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?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Let's BEE Friends!

Today, is a very exciting day! I am being featured on Bees with Honey!

The proprietor, Bruna asked me some very revealing questions.

Come and check out the interview with yours truly and link up your favourite post from the week.

Let's BEE Friends

Thanks for having me, Bruna!

Happy Canada Day, eh?

Friday (tomorrow) is Canada Day!

I've never really thought of myself as patriotic. I don't fly a flag in my backyard or stick Canada flag pins on my bags when I travel. But I do love Canada. It's a beautiful country. Some of its people even get me. It's home.

But what does it really mean to me to be a Canadian?

Canada is... winter. There's no better place to find it then here. As much as I complain about shoveling and driving in it, snow is a beautiful thing. There's something about spending the day out in the snow, skiing or snowshoeing that reminds us of how alive we are. And nothing beats that cozy feeling you get when you return to a roaring fire and hot cup of cocoa (and maybe a shot of brandy). Ahhh. Bliss.

Canada is... security. I don't ever have to worry about not being able to look after my health thanks to public health care. In other ways, my country looks after me. When I retire, if I lose my job or can no longer work, social services will be there to help.

Canada is... beauty. I have travelled the country from coast to coast and have lived in three of its provinces. There is so much to see and do here. Vast blue skies. Majestic mountains. Clean beaches. Sparkling waters. Grand old trees. Stunning night city skylines. It's all here!

Canada is... community. We care about each other. We understand that a life lived only for ourselves is no life at all. We know that happiness is a result of how much we expand our hearts and give to others. Canadians are good neighbours. We love our cousins to the south - sometimes it feels as if there are no borders at all. We are volunteers and do what we can to assist other countries in need. We're very polite (just ask anyone who isn't from Canada how often we say "sorry" and "excuse me").

Canada is... equality. Whatever I might want to do, I will have relatively few barriers to getting it done. Canadians stand up against discrimination and we support minorities. Women are treated as equals. The elderly are treated with dignity and respect. I feel very fortunate to live in this country and at this time.

Canada is... family. It's where I have grown up and it's where my family lives. It's home. My family consists not only of my blood relatives, but includes my dear friends who help me to learn and grow and to be a better person, day by day.

Happy Birthday, Canada! Thank-you for all that you are.



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Canada Day Events in Your City

Calgary: http://www.calgarycanadaday.ca/
Vancouver: http://www.canadaday.canadaplace.ca/
Toronto: http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/canada/2011/index.htm
Ottawa: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/royal-wedding/Royal+couple+visit+Montreal+July/4862441/story.html (Wow, Ottawa! You get William and Kate for the day!)
Montreal: http://www.montreal.com/cgi/review.cgi?id=27
Halifax: http://www.hrmcanadaday.ca/
Winnipeg: http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110627/wpg_canadaday_hours_110701/20110629/?hub=WinnipegHome
Regina: http://www.reginacanadaday.ca/whatshappening.htm
St. John, NB: http://www.sjcanadaday.ca/sjcanada/
St. John's, NFLD: http://www.stjohns.ca/visitors/attractions/events.jsp
Charlottetown: http://www.walkandseacharlottetown.com/summerfest/canada-day.php

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dysfunctional Family Moments:
The Benefit of Sarcasm

Him: Where's my sunscreen?

Her: Um... in your gym bag? Or in your golf bag? Or by the back door?

Him: Here it is!

Her: Or right in front of you?

Him: You're a lippy woman!

Her: It's my survival mechanism.

Him & Her: <laughing>

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I looked it up! Sarcasm actually is a survival mechanism. Check it out: "Sarcasm Seen as Evolutionary Survival Skill"

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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Shadow at the Gate:
Book Review and Interview with the Author
Guest Blogging at Kindle Obsessed

Today, I'm guest blogging at Kindle Obsessed. Pop on over to view my review of The Shadow at the Gate and interview with the author Christopher Bunn (click here for the review and interview).

Christopher has been featured on Cookie's Book Club before:
--> Click here to view my review of The Hawk and His Boy and interview with Christopher Bunn
--> Click here to view Christopher's Guest Post, "Moral Compass and Character"

Thanks to Misty at Kindle Obsessed for hosting me today. Her reviews are poignant and honest. She also regularly shares her finds on free and reasonably priced e-books. If you love books as much as I do, you'll want to check out her blog!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Repetition is Good for Kids:
Books for Babies and Toddlers

Kids love repetition, and it's good for them. As parents, reading the same story over and over again might get to be a little boring, but we do our kids a disservice if we force them to read something different thinking it will expand their minds (and keep our own from turning to mush).
According to the February 2011 Frontiers in Psychology article, "Get the story straight: contextual repetition promotes word learning from storybooks", children who read the same stories repeatedly are more likely to increase their vocabulary as a result. In the study, 3-year-olds were either read the same story three times or were read three different stories. Each story contained the same novel (made up) words. Children who heard the same story over and over learned the novel words and retained the words over the long term, thus increasing their vocabulary, whereas the kids who were read the three different stories did not.
In addition to allowing your kids to choose the same book night after night and reading it to him two or three or four times in a row some days, you can choose books that are written to emphasize repetition.

For suggested books that use repetition, visit Cookie's Book Club.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Guess Where I Am?

Good morning moms, dads and other stalkers! Guess where I am? 

Have you ever quietly abandoned your task in the kitchen and tiptoed past your happily playing child just so that you could go to the bathroom by yourself?

Did it work?

Most of the time, it doesn’t work for me. My child has dog-like hearing and eyes in the back of his head (wasn’t I supposed to develop those after becoming a mom?).

But today, it worked! And here I am… writing this post, checking my mail, breathing deeply. Ahh. I can hear my happy child singing and playing. It’s fabulous. I highly recommend spending secret time away from your child, within earshot.

He’s fine. He’s Happy. No need to feel guilty. So why is that I do?

Partly it’s because my child is currently waiting for me to finish my kitchen task so I can play dinosaurs with him. Partly it’s because I’m a mom and it comes with the territory.

Do I feel ridiculous sitting in the bathroom typing on my laptop (just so you’re not repulsed by the wrong image, I am sitting on a stool… not ‘the throne’)? Ya, a little.

Ideally I would have the fortitude to write while my son is tugging at my clothes and begging me – admist screams and stomps - to play with him. Or, alternatively, I would have the ability to say ‘no’ and that utterance would have the desired effect.

Oh well. This works too.

“Maaaaaaahm! Where arrrrrre you?”

I’ve been discovered.

“I’m in the baaaathroom. Be right therrrrre!”

Well, I feel refreshed. Time to be enthusiastic about dinosaurs. Rawr!

Have a fantastic Friday!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hurray for dads!

I do a lot of talking about moms on my blog. Well, I am one - it makes sense. But today, I'd like to honour the fathers. Happy Fathers Day to all you dads. We truly appreciate you, not just this day but every day.

Thank-you for playing catch and building complicated lego-structures with your sons. Thank-you for dawning a tiara and attending tea parties with your daughters. Thank-you for the giggles and tickles. Thank-you for your gentle firmness in teaching our children to be good people.

Thank-you for braving the elements, for scaring away monsters and for attending school plays with enthusiasm and without complaint, no matter how tired you might be.

Thank-you for all the ways that you show our kids how special they are and how much you love them.

Thank-you for everything you do to make our lives comfortable and fun. 

Thank-you for our families. We are who we are because of you! 

Happy Fathers Day!

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If you're looking for a great book to give dad for Fathers Day, check out these deals at Cookie's Book Club: Great books to celebrate dad!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Awards:
And the awards go to...

The talented and refreshingly honest Rachel of Cool Bean Mommas recently awarded me The Versatile Blogger award! Nice, huh? And then, a few days later, I received the award from a new bloggy-buddy, Beth of Far From Camelot! Thank-you so much ladies! I am honoured.

 So, what IS a versatile blogger? Well, if variety is the key, then I guess I qualify. Here at Cookie's Chronicles I write about parenting, home life, food, knitting, writing and whatever else suits my various moods. At Cookie's Book Club, I indulge my passion for books with book review and interviews with new and noteworthy authors.

According to tradition, having received the Versatile Blogger Award, I must share 7 things about myself with all of you and then award 10 fabulous new (to me) bloggers the Versatile Blogger Award.

I recently shared 7 things about me after receiving the Stylish Blogger Award.

Here are 7 more things you may not know about me:

1. I have great ideas. I am extremely good at starting new things. In fact, I have approximately 1,746 things on the go at any one time. I'm not the best at finishing things however. If I ever finish just one really great thing and become rich as a result, I shall hire a personal finisher to finish things for me.

2. I don't like blue cheese or anything else that looks and smells like it came from the south end of a north-bound seagull.

3. I'm not sure what my freebie list says about me, but here it is. Join me in a sigh of appreciation for the glory of these fabulous men: Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig, Matthew Fox, Robert Downey Jr, Brad Pitt.

I mean no disrespect to my loving husband by sharing this list. In fact, in the spirit of equality I will now share his freebie list: Charlize Theron, Olivia Wilde, Elle MacPherson, Anne Hathaway, Evangeline Lilly. I actually had to help my husband with his list, and of course his first pick was me, bless him.

4. I despise socks. No, really. The way they twirl around my feet so that the heel is always at the front and the seam is twisted under my toes. The way they hide from each other in the dryer. They're sneaky little devils. The way black and dark blue socks can be paired together when dressing on a dark winter morning and later reveal their embarrassing true colours in the bright light of day. Socks, be warned: If ye are found with a hole, without your partner or in anyway conspiring to undermine the comfort of the foot ye belong to, ye shall be tossed into the trash faster that ye can say Argyle!

5. Water. Jo. Agua. Eau. Wasser. Of all the wonderous liquid substances the world has to offer, WATER is my favourite (Appleton's Jamaican Rum is a close second). However you say it, nothing quenches thirst like water. Nothing soothes an aching body like a hot water bath. The sound of running water is like food for the soul.

6. I love music (I may have alluded to this the last time I shared 7 things about myself). I can't actually imagine life without it. When people ask the desert island question - what three things would I bring to a desert island (assuming I had the foresight to pack them in the unlikely event of an emergency) - music is always the first thing I think of. Books come second. Ideally, I would own a waterproof, solar powered iPad or tablet loaded with all of my favourite songs and the best books of all time. That would leave me with space for two other things: some sort of universal knife that includes a magnifying glass (for starting fires) and fishing line. Interesting that I go to comfort (music and books) first before basic needs.

7. If I have a motto it is this: Life is too short to drive under the speed limit.

And now to pass on the Versatile Blogger Award to 10 fabulous and versatile bloggers who I have come to know and admire.

Here I considered two things when deciding who to pass the award onto. First, I looked at how versatile these bloggers are. These ladies and gents write about many things while still relating it all to their central theme, and they do it well! I also wanted to award it to fabulous new bloggers. As a new blogger myself, receiving this award was fantastic feedback for me. It told me that I was doing something right and inspired me to keep going! To these new bloggers I say, keep up the great work!

1. Bruna of Bees with Honey. We have the same 'friendship motto': "the more, the merrier."

2. Rach of Life with Baby Donut. We both refer to our kids as a dessert item.

3. Kimberly of Mama's Monologues. She's a stay-at-home mom like me with three - yes, I said three - boys!

4. Abby of Mommy Moments with Abby. She runs a daycare and has the best craft and activity ideas to try with your own children!

5. Christine of The Aums. She and I share a love of books, and a desire to pass this love onto our children.

6. Ado of The Momalog. She and I both had to do 'this' without our parents to guide us. I love this line from her bio: "Whenever I get smug and think I’ve figured something out, it all changes…because children keep on growing and in their wake, I do, too." Too true, Ado.

7. Stephanie of Meatless Mouthfuls. I love that she's trying to eat out less, prepare and serve healthy food to her family and pass on a love of cooking and good food to her kids. I'm going to be checking out Stephanie's blog often for tips and great recipes.

8. Marisa Frank. She's a mom of four who works hard to keep herself and her family in good health.

9. Michelle of Mummy Loves Tea. She's crazy about tea. Really that would be enough for me, but she also has a way of making me think about life's deep subjects. I LOVE that.

10. Christina of Spilled Milkshake. She's a mother of six - SIX! - with a chronic illness, and she's sharing her challenges and her triumphs with the world. You're an inspiration to us all, Christina!

Congratulations ladies!

Please pay these ladies a visit and show them how great this mommy blogger community of ours really is. They'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ode to Winter

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Winter, you are majestic. I'd say that I miss you, but that would be a lie. Besides, I know you'll be back!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

I am Grateful for...
Sunshine and Rain!

This week I am linking up with Leigh Ann of Genie in a Blog to share what I am grateful for this week. I have been keeping a (mostly) daily gratitude journal for quite a while now. I find life's challenges to be a whole lot easier to deal with when I take the time to remember the good things that are also going on at the same time.

This week I am grateful for:
My son's optimism. He is always so happy (except when he's frustrated - but those times are, thankfully, short-lived).
My husband's dependability. He just as steadfast as they come, and I can't thank him enough!
Avocados. I love Avocados.
Blog Hops! I have met some really great people this week and have some really fun new blogs to follow!
Sunshine! It's finally looking like spring around here. Flowers are blooming, the air is sweet, birds are singing. Sure, I could complain about the rain (we have had a TON!), but without the rain there would be none of these other things. I guess then I'm grateful for both sunshine AND rain!
Good friends. I was fortunate to have visits with several of my favourite people last week. It did my soul good!
The strength I somehow found to workout, despite being bone-tired. Yay, me!
The Barista at my favourite coffee shop for appealing to my high-maintenance nature by making me 'special' teas.
This blog. Oh, where would I be without you, keeper of my sanity?
And so many other things...
How was your week? What are you grateful for?

Children's Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton

If number of books by the same author is the benchmark, then Sandra Boynton is clearly the favourite author around here. She's a prolific writer of children's stories. Her subjects are adorable and silly animals such as pigs, cows, turkeys, cats, dogs, and her flagship hippos. There may also be the occasional monsters or dinosaur.

If you want a taste of Boynton's sense of humour, just visit the sandraboynton.com home and introduction pages. The silly doesn't stop at the text of the story itself. It's all the little details that make the difference in Boynton's work.

Often the stories are accompanied by, or may even have been born out of, a silly song.

To view the full Spotlight on Sandra Boynton, please visit Cookie's Book Club.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hosting a Garage Sale
Guest Post from Coupons Make Cents

It's garage sale season! If you're planning on hosting a garage sale, you'll want to read today's post from guest blogger, Elizabeth of Coupons Make Cents. Also, check out Elizabeth's previous post for tips on how to get the most for your money when checking out other garage sales.

Thanks for these great tips, Elizabeth!

Garage Sales — How to get the most for your stuff when you’re the one SELLING.

If you read my previous post, you know how to get the most for your money when you're the buyer, but what if you're the seller?  How do you set up and conduct your sale so that you get the absolute most for your stuff?  There's lots you can do, and here are some great tips.
  • Plan carefully.  Host your yard sale on a day that is supposed to be sunny and warm.  We can't control the weather, but we can take our best shot.  Rain will absolutely ruin your sale.
  • Group yard sales always work out better than single yard sales.  See if you can talk your neighbors into hosting one on the same day.  That way you save on signage too!
  • Be CLEAR about whether you will accept commercial offers.  There are people who own businesses who will come in early and offer you a low price on a large amount of your stuff.  If you want to get out fast, this might be a good thing, but bear in mind that these people almost always are trying to get your things at a price that they can mark up and sell again at their shop.  If you are ok with that, then go for it.  If not, be CLEAR in your ads (newspaper, Craigslist, etc) that commercial offers will not be accepted.
  • Advertise, advertise, advertise. Clearly marked (in BIG DARK LETTERS) signs with your address and subdivision name are absolutely required.  Most newspapers offer free advertising for yard sales, and PLEASE take out an ad on Craigslist.  There is a great new tool out called Yard Sale Treasure Map (it's a site, you can google it) that interacts with Craigslist and a map for the user to plan their trip.  Make sure you're on there!  Be as detailed as possible in naming what you have for sale.  Consider posting on Facebook to your friends that you are having a yard sale, and let them know whether it's ok for them to share that info with their friends.
  • Be clear in your ad that you will/will not accept early birds.  They can show up as early as 5 am...are you ready?
  • Prepare. Make sure that you have small bills and PLENTY of change on hand.
  • Offer coffee and donuts/cookies/Cokes to your customers.  Word will spread like wildfire that your sale has food and drink, especially if it's hot out!
  • If you are hosting a group sale, be sure to keep a ledger.  Keep note of item description, whose it was, and how much it was sold for.
  • Don't bad mouth your items.  You should be truthful -- if someone asks if the camera works and it doesn't, you should tell them it does not work.  But if it does and you just upgraded, don't be the guy who says "yes, but it doesn't have x, y, or z."  Chances are, your buyer already knows what the camera has/doesn't have, and items at a yard sale are sold on an as/is basis.  The buyer won't be coming back to you later asking why you didn't tell them it didn't have a telescoping lens.
  • DO tell the positives about your items!  Don't overdo it, but mention that your kids loved that game, that skillet makes great pancakes, cake doesn't stick in this pan!  etc.  As a buyer, it would make a difference to me if I knew that the china was only used once or twice and really looked like it.  I'd be inclined to give you more for it.  No sense in telling me that it breaks really easy and that's why you only have 7 plates instead of 8.  ;)
  • Make CLEAR labels.
  • Organize clearly.  There are lots of ways to do this -- you can organize according to price, according to content (clothes here, toys there, etc) but please make sure your items are organized so that the buyer can see FROM THE ROAD that you have some good stuff.
  • Bargain.  Negotiate.  Think of your labelled price as the sticker price at the dealer.  Lots of folks will be willing to pay that, but you will always get the hagglers (especially if I come to your neighborhood!).  Don't price too high.  A reasonable price for items at a yard sale is anywhere between 10-40% of what the item would cost new.  Age, wear, and timeliness will also come into play here.  For example, if you have printed encyclopedias to sell, I know how much you paid for them and how much you'd love to get for them, but I have news for you -- .25 might be about right.  They just aren't going to sell.  If technology has come along and made something nearly or completely obsolete, you have to take that into consideration.  As a seller, you have every right to be firm on whichever price you set, but please understand that the buyer has the right to walk away as well.  If someone offers you a price early on in your sale that you aren't willing to take at that moment (thinking that maybe someone else will come along and pay more) tell them that you'll take their name and number and if the item is still there at the end of the sale, you'll call them.  It doesn't mean you have to take their offered price, but it does open the door again to negotiation, and you'll know that your price has been too high to sell.
  • Collectables.  Label and group them clearly.  Someone may not understand that your bronze teapot is part of a collection - the other parts of which are scattered across the driveaway.  Price your collectables carefully -- check completed items on Ebay to see what something similar has sold for, because you can guarantee that your buyer, if they have a smart phone, is doing the same thing.
Overall, have fun!  Enjoy your traffic, and hope for the best.  You're clearing out your house, and you're going to love the decluttered rooms.   Revel in the idea that someone else is going to find joy and get use out of something you were clearly finished with.  And end your sale with a smile on your face and cash in your pocket.
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What are your garage sale season tips?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My Life Without Kids

Today's post was inspired by a writing prompt courtesy of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writers’ Workshop.
Writing Prompt: Describe what you think your life would be like if you had never had kids.
My Life Without Kids

If I had never had a child, what would my life be like? In a word, incomplete.

I can’t say it would have been empty, because I would have filled it with other things. I wouldn’t necessarily have missed it: I wouldn’t have known what I was missing.

My life before kids was long. I had my son late in life, so I’ve had a lot of time to be just me and just a couple. You’d think I would have accomplished more with all that free time!

I never had free time though. I filled it. I was busy.

I am busy still, but my priorities are different.  WAY different.

When I first became a mother, I lamented the number of things I could get done in a day before I had kids. I could run multiple errands in one car trip. I worked, studied, volunteered, socialized, kept the house in relative order and even slept.

I no longer have the time to volunteer my time outside of the home. Now I am a full-time volunteer to a party of one.

Since having a child, I feel like I get nothing done in a day. I look around at the state of chaos my house is in, the pile of letters I need to return, and the bathtub… how I miss the bathtub.

In reality, I accomplish an amazing number of things in a day, including, but not limited to, the following:
Blogging – well, here I am writing! I’ve always wanted to write and now that I am a stay-at-home mom there is just enough time to pursue this a little bit. Thanks to Mama Kat for her inspirations (tired mommies sometimes have the desire but lack inspiration)!

Preparing food – I do it, but I don’t enjoy it (see Lunch should be a four-letter word) and that will never change. I am not much of a homemaker. Sad, but true. When I cook, I do it well. It’s just that I’d rather undergo some uncomfortable form of medical exploration than spend time over a hot stove. I’m not proud of this, but if I am being realistic my skills lie elsewhere… I hope.

Cleaning – blech.

General running of the household – What else can this be called. There are a million little things that fall under this category, including picking up stray socks, cat maintenance (you don’t want to know), cleaning paint off of the kitchen chairs, toy wrangling… You get the idea.

Making sure my son knows he is loved - Hugs. Kisses. More hugs when knees get scraped or scary monsters suddenly appear under the bed. Playing cars and other games that I would sometimes rather not, hour after hour, but do anyway with enthusiasm because it brings the little gaffer joy.

Chauffeur and errand runner – To school, home, to the grocery store, home, to play dates, home, repeat.

And from time to time: party planning, cheerleading, and soccer momming (it’s a new term – run with it).
I still manage to socialize, though admittedly the events are a little different. Before kids I might have gone out for dinner and dancing on my birthday. This year my family and I went to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the International Children’s Festival. Party on!

My daily life is just as busy as it was before I had kids. The difference is that, despite how mundane or insignificant my daily tasks may seem, I feel like I have accomplished so much more than in my pre-kid days.

There’s nothing more important or fulfilling than the work of raising a child.

Thank goodness I had the chance to see what life would be like with kids. Just think what I would have missed!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

May Poll Results:
Whose job is harder, SAHMs/SAHDs or WAHMs/WAHDs?

This month's poll went up a little late, so I'm not sure how representative the numbers are. There's no point in creating a graphic chart to illustrate your votes. Almost 90% of you voted that SAHMs/SAHDs jobs are harder. I'm also a little late getting the results up. You can blame it on my job - we SAHMs are very busy!

Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://www.momlogic.com/2009/04/stay_at_home_versus_working_mom.php

First, some definitions. For the purposes of this post:

SAHM = stay-at-home mom
SAHD = stay-at-home dad
WAHM = work-away-from-home mom
WAHD = work-away-from-home dad

Other terms like WOHM, work-outside-of-the-home mom, and WOHD, work-outside-of-the-home dad, have also been used. Just to further confuse things, sometimes WAHM and WAHD are used to describe work-at-home moms and dads. I haven't used these terms because they open massive cans of worms like the issue of defining a work-at-home mom or dad only as someone who has a job outside of parenting while being at home with their kids. Some stay-at-home moms and dads would call themselves work-at-home moms and dads since parenting is their job and its definitely work.

Many parents work harder at the job of parenting then they've ever worked at any other job in their lives. It's a double-time (never mind full-time) job with zero pay. (Check out this tool to calculate what mom's paycheck should be!) It's benefits and bonuses come in the form of kisses and hugs.

Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://mikahaela.wordpress.com/tag/stat-at-home-mom/

According to this highly scientific poll, SAHMs and SAHDs work harder than WAHMs and WHADs. I have worked outside of the home, I have been a stay-at-home mom and a work-AT-home mom (if they are not the same thing). Being a mom is certainly the hardest job I have ever had. It's also the most rewarding job I've ever had.

I have not yet been a work-AWAY-from-home mom, but I imagine, and I hear, that these moms' challenges are significant, and I don't think this highly scientific poll likely represents that group very well. If any of you work-away-from-home moms and dads are reading this, please share your thoughts with us!

One of the things that we stay/work-at-home parents do not have to deal with is any guilt that might come with being away from our kids, and the associated need to make every moment with them precious. Stay-at-home parents may not feel that pressure. I say, may not, because a lot of the time I still do feel that pressure. Stay-at-home parent is a job I want to do exceptionally well, but let's face it: when there are no coffee breaks (let alone pee breaks), no lunch breaks, and eventually no naps, it can be draining and operating at my peak at all times is extremely exhausting if not impossible.

Note that I have a preschooler, so I speak about this job from that perspective. I don't know what being a stay-at-home parent to school-aged children is like. I imagine by the time Jack is in school full-time, I will fill that time with other work and so will be more like a work-away-from-home parent, except that I will likely be working from home... or, as I am doing today, the nearest non-distracting coffee shop.

I care about this job more than any other. The performance pressure is high. The job is highly rewarding, but it's also highly stressful at times - at least, it is for me. How stressful this job is must be as individual as each child, each parent, and each child-parent relationship. In some cases the combination of factors might make for a relatively stress-free stay-at-home experience. In other cases, the challenges may be many.

Ultimately, if there is an answer to this question, to me it comes down to this. We can only know and accept our own challenges and our own choices. They are guaranteed to be different than someone else's. If we criticize another parent for not making the same choice we did, it is because we assume, in myopic fashion, that they face the same set of circumstances and options that we do. Each parent (each child and each parent-child relationship) is unique, so the challenges and choices they are presented with are also going to be unique. A little tolerance and understanding is in order, I think. A little less jumping to the conclusion that we have it harder than others would be helpful. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves and criticizing others, we could instead open ourselves up and listen to the stories of other parents, maybe even pick up a few tips to use in our own lives.

Retrieved June 7, 2011 from http://www.waystobecomerich.com/tag/work-from-home-dad/

We all love our children more than we are able to express. We have that in common. But our journeys are different.

And now, to lighten the mood, here's is a test to determine whose job is harder. Please take this with a heaping teaspoon of salt. It's funny and it's all in fun. Stay-At-Home vs. Working Parents

As the parent of an only child with various challenges of my own, I have my own story (perhaps I'll share it one day). Read more stories of WAHMs/SAHMs here. 

Here is who I'd like to hear from in order to understand their struggles better: stay-at-home dads, single dads, single moms, moms of multiples, moms with more than one child who work-away-from-home. WHAMs, WAHDs, SAHMs, SAHDs, WOHMs, WOHDs.... whatever you call yourself, will you share your story?

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Case of the Missing Blueberries

Love blueberries? Check out this video. It will change the way you look at your favourite blueberry products.

To learn about the potential hazards of consuming artificial food colours, view this article. Probably best to avoid them.

In the video, Nature's Path cereals are mentioned. We have been eating only their cereals for a few years now, with a few fresh organic berries tossed on top. Nature's Path cereals are of very high quality and in addition to the benefits mentioned in the video - organic ingredients with no artificial flavours or colours - Nature's Path is a non-GMO company (you can learn about GMOs here).

If you're looking for genuine blueberry flavour, why not try... blueberries! Fresh or frozen they pack a powerful antioxidant punch! 

Healthy eating!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

J.D.: The Plot to Steal J.D. Salinger's Manuscripts

Book Review and Interview with Patricia Sierra and John Philpin

Book Review

J.D.: The Plot to Steal J.D. Salinger’s Manuscripts, by Sierra Philpin, is a tale of mystery, intrigue and the consequences of behaving badly. 

Publisher: Feather Tunnel Publishing Co. (February 9, 2009)

Leonard Wellington Worthy, a professor with a wife and a simple life, has a plan to finally win the race to the finish line. The goal is to be the first to publish a book on J.D. Salinger, and he’s going to do it by stealing the manuscripts he believes J.D. has been working on for decades in seclusion. But soon Leonard’s plan begins to unravel and he finds himself a suspect in a murder investigation.
In a mere thirty-six hours my world had been transformed from a stable, predictable tranquility into a Kafkaesque nightmare of flux and phantasm.
Please visit Cookie's Book Club to read the rest of my review and interview with the authors.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Comfort Food: Cheddar Cheese Potage

Today I'm following another writing prompt offered by Mama Kat.

Prompt: Comfort food at it's finest. Share a family favorite recipe you loved as a child.

I don't know how much 'writing' is involved in this week's prompt, but after reading it I immediately thought of a recipe that I wanted to share with you all. My mother's broccoli cheese soup always made me feel cozy and warm on a cold day. I know it's spring and probably warm where most of you are, but today in Coldland it is cloudy, windy and a little chilly. The perfect day for mom's soothing soup!

Cheddar Cheese Potage

Source: http://friendseat.com/Gluten-Free-Broccoli-Cheese-Soup-Recipe

By: Cookie's Mom's Mama

A very cheesy and delicious soup. Mince the onions very finely if serving to kids. They'll LOVE it!

Total Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes
Actual Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Number of Servings: 4-6
Special Features: quick to prepare (under 30 minutes), kids love it, can be made ahead

  • 1/2 bunch Broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup Onion, chopped
  • 4 tsp Chicken bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dry mustard
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese

  • Steam (cook) broccoli and set aside.
  • Melt butter (or substitute oil) in large pan. Saute onions.
  • Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Gradually add and blend in milk and water.
  • Add to pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until soup boils and thickens.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cheese to melt. Stir in broccoli and serve. Garnish with a spoonful of grated cheese.

Cook's Notes

You can even use skim milk (or other milk such as rice or almond) to reduce the fat in this recipe, since it's so rich and cheesy! If you want to replace the chicken bouillon, use 2 cups of chicken stock instead of the water, and salt to taste.

Serve with crusty rolls and butter. Mmm.... soothing and delicious!


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