Friday, March 31, 2017

Dear Abby - How to Help a Choking Dog

Dear Friends,

I am here to talk about a serious topic this week.  I had a scare a couple of weeks ago and Momma said I should tell you about it here.

At night I get a crunchy biscuit before bedtime.  A couple of weeks ago Momma gave me my crunchy biscuit as she was unmaking the bed for the night.  I ran into the other room to enjoy it.  Moments later I returned and got up on the bed and acted very agitated.  I was pawing at my mouth and gagging.

Momma thought I was going to have an upset stomach, so she got down on the floor with me.  Unfortunately, this continued on the floor.  Momma looked in my mouth and discovered that the biscuit was lodged in my throat!   She said I was so excited about it that I evidently swallowed without chewing.  She was able to gently remove the biscuit, and all was well.  We were both VERY relieved!

But this changed things at my house.  Now my crunchy biscuit is broken into three parts, and I only get a treat when Momma is in the room.

And she has learned more about what to do when your pet is choking.

Here is a very good article with step by step information.  I would encourage dog people to read this and bookmark it:
WikiHow: How to Save a Choking Dog

This very short video from The Huffington Post even shows how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking canine friend:

I hope you never, ever need this information, but I wanted to share just in case! 

If you have a dog, does he or she eat slowly or does your dog friend tend to swallow food and treats quickly?   (I am in the eager eater camp.)

I would love to hear from you in the comments, below.


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - 1,001 Ways to Slow Down by Barbara Ann Kipfer

Book Synopsis
This irresistible list book from National Geographic provides lighthearted quick hits of inspiration for those of us who feel overwhelmed—which is to say, all of us. Musings, activity suggestions, and illuminating quotes are paired with whimsical art on themes such as living in the moment, achieving balance, relieving stress, developing patience, and appreciating the world around us. “Slow living” sidebars, such as “Foods to Cook Slowly” and “Things to Do the Old-Fashioned Way,” are interspersed throughout the book.


Purchase Links

National Geographic | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


My Review

1,001 Ways to Slow Down is a delight from start to finish.  First, this is a beautifully designed book.  It is a small hardcover with a blue and green abstract design that looks like ocean waves on the dustjacket.  The illustrations through the book, by Francesca Springolo, are also lovely.  They brighten the edges of the pages and also provide colorful borders for inspiring quotes.


In the introduction to the book, Barbara Ann Kipfer writes:  "Since sixth grade, I have been an ethnographer, making lists of the little things in life."   Although I did not know the term ethnographer before, I am also a lifelong list maker, and this book of lists fills me with delight.


There are literally 1,001 suggestions for slowing down in this book.  I found them inspiring, comforting, and challenging.  The suggestions include ideas like:


"Instead of getting agitated when you are stuck in traffic, think of this as a time to pause - a time when you cannot hurry" (p. 11).


"Create a jigsaw or word-search puzzle and send it to a friend" (p. 14).


"Walk like a three year old exploring the world" (p. 36).


"Put a note in a bottle and send it down a waterway" (p. 196).


As you can see from these examples, the suggestions in this book go beyond merely slowing down;  they also are tips for finding joy in small, simple things.


1,001 Ways to Slow Down also includes pages with inspiring quotes and (my favorite of all!) lists.  The lists in this book are a delight!  They include topics like:


Slow Movies to Savor


Relaxing Hobbies to Try


Handwritten Letters to Send


Meditations to Try


Things to Do the Old-Fashioned Way


If you have an interest in mindfulness or voluntary simplicity, or if you simply want to slow down and enjoy life more, you will love 1,001 Ways to Slow Down!  I know I did. 


Author Bio

Dr. Barbara Ann Kipfer is the author of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About and the Page-a-Day calendars based on it. She has written more than 60 books, including 1,001 Ways to Live Wild, The Order of Things, Self-Meditation, Instant Karma, 8,789 Words of Wisdom, The Wish List, and 4,000 Questions for Getting to Know Anyone and Everyone, and she edited Roget’s International Thesaurus. She holds PhDs in linguistics, archaeology, and Buddhist studies. Dr. Kipfer is the Chief Lexicographer of Temnos and has worked for such companies as, Ask Jeeves, and

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dear Abby - Remembering Special Pets: Thelma Lou, Lucy, and Barney Fife

Dear Friends,

I have an extra special Remembering Special Pets feature today.  My Momma is visiting to share memories of special Dachshunds in our family. 

Abby:  Momma, thanks for visiting on my blogging day!   Would you please tell my readers about the family pets you want to remember?

Thelma Lou and Barney Fife
Trish:  I am here to share memories of Thelma Lou, a miniature longhair black and tan dachshund (1991 - 1999);  Lucy Ricardo, a red small standard dachshund (1999 - 2010);  and your special friend Barney Fife, a red standard dachshund (1997 - 2014).

Thelma Lou
Abby:  What are some happy memories of Thelma Lou, Lucy, and Barney Fife?   I loved Barney Fife, and have heard lots of nice things about Thelma Lou and Lucy, who were here before I was born.

Lucy Ricardo and Barney Fife
Trish:  Thelma Lou was a sweet girl, but also very sassy.  She would be walking outdoors and then decide she had walked enough, and would just stop until she was picked up!  Lucy was another sweet and sassy girl.  She had very soft fur, like velvet, and a musical voice.  When she was excited it sounded like she was singing scales.   Barney, as you know, was the sweetest, cuddliest dog in the world.  Barney had three sisters in his lifetime: Thelma Lou, Lucy, and you.  He loved you all!

Lucy Ricardo and one her many pink toys!
Abby:  Do you have any funny anecdotes?

A young Barney Fife
Trish:   I have lots of great stories!  Thelma Lou loved food.  She stole my dinner a couple of times.  Once I had a veggie sub sandwich and I went into the other room for some iced tea.  When I got back, the bread was there but the cheese and lettuce were missing ... except for one little bit of lettuce at the corner of her mouth.

Lucy was a princess.  She loved attention, loved pink toys, sweaters, dressing up ... and when I got out the camera, she was always ready to pose.  I have lots and lots of pictures of her for that reason!

Barney Fife was the sweetest boy in the world, but he was also stubborn.  When he didn't want to do something he would make a noise that sounded just like, "uh-uh, uh-uh."   Barney loved toys!  He never tired of playing ball and playing with plush squeaky toys.  He also loved meeting other little dogs, and when we went to dachshund picnics, he would position himself near the entrance so he could greet every other dachshund that he saw.

Barney Fife
Abby:  I really enjoyed visiting with you today.  Is there anything else you would like to share?

Trish:  I am so blessed that I had these special pups in my life.  Thelma Lou and Lucy Ricardo were both puppy mill rescues, and because of them I developed a passion for rescue and strong feelings about puppy mills.  They both had health issues and shortened lifespans as a result of their puppy mill breeding.  Barney Fife was truly the perfect dog.  He was devoted to his sisters and to me.  Abby, he really loved you, and was so happy when you came to be a very special member of our family.

Barney Fife and Abby, just days after their first meeting.
Abby:  That makes me so happy and a little sad at all once!  Thank you for sharing their memories here today.

Friends, if you would like to leave a message, I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Thank you so much for visiting today!


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Review - When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

Book Synopsis
In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart.

Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye.

Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is.

But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?

My Review
When Tides Turn is the third book in Sarah Sundin's Waves of Freedom series.  I have enjoyed reading and reviewing the first two books in this series, Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm.

When Tides Turn is set in 1940's Boston.  As the book opens, Tess Beaumont is working at Filene's, and hoping to use her business degree to get ahead in retail management.  Unfortunately, she finds she is judged just as a pretty face.  In frustration, and longing to do something meaningful, she joins the WAVES.  Tess finds her work with the WAVES both challenging and exciting.  She becomes involved in a mystery involving a possible spy in Boston.

Tess also spends time with a handsome Navy man named Dan Avery.  Tess and Dan are opposites.  She is warm, fun loving, and gregarious, while he is serious minded and so strongly career driven that he has a hard time taking time off and socializing.

I loved these characters.  They were both admirable but very human.  I was really pulling for them in this book to work things out so they could have a future together. 

Sarah Sundin is one of my favorite historical fiction writers.  The 1940's details of her books, including When Tides Turn, are exceptional.  I love the 1940's, and really feel like I am immersed in the time and place when I read her books.

The characters are all very well drawn.  It was wonderful seeing favorites from the other books in this series in When Tides Turn, including Mary, Jim, Lillian, Arch, and Yvette.  I love the way faith is addressed in this book, as a source of strength in times of trouble and a source of joy in times of happiness.

I highly recommend When Tides Turn, and the whole Waves of Freedom series, to other fans of historical fiction, and especially to anyone who loves a World War II setting.  The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it ended!  I loved the setting and the characters that much, and wish the series could go on and on.

Author Bio
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm, as well as the Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California. Visit for more information.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany

Book Synopsis
Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop – located at 222 Baker Street – specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Homes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Author Bio
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. She is the author of twenty-three published crime novels, including standalone Gothic thrillers, the Constable Molly Smith series, and the Year Round Christmas Mysteries.  Under the pen name of Eva Gates she is the national bestselling author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series.

The first in Vicki’s Sherlock Holmes bookshop series, Elementary She Read, will be released in March 2017 from Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada.   

Facebook:  Vicki Delany & Eva Gates  and Twitter: @vickidelany and @evagatesauthor 

Purchase Links
Amazon  B&N

(1) Print Copy of Elementary She Read by Vicki Delany (U.S. Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 17, 2017

Dear Abby - Celebrating Special Pets: Miguel Luis

Dear Friends,

My good friend Dianne is visiting again today from Mexico.  Today she has is sharing the story of her wonderful 14 year old dachshund, Miguel Luis.  I have known Miguel for years online through a dachshund group, and I think you will enjoy getting to know him better here today too.  Dianne has visited before, to remember her dachshund Lili Marie and to share the story of Miguel and Lili's life together.  

Abby:  Thanks for stopping by!  What pet would you like to introduce at my blog today?  

Dianne:  Miguel Luis is a standard (22 pound) black and tan dachshund who is a native Mexican – born in Ensenada where we live on January 13, 2003.  Naturally he’s bilingual!  Actually the day I picked him up at 8 weeks old I went with a friend and as we were driving home I could feel he was frightened  Then it occurred to me we were speaking English and all he’d heard in his little life was Spanish.  So I put on a Spanish language radio station and he calmed down 

Abby:  What are some happy memories of Miguel?

Dianne:  He has been the best dog I’ve ever had…ever.  He is sweet, loves people, goes along with whatever I want him to do.  He is by far the perfect dog!  Everybody loves him and loves his name (He was named for my favorite Mexican singer, Luis Miguel!) 

Abby:  Do you have any funny anecdotes?

Dianne:  One evening we were having an incredible sunset so I grabbed my camera and walked outside to get a picture, not knowing that he walked out behind me.  I took my picture, went inside and locked the door.  About ½ hour later, I realized I hadn’t seen him in awhile and it finally occurred to me that he may have followed me out.  I opened the door and there he was, sitting right in front of the door, waiting for his dumb mama to come for him.

Abby:  I enjoyed visiting with you today.  Is there anything else about Miguel Luis you would like to share? 

Dianne:  Miguel’s 14 years old and I know he won’t be with me forever so I’m treasuring the time I get to have this great guy around.

Abby:   Dianne, thank you so much for visiting!  I'm so glad you have Miguel, and I am delighted to know him too.  I love it that he is bilingual!  And I'm so glad he followed you home after you went out to photograph the sunset!

Friends, you can leave comments for Dianne and Miguel in the comment section below.  If you want to feature a beloved pet here, please let me know with your email.  Thanks!


Abby xoxoxo

Book Review - The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Book Synopsis
A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival.

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Add to Goodreads badge


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Orphan's Tale is a historical novel set in 1940's Germany and France.  It is the story of two women.  One of them is a young woman named Noa.  Her parents pushed her out of her home after she became pregnant, at the age of 16, by a Nazi officer.  She is forced to give up her baby, and works long hours at a railway station.  The other woman is an aerialist named Astrid who works in a traveling circus.   

Noa finds a railway car of Jewish babies being transported to a concentration camp.  Missing her own baby, she takes one of the babies from the railway car and runs away into the cold and snowy woods.  Her travels take her to the winter home of a circus where Astrid works.   The kind owner of the circus takes Noa and the baby in with the understanding that she will learn to work on the trapeze in order to earn her keep.

