Posted in Holiday

A Special Story for all ages

If you haven’t read the story of Guy the Beagle you are missing out on a sweet story of how a rescue dog went from shelter, to Hollywood to Buckingham Palace.

Guy the Beagle was lost in the woods of Kentucky until he was found and placed in a local shelter which was a kill shelter. The shelter was in Montgomery County in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. The shelter reached out to another shelter A Dog’s Dream Rescue in the hopes Guy could be adopted out to a forever home.

Lucky for Guy his picture was found on Petfinder by Meghan Markle who contacted the rescue to inquire about the sweet beagle she had found online. A Dog’s Dream Rescue emailed Meghan an adoption application and returned to the rescue within 10 minutes. The rescue had never had such a quick response before. Meghan knew this was the dog for her and that he would fit in with her lifestyle perfectly. Once Meghan and Guy met each other there was no doubt the two were meant to be together.

It wasn’t until a bit later that things really started to turn around for Guy. Meghan started dating someone called Harry who happened to live in London. As things turned out this someone was no other than Prince Harry of England and he had proposed to Meghan and now they would be moving to England and going to live a whole new lifestyle.

Meghan has come together with authors Camille March, Michael Brummell and illustrator EG Keller and put together a wonderful story of His Royal Dogness, Guy The Beagle . The story takes the reader on a ride of Guy being rescued from Kentucky to living with Meghan in Hollywood and then moving to London and learning to be Royal. This cute story is one we all can relate to as a fish out of water story and understanding not fitting in. But it just takes one person to make us feel like we belong. For Guy who wasn’t sure if he would fit in with The Queen’s corgi’s was made to feel right at home by Queen Elizabeth herself. I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to share it with my niece. This is a story that will never get old.

Posted in Holiday

Stocking Stuffer for Animal Lovers

I was sent a wonderful little book from Ben Bella, Inc. about Homer “the Blind Wonder Cat” by Gwen Cooper. I am always a sucker for animal stories and I was prepared for a heartbreaking story about a blind cat and his struggle through life. What I got was a wonderful tale of a lively cat, Homer who despite not being born blind still lives a full life with his humans and other cats around him.

Homer, returns in this Holiday story as a tale filled with cheer. Fifteen years earlier, doctors had given Homer’s family that he was unlikely to survive and wouldn’t have much of a life due to being a tiny, sightless kitten. Through the miracle that is animals Homer grew into a functioning cat that had no trouble climbing seven foot bookshelves, saved his human mom’s life by chasing a late-night burglar from their apartment. Over the years Homer has risen to global fame and paving the way for other special needs animals who like him were considered “unadoptable”.

The story begins with two weeks before Christmas and Homer has once again been given grave news, he may not even make it to Christmas. This cat cannot be counted out. Homer once again goes against what tests are showing and lives his life the way he wants. To me this is what makes animals so great and this type of determination is what makes Christmas so endearing. I recommend this story to all pet owners. It doesn’t matter if you like dogs more than cats, pigs more than sheep. This is a heart touching story and it makes you believe that if this little blind cat can do all of the miraculous things he does then why not give other animals the same chance? This touching Christmas story has highs and lows that come with owning any pet. Homer defies the odds given to him and lives on his own terms.

Homer and The Holiday Miracle can be found on Amazon Barnes & Nobles, Books-A-Million, and other independent bookstores and gift stores nationwide or subscribe to Gwen Cooper Cat Tales

Homer is a wonderful story to put in any animal lovers stocking and share this story of such a inspirational cat.

Homer and the Holiday Miracle is written by Gwen Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of the memoirs Homer’s Odyssey, A Fearless Feline Tale; Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat; and My Life in a Cat House: True Tales of Love, Laughter, and Living with Five Felines, released last week in hardcover by BenBella Books (cover art attached!).  Gwen’s work has been published in more than two-dozen languages, and she donates 10% of her royalties on all book sales to organizations that serve abused, abandoned, and disabled animals.

Gwen Cooper is the New York Times bestselling author of the memoirs Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat and Homer: The Ninth Life of a Blind Wonder Cat; the novels Love Saves the Day andDiary of a South Beach Party Girl; and the crowd-sourced collection of “cat selfies,” Kittenish (a send-up of Kim Kardashians’ Selfish), 100% of the proceeds from which are donated to support animal rescue in Nepal following the 2015 earthquake. Her work has been published in nearly two-dozen languages and territories around the world. She is a frequent speaker at shelters and fundraisers, and donates 10% of her royalties from Homer’s Odyssey to organizations that serve abused, abandoned and disabled animals. Gwen lives in Manhattan with her husband, Laurence. She also lives with her two perfect cats-Clayton the Tripod and his litter-mate, Fanny-who aren’t impressed with any of it. (bio supplied by BenBella Books, Inc. marketing)


Posted in Holiday

It’s a Jolly Holiday Gift Guide-Petlandia

Christmas can be a hectic time for many people and finding gifts for loved ones can at times be trying. What better way to give a gift than to make a personalized gift especially for those pet loving friends and family who enjoy anything with their pets name or picture on it.

Petlandia is a hand-illustrated personalized to the owners pets. The pets photo will be inserted on the cover of the book and throughout the story as will the owners name. The dog or cat can be specific for most breeds. When ordering the book you can even chose the eye color, fur color and if you want the pet to have a collar or not. You can choose from one pet or two depending on who the book in being made for. The story is a fun tale of adventure, fame and home. Any pet owner will love having this book of their furry friend. The book starts out at $30 which in my opinion is a pretty good deal when buying a personalized gift. There are a few extras that will increase the price but not terribly. I was lucky enough to have one of these lovely books sent to me and it is truly adorable and I can’t recommend it enough.

In addition to personalized books you can also have your pet go on an adventure with Grumpy Cat in Petlandia, who does’t love Grumpy Cat?

If a book is not of interest to you then check out the Petlandia selection of mugs, feeding mats, wrapping paper and t-shirts. All personalized to the pet of choice. I have honestly fallen in love with all of their products. I can’t wait to see my girls faces on other products.

Posted in Christmas

43 weeks until Christmas

Yet another Christmas has come and gone and another one will be here before we know it. Is there anyone out thinking about being away from home at Christmas? I always wanted to do that when I was a child, I was always at grandparents houses Christmas morning. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that my family started having our own private Christmas and we stayed home as my father didn’t enjoy traveling.

I have always wanted to go away at Christmas to someplace really magical, like England and experience a Dickens Christmas. I realize that is just fantasy but I’ll bet there is some lovely village in England that comes close. I’ve wanted to go to New York City on Thanksgiving and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade to usher in Christmas and enjoy the sites New York City has to offer. As I have gotten older the idea of going to colder places no longer appeals to me and a nice warm tropical island has a better appeal. Hawaii would be a great place to spend Christmas at least once or even sunny Florida.

TripAdvisor reports that 40% of travelers book their vacation 6-12 months out and another 60% book 1-5 months out. If you are planning a trip during the Christmas holiday booking now is advised. I truly enjoy using TripAdvisor when I travel. When you download their easy to use app to your phone or personal device you are able to make an itinerary of places you want to visit, eat at or shows to see. There are also reviews from travelers letting you know of their experience at that venue. I have found this very helpful in bigger cities I have been too.

I have listed 5 of the holiday spots that are within the US and easy to get to.

