Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 10 Ways To Celebrate the Year End

Family "Almost" New Year's Eve Party at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum 4-7PM.

Vintage New Year's Eve at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum 10PM -2PM.

Franklin Square in Philadelphia, Kid's Countdown 2014 3-8PM.

New Year's Eve Parties on Ice at the Blue Cross River Rink at Penn's Landing 5-7PM for the younger crowd and 11PM -1AM for the night owls.

New Year's Eve at the Lodge at Penn's Landing new Waterfront Winterfest holiday addition on Columbus Blvd.

Last day to see many of the traditional holiday treats throughout the area.

December 31st General Meade of the Battle of Gettysburg fame, Birthday Celebration at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park section, a parade, 21 gun salute (by period re-enactors), champagne toast at his grave followed by a reception at the gatehouse with a tour of the cemetery after the ceremonies, weather permitting. Free and open to the public!

December 31 No need to travel to New York, Media, PA is having a "Ball Drop" at State and Jackson Street, festivities begin at 11PM with Live Entertainment " Philly Gumbo".

December 31 Fireworks in Philly on the Delaware River Waterfront, sponsored by Sugarhouse Casino 6pm and Midnight.

December 31 New Year's Eve at the Big Apple in New Year City.  This has always been on my list of things to do, to date I usually catch it on the television.  It may very well be a spectacular event but I can't even imagine the crowd. If you are going he is a link to the schedule at Times Square.

Bring your own brain "Don't Drink and Drive" and come home with a clear conscious or stay in and create your own fun way to ring out the old and ring in the new.

Check out

Friday, December 27, 2013

Top 10 Time Capsule of the 2013 Lists

Word of the Year according to is "Privacy" follow the link to see why.

Person of the Year according to Time Magazine Pope Francis.  I'm thinking he may be just the right person we all want looking out for us this coming year. Politically and ethically, a good choice.

Nelson Mandella ranked Top in Google search 2013.  Many searches at the top were all deceased.  I admit I am a looker.

Twerking with the bottom was Top on Twitter. Look for it on YouTube. Many video's have been deleted, much to YouTube's credit of cleaning house, especially of the nasty comments.

Barbara Walters Most Fascinating Person of the Year is Hilary Rodman Clinton.  Mrs. Clinton has made the list 4 times (1993, 2003 and 2013). Check out the other winners from previous years.

The Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. They finished last in the 2012 season in the American League East. I say that gives hope to a lot of teams and fans. They played the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl XLVII played in 2013.  The coaches on opposite sides of the field were brothers, John and Jim Harbaugh.

Sports Illustrated named Peyton Manning Sportsman of the Year 2013.

LeBron James of Miami Heat was the Top NBA Jersey in sales for 2013. See this link for a complete list. He also topped Top Decade Jersey Sales in an April 2013 article. I still have a Michel Jordan in small. ebay?

Baby of the Year, along with couple of the year, in my opinion goes to the royal family, Prince George born July 22nd to Kate and William.  It was good and happy news to follow as they did it royally. Cheers!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 Texts for Seniors

This list is age appropriate and was sent to me as a gift from an old fart and fellow blogger Keith Lockhart. It was passed on to him. Check out his award winning website and his blog at, dtimeshistory, he has some great stuff on both sites.

Young people have theirs, now Seniors have their own texting codes:

* ATD - At the doctor's

* BTW 
- Bring the Wheelchair

- Bring Your Own Teeth

* CBM- Covered by Medicare

- See You at the Senior Center

* DWI - Driving While Incontinent

* FWIW - Forgot Where I Was
* LOL - Living on Lipitor

* OMSG - Oh My! Sorry, Gas
* TOT - Texting on Toilet

* WAITT - Who Am I Talking To?

Hope these help. 
GGLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in!)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Top 10 Classic Christmas Songs

The Holy Ones that Have the Deepest Meaning at Christmas 

First Noel

Silent Night

We Three Kings

What Child is This

Away in the Manger

O Come All Ye Faithful

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Angel We Have Heard on High

O Holy Night

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 10 Wrapping Songs

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree....Rockin around the Christmas tree, at the Christmas party hop...

Holly Jolly Christmas  Have a holly jolly Christmas, its the best time of the year.  I don't know if there'll be snow...

Santa Claus is Coming to Town You better watch out, you better not cry

Jingle Bells Dashing through the snow?  Is the even possible? Only if you are a reindeer, I surmise.

White Christmas .....I'm dreaming of Bing Crosby

Deck the Halls Deck the Halls with boughs and holly fa la la la la la la la la

Sleigh Ride Just hear those sleigh bells jingling and ring ting tingling too

The Christmas Song .....Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Santa Baby  Santa Baby hurry down the chimney tonight. (Who knew we all had that sexy sultry voice inside?)

Winter Wonderland ( I like the instrumental version and I sing the words in my head, sound effects included, I bet you do too). Sleigh Bells ring are you listening?

Boggles the mind sometimes, I can't remember where I left my glasses but I can name and sing a zillion lyrics after a song gets underway. It comes with age I guess.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 10 Christmas in the City (Philadelphia)

Courtesy of cousin Maureen.

Must do and see and mostly "free"

1. Reading Terminal: Eat Breakfast – (Down Home Diner) – great place to walk around as there are so many little Amish stands and mom and pop shops. You can shop for fruits and veggies.

Train Display

The hustle and bustle – you can just feel the sprit (and the some       humbugs)

2. Marriott Hotel: Just a walk through the Hotel Lobby (not sure for 2013)

Gingerbread houses (we had to ad lib here and have gingerbread latte at Starbucks instead, we did not see any gingerbread houses, perhaps we were too late in the season. The latte is however, recommended.

3. Macy’s: Several reasons to hang out at Macy’s -

The Christmas light show – plays every two hours 10AM 12PM 2PM 4PM 6PM and 8PM with special holiday hours.  The last show of the year is December 31st at 5PM.
Listen to the Organ – just sit and hear the music of the season
Dickens Village – walk thru the entire Christmas Carol story.

4. Love Park: I think this is the fourth year for this little village.

The Christmas Village – all types of little shops – this is only oen Black Friday and closes on Christmas Eve. Can find unique and rare gifts.

5. Comcast Building:
Christmas Spectacular show – plays every hour on the hour.

6. Liberty Place:
Christmas tree and Christmas Carolers

7. Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man: only 5 of these restaurants in the US. As soon as you walk in the door you can smell the chocolate.

                   Hot Chocolate     

8. Live Nativity (4th and Race) 5PM Outdoor Live Nativity December 24th and 8PM Candlelight service.

9. Walk through the Hotels where you can as they are always so decorated so beautifully especially the Bellevue they have a display of Santa Clauses.

         Walk through Rittenhouse Square Park

                 Walk through DiBruno Brothers they give out free samples of cheese (on Chestnut Street). 

10. Ice Skating at Penns-Landing.

All Saturdays in December after 11 am is free meter parking! Double check on all parking situations, nobody likes to get a ticket or the boot!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Top 10 Believe Songs

1. I Believe When I Fall In Love This Time  written by Stevie Wonder and Yvonne Wright cover by Art Garfunkel.

2. I Believe I Can Fly R.Kelly

3. I'm A Believer Monkees

4. Reason to Believe Ron Stewart

5. Do You Believe in Magic? Lovin Spoonful

6. What a Fool Believes Doobie Brothers

7. Don't Stop Believing Journey

8. I Can't Believe Its True Phil Collins

9. I Don't Believe In Ghosts Duncan Sheik

10. Feel To Believe Beth Orton

It's a good thing to believe!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Respect the Gremlins

Did you ever stop and wonder just how some things get done? 
Is it pure magic?

1. Dishes are clean.

2. Beds are made.

3. Clothes are off the floor, clean and back in your drawers and closet.

4. Meals miraculously appear each day at a certain hour, just when you are hungry.

5. Coffee is made when you get up.

6. Dust does not accumulate long.

7. Carpets are clean.

8. Trash is taken out, placed at the curb on designated days and cans are returned to designated area.

9. House is fully stocked with food and supplies.

10. Things get fixed.

No disrespect to Santa and his elves for getting the presents to the house 
but we all know who wraps those presents, right?

Run down this list, if you perform any of these tasks naturally without question,
 pat yourself on the back.

You are a gremlin. The rest of you be grateful for the gremlins, they are making the world go round and function every day and that is how it all gets done.

Look around this is just the short list describing the domestic gremlins in charge of homeland security.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Holiday Shows and Theater

A Forbidden Broadway Christmas at Barnstormers Theater in Ridley Park, December 20 and 21st at 8PM.

The Philly Pops Holiday Pops Christmas Spectacular at Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center thru December 21st.

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol at the Media Theatre thru December 22nd.

It's a Wonderful Life classic movie at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville December 21st thru December 24th.

Nutcracker performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet at the Kimmel Center thru December 29th.

A Christmas Carol at Hedgerow Theatre thru December 31st

Elf Walnut Street Theatre thru January 5th.

A Child's Christmas in Wales at the Lantern Theater thru January 5th.

Disney on Ice "Let's Celebrate" at Wells Fargo December 26th thru January 5th.

Cinderella  People's Light and Theatre Company in Malvern thru January 12th.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top 10 Trains for the Season

Brandywine River Museun A Brandywine Christmas featuring an O-gauge model train display.

Choo Choo Barn at Traintown, U.S.A. December 20th, a non-perishable food item is your ticket to the Christmas layout.

Delaware River Railroad Excursions Polar Express in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

Holiday Garden Railway Morris Arboretum 100 E. Northwestern Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118 Now through January 5th.

Longwood Gardens The Garden Railway G-scale Model Trains.

Make Your Own Adventure "Take the Train" into the city and explore. Head to the Reading Terminal Market.  They have "everything" including "trains".

National Toy Train Museum in Strasberg, PA.

North Pole Express New Hope and Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, PA. Ride a Steam Train with Santa.

Santa Express and the Christmas Tree Train special holiday hours on the West Chester Railroad.

Strasberg Rail Road Holiday Trains (select dates), The Night Before Christmas Train, Christmas Tree Train.

THe Grange

Monday, December 16, 2013

Top 10 Prepare for the Battle of the Bulge - Holiday Overeating

1. Eat normal before going out.  Save yourself, don't save room.

2. Smaller portions.  Do not take a small sliver of cake and continuously go back for another and another until it is gone.

3. Pack on a protein.  It will fill you up!

4. Vegetables are friends with benefits.

5. Skip the dip.

6. Opt for the fruit cocktail instead of the alcohol.

7. Bread can be bad, but oh so good.  Try and stick to whole grains.

8. Plan your meals.  Quick "prepared meals" are much better all around than fast food. There is a major difference.

9. Stock fridge with good choices. When you go browsing there is less chance in going over budget.

10. Santa looked all jolly and happy but I would imagine if we ate ALL the cookies we would be saying, OH, OH, OH.

No one will put you on the naughty list for one transgression or two but the mantra for the holidays should be everything in moderation.

I am neither a nutritionist or a dietician, just someone who has had experience tipping the scales.  We should all strive to be our best self.

 Deepest respect to the men and women that serve in our military.  Today also marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge fought December 14th, 1944 to January 25th 1945. Not every one will have the privilege to be home with their families for the holidays. Support our Troops!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Top 10 Female Vocalists from Pennsylvania

Christina María Aguilera (born December 18, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Born in Staten Island, New York and raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania
 Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Berkley Anderson and the former Annie Delilah Rucker. Her father sold ice and coal in downtown Philadelphia at the Reading Terminal and eventually opened a small liquor business as well. Prior to her marriage, Anderson's mother had briefly attended the Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg and had worked as a schoolteacher in Virginia. As she did not obtain a degree, Annie Anderson was unable to teach in Philadelphia under a law that was applied only to black teachers and not white ones.

Antonia Christina Basilotta (born September 22, 1943), better known by her stage name Toni Basil, is an American singer-songwriter, actress, filmmaker, film director, choreographer, and dancer, best known for her multi-million selling worldwide No. 1 hit "Mickey" from 1981. Basil was born Antonia Christina Basilotta in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Jacqueline Jessica Anderson, was a vaudevillian acrobatic comedian in her family's act "Billy Wells and The Four Fays." Her father, Louis Basil, was an orchestra leader who conducted orchestras at The Chicago Theatre and at The Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, among others.[1]

 Eve Jihan Jeffers (born November 10, 1978),[1] better known by her mononym, Eve, is an American Grammy Award winning rapper-songwriter, record producer and actress. Her first three albums have sold over 8 million copies worldwide.

 Sheila Ferguson (born October 8, 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American singer, and was one of the longest serving singers of 1970s American female soul music group The Three Degrees.
Gogi Grant (born September 20, 1924) is an American popular singer. She is best known for her long-running classic No. 1 hit, "The Wayward Wind". 
Vivian Green (born May 22, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter and pianist.Green was born May 22, 1979 in the East Oak Lane neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and took an interest in singing, playing the piano, and songwriting at a very young age. At the age of thirteen, she became a member of a female quintet called Younique. Also, she is a graduate of Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice. Green has credit for writing "Dear God" by Boyz II Men, from their 1997 album Evolution. Green received her big break at the age of nineteen when she became a backup singer for Jill Scott, who took her on an international tour. She signed to Columbia Records in November 2002. Check out Emotional Rollercoaster on YouTube. 
Phyllis Hyman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the St. Clair Village, the South Hills section of Pittsburgh. Born to an African American family, she was the eldest of seven children and a third cousin of actor Earle Hyman (best known for his recurring role on The Cosby Show as Cliff's father, Russell Huxtable). (July 6, 1949 – June 30, 1995)

Ms. Jade (born Chevon Young) is an American rapper from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

 Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin; September 22, 1958) is an American rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and occasional actress, best known for her work with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, including their hit record "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", which was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 from March 20 to May 1, 1982,[2] as well as for their other popular recordings including "Crimson and Clover", "I Hate Myself for Loving You", "Do You Want to Touch Me", "Light of Day", "Love is All Around" and "Bad Reputation". She has three albums that have been certified Platinum or Gold, and has been a feminist icon throughout her career. Joan Marie Larkin was born September 22, 1958[6][7] at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Joan was recently kicked off a Thanksgiving float because
she is vegetarian. Ranchers of South Dakota felt she was not the best representation of their state.  float. Since Philly was just selected most friendly vegetarian city for sports fans.  I think we have a spot for Joan next year because every one knows what good sports Philadelphia folk are. Joan Jett was inducted into the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Patricia Louise Holte-Edwards (born May 24, 1944), better known under the stage name Patti LaBelle, is a renowned Grammy Award-winning American singer, author, and actress who has spent over 50 years in the music industry. LaBelle spent 16 years as lead singer of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, who changed their name to Labelle in the early 1970s and released the iconic disco song "Lady Marmalade". Patricia Louise Holte was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 24, 1944. Her father, Henry Holte (alternatively, Holt),[4] was a railroad worker and lounge singer. Her mother, Bertha Holte, was a domestic and housewife. Patti was one of four daughters (Vivian, Barbara, herself and Jacqueline). She recalls having a happy childhood but said her parents had an unhappy marriage. When she was twelve, her parents split up and Bertha Holte raised her daughters as a single mother.
Barbara Mason (born 9 August 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American R&B/soul singer best known for her 1965 hit song, "Yes, I'm Ready".  She was eighteen years old when she wrote this.
MacDonald was born June 18, 1903,[1] at her family's Philadelphia home at 5123 Arch Street. She was the youngest of the three daughters of Anna Mae (née Wright) and Daniel MacDonald.[2][3]
Andrea McArdle (born November 5, 1963) is an American singer and actress best known for playing Annie in the Broadway musical Annie  McArdle was born in Philadelphia. While studying dance as a child, she was spotted by a talent agent who got her work in a number of television commercials, which led to her two-and-a-half year stint on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. She also appeared on Al Alberts Showcase, a local televised talent show in Philadelphia.
 Mary Lou Metzger (born November 13, 1950 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American singer and dancer best known as a cast member on The Lawrence Welk Show.[1]
Alecia Beth Moore (born September 8, 1979[4]), better known by her stage name Pink (stylized as P!nk), is an American singer-songwriter and actress. Alecia Moore was born on September 8, 1979, in Abington, Pennsylvania, to Judith (née Kugel),[10][11] a nurse, and Jim Moore, a Vietnam veteran.[4][12][13] Pink grew up in Doylestown, where she attended Kutz Elementary School, Lenape Middle School, and Central Bucks High School West. Her father played guitar and sang songs, thus inspiring Pink from an early age to be a pop star. She was also a gymnast for eight years; she stated in an interview that her first dream was to be an Olympic gymnast. In 2013, she appeared on Forbes list of Highest Paid Musicians, with the earnings of $32 million.[165]

 Fayette Regina Pinkney (January 10, 1948 – June 27, 2009) was an American singer  Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pinkney was one of three young teenagers brought together by manager Richard Barrett to form The Three Degrees in 1963.
 Adele Ritchie (December 21, 1874 – April 24, 1930), was an American prima donna of comic opera and star of Edwardian musical comedies and vaudeville. Her career began in the early 1890s and continued for nearly twenty-five years. Her life would end tragically in a murder-suicide involving a close friend.Ritchie was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Quaker parents of French descent and, by the age of three, the step-daughter of Jacob Benclift Pultz, founder of the J. B Pultz Company.[1][2][3] She attended the Catholic girl’s preparatory school, Villa Maria Academy at Malvern,

Jill Scott was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up an only child in a North Philadelphia neighborhood, raised by her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother. She indicated in an interview with Jet Magazine that she had a happy childhood and was "very much a loved child".[1] Scott was raised as a Jehovah's Witness[2] and attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls.

Dee Dee Sharp (born Dione LaRue, September 9, 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States[1]) is an American R&B singer, who began her career recording as a backing vocalist in 1961. She was a member of the Philadelphia International All Stars

Penny Singleton (September 15, 1908 – November 12, 2003) was an American film actress. Born Marianna Dorothy Agnes Letitia McNulty in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (commonly known as Dorothy McNulty) she was the daughter of an Irish-American newspaperman Benny McNulty — from whom she received the nickname "Penny" because she was "as bright as a penny".  Meet Jane Jetson....During her sixty year career Singleton appeared as the comic strip heroine Blondie Bumstead in a series of 28 motion pictures from 1938 until 1950 and the popular Blondie radio program from 1939 until 1950. Singleton also provided the voice of Jane Jetson in the animated series The Jetsons

Shareese Renée Ballard, better known by her stage name Res /ˈrs/, is an African American singer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her musical style is a blend of indie pop, soul, and rock. They Say Vision on YouTube. Res is very active in several forms of social media. She uses these sites to keep her followers informed of performances, public speaking appearances, and current progress on projects through her aliases "resfans" on Facebook, "@the1Res" Twitter , "theoneRES" on YouTube and @Res on Pintrest. She recently released a new album titled ReFried Mac of Fleetwood Mac tunes. and appeared at World Live Cafe.
Terrell was born Thomasina Montgomery Tammi Terrell (born Thomasina Winifred Montgomery; April 29, 1945 – March 16, 1970 in Philadelphia to Jennie (née Graham) and Thomas Montgomery. Jennie was an actress and Thomas was a barbershop owner and local politician.) was an American recording artist, best known as a star singer for Motown Records during the 1960s, most notably for a series of duets with singer Marvin Gaye. So many good songs they collaborated on here is one found on Youtube You're All I Need To Get By. Motown no doubt had a special magic.

Clara Ward (April 21, 1924 – January 16, 1973)[1][2] was an American gospel artist who achieved great success, both artistic and commercial, in the 1940s and 1950s as leader of The Famous Ward Singers. Her only real happiness seems to have come from her longtime romance with Rev. C. L. Franklin (with whom the Ward groups extensively toured), the famous Detroit-based preacher and father of the legendary Aretha Franklin according to a bio at wikipeidia. How I Got Over a popular gospel song written    In 1977, Ward was honored posthumously at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City. In July 1998, in recognition of her status as one of the most famous and loved gospel singers in the world, the United States Postal Service issued a 32-cent stamp with her image. The stamp can still be purchased with a CD and other gospel singers' stamps at

Crystal Waters (born October 10, 1964) is an American house music singer and songwriter.  Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Waters is the daughter of Betty and Junior Waters, a famed jazz musician; her great aunt, Ethel Waters, was one of the first African-American vocalists to appear in mainstream Hollywood musicals. Her family moved to New Jersey for a while but they again moved to Washington, D.C.. At age eleven she began writing poetry and took her writing seriously enough to be inducted into the American Poetry Society when she was 14, the youngest person ever to receive that honor.

 Ethel Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 1896, as a result of the rape of her teenaged mother, Louise Anderson (believed to have been thirteen years old at the time, although some sources indicate she may have been slightly older), by John Waters, a pianist and family acquaintance from a mixed-race middle-class background. Waters played no role in raising Ethel.[1] Ethel Waters was raised in poverty and never lived in the same place for more than 15 months. She said of her difficult childhood, "I never was a child. I never was cuddled, or liked, or understood by my family." (Stormy Weather YouTube link). Waters was approved for a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. However, the actual Star has not been funded, and as of 2013, public fundraising efforts continue.

Top 10 Festive Things to Do this Weekend

December 14 and 15th Zoo Noel at the Philadelphia Zoo 11-3PM.  Meet Santa at the Treehouse included with Zoo admission.

December 14th Wreaths Across America at various cemeteries around the country.

December 14 Seaport Parade of Lights down the Delaware at 5PM. Earlier festivities inside the Seaport Museum begin at 11AM.

