Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Luck O' the Irish

Part irish here, thank you very much.

I grew up hating St. Patrick's Day.  For one, if you couldn't find your green shirt you knew the kids at school were gonna pinch until you bruised.  And if that wasn't bad enough, my parents were just irish enough to make sure we enjoyed classic irish fare once a year--corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes.

I wasn't a picky eater by any means.  In fact, to this day I like to consider myself as a pretty reasonably adventurous person when it comes to food.  I love to try all sorts of things from different cultures.  The potatoes were no problem, and cabbage was even okay.  It was the corned beef that got me every time. To this day, I hear "corned beef" and I think I throw up a little in my mouth.

So it intrigues me when I see what other families do for St. Pattie's Day for their kids.  Do they force them to eat horrid food?  Or do they go easier on the palate, like a Shepherds Pie and a cold one (water for the kiddies, a beer for the adults)?  Actually, I have creative friends and I'm envious.  If I had been half as creative as a young mother as they are, St. Patrick's day might have redeemed itself to me!

The most obvious way to make the day a little more fun is serving everything green.  Green eggs and ham for breakfast.  Green beans, green mashed potatoes, green milk to drink.  Mint chocolate chip ice cream (I think I would have found that corned beef more palatable if I knew it was going to be followed with dessert!).  And how about throwing in some Girl Scout thin mints?  Granted, they're not green, but they help to fund a good organization and everybody knows that mint is associated with green, right?

One of my friends has been corresponding with her child as though she were a leprechaun, encouraging him to ask questions for the "leprechaun" to answer.  He'll have hidden gold coins to find today, a great treasure hunt for a little one.

Green construction paper can easily be cut into clovers, and if you have older kids like mine, try this activity.  My kids are quick to find fault with others (especially one another), so lay out a variety of pens and clovers for the family.  Encourage the kids (and adults!) to write kind things about one another on the clovers, and then stick them around the house.  If you're more adventurous, you can try sticking them in surprising places (always fun to find a clover six months later in a drawer!), but if you're more of a neat type person, create your own clover field where everyone's clovers are clustered together and hung. The whole family will enjoy reading the good things they've done for each other, and who knows?  That luck may stay for awhile!

If you have beautiful weather, consider going on a leprechaun hunt with your little one.  Take a walk and note all the green out with the leprechauns.  Could he be hiding behind a tree?  On the other side of a slide?  Who knows if you don't check?

Have your kids help prepare st. patty's day snacks like green apples, green applesauce, golden coins cut from summer squash with dip, or rainbow bananas (dip banana rounds into dry jello powder).  Or make up silly songs or rhymes about rainbows, coins, green, clover, or leprechauns.

Any or all of these ideas can spice up your day and take just a few minutes to turn an ordinary Thursday into something more special for the kids.  Enjoy and feel free to add your own ideas under comments!  Just do me a favor--unless you really love it, avoid the corned beef!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out! We had fun finding the coins, drinking our green milk and water, and flushing our green potty water. Mr. C was so happy to have his questions answered from the leprechaun. The best part was finding the gold leprechaun coins. He was so happy playing with them all day. No corned beef for us this year. I think next year I will try a Shepherd's Pie.