Monday, December 29, 2008

The last few weeks slideshow...

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a few pictures that are better written then any words I could use of our last few snowed in weeks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome Baby Natalya! Born at 12:30am 6lbs 1 oz. We are almost Birthday buddies!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Please pray for Katherine (my sister) and baby Natalya. They are heading to the hospital right now. Will keep you updated as to when the newest member of our family is born!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sometimes you get what you ask for... in weird ways

You know how last week I wrote that I wanted to shampoo my carpets? Well, yesterday I had to pick up Big P from school because he was not feeling well. He came home and took a nap (a rare thing in his life). After his nap he seemed to be fine. So I pulled out the carpet shampooer to do the living room before we set up the tree (which I wanted to do last night and we did do it). little p comes running downstairs and says, "pablos (how he says it) threw up". I run upstairs and Big P is on the futon couch, with vomit all over him, the couch, the blankets, pillows- you get the picture. and little p threw up in the middle of the floor! So I rush the boys into the bathroom, give them a shower to clean them up and then tackle the extra room. little p is not sick, but Big P is still sick and I have had to not only shampoo the living room carpet (what I wanted to do) but the boys bedroom carpet, the extra room carpet and DH said this morning why don't you get that spot that is on our bedroom carpet while you are at it?!!? So, all of my carpets are clean, a number of our blankets are clean, the futon cover is clean. Definitely be careful of publicly stating what you would like to do... you might just get to do it but in a weird, roundabout way! Hope your day is not so cleaning involved as mine has been (but we do have our tree up and after I eat lunch I am going to put up the rest of our decorations- although all of our outdoor lights have died! I may just have to buy some of those new fangled LED lights:) And at least I have some great Christmas music via to listen to while I do all these things.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

December 9- 16 Days Until Christmas...

I think I did everything that I posted about last week. Although, I forgot to bring my gift to the wedding! Isn't that slightly tacky? I have the gift (a beautiful icon of the Theotokos) I just didn't bring it with me. At least I know that I can give it to my godparents and they will give it to their daughter (my godparents live down the street from my parents... nice and convenient).

This week it seems as if there is something every night! Last night I had a youth advisor meeting at church. Tonight is our moms group Christmas gathering (first annual). I am bringing homemade bread, hummus, veggies, and Trader Joe's Candy Cane JoJo's (otherwise known as the best cookie ever). I hear they have a dark chocolate dipped candy cane jojo... I think I might need to try that:)

Wed I work which means I come home late.
Thurs. is a school meeting and Pappous is going to watch the kiddos.
Fri. we are home.
Sat. is a baptism.
Sunday is, well, Sunday and I think that is always the busiest day of the week (why they call it the day of rest I will never know). Oh, and it's my birthday that day. I think we are going to dinner?!?! I am not sure if my mom will be back down from Seattle. She is staying with my sister this week. Kat is due Dec. 26 but has fast and early deliveries. Until my brother in law returns home, my mom is with her.
At some point we need to put up our Christmas decorations. We have two new to us pieces of furniture for the living room which I am very excited about. Our living room was very bare and now we have two hutches/curio type cabinets. I can now display all those lovely items I have kept in storage. I have a place for my teapots and wineglasses. Very exciting but I have to wait to put up Christmas stuff. Growing up we always got our tree around my birthday (you would not know that now if you went to my parents home... since moving out, mom has decorated the day after Thanksgiving:)
I am done with my shopping. I have three (yes, three) orders through Amazon right now. So I am waiting for boxes to arrive and then there will be the wrapping of gifts.

Ok, I have to go, little p has finally figured out how to open the refrigerator and is re-arranging food. I'm not exactly thrilled by this new development...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December 2- check in (only 23 days until Christmas)

Went Christmas shopping with mom today. Found some great gifts (esp. for my niece, miss m). Even found some bonus gifts for little p:) We draw names in our family and I was able to buy my secret santa a gift today, too!

Iam sometimes the last to know about cool things on the internet. DH told me about We have each created our own radio stations with our favorite artists. Yesterday I created a Christmas radio station. I was already getting tired of listening to the all day Holiday stations on the radio (with all their commercials and way to jazzy renditions of Silent Night... you may know what I mean; although you might also like that kind of Christmas music:) So I now have my own Christmas radio station. And I can add songs or artists or even genres (be forewarned that if you add Christmas Traditional you will get a lot of older (i mean medieval) music in Latin...not that that's bad, it was just surprising when I really just wanted a decent version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman"... I do like some of that medieval latin Christmas music!) Anyway, go make your own commercial free radio station:)

We had a lovely Thanksgiving that lasted for about a week. We can never do things simply, we always have to extend everything to the bitter end. Sunday night was Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle's because they are now in Austria for vacation. Wednesday night was a spaghetti (or, if you are little p, scabetti) dinner at my parent's home to meet our long lost cousing mike (we didn't even know that we had a cousin mike... he lives in kentucky). Thursday was Thanksgiving as it is meant to be. Friday I spent the day with my children at my parent's home. DH was working (although he drove to work and came directly to my parent's after work), my mom also was working but was sent home early. My brother and sister in law came over (they went to her family for Thanksgiving Day). Saturday we met my parents and my sister and her children in downtown P-Town for some window shopping and lunch. We separated from the group and went to Powell's to look at books with the kids. Then headed to Next Adventure to check out their used camping gear and scored a used lantern that uses white gasoline rather than propane (we are doing away with all propane camping gear- we have my parents old stove and DH has his new backpacking stove). It was $15 and looks brand new and came in a sturdy plastic case! Sunday we went to church and then came home and then went to my parents home because we had left one car over there (when DH drove over after work on Friday). We ended up making some more scabetti with marinara sauce for dinner.

Did I already tell you to create your own Christmas radio station? Go Do It Now! I am listening to it as I type this and I love it!!!

To do this week:
Work Wed, and Fri.
4 loaves prosphora for church
St Nicholas gingerbread cookies on Thursday for the school.
Moms and Tots on Thursday.
Wedding of my god-sister on Friday evening at Holy Trinity.
Saturday morning- hierarchical (sp) liturgy at St. Nicholas.
Dr. appt. Wed. for Big P (this is a big appt. with the neurodevelopmental physician- we meet every six months and review his progress and this time we have made some great big huge progress!).

Would like to do:
clean the carpets (with carpet cleaner)... HA- don't think this will get done this week!
finish Christmas shopping (I am almost done)

What do you have to do this week? What would you like to do this week?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visit from the tooth fairy...

Big P lost his first tooth! Finally... I can't believe it took so long for that tooth to come out. Here's a picture but it's a close up. He lost his bottom tooth (can you tell?). Very exciting. I am supposed to be making my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner today (I work tomorrow so no cooking for me). I am making gluten free stuffing, gluten free pumpkin cheesecake, and boiled rutebaga (is that spelled right?!?!). Paul likes the rutebaga... he's the only one, I think. So I make it every year for Thanksgiving. It kind of stinks up the house when you are boiling it:)

Big P's nouna has left. We are all sad. They will probably be back in January but then they will be gone:(

Yesterday was so beautiful and I am looking out my upstairs window at the overcast sky and thinking that today is not going to be so beautiful.

New blog to check out... It's my god-daughter (some of you know her). Check it out and leave her some mom advice:)

Happy Nameday to all the Katherine's (my sister, mother in law, sister in law, yiayia) out there.
I missed a post on St. Nektarios' feast day on Nov. 9th. Sorry. My dad was not able to go to Aegina for the feast day but he did go later that week. I think he bought us an icon of St. Nektarios (I told him, though, that we have about 4 icons of St. Nektarios and he said, "but do you have one from Aegina?" He got me there:)

All right... that's all I have for now. Nothing too exciting, but nothing too boring either (I hope).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Milestone Reached...

Little P actually reached this milestone a few weeks ago but now it is official.. I have packed up the cloth diapers and wraps- Little P is potty trained! He is close to being potty trained at night, too! I was going to use cloth diapers as his nighttime diaper but he has been waking up with a dry Pull Up so I have packed up the diapers. And since the Pull Ups are only used at night (just in case) and since he is waking up dry, I have been re-using the Pull Ups until they get too raggedy or he has an accident. But, during the day, he is in underwear, all day long! WooHoo!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New blog...

My sister is moving to Moscow, Russia (her husband is alread there, actually). So she has started a blog about the move and she hopes to continue it when she is there. Here's the link!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Being Dad for an Evening... (and meal plan for the week)

Last night I was my mom's date to a fundraiser dinner for Camp Angelos(which I attended as a camper the first year they had the camp and I was a counselor their for a few years, too.. we also have our annual Men's retreat (obviously, I don't attend that) there and we have had our marriage retreat at the lodge... it's a very beautiful, peaceful place to be and I have many wonderful memories from my childhood of this place). Every person present receives a ticket for a drawing. Top prize= $1000. 2nd prize= $500 and then there were various other prizes. A little background- my dad is in Greece and so I went in his place. My dad ALWAYS wins raffles. I don't know why but he is always coming home from fundraisers like this with some sort of prize (even something small like a bottle of wine). He just always wins. And me? The person he took his place at the dinner? I won! I won $500! I couldn't believe it! And what a great time to win some extra cash- right before the holidays when I am trying to budget gifts (even little gifts) for god-children, family, friends- you know, nothing really fancy, just a few nice things. And now I know how I will pay for it AND have some left over (mom made me promise to take $100 and spend it on myself- how does one do that? Spend money on oneself? I'm not sure I remember how!).
Meal Plan: It's the week of the lamb- as in, we received over the weekend the lamb we bought at the monastery fundraiser dinner in September (we are splitting the whole lamb with my parents). Just in time for the fast to begin on Saturday!!! DH is very excited to have lamb this week. So here are our lamb themed meals (I hope I don't have too many leftovers:)
Sunday: ok, no lamb. Leftover lasagna for men, I went to the dinner with my mom:)
Monday: Crock pot lamb shoulder roast cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and wine served with rice (it's a Greek recipe I have adapted for the crock pot).
Tuesday: Gouvroulakia- my all time favorite food!!! Greek meatball soup with potatoes and egg lemon sauce (made with ground lamb) with salad.
Wednesday: Vegetable soup
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: Black beans, salsa, tortillas, etc.
Saturday: We always eat fish on Saturdays so salmon with potatoes and salad
I have to make some Vegan Brownies and Lenten Apple Cake for Sunday- there is going to be a going away get together to say goodbye to Pavlos' nouno and nouna (although I don't think his nouno will be there as he is already in New Jersey) and their children. (nouno=godfather and nouna=godmother BTW).

Friday, November 07, 2008

All Saints...

Our trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Archangels Gabriel (aka Big P) and Michael (aka little p). Don't they look angelic? My favorite part was we videotape all the children and ask them to tell us about what saint they are and a little bit about the saint. little p managed to say, "I Michael" and that was about it. Pretty good for 2. Big P talked a bit about Archangel Gabriel (he flies and he's God's messenger, etc.) and then, at the end of his video time he let out an extremely loud burp! Now, I know that he can't make himself burp but this could have been controlled better. Even better than the burp? They played the video at the end of the party and everyone got to hear Big P's burp. A lot of laughs...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Go vote!

Enough said:) on that topic.

Menu plan for this week:
Monday: Gluten Free Lasagna with salad
Tuesday: Beef stew in crock pot with Gluten Free corn bread
Wed: Vegetable soup in crock pot
Thurs: Leftovers or crock pot chicken curry (i haven't decided yet)
Fri: Homemade refried beans with tortillas and trimmings
Sat: salmon with potatoes and salad
Sun: fundraiser dinner with my mom:) because dad's in Greece.

Dad is on his way to Greece, leaving today. My brother in law, Leo, is in Moscow, Russia and will be there until mid-December when my sister is due with her baby girl. Then he will go back to Moscow and my sister and the children will move there in March. Lots of change. We will miss them so much!

We had a lovely All Saints party. I will post a picture of the boys in their costumes as soon as I upload the pictures from my camera. And we had a wonderful Saturday with my sister and her children- they came for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Retreat-Workshop with Mother Raphaela...

Here are my notes from the women's retreat with Mother Raphaela from Holy Myrrhbearer's monastery. (I took notes on Saturday, not on Friday night- I forgot my notebook).
  • Read the Bible- Get to know the Lord.
  • Monastery is not an escape, there are no escapes (this caused me to ask myself the following questions- what are my escapes? when do I escape?)
  • Follow a rule of morning and evening prayers even if it is just a simple "Hello, God"
  • Liturgy is about life
  • Hardship: we are carrying the burden of the cross- we are chosen to be a part of this burden. When "good" things happen and we have no hardship we are not worthy to carry the cross.
  • Learning to live with silence
  • The world would know God through us- we are Gods hands and feet to bring God to the world.
  • Meet everyone unconditionally as they are- our families first. Charity begins at home.
  • Do with me, God, as you know best
  • Loving, not judgmental- today, we have no sense of our own worth and we; can do no better.
  • Spirit of despair/hopelessness is the spirit of the world- people in the world do not know who they are.
  • Learn to overlok the bad, see the good. See Christ in one another. When we love people we can see the good/God will draw out the good.
  • We do not need to be looking for the devil in others.
  • where there's death, there is hope.
  • Society: Dr's consider it a failure when someone dies.
  • Our vision of heaven has been taken from us.
  • the martyrs died for that vision of heaven
  • we are in no way a Christian Society/Muslim Society, Hindu Society- We are a NOTHING Society.
  • Prayer is standing before God and giving Him your family, etc. I do not control them. God is in charge of the universe, not me.
  • Becoming transparent to the world (poise/dignity)- by following our prayer rule and fasting it changes us.
  • Take up our cross daily and follow me- Why are we surprised by hardship?
  • ascetic training prepares us to stand before the lions (the martyrs)
  • Be prepared- because we are surrounded by people who are tolerant of everyone but us.
  • Vision of heaven? Cultivate beauty in the world, in our parish, in our community.
  • Obedience= to listen up
  • Listen to one another- we are called to listen to each other and respond appropriately
  • Obedience is a dialogue
  • we set our children up for failure when we do not dialogue
  • Ask, "Is this for my salvation?"
  • God can forgive, we don't let Him.
  • To be perfect is to be merciful.

It was a lovely weekend, check out Mimi and Susan-Sophia for more tidbits from the retreat. And, consider joining us next year!

