\"Quantcast\"/

Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too

 

Not my dog or cat. This is a stock photo.

I am the proud “mom” to five adopted shelter cats. Over the years we have had many cats and dogs (even a hamster!) that we adopted from our local shelter. One of our cats was a feral kitten we took in and raised.

I can understand why people want pure bred animals, but for me, personally, I would much rather “adopt than shop.” There are literally millions of dogs, cats and other animals looking for their “fur-ever” homes in shelters and at pet rescue facilities around the globe.

Homeless animals are not just an issue here in the United States. It’s an issue in every country.

There is a local rescue group where I live that rescues dogs and puppies from the Caribbean countries, flies them to New York, and send them out to rescue groups and foster homes, in hopes for finding these beautiful creatures a home.

If you read my blog frequently, you might recall that we had five cats and a dog. Sadly, our dog passed away two years ago and our two boys (cats) last summer. We had just our three girls, but recently adopted two more kittens (two more girls). I haven’t posted about them as of yet. Let me introduce you to Emma and Loca.

Emma

This is Emma. She’s 11 months old. She’s a big goof ball! We has so much personality.

Emma is a Polydactyl. She has extra toes. Cats normally have five toes on their front feet, and four toes on their back feet. Emma has extra toes on her back feet (five instead of the normal four). Her front feet look like she has extra toes, but actually, she doesn’t. She has five toes on her front feet. Her front feet are actually a deformity (possibly from inbreeding as she was a feral kitten). As a result, she’s a little klutzy and she tends to get caught on things.

Loca asleep on my husbands leg.

This is Loca. Loca means “crazy” in Spanish. This little muchkin is NUTS! But we love her.

We adopted Loca as a friend for Emma. Our older cats – Kitty (18), Padmé (16) and Bella (9) wouldn’t play with Emma. Bella has on occasion, but Bella has severe asthma and can’t run around enough to keep up with an active kitten. So we went back to the shelter and adopted Loca.

They look like sisters, but they are not. They are also 7 month apart in age. They are BEST friends. They are always together. They even sleep together. Adopting both of them was a great decision. They have already provided us with so much love and entertainment (kittens are fun to watch).

If I had the money I would open my own rescue facility. There are still so many beautiful animals out there who are in dire need of homes. Shelters are busting at the seams and it’s not easy for them to take in all the animals. It’s so bad that locally they trap feral cats, neuter/spay them and release them back into the wild. They don’t have the homes they deserve, but at least they can’t have more kittens. The kittens are taken in by fosters until they can find them homes. Sometimes that takes many months, and longer.

It breaks my heart. I believe that ALL of God’s creatures deserve love, respect, and appreciation and those considered pets deserve a loving home to care for them until their time is up on this Earth.

There is a book that reflects how I feel about animals. It’s called Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too. It’s written by Carol Novello. 

It’s a wonderful thing for people to rescue animals. Finding a forever home can change an animals life for the better. But what about the person rescuing the animal? How does it change THEIR life?

Mutual Rescue explores how much WE get from the animals we rescue. We not only recuse animals, but sometimes, animals in return rescue humans.

It’s true! All of the animals I’ve ever had have always given me unconditional love. After a rough day at work, or a devastating loss, the knowing look form your dog, or your cat purring as it rubs up against you, does more for you than anything else.

I have always referred to being with my pets as “fuzz therapy.” And I’m not alone – science has even proven that animals have a profound effect on us – in a positive way.

Mutual Rescue explores not only how people rescued animals, but how animals in return rescued them, through a series of true stories. Have some tissues handy because some of them will really tug at your heart strings.

Mutual Rescue was inspired by Carol’s own personal experience and years in the animal-welfare industry. Carol is also the founder of Mutual Rescue™, a national initiative that highlights the connection between people and pets in order to inspire and support life-saving efforts in communities across the nation and world.

“In a recent survey,” Carol writes, “60 percent of doctors said they prescribe pet adoption, and a staggering 97 percent believe pet ownership provides health benefits.”

Isn’t that amazing? I would love for a doctor to “prescribe” me to adopt a pet to help with whatever is bothering me. I’d take adopting an animal over medication any day.

Watching Emma (L) and Loca (R), makes my heart smile. They are such little goof balls, but at the same time, they are so loving toward each other, as well as my “human” family – including me. The same applies to our other cats, as well as our Goldfish, Fishy.

Some of the stories from Mutual Rescue have been turned into short films. You can find them on the Mutual Rescue YouTube page.

The short films are around 5 minutes each (give or take).

The book is available on Amazon, as well as other book retailers.

Whether you are an animal lover, or just curious, Mutual Rescue: How Adopting a Homeless Animal Can Save You, Too. is an interesting read, especially the parts about scientific research. It’s truly very interesting. 

If you are interested in learning more about Mutual Rescue, visit MutualRescue.org. They are also found on social media.

Have you ever rescued a pet? Do you think they rescued YOU in some way? Feel free to explain your story. I always love to hear from readers.

Author Carol Novello. PHOTO SOURCE Amazon author’s page.

Kimberly

*I received a free sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Check Out the Latest Book in the Fire & Ice Book Series

 

Believe it or not, summer is right around the corner. In just a few weeks we’ll be celebrating the long Memorial Day weekend – the kick off to the summer season (and also my birthday weekend).

Most kids are looking forward to the end of the school year. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait for school to end. I had plenty of “adventures” I wanted to go on, and a lot of fun things to do with my cousins. I also loved to read, so I knew I had plenty of time to catch up on all the books I wanted to read. Reading is another way of going on an adventure.

If you have a child that loves to read, or perhaps your child needs to read some books as part of their school’s summer reading requirements, you might want to check out the Fire & Ice book series.

Fire & Ice books are written by internationally acclaimed teen author, Erin Forbes. Her books are so popular that the third book installment came out on May 1, 2019.

Author Erin Forbes meeting fans at a book signing.

Erin self-published her first book when she was only 16 years old. That is amazing! She’s also a strikingly beautiful young lady.

This fantasy fiction book series is filled with adventure, mystery, and fascinating characters. While the series is targeted at teens, it has received rave reviews from young and old alike.

I reviewed the first book in the series, Fire & Ice: The Elementals. You can read my review here – Fire & Ice Book Series by an Up and Coming New Author. There was a giveaway with that post. That giveaway is long over.

Here are the current books in the series. I’m sure new books will be added over the next few years.

This is the new/updated cover.

Fire & Ice: The Elementals 

Welcome to Aisling, an enchanted realm where each individual is born with a unique and magical Gift. For centuries, this realm has been slowly crumbling due to an ancient curse set on the land. However, the moment when Alice and Emery Hanley step into the Academy for Gifted Youth, their lives are forever changed. Amidst the disappearance of a fellow student, the twin sisters discover a prophecy that could save the realm of Aisling from destruction.

Fire & Ice: The Lost Dreamer

The Four Elementals have vanquished the creatures of the Night Oak Forest; however, a new darkness lurks in the realm of Aisling. As their family moves into the manor that once belonged to their late grandmother, the Hanley sisters must adjust to life in the enchanted countryside. Between the extravagant galas, beautiful gardens, and elegant wardrobes, the new lifestyle begs for the title of perfection.

It is not long before the twin sisters are greeted by the peculiar memories that dwell in the old house. A forgotten mystery beckons for attention, and the truth threatens to reveal a series of ancient secrets. The simple answers of the previous year are countered by the complicated history of the Gifted society.

Fire & Ice: The Kindred Woods

The return of the Lost Dreamer brings change to the lives of the Elementals. His reappearance sends a shockwave across the Gifted realm. How can a child vanish without a trace, and return after the passing of a decade?

The Hanley twins are crowned with the full attention of their peers. The end of summer brings the beginning of their second year at the Academy for Gifted Youth. Nothing remains simple; life will never be the same.  Mysteries unfold and questions are answered. The Lennox clan must conceal the dark truth of their past. Alice soon discovers a secret. Her knowledge holds power—and danger, too.

