by guest blogger Kendra Thornton)

The holiday season will soon be with us once again. Nights are getting colder, the brightly colored leaves are beginning to fall in the States, and everyone is getting out their winter wardrobes. The chilly weather reminds us that its time to begin planning the annual holiday visits and family get-togethers. Like many of you, I suspect, my spirits are always lifted as Thanksgiving Day approaches.
The spirit of gratitude and giving back that is the hallmark of the season helps to keep life in perspective and reminds me what is really important. I am particularly excited this year, as all of our relatives have confirmed that they will be visiting us here in Chicago. It’s going to be a great holiday here at the Thornton house!

Pinterest is a wonderful tool for discovering unique, festive appetizer and dessert ideas. I have been compiling a collection of recipes that I plan to make with my kids. I am happy to say that, as they get older, they are becoming very enthusiastic about helping me in the kitchen. Cooking with kids can be a very messy undertaking, though, so I always keep an eye out for simple, easy recipes that we can all make together.  
It’s hard to beat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. There are certain tried-and-true dishes that I always make sure to have: turkey, my signature mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if any of those were forgotten. However, there’s also something to be said for trying new things.  Using Gogobot, I recently stumbled upon an article that details the unique Thanksgiving menus at five luxury hotels.
Using this article as inspiration, I set out to create some adventurous new holiday dishes. I was a bit concerned that some people would object to my creations or that they wouldn't turn out as I planned, but fortune favors the brave, as they say.  Of all the recipes in the article, the one that seemed the most interesting to me was for a pumpkin soup with lobster that was served at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. I really want to give that one a try myself!
Here at the Thornton house, we have a special Thanksgiving tradition that we practice every year. While sitting at the table before dinner, we go around and each person talks about one thing they are thankful for. If this isn't something you do with your family already, I strongly urge you to give it a try – even if you aren’t celebrating the day over in your countries! It’s a simple but very effective way of getting the whole family to stop and reflect on everything they have to be happy about and grateful for. Well, I hope all of the people reading this have a great holiday and creates lots of new special memories to treasure. America wishes you a happy day of gratitude!
Hello I'm Kendra Thornton ,  long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home with raising my three wonderful children. I am getting ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving season and are so happy to let you in on some of my very own traditions!

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