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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. 

  • Cecelia Zook

Braised Short Ribs Taste Test


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

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

We hope you enjoy!


I have one word to describe this recipe: WOW! My husband got home while the ribs were cooking in the oven. He was on the phone with someone, but right when he walked through the door, he stopped in mid sentence and his jaw dropped because the house was filled with the smell of ribs!


I can confidently say that the braised short ribs is the best meal I have ever cooked. I have never made ribs before, and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated before going into this recipe. Not only were the ribs incredibly delicious, but it turned out to be very simple to make. If you're not very experienced with chopping, I do recommend giving yourself a bit of time before to get all of your ingredients together. That way when it's time for you to start, everything is ready to go!


Braised Short Ribs
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Makes 16 servings

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 2.5 hours



Ingredients:

*5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

*Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*3 tablespoons vegetable oil

*3 medium onions, chopped

*3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped

*2 celery stalks, chopped

*3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

*1 (750 ml) bottle dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)

*1 tablespoon tomato paste

*10 sprigs parsley

*8 sprigs thyme

*4 sprigs oregano

*2 sprigs rosemary

*2 fresh or dried bay leaves

*1 head of garlic, halved crosswise

*4 cups low-salt beef stock


Preparation:

*Preheat oven to 350F.

*Season short ribs with salt and pepper.

*Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high.

*Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.

*Transfer short ribs to a plate and pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot.

*Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.

*Add flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red. About 2-3 minutes.

*Stir in wine, then add short ribs back in the pot with all those good juices!

*Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.

*Add all herbs to pot along with garlic.

*Stir in beef stock.

*Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to oven.

*Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2½ hours.

*Transfer short ribs to a platter.

*Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup.

*Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard.

*Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

*Serve in shallow bowls.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Cecelia Zook