Bedtime Stories: Delicious, Mouthwatering Weather

Post by Mark T. Locker

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett; illustrated by Ronald Barrett.

My Grandpa bought me this book when I was a kid and I was fascinated with it on so many levels. I brought it home from the library for my own kid this week. I’m not sure if he will obsess over it the way I did, but he definitely loves it. Apparently a movie of this book was released a few years ago…I’m just going to pretend that never happened and keep my memories preserved in the print version.

If you haven’t read this before, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. One morning Grandpa comes over and makes pancakes for the kids. A mishap leads to a pancake landing on a child’s head. Inspired by the incident he tells them a story that night about the land of Chewandswallow. In that land, nobody has to cook their own food. Instead, the food comes in in the weather systems. It might rain orange juice in the morning, mashed potato clouds might roll in for lunch and a roast beef front may come through in the evening. All is well and good until the weather starts to go haywire. Overcooked broccoli three days in a row. Giant doughnuts rolling down Main Street. Apparently that’s a problem but I don’t see why.

It’s a fun, creative and unusual book from the author/illustrator couple who also brought us Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (which is also great fun). Now go, read, and dream of hamburgers raining down.

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Movies in Bed: NOVA science NOW

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Neil deGrasse Tyson or David Pogue? Sorry, David, but Neil has a rock star appeal you’d be hard-pressed to live up to. This question only makes sense if you are a regular watcher of the PBS show which makes science approachable to the masses, NOVA science NOW.

In our home, if we are all going to watch something together, we try to make it as pleasant as possible for we the grown-ups. Luckily for us, our kid likes some pretty fantastic programming. Most recently, we turned him on to this show. We watched an episode called, “How Smart are Animals?” which discusses, as you doubtless guessed, the intelligence of animals. We all love to watch it. It’s approachable enough that a 4 3/4-year-old enjoys it and takes something away from it. And, IT’s FASCINATING. Dolphins are SO smart! They can coordinate all new tricks together, like a new synchronous twirly flip without EVER having done it! Even dogs are apparently smart; it’s not just dog peoples’ bias. I like the older episodes because of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s aforementioned appeal. But David Pogue is actually quite entertaining. A little grating to me but he definitely gets the 4 3/4-year-old crowd.

They have a bunch available online and on Netflix. It’s entertaining and you get to feel good about yourself for watching it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_jt5OIQqbc

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Things We Like: Bohemian Bedroom Design

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

With summer just around the corner, now is a perfect time for a bedroom makeover. And if you’re looking for a fresh new style for your bedroom, consider going bohemian. Bohemian design is a fun and friendly look that exudes creativity and a carefree attitude; just don’t tell anyone how hard you worked to perfect it.

What is Bohemian Style?

The original bohemians lived in the Czech province of Bohemia, which was a center for political, cultural and religious discord. Residents of Bohemia were characterized by their artistic lifestyle, unconventional and outspoken political views, and laid-back attitudes. Today, the term bohemian (“boho” or “boho-chic” for short) is used to describe a casual, creative style for both apparel and interior design.

How To Make Your Bedroom Boho-Chic

Bohemian design is limited only by your creativity. Described as a little eclectic, a little modern, but always vintage, Bohemian design can be the perfect way to create a stress-free haven in your bedroom. Since the bohemian style varies widely, the best way to get a sense of bohemian design is to look at examples. As always, Houzz has an excellent gallery of bohemian bedrooms. There are also a number of other websites dedicated to the look.

Once you have a general sense for the different ways other people have succeeded in designing a boho-chic bedroom, it’s time to connect with your inner artist and get to work. First, you need to decide on a color scheme. While bohemian design can accommodate just about any color palate, it should include a mix of neutral colors like brown and terracotta accented with jewel tones and gold.

Next, you’ll want to think about patterns and textures. Bohemian design is anything but flat, and you’ll use a lot of different patterns, textures, and styles to achieve the look. You don’t really need to plan out the patterns and textures you’ll use ahead of time, just know that more is better when it comes to bohemian design.

On that note: accessorize excessively. Artwork, pictures, thickly framed mirrors, decorative cushions, frilly throw pillows, heavy rustic rugs, eclectic light fixtures, textured window treatments, and airy canopies or baldachins are all part of the bohemian style. Flea markets and vintage stores are both great places to find accessories for your bohemian bedroom.

Finally, and most importantly: have fun. Bohemian is all about being carefree and whimsical. It’s about doing what makes you happy — a hodgepodge of everything that’s you. Don’t worry if you think you’re overdoing it, or whether a piece of furniture you like will “work” in your bohemian room. If you like it, chances are it will.

Ryan Saghian over at Haute Design Network came up with a boho-chic recipe that can serve as a useful guide if you’re still wondering how to create the look in your own space.

So what do you think: Is boho-chic for you? What do you think the most important elements of bohemian design are? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Breakfast in Bed: Traditional Japanese Breakfast

Post by Alison Hein.

If you order breakfast in Japan, don’t expect to see any eggs, bacon or hash browns. Traditional asagohan consists of soup and rice, usually served with broiled fish, and flanked by multiple side dishes, such as vegetables, pickles and fruit.

When I kindly asked my good friend Chiharu (I said pretty please!) to make breakfast for me, she came up with the following amazing menu:

Chiharu’s Traditional Japanese Breakfast Menu
Salmon Teriyaki
Shaved Bermuda Onion with Bonito Flakes and Ponzu Sauce
Spicy Chinese Daikon and Refreshing Japanese Cucumber Pickles
Miso Soup
Rice
Seasoned Seaweed with Soy Sauce
Just-Picked Bermuda Strawberries

The showcase of this fabulous meal was Chiharu’s Broiled Salmon Teriyaki. As simple as it is succulent, Chiharu broils the fish until almost cooked through, then coats it with homemade teriyaki sauce for the final minute or so. “Don’t add the teriyaki sauce too soon,” she advises, “or the sauce will burn and ruin the fish.”

Chiharu deftly pulled the fish out from under the broiler, removed the skin, added a few lemon slices and topped it with a sprinkling of yuzu shichimi, or “seven spices.” Like an artist, she sauced, plated, arranged and served a dazzling, traditional breakfast. Maybe next time I’ll tell you about Chiharu’s dessert menu. J

Broiled Salmon Teriyaki

Ingredients

2 pieces thin-cut salmon filet with skin on, about ¼ to ⅓ of a pound each
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
Lemon slices, for garnish
Yuzu shichimi (optional – available in Asian specialty stores)

Preparation

Preheat broiler. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash and dry salmon, and remove any remaining bones. Place salmon on foil, skin side down. Broil fish about 4 inches from heat for about 5 to 7 minutes until almost cooked. Remove salmon from broiler and pour teriyaki sauce evenly over the filets. Return to broiler and cook for another minute or so until fish is cooked through. Transfer salmon to plates, removing skin if you like, and garnish with lemon slices. Sprinkle with yuzu shichimi.

Makes 2 servings.

Chiharu’s Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup sake
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation

Add all ingredients to a heavy saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until sauce is thickened and has a glassy look. Cool, transfer to bottle and store in a cool, dry place.

Makes about 2 cups.

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Bedroom Design: Decorating a sick room

Post by Stephanie Noble.

One of the best parts of being a toddler’s parent is that something new happens every day. Most days those new things are positive: discovering fire engines, going new places, and meeting new people.

Until one day the new things are dialing 911, riding in an ambulance to the hospital and meeting ER pediatric staff. Then there is nothing but fear of what –ifs, lack of sleep worries and watching for glimpses of normal.

Sometimes, the most important part of decorating a room is making sure it’s a good place to be sick and recover. Aesthetics are pushed out the door by necessity and comfort.

Here are four things to have around to make a sick room comfy cozy.


I recommend the menthol ones. Not only do they do a great job of cleaning up a snotty nose, but they smell awesome and do a great job opening up the sinuses. And after catching my son sucking on clean wipes and saying, “Tasty,” I’m glad they are alcohol free. (And yes, they are pretty minty tasting.)


 


A blankie, not just a random blanket from the linen closet, but the blanket that brings the patient the most comfort. My mom made quilts for my siblings and me one Christmas. Mine is a tattered yellow mess with batting hanging out of it. But it’s the one I pull out when I’m sick and want to wrap up in something soft and warm. My brother does the same thing and says it’s like being “wrapped up in your Mama’s love.”


 


Comfort movies. I watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice when I’m sick, the familiar words and beautiful scenery lulls me to sleep. I’ve seen it so many times that I don’t feel badly when I fall asleep and miss and entire disc. I can wake up and pick up from wherever the story is in progress. For my son, that movie is Cars. My husband and I are no completely prepared to enter any Car’s related trivia contest. We even looked up what the Ferrari says in Italian to Guido. Losing oneself in another world temporarily can take one’s mind off feeling miserable.


Comfort food. I have made stacks of pancakes in the past week because it’s the only thing that my son would eat. I found out a friend’s choice is mashed potatoes with cheese. Another friend’s is homemade biscuits with butter and honey. My husband’s comfort food is Indian food, as spicy as he can get it. Whatever it is that appeals to your taste buds is better than not eating and getting sicker.

Thankfully, our home is now in the recovery stage. I’ve noticed that there are dishes to be done, laundry to fold, flowers to plant and some airing out to do.

Cars has been replaced by Curious George and Fireman Sam. Ham and cheese omelets were dinner last night. And the blankie has been washed.

Most importantly, our son was laughing, dancing and a bit bossy this morning. Things are getting back to normal.

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