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-temps are around 60 degrees, beachfront condos can be rented from $109 – $450 a night depending on your group size. Myrtle Beach has many things to offer during this time of year from sandy beaches to aquariums.
  • Port Isabel, Texas-temps are a lovely 70-80 degrees in December, located just before you get to Padre Island. Rental property goes from $105-$440 a night depending on your group size. Port Isabel is full of American history, lighthouses and pirate ships. Fun can be had by the whole family.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado-temps range from 40 degrees and lower in December. If a Christmas setting is what you are looking for this is the place. Minutes away from ski resorts, an hour away from Denver. Colorado Springs is home to the Olympic Sports Training and Visitor Center, Pikes Peak is not far away and Garden of the Gods is breathtakingly beautiful.
  • San Antonio, Texas -temps vary during December usually mild weather around 50 degrees, average nightly stay $200 depending on group size. San Antonio has so many things to offer while visiting. During the month of December, some of their seasonal parks are closed but do open for a few events mostly on weekends, check their websites if thinking about going to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. This is a city that stays busy, plus you are only a few hours away from the Gulf Coast should you want to venture further south.
  • Orlando, Florida-temps range from 70-50 degrees in December. Hotel rates vary as most are based on theme park visits. The website does offer good packages for those wanting to visit. Orlando has so much to offer it would be hard to pick one thing to showcase. The Orlando website does offer an app to download to help you sort out your choices of where to go on your trip. I am all about free help.

Those are my 5 choices. I hope they have been somewhat helpful should you decide to pack up and head elsewhere for the Christmas holidays. Have a great trip, Cheryl

Posted in Christmas

44 weeks until Christmas-Count Your Stitches

I find one of the most heartfelt gifts to give a person is needlework. This is a labor of time and love for what the maker is doing for the person they are making the design for. I enjoy cross-stitch, my love for cross-stitch goes back to when I was a teenager. I would buy the stamped cross-stitch patterns at Wal-Mart and try to turn them into what was shown on the cover. Sadly what I ended up with was a lot of knotted thread and hate for the craft. It wasn’t until my sister became ill and required a liver transplant in 1992 that cross-stitch came back into my life. When you are in and out of hospitals a person usually has a lot of time on their hands and my sister loved crafts and she always wanted me to the projects with her. So when she learned she would be in the hospital for quite some time she made sure she had projects to keep her busy. Cross-stitch was one of those projects. I still couldn’t stitch to save my life, kept getting the thread knotted up but I tried for her. My sister passed a few years later and I was left with all of her art and craft material. I didn’t know of anyone that cross-stitched so I made myself pick the needle up again and try. It was like I had been stitching for years. Now each time I stitch I think of her and I think a part of that reflects in the pieces that I make.

I bought this pattern set several years ago and have never gotten around to making it. I decided this was the year to start those projects I’ve been putting on the back burner.

The kit comes with step by step directions on how to begin stitching the design. The legend called for using one thread for the cross-stitch but I elected to use two strands as two strands make the design stand out.

I didn’t run into any problems until I came to hanging the glass. The instructions stated to wrap the silver cord around the top silver bands. When I did that the bands moved and left the piece off center. I am up with the solution by cutting the remaining cord for the hanger and using leftover pieces of cord to tie a know at the top of the bands to secure the bands in place making it easier for the hanger to not move. I was able to bring the two pieces of cord together and the top and tie a knot for hanging.

Posted in Christmas

49 weeks until Christmas..too early for gifts?


The minute Christmas ends we start thinking about next year. I tell myself every year that I am going to start shopping early and be ready in time for Christmas. I make lists of the things people tell me they would like for Christmas and keep an eye out for the product. I don’t like to buy things too early because I can’t keep presents for long. It’s one of the reasons I have fallen in love with online shopping, they will wrap and ship to you. So the person who is receiving the gift really does have to wait. That’s what I tell myself anyway. The problem I have is those I’m buying for are out there already buying stuff they say they want for the next Christmas because they can’t wait that long and they wonder why I love gift cards so much.

Gift cards are truly one of the most unappreciated gift items out there. When I suggest to someone to give a gift card they usually turn up their nose and say how impersonal it is. I laugh and say how can it be impersonal when the person gets to pick out what they truly want? I love them and enjoy getting them as a gift. If the person is a true shopper they will also appreciate it and know that when the day after Christmas hits or New Year sales hit they will be walking out of the store with bags full of goodies.

I have found that everyone has a different approach to Christmas when it comes to buying gifts. There are those that like to start shopping the day after Christmas when things are on sale. There are those that pick up items off and on throughout the year and there are those of us that wait until Thanksgiving or the week of Christmas and hope everything ships in time. I joked this year that we should just wait until the day after Christmas and buy clearance items, it could be fun who knows what fun items we could walk away with for cheap?

If buying year round is something you have set out to do find a place to store your gifts that’s easy to remember where you hide them. There is nothing worse than forgetting where you hid a gift and having to rebuy it at the last minute. I try to keep myself on a budget of what I am buying for each person this helps in searching for items. Buying gifts for people should be fun and enjoyable not a chore that gives you a headache at the end of the day. If buying year round can keep the headaches away then who is to say it’s not the way to go? Happy Shopping

Posted in Christmas

Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree



Christmas used to be one of my favorite times of years. I was the girl that could have Christmas all year around. I love everything about it. I couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving to be over so we could drag out all the decorations and reminisce about the ornaments my sister and I made at school. When I was a small child, my dad’s parents owned a nursery and their gift to our family was giving us a tree. What I loved about the trees as they were big and flocked. If you haven’t had a flocked, live tree in your house, you must have one. It was like having a snowed tree from outside in your house. We lived about two hours from where my grandparents lived.  So, when it was time to bring the tree home, we would drive to their house, load the tree in the truck, and come back home.  I would watch the tree the entire time. I was so afraid the coverings would come loose and we would lose the tree. If that happened, I wanted to make sure I could yell at my dad to pull over so we could save the tree. Thankfully, nothing ever happened and we had our tree ready to put up when we got home. The flocked trees stopped when I was 10, my grandmother died and my grandfather just didn’t want to carry on with her business.

As this was the first year without my grandparent my parents had the idea to get a tree still with the roots on it so we could plant the tree in our yard after Christmas.  We brought the tree inside once we had everything set up. We had to keep the tree in a large pot of dirt so the roots could be kept watered and not dry out. My mom wanted to do an old-fashioned Christmas with strings of popcorn and paper chain link garland. We worked for hours making those decorations. What we didn’t count on was the dog. We went out one night to visit relatives and left our dog alone in the house. When we returned from visiting, what we found was a tree on the ground with all the dirt dug out of the bucket. Apparently, if you put a bucket of dirt close to a dog, she will dig and knock over your Christmas tree. We were able to salvage the tree, but we decided from that Christmas on we would have to settle for a fake tree. Lesson learned.

Maybe I love Christmas so much. because it seems to be the holiday I spent the most time visiting family and family that lived far off would fly in or drive in to visit for the holidays. It was exciting that people from far away as Texas and even California were coming to visit. We didn’t have family that lived in the East or overseas. Now it’s nothing to have people from these places visit. It’s easier to hop on a plane and be here in a few hours or even hop on your computer and visit online, but in the 1970’s, long distance phone calls were expensive and chat, text and video phone calls were not discovered yet.  My dad’s grandparents always had a Christmas Eve dinner at their house. I loved it. All of the family that could make it would come to dinner.  The house would be bursting with bodies. Between the food cooking and the heat from the number of bodies in the house, the windows would fog up.  In the middle of winter, doors would be thrown open because the house would get so warm. I loved walking through the house and eavesdropping on the various conversations. Sometimes I would just sit in front of the tree and stare at the lights and all the presents piled in front of the tree. My great grandmother’s tree was one of a kind. It was an artificial tree bought sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s. We were never sure, but I loved that tree.  It was of a type of plastic, no needles fell off and you just put the branches in the color-coded slots on the tree trunk (over time those colors wore off so it was a guessing game). I think my grandmother would appreciate the fold out trees of today; she and that tree went a few rounds several times. 🙂

Now, I find myself a bit lost at Christmas because most of my family traditions are long gone. It’s not that I don’t care for the holiday; I just don’t find it as magical and wondrous as I once did. Will that wonder ever return? I’d to think so and have to believe that it will and new traditions will be made.