Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cooking It Up and Other Fun

I can't believe we are more than half way through the week. Antalya is making good progress with the toilet training, but I don't think she will be ready to head to school on Tuesday diaper-free. I know she will eventually get it, so I'm not too concerned. I'm pretty confident that by her 5th birthday next fall we will be done with diapers during the day.

We've done our best to stay busy this week with all our usual activities which include:

painting (I am happy we have moved past face painting with Victoria):

cookie breaks on our small balcony to celebrate no rain:

indoor picnic lunch when we decided, that even though there was no rain, it still was a little too cold to spend the entire morning on the balcony with one of us only partly clothed:

and of course, my therapy, making yummy treats!
Antalya is getting really good at helping me in the kitchen. In this photo she mashed the bananas all by herself, and her stirring is now more circular instead of up and down.

We made some yummy fruit muffins, that were completely devoured within 24 hours (although that's not uncommon around here).
We used my favorite banana bread recipe and tweaked it since I was in the mood for blueberry muffins. Here's the recipe:

Lion House Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup bananas mashed (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups flour (I use 1 1/2 cup whole wheat, and 1/2 cup white)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar together, add eggs, mix well. Add bananas, milk, and lemon juice. Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture. Grease 1 loaf pan. Pour mix into pan and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Here's what we did differently to turn it into fruity muffins:
only used 1 banana
added 2 small apples, diced
added 1 cup frozen blueberries, tossed lightly in flour to prevent the whole mixture from turning blue.
spooned mixture into muffin tins instead of loaf, and baked for around 20 minutes.

Hope you like them as much as we did!

Monday, February 21, 2011

More Potty Training

This week is what the English call half-term. It's a week long break you have in the middle of every school term. It's a time when most of London is either vacationing elsewhere or planning daily trips to the museum, zoo, aquarium, etc. with their children.

But for me, it is the week I have been looking forward to as the perfect week to go completely diaper free with Antalya. So while everyone else is out soaking up the rainy weather and wearing themselves out going here and there, we are taking it easy indoors - singing, dancing, baking, playing, reading books, but most importantly, making lots of trips to the potty.
Wish us luck that this will be just what my little cutie needs to finally make the break from diapers!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kung Fu Fighter

Antalya likes to steal my camera every chance she can get and start taking pictures. She took this one of Victoria the other day. I love the pose she captured!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

We've been busy the last week making lots of valentines and eating way too much Red Velvet Cake (we claim to really like the cake, but really, the cake is just an excuse to eat the icing, which I'm pretty sure, is the closest thing to heaven on earth). We've had Red Velvet Cookies, and Red Velvet Cupcakes. It's my favorite thing about Valentine's Day, but then again, I love any excuse to eat chocolate and cream cheese frosting.

Today I feel especially grateful for a love that began like this:

But that know includes lots of this:
Hope your day is filled with lots of love from the special people in your life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Rain, Rain, and More Rain

Our two day dry spell has ended, we are all feeling very under the weather, and I am in need of a little pick-me-up. So today instead of focusing on all I don't like about the rain, I thought I would remind myself of all the reasons I am grateful for the rain.

1. It gives us a reason to pull on our wellies. IMG_1247

2. It gives me memories like this one. _MG_6670

3. It gives us the most beautiful spring flowers. IMG_0704

4. It makes me appreciate sunny, dry days all the more. anv

5. It gives us adventures in the rain. IMG_0840

6. It gives us the beautiful green landscape that I love. IMG_9026

7. It gives us reason to have impromptu picnics whenever the rain clears. IMG_7586

8. It can be a nice backdrop for pictures. IMG_9003

9. It produces mystical scenes such as this one (photo by Sonja). _MG_6681

10. It gives us a reason to stay indoors and make a mess. IMG_9353

11. It gives Antalya's hair the most beautiful natural curls. IMG_9697

12. It gives us a reason to do lots of baking. IMG_9907

13. It gives us puddles to play in. mud2

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Special Exposure Wednesday

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Antalya never seems to be too far from a pen and paper lately. When she is drawing she is so focused on what she is doing. In the last several weeks I have noticed that her doodles have started to change to resemble writing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just My Thoughts

I have sat down several times in the last few days to blog, but nothing comes. Life seems to be just slowly moving forward with not much going on for the moment. I'm not complaining. It's kind of nice to have everything so calm right now. In fact, I'm trying my best to soak it all in.

Spring is right around the corner here in London. In fact, the last two days the sun has finally emerged from hibernation. We so rarely see the sun, that when it does come out it makes the whole city come alive. I just want to soak it up for as long as I can (which according to the weather forecast isn't very long).

But, unfortunately we are back to battling colds, and eye infections. We just can't seem to get rid of it for longer than a few days. So while the sun is calling me outside, I am instead tucked away in our little flat while the girls get a good afternoon nap.

Although I love the good it does to my soul to see the sun, it also leaves me feeling anxious knowing summer will be here before I know it, and with the passing of the summer comes the end of this chapter of our lives. In fact I can't seem to shake the ever present feeling of uncertainty. What are we doing next? Where are we going? How and when do we go there? What do we do in the meantime? And going right along with that are all my worries for Antalya's well being and education. How will we ensure she has insurance to access the health care system? How will she get the educational provisions she needs to succeed in school?

I know it does no good to think of the unknowns, but yet here I sit. Hopefully the girls will wake up soon and we can break out of this house and catch a few rays of sun before they set for the night.

How do you get through times of uncertainty?

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Makes You Happy?

For Victoria it is:
#1 Her hat
#2 Her trike
#3 Playing in the bathroom
When she can manage all three at once she feels pretty good about herself!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: The School Run

There are so many things about English culture that I have fallen in love with. In fact, I dare say, if all our family and friends weren't so far away, I would be happy staying in England forever. One of the things that I really love is, as they call it, the school run. There are no school buses in London, and parking is limited everywhere you go (meaning there is NO parking anywhere near a school), so it is custom that children are walked to and from school everyday by their parents or carers.

On the same street as Antalya's nursery school there is also: a Jewish school, a elementary school, and a middle school. It means every morning and every afternoon the small sidewalk is bustling with strollers, kids on scooters, dads on their way to/from work carrying briefcases and quizzing their children on the multiplication table, moms chatting to other moms as they walk with their children hand in hand, and greeting other moms that pass the opposite direction. I always feel such a sense of community during the school run.

Here are thirteen reasons why I love the school run:
  1. It gets me out of the house by 8:30 every morning.
  2. I start my day with some exercise.
  3. I get to spend time outside with my girls everyday - rain or shine.
  4. No missed buses - if we are running late, it just means I walk faster.
  5. Less pollution
  6. It provides me with daily quality one-on-one time with Victoria - after we drop Antalya off, I leave the stroller at school and Victoria and I take our time walking and exploring things as we head home or run errands on foot.
  7. I get to know other moms.
  8. Antalya is visually reminded that all children go to school in the morning and that children go to different schools.
  9. As I pass Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Muslims I am reminded that people can live peacefully together.
  10. My girls get some daily outdoor exercise even if its chucking down rain.
  11. Watching the pigeons.
  12. Daily opportunities to practice safe walking techniques in big city - stopping before we cross the road, waiting at the 'green man' at crosswalks, holding hands when neccessary, etc.
  13. Taking part in such an English tradition makes me feel just a little bit English everyday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dance Class: Take Two

Saturday was Antalya's second dance class. The first one didn't go so well, so I was a bit nervous to take her back again. But this time she did fantastic. Several times during the class I had to go help her get back on to task and follow what was going on, but other than that she did really well. In fact, she was one of the better behaved children in the class. I was so proud of her.

It sure is fun to watch her dance it up to music. She is so uninhibited in her movement and expressions. In fact, I decided while watching her dance, that when she dances she is the definition of happy. I wish I could capture it on video. Darn England with all their privacy laws :(