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The History of Birthdays

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It’s a day that’s all about you – it’s your birthday! Celebrating the anniversary of the day you were born is a common thing, but have you ever wondered where the tradition began? Early man didn’t have a concept of time, or know how to calculate events. Marking the passage of time only became customary with the invention of calendars, which came about from the ability to read lunar cycles.

So where did we get some of the many traditions that come with birthdays?

Parties
party hats

Birthdays are often celebrated across many cultures (often with gifts, parties, etc.), but some say the tradition of birthday parties started in Europe. The superstition stated that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays, so to protect the birthday boy or girl, family and friends would visit. Apparently, bringing good wishes and lots of noise kept the spirits away! This is why many parties are filled with noise makers, music and lots of laughter. So break out the party favors and crank up the tunes!

Cake and Candles
July 19

A birthday celebration isn’t complete without a cake and candles! Some think the cake tradition started with the Greeks, who would take a round or moon shaped cake to the temple of Artemis- the Goddess of Moon – to celebrate. They would then light candles on the cake to make it glow like a moon because they believed that gods lived in the sky and that lighted candles helped to send a signal or prayers.

Others think it was a German custom, as they would bake bread into the shape of baby Jesus’ swaddling cloth to mark the occasion. They’d then place a large candle in the middle of the cake, symbolizing ‘the light of life’.

And what about blowing out those flames? Candles are placed on a Birthday cake and a silent wish is made before blowing out the candle. Some say that blowing all candles out in one breath means the wish will come true and the person will have good luck in the coming year. Why? Early traditions believe that the rising smoke takes your wishes and prayers up to God. Regardless of what you believe, don’t let the flames burn too long – it’s bad form to let all of the wax melt all over the cake!

Dates
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What’s the most popular birth date in theUnited States? October 5 holds this honor, while May 22 is the least common birth date.

So whether your birthday is today, or a full year away – happy birthday to you and yours! What do YOU do to celebrate your special day?

 

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Printable Mothers Day Coupon Books

05012015_Mother_Coupons_BLG_BMAWhile a beautiful bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers is nice, why not give Mom a gift that she can enjoy throughout the year this Mother’s Day? Give her a printable Mothers Day coupon book packed with sweet little rewards.

Have a foodie mom? Make your own coupons good for one free day of cooking together with her favorite child. Customize a coupon book for Mom with thoughtful activities you can do together whenever she decides to “redeem” a coupon with you. Outdoorsy moms will be thrilled to have a companion with them when they redeem a coupon good for one free hike, while crafty moms may enjoy receiving a coupon book entitling them to one free afternoon of scrapbooking with old family photos together.

And don’t forget all of the other important women in your life, like Grandmas, Aunts and Friends! You can customize a Mother’s Day coupon book for everyone you want to celebrate this Mother’s Day.

 

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Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks…and enjoying each other’s company. Traditionally, we do that around a bountiful table of delicious, traditional foods and desserts. This year, as a treat, the foodies at Blue Mountain thought it would be fun to share some recipes with you. But not just any recipes. They’re a slightly unusual—but decidedly tasty—twist on the classic Thanksgiving recipe everyone tends to make year after year. We hope you’ll give these fabulous options a try! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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1. Cornbread, Bacon, Leek & Pecan Stuffing via Martha Stewart

2. Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy via Food & Wine

3. Sweet Potato Tater Tots via Super Glue Mom

4. Cognac Cranberry Sauce via Tablespoon

5. Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries via Dashing Dish

6. Caramelized Phyllo & Pumpkin Marshmallow Napoleons via Baking Obsession

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Thanksgiving Craft Roundup

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and as you pack up your Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decor is probably making its debut. If you need a little Thanksgiving craft inspiration, we have it right here, from one of our very own Blue Mountain family members!

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1. Autumn Wreath
2. Painted Acorn
3. Pom Pom Flowers
4. Family Turkey painted pumpkin
5. Thanksgiving Table Runner
6. Pumpkin Pom Pom Garland

Alison Osborn is an art director here at BlueMountain.com, and when she’s not creating beautiful eCards, she loves to make her own beautiful ProfilePicworks of art for her home. After seeing some amazing Halloween decorations, we had to have her share what she’s been working on for Thanksgiving. To learn more about Alison, click here, and you can see more of her crafts on Pinterest!

 

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Letter from the Editor – Welcome November!

“November brings a harvest of memories,
reminding our hearts what matters most.”

