Yearly Archives: 2015
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Philip Pullman is a renowned children’s and young adult author. He is known most notably for the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass. These books have become lore in their own right. Now he brings us a fresh telling of his favorite fifty classic fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. We all know these fairy tales, painstakingly collected from numerous oral sources by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They appear in a number of variations, from the grisly to the shiny Disney versions. Philip Pullman follows the traditional path without whitewashing the stories. But his deft knack with the pen makes these stories a little easier to read. If you’ve read fifty of the Grimm’s tales, you will know that they get pretty weird and the style of writing generally is pretty arcane. Where else will a modern translation still read: “verily, that is the way of the world”? Who says “verily” anymore? I mean, besides me. These new takes are true to the originals but with an easy to follow narrative style.
This summer will be the summer of fairy tales. We have a new bean-covered tepee and a fire pit in the back yard. Every night we will sit in the firelight and read a couple stories. My son is getting the real Cinderella, which is startling in comparison to the cartoon version, as well as off-beat personal favorites such as The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage.
Fairy tales are the perfect length for bedtime reading. The long ones clock in at three to four pages so you can seem super generous by saying, “okay, just one more” two or three times. Happy fireside reading!
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.