Tag Archives: family

Movies in Bed: The Neverending Story

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Neverending Story. Classic fantasy film of the 80s. Kid alone in an attic reading a large, mysterious tome. In the story, a young man on a mission to save his world from annihilation. From the Nothing. Unwilling to go to class, he hides out in some weird darkened room full of old stuff and reads.And what an exciting book young Bastian has discovered. The magical world of Fantasia is exciting and scary! Luck Dragons! Pink furry ears and an eerie pink, scaly back. Giant rock eaters! Big naked Sphinxes with lazer beam eyes! And the most exciting/terrifying thing of all? Bastian is PART of the story! The characters feel his woes. His belief or lack thereof is all that stands between their world and obliteration.

We finally broke down and watched this with our so-close-to-six-we-should-just-call-him-six-year-old. I think the biggest worry was watching that poor horsey get sucked down into the Swamps of Sadness. Poor sad, drowned horsey! Well that didn’t seem to bother him in the least. I guess we had nothing to worry about, or we waited just the right amount of time. I’d forgotten how much I liked most of the movie. The funny pointy-eared old man and his wife. With their telescope, watching him try to best the Sphinx. And how Bastian gets to scare the pants of the bullies by chasing them down on the luck dragon.

Everyone is always crazy about retro stuff, especially stuff from the 80s. So if you are feeling ironic or whimsical, or if you have a kid or you don’t have a kid, The Neverending Story is still a fun and fantasy-filled adventure well worth revisiting.

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Movies in Bed: Beauty and the Beast

Post by Mark T Locker.

I realize that I’m coming to the party about twenty years late. I guess as a surly teenage boy Disney cartoons weren’t much on my radar. I think my favorite movie of that year was Howard’s End, one of those old-timey British Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter period pieces, before Helena got weird. I’m sure I had seen La Belle et la Bête, Jean Cocteau’s post-occupation masterpiece. I’m still a huge fan of that movie.

Well, every Friday is family movie night at our house. After digging through our piles of DVDs looking for Aladdin with no success, we landed on Beauty and the Beast. In classic Disney form, it’s full of fun songs and a startlingly simplified version of the story. Which is not to say it was not enjoyable; it’s just so different from the 1946 French version. There is good reason this movie has become a Disney classic. It’s got all the right ingredients: castles; talking objects; princesses; true love; songs. Friends, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Angela Lansbury, as a teakettle, sing you a ditty.

I’m sure everyone out there has already seen this dozens of times. I’ve only seen it once now. What should we watch tonight?

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Breakfast in Bed – Strawberry Scones

Post by Alison Hein.

Wild red strawberries used to grow rampantly throughout our region. The native Leni Lenape crushed these tiny sweet jewels and mixed them with cornmeal to form a sweet cake. Odes were written to them, such as this excerpt from a poem written by Robert Graves:

Strawberries that in gardens grow
Are plump and juicy fine,
But sweeter far as wise men know
Spring from the woodland vine.


No need for bowl or silver spoon,
Sugar or spice or cream,
Has the wild berry plucked in June
Beside the trickling stream

Even though these tiny wild gems have largely disappeared from our area due to commerce and development, plenty of their “plump and juicy fine” garden cousins are still available. Locally grown berries can be found until the end of June, and hothouse grown can be purchased throughout the year. While they are still in season, try some in this easy scone recipe. Puréed berries give the dough a tender texture and lovely rose-hued tinge – a poetic breakfast in bed.

Ingredients

16 ounces fresh strawberries, cleaned and trimmed
3 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Extra flour for shaping scones

Preparation

Chop half of the cleaned strawberries, and purée the other half in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine milk, vinegar and one egg. Mix well, then add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in. Stir in pureed strawberries. Add chopped strawberries. Mix in gently. Do not overmix or dough will become tough.

Turn batter out onto floured board. Divide into 8 equal pieces and shape into balls. Press each ball gently into a flat round. Cut a cross in the top of each scone, but do not cut all the way through.

Place scones on lightly greased cookie sheet. Lightly beat remaining egg, and brush on top of scones. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

Makes 8 scones.

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Breakfast in Bed – Tea Eggs

Post by Alison Hein.

Tea Eggs, a traditional Chinese specialty, make a fun family project or a delightful surprise for guests. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled and cracked, then steeped in rich, black tea. When peeled, a lovely, thin-lined mosaic pattern is revealed where the dark tea has seeped in.

In this simplified version, only eggs and tea are called for in the recipe. The end result is a hard-cooked egg with a distant, fragrant flavor that lingers lightly on the tongue – curious and interesting, yet mild enough for young palates. More traditional preparations call for adding soy sauce and / or a chef’s choice of spices. Chinese five-spice powder or Szechuan peppercorns add real zip. Or, you can take the eggs in a more dessert-like direction, adding spices such as cinnamon and cloves.

Make sure to peel the prepared eggs very carefully, or you may lose some of the lovely dark marbling. Also, be advised that dark, brewed tea can stain cutting boards and fingers alike, so choose your tools wisely.

This is one of those methods that’s imminently perfect for experimentation, with low risk or overhead. You are sure to delight family and friends with these fun and fragrant eggs – each one an individual piece of art, each one a lovely surprise, each one a delightful breakfast in bed!

Ingredients

4 cups water
2 tea bags (or loose tea) of strong black tea
2 eggs

Preparation

Pour water into a small heavy saucepan and heat almost to a boil. Add tea bags to hot water to steep. Remove from heat.

Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool slightly, then crack and roll on a hard surface so that thin lines appear all over the shell. Place cracked eggs into brewed tea, ensuring there is enough liquid to completely immerse eggs.

Allow tea to cool to room temperature, then transfer tea and eggs to a small glass dish and refrigerate. Keep eggs in tea for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight. When ready, remove eggs and carefully peel off the shells to reveal the cracked tea pattern underneath. Serve cold.

Makes 2 tea eggs.

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Bedtime Stories: Ramona the Brave

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary.

We are simply flying through the chapter books these days! I have a pretty substantial collection, but at this rate we will have gone through them all before the summer is over. I pulled this one off the back of the bottom shelf. It’s a worn old ex-library paperback with a cracked spine and yellowed pages. Which is to say: it’s a classic. So appropriate for my son in so many ways. Beloved spunky younger sister Ramona Quimby is staple of children’s literature. She is also a Portland native entering first grade. My son is a Portland native entering first grade at Beverly Cleary School. It seemed like the perfect book to pick up. Becoming a first grader is a really big deal in our house. We are already being reminded of the stuff he used to do back when he was a Kindergartner (last week). Those were the days!

I love reading Beverly Cleary books. Written in the 1950s-60s, the have a lot of that old-timey feel of a life that simply doesn’t exist anymore. Henry Huggins delivering the evening papers before picking up some horse meat from the butcher to feed his dog Ribsy. Stuff like that. Ramona the Brave focuses on Ramona and on her life with her parents and big sister, Beezus. It’s about growing up and about being a kid. It’s about sudden moments of self-awareness and awareness of the world outside of oneself. There’s a number of books from the world of Klickitat Street in Portland. I think after this one we are going to read a Henry Huggins story. It’s a “boy” story so it will be full of scrappiness and clubhouses and getting dirty. But the Ramona and Beezus ones are great. I recommend you read them all this instant.

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