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RAMADAN (7.9)

RAMADAN  (7.9)

Sunrise to Sunset

Throughout the next 30 days, over 1.5 billion people around the world will be observing Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, with adults fasting and praying from sunrise to sunset.

In North America this year, Ramadan begins at sunset on July 9, but there are some years when it falls in the middle of winter! This is because, for those who don’t follow an Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a moving holiday that shifts about ten days every year based on date of the new moon. Despite the changing dates, the strong traditions of Ramadan remain the same: there is fasting, prayer and the practice of selflessness.

Fasting and Other Traditions

Fasting is one the Five Pillars of the Islam religion and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. For Muslims, it’s a way to sacrifice earthly pleasures, share the sufferings of the less fortunate and more deeply appreciate the bounties of Allah. Only adults are expected to fast, but children enjoy the other traditions including the excitement of sighting the moon and sharing special meals.

A typical day of Ramadan begins just before sunrise with a meal called Sahur, followed by the first of five prayers, which are offered all day long. And then the fast begins. Throughout the day, Muslims are encouraged to go out of their way to help the needy, both financially and emotionally. In fact, some people are so enthusiastic about helping others during this month, they barely have time for themselves.  But since Muslims believe they will be rewarded more than 70 times over for good deeds during Ramadan, this is well worth the effort. At the end of each day, the fast is broken at sunset, often with social dinners or “lftar parties.” And then remainder of five prayers is offered, usually at a Mosque.

Eid-ul-Fitr

The month of Ramadan ends with a festive celebration called Eid-ul-Fitr (commonly called “Eid”) which often lasts three full days.  Muslims get together with family and friends, share gifts and eat delicious dinners. Or they take a short vacation…before patiently waiting for the next year.

Overall, Ramadan is a very special time of brotherhood and customs that brings about a feeling of closeness, community and religious commitment, which is a wonderful experience for Muslims of all ages around the world.

RAMADAN  (7.9)RAMADAN  (7.9)RAMADAN  (7.9)RAMADAN  (7.9)RAMADAN  (7.9)RAMADAN  (7.9)

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HAPPY CANADA DAY!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Canada Day, once called Dominion Day, is celebrated with the same intent and fervor as Independence Day in the USA.  Canada Day marks the event in 1867 when Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada began the process of becoming an independent and united nation.  It wasn’t until 1982, however, that it became fully independent from the United Kingdom.  Though Canada Day has only been celebrated since the ’50s with fireworks and barbeques, it’s now a notable day for relaxing and appreciating family and freedom.

Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, and many other cities and provinces host holiday activities with games, cookouts, parades, carnivals, concerts, and air and maritime shows. There are countless events and festivals to be found throughout each city’s streets, parks, and museums. Fireworks are launched everywhere from Nova Scotia to Vancouver to conclude a day of patriotic festivities.

So how can you celebrate your neighbors to the North or honor Canada Day at home? Try decorating with some maple leaves and add splashes of red and white everywhere.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!   Make a Strawberry Maple-leaf Flag Cake, or try Eggs in Maple-Ham Cups, Canada Day Picnic Sandwiches or fun Beaver Cupcakes to savor the day Canadian-style.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!   Another way to have fun is to create some crafts.  You can make delightful Canada Day Birds of red and white paper or a simple red and white pinwheel to play in the breeze at the local parade. Today, craftsmen and hobbyists find lots of ways to celebrate the rich heritage of beautiful Canada.

You can find links for some great recipes and craft ideas for Canada Day below.

It’s always fun to join in a celebration, so come on and honor your Canadian friends and neighbors by recognizing one of their greatest days in history.  It all happens on July 1!

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/canada_day_picnic_sandwich.php
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/canada_day_cake.php
http://www.canadianliving.com/food/beaver_cupcakes.php
http://www.rightathome.com/Food/Recipes/Pages/EggsinMapleHamCups.aspx
http://pinterest.com/twintrospective/canada-day/
 
Photo Credits: Strawberry Maple-leaf Flag cake: smallhomebigstart.blogspot.com   Eggs in maple Ham Cups: rightathome.com
HAPPY CANADA DAY!   HAPPY CANADA DAY!   HAPPY CANADA DAY!   HAPPY CANADA DAY!   HAPPY CANADA DAY!   HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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“WHAT TO WRITE…” Apologies & Forgiveness

WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness

Today Is Forgiveness Day

We’ve all been there. Life is good. Our relationships with our family, our friends, our co-workers, seem to be going along fine. And then, out of the blue, it happens. Something comes up. We have a “not-our-best” moment. And now we’ve got…well…a situation.

Let’s face it…in spite of our best intentions, sometimes we human beings hurt each other. Whether it’s through misunderstanding, an oversight, being insensitive, or a moment of frustration or anger, we don’t always see eye to eye. We say things. We do things. We hurt each other. And often, we carry that hurt around far too long.

Why Forgive?

WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that nothing good comes from holding on to our hurt or withholding forgiveness. Aside from being the right and mature thing to do, it’s a proven fact that it’s just better for us—physically, emotionally, and spiritually—to mend fences. Because we all need each other more than we need to “win” or take a chance on losing the very people we love the most.

To say those 3 little words, whether they’re “I’m really sorry” or “I forgive you,”and mean them, is to open the door to a fresh start. And it’s a gift—to ourselves, and to everyone around us.

The First Steps…

Even when we or someone else is sorry, it’s not always easy to know the best way to make things better. But here are some suggestions that may help:

  • Be yourself—let the thoughts and words come from your heart.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t replay all the details of the situation
    or try to defend your side of things.
  • Express how much you care about the person and how you value
    your relationship with them.
  • Accept responsibility. If this person is really important to you,
    put your own ego aside. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong.
  • Say you’re sorry, or accept an apology without being specific about what was said that was hurtful or how you were affected.
  • Express a sincere desire to forgive or be forgiven and to heal the relationship.
  • Tell each other what you’ve learned from this experience—about yourself, about them, about what’s most important in life.
  • Understand that it may take a while before either is ready to forgive.
  • But don’t be discouraged. You’ve done what you can. Now give it time.

Let Us Help You Find the Words…

Here at bluemountain.com, you WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  and your relationships are important to us. We love helping people say the things that are deepest in their hearts—especially when finding the right words can be difficult. So here are some perfect ways to say “I’m sorry” that we hope will help you reconnect with someone special today.

Adding Your Personal Touch…

I know saying sorry can’t change what’s happened, but…
Sorry isn’t just a word…sometimes it’s a hope for a new beginning.
How can I make things better?
Didn’t mean to let you down.
I miss the good times with you…
I never meant to hurt you, but I know I did.
I realize I’ve hurt you and I’m so sorry.
So I really messed up, didn’t I?
Wanting things to be right between us again.
I value your friendship so very much.
I want to say I’m sorry, I’m just not sure how.
I’m not proud of the way I’ve acted.
I’m really sorry and I hope that you’ll forgive me.
So sorry for __________ (be specific).
I’m struggling to find the right words, but I want you to know…
If I could take it all back, I would.
Our (friendship, relationship) is more important to me than anything.
Sometimes I lose sight of what’s most important…
You’re one of the most important people in my life
You’re really special to me, probably more than you know right now.

On a Lighter Note:

Me and my big mouth…
I don’t know what I was thinking…big shocker, huh?
Sorry. I pretty much suck.
You’re kind, smart and wonderful…not to mention forgiving?
Sorry…I’ll definitely keep trying harder.
We all make mistakes…guess I just make more than my share of them.
So exactly how mad are you right now?
I had a very good reason for doing what I did…I was being stupid and inconsiderate!

 

WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness  WHAT TO WRITE... Apologies & Forgiveness

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JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

Roses In Bloom

JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH “There is simply the rose;
it is perfect
in every moment
of its existence.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps no one ever promised you a rose garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Or you may already be a rose-growing enthusiast. Either way, June is rose month—a time to enjoy and celebrate these natural beauties in your yard.

Roses are the romantic darlings of any garden and exude their love on all who pass by. There may be a few fussy varieties, but whether you do some container gardening or create magical borders, you can make sureJUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

roses will bloom for you. One place to look for amazing rose planting ideas is on www.houzz.com/rose-garden. The site is loaded with pictures that give guidance for placing roses anywhere you might like and tips for creating borders and quiet spaces for two in the midst of your fragrant blooms.

JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH Varieties of roses are nearly
endless, along with colors and potential opportunities to design a garden that suits your taste perfectly.  Whether you let them climb the walls, protect the walkways, or flourish around backyard fountains, you can let your heart out to play.

Here are a few tips for your rose garden:

  • Keep your flower beds clean throughout the growing season.
  • Prune your roses to stimulate new growth and produce beautiful blooms on good stems.
  • If your roses are dormant, apply a dormant spray such as lime sulphur to kill any fungus.
  • Do not apply once roses have sprouted leaves. JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH
  • Add nutritional enhancements to the soil as needed.
  • Top off your soil amendments with a two-inch layer of mulch.
  • Apply a good fertilizer. Alfalfa tea as well as manure teas will do wonders for your roses.
  • Encourage new cane growth by adding from 1/2c  to 1c of Epsom salts to the base of each plant and water it well.
  • JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH Roses need at least one inch of water per week to produce quality blooms. Be sure to water roses at the base of the plant.
  • Only use pesticides that also kill beneficial insects as a last resort.
  • Take time to smell the roses!JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

It’s June, the month when eternal optimists see beautiful roses all aroundand never even glimpse the thorns.  As Richard Sheridan said, “Won’t you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.”

 Happy Gardening!




JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH JUNE IS NATIONAL ROSE MONTH

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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!