 December 15th Thomas Leiper Holiday "Colonial Christmas" Open House and Birthday Celebration 521 Avondale Rd. Wallingford, PA. 1-6PM. Free admission, donations appreciated.

Thomas Leiper House, Wallingford, PA

December 15th Monika Rehoric's "Victorian Holiday Tea" Open House in her 1895 home located at 116 N. Lemon St. Media, PA from 1-6PM. Advanced Tickets ($15) available at Kenny's Flower Shoppe or the church office proceeds benefit First United Methodist Church in Media.

Historic Grange Estate "Warm Hands, Warm Hearts". Holiday Tours.

Fairmount Park Holiday House Tours. Last weekend to see many of these homes. Check specific house for their dates and times and of course weather updates.

Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle shows every 30 minutes 4:30PM - 8PM with the soundtrack of Peter Nero and the Philly Pops!

Comcast Holiday Spectacular is in 3D this year!

Macy's Grand Court Light Display and Dickens Christmas Village in Center City, Philadelphia. No matter how many times you have seen this show, it never gets old. I actually think it brings out your youth again.

Always check website or call for possible cancellations due to weather.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Top 10 Pennsylvania First December 12

December 12th, 1787 is the first day Pennsylvania became the 2nd state in the United States to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Delaware was the first. The Yeas and Nays from Pennsylvania are listed at this link, scroll down to find them.

10 Pennsylvania Firsts

1. First City Troops was organized in 1774 as the Light Horse of the City of Philadelphia.  It is the oldest military unit in the United States.  It is now part of the Pennsylvania National Guard. What are the odds of seeing them? The first time I saw them was last year traveling on horseback down Broad Street in Philadelphia.  The second time, they were the honor guard that led the ancestors of the signers of the Declaration of Independence to the ceremonial tapping of the Liberty Bell on July 4th.



2. First American Stock Exchange was founded in 1790 as the "Board of Brokers," it was located at the Merchants Coffee House, now known as the City Tavern, at the corner of Second and Walnut Streets. A building was built for the Merchant's Exchange later to be known as the first home of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.  The current Philadelphia Stock Exchange is now located and 19th and Market in Philadelphia. The Merchant Exchange Building that housed the first stock exchange located at 143 S. Third Street is the oldest existing stock exchange building in the United States. William Strickland designed the building

Front view

Rear view
The First Bank of the United States established in 1791 was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The bank began operations in Carpenters' Hall in 1791, some 200 feet from its permanent home 1795 pictured below. It was at this location until 1811.  Stephen Girard then formed Girard Bank at this location.

First U. S. Mint was created on April 2, 1792 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The mint has moved four times and is now located at 151 N Independence Mall E, in Philadelphia.

3. First Institution of Art now called the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded
in 1805 by sculptor, William Rush and scientist, painter Charles Willson Peale. The current PAFA building was built by Frank Furness in 1876.

4. The Walnut Street Theatre founded in 1809 is located at Ninth and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the first and oldest theatre in the United States. It has has a impressive cast of characters through the years.  Currently, the Broadway Musical Elf is on the main stage.

5. First World's Fair in the United States in 1876, the Centennial Exposition took place in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Art Gallery Building still stands.  It is now known as Memorial Hall and used as the Children's Please Touch Museum.

Memorial Hall Fairmount Park
6.  John Wanamaker purchased the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Station in 1876 for a new and larger retail space. It was the first department store in Philadelphia and probably America. Innovation and "firsts" marked Wanamaker's. The store was the first department store with electrical illumination (1878), first store with a telephone (1879), and the first store to install pneumatic tubes to transport cash and documents (1880). The Wanamaker name is gone but the legacy lives on. Macy's Department store occupies the Wanamaker building now and the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ have helped to keep that spirit alive. Read the fun facts on their website. What is the Christmas season without a trip to see the light show? It is a special lifetime memory.  Meet you at the eagle!

7. First Professional Football Game Allegheny Athletic Association football team defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club on November 12, 1892.

8. The first successful commercial oil well was established in Titusville, PA by Col. Edwin L. Drake in 1859.  The first oil millionaire was Jonathan Watson, a resident of Titusville. He owned the land where Drake's well was drilled.

9. The charter for the First Zoo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was signed on March 21st 1859 but due to the civil war the gates were not opened for another 15 years.  Did you know? The Solitude House that sits on the Philadelphia Zoo property was the home of William Penn's grandson. Frank Furness designed the Victorian gates and gatehouse.

10.  The first electronic general purpose computer ENIAC,  construction contract with the U. S. Army was signed on June 5, 1943, and work on the computer began in secret by the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering starting the following month under the code name "Project PX". Penn's Medical School now the University of Pennsylvania was the first medical school in the United States and the first medical school to become a University.

There is a more extensive list of Pennsylvania firsts at wikipedia, not all of them highlight the city of Philadelphia but these are the ones that captured my eye first.  Check them all out and have Pride in Pennsylvania.  We have an impressive state.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Top 10 Made in Pennsylvania

A little piece of Pennsylvania Pride, buy local support your people. Check your list, check it twice, lots of gift ideas on here.

1. K'NEX Brand construction toys headquarters is located in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.  I do remember a K'NEX toy distributed to our home one year by Santa Claus but I can't remember what the model was but I remember trying to do it.  Good news to parents they have building help and hints on the website.  This feature was not available back in the day and some parents suffered for that, with their child believing they were incapable of following directions. They do have some really cool construction kits. I was much better playing Barbie's. Lincoln Logs are also developed and distributed by K'NEX now.  I read something on their website I did not know, Lincoln Logs were invented in 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I was good at Lincoln Logs, named for Abraham Lincoln.

