Mardi Gras, Easter, Tall Ships, and Bed Bath and Beyond

I have just fought with my computer for at least two hours to try to get my phone photos loaded on my Mac, and then up to this website.  There were tears.  In this age of modern conveniences, NOTHING IS EVER CONVENIENT.  The lengths I go to, to keep my three or four loyal readers apprised of our doings . . .

Anyhow.  Having done all of that, I’ve just about lost my momentum, and so I’m just going to dump a lot of photos and narrate our way through – as the title suggests – the rest of Mardi Gras, Easter, seeing the Tall Ships for New Orleans’ 300th anniversary celebration, and then hitting up our local BB&B for a pillow.  Wow, way to end on a low note.

School Mardi Gras parade!

First up, the boys’ MG parade at school.  The littles all parade, and the older kids all catch.  I put Craig in his wagon and pulled, while he threw some of the beads and throws he’d caught this year.  I was afraid there would be reluctance and tears when he was asked to part with these sticky plastic treasures, but instead he took to the job with the utmost seriousness, carefully de-tangling and tossing each bead to the crowd.

Check out the over-archiever a few wagons ahead, who decorated their wagon as a hot air balloon, complete with cluster of balloons and cardboard “basket” surrounding the bottom.

Our wagon was a little less creative, but we dressed ourselves up at least. Check out Craig, the Most Serious Professional Parade Rider Green Ninja

Our next official parade was Morpheus followed by D’Etat, both on Thursday night.  Jack decided he wanted to use my eyebrow pencil to draw a skull on his own face, and then Craig wanted the same, so Jack obliged.

Brothers who do costume makeup together stay together

Serious work

Finished “product”

The Morpheus parade is based upon the mythological Morpheus, the God of Dreams, who was winged when he appeared in mortal form (i.e. not in your dreams, where I guess maybe he didn’t have wings?)  So the Morpheus throws incorporate a lot of wing imagery, including lots of blinky light up wing headbands.

Morpheus wings

Morpheus’ theme this year was “Morpheus Goes Wild,” and it featured really lovely sculptures of wild animals and plants as figureheads of each parade.  My pictures don’t do it justice, but some at the link above might, although it looks to be mostly photos from the D’Etat parade which rolled after.

Hummingbird

Beautiful

After Morpheus rolled D’Etat, which is less lovely, but more clever/biting/satirical.  This parade tends to get very political, but no politician is spared and they’re very good at punching up instead of down.

Minecraft Skellie

I took zero good pictures of this one, but you can look at the link above to see the floats, which were real zingers.

The next day (Saturday morning) was Tucks – it was a bit sloppy outside, and we stood in puddles and tried to keep throws from falling in the mud.  We caught a ton of throws, as few people were out that day.

FIX YOUR FOAM FINGER

Better. Those floppy things were in my eyes the whole time.

Each floppy thing lights up a different color.

We kinda hate the redlight cameras around here. See a tiny Craig in the foreground, begging for throws.

Tucks is famous for toilet brushes, plungers, and printed toilet paper that everyone tps the trees with (a crew comes immediately behind and cleans it all up).  It’s weird, we know.

SO MUCH JUNK. I had to run home and get the car. We recycled most of this.

We also caught a million capes, and the infamous Tucks Blue Balls

There are parades Saturday night (Endymion is the big one), but we never go.  They aren’t walking distance and they tend to be MEGA crowded, so we skip those and rest up for the best day of Mardi Gras – Thoth Sunday.

Mobile friends visited us for Thoth Sunday

Throw me something!

Mid-City, Okeanos, and Thoth all roll right by our house, so we usually host an open house and let people come and go.  I make egg sandwiches and mimosas and people bring king cake and crab dip and a whole pile of delicious food, and usually start drinking at 10 am.  After all of this indulgence and abundance and excess, all of us are excited for Ash Wednesday’s scarcity, by the time it rolls around.

The Prof, plus friends Menaka and Geoff. Menaka will have their first baby in June!

Thoth Sunday this year was by turns lovely and sunny and cool, and then all of a sudden raging thunderstorms poured.  This weather related uncertainty meant we had fewer guests than normal, but that was fine.  It was still a great time.

Next night (Monday) was Orpheus.  The boys made their own dragon floats, along with a neighbor, and we walked to the route together.  I pulled most of the way, and the boys threw beads to random strangers standing around, who mostly got into it and cheered as if they’d caught a pile of gold.

Dragon float

A friend of a friend fed us chili and hot dogs.

The dragon parade

See the fire coming out of his mouth?

Orpheus is another really beautiful parade – famous for its lights and special effects (dragons breathing “fire,” for example).

Trojan Horse

Our crew in front of the dragon

Mardi Gras day, Tuesday, marked the close of the festivities.  There are always a couple of options for Fat Tuesday – Rex rolls uptown, and is a great calm parade to watch if you’re hungover.  Also, St. Anne’s is a walking “parade” (really just a bunch of costumed people who all gather in the same place) that goes through the Marigny and the Bywater, ending up in the Quarter.  That one is really amazing – I’ve done it twice now, in 2011 and this year – but you’ve got to be committed to the full day out there because it’s almost impossible to get in and out . . . as I would learn, to my displeasure, later in the day . . .

Mr. Slothman

I went downtown with this guy – the aforementioned Geoff – and his wife Menaka.  I paid for our uber downtown, so he paid for breakfast, which was this amazing cup of deliciousness:

A cup of grits, eggs, sausage, bacon, and gravy. Holy cow. It is the best.  Just what you need to start a long day of 8 hours of walking.

Menaka – Queen of the Night

Menaka is one of the most impressive costumers I’ve met (we attract a lot of them in this town – Menaka is actually Canadian by way of Sri Lanka, and while it’s partly the Cajun Geoff that brought her here, I think she is happy to stay because she is in her element, vis a vis adult costuming!)  She created this headpiece and wig, and usually will do a headpiece for Geoff as well (although he decided to go with the mascot head this year.)  I, having limited time (THOUGH NOT LIMITED ENTHUSIASM!) for costume creation just wore my Wonder Woman outfit again.

They are the Prof’s colleagues and good friends of both of us, and they adopted me for the day while the Prof took the boys to Rex.  After eating our breakfast in a cup, we met with more of their friends and basically wandered, agog at all of the creativity on display.  Really, it’s something to see.  These people work so hard, spend so much time to make these completely fabulous setups.  I regularly would turn in circles and just stare, absolutely open mouthed.

Who you gonna call?

Undersea god

These cows performed “Swine Lake”

Seahorse

Care for a wash?

Psychedelic

The night Max wore his wolf suit

I don’t even know

AMAZING. This sloth head was a thing Geoff found in his father’s garage years ago, and yet somehow he met ANOTHER of the exact same sloth guy just wandering around. Serendipity.

Balcony

There was a flock of flamingos

QUEEN

Hard to see, but this rolling pirate ship was astonishing. And full of kids.

Someone dressed as an Emotional Support Peacock

More hate for the redlight cameras and parking tickets. For example, we got a parking ticket for parking in our own driveway on Thoth Sunday. We ‘blocked the sidewalk.’ However, there is only sidewalk in front of our house – no other houses have laid a sidewalk around us. So it was a pretty gotdam ridiculous $40 ticket.

I will admit to casting a skeptical maternal protective eye toward all of these rickety old
balconies full of drunk people.

One of the flamingos.

Haha, yes, a group of The Rocks.

These two old guys from the Muppets – this was a good one.

A group dressed as Tarot cards, towing a portable bar where they would read your fortune

Zoltar

Wonder Woman and Slothman

Jamming

So I will continue with the Easter and what-have-you at a later date, because the amount of time it took to upload these is not insignificant.  I will wrap it up by telling the sad sad story of the Big Law Lawyer – our office was closed (you couldn’t get to it), I had an out of office message on my email, I notified all clients and partners ahead of time that I’d be out on Tuesday, and yet . . . I got some frantic emails and something had to be done right then because it had to be filed that day, and though we got it all finalized ahead of time someone suddenly decided it all had to be completely changed and I was the only one who was capable of doing it.  So I tried to walk out of the mess of traffic and people as much as I could, and hailed a Lyft, and $100 and two hours of creeping traffic later, I was home.  A very stressful end to a fun day.  Sad trombone.

More fun to come, though . . . stay tuned!  Meanwhile, here’s the meals for the week, many stolen again from bloggers I love!

Vegetarian tacos

Steak and Potato kebabs

Smoky rub pork chops, homemade applesauce (using up some apples we have that are going off)

Sunshine lentil bowls that I didn’t make last week

Tortellini and sauce

Black bean burgers and macaroni

Posted in Bitchin in the Kitchen, Holidays and Celebrations, New Orleans | 1 Comment

Saturday Morning Meal Planning

Hello dear ones –

Thing Number One: Comments are “on” on all of my posts.  And yet they show as “off.”  I don’t really know how to fix this, so I’ll do what I normally do with this blog – which sadly must remain at the bottom of my list of priorities – and that is, wait til it fixes itself.

Thing Number Two: Last night when I got home from work, the kids were tossing a football in the street with some neighborhood kids.  Then I called them in for frozen pizza for dinner (we fancy), and all of the neighborhood kids came too.  They sat on the picnic table on our back porch and listened to music and ate pizza – even Craig was out there.  There wasn’t enough for us to eat too, so we let it slide and pretended like we had something else for the adults.  The Prof and I sat inside, just on the other side of the wall, listening to them raucously sing along to “Havana ooh na na,” and he said to me “if there’s ever a good reason for the adults to go without dinner, it’s this.”  I do love this neighborhood – what I always wanted for my kids.  (We did not starve, of course, there were other things for us to have once everyone left.)

Thing Number Three: The children have voluminous amounts of play dates and birthday parties and stuff this weekend.  It’s exhausting to be so popular.  *theatrically places back of fingertips on forehead*  I’ve got some Easter pix to share, but it’ll probably be Fourth of July before I get there.  In the meantime, I wanted to check in, and post the week’s meals, before I launch into being Mom Chauffeur for the rest of the day.

The week’s meals:

Chicken Vesuvio.  Looks tasty – spring peas and potatoes.

Lasagna.  This is a recipe for the supposed world’s best lasagna, but let’s be real – I may just go jarred sauce + noodles + ricotta.

Chicken patties, macaroni and cheese, frozen veg

Sunshine lentil bowls, because I’m feeling a lack of inspiration and the lag liv family seems to love them.  Jack hates eggs, but we can leave those out of his.

Fish.  Whatever looks good at Costco.  Plus probably couscous and green beans.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Bitchin in the Kitchen | Leave a comment

Mardi Gras Recap – Do I Even Remember At This Point

Kicking off the season right

Kicking off the season right

We started the Mardi Gras season off right – eating a doberge king cake and watching some floats slowly drive down the road behind a police escort, heading from their den to the lineup.

A king cake gelato roll.  I mean.

A king cake gelato roll. I mean.

The first parade of the season that we attend, generally, is Cleopatra, and the children were wild with excitement on the night.  They all dressed in costumes for the parade, and as this one tends to be more thinly attended than some of the later ones, we caught a LOT of stuff.

Costumed crusaders, ready to catch.  ("That's alliteration!" says Jack)

Costumed crusaders, ready to catch. (“That’s alliteration!” says Jack)

Throw the Green Ninja somethin', mister!

Throw the Green Ninja somethin’, mister!

He has slept with this dragon every night since catching it.

He has slept with this dragon every night since catching it.

Toothless spider man

Toothless spider man

Disco ball light effect.

Disco ball light effect.

My favorite throw of the season - bumblebee beads!

My favorite throw of the season – bumblebee beads!

Showing his blinky, glowing CLEOpatra love.

Showing his blinky, glowing CLEOpatra love.

Big boys carry their own bead bags full of stuff home.  Craig insisted.

Big boys carry their own bead bags full of stuff home. Craig insisted.

Cleopatra was great – good weather, good haul, the boys had a blast, and the first parade of the season is always fun.  By the end, we’re dragging a little bit, but at this point we were still fresh and excited.

Next day was my day to walk in Chewbacchus, with the Wonder Woman krewe.

Check out my hair height.  That took work.

Check out my hair height. That took work.

The weather for this one was less ideal, though it could’ve been worse.  I’m sporting a long sleeved shirt under my bustier in part because it was pretty darn cold, and it also misted with rain for significant chunks.  But it wasn’t freezing, and it never out and out poured, and everybody came out to watch even with the rain.  Really good times.

