Bedtime Stories: Pioneer Life

little housePost by Mark T. Locker.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

One of the things I love about my kid is how open he is to all genres of fiction. We have read everything from Harry Potter to Because of Winn-Dixie and from Greek mythology to tales of brave animals. None of it seems to be outside of his realm of interest. So I decided to test the limits of his attention and began reading to him the story of a little girl and her family living in the middle of the woods in pioneer-era Wisconsin.

The outcome? He enjoys it! We haven’t discussed the finer points of what appeals to him but every time I think it’s too boring to carry on reading, he asks me to read him a little bit more. I have only watched the television series “Little House on the Prairie” and have never read these books before so it’s educational for all of us. What I find interesting is the didactic tone the book takes, though I find a lot of books of that era are a little bit preachy. Discussing the novel with my brother, we both agreed that some passages seem designed specifically to tell kids these days how much better they have it. And it’s true; I can’t picture my son spending every Sunday reading catechism and quietly reflecting. He can barely read for 20 minutes without asking 20 times if he can stop reading!

It’s a fascinating look at daily life in the frontier wilderness of Midwest America. She certainly spares no details in everything from the process of curing meat to churning butter and cleaning a rifle. And yet, it’s interesting. It definitely gives you some perspective on what “hardship” might mean. I, for one, wouldn’t mind visiting that time for a little bit but come the Sabbath, I’d need to get online.

Great family bedtime reading to fill your dreams with wildcats, bears, and log splitting.

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Bedroom Design: Is a Headboard Necessary?

Post by Tracy Kaler.

A headboard gives a space a more polished look, and it’s often an essential ingredient in a bedroom’s overall aesthetic. But the question remains, is a headboard really necessary? Personally, I love an upholstered layer between the wall and my head, but a lot of people looking to streamline their design prefer no headboard at all. Let’s take a look at some successful bedrooms that don’t seem to miss a beat even though they’re sans headboards.

This minimalist bedroom in Amsterdam plays on whites and grays with touches of black. Bedside lamps take on a sculptural quality against the stark backdrop. The room has a Scandinavian feel.

The home of Karlijn and Pieter

I don’t miss the headboard in this Melbourne, Australia bedroom. Artwork hangs low, and the darker shams almost trick the eye into thinking there’s a headboard, even though there isn’t.

Daylesford

A summer cabin in Sydney uses plenty of stripes –– the floor pattern, window paneling, and bedding. With this room layout, not using a headboard was the best choice considering the window is in the center of the bed wall. The other option would’ve been to cover the window with fabric, creating a softer background for a headboard.

Swedish Summer Cabin in Sydney

This London bedroom’s decorated ledge gives the illusion of a headboard. The colorful artwork makes a statement in this bright, airy room.

PRIMROSE HILL

Tony Ivey & Associates used an oversized bolster as a makeshift headboard in this Albuquerque bedroom, which also has a Scandinavian feel. No headboard lends itself to this uncluttered, modern design.

Bedroom Photos

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Bedroom Design: Decorating with Checks in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

If you associate check patterns with country, you’d be correct, but that’s not the only decorating style where they can be used successfully. Checks come in all sizes and colors, and depending on their application and the other elements in the room, they might pull together a modern, traditional, or eclectic design.

I’m a fan of checks when paired with other patterns, or if they’re bold and really make a statement. Let’s take a peek at some checks in bedrooms. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how chic checks can be!

Alabama Lake Home

This Alabama bedroom is delightful, isn’t it? The gingham check on the window valances and footstools offers the right amount of structure. This room shows us how to mix the modern and traditional. I adore everything about this tailored bedroom.

Cotswold Manor House

Sweet and delicate, this Cotswold Manor juvenile bedroom feels feminine with its pink, white, and beige color scheme. The check complements the floral perfectly.

Tori Murphy Living Inspiration

An impressive example of a modern country bedroom, this room has only the bare essentials, yet there’s something incredibly soothing about it. The large check on the bed covering looks terrific with the muted chevron on the accent pillows.

In The Country

A check area rug isn’t the most obvious choice for a floor covering, but I believe it helps complete this bedroom. The red lacquered door and the quilt at the foot of the bed help tie everything together.

Cranleigh: Modern Country Home

Another modern country home boasts a charming boy’s room with a check on the walls. The wall covering creates an ideal backdrop for the simple furnishings and accessories.

Shooting Star Bedroom

Can’t find the check? This cozy bedroom has subtle check patterns in the shams and the textured matelassé coverlet. The faux rabbit, timber stools and artwork above the bed add surprise to what would otherwise be a pretty dull space. I think of this room as funky yet rustic.

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Breakfast in Bed – Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate Waffles 6

Post by Alison Hein.

Go dust off your waffle iron and whip up some morning magic! These lightly sweet, chocolatey treats take only a little effort, and are sure to delight both young and not so young. A touch of cocoa powder in the batter is enough to provide a hint of decadence – great for brunch or special occasions.

Make sure your waffle iron is well-heated before you begin. Each waffle will take about 5 minutes to cook. If you’re planning a big breakfast shindig, preheat your oven to low and then turn it off. Pile each waffle onto an ovenproof plate as they finish, cover them with a light tea towel, and keep them warm until you’re done cooking.

No need to waffle on this one – all it takes is a little alchemy to produce a bewitching breakfast in bed.

Chocolate Waffles 3

Ingredients

2 cups flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream
Cooking spray

Chocolate Waffles 4

Preparation

Combine flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, add milk, eggs and vanilla and beat until frothy. Pour oil into liquid mixture and stir well. Using a wooden spoon or hand mixer, gradually add liquid mixture to dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Stir in sour cream.

Chocolate Waffles 5

Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and heat to high. Pour ½ cup to ¾ cup batter into center of iron, making sure you have enough batter to evenly spread across the surface of your waffle iron. Cook until waffle is deep brown and crisp, and pulls away easily from iron, about 5 minutes. Serve warm with melted butter and maple syrup or chocolate sauce. Top with fruit, if you like.

Makes 4 to 5 waffles.

Chocolate Waffles 9

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Movies in Bed: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

star-wars-the-force-awakens-quad-poster

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Guess what’s out on video?!? Or, I guess in this decade I should say: guess what’s now available from iTunes?!? That’s right! The newest Star Wars movie, the one intended to get the bad taste of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones out of our collective mouths. Seeing as the big-screen release grossed over 2 billion dollars (!) I’d say that it was successful.

I’m inclined to agree. If there is a chance you actually haven’t seen The Force Awakens and you enjoyed the original trilogy, there is no good reason not to watch the movie. It honors the spirit of the original without relying too heavily on them to carry it forward. One of the biggest complaints against George Lucas is that in his later work he let CGIs do all the heavy lifting, even egregiously adding computer-generated parts into the original movies, something nobody was asking for and few likely approved of. J.J. Abrams went back to the series’ roots, insisting on building sets for everything, including the massive Millennium Falcon. Despite the improvements in CGI technology, nothing can beat the real thing.

The story is set some years after Return of the Jedi, and focuses on a disenchanted Stormtrooper named Finn, a junk scavenger named Rey and an adorable but not annoying droid named BB-8 which they turned into the greatest toy ever. The new baddie, Kylo Ren and his pals have a giant laser they want to use to destroy everything. The story is a little too much like the plot of A New Hope but if that’s the worst thing about this movie, then that’s saying a lot. Now that it’s on DVD you will have the luxury of watching it from the comfort of your own bed, and if you fall asleep in your popcorn no one will know but you.

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