Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tradition fit for a king (cake).

It started so innocently years ago, but now, it seems like we "have" to have a king cake for Mardi Gras. As Fat Tuesday approached, I mentioned that we should pick one up. Since I was still killing myself trying to finish grading research papers, Brett said he could run by Albertson's to get one. (Over the years we have determined that Albertson's makes a better king cake than Tom Thumb.)

When I left work at 5:30, I called to make sure the pastry had been procured, mostly to make sure I didn't need to hit Tom Thumb on my way home from school to get a backup. Brett said he hadn't been to the store yet but would go later. Ruh-roh. Even 550 miles from New Orleans, it's next to impossible to find a king cake at 5:30 p.m. the night of Mardi Gras.

And that's how we ended up making our own king cake! The only hitch: I could find only the green and gold sugar, and the food coloring I was just certain would be in our cabinet was NOT. What to do without the purple sugar? If we only had green and gold on our king cake, we might as well throw a Baylor Bear on the thing and move to Waco!

After searching the pantry for something—anything!—I finally found something we could use to get the third Mardi Gras color on our king cake.
Froot Loops! We had a couple of individual serving boxes left over from one of Katie's projects, so we rounded up all the purple O's and mashed them all up.

Voila! Purple sugary goodness!

So here's our mess of a king cake:
All the icing melted down into the center, and the fruit filling oozed out the side. Not pretty but pretty yummy!

The kids opted out of the strawberry filling, so I made half of the cake without fruit.

Another problem: Since the cake was homemade this time around, we didn't have a plastic baby to hide in it! Even though I've never been very good at hiding the baby, the kids insisted I hide something in the cake, so I put a piece of valentine's chocolate in there.

Katie found it! Technically that means she's supposed to buy the king cake for next year's Mardi Gras celebration.

We'll be ready! Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy hearts.

Before breakfast I left Valentine's Day goodies on the table for Brett and the kids. This year they received Girl Scout cookies in addition to the usual chocolates. (That box of Thin Mints there? It was the last one for sale in front of Target on Saturday. Ooh-whee, did I grab that puppy in a hurry!!!)

Brett got the Ghirardelli squares and the big heart box.

Ryan got the "UR GR8" candy,

and Katie got the "LOL" box.

Brett and the kids showered me with chocolates, too! (We thought it was funny that we gave each other Ghirardelli squares!)

Poor Frisco: No chocolate for her! She was certainly watching me set up the table, though! (Check out all that snow still on the ground.)

Once the kids were ready for church, we opened our cards and tasted a little candy:

Brett liked the card I gave him,

but it embarrassed Ryan just a bit!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that I've never been much of a Valentine's Day fan. I spent plenty of Valentine's Days as a single person, and even with a sweetheart, I feel sad for those who don't need a reason to feel extra-lonely on a particular day. As a couple we exchange cards, but we really don't celebrate this holiday. In fact, Brett and I have a tradition of going out on another day besides the 14th (to avoid the crowds), and this year was no different. (We planned a lunch date thanks to an odd testing schedule at school.) Since the kids came along, I've tried to get more into the spirit for their sakes, but for some reason, this is one of those occasions that I just can't get into. But I hope that's not because of cynicism. On the contrary: I hope it's because I celebrate the love Brett and I have (and the love we have in our family) EVERY SINGLE DAY.


Later that evening, ChaCha was able to enjoy some quality time with HER special valentine:
She loves, loves, loves her some Brett!
Keep in mind, he doesn't dote on her and get all crazy around her like a certain (ahem) female member of the family does, but he does work at home. She seems to know where her kibble comes from.

Of course, I can't blame her for loving my sweet husband so much. But ChaCha? You'd better WATCH YOUR PAWS!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Another basketball Saturday.

It was back to the rec center for us as both kids had their city league games on Saturday. We love getting to see our kids on the court! It's great that they're in different age divisions this year so we don't ever have to see their teams play against each other. (That was awful last year!)

After the games we headed home so we could get some chores accomplished. ChaCha volunteered to help me with MediaShout:
She's really on top of those lyrics!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow day.

WOW! It snowed ALL NIGHT LONG. We woke up to a BUNCH of snow. (That's our official measurement. A BUNCH.)

When I went out at 7:30 a.m. to take pictures, I could see we'd had a little visitor.

It was hard to remember the last time we'd had so much snow. Some reports said the area had received close to 12 inches of snow in the 24-hour period, a record.

The trees were especially beautiful.

My antenna ball, which had resembled Marge Simpson the night before, now had a mohawk.

We were impressed that our delivery people managed to get our newspaper to us, in spite of the crazy road conditions! We had received an email giving us the eEdition password for Friday's paper, just in case, but there was our print edition, right on time.

We felt bad for everyone who had to go to work in all of this.

It was a weird feeling to take a step and sink so deep into the snow! More than a couple of times, I almost twisted my ankle because my foot would keep going farther than I thought it would.

Later in the day, Brett, Katie and I took Frisco out to play.

Then we gathered some snow for some "snow cream." We're hoping our immune systems can fight off the pollutants that might've been in that snow.

Brett and I both remember our moms making snow cream when we were little, so it was fun to pass on this snow day tradition to our kids.

Ryan even interrupted his video game-playing and movie-watching marathon to try some!

We're so thankful that we were safe and warm throughout the great snowfall of 2010.