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Set the Table
What would Paula Deen do? She would head to the South with that menu. Set up a lemonade and sweet tea bar too. Make pitchers of sweet tea and lemonade and set them out with bowls of condiments so guests can accessorize their beverages with a little flavor enhancer. Try mint sprigs, orange and lemon wheels, berries, lavender (dried or fresh, but not perfumed), candied ginger, pineapple chunks, cherries and slices of kiwi and peaches. Add vodka, gin or tequila to make simple cocktails with the lemonade and garnishes. In the kitchen, you'll be hauling signature Southern dishes out the oven: flaky biscuitscrab cakeshamcornbreadgreensjambalaya and you know my favorite: fried chicken and waffles, covered with maple syrup. Warning: You'll be (happily) incapacitated for the rest of the afternoon. For a centerpiece, add some whole fruits and vegetables in big bowls accented with simple fresh flowers in jelly jars, and you're all set.

Nod to Tradition
Not ready to give up the egg hunt? Understood, but how about using natural ingredients as a new tradition? Let the kids get creative using unexpected ingredients to make the dye colors. Here's how: Boil eggs in water with a bit of vinegar and one of the following ingredients. Let it simmer for at about 15 minutes.
• For blue eggs, use red cabbage
• For green, use spinach
• For yellow, use carrot tops, saffron, turmeric, orange or lemon peels
• For orange, use yellow onion skins
• For pink, use beets or cranberries
• For red, use red onion skins
• For purple, use red wine
• For lavender, use Concord grape juice

Don't forget to make time for fun activities and thoughtful moments

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