9 (mostly) little things I’m loving for early fall

I like to keep a list in my bullet journal of the (mostly) little, everyday things bringing me a disproportionate amount of happiness these days. A recent sampling:

1. The daily crossword. I love crossword puzzles nearly as much as jigsaw puzzles, and the written variety takes up a lot less tabletop space. So I finally bought myself an inexpensive subscription to The New York Times crossword and it makes me so happy. (Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think I’m getting better, too? The rebus ones are my favorite.)

2. Everything pumpkin at Trader Joe’s. Because most of our out-of-the-house activities continue to be cancelled or moved online, we aren’t getting out much these days (okay, we aren’t getting out at all), and perhaps that explains this week’s coping strategy of choice: my 10-year-old and I made an impulse stop at Trader Joe’s and filled our cart to the brim with nearly every seasonal pumpkin item they had. Apparently we’ll take our excitement/entertainment wherever we can find it. (My kids are already begging for a return trip for pumpkin bagels and pumpkin waffles.)  

3. Morning time. I’ve accumulated quite the backlog of books, courses, and projects related to personal/professional development: those things that don’t feel enough like work to tackle during the workday, but don’t feel like leisure, either.

And so this summer I tried an experiment: I decided that once I was awake and had tended to my morning ritual, I would spend any remaining time between that moment and 7:00 a.m. on this stuff. (To be honest, the success of this particular plan was in large part due to the poor sleep I’ve experienced these past months.) Some days I might only get ten minutes for my current project, but some days I’d get more than an hour. 

It’s felt good to make progress, and to find a plan that works for continuing it. 

4. The Princess Bride. Around here we struggle mightily to find family-friendly entertainment that satisfies Will, me, and our four kids aged 10-17. Last year our Superhero Summer was a HUGE success, but now we’re out of Marvel movies. (sniff) Out of desperation, Will and I fired up The Princess Bride, which neither of us had seen in at least twenty years.

Everyone LOVED it. So much! And then I had my own kind of fun, exploring the movie’s history and initial struggle to find its audience. The genre-blending that makes it so much fun to watch also made it incredibly difficult to market when it came out in 1987, and its box office performance was mediocre. But over time it became a word-of-mouth sensation.

Of course, it’s hard to find another movie “like” The Princess Bride because there’s nothing else quite like it—but what other movies would you recommend along these lines? We’d love to give your recs a try on our next family movie night.    

5. Eggplant. Who would have thought it? Not me. But recently we’ve been enjoying—and what’s more, seeking out—a ton of eggplant recipes. Big hits in our kitchen have been this longtime favorite Barefoot Contessa dip, and new-to-us Smitten Kitchen baked eggplant with orzo and mozzarella and Melissa Clark’s sheet pan ratatouille with goat cheese and olives. (If you have a favorite recipe, tell us in comments!) 

6. Burning the candles. This daily habit that I wrote about in Don’t Overthink It brings me so much happiness—but since I only do it in the cooler months, I need to restart the habit every fall. It’s a simple thing but it takes a conscious reset: every morning when I wake up, I light a candle in the dim kitchen while I start my coffee. It’s so much more satisfying than hoarding the “good” candles, which is what I did for far too long. 

My current favorite is the Acorn Spice scent from Mrs Meyers. I never would have picked this scent based on the name, but the reviews on Grove.Co (my go-to place to get cleaning supplies and household products) convinced me to give it a try. (I’ve partnered with Grove for a long time now: use this link to get a free Mrs Meyers and caddy set with your first order.)   

7. Corner Gas. Our Canadian friends turned us on to this old sitcom set in Dog River, a tiny Saskatchewan town in the middle of nowhere. The episodes are short and funny, and my whole family enjoys them. 

8. Front porch reading. After a summer of sweltering heat and humidity, I can’t get enough front porch reading time. The mornings are now cool enough to require a hoodie and—glory of glories—maybe even a blanket. (And if you think all this front porch time makes me happy, you should see Daisy. She loves nothing better than to sit and smell the air and watch the world go by.)   

9. Q-tips. I’m not even kidding. A couple of months ago my whole family had a rousing conversation about how the products we buy are getting junkier and junkier. We knew we were being a tiny bit ridiculous; maybe that’s why our discussion was so fun? My brother complained about airline leg room, my mom about the grocery store, and I ranted about just how crappy q-tips had become. Seriously, now they’re like flimsy straws with a tiny sheet of paper on each end, and I would happily pay for a better product if they’d give me my old q-tips back!  

My mom was listening. And much to my surprise, soon gifted us all with our own box of Really Good Q-Tips. Technically, they’re U.S. Cotton First Aid Cotton Swabs, and I love them. It is a tiny, tiny thing—and yet every time I reach for one I think of our conversation, and my mom hunting down cotton swabs for us on the internet, and it brings me joy. (Thanks again, Mom.) 

What (mostly) little things are bringing YOU a disproportionate amount of happy lately? I’d love to hear in comments.

P.S. Previous editions of little things I’m loving: 8 (mostly) little things I’m loving for early fall9 little things I’m loving this September6 things I’m loving for early summer5 late fall/early winter favorites7 little January favorites9 October favorites, and 7 not terribly exciting things making me really happy these days.


Leave A Comment
  1. Elizabeth says:

    I hear you on the q-tips! I hate the plastic ones so much. I’ve found that Aldi has nice, sturdy paper-sticked q-tips. I’m sure they aren’t as nice as yours, but if you get in a pinch, you might try them.

  2. Blaire says:

    I also do the nytimes crossword daily and finishing it gives me such joy! And I can now finish a Saturday puzzle every once in while. Progress! Also, since we’ve been making a lot more coffee at home, buying the beans of our favorite blend from our local coffee shop gives me a boost every morning.

  3. Jill Hoke says:

    A couple of family friendly movies we’ve liked are Strictly Ballroom, similar story to Dirty Dancing but very take and very Australian, and Galaxy Quest, a Star Trek spoof that also had marketing problems similar to Princess Bride. It’s my favorite Alan Rickman told too.

    • Elise says:

      Galaxy Quest is one of my all-time favorites! A rare movie that is appropriate for the whole family, but also an exciting story and completely hilarious. And yes, Alan Rickman is fantastic in this one.

    • Suzy says:

      I third Galaxy Quest! As a long time Trekkie, my hubby and I (both in our 40s) watched it on our honeymoon, and we just howled. It’s so great.

    • KT says:

      I’m late to this but I will echo the many recommendations for Galaxy Quest and Willow. When I was young we also enjoyed “The Man from Snowy River.” It’s obviously not swashbuckling, but it has a wonderful adventurous / epic quality to it. “Swiss Family Robinson” is older, but appropriate even for the youngest of kids and who doesn’t love the pirate scene at the end? I would add that if you’re kids are getting into more subtle wit and humor, then “Cold Comfort Farm” is fabulously quirky and funny (but there is one scene that requires “mute”— so if you haven’t seen it before you will want to preview it first to know when it is.) We got lots of mileage out of that one. Great recommendations here… brings back a lot of great memories and I’m looking forward to sharing some of these with my kids as they get older.

      • Anne says:

        Oh goodness, I haven’t thought about The Man from Snowy River in ages! My mom LOVED that movie when I was a child and we watched it together many times. Thank you for reminding me of those memories.

  4. Nichole says:

    For movies I highly recommend Secondhand Lions. It is awesome!

    On the eggplant front, we tried the Smitten Kitchen recipe based on your recommendation and my whole family LOVED it. We only had a tiny bit leftover (there are 5 of us) and my kids asked me to double it next time so they could eat it for lunch. This is another eggplant recipe we love: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012781-stir-fried-chicken-and-eggplant-with-asian-basil
    We use coconut aminos because of a soy allergy and it works out great. I have adapted it slightly over the years to accommodate our tastes, but it is a family favorite for sure!

    • Cathy Heine says:

      Nichole! We loved Secondhand Lions so much!
      Another movie that we loved was the World’s Fastest Indian.
      I have a small table set with pumpkins, gourds, mums and candles – another vignette outside with just three pumpkins and a pot of mums. Everything is from Trader Joe’s.
      Pumpkin biscotti (from Trader Joe’s) with tea in the afternoon.
      Walks now that the heat has broken.
      These small things are bringing great pleasure.
      Thank you for sharing, Anne.

    • Mimi says:

      I tried the Smitten Kitchen recipe too and it was so good! We grow eggplant so it’s definitely going on the rotation.

  5. Maria Ontiveros says:

    Rat Race is a hilarious movie that has trouble finding an audience. Not sure how family friendly it is – I don’t think it’s too bad but you may want to preview it first.

  6. Marjie says:

    I love your list…my thoughts..
    During these early Fall days, I meet with friends on the big lawn of an outdoor ice cream place sitting in a large socially distanced circle in our own lawn chairs and sharing laughs. We plan the dates depending on the fickle weather in Connecticut.
    About Eggplants..check recipes that are from Romanian cookbooks. My late mother in law was born in Romania and we savor her recipes for delicious eggplant options.

  7. Dee says:

    I don’t mind the plastic on the Q-tips but I hate when there’s hardly any cotton on the end. I recently made my husband go back to the store because he bought store-brand Q-tips. I said I needed brand name all the way.

  8. sarah says:

    Definitely candles as well. We buy the 6 hour tealights by the hundreds (literally) and light them around the house frequently.

    Miles Davis

    The movie Orange County. In the early 2000s my husband, brother, and I went through a phase where we watched this movie on the reg.

  9. Libby Wawzenek says:

    When I was a kid, my two favorite movies were The Princess Bride and Labyrinth — I begged my mom to rent them every single weekend. Labyrinth isn’t exactly like The Princess Bride (nothing is), but it might be worth a shot!

  10. Jamie Rieger says:

    Have a listened to the audiobook As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride? It is written and narrated by Cary Ewels (Westley himself) and has guest appearances from several other characters including Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and so many more. Its a great behind the scenes with so many amazing stories about the making of the movie. I highly recommend!

      • Jessica Moon says:

        Can I second this?! I love As You Wish (in audiobook form) more than I can say. Cary Elwes is hilarious and is a great impressionist—and a lot of the cast reads their own parts of the book. It is a GREAT family listen. We listened on a road trip and it was delightful!

    • Marm says:

      I, too, enjoyed the audiobook, As You Wish. Learning more about the actors and the making of the movie and the work that went into each scene (especially the the sword fight and the Rodents of Unusual Size made the movie even better. I think your whole family would enjoy listening to it together. Has anyone read the book, The Princess Bride?

      • Kathy Haimson says:

        Hi Marm! I have read the book “ The Princess Bride”. I actually read it when the book first came out. I adore it! ( I lent it to many of my friends who shared a list of their favorite lines on the end pages: It’s lovely to open it up, reread them and have great memories of laughing with friends over witty lines, clever comments and all the delight the story brings.). The book has quite a bit more back story on each character, more conversations between the grandfather and his grandson, as well as asides by the author. If you totally loved the movie, read the book. It’s well worth it and it’s a fast read. I totally second Cary Elwes “ as you wish” on audio- so much fun!

  11. Veronica says:

    Stardust has a similar feel to Princess Bride. And it also had trouble finding an audience when it came out in 2007 because they didn’t know how to market it as it covers more than one genre too. It’s one of my favourite movies!

