PittsburghMom

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.

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Christmas Idea - 15+ Kids gift subscriptions

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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A couple of months ago I blogged about "75 things to buy your children for Christmas that aren't toys".  I've taken that to heart and decided that my kids are not getting toys for Christmas. With the exception of one $10 Skylander character, everything they get will be either electronic, educational or an experience. And I think it will be the best Christmas ever.

I have also done a good bit of research about gift boxes. I'm obsessed with my own monthly Ipsy and Birchbox subscriptions and thought it would be fun to get my kids a subscription. It's the gift that keeps on giving all year, much like memberships.  If you're looking for a creative gift to give this year, check out these kid-friendly subscriptions.

 

Bramble Box

Age Range: Kids aged 3-8
Price:  Starting at $23/month
Pittsburgh-based Bramble Box is the newest subscription to enter the market.  Founded by local mom Morna Pollack, Bramble Box offers kits that are meant to nurture children's imagination.  Each kit has all the materials required for hours of fun, imaginative role play.


 

My Stitch Kit

Age Range: Kids aged 5-10
Price: Starting at $13.75/month (free shipping)
Another Pittsburgh-based, mom-owned business, My Stitch Kit is a subscription box focused on hand sewing. Each box comes with all of the materials and directions needed to sew a new project each month. Video tutorials are also included for the non-sewers.


 

 

Kiwi Crate

Age Range: Kids aged 3-7
Price:  $19.99/month (free shipping)
Kiwi Crate sends a monthly box with a different theme each month (themes include dinosaurs, gardening, space, etc.). Each box includes materials for 2-3 crafts such as art, science, games, imaginative play, etc.

 


 

GiftLit

Age Range:  All Ages
Price: Starting at $24.95/month (plus shipping)
Gift Lit is the gift of reading. GiftLit's experts will carefully choose books for your child based on age range and preferences.  


 

Little Passports

Age Range:  Kids aged 3-12
Price:  $11.95/month (plus shipping)
Little Passports aims to teach about traveling and new cultures. Each month kids will receive a box full of information and maps from a certain location.  Kids will get activities, stickers and a passport to teach them about languages, traditions and new cultures.


 

Sparkbox Toys

Age Range: Up to 4 years old
Price:  $22.95/month (free shipping both ways)
Sparkbox is a little bit different than other subscription boxes.  Instead of a box to keep, kids will receive a box filled with four age-appropriate toys that they can play with for 30 days and then return for a new box of different toys. All toys are sanitized and shipping is included both ways.


 

 

KidStir


Age Range: Kids ages 4 and up
Price:  $19.95/month (free shipping)
Kidstir is perfect for the foodie kid. Each fun cooking kit comes with step-by-step recipes, educational pages, fun activities and a kid-sized utensil.  


 

 

Pley

Age Range:  Kids ages 2 and up
Price:  $15-30/month (free shipping)
Pley is described as the "Netflix" of Legos. Just like Sparkbox, kids are shipped a Lego kit to play with and when they are finished they send it back for a new box.  


 

 

CandiGirl Box

Age Range: Girls aged 5-12
Price:  $22/quarter (boxes sent once every three months)
CandiGirl is perfect for girls. You pick a theme (sporty/tomgirl, girly girl or bookworm) and your daughter will receive a customized box of goodies each month.  Boxes include things like journals, makeup, nail polish or sporting equipment.


 

LootCrate

Age Range: Kids aged 6+
Price: Starting at $11.67/month (plus $6 shipping)
LootCrate is for the gamer child.  Each month includes a themed crate (Battle, Fear, Heroes, etc).  Crates include 6-8 items like characters, clothing, candy, books, etc.  


 

 

Green Kids Crafts

Age Range: Kids aged 3-10
Price: Starting at $17.95/month 
Green Kids Craft boxes include award-winning eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits and STEM Science Kits.  
Each kit will contain 3-4 activities.


 

 

Citrus Lane

Age Range: Newborn to age 5 
Price:  Starting at $22/month (free shipping)
Citrus Lane offers gift boxes geared toward babies/toddlers and preschoolers. Boxes include toys, books, household products, snacks and more.


 

 

XPlore Box

Age Range: Kids aged 5+
Price: $29.95/month (free shipping)
XPlore box is a STEM-centered gift subscription including fun science projects to make, build and experiment.  Boxes include kits, toys and goodies.


