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Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Sissy

Fresno has been a little quieter these past few days. Friendships have been without their biggest and dearest friend. Restaurants have felt the slow in lunch time diners. Two very special little people have missed their mother's quirky little tunes and animated stories. And one very lonely sissy misses her most enthusiastic partner in crime. You see, Sophie I. Garcia has left the building; actually she has left the country and those left behind miss her presence. But we all remember her tonight as it is her birthday and even though she is miles away, the love and attention she gives on a daily basis to each and everyone who crosses her path is celebrated! I want to wish her the most happiest of birthdays. Her unselfishness is unsurpassed and her love is the most unconditional I have yet to experience besides my parents. I wish to be more like her in my relationships and my life. To love wholeheartedly and with every ounce of your body is what my sissy does and I have really missed it this week. My kindred spirit, chosen by God and hand delivered into my life, my sissy. Happy Birthday to you my dear sweet sissy. I've tucked your babies in tonight and sang them their songs-although not as good as you do every night-but good enough to get a giggle and a hug. Enjoy your highly anticipated vacation back in Greece where I'm sure you are pouring out your love to all our family members we haven't seen in years. Happy Happy Birthday...xoxo

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chicken Stuffed Peppers


For dinner tonight I found this recipe on pinterest. It called for cooked, chicken, bell pepper, cheddar cheese, rice, cream of mushroom soup, salt, pepper, and onion. In my quest to sneak in Quinoa, I decided to make a substitution for the rice. I boiled 1 cup Quinoa and 2 cups Chicken Broth (added some butter so the kids wouldn't  be able to tell they were eating Quinoa) and cooked it for 15mins. The fluffed and added to the bell peppers. Mixed the two cooked chicken breasts, cup of mushroom soup, salt and pepper, and onion and cheese and mixed it all together. Filled the bell peppers added more cheese and 20 mins in the oven on 350 and voila! Served with steamed broccoli and apples and dinner was served! I think you could classify this as gluten free? No one tasted the difference, not even the hubs!
Happy dinners!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Kitchen Table


The kitchen table. One of my favorite places in the house. It's where homework gets done, art projects are started and finished, where papers gather and people gather to share their day's High's and Low's. It's where our family sits and enjoy good food and good laughter. It's the hub of the house. Everything revolves around this one place made to bring everyone together. It's where I have my morning cup of coffee before everyone wakes up. It's where my kids laugh and tell me about their day. It's where the food is displayed during a party and the place I have set up a multitude of candy buffets. It's where my kids pray for our meals and spill their milk. I can't tell you how many times I have cleaned up glue, glitter, butter, crumbs, water, syrup, sauce, and sticky mysteries. It's my home, my heart. And growing up it was my favorite place in my home. It's where my dad would lead us into a Greek prayer song every night. Where my mom would serve her
homemade meals. It's where she eats her meals now, not prepared by her but her caregiver, not surrounded by her children, but my dad. And they sit and enjoy one another and dad tells her about his day and she smiles. It's where there is love, a whole lot of love.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Healthy Baked Chicken Nuggets for dinner

                                                             Picture from Skinnytaste.com

So tonight I had 4 chicken breast to make something fabulous for dinner. Oh the choices one has when you look up a chicken recipe. But tonight I settled on my favorite site, skinnytaste.com  She has the best recipes and they are healthy for you which makes it even better! And let's just say tonight, my kids asked for more! I didn't have any panko on hand, and it still turned out fabulous! My Zoe who never eats her chicken ate a second and a third helping!!! Try it! Click here to get her recipe from her site!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Opa!

This is for all my non-facebook friends...in honor of our local Greek Festival here is a great and easy Greek recipe you can do at home! Opa!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bloom where you're planted

She was always there in her garden planting and making things come to life. That was her gift, life. She herself bloomed where she was planted, millions of miles away from what she new as home. Not only did she bloom, but everything around her came to life as well. My mom could make anyone smile and forget about all their life's problems. I would remember her open door policy, you never had to call to come by for a visit or some lovin'. She was always there in her garden. Her garden was her church with her heavenly family. Her garden was her children's homes when they grew up, always stopping by with groceries and treats for the grand kids. Her garden was the parking lot when someone would beg for some spare change, she would always give to them-always. Her garden was where her friends were; whenever they were in need she'd give them whatever she could. My mother's garden was full of flowers that were on the clearance racks at the nurseries. She'd never buy the ones who were perfect, but the ones who needed an abundance of sun and water. Those were the ones she'd bring home and back to life. I miss you mom today as I see my own garden in the backyard needing your attention, your life. 
my parents with Niko in my back yard~2005

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Hands


The other day I was visiting my mom and sat with her while she was trying to eat. She looks very thin these days and you can tell it mostly in her arms and hands. As she slowly used her fork to pick up her food, the task of reaching her mouth seemed daunting. I just stared at her and held her other hand and wondered what amazing things these hands used to do in her lifetime. She used to do it all, just like I do today with my children and in my life. She held us, bathed us, fed us, cleaned everything and everyone, made fabulous dinners and desserts, created flower arrangements coveted by all. She used to drive us everywhere and spank us when we deserved it. Made our beds, wiped our tears, pruned the yard, did her hair and make-up, hung our clothes. She ironed my dad's shirts, taught us how to clean a toilet using our hands and always said that a job was not completely done well with one hand only. She wrote our notes to school, signed our Christmas cards, and tied our shoes. She set the table for family gatherings, swept the floors, washed the dishes, and did it all over again and again. Yet today, feeding herself takes her a bit longer to do and that is one of the few things she can use her hands for. I held her hand that day, a bit lifeless than it used to be, but I quickly remembered all she had ever done for me in my life with her hands. When I was younger I used to hold her hand in church and stare at her pretty ring. I would put our palms together and outline my hand in hers. Athena did that the other day and my eyes filled with tears as I remembered my moment with mom. And all these memories filled my heart with that one touch that day at the kitchen table. One touch. Two hands. A lifetime of love.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back To School Lunches



So school is just around the corner...I am both excited for another year of memories and lessons, but also a bit sad to say good-bye to lazy afternoons by the pool and staying up way too late watching the Olympics. But, with school comes lunches...the dreaded lunches we have to pack everyday! I have to pack four, some of you have to pack five or six a day! Anyways, whether it's one, two, or more it's a chore, one we probably don't look forward to. I have been doing some research on Pinterest (I love that place) and have learned what some mothers out there do to make their mornings a little smoother. And here is one idea I have put into practice: Freezing sandwiches. I have done turkey and cheese in the past, but I found out through Pinterest you can freeze PB&J (why not, we buy them frozen) and Bagels and Cream Cheese! So, today I made 24 PB&J, 24 Bagels and Cream Cheese, and 24 Turkey and Cheese, some without Cheese-they have the red letter on the baggies. I have a stand up freezer in the garage where I stash all of these. This will last us a month...Anyways, here are some tips...
1. Turkey and Cheese:

  • I don't use mustard, I pack that instead with those travel packs from Smart and Final
2. PB&J:

  • I put PB on both sides and jelly in the center and I don't cut in half.
3. Bagel and Cream Cheese

  • I don't slice, but cream both sides.
PACKING:

  • The kids pack their own lunch the night before. They choose one sandwich of their choice and then they get their snack basket down (trying this for the first time this year) and pick two snacks. Then a small water bottle and lunch is done!
  • Sometimes, we appoint a person a night to be the lunch packer and they would do everyone's lunch that night. We like to switch it up sometimes...
Good luck with your lunches...let me know your ideas!