Welcome! I'm Cookie's Mom. You can learn all about Cookie and why I blog here: About Cookie's Chronicles. If you're new here, you may want to SUBSCRIBE TO MY RSS FEED. Thanks for stopping by! Pull up a beach chair and be my guest, won't you?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So long, Two Oh One Three. So nice to meet you, Two Oh One Four.

I've been thinking about how to wrap things up here on Cookie's Chronicles for the year. As you all know by now, I am currently undergoing treatment for Lyme Disease. I have good days and bad days and days that are not so bad but that are still challenging. For example, today I am able to clean floors and dust, but it hurts to look at a computer screen. Still, I want to usher out this year and welcome the new year with a little something celebratory. After all, it's been quite a year and despite the challenges I have so much to be thankful for!

I see that some of my bloggy friends are writing question and answer lists to reflect on the year and set the stage for 2014. I like this idea. I think I'll add to it and send a nod out to some other bloggers at the same time.

Bloggers, if you've been tagged at the end of this post it means that however busy, sick or preoccupied I have been this year, I have noticed you. I appreciate you, your blog, your support, and your friendship. (If I haven't listed you, please forgive me! Blame my foggy brain. I want to hear from you too!!) Please participate only if you want to and have the time. I know how precious time is and I would rather you spend it on your personal priorities. If there's time, I'd love to hear your answers to these questions or any others you choose to reflect on.

Some of these questions are inspired by this post by Jen Ann Hall at I'm Dancing in the Rain. I'll keep it short(ish) and sweet.

Reflections on 2013:

What are you most grateful for this year? I am grateful for so many things, including my amazing friends and family. Honestly, the thing I am most grateful for this past year is my own inner strength, and whatever well that comes from. Without it, the outcome would have been something very different. The results of the past year give me hope and renewed strength to go at it again in 2014.

What did you learn about yourself this year? Lots! I learned that I am capable of just about anything and that accomplishment and fulfilment come in many forms. I have learned to be patient and to be grateful for small successes and that the satisfaction in this is far greater than waiting until I arrive at some larger achievement.

Did you try anything for the first time this year? I tried out my stand mixer for the first time. That was more exciting than it probably ought to have been. I also tried to go a whole day without potato chips once this year. Not pretty.

Did you choose a word to focus on for 2013? How did that word influence you this year? No, I was on  sabbatical at the beginning of the year, but I did choose one for 2012 that I have continued to reflect on. It was REJOICE. When dealing with a chronic illness or any sort of constant hardship, it's easy to get bogged down in the dull, depressing details. This word reminds me to include joy in my daily routine, and to take things less seriously. In fact, I have so assimilated this word that I look for joy in just about every moment. I almost always find it. How awesome is that?

Did you travel this year? Where to? Oh yes! Hubs and I had a fabulous trip to Hawaii early in the year while the grandparents looked after our son. We both so needed that break. What a beautiful paradise that part of the world is. I was also fortunate enough to spend a weekend in Montreal with my sister where we connected with old friends. We also spent a weekend at Disney with the little guy - a consolation for not being able to come with us to Hawaii. That was very fun and very, very exhausting! Someone remind me the next time I decided to travel somewhere for just three days that it is not the best idea!

Did you have a favourite song or songs this year? I got pretty hooked on Royals by Lorde. Still loving it, actually.

Did you learn anything new or pick up a new hobby? I did just recently acquire a pretty lucrative new skill known as Rainbow Looming. ;) Anyone else? I think this may be the toy of the year around here.

I also learned how to make all sorts of treats and staples gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free this year. Major accomplishment that helps with that whole rejoice thing!

Did you discover any new good eats this year? I have gone through such madness around food this year. Our diet restrictions are incredibly tough to manage at times. In the process, however, we have become even healthier eaters and I have learned new baking and cooking skills. We eat such good food at home now that it's often a disappointment to eat out. (Having said that, I rarely complain when I have an opportunity to not cook.)

What about books? Well, you know how I love books. I love books like some women love shoes! I read a lot of books this past year that I wish I had talked about on my book blog, but time and priorities - like reading - kept me from it. Best book of the year? Probably The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce simply because it was very well written and met me where I am right now. I highly recommend it.

What was you favourite movie of 2013? I'm going to go with Star Trek Into Darkness. Stellar cast and direction. High action and drama. Oh, and did I mention the cast? Chris Pine (yum), Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg!!!

Predictions for 2014:

How will you / did you celebrate New Year's Eve? By taking some time to reflect on what I have to be grateful for, and all that I have survived and accomplished this past year. I will kiss my two favourite boys goodnight and fall asleep long before most of the city does, tucked cozily in bed next to the love of my life.

Will you do anything differently in 2014? Resolutions? Goals? This year, I resolve to be more patient with myself. Also, writing is going to be a large part of my life. For years I have resolved to try to do more writing. In 2014, there is no more try. I am a writer.

Have you chosen one word for 2014? What is it? I have and it is REST. There are many things that I want to begin in 2014, but above all else I want to heal. When I am tired and ill and am trying to decide what I should do, this word will remind me that there is just this one thing that I need: rest.

Any travel plans for the new year? No plans yet. This is a treatment year - part of the reason we travelled so much last year - but Jeff's mom and step-dad gave us an amazing gift: funds to make a special trip and the promise of childcare while we are gone. Our trip to Hawaii last year, just the two of us, was such a retreat. I look forward to this next trip when I'm well enough to travel again. April? May? June? We'll see. So fun to have something to dream about!

Will you take a course or learn anything new this year? I thought about a number of writing courses, but have landed on self-directed learning. I bought a few writing books, and ultimately plan to just do the work to hone my writing skills. So, yes, lots of learning! Very, very excited!

Well, that was fun! I am so glad that I returned to blogging this year. Thanks to you, my readers and friends for your understanding and patience and for your support.

Here's to a restorative and lovely 2014! All the best to you and yours.


And now to tag some of my bestie bloggers! If you're not already following these lovely ladies, pay them a visit and you'll know why I heart them.

Jen of I'm Dancing in the Rain
Bruna of Bees With Honey
Bianca of Bits of Bee
Deborah of The Monster in Your Closet
Amanda of Lilahbility
Lisa of Schwartz Chronicles
Robin of Farewell Stranger
Nadia of Mama and the City
Beth of Far From Camelot
Christine of The Aums
Theresa of A Mountain Momma
Barbara of Footprints in the Sand
Greta of Time out for Mom

Monday, December 09, 2013

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chai Spice Cookies

Here is another recipe reworked for those who can't have gluten or dairy. I recently attended an Epicure party and fell in love with the Chai Spice. I knew right away that I wanted to use it to make cookies. My six-year-old loves these cookies without the powdered sugar coating.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Chai Spice Cookies
Adapted from this recipe for Chai-Spice Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
Yield: ~ 36 teaspoon-sized cookies

These cookies contain:

vegan butter (oils of palm fruit, canola, olive, soy, flax), coconut palm sugar, gluten-free flour blend (brown rice, tapioca, arrowroot and sorghum flours, xanthan gum), soy, spices and salt

These cookies do not contain: 
gluten, dairy, or white/brown processed sugar (unless coated in powdered sugar)


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Beat vegan butter with coconut palm sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl or mixer until well blended. Stir in the gluten-free flour blend, chai spice and salt until just combined.
  • Scoop and roll dough into small teaspoon-sized balls and place about an inch apart on two large baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Bake until lightly golden, approximately 15 minutes. Do not overcook or they will be too dry.
  • If desired, roll warm cookies in powdered sugar. Let cookies cool completely on a rack.
  • Store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well.

Admittedly, these cookies do taste best rolled in powdered sugar, but I love them without as well. They would work just as well with Xylitol instead of coconut palm sugar if an even lower-glycemic sugar substitute is desired (click here to view the glycemic indexes of various sweeteners).

I hope you enjoy these lightly sweetened, deliciously spicy cookies. I'm having one with peppermint tea right now!


I'm linked up with:

Thursday, December 05, 2013

How do you feel when you have to write something?

Here were are on the 5th day of my December daily writing challenge. So, how has my writing been going, you ask? Well... pretty well.

It was challenging early this week because I didn't have as much time as I thought I would. We've had blizzard conditions here and a lot of snowfall, so kiddo was home from school for two days. I LOVED having him here with me - now that he is in grade one I really miss him during the day and he's so tired by the end of his day that it's not the highest quality bonding time. That change to my plans though meant that my writing was pretty distracted. I couldn't get into 'the zone'.

I've been posting my daily challenges on my Facebook page and on Twitter. Have you been following along? I want to talk about today's challenge. I found this exercise to be pretty effective at working through some things that have been on my mind anyway.

December Daily #Writing Challenge - Day 5: "How do you feel when you have to write something? You can answer this question in general, or you can think of a specific writing project you must produce." Once done, "ask yourself: What did I learn from this exercise?" (Source: How to be a Writer, Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play ~ Barbara Baig)

My tendency is to resist writing exercises that feel like... well... exercises. I hear the words writing and any kind of structure - write about xxx for xx minutes - and my body utters a visceral "ugh".

Once I begin writing, I am most always pleased with the result. It seems a lot like going to the gym, a different type of exercise. It is work, not play, not down time, not 'me' time... at least this is not how I tend to think of it. Yet I know that once I get to the gym, most days I am glad I went. There is the direct benefit of physical exercise as a reward, but more importantly the reward of a feeling of perseverance and increasing fortitude.

The more often and the more regularly I go to the gym, the easier the physical exercise becomes and the more benefit I get from it. Writing must be like this. The more I write and the more regularly I write, the easier the process will become and the greater the benefit. My skills will improve, confidence will improve, and the final product will, hopefully, improve.

It occurs to me that we tend to think that if we have found something that we love to do or that fulfills us, it should always be effortless. For various reasons, even what we love to do can feel like work. It is work, but that fact does not have to make it unenjoyable.

Procrastination is all about that feeling. If we see a task as stressful or not pleasurable, we will often postpone it in favour of things we would rather be doing. If we love to write, then why do we procrastinate when it comes to a writing challenge? It's all in how we see the challenge. If we see it as something negative, a "have to", then we are dragging ourselves to the desk to complete it rather than simply sitting down to do what we love. We are struggling with how to begin it instead of just beginning to write.

When you have a chronic illness, as I do, everything can feel like work. There's a lot of self-talk required to brush away the negativity that comes with pain and fatigue and a sense that the day will be a difficult one. I can't accomplish what I used to in a day. I need to make choices. We all do. The fact is that if everything is work, why shouldn't we choose to work hard at something that satiates us. If I love to write, then I ought to choose to do that work and allow myself to enjoy it.

I do enjoy it. Perhaps not as much today as on another day, but here I am doing the work anyway. Last night I hardly slept, but my son had a bus to catch and I always like to send him off to school in good spirits. It's -24°C outside. I am now freezing cold after the walk and wait for the bus. Just as soon as my electric blanket has had a chance to warm my bed, I'll be back in it. Not the day I had planned and lots of other 'have tos' are going to have to wait, BUT I did manage to write! I didn't think I'd be able to articulate much today, but I did write something. Is this the best job I could do with this topic? No. But it's good enough, AND I've left some room for improvement. :)

I hope that whatever you love to do, you will do it often and regularly so that it seems less like work - though it will sometimes require hard work - and more like the fulfillment of a life that is uniquely yours.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Everyone else is doing it.
Why shouldn't I?

I'm talking monthly challenges. Have you done this? It involves picking one thing to focus on each day for a whole month. It's a commitment, but it's a short-term commitment. Anyone can do anything for 30 days, right?

Some people choose exercise or diet. I'm saving those for the new year...

For the month of December, I am going to write every day.

That's SO last month, you say. Well, yes, November was NaNoWriMo, and everyone else just got finished trying to write a novel in a month. I'm not doing that. Someday, maybe even next year. For now, I just want to make daily writing a part of my practice.

This month, I am going to simply commit to writing something every day that isn't about blogging.

I'll share some prompts on my Facebook Page and on Twitter, so follow along if you're like me and you're looking for inspiration.

Wish me luck!

What will you commit to this month?