Sunday, December 14, 2014

A book cake (+ crochet bombing a birthday chair)

11 years old. A book cake.

This girl is amazing. She is full of constant ideas and inspiration. She can find something fun to do in ANY situation and she usually drags her brother and sister into having fun too. She loves life and being with people. She is soft hearted and her imagination is endless. She values things that are important and at eleven is careful what she watches and reads. Her favourite books are mostly the Classics...
thus the Wizard of Oz Book Cake. :) 

Those little red 'fish' are suppose to be red shoes...
ya know the click your heels together shoes. 
Oh well :) 

We had a few girls over before we celebrated as a family
 and they made 'High Heel Cupcakes'. :) Seriously this was super easy and 
cute.  I was able to use the cake batter to make just enough for every girl to have one high heel shoe. 

I could post more pics, but I won't. Lots and lots of inspiration on pinterest if you are interested in making cupcake heels. I just used what I could find here in Turkey to duplicate it. 

Here are a few pics of some Yarn Bombing of our Birthday chair. :)
   Autumn and Lydia are learning to crochet thanks to Jenny (our fabulous Homeschool helper who is living with us for the school year). So we had a lot of crocheted yarn chains hanging about our house that Jenny used to bomb the Birthday chair. :)

Ok so maybe our yarn bombing is not quite up to standards. This is amazing isn't it. 
Love the idea of splashing color in the most unusual places. :) 


In my west corner, 

Friday, December 12, 2014

M & M - Piñata cake

This Pinata cake is a year old. :) Well actually the cake has been eaten this pic is a year old. ;)
Hopefully it is inspiring... it was so fun to watch everyone ooh and aah as the candy started spilling out. 

As of two weeks ago my daughter just turned 11 and there is a new cake for that. :) 
However last year's b-day was an important one as the DOUBLE DIGITS hit our family! 

This cake was as fun as it looks and easier than it looks to make! Autty was so surprised when we cut into it and it exploded or rather spilled out with fun M & M treats from with in. 

We were able to celebrate at my mom's house for Autty's b-day. 
I am sad that I have no pictures of my mom and Autty together.

Of course I found most my inspiration on Pinterest for this cake. :) Here is a link to my Food Board that has the Tutorial I used. :)

As many of you know our tradition for Birthdays is that the kids get to ask for the shape they want for their cake and as long as it is in reason I try my best. I will be posting Autty's 11th Birthday cake and party tomorrow. I am confident that Autty's friend Malachi will like this next one.....

In my west corner, 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Processing grief

Hello dear blogging friends. Since the last time I wrote which is almost 6 months ago the journey that I was apart of with my mom and her walk with colon cancer has come to an end. November 6th 2014 my mom took her last breath here on this earth and her first new breath in heaven.  I was there with her when she took that last breath.

I am now again in my little west corner of Turkey and trying to process this grief. This post is mainly for me. I want to be able to express myself and get my thoughts down and in some way I am hoping it will be a healthy way to walk out the loss of loosing my mom.

It is all such a torrent of gratitude, sadness of solemnness and loss of worship and uncertainty and lastly it is hope in Christ. There is such a loss I feel, almost a hole. My Father died 23 years ago and I was only a teenager then, this grief is deeper and now with both parents gone the feelings of loss seem doubled at times.

Here is what I am doing every week or so to express my fierce emotions or the re-run of the movie in my mind of those last days with my mom.

During my time in the States being with my mom, my family was back in Turkey. I was gone for 19 days and during that time there were so many (other than my sisters and their families) that came and stood by my side figuratively and literally.
 (Karma, Jenny, Alyssa, Sue and each of your husbands. Pastor Denny and Clara, Amy and Connie)

E-mails, cards and phone calls flooded my gmail box and my moms room.  Food was never lacking. 

I have always been simple and not very 'fancy' as my girls say. My mom wore heals and loved to dress up. She always liked a good pair of heels or dressy shoes. For her funeral and visitation I had such a strong desire to look my best and although I haven't been a girl who wears heels I wore heals for the funeral... and now I have this strong desire to wear heels.

I find death such an enigma. Death has been around for what years, decades or rather since the beginning of time. We all know that everyone will at some time die. Yet even though humans have that knowledge and have been dealing with death and grief for hundreds of years we still have found no book or vitamin or drug or cure that can take away the pain of it. 

 My sorrow is deep and hard to explain yet there is a hope that remains in my heart, a knowing that my Mom when she took her last breath on earth took her next breath in heaven. All the pain that my mom had was gone in an instant not to be remembered....I love that. No matter the hardships in this world they will eventually fade away never to be remembered. What an amazing Father that took the curse of death and prepared for us a glorious place and for us that believe has taken away the sting of death
1  Thes. 4:13-14

One day at a time one. 
In my west corner.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dog cake and some Birthday 'magic'

8 years old has arrived for our tip toeing middle girl.  Dog loving has also arrived and so you guessed it, a dog cake was the appropriate animal cake of choice this year.  We tried to do a dog themed party with some fun entertainment.

We also added a little bit of a talent show from the parents... it was a hit! Enjoy the pics. 
Here he is one and all:  Jock Illuzion... the magician. 
The kids LOVED this and David was so hysterical. This was the hit of the party.  I think we have found some hidden talent. 

If you would like to see a YouTube video of Jock Illuzion in action view here: 

I was the comedy act but the act before me put me in for a pretty expectant crowd. 
Their favourite joke: What do you call an alligator in a vest? An investigator. (ba ha ha)

The theme of our family party was dogs. 
I made a cardboard doghouse for Lydia's presents and
 I also threw together a 'Dog dress up kit'.

In the 'Dog dress up kit': Head bands with felt dog ears I made, a ribbon collar and
 a small doggie treat of candy dog bones to snack on during the show. 

Here is our 8 year old with her cute little birthday present. Yep a little puppy. Tonight the puppy has found a new home in the cardboard doghouse next to Lydia's bed. :) Oh how we love you lovely Lydia.  Happy Birthday. 

This was just a family party and what a precious time with our family it was!

In our west corner - using what we have and who we are, to bless each other,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do you know yourself?

There are a few things I know very well about myself. I know that if I don't exercise I can become down and gloomy. Exercise; levels out my emotions and gets my whole mind and body on track. So I take care to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week even if I only have 20 minutes that day.
I also know that when I exercise everything else tends to fall in place quiet times, eating right, being organised etc. One discipline snowballs to more discipline.

I know that caffeine or too much black tea can make me irritable and on edge. So I have to watch my black tea intake, even though I love it and am surrounded by it daily.
I know that green tea doesn't effect me in the same way so I have learned to enjoy green tea with honey every morning.

Discipline in the small things can take me a long way in my day!
So there you have it, those are the things I know. :)

Simply doing what I know provides a better environment for my family and much better days for myself. 

What do you know about yourself?  What do you do to keep healthy in mind and body and Spirit?

My motto on this blog has been "use what you have"
today I am adding "DO what you know".

Apply the things you do know about yourself
even if they seem small.

Doing what I know in my west corner and determined to keep on doing it,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pallet couch for our Home school room

OUr new PLace and SPace:
Here are a few pictures of our upstairs. (some are pretty grainy) We made it into our Homeschool/everything room. 
It is also where I give english lessons to a small class of boys. 

Well here we are: our homemade couch (pallet couch) and it is used ALL the time and is comfy with the thick foam. One day I would like to make a patch work cover for it day. 

It also stores our Math -u- see blocks and certain board books. David found where they make pallets here and bought me 4 as a surprise for 9 lira a piece (that is about $4 each).
FOUR pallets?? - I wasn't to sure what I was going to do with 4 but I was excited and we have successfully used three - 2 for this couch and one for a desk we made. (pictures on that another time) 

I don't know if you can see it so well but I stencilled on our terrace door window. I used a stencil I found online for free and then used water colours and dabbed and sponged. It created a fun little design and is easily wiped off without scrubbing. So if you ever want to stencil a window... 
use water colours with just enough water to create a paste and dab and sponge away. 

Quick story: 
Although I have lived in Turkey now for 9 years there are still moments and situations where I feel intimidated by the culture, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. 

This chair you see below is an example of me overcoming some of that fear and intimation I feel at times.  

In my little corner here there are a few used furniture places that are down a narrow alley in the downtown area.  It is a street with about seven or so little storefronts full of used furniture and household items. It is not a bad part of the town but for some reason it has always intimidated me and I have never went without Dave. (even though I love the thought of finding some treasure there)  

Well, I needed foam for our pallet couch and when I found out the price, it was more than we could afford so I decided to get over my 'I don't feel like I belong, intimidation issue' and head to the narrow street.  Let me mention that it is hard to get our big van in and out of the narrow street, and it is usually all men sitting about and drinking tea watching you walk up and down and into their shops. However I went and I was successful! I found foam for 10 lira ($5) and this adorable chair with wheels that I bargained for from 30 tl to 15 tl (about 7 dollars) from a very kind shop owner, mind you. So a victory for me and a huge savings on my upstairs furnishings!!! 

