Place Setting Etiquette

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, we know you’re busy reviewing your guest list, making centerpieces, and digging deep into your cabinets to pull out Grandma’s very good china.  Whether you’re planning a formal affair, or gathering friends and family together for a casual day of comfort food and football, we thought it would be helpful to share this handy infographic of varying place settings to help you set a festive Thanksgiving table with the “proper” flair.

Place Setting Etiquette

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How to write a Thanksgiving blessing – Part II

How to write a Thanksgiving blessing   Part II

Now that you’ve had some time to pull your own ideas and thoughts together using the tips from our last blog post, we thought we’d share with you some favorite traditional prayers and inspirational poems that you may like to lead with, or combine with your own expression of thanks.

Remember, gratitude in and of itself is a beautiful thing and there is no right or wrong way to speak about it. Simply relax and speak from your heart, and enjoy the opportunity to let those around you know how thankful you are that you’re all together for Thanksgiving.

Poems, Graces and Prayers:

  • Bless us, O Lord
    and these Thy gifts,
    which we are about to receive from your bounty.
    Through Christ our Lord.
    Amen.
  • Bless this home
    with love and cheer,
    And bless all those
    who gather here.
  • Thank you for the day so sweet,
    Thank you for the food we eat,
    Thank you for the birds that sing,
    Thank you, Lord, for everything!
  • Every so often, we all need a day to stop everything we’re so busy doing
    and simply be. A day to turn off all the noise and step outside to breathe
    in the air, and to know we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
    A day to realize the richness of our blessings, the miracles we are,
    the wonder that is our lives, the gratitude in our hearts.
  • With a prayer that this beautiful season
    gives us many new reasons
    to rejoice and thank the Lord.
  • Thanksgiving is a time of awareness,
    of caring and sharing —remembering the best,
    seeing the beautiful,
    being grateful for the fullness of life.

Chinese Proverb
When you eat, remember the farmer.

From the Poem i thank You God
by E. E. cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day…for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

Servant’s Heart
Dear Lord, thank you for this gift of food
You’ve placed upon our table.
And help us all to do your work
In any way we’re able.

Serving Food by Thich Nhat Hanh
In this food, I see clearly
The presence of the universe
Supporting my existence.

Grace
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
We offer thanks. Amen.

A Blessing based on Gandhi’s Principles
Oh God, bless this food we are about to receive.
Give bread to those who hunger; and hunger for justice to us who have bread.

Shortest Grace by Dag Hammarskjöld
For what has been—thanks! For what shall be—yes!

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How to write a Thanksgiving blessing – Part I

How to write a Thanksgiving blessing   Part I

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.

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Halloween Poem…

Halloween Poem...

All Hallow’s Eve

As Scorpio claws the moonlit sky,
the bats and owls in flight soar by.

 The fog is thick; the night air, chill,
and shadows shift upon the hill.

The Jacks smile wide as willows weep,
as if dark secrets they do keep.

The spirits rise, the dead–they roam,
while witches recite their evil tomes.

This Halloween; this mystic night,
makes mortals wary of ghostly sights.

For the veil is lifted to worlds unseen,
on this hallowed night of Halloween!

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What to Write…in a talking Halloween ecard

What to Write...in a talking Halloween ecard

What better time than Halloween for a surprising character to deliver a wish or fun hello?Our talking eCards will speak what you type and recite your message with an unexpected flair that will delight everyone you send it to. Our newest lizard talking eCard, “Liquor Treat,” is the perfect Halloween surprise! But if you can’t think of what our pal should say?  Here are some “pun” ideas to get you started:

  • Haven’t talked to someone in awhile? Use some fun word play: “All iguana do is say hi and see how you’re doing!” (don’t worry about sticking strictly to an exact species—have fun with all our leathery friends).

 

  • Wish someone a happy birthday with: “Leapin’ lizards–another birthday? Drinks are on me!”

 

  • Thank someone for something nice they did: “What you did was so nice, I think you rank highest on a scale from one to ten of the nicest people I know!”

 

  • Of course, this is the perfect eCard to  invite your friends out for some drinks with: “Iguana get together for drinks?”

 

  • You could even send this out to several friends for a fun gathering: “Calling all lounge lizards! Let’s meet up at Harry’s Tavern Friday night!

 

  • Of course, you don’t need to use puns at all, as this critter is such a delightful surprise, that no matter what you say he’s sure to entertain!
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Raise awareness for breast cancer with FREE postcards

Raise awareness for breast cancer with FREE postcards

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and BlueMountain.com currently has a partnership with six non-profit organizations to offer free digital postcards throughout the month.

We hope that you will share the postcards, which were designed to raise awareness for organizations that provide resources for those affected by breast cancer and their families. Each postcard contains illustrations and branding specific to the participating organizations. All of the postcards can be found on a special page dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month eCards on the Blue Mountain site.

The participating organizations include:

In addition to sending the postcards via email and Facebook, Blue Mountain users can visit the partner sites to donate or learn more about how to support the participating organizations this month and beyond.

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10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

Halloween is literally going to the dogs, with purchases for pet Halloween costumes increasing 20% over the last 3 years.  Most dog owners spend more on Fido’s costume than their own, creating fun and clever duds for their favorite furry buddies that make them stand out from the rest of the Halloween pack.

If you’re still trying to come up with ideas for your favorite pooch, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite dog costumes to inspire you as you prepare your faithful friend for a “howling” good time.

1. Our dogs are our heroes, so why not dress them as such and emphasize their amazing powers to leap into our hearts in a single bound.

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

2. With a twinkle in his eye, your little rascal will be greeting everyone with a “Top o’ the evening to ye!” at every doorstep.

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

3. You’re going to need a bigger boat with “Chomper” on the prowl!

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

4. Woof? More like “boo!”

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

5. It’s off to the races with this costume that will win by much more than a nose.

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

6. Everyone will yell, “Bravo!” for this pasta-loving pooch.

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

7. Use the force for Halloween goodies, he will!

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

8. These fast foodie friends know how to do it up right.

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

9. Better warn the kiddies before this beast hits the streets!

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

10. What could have more appeal than this clever bunch?

10 Halloween Costumes for Pets

 

 

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What to Write in Halloween Party Invitations

What to Write in Halloween Party Invitations

As Halloween creeps closer, you may be “toiling” over gathering up some of your favorite ghouls and goblins for a Halloween party and sharing in a spooky night of fun, and what better occasion than Halloween to get wonderfully creative with your invitations. There are so many great ideas out there, and at bluemountain.com we even have Halloween invitations you can easily print right from your computer, so that might be a good place to get started and gather some ideas.

Halloween “How to”

But with so many fun invitations, you’ll want your Halloween message to be just as creative and entertaining as well, right? So, how do you write an invitation that will leave everyone spellbound?  Let your imagination run wild and use engaging “witchy” wording, short poems, or even just a fun title at the top.  We’ll help you get started with some ideas below that will get you well on your way to being “the hostess with the mostest” this Halloween!

  • Look what’s brewing…
    A Halloween Party!
    Wing of bat,
    and eye of newt,
    A strand of werewolf hair,
    Come share our brew
    we hope that you
    WILL SHOW UP AND BE THERE!

 

  • The Spirits are Summoning You
    to a Halloween Haunt!
    October 31st
    Be there of BEWARE!

 

  • Come to a Halloween Party
    B.Y.O.B*
    Bring Your Own BOOS!!!!

 

  • Time to HOWL!
    October 31st
    9pm ‘til the werewolves come home!
    Be there—it’ll be too scary without you!

 

  • Gouls just wanna’ have fun,
    so grab your brooms and get ready
    for a Halloween Ghoul’s Night Out!

 

  • You’re Invited
    …To a frightful,
    delightful,
    excite-ful,
    fun night-ful
    HALLOWEEN PARTY!

 

 

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Celebrating October Birthdays!

Celebrating October Birthdays!

October is a magical month made up of vibrant colors and comfortable temperatures. It’s quite the celebratory month too, as we observe Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, Canada’s Thanksgiving and Halloween in the upcoming weeks. But today we celebrate all the October birthdays – it’s your time to shine! We thought it would be fun to call out some famous names also celebrating this month. Who shares your special day?

