Bedtime Stories: The Dark is Rising

DarkRising6Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper.

On Midwinter’s Day, on his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton, seventh son of a seventh son, will awaken. His true calling will be made known to him, as the last of the Old Ones, those destined to fight the forces of the Dark, to keep the balance intact.

What a fantastical mystical premise for a series! The Dark is Rising is technically the second book in a series of five, but you can really skip the first one, Over Sea and Under Stone and not lose the thread of the story. The real story picks up as Will Stanton approaches his eleventh birthday. Until then, he was just another boy, the youngest of seven children in a happy home in England. But on the morn of his eleventh birthday, he awakes to find himself out of time in a place that is his village and yet not his village. Here he meets Merriman, one of the Old Ones, whose task is to guide Will, the newly awakened and last of the Old Ones, on his quest to collect the six signs, circles quartered with a cross, each of a different element: iron; bronze; wood; fire; water; stone.

Will must learn how to be an Old One, with all the knowledge and power that has been unlocked within him, and still be a young boy. How do you celebrate Christmas when time may stop at any moment, when danger may come in any form? How do you stand up to evil in front of your parents, who think the terrible Rider is a friendly colleague? It’s not easy being a kid. And it’s not easy being an Old One.

This series of books is a wonderful adventure and magical quest as Will and his allies strive to defeat the Dark once and for all. Great for kids, especially disturbingly mature eleven-year-olds.

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Bedroom Design: Sweet Pastel Bedrooms

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Rustic and cottagey, this dreamy, shabby chic bedroom relies mostly on neutral tones, but the pale pink flowers and celadon bring some pastels into the lovely mix.

Dreamy Whites
Photo by Dreamy Whites

A transitional Nantucket bedroom uses muted greens with white to create a sophisticated guest space using a daybed. This cozy room boasts just the right amount of texture.

Nantucket
Photo by Eric Roseff Designs

Pale pink rose is the primary color in this traditional bedroom with modern touches. Whitewashed floors and lots of natural light keep the space feeling bright and airy.

John Lewis Rose Mist Bedroom
Photo by John Lewis

Baby blue keeps this room feeling elegant and classy. A touch of bolder blue in the throw pillows adds punch while the rest of the space stays muted.

Greener Pastures
Photo by Urban Home Magazine

Various shades of pale yellow give this traditional room a monochromatic look. The 19th century Victorian home in Boston has been restored and expanded yet hasn’t lost its character. Brimming with pattern, the room doesn’t appear busy, but rather, soothing and homey.

Selkirk Ledge
Photo by Elizabeth Brosnan Hourihan Interiors

Which pastel color is your favorite?





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Breakfast in Bed – Apple Walnut Cookies

Apple Walnut Cookies 11

Post by Alison Hein.

I like to fill a big bowl with colorful fruit for an inexpensive and cheerful centerpiece. Sometimes I’ll use all lemons, sometimes all limes, sometimes all oranges, and sometimes a mix of fruit. For a recent dinner party, I bought two dozen bright green apples and piled them high in an amber dish. It looked lush and bright adorning my kitchen island.

But after a party, what does one do with so many apples? Unlike cut flowers, it is wrong to simply discard food (it may be wrong to discard cut flowers too, but they mostly cannot be cooked). And, apples seem more well-suited to autumnal flavors. So how could I use them and make them taste more springy?

Apple Walnut Cookies 2

Cookies seemed like an apt solution. With a light batter and raw apples, the cookies tasted fresh and cake-like. I added a handful of walnuts for texture and a sprinkling of apple pie spices for a rich undertone. Be warned – these cookies are better when consumed within one day of baking. So. Bake. Rise. Consume. Ahh… breakfast in bed.

Apple Walnut Cookies 4

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled and chopped apple (about 2 medium apples)
½ cup chopped walnuts

Apple Walnut Cookies 6

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and blend in completely. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a separate small bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and blend well. Stir in chopped apple and walnuts.

Apple Walnut Cookies 7

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheet for a couple of minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

Apple Walnut Cookies 10

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Bedroom Design: 5 Unusual Seaside Bedrooms

Post by Tracy Kaler.

When we think of bedrooms by the sea, we dream of blue and white fabrics, natural materials like cotton, sisal, and jute, and nautical motifs such as ships and anchors. But not all beachy sleeping quarters need to be typical or what we’d expect. In fact, some beach houses stray from the norm completely, barely exuding a coastal feel at all. Let’s take a look at five unusual seaside bedrooms.

This vibrant Newport Beach bedroom skips the usual ocean-like colors and goes bold with accents. More often seen in neutral or aqua, the red shell motif is unexpected.

Newport Beach Project

Photo by Jessica Bennett Interiors

This contemporary bedroom feels so Miami because the home is located in Miami. Notice the shoji-type backdrop behind the bed. A gray and white color palette sets the stage for the water view.

Contemporary Bedroom

Photo by https://www.brittocharette.com/

Relaxed and sophisticated, this eclectic bedroom boasts clean lines and classic furnishings but happens to be in a home on the Pacific Coast. Built-ins and an armoire keep the space clutter-free.

Contemporary Beach Home

Photo by Harte Brownlee & Associates Interior Design

Although this Florida bedroom has a big city vibe, it happens to be in a house at the Hallandale Beach Club. A low bed, modern furnishings, and the highway backdrop give the space a cosmopolitan feel.

DKOR Interiors - Interior Design at the Beach Club, Miami Beach, FL

Photo by DKOR Interiors Inc.- Interior Designers Miami, FL

This Montauk bedroom embodies rustic glamor. The dark stain on the wood floors isn’t the obvious choice for a home on the coast, but works well with the white walls and bedding, a lighter wood ceiling, and navy blue accents. Everything is chic about this room.

Montauk Beach House





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Bedtime Stories: Every Day

every day

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Every Day by David Levithan.

Imagine if you woke up every day in a new body. And not just a new body but in someone else’s life. Sixteen years old and every day since A was born, A has occupied a different person’s body for a single day. The consciousness is A; A is the person with no body of his/her own. Neither male nor female, A is whatever body A wakes up in. From the co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes this wholly unique novel.

We first meet the narrator as a teenager. The first morning A is in the body of a boy named Justin. At this point, A is quite used to being a different person and always goes to great lengths to avoid messing up the life of the body being visited for the day. But when A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rihannon, everything changes. A immediately falls deeply in love with her. It’s clear that Justin is a terrible boyfriend so when he suggests they escape to the beach for the day, she is surprised but happy. The next day Justin will remember what happened, but not why. And A will be another person in another body. But A can’t forget about Rihannon and begins drumming up excuses to find Rihannon and talk to her again, until the day that A decides to spill the beans and tell her the secret of who A really is.

A compelling read for teens and adults alike, Another Day is equal parts fantasy and romance. It’s a totally weird concept for a book, but it somehow works. Another Day approaches the notions of gender identity and physical presences in an unflinching way. A may be a 300 pound friendless kid one day and a gorgeous young woman the next (A always occupies bodies the same age as A) but the mind is always the same. So just what makes a person who he or she is? It’s an interesting question and pretty pertinent for our times.

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