Two new blogs to check out! and Both blogs are by Mediterranean Kiwi who is from New Zealand and lives on Crete (I have been to Crete but it was many years ago). Check them out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Salt Shaker Philosophy

Last Thursday was a "bad" day... you know, one of those days where six different things happen and if each of those things had happened over a couple of weeks, I would have been able to "handle" it in a much better way. But, no, as my mom says (and the Morton Salt girl), "When it rains, it pours." That was one of those days. I am feeling better now (two of those things were taken care of over the weekend). One of those things I have to just accept. One was annoying. One is a wait and see. And one has no solution. That one is that my bike was stolen off our back porch. Yes, we have a fenced in backyard but I didn't lock my bike up. And the funny thing is that they didn't touch DH's bike or Big P's bike. Just mine. I am glad they didn't take DH's bike as he uses it to commute to work (but, as far as value goes, his is worth more than mine). It's just annoying that this has happened. I spent Thursday morning cleaning out our garden beds and filling our yard debris recyle bin. I needed a "healthy" outlet for my frustration at these circumstances. I think I did ok:)

Good things: I had a conference (yes, it's that time of year) with Big P's teacher. He is doing well. I started watching a baby girl last week (two days a week). We went to the pumpkin patch with yiayia on Saturday. Is it just me or are pumpkin patches (and Christmas Tree farms) becoming so gimmicky?

Picture: Little P painting.

Anyway, here is dinner from last night... it was yummy!
Beef Stefatho
2 lbs lean beef (I used a roast that I cut up into big pieces)
1 med. onion cut into big chunks
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 bay leaves
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic

So I did this in the crock pot. The recipe calls for simmering it in a deep sauce pan for 2 hours but I just put everything, in order, in my crock pot and cooked it for 10 hours. Then, I served it over Gluten Free noodles (ancient harvest brand). Yummy!

Menu for this week:
Mon: beef stefatho
Tues: leftovers
wed: baked lentils and rice
Thurs: grilled cheese and tom. soup (we have swim lessons and I have a meeting at school)
Fri: veggie soup in crock pot
sat: salmon with red potatoes and salad

UPDATE: Me feeling sorry for myself is just plain dumb. There are others who have to work with bigger problems than I have... please keep my sister, Katherine, and her family in your prayers. They have a lot going on right now...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fundraiser for our school...

Big P goes to Agia Sophia Academy, an Orthodox Christian Classical school. We have a number of fundraiser throughout the year. Our current fundraiser happens to be through the Innisbrook catalog of wrapping paper, kitchen items, chocolates, etc. We have a web account so that anyone, across the country, can order and help support our school!!! If you are interested in purchasing anything through this website, please leave a comment with your email address (or email me at cdblankenstein[at]hotmail[dot]com) and I will send you our school number so our school will get credit (I'm not sure if I should publish that info. on the blog... it is so public... not sure of what might happen, but I'll just play it safe and have you contact me if you are interested!).

Thanks from all of us at ASA!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This just in....

Opt out of receving your yellow pages and white pages! I will be so happy to NOT receive these on my front porch!

I'm not sure if I will always do this....

So I do menu planning every week. I have this big dry erase board in my kitchen. It is divided into the days of the week. Our schedule for each day of the week goes on the board. So does things like "vitamins" and "vision exercises (for Pavlos)" and "School". I am one of those people that likes to make lists and then cross off what I have accomplished. And, then, DH knows whether or not the kids have had their vitamins for that day, too. I have begun to write in along the bottom of the dry erase board the meal for that day. And then add in things like "check yogurt" when I make yogurt. Or "make GF bread" on the day I need to make DH's bread. Or "soak beans" a few days before making chili. It has really helped to have it written right on the board for all to see!

So, inspired by Carrie, I will post my menu plan for the week. But I am not sure if I will do this every week (post it on my blog, I like to plan our meals!).

Sunday: Pizza for kids, Monastery dinner for adults.
Monday: Greek chicken and Potatoes in the crock pot.
Tuesday: GF Macaroni and Cheese with brats and green beans
Wed: lentil soup (double batch to put in freezer for lunches)
Thurs: leftover mac and cheese
Fri: vegetarian chili and GF coconut flour corn bread
Sat: salmon with red potatoes

And here is that fall meme (although my mom should really be the one posting about autumn because this is her absolute favorite season... I am a winter person)

When does fall begin for you?
When everyone goes back to school.

What is your favorite aspect of fall?
Days might still be warm, but the nights are cool. Crisp mornings, dew on the ground. Trying to decide whether I need to wear a coat, sweater, or neither in the early morning.

What is your favorite fall memory?
Alright... my parents have these two big apple trees in the back yard. So my favorite memory is when my brother's godparents would come over and all us kids would have our annual apple war. We would divide into teams on either side of the yard (under each of these apple trees), gather as many fallen apples as we could, build a "fort" out of discards wood just lying around (my dad always has discarded room piled in the yard), and then we would throw apples at each other. It was a smell, sticky operation!

What do you like to drink in the fall?
I drink coffee all year round but I feel like I want a cup in the middle to late afternoon not for the caffeine, but for the liquid warmth of a good cup of coffee. Maybe I will have to pull out the decaf?

What’s your favorite fall food?
Pumpkins! Anything with pumpkin in it. I love pumpkin.

What is fall weather like where you live?
It's been warm during the day and cool at night, although the past few nights have been warm, too. It will probably begin to rain in the next few weeks (which is our winter weather).

What color is fall?
Right now, because of the sunny weather we have been having, the leaves are starting to go from green to red and gold. Some years the leaves go from green to brown mush and skip the reds and golds. So it is nice to see some of those beautiful hues!

What does fall smell like?
Katie said fireplaces just being lit and that is a smell that I associate with the fall. My parents have a woodstove so growing up the smell of the woodstove fire is always associated with the fall.

Holiday shopping in fall?
I do try to buy almost everything before Thanksgiving. I am kind of a year round Christmas shopper meaning if I see something in March that I know my mom would love, I usually buy it. Although, there are a few gifts we can't buy until after Thanksgiving because we do a name drawing among my sister, brother in law, brother, sister in law, uncle and aunt. So we won't know our "names" until Thanksgiving.

If you could go anywhere in the fall, where would you go?
I like it here. Someday, maybe go to the east coast but not just for the fall. There are so many historic sites I would love to go to on the east coast that going in the fall would just be a bonus. Walla Walla is beautiful in the fall (I went to Whitman College).

What is your favorite fall sport?
I went to a lot of football games in high school and then I played flag football in college (just an intramural team). Football reminds me of the fall. DH watches the Packers so that is fall-ish.

Do you have a favorite fall chore?
Switching out clothes. Cleaning up the yard. But that can also be a least favorite chore in the fall because it is a little sad to know we won't have anymore home grown tomatoes. And raking leaves starts out as a nice chore, but in a month, when it is raining, I won't want to rake the leaves:)

What is your least favorite thing about fall?
Dark when I wake up in the morning. I don't mind it being dark in the evening (all summer Big P said at bedtime,"why am I going to bed? It's still daytime?"

What is your favorite fall holiday?
I used to love Halloween. Now I love Thanksgiving especially because of the pumpkin pie (I make a mean pumkin cheesecake which, last year, I was able to make Gluten Free!)

What’s your favorite kind of pie?
Just guess...

Which do you prefer, the Farm or the Fair?
I like going to Mt. Angel for the Oktoberfest which I missed this year. The Greek Festival is always high up in my memories of fall because growing up we worked at the festival. It's coming up this weekend! Also, my mom's birthday was last Sunday and DH's birthday is this Friday! I know I have digressed... the question was about the farm or the fair and I went back to memories of fall:) I also love going to the pumpkin patch! None of these really answer the question, do they!

Do you have a favorite fall book?
No favorite fall book that I can think of...

How about a favorite fall poem or quote?
The first thing that popped into my head is the Simon and Garfunkel song "leaves that are green"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Our Vigil Lamp is Lit....

My mother in law is having surgery on her foot today. Please say a prayer for her! We hope you have a quick recovery, Grandma! (picture is from here).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another giveaway and that's all I have time to post...

There's another giveaway here. And, really, truly, that's all I have time to post right now. Here's a brief glimpse at what's keeping me away from here:
-Another 24 hour birthday party trip to Seattle last weekend (happy 6th birthday to my niece, maria and big p's very best buddy).
-school, school, school
-Sunday school is in full swing (I'm the co-chair)
-fundraising for our school.
-DH working late and on weekends. This is his crazy time of year.
-canning with mom (although that's only been two days)
-carpool (I should add under school... driving to school).
-monastery dinner this weekend that we are going to in The Dalles! To support St. John the Forerunner Monastery.

uhm... my 2 1/2 year old and 6 year old boys keep me somewhat busy.

And next month, we start swim lessons 2 x a week! And I will start working again (I will be watching a baby girl twice a week). Whew....

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Witness to one of those great moments in life...

This past August, when we went to the Oregon Coast with my sister, her children, and my mom, Big P saw his cousins (age 8 and 6) reading. He had, prior to this, never expressed and interest in reading. Mainly, he would just say things like, "someday,when I read...".

A while back, my sister let us borrow the Bob books. These are a series of books developed by a Kindergarten teacher on how to read. After speaking with Big P's teacher (this was back in March or April), she suggested we hold off on trying to teach him to read until he showed interest. I knew it would happen, at some point. And that little trip to the coast seemed to be the little push he needed. Since that trip, he has asked for me to teach him to read. Please, teach me to read. But these past few weeks have been kind of hectic with the start of school. And so, today, we read Book 1 of Series 1 of the Bob books. He sounded out the letters by himself. Said the words. And read the very short sentences. All by himself. I was just there to remind him to go slow or to start again when the sounds were just not coming out exactly right. I was there to just sit, listen and be a witness to a new world opening up for my little boy. And the pride of accomplishment when we finished! He had to call papa at work (yes, he is at work on a Saturday afternoon:( and Yiayia and Pappous to tell them that he can now read.

We are all avid readers and I am so excited to enter into this new phase of his life!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Recipe for Gluten Free Pastitsio and another contest...

Here is the link to another one of those contests. Isn't that bag so cute?

Last night, for dinner, I made Pastitsio. Pastitisio is a Greek dish (sometimes referred to as "Greek Lasagna". Although, it really isn't Lasagna. It is usually made with these long, thin, tubular noodles layered with meat sauce and then, on the top, a wonderfully creamy Bechamel Sauce which is then baked in the oven. One of my favorite foods. One of my mom's favorite foods. And not at all glutne free (noodles, flour in the bechamel sauce).

So, for the first time in over a year we had very yummy Gluten Free Pastitsio.
Here is the recipe along with links to GF products that I used to make it. And it did turn out quite well, if I do say so myself (BTW... this is my very own pastitsio recipe that I originally created through trial and error and have now converted to GF... this will definitely appear on our menu more often!)

Gluten Free Pastitsio
-Meat Sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 can diced tomatoes
1 sm. can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
3 cups Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta (I used the Rotelle which I buy straight from the manufacturer in bulk)
-Bechamel Sauce
3 cups milk
4 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free All Puspose Baking Mix


Meat Sauce: In skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Add diced tomatoes (I actually process our diced tomatoes until it is the consistency of tomato sauce because Big P does not like chunks of tomataoes), tomato paste, spices (to taste), wine, and water. Cover and let simmer while you prepare the rest of the Pastitsio.
Pasta: Boil water, dump in pasta for about 3 minutes (not the full cooking time), rinse, drain, and set aside.
Bechamel Sauce: Mix all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Place on burner, increase heat and stir sauce until thickened.

Place noodles in 9x13 pan. Top with meat sauce. Mix both together. Pour Bechamel sauce over noodles and meat sauce (make sure to spread it evenly over the top). Sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Let pastitsio sit on counter for 30 minutes. Then cover and place in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook for 30 minutes more.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pavlos' nouno and nouna (godparents) are moving far far away. It is like a member of our family is leaving (well, it isn't "like" it "is" a member of our family leaving). He will miss them so much. They have taken him up for communion every Sunday since he was baptized (so that's about 6 years worth of communions). He loves them dearly. We love them dearly. His nouna has been a wonderful friend, especially when I was in the hospital. But, like my mom told me earlier today, we will be missing them, and they are going to be missing all of us (our entire community). So here is a picture from Big P's baptism.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

An interesting article...

An article written by Frank Schaeffer re. Why Russia Invaded Georgia: Payback Time from the Orthodox World to the West that a Ukrainian friend of my husband emailed to him (I really hope that sentence makes sense).

More pictures for grandma...

(I think Little P's hat is a bit too small...) I love the way the pic of Big P turned out.. the sheer joy on his face at being chased by waves! It is a look of pure happiness that cannot be forced by mom with a camera (hence the reason why I carry my camera everywhere and try to capture moments like these; when they are not aware of their photo being taken). Little P has a look of either total confusion or concentration. Plus, he is a good advertisement for Greece:)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Next contest link...

Here is the link for the next contest in the month of September. Aren't those wooden animals adorable? I believe my Little P would love them:)

I am on facebook now, are you?

My mother in law started a blog to keep us informed. Here is a link:)

Is it weird that I use so many smiley faces? Am I just annoyingly happy? My friends in college called me "cheese" (that is even the nickname on my official tri-delt beer stein (yes, I was in a sorority and proud of it!). One roommate made me a poster that said something like, "The Queen of Cheese Reigns Within".

Anyway, time for another picture. This is from the beach trip to Newport that we took with my sister, her children, and my mom. It was a fun trip. Not as relaxing as I would have liked it to be, but fun (esp. for the kids! They love each other so much. There is nothing like cousins who are your own age!).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First day of school...

Pictures taken yesterday, the first day of school.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Bunch of Little Things...

NOTE: Check the blog button everyday to enter to win prizes:)
So I added this button from this blog linking to the above website because I would like to get in on the possible prizes (it's all about me, you know:)

I am not an artistic person but I consider myself creative. As in, I find creative ways to accomplish what I need to do (I had to make a poster for Sunday School Registration the problem is that I can barely write in a straight line... the solution? Using Microsoft Word to print out in cool fonts and colors the letters for the sign and then cutting and pasting those letters onto my posterboard... that's the creative part of me... but it is definitely not artistic:)

Paul and Big P are on their very first real backpacking trip. It's just one night but they are hiking in and camping and then maybe doing some fishing. I am very excited for my big boy. So that leaves me home for one night with Little P:) We are going to go to the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest with Yiayia and Pappous. I remember going to Mt. Angel with my grandparents when I was a child. It was always a fun trip. I hope to maybe come across some peaches, blueberries, and/or blackberries along the way. I need to finish up my canning (I already have 12 jars of raspberry jam done... well, actually, 11 now because I gave one to my very good blogging friend Mimi when I saw her yesterday at the baptism for Baby Suzy, Katie's baby). I want to make jelly with the blueberries and blackberries. The peaches I would like to can, cut in half or quarters. I love canning. My maternal grandma did lots of canning. So I feel like I am carrying on a tradition from her. If I do not find the peaches/berries on the trip to Mt. Angel, then I am heading with the boys to Sauvie's Island one afternoon this week.

Last night we went out to The Mississippi Pizza Pub for dinner because they have Gluten Free Pizza and Gluten Free Beer on their menu. The GF Pizza was awesome (I have made GF pizza at home but it is a bit more time consuming to make than regular pizza so it is nice to have someone else do the work). They had a band playing music last night and the kids loved it! One other great thing is that it is about 5 miles from our house. We will probably go back there for some special occasions in the future:) Pizza is one of those foods that Paul really misses now that he is Gluten Free.

Also, another GF shout out to this amazing Gluten Free bakery conveniently located next door to Trader Joe's in NW Portland! It's called New Cascadia Traditional. Their Portland sourdough is awesome. I buy it, cut it up, and freeze it right away. Then, when we are having GF pasta or some bean soup I just pull a few slices out of the freezer and warm them in the oven or lightly toast them for Paul and he is his own French bread!

To completely change the topic this week is the first week of school. I am a bit worried/concerned about Big P and our decision to keep in Montessori rather than putting him in the K-1st grade class. I think that I am just worried because it is my job to be worried. But I also think (after having a very wonderful chat with a great friend today at church) that I would be more worried/concerned about him constantly (as in throughout the year) if I put him in the K-1 class. I know he can do Montessori and I know he is successful at it. His teacher knows my concern and there is always the possibility that he might just move into the K-1 class anyway. I just need to not "worry" about it because in the grand scheme of things, this is very small:) But, as I already wrote, I just need to constantly have something to worry about:)

I also have decided that instead of Big P playing soccer this fall, he is going to start swim lessons. He was deathly afraid of swimming pools (he has always loved his bathtime) until about three months ago. We have been going to the swimming pool for family swim once a week. I have taught him to hold his breath underwater and to swim using a kickboard. He is definitely ready to have some lessons. And I am going to sign up for lessons with Little P. He is not afraid of water at all which scares me a little as he has no fear (that's his general attitude towards life... I believe it is a second child trait). I have declared this year the year of swimming lessons. Maybe next year we will add soccer, but it is very important to me that our children know how to swim (I was a fish when I was younger... I loved swimming and I was good at it).

Big P's other major accomplishment this summer is riding his bike. He still has training wheels, but he rides his bike when we go swimming or go to the library. We bought him this bike for his 5th birthday and he hated it. Did not want to ride it at all (he is small and his feet barely touched the pedals). This summer he has been riding everywhere.

It seems as if Big P is always just a little behind his peers in accomplishing these things (swimming, bike riding, etc.). I know that he is going at his own pace and that he is smart and talented in his own ways, but I guess that's why I should keep him in the Montessori program for another year; let him have the opportunity to catch up with everyone else (he struggles with his fine motor skills... he is in occupational therapy during the summertime... he is also in vision therapy because his eyes do not track properly). This summer I have seen him accomplish so much but I guess I have to be careful of pushing him. As a teacher and a lover of learning, I just want my children to love school and to love learning (he does love school and learning). As a first born child, I have to be careful to not push him too far and destroy that love of school and learning. I am thinking about buying the "Handwriting without Tears" program for him to use at home (he is using it in OT and is doing really well with it).

I think I have posted way more than anyone wants to read. If you made it all the way to this last line, I thank you for reading.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Article re. Ecumenical Patriarch...

My husband forwarded this article to me. Notice that it is co-sponsored by the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate.

SEN. MENENDEZ FIGHTS TO ENSURE TURKISH GOVERNMENT RESPECTS RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH㏎ ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATESEN. MENENDEZ FIGHTS TO ENSURE TURKISH GOVERNMENT RESPECTS RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH㏎ ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE SEN. MENENDEZ FIGHTS TO ENSURE TURKISH GOVERNMENT RESPECTS RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH'S ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATEIn seeking to join European Union, Turkey must adhere to certain criteria, including the guarantee of respect and protection for religious minorities WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced legislation to urge the Government of Turkey to respect the rights and freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church, in accordance with criteria necessary to join the European Union. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the leading figure in the Orthodox Church and has suffered from discriminatory treatment from the Turkish government. "For a government to treat a revered religious institution and leader in such a discriminatory manner is an affront to human and religious rights and shows disrespect to the hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians," said Senator Menendez. "There must be fairness and freedom when it comes to the Turkish government's treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. As Turkey appeals to the European Union for membership, I would expect its treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to be a prime topic that must be addressed." Senator Menendez's resolution, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Joseph Biden (D-DE) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MA), urges the Government of Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church. It calls on the Turkish government to immediately: • recognize the right to the title of ﹛Ecumenical Patriarch'';• grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appropriate international recognition and ecclesiastic succession;• grant the Ecumenical Patriarch the right to train clergy of all nationalities, not just Turkish nationals; and• respect property rights and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Government of Turkey has sought membership in the European Union and maintains strong bilateral relations with the United States Government. The accession of Turkey to the European Union will depend on its adherence to the Copenhagen criteria that require candidate countries to have stable governmental institutions that guarantee human rights and that respect and protect minorities, including religious minorities such as Orthodox Christians.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Netflix Problem... I know what is really going on...

So we have Netflix and we are that percentage of the Netflix population that is having problems receiving our movies and receiving emails (go here for a short article).

Here is what I think is going on... NBC has paid Netflix to have "technical" problems in order that we will all stop watching our movies and start watching more of the Olympics:)

Just an idea...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Would You Like Something From Starbuck's?

Today was one of "those" days. My very good friend called me from the Starbuck's drive-thru and asked if she could pick something up for me. Normally, I am just perfectly content with my cup o' ordinary black coffee from my home brewing machine (aka. coffee maker) but today was one of "those" days. I normally don't do soy. I just don't do it. But I had her bring me a grande-vanilla-soy-latte. So, thanks, friend!

*Note: One of "those" days generally means one or both of my lovely children are involved in doing things that are driving me absolutely batty. Thank God I do not have too many days like this. Sometimes it seems as if everything just builds up to a certain point and my patience runs out and then I have one of "those" days. I think everyone wants to get back to school (not just me wanting eldest son to go back to school... he has wanted to return to school since the first day of summer vacation:)

In other news... my mom has a plan. She wants us (her, my sister, my sister in law) to set up a booth at the upcoming Artisan Fair for our school. We will make baby/children clothing items and blankets. I have this idea of doing kids aprons with cross stitch animals, bugs, etc. on them and then selling them. We'll see how this goes. I took a cross stitch class this summer at the Greek church and made a very nice bookmark (class was taught by a wonderful Greek woman who really can cross stitch (like my yiayia)). So I am getting "in" to cross stitching (with all my spare time...HA!). I will definitely keep you posted because if this goes well, mom has plans. She wants to expand, go to other fairs, maybe even open an online store?!?!

I leave you with a somewhat recent picture of the family (we rarely have pics of us together). Oh, and I added an Amazon widget to the ole blogging page. These aren't necessarily books that I recommend, more like books that I have read this year.

Nevermind the picture... blogger won't let me post it for some reason. I will keep trying.

Oh, and I added a picture to my page. It is called The Secret School. It is a famous Greek painting. We are hoping to buy a copy of it for our living room, someday. It is our favorite painting (it shows a priest teaching children secretly under the Ottoman Occupation while a Greek soldier stands guard).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Artists/artisans Wanted....

If you know anyone who is an artist, jeweler, musician, etc. please forward this information to them. This is actually a great deal for them and it is a fundraiser for our school. Artisan Fair will take place in Portland, Oregon November 8-9. Thanks for spreading the word!!!
PS: please leave a comment and I will get back to you if you are interested.

Note***Feel free to link to this page or post it on your own blog... Just get the word out!!!

Artisans Wanted!!

The Artisan Fair committee needs YOUR help acquiring Artisans for our showcase.

Looking for artists (watercolor, acrylic, oil, etc), potters, jewelers,
to sell their products as well as musicians willing to play in exchange for advertising and selling their music.

Here’s what we have so far:

Chair Massage/Paraffin Treatments
DeMarle at Home
Artists (3)…we need more!
Jewelers (3)…we need more!
Kid/Travel pillows
Cards…more is welcome
Soaps (2)…more is welcome

Cost for Artisan to participate:
10% of all sales go to Agia Sophia Academy. Profit increases to 15% if the artisan registers after September 15.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hi! How are you? Where have you been? and meme...

Where could I possible begin to update? I bet that no one is even checking this blog, anymore!

The other day I was cleaning the bathroom when Big P walked in and asked me what I was doing. I told him that I was cleaning the bathroom. He then said, "Thank you, mommy, for cleaning the bathroom for us." And then he ran out of the bathroom. I think that is the first time anyone has ever thanked me for cleaning the bathroom:)

We are enjoying these warm days. Our garden is coming along and we have plans for next year (more raised beds, etc.). We ride our bikes (Big P is really coming along in the bike riding). DH has even been biking to work! We've been going swimming at the local outdoor pool in the evenings (Big P used to be REALLY afraid of water). I think by the time fall rolls around, he will be ready for swim lessons. Little P likes it, too.

We had our first big camping trip and discovered our new tent from REI leaked horribly. So we returned it and will purchase another smaller, good quality tent like we already own. Live and learn.

Below is a meme that I have seen going around. I love, love, love to read so it is a good meme for me. And I may use this list and read the 42 books that I have not read.

In the gluten free world... did you know that Rice Chex (the cereal) is gluten free?

Hope you are having a wonderful summer (we are!).

What books have you read? Bold the ones you have read, italicize the ones you are planning on reading and underline the ones you loved:
1.Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen -
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien –
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte –

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling -
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee –
6. The Bible –

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell-
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman- I read two of these books before deciding they were not worth my time.

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens-
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott –
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller-
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare – Have read some, but not all (wouldn’t that be a feat?).
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier –a favorite... I love the movie, too.
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien –.

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks –.
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger -.
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger –.
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot –.
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell –
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald –
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens- I am a fan of Dickens.
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy-.
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams –.
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -.
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck -.
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll-.
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame-.
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy-
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis-
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen-
36. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini-
37. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres –.
38. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden-.
39. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne-
40. Animal Farm - George Orwell- I read this in the 2nd grade. I pulled it off my parents bookshelf thinking it was a story about animals. Needless to say, I did not understand what the book was really about until a few years later (it is a pretty good animal story:).
41. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown-
42. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

43. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving- high school english class. I had an interesting english teacher.
44. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -
45. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery –
46. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
47. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
48. Lord of the Flies - William Golding-
49. Atonement - Ian McEwan
50. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
51. Dune - Frank Herbert- have read the whole series but the first book is good.
52. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
53. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen-
54. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
55. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
56. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens-.
57. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley-.
58. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
59. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez- my fav. by GGM
60. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck-
61. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
62. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
63. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold -
64. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
65. On The Road - Jack Kerouac -
66. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
67. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
68. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie- I actually have this on my bookshelf from my sister!69. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
70. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
71. Dracula - Bram Stoker
72. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett -.
73. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
74. Ulysses - James Joyce
75. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath-.
76. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
77. Germinal - Emile Zola
78. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
79. Possession - AS Byatt -
80. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens-
81. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
82. The Color Purple - Alice Walker- .
83. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
84. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert-
85. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
86. Charlotte’s Web - EB White - .
87. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
88. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
89. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
90. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
91. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery -
92. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
93. Watership Down - Richard Adams
94. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
95. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute-.
96. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
97. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
98. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
99. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain-
100. A favorite book not on this list? Exodus by Leon Uris (actually, anything by Leon Uris)
I have read 58 out of 100.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where I once lived....

Dujiangyan... never thought I would see that name in print. It is a small city in China. Not worth mentioning. Nothing really interesting about it (I believe there is some really old aquaduct there?!?!) And now it is all over the news. That is the "small" city in China where I lived 13 years ago. I would wager money that the school I taught at is one of the schools where buildings collapsed. The building I lived in was only a few years old, but it looked as if it had survived WWII bombing. I lived on the second floor of a five floor building. When the rainy season hit one night, I was awakened to water falling on my bed. Through the light fixture in the center of the room. I rushed around my room, trying to find dry spots to put things I owned (like cd player, pictures, books)... things that would be damaged by water. I never asked how the person above me fared during this storm. I was just astounded that I had a leak in my ceiling on the second floor!

I am a bit worried about people who I knew for only a short period of time in my life. People who I didn't keep in touch with over the years. Are they alright? Did they survive the quake? Most of my students are no longer in school, but some of them lived in the area. Are they alright? This earthquake has really hit me. I keep thinking about Dujiangyan... the city, the way everyone stared at us (being the only westerners in a small city of is it 6 or 8 million people?). Being the tallest person standing on the bus (if you know me, you will know that I am not at all tall!). I remember trying to find postcards to send to friends and family, but there were none to be found. I had to buy my postcards in Chengdu.

This has stirred up a lot of memories; things that I have/had forgotten. The people I worked with were all very kind. I am praying for you, Dujiangyan, from someone who has actually set foot on your streets...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Making yogurt and other things...

I am going to make yogurt today. This recipe is very similar to one I did a few years ago during Holy Week. I got it in my head to make tzatziki completely from scratch, so I made my own yogurt. It worked well but I know now that I need to strain the yogurt for a longer period of time in order to attain that Greek-ness:) And I must start making yogurt because both P's eat Trader Joe's Greek Style yogurt with honey (which happens to also come from Greece) every evening before going to bed! And it's kind of pricey! But I definitely do not want to discourage in any way the eating of this great snack. So, I have saved all of my TJ yogurt containers and will put my new, home made yogurt into those containers. I'm pretty sneaky that way:)

In other news... the downside of having the boys share a room is if one wakes up early, he will wake up his brother. And then, all of a sudden, there are two little boys in our bedroom asking to watch a movie at 4:30am! Which is what happened this morning (little p was cute, though, because he just kept saying over and over in his 2 year old voice, "moowie, moowie"). Of course, they did not get to watch a movie and had to go back to bed but it is now 10am and little p is already down for a nap! Could be an interesting afternoon.

And I couldn't stay mad at them for too long because while I was getting breakfast ready at a more reasonable time (7am in our home because Big P has school) I could here Big P leading his superheroes and star wars figures in the Liturgy (Let us pray to the Lord, Kyrie Eleison, etc.). And then he sang "Christos Anesti" at the top of his lungs. And then there was something about Superman taking one of the knights who was hurt to the church so that we could pray to God to heal him?!?!

Anyway, have to go make some yogurt... Have a wonderful day!

(ps. my parents are in Greece for two weeks and DH is leaving for St. Anthony's tomorrow for 4 days and my sister is coming down this weekend with her two children for Big P's 6th Birthday! whoo. lots going on. Oh, and my sister and I are in the midst of planning a 60th birthday party for dad at the end of May... there really is a lot going on!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

For your Holy Week listening pleasure...

On Friday, the NPR program Performance Today devoted some of its airtime to a recent performance by Cappella Romana in honor Orthodox Holy Week. We (DH and I) went to hear this performance a few months ago. I am listening to it right now (Holy Saturday) as I get myself ready for Pascha!!!

Kalo Pascha!

(when you go to the link, forward RealPlayer to 9:52 if you only want to hear the Cappella Romana segment)

***I believe the link should be good for the next week***

Monday, April 21, 2008

Kali Anastasi!

Blessed Resurrection!

I hope your Holy Week is truly blessed.

Pray for us as Big P and I are running fevers since last night (we missed the Bridegroom Service). This is definitely not a week to want to be sick (but, then again, is there really a time when we "want" to be sick?!?!) It seems as if this is just a really bad cold and, God-willing, we will recover in the next day or so.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Laundry drying in the sun...

At our old home, I had a clothesline. I loved my clothesline. And it was on a covered deck so I could even hang clothes outside when it was raining (or, at least, I wouldn't worry about the clothes when it started to rain).

Our new home has a small yard. And I have wanted a clothes line. So we bought a retractable clothesling that is attached to the house and pulls out to hook onto our wooden swing set/slide. Today is the first day that the weather has been beautiful enough (and I am at home... yesterday I was at work) for me to hang clothes on the line. Boy, it really feels like spring when you are hanging your clothes out to dry!

This makes me happy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Say goodbye crib, hello big boy bed!!!

Little P has transitioned from the crib to the big boy bed!!! Woo hoo!!! I am ready to take down the crib. Big P and Little P now share a room. Big P sleeps on the top bunk and Little P sleeps on the bottom bunk. We have a 3 bedroom home which means, once the crib is taken down, we have a third room to do whatever we want with!!!! Yeah! We are going to move our TV (which is in a nice wooden storage cabinet) from the living room to the 3rd bedroom and turn that into a TV room. We may even move the computer up in there, too (although, I do like having to computer in the eating area because then I can watch pavlos play his computer games, etc... there's something about closing yourself off in a room and playing computer games which makes me nervous... not at his age... but when he gets older... anyway, I digress). Right now, our big bookshelf and a smaller bookshelf are in that room and so is a table with all my starts for our vegetable garden.

Anyway, my baby is getting older...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hummus, A Staple...

We eat a lot of hummus during Lent. I make it without oil but if it's the weekend, just drizzle some olive oil on the top of the hummus. Eat with bread, crackers, tortilla chips (that's what Paul does), veggies or whatever you think would taste yummy. I like to use it as a spread on bread (as in a sandwich) with cucumbers and tomatoes... And it's packed with protein!!!

Hummus (our favorite)
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (reserve juice)
1 1/4 tablespoons tahini (can be bought in most grocery stores... looks like peanut butter)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 large garlic clove
1/2 tsp. salt
Heat beans over medium heat until they come to a boil. Reserve juice. Put beans and next 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender. Slowly add juice from beans (not all the juice). Blend until creamy and very smooth.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mercury in flourescent bulbs...

So if you live in Oregon, here is a link to the site for places to dispose of your compact flourescent light bulbs. I read the article yesterday about the dangers of CFS so use at your own discretion:)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My shallowness revealed...

What's better than finding a brand new pair of Eddie Bauer pants for $8.99? Fitting into a size smaller of said pants than you normally wear:) Happened yesterday, mom is my witness. And how shallow can I be?!?! And, I have to share this with the blogging world because DH looked at me like I was crazy for sharing it with him. He just doesn't get it (the man who has never had to deal with weight fluctuations).

Friday, March 14, 2008

Finished a Book...

I just finished reading the Life of St. Eustathios that is published by the nuns at St. John the Forerunner Monastery in Goldendale, WA.

Here is the description of the book on their website:
St. Eustathios was a general in the Roman Army and friend of Emperor Trajan. After being converted to Christianity through a divine vision, he was stripped of imperial honors, imprisoned, and exiled with his wife and two young children. He was separated from his family under the most tragic circumstances, only to be reunited with them in glory thriteen years later, shortly before their martyrdom. St. Eustathios is praised in the hymnography of the Church as a second Job because of his incredible indurance in hardships and patient perserverance in temptations. The life of Saints Eustathios, Theopisti, Agapios and Theopistos is an inspiration and an example for all Christians, especially those who encounter numerous trials in their spiritual life. Written specifically for young adults, this captivating story will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches; 128 pages paperback with pencil illustrations within.

Here is a link to their website in case you want to order it for yourself or for someone you love (DH might be using it in his middle school sunday school class).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gardening and the Beginning of Lent

(NOTE: I tried to post this yesterday but was unable to post pictures for some odd reason)

Today is the first day of Lent. I hope that everyone has a very blessed Lent!

Here are some pictures of our garden.
-bulbs returning and new bulbs (as in planted this last fall) coming up
-our raised bed converted to a square foot garden (lettuce starts are planted)... Can you see the squares?
-Big P planted seeds in an egg carton. Hopefully, these will come up and become starts in the garden. We have more to do (probably tomorrow after he comes home from school).
-DH decided to plant peas outside of the raised bed, in a circle.

Goals for the garden area:
-To build another raised bed (maybe 4 x 4 rather than 8 x 4) for tomatoes, peppers, and maybe onions.
-build a compost bin from pallets (read about it in square foot gardening).

How's your garden growing?

Monday, March 03, 2008

New Blog to Read and 10 Staples of my Pantry (esp. before Lent)

Check out a new blog by my friend Carrie. It's called The Thrifty Oreganic. It promises to provide some great hints on being organic, but in an economical way:) She currently has a list of her top ten staples of her kitchen and asks if people could post their top ten in her comments. As I am preparing my family kitchen for Lent, I came up with a list of our Lenten staples (I actually wrote out this list last week because while I was writing up my shopping list... because there are certain foods that I buy in bulk but only during fasting periods).

1. Beans (esp. lentils and garbanzos)- we eat tons of lentils. I love lentils because I can make a lentil soup in about an hour if we are having a really busy day. We also eat a lot of hummus during lent. I make my own because sometimes you find in stores hummus that has lots of extra things added. Since DH has been diagnosed with Celiac's, I am much more wary of buying things that say "natural flavor" because you just don't know where that "natural flavor came from". And, anyway, I have a very easy hummus recipe:)

2. Nuts- but esp. raw almonds and pistachios. Big P, who is an extremely picky eater, loves pistachios. I like to encourage him to eat them. This year, though, I am going to buy a good nutcracker and a variety pack of different nuts because one of the "work" that Big P does at school (and loves to do) is cracking nuts! He also loves washing windows so if you need your windows washed, we can work up a contract to have him come over (JK... about the contract part). Is this the place to include peanut butter? We only eat natural peanut butter. Yes, it's a bit annoying to have to mix the oil back into the peanut butter, but it is sooo good. Big P only eats peanut butter and jelly (homemade jelly by yiayia) sandwiches. For lunch. Everyday. Even when it is not lent:)

3. Vegetable broth makings (carrots, celery, onions and garlic cloves)- again, back to DH having celiac's, I make our broth. And the veggies are used in soups. And I cut them up to eat with the hummus.

4. Fruit- esp. pineapple, bananas, frozen berries, apples, oranges, dried fruit. Esp. fruit to make smoothies.

5. Diced tomatoes (with no added spices) and tomato paste- a lot of our soups are tomato based.

6. Rice- Brown rice- we use a lot more of this since DH has had Celiac's. I substitute cooked brown rice for pasta, barley, bulgur wheat in some recipes. We are also branching out into the world of quinoa (our favorite GF pasta is a quinoa pasta).

7. Juice- fasting periods are really the only time of year that I will drink juice. We have juice always on hand because DH is type 1 diabetic and it is great for raising his blood sugar.

8. Oats for kids and I and Creamy Buckwheat cereal for DH (it's GF). Esp. during Lent (and Nativity Fast) hot cereal is the way to go. Sometimes a make a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator to heat up in the morning.

9. Snacks: popcorn (we have a whirley pop popcorn maker which is fun to use) and corn tortilla chips and salsa.

10. And, for the kids, Trader Joe's hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, milk, eggs, and cheese (mostly mozarella) to make pita pizzas.

For us, a lot of the fake foods are out (fake meats and cheeses) because they are not all gluten free. And this lent I am going to see if I can make GF falafel (did I spell that correctly?!?!?) because I used to make them ahead of time and freeze them to pull out whenever. That's only if I'm really ambitious or we are really getting bored with our food (maybe mid-point of lent). This year I am also going to do what I did for Nativity fast... plan out our entire lent menu from day one. That way I don't even have to think about what we are going to eat, it's already listed out. And that makes shopping a lot easier.

Boy, this post is longer than I wanted it to be:) What are your top lenten staples?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday, Petros!!! Here is what was written on the card I have bought for him (like he really cares about the card... although there is a picture of a dog and he loves dogs....) and it is so appropriate for him!

"You've only been around two years, but goodness, how you've grown! You're such a little charmer with a grin that's all your own."

That's my Petros:) The rest of the card is about eating cake, etc. He is a little charmer and he is also a little stinker. Very stubborn and very snuggly. He like doggies, Tigger, destroying books, cleaning up after his big brother, organizing, playing in water, and smiling!!! Happy Birthday my little miracle!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Save the Date....

Our annual Fall Women's Retreat will be Oct 24-25-26 and Mother Rafeala from Holy Myrrhbearer's Monastery in New York will be the speaker. Check back for more information!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Should I be concerned....

that Petros just drank half of a very small container of raspberry vinaigrette dressing from Burgerville and liked it?!?!?!? He finished it and then signed for "more".

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pavlos' New Favorite Song and the Video Behind Why It's His New Favorite Song...

Do you like the title to this post? Do I get an award for longest blog entry title?

So... I was going to post the song "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers and the video of Kenny Rogers singing this song with The Muppets. BUT... youtube is saying that the video is no longer available. Sorry!!!

Anyway, it is Pavlos' current favorite song and, at least last week, was his favorite youtube video. I remember watching it on The Muppet Show when I was growing up:)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No title because I can't think of one....

I know it’s been about a million years since I posted. And that’s all I’m going to say about that:)

Some random thought from the last few weeks…

-Spent the two year anniversary of entering the hospital at the monastery. Which means Petros is almost two. TWO!!! And, boy, is he ever acting like a two year old. Everything turns into a battle with him. He so wants to be able to do the things Pavlos does. A two year old is not an almost six year old, though. And, when he is not battling with me, he is a very smiley, affectionate guy who loves to “read” and sing (and say “Amen” really loud at church either right before the people say “Amen” or right after).

-Looked forward to the release of the movie Once on dvd. Only liked the movie. Love the soundtrack. Paul bought it for me for Christmas. The reason I only liked the movie is because of all the swearing. It’s rated R only because of the swearing in the movie. I detest swearing. I do not feel that it adds anything to a movie or to life. That is just an opinion of mine.

-Pavlos has already experienced one of life’s major revelations. He and Paul were watching Empire Strikes Back while I was doing something in the kitchen. All of a sudden, from the living room I hear Pavlos exclaim, “He’s his father?!?!?!” I laughed.

-A few weeks ago, Paul and I went to the Capella Romana concert here in Portland. Yiayia and Pappous watched the kiddos at our home. Pavlos was in the bathroom for a very long time (yiayia knocks on door and says, “what are you doing, Pavlos?” Pavlos replies, “nothing, yiayia.”). Eventually Pavlos emerges from the bathroom, blood streaming from his lip and lots of bloody Kleenex all over the bathroom (including the toilet filled with Kleenex). “What happened, Pavlos?” “I ran into the door.” Hm. Yiayia is smarter than that, though. Yiayia says, “you know, when Katherine (my sister) was about your age, she thought that she could shave and cut her lip and it bled.” Pavlos replied, “did she think she had a beard?” So, yes, Pavlos thought that he had a beard because he is getting older, you know, and decided that he needed to shave like Papa. Needless to say, Paul keeps his razor way up high where Pavlos can’t reach it (normally, it IS kept way up high, except that we were in such a rush to get ready for the concert that Paul did a quick shave (he has a beard and just shaves certain areas of his face and neck) and didn’t clean up his shaving stuff before we ran out the door…. All it takes is once). Poor yiayia and pappous! They get to have all the fun adventures at our house.

And I will leave you with what we are having for dinner…

Baked Chicken with Pasta (although, I use cooked brown rice instead of the pasta to make this gluten free)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (the recipe actually calls for 1 chicken cut in half, which i sometimes will use the whole chicken, just increase cooking time a bit)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can diced tomatoes (I run mine through the blender because pavlos won't eat whole tomatoes:)4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 pound (12 oz) egg noodles, orzo, or fettuccine (I cook 1 1/2 to 2 cups brown rice)
Mizithra cheese (or parmesan) grated
season chicken with salt and pepper. place chicken in a deep ovenproof pan with cover. add diced tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and cinnamon stick. cover and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta (or rice)and drain. When chicken is ready, remove from pan. add noodles (or rice) to the sauce. mix well, cover, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. sprinkle with cheese.