Dino Days where you dig for fossils at the Delaware Museum of Natural History will be Dec. 27 and 28. On Saturday morning at 11 a.m. renowned paleontologist Peter Dodson from University of Pennsylvania will share his experiences in collecting dinosaurs on four continents.The museum's resident scientists Jean Woods and Liz Shea will explain the prehistoric birds and sea creatures. There will be a fossil dig, and real live chicks that can be touched. Live reptiles from the Philadelphia Zoo will be there, a well as professional face painters.

Tour

From all reports the 2008 Kennett Square Candlelight Holiday Home Tour was a great success, with people delighted with the variety and scope of the homes on display. Alas, I could not go, despite my good intentions. I fell victim to one of those nasty colds that makes no one want to be within 20 feet of my obviously germ ridden body, so I could not go. This was a great disappointment for me, but I am so happy for those who did attend, as it also helps the Historical Commission. Congratulations to the huge committee that made it happen.

New Year's

The Please Touch Museum in Fairmont Park will hold its annual New Year's Eve Countdown for the small fry on Wednesday, Dec. 31, that celebrates the "noon" year. As noon approaches everyone will gather in Hamilton Hall to do the Mummers strut, watch the ball drop and see the confetti fly. The second countdown will take place at 1 p.m. to accommodate the large number of visitors who always attend.

Special guests will include Mother Goose and musician Louie Miranda. There will be lots of giveaways and a "Mummers in Training" activity with dress up props and costumes. At 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. the Please Touch Playhouse will present the interactive show "How the Sun was returned to the Sky." The museum will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 and will be closed on New Year's Day. Onsite parking is available.

Miniature

The show of small paintings - meaning affordable - at the Chadds Ford Gallery is still in full swing. The opening was crowded, with a gorgeous assortment of art. As they have been bought the walls have been filled with new paintings, so if you are stuck for a really nice Christmas gift, you might want to drop by the Chadds Ford Gallery.

Thanks

Xerox is offering something really cool for the holidays. If you go to the Web site, Error! Hyperlink reference not valid., you can pick out a thank you card and it will be sent to a soldier who is currently serving in Iraq. This is free and is a nice way to let our soldiers know that we care. (letssaythanks)

Arborist

If you ever wanted to increase your professional arborist skills and get prepared for the ISA certified exam, you might be interested in the four-day arborist short course being offered by Penn State Cooperative Extension on Jan. 7, 8, 15 and 16. The course covers diseases, nutrition, climbing, cabling etc. Lunch is included. Cost is $250 with enrollment limited. Pre-registration is required at 610-696-3500.

Horticulture

Today's Horticulture Symposium on Friday, Feb. 6, will be hosted by Longwood Gardens, Chanticleer Foundation and The professional Gardner Alumni Association. Most of the instructors will be graduates of the Longwood Professional Gardener Training Program who now hold positions in other horticultural venues.

Symposium fee is $85, $95 if postmarked after Jan. 9. For information contact Shelby French at 302-994-1469.

Candlelight

One place you might enjoy for New Year's Eve is the New Candlelight Theatre that offers great food and entertainment to welcome the New Year. Tickets are $225 a couple or $125 single. For information or reservations call 302-475-3313.

Musicals

The new musical "Give My Regards to Broadway" will premiere in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center 's Innovation Studio from Jan. 8 through Feb. 1. "Give My Regards to Broadway" is a musical revue which tells the history of tap dance from its evolution on the streets of America to its success in films and on the stage. Led by a talented six-person cast the collection of music ranges from "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to "Anything Goes". For tickets call 215-731-3333.

Grant

Those of us immersed in the duties and trappings of the holiday season may tend to forget that every-one's holidays are not so joyous. According to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, one in every four women in the US is affected by domestic violence, which is multiplied in stressful times such as a down economy as we have now, and over Holidays. In Pennsylvania alone 39,371 protections from abuse orders were filed in 2005.

It takes money to help the victims, which is the reason the good news of a recent $20,000 grant from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation to the Domestic Violence Center is such good news.

Taxes

Along with all the other bad news with which we have been hit, I guess I should not have been surprised that our County Commissioners voted a 4.2 percent tax increase for 2009. The lone Democrat, Kathi Cozzone, a former corporate comptroller said she had identified ways to cut the 4.2 percent increase by more than a third without sacrificing services, but the other commissioners did not agree. The money is needed because of an unexpected high increase in the mandated contribution to the county pension plan. The increase will mean that for a property assessed at $193,836 the tax will increase $31.21 to $768.56. How much more good news can we stand?

History

The Delaware History Museum is celebrating the season by opening its doors for free through Jan. 31. This is part of their Make-Your-Wish program where you tell your wish for the holiday season, which will be shared in the "window of wishes."

The current exhibition is "Smoke Eaters: Firefighting in Delaware" as well as the Distinctively Delaware exhibit and Grandma's Attic, a history play room for children of all ages.

Jewelry

Ree Gallagher, who makes such stunning jewelry, is holding a pre-Christmas sale at her studio at 224 Pond View in Chadds Ford from Dec. 11 through 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 19 and 20 by appointment and Dec. 21 through 23 from

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For an appointment call 610-388-1694.

Museums

We are lucky enough to live near some outstanding museums and they have all put on their glad rags for Christmas, so don't let the time slip away and you miss their exhibitions.

o Longwood Gardens has timed tickets this year to try to avoid the usual Route 1 congestion during the Christmas show, but passholders do not need these. To reserve a ticket call 610-388-1000 ext 100. Other than their knock-out floral displays, they have 500,000 outdoor lights, ice skating, a country gentleman's retreat in the Music Room and music. The sumptuous Yuletide Buffet is open Dec. 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, 21 and Jan. 3 and 4 from 3 to 8 pm. Prices include garden admission: Ages 12 and older: 48; ages 5 to 11: $22; ages 4 and under free. Passholder's is $37 for ages 12 and older and $20 for ages 5 to 11. Call 610-388-10000 ext 512 for reservations.

Longwood Garden Christmas runs through Jan. 11.

o Winterthur Museum has one of the most elegant Christmas displays in years. The dining room table in red and green, the dried flower tree, the decorating on the Montmorency staircase, the market scene in the old gym is each worth the price of admission. Tours daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. Open late on Tuesdays in December with the last tour at 7:30 p.m. Stores and Galleries open until 9 p.m.

Yuletide at Winterthur will run through Jan. 4.

o Brandywine River Museum holds it annual "A Brandywine Christmas" with its beloved and enormous O-gauge model train display, the decorations of "critters" made of natural materials and "Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth" by Donald Pywell. This special display features gorgeous unique jewelry and three dimensional figures crafted from gold, silver and precious by Pywell of Chadds Ford. Part of the Christmas display is the Sarah Scaife Victorian dollhouse with its original furnishings including lights, curtains, toys and bisque dolls. A special exhibition of paintings depicting seasonal scenes from the extensive collection at the museum includes works by Winslow Homer, Maxfield Parrish, Jessie Wilcox Smith, N. C. Wyeth and Thomas Nast.

The show will continue through Jan. 11. (Closed on Christmas Day)

'Sound'

A fun family show currently running at the Wilmington Drama League is that musical about the Von Trapp family, "The Sound of Music." With so many beloved songs, this could be one of your favorite things to do this season. For tickets call 302-764-1172.

Piffaro

Piffaro, the Renaissance band, which has received raves from the Philadelphia Inquirer, will perform a concert based on the 16 th century manuscripts of old texts that will form the framework for the performance. Performances are on Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. at St. Mark's Church in Philadelphia. Other performances will be on Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. at Ss. Andrew and Matthew Church in Wilmington and Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. at All Saints Church in Princeton, N.J. Tickets are $25-$35. Go to Web site at www.piffaro.com or e-mail at info@piffero, com or call 215-235-8469.

Creative

The Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn is accepting registration for children and adults at all skill levels for their winter classes that begin Jan. 12. Classes are available in painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, acting, dance, music and much more. For information call 302-239-2434.

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