Pittsburgh Event: Harlem Globetrotters

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Source: US Family Guide

It’s not too early to start to think about how you are going to spend your kids’ holiday vacation. This year, my family will be catching a show I’ve secretly wanted to see since I was young – The Harlem Globetrotters! Watching the commercials, I was always amazed by their skills and I just know my kids will love laughing at the antics, too.

 

There are two options for Pittsburgh families to check them out on Friday, December 26. There’s a 1 PM and 6 PM show at CONSOL Energy Center.

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to an arena near you with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime. The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year against the Washington Generals who were the last team to beat the Globetrotters in 1971, and are now coached by a former member of that team. They are on a mission and will do whatever it takes to win, with a new strategy that is sure to give the Globetrotters a run for their money.

Use promo code FAMGUIDE at harlemglobetrotters.com/tickets to save $7 off select tickets to either game.

Family Gift Idea from Best Buy: OLED TV

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. 

It’s the ultimate family gift, one I hope to bestow on my hard working hubby sometime soon…a family home theater! And with products from Best Buy like the LG OLED TV, these dreams are even more vivid now.

When I was asked to share with you about the LD OLED TV, it was immediately clear to that their tagline “The Ultimate Display” is true…and I didn’t even have to head over to LGOLEDatBestbuy.com to see the pictures to know that. All I had to do was read this:

Your first kiss. A baby’s first steps. The majesty of a desert sunset. Some things in life defy all explanation and must be experienced to be believed. Such is the case with LG’s latest display technology. With deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, it is unlike any technology you’ve ever seen, and it delivers a picture that exceeds your wildest imagination.

So what is the LG OLED TV?

The stunning design of LG OLED TV is only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point. Picture quality is spectacular, with Infinite Contrast that ranges from the most blazing whites to the deepest blacks. And, LG’s exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors.

·         Infinite contrast ratio and stunning color – delivers more natural, lifelike viewing.

·         4 Color Pixel technology enhances color range and accuracy.

·         Super thin design (consider how to show visually)

·         Find content faster with webOS

And what do the images on the screen look like? Well, this…

LG OLED TV

Source: Best Buy

And this…

LG OLED TV

Source: Best Buy

Vibrant, right? Well, that grabbed my attention and sent me out to Best Buy’s website to find out more. When you do, you’ll see that the screen is curved – that’s pretty cool technology to me, because it takes watching TV to a whole new level (if you’ve seen a movie on a curved screen, you know what I mean!). The nerd in me loves that the pixels are self-lighting and switch on and off individually to give the right ratio of contrast (a lot more like how your eyes naturally would see that peacock up above). Smart? That’s right – the webOS interface will get to know you and will suggest what you should watch next. And one more thing…this TV is super thin, which means a lot lighter to move into the man cave than some of the other TV’s we’ve had in our life.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find this 55-inch TV at Best buy with this model and SKU info: LG  55EC9300 SKU# 7846019 – OLED TV. Or, if you love Twitter parties, Best Buy is hosting an LG OLED Twitter Party on Thursday December 4th at 7PM CST. Feel free to join this party for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes. Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.

Holiday Tree

Time for a Bath

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Source: Sterlingbooks.com

My ‘lil Burghers love to take baths, but maybe yours do not. Getting dirty is fun, but getting clean isn’t always something they enjoy, right? InTime for a Bath, the bunnies your children may know from Phillis Gershator and David Walker’s Time for a Hug show kids how much fun the activities leading up to and including taking a bath can be.

 

The storyline of Time for a Bath runs through the four seasons, playing in different environments like mud puddles or summer sunshine causing melty ice cream. (The seasons really make me miss summer on days like we’ve had here in Pittsburgh the past few weeks!) If a ‘lil bunny can have all this fun getting dirty and then cleaning up after, your ‘lil ones sure can, too.

