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Have you tried riding an electric bike? We weren’t sure what the purpose was other than getting out of the hard work on a bike ride — but quickly changed our minds after talking to Becca at Pedego Baltimore County Electric Bikes for a few minutes! The beauty of an electric bike is that it gets you outside and moving and staying active – but it takes away the stress of worrying about whether you can handle a bike tour.  How many would like to go out touring through beautiful countryside but worry about how hard the hills will be, or if the distance is too far for you, or that everyone else will be far ahead and waiting for you to catch up? The Pedal Assist mode solves that – it can be set at different levels and turned on or up when you need it, off when you…

One bright spot in a year of social distancing and meet-ups with friends and family mostly taking place outdoors, is that more people discovered the local parks and trails, “stopped streaming and went to the streams.” If there’s a downside, it’s that a lot of parks and trails are now so crowded, cars are being turned away and many parks are considering a reservations system to limit capacity. When we witnessed a tubing logjam on the Gunpowder Falls and saw a line of cars stalking tubers to grab their parking spots as they left, we knew it was bad. But there’s help. Download the All Trails app on your phone or visit the All Trails website and you will be amazed at how many trails are available for hikes. You’ve probably been driving past trailheads and didn’t notice them. Here are three suggestions. One takes you out of the city…

Baltimore author and illustrator Joyce Hesselberth has a NEW book… and it’s perfect for the pint-sized naturalists in your life! Joyce, the award-winning creator of Mapping Sam and Pitter Pattern, introduces young readers to everything there is to know about trees in Beatrice Was a Tree. This gorgeously illustrated informational picture book is an exceptional choice for your home library and a beautiful gift! “When it’s time to go to bed, Beatrice imagines how much fun it would be to stay outside with the trees all night long. If she were a tree, she would have a trunk and branches and lots of leaves. Her roots would reach deep. She would catch the morning sun with her limbs and cradle a bird’s nest in her branches. And when the air turned crisp, Beatrice would wait patiently for spring.” Enjoy Beatrice Was a Tree ‘al fresco’ at The Ivy Bookshop’s new…

Looking for a great new restaurant to try or dish for take-out? Make sure you’re subscribing to Charm City Cook’s FREE (and ad-free!) newsletter. Amy Langrehr (aka Charm City Cook) created the newsletter as a way of supporting the struggling restaurant community during the pandemic. Each week, she shares news, specials, and more. It’s our secret to knowing where and what to eat! Sign-up through the Charm City Cook website. The email comes out each weekend! Photo by Amy Langrehr.

“I was overwhelmed,” said Hannah Rodewald, owner of The Pleasure of Your Company and co-founder of Women’s Daily Post. “Trying to keep the businesses, and Writes for Women, and my work with United Way, and life, … trying to keep it all straight was daunting.” Overwhelmed and daunted are two self-descriptors I frequently hear when talking to moms. Realities of modern day #momlife. It’s how we handle those feelings that matter. Hannah handled it by starting a bullet journal. What is bullet journaling? A customizable — and forgiving — organizational system. For some of us, it might be the holy grail of goal management. Notice I said goal management, not time management. If you have a lot of daily appointments that you need to keep straight, it probably won’t take the place of your planner or calendar. It could be a to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary. Or all of those things. “I…

We are fresh off a week of beautiful fall weather. It could not have been more perfect for enjoying hiking and sports, and playing with the dogs and kids outdoors – or just visiting and reading in the warm sunshine. But the rain has come and it won’t be long before we move mostly indoors. Some of the things that we are used to enjoying in colder weather will not be available to us in this COVID year. So it’s important to have lots of good books and activities on hand to fight off the blues. The theme of this week’s edition of Our Favorite Things, developed in partnership with (cool) progeny, is creativity unleashed! Time to unplug and release your inner creative. Turn off the computers, put down the phones, and get making! All of these are hands on – just add imagination. No computers (mostly… one exception), no…

Comfort Food. Even just the words are calming and welcome. No matter what the outcome of the election is, this week will be a stressful one, full of ups and downs – a perfect one to pull out the recipes for our most soothing comfort food. But what exactly does it mean to be a “comfort food”? Is it familiar and welcoming – the right combination of salty and sweet, smooth and creamy? Does it feel like a good ending to a happy day… like burgers, potato salad and baked beans after a day at the beach? Or does it warm your soul … like a warm slice of Chicken Pot Pie after a brisk afternoon raking leaves? Does it make you feel better after a difficult day… like a warm cup of tea? Does it evoke memories of childhood and home? It’s hard to define what is and what…

The American Grilled Cheese sandwich is thought to have shown up in the 1920’s, when sliced white bread and sliced American cheese became available in grocery stores. It quickly became popular for Sunday night suppers. One hundred years later, Grilled Cheese is still ranked near the top of comfort foods and go-to in many homes for a quick, satisfying meal. There is nothing wrong with the basic recipe: two slices of country white bread with a couple slices of American or cheddar cheese in between, buttered on the outside and cooked in a non-stick skillet until the bread is golden brown and the cheese deliciously oozes. But what fun you can have experimenting and adding ingredients for new flavors! Try different breads – sourdough, rye, baguettes, potato bread, crusty Italian, ciabatta, Challah, Hawaiian – and combinations of cheese – Cheddar, brie, gorgonzola, Monterey Jack, Italian Fontina, Mozzarella, Bleu cheese, Gruyère,…

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