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Time for Tailgating

Football Time of Year

Football is one of the most exciting parts of fall! Not just the game itself, but the idea of cheering on your favorite team and using that good competitive spirit. AlongFootball with the football game, come many other activities. Football isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. You’re going to have a TON of cookouts and tailgates to attend. At that point you’ll be mostly worried about your jersey, your foam finger, and your dish to pass but don’t forget all of the other things that we tend to put out of sight and out of mind on game day.

When going to the game or the tailgate, make sure you have the correct coverage on your vehicle. An accident in a parking lot (regardless of who’s fault in may have been) will always go back on your own insurance for your vehicle’s damages. Make sure you’re insured correctly because even if you’re a great driver, the person next to you may not be. You’ll want to call your agent and discuss your coverages if you have any questions, that’s what we’re here for!

All of these parties and get-togethers are a good call for an umbrella policy. These are fairly cheap and provide a ton of additional coverage (contact your agent). An umbrella policy would help you to rest a little easier if there are people in your home drinking beer during the game. Or if someone gets a little too rowdy and says something offensive to a fan of the opposing team. There’s a lot of uncharted area when it comes to alcohol and competitive sports so an umbrella policy may be a good idea.

Whoever is in charge of grilling is going to need to be someone who won’t be distracted by the game. Not only, do you want to make sure that the food gets cooked properly but you also want to make sure that safety is on their mind. You never want to leave a grill unattended once it’s lit/hot. There are kids and pets around and it’s just better to keep an eye on that. In the event of a grease fire, it’s important to remember that you should NEVER throw water on a grease fire. Baking Soda is a life saver when it comes to grease fires, make sure everyone in the cooking area on game day knows this. You don’t want your drunk friend throwing water a grease fire while you’re reaching for the baking soda because that would be a hot mess.


Now that we’ve been through all the boring, adult stuff, share your recipe for your favorite dish to pass! We all have one thing that’s out “go-to” for a pot luck. Share it with us!

Have a fun and safe weekend, and GO BLUE!

Autumn Activities

Autumn Activities

Michigan is lovely in the fall and the leaves are just starting to turn their many different shades of yellow, orange and red. The cooler weather is bringing in someApple Orchard excitement along with it. Fresh, breathable air, calls for outdoor activities! We all need to get our fill of the outdoors quick before the snow comes!

Fall is one of my personal favorites! It’s bringing in the holiday season and that’s so exciting! Get out the decorations and your long sleeves again, it’s time for fall! Not only are we celebrating the cooler weather and changing of colors on the trees but we’re also prepping for winter.

We’ve made a list of things going on in the Grand Rapids area. These are things that are only happening this fall and you’ll want to get them in before it’s too chilly outside!

Artprize: Everyone knows about Artprize. This is the world’s largest public art event and one of Michigan’s favorite times of year. This is a perfect time to get some exercise and fresh air walking around downtown GR. Grab a coffee and get your creative spirit flowing, fall treesthere’s TONS of art to see and of all kinds! Sometimes you even get to see the artist! This is going on now through Oct 7 so you’ll want to head down when you get a chance!

Corn maze: These are good for family and friends! Take a group of people and get to work! You can go to a haunted corn maze, or just a normal corn maze and you’ll have fun either way! A perfect place to go, if you’re looking for a family event, is to Heidi’s in Lowell. Not only do they have the BEST donuts, but they also have a fun filled corn maze!

Apple orchard: There are also plenty of these, you can google search and there will probably be plenty in your area. If you’re looking for the best one then head over to Robinette’s in Grand Rapids. You won’t be disappointed! Donuts, cider, wine and pumpkins will get you in the holiday spirit real quick!

Football game: In the American spirit, you’ll want to attend (or watch) at least one football game. Take a trip down memory lane back to your school days while cheering for your favorite teams! Embrace your competitive side and go enjoy a night under the lights!

Pumpkin patch: This idea is similar to that of the apple orchard, get outside and celebrate the season! Pick out your décor pumpkins and don’t forget to get some for carving! Save the pumpkin seeds to make yourself a tasty treat afterwards. Send us photos of your pumpkin creations!

Fall Festival: there are plenty of fall festivals to go around. Craft shows are starting and you’ll need your fall décor. Fall Festivals are a great way to get together with your community and celebrate the season!

Fall Color Tour: Take a self-guided color tour of Michigan’s brightest trees this fall! Some excellent places are the Lowell/Ada area and (of course) our lovely Grand Rapids. This is an opportune time for a photo shoot. Whether there’s a special occasion or not, it’s never a bad idea to take some photos this time of year.

Haunted House: These may not be for everyone but they sure can be thrilling! If you’re looking for a heart racing adventure, this is for you. Go get your socks scared off and your adrenaline pumping. You can choose a lower level haunted house or the huge 4-story terrifying one. Bond with your friends and family through this spooky experience!


This is my personal Fall Bucket List, please comment anything that you’d add to make it your own! We’d love to hear your ideas and add them to our list!

Happy Autumn! 

Wedding Season

Wedding Season

For most of us, wedding season is an exciting and joyous time of year for us to celebrate and go to fancy parties. We go shopping and plan out exactly what to wear. If we’re spending so much time on the wedding then we need to make sure that we’re getting all of the appropriate coverages as well.

An unfortunate accident can turn the best day of your life into a disaster in all but 30 seconds. This is easily preventable by calling your insurance agency and going over the details. Depending on where you’re having the wedding, if there’s going to be alcohol at the wedding, the rules of your reception hall, and any additional coverages you may need to add for your own comfort and peace of mind.

If you are having alcohol at your wedding/reception you will need a liquor liability policy. These are usually pretty cheap and only for the Big Day. This is more of a “need” than a “want”. You never know what will happen with alcohol and your guests. It’s usually out of your control. This policy will protect you and usually your reception hall will require this anyway.

You’ll want to schedule your rings (or any other expensive wedding gifts or jewelry) onto your home policy to guarantee coverage for those high value items. Many people assume that all of their jewelry is covered no matter what, however, high value items require special coverage AND scheduling an item on your policy includes special perils so you’ll be covered from a wider array of situations. Keep colored photos and appraisals on hand and be sure to submit them to your insurance company as well. According to Trusted Choice, 96% of stolen jewelry is never recovered. Don’t take the chance of being the 4% that does recover the jewelry.

Wedding RingsWedding Traditions Explained:

1. The origin of the “First Look” concept started during the time of arranged marriages, where it was believed that if the bride and groom saw each other before the big day, they would have enough time to call off the wedding.

2. The origin of the Bridesmaids are quite different from what they are today. They originally wore similar dresses as the bride and walked close by to confuse any exes or “evil spirits” that may have come for the bride. They would also serve as a protective shield while walking the bride to the groom’s village in order to keep anyone from trying to hurt the bride or steal her dowry.

3. The Best Man used to play quite a different role than they do presently. Way back when, the duty of the best man was to ensure that the runaway bride didn’t escape from the wedding. When the bride’s parents didn’t approve of the union, the best man was asked to make sure the groom would be able to take his bride regardless of how her father felt. The term “best man” came from this because they were usually the strongest and fastest in order to effectively do his job.

4. Up until about 1840, brides traditionally wore a red wedding dress. It was Queen Victoria who went against the trend and wore white. The idea caught on, and now white is the traditional color for a wedding dress.

5. The origin of the honeymoon is also much different than present day meaning. The honeymoon was used by the groom to hide his bride from her tribe for about a month so that they wouldn’t know where to find her if any “rescue missions” were planned. Similar to the idea of the best man and his duties during the ceremony.  This helped ensure that the groom could keep his bride and no escapes or kidnappings would occur.

For more wedding traditions explained, visit this website for many more!

Share your wedding stories with us!

Life Insurance

Do I actually need life insurance?

It’s Life Insurance Awareness Month! We’re raising awareness here and we want to help you with ALL of your insurance needs.

Let’s face it, society buys insurance for their bodies, homes, vehicles, recreational toys and even their animals but hesitate to buy life insurance to protect their family’s future.  Why is that?  Life insurance is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give your family.  71% of people say they need life insurance yet only 59% have a policy. 

Many people say, “I have a policy through work.”  If your employer provides you with a life insurance policy, that is a wonderful benefit however, what happens when you leave that job or (heaven forbid) lose that job?  You also lose that policy.  Purchasing your own policy is best so no matter what obstacles life throws at you, your life insurance policy will remain intact and you will have the comfort and peace of knowing that your family is protected in event of an accident.   

So why are people so hesitant about purchasing life insurance? 

1. It’s too expensive.  Not true, it is too expensive to not have life insurance.  If you are proactive and purchase a policy in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s you will pay far less and will be able to lock in your low price for up to 30 years.  If you wait until you are in your 50’s and 60’s, it will certainly cost you more.  See the sample rates below:



$250,000; 30 year term policy

























 ** All rates are subject to underwriting approval

 ** Preferred Non-smoking rates shown above


2. I don’t want to have a medical examThe sooner you buy life insurance the more likely it is that you will not have a medical exam.  Technology has improved in the world of insurance underwriting and many applicants are able to secure life insurance without having to submit to a medical exam.  If you do need to have a medical exam, the exam is done in the comfort of your own home and is not invasive.  They take your weight, a small amount of blood, a urine sample and take your blood pressure.  The process is fast and no charge to the customer. 

Those are the top two reasons why people wait to purchase life insurance.  Hopefully we have demonstrated that it is not in your best interest to wait.  You never know what the future holds.  It is better to be 5 years early purchasing your life insurance policy, than 5 seconds too late.  

 Give Chris, our life insurance specialist, a call today for your free no obligation quote.  616-897-1515 x 119


Labor Day 2018

Summer is coming to a close and autumn is almost here!

 It’s our last weekend to get the family out for a camping trip before it’s too cold. The days are starting to get shorter and the flannel and boots are coming out ofLake Day storage. Make sure you take your time and enjoy this Labor Day with friends and family. Sleep in, have a good breakfast, and get outside to seize the day! Who doesn’t love a three day weekend?!

Whether it’s taking a relaxing, secluded vacation with your friends and family or going to a big event for the weekend, this is the last holiday weekend for summertime so be sure to soak it all up!

No matter where you are in Michigan, there’s plenty of festivals and other fun events to attend! Let us help you out with some ideas for the holiday!  

We have (my personal favorite) the Michigan Chicken Wing Festival in Lansing: not only can we celebrate chicken wings with our loved ones but you can also join the chicken wing tastings to help determine which vendor has the best wings.

Marquette Blues Fest: If you enjoy Pure Michigan and some good Blues music then this is for you! There will also be a beer and wine tent, plenty of food vendors, and workshops! Don’t miss out!

Salsa Festival at Harbor Beach: Go out on the beach and taste all sorts of homemade salsas! The salsa will be amazing and when you’re finished you can enjoy the quiet town and peaceful atmosphere.

Labor Day Truck Parade and Ice Cream Social in Holland: If you have children, this is the place for you! Come down to see the big trucks and have some sweet dessert!

There are all also Bridge Walks all over the state! This is a great way to get outdoors and get some fresh, clean air while spending time with friends and family. There are bridge walks in Mackinac, Saugatuck, Charlevoix, Cedar River, Traverse City, and Grand Haven. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to get some exercise and spend some quality time with friends!

While celebrating this weekend, make sure you insure your travel trailer and take all the necessary precautions while driving. It’s going to be a busy weekend because of the holiday so you’ll want to be careful of those around you. We also have a list of travel tips for you on our blog from last year. Check these out if you’re going on a road trip this weekend.

You’ll need to insure all of your recreational vehicles that you use this weekend, just to be safe. You can always put them back into storage after the holiday but this way, you’re covered. Recreational vehicles can include travel trailers, RV’s, quads, ATV’s, side by sides, motorcycles, antique autos, and boats.

Pink Arrow 2018

Pink Arrow Pride 2018

For those of us driving down Main Street in Lowell, we are all aware of the bold, hot pink t shirts hanging on both sides of the street! We ALL know what thisPink Arrow Pride means… it’s Pink Arrow season! Our favorite time of year and our biggest football game of the season! This will take place on August 30th (yes, a Thursday) and will be up against Rockford High School!

Don’t worry, there are PLENTY of exciting activities leading up to the game for everyone to enjoy. We have Pink Arrow games for all Fall Sports so feel free to attend one of your choosing, they will all be exciting! On September 8th the 2018 Quiver 5k Run will be held in download Lowell. NEW this year is the Kid’s 1 mile Fun Run at 9:30am for only $15. For more info visit:

Don’t forget to purchase your PINK shirt to get in the game free and cheer on your home town football team while supporting a good cause! Kickoff for the football game is at 7 pm but the Pink Arrow activities will start that day (Thursday, August 30th) after school until the end of the game. There will be plenty of things to participate in so go and have a blast while hanging with friends and supporting a good cause with your community! What a great way for Lowell to stand out as a community, let’s embrace that and show everyone what Lowell is about! 

Pink Arrow Pride focuses on raising awareness for the treatment and cure of many different forms of cancer. A huge part of this is in honor of a former Lowell teacher and coach who lost her battle with cancer, Kathy Talus, and Dr. Gerard who dedicated 30+ years to Lowell Student Athletes.


Another festival coming up fast is the Fallasburg Arts Festival! It’s at Fallasburg Park and on September 15-16 from 10 am – 5 pm each day. Plenty of food, crafts, arts and fun to be had! For more info visit:

Share your favorite part of Pink Arrow Season with us! Whether it’s your favorite activity or just a funny story, we want to hear it!

Please share or tag us in your Pink Arrow photos so we can see how much fun you’re having!

We’re SO excited and we’ll see you all next Thursday at the Pink Arrow Pride Football Game!

Back to School

It’s our favorite time of year at Alliance! School is starting, and that means that football is starting too! Make sure you get all of the back to school deals and your child is ready to go this year. You want your child prepped for success and confident on their first day! This year, our schools are starting sooner than they ever have before so we all feel somewhat rushed. It’s time to relax, we’ve created your back to school shopping list for you!

– Pencil pack (at least 5, these break often and get lost easily)crayons

– Pens (see above)

– Pencil/pen bag

– Highlighters (2, different colors)

– 3 ring binder

– Loose leaf paper

– Loose leaf graph paper

– Notebooks (probably 3 will do)

– Index cards

– Plastic folders (MUCH more durable, worth the extra $1.50)

– Ruler

– Calculator

– Planner or calendar (keep track of assignments and practices)

– Backpack

– Lunch box

EXTRA CREDIT – it’s always kind to bring some extra supplies for the classroom too. Tissues, dry erase markers, colored pencils, staples, etc. There are many classroom essentials that the state no longer provides and teachers are responsible for getting. Many hands make light work, if everyone pitches in and donates a little to the classroom then your child’s classroom environment will be a much more positive place. This way the teacher can start off the year right and your child can get the education they deserve!

 For those of us in Lowell, be sure to check the school website for all events coming up! It’s the start of busy season and we want to be prepared!

All Lowell sports schedules can be found here:

Don’t forget – the Lowell Pink Arrow game is on August 30th and we’re up against Rockford, come support your home town and a good cause!

What are you most excited for this school year? Let us know!

Cookout Season

Grilling Safety and Apple Pie

It’s hot in Michigan and we’re all ramping up our time spent outside! Everywhere you go you see (and smell) cookouts with friends and family. We’re only just approaching tailgate season so we’ve compiled a few of the most important grilling safety tips for you to review prior to your meal prep. We’ve also included a special apple pie recipe here for those of you who are looking for a memorable dish to bring to a cookout. This pie is only an hour and half from start to finish and it’s so tasty too!


Grilling Safety:

1. When grilling with gas, make sure that you’re at least 10 feet away from your home. It’d be bad enough to have an accident with your grill but if you get yourGrilling home caught up in it too then you’re mess will be 100x worse. It’s better to stay safe and keep your grill 10 feet away from the house.

2. Keep the grill in a more secluded area of the cookout. You don’t want kids, pets, and backyard games too close or someone could get seriously injured. Grilling is an event of its own!

3. Always keep your lighters/matches away from the grill (and away from children, as per usual). This is just one of your basic safety rules.

4. Never leave your lit grill unattended. You may think that it’s no big deal to walk away for a minute but it only takes a second for a child to wander over there and let their curious hands get the best of them or for a tree/porch/home to catch on fire. Let’s be cautious where we leave our burning coals!

5. Keep a spray bottle of water and a fire extinguisher handy. You need know when you might need one of these and having one right next to you can make a huge difference in the event of an accident.

6. Clean your grill regularly. Allowing grease and fat to build up on the grill will only provide more fuel for a fire. Make sure to clean this more often than not.

7. Make sure that you’re always grilling outside. Grills release carbon monoxide and that’s not something to mess around with. You want to make sure that you have plenty of ventilation so nobody gets carbon monoxide poisoning. The best way to ensure good ventilation is to grill outside.

8. Never throw water on grease fire. Water can make the fire bigger and hotter by feeding it. Instead of water, use baking soda to suffocate the fire and dehydrate the flames.


Apple Pie by Grandma Ople:

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook: 1 hour

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

½ c of unsalted butter

3 Tbsp of flour

¼ c of water

½ c white sugar

½ c brown sugar

8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced.


1). Preheat the oven to 425. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in flour to form a paste. Add the water, white sugar, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce temp and let simmer.

2). Place the bottom crust in the pan and fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover this with a lattice work crust and gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it doesn’t run off.

3). Bake 15 minutes at 425. Reduce temp to 350 and continue baking for 35-45 minutes, until apples are soft.

Tip: Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.


You can find this recipe and nutrition facts at:

These grilling safety tips are for the safety and precaution of everyone. A cookout or tailgate is the most fun when nobody gets hurt and nothing catches on fire. If you have any grilling safety tips to add to our list, comment below!

When you make this pie, be sure to let us know how it goes! Send us a photo of your masterpiece and share some tips and tricks that you discovered along the way! We want to hear from you and get your feedback on this recipe so comment your thoughts!

Family Activities for Hot Days!

School will be back before you know it! You need to start now, and get all of your activities planned for the summer. We’ve compiled a list of all your basic summer activities that you can’t miss out on! If you haven’t done these yet, you had better get started! It’s time to get the planner out and get scheduling, these are activities that you won’t want to miss! 

Camping: The most common activity that people think of in summer. Quality family time, bonfires, s’mores, what more could you ask for? Bring your tent, hammocks, and hiking shoes and get out in the fresh Michigan air! This is a great way to get away from the busy life, spend some time with those you love, and unplug from the screens. Make sure you know the rules and precautions for bonfires wherever you camp, you don’t want your camping trip to turn into a nightmare.

Water balloons: Much less expensive and LOADS of fun! It’s been very hot and humid lately too so this activity will be awesome for everyone. Fill up 500 water balloons and have a huge water balloon fight in the yard! Make sure you clean up as many of the balloons as you can when you’re finished, the less rubber that we leave in the environment, the better cleaner it is.

FairSplash Parks: These are also good for a hot day! Grab the sunscreen and go have fun at the park, playing and splashing around. The younger kids will love this and it’ll cool you off. This is going to get the kids some exercise while you can relax and enjoy the sunshine. Pack some snacks and make it an all-day adventure!

Theme Parks: These are fantastic for a slightly older family. You want to ride all the roller coasters and every water ride in the park! This makes for a thrilling and heart racing day! You’ll need lots of food to fuel yourself and TONS of water! Being outside all day with your heart pumping is going to wear you out, water is going to be necessary to keep you ready for your next ride!

Fairs: There’s probably a fair going on near you right now. It’s fair season in Michigan and they’ll be plentiful across the state. You can find some smaller rides, delicious food, and animal shows! Some fairs will also have photo booths and petting zoos so make sure you check out your local fair and get the details!

Festivals: There are hundreds of festivals going on in Michigan right now and each one is different! Visit this website to choose a festival that fits your family and go have a blast! Spend the day together and celebrate the things you love most!

Beaches: We have been overly blessed with Lakes in Michigan. It’d be a shame to miss out on going to the Lake for the summer. Pack a cooler, get the sunscreen and your sunglassesFootball and head out to the beach near you! This makes for a relaxing day with the family to de-stress and get some vitamin D. Make sure to check out our Summer Swim Safety blog and review some basics to help have the best beach day possible! One beach that I would personally recommend is Duck Lake. It’s the most perfect beach to describe the Great Lakes; you won’t regret going!

Cook Out: Have some family and friends over and get together for yard games and a meal! It’ll be a good way to hang out with your loved ones while enjoying the fresh air from your own back yard. Get the yard games out and play some cornhole, horseshoes, or croquet! If you’re looking for something a little more intense and you have a large family, play some football, baseball or volleyball! These are great ways to grow as a family by practicing teamwork and communication.

Back to School Shopping: I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear but school is coming whether we like it or not! This is a good time to turn something that may be dreadful into quality family time. This is the perfect opportunity to keep up with your growing kids and get to know them better. Some people loathe back to school shopping, but this is an excellent time to work on knowing your children, building them up, and reestablishing a firm foundation of trust and respect. All this can be done with one simple shopping event and make sure to take some time and sit down for a good lunch together.

Keep us updated! We’d LOVE to hear more about what family activities you have planned for this summer or any that you’ve already done! Have a wonderful summer!

4th of July

Independence Day Weekend

Summer is flying by! It’s the end of June and time to celebrate! We have a hot and humid week coming up for the birthday of America and it’s going to be perfect forflag cookouts and days on the lake. Some things we take seriously here in Michigan are cookouts, family time, and lake days. Let’s have a ton of fun this holiday week and remember to be safe while doing so! There will be lots of swimming, boating, backyard games (that may get slightly too intense), and of course, fireworks. These are the joys of summer but when done incorrectly, can cause trouble.

When on the lake, or near any body of water, make sure everyone knows the environment and is comfortable with swimming. Even if you’re on a boat with a life jacket, you’ll still need to know the basics of swimming so that in the event of an emergency, nobody panics. Make sure to know your area and if there’s any dangerous landscape or boats nearby. Keep an eye of everyone, it’s going to be hot and humid and if someone looks a little sick or pale then they need the appropriate treatment.

When lighting fireworks, make sure everyone stays 100 ft. away from the fireworks and never light them while holding them. Keep water nearby in case of an emergency. When you’re finished with the fireworks, soak them in water to ensure that no fire will break out. When lighting fireworks, wear eye protection and no loose fitted clothing. An astray firework could head for your eye or get caught on your sleeve, better to be safe than sorry! Fireworks are a blast and highly encouraged for Independence Day celebrations but you need to be cautious when using them because they are explosives.

It’s going to be HOT out there this week! We’re talking humid and 95 degrees. You’ll need lots and lots of water, especially if you’re drinking other beverages as well. Staying hydrated is key to a fun holiday. Keep an eye on yourself and those around you to make sure nobody is showing signs of heat exhaustion. Some common signs include profuse sweating, weakness, muscle cramps, headache, and nausea. If someone is suffering from heat exhaustion it needs to be taken care of as soon as possible or else it could develop into heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious medical condition that needs immediate attention. You’ll know that someone is close to heat stroke when they have the symptom of profuse sweating and it stops. Once the profuse sweating stops, that means they’re on their way to a heat stroke and need to be taken to a doctor as this is a medical emergency.

One good way to ensure that you, and those around you, don’t suffer from heat exhaustion is to take sun breaks. If you’re starting to feel ill, go relax in a cool place, drink some cold water, and loosen any tight clothing so your body can appropriately cool itself. If possible, take a cool shower, get in the pool/lake, or put a wet cloth on your forehead or the back of your neck. The important thing to remember is that it’s easier to stop heat exhaustion while it’s early than it is to let your body overheat and develop into something dangerous.

 Before Independence Day, brush up on your American flag protocol! It’s that time of year and it’s important to fly our flag with honor, make sure you’re doing it correctly:

Have a wonderful holiday and remember your safety tips! What are your plans for the 4th of July? We want to know!


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