Halloween Candy Leftovers

I don’t have a problem admitting I have a huge sweet tooth, so when Halloween comes around, I tend to over buy candy. Here are some useful tips to get your money’s worth when overbuying sweet treats for Halloween.

  • You can freeze candy up to a year in the freezer.
  • Buy discounted Halloween candy for Christmas stockings and parties. Most kids don’t care if their Christmas candy is orange and black or if it has silver and gold wrappers instead of red and green.
  • Use leftover Halloween candy in Christmas baking and for making gingerbread houses.
  • Use grated or chopped chocolate in place of chocolate chips in cookies. It is easier to cut candy into pieces if you freeze it first.
  • Break Butterfinger candy bars into peanut butter cookie dough.
  • Sprinkle chopped chocolates on a white or chocolate frosted cake or use them to top ice cream and cheesecake.
  • Mix leftover chopped chocolates into cake mixes.
  • When making cupcakes, decorate the tops with one Hershey’s kiss or a mini candy bar.
  • Pour some leftover candy into a basket or pretty bowl to give to someone for a special gift. Even a Christmas bag full of an assortment of candies would be a gift that would delight anyone – kids, adults, co-workers or neighbors.
  • Chop up leftover candy apples for salads to give it a kick for the kids.
  • Send a box of candy to the troops! They love receiving care packages, especially with candy.
  • Use it for birthday party goodie bags.
  • If you work at a desk or own a business, spruce up your work space with a candy jar for clients. Or stash some away in your desk for those days your sweet tooth gets a craving.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Candy uses

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Spooky Halloween Party Recipes

Disgusting Diaper Dip Halloween Recipe
A tasty hummus made from black beans and chickpeas, it’s actually pretty awesome! But this is one of those disgusting Halloween recipes that’s all about presentation. And if you present this Diaper Dip right, only the bravest of your guests will be willing to try it.

Ingredients:
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
1 C. cooked, drained chickpeas (garbanzos)
2 tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Greek yogurt or olive oil, if needed to thin

Instructions:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients.
2. Process until smooth. If mixture is too thick, thin out with a bit of Greek yogurt or some more olive oil.
3. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, at least an hour before serving and up to 48 hours.

diaper dip for Halloween

Severed Fingers Halloween Recipe
You can also try a small piece of onion for the nail, if you like, but I think the yellow bell pepper gives the best impression of thick, gross-looking yellow nails. Recipe below is for one serving– just multiply to make as many as you need.

Ingredients:
3 cocktail sausages
3 triangles of yellow bell pepper
Ketchup or BBQ sauce, as needed

Instructions:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
2. To make each serving of three fingers, create 3 shallow horizontal slices about halfway up each cocktail sausage for “knuckles.”
3. Boil sausages until cooked, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool slightly.
4. With a sharp knife, cut a small flat space at the tip of the sausage for a “nail.” Using a bit of ketchup, mayonnaise, or BBQ sauce, press a nail into each finger.
5. Fill a cup (in the photo it’s a plastic muffin cup, but you can use a ramekin, a little clear glass, or whatever) with a couple tablespoons of ketchup, BBQ sauce, or any other red-colored sauce. Place assembled fingers in the cup, burying the ends slightly in the sauce. Serve hot.

Tip: Heating the sauce helps keep this disgusting Halloween food from cooling down too fast.

severed fingers for Halloween

Halloween Pumpkin Eggnog Recipe
Ingredients:
4 C. milk (I use 2%)
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
7 lg. eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 C. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Spiced rum (such as Capitan Morgan), to taste
10-12 cinnamon sticks (to garnish)
Pumpkin pie spice, as desired (to garnish)

Instructions:
1. In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin puree and the milk. Bring slowly to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, beat together your eggs and sugar in a heat-resistant bowl.
3. To temper your egg mixture, pour a small amount of your hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Add a bit more, whisking all the while, until your egg mixture is hot and close to the temperature of your milk mixture.
4. Slowly and gradually whisk your tempered egg mixture into your milk mixture. Return to a medium-low heat.
5. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cream, vanilla, and rum to taste.
6. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. You’ll want to let it chill for at least four hours to let the flavors combine. Garnish each serving with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Tip: If your eggs weren’t tempered perfectly, you may end up with a few egg bits in your nog. If this happens, simply strain the pumpkin eggnog into your Halloween party punch bowl before chilling.

Decorating: If you want to make this Halloween party punch look a little more spooky, you can add a bit of orange food coloring before you chill it. Decorate with a little bit of black-colored sugar. Serve in a punch bowl or pretty little cups. I like clear ones.

Halloween pumpkin eggnog

Sewer Water Adult Halloween Drink Recipe

Ingredients:
1 bottle (700mL) vodka or vanilla vodka
7 C. fresh orange juice with pulp
1.5 liters (3/4 of a 2 liter bottle) Dr. Pepper
Ice

Instructions:
1. In a large, clear punch bowl combine the vodka, orange juice, and Dr. Pepper.
2. Fill a separate container or ice bucket with ice.
3. Fill each punch glass with ice before serving. Serve with a lemon wedge if desired.

sewer water Halloween punch

New Month, New Intentions

new month quotesToday is the last day of September. With October starting tomorrow, I always look at the beginning of a new month as a new start. Think of some things you would like to do better, more of, or change this October. Here are a few things I want to try and be better at this month. Happy October to you and yours.

1. Appreciate Life: Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends: Wisely Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate: Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously: Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that has sparked your interest – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or even sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving: Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the set backs affect your mood, instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.

6. Do What They Love: Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life: Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than october quoteswork. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh: Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive: Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself.

10. Gratitude: Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.

11. Invest in Relationships: Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Their Word: Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Meditate: Meditation gives your very active brain a rest. When it’s rested you will have more energy and function at a higher level. Types of meditation include yoga, hypnosis, relaxation tapes, affirmations, visualization or just sitting in complete silence. Find something you enjoy and make the time to practice daily.

14. Mind Their Own Business: Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

hello october15. Optimism: See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.

16. Love Unconditionally: Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence: Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive: Accept what can not be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care: Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical check ups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence: Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.

21. Take Responsibility: Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake. Begin today by taking responsibility for your happiness. Work on developing these habits as you own. The more you incorporate the above habits into your daily lifestyle – the happier you will be.

Most of all: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.

be true to yourself

Step Mom Duty

It finally happened. My step daughter came to visit us in Texas. Not only did we have the opportunity to pick her up ourselves in Washington; it was also a fun memory to travel back with her to Texas. This was a first for all of us; her mom, her step dad, my husband, me, and all of our families. She had never been away from home or her mom for more than a couple of days. This time she’d be gone for over 3 weeks, in another state, and spending part of her summer vacation here and meeting all her Texas family.  I have to admit, as much as friends were worried for me, I wasn’t nervous at all. Being an older sister, having a take charge personality, and wanting to get to know my step daughter, I was actually pretty excited. As much as I love my husband, how could I not love his child that looks so much like him anyway? I was ready to create lots of fun family memories.

Being a step parent isn’t easy at all. I think when families are blended, lots of patience, energy, effort, and sacrifice takes a huge part in making sure the children between everyone grow in good directions. When jealously, bitterness, and old harsh feelings are still felt by anyone in a blended family, the only ones that suffer are the children. Kids see and hear things more than we give them credit for. Though it wasn’t an easy task to get to where we are now, took a couple of years, and lots of very deep conversations, I can honestly say it was well worth it.

I believe having my step daughter here for 3 weeks has helped each and every one of us grow as individuals. Her mom got to enjoy some alone time with her spouse, my family & I got to know my step daughter , and most of all my husband got to make some wonderful lasting memories with his little girl. The biggest thing this summer visit did was help all of us all parents get on the same page when it comes to discipline. Between my husband, myself, my step daughter’s mom, and her other half, we all have very different upbringings. Though that can be a tough thing when it comes to agreeing on discipline techniques, I am very blessed that everyone involved has an open mind and heart, working as a team, and finds its best to discuss behavioral issues together.

We all want what’s best for the children in our lives. Being a step parent, the role in your step child’s life is just as important as their parents because you also are setting examples for them. Every one contributes something special to the children involved in a blended family. I am very lucky that my step daughter’s mom and I get along great. We all have the same goal and that’s to raise my step daughter to be a confident, strong young woman. All of us here in Texas are looking forward to many more visits and memories. Being a step parent is a good thing; it means that your heart is so full of love for your spouse, that you have plenty to give to his children.

“A stepmother might have to rise above a little more than everyone else to make everything go smoothly and for everyone to feel comfortable. Step moms are not around to replace a biological parent, rather to augment a child’s life experience.”

step mom

Texas Hill Country’s Hidden Lavender Treasure

texas lavender farmsWith the 2014 Lavender Festival coming up this weekend (June 13-15 2014, Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm) thought I’d share the experience of our Hill Country road trip to Blanco, Texas where we attended the 8th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival. The town of Blanco (which means “white” in Spanish) was named for the limestone hills and banks along the river there. On our way up highway 281 we enjoyed the view of the hills, orchards, wineries, and even a few deer crossing the road. This was my first time visiting Blanco; usually I just pass right through. I was so amazed at how much beauty this little town has, from the Blanco River running through it to the small downtown strip of antique shops, local restaurants, and other small businesses. After having some yummy breakfast tacos at El Puerto Restaurant, it was time to make our way to the festival.

Blanco Lavender FestivalThe Festival

As always, the husband found a great parking spot on Main Street, our first stop (right across the street from where we parked & not on the festival grounds) was at the Blanco River Lavender Company booth, these lovely ladies were setting up and getting everything ready for the fest.  We then made our way to the information booth at the festival (where I couldn’t help but buy a Lavender Fest themed t-shirt, cap, & lunch bag), which was located on the grounds of the Old Blanco County Courthouse. There we were greeted by some of the sweet local women of Blanco. They were very helpful in giving us the best way to fit visiting the farms and the enjoying the fest all in one day.  As excited as we were to visit the farms, we were sadly informed that only 3 out of 8 lavender farms made it this year due to the drought last year.  Hearing news such as that made us really look forward to visiting the farms; we made it to 2 of them. As we walked towards the fest booths, it was kind of hard to choose where to start. Everything smelled so good and looked interesting to see. Lots of art, crafts, food vendors, music, local beer, Texas & Lavender specialty foods…you wouldn’t know where to begin either! But being the “spa junkie” that I am, the first thing that caught my eye was a booth filled with lavender products!

Lavender Margarita Mix MimosasAt Heron’s Nest Herb Farms’ booth, we met farmer, Mrs. Melanie Van Aken, not only did she have her products (lavender bath & body, pet care, & home care) for retail; she was also selling lavender cookies, brownies, and lavender tea.  The 2nd stop was Wimberley Lavender Farm’s booth, gorgeous cobalt blue bottles filled with lavender spa products & homemade soaps; I was like a kid in a candy store!  My poor husband probably thought he was going to be a guinea pig (as always!) for some kind of lavender spa creation I’d come up with. Other nearby fest goers were enjoying the Lavender Lemonade that was at the booth.   Still walking through the fest, we were approached to try this lavender bubbly adult beverage, though it may have been 11:00am, how could we say no to a glass of fizzy, sparkling purple stuff!   While sipping on our lavender mimosas (made with Miller Creek Lavender Margarita Mix) the Sanaloma Laser booth caught my husband’s eye.  I have to say we were both quite impressed with their work. The Georgetown, Texas Company creates all kinds of really cool 3D wooden models. They are great gifts for all ages; you must check out their online store, I know my husband is going to order a couple of things since they did make Military themed models.  Lavender Margarita Mix

Another booth my husband enjoyed was San Antonio’s very own Photo2wood. They use state of the art equipment to turn your photos into a wooden masterpiece. The festival was not only packed with vendors of all sorts, it also had many special guests speakers (including Jeannie Ralston, founder of Hill Country Lavender, the first lavender farm in Texas, and author of “The Unlikely Lavender Queen” ) educating on the history, uses, growing tips, and how to cook with lavender.

