Tag Archives: Top 10

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 🙂

Top 10 Blog Posts 2015

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015 ~ The Year In Review

Happy New Year !!

I’ve always loved watching those “Year in Review”, “Top 10” (or Top 100) types of shows on TV. You know the ones … they usually break the stories down into different categories, like severe weather or celebrity deaths.

Sometimes I didn’t even remember the stories, or else I remembered but thought they took place longer ago. Time has a way of playing tricks with us. Some things flash by in an instant, while other times, time seems to stand still.

Tracy Helps You’s “Year in Review” for 2015

These were my top 5 Blog Posts from 2015 …

Back To School ~ College Bound

Locks of Love Donation

How My To-Do List Helps Me Get & Stay Organized

Tornado Touches Down / Stormy Spring Weather in Illinois

Top 10 Tips For Having A Successful Garage Sale

These were my top 5 Book Reviews from 2015 …

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Hot Flash by Kathy Carmichael

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Eighty and Out by Kim Cano

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Fractured Not Broken

Book Review & Giveaway ~ The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Return To Me by Carolyn Menke

Thanks for taking the time to reminisce with us … Let us know if you have a topic you would like to read about … We’d love to hear from you :)

 

camping

My Top 10 Best Camping Tips & Hacks

I love camping, but if you know me at all, you know that I love to have a plan. Even if things don’t always go as planned, you can go on to Plan B 🙂

Here are some tidbits of wisdom (no particular order) that have served me well …

#1  Plan all your meals and snacks (I suggest lots of snacks) ahead of time – then use your menu plan to create your shopping & packing lists

#2  Create a separate plastic storage bin (with tight fitting lid) to store camp essentials – one for your “camp kitchen” aka, pots & pans, dishes, utensils, dish towels, etc. – one for your “camp gear” aka, tools, flashlights, rope, fire starters, bug spray, etc. – one for your “camp pantry” aka, to store all your non refrigerated, dry food items.

#3  Have 3 separate coolers – one for meats (freeze ahead of time and put in zip lock bags (to catch blood from the meat so it doesn’t mix in with the water from melting ice)) – one for beverages (I keep these separate because the lid is opened so often). I also fill a gallon zip lock with clean ice for my glass each time we get more bags of ice. – one to serve as the “frig” … for your fruits & veges, condiments, butter, eggs, etc. I freeze gallon jugs of water before hand to keep things cold and then use the melted water to make lemonade.

#4  Try to choose a shady campsite – it is cooler during the day and you can always find a sunny place to hang out if you want heat & fun in the sun.

#5  Get inexpensive solar garden path lights from the Dollar store – place them around your site so you can see where you are going a night … darkness fall very quickly. These generally work even if they don’t get direct sunlight during the day, maybe not as bright, but enough to light your path.

#6  Use aluminum foil and aluminum pans – the grates over the fire pit are usually pretty dirty and gross, so I use foil grill pans to cook my meats – plus easy clean up 🙂

#7  Have two matching (size/shape, so they can stack) laundry baskets – pack your clothes in one with the empty underneath. Each night as you change clothes, put the dirty clothes in the bottom basket and stack the clean clothes on top of it.

#8  Have small mesh bags for carry bath & hygiene essentials to the shower house – make one for males & one for females, or one for each person. I also set up a hand washing station at the campsite for quick clean ups. I put a bar of soap in an old knee high nylon stocking and hang it with a towel near the water / dish washing area.

#9  Always take your trash to the dump station every night before going to sleep – you do not want animals prowling around your campsite because they smell your meal leftovers! I also fill all our water containers at this time too – I need fresh water for my morning coffee 🙂

#10  Always have a well stocked first aid kit with a basic first aid manual. I use a jumbo vitamin/pill day of the week type container and re-labeled them for a supply of Advil / Benadryl / Pepto-Bismol / etc.

Do you have any tips or tricks or ideas about camping that you could share with us? Leave a comment … I’d love to hear them. We can all learn from each other !

Camping - Nap Time

There’s nothing like a relaxing afternoon nap while you are camping.

Happy Camping 🙂

Garage Sale Top 10 Tips

Top 10 Tips For Having A Successful Garage Sale

Confession time ~ I just love garage sales … both going to & having 🙂 Here are my Top 10 Tips (aka … a few things I’ve learned from experience) for having a successful garage sale:

1) ADVERTISING ~ Have good signage that makes it easy for potential customers to find you. Make sure to place signs where people can see them coming from all directions. Put a sign decorated with colorful balloons / flags / streamers at the foot of your driveway. Remember to take them down after your sale ends. Also, hang a sign on your local grocery store bulletin board and create a free ad on Craigslist.

2) BE PREPARED ~ Be prepared to start very early. If possible, have everything set up and ready to go the night before. Customers may be at your house before your official start time, especially if you advertised well ∧∧∧ 🙂

3) ORGANIZATION ~ Try to organize your sale tables into departments … tools, toys, books, clothes, jewelry, kitchenware … etc. Try to lay everything out on a table, many people don’t like digging through boxes under tables. If possible, try to “display” items … for example, if you are selling dishes, display a place setting showing each piece in the set. For jewelry, display each piece in a separate compartment (not tangled up) or to show earrings, hang them on a piece of screen.

4) PRICING ~ Have everything priced ahead of time. Many customers will ask for a lower price, be prepared to haggle. Remember, everyone is looking for a bargain … so don’t expect to get the price a store would charge. Also, while you are pricing, try to wipe off / clean everything (no one wants to look at dusty or dirty items).

5) AMBIANCE ~ Have some fun, upbeat music playing in the background (you want to be able to have a conversation). If at all possible, have some of your sale items displayed in a shady area (maybe under a portable gazebo / tent). If it’s hot & humid, have a fan going to create a breeze 🙂

6) CHECK-OUT ~ Have your check-out area in an obvious place … a patio table with an umbrella set up for shade would be great. Have it near an outlet with an extension cord, so people can make sure their item works before purchasing (most garage sales have a NO RETURNS policy). Have an assortment on batteries on hand too.

7) CORRECT CHANGE ~ Have plenty of singles and coins to make change. It seems like everyone wants to pay with a twenty dollar bill and the singles can run out fast.

8) BAGS ~ Have plenty of bags or boxes (save them from shopping) for your customers to carry their treasures (purchases) home. If you are selling furniture or large pieces, have some rope or twine available for them to tie the trunk down or secure it on the roof of their car.

9) REFRESHMENTS ~ Have some candy or cookies for sale at your check-out area … have some water bottles on ice, too. Nothing is better on a hot summer day !

10) SECURITY ~ Sadly, this is something you need to be aware of. Pay attention when a large group of customers come together (especially with kids). One may ask questions to distract you, while their friend steals something … I speak from personal experience 🙁  Also, don’t put their payment in with your money until you have made their change … they could say they gave you a 20 dollar bill when they really gave you a 10 (again, personal experience). If possible, have another family member run the sale with you, or maybe ask a friend to keep you company for the day.

11) BONUS TIP ~ Offer some FREE items … little trinkets or small toys (stuffed animals or McD’s happy meal toys). Keep your FREE box at your check-out area and place a couple signs on your tables advertising a “free gift” with your purchase. Who doesn’t LOVE getting something for FREE ?

Top 10 Blog Posts 2014

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

It’s hard to believe that it is already 2015 …                                                                          I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Years !!

I usually schedule time off for myself during the holidays to enjoy time with my family and friends (of whom several have end of year birthdays and mine as well). I also chose to have a “computer free” holiday this year (meaning no blog posts and a whole lot less social media activity for me).

Now I am ready to get back on schedule and get this New Year going 🙂
We’ll start 2015 by looking back at our top 10 blogs posts from last year ~

  1. 5 Things on My “Tackle Spring Cleaning Early” List ~ Kitchen
  2. How to Organize & Repurpose A Closet Into a Useful Pantry
  3. My Top 10 Favorite Things About Spring Time in Chicagoland
  4. Back To School ~ Homeschool Planning
  5. 2014 ~ My To-Do List, aka … Personal Goals / New Years Resolutions
  6. Monday’s Menu ~ Recipe I Made Up for Stuffed Shells
  7. Getting Organized ~ Tips for Filing Your Important Documents and Paper Work
  8. Pinterest Pins ~ Homemade DIY Dry Mix Recipes and Tips
  9. Homemade Natural Body Wash ~ DIY Tips & Ideas
  10. Autumn / Fall Decorating ~ Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Thanks for taking the time to reminisce with us … Let us know if you have a topic you would like to read about … We’d love to hear from you 🙂

 

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Spring Time in Chicagoland

I think May is my favorite month in the spring. You can pretty much rely on having mild temps and sunny days. Of course, I do live in the Chicagoland area, so weather wise, nothing is ever for certain 🙂 I love getting to see everything come back to life after a long, cold winter.

• Lilacs ~ so many varieties, colors and glorious scents

• Seeing the brave little Hyacinths, Tulips and Daffodils breaking through the ground

• Seeing and hearing all the robins everywhere

• Having more daylight hours

• The smell of fresh cut grass (sorry allergy sufferers)

• Starting my organic vegetable garden

• Getting to wear sandals

• Being able to have the windows open for fresh air

• Cooking and eating outside

• Going for long walks in the forest preserves or on the IL prairie paths

These are some of my favorite things in the spring. It is usually a short-lived season in the Chicagoland area. We tend to move into hot and humid summer weather fairly quickly … but I do love the few blissful weeks in May with its mild weather and promise of new life 🙂

Many thanks to http://www.manylittleblessings.com & http://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/ for co-hosting List It Tuesday 🙂