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Book Review & Giveaway ~ Gingerbread At Moonglow by Deborah Garner

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.

This is the 3rd installment of the Moonglow Christmas themed novellas. Deborah Garner always does a wonderful job of developing her characters, it almost feels like they are real people, at a real hotel, in a real town, in Montana. It is a heart-warming story set at Christmastime that shows how important simple kindness & caring is to people. Mist certainly has a gift for making the guests at the Timberton Hotel feel welcome & special.

Sometimes the Holiday season can get so hectic that you forget what Christmas should be about. It’s not about shopping for numerous gifts, attending countless parties and extravagant decorations, but about the simple joys in life. Slowing down and taking time to spend with a dear friend – taking a walk in the snow or building a snowman with your kids – stealing a kiss under the mistletoe – baking some cookies from your grandma’s recipe that brings back fond memories of times spent with her … or maybe trying a new recipe from this book ?

This book helped put me in the Christmas spirit. It is a feel-good story with no violence – just people being kind to one another, and I loved just loved it. Definitely 5 stars and 2 thumbs up ~ can’t wait to read the next one ?



The small town of Timberton, Montana, boasts an ambiance of near-magical proportions during the Christmas season, due in no small part to resident artist and chef Mist’s mysterious way of working small miracles in people’s everyday lives. Each year, return guests and new arrivals mingle with local townsfolk to enjoy companionship, exquisite decor, and exceptional cuisine at The Timberton Hotel.

As the aromas of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and molasses mix with heartfelt camaraderie and sweet romance, guests share reflections on family, friendship, and life. Although decorating the outside of a gingerbread house may prove easier than deciding what goes inside, no one leaves Timberton without renewed hope for the future.

The Moonglow Series…

Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

Mistletoe at Moonglow, Book 1
Silver Bells at Moonglow, Book 2
Gingerbread at Moonglow, Book 3

Available to buy from…
Amazon.co.uk   Amazon.com   Barnes and Noble   Kobo   iBooks   GPlay   Paperback

Also available in The Moonglow Series
Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

Mistletoe at Moonglow, The Moonglow Series, Book 1

The Timberton Hotel has always provided a perfect Christmas retreat for regular guests, as well as newcomers. But the small town of Timberton, Montana, hasn’t been the same since resident chef and artist, Mist, arrived, bringing a unique new age flavor to the old western town.

When guests check in for the holidays, they bring along worries, fears and broken hearts, unaware that Mist has a way of working magic in people’s lives. Old-fashioned time spent together, exquisite food, conversation and a snowball or two offer guests a chance to trade sadness for hope. One thing is certain: no matter how cold winter’s grip is on each guest, no one leaves Timberton without a warmer heart.

Available to buy from….</b
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Nook   iBooks   Kobo   Amazon Paperback   Barnes & Noble

Silver Bells at Moonglow by [Garner, Deborah]Silver Bells at Moonglow, The Moonglow Series, Book 2

Christmas at the Timberton Hotel arrives each year with a unique set of guests, some returning, some new. When this holiday brings a celebrity seeking reprieve, sisters who are distant yet closer to each other than they think, a widow approaching a new horizon, and an eclectic smattering of local townsfolk and visiting relatives, the season is certain to be eventful. Add in a hint of romance and there’s more than snow in the air around the small Montana town.

Elegant decor and exquisite cuisine from resident artist and chef, Mist, form a backdrop to much needed camaraderie, bringing strangers and friends together. When the last note of Christmas carols has faded away, the soft whisper of silver bells from the front door’s wreath will usher guests and townsfolk alike back into the world with hope for the coming year.

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Nook   iBooks   Kobo   Amazon Paperback   Barnes & Noble

About the author
Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

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

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April Fools' Day Jester

April Fools’ Day Fun “Facts”, Legends & Myths

Happy April Fools’ Day !!

Its hard to believe that its April 1st already. Do you celebrate this day or is it just another day? Personally, I enjoy the fun, good hearted jokes, but I can live without the more mean spirited type of pranks some people pull. IMHO, I don’t think you have to hurt someone else’s feelings to make your prank be fun. I tend to like the puns that make you think, more than the physical practical jokes, again, just my thoughts on the topic 🙂

I was curious about the origins for April Fools’ Day, so, like any red blooded American, I GOOGLED it (duh). Here are some things I learned from my research:

  • There is no actual historical proof of how the celebrations of April 1st started only myths and legends.
  • According to legend, some believe it has to do with Pope Gregory XIII changing the calendar to show January 1st as New Years Day instead of the current date of April 1st. Apparently, not everyone heard the news of the change, so they continued to celebrate New Years on April 1st, making them appear “foolish” to those who knew about the change.
  • Another theory has to do with people having a fun, mischievous mood because it was finally spring, marking the end of a long cold winter.
  • Another myth states that it originates in a 1500’s Flemish poem about a nobleman sending his servant on several absurd errands. One stanza of the poem states “Refrain on fool’s errand-day/which is the first of April”.

As noted earlier, no one can say for certain why, but there are many stories revolving around celebrating April Fools’ Day with fun and mischief. My research came from The Washington Post, the International Business Times and the Museum of Hoaxes.

Happy April Fools’ Day !! Have fun and be kind 🙂


Black Friday Tags

Black Friday Shopping ~ Yay or Nay ??

Black Friday isn’t what it used to be. When my kids were young … you know, back in the day, I used to shop on Black Friday. That was when the coolest toys were on sale, and if you didn’t want disappointed kiddos on Christmas morning, you braved the crack of dawn time, the weather & the crowds. Back in the 90’s, before everyone was online, stores ordered a certain number of the item and when they were sold out, that was pretty much it … waiting to see if another shipment came in before Christmas was a big gamble. So, I went … Continue reading

Handmade Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Handmade Gift Ideas

It is a glorious September afternoon. I’m working on my blog post while sitting on my new patio enjoying the beautiful weather. It is warm & sunny with a gentle breeze blowing through the branches of my gi-normous maple tree.

So (on one of the last days of summer) … I decide my topic will be about ideas for making a handmade gifts for Christmas. That’s right, I said Christmas … but only because you need plenty of time to plan and work on your gift projects. Otherwise, I am a believer of enjoying each holiday as it comes, not rushing it 🙂

I have always loved doing crafts. Making or creating something is a labor of love. I feel like the finished product has a little piece of me in it ♥ However, I have learned (the hard way) that in order for me to love making the gift for someone, I have to allow plenty of time to finish it … not be rushed to get it done in time.

That being said, here is my game plan:
• Search Pinterest, craft websites & blogs to pick the projects I want to make
• Only choose a handful of recipients, so making the gift remains a joy ~ not become a burden.
• Decide early on who will be getting what gift
• Buy all the supplies I will need for each project ahead of time, (that way I can have multiple projects going at the same time)
• I’ll work on the gift while watching TV in the evening
• I can switch up which gift I’m working on, so I don’t get bored … like I can work on my knitting project if I don’t feel like making jewelry.

Some of the handmade gifts I given in the past are … a knitted or crocheted scarf, note cards for stationary, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, personalized photo frames, a “scrapbook style” keepsake shadow box, bath salts, and, of course, baked goods 🙂

I really enjoy giving handmade gifts to friends. I feel that because time is such a valuable commodity, the time I spend making the gift communicates how much I care about them. I hope they enjoy receiving them. Of course, because it is so time consuming, I only choose a few friends to make gifts for each year. My other friends receive store bought gifts … I love shopping too <3

I haven’t decided what I want to make for this year’s gifts yet, but I’m glad I’m starting to think about it early … because, as we all know, times flies by quickly.

Valentine's Day ... Everyday

Happy Valentine’s Day … Everyday <3

It is already the middle of February  … wow, time sure is flying by quickly. I realize that I’ve mentioned time going fast before, but, am I the only one that feels that way ~ I hope not.

Personally, I don’t believe that Valentine’s Day is only about romantic love relationships. I believe it is about all kinds of caring relationships … parents/children, siblings/cousins, friends, as well as dating/marriage relationships.

We humans are emotional beings – we need love and affection! Most people seem to flourish when they spend some time with others they care about on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just spending time together is what is important. Continue reading

Christmas Countdown has begun

The Christmas Season Is Upon Us … Already !!

It’s Friday, December 5th … only 20 days til Christmas …Let the countdown begin!

Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ … Peace on Earth & Goodwill to Men. However, in the 24/7 world we live in, sometimes the preparations for Christmas can be anything but peaceful … it can be downright hectic.

Everyone’s to-do list gets longer during the holidays. All the festivities are great fun, but they also add more to our already busy schedules. Our December to-do list has additional items like sending out holiday cards, decorating & baking, shopping & wrapping, not to mention holiday parties & get- togethers.

Tracy Helps You is here to, well, help you 🙂 We can take care of some of your to-do list items. We can do some of the more routine stuff on your list, or we will Christmas shop and wrap your gifts for you. We can get your Christmas cards written & mailed out for you. We will even go to a party for you, oh wait … you probably want to take of party attendance yourself (we understand, lol).

Hiring Tracy Helps You will free up your time to do the most important things … spending time & making memories with the people you love, your family and friends!

Some time to relax and peace of mind is just a phone call away 🙂

Thankful for ornaments and memories.

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/15/14

November 15, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful for ornaments. Well, not only the ornaments (but I do love ornaments), but also the wonderful memories they represent.

I own lots (& I mean lots) of ornaments, many of them belonged to my grandmother. I made many of them throughout the years. Others represent life events … Our First Christmas Together … Baby’s 1st Christmas, and the like.

Each year when I’m decorating our tree, I get to relive all those memories with each ornament I unwrap … so nostalgic.

Today, I went to Bronner’s … the world’s largest CHRISTmas store 🙂 Oh my … it was heavenly! I’ve never seen so many ornaments. Okay, I confess that I may have bought one or two …

♥ Today I am thankful for ornaments & nostalgic memories ♥

Thankful for mesmerizing flames

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/10/14

November 10, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful for the mesmerizing flames of campfires. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big, roaring fire out in the woods while camping or a smaller fire in my backyard firepit.

I just love sitting around a nice cozy fire and staring into the flames. Staring into the flames seems to calm me. It seems to put me in a contemplative mood. I love to watch the glowing embers as they seem to have pulse.

I always have great conversation while sitting around a cozy fire with friends. Somehow, the flames seem to entice people to share their feelings and deep thoughts.

♥ Today I am thankful for the mesmerizing flames of campfires ♥

10th Anniversary - Thankful for Romantic Days at the Beach

Tracy Helps You’s Thankful Thoughts for Today ~ 11/9/14

November 9, 2014 ~ Today I am thankful for Anniversaries that remind us of old memories. Today is our Wedding Anniversary, and I am sitting here remembering our wedding ceremony.

It was a gorgeous, sunny and mild autumn day in Chicagoland. It was a second marriage for both of us and we wanted a simple ceremony. It was more important to us to be surrounded by friends who knew us well to participate in a meaningful ceremony. Our Pastor preached a very personal and heartfelt sermon for us because he knew us all so well.

We had the world’s youngest maid of honor and best man … my kids, who were 9 and 12 years old at the time. We wanted them front and center because we weren’t only a couple joining together in marriage, but joining as a family as well.

Our simple cake and coffee reception was right after the ceremony at the church. We were then whisked away in a white limo … just the two of us, off to our romantic honeymoon ~ a log cabin nestled in the Smoky Mountains.

Such a wonderful memory … I think I’ll find the video so we can watch it this evening to relive those memories … and get a chuckle over how young everyone looked … after all, laughter is an important part of a great marriage 🙂

♥ Today I’m thankful for Anniversaries that remind us of old memories ♥

Giant Chair at Fall Festival

10 of My Favorite Fall Activities

It’s Fall … or do you call it Autumn ? Either way, it’s my favorite season !

While I do like summer, heat and humidity are not my friends. I think what I like the most about summer is the longer hours of daylight and the relaxed, more laid back schedule.

I really enjoy Fall weather … warm, sunny afternoons with crisp, cool mornings and evenings. To me, Fall weather is perfect for outdoor festivals and activities.

Here are some of my favorite things to do:

1) Walking or driving through a wooded area (like a state park or forest preserve) to see the magnificent colors of the changing leaves.

2) Going apple picking at a local orchard. I love picking an assortment of varieties ~ they all taste so good. Speaking of tasting good, many orchards have bakery goods for sale … apple cider donuts … Yum 🙂

3) Going to a football game ~ NFL or a local college (more budget friendly and, I think more fun). The atmosphere is fun and exciting … and tailgating is so much fun.

4) Visit a pumpkin farm … most of them have fun activities like hayrides and corn mazes, besides picking out the very best pumpkin for Halloween.

5) Spending an evening sitting around a fire toasting marshmallows and sipping hot apple cider.

6) The weather is usually great for going to an outdoor Arts & Crafts show … I’ve been known to start picking up some Christmas gifts at these shows.

7) The cooler weather calls for comfort foods and freshly baked goodies … I just love anything made from pumpkin or apple cinnamon 🙂

8) Spending the afternoon raking all the leaves into piles with your family and friends and then jumping into them … then doing it again and again.

9) Fall Festivals are fun because it gives you one last opportunity for taste all the “fried everything” festival type food and ride some carnival rides before the snow blows and we have the long wait til next summer.

10) Handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween … especially to the little ones … they’re just soo cute 🙂

What is your favorite thing about Fall ?