Monthly Archives: August 2014

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend ~ Summer’s Last Hurrah

Time sure does fly … it flies really fast. It is already the last week of August. Many schools have started classes, but for the students and the parents, it still feels like summer. Somehow, school just doesn’t seem real until after Labor Day Weekend.

Labor Day Weekend is like the unofficial end of summer. Even though summer doesn’t technically end until September 23rd, when the Autumnal Equinox ushers in Fall. For all intents and purposes, Labor Day is the last big “Hurrah” of summer. The carefree days of summer are being replaced with schedules and routines.

Many people celebrate this holiday with outdoor picnics and parades. The American flag is proudly flown and/or displayed.

The actual reason we celebrate Labor Day is because in 1894, a national holiday was created to honor American workers. It gave workers an official day off (in most industries). During the late 1800’s, most workers were made to work 12-hour shifts; 7 days a week in deplorable conditions just to make a meager living. Numerous demonstrations were held to try to improve working conditions and how employees were treated. Labor unions staged strikes – many riots broke out all over the country. It was a dark time in our country’s history.

In modern day America, generally speaking, most employees enjoy healthy working conditions, an 8-hour shift, a 5-day work week, a guaranteed minimum wage and some type of benefits. The American workplace is a far cry from perfect, but it has definitely come a long way.

At Tracy Helps You, we usually work on the “workingman’s holiday”. I’m taking care of an adorable German Sheppard while her owners are traveling over Labor Day Weekend 🙂

back to school college logo image

Back To School ~ College Bound

It’s mid-August, and Back to School preparations are in full swing 🙂

Going off to college is an emotionally charged time for both the student and the parents. It is sooo much more than the typical annual shopping spree, getting backpacks and school supplies in at least 3 ways.

  • The books and “supplies” are definitely different in price. The books alone could take up a huge chunk, if not a whole week’s paycheck. Pretty much gone are the days of paper and pen; now they need a laptop or tablet fully loaded with various software programs.
  • They need to furnish their dorm rooms or apartments. Every school has different rules & regulations / requirements … ex. microwaves are provided – microwaves are not allowed. Bedding reflects their personal style / décor can show their school spirit … and it all has to be stored compactly, not to mention actually fit into the minivan for the road trip to get moved in 🙂
  • Last, but most certainly not least, are the gi-normous tuition payments that will now be a way of life for the foreseeable future.

For these young adults, it’s a conflicted time – exciting and scary. They anticipate living on their own, being independent, making decisions for themselves. Some may be happy to be out from under their parent’s “thumb” and get to experience freedom. Others may be a little leery of all this newfound freedom. Still others may feel “on the fence”, relating to both range of emotions. This first time away from home, they will be learning far more than academic courses.

As parents, we are scratching our heads and wondering where the time went. It seems they were just babies not that long ago. We are reliving all their milestones in our memories. We are juggling so many emotions (pride, joy, sadness, anxiousness, etc. … ) in these final days of Back to School preparations along with so many questions running through our minds. Are they ready to handle so much independence? Will they be homesick? What if they can’t stand their new roommate? Will they be able to balance their studies and social life? Will they be able to manage their money well? All these questions and concerns will probably be discussed on the ride to the college campus, but first and foremost, make sure they know how much you love them and how proud of them you are. Re-assure them that you are always there for them — no matter what – you are just a phone call away. Oh … and try to hold back your tears for the long ride home (if you can) … my kids know me well enough that that isn’t something I can control, but they do know that I try <3

Although Tracy Helps You can’t help you in this particular instance, I can offer some helpful advice:

Students – call your mom (often), she longs to know how you are and hear about how everything is going. Remember she has had you around nearly every day for the last 18 or more years … it’s a big adjustment not having you at home.

Parents – don’t call your son or daughter (too often), they are most likely having the time of their life and may feel guilty if they know you are missing them so much.

Parents and Students – love each other unconditionally while everyone experiences all these emotions in their own way during this transitional time of life !

Back to School Time

Back to School Time = Have an Organized Plan Time

Tis the season … Back to School season, that is 🙂

Yes, friends, it’s that time of the year again … and with it brings a myriad of feelings from anticipation/dread to stress/relief … and anywhere in between.

While my kids are no longer attending school, I remember that it can be a stressful and expensive time of year. I, personally, always felt better when I had a good plan. As a homeschooling family living on a single income:

  • I tried to set aside some money each payday during the summer for school supplies and textbooks/curriculum.
  • I attended conferences to get new & fresh ideas from other parents.
  • I tried to have my school year ‘planned out’ by mid summer, so I could be on the lookout for great prices on the curriculum I planned to use for the upcoming school year.
  • I tried to find used textbooks at Homeschool Used Curriculum Sales. Many times, I could buy used books from other homeschool families in my coop.
  • I also searched online for used books.

Some of my favorite websites were and I’ve found some good deals on some Facebook Groups pages and on Craigslist. I also like and I have purchased, as well as, sold on both of these linked websites … it isn’t very hard 🙂 These two sites also have a convenient ‘want to buy’ tab. If you are in the market for any high school level curriculum (yes, I’m still emptying my last homeschool bookshelf), I am currently selling some Rosetta Stone and AO LifePacs foreign language and ABeka language arts items … check them out at the links above 🙂

Could you use some help with planning your Back to School schedule ~ lesson plans ~ school supply shopping ~ online research ?

Contact Tracy Helps You ~ I’ll come alongside you to help get it all figured out … then you can breathe a sigh of relief & focus on enjoying the last, long dog days of summer with your family 🙂

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Chasing Charlie by Kathy Carmichael

Raised in a family of rodeo champions on a South Texas cattle ranch, Charlie wants only one thing: to avoid thrill-seeking cowboys.

Davis Murphy, cowboy wannabe and one of Dallas’s most eligible bachelors, needs a pretty and witty faux fiancée so his widowed mother will marry her longtime gentleman friend.

Charlie, his local librarian, seems the prefect choice.

Charlie’s first reaction is to run, but she’s promised herself to step out of her plain-jane routine.

When Charlie accepts, Davis’s plan is set. But now Charlie’s sweet ways are challenging his bachelor heart.

My Thoughts:

Chasing Charlie is a fun, witty, lighthearted romance ~ perfect for a day at the beach or poolside.

Charlie is a librarian whose life seems to be in a rut. After losing someone in a rodeo accident, she never wants anything to do with a cowboy again. She left her family’s ranch after the death of her parents to live in the big city and has always played it safe. She decides to take a small step toward being less withdrawn and putting herself out there. That first step was buying, and actually daring to wear, a silky, sexy red dress.

Davis Murphy is a very successful businessman and one of Dallas’s most eligible bachelors. He dreams of someday owning a ranch and of being a rodeo cowboy.

He needs to convince his mother that he has found the love of his life and will soon be settling down and getting married.

Here’s the fun part … he decides he needs a fake finance’ to introduce to his mother. If he is happily engaged to be married, he believes she will agree to marry her gentleman friend (who has been proposing to her for a long, long time). He begs Charlie to go along with the charade …

Let me just say … Oh the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive … (thanks, Sir Walter Scott)

I highly recommend going along on this adventure with Charlie and Davis … it’s a fun and relaxing way to spend the day 🙂

“Heartwarming, fast paced, laugh out loud fun.” ~ Susan Fox, Best-selling author

“Chasing Charlie will chase away the blues with a red dress, a real love, and a whole lot of fun!” ~ Christie Ridgway, Best-selling author

“Funny, sweet, poignant…best feel-good book I’ve read all year.” ~ Trish Jensen, USA TODAY Best-selling author

“A once innocent plan becomes an entangled romance . Funny and sweet. A most entertaining combination.”~ Carol Bozovich, Rendevzous Magazine

Buy the book from….     Barnes and Noble   

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP, in series order
Chasing Charlie
Country Courtship
My Southern Bride
Western Pleasure

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Kathy Carmichael resides on the west coast of Florida with her Scottish husband, two not-so-wee sons, three cats, a part-time dog, and a huge collection of dust bunnies.

Kathy writes award-winning romantic comedies and humorous mysteries. Her Texas Two-Step romance series is a reader favorite.

Kathy’s romantic comedy, Hot Flash, was named by the American Library Association’s BOOKLIST magazine as one of the Top 10 Romance Fiction titles for 2009.

In addition to her novels, she’s sold short stories and wrote a bi-monthly column on the business of writing for a national writing trade magazine. Kathy is also a contest judge for Writers Digest.

She’s a member of the International Thriller Writers, an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters-in-Crime, Novelists Inc., the Florida chapter of MWA, is the published author liaison of the Tampa Area Romance Authors, and is an active member and past national board member of the Romance Writers of America.

Kathy loves hearing from readers.

Follow the Author….

Website  Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Pinterest  Goodreads

Follow the Book Tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own. NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY     3 Lucky Winners will win $10 Amazon GC or Paypal Cash (winners choice) Ending on Thursday 7th August at 11.59pm EST Open Worldwide   Enter Below and Good Luck !!   a Rafflecopter giveaway