"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Thursday, February 28, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter
{ pretty }

The other day we took our three youngest on a journey in the car. It turned out to be a lot longer than we had anticipated and  the results were not what we had hoped. Everyone got a bit cranky here and there, my husband was bummed and wished that he'd prepared a bit better  before we'd left (we went on a 1 1/2 hour journey to check out a new car that was sold when we got there and didn't call ahead. Oops. He never imagined that the place we were going to was as big and as busy as it turned out to be, turning over 500 cars a month!!! Country Bumpkins out to car shop is a quite a comical event!) Nonetheless, it made for a very long day. As we returned back to our neck of the woods and while playing a game of "I'm thinking of an animal...." Kiki exclaims with much glee "LOOK! A RAINBOW!!" We look out her side of the car and lo' and behold.....the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen in my life, ever! This is no exaggeration. Each and every color was so vivid and vibrant. It made a perfect semi-circle across the horizon, so  big I couldn't even try to fit it in a picture.
We just had to let the littles out to take a closer look. If only I could have bottled up their squeals and smiles. It was the perfect ending to a very long day.

Of course we had to let them play in the puddles, too!

Oh, this baby. Little Seraphina is giving us a run for our money. She may be the cutest little thing but boy does she have a temper.....goes with her fiery, feverish personality I suppose. With that mind, she very much dislikes taking baths or getting wet. She'll begin to cry even if I come near her with a wet wash cloth. Well, I have to clean her somehow, so every couple of days, after I've built up the fortitude, I'll pop her in the tubby with the littles. Charlotte is really great about trying to distract her and keep her from crying. Usually to no avail but not this time. I plopped her in Charlotte's lap and she started to fuss but then......she stopped! She started to grab toys and splash and smile, even! It was the strangest, most beautiful moment. We'll see how it goes next time :)
{ funny }

This picture was taken on the same day as the rainbow photos.  After the rainbow began to vanish we all felt like celebrating. We thought it was a grand idea to splurge on an ice cream cake. Kiki saw this bunny shaped one and just had to have it and made the announcement that it was her birthday. We all giggled and promised we would go home and put some rainbow candles on the cake and sing "Happy Birthday" and celebrate. We celebrated how life can shift in just a matter of moments and we honored the fact that everyday is a birthday, full of newness and grace.
{ real }
It doesn't get any more real! I am a Mama to all 5 of this amazing souls. They each came through me with a unique and special gift. They are my greatest teachers, the wisest of wise, and honest. Gosh, are they honest and they call me on every little thing.  I am so grateful for this realness in my life because sometimes the moments shared with them are the only real moments I have in a day.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First Knitting Project.......Ever!

 May our hands complete our task with patience,
May our work be done with care,
May our fingers work as friends together,
Then may we our handwork share.
Our hands have completed the task with patience,
We have done our work with care,
Our fingers have worked as friends together,
And we have our friendship shared.

I've been working on this in the round knit for quite some time. My free time to sit empty lapped and with enough to time to focus (I'm a really new knitter) is limited. I've got this lovely bit of work up at my eye level so I can see it whenever I'm walking through the house, reminding me to be patient, keep my eye on the prize, all things come to those who wait.

I have always wanted to knit, even when I was a little girl. I asked my Mom over and over again to teach me but for whatever reason, she didn't. My high school best friend's Mom crocheted and so she taught me how to do that. My Mom briefly attempted to show me to knit when my son was learning at his Waldorf school......again, I guess it was too frustrating for her to try to teach me and my son. Finally, after being inspired by a beautiful knitted playscape I saw I sat up late one night and taught myself with the help of YouTube videos.  Those little lessons gave me the confidence to knit little hats for our St. Nicholas peg dolls and I adored every minute of it.
The only downfall to teaching myself is I really haven't any clue how to read a pattern. I find it terribly frustrating when I've tried and then to discover what I thought it said wasn't what it truly said so my first knitting attempts always got pulled out.  This time, I'm kinda, well......I"m just going for it. I'm knitting and purling and decreasing in a kinda proportioned way.
insert shaking head and shrugging shoulders with a "we'll see" smirk on my face

The one thing I can say with absolute satisfaction (aside from the shear joy I get from simply knitting at all), is that this yarn is phenomenal! I haven't the faintest idea what brand it is, I got it from our local yarn shop. It is a wool/mohair blend, that I remember. The colors as so beautiful and the texture is divine, the easiest yarn I've worked with so far. I guess, I'm aiming for a hat? Seems the most logical. A sweet friend suggested a vest, but, I'm feeling quite inferior for that for a first project.
I think for a Mother's Day gift (it's months away, I know), I'll request a knitting class.
For all you knitters out there......I'd love any suggestions/help/ideas/links/ANYTHING that will help me on my journey to being a knitter. My goal, is to be able to knit sweaters. My Mom used to knit for us, and she knit for the grandkids......I'd love to continue that tradition. Thank you, dear ones xoxo

Friday, February 22, 2013

For Little Hands :: Encouraging Spring

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
We are currently focusing on activities that have us thinking forward to Springtime by embracing the current state of things.  Mid-February always seems to be a challenging time; we feel cooped up, we've been sick multiple times already, it's cold and dark and everything seems to be encapsulated under a bed of ice and hard snow. When we think of Spring we think of the sound snow and ice melting, the trickling sound of water running along the road, dripping from the roof tops, and the streams that are now less clogged by ice flows.

Today we tried our hand at making frost. We filled a recycled can up with icy snow from outside.

We stirred it around while adding heaping spoonfuls of salt and just kept stirring....

.....and stirring and soon enough, there was frost!
It was the coolest thing! I find the littles with the front door constantly open so they can scratch their little fingers through the frost that forms on the glass door so I thought this little activity would fun for them. They saw right before their eyes that the outside of the can was encrusted with frost, and even a few ice drops formed. The would touch it and see their melted finger prints, stir the contents of the can again, and watch their fingerprint refreeze!
I am reminded that this, too, is our current state outside our doors. The weather is in that pre-Spring fluctuating stage of freezing, melting, refreezing. It was fun to bring it indoors....
For this weekend, our ice play will continue (as long as the temperatures are cold enough). I found this really cool post over at Housing a Forest. Who wouldn't want a rainbow of icicles growing outside their front door?
How are you encouraging Springtime in your home?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, on Like Mother, Like Daughter
My husband and I are coming up on 10 years together. We're going through a specific season of less compatibility so when our local flower shop's delivery truck pulled up to our house on Valentine's Day, my heart skipped a beat. I was sure it was a mistake because in all our years together he has never sent me flowers on Valentine's Day; and I'm so glad. When I saw these flowers, they took my breath away. My hands shook and my children couldn't understand that if I was so happy, why would I be crying?! I'm sure you all understand......these moments happen so rarely anymore. I've been focusing on the "seasons of life" a LOT lately, trying to justify how and a marriage that once was so peaceful, beautiful, fun, and admirable had become so worn and daunting and at such a quick pace. We love each other, this much we know. Right now, well, we just don't like each other. It's hard to be OK with that but alas......at the end of the day, if we can't speak to nicely to each other, at least we can say "I love you".
This past weekend was magical. We had family in from DC and boy, they sure know how to inject happiness and joy in a home that has been struggling to create their own. This table saw hours and hours of D&D prep, arts and crafts, games, long chats, lots of food, laughter, and happiness. It couldn't have been more perfect. Those few days pulled me out of my inner slump and helped direct my inner focus for Lent. As always, it's a work in progress.....

Homemade pretzels are always happy. We make them every Lent and it just worked out that it was the perfect time to share the experience with our family from out of town.

This isn't the best picture in the world but I was desperately trying to capture this moment before being beckoned to the nursery where the baby kept waking from all the laughter. Our home is rather small (approx. 1000 sq. ft.). Our living room space is about 8'x15' and we somehow fit 9 adults and 6 kids in for a seriously hysterical game of, well.....I don't remember. It was a made up game but all I know is that there was SO MUCH LAUGHTER!!! I spent a majority of the time listening from afar as I worked on keeping our baby to sleep......the laughter that echoed down the hall was so purifying. It warmed my heart so deeply......

What is very real this week is that our eldest has turned 13. We have officially entered the teenage years. For a long time it was just me and him. We were buddies, I was young, we went everywhere together. I very rarely left him with anyone, unless I had to work. My son, my first true love......he never ceases to amaze me with his grace and nobility. He is so stinkin' smart!! He pushes me when I don't dare be pushed but in the end, I've always learned something. He is my greatest teacher. He reminds me of my better self and who I am really meant to be. He is my snuggler, my personal comedian, my taster in the kitchen. I've thanked my God above every night since he was born for having him come to me because in all honesty, his life saved mine.

Friday, February 15, 2013

For Little Hands :: Encouraging Spring

I'm trying to figure out how to work For Little Hands back into my weekly posts, I know consistancy is key and I'm not sure quite yet what the rhythm will look like. My thought this time around is to have it on Fridays as a way to kick of the weekend. I'll add more to it as the idea comes to fruition.


We love the birds that come and visit our bird feeders; their sweet songs and round little bellies. It's a real joy to sit back and watch them and even when we don't, we know they're there and that brings a smile to our faces.

Here is an older post for you to enjoy(with wee hands in mind) about a simple way to interact with your neighborhood birds while  providing much needed nourishment.....at least where it's really wintry this time of year!

Look at my little Charlotte! She sure has grown! Oh my xoxo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter
My sweet husband came home early from work the other day on account of rain so he was able to join in on the Valentine making frenzy. The littles and I were haphazardly water coloring our little pieces of paper, he tried that for a bit but couldn't contain the wellspring of inspiration. Any bit of artistic expression opens the flood gates within him and allows him to address his inner peace that feels oppressed from the outside. He's calm, quiet, reverent.  He has this unabashed love and ease of painting; grace, beauty, freedom, dreams, they all come through all of his paintings. He will chuckle when he sees this and say it's not his best work nor did he truly put in any effort......but what I see is his dream of peace and balance.....I see his inner beauty. 
This piano is one of the great loves of my life. It was a find on Freecycle and I couldn't have been more shocked when it was offered to me! I've played the piano since I was 5 years old, albeit not as well or as much as you might think. It takes me forever to learn a new piece and when I'm allowed a moment to play (like the one in the photo, which was the first time I sat down to play in over 2 years!) I'll play the same song from my memory. It's soothing, it's contentment, it's pure joy. When I sit down to play I silently thank my Mother for pushing me to play all those years I wanted to give it up.
KiKi is funny. There are no two bones about it. She cracks us up at every turn with her goofy smiles, silly antics, and her ability to just be amazingly joyful, gleeful....with much zeal. Since she was a baby the snow NOT something that brought her any joy, to say the very least. She absolutely detested walking in it, feeling it, and sledding in it. She did get rather excited to see it from the inside of the house, however, and watching it falling from a window inside is a bit more romantic, no? Well, this past week we  got a little over a foot of snow and she was bound and determined to get out there and play in it, like she is every year until she realizes how much she dislikes it. Well, to our surprise, as I stood closely by waiting for her to run back into my arms to carry her inside, she instead began laughing and shrieking and whooping and cheering for all the snow and how much FUN the snow was. She jumped right in and planted her face in a big pile of snow and ate it up and rolled in it and buried herself in it. Her daddy and I laughed and laughed.....our little bird. She's just so darn funny!!

I think this quote about says it all. It is very real and I'm working hard everyday to follow suit. I've had a bit of a sharp tongue lately.......I worry that my children will remember this time and only see how grumpy Mom had been. I know that's not usually the case, but I worry nonetheless. I'd much rather have more beautiful silence than all the arguing and sleep deprivation induced snarkiness.....this is the mantra I hold close to my heart right now.  This powerful little reminder brings me much contentment right now, as well as those around me :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chocolate and Shrove Tuesday

Sometimes chocolate is just a good idea. It comes in a variety of sweetness levels, satisfying the severest sweet tooth to just one that needs a lit kick in the pants and everything in between! We're working on lifting spirits here this week. After another week of "fever baby" we could all use a little lift, and so what if we use chocolate as a motivator?!
Luckily for me (and really, do I need an excuse?) Valentine's Day is this week and today just happens to be Fat Tuesday, perfect time to indulge a little and bring out the bulk chocolate that's been sitting in the freezer since Christmas! 

A few weeks ago I bought a few packages of dried fruits: cranberries, blueberries, cherries, and plums. My original intention was to bake with them but then I realized.....who doesn't love chocolate covered dried fruit? Chocolate covered raisins has always been a hit, maybe we could take a walk on the wild side and try something new! Thank goodness we're a fearless bunch because these are just simply divine!
The littles we're thrilled to get their hands in a plate full of melted chocolate. I didn't have my eye on them the whole time so I wonder how much actually made it on the plate as opposed to in their bellies :)

Then there is always the cliche of chocolate covered strawberries.
As this is the start of the Lenten season, I feel a very strong pull to just let the spirit flow and do whatever it is that I'm being led to. I haven't always allowed myself that luxury, and well.....having five children can make that a wee bit challenging at times. Our Lenten journey is described well here in this older post; how we hold on to the reverence of this time and nourish our spiritual bodies. As I form a clearer picture of our current state as a family, I'm realizing that nourishment for our collective and individual selves is paramount. We've all had to sacrifice quite a bit as of late, it's time now to figure out how to manage the difficulties in our lives without sacrificing our family body. I am really quite inspired that all of this seems to be culminating at the time of Lent.
"I believe Lent is the time to work with what gets in our way - the obstacles to our desire to fulfill our destiny." ~ Lynn Jericho on the spiritual practices of Inner Lent.
You can read her full post about Inner Lent here.
How will you work with what gets in your way this Lenten season?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Window Hearts

Candle light, moon light, star light,
The brightest glow is from love light

~Terri Guillemets

We made a simple Valentine decoration today to adorn our front door windows. I am in love with window transparencies; I love the colors that shine through, how they instantaneously beautify a space, the time and patience it takes to create them. These were awfully simple to create. Using white coffee filters, we water colored them and after they dried, I cut them into heart shapes and glued them to our front door windows (using a glue stick). Using homemade window paint (a simple mixture of tempura paint and dish soap. I didn't measure, I just eye balled it and hoped for the best) I traced the hearts on the window and there you have it!

Valentine's Day, I have found, can be such a bright and fun day while we are in the midst of February. At this time of dark and cold days, it's nice to have a day that is simply focused on just being kind and sweet and in love. We'll pull out the Valentine hearts we made last year and use them to decorate our nature table as well as create a few new ones to add to the lot.
As we get over the February hump and get closer to seeing the stirring of Springtime, I can't help but feel hopeful for the newness that we'll begin to witness. The sheep are beginning to show signs that lambing season will soon be here, birds are busy and chirping away, days are becoming longer and longer, and I know soon enough we will begin to see buds popping up from beneath the snow. Valentine's Day, for me, is a day to stir the sleepy busyness within me. It's been dark and cold for many months and while Valentine's Day isn't warmest or sunniest day of the year, it helps me to remember that with love......all things are possible. We can brighten each others day by simply acting out of love, being love, seeing love within each other. I'll be the first to admit, that it's been hard to be in that place this winter. It's been a trying time and I know I haven't offered up my best self on more than one (or two, or three) occasions. The light that will shine through each of the hearts on our front entry way will serve as a reminder to try to recommit myself to this virtue::
“Before you speak ask yourself: Is it kind, is it necessary, it is true, does it improve upon the silence?”   
~ Shirdi Sai Baba
*sigh* Love is good. It softens the heart and brightens the day. How might Valentine's Day shake the winter blues out of you?

Ironically, as I was perusing Pinterest after this post was published, I came across this post with the exact same Valentine activity!! This has happened before and I love it!! It's amazing to me! Nonetheless, I feel it's important to include it here :)


Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Magic

Look into the garden
Where the grass was green,
Covered by the snowflakes,
Not a blade is seen.
Look outside the window,
All looks still and white;
Under snowy blankets,
What a pretty sight!
~ J.D. Macey

We're buzzing with excitement in our little hobbit home today! According to our local weather reports we're to expect quite a bit of snow throughout the day and overnight into tomorrow. We haven't had a good bit of snow in quite some time. The last real snow  we can remember (the kind of snow that slows and bring everyday life to a halt, the kind of snow that brings a rumble or two of thunder, the kind of snow that requires constant shoveling to keep walkways clear) was back in 2007. We had back to back snow storms, one of Valentine's Day and one of St. Patrick's Day. We've had a few good storms here since, but truly, nothing like those. We're anticipating good sledding, lots of baking so the oven can help keep our home extra warm, snuggling in to a movie or two, working on some Valentine treats, and really, just hunkering down and being together.

The littles woke up with so much energy (maybe they're feeling the energy from these two storm that have converged around us). They could barely contain their joy and excitement. After a little stroll around Pinterest I found this really fun idea for homemade snow at The Imagination Tree.

Using ingredients that I had on hand, cornstarch and vegetable oil (and glitter), I brought out a plastic storage tub, had Charlotte and Kiki pour the cornstarch into the bin, I poured the oil over the top of the cornstarch, and as they littles mixed and sifted the cornstarch I sprinkled glitter all over their little hands.

This simple sensory activity provided lots of fun (and mess, so be prepared!!) According to the post at The Imagination Tree children exploring with this sensory activity are learning::

Sensory: exploring through sensory investigation, learning new descriptive language
Literacy: story telling, vocabulary development
Science/ Knowledge & Understanding of the World:
combining materials, recipes, geography and habitats
Creativity: imaginative play, forming sculptures
Maths: counting out measurements

They made snowmen, piles of snow, sprinkled snow all over each other and all around them :) We didn't have any moulds of any kind, that might have made the play a bit more exciting but it was still magical and they thought it was a ton of fun to have some snow in the house.
Snowflakes falling soft and light,
Snowflakes falling in the night,
Soft and light, pure and white.
When the sun shines out so bright
All the earth is dressed in white.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Breathing in and Letting go

Photo courtesy of Laura Shea
"The essence of life is that it's challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride." ~ Pema Chodron When Things Fall Apart

It seems that lately not many things have gone as anticipated. Many of the crucial foundations from which my days are built (as of late) have been altered in some way. I'm sure, in time, I will see the reason behind why things worked out as they have but in the meantime, I feel like a little girl stomping her feet and pouting out of disappointment and well.....because I didn't get my way!

As I consider those many things here is one that stands out as it runs deep, on many different levels:: Several months ago I was pleased as punch to see my dream of being a body worker begin to culminate by being accepted in our local school for Massage Therapy. I began classes in October and have done really, really well! I was passing, in fact, I'm proud to say that my grades are better than I have ever done, ever......going back as far as my early school years! I loved what I was learning, I loved my classmates, my teachers, the drive to and from school, and I even loved that special coffee treat I'd get for myself occasionally for the ride home.

In other posts I've shared with you how our little Seraphina has been struck with some odd fever syndrome. We haven't gotten any new information as of yet and are kind of in a stand still, waiting to see if she spikes yet another fever. From the last two fevers they seem pretty cyclic so we're holding our breath a bit until the middle of the month to see if it indeed comes back. If that be the case, more tests and other work-ups will be performed to see what the best course of treatment would be. I have fear of so many things.....I pray everyday that all is as it should be and try to find peace in that, within myself and Seraphina's bright blue eyes, and in the comfort of my family. Because of these unforeseen instances, I had to withdraw from school. It didn't really take much thinking over, it was the right decision because first and foremost I am a Mother. The paperwork was finalized today and so long as all goes well over the next seven months I hope to begin again. I know, it doesn't seem that big of a deal, especially since a restart could be in my future.......it's just I had a plan, ya know?! I had things all worked out, dreaming up a business name, how I would be of service to my community, I dreamt of being able to help provide financially for our family easing the burden a bit for my husband. Mostly, I dreamt of rediscovering those parts of myself that still seek the sunlight.......

I'm breathing in and letting go. Like the tree above.......absorbing all that is and releasing it back; an ebb and flow; and give and take; a breathing in and breathing out. Sometimes life doesn't go as planned......we forget dates, are in bad moods for the littlest things, fight with or bring anger to another, say hurtful things out of fear and the unwillingness to just let it go, and sometimes we don't get what it is we had hoped for. Life is hard sometimes, but the best part is we can begin again any time. We can have a restart, even if it's months down the road. Once we give up and lose hope a piece of our spirit has died. One of the biggest obstacles of this has been to not wallow in my despair but to rise to the challenge to show my children  that even as adults, we too, don't always get what we set our hearts and minds to. We cast our sight on our dream and aim for it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.......accepting the sadness for what it is but refusing to be defeated.