Ah, November– when the brooding autumn skies are filled with parting birds, as we brace ourselves for the inclement weather ahead.  Many of us are moving indoors now, where our homes become cozy retreats, filled with eiderdown comforters, spiced warm cider and toasty fires.  November days are short but full, as we ready the house for the holidays and make our plans for Thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving, our thoughts naturally turn to what matters most–not the things we’ve acquired along the way–but rather the moments, memories, and experiences shared with the people we love.  For some of us, Thanksgiving will be a bittersweet time.  As we look around our table this year, a familiar face may be missing.  We honor their memory by gathering together with grateful hearts.  We remind ourselves there are things we take for granted that others are praying for.

This year, we’ve created an especially warm collection of Thanksgiving eCards for you to spread the love and gratitude among your family and friends.   You can watch as woodland animals fill a cornucopia to the lovely music, “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”  We think you’ll also enjoy our hand-lettered “Three Wishes,” and you won’t want to miss our charming Golden Lab delivering your message “Across the Miles.” Want to share a smile?   Send our talking pilgrim dogs to speak what you type or check out “Where’s the Turkey?” and discover where the turkeys hide.

However you celebrate this year, may joy and love be present at your table.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Caroline Leech, Senior Editor
Caroline

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Halloween Poem

It’s almost the witching hour! To help get you in the eerie, mystical mood, we thought we’d share a Halloween poem with you that our Senior Editor, Liza McNamara, wrote for us last year. We liked it so much that we thought we’d “magically” turn it into a printable version just for you. Hang it in your home or on your front door to greet trick-or-treaters or include it in treat bags when you hand out candy. Add it to the festive office décor or leave as a fun surprise for co-workers to find on their desks. You might also have fun reading it out loud to kids and grandkids to get everyone in the spirit of this mystical night of All Hallows Eve. Enjoy!
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Click here to receive a printable size of the poem, or click here to receive the correct size to make the poem your desktop background.

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Halloween Playlist!

We’re really getting in the Halloween spirit this week! Decorations are going up, costumes are being planned, and everyone is starting to buzz with Halloween energy. And while we’ve been decorating and munching on candy corn, we’ve been listening to a lot of Halloween-inspired music. We thought we would put a few of our favorite spooky favorites in a Halloween playlist to share. Enjoy! Share some of your songs from your Halloween playlist in the comments to help get everyone in the spooky spirit.

 

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Top 10 Halloween Tales

With Halloween lurking just around the corner, there’s nothing like a good scary story to get you in the spooky spirit. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 Halloween tales sure to send chills right to your bones. Some stories you may already be familiar with, but isn’t it also fun to take that unfamiliar road and see where it leads? You just may want to leave the lights on all night.  Let us know what you think of our favorite Halloween tales and share your favorites below!

The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allen Poe

Frankenstein – Mary Shelly

Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

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It – Stephen King

Ghost Story – Peter Straub

The Ritual – Adam Nevil

House of Leaves – Mark Danielewsk

Hell House – Richard Matheson

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Memories with Dad

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As Father’s Day quickly approaches, we’d love to pause for a moment to recount all the meaningful moments we’ve shared with that very special man (or men) in our life. After all, a dad is fun, love, and laughter you never outgrow.

Whether learning to ride a bike or learning to drive a car…whether playing house or playing pool…whether laughing or crying, Dad’s always been there for you. With moments in time that are both vivid and treasured, we are truly blessed to associate such great times with Dad—from childhood all the way through to adulthood.

In order to celebrate that loving bond that’s so precious and unique, Blue Mountain offers many delightfully beautiful Father’s Day eCards. Blue Mountain also offers a great selection of printable Father’s Day cards.

And in order to share those memories we hold so dear, we’ve decided to reach out to our Blue Mountain family and see what personal “dad memories” they remember best—whether reminiscing of old ones or creating new ones. And here’s what they had to say:

DANIELLE KROUSE, Social Media Manager
Danielle and dad
“I can’t help but smile when I look at this picture. The father/daughter dance was something I was really looking forward to on my wedding day. My dad and I talked through the whole dance and told stories of the two of us that made us laugh. I’m so happy that special moment of happiness was captured!”

———-

NOHA YOUSSEF, Assistant Brand Manager
Noha and dad
“This photo of my dad and me was taken a few years back when we went on a little family getaway to Put-In-Bay, Ohio. My dad loves the outdoors and has a real appreciation for nature, so this was a great escape for all of us to spend some quality time together. He’s an amazing man, and I love him very much.”