Wondah Womaaaaaan

Wondah Womaaaaaan

Invisible Jet

Invisible Jet – this is an evening parade and so many things are designed with darkness in mind.  This invisible jet frame was lined in lights, so it was a glowing outilne of a jet throughout the march.  So cool.

We Are All Wonder Women, sniff

We Are All Wonder Women, sniff

For Chewbacchus, the plan was that we would all meet up at a friend’s house near the start, and finalize our costumes while drinking some wine.  It sort of worked this way – but our uber ride took almost an hour given the parading going on everywhere, so the drinking/chatting/costuming time was shortened to a zip-through-the-potty, tease-your-hair-and-let’s-go kinda thing.

We all showed up at our friend Christina’s home in the Bywater, oohed and aahed at each other’s costumers, and then headed out in a troop down to the lineup point, where we proceeded to stand around for a couple of hours, getting rained on and looking at all of the amazing creativity on display.

E.T., wearing a poncho at this time to keep him from dissolving in the rain, and later sporting a jester hat.  Also, the brain in front of him was part of a krewe of people who all wore elaborate brain hats.  I can't do it justice with words, but it was amazing.

E.T., wearing a poncho at this time to keep him from dissolving in the rain, and later sporting a jester hat. Also, the brain in front of him was part of a krewe of people who all wore elaborate brain hats. I can’t do it justice with words, but it was amazing.

Who ya gonna call??

Who ya gonna call??

Sewerage and Water World.  (NOLA's Sewerage and Water Board is an absolute disaster, our pumps were built in the 1800s and constantly break, and the system is constantly failing - yet our rates go up up up.  This made everyone in NOLA groan with recognition.)

Sewerage and Water World. (NOLA’s Sewerage and Water Board is an absolute disaster, our pumps were built in the 1800s and constantly break, and the system is constantly failing – yet our rates go up up up. This made everyone in NOLA groan with recognition.)

Rosemary's King Cake Baby

Rosemary’s King Cake Baby

ET, looking thrilled

ET, looking thrilled

Avatar - their tails glowed

Avatar – their tails glowed

The route was a couple of miles, through the Marigny and the Bywater, two very trendy New Orleans neighborhoods (Wikipedia calls them “off-beat”).  It was absolutely packed with people of all ages, out to see the creativity of the sci-fi nerd parade.  I pressed cheap plastic trinkets into dozens of hands, pranced to the music, and occasionally drank from a flask stored in my bustier (I did not drink much, you had to carry everything on your person, of course).  I took way too many selfies.

A little damp with rain, but in good spirits!

A little damp with rain, but in good spirits!

We could not agree on which way the headband star points, (but I'm right).

We could not agree on which way the headband star points, (but I’m right).

This insane weirdo is about 25 weeks pregnant - she found herself a wonder woman caftan, which you can't see in this pic but which was awesome.

This insane weirdo is about 25 weeks pregnant – she found herself a wonder woman caftan to wear, which you can’t see in this pic but which was awesome.

The selfie skills devolved as the night went on . . .

The selfie skills devolved as the night went on . . .

. . . and the hair poof began to migrate to one side.

. . . and the hair poof began to migrate to one side.

It was a really fun night.  At the end of the route, we stopped at a bar for burgers and a beer, then took an uber home.  Such an absolute blast.  We’re doing it again next year, but we’re going to bead and light up bustiers so we will glow like most of the rest of the parade.

The next parade was on the following Wednesday – Druids, the krewe the Prof rides in.  (Note the Mardi Gras countdown clock on that website.)  I have no pictures of Druids because it was pouring rain.  We went out, like troopers, to see Daddy’s parade, but we headed home immediately after.  The Prof invited his dad to join him on the float this year, so they went together while his mom (my MIL, Dee Dee) watched with us.  I felt bad that it was such miserable, cold and rainy weather for this one, but it rains on Druids a lot.

The next night was Muses, and we had much better weather, so we got to show a little more of what the typical Mardi Gras is like.  We set up chairs on the sidewalk, a little elevated from the street (due to a tree root, mostly), and enjoyed the block party feel of Magazine street right before a parade.

Muses night

Muses night – Craig in his Chewbacca pjs.

Wearing Daddy's costume hood.

Wearing Daddy’s costume hood.

An older man, solo, wearing a Vietnam Vet jacket and looking perhaps homeless, perhaps just down on his luck, ended up standing near us.  And Craig, for some unknown reason, decided they were best friends and went over and snuggled up to him.  I kept an eye, but the man seemed pleased for the connection, and not at all dangerous, so Craig sat there a while with him on a tree root, leaning back on the guy.  It was really touching.

Craig and Friend

Craig and Friend

Eventually, the man wandered a little further down the road to smoke a cigarette, and Craig came back with us.  It was a sweet, New Orleans kind of moment – unusual social connection is part of why I love this weird place.

A terrible photo of a great sign

A terrible photo of a great sign

Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.

Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.

I can never get good shots of Muses since it's a night parade and everything glows, but I always try because it's so prettyyyyy

I can never get good shots of Muses since it’s a night parade and everything glows, but I always try because it’s so prettyyyyy

St. Aug's, the Marching 100.  These poor kids probably march 200 miles during Mardi Gras, but they get well paid for it.

St. Aug’s, the Marching 100. These poor kids probably march 200 miles during Mardi Gras, but they get well paid for it.

Caption

Butterflies

New Mayor, woot woot!  First black female mayor of New Orleans!

New Mayor, woot woot! First black female mayor of New Orleans!

Jack tends to range up and down the street with friends his age, while Liam usually parks on a chair mid-parade and whines to go home.

Jack tends to range up and down the street with friends his age, while Liam usually parks on a chair mid-parade and whines to go home.

Blurred lines

Blurred lines

One of my blinky throws

One of my blinky throws

Go cup!

Go cup!

They look like their father,  don't they?

They look like their father, don’t they?

The theme was Night at the MUSEum,

The theme was Night at the MUSEum.

Theme Float

Theme Float

It always starts with this shoe.

It always starts with this shoe.

. . . and the rubber ducky bathtub float.  See links for better pictures by professionals.

. . . and the rubber ducky bathtub float. See links for better pictures by professionals.

Really, it was gorgeous – float after float of art.  Go here, here, and here for some better pictures – you’ll love what you see.

Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Sporting my throws, after the parade was over.

Girl with the Pearl Earring. Sporting my throws, after the parade was over.

I have run out of time/steam, and so we will have one more Mardi Gras update – probably just in time for Easter.  My work informing you people about our day to day boring lives just NEVER STOPS!!  😉

Posted in Holidays and Celebrations, New Orleans | Comments Off on Mardi Gras Recap – Do I Even Remember At This Point

Mardi Gras 2018! Part 1 – Preparation

Mardi Gras came hot on the heels of Christmas, and together those holidays sandwiched a Disney trip – so basically it’s March and I’m exhausted.  But exhausted by fun!

First – we came back from Disney on Thursday.  We almost didn’t make it, as the previously mentioned polar vortex froze up all of I-10 – but it melted in time for us to leave on time, thus saving us the thousand or so bucks we had considered spending on an extra day at Disney, to wait out the snow.  Anyhow, though I was disappointed not to have another MK day under my belt, I was pleased to save the dolla billz and I was also quite pleased to have all day Friday at home, to put away our Christmas decorations,  get out the Mardi Gras decorations, and pull together the boys’ Christmas presents.

MG Tree - plus my favorite "ornaments" - the purses and shoes I've caught in Nyx and Muses

MG Tree – plus my favorite “ornaments” – the purses and shoes I’ve caught in Nyx and Muses

Helping me decorate

Helping me decorate

Table runner

Table runner

Our first weekend back, our neighbor came over and the boys got out some of the crafts they’d gotten for Christmas to play with.  Shrinky Dinks turned out to be a hit, though they were skeptical at first.

Shrinky dink magic

Shrinky dink magic.  The boys were sort of meh about this, until I shrunk the first batch, and then they were absolutely gobsmacked.

Bakin' and shrinkin' our dinks

Bakin’ and shrinkin’ our dinks, with our neighbor buddy

We also played with our paint-by-sticker books, 3-d printing pen, dot to dot, and some puzzles. It was a fun day.  The next day, we took the boys for a nice long walk around Audubon park, and fed the ducks.

