Ireland & St. Patrick’s Day Week!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! We did a lot of stuff this week and I got a little overwhelmed trying to decide how to do this post, so here is the order for the week and possibly forever; books, crafts, then food. With the possibility of field trips and other facts thrown in.

We had a really good time this week. There is SO much you can do to learn about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.  Here are the books we used, with pictures.

One book The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions I omitted from my review, we didn’t end up reading it, it was way too long. St. Patrick’s Day is a non-fiction book and reviewed below.
The Leprechaun who lost his Rainbow by Sean Callahan (This one was my daughter’s favorite of all the books we read. It is a beautiful story about a girl who has to help a leprechaun find all the colors for his rainbow, so the sun can shine on the St. Patrick’s Day parade. A book with good lessons in sacrifice and giving, it was a great read and educational about all the colors too).  
Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato An Irish Folktale by Tomie Depaola (I personally love any kind of folktales, this one in particular is adorable. About the laziest man in Ireland, Jamie leaves all the work for his wife. When she is put to bed with a hurt back he knows they will starve as he is too lazy to tend the garden himself. He then tricks a leprechaun and in the end is well fed for the rest of his life. Not exactly a story with a huge moral, but tons of fun). 
Brigid’s Cloak an ancient Irish Story by Bryce Milligan (This is a more religious story about the first religious experiences of Brigid. (Brigid would later become a saint in Ireland and they have a day to celebrate her). Very interesting story I had never heard before, the book is beautiful and written clearly though.)
King Puck by Michael Garland (This is super cute about a man and his goat and how the mans loneliness brings pity from the fairies and they gift his goat the power of speech. The goat goes on to win a big Irish festival, where a goat is proclaimed the king of Ireland for one day and granted on wish. Happy ending in this one).
Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Ireland Retold by Virginia Haviland (This one was great, with five lesson learning tales, they are a bit long though and we could only read about one a day. I think I might have lost her on more then one story. The illustrations are wonderful but only every couple of pages.)

St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons (This is a fabulous book for the younger age range, 3+. Written very simply with tons of pictures to accompany it tells the story of St. Patrick’s life. It is not overly religious though, more matter of fact in its approach it also covers the symbols used for Ireland and St. Patrick’s day. 
I can eat a rainbow by Annabel Karmel (A common symbol of Ireland is rainbows, this book was perfect for one of our food projects later in the week. Very informative and fun, my daughter now constantly refers to having to eat her rainbow everyday). 
 A True Book Ireland by Libby Koponen (This was my favorite of the nonfiction books that we used. Lots of fun pictures of kids and organized effectively so you could learn as much or as little as you needed). 
Ireland by Joanne Mattern (This was the other nonfiction book we used. It was a ton of information, a little much for us, however they had a great section about learning to speak Gaelic. This would be a great book for an elementary report on Ireland). 

Books are always extremely helpful in learning about something new, especially with little ones. The Internet is a great add on. But I would rather start with books, then videos and then the Internet. For example, in one of our books we learned about Irish Step Dancing, we then went online to look at videos and find pictures of the different dresses.

The first craft we did was just a print out from the Internet, here is the link.  It is a leprechaun on a popsicle stick that jumps in and out of his pot. The snug had a great time coloring hers (we made a couple, the one you see is mine) and thought it was hilarious that she could make him jump around.

The next craft we did in celebration was rainbow colored pasta to make a necklace out of. (Though to this point we have yet to make the necklace. It was hard to find something child friendly to fit in the pasta. Once we do though, I will post pictures).
Learn from my mistake moment!!!! When making colored pasta: 1. follow the instructions too a T. The instructions!  When it says use 70% rubbing alcohol, please do, not any higher in percent and definitely not 90%! My whole kitchen/house smelled like rubbing alcohol to the extent that I was worried about my ability to light a candle, (worried that the air in my house had become flammable). Also, it takes that much longer to actually dye the pasta. 2.  Use artificial food coloring. We use natural, due to allergies I have. However I will show a photo of what natural food coloring does in rubbing alcohol.
This is the food coloring, it is by India Tree. It is wonderful, has three colors, red, yellow and blue. Very very hard to make a good green though. Every other color is achievable, though they are more pastel in tone.
I will leave this one big for you. On the left we have green artificial coloring, I had to buy some, the natural green wasn’t working for my and I can handle the artificial green. See how it mixed beautifully? On the right the natural, in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have tried red first. Had I known it would clump up like blood clots, trust me I most certainly would have gone for a blue lumpy ocean scene. We dumped this red fail out and sent the husband to the grocery store. Which made this:

Look at all the colors!!!! Blended perfectly!!! Depending on how your rubbing alcohol is doing, you may need to add more food coloring. We added more and more, but we also had the strongest rubbing alcohol you could buy. Learn from me mistake #3; It is really hard to dye pasta yellow, it is already yellow in hue, trying to make it more yellow doesn’t necessarily do anything! You could probably even just skip the whole yellow glass. Finally mistake #4, (this is the last one for this blog, but trust me, there are so many more to come). Please, for the sake of your sanity and your child’s patience, please use regular sized pasta. A while back Barilla came out with a tiny pasta they like to call, picollini.

It is adorable MINI versions of their pasta and we fell in love! So in love that I didn’t hesitate not to use my cute little pasta to make this project. It does not work. It dyes just fine, but how in the world are you suppose to string it??? Real needle and real thread. Not what I was going for, I wanted child friendly yarn. So unless you have an older child who can handle a needle and a thread and think it would be adorable to have a tiny pasta necklace, go for it. Otherwise I suggest to everyone, go and get the cheapest, most blanched in color, pasta you can find that is a regular size and use that. Don’t forget to get some that already come with holes. Here is our finished product.

Starting from the top we have, green, purple, yellow in the middle, red, blue and orange. It looks better once it dries.

Alright the last craft project we did this week was a castle. They have a lot of historical castles in Ireland that we talked about. I had my husband in charge of this while I was at work and he did a fabulous job! So good in fact we couldn’t take it down for a while, or at least not for more then a night and moved it’s location every day. Anyway, it was also so good that we had an impromptu ball that night.

We put on some music and danced the night away! Though, I don’t really know how often the hold balls in Ireland.
On with the rest of the week! Which consists of the food we made and oh did we make a ton of food. First we made some cutout cookies. Shamrocks and umbrellas, because it is so rainy in Ireland.
We, urm, used pink for the icing, because I hadn’t gone to the store to get green and my daughter is a pink lover, possible aficionado in fact.
Next food item was brown bread. I do not suggest it, unless you really like Irish food. It was a little plain for use and I wasn’t a big fan of the texture. Overall good though. Here is the recipe. It is possible to went wrong for us, due to the use of homemade vanilla soy buttermilk. I cringe at the thought now. If you feel so inclined you could try it with regular buttermilk and get back to me.

My daughter is counting the sections in the first photo. Next we made a rainbow of fruit.

Fruit; strawberries, clementines, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, and plums. With whipped cream clouds for the rainbow to rest on. Now, about this rainbow. The snug and I started eating it together, but then I had to make dinner. So I left my daughter on the picnic blanket we had made in the living room. Alone. With all the fruit. By the time I came in to check on her, the rainbow was gone and in her belly, all but a small quarter of the arch and all that remained of that quarter was pineapple, grapes and plums. So I sat down to have some more fruit, what does the little fruit monster do?? She starts quickly piling fruit into her hands against her stomach, worried that I will eat it all! Um, I don’t think you, little girl, should be the one worrying about that. I decided at this point it would be best to go back to making dinner. So I did and left her to her fruit.

The last food item we made (besides corned beef and cabbage, which I figured everyone has seen enough of that at this point) was rainbow cupcakes. These were a lot of fun! Here is this recipe! These are a lot of fun and so so good. We made our cake from scratch, just the yellow cake recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens new cook book, but you should use whatever cake recipe or mix you like. Then color like crazy, for this project we did use the natural food coloring, except for the green.

They were delicious by themselves, but if you want something extra we put whipped cream on the top. Remember that story about snug eating all that fruit, I just told it to you a paragraph ago. Well I forgot I took a picture.

Remember she ate almost the whole thing by herself, I had an 1/8th, maybe working on a 1/4th of it. Now what I forgot to mention is we made the rainbow fruit and cupcakes on the same day. I sat them down for her to eat both, while I ravenously had three cupcakes in the kitchen.

See her reaching eagerly for that fork?? Anyway, not only did she eat all of that fruit, look at those cupcakes, guess how much she had off that plate??

One bite. I had one of the halves when we started our picnic, but she choose to have a bite. Do you see it? It is there, that little corner missing. I was pretty humored by this whole thing.

A great week to you and happy themeing!


One response to “Ireland & St. Patrick’s Day Week!!

  1. You are the funnest (I realize that's not a real word) mom ever!

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