Category Archives: Seasonal

2018 Carrot Harvest

Garden Harvest 2018

For me, October is harvest time, it marks the end of my gardening season.

I’m fairly pleased with my crop this year, especially considering that I didn’t take very good care of my garden this year.

Every May, I eagerly plant my garden. I love being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I even enjoy the manual labor of preparing the soil for the new seedlings and planting the seeds. For the first month or so, I took great care of the garden. I watered it daily and dug out every little weed as soon as it sprung up. Then, sometime near the end of July or beginning of August, I start to not take such good care. I start resenting having to water every night, especially while getting eaten alive by mosquitos. The weeds start taking over, and I just ignore them. Usually, I still am blessed with a decent harvest.

This year, however, my luck ran out. My above ground crops didn’t do very well at all. Plenty of grape tomatoes, but only a few bell peppers and cucumbers. My broccoli did ok, enough for meals throughout the summer, but no extra for the freezer like in years past.

I had a decent sweet potato harvest. I’ve cured them and they are now in my crawl space to hopefully last through next spring again. Last year, we enjoyed the last of our crop in a sweet potato casserole for Easter dinner.

I also had a nice crop of carrots again this year. Last year, I preserved them by blanching, and then freezing. It worked great but required a lot of prep work. This year, I just didn’t have the time, so I found some articles about storing them in a root cellar. I don’t have a root cellar, but I have a crawl space that stays fairly cool. Most of the articles recommended storing the carrots in sand, straw or peat moss. I also read one that stored them in leaves. I have six large trees on my property, so, this time of year, let’s just say that I have plenty of leaves 🙂

So, this year, I’m experimenting with my harvest – half of my carrot crop is stored in a 5-gallon bucket covered in leaves. The other half was cleaned, chopped, blanched and frozen in ziplock baggies. I’ll let you know how it turns out 🙂

Do you like to garden? How do you preserve your harvest?

Garden Crop Harvest

Garden Harvest Time

Autumn is in the air … the evenings are getting chilly. It is time to harvest our garden crop. I’m a little concerned about how this year’s crop is going to be. Between my neglect (lack of weeding) and an early frost last night, I don’t have high expectations. My schedule is crazy busy this week, but my plan is to harvest everything on Thursday afternoon … please pray for no rain that day.

Each springtime, I usually try to plant seeds that I’ve saved from last year’s crop. I use my own compost created from our own compostable kitchen scraps and fallen leaves from our many trees. BTW, if anyone is ever in the mood to rake during the month of October … give me a call …  we usually fill 40+ kraft bags with leaves every year. Continue reading

Time Flies - Seasons Change

Time Flies ~ Seasons Change

Labor Day Weekend is upon us once again, the unofficial end of summer. I love autumn, but I’m not ready for summer to end just yet.

Time flies by too quickly … I know I say this all the time, but it’s true! I truly believe that the busier you are, the faster times goes by and this summer proves it (for me anyway).

I was so excited when the weather warmed up last May. I had so many things I wanted to do: Continue reading

Goals ~ Not Resolutions for the New Year

Goals ~ Not Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve 2017!

Well, 2017 has proven to be an interesting year for me. Mostly because I decided to make my health a more important/relevant part of my daily schedule.

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 Please note, I am healthy, I didn’t have any major medical issues

 … I was just “sick & tired of feeling sick & tired” …

you know what I mean?

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For the first half of the year, we (my hubby and I) worked on making healthy food choices (for the most part). We made a meal plan and cut back on eating out so much. We cooked most of our meals at home. We “brown bagged it” (are those even a thing anymore?) for our lunches. We did have a “cheat” day on the weekend, but really tried hard to not go overboard. We both lost some weight, but not a whole lot 🙁

We tried making a concentrated effort on being more active. Exercise has never really been my thing, so I tried spending more time doing activities that I enjoyed, like camping and taking long hikes in the woods of various state parks. I also worked a lot in my yard and garden. We went for bike rides and went bowling. You know what I mean? Activities that had a purpose in additional to exercising my body.

We also joined the local gym to have a place to do a more consistent type workout.  Like many, we went 3 times a week religiously for a month or two, then it dwindled to 2 times, then once a week, then very sporadically until we are now at the point in time of saying ”why are we paying for this – we never use it”. By the middle of summer, I was off the healthy wagon more often than I was on it ☹

I ran into a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I commented that she looked amazing … she of course thanked me, and responded that that the best part is that she felt great. Healthier than she ever really remembered feeling. Being a good friend, she told me all about the great health and wellness program she was following that was giving her such great results.

I started following the program and I’m feeling great … I’ve lost pounds and inches. I’ve gone down 2 sizes. At my annual physical, my bloodwork came back as being in the normal healthy range, plus I was able to stop taking meds for high blood pressure! It sounds strange, I know, but I feel younger 🙂   I don’t feel as many aches and pains as before. I’m sure my joints appreciate not have so much extra weight to support 🙂

I do have a few health goals for 2018:

  • continue losing more weight while giving my body nutrient rich foods (50 more lbs. would put me back to my high school weight)
  • get my BMI into the normal range
  • continue trying to have a healthy active lifestyle
  • use my gym membership to help build lean muscle tone

I also have a few business goals for 2018:

  • blog more consistently (sorry for being MIA a lot this past year)
  • complete training to get certified in building & maintaining WordPress websites
  • revamp my Tracy Helps You website
  • be more active in my local Chamber of Commerce and in IVAA

These are goals ~ not resolutions.

For me, the difference is this:

Resolutions seem kind of all or nothing – you achieved them or you didn’t ?

Goals can be broken down into doable steps … they are a work in process ?

What goals will you be working on in 2018 ?

 

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

                                  My Thoughts & Review A personal and/or virtual assistant can help you check items off your to-do list. Delegate some tasks to us today.

I have read several of Carolyn Arnold’s books, mostly in the Brandon Fisher series, but this is my first in the McKinley Mysteries series. Since I have thoroughly enjoyed her other books, I had no doubt I would like this one … I was correct ?

While this series is very different from the BF series, I enjoyed that is was a fun, cozy who-done-it without intense descriptions of gruesome crime scenes.  Halloween is Murder involves a TV reporter that is found dead shortly after taping a segment about a Haunted House. The interview was with the owners of the haunted house, who just happen to be private investigators. I love to try to solve the mystery along the way as clues are interspersed through the chapters. This one took an unexpected turn right near the end, but totally made sense. I also liked the playful chemistry between Sean and Sara, and how well they worked together as a team in their professional as well as in their personal lives.

This is a fun, easy read to help get you in the Halloween spirit !

NEW RELEASE…

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.

Available to buy from…
Amazon   Barnes and Noble    Kobo    iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

Read an excerpt

About the author
CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Find the author on the following sites…
Newsletter   Website   Facebook   Twitter    Google+   Pinterest   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

Follow the Book Tour

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I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY!

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Win $10 Paypal Cash
2nd winner – choice of ONE McKinley novella books 1-10 
(HALLOWEEN is exempt from this, not included)

Ending on Sunday 29th October at 11.59pm EST

Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team – Apply Here x
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Mothers Day Special

A Tracy Helps You Gift Certificate is a Great Mother’s Day Gift

Give a Tracy Helps You Gift Certificate to Your Mom This Mother’s Day

It’s May in Chicagoland, to me, that means lilacs (my fav) ~ May also means Mother’s Day to us Americans.

On Mother’s Day, we honor our mothers with gifts and cards. Flowers seem to be a particularly popular gift.  Many families treat Mom like a queen on Mother’s Day … treating her to breakfast in bed and a day of relaxation by taking over her usual household duties for the day. Many families go out to share a meal together.

Speaking as a mother, and I’m pretty sure I speak for most (if not all) mothers, when I say one of the most wonderful gifts to receive is the gift of time spent with my family. Just spending time together, reminiscing and making new memories together is the best way to spend the day ❤

Everyone needs some free time / me time, especially Mothers. Sometimes, Moms can feel a little guilty about taking some time for themselves in their busy life. There is always so much to get done. While I am taking care of her To-Do List, she can be relaxing without worrying about things not getting done.

While you are making your Mother’s Day plans and choosing the perfect gift for her ~ remember that your Mom deserves to be pampered & treated far more often than just on the holidays. While you are with her this weekend, helping her out with some of those chores around her house, give her a Tracy Helps You gift certificate. It’s like giving her the gift of free time.

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’m offering a special rate for Gift Certificates ~ 3 hour for $50 … contact me 🙂

 

THY Top 10 Blog Posts 2016

Tracy Helps You’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

It’s that time of year again, reflecting and looking back on the last year while making plans and goal for the next. While reviewing the site stats for my website, these were the top 10 blog posts of 2016.

