by Dana B. Bryant
As children, my brothers and I would wake up on March 17 and find our house turned upside down, allegedly by a leprechaun.
While we never caught the little culprit, he did leave muddy footprints on the floor, green milk in the refrigerator, and cookie crumbs on the table.
Now that I am all grown up, I suspect my parents might have been in cahoots, no matter how magical it seemed at the time.
Almost everyone you meet lays claim to their Irish heritage (no matter how many times removed). What's a "bit of blarney" amongst friends?
As you prepare to practice your best Irish "brogue," we pulled a few favorite suggestions to let you and your family get in on the Saint Patrick's Day fun.
☘ Leprechauns are magic creatures that guard an ancient treasure. They bury the treasure in large pots at the end of a rainbow. According to the legend, if you catch one, the leprechaun will promise great wealth if you set him free.
☘ According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest number of leaves found on a clover is 14.
☘ In Ireland, people traditionally wear a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets. Women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair.
☘ Since 1962, Chicago pours tons of green dye into the Chicago river on St. Patrick's Day (the quantity has been reduced, for environmental reasons, from 100 to 40 tons).
Children and children-at-heart love making crafts. Gather a few simple supplies and spend the afternoon bringing out the "Irish" in all!
You could just buy already green flowers, but what's the fun in that? Set up a wee one's science project and turn white into green. Start with carnations, daisies or other white flowers, add a few drops of green food coloring into their water and watch their colors change -- like leprechaun magic. While you're waiting for the transformation, try one of these crafts.
Cut small heart shapes from bright green paper, sugar cookies or various texture of fabric. Arrange three or four hearts with the points inward to form shamrocks. Glue into place or bake, depending on your choice of media.
Trace your child's hand onto green construction paper. Make four hand prints. Cut out a green rectangle for the stem. You might need to help with the cutting. Arrange the hand prints, fingers out so they looks like leaves. Once you have the "shamrock leaves" in place, glue them together.
Create and decorate a hat you can wear from green construction paper or build miniature hats for place settings or center places.
Press shamrocks and glue or tape onto your card. You'll be sending extra luck if you find a four-leaf clover.
Rumor has it that the night before Saint Patrick's Day, leprechauns come out of hiding and cause a wee bit of mischief. Encourage your kids to catch one in the act. Create and decorate a trap. Bait it with gold coin or a shoe that needs repaired.
Melinda, a Pregnancy.org member shares, "My hubby's best friend and his daughter make a leprechaun trap every year. They decorate a box with paper and glitter and rig it with a trip string. Then they leave some cold coin candy in it. During the night, Rick goes out and checks it. If a small green man hasn't already tripped it, he gets rid of the gold candy and leaves a trail of some other kind of candy out the door."
Don't worry if you don't have a box handy. You can cut a trap door in the top of an oatmeal box or rig up a strawberry basket to drop on the wee creature.