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/

REVIEW | Monster Jam Pittsburgh 2020

This post is a review of Monster Jam which our family attended the Pittsburgh opening night of. Thank you to Feld Entertainment for the tickets in exchange for this post.

Our night at Monster Jam Triple Threat (which is in Pittsburgh until Sunday, February 9) was full of HIGH OCTANE FUN. With six competitions full of surprises, our whole family found something to cheer about. 

This year’s tour is titled “Triple Threat” because it includes stunts by the drivers with monster trucks, ATVs, and speedsters. Our favorites are the monster trucks, but the ATVs and speedsters break up the competition (and give our lungs a break from the heavy dust). Compeitions on the monster trucks included a race, 2-wheel stunts, donuts, and freestyle.

What surprised us? 

Even though Megalodon lost the nose of his truck during the 2-wheel competition, he won 4 of the 6 competitions and was able to complete all six…then win the entire event. We are pretty sure his backflip (a first in the Pittsburgh arena!) is what won it.

El Toro Loco came from behind in his first round of speedster racing and cut off Pirates Curse for a spot in the semifinals (but went on to lose in the semifinals to Megalodon). 

The four tires on a monster truck weigh about 645 pounds combined!

Our row made it on the jumbotron between the 5th and 6th competitions.

Some of the judges zone scores were lower than we expected. Judges Zone is an online voting for the fans to score 1 to 10 how we felt the trucks performed.

 A Family Tradition

Monster Jam has become a family tradition for us. We look forward to our night at the indoor dirt track! What is a family tradition that your family looks forward to each year?

If you’re interested in going, there is one show left on Sunday 2/9, 2020. Read our first post to get all the details + tickets!

Megalodon
Megalodon, the winner!

Make a Difference

Support the St. Jude mission: Finding cures. Saving children.®  Text MJAT3 to 78533 to donate to Monster Jam’s support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospial and make a difference in the lives of kids with cancer. Love the “This Shirt Saves Lives” shirt that the drivers wear under their gear? Texting and donating is the way to get it! 

Missed the Pittsburgh event? 

The Tampa event will be airing on NBC-SN on February 11, 2020 and there are more nationwide events including the May 2-3 championship. 

Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp 2020

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

Pittsburgh, it is time to welcome Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp back to our city as a summer day camp option for your ‘lil Burghers! Our son Evan is a three year alumni of the program and will be back at one of the fields this summer…and he highly recommends this for any kid who loves soccer or wants to learn more about the sport.

Challenger Sports International Soccer Camp 2020

This program, which brings coaches from around the world (Evan’s had coaches from the UK, Spain, and Brazil) is a nationwide program for ages 2 to 18. Coaches stay with host families and bring their skills to further the love of soccer in our communities. We’ve been part of their “family” for three years but I still am amazed at what they offer kids through this program:

Challenger Sports, the largest soccer camp company in North America is coming to a community near you, and bringing over 30 years of coaching experience. Our international staff will work with your players to teach a fun, technical and tactical curriculum that’s filled with training sessions from five of the world’s leading soccer nations. Challenger’s International Soccer Camp offers instructional camp programs for all age and ability levels! The TinyTykes program, ages 2-5, provides fundamental soccer activities, games, and stories; designed to enhance technical skills along with physical and social development. The Half-Day Camp, ages 5-16, is the most popular program and will provide 3 hours of skill development, games, challenges and competitions each day. The Full-Day Camp, ages 8-18, is a 6 hour program filled with developmental practices, games, competitions and challenges. Register now for Challenger’s International Soccer camp and get a free international soccer ball, t-shirt, poster, player evaluation and access to TopYa!’s Juggling Club sampler! Register 30 days before camp and qualify for a free International Game Jersey!

Source: Challenger Sports / USFamilyGuide
source: US Family Guide

Register Today | Lots of Freebies!

We took a look at the camps offered in the Pittsburgh area and are excited to see a number of options throughout the whole summer. If Evan could go every day, he would. We live about an hour from each camp and usually have to rely on the Grands to get him to/from camp. Thankfully the camp has an easy (and secure) drop-off/pick-up process that works for our family + it gives them a chance to see their soccer dude play his favorite sport. ​​​​​​​We try to get the whole family there on the last day for the ​​​​​​​last “World Cup” game – but our soccer star doesn’t always love our cheers! 😉

Registering early is one of our favorite things to do because there are lots of freebies for those who get it done now:

  • International Soccer Ball
  • T-Shirt
  • Poster
  • Player Evaluation
  • Access to TopYa!s Juggling Club Sampler
  • International Game Jersey – must register 30 days in advance!
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!

