Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp 2019

Review Disclaimer: We have a partnership with US Family Guide – they provide opportunities such as Challenger International Soccer Camp in exchange for reviews on this blog and our social media. All opinions are 100% our own.

source: US Family Guide

It might be hard to believe when we’re still in that time of year when it is 50-degrees one day and 30-degrees the next, but it is time to start planning what your kiddos are going to do when they’re off school this summer. For the last two summers, Evan has taken part in a Challenger Sports soccer camp and he’s excited to do the same this year.

Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp

You might remember that the program Evan was involved in the past two summers was British Soccer. This year, Challenger Sports is combining elements of that program with their TetraBrazil program and unveiling the all-new Challenger International Soccer Camp. Evan has had coaches from both the UK and Brazil, so I’m sure not too much is going to change other than bringing even more opportunities to get skills from coaches around the world.

International Soccer Camp will include instructional camp programs for ages 3 and up. The TinyTykes program (for ages 3-5) will include fundamental soccer activities, games, and stories, designed to enhance technical skills along with physical and social development. With the return of half and full-day programs for ages 6-16, students will get time for skill development, games, challenges, and competition each day.

challenger sports international soccer camp

Get Registered for International Soccer Camp

Challenger Sports, the leading soccer camp company in North America, is combining the most popular elements of their two existing industry-leading camp programs, British Soccer and TetraBrazil, integrating them into a collection of the most effective soccer practices used by youth teams around the world.

The new Challenger International Soccer Camp reflects the truly global nature of the sport today and provides young players with a wide variety of coaching styles, practices, and influences that will help them develop a well-rounded skill set.

We have taken the best coaching methodologies and practices from England, Brazil, Spain, USA and France and have woven them together in a multi-faceted on and off-field coaching experience.

Most camps will include a free soccer ball, T-shirt, Poster and Certificate, but please check your individual sessions on the next page to confirm this.

Any camp or clinic participant will receive the iChallenge App and 20 free skill-building videos!

Source: Challenger Sports

Interested in joining in the fun this summer? Search for the International Soccer Camp closest to you and then register. US Family Guide has shared with me that if you register 30 days before camp, your child will qualify for a free International Game Jersey!

Phantom of the Opera: Pittsburgh

Exciting news to share with you from Pittsbugh Cultural Trust – starting next week, you can catch THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in Pittsburgh! Part of PNC Broadway on Pittsburgh, this show will be in town February 20 to March 3, 2019.

Tickets for Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA are on sale for the triumphant return Pittsburgh engagement at the Benedum Center, 237 7th Street.  With newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design, this new version of PHANTOM is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this one of the largest productions on tour in North America.  This event is a season special part of the 2018-2019 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and Broadway Across America. 

Source: PITTSBURGH CULTURAL TRUST AND PNC BROADWAY IN PITTSBURGH

Tickets (currently starting at $36 for select performance) are on sale now and available at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at TrustArts.org, by calling Guest Services at 412-456-4800, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call 412-471-6930, online at TrustArts.org/GroupSales or in person at Theater Square Box Office. 

Pittsburgh Event Alert: Monster Jam 2019

This post is a partnership with ‘lil Burghers and Monster Jam – we received tickets to the show in exchange for sharing details about the event. All opinions are 100% our own.

It’s that time of year again…when Monster Jam comes back to Pittsburgh! The thrills return to PPG Paints Arena on Friday, February 8 through Sunday, February 10. Monster Jam 2019 will bring back some of your favorites and some new surprises. (Check out the list of scheduled performers here.)

Check out the fun we had in 2018!

Tickets start at $25 and there are four show options throughout the weekend. If you and your kiddos love trucks, dirt, and all the noise, get yourself to Monster Jam 2019. Find out more about this event on their official website.

What “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Left Us Craving

This post is a review of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh opening night performance of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory“. In exchange for this review, Cultural Trust provided us with tickets to the event. All opinions are 100% our own. 

Chocolate and more theater. I’ll just cut right to the chase. The opening night performance of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” left mama and Ari craving chocolate and more theater. 

If you get a chance to attend the remaining performances of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (through Sunday, February 3), you’ll know what we mean. You know when you’ve had something before but then something better comes along and you’re like where were you all my life? That’s the kind of craving this show gave us. 

Let’s reel it back to the 1990s. I never watched much TV but movies, especially ones with a musical set to give you a lifetime of earworms, they were my thing. I probably watched the Gene Wilder “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” no less than 100 times throughout my life. I am also addicted to chocolate, so maybe it was my inner Augustus coming out?!?! Seriously though, I loved the story of how a kid from (less than) humble beginnings could have the world in his hands just with his dreams and imagination. 

And this is where my career as an Accidental Admin probably makes a ton of sense – I live for this stuff! 

And it is the stuff I want my kids to grow up knowing, so of course, they’ve seen both movie versions of this classic. When the chance to see the show in person came up, I knew that Arianna would be the ‘lil Burgher to appreciate it the most. (Note, this show is for your older kiddos – we had to have a talk about some of the jokes and one word, but my 10-year-old is pretty aware of right and wrong so I think her senses were perked and she wanted to fact check her mama.)

Boy, was I right. The kiddo was on the edge of her seat the whole 2+ hours and I was right there with her. Between the tunes, the characters being brought to today’s time and space (the Mike TV/Wonka ipod crush scene for the parenting win, btw!), and the set…it was just amazing. This was the first I’ve seen cinematic effects like the digital curtains giving the stage depth and this mom in tech was awestruck. The boy who played Charlie was so spot on and Wonka had me believing I needed to dream more. And then I swear they pumped the scent of chocolate into the Benedum Center to top it all off!

If you and your family are looking for something to do to stay warm this week, this is it. And I warn you, you’ll catch the theater bug and want to sign up for some season tickets to upcoming shows too. The lineup they have in store is pretty incredible. Check out the official ticketing site for all the details on this week’s remaining shows or head over to trustarts.org to see what else is playing in town this week and beyond. You won’t want to miss this one!

Pittsburgh Events Alert: January 2019

2019 promises plenty of family fun in Pittsburgh! Our monthly events alert post will be a place you can find family-friendly fun throughout the month. If you have an event you’d like to add, please use the mail button to the right.

Pittsburgh Events Alert: January 2019

Family-Friendly Theater

January 18-19 (various times) – Moon Shot (recommended for ages 7+, tickets and more details through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust) – $12

January 21 (7:00 PM) – Let Freedom Sing, the 12th Annual Concert Celebration of the Martin Luther King Holiday (all ages, tickets and more details through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust) – $2+

January 29-Feb 3 (various times) – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (recommended for ages 6 and up, tickets and more details through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust) – $45+

Date Night Events

January 18 (7:00 PM) – Hamiltunes! An American Sing Along for Adults (more information available through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust). Free

January 25 (starting at 5:30 PM) – Gallery Crawl in the Cultural District (more information available through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust). Free

Theater: ELF The Musical (Pittsburgh through December 30)

Disclaimer: I received compensation in the form of tickets to this event; however, all opinions are my own. This post, ELF The Musical, is brought to you by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

ELF The Musical

Evan and I got to experience a season special event at Heinz Hall last evening for the opening performance of the Broadway musical ELF . We were familiar with the movie, but beyond wow’ed by the songs, cast, and costumes of the in-person production. We found ourselves giggling, high-fiving, and tapping our toes along with the entire show!

Source: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust


ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF.
 
Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit, ELF features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin(The Wedding Singer), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The production will feature direction by Sam Scalamoni and choreography by Connor Gallagher.

Info provided by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

ELF at Heinz Hall: Know Before You Go

First things first, this show is recommended for ages 8+. I got a mama gut punch as we stood in line to enter Heinz Hall thinking – the “what if’s” about youknowwho and what questions I might get after. Buddy more than covers the magic of Santa so I made it with no questions, but you never know.

Secondly, Heinz Hall has a new security process so arrive early. We got there with 20 minutes to spare (due to just getting home from vacation) but had to wait in a line wrapped around the building for security checks. We ended up missing the first song but found out about a window that you can watch through before you are able to be seated between numbers. I was holding in mild hysterics but all turned out okay!

Performance dates and times for ELF The Musical at Heinz Hall are Wednesday, December 26, Thursday, December 27, and Friday, December 28 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 29 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, December 30 at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. 

Tickets (starting at $31) are available at these official ticketing sources: www.TrustArts.org, by calling the Heinz Hall Box Office at 412-392-4900, or in person at either Heinz Hall Box Office (600 Penn Avenue), or Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue.  For groups of 10+ call 412-471-6930, online at TrustArts.org/GroupSales, or by email: groupsales@TrustArts.org.

Our Final Thoughts

Evan and I highly recommend this show! It is a great treat and a way to keep the Christmas spirit going through this last week of 2018. Go and enjoy!

Kennywood Holiday Lights 2018

This post is a collaboration with Kennywood Amusement Park for their Holiday Lights 2018. In exchange for sharing these deals with you, we’ll be taking the kids to their Holiday Lights. Thank you, Kennywood, for this opportunity!

Holiday Lights

It is the most wonderful time to check out Christmas lights, right? What makes it even better is when those lights are at one of the best family-friendly places in Pittsburgh! There are still three weekends to enjoy Kennywood’s Holiday Lights event! 

Heralded as “Pittsburgh’s best wintertime family tradition”, Kennywood Park is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays between now and Christmas, and nightly December 26-30 from 5 to 9 PM.

During these special hours, you and your family will enjoy some favorite rides, holiday music, hot chocolate to keep you warm, and of course an amazing light display! There will be light shows, photo opportunities (we LOVE the big tree), Santa, and Kenny! 

Get Your Holiday Lights Tickets

Tickets are available at the gate, on Kennywood’s website or at your local Giant Eagle store. My readers can save by purchasing tickets here for just $13.99 each! (Children 3 and under are free. Not included in the ticket price is a $1 amusement tax and processing fee.)

We will be visiting soon, so make sure you watch for our adventures on Instagram

Bonus! Stuff those stockings with deals on summer tickets to Kennywood and three other PA amusement parks by shopping here

About Kennywood Park (source: Kennywood.com)

Founded as a recreational playground far away from the hustle, bustle and smog of Downtown, the idyllic site overlooking the Monongahela River has transformed over the past 12 decades into one of the world’s great amusement parks, featuring rides and attractions fit for all ages. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, you’ll find three roller coasters that date back to the 1920s, each as fun as the day they opened nearly a century ago. Alongside those classic coasters come modern thrillers like Phantom’s Revenge, Exterminator and Sky Rocket. And opening Summer 2018, don’t miss Thomas Town™ at Kennywood. The second-largest permanent Thomas & Friends™ attraction in North America brings five new rides themed to the beloved children’s brand, plus live shows, an indoor play zone, and more.

Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO: A Pittsburgh Fall MUST!

The following post is a collaboration between ‘lil Burghers and Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO. In exchange for sharing this information with you, my family received four tickets to visit Idlewild during the event. All opinions are 100% my own. 

It has been a lovely start to fall in Pittsburgh, hasn’t it? With temperatures more like summer, I’m holding on to a hope that winter won’t be awful – will you go there with me? Yesterday was a perfect reminder of summer and we took advantage with a trip to Ligonier for Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO. The kids got a chance to do some “treating” and take on some of their favorite rides before the park closes.

Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO: A Pittsburgh Fall MUST!

Can I admit that in ten years of being a parent (and several invites from my cousins), I have never taken the kids to Idlewild for HALLOWBOO? Two truths here – tickets for a family of six don’t always make our budget and we aren’t big Halloween celebrators due to our faith. But the kids do like the friendly fall atmosphere of “treating” and dressing up as long as it isn’t scary. That’s where Idlewild Park comes in – adults can’t wear masks, “trick or treat” is through Story Book Forest, and the rides are separate from the treating area. We decided it was worth checking out and making our opinion!

Well, the verdict is in and Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO is a must for Pittsburghers, especially the ‘lil Burghers. The day was full of low key fun, lines were non-existent, and the treating was super memorable.

Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO: Our Experience

So what makes it a Pittsburgh must? Here’s what we experienced with the descriptions from Idlewild sprinkled in.

Trick or Treat through Story Book Forest

Idlewild's HALLOWBOO
I’ve got fond childhood memories of enjoying Story Book Forest and watching my kids experience it has been a real joy. Adding the “treating” aspect to it is icing on the cake!

A stroll through Story Book Forest is always a beloved experience for families visiting Idlewild. Featuring a winding path through a real forest, guests visit cottages and other character scenes from fairy tales and nursery rhymes. During HALLOWBOO, kids 12 and under are provided with a complimentary trick-or-treat bag that they can use to collect delicious treats from Goldilocks, Captain Candy, Little Red Riding Hood and many more! Treats provided by Snyder of Berlin and other candy favorites.

There are various stops at the forest cottages and every single character was “on point” with their character and kindness to the kiddos. (Some of them might have been too kind or excited about the kids’ costumes and gave them extra sugary treats…ha!) Treat bags are provided – Mom and Dad might want to bring a bigger bag or walk them back to your car after treating!

HALLOWBOO SHOWS

There are several shows to take in:

Jack O Lantern Jive – Hillside Theater 4:00, 5:00, 6:00
Monster Mash – Hillside Theater 6:30
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Day – Daniel Tiger Stage 1:00 and 2:15

We experienced Jack-O-Lantern Jive and Evan and Ava had a blast dancing along to popular dance songs – Arianna and Isla boogied in their seats but were trying to act too cool for school during it. 😉

Shake out your bones and get ready to dance! Our deadly dance captains are going to cast a spell on you and make you Jack-O-Lantern Jive all night long! These classic dance hits will have you bouncing through the pumpkin patch as Idlewild presents the JACK-O-LANTERN JIVE! (4:00 and 5:00 PM)

Ride Favorite Rides

Visit Idlewild for a fall ride on the Ferris Wheel or Spider!

With the exception of Soak Zone and the Wild Mouse, many of the rides were up and running! (Check here for rides that will be operating on your visit day.)

Among our must-visit rides were Jumpin’ Jungle to race on Bigfoot’s Mudslide and play in Jungle Catch; Balloon Race, Confusion Hill, and (Ava and Isla’s favorite) Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

Ava was so excited to see Daniel!

In addition to these rides, HALLOWBOO Express Rail Road is a round trip train ride. There are also two different mazes in the park (included in admission price) and a S’mores Station (additional cost)!

Ready to visit Idlewild’s HALLOWBOO?

If I’ve convinced you to add HALLOWBOO to your fall traditions, don’t worry. You have plenty of time to visit. And there’s a discount for you here as thanks for reading our blog! Here is everything you need to know:

Operating Dates (remaining in 2018) : October 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28

Operating Hours: 11:30 AM to 6 PM (Story Book Forest Trick or Treat ends at 5:0o PM, rides begin at noon)

Ticket Prices: Normally $29.99, but click here to save $10 per ticket! (2 and under are free, not included in the price is a $1 amusement tax and online processing fee)

Parking: Free

Follow Idlewild Park on Twitter and Instagram or like them on Facebook to keep up with all the fun!

Challenge Accepted: 2018 British Soccer Camp

This post is brought to you through our partnership with US Family Guide who made it possible for Evan to attend British Soccer Camp in exchange for our review and honest opinions. All opinions are 100% our own. 

Summer is almost in the books, can you believe it? Evan spent a week at British Soccer Camp honing in on his soccer skills as he prepares for the YMCA’s Fall Soccer program. While we’re still not clear which position he loves to play (because he seems to like them all), we are clear that he really loves soccer thanks to this program.

2018 British Soccer Camp in Pittsburgh

This year was a ‘lil special for the Bigs in a few ways. First, Evan was old enough to be at camp for the full day program, meaning Pappy took him at 9 and picked him back up at 4. He was also responsible for putting on his own sunscreen and eating his lunch – both of which he took seriously!

Next, you’ll notice I said the Bigs! Arianna went with Evan on day one for the “Bring a Buddy” day. While she still loves her softball, she’s fallen back in love with soccer thanks to camp and will also be playing this fall!

While Mama & Daddy didn’t do the pick-up or drop-off, Pappy gave us the details. This year, the camp was at Denny Field in Shaler and it was five days of playing outside. There was a picnic shelter and the Soccer Club opened the concession stand, too. The coaches (from around the globe) were friendly and young, definitely committed to teaching the kids soccer skills!

I stopped in to see the last day’s World Cup game, but I missed it. They played a few World Cup games each day and on the last day represented their countries. Evan loved this. And just like we shared in our intro post about the camp, he got his jersey, t-shirt, and ball in addition to the skills and character building. We’re so proud of him (and Arianna)!

British Soccer Camp

About British Soccer Camp

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community.

In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

-Source: US Family Guide

If you’d like to learn more about British Soccer Camp and save on registration in your local area, use code BSC18 on the Challenger Sports website.

McDelivery Day in Pittsburgh: Throwback to the 90s

This post about Global McDelivery Day is a sponsored post brought to you by McDonald’s. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Did you know that McDonald’s has been delivering in Pittsburgh for a year now? This anniversary comes just in time for a global celebration, McDelivery Day! While this feature is still relatively new to our area, McDonald’s has been offering this service at nearly 12,000 restaurants around the world for over two decades! This is totally worth celebrating with a party like it’s the 1990’s!

’90s Twist on Global McDelivery Day

On Thursday, July 19, you will have your chance to get your hands on a piece of the McDelivery Throwback Collection. It is “a selection of fun, ‘90s inspired items you can wear or use whenever and wherever you order McDelivery”. Think socks, bandanas, t-shirts, pins, and pop sockets!

To get these items, all you have to do is place a McDelivery order of $5 or more through Uber Eats on Thursday, July 19 and a special swag item will be added to your order** at no extra cost. This sounds like a fun way to celebrate the success of the McDelivery business model, doesn’t it?

Personally, I’d have no shame wearing these socks that are slated to be part of the fun surprises delivered on the 19th. (Fries are my weakness!) The only way you can get your hands on this swag is by placing a McDelivery order, so don’t miss out!

McDelivery Day socks

The Scoop on McDelivery Day

McDonald’s already is making quick eats easy with their dining room and drive-thru service, but they have taken it up a few notches with the McDelivery service. As I mentioned, this service just came to Pittsburgh last summer with Uber Eats. Personally, I’ve used it a few times when I’ve forgotten breakfast and my husband has driven Uber and delivered many a brown bag of fries and burgers to hungry ‘Burghers in our city. It is super convenient! I’m really excited that they are surprising and delighting customers with this fun celebration.

What: McDelivery Day

When: Thursday, July 19, 2018, starting at 10:30 or 11:00 AM local time

Where: Participating McDonald’s locations

If you’re going to participate on McDelivery Day, make sure you download the Uber Eats app here and check your local restaurant lunch hour times in the app. You can also check out McDeliveryatMcDonalds.com for more information and see which McDonald’s near you is participating (there are 12 in the city of Pittsburgh!).

You can follow along with the surprises of the day by checking out #McDelivery on Twitter on July 19 – be sure to share your swag with that, too! Stop back here and let us know what fun surprises you got.

**At participating McDonald’s. Visit mcdeliveryatmcdonalds.com for participating restaurants. Items will be available on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last, with $5 minimum purchase (excluding taxes and applicable Uber Eats fees) beginning at 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., depending on lunch menu start time at your local participating restaurant. Check the restaurant page on Uber Eats for lunch hours. Limit one item per order.

$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu pricing not valid for delivery. Delivery prices may be higher than at restaurants. Uber Eats booking fee applies. See the Uber Eats app for details.