Currently viewing the tag: "St. Patrick’s Day"

by Ana Morlier

Feng Shui—Encourage A sense of Balance

The preparation for St. Patrick’s Day has begun in this issue of the Banner! I’m sure you’ve done it all before in preparation for St. Patty’s Day: seeking out four-leaf clovers (if the weather permits), wearing green, consuming a copious amount of lucky charms, and hitting the pub with friends if you’re of age. But have you considered the practice of feng shui to enhance your luck on St. Patrick’s Day? For all you readers who are looking for a less rowdy way to celebrate this holiday, this practice is for you!

Feng shui (translates to wind and water) involves positioning furniture, plants, or other items in your house to encourage a sense of balance between you and your external environment. How you structure various rooms depends on the Bagua you want to concentrate on. That is, an element of your life, such as wealth, fame, partnership, children, family, knowledge, career, wealth, and health, to name a few. Generally, the practice encourages a less cluttered, more open space.

Here are some plants that encourage the benefits of these Baguas. Position them so that they receive adequate lighting. Some may need indirect lighting, while others require full sun. Try to line them at the perimeter of your room to allow space in the focal point of your room for better flow.

To encourage wealth: Jade plant, Money plant (Crassula Ovata), Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica). The color purple and boxy shapes are also associated with this Bagua. Best placed in an office space.

To encourage wellness: Citrus trees, philodendron, ferns, and fiscus. Associated with plants with rounded leaves and act as air purifiers. Place in a beloved gathering place, such as a living room.

To encourage intellect: Blue lace, lavender, fairy thimbles, and the triplet lily. These plants can also be placed in an office/study space.

To encourage fame: Mother of thousands, coleus, anthurium, and radiator plants (peperomia). Most effective when placed in a gathering space or an office space. 

For protection: Snake plants, hedgehog aloe serve as protectors of the home. Place them near doors or windows (for the cheaper and greener home security option).

These are a few suggestions for luck-bringing plants. Any plants in your home will positively impact your mental health and well-being, no matter what they may be.

Their air-purifying properties and hearty nature can encourage a sense of flow and vitality in your home. You can also practice mindfulness while taking care of your plants, thus benefiting your overall health.

This St. Patrick’s Day, stay green with a green thumb, and may prosperity be with you!

You don’t have to go far to find a great atmosphere with great people.

Social gatherings bring out the best in us, and can often help attendees branch out and meet new people. There may be no better way to get out and experience town living to the fullest than an annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl.

Pub Crawls are a staple of the Americanized version of St. Patrick’s Day, one of this country’s most fun-centered and party-filled holidays. Cities across the nation light up green in honor of the Irish St. Patrick, and it’s not uncommon to find a bit of green in just about everything come March 17.

Even non-Irish pubs often serve shamrock green beers all day long, offering pub goers a refreshing and festive accent to a day full of celebration.

Nearly every major city in the United States has its own take on St. Patrick’s Day, and you don’t have to cross the pond to Dublin to get what feels like an authentic Irish celebration. Baltimore, Washington D.C., and plenty of other modern metropolises have various events and crawls where you can get discounted drinks and a driver to shuttle your group to and from each location. 

Pub Crawls typically feature a set of designated locations, where patrons have a limited amount of time to drink up until hitting the road for the next stop. The name comes from the slow pace of pushing from bar to bar at the crawl, with drinkers spending short amounts of time at each bar before heading to the next. Or, perhaps it derives from a bar crawl’s most rowdy participants, who may end up partying too hard and actually crawling to the final bars on the list.

Check out a few of the local and not-so-local options perfectly suited for your green-themed St. Patty’s Day fun.

Westminster’s Celtic Canter Pub Crawl/5K

The Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day (March 14) features a plethora of holiday events. Westminster’s Celtic Canter Pub Crawl draws crowds looking for some mid-day St. Patrick’s Day fun with some familiar locations, featuring stops at Maggie’s, Conah’s Bar and Grille, O’Lordans Irish Pub, RockSalt Grille, and many more. The crawl begins at noon, and features 10 bars with specials along the way. The crawl kicks off at the Westminster City Department of Recreation.

Crawlers are given a passport to have punched at each bar, with participants who complete the passport entered to win gift cards at the restaurants featured in the crawl. A free trolley is available for guests to safely tour the bars, shuttling passengers until 5 p.m.