#1  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/lending-a-helping-hand/

#2  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/locks-of-love-donation/

#3  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/labor-day-weekend-summers-last-hurrah/

#4  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/list-helps-stay-organized/

#5  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/leap-year-thoughts/

#6  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/back-to-school-homeschool-planning/

#7  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/back-school-college-bound/

#8  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/autumn-fall-decorating-halloween-thanksgiving/

#9  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/show-everyone-real-love-valentines-day/

#10  http://www.tracyhelpsyou.com/spring-break-getaway-staycation-clean-week/

Is there a specific topic you’d like to read about? I’d love to hear your suggestions or thoughts 🙂

Tracy Helps You Saves You Time

The Most Wonderful (aka Busiest) Time of the Year

The Holiday season is upon us, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year. There are so many fun things to do, like spending time with family & friends … traveling … going to parties … shopping … wrapping … not to mention, celebrating the actual Holiday.

All these things are wonderful, but can also be stressful. Adding these fun activities to our already busy schedules can sometimes feel overwhelming. You are only one person, and you only have so much time. It’s the perfect time to have a Personal Assistant !! Continue reading

Holiday Card

Holiday Cards & Your Hectic Holiday Schedule

Tomorrow, we flip over another page on the calendar … to the last month of 2016. December is a month full of fun, holiday celebrations, but regular life still goes on. All the normal day-to-day responsibilities don’t necessarily take a break during this “most wonderful time of the year”, which means your schedule is even busier than usual.

In today’s world, most of the mail we receive is computer generated – sometimes its addressed to us by name (computers are smart 🙂 ), but many times it is addressed to “Current Resident”. Companies spend a lot of $$ to send you these advertisements, but most people consider it “junk mail” and toss it.

Most everyone loves receiving Holiday cards. I’m talking about physical, snail-mail cards. It’s fun to check your mailbox each day, hoping to find something for you personally. I think of them as “fun” mail … something I want to open right away. I enjoy reading the Holiday Letter that many people include with their card. It’s a good way to catch up with the happenings in their family, especially for those who are not on Facebook 🙂  I also love getting packages in the mail, many of which are gifts I have ordered online … who doesn’t love seeing the UPS, FedEx, USPS or Amazon truck pull up in front of their house (please tell me you do too, that it’s not just me)?

All that to say, sending Holiday cards are is time honored tradition of the season, but also a time-consuming task to do in an already busy time of year. Tracy Helps You can take this task off your to-do list for you. Whether it’s your personal family cards, or cards sent out to your business clients and colleagues, we can take care of it for you – freeing up some time for you to handle all the other things on your to-do list.

This hectic season is the perfect time to delegate some tasks to your personal / virtual assistant. Time is a valuable commodity! Let Tracy Helps You save you some valuable  time 🙂 Call today!!

Beautiful Fall Foliage

Fall Favorites

What is your favorite season? Mine is the Fall !

While I actually like all the seasons, Fall is my favorite. I love the beautiful colors of the leaves. I love all the hues of the autumn color palette, from the golden yellows to the burnt oranges to the deepest maroons. Some trees are like a magnificent work of art 🙂  I also love the weather – warm sunny days; crisp cool evenings; low humidity … what’s not to love ? Unfortunately, my sinuses aren’t a huge fan of the barometric pressures the change of seasons brings, but the rest of me loves the Fall weather.

Another thing I love about Fall is comfort food. The cooler temps have me yearning for big pots of soup with warm crusty bread. I love serving hearty dishes like beef stew and chili. This time of year also gets me craving baked goods, warm from the oven. I’d say it’s a tie between Apple Cinnamon and Pumpkin as my favorite flavor of Fall. I like pumpkin everything … pumpkin bread, pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkins seeds … btw, did I mention that I love pumpkin ?? However, I also love apple cinnamon everything too! Pretty much anything apple flavored from the bakery – apple pie, apple crisp, apple strudel, apple slice … Yum! And let’s not forget hot apple cider 🙂

I also enjoy the great outdoors during the Fall. I love going on long walks in the forest preserves, going to a pumpkin farm, getting turned around & lost in corn mazes, going apple picking, taking a hayride, and going camping. I love sitting around a fire enjoying a warm (or warming) beverage and having long talks while gazing into the mesmerizing flames. I love when the wood pops and sends up sparks; I just love the scent of the burning logs 🙂

Just so the other seasons don’t feel left out, here’s what I like about them:

  • Winter ~ Freshly fallen snow and Christmas (just wish that it wasn’t so bitterly cold and last so long)
  • Spring ~ Nature coming back to life, trees / plants turning green again and the weather starting to warm up
  • Summer ~ Longer hours of daylight and being outdoors more (if only there wasn’t so much humidity)

So, you see, I do actually like all the seasons, but Fall is still my favorite! Please share what your favorite season is and why …