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Jump Start Your 2012 Holidays with a Time & Money Saving Plan

19 Oct

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Holiday Planning Boot Camp

Get professional help planning your best Christmas ever.

If you’re like most mamas, the extra planning, work and stress of the holidays can push you right past your peace.

That’s why I’m hosting the Holiday Planning Boot Camp online in early November. Join us for two hours of live, interactive, online training where you’ll discover strategies that will radically increase your peace and improve your holiday season.

During the boot camp I’ll help you create your own personal holiday plan, based on your personal goals, that will help you take the “hectic” out–and put the happy back into the holidays.

Register today!

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Happy Independence Day!

3 Jul

Happy 4th of July week! Tomorrow we’ll be taking in the Warroad parade and fireworks, plus grilling brats and chilling with our kids (who are all 3 home for the holiday — horrah!).

Here are a few fun ideas to add spice to your 4th Family Fun:

— Click here for a 23 page PDF full of trivia fun for the family.
— Get some creative food ideas at Pinterest – while there, connect with me: I’m MentorMarnie.
— If you actually want the recipes, visit Taste of Home.
— And, if you can’t get out to see the fireworks, go to, select “images” on the top toolbar, and type in “fireworks” – there you go! Hours of entertainment from the comfort of your home!

Seriously, my prayer is that your holiday will be full of family, friends and fun!

Much love, Marnie

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Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

Click to read the Swedberg Family Christmas Letter.

Happy Wednesday!

7 Dec

Click the tree for countdown clock!

Mega Christmas Baking Day: How to Succeed!

6 Dec

Mega Christmas Baking Day Platter

Mega Christmas Baking Day Platter

Tackling your baking all on one day is the most efficient way to get it done. Every year it’s possible, I love to do it this way!

Here was my 2011 Christmas Baking Day Agenda including recipe roster, order of assembly, actual recipes and shopping list. This took six hours and resulted in seven terrific Christmas treats to share over the holidays.

My goal in this article is to help YOU succeed if you choose to try a Mega Christmas Baking Day!

Mega Christmas Baking Day Christmas Tree of Goodie Platters

Mega Christmas Baking Day Christmas Tree of Goodie Platters

Before baking day:
1. Estimate the time you’ll have available. (I shot for 4-5 but had 7 hours available and used 6. Always allow margin!)
2. Select your favorite Christmas cookies, bars, candies and desserts.
3. Identify which can be made ahead and which need to wait until the day of serving.
4. From your bake-ahead options, separate them out into color sets (chocolate, gold, red, green, white, etc.)
5. Select your top few from each color set, being sure you have at least some round, square, diamond and star options.
6. Make your final selections to insure your holiday platters will have a mixture of colors, shapes and textures.
7. Identify which recipes require oven use and schedule that first.
8. Pick any multi-step recipes next and step them down through your agenda.
9. Finally, choose the easy to assemble recipes to fit between the others.
10. Create a shopping list from your recipes so you are 100% confident you will have plenty of everything you’ll need to succeed.

On baking day, you will enjoy success if:
1. You have every ingredient you need.
2. You’ve allowed enough time to complete your goals.
3. You’ve structured your schedule to allow adequate oven time and multi-step intervals.

God bless! Happy baking!
I’d LOVE to see yours! Marnie

Christmas Chaos Due to a New Baby, New Business or New Responsibilities?

5 Dec

Every Christmas is unique and “1st Christmases” can be pretty traumatic. Losing someone makes a holiday especially hard, but even good things can add unexpected difficulties and drama.

For me, a few “different” years included:
1983 – 1st married Christmas
1986 – in our new house, 8.5 months pregnant
1988 – a toddler and 3-month old baby
2002 – 1st year owning M&K Takeouts
2006 – 1st year owning Soulutions
2007 – 1st year without my dad

While the first Christmas after a farewell was painful, and adding a baby to the mix delightful, my most intense Christmas’ came after adding each new business. The first year we owned M&K I managed to get a tree up with lights on it, but that was it. The entire decorations that year were: a) visors hanging all over the tree (the personalized ones we bought each staff member as their Christmas gift) and b) any ornament I was gifted during the season. I’d unwrap it and excitedly add it to my otherwise pathetic tree!

The first few years of owning Soulutions were almost worse, because Christmas had to start in February (buying goods for the next fall), intensify through May (when we went to shows for final Christmas buying), escalate in July (as the products began arriving in the store), overwhelm me in September (at which point the entire store had to look like Christmas) and then hum through December 25th on high octane as shoppers met their Christmas list needs.

After decorating 12,000 square feet, the last thing I felt like doing was decorating my own house.

But, not any more! Now it’s all fun again.

If you are juggling both Christmas and any “new thing” this year, give yourself permission to be a one-year-old! Relax into the festivities and traditions that make sense for you, and let the rest go. Don’t worry, Christmas will come again and with it the opportunity to catch the rest of the things you love.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy the season, and focus on the reason we do what we do! Marnie

PS – How’s that list coming? Check the Easy-to-Beat Christmas Planner for 2011 to be sure you aren’t missing anything important to you. Remember: A list like this is a starting point, intended to be personalized! Don’t ever, ever, ever let a list put on you on a guilt trip!

Marnie’s Top 5 Christmas Songs!

3 Dec

Over and over
these songs I’m
playing and playing.
Just sayin’

Add the link to your favorite below!

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Easy Beat-the-Date Christmas Planner

30 Nov

Divide and conquer, that’s my motto! My goal is to enjoy every moment of every day to the greatest extent possible while getting everything done.Here’s my “beat-the-date” deadlines for each component of Christmas 2011.

Work ahead or trade deadlines, but the goal is to get the most important things done on or before its deadline.

1 – Start Decorating House-Interior
2 – Finalize Christmas Gift List & Budget
3 – Finish Inside & Decorate House-Exterior
4 – Sunday. Take a break! Celebrate!
5 – Create the Christmas Weekend Agenda
6 – Send invitations or confirmations for Christmas Events
7 – Determine Baking Roster & Create Shopping List
8 – Write Christmas Letter
9 – Grocery shop for Baking Supplies
10 – Do Christmas Baking
11 – Sunday. Take a break! Celebrate!
12 – Address & Sign Christmas Cards
13 – Post Christmas Cards, letters and gifts
14 – Prepare Holiday Menus & Shopping List
16-17 – Finish Christmas shopping
18 – Sunday. Take a break! Celebrate!
19 – Grocery shop for Weekend Meals
20-22 – Pre-cook anything you can
23 – Clean like a crazy woman
24-25 – Enjoy Christmas!

What to do now?
#1 – Print out a copy of this list for yourself or personalize in a Word.doc.
#2 – Forward this link to a friend.
#3 – Get started & enjoy December 2011!


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