A Markel Family St. Patrick’s Day

It’s time for another Markel Family holiday recap! Like all good holidays, the fun really started last night, when we set our leprechaun trap:

We watched every episode of Rick Steves’ Europe featuring Ireland that we could find (I think there were four on Hulu), and then watched Riverdance. And I had a Shamrock Shake, because I have to have one every year!

Early this morning, we went downstairs to discover that as is the case every year, even though it looked like we had caught something in our trap, all we found was a small treat (leprechaun-sized “cobblestones” that were actually Dove mint chocolates):

This year’s breakfast of Lucky Charms was extra special, because we found a limited edition green marshmallows variety!

In between preparing dinner and working on Turkey’s birthday cake for tomorrow, I found some time to bring my St. Patrick’s Day spirit to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp:

This really was the children’s “lucky” day, because they also got a special treat with lunch…St. Patrick’s Day cakes!

Of course I took a picture of them all in their wildly varying shades of green:

We had our usual dinner of corned beef and cabbage, roast carrots and potatoes, and soda bread with Irish butter. But this year, we had something extra special to go with it…Green River soda, a Chicago favorite that I remember from my childhood. I managed to pick up a few bottles when we were in Chicago in January, and we used every ounce of self-control we have not to open them until today!

And for dessert, Guinness cake, which I think may be our family’s favorite cake!

It was another fun St. Patrick’s Day, and there’s even more fun to come tomorrow on Turkey’s 15th birthday!

Trapped?

Oh dear…

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He got away. And left a mess of confetti on the table, besides. At least he was nice enough to leave us a little surprise, even if we didn’t get his whole pot of gold!

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St. Patrick’s Day 2012

Today is one of my favorite days of the year–St. Patrick’s Day!

The children started their day with the traditional bowl of Lucky Charms. Since St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday this year, I didn’t even need to feel guilty about it, as Saturday is the one day of the week when they’re allowed sugary cereal. I only wish I could have had some!

I dyed the lunch applesauce green, too. It’s such a small thing, but every year, it really amuses the children. They also got to have Skittles with lunch…it’s really their “lucky” day!

We had our traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage slow-cooked in Guinness…but no roasted potatoes or soda bread this year, so as not to tempt the gestational diabetic. I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to roasted red potatoes.

I did, however, indulge in the chocolate Guinness cake I made…it’s become one of my favorites, and it’s less sugary than a lot of cakes!

We had fun preparing for St. Patrick’s Day in school for the last week or so, as well. We made snakes:

And paper plate Leprechauns:

We also played my one of my favorite games, (The Alphabet Game), with green for the theme. It was fun to see Turkey and Bunny’s creativity with a few of the letters in the alphabet. My favorite part, though, was Turkey’s attempt at writing “gecko.” That’s what he said out loud when sharing his list, but when I actually looked at the list, he had written “Geico”–I guess their advertising is working!

We also used my favorite part of the hymn often attributed to St. Patrick, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” as our dictation for the week. I know he likely didn’t write it, but it doesn’t change the beauty of the lyrics:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

We read an old favorite book–St. Patrick’s Day. This is a very simplified story about St. Patrick, along with simplified explanations of a few traditions, but the children still like it.

We learned more about Irish traditions with a new favorite book–Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick’s Day Symbols. This is a great book, and full of interesting tales. I learned a lot from it myself, and the children really enjoyed the different stories, some of which we read out loud, (the chapters “St. Patrick Himself,” “The Irish Shamrock,” “St. Patrick and the Serpents,” “A Sprig of Shillelagh,” “Leprechauns,” and “St. Patrick’s Day Parades”), and some they read on their own, (“The Wearin’ of the Green” was especially popular).

The most popular activity, however, was helping Moose make his “Leprechaun Trap” for school:

The trap was even successful, thanks to Turkey’s creativity with Legos:

As long as we read about the history of the legend of the leprechaun in Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs, and read the legend referenced in that book, (“Lazy Tom”), in The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book, and attempted to “trap” a leprechaun, I decided to give Turkey and Bunny a creative writing assignment about leprechauns, as well. The topic? “If I caught a leprechaun…” It’s always fun to hear the things they come up with when they’re writing about something mythical! Turkey was focused on having a fun day with the leprechaun, and getting him to lead the way to other leprechauns’ pots of gold, while Bunny was determined to make sure her leprechaun didn’t get away so that she could get his gold and go shopping!

I’d count this as a successful St. Patrick’s Day. I know it’s kind of silly, because I’m not Irish, (and not even Catholic!), but I really have a lot of fun with this holiday, and I seem to have made it a special day in our household in the children’s opinions, without even having to try too hard…it just came naturally!

The Leprechaun Trap

For school this week, Moose had to make a “Leprechaun Trap.” We all had fun helping him design and assemble this project! We were also able to use things from around the house…a ubiquitous Amazon box, wrapping paper, glitter, a pencil, and embroidery thread. The only thing I actually bought for the project was a package of shamrock stickers…and if I had looked hard, I probably could have found some of those around here, too! It may not be the world’s best or most creative trap, but it sure was a lot of fun to make…Moose’s favorite part was putting stickers and glitter everywhere!

According to the instruction sheet we received with the assignment, Leprechauns like shiny things:

They also, of course, like green:

Being mischievous, they often do the opposite of what they’re told:

It was important to Turkey that Moose “actually” catch a Leprechaun, so he helped out with that task:

I love St. Patrick’s Day, so this project wasn’t even work for me…it was just a lot of fun, and I think it was great that we could all help Moose with his homework!