Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Photo Out Takes

My sister in law did me a huge favor and came to the house to take some pictures of my family with her professional camera. I'm trying to get my Christmas card together. My very favorite one is of the kids. I feel it really captures the essence of who they are right now. Steven is very playful, and all about military and being a super spy, while Amanda Lily is more prim and proper. We were trying to get them to sit back to back by the fireplace for a potential nice shot. I told them to act natural, and this is what we got.

Then there is this one. Can't you just feel the sibling love? LOL

These two are of me and my girl, just for fun. I literally have people stop me everywhere we go together and tell me how uncanny it is how much Amanda Lily and I look alike. Especially now that she has glasses. I had Heather take a couple of shots of just the two of us, so we could look back one day. Just in case her looks start to change.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We hosted Thanksgiving at our home this year, and I was so pleased to have both sides of my family here. The Greeks and the Rednecks. Ha! No really, it was a wonderful time. Dad asked me if he could fry the turkey, and I couldn't say no. It turned out delicious. We were all a little worried at first because of the charred skin, but the inside was certainly tasty. We had all the trimmings, of course.  Mom made her famous yeast rolls, and the rest of us girls did the sides.  Oh, the DESERT BAR!!!! We ate at 1:00, then watched football, ate some more, then played football. Amanda Lily and Sophie put on a Thanksgiving show for our entertainment, and Uncle Pete accompanied them on the drums. Then Amanda Lily played a few Christmas carols. (video at bottom) Our friends Heather and Mia, and Aunt Heather's step Father George joined us. We were thankful to be surrounded by friends and family.

Video of Amanda Lily playing Away in a Manger (pause music at bottom of blog to hear her play)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grilled Chocolate Bananas

I just came across this recipe for choco-banana melts in an old magazine. Being that we are having such a mild winter, I am looking forward to making these this weekend while the temperature is up near 80 degrees. I've been dying to fire up the grill, and get some things going. This gooey grilled treat is a fruity version of the classic s'more.

To make one, cut a lengthwise slit in a peeled banana and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil. It should resemble a hot dog bun. Stuff in as many chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as you can fit. Wrap the foil around the banana and place it on a grill for about 5 minutes. I think a fun addition would be to crush up graham crackers and sprinkle on top. The melt, once cooled, is best eaten with a spoon.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Neighborhood Christmas Decorating

I have a FABULOUS neighborhood. I mean, really. Our immediate next door neighbors are awesome, but that sentiment extends throughout the majority of my "hood". We have all kinds here, and we are a diverse group. However, many of us are in the same stage of life, and most of us have pretty much the same ideals as parents. I love being the house that all the kids come to, but I also enjoy that I can send mine out the door and not have to worry.
We neighbors all got together recently to hang out in our hood, and decorate the common areas for Christmas. I initially thought this was a wonderful idea, but now I wish I could sneak out in the night and take them all down. All the neighborhood kids love the decor, if that says anything. I know I can be a bit much when it comes to details, but it really drives me insane that none of the Christmas lights match. It's like everyone went to their garages and got out any OLD Christmas lights they no longer want, and brought them out to decorate. For instance, out by the neighborhood fountain, one shrub has multicolored lights, and the next has white. Some light bulbs are big, some are small. The lights are strung in no particular order......It looks like a hot mess.
I guess I should look on the bright side. The getting together part was great. We really enjoyed hanging out and having a neighborhood lunch. It's just those darn lights. At least we are festive????

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Yellow Stripe Belt in the house

Have you ever heard of a "yellow stripe belt" in karate? I surely hadn't until recently when my son was excited about being tested to earn it. I was honestly a bit surprised that he did so well at the test because he had missed quite a bit of karate due to the crazy football schedule. But, he buckled down and learned all of his katas (is that how you spell that?), and PASSED! Oh my, I think I'll stick to the ballet and let hubby deal with the karate. I even had to stop by the restaurant on our way to the Dojo, because I have no idea how to correctly tie a karate belt! We are super proud of Steven and his moving up in the ranks of karate.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

For Veterans Day this year, Amanda Lily's piano instructor asked her students to play patriotic pieces at our local convalescent home. She gave Amanda Lily the song "America the Beautiful" As she played her song, I looked around the room, and knew it blessed the retired Veteran's as much as it did me. I got a little misty eyed to see the way they all straightened up a bit when a child played the National anthem on the violin, some of them even singing along. It made them all so happy to see the children, and hear the patriotic songs they played. Each child had practiced their music for weeks, and it showed.
Afterward, we called Popa and thanked him for his service in the Air Force. We also sent him a little video clip Steven took of his sister playing. Here are some still shots I got with the camera. Happy Veteran's Day!