February First Giving

The Eve of Saint Brigid was all about it being a Tuesday. Phew! How many times have we missed out on corned beef and cabbage because Saint Patrick’s Day lands during Lent? Well, we solved that problem. Our yearly dose of the Irish came on January 31st, and what fun! Irish ale, and eating corned beef and cabbage, weaving crosses, reading and telling stories, and celebrating with Irish (-ish) friends. Very fun. Truly fun. I think my husband even stirred up a batch of Irish coffees while I built a marble track with the munchkins.

But on the actual feast day, on this Wednesday, February 1st, we tossed all the festivities aside and made it a day of giving.

Well, first we had prayers, and a bit of school.

Then, while the little one did some chores, some cleaning, some getting dressed and all, I got to mixing. Look at this be-uuuuu-tiful dough.

And from the risen dough came the shaped loaves

and while the dough slowly rose

I wove two more small crosses. Just little ones, for little hands.

We baked the bread, pulled the five packages of gummy bears from the drawer (we bought them the other day at Vices and Spices), and took to the streets.

Two loaves of bread, five bags of gummy bears and two crosses–all for giving.

Here’s the rundown.

  • My husband gave a cross and gummy bears to our goddaughter at church this evening
  • Andrew gave a loaf of bread to RJ
  • Mad gave gummy bears to Ashley
  • I gave gummy bears to Austin on our ride home
  • John Ronan and I gave gummy bears and a cross to the Keller boys while in the school parking lot
  • And John Ronan gave one loaf of bread to a homeless woman and her baby at the library. That was the hardest. That one.

And that’s probably where Saint Brigid would have stayed. There, at the library, in the corner where the woman and her baby were ensconced. We didn’t stay, we couldn’t–we had gads of kids to pack into our car for the drive home–but I’m hoping that our prayer for her, that the bread with the prayers kneaded in, added something better to her day.

May holy Brigid pray for us.

Blessed feast, Everyone!

 

Christmas is Coming

Being an Orthodox Christian family, we fast and feast and celebrate various events all throughout the year. Right now we are nearing the end of Advent, a period of fasting and preparation before Christmas when we celebrate with fervor the coming of Christ to our world. Fasting in the midst of a season which is known for buttery cookies and holiday hams is a little bit tricky, but we manage. We manage by eating sourdough bread and vegetable soups. We manage by spending more time reading, and praying, and being at home. This season of busyness can be paired with introspection and abstention, and the fasting helps create a very real sense of anticipation, and wow does the feasting come with added force when the actual day of Christmas arrives!

And don’t think we won’t be enjoying all those holiday wonders. The Twelve Days of Christmas is not a myth, it’s a very real tradition, and here are just a few things I’m looking forward to baking between December 25th and January 5th:

Up until now it’s been bread without butter. The sourdough and French and molasses loaves are year-round favorites and very fast-friendly, and so satisfying when it’s winter and you’re hungry… but soon the milk and butter will be back on the menu! I’m looking forward to trying a few new breads–

  • a Maine Pumpkin Bread,
  • loaves of Finnish Pulla,
  • and maybe even trying my hands at Stollen in the form of a braided wreath.
  • Oh… and some Russian Tea Cakes made with butter and walnuts!

But in the meantime, there’s plenty to do (including lots of baking and giving away of bread) with Christmas just days away! Here’s some of how we’ve been spending our time.

Enjoy these last days of Advent my friends!