#LifeIsASpecialOccasion with @Hallmark

Being a home-schooling mom, every single day is a special occasion for me. I get to teach Mary about everything she will ever know so during the day, I make sure to let the day progress naturally so she will learn at her own pace. And sometimes life just lets that happen!

Like the other morning, we woke up to go outside and feed the ducks when we noticed there were ladybugs everywhere! So we made it into a science lesson and caught them, touched them, and studied them. Mary had so much fun and I could have never planned anything like that. It just came naturally and I'll always remember her face when a ladybug was crawling up her arm for the first time.

But not everyday comes naturally for use either. Sometimes I have to make a plan for the day, like the last time I made homemade bread. Every Friday, my husband likes when I bake homemade Jewish bread called Challah. So this past friday I taught Mary how to make it too and she had a blast in the kitchen with me!

First we mixed all the ingredients up in a bowl together and then Mary helped me stir the liquids in. She really did a great job and barely made a mess at all. I was shocked at how well she did for her first time!

Then we had to separate the pieces of dough since Challah is a braided bread. Mary got on a chair to help with this part and she helped me make three sections for each braid. With a little bit of flour on her hands, she did a great job at rolling them out too.

Finally after sectioning the braids, we braided them all together and made two loaves of bread. And of course, Mary made her own little Challah too!

Here's a picture of Mary's first Challah before it was baked. She was so proud that she had done it all by herself, even the braiding! And I was really impressed because I personally didn't learn how to braid until I was a teenager.

Here's the recipe for our homemade Challah just in case you want to try it with your kids too!

1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup warm water (105°F. to 115°F.)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
7 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water


  • Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in large glass measuring cup and stir until yeast dissolves. Let yeast mixture stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • In large bowl of heavy-duty mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat 5 eggs until blended. Add oil, salt and 3/4 cup sugar and beat until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Beat in 2/3 cup warm water. Add yeast mixture and beat until blended. Remove whisk and fit mixer with dough hook. Add enough flour 1 cup at a time to form smooth dough, beating well after each addition. Beat on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 2 minutes.
  • Lightly oil large bowl. Add dough, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, then with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down dough. Cover with plastic and clean kitchen towel and let rise 30 minutes.
  • Grease 2 large baking sheets. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into 9-inch-long rope. Braid 3 ropes together; pinch ends together to seal. Repeat with remaining dough pieces, forming 2 braids. Place each braid on baking sheet. Cover with towel . Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk yolk with 1 tablespoon water to blend. Brush dough with egg mixture. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to rack and cool completely.

Hallmark knows all about life's special moments. Sometimes special moments just happen and there's no way to plan them. But you'll remember them forever, like how I will remember baking bread with Mary for the first time. With the holidays coming up so fast, make sure to keep Hallmark in mind because their products can help turn any day moments into special occasions.

Hallmark wants to know why it’s important for your family to create new memories and commemorate them. Visit Hallmark.com/Explore for product news and special offers. Life is a special occasion.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hallmark. The opinions and text are all mine.