Sunday, August 31, 2014

Jump Start Sports

As Lily has gotten a little older and had the opportunity to begin preschool last year, participate in a dance recital, have a short stint in a gymnastics class, I've been waiting for her to be old enough to take part in an organized team sport!  Cue: Jump Start Sports--  Dek Hockey is calling our name!   I got on to the website and found a dek hockey league close to us and can't wait for her to start! It's a short "season" introducing her to the basics which is perfect for her!  


Jump Start Sports provides children with a foundation for growth and nurture their love of sports.  Through sports we teach character and life skills that lead to happiness and success.

Our recreational based camps, leagues, and programs teach fundamentals and values to children of all ages. Our programs are fun and well organized.

Preschool Sports ProgramsChildren ages 3 – 6 have a blast learning the fundamentals of sports from trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players are put on teams and play games so that the children learn teamwork, game concepts, and sportsmanship. The first half of the classes focus on skill development using terminology and fun drills designed to teach these concepts to such young children. Programs offered include Hummingbirds Soccer, T-Birds T-Ball, Rookie League Coach Pitch Baseball, Little Hoop Stars Basketball, Mini-Mites Flag Football, and Deck Hockey. These programs provide a special experience for the whole family while children gain an appreciation of sports, specific knowledge and skill, an appreciation of team, and a boost in confidence. Learn. Develop. Succeed! 

Youth Sports ProgramsChildren of all experience and skill levels improve fundamentals and learn about new sports in these fun oriented programs led by trained staff coaches (NOT coached by parents of participants). Players meet one day a week and are taught skills and fundamentals they will need to succeed in more competitive programs. Then they practice what they have learned in games that teach game concepts, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Sports offered include Introductory Lacrosse, Flag Football, Fall Baseball, Hoop Stars Basketball, Deck Hockey, Beginner/Intermediate Tennis, and Introductory Volleyball.   Learn. Develop. Succeed! 

Find out more at or email us at

**Please mention my blog when registering, so they know how you found them. :)

Register today and follow us for extra info and specials!

Jump Start Sports offers currently offers programs in PA, OH, MI and NC.

Below are some descriptions of what Jump Start Sports offers within specific sports: 

Flag Football  Children entering grades 1 – 6 have a blast learning the basics of football.  Players are grouped by age, coached at their level of understanding, and play fun, low competition games under adult supervision. All instruction will be conducted by Jump Start Sports staff coaches. Players will learn the basic fundamentals of offense and defense, and will be introduced to speed and agility training. Parent coaches can assist in the instruction and will call the plays for their teams. Jump Start Sports staff will also supervise all games to ensure equal playing time, a rotation of players in various positions, and they will help teach within the context of the game.

Hoop Stars Basketball  Instructional and recreational basketball program for children in grades   1 - 2. Players are taught the basics of dribbling, passing, shooting, positioning, defense, and rebounding in a fun-oriented program. Then they apply what they’ve learned in low competition games.

Hummingbirds Soccer  3 through 6 year olds have fun and learn the basics of soccer: dribbling, passing, trapping, shooting, defense, and positioning. Each session consists of instruction in all aspects of the game, participation in fun drills that are designed to teach fundamental skills to young children, and low-key, non-competitive games. All coaching will be conducted by Jump Start Sports staff, but parents may assist.

Little Hoop Stars Basketball  Instructional and recreational basketball program for children in preschool and grade K. Players are taught the basics of dribbling, passing, shooting, positioning, defense, and rebounding in a fun-oriented program. Then they apply what they’ve learned in low competition games.

Rookie League Baseball  A fun baseball experience for 5 and 6 year old boys and girls. Players will receive instruction in all basics of the sport, and will apply what they have learned in fun games. All players begin the season playing T-Ball and are slowly introduced to Coach Pitch Baseball over the course of the season. The program includes both instruction and game play. The games will be non-competitive and no score will be kept, but hits and outs will be recorded as they are in older coach pitch programs. Players who are not able to hit a pitched ball will be able to use a tee while learning. Rookie League classes are 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Jump Start Sports staff members conduct the instruction and oversee the game play while volunteer team coaches participate in a detailed coaches training program provided by Jump Start Sports.

T- Birds T-Ball  A fun and highly instructional introduction to baseball for 3 and 4 year old boys and girls. Players learn the basics of throwing, catching, fielding, batting, and base running, and then apply what they have learned in fun, non-competitive games. Sessions are one hour long, one day per week, and include all instruction and game play in one outing. Instruction is conducted by Jump Start Sports staff coaches. Players receive a Major League Baseball hat, team tee shirt, and baseball medal. Volunteer coaches may also participate in a detailed coaches training program provided by Jump Start Sports.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Treat by Shutterfly: One FREE card!

For a limited time, you can get one FREE greeting card with code 1NEWTREAT...       through 9/2.

Your card is completely choose your own message, add photos, you can even choose your own fonts!

 ~Create your own card from thousands of designs! {It doesn't have to be a Grandparents' Day card.}

~Upload pictures, choose your font, write your message and preview your card to make sure it's right.

~Use promo code: 1NEWTREAT when you checkout.  I only paid for the stamp to send!

*disclosure:  affiliate links in post.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Did Summer Go?

Here we are, day 2 of the newest school year and my husband and I are shaking our heads wondering where summer went.  This was the fastest summer I can remember.  Fastest year of my life actually. Violet is just a handful of weeks away from turning one. One! How is this even possible?!  Fastest year of my life!

I'm not one who sits waiting waiting waiting for kids to go back to school and is cheering when the door closes. I like the flexible time with my kids.  I do, however, like the routine of the school year as well. We had a great summer and Andrew traveled all over as he usually does.  He always has a summer filled with things, so the closer-to-home of the school year is nice too.  I guess, I just try to embrace it all and make the most of what I've got.

Andrew is a freshman in high school this year.  Class of 2018.

Nothing like that reality check to make you realize how quickly your kids grow up and how soon they will leave for college.  One of my best friends who has known Andrew since he was 11 weeks old commented on his 1st day picture yesterday..."Howwwwwwww?" This. Exactly this.  It has gone crazy fast!

He has to catch his bus before 7 in the morning this year.  Actually 2 minutes later than the time he woke up last year, so getting used to getting up early should be a treat.

 I woke up around 5:45am without an alarm, unable to sleep, so I figured I might as well get Andrew's breakfast started.  He's been in the bad habit the last few years of not eating breakfast, so I'm determined to change that this year.  Though I do always make his favorite breakfast of biscuits and gravy for the first day of school.

He did wake up a little earlier than he will normally have to the first day because he knew we'd be taking pictures, of course. I teared up taking his first day pictures as he hit this new milestone in his life.

This year is a new year with no glasses! He's ventured into wearing contacts and so far, so good.  His shirt is, well, perfect. It's so him.

He was actually ok with me driving him to the bus this morning just to make sure it came. {last year the high school bus never showed up the 1st day}  I had to promise him I wouldn't get out and take any pictures though, so I took one from the car, hence the fogged up window. I couldn't exactly lean out the driver's side and get one. :)

And he's off...

Reagan has spent every first year of school with us since she started kindergarten. I actually think that's strange, but it is how it's been, so I just go with it.  She is a 5th grader this year and looking forward to being in beginning band, learning to play the flute.  She's also a new part of the Gifted & Talented Education {GATE} program this year which we feel will be really good for her growth as a young girl. I'm glad she's got some of her own things to look forward to this year!

George and Lily took Reagan to the bus while Violet and I waved "bye bye."

Happy 1st day!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Kids Have Fun with FruitShoot

The end of summer vacation for my oldest and my stepdaughter arrived much quicker than we expected. Lots of feelings accompany the ending of summer and the beginning of school.  Memories have been made, excitement builds for a new school year along with sadness at the closing of another passing season. So the last day of summer, we set out for a creative way to spend some of the day!

Having a 14 year old, a 10 year old, a newly turned 4 year old, and a 10 month old baby can sometimes have challenges in creating an activity that involves them all and that they all enjoy.  I mean let's face it...that's a huge age range!

The big kids were given the task to work together with Lily to come up with an activity using the FruitShoot bottles and a ball.  I didn't give them anymore direction than those two things.

I heard some discussion about using hockey sticks, Lily shouted that she wanted to "play bowling" {she's really into bowling lately}, and a few "that won't work, but we should try."

A little bit later, I heard the front door open and off they went to practice.  Soon they called me to come and video their activity.

We set up in the front yard and brought the baby out in the exersaucer so she would stay in one place. The kids told me she'd be the audience and could clap for them.  Way to go, kids--involving Violet too! Watch our short video here:

Fruit Shoot is currently celebrating imaginative activities with a really special competition called ‘Have a Ball Stunt Hunt.’

Competition details: The 'Have a Ball Stunt Hunt' competition is a great demonstration of Fruit Shoot’s commitment to imaginative play and has a reward that is priceless. Here’s how it works:

1. Click here to visit the contest homepage to upload a video of your own kids showing off their best tricks, stunts, and super-cool abilities with a Fruit Shoot bottle and any ball. To qualify, please make sure your video is under 30 seconds.

2. Share your video with friends and family and encourage them to vote for your video.

3. Every week, we’ll chose a winning video, give it the full-on Hollywood special effects treatment, and release it on our contest homepage for the world to see!

*Entrants will receive a free bottle of Fruit Shoot when entering the contest. Entrants will also receive a Waboba ball anytime they buy 6 bottles of Fruit Shoot in-store.

*You can shoot your video and enter all on your smartphone!

If you don't enter yourself, be sure to check out all the fun videos already uploaded to the page and of course you can "like" ours while you're their!

Some of our favorite things about Fruit Shoot are: a no-spill cap, it's perfect for children of all ages {you know I've got the age range covered}, and contains no fructose corn syrup, making it a much better option than other flavored drinks.

This fun hydration drink is perfect for energetic, independent kids who desire fun on the go. It contains real fruit juice, natural flavors, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no added sugar.

Fruit Shoot lets moms balance the hydration their kids need with the taste that they love, making hydration fun for kids and easy for moms.

These vibrant fun colored bottles come in tasty flavors of Orange, Apple, Berry Burst and Strawberry/Raspberry.  We got the apple because they all agreed on it!  Lily gives it a big thumbs up! And you know how picky 4 year olds can be. :)

Thank you to FruitShoot for sponsoring this post! My kids' imagination is theirs and endorsing that imagination and loving the product is all my own. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This One Time...

Friday night was the night for the marching band preview performance at band camp!

I talked to Andrew only one time the entire week he was away. He called me one night before their dance that night to check in.  That was it.  He received mail from a couple great family friends, his Papa, and Aunt Pam the Great throughout the week! It meant a lot to him and it means a lot to me.

Friday night, the girls and I were heading up to see his show! We stopped to pick up our friend Tracy's oldest to come with us too. It was a surprise for Andrew and something new for Dominic to be able experience. George had to work this year, so he wasn't able to go.  We were all disappointed at that. Andrew knew ahead of time, but was still disappointed.

When we arrived, the band was warming up off somewhere in the woods.  We could hear them, but not see them.   I got the kids situated on the hill to watch the performance. Violet hung out in the stroller for a little bit and Lily had a little picnic of snacks in the grass.

Our view of the performance field.

From the distance, we hear a long whistle which immediately quiets the crowd and the familiar, "We Are North Hills!" in unison from 197 members of the marching band and we know it's time for them to begin marching out to the drum cadence.    There are really no words to describe watching and hearing that all happen, but the goosebumps that cover my body and tears that fill my eyes remind me what a special journey my son is a part of and how fortunate I was to be part of a wonderful marching band community in both high school and college.  Those moments emerging from the woods are pretty incredible!

Being that this is only our second year involved, I'm guessing they play a "pop" show, a march show annually along with their pre-game performance and another show that, this year, is The Lion King. They played a medley of the Armed Forces songs and invited members of each branch to stand as their song was being played.  It was a tribute that again brought me to tears.  My heart swells with patriotic pride when our military is acknowledged and I'm so glad these kids are also able to witness and honor these servicemen and women during their performance.

Andrew is 3rd in from the right in this picture. 

He's in the 2nd row, 3rd band kid from right. {behind the clarinet kid}

The girls enjoyed themselves as well.

This is the longest performance of the year marching wise since they're playing all of their shows. They take water breaks between each show, but after a week of 9 hour marching/rehearsal days to say the kids are tired by the end is a huge understatement!  When the performance was finished, we waited for Andrew to come take a few pictures with us before we headed off to his cabin to get his luggage and then head home. The band kids had a dance and some more fun to have before leaving band camp behind in the morning. 

We're looking forward to an exciting season of football game performances, band festivals, parades, and a trip to New York City!  

I'm so glad that Andrew is loving marching band and hopefully next year he'll remember to call his mom more than once during the week while he's gone. :)

The band director with Andrew and some of the other freshman boys~Class of 2018.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Band Camp Send Off

Another year of band camp in the books.

Andrew's freshman marching band season has begun!

Actually, summer band began in June, went through July and then pre-camp started the first week of August and then a full week at band camp. Andrew's summer is full simply with his traveling to see his dad and dad's family. I'm so grateful to be able to work hard with his dad to ensure Andrew gets good time with all of them, but is still able to honor his commitments.

With our trip to Arizona, Andrew ended up missing almost all of July summer band. Fortunately, the band director is understanding and accommodating. Precamp and band camp both are required and we knew he'd be back for those.
1st day of precamp

Picture day

Precamp is a week of a lot of rehearsals at home the week preceding going away to band camp where the rehearsals even further intensify. The week ends with a performance preview for families of all the shows the band will perform throughout the season. I was looking forward to seeing the performance after loving it so much last year!

A week ago Saturday was the send off for band camp.  The parking lot is filled with parents and cameras, traditions of tshirts and signs for the band, sections, squads, classes, boys and girls and I'm sure many more things I know nothing about. The kids are excited and anxious to get going while the parents are a little less sometimes. I watched senior parents just as sentimental as the rookie parents sending their nearly grown kids off to band camp for the final time.  The marching band community is one that I am so proud to have been a part of as a teenager and young adult. I am loving it as a parent as well.  Band geeks for life!

 freshman boys

I didn't cry this year as he left like I did last year, however.  I think last year was a combination of it being Andrew's rookie year, as well as me being pregnant and emotional. {Although, I do have emotional moments thinking about him starting high school. :)  I really like that he will go into high school knowing upper class students from band and the transition into high school will hopefully go smoothly as a result.}  

Bags packed with snacks, trucks loaded with instruments and luggage, and busses filled with 197 kids.

Off for a week at band camp he went...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pittsburgh Play is on Sale at The Children's Museum!

One of my favorite places to visit in Pittsburgh is the Children's Museum!

There are so many events and activities the museum offers and being lucky enough to be in Pittsburgh where Mister Rogers is from, he is celebrated in this museum in several different ways within the museum and my favorite-- free admission on Mister Rogers birthday! If you don't want to wait until March 20th to visit next year, August is a fantastic time to visit with "Play Is On Sale"!

There are lots of creative, fun and educational exhibits to explore throughout the Children's Museum ... in fact, Play Is On Sale! this Summer at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh!

Enjoy Museum admission discounts* and giveaways every day of the week through August 29, 2014. 

Fantasy Weekends (Saturdays & Sundays)
--All Museum visitors dressed in a costume relating to the weekend's theme receive $3 off admission:
       Dress like a Movie Character - August 9-10

       Dress like an Alien, Monster or Space Hero- August 16-17

       Dress like an Animal - August 23-24 

  • Member Mondays
Museum members park free (as space permits) and have a chance to win prizes. Learn the weekly prizes here.

  • T-Shirt Tuesdays
Free Museum t-shirt to the first 200 children visiting the Museum

  • Weather Wednesdays
Child admission for children 2 and up is based on that day's forecasted high temperature for Pittsburgh, PA, by the National Weather Service, as forecasted at 5:00 pm the previous day 
e.g. 73 degrees = $7 child admission, 87 degrees = $8 child admission, etc.  July 23: 84 degrees = $8 child admission
If purchasing tickets online, use code WEATHER when checking out to receive the discount 

  • Throwback Thursdays
Child admission = $7 - the child admission price in 2004 when we opened the expanded Museum
If purchasing tickets online, use code THROWBACK when checking out to receive the discount

  • Hot Dog Friday
A free hot dog to the first 500 children visiting the Museum

*Play Is On Sale admission discounts (Weather Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays and Fantasy Weekends) cannot be combined with other admission discounts.

10:00 am - 5:00 pm Every Day
Our Studio and MAKESHOP close at 4:30 pm daily.

Latest Children's Museum of Pittsburgh Deal -
Get more details here!

 Be sure to get your picture taken on Trolley! :)
My Lily in 2013 on Mister Rogers' birthday

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ahhhhhhh Sunday!

Happy Sunday!

I'm finally catching my breath after a crazy busy week.  We've celebrated Lily's birthday, we've sent Andrew off to band camp, we're back into a routine with Reagan, and Violet thankfully just goes with the flow.   Now begins a few weeks of trying to enjoy our last little bit of summer vacation before back to school.  We have a few more birthdays to celebrate this summer and a backyard camping night we're all looking forward to, Before we know it, we will be back into our earlier bedtimes and early morning risings.  I cannot believe Andrew is starting high school! School starts much earlier for him this year, but being done at 2:00pm sounds great to me. As much as I love summer, I do love the routine of the school year.
sending Andrew off to band camp his freshman year

I'm working to get some more space on my computer, so that I can get all my summer pictures on my computer to finally blog about our summer!  I wanted to throw up deleting so many folders of pictures from my laptop and currently only having them in one place. If I knew how to access our backup drive more quickly, I think I'd feel better.  That's on my schedule this week.

Also, I'm going to be taking Lily's 4 year pictures and Violet's 9 month pictures this week.  That's a must do this week. I love Lily's 4th birthday shirt and can't wait to share it with you as well as the fabulous etsy shop I ordered it from. The owner was phenomenal! I also have another shop to share who I've ordered from several times who went above and beyond for me!

Of course, just as we've wrapped up Lily's 4th birthday celebrations, I've begun thinking about Violet's 1st birthday party.  This one is bittersweet.  My last first birthday party to plan.  We already have the date set-- Oma will be here from Arizona! It'll probably take me from now until then to figure out what cake to make her.

I also need to start looking through clothes that I have for the girls again to determine what I have for the fall and what I need as consignment sale time is rolling around.  I feel like I am always changing out closets. Only this time the clothes that Violet has outgrown won't get packed away for another baby. I'm looking forward to the space, but again another bittersweet event.

Time to get Lily to bed and myself soon to follow.  I hope.