June 24, 2012

June: Summer on My Mind

Summer, sweet summer. I have been so preoccupied that I have quite neglected Klatch. So time to make up with June picks filled with summer memories.

For starters watermelons, the bright red ripe goodness. To this day I remember my cousin, seven or eight at the time, slinking away from the kitchen table after one too many slices and trotting towards the lavatory. Only this year, for the very first time, did I attempt to elevate watermelon to new heights.

Turns out a splash of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, black pepper, and some chopped basil turn watermelon into summer party worthy side dish. Many recipes call for mint by the way, which does sound so very refreshing, but there is no mint to be had in my scrappy little herb garden so Basil genovese it was. Grapefruit chunks added a nice burst of acidity. Don't believe me? Check out this watermelon salad from Marcus Samuelsson.

The Merchant's Wife - 1918 painting by Boris Kustodiev
 Around here we are fond of books, reading them and about them. And summer books are like a burst of warm moist air that hits you when you leave air conditioned building. Sure, you could stick with tried and true, like Georgette Heyer. Or you could try Jasper Fforde poolside. Fforde's Thursday Next saga is terribly clever, with word play and books within book references. A book lover's book. Where else does a heroine befriend generic characters, hop around literary classics (in them that is), and has a kid fluent in Lorem Ipsum? Check it out.

The Well of Lost Plots - this one was one of my favorites! Thursday Next hangs out in the well of Unpublished Books, fights grammasites and eavesdrops on gossip about Anna Karenina.

Lastly, let me leave you with a wine pick. Vino Verde, usually Portuguese, isn't a serious wine, it is crispy and effervescent. Perfect just out of the fridge, a bust of freshness on a hot day. And at $6-7 a pop, surly you cannot afford NOT to stock up. Gazela or Casal Garcia are sure picks (despite the garish labels).

Chilled on its own or with food, crisp and refreshing.

June 3, 2012

Learned Tot: Feelings

 Discussions about feelings are just too squishy for my taste, too imprecise and smacking of self indulgence. It came as a surprise that one ought to educate tots about feelings much like teaching letters and counting. Telling one's offspring to 'get over it and carry on' would be considered callous and so here are some resources for the parents of my ilk.

First come Kimochis. In the little dolls we found a hip way to compartmentalize and, truth be told, open conversations that do not come naturally. Kimochis is Japanese for feelings and are possibly the only emotional-education toy in the market that actually looks fun.

Kimochis characters have a little pouch to hold their feelings. Meet cloud. Sometimes he is happy. And when he is happy the world is happy with him.
Learned Tot Feelings Happy Cloud Kimochis Mad Sad Happy
Parent Involvement: VARIES, just depends on you and the tot.

And sometimes cloud is sad - presto, quick spin of the head and he is frowning. Admittedly rotating happy/sad head reminded me of the Voldermort scene in the first Harry Potter movie.

Learned Tot Feelings Sad Cloud Kimochis
Get it? It's the same dolly as above just with his head spun around.

If happy/sad doesn't cover it, there are options, from curious to loved and everything in between.

Learned Tot - Kimochis Feelings Sorry Sad Mad Loved

There is no shortage of books on feelings. Here are two we like. First, My Many Colored Days from Seuss because it relates feelings to colors.

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

And who doesn't love the crabby pigeon? Especially since he is no goody-goody.

Mo Willems The Pigeon Has Feelings Too

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