The Cookie Lady

The other day a friend introduced me to her daughter-in-law as “The Cookie Lady”.  Can I just tell you how much that warmed my heart?

You see, it wasn’t about pride or feeling like she was giving me a pat-on-the-back, but rather… My sweet Grandma, who entered heaven’s gates a few years ago, was often referred to as “The Cookie Lady”.

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Grandma was known and loved for her generous heart, always wanting to take care of others, and make them smile, especially by blessing them with a favorite treat… So often fresh baked cookies.

The Cookie Lady

I hardly remember a day that Grandma wasn’t baking something and she was so great at letting all of us grandkids help in the kitchen. (Goodness, I wish she was still here to ask for tips in that area… I so struggle with letting my kids in the kitchen with me!)

Yesterday I made one of her most famous cookie recipes. Untouched and unchanged, I measured and mixed and baked just as she did so often.

The card I looked at (unnecessarily, as I could make these cookies almost in my sleep!) was written in her own distinctive handwriting and pulled at my heartstrings.  I could almost feel her next to me, gently nudging me along and smiling.

I was thrilled when my family happily devoured the cookies, and some friends with distant connections to my grandma stopped by and got to have a few cookies with us.  My heart was fuller than it has been in a long time that day, and you know what?  I believe Grandma was watching all along and smiling at me from heaven.

She was a marvelous soul, my sweet grandma.  And I am honored to stumble behind in her footsteps as “The Cookie Lady”.

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**I am so sorry about the lack of posting lately!  I have been computer-less for several weeks, but my new one is coming this week, and I have a glorious new Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free PERFECTLY Fudgy Brownie recipe coming your way as soon as it does!**

this mothering stuff… it’s hard

Yep.  It’s true.  This mothering stuff…  it’s hard.  And no one likes to talk about the hard stuff.  But I’m tired of all the blind-siding I’ve been feeling, and I’d love to know you are a little more prepared for all of this than I was.

This Mothering Stuff...  It's Hard.

You know what?  I always wanted to be a mom.  It’s ALL I ever wanted, actually.

In Kindergarten, when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered “a mom”.  In 1st grade, same answer.  By 2nd grade, I learned my lesson (the ‘mom’ answer was not the ‘right’ answer) and I made up something different each time.  But inside, I was always shouting “a MOM!  I just want to be A MOM!!”.

And guess what?  I’m here!  I’m exactly where I have always wanted to be.  I am MOM.

That is no trivial thing.  I am beyond blessed with my not-so-little family and every day I am blown away by these little people God has entrusted me with.

I know so many people who are struggling with the longing to be parents.  And please don’t get me wrong, I feel their pain.  I feel it so deeply.  And I am in no way saying I don’t want this hard life…  I LOVE this life.  Hard, or easy, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

But I do wish I had known a tiny glimpse of how hard it would actually be.

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why I fell in love with essential oils

You guys, I was the biggest skeptic ever.  Until now…

Why I Fell In Love With Essential Oils

I have been hearing about essential oils for years and have just been ignoring all the ‘kooks’ (yes, my friends) that use the stuff.

I dabbled here and there in the last several months…  a little clove oil (mixed with coconut oil!) on my babies’ gums when they are teething is a lifesaver.  And yes, lavender is very soothing, I give ‘em that.

But beyond that, I took everything in one ear and out the other, smiling and nodding as I went.

But then, I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.  More and more people, that I know, love and trust, were telling me their stories and ‘oily testimonies’ and I finally figured I needed to really dig in and see what all the hype was about!

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favorite foodie gifts, Christmas 2013 edition

Ok, so I love doing these gift roundups for you guys.  I know it’s a little silly, but I just love sharing with you the things that I enjoy most in my kitchen!

(If I was Oprah, I would be giving you all one of each of these!!  As it is, I can only give you my thoughts.  But I still want to share!)

If any of you are still trying to figure out what to give the foodies in your life, here are some ideas for you!

(And if you have or sign up for a trial of Amazon Prime, you can get these to your door in 2-3 days.  Plenty of time for some last minute Christmas shopping!)

The very very top of my favorite things list, is my beloved Cuisinart 3-in-one Multi-Cooker.

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I know I’ve talked about this before, but you guys, this thing is amazing.  Not only is it a great 6qt slow cooker, it is also an electric skillet and steamer.  You know how many slow cooker recipes still want you to brown meat on the stove before you put it in the slow cooker for the day?  Well, now you can do that all in one spot.  You really can’t beat that!

The next item on my list is my beautiful, dreamy, 7 qt. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  It is a piece of art, really.  More than that, it is my friend.  I couldn’t work without her!

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And really, any Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is a great gift.  If your loved one has a small one, upgrade them!  If they don’t have one, spoil them!!  This is my favorite classic mixer, if you don’t need a 7 qt. powerhouse.

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Ok, that’s enough of the big guys.  On a smaller scale, here are some more of my kitchen favorites.

This wooden pastry board (or rather, one similar to it that I have had for years!) is one of my most treasured kitchen items this year.

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With the constant chaos of feeding my family 24/7 (or so it seems!), I can always have a clean, ready to go workspace with this board.  I wipe off a counter, pull this beautiful board out and I am ready to go, no matter what the state of the rest of my counters.  I love it!

On a similar note, I am completely in love with my bench scrapers.

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If you have ever tried to clean up a flour and dough covered counter, you know what I mean when I say that it is not fun.  Flour+water=glue, right?  These bench scrapers solve that problem perfectly.  They also cut beautiful, uniform brownies and bars!

And my last favorite kitchen item this year…  is my beloved Cuisinart Hot Water & Coffee Maker.

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I know most everyone these days is head-over-heels for their single-serve Keurig-style machines, and I think they are fun too, but in my life, a cup of coffee at a time is just not going to cut it.  I drink my coffee by the bucket-full.

(I do have 3 little kiddos who are allergic to sleep, you know!)  

I also use my hot water every day.  Instant oatmeal, hot tea, hot chocolate…  cup-o-noodles.  I actually tossed out my hot water kettle, because this is just so much easier!

And there you go, friends!  These are a few of my favorite things (I hope that song is playing through your head like it is mine!) and last-minute gift ideas…

Now I want to hear yours!  What are some of YOUR favorite kitchen items?

*This is NOT a sponsored post.  I just love these items and want to share them with you!  I do earn a small affiliate fee if you buy these items, or any Amazon items, once you have clicked through my store.  I appreciate your support!

mothering… the hard stuff.

Today I am having one of those days.

One of those days I don’t even like to think about, let alone talk about…  The kind of days where I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, hoping I make it through in one piece.  With all my kids in one piece.

The kind of days that I feel guilty for even having, let alone talking about.

Mothering...  the hard stuff.

But I know how horrible it is to feel so completely and utterly alone in my thoughts, which is why I am going to share these with you.

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