2. Yuengling is America's oldest brewing company, It was established in 1829 in Pottsville, PA. and Yards Brewery (1994)  Troeggs (1996) Victory. There are many micro-breweries go to to find a larger list.

3. Musselman's was founded in 1907 in Biglerville, PA. According to the website, in 1984, C. H. Musselman's was purchased by a cooperative of local fruit growers (Knouse Foods Cooperative) and provides a livelihood for 600 farming families. Knouse has six manufacturing plants, five in Pennsylvania and one in Michigan. Their products are labeled Musselman's and Lucky Leaf and their website has recipes!

4. According to the trademark PYREX was born in 1913 when Bessie Littleton, wife of a Corning scientists asked him to bring home some glass. PYREX is part of the World Kitchens family.  Look in your cabinets, I'm betting they are also part of your family.  I have PYREX, Corning Ware and Bakers Secret.  I am in the family. Their customer care center is located in Green Castle, Pennsylvania.

5. Martin Guitars German born C. F. Martin began making guitars at the age of 15.  He initially settled in New York when he came to the United States and moved to Pennsylvania at his wife's suggestion between 1838 and 1839 according to the Martin website. The original residence overlooked Nazareth, Pennsylvania and occupied the land that the Martin Factory is on today. Martin is a BIG name in Music.  See who has had one. Should you be next?  You can visit the Martin Museum and also take a factory tour. Ever hear the words to the song The Weight from The Band? I pulled into Nazareth...... According to guitarist Robbie Robertson in an interview with, he wanted to take people on a journey.  He looked inside the hole of his guitar and there it was printed "Nazareth",  the hometown of Martin guitar.

6. The H. J. Heinz Company was founded in 1869 by H. J. Heinz. Their headquarters are in Pittsburgh. According to the website trivia, over 650 million bottles of Heinz Ketchup are sold around the world in more than 140 countries. Heinz has many products but using ketchup alone, how many things do you accompany with ketchup?  I always have a little fries with my ketchup. A dollop goes on the burger and sometimes hot dog.  It has been a while but I also feel ketchup does enhance the flavor of scrambled eggs.  I am now hungry. Their top three products are on my shelf.

7. Crayola Corporate Headquarters and where you can visit and have a Crayola Experience is located in Easton, Pennsylvania and it is a must visit with your kids if you like to have fun.  Binney and Smith formed a partnership in 1885. Initial products included red oxide pigment used for barn paint and carbon black for car tires according to the Crayola website and took an active role in the development and production of carbon black from natural gas. It has been many years since I visited the Crayola Fun Factory when my kids were young.  I remember a tall plexiglass partition you were encouraged to draw on and we made Christmas ornaments and they will be placed on my tree again this year.  They were made from some kind of white rubbery plastic material. Check out their website "playzone" if you are age appropriate. Crayola became a subsidiary of Hallmark in 1984.

8 .Hershey Company was started by Milton S. Hershey.  His first candy business opened in 1876 it was called Crystal A Caramels. According to the Hershey website, after attending the Columbian Exposition in Chicago he discovered chocolate making and experiment with covering the caramels with chocolate. Ground was broken for the first factory in 1903. My favorite year, Hershey Kissses came off the assembly line. The rest is just history of a selfless man who built a huge empire. In 1918, Mr. Hershey donated all his wealth and ownership of the company to Hershey Industrial School a school for orphaned boys. Today Hershey, PA is a city all its own with the Chocolate Factory you can tour.  Last time I was there a free candy bar too after the ride. A shop that contains all you chocolate dreams and desserts.  You can bring home all the chocolate you could possibly ever want. Hershey has many things to do including Hershey Park and is home to the Hershey Bear Hockey Team. I am not sure if this is the way it is all the time BUT if your team (football or soccer) goes to the state championship they play ay the Hershey Stadium. Here is a link to recipes, its hard to top chocolate.  Mrs. Hershey died prematurely in 1915, they never had and children together and maybe not so widely known, the Hershey's had tickets to sail on the Titanic for that fateful voyage but Mrs. Hershey was feeling ill and they cancelled the trip in 1912.

9. Herr's Foods began in 1946 when a 21 year old named Jim Stauffer Herr bought a small potato chip company in Lancaster. Pennsylvania for $1,750, according to the Herr's website. The company is headquartered in Nottingham, Pennsylvania with J. M. Herr, son of the founder, as the chairman. Mr. Jim Stauffer Herr passed away in 2012. In 1958, Herr's began to add flavoring to the chips and barbeque was the first flavored ship.  I will eat any chip in front of me but I will race you to the bottom of the bag if they are barbeque.  Thank you for taking the chance Mr. Herr.  Herr also offers tours of their facilities and offers special events throughout the year.  Currently it is Christmas in Nottingham, Pennsylvania with the Christmas Light Display and the 12 Days of Christmas Factory Tour.

10. Tasty Baking Company (Tastykake) According to, the company began in 1914 when a Pittsburgh baker named Philip J. Baur and a Boston egg salesman named Herbert T. Morris decided to go into the baking business in Philadelphia. I am not sure why they chose Philadelphia. The name came from Morris's wife after sampling, she said, they were tasty. Chocolate Juniors were their first product, followed by Butterscotch Krimpets, the cupcakes and then the pies. Surprisingly chocoholic that I am I preferred the Krimpets and never allowed any icing to remain on the wrapper and be disposed of. As far as the pies go apple, peach, blueberry and lemon in that order,  I was never much for the chocolate eclair but wouldn't snub my nose to it either.  In 2011, the Flower Foods took over the business and it was a nice save for the Philadelphia area.