  • October 1, 1935- Julie Andrews, actress, singer
  • October 2, 1970- Kelly Ripa, actress, television personality
  • October 3, 1941- Chubby Checker, singer, musician
  • October 4, 1924- Charlton Heston, actor
  • October 5, 1975- Kate Winslet, actress
  • October 6, 1846- George Westinghouse, engineer, inventor
  • October 7, 1951- John Mellencamp, singer
  • October 8, 1970- Matt Damon, actor
  • October 9, 1940- John Lennon, singer, songwriter, musician
  • October 10, 1958- Tanya Tucker, singer
  • October 11, 1884- Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady, wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • October 12, 1935- Luciano Pavarotti, opera singer
  • October 13, 1959- Marie Osmond, actress, singer ,Brother-Sister duo “Donny & Marie”
  • October 14, 1894- E. E. Cummings, poet
  • October 15, 1959- Emeril Lagasse, chef
  • October 16, 1854- Oscar Wilde, poet, playwright
  • October 17, 1918- Rita Hayworth, actress
  • October 18, 1956- Martina Navratilova, tennis champion
  • October 19, 1945- John Lithgow, actor , comedian
  • October 20, 1931- Mickey Mantle, MLB baseball slugger
  • October 21, 1956- Carrie Fisher, actress, “Princess Leia” in “Star Wars”
  • October 22, 1942 Annette Funicello, actress, singer, beach movies
  • October 23, 1925- Johnny Carson, Talk show host, “The Tonight Show”
  • October 24, 1930- J.P. Richardson, singer, the “Big Bopper”, sang “Chantilly Lace”
  • October 25, 1881 -Pablo Picasso, artist
  • October 26, 1947- Hillary Rodham Clinton, first lady, NY Senator
  • October 27, 1858-  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th  U. S President
  • October 28, 1967- Julia Roberts, actress
  • October 29, 1971- Winona Ryder, actress
  • October 30, 1735- John Adams, 2d U.S. President
  • October 31, 1950- Jane Pauley, TV journalist

 

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MEET THE WRITER: Caroline Leech

Our featured artist this month is actually a very talented writer and editor…
Caroline Leech, who has created many of your favorite Blue Mountain greetings! Whether writing songs or sentiments, she has that special ability to work seamlessly with the artists involved to produce cards that are instant hits. Read what Caroline has to say about what inspires her and keeps her motivated in the work she loves so much…

MEET THE WRITER: Caroline Leech

Hi Caroline, When did you first realize you had writing abilities or know that you wanted to be a writer?

I have loved words for as long as I can remember. As a child I used to make greeting cards for my Mom and Dad on the backs of the Twinkies inserts. I won my first poetry contest in second grade for a song I wrote to sing to the birds.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I have over 30 years (where does the time go?) of experience in the social expression industry, holding a variety of corporate and consulting positions. I have a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Dayton and have written ten children’s books for Golden Books and Disney.

What is your current position at bluemountain.com and could you tell us a little more about your work?

As a Senior Editor, I write greetings, compose song lyrics and create storylines with the artists and musicians. I am fortunate to work with our very creative and talented design and audio teams who make work a pleasure. Brainstorming new ideas with them is one of my favorite things to do.

MEET THE WRITER: Caroline Leech

Which is your favorite ecard you’ve created and what makes it special to you?

My One and Only One” is my favorite ecard, because the song I wrote for it was inspired by my husband. I also enjoy writing the titles for our Talking Cards. This has to be the only place on earth where puns are welcome.

MEET THE WRITER: Caroline Leech

Who is the writer who has most influenced you? How do you use that influence in your work?

There are many authors and poets I love, but a lot of my inspiration comes from our customers. I like to read customer comments and follow them on our fan page, listening to what delights and inspires them. For example, I noticed that many of the quotations they like are about sunshine, so I wrote a singing telegram and a card about sending sunny wishes.

MEET THE WRITER: Caroline Leech

What types of things do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Actually, staying motivated is never a problem. The real challenge is finding enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I’d like to do.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to be here, doing what I love most.

On a final note, what are some things you like to do when you’re away from work?

Not surprisingly, I love to read. When I’m not curled up with a book, I’m spending time with my family and friends.

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