November 4, 2014
Stephanie Allen

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Make your Occasions Special with your own Signature Beverage

Russian-Tea-MixHolidays are the perfect opportunity to create your own beverage traditions. Here are some of mine:

  • When I was in elementary school, my go-to gift was making Russian Tea for friends and family each Christmas.
  • Our neighbors came to know they could always enjoy a cup of hot apple cider on a cold Halloween night – self-serve from our front porch.
  • Every year when we decorated the tree with the kids, we always drank hot cocoa from Christmas mugs with holiday music playing in the background.

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October 30, 2014
Stephanie Allen

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The Never-ending Joy of Making New Traditions

As my family grows up, my nest empties of my kids and joyfully refills with grandkids. Our family grows, moves, and constantly changes. From decorating the tree to opening stockings, what we always used to do before, we don’t do anymore. That doesn’t have to be a sad thing. I want my kids to start their own family traditions.  Letting go of the old, means making room for the new.

Some of your traditions will last a lifetime; others will be for a season. This is actually exciting. I’m always on the lookout for new traditions!

What is a tradition?  It’s doing something special repeatedly. The regularity of your tradition instills anticipation, which is half the fun!  Traditions become associated with a certain time of year, holiday, or event. A beloved tradition is one where your family asks, “When are we going to do ______ again” Or, when they express disappointment when it’s missing, “But we always have Swedish Meatballs for Christmas.” Traditions bring predictability and joy in the good times and give you strength through the hard times.

Here are some of our newest traditions:

pumpkin patch at beach house 2 Continue Reading

October 28, 2014
Stephanie Allen

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Winning the Halloween Candy Craze

Little Trick-or-TreatersHalloween brings out the kid in most of us… from dressing up in crazy costumes to eating bite-sized savory treats; we’ve mastered the art of fanciful celebration with childlike abandon!

Our fetish for sweets peaks the month of October. “The week of Halloween alone, Americans buy 90 million pounds of chocolate. That’s enough Hershey’s bars to wrap around the world nearly 3.25 times!” Live Strong

“Americans, on average, consume about 25 pounds of candy each annually.”

If we’re not addicted to sugar, our kids probably are. They run to sweets like a dog to the beach. How do we enjoy the holiday with some sense of self-control both for our kids and ourselves?

Give these ideas a try: Continue Reading

October 21, 2014
Stephanie Allen

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Easy Chili

Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy chili.  I love having it for leftovers on busy sports nights, making  a hearty pot on ‘game day,’ or having it ready to fill kids up before going out Trick-or-Treating.

Easy Chili

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 30 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 30 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

Directions Continue Reading

September 24, 2014
Stephanie Allen

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How to Create an Amazing Auction Vacation Menu

One of my favorite things to do is love people with food. This year we joined forces with friends to create a vacation auction package get away for one of our favorite charities.  They offered their vacation home and I supplied the meals. Some of our friends got the winning bid so it made it extra fun being their chef!  I invited my daughter and son-in-law along and they helped me in the kitchen and did the clean-up so I could enjoy our company.


Serving the food was fun and easy to do with Dream Dinners. Continue Reading