How to write a Thanksgiving blessing – Part I

How to write a Thanksgiving Blessing from

November brings with it the flurry of preparation for the upcoming holidays, and in these next few weeks as menus and guest lists are planned, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about the annual tradition of the Thanksgiving prayer or blessing.

Perhaps you give the blessing each year, or maybe you’ll be invited to lead a prayer
as a guest in someone’s home. If the latter makes you tremble like Tom Turkey in the barnyard, fear not— we’ve written a two part series, including some helpful tips on how to offer warm and gracious blessings and prayers full of gratitude.

Thank you…to whom?

Many people feel pressured on the “what should I say” moment during grace. You don’t have to be Christian, or belong to any religion, to offer a prayer of thankfulness. If you are a Christian, than your prayer very likely would include God and you could thank Him for being among friends and family and for the food you’re about to share. Some tribal traditions thank the animal that sacrificed its life, others address the Universe, and many acknowledge the Earth and those who worked and labored to produce the food.  Taking time to speak gratitude out loud is a soulful gesture in itself, regardless of one’s tradition.

Think about what you’re thankful for:

Everyone has something to be thankful for, even if it’s simply being alive. Write down a list of people and things you cherish, and also think about things that have happened to you, or others that will gather with you, and speak positively about them.

Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Think of  the friends and family members you cherish
  • Are people traveling to see you? Think about gratitude for safe travels.
  • What about faithful pets? Give thanks for their companionship and comfort each day.
  • A warm home and food on the table is more than many have, and worthy of much gratitude.
  • Is someone ill and trying to heal? Think about offering thanks for the doctors and medical care they are receiving, or were fortunate to find.
  • Maybe someone is waiting on a new job, or perhaps someone lost a job—you could give thanks for the blessings ahead, and the courage and strength to persevere.

Help words and phrases:

For those writing a custom Thanksgiving prayer, these words and phrases can be plugged into any prayer during Thanksgiving:

  • blessing(s)
  • thankful
  • Thanksgiving
  • giving thanks
  • God’s gift of feast
  • family harvest
  • harvest gathering
  • feast of life
  • Autumn togetherness
  • unmeasured appreciation

Hopefully, your mind is swirling with ideas, and don’t forget to check back next week with our follow up post which will include poems, graces and prayers you can use for your blessing.



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.




Halloween Decorating Inspiration

Alison OsProfilePic150x150born is an art director here at, and when she’s not creating beautiful eCards, she loves to put her crafting skills on display at home. We’ve shared some of her creativity in previous posts such as the surprise 70th birthday party she threw for her mother, as well as past craft roundups. Lucky for us, Alison especially loves decorating her home for Halloween, so we had to take a peak inside and share what we found!


All Photos Courtesy of Kelly Kutsko

1. Halloween Star
Decoupage scrapbook paper shapes on to a metal star. You can even sponge the edges of your paper shapes with paint before applying.

2. Marquee BOO Letters
Letters are from Heidi Swapp Marquee Love Collection. So easy, just paint and decoupage scrapbook paper. You can even add glitter, ribbons and more.

3. Witch Hats
Paint Paper Mache witch hat. Cut out scrapbook paper shapes to decoupage on to hat—a circle shape for the rim of the hat and paper strips to cover the cone horizontally. Dilute black acrylics to paint a wash over the hat. Add ribbon, acorns and paper cupcake flowers to decorate.

4. Trick or Treat Sign
Decoupage designer tissue paper on to canvas. White wash canvas then paint on black stripes. Letter “Trick or Treat” in black then in orange acrylic paints. Decorate with handmade fabric flowers.

5. BEWARE Banner
Glue orange, handmade fabric flowers on black canvas flags. You can also use canvas flowers or Halloween rosettes from local craft stores. Glue on glitter lettering.

6. Candy Corn Wreath
Find the entire tutorial on the House of Smiths blog.

Here are the final looks throughout Alison’s house…Bravo! For more design inspiration from Alison, check out her Instagram!










Rosh Hashanah–A Celebration of Beginnings!

“May you be inscribed for a good and sweet year!”  This greeting is one of the Mantra’s of Rosh Hashanah, which means “head of the year.”   This important holiday celebration brings the opportunity for believers to wipe the slate clean of all that has been and move on with the gifts of G-d’s grace and blessings.

Rosh Hashanah is all about relationships.  It marks the anniversary of the relationship G-d created with mankind through Adam and Eve, and the birth of His relationship with humanity.  It reverently shares the desire for all human beings to be blessed with another year, totally connected to the One who began the world as we know it.

At Synagogues around the world, the sound of the shofar will mark the first sin of man and the atonement for that sin.  The blast of the lamb’s horn may be heard on both days of Rosh Hashanah, clearly demonstrating the hope for the coming year.    Apples dipped in honey also symbolize the desires for a sweet year and the realization that all good things come from the King of Heaven.

It’s always exciting to begin again.  This year, as your Jewish friends come to the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, wish them well.  Extend the blessing for all good things and in some small way, become a part of the sweetness that a new year brings no matter what your faith background.    What could be more wonderful than coming back to your roots, remembering all that has gone before, and delighting in all that is yet to be?  Wherever you are today, may you receive a clean slate, a chance to take a fresh breath and start again.  May you celebrate the joys of a renewed spirit, trusting in the relationship you have with the G-d of all Creation.  Shalom!



The History of Birthdays

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?

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!

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?




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.




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.


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



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!


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, 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!




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



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!
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.