Ask Away Friday With Writing Wishing

Phew! What a week it has been in my neck of the woods! In addition to the holiday sprint before me, here in New England we’ve had TWO snow storms that have made the logistics of my life infinitely harder! I haven’t meant to be silent all week, but there just haven’t been enough hours in my day to write, read, or comment.

If you are new around here, Ask Away Friday is a weekly link up hosted by Penny from The Real Housewife Of Caroline Country and Amber from Bold Fab Mom. Two bloggers trade 10 questions and answer those questions in their own space.

For today’s installment of Ask Away Friday I am thrilled to be swapping with Alison of Writing Wishing.  I have been a long time reader of Alison’s blog and have really enjoyed getting to know her on a more personal level the last few months via  Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  There have been a few days where we’ve connected on all three of those sites as well as email. Alison is one  of the most generous bloggers I know in terms of passing on and sharing blogging resources.  On top of all of that, Alison has her own company called Little Love Media where she offers blog evaluations and strategy and social media services. If you are wondering about next steps with your blog or want to really nail down your focus, you probably want to talk to her!

ask away

How did you come up with your children’s names?

Michael and I have a really tough last name. It is pronounced WRONG-ner, which makes naming babies a bit hard. A lot of names end up like a tongue twister if you put them together.

145 Our criteria for naming Malone made it even tougher. We wanted a unique (but not made up or misspelled) name that had significance to our story and had the potential to sound cool over a PA announcement should he ever play professional sports. We ran through our family names and they were all really ordinary (Charles, David, Robert). We named Malone after Sam Malone from the television show Cheers. Cheers was set in Boston, where Michael and I met.

Lola’s story is a little longer but also very unique. The long of the short of it is that Malone named her. His favorite song is Lola by The Kinks. Both Michael and I had names we liked better, but Malone wore us down and won.

What is the absolute hardest thing about motherhood?

The pressure I put on myself to raise self sufficient, emphatic and trustworthy tiny humans. I worry that I’m failing them on a daily basis, which probably means I’m doing something right.

What advice would you give to first-time mothers?

Throw away the baby books and trust your gut. You have instincts for a reason, follow them.

Nothing lasts forever. The sleepless nights and tantrums will fade. You child will not go to his high school prom wearing a diaper or spend his first night of college sleeping in a crib. Stop worrying about the things you can’t control.

How did your love for the Red Sox come about?

I grew up in Northern Illinois and my entire family loves the Cubs (except my Dad, who is a huge Cardinals fan). I spent a lot of time with my grandfather and his sister (my Great Aunt) watching and listening to Cub’s games as a kid. I grew up on Harry Caray, Ryan Sandberg, and a bus trip into Wrigley Field every summer. Baseball is in my bones.

This is a happy sad picture. Here we all are at the church during my Great Aunt’s wake. She was a one of the biggest Cubs fans I know.


When I first moved to Boston, it was a natural progression to fall in love the Red Sox. AND all of the cutest boys were huge Red Sox fans. For a while, I worked for someone who had access to corporate seats. Tickets to the Red Sox home games were frequently handed to me on an almost weekly basis. That was a pretty epic adventure. Michael and I met on He clicked on my profile because he thought I looked cute in my Red Sox hat!

Because we are insane,  we joined 2 million other people when we took both Lola and Malone with us to the 2013 Red Sox World Series Rolling Rally parade. The entire day was magic, from beginning to end.

Share with us your first ever Instagram photo!

Malone was SO LITTLE! I’ve been on Insta for just over two years! It is by far my favorite social media platform!

Your blog name is A Cookie Before Dinner – so, what is your favorite cookie?

I’m NOT picky. But if you’re going to make me choose one, I’m going to say Cherry Chocolate Macarons. But really, if you hand me just about any cookie, I’d eat it as long as there aren’t raisins disguised as chocolate in it. There is NOTHING WORSE than biting into a cookie and thinking it is chocolate only to learn it is a raisin!

Speaking of dinner, what’s your favorite go-to dinner dish?

We eat spaghetti about once a week. We all love it and it is a really affordable meal. We also eat a lot of stir fry and tacos. Meals in our house area always well rounded and never fussy. I love to make chicken pot pie from scratch, but I’m just not in a season where I can devote an entire afternoon to preparing a meal.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start thrifting?

A good deal isn’t a good deal unless you love what you’re buying.

I adore buying vintage toys. Here are a few of my favorites. The 1950′s toy box might be the best thing I’ve ever scored ($4.99!).

Vintage Love

What’s the best and worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?

When I was 11 my great grandmother gave me a pregnant Barbie. I think it was Midge.  You could literally rip off her stomach and yank the baby out. All of the girl cousins got her that year. She was awesomely terrible.

Last year, it was around this time we learned we were expecting Lola. It was really fun to call everyone on Christmas Day and share the news.

What is Christmas morning like at your house?

Christmas morning is nice and slow because we don’t live close to any family. We spent Malone’s first Christmas in Illinois but then we declared to all interested parties that we WOULD NOT be traveling for the Christmas holiday again. My entire family is in Illinois and Mike’s is spread out across the states.

As a kid, I remember having to rush through Christmas morning at home to make it to my grandmother’s house in time for lunch. It sucked because I was never allowed to bring my new toys with me. I’ll make cinnamon rolls and Malone will have the freedom to open gifts at his own pace. I imagine he’ll spend a good amount of time playing with each new toy before moving on to the next. We are meeting up with friends for Chinese food around 4:00 pm. We always eat Chinese food on Christmas day.

Wondering what I asked Alison and how she answered? Head over to her space! 


  1. 1

    Alison says

    I love your answers! Particularly how you came up with the children’s names, the Red Sox story and your Christmas traditions/ day. And that you eat Chinese food on Christmas day!

    So fun to do this with you, thank you for taking me under your wing. xo
    Alison recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with A Cookie Before DinnerMy Profile

    • 2

      NJ says

      I am so happy we switched Alison! In some ways, it feels really great to be able to take you under my wing. So often, I feel like it is the other way around!

      Chinese food on Christmas Day is a HIGHLIGHT of the entire year. There is no holding back with the ordering either!

  2. 3

    The Real Housewife of Caroline County says

    great job! Happy Holidays!
    The Real Housewife of Caroline County recently posted..#AskAwayFriday Week 20!!!My Profile

  3. 5

    The Bold Fab Mom says

    I constantly feel like I’m failing my children too. You’re not alone! I’m sure we’re not doing too bad though. ;-)
    The Bold Fab Mom recently posted..Ask Away Friday With Christy at Uplifting FamiliesMy Profile

    • 6

      NJ says

      I’ve decided that if I feel like I’m failing them, it is probably a good thing. It means that I’m working as hard as I can to do right by them. I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

  4. 7

    Gracielle says

    I’m glad you introduced Alison to the #AskAwayFriday series :) She’s great! I loved this: “Your child will not go to his high school prom wearing a diaper ” We tried one pack of pull-ups before going right back to diapers. He just isn’t having it when it comes to potty training – so that bit of encouragement in that particular answer was very helpful to me! Thanks, I needed that!
    Gracielle recently posted..{Ask Away Friday} Questions with @JoyInTheMidstOfMy Profile

    • 8

      NJ says

      Alison is awesome! I was thrilled when she said yes to playing along. We did a nice and slow learn with Malone over the course of several months. It worked really really well for us, but I know just how stressful it can be! He’ll get it when he’s ready. TRUST ME!

  5. 9

    The Dose of Reality says

    I LOVE your advice for first time moms. It’s my favorite bit of advice ever. Trust your instincts. They will help you more than any book. The biggest parenting mistakes I’ve made are when I ignore my own instincts. The “nothing lasts forever” is so true of parenting…and life in general. Hang in there!!!
    Love the story of how your kids were named. SO CUTE!! Great Ask Away Friday!! :D –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #585: Ho Ho…NO!My Profile

    • 10

      NJ says

      Really, the only times in my life where I’ve felt like a parenting failure where the times when my kid didn’t fit into the baby book mold. Trusting my instincts is a much better way to go!

  6. 11

    Ilene says

    This was so much fun to read. NJ – Yes yes yes to throwing away the parenting books and trusting your gut! And yes yes yes to the buzz kill one gets fro biting into a cookie and finding a…raisin??? I hate to even say this here since you’re a newish friend but I’m a Yankee fan. Is that a deal breaker?
    Ilene recently posted..SpeedMy Profile

  7. 13

    Michelle says

    I definitely agree with you about a mother’s intuition! Sometimes we just know! Our pediatrician once said that to me too…when we were dealing with that bizarre condition that my youngest son had when he was little.
    Michelle recently posted..Holiday Reflections {Ladies Only Blog Share}My Profile

  8. 15

    Sonya says

    Spending Christmas at home without rushing to visit other family members is starting to sound like a good idea to me especially as my kids get older. We usually spend the day visiting family and dropping off gifts, but we might try to do some of our visits on Christmas Eve this year and have a lazy day on Christmas
    Sonya recently posted..Bath & Body Works Coupon up to 40% OffMy Profile

  9. 17

    Rea says

    I had to laugh at the pregnant Barbie, seriously? Hehehe. And the raisin disguised as chocolate! HAHA! But I agree with what you said that we should stop worrying about things we cannot control. So true! :)

    • 18

      NJ says

      I like chocolate covered raisins. But raisins disguised as chocolate makes me one sad panda.

      I wish I would have kept the pregnant Barbie. She was a hoot! Sadly though, I rolled my eyes and put her in the donation pile ASAP.

  10. 19

    Tiffany says

    Hi NJ! I still think Chines food is one of your Christmas traditions! i also love that we share the lazy Christmas Day idea…so much fun to just be…LOL
    Tiffany recently posted..It’s Christmas Break…Now What!?!? iMommy To The Rescue!My Profile

    • 20

      NJ says

      I love to laze around on Christmas Day. This year, we are going out with friends for Chinese, I think. Otherwise I’d stay in my pajamas all day!

  11. 21

    Carissa says

    HOW COOL IS CHINESE FOOD ON CHRISTMAS!!! I wish!!!! LOL I got so excited when I read that! HA!
    Carissa recently posted..Hardest Week of My Life…My Profile

    • 22

      NJ says

      It is a blast! A lot of people go out for Chinese food on Christmas Day in my area. It is the only day of the year where you have to have a reservation!

  12. 23

    Julia says

    I love your advice for new moms, especially the part about him not going to college sleeping in a crib. My son is 3 and still loves his crib, so that hit home for me.
    Julia recently posted..Old School Blogging – Holiday EditionMy Profile

    • 24

      NJ says

      My four year old nephew is still in his crib too! He loves sleeping there. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken!

  13. 25

    Stacey Gannett says

    Awesome answers! I will for sure be staying in the PJ’s all day! Lovin’ it! I love that you took the kids to the Red Sox parade, my hubby would have loved to go! His dad played little league at Fenway as a kid, so the hubby is a huge Red Sox fan. I also grew up with Harry Carey and Ryne Sandberg…my dad was a major Cubbie fan. Have a great weekend, lady!
    Stacey Gannett recently posted..My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Party 37!My Profile

    • 26

      NJ says

      It was my idea to take the kids to the parade. It wasn’t even on my husband’s radar, but he was so glad we went. Typically, I’m the adventure seeker and he’s the rational one!

  14. 27

    Tracie says

    Now I am wising I had a few Cherry Chocolate Macarons to eat this morning. Yum!

    Love reading the backstory on your kid’s names. They are both great picks.

    We live far away from family, too, and I love having those slow, unrushed holidays. We usually end up going to a movie on Christmas afternoon. It is a lot of fun.
    Tracie recently posted..Project Runway Isn’t Ready For My HusbandMy Profile

    • 28

      NJ says

      Cherry Chocolate Macarons make me so so happy. They are amazing. There is a little french bakery and tea shop in town that often sells them.

      Living far away from family is hard for the holidays, but I love our nice slow day. If the kids were a little older, I think we’d head to a movie too!

  15. 29

    Jennifer McCullough says

    So nice to meet you, NJ. I was just wondering last night if my two-year-old is going to sleep with me forever. I know he won’t, but it sure feels like it. LOL I too am a fan of lazy Christmas days and spaghetti dinners, usually timed with bath nights. Visiting from SITS.
    Jennifer McCullough recently posted..Funny Santa Photos With Even Funnier CaptionsMy Profile

    • 30

      NJ says

      I’m glad you’ve stopped by, Jennifer!

      He won’t always be in your bed, promise. I know these days FEEL LONG, but we’ll be in a new season again before you know it!

  16. 31

    Vicki M taylor says

    I love your traditions for Christmas, especially eating Chinese Food. How great! Thanks for being the guest poster. Have a blessed day.

  17. 33

    Wendy May says

    Pregnant Midge? Wow, haha, that’s all I can say about that.
    I love the Sam Malone/Boston/Girl-meets-Boy story, sweet.
    Yes, I know a few people that do Chinese for Christmas dinner. Sure beats cooking!
    Merry Christmas, Ms. NJ!
    Wendy May recently posted..#AskAwayFriday, #20My Profile

  18. 35

    Brittnei says

    So sorry it has taken me so long to stop over and comment. This morning sickness is kicking my butt! And I’m night weaning my son which has been making it hard for me to hop on to do blogging at night :( . Anyway…I hear what you are saying about your last name and picking baby names. I’ve been thinking about that since I read this baby center article that gives you tips about selecting names. That makes a ton of sense what you said about thrifting. What good will what you buy be if you don’t use it. :)

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