Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! We used to live in New Orleans, so today is a favorite holiday of ours, though we like any excuse to celebrate!
I think that in any life - but especially when you are living with chronic illness - finding little reasons to celebrate can bring joy to otherwise monotonous days. Sick or not, I was brought up with this attitude - that even small occasions are reasons to celebrate (thanks, Mom!), but it's become even more important since my sons and I got ME/CFS. When you're spending every day lying on the couch, trapped in your house and too sick to do anything (as Jamie has been lately), a little celebration means a lot.
So, in that spirit, here are some ways you can join us in celebrating Mardi Gras today
Have some yummy New Orleans-style food for dinner tonight! If you live in the U.S., a simple way to do this is to get some take-out from Popeye's (a fried chicken franchise that started in New Orleans) - that's what we'll be doing tonight, along with several friends who used to live in NOLA when we did. Believe it or not, their red beans and rice is pretty authentic, and you can't beat their spicy fried chicken!
If you or someone else in your household is up to a little cooking, you can try one of my New Orleans-inspired recipes. They were just published in the February 2012 issue of Family Fun magazine - you can probably still find a copy wherever magazines are sold (the March issue will replace it any day now). They didn't post the full article online, but the individual recipes are there. Try: Red Beans & Rice (a very quick and easy but tasty version), Jambalaya (a favorite here but it takes a bit more work and makes a large amount), or Shrimp Etouffee .
Enjoy a King Cake! This traditional cake is eaten every day during Mardi Gras season (from January 6 until today, the day before Ash Wednesday) in Louisiana. No matter where you live, there are probably some local bakeries who make King Cakes this time of year. We've found several here in Delaware. If you have the energy for baking, you could try making your own. Here's a King Cake recipe from Family Fun (this one isn't mine because we always buy ours, but I still wrote the intro).
Dress in purple, green, and gold and throw on some plastic beads if you have them (we have a big carton of them from our time in New Orleans!).
Check out the festivities from the comfort of your bed or couch at NOLA.com , which is featuring plenty of Mardi Gras photos and videos today. You can even check out their live webcam and, if you're lucky, catch a parade (there's one on right now!).
Find some small way to celebrate and make today a special day! Happy Mardi Gras!