It’s Great to Be Green

by Amanda Miller Allen

The Irish are proud of their heritage and their annual observance of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 makes other ethnic Americans green with envy.
Want to feel like an Irishman or an Irish lass for a day? Here’s our quick guide to help get you started:

 

Parade and Festival

Line the streets for Atlanta’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday. It steps off at noon at Peachtree Street and 15th Street and travels down Peachtree Street to 5th Street. The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade features more than 2,000 Irish dancers, musicians, floats, local and Irish dignitaries, the world’s largest Irish walking flag and the Clydesdales horses. For more information: bit.ly/1i4JXdq
Shamrock at the Station. Head over to Atlantic Station after the parade for live music, clogging, balloon art, hair painting, crafts, temporary tattoos and sand art. Festivities continue with a concert by the cover band The Ruckus. Family Activities, 2-6 p.m. Concert, 7-10 p.m. For more information: bit.ly/1oFpNH8

 

Green Treats

Surprise the family with green pancakes for breakfast, or make the pancakes together – simply add green gel food coloring to your favorite pancake recipe.
Make a green smoothie packed with fruits and vegetables and (gasp!) spinach, though the kids will never know. Here’s one called the Leaping Leprechaun, from Omega Juicers: Blend ½-cup strawberries, 1 banana, ½-cup spinach and 1 cup water until smooth. To make it a shake, blend in a few ice cubes.

 

Fun with Leprechauns and Other Friends

Read about Lucky the Leprechaun on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, and set a trap for him. Lucky is the creation of Johns Creek moms Risa Rae Ramji and Samantha Strum Brown in their book, Lucky the Leprechaun. For $19.99, the book comes with CD of the story and a “trap” kids can construct and decorate, then set out to catch Lucky. (Or buy the book, $9.99, extra traps, $4.99 each, or the CD, $6.99.) Information at luckytheleprechaun.com.
Two more books we like a lot are from Scholastic: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro (in this version of the familiar ditty, the old lady swallows a clover, a daisy, a pot of gold and more); and Green Shamrocks by Eve Bunting (in which Rabbit loses his pot of shamrocks just before the big parade). Both these are large, thin, fun and vibrant paperbacks ($6.99 each).
Make a Leprechaun hat with the kids. You’ll need green gift-wrap paper, an old belt (or paper or cloth strip) and a large beach pail. Put the belt around the rim of the beach pail to size it, and, if necessary, punch a new hole and cut off the excess belt. Remove the belt and loop it, then put the wrapping paper over the pail and shape it. Place the looped belt over the pail and push it down to the bottom of the bucket to secure the paper. Remove the hat from the pail, and viola!, your kid can dress like a Leprechaun.

Irish Trivia

Surprise the family with these two bits of trivia:
Limericks, a form of poetry that’s often humorous, take their name from the town of Limerick, Ireland. Here’s one that children love from the Brownielocks and the 3 Bears site (brownielocks.com):
Speedy Sam, while exploring a cave,
Had what I call a very close shave,
He stepped on a bear,
Who had dozed off in there.
I’m glad he was faster than brave.

Luck of the Irish? Don’t wish you had it! It’s a phrase that means the opposite of what you would think – “luck of the Irish” is bad luck, because the Irish people have had lots of it over the centuries, including violent rebellions, famines and disease.

 

Updated 3/2014