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Expert tips for the new year and beyond

That’s our hope for you in 2017

Your pot must runneth over

A triumph of hope over experience

We’ve saved the best for last


My favorite stories of 2016

Like a snowball, it keeps growing

“It got so big so fast,” says Leslie Schwartz of the Artisan Boutique known for some of the best holiday shopping in Chesapeake Country.     From an artsy at-home fundraiser for a woman debilitated by Lou Gehrig’s disease, the ALS Artisan Boutique has gotten out of hand.     It quickly outgrew Schwartz’s house, finally landing at the Crowne Plaza hotel adjacent to Westfield Mall.     There this year, more than 55 regional...

They’re the decorations on Riverdale Baptist Church’s Living Christmas Tree

You may see 75 singing Christmas balls, but I see 75 angels dressed in white, making a joyful noise on the branches of a 30-foot-high, illuminated, pre-engineered Christmas tree.     Riverdale Baptist Church in Largo is celebrating 30 years of the two-hour holiday production The Living Christmas Tree, which includes a full orchestra, light show and heartwarming play that can turn most any Grinch into a mellow fellow just in time for the holidays.     Originally...

Like the song, it alls adds up

Is there no end to the electrical creativity of Carmela, Alan and Eddy Hangsleben of Lothian? Like The Twelve Days of Christmas, their celebration of the holidays continues to expand. Drive by or wander through their display of over 1,500 strands of lights to see: 12 snowflakes sparkling … 11 reindeer romping through this … 10-letter name: Hangsleben … 9 trees tied with red bows … 8 strands of colored lights, reaching to the Star of Bethlehem … 7 days a week...

Create your holiday kingdom for the Greater Annapolis Lego Open

The holiday kingdom is a world built from imagination. How do you imagine it?     Is the holiday kingdom your church on Christmas Eve? Or your home on Christmas morning?     Or is Chanukah your holiday, and your menorah an eight-branched tree with every branch tipped with flame?     Or Kwanza, with dancing and drums?     Add LEGOS to your imagination and build the holiday kingdom as you see it.     In the Greater...

New loggerhead hatchling joins National Aquarium

A baby loggerhead turtle will be celebrating her first Christmas at home at the National Aquarium. Named in honor of Baltimore’s beloved NFL football team and as a nod to the unique dark birthmarks on her face, Raven will be swimming in the Maryland: Mountains to the Sea gallery in the new year.     Until she is large enough to be released back into the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina, Raven will receive lots of TLC from the Aquarium’s animal healh and...

December 5 ended the Volstead Act

Prohibition Repeal Day, December 5, is the anniversary of the repeal of the 18th amendment, which ended prohibition. Prohibition began in 1920 and ended in 1933 after it was concluded that the law had not ended drinking in America. Worse, Prohibition was costing billions in lost tax revenue for local and federal agencies.     To celebrate, I’ve found some lesser known facts about the era.     Prohibition didn’t actually outlaw drinking. Surprisingly,...

    As they have for 80 years, the members of the Calvert Garden Club meet on Monday, December 5 to cut evergreen boughs and materials with which to construct holiday decorations for the County Courthouse Square in Prince Frederick. Members gather again at 9am on Tuesday December 6 to construct and decorate wreaths, swags and roping. With the assistance of county public works employees, the finished decorations will be transported to and hung in the courthouse, where they will...

How Chesapeake Country turns winter from darkness into fun

This season of year, we count on divine intervention to brighten the sun, warm up the days and fertilize the earth. But to assure that the powers that be — the good hand of God or the harmony of the spheres — know we’re paying attention, we pile on human intervention.     We fire up our lights to combat the darkness.     We strike up the bands to both cheer ourselves and knock on heaven’s door.     We feast, give gifts and...

Our best family night at the theater — ever

Anight at the theater — or anywhere, for that matter — is always an adventure when you have children in tow. A few weeks ago, our family of four attended a musical production in Baltimore that left me wondering if I had made a big mistake thinking my sons would enjoy the theater.     Dad slept through the whole thing, the younger said there was too much singing, and the elder commented all the way through, despite my insistent hushing.     So when we...

Not all Christmas trees are equal

Not all evergreen trees are equally fire-resistant. The Douglas fir is the most fire-resistant tree, while the popular Fraser fir is the most combustible. Freshness has nothing to do with this comparison. Douglas fir is a low-resin tree, while Fraser fir is a high-resin tree. As the tree dries, the resin becomes highly combustible.     Assuring that your Christmas tree is a fire-safe tree begins with selecting the right tree. The State of Maryland fire marshal has declared that...