Summer Fun + Real World Skills: iD Tech Camps

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) Kids are getting stronger and smarter. They are empowered to go out and do great things (like starting companies and non-profits or inventing the latest tech) at a young age. With opportunities like iD Tech Camps to kick-start dreams of innovation, it’s no mystery why this is the trend.

iD Tech Camps

Source: iD Tech Camps

A few nights ago, I was putting Arianna to bed and she told me she wanted “to learn computer stuff like mommy“. She’d be a great fit for iD Tech Camps’ Coding and App Development Courses which would have her design a game and write blocks of code to bring it to life. There would be eight students per instructor, so she’d get plenty of attention but just enough independence to make her see just how awesome she is. At the end of camp, she’d be able to have us play it on iOS and Android. How cool is this?!?!  Honestly, I’m geeking out thinking about this option!

About iD Tech Camps

This summer, iD Tech Camps (the world’s #1 summer computer camp for kids and teens since 1999) will bring STEM learning experiences to help kids do big things. Students can learn about programming, robotics, game design, leadership and more at over 150 college campuses in the US this summer.

Curriculum is developed with all levels of learners in mind (courses are denoted as beginner, intermediate, advanced). Content is revamped every year – so repeat attendees will not be learning the same thing year after year. Kids can start at the age of 6 through 18. There are options for half- and full-day programs as well as day and overnight for their weeklong courses. To find the one best for your child, spend a few minutes with them over at the course catalog and narrow down based on age, experience, and interests.

As a woman in tech, I am super excited that there is an all girls program, Alexa Cafe, that empowers girls in tech:

At Alexa Café, girls tap into the power of technology, exploring leadership, entrepreneurship, and social activism along the way. Ideas take shape around café tables in a fresh, empowering setting. New friends join forces and collaborate to better our world.

Whether your daughter wants to code an app for charity, design her own video game, engineer wearable electronics, or discover the secrets of cyber security, she’ll create a project she’s passionate about and join an inspired community of girls in STEM. (Information from id Tech Camps)

Special Discount

If you’re intrigued and want to enroll your child in iD Tech Camps this summer, I urge you to act fast. These camps are selling out! To sweeten the experience, I’ve been given a promo code to help you save on iD Tech Camp enrollment through 8/31/17 – please use LILBURGHERS17 when enrolling at for $75 off a regular week of camp or $30 off of a week at iD Tech Mini.

In Pittsburgh? Carnegie Mellon University is our local iD Tech campus with programs starting June 5-9.


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Someone’s 33!

Wishing you a happy birthday, Greg!

May 33 be a year filled with love and happiness. It’s already off to a great start. xoxo

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A Trip to the Dentist

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) Today was a trip to the dentist for five of the six of us. This will probably never happen again until the kids are older, but we survived and of course there are stories to tell.

Evan went first with his pearly whites and (no surprise) no issues. He was behaved and did well in the chair – at least we assume because he went back by himself. There was a small meltdown about an hour into the visit when he saw the toy that Arianna came out with to which he proclaimed his toy was for babies. Alas.

Isla went back with Daddy moments after Evan. She was a perfect little lady, it sounds like. She let the hygienist and dentist take a look at her teeth and do a little brushing demonstration. Later in the lobby she showed Mama how she brushes her teeth. We’re proud of baby’s first visit to the dentist!

trip to the dentist

Arianna was next. As expected, this kiddo is going to do a number on our bank account. She’ll be starting phase one of orthodontics with an expander soon. Short story – there is no space in her upper gums for her next (loose) baby tooth. Phase two is likely braces on top and bottom. She’s happy. We’re happy that there are no cavities to report.

Ava went in beside Arianna. Mama had the fun of accompanying her back for absolutely nothing. This ‘lil lady clamped her mouth shut and wouldn’t let anything happen. To avoid the risk of her hating the dentist forever, we backed down. Her ‘lil mouth stayed open for the rest of the visit while her daddy got his teeth checked out (and her older siblings placed bets on the number of cavities he’d have).

Thank goodness the dentist work is done for six months (except for Arianna’s ortho). It was a lot at once and the kids did really good considering the chaos that comes when all six of us roll into a business.

What is your strategy to get toddlers to brush their teeth? Help Ava and share your thoughts! 

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Just Between Friends: Greater Pittsburgh Sale

This spring, I am partnering with Just Between Friends to bring you information on their seasonal children’s and maternity consignment sale events. All opinions are my own. (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

Jed & Kelly Robie, parents of four and owners of Just Between Friends Pittsburgh, know what it’s like to raise a family of four kids (like us). It can be expensive, but they say it doesn’t have to be. Their seasonal consignment sales across the area bring ways for families to shop with confidence, at a good price, and even make money by consigning outgrown kid gear and clothing.

This spring, the team will be bringing two events to our area. The first is the Greater Pittsburgh sale from March 31 to April 2, 2017 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (in downtown Pittsburgh). All the details are available online, but here’s a quick summary of things you need to know before you shop (from me, a shop veteran and mom of four!).

Just Between Friends

Photo: @JBFPitt Facebook

Shopping the Just Between Friends Sale

Schedule your time to shop. There are a few options:

  • Are you a first-time parent or the one who always has to see things first? You might want to opt for the PRIME TIME PreSale on Thursday, March 30 from 12-9 PM. It will cost $10 paid in advance through their Eventbrite listing. You can’t show up with a ten and get in the door, sorry! I have shopped this shop when looking for a jogging stroller and I have to say it is worth it. While JBF makes sure all items are up to their standards, shopping early gets you the best of the best. You’ll pay a little more than you would later in the sale, but if you have to have it,  I say buy your tickets now or enter my giveaway! 
  • Browsing and have a list but you don’t want to spend the extra to be first in the door? There are going to be plenty of amazing deals the whole weekend, but you can shop for FREE starting Friday, March 31 from 9am-7pm and Saturday, April 1 from 9am-4pm. Consignors will be dropping off even more inventory on Friday night, so you just might find something Saturday that wasn’t there the day before. Maybe bring Grandma or Auntie with you and nudge them to get something baby must have? *wink* I’ve double shopped before! See something at the pre-sale but not quite sure you need it…then you go home and you really did want it. Bonus, shopping free is more money for you to spend on new-to-you items! 
  • Love a deal? Sunday, April 2 from 9am-1pm is your day. Admission is free and any items without a star are 50% off. This is how we scored on our double stroller with carseats and four bases the year we found out about the twins.

Bring a bag and extra hands. 

consignment shopping

Source: Greater Pittsburgh JBF

I recommend, if possible, leaving baby at home. Bring a stroller, wagon, or your biggest Thirty-One bag (hint, hint) and be ready to fill up on great deals. Bring a friend or your spouse and tag-team the areas. Keep your eyes open – you never know what you might find (and this goes for all weekend). This year, I’ll be on the hunt for coordinating 2T outfits for the twins.

Think ahead. 

If you have storage space, think ahead to outfits you’ll need the rest of the season. There will be other sales in the fall, but you won’t want shopper’s remorse for leaving a summer outfit on the rack. I promise spring and summer are just around the Allegheny river bend.

Shopping for twins? Here’s a handy list of twin items that includes our must-haves!

Selling at the Spring Sale

Consignors still have time to prepare their items to include in this event!!!

You get 60% of the sale price (less a $10 consignor fee). If you volunteer at the sale, you get 70%. There is an event on March 27 to teach you how to tag (I just might see you there…the twins are growing quickly and our space is dwindling!) or a valet tagging option (they tag for you, you’ll make less but have more time on your hands).

Just Between Friends Cosignor

Photo: @JBFPitt Facebook

Unsure if your baby equipment meets the standards to sell? There are guidelines and when you check-in your items, there is a station that checks everything over to be sure there are no recalls.

Bonus I read about on their Facebook page: If you cosign in this sale + pick up your items at the end of the sale, you can keep them tagged for the next sale, which isn’t that far off! (Don’t want to pick up? You can have any unsold items donated at the end of the sale.)



Join in with thousands of families who save 50-90% off retail prices and shop at this year’s Just Between Friends Greater Pittsburgh consignment sale March 31-April 1. Watch the blog for details on the next show in a few weeks!

Want to win tickets to the March 30 pre-sale and $25 in JBF bucks to spend at the sale? Enter my giveaway which runs through March 27 at 11:59 PM. Please share with all of your friends, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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My Half Marathon Journey: Part 3

Follow along with me as I share my half marathon journey – I’ll be running my second half in Pittsburgh this May – with weekly updates. (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

half marathon journey

Anyone else still feeling the effect of Daylight Saving Time? Truth be told, I cruised into work on Monday because yinz’all were sleeping in, but by Thursday I was right there with you. In the last two days, I hit snooze at least 27 times and I am so ready for bed as I’m typing up this post tonight. But, a deal is a deal, and I’m committed to this training and sharing of the plan!

Training Plan Status

Saturday: YFit 17.3 workout had my hands hurting. I still can’t do pull-ups, so I went to the rings when I realized I’d be doing something over 100 of them. There was a point where I almost fell backward doing the squat snatches, but it triggered something in me to make this more than a cross-training addition. I think it’s time to admit, even though I have a long way to go, that I really like CrossFit.

Sunday: Fought with my running app (Nike+) and compared it to my FitBit, S-Health, and MapMyRun to determine I ended up doing 5.34 miles on the trail at an 13:17 pace (1 hour 11 minutes, 11 minutes of that were walking). I WAS ECSTATIC. I was also COLD.


Monday: Full out run at work, 4 miles at 13:22. Still proud.

Tuesday: YFit + ab work that still has me hurting when I laugh.

Wednesday: 4 miles on the dreadmill at the Y. My first 1.5 miles were in the low 12-minute pace but then my head got the best of me and I slowed it down. By 2 miles I decided to kick up the incline and really slow down the pace (to about 14:30) for a mile before leveling off and doing a 12:45 mile. I didn’t quit like I thought I would. Ended up with a 13:20 pace and decided to write a post about running gear that night.

Thursday: I felt spent (DST kicking my butt) and accidentally stayed at work longer than I meant to. That got me in traffic, but I didn’t complain. I enjoyed the blue sky and then came home and pushed play on a Beachbody Country Heat workout. Even though I missed YFit, my routine was weighted…see?

(I held them both for the last 3 minutes, but held Ava about 30% of the workout. Ouch!)

Friday: Today was stretch day. Om!

Current Progress

February Miles (follow me on Nike+): 35.91
February Average Pace: 13:32

March Miles (so far): 26.46
March Average Pace (so far): 13:37 (-17 seconds from last week)
Current Projected Finish Time: 2:58 (+5 minutes from 2013 pace of 13:13 / 2:53)

What I’m listening to: Sit Still, Look Pretty gets me moving pretty quickly these days.

What’s coming up next? 6 mile run on Sunday, then 3’s this week.

Anybody else dreaming about Marathon weekend? Three dreams and counting over here.


If you’re running in the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon events, let me know. Be sure to follow along on my social media – I’ll be using #fitmomintheremaking #pghmarathon and #runpgh with my shares!


Read the rest of this series:

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 1 (March 3)

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 2 (March 10)

Read other Pittsburgh Running Blogs through Steff’s linkup: Run Steff Run

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Half Marathon Training Essentials

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) This list of half marathon training essentials comes to you from someone who grew up walking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test mile and turned into a running junkie. While I’ve been running for five years with a Half Marathon medal hanging in my house, I’m no expert but want to share as I go.

half marathon training essentials

Half Marathon Training Essentials

When I first started running, I had no idea how much gear runners really needed. Granted, I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy a hockey bag to fit your stuff, but it’s definitely more complicated than “I have feet and shoes, what more do I need?”.