———-

MARIA ISABELLA, Content Marketing Editor
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“Even though my son-in-law is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, he says the birth of his son is unquestionably his greatest accomplishment in life. He adores Avery and steals every moment he can to admire his sweet little face.”
Joe and Avery

“My husband also loves holding Avery, who everyone says looks a lot like him. He tells his grandson about all the many adventures they’re going to have together once he gets older. Watch out, world!”

———-

CAROLYN ANTL, Designer/Content Coordinator
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“I appreciate my dad very much. As a single dad in the eighties, he raised both my sister and me on his own. He took us with him everywhere he went, and we enjoyed many experiences together. Whether it was folding laundry, cooking, fishing, or skiing, he made time to be with us and raised us to be smart and strong. I feel so lucky to have such a loving father, and I treasure every moment I have with him. This is a picture of us when I was visiting him in South Carolina.”

———-

CAROLINE LEECH, Senior Editor
Caroline Leech dad photo
“This is my son, David, with his father, also David. From the very start, they’ve been two peas in a pod. David is 21 now, and I’m happy to say they are still as connected as ever.”

 

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Gratitude Guide for Mom: How to say Thank You and Show Mom your Gratitude

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Happy Mother’s Day – Those three little words are loaded with so much meaning that there’s no possible way to fit all the things that make up those words into a single day. Yet, we try our best to give tokens of love to our moms with the hope that even just an ounce of what we feel is communicated to them.

So, how do you begin to show your gratitude for all she’s done and continues to do? We’ve compiled a Gratitude Guide with some ideas and inspiration to help you. Keep in mind that, when it comes down to it, most mothers would agree that your time is more wanted than things; your validation of who they are, more precious than gold…

List of Gratitudes
A daughter wrote a letter to her 80 year old mother, telling her how thankful she was for all the things her mother did for her while she was growing up. Her mother said it was the best Mother’s Day gift she ever received, and wants it to be included in her eulogy. Click Hereto read Faye’s letter to her mother…and maybe grab a tissue. If you would like to do something like this, you can use our Blue Mountain printable stationery as a beautiful backdrop for this gift she’ll cherish.

Sing it
Do you have musical talent? Write your mom a song and sing it to her, or record it for her so she can listen to it over and over again.

Dedicate a song on the radio
If singing isn’t your thing, call up her favorite radio station and see if they’ll dedicate a song to her at a time she’s probably listening.

A box of 52 of your favorite memories about your mom
Find or make or your own decorative box and write down 52 of your best-loved memories about your mom. She’ll get to read one each week over the next year.

Garden walk treasures
Go on a garden walk with Mom and collect leaves, petals, and anything that catches your eye. Back at Mom’s house, create a window display of your treasures reminding her of your enjoyable afternoon together.

Record a personalized ringtone for her cell phone.
Give her a heart a tug every time her cell phone rings. Record a special ringtone of all the kids/grandkids yelling, ‘We love you Mom/Grandma!”

Jewelry with meaning
Give her vintage map jewelry of the state/country where you grew up, her favorite bible verse, or a much-loved passage from a favorite book 
or poem.

A Now and Then Photo
Frame a photo of you and Mom from when you were still a baby and she was a young mom, and one of the two of you now.

Take a class together.
If you live close to your mother, take a class together of something she always wanted to do like sewing, painting, cooking, etc. Not only will it be a fun experience, but the time spent together is priceless.

Mother’s Day Photo Magnet
All moms have them—photos covering the refrigerator of all their children and grandchildren. This is a wonderful idea that can turn a photo of each person she loves into a magnet itself. You can make one of every child and grandchild. Once you’ve made the magnets, post them to her refrigerator with notes from each person on the magnet about what they love about her so she’s reminded every single day what an amazing woman she is and how she’s touched their lives.

Make a recurring appointment for a phone call with Mom each week. Plus, if you have siblings, assign each one a different day of the week to call Mom so she hears from her children regularly.

Tell Mom what you learned from her example.
This popular poem by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan is a wonderful way to honor mom and has been shared in many forms time and time again.

One of our Blue Mountain editors has created a Pinterest Board for many of the ideas you’ve read about in our blog today, and we also invite you to use our Mother’s Day eCards to help celebrate your wonderful moms.

All of us at Blue Mountain wish you and your mom a Mother’s Day to remember!

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