Celebrating Mardi Gras with an opinionated boy who believes more deeply in the Greek, Norse, and Egyptian Gods than the Christian one turned out to be pretty interesting.
Me: “To start, do you remember the story of Jesus? Christians believe that he was the son of their God and a woman on Earth named Mary.”
KarateKid: “The son of a god and a mortal woman? What’s so special about that? That’s just like all the other kids at Camp Half-Blood.”
Only Jesus wasn’t guided by a satyr…
Then we got into the discussion of Easter and how it was pretty stingy of the Christian god to only resurrect one guy, and his own son, at that. It’s a good point, actually… ! A long discussion followed when he asked why eggs are special at Easter, and we talked about the pagan celebrations and the early Christians using the older rituals to help steer the people towards the new religion.
Eventually, I started discussing the cultural celebration of Mardi Gras (since we celebrate the cultural Christmas, Easter, etc. and not the religious ones). That made a whole lot more sense to him, and he liked the idea of a party.
Whatever the day was meant to celebrate, the kids gladly dove into their table of presents – beads, masks, doubloons, and pinwheels in the traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras green, yellow, and purple, plus two small games that happened to fit the color scheme.
Later, the kids got to trading each other the piles of doubloons for goods and services… only, by that time, they were calling them drachmas.
We decided to make our own super-easy version of King Cakes for breakfast.
We took some refrigerated cinnamon bun dough and stretched it out a little to make a ring shape – though by the time they were done baking, the rings had almost completely closed back up into regular buns!
The kids decorated the buns with tinted icing – green, yellow, and purple, of course – and sprinkles too.
Only I didn’t have purple sprinkles. Those of you who know me well will not be surprised to hear that after I searched unsuccessfully for purple sprinkles this weekend, last night I had a dream about shopping for purple sprinkles! In my dream I found them…
In real life, we used red in place of purple, and they tasted just as good.
After breakfast, I had another lesson in patience. It’s not easy to let a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old help make dinner, especially when they both want a turn with the very sharp knife cutting up onions and peppers and celery! But I know it is absolutely worth my time to help them start to learn these skills and to encourage their interest. We made a not-at-all-authentic crock-pot jambalaya, and it was very yummy.
I loved watching GoGoGirl in her play kitchen later in the day looking for the same ingredients that we’d used – tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, bacon, sausage, ham. It got me thinking that I should keep an eye out for someone’s broken Little Dipper – you know, those tiny 2-cup crock-pots meant for dips or sides. If I clipped the cord off one, it would be the perfect addition to her play kitchen.
We broke out some special glitter paints today – can you guess which three colors?
I also had the neatest project in the back of my mind – that we could use small boxes and other interesting items from our box of recyclables to make Mardi Gras floats, and we could paint them with glitter paint, and put on music and have a parade in the living room!
Wouldn’t that have been fun?
But my kids were too interested in the paint, and kept asking for different tools or different types of paper, and just wanted to experiment with the paint for an hour.
And that was good too.
GoGoGirl favored the globs-of-paint technique:
KarateKid made several paintings where he did a light wash of color over the entire sheet, and he did some masks too:
It was fun, and festive, and delicious, just the way every holiday should be!