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.