Susan R. Opel

Yep, Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday), and no, I’m not calling you fat!

Protestants around the globe are preparing for the beginning of Lent tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is known as the traditional last day of decadence before the 40 days of fasting associated with Lent.

Many associate this day with Mardi Gras in New Orleans complete with King Cakes, parades and beads. Back in 2005, my sister and I took an amazing Spring Break trip to New Orleans, and though we missed Mardi Gras, we were still able to capture the vibe of one of the coolest cities in the country!

One of the highlights of our trip was eating authentic New Orleans cuisine Emeril Lagasse-style!

My sister, Beth Opel, created this layout about New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

You can see more New Orleans layouts from our trip here and here.

But I digress! When I was growing up as a little Lutheran girl, my mom liked to celebrate Fat Tuesday by serving pancakes for dinner (yummo!). You see the word fat is in reference to the idea that all of the remaining sugar, fat and eggs needed to be used up to herald the fasting of Lent. That’s not to say that we fasted, but an excuse to eat pancakes for supper? Count me in!

Another yummy Fat Tuesday tradition in my family came from the large Polish Catholic community in my hometown of Bay City, Michigan, (let’s just say Krzysiak’s was one of our favorite restaurants in town). Paczki (pronounced punch-key) are deep-fried pastries much like a jelly doughnut. There was nothing like licking the dusty powdered sugar off my sticky fingers.

A pile of paczki. Do you see what I’m saying?

And so, after all of those calories and all of that fat and gluttony, Lent begins. You may know of the tradition of giving something up for Lent. It’s not a requirement for Lutherans, but I often choose something. It’s a good lesson in self-control, ya know? And that certainly never hurts. And then, once those 40 days are done, the ultimate is here! Easter! And hopefully full-fledged spring!

My What I *heart* About Easter Sunday layout as seen in Creating Keepsakes magazine, April 2009.

Speaking of spring, today the March/April issue of Paper Crafts magazine hits the newsstands! Dig inside for amazing ideas to bring abundant fresh air into your February life!

Click on the cover image to order your copy today!

Giving you permission to eat paczki and pancakes today!