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?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: Memo to Mommy

I just saw this posted on Chosen Chaos and had to share it. I tracked down a copy of the original article at What a Ramsey Life (thanks Allison)! It's from the September 2008 issue of Parents Magazine, and perfect for a Wordless(ish) Wednesday.

I love this so much I'm going to print off a copy and keep it close by. Jamie of Chosen Chaos keeps hers in a drawer, so that every time she cleans out the drawer she is instantly reminded of what is important. I LOVE that!

and then, she {snapped}

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Best of the Blogosphere:
November 2011 Blog Tour

It's time for my picks for Best of the Blogosphere for the month of November! To read about how this all began, click here.

November 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 your efforts and to thank-you all for supporting mine.

Won't you join me?

There are three ways to participate in the Best of the Blogosphere link up!
  1. Link up your best post from the month of November
  2. Recognize a fellow blogger by linking up someone else's awesome post
  3. Write a list of the November posts you enjoyed most, like I did, and link it up. (Remember to also include in your list the post you're most proud of writing this month!)
Please grab and display my button anywhere in your post. Follow me if you like (no pressure). Feel free to leave me a comment - it makes me feel loved!


This is also a very special week for #MondayListicles with NorthWest Mommy. She is honouring Kim of Zook Book Nook. Kim has a new feature to explore the senses - this week, Stasha is guest posting and writing on the sense of sight. Kim is expecting a baby, and so we are to link up our photos as inspiration to her.

I know all of you will understand, and the very occupied Kim will understand, when I tell you that I am short on time this week. So, I am going to combine two posts in this one (three actually, since I'm also linking up with LoveLinks #33). The photos you see here are the lovely faces and buttons that belong to the talented bloggers I am recognizing this month as being the Best of the Blogosphere.

If you haven't already, pay these bloggers a visit and congratulate them!

1. This story just about broke my heart, but then filled it up again with hope and love. Ado of The Momalog brought us this guest post from her friend, and supermom, Megan: My Friend Megan

2. Chase McFadden wrote this hilarious post for Aiming Low that dads may relate to and moms will howl at: Aiming Low: Literally

3. Another funny daddy blogger, Ryan of iPadiDad always has me laughing and this month was no exception: I DO NOT have the X Factor

4. I had to laugh at this post from Jessica of Four Plus an Angel, and especially this line "I swear I watch my children....But there are a lot of them....and sometimes I have to brush my teeth or pee or blink." Mess? What Mess?

5. This was such a sweet post from Leighann of Multitasking Mumma. I could really picture the mom she describes - like every mom - with mixed feelings of joy and sadness, gratitude and regret: Proudly Becoming a Mom

6. Ado of The Momalog made my list twice this month. She's just that good. I loved her take on this #MondayListicles topic: High School years

7. I'm featuring this post by the fabulous G of Kiddothings because this post so represents where I am right now with my darling 4-year-old, and really should appear on my blog - though not written by me - and... now it does:  How To Be A 4-Year-Old PITA

8. I had to laugh at this #MondayListicles post from MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa: Are You on Vacation? Or a Family Trip?

9. This one from Nicole of By Word of Mouth Musings we can all relate to: Baby Names. And WHAT were you thinking? Do also read the comments on this one!

10. I loved this post from My 3 Little Birds, partly because of the beautiful fall photos Mary included. Her message helped me to remember that no dream is silly and that it's never too late: Why Silence is Holding You Back

Finally, my best post from the month - at least, it's my favourite - is this one: His and Hers

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Zook Book Nook

I'm also linked up with Bruna and Jen for their fabulous Friday linkups. Check them out!

Let's BEE Friends

Thursday, November 24, 2011

HypoAllergenic Cooking: Baked Apples

My American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. A Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

If you're following a restricted diet, like me, you may not be able to indulge in some of the occasion's sweet treats, like pumpkin pie with whipped cream. But, you won't care once you have a taste of these delicious baked apples. They make for a very satisfying dessert, perfect for anyone on a restricted diet. See "Cook's Notes" for my suggestions and substitutions.

This recipe is adapted from the one at http://macrobiotic.about.com/od/desserts/r/SpicedApples.htm. I have provided the original recipe along with notes about substitutions I have made.

Recipe Details

Number of Servings: 4
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
Actual Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Meal Type: Dessert
Special Features: Kids Love It, Kids can help make it, Vegetarian


4 Large firm, tart apples such as Crispin, Winesap, Granny Smith or Jonagold
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1/4 cup Maple syrup or agave nectar
1/4 cup Golden raisins
1/4 cup Finely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 cup Apple cider (or 1/2 cup water if not available)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°C.
  2. Core apples, or cut in half and remove core
  3. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
  4. Place apples in glass or other non-reactive baking dish.
  5. Mix maple syrup or agave, raisins, nuts and spices.
  6. Fill apples, or top apple halves, with mixture.
  7. Pour apple cider into bottom of dish and cover with a lid or foil.
  8. Bake 25 minutes.
  9. Remove foil, baste apples with pan juices and bake, uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until apples are tender but not mushy.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

If you are not allowed to have any sweetener, this can still be a very tasty dessert. Just leave out the maple syrup or agave nectar. If you are allowed to have some other sweetener, such as local or raw honey or stevia, use it.

Many varieties of apple work in this recipe. Just adjust the baking time to suit your taste. I have enjoyed both Orin and Honey Crisp varieties.

If you can't have dried fruit, you can use fresh cut up grapes instead of raisins.

Almost any nut will do, so substitute to taste or for variety. I have enjoyed both almonds and hazelnuts, raw and roasted, in this recipe.

Apple juice works just as well as apple cider, but I typically just use water.

I like a little more cinnamon in mine. You can also poke each apple with a cinnamon stick for extra cinnamon flavour and aroma.

Note that due to the altitude where I live, and/or possibly my old clunker of a stove, I need to cook these at 375°C for 35 minutes covered and an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Once you've made them as per the recipe, play around with temperature and time to get the result you want. Personally, I want the apples to be slightly crisp, but also want to be able to cut through the skin (I don't skin the apples, because there is so much goodness in the skin and I figure it holds the juice in them.)

I have been eating so many of these that I invested in a good quality apple corer, one that has a lever to release the core - highly recommended. I also recommend buying a set of four grapefruit spoons. These make cutting through the apple skins easier. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday:
Mommy's Day at Preschool

Every couple of months, Jack has a VIP day at his preschool, where he gets to do all sorts of special things, and I get to go too!

This time I got to be there on Alphabet Day.

The kids were encouraged to create letter shapes using a variety of tools and toys. If they wanted to, they could write out five words to earn a sticker.

As the VIP's mom, I had the pleasure of providing the snack. Feast your eyes upon this plate of wholesome goodness!

I only have to do this once every 24 preschool days. Totally worth it to be able to kick back and let someone else feed my child the other 23 days!

I really appreciate these opportunities to see what Jack is up to at school. Kind of a fun day for mom too! The kids are too cute!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview with Donna Fasano
author of The Merry-Go-Round, Mountain Laurel, and An Accidental Family


I'm pleased to welcome back Donna Fasano to Cookie's Book Club. Donna is a bestselling, award-winning author of over thirty romance and women's fiction novels. Today I'm talking to her about three of her books: The Merry-Go-Round, Mountain Laurel, and An Accidental Family.

Visit Cookie's Book Club for the full interview.

While you're there, be sure to enter the contest at the end of the interview to win a copy of Donna's most recent Kindle release, His Wife for a While.

His Wife for a While

Product Description (Source: Amazon.com) 

Desperate Bachelor
Ben Danvers was about to lose everything―unless he found a woman willing to become his wife. The terms of his grandfather's will were outrageous, but they were iron clad. Just when Ben was about to give up al

l hope, the last woman he ever expected to wed made a startling proposal.

Bargaining Bride

Chelsea Carson offered Ben a deal he couldn't refuse. He could keep the family fruit orchard if he would make her one and only dream come true. But there were to be no strings attached, no messy emotions when it was over. Their makeshift marriage would be perfect―unless Chelsea allowed love to bungle the plan.

Rated 4/5 stars on 2 reviews
Visit Cookie's Book Club to read the full interview and to enter to win a copy of His Wife for a While.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ten Reasons You Haven't Seen Much of Me Lately

It's time once again for Monday Listicles with NorthWest Mommy.

This week, the sweet and loveable Jennifer of Just Jennifer asks us to list 10 reasons why we do or do not want more children. While I hate to disappoint the sweet and loveable Jennifer, I can't come up with 10 reasons. There's just one that matters. We are very fortunate to have the beautiful family that we have. More kids are not part of our story. And besides, why mess with perfection?

Instead, I will list the 10 reasons I have not been around much this week (e.g. tweeting, linking and so on), in no sensical order.

1) Life has gotten ultra busy of late. Not that I was low-maintenance before, but since beginning this new detox/cleanse/self-torture regime, I have had to find a whack more time to look after my own needs. What's a whack, you ask? It's a butt-load. What's a butt-load, you ask? My son did, and here is what I told him. "Oh, did I say butt-load? Ha ha. That's funny. I meant to say boat-load. It's a LOT. As in, as much as you can fit in a boat!" I guess I managed my way out of that one. Then I wondered, why DO I use the phrase 'butt-load'? It's sounds pretty rude. But then I looked it up, and a 'butt' is a legitimate unit of measure equal to 126 gallons or two hogs heads. But I digress... significantly!

2) My son needs me. Sure he needs to learn independence, and no it's not necessary that I entertain him every minute of the day. Then again, he's only home with me like this for another year and a bit, so I'd like to be available as much as I can.

3) And besides, some of the stuff he's interested in now is pretty fun. We've been doing a lot of crafting, which I have missed terribly these last few busy years!

4) Snow! We have a whack of it. What's a whack, you ask? See #1. All of that shoveling, footprint making, snowball throwing, dressing in extra layers (and then undressing to go pee and pulling it all back on again) takes a butt-load of time. But we're having fun!

5) I've been trying to make more time for our little family in general. Little things like eating a leisurely breakfast together on a Saturday, instead of me wolfing down my food and then retiring to the computer to blog, sure go a long way to restore a sense of unity around here!

6) Jack had a VIP day at his preschool this past week. That meant I had the pleasure and priviledge of bringing a snack for 24 kids! Really, it's a pretty sweet deal. Lots of work the day before his VIP day, and then I get to kick back and let someone else feed my kid for the next 23 days. I also get to go and hang out at the school, see what my son is actually doing there, and laugh when he answers the teacher's question about the weather with, "Miss Laurie, you need to put the cap back on the marker or it will dry out!"

7) I'm trying to find new and exciting ways to meet the requirements of my ridiculously restricted diet. Okay, exciting is overly optimistic. I'm just happy if it tastes good and is not the same thing I have eaten for six days in a row. The good news is that I have discovered a number of recipes that are so tasty, I will fold them into my diet going forward.

8) I dyed my hair. I may be scraping the bottom of the barrel with #8, but I knew you'd all want to know. I'm now a brunette. In case that offends anyone, not to worry. I will, as is my natural tendency, become bored of this eventually and highlight my way back to blondness! Speaking of hair, I met a woman yesterday who claims to be on the same diet that I am. Not possible. She was far too jovial. Anyway, she said, "I feel so great! My hair and my skin look fabulous!" I said, flipping my hair back, "Ya, great hair, fabulous skin. Blah, blah, blah! Give me some cheesecake!" And then I laughed, as if kidding, and she laughed along with me. But I'm not. Kidding, that is. Sorry to digress... again.

9) How to say this delicately... You know how when your diet changes, other... er... bodily functions change too? Well, I have been spending a bit more time in that place where those things happen. Nuff said, I most desperately hope. I love that we moms can talk about ANYTHING. By the way, this list item was suggested by my loving husband. He's such a romantic.

10) Hubby bought The Bourne Trilogy on Blu-Ray, and I have to say, those are some mighty-fine flicks! That Matt Damon is one talented actor. That and a full PVR and you can see why I have no spare time. What time I do have beyond all of this goes to reading - it's an obsession - and maintaining my book blog. Speaking of which - sorry to both digress and shamelessly plug - be sure to check out Cookie's Book Club for my new interview with Donna Fasano. Donna is giving away three copies of her newest release, His Wife for a While!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Golden Sky Blogfest: Remembering 'G'

Where are you?

They couldn't find your body, they said.

No closure.

No goodbye.

I imagined that you escaped a life you didn't want to live. Planned your own death.

You thought the world was cruel. Too cruel to bring another human being into.

You lived every moment of your life in the fast lane. As if it would be your last.

Your need for speed is what killed you.

If it killed you.

I imagine you still on a deserted island. Living a life of solitude. Not even attempting to be rescued.

I don't know why.

Perhaps it's easier than accepting that you are gone.

So young. So much life in you when you left us.

Better to imagine you the king of a new world. Finally at peace? Or do you still tempt fate and defy death?

I sometimes wonder how it is that our lives became entwined. Was there some lesson for all of us in you.

My life was - is - richer for having you in it. Even if just a while.

You died too young, but that is how you will always be remembered.

Vital. Unrestrained. Strong. Proud.

A good friend.

I want you to know that your light shines still through those whose lives you touched. None of us as bright as you, but together in us you live on.

Wherever you are, may peace be with you, my dear friend.

Never goodbye, for you are always with me.

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This post was written in support of The Golden Sky Blogfest. Our task was to write about the loss of someone in our lives. I have lost many someones in my life. It felt good to write about 'G'. Not having closure made his death difficult. The other someones would be far more difficult for me to write about, and, though it's now been, in some cases, many years since they have passed, I'm just not ready. I am grateful to Elisabeth (author of The Golden Sky) for bringing us together in this way to remember, perhaps to grieve and to support one another.

EC Writes

I recently reviewed The Golden Sky and hosted a giveaway where two lucky winners each won a copy of Elisabeth's raw and emotional memoir. You can view that post here.

And as of today, you can enter to win an iPad2:

The Golden Sky Book Launch and iPad2 Giveaway

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I'm also linking up with:
Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kid History #6:
"Health food will make you strong.
But candy will make you rich! Or will it?"

In light of my recent dietary restrictions - I'll spare you the gory details - this Kid History episode is especially funny to me. If you've never heard of Kid History, well, you've been missing out on some serious belly laughs.

So, no Wordless(ish) Wednesday photos, just for today. Prepare to giggle and snort along with this video!
--> For more laughs from the Kid History gang, see:
Chidren's Storytelling - Pregnant Pauses and Creative Substitutions

If you're unable to view the above movie, you can link directly to it here: http://youtu.be/fh0NLQJfAYU

You can also visit the Kid History gang at Bored Shorts TV on YouTube.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Perfect Vacay

It's time again for Monday Listicles!
Before I get to my post, if you haven't already done so, be sure to enter my advance giveaway for a copy of EC Stilson's new book, The Golden Sky, being released November 18th! Click here for details.
The lovely and talented Hopes of Staying Afloat was asked to select this week's Monday Listicles topic, and it's a good one! We're talking vacations today, and I couldn't be happier. I'd much rather think about travelling to some place other than here with snow on the way. Don't get me wrong, winter has a lot to offer, but I'd still sacrifice a large part of it for the chance to go someplace where I don't have to don a parka and chip my way out of my house with an ice scraper.

So, let's dream a little, shall we? Just a sec... Almost ready. Here we are! Margarita in hand, flip flops and body-flattering dress adorned, furnace blasting to create the illusion of summer, and... go!

Ten things that make a perfect vacation.

1. Time. My dream holidays is at least three weeks long - a month would be better. I leave my watch at home and let someone else take care of details like where I need to be and when I need to be there.

2. The Perfect Climate. It takes place somewhere warm (not too hot) and sunny with beautiful scenery. An ocean breeze wouldn't hurt.

3. Adventure! There are opportunities for horseback riding, hiking, biking, canoeing, sailing on a catamaran, snorkeling, exploring caves, zip-lining and the like.

4. Culture. I get to meet the locals and share in their customs, maybe learn a craft or a few new dance moves!

5. Family. My dream holiday involves my husband and my son and lots of fun too! I imagine wherever we go, we'd stop in at DisneyWorld for part of our tour.

6. Food! As source of pleasure, rather than anguish. I don't want to prepare it. Not one meal. I don't want to think about it. I don't even want to make choices about it. My perfect vacation would involve simply showing up and being served something fabulous, whenever I happen to be hungry.

7. Peace. There's an absence of whaaaan! I love my kid - don't get me wrong - but the perfect' vacation would contain NO WHINING. And significantly fewer why questions. And no toys to put away or leave aching scars in the middle of my feet when I step on them. Which brings me to #8

8. Sloth. There is no cleaning of any kind - not the bathroom, not the kitchen, not the clothes, not the kid, not the cat, and definitely not the back of my car.

9. R & R. There is plenty of opportunity to rest, to read, to snap some killer photos and to write.

10. Pampering. Lastly, my dream vacation includes frequent visits to the spa - massages, facials, pedicures, manicures. Ahhhh.

Ah, lovely. I love sightseeing, and I'm surprised not to see more of it in my list, but I guess that's just where I'm at. This tired mama needs the sounds, sights and smells of a tranquil beach!

What do you need to have the perfect vacay?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Two advance copies of The Golden Sky
by EC Stilson

On November 18th, EC Stilson will release her new memoir, The Golden Sky.

This story is as real as it gets! Elisabeth Stilson tells the story of her journey through the pregnancy, birth and loss of her son Zeke. The text of the book is taken directly from Stilson's journals. We learn of the raw emotions and very real outcomes that follow the tragic loss of a child. It's a fascinating and touching read.

Visit Cookie's Book Club for details of the giveaway! 

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Hypoallergenic Cooking: Lebanese Lentil Soup With Spinach and Lemon

Today, I am beginning a series on hypoallergenic cooking. If you have allergies, or have ever been on a cleanse, or for whatever reason have been ordered by the doc to restrict certain foods from your diet, you know how hard it can be to not only feed yourself but to feel satisfied after eating. As I discover new and delicious recipes, I'll share them here.

This is a lovely warm soup. The lentils are high in protein so you'll feel full and get an energy kick.

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 
Actual Cooking Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Number of Servings: 6
Special Features: Vegetarian

This recipe contains no: dairy (if you exclude the yogurt garnish), grains, sugar, nightshade vegetables, yeast, high glycemic foods, caffeine, alcohol, trans-fats, processed foods, colouring or preservatives
DO: use fresh, organic ingredients for best results
DO: make sure that your vegetable or chicken stock meets your dietary restrictions (e.g. no sugar, low sodium, etc.) or make your own the next time you roast a chicken and freeze it to make this soup at a later time

Lebanese Lentil Soup With Spinach and Lemon
Source: http://www.thestar.com/article/554883#article
"Easy, economical and supremely satisfying, this soup of lentils (also known as Esau due to its biblical roots) is a cold-weather staple in my house. It's equally delicious without the spinach, and you could substitute fresh cilantro for the mint. To enjoy this soup at its best, garnish it with a dollop of tangy, full-fat, Balkan-style yogurt."


3 tbsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
2 Medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp Ground cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups Green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
4 cups Vegetable or chicken stock
4 cups Water
2 tsp Dried mint or 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 8-oz Bag washed spinach, tough stems removed
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
3 tbsp Lemon juice
Plain yogurt for garnish (optional - avoid if eliminating dairy from your diet)


In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Turn heat down to medium-low. Cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes. Stir in cumin and cayenne; cook 30 seconds. Add lentils, stock and water, and raise heat to high.

When it comes to boil, reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Add mint and season with salt and pepper. Purée 1 cup of soup in food processor and stir back into pot.

While lentils are cooking, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add half of spinach and stir until wilted. Add remaining spinach and stir until wilted. Transfer spinach to cutting board and roughly chop. Set aside.

When ready to serve soup, bring to simmer and stir in spinach, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with dollop of yogurt if using.

Notes from Cookie's Mom:

We used a pressure cooker to cut cooking time in about half. We didn't enjoy the partially pureed consistency. We think it's best completely pureed. If you have a really good immersion blender, use it. Otherwise, let the soup cool, puree in a blender, reheat and serve. We cut the cayenne pepper in half (to 1/4 tsp), and found it to be just the right level of heat for us. We did not add the yogurt. Delicious!

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Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall in the Hood

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day for a neighbour. Could you be mine? Would you be mine?

Today, for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writers' Workshop, I'm sharing some pretty fall photos from my neck of the woods. Once you see them, you will definitely want to be my neighbour. (Apologies if you've seen these already in one of my Wordless Wednesday or Shades of Autumn Photo Challenge posts.)

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Mama’s Losin’ It