Thanksgiving day dinner. Remembering your family and friends come first is what matters most. (Shutterstock)

I love Thanksgiving. It was my mother’s favorite holiday in America. She was born in Cuba but her heart was all American. She loved her family, loved cooking and loved the country that opened its arms to her during the Cuban revolution.

She put that same love in the hearts of her kids. So every Thanksgiving she’s the one I think of as I prepare the turkey and side dishes with my family. Our family keeps her memory alive by telling stories about her so her grandchildren won’t forget.

We live in an extraordinary nation. We live in a blessed nation. We live in a nation that is still young and filled with hope.

Sometimes we tell the stories about the first pilgrims arriving to America and the Native Americans who befriended them when they arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We wonder what it was like nearly 400 years ago when the Mayflower reached the shore in 1620? I imagine it would’ve been a little frightening, exciting and of course filled with hardship.

Life, in general, is the same way. I know sometimes all I need is a break. I need a moment to reflect on what matters most in our imperfect but beautiful lives.

For me, it’s my children and my husband Marty. As a family, we also remember all those serving in our military, law enforcement and intelligence community who may be far from home on Thanksgiving.

I give thanks for our troops and thanks for living in a nation that’s worth fighting for.

Thanksgiving allows us to take a minute to slow down. It reminds us there is always something to be thankful for even in the most difficult of times.

We live in an extraordinary nation. We live in a blessed nation. We live in a nation that is still young and filled with hope.

So turn off the news. Yes, you heard me right. Turn it off. Don’t spend your whole day on social media either but instead, dedicate your day to the people that you love.

If you’re a traditional NFL Thanksgiving Day fan, enjoy it with your family. If not, find something else to do with your kids or loved ones. Cook together, go outdoors, spend time catching up and play some fun board games that are more than likely collecting dust.

For crying out loud don’t fight over politics. Life is too short and in reality its only one day.

By Friday, we can go back to our old routines and maybe, just maybe, have a little more patience, love and understanding for one-another.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for being a part a of my life.

WHAT WE LIKE TO DO. FUN GAMES AND IDEAS FOR THANKSGIVING WEEKEND WITH THE KIDS 
  1. Let the kids get in on the cooking. Make cookies and pies for desert. Let them mash the potatoes.
  2. Kids can decorate their own kid table. Use white paper as a table cloth so they can draw their own pictures of what Thanksgiving means to them.
  3. Play Apples To Apples. It’s fun for kids and adults.
  4. Tell family stories. Kids love to hear about their family history and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to do it.
  5. If the weather permits find something they can do outside. A good game of flag football, ice skating or cornhole is always fun.
  6. Kids can also learn a lot about Thanksgiving if you take them to a shelter to help others.
  7. More importantly, just listen to them and be there fully – put away the phone and other distractions.
  8. Go to a family movie on the weekend.
  9. If you have an ice-skating rink near by make it a family outing.
  10. Our favorite family tradition is watching the old black and white film It’s A Wonderful Life before going to bed. It’s one of my favorite films in the world. It teaches thankfulness through the character of George Bailey, who eventually realizes that life is a beautiful gift and almost always things are never as bad as they seem.