Has your child participated in a Challenger Sports summer camp? What did you think? What questions do you have if you haven’t done this camp before? Think about who you can share this opportunity with – or even consider gifting a week of camp to a child in your life.

Personal testimony – when Evan goes to camp, it is so worth the $200 the full day costs. He gets home, eats a bunch of food, packs his own lunch for the next day, then sleeps for hours out cold from the activity! ​​​​​​​Share this post on Pinterest so a mama or daddy who needs a good rest can check this out!

Monster Jam Triple Threat [Coming Event]

Our family has attended several events that Feld Entertainment has brought to Pittsburgh. In 2020, one of those events will be Monster Jam Triple Threat. The information below was supplied to us to share with our readers.

This post about Monster Jam Triple Threat contains affiliate links. When you shop our links, there is no additional cost to you. All opinions are 100% our own.

Monster Jam Triple Threat

If you’ve been a fan of ‘lil Burghers over the past few years, you know just how much our middle daughter Ava LOVES attending Monster Jam. Her first event was when she was just a toddler and ever since, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up her answer is…A MONSTER TRUCK.

So it’s not a surprise that we’re planning to attend Monster Jam Triple Threat when they come to Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena from February 7-9, 2020. There will be four shows throughout the weekend and ticket prices start at $15. For Saturday and Sunday shows, there is even a Pit Party where your family can check out the trucks up close! (Pit Party Passes are an extra fee.)

Ready to score your tickets? Head over here!

Scooby Doo! – Source: Feld Entertainment

Right now, we’re hoping to attend the opening night performance, but to get there, we’re part of a CONTEST with Social Toaster to share the news about the event and need to work our way there. If you’d like to enter the contest, too, sign up here!

Meeting Zombie after the 2019 Monster Jam in Pittsburgh

What we love about Monster Jam

As I mentioned, Ava loves attending and so do our other three kids. We’ve been going as a family since 2016 and they look forward to:

  • Cheering on their favorite drivers – old favorites like Zombie and Scooby Doo have a place in the ‘lil Burghers’ hearts!
  • The dust. It can get really dusty in PPG Paints Arena during these events but the kids love watching the dust fly and feeling “dusty” on the way home.
  • The thrills of the skills challenge. We especially love when they jump!

As a mom, I have some logistics I always take care of in advance of our attendance. Three of us have asthma so we take our inhalers before and with us (see the dust point above). We also bring protective earphones for the kids because it does get noisy. These earphones are great for kids + they come with a carrying case and as of 1/15/2020 there is a 15% off coupon for them, too!

We hope we’ll see you at Monster Jam! Here’s some more information in case you’ve never been and remember you can win tickets here or buy them here right now.

About Monster Jam

Born out of our love affair with bigger, faster and louder, Monster Jam is the most accessible family-friendly sport in the world today. Unlike most sports, we put men and women on the same track, truly inviting anyone who aspires to be a Monster Jam driver to dream as big as the trucks that have made our sport famous.

Unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable, Monster Jam takes center stage in the world’s most iconic venues, sporting meticulously manicured dirt tracks created with the sole purpose of pushing these perfectly engineered, ever-evolving trucks to the limit.

These world-class drivers, some generational rivals, are athletes at the core and experts in four-wheeled, controlled agression. And just when you think we’re done racing, jumping, flipping and doing things with trucks you’ve never seen before, the brand extends in to the home through must-watch content and merchandise that keeps the fun alive year-round.

The larger-than-life sport that always leaves you entertained. This. Is. Monster Jam.

Source: Feld Entertainment

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit feldentertainment.com for more information.

Road Trip Adventures [Coming Event]

Our family has attended several events that Feld Entertainment has brought to Pittsburgh. In 2020, one of those events will be Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. The information below was supplied to us to share with our readers.

DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS ROAD TRIP ADVENTURES TAKES PITTSBURGH FAMILIES ON A FUN-FUELED EXCURSION TO ICONIC DISNEY DESTINATIONS

Source: Feld Entertainment

PITTSBURGH, PA (January 4, 2020)— Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Pittsburghfrom February 27 – March 1at PPG Paints Arena.  Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.com.

The show invites audiences to hit the road with Mickey Mouse and his pals for a high-octane ride in Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Exciting twists and turns await as Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and guests of all ages embark on an interactive and memory-rich adventure to iconic Disney destinations. See the world from the rooftops of London with Mary Poppins and Jack and his band of dancing lamplighters. Travel to the sun-soaked Motunui and help Moana restore the heart of Te Fiti. Set off on a safari and snap unforgettable photos of wild cheetahs and monkeys when guests traverse through the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa.

Source: Feld Entertainment

Discover a whole new world and be swept up in Aladdin’s princely parade filled with spectacular stunts, magical moments with Genie, and a brand-new song from Jasmine that will render the audience “Speechless.”

Source: Feld Entertainment

Mosey on over to a larger-than-life comedic carnival and team up with Woody and Bo Peep as they search for their new friend Forky. Fans will hit a high note with Mickey and pals while singing along to beloved Disney tunes as they welcome Merida, Belle, Ariel, Mulan and Tiana to the ice. Families should be prepared for a getaway jam-packed with unexpected hijinks and surprise, up- close character interaction as Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures makes a pitstop right in the Burgh!

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures start at $15. All seats are reserved, and tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com or at the arena box office. Stay current on the latest developments through social media:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce 

Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce

YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce 

Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, DreamWorks Trolls The Experience and Jurassic World Live Tour (coming Fall 2019). Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit feldentertainment.com for more information.

7 Rainy Day Must Do’s for Pittsburgh Families

While Pittsburgh might not be the rainiest city in the US, we sure do get a lot of rainy days (about 42% of our weather includes a rainy forecast). On these gray, dreary days, your kiddos are probably begging you for electronics and you’re out here searching for something to do. Welcome to it – our list of seven rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families!

Why Seven Rainy Day Must Do’s for Pittsburgh Families?

We live in a city with six football championship rings, always reaching for that magical number seven which would give us the title of the team with the most wins, so seven just seems like a good Pittsburgh number to use! If you’re just visiting the city and found this post while searching for things to do, note that we really love our sports around this city – you’ll see it everywhere you go.

Need some logo gear to wear on your rainy day Pittsburgh experience? Shop for Pittsburgh Steelers Gear and be prepared!

rainy day must do's for Pittsburgh families

1 – National Aviary

We are so lucky to have these unique feature in our city. Our kids continue to ask for a family membership here because every experience with the birds is unique, educational, and passes time. They offer traveling exhibits (over the summer of 2019 we checked out their Living Dinosaurs), featured favorites like the penguins, and great photo opportunities.

National Aviary is open daily from 10 am – 5pm. Our primarily indoor facility is ADA compliant, stroller-friendly, and easy to navigate. We offer on-site parking (on a first-come, first served basis), a café with open seating, and two gift shops. Visit www.aviary.org to learn more or call 412-323-7235.

Source: National Aviary

2 – Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Another family favorite. Learning is so much fun here and you truly can spend a whole day here. Children’s Museum offers art, interactive exhibits, traveling exhibits, sensory-friendly spaces, shows, and so much more.

Evan at one of our first family visits to the Children’s Museum

We recommend ending the day with the Waterplay exhibit on the 3rd floor because it is entirely possible to get soaked even though you’re there to escape the rainy weather.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is a place that delights and inspires children, where they can take off on fantastic flights of imagination daily, and return to earth to splash in a river, hammer a nail and ink a silkscreen. With 80,000 square feet of space, the Museum welcomes more than 307, 000 visitors annually and provides tons of fun and loads of “real stuff” experiences for play and learning. Found out more: https://pittsburghkids.org/

Source: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

3 – Snapology

Is your living room floor covered in bricks and blocks, you know, the ones you step on then scream but at the same time love watching your kids build with? You can take that building outside the house for the day and check out Pittsburgh’s Original Makerspace, Snapology in Bethel Park.

At Snapology we believe that children are meant to learn through play. When children are engaged in interactive, hands-on learning activities, their creativity flourishes and they show an increased interest in school.  We help your child grow up with a thirst for knowledge. How do we do it? Snapology engages children ages 1-14 using LEGO® bricks, K’Nex and technology. While the kids are having fun with familiar toys, laptops and iPads, we sneak in the learning. Shh, don’t tell them it’s educational!

Source: Snapology

Enjoying these rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families? Be sure to tweet or share this post to let others know!

4 – Your Local YMCA

We are partial to our local YMCA because it is right down the street but I’m sure there is a YMCA near you where you can have an indoor play day as a family at the pool or gym. Ours often offers weekend programs for families with help from local community organizations. There is even Friday night Kids’ Club – time for you to drop off your elementary kiddos and take in a quick dinner with the spouse!

5 – Sky Zone

We first found out about the the indoor trampoline park phenomenom in 2013 and while we know there are plenty of indoor trampoline parks to visit in Pittsburgh, Sky Zone was the first to come across our radar. There are two Pittsburgh area locations and both have fun for the entire family – even the ones with no desire to jump all day.

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park is creator of the world’s first all-trampoline, walled playing court providing the ultimate 3-D play experience for teens, parents and kids to jump, leap and defy gravity on the patented all-trampoline walled playing court. For more information, please visit https://www.skyzone.com/.

Souce: Sky Zone

6 – Zone28

This entertainment complex located just 20 minutes from the city (in Harmarville, off Route 28) has 33 bowling lanes, escape rooms, a game room, and more. We recently went here for a birthday party and had such a blast. The food is good and there really is fun for all ages!

Read more about this ultimate indoor playground, Zone28!

7 – Phipps Conservatory

We can’t think of a more colorful place to spend a gray day than Phipps! Exhibits of flowers will turn any rainy day frown into a smile, even if you can see or hear the rain falling on the roof of this huge glasshouse in the middle of the educational center of our city. When you visit Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory with your kiddos, you’re sure to have a blast. There’s fun and learning to be had throughout and programs are offered year-round outside of general admission.

Check out the fun we had there in the summer!

About Phipps: Founded in 1893, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA is a globally recognized green leader with a mission to inspire and educate all with the beauty and importance of plants; to advance sustainability and promote human and environmental well-being through action and research; and to celebrate its historic glasshouse. Learn more at  phipps.conservatory.org.

Source: Phipps Conservatory

+ More…

So there have to be more than seven rainy day must do’s for Pittsburgh families, right? Share with us your favorites – and if we’ve never been, we’d love a chance to check them out – any day of the year!

A Look Back at 2019 – Your Favorites

This post contains affiliate links. That means that when you shop through links we suggest, we receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. To be 100% transparent, 2019 was a tough year for our family. I (Mom) blogged about it over on my newish personal space and we’re moving forward with strength in 2020! That tough year even presented itself here on the blog – it was our quietest year (in number of posts, visits, comments, and shares) ever and we’ve been around since 2012 at this site address and 2010 at our old “.org” site. Wowza. But nonetheless, you continued to visit – especially in December – and keep things happening for us here at ‘lil Burghers. THANK YOU!

Taking a Look Back at 2019 Top Posts

While we try to focus on highlighting our favorite Pittsburgh-area activities, you readers are still coming here for the holiday ideas, the family memories, and more. This helps us understand what to “stop, start, and continue” for 2020 but is also really fun to look into. Let’s start with a run-down of the top five visited posts in 2019:

Elf Pets: A New Tradition – this post first showed up in the blog during that era of time before the Twins were born! It continues to be a top post year after year, and Lily and Olaf continue to bring joy to our family’s Christmas traditions. Have you adopted an Elf Pet along with (or even instead of) your Elf tradition?

A Winter Break: Castaway Bay – Our family took two trips to Sandusky, Ohio in 2019 and absolutely fell in love. The first one, which we blogged about here, was a mid-winter trip to Castaway Bay, an indoor waterpark where it is always 82-degrees. As I’m writing this wrap-up, it’s a rainy day in Pittsburgh and all I can think about is how great of a weekend it would be there instead.

Whole30 MistakesAnother slightly older post but it is still helpful as I’m sure plenty of you will be headed down a path of making healthy changes in 2020. While I don’t follow the Whole30 Lifestyle, it is really good for resetting your body and finding out what works and doesn’t work for you. But goodness do I miss the potatoes I ate on that plan!

Essential Eyebrow Solution – Do yinz like my eyes or something? Blushes, but realizes that another older post has yet again taken the top of the year! The theme here is helpful information brings reads, I guess. This is a product I used in 2017 and haven’t used since I ran out of it, but eyebrow hair isn’t a mystery to me anymore – have you read my post “Torn Down”?

The Struggle: Finding Therapists – As I said when I started this post – 2019 was a true rough one for us. It involved Greg (Dad) and me finding a therapist to help rebuild our marriage and it was not as easy as we thought it was going to be. Thank you for listening to that part of our story!

2019 Top Products

As you know, this site is an affiliate of Amazon and often suggests products you might love. Have a look at the products you bought most of in 2019 (click on the images to check them out and/or purchase).

Purple Paper – we love having some colored paper around for craft projects and this paper is a great bright one!

Spray Bottle – Ava’s can’t live without hair product requires that she start her day with damp hair. This spray bottle is so helpful with that task!

Waterproof Phone Pouch – these were a must for our trip to Hawaii and allowed us to capture some pretty great photos underwater.

Cereal Dispensers – Isla just loves staying at hotels and having cereal come out of these dispensers would probably be simply dreamy for her. How fun!

Bocce Ball Set – Camping continues to be a family tradition that we love to do and write about. Having games like Bocce Ball make the time even more memorable.

2019 Top Nine on Instagram

To finish out our journey looking back at 2019, check out our Top Nine Photos from Instagram and make sure you’re following us there, too!

Did you have a favorite 2019 moment that you’d love to share? Comment below!

Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh – Review

This post contains information provided to us by US Family Guide about the Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh showing. In exchange, my family received tickets to the event. All opinions are 100% my own.

Our Experience at Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh

We already told you that Dinosaur Adventure is in Pittsburgh for three days – December 27-29 – but now it’s time to share the fun we had!

First, let’s talk about logistics of the event space. I have to say that I love events that happen at the Monroeville Convention Center. Parking is FREE and there are plenty of bathrooms within “kid emergency” distance. These are important things when you’re hauling four kids around of about an hour from Armstrong County!

We took the kids to the show the first evening and spent about two hours having fun exploring the realistic dinosaurs and riding the rides (we had wristbands but did not do the ticketed activity – panning and mining). From the moment we entered through an inflatable dinosaur rib cage until we exited back out of it, the kids were laughing and enjoying. It might have been the only two fight-free hours of Christmas break so far!

Take a look at all the fun the kids had + some of the great photo opportunities. I knew I needed to take some photos during the event but I really just enjoyed keeping my phone down watching the kids dig for fossils, check out facts, and ride the dinosaurs (there were three different dinosaur ride-ons, including motorcycle-like dinos that had me wondering why the 4-year olds were better drivers than the Bigs, T-Rexes that were a story high, and Triceratops that were the size of ponies – so!much!fun!).

Isla was super shy except for when this baby dino came around!

This event reminded us of the dinosaur exhibit at the National Aviary this summer – did you catch either or both of these?

How fun are these eggs?
She was a little nervous about these, but the other three loved them!
Dinosaur-Adventure-Pittsburgh-Trex
Family Photo with a T-Rex

Making Fossils at Dinosaur Adventure

After checking out all of the dinosaurs, your kids are going to want a souvenir. Yes, like any event, there is a souvenir shop but we got to completely avoid it because they had it (strategically?) placed behind the concessions and exhibits in another room of the convention center. We had to have “the talk” about no toys/balloons/etc coming home with us because it was JUST Christmas but the kids didn’t really mind too much when they realized they got to make a fossil to take home for FREE.

But can I tell you that I was a little ready to bend when I saw the super cute helium dinosaurs that kids were “walking” around the hall?!?!?

The fossil making involves a cup + clay + an impression from a dinosaur toy + plaster. The hairnets shown below were not part of the requirement for arting, they were worn under helmets on rides (THANK YOU for that perk!).

Creating fossils to take home – FREE Activity!

PRO TIP: If you head over to the ride area fairly early in your visit, have your kids do the fossil activity. It takes about 5 minutes to put together and then another 30 minutes to dry. There is PLENTY to experience while it dries, but don’t save it ’til the last minute when everyone is hungry.

Ava and her T-Rex face fossil

Ready to check it out?

Dinosaur Adventure is an all-new, one of a kind exhibit featuring realistic, life-sized dinosaurs that come alive with their life-like movement and roars. Learn about the most popular dinosaurs -Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, Diplodocus, Velociraptor, and explore recent finds with exciting discoveries!

As part of Dinosaur Adventure, children of all ages will enjoy a variety of activities: fossil crafting, Jurassic jeeps, themed obstacle courses, riding their favorite dinosaur, and more! The whole family will also be amused by our live entertainment featuring a walking dinosaur show, and a baby dinosaur meet & greet.

Information from US Family Guide

My Readers SAVE – $3 Off any Adult, Child Activity or VIP Ticket Use Code: FLASH3 when you buy tickets here.

Did you make it to Dinosaur Adventure Pittsburgh? What did you think? If you’re not in Pittsburgh or missed this traveling show, check out where they are headed to next!