Archive | September, 2012

Happy 3 Months!

27 Sep

Willy Wonka with his Bla Bla Doll

Things Willy Wonka has accomplished:

–       Two 11 + hour international flights

–       Been on three continents: Europe, Asia, and North America

–       The art of a conversation

–       Massive drooling

–       Sleeping from 8 pm to 7:30 am

–       Smiling a lot but never for the camera

–       Found hands and managed not to swallow them

Things Willy Wonka would like to do:

–       Go to his first Kasimpasa football match

–       Enjoy tummy time

–        Sit under the Christmas tree

–       Poop more than once every 5 days

–       Meet his new kanka (close buddy) that is arriving in November

Favorite Song:

I sing this every night before he sleeps.  I always add my own animals such as, “If I were a monkey I would swing to the store…”

Favorite Nursery Ryhme: 

He always smiles when I do this one.  Of course we mark it with a “W”


First Impressions

20 Sep

I’ve lived in Turkey for a little over three years and I still can’t speak Turkish.  It’s a bit embarrassing.  Now that I’m home with Willy Wonka I thought I might take some Turkish lessons.  It could be fun to shock my in-laws with a few ACTUAL Turkish sentences.  Right now I just throw a few words together and gesture a lot.  It’s like I’m constantly playing a game of charades.  So today I decided to look back on my old Turkish notebook.  It’s a big mess of Turkish vocabulary and grammar paired with a few journal entries from when I first moved to Turkey.  Here are a few of my first impressions of Turkey from when in I lived in Antalya.

June 13, 2009

Who knows if I can make it here for another six months or even a year.  I will try my hardest but everything is what you make of it.  Some thoughts:

My teeth are getting stained.  It’s gross, but I can’t stop drinking khave and çay (tea and coffee).  Good thing I know the word beyaz (white), so I can ask for the “beyazing” strips at the store.

Turkish food is AMAZING.  I just wish EVERYTHING wasn’t tainted with parsley.  I’m really into lamb chops, yogurt, rice, salad, and most of the other food.  It just seems all the restaurants serve the same thing.  Here there is a standard, it just varies in quality from place to place.  Someone needs to find something crazy to do with köfte (meatballs).  Finally, the desserts need some revamping.  Give me chocolate!

Traditional women who work in the fields appear all the same.  All have extremely colorful cotton pants, a mismatched shirt, and a head scarf.  Typically they are overweight although it looks like they’ve been on their feet for too many hours or carried too much weight. They walk like they are in pain.  Their leg bone structure resemble the St. Louis Arch or like they’ve just been on a very long horse ride.

I still haven’t found a moment to cook Turkish food this week. I do now realize there is a wonderful variety of Turkish food.  Parsley has grown on me, although I do prefer that people use it in moderation.  There are also many ways to cook kofte.  

One of my favorite old pictures. A few guys just sharing some raki. They found a way to beat the heat.

Small Goals

17 Sep

Babies eat all your “you” time (duhhhhh).  I’m lucky if I can peacefully use the bathroom during the day.  If the baby isn’t crying while I’m in the loo one of my animals wants to join me.  I guess they figure it is a great time to be pet.  So by 2 pm I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing but haven’t had a moment just to relax.  I need to start charting my activities. What am I doing from 8 am to 2 pm? Rather than making grand plans for the day I pick one “me” thing I want to achieve.  Showering doesn’t count, although it should because it’s not an easy task with a baby.  I am mastering the skill of doing my make-up with one hand; eyeliner is still challenging. 

 Today I my “me” goal was to finish Willy Wonka’s memory jar.  For a few weeks I’ve been writing memories and milestones with the date on small papers and putting them in a jar.  I’ve got a pen and precut papers in the jar to make things easy.  When the jar starts to fill I’ll take out the papers and paste them into his scrapbook (which hasn’t been started).  As I kid I always wanted to hear funny stories about when I was a baby so hopefully this will  be entertaining for Willy Wonka when he is older (or terribly embarrassing).  Here are the pictures of his finished jar. 

Willy Wonka’s Memory Jar

Background paper from a H&M gift box.

11 Weeks

16 Sep

Willy Wonka has a favorite book.  I know he’s only 11 weeks but the colors and designs catch his attention. Willy Wonka has an extensive library and I can’t wait until he gets more interested in books.

DK Baby Colors Board Book

Yes I know the Bumbo chair has been recalled.  We only use it on the floor and with adult supervision.

Carrot and Apricot Rolls

15 Sep

Last year I took a Turkish cooking class.  It was only one day but we made many of the classics; two different types of dolma (stuffed graped leaves and stuffed zuchinni), mucver (zuchinni fritters), borek, apricots filled with clotted cream, and many salads. Our instructor had a large personality and didn’t hesitate to scold us if our technique wasn’t correct.  She was also a bit baffled that my friend and I didn’t know any Turkish dishes to cook for our Turkish significant others.  We couldn’t speak Turkish, FAIL. We couldn’t cook Turkish, FAIL.  I’m sure our instructor was wondering what these Turkish boys were doing with girls like us.  Luckily there was wine at the end of the lesson and all our short-comings as future Turkish wives were forgotten.

So I’ve made it my mission cook one Turkish dish a week and coban salad (tomato, cucumber, onion, lemon, oil) doesn’t count.  I invited my cooking class companion over this week to help me with my first week as “Turkish Chef!”  The recipe I picked is from Turkish Meze by Ghillie Basan.  This book is full of outstanding mezes (small plates) and the photographs are mouthwatering.

Turkish Meze by Ghillie Basan


8-10 carrots, cut into thick slices

2-3 slices of day old bread, ground into crumbs

4 scallions

½ cup of dried apricots finely chopped

3 tbsp pine nuts

1 egg

1tsp of Turkish red pepper

1 bunch dill chopped

1 bunch basil chopped

salt and pepper

flour for coating and oil for frying

Mint Yogurt (combine all):

1 cup thick plain yogurt

Juice of ½ lemon

1 large clove of garlic minced

1 bunch of fresh mint finely chopped

Steam the carrots until soft enough to mash

Attempting to make bread crumbs. Cooking isn’t easy with a baby!

Bread crumbs, scallions, and apricots

My co-pilot on this mission.

Mash the carrots and combine with all the ingredients. The colors are fantastic.

Form into rolls, balls, small patties (whatever you want) and fry for 8 minutes.

Here is the embarrassing part; my picture of the final product is just awful.  I was holding a fussy baby and with the potential for screams to erupt at any moment I couldn’t focus my iphone properly. So here is the blurry finished product.  

A really bad photo of a really yummy thing!

I’ll be making these little rolls again. With all the fresh herbs and apricots the fried rolls really pop in your mouth.  The mint yogurt sauce was beyond delicious.  I’ll make it just to slather on other things such as kofte (meatballs).

A Surprise at the Baby Store

14 Sep


Like I said in a previous post I did some scouting of the Turkish baby stores.  One day I stumbled upon this and couldn’t help but take a photo.  I’m sure my laughter was quite embarrassing to my husband, but I’d never seen anything like it before.  What are the holes in the front, some sort of fresh air vents?

Circumcision Underwear

Circumcision in Turkey occurs between the ages of 2 and 14, but mostly commonly occurs around the age of eight. Although I do think most people in urban areas of Turkey choose to do the procedure directly following birth. Here is an interesting and slightly disturbing website I stumbled upon when researching Turkish circumcision customs  (I know, I’m a weirdo, but the underwear made me curious).  The web page includes a picture of a well-known circumciser who once performed 2,000 circumcisions in a 24 hour period! If you do the math it hardly seems possible.

Again, I think the very traditional circumcision depicted in the linked page is the exception rather than the rule.  Still it was an entertaining and informative read.  Check it out!   

Two Months

13 Sep

Here are Willy Wonka’s 2 month photos (a few weeks late on this post)

My first attempt. Photos don’t work well if your baby is hungry!!

Full and satisfied

My Life

Postcards from Istanbul

Istanbul Experiences and Insights

OkobojiCreaseys Community Site

Growing Up Willy Wonka