Wednesday, February 29, 2012

'Lucky Clover Patch'

Happy LEAP YEAR!  We didn't do anything to honor it this year, as I thought Mags a bit young to understand the concept, but next year, I'm thinking a frog theme.  Stay tuned.  Anyway, moving on to today's activities, all things St. Patrick's Day (plus one activity for the letter Nn) ...

An interesting fact about St. Patrick: He used the shamrock to illustrate to people the concept of the Holy Trinity.  Each of the leaves are separate, but a part of one whole, like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  I got the idea for our first craft today from the Oriental Trading Company catalog, to illustrate that concept as St. Patrick did all those years ago.  (As I've stated before, since we only need one craft, and OTC tends to sell in bulk, I try to recreate the crafts I like in their catalog at home, so I don't have to buy 12.)  For the same, we used large shamrocks cut out of green paper (I liked the idea of making them looked layered, one different shade of green on top of another), glue, a ribbon, and little tags I made for 'Father,' 'Son,' and 'Holy Spirit.'  I also included the rhyme that OTC had in their catalog to go with the craft, a bit altered.  :)  (Scroll down for a closer picture of the rhyme.)
Be sure to punch a hole in the corner of your rhyme and at the top of your largest shamrock for hanging later.
 Then, it was only a matter of gluing the pieces together.  I read her the rhyme and we discussed how God, the Father, is at the top of the shamrock, Jesus, the Son, is to His right, and the remaining leaf is for the Holy Spirit.
 Lastly, we attached our ribbon and the tag (she also wanted to add a cross sticker to the 'Son'), and hung it in her room for the holiday.
I got today's snack idea from http://saraweaver.blogspot.com/2009/03/its-not-easy-being-green.html, using pretzel twists, Hershey kisses, green M&Ms, and green icing.  (For the icing, I simply added a couple of drops of green food coloring to a bit of white frosting, mixed, and placed in a Ziploc bag for easy piping.)
 Here is our icing, ready to pipe!
 First, after preheating your oven to 200 degrees, lay your pretzel twists, face up, onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  Then, place your unwrapped kisses onto the center of each pretzel, like Maggie is doing here.
 Place in your heated oven until the chocolate is just soft and gooey.
 Once the pretzels are out of the oven, insert your green M&Ms (three to each pretzel), 'M'-side down, into the soft chocolate.  Cool in the fridge until the chocolate is hard again.  (Important note: Keep your pretzels on the waxed paper for cooling, so the chocolate does not stick to your surface when hardening again.)
Once the chocolate is hardened, you can pipe some of your green icing onto your candy, to look like a stem.
 Cute!
 And delicious!
After our snack, for her journal entry, I asked her, 'What's your favorite thing about St. Patrick's Day?'  She answered, 'Shamrocks.'  This is her drawing of some shamrocks and a couple of pesky leprechauns!
After our journal entry was complete, we did some Nn review work, including making the letters out of nuts.
 Nn is for nuts!
We did our next craft, a 'Lucky Clover Patch,' from an idea that we got at http://lisastorms.typepad.com/lisa-storms/2011/03/st-patricks-day-continued.html, using a styrofoam brick, green toothpicks (I found them at Walmart in a multi-colored bunch called 'Party Picks'), a piece of green tissue paper, about 8-15 shamrocks cut from green paper (I used a cookie cutter as a template), 4 pieces of green paper, cut to fit one side of your cube and fringed at the top to look like grass, glue, tape, and a little paper rainbow, made from different colored pieces of paper, with a white paper cloud on one end, reading, 'I am lucky because ...'  (As you can tell, this craft will take some prep time for you.)
 The first step in this craft is to brainstorm with your child all the reasons why he/she is lucky.  Write each one on one of your shamrocks, like we did, below.
 Next, cover your styrofoam cube with the tissue paper, using tape, in the same way you would wrap a present.
 Then, with your glue, adhere your grassy paper pieces to each side of your cube, like below, and bend the blades of grass to make them look realistic.
 Attach your rainbow to the front of one side of your cube, like Mags did here.
The next thing you want to do is turn your shamrocks over, and adhere your green toothpicks to the back, using your tape, like below.
 Finally, carefully push your shamrocks' toothpick 'stems' into the top of your cube, being sure the writing on each shamrock is facing forward.
 Looking good, Mags!  :)
 All done!  A 'Lucky Clover Patch' of blessings!
Thanks for checking in!  We're off to pottery class!

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