Drinking and exercise is a seemingly strange pairing that has gained popularity in recent years, and Westminster also offers a 5K run the morning before the pub crawl.

A morning run may be the perfect way to prepare and compensate for the carb blowout that comes with St. Patty’s Day beers and food, so it’s worth checking out for those go-getters looking to celebrate the holiday from start to finish.

The race runs through historic downtown Westminster and has enough activities for kids and live music to keep the whole family entertained. Plus, finishers get a free T-shirt, and that is something everyone can get behind. 

St. Patty’s Day Margarita Crawl

Bar Crawl Unlimited is well-known for hosting outrageously fun pub crawls, packed with good bars and better beers.

The margarita crawl is a unique take on a traditionally beer-focused holiday. Margaritas aren’t just the perfect summer drink, and with the unusually warm winter, it may just be your first taste of Spring.

Rain or shine, the plan does not change for this pub crawl, so if a fun and concrete plan for a great St. Patrick’s Day is on your radar, a margarita crawl may be the perfect trip to start your Spring right.

This Baltimore-based Pub Crawl kicks off from popular downtown spot Power Plant, with six hours of drinking throughout scenic downtown Baltimore. There are plenty of giveaways, live music, and discounted drinks to keep the party going all day long.

Registration at Power Plant begins at 2:00 p.m. on March 7.

Chase The Green Bar Crawl

Washington D.C. is full of historic monuments, beautiful museums, and some of the most fun city tours in America.

It also has a great nightlife, and pub crawl promoters capitalize on the bar scene every St. Patrick’s Day with some of the best pub crawls on the east coast.

D.C. has plenty of crawls to offer the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, and Chase The Green pub crawl features six great bars all with a unique spin. Each bar plays different music, so no matter the taste or mood, you are sure to find a few that bring out your Irish side.

Food and drink specials keep the party going all night long, so patrons are free to contour their St. Patty’s Day experience well after the pub crawl is over.

The event expects more than 1,000 participants, so get your tickets early before they sell out for good.

Outside of Ireland, nobody does St. Patrick’s Day bigger and better than right here in the United States. Whether you choose to stick with one of the local parades, or head to your nearest Irish pub, you can’t go wrong tossing on a green shirt and some face paint to go see what towns near you have to offer.

Keep your eyes open for early-bird offers on tickets, because nobody wants to miss out on a great time with great people, and your perfect day trip is right around the corner.

Please note that, locally, Emmitsburg’s Vigilant Hose Company hosts a St. Patty’s Day Pub Crawl, but it was sold out at the time of this publishing.

by Valerie Nusbaum

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, those of us who celebrate the holiday need to be thinking about which shade of green we’ll be wearing on March 17. I usually go with a nice Kelly green, but I might change it up this year.

I had always thought that puce was a shade of green, but I found out that I was wrong. After a little research, I learned that puce is the French word for “flea.” The color puce is actually a drab brownish-reddish shade that is supposed to resemble the stain a flea would make when crushed on linen, or the color of flea droppings. Doesn’t that sound lovely? I won’t be wearing puce on St. Patty’s Day or any other time. Chartreuse, olive, lime, forest, and seafoam greens are all acceptable choices, though. So are sap, moss, and avocado. Did you know that there’s a Hooker’s green?  A lovely ensemble with a Hooker’s blouse and some puce pants might be one way to go, or not. There’s also a shade called clover green, which is a good segue to my next thought.

What is the difference between a shamrock and a clover? I’m glad you asked because this gives me the opportunity to learn something. 

As far as I can tell, a shamrock is a species of clover. There is some confusion as to which species is actually the one that serves as a symbol of Ireland. Shamrocks and most clovers have three leaves on each stem. According to legend, Saint Patrick used the three leaves to illustrate the Christian Holy Trinity.  I think I’m correct in saying that the common clover weed found in most of our lawns is not a shamrock.  However, one can occasionally find a common clover, which has four or more leaves and is considered a symbol of good luck for the finder. However,  this is a totally different thing and it doesn’t pertain to St. Patrick’s Day.

Luck, on the other hand, is associated with the Irish. Why is that? Well, it seems that during the times of the gold and silver rushes of the late 1900s, some of the most famous and prolific miners had come to the United States from Ireland. The term “luck of the Irish” was coined by other miners, and it is said that the term was used in a derogatory way that implied that the only way the Irish miners could strike it rich was through luck because they weren’t smart enough to do it any other way. How rude!  I suppose that’s how the image of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow came about.

