30 Days Til 40 (Trader Joes Brownie Mix Saves The Day!)

St. Patrick's DayDyker Heights, Brooklyn, and Catholic school. Yep, if you put them all together you get Irish Americans. Of course there were Italian Americans living in Dyker Heights and attending Catholic school, too, but the Irish get special props on day we honor their patron saint. And growing up where I did and how I did, everyone became Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

When I was a kid, I would attach an "O" or "Mc" in front of my surname, thus becoming Irish for the day in spite of my perpetual tan and oriental features. It puzzled my Filipina mother to see me so enthusiastic about the color green. And, oh, sure, I never got excited about going to Church, but St. Paddy's Day? To me it was the best day of the Catholic school year. I remember making green Jell-O at home and drinking some fizzy green soda at a friend's house. Ah, good times.

You would think that with such a fondness for this holiday I would circle it on the calendar months in advance. And, yeah, I did. But being a little under the weather this week, my neat and orderly life went kaput. I woke up this morning in a panic because I forgot to make St. Patrick's Day cupcakes for Mack. Unlike his mother, he has Irish blood coursing through his veins and has a right to bear green. And his name--I mean, c'mon! Mackinley Burke Morgan? This boy is Irish with or without the O' or the Mc. He needed that cupcake. I needed to make it for him.

When I opened the cupboard doors, the most beautiful brown bag greeted me with trumpets blaring. [Insert trumpets blaring here.] Oh, Trader Joes, you and your brownie baking fix have never failed me. How pretty are the bags, right?

I made brownie cupcakes and the kids decorated them, creating shamrocks with green icing and green Skittles. And Mack left the house wearing the ugliest green sweatpants I've ever laid eyes on, happy as a clam, and looking forward to all the St. Patrick's Day activities in his class. I have to say that this holiday has changed for me, because I do have children who can rightly claim it as theirs. I feel less like an interloper.

By the way, that brownie mix bag? Eye candy. I buy the mix not because I can't figure out how to make brownies from scratch. I just like the design and the printing. Of course I have a stack of saved TJ brownie mix bags in my work room. After all, they make lovely wallets.

I guess you can say that today was a good day. Happy St. Patrick's Day!