Thursday, September 13, 2018

On Cupcakes & Texas Homecoming Mums - Plus, a Giveaway! By Sara K. Parker

Two updates! :)

1. I spent several hours creating my first Texas Homecoming mum, and I have to admit that I actually enjoyed the process. It helped that my friend had almost all the supplies, including one of those amazing printers that can print any shape - namely, the glittery orange diver I added to the mum. My son's friend is a diver, and you can't find much diver paraphernalia at craft stores in September. 

2. I know I'm late posting, but Sherri G. is the winner of the gift card. Send your e-mail address to

Earlier Post:
I know it’s my day to introduce myself, but can I first just tell you what's on my mind right now?

Texas mums.

And I’m not talking about these:

I’m talking about THESE:

I have been quietly giggling about these larger-than-life ribbon-stuffed-animal necklaces for years. Texans, forgive me. I’m a Maryland girl, where mums are still just flowers to be tended to and admired. But today? Today I will be initiated into the world of Texas Homecoming Mum Crafting. Actually, I made that up. What’s really happening is this:

My amazing, selfless, creative, and ridiculously patient friend Lori is having pity on me because my 15-year-old son decided four days before Homecoming to ask a girl to the dance, and this Maryland mom is completely clueless when it comes to Texas mums. Lori picked up supplies, which I can only guess include ribbons and glue and glitter and maybe feathers or some-such, and she is going to walk me through the mum-making process.

She even offered to make the whole thing herself, but with three more kids coming up through the ranks, I’m thinking that mum-making skills will serve me well over the next seven years. Or, maybe I will get rich and I will be able to pay someone to make these fancy monstrosities. If you would like to contribute to the Parker Family Mum Cause, message me and I’ll let you know where to donate. Be advised: I cannot promise that some of the funds will not be used to support my cupcake habit. When stressed, I eat, and this whole mum business is taking its toll.

From Left: Mudslinger, S'mores, Oreo

I’m mostly joking. Fun fact about me #1: I think any excuse is a good excuse for cupcake consumption.

#2 – My husband and I met on a blind date and have been married 15 years. Ironically, I asked him to never buy me flowers. I’d rather have chocolate that I can eat than flowers I can merely look at until they die.

#3 – We have four kids: two teenage sons and identical twin daughters.

#4 – We have four animals: a 16-year-old cat, two crazy dogs and a five-month-old puppy. Our dogs are named after candy: Reese, Rolo, and Twix.
Haylea, our elderly kitty.
Rolo, age 4


The newest addition: Twix, five months 
Reese (age 4) meeting Twix for the first time.

 #5 - One of our daughters is a Ewing Sarcoma cancer survivor, and just reached the one-year NED mark on September 9! Here's a pic of our family getting ready to board our Make-A-Wish flight to Florida for our Disney Cruise!

#6 – I write for Love Inspired Suspense, and I also teach developmental English at a nearby community college. I absolutely love doing both!

#7 – In my occasional free time, I go on long runs (AKA astonishingly slow jogs), stay up too late reading novels I can’t put down, and play the piano.

#8 – I landed my first book contract (Undercurrent) through a pitch contest my sister Shirlee McCoy encouraged me to enter in 2013. I didn’t sell again until 2017 (Dying to Remember).

#9 – My third book is coming out in March 2019 (ShatteredTrust), and I’m madly writing book number four, slotted for publication next fall.

#10 – I like to give things away! To be entered into a drawing for a $15 Amazon gift card, comment below with a fun fact about you or a question for me. Winner will be announced here at 10 p.m. CST. I’ll try to post a photo of the completed Homecoming Mum, too!

By the way, I’m still trying to find my groove when it comes to keeping up with social media, but I’d love to connect with you:

Click here to visit my Facebook author page
Hop over here to check out my occasionally updated Website.
Feel free to visit my rather silent Twitter account
And, here is even a link to my shamefully neglected Instagram account

Thanks for popping by to say hello!


  1. Good morning, Sara. I remember meeting you in San Antonio right after Mary Ellen and I sold through the Killer Voices contest.

    You sure woke me up with those Texas mums. They remind me a bit of the Philadelphia mummer's parade costumes. I wonder if there's a connection somewhere.

    SO happy for the one year NED. Praise the Lord. I don't know how you managed to write book two under those circumstances, but more power to you!

    Happy Thursday.

    1. Hi Cate - I remember meeting you, too! :) We had such a fun trip that year. We are going to all try to go together to the NYC RWA Conference next year. As for how I wrote under the crazy circumstances, I think it gave me something to distract myself with. I pretty much stopped everything else. I stepped away from my teaching job for a season, I didn't cook dinner for 5 months straight (we had amazing friends who kept us fed!!), and I un-involved myself with every activity I had previously had my hands in. It was wonderful because I could focus 100% on my daughter's health, but I found that writing gave me an outlet for the constant emotional stress. <3

  2. I’m sorry to hear about the cancer diagnosis but glad things are looking good now. I’ve no idea what the mum thing is all about but it makes me glad I live in Kentucky! I would also much rather have chocolate than flowers.

    1. Ha! Glad I'm not the only one! :) The mum tradition is very strong here. Apparently, the guy presents the mum to the girl, and the girl wears it to school on the day of the Homecoming game. I did not realize until today that the girl also reciprocates by giving the guy a garter, which is basically a mini (but still rather large!) version of a mum that the guy wears on his arm! After spending much of my day crafting the mum, I am reluctantly going to admit I had a lot of fun even though I'm still puzzled by the whole tradition! :)

    2. BTW, congrats! You won the Amazon card! Please send your e-mail address to:

    3. Thank you!! I just sent the email and now the light is starting to go on about the mums.

  3. Oh, the homecoming mums!! Big here in Georgia too, or they were when I was in high school. Big literally and figuratively--one pretty much covered half your shirt! I LOVE your link commentary--made me laugh out loud. I too have a "rather silent Twitter account" and an "occasionally updated website!" I write for LI as well--congrats on your upcoming book!! I love the titles. So good to "meet" you!

    1. Hi Laurel! I didn't realize other states were into Homecoming mums! Maybe it's a southern thing. Glad to know I'm not alone with the social media stuff. I can't seem to get a handle on it! I keep trying new tactics, but so far I have not managed to do anything consistently.

  4. Sarah,happy to meet you and I'm praising God for the one year NED. You have a lovely family and the pets are adorable. I'm from Texas so I'm well aware of Mum thing. Its a tradition believe it or not.

    1. Thanks, Mary. :) It's a good thing my kids AND my pets are all so cute and lovable because it mostly makes up for all the chaos in our house. :)

  5. As a native Texan, for a long time I didn't realize the rest of the country didn't do homecoming mums like schools in Texas do! The bigger, the better--and lots and lots of ribbons!!! Sadly, I never had one in high school, but later my husband bought me one when we attended an alumni homecoming event at the university he attended.

    Your pets are adorable--especially Twix! And what a blessedly long life your kitty has had. Hope she's around for even longer!

    1. Hi Myra,
      As my friend helped me with the mum-making today, I found myself thinking about the fact that many girls would not have mums. Not only is it quite a hassle to make one, but it is pretty expensive! I got off cheap because my friend already had a lot of the supplies, but that's not normally the case. That's really sweet that your husband bought you one for an alumni homecoming. :)
      Thanks for your sweet note about our pets - they all have such funny personalities. Twix is the sweetest puppy in the universe. She loves all people, loves to be cuddled, loves to be held like a baby, and cracks us all up. She's actually our daughter's reward for finishing cancer treatment. Funny story: When she was first diagnosed, my husband and I were obviously out of our minds with fear and grief. We told her that when she finished treatment, we would get her a special gift - anything she wanted. Ha! She actually said she wanted to adopt a baby sister, and I was really excited because I have always wanted five kids. However, once Aaliyah learned that she would be the sister instead of the mother, she recanted and decided she'd rather have a puppy. I was not very excited about the prospect at the time, but Twix is pretty perfect. :)

  6. Mmmmm, cupcakes! I can make any excuse to have one!

  7. Hi Sara. Just popping in to say I love your post. You have such a beautiful family. Such fantastic news about your daughter's cancer free status. Blessings!


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