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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

S’mores with Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows Taste Test


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

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

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!


Wow! These marshmallows are absolutely a treat. They turned out as the fluffiest dessert I've ever consumed. The vanilla flavor is strong, which I love, and gives the s'mores a dimension that isn't usually present with the store-bought variety. A tried and true summer and campout classic, this s'more tasted more like something you'd find at a starred restaurant.


A few years back a friend introduced me to using Whole Foods Milk Chocolate instead of the usual Hersheys, and this is one thing I HIGHLY recommend. The chocolate is much more flavorful and enhances the whole experience.


If you make the homemade marshmallows (which are insanely delicious) just be careful when heating, they dissolved and melted much faster than store-bought marshmallows, and I was left with a bit of a sticky mess. I visited three different stores and they were all out of corn syrup so I substituted agave syrup. This could have caused the extra stickiness. If you're able to find corn syrup, definitely opt for that. Overall, these tasted amazing and you're in for a real treat!


S'mores with homemade vanilla marshmallo
Download • 1.90MB

Makes 16 servings

Preparation Time: 4 hours 15 minutes (With 3 hours rest)

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

Cost: $17 (If you make the homemade marshmallows)


Ingredients for S'mores:

*1 box graham crackers

*8 milk chocolate bars (Recommend Whole Foods Milk Chocolate)

*Homemade marshmallows (Ok, we are getting fancy here. You can always just use

store bought marshmallows, but these homemade ones are awesome!)


Ingredients for Homemade Marshmallows:

*Vegetable oil, for brushing

*4 envelopes unflavored powder gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)

*3 cups granulated sugar

*1 1/4 cups light corn syrup

*1/4 teaspoon salt

*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


Preparation:

*Brush a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with oil.

*Line with parchment, allowing a 2 inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil, set aside.

*Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan.

*Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

*Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238F on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.

*Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle with gelatin.

*Let soften 5 minutes.

*Attach bowl with gelatin to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

*With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high. Beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes.

*Beat in vanilla.

*Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with a spatula.

*Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.

*Sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar onto a work surface.

*Unmold marshmallow onto confectioner’s sugar, remove parchment.

*Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. (Oiled knife keeps from sticking to marshmallows.)

*Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl and roll each marshmallow in sugar to coat.


For S' mores:

*Light fire.

*Break graham crackers and chocolate into squares.

*Roast marshmallow on a stick until light brown.

*Sandwich chocolate and marshmallow between two graham crackers.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib