Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Sophie!

George's Name Day was the first of many special days the Kountanis Family is getting ready to celebrate. The months of April and May are busy around here!

So, today is my only niece's first birthday. Happy Birthday Sophie! We all love you and are so happy you are part of our family. Saturday is her actual party, so I will post some photos from that day next week. But for now, this is one of my recent favorites.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Name Day Daddy!

Today our family is celebrating George. It is his "Name Day". This is a day celebrated in Greek culture. It is treated allot like a birthday, but traditionally, the honoree is who pays for dinner and drinks. Our kids both have their own name days as well. On these days, I make it a point to make something sweet for them to share with our friends and family. This morning, Amanda Lily and I made Daddy a Name Day cake.

Every Greek is named after a Saint and on the day of their baptism, it is official. From that day forward, the person celebrates their Name Day along with all the others who share the same name. If your name happens to be one that doesn't have a specific day, you celebrate on "All Saints Day". Today is St. George's day, being celebrated by many Greeks named George. So, if you happen to know one, tell him "Happy Name Day", or if you really want to make an impression, say "Cronya Pola" which is "many years" in Greek.

Happy Name Day Babe, we love you so much!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

OPA!!! OPA!!!

Cronia Pola! Christos Anesti! (Happy Easter, Christ is Risen) Today our family celebrated Greek Easter. We did it a little different this year, and had it out at Stavro and Amanda's property. I was really glad we did, because George has built a four wheeler track out there, and it was allot of fun riding around. We had traditional Greek Food, and of course the Lamb roasted on the spit. I was very proud of myself because I made George's all time favorite Greek dessert, Galacoboreko. It is allot like an egg custard, and it takes some patience in the kitchen. I was a bit worried of how it would be received by my father in law, after all, he is a professional. He really enjoyed it though, and so did George. I am eating some right now. (: We had about 20 people. All of our Greek Family and a few friends. Pam, Andrew, and the boys came by, as did Amanda Lily's American Godfather, Dan. We all had a good time. Steven and Pam's son Caleb were the one's having the most fun though.....Steven drove Caleb around the track for a good hour. It was really nice to enjoy each other's company, and of course a little Ouzo and Opa!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Clowning Around

For April Fools Day this year, our Awana club(kids church club) had all the clubbers dress up as jesters or clowns. Steven decided he wanted to be "Super Clown". We have a cape and superhero shirt, so he wore that and I painted his face. I was very apprehensive about painting his face, but it actually came out really cute. He was very excited to share in the fun with his Sparkie friends at church.

Amanda Lily on the other hand had NO interest in having anything put on her face. She's always been really particular about stuff like that. She gets upset over it, so I didn't push the issue. I told her that all of her friends would have their faces painted and be dressed up, and I didn't want her to feel bad about it. When we got there, she saw them all, and was actually very happy with her decision to go as "Amanda Lily". If it would have been something like Princesses, she would have been all over it. She thought the clown thing was very "silly" You really have to know her to understand what I am trying to get across. She is just very set in her ways, like she knows what she likes and what she doesn't, and there is no changing her mind or talking her into anything.
If any of you ever do need to paint your kids faces, there is a wealth of instructions on the web. I even learned that clowns never have their top lip painted! Who knew?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

St Augustine and Crescent Beach

We had a wonderful family vacation at St Augustine and Crescent Beach. We had to cut it a couple of days short because of bad weather, but what time we did spend there was wonderful. We even came home with a couple of more pets to add to the Kountanis clan. "JJ" and "Fallie" are our new hermit crabs. We did a train guided tour of St Augustine, putt putt golf, and of course a couple of lazy days on the beach building sand castles. I did get slightly sunburned, but what's new? Steven and Amanda Lily tanned nicely even through SPF 50. I guess it is their Greek blood, because I know they didn't get that from my side! Anyhow, I'll let the photos do most of the talking, as I have lots to unpack, and still more Spring Break to plan! (:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Construction Time

George and I are having our "dream pool" put in the back yard. We have been saving since we moved in, and are excited that prices have gone down drastically for the pool we are building. Our old house had a pool, and we knew it was going to be something the kids really missed, so they are happy it is finally coming as you can imagine.

I used the situation as a lesson for Steven. Amanda Lily is a bit young to grasp money and savings, but Steven gets it. He has been buying his own toys since he was 5 and started earning an allowance. (of course both grandma's still contribute to his stash of toys, but George and i do not) (: If there is something he wants, he has to save to get it. He earns money buy washing the dogs, cars, and vacuuming. His money is then divided into 3 cups.....SAVE, CHARITY, SPEND.

When he gets enough in the CHARITY cup, we do something of his choosing with the money for others. The last thing he did was buy Sophia, his cousin, a toy. Not that she needs it, but he was so excited to do it, that I let him. My personal favorite thing he came up with was to buy books for his school's library. He told me most of the books "have yellow pages", and he thought Mrs. Google, the Librarian, would appreciate some new ones. Our school is 80 years old, and I tell you some of the books must be from the first day they opened the doors. Anyway, we went to Books A Million, and he picked out 3 books. He was so proud to give them to the Librarian. She was really touched by the gesture as well. He has also bought ingredients to make cookies and took them to the Eustis Firehouse. My son is such a thoughtful person. He has always been very much aware of others feelings. He is much nicer of a child than I ever remember being. I am so proud he belongs to me. (: He says something daily that touches my heart. I often wonder where he got his big heart. This post has gotten away from my original story, so I'll get back to that. I just wanted to suggest that you all set up a system of checks and balances with your kids. It really helps them not become entitled to stuff.

Back to the pool. Hopefully in 6 weeks we will be swimming in it. My sweet husband has been working so hard in the backyard to get it ready. He and I have transplanted our lemon, orange, and fig trees. That job morphed into making a place that I can grow some vegetables and my herbs. He even built a wall around it to make it pretty. The biggest job of all was moving my oak tree. He used a tractor to do the job. He really doesn't care for the oak tree, and wanted to get rid of it completely, but the kids and I put a bird feeder in it when we moved in, and it has quite a following of birds. So, we begged him to keep it, and he agreed. All the birds still come. The cardinal actually swooped down at our dog Roxy this morning and we all laughed. So, for now, my backyard looks like a bomb went off where we have pulled up the irrigation and capped off the lines. And the dirt gets traipsed into the house. It is hard to keep up, but will be well worth it!

I have a few photos I have been taking to scrapbook of the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Fling Cupcakes

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids, then we get an entire glorious 10 days off!!! Woo-Hoo! We are super excited to being heading to St Augustine's Cresent Beach for 5 days.

Steven's class just completed two days of state required testing, so I called Mrs Keyes to find out if I could bring in some cupcakes to celebrate their hard work. She was happy to have me bring something in, just as she always is. Steven asked that I make them blue, and I figured why not, since blue is a spring color. I used Easter sprinkles out of the dollar bin at Target.

They turned out so cute, that I had to share the idea. They were SIMPLE to make, and can be used for any occasion, included a Birthday party. The Big Idea is to take any sprinkles of your choice and roll the cupcakes in them, only getting sprinkles on the edges. I am hoping to redo them for George's next Birthday using Bucs colors. How cute would that be? Anyhow, use your imagination, and customize them to your party theme. You'll end up saving allot of money. Besides, who doesn't like a cupcake????

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Amanda Lily Photos

Hey everyone. If you look at the blogs I follow, and click on "Simply Splendid", there are some of the professional photos we had done of Amanda Lily, on her blog under "Starring Amanda Lily"
She posted them a couple of days ago, and I am sooooo happy with the outcome. She took over 1000 photos of Amanda Lily in 2 hours! So far, she has only been able to upload around half, and is still working on the others. If any of you are thinking of having AWESOME photos taken of your little ones, I highly recommend Paula. Once I choose a favorite, I am having it oil painted onto canvas for my Mothers Day gift. (: So far, its the one with the flower headband and the pink dress, but like I said, I haven't even seen half of them yet, so we will see!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!