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Make taking your Annual Holiday Photo Card Picture a Family Tradition

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Green Damask Holiday Photo CardsDo you dread taking a family photo each year for your Christmas photo cards? With a few tips and a reward thrown in, you can turn this chore into a fun family tradition.

Mount your camera on a tripod and use a self-timer so the photo taker can be in the photo too. Do a variety of poses and rearrange everyone so you have a choice of several images to use. Then celebrate by going out to dinner or set another tradition you can all look forward too after the photo taking is done.

If you have a fabulous vacation photo with everyone in it, by all means, use it for your photo holiday cards. You don’t have to use formally posed photographs or winter scenes for your cards.

Wishing You Joy Christmas Photo CardBefore mailing your Christmas photo cards, add a personal touch to your cards by writing a personal message on the back (with a sharpie so it doesn’t smear) or include a family newsletter for everyone to catch up on what your family’s been doing for the past year.

Shop our Digital Holiday Photo Cards

Shop our Traditional Folded Christmas Photo Cards

Veterans Day – A Thank You to all who’ve Served

Friday, November 5th, 2010
Veterans Day Poster 2010

Veterans Day Poster 2010

Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an “s” at the end of “veterans” because it is not a day that “belongs” to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans and is usually celebrated on November 11th. 

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. 

In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. 

A number of countries honor their veterans each year on November 11th, although the name and types of commemorations differ somewhat from Veterans Day celebrations in the United States. For example, Canada and Australia observe “Remembrance Day” on November 11th, and Great Britain observes “Remembrance Day” on the Sunday nearest to November 11th. There are similarities and differences between these countries’ Remembrance Day and America’s Veterans Day. 

Canada’s observance is actually quite similar to the U.S. celebration, in that the day is intended to honor all who served in Canada’s Armed Forces. However, unlike in the U.S., many Canadians wear red poppy flowers on November 11th in honor of their war dead. In Australia, Remembrance Day is very much like America’s Memorial Day, a day to honor that nation’s war dead. 

In Great Britain, the day is commemorated by church services and parades of ex-service members in Whitehall, a wide ceremonial avenue leading from London’s Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. Wreaths of poppies are left at the Cenotaph, a war memorial in Whitehall, which was built after the First World War. At the Cenotaph and elsewhere in the country, a two-minute silence is observed at 11 a.m., to honor those who lost their lives in wars. 

Information provided by United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Local Food Banks need your help this Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
South County Food Bank

South County Food Bank

Donating to your local food bank is fast and easy when you use an on-line grocery delivery website.

A suggestion for a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday basket for a family of four is the list I compiled last year and ordered on-line from for delivery to our local food bank – South County Outreach – in memory of my dad, Bill Gillum, our fabulous Thanksgiving turkey carver:

Holiday Meal Order Summary (Prices are estimates):

  • $11.00 Butterball Turkey 16-20 Lb Frozen
  • $ 4.00 Stove Top Turkey Stuffing Mix – 6 Oz (2 @ $2.00)
  • $ 4.00 Sara Lee Classic Dinner Rolls – 17 Oz (2 @2.00)
  • $ 1.50 Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce – 14 Oz
  • $ 1.58 Safeway Cut Green Beans – 14.5 Oz (2 @ $0.79)
  • $ 3.98 Princella Cut Sweet Potatoes And Yams – 29 Oz (2 @ $1.99)
  • $ 1.58 Safeway/Genuardis Corn Whole Golden – 15.25 Oz (2 @ $0.79)
  • $ 2.99 Reddi Wip Whipped Cream Topping- 7 Fl. Oz.
  • $ 6.99 Sara Lee Signature Selections Traditional Pumpkin Pie – 46 Oz.
  • $ 1.25 Safeway Wide Egg Noddles Pasta – 12 Oz
  • $ 1.60 Campbells Cream Of Mushroom Condensed Soup – 10.75 Oz (2 @ $0.80)
  • $ 2.00 Safeway/Vons Fruit Cocktail – 15.25 Oz (2 @ $1.00)
  • $42.47 ORDER TOTAL

Optional items families need:

  • $ 1.79 Safeway/Vons Grape Jam – 18 Oz
  • $ 2.00 Safeway/Vons Peanut Butter Creamy – 18 Oz
  • $ 3.15 Mahatma Long Grain White Rice – 2 Lb
  • $ 1.89 Safeway/Vons Pasta Spaghetti – 32 Oz
  • $ 5.00 Hunts Classic Italian Garlic and Herb Spaghetti Sauce – 26 Oz 4 @$1.25)
  • $ 4.00 Campbells Chicken Noodle Condensed Soup – 10.75 Oz (4 @ $1.00)
  • $ 2.00 Safeway/Vons Light Sugar Yellow Cling Peach Halfs – 15 Oz (2 @ $1.00)

It’s easy to give, just google local food banks/pantries in your area and a local grocery delivery service or choose to deliver food yourself. Fifteen minutes of on-line ordering time and around $42.47 will put a smile on your face and the faces of another family this holiday season. Donating to your local food bank will feel so good it might become a new habit.

Strategically Preparing For Holiday Houseguests

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

House Guests for the HolidaysWhether it is family or friends that are visiting, it is important to make them feel at home and not like they are in your way. There are challenges and rewards to hosting a guest during what is the most strenuous time of the year. However, with a few early preparations, you can create an enjoyable guest experience as well as enjoy the holidays.

First of all, if you are not feeling ok, then before beginning any type of preparation, take care of yourself. You could be suffering from a back ache or migraine headaches that, if left unchecked, could wreak havoc on the entire holiday season. Holiday entertaining is serious business. One year, my back went out due to a stressful time at work, and it was no small picnic to get everything done in time.

The next thing to do is to thoroughly clean your house, especially the areas that get frequent traffic, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and living room; and of course, the guest bedroom. If the intended guest bedroom is in somewhat disarray and disrepair and cannot be remedied in time, then consider offering your bedroom to the guest while you stay in the other room. Sometimes simply decluttering a space makes a huge difference. It is about the guest feeling welcome, after all. It is also about keeping you sane. You do not want to spend a lot of time renovating a guest room that will not be used for another year.


Halloween Pumpkin Carvings by Artist Ray Villafane

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Artist Ray Villafane began carving pumpkins on a lark for his art students in a small rural school district in Michigan. The hobby changed his life as he gained a viral following online and unlocked his genuine love of sculpting. Here are images of pumpkin carvings Villafane created over the past five years.

Carved Pumpkin President Barack Obama

Carved Pumpkin - Who let me out of here?

Carved Pumpkin - Rough Day


The Joy of Holiday Invitations or the Bah Humbug of it All

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Red Poinsettias Holiday Invitations

Red Poinsettias Holiday Invitations

We know there is 18 days until Halloween and already you’re being bombarded with Christmas stuff. We also know:

  • There’s 73 days until Christmas, (Yikes!)
  • Less 21 days for the first Saturday in December – the 4th
  • Less 7 days, the minimum amount of time you should give for RSVP before your party date
  • Less 7 days, give or take, to order and get your holiday invitations delivered
  • Less 3 days average time it takes hosts to get invitations in the mail

…you’re running out of time!

And then, there’s your guests to consider. They have holiday invitations for his work, her work, their kids, their “other” friends, professional organizations they belong to, New Year’s Eve, and you probably have those same commitments too. December calendars fill up at warp speed.

How is your party going to grab your guests’ attention? By sending them a custom printed party invitation. If your social circle is a partying group, don’t make the mistake of skimping on an invitation. Your party invitation needs make guests say, “We’re going to this party!” Custom printed invitations can be the difference between a packed party or a dismal, embarrassing “is anyone coming?” turnout.

When guests pull out their calendars, you want your custom printed invitation on the top of the pile. A casual invitation by phone call is too informal and often slips their minds if their calendar is not in front of them at the moment you call. It’s also ineffective for conveying the tone of your party like a custom printed invitation. A letter sheet folded into a “bill-size” envelope that reads like a laundry list of boring details won’t make it to the top of the pile in the bid for a coveted party date. An emailed invitation, provided guests remember to print it, loses it’s appeal quickly when it’s printed on plain white copy paper and lost in the pile of other papers on your desk.

While we can’t clean your house or do your shopping for the party, we can get perfect holiday party invitations in your hands quickly and efficiently.

Impress your guests with the best! Shop our Holiday Party Invitations now. Look for the “Exclusive” label for invitations you won’t see anywhere else.

Masquerade Ball & Halloween Costume Party Tips & Invitations

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Dance Crowd Halloween Party InvitationCostume parties and masquerade balls have been around for centuries and they are still popular themes today for Halloween, Mardi Gras and birthday celebrations. A “Costumes Required” Halloween party will mean any costume is appropriate and lots of “Halloween” costumes – scary creatures, vampires, ghouls, and such will arrive at your party.

If you have something more sophisticated in mind such as a “Masquerade Ball”, you will need to be very specific on your invitation as to what costumes are the theme of the evening with descriptions such as “Medieval Times Costumes” or “Roaring 1920’s Attire Required.”  Whatever you envision for your party, make sure you are specific or you may be surprised at “what” shows up at your door.

When a theme party sets the tone for the evening, guests often will go to a great deal of effort on their costumes and prizes are enjoyed and appreciated and don’t have to be expensive. You can give prizes for “Overall Best Costume”, “Best Mystery Costume” to the guest no one could tell who they were, “Most Outrageous”, “Best Period Costume”, or anything that fits your party’s theme.

If you’re having a “Ball”, dancing will be a part of the evening. You can provide the music or even have a karaoke contest. If something more elaborate is called for, wandering entertainers, magicians and fortune tellers would be great attractions.  Be sure to have a few masks and capes on hand for guests that insist on showing up out of costume.

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Shop all Party Invitations

Fabulous Harry Potter Halloween Costume you just have to See!

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
Harry Potter Costume for Halloween Party

Harry Potter Costume for Halloween Party

This was so great, we had to share this post from CostumePop from Debi Olsen, Fort Collins, Colorado:

“Over the years my son has received numerous comments on his resemblance to Harry Potter. Unfortunately, he has never wanted to be him for Halloween because it wasn’t scary or cool enough. Well, this year we came up with a way to solve those problems!

We started with a rolling backpack, extended the handle and attached a hanger to the top. The neck was made from a plastic food container that was painted and attached to the hanger. We hung a shirt on the hanger and stuffed it to make a body, added the sweater vest, tie and robe to complete it. The jar is from Sam’s and was originally filled with cheese balls. The hands were from Halloween decorations. After adding the glasses and wand, Harry was now complete!

(Well, not exactly complete since he is missing his head!) He simply strapped on the backpack, put his head in the jar, closed the robe under his neck, and off he went. His costume was a hit everywhere he went although it scared quite a few little kiddos!

Note:  Of course, if you don’t look like Harry Potter, you’re going to have to add a mask to pull off this costume!”

Shop all our Halloween Invitations for kids, adults and Halloween Birthday Invitations.

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