Category Archives: Maryland

Five Things for Today: December 3, 2020

Enjoy the views — and a nice hike — at Sugarloaf Mountain


1. Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, MD, just south Frederick, is a great place to go for a family hike.  You can start at the base and opt for a 7-mile loop or drive farther up the mountain for a shorter hike — there are a bunch of trails to hop on close to the parking area.  A couple of good ones are the white trail, which winds around and ascends gradually to the summit, and the orange trail that is a steeper, more direct climb up.  However you go, you’re guaranteed great views on the way and at the top.  Afterward, plan a stop at the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard or The Comus Inn, both just down the road. The latter is a family-friendly restaurant with a great outdoor dining area, plus shuffleboard, corn hole, and ping pong — all of it surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Get a glimpse of our recent outing to Sugarloaf and Comus in my IG highlights.


2. The National Christmas Tree Lighting is this evening.  It’s not a public event this year, but you can watch it online along with a lineup of holiday performances.  After that, you can visit the tree and Pathway of Peace at President’s Park on the Ellipse.   The tree will be lit from sundown until 10pm Sunday-Thursday, and until 11pm Friday and Saturday through New Year’s Day.


3.  Deck the Yards to ring in the holiday season!  The Yards community in the Capitol Riverfront is offering a box full of treats and fun for the whole family. The goodies include 4 pre-packaged cookies and hot cocoa to-go, a wreath making kit, a hand painted ornament, a letter to Santa package, and a $20 gift card to any restaurant at The Yards.  The estimated value of everything is close to $120 — and tickets for a box are just $50.  Pick up is this Saturday, December 5 — reserve a box and time to get it here.


4. The Washington Post’s guide to this year’s holiday movies. (FWIW, I couldn’t get through Holidate, but really enjoyed Happiest Season.)


5. This letter to poet Kate Baer from her 2nd grade teacher… 💜😭


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia

Ideas for At-Home Celebrations of Light in Dark Times, from the Washington Waldorf School

[Note:  This is a sponsored guest post contributed by Alia Goodyear of the Washington Waldorf School]


At this time of year, when the daylight hours are diminishing, there are many ways to celebrate light shining out in the darkness. This year in particular, our need to connect to our own inner light and that of our fellow creatures is palpable. As the days get shorter, we might also feel more restless as we hunker down at home. Participating in some type of festival can bring some balance, calm, and hope. Perhaps you have a traditional way of celebrating — maybe your family observed Diwali recently, you are steeped in Advent, or your family is preparing for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or Kwanzaa. Perhaps you don’t have a tradition to guide your celebrations, but the idea of taking time to contemplate light shining out in dark times appeals to you. 

At Waldorf schools, we do not teach any specific religion, but we honor the spiritual life and make space for our community to explore the grand themes of the human search for connection and purpose as well as the work of making our world a better place for all. In particular, we have a few ways that we celebrate light in dark times. Here, we share them with you in the hope that you may find something useful to help your family create new traditions, or enhance existing customs, as you find sparks of joy in these times and feel the glow of a hopeful heart.


Lantern Walk

This festival is held after dusk, when our lantern light breaks through the outer darkness of approaching winter. It marks the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. Carrying a light into the darkness in the company of others – as we do during the Lantern Walk – can be reassuring. This can be a good socially distanced activity to do with a friend or neighbor with whom you want to maintain or build a connection.

Making a lantern can be a fun activity at home, and it will foster anticipation for the walk. If you aren’t able to make your own, don’t let that stop you! You can use whatever portable light source you have available to take a walk in the darkness and see what you find!

Lantern designs: Balloon Lantern | Waldorf Paper Lantern | Glass Decoupage Lantern | Paper Dodecahedron Lantern


Candle Craft

Decorating a candle and holder is a great project, and the result is a unique light that can be lit with intention and feel very special. Your family may choose to light it at meal times or a young child’s bed time.

Look for a 1-2” slice of a thick tree branch or a thin trunk (a Christmas tree lot near you might have extras from the ends of trees they’ve sold). Drill a hole in the center to hold a tall candle, or a wide candle can sit on the wood or even just a little plate. To find decorations, you can pick up a few pine cones, acorns, berries, greens, etc. as you walk around your neighborhood or a park. Perhaps you already have some small treasures at home — seashells, stones, ribbons, etc. You can also order thin decorating beeswax to make shapes that will stick to the sides of your candle when warmed a bit. 


Winter Spiral Walk

A beloved tradition in Waldorf schools is the winter spiral. Usually, it is a spiral walkway created from evergreen branches laid out on the floor and decorated with shells, crystals, and small figurines. At home, a simple pine garland or even a plain rope can be used to create a spiral. Lights in the room are kept low and at the heart of the spiral is a lit candle (the spiral can also be set up outside). Participants sit around the outside of the spiral and wait for their turn. In silence, or with soft musical accompaniment, each participant sits holding an unlit candle. Often the candles are set into apples as holders. On your turn, carry your candle to the center of the spiral, light the candle and then carry your light back out of the spiral into the world. We usually find a place along the spiral to set our lights so that, at the end of the walk, we can tangibly see how our lights combine to bring warmth and illumination to the space.   See examples on Instagram.


With our hope for your family’s well being and that you find moments of light in difficult days…
The Washington Waldorf School


Founded in 1969, The Washington Waldorf School is a coed, PreK – 12 independent school in Bethesda, MD. Our teachers incorporate academic, artistic, and practical elements into every subject, creating memorable lessons, successful scholars, and strong individuals.


This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Guest Post, Maryland, Schools, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Winter

Five Things for Today: December 2, 2020

Plan to visit the Downtown Holiday Market this season


1. Weekdays are a good time to visit the Downtown Holiday Market, when it’s less crowded, especially these days when not so many folks are working in the Penn Quarter area. And I highly recommend going! Sasha and I went to stroll and browse yesterday evening, and it had such a nice holiday season spirit — get a glimpse in my IG stories.  This year’s retail lineup features more than 70 exhibitors including Black-owned and minority-owned businesses, plus six food vendors providing tasty treats and hot beverages.  It’s set up in the middle of F Street between 7th & 9th instead of along the sidewalk for more space.  And to ensure safety even more, temperatures are taken at the entrance, and exhibitors are offering contactless and convenient payment methods for purchases. Open daily through December 23, 12-8pm.   See what other local holiday markets are happening, both IRL and online, in the KFDC holiday guide.


2. The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting is this evening at 5pm.  Technically, it’s not open to the public — it will be broadcast live on — but you could catch a view of it from across the street by the Reflecting Pool (be sure to social distance, of course).  The tree will be lit every evening for all to enjoy until January 1.


3. DC by Foot is offering its Georgetown History & Holiday Lights Tour starting this Friday, December 4, and advanced reservations are required.  They also offer several other family-friendly tours — read more about them here.


4.  Spotify’s most streamed songs of 2020.  Plus, more top charts like most streamed artists and top in the US.  And here is a playlist of Spotify’s most-streamed songs of all time, updated weekly (because this is the kind random thing I look up when I can’t sleep at night).


5. A new month has begun, so that means Darcy has a new list of 10 Happy Things for December!


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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia

Five Things for Today: December 1, 2020



1. It’s Giving Tuesday!  If you want some ideas for where to donate, the GIVE page here on the blog has a long list of charities and causes, all of them shared by KFDC readers. (And if you have one you’d like to highlight, leave a comment on that page or this one, and I’ll add it.)


2. Volunteering is another way to give, and Martha’s Table has opportunities available.  Joyful Grocery Bagging, Food Order Support, Martha’s Outfitters Clothing Support are some of the ways to help out that kids ages 12 and up can do, too.  All shifts take place on weekdays, so consider signing up for one during the Winter Break from school.


3. A gift for younger children that lets them give back:  Little Loving Hands provides parents and caregivers with a fun way to teach kids about kindness in their world, their community, and their homes through subscription craft boxes.  Most of the crafts that are completed are sent back to Little Loving Hands in an included prepaid envelope to be donated to a charity. The boxes are specially designed for elementary-school kids, but fun for all ages!


4.  A long list of businesses offering discounts to first responders. And here is one for teachers (plus this biz I happened to see). Forward to all you know who qualify — so well deserved!


5. A heartwarming HONY story about giving a great surprise.




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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Fall, Maryland, Social Distancing, Virginia