Wordless Wednesday: A great Canadian Tradition – Sugar Bush!!

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Spring Reading Thing 2011

In the fall, I participated in the Fall Into Reading 2010 challenge – and did pretty well! I got 20 books off my To Read list. Granted, Miss C was still a little wee baby then, spending hours nursing and sleeping in arms, so I had a LOT of reading time… πŸ™‚Β  It might be a bit different this time around! But I still like a challenge!

And so, here is my reading list for March 20th to June 20th. I may add or change up some books in this list as we go along, depending on my mood… πŸ™‚

25 books, plus some magazines, in 3 months (or 12 weeks). Think I can pull it off?

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Books already finished

  1. Vampireology: The True History of the Fallen Ones, by Archer Brookes

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Books to finish

  1. New York, by Edward Rutherfurd (~70% done)
  2. Green For Life, by Gillian Deacon (40% done)
  3. Preparing my Heart for Easter, by Ann Marie Stewart (41% done – it’s a daily Bible Study, end date is May 1st, one week after Easter)
  4. The Bible (~50% completed; my Bible in 90 days plan is scheduled to end on May 5th. I’m a bit behind at the moment, but I’ve mostly keep ahead so far, so I’m confident I’ll catch up πŸ˜‰ )

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Books to read

  1. Night World No. 1 (Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, Spellbinder), by L. J. Smith (I already read Secret Vampire last May, so I guess this is technically a To Finish book… but anyway πŸ™‚ ).
  2. Night World No. 2 (Dark Angel, The Chosen, Soulmate), by L. J. Smith
  3. Night World No. 3 (Huntress, Black Dawn, Witchlight), by L. J. Smith
  4. Positive Discipline: The First Three Years, by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy
  5. Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy
  6. Living Beyond Postpartum Depression, by Jerusha Clark
  7. La tueuse de dragons, by HΓ©loΓ―se CΓ΄tΓ©
  8. Revenir de loin, by Marie Laberge
  9. Dancing With My Father, by Sally Clarkson
  10. L’arbre de l’Γ©tΓ©: La tapisserie de Fionavar, TΓ΄me 1, by Guy Gavriel Kay
  11. Le feu vagabond: La tapisserie de Fionavar, TΓ΄me 2, by Guy Gavriel Kay
  12. La route obscure: La tapisserie de Fionavar, TΓ΄me 3, by Guy Gavriel Kay
  13. Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt
  14. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
  15. The Vampire Diaries, The Return Vol. 3: Midnight, by L. J. Smith (on hold at the library, I hope I get it before the end of the challenge!)
  16. Dead Until Dark: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 1, by Charlaine Harris (also on hold from the library, but I’m next in line πŸ˜‰ ).
  17. The ADD & ADHD Answer Book, by Susan Ashley (also on hold, also next in line).
  18. Wicked Lovely: Wicked Lovely Series Book 1, by Melissa Marr
  19. Turned: The Vampire Journals Book 1, by Morgan Rice
  20. Loved: The Vampire Journals Book 2, by Morgan Rice

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Magazines to cover

  1. Today’s Parent: July 2010, August 2010, September 2010, October 2010, November 2010, December 2010, January 2011, February 2011, March 2011, April 2011
  2. Mothering Magazine: March-April 2011 (their LAST issue!!! snif!!!)
  3. Life Learning Magazine: whenever I get my first issue – it’s my replacement magazine Mothering gave me as a subscriber. I chose this one because it’s an unschooling magazine, looking forward to trying it out! (even if I’m still super bummed about Mothering…)

Was Mr. Groundhog Right?

Remember our Groundhog Experiment?

Wanna know the results? πŸ™‚

TECHNICALLY, we have one more cloudy or snowy/rainy day than sunny days. BUT, that’s pretty simplistic. Sometimes it’s cloudy but very mild, or even warm – I think that counts! So TECHNICALLY, the experiment result is that the groundhog was wrong (plus he dumped us 3 ft of snow on March 6th – what’s up with that??), BUT, since, apart for that crazy snowstorm, it was very mild and warm… I guess he was partly right.

A good experiment in the subtleties of experiments…. haha. (Of course Miss A got all that, duh.)
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Birth Stories

Miss C is 6 months today.

Six! Whole! Months!

Wow – time sure flies. I remember how the days seem to draaaaag when Miss A was that age – but with 2 (and granted, Miss A was pretty colicky and I was pretty PPD’ed – it does make a difference πŸ˜‰ ), there’s no time to think about that! I feel very fortunate, as both my girls seem to love each other very much. No jealousy issue from Miss A! She absolutely ADORES her sister! Sure, she gets cranky and throws tantrums,Β  but they are more because she sometimes gets bored than because she is jealous.

But in any case! I thought I would celebrate C’s half year by posting her birth story, seeing as I haven’t done so yet. And since I didn’t have this blog with A was born, I might as well share her’s too! She is, in any case 2 and ΒΎ years old (since March 12th). That’s a milestone too!

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A’s Birth Story
Miss A arrived at 38 and a half week – after a false scare of threatened preterm labour at 24 weeks followed by a bed rest, she was right on “time” πŸ™‚

A night or so before, DH and I timed contractions for about an hour. But nothing came out of that. No baby. Then in the night between June 11th and June 12th, I woke up at 3 am, needing to, well, pee. As I was debating getting up or not, I heard a loud POP! and thought: either I’ve had the most massive biggest gas ever, or my water just broke… Sure enough, it was my waters.

Wake up the husband, he starts packing the car while I send a quick note to our in-laws and call my mom who is supposed to come to the birth (our in-laws live 5 hours away, my parents about 2 hours away). At this point, I haven’t had any contractions yet – none at all. I’m just very… leaky.

The hospital is a good 35 min away across town, and we arrive there around 4 am. I had maybe one contraction in the car, but that’s it. I’m feeling pretty good, in fact I’m just hoping they won’t be sending me home πŸ˜‰ But turns out I’m at 4 cm and 90% effaced, so they keep me. I get my second (first-ish) contraction at about that time, around 4:30 am.

And it just really snowballed from there. They prepped a birthing room and we move in there – our doula arrives. By that time (say, about 4:45 to 5:00 am) I’m working HARD. The contractions decided they were ready to start coming, and they were COMING. We go in the bath tub for a while, it was nice, but frankly, it was pretty intense and I hated not “moving”. My mom arrives around 6 am.

I move to the birthing ball, sitting on it and resting on the bed. That turned out to be my favourite position – anytime I moved from there, it hit hard and bad. I didn’t really walk around much – I was really happiest rolling back and forth on the ball. πŸ˜‰ We do that for awhile – mostly on the ball, sometimes trying to move – and the contractions keep on coming, each one stronger than the last one. I lost track of time at that point, but basing it on when my daughter was born, I’d say that around 8:45-8:50 am, the nurse checks me and declares I’m at about 7 cm, so we decide to try the tub again.

As I’m waiting for it to fill (we were the lucky recipients of the one leaking tub in the hospital so we had to keep refilling it), I sat down on the toilet and had a contraction – and had to PUSH. Right there, right now. I also felt I had to get UP so I wouldn’t have this baby on the toilet..! A quick on the spot check and the nurse said she could feel the baby, so we went back to the bed.

I pushed for maybe… 15 min, on my knees, and then turned over. 2 more pushes, and Miss A came out, screaming as soon as her head was out, without waiting for the bum to follow… And then she peed on me.

And that was our first meeting, on June 12th 2008, at 9:27 am, at 7 lbs 1 oz – a mere 6.5 hours after my water broke, and 4 hours after I had my first contraction. No wonder it felt intense!

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C’s Birth Story
C’s pregnancy went smoother than A’s, primarily because I did not have preterm labour and had to consider bed (ahem, part time, with a toddler around) rest. That sure helps πŸ˜‰

This time around, we went with a midwife. I have absolutely no complaint about the hospital and the OB we chose for Miss A’s birth. The hospital is extremely mother-baby friendly, highly supportive of breastfeeding (they helped me a LOT with A, who never really latched on – but that’s a whole other story for another time), practice rooming-in (they don’t even have a nursery, except a small one for sick babies), and are respectful of your birthing wishes. The first thing they told me? “Ok, I see you have a birth plan here. I looked it over and I want you to know we’ll do all our possible to follow your wishes.” Awesome.

BUT. A hospital OB is a hospital OB. Appointments are 5 minutes long, and she’s always running late. She is not the one who birthed A, as she was not the on-duty OB that day (though she was in and she popped by to say hi). I wanted the continuity of care a midwife team would offer, and the more personalized appointments.

And I also wanted a homebirth.

Part of the reason I went for a homebirth was because A’s labour had been so fast, and statistically, second labours are twice as fast. 4 hours means… 2 hours. Hospital is 35-40 min away (the hospital my midwifery group practices at is the same at which I had Miss A). Of course, I could have gone on to have a 15 hours labour. But, the risk is still there, and you’re safe to have a baby at home, or at the hospital, but not quite on the highway, halfway in between, on the backseat of your car. No thank you!

That practical reason aside, I also wanted a homebirth for personal and ideological reasons. I believe in the woman’s ability to birth babies. Sure, there are emergencies. But we also have to keep in mind that midwives, contrary to OB’s, are trained in normal labours. Which means they are highly efficient at noticing when something is NOT normal, and transferring care. And they usually see it much sooner than a hospital OB would since they are with you all the time, and from Day 1. An OB waltz into the room at the last minute when the nurses yells that the baby is coming, catches the baby, and waltz back out – and it’s not even the OB you saw throughout your pregnancy.

I don’t want to generalize – some people see out of hospital OB’s, who are also the ones birthing their babies. Some (most) OB’s are excellent doctors and surgeons. And some pregnancies do require the more medical follow-up of an OB. But for normal, low-risk pregnancies – homebirths are absolutely indicated and totally fine. (I’m not an expert though, and these are not expert opinions. If you are considering a homebirth,, I would suggest you do your own research on the matter. Mothering would be a good starting point.)

What about pain medication, you ask? Well, I didn’t take any with A. Didn’t want to, and frankly, it was just too fast anyway for it to have had time to have effect, let alone THINK about it. I tend to be naturally inclined anyway, and if I can avoid interventions and drugs, I prefer to do so.

So this being said, we opted for the homebirth. It’s not as complicated as one would think, and was quite enjoyable, really πŸ™‚ Especially the part right after birth where I could stay on my own mattress, in my own home, not have to move or get in the car, and Miss A could be right there with us from the start too. Bliss!
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On to the birth story –

At 11:45 pm I was reading my book in bed and fell asleep on it, so I closed the light and went to bed. At about 12:15 am, I woke up needing to, again, pee. Except that it wasn’t “pee” – again, my water had just broken (though I didn’t hear the “pop” this time).

I wake my husband and we prepare the mattress in the living room, were we chose to labour and birth (tip: you put clean sheets, over that plastic sheets – we used plastic table cloths from the dollarstore – and above that, old sheets you don’t mind ruining! When it’s all over, you rip the top sheets and plastic sheets and voilΓ , bed is ready for you!) I got him to call the doula (same as the one with A) and our midwife – I could NOT talk on the phone. I felt like pushing right then and there.

Our doula lives close by, she arrives a few minutes later. She didn’t tell me then, but she thought: “Ok midwives, I never had to catch a baby and I don’t want to start today. You better get here soon!” Yea, I was working hard πŸ˜‰

Midwives arrived around 1:45 am. Usually your main midwife will get here first, and call the second midwife when you approach transition. Except in my case, they knew I might go fast, and so they had planned to arrive together from the start. Good thing they did…

By then, I really feel like I need to push, so the midwife tells me to go with my instincts. But it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, so we change tactics: birthing stool, all fours, walking, tens machine for some lower back pain. At around 3 am the need to push was intense again, so we gave it another go – by then I was standing up, leaning on my doula. After a couple of pushes, at 3:37 am on September 21st, little Miss C was born, right here at home, at a whooping 9 lbs 8 oz! I kept measuring small for my dates, so no one was expecting that – goes to show how precise these “estimates” are πŸ˜‰

Total time of labour: just about 3 hours (I had NO contractions at 11:45 pm when I went to bed!) And according to the midwife, the only reason it took that “long” was because the baby was bigger, and needed more room – if it had been a 7 lbs baby like her sister, she would have probably been born much sooner, perhaps the first times I felt I needed to push.

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I don’t waste time in the labour process it seems πŸ˜‰ Granted, fast labours are INTENSE though. There’s no time for transitions, or for contractions to find a groove. It’s Go Go Go, with each contractions significantly stronger than the last one. Add to that a symphisis pubis (ligament in the pubic bone swollen and stretched from the pregnancy; nothing serious, pops back into place, but still quite painful) and lower back pain from laying in bed all day before due to a cold, and, yep – intense. I never felt I was “in” it, it was all rushed and then it was over.

But, at least, it’s short lived! And then – beautiful baby πŸ™‚

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I was very satisfied with my homebirth, it felt good and empowering to be at home in your own things. A did wake up during labour, but we had previous arrangements with a neighbour for them to watch her. Around 4 am they brought her back and visited the baby a few minutes, and we could introduce A to her little sister πŸ™‚ She went back to bed around 5 am, and we were able to rest a bit too – with no outside distractions. At 9 Miss A woke up – and wanted to go see her little sister right away! By the afternoon, she was playing around and watching a video, DH was doing the dishes, and I was sitting in the recliner nursing the baby. How’s that for comfortable?

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HAPPY 6th MONTH, MISS C!
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Exhibition Hall – St. Patrick’s Day

Here are our completed St. Patrick’s Day crafts!
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Shamrock Doggy. The pompom nose is MIA…

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Stain-glass shamrock!

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Lots of drawings, stickering, gluing, painting!

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Various foam shamrocks decorated throughout the month. There were a few more but those were the nicest πŸ™‚

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Leprechaun man – legs and arms are attached with green Parisian clips so they are mobile, and I added an orange Popsicle stick to make a puppet πŸ™‚

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Celtic Cross craft
Check out this post to learn about what they represent!

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Mini Books to colour. Both are slightly monochromatic… πŸ™‚
Left is the Leprechaun Story mini book, and right is the Potato Counting book.
On of our library book had a girl counting backwards in Gaelic to summon a Leprechaun. Miss A learned how to count from 1 to 8 in Gaelic – and when we did the Potato Book, she automatically started counting in Gaelic! Love it πŸ™‚

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We hosted the neighbourhood St. Patrick’s Day playdate, and decorated some cupcakes!

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Top: Bingo Dauber/Do-a-Dot Rainbow
Bottom: Punched-Out Shamrocks Rainbow

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Freestyle shamrock gluing

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Hands & feet shamrocks – although they kind of look more like trees than shamrocks… πŸ™‚
We decorated them with a knot work design stamp.
On the left is Miss A (2.5 yrs) and on the right is Miss C (6 mo)

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Our marble painting shamrocks! Those were a blast to make πŸ™‚

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Shamrock Tree Craft
We decorated the tree in brown, and the shamrocks using green and orange markers, crayons and glitter glue sticks, and then I cut them out for A. I could have let her glue them with a glue stick, but I needed to nurse C and she still needs help with that, so I ran the lot into my laminator with the adhesive cartridge and just made her stickers πŸ˜‰
She LOVED that craft and keeps asking me to do it again! Thankfully, the website has tree crafts for almost every theme, so I’ll print the Spring and Easter ones πŸ˜‰

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That was fun!! Now on to Spring and Easter… πŸ™‚

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A Couple of Finished Knitted Projects

I don’t have a whole lot of time to knit these days, but I do manage to get some done every once in awhile!

Here are few latest projects:

A felted bunny and a froggy blankie for Miss C (who can’t wait to grab them!) I crocheted the bunny a while ago (i.e. last July), but only recently gave it to her as it is now more age appropriate. The froggy I only finished last week! Isn’t it cuuute? πŸ˜‰ Miss A loves to play with it too, although she always says “I play with C’s Mr. Frog”. At least she knows she’s borrowing LOL!

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I also completed a bath set doll Kit for Miss A. I started this one in, ahem, October, hoping to finish it for Christmas. As that didn’t happen, it’s now her Easter gift! I just finished it today πŸ˜‰

All in all, I think it’s a pretty cute set – the only thing that bugs me a bit is the bathtub. I thought folding the edging around and stuffing it would look nicer – that turned out ok, but I find it’s a bit short now. If I had thought of that prior to completing the piece, I would have made it a tad larger so I have more fabric to fold over. But I don’t really have time to re-do it (notice how the Christmas gift became an Easter gift? lol), and I’m quite sure my 3 yrs won’t notice πŸ˜‰

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Patterns used:
Felted Bunny: Fuzzy Bunny Baby Blanket, free pattern from Lion Brand
Froggy Blankie: Frog Blankie Buddy, from Mary Maxim, but it doesn’t seem to be available anymore
Bath Set: Bath Time, also from Mary Maxim

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St. Patrick’s Day Fun!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and we’ve been busy putting on our greens and getting our Irish on! πŸ™‚

I don’t have any actual hardcore Irish ancestry – there is some Irish on my dad’s side of the family, but it’s somewhere around my great-grand-mother, and even then, we don’t know if she was 1st generation Irish or the daughter of an Irish and Canadian parent… So I guess I’m a wee bit Irish, but nothing very defined. But somehow, I’ve just ALWAYS been fascinated by Ireland. I remember when I was in elementary school, a friend of mine was Irish and I was very jealous of her… lol And then I was interested in learning Gaelic Irish (still working on that, I know some basic), I was fascinated by Irish dancing and have done some too (I’ll get back into it when the littlest one is older – maybe next year), I just LOVE the music, learned the basic of playing the tin whistle, would LOVE to learn to jig on a fiddle… I did have the opportunity to go to Ireland in July 2009, and I’m just waiting to go back again πŸ™‚

So, naturally, I love to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day πŸ˜€
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Some St. Patrick’s Background Info
As I’m sure you know, St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the saint by the same name, who came to Ireland around the years 400 or 460 – the actual dates are debated. As a boy, he was captured from England and was made to work as a slave shepherd in Northern Ireland. After he went home, he felt a calling to go back to Ireland to teach the people there about God. He trained as a priest, became a Bishop, and pretty much brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle. St. Patrick’s celebrates his ministry in Ireland, and the date of March 17th is due to the date of his death!

In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is still very much a religious holiday, although much partying is done there too πŸ˜‰ Some people might choose to attend church to worship and give thanks for St. Patrick’s teachings.

Some St. Patrick’s symbols include the shamrock, which is a plant that grows in Ireland and looks like a clover. St. Patrick used it to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity – three entities in one God (the 3 leaves with 1 stem). There are many other legends associated with St. Patrick, including how he chased the snakes out of Ireland (there is, actually, no snakes in Ireland!), and how he chased the Devil away. In fact, there is a mountain in Ireland that is missing it’s top part, like if a round area on it’s top was blown away – that, legend says, happened when the Devil was chased away: as he left, he took a bite out of the mountain! You can see it in this picture I took from the Rock of Cashel, in co. Tipperary. (click to see it bigger)

You might also see Celtic crosses – the circle in the middle comes from the pagan symbolism of the sun. Like many other instances worldwide, Christian missionaries would take some of the pagan traditions of the locale and transfer them to their teachings to make those more accessible to the pagans. In this case, the circle for the sun became a symbol of God’s eternity. If you go into an Irish cemetery, you’ll see a lot of graves with this cross!

The harp is another symbol you might run into – it’s the national instrument of Ireland. I know, we always think of fiddles, uillean pipes (smaller versions of bagpipes) and accordions when we think of Irish music, but the harp is actually originally Irish, and in fact it’s Ireland national symbol. Ireland is the only country with an instrument as the national symbol!

What about leprechauns? Well those are make-believe, but they are a great deal of fun πŸ˜› The name is derived from the old Irish word Luchorpan, which means “wee one”. Indeed, they are believed to only be as big as your thumb, and if you catch one, it will give you it’s pot of gold, which he hides at the end of a rainbow.

And finally – the reason we all wear green? Well, in honour of the Emerald Isle, of course!

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Here are a bunch of crafts and activities I prepared for A to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!
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Books!!
Lots of books! I like to have theme books on the top of the book shelf πŸ™‚ Lots of them are from the library, The Story of Saint Patrick’s up front is ours – I really love those little books in that series!
One of A’s favourite so far is “Shannon and the World’s Tallest Leprechaun”, which you can peak in the middle at the back πŸ˜‰
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Crafts!!!
I explain some of the middle stuff in the next picture. At the bottom left you see a rainbow craft where we’ll glue punched out shamrocks in the little circles; next is a coloured shamrock memory game; next is a felt board rhyme (printed the shamrocks on cardstock, laminate, and stick a piece of sticky felt at the back, and the numbers are from a felt math set I have); above is a Leprechaun Man craft with Parisian clips so the arms and legs move (can’t find the link anymore 😦  I believe it’s somewhere on Making Learning Fun); and above is a shamrock tree craft, we will colour the B&W art and glue the shamrocks on the branches!
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Some sparkly sticky glitter foam sheets; a potato counting mini book to draw; a Leprechaun mini book to draw (the pages inside are B&W); some shamrock foams, the solid ones are thin foam and the sparkly ones are sticky; some punched out shamrocks from construction paper; in the middle it’s punched shamrocks in tissue paper for a stain glass craft (gluing them on contact paper, sticking another sheet of contact paper on top, then tracing a shamrock over it using this template and cutting it out – shamrock stain glass!); St. Patrick’s Day stickers; on top I have green, orange and white glitter glue and paint crayons; green orange and white markers; green orange and white pompoms; and foamy shamrocks; bottom is a celtic cross, cut out from a template (can’t find it either 😦  Next time I’ll note them down as I’m prepping them…) and ready to glue and assemble, I made light & dark green ones, yellow, and orange ones.
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File Folder games!
A Lower/Upper case alphabet match
(inspired by this post – scribd wanted me to pay to download her file so I found a similar
(same?) clipart and made my own! So it’s basically the same thing, just took longer coz
I made it πŸ˜‰ )

A Shamrock pattern match
And a St. Patrick’s Day Sudoku game
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This will be a marble painting! We will paint on the other side of the shamrock in the pan, each ball a different colour, moving the pan around to let them roll all over the paper. Then you can use the shamrock outline to cut it out!
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Magnet pompoms – I got some pompoms and a sticky magnetic strip, cut out some squares from it and stick on the back. There’s enough pompoms to fill each rainbow circle πŸ™‚Β  One rainbow has orange and the other pink.
And then some other themed pages. πŸ™‚
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A shamrock magnetic puzzle and some St. Patrick’s magnetic dominoes (printed on cardstock and run through the laminator with the magnetic cardrige – it laminates the top and puts a magnet on the back – love!)

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I also have many colouring page, shamrock tracing pages, and Bingo dauber pages.
We’ve been having fun!

Some of the crafts are already completed and some will be done this week still – I will post an Art Exhibition post when we are done πŸ˜‰
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LΓ‘ FhΓ©ile PΓ‘draig sona duit!

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