Bedtime Stories: Scaredy Squirrel

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Scaredy Squirrel by Mélane Watt.

If you have children and they haven’t introduced you to the Scaredy Squirrel series, well they probably will any minute now. It now boasts eight books in its collection, but we are here to talk about the one that started it all. Wayyyyyy back in 2006 the first of the Scaredy Squirrel books was released. We learn a lot about this utterly neurotic squirrel and his very particular routines.

As you may guess, he is the squirrel equivalent of a scaredy cat. What is he scared of? You name it! On his list are: Green Martians; killer bees; tarantulas; poison ivy; germs and sharks. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, to be sure (I can hear him now: “Icebergs! Where?! RUN“). This may be a neurotic little guy but he is not unprepared. He has four evacuation routes from his tree and contingency plans for each exit point just in case any of THOSE things are awaiting him.

Then, one day, the unthinkable happens and Scaredy Squirrel finds himself facing the things that have kept him from ever leaving his tree and the safety of his routine. What will happen? Will he be nabbed by aliens? Read it and find out! A funny book with lots of companion books for fans aged four and up!

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: Scaredy Squirrel

Movies in Bed: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Post by Mark T. Locker.

My kid has gone completely Star Wars crazy. It’s mostly my fault, though I didn’t realize just how absolutely bonkers he would go. It’s my fault because although he was aware of Star Wars and kind of liked some of it, I made the mistake of getting the LEGO Star Wars game for the Wii. Take two things lots of kids love and put them together in a video game?! Marketing genius and a surefire way to spend 5 days a week explaining that we only play it on the weekends (and then most hours of the weekend saying: not yet).

Scrolling through the Netflix collection recently, it was pointed out to me that I had just passed over some animated Star Wars show. Sure enough, I had totally skipped Star Wars: the Clone Wars, a CGI animated series which is apparently in its sixth season! It’s apparently set between the stories of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. I don’t remember the Clone movie, and never saw the third one, but this show is actually pretty enjoyable, even for an adult. Sometimes I’m shocked by this mostly not violent show because suddenly someone will get run through with a light saber or something. (In our video game, this isn’t a problem: all the people are LEGO! They just fall apart!) That aside, it’s kind of funny and well-written and aside from that horrific Jar Jar Binks, not a bad show at all. If you like Star Wars and have thirty hours to kill, I recommend you check this show out. Even if you just watch it for the droids. They are remarkably hilariously dumb.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Movies in Bed: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Breakfast in Bed – Most Ridiculous Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Post by Alison Hein.

Is it breakfast? Lunch? A new meal category yet to be invented like the Hobbit’s Second Breakfast? Your guess is as good as mine, but I do know the Most Ridiculous Grilled Cheese Sandwich is an experience you’ll have to try for yourself.

Many years ago, when I was still a novice cook, my friend Sally introduced me to this addictive compilation. Sally’s family had been making this uber-rich, cheesy, gooey indulgence since she could remember. The philosophy of the sandwich is simple – the richer the better. Thus, tangy cheddar cheese is not enough until mixed with thick, creamy mayonnaise. And a grilled cheese sandwich is not enough until dipped in egg batter and fried in butter until golden brown like French Toast!

I liked the recipe immediately because it combines two of the simplest meals I had already learned to cook – French Toast and Grilled Cheese. The olives provide a necessary foil to offset the cheesy richness of the sandwich. And, it was fun to cook because no one had ever heard of such a thing.

Many years have passed. My culinary skills have greatly increased, and I’ve long since lost touch with Sally. But I still pull out my old frying pan once a year or so, and cook myself up a ridiculous (gooey, indulgent and delicious) breakfast in bed.

Ingredients
2 slices soft, eggy bread
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup black olives, sliced into thin rounds
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup milk
1 egg
2 to 4 tablespoons butter

Preparation
Place bread slices on working surface. Add the cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and black olives to a small bowl and mix together. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture on one slice of bread, then top with the second slice to form a sandwich.

In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add sandwich to pan and cover. Cook, turning once, until golden on the outsides and cheese mixture is thoroughly melted, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Serve immediately with plenty of napkins.

Makes 1 ridiculous sandwich – enough for 2 servings.

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Breakfast in Bed – Most Ridiculous Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Bedtime Stories: The Magician King

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Magician King by Lev Grossman.

A few weeks ago I shared with you a magical novel called The Magicians, a Harry Potter-meets-Narnia-meets-something wayyy more grown-up. So intrigued was I by the ending, I had to run out and pick up the sequel, The Magician King. As far as middle books in a trilogy go, this one is pretty good. It is a fair bit darker in some ways and a bit more playful in others. SPOILER ALERT: The story picks up with Quentin and his friends Julia, Janet, and Eliot assuming the four thrones of the land of Fillory. But on an adventure to discover a magical golden key, Quentin and Julia find themselves suddenly back on Earth with no way of returning. The novel goes between the main narrative and the backstory of Julia who, unlike Quentin and his friends, was not accepted into magic school and had to find other means of developing her magical education. That is where most of the darkness of this story comes from.

I enjoyed this follow-up. Quentin has, thankfully, grown up and doesn’t make these stupid childish decisions like he did in the last book. He’s more of a protagonist I can get behind. If you read the first novel and enjoy it, I definitely recommend you pick up this one as well.

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: The Magician King

Movies in Bed: Journey 2: Mysterious Island

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Journey 2: Mysterious Island

This is definitely a movie for the family. Featuring the impeccable acting skills of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, this was a follow-up to the Jules Vernes-inspired blockbuster Journey to the Center of the Earth. Like Journey to the Center of the Earth, the sequel is inspired by one of Jules Verne’s fantastical 19th-century adventure novels, fluffed up with a contemporary interpersonal relationship issue (this time it’s a clever teen and his step-dad) and some humor elements (brought to us courtesy of Luis Guzmán).

The premise is somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean is a perpetually hidden island. The grandfather of the teen supposedly went in search of it. When the kid picks up a signal with mysterious coordinates, he is sure it’ from Grandpa. The Rock graciously agrees to go to Palau to help him find this island. I think he’s a former Navy Seal or something. And what an island it is! Gold flowing from a volcano, gigantic bees and tiny elephants! What a trip!

This movie is less terrible than I thought it would be. Whoever wrote the script has a decent sense of humor, if a lowbrow one. I found myself chuckling a couple times, in spite of myself. So if you are looking for something silly, exciting, and not too scary, this is a perfectly passable Friday evening movie.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Movies in Bed: Journey 2: Mysterious Island