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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

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.

  • Alina Gersib

Rosemary Focaccia



This Italian flat bread is relatively quick to make and a crowd pleaser beyond compare. I have brought it to multiple events and it always receives rave reviews. The hands on time to create the focaccia is only about 20 minutes but the outcome tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. From the oil soaked edges to fluffy interior, each bite of this tasty bread will leave you wanting more.


Even though the recipe is simple, there are two separate rise times involved before baking equaling about 2 hours, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time. Yeast breads require warm environments to fluff up fully. If your home tends to be on the cooler side a great place to let your bread rise is in the laundry room while you are washing/drying a load of clothes. The rising process may only take around 40 minutes if you place the dough in a particularly warm area. All in all this recipe is absolutely wonderful. We hope you enjoy!


Rustic Rosemary Recipes
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Makes 8 - 10 servings

Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus 2 hours to rise

Cook Time: 20 minutes


Ingredients:

*1 package active dry yeast, (2 1/4 teaspoons)

*1 3/4 cups warm water, 110°F

*1 tablespoon sugar

*4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for kneading

*1 cup whole wheat flour

*1 tablespoon sea salt

*1/3 cup + 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

*2 tablespoons rosemary

*1/2 teaspoon Maldon flakey salt for sprinkling



Preparation:

*Stir together yeast, water, and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture is covered in foam.

*Combine flours, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1/3 cup of olive oil, and the yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

*Mix on low until the mixture comes together, then turn the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be ready when it's slightly sticking to the bottom of the bowl and looks soft and a little tacky.

*Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly floured surface. Knead the dough a few times and form a ball.

*Brush a large bowl with a few teaspoons of olive oil.

*Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

*Move bowl to a warm area and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

*Coat a large baking sheet with 1/4 cup olive oil.

*Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and kneed a few times.

*Place the dough onto your oiled baking sheet, pressing and spreading it until it reaches the edges.

*Flip the dough over to coat the opposite side in oil and spread it out to the edges again.

*Use your fingers to make indentations every few inches over the surface of the dough.

*Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap and move it to proof in a warm area until it doubles again, around an hour.

*Preheat the oven to 425°F.

*Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle surface of dough with rosemary and Maldon flakey salt.

*Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.


Recipe Creator - Alina Gersib