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Home

We’re all getting back to our normal routines.  I’m surprised that I’m happy to be back home.  But I guess that just means that this really is home.  It’s where we get together with friends, make food, have quiet afternoons.  And we do laundry.  lots of laundry.  I’m more than half way through, but it’s taking forever.  Our washer is rather small, and my shampoo leaked in our one suitcase so there was even more laundry than I expected.  It was in a bag, but the way the lid was pushed off also popped open the bag. Myka’s blanket absorbed most of it (thank God) so it was less messy than it could have been.  And now I need to buy more shampoo.

I’m working on putting together some posts about our trip, but I’m still having some photo issues.  Eventually….  For now, we’re back to regular, day-to-day fun like going to the playground, feeding cats, and figuring out meals for the week.  One thing I really like here: being able to walk to the store.


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Ocean views

We walked along the coast the other day.  It was beautiful.  We’ve had a little rain here, but mostly lots of sun. No one has gotten sunburn, though! There is a playground and picnic area where we stopped and let the kids play for a bit.

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Tips for visiting Cyprus:

Bring a pair of shoes that will work well for walking on rocky, steep paths.

Consider renting a car that is four wheel drive. The roads near the beach or around small towns may be steep and unpaved.

If you have those sunshades that have suction cups and stick to your car windows, bring them along.  They are light and small and may really come in handy.

Remember your children’s sunglasses so they don’t remind you that you forgot their sunglasses everyday.

There are lots of reviews of restaurants out there.  There was a notebook at the villa we rented that had lots of information, lots of advise on the rental property listing on tripadvisor.com (where we found the property we are staying at), and you can find tons of information online.  Just go somewhere local, in a small town.

(I’m sure I’ll think of more…)

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We ate at Kentpoikon in Mandria, our third trip to Mandria but our first time at this restaurant.  The little description the owner of our villa wrote included the note that “the woman who runs it gets over stressed sometimes and can come across as a little rude at times, but it’s well worth a visit.” I can see how that description fits. Haha!  She seemed a little on edge.  But the food was abundant and very good.  It gets a recommendation from us.

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We took a trip up to the roof of our villa to look around.  The location of this villa has a view of the ocean and inland toward some hills.  We took some panoramic pictures with our ipad; I’ll post them soon.


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oops..

I found more pictures!

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These are the Easter eggs we dyed.  We used purple cabbage, red onions, yellow onions, and beets. (In the picture, from front to back: cabbage, beets, red onion, yellow onion.) I put a piece of white muslin in the dye with the eggs just to see what would happen, and someday I’ll dye some fabric this way. The fabric that was in the cabbage dye looks lavender, but it turned more blue later. It has a iridescent, two-tone look.  I love these colors!  The eggs sat in the dye in the fridge for about four days.  Then Myka helped me shell them and we made deviled eggs.  Then I ate at least six deviled eggs a day, probably more.  I really like them, and they needed to be eaten anyway.

Haha!

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We invited some people over for dinner on March 15th, the Ides of March.  So we jokingly said it was toga party.  Myka and Emery wore togas….for three minutes because they hated them and wanted them off. Now.  I’m not sure if Myka is laughing or crying in this picture. I’m guessing laughing, but I’m sure she was unhappy soon after this picture was taken.

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Family time at the pool makes me happy!  Just the short walk there is exciting: Emery wanting to walk, tossing items out of the wagon, Myka excitedly going the wrong direction.  Haha! There was laughter, there were tears, and we love it. That one picture of my feet – that’s about all of me that got in the water. It’s still quite chilly, hence the wrapped up Myka warming herself beside the pool.  Not to worry; I’m sure it will be all too toasty soon.  I’m told the water gets too hot to swim in during the summer.  When that happens I think we’ll all just stay inside.  Can it be called hibernation if it’s summer and hot out?


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now I have time

EDIT: After I posted this I accidentally deleted all the photos on my blog.  I’m not sure if I can find the ones that are in this post; they aren’t in my photo folders.  I’m still working on it, but until then….

 

And now that I have some extra time I can catch up on posting some photos.  Let the randomness begin!

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Myka has some letter stickers and I made a page for her to use them on one day.  She did a great job finding the correct letter sticker and putting it very neatly on the page.

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Myka and I made a tent for her out of a sheet over the coffee table and couch.  The cats thought it was for them.

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Lola is still shy, but she is getting more and more friendly and will let you pet her.  Sometimes.

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I love when my children eat food.  Crackers with peanut butter and raisins (frogs on lily pads) was a big hit.  And oranges. They love oranges.  “These have orange juice inside!” is Myka’s comment every time we eat them.

