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.

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:

Changes In Safety Guidelines For Baby Over The Years

I have 4 kids. My oldest is 13 and my youngest is 2.5.  There’s been a lot of changes with safety guidelines for babies over the years.  For instance, when my oldest son was born his car seat was only a 3 point harness, not the 5 point we use now.  I remember a point when they told us to place baby’s on their tummy’s to sleep.  Of course for years now it’s been that baby’s should sleep on their back.  If you want to go even further, I remember as a young kid not even considering that I’d have to sit in a car seat or booster seat.  I remember people talking about holding their babies in the car which seems unfathomable now.

The point is, a lot has changed in safety recommendations and laws over the years.  It will continually change.  Heck they’re talking about rear-facing until 2 years old now.

For all you grandparents out there, especially new grandparents, you want to do your best to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. You certainly know how to take care of a child but can you honestly say you’re up on all the newest safety guidelines and laws for babies? If you are, keep it up! If you admit that you could use a little brushing up, check out GrandparentTips.org.

For instance, you probably have pictures like this of your little ones sleeping:

HALO grandparent belly sleep HALO grandparent sleep pic

I know my parents have pictures like this of me.  BUT did you know that neither of these are safe sleeping positions or placement now?  They now recommend baby’s sleep on their back.  No blankets or stuffed animals in the crib.  Baby’s should either sleep with a snug blanket sleeper or a product like HALO sleep sack.

ALWAYS
  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all blankets, comforters and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Room share, but don’t bed share. Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.
NEVER
  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

HALO safe sleep pic

 

Here are some more safety guidelines that have changed over the years:

HALO parenting then and now

 

What changes are you aware of?  What do you remember your parents doing as a kids that have changed?

GIVEAWAY

1 Luv Saving Money reader will win

a HALO sleepsack or HALO SleepSack Swaddle

Open to US and Canada

HALO SleepSack grandparents day

Where Are All the Pencils and Textbook? A Visit to My Kids’ School

This post is brought to you by Follett.com for back to school advice and more.

I went to my boys’ middle school “meet the teacher night”. It used to be called “open house” when I was growing up.  I didn’t realize that was the only thing that changed when I visited the school.  It’s the same school I grew up in.  The same buildings, most of the same lockers, etc. I’ve been to the kids open house almost every year but there are so many improvements in the way of technology that will help me help my kids more.  If your child has an “Open House” or “Meet the Teacher Night” I highly recommend going.  My kids won’t think to tell me about half of this stuff!

laptop

1. Digital textbooks – forget hard cover books and writing your name in the cover (remember that?) most of my kids text books are digital now.  I can even visit a website and read the same lesson my son is learning online.  I guess the “I can’t do my homework I forgot my textbook at school” excuse won’t fly.  It took me a minute as I looked around the classroom to realize, “Hey! There’s no textbooks in here” lol

2.  Touch-screen projectors – ok I’m sure that’s not what they’re called but it’s the best way I could describe it.  You know the projectors with the slides and magnification.  Those are no more.  Now there’s a projection screen that teachers somehow connect their laptops to and they can move things in the screen and change slides just buy using the screen like a touch screen.  I found out not all the teachers have this yet but a few of them do.

3.  Hi-tech Tools for Science Classes – Again I remember slides of the constellations or even just text book pictures.  My son’s science teacher was very excited to show me his newest tool for teaching.  A program that showed the sky right over our town.  He could do time lapse and show the sky hours before or hours ahead.  He could show nebulas, black holes, and all that cool science stuff.  He told me that what I was looking at on the screen would be what I would see if I would go outside the school with a very expensive telescope.  They also have a planetarium in their science classroom.

4.  Class info online – If I want to know if my son had homework and what it was, If I wanted to know what my kids are learning about in school if my son doesn’t want to tell me, or if I just want to get a hold of my son’s teacher, all I have to do is log in to the school website and I can do any of those things.  I can even print homework worksheets out at home if my son forgets his homework.

5.  Digital test taking – My one son’s teacher told me they take their tests on laptops, turn it on on the computer, it’s graded on the computer, and they received their test scores back on the computer. She showed me a locked mobile metal cabinet that held lots of slim laptop all hooked up to chargers in the cabinet.

6.  Lunch tickets are long gone – I remember my mom having to remember to give me lunch money.  We got reduced price meals so I’d have to go in the free and reduced price line to buy a ticket then go through the line to get my food.  As a teenager I remember being kind of embarrassed about that.  Now no one has to know how much you pay (or don’t pay) for your lunch.  I can add money to my kids’ lunch accounts online. When they go through the lunch line they just have to type in their student id number to debit their account for lunch.  Wish that was around when I was a kid.

Attending “Meet the Teacher Night” also give me a chance to meet my kids’ teachers face to face. It lets me see what kind of environment my kids are learning in.  By talking to my son’s science teacher, I found out he majored in 4 different areas and is capable of teaching 4 different subjects at the school.  He continues to learn. He said he’s currently taking a course on black holes.  All the tech in the world can’t beat a good teacher.

Teaching or Tech

What has changed since you’ve been in school?  What technologies does your or your kids school have? What back to school tips do you have?  Share your stories using #FallBackToSchool

 

Safe Sleep From the Start – Safe Sleep Practices With HALO

I did not receive compensation for this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

 

Through HALO’s Safer Way To Seep  In-Hospital program  hospitals and NICUs across the country replaced nursing blankets with SleepSack Swaddles increasing parent education on safe infant sleep practices from day one.  HALO SleepSack Swaddles are now used in over 1400 hospitals across the country.

HALO had also introduced the Bassinest Swivel Sleeper making it safer to have baby close to you at night without bed sharing.  I remember as a new parent, with ALL 4 of my kids. I was always so nervous the first few nights they actually slept for a couple hours without waking.  I’d get up and check on them just to make sure they were ok.  I remember all the safety rules for safe infant sleeping and was a bit obsessive about it. I wanted to do everything I could to make my baby safe.

HALO safe sleep

Here the safe sleep practices from HALO:

ALWAYS

  • Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
  • Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers, pillows and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
  • Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
  • Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
  • Room share, but don’t bed share. Bed sharing can put a child at risk of suffocation.

 

NEVER

  • Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
  • Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.

From July 20-July 26 HALO is promoting their “Safe Sleep from the Start” campaign on Facebook where they are giving away a HALO Bassinest and a SleepSack Swaddle to one lucky winner.  Upload a picture of your baby in a SleepSack Swaddle or SleepSack and use hashtag #Halofromthestart  for full rules visit the HALO facebook page.

GIVEAWAY

1 Luv Saving Money reader will win 

a HALO SleepSack Swaddle (newborn or small) OR 

HALO SleepSack (small, medium, or large)

Open to US and Canada

HALO Safe Sleep from the Start