Thursday, March 10, 2011

Apokries 2011~ Clean Monday

Cute isn't she? This was the first of many hats and masks that she would bring home from school during Apokries/carnival season, which has kept us busy for the last few weeks. 

 My little bird says, "Chiou, chiou." 

I'm on the PTA/syllogo at Alexandra's school and we made soutzoukakia sandwiches for the children on Tsiknopempti or "Charred Thursday." Tskinopempti is the beginning of Apokries/Carnival in Greece.  Each sandwich consisted of 2 small soutzoukakia  and fries. We served the children at around 11:00am because many of them are finished with their day by noon. Alexandra is always thrilled when I'm at school helping with these events. What's really cute is that a lot of the children refer to me as "Ms. Alexandra" because they don't know my name but they know that I'm her mother. 

She had a wonderful time. 

One week later we had a costume party to attend. The kids were so excited and  I have to say that shopping for new costumes this year was a lot of fun. Alexandra was an angel, Foti a ninja, Izabella was Hannah Montana(again), and I wore a festive hat that Alexandra selected especially for me. 

At the party. 

There was a clown that entertained the children for a few hours. Here's Alexandra with her "weiner." 

By the end of the night, the balloons lost their cool shapes...somehow. 

So the costume party was over and we had the weekend ahead. This year we didn't go to Kozani or anywhere to see a parade. The weather forecast  for the weekend was cold and snowy so we decided to stay close to home. 
And the forecast for Clean Monday/Katheri Deftera was even less promising.  

The morning was dreary and gray. I started cooking the traditional  bean soup, fasolada, early so that it would be ready and warm when we returned from flying our kites. It's tradition to fly kites on Clean Monday and you can usually look up and see kites in the air everywhere throughout the day-which wasn't the case in our area this year. Since we didn't fly kites last year because of the snow and cold we experienced in Kozani, we promised the kids that nothing would keep us from going out this year.

As soon as we left the house to fly our kites it started to rain, then snow and then it rained again. But it didn't matter, we were going to stick with our plans. So, we drove to a beach nearby and found a nice open area, which was easy since there was only one other family at that location braving the cold weather, it was very quiet. I have to admit that this was the first time in my life that I flew a kite on a beach over the water. Very cool, except when you see your kite going down! Luckily, we were able to maneuver our kites away from the sea a few times and I'm happy to report that none of them took a dive. 

Alexandra flying her kite. 

 It's the first time she managed to keep one up on her own. 

Foti is always totally into it. I bought him a new kite this year and he couldn't wait to fly it.  

Although we managed to keep this one up in the air for a bit, we were mostly disappointed by its performance. 

His old- but trusty Spider-man kite flew much better. 

Foti flying his Spider-man kite. 

 Here's a shot of Izabella flying her Dora kite. She's had this one since she was two years old. It's still flying strong, even in the rain & snow. 

Izabella taking a break from the wind and snow. 

It did get very cold and after about an hour of fun we were frozen so we packed up and went home where I immediately served hot chocolate and coffee, a perfect way to warm up. And since everyone was hungry it was time for lunch. 

I served lagana, which is traditionally served on only one day each year...Clean Monday. 

Here's the fasolada I made. I've used Maria's recipe for the last few years and the kids love it. It's just as delicious as it looks. 

We also had olives and a side of  "paprika" to spread on our lagana. 

And finally, Makedonikos Halvas

Izabella dips her lagana into her fasolada. 

After lunch we lit a fire and relaxed- watching the wicked weather outside while staying cozy and warm inside.  This was one of the the quietest Apokries seasons that we've had since living in Greece and it was wonderful. Kali Sarakosti.


~Kyra Sarakosti~

Alexandra's Kyra Sarakosti  ~with no mouth which represents fasting, her hands are crossed in prayer and she has seven feet to represent the seven weeks of Lent. A foot is removed after each Saturday that passes until Easter. 




  2. As always, very nicely said!! Great job!

  3. Είστε υπέροχη οικογένεια ,πολύ όμορφοι και μαμά και παιδάκια και σας χάρηκα πάρα πολύ !!!
    Κάνετε όλα τα έθιμα και τα μαθαίνουν και τα παιδιά !!
    Αυτό είναι θαυμάσιο !!!
    Να μου τα φιλήσετε και του χρόνου !!!
    Με αγάπη

  4. Thanks for sharing this story about tradition in your country. I would love to try the food you made:)

  5. what a cool holiday! your kids are adorable and the food looks delicious - thanks for taking us along on this fascinating look into the way greeks celebrate the lenten season!

  6. Great holidays, gorgeous pictures, beautiful faces and inviting dishes!!

  7. Lovely photos...and what memories to cherich with your children...
    Take care

  8. @ LENA...Ευχαριστώ πολύ Λένα! Ναι, τα παιδιά κάνουν τις διακοπές! Νομίζω ότι θα κοιμηθείτε μέχρι αργά το αντίθετο. :) Δεν μπορώ να περιμένω για το καλοκαίρι. Ευχαριστώ! XOXO

    @ Connie...Thank you Connie!!!!! :0)

    @ magda...Ευχαριστώ πολύ Μάγδα! Πιστεύω ότι είναι σημαντικό να γίνει μια επιπλέον προσπάθεια για να κάνουν τις διακοπές ειδικά - όπως έκανε η μητέρα μου. Τα παιδιά θα θυμάμαι πάντα αυτή την εποχή. Ευχαριστώ για τα καλά λόγια!

    @ Ola...Hi Ola! You're welcome, I started this blog years ago because I love to share what's going on in my life. I wish I could serve some of this food but since I can't I have many links Greek Food bloggers/friends that have wonderful recipes. I learned how to cook Greek food by using many of their recipes. Hope all is well!

    @ Joy...Hi Joy! So good to hear from you. Yes, it was a nice couple of weeks. So much to do and so much to eat! Hope you are well. :0)

    @ Amanda...Thank you, the kids had a great time. This year wasn't quite as exciting as the previous years in terms of events but I think we enjoyed the carnival season more since we kept it low key. Nice to hear from you!

    @ Phivos...Thank you, Thank you, Thank you & Thank you! :)
    We had a very nice time. Hugs from all of us. xo

    @ Jude...Thank you Jude. The kids had such a nice time, their smiles and laughter are so precious.

  9. Isn't it grand that Alexandra is so proud to have you participate at her school, that is an awesome compliment to you as a Mommy ♥
    The children are adorable...and as usual your photos are a treat.
    Hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend, Cheryl.

    btw, how is Gigi these days, and Foti's big dog?

  10. Hi Biddy!

    Yes, I love that Alexandra enjoys me helping at school- especially since Foti sometimes gets embarrassed when I dote over him in front of his friends. :) I'm glad you enjoy my photos. I have soooo many. We're planning a quiet weekend, I hope to get out with my camera and capture a little of spring, all of the almond trees are in full bloom, very pretty.

    Gigi is doing great, sitting right next to me as I type...she's just as cute as ever. I'll have to post some pics of her soon. Tarzan is doing well either...he's Foti's black dog and then there's Lobo. Lobo is doing ok too but unfortunately I have to keep him chained up most of the time since he likes to climb the fence(we have a very high fence) and bother the chickens across the road. And, he also likes to scare people who walk by. So, I worry about him getting poisoned and I keep him near his dog house. We've had him for about a year now.

    I hope that you have a nice weekend too Biddy!!!


  11. those soutzoukakia sandwich rolls look so tempting - you know how good they are without the sauce! And I must say, that fasolada looks just like mine, so you need to be cognratulated!

  12. Maria...those soutzoukakia were really delicious- and filling! And the fasolada was so good, I'm glad you're impressed! Now, I wonder if it tastes as good as yours...:D