Tuesday, February 23, 2010

St. Patrick's Day in America.......Who, What, Where, When and Why

Erin Go Bragh

Americans celebrate this holiday with the drinking of green beer, the eating of corned beef and cabbage, wearing of the green and watching parades.  But do you know who he is and why it's celebrated?  According to my paternal Grandma, I have a drop of Irish blood in me, though I am mostly of German and Dutch descent.  So, I've decided to do some research and find out the who, what, where, when and why and report it here as a series over the next couple of weeks.

"St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th.  The Irish have observed this religious holiday for over a thousand years.  St. Patrick is the the patron saint of Ireland.  St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.  At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family's estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.  During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian.  After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice-which he believed to be God's-spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.  Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than fifteen years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission-to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.  Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish.

On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage."

Information courtesy of:  http://www.history.com/content/stpatricksday/who-was-st.-patrick

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentine's Day Favorite Find #2

I LOVE chocolate!  And what better way to show those you love by sharing a handmade chocolate treat with them.  Hershey's website has wonderful recipes of all kinds.  This one sounds delicious and seems pretty simple to make.  You could make a handcrafted candy jar (see below) and fill it up with these!   

Rich 'n Good Chocolate Truffles


1-2/3 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 packages (4 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar, broken into pieces and chopped*
1-1/3 cups HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, chopped*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
COATING(recipe follows)

1. Combine whipping cream and butter in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; remove from heat. Stir in both chocolates until completely melted; continue stirring until mixture cools and thickens slightly. Stir in vanilla. Pour into shallow glass dish. Cover; refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or until firm.
2. To form truffles, with spoon, scoop mixture into 1-inch balls; roll in COATING. Cover; refrigerate until firm. Reroll before serving, if desired. Serve cold. About 4 dozen truffles.

* Food processor can be used for chopping chocolate.

COATING: Stir together 1/2 cup sifted HERSHEY'S Cocoa and 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar in small bowl.

This recipe was found at: 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Valentine's Day Favorite Find

Valentine's Day brings back memories of those little cards that we would pass out in class in elementary school, hoping that you'd get one from that cute boy that sat on the other side of the classroom, or maybe one with a piece of candy taped to it! Once in awhile, a mom would bring in cupcakes to celebrate. And then, there was always that Valentine's Day craft we'd make in school for our mom, usually consisting of tissue paper and paste. I now have a box full of Valentine's Day gifts from my daughters that they made when they were in school. I still have one sitting on my desk here at work from 12 years ago (a little clay pot with silk flowers)! So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be fun to make a gift to give to someone special, be it your spouse, significant other, your best friend, your mom, your dad or your child!

Below you will find directions on how to decorate a glass jar to fill with your favorite candy! You can personalize it with your own colors and/or sentiments.  Make a miniature version by using a baby food jar. 



Outdoor acrylic paint (red and white)
Mod Podge ® Matte
Glass jar with lid (mason jar or recycled food jar)
Gingham red and white paper
Paper with love phrases
Red paper
Pink paper
Small sparkle heart piece
Red ribbon
Hot glue
Large craft stick

-Paint the lid Engine Red. Allow to dry.
-Cut out a large heart to go on front of jar and a small circle to fit on top of lid from the gingham paper. Glue into place with Mod Podge.
-Cut out heart shape from pink paper to go on top of the gingham heart. Glue it in place with Mod Podge.
-Cut out a smaller red heart and glue on top of the pink heart with Mod Podge.
-Cut a large craft stick to the length of the word phrase using scissors. Paint it Wicker White. Glue the phrase to the front with Mod Podge. Allow to dry. Apply a finish coat of Mod Podge to the paper only that is glued to jar and lid. Put a finish coat also on phrase. Allow to dry and then hot glue the red bow and small glitter heart in place.