After the graduation ceremony, families typically invite family and friends back to the house or to the nearest park for a celebration.
Sometimes the grill's the centerpiece, with burgers and all the sides, and sometimes the after-graduation parties focus on nibbles. If you're interested in the latter – to preclude having to wash dishes and silverware – consider some of these recipes for party foods. They range from light snacks like sweet, spicy nuts to meatballs and veggie pizzas.
DANVILLE – Maria Sermersheim doesn't believe you need an acre to have your own garden, whether it's for flowers or vegetables.
"We are hearing that 35 percent more families ... will start a garden this year," said the coordinator of the nutrition program for the Univerity of Illinois Extension office in Danville.
ARTHUR – The Great Pumpkin Patch south of Arthur is offering pumpkin, squash and gourd seeds for the garden.
The seeds are being offered online through The Homestead Seeds store at www.the200acres.myshopify.com.
"No one makes (name the dish) like my mom."
It's a fact. Our own moms cook better than anybody else's.
So in honor of Mother's Day, we asked our readers to submit recipes for some of the favorite dishes that their mother's made.
You may remember the story about Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and poor ol' mischievous Peter Rabbit.
The latter had quite a delightful morning in Mr. McGregor's garden nibbling away on lettuce, radishes and French beans – until Mr. McGregor showed up.
Strawberries shout spring. And few people voice objections to being served a bowl filled with a sugary biscuit, juicy strawberries and mounds of whipped cream.
Of course, there are lots of variations of the "cake" to go into a strawberry shortcake, and each cook probably has a favorite standby.
Hey, it's mid-April – time to knock the icicles and cobwebs off that grill and get it fired up.
One of our local grill fanatics, Ernie Spencer of southwest Champaign, typically is at his grill five nights a week, especially throughout the summer.
URBANA – The owner of a Japanese restaurant in Milwaukee will be the featured presenter at the spring open house on Saturday of Japan House on the University of Illinois campus.
Richard Kaiser, owner of Na-nakusa, will speak about Japanese cuisine at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The open house at Japan House, 2000 S. Lincoln Ave., U, is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.
We asked our readers for the recipes they love to serve at family gatherings, and we have an incredible assortment. If you're preparing dishes for Easter or Passover, you might want to look over these family favorites for appetizers, side dishes, meats and casseroles and desserts.
You might also want to think ahead to May, when we'll be asking readers to send us the favorite recipe of their mothers'.
CHAMPAIGN – It was a cool, cloudy and rainy day – perfect for curling up with a good book ...
And a plastic fork to eat it.
Those who showed up to admire, then devour, 36 artistic creations on book themes did not have to chew paper and cardboard. The objects of their affection were 36 entries in the Edible Book Festival sponsored by the University of Illinois Library.