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.

5/30/2007

Freecycle

For those of you that are new to the recycle thing, you may not know about Freecycle yet. If you do know about Freecycle share your experiences in the comments area so others can learn about it.

http://www.freecycle.org/

Basically The Freecycle Network™ is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer. Membership is free.

How does it work?
When you want to find a new home for something -- whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano, or an old door -- you simply send an e-mail offering it to members of the local Freecycle group.
Or, maybe you're looking to acquire something yourself. Simply respond to a member's offer, and you just might get it. After that, it's up to the giver to decide who receives the gift and to set up a pickup time for passing on the treasure.
The main rule: Everything posted must be free, legal, and appropriate for all ages.

Every city we have lived in I have been a member of the local Freecycle group. I was able to freecycle a ton of stuff before we left Seattle for MD and now I'm in the process of acquiring stuff for our new home. I just recently picked up a Rubbermaid wire coated closet organizer that retails at home depot for over 100 bucks. Some of the pieces still have tags on them. I can't wait to set it up in the boys' closet, my attempt to make them organizing freaks like me :) I've also picked up random things like a 100 pack of DVD-R and a case of baby formula. You never know what someone wants to get rid of. Also when I was getting rid of stuff I listed things that didn't work and people actually wanted it. Keep in mind there are people that love to tinker with electronics or need parts from your non working laptop.

So check it out whether you're spring cleaning or looking to acquire, it's a fantastic way to save the landfill of good stuff.
Happy Freecycling!

Sundance Channel "The Green"

We don't watch much TV in our house but every once in a while I want to grab my crochet project and zone out in front of the tube after a long day being a SAHM. Last night I discovered that we have the Sundance Channel on-demand and came across their new show The Green. I watched this amazing documentary about where our food comes from, farmers to slaughter houses. I will admit that it just reinforced my goal of being a vegetarian. The entire series is geared toward creating public awareness and educating the audience on how to live "greener". Check out their website for your guide to greener living. There are some wonderful ideas that I plan to put into effect in our house.
http://www.sundancechannel.com/greenguide

5/29/2007

World Wide Knit in Public Day

http://www.wwkipday.com/
June 9th, 2007 is World Wide Knit in Public Day.
Go to this site and click on the country you plan to knit in and then find the state you live. Many states and countries are participating so grab your needles and sit and knit. You don't just have to be a knitter to participate...crochet counts too!

5/25/2007

Sangria on a Stick

This recipe is from a small ice-pop shop in Durham, NC called Locopops.
Summer just isn't complete without a frozen sangria on a stick!

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Zest of 1/2 lime

3 cups fresh pineapple chunks (about 1 pound)

2 dried start anise pods

1 1/2 tablespoons white rum

Juice of 2 to 3 oranges (2/3 cup)

2 1/2 cups dry white wine

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, ginger and lime zest. Add the pineapple and toss.

Scrape the pineapple into the skillet, add the star anise and cook, without stirring, until the pineapple caramelizes, 5 minutes.

Stir in the rum and let the alcohol burn off, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice, scraping the bottom of the pan; let cool.

Discard the anise.

Puree the fruit mixture in a blender.

Stir in the white wine and pour the mixture into ice-pop molds.

Freeze until solid, about 4 hours.

Makes 12 pops.

prep time 20 minutes plus freezing

cook time 8 minutes

Everyday Napkins



I am conducting an experiment in our house. I have not purchased paper towels or napkins since January to see if we actually need them. Well we don't.

Now don't get me wrong I'd rather soak up a potty training accident on the carpet with paper towels and throw it away and be done with it. But this is the attitude that has gotten our planet into trouble. So I adjust. I bought a pack of kitchen towels at Costco only because I wanted the 2 red towels to match the kitchen, I could care less about the other fruity prints ones. Well now the fruity prints have a purpose...they are now used for anything which I would normally use paper towels.

We've been doing the cloth napkin thing for quite a while so that wasn't a big deal to get use to. The only time I relied on the paper napkins was when we had added guests at the table. Now that we live in MD surrounded by my family the added guests at the table happens more frequently (thanks goodness!) than when we lived in Seattle, WA. So today I went through my fabric stash and cut up some everyday napkins. I make children's clothing full time so most of my fabric is left over from a kid outfit, hence the bright colored fabric and police cars.

To make the napkins simply cut out 2 squares of fabric, sew them together wrong side facing out leaving yourself a small opening somewhere to turn the fabric inside out. Once you turn it inside out, iron and sew around the napkin again.

I'm even thinking that instead of taking Logan to the party store to pick out his paper plates and napkins for his birthday party instead I'm going to take him to Joann's with my 40% off coupon in hand and have him pick out his favorite licensed character fabric to make everyday napkins that, for almost the same price, we can enjoy over and over again after the party!

Home improvements

We are in the process of buying our second home. I daydream daily of paint colors and furniture arranging. I adore this process of moving...the decorating! Our first house was in Des Moines, WA. And when we moved in there was a lot of work to be done. The entire downstairs was painted this horrible pea soup green and the fireplace was painted a high gloss white. It looked bad but I knew we could fix it with a little paint. Buying a home makes such a dent in your savings that you barely have enough money to start the projects you want to tackle. Painting is the cheapest face lift you can give to a room. So I started there. The first picture was taken at our home inspection with the seller's furniture and decor still in the house. We quickly got rid of the pea soup green and replaced it with a off white and then I tackled the fireplace. I looked into having the paint removed so we would have the original stone work but it was really expensive and would mean we would have to be out of the house for a few weeks as the process would be toxic to breathe. With a toddler and a brand new baby in my arms that wasn't a possibility. So I grabbed some paint and with my theatre background I used the knowledge I gained in college from the many hours painting sets. I used 4 colors, all were left over from paint we used to paint different rooms in our house. Using a dry brush dab a very small amount of paint on the brush, you want it to remain dry, and tap on the surface in a random order. Let each color dry before applying the next color. There is no real science to it, just use your imagination. I've seen this technique used on many types of projects from door frames to decorative pots to a fireplace :)

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