      • Sarah Ann says:

        I was just coming here to add Stardust to the list of movie recommendations. We watched it on family movie night a few weeks ago. Our sons are 13 and 16, and they both liked it. It could be a bit scary during the fight scene, and there’s a bit of risqué humor, but it worked for us.

  12. Wendy says:

    Have your kids seen Goonies? And Labyrinth! War Games is fun to to show kids what the early computer days were like 😉

  13. Courtney says:

    If you have not watched Clue as a family, I think it’s something you would all enjoy. It’s somewhat similar to the Princess Bride in that it’s a period piece, there are cool costumes, and it’s quick. We watched Clue with the foreign exchange student (age 16) we hosted 2 years ago and she loved it! She asked if we could watch it again right away! When she got back to Italy she and her family (including a younger brother and sister) watched it together. They loved it as well!

      • Mimi says:

        Yes, Anne! McFarland USA is a cross country movie that we watched with our teenagers when they were competing. Your runners would probably enjoy it.

      • Victoria says:

        I enjoy McFarland. Also, We Are Marshall is similar, the story of a college football team going forward after most of the team were killed in a plane crash, based on a true story. More uplifting than I’ve made it sound!

        I’m not a sports person but love sports movies! Many of them perhaps not suitable for under 15s. I love Tin Cup with Kevin Costner, I think it’s suitable.

  14. Lindsay says:

    I share many of your simple joys. Candles in the cold months for sure! I was just debating over subscribing to a good newspaper simply to get the crossword puzzles and then BONUS, my kids would enjoy the comics! Now that I’ve read your post, I think I’ll have to go for it!

  15. Mary Marchal says:

    My kids are grown but Princess Bride is one movie we all loved. In the same way we all really enjoyed Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. (It was rated R when it came out because of one small scene at the airport where Steve Martin lost his temper and let out a few expletives.) But I think the comedy is priceless and the characters are oddly lovable. It’s old but I think it stands the test of time.

    • Anne says:

      I think they might enjoy Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This reminds me how Will and I often find ourselves wishing we could watch the “cable versions” of R-rated movies like this—the lightly edited versions that cut the profanity and steamy scenes so they could run on prime time TNT (in the 1980s, that is).

  16. Renee Tougas says:

    I’ve totally noticed q-tips getting flimsier. I thought it might have just been my imagine but lately the Q-tip brand name feels like dollar store quality. I guess it’s not just me…

    • Jill Looney says:

      We have bought ours from Costco for years and thought they dumbed-down the warehouse packs. So I “splurged” and bought a single pack outright at Target and the result was the same. Funny how such a trivial item can make such an impact on our lives. Maybe we should all write to them and let them know how their product is lacking! Ha!

  17. Kristin says:

    My kids are still in the cartoon movie phase (though watching some of these as an adult has been eye-opening!) but I can’t wait to watch some of these suggestions as a family!

    I gave up sandwich bread a few years ago to replace with eggs and salads. Recently I’ve added to my breakfast a slice of sprouted, seedy, whole grain bread, toasted with a tiny smear of butter and the barest sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and it might be the best thing I eat all day.

    An elderly friend of my husband (we’re in our 30s) started a socially distanced happy hour in her front yard on Friday afternoons. We went a couple weeks ago and it was 8 mostly elderly but elegant ladies in a large circle, sipping beer and hard seltzer. It was so fun to visit and catch up with these strong pillars of our community and I can’t wait to go this week.

  18. Sherry S says:

    “The Princess Bride” is my family’s favorite movie of all time. Next on the list, Gene Wilder’s “Young Frankenstein.” If your family hssn’t watched it, you need to! There is some sexual banter/innuendo, but I don’t think your 10-year-old would be too young for it. Enjoy!

  19. Kelly says:

    Yes! Princess Bride AND Corner Gas are favorites in our household, too. Also recommend the movies ‘Stardust’ based upon Neil Gaiman’s book and ‘Blast from the Past’. Both movies are in regular rotation in our house.

  20. Susan says:

    Possible family movie choices:
    -Cheaper by the Dozen (funny, about a large family moving)
    -The Greatest Game Ever Played (golf, inspirational for young people re working hard to achieve dreams)
    -October Sky (astrology, also inspirational for young people re following your dreams)
    -Secretariat (horse racing)
    -SeaBiscuit (horse racing)

    • Janene says:

      October Sky is an all time favorite of mine!! It’s a great family movie. We also loved “Remember the Titans” with Denzel Washington.

    • Suzanne says:

      We love Cheaper By the Dozen. We have recently watched Rudy, Cinderella Man, Rocky, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Moneyball. My kids are a bit older- youngest is 12- so opening up new movie possibilities.

      • Meg says:

        I was just about to suggest all of these!

        And if you want a science theme, I’d suggest Apollo 13, Hidden Figures, and Science Fair documentary.

        If you want a curmudgeon paired with precocious kid theme (the BEST theme), try Peanut Butter Falcon, Under the Same Moon, and Jojo Rabbit.

  21. I saw The Princess Bride at the dollar theater when I was in eighth grade and was so entranced I went back the next day. I just recently read AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE (which I’ll share for my next Quick Lit post!). I passed it on to my husband (the movie was on regular VCR rotation in our crowd as teens). We both watched the read through the cast performed a few weeks ago online. What a treat — especially after reading these behind-the-scenes stories.

  22. Cielo says:

    Apples. I love apples and I basically eat one a day. And the quality of apples is always okay during the year, but in the fall, they’re all so crisp and juicy! If you haven’t given apples a fair chance, try them this fall!

  23. Leslie says:

    Secondhand Lions is one of my all time fabulous use! It’s so good. The other day, I watched The Incredibles for the very first time , and I loved it. I’m so happy that we now have Disney Plus! Oh, and candles are a favorite too. I’m obsessed with pumpkin right now. I pour a cup of coffee, no sugar, and a splash of pumpkin spice creamer, and it’s delicious. I realize the creamer has sugar in ut, but that is my way of cutting back on sugar and calories. I live in KY also, & am happy that it is getting cooler. Bring on the blankets!

  24. Stephanie F. says:

    Now that I am home all the time I am collecting (and burning!) candles like crazy. They make a great work-from-home companion.
    I recently discovered the Candelles brand and they have some really lovely seasonal scents!! Sydney Hale & Co. is another favorite. Both are small businesses and on the pricier side, but not bad for the sizes of the candles!

  25. Jená says:

    Candles: my son recently gifted me an array of Book Lovers’ Soy Candles, which are so amazing that they’ve sparked a new ritual that’s both delightful and productive: I only allow myself to light one while I’m writing.
    Reading at the Cafe (“coffee, chocolate pastry”)
    Headmaster’s Office (“fireplace, cedarwood, lemon”)
    Oxford Library (“sandalwood, oak, leather”)
    and so on… just reading the candle names and respective ingredients is a treat for the (virtual) senses: frostbeardstudio.com

  26. Kimberly Toombs says:

    I love Corner Gas!! I watch this show when I want to relax and escape stress, especially this year. I always use subtitles anyway, but recommend for this show so you catch the subtle wittiness in the writing. It is comforting like Dick van Dyke show reruns.

  27. Janna Steele says:

    I highly recommend “National Treasure” as a family night go-to. We watched it as a family often when the kids were growing up, and now at 20 and 24 (during quarantine, more than once) it is still a favorite! It’s one of those you stop on when you are channel-surfing (if anyone does that anymore) and watch to the end, though you know every word.

  28. Kacie says:

    I LOVE the Princess Bride. Highly recommend the book as well, written by the same man who wrote the screen play. Then, I’d recommend (on audio!!) “As You Wish” by Cary Elwes with others from the production in the narration as well. It’s delightful.

    There was a Democratic fundraiser recently with The Princess Bride doing a full-cast table read of the script. It’s still available as a video replay, now through the election. Check Wisconsin Dems for more info.

  29. Sheri says:

    Just reading your list today made me happy. I could identify with several items (Q-tips!), and others sounded interesting. My movie recommendation is Pirates of Penzance with Rex Smith, Kevin Kline, and Linda Ronstadt. It probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea because of the musical style, but I enjoy it. Imagine a group of pirates thundering out “With cat-like tread, upon our prey we steal…a fly’s footfall would be distinctly heard.”

  30. DOROTHY says:

    There are so many little things that went unremarked before Covid, and that now seem to generate a smile! It’s good to cultivate these things. On that note, around the time my family discovered the Princess Bride, they also were infatuated with the Neverending Story. And, when my garden yielded a bumper crop of eggplant, I discovered a recipe for Soy-glazed eggplant at Budget Bytes.

  31. Dee Hudson says:

    It really is a matter of “little” things… Right now I get a lot of pleasure from a super soft cozy long cardigan sweater… Adds to anything else I might be enjoying – a cup of tea or coffee and reading – heaven!

  32. Meg Evans says:

    I subscribed to the NY Times Crossword, too, but because I love the Spelling Bee game. I have the whole family playing it now.

    We also struggle to find family movies–everyone’s so opinionated. Surefire ones that will keep the teens in the room are Now You See Me (1 and 2), and both National Treasure movies. Exciting, but not too much!

  33. Rae says:

    For a movie like The Princess Bride (one of my all time favorites) I would HIGHLY recommend Stardust, if you haven’t seen it already. It’s on Netflix!

  34. Suzy Bennett says:

    Theeverygirl.com posts beautiful tech backgrounds for your phones, computers and iPads at the first of each month. They are so much fun and make me so happy every time I pick up my phone or IPad, which is way too often these days! Thanks, Every Girl!

  35. Jessie says:

    Hi Anne!

    I thought of you when this item popped up, because I know you love a good writing implement as much as I do.

    I found some Pilot Ball Frixion pen that’s both pretty AND truly erasable. It has a small point, which is a must for me, and a dark grey ink which is really pretty. It looks so nice and crisp in my planner, but is totally erasable, which is a must for our constantly changing schedules. I love these pens, and they make me disproportionately happy!

    • Heidi Farr says:

      I adore Frixions! I found one of the sidewalk a couple of years ago and absolutely fell in love. Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to find the ultra-fine (.5mm?) refills – I need to start looking more before the ink runs out! I love them for my planner too.

  36. Peggy Foreman says:

    You asked for an eggplant recipe. My mom, and we are Louisiana Cajuns, would fix an eggplant and chicken dish and serve it over rice, of course. There was never enough left over for the next day. Peel the eggplant and cut it into chunks and boil it first. Then you will cook it down with the cajun add-ons: onions, garlic, parsley, and green onions and we call this “smothering it.” Bake or boil your chicken (with bones) and when eggplant is done add chicken and serve over rice. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder or salt to taste. It has always been one of my favorite dishes. And we do this “smothering” process with a lot of vegetables–green beans with boiled potatoes, okra and tomatoes, lima beans etc. Some people think we overcook the food, but it is so good and you can make these vegetables main dishes.

  37. Jessie Weaver says:

    Anne, do you or anyone have suggestions for candle companies that use essential oils for scent? I bought a pumpkin candle at Aldi, and I love it but as a majorly scent sensitive HSP the artificial scent makes me start to gag. So perhaps not worth the cozy!

    • Lisa Z says:

      Same boat here! I’m looking for a fall candle that is all natural, clean burning, and uses only essential oils. I even tried making my own with ground pumpkin pie spice mixed into the beeswax and coconut oil, and it was a big fail (Pinterest fail!). I would love to know if anyone is putting out fragrance free candles for autumn too as I can’t handle any fragrance, including Mrs. Meyers which is not very natural at all, sadly. I may just have to keep using a diffuser and light the candles for the warm glow alone.

      • Adrienne says:

        I’m not sure if they’re available yet (I think probably around Thanksgiving they appear), but Trader Joe’s has very nice pillar candles that are unscented and very reasonably priced!

  38. Libby Miner says:

    We are in the same boat with movies because we have one tv and one 16-year-old sports and video-game obsessed son who hates whatever we want to watch these days, so we take the Ipad and stream whatever is free on Prime. We are currently going through the British murder mystery series Grantchester. So I would love to see your final list of recommended movies for mixed ages and interests. A few years ago my son and husband discovered the series Merlin https://www.netflix.com/title/70142436 on Netflix. It has somewhat redundant, but family friendly story lines and love stories too. It was very fun fantasy mixed with King Arthur legends, comical and sweet and adventurous all at the same time. We all loved it. We now have a dog named Merlin.

  39. Sara Gentry says:

    For another 80s fantasy movie that may offer lots of nostalgia, try Willow. It’s now on Disney+ and my hubby and I loved seeing it again.
    And I see another comment already mentioned the book As You Wish, but let me give it another plug. This is a MUST on audio, since most of the original cast members and behind-the-scenes crew give interviews. My favorite audiobook ever.

  40. Lisa Z says:

    What timing! My husband and I just put in one of the old Corner Gas DVDs last night, desperately needing some light-heartedness. We laughed and laughed as we watched the first three episodes. We watched these with our kids when they were in their early to late teens, and our son probably has every episode memorized he loves it so much. It was just the relief we needed and helped us sleep much better last night. I see the show is now available on Prime so it’s accessible to everyone. We call it the Seinfeld of Saskatchewan.

    • Lindsay Payne says:

      Ever After with Drew Barrymore and Angelica Houston is a fun one my family enjoys.

      Also That Thing You Do! Really sweet and funny Tom Hanks film that I don’t see people mention often.

  41. You would love the book “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride” by Cary Elwes. The audio version is priceless with characters from the movie reading parts of the book. Very entertaining! And the Acorn Spice dish soap makes me look forward to washing dishes. Happy fall!

  42. Aimee says:

    This is a FIRST – every item on your list is same for me!! I’d add one…I love Starbucks chai latte (light water, made with almond milk) but what I’ve recently been having is two pumps of the chai, one pump Toffee Nut syrup (again, light water and almond milk) and it is perfection! For candles, I love Leaves by Bath & Body Works and all the pumpkin and apple from Yankee Candle. Oh, and eggplant dipped in an egg wash then GF panko and lightly fried – so, so good!

  43. Janice Cunning says:

    I love that you are watching Corner Gas. Canada has some great sitcoms. Two current favourites are Working Moms and Kim’s Convenience.

  44. Carlissa Shevalier says:

    I had a to comment when I saw Corner Gas mentioned! I’m from Western Canada and I went to college in Saskatchewan and that show is surprisingly accurate haha! It seems over the top but those tiny Saskatchewan towns are truly something special. Thanks for the smile 😊

  45. Kara says:

    While you’re enjoying front porch time, I’m loving sitting on my back deck! I like to read or just watch nature unfold in front of me. I’m also enjoying the occasional quick bike ride with my kids through our neighborhood. It’s an easy way to get everyone out of the house and moving, if only for a few minutes!

  46. Lynette says:

    My favorite late-80’s movies from childhood include Space Camp, Adventures in Babysitting, and The Goonies! A good recent movie is Troop Zero (on Amazon).

  47. Lisa Wojtowicz says:

    I am loving lighting every pumpkin/ fall candle I have right now, all at one time (that would be 5!!!).
    Also I am loving eggplant dishes as they have such a fall robust flavor to me. My favorite is a recipe from Eating Well, Eggplant Lasagna Rollups. Check the recipe out!
    And lastly, re-read September by Roseamunde Pilcher, one of my fall favorite books.

  48. Victoria says:

    Not like Princess Bride but some fun movies are
    Troop Beverly Hills
    Pretty much anything with Goldie Hawn like Overboard, Protocol, Private Benjamin or Wildcats
    Shag:The Movie (its the name of a dance)
    The Dish – really quietly funny about the Australian dish that transmitted the moon landing
    Doc Hollywood

  49. Mary Lou says:

    We tried the Smitten Kitchen eggplant recipe when our vegetarian daughter came home for a visit, and it was fantastic. It will be on regular rotation in our home and in our daughter’s.

  50. Kara says:

    Trader Joe’s maple streusel bread and the maple cookies! Also their candle! I haven’t seen any recs for young Frankenstein in the comments but maybe I missed it. Check the content for appropriateness. The scene I’m thinking of may go over their heads.

  51. Deanna Marsh says:

    Hi Anne,
    All the movies listed are really good and I have two more. Clue and Oscar both have the amazing Tim Curry in them. Galaxy Quest is often reguarded as Alan Rickman’s best role.

  52. Becky Strom says:

    One of my favorite little things when I find a new children’s picture book with delightful artwork. My newest is “The Keeper of wild Words”. It was written in response words that are being excluded in the dictionary.

  53. Marm says:

    Older movies I didn’t notice being mentioned that we enjoyed as a family are Breaking Away and The Secret of Roan Innish. Breaking Away is about a teen in Indiana obsessed with bike racing. Roan Innish is an set in Ireland and a old sea legend plays a big part in the story. I can’t do either of these movies justice in a brief description. You’ll just have to give them a try. A more recent movie set in Ireland I really enjoyed was Sing Street. It might not be appropriate for the whole family, but it is a good one.

  54. Janet says:

    Some fun baseball-themed movies fun for all ages are The Sandlot and The Rookie (which I believe was actually G-rated when it came out, and also has Dennis Quaid as the star!).

    Love Galaxy Quest!!

  55. C. Cyrus MMD Book Club says:

    Hi anne – Yes agree on the q-TIPS – I have to look for those. Now, for the fun stuff-Movies – my favorite.
    Sky High (2005)-Netflix-about kids of superheroes going to High School
    Bid Hero 6
    Star Girl
    Adventures in Baby Sitting-still one my fav’s
    Moonrise Kingdom (quriky-Wes Anderson)
    Nancy Drew
    Labyrinth (David Bowie)
    Finding Neverland
    Field of Dreams
    A League of their Own
    3 Men and a Baby
    Evan Almighty

  56. Janene says:

    I just started doing counted cross stitch again after about a 30 year break. It’s relaxing and I want to have something to show for all of this time at home. I am working on a gift for my son’s wedding. It’s been lots of fun!

    • Jill Looney says:

      Cross stitch! Oh my goodness I have forgotten all about those. Probably close to 30 years myself. I’ll have to go dig all that stuff up now and see what I’ve got. Thanks for the reminder! Everything old is new again!

  57. Ann Mcphee says:

    Baba ghanouj is my go to eggplant recipe. Whale Rider for a 2 tissue movie. And curling up with Mauve Binchy ‘s novels.

  58. Betsy says:

    Our family loved (and still quotes) A Knight’s Tale. Picture a joust where the medieval crowd does the wave and concessionaires see “chicken on a stick”

  59. Erica says:

    Personally, I think you have to be very careful with 80’s movies. The rating system was still new and they didn’t have PG-13! We were burned by a few before we started using Common Sense Media.

    Here are a few I didn’t see mentioned:
    Remember the Titans- integrated football team in 1970’s Virginia
    Miracle- about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team
    The Kid – an abrasive image consultant is visited by his 8 year-old self (hilarious and touching)
    Paddington and Paddington 2 (I really didn’t think I would love these!)
    Big – fast forward through the awkward bra scene
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit
    Ocean’s 11- there is some language but no sex or violence
    Mission Impossible- the first one is pretty tame compared to the later ones
    Cast Away

    And even though they say they don’t like old movies, I still make them watch REAL old movies such as my favorites:
    Roman Holiday
    His Girl Friday
    Bringing Up Baby
    Shadow of a Doubt
    Send Me No Flowers

  60. Shirley says:

    For candles (and other things), please be sensitive to those of us with a fragrance allergy. I get migraines and hives. Unscented candles are just as nice. 🙂 Thanks

  61. Elisabeth says:

    I can’t stand actual Q tips brand anymore. The loose cotton drives me nuts! My cotton swabs of choice are from Ulta and come in a small round plastic storage container with lid (reusable!). I love them – a sturdy stick, very tight cotton and I enjoy having the sealable container. And I only $2 for 200!

  62. Kimberly Locke says:

    Have you seen Cool Runnings??

    “Feel the Rhythm! Feel the Rhyme! Get on up, it’s bobsled time! Cool Runnings!”

    • Ruth O says:

      “We are the Jamaican Bobsled team”..loved that one. Quoted often when our family was younger.
      The Three Musketeers (screened through Common Sense) was a good blend of adventure and comedy, Charlie Sheen, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry (an excellent villain).
      As for fall, flannel sheets!

  63. Sandra Mosolgo says:

    Remember the Titans is good for even non-sports fans
    Enchanted is fun w a mix of animated & real life
    My grandchildren loved the Jeeves & Wooster series

  64. Miranda White says:

    LOVE that the whole family enjoyed The Princess Bride! Have you read the book? William Goldman wrote both the novel and the screenplay. It’s my favorite book ever in life…ever. 😉

  65. Erin says:

    I recently watched the sweetest darn movie, it was The Peanut Butter Falcon. Everyone I tell to watch it just loves it.

    Another cute movie with an empowering message is Troop

    One of my all-time favorite family friendly movies and one that few people have heard of is Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It’s about Ricky, a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle, played by Sam Neill, in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together.

  66. Erin says:

    My family also loves Secondhand Lions. It tells the story of an introverted young boy (Haley Joel Osment) who is sent to live with his eccentric great-uncles (Robert Duvall and Michael Caine) on a farm in Texas. I saw it mentioned here a few times and wholeheartedly agree with their recommendation.

  67. Dorothy says:

    This is an old book but I still have an old VHS movie of it. I loved the book when I was young and one of my daughters loved the book and movie when she was a teen– Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. It is almost a 3 generation thing in our family because my mother loved the book, Freckles, by the same author and set in the same place. I expect we will add another generation of fans when my daughter’s children are a little older.

  68. Dorothy says:

    Another oldie but goodie is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. We loved the movie version starring Bing Crosby.

  69. sheila says:

    If you like Corner Gas, have you seen Kim’s Convenience? I think it’s even better. I’ve watched all four seasons multiple times during quarantine.

  70. Nadine says:

    I haven’t read all the comments so maybe it was mentioned, but I think kitchn.com has a good baba ganoush recipe. It’s like hummus but eggplant. Good with pita anything or veggies. Just watch out bc I think the eggplant can sometimes be spicy! Or maybe my garlic was too spicy last time I made it. 🙊

  71. Suzanne says:

    Most scented and all paraffin candles makes my eyes itch like crazy. I’ve recently found Bluecorn Beeswax Candles, http://www.beeswaxcandles.com and they are wonderful! Just a light, clean smell, beautiful glow and no itchy eyes. They also have some scented with essential oils, which I haven’t tried because sometimes essential bother me as well.

    • Jill Looney says:

      Cross stitch! Oh my goodness I have forgotten all about those. Probably close to 30 years myself. I’ll have to go dig all that stuff up now and see what I’ve got. Thanks for the reminder! Everything old is new again.

  72. KG says:

    Movies that hit roughly the same spot as Princess Bride for us were Galaxy Quest and Ever After.
    A couple of TV shows that the whole family has enjoyed over the years are Psych minus the Halloween episodes (we’re all chicken), and Leverage. And in a different vein but agreeable to all ages, the BBC farm shows starting with Tales from the Green Valley.

  73. Suzy says:

    Our family favorites include The Scarlet Pimpernel, the version with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour—it has almost everything The Princess Bride has (except a princess and magic!)—swashbuckling, danger, escapes, treachery, humor, excitement, beauty, history and “some kissing stuff”! Also I second Secondhand Lions, and add the cut-for-TV version of Uncle Buck with John Candy—my goodness, that is hilarious! Also the original Men in Black. So good. Perhaps even The Man From Snowy River?

  74. Suzy says:

    And as for bright spots adding a little color to my life lately, I’m adding actual color! This month I’ve painted two interior doors aqua turquoise, and today I painted the back of the bathroom door Sunflower yellow!!! It’s like your yellow chair, Anne! It’s awesome, and makes me smile every time I shut the door…

  75. Elaine says:

    We used to enjoy the movie “Willow” with our kids when they were a bit older (about the same time we were obsessively watching Princess Bride)–there are a couple of tough scenes but older children probably won’t flinch–we edited them out. Give it a preview and see if it works for yours before you show it but a great story.

  76. Andrea says:

    Recently watched The Thrill of it all with Doris Day and James Garner. Silly, laugh out loud humor.

    Also, Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart – The Man who knew Too Much.

  77. Ana Schnepf says:

    Candles, sunflowers, evening walks in the dark, watching the moon rise. Pumpkin anything! “Baby’s Day Out” is hilarious. All of John Hughes movies are pretty great. “The Blues Brothers” was rated R, I believe because they said one bad word. It’s one of my husband’s all time favorites, so the kids watched it with him a lot growing up They all loved it, it has a good heart.

  78. Kim says:

    If you loved rewatching The Princess Bride, here is your next audiobook: “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride”, which is a book written by Cary Elwes (Westley) about the making of the movie and many of those involved read their parts in the audiobook version!

    • Julie Rousculp says:

      I was six when this movie came out and it terrified me! When my mom taped it off the tv, I made her edit out Large Marge.

  79. Carol says:

    My family loves Princess Bride! Try Ladyhawke with Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeifer!
    A chaste love story between mythical characters with a dash of magic and good vs evil! A film to enjoy over and over.

  80. Jessica says:

    Every weekend after we put the little ones to bed, we watch a movie with our teenage boys age 14-19 and just last week we invited our 10 year old daughter to join us for select movies. We watched Edward Scissorhands and everyone enjoyed it. I’m taking notes going through these comments!

  81. Sarah says:

    I recommend “Kim’s Convenience Store” on Netflix. It’s a Canadian comedy like corner gas. Pretty funny and family friendly.

  82. Diane says:

    Try the movie Sneakers. A few years after Princess Bride but also didn’t find its audience. One of our family’s favorites.

  83. Margie says:

    For those who love pumpkin spice, I highly recommend buying the spice blend at the store and trying it in some of your favorite recipes. We put it into our regular pancake batter, blend it into cream cheese for topping bagels, sprinkle it on toast or on top of whipped cream on hot chocolate. What most people think of as “pumpkin spice” is really the presence of the nutmeg and allspice and cloves in with cinnamon.

  84. Betsy says:

    I’m also a NYT puzzle junkie! I have to work the mini puzzle daily. I’ve also fallen in love with the tiles puzzle. My journal and newest read, along with a strong mug of coffee is my morning ritual.

  85. Ellen says:


    You will definitely get better at the crossword puzzle as time goes by. I really like doing it online because you can track your average time for each day of the week.

    Two great eggplant recipes, both from Food52
    (we loved caponata on a visit to Sicily, and this is a really good one)
    very easy but maybe better in the summer

    hope you enjoy!

  86. Jane says:

    Stardust (based on a Neil Gaiman novel) is a film that feels like the Princess Bride. Comedy/fantasy/adventure. Fencing, fighting, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!

  87. Kayla says:

    I also adore the Princess Bride, and I think “Clue,” “Home Alone,” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” fall into a similar quirky category! These are movies I could watch anytime, over and over, with the whole family.

  88. Casey says:

    Jack Black movies (not like Princess Bride, but family friendly) Nacho Libre and School of Rock. My 4 and 6 year olds LOVE Nacho Libre.
    Some of Wes Anderson’s movies might work for families with kids much older than mine. We LOVE The Life Aquatic. It’s R rated, I think for the F-bombs, but otherwise quite charming. We’ve shown our kids specific clips.

    • Cari says:

      Oh! The Sandlot! So amazing! Anne with an E is beautifully filmed but the one with Megan Follows is a must-see. She IS Anne!

  89. Kate Olson says:

    I love your list. We’ve been lighting large candles in our fireplace in the evenings (it’s not quite cold enough for a fire yet) and I love the cosines of it. I’ve just watched Enola Holmes on Netflix (in the UK). Such a fun, quirky film with a great cast. I hadn’t realised it was based on a book so planning to seek that out now.

  90. Susan Knox says:

    Tuck Everlasting
    Snow Day
    Mouse Trap – I think this is what it is called. Christopher Walden plays a hysterical exterminator. A comedy – not a scary movie)
    And definitely Galaxy Quest as many have mentioned
    Book related soy candles from Scented Shelves on Etsy (faves: Netherfield Ball and jane Eyre)

  91. Julie Rousculp says:

    We love The Princess Bride here! My elementary aged boys have also recently loved:
    The NeverEnding Story
    Nanny McPhee
    Honey I Shrunk the Kids
    Muppets Take Manhattan

  92. Patty Ryan says:

    There are 2 movies that I recently watched…and loved. The first is “This Beautiful Fantastic” and the second is “Enola Hughes”. I highly recommend both 🙂

    • Laura says:

      Do you mean Enola Holmes about Sherlock Holmes’s sister – with the actress who plays Eleven in Stranger Things? That one was fantastic!!

  93. Mary Duncklee says:

    I complete understand the “good candle” comment. I tend to save the “good” ones as well – no idea why and will now stop doing it!

  94. Missi says:

    We love The Princess Bride at our house! Other ones that have a similarish feeling and we love are Willow, The Neverending Story, and Labyrinth. Classic 80s fantasy!

  95. Kathy Rose says:

    I love the movie (and book) “The Princess Bride,” so when I saw an audiobook version of Cary Elwes’ book, “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, I snatched it up. It was so much fun listening to all of the hijinks, drama, and other observations from the making of the movie. And even more fantastic: it was narrated by Cary Elwes, Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and others. So much fun!

  96. Stephany says:

    If you are a Netflix subscriber, I highly recommend Enola Holmes. My daughter and I watched the movie this weekend while she was recovering from surgery and we thought it was so much fun. It has action, adventure and a whole lot of charm, mostly due to Enola’s regular practice of breaking the fourth wall. I think even my sons would have enjoyed it when they were younger (they are college-age now).

  97. SB says:

    Heartily second the recommendation for Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Written and directed by Taika Waititi (who also directed Thor: Ragnarok—and some of the cast were also in Thor.) Very funny and moving. Streaming now on Netflix o radio PRIme (can’t recall). Our family enjoys rewatching this one as much as the Princess Bride.

  98. Shawna says:

    My dissatisfaction with flimsy cotton swabs coincided with my efforts to live a lower waste lifestyle. I found a pretty, sustainable, reusable swab (basic or beauty swab available) at a local low waste store. It’s easy to clean with soap and water. I bought one for my husband and he loves it. I’ve been meaning to get one for myself.


  99. Laura Gaskill says:

    I always love your things I’m loving lists, Anne! We are watching all of the Marvel movies in order right now, and it is SO fun! Adding Princess Bride to our watchlist for when we finish (thankfully we still have at least 8 films still to go!). I’ve been really missing having movie theaters open, so we’ve been ramping up our at-home movie watching game with air-popped popcorn and movie candy scooped up at Target.

  100. Whitney Bak says:

    “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “A Knight’s Tale” may be good options in a similar vein as “Princess Bride” if your family hasn’t seen these already!

    I’ve also had a recent love of Q-tips! I was gifted a “the last swab” recently and I’m happy to report it is both environmentally friendly and a genuinely great product!

  101. DeAnn says:

    FYI, Johnson and Johnson’s Swabs are the bomb. They aren’t available to us locally so we purchase in bulk on the internet (ever since the others went downhill in quality).

  102. Cari says:

    I was thinking about Q-tips just this morning! So flimsy! Also, I’m Canadian and I live two miles from Alaska and have a US post box BUT, Trader Joe’s does ship! I summer in Vancouver and can skip across the border to shop at Trader Joes in Bellingham…not this year! So much in TJ withdraw!!! I miss my Pumpkin Pancake mix!

  103. Robin says:

    Another movie suggestion is Krull; it’s another save the princess movie. I love all the recommends for Secondhand Lions—so good! My kids also loved Renaissance Man with Danny Devito.

  104. Candace Thompson says:

    Fresh apple cider, Halloween decorating, and the changing color of the leaves makes me incredibly happy this time of year

  105. Hope Garner says:

    One of our favorite family movies is Secondhand Lions staring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and a young Haley Joel Osment.:)

  106. Sarah in Indiana says:

    I am late to this party, so we may be past eggplant season at this point, but I have a couple of eggplant recommendations. I adore this Ottolenghi recipe, via Smitten Kitchen https://smittenkitchen.com/2019/08/black-pepper-tofu-and-eggplant/ I have long been a tofu fan, but this is so amazing, I think it would it would win over tofu haters. I am also a fan of this simplified, lightened version of eggplant parmesan https://alexandracooks.com/2015/08/14/no-breading-no-frying-no-fussing-eggplant-parmesan/

    And I wonder if one of my favorite movies from when I was a teen (in the 90s) would be a hit with the family, What’s Up Doc, a screwball comedy from the ’70s starring Barbra Streisand. Unlike The Princess Bride, it was a box office hit, but like the Princess Bride, it is very funny, quotable, has amazing, hilarious action sequences, and tons of plot twists. The plot revolves around the mix-up of 4 (very 70s) plaid suitcases.

  107. Debbie Eurom says:

    Corner Gas is SUCH a great show, I love the dry humor which is what I grew up with in the Midwest. Another fun Canadian show is Kim’s Convenience, I hope you will give that one a look.
    Thanks for all the amazing content you provide!
    Happy reading to all.

  108. Candice says:

    It may not seem like a similar movie on the surface, but Clue has the same qualities that make Princess Bride so enjoyable—snappy (and quotable) dialogue, quirky characters, a bit of mystery, and it never takes itself seriously. The best is to watch all three endings, then go back and see if you can make every ending make sense. It’s one of my all-time faves! You’d need to rewatch it for child appropriateness. I watched it as a child but didn’t get some of the jokes that I understand now.

  109. anna chan says:

    movie suggestion: Dear Eleanor, so good, but completely underrated. Grease, I still love it.
    Mystic Pizza, Moonstruck, they may be too adult for your younger children

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.