Monday, August 29, 2016

Nothing Nutritional Noodles Recipe

Just after The Kid was born, my mom whipped up a batch of pasta that was mostly butter, salt, and chicken. It was delicious. Kate and I added some additional flair, and ate it obsessively throughout her stay. Here's our recipe:

Nothing Nutritional Noodles

2 chicken breasts
1 package/box of rainbow pasta
3/4 c. chopped sundried tomatoes
3/4 c. chopped red onion
4 TB butter
1/4 teas. poultry seasoning
2 teas. sea salt

Cook the noodles. While cooking, chop the breasts into nice, bite-sized pieces. Brown 2TB of butter in a big skillet, and add the chicken. When the chicken is halfway cooked, add the chopped onions, poultry seasoning, and 1/2 teas. of sea salt. As soon as the chicken is cooked, dump it out of the skillet and make it wait in a bowl until you're ready for it. Add another TB of butter to the hot skillet, and chuck in the pasta. Stir it around. When pasta begins to brown, dump the chicken/onions back in the skillet, and add the sundried tomatoes. Generously add the final TB of butter, and 1 1/2 teas. of salt to the skillet. Stir it one more time, and let it brown to your taste. Serve with a side of whatever vegetable will help you compensate for the high salt and butter intake.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Floor Fries

This was the culmination of my day on Wednesday:

I was grabbing the ketchup out of the fridge, when the door knocked into my box, and every single one of my fries landed on the floor. I sat down and stared at them for five minutes. 

It was a bad day anyway. The Kid had vaccines on Monday. He slept hard that night, and during the day on Tuesday. On Tuesday night, he realized that he'd been vaccinated, and was not pleased. He voiced that displeasure from 9:30pm Tuesday until bedtime on Wednesday.

But, isn't it funny, even in the worst situations, there's a silver lining for someone:

Bella eating fries. She sucked it in so fast, you can't even tell it was there.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mail Call: Californians

At least a week ago (and, actually, more like 2-3 weeks ago now), my California relatives curated and mailed us a big box of presents. 

Something for Everyone!

Kate was still here to enjoy it with us. She took the cat purse on the right, and I took the one on the left. Both match the cat purses we currently have--given to us a few years ago by the Californians. The dragon toy is really nice. It's probably too nice to let The Kid play with ever, but I imagine he'll eventually get his hands on it. The snacks are pretty much gone at this point. Phil took some on his trip, and Kate, Bella, and I ate the rest. 

What I'm saying is that we need more. Give us more.

I'm kidding, mostly. Thank you, Californians. Thank you so much. We're working on curating some things for you, because it's our turn to do something nice for a change.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mosquitoes and Bella's Solution

I just did the dishes. I did them for no other reason than that I noticed mosquitoes were using the sink as a staging area for their activities in my house.

The mosquitoes are pretty bad here. We have beautiful balconies, but we can't use them at breakfast or dinner unless we want to be eaten within an inch (inches?) of our lives.

Bella is on year-round Heartgard. There's a plug-in repellent next to our front door.

One of our neighbors told us that they used to spray the city with anti-mosquito stuff every year, but then there were environmental concerns, or monetary concerns, or some combination of concerns. Anyway, they don't do that anymore.

Mosquitoes really like the basement garage. I had two follow me from our car into the elevator, and up to our floor. I don't know where they ended up, but not our sink. At least I can say that.

Honestly, I think Bella has the best approach. I looked over and she had wrapped herself up in this blanket.

She followed me around the house with the blanket hanging over her back, and dragging behind her.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Abandoned by Auntie Kate

Auntie Kate has left the country. She decided to follow through with her longstanding plan to abandon us for the cold comforts of America yesterday morning. It was rough, not the least because we had to wake up at 6am, after waking up at 4am, after going to bed at midnight, because we were watching What About Bob. I started to cry at the airport, but I was too tired to get beyond a couple tears. On the way home, I suddenly realized that I wasn't a passenger, but was, in fact, driving the car, and had to operate the vehicle. We are all safe in our own homes now.

I'm compartmentalizing the fact that she's gone. I can't imagine changing all those diapers myself. We crammed in as much fun as possible during her last couple of weeks here. I am behind on sharing things with you. I have recipes, tourist sites, funny dog stories, crafts, mail, and all sorts of dull anecdotes to shove down your throats.

I will try to catch up this week and next. Go easy on me. I'm single parenting while Phil is out of town. Here are a few photos from our lives before Kate left:

Kate made this cake because Phil left and we were sad.

She also made this cake because we wanted cake.

It was a good cake.

This is our chocolate dipping day, with the fondant Kate made for us. The chocolate was a gift from our California relatives. They sent us a big box of stuff, which you'll see later.

Kate made wheat bread, too. This makes it look like all we did was bake and eat before she left. That's only mostly true.

Bagels. I'm getting better at them.

White chocolate dipped pretzels. These didn't turn out as well.
The chocolate was driving us crazy.

Beach day at Sounio. Check out our new beach shade.

See, so we didn't only bake and eat. We also sat around.

Kate and I made a special trip to Nafplio for gelato and worry beads. Here she is coming out of the cool worry bead store, with a fabulously expensive set of beads. It was worth it. I like this shot because there's a dude walking into the frame, with a bunch of gelato shoved in his face. Well done, dude.

Check out this enormous cruise ship in the water by Nafplio. It's too big to be allowed. 

Nafplio in the summer. I took a photo in this spot back in January. It's on the blog. See if you can find it.

Now see if you can find Kate in this photo from Epidavros.

This is a flattering selfie. I like this.

Miss you, Auntie Kate. When you get the chance, come back. There's a diaper with your name on it.

Fine, I'll change it.

This photo was staged, but she really did walk to her gate about a minute after I took it.
Goodbye! We love you!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Mail Call Birthday

We've received a lot of mail this week. At the risk of bragging, we're going to share it all as a very public thank you.

Here's, not the latest, but the most fitting for the day.

Phil's mom sent us a box of baby clothes and snacks, which is particularly nice of her, as it's her birthday week. We're the ones who should be sending her boxes of gifts.

I'm running out of storage space for all of these snacks. Storage space is what I call my stomach.

I would vote for The Kid. He seems to have it together. He just figured out how to roll over.

Happy Birthday, Grandma J! Thank you for the lovely gifts.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Lake Vouliagmeni

Once we were mostly over our colds, we decided that we should go out and do something fun. We chose to go to Lake Vouliagmeni, which is a natural thermal lake, fed by underground currents of brackish water. It has a temperature of about 24 degrees C (~75 F) year-round. When we went it was closer to about 80F. Jane and Phil had heard about this lake from a friend, and it was on my "Things I Must Do Before I Leave" list. 
The water in the lake is said to have healing properties, due to the mineral content, so it is used as a spa. You have to pay to get in, but the ticket is good for the whole day; as long as you keep it you can go in and out at your leisure. There is a deck built all around the edge of the lake, and there are lounge chairs and tables set up all over the deck. We got there early enough that we were able to find a really nice spot with not too much shade and not too much sun. There is a restaurant and bar, and there are servers who walk around so you can order food and eat it lakeside if you don't feel like leaving your lounge chair.
The very best part of the lake is that it is filled with Garra Rufa, a.k.a., Doctor Fish! These fish are used in spas around the world (not in the U.S.) because they like to nibble at dead skin. It has been claimed that they help alleviate the symptoms of different skin conditions, such as psoriasis. I can't think of any words that can properly describe the feeling of being nibbled on by hundreds of fish, but to quote Phil, "It's almost unbearable." It doesn't hurt by any means, but it is such an intense tickly feeling that we all agreed it could be used as a method of torture. I know that makes it sound bad, but once you get past the excruciating initial moments, it is actually incredibly relaxing!

The view from our spot

I very highly recommend adding Lake Vouliagmeni to your to-do list if you find yourself in Athens.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cousin Mail Call

Phil's cousins sent us a giant, stuffed box of baby things. They wrote nice notes on various items explaining their significance. Some of the things are hand-me-downs from their three rad boys.

All of this was expertly packed into a diaper box.
I think I've said before that living away from family is the most difficult aspect of our lifestyle. It's going to be a while before The Kid is able to meet and play with his second cousins.

And those second cousins are really cool, too. They're the kind of second cousins you'd want to meet.

You can see some of the notes in this photo. They were funny, sweet, and very touching.

The clothes are all bigger sizes, which is exactly what we needed right now. The Kid is starting to chunk up, and his teeny things aren't cutting it anymore.

That sweatshirt had a particularly cute story attached. It's been handed around a few times, and we're excited that The Kid will carry the torch now.

Phil's cousins included a teething ring, too, but we've already had to bust that thing open.

Bella, and The Kid, love the Bumbo. It's going to be a real point of contention. Exciting.
Thank you for the baby things. Thank you for the handwritten notes. Thank you for the lovely card. Thank you for the family photos, which we've framed and put on The Kid's family photo shelf. Thank you for supporting us, for thinking of us, and for taking care of us. Sending all our love back to you, along with a mega-load of gratitude.