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Top O' the Morning to Ya!


I don't have a stitch of Irish heritage running through my family tree. But every March, I find myself celebrating Ireland and its culture in style. Some of my favorite St. Patty's Day celebration memories took place when I lived in Chicago. The city colors the Chicago river green using 40 pounds of vegetable dye to mark the route of one of the grandest parades in the country.

Now as a mom, I see this holiday through my kids' excitement. They become so motivated to find a friend not wearing green just so they can get a pinch in without punishment. My sons build the most intricately designed leprechaun traps complete with marshmallows for bait. And, my daughter wants us to turn all the food we eat green with food coloring.

On March 17th, donning green to avoid a nasty pinch is only part of this holiday. This symbolic day celebrated for centuries showcases Irish traditions: leprechauns, shamrocks, Irish dancing and songs, specialty foods, and especially, St. Patrick, one of the most famous patron saints of Ireland. The U.S. Congress even proclaimed March as Irish-American Month. But, no matter what your heritage, you can find all things Irish to celebrate this time of year!

Spring is not only a time to celebrate all things green, but it is a chance to take a break from our regularly scheduled lives. Spring Break can be a great time to reconnect with each other and rejuvenate our spirits. Check out, "Kid-Scheduled Spring Break," on page 9 to find a way to make the most of your spring break vacation without ever leaving your own town.

Also this month, check out Brian Katz's Newbie Dad article, "What I Think it Means to be a Dad," on page 14. He says some people assume he's an expert on parenting because of his monthly column, but he says he's just trying his best not to mess things up. He says that no father is perfect and you don't have to act like Superman; you just need to act the way you expect your children to act.

For your monthly chuckle, turn to Tracie Grimes's Humor at Home article, "A Quiet Evening in the Neighborhood," where she writes about furry creatures who disturb an otherwise perfectly quiet evening. Armed with Charlie's Angel-type moves and two fierce Schnauzers, she sets out to rid her yard of the raccoons who are scouting out a new home. Does she win the war with these pesky creatures? Turn to page 8 to find out!

Tracie Grimes also gives us a plethora of book recommendations in her article, "Make Reading a Part of Your Kids' Everyday Routine," on page 15. She says good readers have an advantage in life, and she offers tips on how to make reading more exciting.

During March, whether you are planning Spring Break activities, trying to be the best parent you can be, or wearing green to avoid getting pinched, remember this Irish Toast: "May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid you wherever you go."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

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