Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Monday, April 28, 2008

Greek Easter, the English Version

Greek Easter can be summed up in just four words.
I won the egg.
Yep it's been 16 years in the making and this year I said with confidence that I was gonna win!! Wondering what the egg game is, go here for a good explanation.

The winner is said to have good luck or "blessings" throughout the year! I'm so excited about this, you have no idea- 16 years, I've been waiting 16 years to win the egg!! I have been singing all day today!
And now the pictures:

the lamb

Aunt Olga (first generation American) and Yiayia

Aunt Olga and I

Justin and his friend. Aunt Olga said she liked their music very much. It was Guns and Roses, they had just found Steve's old CD's, and those of you over 30 know that CD's are to my kids what records were to us!

Vaughan got yelled at by Yiayia within 5 minutes of being at the house. He got caught eating spanakopita before it was time to eat. This is a big "no no" in Yiayia's kitchen.

Hanging out before we ate.

I like to call this picture "Me and 2 hotties."

Uncle Chuck


My winning egg had to go on tour and since my sister-in-laws weren't there to take pictures I had to take them! So here goes: my victory egg tour 2008

with cousin Steve

with yiayia

With the second place (still a loser) egg.

What is Greek Easter without this:


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Christos Anesti!

Alethos Anesti!

Happy Greek Easter.
Many of you would see it on your calendar as Orthodox Easter, but we're Greek, so it's Greek Easter.

I remember Greek Easter back in high school with Steve's buddies showing up to eat good food and listen to Big Vaughan, officially known as Papou now, tell crazy stories, show off his pool skills and usually pull out a gu*n or knif*e or two.

This is the first year our boys are bringing their buddies to Greek Easter, so I'm interested to see and hear what they think. We did all the cooking yesterday, Yiayia and I; and I learned all the secret ingredients to Easter bread and thiropia (cheese pita). Steve and Papou started the lamb this morning,uncles and cousins will begin to arrive this afternoon and the festivities will begin!

Can't wait-hungry thinking about it!
Happy Easter!
Remember it's not about bunnies and eggs, chocolate and chicks- it's about Jesus.

Opening statements are Greek for
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Which I Attempt to Write About Working Out

So I've been going to this workout class that incorporates, self-defense, core work, yoga, circuit training all kinds of crazy stuff. I really don't like to exercise at all but I love this class!!

As a matter of fact when I know I have to miss it, it saddens me. Sick- I know. Well, a group three of us from that class have decided to run a 5k on the 4th of July at the local YMCA. The YMCA has started some free training classes for this run and our assignment this week is to run 20 minutes 3 times. We're suppose to run 60 sec, walk 90, run 60, walk 90. My question is can I do this with a donut in my hand?

I don't like to run. Especially on my own. A friend of ours just ran the Boston Marathon and I think he's crazy. I just don't get it, although perhaps if I can run enough to get the runners high I've heard of, maybe that would keep me at it?

Back to the class. It rocks! I do much of the stuff at home at various times in the day and last night while doing some squats I noticed some definition in my thighs! Oh glory! I loved it. Let me say that again: I noticed definition in my thighs! Being a gymnast large thighs have haunted followed me around most of my life. Toning them takes work a bunch of work and while I've noticed slight changes in my arms and stomach since beginning this class my legs have remained in sad shape. Until last night! So, I'm hoping it wasn't just a shadow but in fact the beginning of slimmer, firmer thighs!

Here is what I believe the secret is. Kettlebells. Yes, these I am convinced, are a type of torture, but very much worth it. The things we do with them should be listed on my "Never Do This" list, yet somehow I show up to each class anticipating a kettlebell workout. So if you get a chance to pick one of these up and give it a try I highly suggested you do. They produce results.

So now I'm off to run or jog or whatever it is I'm not wanting suppose to do.


And oh yeah just try to grab my purse or my milk (it's probably more valuable), you're likely to be met by my fist or palm or foot or elbow. The group of women in this class can really kick some but*t!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Choose

It's been almost a week since I've blogged.
It's been a busy week.
Busy, but relaxing.

Last Sunday through Wednesday was our churches annual missions conference. It was neat to hear from the missionaries we partner with in Senegal, West Africa. It would takes pages and pages for me to talk about all that's going on there and what the Lord is doing among the working professionals of that country; but I won't be doing that, sorry.

So after that craziness Thursday was our missions info meeting for the youth. I worked all day putting together the packets and the turnout was good. I'm excited to go and see who the Lord brings together for these trips. But I'm not blogging about that either.

The best part of the last week was attending the E-Women Conference in Orlando. See me here, sorry I was looking at my camera- bad idea. I got to travel over with a good friend and spend Friday night and all day Saturday listening to some extraordinary women share from their lives. The theme was "Discovering God's Dream". The Lord really touched my heart and challenged me.

Carol Kent was the last women to speak and she opened with a question similar to this,"Who here has felt like life is not what they dreamed it to be?"

I raised my hand.
See, it's what I've been struggling with lately.

Don't get me wrong I love my life, my husband, my children, my friends. It's just one day recently I realized that when I dreamed of my adult life it was not what it is now. Getting pregnant in high will do that to a girl. Choosing to stay at home and spend each day with my children did that to my dream. See, my original dream was something like this: I'd be an educated, professional.

I am pretty much the opposite of that dream.
But then again I'm not.

See, life's not what I dreamed but it is good. I love my life. I love my "different normal", my "new dream". While I didn't plan to stay at home and change diapers and clean up puke and spilled milk. I didn't plan on yearning to speak with an adult after days of nothing but toddlers. I certainly didn't plan on living in Florida.

Ya know what though, I didn't plan on loving a man so much that 5 minutes after he leaves for work I miss him like crazy. I didn't plan on incredible kids that challenge me and stretch me and love me. I didn't plan on such wonderful Christian friends who not only love me tangibly but spiritually as well. I didn't plan on loving my kids so much and having them as friends. I didn't plan on understanding God's love and grace and mercy to the point of being able to love people in my life who I have every reason to hate.

I am not living my dream, I'm living so much more.
I have so much more of God's dream for me to live.

Ya know I'm not sure what that dream is. I mean I have some ideas in my head but until tomorrow comes I won't know what it holds. Until I step by step, day by day, seek God and follow His leading I don't know what tomorrow holds.
I do however know this...

It's perfect.
Maybe not in my eyes but with God it can't go wrong.
It. can't. go. wrong.

See, I have dreams and sometimes they come true. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes when they go "wrong" I need to accept them, embrace them, go with them, grow with them.

If I had stuck to my original dream 15 years ago I would have missed out on this dream of a life I'm living. Perfect, no. Totally rockin'- YES!!

So to wrap this up, Carol challenged us to choose life in a different type of normal, to choose relinquishment and praise. Choose gratitude, vulnerability and purposeful action. When we chose these things in God it changes something inside.

I don't always choose these things, but I have and I know they work. When, over the past 15 years I've chosen to be grateful I've been happy with barely anything in the fridge and no gas in the car. When I've chosen vulnerability I've connected with my friends to the point of true sisterhood. When I've chosen praise the craziness of life melts away and I have peace. true peace.

So when my struggle comes back again I will remember the words of the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 29, verse 11 " I (God) know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Can Say Something About Nothing

It's been a quiet Monday. I had breakfast with an old friend and then off to work.

Good day at home school, besides misplacing our states and capitals book... I always wonder when a book comes missing?? In this case I'm sure it's stuck in a pile of fabric or thread as I took apart the entire sewing studio yesterday and then decided half way through putting it back together I'd rather rip the carpet out of it! Maybe we'll put some hardwood down for our frequent Alaskan house guests So it's sitting half together and the other half on my dinning table. Just a side note on my sewing table- Slice, if you're reading this, it's your old dining table that I use for all things sewing and one of the benches is in the entry- both perfect fits!

Back to my uneventful Monday and all that I am saying about it.

Oh I did find my ipod, it had fallen out in the parking lot at the office. Praise the Lord- I thought it had been stolen, it was a tough weekend without it- although it rained so I wonder if it'll work??

Oh, in other news, it's our missions conference here at church this week. Being part of a Christian & Missionary Alliance Church, missions is huge for us. This year we have a couple from Senegal, West Africa visiting. Since many of you know Steve and I both have been called to some kind of missions work, this has been exciting! We have learned about many opportunities there are in that country, and maybe some for us!! So for those of you who pray for us, keep praying. With how I am I have a hundred different paths for us in mind, it's just taking the one God would have. Who knows it may be Kenya or Indonesia or Senegal or right here in the good ol USA.

Well there's dinner to be made!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Would someone please tell me they have eaten a half a jar of peanut butter for a snack. It happened here.
1- 18oz. jar
2 days
1 child

This never ceases to amaze me. They are living, breathing, garbage disposals.

It reminds me of a time when Vaughan was a baby, we were at a friends house watching sports.

sidenote: we were teenagers and in high school at this time so our "friends house" was actually his parents house

back to the story: I'll never forget his mother making a huge plate of nachos with all the fixin's. I'm talking meat and all. I was sure we'd eaten lunch before we went and bowls of chips and snacks lined the table when we arrived, I figured all the eating was done and over with; however, I have a vivid memory of the plate of nachos disappearing... quickly.

What I witnessed that day 14 years ago has come full circle. Whether it be nachos or peanut butter the shelf life around teenagers is about 5 seconds.

Anyone know where I can get peanut butter on sale??


Homemade Soft Cat Food

This is a great way to make homemade soft cat food.
Here's what you need:
1 can tuna
dry cat food
old jar or butter tub

Drain tuna juice into jar or tub.
Fill the jar 3/4 way full with dry cat food.
Put the lid on the jar and shake up.
Let sit in fridge for a day or microwave for 30 seconds.
Stir and feed to your feline friends!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. -Luke 2:19

Tonight Vaughan just hugged me. He stood at the end of the bar, put his arms around me and hugged me.
Then he said,
" I love you mom"


Monday, April 07, 2008

Good Eats

Ok, so if you love Bisquick and haven't tried their Ultimate Chicken Fingers.
I suggest you do so.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

This Is How I Roll

We survived Spring Break 2008!
Please go check out the video they made this week.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Girls Like Pink Fluffy Things and Unicorns

Boys like hard sticks and wrastlin'!

One thing that they don't tell you in child rearing classes is the unwritten rule among boys that fighting is cool. It's been high on my list to teach my children love for all. Love for your fellow human, love for animals, love simply makes the world go 'round. So 6 years ago when I found my oldest was biking a block away to wait for an older boy to get home from school so they could fight I was dumbfounded.

Wrastle. I think that's how Steve and his buddies referred to it. Wrestle, wrastle, whatever it's called boys just seem to have it in them to do it. It's the hunter gatherer, the fighter, defender. As young as kindergarten I remember the boys on the trampoline rolling around trying to pin the other one.

We actually left a home school play group over this. The boys would always pick up sticks and run around at the park defending someone or some cause, sword fighting one another, trees and anything that they felt needed a good smack. This behavior prompted a few of the other moms to ask me to please not have my boys play with sticks at the park anymore. Needless to say that was years ago and we now meet at the park with families that have boys a lot of boys.

So back to the fighting. I do not condone it. I say love one another, turn the other check, treat others as you wish to be treated. So a few weeks ago when Justin returned from a birthday party, what to my wandering eyes did I see? A black eye. Yep, he got in his first fight and pop he took one to the eye. Not a massive shiner by any means but a black eye nonetheless.
It's his left eye.

Fuzzy close-up. Each day he looked in the mirror, hoping it was still there. The importance of people noticing this new beauty mark was big for him

So while we're outside the dog and cat started messin' with one another and I had to snap a pic. We have 2 cats that like the dog and will play with him. They hide as he runs by, they chase him; he turns and chases them until they stop in some tall grass and hide waiting for his run by.

Here's Fluff with our cat Lolli a.k.a. Pooper Scooper (don't ask)

And of course our Frisbee dog. I also have to say that when this dog goes disc golfing with us he knows what frisbee is his and which is ours- good boy!


PS the boy Justin fought with is a friend of his since kindergarten. Justin asked him to stop throwing sticks at him, he didn't, Justin then went right after him on the attack. They are still buddies, "just a friendly fight" was the response I got.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Spring Break Con't

Day four is partway through. I thought I should get a jump start on chronicling Spring Break Sleepover 2008. I had plans this morning with some youth group girls at the beach, when I left my house the head count was 5, when I returned 3 hours later it was up to 7.

For a snack they ate 8 eggs.
They devoured a box of mac-n-cheese and 60 chicken nuggets.

Activity wise the younger three jumped on the trampoline in the rain, love Florida days like today, and when the rain stopped they jumped in the hose. The older boys have been shooting a new movie, the gag reel should be funny as they "set" is an actually living breathing house with me blurting into scenes with things like "don't use that towel". I'll be sure to post the movie when it's done.

The lego room has been transformed into a stage with seating for the concert Justin and his friend are putting on tonight. That would explain where all my dinning room chairs have gone. I need to get a Nanny Cam so I can record what goes around here while I'm gone- I'd bet money it's small tornadoes and hurricanes.

I already have items in the Lost and Found, oh yes with the amount of kids in and out of here every week, all things not ours go into the Lost and Found, before you leave... check the Lost and Found.

Well so far that's where we're at, I gotta run older boys home form a video shoot and my lunch is ready, I know I know, it's 4:30 and I'm eatting lunch!

Happy Spring Break!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

2 Days Down

So we're a full 2 days into Spring Break 2008!

Last year we pledged to go to the beach every single day and we did! My dear friend Annie and her two boys joined us just about every day; even on the day it rained!
This year so far:
Monday we relaxed all morning before meeting friends at the park to RipStick, run around or just walk around and talk, it's like recess back in the day.
Tuesday we picked up a friend and visited the comic book store and christian book store so Justin could pick up his pre-bought all-new, Hawk Nelson CD labeled Hawk Nelson is My Friend. It came with some extras for pre-buying so he was psyched!
Today, well you'll have to wait.
I also thought you may want to see pictures of our Easter with my mom and fam. We'll celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter with Steve's family on April 27.
Justin, his flo-hawk or faux-hawk or whatever they're calling it, and Fluff, on the way to my mom's.
Fluff is only allowed on the porch! That's Justin RipStiking in the background with orange shirt.

My mom's farmhouse table.

I told you the pictures were pitiful.
Happy Spring!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Governor Declares Home Education Week March 30-April 6

Good news! Governor Charlie Crist has declared March 30-April 6 to be Home Education Week in Florida! This is the second year in a row that Governor Crist has issued a homeschool proclamation.

Governor Crist included in his declaration that:

“WHEREAS, over two decades of studies indicate most children who are home educated exhibit self-confidence, good citizenship, exceptional academic test scores, higher than average college attendance and success and many have proven devotion to their country by faithfully serving in the armed forces of the United States;” and

“WHEREAS, from the earliest days of our nation, there have been some prominent Americans who were home educated including George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Booker T. Washington, Helen Keller, and Sandra Day O’Connor.”

This year’s proclamation also recognized various assets of homeschooling, including strengthening the family, parental involvement, character development, and educational opportunities that are available.

Regina Hicks of Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) and Kendall Hicks of the Christian Home Educators of the Sunshine State (CHESS) contacted the governor’s office to secure this proclamation, making some additions from last year.

We recommend all homeschoolers in Florida to widely distribute this proclamation and celebrate homeschooling during the designated week!

Happy Homeschooling fellow home educators!


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