Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution for 2011

CLEAN OUT....ORGANIZE...and do all those little things around the house that I've always wanted to do. Aka.....FLUFFING THE NEST!
My plan is a simple one. 12 months, 12 rooms. Each month I resolve to improve an area/room in our home, and do so on a BUDGET. We have lived in our home for 4 years now, and it's finally time to customize it to our taste. I got the ok from my Hubs, and the promise to NEVER move, unless it's because of unforseen circumstances. So, I have liberty to throw my ideas and decorative heart into the place. I have TONS of ideas and creative energy. I'll post along the way, so I can look back on the befores and afters and revell in my job (hopefully) well done. Also, maybe I'll inspire some of you to CLEAN OUT....ORGANIZE....AND FLUFF YOUR NESTS!!!
My first transformation was in the laundry room. My laundry room, unfortunately, is connected to my kitchen. That means that as you sit at the kitchen table, your view is of the laundry room. Most of the time, I try and keep the door closed, especially if we have guests, but I myself got tired of looking and seeing all those cleaning products staring back at me. The remedy? Clearance baskets from JoAnn's. I spent a whole $9 on two oversized baskets, and put all of the products inside. I also recycled 5 cleaning product bottles that were either empty or had replacements. So, although I still intend to close the door when I have company, I now have a neat laundry room. Another bonus, the bottles no longer topple over and cause a domino effect of toppling cleaning products when I reach for one in the back. (: Only thing is, after looking at the pictures, I feel like I need a third basket up there. What do you think?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday BFF

Today is Jennifer's birthday! I hope any of you who follow my blog, and know her will send her a birthday message. She is such a.......gosh, I don't even think there is a word to describe who she is to me. Her friendship means so much to me. It is a constant in my life. Something I don't even have to think about, but I know it's always there. That is SPECIAL and I LOVE her so very much.
In honor of her day, I thought I'd share a throwback photo. We're talkin' old school here people. It's not a great quality, because I took a picture of the framed picture, but it sure makes me smile.

Happy Birthday Jen!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Amanda Lily Piano Recital

Amanda Lily has been taking piano lessons once a week since September. She is enjoying herself fully, but was a bit hesitant when her instructor asked her to work on a piece for a Christmas recital. She chose "Jingle Bells" and practiced for 3 weeks before the big night. I bribed her a bit by telling her she could choose a new dress if she went through with it, and that was exciting to her because I rarely give her the reigns when it comes to her clothes. The night of the recital, she was super excited because Uncle Dan and Aunt Jessica came to see her perform. She played all of 45 seconds, but my heart felt like it would burst out of my chest as she did. I was nervous for her to hit a wrong note amongst the silence, but mostly I was PROUD. It's funny how something so simple can make a parent so happy. (:She played the song flawlessly. I didn't get any photos of her at the piano because I didn't want to mess her up with the flash, but here is one I shot of her waiting her turn.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!
These are mine and Amanda Lily's nativity sets. It took me years to find the "perfect" nativity set that I LOVED. I found it right around the time Amanda Lily was old enough to play with it and accidentally break it, so I got her her very own wooden one. She has no problem with the fact that mine is "off limits" to her, because hers is sturdy enough that she can pose the scene and play with it as much as she likes.
It's been a wonderful Christmas Eve and morning. I hope you all have a blessed day and keep in your heart the true meaning of Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Family Cookie Bake

What was I thinking? Is that my normally clean kitchen????????????????? HA!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ballet Parent Observation

This was Amanda Lily's last ballet class for this year, and it was Parent Observation night. Parents get to come into the studio and observe what the girls have learned up until now. This is the first year she has been working on the barre, and she is really enjoying herself. I know it looks simple, but the poses she holds and holds and holds. It takes balance and lots of practice for a 6 year old! As you can see from the photos, she takes her creative activities very seriously. She is so disciplined in her ballet and piano. We are extremely proud of her.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wildwood Christmas Parade

My Dad had the honor of being S-A-N-T-A in this years Christmas parade. Honestly, we were a bit disappointed with the parade itself. Santa was definitely the draw for us. It was mostly fire engines blaring, and a few small businesses promoting themselves. I couldn't help but wonder where the WMSHS band was? Where were the Cheerleaders and floats?

Anyhow, I didn't tell the kids that Popa was going to be Santa, so you can imagine their reaction when they realized they knew that man behind the beard. Amanda Lily giggled and giggled. She thought it was the coolest thing. We told them that Santa couldn't attend all the Christmas parades, so he emailed Popa and ask that he fill in for him. Now, Popa is planning to email Santa back and let him know all the kids wishes.
Also, that day, their was a craft show at the Wildwood Community Center. Nana and Aunt Brenda had a booth set up with crafts. Amanda Lily and her American Girl enjoyed wearing one of Nana's dresses as advertisement. (: She LOVES being Nana's creative muse!
Just check out these grins on the Grand kids faces.....can you say "Santa?"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

I can't express how much of a fun time we had at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. If you follow this blog, you know that our family goes every Christmas Season. This year was EXTRA EXCITING because #1 We had our cousins from Greece with us and #2 Amanda Lily is FINALLY tall enough to ride the roller coasters. We rode Splash Mountain as a family for the first time and she loved it. (Steven, not so much) He has never really been one for roller coasters, but he gets it honest, because George doesn't like them either. We were SOAKED from head to toe, but it was worth it. We had dinner at the Crystal Palace with Pooh and Friends, which Steven thought was a little juvenile until Tigger started pulling tricks on us. Then, he thought it was hilarious. A tip is to go on a weeknight. We walked onto all the coasters and did each of them at least twice. The place was EMPTY. The Christmas parade was awesome......loved the toy soldiers. They had snow falling on Main Street and free hot cocoa and cookies for everyone. The highlight of the evening for me was the fireworks display. It was set to Christmas music, and the fireworks were in the shapes of presents and Christmas trees. SO FUN and LOTS of MEMORIES.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Me oh my....pumpkin pie

scroll to bottom of post for Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This year Thanksgiving was held at Pete and Heathers. We have so much to be Thankful for, and it was a wonderful time of family and food. We were super happy to have George and Paraskevi here to celebrate the American holiday with us. I think they really enjoyed it. The pictures tell the story!
If you can't tell, I am such a big fan of good food, so naturally this is my favorite holiday. I love that everyone spends time in the kitchen to show family members their love. I happen to do this many times over during the year, but on Thanksgiving, most everyone does! Also, it's wonderful being thankful, listening to the children say why they are thankful, and sharing in all our blessings.

PUMPKIN PIE by Williams Sonoma
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 TSP salt
1 TSP ground cinnamon
1/2 TSP ground ginger
1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
1/4 TSP ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin puree, stirring, until it begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and water. Whisk the egg mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
Pour out the mixture into a prepared pie shell. Bake the pie for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees, and bake the pie about 30 minutes longer, or until just the center jiggles when the pan is gently shaken. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.

I have a great recipe for crust, but barely use it. I usually have so much on my menu that I use the shortcut of the Publix brand already made pastry...GASP!!!!! Also, if you check your pie and see that the crust is browning too much for your taste, put a pie crust protector around the rim.