Speaking of shoes, I’m not going to get into the shoe conversation. What I found best is to have your feet analyzed at a shoe store (we’re not talking the bargain stores either) and find the right shoe that works for you. Personally, I’ve tried lots of brands and have different shoes (like my kids, no favorites).

Be ready to spend, too. You’re going to want something that works and will last long miles with you. It’s worth it to spend $80 – $140 for a good pair of shoes. Think of the medical deductibles you are saving and tell yourself it is okay. (I am a sucker for watching sales and have gotten a few of mine on BOGO half-off deals!)

Also, be ready to replace. I’ll be breaking in my pair for race day in a few weeks. After shoes get 300 or so miles on them, it’s time to save them for a mud run.


Run a hole into your sock once and you’ll never do it again. Get some good socks and change them out often. Your socks are important because they’ll keep your feet cool and dry and (hopefully) blister free.


Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon events is just awful timing. We get dumped on with snow and cold, often having to get to the treadmill (I did four miles on it today). My boss (who has run multiple marathons and more), recommends Yaktrax cleats for training on the ice and snow. They slip over your shoes and help you get out when it’s warm enough to run but still snow covered.

Running Belt

As your runs get longer, you’ll want somewhere to put your fuel. For me, a running belt makes sure I have my phone and inhaler on me, always a must. This one will hold all your things and is adjustable as your running impacts your weight (in a good way!).

A Good Playlist

This one, 105 Songs for Running, is full of classics that will pump you up. If you don’t already have unlimited music on your phone, I suggest Amazon Prime Music to work on your playlist, too.

LED Running Light

Let’s face it, you aren’t going to be running in the daylight all the time. I recommend getting a slap-on LED wrist band to help others see you on your path at night.

Fitness Tracker

I’m a big fan of Nike+ Run Club (an app), Map My Run (also an app), and my FitBit Charge 2 (which monitors my Heart Rate and tracks my run/pace). You have to get what works for you and what will motivate you as you go. As for consistency, I find my FitBit to be closest while I use MapMyRun on the PC to confirm my distances. You can never be too sure.


Literally just days ago I fell in love with aminos for post-workout recovery. I’m not a health professional, so I’ll leave this one to you, but consider looking into a recovery beverage or cookie (yup!) that is going to make you feel flexible and recovered. Don’t play like me and sit at your desk without moving for hours after a run (again guilty tonight).

Foam Roller

After your run, you’re going to want to roll out all the ouchies. I have tried this foam roller and while it is pretty firm, it does the trick. One with trigger points is on my wish list, though!

Mental Toughness

Training for a half is tough. It is time consuming. You eat a lot. You cry a lot. You want to sleep a lot. Your spouse gets tired of you talking about running. Your pace is like a jack rabbit one day and a turtle the next. If you’re in it, you’re tough. Just believe in yourself.

A Plan

I’ve gone back and forth about a good plan. Many runners I know follow Hal Higdon’s plan. I’m mostly following his plan this time around, but I fall between beginning half-runner and novice half-runner. Whatever you pick, make it fit in your life.

What Else?

If you have done a Half Marathon or Marathon before, what are your must have items that you would add to this list?

If this list has helped you, please share this post!

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Financial Fitness

(*articles may contain affiliate links*) If you’ve been following along, the past few months around here have been sort of hectic when it comes to our finances. We’ve been working on our financial fitness and would like to share a ‘lil bit of our story with you so you can either cheer us on or learn from our mistakes and steps to get out.

(If you’re in debt – don’t feel alone. I’ve heard 80% of Americans are in debt.)

A few years back, I was ecstatic when we cleaned up debt from my single days (leaving a mortgage, car payment, and my student loans). On the work front, things were going good and I even recently started a new one that allowed Greg to go back to being a stay-at-home dad full-time.

financial fitness



Having things go wrong with our boiler, water heater and both cars wasn’t the problem. The problem was that we started living outside our means – splurging for things we shouldn’t have and not saving. We kept increasing our outgoing budget when our incoming pay increased. And when I put things on credit while I was off work longer than expected after having the twins, I didn’t stop. It was mostly groceries and gas, but I’d occasionally find a reason to treat myself, on future money that wasn’t guaranteed.

Most of us have done this, but have you done it to the point that you feel like your financial fitness is days away from flat-lining? That’s how I felt going into 2017, and between praying about it and talking to some others who have been in our shoes, we decided to start living “The Dave Way”, following the Dave Ramsey plan.

First, we started with a budget. Eek. It’s as simple as you have x income and y responsibilities. I freaked out…we were almost $1000 over budget (something we used to make up driving Uber and with my Thirty-One Business – both of which have slowed while we work on getting financially fit – perhaps more on that another day). Scary, right?

We realized we have to do something to get right, which is why the Dave Way is working for us. Instead of buying whatever groceries and gas we want, we’re using an envelope system to budget our groceries and then rolling the extras into the next month (in theory – we just started this part this month).

Not sure how to work with the envelope system? Get your one shipped right to your house – but promise you won’t charge it! There are plenty of ways to earn Amazon codes! 

The second big change for us was putting money away to be prepared for an emergency. Dave calls this Baby Step 1. We sold things, found money in the couch, and cashed in some money from cashback apps. Within a week, we put away money for emergency – and only true emergencies will pull from this fund.

And we are currently in Baby Step 2, a step dedicated to paying off the debt. We started with the smallest debts and put extra money to them. (Previously, I was putting whatever I felt was “a good round number” to the other debts, usually enough to keep cards from being at limits. This isn’t good practice!) As each debt gets paid off, we’ll roll the payments from those smaller debts into the next debt.

Our tax return helped put us in a financially secure spot for the next few months plus paid off NINE small-ish debts. Now it’s time to cut away at those bigger debts, living weird and like no one else. It feels scary and freeing at the same time.

Over the next few months to years, I’ll be sharing how things are going as we get financially fit. It’s going to be a long, slow process, but quite worth it. I’ll share our strategies and ways we’re bringing cash back into our pockets.

Pro Tip: If you are interested in learning more about what Dave Ramsey recommends, pick up a copy of Total Money Makeover and get all the details.

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Babywearing Still Works

The girls were snoring as the clock turned to 6:45. I stopped working on the (constant) project of reorganizing my office space and decided we should probably get dinner started, even though today had been a late lunch. Isla popped right up when I turned on the living room lights while Ava rubbed her eyes and pouted at me.

Arianna helped me get the girls set up with their “appetizers”, but Isla wasn’t having anything we offered her. She just weeped and weeped. As Arianna shrugged her shoulders at her littlest sister, I fought to get Ava’s legs out from under her bottom and into the high chair seat. This wasn’t going to work, middle sister just wanted to cling to her mama.

Not sure what else to do, I put my brown-eyed-girl on my hip and pulled chicken nuggets out of the freezer. We peeked into the dining room to confirm that Isla was good with chicky and that’s when things went further south than I’d expected.

The stuff hit the fan for all the kids when the tears started for Evan.

“I can’t draw my W’s, they look like N’s”, he said, throwing his blue marker across the table. Looking at the page in his 2015 summer journal, I saw no evidence of an N or a W. Just a blue circle with scribbles through it.

A nervous laugh might just have slipped from my lips.

It was at that moment that the ‘lil boy I thought was so innocent slipped a curse word in reaction to my mothering slip. I passed Ava to Arianna, pushing the bawling that commenced out of ears, and went right to Evan’s eye-level, confirming what my ears heard. While he claimed he didn’t say anything, he dug his face into the table.

“Six minutes. Upstairs. Go. No questions.” I tried to keep my cool because Isla was flinging cheese curls at my back trying to make everyone laugh. Turning around, I caught Ava’s eyes and realized I was going to be the only thing that would keep her calm.

Arianna went to get the ring sling and a smile came over Ava’s face. I slipped the nuggets in the microwave and the baby in the pocket of her comfy place. The tears came to a stop from the oldest twin while they started back up by the younger one, weeping as she begged for the chicken to be done.

As the timer for the nuggets singled both the meat and the timeout were over, I breathed a sigh of relief. The last ten minutes might have been some of the tougher ones in this motherhood journey, but they showed me just how much those four ‘lil ones need (and want) their mama.

Thank goodness babywearing still works.

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My Half Marathon Journey: Part 2

Follow along with me as I share my half marathon journey – I’ll be running my second half in Pittsburgh this May – with weekly updates. (*articles may contain affiliate links*)

half marathon journey


On the training front, this week was sort of quiet. I didn’t make any huge leaps and bounds on my time, I didn’t feel disappointed. I did, however, have a nightmare that we were late to the starting line and I was left just in front of the sweep car. Eek.

Training Plan Status

Saturday was an extra day of YFit for me, including 17.2 which even though it was only 12 minutes I was beat after…then we worked out. Eek! Sunday I skipped my run for a day at the Aviary with the family, but I jumped right back in on Monday. Today was a rest day (my body was glad for it after an intense YFit last night).

Current Progress

February Miles (follow me on Nike+): 35.91
February Average Pace: 13:32

March Miles (so far): 13.09 
March Average Pace (so far): 13:54 (+ 11 seconds from last week)
Current Projected Finish Time: 3:00 (+7 minutes from 2013 pace of 13:13 / 2:53) Note – I totally had 3:59 last week and that was NOT right by a whole hour! Oops! 

What I’m listening to: Only Wanna Sing has me quite pumped up during my runs. I might even jump a little.

Mentally, I am so excited. Running is basically all I can think about. It’s kind of crazy, this running thing. On Wednesday, I didn’t want to stop (but needed to because life called).


Pro Tip: If you are shredding your muscles training for an endurance event like a half marathon, order yourself this foam roller to help with muscle soreness. You’ll be so glad you did.

QUESTION! When is the right time to start breaking in my shoes for Race Day? I’ve been staring at them, so ready to put them on, but so scared to wear them out too soon. If you know, lemme know!

If you’re running in the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon events, let me know. Be sure to follow along on my social media – I’ll be using #fitmomintheremaking #pghmarathon and #runpgh with my shares!


Read the rest of this series:

My Half Marathon Journey: Part 1 (March 3)

Read other Pittsburgh Running Blogs through Steff’s linkup: Run Steff Run

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This morning, I had a gut check with Greg about us. He has no idea that is what it was, but it confirmed his unconditional love and acceptance of me.

We’ve been hearing about Me to We, ways to strengthen our marriages as to honor God, at church. Every week, a new focus and lesson finds us pulling closer together. Maybe that’s why this moment this morning worked like it did.

I needed to talk right that moment because something was bothering me in between pangs of pain from a toothache. This something could turn quickly into big thing that really could have an impact on our family (in a way I do not want) and if I didn’t talk to someone it was going to end in an anxiety attack. Thank goodness I was working from home. The problem for most people is that my husband was not really available in a place many would dare venture, but I barged in and sat on the side of the tub and let my tears and fears flow.

He put down the phone and listened, unconditionally. Easing my fears, making me feel worthy of his attention, his eyes connected with mine. He didn’t offer his tips for resolution any further than giving me a sense of sanity in my situation.

In that moment, Greg filled my cup and made me remember why I fell in love with and married him, why I’ll be staying with him forever. His love for me and my imperfections is unconditional.

While we may not always see eye to eye // don’t fit society’s typical marriage dynamic // cheered against in each other in a basketball game this afternoon // are not built the same // aren’t wired the same … we are just right for each other.

In a world where women are making a real difference and vying to be equal, I want to encourage you that finding a oneness with your life partner is also important to this balance, too. My mother-in-law shared how a bird’s wings (man and woman) must be equal to soar – and it’s so true, thus why I work to be the best part of our pair of wings that I can be.

Me & Greg – soaring as one at the Aviary’s Condor Court

Interested in a study on relationships? We highly recommend “Relatable” (affiliate links help us and our nest!).

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