Monday, December 28, 2015

Just Life| New Year wish

The year 2016 is fast approaching and all I wish and hope for is lots of happiness for all of us.

I pray that this coming year, brings limitless happiness to all my family and friends and co-workers. 

I think once you are happy, you can handle anything that comes your way.

So for this coming year, all I wish for is lots of happiness. 

And if you feel a little blue these days, please pickup one of these books from your local library to improve your mood.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, December 21, 2015

Just Life| Christmas Stories

If you are already exhausted from all of that holiday shopping and you need a break, stop by your local library to pickup some heart warming Christmas stories to enjoy during this holiday season. 

Here are a few of these books. Click on any of these books to place it on hold.

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.

Please keep in mind that all the Stockton- San Joaquin County Public Libraries are closed on December 24-25, 2015.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, December 14, 2015

Just Life| Books For Christmas

There are only a handful of days until Christmas. If you are gift shopping for family and friends, please don't forget about books. 

They can be the best presents. 

If you are thinking about buying an E-reader for a loved one, I recommend that you checkout a Nook from your local library and use it for a few days to see if you like it or not. You can borrow these E-readers for three weeks free of charge. 

Here are a few of these pre-loaded Nooks from the library. Click on any of these choices below to see which books they contain.

If you don't know what types of books to buy, a bookstore gift card would be great too. Who doesn't like gift cards, right? 

Happy reading and happy book shopping!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, December 7, 2015

Just Life| New Books & More

At our libraries, we are constantly adding new materials to our shelves. For example at the Troke library, we receive hundreds of new items every week.

So if you are wondering how you can browse these new library materials from the comfort of your home, here are the steps:

  • Go to 
  • Click on "Catalog Home" from the top of the page
  • Then on the left side of the the screen, you can view the new library materials such as: new DVDs, new fictions, new non-fictions, new audio-books, new music and the new large print.

If you find something interesting while browsing these new materials, you can place it on hold and then you can choose a library close to you for the pickup location.

It is easy and convenient.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Just Life| Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree

If you are looking for a fun picture book to read to your child, the "five little monkeys sitting in a tree" by Eileen Christelow is a good pick. 

This is the story of five naughty monkeys who were trying to tease Mr. Crocodile. This is quite an entertaining picture book and it introduces counting to children as well.

Of course, my very favorite book by Eileen Christelow is the" five little monkeys jumping on the bed". This is the perfect storytime book.

Kids totally love this book. Every time I use this book for my story-time, half of the kids know the entire book by heart and they all help me read it. 

If you would like to learn more about this author, please visit her website:

We have many books by Eileen Christelow in our library system. Here are a few of these books:

Happy reading!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha


Monday, November 16, 2015

Just Life| Getting your home ready for the holiday season

The holiday season is right around the corner and that is usually the time of year most of us invite family and friends to our homes. 

So is your house ready for the holiday season?

Does your family room need a bit of updating? Is your guest room ready for the out of town guests? 

Does your living room need a face lift before the guests arrive?

If you need to sprinkle some style into your home without breaking the bank, head to your local library for some home decorating books.

In your local library, the home decorating books are shelved in the nonfiction 747 call number area.

I love home decorating books. It seems like after looking through these books, I always get inspired to make my house prettier. As if I am trying to compete with the pages in these home decorating books.

So here are some home decorating books from your local library:

Decorating fearlessly by Suzanna Salk

The things that matter by Nate Berkus

Sarah Style by Sarah Richardson

If your house is cluttered like mine, here are a few books for both of us:

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, November 9, 2015

Just Life| International Cookbooks

I am still amazed at the number of international cookbooks that one can find in the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public libraries.

There are shelves and shelves of cookbooks from all around the world in our library system.

Seriously, our libraries have Indian cookbooks, Japanese cookbooks, Lebanese cookbooks and the list goes on and on. 

If you are not a really good cook like me, I would recommend that you head to the children's area. I find the instructions in the children cookbooks much more straight forward. I love children cookbooks. They are easy to follow and the recipes are pretty amazing.

Persian food made by my Aunt Angie

Remember folks, holiday season is upon us.  Wouldn't it be nice to surprise your family and friends with some exciting foods from far away lands.

Here are a few cookbooks from all over the world at your fingertips in your local public library.

Cooking the Australian way

Portuguese homestyle cooking

Delightful Brazilian cooking

A taste of Lebanon : cooking today the Lebanese way : over 200 recipes developed and tested

And no holiday table is complete without desserts. Here are few irresistible dessert recipe books to delight your soul.

The Beekman 1802 heirloom dessert cookbook

Baking chez moi : recipes from my Paris home to your home anywhere

Bon app├ętit desserts the cookbook for all things sweet and wonderful

Happy cooking.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Just Life| Piggie says " I Really Like Slop!"

Mo Willems is one of my favorite children authors. The kids love his books.

Mo Willems just published a new easy reader book called," I Really Like Slop!". 

So here is the basis of the story:

Piggie the pig, is cooking a pretty smelly concoction and is asking Gerald the elephant to taste it.

I am not gonna reveal anything else about this book, let's just say that sometimes we all do crazy things for our friends. 

The Elephant & Piggie books are perfect for k-2 graders. 

To be honest, anyone who likes to read would enjoy these books. As my daughter says; " these books are just funny". As simple as that. 

And we all could use some fun to brighten our days.

Here are some other easy readers by Mo Willems:

We are in a book

I will take a nap!

The pigeon needs a bath!

Here is also a chapter book by this author published in October of this year that is perfect for the older kids.

The story of Diva and Flea

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, October 26, 2015

Just Life| Beautiful Pictures

Let's kick start this week with some beautiful pictures.

Muskegon Michigan

A bowl full of pomegranates

A bowl of pomegranate seeds

Stockton is beautiful

Happy Monday everyone.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Just Life| Halloween worthy books & more

Halloween is right around the corner and if you are in the mood for some scary books, here are a few suggestions:

The Blumhouse book of nightmares : the haunted city

The silence of ghosts

NOS4A2 : a novel

Girl of nightmares

Anna Dressed in Blood

In a dark, dark wood

For those of you who value your sleep, I suggest the following popular books:

Light between oceans by M.L Stedman

Circling the sun: a novel by Paula Mclain

The architect's apprentice: a novel by Elif Shafak

Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Don't forget to come by the Troke Library on Thursday, October 29th at 6:00pm for our Halloween Arts & Crafts program.

2014 Halloween Arts & Craft at Troke Library

2014 Halloween Arts & Craft at Troke Library

2014 Halloween Arts & Craft at Troke Library

2014 Halloween Arts & Craft at Troke Library

2014 Halloween Arts & Craft at Troke Library

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just Life| Your Favorite Television Series At The Library

One of the benefits of having a library card is that you can check out your favorite television series from the library for free.

Why pay $50 for a DVD set, when you can borrow it from the library for free and you can keep it for three weeks.

Here are a few television series that you can borrow from your local library:

Just search the library catalog for the listing of your favorite television series.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, October 5, 2015

Just Life| Dragons Love Tacos

Mom, have you read " Dragons love tacos"?


Mom, have you read " The day the crayons quit"?


I felt so uncool. 

So I borrowed these two picture books from the library and my daughter read them to me with enthusiasm.

Then a few weeks later, it was my turn to surprise her.

Oh, Ari, Ari, have you read " The day the crayons came home"?


Me neither. But I placed it on hold so we can both enjoy this brand new book.

Signing off until next Monday- A semi-cool mom

Monday, September 28, 2015

Just Life| Madam Tussauds' Wax Museum

Back in May, we were walking around San Francisco and we came across the Madame Tussauds' wax museum. A handsome Leonardo Dicaprio greeted us at the door.

Ari and Leonardo Dicaprio

We took pictures with Dalai Lama, President Obama, Salma Hayak, and the most infamous of all, Al Capone. 

Then I read a grizzly account about Madame Tussauds. She was the art tutor of Louis XVI's sister and she lived in Versaille. After the revolution she was imprisoned and later was forced to show her allegiance to the French revolution by making death masks of executed nobles including the king and queen of France. 

Ari and E.T

Anyway, if you go to San Francisco, check out Madame Tussauds' wax museum. It is very interesting.

Here is the address. The museum is near pier 39.

145 Jefferson St
Ste 600
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel: (866) 223-4240
Here are some travel books from your local library:

Top 10 San Francisco  

Walking San Francisco : 30 savvy tours exploring steep streets, grand hotels, dive bars, and waterfront parks 

Exploring the back roads : 28 day trips in the Greater Bay Area 

Signing off from Alcatraz- Panteha

Monday, September 21, 2015

Just Life| Chocolate Bible

For all the chocolate lovers out there, I have got a few recipe books for you.

The first book is " Chocolate Bible" by Christine McFadden.

So, I am browsing through this book. The Hazelnut chocolate cake looks so tasty. Since I am a terrible baker, I am looking to see if this recipe is meant for me or for Chef Gordon Ramsay. Thank goodness, the recipe seems easy enough even for me. 

Hazelnut and Chocolate cake

Then a co-worker mentioned that there is a book called " Death by chocolate". 

No way!

But he wasn't kidding. We even have this book in our catalog.

And guess what, we have another book with similar title. 

It is called:

    When it is my time to go, death by chocolate or chocolate cake wouldn't be all that bad.

    Now the question is who is going to bake that Hazelnut chocolate cake for me to taste.:)

    Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

    Monday, September 14, 2015

    Just Life| Wonders of Storytime

    There is this cute little boy who has been coming to my story time for the past few months.

    When I first met him, he was too shy to even look at me.

    Every story time, he would sit in front of me like a perfect little gentleman and he would listen attentively when I was reading.

    However, anytime we sang songs, he was either too shy to participate or he didn't know any of the songs that we were were singing. He would simply observe us.

    Nowadays, he is a totally different kid. Thanks to his awesome mom who has been bringing him to the story time every week. 

    Now he feels at home during the story time and I am happy to report that recently, he has been singing up a storm.

    These days, he proudly sings the ABC song, counts to 10, and knows many of the other songs.

    And best of all, he looks so proud. That little boy knows that he has accomplished so much in the past few months.

    I can't tell you how happy I am.

    Story time is wonderful. It helps kids blossom and flourish. 

    Please click on " LIBRARY EVENTS AND PROGRAMS"  for the list of free library programs near you.

    Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

    Monday, September 7, 2015

    Just Life| Packing School Lunches

    Packing my daughter's school lunches are a bit of a challenge. Since my daughter hates school lunches, I have to pack her lunch five days a week.

    Whenever I ask her what she wants for her school lunch, she tells me Nutella sandwich. I need some new ideas for her school lunches.

    So, I searched the library catalog and I was pleasantly surprised to find some good books on this topic.

    So this book " THE BEST HOMEMADE KID'S LUNCHES ON THE PLANET" by Laura Fuentes sounded promising. 

    I checked it out and showed it to my daughter. she said that she would gladly try "the Red Beans and Rice" and "the Hawaiian Sliders". They look simple enough to make in a short amount of time.

    Red Rice and Beans 

    So this week, I am packing two new lunches for my kid. 

    Hawaiian Sliders

    Here are a few more books:

    Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    Just Life| Making Your Child Smarter

    I was taking my kid to school the other day and on the radio, there was an announcement by the First 5 San Joaquin. 

    I think it went something like this: 

    Talk, read, and sing to your children to make them smarter.

    It is simple isn't it? 

    Talk to your child. If you are folding the laundry, fold the laundry in front of your child and talk to her about it. Tell her the name of the items you are folding, tell her the colors of the items you are folding. By just talking to her about your laundry, you are teaching her new vocabularies and you are making her smarter.

    One of our little readers at the Troke Library

    Don't place your child in front of the television, while you are cooking in the kitchen.

    The American Pediatric Society recommends no television for kids younger than two.

    So if you are making a salad, put your child in front of you and tell them how you are making the salad. While you are at it, let her touch the tomato and the lettuce and the cucumber that you are going to use in the salad. 

    Then sing to your child. She wouldn't mind if you don't have a singing voice. Sing to her to make her smarter and give her a better chance of succeeding in life.

    Of course, read to your child as often as possible. Read the same book over and over for her. Then after a while, she would be able to decode the words on the pages you are reading.

    Please Talk, Read, and Sing to your child and visit the First 5 of San Joaquin to learn more about the early literacy by clicking on the link below:

    First 5 San Joaquin

    Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    Just Life| Remodeling Fiasco

    A few weeks ago, we were going to change the flooring in our house. The job was supposed to be done in three short days.

    The crew started in the man cave upstairs, and all the sudden it started raining in the kitchen downstairs. Holy #$*@.

    We had to find a plumber on a Sunday. The first plumber told us that he would get there in an hour, two hours later, he was still at the Mall with his family. We told him not to bother. The second plumber arrived hours later. He charged us $860 to fix the pipe, but he was a nice guy.

    The plumber fixed the pipe and in the process created a huge hole in the second floor closet and another big hole in the kitchen ceiling. 

    Later on, the plumber told us that one of the baseboard nails was lodged in a water pipe, when the crew pulled the baseboard, it caused flooding downstairs.

    Then a contractor was called to fix the hole in the man cave.

    Then the fancy wood floor that we ordered and waited weeks to arrive ended up being defective and 1/3 through installing the wood floor, the crew had to yank it off the floor and return it to the store. We had to order new ones.

    At this point, my calm and collected husband had turn in to a grumpy old man. Who can blame him?

    Our living room was a total disaster for two long weeks since we had to put all the furniture etc. from the other rooms in there. You couldn't find a place to sit.

    We are in our third week of "home improvement" and there is still a big hole in the kitchen ceiling that needs to be fixed.

    The moral of the story is that, if you are planning any home improvement projects, get ready for unexpected problems, out of the blue added costs, and possible weeks of a messy house.

    If you are up for a home improvement challenge, the library has tons of home improvement books and DVDs for you to check out free of charge.

    Here are a couple of books on this topic from your local library:

    For me, I am done with remodeling for right now.  If I had money, I would be heading to Maui for some needed relaxation.

    Signing off until next Monday- A very tired Panteha

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Just Life| Food for the soul

    The other day, my mom made us this wonderful dish. All I had to do was pick it up from her house after work. It was so thoughtful of her to do that for us. Even if you can afford restaurant quality food every night, homemade food is something else.

    Speaking of cooking, a few months ago, I was reading this article written by a woman whose husband had become disabled out of the blue. That disability caused the family financial hardship and isolation. She was telling everyone that if you have such a person in your inner circle, one of the best ways to help them out is to share some of your homemade food with them.

    Dinner at my aunt's house

    My mom did the same thing for one of our friends and it was totally appreciated. So I followed her example and did the same thing for a friend recently and it felt good.

    Me and my mom posing for the camera

    Since we are talking about food, I just want to mention that your local library has thousands of cookbooks for you to check out free of charge.

    Here are a few of these books at your finger tips:

    Happy Monday everyone.

    Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Award-Winning Reads | To Kill a Mockingbird

    Hello there readers!

    I'll be honest. It's been some time since I posted a blog here on Award-Winning Reads. It's been so long that I almost forgot how to log into Blogger! But I hope you all will stick around with me as I now post twice a month about beloved award-winning books.

    This week I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite modern American classics: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This literary gem won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. The Pulitzer Prize is awarded by Columbia University for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the U.S. The similarly-titled 1962 film based on the book is also a critically-acclaimed prize-winner, having earned three Academy Awards.
    Pulitzer Prize. Claiming fair use, this photo is being used for informational purposes only, to illustrate what the award looks like.
    Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird. 
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, or bildungsroman, told from the viewpoint of young Jean Louise Finch, better known as Scout. Scout is a headstrong, curious girl who witnesses the fictional Alabama community's uproar as her father, Atticus Finch, legally defends an innocent black man accused of raping a white woman. Scout's experiences move her to question the deeply-held racial prejudices of her neighbors.

    I remember being required to read the book and watch the movie in Mr. Thompson's eighth-grade class at Hamilton Middle School. As a young girl, I appreciated that Scout was a strong female character. She wasn't afraid to voice her thoughts and opinions while she was yet still trying to understand the scope of what was going on around her.

    Until recently, this was Lee's only published novel. However, a month ago, on July 14th, Go Set a Watchman, a follow-up story, was released. It features many of the same characters from its predecessor twenty years later. I'll be listening to the audiobook. Reese Witherspoon is performing it!
    Not by coincidence, the title of one of my most cherished cocktails recipe books is a play on words of Lee's first story. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist serves up literary libations such as "The Joy Luck Club Soda" and "Gin Eyre" as well as a few tasty treats like "Alice's Adventures in Wonder Bread" and "Prawn Quixote." It even offers non-alcoholic beverages that are puns of juvenile book titles such as "Pear the Wild Things Are" and "The Blizzard of Oz."

    Now that I think about it, I just might celebrate Lee's sophomore novel by making myself a "Tequila Mockingbird" (with more tequila and less hot sauce than the recipe requires), before listening to Reese's sweet southern drawl.

    Next time I'll discuss the work of another female author - the first female to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. There's always more Fan Favorite Fiction from Females to love! 

    Until then, have a good reading! (And if you need a "Rum of One's Own," to get you started off right, I promise, I won't tell! *wink, wink*)