The Gift that Keeps on Giving


We are so lucky to live close to Pittsburgh that has a bunch of different activities and places for families to visit on the weekend.

The city hosts wonderful history, art, science and children’s museums, which provide families the opportunity to have places to explore over the weekend.

Since we try to go out and do something every Saturday as our “Adventure Saturday” the cost can really add up if you try to pay out of pocket each time you go.

Luckily, many of these places offer the opportunity to purchase memberships.

For example, the Carnegie Museum system (which encompasses the Natural History Museum, Art Museum, Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Science Center) if our family of two adults and one child wanted to visit the Natural History and Art museums it is $19.95 per adult and $11.95 for our daughter. That would be a total (without tax) $51.85. This can really add up if you like to go frequently.

However, if you go with a family membership, which is two adults, four children and a caregiver it is $150 for unlimited visits for the entire year. This membership also covers the Andy Warhol and Carnegie Science Center.

The same is for the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. One visit for the three of us is $46, but a year long membership is $135 for the same family.

As an added bonus, this membership (and the one at the Carnegie Museum system) can also be used at other participating ASTC centers across the country.

One of the best things is these memberships can be given as gifts.

When Christmas time rolls around, we like to ask for these memberships as family gifts. This way we have a whole year of experiences to look forward to.

It is great because if we just want to stop by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs, we can just pop in, say hi to T-Rex and then leave. We don’t have to worry about cramming in so much stuff so that we get the most bang for our buck.

This past weekend, we went to the Carnegie Science Center and just visited the Exploration Station Jr., an area that is geared toward Preschoolers with a water table, playground area, ball factory, big blue building blocks and more.

We just popped in and played there for about two hours and left. We didn’t feel the need to try and do too much, which is great with a preschooler who can become overwhelmed if you try to do too much in one day.

Here is just a brief video to give you a look of the Exploration Station Jr. area of the Carnegie Science Center.

What do you and your family like to do on the weekends? Leave your comment below.

No Bones About It

We seem to live in the community of second hand sales.

Through late spring and early fall, people are always having garage and yard sales. We also have a lot of second hand sales that are tailored to specific interests.

For example, we look to keep an eye out for children’s sales. These sales are often huge and feature a variety of items from clothing, children’s furniture, all kinds of toys, strollers, highchairs, etc.

Just Between Friends sale at David Lawrence Convention Center

For us, we are always trying to find unique toys that might be a little older and therefor difficult to find elsewhere. For example, Lily is really into VeggieTales right now. (Like obsessed. You have no idea how many times I have heard the “We are the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything” song.) If you have ever looked to find VeggieTales toys online recently, it is difficult to find these toys online that are a complete set. So I thought this might be the best place to find these toys.

So many dollhouses to choose from.

We struck out.

But, we got a really cute Scooby Doo haunted house, a bunch of books and a Hello Kitty toy food truck. The prices were a little higher than what we had experienced when we went to different sales from this organization in the past.

Since we were only at the sale for about two hours, we decided to give Lily the choose of either going to the zoo or the museum. She chose the museum because she wanted to see the dinosaurs.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has a wonderful dinosaur exhibit. It features plenty of complete skeletons and a lot of interactive displays. (Look for a future blog that explores this topic in depth.)

One of the areas that is really cute and perfect for your Mousekatot is the dig area.

Here participants are given googles, a chisel and a brush and allowed to go and uncover some dinosaurs in an excavation site.

Lily really loved digging and uncovering the dinosaurs.

One of the reasons why we visit the museum so often is because we have a family membership to the Carnegie Museum system. This means we can visit the museums as many times as we want without having to pay. We received this membership as a family Christmas present last year, and it will be on the top of our list again this Christmas.

We ended the day by going to one of Lily’s favorite restaurants, Mad Mex, which is part of a local chain. Her favorite food is Mexican and Mad Mex is Mexican with a little bit of California flair.

We really had a wonderful weekend that was full of wonderful family time and adventure.

How did you spend your weekend? Leave your comments below.



That’s a Wrap: Veggies, Mummies and Harry Potter (Oh My!)

Once again our weekend was full of adventure.

Saturday started out on not such a great note with a ton of rain that luckily ended up passing as the day went on.

Our first stop was the Pittsburgh VegFest that was held on the North Shore of Pittsburgh.

We had such a wonderful time, but unfortunately the pictures aren’t doing it justice. (I was trying to dodge mud puddles and take photos at the same time.)

The event featured live music, vegan food trucks that offered all kinds of delicious foods including bbq pulled jackfruit sandwich, vegan froyo,  vegan Indian food and more.

There were also various animal advocacy groups and vegan/vegetarian merchandise businesses. I ended up getting an awesome T-shirt from a vender at the fest.

Of course you can’t tell by the horrible photos that I have, but the event was packed. We weren’t able to grab anything to eat because there were so many people in line that we didn’t want to wait.

We are really looking forward to going to next year’s event.

Since we didn’t stay super long at the festival, we wanted to take our Mousekatot to one of our local museums.

Here I am going to pause and talk about how much I love our membership to the Carnegie Museum system. I will do a separate post on this in the future, but we really love the ability visit these museums anytime we want.

We had originally planned to go to the Carnegie Science Center, but when we got there the line to just get in the building was out the door. I have never seen it so crowded before.

But, we decided to go to the other side of the city and visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which also has the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Recently, we have been reading a book with Lily that is about Egypt, mummies and the pyramids. So we wanted to take her to the Egypt section of the museum, which was my absolute favorite when I was little. (I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I grew up.)

She seemed to really like it. I was unsure if she would be a little creeped out, but she seemed more interested then scared. When we saw my parents for breakfast the next day she would talk a lot about Egypt and the mummies.


No trip to the museum would be complete without a visit to the Dinosaur Hall. Recently, maybe about a handful of years ago, the dinosaur section recently got an update. The area became more interactive and bright that what it was previously. (To get a look at what the museum used to look like check out “Silence of the Lambs.”)

Lily was excited because she got to see “her pal T-Rex,” touch a real dinosaur bone and play with a few of the touchscreens.

Before we left we had to visit probably one of Lily’s favorite places in the museum, which was the Hall of Gems/Minerals. She loves to look at the rocks that glow in the black light and watching a show about crystals that are projected on the wall in an area that has a bench.


We love our rocks

We finished up the day by going to one of our favorite restaurants, Double-Wide Grill, that has a ton of yummy vegetarian and vegan options.

Sunday was nice and low key. We went to breakfast with my parents, did a lot of laundry, napped and tried a new recipe that turned out great.

We also received our “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child” e-book, which Kevin has been enjoying.

Since it was Harry’s birthday, we wanted to celebrate the day, especially Lily who has become quite the Harry Potter fan.

Also, wanted to announce that I am going to my first live Q & A session on my Facebook page at 9:30 p.m. EST on Friday. Stay tuned for more information and there maybe more info about a giveaway.