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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.

  • Lisa Lou

December Leftover New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

Decor Ideas:

1. I could give ideas for a traditional New Year’s Eve party but let me tell you what we did in my family for many years. When my husband and I were young parents, the conversation of what we would do for New Year’s Eve was always a source of difficulty. Restaurants seemed to have set menus that were expensive and not what we enjoyed. Even more daunting was trying to find a babysitter that did not have plans. Never one to let an obstacle get in our way of fun, we created an annual Leftover New Year’s Eve party. By the time NYE rolled around, I was exhausted from entertaining, but I did not mind opening our home one last time for the year if my guests could help carry the load. Since many of our friends were in the same stage of life as we were, the party was a smashing success.

2. Friends and their children (any age) were invited. Guests were encouraged to arrive in their pajamas. This was fun for the children and the adults. It was also practical, because most of the parents put their children to bed in one of our spare rooms. So, part of the décor was the attire!

3. Every guest brought a dish. To ensure I had everything covered, on the invitation I asked for a specific item. “Please Bring: A Meat.” “Please Bring: A Dessert.” I let them choose what they wanted to provide, but by giving them a category I knew I had everything I needed. I also encouraged them to bring leftovers from Christmas. On our buffet table we had half eaten Tupperware meals scattered everywhere. We supplied the drinks.

4. My centerpiece was provided each year by my mom. Her birthday is NYE, so this was always a fun party for her. She would save the turkey carcass from our Christmas dinner. As you can imagine, it looked awful! She would embellish it with olives and sprigs of herbs. This party was about getting rid of everything that was leftover from Christmas, along with the rest of the year. To say it was a tacky event would be an understatement. This is also what made it so fun!

5. With a young son in the house, I had odd numbers of paper plates and napkins from every child’s party throughout the year: Valentine’s Day paper plates from school parties; birthday party napkins, etc. I pulled out everything I had leftover from the past year. All my plates, napkins, and utensils were paper or plastic. No nice plates and utensils at this event! Setting all of this around the table also helped form the decorations for the evening.

6. Party Favors: I had noise makers that we handed out to ring in the New Year, and these served as the party favors. Our Leftover New Year’s Eve parties may have been a little trashy, but it was always the best event of the year!

Spotify Playlist for Leftover New Year's Eve Party.

Menu Ideas:

All recipes come courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Taste Tests for the menu ideas come out every Friday, so if you do not see the one you're looking for now, be sure to keep checking back here or on our Instagram.

December Leftover New Year’s Eve Menu:

December Leftover New Years
Download PDF • 1.77MB

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