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Myka, Emery, and I went on a bus trip from our compound to a beach in Jubail.  The trip was organized for the Bechtel wives here in Jubail, and most of the people who went were from the other, larger compound here.  A bus came to Al Jude (the compound we live in) and pick up three other women and the three of us.  I didn’t know what to expect or what to pack.  I wondered if we were going to be on the beach or just see the beach, if there were going to be other children, if Stephen was going to have to come rescue me half an hour after we arrived…  But it was great and we didn’t need to be rescued.  There was a play ground and lots of other kids.  Myka and Emery dug in the sand while the adults sat in chairs and chatted on the beach.  Lunch was delicious; I had shawarma for the first time and loved it.  There lots of little sandwiches and bite sized desserts.  Most of the time I was chasing Emery, trying to keep him near by, or explaining to Myka why she couldn’t get into the water, so I only ended up with these two photos.  Disappointing but typical.  He loved peeking through those slats though!  This was on one of our walking loops during lunch.  No high chair meant I was either trying to hold a squirmy boy or we were walking.  We walked a lot.  I am so thankful for friends who help me keep an eye on Myka and Emery!  They are the only way I can make it through these kind of events.

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I don’t like I ever told you about the soup Stephen and I made.  Chicken vegetable soup made with real broth which Stephen cooked down himself.  He is such a good cook.  I love when he makes me broth.  It’s a labor of love, and I’m thankful he takes the time and makes the effort to do things like that.  This wasn’t as good as the broth he made from our deep fried, flavor infused turkey last year, but come on…they were deep fried.

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There was a recipe for apple cinnamon scones that I wanted to try, but it called for cinnamon chips.  I didn’t know if I could find any around here, so I looked up a recipe for making your own cinnamon chips.  These. Are. Amazing.  I can’t wait to try this with cinnamon bread.  And you can use a different seasoning instead of cinnamon to make pumpkin pie spice chips or ginger chips or whatever else you want in little bursts of flavor.  Yay!  The scones turned out quite yummy, by the way.

http://www.mind-over-batter.com/whats-baking/diy-cinnamon-chips/

http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2012/09/pumpkin-pie-spice-chips-perfect-for.html

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/10/05/1005-fresh-apple-cinnamon-scones-tis-the-season/

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I made some animal crackers from weelicious.com.  They were easy, yummy, and the kids gobbled them up.  I don’t think they lasted three days, maybe only two.  The first tray burned.  The oven got too hot.   This is a continual problem for me, but I’m learning and checking on whatever I’m baking more often.  Myka helped me cut out the cookies and loved picking out the cookie cutters.  I loved that these cookies are made from basic ingredients and I know what my children are eating.  We’ll make these again!

http://weelicious.com/2010/09/01/graham-crackers/

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Sleepy girl! Sometimes if she sits still long enough and she is tired enough she will fall asleep during quiet time.  So cute..

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After going out for lunch in Jubail with some friends, we stopped at Cafe Lewan for some cheesecake.  Stephen mentions this cafe and their delicious cheesecake just about every time we drive past it, and I was tired of hearing about it but not eating it.  It was so good!  The coffee shops here have very good pastries and desserts and hot chocolate.  Because I don’t get out much, they probably seem all that much more exciting. Haha!

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We’ll end with some of our fun, everyday photos. Emery desperately wants the phone.  Only, he likes to put it in his mouth, so I he doesn’t get to hold it very often which makes him a little upset.  Myka likes to take pictures with my phone.  Pictures of me, herself, the cats, the rug, a doorknob, the counter….the world from the viewpoint of a three year old.

The. End.


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Friday

Our first full day here. We drove to Paphos and had lunch then ice cream cones.  It was beautiful outside, but I must say old ladies need to keep their clothes on.  Pulling your tank top straps down so you can get a suntan without lines doesn’t seem necessary, and I don’t want to see your bra.   Then again, how do I know what the priorities of 70 year old women are…  We enjoyed our food and as you can see the ice cream was a big hit.  There are those airplane hats again.  They do keep the sun out of their eyes nicely.

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I made Myka a felt doll.  It’s like a paper doll but felt.  I really like the way it turned out.  She played with it for a little while during our afternoon quiet time.  She was most impressed with the princess dress, a large pink fluffy thing.  She’s such a girl. Haha!

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Our priority for our holiday is relaxing, and we have done a great job keeping our priorities in line.  Go us!


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Cyprus

It’s my new favorite country.  It’s close enough to Saudi Arabia that it’s an easy, direct three hour flight.  The weather and landscape is beautiful. They have a lot of ice cream stands. I like it.

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Myka and Emery received bags on the plane that had activity books, hats, and one of those colored pencils with the little pieces inside that were all different colors that you rotated to the end of the pencil…know what I’m talking about?  I guess I should have just taken a picture of it! Haha! Anyway, they have been wearing the hats all the time.

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Our rental car is a Ford Focus.  They drive on the left side of the road here and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.  Stephen has done a great job dealing with this new way of driving.

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Isn’t this Beautiful!!

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This is beautiful too: sleeping children!

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We were practicing our fish faces.  Emery makes an awesome fish face with those smooshy cheeks of his, but he was too quick for the camera to capture it.

 

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Ahhh….I am certainly looking forward to enjoying the next two weeks!

 


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upgraded!

We stayed in a hotel in Bahrain the night before our flight to Cyprus.  There was a mix-up with our reservation and we ended up in a bigger suite than we expected!  The pictures probably don’t quite do it justice.  Myka’s two cents: where’s the carpet?

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I think that was the biggest bed I have ever slept in, and while it was a short night it was lovely!