Thursday, April 19, 2012

Glasses In The Dark

It's that time of night where there is nothing but sleep. A time of peace, rest, and recharging. Deep sleep is startled by a brief, but frightened shriek. I fumble for my glasses, a false sense of sight in the darkness, and stumble toward the sound that woke me.

I feel around the little ball curled up under the covers, hiding from whatever fear the darkness had caused. Lifting up the covers, I crawl in. In such sleepiness, there is no adequate articulation of the cause of the shriek, but it's real. I take off my glasses and snuggle close. I can't see her face, but I feel the relief. The comfort. The immediate dissolving of panic that had been so real moments before.

The power granted to me to have such an affect on such intense emotion is overwhelming. Moments pass and, in the blackness, I reach for my glasses and find my way to my own bed. As I close my eyes, there is immediate and intense wailing from a different room. It too calls of fear. I reach for my glasses once again, eager to bring calm.

I hear my own soothing words as I bring the small bundle close to my chest. Instant rest. The tiny body melts into mine as if it was never awoken from slumber. I feel every breath and, although I can't see her sweet features, even with my glasses, I imagine that tiny nose and those sweet lips and smile to myself.

The eyes of my heart are wide open.

Gently placing her in her bed, I head back to mine, setting my glasses on their spot beside my bed. Closing my eyes, I feel rustling beside me and an arm that envelops me. It brings me a new peace. Rest, but not sleep. The beauty of the secret moments just experienced reach my core.

The gift I have been given. The privilege with which I have been blessed. The honor that has been bestowed upon me.

I am a mom.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What a DEAL Wednesday - More Free Photos

Hurry on over to to get 25 FREE 4x6 inch photos. They too are doing the TrueDigital cropping for free (like SnapFish) for those of you who've had them crop your digital photos into 4x6.

Enter: FREEDEAL in the coupon code bar.

Select: Store pick up so you don't have to pay for shipping and be sure to select the store nearest you. Here are some of the photos I'm excited to see with this batch. In the past 2 weeks I've gotten almost 150 pictures for $6.

Love me some deals.

These are all from last summer. Hannah still climbs in Emma's crib and plays with her.


Love this kid.

Sweet sisters ready for the pool.

Who could forget the infamous fire pit disaster at staff meeting. Thank you for destroying my yard and saving our lives Mr. Fireman.

Hee hee.

I love this center and all. She wasn't feeling well.

Our trip to Presque Isle

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SPECIAL RECIPE:Grandma's Braided Easter Bread

I have yet to see or taste an Easter bread that comes even close to being as amazing as my beautiful grandma's. This terribly taken photo (from an old cell phone) was taken a couple years ago when my grandma and I made some Easter bread together. We are so blessed to have all of our grandma's recipes in one book. She's an amazing cook! 

My mom asked me to email her the recipe because she lent her cookbook out. I know grandma wouldn't mind me sharing the recipe with you all, because she always welcomed anyone into her kitchen who wanted to know, how things were done, the right way. I have always called her for help with cooking - and she knows what she's talking about!

So if you'd like to enjoy this tasty bread, and maybe take a stab at working with yeast and bread dough, here's the recipe!


1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup scalded milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
5 cups flour
4 eggs and 1 egg yolk
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract or 2 tsp grated lemon peel (I'm pretty sure we DID NOT use this when we made it together)

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp butter
1tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract (again, I really don't remember adding this)
1/4 cup boiling water

(Blend all ingredients with electric mixer until smooth.)

Stir yeast in warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes until foamy. Scald milk, sugar, butter and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 2 cups of flour. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon peel. Stir in yeast mixture. Add remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured board until dough is smooth an elastic. (The dough hook on a stand mixer does this incredibly fast. By hand - I'd go almost 10 minutes.) Place in a greased bowl, turning one time to coat dough. Cover with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel.

Let rise until doubled (about an hour to an hour and a half). Push dough down and let rise again. Divide dough in half. Divide each into 3 even balls.  Roll each ball in strands 12" long. Place each strand on a greased baking sheet 1" apart. Braid loosely beginning in the MIDDLE, working toward each end.  Tuck each end securely. Cover loaves, rise until double (another 30 minutes or so). Bake at 350 degrees approx. 30-35 minutes. Cover with glaze when warm.

Yield: 2 loaves

Note: If doubling the recipe, do not double the sugar. Double all other ingredients. Add on additional egg, plus 2 yolks.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Money Monday - Shoes

I feel like the kiddos always need shoes.

Warm weather came to Pittsburgh early this year and I have been looking for a good deal on summer shoes for weeks. I felt like I caved too early last week, but when I thought about it, $37 for 4 pairs of shoes is a pretty good deal. I went to Payless.

I'm only inclined to spend a decent amount on tennis shoes as the kids need them. Sandals can be cheap as far as I'm concerned.

The two on the left are for Hannah and the two on the right are for Emma. I didn't feel like spending anything, but I tried to get shoes that the girls can wear with anything - and I'm happy with my purchases!

Now if I could just get some for myself!

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