Author Archives: charlesprogers

Bedroom Design: Kiddos

Post by Erin Sears.

It’s vacation week at my day job, but even when I’m away, I’m still thinking about the kids. I know a lot of families who took great care in preparing a nursery for their lovely little miracle, but once the kid got older, the design part of the room got kind of lost. Raising kids will wear you out (with love and other stuff).

Here are a few ideas for super awesome kid rooms to give your little one a special place that feels just like home. Be aware that professional decorators created most of the rooms in these examples and they may feel a little far from your current life. Don’t worry- you don’t have to be an overachiever to gain a great space. These photos exist to inspire, so let’s glean the best from them!




Every kid is born an artist. Honor their good works in the landscape of their own room. If you value their art, they will value their art. What is valued persists.




Children aren’t afraid to use color and you shouldn’t be either. I recommend painting rooms in vibrant shades, but if that isn’t practical in your home, why not add colorful furniture and art?


The Good Stuff!


I believe that kids deserve REAL furniture. When it’s time for a big kid bed, go for it! This blue iron beauty of a bed is kid friendly heirloom material. You’ll keep it and use it FOREVER.


Elements of Joy and Whimsy!

Source: pinterest user Jonathan Lo/happymundane

Kids are fun. Decorating should be too. Don’t forget that your audience is really your child. Be a little silly. PLAY. You won’t regret it.

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Bedtime Stories: Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem by Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Adam Rex.

You know what is annoying? When parents make all kinds of unreasonable demands on their children. And what’s even worse than that? When they go making completely unbelievable threats like, “Do your homework or I’m sending you to the moon.” Or, “Don’t make faces or one day that face will stick.” In Twitters family, it’s always, “Billy, take out the trash or we’re buying you a blue whale.” Or, “Billy, eat your vegetables or we’re buying you a blue whale.” Which is of course a RIDICULOUS threat because nobody in his right mind is going to burden a kid with a real live, full-grown blue whale!

So, maybe Billy’s parent’s are in their right minds because what do you think Billy saw staring through his window one morning? That’s right: the giant eye of a blue whale. Not only that, but Billy couldn’t leave the whale at home; it’s his responsibility. And to make matters worse, his teacher was so excited by the whale’s presence he decided to devote the class to a study on cetology, when they were SUPPOSED to watch a movie in class. It wasn’t Billy’s fault, but the kids all blamed him.

Adam Rex and Mac Barnett have teamed up for another hilarious story. I am personally in love with Adam Rex and his attention to little details. Like the fact that Billy put the whale on a skateboard before trying to pull him up the hill to school on his bike:

It’s fun. It’s silly. It’s totally worth a read.

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Bedtime Stories: Chicken Soup With Rice

Post by Mark T. Locker.

I had a little blast from the past this morning when my son was given a little box set of Maurice Sendak books, including “Chicken Soup With Rice” and “Alligators All Around”. I had the same box set as a child as well at the Really Rosie record, in which Carole King sang versions of the books. Thanks to the magic of Spotify, I can revisit the musical versions of these songs. For me I cannot disassociate “Chicken Soup With Rice” from Carole King’s musical interpretation. But my demanding son was very disapproving of me every time I drifted into singing the words.

“Pierre” is fun to read; it’s a cautionary tale about a boy who only says “I don’t care”. So, he gets eaten by a lion. It’s also fun because every other line (practically) is “I don’t care” so I just have my son say that line over and over and over. I just hope it doesn’t carry over into real life as well.

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Movies in Bed: The Pioneer Woman

Post by Josh Zinn.

Hello, dear readers!! Though normally I find the idea of exposing the private thoughts of youngsters as a grievous act, I can’t help but share this wonderful window into the mind of my oldest niece (and future Julia Child), Shelly Swallowsbeigh. Here Shelly tells you all (and her Diary!) about the amazing culinary journey she is embarking on—all thanks to the Food Network’s show “The Pioneer Woman.” Enjoy!

Dear Diary,

Today I just made the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G decision of my life. Seriously, this is even better than when I mailed in that certificate for a free Magic Bullet cause I won the cake-walk at my school’s carnival back in November. Sure, I know I’ll basically be able to say on talk shows or Top Chef or whatever other cooking show I get on (when I become a big food star! It’s gonna happen!) that winning that was the start of my culinary career, but, seriously, not even the Magic Bullet is as cool as this!

Guess what!?

I’m going to be on “The Pioneer Woman!!” Eeeeeeeeeep!

Now, I know what you’re saying, diary. The Pioneer who? But what you don’t know is that “The Pioneer Woman” is this really cool lady named Ree Drummond and she’s a cook—just like me!! Not only that, but she lives on a horse ranch in Oklahoma and is married to this really cute cowboy and has these super-adorable kids and gets to cook for them all day and she has a blog and a show on the Food Network and all of what I just wrote is only, like, THE DREAM I’VE HAD ALL MY LIFE! And now I, Shelly Swallowsbeigh, am going to be on her show, so my dream is coming true! Yay for me!
BTW – Here’s a link to a really good example of what Ree does best: down-home cooking. I have used this recipe called “The Bread,” like, so many times and it always is soooooo good. She’s totally an Einstein!

So, you might be wondering how I am getting to go on her show, huh? Well, I was down at Williams Sonoma perusing (I just learned that word, btw, and I LOVE it! Cool, huh?) the blenders cause you know I love a good smoothie when all of a sudden I saw this big line that was forming in the back of the store. All these people were standing there and they were all holding books, but I couldn’t tell what they were reading. Then, I saw her! Oh my gosh, she is so pretty. She was smiling at people and talking to them and signing their books (they were her new cookbook! Um, please, Santa?) and I could tell that she is, y’know, really down to earth and loves doing what she does. Shows ya there really are angels here on earth, right Diary?

Anyway, of course I waited in line too even though I didn’t have a book. I mean, duh!
When I got up to her she smiled that beautiful smile of hers and said, “Where’s you book, darlin’?”


I told her I didn’t have a book, but that I was, seriously, her biggest fan and actually kept a scrapbook of her recipes at home (which is true, even though I didn’t tell her I also have a bunch of Sandra Lee recipes in there as well). I don’t know if this means she’s never met a true fan before, but seriously, diary, she just about jumped out of her chair to give me a hug Her hair smells like cornbread Anyway, not to milk it even more (well, just a little) I then told her about how much I love her “The Bread” recipe and how I was even experimenting with it by sometimes doing something kinda crazy like putting garlic salt or pepper on it. She was really impressed and told me she hadn’t thought of that before! Dying

So, then one of the people she is with comes up to me and asks if I ever would have any interest in being on her show and if my Mom and Dad are with me. I tell him they aren’t, but give him my Mom’s number and the next thing you know I’m being flown out to Oklahoma next week to show Ree (and the world) how you can make “The Bread” into an international affair by adding things like parsley or oregano to it.


Anyway, diary, I know this is all totally stream-of-consciousness but I had to tell somebody what’s happening!! I mean, I can’t believe that me thinking about how good a Jamba Juice sounded when I was at the mall (that’s what led me into Williams Sonoma) could be so life-changing. The Pioneer Woman is only, like, my favorite show on the Food Network and now I’m going to be on it!

Hold your horses for me, Ree; I’m on my way!

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Things We Like: Getting The Right Amount Of Sleep

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

One thing you’re unlikely to hear someone complaining about is getting too much sleep. In fact, most of us long for sleeping in on the weekends or catching up on some much needed sleep that work, family, and other responsibilities deprive us of. However, sleeping too much or oversleeping can be just as unhealthy as not sleeping enough. The trick to sleep, like many things in life, is balance.

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, just like different cars need a different amount of gasoline to travel the same distance. The general rule is that you should try to get around eight hours of sleep per day, and most people will fall within one hour of this requirement. Your actual need for sleep depends on the amount of stress your experiencing and how physically active you are, to name a few. If you don’t sleep enough, you accumulate a sleep debt; however if you sleep too much you don’t necessarily accumulate a sleep credit.

Oversleeping, also called hypersomnia, is a serious medical disorder. Symptoms associated with hypersomnia include anxiety, low energy, mental problems, and a constant need for more sleep. Hypersomnia has also been linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, headaches, back pain, depression, heart disease, and even death. If you’d like to read more about how hypersomnia increases your health risks, check out this article on oversleeping by WebMD.

The good news is that hypersomnia is a very fixable problem. Sometimes, hypersomnia is brought on by underlying medical conditions, which you’d need to see a doctor for; however, it’s more common that hypersomnia is simply a result of poor sleep hygiene. Below is a list of tips and suggestions to help you regain control over your sleep habits.

1. Establish a regular sleep routine. Humans are creatures of habits, and if you can discipline yourself to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, getting the right amount of sleep will be easier. It takes about 30 days of doing something or not doing something before it becomes a habit, so it’s important to stick with your sleep routine for at least one month.

2. Plan your day. If you have a plan of attack going into each day, you’ll know exactly how much time you need to get everything done. Having a plan can help you realize that oversleeping is depriving you of doing the things you want during the day.

3. Optimize your wake up routine. It’s important to look forward to getting out of bed in the morning. Since the morning commute likely isn’t a big motivator, think about all the things you love doing before you officially start your day. Set aside some time in the morning especially for yourself. Do you love a fresh, hot cup of coffee in the morning? Do you like to read the newspaper before getting your day started? Maybe you like to take a hot shower with an invigorating body wash. Whatever it is, figure out what makes you happiest in the morning and you may actually look forward to getting out of bed.

4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before you go to bed. Stimulants and depressants can affect your body’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you want to drink something to help you sleep, try a warm glass of milk before bed.

5. Exercise regularly. Exercise is linked to a number of health benefits, including better sleep. Going for a jog, participating in a yoga class, or lifting weights at the gym helps cleanse your body of impurities that build up throughout the day. Exercise also drains any extra energy you may have left over from the day, which can help you fall asleep faster.

The above suggestions are just a couple ways to help you improve your sleep hygiene. If you find that you cannot break yourself of oversleeping, you may also want to consider making an appointment with your doctor.

Do you sleep too much, or not enough? Do you have any morning rituals you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments below.

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