Of course, the pot of gold is said to belong to a leprechaun, and in order to possess the gold, one must catch the leprechaun (a tiny old man dressed in a green or red suit). Leprechauns are known tricksters, but supposedly if one is caught, he will grant his captor three wishes if the captor agrees to let him go. Leprechauns are said to enjoy drinking alcohol in large quantities, so homeowners in Ireland tended to keep their cellars locked down. It’s also interesting to point out that some historians believe the term leprechaun originated from “leath brogan,” an Irish term meaning shoemaker, which could account for those snazzy buckles we see on the shoes of most leprechauns.

Speaking of shamrocks, which I did earlier, it’s been a tradition of mine for many years to have lunch at The Shamrock restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m usually a person who’s bothered by crowds and noise, but not on March 17. I also don’t drink beer—green or otherwise—so it might seem strange that I enjoy this holiday so much, but I do. I love corned beef and cabbage, and a good Reuben sandwich (minus the Russian or Thousand Island dressing) is something I’d never turn down. People dress up in their green and wear goofy hats and accessories at the restaurant; the Celtic music is playing and the atmosphere is one of fun and good humor. It started out with me taking my mom out to lunch, then our cousin Pat joined us, and then we decided to include Randy and Pat’s husband Keith. It’s become a tradition to have lunch at The Shamrock and come back to our house for dessert. I even enjoy coming up with green treats and Irish-themed sweets.

I think I’ve told you before that my mom makes shamrock-shaped green pancakes for the holiday.  She started that tradition when my brother and I were children and she continues it to this day, unless I make the pancakes before she gets a chance to do it.

Randy’s family, being of German descent, didn’t usually join in the festivities, but I’ve managed to convince Randy that he’s a little bit Irish, if only for one day. Plus, he never turns down a good meal, a celebration, or a chance to wear a silly hat.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of you who will be celebrating with us, and happy spring to all!

Lewistown United Methodist Church

by Theresa Dardanell

For the members of the Lewistown United Methodist Church (LUMC), community outreach means more than supporting the needs in the immediate Lewistown area; their contributions reach all around the world. Several committees and groups work together for the benefit of the church, the local community, and the world.

The Community Outreach Committee is responsible for coordinating donations to support local needs. The church supports the Thurmont Food Bank, and the committee makes it fun by having a different theme each month. The theme for February was “Souper Bowl,” so lots of soup and noodles were donated. Of course, for St. Patrick’s Day in March, the theme is “Green,” so cans of peas and other green foods will be in the donation bins.

Donations of clothing are collected several times a year for the homeless. Lewistown Elementary School is also a beneficiary of their generosity. Principal Dana Austin said, “The Lewistown United Methodist Church has been a dedicated community partner with Lewistown Elementary for many years. On an annual basis, they have provided lunches for the pyramid summer school program, hosted a back to school lunch for staff, and donated school supplies and food for evening events. Recently, the church began supporting our weekend food program for needy families. They not only provided volunteers to bag the food, but also donated $500 for nonperishable food. Their service is a testament to their commitment to those in need, along with their commendable support of Frederick County Public Schools. TeamLES appreciates all that they do!”

The Missions Committee reaches a greater range of people who need assistance. At Christmas, they partnered with the Salvation Army to provide gifts for three families. In the winter, they partner with The Society of St. Andrew to help end hunger in the community with the Potato Drop. Forty thousand pounds of potatoes are donated by the agricultural community and distributed to food banks and churches for distribution. LUMC members help pack the potatoes in ten-pound bags at the Smithsburg distribution center and bring them back to be given to families in need.  The church also reaches out to several international organizations to provide assistance. Operation Christmas Child provides gift boxes to children in need around the world. LUMC volunteers packed and sent approximately thirty-two shoe boxes with toys, clothing, and personal care items. The children of the congregation collected money for the Heifer Project, and chose fish fingerlings to be given to a family in another country. Along with the fish, the family receives training in fish farming, so they can become self-reliant. They helped to fulfill the old saying, “Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime.”

The United Methodist Women’s Group is responsible for social events and fundraising. They provide the lunch for the teachers at Lewistown Elementary, and treat the senior citizens of the community to a special dinner once a year. They coordinate the twice yearly pot pie dinner, which is the biggest fundraiser for the church; they are famous for their “Slippery Pot Pie,” which is made with homemade noodles instead of a top crust. Although the dinners are organized by the Women’s group, everyone in the church is involved in some way. Preparing to serve about six hundred dinners is a monumental task that begins before the actual day of the event. There are potatoes to peel, cole slaw to be made, desserts to be prepared, and, most important, chicken to cook. Then, there is the “chicken pickin,” which, of course, is when the meat is picked off the bones before it can be made into pot pie. On the day of the dinner, cooking begins about 5:00 a.m., and the work does not end until the cleaning is done, about 6:00 p.m. The volunteers consider this fundraiser  a “FUNraiser with camaraderie, fellowship, teamwork, and outreach/service to the community.” Mark your calendars for the March 21st  Slippery Pot Pie dinner. It will be held from noon-5:30 p.m. You can enjoy the all-you-can-eat family style meal at the church hall; takeout is also an option.

The Children’s Ministry Committee combines education and fun for the children. Along with Sunday School during the 9:00 a.m. service and vacation Bible school during the summer, there are many activities held throughout the year. On Scouting Sunday in February, all scouts are invited to wear their uniforms to church and participate in the service. The Easter activity includes an Easter egg hunt, egg coloring, crafts, games, and lunch.  “Trunk or treat” is an interesting alternative to “Trick or Treat” in October. Families gather together outside with their open car trunks, decorated for the season. The children go from one car to another, gathering the treats that are inside the car trunks and then enjoy games and activities together.

Social activities are not limited to the children. Families enjoy the summer church picnic, the annual Christmas party, and a Frederick Keys baseball game. Everyone I met agreed with the sentiment of one of the members, who said, “Anybody who wants to come is welcome to join our family. We love and care about each other.”

Pastor Linda Warehime leads the weekly 9:00 a.m. Sunday service.  Joyful news and prayer concerns are shared with the congregation, the choir leads everyone in song, and everyone is welcome to participate in Holy Communion.

New members are always welcome to join. The church is located at 11032 Hessong Bridge Road in Thurmont. For more information, call 301-898-7888 or e-mail lumc21788@comcast.net. Find them on Facebook at: Lewistown United Methodist Church – Thurmont.

Pastor Linda Warehime and several members of the Lewistown United Methodist Church on “Scouting Sunday.”

Photo by Theresa Dardanell

Can’t Live Without Them

by Valerie Nusbaum

We can pick our friends, our seats, and, well, our noses, but we can’t pick our families (other than our spouses, of course). Randy and I have had some amusing family encounters recently, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

There’s a bit of Irish in my family on my dad’s side; but even if there weren’t, we’d still enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day—green shamrock-shaped pancakes and all. It’s been a tradition for years that Mom and I have lunch on St. Patrick’s Day at the Shamrock Restaurant. We love the decorations, the music, and the food, and it doesn’t hurt that everyone is there with the intention of having a good time. Last year, Mom and I invited our cousin, Pat, to join us; and, this year, we gained Pat’s husband, Keith, and Randy.  My hubby had never participated in the celebration because he was always working, but he took some time off to be with us this year and was glad he did. He particularly enjoyed the corned beef, and he even wore his two-foot-tall beer-mug hat.

After lunch, we all came back to our house for dessert. I had made a green coffee cake and shamrock brownies, and served them with green mint chip ice cream. We had a good time and shared lots of memories and laughs.

About a week after that celebration, I was in the kitchen getting things ready for dinner. I’d decided to have baked potatoes, and when I went to my potato bin to get them, I discovered that the bin was full of trash. Huh? Then I recognized some of the wrapping paper from a gift that Mom had given to Pat. Cousin Pat evidently thought my potato bin was a trash can. I’m just glad there was nothing stinky in there!

Not long after that, our nephew, Andrew, came up from Florida for a long weekend. The only thing more entertaining than a Nusbaum man is TWO Nusbaum men. Andrew was here to help his Uncle Randy clean out the garage at Randy’s parents’ house. That small, delicate little boy with the big glasses has grown into a 6’5” strapping linebacker-of-a-man, and we were glad to have his help with all the lifting and carrying. I don’t mean to imply that Andrew ever played football, or even basketball. The athletic prowess of the Nusbaum men runs in other directions. They are outdoorsmen and excel at fishing, hunting, and picnicking.

