Let’s Move Pittsburgh “Make Playtime Count” Free Lecture at Phipps Conservatory July 13, 2017

Let’s Move Pittsburgh is an initiative of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with support from UPMC Health Plan. It’s inspired by Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

Photo credit: Sara F

The 5-2-1-0 series continues with “Make Playtime Count” that includes a lecture from Dr Roberta Schomberg of Carlow University. It stresses the importance of including play in a child’s schedule. This lecture is beneficial for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals. Free childcare will be available during the lecture with limited space available.

Light refreshments will be available before and after the lecture.  View poster presentations from Let’s Move Pittsburgh Champion Schools.  Coaches from UPMC Health and representatives from Pittsburgh Playful Collaborative  and other community partners will be available to help you find and build healthy active play habits.

During the free children’s session “P is for Play” kids can explore their own world of play and experiment with homemade toys and games.  The speaker session and children’s session if free but requires advanced registration.  For more details visit: phipps.conservatory.org/lets-move-pittsburgh

Photo Credit: Sara F

I’m seriously considering this session. I think it would benefit me as a mom of 4 and as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Of course my children would ultimately benefit from it as well.  Will you be attending?

Act 48 credits will be available

 


Mother of All Baby Showers is Coming to Pittsburgh, PA and You’re Invited!

I will be receiving complimentary admission and swag for this post. No other compensation has been received. Any opinions expressed are my own

The nation’s largest adult-only night out for new and expecting parents is coming to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh!   The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS) will take place Thursday July 27, 2017 from 6 pm – 9 pm at the UPMC Club Level at Heinz Field!

This event is about pregnancy, parenting, and growing a family. With information for expecting parents up to parents of preschoolers.  I myself am not expecting but I am the parent of a preschooler.  I’ve never been to an MOABS event before but it sounds like an awesome time.

Things to do at MOABS:

 

  1. Meet other local parents
  2. Attend parenting education session that cover: prenatal & postnatal care, car seat safety, baby gear, nursery design, and more.
  3. “Try It Before You Buy It” area: interact for local and national maternity, juvenile, and family focused brands. 
  4.  Enjoy Tasty Treats from Local Vendors
  5. Enjoy mini-spa sessions
  6. Giveaways valued at over $20,000

The Mother of All Baby Showers is expected to attract over 500 attendees.  It will feature more than 50 local and national companies include: Baby K’tan, Chicco, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Britax, Babies R’ Us, Pediatric Alliance, Lark Adventurewear, and so many others.

2017 is the FIRST year MOABS is coming to Pittsburgh!  Get your tickets now and join us for the Mother Of All Baby Showers on July 27, 2017 at the UPMC Club Level at Heinz Field from 6 PM – 9 PM.

General Admission tickets are $15 and VIP admission is $60. VIP admission is limited to 150 people.  VIP admission includes a Baby K’tan diaper bag, MOABS swag bag, and early admission at 6:00 PM. BUT did you see the banner in this post?  Luv Saving Money readers can get FREE general admission tickets or 50% off VIP tickets with the code in the banner!  You must still go through the link and reserve your general admission tickets.  Deal expires July 10, 2017 so get them while you can!

 Get your tickets for MOABS here!

My husband and I will be there!  I’d love to meet some Luv Saving Money readers!

Once you’ve grabbed your tickets RSVP to the event on the MOABS facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/events/246009919182067  and invite your friends!


WARNING to Parents: Check Your Kids’ Phone For the After School App

New apps are popping up all the time.  This is why monitoring your child’s phone, apps, and activities is so important.  The newest app I have a personal experience with is called After School.  My son called me upset because horribly things were being said about his girlfriend, sexual things. I’m thinking, what kind of app is he using and what is it supposed to be for? My first thought is that maybe it was a tutor or homework help or maybe a meet up app and he could just report the posts as being inappropriate. Turns out it’s an app where people can be anonymous and say, pretty much whatever they want to say about their peers.

I visited the After School app website. It claims to be ”

“After School fosters fun and creative online and offline experiences for America’s teens, in a positive environment with zero tolerance for cyberbullying, threats, or content that threatens the safety of our online community.”

But that is far from what it is. In fact, it’s a breeding ground for everything listed and then some.  I downloaded the app myself to see first hand how easy it was to use and get into.  It’s a free app to start so the barrier of paying for it is already eliminated. It requires you to turn on location service to “locate your school” so you can find your school.  There is no way to use the app without turning location service on.
As soon as the app turns on you are greeted with this picture:

Inappropriate for what is supposed to be a “positive kids app”.  Once in your presented with a list of school from the location service which are pretty accurate and your child must select a school.

It goes on to have you choose an anonymous picture.  Really anyone can sign up for this app. It also asks to access your contacts “so you can find other people that go to your school”. Um wouldn’t a child already know most of the people he/she would want to communicate with??   Then there are filters for sexual, profanity, and drugs. In order to have these taken off they want you to scan your id into the app to “prove” you are 17 yrs of age+.  How scary is that?!!  It also requires the user to link their facebook account so I don’t know how it could be anonymous.

Once on, Kids can use gifs along with their posts. Quite a few inappropriate for kids with one that pulled up almost immediately with a girl half dressed shaking her butt.  Kids asking questions like “Would you have sex with Dyllan at school?” and kids talking about having 3 ways. Yes there are innocent ones like kids admitting they have a crush on someone or if they would kiss so and so but it’s maybe only 50% of the posts. Most are sexual related and I didn’t even turn off the filters because there was no way I was scanning any ID!!  Some kids are actually using their actual pictures and I know some of these kids!!  They have to link their facebook accounts to join so it’s not truly anonymous.

I can also not find a way to easily remove yourself from the app.  Here are just a couple things I found in the 5 min I was on there but there were plenty more.

 

This app with location services and the way kids talk would be a pediphiles dream.  I can’t tell you how to parent but I recognized plenty of kids on there that my son knows. Kids I never thought would say those things.  Check your kids phones.  Don’t assume your kid wouldn’t do that. I never thought my son would fall for an app like this but he did!

There are stories of kids being contacted by people that don’t even go to their school.  When I searched more about it I found an article about in on the Washington Post as well.


Six Financial Saving Tips Before Pregnancy

Six financial saving tips before pregnancy

Planning and expecting mothers usually do a lot of research to help them be better, more prepared mothers. Having a baby and witnessing the miracle of life is a beautiful experience, but it can also be terrifying, especially the expenses.

Listed below are some financial tips for saving money before the baby arrives:

1. Monitor your budget

Planning a budget requires research; you probably won’t know all your expenses without monitoring your current budget. Collecting receipts is a great way to see where your money is going and to become aware of foolish spending habits.

Once you look at your current expenses, it’s easy to see where a new baby would add to costs. Aside from expenses like diapers and wipes, babies increase the cost of some utilities (e.g. water for baths and bottle washing).

You should also decide whether and when you would need to pay for childcare. You don’t want just anyone watching your little one, and finding a reliable babysitter can be time-consuming and costly.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure you have an emergency fund set aside. Babies come with a lot of unexpected expenses, so it’s best to be prepared for these.

2. Cut back on things you don’t need

If you save your receipts, it’s easier to see what you actually need and what things you could live without.

Making a list of essential and non-essential expenses will help you figure out where you can cut costs. You may find that some necessities like groceries are a better bargain at different outlets than the one you traditionally use.

Buying food from a restaurant instead of preparing meals at home is an example of a non-essential expense. Not only is it healthier to eat food you make at home, but also it can save loads of money.

You can prepare meals and store them away for when you need them, or you can stock your freezer with microwavable meals from the grocery store. Either way, you will save time and money.

You should also consider paying off all the bills that you can before the baby arrives. Pregnant women often underestimate the amount of time and energy they will have left for phone calls and paperwork after the baby arrives.

You’ll also find that you can do without other things like magazine subscriptions or pricey movie rentals. Getting a library card or investing a few dollars in a Netflix subscription is a viable way to save money on home entertainment.

It is true that you will be very busy with your new baby. However, newborns sleep a lot during the first few months, so you will have a lot of time to occupy while your baby sleeps.

3. Work for as long as you can before your due date

Although the last few months of pregnancy are very uncomfortable, you should look for ways to increase your income (or at least maintain it as long as you can).

One of the easiest ways you can make extra money (and prepare your home for your new baby) is by organizing your house.

Chances are, you will stumble across a lot of things you no longer want or need. Then, you can sell the items online, to individuals, or at consignment shops.

Also, if you are currently employed, your employer may allow you to work from home as you’re due date approaches. Some may even consider hiring you for extra projects you can do from home.

4. Start accumulating items early on

Mothers need a few things for themselves as well as their babies during and after the pregnancy.

A healthy pregnancy is characterized by weight gain of at least twenty-five pounds. Your growing baby needs room to grow, so, before your skinny jeans get too tight, you should begin saving and shopping for maternity clothes.

Like most things, maternity clothes are expensive when they’re brand new. But that’s the great thing about places like consignment shops, thrift stores, and garage sales.

You may find gently used baby products at some of these places, and this is true of costlier items like baby beds as well as baby clothes.

More than likely, you know someone who became a mother recently. They may also have some maternity clothes (and baby items) they can let you borrow (or even give you).

In planning for financial expenses, you should also consider the generosity of friends and family. A lot of people have leftovers from their baby just taking up space, and some people just enjoy giving things to people they love.

5. Host a (diaper) baby shower

While everyone does not plan a baby shower, it is a great way to start collecting items for your new baby, especially diapers. After all, diapers are perhaps the biggest expense for parents.

You will be amazed at how much you can save on everything you want and need for your new baby, even if everyone only brings a box of diapers. You may find the pricey bouncer or car seat you had your heart set on underneath some wrapping paper.

6. Consider breastfeeding

A formula could be one of the most expensive things in your baby budget. Women that choose to breastfeed save a lot of money and hassle associated with feeding their babies.

Obviously, the longer you can breastfeed, the more you will save (and the health benefits for both mother and baby are worth mentioning).

Women who plan to breastfeed should consider that there might be difficulties: some babies have trouble latching and some mothers find that they lack the patience or the time necessary for breastfeeding.

If you do plan to breastfeed, you should be committed to the task and discuss breastfeeding with a lactation consultant. They can give you a lot of information and tips on how to breastfeed (like briefly supplementing your breast milk with formula).

Conclusion

You should be committed to finding ways to save money as soon as you learn you are pregnant.

Actively monitoring your budget won’t just help you adapt to having a new baby; it will also help you plan better for the future. Planning is a key factor in decreasing the stress of financing your family.

Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health. Check the latest article (Is It Safe To Do Yoga While Pregnant?) here.


Here’s What We Thought of the Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail

We received complimentary tickets as part of the Pittsburgh Kids Guide. 

There are times that you try something out for the first time and it’s just not what you thought it would be. Then there are other times you try something new out and you wonder when you’ll be able to do it again.  Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail is one of those experiences.

Located in the Pittsburgh Mills Mall, Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail is a 32-foot tall, 2 level ropes course complete with 30 exciting elements including zig-zag beams, cargo nets, angled rope ladders, crisscross walks and more. Participants choose their own path through the elements and go at their own pace. The ropes course is also equipped with a Sky Rail zip line connection measuring 69′ long. Participants soar down the length of the ropes course on a self guided zipping experience and are able to enjoy it’s thrills over and over. For young adventurers, there’s a specially designed Sky Tykes ropes course for kids ages 2-7.

We went on Halloween, October 31. I really didn’t know what to expect. Would it be super busy? Will it be worth the drive from Johnstown? Will all the kids be able to get the same enjoyment out of it? Valid question considering my 4  kids range from 2 years to 13 years old. When we arrived we found it right next to the food court.  It was quite an impressive set up considering it was in a mall.

Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail header

It says it’s fun for ages 2-102. The staff gave us a friendly greeting.  They got all 4 of my kids lined up and fitted with the proper size harnesses.  They went over the safety rules with us. The boys were ready to jump into the big kids Sky Trail while my daughter was anxious to try out the Sky Tykes.

Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail getting ready

My 6 year old was right in the middle where he could have done the big kids Sky Trail or use the Sky Tykes area.  He jumped right into the Sky Trail.  All 3 of the boys started on the Sky Trail while I took my 2 year old daughter over to the Sky Tykes area.  She wanted to climb but she was a little bit nervous. It didn’t stop her though.  Most of the time she wanted mommy to hold her hand.

The nice part is the harnesses are fitted to each person.  They are hooked up to tethers that slide along the bars. They never detach except manually to go on the zip line but they had another staff member assisting people with that.  I’m a nervous Nelly but I had very little concerns with my kids climbing around over my head 12-18 feet in the air. Even if they would lose their footing, they weren’t going anywhere. There were plenty of staff there to help too.

My 6 year old ended up getting cold feet on the big kids trails so he came down and decided to try the Sky Tykes area.  After playing on that area for a bit he decided he was ready to go back on the grown up area.

Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail Sky Tykes

That practice on the Sky Tykes area must have been just what my 6 year old needed because he was almost keeping pace with his big brothers, 11 and 13 years old respectively.  Almost, my older boys had no fear what so ever.  I kinda wish I would have tried it myself.  But I had the opportunity to talk to the assistant manager and other staff and get some great pictures.  I can’t say enough about how friendly and helpful the staff were.  Everyone had a great time.

Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail big boys

This would be a great activity to jump in the car on a runny or cold winter day and get your kids active.  Break the boredom and try this place out. Seriously fun for the whole family.  Save your self some money too with a coupon from the Pittsburgh Kids Guide!  It’s $14 for those 48″ or taller and $7 for those under 48″ tall.

SAVE Ropes Course COUPON Pittsburgh Mills #SkyTrail @SkyTrailMills Ages 2-102 http://pittsburghkidsguide.com/coupon.php?regionid=58&bid=12019&lid=16685&dealid=1955

Be sure to stop by Pittsburgh Mills Sky Trail facebook page too tell them Luv Saving Money sent ya!

I’ll leave you with a clip of my 11 year old doing the zip line section of the Sky Trail: