25 January 2016

Michael Miller Mini Challenge

I love a good challenge, especially when it falls into plans that I already had in mind.  I just found out last Thursday that Michael Miller was hosting a challenge to use it's fabrics to make a mini, well it just so happened that the week prior I got a whole package of Michael Miller fabrics!  Yippee, so fabric was no problem now to decide on a design, mmm... well my daughter recently requested to have her walls filled with mini quilts because and I quote her "I don't want you to make me any more dresses" aww... sad day for me, I had wanted that to be a new years resolution, to learn more about sewing garments.
Instead I am thinking about dressing her walls now... we will be painting her room later in the Spring when we start getting warmer weather and we already bought a Princess dancing barbie border, (picture on IG) so I used that as my inspiration for the first mini.
And used one of my favorite song verses "You've Got To Dance Like Nobody's Watchin'"  The size of this mini is 20" x 15"
I used Cotton Couture Solids for the girls and top and bottom border, Wee Sparkle Heart Sprinkles for the background, Arrow Flight Fuchsia for the binding. 

The second one came about from the love of Unicorn's that my daughter and I share, I bought this pattern during Christmas with the idea of using it to make a mini for my daughters room so this was the perfect excuse to get it done.
The pattern is from Quiet Play, and I used the opportunity to practice my FMQ skills and I broke 2 needles, crazy huh! The size of this mini is 10" x 13"
This one sparkles so much, I used Fairy Frost for the body, you can't see it in the picture, but I love it!
Fairy Frost for face, ears and unicorn horn, Out to Sea by Sarah Jane for the hair, Wee Sparkle Heart Sprinkles for the background, Arrow Flight Fuchsia for the binding. 
On both for the back I used Hayley Crouse's Color Me Fabrics
My daughter is very excited about coloring these, but first I have a few scraps to wash up and see how they do, using different markers to "test"
I colored the top one, my daughter colored the bottom :)
I enjoyed making these mini's
Can't wait to get them up on the walls, but first we need to do some painting.

09 January 2016

Athens Trip

The Greek Parliament Building, located across from Syntagma Square and McDonald's
 We took a quick trip down to Athens for our "Holiday" trip.  A train ride from Kalabaka to Athens takes 5 hours and for us this year it only cost 110euros and that was first class tickets.  I think it was a great deal.  Just driving a car cost almost 50 euros in tolls alone, not including gas and paying for a parking space.
Train ride up, these are the photos the kids will do, funny faces or hiding.
We left early Monday morning the train was supposed to arrive at 5:40, but did not appear till 6:10 am, thank goodness it was not that cold, but we were still not very happy about the wait.  We had our own little compartment which was very convenient considering Nik threw up like an Alien exploding out of a body, chunks of his breakfast (pistachios and cookies) went everywhere.  Arthur got the majority of the spray since he was sitting across from him, but both Katerina and I also got sprayage on our pants.  Which meant I got to go pant shopping in Athens since I only brought the one pair :)
On the metro
After arriving in Athens and taking a  short metro ride to our Hotel right off of Syntagma square, we ate lunch at McDonalds.  Then the kids and I walked around Ermou street, while Arthur did a little business.  We rested for a bit at our hotel and then met up with Katerina's Nouna (godmother) Ero who is working in a Hotel in Athens, just down the street from the one we were staying at.  We ate at Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner, are you seeing a trend here?  Yup this trip is all about eating and NOT eating Greek food, yippee!
Ero and Katerina and I went on a little shopping trip to find a new pair of pants for myself while Arthur and Nik went back to the hotel, so much easier to shop with out the boys.
Th LONGEST WALK EVER! The white lines above are the Olympic Stadium, close to the Golden Mall.
For about 2 months Arthur has been telling me how he has been planning this trip and has everything figured out, he showed me where we would be going on google maps street view.  I was just along for the ride, hehe.  Well I should have known that I'm the only one that can plan good trips.  Our next outing was to go to the "Chocolate Factory" and then to the Athens Mall to watch a movie in the Cinema.  Instead of taking the bus that is just outside of our hotel directly to the chocolate factory Arthur made the mistake of having us take the metro, we got on the wrong one, which then meant we needed to get on the train and then back on another metro and that dropped us off at the Mall and not the chocolate factory, so we took a bus, partly there and then had to walk, OMG!!!!  Have you ever done so many steps, the kids were complaining the whole way, you know "Are we there yet?"  "How much farther?" " My feet hurt"  "I'm hungry" grrr... All I could think about was how much I needed to go pee.  I made Arthur carry Kat, because she is like a bag of cement and it was his fault we were taking so many steps to get to our location. 
Chocolate Donut filled with Chocolate Nutella eating it at the Chocolate Factory

Well, we finally made it to the Chocolate Factory, which by the way I might add, Arthur didn't even recognize it from the street level and almost AGAIN took us the wrong way, but I did recognize it from the google maps that he showed me and insisted on just going around the corner for the entrance for the chocolate factory. Well (I'll be using that word a lot) Katerina did not like the smell at the entrance, haha, it was a very strong chocolate smell, so we just went to the cafeteria and ate the chocolate they had for sale, instead of spending 20euros on tickets and not getting any chocolate we spent 11euros and ate all of the chocolate.  Now it was time to go to the Athens Mall, I would have just hailed a Taxi, but Arthur again insisted on walking, we walked half way there, found an amazing donut shop called California Donuts !!!! Yippee, finally a good ol' American donut, I got a delicious donut with Bavarian Creme inside, I normally get the one topped in chocolate but since we just came from eating a massive amount of chocolate, (I ate all of the kids leftovers, chocolate overkill) I got the powdered sugar bavarian creme donut, plus with a Cappuccino coffee for only 2.50 euro, that is a steal!  I seriously want to move right next to this shop!
Trying to get her to put her shoes on after watching the movie.
Well the walk ended up being a little more than what Arthur bargained for and we were able to flag down a Taxi to finish the rest of the trip to the Mall.  We immediately went to the Cinema and it was perfect timing since the Star Wars movie was going to be showing in 10 minutes, we picked up a bucket of Popcorn, the kids were super excited as was I, this was their first cinema movie and Arthur and I's first cinema movie since watching "I am Legend" that came out December 2007, just before Nik was born.
Nik did okay in the movie, it was a little to much for Katerina, she is still a little young and the whole time kept talking about wanting to watch the " Scooby Doo" movie, cause Arthur told her there was one, when in fact it was a "Snoopy" movie, again, me, grr...

We enjoyed Kentucky Fried Chicken at the mall and some ice-cream, then went in search of the Lego store (which Arthur had promised the kids legos) but they didn't have a lego store at this mall, SOOO.... back to the other mall, this time with an immediate Taxi, I was not going to be walking again.  We got the Lego that Kat so desperately wanted, an Ariel princess one with the prince and a boat.  Since we were back in the vicinity of the chocolate factory we took the bus and it dropped us off right in front of our hotel, easy peasy.  We slept very well that night.
Picking out sweets for the cousin, but taste testing first.
The next day was a national holiday, the Nameday, Fotini, ( Φωτεινη) and everything was closed except sweet shops, florist and restaurants.  We picked up some sweets for Arthur's cousin who happens to be named Fotini.
Found the perfect sweet, cream filled honey soaked filo "cigar"
It was supposed to be a quick little bus ride to see his Uncle and Aunt, I wanted to take a few photos of the changing of the guard outside of the Parliament building since that was happening as we were walking by, Arthur continued to walk up the street toward the bus stop.
Changing of the Guard.
 Well, I went to go find them and they weren't there, I panicked and walked back to the bus ticket counter, to confirm where the bus was supposed to leave from and then found Arthur and the kids at the parliament building waiting for me
Waiting for the bus, tired from walking up the big hill.

We catch the bus and of course it is the right bus but going in the wrong direction, we drove ALL over Athens, a 15 minute trip turned into an hour bus ride.  

Running on the bus, cause we have so much energy, and it's a long ride.

It was a nice visit with his Uncle and family, his wife has a very large family and they were all there to celebrate Arthur's cousins name day, so it was kind of like an American Thanksgiving party, loads of food, the only difference, the men eat first and at the coffee table/turned into dining room table and the women stand around the kitchen eating, but of course after the men have been served (Yes,  Greeks are very sexist)  

If your partner wants kids and you don't you can always invite us to your house, my kids are little terrors and they will make anyone rethink having children.  They wrestled the whole time, ran between rooms by going out on the veranda and running around to the next room.  
Ducking to avoid the camera and wrestling behind the couch.
 They took Aunties placemats and used them as light sabers to fight with (and asked to take them home with them, and being the Greek hostess that she was she said Yes, oh my) You can see Nik with his in the picture below.
left to rt., Arthur, Uncle, Auntie, cousin Kristos, cousin Fotini, and Nik behind.
 We left to go hook up with Ero again and this time we ate Chinese for Dinner, YES!! so super exciting, for me, that is, our hotel was located to what one person could term the Asian district of Athens, a whole lot of Asians walking around and 6 Chinese restaurants on one block.  
be prepared to have your purse rifled through if you meet my children.
 It was a fun meal, family style, wish we could have eaten more, but the kids had eaten a gyro just before we arrived but that didn't stop Nik from eating 5 Jumbo Fried Shrimp.  Arthur enjoyed the fried rice and Kat's nouna enjoyed the Spring Rolls which was a wonder since she does not like vegetable at all, hehe. 
Ero, Katerina's Nouna (Godmother)

HERE is a link to the map of where our hotel was just off of Syntagma Square, we stayed at Arethusa Hotel, I would recommend it, it was very nice and in a convenient spot.  We ate at Attic Moon, now if you eat Chinese food often then of course you don't want to come all the way to Greece to eat it, but if you don't get to eat it often I can also recommend this place, come hungry and eat family style, yummy! 
I really wish I had stopped at this sweet shop one more time before leaving, they had the most amazing sweets, even macaroons.  We don't have to many good sweet shops here in our town, of course that probably is a good thing for my waist line :) 
 Now the return trip Thursday morning was so much fun, for the kids, we again were in first class and this train had a kids padded play room, so awesome, we just let them in there and they wrested for a good 2 hours, came back to our private compartment and slept for another 2, it was a very nice return trip home.

Is your husband as bad with making traveling plans?
Or your kids as wild as mine, trust me, they are wild!