We had so much fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year. We crammed a lot in and most of the things we did didn’t involve a lot of work on my end which was a plus! Our family has been sick with one thing or another since Christmas and I was in bed all last weekend so I didn’t plan anything for this holiday until I was feeling better on Tuesday. So most of these ideas can totally be thrown together at the last-minute with minimal effort, yay! And because I was short on time, I had to get creative and I came up with a few really simple and easy ideas that were some of the biggest hits with my kids. In case you are busy or hate reading, here is a cliff notes, round-up photo. If you want all the details though (with links to recipes and printables), keep on reading.
We started off the week, with green pancakes. We do this every year and it is always a hit. My kids love pancakes! 🙂 There are so many ways you could do this. Green food coloring is the easiest. Spinach pancakes are a healthier option, but my kids refused to eat them the year I made them. I always like doing mine in shapes. One year I free-handed shamrocks, but now I just use my heart pancake molds.
We added another fun breakfast idea into the mix this year and it was also a big hit. I saw this idea on Pinterest from the Celebration Shoppe. We made shamrock cinnamon rolls. You just carefully unroll the cinnamon roll dough (I used the Pillsbury grand cinnamon rolls), cut it into five pieces, then pinch 4 of them into teardrops and place together like a shamrock.
Then I baked them at 350 for about 13-15 minutes. I added a drop of food coloring to the frosting then spread it all over the warm rolls. I topped them with a few green sprinkles too to make them extra festive. The kids loved these and Luc has been asking for them for breakfast every morning since.
Last year, I made Hudson an elaborate rainbow lunch (complete with a pot of gold chicken nuggets), but this year I simply ran out of time.
On our drive home from pre-school I started wracking my brain trying to figure something out using things we had on hand and I came up with the easiest and cutest lunch idea: I put some spreadable butter in a bowl, added a drop of food coloring and made Hudson a shamrock toasty sandwich.
The green color intensified in the panini press and I used a heart cookie cutter to make the shamrock. I served it with some leftover shamrock shake and green veggie chips. Super easy, delicious and very cute.
Speaking of smoothies, we have done different variations of green smoothies over the years. All have been dairy free because of Hudson’s allergy. Last year we tried this one from my friend Amy and we really liked it.
This year, we changed it up and went with a dole whip smoothie as a pot of gold. I have been wanting to try a dole whip smoothie forever and since we had already planned on watching Moana on St. Patrick’s Day, I figured it would be the perfect dessert. Unfortunately, my blender died half way through making these and the boys didn’t end up liking it (I think because they weren’t smooth enough – they are weird about texture). If you are interested though the super easy 3-ingredient recipe and adorable printables can be found at The Littles and Me.
We also did some really fun activities this year. My boys love sensory bins, so I threw together a St. Patrick’s Day themed one for them using chick peas, a few shamrock stickers, cups, funnels, miniature tongs (from Walmart), and spikey balls. This ended up being a great fine motor sensory bin because both boys used the tongs to pick up the balls and place them in the cups.
We were invited to a very fun playdate this year too. Our friend had a few simple treats and snacks and provided us with canvases and paints so we could make a rainbow hand print. It was really easy and I am such a sucker for hand print art so of course I love how they turned out!
Every year I make rice krispy treats with Lucky Charms marshmallows in them. I know most people just use Lucky charms cereal, but I did that one year and prefer this way. The only problem is that you have to pick out all the marshmallows. Well, I came across the cutest little hand tweezers “handy helpers” at Walmart and decided this would be a perfect fine motor activity for my 4-year-old. I poured a large bowl of cereal and asked him to pick out all the marshmallows. It was a total win-win.
Then we made the rice krispy treats together. For his afternoon snack, I gave him a lucky charm treat with a big glass of green milk and he couldn’t have been happier. 🙂 (I also used the treats to bribe the boys to take their antibiotics – dessert for breakfast is a big hit with kids. 😉 )
I have a funny story to share – a few years ago, pre-kids, I decided at the last-minute to make a St. Patrick’s Day dinner (my first). See, last minute has always been my jam. 😉 I knew I wouldn’t have time to make something super traditional because I literally made the decision to make something on my way home from work. I found a recipe from Paula Deen, grabbed groceries and got to cooking. The cabbage I was making looked amazing and then I got to the part in the recipe where I had to add cans of corned beef. They were supposed to hold their shape, but they hit the cabbage and turned into a soupy mess of what looked a lot like dog food. It looked so gross, that Nic and I both refused to even try it. I threw it in the trash and he headed out to get us McDonalds. I had kind of erased this funny disaster from my memory, but I was solo parenting this week and grabbed the kids McDonalds for dinner Thursday night. The boys both loved the Shamrock shake and we had a really fun night reading a few St. Patrick’s Day themed books. I think this is going to have to become our new Night Before St. Patrick’s Day tradition because it was really fun, easy and a bit sentimental. 😉
For St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I usually make corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, but because I didn’t plan ahead we didn’t have all the ingredients we needed. Instead, I made cheese stuffed spinach tortellini (the ones you buy pre-packaged) and then I made a green sauce loosely following this recipe from Taming Twins. (You could use pesto for a much easier option, but my boys haven’t been cleared to eat pine nuts – they have allergies). I forgot to put spinach on the grocery list and didn’t really measure; I just threw the boiled brocoli, cauliflower and cheese in my cuisinart (because my blender was toast from the smoothie) and added some milk until I got the consistency I wanted. Hudson really liked it, but Luc took one look at it and refused to even try it. I guess you can’t win them all right? 😉
In the past I have also made Saltine Cracker Toffee (which can easily be adjusted for any holiday), but I figured we had enough dessert in the mix already this year.
I also stepped up my table display this year using a few really fun free printables from Elva M Designs. You can find the ones I used plus a bunch more here.
I hope some of these ideas inspire you to add a little fun into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. 🙂
(A link to this as a free printable and tons of other fun ideas can be found on my Pinterest page – be sure to follow me)