:: Can you believe I accidentally deleted this photo off our camera? It captures so perfectly the character of both our children. Lucky my IT savvy husband was able to retrieve it from the jaws of IT nothingness ::
In her book ‘Traditions :: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy’, when speaking about Saint Patrick’s Day, Mrs Sharp reminds us of the Irish Proverb “There is no fireside like your own fireside”. How true that is. As much as our family loves our camping and adventuring holidays we take through the year at various times, it’s also lovely to arrive home to the warmth of our own fireside. After a lovely long weekend spent camping in the gorgeous Mount Field National Park with a few very close friends and relatives – to celebrate Marlin turning 2 – it was also lovely to arrive home and re-settle into our everyday rhythm. You can imagine how topsy-turvy our recent weeks had been as we busied ourselves with party preparations and camping organisation. Of course, every single moment of time spent dreaming, planning, creating and organising is beyond worth it when one sees the children’s joy as they enjoy the Teddy Bears’ Picnic we held to celebrate Marlin’s birthday, it was also nice to ‘get back to rhythm’ yesterday and what better way to ease back into school than with a Festival!
Despite our celebrations of this Irish Saint being a far cry from the days of pub crawls through The Rocks with the boys drinking copious amounts of Guinness – the festivities we enjoy now-a-days are still surrounded by shenanigans that I am sure have the scent of Leprechauns at work! Mrs Sharp tells us that 40 million Americans claim Irish Heritage, but on March 17 – that number increases dramatically! How true that is! I have to say, this Festival has to be amongst one of my favourites, it is such fun to plan and celebrate. I think many people dig deep into their Ancestral roots on March 17 to find any reason to celebrate the calamity of this mischievous day honouring a wonderful Saint. The children delight in the mischief of the Leprechauns and just quietly, I think it’s a day that they subconsciously channel their inner Leprechaun; running amok, laughing heartily, playing pranks, being cheeky and having a jolly old goof of a time. It’s a real ‘let-your-hair-down’ day and I think that’s lovely for not only the children, but ourselves as well.
:: Chilli picked this delightful end of Summer flower bunch from amidst our food gardens and arranged it so perfectly in this very appropriate green vase that she chose from the cupboard on her own ::
We always scour our wardrobe for any items that are green and we pull together, sometimes some of the most uncoordinated – but fun all the same, outfits. Marlin did indeed look like a little Leprechaun yesterday in his green outfit, and to be honest – it’s probably a very fitting character for him – he’s quite the cheeky little one, our very own Leprechaun indeed!
Green food is always a must for the day; For breakfast we juiced new season apples with carrot tops from our food garden – bright green ‘Leprechaun juice’. We foraged in the garden for greens and of course the mix included clover from our food garden paths. Boiled eggs from our ladies were sliced in rounds and arranged to look like shamrocks a-top our fresh Leprechaun salad. Lunch was ‘Green Soup’ – lots of onion and garlic fried around with a few zuc’s from our abundant supply in the food garden at the moment, a splash of stock (but not too much as I like this soup quite thick), salt and pepper, then whizz it up once the zuc is cooked through. As far as quick and easy meals go, this one is top of the list. I love the way the zuc’s take on the onion flavour so beautifully, it’s a little like a French Onion Soup – just green! With dinner we served fresh steamed beans and mustard from our food garden and mixed some of our flourishing chives through the butter. I love that our cooling Autumnal days make the weather so conducive to a real hearty Irish meal. Irish stew was our meal of the night, prepared by Chilli and I earlier in the day and left to slow bake through the afternoon. Normally we make Dublin Coddle which is another of my favourite Irish and Winter meals, but we’d just had that the week past when we were camping (makes an easy camp meal!). Of course no Irish stew is complete without a good Irish Soda Bread to accompany it, this year we made ours in the shape of a Shamrock and used our favourite bread baking book recipe (although I sub in our natural baking powder instead of bicarb soda, the bicarb gives quite a sharp, zesty flavour otherwise. So maybe our Irish Bread isn’t so ‘soda’ after all!)
:: Sometimes it seems like overnight, the children just ‘grow up’ with certain abilities. Chilli has always loved to help me cook and has from a young age been very able with kitchen tasks, but yesterday I marvelled at her attention to, ability with and neatness of peeling/chopping the garlic ::
Irish Music is always played throughout the day and my favourite album is ‘Celtic Woman :: Songs from the Heart’. Amongst the songs in this collection are some of my all time favourites and the women’s voices in this group are phenomenal – goosebump and tear evoking!
:: Yes, that band-aid is from a felting injury! ::
:: Despite her look captured here, Chilli was quite chuffed with her felted clover fashioning it into a ring to wear around for the rest of the day ::
For school on Festival Day, Chilli needle felted a Shamrock using a cookie cutter and then we made a Triquetra design on the front, adding a fleece wrapped pipe cleaner to the back as the stalk. (There’s something I love about the Triquetra form and design – it’s actually on my engagement/wedding ring!) Marlin had lots of fun with potato stamping and then the children both headed outdoors to collect supplies for, and build their Leprechaun Gardens.
With our evening meal we said an Irish Blessing (there is so many beautiful Irish Blessings to choose from) and played a fun ‘Leprechaun’s Family Game‘. I wrote out the activities as well as our blessing onto cards created from one of Marlin’s stamping artworks from the day. Following our meal, we each took a stone the children had painted green and I’d painted little shamrocks onto. We held the stone, made a wish and put our breath onto the stone and wish before placing the little wishing stones into the children’s Leprechaun gardens.
To cap off our evening, we enjoyed fresh apple pie with new season apples, while listening to a great Saint Patrick’s Day story from our favourite storyteller Sparkle Stories. The story we listened to was a Martin and Sylvia story, titled ‘Saint Patricks Day’ which is week 36 (or week 10 on a Southern Hemisphere feed) in the ‘Martin and Sylvia’ subscription series. Marlin is coming to an age where he really enjoys the stories now – he spent most of the story doing this funny little belly laugh that he’s recently started doing, it was quite amusing indeed!
:: Saint Patrick is a simple peg doll, the sheep is made from roving wrapped around a basic pipe cleaner frame, the snake is a roving covered pipe cleaner twisted around to look like a snake and the pig is an Ostheimer one the children had amongst their play things. Saint Patrick’s hood lifts up and down to change him from the young boy in Ireland to the shepherd and then the Bishop. The wooden driftwood stick ties into the side of his cloak with a strand sewn there for that purpose and changes the young Irish boy into the shepherd and then becomes his staff as he becomes Bishop ::
When the children close the curtains over for the evening on their gardens outside, they say a prayer to the Leprechauns and hope for a little bit of gold to be left when the Leprechauns pass through to enjoy the gardens they leave out for them. Sure enough, Leprechaun dust was to be seen this morning all over the gardens, and as usual, they did leave the children a piece of gold. However because those cheeky little, mischief loving Leprechauns can’t ever just do anything straight forward, they always leave the gold in a little pile of honey! Sticky Honey Money! This year, I helped the Leprechauns with a little Saint Patrick’s Day gift I’ve had my eye on making for a few years now. I finally got around to making a ‘Saint Patrick’s Day Story Bag‘. It was quite simple, easy and fun to put together in the low light of a quite home once the children had settled last night. I think it came together quite lovely and would like to explore the idea of using this for the Saints we study in Grade 2 next year. I also think we’ll make a Leprechaun trap next year. I think Grade 2 is a nice age for this activity and Chilli is excited to think about this through the coming year and create some great trap ideas!
There were smiles all around this morning as these parting Leprechaun gifts were discovered. Chilli always delights in the Honey Money, Marlin seemed a little concerned why the money was sticky – but enjoyed immensely the story bag, while Chilli flicked through a simple book with lovely illustrations and short stories about the life and legends surrounding Saint Patrick.
What is your favourite part of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations?
“May your Troubles be less
And your Blessings be more
And nothing but Happiness
Come through your door”
:: Irish Blessing ::