Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Carols

Today is Friday October 29th, the Friday before Halloween.  Arion's class had a full day of Halloween festivities and I was obliged to attend.  We started out making a quick change into Halloween costumes and rampaging into every elementary school class and singing pumpkin carols.  I could write paragraph after paragraph, or I could just show you.

Not sure how to upload a video directly to this blog, so here is the next best thing....

Can you see Arion?  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baking and Making

As promised earlier, I have more updates on the Halloween snack project.  I have learned many things about baking and making in this Halloween snack project; as this is without doubt the most complicated baking project I have tackled this far.  But I was fearless, and rounded up all my baking items and got to work. 

Lesson 1: If a website says, " They’re really easy to assemble", or "easy do it yourself" this does not mean that it will be easy for the reader.  It means that it was easy for the person who created this website, who probably makes these treats as a living.  If something looks really cute and custom-made, it's probably more complicated than it seems.

Lesson 2:  Practice rounds will always work in your best interest when taking on a new project.  Thankfully, I applied this to my craft and benefited greatly.  My first batch of brownies were too dry, and the chocolate was too drippy.  The second batch was too gooey and when I was rolling them they just smeared everywhere.  I finally figured out that frozen brownies worked well. Adding paraffin wax fixed the drippy chocolate issue as well.

Lesson 3:  Establishing a routine DOES matter.  I started out baking the brownies.  Then rolling one, dipping it in chocolate, then assembling it.  This was not conducive to chocolate spiders.  I eventually learned to bake the brownies, then roll them into balls at the same time, freeze, then dip, assemble and decorate.

Lesson 4: Enlist good help.  I did this, with the not-so-young lady pictured to the left.  Arion was a fabulous help for the assembly part of the project.  She played a very big role and attached all of the eyes and fangs on every spider.  She agrees, it isn't as easy as it looks.

I did notice, however, once the creatures were created and it was clean-up time, she quickly and silently disappeared!!!  I guess I have to be happy for the help I get around here! 

Lesson 5: Second graders can appreciate a good-looking snack, but don't care if they look ridicules, either!  I think I will stick to them as my cooking critics!    

Whew!  Now that I have finished this project, I think I will be finished with crafty baking for a while.  Maybe I will be feeling adventurous again mid-October 2011! 

Friday, October 22, 2010

October awesomeness

Here we are, mid-way through the second half of October, already!  Does this mean that soon I can say I have lived in Turkey for two months?  I think it does! 
This month so far has brought a variety of fun activities and events.  Being that the end of this month is Halloween, I have had to try some forced crafty skills.  I have volunteered to help Arion's class Halloween "Pumpkin Carols" and then provide and help with snacks afterwards.  Bring a chocolate cookie?  A cupcake?  I think NOT!  This is Halloween, it needs to be extra spooky.  Since assembling these 100% gooey, edible, creepy deliciousness takes some time, and moderate skill I decided that I needed to do a test run.  They aren't TOO bad (if you haven't seen the one's I was trying to make), but I see some improvement that needs to be made.   Our baking resources are limited here; especially since I still have not received our belongings so there is a lot of improvising that needs to be done.   I will let you know how the final product turns out. 

And speaking of Halloween, don't all children need to trick-or-treat?  From what I understand, this is not something commonly done in Turkey.  However, being that there are many American families here on this Turkish base, I can count on much trick-or-treating here.  Did I mention that resources are limited?  This does not exclude Halloween costumes.  As a matter of fact; there is approximately three girl costumes at the BX for sale.  I could purchase a cliche over-priced costume for Arion there; but why?  One thing that Turkey is bountiful in, is markets.  One can buy a great many things at these markets for cheap; including fabric!  Costume picked out, check.  Fabric purchased, check.  Now, with the help of my friend Amanda, costume creation will take place this weekend.  I will have a little second grade banshee for Halloween this year! 

 The banshee comes from the Irish culture and is a mythical omen of death, or messenger from the Otherworld.  There were some families in ancient Ireland who believed he cry of a banshee would herald instant death.  Traditionally, when a citizen of an Irish village died, a woman would sing a lament at the funeral. Legend has it that for five great Gaelic families the lament would be sung by a "fairy woman".   She would sing the lament when a family member died, even if the person had died far away and news of their death had not yet come.  The wailing of the banshee was the first warning the household had of the death.

Arion seems to be okay with the ancient myth of the banshee, but is more excited that she gets to be involved in the making of her costume and that a banshee "looks really cool."   Lets hope our costume-making ability lives up to her expectations!

October is also the beginning of Fall.  The base celebrated the coming of the new season with the annual "Fall Festival".  There was quite a bit to do for this, including a pumpkin carving contest.  Arion, being the mature young lady she is turning into, did not want any help from Michael nor I.  We were forced to supervise, but not assist, her pumpkin carving experience.  Needless to say it was fun, and Arion did not win.

Michael is continuing to stay busy here at Incirlik.  Since he doesn't have any career tests (outside of that pesky NCO Academy that has him leaving his family for six weeks) he is working hard on his formal schooling and aspires to finish his BA degree before our station in Turkey is finished.  Then, it will be on to his Master's degree.  He, like me, can obviously see the disadvantage of the timing and being away from his family but at the same time is looking forward to finishing this crucial part of his career.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that he already has been assigned to NCO Academy once, which was during our wedding and honeymoon and the military was kind enough to post-pone.  As much as it spites me to say, I would take this over him missing our wedding.  Him being gone for six weeks will never be good timing, so why not just get this over with!  

As for the old news; we still have not received our personal belongings.  We still have not received our vehicle. We have, however encountered a possible new obstacle.  In order to live here, we must acquire a residency permit.  This means we must supply a large amount of documentation, including our passports.  We were keenly told that the residency process took several weeks; however that has not been the case and as I meet more and more individuals, it took significantly longer for them as well.  Now, in order to drive in Turkey, I will need an international drivers license.  This too, requires an abundance of documentation, including my passport.  After several months, my temporary gate pass expires and I have to apply for a permanent gate pass.  For this, I need an abundance of documentation, including my passport.  In order to fly to Germany to be with my husband for Thanksgiving, I need... you guessed it, my passport.  To get a command sponsor letter, I will need, yes my passport.  Seeing a pattern here?  Since my passport is lost somewhere in Turkish/US Military Bureaucratic nightmare land, lets just hope I get it in time to get all of the above tasks finished on time.  

 So, maybe life is not 100% perfect, but whose is?  Ours is close. We are learning quickly to take the bad with the good and to make whatever situation work for us as best as possible.   Life is great! 

Güle güle!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weather or not...

Merhaba! Benim arkadaş ve aile.  Today I woke up to grey and cloudy skies; an obvious threat of a rain storm.  This, to say the least, has not been the average morning in Adana, Turkey since my arrival.  The clouds have now opened though, and it is presently pouring outside.  Arion got to wear her new rain coat to school and I am left here at home, pondering the weather.  

Prior to moving to Turkey, I took some time to look at the latitude and longitude of my future home and was surprised to find that Turkey is very close to being a straight shot across the world from Wyoming.  The altitude in Adana is a mere 240 feet, where the altitude of Cheyenne is just under 6,000 feet.  The humidity is clearly due to the Mediterranean Sea that I now live near.  I have heard that there are mountains near Adana; the Tarsus Mountains, to be exact.  I haven't seen them yet, but have been told that when the weather cools down and the rain begins to fall they and are visible even from the base.