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Win a Pair of Four Day Passes to the 2015 Firefly Music Festival

Image Courtesy of Mix 92.9

Image Courtesy of Mix 92.9

Listen to Mix 92.9 the 90’s to NOW in Delaware for the Mix Mystery Sound now through May 14th, 2015.   Be caller number nine when you hear it; guess the sound correctly and win a pair of four day passes to Firefly Music Festival.  Guess incorrectly and they’ll still give you a family four pack of tickets to Six Flags.  If no one guesses by Thursday, May 14th, a winner will be randomly selected from all who participated and announced at 1: 00 pm on Friday, May 15, 2015.

For more info, check out:

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Explore the Work of Brian Selznick in Wilmington, DE

Save the date for this exciting event!


Eye peeping through the #5, inside view with Hugo looking out for the Invention of Hugo Cabret, 2007. Brian Selznick (born 1966). Pencil on watercolor paper, 11 x 8 inches. © 2007 by Brian Selznick. Courtesy of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas. Eye peeping through the #5, inside view with Hugo looking out for the Invention of Hugo Cabret, 2007. Brian Selznick (born 1966). Pencil on watercolor paper, 11 x 8 inches. © 2007 by Brian Selznick. Courtesy of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, Abilene, Texas.

Brian Selznick single handedly changed the way I think about books and storytelling when he published his award winning novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Like many, I was utterly charmed by the fictional Hugo Cabret, an orphan who lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station. In 2008, Selznick was awarded the Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was made into the Oscar award-winning film Hugo (2011), directed by Martin Scorsese.

Selznick’s illustrations animate the imaginations of children and adults with his blending of illusion, history, and adventure. As a result, I am looking forward to the upcoming…

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Meet Your Favorite Storybook Characters in the Laurel Highlands, PA


Image Courtesy of Storybook Forest Image Courtesy of Storybook Forest

Large scale theme parks, like Disneyland, Disneyworld and Universal Studios in SoCal and Florida, tempt family travelers with their state-of-the-art attractions featuring comic book, story book, and movie tie-ins. While these parks can be exciting for older children and adults, I know from experience they are not always appealing to younger children. Long lines test the tempers of young children and adults; bright lights and loud music can be frightening. In fact, some parents have reported their little ones liked the hotel pool just as much as the expensive park.

Image Courtesy of Storybook Forest Image Courtesy of Storybook Forest

Fortunately, regional parks like Storybook Forest at Idlewild Park in the Laurel Highlands near Ligonier, Pennsylvania fit the bill for families with little ones. It features thirty-three scenes and landmarks from an array of children’s fairytales and fables, including The Little Engine That Could, Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, Aladdin…

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The Battle of the Wilderness & Baseball in McFarland’s “Nostalgia”


Washington Post Best 50 Books of the Year Washington Post Best 50 Books of the Year

Novels about baseball aren’t new. Novels about the Civil War aren’t new. But in Nostalgia, Dennis McFarland blends the two themes and creates a unique coming of age story. Injured, lost and left-behind, 19-year old Summerfield Hayes stumbles through deadly terrain in the aftermath of the bloody war of attrition at the Battle of the Wilderness. The dense underbrush of Spotsylvania County, VA, proved difficult for both the North and South to navigate, and the battle was fought to a draw. McFarland’s evocative, empathetic and lyrical prose skillfully depicts the beauty and horror of America’s mid-1800 history.

Battle of the Wilderness by Kurz and Allison Battle of the Wilderness by Kurz and Allison

In spite of his privileged background, Hayes chose to enlist rather than avoid the Union Army draft. His enlistment is an escape from the life he shares with his older sister in the home left to them…

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Celebrate the Cupcake Part 2

While cupcakes will always be an indulgence, Bella’s Cookies, Inc. is the first natural and organic bakery in Delaware. Bella’s cookies are “clean,” meaning no Trans Fats, no Hydrogenated Oils, no Artificial Ingredients and no Preservatives.

From the tastefully sublime to the extremely elegant, Michele Mitchell, Executive Pastry Chef of the Hotel du Pont culinary team, displays the of art using chocolate and other confections and utilizes her talents of hand and air brushing, stenciling and intricate gold painting to create one-of-a-kind works of edible art.

Wedding Cupcake Tower: Wilton Industries

Those seeking a fun alternative to traditional wedding cakes can have a cupcake tower made, with a fully decorated cutting cake at the top. Alternatively, some couples choose to serve individual cupcakes decorated like a miniature wedding cake and placed on stands or have “cupcake favors” at each table in addition to their traditional wedding cake.

Creating your own signature cupcake masterpieces will be the crowning touch at your next social gathering. Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treats, ($24.99; Clarkson Potter, Trade Paperback, 2009) provides a delicious addition to the Martha Stewart library. From classics such as devil’s food cupcakes to sweet surprises like peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, and from elegant delicacies like tiny cherry-almond tea cakes to festive showstoppers topped with piped buttercream blossoms or meringue bouquets. Each recipe is accompanied by a luscious color photograph so tempting you will find it difficult to select the first one to try. Since citrus and berry flavors are popular during the hot summer months, lemon meringue, orange vanilla bean or strawberry cupcakes are sure to be crowd pleasers. For family reunions, weddings or anniversary celebrations, consider making a Monogram Tower, Photo Toppers, or Place Card Flags.

Vegans have their own selection of tasting treats to choose from in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. ($16.95, Da Capo Press; 2006.)

Every single recipe has been tested to perfection, so sneak these cupcakes (made from the book that was named Cookbook of the Year” byVegNews magazine) into any party and watch them win over the crowd. Indulge in Brooklyn Brownie Cupcakes, or a new twist on an old summer favorite S’mores Cupcakes.

Once you have lovingly crafted the cupcakes, you’ll want to pack them carefully for transport and display them in style. Wilton has designed “The World’s Most Versatile Cupcake Carrier,” the ultimate 3-in-1 caddy. It features a reversible cupcake tray which holds 12 standard or 24 mini cupcakes. Display your cupcakes with pride on a specially designed Cupcakes and More dessert stand.

Wilton’s Cupcake Fun delivers exactly what it promises, whimsical designs and mouthwatering recipes for all occasions. To find local retailers, recipes, tips and techniques, visit

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion. Make everyday special with a cupcake from The Perfect Cup Café in Hockessin. Serendipity guides their baker, so dedicated followers who claim The Perfect Cup Café makes the “best cupcakes in the tri-state area” check in daily to get their fix.

For More Information:

Bella’s Cookies

18572 Cool Spring Rd.

Milton, Delaware

(302) 684- 8152

Coastal Cakery

Milton, Delaware

(302) 841-8292

Hotel du Pont

11th & Market Streets,

Wilmington Delaware

(800) 441-9019

Liz Marden Gourmet Cakes & Desserts, Inc.

1252 Old Lancaster Pike

Hockessin, Delaware

(302) 239-0728

The Perfect Cup Cafe

7460 Lancaster Pike

Hockessin, Delaware

(302) 239-9118

Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes, 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treats ($24.99; Clarkson Potter, trade Paperback,2009)

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. ($16.95, Da Capo Press; 2006.)

Wilton Industries, Inc.

This story was first published in the News Journal under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.

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AAUW Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale in Delaware

Image Courtesy of AAUW

Image Courtesy of AAUW

This is one of the biggest used book sales in Delaware, and one that I always try to attend since it benefits a great cause. Money raised from this sale goes for local scholarships, and as a writer and reader, I applaud their efforts to make education accessible. The books they sell cover tables stretching from one end of the Concord Mall in north Wilmington to the other. One of the best things about buying in Delaware is that we have no sales tax.

The sale starts tomorrow, February 27, and runs through Sunday, March 2, 2014. Buyers looking for deep discounts can buy a bag for $10 and fill (does not apply to collectibles). Best of all, books have NOT been picked over; NO buyer restrictions. 

45th Annual AAUW Dollars for Scholars Used Book Sale

Dates: February 27 to March 2, 2014

Location: 4737 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware Concord Mall

Time: 10 a.m. To 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 11 a.m. To .5 p.m. Sunday

•Area’s largest sale of gently used books:

•All items are donated, sorted and priced.

•Find DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, records, sheet music, puzzles, ephemera.

•Books sorted into more than 50 categories, including:

◦Art, Collectibles

◦Delaware/Mid-Atlantic History

◦Travel, Cookbooks


◦History, Civil War, WWII


◦Audio Books


•Great Prices:

◦Most items $1 to $5.

Collectibles up to $100

◦Saturday at 6:00 p.m. – most items half price (does not apply to collectibles)

◦Sunday: Buy a bag for $10 and fill (does not apply to collectibles).


Update 2/27/2014: I just found this story on shopping library sales. I had to LOL; it sounds so much like the sales I have attended. Be kind to your fellow shoppers though. I have pulled books for people when I overheard authors they wanted; they returned the favor.

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Otter Lending a Hand


The Calvert Marine Museum sent me a cute picture of their otter mascot taking a sledge hammer to a wall to showcase their new renovation. Due to the extraordinary growth of both the museum’s educational programs and the number of events taking place inside the museum, they are expanding their facilities.

Over the last 40 years, the Calvert Marine Museum has grown from a modest community-based operation created to preserve and celebrate Solomon’s history to a premier educational facility serving a regional and national audience. Since opening in 1970, nearly two million visitors have visited the museum, and they expect another million during the next ten years.

The museum and Museum Store are open and will remain so until January 1, 2014. The renovation is estimated to be completed in March 2014.

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Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is Right!


