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Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner? How To Make It Easy and Fabulous

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I know that a lot of my female readers will be cooking up a storm starting today! But if you get a moment to take a breather and read this post, you will find some excellent tips from Margo.

Make tomorrow less hectic by prepping in advance as much as possible:

  • Prepare and refrigerate your pies today;
  • Prepare the homemade cranberry relish today as well;
  • Rolls are a special Thanksgiving treat – if you didn’t get a chance to prepare them in advance, just stop by your bakery later on this afternoon and warm them up tomorrow.

No matter how well you plan, Thanksgiving Dinner is a challenging meal to pull off.  You’ll probably have some hungry little mouths that can’t wait to eat:

  • Be sure to have some healthy nibbles around for them to stave off their hunger if the turkey takes longer than expected.
  • Think dried fruits, pre-assembled relish tray items, fresh fruit or fruit kebabs. Some of these items will also give you extra mileage when used to supplement your post-Thanksgiving leftover meal plan.

Use your slow cooker to prepare or to keep some dishes warm:

Side dishes or warm dips prepared in your crock pot will remain conveniently warm and give you one less thing to worry about.

  • Instead of fancy stuffing recipes, try simple, good old-fashioned cornbread and sausage stuffing – this can also be prepared in your slow cooker and served as a side dish rather than stuffing it in the bird.

Take it easy on your wallet and make your own centerpieces:

  • You may use pomegranates, cranberries, walnuts in the shell, chestnuts, pine cones, leaves, acorn squash or mini pumpkins to adorn your table and infuse your home with the warm, cozy atmosphere of Autumn bounty.

Don’t be too self-sacrificing either:

  • Ask friends or family to bring a side dish to share.
  • If some family members are traveling a long distance, they can bring store-bought items such as rolls, beverages, green salad fixings or pies.
  • Consider emailing these assignments or allowing family members to choose from a list of things that they can do to help make the day a success.

Having a plan is more than half the battle for staying organized and in control.

Think through other things that need to be done before tomorrow.

  • Does your table linen need to be washed or ironed?
  • Do you haul out the family silver for this occasion and does it need to be polished?
  • Do you have enough serving dishes, silverware and seating space for your guests?
  • If not, arrange to borrow any items you do not have and if possible, consider disposable items for serving dishes as they will make clean-up so much easier for you.

The idea is to make sure that you enjoy this day as well. Have your strategy in place, choose no fuss decorations, prep all the food that you can in advance and accept any and all help family members are willing to give.

Make this year’s Thanksgiving banquet one to remember fondly.

What other tips might you share to make it a stress-free Thanksgiving Day tomorrow?

*******

Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. Working through college and in the corporate world gave her the opportunity to opine about diverse subjects from custom framing , online schools and entertaining. Here is her link http://www.classesandcareers.com

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motivational

Remembering Steve Jobs at Facebook Success Summit #fbss11

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“He was not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy, but he got the best results out of people.” ~ Guy Kawasaki on Steve Jobs.

Last night at Facebook Success Summit 2011, Guy Kawasaki (former Chief Evangelist of Apple) spoke passionately about Steve Jobs, his former boss, friend and arguably the man who invented the world’s most enchanting products.

As the keynote speaker, Guy was scheduled to talk about Facebook Marketing. But just ten minutes before the session started at 8:00pm EST news about Steve Jobs’ death broke, and a shaken Guy Kawasaki quickly and courageously gathered his strength to honor his friend.

Here is Guy’s nostalgic recollection of his life at Apple under Steve Jobs.

Fighting the Mighty Opposite

In the 1980′s I was hired to work for Apple’s Macintosh Division as their Software Evangelist. My job was to meet with hardware and software companies and convince them to use Macintosh products.

The Macintosh Division was on a mission from Steve Jobs to prevent IBM’s domination of information technology.

The thought was that if IBM ruled the world, it would be a boring, totalitarian, ‘George Orwellian’ place – a society full of mediocrity, conformity and thought-control.

Apple was going to send the proverbial ‘ax’ into the image of ‘big brother’. It was religious fervor, in that we were fighting a mighty opposite.

A Merry Band of Pirates

The Macintosh division was a group of 50 people in a little building on Mariani Drive.

This was Steve’s division.

Someone had put up a pirate flag on top of the building, because we were going to be ‘pirates’ and not part of ‘the establishment’.

We really believed that we were going to rid the world of IBM’s totalitarianism and we worked very, very hard at it. It was Steve’s mission.

The division itself was made up of a very interesting group of people. Some of us had MBA’s and some of us didn’t. We had software and hardware engineers, artists, and people who did marketing for the division.

It was a merry band of pirates – Steve himself had only attended one semester at Reed College.

And so here we were, on paper not so qualified but nevertheless  a great place to work because we were going to change freaking history. It was an euphoric experience.

And there were some really interesting things about our division: Steve had bought a grand piano for the division and some people played it at work.

He also got a BMW motorcycle exclusively for the division, and a travel policy that allowed us to fly first-class on any flight over two hours!

I lived 45 minutes from work and I figured my trip started the moment I left my apartment. So I flew first-class everywhere I went.

The Launch of Macintosh

On January 24th 1984 at De Anza College Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer. That was one of the most enchanting moments of my life.

Steve was not wearing a black turtle neck – back then his thing was a double-breasted suit and a bow tie.

The first time I saw a Macintosh computer I was an Apple 2 user. It was a religious experience.

Even with Apple 2, I was fortunate to have a 24 x 8 terminal screen. We used to move the cursor around with cursor keys and graphics were done by using ‘x’s and ‘o’s to draw up things.

In contrast the Macintosh had multiple fonts, sizes and styles. It had integration of text and graphics as well as paint brush graphics – it was a magical experience.

The launch was very successful and our goal, which was to sell a quarter million Mac’s in the first 100 days, was achieved.

The death and resurrection of Apple

We pitched the Macintosh fervently. It appealed to developers because of the rich, interesting yet challenging programming environment that it offered.

But after some time, the euphoria began to die down. Businesses were rejecting the Mac because it didn’t have some of the crucial pieces of software that they were looking for.

Things started to look really bad and there was talk about the death of Apple. Steve Jobs was fired and replaced by John Sculley. He quickly moved on and started a company called NeXT.

Meanwhile things didn’t pick up at Apple for a while until Steve came back some years later when Apple bought NeXT for 400 million dollars.

At first he was on an advisory role but when he introduced the iMac, well…the rest is history.

The iMac (if you remember) was a tier-shaped looking computer produced in different colors. It was this product that re-kindled people’s enthusiasm for Macintosh and from there, other revolutionary products such as the iPad, iPod, iPhone were born.

Steve the Man

Steve Jobs was the greatest influence in my life.

From him I learned an appreciation for design, an appreciation for elegance and simplicity. I learned how far you can push people with challenges and still get the best work out of them.

You know Steve was not exactly a warm and fuzzy kind of guy but he got the best results out of people.

He could drive you crazy because the trash can icon didn’t look right, or a certain shade of black wasn’t black enough (Steve was heavily influenced by Paul Rand the logo designer).

But what a time that was. I consider it an honor to have worked for him in the Macintosh division.

Whatever you think of Apple, you have to admit it was among the pioneers of the personal computer industry. Most companies are fortunate to create one revolution in their lifetime, but Steve created 4 or 5 revolutions.

And for all people around the world who use Apple products, Steve has brought joy and enchantment into our lives.

May he rest in peace.

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motivational

Something That Made Me Smile

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Last night I watched Rudy.

Rudy comes from a working-class family. There is nothing special about him. His grades are poor, he has no athletic ability and he is short. Yet he is determined to play college football for Notre Dame.

He ends up on the practice squad where he plays with more passion than the best players on the team.

For his determination and fighting spirit, people start to notice him. What he lacks in skill, he over-compensates in effort, hard-work and heart. Even the coach wishes his top-players were more like Rudy.

Most of the time it’s just hard on him, hanging in there waiting and hoping that some day he’ll be good enough to play a real game. So he quits. Then he comes back.

But in the end Rudy does play for Notre Dame, and he inspires a whole town of middle-class workers and kids who had never dared to dream about going to college.

I smiled because I realized how important it is to show up daily, no-matter how uneventful and ordinary the circumstances. Showing up is half the battle won. It’s what we must do. We can’t control the outcome of our efforts. What we can control, are the actions that we perform.

Think about that, and make up your mind to show up every day – without fail – for whatever it is that you’ve put your heart into.

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motivational

I have 200 Facebook Fans & I’m Tired (In a Good Way)

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Today, I’m feeling tired … and grateful.

I had planned to write one of my usual marketing communications pieces…but I won’t. I want to celebrate some of the small successes I have had recently.

Like my 200th Facebook fan! That happened today and it’s a big deal for me. Because I did not exist on the internet before April 9th this year. And because I work alone – from home, while home schooling my ten-year old, taking care of my two pre-schoolers and doing the things that house-wives do.

The day I decided to exist online, I made a vow to myself  – that come hell or high water, I would blog twice a week. It’s not been easy. As I write this, we’re studying pollination and how bees play an important role. The younger ones are nagging (again) wanting to know what’s for supper. I’ve got them covered.

I put a pot-roast in the slow-cooker this morning. Supper will be ready by five. We always eat at six thirty so that we can get the kids to bed early and look forward to a quiet evening. My husband and I love to snuggle on the couch, watch something nice on TV and enjoy a glass of red wine. It’s a nightly ritual at my house.

I’m also feeling really good about my first newsletter. Oh it’s not yet published, but it will be in less than two weeks. I’ve put a lot of sweat and tears into that project, but it’s been a labor of love – for my readers. I pray they’ll like it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Sometimes I wish I had someone to help me, you know, like an assistant. ‘Course they’d have to work for free ’cause I can’t pay them…at least not right now.

But you know what else is really neat? I finally decided to take the plunge and test out Facebook Advertising. I launched my first ad two days ago and I’ve been watching the stats like – (insert joke). As if I’m not busy enough, now I have to learn a whole new set of jargon, like CPC, CPM and ‘impressions’.

So here’s the thing…you know how a colorful surprise appears in the sky when the rain has been pouring? That’s how it is today. . .After six months of online existence, my brand is starting to take off.  It’s been tough and exciting at the same time. I am so grateful to be doing what I do – to have my children with me and enjoy my work at the same time. How many people can say that?

What’s your story?

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