So, I will continue to breathe, continue to wake up, be a Mama to five amazing souls, a wife to one dreamy man, and in the meantime I will keep my eyes on my dream. It will come, one day. Even if in seven months it still isn't the right time I will find a away to keep those soul parts of me alive. After wading through the murkiness and sadness I've rediscovered that all that I am in a day is also the place where those pieces of me that get stuffed live. They live in my children and in my work as a homemaker, teacher, lover, friend, sister, daughter, blogger ;) Sometimes I forget......it happens. We get so caught up in what the picture in our head of how our reality "should" look like that we forget that it's the experiences that matter.

"To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man's-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that's life." ~ Pema Chodron When Things Fall Apart

I'm looking forward to pushing the restart button here at home. Reconnecting, digging deeper, and improving on what I can here at home. It feels good. There is peace after all......

Saturday, February 2, 2013


 "At the beginning of February, when the infant light of spring is greeted thankfully by the hoary winter earth, it seems fitting we should celebrate a candle Festival to remember that moment when the Light of the World was received into the Temple, when the old yielded to the new.”
~ from All Year Round

I was a bit overwhelmed on Friday when I realized that the first of February was upon us and I hadn't prepared at all for St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas. This past week was filled with wonderful  distractions but the re-entry into reality was a bit of a rough landing! As always, what's meant to be will be and and things don't always need to go as planned. Being alright with that and letting go of expectations is the trick! I'm learning :)
It seems as we've studied more about St. Brigid we've come to really adore her. As I stood at my counter this morning and began to piece together the cross above (with Iris leaves that my hunny picked just for this occasion), we sat there, watching it come together and were struck by the reverence and especially beautiful rhythm making this cross possesses. It's simple but divine. Hanging this on our entryway seemed only fitting and as we learned, that is part of the tradition! I believe, we as a family, have found our patron saint!

The littles and I also made our super, special Celtic Tea Cake this morning in honor of St. Brigid

We even braved the blustery, winter day and ventured out to finish our ice lantern and earth candles.

Tonight, as we sit down to a pancake supper by candlelight, we will gather our thoughts toward the Light; thinking of what it means to begin anew, accept what works and what doesn't and somehow make sense of it all. I'll lovingly look at my children and my husband and thank God that I've been given this chance to shine my light with them. They help me to remember who it is I'm meant to be, who I was, why I'm here, what this whole thing called Life is about. Candlemas is such a reverent time, honoring the Light that lives within us all, reminding each other that we're each good enough just as we are.
"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine."

Friday, February 1, 2013

In the spirit of St. Brigid

Today is St. Brigid's Day. It kinda snuck up on me as we were a bit preoccupied over the week so what I had planned in my mind will have to wait until later this week or next year. In the meantime, here is a recipe for a Celtic Tea Cake that I absolutely love. We will make this today in honor of the patroness of Ireland. It is so moist and tasty and sweet. I always wondered, though, how it was called a Celtic cake when it calls for coconut? Oh, well......it still tastes good!!

1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup very hot milk
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Oatmeal-Crisp Broiled Topping:
4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk, cream, or half/half
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

~ Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

~ In a medium bowl, stir boiling water, hot milk, and oats together and let stand 20 minutes.

~ In another bowl, cream butter with brown sugar until smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla and blend well. Fold in oat mixture and then flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Blend to make a smooth batter and spoon batter into prepared pan.

~ Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when gently pressed with fingertips. 

~ While cake bakes, in a medium bowl blend together all topping ingredients.

~ After you remove the cake set the oven on broil. Spread topping on cake and place cake under broiler on second shelf for 3 to 5 minutes until topping begins to bubble, watching carefully so it does no burn. Cool well.
Looking to tomorrow we've begun making some lanterns to light tomorrow evening in celebration of Candlemas. This is a do ahead project :)
Fill some regular balloons with water (not water balloons, too fragile). Freeze them in any manner you can (outside if it's cold enough or in a freezer.) Before they've frozen completely, break open the balloon and pour out the water. There will be a place to set on of those battery operated tea light candles. You could even dye the water different colors and have colored ice lanterns. If your balloons freeze all the way, you will need a paddle attachment drill bit for a power drill and then you could open up a space big enough to fit the tea light candle by drilling into your solid round ice block!

This is one of our lights ready to go! They are very pretty, especially at night when their light dances of  the snow. I will post again tomorrow with more pictures and a little look into how we celebrated St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas!
Wishing you all a blessed return of the Light xo
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