DIY Friday: 5 EASY Summer Slow-Cooker Recipes

Can you believe how fast this summer is going? While it may be halfway through, the summer activities are still going full-force–and with school, sports and more just around the corner, who has time to worry about making complicated dinners every night? We have good news for you! With these recipes, you’ll still be able to WOW every member of your family even though you spent 1/4 of the time prepping. Just add the ingredients and head out the door!


1. Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos

These zesty and flavorful tacos are the perfect blend of hearty and fresh. The best part? 20 minute prep time!


2. Paella

You may not believe this is even possible, but trust us! This is one you gotta try! Perfect for an evening of entertaining and it takes a total of 2 h0urs to cook through!


3. Lemon-Garlic Chicken

If you’re looking for something fast, fresh and on the lighter side, this is the one for you! Serve it up over rice, or alongside some steamed veggies. If you have 10 minutes, you can get this done!


4. Hawaiian Pulled-Pork Sliders

These just scream “summer time”! The slow-cooked pork adds sooo much flavor.


5. Peach Cobbler

Okay, admittedly this is not technically a dinner… but who says it can’t be???

Where to Watch Fireworks this 4th of July

City of Pittsburgh: EQT Flashes of Freedom at Point State Park, downtown, 9:35 p.m. (festivities include: live music, food vendors, kids zone with crafts, face painting, interactive activities, caricature drawings, and Amber’s Amazing Animal Balloons from 4-8)


  • AmbridgeWalter Panek Park at approximately 10 p.m. (July 2)
  • AvalonAvalon Park at 9:15 p.m. (July 1)
  • BellevueAvalon Park at 9:15 p.m. (July 1)
  • Ben Avon: Avalon Park at 9:15 p.m. (July 1)
  • BentleyvilleRichardson Park at dusk (July 1)
  • BrentwoodRadisson Field at 9:30 p.m.
  • ButlerBig Butler Fairgrounds at dusk
  • Canonsburg: Canon-McMillan High School stadium at dusk
  • Carnegie: Carnegie Park at dusk (July 3)
  • Crafton: Crafton Park at dusk
  • Dormont: Dormont Park at dusk
  • Emsworth: Avalon Park at 9:15 p.m. (July 1)
  • Ford City: Ford City Memorial Park at 10 p.m. (July 3)
  • Hampton Township: Community center, upper orchard, at 9 p.m. (July 3)
  • Latrobe: Legion Keener Park at 10 p.m.
  • McDonald: Heritage Park at dark (July 3)
  • McKeesport: Renziehausen Park at dusk
  • Monongahela: Monongahela Aquatorium at 9:45 p.m.
  • Monroeville: Monroeville Community Park at 9:30 p.m.
  • Moon Township: Moon Park at 10 p.m.
  • Mt. Lebanon: Mt. Lebanon Park at 9:30 p.m.
  • Robinson Township: Burkett Park at dusk
  • Ross Township: Community center at 9:30 p.m. (July 2)
  • South Fayette: Fairview Park at 9:30 p.m.
  • Shaler Township: Kiwanis Park at 9:45 p.m.
  • Tarentum: Dreshar Stadium at dark (July 3)
  • Uniontown: Uniontown Mall at dusk (July 2)
  • Upper St. Clair: Fairview Park at 9:30 p.m. (best local viewing at Boyce Mayview Park)
  • Waynesburg: Greene County Fairgrounds at 9:30 p.m.
  • West Mifflin: Kennywood Park at approximately 9:30 p.m.
  • Whitehall: Caste Village at approximately 9 p.m. (June 30)
  • Zelienople: Zelienople Community Park at dusk

Deer-Proof Plants for Your Summer Garden

Do you love spending hours in the sunshine beautifying and perfecting your landscape? Does all that work get destroyed by those pesky deer constantly roaming the yards of PA homeowners? Here are some plants that are sure to withstand those unwanted visitors!


1. Forsythia

Forsythia plants like:

  • At least 6 hours of full sunlight
  • Well-balanced soil pH
  • Moist, but well-drained soil

Fun Fact: Forsythias are actually members of the olive tree family!


2. Geraniums

Geranium plants like:

  • Lots of sun, but not always direct. They flourish and bloom in medium temperatures
  • Relatively dry soil–they’re pretty drought resistant!
  • Pots and other containers

Fun Fact: Geranium root is considered to be an effective holistic treatment for conjunctivitis (Please consult your doctor before trying that out at home!)


3. Echinacea (Cone Flowers)

Echinacea plants like:

  • Full sun for 5+ hours. They will grow toward it!
  • SPACE… these guys can grow up to 4 feet tall!
  • Neutral soil with a pH of 7

Fun Fact: Echinacea blooms are actually made up of several small flowers, for maximum effectiveness in attracting insects


4. Clematis


Clematis plants like:

  • Cool soil
  • Sunlight
  • A trellis, or other support system for the vine

Fun Fact: Clematis are closely related to Buttercups


5. Coreopsis


Coreopsis flowers like:

  • Full sun
  • Seasonal pruning
  • Limited fertilizer

Fun Fact: Coreopsis gets its name from the Greek word for “bed bug” because of the shape of it’s seed, which resembles an insect

DIY Friday: 4 Scrumptious & Simple Summer Cocktails

Looking for some delicious ways to cool off and relax this summer? Try these fun, fresh and tasty cocktails with a variety of ingredients at your next backyard party, or even just with dinner tonight!


1. Vanilla & Fresh Cherry Bourbon Cocktail




For one drink
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherries pitted
  • 1/4 teaspoon Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 oz one shot bourbon
  • 3 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup club soda


  1. In the bottom of a glass, combine the cherries, vanilla extract, bourbon, sugar and lemon juice. Muddle together until cherries are broken and juices are released (you can use the back of a wooden spoon if you don’t have a muddler).
  2. Top with ice cubes and a small splash of club soda.


2. Summer Sangria with Watermelon & Pineapple




  • 1 bottle Moscato wine (750 ml)
  • 1/2 C brandy
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 2 C Del Monte® watermelon, cubed and cold
  • 2 C Del Monte Gold® Extra Sweet Pineapple, cubed and cold
  • lemon lime soda, for serving
  • ice cubes


  1. Pour the wine and brandy into a pitcher and stir to combine. Add the sliced lime, watermelon, and pineapple.
  2. To serve, place some of the fruit in a glass with ice. Pour the sangria over the ice and top with lemon lime soda.


3. Peach Basil Moscow Mule




  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • 1 large lemon (quartered)
  • 8 oz peach vodka
  • 24 oz ginger beer


  1. Fill four glasses with ice. Preferably copper cups, but any cocktail glass will work!
  2. Add 2 oz vodka and 6 oz ginger beer to each glass.
  3. Squeeze one quarter of a lemon into each glass, then add a couple pieces of fresh basil.
  4. Stir all of the ingredients together.


4. Blueberry Mojito



  • 1 Cup Fresh Blueberries, (Set aside a few for garnish if desired)
  • 4 Ounces Rum
  • 10 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 Teaspoons White Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Limes
  • 6 Ounces Club Soda
  • Ice Cubes


  1. Blend or muddle blueberries until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Use a muddler or wooden spoon to blend in mint leaves and sugar.
  3. Stir in rum, lime juice, and blueberry mixture.
  4. Pour into highball glasses over club soda & ice. Gently stir.
  5. Garnish with extra blueberries,lime, and mint if desired.

Top Pittsburgh Summer Day Camps

It’s already May… can you believe it? Summer is right around the corner!! If you’re new to the area, or just looking for a fun and fresh set of activities for your children this summer, you’ve come to the right place! Some of the best-rated and most unique camps in Pittsburgh, and the surrounding area, are listed below.





For children ages K-6 at Camp Invention:

Children are presented with fun, hands-on challenges that encourage creative problem solving, teamwork, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Camp invention is led by experienced local educators and new curriculum is introduced each year, inspired by the Inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame!”

With locations hosted by local institutions across the country, there is certainly a Camp Invention near to you! If your child doesn’t fit the K-6 age range, check out Camp Invention’s site for other awesome STEM-related camp ideas!



When it comes to variety, the Carnegie Science Center is king!!! Their camp webpage even has each an every camp organized by age group and category for ease-of-use. If your little scientist loves to get dirty, the brand new “Messy Science” program for ages 4-5 is available now!

Get ready to get messy with science! Make fun fizzy concoctions, compare slime and Oobleck, and paint with gravity. Decorate your very own smock to take home at the end of the week!”

Another standout for older experimenters will put their detective skills to work! The new “CSI: Carnegie Science Investigators” will teach campers to analyze evidence, use observational and deductive skills and even use real lab tools and tech to crack the case!

These camps and everything in between are offered in Pittsburgh’s own Science Center!



If your kids are into tech, and you wouldn’t mind having them learn from the best of the best at a top-25 national university, enroll them at iDTECH at CMU.

At iD Tech, kids and teens of all skill levels discover coding, AI, machine learning, film, robotics, and game design, developing the in-demand skills needed to compete in Pittsburgh’s booming startup scene.

Check out pricing and summer sessions here!





Got some active little-ones who would love to be outside running all summer long?

“Soccer Shots is an engaging children’s soccer program with a focus on character development. Our caring team positively impacts children’s lives on and off the field through best-in- class coaching, communication and curriculum. Our coaches are the best-trained in the business. Our expert-approved curriculum is age-appropriate and aligns with childhood education standards. In addition we provide an exceptional customer experience and ongoing communication with parents.

Enough said!!! Enroll here!



The YMCA is not just a general day camp any more! Themed weeks give you the opportunity to tailor your child’s experience to their interests and abilities! From “Sports of All Sorts” week to “Bat Sports” and many more, your kiddos will learn the ins-and-outs of all their favorite games.

For a classic day camp experience for children of all ages, check out your local YMCA’s day camp. Nearly every location has a variety of camps offered for children with a variety of interests. Check them out here!





With locations in Oakland/Shadyside and Sewickley neighborhoods, the Saltworks Theatre Company welcomes actors of all ages to the Young Actors Studio, where a variety of workshops, summer camps and performance opportunities are offered to challenge and inspire those with a passion for the stage! Check out exciting Summer 2018 opportunities here!



Pittsburgh CLO Academy’s summer performance camps give campers the opportunity to experience the preparation and performance of music and musical theatre. Students work with a director, choreographer, and music director to create their own exciting musical theater experience.

Summer camps are offered for all age groups, from “Promising Preschoolers” to high school seniors. Parents are invited to sample a class for free on April 2 at the Summer Camp Open House. It’s a good way to see if the classes are a good fit for your kids. All camps take place at the CLO Academy, Downtown. As an added benefit, all participants receive a free ticket for a Pittsburgh CLO Summer Season show.



The Frick Pittsburgh summer camps give kids the chance to make amazing original art and learn about historic collections.

“For students entering grades 5-8, “Beyond What You See” from will explore various kinds of materials and unique use of them as campers gain new perspectives on three museum collections. Students entering grades 2-5 can get a “Passport to Imagination”, enabling them to stretch their imaginations as they explore the museums, creating art along the way.”

Activities include printmaking, painting, and sculpting.