick of the sale options. Pre-Sale shopping is the best! (Not to mention you can beat the bigger crowds!!) Keep in mind that kids + strollers are not allowed during the pre-sale.

You may qualify for a free pre-sale pass if you are: 
  • First Time Parents and Grandparents
  • Foster/Adoptive Parents
  • Military Families
  • Teachers

Anyone else can purchase a pre-sale pass for $10. Go here to get your pre-sale pass. 


GIVEAWAY:
JBF Consignment Sale is kindly giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of our readers! This winner + 2 others will also win a PRE-SALE shopping pass. Head to link below to enter to win. 


JBF Consignment Sale is a great place to consign kids items that you no longer need as well! Go here for more info on consigning with JBF. 



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.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The 2017 Strider Cup for kids

We were facing a challenge with my 5 year old. We knew he was ready to ride a bike, but he just couldn't get the confidence to go to two wheels. Strider Balance Bikes was kind enough to send us one of their bikes to preview and BAM! confidence followed quickly behind!


Since we were blessed with so many wonderful sunshine days in February, my son had many opportunities to test it out. Sure enough, it only took about two weeks for the balance concept to click and he was ready for two wheels!


The cheers, the smiles, the confidence when he realized he COULD ride two wheels was awesome! He was so thrilled that he could ride himself on our family bike rides. 


This was our first experience with the Strider ® No-Pedal Balance Bike and I have no doubt that he would still be on training wheels if we hadn't switched to the Strider bike first. The Strider ® No-Pedal Balance Bike is the perfect tool for learning to ride, teaching balance, and instilling riding skills in children! 


Rethink the Definition of Riding
What defines riding? Does pedaling define riding? Downhill mountain bikers don't pedal, road bike riders descending a highway don't pedal, BMX riders in a halfpipe don't pedal, and motorcyclists don't pedal. They are all riding. So what do they all have in common? The ability to balance on two wheels and lean through turns—regardless of what put them in motion. For children, walking and running are the natural means of propulsion. The simplicity of Strider Bikes allows children to concentrate on the fundamental skills of balancing, leaning, and steering while propelling the bike in a natural way.

Advantages of The Strider ® No-Pedal Balance Bike
* Ultra lightweight and easy to control
* Increase balance, coordination, and confidence
* Allow children to focus on learning balance first
* Are free of chains, pedals, and protrusions that can harm a child
* Provide a safe, smooth, and natural transition to a pedal bike

I'm thrilled that Pittsburgh is included in the list of cities who will be hosting a 2017 Strider Cup! What better way is there for children to show off their Strider bike skills than to participate in the 2017 Strider Cup? The Strider Cup is a national Strider Bike racing series that will give toddlers and children the opportunity to put their Strider Balance Bike skills to the test at three stops across the country this spring and summer, as well as the final worldwide event next July, the Strider Cup World Championship event.



This family-friendly event will be coming to Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, May 27th at Southside Works. The unique Strider Cup race series caters directly to children between 2 and 5 years old who want to show off their riding skills and compete in a friendly atmosphere against other Strider riders. Children of all sizes and skill levels are welcome to participate. Strider No-Pedal Balance Bikes are developed for both learning the ropes of riding and honing advanced skills in racing.

There will be races for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-year olds at each event. The registration fee is only $25 and is currently open. Racers will receive a Strider goodie bag valued at more than $50 with their registration, including a Strider Jersey, Number Plate + more! Visit https://www.striderbikes.com/events for further information.


For the second year in a row, Strider will also host races for athletes with special needs at each of the events. These athletes will race the 12” balance bike models, as well as Strider’s new, larger 16” and 20” balance bikes, which the company launched in 2014 specifically for the special needs community.

A typical Strider race scene features excited and proud young parents and grandparents eagerly encouraging their young racers as bright yellow cowbells are rung and the starting gate drops. Toddlers, some still in diapers, lean forward, kick their short legs, and embark upon their 600-foot plus journey over obstacles from dirt mounds to wooden ramps. All racers are treated to a celebratory podium award ceremony immediately following their main race, where they will receive either a trophy or a medal and pose for the crowd of proud parents and spectators.


Participating in any of the Strider Cup events automatically qualifies the rider for the Strider Cup World Championship. Please visit Strider’s website http://www.striderbikes.com/events for more information.


Thanks, Strider Bikes, for the awesome balance bikes you create in helping kids safely + confidently transition to two wheels. The Strider Cup looks like a fun event - can't wait to check it out!


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.

Monday, March 6, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Family Fun

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and this Saturday, March 11, 2017, will be the scene for downtown festivities for the whole family! Enjoy the parade and then head to Fifth Avenue Place for crafts, face painting + games for the kids. 


Kicking off the day will be one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick's day parades in our country. With high school marching bands, emergency service vehicles, and Irish organizations, it's fun for the whole family. 



Saturday March 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. in Downtown Pittsburgh  
The Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Rain, snow or shine.

Formation begins at the Greyhound Bus Station (Liberty Avenue and 11th Street). Staging will take place from the bus station and away from Downtown to 27th Street. The parade will proceed from the intersection of Liberty and 11th Streets to Grant Street to the Boulevard of the Allies, where it will turn right. Proceed on the Boulevard of the Allies to the Reviewing Stand at Stanwix Street. Disburse at Commonwealth Place.


st.patricks_hat.jpg
St. Patrick's Day Family Fun at Fifth Avenue Place 
Saturday, March 11 ~ 11am - 2pm

This St. Patrick's Day, make Fifth Avenue Place your Downtown destination!  Following the St. Patrick's Day parade, drop by with the whole family.  Show your Irish spirit with live music by Steven Vance, create "your own Mosaic Paper Shamrock and Shamrock Wand" with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, enjoy face painting with a cheery leprechaun, and bean bag toss!



Coming in from out of town?  Welcome Pittsburgh has this year's Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017 t-shirts!  Pick up yours today before they sell out!

All events are FREE and open to the public.  Please visit their website for more information fifthavenueplacepa.com


This post is sponsored by Fifth Avenue Place.