Green Little Leprechauns

It seems as though on March 17 (and the days surrounding), everyone becomes Irish. Green is worn with pride. Parades become a family tradition. Corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread adorns dinner tables. I’m proud to have Irish blood in me and I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love it even more now that I have kids. Here are some ideas to make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more fun and a little more green!

Leprechaun Traps

IMG_7200This week, we worked extremely hard on our leprechaun traps. This became more of a thing for us when my kids entered school. I remember doing it with my students, but it’s way more fun to see your own kids at work. All you need is a box. It can be as small or as big as you can handle. My oldest started hers in school and brought it home and worked on it for another 2 days! Some traps are covered completely in green, maybe painted or wrapped in paper. Ours were simple and decorated with favorite stickers. Crayons and paint markers are our favorite decorating tools in our house and were also out, but my kids seemed to stick with stickers.

IMG_7203You set the traps the night before St. Patrick’s Day and put something inside you think the leprechauns would like. Some suggestions: anything gold/shiny, picture of a rainbow, a pretend leprechaun. Set the traps and kids go to bed. When they wake up, the traps are closed and inside may be a leprechaun, but in most cases, they are too sneaky and fast to catch and instead they leave behind candy or chocolate. Ours left behind notes, too.

Mischievous Behavior

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Leprechauns are known for their mischievous behavior. In my classroom, the kids would come in to overturn garbage cans, green footprints on the floor and up the walls, lots of glitter, things put in the wrong place, and green toilets. They are not AS messy at home, in our case. We wake up to a green toilet and a few green footprints on the toilet seat. Some friends woke up to green milk or green eggs, footprints on highchair trays, and books knocked off shelves. There is no changing food or drink colors in my house as I believe my kids won’t eat or drink anything green and I hate the idea of wasting food, even for a day, so maybe one day this will be in our routine, but for now, it’s just a little green on the toilet.

Erin go Bragh

No matter how big or little your St. Patrick’s Day traditions are, may you find a little Irish in your self today. May you find luck and good fortune.

May you always have…
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And all your heart might desire.

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(photo credit: my lovely momma on her trip to Ireland a few years ago)

 


Green Little Leprechauns

It seems as though on March 17 (and the days surrounding), everyone becomes Irish. Green is worn with pride. Parades become a family tradition. Corned beef, cabbage, and Irish soda bread adorns dinner tables. I’m proud to have Irish blood in me and I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I love it even more now that I have kids. Here are some ideas to make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more fun and a little more green!

Leprechaun Traps

IMG_7200This week, we worked extremely hard on our leprechaun traps. This became more of a thing for us when my kids entered school. I remember doing it with my students, but it’s way more fun to see your own kids at work. All you need is a box. It can be as small or as big as you can handle. My oldest started hers in school and brought it home and worked on it for another 2 days! Some traps are covered completely in green, maybe painted or wrapped in paper. Ours were simple and decorated with favorite stickers. Crayons and paint markers are our favorite decorating tools in our house and were also out, but my kids seemed to stick with stickers.

IMG_7203You set the traps the night before St. Patrick’s Day and put something inside you think the leprechauns would like. Some suggestions: anything gold/shiny, picture of a rainbow, a pretend leprechaun. Set the traps and kids go to bed. When they wake up, the traps are closed and inside may be a leprechaun, but in most cases, they are too sneaky and fast to catch and instead they leave behind candy or chocolate. Ours left behind notes, too.

Mischievous Behavior

IMG_7204
Leprechauns are known for their mischievous behavior. In my classroom, the kids would come in to overturn garbage cans, green footprints on the floor and up the walls, lots of glitter, things put in the wrong place, and green toilets. They are not AS messy at home, in our case. We wake up to a green toilet and a few green footprints on the toilet seat. Some friends woke up to green milk or green eggs, footprints on highchair trays, and books knocked off shelves. There is no changing food or drink colors in my house as I believe my kids won’t eat or drink anything green and I hate the idea of wasting food, even for a day, so maybe one day this will be in our routine, but for now, it’s just a little green on the toilet.

Erin go Bragh

No matter how big or little your St. Patrick’s Day traditions are, may you find a little Irish in your self today. May you find luck and good fortune.

May you always have…
Walls for the winds 
A roof for the rain 
Tea beside the fire 
Laughter to cheer you 
Those you love near you 
And all your heart might desire.

419165_411626322186701_126656611_n

(photo credit: my lovely momma on her trip to Ireland a few years ago)

 


Homemade Holiday Candy

Generally I try really hard to stay away from sugar but special occasions are the exception and homemade sweets are so much more special than store-bought ones (even if they aren’t any better for you).

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I requested (and got) a sewing machine for Christmas last year because I had loads of projects in mind that needed one. Of course, I haven’t managed to find the time to work on any of them so the sewing machine has languished in a corner for most of the year. With the holidays approaching I decided it was time to make time for at least one of those projects I’d been wanting to work on so I started on an advent calendar. Me being me I decided to just go for it and not bother looking up a pattern but it turned out pretty well and is almost complete. With December 1st rapidly approaching now I realized I needed to turn my attention to what would go in the calendar.

That’s where this candy comes in, although it would also make for a great gift in a pretty box or jar. I decided to make 2 different types, a salted ginger toffee and my version of peppermint bark.

For the toffee you need:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp coarse salt

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Melt the butter with the sugar and regular salt and grease and line a small baking tray or flat-bottomed dish. I used a 9″ x 5″ loaf tin. Once the butter has melted turn the heat up slightly and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. Use a sugar thermometer to watch the temperature and take it off the heat when it reaches the hard crack point (just over 300F). If you don’t have a thermometer it is possible to check when the mixture is hot enough by dropping a little straight into a glass of cold water. If the resulting blob is brittle, it’s ready, if it’s still soft and chewy then it’s not ready yet. As soon as you remove it from the heat, stir in the ginger and pour into your tray, smoothing if necessary. Allow the surface to cool enough so a skin forms on the top and then sprinkle your coarse salt grains evenly over the toffee. Freeze for about 30 minutes and then use a hammer, rolling pin or cocktail muddler to carefully smash the toffee into pieces.

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For the peppermint bark you’ll want:

  • 1 bar of white chocolate
  • Couple of candy canes

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This is barely cooking but the result is super tasty and looks very pretty. Melt the chocolate over boiling water and grease and line a tray about the same size as your original chocolate bar. I used coconut oil to grease the tray but unsalted butter or even tasteless oil would work. Crush your candy canes in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or hammer. When the chocolate is melted, pour it into your tray and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Refrigerate until set and then break or cut into pieces, this’ll probably be soft enough to just break with your fingers.

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