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.

11/28/2008

Busy week~School Battles

Last Monday was parent visitation day at Logan's school, you know where you go and sit in on the class for a few hours and watch what a typical day looks like. His teacher is not a good fit for him. I know she is good for some kids but for Logan he needs a teacher that will give him a little extra attention, push him to be a part of the group. And I get it...23 kids in a class is hard...but here is a kid with an IEP that has a list of demands and they are not being met. I have observed the class for a few days and still am not happy with the placement. Logan is completely withdrawn. A classic complaint of parents with autistic kids is that they feel like they have to pull their kid out of a thick fog. Well since school has started, I have felt that way. Don't get me wrong Logan use to be withdrawn all the time, but that was before the GF/CF diet. Since the diet change, he's changed for the better. And occasionally he will become withdrawn when he is over stimulated in his environment. Now after watching his classroom for a few days I see that he is not being engaged at all and sadly he is being "left behind", and there my heart begins to break.

We've had meetings with all the folks that make up his IEP TEAM and the principle and after much convincing we feel as though we have finally gotten through to them that Logan needs to be in another class. Many of his special therapists agreed that he needs to be in a more social environment, the class he's in right now is not what I would call social. Though I know there are others who will disagree with me.

All in all, I'm not happy with my choices of education. It's so sad that the Montessori method of teaching was originally developed for children with mental and physical disabilities and that those schools are now not available to the people who could really benefit from them because they are so freakin' expensive. I looked into the local charter Montessori school, which is free, but they are full for Logan's age and also they won't take kindergarten unless the child has had previous private Montessori school experience. And to top it off it's a lottery process to get in!

And so right now we wait for the principle to call and tell us when he will be moved. If the phone call doesn't happen we'll be making an appointment with an advocate. What this school needs to realize is that Jon and I are fighters when it comes to our children. We won't be pushed aside and forgotten.

Things must change...

11/27/2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

I am thankful for many things.
What I am most thankful for...is looking at these 3 beautiful faces everyday.
Life is good.

11/26/2008

Over One Thousand Unique Visitors!!!

Back when Jessica and I started this blog we installed a google analytics reader into the blog, many blogs do this to know how many people visit the blog daily. I am so very excited to announce that over 1 thousand people read this blog...1, 104 to exact. :)

Jessica has decided to depart from writing posts, life has been hectic for her with working full time and school, but has promised to guest post when she has something fantastic to share with us...food, crafts or otherwise.
But I'll still be here! I so enjoy being a part of your daily blog reading. THANK YOU for reading, for commenting and for taking a moment of your day to spend with me. You all ROCK!!! I am so thankful to have this special place to share my journey with you all.

11/25/2008

Ceiling Fan Makeover

My aunt gave us this beautiful ceiling fan, and was kind enough to offer to install it too. This "living close to family" thing really does pay off! The only downside of the fan was that it had shiny brass features , I forgot to take a before picture, oops! The frugal part of me could not turn down a free, much needed ceiling fan only because it was part brass and we are definitely a brushed silver household. I pulled out this indoor/outdoor paint that I bought 5 years ago to paint the tacky brass handles in our first apartment in Seattle. Can you believe after all our moves I still have that bottle of paint?!?! Crazy! Oh, the paint is called Sophisticated Finishes and I bought my bottle at Michael's. As you can see from the pictures it does a wonderful job of covering up brass, this is only after 2 coats.

11/21/2008

Scrappin' inside a frame


So I wanted to switch some stuff up in the living room...keep it fresh. Because I like to move every year and we are now staying put, I rearrange the living room and change pictures in the frames seasonally if not sooner. I have these awesome 11x14" frames that I got in the As-Is Section of Ikea but I really couldn't figure out what picture I would want in an 11x14" size. Printing out a picture that big, well it feels like a commitment. And like I said I change the the decor often. So anyway I decided to try framing a scrapbook layout. I am so happy with how it turned out. This is a picture of Logan and one of his best buds from Seattle when they came to visit us last spring. Love the quote on the tag "A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."

11/20/2008

Side table off the street


Just wanted to show off what I picked up on the side of the road recently. A cute little side table, perfect size and color for our house. Thanks neighbor!
Oh and also Dharma was not given anything to sit in on this shot, she's just photogenic. :)
Like my new carpet?!?! HUGE, beautiful wool area rug for 50 bucks on craigslist.com! Love that!

11/19/2008

Costco: Kirkland brand goes green


Everyone that knows me, knows I love Costco. For the mere reason that it saves our family a lot of money. Not only can I buy a case of organic soy milk for a reasonable price but now they have environmentally friendly dish soap and laundry detergent under their Kirkland brand name. No longer do you have to shell out a lot of money to do the right thing environmentally. On the Costco website they state that the products were made from the ground up, they choose to make a product that is green and also to make sure they used the most efficient manufacturing and distribution process.

And also as an added bonus their Kirkland brand coffee is not only roasted by Starbucks but it's also fair trade! Rock on Costco for raising the bar!

11/18/2008

Pimpin' my camera strap!


I love my new DSLR camera but what I don't love is the tacky Canon advertising strap around my neck. I had to give my camera a makeover. I bought this ribbon ages ago at this cute trim shop in the fashion district in NYC with hopes of making a belt. Well that never happened! I took the strap off the camera and simple stitched the ribbon on turning the ends under. So simple. And now my camera is fashionable.

11/17/2008

Pumpkin Pie


I love pumpkin pie. It is my favorite dessert of all time. We invited friends over for dinner, they just recently moved to MD from NYC (where we met) and Suzie arrived with a homemade pumpkin pie in her hands. I don't think I've ever actually tasted a pumpkin pie made from a roasted pumpkin and not out of a can. And I am here to tell you that doing the work and roasting the pumpkin is worth every second it takes. This pie is fantastic! I've never tasted anything like it. I don't think I'll be able to enjoy canned pumpkin ever again...Okay that's a total lie!!

11/14/2008

Soy-Free Veg Protein Powder

Logan's choices of food are very limiting, so in order to make sure he gets the nutrients he needs I have to be very creative with sneaking food into the dishes he already likes. I recently discovered Naturade Soy Free Veg Protein Powder.
Logan at age 2 decided he was a vegetarian. Zane was just a baby in the highchair and I was feeding him a hard boiled egg for the first time. Logan was very curious about what Zane was eating. So I told him that Zane was trying an egg and then asked if he wanted to try it. He shook his head "no". A few moments later I look over at Logan and he has tears welling up in his eyes, his bottom lip is quivering.
"Logan, what's wrong sweetie?"
Allowing the tears to fall he says ,"Birds come from eggs and eggs come from birds. Zane is eating a bird!"
A full crying session followed. And that was the moment, from then on we have a vegetarian on our hands. I will admit that because his diet is so limited we have fed him meat but called it other things. For example we called fish sticks "crunchy sticks", but while Grammy was visiting us in Seattle she called them fish sticks and Logan went to bed crying "I don't eat Nemo!".

I tried the protein powder by adding in 1/3 cup into his pancake batter, along with extra water. It mixed up well and there is no taste to it so it went completely unnoticed. YAHOO! 1/3 cup is 22 grams of protein. I now put it into everything, pancake batter, pizza dough, bread dough in the bread machine. It's vegan and vegetarian friendly and it also provides 100% of the daily value of B12, plus 8mg of Iron and 150mg of calcium in every serving. B12 is something that is always lacking in a vegetarian diet. If you or your child needs an added boost of protein I highly suggest this powder, and also if you don't like it the company has a 100% product guarantee, for whatever reason.

11/11/2008

Field Mice

Mice are a favorite thing in our house right now. It seems as though the last few movies we watched all contain a mouse/rat character.
I wanted to make little mouse friends for the boys. I think I'm going to make more animals. It was so much fun and I think they are so stinkin' cute!

11/10/2008

Organizing the Closet

Our guest bedroom has many functions. And one of those is storage of tools and household supplies like paint, toilet paper, shampoo etc. I felt as though we weren't using the space efficiently so I spent all day Saturday organizing. One area in our life that was a problem was our tool storage. I put all the tools on the wall, now you can see if the hammer has not been returned to it's proper space. I also picked up these large silver bins in the As-Is section of Ikea which holds all of our toiletries and such. And then I nailed the lid of a mason jar to the underside of the shelf and inside each jar are nails and screws.
Now we just need someone to visit so that I will finally have the motivation to paint over those last few spots of touch up.

11/07/2008

Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is very easy and it's vegetarian and vegan. Add it to your fall recipes.

Butternut Squash Soup

3 pounds of butternut squash or 2 medium sized squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 small onion, chopped
5 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

Place all items in a large pot and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 mins until sweet potato is tender. Remove lid and heat and allow to cool. Once cool, puree in batches. Return pureed soup to heat and allow to warm. Serve with a hearty bread.

Can't get easier than that!
Enjoy!
Thanks Jon for being a sport for the picture.

11/06/2008

Reflection and Thankfulness

Today, for me, is a day of reflection and thankfulness. I am so thankful to have this beautiful community of friends and family around me. I believe in the change that Obama will bring to this country. I am so thankful to be a part of this history and the hope that shines ahead.

11/05/2008

Crochet Dishrags

I've been disgusted with our sponges. I feel as though I'm replacing them constantly, not very earth friendly of me. It was time to make my own dish rags. Using cotton yarn I cast on 30 stitches and single crocheted the whole thing until it measured 7 inches by 8 inches.
I've been told that you can microwave your sponge to kill bacteria, but we don't have a microwave.
I've also been told you can put your sponge on the top rack of the dishwasher to kill bacteria, but we hand wash in our house.
So I'm going to try the crochet dishcloths for awhile and finally break my sponge addiction. I think these would also make great Christmas gifts as part of my "greener living" basket.

11/04/2008

IKEA Småland

Part of me feels slightly guilty and the other part of me is so thankful for an hour. That's all I ask, an hour to turn off my mom-on-call-duty. If you are a mom, you know you're on call 24/7 regardless whether you feel up to it or not. So on Friday there was no school and the boys are bouncing off the walls. I'm just waiting for my next door neighbor to come over and complain about the bouncing that makes her "nerves shot". I want to laugh in her face when she tells me this. HA! But instead I hustle the kids out the door for a quick drive to Ikea where they both are allowed to play in the Småland kid area now that diapers no longer exist in our lives. An hour. I grab a 99 cent coffee and I sit and write blog posts to prepare for the week and crochet. Thank you Erin for reminding me of this small gem. And for those of you with an Ikea nearby, give it a shot. Don't shop. Just sit and do what you want for an hour. Ah heaven!
Picture is taken from the Ikea website.

11/03/2008

Snow Globes

One day while out shopping for winter jackets at the local thrift store, the boys were awe struck by the Christmas aisle. There they found many snow globes that they wanted, totally fascinated with the falling snow. Seeing the wonder in their eyes I was tempted to buy one. I actually let Logan carry one around the store until I noticed it was leaking. Yuck!
But it gave me an idea. Let's make our own snow globes!!! A quick stop at Home Depot to buy aquarium sealer and we were all set. I took baby food jars and glued a plastic toy to the inside of the lid using the aquarium sealer. Then the hardest part, waiting 24 hours for it to dry. Then the boys picked out the glitter they wanted to use and filled it with tap water. Here's a warning though..don't use colored glitter because the water will change color. After putting the lid on, I used the aquarium sealer around the lid for a perfect fit. Now each of them have their own glitter snow globe.
If only glitter fell from the sky in real life!

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