The excerpt above was spoken by Alice in Chapter 1 of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, written by Lewis Carroll and published in 1871. It was a similar story to his earlier novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which was published in 1865. We thought it was a perfect for this time of year!
When the weather outside is frightful and all you want to do is nest and stay warm and cozy indoors, it’s time to liven things up with a creative winter craft! Whether it’s a personal treat, something adorable for your home, or a fun activity you can do with your grandchildren, the ideas we’ve compiled for you are sure to fill your days with plenty of enjoyment and heartwarming pleasure.
1 Sea Salt & Sugar Scrub via Liz Marie
2 Winter Bird Feeder via Fireflies & Mud Pies
3 Finger-Knit Wreath via Flax & Twine
4 Sweater Pillow via Stone Gable
5 Frozen-Inspired Play-dough via Paging Fun Mums
6 Branch Chandelier via Better Homes & Gardens
Whether you call it the Winter Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it simply means we’re getting mid-way into winter and those gray skies aren’t bringing out the sunniest parts of our dispositions. Well, some of us anyway. But honestly, if you’re feeling a bit slower, a little melancholy at times and you have less energy, you’re not alone. Especially if you’re living in a part of the world that simply gets less sunshine at this time of year, which is basically most of North America, Europe and Asia! As much as we hate to say it, women between the ages of 20 and 40 are also twice as likely as men to have SAD.
Not fair you say? We agree, but there are ways to combat the Winter Blues without having to pack up and move to sunny Florida or Brazil or anywhere nearer the equator! Of course a trip to Rio would really be worth considering! Oh yes, back to the more realistic remedies…
Get some sun or at least more light.
When there’s a break in the temperature, try getting outdoors more often. Keep your drapes open and your shades up and sit closer to a window. If you’re in a windowless office, try your own version of light therapy…bring in a lamp and use “full spectrum” bulbs that mimic natural light. (It has the same
Work on your new year’s resolutions. A CDC study states that there is a strong link between healthy behaviors and depression. Exercising, eating right, etc. all lead to a healthier you and a healthier you is a happier you.
Be good to yourself. We were only half joking about the trip to Rio. Beside the additional sunshine you’d be getting, treating yourself to something special is often a real pick-me-up. If Rio is out of the question, how about a spa date, a night at the theater, a sporting event or a great movie…anything that keeps you motivated and gives you something to look forward to.
Say “no” to stress. Even in the middle of a sunny summer season, stress is a downer. And while none of us can eliminate 100% of the stress in our lives, we can try to keep it manageable. Getting enough sleep is important, doing something relaxing is essential and, at times, doing nothing can be downright good for us. You could always sign up for yoga or try a little meditation. Staying in bed with a good book sounds pretty good right now, too!
Say “yes” to winter. If you can’t get away from the cold or snow, why not find a way to enjoy it. There are lots of winter activities to enjoy…skiing, ice skating and sledding to name a few. Again, the more active you are, the less stress you’re likely to feel and the more energy you’ll have.
Stay connected. It’s really important to stay in touch with friends and family during these longer winter months. They offer a great support system and just a chat over coffee or a quick email can usually provide you with just the thing that can brighten your mood. It works the other way around, too. Providing someone else with a cheery word can do wonders for your own well-being!
As we venture into a brand new year, we want to motivate you in more ways than just eating fewer carbs and cleaning out that junk drawer. This year, let’s make a resolution to be better to ourselves; to live more fully than we perhaps have allowed ourselves to do in the past year.
To help you do that, we’ve pulled together some “inspirational resolutions” that you can print and cut out to put on display throughout your home, in your car, in your gym bag, on your computer—anywhere you can think of that will inspire you and serve as gentle reminders of how you can learn, grow, and flourish through an amazing year.
Click Here to print these inspirations today!
As a brand new year begins, so too does a whole new chance for each of us to learn more, do more, be more. Don’t lament what “wasn’t” in 2014—chances not taken, books unread, letters never sent—let it go, as the song goes that is now ‘frozen’ into our heads. Let it all go, and let’s get on with what lies in front of us—365 new chances to live more fully.
All journeys begin with a single step, and to help you down your “yellow brick road” of 2015, we’ve compiled a printable goal sheet to help you get the most out of the year ahead. Let it inspire you to focus on what you love and what matters to you, and you’ll soon discover that you’re moving through this new year with a renewed spirit and sense of true fulfillment.
Click Here to print your goal sheet today!
2015 is a new chapter in the story of our lives. We can fill in the pages however we choose. It’s a good time to ask yourself, when was the last time you did something for the first time? It was easy to have lots of first times when we were younger–first steps, first day at school, first kiss, first job, first apartment. As we get older, we have to look a little harder to create new first times for ourselves.
Author Jack London said “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” So let’s go after more—more laughter, more adventures, more creating, more fun, more trips, more sleep, more real food, more kindness, more love. This new year can be the beginning of anything you want.
You can wish your friends and family a year of new beginnings with our Blue Mountain “New Year Wishes” card, a beautiful and scenic trip through the seasons. They may also enjoy celebrating New Years around the world, from Sydney, to St.Petersburg, to Paris and London and on to New York City, with our “World of Wishes” card.
However you celebrate, let’s promise to hug the ones we love and make sure they always know how much they mean to us.
Happy New Year!
Caroline Martlew, Senior Editor
For help on how to install, click here.
No doubt about it, parties are fun! They are happy occasions when people get together to enjoy each other’s company. And frankly, you are quite good at putting together some pretty incredible gatherings.But as you prepare to host a party for a group that will span several generations—from babies to seniors—you may suddenly find yourself rethinking your tried-and-true party plans. A little doubt creeps in and your mind starts to race.
How can I keep everyone engaged at the same time?
How can I make sure everyone is comfortable?
What can I serve that everyone will like?
What can I do to ensure everyone has a good time?
Well, lucky for you, Blue Mountain has gathered some very helpful tips to ensure your next multi-generational party will be a huge success. We’d love to share them with you now!
You’re an expert hostess who knows how to throw a great party. Whether it’s a formal sit-down dinner for 20, or a casual get-together for family and friends, you’ve done it all. In fact, you’ve been doing it for years. You’ve got all the details down. And you always seem to make it look so seamless, so effortless. However…
…there are always going to be some exciting, new ideas you may want to consider to freshen up your tried-and-true entertaining routine. Perhaps an especially pretty tablescape detail. Or a particularly unique recipe. Or maybe even a clever party theme.
The editors at Blue Mountain have joined together to assemble some of their favorite suggestions for your upcoming holiday entertaining. We hope by doing so, we’ll inspire you to try at least one new party idea this joyous season. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
1. Ornate Framed Menu Chalkboard via HGTV
2. Rosemary Wreath Place Card via The Happier Homemaker
3. Candy Flower Centerpiece via Stonewall Kitchen
4. Christmas Tree Cheese Board via Kraft
5. Simmering Homemade Potpourri via Marty’s Musings
6. Hot Chocolate Bar with Free Chalkboard Printables via Yellow Bliss Road
You’ve spent years hosting parties. You’re used to doing most (if not all) of the work and making sure everyone is happy and everything runs smoothly. You love it—and you’re really very good at it!
But this year, for once, you suddenly find the roles reversed where you’re going to be attending a holiday party as a guest instead of hosting one. Between us, we know this may take you out of your comfort zone a bit…or a lot. Yes, it does take some work to be a good party guest. But to help you get through this holiday season with ease and grace, we’ve assembled a few tips for you. We hope they help. And we hope you have a fabulous time. It’s a party, after all. Have fun and enjoy!
- RSVP – RSVP, which stands for Répondez S’il Vous Plaît (French for “please respond”), means exactly that: respond. And be sure to respond before the deadline on your invitation, not after. It’s ok to send a text or Facebook reply, but it’s absolutely not ok to pull a “no-show.”
- Contribute – Making a courtesy call to the hostess ahead of time is just that: courteous. Offer to bring an appetizer, salad, or dessert. If the hostess is firm about having the meal under control, then offer to bring wine, Champagne, or a centerpiece. If rebuffed again, be sure to just quietly bring a nice hostess gift, such as a bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates, or a jar or artisanal preserves.
- Arrive on Time – Even if you’re tempted to arrive early, don’t. The hostess may still need time for last-minute preprarations. Instead, plan to arrive within 15 minutes of the invited time. If you’re right on time but no one else has arrived yet, offer to help. However, if you’re running late, get lost, or have an emergency, be sure to call immediately and explain.
- Converse & Enjoy – Get into the party spirit by smiling, mingling, and conversing with the other guests. It’s also important to be a good listener. However, don’t dominate the conversations, especially with your problems, and avoid all bad language, off-color jokes, and controversial topics. Instead of asking overly personal questions (which is a huge no-no), ask more neutral questions instead, such as “How do you know the host?”
- Eat & Drink Responsibly – Don’t come to the party famished and ready to devour everything in sight. If hors d’oeuvres are being passed, don’t heap your plate with them. Absolutely no double dipping! And of course, do NOT become inebriated.
- Help Clean Up – Before leaving the party, offer to do the dishes. If the hostess refuses, at the very least, stack dirty plates, throw out empty bottles, and clean up any huge messes.
- Don’t Overstay – When you see the party starting to wind down and conversations hitting a lag, it’s time to go. Be sure to genuinely compliment the hostess when saying your goodbyes.
- Send a Thank You Note – Within a few days of the party, always send a note of thanks to the hostess. And despite what your grandmother told you, a Thank You eCard is perfectly fine!
Now that your little ones have stickered, licked, and stamped their letters to Santa, they wait in eager anticipation, dreaming of how fun and magical it would be to get a letter from Santa Claus himself! Here’s how you can bring that magic to life.
Start off with one of our newly-designed, festive Santa Letters that you can print from the comfort of your home. Then try some of these helpful tips to do that jolly old elf proud:
Begin by thanking the child for their letter and add a comment or two about their writing skills or drawings.
Follow-up with their inquiries about Mrs. Claus and all the elves.
Say fun things like how busy Mrs. Claus has been trying a new cookie recipe this year which you find quite delicious, and how the elves just brought all the reindeer back from flying practice and they’re taking them to the barn to feed them lunch.
Acknowledge what the child said in their letter about being naughty or nice.
Tell them how wonderful you think it is that they helped Mommy dry the dishes or feed the cat, etc. If they had admitted they did something bad, add a positive thought like you see them working very hard not to do that again and what a sign of good character that is. You could then mention a recent accomplishment the child had, like getting a good grade in school, or learning to tie their shoe or play a new instrument.
If the child thanked Santa for any toys he brought them last year, be sure to mention that you’re happy they enjoyed them and you think they’ll be very glad with the surprises you plan to bring them Christmas Eve.
Before closing your letter, add that you’re looking forward to stopping at their house on Christmas Eve, and that you always enjoy the milk and cookies that are left out.
To close your letter, you can say that you need to get back to checking your list and preparing the sleigh for your big ride. Tell them to be good and that you’re watching over them and sign your letter, “Love, Santa.”
For some added fun, use an old-style font that you think Santa himself might use. This gives your letter a more authentic touch. When your letter finally arrives, enjoy the squeals of delight, and revel in the magic that lives on in the hearts of children everywhere.