About Carol

Carol Shwanda chronicles her blended family's lives and experiences offering hope, guidance, wisdom, inspiration and humor to anyone who is in or about to enter into a blended family.

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I would like my blog to be a forum for my readers to share their stories and experiences and express their views and opinions about being a part of a blended family. I am working on a book tentatively titled:Blended Family Stories. It will be an in depth look at the real life challenges and joys of successful blended families. If you would like to be part of my research I'd love to hear from you.Take my Blended Family survey

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For advice or information, email carol@shwanda.com

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  • Catalina Get-Away

    My husband took me away for my birthday last week. We went to a small island off the coast of Long Beach, CA called Catalina. I had always heard of it, even when I was growing up on the East Coast. It’s famous for its pristine beaches, crystal clear blue water, exquisite dining and European-esque mountainous cliff side homes. When we pulled into the harbor I told my husband it reminded me of Sorrento, Italy and Malaga, Spain, two cities I have had the good fortune to visit.

    To get there we had to take a ferry from Long Beach, but the night before we stayed on the Queen Mary, a retired cruise ship that is now permanently anchored and operates as a hotel. It was very magnificent and stately. Built in the ’30’s, it still has the original art deco wood paneling and lighting fixtures. We enjoyed sunning ourselves on the deck and touring the helm. Very cool. We stayed there a second night when we returned from the island.

    Then we arrived in Catalina– the island of romance. Not only was the place incredibly beautiful, I basked in my husband’s attention and the knowledge that he planned the trip down to the smallest detail, including a massage at the hotel spa (which I declined in favor of sunning myself on the roof top deck of our hotel.)  We rented bikes and toured the island, dined in fabulous seafood restaurants and relaxed.  We discussed our future plans and what our life would be like once the kids are all moved out of the house (more trips alone like this come to mind). We also patted ourselves on the back for making such a great go and success of blending our families and noted that we pretty much did it all on our own. We really didn’t have much outside help.  We stuck together. And for that we are very thankful.

    Published on October 31, 2012 · Filed under: BLENDED FAMILIES, CELEBRATIONS, Romance, VACATIONS;
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