Maryland Monday

A common sight in Maryland is vultures.

We have black vultures. We have turkey vultures. And we have lots and lots and lots of them.

Here's a picture Ninon took when driving to Eldersburg in November. She stopped and counted 28 on the way up. When she came home 2 hours later, she stopped and counted 49.

Maryland also has copious amounts of deer, which are frequently killed by cars, so the vultures do their part to help keep Maryland clean!

What Are You Doing New Years? Here are some suggestions...

Baltimore's New Year's Eve Spectacular 

The tradition continues!  Ring in the New Year with family, friends, live music, fireworks and lights.  Baltimore’s New Year’s Eve Spectacular takes place Tuesday, December 31, 2013 from 9pm to 12:30am.
Prior to the fireworks show, visitors can enjoy live music starting at 9pm at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater, located at Pratt and Light streets.

The fireworks display is the largest in the region- turning the sky over the Inner Harbor into a multitude of colors. The choreographed fireworks show starts at the stroke of midnight, 12am. Residents and visitors can view the fireworks from along the Inner Harbor promenade, as well as the neighborhoods of Federal Hill, Locust Point, Canton, Harbor East and Fell’s Point.

Join Pacers for the most fun you can have on New Year’s Eve (or at least the most fun you can have kicking off your New Year’s Eve)! Grab your friends and family and join us in the heart of Old Town Fairfax for the Fairfax Four Miler and end your year on a (runner’s) high note!

Parade of sea creatures to a "crab drop"

Fireworks at 7:30 and Midnight!

In Newmarket, MD

Does the ball drop after your bedtime? Not this year! Ring in the New Year at the Maryland Science Center! Or should we say, Noon Year? Join us for our 6th annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Midnight Noon, where children can enjoy the ball drop before bed time.

Join us for our annual Noontime New Year Celebration as we celebrate Kings and Queens, Knights and Jokers!  Come dressed in your favorite costume as we decorate numbers and make sound makers for our noon countdown with Eric Energy, complete with a juice and cookie toast!  Enjoy a large number of performances, activities, and more

Merriweather Post, Columbia
You must pre-register, or register on site  from 5-6 pm

Back by popular demand! Midnight at 7 is a fun filled, family friendly New Year’s Eve event and you won’t find anything quite like it in Howard County. Ring in the New Year with an exciting fireworks display (weather permitting) at 7pm. Walk through the Symphony of Lights, enjoy the toasty bonfire, food vendors, music, party favors and more!

151st anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

For the Very Brave!

Eggnog Recipe (as promised)

Last week I promised to share the wonderful eggnog recipe that a friend shared with me many moons ago. 

Here it is! It's a little bit of work, but I promise! It's worth it!

Maybe you can enjoy some for New Year's Eve!



PS - Can you tell me what the "nog" in Eggnog is?

Spicy Eggnog


Sugar (Cups)
1 ½
2 ½
6 ½
Eggs (Separated) * you may want to use pasteurized
Milk (Cups)
5 ½
9 ¼
Light Cream (Cups)
4 ½
7 ½
Whipping Cream
2 oz
6 oz
10 oz
1 pint
3 pints
Allspice (dash)
Cinnamon (teaspoon)
1 ¼
3 ¼
Nutmeg (teaspoon)
1 5/8
**Fits a punch bowl perfectly
1)      Combine sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2)      In large bowl of electric mixer, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
3)      Gradually beat in half of the sugar mixture until stiff peaks form.
4)      In small bowl beat egg yolks until lemon-colored. Gradually beat in remaining sugar.
5)      Thoroughly fold into whites. Stir in milk and creams. Mix well.
6)      Serve well chilled. Each serving can be sprinkled with nutmeg.

Maryland Monday

Pictures taken on the mouth at the Patapsco River, in the Chesapeake Bay. 
Spring of 2013 (on one of my fishing trips)

A Helpful Holiday Tip!

It's that time of year when I might put a mark on the furniture by setting my cold glass of eggnog down without a coaster. 

Here is a quick fix. I hope you don't have to give it a try. :-) 

PS - Watch next week for our great home made eggnog recipe. It's a winner!

How to Remove White Water Marks on Furniture

(Cool little trick...good for those holiday guests who forgot to use a coaster)

Weekends on - um - NOT Wednesday! [Oops]

Wow! Time gets away on us, doesn't it!? Are you ready for Christmas yet? (I'm not.) Only 6 more sleeps - but who's counting?

What would YOU like to do this weekend!?



Dec 20

Messiah at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis
Dec 20-22

Messiah at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC)
Um. That's TONIGHT, actually. Act quick if you want to go!

Dec 20-22

Holiday Family Opera: The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me 
The story of the Nativity from the Donkey's point of view. It's getting good reviews!
At the Kennedy Center until Dec 22

Live Nativity - Lutherville
(Timonium Area)
5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
St Johns United Methodist Church

216 W Seminary Ave
Lutherville Timonium , MD

Dec 21

Cake Class at Charm City Cakes

The Great Russian Nutcracker
Performed by the Moscow Ballet Company 

Presented by Ballet Theatre of Maryland

7-9 pm
Wyman Park Dell in Baltimore

Join us for our annual celebration of the Winter Solstice in the Dell on December 21. Enjoy live music by open fires, hot drinks & snacks for sale, and marshmallows for roasting. Music will be provided by local musicians Megan Beller & Michael Raitzyk.

11 am

An annual family favorite, this fun-filled holiday program features an all-new show featuring Pepito the Clown joining the ever-popular Ronnie the Reindeer, Music Director Tom Hall and the Chorus, and Santa of course!

7 pm
Ayres Chapel United Methodist Church
3046 Ayres Chapel Road

White Hall, MD

The Princess and the Pea
Dec 21-22
All shows take place at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm 
2905 Walnut Ave, Owings Mills, Maryland 

A mysterious young woman must prove to a skeptical King and Queen that she is a princess of royal blood. She must pass three tests involving ghosts, gold and, of course, a pea. Will the evil court attendant foil her plans to marry the Prince? Or will Prince Erik’s magic troll have the last laugh and set things right?

This looks interesting...

2:00 - 3:30 pm
Admission is free, space is limited
For more info call: 410.823.1309 x251 or visit
535 Hampton Lane, Towson, MD

Experience the “peculiar institution” that fueled the United States’ economic engine and made vast plantations such as Hampton possible, through an enslaved woman’s eyes. Dressed in period attire, Park Ranger, Angela Roberts will take you on a 90 minute journey through the Hampton mansion, ice house, and octagon house foundation. She will share the history of those who toiled to make the Ridgelys’ lavish lifestyle possible. 

Coming Out of Recession--The Good News

Technically we came out of The Great Recession in September 2010. Until now it sure didn't feel like it. Here are the early December summaries for autumn 2013 economic activity. 

1) We are seeing signs of recovery in the job market. October unemployment dropped to 7% from 7.3% in October - moving in a better direction. 
2) First time claims for unemployment dropped to a six year low. 
3) Overall income dropped a smidgen but spending was slightly up. Go figure. 
4) Consumer credit for car loans and higher credit card activity point to increased consumer confidence. 
5) Saving the best for last - October home sales jumped significantly over September numbers, prices pushed a bit higher and inventory levels dipped a little as a result. 

We should see more good news in 2014. How does this news impact your home buying/selling plans for 2014?

Weekends on Wednesday

Such a variety of fun things to do!  

What are YOU going to do this weekend?

(By the way...any text in italics has been "borrowed" from the respective web site...)

MICA Art Market
Maryland Institute College of Art

Students, Faculty, Alumni and Staff Sell Fine Art, Handmade Gifts, and Unusual Objects Dec 11–14

Music at the Museum: OCEAN (Celtic Fusion)

DEC 13; 8:00 PM

The Howard County Historical Society presents OCEAN performing a Holiday themed show as the last of 2013 Museum Concert Series.  Doors will open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8:00pm.

OCEAN is the East Coast's premiere Celtic fusion band, with a live show the Washington Post calls "nothing short of spellbinding," over 20 Washington Area Music Awards, and a history of sold-out concerts at such venues as The Birchmere and The Kennedy Center. Powered by the soaring vocals of Lisa Moscatiello and the creative genius of composer/arranger Jennifer Cutting, OCEAN is where ancient ballads meet cutting-edge electronics, where the Bagpipes meet the Beatles, and where fans of all generations and musical tastes can enjoy the same concert! Known for their electrifying stage presence, innovative arrangements, and the ability to move from ethereal to high-energy in a heartbeat, OCEAN is an All-Star band featuring some of the East Coast’s most revered Celtic and pop musicians. They have graced North America’s major festival stages, won over 20 Washington Area Music Awards including “Musician of the Year” and “Album of the Year,” been featured in Billboard magazine, and made two critically acclaimed, internationally distributed CDs, the first of which received four stars in Britain’s notoriously tough MOJO magazine.


Dec 13; 6:00 pm, Savage Mill

Experience thrills at night on our zip line and giant swing. Then take a haunted ghost tour of Savage Mill to learn about its industrial past and the people who lived and worked there. Then enjoy delicious food and drink at Rams Head Tavern (not included in price).

Kris Kringle Procession

Dec 13; 6:30 pm, Frederick

Kris Kringle is coming to town as the star of this year’s Kris Kringle Procession presented Celebrate Frederick.  The event begins at the corner of South Carroll and West Patrick Streets in Frederick and ends in Baker Park with the lighting of the City Tree.

The procession mirrors the small town charm that makes Frederick so special during the holidays. Local children dressed as reindeer, snowflakes, angels, elves, and gifts will accompany costumed characters, some modern, some traditional, through Frederick’s downtown streets.

George Mason University's Center for the Arts

The spirit of the Christmas season comes to life when the angelic voices of these delightful lads rise together in song for their joyous holiday concert! The Vienna Boys Choir performs a program of classical and popular music that includes traditional Christmas carols, Gregorian chants, songs from around the world, and popular holiday favorites. For over half a millennium this celebrated choir has won the hearts, and the ears, of the world with their purity of tone, enthralling harmonies, expansive repertoire, and cherubic presence. Many great composers have collaborated with the choir throughout the centuries — Franz Schubert himself was even a chorister. This spectacular concert is a heartwarming evening of music for the entire family to enjoy.

Annapolis Light Parade

Dec 14; 6-8 pm

Every year on the second Saturday in December, magic happens on the water of the Annapolis suddenly appear out of the cold winter night illuminated with thousands of colored lights and crewed by jolly revelers. Families and friends gather at their favorite viewing spots along the waterfront to see this yearly spectacle and to celebrate the holiday season together. The Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade is one of Annapolis' signature event and we invite you to join us as a participant or a spectator cheering on all the decorated boats and their crews.

"Ride the Bus With Us to NYC" by Bob's BMW Motorcycle

Because nothing says Christmas like motorcycles, right?

Dec 14

Be the first to see what is coming in 2014 from BMW and all other major manufacturers in the motorcycle industry. See the newest models and features, new available colors, and LOTS more including new gadgets, accessories, and apparel all under one roof at the 2013-2014 New York International Motorcycle Show (IMS)!

Maryland Art Place

 "Under $500" affordable art sale

Dec 13 & 14

Maryland Art Place invites you to join us at our first "Under $500" affordable art sale this December!

Please join us on Friday, December 13 at 7 o'clock for a first-come, first-served opportunity to purchase affordable and original works of art. The event will feature the work of Baltimore and surrounding area artists at a price point of $500 or less. Purchase work at any point throughout the evening and take home that night!

Guests can expect to mingle with other artists, collectors, patrons and general art enthusiasts at the event with an open wine and beer bar, along with light tastings with a holiday twist.

Tickets can be purchased through MissionTix for $40 Pre-Sale, or purchase for $50 at the door.

Holiday Festival

Dec 14; 11:30 am - 3 pm

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Come in from the cold and celebrate the holidays with us! Stop by our craft tables to make a wintry art project. We’ll also have themed scavenger hunts, hot apple cider, and festive music to get you into the holiday spirit.

Howard County Historical Society Holiday Historic House Tour

Dec 15; 1 - 6:30 pm

Mark your calendar now for our much anticipated, always enjoyed Annual Holiday House Tour -- Generously Sponsored by The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
This year's tour features five historic Howard County properties including The Shrine of Saint Anthony in Ellicott City, Folly Quarter Manor (McTavish Carrollton Hall once owned by Governor John Lee Carroll and Van Lear Black, publisher of The Baltimore Sun) located at the Shrine,Richland Farm (with the original 1781 log house), Dalton (built circa 1925 on brick and stone foundation that may date to 1770) in Columbia’s Thunder Hill neighborhood, and Salopha (circa 1742) in Sykesville.
Ticket holders will travel comfortably en route to the various historic sites aboard a fleet of Eyre Buses. New this year will be onboard drinks and snacks available at a nominal cost.
Buses leave promptly at 1:00 PM along Frederick Road at the Charles E. Miller Branch Library (9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City). It is suggested to arrive 15 minutes early to check in.
Ticket costs are:
$35 for HCHS Members
$45 for Guests of HCHS Members
$50 for General Public/
New Members Only -- which includes a 2014 HCHS Individual Membership. A $30 value --yours free with your tour ticket!

"The Nutcracker on Ice"

Dec 14 & 15

Columbia Figure Skating Club

Donations for Adventures

Dec 15, Savage Mill

Donate three canned food, new clothing or new toys for our annual help the needy drive and get a free zip line or giant swing.  Call 301-725-1313 for details.

It's a bit of a drive, but here is a new Christmas Tradition in the making for you adventurous souls...

Dec 15; 3:00 pm

Christ Episcopal Church, Columbia

Now until Dec 22

Center Stage, Baltimore
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel spins a musical tale of hope and forgiveness. It’s a bitterly cold Christmas Eve in 1864 and all along the Potomac, from the White House to the battlefields, friends and foes alike find their lives strangely and poetically intertwined. Weaving together carols, and folk songs, this “beautifully stitched tapestry of American lives” (The New York Times) is sure to become a new holiday classic for the entire family.

