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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.

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December Leftover New Year’s Eve Party Ideas

Updated: Jan 1

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

Mexican Chicken Empanadas Taste Test

Beef Kabobs with Mint Yogurt Dipping Sauce Taste Test

Peppermint Bark Taste Test

Gingerbread Cheesecake Bites

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