Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.


The Best of 2009- Web Tool

Q: Web tool. It came into your work flow this year and now you couldn't live without it. It has simplified or improved your online experience.

A: Delicious, a social bookmarking tool has finally helped me make sense of my crazy bookmarking system or lack there of. I compulsively bookmark websites, craft ideas, interesting tidbits to read when I don't have a small child asking me to zip their jacket/wipe their snotty nose/read Go Dog Go for the 1 thousandth time. The problem is I typically then forget about that clever way to reuse a wine cork, now I can tag it and be done with it. And the best part I can share with my friends the sites I think they will like too. Love that!!


The Best of 2009- Project

Q: Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

A: I recently got certified to teach Yoga and within 2 weeks of certification I was starting a new business, Bee Yoga Fusion. Teaching yoga has been one of my dreams for many, many years. I adore teaching, I love showing people how to move and stretch their bodies, seeing their confidence grow within themselves through their practice. I am so excited to start this journey in 2010, I will be teaching yoga to the kids at Greenbelt Co-op Nursery School and at the College Park Community Center (both adult and kid classes). If you know of a school or organization that would like me to come and teach please email me. I'm hoping to add more classes and locations throughout the year.

Picture above is by Lori Portka: Happiness through Art


The Best of 2009- New Person

Q: New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

A: This past year I've gotten to know a friend of a friend. It's so funny when the pebble is thrown and the ripples spread out across the lake of your life. My friend Corie, one of my Jitterbugs, has a friend Gia. Through Corie, Gia and I became friends. She's one of those people that you meet, instantly connect with and wonder where she's been your entire life. A long lost sister, you fall into the relationship head first and never look back. We have many similar interests and seem to take on the world with the same fire and spirit. She has started this awesome company called Re:Mix, the fund raising calendar this year is even better than last year.. it is truly remarkable.

We've chatted, we've emailed, we've been updated with each other's lives on facebook and twitter but we've never actually met in person. Isn't she just the cutest lil' thing to boot!?! I think 2010 should be our year, Gia!


The Best of 2009- Shop

Q: Shop. Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?

A: I'm not a huge spender. Typically when I'm shopping it's because I actually need it, or the kids do. I spent a lot of money at Nashbar,but I needed a new seat for my bike and new tires. That being said I spend a lot of time "window shopping" on Etsy. Right now I'm searching for the perfect cigarette case. No I'm not a smoker anymore but back in the day when I was I use to put my cigarettes and money/credit cards in this awesome vintage, metal cigarette case that fit perfectly in my back pocket. Lord only knows where that is now, one of the few regrets of a past purge. I'd love to find something like that now because what I have going on is rather quite sad and pathetic, don't you think? I'm totally digging SweetHeartSinner's shop on etsy, I'm just having a hard time picking one. What are your favorites?


The Best of 2009- Word or Phrase

Q: Word or phrase. A word that encapsulates your year. "2009 was _____."

A: 2009 was an Awakening of my spirit.
I took the time this year to really focus on me. To put myself on the to-do list. Now that my kids are getting older and are less dependent on me, I found myself asking "who am I?". Trying to discover what the label "mom" means to me, how I can tap into who I was before kids and who I am now. I'm trying to make a conscious effort to not be one of those moms who lives and breathes her kids. I love my kids, don't get me wrong, but I also believe it's important for them to grow up seeing and knowing a mom who loves herself and cares enough about herself to take time away from the family to follow her passions. I've rediscovered what happiness means. I've laughed more this past year, felt joyous and here I sit taking a deep breath in and knowing in my whole heart I am following my true bliss. It's not easy. There are hard decisions to be made along the way. We all have to do what makes us happy, to not become stagnant, to awaken our core beings. Make the point in 2010 to put yourself on the to-do list. You deserve it!


The Best of 2009- Rush

Q: Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?
A: Anytime I can go over 20 miles an hour on my bike. A rush like no other.


The Best of 2009- New Food

Q: New food. You're now in love with Lebanese food and you didn't even know what it was in January of this year.

A: I'm pretty flexible about food. I'll try just about anything...once. This year though I discovered that I really enjoy roasted beets. It all started with a hand off of beets from a person's CSA box. They knew that they didn't like them, I wasn't so sure so I found a recipe for roasted beets and gave it a whirl. Next thing I know I'm buying beets at the local farmer's market. Did you know that beet juice can lower blood pressure and since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. The juice is a rich source of boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones. Hmmm...makes you want to pick up some beets eh?

Since I don't have a picture of beets I thought I'd spread a little Etsy love and feature someone else's work that I dig. I love the expression on this tree's face. The print is called The Growth.


The Best of 2009- Music

Q: Album of the year. What's rocking your world?

A: I'm in LOVE with Brandi Carlile right now. I could listen to her everyday...well actually I do.

I'm passionate about giving back, finding a way to outstretch your arms and help someone or something. And I love when entertainers do the same thing. Brandi started an organization in 2008 called The Looking Out Foundation, a 501c, in order to provide financial support to various causes that she believes in. The focus of the organization is mostly environmental causes but in an interview in September 2009, Brandi said, "We really work on a community basis and we do everything from helping people pay for funerals to environmental projects. The Looking Out Foundation is a helping hand to any cause we believe in."
Brandi also donates a dollar from every concert ticket sale to The Looking Out Foundation, that's pretty freakin' cool!
I wish more entertainers followed her lead. You rock Brandi!


The Best of 2009- Moment of Peace

Q: Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

A: I meditate and do yoga on a daily basis. I reach a point of "zen" where my body relaxes and I think that I'm feeling what I'm suppose to feel, how it's explained in books and how I've heard that moment described by others. Would I call it peace? No....Yes, maybe. I know that I'm not alone, I can hear the kids breathing in the next room. I know that soon enough they will awaken and that this moment will soon be forgotten. I breathe in and my mind always goes to the feeling I get when I push off the wall in the pool, dolphin kicking my legs, tucking my chin to my chest, hands stacked one on top of the other stretched ahead of me....the silence surrounding me. Being submerged in water has always been my peaceful place. On days when my mind is racing, when I'm feeling overwhelmed I often break away and head to the pool to do laps. There in the depths of the pool I can clear my mind, find my breath, leave feeling rejuvenated and renewed.


The Best of 2009- Blog

Q: Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can't believe you didn't know about until this year.
A: Not only am I a blogger but I'm a blog reader. The list is really long, the blogs that I check out on a daily and weekly basis. But if I had to narrow it down here are my top 5...yes that's as narrow as I can make it.
1. Kelly Rae Roberts: loving her art work and her energy written into her blog.
2. Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: a family of four who travels the US in a RV powered by vegetable oil! Need I say more?
3. Shutter Sisters: because pretty pictures are always nice to look at.
4. A Beautiful Mess: Elsie is super cute and I totally want to "know" her, I think we'd be fast friends.
5. Ordinary Courage: Brene` Brown is amazing, her words inspire me to "tune out and tune in".

The photo above is from BlueCocoon, I love how light and airy her pictures are, the story that is created in each frame. She is having a Buy One Get One Free Offer in her etsy shop. In case anyone cares I like this one and this one. :)


Dollar Days at Baltimore Museums

Don't miss dollar days at Baltimore museums this weekend. Yesterday the boys and I checked out the Maryland Science Center,
it was awesome! I love science centers, all the hands on learning, the wide age range that it appeals to....the kid play area!!! Logan loved putting a skeleton together and learning more about the inside of the body, this is a recent new fascination and we are strongly encouraging it. Cancel your plans for the day and head to Baltimore! Come on the roads aren't that bad.


The Best of 2009- Book

Q: Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?
A: I Will Not Die an Unlived Life By Dawna Markova
Yes, I've blogged about this book before, click here. It's the book that I keep coming back to, that I tell so many people that they have to read. I haven't loaned out my copy because it still lives in my car. I pick it up at random moments and read a passage that I've underlined/circled/ still speaks to me in a way no other book has this year.


The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

I recently discovered Gwen's blog and I am so excited to participate in The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Basically the concept is to take a moment and look at the last year and reflect, remember and then share my favorite moments from 2009. There are no hard rules, so I may post everyday or I may not. That's the beauty of it. But to catch up here are the first 2.
Q: Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?
Hands down the best trip I took this year was when my girlfriend Lauren and I went to NY to ride our bikes 100 miles in one day. I am still amazed that we did it. I still get giddy talking about it. After the ride we went to the beach and watched the sun set, I haven't taken the time to do that enough in the past year. To sit and BE and allow life to happen around me and just enjoy it.

