Friday, January 29, 2010

Play Kitchen

G is totally into her play kitchen and has been for three years. It was definitely a good investment. I don't know if it's just b/c it's a great toy, or if it's b/c she is surrounded by food nuts and both her parents love to cook, but she plays with it every day, and cooks things for me like "fish with egg batter" and "poached eggs and werbs [herbs]". I love hearing her say, "We're making empanadas!"

She and I just spent a day reorganizing her kitchen and making a list of things that she thinks are missing from a well equipped kitchen. I then spent some time scouring the house for things that would work or that I could make to fill in those gaps. She wanted a clock, to time things, a cook book (which I made by cutting up an old one of mine and bound for her), kitchen towels to hang on her oven door (which I made by cutting up one of ours for her), etc. It was a really fun day.

Here are a couple of things that we will be adding to her kitchen in the future (since she loves Thai food, and ordered for us last time: "Basil fried rice with beef, not too spicy.) I think she'll get a kick out of these:

Melissa and Doug Stir Fry Slicing Set

Melissa and Doug Wooden Sushi

She already has these (which I highly recommend! They work great, and get those little fingers learning! You can find them at H Mart or other Asian markets). There are lots of versions of learning chopsticks out there, but these are great, b/c they actually have loops for little fingers in the right spots.

Hour Glass

I know I have blogged about this before, but now that I am nursing twins I have finally had the impetus to purchase a set of these from CB2. I got the hour glass and the 15 minute glass to help G know when she can do things, all on her own. She's too young to tell time, and this way she can see how much time she has left, without asking me :) And she loves them! She loves to watch the sand, and they are bright and colorful and look cool in her room. And boy is it a help to me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Food & Think

As an avid supporter of the Smithsonian, I receive their magazine. They send out an electronic newsletter highlighting online articles as well... Anyhow, here's a fun post about "What Children's Books Taught Us About Food." Some of the books featured are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Wrinkle In Time (remember the turkey that tasted like sand?). I thought it was a fun thing to think about. A lot of the responses below the article are fun too.

I think the most memorable book reference to food that I can think of is probably Turkish Delight from The  Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. But Amelia Bedelia's cream puffs have got to be up there too. What are some of your favorites?

As an aside, I also noticed, and did not previously know about, the Smithsonian Magazine blog called Food & Think: A Heaping Helping of Food News, Science, and Culture.

Bottle Openers

How cool are these bronze bottle openers designed by Oji Masanori?  How can I get one?!

G's Birthday Cake

I am totally going to make this cake for G's birthday!

ABE Books

Most of you know about ABE books--it's a great used book store site--but you may not be aware of their weird book room. It's really funny, and they always pull the oddest books out to highlight. It's worth perusing for 5 minutes, for a laugh.

Eat, Sleep, Poop

I bought two of these journals for my babies' arrival, and have found them incredibly convenient and useful.

The Glass Room

I heard Simon Mawer interviewed on The DR show yesterday, and this book sounds fascinating. The Glass Room was on the Booker list this year.

From The Washington Post's Book World
Reviewed by by Ron Charles

During the pause between world wars, a Jewish businessman and his new wife commissioned a startlingly modern house for themselves in Czechoslovakia. They hired the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and gave him free rein to design an avant-garde structure that looks like a Mondrian painting in three dimensions: a long, low building of dramatic straight lines, marked by a large room with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Unbelievably, this elegant house survived the dismemberment of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia, German bombing, Soviet invasion and the natural forces that conspire against a neglected building. The Villa Tugendhat, which has been a public museum since the mid-1990s, remains a masterpiece of minimalist architecture, and now it's the evocative setting for a stirring new novel that almost won this year's Booker Prize. The author, Simon Mawer, moves through six decades of European history, much of it unspeakably tragic, using the glass house as a window on the hopes and fears of its various inhabitants and the conflicts that rip Europe apart. Pianists and Nazis, doctors and servants, everyone is drawn to the living room's extraordinary vista and feels aroused by the promise of such clarity: This is "a place of balance and reason," Mawer writes, "an ageless place held in a rectilinear frame that handles light like a substance and volume like a tangible material and denies the very existence of time." But the architecture proves purer than the human spirit. Again and again, the residents of this glass house find they can't tolerate the light of full disclosure even as they're attracted to it.
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

Calvin on Self-Denial

This is an excellent extract from The Institutes on Self-Denial. It takes a bit to get into the prose, but it is really excellent. This site also has many other great downloads of classic texts.

Bacon and Eggs

Article on eating bacon and eggs while pregnant... it looks like it may help boost your baby's memory!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Felony and Mayhem

We've been loving our new streaming Netflix player. I don't think that we are going to ever read again. :) We've really been stuck on The Albert Campion series. I had read these when I was young, and am really enjoying these. I went to the library to pick up some of them to read and discovered a press of which I was previously unaware. It's called Felony and Mayhem, and their vintage series specializes in mystery/detective fiction published prior to 1965. Through their suggestions I have discovered some new (to me), and promising fun authors similar to Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy Sayers. They suggested Edmund Crispin and Elizabeth Daly--both of whom I have never heard of, and am looking forward to getting to know. They have their books broken out into helpful categories. Happy browsing!

ps. I can't post about mystery novels without mentioning my all time favorite, Martha Grimes. She is just so good. The Richard Jury series is fantastic, literary, and the characters delightful.

Modern Genealogy

Great family trees that are hip designs from My Tree and Me.