Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School 2010

The first day of school went off without a hitch. Well...Steven did come home with a headache and have to get straight into the shower. I think he just internalizes things, and anxiety turns into headaches. He is fine now. He was excited to see lots of his friends. He also loves the fact that Mrs Raley doesn't use cards (green, yellow, red). She has rules, and she expects them to be followed, without pulling cards. I think that is great for 3rd grade. Also, Steven did not want me to walk him to class....he's too old for Mom to tag along. Sniff Sniff.
Amanda Lily already has an established relationship with Mrs Keyes, so her day was smooth sailing. When I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she said "SCHOOL!!!!!" She is so happy to have her own desk, instead of tables. She and Kaylee sit next to each other.
Also, we had two special treats this morning. I made cat and puppy faces out of the kids pancakes. They were a hit, and they gobbled them up. Also, Yia Yia came early to see the children off to their first day of school. Then she, George, and I all went out for breakfast. It was a nice day. Very quiet in the house, but nice.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meet the Teacher

Today was "Meet the Teacher" day at EES. I am super thrilled about both kids Teachers. Amanda Lily got Mrs Keyes....yes, the Mrs. Keyes who was Steven's K and 1st grade Teacher. LOVE HER! I can't wait for another wonderful year with her.

Steven got Mrs Raley, who I know from SAC and APT. She also, is a great Teacher, that I look forward to working with. Both kids Spanish Teachers are nice too.

We brought each Teacher little baskets filled with chocolate, apple hand soap, and a CD of kid friendly, fun music for the classrooms. I also ordered personalized notes for the Teacher's, but they didn't come in time, so I'll have to save those for another occasion.

I learned today that 3rd Graders are going to be allowed to enter the Science Fair this year. Steven is so happy about it, and I can't wait to get down to business. Do any of you have any suggestions about what he should do his on? I would like it to be something fun, but I'm having a hard time thinking up something original and memorable. Any suggestions?

These photos are not great, but I only got a chance at one snap since the Teachers were so busy greeting parents and students.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Star Wars Celebration

Anyone have a Star Wars crazed little man in their house besides me? Well, it seems like a rite of passage for boys around the age of 7....8...9...10....33. Ha! George has been a Star Wars fan since childhood, so he was excited to take Steven to the "Star Wars Celebration" at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. It was a Father and Son day, so I wasn't there to witness their eyes popping out of their heads, but from the stories I've heard, it was pretty awesome. Every Star Wars character imaginable was there. Even ones they didn't know! George also told me that he held on to Steven's hand the entire time, even when Steven asked him to let go. Apparently there were lots of "kooks and crazies" in the building. LOL.

Sophia Maria Kountanis

My one and only niece was baptised on August 1. She has been such a joy to have as part of our Kountanis clan. A child being Baptised is a big deal in Greek customs, so there was a nice reception held in Sophie's honor afterwards. It was a beautiful day for our family.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cousins at the beach

Yes, once again, we are at the beach. This time I found myself thinking of how in a few days, my kids would no longer be mine. They would be whisked away to school, homework, ballet, baseball, piano and drumming lessons, and Awana at church. Oh Man. Honestly, I do crave the routine of all things back to school brings, but then again, I had such a wonderful time walking on the beach with Amanda Lily trying to "catch fish" in the shallow water. She was determined to bring one of those suckers home in her bucket. Ha! I scooped her up and told her how much I was going to miss her while she is at her big first grade desk.

Larry, Tre', and Steven spent most of their time on boogie boards in the waves. Steven was really getting the hang of it. We all had a great time.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Attention Teacher Friends!!!!

Hi Gals. Since I know a few of you are Teachers, I need to pick your brains. Could any of you please give me some ideas on what to bring to "Meet the Teacher" night. I've seen tons of great ideas online, but I would like to know what gifts are really meaningful to you. I do not like giving Chotchky knick knack stuff. HELP!

PS...any of you who are not Teachers, who have a great idea, please feel free to share as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Beach with Friends

Being that back to school is coming up fast, Trish and I decided to make an escape to the beach. It was a fun day, with practically no one else on the beach! (Notice in the background) Hope you all get the chance to spend some extra time with your kiddos before school work and activities take them away!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Introducing "Meli"

Here is our newest family member....."Meli" She is a sweet Golden Retriever puppy that our family has been looking forward to since our beloved Zoey passed away. She brings to our family all things that puppies bring, and has been a joy to have around. Of course, I'm not so excited about the training parts, but it comes with the territory. Amanda Lily wanted to name her "honey", but it just didn't seem quite right to me, so I racked my pea brain. "Meli" is the Greek translation to the word honey. Being that Zoey was a Greek word meaning "life", Meli is the perfect name. Honey=Meli!!!
Being that Zoey was officially Amanda Lily's dog, we thought it only fair that she choose our next puppy. She knew she wanted another female Golden, so we set out to find her. The grainy photo is the one I shot just as Amanda Lily approached the breeders crate. They had 6 males and 3 females, and George and I are solid believers in letting the dog choose you. Well, when that puppy jumped up at Amanda Lily, we were both crossing our fingers that it was a female, and turns out it was. That was our first meeting with Meli. She was practically jumping out of the crate trying to get into Amanda Lily's arms, while all the other's just did their puppy thing.
At this very moment, she is lying beside the front door sleeping next to our German Shepard. AWWWWWWW she is just so darn cute!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

scroll to bottom of post for packable blueberry muffins recipe.

My son loves loves loves those mini blueberry muffins called "Little Bites". It pains me to death to buy them, because they are expensive, and they have not so great ingredients. So, it has been my mission to come up with a recipe that he would enjoy. These are easy, freezable, and packable. Since school is coming up fast, I thought I would share the recipe, and encourage you to try them for your kids lunchbox. We made them this week when we had one of Steven's school friends, Kaitlyn, over for a play date. The girls had fun helping me put them together. A tip for getting your kids to eat something new, is to have them help you in the kitchen. When they use their own hands to make something, it makes them curious to try it. Steven, Amanda Lily , and Kaitlyn have given their official taste test approval, so I think your kids will enjoy them too! Don't forget to put them in a sealed container, or they will dry out fast.
Packable Muffins
3 1/2 tbls butter
2 1/3 cups self rising flour
2 tsp baking powder
a heaping 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbls milk
drop of vanilla extract
2 big handfuls of berries of your choice, or pureed pear or apple or mashed banana can be just as delicious as berries.
makes 12 regular sized muffins, but I use a mini muffin pan, and have a little batter left over for extras.

Preheat oven to 400* and grease pan. Melt the butter and let cool slightly. Sift flour and baking powder, add sugar. In a small bowl, whisk eggs then add yogurt, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Gently mix everything together, and don't over mix or muffins will be tough. Quickly fold in fruit. Spoon mixture into muffin pan. Batter will be lumpy. Bake for 25-30 mins or 18 mins for mini's. Cool on wire rack, then put in airtight container. Freeze extras for another time. Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our Families Big Fat Greek Wedding!

While we were in Greece this summer, our first cousin got married! It was such an emotional time. I was very happy for her, because she has started a new life, with a wonderful man. But, I was also sad because I just can't seem to get past the fact that she is old enough to even get married in the first place. You see, my first trip to Greece was when I was 19 years old....a baby myself. I fell head over heels in LOVE with George's family. All of these little cousins brought me into their circle, and made me feel like one of them. They were the ones who taught me the Greek Alphabet, and how to dance all of the Greek dances. Now they are all grown up, and it really pulled at my heart strings watching Paraskevi get married. I recalled the quiet little girl who used to braid my hair and have the patience to teach me to dance. She was my kids age when I met her, and now she is all grown up, with a job, and a house of her own, and a life of her own. I am so proud of her. She was such a beautiful bride! Steven and Amanda Lily were two of her little flower girl and ring bearers. In Greece, you do not have friends in your wedding, only children.

The pictures with the bride and groom on the bed are of a Greek custom. Friends and family go to the couple's home and throw money, flowers, rice, jordan almonds, and a baby boy on the bed. Everything is symbolic. Money for wealth, Flowers for Love, Jordan Almonds for sweetness, Baby Boy for get the idea. It is a custom that we did for our Greek Wedding too, as I think it is important to keep these traditions alive. The wedding itself had over 400 guests, all who stayed until well past 3 am dancing and celebrating. Greek weddings are incredible! If you are ever invited to one, please attend, and bring your dancing shoes!