Parent Traps and St. Patty’s Day Fun

This is a three-part post, because I have a lot of photos from yesterday. This is from the parade, which I’ll talk about later.

Do you know what this is? It’s a leprechaun trap. It’s meant to lure one of the wee folk to catch him (or her, but I think leprechauns are exclusively male?), so you can find out where his pot of gold is. I got the idea from Not Martha’s blog, she has a beautiful example, and while I didn’t follow her directions exactly, I still ended up with a pretty cool cake.

I think it should more accurately be called a “parent trap”, because the beauty of it lures parents into creating a fun project for the kids. You get sucked in and look up and it’s two hours later!

Here is the cake trap without any stuff on it. An angel food cake pan is used, because the hole will trap the leprechaun.

I placed a graham cracker across the top, to hold up the lure, which was the shiny necklace Alex wanted to use. We then placed another graham cracker to act as a ramp for the imp to climb up and get the loot. We went to bed that evening convinced that we would find a grumpy little leprechaun the next morning.

Alas, this was what we found when we woke up and came downstairs…

Apparently, leprechauns love cake almost as much as gold, because the little bugger ate his way right out of the cake. But on the plus side, in his rush to escape, he left Alex’s necklace. And a taunting little note….but again, Lucky liked the cake, so I’m not too offended.

He left us a wonderful surprise when we cut the cake – a rainbow!


Rainbow cake for breakfast! Who needs a leprechaun?

Oh yeah, and he left one other surprise for us on his way out…

Later that day…
Sunny skies and beautiful weather meant a great day for a parade! We went downtown to see the Des Moines St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We got a perfect spot near the beginning, and ran into my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Gary. My sister and her family joined us, and we had a blast! Alex loved it and Greer just took it all in.

Excited for the parade to start…

Picture-perfect day for a parade…
Got my green on…

Greer is not impressed…

Getting some goodies…

Kids waiting behind the line for candy…

Part of the town of Melrose’s entry. This southeastern Iowa town calls itself the “Little Ireland” of Iowa and they had quite a display. They had a guy in a retro ice cream cart chucking freezer pops at the crowd, fire trucks, a group playing Irish folk music, and just tons of energetic people bringing lots of Irish cheer! I don’t know who won for the best entry, but I hope it was them!

One more shot of the parade in full force…

Even later that day…
A post-parade feast of corned beef and cabbage was in order at Grandma’s house, some drinking of the Coors Light and Guiness Black Lager, a quick nap (for the baby, of course), and then it was time for the big kids to have a little fun…

A Green Russian – very, very tasty.

It’s not St. Paddy’s Day unless you do an Irish car bomb….BOOM!

Old people can still show the young’uns how it’s done…OK, not really, but we like to think we can?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Squeeze the Day

Ever have one of those days that takes a complete U-turn from what you originally anticipated? Well, that happened to us. It started out according to plan, with a birthday party for one of Alex’s classmates in the morning, then veered off course with an impromptu day trip to Pella.


We strolled around the main square, shopped, stopped for pastries, Pella bologna, and fresh Dutch gouda. Dined al fresco on the grass. Walked around and enjoyed some of the parks, as fresh air was on the agenda with the weather being nearly 70 degrees.


Took the scenic route home through Lake Red Rock, and stopped at the largest observational tower in the Midwest as the sun was getting ready to set. Kids dozing off in the back seats, we contemplated about how easy it is to take an ordinary Saturday and turn it into a wonderful collection of memories that our family will always have.

Kids just have a way of saying it best, though. After his evening bath, I asked Alex if he had a fun day, he enthusiastically said, “Yes!”. He talked about the birthday party, the white chocolate pretzels from Jaarsma Bakery, the windmill in the square, the cool “Pella Park” and the big, big tower that we climbed all of those steps to reach the top. I smiled at him and said, “Well, I’d say we squeezed just about every drop out of today that we could!”

He laughed, and without skipping a beat, said, “We squeezed it! We squeezed today!”

Even as someone who took four years of high school Latin, I have to say that “squeeze the day” has a much better ring to it than “carpe diem”! And he was right, we did “squeeze the day”!