 

At $9.95 (suggested Retail Value), this book is geared toward kids ages 3-5 (or even a ‘lil above – Arianna’s 6 and giggled through). It is part of Sterling Publishing’s Snuggle Time Stories, books that fit well with bedtime.

 

You can find more books from author Phillis Gershator and illustrator David Walker by visiting their links, too.

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And with this? Mama is off to enjoy a quiet shower while the kids nap and all the other adults are out of the house. Ah!

McCafe Moments (from McDonald’s)

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

 

  McCafeCoffee

Ah, coffee. My love for it started when I was just a kid (my dad used to give me sips of his, and now I do this with Evan – Arianna has no time for it). But my real love of a a morning coffee about 3 weeks after I got pregnant with Arianna. Just plain, with a little bit of sweetener (the yellow pack). It went away for a few years, then when I started my weight loss journey I picked the habit back up again (go figure).

It’s funny my next sentence includes McDonald’s, but I’m not going to lie – they’ve been a lifesaver the past few mornings. Their McCafe coffees start at the simple, yet delicious coffee and go to mochas (including some brand new ones for the holidays), hot chocolates, and smoothies. Made from 100% Arabica beans, this coffee goes through a special filtration system and is brewed fresh every 30 minutes. (There’s even a video about the special process to brew it!)

I’ll be honest – at my local McDonald’s, the coffee almost tastes too hot, but that could be the pregnancy hormones talking. At the same time, I was excited to be sent a 12-pack of K-Cups and some ground coffee to test out at home. My thought was that I could brew it and it not bring the burnt taste to my “tender” taste buds. This was the lifesaver part. I could walk up to the Keurig and brew my McDonald’s coffee right there, in my new mug. It was a glorious way to start the day.

McDonald’s also sent me some coupons to try out their food (like breakfast, which did go great with my coffee) and sandwiches (which Greg will enjoy). They even want you to have some joy in your life – I was sent an identical set to the one I was given for one lucky winner. You’ll have until November 16 at 11:59 PM to enter this giveaway, I can’t wait to hear you say “i’m lovin’ it” too. Good luck!

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17 Weeks (Give or Take)

When are pregnant with twins and your 9 week old embryos measure almost 10 and your 14 week belly measures 17, things like having 18 week appointments and 20 week ultrasounds happen a little early. Related, your initial due date of April 20 slides to April 11 and your doctor warns you that could change after said ultrasound.

With this in mind, today was my 18 week checkup.  I wore a brand new shirt, courtesy of Kohl’s (I’m a member of their Yes2You rewards program and am testing some fun features out) and accented lightly with some of my cherished Premier Designs pieces (pss…we are partying in December and I want to see some faces).

image

At my appointment, I learned that…

I have gained 18 pounds. Eek. Doctor does not say eek. She says this is a big growth time and HELLO, I am carrying two babies. I was also fresh from breakfast and my morning water splurges.

My blood pressure is fine. This makes me happy, around 28 weeks with Evan it was scaring me and I spent a night in the hospital.

Baby A had a heart rate of 141. Baby B had a heart rate of 149. Baby C is a figment of imagination for Jess and Gina to argue over who raises.

My belly, which has carried three pregnancies and four babies, is measuring 22 weeks, so almost 5 weeks ahead. No wonder my lungs feel pressure.

The ultrasound is Monday, but I have sided with Greg. We want a surprise when it comes to the sex of the babies. It will be hard for this planner, but worth the magical feeling. If you’re wondering, that means 8 names need picked (2 firsts, 2 middles, times 2 for each sex) and 2 grey/white coming home outfits need bought with pink and blue accessories ready. Other than that, it’s white onesies!

This round has been much healthier and happier than the others, even with a lot of transition in our lives. We are grateful and excited and overwhelmed all at once.

Months to Go: Cannot Sleep

It’s early compared to my desired sleep schedule. It’s late compared to my running/training/beast mode sleep schedule. But 6 AM really isn’t that bad, is it?

