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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Movies in Bed: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

spy kids 4Post by Mark T. Locker.

There are a lot of things to be amazed by in this movie. Or rather, in the fact that this movie even exists. This is the fourth movie in the Spy Kids franchise. FOURTH! Amazingly, Robert Rodriguez is still at the helm of this sinking ship. Okay, let’s be fair: kids will probably like this if they like Spy Kids. It’s full of kids single-handedly battling malevolent forces. It’s got potty humor. It’s got gadgets. My son thought it was a perfectly acceptable movie. The premise is that Jessica Alba is a retired spy, trying to raise a baby and be a good step-mom. Unfortunately, the bad guys have their own plans and what was supposed to be quick drop-off turns into a disaster when the children come under attack. So clock-faced criminal who is striving to control the flow of time is after them and needs the pendant Jessica Alba gave her step-daughter in an attempt to connect with the surly adolescent. It’s more than just a pendant. It’s something very powerful and the baddies are determined to get it. Action ensues. The faithful dog begins talking because he wasn’t actually a dog at all! He is voiced, inexplicably, by Ricky Gervais. I wonder what crime he committed to be committed to this movie. Also surprising is the other actors who agreed to be in this. Joel McHale, Jeremy Piven. Even Carmen from the original movies returns, this time as an adult.

It’s available on Netflix and if you have a restless kid trying to while away the hours during a spring rain shower or two, you may as well put this one on.

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Bedroom Design: 4 Bedrooms Perfect in Paisley

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Paisley might not be the most obvious choice when selecting pattern for a bedroom. Believe it or not, however, depending on the material, style and color, this popular design can fit into almost any interior. These are four wonderful bedrooms with paisley elements sure to make you swoon for more.

This room proves how lovely paisley can be in a bedroom. Jennifer Robins Interiors mixed color and texture beautifully in this Santa Rosa residence. The oversized paisley print on the headboard creates a backdrop for the room. Notice how this headboard extends beyond the bed. A matelassé coverlet and cable-knit throw keep the room on the casual side while the zigzag novelty pillow is a statement piece.

Colorful and chic, this kids’ room boasts an Osborne & Little wallpapered accent wall, which is just the right amount of paisley. Contrasting buttons on the bed pick up the turquoise color, and hot pink introduces yet another splash into the already bright room. The space could easily be an adult’s quarters too. I’d sleep here, wouldn’t you?

Marrying stripes with paisley is a great idea as you can readily see in this bedroom. Shades of pink and orange combined with contemporary furniture such as a pair of tulip tables, represent the endless decorating possibilities when you think outside the box.

Silver and white paisley on the duvet and shams brings enough pattern into this delightful, upscale bedroom. Some may say the space has a traditional vibe while others might feel it’s more modern. Regardless, no one can deny that this is a great looking room.

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Breakfast in Bed – The Drinking of the Green

Drinking of the Green 11

Post by Alison Hein.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up next week – a day when everyone is Irish. A day to eat, drink, dance and be merry. A day to honor Irish heritage.

In Ireland, folk have been wearing green shamrocks and ribbons on St. Patty’s Day since the late 1600s. “The wearing of the green” refers to an old ballad, its lyrics lamenting the repression of supporters of the Irish rebellion of 1798 (listen to a moving recording of the famous Irish tenor John McCormack singing The Wearing of the Green on YouTube).

To add to the festivities this year, let’s don green clothing, and also drink green drinks. I’m not a big fan of green beer, so I’ve come up with two different options for you – one steaming hot, one icy cold; either with or without a nip of spirits – but both vibrant, emerald green.

Drinking of the Green 1

How to achieve this lovely shade? With Japanese sweet green tea powder (this is America, after all). Matcha, the fine-ground and sweetened powdered tea, brings a smooth density to the creamy Matcha Milkshake, and a cocoa-like, satisfying richness to the Irish Green Tea Latte. Still questioning my choice of ingredients to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I must admit, I did a little back and forth myself until I received a sign from the matcha package itself – brand name Rishi. If you move the final letter “I” to the front of “Rishi”, what do you get? You guessed it! An Irish breakfast in bed!

Éirinn go Brách!

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Matcha Milkshake

2 scoops vanilla ice cream (about ¾ cup)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon (green tea) sweet matcha powder
Splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Dollop of whipped cream
Spring of fresh mint, for garnish

Preparation

Add ice cream, milk, matcha powder and Bailey’s to a blender. Purée until thick and smooth. Pour into a festive glass, and top with whipped cream and mint. Enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 milkshake.

Drinking of the Green 9

Irish Green Tea Latte

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon (green tea) sweet matcha powder
Splash of Irish whiskey (optional)
Dollop of whipped cream
Spring of fresh mint, for garnish

Preparation

Add milk and matcha powder to small, heavy saucepan. Heat until warmed to desired temperature. Alternatively, stir matcha powder into milk and steam with a cappuccino machine or handheld steam wand. Stir in whisky. Pour into a tall mug. Top with whipped cream and mint and serve immediately.

Makes 1 latte.

Drinking of the Green 7

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Bedtime Stories: Celebrating Seuss!

Did_I_Ever_Tell_You_How_Lucky_You_Are_coverPost by Mark T. Locker.

Last week was the 111th birthday of Dr. Seuss, probably the most beloved and easily identified of all American picture book creators. Educators and librarians everywhere go crazy for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Out come those gigantic Cat in the Hat red and white hats. Off the shelves come all the Seuss books; I believe there are at least 60. I’ll bet a few Dr. Seuss look-alikes get pulled as well. There are a bunch of those. At my son’s school, he got to dress in pajamas and a robe, and carry around a stuffed animal. Or in his case, a stuffed robot. Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas are all top contenders for top Seuss books. Though in our family, we have our own favorites. The kids in class had the option to bring their favorite Dr. Seuss book, which in our case was a toss-up between The Sneetches and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? The latter won in the end, even though the other stories in The Sneetches are amazing. Included are “Too Many Daves” in which the woman with a ton of sons regrets naming them all Dave. Seuss offers some names she could have chosen instead. My favorite is Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face. My son’s favorite is Oliver Tolliver Butt. No mystery why.

what was i scared of

Also included is “What Was I Scared Of?” I’ll tell you what he was scared of: a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them! I would be too. Even if it turns out that they are as scared of you as you are of them. Dr. Seuss’s birthday may have already passed, but there’s no reason you can’t go check out all 60+ of his books and bring them all into bed with you tonight to cover you in a big, heavy blanket of Seuss-y goodness.

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