Mortgage Rates Drifting Lower

We've recently seen a drop in mortgage rates which is a nice perk for buyers. If you'e been thinking about buying, but have thought about putting it off until the new year, it might be good to take advantage of these rates. They may push higher again in the coming weeks. 

Weekends on Wednesday

Here's what's happening! So much to do, so little time!

(...and, if you know of something great going on that we might want to share here, let me know, and I'll post it!)

Baby Panda was named and will be unveiled in Jan 2014

DEC 6th:

Learn about the origin of holiday traditions on this 1-hour tour through Annapolis' historic district. Annapolis is beautifully decorated during the holiday season and it's the perfect setting for a wintry candlelight stroll with a period dressed guide. The perfect way to get in the holiday spirit!

Holiday Market, Horse Sleigh Rides, Eggnog Contest, Wreath Decoration Contest, Reindeer Pub Run and Family Holiday Activities

Rohina Malik returns to Theatre Project with her critically acclaimed play, Unveiled.
Racism, Hate crimes, Love, Islam, Culture, Language, Life
Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in this compelling one-woman show.

Gian-Carlo Menotti’s beloved American opera tells the simple story of a crippled 
shepherd boy who encounters three kings following a star in the midwinter night.

DEC 7th: 

You will find an assortment of unique and locally crafted items for sale including natural holiday decorations from the woods, gardens and local farms and markets.  Children and adults can make whimsical critters from cones, pods and seed heads. Local pottery, hand crafted soaps and bees wax candles, jewelry, hand crafted accessories, nature and gardening books, nature photography items, kids books and puppets.  All proceeds benefit the Conservancy’s environmental educational programs. Families are welcome!   FREE

It’s the 3rd Annual Lisbon Ol’ Fashioned Christmas Horse Parade!
What: Hundreds of decorated horses, mules, wagons, carriages and stagecoaches will fill the streets of Lisbon with Christmas spirit in one of Maryland’s best holiday family events.  The parade is free for spectators. After the parade, there will be Pony Rides and a Country Ham & Fried Chicken Dinner in the Fire Hall; all proceeds benefit local food banks and LVFD.
Where: “Main Street” (Route 144) in Lisbon, Western Howard County, Maryland. Lisbon is the small country village at the intersection of Routes 144 and 94. Mapquest or Googlemap “Lisbon, MD 21765″
Why: For family fun and to help a good holiday cause: the food banks of Howard and Carroll Counties and the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department. Entry fees and sponsorships go to the charities; spectators are asked to bring a dry or canned good to donate. (In 2012, the parade raised over $8,000 for the local food banks and $2,000 for the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department!)

For more information, you can read my blog post from Monday...

Learn about Owls that call Banneker Park Home and discover what owls eat by dissecting a pellet. Ages 6+ with an adult $5 for child @ Benjamin Banner Historic Park and Museum

5-7 pm

1-2 pm

DEC 8th:

7:30 pm; in Jim Rouse Theatre
$23 for adults

Hosted for over 30 years by the Columbia Maryland Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
All are invited to enjoy a wonderful evening at this FREE spectacular community event where hundreds join their voices in the wonderful Christmas classic - Handel's Messiah!
The Messiah Sing begins at 6pm on Sunday, the 8th of December 2013 and lasts just over an hour.  An orchestra and expert soloists make this an evening to remember.
Also, we invite you to view many beautiful nativity displays from across the globe that will be set up in the adjacent room.
Following the music you may choose to stay for a Christmas concert via satellite by the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Everyone - young and old - are welcome to this event hosted for over 30 years by the Columbia Maryland stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the chapel located at 4100 St. Johns Lane, Ellicott City, MD.
For more information, please send an email to

Friday--Olney Big Band
Saturday--Suzuki Association of the Great Washington Area (flute ensemble)
Sunday--Young Columbians Glee Club

Help raise funds for Arthritis in this fun (and easy) way to jingle in the holidays!

Maryland Monday

Last Friday Ninon and I went for a drive to Sheperdstown, WV, Sharpsburg, MD, and The Antietam Battlefield with my sister and her husband.

The setting sun over Antietam
Once a year a horde of volunteers gather together to create an unforgettable landscape in the Antietam Battlefield by setting up 23,000 luminaries: one luminary for each casualty of the bloodiest day of fighting during the civil war.  

It will take place this Saturday, December 7, 2013.

Three years ago I went with Ninon. It was difficult to get pictures with a point and shoot camera, but here are some of the pictures we took that night.

If you are interested in seeing this you can click HERE for details.

It is quite the experience! Be sure to pack your patience! It's a long, long line!