We are our family's heritage | Moana + Win a digital copy

12:56:00 PM

I'm totally nuts about everything that has to do with my family and our ancestry. You see, I grew up in the Hispanic culture, and we technically celebrate family members both when they are alive, and when they are gone. That encourages individuals to value everyone in the family, and to learn more about their lives. Frankly, this is something I love about our culture, because in a way, this makes everyone kind of immortal; always remembered.

I've discovered so many wonderful things about my ancestors by doing research on our family tree for the past three years. Today, I can proudly say that I am a keeper of our family's history: That with the help of my husband's uncle, I now have names and photos from both of our families that go back centuries; and that we honor our ancestors by celebrating the Holidays with traditional Scandinavian(my husband's) and Hispanic(both of us) recipes, some of which, were passed on by our grandmothers, and even grandfathers. My grandmother in Mexico, used to make a fruit salad every Christmas, a fruit punch, and many other delicious things. During Easter, she would make a Capirotada, which was my favorite. My husband's grandparents on his Hispanic side, gathered the family to make tamales, and on his Scandinavian side, they would make Krumbkake, Fattigman, and other Holiday treats, which we now make ourselves.

Norwegian Pancakes
Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) very popular Hispanic dessert

Fattigman Cookies (Scandinavian)
In the case of my family, I've learned that artistry, publicity, and medicine are professions that have passed on as skilled traits throughout many generations, which allowed me to understand why I am the way I am, and why I share some traits with some of my relatives. Learning about the important work of some of my ancestors, has given me pride in who I am, and honored to come from my hometown. That is one of the reasons why, when I watched Disney's Moana for the first time, I cried. There are so many aspects of this story, that made me feel connected to it.

One of the ways that I like to keep my family heritage alive, is by asking about different anecdotes and stories to my relatives. During one of our family reunions on my husband's side, they asked me why I was sitting at the "elder's" table, rather than with the rest of the cousins. I responded: "How am I supposed to tell my kids about your awesome life adventures, and fun anecdotes, if I can't hear them first hand?" You see, my mom's family never had such thing as "kids' table" and "adults' table". This was how we all got to know each other in my maternal side of the family. Kids were able to interact with the grown-ups, and vice-versa, and to be honest, that was my favorite thing about family reunions. 

We learned about; life journeys, favorite hobbies, and recipes, from our older relatives, and they learned about our dreams and things we looked forward to when we grew up like them. In many cases, their wisdom encouraged us to continue with our goals, and try our best to accomplish them. That interaction created a strong bond among the whole family. Another family project I have, which is a work in progress, is to scan all of my grandmother's photo albums. Since many of us don't live in the city where we grew up, and some, including myself, don't even live in Mexico anymore, a way for everyone to have those memories is by digitizing those photos and sending them to all of our relatives. This is where I can say I am very grateful for technology, because we can all have the same information and photographs, being able to update them and pass them on through generations to come.

I value so much everything that has to do with the family, that whenever I hear a story, I write it down in my genealogy records. Then, once a year, I send it out to my cousins and nephews, and we can all have an updated version of our family tree, which includes some biographies, life stories, and photographs. I feel it is very important for everyone, the young and not so young, to write a little bio about themselves; their dreams, journey, goals in life, accomplishments, and so on, and share it with the family or whoever keeps the records of the family tree. I believe everyone in the world has done something amazing, but could be lost if not shared. I think we all have exciting adventures just like Maui, and by sharing them with those we love, we can also become as legendary as him.

Although my grandparents died when I was very young, I feel that most of the things I do, are to make them proud. They were very hard workers, and accomplished so much in life through their craft. They both created family businesses, and where recognized by their work in my hometown. My grandfather was a visionary and was able to create great construction businesses, and my grandmother was a painter, who also gave painting classes to kids. " And suddenly, the student became the teacher". It was interesting to later find out, that some of her students grew up to be my teachers in school. My grandmother used to say: "La práctica hace al maestro", practice makes master. So no matter what we did, or how skilled we were or not, she always encouraged us to keep trying and to push ourselves to do better in the things we were passionate about.

Whenever I created a sketch, my grandmother would encourage me to practice more. Every time I create art, I have her close to my heart, because she always helped me improve, and taught me that if you truly want something you can accomplish it.
I believe that the confidence to create new businesses and the love for art comes from my grandparent's teachings. They were an exemplary influence towards the woman I am today. In fact, I always referred to my grandmother, as my second mother, because if I wasn't with my mom, I was always with my grandmother. I can't tell you all the wonderful life lessons that I learned from both of my grandparents, because I would have to write a whole book. But I can tell you this; I am proud to have known both of them as much as I did, and to continue learning more about them throughout stories told by the rest of my family. When I married my husband, I felt so grateful with life, because I was given a chance to have grandparents again. That is the reason why, it is extremely important to me that our children grow up with their grandparent's influence around them. 

I love my Mexican Santa. It's like a mashup of our family's heritage in one. So every Christmas, he's around.
I think that the most precious thing a grandparent can pass on to a grandchild, is the value of family pride. By teaching us about where we come from, the struggles, the accomplishments, and everything along the line, they make us more humble and grateful, and because of it, they bring out the best in all of us.

Thank you so much for reading this blog post and for learning a little bit more about our family.

How do you celebrate your family's heritage? What cultures do you know from your ancestry? Is there anything you'd like to discover about your cultural background? Leave us a comment, we'd love to read you.

Preparing for Movie Night with Disney's Moana

We received a digital copy of Disney's Moana to celebrate the release of the film, and of course we had to make it thematic and fun with a little help from the cute and fierce Kakamoras.

Our main course was organic pizza; you can't have a movie night without pizza. However, we had delicious goodies inspired by the film, such as; Coconut/Pineapple & Coconut/Vanilla smoothies. We also created a Taro resembling smoothie, which was really blueberry and Coconut flavored. We had delicious fruit, ready to be enjoyed. And we also created a roasted coconut & pineapple ice-cream for dessert. 

This is my 'Roasted Coconut & Pineapple' ice-cream
So while the Kakamora were distracted trying to attack the Pineapple, just because that is what they do...
We had dessert. They were not happy and asked for more *wink.
With everything set, and the cool movie merch that we received from Allied Contigo, we were ready to embark with Moana, and all of her friends in this wonderful adventure. Now you can also bring the Magic of Disney's Moana, in this epic inspiring journey beyond the blue horizons alongside Moana, & Maui.

Available now on HD Digital Copy, 
and coming to Blu-Ray/DVD on March 7th, 2017. 

To read all about the release, and bonus features (CLICK HERE) or click on the image below. The same information is also available in Spanish in the same blog post, if you prefer to read this version.

Follow MOANA on Social Media:

Download free movie inspired activities
The epic voyage - Maze
Find the conch shells
Moana's Motto - Unscramble the words 
Coloring Page - Moana & Maui
Kakamora - Spot the differences
Connect the Dots - Colloring Page - HeiHei & Pua

Now, are you ready for a giveaway? We sure are. Remember to follow us through social media, to keep-up-to date with the latest in family films, fun activities, giveaways, and much more.


One lucky follower of our blog "Just Happiling" will win a digital code to own a copy of Disney's Moana via Disney Movies Anywhere. The giveaway is open to US residents only, who are 18+ years old at the time of entry. Only one entrant per household is allowed, and cheating will not be tolerated. Void where prohibited by law. By entering, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to the terms of this giveaway, and to release Just Happiling, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and any other form of social media from any liability regarding the prize. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor of this giveaway event. This giveaway starts on March 5th, and ends on March 15th, 2017 at 11:59pm PT. One lucky participant will be chosen at random and will have 24 hours to claim the prize via the email provided in the giveaway tool. If the winner fails to respond within that period of time, a new random winner will be chosen. Good Luck!


Disclaimer: We received promotional items from this movie and a complimentary copy of the film for purposes of this blog post. In addition, we were provided an extra copy of the film to give away to one of our followers. We are part of the campaigning bloggers promoting the release of the film described in this blog post, alongside Allied Contigo. Although we may or may not be compensated for sharing this information, all opinions are 100% our own. Any and all promotional photos and information were provided to us for press purposes. The rest of our photos and content belongs to Just Happiling and is protected under copyright laws. If you are a company that would like to work with us, or host a giveaway, please email Michelle at justhappiling(at)gmail(dot)com we'd love to work with you.

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  1. I would like to watch this new movie with my four year old grandson. I thought the movie was really funny after seeing the commercials on TV.


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