Cookbook Crush: Turkish Fire

I recently listened to the audiobook for At Home in the World, a memoir by simplicity guru Tsh Oxenreider about spending one year traveling the world with her husband and three kids.  This book is lovely in every sense of the word; eye opening, inspiring, and brutally honest, recounting the good the bad, and the hard of globetrotting together as a family of five.  

Listening to this book, as Tsh recounts how she and her husband met - volunteering in a remote village in war torn Kosovo - you can see how their love of travel began.  As they move east to west, beginning in Beijing, China and ending in London, England, with several continents in between, Tsh takes you along for a front row seat on their global adventure.   One poignant stop of their itinerary is the city of Izmir, Turkey, where Tsh and her husband lived for three years with their young children. Previously, I had never considered Turkey as a destination worth visiting, however, this chapter definitely put Turkey, and all things Turkish, on my radar.

She explains the tea culture that is almost a religion in itself, the freshness of the milk, the eggs yolks as orange as sunsets, and produce so fresh it must be consumed within a day of purchase, or else succumb to rotting in the hot coastal heat.  Her recounting of perusing their familiar bazaar, and enjoying succulent roasted meats family style meal is enough to make anyone's stomach growl - and I wouldn't even consider myself a meat person.

Inspired by her detailed snapshot of Turkish food, I looked up "Turkish cookbooks" on my local library's web page and came across, Turkish Fire: Street Food and Barbecue from the Wild Heart of Turkey which narrates and explains the Turkish street food scene in lovely narrative detail.  While I have yet to purchase the book or make any of the recipes, it's on my bookmark list for a (hopefully near) return visit.


Quote of the Week

"The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts."
~ C.S. Lewis


What Are You Reading?

What are you reading these days?  Recently I've found myself falling into a rabbit hole of parenting books, and reading them consecutively one after another is exhausting...I'm ready for a good old fashion novel.  Better yet, a beach read!  Any suggestions out there?

I've also recently been "rereading" Harry Potter via audiobook when driving, which has been a nice change of pace.  I recently downloaded another one, Blood, Bones, and Butter, which I've already listened to by audiobook years ago (read about that here), but it was just that good a memoir, so I decided it was worth another go.

So please, tell me!  What are you reading?  I need some recs ASAP!  Thanks in advance :) 

Documentary Pick: Find Me

I find myself watching a lot of documentaries these days, a genre I never had much interest in before becoming a parent.  Perhaps it's just that now movies garnering less press or fanfare are simply more accessible with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, among others.

I recently read about the documentary, Find Me on another blog, and my husband and I watched it last night.  It's a film about the varying aspects of Chinese adoption, including three families who have adopted children from China, as well as the foster families who cared for the children, after they were found and placed in orphanages.

One of the concepts focused on in the film is a child's "finding place."  Literally, the location or address where they were surrendered and "found," before being placed in an orphanage.  As I learned, a finding place can have tremendous significance for the family adopting, to actually touch the ground where their now child was surrendered, some commonly abandoned for medical or health related reasons, for example the family being unable to provide adequate care or fund necessary treatments.  

Another aspect of the film focused on the "find me," aspect, how social media is helping many children find families who would otherwise be at risk of aging out of the Chinese orphanage system.  

Ultimately, this film resonated with me in many ways.  One of my close high school friends was adopted from Korea, and I grew up with several friends with younger siblings that were adopted internationally.  I feel humbled and ignorant now, recognizing how little I knew about that experience and what an emotional, transformative journey it likely was for their families.  

On a personal level, while not an adoption persay, my grandfather was an orphan, left on the steps of the New York Foundling Hospital when he was just days old.  He and his younger sister (who were identified as related by handwritten note left upon surrender) bounced through twelve foster homes by the time my grandfather was nine.  Inevitably, they did not find a forever family, and he ran away at sixteen, though he likely would have aged out of the system. 

This film is about the human experience, and it's heartbreaking and both heartwarming in many ways.  Regardless of your position on the subject, I'd recommend this film.  Find Me was a glimpse at a whole world I was not aware of, and has given me with a lot to think about.  

Here is a link to a trailer for the film, as well as another film testimonial by blogger, Shay Shull, who adopted from the same Xi'an, China orphanage in the film. 

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #StreamTeam

July Favorites (a few days late)

Phew...we have definitely been enjoying our summer days, but I feel like in a blink, it's August already!  For my teacher friends and I, the dawn of August has always been synonymous with one long Sunday night.  Kind of an Eeyore sentiment, I realize, but even so, the association runs deep. August marks the end of this fleeting, lovely summer season, and the brink of school lies just ahead on the horizon.  Thus, now we're full speed ahead to relish what's left of summer!

+ sipping a lot of lacroix sparkling water in coconut and canteloupe-grapefruit, yum!

+ also, trader joe's wine, in particular - vintjs pinot noir rose

+ retiring with this amazing contoured sleep mask

 has inspired me to imagine a family trip around the world (I recommend the audiobook)

+ enjoying this camera + editing tutorial (I learned a thing or two!)

+ playing with my son's beloved souvenir from Disneyland

+ noshing on ridiculously good (and easy) summer salad

+ loving This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World, a peek into daily life for seven families from Iran to Russia and beyond (speaking of books, do you follow my kids book instagram account yet?)

what are you digging these days?

Quote of the Week

"Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate to be happy so when they grow up, they will know the value of things, not the price." 
~ Victor Hugo