Silver Lining Studios: Blog en-us Silver Lining Studios [email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:29:00 GMT Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:29:00 GMT Silver Lining Studios: Blog 80 120 Conowingo Dam – Eagle Viewing Tips Conowingo Dam – Eagle Viewing Tips

I thought this list of 5 Key Tips would be helpful for first-time eagle viewers who are visiting Conowingo Dam.

  1. Arrive Early
    • If you plan on being at Conowingo Dam in the morning, you should also plan on waking up super early.  The main parking lot tends to fill up quickly during peak seasons, especially on weekends.  Arriving before sunrise will help to ensure you get a spot, and will give you time to pick out a spot to set up your gear if you have any (folding chair, tri-pod, etc.).  As a bonus, the sun rising on the river is a beautiful sight.  😊
  2. Protect Your Car From Vultures
    • You’ve arrived early and gotten a parking spot – awesome !  Be advised that there is a resident group of black vultures who are smart enough to know that there is usually a steady stream of fish guts being dropped from trees once the eagles make a catch.  Although the vulture activity seems to be less as you get closer to the dam-end of the lot, the further end sees more congregating…. And they can be destructive.  They are apparently drawn to the rubber of the windshield wipers.  So, I would suggest bringing something that you could cover your windshield and wipers with – like the tarps used on windshields to protect from snow/ice.  I’ve also heard of their talons scratching up car paint when they land on them.  So maybe don’t bring the Corvette….   You’ve been warned.
  3. Dress Warmly
    • One of the peak times for eagle activity tends to be in the colder months of November into December.  Dress warmly, as it always feels colder to me when you’re lined up along the river’s edge, especially if there’s any wind blowing or you’re there before sunrise.  I suggest:  warm socks, warm shoes or boots, possible long-john’s underneath pants, warm top under a good jacket, hat/ear muffs, and good gloves.  You can always go to your car to warm up, but you know as well as I do….. that that’s exactly when a National Geographic sequence will unfold that you’ll miss.   Hahaha
    • If you’re a photographer who hasn’t shot in cold weather before, definitely do some research ahead of time to find warm gloves that will also let you maintain the controls of your camera.  The pair I use have fingertips that flip back off of the thumb and pointer fingers so that I can utilize my dials and controls more easily.  A good pair of handwarmers doesn’t hurt either.  I prefer the rechargeable kind, but people always have the old-school single use type as well.
  4. Bring snacks and food
    • A day at the dam can be a long one, especially if you’ve travelled a decent distance to get there.  I know that I always find myself about to leave and saying “After the next set of action, THEN I’ll go….. “  But then there’s always 1 or 2 eagles who look like they’re ready to do something exciting, so you keep staying “just in case” …. And then it’s 2 more hours later.   Lol    So bring a lunch bag or cooler with some snacks, a sandwich, and some drinks.  Be sure to properly dispose of any trash please.
  5. Be Patient
    • A lot of factors can affect how many eagles are present and how much they fish on any given day.  Wind, Sun/Clouds, Temperature, Time of Day, and Number of Dam Spillways open can all impact what you might see.  Sometimes there will be a lot of activity, but on the far side of the river where it’s more challenging to see and photograph.  Come prepared to be patient, appreciate the eagles and activity you DO see, and enjoy the comradery of the other visitors who are there with you.


And YES – there are Port-O-Potties there to use for those staying awhile.  They have always been clean and well-maintained in my experience.


[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) bald eagles bird lovers bird watchers Conowingo Conowingo Dam dam eagles helpful tips Maryland photographers tips visit Wed, 21 Dec 2022 00:28:58 GMT
Holiday Lights Tour Holiday Lights Tour

Montgomery and Bucks County, Pennsylvania

               It’s that time of year !   Everyone wants to know where they can see great light displays in local neighborhoods.

               I previously used a free app called Christmas Prism to research and plan a custom route for my parents and I (and dog) to drive around and enjoy the holiday magic from the warmth of our car.  BONUS – the inventor of this app is a local Delaware County dad.  Go Philly suburbs !!

               The app is great and let’s you see a Map or List view of nearby displays, and even uses different festive Winter emojis on the map to designate different leveled rankings of homes based on the number of “likes” they receive.  I then used Google Maps to plan a multi-stop route from home and back.

               Below is the route we took around the Montgomery and Bucks county areas if you don’t want to have to think or plan at all for yourself.  It was a 7-Stop Tour in total.  They were all amazing in their own way, and the photos don't do them justice.

               I put * next to the ones that I don’t see listed on the app yet this year, so I can’t confirm whether they’re still doing the display, just as a heads-up if you want to pick alternate locations just in case.

Stop A – 28 St. Dunstan’s Rd, Hatboro, PA – “The Chrostowski’s”

  • A cute little local display


***  Stop B – 201 Garth Rd, Oreland, PA

  • This entire street takes part in the decorating fun and is lined with giant candy canes… affectionately nicknamed “Candy Cane Lane”.  Not listed on the app, but I can’t imagine that the tradition has stopped.


Stop C – 1800 Dutchman’s Circle, Harleysville, PA – “The Drelicks Christmas Lights”

  • A humungous and interactive holiday set-up



***  Stop D – 1507 St. Andrew’s Way, Lansdale, PA

  • A nice display on a culdesac.



Stop E – 102 Kimberly Way, Hatfield, PA – “The Michael Family Christmas Display”

  • Another nice display that had a giant dancing Grinch in the window on the year I went.  They also had their own radio station that you could tune into for holiday music.


***  Stop F – 17 Spur Road, Lansdale, PA

  • I think that they own every holiday inflatable ever made, and they somehow crammed them all into their front yard.  The longer you look at it, the more characters you find – super fun!

Stop G – 106 Dolly Lane, Chalfont, PA – “Brittany Farms Lightshow”

  • This house had its OWN WEBSITE, where you could go on and request the next holiday song that you wanted to play on their radio station.  Then, the light display was choreographed to each song.   SO COOL !



Wherever your holiday light tour takes you, I hope that it’s bright and merry ! 

πŸŽ„πŸŽ… 🎁 🦌


If YOU go on a holiday light tour, be sure to comment with the locations you loved the most !!


[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) Bucks County Pennsylvania Christmas displays family festive fun holiday lights local Montgomery County neighborhood road trip route tour Mon, 12 Dec 2022 17:49:45 GMT
Communicate With Your Kids Day Today is National Communicate With Your Kids Day !

     Communicate With Your Kids Day highlights the importance of having open and honest conversations with your kids.

     As a School Counselor, I believe that it is super important to have daily chats about the little stuff so that the foundation already exists when there's a need to discuss the bigger stuff.

     Communicating with your child lets them know that you value their thoughts and feelings.  This can help them to develop better self-esteem.  BONUS - it also helps them to practice their communication skills, which has shown to help children be more successful in careers as adults.

     But...... Let's be honest !   Prying kids away from their electronics to talk with their parents ??  Yeah - we can all see the eye-rolls already !   And while we're having Real Talk - I know that no one has extra time each day in our over-scheduled lives.  I get it.

     So here's the good news!  Communication doesn't always have to be serious.  It can be light and easy (and even fun!)   And it doesn't have to take a lot of time.  It just has to be part of the routine. 

     One easy idea is to have them pick 1 question each day that they can ask you in the 10 minute car ride home from practice (and then they answer too).  Questions can be deeper like "What was the first betrayal you experienced?"   OR questions can be super silly like "Would you rather have flippers for arms, or a beak for a mouth?"  Let them be in control of the topics if it helps.

     I find that incorporating games is an easy way to get kids talking too.  Below are 2 games that you can play to help start the conversations.

  • Click here for UNO prompts.
    • Each card has 2 question options.  So if you put down a Blue 8, the person putting the card down has to answer one of the questions listed next to the 8 on the Blue Page.  Play Uno as you normally would.  :-) 
  • Click here for M&M prompts.
    • Give each "player" a pile of M&M's.  Players must choose from one of the question prompts and answer the question for each color that they eat (1 at a time).
    • This can be easily switched to other foods/colors like Starburst, Skittles, Jelly Beans, etc depending on food allergies and preferences.



I can't take credit for creating these all from scratch - but I thought it would be nice to share helpful ideas from creative people all in one place.


[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) activities communication counselor easy education fun games kids parenting parents quick talk teacher uno Mon, 05 Dec 2022 17:30:20 GMT
Pi Day !!! . ! . !!!! Celebrate Pi Day on 3-14 with these fun activities !


I can't take credit for creating these all from scratch - but I thought it would be nice to share helpful ideas from creative people all in one place.

[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) activities art counselor education fun games jokes Math music Pi Pi Day puzzles teacher Mon, 14 Mar 2022 14:15:30 GMT
The Ice Storm The Ice Storm

Ice on BerriesIce on Berriesice forms on berries in the Winter in my yard in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Real Talk.

     As a School Counselor, I have worked almost every day of this pandemic.  Including Summers.  (Who do you think assigns your kiddos to classes? 😘)   Most days last year were 12-14 hours.  Every day.  No overtime pay.   No bonuses.  And no raises this year.

     I'm not a hero - I'm burnt out.   I don't need praise - I need my soul back.   And I know I'm not the only one.  Some of us don't know how to give less than 100% - and that's been taken advantage of more than ever in this pandemic.

     I think many of us are at a breaking point, and since the systems don't seem to be changing, we're deciding to change ourselves instead.  Setting boundaries.  Setting limits.  Forcing a work-life balance.  Forcing self-care.
     And self-care doesn't mean quick fixes like mani-pedis and massages (although it could).  It means long-term fixes.  It means not taking on unpaid responsibilities.  It means not cleaning up other people's messes.  It means not constantly seeking ways to be proactive that go unappreciated.  It means creating distance from people and things that take energy without reciprocating.

      And do you know what ?    After only a week of that shift in mindset for me...... THIS is what happened.  I woke up on the morning after the ice storm..... and I WANTED to pick up my camera and photograph it.  I WANTED to edit the photos within 24 hours instead of them sitting on my camera untouched for months.   The πŸŽ‰SPARKπŸŽ‰ came back.  And so did some of my energy.  Just like that.

Icicles Dangle from Red BerriesIcicles Dangle from Red Berriesice hangs from berries in the Winter in my yard in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
     And ya know what else ?   That night, my wise old neighborhood Great Horned Owl friend reappeared for the first time since Christmas.  πŸ¦‰  And as Bradley Cooper would say, "I'm gonna take that as a Silver development !  That's a silver lining!"

    I'm reading the signs, and the Universe is telling me that I'm doing the right thing.  That self-care isn't selfish - it's self-preservation.  And in practicing that, that's how I'll bounce back.  I'm just here and sharing in case you're trying to re-find your spark and your soul too.   πŸ’•

              Berries on IceBerries on Iceice coats berries in the Winter in my yard in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania


[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) boundaries burn-out counselors education fatigue ice lining pandemic passion Pennsylvania photography self-care silver snow spark teachers Sat, 26 Feb 2022 20:02:44 GMT
President's Day Activities

Monday, February 21st

Looking for some interesting things to do in honor of President's Day ??
Check out these links below !


  • Take a Virtual Tour of the White House for President's Day HERE . 
  • Watch a quick video on the history of President's Day HERE . 


Check out some photos of our National Bird by clicking on the Regal Eagle below !

Bald Eagle SoaringBald Eagle Soaringa Bald Eagle soars through the blue sky at Conowingo Dam in Maryland



[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) Activities Day President's Sun, 20 Feb 2022 17:02:36 GMT
Random Acts of Kindness Day

Thursday, February 17th 

Check out these ways to spread kindness throughout the entire week !




I can't take credit for creating these all from scratch - but I thought it would be nice to share helpful ideas from creative people all in one place.

[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) Activities Acts can Day download for Kindness of Random that you Wed, 16 Feb 2022 01:40:59 GMT
Valentine's Day Activities for Kids  

Valentine's Day is tomorrow !

Check Out these great resources below to help make the day as fun as possible!

I can't take credit for creating these all from scratch - but I thought it would be nice to share helpful ideas from creative people all in one place.


  • At Home Valentine's Day Party
    • Check out the above PDF for TONS of activities you could do throughout the week including:
      • Send a Virtual Valentine to a St. Jude's Children's Hospital patient
      • Find the Valentine games
      • Valentine's themed Virtual Book Room
      • Heart Challenge
      • Valentine's Day Dance Party videos
      • Origami How-To videos
      • Would You Rather....?  question prompts
      • How-To Drawing tutorial video
  • February Jokes of the Day
    • Take turns each day reading these cheesey jokes to your family and friends
  • Valentine's Day - Printable Cards and Activities Pack
    • Don't forget to tell the people who are important to you exactly how much you care about them!  Use these pre-made cards to help spread kindness to the people in your life.
    • It even has some fun games you can play with your family and friends at the bottom.
  • Interactive Valentine's Room
    • Click around on the bookshelf to be taken to:
      • Fun online puzzles and games on the ABC Ya website
      • How-To Drawing tutorials
      • Book Read Alouds
  • Valentine's How-To Drawing Videos
    • Click around on the bookshelves to see lots of different How-To Drawing tutorials




[email protected] (Silver Lining Studios) Activity Day for Ideas Kids Valentine's Sun, 13 Feb 2022 20:35:12 GMT