Haluski: Copyright Gail A. Sisolak 2013

Haluski: Copyright Gail A. Sisolak 2013

On my last trip to Pittsburgh, MAD2Go had the chance to stop in at Kelly O’s Diner in Pittsburgh. I must admit I’ve always been a bit suspicious of restaurants featured on TV shows. Even if they were good prior to filming, they are often victims of their own success as viewers mob well-rated venues. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the meal I had at Kelly O’s after it was showcased on Triple D. I visited the downtown location, which featured a vibrant nouveau-retro décor.

Copyright: Gail A. Sisolak 2013

Copyright Gail A. Sisolak 2013

I particularly wanted to try the haluski, which I had never seen on a menu. Apparently it’s a church fair staple in Pittsburgh, since the city has a large population descended from Eastern European immigrants. 

Haluski is Slovak Soul food; a dish I have made and enjoyed many times. Its three main ingredients are cabbage, noodles, and onions. When I was young, my mother used to make the noodles, but like most people she now uses store bought. I don’t have a written copy of the recipe, because every Slovak woman had her own version and they probably varied depending on the amount of cabbage and onions on hand.

 My Mother taught me to make haluski in the following proportions: 

1/2 stick of butter

1 medium head of cabbage

2 large onions

Salt and Pepper to taste

A healthy dash of paprika 

In a heavy skillet, brown the onion in butter. When browned, add salt, pepper, paprika and cabbage. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Add a little water or broth as needed; cook until cabbage is tender. My Mother usually served it over good quality egg noodles. 

Kelly O’s adds a couple of twists to their version of haluski—they top theirs with bacon and a dusting of shredded cheese.

While I loved the addition of the bacon, at first it seemed a little strange. Then I remembered early cooking lessons with my Mom. Back in the day, she saved the bacon fat from the skillet and poured it into a clean glass jar. Instead of using shorting or butter when pan frying, she would use a scoop of bacon fat. It was obviously not heart healthy, but the fat added a tremendous amount of flavor. There is a good chance a made haluski with bacon fat at some point.

Kelly O’s Diner

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Best Egg Hunt Ever!

Work 2013

Everyone seems to have egg hunts in spring, and let’s face it; they’re all variations on a theme. If you’re looking for a family outing that will provide the kids with something more than a sugar rush, check out the Fossil Egg Hunt at the Calvert Marine Museum on March 30 starting at 10:30 a.m. Designed for children age 3-8, the kids are divided into two groups to give everyone a fair chance at the goodies. Best of all, participants get to keep the fossils. Bring your own basket for egg collecting. Free with museum admission.

 Also at the CalvertMarineMuseum, enjoy learning about otters, the merry prankster of the mammal world, on April 1 for a fun April Fools Day activity. Sign up for the Otter Breakfast and learn about otter enrichment, habitat, and the mischief these mammals get into with their playful curiosity. Go behind the scenes to talk with a keeper and observe a feeding. 

A continental breakfast will be provided as part of the fee. Children must be at least 8 years old and accompanied by an adult to participate. Space is limited, pre-registration required. Fee is $15 per person, $10 for members and includes museum admission. Call 410-326-2042 ext. 41 to register.  Program begins at 9 a.m.

 Calvert Marine Museum Society

Solomons, MD


Image Source: Calvert Marine Museum

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Paperless System at Dover International Speedway

Photo Courtesy of Dover International Speedway

Photo Courtesy of Dover International Speedway

Dover International Speedway is pleased to announce that beginning with the 2013 season; it will offer its customers Flash Seats®, an innovative, paperless ticketing system that gives ticket holders electronic venue access using nothing more than their credit card.

Flash Seats is the electronic ticketing system of Dover International Speedways ticket provider, Veritix®, and includes a number of great benefits for fans. Flash Seats allows fans to conveniently swipe in on race day with no paper tickets, using a credit card; to easily transfer tickets to anyone electronically, anytime, anywhere, right up to the start of the event; and to eliminate lost and stolen ticket issues.

“By implementing Flash Seats, the track is moving into the modern era of ticketing, while also promoting a greener, more eco-friendly ticketing option,” said Mark Rossi, vice president of sales and marketing for Dover Motorsports, Inc. “In addition, the Flash Seats capabilities create a number of benefits for fans, such as electronic ticket transfers and having your tickets live on your credit card, much like an airline check-in.”

Dover, the first NASCAR track to utilize Flash Seats, will offer the new ticketing option as a replacement for print-at-home tickets, and as an alternative for traditional track-printed tickets. Customers can select “Flash Seats” during the checkout process, at which point tickets will be applied to their credit card. On event day, all the customer will have to do is swipe their credit card to be scanned at the gate for entry.

“As the only NASCAR track to use Flash Seats, Dover is putting itself at the forefront of ticketing technology and showing its commitment to fans by giving them a system that is convenient and easy to use,” said Guy Villa, vice president of sales for Veritix.  “We know that Dover fans will appreciate the flexibility that Flash Seats offers.”

For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit