Easter Traditions

Every family has its special holiday rituals and Easter is no exception.

Growing up, my mother always made us a lambie cake for Easter. My brother has her mold and continues the tradition. It HAS to have jelly beans for its eyes and nose and I love seeing that my brother makes the lamb cake to honor and remember her.

GotMyReservations Lambie Cake

Today I encountered another family tradition with another family.

GotMyReservations Black Sheep Cake

The black sheep — instead of the pure white lamb — sang a beautiful pascal song to me. Easter is a time of celebrating all humanity, not just the pure and obedient among us. Jesus’s resurrection brings us a new beginning and a washing clean of our prejudices and bad habits.

Happy Easter, and may you have a blessed and inclusive day.

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Easter Tablescape — Bunnies, Fruit, and Flowers

This Easter represents a milestone for our family. My daughter is hosting Easter dinner.

I’ll be helping her to create a beautiful table for her party, but since we have vastly different styles, I just HAD to set my own table with our traditional Easter decorations — my collection of Easter bunnies and fruit plates.

GotMyReservations Easter Tablescape Intro Continue reading

The Sunday Review: Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons

I really wanted to love this book.

Having just come back from my first visit to Atlanta, I was very excited to read Anne Rivers Siddons’s newest novel. I was totally ready to immerse myself into the intriguing characterization and poetic descriptions that inhabit Siddons’s previous novels, which are set in and around Atlanta. Continue reading

Birds in a Nest Tablescape

Spring seems to finally have sprung, and with it has come green shoots of plants, strong winds, and birds. Lots and lots of birds.

It’s time for a tablescape with a birdy theme, and I’ve been collecting just the accessories to create it!
GotMyReservations Birds in a Nest Intro

Continue reading

The Sunday Review: A Virtual Week in Provence

If you have been friends with me for any length of time, you already know that I was lucky enough to have a fabulous vacation in France just about a year ago. I traveled in a group of eight friends and family and it was an amazing trip.

The France Frolickers

We started our vacation by flying into Nice in southern France; I wrote about it here on our vacation blog. I feel very sad that life got in the way and I abandoned our online record of the trip. Maybe I have time now to work on that…

Image Credit

Image Credit

Anyway, since I was feeling nostalgic for our trip, I checked one of my favorite “set in Provence” films out of the library — again. A Year in Provence is a British made-for-television adaptation of Peter Mayle’s book of the same name. Both the book and the television series chronicle Peter and his wife’s first year of retirement after buying a beautiful home in southern France. Starring veteran English actors John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan, the episodes are a relatively faithful adaptation of Mayle’s book.

I have probably watched A Year in Provence ten times, but this time, I saw it in a new light. In fact, I posted a photo of my television on Facebook to show the France Frolickers that we had essentially the same photo that was in the the film.

The village of Gordes in the movie

The village of Gordes in the movie

 

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There were comments and scenes about Provençal institutions, such as the filmmaker Marcel Gagnol and the ubiquitous game of boule (here in the United States, we usually call it bocci — an Italian game that is very similar). And then there’s the story of the truffles, a theme which follows the entire year portrayed in the book. Thinking about truffles brought me back to the fabulous meals we shared while in France — day after day of gourmet cuisine that I’ll never forget.

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If you are planning a trip to Provence or have already been there, give yourself a treat and watch A Year in Provence. It’s got its faults — not everyone loves Peter Mayle and his bumbling behavior, but there’s a lot to love in this series.

This post includes affiliate links. Please see my advertising disclosure for details.

 

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Spring Garden Party Tablescape

Is it spring yet?

The fact that my yard is finally rid of all of its little snowpiles makes me desperately hope that spring is on its way. Just last week I took this photo of the last remaining snow in my yard.

IMG_6062I was so bummed out by the weather that I never got around to setting the table last week when I took this photo of my centerpiece. Those beautiful tulips have gone to meet their maker.Thank goodness, between the final melting of the snow and my camera class yesterday, I was newly energized to create a spring tablescape!

GotMyReservations Spring Garden Party Tablescape Intro Continue reading

Looking for the Light

I’ve been taking a photography class in a local adult education program, and the most important thing I’ve learned is that I need to look for the light.

Look for the light…

I was setting up a tablescape and suddenly realized that the shadows from the late afternoon sun made a very interesting photo to share with my class. I thought I’d share it with you, too.

GotMyReservations Tulip Centerpiece

Happy Spring!

 

Restaurant Visit: Circa 57 in Arlington Heights

We have been eyeing Circa 57 since it opened. The problem is that Music Man and I are eyeing it through different lenses.

Circa 57 is a new restaurant in downtown Arlington Heights, Illinois, and includes the space at the corner of Vail and Campbell previously occupied by the Grand Station restaurant and Peoples Bank. It’s got a wonderful location!

I was intrigued by the possibilities of their food mission. Music Man wasn’t so sure — he wasn’t interested in ever going back to the food of 1957, thank you very much. I was relieved to actually see the menu. Even though it includes throwback style food, many of the offerings are updated for the more sophisticated tastes of today. Continue reading

The Sunday Review: A Mixed Bag of Books

Book reviews — the good, bad, and the ugly. I like to tell people about the books I read, but I really don’t like to give away the story. I don’t read the spoilers that other reviewers post, and I don’t do it on my own reviews. I figure that if someone really wants to know the story before they read the book, they can find it somewhere else.

At the beginning of 2014, I changed around some of my feeds on Goodreads and started posting reviews in my sidebar. I was dedicated and posted reviews right after I finished a book. And then I got lazy again and got WAY behind on my reviews. So now I’m back, trying to get in the groove again. I like the discipline of keeping track of my reading. I’ve also found that when I link them up to Facebook through Goodreads, I get recommendations from other friends about new books. It’s a good thing. :) Continue reading

Travel Diary: Packing for Mars (or England or California)

This post contains affiliate links; see my PR disclosure policy for details.

In book club, we recently read a very interesting book entitled Packing for Mars. It was an in-depth and often graphic explanation of how astronauts live and work in the tight quarters of space exploration vehicles. The stories in the book were fascinating and our book club loved it.

My recent trip on American Airlines made me think again about Packing for Mars and how travelers of all kinds need to strip their packing down to the bare essentials. I dragged around a 24″ roller bag, a small roller briefcase, and a large Vera Bradley tote stuffed with my purse and carry-on items. It was just too much. Continue reading

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