Powerful Message: “I Am Somebody”

2020 continues to teach our family important lessons. Recently, I was asked to feature a book that will be launching on Friday, November 20 and of course just hearing the press blurb had me saying yes. What I didn’t expect was how powerful the message was to me as a mother and what we parents instill in our children. May this message bless you and your family today, too.

In “Little Bremar: I Am Somebody”, Pittsburgh Public School teacher, Tracy Johns shares an affirmation that resounded with me as a mother through the experience of first grader Bremar. This book will be the “first book in a series of “Little Bremar” books, and is inspired by the belief that each child has unlimited potential and deserves to see their beauty reflected in literature. The book series is dedicated to children of color all around the world, and their parents, as this group does not always get to see themselves represented in an accurate or affirming light.” (Source: Findlay House Media)

Through the story, Bremar expresses fears of speaking in front of his class and their families, but in the end remembers his confidence is deep down inside him, regardless of the fears that he may face in the world around him.

For families of color, this book hopes to allow for connection to characters often misrepresented in literacy. Tracy Johns gives a beautiful gift to children and families through the characters in this book and the message of hope and inspiration.

You can find “Little Bremar: I Am Somebody” on Amazon and at Tracy John’s website, melanatedvoicesllc.com.

Make the Season Sparkle the ZURU SPARKLE GIRLZ Way!

The twins just unboxed a whole lot of sparkle and are super excited to show you what they got a sneak peek at! This gifting season, ZURU is launching their Sparkle Girlz line – super affordable (starting at $4.99) dolls that bring your little ones fun, fantasy, and fashion!

Isn’t this basket full of dolls super fun?

So many sparkling options!

Ava and Isla were wowed by all of the options in their box of Sparkle Girls from Zuru. Truth be told, they didn’t even know where to begin. Thankfully I narrowed down the choices for them and got the first glance at the box we were sent. Yinz. These girls were spoiled with the sparkle! We put a few back to go to some of our Christmas giving endeavours to pass the blessing on, but you can check out their initial reactions here.

Zuru Sparkle Girls line has so many sparkling options to bring fun, fashion, and fantasy to your home this holiday season. Check out the information on the line that our pals at Zuru shared with us, each with a tidbit of love from the twins following.

Sparkle Girlz Set of 7 Princess Collection

Featuring seven unique and individual dolls, the  ZURU Sparkle Girlz Set of 7 Princess Collection is the perfect gift!   Touting a message of kindness and courage, and encouraging others to believe in themselves and the magic of dreams, Sparkle Girlz inspires magic, imagination and sparkle!   Featuring long soft hair complete with a magical sparkle highlight, each articulated Sparkle Girlz Princess doll is dressed in beautiful, sparkle and colorful outfits that can be swapped with one another down to the shoes!  Ages 3+, SRP $29.99. Available at Walmart.

source: Zuru
sparkle-girls-princesses

Isla’s first reaction to this set was that the princesses were in a “rainbow of skin colors” and that there were girls with skin like hers and like Ava’s and likely any girl would find a doll that looked like them. “Mommy! The red head looks like your friend Amber!” – Ava was quite excited to point that out ad she’s not wrong!

Sparkle Girlz Unicorn and Unicorn Set

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Baby Unicorn are the perfect pocket-sized friend for magical adventures.  The bedazzled unicorn loves sunshine, rainbows and all things sparkly!  Brush her tail, twirl a bun, and take note of the beautiful sparkle detailing on each unicorn’s horn, adding  an extra magical look. There are 4 different baby unicorns to collect. Sparkle all day at an amazing value too! Ages 3+, SRP $1.99, available at Walmart.

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Unicorn are a set of 3 brightly colored unicorns with beautiful hair! Each unicorn embraces its unique style and their horns have glitter highlights along with gorgeous details on their hooves as well! Boy they really sparkle! Each unicorn has a moveable head for endless poses and you can pose the medium-sized unicorn’s legs as she can stand up or lie down! Build your sparkle kingdom with the addition of these magical creatures. Sparkle every day at an amazing value too! Ages 3+, SRP $9.99 – Available at Walmart.

Both the girls loved the ponies/unicorns. Ava wears her hair with a little unicorn swirl, so of course she loved styling these (Mama’s) pocket sized friends’ hair with a twist like her’s! The baby unicorns are the perfect size for stocking stuffers and what a great price point!

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Unicorn Princess Doll

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Unicorn Princess Doll is ready to ride towards a magical adventure. In the sparkle kingdom, Unicorn Princesses are guardians of magic and they love to play and explore new places. Each doll’s outfit is beautifully detailed with sparkle and color and are easily removable to swap with other Sparkle Girlz. Brush and style the doll’s beautiful long soft hair and let that magical sparkle highlight shine! With moveable arms, legs and head, there’s so many ways to have extra imagination fun! There are 4 Unicorn Princess dolls to collect.  Sparkle every day at an amazing value! Ages 3+, SRP $4.99. Available at Walmart, and there are also fairies and individual princess dolls to choose from!

The girls just LOVE unicorns if they hadn’t told you that already. They love the swappable outfits and how much these dolls sparkle!

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Mini Cone

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Mini Cone collectible dolls are the perfect pocket toys to create your very own fantasy world! Each doll comes with a beautiful removable skirt and features articulated arms and legs and bright colored hair! There are princesses, ballerinas, superheroes and fairies to collect! Build your very own fairytale store. Perfectly packaged in a convenient cone, these gorgeous mini’s make the ultimate party favors and gifts for friends too! Sparkle every day at an amazing value! Ages 3+, SRP $1.99. Available at Walmart.

Another great stocking stuffer option! The twins recommend these minis for playing in the car or giving to friends.

We didn’t get a chance to review the following, but they are also in the line:

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Doll Carry Case Wardrobe

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Doll Carry Case Wardrobe is a reversible sequins carry case and the ultimate accessory for every sparkle girl! This beautiful doll comes with a fully removable trendy outfit and brushable long her to style. The carry case also comes with reversible sequins on the outside for you to flip back and forward to reveal the different colors! Inside is a sparkle wardrobe where you can store and carry your Sparkle Girlz and all her accessories wherever you go! Collect Sparkle Girlz accessories (sold seperately) so that your whole wardrobe is ready to go and step out in style with this amazing Sparkle Girlz Set. Styles may vary. Sparkle every day at an amazing value too! Ages 3+, SRP $10.99. Available at Walmart.

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Cupcake Princess

ZURU Sparkle Girlz Cupcake Princess is an adorable toy for girls on the go! Waltz into the sparkle kingdom where this cupcake princess rules with kindness and compassion. She loves to spend time with her friends in her royal estate and her mini size makes it perfect to carry and have playtime just about anywhere! In the world of Sparkle Heart, princesses are strong, brave and make the perfect fashion companion. Each princess comes with colorful, sparkly outfits that can be interchangeable with other Sparkle Girlz Cupcake doll outfits and other fitting doll clothes (sold separately). There are 4 royal cupcake princesses to collect. Sparkle every day at an amazing value too! Ages 3+, SRP $2.99. Available at Walmart.

Alright, now tell us which of these are your favorites that you’d love to see under the tree!

You’re Pulling My Leg

Covid-19 sure has made this a year to remember. In our house, we’re playing more games and using video calls more than ever. The kids seem to be very resilient to these changes and are learning some skills that we probably wouldn’t have thought to teach without being “stuck” home all these months. This week, we’re joining a blogging book tour for the release of two books geared to exactly that. In his “You’re Pulling My Leg” series, author Allen Wolf gives adults and families a way to play a unique storytelling game together – no matter where they live.

youre-pulling-my-leg
source: Morning Star Games

Since we’re a family blog, we checked out Wolf’s adaptation of You’re Pulling My Leg! game with the Junior version. It came at a great time – right before a road trip. In this book turned game, you and your loved ones will be presented with [age appropriate] questions to answer and then the other players vote if the story was true or made up.

Educational Benefits of You’re Pulling My Leg

Not only does a game like this pass time and help to build relationships, there are some educational benefits that your kids will pick up:

  • Promotes interaction
  • Develops interpersonal skills
  • Develops positive relationships
  • Develops storytelling skills
  • Promotes positive self-esteem
  • Motivates players
  • Encourages higher-level thinking

How to Play

First, you’ll need to decide which version of the book to pickup. If you’re going to play online, don’t worry you only need one person with a copy of the book. The adult version is for ages 13+ and Junior is for ages 9+ (but from our experience littles can answer these questions too).

You’ll also need a coin (or a coin-flipping phone app) and a way to keep score (there are also score pages at the back of the book).

Each player gets 7 points for voting (is the storyteller pulling my leg or telling the truth) and then the questions begin. The storyteller picks from three questions to answer then flips a coin and based on heads or tails tells a true story or makes one up.

Let’s Give it a Try

Here is Card 42 from the “You’re Pulling My Leg Junior” book:

TELL ME ABOUT…

a time when you were afraid of something in your closet or under your bed.

OR

a pet you wanted but didn’t get.

OR

a time when you did something that was difficult.

We’ll pretend I am the storyteller and I’ve flipped a coin to tell me if I tell the truth or a made up story. The question I’ll answer today is: “a pet you wanted but didn’t get”.

One time my parents were so frustrated about the pets my brother and I wanted – we already had a dog, cat, bird, and turtle and had been asking about a bunny. Mom said no more pets…but she said it like “No more 2 legged, 3 legged, 4 legged, 6 legged, 8 legged pets in this house!”

We started to scheme. I thought a snake would be a great idea but my little brother didn’t want to get in trouble with mom and he thought the snake might eat my bird so he changed my mind.

Now, you’ll go to the comments section and vote if you think I was telling the truth in this story or pulling your leg!

Each book contains over 600 questions and can be played over and over with the different people in your life. Spin up a video call with the grands who live far away and start asking questions. If you’re on a road trip or headed to a coffee shop, bring it along. This is a great in person or virtual game that helps challenge players and is guaranteed to make you laugh.

About You’re Pulling My Leg!

You can find out more about both versions of this book game through their publisher, Morning Star Games. Follow along with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for exclusive information on this and other games. You can purchase either book on Amazon (adult, junior) with MSRP at $12.99.

Ultimate Par-TEA with Itty Bitty Prettys

In our house, we celebrate many “days” like National Hot Dog Day or National Friendship Day. This Saturday, August 8, we’ll be celebrating World Tea Party Day! Just in time to celebrate, ZURU has set the table for the ultimate par-tea with Itty Bitty Prettys ™ Tea Party Surprise!

World Tea Party Day – August 8

Aren’t tea parties with friends just the best? Remember bringing your dolls or stuffed animals, dressing up the dog or your ‘lil brother and pretending to sip on steaming hot tea? Maybe you added pretend cookies or donned your best dress and gloves.

This Saturday, August 8, 2020, is a great days to let your ‘lil ones celebrate and pretend, too! Zuru, an award winning toy company, has released a modern take on the traditional tea party and will be celebrating with an ulimate par-tea with Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise.

We have joined up with ZURU to bring you all the details about how they’ll be celebrating friendship, fun, and fashion. Keep your eyes on social media (including Instagram and YouTube) to hear from us + other influencers as we celebrate inclusivity, encourage kindness, and discover this just launched line from Zuru!

Itty Bitty Prettys – Time to Par-TEA!

These collectible dolls are perfect for kids who love to unbox mystery bags, search for rares, and trade with friends. Our twins were very excited to have their ultimate par-tea with their new doll friends, mom, and The Bigs. They dressed up, brought their dolls, and enjoyed some cookies while unboxing their new friends.

Check out how it went:

What we LOVE:

  • The GLASSES! One of our twins wears glasses, so she LOVED that the dolls all had them, too.
  • The inclusivity! Our twins have started to pick up on toys looking “just like them”, loving that there were some dolls in several shades of color. The twins picked the surprise dolls that matched their sister – extra sweet!
  • The outfits! Super adorable fashion accessories come with – earrings, shoes, skirts, crowns, and capes. ZURU did not miss a DETAIL here!
itty bitty prettys

Parental Warning:

These dolls come with many small pieces and some bags of dough. Additionally, you’ll need to be there to help with the water/tea bags/fizz and to put the clothes on. We made it a family event! Listen to the age suggestions on this one and watch your feet for those ‘lil parts when the par-TEA is over. BUT DEFINITELY add these toys to your kiddos’ collection!

Itty Bitty Prettys – The Details

Here are the details that Zuru shared with us about these adorable dolls and information on how YOU can get your own set!

The Itty Bitty Prettys range includes thirteen stylish Itty Bittys, plus one super rare Royal Tea doll, each touting a distinct, modern party-prowess bring the latest fashion and swapability factor to the par-tea. A complete party-in-a-cup, Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise includes surprise magic tea bags and fizzing sugar cubes that, when mixed with water reveal jewelry, accessories
and other surprise necessities to help dress and style an Itty Bitty Prettys dolls and host a party!

The layers of fun also include compounds that allow for molding and making treats, working teacups and saucers, and more. The Itty Bitty Prettys Giant Teacup Playset includes everything one needs to host the most epic tea party. Available in two surprise friendship themes each with two dolls, the respective
themed playset features more than 25 surprises including a convertible table, spoon, working teacup and teapot, stylish accessories including shoes and jewelry, two Itty Bitty pets, dissolvable tea bags, fizzing ‘sugar’ cubes and more. Four dolls plus a rare Itty bitty Pretty can be found in the The Giant Teacup Playset. Designed for ages 4+, Itty Bitty Pretty Little Tea
Cups will be available for $29.99

Itty Bitty Prettys Little Tea Cup features 12 surprises and eight fabulous dolls to collect. The Little Tea Cup includes a working teacup, a saucer that also serves as a doll stand, an Itty Pretty doll, a swapable doll outfit and a set of stylish accessories including shoes, jewelry, eyewear and more. Additional tea party must-haves include a magic teaba, fizzing cube, cotton candy dough and more. Designed for ages 4+, Itty Bitty Prettys Little Tea Cups will be available for $9.99.

ZURU Toys Press Release

Itty Bitty Prettys Tea Party Surprise is available at Walmart and Target.

For more info, visit www.zuru.com, and
follow on Facebook @ZURUToys, Twitter @ZURUToys and Instagram @ZURU.toys.

itty bitty prettys tea party surprise

Kids Virtual 10 | EQT 10 Miler

It’s time to announce another Pittsburgh running event with an option for lil Burghers – the 2020 EQT 10 Miler’s Kids Virtual 10! Our mom will be running the adult version (the EQT 10 Miler) on November 8 – be sure yinz tell the parents about that (or send them to her blog for more info).

Kids Virtual 10

EQT 10 Miler | Kids Virtual 10

Here is what you need to know:

  • Race Type: Challenge! Kids will complete 10 fitness activities at home or wherever they chose
  • Medal: YES
  • Swag – YES! a mini Pittsburgh Box celebrating Pittsburgh fun!
  • Register here!
  • Cost: $15

Why Register

Pittsburgh’s running community loves supporting kids who want to get out and be active. We are four of those kiddos! This challenge is new and a first for P3R to offer. With 10 activities to complete for this challenge, the Kids Virtual 10 should present some fun options to get families out and moving this fall.

Who will you complete your challenges with this year? What challenges do you think will be part of the 10 to complete the challenge?

Check out other 2020 P3R events here – some with promotional codes to save on registration! Looking for a road race for your ‘lil Burghers? There’s still time to get in on the Liberty Mile or the Junior Great Race in 2020!

Below are details for kids AND parents to register. Good luck, runners!

Live EQT 10 Miler
Virtual EQT 10 Miler
Kids EQT 10 Miler
* Code WILLIS10 does NOT save 10% on the Kids Virtual 10 *

Kids of STEEL Challenge

The Kids of STEEL team has some exciting news for Pittsburgh kiddos who love to run. Similar to the RUNwithP3R Challenge, your child can earn an extra medal by completing the Kids of STEEL Challenge in 2020!

What is the Kids of STEEL Challenge?

By running three designated races (each a one mile distance), the 2020 Kids of STEEL Challenge will help keep Pittsburgh kids running this summer and fall. The three races to complete are:

  1. Pittsburgh Kids Marathon ✅ (would need to have ran this in May 2020)
  2. Fleet Feet Liberty Mile 🔲 more details here
  3. Dollar Bank Junior Great Race 🔲 more details here
source: Kidsofsteel on Facebook

Kids will get this fourth medal in addition to the other three they earned running those races! There are over 4,000 kids who ran a virtual race in May that are eligible for this challenge – will you be one of the ‘lil Burghers who takes this challenge on?

Facts about Kids of STEEL

Our friends at P3R, the engine behind Pittsburgh’s running events, shared the following with us about Kids of STEEL:

  • 2020 Kids of STEEL Challenge Medal inspires kids and their families to stay moving together throughout the whole year. 
  • Over 8,000 Kids in the Kids of STEEL program in 2020.
  • Nearly 4,000 ran a virtual race in May.
  • The challenge to complete all 3 races (Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon + Fleet Feet Liberty Mile + Dollar Bank Junior Great Race) is great motivation to keep moving and build healthy habits, and more importantly, stick to them all year.
  • The Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon is the most popular of the youth races and is sometimes their first race experience. We want them to build off of this foundation of running with P3R!

PS: Kids – be sure to check out this FREE youth training guide from Kids Of Steel AND follow them on Instagram (@kidsofsteelpgh) for running workouts!

2020 Fleet Feet Liberty Mile

Do you know what is “short, fast and fun for the whole family”? This summer (by August 7), record your fastest one mile run with the Fleet Feet Liberty Mile! It is a race any ‘Burgher can take on anywhere at any time!

With so many road races going virtual in 2020, families have the chance to move together all year long and P3R, the engine behind Pittsburgh’s greatest races, is committed to continue inspiring any and all to run in these unprecedented times.

source: LibertyMile.org

The Fleet Feet Liberty Mile has been a race on mom’s radar for a few years – it is a personal challenge to log a “PB” – a personal best – at this distance. When the race was an in-person event, it ran down Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh – a fast and flat part of our beloved Pittsburgh Marathon course. The excitement of a race like this was high, but it happened on Friday evenings and always seemed to be the same time she’d be away for a work conference. This year, we will all be able to run it “solo together” – logging our best miles locally!

What is the benefit of registering (and paying $15) to run this virtual race? You will still get (for a $5 shipping fee) your shirt and medal. (2020 is the first year this race is offering a medal!) You’ll be part of continuing Pittsburgh’s traditions of running…and maybe start a tradition of your own!

The Fleet Feet Liberty Mile is open to ALL AGES. You can register here and record your times by August 7, 2020. Happy running!

PS: Kids – be sure to check out this FREE youth training guide from Kids Of Steel AND follow them on Instagram (@kidsofsteelpgh) for running workouts!

Use Your Imagination Instead of Your Screen

Hey, friends. Mama Burgher over here, big cup of coffee in hand. It is day three of summer break in Western Pennsylvania and I am already tired of telling the kids to get outside, put down the electronics. Thankfully I recently found out about a book authored by a 10-year-old who gets me. In “Legends From Mom’s Closet”, Sasha Olsen shares her summer adventure of learning about historical legends, using her imagination and not a screen.

Sasha’s book is coming out in a few days, but this busy ‘lil lady took the time to share a guest post with us as part of a virtual book tour she’s doing on blogs like ours. Details on ordering “Legends From Mom’s Closet” can be found below.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION INSTEAD OF YOUR SCREEN

By Sasha Olsen

My name is Sasha Olsen. I’ve lived on the beach in South Florida since I was a baby. I have many hobbies; some are ballroom dancing and playing piano! This past summer, I also started working on my first book Legends from Mom’s Closet. Back then, I was spending a lot of time inside because of the stormy weather. Most of us have also been stuck indoors recently because of the quarantine situation. A lot of kids my age started distance learning in March, so I think it’s a really great time to share my story with everyone!

Instead of getting onto the computer or using phones, I think we should use our creativity to start new projects with what surrounds us. I realize more and more every day that there is just so much we can do at home. When I read about some amazing women legends last summer, I wanted to feel a bit more of what it would have been like to live a day in their shoes. So, I did exactly that! I started dressing up as them by getting creative and putting outfits together that showed off their signature styles. Most importantly, I was able to do this by rummaging in my mom’s closet and asking my grandma for help.

By reading my book, I think kids all around the world could get inspired to use their imagination to try something new. Last summer I also started my movement to help save the oceans, Iwantmyoceanback. So, I’m also always thinking of ways we can help the environment and reusing clothes is definitely one of them! Fast fashion is one of the biggest problems our planet deals with. That’s why it’s even more awesome to use what we already have for new projects, especially ones that help us learn something too.

source: Amazon

When I started Legends from Mom’s Closet, I realized that I would never end this project. Recreating looks from iconic legends and historic paintings is something I love to do. It helps me learn even more about that person or time period, and I see it as something everyone can do. Not just kids!

I actually started planning some new recreations with my little sister, so that we can read and learn more together. The whole family can even do it! It’s really fun and helps us think outside the box.

Nowadays when I’m not doing schoolwork, I look for new people to learn about and dress up as since we have more time on our hands. You can check out the legends I learn about and dress up as on my Instagram, legendsfrommomscloset. Maybe you’ll see someone you recognize or maybe you’ll meet someone new. Dress up as your role model or favorite legend and send it to us! I would love to see what you guys come up with and share it.

Sasha Olsen is a 10-year-old author, environmental activist, ballroom dancer, bookworm, pianist, and enjoys anything artistic. She always finds new hobbies and things to do, which usually ends up in her trying to juggle everything. She lives with her family in Bal Harbour, Florida, where she also spearheads the conservation movement “I Want My Ocean Back.” Legends From Mom’s Closet is her first book.

Connect with Sasha Olsen on Author’s Facebook, Instagram, or her website.

“Legends From Mom’s Closet” will be available on Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, and Sasha’s website. Find other things the ‘lil Burghers love here.

Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” Activity Pages (FREEBIE!)

Family movie nights are becoming a regular occurence around our house – anyone else feeling the same? With the early release of Disney and Pixar’s “Onward”, families can enjoy an adventurous film ahead of schedule! Released last week on Movies Anywhere and on Disney+ yesterday (April 3), this film is full of delight and surprise. Keep reading to get your FREE “Onward” Activity Pages, too!

Source: Disney Pixar

In ONWARD, teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, embarking on an extraordinary quest aboard Barley’s epic van Guinevere. Like any good quest, their journey is filled with magic spells, cryptic maps, impossible obstacles and unimaginable discoveries. But when the boys’ fearless mom Laurel (voice of Julia Louis-Dreyfus) realizes her sons are missing, she teams up with a part-lion, part-bat, part-scorpion, former warrior – aka The Manticore (voice of Octavia Spencer) – and heads off to find them. Perilous curses aside, this one magical day could mean more than any of them ever dreamed.

Source: Disney Pixar
Source: Disney Pixar

Our family (with kids ages 5 to 11) laughed, cried, cheered, and danced all throughout the movie. The next morning, the kids even asked if they could watch it again! As a mom of four, might I say that I’m loving all these Disney and Pixar storylines about siblings being there for each other?

“Onward” Activity Pages

Not only am I excited to share that “Onward” can be watched at home, but Disney and Pixar shared these “Onward” activity pages with me to give to you as FREE Printables!

I don’t know about you, but right now I’m loving being able to hand my kids coloring pages and let their creativity SOAR between home lessons. These have been great for brain breaks and morning work. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Check Out Onward

You can buy “Onward” digitally and on Movies Anywhere (for $19.99) OR catch it with a Disney+ subscription.

Staying Connected with XFinity (COVID-19 Response)

The world is in a very interesting place in our history. Many of you are probably feeling like this mom is – overwhelmed, overprepared, and underprepared. Together we are facing life trying to stay healthy and safe and at the same time spending much more time at home working and learning. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to stay connected to our family and friends through our internet provider, Comcast. They’ve shared some information with me that is helpful for all of us as we navigate through the reality of life responding to COVID-19.

How We’re Connected with Xfinity

To give you a little glimpse into what is happening day-to-day in the ‘lil Burghers house (not that you probably aren’t doing the same), here’s how we’re relying on our internet provider while the four kids are being schooled at home:

Mom wakes up around 6:00 to start her workday and connect to her client’s VPN. Kids wake up around 8:00, do chores, then connect to their Google classroom, Mo Willems’ doodles, zoo virtual tours, and more throughout the day. Mom is in her home office but has to “drop in” on the dot to check on how things are going because Dad is at work in healthcare. And to be honest? Music or Netflix is always streaming somewhere in the house for much needed brain breaks.

Clearly, this wouldn’t work if we didn’t have reliable internet.

And we’re definitely using more internet than usual with all this activity – check out what our xFi app showed me about our activity on Wednesday (our third day of social distancing with work and school added to the day).

That’s a LOT of work and learning happening and we’re so thankful to stay connected with Xfinity.

Comcast’s response to help keep Americans connected

Comcast has announced their commitment to connecting families over the next 60 days with some important initiatives.

“During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet
– for education, work, and personal health reasons,” said Dave Watson, Comcast Cable Chief Executive
Officer. “Our employees also live and work in virtually every community we serve, and we all share the
same belief that it’s our Company’s responsibility to step up and help out.”

source: Comcast

Here are the policies they have implemented to stand behind this commitment:

  • Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
  • Pausing Our Data Plan: With so many people working and educating from home, we want our customers to access the internet without thinking about data plans. While the vast majority of our customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, we are pausing our data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
  • No Disconnects or Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
  • Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: As announced Monday, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
  • News, Information and Educational Content on X1 and Flex: For those with school-age students at home, we’ve created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, we also have created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus. Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
  • 24×7 Network Monitoring: Underpinning all of these efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support our network operations. We engineer our network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, and continuously test, monitor and enhance our systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage. Our engineers and technicians staff our network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. We are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.

For more information and updates from Comcast related to Coronavirus, visit:
http://www.comcastcorporation.com/COVID-19/