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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.

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.

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.”

  • Alina Gersib

Queso con Carne Taste Test

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

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!

Being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of queso, I was more than excited to try my hand at making a batch. As I was heating the various cheeses the consistency was more akin to a queso fundido. I made one-third of the recipe and ended up adding about a 1/4 cup of water and a few tablespoons more of cream to thin the queso out. If you are making the full recipe, watch the consistency and know you may have to add more liquid than you think. Even with adding some extra liquids the queso ended up being more on the thick side. Overall, the recipe was simple to follow and tasted great. The Carne topping came together easily and was a perfect complement to the dish. If you like Queso, definitely give this recipe a try!

Queso con Carne
Download PDF • 2.80MB

Makes 20 servings

Preparation Time: 5 Minutes for the Carne

Cook Time: 10 minutes for the Queso, 10 minutes for the Carne

Cost: $25

Ingredients for Cheese:

*1 cup heavy cream (You may have to add extra cream and water to thin the queso out)

*3 pounds cream cheese, room temperature

*3 pounds mild cheddar cheese

*1 tablespoon onion powder


*In a large saucepan, warm up the heavy cream on medium heat.

*Add the onion powder and stir to dissolve cream.

*Start adding the cheeses in batches, allowing each batch to melt nicely before adding the next batch. Always keep stirring.

*When all the cheese has been incorporated, place the queso in a dish, top with carne topping. (Recipe below).

Ingredients for Carne Topping:

*1 tablespoon olive oil

*2 pounds ground beef

*1 tablespoon smoky paprika (regular paprika can be substituted, but smoky tastes better)

*1 tablespoon cumin

*1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

*1 cup Roma tomatos, chopped

*1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

*Salt and pepper, to tast


*In a large skillet heat up the oil on high heat.

*Add the beef and work well with a spatula until nicely crumbled.

*Turn the heat down to medium and add the rest of the ingredients and cook, constantly stirring, for 5 minutes (add a splash of water if needed to moisten the beef).

*Take off the heat, serve and enjoy.

Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib

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