Cookies for Dinner – Review + Excerpt

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Cookies for Dinner in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received for my post, Cookies for Dinner – Review + Excerpt. I was not required to write a positive review.

cookies for dinnerMothers don’t need another “how to” book on parenting. What they need is to know that they’re not the only ones who stand on the supermarket checkout line and share potty training horror stories with total strangers.You can find plenty of books, relatives, and therapists who are happy to tell you how to become the “perfect” mother. Cookies for Dinner is the antidote to all that.

Pam Johnson-Bennett and Kae Allen are two mothers who reveal their imperfections and embarrassments through hilarious true stories. They bravely (or insanely) tell about how one unexpectedly learns the poop capacity of the average car seat, what to wear on Chicken Pox Island and what it feels like to have your toddler lock you out of the house while you’re wearing less-than flattering swimwear. There’s also the fact that no one tells you that your breasts will be treated like a fast food take-out window or that a ravenous infant can create more suction than industrial-grade vacuum cleaners. And, let’s not forget the appropriate technique for removing a crow that is found sitting on the diaper pail while you’re changing your infant’s diapers and how a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit can cause an otherwise rational woman to do strange things.

Johnson-Bennett and Allen are good friends but total opposites in their parenting styles. Despite their differences though, these mothers have both ended up on the same roller coaster ride of diapers, tantrums, separation anxiety, misbehaving husbands, sleep deprivation and what the heck to name private body parts.Whether the reader is a young mother, experienced mom, mom-to-be, empty nester, grandparent, or still on the fence about becoming a mother, everyone can relate to Cookies for Dinner. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who will be, is now, has been, or NEVER wants to be called… mom.

pam and kaePam Johnson-Bennett

The one thing you can’t say about Pam Johnson-Bennett is that she’s a chicken. She certainly loves a challenge! After paving a career in the then-unheard-of field of cat behavior consulting and becoming a leader in the profession, she has decided to throw caution to the wind and defy the advice of family in order to reveal the REAL Pam…the Pam who is a worrying germophobe mother of two. In her “other” life, Pam is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and best-selling author of 7 books. She is the star of the upcoming television series “Psycho Kitty” that is set to air on Discovery UK channel later in 2013. She is a former Vice-President of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is the founder of the IAABC Cat Division. She is one of the most well-known experts on cat behavior and her ground-breaking “Think Like a Cat” approach to cat behavior has been featured and profiled in numerous magazines and television shows. Her books are considered the “cat bibles” when it comes to understanding felines and what makes them tick. Her parenting skills, however, are still in question.

Pam and her husband have been married for 15 years and have two children. The family lives in Tennessee with a dog, cat and three goldfish.

Kae Allen

On thing you can say about Kae is she likes to laugh. No matter what the situation, you can rely on her to find the humor and share it with all around. In Kae’s professional life she has dedicated over 21 years to building her own accounting practice. In her personal life, she is the mother of three wonderful children. She has been married to her husband, David for 26 years. Kae’s favorite playtime passion is bowling. She may wish for a higher average but is thrilled at the sound of crashing pins and friendly laughter. She is the secretary of two bowling leagues and the association manager for her local bowling association. All of Kae’s children have graduated from college and have so far avoided the need of a therapist couch. She spent three years enjoying her empty nest having time to travel to bowling tournaments, play golf and dote over her husband and her female goldendoodle dog, Fred. As of the writing of this book, Kae’s empty nest has filled back up with her in-laws moving in. For Kae, the best day is one that has her house filled to the brim with family, friends and, of course, lots of laughter.

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Chapter 5

Public Humiliation

Public Restrooms

By Pam

Once your toddler gets over the fascination of what should and shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, and the fact that he or she can climb onto the step stool by the sink and turn the faucet on and off and on and off or squeeze every last drop out of the toothpaste tube, your home bathroom becomes just another room in the house. Public restrooms, however, hold a never-ending fascination for the toddler mind. Public restrooms have a variety of flushing configurations, varying sink heights, adventurous hand- drying options, hypnotic echoes, and other people!

Public restrooms also provide mothers with yet more oppor- tunities to fear for our children’s health and become hopelessly embarrassed by what our children say and do. It’s also during the countless trips we make accompanying our little ones to the rest- room that we resign ourselves to the fact that it will be years before we will once again be able to enjoy a hot restaurant meal.

My children had particular favorites when it came to public restrooms. They knew exactly which ones had automatic flushing and automatic hand dryers. For Jack, the fact that the toilet “knew” to flush whenever he stepped away from it sent him into a fit of giggles. The “magic eye” of the toilet was something he was determined to outsmart. For my daughter, telling her that the toilet had a magic eye created hysterical crying and fear that the toilet was watching her poo poo. My mistake. I explained to her that it wasn’t really an eye, but rather, a sensor. That frightened her just as much because she was sure a monster was putting laser beams in her back while she sat on the toilet. So mommy had to put her finger over the sensor the entire time we were in the stall.

The first time Jack realized that other people could use the rest- room at the same time as him became an opportunity for social interaction. “What ‘cha doin’ in there?” Jack whispered to the stall divider. There was no response. “I see your feet, I know you’re there,” he continued.

“Jack, ssssh. Everyone deserves their own privacy. Now do your business and let’s get going,” I said. Just then, there was an unmis- takable plopping sound in the toilet next door. I looked at Jack, put my hand over his mouth, and shook my head. It did no good. I knew Jack’s comment was inevitable. Poop commentary is too irresistible for a young boy.

“Ooh, mommy, that person made a big stinky,” he announced as he pried my hand away.

“Jack, ssssh,” I repeated. Then I waited until I was sure that person had exited the restroom before we came out of the stall.

The independent streak in Gracie was fueled by public restrooms. Even though she lived in mortal fear of the toilet’s magic eye, she loved the sensors on the faucets and hand dryers because it allowed her to act like a grown-up in front of other people. The same sensor that terrified her on the toilet amused her at the auto- matic paper towel dispenser. Apparently, when you have your pants around your ankles the sensor is more sinister, but when you’re fully clothed, you’ve leveled the playing field. She was convinced that just jumping up and waving hello to the dispenser caused it to send a towel down her way. The future little bathroom attendant loved offering to get towels for anyone approaching to wash their hands.

During potty training, an outing to restaurants was a game of mommy-jump-up whenever my kids even hinted that they might have to pee or poo. There were many outings when my husband spent much of the time alone at a table set for four, eating his dinner by himself as I spent much of the evening in the restroom. It got to the point where we would always invite Scott’s parents out to dinner with us just so he’d have someone to talk to while I was gone.

When dining out, we also learned to ask for the table nearest the restroom. We’d forego sitting at the lovely table with the view just to cut down on how much walking I’d have to do through the restaurant with two wiggly children. As far as I was concerned, I defined optimum table location by whether I could clearly see the restroom signs.

I was well aware of which restrooms my children loved and which ones were just plain old bathrooms. Whenever we ventured out to a restaurant or store, I knew in advance whether we’d be making the normal single visit or if this would be a multi-visit ven- ture, based on bathroom interest. At the restaurants with the best bathrooms, I simply ordered a salad and gave up any dreams of a hot meal.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself that I should’ve put my foot down and announced that there would be one trip and one trip only to the restroom. That may have worked for other mothers, but the gastrointestinal tracts of the Bennett children defied logic. One night at our favorite restaurant Jack announced that he had to go poo poo. I sternly looked over at him and said that he had already been to the restroom twice and he’d have to wait until dinner was over. Moments later, an unmistakable odor filled the air and an unmistakable substance filled his underwear. Being stern wasn’t worth the clean-up I had to do.

Public restrooms also created quite a challenge for the germophobe in me. Taking two children into the stall at the same time and attempting to help one out of their pants and safely onto the potty, while making sure the other one touched nothing, was quite a circus act.

“Don’t touch anything!” I announced to the children as we entered the restroom. Once inside the stall, I pulled out a dispos- able potty cover to lay over the toilet seat. If you ever wonder why I carry such a large purse, it’s because I have an entire package of potty covers as well as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and travel-size Lysol spray in my purse. Does that qualify me as an official ger­mophobe? I think so.


I really enjoyed reading Cookies for Dinner. It is a fun, light-hearted approach to motherhood. As a mom of two, I could easily relate to the stories Pam and Kae tell in the book. I laughed out loud reading parts of it. It is nice to see I’m not the only mom who has dealt with some of these situations! 🙂 This would make the perfect gift for any mom, and especially new moms. Some days, it is hard to see the humor in motherhood. Cookies for Dinner helps you remember that even though you’re a mom, you’re still human. Motherhood isn’t about being the perfect mother. It’s about being the perfect mother for your kids. Even if that means that some days, you feed them cookies for dinner!

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Cookies for Dinner in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received for my post, Cookies for Dinner – Review + Excerpt. I was not required to write a positive review.


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