Bedtime Stories: Just Joking

just jokingPost by Mark T. Locker.

Just joking : 300 hilarious jokes, tricky tongue twisters, and ridiculous riddles

The National Geographic Society is not just about publishing the once-monthly gold-bordered glossy magazines full of beautiful photography and intriguing articles. Now it is the purveyor of knock-knock jokes and other groan-inducing riddles. I bought this one for my son with a pretty good sense that I would quickly regret this particular gift choice.

Turns out, I don’t really regret it at all. I have long been a fan of cheesy riddles, annoying knock-knock jokes and anything even remotely resembling a pun. The hardest part for me is deciding whether to pretend that I don’t know the answers to these jokes after being asked them 50 times or always give him the joy of the delivery. Right now, I’m at about 50/50. Here are a couple examples of what you will be in for:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Who.
Who who?
Is there an owl in there?

Q:Who robs you when you are in a bathtub?
A: A robber ducky!

You get the idea. There will be no learning useful facts. There is no thought-provoking journalism. Just three hundred achingly terrible jokes. I highly recommend it. Any kid with a sense of humor will be well served by having this collection in their arsenal.

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Movies in Bed: Back to the Future

Back_to_the_FuturePost by Mark T. Locker.

1985! 1985! Such a cool and modern time! That was thirty years ago. THIRTY YEARS AGO. We had a sick day earlier this week and were looking for something awesome to share with the boy. I’d been thinking about Back to the Future, since, as we all know, this is the year that Marty and the Doc travel to in Back to the Future II. People have been scrambling to make that future vision a reality, from really unimpressive hoverboards to Nike’s Air Mag with self-tying laces. All that is well and good, but if you are going to start fresh, you have to start at the beginning.

November 5, 1955!

I can’t say how many times I have watched that movie. Apparently a lot because I can recite most lines from memory. I like this movie because it’s totally fun and it’s harmless. There are a couple words in it I had to gently remind my child that he is not allowed to say. But overall the whole time travel/awesome car/action movie was not lost on the kid at all. He even has a puffy vest like Marty McFly is wearing when he goes back to 1955! Whenever he wears it, I say, “Hey kid, why you wearing a life preserver?” It’s great fun.

If you haven’t watched it in a while, Back to the Future is still a pretty fun thing to watch. It’s classic Steven Spielberg good times, from the same era of E.T.  and The Goonies and Raiders of the Lost Ark. What better way to wrap up a long day than with a trip back in time, in a meta-nostalgic movie, in a sweet DeLorean?

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Bedroom Design: How to Achieve That Luxury Hotel Look in Your Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Most of today’s luxury hotels have mastered the art of uncluttered design. If you’re partial to that clean, modern look so prevalent in upscale hotel rooms, you might like to replicate the look in your own quarters. High-quality linens, straight lines, and a neutral color palette are a few starting points, but clipping a few photos of your favorite bedrooms can also inspire.

After viewing the images below and noting a few helpful hints, introducing that hotel look –– think W, Ritz, or Four Seasons –– into your bedroom is probably easier than you had once thought.

With its tall, upholstered headboard, room-darkening drapery, and neutral palette, this big city bedroom exudes modern luxury. Notice the perfectly made bed with crisp linens. Don’t you want to crawl in?


Contemporary Bedroom

This stylish bedroom comes complete with integrated headboard, plush bed covering, and black and white photography. The space boasts a design similar to a boutique hotel, but still offers plenty of personality.


Contemporary Bedroom by London Interior Designers & Decorators Compass and Rose

More spacious than the average hotel room, this bedroom is more like a corner suite with its comfy sitting area and natural light. Still, the design is simple and elegant and could easily pass for a luxury hotel.


Transitional Bedroom by London Interior Designers & Decorators Helen Ford Design

Minimalist design is evident in this cream and white bedroom. The dark wood floors and paneled bed wall add some depth to the otherwise light, bright room. The perfectly dressed bed resembles billows of clouds and completes this simple yet sumptuous space.

The fireplace isn’t a typical hotel amenity, but you might occasionally find one in a high-end boutique hotel. Regardless, if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your bedroom, treat it as you would the rest of the room –– keep it modest and understated.


Contemporary Bedroom by Laguna Beach Architects & Building Designers Aria Design Inc

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Breakfast in Bed: Pistachio-Crusted French Toast

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 8

Post by Alison Hein.

I got carried away as I was grinding pistachios yesterday. The rich, salty crunch of these exotic little nuts is so divine, I can easily gobble up a whole package of them in one sitting. Instead, I try to pace myself, by distributing them more rationally, and combining them with complementary flavors.

Step one – grind. Step two – coat the delectable morsel of your choice with a delectable pistachio covering. In this case, I was using the ground nuts to dress up some goat cheese medallions, which I then placed on top of a salad of baby lettuces bathed in a tangy lemon citrus vinaigrette.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 2

Pistachios are an ancient food. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean and central Asia, they are one of the three seeds (along with walnuts and almonds) mentioned in the Bible. Pliny the elder wrote that pistachios were a common food as early as 6750 BC. These days, the US is one of the top global producers of pistachio nuts.

Search the internet and you’ll find a cornucopia of “pistachio-crusted” recipes. From lamb to salmon, asparagus to tofu, cheesecake to, you guessed it…French toast! So, I drowned some soft brioche in a vanilla egg bath, then used my excess ground nuts to create a divine Pistachio-Crusted French Toast, and a salty, crunchy, exotic breakfast in bed.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 3

Ingredients

1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices rich, soft bread, such as brioche or challah
2 to 4 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Grind pistachio nuts in a nut grinder, coffee mill, or blender until chopped finely, but not powdery. Retain some larger nut pieces for extra crunch, if you like. Place ground pistachios in a small shallow dish.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 5

In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Stir in vanilla. Dip bread slices into the milk mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Don’t over soak or the soft bread will fall apart. Dip bread slices in chopped pistachio pieces, using a spoon to help cover.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add nut-covered bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add more butter as needed. Remove from pan and serve warm with real maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 9

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Bedtime Stories: 9 Magic Wishes

Post by Mark T. Locker.

9 magic9 Magic Wishes by Shirley Jackson. Illustrated by Miles Hyman.

Shirley Jackson is best known for her short story works for adults, most notably, “The Lottery” which is a dark, intense, and wonderful dystopian tale with a remarkable twist. What not many people know (I certainly didn’t) is that she wrote a few books for children as well. The only one I have read is 9 Magic Wishes which is not dark at all but magical and weird and wonderful. The opening sentence sets the scene perfectly: ”Today was a very funny day. The sky was green and the sun was blue and all the trees were flying balloons.” A young girl is visited by a magician in a tall hat with stars. He offers her nine wishes. Each of her wishes is a beautiful thing to behold, like a little box, and inside that is another box, and inside that is another box, and inside that is an elephant. And a tiny little zoo of live tiny animals. The rich and color-saturated illustrations are done by Miles Hyman, who is Shirley Jackson’s grandson. He seems to have a bit of his grandma’s talent for capturing the magical and remarkable.

There isn’t any real point to the story other than being lovely and fun. The magician comes, the girl makes wishes. She only uses eight, because what else could she possibly want? and the magician leaves the last one under a stone. If you are looking for a story to make your little one’s dreams as rich and fantastic as can be, look no further.

squirrel

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