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We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Lisa Lou

4th of July Recipes

I love celebrating the 4th of July! I have so many memories over the years of bike parades, money dives, and belly flop contests at the neighborhood pool. As well as helping my mom prepare for a big family cookout. At night, we would dress in our most festive red, white, and blue attire, stuff ourselves full of BBQ, and eagerly anticipate the main event – fireworks! Since coronavirus hit this year, many of those celebrations will be cancelled or socially distanced. Although the holiday will not be quite the same, there are still fun ways to celebrate our nation’s birth. Our family is planning a stay-at-home celebration with a backyard cookout featuring a festive red, white, and blue themed menu. There are fabulous options available this time of year with delicious seasonal produce. Posted are recipes for the starter and dessert along with ideas for an easy main menu. Enjoy!

MENU

For starters:

Burrata with roasted tomatoes

For the main course:

Blue-cheese burgers

BBQ chicken

Red skinned potato salad

Sliced watermelon

For dessert:

Pretzel Crust Key Lime Pie



RECIPES

Burrata with roasted tomatoes - serves 6-8

To make the roasted tomatoes:

2 pints cherry tomatoes, assorted colors, and sizes if available

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1 t. fresh thyme

¼ t. crushed red pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil

1 t. balsamic vinegar

2 balls burrata cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the first five ingredients in the olive oil and place in a small roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 25 minutes until they begin to soften and blacken in spots.

While the tomatoes are roasting, prepare the burrata. Place 2 balls of cheese on a large platter. When tomatoes are warm and bubbly, remove from oven and immediately pour over the cheese. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top of the tomatoes and garnish with fresh herbs such as chopped thyme or basil.

Enjoy with crackers or a toasted baguette.

Note: Burrata cheese is also delicious for dessert with watermelon and fresh mint, roasted peaches with brown sugar or strawberries drizzled with balsamic vinegar. These options would be good with toasted bread or grilled pound cake.


Pretzel Crust Key Lime Pie – serves 8-10

Crust:

1 ½ cups finely ground graham crackers

1 ½ cups finely ground graham crackers

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 t. sugar

Key Lime Filling:

1 ¼ cups freshly lime juice (can use either Key Limes or regular limes)

1 T. finely grated lime peel

2 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

2 large eggs

Whipped Cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

½ cup powdered sugar

1 t. vanilla

Fresh berries for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray an 11 inch by 1-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.

Using a food processor, crush graham crackers and pretzels until finely ground. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse to combine. This mixture should resemble wet sand. Press the crumbs into tart pan, covering bottom and sides evenly.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sweetened condensed milk together. Add lime juice and lime peel until thoroughly mixed. Pour filling into prepared crust.

Bake pie for 35 minutes until filling is set and crust is slightly browned. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet to prevent spilling since the crust will be very full. Remove pie from oven and let cool before refrigerating. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Right before serving, whip the cream then garnish decoratively. Serve with a mixture of fresh berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Mother/Daughter Contributors

Mom: Lisa O’Connor and Daughters: Megan and Allie