“Lots of LOVE and UNDERSTANDING is Needed”

Some PHOTOS are worth a thousand words, when you just sit back and remember all that was going on then… and stop to think about the life that each of those in the Photo has had… all these many years!

Lee & Al 001

When I had taken the above PHOTO of the big brother Lee Jr., and his new little baby brother AL, just a week or two old at the time of this PHOTO…

It was like nothing else  at the time!

When Aunt Irene Riley in Saint Louis received her PHOTO… she immediately has her copy enlarged and framed … so everyone visiting her…  could see the two boys, with  what she said was their first communicating … as it seems to be going on in this PHOTO!

When you first come home… from the HOSPITAL… with a brand  new member of the family… an extra special little baby brother for the older son… now up to three years of age… and as you have told the bigger brother to be expecting a younger brother to be able to play with… to now have someone to play with… this little brother is not exactly ready to do  anything with the  big brother… as yet!

Here is what I see…

Big brother Lee… said a few words to his new baby brother AL and of course… Baby Al can not talk as yet, but can hear … and is is looking at his big brother Lee, watching the expressions on his face and trying to understand by facial expressions just exactly what is going on… but, since all of this new earthly stuff is all new to him “AL”… he  is also learning  new ways of doing … that which we do here on EARTH, in the line of communications in this new realm!

It looks to me as if our little AL,  is holding his left ear … somewhat toward his big brother Lee… as he can hear something … but  he can not understand and does not know how… as yet to respond…  as  he is here NOW to learn the ways of people here on EARTH.

And of course… we humans here on EARTH… all know, that it does take a couple of years to learn to communicate and to understand all the ways that it is done.

The other noticeable thing that I am picking up from this PHOTO … is that  our little Lee has not been informed of the fact that his new little brother was a very small baby… and that small babies do not talk and hear and know everything that we that are a little older know and understand…

Everything in LIFE on this EARTH does take a certain amount of time and understanding to learn and know what you and others are doing and are going to do… at some point in life here on  EARTH.

I do not know if there is anybody with a complete understanding of what we the people here on earth are doing… or even trying to do… as so much is going on that no one knows about and or understands… and if we all do not wake up soon… it just might be all over … for all of us.

We all need  a lot more LOVE and understanding… to get along with each other … Now and for always!

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“Remembering MOMMA and all of the FAMILY”

Recalling Remembering Remembrances Recollections

This is one photo of MOMMA… that I took as little brother Tommy  was taking a turn at playing something  on the piano… that required two extra hands …

that they  could complement the other piano player…

and have FUN … all at the same time!

Those sure were the days when we would have FUN doing things that  required that you  ‘DO’ … want to have Fun… and you must be sure to do your part… that will eventually get some real good laughter going…

and with a Photo or two… you know that… always and  forever and a day… later on…

you will  once again,  remember just how much Fun you did have… and will want to do it  all over again!

This is one of those days when little TOMMY… hit bottom.

On this particular Sunday… the Orphanage had a PICNIC going on and Tommy wanted to go,  so  that he could meet up with some of his old Classmates… and ride my bike ( it was a boys bike) which was okay with me.

It is a good distance from Saint Louis… straight  out Natural Bridge and to the Normandy area… but and as  the weather  was just  terrific and Tommy was so full  of vim and vigor…

so much so, that when he did get to Orphanage… he did  just like he usually will do… performs show after  show for his friends.

Maybe just a little too much ‘show’ … as on some  of the gravel road area…  that he was doing these fine maneuvers …

Tommy did a high flying crash down on an incline of  one of those road areas…

sliding down on his bare arms… and lots of the loose gravel became embedded …and he is now …

not about to let anybody know just how much pain and how bad he feels… as all he can think of…how do I get home?

When little  Tommy finally got home on the bike… all scratched up and the bike looking like it went through a WAR… of some kind…

he was very quiet and went to his room to rest… and did not want me to say anything to our MOTHER.

His pain got so bad toward evening… I just had to tell MOM about his problems.

We had to take Tommy to the City Hospital Emergency Room… where they  did fixed him up.

The above photo shows  all of us the next day… all tired out from long hours the previous evening in the hospital… 

and TOMMY all stretched out resting from the drugs and medicine to heal him… and we are all just taking it easy on a nice Summer Sunny Day…

with very little conversation going on… about the terrific-o-o  “BIKE” trip!

Big Denny and little Denny Jr., with MOM and we are in the backyard of Mom’s sister, Irene Riley…

as everyone in the family wants to see the new addition to our family… this is back in 1940… and little Denny looks like he is just waiting to be able to get up and  go… on those legs that he is exercising just getting strong and ready!

Some families multiply… as you  can see above… MOM holding one of the twins, Eve Karen… and now  as the oldest… I am holding MOM’s purse and on the left side of this photo is Tommy and Deeny Jr., is on the right side…

and we are starting to grow in size and in new members… just doing what a good family is supposed to do… besides having too much FUN!

“Just have to remember some of the good ole days and what we did and believe that we all  did walk down that good road… as it is stated in Psalm 139… as some of the family are no longer here on Earth… but I’m guessing in Heaven… enjoying the rewards of a good and faithful servant… that  which… we all want to be and do!”

“LOVE and still miss all of the family,  that are no longer here… so have a tremendously  good and Happy  Birthday Party Mona… in Heaven!”        D.V.     xoxoxo

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“One More Happy Birthday to My Mother”


“I said It Before, Saying It Again”

“Mother” Grand and Great!

Mother equals Miracles! 

Let’s start at the beginning… without “Mother,”  there would  be no  “New Little Creations of Life!”  

The way,  that our Creator … created His  world, for all of us and wanting it to continue for all eternity, was to give  to all those that He designated in Psalm 139,  as “Mothers”  to receive  those “Blessings of Life” …

So that  with His Blessings  we would all want to live to the fullest… according to HIS word.

In other words … when you are Blessed… You are Happy… and when you speak to another  good words… you  will receive  back those HAPPY WORDS… in more Blessings.

And, the word for life,  is:  “It’s a   Miracle!” 

Are those not the exact words you hear by everyone… when you are visiting  a NEW MOTHER and the family…  at the maternity-ward?

Whatever  road… your journey  will be  and you  take in “Life”  as some of  us, can  and will take a wrong turn… here or there…remember always…your “Mother” was the first one to “Love You”…  no matter what else happens on the way. 

We, all are not born with “Silver Spoons”  in the “Land of Plenty!”  

As some do enter on the “Road of Life” with the most meager amount of substance, and as in  this great game of life… 

You  will work,  on  a plan… and hopefully your  very own plan….  that will  in time lead you to very  much  success, and happiness… when you  learn to give and share … as was given to you with many rewards in LIFE!

  In Life … here on Earth… everyone finds so many things  that, we might want to  do NOW, and so many  disturbing distractions… especially  TODAY…

In these  times that we are living in  TODAY… but we must not forget that there is a greater …here after…  that which we find in the WORD in the BIBLE… a book that I feel that every FAMILY should have… reading for guidance …

So for all REWARDS… that are planned  for each of us to receive…  as WE are to enter into Eternity … into the Loving and Merciful  arms of  Our Creator!

This week  Mom! 

  It was your “Birthday” to  be celebrated and remember,  “for all  that you did,” for all of  your family!   

 Of all people,  I know,  what a very rough road you were on for awhile.    Some families just may get  side tracked and will  not  remember their own families with  honour and respect, because they have let their eyes become blinded… by what they find as difficult and  hard on their  own roads of travel … and also have forgotten to use kind words of forgiveness and LOVE… to one another… as we all need to do! 

” They forgot their  first “Love”  Mother! 

“Happy Birthday!” 

 “NOW…  Always and forever!”       D.V.

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“Homemade Chocolate Baklava For Rosh Hashanah”

Learn how to make a delicious homemade Chocolate Baklava just in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year!

Hi Bold Bakers!

Today’s delicious Chocolate Baklava recipe was written by Dee, one of our Bold Baking Network experts, founder of One Sarcastic Baker, and author of a lovely recently-released Baking Science cookbook (buy it here). 

Fall is here, and that means it’s officially the time of year to celebrate the Jewish New Year — also known as Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year,” is traditionally celebrated with symbolism, like eating apples dipped in honey so that the upcoming year will be fruitful, like the apple tree in the fall, and as sweet as honey.

Typically, honey cake and apple desserts take the lead as the iconic Rosh Hashanah recipes, but I decided to twist the traditions a bit with this Chocolate Baklava. I figured that the nuts, like the apples, grow on trees, and the chocolate is also sweet, and this recipe would be an appropriate way to celebrate the holiday.

What Is Chocolate Baklava?

