My daughter wanted to do an original craft for St. Patrick's Day—the only criteria were that it was something she could do by herself, she could wear it, and that it was green. I remembered my son making a simple bead friendship bracelet a few years back, so we decided to make St. Patty's day versions. They're super easy to make, even for littler children, and are a perfect way to wear your green on St. Patrick's Day.
To make the bracelets, you'll need green plastic beads and green pipe cleaners. I found both of these at the Dollar Tree, but they're also available at most craft stores, like Michael's or Beverly.
To assemble, string beads—we alternated dark and light green shades—along a strand of pipe cleaner. Vary the length of pipe cleaner and number of beads depending on the size of the child's wrist. Leave about an inch of pipe cleaner showing at each end, and twist together to complete the bracelet. The one thing I did was to snip the pipe cleaner to size, otherwise, the ones we put together were 100% kid-made. My daughter was so proud that she made it herself, that she wore it to bed, even.
My daughter loves working with paint, so I thought this would be the perfect craft for her to make for St. Patrick's Day. These potato print shamrocks are a fun project for the little ones. We made a bunch of these cool shamrock prints and hung them throughout the house to decorate for the holiday.
This project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat to create a colorful craft.
Moylan's Brewery and Restaurant has the distinction of being Novato's first (and to my knowledge only) brewpub. Operated by the same people who run Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, Moylan's offers pub grub fare with some traditional Irish favorites thrown in, and a nice selection of good house-brewed beers to go along with it. Couple that with a reasonably priced kids' menu, and it's no wonder this is a destination for north Marin families.
Located in a distinctive building across from the Rowland Plaza Cinemas, Moylan's is an ideal place to grab a bite before or after the movies. The main dining room is a cavernous affair that can get noisy when it's busy, but that's not a big issue when you've got kids in tow, right? There's a long bar overlooking the brewing area, with several TV screens showing various sports games.
The kids were given the usual coloring menus and crayons. An added twist is that they could turn in their coloring sheets after dinner in exchange for a prize from the basket by the front entrance.
St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and for many that means it's time to cook that quintessential Irish-American dish: corned beef and cabbage. Corned beef—usually a tough cut of meat like brisket or round—requires long, slow, cooking over relatively low heat to make it tender, so it's the perfect candidate for preparing in your slow cooker.
Start your corned beef in the slow cooker early in the day; there's a minimal amount of preparation involved. Some recipes call for adding most of the vegetables at the same time, but we think they turn out a bit overcooked. Instead, add them to the pot during the last two hours of cooking.
With the proliferation of vegetables cooked with the meat, there's something here for everyone in the family. Serve your corned beef accompanied by grainy Dijon mustard, horseradish sauce*, and a gravy** made from the cooking liquid. Also, when it comes to corned beef, bigger is better. Much of the weight of the meat is water, and it shrinks in size during cooking, so budget about one pound of meat per diner for a generous serving and leftovers (think corned beef sandwiches… mmm…). This recipe serves about 4 people, depending on how hungry everybody is.
One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Andrea U'Ren (32 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2006) isn't strictly a book about St. Patrick's Day, but it has enough Irish charm, humor, and magic to make it a fitting choice to read on and around the holiday.
This retelling of the old "magic pot" story centers on Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady, an unbelievably scrawny (they're so skinny they can sit side-by-side in their one chair) old Irish farm couple who are dirt poor but very happy with the little they have. When Mr. O'Grady digs up a large old pot in his potato field and drops their last potato in it, he finds that the pot doubles whatever is placed into it.
The O'Gradys exploit this magical discovery, but what do they do when Mrs. O'Grady falls in and two Mrs. O'Gradys come out?
One Potato, Two Potato is a delight, from its simple funny text that begs to be read aloud to U'Ren's evocative and humorous illustrations. It's a tale with themes of magic, generosity, contentment, and above all, love. My kids just love this book—I can't even begin to think how many times they've brought this home from the library.
With St. Patrick's Day coming up, my kids have been asking for Irish food for dinner. Since corned beef and cabbage is not exactly something you throw together after school, I've been making other appropriate dishes like this rib-sticking, easy-to-make, and kid-friendly shepherd's pie. It's essentially a beef-and-vegetable stew topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden brown. I topped this version with a little grated Irish white cheddar cheese for a bit more authenticity.
This pub-grub favorite is more correctly known as "cottage pie", since it's made with ground beef instead of leftover roast lamb, but it's delicious regardless of what it's called. I always try to bulk up the stew part with extra vegetables to make it a one-dish meal. My kids love this and even my picky-eater daughter asks for a second helping. Feel free to substitute healthier ground turkey or leftover roast beef or lamb for the ground beef.
This recipe serves 6 to 8, so we usually get two dinners out of it, reheating the leftovers on a weeknight. It actually tastes better after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or two!
Since St. Patrick's Day is this Saturday, why not celebrate by gathering the kids in the kitchen and whipping up a loaf of traditional Irish brown soda bread? It's so easy to make—and so good—that I bet you'll find yourself making it more than just on March 17.
This dense, moist bread gets its leavening from baking soda and buttermilk, hence the name. I happen to like the brown kind, made with whole wheat flour, the best, but you're welcome to use all white flour if you so choose.
Although St. Patrick's Day is on Thursday, March 17, they'll celebrating this ever-so-Irish holiday this weekend in San Francisco. So put on your green shirt (or hat, or pants) and bring your family to San Francisco’s 160th Annual St. Patrick Irish Parade and Celebration, which takes place at the Civic Center Plaza from 10 am–5 pm on Saturday, March 12.
The parade itself starts at 11:30 am at 2nd and Market Streets and winds its way to City Hall. With over 5,000 participants, including bagpipers, marching bands, and Irish dancers make this the largest St. Patrick's Day celebration east of the Mississippi.
You can also take in some fun and Irish culture at the St. Patrick's Day Festival, which takes place at Civic Center Plaza and on Grove and Polk Streets. The festival includes live performances and entertainment, arts and crafts exhibitors, food and beverage booths, kids' rides and inflatables, a petting zoo, pony rides, and more. The festival takes place before, during, and after the parade.