PittsburghMom is our original, featured blog by Heather Starr Fiedler.  Heather created PittsburghMom in March 2008 and began this journey.  Heather is the mom to two young boys, Matthew (9) and Benjamin (7), a college professor and General Manager of PittsburghMom. She's busy, but not too busy to blog about her sometimes serious, sometimes painful and often humorous thoughts on life and share her favorite Pittsburgh spots for families.


Pittsburgh Area Fall Festivals & Pumpkin Patches 2014

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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Reilly's Summer Seat Farm

1120 Roosevelt Road    
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
 (near Wexford) 

Reilly's Summer Seat Farm and Garden Center  is located in the Mount Nebo region of the North Hills in Ohio Township.

Mon-Fri: 9AM-6PM
Saturday: 9AM-6PM
Sunday: 10AM-6PM

On weekends, wagons depart for the pumpkin patch between 10 AM & 4 PM

Each year, Reilly's Summer Seat Farm & Garden Center offers festivals, tours, school field trips, and birthday parties that are entertaining for the entire family.  Within 15 minutes of downtown Pittsburgh, Reilly's offers residents of Allegheny County (and other surrounding areas in southwestern PA) an opportunity to experience the country and have some great festival fun.

Harvest Festival of Fun

Beginning September 27 & 28 and then every October Weekend - Reilly's Harvest Festival runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. Reilly's is open every weekend for a Harvest Festival of Fun! Hayrides to the great pumpkin patch where you'll find all sizes of pumpkins for your picking pleasure, the New Boo Barn with added excitement, the Cornstalk maze, Marshmallow roast, Balloon Typhoon, Pedal Go Carts, and much, much more.  A one-price a super Harvest Festival ticket includes activities. No reservations needed, just come and have fun!

The Garden Center has beautiful mums, asters, cornstalks, bales of hay, gourds, mini-pumpkins and Halloween decorations, as well as a beautiful array of fall plants and grasses – everything you need do prepare for the Autumn season. Pumpkins are sold by the pound from September to November.

  • Pumpkin Patch Hayrides
  • Pony Rides & Petting Zoo
  • Boo Barn
  • Face Painting
  • Cow Milking
  • Balloon Typhoon
  • Pedal Go Carts
  • Cornstalk Maze
  • Scarecrow-Making
  • Country Store
  • Wanda’s Games
  • Ducky Plucky
  • Caramel Apples
  • Refreshments
  • No reservations needed

The cost is $7/person


Renshaw Family Farms

314 Ford City Road Road    
Freeport, PA 16229

We invite you to our 4th Annual Pumpkin Fest every weekend in October.
11 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

Hayrides, pumpkin patch, corn maze, face painting, petting zoo, raised on the farm angus hotdogs and hamburgers plus lots more good food & drinks

 $7 per person (kids 3 and under are free) includes hayrides to pumpkin patch, corn maze and animal park.    

Duck pond, face painting, corn cannon and bounce house available at extra charge


Shenot Farm & Market

3754 Wexford Run Road
Wexford, PA  15090

Beginning  the last weekend in September and every weekend in October, plus Columbus Day, we offer hayrides to our pumpkin patch and corn maze.

It is a great way to spend an afternoon with your family, and it’s the perfect time to get your jack-o-lanterns, cornstalks, straw bales, decorative Indian corn–as well as our delicious sweet corn, apples, cider, and vegetables.  Of course don’t forget to stop at the fudge counter!

Our hayrides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze are from 11:00 A.M.to 5:00 P.M. Saturdays and Sundays.  Columbus Day hayrides are 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.



Soergel Orchards Family Farm

2573 Brandt School Road
Wexford, PA 15090

Fall Festival
Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm 
September 20 - October 26
Free Admission!

We’re a family farm and nothing says family like great food! Every weekend we have a great selection of food available in our Food Barn, Back 40 BBQ, Naturally’s Soergel’s Healthy Options, Sweet Saloon and traditional festival food from local vendors.  Check out the menus for each of the food venues and plan to eat with us! PLUS – Amish-made Donuts are available every Saturday starting at 8am and are only $1 each.

Only half the fun is outside! Be sure to stop by the market, Home & Garden Center, Gift Barn, Amish Furniture and Naturally Soergel’s for special festival products and sales! Nothing says fall like fresh apples, baked goods featuring pumpkin and apple, and all the home and yard items to celebrate the season! 

Come play all your favorite festival games and try some new ones too! We have games suited for children of all ages and some free activities as well!

Pumpkin Painting Face Painting Cornstalk Maze Hay Tunnel Duck Pond Duck Race Sluice Ring Toss Balloon Chase Bounce House Train Flippin' Fish Spin Art Cider Slugger Shootin' Gallery Pirate Ship play area* Haystack* Tiny Town play area* Farm Animals*

ENJOY (Tickets are $1 each)

Pick your own pumpkins 11-5 pm 

 Hayrides to the pumpkin patch 11-5 pm (2 Tickets)

 Pony rides 1-3 pm (3 Tickets)

Horse drawn wagon rides 2-4 pm (3 Tickets)

And much, much more!

Free samples and demonstrations



Bedners Greenhouse

315 Coleman Road
McDonald, PA 15057

(724) 926-2541

Art Under Glass Festival
Free admission
Every weekend in October
Saturdays 9-6
Sundays 9-5

Free play area, hay maze and fun games. Daily live music performances. Local crafts, photography, paintings and more.

Additional activities include:

  • Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch - includes a tractor-pulled Hayride, a challenging 3-acre Corn Maze, one bucket full of mini pumpkins for the most popular Pumpkin Launch, and a Petting Zoo.     $7 (ages 2 and under are free)
  • Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch, PLUS pick-your-own Pumpkin    $12
  • Extra bucket of mini pumpkins for the Pumpkin Launch     $3       2 for $5
  • Pumpkin Painting - includes a pumpkin, plus plenty of paint, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, feathers, and other items to create your own masterpiece!     $5
  • Face Painting     $3 and up

Springhouse Market

1531 Route 136
Washington, PA 15301

(724) 228-3339

Friday 5-7 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m .

Great Pumpkin Weekends beginning September 26 and continuing every weekend in October

  • Spidey Sling
    Corn Crib Box
    Pumpkin Patch Hayrides
    Corn Maze
    Giant Hay Bales
    Pumpkin Land
    Hillside Slide
    Petting Zoo

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins

 All activities on the hill plus a pumpkin - $10/person
Just activities and hayride (no pumpkin) - $7/person


Trax Farms

528 Trax Road
Finleyville, PA 15332 (12 miles south of Pittsburgh on Route 88)

Monday-Saturday: 9 am - 8 pm
Sunday: 9 am - 6 pm

45th Annual Fall Festival
Every Weekend Sept 20 - Oct 26, 10am - 5pm
Free Admission

Family Fun, Great Food, Live Music and Tons of Games! 
Our annual Fall Festival on our 148-year-old farm, is a tradition for many families in the South Hills and greater Pittsburgh area. There’s something for everyone from grandparents to grandkids. Enjoy a hayride to our pumpkin patch to pick-your-own pumpkin or see if you can find your way through our giant, 4-acre corn maze!


Activities - Tickets can be purchased with cash only
No ATM - cash back available up to $50 with purchase at registers

Petting Zoo - Free, pay for food
Rainbow Express Train  $3
Trax Challenge
Corn Bin $2
Bounce House $2
Balloon Chase $2
Giant Slide $2
Bungee Jumper $6
Rock Wall $6
Land Balls $6
Hayrides - includes 4 acre Corn Maze & PYO Pumpkins! Adults $8 Children $6
Spin Art $2



Irons Mill Farmstead

252 Greenfield Road
New Wilmington, PA 16142
Phone: 724.992.9343

Besides a heap of pumpkins to pick from and 10 aMAZEing acres of cornfield to get lost in, Irons Mill Farmstead offers fields of farm fresh fun for the whole family!  Start with a Hayride around the farm.  Save some energy for Pumpkin Slingshots and our Punchin’ Pumpkins game! - See more at: http://ironsmillfarmstead.com/farm-adventures/#sthash.S1UIPHSa.dpuf

Jumpin’ Jackdaws!
Kids’ eyes will light up with excitement at the first look at this enormous pillow made for jumping on!  Kids and adults will never forget this jumping experience — it will become a new fall tradition!

