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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  • Survive and Thrive- 10 Years of Blended Family Success

    It’s been a while since I’ve written an update here and for those who are still following and want to know how things turned out for us I thought I would fill you all in.  All five of our children are launched and are either away at college or living independently, and my darling husband Paul and I just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe that so much time has passed and that we actually survived. Yes. We survived and thrived, which is amazing considering that second marriages have a 67% chance of ending in divorce.

    Now that all of the kids are gone (the pets too) it’s just the two of us and we are focusing on our future together by downsizing from our big house and moving into the smaller house, which we call our “casita,’ that is adjacent to the main house.  For years we rented out the smaller house to outside tenants (remember Jonny Prynce?) and we decided instead to live small and simple in our little house and rent out the main house. We have discovered that remodeling and decorating our new home has been extremely romantic. It’s like we are newlyweds and this in our first home together. It’s just us making the decisions, so there’s no stress worrying about pleasing anyone else. And it’s FUN! We are carrying over the nautical and craftsman style look of the main house, with a lot more whimsy and humor. Paul, my sea captain and brilliant engineer husband, has drawn up the plans and has given each room a name that corresponds with a part of a ship.  There’s the “Captain’s quarters,” which is our bedroom, the “galley,” the kitchen, the “crew’s quarters,” the guest room when the kids visit, the “pilot house, “ which happens to be an upstairs loft, the “map room,” my office and a “poop deck,” which Paul will turn into a rooftop garden for me. Yes, I married a guy with a vivid and wild imagination.  I think it is our senses of humor that have kept us going.

    We’ve weathered some serious storms and navigated some rocky seas, and after ten years of grappling with so much stress we feel like we finally  landed on a  tropical island and it’s time to relax and drink cocktails out of a coconut.  (Our Christmas tree this year was a palm tree. No kidding. Paul plans to plant it in our yard.)  It’s now time to have fun and devote our time and energy to pursuing our passions. If you would like to follow along and see updates on our remodel and empty nester life, you can visit SeaweedArt, my  sea-inspired lifestyle blog featuring home decor, beach scenes, crafts and coastal cuisine. You can also visit my Etsy shop, where I sell some of my crafty creations.

    Namaste dear ones. May you all have a healthy, happy, prosperous new year filled with love, laughter and joy!

    Published on January 8, 2017 · Filed under: BLENDED FAMILIES, Empty Nesters, LIFE IN SANTA CRUZ;
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