Trip to Idlewild

A few weeks ago, we took Sam to Idlewild for the first time. We went with Aaron’s parents and his brother and our sister-in-law. It was HOT. Not the best idea for an 8 months pregnant lady but we all survived and had fun.

It took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there from the South Hills of Pittsburgh. We got there at about 10 AM and they opened the gates at 10:15. We were able to park really close to where we set up our picnic. It was nice and convenient to be able to walk back to the car so easily throughout the day. I definitely took a break for about 20 minutes and sat in the car with the AC running.

We packed a cooler with sandwiches, water and snacks so we ended up spending $0 while we were there.

We walked through Storybook Forest first then went on the train then went back to the picnic table for lunch and a little rest. After we ate, it was around 2 PM and Sam was getting tired and cranky.

We reclined the stroller seat, pulled the shade way down and Aaron pushed Sam around the park until he fell asleep. He ended up napping for about 40 minutes which turned out great! We weren’t sure if he’d be able to fall asleep in the stroller so we thought we might have a totally exhausted kid on our hands. (We took the new stroller and so far, we love it).

After he woke up, I went to rest in the car for a bit and Aaron and his brother and parents took Sam to kiddie land to ride a few rides. He loved the rides! At just barely age 2, he was able to ride a few but he’ll be old enough to ride everything next year.

I met up with everyone in kiddie land and we walked over to Soak Zone, the water park area. Aaron and Sam changed into swim clothes and they played in the kiddie pool until it closed at 6. I think this was Sam’s favorite part. He loved the pipes that poured water.

We changed out of swim gear and then all took a ride on the merry-go-round. After that, we headed back to the picnic table, ate another sandwich and then Aaron, Sam and I left around 7.

It was a long day but a lot of fun! Kids two and under are free so Sam was free. Aaron and I bought our tickets 7 days in advance from the Idlewild website so I think we paid just slightly under $30 each.

Some things that worked well for us:

  • Getting there right when it opened so we could park near the pavilions and have a shaded picnic table.
  • Bring a cooler with food to save money and so we had a “home base” to go back to for rest.
  • Bringing our big stroller with lots of storage so we could cart our stuff around and so Sam could be comfortably reclined for a nap.
  • Bring lots of water.  We brought 24 bottles and probably used 15 of them between the three of us.
  • Don’t try to see everything.  We only probably saw about 25% of the park and that was fine for us.
  • Buying tickets 7 days in advance was the cheapest for us or check Giant Eagle customer service for coupons.
  • Going on a Saturday of Labor Day weekend wasn’t as crazy busy as we thought it would be.

Things to do in Pittsburgh: September 2014

After I posted about the new upcoming events widget Monday, I figured out how to embed the calendar in a post.  It’s already the middle of the month so this just shows the remaining events for the month.  You should be able to click on the events to see more details.  I’ll plan on posting October’s calendar at the end of September.

Lot’s of things going on this weekend!

If you’re into yard sales, there is a huge neighborhood yard sale this Saturday in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  60+ families are participating and they even have food trucks coming!  Here’s a link to the website: 4th Annual Point Breeze Yard Sale  It’s 9 AM to 3 PM Saturday, 9/20/14

Family Update

Sam and I are both still a bit sick though we’re on the mend.  I got his cold so now all three of us have had it.  I’ve been napping while he naps this week.

The baby is due two weeks from today.  I should probably think about packing a bag and getting the car seat installed.  When I had Sam, I had a cold and an ear infection and it lingered forever probably because I was so exhausted.  I’m really hoping this cold goes away before the baby comes.

Sam’s new room is coming along.  Aaron finished the painting this weekend and installed the second new window.  The closet now has doors and the new baseboards are all installed.  He just has to finish the trim around the windows and the closet and then we’ll be done!

I’ve been slowly making my way around the house trying to organize and declutter.  We have a small house.  It’s about 1200 square feet, with small closets.  Sometimes I feel like I’d like a bigger house (with a second bathroom and maybe a fourth bedroom/office) and sometimes I think it’s nice to have a small space because it means we have to get rid of stuff and there is less to clean.

The Dining Room Table Makeover

I finally finished painting the dining room table last week!  It was a long, slow process that I drew out forever.

Sam had mother’s day out today so I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and picked out fabric for the chairs.  I also picked up two free stools from a Facebook group and I’m going to recover those as well as the two stools we already had.

Free stools until you spend $40 on batting and fabric…  I want to paint them too but I’m going to hold off on that.  The white stools need to be repainted so I want to do that all together.

The white stools were originally brown and I spray painted them.  Spray painting does not hold up on furniture like that.  Don’t do it!  Or maybe sand and prime and then use a top coat.  Don’t just spray paint like I did.

Sam and I don’t have much going on the rest of the week.  Maybe I’ll break out the finger paints tomorrow. That kid loves to paint.

Gymsport Athletic Center (Bridgeville, PA)

Sam and I visited Gymsport with a friend and her daughter earlier this week.  It’s located at 98 Vanadium Road in a big warehouse.  It’s a gymnastic and cheerleading gym but they have Preschool Playtime Monday through Friday 9-12 AM which is open gym time for kids age 5 and under.

It’s $5 per hour or they sell a 5 visit pass for $20 (cash only).

They have trampolines, giant foam block pits, uneven bars, rings, balance beams, a small climbing wall, a zip line and other random gym equipment.

We got there at 9:30 AM and there were about 2 or 3 other parents and kids there.  It got busier around 10 so we’d probably stick to getting there early.  We stayed for one hour and Sam (and I) were totally worn out by then.

Here’s Sam sitting on the long trampoline.


And running down down the trampoline toward the foam block pit.  The only problem with this trampoline was that the other end just kind of ended with just a very thin mat on the floor.  Sam kept running from one end to the other and we kept having to make sure our kids didn’t just run right off.


They have this slide into a foam block pit and a small trampoline to the right of it that was a big hit.  There is also a small zip line but Sam didn’t quite get the concept of it yet.


There was a gymnastics class while we were there on the other side of the gym.



Here’s the little trampoline built into the floor that all the kids really liked.

DSC_5719I didn’t take any pictures of the one other area that is included in Preschool Playtime.  It’s where they have the balance beams and bars and a mini vault.

We had a good time at Gymsport and will definitely be back!  Especially in the Winter when we’re looking for indoor activities.  The customer service isn’t great (not unfriendly, just not especially friendly) but it’s also kind of nice to be left alone to just do your thing.

Gymport Athletic Center (412) 220-1195

98 Vanadium Road, Building C (you enter and park in the rear of the building)

Bridgeville, PA  15017

$5 per hour or 5 visit pass for $20 (cash only!)



Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Zucchini Enchiladas

Sam and I visited the Children’s Museum for the first time today!  We met a friend and her son there and had a great time.  I didn’t take many pictures because it is hard not to get anyone else’s kid in the frame.

I don’t want to dedicate this whole post to the Children’s Museum because I think we only saw like 1/4 of it.  It’s huge and we have toddlers that nap so we only spent about 1.5 hours there.  Sam seemed to really enjoy it though and it was a surprisingly quick drive from Mt. Lebanon.  I think it would have only taken us 15 minutes to get there if I didn’t make a wrong turn and end up downtown.  Here are a couple pictures from the museum today.

For dinner tonight, we had sweet potato, black bean and zucchini enchiladas.

I made homemade enchilada sauce using this recipe from Gimme Some Oven.  It was really easy and delicious.  I doubled the recipe because 1 cup did not sound like enough.  Just a note that if you double it, you’re going to need 1/2 cup of chili powder so buy in bulk!  We tend to buy black pepper, red pepper flakes, curry powder and chili powder in bulk because we go through the most of those spices.

The enchiladas and sauce could be made vegan if you used vegetable stock in the enchilada sauce, vegan refried beans and skipped the cheese.  It’s also a really cheap recipe and not difficult.  The most time consuming part is peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Zucchini Enchiladas

  • 2 cups enchilada sauce
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 small), peeled and diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 oz can refried beans (I used refried black beans)
  • 1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 9 flour tortillas

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add onions, sweet potatoes, zucchini and salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover the bottom of a 9″x13″ and 9″x9″ with enchilada sauce.  About 1/2 cup in the large dish and 1/4 cup in the small dish.

Assemble the enchiladas– Get a tortilla, add a spoonful of refried beans then a small handful of black beans, a couple of spoonfuls of the veggie filling and then sprinkle with cheese.  Roll up and place in your prepared baking dish, seam side down.  

My 9″x13″ pan held 6 filled tortillas and my 9″x9″ held 3.  After you’ve filled them all and placed in the baking dishes, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over to cover and then add the salsa and finally sprinkle on whatever remaining cheese you have.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until heated through and bubbling.

Here’s a picture of the finished enchiladas (after I ate one).  The lighting is terrible in that picture and I think my phone is on it’s last leg because the pictures are getting worse and worse.  Due for a new phone in a few weeks so hopefully the pictures will get better soon!

Parent’s Day Out Programs in the South Hills

I put out a request on the South Hills Mom’s Facebook page a while ago looking for a Parent’s Morning Out program in the area.  A friend of mine who lives in the East End takes her son to one of these programs and she highly recommended it so I was hoping to find one for Sam.  If you’re not familiar with what it is, it’s basically a daycare type program that usually runs a few hours once a week (or more) to give moms and dads a small break without the commitment of a normal daycare.

I found one that I liked and signed Sam up for every other Wednesday through the Summer.  It’s 3 hours in the morning and they do a craft, read stories and play outside on the playground.  There are 11 kids in his class, age 18 months to 3 years with two adult caregivers and one high school girl.  It’s $18 each time I take him.  I believe the cost for two kids is $30.  Each mom provides a prepackaged, healthy snack in the beginning and they are given a snack in that three hour period.  It’s not a preschool program.  It’s supposed to be a ministry to the parents.  It’s mostly just socialization and play time for the kids.

I love it and would definitely recommend it to stay-at-home parents out there.  Running errands without a toddler diving out of the shopping cart is amazing.

Churches (that I know of) that have this type of program in the South Hills area: