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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Irish Tea Party with Book Review

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

For March we thought we would explore Ireland as St. Patrick's Day is in March (this Friday). We also received a book to go along with our exploration of Ireland that I will share here. Yesterday New England was hit with Winter Storm Stella, so it was the perfect day to have a tea party. Hazel and I both had a snow day while poor Steve got the overnight shift and went in early so he would not have to drive during the worse of it.


View of our back yard during storm
 Now we have looked at Ireland a few times, but most of them were when Hazel was pretty young. We reread Fair, Brown and Trembling because Hazel told me she did not remember it and it is one of my favorite Cinderella tales that we have looked at. The book Patrick and the President by Ryan Tubridy and P.J. Lynch gave us a look at Ireland through the eyes of a young boy. 
http://candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=0763689491&pix=y

This book is a fictional story from President John F. Kennedy's visit to Ireland and his ancestral hometown in Wexford (County), Ireland which occurred in 1963. The entire town is excited for their most favorite descendant to return. A boy's choir even performed for President Kennedy including his favorite song "The Boys of Wexford" and the president walks over and joins in. He also did go to a his distant cousin, Mary Ryan's, house for a reception. In this story Patrick is in the choir and also gets to serve at the reception. For Patrick it is a memorable event and the fact that he meets the President of the United States and talks to him is wonderful. This brought a discussion between Hazel and me. She wondered why it would be such a big deal to meet the president of our country for someone in a different country. We talked about how it would be to meet the queen of a country for us. It brought a very interesting discussion.
I loved how it took actual events and told them through the eyes of a child. The end of the book has more information about the actual visit made by JFK to Ireland in 1963 including photographs from it. 

To learn even more about Ireland we took books and DVDs out of the library. We actually only watched three of the DVDs and did not get to the ones about the leprechauns. We talked about Irish Step Dancing, but did not get to read about it too much. In Foods of Ireland we learn that the Irish drink more tea per person than any other group in the world. The amount imported equals about four to six cups of tea per person a day. Sharing tea is an Irish tradition and it is offered to guests and is a favorite snack. In Countries Around the World: Ireland DVD we saw them have scones with tea during the day. The Irish like strong tea (often from Kenya). As a result they often use milk in their tea. This actually started a discussion with my sister since she said that our Irish grandmother never put milk in her tea and she assumed it was an Irish thing. Apparently it is not since I have seen in books and on DVDs Irish people using milk in their tea. On the DVD the scones were eaten with orange marmalade. Hazel has not tried orange marmalade so I got some for us to try. We cut shamrock placemats out of green construction paper for our party.

 I also picked up some Irish Breakfast Tea for us to try. This is a black tea and does have caffeine. Hazel only had one cup and really only had a few sips of it. It was not her favorite.

We made some Irish Scones using this recipe. While I made a pot of tea Hazel set the table and changed into her fancy dress. 
We had our tea with sugar and milk and scones with butter and orange marmalade.

After trying the orange marmalade Hazel got out the jar of raspberry jam that my mother made. She loved the scones with the raspberry jam. She is not a fan of orange so she did not really like the marmalade.


While we enjoyed our tea and scones we listened to Irish music.

In the past we have also made Irish Chicken and Leek Pie, Irish Stew, Irish Cheese Toast, and Irish Soda Bread. I am not sure how much of it she remembers though. We also took out of the library the Magic Tree House books about Ireland, but have not read them yet. Hazel has been engrossed in reading American Girl books and is not reading much else. 

So if you are looking for something different to do to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this week try some Irish tea and scones and some of these books, CDs and DVDs. Be sure to check out this round-up of St. Patrick's Day crafts as well.