Here is the full span of the room. Yes it is huge, yes it is aMaZIng. We do not need this space for learning because I believe learning should and can happen in every room in our house but there are NO complaints from me. It is so nice to have an upstairs and not be worried about keeping the kids quiet all the time. So while we have this space we are using it to the fullest. 

The kids do lots of dancing shows, magic shows, forts and 
everything and anything else you can imagine. 

Here is a picture of two little boys I give english lessons too every Monday and Thursday. :) 
This Monday I am adding one more little guy.... we shall see how three,  5 and 6 year old boys do! 

Well Happy Mother's day to all you moms! 
I had breakfast in bed - homemade scones, green tea and fruit and was smothered with homemade cards. :) I am grateful that my husband and kids have shown their appreciation for me today. It is a gift to be appreciated and loved; not a right. 

In my little west corner in a not so 'little' apartment,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Splashes of Spring around me

Finding splashes of Spring and moments of joy around me. 

This is just down a bit on my new street. 

"Patient endurance is what you (I) need now, so that you (I) will continue to do God’s will. Then you (I) will receive all that he has promised." Heb. 10:36

Finding a rhythm of rest.. my new favourite spot.

My fireman in spring. 
The wild poppies are out, sprinkling red. 

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the
 LORD in the land of the living." Ps. 27:13

In my new place, in my new corner,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nightly rounds and my new elevator.

Made my rounds of book reading, song singing, praying and sweet kisses (oh yes and a glass of water). Tonight it was a pleasure and comfy and joyful  however there are nights the bedtime routine is full of irritability and tiredness. Grateful for tonight. Grateful for energy and good books to read and my nightly rounds.

This is just a quick post to say I am here...I may have moved but I didn't die. 

In my new place I have plenty of time for reflective thought ... the elevator is super slow. :) (We are on the 5th floor) Hey I'm not complaining... time to myself and when people come over I have plenty of time to rush around and get dressed! Oh and obviously I have plenty of time to do self portraits in bad lighting. 

Ps. I made a palett couch and in the process of making a palette desk for my art room. 
Oh so much to share... too bad it is 11:30 pm.

Hope to be back soon until then .... 

in my new space,

crazy post yes... but hey i've gotta start somewhere to get back into the swing. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Homeschool Journal and Journey #4 - Our inspiration board

At the beginning of the year I put together this 'Homeschool Inspiration Board' for the girls.

The sayings and quotes are tacked onto a real "stylish" rectangle cardboard piece.

We usually prop it up at the beginning of each day and slide it behind a door or by our piano at the end of the school day. There are days we read the little quotes together but most days we don't.

The 2 quotes you can't read are: 
"Success is the sum of small efforts-repeated day in and day out." Robert Collier-author
"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself" Ethel Barrymore

I remember being in High School and there were these signs all over the building that said..
"Today is a new day, I begin again"

It is simple and at the time I thought the signs were silly but it has stuck with me know for years and there are days I actually say that to myself. 
Sooo in light of that, I have little sayings, quotes and verses here and there because I know the girls read them and it will come back to them some day.

 I am a firm believer on helping my kids memorise scripture.  They have been memorising scripture since they could talk. :) 

Again I remember verses that my mom quoted to me when I was growing up in her home and verses that I memorised in Bible quiz when I was in 6th grade and on. These verses have come back to me in moments when I was in need of wisdom or encouragement etc. 

God's word is life giving and I love hearing my kids memorise and quote it because I really believe there will be a day that it will come to their minds at the right moment that will help them to make a good choice or remind them of God's ever present love. God's word is my source of life and I want my children to value it and hide it in their hearts. (I could go on and on about memorising scripture but I will spare you all my soap box. :))

One of the sites I use for helping my kids memorise scripture is: Bible Verse Printables

These great printouts and copy work go along with the wonderful Music CD series by SEEDS. 

There have been times that I have purchased a song from Seeds album on itunes that goes along with the verse and printout we were learning for that week.  :)

Well there's my inspiration for ya. :) 

We are currently moving apartments (this Sunday/Monday) and so may be a little scarce in my posting, but I will be back. So off I go to pack a box...

In my west corner,

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