Movies in Bed: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

IchabodposterPost by Mark T. Locker.

As a lover of the season of Halloween, our family is always on the hunt for fun, spooky movies. The problem is they have to be bearable for an easily frightened (but VERY arbitrarily frightened) seven-year-old. So we decided to dust off our copy of the 1949 Disney classic interpretation of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. Inexplicably, Disney packaged it with “The Adventures of Mr. Toad” which is based on The Wind in the Willows which is rather un-spooky.

So the first forty minutes of this movie I was begging my kid to let me skip ahead. But he wouldn’t relent. It wasn’t awful; it just wasn’t what I had come here to watch. My kid loved it. Mr. Toad gets himself into some trouble and his sprawling estate is given over to the criminal weasel gang and Mr. Toad is imprisoned. Conspiracies are uncovered and Toad and his friends fight to right the wrongs done to him. Somehow all of this must relate to the ride at Disneyland, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. What that relationship is, I do not know.

Then, quite suddenly, we are transported from 1908 England to upstate New York in 1790. We all know Ichabod Crane: the gangly, food-obsessed new schoolteacher in Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod is in love with the lovely Katrina. So is Brom. After many thwarted attempts to garner her attention away from Ichabod, Brom hatches a plan. Knowing that Ichabod is a highly superstitious man, he tells a terrifying story about the legend of the Headless Horseman who roams the land searching for his head. Ichabod is frightened and on his way home sees shapes and hears eerie sounds in everything. Suddenly, a figure on a horse rears up before him! It’s the Headless Horseman! A frightening chase ensues. The next day, all they find is a smashed pumpkin and Ichabod’s hat. He is never seen in Sleepy Hollow again.

Pretty darned harmless cartoon, only about 2o minutes long, this Halloween classic is sure to provide chills to kids without much worry for nightmares. They can watch it while the grown-ups finish the half-gutted pumpkins!

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedroom Design: 6 Practical Feng Shui Tips for a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Is your bedroom harmonious? Does it encourage positive energy? If where you sleep doesn’t attract, calm, and thrill you at the same time, you might need to rethink some of the design details. From the floor plan to your furnishings as well the way in which you use the space, each element contributes to the overall feel and panache.

Feng shui –– an ancient art developed several thousand years ago in China –– may be what your bedroom needs to balance energy and keep you happy, relaxed, and sleeping soundly night after night. Read on for six practical feng shui tips that come in handy for your bedroom.

1. Allow fresh air into your sleep space.
Open windows if possible, and if you can’t, consider an air purifier to eliminate pollutants and cleanse the air you breathe.

2. Keep electronics out.
Save the television and computer for other areas of your home, leaving the bedroom for sleeping only.

3. Exercise elsewhere.
With the same idea in mind as electronics, keep exercise equipment and exercising limited to another room. Use a guest room, garage, or join a gym instead of exercising at home.

4. Place the bed correctly in the room.
You should have access to both sides of the bed, and the bed shouldn’t be placed directly in front of the door unless there’s no other option. Go with two bedside tables or nightstands –– one on either side of the bed.

5. Keep lights on a dimmer.
Control the level of light in your space. You should have the option of bright light as needed, but otherwise, keep the light on the dimmer side for a feeling of intimacy. Use candles to create soft, mood lighting.

6. Keep artwork pleasant.
Choose photos and art pieces that represent positive occurrences and happenings you dream about for your own life. Uplifting artwork will nourish and help maintain positive energy.

Posted in Bedroom Design | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Breakfast in Bed – Corsican Chestnut Cake

Corsican Chestnut Cake 9

Post by Alison Hein.

Brian B, our favorite Chief Operating Officer at Charles P. Rogers & Co., has tasked me with coming up with a fabulous cake recipe for Halloween. Well, this isn’t it, but it is a cake, and here’s what got me started thinking about it:

Brian asks me to think of a great idea…

My mind is blank…

I start googling Halloween cakes but am not inspired by my findings…

I turn to my old cookbooks and start leafing through…

I remember Rosemary Cookies, an old Halloween tradition of baking cookies into shapes for remembrance…

And then I remember Corsican Chestnut Cake, a version strewn with rosemary and pine nuts.

Corsican Chestnut Cake 1

Also known as Pisticcini, this in-between sweet and savory cake recipe was adapted from The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones. There is a long history of growing chestnuts in Corsica, where the flour is used to produce bread, pancakes, porridge, and traditional polenta. Oh yeah, and cake.

Chestnut flour is rich, dense, and sweetish, and does not suit everyone’s palate. Some cakes are baked with butter and milk and sometimes a mixture of white flour, but I like the simplicity of just a couple of eggs to create a light, firm dough. Fresh rosemary, pine nuts, and a splash of sea salt adorn the top of the cake and add balance. Try a thin slice, served warm, with a strong cup of black tea for a Corsican breakfast in bed.

P.S. Stay tuned for Brian’s cake!

Corsican Chestnut Cake 2

Ingredients

2 cups chestnut flour (available in Italian specialty shops, gourmet shops, or online)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Corsican Chestnut Cake 4

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mix together chestnut flour, water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, eggs and sugar. Pour batter into greased round cake or pie pan (about 9 inches in diameter). Sprinkle top with rosemary, pine nuts and sea salt.

Bake until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the pan, and the surface is lightly cracked. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve warm.

Makes 1 9-inch round cake.

Corsican Chestnut Cake 6

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bedtime Stories: Spooky Read for Older Kids

hollow boyPost by Mark T. Locker.

Lockwood & Co., book 3: The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud.

Happy October, friends, and welcome to the best time of year! I love looking for all the new spooky reads to keep the creepy feelings going all month long. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to look hard for this one. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the third book in the Lockwood & Co. series for some time now. And it doesn’t disappoint.

London is in a right state. For some time now, and seemingly out of the blue, ghosts, wisps, ghasts, and other creepy spectres from the beyond have been haunting the streets and homes of London. Nobody knows why but it’s created a huge stir and a new, unusual job: child ghost hunters. Although adults can sense the presence of the ghosts, only children can see them. So armed with salt, iron, silver and rapiers, teens and younger work nights battling these spirits.

Although not part of the elite Fitz or Rotwell agency, Antony Lockwood has managed to create a successful freelance ghost-hunting agency with George Cubbins, the socially awkward but brilliant-minded researcher and Lucy Carlysle, whose particular secret ability is communication with the dead spirits. When Chelsea becomes suddenly overrun with ghost activity, Lockwood & Co. are drawn in to help rein in and end the outbreak. But nobody seems to know what is causing it. Although Lucy’s hidden talent has gotten her into deadly trouble in the past, perhaps the can use it wisely and help save London.

Creepy fun for tweens, teens, or adults who like a good shiver, this is one of my favorite series to be released in the last few years. This is the perfect time to pick it up.

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movies in Bed: The Haunted Mansion

220px-Haunted_mansion_ver3Post by Mark T. Locker.

Happy Halloween season, folks! Time to get out the fake skeletons, wrap everything in spooky black gauze and bust out the scary movies! But if you have a kid who is sensitive to scary things, you may have to dial down the eek factor by a significant margin. There are a number of kind of scary movies you can choose from and then a lot of not scary but Halloween-themed.

We decided to try out Disney’s Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy. If they can make a movie based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, why not a movie based on the Haunted House at Disneyland?

The premise is pretty out-of-the-box: Jim Evers (Murphy) is a realtor with his wife and business partner Sara. But he can’t stop working and lets his job get in the way of his personal life, his wife and two kids. SO in an effort to mend things, they take a family vacation with one caveat: they stop and check out this crazy mansion that they’ve been asked to sell.

Oh, one other caveat: the place is crazy haunted and the lord of the manor is a ghost and he wants Sara to join him in the Eternal. Oops! But nobody is really that scary; the maid and the servant are funny and kind to the children. They’re just a bit translucent. You can imagine that a lot of hi jinks take place. And perhaps along the way Jim Evers will learn that there are things that are more important than making the sale. In a word: family.

Despite its total un-scariness, my seven-year-old found it a bit too much to handle. No nightmares, but he demanded we turn it off. I guess we will stick to The Worst Witch for now. But if you child is made of tougher stuff, it’s a fun spooky Halloweeny good time!

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment