December 2019 ․ 480.632.7373 ․ jensenlawaz.com
From Princess Castle to Parking Garage Memories of an East Coast Christmas and Celebrating in the Desert
When our eldest daughter, Olivia, was 5 years old, she spent the weeks leading up to Christmas begging for a princess castle. This seemed easy enough, but my wife and I knew Olivia better than that. She was pretty precocious, and we knew she was too old for toys like that. Still, we figured it was a wiser choice to buy her the castle and have her be disappointed by something she wanted rather than have her be disappointed by her parents. To her credit, Olivia acted surprised about the castle we gifted her on Christmas morning, but sure enough, after five minutes of playing with the castle, she was already bored with it. Still, the gift wasn’t a total waste. Olivia’s younger brother was 2 years old and obsessed with the Disney movie “Cars” at the time. We “We may not wake up to a Christmas snowfall, and our days of toy cars and princess castles may be limited, but that’s not what makes our holidays special. It’s the time we spend together, making memories and building traditions.”
gifted him a few toy cars, and when he saw his sister was no longer enamored with the big castle we gave her, he took it upon himself to move his toy cars in.
And that’s how the princess castle became a parking garage.
I still look back on that Christmas fondly. It was one of a handful we had on the East Coast when we lived in Stanford, Connecticut, near the New York border. I was just out of law school, and after growing up in rural eastern Idaho, I enjoyed watching my children play during a snowy holiday season just as I did as a kid. We even drove into New York City and saw the Rockefeller Center tree lit up. It was a magical time to be in the city, looking at all the window displays and sipping hot cocoa. Back at home, a light snowstorm ushered in Christmas morning that year, and more snow fell throughout Christmas Day. The bottom half of the split-level home we were renting had a fireplace, so we spent all Christmas Day burning logs and enjoying a toasty-warm house while the kids played with their new gifts. Other than my son’s ingenuity with his sister’s discarded toys, nothing terribly exciting happened that day, but it was still a wonderful and quintessential holiday, complete with light snowfall, a roaring fireplace, hot cocoa, and Christmas movies. Now in Arizona, I may not get to enjoy snowy holidays, but I still love our Christmas celebrations. My wife and I have added two
more children to our family mix, and we get to see the magic of Christmas through their young eyes. Like we did in Connecticut, we soak up all the holiday specialties offered by our community. In fact, I think we live in a great area for Christmas celebrations. When it wasn’t under construction, we would take our children to see the lights at the Mesa Temple. Together, we watch “The Great Christmas Light Fight” and visit Christmas at Comstock, too. We may not wake up to a Christmas snowfall, and our days of toy cars and princess castles may be limited, but that’s not what makes our holidays special. It’s the time we spend together, making memories and building traditions. No matter how you celebrate this season, I hope you find peace and comfort in your celebrations.
Have a happy and safe holiday season,
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The Joy of a Gingerbread House
Everything You Didn’t Know About This Holiday Tradition
Of the many seasonal traditions that sweep our nation, few are as creative, delicious, and satisfying as building your very own gingerbread house. Whether you’re looking to create a simple table decoration or bake a tasty treat to nibble on, everyone can enjoy this holiday activity! THE ORIGINS OF GINGERBREAD Ginger was first cultivated in ancient China, then traded into medieval Europe. There, Europeans incorporated it into culinary traditions and used it to bake cookies into elaborate shapes and works of art, including figures of animals and people. The gingerbread house first appeared in the early 19th century in Germany. Although historians don’t know an exact date, it’s speculated that it gained popularity around
the same time that “Hansel and Gretel,” the popular fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm, was published. THE LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE In 2013, the world record for the largest gingerbread house in the world was broken. The house, topping out at 21 feet and covering 2,520 square feet, was built by Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to raise money for a local Level II trauma center. To construct the house, builders created a recipe that required 1,800 pounds of butter, 2,925 pounds of brown sugar, 7,200 eggs, 7,200 pounds of flour, 1,080 ounces of ground ginger, and a few additional ingredients. BUILD YOUR OWN! While you don’t have to challenge yourself to beat the Guinness World Record, you can still
have fun creating your very own gingerbread village. Starting your gingerbread house from scratch can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Give the kids a chance to mix the ingredients, roll out the dough, and set out plenty of candies and frostings to use, and remember to have fun! If you’re looking for unique gingerbread house ideas, take a look at 20 gingerbread house ideas at TasteofHome.com/collection/ gingerbread-houses.
Show Your Kids Love Even When You Can’t Spend the Holidays Together From Mom, With Love
There’s nothing quite like the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes. As they eagerly await the big day and a visit from Santa, parents begin to get excited too. Following a divorce, it can be difficult to capture that magic and keep it alive, especially if you have to spend the holidays away from your children. This holiday season, let your kids know you are thinking of them with these long-distance holiday celebration tips. DIGITAL WISHES The advent of technology has made our lives easier in many ways, and perhaps the biggest improvement is the power of connection. With resources like Skype, FaceTime, and social media platforms, you can see your children’s
reactions to the holidays in real time. If you’re comfortable with it, watch your child open presents from FaceTime. Or establish a family Facebook page or Snapchat group, where you can all share photos, videos, and schedules for the holiday. Thanks to technology, there’s no reason why you have to miss their smiling faces when Santa gives them just what they asked for this season. SURPRISE! You may have sent their gifts with them or made plans to celebrate when they return, but you don’t have to stop there. Communicate with your ex about surprising your children with a Christmas Day package or digitally send them some cash on Christmas morning via Venmo, PayPal, or other digital banking
platforms. The element of surprise will remind them that you wish you could be there.
TASTES OF HOME Your child may now have two homes, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they may miss certain parts of each home when they are away. If you make the best holiday cookies or if your kiddos love the lasagna you make every Christmas, send those treats along with them! There’s no reason why they should miss out on the foods they love most this holiday season, and with every bite, they will be reminded that their other parent loves them just as much. You’re never alone when the Law Offices of Kevin Jensen guide you through a divorce. Get your questions answered by calling 480.632.7373.
Mourning the Loss of Traditions After Divorce A Big First
surround yourself with loved ones, friends, and your children to ease the sadness you may feel about missing the traditions you once had with your ex and their family. Maybe you need some time to yourself to relax by binging TV or making crafts to keep yourself occupied.
There is a litany of “firsts” that come after divorce. There’s the first time you introduce yourself to someone without your spouse or the first time you make a major purchase. You may have many firsts with your kids, relatives, and neighbors, but there’s one especially big first that comes around at the end of every year. Whether this is the first holiday after your divorce or you have been divorced for years now, this season can be complicated. You may be mourning the loss of traditions you once had or are simply feeling lonely without the company of your ex’s family. And while you may be at peace with your divorce, these feelings are completely normal. When you’re mourning the loss of holiday traditions with your ex, it’s important to acknowledge those feelings. Don’t shy away from them or hide them from people you trust. It’s natural to crave those connections, as they were a big part of your life at one point.
Whatever you do, don’t spend the holiday wallowing in what once was. This is your opportunity to create traditions that fit into your new life. Seize the holiday and make it your own!
And if you feel comfortable enough doing so, reach out to your ex’s family. As mentioned, they were once a big part of your life, and there’s no harm in wishing them a wonderful holiday season. If you have children, this could go a long way in repairing a relationship with family your kids still see and care about. Divorce is never easy, and the firsts that come with it will each bring their own challenges. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go through your divorce alone. The experts at the Law Offices of Kevin Jensen can help.
If you have questions about your case or would like to inquire about our resources, call 480.632.7373.
But once you have acknowledged these feelings, it’s time to begin your new holiday traditions. This holiday season,
• 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into quarters • 2 large eggs • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour • 2 tsp kosher salt • 1 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp black pepper • Safflower or vegetable oil, for frying
directions 1. Using either a food processor with a coarse grating disc or the coarse side of a box grater, grate potatoes and onion. (If using a food processor, halve or quarter potatoes.) Once grated, wrap in a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to wring out as much moisture as possible.a 2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix in eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper. 3. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan containing 1/4-inch of oil over medium-high heat. Use a heaping tablespoon to drop batter into the hot pan, working in batches. Use a spatula or spoon to form them into discs. Fry about 5 minutes per side, until deeply browned. 4. Transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain, and serve alongside applesauce and sour cream.
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Brandon Yost Shares His Holiday Memories
Building Your Own Gingerbread House
Celebrating the Holidays From Afar? Here Are Some Tips to Help!
Surviving the Holidays After Divorce
Glamping in Beautiful Locations Yurt Sweet Yurt The allure of the great outdoors calls to many, but pitching a tent and cooking over a fire isn’t for everyone. If that describes you, consider the yurt: a small, permanent structure often outfitted with electricity, plumbing, and other modern amenities. Expertly nestled in remote locations, they provide comforts of home in the midst of nature. Here are just a few around the United States available for rent. TREEBONES RESORT, CALIFORNIA For those new to the glamping scene, this is a great choice for an easy transition. With picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the Treebones Resort in Big Sur has an array of spaciously comfortable yurts to choose from. The resort has heated pools, a cozy lodge, and even a sushi bar. About an hour up the coastline, you can find a few shops, restaurants, and art galleries if you decide you’ve gotten your dose of nature for the day. SPRUCE HOLE YURT, COLORADO Nestled in the San Juan Mountains about 10 miles north of New Mexico, this yurt is a snow-lover’s paradise. Skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful in this backcountry location. At the end of a chilly day, come home to comfy beds, cooking supplies, and decor made to feel like you’re camping — but with sturdy walls to keep out the cold. FALLS BROOK YURTS, NEW YORK For the glampers who truly want to get away, hike just under 1 mile into the woods of the Adirondack Mountains to discover rustic yurts beckoning you to cook over a fire or bundle up with a book. At night, the yurt’s domed skylight offers excellent stargazing. For those keen on winter activities, skiing and snowshoeing trails start right outside the front door. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, and swimming.
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