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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • Alina Gersib

Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Butter Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


If you are looking for an absolutely decadent dish, this is it! I am not exaggerating when I say that this bananas foster topping is one of the most delicious treats I have ever tasted. The combination of maple syrup and bananas creates an almost caramelly flavor, if you are a lover of caramel, this topping will be one of your new favorites. Not only is it delicious with the pancakes but it could also go well with a bowl of plain greek yogurt for an indulgent tasting dessert that would be on the healthier end! The tanginess of the yogurt would pair delightfully with the sweetness of the topping.


Growing up each year for our birthdays my mom would cook me and my siblings a special breakfast of our choice. My go-to was waffles with whipped cream and peaches, but if I knew this existed back then, I think my choice would have been different. If you have kiddos at home, this would be a great special birthday breakfast dish!


Bananas Foster Pancakes with Cinnamon Bu
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Download • 1.88MB

Makes 12 mini pancakes

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients for the Pancakes:

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

*3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 tablespoon granulated sugar

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*11/4 cups milk

*1 egg, room temperature

*3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preparation for the Pancakes:

*Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground cinnamon twice into a large mixing bowl.

*Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.

*In a separate bowl add vanilla, egg and (slightly) cooled melted butter. Beat lightly until blended.

*Lightly beat in milk.

*Add the wet ingredients to the well of the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.

*Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium to medium high heat.

*Pour batter onto griddle in approximately 1/4 cup increments.

*Lightly brown on both sides and serve warm.



Ingredients for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*1/4 cup butter

*2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*1/4 cup maple syrup

*1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

*2 firm, ripe medium bananas, cut into 1/2 inch slices

*1/4 cup pecan halves


Preparation for the Bananas Foster Topping:

*In 10 inch nonstick skillet, toast pecans over medium low heat until fragrant.

*Transfer pecans from skillet to a cutting board.

*Coarsely chop pecan pieces. Set aside.

*Using the same skillet, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and vanilla extract over medium-high heat.

*Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until sugar dissolves and mixture is thick.

*Lower heat to medium.

*Add banana slices, gently spooning sauce over each slice. (I recommend tilting the pan to the side in order to pool the sauce, this makes it easier to spoon over the bananas)

*Cook about 3 minutes, or until bananas are glossy and coated with sauce.

*To serve, place 2 pancakes on each individual plate.

*Spoon banana slices and sauce over pancakes.

*Garnish with chopped pecans and whipped cream, if desired.

*Serve immediately.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib

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