Saturday, June 28, 2014

The List: June 2014

If I had to capture June in one phrase, I would say it went swimmingly for me. Quite literally. After swimming every summer as a child, and then not swimming at all for nearly 2 decades, I got back into the pool. It is such a relief to find some physical activity that I actually enjoy. The rest of the family has been enjoying water as well- Lila started toddler swim lessons and we discovered splash playgrounds close to home- these are playgrounds fitted with sprinklers and buckets pouring water and other such water play. A wonderful way to be outside and yet be able to cool off.

Eating the fruits (veggies/herbs etc.) of other people's labors! A friend gave a giant bunch of mustard greens from her garden; it went into saag paneer. Another gave me a huge bouquet of basil and it became walnut pesto. And yesterday someone gave me a bag of baby pattypan squash. Ah, the benefits of cultivating friends who cultivate gardens ;)


 This is the very best thing I ate all month: tomato sandwiches. These are a Southern thing. Soft sliced bread spread with mayo, slices of tomatoes and sweet Vidalia onions, a shower of salt and pepper. I can't believe that something so simple can taste this good. Actually, I can.







Another spectacular meal was a Shavuot celebration with our Israeli friends: savory pastries called bourekas, spinach pie, strawberry salad, carrot salad, and sangria to wash everything down.








Father's Day was celebrated with a big stack of blueberry pancakes!







Reading

Image: Goodreads

 Family Happiness by Laurie Colwin, she of Home Cooking fame. A talented storyteller who died too young. Family Happiness is a contemplative family drama, a personality profile of a dutiful and people-pleasing wife and mother whose world turns upside down when she slips into an extramarital affair. "Family life is deflective: it gives everybody something to do. It absorbs sadness and sops up loneliness. It provides work, company and entertainment. It makes tasks for idle hands and allows an anxious spirit to hide in its capacious bosom."

 


Image: Goodreads

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 The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. This work of non fiction was the best book I read all month- dense and technical but very readable and insightful.








And the books Lila has enjoyed this month...


Fun Dog, Sun Dog by Deborah Heiligman. This one has the perfect seasonal combination of sun, beach, kid and dog- a sweet story with rhyming words.






 Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. A baby bird hatches from the egg while its mother is away looking for food; it embarks on an adventure, eager to find her and see her for the first time.







 
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. A whacky story about a pigeon who begs and wheedles to be allowed to drive an unattended bus. This one led to many questions as Lila looked at the expressive drawings. "Is the pigeon upsetted?", she wanted to know.






 The favorite book by far this month was Children Just Like Me by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley. Lila got this book as a new baby when V's boss' wife came to see her. It sat on the shelf for nearly 3 years waiting for her to grow up just a little bit. Now she wants to read "kids book" for hours (!) every day.

The book is the result of an extraordinary journey sponsored by UNICEF where the authors traveled to dozens of countries and compiled this book depicting the everyday lives of children everywhere- what they wear, eat, where they go to school, what they call their mom and dad, how they write their name. It is rich is details, diverse and inclusive, touching and wonderful in every way. My only quibble is that the book was published in the mid-90s, and since 2 decades have passed, it is time for a new updated edition.

Nevertheless, I suspect that Children Just Like Me will be relevant for Lila for years to come because there are so many details to discover and discuss.



Making butterfly embellishment for plain store bought summer tops. The inspiration came from here.






Laughing at toddler conversations...

Lila: Daddy, I need to have a tantrum.
V: Can you wait till after we've brushed your teeth?
Lila: OK.

Lila (in a public restroom): It smells like Dunkie in here.
Dunkie is not amused.
I have feelings, you know
How was June for you- what have you been eating, reading, watching, playing, making? Tell me everything!

41 comments:

  1. Thanks for the big laugh with Lila's conversation and Duncan's expression. :) Am so glad you enjoy swimming. I think it is best learnt in childhood. I tried after I was an adult and I just didnt get the hang of it. I take the daughter to the swimming pool with her floats and tube on and just sit on the side. I have started walking a lot this month. Some days we walk to the park 1.5 miles away, sometimes to the lake to feed the ducks.
    This was the birthday month for daddy. I made a cake with fresh strawberry cream and chocolate lace border. I also made a paneer makhni with the makhni sauce link you provided on one of the posts. It turned out excellent. Thanks for taking the time to point to some great recipes.
    I also harvested a small amount of mustard leaves, methi and garlic greens from my tiny balcony garden and added them to a dal. Waiting impatiently for tomatoes to ripen :)

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    1. Walks are wonderful- I often go on long after-dinner walks with my neighbor and she's the one who told me about the pool and talked me into going. One good thing leading to another.
      Your garden sounds wonderful and so does the cake- I love fresh fruit fillings in cake.

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  2. Love those toddler conversations! I laughed and laughed! Thank you for including Lila's list of books read too. Those tomato sandwiches look so tempting in this heat.
    Our summer here in San Diego is getting pretty hot too. With a 3 week old baby, any little free/me time I get, I spend catching up with sleep or the rest of the world- online/ or on phone. But I do have my mom's cooking to look forward to- Saag paneer was something we enjoyed too this month.
    Have a wonderful summer!
    Shilpa

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    1. Congrats on the baby and hope you're both doing well!

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  3. Your summer it appears is going swimmingly well(:-)) And yup, all I craved during my pregnancy in the hot texan summer(we lived in san antonio then) were sliced tomato, mayo and onion sandwiches but you know what perhaps I OD-ed cuz I haven't had one since then. Time to remedy that pronto. I love, love, love that you have pals who're avid gardeners. Giving and receiving food would possibly top my list of favorite things to do in the world.

    V and I will be beginning our respective swim lessons in a few days. The only thing is I'm going to re-learn after 10+ years and don't fancy swimming next to a local area 10 year old champ that much:-) Bay Area weather in the parts we live is still cool and we're waiting for some hot white heat to go swimming regularly.

    I've been for some reason making very typical Goan saraswat recipes of late. Some fish curries, chicken xacuti, varan bhaat and simple bhajis with grated coconut, taws fried plantain slices and what not. Growing up this was every day food but with the need for simple techniques after marriage the food of my childhood became increasingly exotic to us, to be endeavored only on special occasions, usually twice or thrice a year. So now I'm on a rampage introducing V to my childhood memories through my favorite pastime. Making and eating good food that is:-)

    We've made our way to the lovely Marin farmer's market a couple of times so far and loaded up on fresh sheep's milk cheese, lots of greens(our plan is to try a new green each time to expand V's veggie horizons. We tried dandelion greens last time and boy are they bitter or what!), herbs, varied colored tomatoes, black radish...the bounty there is all tempting and endless.

    We're also making good use of the museum free days and venturing into the city to nosh on food truck goodies and take in art and science exhibits.

    Deepa

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    1. Yup- sharing food is pretty much my favorite thing in the world too! I've been swimming next to people 2 decades older than me, watching them darting past while I paddle along trying to catch my breath- LOL. You really must get amazing produce in that part of the country! Your life sounds lovely with a nice mix of food and culture.

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  4. swimming is really great fun. It is also a very safe exercise as there is little chance of injury. However since one feels ravenous after a good swim it is essential to stock up on healthy food and keep it handy. Also one must guard against foot infections as they are painful and scary. I learnt swimming at the age of 25 and it is a point of pride for me.

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  5. I literally ROFL'd reading about the toddler conversations. Kids say the funniest things!
    The sandwiches totally look like summer food. I'm not a fan of raw onion in sandwiches (but don't mind them elsewhere, no idea why!) but I hope to try making these soon.

    P

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    1. These raw onions are sweet Vidalia onions- they're tasty and not pungent!

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  6. I can just picture you guys having a great time in the pool!

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    1. We are, and I have the tan lines to prove it ;)

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  7. Woof woof Dunkie! Lila's frocks look nice with butterfly embelishments. I rediscovered swimming last year when I went to my village with family. It is always nice to have atleast one phyiscal activity one likes else call it excercise and we loose interest. The food looks delicious too. You have read all that I've been upto on my blog already so no repeats :)

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    1. That's how I am- exercise bores me to tears. But this one is fun and I desperately hope it becomes a habit. Coz I need some exercise ;)

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  8. your june sounds awesome fun! Lila's tantrum conversation is genius! :)
    Our June went by so fast..Super hectic days at work for both me and hubby kept us from doing a lot of fun things. We did manage to take lil A on a hike on father's day. He and we had a blast. Encouraged by that experience we have planned another (bigger) hike over the july long weekend! Foodwise, we did eat out a LOT this month. Busier office months always make us not want to cook and we end up eating out. We also has a chaat party at one of our friend's place and it was the best! I made srikhand for the party and all of us went nuts eating the amazing spread. Fun times!

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    1. Good for you guys for hiking as a family and making it a part of your life! That's the way to go. The chaat party sounds amazing.

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  9. "Are You My Mother" was one of MY favorite books as a kid and my children loved it as well!!!! Good literature never goes out of style!!

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    1. And you'll be reading it to your grandkids I'm sure :)

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  10. Did she have her tantrum after brushing, then? :)
    Kids say the cutest things. A big WOOF! to your vaghoba.

    June was rewarding, in the sense, I finally found a new rental and am packing. Searching, finalizing, packing ... BLAH!
    It's summer holiday time, so we have activities and play dates lined up. S and I are out all day, coming home exhausted.
    Watching : Movies! the local cinema halls have a summer bonanza, kids movies for $1. My friends and I take the kids and we love the animated movies too :)

    In all this, my son's birthday party was put on the back burner. It's tomorrow, the temps have gone up and the pool is perfect. So moms and kids are having a party ( decided in a hurry and because moms want to get in the pool too)
    I have taken it upon myself to make a spider-man cake. Hoping I can and praying it is what I want to make it.

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    1. She did have her tantrum after brushing- that kid is determined. Congrats on finding a nice new home and hope it has a lovely kitchen. Have lots of fun at your pool party!

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    2. The pool party was fun, the kids did not want to come out :)
      but the cake ( good ol' spidey) got them out :D

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  11. I love reading Lila's conversations! She's hilarious :D.
    Your butterfly decoration is lovely. I made a pillowcase dress for my little one - I had pinned a tutorial after looking at the one you had made. It turned out totally cute..and so easy to make!
    One of my friends saw the felt toys I made and 'custom ordered' an owl for her baby girl. I had so much fun coming up with a pattern and making it. This is going to be my favorite indoor summer activity!

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    1. Good for you for making the pillowcase dress!! They are easy and with different fabrics you can make all different kinds. Lila uses her pillowcase dress from last summer as a top this summer. And your felt toys sound lovely.

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  12. Hi Nupur,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog for quite sometime now. I like your style, great blend of Indian and Western styles.
    My activities this month were mostly outdoor, with a couple of hikes and evening walks in a park near by.
    I made paneer makhanwala, a mixed lentil soup and Jalebi this month.
    I have not been active on the reading front lately. Reading your list has motivated me to pick up a book. Hopefully will have something to share about it next month. :)
    - Ketki

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    1. Thanks Ketki. Your walks and hikes are the perfect way to enjoy the season. I've made jalebi only once in my life- it was fun though!

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  13. LOL! I had to share this. I was showing S these pictures, specially Dunkie.
    SO he says, " the dog's name is Dunkie? oh! So he is like, like...... his first name is Dunkie and his last name is Donut".

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    1. LOL Tell S his official name is Sir Duncan Donut. As in Duncan, Do nut sit on the couch, do nut bring muddy paws into the kitchen etc.

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  14. The Shauvot party sounds fun and 'Children Just Like Me' sounds like a book I would love to read myself. Tulika Publications (based in India, but they have an online shop) has a collection of non-fiction for kids that follows the lives of children in different parts of the world - I have Assam and Bhutan, and love them. They are great for young kids - my son just turned 5.

    Mo Willems has been a wonderful treat - my son reads unaided, and without any 'encouragement' from me. He enjoys picking up a book and reading it from cover to cover, and Willems cracks him up everytime. Try the Elephant and Piggie series.

    I will look up the other books (for grownups) you mentioned. They sound intriguing.

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    1. I've seen so many great books from Tulika- I'll look for them next time I'm in India. Will definitely look for more Mo :)

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  15. Hi nupur, just cracked up over Lila's tantrum comment!
    Recently I asked my little one " do you want to support the white team ( Ghana) or the red team (USA)?
    To which she answered I wanna support pink team, I like pink !

    Here's a little recap of te new stuff I've been enjoying:
    Apps: the Nike app for running has helped me stay motivated.
    Bloglovin App: helps me stay up to date with my fav blogs.
    Have discovered a few book blogs I'm loving.
    Spotify App: have rediscovered this one: have been making a lot of playlists that are free to listen to with wifi.
    Eat/ Drink: fruit flavored essence water that I've been making at home.
    Eat: have been making a lot of spaghetti with onion, pancetta, frozen peas and creme fraiche sauce.
    Book: these wonderful rumours by May smith - a real persons diary and account of the Second World War. This diary deals with trials and trivialities. The diary writer- a British schoolteacher describes bombs dropping on London but also mentions the troubles she had in finding a hat to wear to a dance.
    I feel this was a quick month- where did it go?
    Hope you have an excellent July
    Arpita.

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    1. Arpita- that's so cute! Go pink team! Good for you for running regularly. The book sound wonderful as usual. It is true that time is flying by, it always does in summer somehow.

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  16. What a coincidence, I've just bought "Children just like me" for my niece as a birthday present. She'll be 4 in a week's time.

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    1. Happy Birthday to your niece and I hope she enjoys the book!!!

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  17. Nupur, thanks for your suggestion on using garlic scapes with scrambled eggs. I just used them for the first time (thanks to a CSA delivery) and my daughter is in love with scrambled eggs with garlic scapes and feta.

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    1. That's awesome!! CSA makes you try all kinds of new things, eh?

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  18. Nupur: could you share the recipe for the veggie and omelet noodle stir fry you mentioned in the April post? it looks yum!
    ps: for some reason it is not letting me leave a comment there.

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    1. I'll post the recipe sometime soon!

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  19. I love the list of books you pick Nupur - I recently read Relish and loved it

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  20. I didn't realise your sister moved to the US, sounds like a lovely vacation. That picture of Duncan is total heart melt. We in India are gearing up for the first ever food blogger meet on 1-2 august. Am so excited to be finally meeting some of the people I have met and become friends with via blogging.

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    1. I read about the food blogger meet- how exciting!!

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Thank you for taking the time to say hello!