Category Archives: Kids

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Like everyone else that I know, one of Seyfi and mine`s new years resolutions is to eat more healthy.  It`s not that we have a very unhealthy diet, but we have days where we can get a bit lazy, and eat anything, not thinking about the health benefits of it.

On this same track, we have decided that we should eat more vegetables, less meat, and try out as many new recipes as we can.

So far it is going really well.  We both feel so much better, more energetic, and the girls are eating everything so far as well.

Part of the new foods we have been eating is brussels sprouts.

I have never really liked brussels sprouts, the are a bit stinky, and have an odd taste.

Growing up my brother and I used to share one, just to be able to say that we had at least tried one.

I decided to give them a try, they do seem to be very trendy right now, and we are so close to Brussels, and they are in season…

However, I decided that I would not cook them the way my mother does… she boils them, and calls them delicious…

I found this recipe for them roasted with a Honey-Dijon sauce on them, they are so delicious!  I swapped out the honey for agave syrup so that Ela could have some as well.

If you think you don`t like brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try, it just may change your mind!

Honey-Dijon Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from Parents Magazine

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1 c. boiling water

2 Tbsp. agave syrup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 kg. trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 C.  Soak the cranberries in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then drain the water.

In a large bowl, mix the agave syrup, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add the cranberries, brussels sprouts and walnuts.  Toss well.

Spread the dressed brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Roast for 30 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are tender, and the leaves are just beginning to brown.

Enjoy!

Expat Living- Breastfeeding in Public


Today I went to my local breastfeeding support group. There are two facilitators, Jane and Cindy, (who are so resourceful) and a bunch of new mothers, some first time, some second or third babies. We sit and chat about breastfeeding problems, mothering questions, new baby issues and try to bounce ideas off of each other to help each other out.

Breastfeeding is hard. It isn’t as easy as it looks in the beginning. I had some very painful problems in the beginning with both Alara and Ela, and with Ela, this group helped me out immensely, and I have since been able to go on and continue breastfeeding her.

What does this have to do with breastfeeding in public? A lot actually, because if you are not comfortable and relaxed while breastfeeding, there is no way that you are going to even attempt to breastfeed in public.

Seyfi and I always said that we were never going to let having children stop us from traveling and going out. However, we don’t want to leave our kids at home either.

So we take them everywhere.

With Alara she went to every restaurant, cafe, dinner party, you name it with us when she was a baby. Here’s the thing though, I would breastfeed her in a separate room. I would go to a different area, or one of those breastfeeding rooms in the shopping centre, and breastfeed her there.

Not with Ela.

With Ela I have a whole new outlook on breastfeeding in public.

I do it wherever I want.


I have breastfeed Ela, in airports, on airplanes, in restaurants while eating, at friend’s houses, at the library, at the park, the list goes on. I have even breastfed her on the top of a open double decker tour bus while touring around London!

I just make sure that I cover myself up.

There are a few reasons why I no longer hide myself…

1. I have a three year old, I am not going to lock Alara in a room with me while I am trying to feed Ela, and it is just the three of us.
2. If it is the four of us, or we are with friends, I don’t want to be left out. I don’t want to miss out on anything that is happening around me!
3. I love going out, and so does Ela. I don’t want to spend the next year of my life stuck at home. The best way for her to see how to behave in public, is for us to actually take her out in public.
4. We are only in this part of Europe for a short time. I don’t want to take a year out of being able to travel around and see great places.
5. And this one might be controversial, but I am just feeding my baby, and there is nothing wrong or shameful in that.

Ok, so those are my reasons, here are a few tips…

*bring something that can go over both you and the baby. Most people won’t even notice if you are covered up. I generally use an old pashmina or really big scarf. You can buy/make one of those cover ups.

*if you think you are going to have to breastfeed in public, plan your outfit accordingly. A dress that doesn’t allow access from the top may not be the best choice. But blouses, flowy shirts, wider sweaters all work well.

*find somewhere comfortable to sit down. This is so important, you do need to be comfortable, otherwise it will be difficult to get comfortable, and then you will have to adjust yourself more often, which I find stressful.

*this is a tip for restaurants, but try to put your baby on the side that allows your ‘good’ hand to work. This way, you can still eat without dropping food all over yourself!

You know, I’ve never had anyone say anything to me while I was breastfeeding in public, maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve done it in a few different countries, and it hasn’t been an issue…

I hope that if you choose to breastfeed, that you have all the support that I have had, and you can always email me if you need some more!

Location:Rue des Brasseurs,Mons,Belgium

London


Up until this point, I had always considered myself a Paris girl, that is until this weekend…

We’ve just returned from a long weekend in London, and had a wonderful time. We spent two days in London, and a day in Oxford and the Cotswolds.

Brilliant.

In London, we did the totally tourist way to see it. On Friday we enjoyed the Champagne Experience on the London Eye.


The London Eye was fun for all of us. Even Alara enjoyed it. She was given a bag with binoculars, a notebook, and a pencil to use while on the ferris wheel. We all enjoyed our drinks, and got to see London from a different view.

On Saturday, we took a bus tour around the city. It was an off and on tour, and it truly was the best way to see the whole city and to learn some really interesting facts, that I never would have learned on my own.


It is because of the bus tour that we were able to see everything that we wanted. It was also a great way to see lots of things with the girls. Alara loved being on the bus, looking at the sights and hearing the stories about them, and Ela either looked around, slept or fed (more on that later) while we toured about.

I absolutely loved London. It is such a relaxed place, the people are so nice and helpful, the food was great (yummy curry!!) and it was so easy to get around.

I can’t wait for our next trip there!

Pineapple Cupcakes

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As I’ve mentioned, I have an amazing husband, but there is one thing about him that can be a bit much… He is football (soccer) crazy!

Turkish league, Spanish league, English league, Champions league, Premier League (how do I know all this?!), he watches it ALL! Basically if there is a match on, he will watch it!

Now that we have been married for so long, I no longer feel that I need to fake like watching football, so I don’t. I leave him alone to watch the matches. He seems to like this, he gets himself a snack and a drink, and watches his matches and tries not to wake us all up when he is yelling at the tv.

The only time he doesn’t like watching the matches is when it is a ‘big’ match, like a Derby (when two teams from the same city play against each other).

A couple of weeks ago, such a match came on, the two biggest Istanbul teams were playing against each other, so Seyfi invited two of his friends over to watch the match.

What worked out great is that the guys all got together at our house for pizza and beer, while the wives and kids got together at one of the other houses to hangout and avoid having to watch the match!

It’s so great when both the husbands and wives are such great friends!

Since my friend was going to be making pizza for the ladies and kids (which was some of the best pizza I’ve eaten in a long time) I thought I would make a dessert to take over for all of us.

I wanted to make cupcakes, but I didn’t want them to be your regular standard chocolate cupcakes (besides, one of the kids doesn’t like chocolate). I decided to make pineapple cupcakes, because lets be honest, who doesn’t like pineapple?

These cupcakes turned out really nice, not too sweet, just right.

It ended up being a good night for all of us. Seyfi’s team won, and I got to hang out with my ladies. Don’t tell Seyfi, but with the European Championship coming up this year, I may ended up watching a match or two, just to have an excuse to invite friends over…

Pineapple Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slices

Cream for whipping

Put five rings of pineapple into the food processor and add your other wet ingredients. Once they are blended, add the dry ingredients until it all comes together to a chunky (from pineapple) batter.

Pour into paper lined cupcake tray and bake until golden about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.

While the cupcakes cool, pour the whipping cream and about four tbsp of the pineapple juice from the can into a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until firm.

Cut the remaining pineapple rings into quarters.

Spread the whipped cream over the cupcakes generously, and garnish with a piece of pineapple.

Expat Living- The Girls’ names


So many people ask me about the girls’ names. How did we choose them? Why those names? What do they mean? So I thought I’d shed some light on the topic.

To start with, Seyfi and I had a deal, I would choose the names, but the need to be modern Turkish names. For Seyfi, it was important that we didn’t have older names that were out of fashion, or religious names.


For me, I wanted a name that sound good in English. It could be a bit different, or spelt differently, but it had to be easy for my family to pronounce. I also didn’t want a name that had any of the funny Turkish letters in it.

Together, we both decided that we didn’t want a middle name. In Turkey, often the middle name is the name that gets used, and that is the opposite in Canada, so we figured forget it, one name is more than enough.

As a teacher of young kids, it was easy to be exposed to lots of different names, some of the names I liked, but always seemed to have a crazy kid attached to them, or some names seemed to generally have a nice kid, or an interesting kid.

Alara was easy to find. I’ve taught a number of Alaras, and they have all been lovely, good girls and the name is easy to pronounce.

As for the meaning, this is where it gets more difficult. I asked two of my students named Alara what it means, and these are the answers I was given.

1- the water that angels wash with.

2- the colour of the rising sun.

Beautiful, just like her.

Ela, it wasn’t originally my first choice for my second daughter. I has originally wanted Lila (pronounced Leela), but I felt that the pronunciation was going to be a problem, we went to Ela, which Seyfi liked more anyway.

Ela means the colour hazel, as in the eye colour. Alara’s eyes are a hazelly green colour, so we thought that maybe Ela’s eyes would be the same, but as of right now she has got the biggest blue eyes, whoops!

It’s still a beautiful name, just like her.

Since we aren’t planning on having any more children I will let you in on what our boy name would have been, Kaan.

It is a very popular boys name, and I will say that although I have taught a lot of boys with this name, they were generally very interesting boys.

It is a very Turkish sounding name, but it is really one of the only boys names that I like.

So, that’s how our two beautiful girls, got their beautiful names. I love when people ask me questions like this!

While in Istanbul- Van Gogh Alive


I love going to art galleries, and so does Seyfi. It is something that we really want to expose the girls to.

Istanbul is a great place to see different types of Art. They get a lot of the big artists in, and to be honest, I’ve loved all the exhibitions that I’ve been to here.

Today we went to a different type of exhibit, Van Gogh Alive. They have taken varies works of Van Gogh, a the project them, animated with music in the background.


It was so cool, to see the paintings really big, walking around while they were moving kept your attention, and made the whole experience more interesting.

Did you know that Van Gogh lived very close to our house in Belgium? I could walk there. I still haven’t been there… But after today, I think I’ll take a special trip over!

**I couldn’t use the flash on my camera, so my pictures weren’t the best, these pictures come from here.****

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sisters

Look at these two snuggle bugs!