Istanbul Moms http://www.istanbulmoms.com A Resource Guide for Mamas in Istanbul Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:44:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.6 You very brave Mamas, yes you http://www.istanbulmoms.com/you-very-brave-mamas-yes-you/ Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:42:39 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1143

We left Istanbul at the end of June for what was to be a short time in America before returning to Turkey and then moving to Izmir. Well, with the attempted military coup, and the subsequent firing/laying off/forcing to resign of academics, we thought it best for our family in this season to wait to return to Turkey. We just didn’t know if my husband’s job would be as sure of a thing as we hoped, and we didn’t want to be caught up in a crazy season of unknown if we didn’t have to.

So, now here we are in quiet Kansas City. I can’t believe I live in the Midwest. I can’t believe I live in a quiet home, on a quiet street, where I’m sure no one really lives because there is this phantom world of garages that allow people to enter and exit without so much as a thought of who might be living next door. It bothers me a bit, but I also lived for 4 years in Istanbul, my kids and I constantly under the microscope of whoever decided that day that they wanted to play scientist, and we.are.tired. I had no idea how tired I was.

I live my life by bucking up to the challenges that come my way, and I usually put a smile on because that makes bucking up more fun. But wow…. I had no idea until I stopped. I had no idea how tiring it was to have to get dressed every single day just to get my kids outside for a breath of unfresh air. I can’t believe for two and a half years, in the midst of pregnancy and mothering a toddler I walked up and down four flights of stairs- sometimes multiple times a day! It baffles me that day-in, day-out I spoke Turkish because I had to if I wanted groceries, or to get home in a taxi, or to get my child proper medical care. Now, as I sit in quiet suburbia, I am laughing and crying. How I did it I’ll never know. But because I did it I know you can do it. You probably are. And you are brave because raising kids in a big city in a foreign country is far from easy and for most of us far from ideal.

iloveistanbulAnd, in the midst I hope you are like I was and are enjoying days for the adventure that they are. I hope you are delighting at cafes in your neighborhoods with their charming quirks, whatever  they may be. I hope you embrace the joy of learning the language and making friends because you made that effort and communication is now possible. I hope you are making a world out of the world you are in and not wishing you are somewhere else. Because if you leave someday, you will miss it. If you are like me, you will remember the bitter with unbelief, and the sweet with tears. You will be thankful that you embraced adventure when you could. You will be thankful your story is a little more colorful than it would have been otherwise. I know because my heart it right there, right now….

And, friend, if you are having a hard day, for goodness sakes eat a Magnum bar… I know you probably walked four miles today, up hills and back down them and up again, with dogs barking and kapıcıs staring and cars not giving you and your stroller and child in the ergo the right of way (jerks!). Girlfriend, you are brave.

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2015 Reading List http://www.istanbulmoms.com/2015-reading-list/ Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:33:50 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1119

bookA few weeks ago I stumbled across a really fun idea for selecting books to read in 2015. Check it out! I had already selected several books I’d like to read this year, but this list is particularly fun because it pushes me just a little bit out of my reading comfort zone and challenges me to tackle reads I otherwise might have not considered. Here’s my 2015 list.

1) Nesting place (published 2014) (Book published this year)

2) 1,000 white women (This is a book that my mom loves)

3) Harry potter– I know, I know, I know. About time! Everyone has read it!

4) Crime and punishment (originally published in Russian- this will be the toughest one!)

5) Of mice and men (should have read in high school)

6) Bird by bird (author I like- Anne Lamott)

7) Either The Tiger’s wife or Blind man’s garden (My friend Deb has great taste and she recommended both of these.)

8) Disciplines of a godly woman (I love the cover!)

9) A family apart (childhood read) In fact, the only book I remember from my childhood besides Sweet Valley High. And there is no way I could stand the mortification if my husband caught me reading Sweet Valley High books.

10) Parenting with love and logic (This is one I have been meaning to read)

11) Unbroken (on bestseller list)

12) Lonesome dove (A genre I don’t usually read)

love-of-books

What are you reading this year?

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5 Fun Things to Do in Istanbul with Kids http://www.istanbulmoms.com/5-fun-things-to-do-in-istanbul-with-kids/ http://www.istanbulmoms.com/5-fun-things-to-do-in-istanbul-with-kids/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 12:58:48 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1109

Guest post by fellow Istanbul Mom, Emily Thompson.

The spectacular city of Istanbul has always been one of the top tourist destinations in Turkey, as not only is Istanbul a great holiday destination for adults, it also has a great deal to offer to families with young children. If you are currently planning your vacation, visit Venere website to find great deals on hotels in Istanbul. With this in mind, here is a quick guide to some of the most fun things to do in Istanbul with kids.

1. Visit Miniaturk Park

This splendid open-air miniature park should almost certainly be at the top of your list when visiting Istanbul with young children. You and your kids will be able to admire the impressive one-hundred and five miniature models as well as make the most of the exciting playground, which features a mind-boggling labyrinth and a wonderful life-sized chessboard that will no doubt keep the children entertained for hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Take the Bosphorus Tour

Istanbul’s magical Bosphorus Tours come highly recommended for families. You will be able to choose between a short ferry trip to the Asian quarter and a full-blown boat trip to the celebrated Black Sea and back. Don’t forget to enjoy the splendid views whilst the children play pirates in this suggestive setting.

3. Have some fun at Play n Learn

This wonderful play centre has been designed for children between the ages of two and six. The activities on offer range from arts and crafts to puppet shows, scientific experiments and physically active games all aimed at allowing your children to have fun whilst learning in a didactic environment. Parents have the chance to join in with their children or allow them to explore this playground independently yet supervised at all times.

4. Discover Istanbul’s Aquarium

If your children are interested in the natural world then a visit to Istanbul’s Aquarium is surely a must. The centre is located close to the main airport and features a remarkable selection of fish and marine life. You will also be able to stop for refreshments at the tea shop and explore the gift shop – an Aladdin’s cave for the children.

5. Take a trip to the Princess’ Islands

The Princess’ Islands are a great place to take the kids considering the fact that the islands’ inhabitants and visitors get around by horses and carriages. If you have young children then a carriage tour around the island comes highly recommended. If your children are a little older then why not consider renting a bicycle in order to thoroughly explore this beautiful setting?

Istanbul is a great holiday destination for children of all ages as there is so much to see and do. This bustling city offers a staggering amount of child-friendly entertainment as Turkish people are famous for their love of children. It’s always a good idea to plan a bit ahead where you intend to visit in order to ensure that this is a vacation to remember for your kids.

]]> http://www.istanbulmoms.com/5-fun-things-to-do-in-istanbul-with-kids/feed/ 2 Tomato Basil Cream Soup http://www.istanbulmoms.com/tomato-basil-cream-soup/ Mon, 30 Sep 2013 12:33:36 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1102

Hurry and run out and buy fresh tomatoes and basil before the season is over. And since the weather is cooling down, do yourself a favor and make this soup. It’s yummy!

My friend Nicole’s Tomato Basil Cream Soup!

4 tomatoes – seeded & diced
4 c. of tomato juice
14 leaves fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 c. cream
2 tblsp. butter
Put tomatoes and juice in a stock pot over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. Put the tomato mixture in a blender and puree with the basil (remember to remove the center piece from the lid and cover with a towel – to allow the steam to escape). Return puree to stock pot.

Place the pot over medium heat and stir in the cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until the butter is melted. DO NOT boil.
Serves: 4

This soup gets the Ellie stamp of approval. She’s saying, “You! Go make some. It’s amazing!”

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Summer Fun and Cooking http://www.istanbulmoms.com/summer-fun-and-cooking/ http://www.istanbulmoms.com/summer-fun-and-cooking/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:12:23 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1072

Looking for some fun activities to keep you busy this summer, or at least to make some fun memories? I highly, highly recommend attending a cooking class at Istanbul Cooking School. I had a blast there in April, and am hoping to go again some time soon. And, the best part? If you go and mention you are affiliated with Istanbul Moms you get a 10% discount. Take a friend get a 15% discount. Go here to learn more about the fun experience I had! 

 

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Learning a Language is such a funny thing http://www.istanbulmoms.com/learning-a-language-is-such-a-funny-thing/ http://www.istanbulmoms.com/learning-a-language-is-such-a-funny-thing/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 14:18:20 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1086

Nothing is ever one to one. It would be a lot easier if that were the case, but sadly, it’s not.

In English we organize our sentences with the subject first, verb second and object third.

In Turkish, it’s subject, object, verb. Tricky, tricky.

Or take smoking a cigarette, for example. In Turkish you don’t smoke a cigarette, you drink it. Interesting. You also don’t eat soup, you drink it as well.

How about hating something? You hate from dogs in Turkish. You hate from dogs.

And after learning the language now for almost ten months, I feel sometimes like I know less than when I was first here. I suppose it’s because the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. “Ne kadar çok öğrenirsen, o kadar çok bilmediğini görürsün.” I flip through the dictionary and see row after row of words I don’t know, and my mind is hard-pressed to try to figure out how to squeeze more in there!

But, it’s fun. I can’t deny that! From watching my Turkish drama I learned how to say “gotcha!” (nasıl inandın!?) And I have definitely used it more than once. For example, when people ask me where I’m from I’ll say “I’m Turkish”. Then with perfect comedic timing I throw out the “gotcha!” Gets ’em every time. Once while shopping at the pazar I ran out of space but still thought it a good idea to buy a watermelon. Sometimes my brain lets me down. I had on my Ergo baby carrier, minus the baby, so put it in the there. The salesman was very concerned that I’d fall over. He’s obviously never been pregnant. So, just to get in a little extra Turkish practice I pretended I was falling and then said, “gotcha!” He and about 5 other salesmen burst out laughing! They didn’t see that one coming, that’s for sure.

So, thus is my love/dislike story of the day of learning a new language. Most days I love it, some days I wish I didn’t have so far to go. Good thing I’m having fun while I’m at it!

 

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Istanbul Summer Recipes http://www.istanbulmoms.com/istanbul-summer-recipes/ Mon, 03 Jun 2013 10:57:50 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1067  

Written by Siobhan Yeo, Fitness Nutrition Coach and Founder of The Physique Method™

 

 

Fresh steamed Salmon fillets with Summer Garden Salad and Bulgur

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

 

Salmon Ingredients:

•       4 x fresh salmon fillets (skinless)

•       Sprinkle of salt and pepper

•       1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

 

Salmon Instructions:

•       Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil.

•       Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper.

•       Lay fillets in a steamer (either wicker or metal) and place steamer over water.  Cover with lid.  Steam fish until a knife tip inserted in thickest part of fish and held for 10 sec comes out warm, about 8-12 min depending on size of fillets.

•       Remove cooked fish by sliding a large spatula between fillet and steamer. Carefully lift salmon fillets. Transfer to each plate and serve with Summer Garden Salad, lemon wedges and small serving of Bulgur.

 

Summer Garden Salad Ingredients:

•       2 tbsp. red-wine vinegar

•       1 tbsp. olive oil (local Turkish Olive Oil is amazing)

•       1 tsp. mustard

•       2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced

•       1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

•       1 shallot, sliced

•       3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

 

Summer Garden Salad Instructions:

•       Whisk vinegar with oil and mustard in a bowl. Stir in cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, shallot and mint until combined. Season with pepper.

Bulgur Ingredients:

 

•       1 cup washed bulgur (very good value and grown in Turkey)

•       2 cups chicken stock (can be made with chicken stock cube if necessary)

•       1 finely chopped red onion

•       Large handful of finely chopped spinach

 

Bulgur Instructions:

•       Lightly fry onion with 1 tsp. olive oil.  Add chopped spinach.  Add washed bulgur into pan and stir in chicken stock.  Reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 mins, stirring occasionally until bulgur is tender and ready to serve.

 

Enjoy!

About The Physique Method™

 

The Physique Method™ has been created exclusively by Siobhan Yeo, a former ballet dancer and a certified Fitness Nutrition Coach, who previously lived in London and Los Angeles. The Physique Method™ is a unique approach to complete body wellness by coaching both fitness and nutrition together, for quick results and long-term wellness.  It has been carefully designed to make you feel great from within.  Siobhan’s clients boast that they have lost weight, toned their body, they eat healthily, have more energy, have improved skin, hair and nails and they have achieved their ideal physique.  Most importantly, fitness and nutrition has become part of their lifestyles for long-term health and wellness.  Siobhan coaches The Physique Method™ privately in the privacy of her client’s homes and also at select gyms across Istanbul.  For more information please contact:

 

www.thephysiquemethod.com

email: thephysiquemethod@outlook.com

Mobile: +90 543 579 82 24

 

You can also find The Physique Method™ on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

 

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Fresh and Seasonal this Summer in Istanbul http://www.istanbulmoms.com/fresh-and-seasonal-this-summer-in-istanbul/ Sat, 01 Jun 2013 10:57:40 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1064

 

Written by Siobhan Yeo, Fitness Nutrition Coach and Founder of The Physique Method™

Istanbul is an amazing city for many reasons, but one of which is the fresh, seasonal produce that becomes available at this time of year.  Istanbul boasts some great farmers markets, which are really fun to find and explore. Now that we are transitioning into a warm summer here in Istanbul, it is a great time to experiment with different foods and flavors and really appreciate the amazing fresh produce available to us.  There are many other benefits to eating a diet based on seasonal availability from the great taste, the nutrient content to the lower cost. For this post, I have prepared 6 easy steps for you to follow.

 

Six easy steps to eat fresh and seasonally in Istanbul:

 

1. Begin locally:

Find out where your nearest local farmers market is. Plan to make a visit and get there early. Delve deep into your Turkish and get to know the stall owners.  Often they have great knowledge of seasonality and I always get inspired to create new and interesting recipes.

 

2. Think fresh:

You’re busy and it’s so easy to buy pre-prepared food at the supermarket.  However, pre-packaged food is often high in salt, sugar, preservatives and trans fats.  Chose fresh produce to ensure you and your family are getting the most nutrients and vitamins from your food.

3. Check the price:

Take a good look at the price when choosing food at the supermarket, or at your farmers market.  The less it costs, often means it is grown here in Turkey.  Also, look up local fresh food delivery services like Pinar Kaftancioglu at www.ipekhanim.com and City Farm Organic at www.cityfarm.com.tr

 

4. Plan your week ahead:

I take some time out on a Sunday to plan my meals for the week.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of culinary spontaneity.  Fresh does not stay fresh, so plan some of your meals ahead in order to use all of your produce through the week.  Encourage your little ones to choose the menu too, making it a lot of fun to plan your evening meals together.

5. Keep it simple:

The best recipes are often the easiest to prepare. Try out a new seasonal ingredient within a recipe each week.

6. Think of your health and wellbeing:

There are many tips for staying in healthy and well, but my top 3 are: 1. Eat and drink fresh every day whilst drinking at least 2 liters of water.  2. Exercise regularly.  3. Ensure you rest and get enough sleep each night.

I always think about what I’m eating or drinking.  Here’s a great quote that I love and will help:  “If it’s a plant, eat it.  If it’s made in a plant, don’t”.  Michael Pollen, Author.

 

 

Amazing Seasonal ingredients, currently available in Istanbul:

 

Turkey is great for a huge choice of ingredients all year round.  However, like most countries, some items are fresher than others.  Have you noticed how small the celery became between January and April?  Now, is the best time for:

 

Vegetables:

Radish

Red and Green Peppers

Beans

Carrots

Leeks

Potatoes

Red, White and Spring Onions (Scallions)

Spinach

Herbs (Mint, Parsley, Basil, Dill)

Tomatoes

Chard

Zucchini

Eggplant

Artichoke

 

 

Fruits:

Plums

Cherries

Apricots

Pomegranate

Greengages

Strawberries

Apples

Avocado

Grapes

Lemons

Melons

Oranges

Nectarines

Pears

 

In my experience some items are very expensive here in Istanbul (some of these items are imported).  More expensive items that I have seen include cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, sweet potatoes and asparagus.

 

However, if you follow my guide, you can experience the freshest, locally sourced produce whilst reaping the nutritional benefits!  Here’s to eating fresh and seasonally this summer in Istanbul!

 

About The Physique Method™

 

The Physique Method™ has been created exclusively by Siobhan Yeo, a former ballet dancer and a certified Fitness Nutrition Coach, who previously lived in London and Los Angeles. The Physique Method™ is a unique approach to complete body wellness by coaching both fitness and nutrition together, for quick results and long-term wellness.  It has been carefully designed to make you feel great from within.  Siobhan’s clients boast that they have lost weight, toned their body, they eat healthily, have more energy, have improved skin, hair and nails and they have achieved their ideal physique.  Most importantly, fitness and nutrition has become part of their lifestyles for long-term health and wellness.  Siobhan coaches The Physique Method™ privately in the privacy of her client’s homes and also at select gyms across Istanbul.  For more information please contact:

 

www.thephysiquemethod.com

email: thephysiquemethod@outlook.com

Mobile: +90 543 579 82 24

 

You can also find The Physique Method™ on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

 

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Strawberry Mint Lemonade http://www.istanbulmoms.com/strawberry-mint-lemonade/ http://www.istanbulmoms.com/strawberry-mint-lemonade/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 07:54:43 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1059

Is there anything more delicious than fresh lemonade? I agree with you. No, no there is not. The other day I had several lemons, some strawberries and a good deal of fresh mint staring at me and begging me to make something out of them. Initially I was just going to make lemonade with honey instead of sugar for a refreshing afternoon treat. Then, for aesthetic reasons I thought it appropriate to throw in some fresh mint leaves which surprisingly adds a fun flavor. Well, then I remembered Strawberry lemonade from my days of yore eating at Red Robin and knew I had to throw in strawberries. And, well, ta-da! Strawberry Mint Lemonade. Now, if only my camera were capable of taking better pictures, but I promise it was yummy. I had my friend Elif over for dinner and she agrees!

Strawberry Mint Lemonade

6 lemons juiced

1/2 cup honey (or more to taste)

10-12 strawberries washed and cut

10-12 fresh mint leaves

Combine all ingredients in pitcher, stir and place in refrigerator for several hours. Enjoy over ice on a hot summer’s evening.

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Some Signs you are on your way to Going Native http://www.istanbulmoms.com/some-signs-you-are-on-your-way-to-going-native/ Wed, 22 May 2013 13:51:28 +0000 http://www.istanbulmoms.com/?p=1047

1) Ayran is your preferred beverage of choice.

2) When choosing between a latte and Turkish coffee you chose Turkish coffee.

3) When going out to eat you no longer think, “Hmm, Italian, Thai, Indian, Turkish” but rather think, “Hmm, Adana Kebab, çöp şiş kebab, beyti kebab, iskender kebab, urfa kebab, etc.”

4) If you notice someone out walking their dog and not picking up their dog’s poop, you yell at them, “You should pick it up! That’s disgusting! There are children playing out here.”

5) When your child catches a cold you wonder if it’s because they drank some cold water.

6) You cannot stop cleaning your house.

7) When someone informs you that Istanbul is a beautiful city you reply back in kind. And, when they agree you then agree. After going back and forth 10 times about how beautiful Istanbul is, you move on to how historical it is.

8) You find yourself recounting a story and can’t remember for the life of you if the original conversation took place in English or Turkish.

9) You enjoy eating cucumbers, white cheese (beyaz) and olives for breakfast. The thought of eating cereal for breakfast disgusts you!

10) You think taking 4 different forms of transportation in one day is normal.

So, what’s your score? I’m 7/10.

How else can you tell you are on your way to going native?

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