Garden State Of Mind

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I’m back from my Thanksgiving getaway to my In-Laws in New Jersey! I hear so many people talking about their bad relationships with their husbands family and I have to tell ya, I’m blessed in that department. My husband’s family makes my heart smile. You know that warm fuzzy hot cocoa, soft blanket & great book kind of warm and fuzzy. They feel like home 💗

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They came in to town and our plans had us leaving the next day for New Jersey. Yep, 369 miles to get me, and that was just one way. We went to dinner at Cheeseburger In Paradise, one of my favorite places. And it’s all because of pickles! They have the best fried pickle chips ever and they are served with a delicious sauce! They put a new drink on the menu, Spiced Berry Sangria and I’m not much of a drinker, but this was seasonal and very very tasty. Nice for a family toast!  I highly recommend this restaurant. It’s a beachy themed sports bar/restaurant atmosphere. The food is reasonably priced and service is always great.

This wasn’t a touristy trip at all. It was filled with family, great food, a fun event and a fabulous movie! We spend a lot of time in the car. My brother-in-law and sis-in-law and their kids live about a half hour to 45 minutes away from my In-Laws house and we went out that way twice. But the drives were nice. The weather was chilled but sunny for the most part and autumn was full bloom. Took some pictures from the car…

I love New Jersey. It’s rich in culture and heritage. Diner’s are still all the rage in Jersey and that is most excellent. The diner is to Jersey what a coffee shop is to Seattle. It’s where you go to eat a meal, have coffee or two, or three and just have conversation. Diners have regulars, so if you are one, you likely know many of the faces you see when you come in. It gives a community feel to the neighborhood. In a world where many neighbors don’t know your face, in Jersey diner patrons see each other and greet each other. Add to that, all the trees, the hilly terrain, brick houses and of course the hues of autumn were gorgeous with the blue sky and sunshine as the backdrop.

 

 
Fantastic_Beasts_and_where_to_find_them_logo.pngWe went to see a movie that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to see!! I’m a big Potterhead and was so excited that we were going to see Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them!! I’d been reading the reviews and some were mixed. I think it came down to people expecting it to be the same as the first in the series. But how could it be. It was a different time, different cast, different mood. The book itself is a different mood departure from the what the films were based on. This is by far my favorite of the series. And as my husband said, Newt Scamander is my spirit animal. If I went to Hogwarts, I am very Luna Lovegood. But closer even than that to my personality is Newt Scamander. He is the animal rights activist of the wizarding world. And Eddie Redmayne was brilliant in the role. The supporting cast was pretty darn awesome too. I love love loved this movie!!! newt-scamander After the movie we went out to dinner at Houlihan’s . Good dinner, wanted cappuccino’s but they were out, settled for coffee then some much needed sleeps, the next two days are a lot of driving and busy busy busy….

 

 

 

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Thanksgiving Day began like usual. It was a tradition in my family and in Keith’s to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. There’s something wonderful to be said for traditions in families. Traditions make life just a little warmer and memories that much more special. So in my fuzzy slippers and with a cup of coffee I sat and watched the parade surrounded by all the memories of days gone by in that cozy home where my hubby grew up. And although my hubby couldn’t be there because of work blah blah blah, this was the next best thing.

 

Then it was off to dinner!! It’s a tradition that my sis-in-law & bro-in-law do Thanksgiving. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. They have a feast of deliciousness. And Tori’s family joins us and so good food and good company is the blessing of the day! But, I have to admit I spent most of the day with our nephew and niece 💗 They kept stealing me away to play, which was by far the BEST part of the whole trip! They are at the age that the distance and time between us doesn’t make them forget bonds that were formed. Keith and I have lived away from all our nieces and nephews and it can be hard to form good bonds. It’s something we’ve learned that is a really important thing to focus on. If quantity of time is unrealistic, then quality of time must be foremost.

So we all at well and enjoyed the day. I was missing my hubby and missing Ippo (our dog that passed away in September) and of course our kitties. But being around family makes the missing pieces feel not as distant.

The next day we headed back out that way again for Hugs For Brady Holiday Light Show at DeVry University. It was their first year and it was for a good cause! They had a lot of activities that kept the kids happy and having fun. It felt like a carnival without the rides. But they had a bounce house/slide and face painting along with other activities that kept them amused and us entertained watching them have fun. The lights were beautiful once the sun set. And at the end there was a light show we sat down for. That, they have some kinks to work out. It was a great way to spend my last evening in town though. Surrounded by family and enjoying an event that helps kids.

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I’m sad my hubby had to work but it was nice having his family all to myself for once. Living too far away for frequent long trips back to our hometowns and families we have to take advantage of all the moments we can. And usually I let my hubby monopolize his families time because he doesn’t get to see them as often as he’d like, but this time they were all mine. And to them….

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