Duck feeding on a chilly Nola day

Duck feeding on a chilly Nola day

Benched

Benched

Reentry into work after all that was pretty brutal, as I recall, and the Prof almost immediately had to leave for a short Colorado business trip, so life was a hectic, sleepless mess as I tried to do seven thousand things in the space of a 24 hour day.  However, Supermom over here managed to squeeze in a trip to the aquarium trip the next weekend, while solo mommin’ with the boys.

Aquarium trip when dad's out of town.  Liam is clearly upset with me about something.

Aquarium trip when dad’s out of town. Liam is clearly upset with me about something.

Jellies

Jellies

I find it’s just easier to parent them when we’re out and about doing something, than when they’re at home and I try to do something else (even laundry, or dishes), and they’re fighting or pestering me.  I do remember this day was absolutely frigid, windy and cold, and everyone and there brother was at the aquarium that day.

A friend came over that same afternoon to drop off some stuff her slightly older kid had grown out of, including about eleventy bajillion legos and a small lovely foosball table, which we made room for upstairs in my playroom.  She then proceeded to sit on my floor and play Legos for a pretty epic amount of time.  It was cute.

New foosball

Foosball fanatics

Saturday night solo mommin’ it, we did Costco pizza and some Harry Potter.  Jack popped us some popcorn.  It was great.

Pizza and a movie

Pizza and a movie

Somewhere there in January we also had a freezing sleet.  The kids were out of school about a billion days, which also seriously complicated my daytime work productivity, causing me to work far too many late nights.  Basically I took a weeks’ vacation and there were two holidays in January, the kids were out of school a week, the Prof was gone for several days, and I still billed over 180 hours (billable, plus another 20 non-billable).  I. Nearly. Died.

This is ice, not snow

This is ice, not snow, and it didn’t melt for days.  The boys tried to make a snowman but it was just one solid sheet.

The Prof returned from his trip just in time for me to take Liam to a pretty cute birthday party at the animal shelter on Sunday afternoon.  I didn’t even know this was a thing, but it’s kind of a great thing.  The LSPCA gets paid to rent you space in their building (FWIW the Louisiana SPCA is the absolute most top notch government facility I have seen in this state, which generally has a Decaying Southern Gothic architectural style), you bring everything, they supply puppers and kittenz and bun-bun-bunnies for scritches and snugs, and man I can’t even talk about it without devolving into baby speak.  It was really fun and special, and it was just for Liam and me, as siblings weren’t invited to this one due to space concerns.  He has a way with animals – they bring a tenderness out in him that isn’t normally present.  I wish I had the capacity to buy him a million bunnies and kitties to love.

Petting the kittenz

Petting the kittenz

We also had some friends over for grilled salmon and craft beers that night – keeping it simple but social, that’s the theme in this city.

This big boy wanted to sit on a stool with the big kids.

This big boy wanted to sit on a stool with the big kids.

We normally Mardi Gras the whole season with them, but this year their oldest (born with a cleft lip and palate) had to go to Boston for some surgery over the Mardi Gras period.  Boo.

Through this early January period of time, I knew that Mardi Gras was fast approaching, and this particular year it meant costume planning!  New Orleans is the only place I have lived where all adults have a costume box – I pulled some things out of mine and added to it through some purchases from Party City and Leg Avenue, to create my costume for being part of the Wonder Woman krewe walking in Chewbacchus.  Chewbacchus is basically the nerd parade for people (like me) too poor to spend thousands on riding in a bigger parade.  It has no floats, and thus it is very cheap – much of the dues spent by riders in the bigger parades go toward float decoration, storage, and maintenance, as well as paying the guys who drive the tractors that pull them.  What Chewbacchus has instead are individual krewes who come up with a sci-fi or pop culture theme, create their own contraptions powered by small electric engines or pedals, and then walk through the streets tossing small throws (since we have to carry everything on our backs).  Our very limited dues of $42 goes to pay for the road-clearing and police presence, and that’s about it.  My krewe was the Wonder Women, and we had an invisible jet contraption that was basically made of a frame, lined in white twinkle lights, built onto a recumbent bike that was pedaled by somebody’s husband.

More on that, though, in a bit – for now, my February 3rd parade was fast approaching and I had to get on the ball for getting together a costume and some lightweight throws.  Some people buy a full WW outfit, already created, but I like to have a little more fun.  I went to a few in-person shops, and finally settled on the WW tights you see below.  These were the most expensive piece of the ensemble – high quality, so they lasted without runs or tears, and everybody loved them.  I built the rest of this ensemble around the tights, shopping for the remaining pieces online – the starred blue boy-shorts and tutu, a red bustier, the wrist and headband accessories, and a blue boa.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

I walked with a bunch of friends who each made their own designs, and we have plans to do it again next year and work on beading our bustiers and lining them with lights, and also beading/lighting up some shoes (I have old sneakers I can use for this).  Super fun.

Hundreds of throws, not hundreds of pounds

Hundreds of throws, dozens of dollars, barely any lbs!

I also went to the Party City website and threw into my online cart some of every Wonder-Woman (or Wonder-Woman-adjacent) themed party favor they had.  All very light and cheap, but perfect for me to carry on my back for a couple of miles, and pass out bit by bit.  I had plastic bracelets, stickers, barrettes, bubbles, and other doo-dads, and I carried them all on my back in a British Airways drawstring bag (the perfect color scheme, matched great).  We were also given some pretty rad WW buttons to hand out, also part of our dues.

My own Chewbacca

My own Chewbacca

Just before the season really kicked off, our littlest turned 4.  He has yet to have a birthday party in his short life, because it always falls right at the Christmas/Mardi Gras seam, and I can just never get it together.  There are only 24 hours in a day and kid party planning takes some of them, and I’ve never crowbarred the time into my life.  I really intended to this year, but Craiggy goes to school with about 15 kids who all have birthdays in January and February (literally, all but 3 of them), and the months were packed end to end with 4 year olds’ birthday parties.  So we skipped it again.  However, I did get him those cute Chewbacca pjs, and we had cake at home and he opened some presents.  He didn’t seem to miss the party this year, but NEXT YEAR.  PROMISE, BUDDY.

Our next post will see the kick off of the season, with our first parade, then MY parade, then the Prof’s parade, and then off we roll.  In the meantime, here’s the meal plan for the week, which is what I sat down to do when I thought – let’s just do a catch up first.  1.5 hours later . . .

Last week’s choices were fine, except the tortellini soup didn’t work out the best.  It was more like tortellini with watery tomatoes on it.  I like the idea, I just need to work on the execution.  This week, I’ve got lots of ground beef in the freezer, plus some boneless skinless chicken thighs, so we’ll be finding ways to use those up.

  • Spaghetti and meatballs – jarred spaghetti, frozen meatballs.  Dinner of champions.  I’ll have Liam make it.  We will add to this meal – and every meal – whatever bulk Costco green veg I buy this week.  It will not be squash.  We are all kinda over squash at this point.
  • White wine and herb braised chicken thighs and potatoes – this seems fairly simple, and perfect for the slightly chilly turn in the weather down here
  • The best beef enchiladas – I make enchiladas a lot but they are always chicken and black bean, or black bean and sweet potato.  I hardly ever make beef enchiladas (since I don’t use a lot of beef generally), so this will be a treat.
  • Chili and cornbread pie –  I have everything in the pantry already to make this.
  • Honey paprika chicken thighs – These look divine.  We’ll have some sort of starch and veg on the side – probably rice, but perhaps potatoes.  This is a real meat and potatoes menu this week!
  • Leftover vegetable macaroni and cheese from last week, which I froze.  One meatless meal at least!

So that’s dinner for the week.  I won’t have to buy much to make all of this, so we will do a little spring clean-out of the freezer and pantry, and then start segueing into cooking for the warmer season!  I can’t wait to fill my back porch pots with herbs and maybe some tomatoes and peppers this year.  Mmmmm.  Spring comes early down here – hoping it springs for you soon as well!

Posted in Bitchin in the Kitchen, Holidays and Celebrations | 1 Comment

Sunday Morning Meal Planning

I owe a quick Disney clean-up post, and a much belated New Years’ Resolutions post, and also want to share some photos and stories about this year’s Mardi Gras – which had some really special moments.  But first, it’s been a while since I did a meal planning post and the boys are occupied right now and there’s some stuff I’ve made recently that you guys HAVE TO try.

Creamy one-pot garlic parmesan orzo with spinach and mushrooms. I live with people who don’t particularly love mushrooms, but once in a while I make them suck it up because I love them.  I truly think I could become a pescatarian and replace chicken and the occasional beef with mushrooms, salmon, and shrimp every day of my life.  But Jack’s allergic to shrimp and salmon is expensive and I’m the only one who likes mushrooms so basically if I die of a heart attack at age 40 from eating too much meat, you know who to blame.  Anyhow.  I made this dish with quinoa instead of orzo, mostly because I didn’t have any orzo and couldn’t find it at Costco.  It worked just fine, and it was really, REALLY good.  I did have to add a little more liquid – I think quinoa soaks up more than orzo – but that was fine.  I had the leftovers for lunch all week.  I served this with garlic bread – I buy crispy baguettes from Costco, then mix spreadable butter with fresh pressed garlic and stick it under the broiler for a bit.  Divine – way better than what I used to do, which was sprinkle garlic powder onto the butter.

Country captain chicken.  I had neither raisins nor slivered almonds, so I made this without those.  I think the raisins – or at least something sweet – would have cut the acid of the tomatoes in this one, so next time I make it I’ll make sure to pick some up.  But this was quite unique and good – a pretty fragrant mix of spices (nutmeg on chicken . . . not a common choice).  I made it with couscous and with roasted chunks of squash/zucchini, drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

PW’s mac and cheese with garden vegetable mix-ins.  I had a ton of cheese that had been cut for a Mardi Gras party that few people came to due to rain, so I needed a cheesy recipe to dump it all into.  I like PW’s mac and cheese because of the egg and mustard – it makes it creamier and with a little bite.  I made this mac and cheese as-is, and in a separate pot threw diced up carrots and broccoli for about two minutes, then thin half-moon slices of squash and zucchini (the Costco bag of squash and zucchini is substantial so we have had it a lot), then at the last minute swirled in some chopped bell peppers and spinach.  I added these barely-cooked veg to the mac and cheese along with halved cherry tomatoes (I let them just warm up in the already-hot mac), and served it up without doing the baking part.  Really great comfort food.

Black bean tostadas.  These I made up, late last night.  I drained a can of black beans and put it in a pot to warm, threw in some cumin/oregano/chili powder (the holy trinity of Mexican spices) plus a little water, and mashed it all with a fork. I spread it on a tortilla, sprinkled with shredded cheddar, put another tortilla on top, then whacked it in a frying pan of hot oil for a few minutes each side til it was crispy.  Blotted the oil with paper towels, and served it with (what else?) a fine dice of squash and carrots, sautéed in a little butter.  (Guys we have just three squash left and my goal is to get through it before it goes bad.  The Costco Produce Dilemma – so cheap, so fresh, so MUCH.)

I’ve made some other things recently also, but these were hits and I just had to share.  As to the coming week – below is the plan.  It’s a less busy week than I’ve had since probably November some time, and God I hope it stays that way.  I’d love to come home at a decent hour, sit for a second before having to leap directly into making dinner, have our nightly meal before 7:30 pm, continue to work on a puzzle the boys and I are doing.  (This puzzle is THE WORST – it’s printed with the illusion of 3D and the picture changes as you move left to right, and so almost impossible.  I’m addicted to it.)

Broccoli quinoa casserole.  I also bought a bag of Costco broccoli, so we’ve got to use it up, and this is an old fave.

Tortellini soup.  I’ll probably make this without the sausage, since I don’t have any on hand but I’ve got everything else.

Roasted chickpea gyros.  I’ve got some chickpeas left over from a chickpea curry I did the other week (really good – I hate tofu’s texture so its hard to find meat alternatives for some meals, but I’m starting to take a shine to chickpeas).  I may do something like this with them – a little different, pretty tasty, healthy!

12 minute chicken and broccoli.  Two things I (Costco) have a lot of (Costco) besides squash (Costco) are chicken and broccoli, so this seems like a good use of them.

And we’ll eat out one night this week, because it has literally been about three weeks I think?  A couple of times we’ve intended to go grab a burger or whatever, but for one reason or another (sick kid, rain, finding shoes is hard), we’ve bailed and just made something at home.  This is great, don’t get me wrong, but I want someone else to make some food for me one night this week.

OK.  Time to go get ready for the day.  Stay tuned for a Mardi Gras update, a New Years’ resolution post (I made them months ago, just never wrote them down!), and other updates, coming soon!

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