Learning about LavenderLush Lavender Learning

Being in the beauty & spa industry for 19 years, I have become a huge fan of lavender, I use it just about every day. Not only does its soothing aroma make my clients happy, it also has many benefits.  It’s used in many beauty products, so you can see why I am such a fan of this little purple bloom. Lavender has therapeutic and antiseptic qualities, it’s known as an effective remedy to combat restlessness, insomnia, cure headaches, ease anxiety, soothe stress, and promote relaxation. The lavender herb is also used for bug bites, burns, skin disorders, to relieve itching, rashes, and reduce swelling. Another lavender fact is that it is also an effective cleanser when added to bath water and for washing hair. It is claimed that lavender, due to its antibacterial and antifungal qualities, kills head lice and other scalp infections. Hence, lavender is seen to be effective in combating balding and promoting hair growth. Also, the lavender herb has been effectively used as an antiseptic for the treatment of acne. Another use for lavender is as a floor cleaner, and also for cleaning counter surfaces and bathrooms. Again, it works effectively due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties and it also gives out a pleasant fragrance to cleaned surfaces. Now you know why you see many cleaning products on the market that are lavender infused.

Texas Fields of Lavender Hill Country Lavender Farm

Native to the Mediterranean, (Latin root name: Lavandula. Lavare (to wash) Livendula (livid or bluish)) Lavender, is grown all over the world, lucky us, it’s right here in our beautiful Hill Country. The first farm we visited was Miller Creek Lavender.  The farm offers 3 acres of lavender, a variety garden with over 70 varieties, butterfly garden, blackberries, picnic tables/benches, granite sand trails, plenty of parking, and a gift shop filled with lavender food products, lavender bath and body products, books, pottery, t-shirts, ball caps, and much more. There was even lavender colored port o’potties with a hand washing station, which I thought was pretty cool. Owners Karen & Don Roets were very welcoming and had a spread of their lavender edible goodies. We tasted Lavender Strawberry Lemonade, Lavender Strawberry Jam (we liked this so much we took some home, Yummy!), Lavender Raspberry Chipotle Salsa, Lavender White Wine Jelly, & Lavender Jalapeño Mustard, each had their own unique flavors. Tasting all these Texas treats and enjoying the view of the lavender farm, made them even more enjoyable.  Remember that lavender bubbly we drank at the fest? We found the Lavender Margarita Mix it’s made with…yes, you know a bottle of the purple pleasure went home with us, let’s see how long it lasts! Ha-ha

Hill Country Lavender StoreThe next farm we visited was Texas’ 1st Commercial Lavender Farm. Another beautiful sight to see, this farm is next to an orchard, and has an amazing view of hills and live oaks. The farm has more than 2,500 lavender plants spread in neat rows across a 2 acre hilltop where visitors are invited to cut their own lavender throughout the season. Their farm store carries a complete line and over 70 of lavender products, including soaps, sachets, lotion, linen spray, eye pillows, bubble bath, lavender essential oil, & much more. I think I did the most damage at this store! Who’s ready for a Lavender Facial? My husband and I thought we’d see how well our “green-thumb” would do and bought our own lavender plant at this farm for our yard; they even give you growing easy to follow instructions when you purchase a plant. The girl who rung up our goodies said the lavender plant survives off neglect. I have never been the gardening type of girl, so there is a good chance of our lavender plant living forever. Ha-ha

The River Runs Through It Blanco River State Park

After our lavender adventure, the lavender kicked in and we were relaxed, we decided to have a picnic and enjoy the scenery of the Blanco River at Blanco State Park. The park is 104.6 acres located along the Blanco River in Blanco County. The land was deeded by private owners in 1933 before the park was opened in 1934. The park area was used as a campsite by early explorers and settlers. A spring in the park made the location ideal when the river was dry.  This park is very well kept and clean; we sat in a picnic area under shady oak and pecan trees watching geese, ducks, and saw a couple of turtles and perch. There’s nothing more relaxing than being by the water, even more so under the influence of lavender. Since our family loves the outdoors, we plan on returning to this park for some camping, hiking, fishing, and of course swimming. This is a perfect weekend spot for families; the park also rents canoes, tubes, and kayaks.

Hill Country Lavender ProductsTime to go Home

This was by far one of our best road trips. Texas has many small secret scenic places and Blanco is definitely one of them. Who needs France, when we have our own Lavender Farms here in the Hill Country? There is something for everyone in Blanco, fishing for the outdoorsman, antique shopping for you treasure hunters, hill country hiking for you thrill seekers, and lots of great picture spots for photographers. We enjoyed all it had to offer, the Lavender Festival was the bonus. Support your fellow Texans by trying some of the lavender goodies & checking out their products, we sure did. The information to all the vendors I mentioned is provided for you below. My husband and I looking forward to this year’s Lavender festival; hope to see some of you there. ❤

Blanco Lavender Festival 2014: June 13-15 2014, Fri. 12pm-6pm, Sat. 9am-6pm, Sun. 10am-4pm.

Randy Monterrosa April Mae Monterrosa

Blanco Chamber of Commerce

830-833-5105

312 Pecan Street

Blanco, Texas 78606

Puerto Restaurant

830-833-5813

115 Main Street

Blanco, Texas 78606

Blanco River Lavender Company

4136 Ranch Road 1623 Blanco, Texas 78606

830-833-4494

www.blancoriverlavenderco.com

Heron’s Nest Herb Farm

1673 River Bend Drive

Blanco, Texas 78606

830-833-2627

http://www.heronsnestherbfarm.com

Miller Creek Lavender

8453 Miller Creek Loop

Johnson City, Texas 78636

512.934.1616

droets@hotmail.com

http://www.millercreeklavender.com/

Wimberley Lavender Farm

11300 FM 2325 Wimberley, Texas 78676

830-833-1595

www.wimberleylavender.com

SanaLoma Laser, LLC

(512) 930-3882 5203 Taos Court Georgetown, Texas 78628-1745

info@SanaLomaLaser.com

http://www.sanalomalaser.com

Photo2wood

210.365.01117

info@photo2wood.com

photo2wood.com

Jeannie Ralston: The Unlikely Lavender Queen

http://www.jeannieralston.com/

Blanco State Park

P.O. Box 493

Blanco, TX 78606

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/blanco

Texas Lavender Farm Pink Tractor

Haters; Sometimes They’re Your Own Family Members

We all have those family members that think you’re stuck up just because you’re successful, have a happy life, & want better for yourself & your loved ones. Yeah…you know you have one too, maybe even a handful of them…While you’re busting your ass to work hard for a better life, usually the ones talking the most shit are sitting on their asses angry at the world, gossiping about everyone, twisting every bit of information that comes their way, plotting their next vindictive move, or acting like something they’re not to win the trust of others to use for their own benefit. That is definitely NOT a healthy or the right way to live and successful will never be a word they would be able to use. hatersWhile these people are busy doing that, they fail to realize what they are missing around them. Holidays, birthdays, family gatherings, school functions, children growing up, and anything family should be a part of.  So many families are torn apart because of 1 or 2 people in the family that are like this & what’s even worse, is other family members sometimes like following along with the drama. familyFamily should be about enjoying life together, being happy & proud of accomplishments, & making memories for the generations to come. As much as you try to change things or include these family members in your life or giving them the benefit of the doubt, they end up hurting you…more than the time before. It’s really sad, but unfortunately these people will never change, they actually like living this way. Usually they are unhappy, bitter, can’t let go of ugliness of the past, or holding on to old grudges. If they fail to deal with their own inner demons in some way, that is no ones fault but their own. Why should you or your family have to suffer for it? I’ve learned from my parents to stay far away from family members like this.  And now that I am older and see how the lives of my immediate family have turned out by staying away, I am glad we did. There is so much love in my family, if any one of us needs something; we never hesitate to help each other out without any expectations. That’s how it should be with family always. The world is full of enough evil shit, sad to say it’s sometimes in your own family. Live happily with joy and peace & appreciate those in your family that want the same for you and yours. Don’t waste time being affected by the bitterness & ugliness that comes people like this; its not healthy and certainly not worth it. Negativity is nothing but a dead weight.

 

Thanksgiving Family Drama

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we’re all gather together with our families. We all sit at the table as one big happy family, say a prayer before someone carves the turkey, and spend the day feasting and enjoying each other’s company. All week long at work, clients have all asked me the same thing. Do you go to your grandparent’s house? Do you spend Thanksgiving with ALL your family? Are you closer t your mom’s family or your dad’s family? I guess with the holidays around, they feel more comfortable to ask me such personal questions; maybe they are just trying to get to know me a little more. So here are my answers; no, we don’t go to any grandparent’s homes. No, we don’t spend it with all of our family & no, we aren’t close to either side of the family. Sad to say, yes, but has it worked for my immediate family, yes. Being the oldest grandchild from both sides of the family and never being naive  I was very observant of all the favoritism my grandparents had (on both sides of the family). Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, may be your family yes, unfortunately the world is full of liars, vindictive, and shady people…and yeah, you may even be related to them.

People try so hard to get the acceptance of their families, I mean, that’s who you are suppose to love and be supported by, right? Sometimes, jealousy, envy, and greed get the best of people and they ruin the bond they are supposed to have with their families. Many of us have these kinds of people in our families, some may try their hardest to fix things and are never met halfway, and others may keep on holding the same grudge or having the same meaningless argument and never resolve anything. And then they are people like my parents. Both so strong in their own individual ways, but yet complement each other well. My parents got tired of the gossip, the lies, the grudges, the bullshit, and the wishy washy-ness that was all for nothing. Being that they eloped at a very young age I am sure the family each had their own opinions about them lasting together. But come on, it’s been over 35 years, they are obviously happily married and have a great life to show for all  their hard work…so if the family can’t get over that…then I guess that’s just too damn bad, right?

This Thanksgiving season, I have realized so much. Even though I didn’t understand at the time why my parents kept to themselves and kept us away from all the family drama, I totally get it now. For those of you that are trying to fix unhealthy relationships with your families and in-laws. Really take a look at the bigger picture. Are they meeting you halfway? Is it really worth it? Are you just wasting your time? Are you hurting your family or putting your marriage in jeopardy? I like to think my parents got together and asked themselves and each other these same questions, because our childhood was so drama free and good by keeping away from the rest of the family. Sure, we are close to a few cousins, aunts, and uncles, but only because there wasn’t ever any drama with them. If you have children and do not have a great relationship with your family or in-laws, focus on making things even better for your children. I know it’s hard when your children do not have that relationship with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles, but why try with people that just don’t care to?

This thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. My life isn’t perfect, but incredible, I can’t even explain how wonderful things have gone for me, despite all I’ve been through. All of my family will be at the table this year; my husband, my baby brother & sister in law, my nephews, & my little brother , & even my mother in law. I’m especially thankful for my parents; they are both here, healthy, and together after 40 years. No matter what their families have put them through, how many times they have caused drama or try to ruin their happiness, the both of them stood strong and together. They made sure we had fun holidays always. For this, I am not only blessed, but lucky. I don’t know any other way then to be happy and to stay away from people that want to ruin that. It’s because of them, we all have always sat together at the table for every holiday making wonderful family memories…and can now pass all those traditions to my nephews. Thank you mom and dad, for making me the women I am today, and making our family bond so strong.  Every joyous holiday memory we all have is because of you. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
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