Thursday, January 31, 2013

St. Brigid's Feast Day~ Literature, Crafts, and a Recipe


Tomorrow is the feast day of St Brigid, patroness of Ireland, babies and scholars. Here's a mini-unit of study around St Brigid, a bit in advance of her day, so that you have time to get organized:  A little info, some literary resources, a craft and a wonderful recipe.


As a 100% Irish lass ( though it's said that no one, given Ireland's turbulent history,  is truly of 100%  "Irish"  descent) St Brigid has always been a beacon to me. Nothing stopped this gal. She exemplified generosity to all and became an inspiration to legions of the  Irish.

Her accomplishments were many,  despite being born to a life of slavery. Her father, a pagan chieftain, eventually granted her freedom, after which she immediately sought to be consecrated fully to a life of service to Christ. She  spent years, then, over the map of Ireland, overseeing the building of abbeys and rose to considerable power as an abbess. 

 When she was born, Ireland was half pagan and half Christian. Upon her death in 525 A.D., the country had been transformed to an almost fully Christian country.

Here are a few books you might like to enjoy: 
We use 57 Stories of Saints  rather frequently. Many Catholic homeschoolers have a copy on their shelves. You probably do, as well. There's a very nice bio in here on St Brigid that 
your littles will likely enjoy.

This is also a lovely book to read for S Brigid's feast day:

For Mom, perhaps a bit more detail and an escape into some historical fiction around this woman of our Church?  You might enjoy reading this title, Brigid of Kildare.
Doesn't the cover alone look enticing?

How to make St Brigid's Cross:
We are creating these crosses tomorrow and so, I've no shots of our craft to share as of yet. This is, of course, the legendary cross of St Brigid.

St. Brigid and her cross are linked together by the story that she wove this form of cross at the death bed of  her father.  As you know,  he was a pagan lord and legend has it that upon hearing what the cross truly meant, asked to be baptized.

All you need to make the crosses with your kids is:
1.  a link to this amazing site 
2.  pipe cleaners ( I bought a few packages of 45 at The Dollar Tree last night--what a steal)  
3. Perhaps some of this music  in the background. 

Since we are an Irish family ( though <sob> my kids are only 1/2 Irish!! ), the lovely strains of Irish music begin on St Brigid's Day and continue through St Pat's feast day  in March.

A recipe for St Brigid's feast:
 This Irish Soda Bread  recipe was given to me many years ago. Since then I have tweaked it much. I don't quite know how many hundreds of loaves I have made in the past two decades alone. I bake this bread and mail it  to friends and family all over the US between now and St Pat's Day   There are so very many special people who used to live nearby and enjoy corn beef and cabbage around the saints' feast days with us. But now, because time and distance do not allow us the privilege of time spent together, I have to rely on the US Postal Service!

It is quite an easy and yummy recipe that you and the kids will enjoy concocting and enjoying with dinner, as breakfast, or as a snack during the day:

Irish Soda Bread.

4 c flour
4 tbsp white sugar
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 c butter softened
1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 c raisins
(optional- 1/2 c caraway seeds)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease your baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, powder, soda, butter.

3. Stir in buttermilk and egg, raisins.

4. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead. Form dough into a round. Place on baking sheet

5. Combine 1/4 c buttermilk with butter. Brush loaf with this mixture.

Bake 45-50 min. Cont to brush bread with mixture

Pats of butter melted onto slices of this bread? It's the best.

One more thing~
You must click over to my friend Tracy's article
at Epic Pew:  Here’s 31 Things You Probably 
Didn’t Know About St. Brigid of Ireland
It's SO well done...I know you'll enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday- Weekly Scrapbook

My Wordless Wednesday isn't so wordless and I love how it's  become a weekly scrapbook/photo dump for  the sake of my own  organization.
Here goes: Heavy on shots of The March 2013.

All photos copyrighted.
Spelling bingo
 My version of Wordless Wednesday:
Gorgeous sunrise en route to The March for Life  in D.C. Friday morning
                                For my post of The March, please click here.

 National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception, D.C..My son  snapped this one. Beautiful.

A few of our gang in front of the Supreme Court building.
It. Was. Cold.

Grabbing a pass during Saturday's game

Multiplication /division review

Some lovely calligraphy 

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday with Do Small Things with Love
Small ThingsAll photos copyright Campfires and Cleats. Please do not use.

Thank you for stopping in, friends.

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Try a New Recipe Tuesday: Rainbow Chip Cookies

Rainbow Chip Cookies

I am happy to link up again today for Try a New Recipe Tuesday with Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos, who hosts this fun blog hop!

 Who ISN'T looking for another fun, tasty gooey treat to brighten up a winter day for our hard working homeschooled  kids?? And of course, we, Moms, could use a little yumminess as well, right? Of course, we could.

My kids and I first  baked these  on a wintry afternoon right before Valentine's Day last year.  ( Hence the reddish, festive dish.) Since then, we've enjoyed  them many times.  The rainbow chips are a bright touch to ordinary chocolate chip cookies! (If there is such a thing as an ordinary chocolate chip cookie!)

I got this recipe out of an old battered cookbook eons ago and have tweaked it a bit, in addition to substituting rainbow chips for regular chocolate chips.

1 C butter, softened
1 C white sugar
2 eggs
1 C packed brown sugar
2 tspns vanilla
3 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tspn hot water
1/2 tspn salt
2 C chips (You might like to try these) But you can stick with chocolate chips, of course
 1 C chopped walnuts

* Preheat oven to 350.

* Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar until smooth.
    Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter   along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips and nuts.

*Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are nicely browned.

Coming next Tuesday: My famous quiche!
 Okay, it's not really famous. Only here in our house. But still. I did create the recipe and it's so gosh darn easy. 

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Memoir Monday: Sentimental Journey

Friday, January 25, a few days ago, the day that my younger son and I went to D.C. to protest the legal holocaust, was a beautifully and  perfectly pro-life day:   it was Mom's anniversary.


 Four years since she entered Eternal Life.

 Four years of missing her, of a hole... an emptiness.

 Four years still, still of almost-picking-up-the-phone-to-call-her-to-tell-that-joke-or-what-one-of-the-boys-just-said-or-just-to-see-what-she's-doing-and-shoot-the-breeze.

She was  proud on Friday. I know she was. She was proud that we went to the nation's capital to defend the defenseless. The most helpless of all.  My reflection on the March is here.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves"
Proverbs 31:8

That is quintessentially fitting. 

The perfect scripture verse with which to remember my Mom. And to remember all those  of our brothers and sisters who were unapologetically and needlessly killed due to the availability of abortion on demand since 1973. My Mom was the most fervently loving, child centered and pro life individual I have ever known. As the Mom of five, grandma of nine and great grandma of 2  ( now 4!) there
 was always room for more. And always with open arms. Mom and Dad married in October 1943 and "lived happily ever after" for 49 years until Dad's passing in July of 1993. It is truly surreal that Dad is now gone almost twenty years. I miss him every day as well. Every day.

And so, I remember....

Where to begin? The fullness, the richness and the plenitude of happiness.

    This is my Mom’s wake, here in my reverie. And it is four years on the journey since that day.
    It was wintry. It was brutal and hostile. But, you know this. When you lose one you love, one who walked with you on life’s journey longest and loved you most unconditionally… you know.
     You know how the day suits the mood, the very core of the reason we are here. As if those we love can only be mourned on the most foul and wretched of days charted within our climes.
   And the pictures. The albums that fill the tables, the collages that line the perimeter of the room.  Standing like sentinels, guarding. Spilling the story of a life well lived and well loved. 

Of grace filled days. Words lovingly and patiently spoken.
  Pictures that now conjure memories, with the speed, the rush of a car moving down the highway. Trees, telephone wires, houses ablur.

     There are Christmas mornings. There are Adirondack lakeside cabins. There are birthday boys and birthday girls, party hats askew. There are whipped confections, moments away from toddler manhandling. There is Dad, wielding enormous camera contraption, flash bulbs huge and blinding. Mom, corralling little people.
     In another memory book, there is laughter and there are lingering summer suppers. Citronella candles burn to stubs as sun dips below horizon, oh, hours ago. Bright moonlight fills the sky and hushed, familiar voices mingle. Some in staccato laughs; some in serious debate; all in good nature, throughout. Pitchers, by now empty of libations. Platters empty of grilled tidbits, shared on our newly-Dad-constructed patio, under spreading maple. Lawn chairs now haphazardly scattered, fitting friends into conversations. Children darting, squealing and firefly catching. Evening, winding down. 

And we thought these days would always be.

    And then, in yet another, there are those shots from way back. Those are yellowed and curled and indistinct, yet clear as right now. 

Black and white and grey. Unlabelled and undated, but on a pier, somewhere in California. Dad in Army issue, looking younger than I have ever known him. Ever. Looking determined, and dare I say, fierce. And yet, posing for this very shot, expectant and cautious. A soft heart and a bright mind. But as a youth of 24 and shipping out again, weary.  
Mom, even younger, looking very Maureen O’Hara. In a-lower-west-side-daughter-of-immigrants-way that only first generation Irish-Americans can muster. Without even knowing. Until perhaps a lifetime later, when scrapbooks are perused and expressions examined..

As if she just finished the talk. The “You will come home and we will have a life” talk.

 Well, he did. And they did.

For 49 years, they had some life.

 And you can almost hear, if you really listen, the mournful strains of “Sentimental Journey,” plucked out by a makeshift band at battleship’s starboard side. A haunting ballad. But then, is there one more appropriate? Those on board and on dock, preparing to ship out. Into the blue Pacific. For some, this is the last they will see of their families, their country. Others will come back. The lucky, the spared. But changed. The Greatest Generation, indeed.

     Yes, hundreds of lives touched, held within these pages, here on a table in this room, where we celebrate this one life and where we celebrate all these lives. Some touched in a big way; some fleetingly. All important.

    So, my children have no earthly grandparents; all of them are “our special saints,” my youngest states. When one of my children becomes wistful, wishing Grandpa “could be here with us,” as when we recently toured the World War II Memorial in Washington DC, the other says, “He IS here with us.” And we take a picture of them sitting on the ridges engraved “Leyte Gulf” and “Manila.”  This is where their grandfather was two generations ago, before most of the people respectfully wandering the Memorial, were even born. Without a doubt, they know, truly know, that they will meet again in Heaven and spend eternity.
 During the prayer service on the final night of Mom’s wake, my oldest, then eight, wished to share a memory with all the others. Among all those story fragments swirling around the room spun by friends, neighbors and family, he felt that this memory of his Nanny was as worthy as the others’ of being shared. This was one of many small thought that would carry him through days, years ahead, when thinking the myriad of thoughts around his Nanny and what she means to him. He shared silliness of a song, that so many times over the years, his Nan sung off key. She bore the brunt of our hysterics to this oft-requested melody, being a good sport about it, welcoming it.
So, it's amid the laughter and the sadness that we know we all will emerge, eventually. All of us, broken. And yet made whole by our Lord’s beautiful gifts of grace and hope.

You can read all about Memoir Monday here:

And you can read my previous Memoir Monday posts here.


Gotta gush again: Love that badge!
 My clever 12 year old son created it!  Good kid to have around. Love that kid.

Thank you, friends, for stopping in.

Wait til you see these adorable faces!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
And hey:

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Protesting the Legal Holocaust~ Scenes from The March for Life 2013

My younger son, T and I headed down to The March yesterday in D.C. to protest the 40th anniversary of America's legal holocaust. Due to schedule conflicts and commitments, my hubby and older son could not join us. Next year, however,  is a definite go for them.

 Over 55 million babies legally murdered in the United  States since 1973. 


While mainstream news outlets  largely ignored The March or minimized its attendance, it is estimated that over  650,000 pro lifers descended upon D.C. on Friday to take a stand for the most defenseless of our brothers and sisters.

Bl John Paul II 's sentiment, "A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope" crystallizes the culture of death in which we sadly live and raise our children.

However, the  pro life movement has made great strides. 

Great strides. 

  For example, in 2012 alone,  an average of 7 abortion clinics closed every month across our nation! 

And friends,  this is  truly amazing to me: five states have only one abortion clinic each.



 That is mind boggling to me as a New Yorker, a state notorious for its pro abortion stand. You can read more about the victories that we, pro lifers, have made here.

