Monday, July 27, 2015

Just Life| Salad Shirazi & More

It has been so hot and muggy lately. As you know, I grew up in Tehran and in Tehran we have many hot summer days. There a few side dishes that make hot summer days a bit more tolerable, Salad Shirazi and Cantaloupe Faloodeh were two of them. 

Salad Shirazi is the traditional salad in Iran. It is a simple salad made of:

Persian cucumbers (You can find it at Trader's Joe or even the Dollar store)

Ripe tomatoes

Onions (I like red onion)

Dry mint leaves (just a little bit)

Fresh lemon juice or lime juice

Red vinegar 

Olive oil

Just chop cucumber, tomato, and onion into small cubes and mix them in a bowl. Add a bit of salt to this mixture and make a simple sauce by mixing some fresh lemon juice with olive oil and red vinegar. In my house, we also add some dry mint to it. It is really a simple and refreshing salad.

Another of my favorite side dishes to beat the summer heat is Cantaloupe Faloodeh

When I was a kid, I used to make it for my family. It was easy to make and it was delicious.

To make it, you need:
  • Ripe Cantaloupe
  • Rose water (a table spoon)
  • Sugar (a couple of tablespoons)
  • Crushed ice

First scoop spoonfuls of cantaloupe into a bowl then add a tablespoon of rose water and a couple tablespoons of sugar to the bowl. Mix well. Then, just leave it in the refrigerator or add some crushed ice to it. It is so refreshing. It is a combination of a fruit juice and fruit pulp with fragrant rose water. It is worth trying.

And since I am talking about Persian cooking, let's not forget the Iranians' favorite smoothie called Shir Moz

You just add milk, bananas, a bit of sugar, and crushed ice into a blender. The result is a mouth watering and simple smoothie.

Did you know that your local library has many cook books? Don't forget to check out some delicious cookbooks on your next trip to the library.

Happy eating and happy cookbook hunting.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Thursday, July 23, 2015

She's Crafty | Coloring Craze

Imagine you are on a much needed break at work. Or, you're at home and for once it's quiet. I know it might be hard to conjure an image of such an event, but give it a try.

You grab a coloring book filled with abstract animals and flip to a page with a bird and a lizard chilling in a tree.

From Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta.

Then, with glee in your heart you grab some colored pencils and lose yourself in filling the little spaces on the pages with color.

Sounds nice, huh?

But you might be thinking, what is this coloring business?! You're a grown up now and you don't color in coloring books anymore. You have big people things to do, even during what is supposed to be your downtime.

You do have downtime, right? I sure hope so, your brain needs it.

Don't knock coloring. It's hot stuff right now. I just checked Amazon's bestseller list this morning and five of the top twenty bestselling books are coloring books! One of the titles, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford tops the list at number three, right after What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.

Popularity aside, coloring is simply a fun and easy way to relieve stress. For those who find it hard to let go of their worries, coloring can help you do it with ease. It doesn't need much set-up, it's not expensive, and there is no right or wrong way to do it.

If you need more convincing just poke around the internet a bit and you will see the world is enjoying a bit of coloring. Here are just a few of the articles I encountered online:

I currently own two coloring books. One is a collection of Mandalas, published by Dover and the other is Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta. I eyed Animal Kingdom for a while and finally convinced myself that it would be beneficial for my brain health to buy a really pretty coloring book. Not to mention fun. 

From Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta.

Now, coloring books are not an item you can typically checkout from the library (except for maybe this Anatomy Coloring Workbook) but with an internet connection, which you can access on a public computer at any branch in our system with a library card, you can find coloring sheets online.

Coloring Pages for Adults is a website devoted to offering free printable coloring pages. This website has a lot of content. It also has a lot of flashy ads, so just be aware of what you're clicking on when you've found a page you want to download and print. There's a lot of good stuff here, so definitely give it a visit.

Parade Magazine also has a list of free coloring sheets. Just visit this article to grab them up, Free Download: Coloring Pages from Popular Adult Coloring Books. 

Turn coloring into a fun group activity. Have a family or friend night without phones, tablets, consoles, or computers. All you need is a pile of coloring pages, and whatever tools you like to use to lay down some sweet color: crayons, color pencils, watercolor pencils, pastels, gel pens, highlighters, markers, soft colored chalk...

Before I go, let me share this hilarious picture book with you fine readers. This gem popped up during a catalog search for items related to coloring or coloring books:

Bad Day at Riverbend by Chris Van Allsburg follows Sheriff Ned Hardy and the people of a small village known as Riverbend. All of a sudden their peaceful lives are turned upside down by a bunch of mysterious and colorful streaks of slime.


And of course if you want to pair story time with a coloring event that includes little ones, grab a copy of Bad Day at Riverbend along with The Day the Crayons Quit and Red: A Crayons Story.

Have fun!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Just Life| New Books

Mmmmmmmmm, I love the scent of a new book. A few weeks ago, an eager reader was looking for a Harry Potter book and I ended up giving her a brand new Harry Potter that I had just received that morning in the shipment. 

I wish I had a camera to record her reaction. She was so happy that she would be the first person to read that brand new book. Joy is just one of the side effects of reading my friends.

On your next visit to the library, make sure to stop by the "New Books" section. In each library, we have a designated area for New books and they all have yellow tapes on the spine.

With your free library card, you can check out 25 of these brand new books. 

Lets see how much it would cost to buy 25 books from Barnes & Nobles in a year.

Let's say that a new hardback is around $25.

So 25 books X $25= $625/year

I don't know about you, but I don't have that much money lying around for buying books.

I am really thankful that I work in the library and tons of books are at my fingertips for FREE.

So on your next trip to the library, please check out "The New Books."

Here are a few new books from your local library:

Happy reading and let's .....

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha


Monday, July 13, 2015

Just Life| Our Health

Recently, a health scare made me realize that I have been taking my health for granted. 

How often, do you pause and appreciate a breath you are taking. We take our lungs for granted. Let's hold our breath for one minute and see how we would feel. I have never thanked my lungs for breathing for me for the past 42 years. 

I have been thinking about all the big and small things that I have been taking for granted in my life, especially my health.  

One of our family members recently came home after spending over 3 months in the hospital enduring a double lung transplant. Before that, she had to carrying an oxygen tank wherever she went.

I never pause and thank the lord for giving me healthy lungs. I just take breathing for granted. 

So, if you are reading this blog, I recommend you pause for a minute and count your life's blessings.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

She's Crafty | You Are Awesome

As much as I can't stand the heat, Summer without a doubt makes me happy. The sun is out and spreading its rays of . Birds are chirping at all times of day. My cats are no longer restless from being cooped up all winter. And the cobwebs are clearing from my brain.

However, even just a few weeks ago I was battling a bout of lingering winter blues. In an effort to raise my spirits, I sat down one day and browsed the internet for books with fun little crafts, which is when I came across You Are Awesome: 21 Crafts to Make You Happy by Abbey Hendrickson. Sounds like the perfect medicine.

You are awesome combines a beautifully designed book with content that is whimsical, colorful, and quirky. The projects look fairly easy and seem to come together pretty quickly too.

Cardboard mailbox.

Ring toss!

Since I'm thoroughly in love with gems and geometric shapes at the moment, the "Faceted Necklace" project spoke to me loudly, saying, "Go ahead and make it for yourself. We both know you'll rock it."

Yes, yes I will.

This project uses polymer clay to simulate gems. In the book they use black clay and it ends up looking like shiny chunks of coal, which is pretty cool if you ask me! 
I wouldn't mind finding this necklace in my stocking!
Instead of black, I choose an assortment of neon and pastel colors. Narrowing down my color combinations and refining my palette instead of making hundreds of beads of every color possible ended up being the hardest part of the project. Once you get your clay and your colors all figured out, the rest is easy peasy. Roll some balls, skewer them to make beads, bake them and use a craft knife to shave of bits and pieces to make facets. My favorite part is shaving the facets into existence. In fact, this project fullfilled its creator's promise and made me happy.

Polymer clay in a few of my favorite colors.
Shaving the beads. I found this to be the funnest part.
Goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.
Wanted to keep the flakes but I made a deal with myself
that I could no longer save anything unless I
had a clear idea of what to do with it. Alas, I do not.

I call this my Wilma Flintstone necklace.
There's a w-i-d-e variety of things to do in this book. It's not just for kids or just for adults, or just for women, or just for men. These are rainy day crafts, last minute gifts to make for friends who appreciate a little handmade smile to brighten their day, crafts to spark the imagination and be silly, and crafts to fill a nice summer afternoon with fun and happiness.

Try these other books out for more quick, handmade happiness:

Stay awesome!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Just Life| Travel Photos

Travel photos are great treasures. You can look at them years later and somehow they can transport you back in time.

I just got back from vacation last week and I am still in vacation mode. I love taking pictures with my phone. It's so darn convenient, but I have to admit that I believe the picture quality is nowhere close to an old fashion camera. 

So, if you have a favorite travel photo, please send it to me and I will try to post it on a future blog.

Please email me your favorite travel photo to: by July 16th, 2015.

Here are some travel books from your local library:

  • Discover California : experience the best of California
  • Fodor's Puerto Vallarta
  • Art of adventure

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, June 29, 2015

Just Life| Fun & Free Family Programs At Your Local Library

Did you know that your local library has tons of free & fun programs for you and your entire family to enjoy?

I have been organizing the children's programming at Troke Library for the past year. In that time, I have taken numerous pictures of these fun programs. Below are a few of these pictures.

We have tons of fun family programs during the summer to celebrate our summer reading challenge. You can check our library system calendar of events to learn more about fun family programs at your local library.

Serpentarium at Troke Library

Acrylic Painting class at Troke Library

Stockton Ports players are reading to kids at Troke

Halloween Arts & Crafts at Troke Library

Serpentarium at Troke Library

signing off until next Monday-Panteha