Friendship…Your Timeless Treasure

You’ve got new ones, some cappuccino ones, and some older than dirt ones, but no matter what your definition, you’ve got some…friends that is…the most valuable asset to your life.  It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how many toys you have, or how many places you’ve traveled.  It doesn’t matter what your job title is, or how well you can bake a chocolate cake.  None of those things matter if you don’t have people who care about you.  Why?  Because friends hold you up, hold you close, and keep you standing whenever things fall apart.

Imagine waking up to face a new day without any friends.  The kids are off to school, you’ve reviewed your to-do list and you’ve made plans for dinner.  You’re feeling pretty good about things, but now it’s time for a coffee chat, a little break, but there’s no one to call.  You search your mind for a friend, certain you must have one, somebody somewhere who’s available for a chat.  It’s so odd…you can’t think of a single soul.

Fortunately, you don’t live in that little dreamscape, you are blessed with friends and whether they are dear friends from childhood, or new friends from your workout class, they bring added joy to your life.  These are the people who see you and love you just as you are.  They value your smile, your kind heart, and your words of wisdom.  You can talk to them about anything, knowing you’ll feel better once you’ve done so.

Friends come in and out of your life all the time, but each one adds something special and unique to the mosaic of your existence.  Some come “just in time” in that they show up just when you need their particular background or sense of humor.  Some were such instant friends you can hardly remember a time when you weren’t in each other’s lives.  Some are just happy accidents of life and you’re thrilled to have bumped into them.

La Rochefoucauld wrote, “A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.”  Give warmest thoughts to your precious friends today and think of them as your personal ambassadors of joy and good will.



Let’s Celebrate International Children’s Day

It’s great to be a kid! At least, it should be, and that’s the idea behind International Children’s Day. In 1925, delegates at the World Conference for the Well-being of Children proclaimed June 1 as a day dedicated to promoting the rights, health, and happiness of kids everywhere. Why not celebrate the day by doing something special with a child in your life—and let your own inner child have some fun as well!

Well-known inspirational author, Sark, offers some ideas on:

How to Really Love a Child

Be there.  Say yes as often as possible…If they’re unlovable, love yourself… Giggle a lot.  Surprise them. Say no when necessary.  Teach feelings…Hug trees together.  Make loving safe.  Bake a cake and eat it with no hands… Imagine yourself magic…Reveal your own dreams.  Search out the positive.  Keep the gleam in your eye…Encourage silly.  Plant licorice in your garden.  Open up. Stop yelling.  Express your love.  A lot.  Speak kindly.  Handle with caring.

If you’re playing with young children, remember:

The Toddler’s Creed

  • If I want it, it’s mine.
  • If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine.
  • If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
  • If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what.
  • If we are building something together, all the pieces are mine.
  • If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.

Want to do something great with your kids or grandkids? Make it extra fun for them today, or any day!  Here are some ways to connect with the youngsters in your life and channel your own “inner child”.

  • Jump rope to a song
  • Listen to their dreams
  • Blow giant bubbles
  • Follow butterflies
  • Make a train of chairs and go for a ride
  • Play hide and seek in the house
  • Read their favorite story
  • Create a sidewalk chalk art exhibit
  • Write a poem together
  • Make sock puppets
  • Visit the zoo
  • Twirl
  • Throw a tea party

    Above all, enjoy your children.  The days are long, but the years are short.  Share a

Blue Mountain eCard

    to remind them just how much they light up your life.



Great BBQ and Grilling Recipes for Memorial Day

 Memorial Day— it’s the unofficial start of summer! However, while the day has become synonymous with cookouts and fun, it was originally known as Decoration Day, a time of remembrance for soldiers who died during the Civil War. Over the years, the importance of the holiday propelled its growth, and in 1967 the name was officially changed to Memorial Day. Today, while you’re enjoying the parades and picnics, be sure to take a moment to remember and offer thanks for all of those who died in our country’s service.

Since the dawn of time, cooking over an open fire has been at the heart of get-togethers with family and friends.  If you love that flame-kissed flavor, you’ll want to try these lip-smacking, finger-licking-good grilling recipes for memorial day!

Wings of Death

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 10 tablespoons Tabasco or hot sauce
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

Marinade wings for about 3 – 4 hours in equal parts Tabasco, and Soy sauce and some olive oil.
Cook on grill for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Heat sauce ingredients above until bubbling (should be fairly thick).
Remove wings from heat when they can easily be pulled apart at the joints and coat with sauce.

Barbecue Chicken


  • 2 chickens (or 4 whole bone-in chicken breasts) halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup Neelys Barbecue Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 cup Neelys Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows


Rinse chicken halves in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken in a large bowl or baking dish, coat with Italian dressing and evenly season with Neelys seasoning. For best results, allow the chicken to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

If Cooking Inside:

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and brush chicken with Neelys Barbeque Sauce.

Place into a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes.

If Grilling Outside:

Thirty minutes before you’re ready to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the grill to a medium temperature, about 275 degrees F preferably over hickory and charcoal.

Place the chicken halves on grill, meat side down. Cover grill and cook for about 50 minutes. Flip chicken over and let it brown until the chicken becomes golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. The wing and the drumstick should become very tender and will easily pull away at the joints. Brush the chicken with Neelys Barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Neely Italian Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Neelys Barbecue Seasoning
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, except the oil and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Neelys BBQ Seasoning:

  • 1 1/2 cups paprika
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 3/4 tablespoons onion powder

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until combined. Keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Neelys BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Grilled Shrimp


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • skewers


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
  2. Prepare grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.  Serves 6

Grilled Pork Chops




  1. In deep bowl mix all marinade ingredients.
  2. Marinate at least 2 hours.
  3.  Remove from marinade and cook over medium-high heat on greased grill for no more than 15 minutes or until done. Cooking time for second side is shorter by 1-2 minutes. 3/4″ or thinner, 5-6 minutes maximum per side, thicker than 3/4″ 6-7 minutes maximum per side. DO NOT OVER-GRILL, chops will become tough. After 2 minutes grilling on a side, rotate chops 45 degrees for even cooking. Turn over when juices pool on upper surface and meat appears to be cooked half-way through. 

Grilled Vegetables


  • 3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
  • 3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 12 cremini mushrooms
  • 1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
  • 12 green onions, roots cut off
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot grill.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature of Death



National Endangered Species Day

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see a wild animal in its natural habitat, you know it’s a beautiful sight. From Cougars, Bighorn Sheep, and Jaguars, to Green Sea Turtles, Gray Wolves and Steller Sea Lions, these animals and so many others all call the U.S. home. Unfortunately, these creatures, along with a variety of plants and other wildlife find themselves on the Endangered Species list and one step closer to extinction.

In order to build awareness on this issue, the U.S. Senate established the third Friday in May as Endangered Species Day, with the hope that everyone will take part in caring for the rich and diverse native species of our country. Every year, thousands of people throughout the country celebrate Endangered Species Day at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers. Events such as festivals, field trips, park tours, community clean-ups, film showings, classroom presentations, and many other fun and educational activities.

Every day actions affect our disappearing wildlife, and this special day is a great way to take some time and learn about the importance of protecting endangered species. Try celebrating this day with your family by learning about endangered species in your area, which is the first step to helping them.  You could also spend the day visiting a wildlife refuge to observe species in their natural habitat.

Other ways you can help include making sure your own home is wildlife-friendly. Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival. Disinfect bird baths often to avoid disease transmission. Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions. Millions of birds die every year because of collisions with windows. You can help reduce the number of collisions simply by placing decals on the windows in your home and office. Minimize you use of herbicides and pesticides, which may keep your yard looking nice, but are hazardous pollutants that greatly affect wildlife.

With a little bit of work and the right knowledge, we can stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution to help these animals.



Lucky You…It’s Friday the 13th!

Would you get married, start a business, or do a parachute jump on Friday the 13th?  Most of us would not consciously admit we give this day any real regard and yet, a little anxiety crosses our path like the shadow of a black cat on Friday the 13th.

Superstitions around this day all started with a Norse myth about twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. The god, Loki crashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest.  He set up Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness.   A mistletoe-tipped arrow took Baldur out and the earth lost its joy and gladness.  It was indeed a dark day.

Another superstition is based on the historic feast when Jesus invited his twelve disciples to their last dinner together. It was there that Judas was identified as Jesus’ betrayer and that led to Jesus’ death on a cross on a Friday, now considered Good Friday or Black Friday.

Dan Brown brought some of this chilling, yet superstitious tradition to light in his book, The DaVinci Code, about the Knights Templar. It is believed that thousands of them were arrested and killed on a Friday in 1313.

So much for traditions!  Life as we know it is affected in other ways by this date.  Airlines avoid having a 13th row, and elevators often don’t have a 13th floor.  For some reason, we don’t create 13 step programs, or a top 13 list. We like things to happen in round numbers.  We think numbers are luckier when they come in 10s or 12s.  And yet, what about lucky number 7?

On the other hand, if you were born on a Friday the 13th,  it is your lucky day.  You don’t have to throw salt over your shoulder before you go to work, or carry a rabbit’s foot in your pocket, because life will simply shine for you that day. 

Maybe it’s time to reengineer Friday the 13th…give it an upturn, make it a day for eternal optimists.   May brings the only Friday the 13th this year.  Let’s send cards full of lucky thoughts and warm wishes.  Let’s bring Baldur back to life and spread the joy and gladness.  Go on, get married.  Make a soufflé!  Tempt the fates.  Just don’t invite 12 close friends for dinner. 



Happy Birthday to Edward Lear!

Illustration by Cathy Simpson 

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’

There once was a poet named Edward…

The English poet who popularized the limerick was born May 12, 1812, to Ann and Jeremiah Lear in thevillageofHolloway,England, nearLondon.  Born the twenty-first child, Edward Lear was raised by his eldest sister, also named Ann, both of whom made their way together after the family suffered financial travesty.  Lear suffered many health problems in life as well, including epilepsy, asthma, depression, and partial blindness.

As an author, Lear published A Book of Nonsense in 1846, turning limericks into a poetic mainstay.  However, Lear’s limericks distinguished themselves from what are common today in at least two respects: he wrote in multiple formats (anywhere from two to five lines), and in his four and five-line limericks, would frequently end the first and last lines with the same word or phrase, as opposed to today’s more whimsical rhyming technique.

The limerick, believed to have derived its name from the third largest city in Ireland, is composed of the following characteristics: 1) it contains five lines, 2) follows either an anapestic (two short syllables and one long syllable) or amphibrach (one stressed syllable flanked by two unstressed syllables) meter, and 3) typically has nine syllables on the first, second, and fifth lines, all of which end in rhyme, with five syllables in the third and fourth lines, ending in their own rhyme scheme.  Some variation may occur to accommodate an extra syllable in a word choice.

The following limerick below was created especially for you.    Enjoy!

Friendship by Heart

The best of friends show that they care,
The bond shared between them is rare,
Heart-to-heart’s on the phone,
So they’re never alone,
There’s comfort they’ll always be there



$10,000 Mothers Day Sweepstakes & Mother’s Day Quiz

$10,000 Mothers Day Sweepstakes

This Mother’s Day we’re honoring motherhood and helping you celebrate Mom by sending her (or yourself… it’s up to you!) on a $10,000 dream vacation.  Here’s how…

  1. Click on the image to the right.
  2. Fill-in your registration information to be entered into the $10,000 grand prize drawing.
  3. Bonus: Find out if you’re an instant winner of numorous other prizes by filling in the blanks of a Mother’s Day Poem. (Prizes include an Amazon Kindle, spa, coffee house or restaurant gift cards and more!)

After you’ve finished filling in the blanks of your Mother’s Day poem, and  find out if you’re an instant winner, enjoy the option of sending your uniquely crafted poem to a special mom in a Mother’s Day eCard or by e-mail.

Honor mom and win big – good luck!

Fun Mother’s Day Quiz:

Another way to have fun this Mother’s Day is by playing a Mother’s Day Quiz: “What Makes a Great Mom.” What qualities in a mom inspire you to be a great mom, yourself? Take our quiz to find out, then see what your answers reveal about you.  Enjoy celebrating mom and learn something new about yourself!

 Happy Mother’s Day!



Cinco de Mayo Recipes

It’s Cinco de Mayo—time to bring out the margaritas, pass around the salsa, and let the mariachi band play!  May 5th actually commemorates the 1862 victory at the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican army defeated the French. However, in the United States, the holiday has become a celebration of pride for all of Hispanic descent—but no matter what your background is, everyone can join in the food, dancing, and fun of Cinco de Mayo!  Óle!

Let’s Get the Party Started!

  Señor Gilroy’s Irish Margaritas!


  • 12 oz frozen limeade concentrate
  • 12 oz cheap Tequila
  • 12 oz domestic beer (not light beer)

Blend with ice and enjoy!

 Pitcher Perfect Margaritas


  • 2 cups tequila
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup sweetened lime juice
  • 3 cups ice
  • kosher salt
  • 8 lime wedges


  1. Combine the tequila, triple sec, fresh lime juice, sweetened lime juice, and ice in a large pitcher; stir.
  2. Pour the kosher salt onto a plate. Rub the rim of a glass with a lime wedge. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt; fill glass with margarita mixture; repeat for each serving.

Super Nachos

1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Pinch of salt
1 small can refried beans or bean dip
1 10 or 12-ounce bag corn tortilla chips
1 1/4 pounds Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 6-ounce can black olives, chopped

Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet. Drain. Add the chili powder, cumin and salt. Set aside for a moment.

Spread a thin layer of refried beans or bean dip over the bottom of a platter or shallow, heat-proof bowl to anchor the first layer of chips.

Then spread a layer of chips over the beans, top with layers of cheese, ground beef, onion, tomato and olives. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. Or, since this recipe usually makes about 4 layers, you can divide all the toppings into 4 portions for even layering.

Microwave on high until heated through, about 10 minutes, or bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Spicy Guacamole Dip

4 avocados
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 sweet red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil,divided
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne, for garnish

Cut the avocados in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Scoop out the meat into a medium-size bowl and mash with a fork. (Do not process in a food processor or blender.)

Gently stir in the garlic, red onion, jalapeno pepper, red chiles, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, if necessary. Drizzle the remainder of the olive oil over the Guacamole and sprinkle with cayenne for presentation. Serve immediately. Makes 3 cups.

Note: Guacamole Dip does not keep well, but adding a tablespoon of lemon juice helps preserve the color.

Fresh Salsa


  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tomatillo, diced (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced


  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, tomatillo, and salt to taste. Mix well. Add 1/2 of the jalapeno pepper, and taste. If you desire your salsa with more of a kick, add the remaining 1/2 jalapeno. If you are satisfied with the salsa’s heat, do not add the remaining jalapeno pepper. Cover the salsa, and chill until ready to serve.



BlueMountain to Contribute $10,000 When You "Choose You"

Choose You” is a movement created by the American Cancer Society that encourages women to put their own health first in the fight against cancer.  It challenges women to make healthier choices and supports them in their commitment to eat right, get active, quit smoking and get regular health checks.

 Here at Blue Mountain, we were excited to hear about “Choose You Day” on May 12th. We formed our team, went on line and signed up.  You can see in our photos we’re all wearing our sneakers to “sneak up on cancer.”

 As members of the Choose You Movement, we’ve pledged to make some healthy lifestyle changes.  Here are just a few of our stories…

 Jana:  My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year.  Lung cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer and it’s important for people to know that they can quit smoking. 

 Pam:  My life has been touched by cancer because I volunteer at the Gathering Place, which is a community center for those touched by cancer.  I see and speak with those who are receiving cancer treatment and those who care for them. Every time I volunteer, I am reminded how precious life is.  I choose to “eat right” as a life style change because I believe that what we eat will help fight cancer.

 Caroline:  Many years ago, my mother died from colon cancer.  We know now, that early detection of this cancer greatly improves the chance of a cure.  Since there is a hereditary factor, I get regular screenings, every 5 years, in the hope that I’ll be around to meet my grandchildren someday.

 M.E.: My Dad had prostate cancer, my brother was diagnosed with throat cancer at age 39 (he is now in remission) and in support of some of my friends who have battled ovarian cancer in their families, I helped start OROC-Outrun Ovarian Cancer in northeast Ohio.  The organization is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for research through a 5K Run/Walk held in August.  I have been an avid runner for the past 33 years and plan to keep going for another 30.

 Kim:  I am participating to remind myself to eat right and be more active – so I can share a long, healthy life with my son and husband .

 Nicole:  I know first-hand how cancer can change lives.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer almost five years ago.  It was caught very early at her yearly check up and she has been clear of cancer since.  Throughout this experience, I have learned the importance of staying proactive when it comes to your health and keeping up with regular checkups.  I now know that those checkups can save your life.

 Because we’d like to see a world with less cancer, has collaborated with the American Cancer Society in support of the Choose You Movement.  We will contribute $1.00, up to $10,000.00, for every free postcard you send. 

Visit our free charity e card selection and free downloadable desktops and graphics.

Or, learn more about forming your own “Choose You” team!



"M is for…" Mothers Day Poem

by George Davis

M is for…


you made me

A mirror-image
of your spirit,
the same spirit
I meticulously
monitored as I matured.

More than amazed
at how you seemed
to have everything

Without missing a beat,
you managed to make
every mountain a molehill
eventually moving it
completely out of existence.

With many mouths to feed,
you made meals out of morsels.
With fevers off the meter,
you made medicine out of
multiple scoops of ice cream
and that “Motherly” brand hug.

Instinctively maternal.
No Bachelors in Birth
or Masters in Motherhood.
No, it wasn’t a miracle,
it was meant to be.

Matriarch of mankind,
Mother of my soul…

This M is for you.