New On The Blog

It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Sami Reyna

4 Family Meal Planning Tips



As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:


1. Make a list of your favorite, go-to meals that you make well, and often. Each time you prepare a dish that is a hit, add it to your growing list of menu items. This will save you time in the future, and it ensures you have plenty of ideas to quickly choose from when you are planning out your week. These favorite dishes also become family traditions which is great for making memories with your kids! I recommend categorizing the list by cuisine or theme! Here are mine: Mexican, Italian, Asian, Comfort Food, Family Favorites, Mediterranean. Try to have several go-to recipes in each category to rotate and repeat!


2. Don’t try to plan out too many meals! Be realistic! If you know you rarely cook 5 days a week due to your family’s schedule, anticipate that! It can be frustrating when you buy too many ingredients that sit, unused, due to the whirlwind of life. It pains me to throw out groceries from the refrigerator simply because I ran out of time. Also, remember with each meal you make you will also have leftovers. This should account for another meal. I would recommend only 3-4 days for meal planning but do what works for you!


3. Pick out three meals from your established list and write down what you need to purchase for the week. This only takes about 15 minutes. It is stressful to have no plan and head to the grocery store not knowing what to buy. You end up throwing things in the cart and hoping for the best! Always take inventory of what you have in the refrigerator and pantry after choosing your meals and before shopping. Try to create a menu based on what you already have in stock. If you need to save more time, order your groceries online for delivery or curbside pickup. Do not feel you must make a meal on the exact day you had planned. It can be very frustrating and overwhelming to stick to a strict schedule. Give yourself some grace and go with the flow. This will help you not feel like you are failing in some way. Because life happens!


4. Group meals together by cuisine. This helps to reduce food waste, save money, and simplify grocery shopping. Who wants to do Italian one night, Asian the next, and then Mexican the following? You will no doubt have ingredients left over. It’s just too much. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with a long list of different items you need from the store, either. I love variety but hate food waste. I will make several different Mexican meals in a week so I know I will use all that cilantro I purchased or empty out that tortilla packet. You will not become bored thinking you are eating the same thing each night, because each meal will be different. You are just using similar ingredients. I love taking this approach, because it makes for great snacks, too! You can use the leftover meat from taco night to make nachos the next day. It’s a win/win and your family will love it!


I hope these tips alleviate your meal-planning stress! Share your own tips in the comments below. I would love to know what works for you!


Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife