Inspired Pittsburgh Mommy: Dr. Lynne Williams and Jeremiah’s Place

In my “Inspired Pittsburgh Mommy” series, I feature Pittsburgh mothers who have started unique grassroots-type projects within the city. These projects directly benefit the greater good of Pittsburgh and improve the lives of our children, families, and/or other mothers.  The series is my humble effort to create a positive, supportive environment among Pittsburgh mothers.  I hope that it will a) help make these projects a success b) motivate other mothers to help support these projects and c) inspire other mothers to make their own dreams a reality.  An introduction to the series can be found here.

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Inspired Pittsburgh Mommy, Lynne Williams

Inspired Pittsburgh Mommy, Lynne Williams

Recently, I received an email from Heather Hopson, a personal friend and founder of Diary of a First Time Mom. In it, she shared a link to a new Pittsburgh nonprofit called Jeremiah’s Place.

“Your readers will want to know about this,” she said.

Wow–was she right!

I’ve spent the last week learning about Jeremiah’s Place, opening TODAY as Pittsburgh’s first “crisis nursery.”  I’ve toured the facility.  I’ve interviewed Lynne Williams, one of its founders.  And, last night, I looked my husband in the eye and made him promise me that we could make a personal investment in it.  Whether we volunteer there, or donate to it, or use the nursery ourselves–I want to help Jeremiah’s Place become a permanent fixture in the parenting culture of Pittsburgh. I hope you’ll feel the same way after you’re done reading this article!

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Lynne Williams, one of the cofounders of Jeremiah’s Place, a local mother, and a physician.  Here’s what she had to say about it:

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Jeremiah's Place

What is Jeremiah’s Place?

Jeremiah’s Place (JP) is a relief nursery, also known as a crisis nursery.  We provide free, temporary short-term childcare for young children when their families need to address a crisis or emergency.  Since we know that children’s brains can be permanently altered after experiencing significant stressors, the mission of our relief nursery is to protect children “in the moment” of potential injury, to connect families to local resources, and to be a transformative voice in the community advocating for the health and safety of young children.

 

What does it mean for a family to be “in crisis?”

A “crisis” is defined by the family as any situation that makes it difficult for them to find safe child care for their young children.  It might be a family involved in an accident who needs a safe place for their young children until grandparents can drive in from out of state.  It might be a woman in a homeless shelter who needs some time away from her children to make it to her job interview.  Or it might simply be a mother who lacks childcare options and feels like she’s going to lose her mind if she doesn’t get a nap!  We suspect that the needs and the stories will be endless.  Bottom line:  EVERY SINGLE FAMILY who needs a temporary, safe option for childcare can use Jeremiah’s Place.  Upon arrival at Jeremiah’s Place, we will also provide a social worker to meet with the families and determine what other resources might be helpful to them.

 

The staff of Jeremiah's Place at its ribbon-cutting ceremony last week

The team and board of Jeremiah’s Place at its ribbon-cutting ceremony last week

Where is it located?

Jeremiah’s Place is located within The Kingsley Center at the corner of Frankstown Ave and East Liberty Blvd at the cross-section of East Liberty, Homewood, Lincoln-Leminton, and Larrimer. We picked this location as it is within a community center that has a wonderful reputation and has a Family Support Center on the second floor.  It is also easily accessible by public transportation.

 

How long can children stay at Jeremiah’s Place

Jeremiah’s Place will initially be open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm every day of the week.  Soon it will expand to a 24/7 facility with childcare professionals staffing it every hour of the day. Children ages 6 and younger can stay for a few hours to up to 3 days depending on the unique needs of the family.

 

Lynne Williams and LouAnn Ross, Executive Director of Jeremiah's Place

Lynne Williams and LouAnn Ross, Executive Director of Jeremiah’s Place

What will a typical day look like for a child at Jeremiah’s Place? 

The wonderful thing about Jeremiah’s Place is that it will model a typical day at home for a child.  From waking up in their own bed or crib, having breakfast in the eating nook, playing in the toy area, jumping and running in the gymnasium, cuddling up with a good book in the cozy corner, eating a healthy home-cooked dinner, taking a bath in our tub, to settling down to sleep again, we hope that the routine and living space of Jeremiah’s Place feels like home to these children.  Each child will also get a backpack, book, blanket, handmade teddy bear, pair of pajamas, and a toothbrush to help them get settled in.

 

How can members of the community become involved in Jeremiah’s Place?

Jeremiah’s Place was started by a group of passionate volunteers and will remain viable only through the continued help of caring individuals. We need individuals who are committed to donating financially on a monthly or one-time basis.  We also appreciate material donations.  We even have a baby registry online at Target!  We would also love to actively engage more volunteers from the community.  Volunteers can commit to a weekly shift in caring for the children or less time-consuming activities such as hosting a baby shower, stuffing back packs to give to the children, or joining us on Sunday afternoons to prepare meals for the kids.

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Next, I talked with Lynne about her personal and professional background and how she was inspired to start Jeremiah’s Place:

Cofounders of Jeremiah's Place (right to left)

Cofounders of Jeremiah’s Place (left to right: Tammy Murdock, Lynne, Eileen Sharbaugh)

How did you become inspired to start Jeremiah’s Place

My inspiration came from both a personal and professional perspective.  I have been a foster parent since 2005.  The mother of our first foster son “lost him to the system” due to drug use.  She continually battled her addiction in order to be reunited with her son. Unfortunately, she relapsed each time that she got him back because of the stress of care-taking without social supports.  If there had been a Jeremiah’s Place available then, I wonder if she would still have her son with her…

Professionally, I am an internal medicine-pediatric physician who provides care to underserved populations.  I frequently hear stories from patients (usually fellow mothers) who neglect to seek medical care for themselves because they have no one to care for their young children.  I don’t think parents should have to make that choice! About 4 years ago, I met with a medical student who had completed a project on crisis nurseries (I had never heard of the idea before).  I knew in an instant that it was the project of my dreams! But it didn’t start coming together until I met my incredible co-founders, Dr. Tammy Murdock and Eileen Sharbaugh.

 

Why do you think there is so much of a need for JP?

I think there is a lack of immediate, concrete, nonjudgmental support of families with young children.  In addition, many parents are raising their children without the support of extended family close by.  There is also a loss of interconnectivity within neighborhoods as our lives have become “so busy.”  Finally, there is the notion that parents should be able to handle this tough job on their own.  At Jeremiah’s Place, we believe that asking for help is a sign of strength!  We all dream that Jeremiah’s Place will become a “movement” that will inspire our society to start paying attention to the needs of families with young children.  None of us can do it alone!!

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Finally, we talked about Lynne’s home situation and how she manages to balance her professional and personal lives:

Lynne Williams and her family

Lynne Williams and her family

Can you tell me about your unusual family situation?

I live with my sister in a big old Victorian house.  We dreamed of filling it with the pitter-patter of little feet (or the elephant stomp of growing boys!). We took the required classes to become foster parents and a couple days after we were certified, the first kids arrived.  One cute little boy led to another….and another….and another….and now our house is filled with five boisterous boys in a five-year age span!  There is never a dull moment….for any of us!  Since then, we have officially adopted each of them!

 

How do you balance the demands of raising these children and being a part of Jeremiah’s Place? 

Balancing the demands of raising our children, working parttime, and my many hours of working on Jeremiah’s Place is sometimes challenging.  But, for me, Jeremiah’s Place is a way to give back and help others in the community.  I want my boys to see my work with JP as a model for finding your love and never giving up when there is the chance to do good in the lives of others!

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Even before I got out of my car to visit Jeremiah’s Place and to meet Dr. Williams, I knew I would love it.  This mural welcomed me on a warehouse wall across from it:

jeremiah1

It made me smile…

I was greeted enthusiastically at the front door by Lynne and LouAnn Ross, the Executive Director of Jeremiah’s Place.  They smiled warmly, bubbling over with excitement about their opening day this week.  As they proudly showed me around JP, they reminded me of expectant mothers who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first children.

I spent the rest of my time at Jeremiah’s Place smiling, too.

I smiled as I looked at this Fred Rogers quotation in the cozy reading nook:

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I smiled as I peeked into the bathroom and saw this row of toothbrushes:

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I smiled as I looked into the storage closet and saw these handmade teddy bears, ready to be loved by local children:

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It was obviously…undeniably…a happy, welcoming place…staffed by some of the city’s most beautiful souls.  In fact, there is no doubt that I would bring my own children there if the need ever arises!

And yet…  I cried on my way home.

“Why?” you ask.

Because I couldn’t stop thinking about this rocking chair in one of the bedrooms:

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It waited patiently for the children who will come to Jeremiah’s Place soon and who will need it.

Thank you to Lynne Williams, and to all the other inspiring women who have helped create Jeremiah’s Place.  Thank you for being the ones who will rock our babies to sleep when we have nobody else to turn to….

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Want to connect with Jeremiah’s Place?  Here are links to its website, Facebook page, and Twitter account.  Also, Dr. Lynne Williams has a personal blog about foster parenting, adopting, and mothering her 5 boys called Middle of the Madness.

AND, if you are around next weekend, Jeremiah’s Place is holding its 2nd Annual 5K Run/Walk and 5-mile run on Saturday April 26th. The race will be followed by free family fun activities from 10:30 – 12:30.

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: April 18-20, 2014

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of April 18-20, 2014.  There are tons of events this weekend!!  Enjoy and happy Easter :)!

 

All Weekend, April 18-20

Last weekend to see the Spring Flower Show at Phipps

The music-themed Spring Flower Show at Phipps is coming to a close this weekend.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see it (it’s beautiful!).

Times: 9:30-5pm (10pm on Fridays)

Cost: Adults $15, Children $11, Members free

Location: Phipps Conservatory, 1 Schenley Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

Eggstravaganza at the National Aviary

Visit with the Easter Bunny and his Ducky friends and then participate in a traditional Easter Egg Hunt in the Rose Garden!

Times: 10am

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The National Aviary, 700 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Saturday, April 19

Bunny Breakfast at Latitude 360

Latitude 360 (also known as Latitude 40) is offering a Bunny Breakfast at its huge entertainment complex.  The event will feature a hot brunch, cookie decorating, treat bag decorating, an Easter egg hunt, and pictures with the Easter Bunny.  Frozen will be playing on their 200 sq foot digital HD LED wall.  And each child will get a $5 game card!  Reservations encouraged.

Times: 8-11am

Cost:  Child $15.99, Adults $10.99

Location: 200 Quinn Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15275

 

Breakfast or Lunch with the Easter Bunny at the Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo is hosting a breakfast/lunch with the Easter Bunny.  Will also include an Easter craft, meeting some zoo animals, and an egg hunt.

Times: Breakfast 9:30-11am, Lunch 12-1:30pm

Cost: Members $17, Nonmembers $20, Children under 2 $7.  Reservations required.

Location: The Pittsburgh Zoo, 7340 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 

Bunny Trail Tyke Hike

Venture Outdoors will be kicking off its yearly Tyke Hike program with an Easter-themed hike. Volunteer trail leaders will take children on an Easter Egg Hunt through Schenley Park, followed by snacks and Easter crafts.

Times: 10-11:30am

Cost: $10/child advance registration; $12/child walkup registration

Location: Schenley Park, Bartlett Playground, Pittsburgh, PA

 

Easter Egg Hunt in Bunnyland at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm

Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm will be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt in Bunnyland.  Kids can hunt for Easter eggs and meet the Easter Bunny in Bunny Land and earn a cute Easter Basket.  Back at the market, they can play in balloon typhoon (?), have their face painted, participate in a coloring contest, and visit the frolicking animals in the barnyard.

Times: 10-1pm, tractor rides leave every 15 minutes to Bunny Land

Cost: $7.50/child participating in the Easter Egg Hunt. Adults and older children (not participating in the hunt) will be charged $3.50 for the ride to Bunny Land.

Location: Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm, 1120 Roosevelt Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

 

Bunny Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Visitors can take a ride on a restored antique trolley to see the Easter Bunny.  There will also be crafts, seeing live bunnies, and an Easter Egg Hunt.

Times:  10 am-4pm with trolley rides leaving every 20 minutes and the last ride leaving the platform at 4:00 pm.

Cost: Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (62+), $7 for children (ages 1-15), under 1 are free. Tickets include admission to the Trolley Museum as well.

Location: Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, 1 Museum Road, Washington, PA 15301

 

8th Annual Eggs-cellent Egg Hunt at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History will host a classic Easter Egg Hunt throughout the exhibits!

Times: 10:30-1pm, or the first 500 children

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

Bunny Fun Cruise on the Gateway Clipper Fleet

The Gateway Clipper Fleet is hosting its annual “Bunny Fun” Cruise on April 19th, where children can enjoy a DJ dance party and a visit with the Easter Bunny!

Times: Board times-10:30am, 1:15pm

Cost: Adults $25, Children $12

Location: The Gateway Clipper Fleet Dock, Station Square, 125 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15219

 

Festival of Colors

The Festival of Colors is a kid-friendly festival filled with music, dancing, yoga, and throwing of organic colored powders. Millions of people celebrate this color festival all over the world to promote love and friendship.

Times: 11-6pm

Cost:  Color packages available. See here.

Location: Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15213 

 

“Annual Bunny Festival” at Soergel’s Orchards

Soergel’s welcomes families for a celebration of Spring and Easter.  There will be Easter Egg Hunts every hour, tractor rides, refreshments, games, activities, baby animals, and the Easter Bunny!

Times: 11-4pm

Cost: Free to attend, however select activities cost extra

Location: Soergel’s Orchards, 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford, PA 15090

 

Verona’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The borough of Verona will be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt and visit with the Easter Bunny.

Time: 11am

Cost: Free

Location: Small community park on East Railroad Ave. adjacent to the Borough Building

 

Moon Township Bunny Trail

Moon Twp Parks and Recreation will be hosting its annual Bunny Trail Easter Egg Hunt at Moon Park.

Times: 11-1pm

Cost: Free ?

Location: Moon Park, 1350 Joe DeNardo Way (Ewing Road), Moon Township, PA 15108

 

The Waterfront’s Eggstravaganza and Spring Celebration

The Waterfront is holding a large Easter celebration including visits with the Easter Bunny/pics, music, and an egg hunt!  Plus, I Made It! Market Jr. will be there, with over 40+ local craftspeople selling handmade wares for kids!

Times: 12-4pm

Cost: Free!

Location: The Waterfront, 149 W Bridge St, Homestead, PA 15120

 

Annual Easter Celebration at Penn Hills Lawn and Garden Center

Bring the little ones to see The Easter Bunny and Spangles the Clown.  Free treat bags for the kids, FREE gift basket raffles, and lots of family fun all day long!  Be sure to bring your camera for photo opportunities.

Times: 12-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: Penn Hills Lawn & Garden, 200 Jefferson Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15235

 

“Alice in Wonderland” at the Gemini Children’s Theater

The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its own original production of Alice in Wonderland in this child-friendly performance.

Times: 1pm and 3:30pm

Cost: $12

Location: Gemini Children’s Theater, 7501 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

 

“Art Lab: Wild Weavings” at the Mattress Factory

Children are invited to an afternoon of weaving-based art as they create their own loom to make a mixed media collage or use a forked tree branch to create a hanging art piece.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Mattress Factory,  500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Robinson Township’s Easter Egg Hunt

Robinson Township sponsors this event at Clever Park.  The Easter Bunny arrives by fire truck.  In addition, there are refreshments, sack races, and an Easter Egg Hunt!

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Rotary Shelter, Clever Park, 115 Robinson Pool Dr, McKees Rocks, PA 15136

 

Braddock’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Braddock will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt again this year with pizza, crafts, visits with the Easter Bunny, a raffle, and an Egg Hunt.

Times: 1pm

Cost: Free

Location: Liberty St./Braddock Ave. Playground, Braddock PA

 

Easter Egg Geocaching with Venture Outdoors

Venture Outdoors will lead a 2-3 mile hike as children can use GPS receivers to find the Easter Bunny’s treasures!

Times: 1:30-3:30pm

Cost: Nonmember $18, Member $12, Children $8

Location: North Park, Pearce Mill Road, Allison Park, PA 15101

 

“Celebrate: Arbor Day” at the Carnegie Library of Oakland

The Carnegie Library in Oakland will be holding a special celebration of trees and their importance in our world. Families are invited to participate in an afternoon of tree-themed fun and educational activities.

Times: 2:30-4:30

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

“Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries” 

In this live theater performance at the Benedum, join Scooby-Doo and his gang as they hunt a trouble-making ghost in a local theater.   Child-friendly!

Times: 3, 6pm

Cost: Ticket prices vary, check website. Children >1 yo must have a ticket.

Location: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 803 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

 

Sunday, April 20

Brunch at the National Aviary

Enjoy Easter brunch by Atria’s Restaurant in the Rose Garden at the National Aviary with a backdrop of greenery, music, and appearances by favorite birds.  Reservation deadline, April 18.

Time: 10:30 or 12:30

Cost: Adults (members) $30 (nonmembers) $35, Children 4-10 (members) $15, (nonmembers) $17.50, Children <3 Free.  Also includes admission to the National Aviary.

Location: The National Aviary, 700 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

New PGH Family Fun: Katy Rank Lev’s “Get Your Act Together” Parties

In my New PGH Family Fun series, I highlight new family-friendly opportunities within Pittsburgh.  I monitor social media sites and conventional news sources to find the most interesting and unique NEW adventure options for families in Pittsburgh.  Then, I write about them here! 

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I know this series is supposed to focus on new family-friendly fun stuff in Pittsburgh;  however, I’m going to start this article out on a morbid note.  Bear with me! It will be worth it.

Late last year, a friend of mine and a fellow Pittsburgh parent passed away suddenly after a horrible accident.  He had two young children and a wonderful wife.  Many Pittsburghers were stunned by his death.  Some of us still are…

In the aftermath of this tragedy, my husband and I learned about the dangers of not having a “Last Will and Testament.”  My deceased friend’s “estate” became tied up in probate court, meaning that his widow was unable to access their funds for months.  After her experience, my husband and I got worried.  What if (god forbid) something similar happened to us one day? Eventually, we consulted with a lawyer to draft a will for us.  After hearing the price tag, almost $1000 (!), we walked away empty-handed….

Katy Rank Lev, founder of Pittsburgh's family-friendly "Get Your Act Together" parties.

Katy Rank Lev, founder of Pittsburgh’s family-friendly “Get Your Act Together” parties.

By pure happenstance, soon afterwards we received an email from Katy Rank Lev and the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library.  It provocatively asked:

“Do you have your act together?”

In this email, I learned that Katy Rank Lev, a local mother, has made it her mission to organize “Get Your Act Together,” or will-signing, parties at local family-friendly venues like the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library (PTLL).  Her goal is to help DIY-minded, young families (like us!) take care of these important documents in a convenient and affordable way.

Recently, I had the chance to interview Katy and learn more about her “Get Your Act Together” parties. Here’s what I found out (in her own words):

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What are your “Get Your Act Together” parties?

At my “Get Your Act Together” parties, I bring mobile notaries to a space I’ve rented (or even your house) and people come with their prepared documents:  Last Will, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, etc. The other adults at the party act as each other’s witnesses and the notaries can stamp the documents to make them official.

 

Katy and her family

Katy and her family

What makes your “Get Your Act Together” parties unique?

Other people have organized “will-signing” parties.  However, they are generally for adults-only.  For us, childcare logistics were a huge part of what held us back from “getting our act together” previously.  For that reason, I consciously choose kid-friendly venues for my “Get Your Act Together” parties so parents can actually bring their kids along.  That way, parents can take care of something really, truly important while their kids are doing something stimulating and fun.

 

How do people prepare for your “Get Your Act Together” party?

To prepare for the event, families need to get their documents together beforehand. This is the hard part!  You can choose to have a consultation with an attorney, or you can take a more DIY-minded approach and use some of the resources available online or in local libraries.  Our family used Rocket Lawyer when we did it last year (they offer these documents for free during the month of April!).  The website walked us through all sorts of yes/no and short answer questions in order to help us fill out the paperwork, much like TurboTax.

Once you figure out your wishes, you fill out the document templates, print them, and bring them (unsigned) to the event.

 

Playing at the Toy Lending Library!

Playing at the Toy Lending Library!

When is the next event?  Where?

I am organizing two “Get Your Act Together” parties for this spring.  The next one will be on April 28th at the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library. The play space is great for the young kids to explore while their parents take care of this very important business.

I’m also hosting another event on May 19th at Shining Light Prenatal Education.  Shining Light is a brightly-colored, kid-friendly venue with a wide open floor, yoga balls to rolls, and yoga bricks to explore.  Many young families utilize this business and their tag line: “Illuminating Your Path to Parenthood,” speaks to the idea behind these parties.  After all, these sorts of documents just matter so much more once we have kids. Getting them squared away lifts a huge burden, leaving room for parents to really focus on living with their families!

 

What is the cost to attend a “Get Your Act Together” party?  What does it cover?

Right now, the events cost $31.20 per person.  An odd number, right? But I’m really just trying to cover costs and keep things affordable.  The fee covers space rental, the mobile notary fees, and three stamps per person.

 

katy4Why were you inspired to start organizing these parties?

I stumbled across Chanel Reynolds’ website. She is a young mom in Washington state whose husband was killed in a tragic cycling accident. She didn’t have any of this legal paperwork together and spent months dealing with probate court and spent thousands of dollars settling her husband’s affairs.  She decided to do something about it and her website has all sorts of templates, checklists, and resources.

As a freelance writer, I decided to interview Chanel and several family lawyers for an article I published in Bust.  In the process, I learned that only 36% of Americans have a will!

The scary truth is:  If you do *NOT* have a will and you and/or your partner should die, the estate will most likely go into probate. This means going to court, hiring lawyers, and spending months trying to access funds and assets meant to take care of your children!

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Who am I kidding?  I know that this entire article was somewhat morbid.  Getting your will, POA, Living Will, etc. notarized is not really a fun experience.  After all, we’re young and healthy.  Why do we need to worry about this stuff anyway?  Well, I can’t tell you how glad I am that we attended Katy’s first “Get Your Act Together” party at the PTLL last winter.  While my kids played happily amongst the toys, my husband and I formalized important decisions that we have discussed over the years.  Who will take care of our children if something happens to us?  What life-saving measures would we want if either of us became incapacitated?  Who will execute our wills?  And many more…

I sleep more easily at night now…

At some point in the future, I know that we’ll sit down again with an attorney and create a more complex, detailed Will.  However, at this point in time, my family’s situation is relatively simple and we don’t have the funds to spend on attorney’s fees.  We felt comfortable creating these documents ourselves using online resources and then making them “official” at Katy’s party.

THANK YOU to Katy Rank Lev for helping to make this intimidating experience affordable, convenient, and family-friendly for Pittsburgh parents!  AND for fooling our children into thinking the whole thing is just another fun playdate :) !

Want to connect with Katy Rank Lev and find out more about her “Get Your Act Together” parties?  Check out her website here.  And here is the site to register for her next event.

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: April 11-13, 2014

Here’s my weekly listing of family-friendly events in the Pittsburgh region for the weekend of April 11-13.  There are a TON of events going on this weekend!!

 

All Weekend, April 11-13

“DreamOn Pittsburgh,” the First Ever Ice Cream Music Festival in Market Square

“DreamOn Pittsburgh” is the first ever ice cream music festival! The event is taking place in Market Square and will showcase 25 musical acts and 75 flavors of Dream Cream Ice Cream.  Every custom flavor of ice cream served is a fundraiser to support a local cause (or dream!).

Times: Friday 12-11pm, Saturday 10-11pm, Sunday 10-4pm

Cost: Free, except for ice cream purchases

Location:  Market Square, Downtown, PA 15222

 

Spring Carnival at Carnegie Mellon University

A huge annual event at Carnegie Mellon!  Amusement rides, games, booths, buggy rides, food, and lots more!

Times: A variety of activities throughout the days.  Please check the schedule here.

Cost: Free admission, various activities cost extra.

Location: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA

 

“Bugs Bunny at the Symphony II”

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra presents a fun fusion of classical music and classic animation featuring Warner Bros. Looney Tunes characters on-screen with live orchestra accompaniment.

Times: Friday 8pm, Saturday 2:30, 8pm, Sunday 2:30pm

Cost: $85

Location: Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222

 

Friday Night, April 11

Murrysville Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt

Kids should bring their baskets and flashlights to hunt for eggs.  Goodie bags, prizes, refreshments, and photos with the Easter Bunny!

Times: 6:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Murrysville Community Park, 4056 Wiestertown Rd, Export, PA 15632

 

“Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch” by the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater

Presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, an original production of Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch. “Swimmy is a tiny fish who uses ingenuity to fend off danger. Frederick, a poetic mouse, makes everyday life an artful experience. A lovable inchworm shares his facility for measuring absolutely everything. All these stories incorporate puppetry and a gentle storytelling style which has earned international acclaim.”

Time: 7pm

Cost: $9.50 in advance, $11 on day of show (if tickets available)

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

 

Hamilton Church Preschool Eggs-travaganza (and Saturday morning)

Hamilton Church Preschool is hosting an Easter-themed event on Friday evening with crafts and games.  Then, Saturday morning they will be hosting an egg hunt and food crafts.  You do not need to be a member of the church or preschool to attend.

Times: Friday 7pm, Saturday 10-12pm

Cost: Free, concessions available for purchase

Location: Hamilton Presbyterian Church Social Hall, 4500 Hamilton Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236.

 

Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13

Eggstravaganza at the National Aviary

Visit with the Easter Bunny and his Ducky friends and then participate in a traditional Easter Egg Hunt in the Rose Garden!

Times: 10am

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The National Aviary, 700 Arch St, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Easter Egg Hunt in Bunnyland at Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm

Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm will be hosting its annual Easter Egg Hunt in Bunnyland.  Kids can hunt for Easter eggs and meet the Easter Bunny in Bunny Land and earn a cute Easter Basket.  Back at the market, they can play in balloon typhoon (?), have their face painted, participate in a coloring contest, and visit the frolicking animals in the barnyard.

Times: 10-1pm, tractor rides leave every 15 minutes to Bunny Land

Cost: $7.50/child participating in the Easter Egg Hunt. Adults and older children (not participating in the hunt) will be charged $3.50 for the ride to Bunny Land.

Location: Reilly’s Summer Seat Farm, 1120 Roosevelt Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

 

Bunny Trolley at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

Visitors can take a ride on a restored antique trolley to see the Easter Bunny.  There will also be crafts, live bunnies, and an Easter Egg Hunt.

Times:  10 am-4pm with trolley rides leaving every 20 minutes and the last ride leaving the platform at 4:00 pm.

Cost: Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (62+), $7 for children (ages 1-15), under 1 are free. Tickets include admission to the Trolley Museum as well.

Location: Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, 1 Museum Road, Washington, PA 15301

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Simmons Farm

A daily Easter Egg Hunt beginning April 11.  Includes a farm-related craft, decorating an Easter egg gathering bag, decorating a flower pot and then planting a flower, visiting a petting zoo, and collection of 12 eggs that are exchanged for prizes.  Happens in the Apple Orchard if sunshine and greenhouse if rain.

Times: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm

Cost: $10.50

Location: Simmons Farm, 170 Simmons Rd, McMurray, PA 15317

 

Opening Weekend of the “Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Original Art from Golden Books” at the Toonseum

The Toonseum will be hosting the most extensive public showings ever of original illustration art from the long-treasured Little Golden Books until June 30th.

Times: Saturday 10:30-5pm, Sunday 10:30-3:30

Cost: Adults, Children >13 $6, Children >6 $3, Children <5 Free

Location: Toonseum, 945 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

 

“Alice in Wonderland” at the Gemini Children’s Theater

The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its own original production of Alice in Wonderland in this child-friendly performance.

Times: 1pm and 3:30pm

Cost: $12

Location: Gemini Children’s Theater, 7501 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

 

Earth Day Celebration at the Frick Environmental Center

A free 2-day celebration of Earth Day sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  On Saturday evening there will be a bonfire where the public is invited to bring hot dogs, marshmallows, etc.  On Sunday, there will be a variety of scheduled activities including hikes, bird’s nest building, naturalist education, litter clean-up, and tons more!

Times: Saturday 6-9pm, Sunday 11:30-4pm

Location: Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

 

Saturday, April 12

“Grow the Garden Day” at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Families are invited to volunteer at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, an impressive park being developed West of the city.  During their monthly volunteer days, participants are asked to work together on horticultural and construction projects that include the removal of invasive plant species, the planting of native trees and bulbs, building trails, and the construction of fences and walls.  School age children are welcome!

Times: 9-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, 850 Poplar St, Pittsburgh, PA 15220

 

Jump!Zone’s 4th Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Children are invited to a free egg hunt at Jump!Zone in Allison Park at 9:30am, right before Open Jump hours start.  If they want, kids can then buy admission to play at Open Jump.

Time: 9:30am

Cost: Free

Location: Jump!Zone Allison Park,  4025 Alpha Dr, Hampton Township, PA 15101

 

“Unseen Mysteries: Revealed!” at the Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center is bringing the Omnimax film Mysteries of the Unseen World to life! Grab a ticket for a screening of the film, check out hands-on activities with ferrofluid, hard drives, and invisible materials, and take a look at live aquarium digital microscopes.

Times: 10-5pm

Cost: General admission plus cost of Omnimax show (if you choose to see it)

Location: Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

Monroeville Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The Monroeville Recreation Department will be sponsoring its Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Monroeville Community Park for children ages 2-10.

Times: 10am

Cost: Free

Location: Monroeville Community Park West, 2399 Tilbrook Rd

 

The Great Pittsburgh Eagle Egg Hunt at Beechwood Farms

The Audubon Society of Western PA will be hosting the “Great Pittsburgh Eagle Egg Hunt” at the beautiful Beechwood Farms and Nature Reserve on Dorseyville Road.  Children can make crafts, participate in games and activities, and then explore Beechwood Farms on an egg hunt.  Bring a reusable bag to collect your eggs.  Advance registration required.

Time: 10-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: 614 Dorseyville Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238

 

“Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch” by the Pittsburgh International Children’s Theater

Presented by Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, an original production of Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch. “Swimmy is a tiny fish who uses ingenuity to fend off danger. Frederick, a poetic mouse, makes everyday life an artful experience. A lovable inchworm shares his facility for measuring absolutely everything. All these stories incorporate puppetry and a gentle storytelling style which has earned international acclaim.”

Time: 11am, 2pm

Cost: $9.50 in advance, $11 on day of show (if tickets available)

Location: Byham Theater, 101 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

 

“Let’s Move! Family Dance Party” at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

The Kelly Strayhorn is hosting a family-friendly dance party with kid-friendly music, dancing, hands-on art activities, and more.

Time: 11-2pm

Cost: Pay What You Can

Location: The Kelly Strayhorn Theater, 5941 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 

“One Book Every Young Child Celebration” with PA State Senator Wayne D. Fontana

Join PA State Senator Wayne D. Fontana at the Brookline Carnegie Library for a special reading of “Stripes of All Types” by Susan Stockdale, Pennsylvania’s 2014 One Book Every Young Child selection. Stories, rhymes and a fun craft activity, also.

Times: 11-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Brookline Carnegie Library, 708-710 Brookline Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15226

 

2014 Spring Festival at Mt. Nebo Pointe

Mt. Nebo Pointe will host a large Spring Festival with face-painting, balloon twisters, visit with the Easter Bunny, and Easter Egg Hunt at participating retail stores.

Times: 11am-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: 250 Mount Nebo Pointe Drive, Pittsburgh PA 15237

 

Findlay Township Easter Egg Hunt

Findlay Twp will be holding its annual Easter Egg Hunt at Rainbow’s End Playground in Clinton Park.  Findlay Twp residents with children aged preschool-grade 5 are welcome to attend.  Preschool children will receive a goody bag from the Easter Bunny in lieu of doing the Easter Egg Hunt.

Times: 11am

Cost: Free

Location: Rainbow’s End Playground, Clinton Community Park, Findlay Twp.

 

Marshall Twp Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Marshall Twp hosts an annual Easter Egg Hunt and visit with the Easter Bunny for children up to age 10.

Times: 11am

Cost: Free

Location: Country Castle Playground, Knob Hill Park, 415 Knob Road Wexford, PA 15090.

 

6th Annual Streets of Cranberry Easter Egg Hunt and Baby Petting Zoo

Children can visit with the Easter Bunny, pet baby animals in the petting zoo, and participate in an Easter Egg Hunt (4-10yo).

Times: 12-2pm

Cost: FREE!

Location: The Streets of Cranberry, 20412 U.S. 19, CRANBERRY TWP, PA 16066

 

Angora Gardens Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Angora Gardens will be offering its Annual Easter celebration in White Oak with food, crafts, face-painting, live bunnies, pictures with the Easter Bunny, a mini-train ride (weather-permitting), and an egg hunt for children <10yo.

Times: 12:30-2:30 pm

Cost: Free

Location: 3 Muse Lane, White Oak PA 15131

 

“Penny Arcade: Family Comedy Show”

The Penny Arcade is a monthly improv show intended for children in grades 1-8.  Before the show, the audience participates in “collaboration stations” which use crafts and literary prompts to help generate ideas that are used in the show.  After the show there is an option to meet the cast and possibly play a few improv games!

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: $10

Location: Arcade Comedy Theater, 811 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222

 

Mt. Lebanon Easter Egg Hunt

Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department is hosting its annual easter egg hunt/visit with the Easter Bunny for children <7.  Bring your Easter basket!

Times: 1pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mt. Lebanon Park by Pavilion 3

 

A Springtime Dance Party and Egg Hunt with Kid City

Join a kid-friendly Easter-themed dance party with DJ Kelly Mom and puppet maker Cheryl Capezzuti.  There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt if weather permits and possibly a bunny run with animal friends, too!

Times: 2-6pm

Cost: Adults $5, Children Free

Location: All Saints Community Hall, 3577 McClure Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

 

“World Family Day” at the Carnegie Library of Oakland

The Carnegie Library of Oakland is hosting “World Family Day,” an afternoon of stories in many different languages– Chinese, Spanish, Hindi and more!  Families can sample a new language, explore cultural crafts, and snack on delicious treats from around the world.  Advance registration required.

Times: 2-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

Discovery Christian Church’s Easter Egg’stravaganza

This Easter event is an INDOOR, carnival style event including visits with the Easter Bunny, carnival games, inflatables, face painting, food, and an Easter Egg Hunt! Bring your own basket.

Times: 3-5pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mars Area High School, 520 Route 228, Mars PA 16046

 

Steel City Roller Derby benefiting the Pajama Program

The Steel Hurtin, a women’s varsity roller derby team competes against The Low Country High Rollers in their second competitive game of the season!  A portion of the proceeds benefits the Pajama Program, an organization working to bring pajamas and books to children living in shelters and group homes.

Time: Doors open at 6pm, Roller derby starts at 7pm

Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at door, Kids 10 and under are free

Location:  Romp N Roll in Glenshaw, 1661 E. Sutter Rd, Glenshaw, PA 15116.

 

Sunday, April 13

The Caring Bunny Event at South Hills Village

Children with autism and their families are invited to participate in a special private photo session with the Caring Bunny at South Hills Village.

Times: 9-11am

Cost: Free, but photo packages cost variable amounts

Location: South Hills Village, 301 S Hills Village, Bethel Park, PA 15241

 

Sharpsburg Family Worship Center Easter Egg Extravaganza

The Sharpsburg Family Worship Center is hosting a large Easter event.  Includes a kids stage show, puppets, face painting, petting zoo, games, inflatables, cotton candy, hot dogs, and much more!

Time: 10am

Cost: FREE!

Location: Sharpsburg Family Worship Center, 6th and Clay Street, Sharpsburg PA 15215

 

Morningside Area Community Council’s (MACC) Easter Egg Hunt

The MACC hosts an annual Easter Egg Hunt in St. Raphael’s Multipurpose room and lawn area with crafts, egg and sack races, and an Easter Egg Hunt where children hunt for eggs based on their age groups.  Open to residents of Morningside and surrounding neighborhoods.  Advance Registration requested. Please email fpischke@verizon.net for more information about reservations.

Times: 12:30pm

Cost: $5 donation/family

Location: St. Raphael’s Church, 1118 Chislett St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 

“Earth Day Celebration” at Robin Hill Park in Moon Township

Moon Township is hosting a large Earth Day event at Robin Hill Park.  There will be variety of interactive, environment-themed activities for children.  There will also be special presentations by the National Aviary, Audubon Society, Burgh Bees, music, giveaways, a climbing wall, Reuse-a-palooza with the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and food for purchase.

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Robin Hill Park, Moon, PA 15108

A Guide to Celebrating the EARTH in Pittsburgh this Month!

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I’m thrilled to be putting Winter behind us this year!  The snow has melted, the weather is warming up, and the greenery is finally starting to come back to life.  It’s APRIL!!  As the world wakes up from its winter slumber this month, we fittingly celebrate Planet Earth and Mother Nature during Earth Day (April 22), National Arbor Day (April 25), and the Great American Cleanup of PA.

I have done extensive research to compile this family guide to “Celebrating the EARTH in Pittsburgh this Month.”  It is my hope that this guide will not only help you celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day in 2014, but will also introduce you to local organizations that can help teach your children about environmental stewardship on a regular basis. I have included information on Earth-Day/Arbor Day/environment-themed events, as well as this month’s family-friendly volunteer opportunities to participate in tree plantings, litter clean-ups, and community food garden plantings.  Going forward, I will also be regularly including these events in my What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend posts.

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Special Earth Day/Arbor Day Events

Earth Day Celebration” at the Frick Environmental Center-April 12-13

A free 2-day celebration of Earth Day sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.  On Saturday evening there will be a bonfire where the public is invited to bring hot dogs, marshmallows, etc.  On Sunday, there will be a variety of scheduled activities including hikes, bird’s nest building, naturalist education, litter clean-up, and tons more!

Times: Saturday 6-9pm, Sunday 11:30-4pm

Location: Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

 

“Earth Day Celebration” at Robin Hill Park in Moon Township-April 13

Moon Township is hosting a large Earth Day event at Robin Hill Park.  There will be variety of interactive, environment-themed activities for children.  There will also be special presentations by the National Aviary, Audubon Society, Burgh Bees, music, giveaways, a climbing wall, Reuse-a-palooza with the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, and food for purchase.

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Robin Hill Park, Moon, PA 15108

 

“Celebrate: Arbor Day” with Tree Pittsburgh at the Beechview Carnegie Library-April 14

Tree Pittsburgh and the Beechview Carnegie Library will be hosting a special celebration of TREES! Kids can participate in a tree-themed storytime, create an exploration station featuring leaves, seeds, bark, tree cuttings, scent jars, and lots more. There will also be a hands-on planting activity for children to take home.  Advance registration required by April 12.

Times: 6-7:30pm

Cost: Free

Location: Beechview Carnegie Library, 1910 Broadway Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15216

 

University of Pittsburgh’s Earth Day Extravaganza-April 15

The University of Pittsburgh is hosting a celebration of Earth Day that is open to the general public.  Will feature discussions and seminars, as well as more kid-friendly games, prizes, and food!

Times: 11-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: William Pitt Union, 3959 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213

 

“Celebrate: Arbor Day” at the Carnegie Library of Oakland-April 19

The Carnegie Library in Oakland will also be holding a special celebration of trees and their importance in our world. Families are invited to participate in an afternoon of tree-themed fun and educational activities.

Times: 2:30-4:30

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

“Celebrate Earth Day” at the Scott Township Library-April 19

The Scott Township library is hosting a special Earth Day celebration where children can create special Earth Day crafts using recycled materials.  Advance registration required.

Times: 3-4:40

Cost: Free

Location: Scott Township Library, 301 Lindsay Rd, Carnegie, PA 15106

 

“Go Green! Celebrate Earth Day” at the Carnegie Library of Homewood-April 21

The Carnegie Library of Homewood will be hosting a special celebration of the environment in honor of Earth Day. Intended for school-age children.  No advance registration required.

Times: 3-4:40

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Homewood, 7101 Hamilton Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

 

“Earth Day: Sense of Wonder” at the Children’s Museum-April 22

Children are invited to celebrate the Earth at the Museum with sustainable art and up-close nature discovery. There will also be Earth Day Jams Singalong with Betsy and Pals.

Times: 10-5pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

“Family Fun: Green Celebration” at the Hazelwood Carnegie Library-April 24

Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day by learning about trees through stories and hands-on science activities at the Hazelwood Carnegie Library.

Times: 6-7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Hazelwood, 4901 Second Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207

 

“Earth Nite Festival” at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park-April 25

The Environmental Charter School is hosting a fun, family-friendly community festival in honor of Earth Day!  This year’s theme is “Servin’ up Summer.” The event will feature local organizations hosting “ECS-approved” summer camps.  There will also be face-painting, a Used Toy Sale, Food Trucks, Hall o’ Fun Games and Activities, and much more!  Please contact Ms. Micco at Laura.Micco@environmentalcharterschool.org for additional information.

Times: 6-8pm

Cost: Free

Location: ECS Upper School, 829 Milton Street, Pittsburgh PA

 

Earth Day Walking Tour of Millvale with Venture Outdoors-April 26

Venture Outdoors is celebrating Earth Day by hosting a walking tour of Millvale, a borough that has made many efforts to become more “green.”  Join guest speakers from the Clean Rivers Campaign and local residents as they tour the town, with stops at the urban farm, community gardens, library, and parklets along the way.

Times: 9-11:30

Cost: Members $8, Nonmembers $12

Location: Walking tour starts at Millvale Riverfront Park, 70 Riverfront Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15209

 

Ellwood City’s Earth Day Celebration 2014-April 26

Come on down to Ewing Park for fun outdoor activities in celebration of Earth Day! More than 25 exhibitors, a Wild World of Animals show, a kids craft, and an art contest.

Times: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: FREE

Location: Ewing Park, Ellwood City, 16117

 

PPG Party for the Planet at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium-April 26

The Pittsburgh Zoo invites families to celebrate Earth Day with recycling games, eco-crafts, and lots more activities.  Plus, families can connect with local organizations that work to protect the environment.

Times: 11-3pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: Pittsburgh Zoo, 7340 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 

“Family Fun: Arbor Day Celebration” at the East Liberty Carnegie Library-April 26

Children are invited to an Arbor Day celebration at the East Liberty Carnegie Library.  They can listen to stories about trees and participate in a craft and poster project.  Designed for children ages 2-10yo.  Advance registration required.

Times: 11-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of East Liberty, 130 S. Whitfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

 

Earth Day in Mt. Lebanon-April 26

A free environmental fair with over 50 displays and vendors providing helpful information about saving energy, conserving resources.etc. There will also be live music, food, kids activities and crafts, farm goods, eco-friendly gifts/art/jewelry, tie dye, and lots more!

Times: 11-3pm

Cost: Free

Location: Mt. Lebanon Main Park, Mt Lebanon, PA 15228

 

Howard Hanna Earth Day at the Cooper Siegel Library-April 26

Howard Hanna is sponsoring a family-friendly Earth Day celebration at the Cooper Siegel Library. Will include activities, crafts, and face-painting by the fabulous local mom/realtor, Shane Morris!

Times: 11-1pm

Cost: Free

Location: Cooper Siegel Library, 403 Fox Chapel Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15238

 

“Earth Day Celebration” at Pine Park Pond in Wexford-April 26

Families are invited to Pine Park Pond in Wexford for fun outdoor activities in celebration of Earth Day!  Activities will include, games, hikes, scavenger hunt, activites, and lots more! Advance registration required.

Times: 1-3pm

Cost: $20/family

Location: Pine Park Pond, 100 Pine Park Dr, Wexford, PA 15090

 

“Family Fun: Green Celebration” at the Carnegie Library of Squirrel Hill-April 27

Families are invited to a celebration of the environment at the Squirrel Hill Children’s Department.  Will include “green” stories and crafts.

Times: 3-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: 5801 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217

 

 

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Volunteering in a community garden

There are several family-friendly opportunities to volunteer in local community food gardens this month.

 

Volunteer at the Garfield Farms-Thursday evenings

The Garfield Farm hosts a weekly volunteering event on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm throughout the growing season!

Times: 6-8pm

Cost: Free

Location: Garfield Farms, Wicklow St, Pittsburgh PA

 

Volunteer at the Lawrenceville Community Garden-Wednesday evenings, Sunday mornings

Volunteers are always welcome at the Lawrenceville Community Garden at McCandless & Natrona on Wednesday evenings (6-7pm) and Sunday mornings (10-12pm).

 

Volunteer at Braddock Farms with Grow Pittsburgh-April 19

Grow Pittsburgh invites families to participate in a volunteer day at Braddock Farms, an organic community garden.  Added bonus: The Braddock Easter Egg Hunt will be held the same day!

Times: 10-2pm

Cost: Free

Location: Braddock Farms, 1000 Braddock Ave, Braddock, PA,

 

Want to know about other community food gardens in the city?  Check out Grow Pittsburgh’s map to find one close to you!

 

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Planting a tree

There are several community organizations that work to protect and plant trees in Pittsburgh. Thankfully, they often welcome volunteers to help with their noble efforts!

 

Tree planting with Tree Pittsburgh

Tree Pittsburgh and TreeVitalize are hosting a variety of tree plantings and mulchings this month in many local neighborhoods, including Squirrel Hill, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Brighton Heights, Castle Shannon, Baldwin, South Side Flats, Verona, Moon Township, and Hazelwood. Check out this site to find one close to you. Volunteers are definitely welcome!

 

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Participating in a local clean-up

Great PA Cleanup

Participate in the Great American Cleanup of PA right here in Allegheny County!  Each year, communities throughout the US gather together from March 1st-May 31st to cleanup their neighborhoods.  There are many events being hosted in Allegheny County over the next couple of months.  Click here to find one close to you!  Please note:  Children are generally welcome at litter clean up events; however are discouraged from attending cleanups of illegal dumping zones.

 

Spring REDD Up Event

The City of Pittsburgh hosts a Redd Up Zone program, which recruits businesses and organizations to adopt a “Redd Up Zone,” committing to year-round cleanups in a designated area.  Each April, they host a “Spring Redd Up Event,” where volunteers participate in neighborhood cleanups throughout the city.  Although, there is no centralized database of upcoming REDD UP cleanups, those interested in participating are welcome to email Boris Weinstein at boris.weinstein@verizon.net to find one close to them!

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Thanks!! And please join us in celebrating the EARTH in Pittsburgh this month!!

 

New PGH Family Fun: Rent the Chicken!

In my New PGH Family Fun series, I highlight new family-friendly opportunities within Pittsburgh.  I monitor social media sites and conventional news sources to find the most interesting, unique, and fun NEW adventure options for families in Pittsburgh.  Then, I write about them here! 

I’ve been flirting with the idea of raising backyard chickens for a few years now.  Although I’m not a “homesteader” by any stretch of the imagination, I aspire to become more self-sufficient. Keeping hens for their eggs seems like a great place to start!  Plus, I love the idea of embarking on a new domestic adventure with my children.  Bringing some new animal friends and a little taste of rural life into our home sounds like a lot of fun!

What’s kept me from getting chickens up to this point?  Commitment phobia!  I’m concerned about signing on for the ~10yr life span of a chicken.  For this reason, I was thrilled when a friend recently sent me information about a new local business: Rent the Chicken!! Last week, I had a chance to interview the owner, “Homestead Jenn” and here’s what I found out about Rent the Chicken (in her own words):

 

Homestead Jenn and Homestead Phil, owners of "Rent the Chicken"

Homestead Jenn and Homestead Phil, owners of “Rent the Chicken”

What is “Rent the Chicken?
Rent The Chicken is Homestead Jenn and Homestead Phil’s answer for families who want an opportunity to experiment with “urban homesteading” by raising backyard chickens without signing on for a long term commitment.  We provide families with two egg-laying hens, a portable chicken coop, 100 pounds of quality chicken feed, a water dish, and a custom Rent The Chicken feeder for a 6 month period.  Renters should expect to experience a slice of urban homesteading and the benefit of 8-14 farm fresh eggs per week!

 

What is the cost to Rent The Chicken?
The cost for the standard six month Rental Period from May/June through November is $350.  We ask upfront for a $50 non-refundable deposit, which can be paid through our website with paypal, by sending a check, or with a major credit card over the phone.  Full payment is due at time of drop-off.  We also offer an upgrade to organic non-GMO feed for an additional $50.  In order to reduce the cost, Rent the Chicken offers a Referral Program.  For each friend or family member that you refer, you receive a $50 discount on your 2014 Rental Period.  If you have FIVE friends or family members sign up before your delivery date, you do not need to pay anything more than your original deposit (and non-GMO feed upgrade if applicable)!

 

"Rent The Chicken"

What breeds of chickens do you have available for rent? 
Currently we have White Rocks.  Golden Buffs, Rhode Islands, and Black Australorps are due to arrive soon. These are all breeds that are known for their egg-laying ability AND are hardy enough for Pittsburgh winters!

 

Where is your business based?  
We live just north of Freeport, PA, about 40 minutes northeast of Pittsburgh.  We will transport the hens and their supplies directly to your house.

 

Do you provide information about raising chickens for amateurs like me?
Upon receiving a paid deposit, we mail a copy of Fresh Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele to help our Renters be more prepared for their upcoming visitors.  At delivery, we give a detailed tutorial on how to care for them and the functions of the portable coop.  We are also available to answer questions via email, Facebook, text message, and telephone before and during the Rental Period!

 

What are the rules regarding keeping chickens in Pittsburgh?
There are two schools of thought about keeping chickens within the city limits of Pittsburgh.  One is the official law, which requires an expensive permit, the need for a lot of land, and no roosters.  Unfortunately, these permits are rarely approved.  Another school involves P4-Pittsburgh Pro Poultry People.  They are a group of urban-poultry keepers in Pittsburgh who seek to promote the joy of chickens within the city limits without permit requirements.  They believe in a) asking neighbors for their approval before getting chickens b) assuring neighbors that fresh eggs will be plentiful c) reassuring neighbors that hens are usually more quiet than neighborhood dogs d) maintaining odors to a minimum and e) doing your best NOT to attract rodents.  If a Renter is reported and does not have the permit, the chickens will not be confiscated and fines will not be issued without prior warnings.

 

renthechicken5Why did you start this business? 

We have a growing desire to bring the “farm” closer to peoples’ tables, including our own! We raise chickens for their eggs and buy locally-raised beef and pork.  We also grow a nice garden and can our vegetables to eat year-round.  We combined our lifestyle choices with the knowledge that our friends also aspired to raise backyard chickens…and Rent the Chicken was born!

 

What do you think are the benefits to families of keeping chickens?
There are so many benefits!  The eggs are of better quality with 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, more omega 3 fatty acids, and more vitamin A, E, and beta carotene.  Also, raising backyard chickens is an exciting experience for the entire family!  It’s so much fun for children to pour the chicken feed, watch the chickens eat, and open the back hatch of the coop to retrieve eggs daily!

 

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Anyway, I really love the idea of Rent the Chicken.  I think it could make great strides to expand the “Farm to Table” movement, especially to folks (like me) who are just teetering on the edge of being ready to commit more fully.  Plus, I think my kids would love having some new backyard companions for the beautiful, warmer months ahead!!
Want to connect with Rent the Chicken?  Here are links to its website and Facebook page.  Those with questions are encouraged to give them a call (724-305-0782) or send an email to info@RentTheChicken.com.

 

What’s Going on in Pittsburgh this Weekend: April 4-6, 2014

All Weekend, April 4-6

Shrine Circus at the Consol Energy Center

The Shriner’s of Pittsburgh is hosting its largest fundraiser of the year: The Shrine Circus!

Times: Friday 7pm; Saturday 10:30, 2:30, 7pm; Sunday 2pm

Cost: $17-$24

Location: Consol Energy Center, 1001 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

 

The Pennsylvania Maple Festival

Meyersdale is hosting the 67th Annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival all weekend.  Events include a parade, auto and tractor shows, horse-pulling games, a historical pageant, a pancake/sausage meal, concerts, and tons more!

Times: Friday 10-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 10-4pm

Cost: Adults $5, Children >5 $1, Children <5 Free.  Admission covers most activities.  Refreshments available for purchase

Location: Meyers Avenue, Meyersdale PA 15552 

 

Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown

The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown is a joint effort of The Learning Lamp, Art Works!, and Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Center. This FREE event aims to foster a love of reading in children.  There will be several well-known headlining authors at the event, Beauty and the Beast Storytellers, the Zany Umbrella Circus, music, new and used books, and creative arts activities.

Times: Friday 6-8:30; Saturday 10-4pm, Sunday 12-4pm

Cost: FREE!

Location: Bottle Works Ethnic Art Center and ArtWorks! on Third Avenue, Johnstown PA

 

“Charlotte’s Web” at the Theatre Factory in Trafford

The Theatre Factory in Trafford (located East of the city) is performing an original production of “Charlotte’s Web” based on the classic children’s story by EB White.  Advance registration recommended.

Time: Friday, 4:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 2pm

Cost: $7

Location: The Theatre Factory, Cavitt & Third St., Trafford PA 15085

 

Friday Night, April 4

Egg Hunt Extravaganza at the Shaler North Hills Library

Shaler North Hills Library will be hosting its annual egg hunt, where hidden eggs are found and turned in for a prize.  There will also be spring crafts, bunny games, and face painting.

Time: 7pm

Cost: Free

Location: Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt Royal Blvd, Glenshaw, PA 15116

 

Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6

Opening Weekend of “Alice in Wonderland” at the Gemini Children’s Theater

The Gemini Children’s Theater presents its own original production of Alice in Wonderland in this child-friendly performance.

Times: 1pm and 3:30pm

Cost: $12

Location: Gemini Children’s Theater, 7501 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

 

Saturday, April 5

Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshop

Children are invited to participate in a FREE, hands-on workshop to build a birdbath/birdfeeder.  Intended for children ages 5-12.

Times: 9-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: Participating Home Depot locations, including East Liberty store.

 

Riverview Park Tree Planting Event

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy invites families (with children 8+) to plant trees in the Valley Refuge and remove invasive plants throughout Riverview Park.  Volunteers should wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, and be dressed for weather.  Gloves, tools and training will be provided on site.

Times: 9-1pm

Cost: Free

Location: Chapel Shelter, Riverview Park, Pittsburgh PA 15214

 

“Peanut Butter and Jam Session” by the Chatham Baroque

Chatham Baroque is offering the last (for this year) of its monthly, child-friendly concerts led by a certified Kindermusik teacher.  These concerts are interactive, fun, and instructional for young children!  This month’s theme: “Channel Crossings.”

Times: 10am and 11:30am

Cost: Adults $8, Children $5

Location: McClintic Hall, Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh PA

 

Great Millvale Egg Hunt

The Borough of Millvale will be hosting its huge annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Millvale Riverfront Pavilion.

Time: 10am

Cost: Free

Location: Millvale Riverfront Pavilion, River Front Drive, Millvale, PA 15209

 

South Hills Easter Egg Hunt

The Upper St. Clair High School INTERACT Club and the Bethel-St. Clair Rotary Club are hosting their annual South Hills Easter Egg Hunt.  There will be crafts, games, a Grand Raffle, photos with the Easter Bunny, etc. starting at 10am.  Easter Egg Hunt starts at 11am.  Bring your own baskets to collect eggs!

Times: 10am

Cost: FREE!

Location: “Old” Recreation Center, 1770 Mclaughlin Run Rd.

 

Bunny Bop at the Mall at Robinson

Children can visit with the Easter Bunny, Caillou, and Martha from Martha Speaks at the Mall at Robinson.

Time: 10-12pm

Cost: Free

Location: The Mall at Robinson, 100 Robinson Centre Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15205

 

“Saturday Speaker Series: Celebrating Jazz” at the Heinz History Center

The Heinz History Center is hosting a special celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month.  This event will feature live music performed by the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), led by Instrumental Music Chair Bernard Black, along with a special appearance by renowned jazz vocalist Etta Cox. RSVP to Sandra Baker at slbaker@heinzhistorycenter.orgor 412-454-6412.

Times: 11-1pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

 

“CarKids: Merrily We Roll Along” at the Frick Art & Historical Center

Children can participate in this FREE program through the Frick Art & Historical Center where they can check out the Frick family carriages and cars.

Times: 11-11:45

Cost: FREE

Location: The Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

 

“Calling All Superheros! HeroFest” by Heartprints Center for Early Education in Cranberry

Heartprints Center for Early Education is hosting a HeroFest, where children are encouraged to embrace their superhero alter ego! There will be a variety of kid-friendly activities including face-painting, balloon twisting, musicians, magicians, caricatures, Meet the Fireman (and woman), and interactive activities with the Children’s Museum, Home Depot, Carnegie Science Center, and the Audubon Society.

Times: 12-4pm

Cost: $12

Location: Regional Learning Alliance, 850 Cranberry Woods Drive, Cranberry Twp, PA 16066.

 

“Books about the Mail” Event at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

The Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh will be at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh sharing special books about the magic of the mail!  There will also be a special storytime in the Theater at 2pm.

Times: 12-3pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, 10 Children’s Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

“Art Lab: Solar Jamboree” at the Mattress Factory

Children are invited to participate in this week’s Art Lab at the Mattress Factory where they will explore Photovoltaic Solar Energy with real solar panels.  Children can experiment with angles and location, and linking solar energy to small electronics. In addition, Conservation Consultants Inc. educator Indigo Raffel will assist visitors in creating their own solar prints.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free with admission

Location: The Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

 

Saturday Crafternoon at Assemble

With the help of the Drop Project and local environmental artist Ann Rosenthal, kids will think about what types of animals and plants live in Garfield, about where neighborhood water flows, and will then imagine Garfield as a magical landscape.  They will then pictorially represent it all on a reclaimed canvas mural-making activity.

Times: 1-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Assemble, 5125 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224

 

“3rd Annual Tomodachi Festival: Celebrate the Culture of Japan” at the Carnegie Library of Oakland

The Oakland branch of the Carnegie Library is offering its 2nd annual Tomodachi festival.  Tomodachi is a Japanese word meaning “friends.”  Children can celebrate the spirit of friendship through activities, art and treats that showcase Japan, its people and its rich history. Activities include kumihomo-making, origami, kamishibai theater, music, and kimono try-on.

Times: 2-4pm

Cost: Free

Location: Carnegie Library of Oakland, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

 

Sunday, April 6

“Kids Day” at PNC Park

Sunday home games are Kids Day for the Pittsburgh Pirates!  Kids are invited for fun and games at the #1 Cochran Family Fun Zone on Federal Street from 11am-1pm.  They will also get a kid-friendly Pirates item at the gates for kids ages 14 & younger with paid admission to the game, and then stick around after the game when all kids are invited to “Run The Bases” right down on the field (weather permitting).