Thanksgiving with Family

Happy to have hosted my family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year. Due to the busy schedules, it was a little crazy with all the late-planning (and not finding grocery stores open the day of!), but somehow we managed to have a good gathering.

This Thanksgiving was special, not just because we hosted it for the first time, but also because for the first time, I got to spend Thanksgiving with my dad. It was good to see him and make up for the bonding that was missed while I was growing up.

Had fun and enjoyed having the family over.

Thanksgiving with Family

Thanksgiving with Friends

One of the most rewarding traditions amongst our friends is gathering every year, the weekend before Thanksgiving and have a pre-Thanksgiving dinner between friends. This year was no exception. What was more especial for me this year was that for the first time, we hosted the Thanksgiving dinner at my home.

About 25 friends came to the dinner, everyone bringing a main entree or dessert for the dinner. Right before beginning our dinner, all of us to gather around in a circle and go around and sharing what we are thankful for this year.

I’ve been very thankful for so many blessings this year, including for my family, health, a growing business, a new home, being able to travel, and all the support from friends and family.

For the last couple of years, we have also made donations to either a family in need from the community or a non-profit charity. As the host this year, I contacted a couple of charity groups from our community and decided to go with Angels of the Fields, a non-profit program that helps Northern California families that work in agriculture. The reason I decided to go with this program is because I felt it had less resources for outreach and promotion to get donations.

Marcos, Jessica, Diana, Sergio, Arnie, Xochil, Lorena and me were able to sponsor 12 children directly, ages 2M-7 years. We also had a couple of people bring bags full of canned foods.

The 13th Thanksgiving with Friends was a success.

Thanksgiving with Friends

Apple Hill & Madrona Tree

Sunday, Nov 3rd.

Woke up at 6:30 AM, feeling refreshed since I got to sleep an extra hour.

The plans involved going to the gym, shop for my nephew’s already late birthday present, and getting ready for my trip to Apple Hill – all by 11AM. I worked out for an hour and a half, and met up with my brother and nephew at Target so I can buy my nephew the LEGO set that he so much wanted. My nephew/Godson called me several times the week before asking me when I can pick him up to buy him the gift for his 7th birthday :)

After getting ready, Lorena, Nancy, and myself went to the Orphans restaurant, known for it’s delicious breakfast. After waiting for 35 minutes to get a table, and another 25 minutes to get our food, I’d say it was worth the wait. It proved to be true, the food was delicious, the service was great, and the prices were very reasonable, $7-10 a plate.

By the time we were done with our breakfast and conversation, we ended up walking out of the restaurant close to 1PM. At this point we debated wether we should still go to on the 45 minute trip to Apple Hill or save it for another time. We decided to make the trip.

We arrived at Apple Hill close to 2PM, being my second time in the city, and not having done any research before the trip, we had no idea of where would make our first stop (last minute planning lol). As we pulled over to give us some time to look for wineries, we found that we were right next to Crystal Basin Cellars. We decided to check it out.

The tasting room at Crystal Basin Cellars is fairly small, there was about 10-15 people there wine tasting and 4 people behind the counter serving the wine. Wine tasting at this location was $5 per person, which is waived if you bought a bottle of wine. They had a good selection of wine, but I only decided to buy a bottle of their bubbly champagne. As I was about to pay, I noticed they had a cigar humidor box across the counter and asked if I could buy one . Their selection was very bad, almost all of the cigars were dried out. I decided to buy the best out of the bunch, we paid and left to our next stop: Madrona Vineyards.

We made a stop at Madrona Vineyards, but not before going for a walk around the pumpkin festival that was being held next to the winery. After a 30 minute walk, we decided it was time for some wine. I attempted to smoke the cigar at CBC, but it was too dry, it would not even be enjoyable. By the time we got to the Madrona tasting room, I think we were a bit buzzed with the tasting we did at CBC. We tasted most of their menu, and we had good random laughs throughout our time there. One of the highlights was Lorena doing a loud whisper, partly covering her mouth, saying “That’s a sales trick” – all because of the person helping us placed a jar of chocolate for us to taste with the wine. Nancy and I began laughing because Lorena tried to be sneaky about it, yet it was so obvious.

After we finished our tasting, I asked “What is Madrona?” The attendant explained that it’s a tree that grew in that area, and she suggested that we take a look at the 300 year old Madrona tree behind the building. We walked out, and looked for this tree which was not so obvious to find. We stopped a couple of times, saying “this is it!” but neither of them were what we were looking for. After walking about 150 feet we notice a big tree in the distance. It was a beautiful big tree, and that’s when we new, that was is it.

Madrona Vineyards Tree Madrona Vineyards Tree

Apple Hill & Madrona Tree