 

 

Space Scouts

Age Range: Kids ages 6+
Price:  Starting at $11.25/month (plus $3 shipping)
Space Scouts is designed to engage your chilld in hands-on activities and exciting challenges. Each month they will receive a space box exploring the world of space science, exploration and astronomy.


 

Animal Trackers

Age Range: Kids aged 3+
Price: Starting at $11.25/month (plus $3 shipping)
Animal Trackers Club is specifically designed for pre and beginning readers. Each month kids will "track" a new animal through instructional materials designed to encourage hands-on learning.


 

 

The Happy Trunk

Age Range:  Kids aged 3 and up
Price: Starting at $17.95/month (free shipping)
The Happy Trunk sends themed gift boxes each month (themes include Paint Party, Sun & Sand, Butterflies, etc). Boxes include all them materials and instructions for engaging arts & crafts activities.


 

Tinker Crate

Age Range: Kids aged 9-14
Price:  $16.95
Tinker Crate is a monthly box of STEM activities designed for kids 9-14+ to build problem solving skills. Kids will receive the Tinker Zine and one STEM project that includes all the materials and instrucuctions every month.


 

Some more great subscription box ideas can be found here and here

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2014 Pittsburgh area Christmas tree farms

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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As the holidays rapidly approach you may be scouring the Internet (like us this weekend) trying to find a place to get your Christmas tree.  We have decided to make it a family tradition to go pick out (and cut down) our own Christmas tree. Finding a place to do that close to home was a challenge. After a lot of web surfing we got a pretty good idea what is out there so I thought I'd make a list to share with you all.  Some are small shops with nothing but fields of Christmas trees, others are big farms that offer "Winter Festivals" including sleigh rides and Santa Claus. Take your pick!  (Be sure to bring cash, though, as most farms do not take credit cards.)

Pittsburgh Area Christmas Tree Farms

 

North

Breyak's Nursery

Located on Route 910 across from Narcisi Winery.  Cut your own and pre-cut trees available.   Complimentary hot cocoa and cookies.  Hours - Weekdays after 5 p.m. Weekends 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

 

Grateful Acres Tree Farm

427 West Cruikshank Road
Valencia, PA  16059
724-584-3482

Free hot chocolate and bon fire.  Open weekends in December.  11/30 11am-4pm; 12/8 10am - 4pm; 12/14 Noon - 4pm; 12/15 11am - 4pm.  Located in beautiful Southwestern Pennsylvania, we offer Norway, White, and Colorado Blue Spruce; and Scotch Pine. Come out to the country to walk through the rows of trees and choose the perfect one, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie with friends, and make some family memories!

 

McKinney Tree Farm

310 McKinney Lane
Tarentum, PA 15084
Selection of cut your own varieties and pre-cut trees.  $4-$6 per foot. Cash or Check Only

 

Reilley's Summer Seat Farm

1120 Roosevelt Road  
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(412) 364-8270

Do not offer "Cut your own Tree, but do have a Winter Festival including a cheery bonfire to warm you as you choose the perfect tree. Marshmallow roasting to bring extra sweetness to the season. A live animal Nativity Scene to delight the younger generations who can visit and feed the animals.  Hot Chocolate, cider, and coffee, and cookies to add a bit of Christmas spirit. Hayrides with Santa. Take a complimentary wagon ride with Santa over the hills and around the farm.  (Did you know Santa’s sleigh broke down while passing nearby and so he is staying a few days here at the farm while repairs are being made?).  Times: 10:30 am, 11:30, and 12:30 Pictures of children, and/or pets, with Santa. If you forget to bring your camera, we will take the pictures, but do try to remember yours.

Premium Cut trees in all sizes from extra large to table top will fill your home with a wonderful fragrance. Live trees from 1 to 5 ft, for holiday decoration now, and landscape beauty later. (Be advised live trees should not remain indoors for more than a week.)

 

Ski Christmas Tree Farm

340 Goldscheitter Road  
Sarver, PA 16055-8914
(724) 353-2648

Cut your own tree or choose precut options.

 

Soergels Orchards

2573 Brandt School Road
Wexford, PA 15090
Market: 724-935-1743
Garden Center: 724-935-2090

Does not offer cut your own trees, but has a yearly festival.  Soergel's Snowflake Festival (early December). Get in the spirit! Samplings, specials and horse-drawn carriage rides.Meet a real reindeer, pick-up your Golden Ticket for a special ride aboard the Snowflake Express, stop by our Hot Chocolate Bar for a hot drink with your own selected toppings, check-out our ice and wood carving demonstration and don’t miss the chance to take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the grounds

 

 Goldscheitter Christmas Tree Farm

Helper Road, Off Route 228
Sarver, PA  16055
The main farm in Sarver has a variety of fir trees including fraser, douglas, concolor and canaan. They also have blue spruce.  They have been in the Christmas tree business for over 25 years

 

South

Simmons Farm

170 Simmons Road
McMurray, PA 15317-3627
Rt19 Market- M-Sat 9am-8pm Sunday- 9am-5pm
On Farm Market: M-Sat 9am-6pm Sunday 9am-5pm
Cut your own trees are available in limited sizes. Call ahead prior to visit.  We offer a large selection of Christmas trees available from table top trees up to 14ft tall trees. We also sell wreaths, and can make custom made Christmas planters. All pre-cut trees can be found at both of our locations Rt. 19 and the on Farm Market.

 

Trax Farm Market

528 Trax Road
Finleyville, PA 15232
(412) 835 3246
Buy a pre-cut Christmas tree, or cut your own.  Cut your own tree is available by appointment only. Call to schedule an appointment to cut a Scotch, Frasier Fir, Douglas Fir, Norway, Blue Spruce or White Pine. Gifts and ornaments are on sale in the Christmas Shop, as well as permanent trees and wreaths, Nativity sets, cards and more. Large gift shop with wreaths, decorations, ornaments and more. Breakfast and lunch with Santa events on weekends in December.

 

East

Fleming's Christmas Trees

1803 Fleming Road
Indiana, PA  15701
AND
415 Green Park Lane
New Alexandria, PA 15670
(724) 463-0570

Fleming's main farm  is located about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh in Indiana, Pa., which is known as the Christmas Tree Capital of the World.  They have another farm in New Alexandria, PA as well.  You can choose and cut your family’s Christmas Tree right off of our farm, or choose a Fresh-Cut Tree on one of our lots.  Both locations provide FREE Baling &Shaking of the Trees & FREE Gifts for the Kids.  The Indiana location offers Horse-drawn wagon rides to the field and back, reminiscent of days gone by, will be available for your family's enjoyment  

 

 

West

 Nutbrown's Christmas Tree Farm

180 McMichael Road
Carnegie, Pa. 15106
(412)-787-5048

9am-7pm   Saturday and Sunday
Noon-7pm  Monday through Friday

Bring the family and join the tradition of choose-and-cut Christmas Trees. Find your favorite tree and cut it fresh!  Located just minutes from Robinson and Settlers Ridge. Come get your tree while you're out shopping. While you're here, have a look at some of our wreaths, bows, quilts, and other gifts.  Cash or Check Only

 

Beaver County

Allison's Christmas Tree Farm (Beaver County)

121 Allison Lane
Aliquippa, PA 15001
724-495-2680 or 724-494-6786
9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily
Pick your own tree, hayrides, Christmas barn with crafts and refreshments.  (*NOTE:  We are still using the farm we opened up last year where there is a large selection of beautiful Colorado blue spruce trees. This farm is located two miles away from the main farm. You can get printed directions at the main farm along with instructions on the handling and processing of your tree)

 

Buchanan Farms - (Beaver County)

3259 State Route 18
Hookstown, PA 15050
(724) 899-4050
Beginning after Thanksgiving, we're open 7 days a week from 10 AM - 5 PM.