Noa and Astrid move from an antagonistic start to a reluctant friendship.  Their bond deepens as they share secrets when the circus goes on the road from Germany to France.

The circus is struggling in a time of sadness and unrest.  It is comprised of an eclectic mix of workers and performers.  As Astrid says, "The circus has no borders" (p. 106).

This is such an exceptionally moving novel about the surprising strengths and courage of everyday people in the darkest times.  I really cared about Noa, Astrid, and baby Theo and I stayed up into the wee hours transported to another time and place as I read their story.

The book is told in alternating chapters by Noa and Astrid.  The author moves skillfully in this transition, and these characters are strongly written.

The historical details about circus life are also fascinating.  Pam Jenoff vividly captures day to day life in a small traveling circus.

The Orphan's Tale is a book with many twists and surprises, from the beginning through the epilogue.  I found it very engrossing and recommend it highly for other fans of historical fiction.

Author Bio
Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.


Connect with Pam

Website | Facebook | Twitter

I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours. 

Vintage Easter Card Giveaway from Birdhouse Books

I love Easter!  It is one of my favorite holidays.  So of course I love finding and listing vintage Easter cards in my shop, Birdhouse Books.

I have a wide variety of cards listed.  They make a sweet gift, tucked into an Easter basket or inside an envelope, and they are beautiful framed!

Whether you prefer bunnies ...

or chicks ...

or ducks ...

and whether you like vintage cards ...

or postcards ...

there is something for everyone at Birdhouse Books!

You'll find all these cards at:

Birdhouse Books on eBay 
Birdhouse Books on Etsy
Birdhouse Books on Bonanza

I am hosting a vintage Easter card giveaway.  You can win one Easter card or postcard of your choice under $10.  I will be glad to ship it to you or the recipient of your choice.  You will find all my Easter cards under $10 on eBay:  click here to see Easter cards.  

I will draw a winner on Tuesday, 3/28/17.   The winner will be notified by email and needs to respond within 48 hours. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for visiting and good luck! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Book Spotlight and Giveaway - Purr M For Murder by T.C. LoTempio

Book Synopsis
Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiancĂ© and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat cafĂ© fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Author Bio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuted Dec. 2, 2014. Followed by #2, CLAWS FOR ALARM.   #3, CRIME AND CATNIP, was released in December. She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at and

Where to find them:
ROCCO’s blog:
Twitter: @RoccoBlogger –

Purchase Links:
Amazon  B&N 

(2) Print Copy Purr M For Murder by T.C. LoTempio. U.S. Only.  Ends 3/18/17.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dear Abby - Remembering Special Pets: Lili Marie

Dear Friends,

I have a special guest today.  Dianne is a great friend from a wonderful dachshund maillist.  Momma and I have known her for years.  She visited before to talk about Lili Marie and Miguel Luis.  Today she has returned to remember sweet Lili.

Abby:  Thanks for stopping by!  What pet would you like to remember at my blog today?   

Dianne: My sweet Lili Marie, a red smooth dachshund who was born on March 1, 2000 and went to the Rainbow Bridge on January 3, 2017. 

Abby:  What are some happy memories of your Lili Marie? 

Dianne: Lili made me happy all the time.  She was the sweetest dog but also a diva and it was clear she ruled the household.  Her brother Miguel Luis (black and tan standard dachshund) deferred to her in all things, as did I.  She always made me smile. 

Abby:  Do you have any funny anecdotes? 

Dianne:  She loved to dress up in her variety of girlie harnesses.  It was clear she loved pink (I tried to pass off a purple coat once, didn’t work) and when she got a new harness she would pose and strut around like she was modeling it.  I hated to see her arthritis advance to where I knew she was in pain most of the time. 

Abby:  I enjoyed visiting with you today.  Is there anything else about your Lili you would like to share? 

Dianne:  Lili gave me almost 17 years of love, joy and devotion and finally it was time to let her go.  I miss her so much.

Abby:  Dianne, thank you so much for visiting and sharing memories of Lili Marie here today.  She was a very special girl, and Momma and I loved hearing about her over the years in our online dachshund community.

Friends, you can leave messages for Dianne in the "comments" section below.   If you would like to visit and remember a special pet, please let me know, and also include your email.

Wishing you a good weekend!

Abby  xoxoxo