Independence Day – July 4th

I believe the 4th of July is one most important holidays the USA has! Let’s take a short trip back in history.

How did it all start?

On June 7th, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, a delegate of Virginia, proposed a resolution of independence, “that these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states.”. But, voting was postponed while a few of the delegates worked to convince others to support independence. A committee of five men were assigned to draft a document of independence: John Adams (MA), Benjamin Franklin (PA), Thomas Jefferson (VA), Roger Sherman (CT), and Robert R. Livingston (NY).  Jefferson did most of the work drafting the document in his lodgings at 7th and Market Street. Then, on July 2nd, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted and approved the resolution for independence. 

However, between the 2nd and 4th of July, Congress argued over every word in Jefferson’s draft and made numerous changes. On July 4, Congress ratified the wording of the Declaration of Independence. But, they didn’t actually sign the document that day. The Declaration was then sent to John Dunlap, the official printer to Congress, who worked through the night setting the Declaration in type and printing approximately 200 copies. The copies became known as the “Dunlap Broadsides” and were sent to various committees, assemblies, and commanders of the Continental troops. The Dunlap Broadsides weren’t signed, but John Hancock’s name appears in large type at the bottom. One of the copies crossed the Atlantic and reached King George III months later. The official British response scolded the “misguided Americans” and “their extravagant and inadmissible Claim of Independency”. [a] Today, only 26 copies of the Dunlap Broadsides remain

On July 8, 1776, Colonel John Nixon of Philadelphia read the Declaration of Independence to the public for the first time in what is now called Independence Square. Why was this public reading important? Because the people who gathered outside Independence Hall that day were the ones who drove the revolution in Pennsylvania. Led by radicals including Timothy Matlack, the “lower sort” forced Pennsylvania’s elite to accept independence. Thanks to the pressure they applied in their colony, Congress was able to adopt the Declaration of Independence unanimously. Nothing symbolizes this effort better than the public reading from the stairs of Independence Hall on July 4, 1776. The radicals went on to write an ultra-democratic constitution for Pennsylvania which was the beginning of the fight for equality in America. [b]

It wouldn’t be until August 2nd, 1776 that John Hancock, the President of the Congress, signed the engrossed copy with a bold signature. The other delegates, following custom, signed beginning at the right with the signatures arranged by states from New Hampshire to Georgia. However, not all delegates were present on August 2nd, 56 delegates eventually signed the document. Late signers were Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean, and Matthew Thornton, who was unable to place his signature with the other New Hampshire delegates due to a lack of space. Some delegates, including Robert R. Livingston of New York, a member of the drafting committee, never signed the Declaration. [c]

So when you go out and celebrate today, please remember, celebrate responsibly!

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“It will be celebrated with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.” – John Adams

I’m Back

It’s been a bit since the last time I checked in. Life got all kinds of abnormal, then normal, then crazy, then sane, you get the picture. I thought many times about coming back, but found working on my genealogy a whole lot less stressful. Meanwhile, getting in the way of winning the lottery, becoming a world famous baker and supermodel, I have been working at a “big box store”, in the warehouse, with all guys and learning how to handle the life I have been dealt.

It’s not a bad life, it’s really not. I have a great family tree (‘cept for some persnickety branches), good friends and a mostly great, never boring job.

So, let’s take a look back at WHO I am.

I am…

a daughter

a sister

a wife

a mother

a grandmother

a semi mother in law

a bonus mom

a survivor of Ulcerative Colitis

a chronic migraine warrior

an ok baker with BIG dreams

a beginning photographer with even BIGGER dreams

I work for a “big box furniture store”. In my department I am the only female in a small team of eight guys. Over all working on the dock/docks with about 50 other “gentlemen”. My hubby and son both work there, in different departments and I have adopted about 1/4 of the guys as my children. I hold my own…that’s for sure.

I have dreams of traveling the world, taking pictures and blogging through life, one snap of the shutter at a time.

I am a night owl, love the moon, dislike early mornings and fire season. I love to laugh, learn and spend quiet time by myself. I would rather spend a day in the mountains than a week at the beach.

That’s who I am!

“Standing at the edge of my fears
And contemplating them
Is a healthy exercise.
The extent of the boundaries
Of who I believe myself to be.

What is in question as I stand
Safely at the border of myself
And think of leaping
Or continuing on?

What happens when I walk
To the extent of “I”
And then keep walking?
Who am I then?”
― Eric Overby

St Paddy’s Day Food and More

“Top o’ the mornin’ to ya!”

We last explored the history of St. Paddy’s day, now, let’s find some food!

A few “traditional” foods

First, it’s gotta be Corned Beef and Cabbage

then…a couple more…

Shepard’s Pie

Irish Soda Bread


How about some nice Irish Drinks

“Did someone say shenanigans?” — Unknown

The most popular Irish drinks

  • Redbreast. Redbreast 12 is a mighty whiskey. …
  • Irish Coffee. You can’t beat an Irish coffee on a cold evening, after a day of being lashed on by the rain while out walking in the countryside!
  • Guinness. …
  • Tullamore DEW. …
  • Murphy’s. …
  • Jameson Whiskey. …
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Or….Green Beer? Just add Green food coloring to the beer…Simple!

Shamrock Shake? Non Alcoholic

and Lastly, Frozen Bailey’s Irish Cream Hot Chocolate

For the Kids!

Rainbow Waffles

Shamrock Shake Cupcakes

Shamrock Rice Krispie Treats

“The leprechauns made me do it!” — Unknown

“As you slide down the bannister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.” — Irish Blessing

“Here’s to you and here’s to me, I pray that friends we’ll always be, but if by chance we disagree, the heck with you and here’s to me.” — Irish Toast

“Never iron a four-leaf clover, because you don’t want to press your luck.” Unknown

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St Patrick’s Day

Welcome back and HAPPY, almost, Spring!

Spring here in the valley is harsh on those with seasonal allergies. I mean harsh. Being NOT a native to the Grand Valley, only makes it worse. I’ve lived my entire life (minus the last 4 years) over on the Front Range of Colorado, where there is a WHOLE different species of allergies, of which I am totally in line with and don’t have to worry as much as over here.

That being said (I am SO not a fan of that saying. My boss uses it all the time, I mean ALL the time!)

St. Paddy’s Day or St Patty’s Day?

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick?

However you look at it,  St Paddy’s Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland.

But who WAS St. Patrick? Let’s take a look into the man, the life and the legends!

The Man :

St. Patrick, can be credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and probably responsible in part for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. We get to know St Patrick from only two short works, the Confessio, which is a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

The Life:

Patrick was born in Britain to a Romanized family; at 16 he was taken from the villa of his father, Calpurnius, a deacon and minor local official, by Irish raiders and carried into slavery in Ireland. For six long years he was a herdsman, during which he turned to his faith with a passion. Dreaming the ship in which he was to escape was ready, he fled his master and found passage to Britain, where he nearly starved and suffered a second brief captivity before he was reunited with his family. According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland where he spent many years evangelizing in the northern half of Ireland and converting “thousands” of pagan Irish to Christianity.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland), Armagh city and district (historical County Armagh), Northern Ireland.
Tourism Ireland

The Legends:

By the end of the 7th century, Patrick became a legendary figure. One of the legends claim he drove the snakes of Ireland into the sea to their destruction. Patrick wrote he raised people from the dead, a 12th-century hagiography (what the heck is hagiography? According to Webster it’s “the writing of the lives of saints”) states the number to be 33 men, of those some were claimed to have been deceased for many years. Patrick, also, reportedly prayed for food for hungry sailors traveling by land through a desolate area and a herd of swine miraculously appeared.
Probably the most popular legend, is that of the shamrock, which has him explaining the concept of the Holy Trinity (three persons in one God) to an unbeliever by showing him the three-leaved plant with one stalk, since then the Irishmen have worn shamrocks (Ireland’s national) in their lapels on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

The Celebrations:

These generally involved parades and festivals, traditional Irish music sessions and the wearing of green or shamrocks. There are also gatherings like banquets and dances, although these were more common in the past. St. Paddy’s Day parades started in North America during the 18th century but did not spread to Ireland until the 20th century and the week of Saint Patrick’s Day is known “Irish language week”.
Christians may attend church services and the Lenten restrictions of eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. This could be why drinking alcohol, particularly Irish whiskey, beer or cider has become an integral part of many celebrations. Another popular St Paddy’s Day custom, especially in Ireland, is “drowning the shamrock” or “wetting the shamrock” . At the end of the celebrations, a shamrock is dropped to bottom of a cup, then filled with whiskey, beer, or cider. This then becomes a toast to Saint Patrick, Ireland, or to those present; the shamrock is then either swallowed with the drink or taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck.

The Green:

On Saint Patrick’s Day, it is customary to wear shamrocks, green clothing or green accessories.

But why?

The color green has been associated with Ireland since the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation, representing “the scared emblem of Ireland’s unconquered soul”. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since the 1680s, where The Friendly Brothers of St Patrick (an Irish fraternity) adopted green as its color. During the 1790s, green would become associated with Irish nationalism, due to its use by the United Irishmen; a republican organization, led mostly by Protestants but included many Catholic members, and who launched a rebellion in the late 1700’s against British rule. Finally, in 1795, Ireland was described as “the Emerald Isle” for the first time in print in “When Erin First Rose”, a poem by co-founder of the United Irishmen William Drennan, stressed the historical importance of green to the Irish.

That was then….what about now?

Well first off, Ireland is an island, filled with green leafy trees and grassy hills and is referred to as the Emerald Isle. In the 18th century, green was introduced to St. Patrick’s Day festivities, when the shamrock became a national symbol and because of the shamrock’s popularity and Ireland’s landscape, the color stuck to the holiday

Maybe, most importantly, green is also the color of the mythical fairies, otherwise known as Leprechauns and the one reason you’re supposed to wear green on St. Paddy’s Day.

This tradition or folklore says wearing green makes you invisible to Leprechauns: which is good news, since they like to pinch anyone they can see. Many think sporting the color green will bring good luck and still others wear it to honor their Irish ancestry. No wonder green can be seen all over, even the Chicago River in Illinois is dyed green each year to celebrate the holiday.

Let’s not forget the tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. This likely grew out of the fact those foods were less expensive for immigrants who came to America, so they substituted beef for pork and cabbage for potatoes.

However you celebrate, here’s hoping it’s a lucky day!

“in a single day I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night almost as many;”
― St. Patrick, The Confession of St. Patrick

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
With mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
Santas Sleigh Team WM
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”
“A Visit from St. Nicholas”, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837.

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