Classroom Valentines from Minted

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I started thinking early about what kinds of Valentines the boys would bring to school for their classmates. In the past we’ve done big printable Valentines, we’ve gone to Target to pick out Valentines, and we’ve done treat bags. My kids are still at the age where they get into it no matter what kinds of Valentines they give to friends.

This year, I wanted to keep it simple for me since I’m pregnant, so I sat down with the boys and we picked out some classroom Valentines from Minted. I love that the designs are adorable, we can personalize them, and they’re shipped directly to our door.

Classroom Valentines

The designs are really really cute and classic and I love that we could personalize them. Hayes picked out a rocket ship design and Hudson picked out an alien design. When they arrived at our house, the boys were so excited to see their names already on them, but they still have space to write their friends’ names on them.


The Valentines are printed on amazing quality Minted paper, and are the typical small size that you see for classroom Valentines. (They are too small to be mailed.)


I just love Hayes’s little face on the rocket ship! And some of the more girly designs are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. I’m tempted to get some and pass them out to all my friends, too!

*This post contains affiliate links that may provide me with a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my writing here. As always, all opinions on products are my own.

Cookies for Santa

Now that December is here, the boys have been asking me every day, “Is it Christmas? Is Santa coming to our house?” Hudson has a little calendar and he marks off a day every day, so he can see how many days we have until Christmas Eve. But their excitement is so sweet!


My friends at Peek a Whoo sent us this sweet placemat for Santa’s cookies and some adorable aprons and chef hats for Hudson and Hayes. (And there is a discount code at the end of the post for you to grab some, too!) Because we have these things, Hudson has been asking to make cookies for Santa for the past few days, too. So I thought we could at least give it a test run.


I wanted to try a new chocolate chip cookie recipe, and little James Walker has turned me into a cookie monster lately anyway!


I let the boys get on the counter to help me and they were just so excited to help! And then they were excited to eat the chocolate chips.

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Hayes pretty much smeared chocolate chips all over his face and hands. It was remarkable how he made such short work of those chocolate chips. But they were pretty excited to help with it all. And then they were excited to start wrestling on the counter top and the fun ended shortly after that.

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The cookies were absolutely fantastic! I’ve included the recipe here in this post for you and your kids to try this season. Seeing all three of my boys’ names on the placemat just makes me so stinking happy! I can’t wait for James Walker to be here!

Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa
Recipe type: Cookies
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 c up light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cream butter and sugars into a stand mixer.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Beat until combined.
  6. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Beat until combined.
  8. Add chocolate chips.
  9. Beat until combined.
  10. Scoop onto cookie sheet.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  12. Let cool for 15 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Peek A Whoo is offering 10% off aprons and placements in their shop with code COOKIES.

*Hudson and Hayes received the aprons, hats, and placemat as a gift from Peek a Whoo. Thank you!


25 Days of Christmas Movies

*This is a post from the archives, but since it’s the beginning of December and time to start watching Christmas movies, I wanted to share my 25 favorites with you again.

25 Days of Christmas Movies

Every year, right after we clean up the kitchen after Thanksgiving dinner (which is usually eaten around mid-day, because in the south, we eat dinner in the middle of the day and supper in the evening), we sit down for a Christmas Vacation viewing party.

As soon as we watch Christmas Vacation as a whole family, we know it’s officially time for the Christmas season.

Throughout the next month, as we count down to Christmas Day, we watch a lot of movies. I’m very nostalgic, and have to watch all of my favorites. And there are too many where I can recite every word. Todd isn’t a fan of this, so I refrain, for his sake.

I can sing every word to “Sisters” and I want a family just like in The Family Stone someday. In my next life.

And now that Hudson is old enough to watch some of them, and Hayes is old enough to watch a very select few, it’s become a fun, family tradition. We’ll eat dinner and settle in with some popcorn, hot chocolate, some warm pajamas, and watch our favorites.

I’ve included my list of 25 days of Christmas movies here. They can obviously be watched in any order you want! Some nights, we’ll watch one with the boys right after supper, and sometimes Todd and I will stay up late watching one after we put the kids to bed, depending on how age-appropriate it is.

I’m proud (or maybe I should be ashamed) that we own all of these movies. I’m a Christmas movie junkie. Or just a movie junkie, in general.

(Almost all of the movies are available via Amazon Instant Video through Amazon Prime. I’ve linked to the movies for easy viewing.)

In the words of Kevin McAllister, “This is it. Don’t get scared now.”

25 Days of Christmas Movies

1. Frosty The Snowman

2. A Christmas Story (Full-Screen Edition)

3. Four Christmases

4. Holiday Inn (Special Edition)

5. Santa Claus: Movie

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition)

7. Miracle on 34th Street (the original)

8. Miracle on 34th Street

9. White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)

10.The Polar Express (Widescreen Edition)

11. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Deluxe Edition)

12. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

13. The Holiday (2006)

14. Elf (Infinifilm Edition)

15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

16. Love Actually

17. The Family Man

18. It’s A Wonderful Life

19. The Family Stone

20. Prancer

21. All I Want For Christmas

22. Home Alone

23. Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

24. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

25. The Santa Clause

Okay, so what did I miss? Is your favorite on this list?

*This post contains affiliate links


our trip to the North Pole

On Friday, Todd and I picked up the boys from school a little bit early, and we loaded up to the car to head to Bryson City, North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains to ride the Polar Express. We met Todd’s parents and grandmother at an exit on the way out of town and they followed us up there.

It’s about a 3.5 hour trip to Bryson City, and the boys watched The Polar Express and The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen) to pass the time on the trip. Hayes crashed about halfway into the trip.


We got to Bryson City and went straight to our hotel so the boys could change into their pajamas. We stayed at the McKinley Edwards Inn and liked it. The rate was decent. Todd’s parents and grandmother were able to stay in a little cabin. Todd, the boys, and I stayed in a room with a king size bed and a hide-a-bed. The room was comfortable and well-decorated. I’d stay there again.

Our good friends, the Johnstons, were there the same day we were. And we were actually staying in the same hotel and riding on the same train car. So the boys were so excited to see their friends!

We headed to the train depot to get our tickets – and the boys got their golden tickets.


Then we got in line to board the Polar Express. We were riding on the Silver Meteor car. I think the only difference is that we sat at little tables instead of in rows.


The train ride is about an hour and fifteen minutes long and it walks you through some of the adventures through the books and the movie. Music from the movie is playing throughout the ride, and we had a dancing chef named Ginger Snap coming down the aisles to entertain us. The boys loved her!

Of course they brought us hot chocolate and we got to keep the cute mugs. Hayes loves the movie, so he was singing “hot, hot, hot chocolate! We got it!” the whole time. So cute! And he wanted to “cheers.”


I forgot my big camera, so a bunch of pictures ended up blurry.

Hudson just loved it. Their ages were perfect for this trip. They both sat and paid attention to the book and what was going on inside the car. They ate their snacks and just took it all in.


It was still light outside for most of our trip. The views outside the train weren’t always the best, but the kids didn’t notice at all. I imagine that when it’s dark it’s much more mysterious. When we approached “the North Pole” we got to see The North Pole, the house where Mr. and Mrs. Claus live, the church where they got married, and other fun buildings. It was very cute and the boys ate it up.


After we saw Santa, he came aboard the train to say hello to each child and hand a sweet silver bell to each child. It was pretty magical for the kids. And they love those bells, of course! Ha!


After the train ride was over, we headed over to a local pizza place with Todd’s parents and grandmother. It was seriously delicious and I wish I remembered the name of it!

We spent the night in Bryson City and headed back early the next morning to get back in time for the Gamecock football game.

If you are considering getting tickets for a ride on the Polar Express for your family, I highly recommend it. I’m glad we waited until the kids could really appreciate it. They do have to sit still for a good bit and we sang songs and they were able to participate. The whole experience was very well done and was very professional and streamlined. My kids came home talking about how they met Santa and at the North Pole. It was a really sweet experience!

It was a great way to introduce them to the Christmas season!

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