Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

What do you and your kids know about St. Patrick?  If you're like me, before I started homeschooling, not much.  I simply thought he was a saint that Catholic people held in high regard for something, though I didn't know what.  And, to me, St. Patrick's day, was just about wearing something green, pretending to have some Irish descendants and thinking about the luck of the Irish, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and leprechauns.

Well, that changed, and I am very glad that it did, several years ago, when we decided to find out more about St. Patrick in our homeschool (that's the beauty of homeschooling, study what you want when you want).  I was quite impressed with what we learned.  St. Patrick was definitely someone worth honoring as he was kidnapped from his home in Britain when he was 16 and sold as a slave in Ireland, where he worked as a shepherd for six years.  He became a devout Christian.  After six years of captivity in Ireland, he escaped and returned to Britain.  He studied for 15 years to become a priest and he then returned to Ireland to minister to Christians already living in Ireland, as well as to convert the Irish, particularly the Druids.

We watched the movie, "St. Patrick:  The Irish Legend" of 2000.  I thought the movie was very well done, and I really enjoyed it.  We don't own it, but I would like to, because I would like to view it again.

Of course, in addition, to studying and learning more history and information about St. Patrick and watching a movie, you can do fun stuff like make an Irish craft, like some shamrock art, make the traditional Irish dinner of Corned beef and cabbage, or just make some Irish soda bread.

Example of Shamrock Art:

Draw or trace a shamrock onto a piece of cardstock.

Cut it out and let your child trace it onto a piece of drawing paper several times, making a sort of collage of shamrocks.  Have your child color them in different green colors and shade of green.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes  
Total time: 50 minutes  
Yield: 1 loaf
Traditional Irish Soda Bread
  • 3 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Measure flour, salt and soda and mix together in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk. Stir, adding more buttermilk if needed; the dough should be soft, but not wet or sticky.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just enough to bring the dough together. Turn it over and pat it into a round loaf about 1 1/2 inches high.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and cut a cross into the top of the loaf with a knife. Cut fairly deeply into the bread, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until done. To test, tap the bread on the bottom. It will sound hollow when done.
(Thank you Kelly Rossiter, who posted this on

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