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! Ma┼čallah!

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?



Experiential gift giving… Experiential living

I grew up like this..

ME: “mom what do you want for your birthday?”
MOM: “Just make me a card.”

Recently, it was Baby girl’s “twin’s” birthday. Her dear best buddy of 1 month age difference with similarly crazy head of curls, similar size cute bodies and big blue eyes as opposed to my baby’s big browns.

We had to find her a present…I need to admit right here and those that know me well will concur that I have the bad habit of late gift giving but once I do it will usually (I hope) be pretty good:) Also the shopping in our resort town isn’t the best so I wondered what could we be giving our little buddy…time to get creative!

How about…A big handwritten ticket stub for a night of fun at Didim’s amusement park, Lunapark (remember my re-found trampoline love there). Not only had we talked about going for too long but it could be something we could do together, an experience we can have together…all the better I say!

I did find a little tea set too, as she is a mix of two of the biggest tea cultures, English and Turkish(although there is a bit of American blood in there too which I love:) So she will need tea practice.

I had to wrap it…

So I busted out my acrylic paint while baby girl was sleeping. I stacked up about 3 pages of newspaper as not to bleed through and just started squirting, stroking and playing. It felt really good to have a brush in my hand again…been too long…even if it was just some colorful mark making(funnest thing about painting!).

Let that dry as big girl was sleeping.

Then she awoke to a fun colorful surprise on the floor that mom actually let her touch! Gave her a washable marker and let her go at it on top of my acrylic paint.

Turned out lovely…little artwork from my baby too! I think better late than never translates well here. ekkk…Can’t wait to pick a date to cash in our fun filled experience together.

So experiential gift giving. goes hand in hand with, “just make me a card.” Just make me something that has meaning, thought, something tied to it other than just giving something because that is what the holiday says to do…

One of my favorite sites is Etsy, where the buyer connects with the seller directly. The seller’s are artists from all walks of life and mediums who find passion it what they are putting out into the world.

We are going through some major changes here in my tiny household, We are putting forth plans to move to America. There I wrote it…it’s out there. Also better late than never and Together. Not just my daughter and I there but with my hubby too.


We wait. Wait for visas and goverments. Wait for things to sell.

THIS I have been waiting for for so long. But is it the right time?

We collect. Collect money. Collect memories of the things we will miss here, in Turkey. Collect from the other family who is sad they will be left behind.

We fight. Fight resentment for leaving. Fight for a new life. Fight for each other.

We Feel. Feel defensive. Fell empathy. Feel LOVE.

I freak out. My husband quit his reliable job. We have no health insurance. Our cafe is less than booming. He just got hit with a student loan he had thought had gotten lost(there was a serious chance it had). I have student loans. We will live with my mother, we will be next to my family again…I freak out less…

MOM: “It will all work out.”

Just as I planned to write this post about experiential gift giving another blogger sent me this, Mission, Tara Agacayak, someone who has lived a few years ahead of me in this; living between two cultures, suspended between two worlds, someone whose words have often brought me comfort has recently posted this…

This week I got a phone call from home. Someone very dear to me has been diagnosed with health problems and though the prognosis is good, it was a wake up call…

Not things. Not stuff. But experiences.

As the two year anniversary of our father’s deaths is approaching. It is time…

To have a new experience together with my tiny blessed healthy little family.

To make people cards.


Has news ever rocked your world?

Does creating bring you comfort?

Homemade granola bars with a Turkish twist…

So my darling middle sister is this granola bar making rock star. She has a science back ground and I think loves and I know is good at formulating new concoctions. I need to ask her for her pina colada granola bar recipe…mmm.mmm. lots of coconut and dried pineapple. (Megs can you be a guest poster, seriously?).

Ever since we went to Brazil and drank fresh shucked coconut water and coconut popsicles on the beach I think that white meaty nut is heaven.

My baby girl loved it too at 11 months…

I have been doing my own searching over the internet for a good granola bar recipe…and many call for maple syrup, corn syrup, rice syrup, brown sugar…never found here. The thing with living abroad is everything is not so easily at your fingertips as in the melting pot/convenience culture that is the United States of America. Well especially not in our little resort town of Didim.

On the plus side what you do find is usually seasonal(meaning found only at it’s peak of flavor-exception- you CAN find tomatoes and a few other staples grown in greenhouses during the winters here too), most is locally produced or at least locally meaning from within the country(not flown from Chile to MN). What many Americans are trying to get back in food Turkey has not lost, yet?

It’s a balance beam…there have been many times I screamed into my pillow for some freaking options.

That said limited resources fuel creativity.

It makes you get back to basics and understand where things come from, how they are made.

My sister tells me all you really need is a good glue anyways.

And let’s be serious… granola is about the most versatile recipe on the planet…

The nuts, dried fruits and honey are all amazing here so this is my adaption of Smitten Kitchen’s thick, chewy granola bars. She has tons of great recipes just search her site!

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (I use the Eti brand if you are in Turkey)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon(if you want)
3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)

I used almonds, hazelnuts, sesame, and coconut

1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used tahini which is sesame paste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, haven’t found that here either)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey(nice amount of honey, not overpowering)
2 tablespoons pekmez (This is a dark molasses made from grapes or mulberries)
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C.

Mix the above dry ingredients in a large bowl, The bottom wet ingredients mix in a smaller bowl.

Combine all well.

Layer an 8×8 inch(20x20cm) pan with parchment that goes up the sides and grease it all up. The pan and the parchment. Bake from 15-40 minutes(very vague but see below)

I didn’t have parchment although you can find it here. I just layed my mixture out on my broiler pan/cookie sheet thing. Looked like a huge cookie. I cooked it for only 15 minutes as my edges started to burn and I think my oven runs hot…trimmed my edges off and they were a hit!

So I know I am a bad blogger when I don’t have the whole process documented or at least the finished project but…

I translated this recipe to Turkish(pretty much by myself thank you!) Oatmeal-yulaf ezmesi isn’t used very much in Turkey but was happy to share this nutritional ingredient with my Turkish neighbors! As this place has taught me so very much!

When you don’t always have the right words pictures work too…in translating this I learned the words for bowl, melted…lots of good stuff…


How would you like to get a hand written recipe?

I ball just about everytime I get a handwritten letter from my mom in the mail. Not only does she have a way with words but her nostalgic cursive(who writes in cursive these days?-just my lovely mother)

In a time when everything is on the computer…don’t get me wrong there is some gorgeous fonts out there it is so special to see it written, illustrated. I appreciate these little things in life.

Do you?

Do you covet your grandmother’s handwritten recipes?(we do for the little green house project) Who has all of gram’s? And the love letters from the war?

Do you want to see my sister guest posting her recipes on here? Maybe I can figure out how to do a free printout? hmmmm…she has great handwriting too…

ok quick self…get off this lovely time sucker named the computer and go do your yoga before your two year old wakes up (sometimes one needs to write to oneself)!