So, a  photojournal of our trip to D.C.: 
(All photos are copyrighted. Please request permission before reusing.)

The amazing sunrise over the skyline as we passed  NYC on the Jersey side:

Isn't that just gorgeous?

I still can't wrap my brain around the Twin Towers missing from our skyline, after these dozen long years. 

When I shared my thoughts with Timmy, as we gazed at the beauty of dawn upon The Greatest City in the World, he didn't miss a beat when he replied, "Loss of life, Mom. That's why we're going to D.C. today. It's the same thing." 

Yes it is. 

It is the same.

The very same thing.

A 10 year old can see it. Those who cannot, simply refuse to in the name of feminism.

After five hours on the bus and a quick respite with our group for breakfast at a rest area on the Jersey Turnpike, our first stop was The National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception for a mass hosted by thousands of pro lifers from North Carolina. Thousands. Very moving. 
And these pro lifers?

Young. Very young. 

Our future is pro life, friends. Thank God.

In fact, please click here for the pro life video that my 13 year old son created. He was blessed to win a diocesan award for its Respect Life message. He includes quotes, stats,  moving images and touching music.

Timmy and I, before our group headed into mass.

 A friend from our parish, who is also the Respect Life leader, with Timmy on the Shrine steps. Lu and her husband Dick, did a masterful job coordinating the trip. We are so blessed to have such a caring, thoughtful  couple handling all the details to create a remarkable trip for all of us!

A dear friend of mine, hails from one of the dioceses represented at the mass yesterday, which was not only the feast day of the conversion of St. Paul, but also, the fourth anniversary of my Mom's entrance into Eternal Life. 

That's what I call  a perfect blend of pro life sentiment. And a perfect statement for life. A remembrance of my Mom is here. 

A few shots Timmy took of the beauty of the shrine:


The amazing organ:

After mass, our bus drivers ( I really should have gotten a picture of them!) threaded their way through the crowds and brought us as close as possible to The Mall for a  drop - off:

I couldn't quite get the whole sign, above, in front of The Capitol.
It reads: 
"We are abortion abolitionists!"

I love this picture:

Here's part of our group, on the steps of the Supreme Court building:

Can I tell you that it was right about at this point during
 The March that we all froze?
Okay, not really.
It. Was. Cold.
Sleet, sub freezing temps.
And yet...... exhilaration.

We listened to  heartbreaking speeches on the steps of The Supreme Court Building.
 Women who have had abortions and suffered terribly in the aftermath
 told their wrenching tales.
Grief and regret swirled through the crowd here.
 We can only hope and pray that these stories reach even more of the women contemplating abortion so that they have a change of heart. 

And here's Lu again, along with her husband,  Dick, 
our parish Respect Life leaders and coordinators of our March excursion:

Lu  organized door prizes on our bus, gifted us with goodies such as cookies, granola bars, Respect Life pins and hand  warmers  (How cool is that ?)   and showed wonderfully inspiring movies on the bus trip to and from D.C. that you can check out here and here.
They are energetic and gracious. 
We're lucky to have them in our lives!

And doesn't this sign speak the truth?~~~~
This was hanging from  the window in a building right across the street
 from the back of the Supreme Court.
Yes, we do pray that satan unleashes his grip on the President's heart.........
He needs our prayers.

After The March: 
A very tired and frozen, but happy, boy after walking for miles, 
as we are about to board the bus to head home:

Our group broke up what wound up being a  9 1/2 hour bus trip home at Burger King.  I kid you not.......due to inclement weather and a drop in the speed limit on the Jersey Turnpike, it took us quite some time to get back to the church parking lot. Paul and Kev were waiting for us, as we called them from the road.  It was close to 2:00 AM and what a feeling of accomplishment and positivity! Yeah, we were tired, too. Our pilgrimage had begun 23 hours earlier. 

Thank you for stopping in, friends, and for sharing in our story of the historic March on the 40th anniversary of abortion's legalization.

                                                             I'm honored to be a Compassion blogger!
                                     How can you sponsor a child through Compassion International?
Wait til you see these adorable faces!

Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
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   If not, just enter your email address here
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