Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Izabella's Culinary Skills

Izabella loves to make snacks for us. Usually she just rinses off some strawberries and serves them with a glass of water. Yesterday, however, she decided to try something new. The snack that she served me was comprised of strawberries, fresh mushrooms, water and just a wee bit of Italian dressing served in a tall glass with a spoon. She gave me a glass of Naked Juice-Blue Machine on the side. I chose to drink the juice as she watched in excitement and told her that I would eat the luscious strawberries after I put Alexandra to bed. This morning I told her that she is a wonderful cook, but next she shouldn't make it so spicy! She was thrilled. Aren't kids the greatest?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some "Firsts" This Week

Alexandra holds her own bottle now. What's even bigger than that is that she is rolling over from side to side. When the older kids are calm or napping I give her free reign of the living room floor. She giggles so that she gets our attention and then she rolls over. Once she has done it a few times she stops to see who is looking and then giggles some more. She is just a doll!

Another first this week is that Izabella and Foti did dishes for me after dinner...together. Of course, Izabella finished the job as Foti was just playing in the water, but it is a start! Kosta is cracking the whip! :)

Izabella had her first "Share your School" day this week. Kosta was lucky enough to go for the 2 hours. I had already done a day of observation earlier in the school year. It is amazing to see those little people in action. I think that is why he decided to introduce the kids to doing dishes!

This week I had a representative from a moving company come over to look at all of our "stuff" so that he can give us an estimate as to just how much moving an entire household and a car will cost. We have also received a few estimates from painters this week so that we can get this house painted and sell it. There is so much to do...

I did get in touch with the owner of the Montessori school in Greece. I am relieved to find out that they will still have their offices open through July so that we can sign the kids up. Typically schools close for the summer. This school will actually be closed for the month of August so we have to do everything before then, whew.

Yesterday we had a nice visit with 2 of my sisters. The kids loved making things out of Play-Doh with them. We had a nice time guys!

I am relieved that the weekend is here once again. It is always nice to have Kosta home to help with the kids. It means that I can actually take a leisurely shower with the door closed. That is all that I really ask for, a nice quiet shower. Have a great weekend everyone!

And to my Irish friends....Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Iza and the worst-tasting octopus
salad EVER!

Boxes, boxes and more boxes!Kosta brought A LOT of boxes home last week and we spent the better part of this weekend filling them. Izabella packed up almost all of her stuffed animals not fully understanding just how long that she would be without them. We already opened one box so that she could reclaim one of her animals and will probably unpack all of them within the week. Foti, however, won't let anyone touch anything of his.

Preparing to sell the house and packing things to move overseas has definitely got to be one of the biggest projects in my life. I have to be honest, I am not looking forward to it. I recorded an Oprah episode a few weeks ago that I think was very informative and helpful. The show featured families decluttering their lives. Ok, I don't have nearly half of the stuff that these people had, but the insight was extremely helpful. For example, I had things in boxes that I hadn't seen in years, so why did I keep it? Can't tell you...so I tossed them. Really, if you don't use something within a year or two, you don't need it. Seeing Peter Walsh help people sort through clutter was great. I have been inspired! The tricky part is throwing away toys without the kids noticing. My mission is to rid ourselves of every McDonald's toy that we have acquired. I am still trying to convince Iza that we should give toys that she hasn't used in a while to a shelter or another charitable organization. Wish me luck!

We did get to go for a walk with the kids over the weekend. It was absolutely great on Sunday and even better today. Today it was 58F! Oh, and we had a little spring "kick off " lunch on Saturday. While we were at Whole Foods Saturday morning we stopped at their awesome fish counter. Kosta bought a flounder and I picked out an octopus salad because I have been craving octopus! Anyway, Kosta grilled the flounder and it was delicious! The octopus, however, was the worst that I have ever tasted. We consider cooking fish outside on the grill an early spring ritual because I won't cook fish in the house...especially in the winter. I have tried every precaution to combat the fish smell in the past and nothing has ever worked so I would rather just skip cooking fish in the house all together.

So far I don't have too much planned for this week. I am going to try to contact the owner of the Montessori school in Greece, again. It has been a complete miss on my end. I need to get up a little earlier to make sure that I catch her. We have decided that we do really want to buy the house that we have been looking at so we are just waiting for the financing to go through before we make our offer. This is so big!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Arroz con Pollo

I am allowing myself a few minutes today to share the Arroz con Pollo recipe that I tried the other day. Mine turned out too salty because I added as much salt as I normally do without taking into account that this recipe calls for chicken stock, which is salty on its own. My husband loved it and the kids just ate it as they thought it was too salty and of course, it wasn't Nana's.
You will need a caldero (dutch oven) for this recipe. I also want to note that instead of peas...I used gandules (pigeon peas) because I discovered that I didn't have any peas handy.

Arroz con Pollo

1 roasting chicken (4lbs.)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large green pepper (1 cup chopped)
1 large onion (1 cup chopped)
1 clove garlic-crushed
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 tsp saffron-crushed
1 envelope instant chicken broth ( I used 4 cubes)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 10 oz. package of peas
1/2 cup sliced olives (Spanish olives)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F)

-Cut chicken, rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Rub on chicken.

-Brown pieces of chicken in skillet with the oil slowly, then set aside.

-In the oil saute green pepper, garlic and onion until soft. Stir in rice and saffron, saute for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, oregano and bay leaf.

-Drain juice from tomatoes into a 4 cup measure. Add water to make 2 cups and then stir into rice mixture with the tomatoes.

-Arrange chicken on top, heat to boiling and cover.

-Bake 1 hour, uncover and add water if necessary.

-Sprinkle on peas and sliced olives, bake additional 15 minutes.

-Remove bay leaf and serve.

I would love to hear how this turned out for anyone that tries it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I love my new camera! I took these pictures at the Mitchell Park Domes yesterday. We went with one of Izabella's classmates and her mom. We had a nice time. I like to take the kids there at least once per season, especially in the winter, because it is so beautiful and warm in there. Note, the word WARM. I think that I have finally had my fill of winter. I usually enjoy winter, but this year it just seems to be lasting forever. Snow, snow and yet more snow. The bright side is that it is March and soon spring will be here. I just can't wait to see people break out their shorts went the temperature reaches 50! I just don't get it....

Anyway, we have found out that the house in Greece is a side by side but our neighbors would only be there for about 1 month every summer. I can deal with that. I am a little hesitant though because my mother-in-law says that there really aren't any closets. The house is about 22 years old and back then homes in Greece weren't built with many closets. I never understood that. Everyone has to have a place for their "stuff". Outside of that, I do think that the house is beautiful. We really want to have a house before we move as it will take 2 months for our container to arrive. Buying a home is always so emotionally exhausting and it is moreso when you are trying to do it from overseas.

Yesterday I tried an old recipe that my mom gave me. It is a recipe for Arroz con Pollo that she said that she got from a newspaper back in the 70's. Apparently it is Rita Moreno's recipe. I wasn't happy with how it turned out because the rice was too gooey and I added too much salt. The recipe calls for chicken broth and I am assuming that because I wasn't thinking, I added more salt than needed not taking into consideration that the broth was already salty. Well, it was only my first shot. I will try it again in a few weeks. Maybe next time I can share the recipe, that is if I have enough time to type it in. Ciao for now!

Friday, March 2, 2007

My Girls!

Foti made a "hat" out of his napkin.

Friday has creeped up on me again. This week went by fast! We had a lot to do this week so I suppose that had a lot to do with it.

I am happy to say that none of us were sick! I am crossing my fingers as it has been almost two weeks since the last illness. We did, however, visit the doctor this week. Alexandra had her 6 month well visit and she is doing great. I didn't have a doubt! Right after the doc asked whether or not she rolls over , she rolled over right in front of her. Bravo my little Princess! She is 14lbs. and 25 inches. I can't believe how fast she has grown.

Izabella had an ethnic potluck at her school on Wednesday. Our whole family went and it was a lot of fun. I tried some Ethiopian lentils, a Colombian dish that a friend made, Eggplant Parmesan and a few more things. Everything was really good. Oh, and of course I had to taste the Puerto Rican rice that another family brought. Although it was good, Mom's is still the best!

After everyone finished eating the children sang. Izabella's class sang Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World. The kids held up trees, globes and rainbows as they were mentioned in the song. It was really cute. It was Iza's first time on stage and she loved it.

Foti ate everything on his plate. He usually isn't very fussy when it comes to food. He wanted to go on stage too so we had to distract him a bit. I pulled one of his rubber balls from my bag of tricks. That wasn't smart of me. The ball lights up on contact and every kid in the gymnasium had their eyes on it. I had no choice, it was the ball or his screaming. I chose the ball.

Yesterday our neighbors Lisa and Claire came over for a play date and they also brought dinner. It was great! Lisa has been going to Dinner by Design lately and she brought over one of her creations. It was really great, it was a beef stir fry. I am thinking of going along with her next time so that I can try it. What a great concept, they shop and chop and all that you have to do is throw it together. It sounds fun! I have planned out my menu for the week before and it does make life a little less hectic.

We have been communicating with a realtor in Thessaloniki and fallen in love with a house. I love it, but there has to be a catch. I still believe that the house looks like it is a side by side, but the realtor says that it isn't. We are sending my mother-in-law to check it out so we shall soon see what the deal is. I can't wait to find out but I won't get my hopes up just in case I am right.