Hot cocoa for schoolmates; 30 pies for neighbors [Rodgers Forge column]

Towson Times

Tessa DiManno, a first-grade student at Rodgers Forge Elementary School, and her mom, Brooke, are shining examples of why Rodgers Forge is such a great place for families.

On Nov. 22, during the cold and breezy weather snap, following the ends of classes, they set up a pop-up hot cocoa shop. Their table, decorated with white linens, holly berry place mats, and snowmen, was set up on the sidewalk in front of their house on a direct path many students take to return home after a long (mostly fun) day of growing their brains.

With Christmas music playing, Tessa and Brooke ladled out cup after cup of deliciously hot (and free) cocoa to children leaving school. They also included mini marshmallows and whipped cream to top off the experience. For kids who aren't crazy about cocoa, they had eggnog. Plus, graham crackers, cookies, fruit chews, and other snacks. And this was all Tessa's idea.

We could learn a lot about kindness and inclusion from our children. Tessa, you are a rock star.

The Dietrick family of Regester Avenue did it again! Katy, Conrad, Oliver, Hazel, Henry and Fitzwilliam Dietrick, pulled off another fabulous Friendsgiving Pie Party. If you are not familiar with the concept of a Pie Party, let me give you the delicious, calorie-free version:

Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Deitricks invite friends to their home to eat their homemade-with-love-by-the-whole-family pies. Some of the guests also bring pies. It's a pie extravaganza. And only pie. Sweet pies (no quiche, thank you very much).

On this night each year, when my kids ask, "What's for dinner?" the answer is "Pie." If I say we're leaving to visit out of town family for Thanksgiving, the kids say, "We're leaving Thursday, right? Because Pie Party." The concept earns two forks and a large glass of milk, which is equal to five stars. It's magical. Plus, the Deitricks are fantastic bakers—and this year was no exception. In total, there were well over 30 pies and 60 people (we all fit quite comfortably).

This year's pie bounty included seasonal favorites as well as some unusual options (also a few gluten-free and dairy-free options to include something for everyone). The lineup: Apple; Apple Butter; Apple Cranberry; Banoffee (banana, toffee, caramel); Blueberry tartlets; Buttermilk Sweet Potato; Chess; Chocolate Mudslide; Chocolate-Coconut Cream; Coconut Cream; Creamsicle Chiffon; Fat Elvis Pie (chocolate, peanut butter, banana, pretzels, nuts); French Silk; Holy Cannoli (holy moly!); Key Lime; Lemon Meringue; Lemon-Lime Meringue; Manhattan (alcoholic); Mocha Black Bottom; Peanut Butter; Pear; Pear, Apple & Cranberry; Pecan Sorghum; Peppermint Patty Cream; Persimmon; Pumpkin; Shoofly; and Spiced Plum.

The community and good tidings make this a beloved event by neighbors and friends. If this sounds like something you might really enjoy, I highly recommend you start a Pie Party (or cake or cookies . . . you get the idea). If you bake it, they will come.

Copyright © 2018, The Aegis, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad