Monday, September 29, 2008


Well I think that I have finally reached the end of my little tour of Greece. Before I close this chapter of my blog I just had to share one more amazing place---Paralia. I had heard so much about this place before our trip I just could not wait to see it in person. Paralia is a boardwalk of sorts but unlike anything we have here in the states. Right at the water's edge, a cement walkway lined with restaurants, ouzories, and coffee shops that seemed to go on forever. Each place with it's own seating area equipped with umbrellas to shield off the sun. Such a welcoming place to sit and enjoy a cold coffee drink with family.

Adding to the charm of Paralia were little carts placed here and there selling popcorn, nuts, roasted corn, toys, and balloons.
I was surprised to see that Paralia is always busy. Even in the early morning hours men gather for coffee. Sitting at the little tables some in groups socializing others alone with the morning paper. As the day turns from morning to afternoon, others begin to fill the walkway. As evening comes, Paralia is at it's busiest. Families, young couples, old couples, friends, and relatives all gather at this spot to walk and enjoy each other's company. The sun sets, yachts return from a day at sea, and weary passengers head for the restaurants or their hotel rooms.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading and being a part of my Greek adventure. The memories I have made on this trip are priceless and ones that I will always cherish. If the opportunity ever comes along for you to visit Greece, take it----You will love visiting this most beautiful place and I know you will cherish your memories as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Toys

Don't you just love when new products finally arrive at your local crafts stores. If you are like me, you sit at your computer and drool over all the sneak peeks they tease you with. My mind whirls with ideas. When they finally arrive at the stores, I am like a kid in a candy store. I can hardly make a decision as to what to buy first. On a recent visit to my local Joann Fabric Store, I was delighted to find a display of the new Sizzix die cuts. I stood there for several minutes just looking at their cuteness. There were snowflakes, gingerbread men, Christmas trees, presents, wreaths, holly leaves, cups of hot chocolate, and tags. They came in all sizes--little Sizzlitts, original sized dies, and the new Bigz dies. Can you see why I was so excited and why it took me so long to make a decision. Well I finally narrowed it down to two. I choose.........I quickly took them home. I couldn't wait to play with my new toys. I opened the Christmas tree die first gathered all my Christmas paper together and began to create. I distressed the background card stock just a bit with some sandpaper and added some stitching to give the card a homespun look.
The possibilities with the bird and vine die are endless. Oh of course he can be "the partridge in a pear tree" for your Christmas cards but he can be so much more. I thought it would be fun to cut the vine from a piece of vintage sheet music and the sweet little bird from a simple piece of pattern paper. For the background of the card I used my Cuttlebug embossing folder in the textile pattern. Finally to secure the sentiment to the card, I added a bit of stitching.

I had such a good time creating with my new die cuts. I hope you get a chance to see them in person. They are wonderful. Oh and did I mention there is a whole series of Halloween dies too but that's a post for another time...............

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Greek Family

My Greek Family--a family that I had known only through pictures, stories told to me by my father-in-law and my husband, and brief phone conversations. Each year at Christmas I would type a letter summarizing our year and mail it off with photos in hopes that they would get to know us a bit better. A family that I loved but did not really know and were so very far away. When we decided to travel to Greece this summer, that was one of the things I was really looking forward to---getting to know this family that I had heard so much about. I now find that this is one of the things I miss most about Greece---my family. Uncle Nestor----stories about him are legendary. Such a fun-loving, easy going, good humored man. He always had something up his sleeve to make us laugh. Because Uncle Nestor lived in the States for about 10 years, he was able to speak English very well which made it so easy to get to know him better. One evening after dinner, we were all relaxing and enjoying each others company. Uncle Nestor came from the kitchen with two dinner plates. One for himself and the other he handed to my son. He told Alex that he was going to preform a trick and Alex would be hypnotized. Handing Alex the plate, he told him to hold it chest level and to focus only on his eyes. He then instructed Alex to do as he did. Uncle Nestor began to rub the bottom of his dinner plate with his fingers. Alex did as he was told and rubbed the bottom of his. Uncle Nestor then took his finger and ran it along his face. Once again Alex did the same. It became very clear to all of us what Uncle Nestor was up to. All of us except Alex. This was the result of Uncle Nestor's plot.While in the kitchen he had secretly placed ashes on the bottom of Alex's plate. This is just one example of Uncle Nestor's humor. It was also Uncle Nestor who drove us safely all over Greece in the rented van helping to make our trip so amazing.

Thio Dimitri----It was at Thio Dimitri's home where we gathered everyday for our meals. I will never forget his beautiful patio where he built an amazing outdoor sink and the lovely awning that shaded us from the sun.
He also had a silly side which showed up in the funny faces he would make for all of my pictures.

It was Theo Dimetri who woke early each morning to visit the market to purchase the food for the day. He worked so hard keeping things in order to help make our vacation perfect.
Aunt Angie and Thia Anna----I don't think I have ever met two such special ladies. Aunt Angie is married to Uncle Nestor and Thia Anna is Thio Dimitri's wife. I could write forever about all the thoughtful things they did for us. I really don't think they sat for 5 minutes at a time busily caring for every one's needs. All of the delicious meals that I spoke of in the last post were made by these two ladies. When laundry needed to be done, they not only washed our cloths but ironed them to perfection. I so appreciated them and all the love they put into everything they did.
There were so many cousins to meet and get reacquainted with. The last time my husband had been to Greece was the year before we were married. That was 23 years ago. He had alot of catching up to do. As for my son and I, we had a great time meeting and getting to know each and everyone of them.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet and get to know each and every one of them. They are truly special people and are not just relatives who live so very far away----but have now become FAMILY.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Taste of Greece

When people learn of my recent travels to Greece, one of the first questions that I am asked is "What was the food like?" Well I can answer that in one word.....DELICIOUS!!! Each meal was equally wonderful----I don't think that I could choose a favorite. Thia Anna and Aunt Angie (Alex's two aunts) are amazing cooks and worked so hard to prepare fabulous meals for us. Each day there are two meals---the larger meal is eaten around 1:00 o'clock and the other is eaten later in the evening around 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock. After morning coffee the preparation for the lunch meal begins. A trip to the market, butcher or fish market, and bakery is a must to purchase all of the ingredients. On Wednesdays an open air market (called the Lykee) is held just several blocks away where wonderful produce, fresh herbs, eggs, dried beans, or fish can be purchased.

The trip to the market was like a buffet for the senses. Watching the activity of busy shoppers, listening to the merchants encouraging shoppers to stop and see their wares, and oh the wonderful fragrant smells of sweet peaches, ripe olives, and fresh herbs. On the days that the Lykee is not open fish can be purchased at the fish market.
Yes that is octopus which I did taste and was surprised to find that it was not as bad as I anticipated. At this point you may be wondering if fish is all that we ate. Oh my no!!! The most delicious chicken with lemon potatoes, chicken with okra and eggplant, lamb with eggplant, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, pasta with meat sauce, tomato salad with feta cheese, and roasted beef with pastitso. One evening we had a special treat. Uncle Nestor and been to the butcher and purchased a smorgasbord of meat to be grilled. Lamb chops, pork, chicken, and a yummy Greek sausage which was grilled on a little grill right on the sidewalk.

Poor Uncle Nestor---it was about 100 degrees in the shade the day we grilled.
After each meal fresh fruit is served. Usually watermelon and honeydew. So full of flavor and sweet unlike anything we have here in the United States. In case you are wondering---the desserts are unlike anything that I have tasted before. Wonderful almond cookies covered with powdered sugar, cakes covered in coffee flavored whipped cream with cookie centers, and this delicious tort that reminded me a bit like Taramasou.

Now that I have made you all hungry, I will share an easy recipe so that you can experience your own taste of Greece.
Grilled Eggplant Dip
6 small eggplants
6 fresh cloves of garlic finely minced
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of salad vinegar
salt to taste
Wash and place the eggplants on a heated grill. Grill until soft---about 25-30 minutes turning often to grill evenly. When eggplants are soft, remove from grill and immediately run under cold water to remove the skin easily. Once skin is removed, place eggplants in a food processor and process until the consistency of oatmeal. Stir in remaining ingredients and refrigerate for about two hours to let the flavors intense. Serve with pita or bagel chips.
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