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Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter…

Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...It’s that wonderful time of year when you look forward to connecting with friends and family, sending good tidings and sharing the events of your year in a Christmas letter.

Here are a few good tips to help you write an interesting and welcome piece that everyone will enjoy:

  • Be positive—share some special highlights from the year that might put a smile on the faces of those reading your letter…add some quips of cute things the kids have said, a photo of the dog wearing a funny hat, or unique anecdotes about things that happened during the year.
  • Share a little family history, something you’ve learned that makes a difference in the ways you approach life, or something you feel especially grateful for.
  • Perhaps try something a little different this year–let everyone in the family write a little section of the letter, adding their own unique perspective to the year.
  • If you have a unique achievement, mention it, but refrain from bragging. It’s best to leave the bragging rights to new grandmas and their favorite little ones.
  • If you traveled someplace special, you can share some of what you learned about your destination. Perhaps tell something about its people or culture that you found enjoyable or fascinating.
  • Share a little update about your family dynamics, especially marriages, graduations and other milestone events. Offer an insight about how that change has affected the family.
  • If you’ve discovered an intriguing method for preparing your favorite Christmas cookies, or you’ve learned how to make your own biscotti, why not share the recipe so everyone can try it if they like.
  • Be sure to encourage family and friends to keep you informed of their lives as well so they know you are truly interested in them.Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...
  • Be sure to send your love, your good wishes, and your hopes for them for the year ahead. After all, the point of the letter is to keep you connected with the people who are truly important to you.
  • On a final note, remember to keep the letter about one page in length as everyone gets a lot of letters at Christmastime. Make sure it’s spaced well and is in a readable font. You might even add a nice quote to inspire everyone in the coming year.

Don’t forget to have fun writing your letter. Share your love, your heart, and your genuine delight in connecting with those who mean the world to you at Christmas and all through the year.

Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...Tips for Writing A Christmas Letter...

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Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar

Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar
If you’re looking for something new and different this year for your countdown to Christmas, we’ve found a truly wonderful Alpine Advent Calendar we think you’ll love! Stunning animations, seasonal stories or festive games are revealed daily, each one celebrating the magic of the holiday season. You even get your own cottage to decorate in the charming Alpine Village where all the activities take place. You can watch a demo of this modern twist on an old tradition, by visiting http://www.jacquielawson.com/advent/alpine or you can find it and two other similar Advent calendars as well at www.jacquielawson.com/gift-shop

The London Advent Calendar and the Village Advent Calendar are both available for iPad and the latter has a Kindle Fire version as well.

 

Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar

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It’s Cyber Monday!

Its Cyber Monday! Black Friday was the unofficial start of the 2012 Christmas shopping season but for those who decided not to join the ranks at the crowded malls, in the long lines and on the busy streets, today is a great opportunity to kick off your own shopping season. Or you just may be one of those who did shop on Black Friday but have not gotten your fill of great deals and super bargains! For more information on Cyber Monday and some great tips for online shopping, simply click here!

 

 

 

 

 

Its Cyber Monday! Its Cyber Monday! Its Cyber Monday! Its Cyber Monday! Its Cyber Monday! Its Cyber Monday!

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Planning Ahead for Christmas!

Planning Ahead for Christmas!

Let the Countdown Begin…

It’s just one month away from that holly, jolly Christmas celebration and if you’re wondering how you’ll get everything done, just check out the suggestions below. With
a little pre-planning, organization and a few tips you could easily get ahead of the game. Here we go…

  • Update your email list and address book so you’ll be ready to send your ecards and Christmas cards a bit earlier this year. Of course you can find a wonderful assortment of Christmas ecards at bluemountain.com and if you prefer sending cards the traditional way, you can choose and personalize your favorites from
    the Print at Home section!
  • A good rule of thumb for making sure gifts get to their destinations in time is to send 12–15 days in advance. So shop early and take advantage of some of the great deals you can find today!
  • Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Of course Black Friday has come and gone but you can always take advantage of the incredible price reductions and bargains online on Cyber Monday (11.26.12)! You can shop in your pajamas, avoid the long lines and sip coffee as you browse! Check out the following link– http://dealscybermonday.biz/ to see some
    of your favorite stores like Best Buy, Macy’s,
    and Target and what they’re offering Christmas shoppers.
  • If you wrap your gifts as you buy them, the job will go a lot smoother as the seasonal crunch begins. Add a sticky note to the wrapped box to remind yourself of what’s inside and who the gift is for. Then just add bows and tags right before Christmas or before shipping so your gifts are fresh and beautiful on delivery.
  • Last year’s Christmas wraps and cards are perfect for recycling…they make great tags, bookmarks, decorations for gift boxes and more. Click here for some more great ideas!
  • Consider an early gathering with friends to swap some of your Christmas decorations so you each have new items to work with as you decorate your homes.
  • Do a Christmas cookie swap get-together,Planning Ahead for Christmas!  so you can have a variety of cookies without having to bake several different kinds yourself.

Whatever you do to make Christmas fun and festive, make sure you take a little time for yourself. A little hot chocolate or eggnog sipping to go along with those cookies is always a good thing! Can you pass the nutmeg please?

Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Planning Ahead for Christmas!  Planning Ahead for Christmas!

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Only two days until Black Friday!

Only two days until Black Friday!  Just a reminder that Black Friday is almost here, even though it seems like retailers have started their campaigns to begin the sales season even earlier than that…this week has been like a pre-Black Friday bonanza! By next year, it should start right around the 4th of July. Just kidding, of course, but guess the point is that the earlier you get started, the better the bargains you’ll find and the sooner the shopping phase of the holiday season will be complete. Well, for some of us anyway! Oops, gotta run…there’s a bargain out there calling my name!

For additional information on Black Friday and some helpful tips, click here.

Only two days until Black Friday!  Only two days until Black Friday!  Only two days until Black Friday!  Only two days until Black Friday!  Only two days until Black Friday!  Only two days until Black Friday!

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eCard of the Week: Life’s Gifts…


eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...

There is so much to be thankful for at this special time of year…family, friends, love and freedom and all are depicted beautifully in this elegant ecard, “Life’s Gifts.” It’s a sentimental look at the important things that enrich our lives and make us happy and grateful every day.

Blue Mountain has a variety of Thanksgiving and other seasonal ecards and Print at Home cards that are perfect for this special time of year. They’re a wonderful way to help you stay connected with those who mean so much.

eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...eCard of the Week: Lifes Gifts...

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What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers Thanksgiving is a week away which means you might still be searching for good recipes for stuffing, cranberry relish, or some other traditional or, non-traditional dish. But we’re thinking ahead to what to do with the leftovers everyone will inevitably have in  the days that follow this great holiday feast!

How to Store Leftovers: One of the most important things is to store leftovers quickly so that they’re safe to serve again. A good rule of thumb is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold while serving, but if you can’t do that, start putting your perishable leftovers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of serving.

Turkey should never be stored with stuffing in it. The turkey should be removed from the bone and placed in shallow containers or plastic bags. Storing should be done in smaller batches, as larger ones take much longer to cool and keep the heat trapped in…not a good thing. Best not to stack containers in the refrigerator until they’ve completely cooled down. Storing foods in their serving dishes takes up a lot of space, so placing these leftovers in smaller containers is also a good idea…and safer. 

How Long Can You Store Leftovers? In the refrigerator, leftovers re usually good for four days and should be reheated to 165 degrees F. before serving. Soups and sauces should be brought to a full boil when reheating. Of course frozen leftovers can be kept much longer, but start to lose their flavor after a couple months. Just remember to let the food cool down in the refrigerator before storing in the freezer. You should always mark the contents of the containers as well and date them for future reference.

