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St. Patrick’s Day: It’s more than just green beer!

green beer

Photo from livescience.com

Wearing shamrocks, drinking green beer, and marching in a parade have become yearly activities associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Although the holiday began in Irish religious tradition, it has taken root globally. Making leprechaun traps are a regular grade school assignment in the US. Every year McDonald’s pumps out its, now infamous, Shamrock Shake and we all believe we are a little Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.

But beyond the festivities and merry making what do we really know about this holiday? Well for starters St. Patrick was a real guy. The day is to honor St. Patrick bringing Christianity to Ireland.

St. Patrick was actually from Britain. At sixteen he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a slave. During his time there he discovered his calling. When he escaped and returned home, he became a priest. After sometime he felt another calling. This was to return to the place he spent 6 years as a slave, and spread his faith.  He traveled back to Ireland and set about converting the Irish people to Christianity.

So how did a feast day devoted to a Christian Saint go mainstream?

In the early 1900’s, St. Patrick’s Feast Day became a national Catholic holiday and the Saint’s association with Ireland grew. From there it became a national holiday in Ireland. Parades honoring Irish heritage and culture began to take place in conjunction with the feast day. When the Great Potato Famine occurred many Irish emigrated to America. They brought the St. Patrick’s Day traditions with them to cities like New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Today, although it is not a recognized national holiday in the US, St. Paddy’s Day has become a national way to recognize Irish heritage throughout America. Likewise, it has spread in an international phenomenon and is  celebrated worldwide in countries like Russia, Japan and Argentina.

What is the meaning behind Shamrocks, leprechauns and Green beer?

The Shamrock is more then just a green clover. It was the symbol used by St. Patrick to explain the holy trinity. The idea of a four leaf clover being good luck actually pre-dates St. Patrick according to thespruce.com.

Celtic dominance once extended across Ireland and much of Western Europe. It was the Druids (Celtic priests) who elevated four leaf clovers to the status of good-luck charms, allegedly potent against malevolent spirits. Their status as Celtic charms is the origin of the modern belief in their power to bestow good luck.”

Leprechauns were part of early Irish folklore. They are mischievous fairy like folk tasked with mending the shoes of other magical beings. According to livescience.com, in the leprechaun legend, these little being can use their magic for good or evil purposes. Should you capture a one of these wee 0nes, they will share their pot of gold with you.

According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to find a leprechaun and capture him (or, in some stories, steal his magical ring, coin or amulet) can barter his freedom for his treasure. Leprechauns are usually said to be able to grant the person three wishes. But dealing with leprechauns can be a tricky proposition.”

And then there was the beer..

Green Beer? This strange beverage is America’s contribution to the St. Patrick’s Day feast. According to thedailymeal.com, green beer was first served in 1914 by a New York coroner during a St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

A newspaper article from 1914 describes a New York social club serving green beer at a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner. In it, the invention is attributed to one Dr. Curtin, a coroner’s physician who achieved the effect by putting a drop of “wash blue” dye in a certain quantity of beer.”

Apparently, green beer is so remarkable it can not be contained to St. Patrick’s Day alone. It now has it’s very own day called Green Beer Day and even celebrated yearly by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

If you want to brew up your own green beer, here is a recipe from thespruce.com.

However, you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day remember Be safe, Be merry and wear the green.

(Sources: Wikipedia, celebratingholidays.com and History.com

 

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Mom’s Christmas List

Moms Christmas ListEach year the hectic pace of the season, the barrage of holiday advertisements and the flurry of holiday related activities, can cause us to loose our enthusiasm for the season. As Mom’s often feel it is our reasonability to ensure that everyone has the best Holiday ever. However often we do this at the sacrifice of our own joy of the season.

We are always so concerned with making sure we get everyone the perfect, meaningful gift that expresses our love for them. We struggle to make everyone’s Christmas as special and memorable as it can be. Mom’s help with the PTA Christmas parties, plan the office festivities and the charitable donations to help someone in need.

Mom is the person who plans out, shops for, and slaves away in the kitchen making the perfect Christmas dinner, while everyone else plays, or sits on the couch. Mom is also the one who creates the Christmas memories each and every year. She bakes the cookie, initiates the decorating, and mails out all the Christmas cards.

All of this she does at a break neck pace. Mom handles weekends filled with frantic shopping, party attending and gift wrapping. By the end of it all us mom’s are exhausted and lets face it, the joy of the season has been sucked right out of us.

It is tough to have joy when you know the day after Christmas you must return to work, a mountain full of Christmas dinner dishes and a depleted savings since you spent your Christmas bonus. It becomes easy to start to dread the season when it seems we are the only ones giving.

And as much as we love our handmade ornaments, and waffle irons. Sometimes we just wish someone would acknowledge all that we do. Sometimes we wish we could celebrate without all of the work, hassle and fun-sucking holiday reasonability. Like most times of the year, mom’s we have brought this on ourselves. Have we ever told our significant others to take on some of the holiday tasks for us? Did we ever let go of the never ending list of Christmas responsibilities we thrust upon ourselves? Have we ever really asked for what we want for Christmas?

Well, mom’s this year (and hopefully for years to come,) we can take back our Christmas and celebrate instead of slaving away. Here is at least the start of a list of Christmas wishes a mom should ask for. Adjust it for your situation and family. What is more important is to put things on this list that make YOU happy, content and bring YOUR joy back to the holidays.

A Mom’s Christmas List

  1. To not having to shop for everyone by ourself

    Please Dad’s it would be a great to have a little help here. Plus, seeing as in most case mom is the one with the kids, this responsibility robs us of any “me” time we might have (or desperately need) during the season.

  2. To have a maid during the holiday’s

    It is near impossible to get all of the Christmas shopping, baking and decorating done while family members leave constant messes in their wake for mom to clean.

  3. To have someone else do the laundry during the holiday’s

    With the constant events, activities and parties the amount of laundry seems to have doubled. With less time to get it all done it sits in a wrinkled pile on the laundry room floor. This is the newest in holiday décor.

  4. To not put on 10 lbs by the end of Christmas

    Yes, I know this comes in the form of will power. It is not really a gift anyone else can give us, but is something we need to give ourselves. By taking some of the holiday pressures off we would be less likely to stress eat and over indulge. Eat some of the things you enjoy that are special but doesn’t loose all care about yourself and your health this holiday. Gift yourself good health.

  5. To have dinner made for YOU

    Boy, wouldn’t it be nice to come home from a long day during the holiday’s to find a dinner cooked for you? Instead you are greeted with  “Mom’s, what’s for dinner?” At which you look in the pantry and realize you have to work some Christmas magic on a can of corn, a bag of fish sticks and a jar of tomato sauce since you never got to the grocery store.

  6. For someone to get you the Christmas gift YOU have always wanted

    And no this is not some home appliance or gadget. It would be something like… oh I don’t know… a day of pampering, a day long shopping spree or really just a day of to do nothing.

  7. To have some help in the kitchen

    I am not sure why the responsibility to create all of the baked goods for Christmas always falls on mom. I mean Dad’s can cook to right? Plus, this could really create a happy holiday scene of time shared in the kitchen. Instead of the holiday horror film of a mom covered in flour, baking like a maniac and screaming at everyone to let here get this done. No, when mom is in this state do not ask if she can get you some juice or if she knows where you cell phone charger is. If you are not offering her help, then leave her alone.

  8.  A really comfy pair of PJ’s and a chance to stay in them all day

    No explanations needed

  9. To not have to try and see both sides of the family on Christmas Day

    The effort it takes to try and please everyone not only leaves you exhausted and annoyed but never really pleases anyone. The kids can’t get time to play with their new toys so they are unhappy. Plus, each side of the family feels like you showed up too late or left too early. In most cases they feel slighted no matter how much you rush.

  10. To remember this is about giving not getting

    That mean you mom. It is ok to give to yourself. You deserve to create for yourself a memorable special holiday filled with love for family and love for the many gifts god has given you this year. Take some time for quiet reflection, go to church, go for a walk but give yourself a break from the hectic pace of the holiday’s to get in touch with what brings you joy.

 

Sacrifice and Principles

sacrifice and principles that built the US

Sacrifice and Principles that define America.

On July 4th we in the U.S.A celebrate the independence of our country. Although, this holiday is unique to America, the themes of “the fourth,” are universal. Sacrifice and principles are two themes that standout and represent the meaning of this holiday to me.

These are two ideals that, I feel, represent this country. It was the sacrifice of many men and women during the revolutionary war that helped to form the United States.

These were men, black and white, like James Armistead.

Woman, young and old, like 16 year old, Sybil Ludington and Molly Ludwig.

They sacrificed their livelihood, status and, in many cases their life, to insure the freedoms of there countryman. This sense of sacrifice continues today by those serving in the armed forces and with law enforcement here at home. They preserve out right to these freedoms and maintain democratic order.

The second theme that built the US is Principle.

These democratic pioneers defined themselves by the deep principles of fairness, independence and freedom. It’s because of these principles that today we can pursue our own happiness, help our neighbors and live our lives based on our belief system, not one dictated by others. [ctt title=”In our day to day activities we tend to take for granted the amazing breath of our freedoms. ” tweet=”In our day to day activities we tend to take for granted the amazing breath of our freedoms. ” coverup=”i2YR9″]We get caught up in what we don’t have and forget to appreciate all we do.flag

In America we are lucky enough to live in a place that, even if you are uncomfortable with the idea, a man can identify as a woman.

And even if you disagree with it, people of different colors or the same sex can marry each other.

Even if you don’t believe it, those around you can worship as they see fit without hindrance.

You have the right to agree or disagree with others and to express your support or outrage without persecution from government.  This is not a luxury afforded to everyone around the world. These things do not exist in other places. These rights, beliefs and principals formed America and these freedoms are what we celebrate. This July 4th, in between the moments of fireworks and BBQ’s, be thankful for the gift of freedom we have. We must not overlook them or take them for granted.


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Best April Fool’s Day Pranks To Play On Your Family

April Fool’s Day has never really been a holiday I have given much thought to. However, I have noticed a growing trend on April 1st. Parents playing pranks on there kids. It is all in good fun with a playful spirt and main is it creative. It seems like Mom and Dad have decided to take advantage of one day of the year where it is ok… no even expected to prank the kids. Check out these April Fools Day jokes and maybe try them out on our kids.

600_ss_Undrinkable-JuiceUndrinkable juice- Switch out your child’s juice with gelatin of the same shade. (I’m trying this one on my husband!) –Parenting.com.

funny-trucks-11Have a fun ride to school – Place a sign on the back of your car that says for people to hooWAP2nk, wave and shout your kids name.-PopHangover.com

Freeze your kids morning cereal – I’m so doing this one!

Stick goggle eyes on the food in your refrigerator – So doing this one too!

Tape and air horn to the wall next to the door

Bug under the lap shade -Use black paper and cut out the outline of a bug and place it under a lamp shade to create a creepy silhouette when the light is turned on.-Sayyes.com

Head in a Jar – Takes a bit of work but it is sure to have a big (but funny) impact. Also great for Halloween. – Instructables.com

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What a Mom Really wants on Valentines Day

heartI have seen others address that this is a greeting card holidays and I kind of agree. St Valentine was a Roman catholic priest who secretly marrying couples in defiance of the Roman Emperor. He was discovered and beheaded in February 14. So yes we are celebrating a beheading. Well, not so much. St. Valentines has become a day to celebrate Love.

It started off as a celebration of romantic love but has morphed, through clever makerting into a celebration of all things hearts and candy.  School age children now create Valentine’s Day boxes to collect all the heart-shaped goodies and friendship notes from classmates. So it has become a celebration of “Love” with a capital L, in a family friendly way. So Dad’s (pay attention here!) instead of purchasing chocolates and jewelry here are a few ideas of things a Mom REALLY wants for Valentines day.

1) To have someone else do the laundry and put it away
2) To have a home cooked meal… cooked by someone else
3) A sweetly packed lunch for work with a hand written love note.
4) Amazon gift cards for all the online shopping without the guilt
5) Quiet time by herself that does not require hiding in the bathroom.
6) The chance to take a nap. (We would all kill for this!)
7) A paid maid service for a day
8) Family members to pick up after themselves without having to be asked to do it
9) Cleaning out mom’s car of all the toys, papers and miscellaneous things left there by family members, that she lacks the time to remove.

10) Spending quality time as family doing something she wants and had probably asked for before.

You would be surprised how simple and small these things could be. Sometimes it is just to go for a walk, do a family craft together, or just watch her favorite movie. But it can mean a lot to an overstressed mom and would go a long way to showing her how much you “Love” her.

Crockpot Love

The holidays are such a busy time, the shopping, the decorating, cookies and chocolate everywhere. This year I have turned to my crockpot to help me eat healthy and keep on track. So far it seems to be working. I have averaged one slow cooker meal a week in additions to my other cooking and by has it saved me time and money.

Slow cooking is not only a no-brainer time saver, it is also economical. The investment in the cost of a slow cooker  can run you any where from $16 for a 4-quart variety like this one from Amazon (Affiliated link)  to about $50 for a larger one like this. Keep in mind that there are several price points in between that would easily met your needs. So the amount you spend doesn’t have to break the bank.wp-1449282887080.jpg

Also, most slow cooker recipes do not require a large amount of ingredients and are commonly made with items usually found in any household pantry. Many slow cooker recipes make use of frozen or canned goods and meats that can cook for  a long time over low heat. These items tend to be far cheaper then their fresh counterparts. Just compare a bag of frozen veggies to those in the produce section and your can clearly see the dollar difference, sometimes as much as $1 to $2 per item.

In an effort to keep these meals healthy and affordable, I have become a part of a Facebook Clean Eating Slow Cooker Challenge. During the challenge participants are asked to cook up 7 slow cooker meals in 7 days. Along the way the hosts of the group  will be providing healthy, tips and variations on the recipes.

I went out on Friday to shop for the ingredients for all 7 meals and it only cost me $40. Yes…7 meals for $40. This amount may vary for you since I had some of the stuff already in my pantry, but still that is an amazing savings. I am so looking forward to this challenge. If you would like to join in, check out the link on my Facebook page or click right here. It should be a fun time with great food! Now to go clean out my slow cooker.

 

Christmas Eye Spy

In response to the daily post photo challenge “Eye Spy.” My son with his handmade Christmas ornament. Decorating for Christmas has been so much fun seeing the holiday through his eyes.

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