Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Snow on Apple Trees

Growing up in Wisconsin meant that snow was an inevitable part of winter . We waited for the first snow, hoping that there would be enough accumulation to warrant a day off of school to play and drink hot cocoa. Deep snow. Fluffy snow. Snow that packed well to make snowmen. I remember sitting at our kitchen window, my little nose pressed against the cold glass gazing into our back yard, waiting. I felt like that little girl once again, as I anticipated the snow last weekend.
Although I would consider the amount snow that accumulated  a light dusting, it was enough for me. As you might have noticed I took a lot of photos last Saturday morning. I think I took about 170 or so within an hour, easy. So here's a photo of our apple trees with snow on them because I love the effect of snow on trees, especially in black & white.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snowy Saturday Morning

View from Foti's room
All week we anticipated snow on Saturday. The children were excited and kept reminding us that it might possibly snow today. It's exciting because snow isn't typical for the area that we live in. In fact, the last snow that we experienced was two winters ago, our first winter in Greece. So, this morning I wasn't able to sleep in  like I'd hoped but instead, I had to get up and dress everyone to enjoy the snow. I didn't mind. The kids were ecstatic. So we got dressed and went outside to play in the snow. Well, the kids played. I took photos. Enjoy...

Izabella and Alexandra happy in the snow. They were so happy to pose in the snow. But, we had some difficulty taking photos because...

Tarzan kept jumping in and around the shots.

 Some of my lemons covered with snow.

My foot in the snow. Not the best choice of footwear given the little holes in the shoes. They're usually great for running outside or doing chores, but not in snow! My feet did get a little wet.

Foti posing in the snow. At first I was going to crop out the dogs but decided to keep them in so you could see how chaotic it was. They were having a blast running around and playing and again...

getting in the shots.

A branch from my daphne/ laurel tree covered in snow.

Gigi, looking out for Tarzan.

Tarzan took a moment from playing to lick snow off of a bench. I understand, I love eating snow too!

A calendula flower covered in snow.

After a while, I found Gigi waiting in front of the door. She had enough-time to go in where it was warm and cozy.

Inside, the kids were treated to hot chocolate and tsoureki to warm them up. Most of the snow has started to melt now, I'm glad that they were able to enjoy a snowy Saturday morning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Colors

As most of you know, one of my favorite things to do is to take photos of my flowers and other things that I have growing and/or bringing color around my house and it's been a while since I've actually posted any that I've taken. In fact, one of the last posts that features anything growing around here is "Green" which was posted on November 3, 2009. Although it's winter and  it's finally cold enough to actually "feel" winter (current temp 0 C/32 F)  things are green and growing and there's a lot of color throughout the season.  

Geraniums. I love that this climate allows geraniums to flourish year round as it's one of my favorite flowers. It's too bad Tarzan has eaten most of them, planters included. I took this photo yesterday and the only  reason that  it's survived Tarzan is because it's in a huge, cement planter that even I can't move.

 Lemons. Our lemon tree has produced hundreds of lemons this season. The second shot is from my balcony,   just outside of my kitchen. I can walk out and grab a lemon fresh from the tree whenever I need one. I love it.
Unfortunately, we've  lost a little more than half of the tree earlier this season due to a combination of the weight of the lemons and high winds. We have given bags and bags and crates away, just from this one tree and it's still full.

These little orange flowers are hardy and abundant. I  received the plants from my neighbors last winter and transplanted several throughout the property and they spread like wildfire.  Unfortuately, I forget what they're called. If anyone can tell me the name of this flower I would appreciate it. I did try looking it up but haven't had any luck. Also, according to my neighbor this flower has medicinal uses. It's pretty and strong and adds a lot of color to the yard throughout winter as well as most of the year.

Here's a photo of Tarzan's nose just near the flowers. He's always interested in what I'm doing so when I was  on the ground snapping photos of flowers he thought he'd supervise.

Peppers. These peppers belong to my neighbor. He's drying them for seed. I have a few left on some plants that I've neglected but his look so much better, especially for photos.  I love their redness and they definitely add color to my day.

Siberian squill ( Scilla Siberica). These are abundant along my front walkway. They've just started to bloom this week. The fragrance of these little flowers is absolutely delicious. I love walking by when these are in season.

We've had a few roses here and there but unfortunately, not this week. I hope that you've enjoyed a little splash of winter color from my corner of Greece.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Man and Two Dogs

Yesterday, as we were out for a walk and I came across a man and two dogs. As he gazed into the sea through his binoculars they sat quietly with him. Although they appeared to be loyal, I'm not quite sure that they belonged to him as they spent a lot of time wandering and then near us. Nevertheless, they were lovable.

The average dog is a  nicer person than the average person. 
~ Andy Rooney

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where have I been?

As the holidays pass for most families our season continues for a week longer which keeps all of us busy.So, once again life has led me to neglect my blog. Sure I've been present online, but not here. I've spent a lot of time reading, commenting and responding to email; but  not blogging. I can tweet with my kids running around but I can't concentrate on anything else since they usually protest whenever I sit near the laptop. Either they want to use it or they stick books or papers in front of my screen to get my attention. I remember using the same techniques while my parents read the newspaper. I can't really blame them.

 - A little of what I've been doing-

January 6th
Foti's name day. His full name is Fotios, named after my late father-in-law. Although I didn't expect too many guests, I had to be prepared if anyone decided to show up.I spent the day in the kitchen baking and making some of his favorite foods.  Foti was excited and loved receiving phone calls. I made him pizza for lunch and let him watch a movie later that afternoon.  At the end of the day we only had two guests and it was perfect. What was even better is that I had a lot of food left over and didn't have to cook the next day.

January 8th- Izabella's birthday.
Rushing to the bakery early that morning I  decided that although an already prepared cake might be fantastic; a homemade cake would be even better. And even better than that, a homemade cake in which the birthday girl could help make and decorate. So, after I picked Iza up from school we went straight to the store so that she could choose the toppings for her cake. We used this chocolate cake recipe. It was fantastic!
The actual birthday party will take place this weekend and we ordered another chocolate cake for the day. She chose a cake with Dalmations on it, not the Disney Dalmations, just regular Dalmations.

 Izabella had a great birthday and she was so pleased with everything. I still can't believe that she's seven.

and in between celebrations...

We had a play date with friends which allowed me to enjoy coffee & great conversation.

I made a few homemade pizzas. Honestly, I'd never attempted to make my own pizza dough until now, I don't know why. But I decided try my hand at it and  I was pleased with the results. I used Ivy's recipe for basic homemade pizza dough and made my own sauce. I topped one pizza with mozzarella cheese and the others with green peppers, onions, tomatoes and of course, mozzarella.  I have to say that they were a few of the better pizzas I've had in a while. I won't say the best because I still believe that Lisa's Pizzeria in my other neighborhood has the best pizza I've ever eaten.  But the kids loved my pizzas and they're particular about pizza so I'll believe them when they say that they were delicious.

I was able to spend quality time with Adriane. This is her favorite photo of us.

We went to the city to visit friends and along the way we stopped to watch ice skaters. It was too late for us to skate and we were dressed well so we couldn't...

but Foti  really wished that he could have. The kids  also enjoyed looking at the Ancient Agora as we passed by, but since it was dark I couldn't get a good photo.

And in the midst of our adventures in living I got very sick and it took about 5 days for me to feel better. Nasty flu!
But as soon as I recovered I was out taking photos again. These photos of the girls in the wheat field are significant because it's just outside  of our gate and  we've just learned that someone bought this stretch of land and will probably be building a house soon. I hope it's a house and not an apartment building because we love our view, not to mention the serenity.  Let's hope for the best!

Yes, it's Mt. Olympus in the background.


A few of my friends in the blogosphere inquired about my absence and I'm thankful. I'm back and not leaving blog land anytime soon. Thank you.

So, my year is off to a good start (well, minus the flu) and I'm optimistic to see how the rest of it unfolds.