So What About Eating Those Leftovers? Well, there’s no end to all the great recipes available for turning those leftovers into mouth-watering meals and we’re adding a few links here to get you there! In the meantime, here’s a few quick and easy ideas to get you started:

  1. Add leftover stuffing to clean mushroom caps, sprinkle with grated What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers parmesan or your favorite herb and saute until caps are tender and golden.
  2. Make Grilled Turkey Reubens by adding several slices turkey and 1/2 c drained sauerkraut (both warmed in microwave) to 2 slices rye bread, 2 slices of swiss cheese and 2 T of Thousand Island Dressing. Brush bread with butter and grill in skillet over medium-low heat, a few minutes on each side. Enjoy!
  3. Eggs in Purgatory will help you use up those leftover mashed potatoes. Just shape them into patties, coat with a little flour, saute in skillet w/olive oil (about 2 minutes
    per side), then place on top of 1/4 c warmed marinara sauce on a small plate. Top with a cooked sunny-side-up egg and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little grated Parmesan…delicious!
http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Holidays-and-Events/Thanksgiving/Thanksgiving-Leftovers/Main.aspx
http://www.marthastewart.com/275078/recipes-for-thanksgiving-leftovers/@center/276949/everything-thanksgiving#345353
 http://www.foodnetwork.com/thanksgiving-leftovers/package/index.html?xp=thx

 

What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers What To Do With Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Diwali, the Indian “Festival of Lights”

Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights

Diwali, the Indian “Festival of Lights,” is a joyful five day celebration with candles, finecuisine, and other traditional customs marking the New Year on the Hindu lunar calendar. Begun in ancient India as a harvest festival and celebrated this year on November 13th, it is now observed in India and other parts of the world as a triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and a renewal for starting life afresh as revelers exalt transcendence of the physical body and honor their “Inner Light.”

 History

 Derived from Deepawali (a row of lamps), the Diwali holiday centers on the new moon in Kartik, the Hindu month corresponding to October and November. Each of the five days of Diwali (Dhan Teras, Naraka Chaturdasi, Diwali, Padwa, and Bhayiduj) is distinguished with its own set of rituals rooted in history and mythology. Origins of the festival vary in India, but the overall theme consists of the triumph of good over evil. To celebrate, candles and fireworks are lit, regional food and sweets are indulged, and many other activities are engaged.

 Candles & Fireworks

As a festival of lights, small clay lamps called diyas are central to Diwali and are lit for both Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lightsdecorative and ceremonial purposes to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness. Coming in a variety of sizes and designs, they are an essential element to any Diwali celebration. Fireworks also mark the tradition, adding color, fun, and excitement to nighttime festivities. This constant brilliance is a way for practitioners to express gratitude for health and prosperity gained year-round.

 Cuisine

 Among the many delicacies common to Diwali are these delicious main dishes and desserts: Cabbage ‘n Carrot Bhujia, Wheat Laddu, Karanji, Malpua, and Chick Peas and Potatoes Curry. Recipes can be found at the links below.

 Card-Playing, Gift-Exchanging, and Other Traditions

Other traditions associated with Diwali include: card-playing and gambling, said to favor those who played with a prosperous new year; gift exchanging as a way to hasten the feeling of love and affection; creating Rangoli, Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lightstraditional Indian folk art involving rich, vibrant colors and unique patterns, usually made on the floor; plus many others.

 Celebrate

 Create your own custom and celebrate this illuminating festival by sending someone a Happy Diwali postcard. It’s a thoughtful way to light up their holiday, and everyone who receives this candlelit card will be touched by your best wishes!

Cabbage ‘n Carrot Bhujia
http://www.diwalifestival.org/recipes-for-diwali.html#cabbage-carrot-bhujia
 
Wheat Laddu
http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#wheat-laddu
 
Karanji
http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#karanji
 
Malpua
http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#malpua
 
Chick Peas and Potatoes Curry
http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes1.html#potatoes-curry

 

Diwali, the Indian Festival of LightsDiwali, the Indian Festival of LightsDiwali, the Indian Festival of LightsDiwali, the Indian Festival of LightsDiwali, the Indian Festival of LightsDiwali, the Indian Festival of Lights

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Sunday, November 11, is Veterans Day

 

Sunday, November 11, is Veterans Day

Today we join in celebration to honor America’s more than 22 million veterans for their patriotism, their love of country, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the country and principles they believe in.

To read more about this special day, please click here.

 Know a veteran or someone currently serving? Take a minute to send a patriotic ecard or postcard and let them know how much they are appreciated and loved.

 

 

 

Sunday, November 11, is Veterans DaySunday, November 11, is Veterans DaySunday, November 11, is Veterans DaySunday, November 11, is Veterans DaySunday, November 11, is Veterans DaySunday, November 11, is Veterans Day