Saturday, March 8, 2014

Books On Film | Bambi{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER
The Walt Disney classic animated film Bambi (1942) is an adaptation of Felix Salten's Bambi: A Life in the Woods (1923). Originally published in Austria, the book has since been translated and republished in at least 20 languages.

The story follows Bambi, a young male deer, from birth through adulthood. Along the way he loses his mother, finds his mate, and learns important lessons from his father and from his experiences in the forest.

The sequel, Bambi's Children: The Story of a Forest Family (1939) follows the life of Bambi's twin fawns.

Covers courtesy of LibraryThing.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Reader Digests | Blogging, Take Three!

Alrighty, I'm not going to beat around the bush here.  It has been a long time since I have blogged.  I actually forgot how to log on to our blogging site.  That is how much time it has been!  

So let's review my blogging fails...

First, I tried the Short Attention Span Challenge and I couldn't keep it up. It was too, well, challenging.  But truthfully, it's because I went back to school (after this post) and I just couldn't do all those projects combined with working full-time, parenting my kids, and grad school every week. 

Then, I tried Miss Moneypennypincher's money-saving blog.  Here's the deal, I ran out of money-saving ideas.  I guess if I was Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey, I would have more than a blog at (not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you!).
If you won't, then I will!

Now (and hopefully forever-ish), I am undertaking a whole new blog!  And here is the premise:

Do I eat food? Yes.
Do I like food? Yes.
Can I talk endlessly about food? Yes!

Sounds like an obvious "blogging win" to me!
My new blog is The Reader Digests! Yum!!!

Every  Friday at 2 p.m. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Book Bucket List | The Museum of Extraordinary Things

I love book reviews that mention other books. Comparing and contrasting books, especially popular titles where even if you haven't read them you know the general idea behind them, is a easy and quick way to know if I'm possibly interested in reading the new title.  One of my favorite websites to read book reviews is Goodreads.  You can post your progress on the books you're reading, read your friends reviews (if you're linked through Facebook), and even get status updates from authors on their latest works.

 If the review compares the books to books I haven't liked in the past, then I usually won't bother reading it.  But every once in awhile, there's a review that compares a book to more than one of my favorites and then I try to get my hands on that title as soon as possible.  That's how I ended up reading Divergent, which I ended up liking more than The Hunger Games.

A recent example of this is when I was reading reviews of popular new releases, and I came across the book The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. I'm not going to quote the review, because it would give away major spoilers (Thanks reviewer!) but it compared it to the Night Circus and Water for Elephants.  Since I enjoyed both of these books, I'm hopeful that I'll enjoy Hoffman's new book which I'm now officially putting on my bucket list.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Learning | Jane Yolen's Fairy Tales

Fans of Jane Yolen know her books can be fun and informative (like the How Do Dinosaurs...? series of picture books.) 

If you have read her chapter books for children, such as the Young Merlin Trilogy (that series really deserves a separate blog post,) you know that she has a talent for taking traditional folktales and turning them into compelling stories of her own. 

If you have not yet discovered her books for teens, I suggest starting with one of her books based on fairy tales; they have a tendency to focus on the darker side of the stories. In some cases, we hear more about the fairy side of things than the human side.

Snow in Summer: Fairest of Them All We think of the Snow White story taking place in some unnamed kingdom in Europe. This is a retelling of the Snow White story, set in post-war Appalachia. Snow in Summer (or Summer, for short) is a beautiful young girl; her happy childhood turns dismal after her mother dies in childbirth. 

Her grieving father loses all joy in the things he used to love, like his daughter and singing. Then he is captivated by the charms of an evil woman, who becomes Summer's Stepmama. Summer bears the brunt of her Stepmama's cruelty; as it becomes more clear that Stepmama is truly wicked, Summer escapes into the woods and over the mountain, where she meets seven odd little men. 

This story is hard to put down; I couldn't wait to find out what happened, but I was sorry when it ended.

Snow-In-Summer, or Cerastium Tomenosum,
courtesy of John Stratford's photostream on

Fun Fact

Snow in Summer's name came from a flowering plant called Cerastrium Tomenosum. 

The three titles below are all related to the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale:

Briar Rose is an award-winning adult science fiction book from 1992. Yolen juxtaposes the present day story of Becca, a journalist researching the holocaust, and her memories of her grandmother, Gemma's, telling of the a fairy tale  blended with her own experiences in a Polish prison camp during the Nazi holocaust.

The Hostage Prince This is the only book I have ever read with a troll birthing scene! This is the first book of the Seelie Wars Trilogy, which Yolen is writing with her son, Adam Stemple. The main characters are a bumbling midwife's apprentice named Snail, and the unhappy Prince Aspen, who is being held hostage in an unfriendly kingdom.  

The Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty This tells the other side of the Sleeping Beauty story--not the version the humans tell. The main character in this tale is Gorse, a clumsy young fairy with twelve older siblings. Her family is bound to an evil king's land, and required to do his bidding. She falls ill, just when it is time for her family to bestow gifts on a new princess. It looks like she may not make it to the bidding, but she recovers from her illness, and hurries toward the castle to catch up with her family. That's when things go terribly wrong.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Just Life | Persian New Year Part: 1

Persian New Year (Nowruz) is right around the corner and for millions of Iranians, it is the start of a new year. 

Did you know that the Persian calendar starts on the first day of Spring?

This year, our Persian New Year falls on Thursday, March 20th at 9:57 am. It is going to be the year 1393 in the Persian Calendar.  

There are a few things that we have got to do before the New Year and Spring cleaning is one of them.

Spring cleaning is a rite of passage to the New Year. In my parent's house back home, we washed and scrubbed and cleaned everything and anything including every dish in every cupboard. I am not kidding.

Char Shan Be Soori is the other one. On the last Tuesday of the Iranian year, we get together with family and friends to make rows of bonfires in our neighborhood and we jump over them one after the other while chanting. There are also fireworks in every corner of every neighborhood back in Iran.

 Jumping over bonfires. Picture from the Web
A few days before the New Year, we set a very special table called" Haft Sin". There are specials items that are placed on this table year after year. We place seven items on this table and they all start with the letter "C" in Farsi.

My haft sin from a couple of years ago

We keep this table for 13 days after the New year.

Haft Sin at Roya's house

Here are the items on this table:
  • Sib (apple)
  • Sir (Garlic)
  • Sekeh (Coins)
  • Serkeh (Vinegar)
  • Samano (A special sweet paste made from wheat)
  • Sabzeh (Germinated wheat or lentil. They look like grass)
  • Sonbol (Hyacinth)
  • Senjed (Fruit from lotus tree)
  • Saat (Clock) 
Picture from

Beside these items, you should have a mirror, candles, a large bowl of water with a few red goldfish, and colored eggs.

Depending on your taste, Haft Sin table can be as fancy as you want to make it or as simple as you wish for. No matter how wealthy or poor, you will find this table in every Iranian's household.

Here are a few examples of Haft sin table from my friends:
Haft sin at Roya's house

Haft sin at Zari's house
Haft sin at my house a few years back

You don't find a mountains of presents on our New Year's table just a few from parents to their children. Kids also receive money as present from relatives and friends.

During the Iranian New Year, you are obligated to visit family and friends, It is called " Eid Didani". In Iran, schools and universities are closed for 13 days during NowRuz. Most offices are also closed for a few days as well.

On the 13th day of our New Year, we all go to parks to have picnics. This is called "Siz Da Bedar."

In Stockton, we all get together in Oak Grove Regional Park. We all cook and share delicious foods with about 200 other Iranians in that picnic.

I will post some pictures of this year's Iranian New Year celebration real soon.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha