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JUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

It’s The First Day of Summer!

JUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

Longest Day of the Year

Break out the lemonade because summer is here!  The summer solstice marks the moment when the sun is directly overhead at its most northern point. When it reaches “high-noon,” it creates more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere than at any other time of the year.  The summer solstice is the longest day of the year and just a few days shy of the year’s half-way point on July 1.

Summer Memories

As you breathe in the fragrant summer air and lavish the sunshine, it may be a good time to think back on what summer meant to you as a kid. A walk down memory lane may just spark some moments you can create again. Did you love going on picnics in the park or canoeing down a river and enjoying the beautiful landscape? Did you love hiking wooded trails and camping? Maybe you simply loved your mom’s potato salad and music from bands like The Beach Boys. Think back and drink it all in.

Escape Your To-Do List

Then look at today and think of ways to start enjoying this summer. Set aside some time just for you to escape your to-do list and create some summer fun. Now is the time to catch some fireflies, grill some burgers or head out on your bike. Go to an amusement park and ride the roller coaster, or take your sweetheart to the drive-in. Summertime is playtime and you have every right to play. Think sandcastles, hammocks gently swaying in the breeze, and starry, starry nights. You might even want to wish on a star or two.

Plan a One-Tank-Trip

Give yourself a mini-vacation, even if it’s just a day trip. Catch the farmer’s markets that contain an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Visit the local arboretum or the butterfly farm. Use your imagination and dream a little dream because the best parts of life are filled with summer dreams.

Celebrate the solstice, catch a few sunbeams, and give yourself permission to slip away and enjoy it all. Swap barbecue recipes with your neighbor and carve a smile in the watermelon. It’s time for you to simply relax and enjoy yourself! Don’t forget to send some cheerful “thinking of you” notes to your friends as well. Maybe you can get them to go along for the ride when you go out to play!

For more information on the summer solstice, please click on the following links:

http://www.bluemountain.com/blog/2011/06/celebrate-the-summer-solstice/
http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/summersolstice.htm
JUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICEJUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICEJUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICEJUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICEJUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICEJUNE 21: THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

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IT’S NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!

Summer Is Almost Here!

ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   Even though the official start of summer is still a few days away, don’t be surprised if you’re already craving a cool, refreshing glass of iced tea–after all, it’s National Iced Tea Day! If any beverage should have its own holiday, iced tea is not only one of the tastiest choices but it’s one of the healthiest as well.

So, How Did Iced Tea Come To Be? 

In 1904, English tea plantation owner Richard Blechynden set up a booth to sell hot tea at the St. Louis World Fair. However, it was an extremely hot day and fair visitors wanted something cold. So Blechnyden simply poured the tea over ice and it was an immediate hit!

Health Benefits

Since ancient times, tea has had a wide range of medicinal uses, and modern research gives merit to its benefits. Tea is commonly used to alleviate cold symptoms and, usually with honey, provide instant relief for a sore throat. For stressful situations, certain teas can be very relaxing and even help you drift off to sleep. Tea is also believed to help avoid heart disease. And green tea may even reduce the risk of breast cancer. This is because one glass of tea can contain as many antioxidants as fruits and veggies such as strawberries and spinach!

While even some bottled iced teas can be surprisingly super-powered, brewing your own is the best way to get the maximum health benefits.

Home Brewed

So let’s say you want the best of both worlds—a healthy tea and a great tasting drink. A tea brewed hot and then chilled would logically be your best choice, since hot water releases more of the tea’s antioxidants. But overnight fridge tea has proven to be comparably healthy, so can’t go wrong with either technique.

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Iced-Tea
http://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Iced_Tea
http://www.food.com/recipe/sun-tea-110885


Talk about Variety!

While basic black or herbal teas are still popular, often sweetened with sugar, lemon or mint, tea connoisseurs are constantly coming up new and creative concoctions. Even if you’re not a fan of the classic brew, flavors such as peach or raspberry, mango pineapple or Blackberry Mojito Iced Green Tea, make it possible for everyone to enjoy National Iced Tea Day in their own special way.  And with the countless recipes and products now available, you can easily enjoy new Iced Tea flavors all summer long!

http://www.teavana.com/tea-info/how-to-make-iced-tea
http://www.teaforte.com/store/tea-over-ice/
http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Drinks/Tea-Drinks/Iced-Tea/Top.aspx
 

Tea for Beginners to Tea Connoisseurs

The following website has a great selection of teas, brewing pots, tins, and gift ideas and is filled with information for the novice at tea to the connoisseur. Also includes some great information on iced tea as well!

http://www.teavana.com/
http://www.teavana.com/tea-info/cool-off-with-iced-tea
ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!   ITS NATIONAL ICED TEA DAY!

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GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!

GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!

May is National Barbeque Month, so it’s time to tie on that apron and fire up that grill! Whether it’s hot dogs and hamburgers, a juicy steak, or mouth-watering shish kabobs skewering all of your favorites, here are some tasty recipes and creative ways to add some finger-licking fun to any cookout!

Location, Location, Location!

Potluck / Block Party

Turn your barbeque into a savory smorgasbord! Pick a bright, sunny afternoon, invite friends and neighbors to bring whatever whets their appetite, and swap recipes as you sink your teeth into plenty of great eating. Not to mention, when the party comes to a close, cleanup will be a snap as everyone takes their serving dishes home. Save Mom some kitchen sink time and serve everything on paper plates.

Beach Barbeque / Park It!

GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!Another fun option—barbequing on the beach. Not only is it a relaxing way to enjoy your feast while you take in the cool lake or ocean breezes, but putting out the fire is easy: just add sand!

Don’t forget, many parks come equipped with built-in grills, too—just add charcoal or other kindling. Plus, picnic tables make it easy to spread out all of the goodies. Just be sure to bring plenty of supplies like barbeque sauce brushes, serving forks and tongs.

Great Grilling Recipes

Tantalize your taste buds with some of these lip-smackers that are sure to fire up any cookout:

Shish kabobs: Whether it’s steak, chicken, seafood, or going green on the grill with veggies from the garden, kabobs are always a fun way to make the most of your barbeque! These recipes from the Food Network give you the basic ingredients for different kabobs and are great inspiration for creating your own!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bob-blumer/build-your-own-shish-kabobs-recipe/index.html
 

Savory Sides: From grilled corn and baked beans to onion rings and mashed potatoes, nothing beats a tasty side grilled to perfection and these recipes from the National Barbecue Association will make your mouth water just reading about them! Mac-n-cheese is another quick recipe that’s easy to make and serves as the perfect complement to any cookout cuisine.

http://nbbqa.org/recipes-sides-appetizers
 

Save the Smoke: Just because the fire’s gone out doesn’t mean the fun has to end. While the grill is still warm, why not roast some marshmallows to make smores for this tasty dessert recipe from Mr. Food. Looking for a fun and healthy alternative? Another great dessert recipe, from the National Barbecue Association, Grilled chocolate bananas are sure-fire way to satisfy your sweet tooth!

http://www.mrfood.com/Misc-Desserts/Smores-on-the-Grill#
 http://nbbqa.org/recipes-desserts
 

Raiding the Pantry: There are all sorts of fun ways to indulge your grilling appetites, even during the off-season. Miss those seasoned burgers and want to taste the flavor? Stock-pile some of your favorite barbecue sauces or even some cup-a-soups you can mix  into the hamburger patties before cooking on an indoor griller. It’s a great way to add extra flavor to a cookout classic.

Stocking up for Next Season:

For some, it’s Barbecue Season year ’round, but for many, the season ends with the first flurries of snow. But it’s never too early or late to fill up the freezer for next season. Keep an eye out for when your favorites—steaks, chicken, seafood, and other extras—go on sale. Your taste buds will definitely thank you for it!

 

GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!GET YOUR GRILL ON—MAY IS NATIONAL BARBECUE MONTH!

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CELEBRATING SPRING!

CELEBRATING SPRING!

Ah, springtime! Something in its name gives us hope. We can literally see the barren earth come back to life. The faded grasses turn green again and daffodils, those ambassadors of sunshine, dot the landscape.

March 20 brings new life to our spirits as we are awakened by the Vernal Equinox and the sun begins to shine more brilliantly on our upturned faces. As it begins to melt our cares and woes, we’re touched by its magical warmth. It gently persuades us to release the bonds of winter and to usher in the newness of spring.

How can you bring that feeling into your life right now? Well here are a few ways to add a little bit of springtime to your heart and home today…

  • CELEBRATING SPRING!      Take a good walk and breathe in the fresh air. Remind yourself of those things that make you feel strong and energized and make a plan to pursue more of those things in the weeks ahead.
  • While you’re out there, wander around the outside of the house and see if there’s a good spot for a flowering potted plant or a new bush that will brighten the landscape.
  • Get out those plant magazines, or visit a local greenhouse and start making plans for a little herb garden or a potted plant bearing fruit or simple flowers. (You’ll really be glad you did.)
  • If it looks like winter will not be leaving your neighborhood for a few more weeks, then inspire yourself with the home magazines that abound with ideas to refresh and renew your home and spirit.
  • Of course, the proverbial spring cleaning is one that always makes you feel refreshed and renewed as you give good stuff away to Good Will or other organizations and make room for the things that are really important to you. Get the whole family to help you “lighten up.”
  • CELEBRATING SPRING!      Bring some springtime color inside. Change out the pillows on the sofa or your bed and add a splash of color with flowers or birds and butterflies.
  • Put away the darker shades of winter in your candle and accessories collection and find a few vibrant shades in yellows, pinks, and blues to lighten up your home in a fresh way.
  • Send a happy little note for Easter or Spring to your friends and family, via bluemountain.com. Share a smiling face, a chirping bird, or some other budding bit of joy and let them know you’re thinking of them at this happy time of year.

The best part of spring is that it offers the opportunity to take advantage of all the things that make us feel alive and well. Little touches of color, thoughtful cards and notes to friends, planting seeds of hope…these are the things that bring more sunshine into our lives. The sun of the Vernal Equinox is not just on the equator–it also fills our hearts. Happy Spring!

 

CELEBRATING SPRING!      CELEBRATING SPRING!      CELEBRATING SPRING!      CELEBRATING SPRING!      CELEBRATING SPRING!      CELEBRATING SPRING!

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Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze – A Vacation for the Soul!

Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Do you hear it? There’s the sound of calypso drums setting the tropical breezes in motion, giving happy feet to those who wander across the wet sandy beach looking for shells, those mementos of a peaceful moment. A little laughter can be heard from the couple snuggling under the beach umbrella nearby and from the children running and building sand castles. It’s a glorious day. The salt sea air is just beginning to make you feel a little stronger, a little more playful, and a little more at peace. It’s a great vacation–even if you haven’t actually left your living room.

The fact is you can enjoy mini moments…
little flights of fancy to different spaces and places, ones that free your heart and mind and give you the buoyancy to keep afloat. You can escape on your own little adventure any time you want, any time it feeds your soul. A virtual vacation is a good thing.

And if the beach isn’t your thing, you may find yourself in the mountains, walking through vast canyons, hiking up past the tree line or strolling through quaint villages. You may even be in Europe at a little café, ordering your favorite cappuccino and smiling at the waiter who seems to be flirting with you. You get the picture…Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!

Yes, sometimes, the good times are right at your finger tips. All it takes is a few quiet moments, and a little willingness to just slip away to somewhere glorious. After all, the “real” world will call you back soon enough. When that happens, grab some lemonade and your favorite muumuu and head out to your deck, feel the sun on your cheeks and the breeze in your hair and mentally check in at that little beach hotel down the road. After all you have control over your imagination and it is always happy to take you anywhere that makes you smile.

Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Time for some fun in the sun? Drift away! And check out beachtherapy.com, for lots of videos, pictures, quotes, gifts and other ideas or download some free awesome beach wallpaper desktop calendars here.

Know someone who has a birthday coming up but can’t swing the 5-star, beachfront, week- long getaway to celebrate?  Send them the virtual vacation ecard to help them enjoy a momentary vacation for the soul.

Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!Sun, Sand and an Ocean Breeze   A Vacation for the Soul!