These books might look like they are geared only towards ‘tween/teen girls. That is not the case. There are male characters in the book. Just like boys and girls enjoy Harry Potter books (where the main character is a boy), boys can enjoy the Fire & Ice book series just as much as girls.

Here is a little more information about the gifted young author.

Erin Forbes discovered her passion for literature at a very early age. Since the date of her first publication, her work has spread to readers across the globe, and her books have developed an international fan base. She is known for her vivid descriptions and fantastical fiction. When she is not reading and writing, Erin enjoys art, nature, music, dance, and riding her horse. She lives on a small farm in the Hudson Valley of New York.

If you happen to live in New York, Erin has some upcoming events you might want to check out.

May 26th, 2019, 1pm-3pm

  • Barnes & Noble, Kingston, New York

May 31st, 2019, 7pm

  • Staatsburg Public Library, Staatsburg, New York

June 16th, 2019, 12n-2pm

  • Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market, Rhinebeck, NY

You can purchase the Fire & Ice book series at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and by request at your local book store. The Amazon link linked in this post is to the author’s page. It’s not an affiliate link.

For more information about Erin and her books, visit her official website FireandIceBookSeries.com.

You can also follow the series on social media. All of the links are found on the top left of the website.

Author Erin Forbes

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for sharing this information. Erin is a relative and I wanted to share news of her amazing accomplishments as well as information about her newly released book. 

30 Days to Happiness

 

Are you a happy person? I’d like to think that most people are happy. We might not be happy 24/7, but I’d like to think that people are generally happy most of the day.

Genuine happiness comes from within. It’s a state of mind, a way of looking at the world, a commitment to improving ourselves and authentically enjoying life.

I do know that “life happens,” and sometimes we find ourselves struggling to smile. Been there, done that.

Last year (2017), was a really bad year for me. We had to put down two of our cats. One cat we knew had limited time with us (he was very old and suffering from diabetes for many years). That still didn’t make it any easier to loose him. Our other cat having to be put down we never saw coming. We brought him to the vet thinking he was constipated. It turns out that he had an incurable liver disease, something our dog had to be put down for a year earlier.

In addition to losing two of our beloved pets, I had gone to school to get certified as a Teacher’s Assistant for the State of New York. The job I had was ending, and I needed to find another job. I wanted to get a job in the school system. I applied to a few jobs, but never got them. I had such high hopes for a school job. I felt like I wasted the time and money it took to get certified.

The biggest event that happened last year was that I lost my brother. It took me nearly 30 years to find him. I had him in my life (FINALLY!) for a year and a half when him and his wife (along with another family member) were killed in a horrific car accident. That REALLY got to me. My heart felt like it exploded into a million little pieces. I searched for him almost all my life, only to find him and have him taken away from me before we had a chance to make up for lost time. Even typing this is making the tears well up in my eyes.

Even though I consider myself a happy person, there are times when I get into a deep, dark “funk” and I find it hard to smile and find joy in things (it’s not depression, but rather based on life’s situations).

I recently finished reading a book called 30 Days to Happiness: Daily Meditations and Actions for Finding True Joy Within Yourself.

I had mentioned in a recent post that I am not one to read “self help” books, but the human mind fascinates me, so sometimes I read self help books more so out of curiosity than for my own personal needs. Having recently found myself very unhappy (2017), I figured I had nothing to lose reading this book.

30 Days to Happiness is written by Rhonda Sciortino and it’s published by Hatherleigh.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book.

Everybody wants to be happy, yet few people know how to get there. We think we will be happy if we get the right job, meet the right people, get a new car. But there will always be something else we want – genuine happiness comes from within. It’s a state of mind, a way of looking at the world, a commitment to improving ourselves and authentically enjoying life.

30 Days to Happiness is an honest assessment of the 30 key life inventory items that have the biggest influence on your happiness. By examining ourselves and finding room for improvement, we learn to treat each new day as an opportunity to live our best possible life, finding new solutions to challenges and we take another step down the path to true happiness.

Make the most of your life by committing and becoming truly happy.

The description mentions “30 key life inventory items.” What exactly are those 30 items?

The book is broken up into chapters, which each section/chapter revolving around a specific “happiness item.” The book is written this way so that you can tackle one “item” (or area of your life) each day. You can follow the book as far as the sequence of the items is concerned, or jump around to the topics that you feel you need the most help with first and foremost.

Here are the 30 key life inventory items the book focuses on.

  1. Love
  2. Relationships
  3. Laughter
  4. Peace
  5. Trust
  6. Patience
  7. Self-Control
  8. Perseverance
  9. Generosity
  10. Consideration of Others
  11. Kindness
  12. Listening
  13. Learning
  14. Strength
  15. Courage
  16. Honestly
  17. Positive Attitude
  18. Organization
  19. Frugality
  20. Humility
  21. Be a Good Example
  22. Reliability
  23. Self-Respect
  24. Faith
  25. Cooperation
  26. Forgiveness
  27. Creativity
  28. Be Purposeful
  29. Fairness
  30. Sobriety

Some of these topics are logical (Love, Peace, Kindness…). Other topics I was surprised to see on this list (Sobriety, Frugality).

Each chapter starts off with a quote that pertains to the topic of the day. Each chapter discusses the topic and why it’s important to our happiness. The chapter concludes with a meditation and some easy activities/actions you can do that pertain to the topic. Most of the activities involve being mindful of the actions you take in various situations. For example, find funny videos that make you laugh and bookmark them so that you can go to them whenever you feel like screaming or crying. Other examples are smiling at everyone you encounter that day, and say a positive thing about everyone you interact with that day.

The activities suggested in each chapter don’t cost money or take up much of a time investment. ANYONE can accomplish them.

The books is 170 pages, and it’s easy to read. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to read a chapter/section each day for 30 days. You can simply read the sections you feel you would benefit the most from, or ones that seem to be in the way of YOUR happiness. There is no right/wrong way to use this book. You don’t have to mediate or do the activities. It’s totally up to you (although I’m sure you’d get the most out of this book if you take everything into consideration).

Overall I found the book to be very interesting and easy to implement. Some areas I don’t really think applied to me. I skimmed over those areas. I can always go back to them later on if I feel I need to.

The information in the book is practical and most of it is common sense, however, sometimes common sense eludes us and we need to have someone (or something, such as this book) to bring it back in front of us so that we can understand and appreciate it again.

I found the book on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I’m sure it must be available at other book retailers as well.

What do you think of this book? Does it sound like something you might be interested in reading?

In what ways do YOU find joy and happiness?

This is a “happiness” sign I keep in our kitchen to remind us to always find ways to be happy.

Kimberly

*I received a free copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Activities designed to engage and inspire young minds

 

If you are a frequent reader of She Scribes, you’ll probably recall that I work with children. I used to work with Kindergartners during the day, then K-3rd graders in the afternoon. This school year I was transferred to a different school. Now I work with 4th – 6th graders. They are much different than the little ones. It hasn’t always been easy, but I enjoy working with this age group too.

The little ones are easily entertained by toys and games, and they are eager to learn. The upper elementary kids tend to get bored more easily (they rather be on their smartphones, sigh…) and they often see learning as a “chore” rather than something that is fun.

For a while now I have been entertaining the idea of doing STEM activities with the kids. If you are unfamiliar with the term STEM is stands for;

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math

There is an after school club for STEM activities at the school I work at.

Some of the kids I work with participated in the STEM club. Others I think secretly wanted to join, but felt like it was “uncool” to join an after school club.

I think there is a lot that can be learned by STEM activities. I’m not in any way a teacher, but I do think that anyone can learn from these types of activities. I’m college educated and I find STEM activities very interesting. As someone who works with children, I find that these types of activities lead to great teachable moments.

I am always searching the Internet for easy to do activities I can do with my “work kids.” I am also always on Pinterest looking for ideas.

The Catapult Challenge teachers kids how catapults were used by ancient and medieval militaries. Kids also love to shoot things through the air. LOL!

