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Good Living

It all goes back to Hansel and Gretel

In one form or another, gingerbread has been popular since at least mediaeval times.     “Gingerbread was a favorite treat at festivals and fairs in medieval Europe — often shaped and decorated to look like flowers, birds, animals or even armor,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “Several cities in France and England hosted regular gingerbread fairs for centuries.”

Bay Weekly’s Guide to Giving to the Generous

On your holiday giving list, the easiest people are the wanters. Their wish lists are long. We live in a material world where clever and determined shopping can satisfy just about any whim.     Not so easy are the givers. Generosity is a hard act to follow. People used to doing for others never think of asking for themselves     So what they want for Christmas, or for Chanukah, you’ll have to ask them.

He has many faces; here you’ll see some

What do children love most about Christmas? I’m betting it’s Santa Claus, the portly guy in the red suit who builds toys in the North Pole each year, then delivers them to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve.     To the delight of Chesapeake Country children, Santa tends to show up early. You’ll soon see a Santa or two about town — at the mall, skating around the Bowie Ice Rink, or emerging from a helicopter near the College Park Aviation Museum.

Give, and good comes back to you

It’s the season of giving, when our grateful hearts yearn to reach out to help one another. Yet the number of Americans volunteering annually is declining, leaving non-profit organizations scrambling to meet the needs of their communities.     How can you turn your gratitude into action? Join the ranks of the 6,000 Anne Arundel Countians registered as potential volunteers with the Anne Arundel County Volunteer Center.

Take your hike to the next level

Adventure is calling! How will you answer?     This is the perfect time to take your hiking to the next level by upgrading your day hike to a backpacking trip.

Trotline your way to a pickin’ party

Heading out from the ramp in a late morning sortie for white perch, I encountered a solo crabber’s boat at the edge of the channel. He was pulling in his trotline from the stern and looked up as my skiff approached.     Seeking info on the crab catch, I gave him the sign language gesture asking how he was doing (arms open and a questioning look on my face). Shaking his head. he indicated problems. I killed my engine and drifted closer.

Ward Farm Recreation and Nature Park

Our summer on the cheap took us to a park still being born.     Ward Farm Park in Dunkirk is not yet open, except for some hikes and camps.     Naturalist Tania Gale led our group of seven children and seven adults on one of those hikes, pointing out plants and insects and filling us in on the history of the Ward family as well as what changes are coming.     The 209-acre parcel was purchased in 2013 by Calvert County. Phase one of the master plan includes building ball fields where now there are corn fields.

Kinder Farm Park

Summer can be an expensive season for parents. Ponying up for camps, sitters, theme parks and lots and lots of ice cream empties our coffers almost as fast as our kids tear through the kitchen pantry.     Parks are a good solution, but picking the best may leave you driving in circles. This summer I have set a challenge to visit area parks and let you know which ones are worth the drive, the gate fee and enough summer fun to guarantee an afternoon nap.     First on the list: Kinder Farm Park in Millersville.

Neighbors joining neighbors to celebrate our independence

Is there anything more fun, more moving and more important than a hometown Fourth of July parade? Whether joining the parade or watching it, we celebrate our independence as a nation and as a people.     Across the land, communities large and small decorate themselves, their dogs and conveyances from baby buggies to trikes and bikes to convertibles, tractors, fire engines and floats. In a partnership of faith and delight, we join as one entity united by shared purpose.

The fun’s better when you stay safe

The Dream: You take family and friends out on your boat for an evening of spectacular fireworks. Your anchor sets on the first try. There is plenty of space between you and the other boats. You enjoy a picnic and a few cold ones. The weather is warm and clear; the kids enjoy taking a dip. Anticipation builds as the sky darkens; then the fireworks burst and boom. The colors are even more beautiful reflected in the water. Everyone oohs and ahs. After the big crescendo, you up anchor and head for home. Soon, you are tied up at the dock and saying your goodbyes.