Gretchen Schock shares her love of recipes, crafts and frugal living. She also speaks very opening about the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. After a breast cancer scare in 2012, she decided to say goodbye to her nightly glasses of Chardonnay. It was time to get sober and live life with eyes wide open! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


Halloween Bat Craft for Kids

What kid doesn't love bats? Making these Halloween bats are super easy and you will be upcycing, and that's just plain awesome!
Before my BeeYogaFusion Yoga Kids began this project we read the book Stellaluna.
(How cool is that website, right?)

As for the craft, cut up a paper egg carton so that each child has a cup. Have the children use markers or paint to color their bat. Click on the second bat wing picture and print. Then cut out the bat wings and tape a twist tie to the back of each wing. Using the tip of the scissors create a small hole in the side of each egg cup and place the twist tie in the hole.
Your done!
Either leave the bat as is to sit on a shelf or place a hole in the top of the head and put a string through so that the bat can hang upside down.
Happy Halloween!


Halloween Pumpkin Luminaries

We are getting ready for Halloween at the Bee Yoga Fusion yoga studio and the yoga kids celebrated today by making pumpkin luminaries.

Supplies needed:

I had the yoga kids rip the orange construction paper into small pieces and then glue each piece onto the wide mouth canning jar using a craft foam paint brush. I instructed them to use just a little bit of glue, which was hard for the wee ones to resist gooping it on. Then with scissors they cut out their eyes and mouths using black construction paper. After they were finished I went back and glued down and pieces that were sticking up and smoothed the surface with my fingers. Once the glue was dry I sprayed each one with a glossy finishing spray and put a battery candle light in the jar. 

It's a wonderful craft for the kids to make and feel as though they are contributing to the fall decor in your house or in their room. This also makes a great gift for the grandparents!


Free Range Kid Craft Project

It's amazing what the Bee Yoga Fusion Yoga Kids come up with when I give them supplies and a theme. On this particular day I told them that we were going to make "Ghosts". In the center of our craft area were paper plates, a roll of toilet paper, stack of white paper, glue, tape and markers. What they each came up with on their own was pretty incredible.

One covered the plate with toilet paper and then carefully tore the center open to reveal a scary face, another drew a cat ghost with paper ears attached to a paper plate and toilet paper limbs, another taped toilet paper around the whole paper plate and that was it.

Allowing kids to decide for themselves on what the result will be is part of the fun of being creative and enjoying imaginative play.

Try it with your kids. Abandon the Kids Craft Board you created full of ideas from Pinterest to create these perfectly looking crafts and instead give the children a few supplies and a theme and see what they think of on their own without any directions. Then share it on social media using the hashtag #CocktailMomCrafts


Halloween Craft for Kids- Spiders and Web

This is a wonderful craft that is easy and really fun to do.
You'll need: embroidery hoops, embroidery floss, glue, pipe cleaners, egg carton, markers, goggly eyes and a hole punch.
Start by cutting the egg carton up into single egg holders. Have each child color the egg carton with markers to make their spider and then with a hole punch make two holes for the 4 pipe cleaners to pass through the body of the spider. Glue on the goggly eyes and your spider is complete.

Moving on to the web. Take the outer ring of the embroidery hoop off and have the kids wrap embroidery floss around the hoop making a pattern as they go. This is a lot of fun and each of my yoga kids got really quiet to concentrate on the task. When they are finished making the web, tie the final end to the hoop and place the outer ring of the hoop securely on, this will hold the floss in place.

Put a final hole punch in the spider to secure a piece of floss through so that you can tie it to the hoop, Hang the hoop on your wall with the spider dangling down.
This is a great craft for Kindergarten to fourth grade students.
Happy Halloween!


Carrot and Beet Side Dish

This is a wonderful side dish that is perfect for all types of diets! It's vegetarian, gluten free, vegan and RAW.
Simply shave a few carrots and beets together in a bowl and drizzle with oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Simple and the perfect side dish to bring to your next diner party.


Paper Plate Magnet Maze

When I saw this on I knew it would be a huge hit for my yoga kids. In yoga class we often talk about how we move our bodies and our connection to other people. A game that I use with them in class is to pretend that our feet and hands are magnets and you have to connect to other students like magnets do in various yoga poses. It's so interesting to see their minds busy at work thinking how magnets click together.

I printed out the maze template and had each child color their maze with colored pencils and choose between the rabbit or the spaceship. We then glued the maze to a paper plate. Before we began the activity I hot glued magnets to 12 inch dowel rods. And then glued the magnet to their rabbit or spaceship. The kids loved seeing the magnets react and moving their rabbit/spaceship through the maze.

After we finished the craft the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to figure out what on the playground is magnetic and what isn't. This is a great craft for ages Kindergarten through Second grade. Minimal mess and LOTS of fun!


Chocolate Tasting

This past summer we went on vacation with my wife's family to the beach and had a fabulous time! I wanted to surprise everyone with a special dessert night- a chocolate tasting!

I decided that I wanted to do a blind tasting for the adults and the kids separately. For the adults I purchased six, various brands of chocolate bars that were truly unique. The kind of chocolate bars that I would never purchase for myself because I deem them too expensive or so unusual that I don't know if I want to commit to eating an entire bar. Among them were peanut butter and banana, orange peel, candied rose petals, spicy red peppers and quinoa!

I cut each bar into bit sized pieces and placed on a cutting board with a number next to it. We sat around the table and tried a bite of each chocolate one at a time, everyone tried to guess what it was that was unique about that chocolate bar, what flavor was standing out to them and which one was the best. The overall process took some time but it was a lot of fun to hear the unique ideas of ingredients and made for some interesting conversation. We made sure to drink water or wine between each numbered piece of chocolate to cleanse our palates.

For the kids chocolate tasting I purchased three different brands of milk chocolate that happened to be made in various locations around the world. A Hershey's bar from the United States, Cadbury from London and an Israel milk chocolate bar. For the kids they tried a bite of each chocolate bar and then voted on which one tasted the best.

Try hosting a chocolate bar tasting with your family this holiday season and see what flavor is crowned the winner!


Review: Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint

We recently bought a house and converted the basement into a yoga studio. Previously I traveled to various locations to teach yoga and now I just have to walk down a few steps in my home. It's glorious! I wanted the studio to be light and bright and a place where both kids and adults enjoyed coming to and taking yoga classes.

The Yoga Studio Website:

Using the colors from the website and the Bee Yoga Fusion logo, I painted the far wall of the studio a dark pink with Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint. I anticipated it to take a lot of paint and over purchased but it's always best to have too much than not enough right? FYI: the paint only comes in quart size and this wall (roughly 8 feet x 6 feet) took two quarts.

Following the advice that I read from other bloggers I first applied the Benjamin Moore primer that was tinted to match the pink color that I chose. The chalkboard paint can be any color that you would like but darker colors work best in allowing the actual chalk to show up. After the primer I applied 5 coats of chalkboard paint. Allowing each coat to dry for several hours before reapplying. When the final coat was dry I allowed the paint to "cure", as per the directions on the can for three days. Before the initial use I took a piece of sidewalk chalk on the long side and rubbed it over the entire wall which several bloggers recommended to do as well.

The yoga kids are loving it! And the adults enjoy the quotes and words of inspiration that are posted before class. The wall is easy to clean with just a wet rag and looks great even when it is left blank. I think a chalkboard wall would be a wonderful addition to any kitchen or mudroom to write messages to various family members or to post to-do lists and grocery lists. The possibilities are endless!


Make your own Watermelon Roll

My wife LOVES Friendly's Wattamelon Roll, like it's her favorite dessert and the only thing she really wants to have on her birthday. The problem is that her birthday is in the middle of September and often times Friendly's only carries the Wattamelon Roll during the summer months. On her birthday I called three locations that were somewhat close to us and none of them had it in stock.

I thought to myself…it can't be that hard to make!

And it wasn't.

I purchased a container of lime sorbet, two containers of raspberry sorbet and mini chocolate chips. The hardest part of making this dessert is timing the melting of the sorbet. I lined a circular pan with wax paper and began with scooping out the lime sorbet and putting it around the entire edge of the pan. Having the raspberry sorbet thawing and a mushy consistency I then placed it in a bowl and slowly poured in the mini chocolate chips. I just eyeballed it and added chips as I stirred until it was the desired look. Then I quickly scooped it into the center of the pan and finished off with sprinkling the top with a few more chocolate chips.

The result was fantastic! Everyone enjoyed it and my wife was so touched that I went to the trouble to recreate her favorite dessert.
I highly recommend trying it for your family, it's low in fat and a wonderful dessert for guests who have allergies to milk/soy or who are gluten free. Just be sure to purchase gluten free chocolate chips!


Easy Painting for Kids- Seasonal Fun

We are celebrating FALL! The sun goes down earlier and the scarves have come out of their hiding spot deep in the back of the closet. My yoga kids and I spent an afternoon creating fall tree paintings to celebrate the first day of fall.

I put various acrylic paints on paper plates for everyone to share in colors that we would see the leaves on east coast trees change into and with Q tips we painted beautiful trees by dabbing dots on the paper. I printed out the base of the tree on white paper using this free printable.

This is a great activity for kids from Kindergarten to third grade, it doesn't require a lot of prep and the mess is very minimal. Put a blanket on the ground and take your painting outside, it's a wonderful opportunity to talk to the kids about their favorite color of leaves.



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