Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ism the word of the Year

Merriam-Webster declares "ism" as the 2015 word of the year.  How many ism's can you think of?

the suffix "ism" means a belief, attitude or style.


















point the finger-ism

new normal-ism

global warming-ism


Some words are made up.

It is in our DNA.

 I am sure that could be considered an ism.

Perhaps 2016 will be ish.

I would like to start with danish.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ways to cope with sugar withdraw

 walk away

drink some water

distract yourself

bring it to work, co-workers won't thank you but they will eat it.

Healthy Snacks

clear out the refrigerator

and all the other hiding places

walk it off

salt is probably not a better substitute

not the best of choices...exercise...but 9 out of 10 given the choice between exercise and sugar will choose sugar, I am guessing

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ten Top Not So Great Presents for Pets

Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Holly are bad for cats intestinal systems.

Tinsel, Ribbons and Rubber bands are another no-no and can be nasty for a cat to ingest.

Chocolate is bad for dogs and cats. The good news dark chocolate is said to be good for people, just keep it to yourself.

If you are not going to finish that alcoholic drink, toss it down the drain.  It is not good for any pet or child for that matter, to be left on a table.

If you have a new curious cat or two, you might want to secure that Christmas Tree, some of the more adventurous ones like to climb and they love things that dangle. It is a temptation.

We have seen it happen on television, don't leave the turkey, chocolate cake, a whole plate of cookies, etc. on the table without supervision.  It is only an open invitation to a pet.

Feed your pet the recommended pet food not table scraps.

Be considerate of pets and guests, try not to surprise unsuspecting guest with a pet and try not to surprise an unsuspecting pet with a guest.

No one wants to forget their favorite buddy on the holidays just be mindful.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Upcoming Events this Week, you won't want to miss!

December 31 Wish Betsy Ross a Very Happy Birthday! 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. with cupcakes and crafts for kids. Cupcakes provided by the historic City Tavern FREE! Don't we all need more cupcakes? Mine are almost gone!!
December 31 Kids New Years Eve Party at the Rachel Kohl Library in Glen Mills 10:30 a.m.

December 31, 2015 Family New Years Eve Fireworks Ring in the new year with Independence Seaport Museum's annual family fun celebration! The Family New Year's Eve Fireworks includes a prime viewing of fireworks erupting over the Delaware River. Festive hats, noisemakers and sparkling cider to "toast" the coming New Year will be provided.   Time: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Ring in the New Year early with party hats, noise makers and a sparkling cider toast before the 6 p.m. waterfront fireworks.

December 31 New Year's Eve Fireworks from the Battleship New Jersey at 6 p.m. and Midnight.

December 31 New Year’s Eve Community Celebration and  Ball Drop Downtown Media, midnight at State and Jackson Streets

December 31 Ball Drop in New York Times Square. I have never been, this has always been on my bucket list but I have come to accept the television version.

2015 meets 2016 at Midnight when the year comes full circle. I am hoping to be there.

New Year's Day The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia. I recommend Mr. Mummer blog for all the details.  The parade starts at 15th and Market at 9 a.m.

January 1 NHL Winter Classic, The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadians faceoff at Gillette Stadium.

January 3 the last football game of the season for the Philadelphia Eagles, They will play the New York Giants in New York.  It is also on Fox at 1 p.m. (sigh). 

January 3 Episode One of the final season of Downton Abbey begins tonight at 9 p.m. eastern time.  Check your local station for times. It is a Masterpiece.

Did you finish all the cookies yet?  What about the chocolate? Do you need any help?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Uncovered Santa and his Elves

Spotted in the City of Chester tagged and ready to go in the lot across from the gymnasium at the old St.  James High School...responsible elves, City Team.

Turkeys labeled and ready to feed a family on Christmas Day, responsible elves, City Team on 7th Street in Chester.

Boxes of food labeled and packed with delicious contents to be enjoyed on Christmas Day and throughout the holidays to feed the hungry, responsible elves, City Team, 7th Street, Chester, PA.

Santa suggests.....

Creative Christmas Tree by the elves at Yarnphoria in Philadelphia.

How much is that doggie in the window? Someone, somewhere is contemplating a pet for Christmas. Be a responsible adult when you bring home a new family member. They will return the affection.

 Santa says be kind to the furry friends.

Here is a Link to the Official NORAD Santa Tracker.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Countdown-What is left to do?











If is ain't done yet, chances are it won't get done. Give yourself a gift and let it go.

Merry Christmas Eve

now you have time to track Santa Claus


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Top 10 Finding the J.C. Penney House and Mother Store

Kemmerer is a town in southwest Wyoming, it has a mark in red on the 2015 Michelin Man's Map, so it must have significance and a connection to Pennsylvania.

Photograph of the town in its early stages can be found in the J.C. Penney House Museum, Kemmerer, WY.
Patrick Quealy founded Kemmerer as an independent town in 1897 when he was vice-president of the Kemmerer Coal Company. He named the company and town after his financial backer, Pennsylvania coal magnate Mahlon S. Kemmerer.

Kemmerer may get its name from a Pennsylvania coal man, but the red highlight on the map comes from James Cash Penney (aka J.C. Penney). Mr. Penney was born in Hamilton, MO and moved to Colorado some time after high school for health reasons and invested his savings in a butcher shop. One of his top customers, a hotel chef was requesting a bottle of bourbon weekly to keep the business. Penney refused to do it and the hotel discontinued their association; the butcher shop failed. He then went to work for a dry goods company, Golden Rule operating in Colorado and Wyoming which eventually led him investing in and buying out his partners.  He later established the J. C. Penney Company Inc. and the Golden Rule name was phased out by 1913.

On April 14, 1902, James Penney opened a one-room framed building located between a laundry and a boarding house off the main business district "The Golden Rule" in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He lived above the store with his family. He managed that store from 1902 -1909. In 1904, he moved that store to a larger location on the triangle, a central area in town. The store remained there until 1929 when it moved to it's present location 722 J.C.Penney Drive.

This store still maintains its original structure with the ceiling and floors with only updated paint on the walls.  They have limited merchandise compared to a typical big city J.C. Penney but also have on display some of the original pieces that had been sold at what is considered J.C. Penney Store#1 Kemmerer, WY.

When he opened up his business a new trend started.  It was a cash only system unlike the usual credit system that was in place at the current local mining company store. It was also one price for all regardless of social status. People paid it because they liked the merchandise. There were two cashiers and the money was sent upstairs through a wired cable and the change would come back the same way. Mr. Penney was quoted as saying, "When we locked the store at midnight and went upstairs to our attic after the first day's business to figure out how we stood, there wasn't a great deal of paper money or for that matter, so many silver dollars; but there was an astonishing - to us- wealth in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, and half dollars".

The Penney Family, his wife Berta and two children, Roswell and J. C. Jr., lived in this modest cottage home from late 1903 to June 1909.

Berta Penney was James Penney's first wife.  She died from pneumonia in 1910 after 11 years of marriage. She would have lived in this house.  Her portrait hangs just inside the front door. After her death, Mr. Penney later wrote, "In that hour, my world crashed around me". He donated $10,000 in her memory to the First Methodist Church in Salt Lake City.

In the museum just off the left from the living room you will find a baby's Christening set made by Berta from goods obtained at the Golden Rule store.

An addition to the back of home is believed to have been constructed by Mrs. Berta Penney as a sewing room. Packing crates that once held merchandise some containing the names they were shipped to adorn the walls. She could have easily started her own DIY blog or at the very least displayed a creative Pinterest.

Although she never lived in Kemmerer , Mr. Penney's second wife, Mary Kimball Penney is pictured with their son, Kimball she is displayed in the living room of the house.  The couple met while Mr. Penney was on a trip to the Holy Land in 1916. Mary Hortense Kimball was a writer and contributor to the Christian Herald and she encouraged him to increase his charitable work. In 1923, he established a 120,000 acre farming community in northern Florida named Penney Farms. .It was for industrious, moral but economically destitute farmers to live and work until they were back on their feet. Tragically, the second Mrs. Penney died suddenly in 1924. In 1925, the J.C. Penney Foundation was formed.aiding adoption agencies, homeless shelters, youth groups, vocational schools, libraries, family guidance centers, missionary projects, peace organizations and health clinics.

