Fun Food for St. Patrick’s Day!

This is my last post on St. Patrick’s Day, I promise! I’m working on an almsgiving activity that I am excited to share soon.  Until then, I found some fun green foods I wanted to share with you (i didn’t find any particularly easy, kid-friendly Irish fare that is fasting, though soda bread would be the classic option)..

How cute are these shamrock chips? They are made from spinach tortillas using a shamrock cookie cutter (I got mine for 99 cents from Michael’s).  You could dip them in hummus, salsa, white bean dip, etc..

Or how about a green fruit salad? Granny Smith apples, kiwis, avocado, and pistachios combine with a little mint, lime juice and agave (or maple) syrup for a refreshing snack. If there are picky eaters around, you could always put each ingredient in separate bowls and let everyone make their own. Recipe here.

To drink, how about  a green smoothie, made from grape juice, apple, avocado and a little spinach?  I haven’t tried it but I’m guessing you could sweeten it up with a little more juice or honey if needed.  See recipe here.  Another option could be limeade, homemade or store-bought.

And lastly, though not food-related, a cute little poem to add to your shamrock activities:

Just like the leaves on each shamrock I see,

there are three persons of the Holy Trinity.

First is God the Father,

then Jesus His only Son,

and the Holy Spirit,

Together as One.

Ok, that’s all for St. Patrick. More lenten activites, coming soon!

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A St. Patrick “Treasure” Hunt

Here is another fun idea that we may do for our Hope & Joy meeting on Saturday – a shamrock/pot of gold treasure hunt!

Since most kids will be familiar with the idea of leprechauns and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, it is a nice opportunity to take the  idea of “treasure” and reframe it by teaching Matthew 6:19-21.  I found small fun-foam shamrocks from Michael’s, that I plan on writing simple clues on (check out here to get your juices flowing.  For older children, you could write out questions relating to lent/Easter that have to be answered before they get the next clue.)  I plan on hiding the shamrocks around the church hall, and the final clue will lead to the “pot of gold”, a pot full of these little Scripture cards, with a gold token shamrock attached, to remind them of the lessons they learned today  (I also found the gold coins at Michael’s-I like them because they depict only a shamrock, and not a four lead clover and references to luck). I hope they enjoy it!

St. Patrick’s Day Trinity “Muffins”!

I ran across the idea of “Trinity” muffins here and just knew I had to try them and share this great idea with you!  We plan on making these for a snack for our Hope & Joy meeting this Saturday, after learning about St. Patrick and talking about the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.  I think kids of all ages would really enjoy these!

The original recipe called for using biscuit dough,  but I found that pizza dough works just as well. I tested this recipe using vegan pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s, but it does still have a little oil in it, so for an oil-free option you could try making this recipe (though I haven’t tried it).  If you have lots of time you could make the dough with the kids as well, and use the rise time for another activity.  Since we have a lot we are trying to cover, I will probably just bring the dough pre-made.

The only ingredients you need are your bread dough, cinnamon, and sugar.  The children can help mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl first ( I just eyeballed this).  Then each child gets three small pieces of dough, about the size of small meatballs, and a cupcake liner.  You can explain that the three balls represent the 3 persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) of our one God.

The children can roll each piece of dough into a ball and then in the cinnamon sugar, and put them touching inside their muffin liners.

After baking in a muffin pan at 350 degrees for 14-18 minutes, they should be ready  (I confess I lost track of how long I left them in, so watch them).  When they come out of the oven the 3 balls of dough are now, of course, one “muffin”!

When they had cooled, my daughter immediately asked for sprinkles on top, so we added some green sugar crystals as well, which settled into the cracks and highlighted the three parts nicely!  I was especially surprised when I pointed out the three parts to my daughter and she remarked that they looked like pretzels.  What a great theological tie-in! We made pretzels for lent last year to talk about fasting (i’ll do a post for that soon), and that would be another fun option for a snack as well. Here is a shamrock version you could try as well.

Hopefully this little cooking project will be a great illustration of the Holy Trinity and a nice conversation starter for a group discussion.  If you would prefer to not make a sweet treat, they would probably be equally yummy sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh herbs like rosemary, for a focaccia-esque muffin.

Stay tuned for more St. Patrick’s day ideas, coming soon..

Celebrating St. Patrick

(Troparion, Tone 3)

O holy hierarch Patrick, wonderworker and equal of the apostles, enlightener of the Irish land, entreat the merciful God, that He grant our souls remission of transgressions.

***

Our Joy and Hope meeting is set for March 17 this month, which is of course St. Patrick’s Day! It will be a great opportunity to take this day back from all the  “leprechauns and luck” and use it to teach our children about not only a well-loved saint but also the Holy Trinity.  I’m excited to share some fun ideas over the coming days that you can use to celebrate the real St. Patrick as well!

First up, resources. We plan on reading St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons, for a brief introduction to the saint’s life that will appeal to our different ages. (Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola is another option). We are also considering reading Three in One: A Book about God, to enhance our discussion of the Holy Trinity (which will begin with a real three leaf clover/shamrock, of course!)  While not written by an Orthodox Christian, the book presents a  tangible metaphor (a tree) for the Holy Trinity without straying from Scripture. (I ran it by my husband, a seminary grad, who gave it his OK, which means a lot to me!)  We will do some fun cooking/craft projects relating to the Holy Trinity & symbolism of the shamrock, and end with learning/singing the hymns “Father Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity One in Essence, and Undivided” and  “One is Holy.  (We’ll also talk about where these hymns fall during the Divine Liturgy, to encourage participation at what will be the next day’s service).

Crafts/Games/Cooking Projects coming up next-stay tuned!

P.S. Did you know that Orthodox Christian Fellowship has some great resources on their website about “the real St. Patrick”? Included are the icon above (from the hand of Michael Kapeluck) , a supplication service from which the above Troparion is taken from, and Irish recipes. Though we often think of St. Patrick as a western saint, he was  born in 387 and died in 461. For more information about St. Patrick, a great resource is orthodoxwiki.