I went over to the house at lunchtime on Saturday. I’d been assured that the two of them had been hard at work for hours. When I called Randy to ask if Andrew liked sloppy Joes, there was an awful lot of giggling going on; I was happy that they were finding some fun in a rather dismal task. The men were at the landfill when I got to the house, so I went inside and got things ready for lunch. I saw Randy’s truck come up the driveway, and I walked out to the garage to tell them that lunch was ready. I found the pair of them in the garage, each wearing a huge sombrero, playing with toy trucks.

Andrew headed back to Florida with a truckload of stuff and two sombreros. Actually, he was wearing one of them as he waved goodbye.

My husband is the only family member I actually chose. Mostly, I’m glad I married him, but there are some times when all I can do is sigh and get on with it. Randy had to return to the eye doctor’s office three times to repeat one of his tests. His results were always inconclusive, but bordering on something serious.  The technician was thoroughly perturbed with Randy, because he had so much trouble clicking the button when certain lights came into view. It was finally determined that there was nothing seriously wrong with Randy’s eyes. His hand/eye coordination could use some work, though. He also needs to work on concentrating and not letting his mind wander during important life-saving tests.

That leaves my mother. Mom’s landline was out of order. I had been calling her for hours and kept getting a busy signal. This didn’t alarm or surprise me, as Mom has a lot of friends, and she talks on the phone often with her next-door neighbor, even though they live twenty feet apart. When we finally realized that Mom’s phone wasn’t working, Randy called the phone company and reported it. The next morning, I still wasn’t able to reach my mother. She has a cell phone, but doesn’t turn it on unless she’s going to make a long-distance call. I knew that eventually Mom would think it was odd that she hadn’t heard from me, since I check on her several times each day. I hoped that Mom would use her cell phone to call me, so I went and got my own cell phone. I knew that my dear mother would assume that she couldn’t call my landline with her cell. I was right. My cell phone rang shortly after that.

It could be worse.

I’m sending a big shout out to Susan Storer this month. “Susan, thanks so much for your kind words about my columns and for all your help.”

Buck Reed, The Supermarket Gourmet

Okay, okay…I get it. We like corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Yet, there is an array of perfectly good Irish food we can eat on this day that might be considered more appropriate. We have coddle, Irish salmon, or my personal favorite, Irish stew. Don’t get me wrong, I like corned beef and cabbage, but I would order Irish-style bangers and mash on St. Patrick’s Day over corned beef and cabbage any time. But, I know every restaurant and bar will be serving corned beef and cabbage, as if this is the only thing they eat on the Emerald Isle. And, of course, you will probably pass up the Guinness and go for whatever beer they happen to be adding green dye to.

However, if you are one of those many who will be foregoing the bar-hopping tradition, you will hopefully be cooking at home and maybe even invite a few friends or neighbors over. Although Irish food is well known for being uncomplicated, most of you will still be making corned beef and cabbage. If you are inviting me over, I like horseradish sauce with mine. One friend of mine once made corned beef and cabbage, but the store was out of green cabbage. She was in a hurry, so she purchased red cabbage instead, and everything she served was purple. The hard part of this operation is trying to convince your guests that purple potatoes were St. Patrick’s favorite way to eat them. 

I say go ahead and have a small party. Except for a few of the more morose poets and a couple of murderous monarchs, the Irish are a mostly friendly people. And we all love that snake-chasing patron saint, so a party in his honor is more than appropriate. So, get your shamrock decorations ready, put on your “Kiss Me, I Should Be Irish” green shirt, and make some corned beef and cabbage. Even better, make extra corned beef and cabbage. It really isn’t that much extra work, and the leftovers can be turned into wonderful dishes. Here are a few ideas: 

• Make hash by chopping up the corned beef and potatoes and fry it up with just a touch of horseradish.

• Even better, add chopped beets to the above to make a red flannel hash. 

• Save the broth and make a coddle-like dish with the vegetables and a bit of corned beef and maybe a nice piece of sausage.

• Fried corned beef might become your second favorite side meat to serve with fried eggs.

• Make a corned beef and cabbage burrito for a quick on-the-go lunch (probably great for a hangover).

• As long as we are on the fusion thing: try corned beef and cabbage stir-fry or, even better, serve it up over your favorite ramen.

• Back to Irish cuisine: how about colcannon?

Need a recipe or have an idea for an article, email me at rguyinthekitchen@aol.com.