Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last Volleyball Game

The girls played their last volleyball game of the season. Though they did not win this one, they played hard.  (I did buy Twinkle some volleyball pads. She just forgot them. Just like she forgot her tennis shoes, which I found by the door on my way out!!!)

Twinkle Toes got subbed in early on. Something "clicked" and she was returning them right and left. Her coach left the magic girl in! It was so fun for me to get to see them play together.
They've made and continued some sweet friendships this season. By the way, our mascot name is "Lions." Aslan is Lion in Turkish.

Way to go, girls!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Family Day Out

We took one day on our Fall Break to drive outside of town to our favorite fall spot. On the way, we stopped and bought pumpkins and melons from this roadside vendor. I asked if I could take his picture. He straightened his coat and was happy to be photographed.
 He insisted on giving Sweet Cheeks a free apple. She gets free stuff everywhere.
 Our drive....
 Unfortunately, we planned to picnic and hike, but it was FREEZING when we got there. The rain picked up. It was so cold, we were expecting the rain to be snow at any moment. CC knew I wanted to take a few pictures, so he started calling out, "Quick! Smile! Click! Get back in the car!" It was funny.

Here we are at almost 17 years married! 17 Octobers ago I was one happy girl. I still am!

The kids huddled up for a quick picture. Of course, Miss Middler climbed a tree.

Their papa was making them laugh so hard about the "Hurry up and let Mama get her pictures, it's freezing!" stuff, I think I got some real smiles.
And so, we hopped back in the van and called it a day. But, the drive there, the praise music in the car, the time together made it a fun day nonetheless!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Future Photographer

Miss Middler played around with my IPAD. She took each of these photos in our home. I thought her collage was beautiful! (By the way, the "Indian Corn" can only be found in remote places. I bought this in Beypazari years ago and have saved it for each Fall.) I did not inherit a green thumb from my mom...these are all plants that are hard to kill! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


One of the breakfasts I made last week, requested by CC, was Menemen. This is a Turkish scrambled egg. It's very easy. I thought I'd post it here for any morning veggie lovers.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan....add a chopped green pepper. (I used non-spicy.)

I added chopped tomato and let it cook until some of the liquid has evaporated.

To that, add stirred eggs. Stir until they are cooked, but still very moist.
The toppings are salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (if desired) and thyme.

It's good and something different. The ratio is 1/2 veggie to the eggs (so 2 peppers/2 tomatoes to 4 eggs.) Let me know if you try it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Break Memories

I've learned a thing or two in my years of teaching. The Friday afternoon before a Fall Break (or any break), you just need to do something like introduce the kids to Root Beer Floats. The brains are shut down. Make a memory, instead.

So, our Fall Break was kicked off starting Friday evening.

I did not have the most positive attitude going into Fall Break. I knew I would thoroughly enjoy the Purity Overnight with Firstborn, but it was hard to see almost everyone else on staff flying off to Ireland, Romania, Greece for the week. We were staying put. CC needed the week to regroup and work. We'd save the energy and money by just staying here.

Within the first day or so, the Lord took hold of my heart and changed my attitude about the week. Last Spring, I cleaned out many little kid toys from our enclosed terrace with the idea of  making it a teen hangout room. At the start of our Fall Break, I went up and scrubbed windows. I put down a rug. I sewed some pillows. CC got us some used patio furniture. Suddenly, the room that sort of always caused me to sigh became a room that everyone loved! It's warm and sunny and clean. I started going up there for my quiet time. The down time at home provided me the time in the Word and with the Lord to work out some things I'd been stuffing inside. It was wonderful to take my cup of coffee, my Bible, and my improved attitude each morning, with no real deadline for when I needed to come back down.

The funny thing was, the terrace became such an attractive place, everyone wanted to be there. There was almost always a kid or two around while I was up there.

In addition to that, we did some other fun things. One night we played Apples To Apples. I love love love this game and highly recommend it to families with multiple aged children. Big Ben really has no clue the context of his card and what the goal is. He basically just picks his favorite card each time. So, we save all our "Big-Ben-would-love-this" cards and play them on his turn. As you can see, it was a tough choice. (He is supposed to pick the most daring.) Football? Spider-man? Hammerhead Sharks? Wrestling? Buffalo? GI Joe? All of the above?

In addition, CC took the kids to our sporting goods store and bought a retractable ping pong net. My seldom-used, old dining room table became a ping pong table.

I offered each kid the chance to pick one favorite breakfast for me to make. This is something I miss doing now that I am off to school at 7:40 each morning.

I played around on my IPAD (as did every other member of the household). I am trying to win more colors on Draw Something, but my only reliable playing partners are Twinkle Toes (occasionally) and Miss Middler (regularly). I picked "Vegas" to draw for Twinkle Toes, then quickly realized I would never, ever be able to draw a picture that she could guess, especially considering she doesn't even know what Vegas is. So, I recruited CC to help me out. Here is his picture! (Anyone reading this want to play me???? MamaCampbell96!!!)

And we fired up the wii. Twinkle Toes was so dear to play endless games with Big Ben. One morning, he even went up and woke her up to come play with him. She was even sweet then.

And so, the break that began as a little bit of a disappointment turned out to be an absolute highlight for me. My husband and my kids and my God were far more than enough!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Saltwater ecosystem

Sweet Cheeks' teacher (me) assigned an ecosystem project. She chose saltwater. CC and I agreed that this year he would be the sole project man. It would just be too weird to help her with the project knowing the rubric by which it would be graded. I do quiz her for tests, but I only stick to the study guide given to all the students.

I envisioned something totally different than what they created. They researched the 4 levels of the ocean, then he had her color two pieces of paper with a layered look. I had my doubts. Honey, she should paint it. He eyed me and said, "Are you advising any of your other students what to do?" no. "Trust me."

He had her gather trinkets and animals from around the house, as well as seashells from our wonderful winter weeks spent at the coast. A snake turned into a sea serpent. A dinosaur turned into a rotting skeleton at the bottom of the ocean. Miss Middler found a barrel and a lone flipper for her to add to the sunken treasures. Remembering how much fun she had with this project in third grade, Miss Midder helped her sister make a clam and stick a pearl bead inside. Sweet Cheeks was to create a food chain, which she incorporated right into the project. Algae-fish-man-shark. (She explained in Asia they eat Shark Fin Soup. Her Chinese friend confirmed this.)

Her project was darling. She was so proud. CC is the best dad ever. And all I had to do was display and grade it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Passport to Purity Part III

One last stop together before we met Papa for dinner... I wanted some new pictures of Firstborn with the beautiful fall colors we are seeing in our neighborhood.

I made her's not fake.

She's a beautiful girl, inside and out!

Papa took us to Big Chefs. Firstborn exclaimed, "Is this what you all do on your date nights?! This is really nice!" She and I split some fajitas. Her dad talked to her about standards, dating, what to look for in a mate, that he wants to chat with her dates before they go out. (Fair warning, guys!)  We even got into how to ditch a date if she needed to! (She may be 1/2 way across the world from us when she starts going out with guys...we wanted to cover all our bases!)
 And then she signed her commitment card.
Papa gave her a purity ring with her birthstone, just to serve as a reminder that we, all 3, believe she deserves God's very best for her future. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Passport to Purity Part II

After our delish breakfast (bacon!), we went back to our room and finished up the 5th and final CD in the course. We decided Firstborn could wait and sign her contract, based on her own convictions before the Lord, when we would meet her Papa for dinner that night.
We checked out of the hotel and went to an activity of her choosing....a trip out to IKEA. Any readers have an IKEA near you? It's a Swedish home, fun, fun. You feel like you are walking through a magazine.

Even the toys are fun!

Papa, would this rug work by our bed?

We took some pictures of stuff we could make ourselves...just to get the idea.

We had Swedish meatballs for lunch, then decided we were ready to go. You really and truly never know what you will stumble upon in Turkey. That day it was a giant walking bowling pin. I insisted on getting Firstborn's picture with him. (or her?)

Passport to Purity Part I

It is our Fall Break, which coincides with the Sacrifice Holiday here in Turkey. Since we had at the week off and did not go out of town as a family, we made this our week for Firstborn's Passport to Purity retreat with me. I can't recommend this highly enough. It is put out by Family Life Publishing and has everything you need to make a memorable weekend with your teen, clearly explain what God says about purity, and offer a time for him/her to make a commitment. We had so much fun!

We opted not to go out of town, so CC allowed us to stay in a nice hotel here in Ankara for 1 night. We left out mid-morning and had a quick salad lunch. I presented her with her workbook and a letter from her Papa and from me. I got a little choked up writing it. Didn't I just meet this precious baby? Where did the time go?

Our hotel was nice. We had frequent flier miles that bought the night for us. She got a kick out of the "pillow menu" at the hotel. We perused it, checked out our pillows, then decided we liked the ones we had already been given!

We enjoyed an afternoon at the Turkish hamam (bath house) there in the hotel, then went out for some dinner. We took the movie on Queen Esther called "One Night With the King" and watched it together. Between all of our events, we listened to cd's and worked through her workbook. The topics were great...peer pressure, listening to God's Word and your parents, setting your standards high, etc.

After a good night's sleep, we enjoyed the international breakfast at the hotel.

Firstborn's plate....

We couldn't forget all the little people at home, so we took a little jar of peanut butter, dulce de leche, or chocolate for each of them (from the buffet).
Tomorrow I'll blog about our day out and about.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Spotted in our neighborhood

(Insert Samford and Son theme song here.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Our Weekend (about as random as this blog ever gets)

We had a fabulous weekend! The girls took third place in the weekend volleyball tournament. It was so thrilling to watch them work together to beat a team we had never beaten before. As you can see, we have very few tall girls. The Campbells and a couple of others are "it" as far as tallness. Note the gal in blue behind them. They were ALL tall. Our girls worked for every point they got. And this mama screamed for every spike her girl threw at 'em! Twinkle Toes went in for her sister to give her a breather...the girls played 25 point games against 3 teams in one night.

We all slept in Saturday morning, then I asked the sisters to clean up their rooms and bring me a digital picture of the results. I got this lovely creation. (Note, she made sure her sister's clothes...still not put away...made it in to the picture.) I thought it was interesting she chose a construction theme border. Room clean-up and training still under construction, I guess?

CC took Big Ben on his first-ever bike riding lesson.

And then we had a little fun with my Ipad. I never realized how much I look like an adult male elf.

It turned cold in our city. Phaselis found a way to keep warm. I don't think he moved all day from this spot. He is content when Miss Middler is home for a day.
How was your weekend?

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