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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

Ducks and Chicks and Geese . . . and Our Easter Table

When the children were little, we celebrated almost every holiday with cut-out sugar cookies. Not surprisingly Big, Middle, and Little have outgrown the thrill of mixing and rolling, cutting and baking, and decorating, although they still seem pretty excited with the eating. Me? I still like the whole process, and this year I thought why not put some homemade cookies in our Easter baskets rather than lots of tiny bites of foil-wrapped chocolate?'

rolling pin

I have a hodgepodge collection of cookie cutters that I've accumulated over the years. I've found them in fancy cooking stores, antiques shops, and thrift stores. And I'm always on the lookout for something a bit unusual.

I've experimented with several different cookie dough recipes, but my current favorite is this one from Williams Sonoma. It has a tiny bit of cardamom, which adds a slight lemon flavor. Also, cookies made with this dough seem to hold their shape really well.

My baking secret is this old rolling pin. Carved from a single piece of poplar wood and boasting only one handle, this rolling pin was made around 1880 for my great grandmother who gave it to her daughter, my Nannie. I suppose it has rolled out hundreds of biscuits and yeasty angel rolls. If our house were on fire, I would do my best to save it.

cut out cookies

Rolling and cutting somehow seems therapeutic after a day in the office.

Sugar and butter and vanilla scent the air in a way that soothes the soul.

baked sugar cookies

Chicks and bunnies and geese line up in an orderly way that daily demands seldom do.

baked sugar cookies

And then there's frosting!

iced sugar cookies

My obsession with robin's egg blue continues. I sprinkled these little eggs with cocoa in hopes of getting an edible speckle or two.

frosted Easter cookies

I decided to put them on my Nannie's ironstone cake stand on the sideboard.

iced Easter cookies

I hope there are some left for Easter Day! Actually, to be sure everyone had a few cookies of his or her own, I put a goose, a chick and two eggs in a cellophane treat bag for each place setting.

Easter cookies

Here's a preview of our Easter table, featuring, of course, blue and white.

blue and white table setting

blue and white table setting

I bet I'm not the only one who hears the overture to Downton Abbey in her head when she sets the table.

robin's egg blue egg

blue and white table setting

The Mister stopped on his way home from work Friday night to pick up flowers for me at Trader Joe's. He did a great job!

blue and white table setting

He texted me six still pictures and two videos of the flowers on offer. Two more phone calls and one face time call were all that was needed for me to place my order. (Seriously, he's gooder'n ary angel.)

flowers in blue and white cache pots

White tulips

blue and white table

A fun little tradition that the Mister and I started years ago is adding these vintage Easter cards to everyone's place setting. The illustrations are so dear, if a bit treacly.

vintage Easter card

We take turns trying to decipher the handwriting. All of the cards are postmarked 1911 or 1912.  Miss Ella Powers sent a short note to Mrs Ray Bowles, saying Dear Friend, I hope you are feeling better and will have a nice Easter.

vintage Easter card

EHR wrote to Ma and Pa, saying My belt is all right and looks fine. The hat came this morning and looks fine. I am having a fine time. With love, EHR.  Well, good to know everything's fine. I, for one, would love to see the hat.

My favorite reads, Friend Orrie, I hope you enjoy Easter as well as a year ago. Just think where we were a year ago. They are very busy here now preparing for the show. Sincerely yours, MOS  

Rather mysterious, I think.

Even more mysterious is God's great love for us. I pray that you celebrate that love with joy this Easter!

He is risen, indeed!


  1. grandmother used to make chicken-shaped cookies and place a caraway seed for the eye on each one of them. Childhood memory.

    1. I love that. I will have to remember caraway seed eyes!

  2. Beautiful table. I love the cookie tradition. Every one loves a cutout cookie, even big kids!

    1. Thank you! Yes, the big kids and the old kids (ie, the Mister and I) gobbled up the cut out cookies!

  3. Your table looks gorgeous. And those cookies don't look so bad either! ,

    1. Thanks, Katie. I'm trying to give up sugar right now, and thinking about those cookies, just makes me wonder--can sugar really be that bad?!


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