How is it already mid-January? Yeesh. At least we’ve actually had a winter here. Though freezing temperatures without snow are pointless. So if we could just have a flurry here while I’m home at the same time the boys are, that’d be great. Thanks.
We had a busy weekend – the boys had a sleepover Friday night for a friend’s birthday, then Saturday night one of their friends slept over, then Sunday we went to yet another birthday party. (Fortunately they had Monday to recover.)
Random pictures of kids stuck to a wall from the Sunday birthday party:
I also did some baking over the weekend. Make pizza dough for the boys’ dinner Saturday night, then made a king cake for breakfast the next day.
I used this recipe, but halved the yeast. (In the past, the king cakes I’ve made have tasted too yeasty.) It came out pretty well. I should have baked it at a lower temperature, I think. The outside was getting dark, but the inside was still possibly not cooked as much as I’d have liked (but not raw.) I could just hear Paul and Mary critiquing it. But everyone else liked it, so I’m going to stop pretending I’m on the Great British Bake Off. (I do have some other ideas on how to improve it for next time…)
In other news, I ordered two fun things from Amazon that I’m excited about.
Hair straightening brush. This is magic! My sister has one and I used it when she was in town, so I treated myself for my birthday.
CHECK THIS OUT!!! That’s before – I didn’t touch my hair this morning after washing it. No brushing or anything. That’s totally air dried. And the after is from six minutes of brushing with the magic brush! Insane.
Usually straight hair involves blow drying (pfft no way) and then flat ironing for 15 minutes while I curse the hard to reach hair at the back of my head. This was just brush, brush, brush, avoid ears because last time I burned the crap out of the back of my ear. I mean, this thing gets hot, but as long as you’re careful, it’s fine.
After I wrote yesterday’s post about riding in a parade, it was brought to my attention that a lot about Mardi Gras doesn’t make sense. Now, I’m really not the best person to write this probably but it’s my blog so I’m going to anyway. Interspersed are random Mardi Gras pictures.
How many krewes are there? Are there always 42 floats? What are throws and why do some krewes have certain ones? Do krewes have a theme? Do they have a larger goal (like donating to charity)? Do they do other parades?
There are a bunch of krewes. If I had to guess, I’d say…50. Now let me google that to see if I’m right.
Okay, I was wrong. 35. That said, those are only the ones that roll in New Orleans. Metairie has ten parades, and there are more on the Northshore. So maybe my initial guess was close. My memories of Mardi Gras as a child involve going to my aunt’s house on Bonnabel in Metairie and watching the parades roll by while my sister made out with her boyfriend on the sidewalk. Good times, good times. So I can’t discount the non-NOLA parades.
The number of floats in each parade vary. I’m going to guess again and say 42 is on the high end, but I don’t really know. I could probably look it up. Nope, wrong again. Endymion has 81!!! Holy cow!
I should back up. What is a krewe, and why is it spelled so…ugh?
According to Wikipedia, “A krewe (pronounced in the same way as “crew”) is an organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season.” I can’t see any good reason they spelled it “kreatively” but it’s been spelled that way since the 1800s so I’m going to just have to let it go.
They are non-profit organizations, or social clubs. I think some of them do charitable things throughout the year, but I’m not sure, to be completely honest. The purpose seems to be to put on a parade at Mardi Gras. And for some krewes, to show how fancy and rich you are. (I mean, that’s probably not in their mission statement, but let’s face it, it’s true.)
Anyway, a krewe basically equals a parade. So the Krewe of Nyx rolls on the Wednesday before Mardi Gras, and that’s the Nyx parade. The Krewe of Endymion rolls on the Saturday night before Fat Tuesday, and you say, “I’m going to Endymion tonight.”
So on to throws. A throw is anything you throw off the float. Get it? Beads are the traditional throw. But most krewes have a signature throw. As I mentioned, Nyx has glittered purses and Muses has shoes. Tucks has toilet paper. Zulu has coconuts. They also will have custom cups and doubloons and stuffed animals and basically all sorts of random stuff. That’s part of the fun! But the purses and shoes and coconuts are the coveted prizes. Those are the things you want to get.
All parades have a theme. For instance, Nyx’s theme was something about music and dancing so all of the floats had a music or dance theme. My float’s theme was Belly Dancing so our float and the headpieces reflected that. Tomorrow, Thoth will roll with a theme of “Thoth’s Cookin'” so I imagine they will have a lot of cooking-related throws. (Great chance to restock the kitchen!)
Oh, and how could I forget what goes on between the floats? A parade is not just a line of floats going by. Oh no. Between each float might be a high school marching band. (Or elementary school!) Or a group of grown women dressed in corsets and wigs doing a choreographed dance down the street. Or men, for that matter. The music is what makes the parade.
Okay, I think I hit Zandy’s questions. Robyn asks:
I actually want to know the schedule of things. How many parades? Are they all different? Why was your parade NOT on Mardi Gras? Does the whole city get involved? Is it a school holiday?
As I said, there are 35 parades in New Orleans. They are all different, yes. Mine wasn’t on Mardi Gras because…well, 35 parades running on roughly the same route uptown at an average of, what, 3 hours each (totally making that up), would take, well, a lot longer than a day. So they’re spread out over a few weeks. The majority of them run from the Wednesday before Mardi Gras through Fat Tuesday.
I’d say the whole city is involved in some way. I mean, you can’t really escape it.
School is out for Mardi Gras. The boys get off the entire week of Mardi Gras which enrages me, since Mardi Gras is on Tuesday. Why they need Wednesday – Friday off after the holiday is beyond me, but I know a lot of people vacation then. But still. A week? Ugh.
I suppose you might also want to know about King Cake. It’s basically a circular brioche bready thing, maybe with cinnamon, usually frosted with colored sugar on top. Everyone has a favorite bakery or grocery store king cake, but I’m not even going to touch that with a ten foot pole, so I made my own.
I could go on for hours talking about the weirdness of Mardi Gras. But I have a parade to get to!
I wanted to blog about a few things that don’t really merit a post of their own.
I baked a king cake!
I’ve been wanting to try this for a while, and finally got around to it this weekend. I used the recipe in this blog post. [Please ignore the line, “(Pronounced Nawlins in case you don’t want to sound like a fool)” because that is absolutely, 100% untrue. Please don’t ever say “Nawlins” in my presence.]
The only changes I’d make next time are:
1. Three strands instead of two. It was very puffy. Not necessarily a bad thing, but there was definitely a higher ratio of bread: filling than I’d prefer.
2. Get a real baby, not a LEGO minifigure that I sterilized. Though it made for a hilarious photo. I crack myself up.
3. Get the colored sugar to sprinkle on top. I colored the icing instead, but sugar would be prettier sprinkled on top of the icing (not in lieu of.)
I was really happy with how it came out, though. So yum! And P was really happy to get the “baby.”
Hair product recommendation
Saturday night, I went with some friends to a walking parade, Chewbacchus. I think you can imagine what the theme was. I looked all over the house for the Princess Leia wig I had at one point, but then I remembered that I have long dark brown hair. No wig needed, just a Pinterest tutorial!
Oliver had his writing journal from English class in his backpack and HOLY COW it was a treasure trove of cute. I can’t wait to get my hands on Miles’s and Linus’s. My favorite entry was the one that said, “Today I will inoy my dad.”