Budding…

The weather has been amazing here…and nature knows what to do…pops of vibrant new growth green contrast from the hearty brown that survived the winter.

As my baby belly grows big I feel constant flutters of life and an occasional bum or elbow stick out for it all to be so real.

Baby dear #1 is excited for “my baby”…her baby sister to join us…she thinks she is at least…

My hubby is settling in but misses his country. Not so much his country but the lifestyle he knew. Everyone knows him, he has tons of respect and a good reputation built up there. A go getter who can no longer do it all by himself. Language and delicious Turkish food. (I miss the food too and feel fortunate to be able to relate to all those feelings as I lived in his country for 5 years:)

I have been writing lately. Feels good. Defining what I’m doing. reminiscing. exploring. The beginning of a bio for my new Kisa Kollections website, perhaps?

Since I can remember I have loved the hunt and the gather with my hands… my eyes… the experiences with all the senses involved…that treasure hunt for beautiful and interesting things.

Lilac flowers pop in May in Minnesota. When I was young during this time this was MY hunt.

I would creep in around neighbors yards, having previous years mentally mapped out where the most fragrant lilacs bloomed.

Down by the edge of the road grew the whitest ones, the lightest lavender hue.

If I stood on my tippy toes at the edge of the neighboorhood I could pull down the branch and clip the coveted “double” one, double dose of pretty petals.

The smaller variety with the deepest lavender hue popped from the corner of the yard, over the compost heap.

I would bundle these beauties all together and present them, usually to my mother, to adorn the dining room table and allow us all to gasp at their fragrance and beauty.

My own back yard has grown, although solidly rooted in Minnesota but branches have embraced experiences around the world, most personally profound were 5 year stints in each southern California and my now second home of Turkey.

While my hunt has progressed from lilacs to other lovely treasures to adorn the body and elicit gasps of “where did you find that?”. My heart remains the same.

I hope you will enjoy the collections I have put forth for you. You too appreciate the hunt, the travel and the stories interwoven in the pieces; from their evolution of materials, ancient techniques and histories, to story of how they got on your lovely self.

wear, share and make new stories…

How are you all?

How is spring effecting you?

Just a little reminder…I heart comments!

xo

Where have you been?

Hello darlings, Any of you out there who still may stumble upon this blog…

Where have I been? Well…

I suppose I was/am nesting…

Nurturing that hilarious two year old with the exploding vocabulary while growing another little one in my belly. Motherhood is a busy little existence.

We walk in the snow, pushing strollers or pulling sleds depending on that great truth of Minnesota winters; the weather. Relishing in this year’s mildness. Feed the squirrels and the birds. Dig in snow and dirt. Walk across frozen lakes. Pet puppies and drink hot chocolate.

Lots of cooking going on in my momma’s kitchen(She is sharing her house again with us); The inspiration that is her own elegant presence and wealth of knowledge she is mixed with piles of cookbooks and cooking magazines and yes folks…all in the English language:)

We needed recovery time from the craziness of the holiday season, although enjoyed extended family time while we waited for our own small family to be reunited, my mysterious Turkish husband that wooed me in his land almost 5 years ago…

I have a consistent yoga practice now and feel pretty rockstar about my chaturanga dandasana done on my knees with a big round belly.

As of a week ago we feel more complete because baba(daddy) has joined us in Minnesota after 3 long months of separation. For days baby girl had to ask him, “no going?” for fear he may leave. Now they just laugh together. The kind of child’s giggle he evokes from her makes you smile no matter your mood! So nice to be together…I steal kisses all day long…

As we are a united front again it is nice to feel like we can settle in a bit here. It is no longer a place to come on vacation and fit into the cracks of everyone’s everyday life. Attempting to make Minnesota the home base(for now…yes I did just write that). Get a routine. Get a plan. Take some action together. Support each other.

How are you?

whipping wind and snail hunting…

The normally blue Aegean turns an eerie, gorgeous green when the storms whip through…

I know…it looks like a twister may pop up and whisk my polka dotted princess to Oz…but…

I assure you she would be singing the whole way there…she loved it!

sea…

sky…

land…

Shells make the perfect scoopers…

The rain, the storms are amazing in so many ways…but mainly…

we’re into…the snail hunting!

All those silly little slippery creatures come out with the moisture…stay curious!

That cute little fat “hannie”…

Thanks for joining us again on a nature walk…

this momma needs to get to sleep now…

my polka dotted princess AKA “the bigs” will be waking up before I know it!

xo

Planet Earth from the discover channel is on in the background…amazing our world! Much respect!

Do you want to follow the clouds with me? Do you live in the now?

Lately I’ve been feeling uninspired, overwhelmed, a monotony of life pressing down on me pending the reality that it will all explode in my face soon. Everything will change. Wondering what we will do next and how will we all deal with it. Feeling like we can’t move soon enough yet WTF will we do when we actually do this thing, moving to Minnesota. This thing I have thought I have wanted so badly for the past 3+ years.

Plus I’ve felt tired…

And so…I haven’t been posting. My brain was just imploding. Waking me up at 4 A.m. to think. Bloody terrible hour(been hanging out with lots of Brits lately, hence the bloody).

But today the clouds were just too gorgeous to ignore. Felt good to want to have my camera in hand again.

Felt good that it rained! Smells good that it rained!

The wind blows in the fresh sea air. Stirs that big wet pot. Salt. Plants. Life.

Feels good that I don’t feel like my skin is going to burn off and can exit the house safely during midday hours. Summers are long and hot here…got it? Lovely for swimming and good if you can live as a creature of the night but small children inhibit night owlism…yes I might have made that word up?

Long story short…fall is fabulous! Although it isn’t my mid-western mindset of fall. No leaves change gorgeous shades of red, yellow and orange. The Apples are just ok but pomegranates…nar are bursting from the trees. When a yellow shade the fruit inside still sour but the Aegean sun is turning them this amazing coral color sweeting those jewel like pink fruits only to soon rupture brilliant, vibrant, sweet red!

I will miss this. I know. Love it now. Live in the now.

Do you live in the now?

Love my family framed in fluff. Fluffy bougainvillea flowers. Fluffy white clouds.

Terribly two. Terribly tired here. Terrible tantrum ensues as she wants to get out and push the stroller herself.

Terribly smart. Terribly stubborn. Terribly sassy. Fights terribly hard for her independence. Terribly normal from what I understand…terrible test of parents patience:)

Compromise? or was it distraction? Let’s do it together…

ALWAYS happy in the sand.

Hero, one of the neighborhood street dogs joins us sometimes too…

Typical Turkish view; colorful cement townhouses with solar water heating panels…and satilite dishes…

Thanks for joining us on the walk around the neighborhood…

I feel better now…how about you?

Fresh air and family. gratitude. calms the brain.

Rain came back in full force.

Listening to Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan…amazing!

Living in the now these past couple days…

Do you ever read your baby book?

Do you have something to read?

Did your parents keep up your baby book?

Is this even part of your culture?

Not a Turkish thing but very much an American one…Where did it come from?…“Many baby books were giveaways from companies that sold baby-related products, from Mellin baby food to bank accounts”.

My youngest sister is almost crying reading this as she is the youngest of 4 and she has no baby book or a basically empty one in the least.

I have the most written in mine being the oldest of the 4. Progressively gets less and less down the sibling line as less and less free time is allotted for our dear mother with progressively more and more babies!

But to be honest I have only read mine maybe twice in my life so to my dear youngest sister you are not missing much:)

To our mother’s credit we each got a box in the basement stuffed with drawings, report cards and the like. We just went through it together a few months ago.

Alot was hilarious, more was just crap that got thrown away or reshoved into the box as we are a bunch of saps who can’t get rid of stuff. Poor mom is still stuck with those boxes(plus a ton of other stuff) in her basement.

For our daughter though I decided to do something a little different…

I didn’t want a fill-in-the-blank question and answer form so I got a gorgeous blank book from paperblanks, specifically Filigree Floral Ebony inspired by French textile design. Has a magnetic closure and a pocket in the back for “extras”. Good blog actually, gorgeous books and a wonderfully inspiring company I just found out…

Our daughter’s life has been extraordinary since day one, she flew across the world in a baby duffle bag at age 17 days. Her life will always be intertwined with death as she is the true light that kept us going showing us the full circle of life! A global citizen always she will be… Here is her’s and her grandfather’s song…

Beyond that she is an amazing little creature who is constantly evolving and growing (hopefully we all are) into her own little being…oh those terrible twos aren’t too bad but we had a tantrum this morning…goodness one for the book all because she ONLY wants to be OUTSIDE next to the neighbors chickens! I know…the excitement…real live chickens that she gets to feed…with her own tiny two hands!

Her book is mainly written by me; her mom(surprise) but has so many wonderful inserts from her baba of course, both grandma’s, her aunties and uncles, my’s dear friends that have visited us and who knows who else for the future…Those whose lives she has touched and are constantly feeding and stimulating her growing soul! I need to not get too crazy, write small and make the pages last until she’s older!

Currently I am working on a illustrated collage of her summer finishing up her second year of life, Didim 2011.

Full of her favorites; turtles “tutle”, swimming and the sea.

Yes, our daughter’s name is Mavisu which means blue water in Turkish.

Her two best comfort friends; mine + benim ponies= “minem pomo”. She has a recent stronger affinity towards the Zebra these days, who knows why?

We paid daily homage to these birds several times per day for about a month of pigeon nesting season.

The pigeon’s (or is it a dove’s?) nest on the third floor of our house that had three different mother birds (for her sake I hope or was it the same?) with 3 sets of twin eggs right after the other, although two different times one of the babies fell out or was pushed from the nest for my two year old with eagle eyes to find both times…slightly tramatic but we worked through it. The mother wouldn’t take the bird back though even when I put it back inside the nest using a piece of paper as to not get my scent on it. Harshness of mother nature up close…the mother not letting this ugly little chick under her to keep warm and then sat on it and smashed it…ekkk.

All birds are “ga” in my daughter’s vocabulary which is neither Turkish nor English but her own special language that I beleive evolved from “quack, quack”?? Everyone just goes with it…

Here is a glimpse of her oak tree growth chart with the Minnesota inspired squirrels her daddy loves to watch run around my mother’s yard.

Feels good to draw again…need to keep at the practice though!

Will post finished pictures when completed…

I L.O.V.E. love the illustration over at Rumisu!

Will finish the collage with some chickens for sure, a hammock, more sea and sun.

Drawing with her baba…I must write I am already impressed with my baby girl’s drawing and puzzle skills! Maşallah!

What else should I put in her book? current events? More pictures?

What is in your baby book that you cherish? facts? locks of hair? family history?

What is an individual heirloom or piece of your childhood that you cherish?

Are there traditions for children from your culture or family you could share?

xo

Exploding fig bars…

The Aegean region is literally exploding with this sensitive little fruit. Hence the name! Every where you look, it’s distinct leaves still green even in the heat with fruits bursting about. Literally you know if they are ripe when soft and the end splits open, dripping a sweet nectar.

Although they dry so well I don’t know how to do this (anyone? storage tips?). They spoil really quickly and don’t keep all that great in the fridge so what was I going to do with all these sensitive little figs?

My maximum personal consumption tops at just one or two per day.

At the house sat some from the pazar, some from the trees around the neighborhood, a few really juicy ones from the farmer’s tree where my husband and baby girl had gotten the fresh eggs that morning. They were already split wide open from someones tiny two year old fingers digging into that juicy, gooshy center.

I got on the internet and adapted from there…

This recipe calls for 4 cups of figs and I was surprised I didn’t quite have enough so I added grapes. They are also exteremely plentiful right now. Other recipes called for raisins so why couldn’t I add grapes? Also an after thought was the dried Iranian dates that had hardened and need to be used up.

This recipe is adapted from the California fig site, Fresh Fig Bars

-3 cups peeled and chopped fresh figs
-1 cup grapes
-1/2 cup dried dates
-1 cup water
-3/4 cup honey
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons lemon peel
-2 tablespoons flour
-2 tablespoons water
-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
-1 cup walnuts

-1 cup butter
-3/4 sugar(would have used brown sugar but don’t have it much here)
-2 cups sifted flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 cups oatmeal

Combine the figs, grapes, dates, honey, water, salt and lemon peel. Heat and simmer for 1- 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally until it looks like a thick jam. Then thicken more with the 2 tablespoons water and flour, mixed then added into the fig mixture. Cook 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F or 175° C. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.(the original recipe had called for shortening and brown sugar?) Combine flour, salt and oatmeal; stir into creamed mixture. Divide and press half of the oatmeal mixture into bottom of well greased 9×13 inch pan. Spread fig mixture. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal on top. press lightly together.

And yum…

The taste of this recipe is really good. It was a little crumbly and needed to be eaten with a fork. That crumbliness could have come from the slightly strange oatmeal my husband found me? Or because my pan was slightly smaller than the called for and the crusts became thicker?

I sort of had envisioned eating these with my hands; Aunt Polly isn’t it you who makes amazing date bars? I need to the recipe…or Auntie Janie you have those crazy sweet apricot bars too? recipes ladies:)?

Vanilla ice cream or even really good thick Turkish yogurt would be a nice compliment. All my relatives here ate it with tea, of course.

This is what my child was doing as her mother was cooking and taking photos instead of playing with her…

She gave herself a tattoo with a sharpie, a permanent marker her mother so carelessly left out. Whoops. All I could do was laugh, take a picture and notice she did a pretty good job really. I tried to seem mad but I just couldn’t…

My mother-in-law scrubbed her down the minute she saw her like that and says she was going to get ink poisoning…I don’t think so…Sharpies are non-toxic…

My baby liked, or at least like everything, she liked to explore it:)

Unfortunately blurry but tooooo cute none the less!

Affiyet olsun!

xo

Also a Turkish band I love…Pinhani!