Summer – time for friends!

 KDS Summer Blog Summer – time for friends!

One of the things I love most about summer is that it gives us time to spend with friends, whether it’s a day at the beach, evenings on the deck or just dinner and a movie. There’s something about the laid-back pace and the longer days that gives us permission to linger and just be together, appreciating each other’s company.

The relaxed pace of summer also gives us the gift of time to reach out to friends and loved ones with greeting cards – for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries…or for no reason at all. In fact, our new summer collection of greeting cards is based on art from our “Friendship Garden” collection, which is inspired by my garden at home. Watching the butterflies, birds, bees and dragonflies dance among the flowers gives me great inspiration, and it makes me think about staying connected with the special people who mean so much to me.

So why not take a moment to celebrate summer by reaching out to a friend or loved one with a greeting card? You’ll make their day – and you’ll feel good, too!

KD signature Summer – time for friends!

Find out more about our friend and content partner, Kathy Davis, here!

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Top 10 Family Reunion Ideas

fabric of our lives quote Top 10 Family Reunion Ideas

There’s something about summer that inspires us to connect with family to celebrate the unique bond that unites us. The joy of sharing not only a cultural heritage, but a family history makes these multi-generational gatherings a time-honored tradition.

Whether it’s an elaborate gathering of the entire network of extended relatives or just your immediate family, here are some great ideas for get-togethers that will have everyone enjoying the day together and creating some special memories.

  1. Check out the zoo (and we don’t mean your zany cousins): A visit to your local zoo will bring out the kid in everyone as they explore different exhibits and learn about exotic creatures. Interactive places like this also inspire conversation and mingling throughout the group, which is the main goal of any family reunion.
  2. Croquet in the park: This centuries-old lawn game is making a comeback in a big way—and it also allows all ages and skill levels to partake in the fun. Pack a picnic, bring out the wickets and hoops, and enjoy a relaxing (and minimally competitive) sport.
  3. Celebrate your heritage: Choosing a memorable date from your family’s country of origin is a good way to help everyone remember when you’ll get together each year. Make your party a celebration of your roots by utilizing traditional colors, foods, activities, and even a little history lesson for the younger generation.
  4. Of grapes and grain: If you’re looking for a way for just the adults to enjoy some time together, visiting a local winery can be a fun way to get outside and enjoy a few spirits in good company. Check with the winery beforehand to see if reservations are necessary and if you’re permitted to bring your own snacks. If so, assign a few people to breads and fruits and ask everyone else to bring a new type of cheese to share.
  5. Take me out to the ball game: Few things say summer like a baseball game—but even if you don’t have a major league budget, minor league and local high school games can still prove to be fun for the whole family.
  6. Scrounging for clues: For another type of interactive activity, consider hosting a scavenger hunt. There are many resources on the Internet to make planning a snap. Consider assigning teams of non-immediate family members to get everyone involved and working together.
  7. Summer camp, family style: Camping doesn’t just have to be just for the experienced outdoorsmen—there are many state parks and recreation areas that offer lovely accommodations for pitching a tent or parking a recreational vehicle for a weekend of turning off the electronic devices and enjoying the great outdoors. What better way to connect than over a campfire and a few good ghost stories?
  8. Cook-off: Is your family known for their barbeque or another summer treat? Host a cook-off where the family chefs present their best recipes (and bring copies to share!) A fun set of cooking utensils makes an appropriate, yet inexpensive grand prize.
  9. Walk for a cause: Start off a traditional picnic with a purpose by signing up the family to participate in a fundraising walk. Selecting a cause that’s near and dear to your family will ensure that everyone feels connected to the event. Host a potluck picnic afterwards to keep the good times going—and pat yourselves on the back for the good deed you’ve done!
  10. Make your family tree: A great activity during any family reunion is to piece together your family tree and history. Take photos of all family members who attend and ask them to provide photos of family members who could not attend or are deceased. Consider putting this family history together in a format that everyone can order a copy of like a custom photo book.


What special things does your family do in order to stay in touch? We’d love to hear in the comments!

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Summer Series: Songs of the Summer

07292013 summer vacation series songs american greetings Summer Series: Songs of the Summer

The weather is warm, the sun is shining and your mood is light—now all you need are some great tunes to complete this happy scene.  We thought we’d end our Summer Series on a musical note, so here are our picks for the Top Ten Summer Songs that will give you the perfect soundtrack all season long…

Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful

  • Released in 1966, this song shows that you don’t need a beach to capture the summertime spirit.

All Summer Long, Kid Rock

  • Kid Rock crossed over to country and his fans followed, making this song #1 across eight countries in 2008.

Walking on Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves

  • There’s something about 80s music that always gets the summer party started, even if there isn’t one.

Surfin’ USA, Beach Boys

  • Happy 50th anniversary to this timeless summer classic!

Soak Up the Sun, Sheryl Crow

  • This song kicked off the summer of 2002 with soulful style and still makes you want to turn up the radio.

Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince

  • After hitting the scene in the 90s, this hip-hop hit still a cool way to liven up the day.

Dancing in the Streets, Martha & The Vandellas (among others)

  • Take your pick on your favorite version that has blared at block parties for nearly half a century.

Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly & The Family Stone

  • How can we not include a song that became a hit at the biggest music festival ever?  Woodstock!

California Gurls, Katy Perry

  • Labeled by music critics as the “summer anthem” of 2010, this is best sung at the top of your lungs.

Saturday in the Park, Chicago

  • This 1973 classic instantly immerses you into the feeling of a sunny summer weekend, no matter what day it is.

Summer Nights, John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

  • It’s been 35 years since this song was made famous by the movie “Grease,” but we bet you can still sing along.

spotify:user:amgreetings:playlist:4hkwVlh8CSFD8Rdknxp0hL

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Summer Series – Recipes

07222013 summer vacation series recipes american greetings Summer Series   Recipes

It’s summertime and the cooking is easy!  With so many delicious foods in season, the only hard thing about serving up the perfect meal is narrowing down the choices.

Simple Summer Meals

Nobody wants to spend a warm day over a hot stove, which is why summer salads are excellent options for lunch and dinner—especially if you add chicken, steak or seafood.   If you’re packing a picnic, it’s fun to combine classic favorites with interesting updates such as a BLT dip and pinwheel sandwiches, along with low-maintenance desserts that stay fresh all day long.

Great Grilling Recipes

Although burgers and hotdogs tend to be the most common grill foods, it might be time for a new spin on some old favorites, like barbeque hot dogs and stuffed burgers.  Or, serve all the flavors of the season on one skewer with easy kabobs.  If you prefer steak or seafood but worry that your grilling skills might not make the cut, a mouth-watering marinade is your key to success.  And don’t forget to grill your side dishes, too! Grilled vegetables complement any summer meal perfectly…and keep all the cooking out of kitchen.

The Coolest Cocktails

While water is certainly the best way to stay hydrated in the sunshine, it’s so much more fun to cool off with a creative summer drink.  For many people, iced tea is the official taste of summertime, but there are also plenty of occasions to keep the cocktails  flowing.  Non-alcoholic treats such as Watermelon Lemonade or an Orange Creamsicle Smoothie are refreshing options for kids—and a fun way to keep everyone in the summertime spirit!

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Summer Series Kickoff

07152013 summer vacation series packing american greetings Summer Series Kickoff

With the sunshine season in full swing, today begins a series of summer-themed topics to help you enjoy these lazy, hazy days in the most wonderful ways.

First Stop:  Summer Vacation!

Whether you’re going on a short jaunt or a long trip, here are some tips to simplify the travel process and maximize the fun:

Packing

  • Keep a packing list and write things down immediately when you think of them.
  • Limit your luggage to what you can wheel or wear.
  • Pack coordinating clothing items that can be interchanged—and layered.
  • Don’t pack more than one dressy outfit; clothes that require ironing; or anything you haven’t worn before.
  • Do pack extra underwear.
  • Zip-lock bag it!  If something can leak, it probably will.  And an entire kid’s outfit can fit in one bag…and then be used for dirties.
  • Stuff socks inside shoes.
  • Don’t forget chargers.  And be sure to check each outlet at the end of every trip.
  • Always pack a first aid kit.
  • If you’re staying with someone, bring a small gift for your host.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

  • Keep what’s needed within reach.  In a car, this includes cleaning supplies and emergency items.  Baggies also come in handy to corral your necessities such as gum, tissues, iPod, and anti-bacterial wipes.
  • For any long trip, bring your own blanket and/or pillow.
  • Layer your outfit for changing temps.
  • Pack an activity bag for kids (and yourself) with new surprises and reliable favorites.
  • Always bring snacks!

Safety First

*Put your credit card on travel alert before you go.*

  • Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket or your purse on your shoulder.
  • Never leave your valuables in your vehicle.
  • Closely inspect all final bills—and don’t be afraid  to question extra charges.

Make it Memorable

  • Ask locals for suggestions on restaurants, directions and activities.
  • Keep a journal.  You’ll be amazed at how much you would’ve forgotten if you didn’t write it down.
  • Take tons pictures and videos, but don’t forget to enjoy the moment while you’re capturing it.
  • Spring for that silly souvenir!  It will surely inspire a smile in years to come.
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Summer Quote

06212013 inspirational quote summer american greetings v2 Summer Quote

Today marks the first official day of summer and the Summer Solstice! Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice). It seems like a great day to soak up the sun! How are you going to celebrate summer?

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Top 10 Picnic Tips

06172013 summer picnic american greetings Top 10 Picnic Tips

It’s time to stock up the cooler, spread out the blanket and bask in the sunshine…because tomorrow is International Picnic Day!  And with the official start of summer occurring on June 21, a whole season of picnicking is about to begin.  So here are ten tips to get you perfectly prepared:

1.    Keep it simple. Stick to a menu of summertime favorites that you can serve all at the same time.  Guests can leisurely help themselves while you kick back and relax.

2.     Make things interesting. Even classics like fried chicken, watermelon and potato salad can be updated with a new recipe.  Or visit your local deli or gourmet market for a picnic made by pros.

3.     Cool it. Freeze bottles of water or juice to use as ice packs until they’re ready to drink.  Ice the cooler several hours beforehand to keep it colder longer, but be sure to keep some ice separate to put in drinks.

4.     Pack wisely. Use lidded plastic containers to keep things fresh and prevent spills.  Pack dressings separately to avoid soggy salads.  For condiments, many brands now offer convenient “picnic packs.”  But you still can’t beat individual fast food packets, so save your extras!

5.     Keep it light. Once you consolidate your supplies, make sure they’re simple to carry and not too heavy.  Some picnic spots are quite a hike. 

6.     Set the table or blanket. Bring extra plates or platters for serving, large spoons for salads, at least one sharp knife, and an opener for wine or bottles.  To keep things organized, put food and drinks in separate coolers.

7.     Be prepared. Sunscreen, bug spray, a waterproof picnic blanket, umbrellas and a first aid kit should protect you from most of the elements.

8.     Avoid these. Foods that don’t transport well (ice cream, puddings, frosted cakes) should stay off the menu.  And keep in mind that sweet and sticky tends to attract wasps and bees.

9.     Clean up. You can never have enough hand wipes—especially if you opt for barbeque.  And be sure to bring extra bags for leftover food and trash.

10.    Stay flexible. Even the best laid plans—and picnics—are weather dependent, but no one ever said you can’t picnic indoors.  If the skies turn stormy, move the meal inside, lay the blanket on the floor and stay in the summertime spirit!

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Tips for Graduation Party Season

06032013 Tips for Graduation Party Season congrats american greeting Tips for Graduation Party Season

Summertime is in the air…along with graduation caps at high schools and colleges all over the country! It’s graduation season again, which means announcements in your mailbox, invitations on your calendar and graduation cards on your shopping list.

So once you find the perfect card for the proud grad, how can you put your worldly wisdom into just the right words? Sometimes starting with a great line from a great mind will help you come up with your own idea. Here are some examples of how to combine a few popular quotes with a personal message:

  • Graduation is proof that “if you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”  ~William Arthur Ward. This is just the beginning of the incredible things you can do. Congratulations!
  •  Congratulations on your graduation! From today forward, anything is possible. 
  •  “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~Les Brown 
  •  As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” And you have what it takes to do wonderful things. Congratulations!
  •  The tassle is worth the hassel!  You did it!  Congrats.

 Now for the gift… 

While money is the most common (and welcome) gift for grads, there’s often some questions about the appropriate amount. Of course your financial situation is the biggest determining factor, and most people give more for college than high school, but if you still want a ballpark figure: $25 tends to be on the low end while $75-100 is generous for a close relative. Yet, any amount is fun to receive when presented in a creative way…

  • Roll the money into a scroll and tie it like a diploma.
  • Tape the bills together to be pulled out of a tissue box decorated in their school colors.
  • Visit the website of their future college and get a gift card from the campus bookstore. 
  • Personalize and send an ecard with a digital gift card to one of their fave places to shop.

Graduation season is an exciting time for students, but it’s important for all of us to remember that “in real life, every day you graduate.  Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.” Arie Pencovici

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Wrapping up Summer…

ag blog artwork 08172012 Wrapping up Summer...

It feels like we were just talking about getting your summer started, and now it’s already almost time to say goodbye to the care-free warm days of this fun season. Although schools will be starting up again soon, and we’ll all be back to busier schedules, there’s still  time left to enjoy summer. If you’re wondering when the official end of summer is – it falls on September 21, so make the most of the next 5 weeks with some end-of-summer fun! Here are some of our favorite ideas you still have time to fit it.

  • Capture Summer Memories

If you’ve been snapping pictures all summer long, now is the time to organize all of your memories and create something fun. Take a day to put all your photos together in a scrapbook – digital or paper. You can even make your favorite summer pictures into personalized cards and send them out to friends and family!

  • Last-Minute Vacation

It’s not too late to squeeze one more fun vacation weekend in! How about a family camping trip, or an adventure to your local amusement park? You may even save some money if you plan these trips into September, and as a bonus you may not have the crowds you’d find a few weeks earlier.

  • Get to the Pool

The weather is still hot and sunny, so soak up the sun at your local pool or water park. Most pools stay open until Labor Day weekend, so make the most of the time you have left!

  • Have a Movie Marathon

Stuck inside due to a late summer storm? No problem! Have a family movie marathon day. Have each member of the family choose a favorite movie, pop some popcorn, make fun snacks, and enjoy a lazy day!

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