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?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Beautiful "Baby" Boy

Today, I think most would agree, my son is no longer a baby. He's now four years old, but he'll always be my baby.

Today I told him how proud I am of the little boy he has become. He is a fun, happy, respectful, kind, helpful, resourceful and talented young boy.

It all began four years ago today, when they plopped this little bundle in my arms. So precious. I had no idea what to do, but I knew I'd do everything in my power to make him happy and to keep him well.

I've watched him grow from this little baby through his first,



and fourth years.

It's a little sad to see him growing so quickly before my eyes, but that feeling is so miniscule compared with the joy I feel when I look at this beautiful boy. I am so grateful for his good health and his shining good spirit.

I adore you, my Jack.

Happy Birthday,

Love Mom.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Best of the Blogosphere:
September 2011 Blog Tour

Welcome to my new link up!

Do you have a post or a list of great blog posts you'd like to share? Have one of you own that you'd like to feature?

It's time for Best of the Blogosphere, The September 2011 Edition.

There is so much great content out there, and since there's also a LOT of content out there it's sometimes easy to miss the really stellar posts. Every day we bloggers give pieces of ourselves to the blogosphere. This feature is my way of showing my appreciation for the efforts of other bloggers. Won't you join me?

If you've been keeping track of your favourite posts from the month, why not write a list as I have to share with your readers, and link it up. Maybe there's one particular post that stood out for you that you'd like to link up. And if you're really proud of a particular post you wrote this month, link it up!

Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). More importantly, please visit others who have linked up, and leave me a comment to let me know what you think of this link up!


And now, I'd like to share with you some of my favourite posts from the month. I came across some highly entertaining and truly inspirational posts this month.

Jody of Blended made me laugh with her post "An Interview with Bill After a Day Alone with All Six Kids". Thanks Jody. I needed that!

When Robin of Farewell Stranger spoke about returning to work and bedtime routine troubles in Back to Life, Back to Reality I felt her pain.

Kristen of A Little Something for Me reminded me of how much we all take for granted with Letter to the Mothers who live my deepest fear and then amazed me with her spirit when I read "In my New Normal".

This very short post from Shouts From the Abyss made me laugh and nod in agreement: How Twitter Really Works.

This month many of us wrote posts about the need to reevaluate our blogging efforts as we looked at what's most important to each of us. This post from Lost and Forgotten sums up that struggle very well: You Probably Won't Read This.

This post from Staying Afloat was one we could all relate to: A Number I am Not.

Check out this post from My Dishwasher's Possessed. Lessons Learned from my Dishwasher has some real pearls of wisdom for everyday living and a generous dose of humour.

Deborah Bryan helped me to remember that I have SO much to be thankful for and SO little to complain about (thanks Deb): No arms, no legs, no worries.

Finally, the post that I am most proud of writing this month is this one: The Inevitability of Change and the Futility of Resistance. I have been very much enjoying participating in Stasha's Monday Listicles meme. The list ideas have inspired some interesting posts, and this is one I enjoyed writing very much.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Jack Train

Jack turns four this month, and for his birthday party we (meaning, mostly I) made a train for the kids to ride in, complete with engine, passenger cars, boxcars, and a caboose!

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Toot Toot! All aboard!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Achieve a State of Deep Relaxation... in 2.5 Minutes or Less

For the last few nights, Jack has been leading the family through a wind-down yoga session as part of his bedtime routine. It's marginally relaxing. We usually do about seven or eight poses in approximately 2.5 minutes.

Let me tell you, this is one of the most adorable (and hysterical) things I think I have witnessed, and I'm not just saying that because I am heavily biased toward finding everything my son does to be super cute.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ode to Summer

Fall is upon us now. The winds are stronger. The leaves are changing colours and falling at my feet. Still, there are moments of warmth from the sun that remind me of days not too far behind.

Please enjoy this ode to summer, and then come link up your favourite summer memories with Stasha of North West Mommy.

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Ode to Summer

Garden Friends - Butterflies and Bees!

Walks in the Woods - Follow me!

Pizza on the BBQ - Time to eat!


and Seek - You can't catch me!

Throwing Stones - Easy as can be.

Sprinklers, yay! - Run, rinse, repeat!

Water Slides - Super scary. Super fun!

Soccer - Is it my turn yet to run?

Hot Dogs - Yes, that's mac 'n cheese!

Having nothing left - Just can't be beat!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Beth of Far From Camelot
"Moving Revelations"

Today, I am proud to present fellow blogger Beth of Far From Camelot. Beth is the mom of one adorable Riley Benjamin who she describes as her reason for getting up in the morning and her husband's reason for working so hard.

Beth has a knack for seeing the positive in even the most trying of times. Check out her new weekly link up, Our Blessings Box, hosted every Monday where you can write about the good that's happened in your life and meet some new friends.

Far From Camelot

Moving Revelations
by Beth of Far From Camelot

I have had my life packed up in moving boxes for almost two years. Books, framed art, knick-knacks, kitchen supplies, you name it. My life has been trapped and unable to be used. Items have been replaced, although I had a perfectly good one already. It’s just in a box that I can’t get to. Two years is an eternity when you’re staring at empty walls in rooms of a house not of your choosing.

After being forced to close our business in Florida, Chris got a job in Georgia. The company was to pay for our move. They fired him the day before we were to leave and bring back our home. Apparently he was too inexperienced for the money they were paying him. Strange though, because he’d been doing the same work almost all his life. For three months we lived on a rented pull-out couch and RB slept smushed in his play pen. Even the TV was rented. It took three months to get another job, find a house in the city where the job was and afford to get our things from Florida.

The next house we chose to rent was out of sheer desperation to find a place quickly. It was affordable yet old and run down. It was out in the country so the area was quiet and it had a large back yard. That was its redeeming quality – RB had a place to run wild and free! But it didn’t feel like home and we relegated the majority of our things, still packed in boxes, to the spare bedroom. Thinking we would be leaving at the end of the lease, I didn’t want to unpack everything just to pack it back up again.

It’s easy to feel in limbo when things aren’t going your way. The year spent in Georgia was not productive for us. Our plans failed and people we trusted became a disappointment. I suppose when a life change is made beyond your control, your attitude is not a positive one. I felt we were stuck and stagnant. Our financial situation seemed to be getting worse. It was looking like we were going to stay a lot longer than we wanted to.

But moving to Bluffton has sparked some change and positive results. The majority of our life has now been unpacked. Family pictures and other art have been hung on the walls. Some of my tea pot collection is decorating the kitchen as well as the porcelain plates that my grandmothers painted. My books have come out of hiding and out on new bookshelves. The lies of our past cannot dictate the truth of our future. Tomorrow certainly is another day. Another day to wake up and be glad for a fresh start. Another day to learn from but not dwell on past mistakes. Do not settle.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that material things don’t matter and shouldn’t rule our life or self-worth. We did have to downsize to move into this apartment but what a blessing! You’ve heard the organizational saying, if you haven’t used it for a year, get rid of it? Well, I had two years worth of unused items to donate! It was a load off my past that was keeping me from moving forward. What a relief it is to start living again! I don’t miss those items. They don’t define me. Literally cleaning house was a release from a past that we thought we should hang on to. Now, I’m looking forward to acquiring new items to celebrate this next chapter in our lives, but don’t tell my husband!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nose Flick Thursday:
The First, and Possibly Only, Edition

I'm never participated in Throat Punch Thursday before. It's not that I haven't felt the urge. I try to maintain a sort of peaceful atmosphere here at Cookie's Chronicles, but I think you'll agree that the people responsible for this atrocity deserve at least a nose flick (the throat punch may just be a little to aggressive for me). I bring you the first, and possibly only, edition of Nose Flick Thursday. (You see why this may be the only edition - not much of a ring to it.)

One day last week I was sitting in a coffee shop - a lovely urban coffee shop - having a lovely London Fog, working on my next book review.

I was enjoying a peaceful few moments to myself while Jack was a preschool when within minutes the lovely urban coffee shop was converted to a hunting lodge with the addition of a young deer's head.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I wish kids today could....

I remember my childhood. I was one of five kids. That tells you that I was not watched every minute of the day. If the weather was nice, we were outside. All day. We might be in our backyard or a neighbour's or running from house to house playing hide and seek. As we got older, we'd spend time at the park with our friends. We kids were fairly independent, gracing our mothers with our presence for meals, snacks, and to quench our thirsts. There was no preschool or playschool. There was just school school. Oh, and childhood.

You know how I love lists, and here comes another. This topic is courtesy of Stasha of North West Mommy.

These are ten things I did as a kid that I wish kids today could do.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Blogger:
Carla of Mrs. No No Knows
"Tips for Easy Back to School Lunches"

Today I am pleased to feature Carla of Mrs. No-No Knows! I'm always so grateful for her weekly menu plans and fabulous food ideas. Today Carla is going to share her tips on back-to-school lunches. 

When Sue asked me to write a guest post, I was flattered and excited! (Thanks Sue!!) Let me start by introducing myself: My blog is really a mish-mash of what my every day life is like - so I end up writing about something fun we did the day before, or the week before, I write about crafts and sewing, and I write about my little Miss No-No - but mostly I write about the food!!

I love good food and I know that you don't need to "break the bank" to have it. I believe that you can eat well on a budget and you can feed your family without resorting to processed foods or being in the kitchen all day long. We don't have time to make a meal that takes 3 hours (who has 3 HOURS to cook??? I don't and I'm guessing that you don't either). But, I don't think that your family's taste buds or health should suffer because of that. For those reasons, I write about awesome, healthy food that can be made, in about 30 minutes or less! Doing this for your family makes your life richer and your family's life better - and, really, what could be more awesome?

Since it's September and that means the start of school for most of us mommas, let's talk about lunches.

My pre-K toddler has a program at her school where they provide lunch, for an extra fee. I'm in the "business" of running my house, our finances, and taking care of everyone - that $4 lunch doesn't work so well in my business plan. And while corn dogs, small kids' sized pizzas, and chicken nuggets for lunch everyday would be her dream come true, it really doesn't seem like the most healthy of diets...and since I am actually doing some grocery shopping every week, and have food in my house, it seems like a small stretch for me to make her lunch for her.

There are many benefits to my making her lunch, including:
  • it costs less for me to take something from my fridge (that I have already bought) than for me to send her to school with $4 every day for someone else to make her something
  • I know WHAT exactly is going into her lunch
  • I have the assurance that (even if she doesn't eat the vegetables) there are vegetables in her lunch
  • and, I get to send a little surprise for her every day!

Making a to-go lunch for a little one every day can take some planning, but it's really easy when you get down to it. Even when I start from scratch, I can get her lunch together in no more than 10 minutes (I've timed it!). Even though I feel like I have a lot of things to do every day, I can squeeze out another quick 10 minutes, even if it's just barely! ;)

So here are some quick and easy tips to help you with your toddler or school-age kids' lunches. I use these ideas weekly and I know once you start using them, you will keep up with them. Not just because of the good feeling that you will have sending your little ones off with the nutrition that they need to fuel them for the day, not because it will take about as much time to make lunch as it does for you to hunt through your bag for another $4 or $5 to give them each morning, but you will be able to stick with this because it works!

Plan ahead. Sounds easy, right? I've read this everywhere: plan ahead, be prepared, make lunches daily, and on and on.... But, we have all been there.....It's not THAT easy to plan ahead these fabulous lunches each and every day. My little one, honestly, is happy with a PB and jelly sandwich daily. And, really, PB and jelly is healthy, full of protein and good carbs that will keep her full until her afternoon snack. So my first real tip is this:
  1. Find something that your kids LOVE. For mine it's those PB and jelly sandwiches. So, I pre-make them for her! I will make 3 or 4 instead of just making one, pop the extras in Tupperware, and put them in the freezer. On those days that I just can.not.find.the.time to make her lunch, I have a back-up. I can put one of the frozen sandwiches in her lunch in the morning and by lunch time, it's defrosted and ready to go. And I do that with a lot of things - if I cut up carrots or red peppers for dinner, I will grab an extra one or two and cut those up as well, divide them into good portion sizes in Tupperware and save them in the refrigerator for lunches. When I need a veggie for lunch, they are there and ready to go. I also do this with fruit, applesauce, rice or any other grain, beans, whole wheat pasta, and especially leftovers. Once you have a little arsenal of Tupperware containers in your fridge, you grab a couple (one from each food group) and have a complete lunch ready to go.

  2. Make it fun. If I send my little one with a sandwich, I use a cookie cutter to make it into something special. It might be a heart, a flower, or something seasonal. She never knows what she is going to get, and it's different each day. It's nothing elaborate, and it only takes another couple of seconds, but it sets her lunch apart from the other kids' lunches.

  3. Give them something to pick at. Kids love to pick and munch, talk for awhile, and then come back to their lunch. A little one with a burrito might not eat a lot of it, but a little one with carrot sticks or cucumber "chips" can grab some and talk and eat at the same time, they can share with friends, and then can eat what they want or how much they want without being overwhelmed by having to eat a BIG piece of something. I send edamame, beans, raisins, and other small pieces of fruit in her lunch. So, basically, what I am saying is - cut everything up!! :)

  4. Add an element of surprise. I think this makes my little one look forward to what could possibly be in her lunch each day (I put the thought that she may be sneaking a peek into her lunch bag early completely out of my mind!!). Anything, really, is appropriate - it's just a little "I'm thinking of you" surprise. Sometimes, I use silly bands or bracelets, stickers, a handwritten note that says "I love you", or I will just draw her a silly picture. It doesn't have to be elaborate - and that's the beauty of it - you can do something simple, but it will have a big impact on your kids.
I believe these are the basic "building blocks" of a healthy lunch. And I think as long as you get something from each food group into that bag, kids will eat! They might not eat as many veggies as you would like, but in the end they are getting good food, healthy food, and you are saving money (and now time) making lunch for them...it's an easier way for you to help your kids live a richer, fuller life.

So go ahead and pack those lunch bags, mommas - there's nothing to worry about, you've got the tools to get it under control!!

Here are some example pictures of lunches I have made for my little one (just so you can see the creative cookie cutting I do!!)

A word of warning: If you have older kids, like teenagers, all bets may be off here!!!

Have questions or comments? Come on by my blog, my FB page, or even Twitter and ask away!!! If you need help packing lunches, I'm here for you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Homemade Pizzas with Chef Jacques

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He's an olive fan like his mama! :)

Thanks to my fabulous friend, M, who gave me an inspiring BBQ pizza cookbook.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Inevitability of Change and the Futility of Resistance

I'm linking up again with Stasha of NorthWest Mommy for Monday Listicles. This week's topic was selected by MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa who harnessed her inner David Bowie and asks us to write about Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.

Change is the only constant, so there's no shortage of material for this week's Monday Listicles list.

Being a mom opened my eyes to just how much things change. Life as an adult pre-kids meant that I could set my life up a particular way and settle into my new routine for pretty much as long as I liked. Ba-bye said life. Hello chaos! Just when we moms think we have something figured out, just when the skies start to look friendly, sha-blam. Trouble brews and we're reaching for our SuperMom capes once again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Huggie Bear - A buckwheat and lavender night time friend

Ever wonder how new routines come about? Ever find yourself jumping through hoops for your children and wondering, How did I get here?

One night a couple of weeks ago, Jack said his tummy was a little sore and I asked him if he wanted a hot water bottle. He said yes. The next night, probably remembering how the hot water bottle routine extended his bed time, he said he had a tummy ache again. I didn't much buy his tummy ache claim, particularly because he was grinning from ear to ear, but still I complied.

In fact, I complied with this request for several more nights - wondering how long it would go on - and then I remembered something. Grandma bought Jack the coolest thing a couple of years ago. It's the Spa and Herbal Therapy Huggie Bear by Nood. It's a cute little bear stuffed with buckwheat and lavender.

Forty-five seconds in the microwave on high, and he's a snuggly bedtime friend to keep little ones toasty warm. It also does wonders for an upset tummy.

Okay, so I haven't really made any less work for myself by replacing a water bottle with Huggie Bear, but at least I'm cutting down on water costs. And it's just too cute seeing Jack snuggle to sleep with his Huggie Bear... and his two other bedtime stuffies... and his six imaginary friends. Oy, what have I done?

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It's Tuesday! Hop on over to the Tuesday Twitter Hop at Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life and link up your Twitter handle. Find new followers. Make new friends!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Ten Things Animal

I'm happy to be joining Stasha of NorthWest Mommy again this week for Monday Listicles. This week's challenge is to list 'ten things animal'. Perhaps Stasha meant we should list ten things about animals in general, but I think it's more likely she wants to know ten things about Animal, the Muppets character.

Here it is then. My list of 10 things Animal:

Image retrieved September 4, 2011 from http://www.bronxbanterblog.com/2011/07/18/life-after-jim/

1. He's seriously loveable. He's intense, man. Maybe that's why he's so loveable.

3. He mostly speaks in grunts and short phrases. "BEAT DRUMS!" / "EAT DRUMS!"

4. He's been a drummer for 4... no 5 years.

5. He loves his drums.

6. But sometimes he thinks drums are food. Cymbals too.

7. He has no patience for bad puns.

8. And he has a bit of a violent streak.

9. In fact, he's a wild thing.

10. And he likes bunny rabbits. Small ones.

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/2cEPydnb0Ns

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/KM6o1Hv7ec0

Direct link:  http://youtu.be/WnJgdyaJ2BQ

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tips for Finding Reasonably Priced and Free E-Books @ Cookie's Book Club

Own a Kindle or other e-reader? Frustrated by some of the high prices you see for e-books? Want to know how to get e-books cheap or, better yet, free?

Come on over to Cookie's Book Club

Today I'm sharing my tips on how to find inexpensive and free e-books!

Friday, September 02, 2011

The ABC's of Me

The ABCs of Me is a post written for Voiceboks, The Voice of Motherhood. If you're not a member of Voiceboks yet, check it out. It's a great community for connecting with other blogging-networking moms.

This list seems to be more The ABCs of Free Association than a list of words that describe me directly.... but it still says something about me.

A is for ADAPTABILITY. I would be nowhere without this word.
B is for BEAUTY. It's everywhere and I'm soaking it up.
C is for COOKIE and that's good enough for me.
D is for DREAM. DARE to DO it.
E is for ECLECTIC. That's my blog. That's me.
F is for FAITH. It'll all work out in the end.
G is for GRATITUDE, one of my favourite and most useful words.
H is for HAIR. I have a lot of it, and I think it's safe to say I obsess over it just a little bit.
J is for JACK. Just JACK.
K is for KISSES. Can you have too many of these? Noooooo.
L is for LOVE. It's all you need.
M is for MOM. Best job ever!
N is for NURTURE. It's what we moms do.
O is for OOMPH! There it is!
P is for PEACE. Aum.
Q is for QUIET. I vaguely remember this being highly restorative, bringing me lots of P.
R is for RAUCOUS, something more familiar to me these days than Q.
S is for SERENDIPITY. Surprising good fortune just makes my day.
T is for TRANQUILITY. Are you sensing a theme?
U is for UPLIFT. My mission. My goal.
V is for VALUABLE. You are. I am.
W is for WARMTH. Ahhhh.
X is for XYLOPHONE. It makes music and starts with X.
Y is for YES. Everyone's favourite word.
Z is for ZEBRAS. Who doesn't love zebras?

I'm also linking up today with a fellow Canadian blogger and friend, Bruna for Let's Bee Friends Friday. Each Friday, Bruna features a new blogger. Check it out! It's a great way to meet new friends.

Let's BEE Friends