Hayslide Hill!
Our barn is filled with hay bales arranged into a maze design with none other than a giant super slide at one end!  If the kids have not bounced off their energy on Jumpin’ Jackdaws, they will surely do so running and crawling through this amazing hay mountain!  The mountain is under roof and well lit so it can be enjoyed from opening to closing!

Rubber Duck Races!
Children and adults alike will have a ball at the Duck Races!  They are one of the most popular attractions at Iron’s Mill Farmstead!  Happy [water] pumping!

Corncob Beach!
What could be more fun than a giant box of corn to play in!  Kids of all ages will have a blast rolling and playing in this corny box of fun!  It is sure to be one of the main attractions at Iron’s Mill Farmstead.  Benches are handy for parents to watch the kids laugh with delight.

Cackleberry Bounce!
Simply fun!  Children of all ages can hop and bounce on giant balls of different sizes.  You will hear them giggle and laugh as they hop-hop-hop around the corral!

Pumpkin Slingshots!
Test your skills at the pumpkin slingshots!  Targets of all sorts will be waiting for you to fling pumpkins at them!

Climb Mount Arthur!
What kid doesn’t love to climb?  Climbing Mt. Arthur isn’t just climbing any old mountain, it’s a mountain of none other than: tractor tires!!! Now, that’s good old-fashioned farm fun!

Pony Express!
Sundays in October, some very special visitors will be at the farm … Ponies!  Saddle up and enjoy an unforgettable, fall pony ride!




Triple B Farms

823 Berry Lane
Monongahela, PA  15063

15 miles South of Pittsburgh off of Route 51

Our pumpkin festival starts the last weekend of September and runs every weekend through Halloween from 10-6. Come join us for all your favorite fall haunts, such as Storybook Pumpkinland (more than 200 pumpkin-headed characters), hayrides to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch, the Big Blue Boo Barn (a mildly scary haunted barn), 2 giant tube slides, corn maze, Barnyard Carnival, and more. Special events are scheduled every weekend, too, including a magician, a mad scientist and others

PICK YOUR OWN Apples Every Weekend 10 am - 4 pm

Festival Hours
Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 


Prices for Farm in 2012 were: $11.00 per child….$7.00 per adult  Children 2 & under FREE. 2014 Prices have not been listed on website yet

WRISTBAND includes:    BOO BARN    PUMPKINLAND    ROPE MAZE HAYRIDE  FUNNY FARM & PETTING ZOO GIANT SLIDES – 2 slides BARNYARD CARNIVAL & OBSTACLES  MINI-CORNMAZE FARM FLINGER DUCK DERBY & Slide   If families PREFER to pick and choose FARM activities, they may purchase  each individual activity Wed-Fri from 4-7pm. $2.50 per activity per person.  Last wristbands sold at 6pm weekdays.



Simmons Farm

170 Simmons Farm, McMurray, PA 15317

M-F: 9am - 6:45pm
Weekends: 9am- 5:45pm

Fall Festival Beginning September 20 

Fall Activities Include: 

-Besides the over five acres of pumpkins, Simmons Farm offers multiple field activities for children and adults. 

A Field Pass (price below) includes access to the following: 
- Five acres of pumpkins
- Free apple
- Hay maze and 4 acre corn maze and 2 acre corn maze
- Corn play bin
- 100ft slide and smaller Fire Truck slide!
- Farm animal petting zoo

Weekend Extra Activities Include: 
- Food Concessions  
- Pumpkin Carving Display  
- Butterfly House 
- Pony Rides
- Pumpkin Typhoon
- Apple Sling Shot
- Music by Fiddlin' Mike and the Fiddlin' Around Band!
-Apple Picking click here for details
(weekend activity availability due to weather may vary call ahead)

Fall Activities plus Hayride: $10.50
Price includes all field activities (listed above),  and hayride to the field (no pumpkin).

Pumpkin/Fall Activities and Hayride: $13.50
This price includes all fall activities a hayride and a pumpkin.
Also includes picking of ear Indian corn from the field (while supplies last)  




Schramms Farms

1002 Blank Rd. 
Jeannette, PA 15644

Store Hours:
Monday - Friday 9am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 6pm
Sunday 10am - 6pm

Schramm's Fall Fest & Pick-your-Own Pumpkins

As the air starts to feel chilly and the leaves turn colorful, the annual Fall Fest begins at Schramm Farms. Starting September 28th and running thru the end of October, we fill the fields with a huge selection of pumpkins for your choosing. To add to the autumn atmosphere we decorate with scarecrows and other festive displays. There is something for the whole family to enjoy.

For the kids (and kids at heart) we have play hay, and a corn stalk maze free of charge. For a few dollars we offer pony rides and hay rides around the pumpkin patch.

Also, there is a wide selection of refreshments, including Hot dogs, snow cones, cotton candy, apple cider slush, and candy and caramel apples. Not to mention farm fresh steamed vegetables, and French Fries made our own potatoes.

In the market customers can enjoy the seasonal favorites. We always have a good supply of pasteurized apple cider (made with our own apples) and huge selection of our homegrown apple varieties which include; Jonathan, Macintosh, Ida Red, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Northern Spy, Empire, and Royal Gala.

To assist with your fall decorations we have cornstalks and straw for sale, as well as gourds and Indian corn.

So as the summer starts to fade and the fall season arrives, make Schramm Farms part of your yearly autumn tradition. Stop by to pick your Halloween Pumpkin, buy bushel of apples, or just have a fun filled afternoon.






Hozak Farms


488 Anderson-Hozak Rd.  Clinton, PA 15026
724-899-2400     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fall Festival
Weekends September 27-October 26 + Columbus Day

10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  No Admission Fee
Pony Rides(not available Columbus Day)
Pumpkin Picking
Pumpkin Painting
Face Painting
Musical Entertainment
Fall Decorations
Hayrides to the pumpkin patch (2-6 p.m.)
Scenic Hayrides through the woods.



Janoski's Farm and Greenhouse

1714 State Route 30
Clinton, PA

Open September 27 & 28 and every weekend in October to the public


Admission $6.00 per person

*Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch
*Petting Zoo
*Straw Jump
*Face Painting
*Pumpkin Painting
*Corn Maze
*Haunted Barn
*Pony Rides (for Children)
*Pedal Bike Path
and much more..

Concession stand Opened as well as the use of the picnic area.

Come join us and celebrate the fall season during our annual Pumpkinland. Enjoy with your family our Haunted Barn, Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch, Straw Jump, Pedal Bike Path, Pony Rides (for Children Only) Petting Zoo, Pumpkin Painting, face painting and much more. There are picnic tables and pavilions. Feel free to pack a lunch or visit our food booth. During this time our Farm Market, Gift Shop, Bakery, and Garden Center are open. Be sure to stop in and see our friendly staff and enjoy the bountiful fall harvest!





 View Pittsburgh Area Fall Festivals and Pumpkin Patches in a larger map

Map Courtesy of Catherine Tsavalas from the Point Park News Service


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Taking a sick day

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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My whole family is sick with a cold this week. This morning as we were getting ready for school and work my boys were grumbling about having to go to school and tried to use to "But I'm sick" excuse to stay home.  It caused me to examine my philosophy on "sick days". It might sound cold, but I have a pretty tough approach to handling illness and injury. Basically my motto is that we don't stay home unless we're contagious with something bad (Strep,Flu, etc).

Typically speaking I know my kids well enough to know whether they really need rest or if or need to go to the doctor.  In the absence of those things they go to school, or to practice, or to church or whatever other commitment they may have. If they don't have a fever, they go.

Part of me feels guilty but the other part of me feels like this is a good life lesson. I have the same cold they do right now and yet I am dragging myself out of bed every day and going to work, teaching class and holding meetings. We all get through it.

Certainly there are days when we just truly do need to rest and need to take a sick day (and admittedly we had one of those this weekend, none of us could get out of bed and we slept nearly all day). Of course then I would allow them to stay home. 

I can absolutely trace this back to my upbringing. My mother was a nurse and she knew whether we were really sick or not. Usually her answer was "You're not dying, go to school" or "It's not broken, go to school". I didn't miss a whole lot of days of school, I can tell you that :-)

So where do you fall on the keep them home versus make them go scale? Would you keep them home for allergies, for example? A sprained ankle? A common cold?  Or do you have a play it by ear philosophy?

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Like ripping off a band aid

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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I have to apologize for my silence this week.

Back to school is kicking my butt.

I believe in sucking every last drop out of summer.  I've said it before, and I still firmly stand by it, but it sure does hurt.

There are two schools of thought on back to school preparation. Some people start prepping for the inevitable weeks before the big day. They get their shopping done, clothes and supplies carefully labeled and laid out. They move bedtime back minutes early each day and practice getting up early.  They're ready. They're prepped.

Us? Not so much.

We come screeching into the first day of school like a runner into home plate. It's like ripping off the band aid in one swift pull.

We don't have any bedtime rules until the night school starts.  We don't start waking up early until the very morning the big yellow bus comes buzzing up the hill. I'm lucky that we get backpacks packed the night before the first day. My children typically wear clothes they already have in their closets.  We make it, but it hurts.

I'm quite thankful that our district starts mid-week so we only have a few days before a nice long weekend. We need those three days of rest to get our act together and get in the right frame of mind.

We're just not quite ready to let go of summer yet. Give me a few more days.


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Multitasking mama

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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There are not enough hours in the day. Or days in the week.

As like most moms, I take on too much and often feel like I'm shortchanging something in favor of something else. People often ask me how I "do it all" and I answer with "not well".  

It's my goal to find things that can "kill two birds with one stone" and I recently rediscovered a favorite spot of mine that thought I'd share.

My husband and I are runners and just signed up for a fall half marathon. Now it's a struggle to find time to train without taking time away from each other and the kids.

Enter Riverside Park in Oakmont. This park is the most brilliantly designed park I've ever seen. There is a fenced in playground as well as tennis courts INSIDE a running track.  So we can let the kids play while we get our run in. And my children like tennis as well, so they can even play tennis while we run.  There's a beautiful view of the river (again, the playground is fenced in, so there's less chance of them wandering off to see the river) along with picnic pavilions if you want to bring lunch.

I think we'll be spending a lot of time there this fall.

Now I"m in search of other great multitasking places where the kids can have fun where I can cross things off my list as well (like my undying love for the Eagles Nest. I let the kids play while I get the shopping done as well as do my grading over a cup of coffee in the cafe)

What places have you discovered to multitask?



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The great sharing debate

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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I read an article recently that has been gaining some attention on the social media circuits. The article was titled "This Mom Perfectly Explains Why She Does Not Teach Her Kids To Share".

I read it with great interest. I typically tend to like articles/blogs that go against the "crowd mentality" and think outside the box.  On the surface it made sense. But rather than share it with you all and comment on it right away, I let it sit for a while and the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with the author.

The main premise of the blog is that we shouldn't teach our kids to share because that's not 'real life'.  In real life people don't just "give us a turn" with something because we want it.  This is very true, which is what made me initially agree with the author.

But her examples rubbed me the wrong way, and I ended up completely disagreeing with her approach and premise.

In one example, her son was playing at a rec center with a certain car and did not want to share it. She did not make her son share the car.  Here's an excerpt from that example:

There's this one red car in particular my son really likes playing with, and the last time we went, he drove it around the entire hour and a half we were there. While most of the moms with smaller kids will shadow their kids as they play, my son is old enough now that I can sit on the sidelines and watch. From there I watched a mom whose son wanted to drive the car approach my son repeatedly, saying, "OK, now it's time for you to give him a turn!" Of course he ignored her, and eventually she gave up. 

I think it does a child a great disservice to teach him that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it. And I can understand the desire to give your children everything they want; we all have it. But it's a good lesson for you both to learn that this isn't always possible, and you shouldn't step all over other people to get these things.

Here's my thought though. Why NOT share the car? Why not teach our children empathy and compassion. That it's not that hard to sometimes be less selfish in order to make other people happy, and that there's great personal growth, reward and satisfaction in thinking about others?

I would rather my child learn to be kind and giving rather than teaching them it's ok to be selfish because that sets them up for the harsh reality of a selfish life.

So I will continue to teach my children to share. I'm not worried as much about them learning unrealistic expectations of life as I am about them growing up without empathy.

What's your take on teaching sharing?

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