Favorite Video Games of 2017

A few weeks ago, Nintendo asked if my son Truman and I would like to attend The Game Awards. It was a very enthusiastic "Yes!" they got back from us.

Last Thursday was finally the day for the awards and the evening did not disappoint. We had such a blast and it was SO cool to see just how much goes into creating these games. A lot of the categories were similar to the Oscars—Best Art Direction, Best Score, etc.—but there were a lot of unique categories I didn't expect, like Best Student Game and Games for Impact.

You can see all the nominees, and winners!, over on The Game Awards site, but today I'll be sharing some special insight from Truman and what games HE loved this year.


Inspired by cartoons from the 1930s, Cuphead has a classic format with boss battles (think Super Mario Bros) that fits it's classic vibe. It's available for both computers or consoles, on Steam, Xbox One, Win10, and GOG.

Rocket League

I'm not sure how someone thought up Rocket League, but we love it. Think soccer meets racing. Something great about this game is that you can play online with friends, even if you aren't playing on the same platform. So if you're on Xbox, you can play against a friend using PS4. It's also physics based, which gives it a really immersive feel.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda is such a classic that gamers of all ages were excited when this new version came out. People have loved exploring this world, while also having that feeling of nostalgia. Breath of the Wild is available on Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Wii U.

Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey is a brand new 3-D adventure that really takes Mario to the next level (pun intended!). He's got new places to explore and new moves to show off, but the same Princess Peach to rescue from the same evil Bowser.

Over the years I've loved discovering how we can use screen time to play with our kids. The games don't need to be in the Education column (although that's a great bonus!), they can just be something super fun for you to do together.

To shop these video games, and the rest of my Holiday Gift Guide, check out my store.

Thanks again to Nintendo for such an amazing night. We had such a blast!

* My family has always loved Nintendo games. Nintendo did provide tickets for the awards, but these opinions are 100% our own. 


Elf Movie Family Game

It is no secret that my family's favorite movie, holiday or otherwise, is definitely Elf. Hands down, no contest.

When the boys were younger we used to love playing a "drinking game" as we watched Will Ferrell tromp around New York City in his North Pole get up. Today I'm sharing a quick printable you and your family can use to play along, too.

Elf Hot Cocoa Family Game

How to Play 

Make sure everyone has a warm cup of cocoa and a bowl of mini marshmallows within reach. Before turning on Elf, I like to assign a quote or signal to each member of the family. That way, when their signal happens on screen, they can shout out "marshmallow!" and everyone can pop one in their mug. And if you're over 21, it doesn't hurt to pop a little Bailey's in there.

Download Elf Family Game Printable


Free Printable Countdown-In-A-Box Advent Calendar

Yesterday morning on Instagram, I posted a quick peek at the holiday care package I'm sending to my son who is away at college all the way in Montana.

When he was home for Thanksgiving last week, he told me something he missed the most about being home during the month of December was our advent calendar. The joy and suspense of counting down to Christmas, with little treats along the way.

So I whipped up a quick DIY countdown-in-a-box to send his way.

I decorated a white shoe box, wrote one encouraging note per day (including favorite Christmas memories), and sprinkled a few quirky coordinating goodies to open on certain specific numbered days.

OH wow did my Insta pals love that! So I thought I'd share a printable to help ya'll make your own Christmas Countdown Box, either for kids away at school, or for your family at home.

This download includes:

  • 24 countdown labels that can be printed and attached to notes or small gifts. You can use sticker paper, or just cut and paste. 
  • 1 full countdown sheet, where they can cross off each day that passes
  • 2 pages of note cards (8) with cheerful phrases with room for notes on the back.

Download Printable Countdown in a Box Advent Calendar

PS. It's totally okay if you mail it and it gets there after Dec 1. That just means they get to open a few notes on the day it arrives... which is not the worst thing in the world. Or, a great idea from my friend Beth, make it the 12 Days of Christmas!

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