Tuesday – Boardgames

Things I Love Tuesdays is a weekly feature on my blog where I talk about things I love. Books, movies, it’s all good. Keeping things light and fun.

When most people think of boardgames, they might come up with something like Monopoly or Checkers, or even these days Settlers of Catan. I started out with many of the same. However, about 15 years ago we began to get into boardgames that took up a lot more time and, well, space.

My first foray into such complicated gaming was with the second edition of Arkham Horror, which pits the players against the game itself. You play as a team of investigators, and from the very beginning the game is stacked against you. We rarely won, and when we did, it was an incredible sense of victory. And remember when I talked about space? Well this game took up our entire dining room table with two leaves, and we had to store the component pieces in two separate plastic boxes that hardware stores sell to keep nuts and bolts in.

As my son has gotten older, we’ve gotten him into more and more complicated games. Some of his favorites include Clank!, Quacks of Quedenburg, Space Base, and Everdell.

But the idea of boardgames conjures up images of groups of friends gathered around a table, sharing food and drink as they play. Right now, that’s not possible to do in person. But we have found a way to have virtual game night.

There are two main digital ways to play games (that I am familiar with! I believe there are others!). Tabletop simulator, which is available on Steam for about 20 bucks, and Board Game Arena, which is a browser based system. Sometimes we even play online when the three of us are home together – it makes it a lot easier to clean up (Clank! Legacy, for example, took a good twenty minutes to setup and just as long to break down).

And while it’s not the same as having a game night with friends, right now I’m enjoying our virtual games and conversation.

Would you like to check out virtual game night? Let me know in the comments!

Christmas in July!

I usually really enjoy Christmas in July. They decorate the boardwalk. Some poor dude dressed as Santa Claus is on the beach having kids sit on his lap. They pump Chrismtas music through the loudspeakers. It’s all very jolly and fun. And usually 90 degrees.

But no boardwalk for us this year. However, if you are itching for some sweet, fun Christmas stories to escape into, I have a bunch!

A Christmas Yarn

Librarian Gavin MacCauley isn’t expecting any surprises this holiday season. It’s the usual rush of helping patrons, and knitting items to donate to the local hospital. But his world is turned upside down by the cutie who walks into knitting club looking to learn how to crochet a scarf.

Jonathan Mercier has just moved to town and is desperate to find a new craft for his traditional, handmade gift for the aunt who adopted him. When his elderly neighbor strong-arms him into attending the library’s knitting and crochet club, he falls hard for the kind (and hot!) librarian running the class.

But with Christmas coming, and time running out to finish the gift, will these two find the time for each other?

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The Puzzle Box

Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations

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Lost and Found

Two lonely men, a lost teddy bear, and a sprinkle of holiday magic!

On a snowy night before Christmas Eve, Tyler Martin finds himself stuck in a Chicago airport, unable to get home to his family on the East Coast. After missing last year due to his jerk of an ex-boyfriend, the idea of not making it this time hurts. When he finds a lost teddy bear in the waiting area, his night changes for the better.

Aaron Klein is a bored airport worker, taking the Christmas shift because he’s Jewish. He doesn’t expect to hit it off with the hot guy who brings a lost teddy bear to his desk, but it might end up being everything he didn’t know he was looking for.

Originally published as Teddy Bear Christmas.

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Tuesday Post – Slightly Sinful

Things I Love Tuesdays is a weekly feature on my blog where I talk about things I love. Books, movies, it’s all good. Keeping things light and fun.

Do you keep every book you read? If not, how do you decide what is worthy of shelf space?

I read a lot of regency romance novels, and I rarely hold on to the books after I’m finished with them. They all go on to good homes, but I am rapidly running out of shelf space for the books I do want to keep. So it’s a rare occasion that I end up putting something on my keeper shelf.

One of those books is Mary Balogh’s Slightly Sinful. I’ve read quite a few of Balogh’s books, and she’s one of my favorite authors in the genre. But I don’t keep all of her books. In fact, most of the time I try to check them out of the library.

I can’t actually recall purchasing Slightly Sinful. It seemed to appear in my ever growing to-be-read pile. Even though it’s part of the Bedwyn series, I hadn’t sought it out for that purpose – in fact, I don’t believe I’d read any of the other books in that series.Cover of Slighly Sinful

This book is incredibly tropey. The heroine is hiding in a brothel (and all the ladies she works for have hearts of gold). The hero has amnesia. They have to pretend to be married! And not only did the heroine and hero have their happy ending, but so did all the women in the brothel.

And yet…when I closed the back cover of that book, there were tears in my eyes, and I sighed. I felt too full of emotion. I knew I could not give this book up – not to a friend, not to the free cart at the library. No, I needed to put it back on my keeper shelf, where it has sat for several years.

I read so much I can’t always recall plots of the books I’ve read. But I mostly always remember how a book makes me feel. And for that reason, Slightly Sinful is one of those things I love.

Do you have a book you can’t give up? Tell me about it in the comments.

Things I love Tuesdays: Crafting

Things I Love Tuesdays is a weekly feature on my blog where I talk about things I love. Books, movies, it’s all good. Keeping things light and fun.

Welcome to the first installment of “Things I love Tuesdays.” Here is where I get to talk about things that make me happy. In the words of Marie Kondo, they spark joy. This week, I’m going to talk about crafting.

Now, I’ve always been a yarn crafter. I’ve been crocheting since I was about 4 years old, which puts me at…well, at a couple of decades of crochet. I tried knitting, but I could never get into it. Crochet was just easier for my brain. I could work on a scarf or a blanket and not have to think about it too hard.

But right now it’s summer, and it’s a little too hot to have a lot of yarn on my lap. Somehow, I ended up diving headfirst into paper crafting, specifically card-making. It’s not really surprising – a friend of mine is a demonstrator for a stamping company. I’m not going to name the company because this blog isn’t about me selling anything (although if you really want to know, leave me a comment and I’ll tell you:).

I started small, with a card kit, and I loved it. But I was quickly frustrated by the limited options. I wanted to do more. Hence me placing an order for much more stuff, and watching more tutorial videos on YouTube that I care to admit. I found my favorite presenters, and subscribed to their channels. I started by imitating their designs before playing with my own. I wouldn’t say I’m good at it, by any means.

It’s incredibly relaxing. I had a migraine the other day, so I disappeared into my “craft room” where I have all the paper supplies set up and made a card. There’s something meditative about cutting the paper, stamping the image, and then gluing it all together. By the end of the session, I have something pretty that I’m proud of, and that I can send off in to the mail to a friend to brighten their day. (The “craft room” is a spare table set up in the basement with all the boxes of Christmas decorations and my husband’s classic video game collection, so hardly instagram worthy stuff here).

Now I’m excited about the Holiday catalog, and making cards for Halloween and Christmas. I don’t know what I will end up creating, but I do know there will be a lot of glitter involved.

Do you have a favorite craft? Tell me about it in the comments!

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