Tag Archives: The Reservoir

Happy Birthday Mom


No one loved to celebrate birthdays more than my mom so it is fitting that since today is her birthday, we all go out and celebrate in her honor! We will head to The Reservoir of course….it was her favorite restaurant.  Twenty of us getting together to celebrate her.

I had considered going to the cemetery to visit with her today. I am not a big fan of where she is buried. The cemetery itself is beautiful, but she is in a mausoleum and I don’t like the coldness of it. The artificial flowers and forced air don’t make me feel welcome and I don’t find myself going as often as I feel I should. Instead, yesterday, I went to her bench in the park. It is my peaceful spot to go when I am missing her or feeling sad. A bunny and a butterfly where right beside the bench when I arrived. More signs from mom? Maybe… Regardless, it made me feel like she knew I was there. I sat for a bit and wished her a happy day. It is the same place where we have released balloons for her birthday in the past.  I hope you have caught some of those yellow balloons and are celebrating up in heaven. We miss you!


Shop Local

shop small

Living in a small town, and being a part of a family who owns a small business in that town, I have come to realize the importance of “shopping locally.”  November 29th is Small Business Saturday where people are encouraged to shop at small businesses.  Shopping small makes a big impact on your neighborhood. A few days ago, Dave and I were driving on Springfield Avenue, (the busiest road in town – still only a two lane road though,) and passed a sign that read, “fresh ravioli.”  I don’t know how I have lived around the corner from this place for all these years and never noticed it! Perhaps it was the new awning, I don’t know, but something caught my eye and we mentioned we should try it out. It is called Campy Ravioli and Dave went there today, got some ravioli and two kinds of sauce, marinara and Vodka.  A block away there is a tiny Italian deli, Di Pietro’s, that sells meatballs and fresh Italian bread so he stopped there as well. This was dinner tonight and Drew declared the raviolis were “as good as The Reservoir’s.”  The Reservoir is where we eat nearly once a week for our extended family’s dinner.  He was right…it has us wondering if maybe that’s where they get their raviolis from. Great prices, delicious food and we kept it local.  Not everyone who reads my blog can shop here in Maplewood of course, but think about seeking out a new place in your own town and try it out.  We were pleasantly surprised and will definitely be returning! Don’t just shop local on Small Business Saturday.  Do it often.  Without a doubt, local shop keepers are happy to have your business!

Comfort Food

comfort food

I am sure that everyone has at least one thing they can consider comfort food.  For me, it really depends on the season, the mood and the atmosphere.  A big crockpot filled with Dave’s “Famous Chicken and Dumplings” on a cold winter night is one of my favorites.  I have to make sure on that night, I have nowhere to go after dinner because it is sure to be a meal that has me changing into my sweats or pajamas because I eat s much of it I can’t fit into my clothes!  No workout on those nights!  Just a place on the couch for me!

Homemade meatballs or braciole, (a thin slice of meat that is usually wrapped around a stuffing and cooked in red sauce.) It cooks all day, resulting in another night off from exercise since I eat until I am stuffed.

Don’t get me wrong, desserts are high on my list, I’d never turn down a warm brownie with vanilla ice-cream on top, but I’d take a warm crockpot meal over dessert any time!  I am more of a “savory than sweet” person!

I could probably go on and on making a list of my favorites, all of them filling and satisfying.  Some people believe that comfort food often provides a nostalgic feeling to the person eating it.  Maybe that is the case for braciole. My mom taught me how to make it.  The crockpot chicken is Dave’s own recipe though.  Kind of made up as he went along recipe.  He’s perfected it though and now his recipe is asked for all of the time!

My favorite take-out comfort food though is one we are having tonight.  Any local would understand…a Tony Salad and pizza from The Reservoir.  There is truly nothing like it and I have yet to find a pizza that it can be compared to.  It is a chilly night, we just got in after a great win for Drew’s soccer team. They are off to the finals and everyone is in a good mood.  The Giants are playing and we are gathered at my dad’s house hoping for a win for them to end the night on a high note!

Do you have a favorite comfort food?  Does it change by your season or mood?  Is it tied to something nostalgic? Perhaps something with a recipe to share??  I love finding new favorites!  We could turn this one into a recipe share!

Dining with Friends

julia child

Way back in November, I took photos for two wonderful friends at their wedding.  It was my gift to them.  I was so happy to be a part of their special day.  It was the least that I could have done for them.  Ever since then, we have been planning a dinner.  For numerous reasons, the dinner has been canceled over and over again but tonight, finally, we got to do it!

They brought their son and we brought our boys.  Even DJ decided to “grace us with his presence.”  Lately, he has been too busy to do anything with us….or actually want to do anything with us, so it was nice to have him tag along too.  We took them to one of our favorite local places, The Reservoir.  A place we’ve been going since Dave and I were kids.  Neither Eddie or Todd had ever been there so we were excited to share it with them.

Dinner was awesome, but the company was even better.  Yesterday’s post was about finding reasons to be happy.  It sometimes takes some effort to make evenings like this happen, but when they finally do, it makes it so worth it!!

S0, my reason to be happy today, dinner tonight with wonderful friends #100happydays

My Own Birthday

happy birthday to me

After several days of celebrating other family members’ birthdays, by the time it gets to mine, we are all sort of “birthday’d out”.  Today, though, was a really great day.  It started out kind of sad.  My mom ALWAYS, (since I was a little girl), sang her own version of “Happy Birthday” to me first thing in the morning.  She did it for all of us – DJ mentioned how much he missed it yesterday too. But my day got so much better…

I went to work and was greeted with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Each student in my class brought me flowers and we put them all together to create quite a spectacular creation!  I attached a picture, it is just so pretty!

My co-kindergarten teachers celebrated with a special pie at lunch.  I love my team!!!

The beautiful weather was a great gift.  After these long dreary days, it was finally spring-like!  The whole school celebrated “Project ACES”, where “all children exercise simultaneously” around the country.  We were all out on the playground to start off physical fitness month.  So much fun!!

Hundreds of facebook birthday wishes and messages throughout the day were great to read through.

Drew had a baseball game, and although they did not win, but he had a few good plays in the field and pitched a great last inning for the team.  After the game my dad, brothers, Dave, the boys and I, went to my favorite restaurant, The Reservoir for salads and pizza, (my favorite), they even had a gluten free pie for me!  I came home to yummy gluten free cupcakes that Dave picked up during the day.  (Still not sure how long this gluten thing will last….but I am trying).

The day ended with a message from my Aunt Dale, singing me “Happy Birthday” just like my mom always did.  I don’t think I could have imagined a better way of spending my day.  I am grateful for everyone who helped to make it so wonderful!


Sharing a Birthday

 bless family

Next week, we celebrate three birthdays in our family; mine, my oldest son DJ’s and my nephew’s.

I remember being in labor at the hospital and telling the doctors to do everything they could to make sure that my baby was not born on my birthday!!  I admit it might sound a little selfish, but I wanted my own day!!  Well, my wish came true, and he came the day before. We still call it our shared birthday and now, 16 years later, I can honestly say that I love sharing my birthday with him; I call him my greatest birthday gift.

Technically, we each have our own day. DJ’s birthday is April 30th and mine is May 1stand several years after, DJ was born, my nephew Mikey was born – on April 29th, so now all of the individual days seem to melt into one gigantic celebration of us.

Children really are the most amazing gift.  The fact that I received him a day before my own birthday, is just one more reason to celebrate.

My parents have always made a very big deal out of birthdays.  No matter whose birthday it is, we all get together to celebrate on the Friday before our birthdays.  We go to the same place, The Reservoir.  Since I was a teenager, this is where we meet EVERY weekend for Family Dinner.  The owners and staff have known my family forever!!  Since tonight was a “Birthday Friday”, there were more of us than usual but there was definitely a noticeable difference without mom and Francine.

Francine had been the dessert queen.  Either she would make it, or get it from her favorite Italian bakery.  Because of that, tonight’s dessert wound up being a last minute pickup as I grabbed an ice-cream cake on our way to dinner for us all to share because the end of a “Birthday Friday” can never end without dessert.

As everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to us we made our wishes and blew out the candles.  I know we aren’t supposed to share our wishes, but my wish was that we would be spared of any more sadness for a while!!   The truth is, tonight was fun, family time, laughter, good food…almost back to normal.  Just with a few less people at our table.