Baklava is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean dessert made by layering filo dough with grounded nuts and spices, then soaking it with sweet syrup.

There are countless Baklava recipes, and you may already have your favorite. Some call for walnuts and cinnamon, while others for pistachios, cloves, or cardamom. The options are unlimited!

Chocolate Baklava is another version of this iconic dessert, and it calls for chopped chocolate in addition to nuts and spices.

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Chocolate Baklava

Here is a list of the key ingredients; the complete list of ingredients, including measurements, you can find below on the recipe card.

  • Fillo sheets, the recipe calls for 25 sheets. A box of store-bought filo contains about 40 sheets.
  • Hazelnuts and almonds were my choices of nuts mostly because I love the combination of hazelnuts, almonds, and chocolate. You can use your favorite nuts, such as pistachios, walnuts, or pecans.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped. Any dark chocolate between 56-72% would be a good option. Milk chocolate or white chocolate might be too sweet for this recipe.
  • Granulated sugar. Most recipes do not add sugar to the filling, but I decided to add a ¼ cup. The sugar will dissolve and spread between the nuts and chocolate during baking. As it sets during cooling, it will also help with the setting of the filling.
  • Melted butter. Use unsalted, and if you wish this dessert to be Parve (non-dairy), use vegan butter. Do not substitute with oil — it will not taste good.
  • Cinnamon and cinnamon stick. The cinnamon stick is for the syrup; feel free to substitute it with your favorite spices.
  • Honey provides flavor, sweetness, and a smooth, sticky texture to the syrup.
  • Orange peel. I love the combination of cinnamon, orange, and chocolate with all the crunchy nuts.


Dee’s Pro Chef Notes For Making The Perfect Chocolate Baklava

  • Let the syrup chill before soaking the baklava. Start this recipe by making the syrup, so it will have time to cool off. Alternatively, you can make the syrup up to 7 days ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
  • When brushing the butter onto the filo, use very gentle strokes. The dough is fragile and can break easily, so pay attention when you brush!
  • Chop the chocolate as fine as you can for even distribution.
  • Slice the baklava before baking it. Unbaked, the dough is soft and easy to slice. You don’t have to cut all the way through, but, make sure to make the insertions marks with a knife.
  • Do not over-process the nuts in the food processor; otherwise, they will end up oily and sticky.
  • Keep in mind that it takes time for the baklava to cool, so it is best to bake it the night before you plan on serving it.

Tips For Working With Filo

  • Thaw the filo in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. If thawed improperly, the sheets stick together and are a sticky mess.
  • Place the filo between two kitchen towels and cover it if you are stepping away; the filo will dry or absorb moisture quickly when exposed to the air.
  • Have the filo next to your baking pan, and, holding the two corners closest to you, lift it gently. Once you hold the dough, gently place it in the pan. I like to layer it like putting a blanket over a bed by giving it a gentle wave to spread it evenly.
  • Roll the leftover sheets back into their original plastic and box, then store them in the fridge or freezer.


How To Store Chocolate Baklava

You can store homemade Chocolate Baklava at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer wrapped with plastic for up to 2 months. 


Chocolate Baklava Trouble Shooting And FAQ:

Can I make vegan chocolate baklava?

To make vegan chocolate baklava, substitute the butter with vegan butter and your favorite vegan chocolate.

Why is my baklava soggy?

Soaking it with syrup that is still warm will make your filo soggy. It is best to make the syrup in advance before pouring it over the baklava.

Why is my baklava filling so crumbly?

That is how baklava is! I would not worry about it; just be sure you give your baklava the proper time to chill and set.


Can I make this recipe without chocolate?

Yes, baklava has many variations. Replace the chocolate with any nuts you would like.

Can I freeze chocolate baklava?

Yes! Wrap your homemade baklava into individual portions using plastic wrap, and free for up to 2 months.

Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this baklava recipe?

Yes, but I would not recommend it; the sugar helps keep the baklava together. Also, baklava is famously known as a very sweet dessert!


Homemade Chocolate Baklava

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 5 mins
Learn how to make a delicious homemade Chocolate Baklava just in time to celebrate the Jewish New Year!
Author: Dee Frances
Servings: 24 slices



For the Syrup

  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/12 fl oz) water
  • ¾ cup (150 g/5 oz) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (180 ml/6 fl oz) honey
  • Orange peel from one orange
  • One cinnamon stick

For the Filling

  • 3 ½ cups (450 g/16 oz) roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 cups (140 g/5 oz) sliced toasted almonds
  • 2 cups (340 g/12 oz) chopped semi-sweet chocolate

  • ¼ cup (50 g/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (150 g/5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
  • 25 sheets of filo dough


Make the Syrup

  • In a large pan, pour the water, sugar, and honey, then add the orange peel and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then pour into a large measuring cup and refrigerate.

Make the Baklava

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Process the hazelnuts and almonds in a food processor until finely ground — place in a large mixing bowl and mix in the chopped chocolate.
  • Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and use a large spoon to mix. Set aside.
  • Brush the bottom of one 9×13-inch baking dish with the melted butter, then line a filo sheet over it. Brush the filo with butter, then layer another sheet over it. Repeat until you have five sheets layered.
  • Evenly sprinkle ¼ of the nuts mixture over the buttered filo and repeat the same process with the remaining filo and nut mixture.
  • Once you have layered the last filo, brush it with butter and use a sharp knife to cut the cake into three vertical and four horizontal positions—a total of 12 squares.
  • Cut each square into two triangles, then brush the cracks with butter.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the filo is golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately soak it with the chilled syrup.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 30 days.

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“When does “Tomorrow”  ever come for ME?”

“An Extra Special Happy Birthday Mom… and forever more”

Mom & all 4 001

This is the…  SAME LOCATION…  as the PHOTO below.

But in this Photo… that is my MOTHER… and  now… she is holding our baby sister Karen… this twin, that was a survivor!

Identical twins were born, each weighing eight and a half pounds… but first to be born was Kathleen, and had some trouble with the lungs… and was buried at Calvary Cemetery.

                        “Life Changes in… SEPTEMBER…”

Baby Karen 001

In SEPTEMBER  of 1945… LIFE as I knew it …came to a big change.

Since my MOTHER would be having twins in FEBRUARY of 1946…

My two  brothers DENNY  and TOMMY and ME  – would need a place to be taken care of … for a short time… A time long enough for my Mother to have the “TWINS” that she was now  expecting and a few months after the delivery… so that she could get back on her feet… to be able to do… all that she was now doing… but then… with five children.

This is what  my MOTHER was told while …all of the paperwork that she was  now signing … for this temporary placement to get started …that all  of this  preparation was just a formality … but once we were actually placed in the Orphanage … there was another story and they were not letting us leave…  when something sounds too good … beware… that which you were told … was not the truth.

To begin the search for this temporary housing…

There were three locations  – that children could be placed on a temporary basis.   The first one that we all went too… for a visit with a social worker  – doing the driving and giving us all the details  – as to what she thought would be a good place for each of us…

First, Saint Mary’s Home for Girls – in the South Saint Louis area.  This place – made a real impression on me – it was a very tired  and worn out place – and not at all friendly  and not really  a place… that I was wanting to go – and no amount of telling me – it would only be for a short time… was making me think differently!

The second place would be for boys only… Saint Joseph Home for Boys… and since I was not to go there – well nothing at all was very appealing  to me.

My two brothers – well they were just  too young to know what they wanted  and or even like, and I do not think that they had any idea … of what was really going on.

When each of my brothers were to be born… well I was the one that had to go somewhere for a short stay  – – and even the bag of candy  that I was given … did not set too well with me.

 That is one time – I’ll never forget!

I have this bag of candy to hold, all the while these adults are showing us this place … the different rooms … where I will be sleeping and  eating and playing… and then secretly my parents are no longer around… gone!

All the while I am taken to different places where all the children are… and I am still holding on to my bag of candy!

Now… it is that time of the day…  for us, children  to go to bed. I will not turn loose of my bag of candy. 

Finally I am placed in this bed… still holding tight that bag of candy… will not turn loose of it for no reason … at all!

Surprise it is MORNING… and I no longer have that bag of candy. Looked all over and started to cry… so that someone would help me, to find that bag of candy.

Nobody cared about my bag of candy… and was told “Tomorrow you will receive another bag of candy!”

To a young child… being told … “Tomorrow  YOU will receive a bag of CANDY”… means nothing at all.

“When does “Tomorrow”  ever come for ME?”

In the above photo… My FATHER is holding the one surviving twin KAREN –  then there is DENNY –  Mary Ellen – – TOMMY.

Did you ask…  are we HAPPY?

– – NO!

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“Remembering a very Happy and Young MARIE”

“Marie Brady at age 13”

This  is  another of those old  – (over 100 years old)  –  PHOTOS… that just does not seem to have much LIFE in… to last much longer, and  before it completely fades away…  just thought,  that I would give it one more shot, just to see…  if we can view the faces better, as “I  LOVE the fact…  that my “MOM”…  “to be”… is so cute!”

Lots of things will happen  between the date of this PHOTO and my BIRTH.     “America”  has not as yet  entered in the “First  World War” … and the “Roaring Twenties” has not as yet  “hit the scene” … and  young  “Marie”  has not completed  “GRADE SCHOOL” and of course my “FATHER  to be”…has not come  back from the  “WAR” situation…

And then…  on that “TRAIN to St.Louis…”  coming from ” CALIFORNIA”  destination to   “OHIO” in traveling,  met  a  “Mr. FLEMING, a cousin” …  who invites  “Mr. McClarren”  to celebrate their “home-coming” with all of  his   “BRADY clan”  in “MISSOURI” …  before continuing his trip to “OHIO” … and of course…  at that large gathering…  there  “DENNY”  meets   “MARIE”!

“WOW” and another  “WOW”!

In the above PHOTO is “Irene Brady Riley” sister to  “MARIE”   and the lady in the center a cousin, and  or she could be the wife of the eldest brother,  “JIM BRADY” …  and the little girl  seated on the left…  could be their  adopted  daughter, JIMMY BRADY ,  and so many years later…

I met her when she was married to  Mr. Shilling, and living in “FLORIDA.”   The boy seated on the right is unknown to me… at this time.

When looking at  “old photos” …  and we know … what has happened since…  good – bad…  indifferent…   there must be a reason…  that we do not know – – all the stuff in LIFE – – that  “will happen” …  if  we continue…  on the “PATHS” we took and or take… in those younger years? ********* 

 “We just could not move another step!”    D.V.

Marie & Family 001

Seated…”MOM’… “Neighbor and a good friend”… “Marie, and very young and living at home with MOM and POP” … and standing is “POP, Mr. Thomas F. Brady, himself”

Marie Brady – 1918


Miss Marie Brady  – Today is her  121st –  Birthday!

This  PHOTO  on the back side…is stamped that if you want more copies of this “PHOTO”…   the charge is $1.00 or 6 copies for $5.00 –

 “Now you have an idea of how old the photo is.”

I always,  liked this photo of my  Mother  “Marie Brady McClarren” …  but she did not like it… why ??? 

She did not say   and I  could – never get a reason?

So, today in Heaven…  I know that they are singing and dancing …  dancing the “Charleston”,  that was MARIE’s  favorite dance during  the “Roaring Twenties” and those  days of the “FLAPPERS”… they must have really  been having fun for those… who  did like to kick up their heels?

“Happy Birthday” …  to the  “BEST of  MOTHERS … and wishing lots and many more happy Birthdays in Heaven!


 If only they made cameras that would be perfectly focused in,  on that…  extra special  subject, my MOM to be, way back  and then,  in the 1930’s?

If  –  “Marie” did mot have to be the one child in the “Brady Family” that had to be the “Care-taker” of the older “PARENTS” …   since they did not have  that “Social Security”  thing,  set up way back then…  maybe we would have had the chance to get to know our MOTHER when she was much younger?

But of course, we do not have that choice to make,  as we  have been “thought of ” – way before the ‘world’  was a reality – – and we are only the “creatures” …  and never  have been,  the “CREATOR” of this universe. 

Everything had been in  a special  plan of the Creator and only by the “CREATOR”  as we read in the BIBLE  “Psalm 139”.

So, I am very  well pleased,  with the way everything has been and is going according to a plan and we just need to learn to be content with what we have and have received.

And then…  to do our part to help to make everything better for our neighbor as our self … and without complaining.

“Who in the world likes to hear constantly,  from a big complainer – any way?”

There was an old saying so long ago …  forgot who started promoting it …  but it goes like this…

“The LORD helps those that help themselves” … and of course most people took that the wrong way  but,  if you give a thought or two about it … it means that if you  can help someone along the road to Eternity… instead of only doing for yourself , you will be receiving so much more help in your own needs.

Because …  when someone is only receiving and never giving… his empty hand will cause such “backache” …  that there is no healthy  LIFE for  such a stingy one.

“In giving,  we receive  more Blessings from our CREATOR, and that is what is most important  for us … on this trip to our Eternal Reward!”     

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