How Sweet it Is … A Family Favorite

One of my favorite foods growing up was my Grandma ‘Stelle’s babka. It is absolutely delicious. We typically ate it at Easter with the traditional Ukranian kielbasa and pierogies, followed by Grandma’s super-sweet yellow cake with vanilla frosting — topped with marshmallow Peeps®, jellybeans and any other sweet, colorful Easter candy she could find.

My mom has since mastered baking Grandma ‘Stelle’s Babka and I couldn’t be more thankful. I received my box filled with three loaves just before Easter and have been savoring every bite. I prefer it toasted and topped with sweet, unsalted butter. Thanks, mom, Grandma would be proud!

For those of you who have never had Babka, here is Wikipedia’s definition (we eat it with raisins only… no icing or rum):

Eastern and Central European babka, especially among Christians, is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake that is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. The cake is traditional in Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia, as well as among the Rusyns (Ruthenians) in northeastern Hungary. Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College says “babka comes from baba, a very tall, delicate yet rich yeast-risen cake eaten in Western Russia and Eastern Poland.”[1] Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling.

Easter Bunny, Would You Bring Me More Hard Drive Space?

I’m quickly running out of room on the computer. I took way too many pictures of the little cuties this weekend. The weather was beautiful, food tasty and company perfect. We decided on a low-key, barbecue-style Easter this year and boy, it was delicious! The Easter Bunny left eggs for the girls to find and they had a blast running around the yard, filling their baskets.


Egg Hunt

Between raindrops this weekend, we were able to fit in our annual Easter Egg Hunt with my moms’ group. There are way too many cute kiddies to include, so I just picked some of my favorite shots from the day. It’s pretty hard trying to follow and enjoy the thrill of egg hunting with my girls while trying to take photographs of all the other cuties, but I did my best! Thanks to Shauna, Megan and Camile as always for making our events great!



*Thanks to Danielle for digitally capturing my family




First Taste of Summer

Here in New Jersey, the weather likes to trick us. 85 one day in April, ice-cold rain the next. As I sit here typing, it is POURING down rain outside. On Monday the kids at school were running around in short sleeves in the sunshine, so I took the girls for ice cream at my MOST favorite place for treats — Dairy Queen. Hands-down, the soft-serve vanilla with cherry dip is my favorite. I opt for the cup because I’m a slow ice cream eater and well, ok, I like when the cherry candy clumps at the bottom to make a bonus treat. So I say to you, with ice cream raised high, here’s to a quick spring and my first DQ treat of the “summer”.

Busy Weekend, Day Two

I got to spend time on Sunday morning with some of my favorite people. My best friends in the world. We were laughing about the fact that we were all at a park with our kids and picnic lunches — instead of at a bar on a Saturday night. Times have changed! These get-togethers are much more rare these days and wish they could be more frequent. Lori & Ben, Cori, Bry & Julie — always a good time.

Miles and Cori




Young love - Andrea & Miles

Family See-Saw Fun - Thanks, Lor!

Busy Weekend, Day One

What a busy weekend we had with friends and family! Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day here in the Garden State. Cousins Brian and Sarah came up from Virginia for a visit with their adorable two-year-old son, Maxwell. It was so nice to see them – way too much time had passed since the last visit! We were joined by Chris and Anne, my brother and sister-in-law and our adorable niece, Adeline, who we adore. We had a fun afternoon picnic and playtime at the park, followed by naps for all the littles and daddies. When do mommies sleep?

Addie on the monkey bars ...

Max gets a push from Daddy

Josey all-smiles on the see-saw

Brave little Sammy crossing the rope bridge for the first time ...

Ice cream social


 Until next time! We had a blast, cousins … Stay-tuned for Busy Weekend, Day Two, tomorrow.

Dance Party Fridays

Here at Casa Vitale, we like to have Dance Party Fridays from time to time. The last one featured Michael Jackson’s Thriller cd. P.Y.T. (or Pretty Young Thing for those not up on the MJ lingo) is a house favorite. All you need is a disco ball, flashlight, dance tunes and willing participants. Princess dresses optional. Happy Friday everyone!

Tiny Love

Ok, so only a few days into my blog and this is the third time I’m posting about food. It proves to be an interesting topic, so I could NOT resist giving major kudos to Hershey for coming up with these tiny, unwrapped bite-sized delights. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my all-time favorite chocolate candy and the tiny ones just rock. The key is to freeze them. You will die of yum. I do often exceed the 11 piece serving size recommendation, but you will too. Promise.

Hide and Seek

This is one of my most favorite recent photos of my bigger little love. Those pretty eyes and innocent face – during a game of hide and seek while waiting for the train to come. We had just taken in our first Morristown St. Paddy’s day parade and look forward to making this a new O’Vitale tradition.

Delightful Dish

Don’t you just love when you get an orange that is perfect? A fruit that doesn’t live up to its potential is extremely disappointing. This is why I had to capture this morning’s deliciously perfect breakfast. Crispy Calandra Panella bread and a juicy Clementine.