The 1st Annual Rammy Awards

Coming up with meaningful blog content can be a challenge for me.  I want to write more often, but finding something to say is not always easy.  So this time, I literally googled “end of year blog post ideas.”  And low and behold, google came through.  In a post found here, I found the great idea I was looking for.

Drumroll, please!  Readers, I submit for your approval: The 1st Annual Rammy Awards!  The Rammy Awards celebrate excellence in a totally arbitrary selection of categories, chosen by yours truly.  Rammy Award winners only need to be discovered by the committee (read:me) during the current calendar year in order to be eligible.  They're kind of like “Favorite Things,” only way more prestigious, if you ask me.  And I'm not giving anything away. Sorry.  

So in no particular order, your 2017 Rammy Award Winners:

Best Book: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak  Yes, I was late to the party on this one.  Originally published in 2014, this book is the most perfect read aloud ever written for young readers, brought to you by that guy from The Office.  Seriously.  B.J. Novak (who is also a brilliant actor, director, and producer) has an ingenious take on what purpose the written word should serve for young readers and I’ll stop there because let’s be honest, you have probably already read it.  But reading it to my daughter’s Pre-K II class was hilarious and fun and I am now the mom who says Boo Boo Butt, so you can’t really beat that.  If you haven't read it, check it out here.

Best Movie: Joy  I have 3 children aged 5 or younger, so in order for me to see a movie it has to:  a.) be an Earth-shattering cultural event that can’t be missed on the big screen b.) star a talking car or princess c.) be available on a free premium movie channel weekend.  This one falls under “c,” although I wanted to see it when it first came out if that counts for anything.  Released in 2015, Joy tells the story of Joy Mangano, who invented a mop (among other things) and created an empire.  Jennifer Lawrence is a favorite of mine, and she gives a wonderful “every-mom” performance in this film that makes me want to invent something and work hard and change the lives of my entire family.  In all honesty, this movie had a lot to do with me getting off my butt and breathing life into my writing career so thank you, Jennifer Lawrence.  (And Joy Mangano.) 

Best Musical: Come From Away Ok, so this one is kind of a cheat.  I didn’t actually see Come From Away because it’s only playing in New York City.  But I quickly fell in love with the OBC recording and everything about this show.  The story stems from the 38 planes full of people from all over the world who were diverted to Gander, New Foundland on 9/11.  The cast is beautifully diverse and each actor portrays several characters, all of whom have a story to tell about how they spent their week in Gander.  Jenn Collela, in particular, shines as Beverly Bass, the first female captain for American Airlines.  The show gives so much hope to audiences and reminds us of the unity in the human experience and I think we all kind of needed that this year.

Best Vacation: Myrtle Beach, SC Random category, I know but hear me out.  I did not grow up taking family vacations.  Because we lived far away from our family, every break was spent dutifully, albeit joyfully visiting grandparents and helping out with whatever projects they needed done around their homes.  (Don’t feel sorry for me – there was also plenty of homemade cookies, chocolate milk and cable TV involved.)  But the idea of just taking a week as a family and hanging at the beach was both foreign and amazing to me.  At the urging of my husband, we booked a condo at the Breakers resort, sprang for the oceanfront view and had the very best time.  The condo was very reasonable, there is a Piggly Wiggly right down the street where we picked up the majority of our food for the week, and we were able to drive, so we had everything else we needed.  We spent the time split between the kiddy pool and playing in the ocean and made so many wonderful memories.   Most of all, it was just amazing to be together as a family away from obligations and responsibilities. 

 This was the moment our two oldest saw the ocean for the first time.  Unforgettable.

This was the moment our two oldest saw the ocean for the first time.  Unforgettable.

Best Recipe: Sheet Pan Dinners Admittedly, my meal planning lately has involved a lot more slow cooking and casseroles, but this year I discovered sheet pan dinners and it really transformed our family dinners.  All summer, I would check out which veggies were on sale or what was available at our local farmer’s market, and then plan out sheet pan dinners accordingly.  I love the texture, the easy prep and of course the five second clean-up.  Did my kids eat more vegetables because of it? Well, no.  But I definitely branched out and was able to at least offer more options.  It will be nice to transition back to this simple way of cooking when the temps finally warm up again!  My absolute fave can be found here.  Warning: it's very addicting.

 I added the onion just to complete the rainbow. Because perfectionism.

I added the onion just to complete the rainbow. Because perfectionism.

There you have it.  The best of the best of 2017, as decided by me.  I hope you all had a wonderful year and I hope 2018 holds so much promise and health for everyone.  Happy New Year!

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Emily Ramquist