I was recently sent to review a book filled with easy to do STEM activities. The book is called 15 Minute STEM. It’s written by Emily Hunt.

This book features STEM activities geared towards 5-11 year olds, which is great for me since I have worked with the little ones, and now I work with the older elementary kids (the oldest is 12).

Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the publisher;

This innovative resource has been designed to reassure parents and teachers that they don’t need to be experts to deliver high-quality STEM education. Each of the 40 activities includes step-by-step instructions, takes just 15 minutes to complete and can be resourced from everyday materials found at home or in the classroom. This means that, with minimal preparation, parents and teachers can slot these cross-curricular activities into an otherwise busy day.

The activities make connections to real-world scenarios, helping children to understand how their learning is relevant to their future, and have been linked to conceptually similar STEM-related careers – all of which are individually profiled in a glossary at the back of the book. The practical, problem-solving element of each activity offers a great way for children to develop important soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and spatial awareness.

I was impressed that this book has forty activities in it. At first glance the book is rather unassuming. It’s thin and only has 60 pages. Once I opened the book, I knew immediately that this was going to be my “go to” book for many great activities to do with my “work kids.”

This is just one of the activities found in this book.

Many of the STEM activities that I have pinned on Pinterest or bookmarked on my computer require a lot of materials to accomplish. Our organization does have a budget it needs to stick to, and I honestly don’t have the time to drive all over town looking for the materials to complete an activity. I was super pleased to see that the activities in this book don’t require a lot of fancy materials, and many of the items needed we already have, I have at home, or I can easily get locally.

Take for example the Tinfoil Cargo Boats activity. It requires tinfoil, coins, water, a bowl or sink and a scale (optional). Who doesn’t already have these things around their home?

In the Water Color Carnival activity you need large clear bowls, beakers, a spoon, food coloring, water and a mirror (optional). The beakers might not be as readily available, but I’m sure you can substitute them with measuring cups or something similar.

If you don’t have the items needed for each activity, I”m sure you can find almost all of what you need at your local dollar store.

Each activity includes the necessary equipment (as explained above), easy to follow step-by-step instructions, what exactly the activity is going to accomplish (this information is found in the “Investigate” box) and an brief explanation for WHY things happen in the activity.

I am a firm believer that children learn better when learning is fun. With these activities, children are definitely learning, even if it doesn’t look that way. Not only that, these activities are fun and would work just as well as a “rainy day” activity for children, without any emphasis on the “why” and “how” of the activity. They don’t have to be done to learn something. They can be done just for the fun of it.

Here is a photo of the table of contents so you can see for yourself the types of activities/lessons found in the pages of this book.

As far as the 15 minutes aspect is concerned, yes, these activities don’t take that long to set up and implement. I guess it all depends on the children you are working with. Younger children might take a wee bit longer than older children.

I have “dog earred” several pages in this book of activities I want to do with my “work kids.” I am finishing up taking inventory of what we have at school and what I need to pick up from the dollar store (or take in from home). I’ve been a bit busy lately, and we’re currently on winter break, so I haven’t had the chance to try any of activities – yet. Even if I did, it’s not easy to take photos at school. I don’t want to get any of the children in the photos for safety reasons (plus they are not my children, so I am not allowed to distribute their images).

Whether you are a parent, educator, scout leader or even a babysitter, there are plenty of fun activities in this book that make it worth checking it out for yourself.

If you are interested in the book, or would like to learn more about it, I found the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers.

Check out this brief video (below) of the author, Emily Hunt, talking about the book. She is from the United Kingdom, which explains her accent.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Improving Your Emotional Health

 

Whenever a new year rolls around, people tend to focus on their physical health, like eating better, losing weight and/or exercising. It’s not often that you hear of people talking about wanting to improve their emotional health.

What exactly is your “emotional health.” When you are emotionally happy, you are in control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You are better able to deal with the challenges that life tends to toss our way. An emotionally health person does feel negatives feelings, such as anger, sadness and stress, but they are better able to manage those feelings and emotions so as not to let them get the better of you.

I think I would consider myself an emotionally healthy person. I do let stress get the better of me sometimes, but it’s not like it “cripples” me and interferes with my day to day life. Usually when I am stressed I have a hard time sleeping, but aside from that, I function normally. Most people don’t even realize I’m stressed out because it doesn’t show. The only way my husband knows if I am stressing about something is when he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds me up and wide awake.

I’m not one to hit up the “self help” section of the book store. When I was younger I did, but it was more so out of curiosity than having an actual need. I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and I would often borrow books from the library on mental health and psychological issues. In fact, I was going to college to become a Forensic Psychologist. The human mind fascinates me. I would love to be able to figure out why people say and do the things that they do. What takes a seemingly “normal” person and turns them into a cold-blooded killer? What makes the most organized person at the office, live like a hoarder at home with bugs everywhere and rat feces piling up on the counters (I tend to watch a lot of Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive).

I will admit that I do struggle with confidence and self esteem issues. Partially from being obese all my life (people can be VERY cruel to overweight individuals), and also because my biological “mother” (she was no mother – she was more of an “egg donor”) abandoned me when I was a toddler, so in the back of my mind I always think that I am never good enough (“If my own parent didn’t want me, then there must be something “wrong” with me…“).

I was sent to review two different products that can help people who are struggling with emotional wellness (in general, not from a clinical standpoint), self esteem issues and stress.

Self-Help Book

Embrace Your Greatness: 50 Ways to Build Unshakeable Self-Esteem (New Harbinger Publishers) offers practical tips to improve self-esteem. Readers are shown why what we have long believed to be the keys to self-esteem don’t really work, and help readers replace those old notions by introducing new ones that do. Consider this a new twist on old problems.

I don’t really see this as a “self help” book, per say, because I think anyone – even people who don’t have any self esteem issues – can benefit from some of the tips and techniques found in this book.

Let’s face it, no one’s life is “perfect.” We all deal with set backs and disappointments throughout our lives. It can be a break-up, being passed over by a promotion, or a back-stabbing friend or co-worker. No matter what it is, there is valuable information, tips and techniques in this book that can help you deal with those situations head on and walk away with a sense of self worth, and not let the negative situations in life take control over you.

The book is divided up into 10 different sections. Each section has a different set of sub-sections. Each sub-section is brief (only a few pages). I appreciate how the book is written in “small chunks” to that you can read and implement the suggestions quickly and easily. It shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to reach each little section (if that). We all have 5-10 minutes we can dedicate to ourselves.

The activities and suggestions are easy to do. There is nothing elaborate or too involved. They are all simple things that anyone can do.

Self-Help Card Deck

The Stress and Anxiety Solution Deck: 55 CBT and Mindfulness Tips and Tools (PESI Publishing) offers fun, easy, yet meaningful solutions to make stress and anxiety motivate rather than debilitate. In essence, 55 quick ways to stress for success.

These cards are divided up into four areas, known as the “4 C’s”;

  • Challenge Your Thoughts
  • Challenge Your Behaviors
  • Clarify You Feelings
  • Create Calmness

To use these cards, select one or more cards a day to focus on, or you can pick them randomly to help you mange stress and anxiety.

Each card features a quick tip followed by a tool (a short activity) that puts that tip into practice.

These cards can be used by therapists, groups, and of course, individuals.

I found all of the tips to be very helpful, and the activities are super easy to do. None of them require any special equipment except a pen and paper to jot things down.

Here are some of the card examples.

The cards come in a box for easy storage.

Overall I think both the book and the cards are very helpful. I have learned some great tips that I plan on implementing in my life to help me de-stress and to boost my self esteem.

Even if you don’t suffer with stress, anxiety, low self esteem or other “issues,” there are still some great tips and advice that can be applied to other situations.

Both the book and the cards are linked above, in case you were interested in making a purchase or needed more information. Both products are found on Amazon, and so far, both have five star reviews.

Author of Embrace Your Greatness and The Anxiety and Stress Solution Deck – Judith Belmont.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Oliver the Ornament

 

My family’s Christmas tree 2018

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you might recall a family tradition that I have written about before pertaining to our Christmas tree ornaments.

When I was a young girl we had an artificial Christmas tree that was set up in the formal living room (a room that the kids were not meant to be in EXCEPT Christmas morning). My sister, who is 8 years old than me, was in charge of setting up the tree and decorating it. I was never able to help out. It was “her” tree and she got to take care of it.

One year my mom decided that I could have my own tree to decorate, and that we could put it in the playroom/family room so that the kids can enjoy it. From that year onward, until I got married and moved away, my mom would take me to the tree lot to pick up a new, real, tree for the playroom/family room. In addition, she’d let me pick out a new ornament each year to hang on that tree.

The tradition of me receiving a new ornament for the tree carried on through adulthood, up until my mother passed away almost 16 years ago.

One year my mom was in the hospital for Christmas. So as not to take a break from tradition, my uncle let me pick out an ornament for the tree that year.

This is the reindeer ornament I picked out the year my uncle bought the ornament for me. It’s missing some of it’s flocking (“fur), and the sticker eyes are coming loose, but I still cherish it and will always hang it from our tree.

My mom even gifted both of my kids new ornaments each year up until she passed away. I even carried this tradition on with my kids. Each year we let the kids pick out a new ornament for the tree.

The “new ornament each year” tradition serves two different purposes. For one, it lets us reflect upon the ornaments as a family and share any special memories we have about it. It’s also a great way for your child/grandchild to build up their own ornament collection so when they grow up and move out on their own they have a nice set of ornaments to decorate their own tree.

We have ornaments on our tree that have seen better days, but we still hang them up because they are special to us. It doesn’t matter if the reindeer our son made out of Popsicle sticks is missing an eye, or that the flocking is rubbing off on the reindeer ornament my uncle let me buy that one year, or even if the ornament my 4th grade teacher gave me has been glued together more times than I can count – they are all special to us no matter how perfect, or imperfect, they are.

That is the premise behind a sweet story called Oliver the Ornament. The tag line for the story is that “Every ornament tells a story.” That is exactly what I was talking about earlier in this post. That is why each and every ornament that hangs from our family’s Christmas tree is special to us.

The book is written by  Todd Zimmermann and illustrated by Teddy Lu. 

Oliver the Ornament is a tale of one family’s cherished Christmas ornaments. The story centers on Oliver, who has been with this family since Mom and Dad’s very first date.Years later, Oliver, now injured and bullied, still has the magic of Christmas in his heart. The story follows Oliver’s excitement for Christmas, his heartbreak, and his determination to overcome all odds to save the day. Oliver, along with his friends, will warm hearts with his kindness, humility, and love for his family and friends.

This is a beautifully written story that can be enjoyed together as a family or as a bedtime story. It’s an easy reader so older children can read it on their own as well.

I love the whole story and how important special ornaments are to a family. It’s the kind of story that truly makes your heart smile.

The illustrations are beautiful and really bring the story to life. They way it’s illustrated make the story a bit “dreamy” (in a good way).

Oliver himself is SO CUTE. He’s such a darling little ornament. I can see why the mom and dad in the story wanted to make him a part of their Christmas tree.

Oliver the Ornament on our Christmas tree.

Oliver the Ornament is sold on Amazon, as well as on the official Oliver the Ornament website. The story is sold as a gift set which includes a hardcover book and a super adorable Oliver the Ornament that you and your family can hand from your Christmas tree.

There are also other Oliver the Ornament products available including a book to record the memories behind the ornaments on your tree (to preserve those memories for generations to come), snow globe, puzzle and more. There is even another book available in the series. The series of books will focus on different ornaments on the tree and the stories behind them.

To learn more about Oliver the Ornament, visit OlivertheOrnament.com. The website also tells you about the other ornaments in the story (mini-biographies), which is a cute idea.

Oliver the Ornament can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Those links are available on the official website (look at the bottom of the website).

What do you think of Oliver the Ornament? Do you have special ornaments on your family’s tree? Feel free to comment and share those ornament stories with me.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.