We offer three options for your Christmas tree needs: • Cut your own real Christmas tree in our evergreen fields • Choose from hand selected, quality pre-cut trees hanging in our barn • Take home a live Christmas trees with its roots wrapped that can be transplanted after the holidays next spring. CASH AND CHECK ONLY

 

Hozak Farms - (Beaver County)

Hozak Farms,  488 Anderson-Hozak Rd.
Clinton, PA 15026
724-899-2400
Cut your own Christmas Tree or choose from precut trees.  Bring the family out for a hayride to cut your own tree.  Everyday  10:00 to dark. White Pine and Scotch Pine $42.00   All Fir and Spruce $52.00  Price includes sales tax.  Cash or Check Preferred

 

Butler County

Grupp's Christmas Tree Farm - (Butler County)

147 Grupp Lane  
Harmony, PA 16037
724-368-32149
Saturday and Sunday 9 AM - 5 PM
Monday - Friday 10 AM - 5 PM
Currently we offer six varieties of trees that you can cut yourself. They are Scotch Pine, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Canaan Fir and Concolor Fir. We also have a large selection of pre-cut Fraser Fir trees.  In our Christmas barn, we offer selections of pre-cut trees for your convenience. In a hurry or bad weather, you can grab one right out of the barn. Scotch Pine $32. Other varieties $46 (up to 8 ft) Credit and Debit Cards Not Accepted.  Cash or Check Only

 

Lake Forest Gardens - (Butler County)

737 Chapel Drive 
Fombell, PA 16123
724-758-5706
Monday - Sunday 8:00am to 6:00pm

Pre-cut and Cut your Own Trees. Prices are listed on website.  We have spruce, Douglas fir and Canaan fir to cut in the field or you can choose a pre-cut tree from our large selection of spruce, Douglas fir, Fraser fir, Canaan fir, or white pine. If you enjoy live trees, you can choose from our balled and burlapped trees. We also have a wide selection of wreaths, garland, door swags and other decorative novelties. On the weekends, while you're here selecting that perfect tree, your family can enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate and other refreshments along with your favorite holiday music and fun!So come to Lake Forest Gardens and take a wagon ride to the field to cut your own special tree. This Christmas could be the beginning of a new tradition of lasting memories. Cash or Check Only (ATM Available)

 

Renick's Tree Farm (Butler County) 


721 W. Sunbery Road
West Sunbery, PA 16061
Offers a variety of trees you can cut yourself with stunning hilltop views

 

Indiana County

Fleming's Christmas Trees

1803 Fleming Road
Indiana, PA  15701
AND
415 Green Park Lane
New Alexandria, PA 15670
(724) 463-0570

Fleming's main farm  is located about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh in Indiana, Pa., which is known as the Christmas Tree Capital of the World.  They have another farm in New Alexandria, PA as well.  You can choose and cut your family’s Christmas Tree right off of our farm, or choose a Fresh-Cut Tree on one of our lots.  Both locations provide FREE Baling &Shaking of the Trees & FREE Gifts for the Kids.  The Indiana location offers Horse-drawn wagon rides to the field and back, reminiscent of days gone by, will be available for your family's enjoyment.

 

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Pittsburgh Holiday Train Displays

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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We've had several readers ask recently ask where the best holiday train displays are in the region. As a mom of boys myself, I'm no stranger to train displays. Pittsburgh is home to several impressive train displays, and the holidays are a great time to go visit them. Here's a list of the best displays around the region.

 

PPG Wintergarden Trains and Gingerbread Display

Two PPG Place
Pittsburgh, PA  15222
Monday – Thursday 7:30AM – 8:00PM
Friday 7:30AM – 10:00PM
Saturday 9:00AM – 10:00PM
Sunday 9:00AM – 8:00PM
Free Admission
Website
It’s “Home SWEET Home” once again at PPG Place this holiday season! Don’t miss this magnificent display of delicious dwellings created by area students, chefs, organizations, and individuals. The houses are surrounded by a display of model trains created by local artist Don Jones.

 

Western Pennsylvania Railroad Museum

5509 Lakeside Dr, Gibsonia, PA 15044
Recommend donation is $6 for adults and $4 for children
Fridays 6-9 pm, Saturday & Sunday 11 am-5 pm
Website
The WPRM, which is located off of Route 910 in the North Hills was founded in 1938, which makes it one of the oldest model railroad organizations in the country.  Each year they set up a holiday train display and on Friday nights, they offer a special "Steam at Twilight" session.

 

Carnegie Science Center Miniature Railroad Village

One Allegheny Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15212
Sunday-Friday 10 am-5 pm
Saturday 10 am-7 pm
Admission to Science Center $18.95 adults, $11.95 children
Website
Take a walking tour of western Pennsylvania at the world-renowned Miniature Railroad & Village open for its 90th season! This beloved exhibit's story began in 1920 with a man named Charles Bowdish of Brookville, Pa.  features hundreds of wonderfully realistic animated scenes that illustrate how people lived, worked, and played in our region during an era spanning the 1880s to the late 1930s. A replica of the historic Manchester-Farms is the latest gem added to this extraordinary display.

