Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Summer’s here, folks! My kid’s last day of school was yesterday. Let the era of summer camps and family vacations commence! Summer always puts me in the mood to watch this classic summer camp comedy with an all-star cast. Even better, Netflix is reviving the movie with a series of episodes based on the movie, coming July 31. What better way to prepare than by watching the movie?
Janeane Garofalo plays Beth, director of Camp Firewood. It’s the last week of camp and she is trying to get everything off to a smooth finish. With a staff made up of Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper, you can only imagine how it is going to work out.
This hilarious pokes fun at all the summer camp movies out there while still being a great movie in it own right, not relying on a running gag to make it awesome. Some of the humor is edgy and may not be appropriate for younger audiences. But if you are looking for something that will keep you laughing from beginning to end, this is a great choice.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Some experts believe that the bedroom should only be reserved for sleeping, but it’s not uncommon to make a home office in the same space. A multi-purpose room is often created because the home is short on square footage, and it’s easy enough to place a desk in a corner.
Regardless of the reason, the quiet, tranquil atmosphere of a bedroom can make it an appropriate choice for a home office. Have a look at these five for some at-home workplace ideas.
You have to love the openness of this bedroom, and who wouldn’t want to work and fall asleep with this view? A built-in tabletop provides an ideal surface to work for at least two people. The room gets plenty of natural light, which is always high on my list of essential workspace ingredients.
I have a similar setup in my bedroom –– my desk doubles as a bedside table. Placing a writing desk at a window is a good idea, and, in this case, the height is perfect. A more ergonomic chair might be needed here if someone plans to work at the desk on a regular basis.
This Melbourne bedroom is large enough to introduce a separate space for a home office. Built-in storage and well-organized shelving complete the uncluttered design.
This simple modern bedroom provides a work nook in the corner that’s separate from the sleeping space. The owner found the vintage desk on the street in Toronto.
Another contemporary bedroom design, this long, narrow room in a San Francisco home lends itself to a desk that spans the length of the space. I can’t take my eyes off the chandelier, which makes the room feel a little less serious.
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I write articles for the Skylands Visitor Magazine, an online and print publication with wonderful stories about the history, geography, and cultural activities in the five most Northwest counties of New Jersey – Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex. If you feel like taking a scenic drive, want to pick strawberries, are looking for a great new hike, or are interested in learning about new recipes, Skylands Visitor Magazine is a great resource.
I’ve been interviewing farmers, growers, and restaurateurs in the Skylands region, then begging for, preparing, and photographing their original recipes. Most recently, we decided to do a story on edible flowers. I quickly learned that I don’t know much about blooming edibles.
You may often cook with fresh herbs, but did you ever eat a thyme flower? Or sage, oregano, or chive flower? Herbal blooms have the taste of their parents, but with a concentrated, piquant flair. These tiny delicacies are available only when plants are in bloom, so use them. They are fragile and fleeting, uncommon and unique, luscious and lovely.
In this easy recipe, I chose to incorporate a touch of fresh thyme and chives into a fluff of creamy scrambled eggs, then seasoned the eggs simply with only salt, ground pepper, and tiny pink thyme flowers – an uncommon, flowery breakfast in bed.
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon cream or milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme flowers, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat butter in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with cream or milk. Stir in chopped thyme and chives. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking.
Spoon eggs out onto plate. Garnish with thyme flowers and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with thick, buttered toast.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
You’re not alone if you have trouble relaxing before bedtime. Many people struggle with turning life off to catch a good night’s sleep. With all of the stressors in today’s world, clearing your head so you can snooze for 7-8 hours each night is easier said than done. You can, however, give these relaxation techniques a try the next time you find yourself wide awake late at night while your body and mind are yearning for sleep.
Give meditation a try.
Become hyper-aware of your body and feelings. Tune into those feelings, paying special attention to where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and where you feel uptight and not at ease. Think back on your day from beginning to end as if your thoughts were a movie or television program. Try and recall as may details as you can while you play back the last 12-18 hours.
Try switching off your toes one by one, and then eventually your limbs, as you move up the body and relax from head to toe. Let your mind wander until you fall asleep.
Try deep breathing exercises.
Breathe in and breathe out at least five times. Imagine all of the day’s thoughts exiting while you exhale, and any tension from the day melting away.
Write down what’s on your mind.
If you have unfinished business from the workday, jot a few notes down on a pad, keeping it beside you on your bedside table. If you wake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, write down any thoughts, so you can fall back asleep.
Try practicing some basic yoga poses and stretches before retiring. Any exercise should be gentle and relaxing, so you remain calm and ready for sleep.
Read a great book.
There’s nothing like an amazing read at any time, but books in bed tend to direct any anxious thoughts toward the story so you can put your worries to bed for the night. Aim to read a chapter if you’re super tired, and two chapters if you get into bed a little earlier than usual. Set a higher goal than what you think you can finish, and you’ll probably drift off to sleep in no time.
Post by Alison Hein.
From the depths of my ancient recipe box, buried beneath layers of tattered newspaper clippings and scribbled notes, I found the remnants of an old family favorite – cheesecake! Trouble was, this recipe was jotted down in an abbreviated fashion – omitting minor details such as oven temperature settings, baking time, and order of mixing ingredients.
Trial, tribulation, and a faint stirring of memories finally resulted in a successful product. I altered it a bit, increasing the amount of fresh lemon juice, and topping with fresh cherries instead of additional graham cracker crumbs.
It takes time to bake this cake, and some babysitting during the process. The top may crack a little, and a natural depression will form after cooling. Never fear – this is the perfect spot for piling on a bunch of ruby ripe fruit. Add a spot of whipped cream, if you like, and cherish the details of this family favorite breakfast in bed.
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 4 ounces graham crackers
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 dry pint fresh fruit, such as cherries or strawberries, for topping
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. Place graham crackers in a sealable plastic bag. Break into crumbs using a tool (rolling pin, pan, etc.) to crush crackers. Generously grease a large spring-form pan with the tablespoon of butter. Cover butter with graham cracker crumbs and set aside.
To make cake, add cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Cream together until smooth and light. Slowly pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth top. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is still slightly wobbly, but set.
To make topping, mix together remaining sour cream, sugar, egg and lemon juice until smooth. Remove cake from oven and pour topping over cake. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until cake and topping are set. Remove from oven, let cool, then refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Top with fresh fruit, and garnish with whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 1 large cake, about 10 to 12 slices