Other creations of interest born in Pennsylvania
Gertrude Hawk Chocolate, Asher Chocolates and Bevans in Media, Just Born Peeps, Shop-Vac
All-Clad MetalCrafters, Case Knives,Artex Knitting Mills, Zippo Lighters, Bachman, Utz.

Sources: started me on my search and then the list just grew, thinking up my favorites and what I buy that is made in Pennsylvania and then I found State Rep, Neal Goodman who has introduced legislation to identify products Made in PA. Maybe this list can help the database when it is created. I think it is a great idea to have a list out there.  I was looking. Actually Pennsylvania Dutch noodles started me looking, they are not made in Pennsylvania. You can always read the labels.

Some of these companies have a fascinating history and longevity, so they must be good.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Top 10 Give Tuesday

#Give Tuesday was last Tuesday and I missed the opportunity to promote it ,but I did have reminders so I will remind people it is never too late to give and it always nice to be offered a second chance.  Some of my favorites non-profits.

1. 43rd Annual Salvation Army and Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund. The Daily Times will include a short holiday message from contributions in their print edition.  Send contributions to the Salvation Army, Box 1032, Brookhaven, PA 19015 or

2. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Alex was four year's old when she started raising money for childhood cancer.  She raised $2,000 her first year. with the help of her older brother.  Read her story. Cancer is a tough business.

3. Autism Speaks It's Time To Listen  

4. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia The Gift of Childhood and also A.I Dupont. I don't think it is a competition, they both do great work.

5. Delaware County Literacy You can also contribute by shopping at Ten Thousand Villages in Media located on State Street from 3pm to 9pm on Wednesday and 15% of that purchase will go to the Literacy Council.

6. Delaware County Historical Society and Historic Philadelphia . It is one thing to make history but just as important to preserve it.

7. Music Corps rehabilitation for wounded warriors. I did not know much about this organization until I watched the Stand up for Heroes program.  Check it out.  It is pretty special.

8. Special Olympics Make a Gift, Change a Life
If you have ever had the opportunity to volunteer at one of these events, you know how very special these people are.  If you never have, I say try it.  I bet you will like the experience.

9. Pathways Give the Gift of Hope.

10.WHYY provides the kind of programming I find entertaining and educational.

Most people when they donate to a charity do so in behalf of an organization that has meant something to them or someone they care about in the past.  That seems to be my connection to wanting to make a contribution when I can.  It is also nice to know that if you give local most likely those resources will go local.

I found this website, "charitynavigator" that has Top 10 lists on just about everything you want to know about a charity. It is more nationwide. I also found this link which lists charities in Delaware County you may be interested in checking out. I recommend you research a charity before making a donation and always make sure it is a secure link if you donate online.

Money is always the perfect gift 
and hopefully it will be put to good use but time is also a precious gift.  
Many of these organizations offer volunteer opportunities.
Give it a try!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Top 10 on the Bernardine Center in Chester Wish List

Non-Food Items

1. Laundry Soap

2. Toilet Paper

3. Toothpaste

4. Tooth brushes

5. Deodorant

6. Shampoo

7. Hair brushes, combs

8. First aid items: band-aides, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment

9. Towel and washcloth set

10. Diapers size 3 and up, Pull Ups 2T and up, Diaper wipes

Bernadine Center
2625 West Ninth Street
Chester, PA 19013

Contact information: 610-497-3225

See Bernardine Center website for addition suggestions and information.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Top 10 Area Historic House Holiday Tours

December 7th at Bartram Gardens Holiday Greens Sale 10 - 4PM music, fresh apple cider, tours of the historic Bartram house, make-your-own cards and ornaments, DIY wreath decorating, and a special terrarium workshop. Registration is required for workshop.

December 7th Chadds Ford Candlelight Christmas  1 - 6 PM Chadds Ford Historical Society.  Check the link for locations to buy tickets.

December 7th The Concord Township Historical Society announces its 2013 Holiday House Tour, which will take place on Saturday, December 7, from 1PM to 5PM. General admission $15.00, Society members, paid up for 2013, $10.00. Purchase tickets at the Society headquarters at 659 Smithbridge Road. Tickets may be purchased the day of the tour at the Pierce-Willits House located at 659 Smithbridge Rd., near the Rachel Kohl Library and the American Hero Memorial, where you will pick up your tour map and wrist-band. Questions may be sent to, or 610-459-8556.

December 7th Christmas on the Farm Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park 11 - 4PM last entry at 3PM. Father Christmas will visit between 12:30 and 2:30PM and puppet show at 2:30PM. Wassailing the Orchard at 1PM and 3PM Plantation Tradition!

December 7th Newtown Square Historical Society Annual Wassail Party 5-9PM at the Paper Mill Museum. Tickets $15 will be available at the door.

 December 8th 1:00PM - 4:30PM Haverford Historical Society Holiday House Tour
$20 for members and $25 for non-member check link for locations to purchase tickets on the day of the tour.

December 8, 2013  Norwood Historical Society is having an Annual Holiday Event. Time: 4PM to 7PM at 517 E Winona Ave) Norwood, PA. Lite fare, wine, live music R.S.V.P to Judy 610-461-6621 By December 6th $25.00 per person proceeds to the restoration of Morton Morton House. 

December 15th 1-6PM. Thomas Leiper Colonial Christmas Open House and birthday of Thomas Leiper celebration at the 1785 Thomas Leiper country home in Nether Providence.

December 29th  Radnor Historical Society hosts "Excerpts from David Sedaris' Christmas stories", 4:00 pm at Finley House, 113 West Beech Tree Lane in Wayne. Read by Cardy Crawford, featuring Wassail Party refreshments. This is a traditional RHS event. Every other year, Cardy, a retired English teacher from Radnor Middle and High Schools, former RHS Board Member, painter in oils, and published author of novels for teenagers, reads excerpts from various authors of Christmas stories. The Sedaris' stories are humorous, for mature audiences, and not recommended for children.

January 5th 2014 Collen Brook Farm 12th Day of Christmas Party 1PM to 4PM.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top 10 Fairmount Park Open House Holiday Tours

December 5th begins the Fairmount Park Historic Holiday House Tours in Philadelphia.  Check the website for house opening dates and hours.

Belmont Mansion The Underground Railroad Museum at the Belmont Mansion is not part of the Park Charms or the Holiday House Tour but they do have winter hours according to their website.
Tuesday - Friday 11am -5pm and on Weekends Noon - 5pm by appointment.  Check the website for the story behind the house. Judge William Peters designed and built the mansion in 1745. Belmont was added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, June 26, 1956. The American Women's Heritage Society has managed the property since 1986. It is available for special events.
Contact information 215-878-8844. Belmont Mansion is located at 2000 Belmont Mansion Drive
Philadelphia, PA. It has one of the best views of the skyline of the city of Philadelphia up there.

Cedar Grove Yes this yummy house is part of the 2013 Fairmout Park Gingerbread House display.  It is also part of the Park Charms. I have not seen the original house yet and I look forward to seeing it this year.  I believe it will be open but I would call ahead just to make sure. Cedar Grove was moved to Fairmount Park, stone by stone, in 1926-28. It was originally situated in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. I am anxious to see this one and learn a little more about the history. Contact info at Philadelphia Museum of Art (215) 763-8100

Laurel Hill Mansion is part of the Fairmount Park Charms and also part of the Holiday House Tour.  According to the website the Holiday Hours are Wednesday December 4th - Sunday December 8th and Wednesday December 11th - Sunday December 15th, 10am - 4pm.  This year's theme is Angels at Laurel Hill. The Women for a Greater Philadelphia are the stewards of Laurel Hill. The house was built in three sections and is located at East Edgley Drive in East Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA.

Lemon Hill Mansion is part of the Park Charms Program and the Holiday House Tour.  According to the website it is opened for tours Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Lemon Hill is operated as an historic house museum by the Colonial Dames of America (CDA) and the Friends of Lemon Hill. Contact information 215-232-4337 Lemon Hill is located at Sedgeley & Lemon Hill Drives
East Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA.

Mount Pleasant is a house with a view. It looks down upon the Schuylkill River.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Mount Pleasant is open to visitors Thursday – Sunday, through December 29, and Monday – Wednesday, December 30 – January 10am - 4pm.

Ormiston Mansion built in 1798 is located at 2000 Reservoir Drive, East Fairmount Park,
Philadelphia. During the holiday, they are open December 6,7,8 and 12, 13, 14 and 15, 10am - 4pm.
I can not pick a favorite but I will say there are some very special features about this one, upstairs and down.

 Smith Memorial Playground and Play House Yes you read that correctly and I think I even spelled it correctly.  This is a playhouse.  It was built to be a playhouse.  I have never been inside because I am not under 10.  I wish I were.  If you however are 10 and Under and can find an adult to accompany you, on December 14th, the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse located at 3500 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA is hosting a Winter Wonderland from 10am -12pm.

Strawberry Mansion is open for the first time in five years and has several holiday happenings. The Holiday House Tour is Dec. 5-8 and Dec 12-15, 10am-4pm. Contact information Phone- 215-228-8364.  The only thing I can tell you about this house is the parents went away on a trip and came back and their son had an additional wing built.  If this is not true, I had too much wassail at one of the houses last year. I look forward to checking this one out.

Sweetbriar Mansion was built in 1797 by Samuel Breck.  It is located at 1 Sweetbriar Lane,
Fairmount Park West, Philadelphia, PA.  According to its website it is open for tours by appointment only. Contact information:  215-222-133.

Woodford Mansion is located at  33rd & Dauphin Streets East Fairmount Park,
Philadelphia, PA.   It was the first house I toured last year and they hooked us up!.  They gave us a map and told us about Orminston House which was not part of the tour last year but they were open so we saw that too. Check out the Naomi Wood collection.  I loved the furniture style. Contact information (215) 229-6115.

Sofuso Japanese WooHouse I would be remiss if I did not mention the Sofuso House.  It is closed for the season and will not open until March 29thbut it is worth just driving past to see its elegance and calm and serene landscape.  I love this place!

The Philadelphia Water Works located in Fairmount Park has an astounding history all its own.  By all means tour the museum and learn about this extraordinary structure and its prominence in the city of Philadelphia.  Plan this one out make sure it is around lunch or dinner time.  The restaurant there is superb.

You can take the Holiday Trolley Package Tour or you can visit the houses individually. Last year, I took door number 2 and toured individually the houses that were open.  What you will need to have to do this is the addresses of these homes, a GPS or a good map.  I would map it ahead of time.  It saves you on gas and a more pleasant sleigh ride should your driver doubt you navigational skills.

Please check the website links I have provided to verify when the houses will be open.  I won't admit this very often but sometimes I get things wrong.

If you want to have some fun, compare and see what a great job the chefs did with the gingerbread houses at