 

Olgebay Resort 

465 Lodge Drive
Wheeling, West Virginia 26003
Website
Admission Adults $9, Kids $5.75
Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm  Friday & Saturday 11am - 9 pm
Mountainous topography, numerous detailed structures and careful attention to scenery, typical of 20th century Appalachia, give the visitor a real sense of nostalgia. The layout also features a working river with two steamboats, a scale model blast furnace, a steel arch bridge, a wooden trestle bridge, a logging operation complete with saw mill, a coal mine, an amusement park, a working drive-in theater (seasonal) and a handcrafted "Pennsy" caboose that serves as the operator's console. 

 

Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

1 Museum Road
Washington PA 15301
November 28-30, December 6-7, 13-14
Adults $10  Children $7
Website
Trolleys and Toy Train Fridays - December 5 & 12. See our huge Lionel toy train layout and enjoy all day trolly rides. Trolley's depart every hour.  And celebrate the season with Santa Claus on the Trolley!  See the Lionel toy train display and decorated street cars. Enjoy caroling on the trolley and a holiday craft in the Events room, where you can enjoy our newest addition, Steel City LUG’s Lego® train display. Purchase tickets in advance to ride the Santa Trolley (advance purchase strongly recommended) and stop in to ride the Yuletide Shuttle. 

 

Mid Mon Valley Model Railroad Club Holiday Open House

159 Main Street
New Eagle, PA  15067
Saturday & Sundays 12-5 pm
Website
Annual Holiday Open House is an opportunity for the public to view the club layout. It is opened on weekends from the Saturday after Thanksgiving through the first weekend after the New Year. The doors are open from 12:00 p.m. (noon) until 5:00 p.m. At the Open House we run 3 or 4 trains simultaneously over the entire layout and we change out the trains as running conditions and desire dictate. In 2014, our Open House event will run from November 29, 2014 through January 4, 2015.

 

McKeesport Model Railroad Club Open House

Our Club models the fictitious ‘Mon Yough Valley Railroad’ (MYV). This ‘model railroad’ name was copyrighted when the Club was chartered in 1950. 
Website
Layout tour minimum donation for December 5, 2014 Through January 3, 2015
Age 18 & Over: $4.00  Ages 5 – 17: $2.00 Under Age 5: FREE
BSA & GSA Members (In Troop Uniform), and Active US Military (with Proper ID) are admitted FREE of charge.
Fridays 7-10 pm Saturdays 1-8 pm  Sundays 1-6 pm (most days. Check website for exact hours)
Santa visiting Saturday Dec 20 (5-8 pm) and Sunday Dec 21 (5-8 pm)

 

Penn Hills Station 224 VFD Holiday Train Display

1002 Center Ave
Verona, PA 15147
Nov 29- Jan 3
Mon- Fri 6-9 pm, Sat & Sun 1-9 pm
Saturday's before Christmas, Santa visits 7-9!

Ohio Valley Lines Miniature Railroad


1225 Merchant Street
Ambridge, PA  15003
Holiday Show weekends through January 4
12-5 pm
Adults $6, Kids $2
Website
Welcome to Ohio Valley Lines a scale miniature railroad, museum and library located in Ambridge, PA.  We invite you to join us for our open houses Saturday and Sunday from Thanksgiving through New Years. We offer history of our past in railroading along with knowledge of the future.

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Play it Forward toy drive

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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Every year around this time, I borrow my PittsburghMom page to talk about another project near and dear to my heart, my charity, Play it Forward Pittsburgh.  Play it Forward is a gently used toy drive that happens every year in November and December. This year I invite you to help us make 2014 the best drive yet.

Like every parent, I want my kids to grow up to be happy, successful and charitable.  I not only want them to find whatever career path or lifestyle makes them most happy, but I want them to realize the important of spreading love and charity.

Throughout the years we've "dabbled" in charitable giving. We've donated our time to the local library, bought toys for Toys for Tots and planted flowers for Cub Scouts.

Two years ago, however, on a whim, a friend and I started a charity that has allowed us to really show our children the value of giving.

Play it Forward Pittsburgh is a gently used children's toy drive. We ask local families to clean out their playrooms and donate things they're not using anymore or would like to see go to a new home, then turn around and give them all out to families in need  at a "shop for free" day in December. This year's drive will be held at the Century III Mall in West Mifflin.  We will collect toys there from December 1 - December 12 and then have our "shopping day" there on December 13.  The idea started when I was cleaning out my children's playroom and wanted to give our unused toys to  a new family.  

We have several toy drop off/donation locations scattered throughout the region (they can be found on our website). www.playitforwarpittsburgh.com or you can bring donations directly to the mall beginning December (hours are listed on the website as well).

We started the project on a whim and it was an instant hit.  The first year in the course of two weeks we collected 5,000 toys. Last year, our third year, that number grew to well over 50,000 toys.  We hope it's even bigger this year.

I like that it allows my children to look through their own toys and decide what to keep and what to donate to a new little boy.  They enjoy helping at the donation site to clean and sort toys and even on the "Shopping Day" to help families select toys for their kids.

What I love most about the toy drive, in addition to helping local families, is the lesson it's teaching my kids. They now understand that we have more than we need and that some people don't. They see us working hard to give to others. They know it's possible and worthwhile to help others.

I am always so impressed that so many volunteers bring their children to both the drop off days to help sort as well as the "shopping" day. And they all said the same thing, that they wanted their kids to see it for themselves. To help, to give back. And the kids all seemed to "get it". Some were older than my kids, but some were younger. All of them were there for the same reason. To help people.

Most parents thank us afterwards for giving them the opportunity to share this lesson with their kids.  I think it's important and I'm so glad they do as well. It warms my heart to know we are raising a generation of altruistic people.

To find more information on how to donate toys, receive toys, or donate your time or money, please vist our website www.playitforwardpittsburgh.com or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/playitforwardpittsburgh

2012 Play it Forward Shopping Day
Photo by Allie Wynands, Point Park News Service

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Proud to be all American

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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It came home in the backpack last week. The dreaded canary colored paper with the words Family Cultural Heritage at the top.

Every year that paper comes home and every year I dread it. You probably know the one I'm talking about; the one where the kids are asked to bring in a story, dance, song, food, dress to show their family heritage and customs.

Why do I dread it? I dread it because apparently both my husband and I were raised as Whitebread Americans with nary any cultural traditions whatsoever.

Of course, our great grandparents did come from England, Germany and Poland. But apparently their traditions and food and customs really never trickled down to our parents. Neither of us can remember having any kind of special food or song or dance from the 'old country' at the holidays.

So when the paper comes home and my children are asked to write about their cultural traditions or heaven forbid, bring in a costume or food that they used to make with their grandparents, I panic.

My mother works full-time and really didn't love to cook.  My grandmothers lived out of state. Our Christmases were spent in a very traditional American way, opening presents, watching "A Christmas Story" and playing board games. My husband's mother was an excellent baker but she mostly baked apple pies, which are as American as it gets. Does American count as a culture? Because I could definitely whip up my mother-in-law's apple pie if that was allowed :-)

I feel bad for my kids that they don't have this rich cultural heritage, especially in a city like Pittsburgh where it seems so many people were brought up making handmade pierogies with their grandma while wearing matching babushkas. Or hiding the pickle every year in the Christmas tree. We do some of those things now but I can't really claim them as our family's heritage. We just do them because they're fun and I like the significance.

So last week we got the dreaded canary colored cultural celebration paper. Matthew was asked to write about his heritage and he chose to write about his great great-grandparents that came from England. We were able to research our family names and find out where in England they likely lived. We were also able to fill in the section about England itself. Done.  Phew.

Just as I was wiping the sweat off my brow I turned the paper over and read back where it said "now you can bring in a homemade food item that celebrates your heritage.
Ooooh crap. What do I know about cooking English food?

Matthew suggested fish and chips because he'd seen it on a TV show. I voted for tea because who can't make tea, right? We settled on scones because that sounded very English. Of course I've never even eaten a scone in my life but I'm going to trust in my faith (i.e. Alton Brown) and pretend that they're part of my family heritage and I've been making them all along with my great-grandmother, while wearing matching aprons, of course. 

Wish me luck. 

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