Well, any way you look at it, I am awake. At almost 17 weeks into this pregnancy, I have hit the “wake up by 4 AM and not fall back to sleep until your alarm is 20 minutes from bleeping” portion of the preggo sleep problem and it is wearing me down! 

You see, it’s not just that I can’t fall back to sleep. I get up to pee and then want a drink which leads to wanting (what I have phrased) first breakfast which leads to Facebook browsing which leads to thinking of my to do list.  If you give a preggers a cookie…

And, can we talk about the fact that pairing my inability to sleep with my asthma, an apple sized (I’ve lost track, probably bigger with the giant babies tall genes from Greg’s family and my uncles and brother’s side of mine) baby tucked up in a rib already, and a 2 week cold that just won’t become a cold is not fun. Vapor Rub and I have a love hate thing. My inhaler thinks I am in training again. And sleeping for more than 10 seconds on my right side? Forget it. Sorry, baby A and left arm. You will probably continue to be nestled in my pregnancy wedge for 5 more months. 2 down, 5 to go. Yup, got a relief for the 1st month of knowing I was pregnant and actually was able to sleep. A lot. Thanks for those days, body.

And now? The sun is coming up. All of my lovies and snoozing tight, sweet little breaths and the occasional snore from the big one. Even the babies feel nestled in and comfy. But not mama.

I may have months to go and cannot sleep, but yes, I will go with what people keep telling me. It’s worth it. The lack of sleep, the gaining of a belly (and buying of new pants), the acid I spew from my mouth even in week 16, the numbness in my hip, and the want to eat all the pizza and ice cream but telling myself back away. It’s worth it. 

Both of my babies have already taught me that. Arianna, especially. I went through a lot with her emotionally (and still do, to be honest); but watching her READ (she’s reading!), write (definitely has had MOM down pat for a few years, gold stars for that), and draw (we have an artist on our hands) make me so proud and so glad she’s ours. And Evan. When he grabs my hand with his baby soft palms and asks me to “come see” his block buildings or draws me scribbles of the babies in my tummy or snuggles up after a nap, I know how much he loves being ours. And the best part? We get to watch in awe and wonder as two more bring us up as parents. It will be awesome.

And totally worth the fact that I am going to rest my eyes for another 35 minutes before a fun filled work day and rainy trick-or-treat.  I got this. Because they got me.

And totally worth this throwback to Arianna’s first Halloween (6 years ago).

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Goldfish Swim School

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Our ‘lil guy will be starting Swim School soon, and we’re thinking some of you may be interested in checking out Goldfish Swim School, too.

Goldfish Swim School will open in the Pittsburgh area on November 16. The pools are always 90 degrees, so there’s no worries about chilly water when you’re learning to swim in the winter! We’re excited about this and will be telling you more as we head over to this new opportunity in the next few months. There are even Family Swims scheduled during times that working parents can come, too!

You can find out more about this school in Wexford by going to www.goldfishswimschool.com or their Facebook page to see what they have going on.

GoldfishSwimSchool

Ringling Bros. Circus

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

I’ll be for real. I have a serious thing about clowns. My brother got picked on by one when we were little, and I sort of can’t get over it. But my kids? They love the circus and elephants and clowns and all things fun that Ringling Bros. Circus will be bringing to town on November 5 and 6.

And well, we’ll be there to enjoy it all. They tell me they’ll hold me and make me feel ok. They’d better be on their promise. I’m looking for some Pittsburghers who want to spend an evening with their family at the Circus, too. That’s why when I was asked to give away a family four-pack of tickets, I couldn’t say no. This is going to be a quick giveaway, though. Ringling Bros. Circus will be in Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center, presenting Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built to Amaze on November 5 -9. The giveaway will be for 4 tickets for November 5 or 6 7 PM performance.

Circus performers from across the globe create the perfect blend of athleticism and bravery, where power meets fearlessness and amazement has no bounds.  Magnificent elephants, ferocious tigers, astonishing acrobats and awe-inspiring aerialists are engineered into one spectacular performance.

(Source: www.ringling.com)

Ok, I should be just fine. How fun does this look?

Ringling Bros. Circus

Source: @ringlingbros Twitter Account

 

And clowns? I see none. I got this. But it will  be more fun if you can join us. So enter this giveaway today, and tell your friends.

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Prenatal Multi

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

I’m very open in admitting that my first two pregnancies were not at all healthy. With Arianna, I was stressed out and lost weight, living on crackers and tacos between [nine-month] morning sickness. With Evan, I was in a happy place and ate and ate and ate my way to my heaviest weight through [nine-month] morning sickness. Taking a Prenatal Multi Vitamin just did not happen. I could not swallow or handle the taste of “horse pills”.

When Garden of Life offered to send me their Kind Organics Prenatal Multi (a whole food multivitamin that is naturally gluten free and has no GMOs), I decided to give them a try for this round of babymaking. I was surprised that I needed to take three vitamins to get my “fill” of daily needed vitamins (like A, B6, Iron, and more), but after reading all the organic foods (like carrot, parsley, lemon, beet, broccoli…over 30 fruits, veggies, and herbs) that go into it, it made sense to me. Yeah, the pills are big, but they look like chocolate and smell like berries. They aren’t that bad to swallow and do include a “Certified Organic Stomach Soothing Blend” that includes ginger and peppermint (both organic). And, the vitamins don’t have to be taken with food, so if mama isn’t feeling her best, she still can give them a try.

prenatal multi

Did you know some prenatals (this one!) can be used for pre-conception, pregnancy, and lactation? Yup. This multivitamin will help me keep up energy, develop the babies, and comfortably digest what I am eating (and I am eating this time around, healthy!).

If you’re expecting and are interested in giving the Kind Organics Prenatal Multi, or would like to see what other vitamins Garden of Life has to offer, check out the product list at organicmulti.com!

Demanding Dudley

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service below in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

 

“Say please.”

“What’s the magic word?”

“Pardon me! Is that how we ask for something we want?”

If you are saying these things daily (over and over again) like Greg and I do, perhaps it’s time to introduce a picture book from The Wiblets
collection that will teach your children about respect and the right way to get what they want. Our kids heard about 4 pages of Demanding Dudley before they realized the message we were trying to get through to them.

Source: thewiblets.com

It was that powerful that they knew right away what Dudley’s mama was going to teach them about how screaming and stomping does not get you the apple juice you want. Does it mean they took the message to heart and haven’t screamed or cried or stomped or yelled to get something they want, but it does mean that they think a little more about where those actions get them (the stairs for a ‘lil timeout!). But, all we have to do is remind them of Dudley:

In the case of Demanding Dudley, The Wiblets take on issues of thanklessness and impatience. Children will see the harmful effects of such negative behavior through the example of Dudley, a young Wiblet who forgets the value and importance of “using his magic words.” Dudley and his mother discuss the hows and whys of self-control and gratitude, ultimately demonstrating in a positive light how kindness and patience can go a long way in making and granting requests. After reading and discussing the story of Dudley with their children, parents can make use of the positive trigger question, “Are you being a Demanding Dudley?” in order to establish an immediate understanding with their child if and when the lessons taught by the book have been forgotten.

(From The Wiblets Press Release)

And you know what? I was actually supposed to share this info with you over a month ago, but the kids. Those kids of mine. They “stole” the book from my review pile and were “reading” it to each other to remind themselves (and their imaginary students) of how to ask for the right things. When I asked for it back to remind me of the colorful pictures and [adorable] text tone to show Dudley’s emotions, they told me they appreciated me asking with my magic words. Dudley taught them some big words,  not just the magic ones! Mom win.

If you’d like your own copy of Demanding Dudley, you can visit thewiblets.com or get a copy on Amazon for around $11. If your kids like Dudley, there are other Wiblets ready to teach them lessons through books and games on their website.

 

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