Friday, March 16, 2012

My family kidnapped St. Patrick

I now know that I am Irish down to my genetic core.
Lucky Irish horseshoe

Lots of people have Irish heritage here in Oregon, and all over the U.S. I always knew I had Irish ancestors on both sides of our family, but we've been here for a long time. I never had a grandpa with an Irish accent or anything.

In high school lots of my good friends had names like O'Keefe, McKeegan, McCrea and Mulloy, along with me, McCafferty.

St. Patrick's Day has always been big with us- we decorate our houses and we not only took the day off from work but the day after too, and celebrating started about 11:00 am. Don't have the time or energy to do that anymore.
Irish straight shot trophy

We have funny little Irish traditions in our family like hiding a ring, a baby, a coin and a thimble in our birthday cakes or mashed potatoes. When I was little, the sayings were that whoever got:
    the ring:would be the next to be married;
    the baby: would be the next to have a child; 
    the coin: was going to be rich;
    the thimble: was going to be an old maid or bachelor.

As we got older those fortunes seemed outdated or didn't fit who was at the table, so we revamped them- whoever got:
     the ring: would have a romantic episode;
     the baby: would have a child come into their life somehow;
     the coin: would come into some money;
     the thimble: would be given a wondeful gift.
Irish fortune telling charms

We always chewed very carefully when we ate birthday cake.

When my kids were little they would write little notes to the leprechaun that lived in our house and when they woke up on St. Patrick's Day, the leprechaun would overturn the furniture and leave them powdered donuts next to a green plant. You mean, that doesn't happen in your house? Hmmmm....

We decided to get my dad Dennis' genes analyzed to see what it would tell us about how Irish we really were. 

We found out that he is related to an ancient Irish king named Niall Noigiallach, or Niall of the Nine Hostages who lived in the late 4th and early 5th centuries. He is famous for being the one who kidnapped St. Patrick.


Niall had 8 sons who were very prolific. Today 21% of the men in NW Ireland are related to him, and 2-3 million males worldwide, including my dad and my son.

When I say I'm Irish, I mean it!

(And on a side note, my mother's side is English, Welsh and Scotch-Irish, and she always said her people were Scots who raided the Irish in ancient times, then got cut off by the Irish army and so stayed in Ireland and married Irish women. Think Braveheart kind of guys.....sigh.)

This explains so much.....

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Irish whiskey menu board

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Plant an Easter Garden

This amazing idea is from Melissa Holt. Plant an Easter Garden!
Start this planting project at least 10 days before Easter, so this year 2012 no later than March 29th- great Spring Break project for kids!
Take a flat terracotta pot base and fill it with potting soil until you have a small mound.
Nudge a small terracotta flower pot under the high part of the mound so just the mouth shows to act as the tomb.
Put some small pebbles in front of the mouth of the small flower pot as shown, then add one large rock to the right side so you can still see the mouth of the pot.
Make three small crosses with natural twigs and jute or wire. Stick them on the top of the mound.
Sprinkle semi shade or full shade grass seed over the top of the potting soil (which do better in a tabletop garden), following planting directions from the package.   Moisten grass seed several times daily with a spray bottle. Set it in a warm sunny location. It will sprout in 7-10 days .
Would be a wonderful natural centerpiece for Easter brunch or dinner and a beautiful explanation of the empty tomb and meaning of Easter. He is risen!


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