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Family Fun at the Philly Art Museum

A Fun thing to do—with kids (or without).

As the summer winds down, you may be finding it a challenge to find different activities for your children. Have you thought of taking them to the Philadelphia Museum of Art?  Just visiting the place is an awe inspiring (in the true meaning of the word) experience. Right now, there is a quite wonderful collection of paintings of the Impressionists on display.  The focus of the exhibit is a French art dealer who quite literally cornered the market on Impressionist paintings at a time when no one particularly wanted them, and held on at great personal sacrifice until they came into favor. When we visited last week, I was impressed with how many young children were there (many with grandparents), and how engaged they were with the paintings.  Asking the children questions about the paintings seemed to be especially successful in directing and holding their attention.  Since there are many children in the paintings, the children could relate to several of the canvasses.  The exhibit takes about an hour to see. Everyone gets a walkman with descriptions of many of the works.  You can choose which ones you want to listen to.  Of course there’s the obligatory gift shop, but the museum also has a nice cafeteria which serves all kinds of good food and desserts. If you have more time to explore, there is a wonderful collection of armor, as well as miniatures and many other galleries with specific interests in mind.  If you know what your child will be studying in school this year, you could focus on that time period or genre. Having taught mythology for several years, that’s always a favorite of mine. Parking is easy in a subterranean parking lot, a very short walk from the door.  The staff is friendly and helpful.  Enjoy an afternoon of family fun and education at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Grasshopper Pie

Another great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day…  I have to admit – this is one of my favorites!  Grasshopper Pie

  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows or 32 large
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons white creme de cacao
  • 1/4 cup green creme de menthe
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Few drops green food coloring, if wanted Semi-sweet chocolate or extra cookie crumbs for garnish


Preheat oven to 350.

Crush cookies and mix with butter.  Press crumbs into artists at Heart pie plate.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool.  Combine marshmallows and milk in saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir until melted.  Cool.  Add liqueurs, and gently fold marshmallow mixture into whipped cream. Add food coloring, if wanted . Pour filling into prepared shell, and top with shaved chocolate or cookie crumbs, if desired. Freeze until 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 1-9 inch pie.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Stoneware Baking Dish

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins, if desired
3/4 cup buttermilk

Celtic Knot Wood Trivet
Celtic Knot Wood Trivet

1 Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray Artists At Heart stoneware baker.
2 Cut butter into flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl, using pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in raisins and just enough buttermilk so dough leaves side of bowl.
3 Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 2 minutes or until smooth. Shape into round loaf, about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Place in baking dish. Cut an X shape about 1/2 inch deep through loaf with floured knife. Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Brush with butter or margarine, softened, if desired. You can serve your fresh hot bread on a handmade wooden Celtic trivet.

Velveteen Chicken Soup

You know all about the velveteen rabbit, but this is a velvetty chicken—soup that is.  Perfect for a cold winter day, but also suited for a spring luncheon.  It’s easy and so delicious!

Velveteen Chicken Soup in Handmade Soup Crock

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  •  6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream or half and half
  • 3 cups lower sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded chicken
  • freshly ground pepper and Sabrosa Guerande Grey salt to taste
  • fresh herb garnish

Melt butter in saucepan and blend in flour until smooth.  Stir in milk, cream and broth. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens and comes to a boil; reduce heat and add chicken and Sabrosa Guerande Grey salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately in a beautiful hand made soup crock from Artists At Heart.

Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

These recipes are from noted sources. Hope you like them.

Apple Pie

8 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 50 min.             apple pie 2


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 to 7 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

1 tablespoon butter

1 egg white

Additional sugar


In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In

a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture; toss

to coat.


Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; trim pastry even with edge.

Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Roll out remaining pastry

to fit top of pie. Place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges.

Cut slits in pastry.

Beat egg white until foamy; brush over pastry. Sprinkle with sugar.

Cover edges loosely with foil.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 20-25 minutes

© Taste of Home 2014

Mom’s Pumpkin Piemom's pumpkin pie

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg yolk, white sugar and brown sugar. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Gradually stir in milk and cream. Stir in pumpkin. Pour filling into pie shell.
Bake for ten minutes in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling is set.

© 2014

Utterly Deadly Southern Pecan Pie
Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings        pecan pie

Hands-on: 10 Minutes

Total: 4 Hours, 10 Minutes


1/2 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon*

1 1/2 cups pecan halves


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; sprinkle piecrust with powdered sugar.
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl until foamy; whisk in brown sugar and next 6 ingredients. Pour mixture into piecrust, and top with pecan halves.
  3. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300°, and bake 30 more minutes. Turn oven off, and let pie stand in oven, with door closed, 3 hours.

*Vanilla extract may be substituted.

Southern Living Oct 2011




Celtic Dragons

Pewter Celtic Dragon Pendant
Pewter Celtic Dragon Pendant

The dragon is a popular symbol of power and wisdom.

According to Trevor Mendham of Dragonorama, “Dragons were an important part of Celtic lore. The Celts were highly attuned to the land and dragons were believed to influence the land…. Areas frequented by dragons were believed to possess special power.”

Read Original Here: Celtic Dragons : Mythical Power Source
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Share Alike

Purchase this Celtic Dragon Pendant on Artfire at

Blueberries and Ancient Egypt

In case you haven’t noticed, we LOVE a theme!  And this month we have two!  Blueberries and Ancient Egypt. 

Blueberries are in season, of course, and with all the recent rain, even the blueberry bushes in our overgrown garden are producing some lovely berries this summer.

Normally we would be heading off to the Blueberry Festival in Bethlehem the third weekend in July, but this year we have a happy family celebration that weekend.  Not to

Blueberry Bunch Earrings

fear though, we will be going to the Blueberry Festival in Chincoteague, VA the following weekend!

This will be our very first “away” show and to celebrate, we are making a vacation of it.  We are hoping to see the annual pony swim and auction and looking forward to a great festival and wonderful week.

In preparation for the festival, we have been busy making berry bowls and blueberry jewelry.  We even have a great recipe for blueberry cobbler for you!

On the party front, we have been focused on projects based on Ancient Egypt – including mummies, hieroglyphic writing and of course, jewelry.  We want to thank the wonderful management and staff at KinderCare on 17th street in Allentown for inviting us to create with their children.  The kids were super and made so many creative and fun projects!  We will be posting pics and some instructions for anyone who wants to try the projects themselves.

Orange Sodalite

Orange Sodalite NecklaceOrange Sodalite

Our beautiful stone of the month is Orange Sodalite. Sodalite is found all over the world, but this orange-infused variety comes from Brazil. It is named after its sodium content. It was discovered in Greenland about 200 years ago but didn’t become popular until Princess Patricia, on a trip to Ontario, chose it for the interior decoration of Marlborough House in England. Since then, its color has been called Princess Blue.

Sodalite has many helpful properties for its wearer. It encourages idealism and is good for meditation. It unites logic and intuition, as well as encouraging cooperation among group members.

Sodalite is also said to aid the mind by eliminating mental confusion and encouraging rational thought. It brings about emotional balance and calms panic. It enhances self-esteem and self-acceptance.

Physically, sodalite balances metabolism and boosts the immune system. It helps with insomnia, fever, blood pressure and throat ailments.

So once again, our stone of the month is not only beautiful, but also helpful and healthful in many ways.

You can purchase this necklace at (copy and paste the url into your browser)


Mother’s Day Cash Mob

Happy Mother’s Day

From the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce:

If you are looking for a Fun Way to Shop for your Mom  

or Any Special Lady in your life,  

make sure to Stop by our  


TUESDAY, MAY 6 from 4:00-7:00 p.m.  

Vendors will be selling unique items 

Refreshments Served 

FREE Gift Wrapping

Items available for purchase from: 




LOCATION:  Whitehall CHAMBER OFFICE at the Lehigh Valley Mall

4:00-7:00 P.M.

For More Information


How the Buddha Named the Years

As you are no doubt aware, Chinese years are associated with animals, but you may not know how this tradition started.  Many, many years ago on New Year’s Eve, the Buddha called together the animals and twelve of them attended. To reward them, the Buddha named a year after each one.  The Buddha decided to give human beings born in those years some of the attributes of the animals associated with the year. For example, people  born in horse years like 2014 are said to be cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and dextrous.

The Chinese calendar is quite different from the Western calendar we use.  The Chinese is based on two cycles—the zodiac with its twelve parts  (the animals) and the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and  earth.  The combination of these two cycles means a particular year such as this one, the year of wood and the horse, comes around every 60 years.

The animals who showed up on that New Year’s Eve so long ago represent the different years in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese horoscope was developed around these animals and elements to describe humans’ personalities.   Here is what the year you were born in the Chinese calendar says about you:

The rat is said to be quick-witted, smart, charming and persuasive.  The ox is described as patient, kind, stubborn and conservative. The tiger is authoritative emotional, courageous and intense, while the rabbit is popular, compassionate, and sincere.  The dragon is said to be energetic, fearless, warm and charismatic, the snake, charming, both outgoing and introverted, generous and smart. Then there is  the sheep, mild-mannered, shy, kind and peace-loving, and the monkey, fun, energetic and active. The rooster is independent, practical, hard-working and alert.  The dog is patient, diligent, generous, faithful and kind, and, finally, the pig is said to be loving, tolerant, honest and self-indulgent.

Yin and yang also affect the astrology of China by assigning these opposing forces—the yin to odd years and the yang to even ones.  Yin is said to be symbolize the earth, female, dark, and passive, and yang the heaven, light, active and male.

This year, as you celebrate the year of the wooden horse, you can appreciate how it came to be named that, and maybe look at your own personality and those of your friends and family in terms of the Chinese zodiac.  To help you celebrate, my next post will be a tried and true recipe for wontons  just like my grandma would have made had she been Chinese.