In 1926, the Memorial Home Community was dedicated to the memory of his parents. It was a 60-acre residential community for retired ministers, lay church workers, missionaries and their families. He also married his third wife, Caroline Marie Autenreith. Their marriage lasted 45 years until his death and they had two daughters together, Mary Frances and Carol Marie. She is also  represented by photograph in the house.

It was not confirmed but suggested by the guide that the stove may have been original to the house. Being a town founded by a coal mine it is certainly accurate to say their home was heated by coal.

Upstairs in the house your attention is drawn to a cut out piece of wood in the flooring.  This designates where Mr. Penney would bring his earning of the day for safe keeping overnight.

The cradle is original to the Penney's as is the Penney family bible that is in the living room downstairs.

 We were in a hurry to get to our next destination. Kemmerer and the J.C. Penney house were only intended to be a drive by and snap a picture.  We spent two hours viewing the store and walking down the street to Mr. Penney's home. Did I buy anything?  Yes, how could I not pay homage to such a special man and his business if only in spirit and the spirit moved me.

Kemmerer, Wyoming is a great stop on your journey. J.C. Penney opened my eyes to the pioneering spirit I was about to witness throughout Wyoming. Who knew J.C. Penney got its start in Wyoming? There are many books written about Mr. Penney and he authored one as well.  The woman guiding us through the house recommended "The Spiritual Journey of J. C. Penney"Apr 1999 by Orlando L. Tibbetts. There is a lot more to the James Cash Penney story.

Ten Tips for Going Green for the Holiday Ideas

According to CDC,gov Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. I am not trying to be a Scrooge but think about it.  We could all do a little better.  Here are 10 suggestions they posted I thought were doable.

Check the list, check it twice, some really good ideas.

1. Use creative materials for gift wrap:
  • Scarves, fabric, handkerchiefs
  • Old maps, sheet music, advertisements
  • Reusable tins, baking pans, or other home or garden items
2. Reuse the fronts of old cards as holiday postcards or gift tags.

3. Plug your decorative indoor and outdoor lights into a timer to save electricity.

4.  Give in ways that also support your community: tickets to local theater performances, concerts, sports events, local attractions; museum memberships; gift certificates for a massage at a local spa, horseback riding, or a rock climbing lesson.

5. Dispose of your tree at a chipping facility or return it to the environment in other eco-friendly ways.

6. Take your own bags on shopping trips. Keep them in the car so they're always available.

7. Serve food with washable utensils, plates, and glasses, rather than disposable items.

8. Send email cards or make your own.

9.  Consider carpooling to holiday events.

10. Donate excess food to food banks.

The above ideas were found at the CDC website, it reference s and credits Vanderbilt U, you can see the full list at the Vanderbilt website.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top 10 Things We Can Not Resist

This Most Wonderful Time of Year

Cookies (just one more).

Humming a Christmas Song (do I hear the Jingle Bell bark?).

Spending (don't get bit by the January credit card bug, it doesn't necessarily have
you best interest at heart).

Using the excuse, it's the holidays!

Feeling overwhelmed (there is only one Martha, no need to compete, start your own trend).

Losing the tape ( I may try a lanyard this year) Did I just invent something? I am officially patenting it here and now, unless of course someone else has already invented it and I mean no disrespect or copyright infringement.

Wearing red (even if it is not your color).

Sending holiday cheer to a grumpy friend (maybe Grinch will lighten up this year).

Using your Dirga breath (go ahead look it up, it's a good thing).

Buying a little something for yourself (it is perfectly legal, regardless if you have been naughty or nice).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Upcoming Events this Week

December 21 Maker Monday at Middletown Free Library Adults STE(A)M Lab.

Learn about circuits by creating a Light Up Holiday Card! Must have basic computer skills and an email address. Contact Laura at to see if there are any available spots left for the class.

December 22 and 23 (Tuesday and Wednesday in December) Twilight Tours of the first Dupont home of Éleuthère Irénée du Pont. Tours are on the half-hour beginning at 4:30, with the last tour leaving the Visitor Center at 8 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (302) 658-2400, ext. 261. A limited number of tickets will be sold for each tour. Admission is free for members and $10 for guests.

December 23 Holiday Carriage Rides in Downtown Media. Sponsors: Media Business Authority, Take a carriage ride through the streets of downtown Media this holiday season. The carriage start in front of the Delaware County Courthouse and run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10.
December 24 Christmas Eve

December 25 Christmas Day The first Full Moon on Christmas in 38 Years. I failed to appreciate the last one.  I plan on celebrating on this one. Happy Christmas!

December 25 Washington crossing the Delaware noon to 3 p.m. on December 25 (actual crossing at 1 p.m.). The Christmas Day crossing is free and contingent on the weather.

December 26 Colonial Ball  An evening of 18th century merriment at the ever popular Colonial Ball! 7 p.m.-10 p.m. The ball will take place at Historic Trenton Masonic Temple 100 Barrack Street in Trenton, N.J. Advanced tickets are $17.76. Tickets purchased at the door $20.  
December 27 Battles of Trenton Reenactment 11:30 a.m on Broad Street from the Battle Momument to Mill Hill Park 3 p.m. at Mill Hill Park.


December 26 and 27 Kwanzaa Celebration at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 5.p.m. 

Now through June 2016 Hello Dollies of the 20th Century" exhibit at the Delaware County Historical SocietyMuseum and Research Library located at 408 Avenue of the States, Chester, PA 19013 Hours:Wednesdays and Fridays: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. , Thursdays: 1 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. ,Saturdays: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Explore the history of the 20th century through the eyes of the dolls available at Delaware County Historical Society's new FREE ADMISSION exhibit. As iconic past times, dolls have been cherished from generation to generation and accumulated each a story of their own. Our dolls range from the early 1920's to the modern era. 


Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Happenings this Weekend

Last Weekend to see the Fairmount Park Historic Homes decorated in A Partridge in a Pear Tree Theme.

Christmasland at Linvilla Santa on Saturday and Sunday 1 - 3 p.m. Caroling Hayrides on Saturday in December.

Santa photos at the Springfield Mall 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Thursday December 24.

December 18 and 19  Upper Darby Summer Stage Shooting Stars "Holiday Spectacular" Friday at 7:30 p.m.and Saturday 2 p.m.

December 19 A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail a the Children's Theater Plays and Players of Swarthmore.

December 19 Kids Holiday Craft 7 and Up at the Aston Library 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Click on this link to register.

A Christmas Carol at Hedgerow Theatre through December 27.

Billy Elliot the Musical at Media Theatre now through January 10th.

Rose Tree Park Festival of Lights 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily through January 2nd.

Holiday Hayrides at Arasapha Farm through December 27.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Capturing the Spirit of Christmas in New Castle

The New Castle Historic District is fascinating any time of year 
but special things can happen at Christmastime.

The Amstel House was built in the 1730's by Dr. John Finney. It was later home to Nicholas Van Dyke, the seventh Governor of Delaware, during this time period George Washington was known to have visited for a wedding, which is acknowledged in the hearth of the fireplace in the parlor. Also on the outside brick wall there is a tribute to George Washington.

The small Dutch House has been on my list to visit since the first time I went to New Castle.  It represents how the common family would have lived. According to the Dutch House website, the first records refer to the house on this property as George Moore's log house in the early 1680's. Unique articles to the house and its property are its size first of all that intrigues. It is usually the big houses that stand out.

The gardens are original in that there are three parts, a Colonial Revival Garden, a Dutch Kitchen Garden and a Arasapha Native Plant area.

Inside it is equipped with the items a Dutch settler would use including a Dutch yoke, sitting by the fireplace. I have never seen one in person and if you have never seen one, here it is.

Live Music was held throughout town. we were able to join in the sing along at the 1707 Meeting House.

We could not get into the Cab Calloway Jazz concert at the Court House, both sessions were pack.

We were able o enjoy a street musician as he played harmonica.

Many characters dressed in period clothing enhanced the environment to give reflect the time of ole E.S. himself.

 No one seemed to attract the crowd more than the ole miser, Ebenezer Scrooge,  He was cranky.

Several private residents had opened there homes to visitors and each possessed something special about them. I wish I could show you the inside of the original Dr. Lesley Mansion, but it is privately owned. By viewing the outside you can just imagine how beautiful it is inside and magnify that tenfold. They start to decorate in October and it shows. For me it is always a struggle what furniture to move to fit the Christmas Tree into the room.  They have the perfect room. When I hit the lottery I may just have to get a room like that.  It is magnificent.

Dr. Allen Voorhees Lesley had the house built in 1855. The butler answers the door to take you on a tour of the first two rooms of Lesley Manor. Saint Nicholas is your next guide, these people obviously have connections. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. There are far too many interesting features about this house you will just have to wait till next year when the owners, the Wright Family, graciously share their home for the holiday open house tour.

The Mayor's modest house sits just across the street and you think it is almost unfair to have it next on the list after visiting the mansion. Once you get inside, however you see the richness.  I have never seen such a large collection of snowmen and the mayor is such a jewel.  He greets each guest as if they are the most important person that walked through the front door, a real nice guy.  Something else they have that I have always wanted was a train running around the track outlining their furniture in the living room. I see now it is possible and I am going to try it.

I learned two new things today,as you always learn something when you get the opportunity to see where history was made.The Old Library now a museum was designed by Frank Furness in 1892.

George Read II House, was erected 1797-1804 it still stands next to the site his father's, George Read I's home, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, his advocacy enabled Delaware to become the first state ratifying the declaration. 

The site of the George Read I House is now the Read House Garden next to his son's home and the landscape changes throughout the season. Currently in December 2015, you can find a tall holly tree in bloom, winter berry another holiday favorite, as well as a pretty pink rose.  It was 68 degrees on Saturday, December in New Castle, Delaware.

Also along The Strand The Presbyterian Manse House, pastors home was open for tours. According to our guide at the door, the property originally belonged to a Mr. Cooper. In his will he stated that as long as a pastor from the church lived in the house it belonged to the church, if that were to change the house would go to a family member. I believe the house was built in the early 1800's.

It was was not until visiting a private residence on Fifth Street.  Sleeper Stomes were early railroad ties used before wooden rail tiles. They are found all over New Castle, some people them for decoration and many front stoops are made of "sleeper stones".

The backyard of a home open on the Spirit of Christmas in New Castle featured a lovely older home from the early 1800'sthat was moved across the street and addition was made from the old Post Office. That was fascinating in itself but the replica of the once New Castle Frenchtown Railroad.  See if you can find the sleeper stones.

Another home on Fourth Street had a beautiful collection of antiques and needlepoint work and then you were invited to the backyard to see the garden with Cherry Trees in bloom and look what else...

I do not recall how old these homes were but a contractor purchased the whole block of these homes and renovated and the townhouse we got to see was beautiful.  The kitchen was in the basement which is a little unusual but it worked.

One of my favorite houses, that I believe is only open during the holiday tours is the other Van Dyke House. I cannot tell a lie, I like it for its notoriety. It has rockstar status. I walked through the front door that Lafayette walked through when he attended a wedding of Charles duPont and Dorcas VanDyke. That is a story to tell the grandkids, Lafayette attended my wedding, as a matter of fact he gave your grandmother away.  Can you imagine? Now they have St. Nicholas hanging out on their front steps.  This is a special house in New Castle.

Each year on the second Saturday in December, New Castle has their Spirit of Christmas celebration.  Put this one on your list for next year, it is worth the trip.  Go early if you want to see all the houses and take advantage of all the festivities. There is a lot to see.