(Here is last year's list, if you're interested.)
1. J House vlogs
Well, my beloved Duggars (19 Kids and Counting) were taken off the air this year. I knew the day would come some day, but no one had any idea it would come so cataclysmically. With the show's cancelation, I had a hole to fill. I wanted a good family-oriented show with Christian values and real-life activity. Needless to say, there aren't a lot of those on TV (I don't get UP TV, or I'd watch the Bates' show).
Enter J House vlogs. Long ago I'd bookmarked a You Tube channel of a mom who vlogged about what her kids read. While cleaning up bookmarks this year, I ran across it and discovered that those little bookish videos had blossomed into a family vlog.
The J family is a wonderful family complete with four of the most adorable, mischievous, yet well-behaved children ever. Dad Jeremy is an involved dad. Mom Kendra is real about her struggles as a parent. I'm in love.
2. Playing pool with my husband and grandson on Friday nights.
For many years now, my husband and I have taken our grandson, Bo, every other Friday night. We generally went grocery shopping, then went home for supper (often pizza--with pineapple for Bo) and scary movies. As Bo has gotten older, he's no longer as interested in this time, especially the grocery store part. Brian and I have been trying to find entertaining yet inexpensive ways to enjoy being together. Enter playing pool. For $1.00, the three of us can play a game of pool. For another dollar, we can play a rousing seven rounds of air hockey.
Years ago, Brian and I used to go out and play pool from time to time, just to get out of the house. I got pretty good--for a complete amateur. Pool is a great game to teach a kid about angles, velocity, light touch, strategy, coordination. We've had a blast.
Although Bo doesn't like it when Grandma wins, and Grandma wins quite often.
3. My new Morganite ring
We're not the Rockefellers. We always buy the cheap spaghetti noodles, hardly ever travel, wait until clothes are worn out to replace them, wait for new technology to come down in price (and iron out the bugs) before we buy. But one thing we don't cheap out on is jewelry. Not that I have a lot of it, but when we buy it, we buy the best we can from a local family-owned store that stands behind the purchase.
This summer, we stopped into said store to have my wedding ring cleaned and inspected, and one of the women helpfully created a wish list for my husband of things I liked (so cunning, they are). I happened to pass a case of what looked like chocolate diamonds when my eyes fell on the most beautiful ring I'd ever seen. My jaw actually dropped. I asked the lady what the stone was, and she said it was Morganite (named, I'd later learn, for J. P. Morgan), the most beautiful mixture of not-quite pink, not-quite blown I've ever seen. And it was expensive. But because my husband had never seen me react so strongly to a piece of jewelry before, he (we) bought it on the spot.
The picture above is not the actual ring, but it is a good representation of the color, clarity, and sparkle of my ring. After buying it, I realized I'd really missed out not choosing an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring (yes, I got to choose my own ring). I thought I was a solitaire girl, who knew?
4. Northbook Notebook journals
I decided to go back to journaling in 2016 (more on that later), and I wanted a journal that wasn't too pretty to not use and wasn't too ugly to...well, not use. I wanted something small and lightweight enough to take most anywhere. I wanted good quality acid-free paper with good line spacing. Most of all, I wanted it to be unobtrusive, to become its own thing not make me conform to it like all the other journals I'd ever tried. Well, I found it in these Northbook Notebooks. You get a pack of five for about $30. I love everything about them. They're even made in the USA!
5. Old movies
I have a long list of classic movies I'd like to watch, and this year I decided to finally do something about it. The last couple months I've been DVR-ing all the titles that I've always wanted to try, and I've been watching them when I have time. And let me tell you, I'm having a blast. I've watched National Velvet, Anna and the King of Siam, Adam's Rib, Holiday Affair, The Thin Man, and Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.
Waiting on the DVR for my two-week vacation are: The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and several others.