April List

April 25, 2010

Camping: getting ready to try camping in Sicily. Any tips? Feeling inspired by this interview and this recent article about camping in Europe with kids....the weather is nice right now, the price can't be beat, the kids have been begging to give it a try, and we are starting to research campgrounds. If you have camped in Sicily or other parts of Europe, please share your recommendations.

Reading: The Roald Dahl love continues. Our lastest read was The Witches. Once again, Noah and I were staying up way too late reading "just one more chapter"...hard not to love the pipe smoking grandma and the dreadful, detailed descriptions of "Vitches of Inkland". In the past year we have been making our way through Dahl's books. Which means a trip here this summer will be very exciting for a certain seven year old boy and his mama. I never really enjoyed Dahl's books when I was a kid, but now I am just as eager as Noah. I can't get enough of the wild adventures and clever writing and I cherish this shared reading experience with Noah.

More Reading: I recently gobbled up Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone. I have been meaning to read it for awhile. So glad I finally got around to it. It reminded me of A Homemade Life in terms of the format: personal essays/memoir mixed with recipes, but with its own unique twists and tastes. Eager to read her other books now. And I also inhaled Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler. I love how she crafts such quirky, memorable characters and in her most recent book she has done it again.

Viewing: Adam and I watched In Bruges on our recent train ride from Amsterdam to Bruges. It's a very dark comedy that had us wandering the streets of Bruges re-living some of the scenes. Not family viewing, but highly recommended for adults who enjoy Pulp Fiction,Cohen Brother films, etc. In terms of family viewing, this month's hit has been The Triplets of Belleville. A beautifully crafted animated film that is mesmerizing despite the fact that it is nearly dialogue-free. I remember friends raving about it when it came out several years ago and now that I have seen it I know why. Thanks to my mom for renting it one night during her stay...had us all talking, humming, and re-playing favorite parts (like this one). Also, had me questioning why it is rated PG-13 when so much of the American trash that is targeted at kids should be, in my opinion, rated PG-13. Glad I ignored the rating and showed it to the kids. This is one I would consider buying it. And then there is this. Not quite sure what to say about it.

Gardening: We tore out the remains of the winter garden this week. It was a very productive winter garden. We had fresh lettuce from January-April. Broccoli from February to April. Parsley all winter and still going strong. Onions getting ready to be harvested. In our spring/early summer garden we have carrots sprouting (but thinking we should have planted them earlier? we'll see), dill, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, and basil. Need to get cucumbers and beans going soon.The herbs (rosemary, oregano,sage, thyme, mint) continue to do well in the front garden and I have added lavender and chamomile. I miss having access to nice, new shiny garden books. Since our library just doesn't have much of a garden section, these days I spend way too much time reading blogs like these: Garden Porn, Digging, You Grow Girl, Garden Rant and The Inadvertent Gardener. Hoping to make this gardeners hand scrub soon. Sounds easy and handy.

Playing: Dinner Games. Someone gave this to us as a gift a couple of years ago. I stashed it away until the kids were older and recently added it to our dinner routine. What a hit. This is something that any family could make on their own. Simple set of index cards with prompts for discussions and easy table games or you can buy it here.

Listening: They Might Be Giants' Here Comes Science. Over and over again. There are two little scientists in our house (and our car) who can't seem to stop singing about the elements, the solar system, and the circulatory system. Highly recommend it, but also eager to hear if anyone has any listening suggestions for me? I haven't heard anything new in the past eight months (except for kid stuff). Eager to add some new tunes. Any and all suggestions very welcome.
T.L. Holmes said...

If you liked 'Tender at the Bone' (which my book group read long ago), you may enjoy 'The Master Butchers Singing Club' by Louise Erdrich or 'Pomegranate Soup' by Marsha Mehran. Have you read 'Julie and Julia'? another wonderful read. Happy Camping!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks for the book suggestions...I actually have Pomegranate Soup on my bedside table and hope to read it soon. Never heard of The Master Butchers but I love the title. Loved the movie Julie and Julia, but haven't read the book...read her most recent book but it left a bad taste in my mouth. What are you reading these days?

Dana said...

"Il Cocodrillo come fa?" -- must have in Italian children's music, at least up here!

GBK Gwyneth said...

For music, we love Justin Roberts, Ralph's World, Dan Zanes, Recess Monkey, Trout Fishing in America, Bill Harley (music and stories) and so many more.

My girls and I run an internet radio station and kids' music blog:
http://www.gooneybirdkids.com/

likeschocolate said...

I just finished Francis Mayes book Every Day in Tuscany. I think you would like it. I liked this book the best of all her books. Not only does she pass off delicious recipes from her life in Tuscany, but in this book she really seems to open up. She shares her passion of an artist called Signorelli, and draws us into the table of Italien life. Thanks for the suggestion on table games. Dinner always seems hectic for us and it would be nice to draw the children into wanting to sit at the table. Have fun camping!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks for the kid music suggestions...we have and love just about all of them except for the Italian one (thanks,Dana). Gwyneth, thanks so much for the link to your kids music blog....very cool!

But what about adult music...what are you guys enjoying these days? Any suggestions? We have very eclectic taste. So please share.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

It's probably very wrong to admit this but I haven't read any of Mayes books yet. I always meant to and once we moved to Italy I was positive I would and still haven't. Good to hear your review of her most recent one. Should I read them in order of publication or does it matter?

Shelly said...

Wanted to recommend 2 garden books that I really like, one is "Great Garden Companions"...had me adding in coneflowers, asters and alyssum into my veggie garden for the good bugs. Also, "Roots, Shoots,Buckets and Boots"...great children's garden ideas and explorations in the garden!

Madeline said...

My favorite story *ever* is Roald Dahl's story of Henry Sugar - I read it every year... we are also reading "just one more chapter" of Fantastic Mr. Fox right now.

We've got TMBG 123s and ABCs but hadn't heard of the science one so will look for it, thanks! Travelsavvymom.com recently did a post on songs kids like that won't drive you batty, and along with the list she posted plus reader comments (many, many) there are some good ones in there.

My kids also really like Il Gatto e la Volpe.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Shelley, thanks for the garden companion book. I'll have to track that one down. We love all of Sharon Lovejoy's gardening books for kids/families. We don't own any and were always checking them out of the library when we lived in the States, but thanks to your reminder I think I will go ahead and buy some for our garden shelf. I think she has a new one out.

Madeline, We haven't read "Henry Sugar", but now we will! I also want to read his autobiography "Boy" before we visit his hometown this summer. We loved reading Mr.Fox and seeing the film, too...different than the book, but well done in its own way. If you have seen the movie, listen to the Fresh Air interview with the director of movie. Interesting to hear how they made the film.

katy said...

I love your lists! We have In Bruges recorded and waiting for us. Your post may just be the motivation we need to push play. Honestly, we've been re watching The Wire and I simply can't stop. 1 episode a night, such a great ritual for Bryce and I. Thanks for the tip on the Triples of Belleville. Always looking for non disney options for our family movie nights. Think we're going to see The Sound of Music next, though.

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

You should try the band "The Weepies" My three year old and I both love listening to them!!

I'll try to link a song...

http://www.theweepies.com/

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