A Few of my Favorite Things…

During my most recent chat the The Lilypad, I was asked to name 3 things I’m loving right now. I shared a couple that came off the top of my head, but as I’ve had more time to think about it, I’ve come up with a bit longer list that I thought I’d share.. ūüôā



Santa brought this to us this past Christmas, and I can honestly say it was an instant family favorite! My kids are 5 and 9 and they both do really well with this. In fact, when he’s really concentrating, my 9 year old can totally school me at this! Plenty of strategy to be interesting for adults, but still simple enough in mechanics that the younger kids have fun as well. And an added bonus: it works GREAT as a two-player game, which are hard to come by! We have the deluxe version, and for as much as we play it, I’m thankful for the acrylic tiles vs. the cardboard ones of the standard edition.



This is another game that was a big hit right from the get-go. We were introduced to it by friends several months ago, and for a while it was the only thing I ever wanted to play! It’s another that is great for¬†two players, and my 9 year old has no problem playing it¬†on his own. Some of the intricacies of the rules are a little harder for my 5 year old to grasp, but he can absolutely play as his own person with limited assistance from an adult. We’ve also played with the Chibis add-on, but didn’t find the game play to be improved enough to warrant purchasing that for ourselves yet.


I read this back in February, and it absolutely enchanted me. It’s similar in tone¬†and time period to the movies The Prestige & The Illusionist¬†if you remember those.. Magic and romance and mystery and high stakes risks all wrapped up in one. I absolutely could NOT put it down!





What an amazing read! My first loves in literature are stories Рboth non-fiction and fictional Рrevolving around the second world war, and this one definitely stands out from the rest. Set during the evacuation of East Prussia near the end of their war, it follows four characters and their points of view on the war, humanity and love, and brings to light the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which when it sank, made it the largest loss of life in a sinking ship in history.



Our family computer on the main floor¬†doesn’t have a wireless card, but the hard line for our internet comes into the master bedroom upstairs (don’t ask – we don’t get it, either). We’ve been through a couple different solutions, but this is what’s worked the best for us. This handy dandy little antenna simply plugs into a USB port on the computer and does all the work for us. Previous versions had to be plugged into the front of the machine to get the reception we needed, which meant they were always getting kicked or bumped or broken off. With the antenna, we can plug it in the back and not have to worry about it. It’s a win-win for everyone!



Over the Christmas break I spent a lot of time messing around with watercolors. Of course, with both boys home, they wanted in on the fun, too, but I hated dealing with the mess of getting out 15 million cups of water and paper towels and having it be a whole production. Enter the Aquash water brushes. I am SO in love! Now all I need is my paint palette, a brush and pad of paper and I’m ready to go! I can work on it in bed, on the couch, even at my desk without having to worry about spilling water all over my keyboard, and the cleanup is a breeze. Seriously – the best ever!



Our family LOVES going on bike rides together, but last summer my youngest was just 4 years old, and didn’t really have it in him to trek several miles at a time, like the rest of the family wanted to. Luckily for us, we snagged one of these awesome bike trailer things that hooks on the back of either mine or my husband’s bike, and it completely changed the game for us. It’s not the exact model pictured here, but the concept is the same. We’re still planning on using it this year, even though he’s a bit older. We just grabbed an extra hitch so it’s no trouble at all switching between who’s leading him. They also have an attachable back rest if you’re so inclined.


I¬†am not a heavy printer user. I don’t print my own scrapbook pages – or even photos – that often, and my kids aren’t old enough to be writing miles-long papers for school. However, I do like changing out the gallery wall of 8×8 photos in our living room each season, and occasionally other small projects for church or home. We have the HP Envy 5530 wireless printer (given to us by a friend who just had it lying around when our previous printer broke a couple years ago) and I LOVE it! (The 5540 is the next step up, and actually less expensive.) But my FAVORITE thing about it is the Instant Ink program. We pay just $3 per month, and for that we can print 50 pages and whenever we come close to running¬†out of ink they’ll automatically ship us more – there are other plans with more prints, too, if you’re a more frequent user than me. If we go over our print limit, we can buy 15 more prints for just $1. That’s $36 per year, and for that I could print 600 full color, full page, high-quality photos, because they’re not charging me for the ink – just the prints.. How amazing is that?!?! PLUS – Our print “credits” roll over month to month so I’m currently sitting at 48¬†pages available for May, plus 37 pages available from previous months. Seriously – if there’s only one thing you consider purchasing from this post – HP Instant Ink is it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into a few of my favorite things right now.. If there’s something you are super loving right now, please share with me in the comments.. I love recommendations from friends I trust! ¬†ūüėČ


Amber has been designing in the digital scrapbooking industry since 2008, and for the paper industry since 2013. She loves reading, board games, and all things chocolate!

1 Comment on A Few of my Favorite Things…

  1. Monica
    May 16, 2017 at 1:25 AM (4 years ago)

    HP instant ink sounds awesome! I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for sharing! I read Night Circus awhile back and enjoyed it also. I didn’t read Salt to the Sea fast enough so I’m waiting for it again from my library.


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