* The winners have been selected. Thanks to all who commented. I’ve read every single one and am completely in awe of the kindness in this space. You all encourage me when I need it the most. Thank you. And thanks again to Cinnamon Hill for hosting the giveaway. If you didn’t happen to win you can still order a grater of your own from their site.
She follows me into to the bathroom and reaches into my silver and stained make-up bag just as I do. First she watches as I brush a light powder on my nose, by my eyes and wherever else needs a little glow. “I do it all by myself.” She says grabbing the brush from my hands. She brushes away loopy brown curls to make way for the soft bristles that carry with them a fine pink powder. Some fall from the brush and dance around her with the light coming from the window behind. For her eyeshadow goes on cheeks, mascara on eyelids and lipstick everywhere.
On the couch we’re tangled up together watching a movie and a burst of gushy love overwhelms as I have one of those, “this is MY girl” moments that happens approximately 3,728 times a day. I cusp her cheeks in my hands and kiss her face a dozen times. Then she turns to me and puts her little fingers on my face and kisses me again and again.
“I love you.” I say.
“I wub woo too.” She says.
In the kitchen I pull my apron off the hook and just as I’m tying it tightly around my waist I hear her bounding up next to me. “Me too?” She asks pointing to her apron that is similar to mine in color and pattern but not size. I attach the velcro strap then she shimmies the stool to the counter eager to help dump and stir.
“Gentle.” I say telling her about all the butter tucked into the layers of the croissant dough.
She watches me roll the dough then repeats the action with a little less finesse but with just as much joy. When it seems like I’m not watching, little fingers rip at the corner of the dough to get a taste of butter, flour and yeast. Smiling, I say nothing.
Together we crouch at the oven, peering into the dirty glass window hoping to get a peak at the rising dough. She sees my excitement and mirrors it with more vigor, a goofy grin and inhaling sharply with anticipation. I laugh at her enthusiasm and my own as we both return our glances to the oven.
Sometimes I notice that Ivy sneezes when I sneeze even though she doesn’t have the allergies I do. She wants to change her clothes if she sees me in a dress and she’s wearing pants. Her adeptness in wearing high heels at 2 1/2 is shocking. As I flip through my copy of Food & Wine and all the glowing food photos pop up she can hardly contain her excitement. “Oohhh, dat looks good.”
Even with all her independence she mirrors me and looks to me for how she should act and react. Often this goes unnoticed but the other night as she lay with me in bed and pretended to act interested in watching the Dust Bowl documentary and wiped her nose just as I did and sighed when I did, the weight of this fell on me pretty hard.
So to my daughter who sees my every move, I want to say;
Ivy, my love, may I live a life that’s worth copying and be the sort of woman that’s worthy of being mirrored. May I humbling admit to you my errors so you can see that real strength shows itself in vulnerability. I hope you see me growing, changing and evolving too. Learn from my mistakes and learn from yours too. Accept them and be, dare I say happy with them because without mistakes there aren’t the lessons learned that are really worth learning.
Ivy, I hope you figure out quickly that I don’t have all the answers and I will try not to pretend that I do. I do however, have enough love, wisdom and strength to be your mama and I know that because you are here and you are mine and Someone thinks I’m fit for this position.
Thanks for watching me so that I can be accountable to my words. So that I’ll pinch at the cushy layer around my hips less, and quit trying to deny the things I need – like quiet and a little space – because I want you to not be afraid to ask for what you need. And along those same lines I hope you see me asking for help. I’m just learning how to do that and goodness, I hope you figure that lesson out more quickly than me because it’s amazing to be feel loved and those who love you are just aching to help you. Watch your dad and I work intentionally on our marriage. Forget what you heard Cinderella say the other night, because even though you may indeed experience the grace of finding “the one” you need to know that “the one” will disappoint you at times and make mistakes but, little girl, it’s still a fairy tale and real life fairy tales are so much prettier than the movies. Because scabs, wounds and trials just make us shinier. And they give us stories worth telling.
Also, don’t ever let the magic of a butter, flour, salt and yeast transforming into a luxurious loaf that we then slather with sticky and tart apricot jam not impress you. Stand at the window of the oven with your daughter, someday, and show her that magic. It’s little things like this that add up to a big life.
And finally, thank you. I’m such a better woman because of you, my little girl.
Disclaimer: This is in no way related to the “cronut” (the extremely popular and hyped croissant/ donut hybrid) although Sarah has lovingly referred to it as the “croloaf”. I simply refer to it as the best breakfast I’ve had in a long time.
I realize that it’s not fair to assume that many, if any, of you have extra croissant dough lying around as I did but my hope is that this loaf will entice you enough to tackle the wonderful beast that is croissant dough. It’s really not as fussy as you may think. I’ve found a couple of great sources here and here for you to see the recipe and process. It just takes time – wait time, but in the waiting flavor is developing, gluten is relaxing and all around good things are happening.
This loaf was born out of scraps and then the second one came because I loved the first so much. I adore croissants, of course I do, but the loaf version gives more surface for jam and then think of the possibilities – a blt served between two slices, french toast, eaten alone straight from the pan.
So what I have is more idea then straight recipe BUT I also come bearing gifts. 10 to be exact. I was sent the cinnamon grater you see in the photo above from the folks at Cinnamon Hill. I’ve tried grating my cinnamon on a microplane and in a spice grinder with not much luck. This little grater gives you the fluffiest little specks of the most fragrant cinnamon I’ve ever had. It’s so potent that when I let my kids smell it one little monkey bumped the other monkey who then inhaled the cinnamon. There were tears – now that’s fresh.
I asked the cinnamon people if they’d let me give out a grater and they responded by saying, “let’s give 10!” Awesome. So comment here and you’re entered. Simple. I’ll randomly choose 10 when I get back from a little vacation next week and then 10 of you will get a lovely little cinnamon grater too.
Now, a recipe of sorts.
2 pounds croissant dough
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons or so, freshly grated cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Using the scraps from the croissant dough or just cut strips of the dough, lay a few strips in the bottom of a buttered loaf pan. Sprinkle the layer with a bit of sugar and cinnamon. Continue the layering until the pan is 2/3 full.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a cloth. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. If the dough was cold this may take longer. Press gently on the dough and when it springs back after you press in it’s ready for baking. It should look puffed but still a bit tight.
In a small bowl combine the egg yolk and water and brush on top of the loaf then finish with a bit more sugar.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake for 1 – 1 hour 15 minutes. If the loaf begins to brown too quickly turn down the oven a bit. It takes this loaf quite a while to bake through.
Let cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting and finish cooling.