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Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“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. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

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. 

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.

  • Cecelia Zook

Blood Orange Upside Down Cake Taste Test



Happy Foodie Friday! These recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

We hope you enjoy!


While baking this recipe, I had no idea how it was going to turn out because it seemed too easy. Little did I know, it would turn out to be my favorite recipe I’ve ever baked! Not only was it incredibly easy, but the entire experience from baking it to eating it was enjoyable. There is a wonderful balance of the bitter oranges on the top and the sweet orange zest in the batter. The cake was light, fluffy, and very moist - I couldn’t get enough! 



Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
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PDF • 2.34MB

Makes 8 Servings

Preparation Time: 1 Hour

Cook Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes


Ingredients for the oranges:

*4 blood oranges (3 used for slices, the 4th for zest + juice)

*2/3 cup granulated or cane sugar

*5 tablespoons butter + additional for greasing the pan


Preparation of the pan and orange slices:

*Preheat oven to 350F.

*Butter a 9 inch cake pan well.

*Cut the 5 tablespoons of butter into small chunks and scatter them in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

*Slice your blood oranges: cut each end off, then stand the orange on end and slice the outer skin off.

*Cut into thin slices. Set on a large plate and pour the 2/3 cup of sugar over them. Let sit for 5 minutes. Lay oranges in an even layer in the bottom of the pan and set aside.


Ingredients for the cake:

*1 stick butter, softened

*1 cup + 3 tablespoons cane or granulated sugar

*2 tablespoons brown sugar

*2 eggs

*Zest of one blood orange

*2 tablespoons orange juice

*1 teaspoon vanilla

*1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

*1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

*1/4 teaspoon salt

*1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream


Preparation for the cake batter:

*Cream softened butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth and creamy then add the sugar and mix until creamed together.

*Mix in one egg at a time.

*Add the orange zest, orange juice and vanilla and mix until combined.

*In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

*Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, 1/3 of the mixture at a time, alternating with the Greek yogurt.

*Pour batter over the oranges in the cake pan.


Ingredients for the crumb layer:

*1/3 cup all-purpose flour

*3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (can substitute all-purpose flour)

*1/4 cup cane or granulated sugar

*4 tablespoons melted butter

*Pinch of salt


Preparation for the crumb topping:

*In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.

*Add the melted butter and stir until different size crumbs form.

*Sprinkle the crumbs over the cake batter.


Preparation for the cake:

*Once the entire cake is prepared, bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.

*When done, a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean.

*Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen, then invert cake onto a cooling rack. (Don't let it sit longer than this because the oranges can begin to stick in the bottom of the pan. If the cake seems to be sticking, gently, but firmly, tap on the bottom of the cake pan with the butt of a butter knife while the cake pan is flipped upside down on the cooling rack. If any stray oranges stick to the pan, gently remove them and place them back on the cake.)

*Let cake cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

*Store at room temperature for up to 4 days, tightly covered with foil, plastic wrap or in a large plastic container.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook