• Kara Errico

(Clover) Leaves of Three - Creativity!

St. Patrick’s Day.

In my life pre-kids, this holiday was an epic event that required several weeks of planning.

Bar crawls, donning the perfect outfit (complete with plastic beaded necklaces), rocking Kelly Green body glitter with matching nail polish and eyeshadow, downing a few pints of Guinness with some cute boys (or getting “fancy” and ordering Irish Car Bombs or Black & Tans), and embodying all things Irish for as long as deemed socially acceptable.

On the East Coast, this day is a HUGE deal. Google the date each year and you’ll find a slew of family-friendly parades to attend as well as plenty of adults-only fun at night. Radio stations start pumping out tunes from Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.

At this point, Bono has achieved godlike status and we’ve adopted U2 as our own.

We set traps for leprechauns or do scavenger hunts to find their gold.

We love it so much, we even pregame and celebrate the whole weekend before (if the actual holiday falls on a weekday).

An explosion of green food coloring.

From your favorite glazed treats at Dunkin Donuts to catered trays of bagels and pretzel bites to a pitcher of beer during happy hour. EVERYTHING is some shade of green! (Full disclosure: in all of the time I’ve been legally able to drink it, I’ve never once consumed a green beer — silly, but it’s totally a bucket list thing now.)

And let’s not forget that magical menu item that emerges for a few weeks and then goes back into hiding, leaving us all waxing nostalgic for months ...

The Shamrock Shake. *drools*

What about California-style celebrations?

Here on the West Coast, however, it’s sadly a non-event. Unless you’re looking for a night out at a bar, the pickings are slim for St. Patrick’s Day events.

Especially in the OC, there’s very little to choose from —- particularly in the southern portion of the county. If you have small ones, you can take a chance that it won’t be crazy packed at Pretend City in Irvine ... or you can stress over parking and traffic to take all of your kiddos to the parade in Hermosa Beach. (You can find other events if you're willing to travel a bit more north, so all is not completely lost!)

But that’s about it. Bummer!

Shamrock it and make it your own.

Having given up social media for Lent, I’m finding (perhaps for the first time ever) that I have a renewed energy to be a better SAHM. Instead of spending hours mindlessly scrolling through and liking posts on Facebook, I’ve gone crazy with homeschool-type activities.

I’ve had this preschool pack saved on my desktop for two years now and finally got around to printing a few pages — now that she’s in TK, the majority of what’s covered here we don’t need to revisit ... so at least I saved ink and paper! (Silver lining. Yay!)

And, can I just take a moment to say that I’m OVER the whole spending money to buy a green shirt with a cutesy saying on it just to be worn for one day?Ugh!

The baby stage was fun. Super adorable, trendy outfits and matching accessories lovingly purchased by grandparents (thank goodness — those prices are crazy!). And we had some luck with hand-me-downs and consignment sale finds for awhile in the toddler stage.

But now that we’re in big kid sizes? Yeah, no. Girlfriend is lucky if Mommy splurges on a $4.97 tee at Walmart! (I’m in awe of friends who continue on the holiday dress-up tradition and get leggings, socks, and hair accessories for their kids.)

That said, my Pennsylvania roots run deep. I can’t let my child be the only one in class on Friday not wearing something green. And we needed an art project to occupy some time too (did I mention my 5 1/2 year old decided to give up screens for Lent? I realized on Day 4 that there's not enough wine in the world to deal with the fallout of this decision ... send help!).

Though we’re not Catholic, I found a bunch of shamrock/Trinity activities to incorporate into our Lenten lesson plans (I use that phrase VERY loosely — we’re by no means actively sitting down to work every day). And I stumbled upon this adorable, super easy craft that will become wearable art for March 17th and many days thereafter. Win!!!

For this project, you will need:

  • A solid color t-shirt, washed and ironed

  • Freezer paper

  • A bottle of fabric paint

  • Q-tips

  • A piece of cardboard

  • X-acto knife

While I like the green print on the white background shown in the original, I wanted something a bit more colorful that would add some variety to my little’s closet.

The only surprise for this project was the cost and amount of freezer paper I ended up buying — do they seriously not sell it in stores in smaller quantities? (Let’s just say, I will be doing more stencil activities for YEARS to come.)

Note: After researching, I learned that freezer paper truly is different from wax paper or parchment paper ... so you really do need to get some if you don’t already have any on hand.

Suggestions for achieving a nicely stenciled image:

  • Be sure to take extra caution when cutting out the stencil, especially around the letters.

  • Insert a sheet of freezer paper (waxy side up) inside your shirt to add another layer of protection when ironing.

  • Check that all edges of letters and the shamrock are secure with your iron before painting.

  • Insert a sheet of cardboard (a file folder, a piece of a box, etc.) to ensure paint doesn’t seep through the entire shirt.

  • Use a few Q-tips in a bunch to make a thicker line around the edge of the shamrock.

  • Do not remove the stencil until everything has dried at least 24 hours.

  • Try not to let any OCD tendencies overtake the fun part of this.

That last one is critical for me! While I let my little artist go nuts with most creative projects, I tend to get a bit control freak on her with activities that have a certain desired end result.

After reminding her several times not to drip the paint across the shirt as she’d get more paint on her Q-tips, I finally shrugged and walked away and let it happen. And yes, I said Q-tips. Plural. (She insisted on using both hands for this one.)

I ended up assisting with the painting of the letters, since they need to be completely filled in with a decent amount of paint. And we added some hearts last-minute too.

Whatever you do with your children this St. Patrick’s Day, make sure you’re just having fun. The longer I live in sunny Southern California, I’m learning that memories can be made in MANY ways and it’s a-OK if they don’t replicate what I grew up doing.

#shamrock #StPatricksDay #preschool #parade #Irish #leprechaun #holiday #green #ShamrockShake #Lent

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