Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mardi Gras Unraveled: King Cake

History of the King Cake

The Epiphany or Little Christmas is observed on January 6 in many Christian churches. This day has come to be known as "Kings Day".

Since the 300's, King's Day has honored the meeting of the Three Wise Men with the infant Jesus. King Cakes became part of the celebration to symbolize the "finding of baby Jesus".

Traditionally King Cakes are oval-shaped to show unity of all Christians. It is also said that the oval shape represents the path that the Kings traveled after they visited Jesus. The Mardi Gras season which begins on January 6th is expressed on King Cakes by using the carnival colors of:
green (signifying Faith)
gold (signifying Power)
purple (signifying Justice).

In the past, a bean, pecan, pea, or coin was hidden inside each King Cake. Today, a tiny plastic baby is used. Sometimes the baby can be made of porcelain or even gold. As a King Cake is cut, each person awaits anxiously for a piece to locate the "baby". The person who finds the baby is "King of the Party" and obligated to bring a King Cake to the next seasonal celebration.

King Cake is very very sweet. It is generally filled with cinnamon, but you can find King Cake with many different flavors of filling......raspberry, strawberry, cream cheese, chocolate, etc. They are so yummy. I look forward to king cake every Mardi Gras season now!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 further embarrass my children.....

It is my hope that one day, when my children become fine young women and start to date that they shall bring their mates home to meet their mother and father.

And Eben and I will do what every good parent is supposed to do on such occasion.

Embarrass the heck out of them.

And this would make a good story.

This morning, before our schoolwork began, the house was quiet. A little toooooo quiet. And that's never a good thing, is it. So called to them that it was time to begin, The Big Apple came to the table, eager to begin. The Middle Apple, however, was silent and nowhere to be seen. So, I got The Big Apple started on her assignments and called The Middle Apple again...this time a little more threatening.

She finally emerged...but looking a little she had gotten into my lipstick.
Only I don't own purple lipstick.

I looked a little closer and realized she had broken blood vessels around her mouth. Like she had put something over her mouth and created know....a hickey!

So I asked her. "What did you have on your mouth?"

And the story came out....."Well, I didn't want to do my schoolwork. So I was hiding. And I put a plastic egg bottom over my mouth so I would be quiet and not talk."

So there you have it everyone. My daughter does not have a beard and mustache. That is, in fact a hickey on my 6 year old's mouth, and now you know how it got there. And I don't mind if you laugh about it, because I have laughed until the tears have rolled down my face about it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Cast Lady.....

You may call me THE CAST LADY.

The first time The Big Apple broke her arm, I was a little sad...but hey, kids break arms, right? So we made lemonades out of lemons and decorated the cast with as much bling as we could find.

The SECOND time she broke it, just two weeks after getting her first cast off, I was a little more upset. I sighed deeply, shed a little tear and went back to the craft store for more decorations.
When the orthopedist saw what I had done with the purple one. , he offered me a table at the office to decorate casts of patients twice a month. I had to decline, as I was a busy mother and knew my limits.

Having learned my lesson with the first broken arm, I asked if The Big Apple could be left in a wrist cast for an additional amount of time. I'm glad he was in favor of my idea, and that the Big Apple wanted a red one...because I had been dying to make a Ladybug cast. This one was my favorite.
So, by that time, I was an old pro at arm casts. I decorated a few of The Apple Dumpling's friends' casts when they asked. It was then time to try bigger and grander casts. The Middle Apple was happy to oblige my cast fettish, by refusing to give up toe walking by the age of 4, so we casted her too. And decorated accordingly. This one wore clothes. What do you mean you've never seen a little girl wear a mermaid on her legs before?!?! Well, now you have.
And when wearing casts on your legs, you must accessorize with jewels and of course get a pedicure.
So, now since I have brought you up to date on all of my cast decorations, I introduce my latest cast creations. (drumroll please.......)

Probably the best decorating I can do for him and he still be in uniform code. But he better watch out, I'm coming after him with the glue gun and jewels in the middle of the night if he doesn't act right.

Friday, January 22, 2010


A year ago, around this time....The Little Apple was approaching her 1st Birthday. I was a concerned parent, as The Little Apple was getting further and further delayed. She still wasn't crawling. Not only was she not crawling, she wasn't even interested in trying. She could roll over, but wasn't interested in using that skill to move anywhere. All she did was sit up with her little basket of toys, and was perfectly content with staying in that space. She couldn't transition from sitting down to her belly, nor from laying down to sitting.

But what a difference a year makes. With the help of fantastic therapist from the Early Steps program here, she is well on her way. She receives physical therapy, occupational therapy, and sees a special instructor who comes to work with her with some of her cognitive and fine motor development.

Climbing a step of stairs at the playground might seem like an easy task to parents with 2 year olds that are developmentally on track...for my Little Apple, this has been a long and hard uphill climb. And she is succeeding. I was thrilled to see her take off on her own at the playground today, and get TO THE TOP of the stairs unassisted. This is big. Heck, she finally succeeded in climbing onto the couch by herself just last week.

She still has a long ways to go to catch up with other little ones her age. Her low muscle tone in her legs does not allow her to go down the stairs yet. Or ride one of those riding toys. Or run across the crazy bad uneven sidewalks in Louisiana without falling.

But she is proving herself to be a determined and unstoppable little girl. I wonder where she will be this time next year?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 16, 1999

Even after 11 years, that day remains the happiest day of my life.

I'm not going to lie and say that every single day has been easy. There have been times when I've wanted to just throw in the towel. We have struggled and we have endured. We've seen the "for better and for worse", the "for rich and for poor", the "in sickness and in health", and have not been immune to the "good times and bad times."

But I have seen what has happened in the past 11 years something that no one else can see....not only did God grant me the desires of my heart on that icy January afternoon, but I was granted the one person in this world that would cause me to grow the most. I was given my best friend, to walk arm in arm with, side by side, as long as we both should live. And I love him more than he will ever know.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life lessons from a toddler...

All a girl really needs in life is her security blanket and her best friend.

Then, she's ready to conquer the world.

Or...... at least the front yard.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Came to our house.....

Christmas was and extraordinarily busy time around our house. Hence, the lack of posts. Here are a few picture updates.

There was LOTS of painting and decorating. The Little Apple gave little ornaments to all of her therapists and baskets of goodies.
There was a family-wide gingerbread house building party. Some did more eating than building. The Little Apple even participated.....standing up in a chair at the table, of course.

There was popcorn and cranberry stringing. The Middle and Big Apples decorated a tree outside for the birds and squirrels outside to enjoy. The critters munched the goodies faster than the girls could make them!!
There was lots of letter writing to Santa, of course. And cookies and hot cocoa left out for the famous big guy....on our plate that we keep especially for the guy.

This year, and elf came to stay. This is Rosey. She comes and spies on the kids during the day, and reports back to Santa if the kids have been naughty or nice. Every morning Rosie finds a new hiding spots. The Apples have enjoyed looking for Rosey every morning. On Christmas Day, Rosey was found praying next to the manger containing Baby Jesus. A perfect reminder of whose birthday we are really celebrating.
Yummmmy, gingerbread man baking.

And a birthday cake for Jesus, of course. We decided that this year, Jesus wanted Angel Cake. This little plastic nativity seen here is one of my most prized possessions. My sister and I spent our own dollars that we had when we were very little to purchase the pieces for my Mamaw. She kept these as treasures at her house....she never put them away, left them out all year long. They have been played with for many hours by many children. Mary is missing her hands, and the paint is worn off in many places, but the love is still the same.

And, our Christmas Tree. And of course there is a big story to go with it this year. Our Christmas is NEVER this big. NEVER NEVER NEVER. Usually, the girls get 3 gifts a piece. After all, Jesus only got 3 presents for his birthday.....and he was the King! This year, after all of the Christmas shopping had been done, the UPS man pulled up to our house. He knocks on the door and asks me to sign his little doohicky thing. I was confused, because I hadn't ordered anything online and wasn't expecting anything at all.

The UPS guy brought 3 MASSIVE boxes to the door. I opened them and found present after beautiful present addressed to the kids. The mail lady came shortly later, with a big gift card addressed to me and Eben, to purchase our Christmas dinner. The next day, 3 more large boxes, and another gift card came. And the following day, one more box arrived. After a little investigation, we found out that our family was submitted to the Soldier's Angels program and that we had been adopted. This was totally unexpected and made us feel very very humbled and appreciated. This has inspired us to to be more generous in our own giving at Christmas.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and got to spend it with people that they love. We certainly did.