March 10, 2011

St. Pat Plans

I have never in my life actually done anything for St. Patrick's day other than get pinched.  Never.  I explained the ritual of pinching those who aren't wearing green to Hannah Jane and she recalled me having made her wear green on that day way back in her preschool years. She asked if I wore green to school when I was a kid and I told her no, that I spent my day getting pinched and feeling angry at my mother for forgetting to dress me in a pinch preventative color (Mom, if you're reading this, don't be mad!).She thought that was hilarious!

But I'm gearing up to do St. Patrick's Day big this year.  With home schooling it is easy to let the rituals and rhythms that traditional school provides pass us by because maybe the holiday isn't specific to our own culture or religion, or that life has just been to crazy to make a big deal of anything that isn't a big deal.  My new stance is that no holiday should be forgotten and, time and life permitting, I will do all of them up big for the kids so that they have these hilarious traditions to remember fondly. 

I thought I'd share my plans with you in advance in case any of it sounds like something you want to try yourself.  Well, I say "in advance" but the truth is that we started yesterday and we can't seem to stop ourselves from doing more!!!

 First we made cards for Grammas and friends (who knows if they'll ever get mailed or not!) using a tutorial on my favorite art teacher's blog.  Easy little form drawing lesson to draw shamrocks and then layer different media for effect (we used crayons and water color, without the fancy marker).  

We used a printable from this site to make mystery art.  It's grid coloring where the page is divided into squares with a corresponding letter/number combination and a key for how to color each square at the bottom.  The kids don't know what they're making, but at the end they have a pot of gold.  Pretty cool, except that my kids don't have a knack for patiently following directions and Hannah Jane wadded hers up twice (the second time she finished the entire thing, but got carried away at the end and filled in too many squares) declaring she'd never do it again.  There's another one with a leprechaun that I'm gong to ask her to do tomorrow because I'm thinking she really should be able to follow written directions at her age and this could be a step in the right direction. 

That same site has all sorts of awesome free printable related to the holiday.  Hannah Jane did the acrostic poem one today as well and really enjoyed it.

My favorite little web find, which I've shared with you before, is the Toy Maker.  All sorts of free printable paper toys of beautiful quality that are so magical, you fall back in time to your childhood, only suddenly your childhood was in a magic castle by the sea and you played with paper faeries all day long. 

We made the Irish Dancing Faeries and I tell you, those kids stood just like this forever!  You print, cut, and fold these beautiful Irish faeries, sit them atop a pencil, and gently blow their dress to make them spin.  I offered the boys a leprechaun toy instead, but they all wanted something that twirls. 

The Toy Maker also has a memory game with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  Haven has been wearing me out with requests to play Toy Story Memory lately, and it just takes forever with all those cards!  This was the perfect amount of cards, and as usual, beautifully illustrated by the Toy Maker.

Now for the plans for the official holiday!

For Breakfast I was tempted to go with Lucky Charms because we never get sugar cereal and I just plain wanted some for myself, but more affordable and significantly healthier would be whole wheat shamrock pancakes.  I have no picture other than the one in my mind, but I think with a little food coloring and creative ladle skills I could pull this off.  If not, plain old round pancakes that are green are still going to knock their socks off.

For lunch we'll have these little gem!  Family Fun Magazine came up with using peppers for the shamrock on a little English muffin pizza!  How cute is that? 

To make the pizza a little more fun (I know!  How could that possible be more fun?) I'm going to use this great idea from the Gourmet Mom and put little sour cream foot prints across the plate!  Too cute!  She used frosting, but in an effort to cut the sugar, we're going to go with sour cream. 

As if I didn't love the Gourmet mom enough, she also has this super fun looking way of making rainbow cupckakes that I think any kid would just love!  Each kiddo can create their own bag of colored batter and then take turns squeezing it into the cup cake cups.  We'll make them after lunch and eat them after dinner with Dad!

For dinner we'll have Pot O' Gold soup (cheese soup) along with mutant shamrocks (broccoli) and corned beef.  

I'm going to decorate with table with the free printables from How Does She?  You can sign up for access to their free printables and let me just tell you that there's way more than St. Patty's Day pretties.  Their back to school printables were so darling I half wanted to plop my kids on the bus just to have an excuse to use them!  There's one that's a lunch box note and it just brought back memories of my mom writing me notes on the napkins in my lunch box and including an extra dessert for whoever my best friend was at the time.  (See Mom?  You're redeemed by the napkin story!)  Ahh...memories.  Thanks, How Does She for the happy little flashback, but on with the show!

A few days prior, we'll paper mache a pot for our pot of gold and leave it out for the leprechauns to fill.  On the day of, the leprechauns will leave little signs with clues all around the house for them to find the pot, which will by then contain a little treasure or three.  Probably not coins, but maybe some little rainbow themed toy from the dollar store.

Well, I think that about covers it!  Hope that gave you  lots of fun ideas for ways to make March 17th a memorable occasion for the littles!  And if you have ideas, pictures, or links to add, please send them our way!

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