Q:Restaurant moment. Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?
A: For all you local folks you have to check out Jackie's in Silver Spring, MD. By far the best food I've had this year. The serving sizes are perfect, you don't feel sickly full, you leave feeling completely satisfied. Make sure you call and make a reservation, yes it's that good!


A lot on the fire....

I have a lot going on right now. A lot on the fire, as my Grandmother would say. I'm trying to find a balance but with Christmas fast approaching I'm like a lot of people...feeling a tad overwhelmed and wishing there were more hours in the day. I've paired down my handmade gifts this year and right now it's all I am working on so sadly you won't be seeing many craft posts until after Christmas, as the recipients read the blog.
I'm steadily building my yoga classes for the new year. I'm also in the beginning stages of something new and exciting and I can't wait to tell you all about it!! Really excited!!! Trust me, so worth the wait! :)
I hope all of you take a moment to breathe. Be in your body and allow the emotions you are feeling to have their space and then move them on. Focus on the reason why we share these holidays together. Be there. In that moment. And carry it with you.
be well.


The day after Thanks...

This is what the day after Thanksgiving looked like in my house, exactly the way it should. I chilled out in pajamas until about one-ish.
Never do I do this....though I've done it twice in the last month. hmmm.....
One of the boys, sometimes both, were at my feet playing cars, games, asking important questions like "can we decorate for Christmas NOW?!?!" I sat on the sofa knitting with a very cuddly Dharma next to me while texting my mom. Talk about a relaxing day of multitasking!


A day at Fort Washington, MD

I grew up just five minutes from Fort Washington, MD. My parents use to take us every Easter morning for the sunrise service. As a child I hated getting up that early but then the sun would start rising, and that moment when it's dark and it seems like you blink and the sky is filled with light in an instant....still takes my breath away. There were all these people of different faiths at the sunrise service joined together, a handful of ministers sharing one podium for one Sunday morning. And even as a child I could feel how spectacular that was.

Later Fort Washington became this secret place that my friend Amy and I would sneak into after dark and lay on one of the grass roofs looking at the stars sharing our dreams of what we wanted to do with our lives. Feeling so grown up for getting away with sneaking into the park after dark (against the rules) and yet small and childish enough to be easily scared at every sound we heard in the dark.

It's nice to come home again, as an adult, and share these places of my childhood with my children. They force me to look at it in a different light. It's refreshing. It makes my heart light.

If you are in the DC area, I highly recommend spending an afternoon here, in the winter it's free but even "in season" it's really cheap to get in. My boys loved rolling down the steep hills, pretending to shoot cannons and discovering all the hidden dark rooms.
Here is a glimpse of our day at Fort Washington.


Birthday Gift for a Friend

As the person in the family who takes all the pictures and then scrapbooks those moments I know how hard it is to feel like you are being seen. There are barely any photos of me in the scrapbooks I make and I often wonder if in 10 years I'll regret that. I've been trying to be more mindful of creating layouts that involve me, have photos of me, so that my kids will see me in the books I make. When I was in Seattle I knew I wanted to capture Corie in a moment of mothering. She's such a wonderful mother! I am often in awe of how she gracefully handles what is put in front of her. She's the mom-friend of mine that we can curl up on the couch together and talk about parenting and it never, not ever, turns into a competition or a one upping the other on cute things our kids did or said. We share the journey and advise each other with our whole hearts. And I am so very thankful to have that relationship. Every mom needs one of those or two. :)

And now the magic of photoshop, as you can see in the first two photos one picture Corie looks great but True's eyes are half mast. And the other with True looking stunning, Corie isn't smiling. And I wanted that smile. I merged the two pictures in photoshop to create the perfect image of the two of them. I created a layout that she could either frame, add to her existing album or just post on her desk for awhile. Happy Birthday Corie! Love you sweet friend!


Celebration Banner

It's raining! That's cause for a celebration, right? In some parts of the world it is. Don't wait for a birthday or a major holiday...pull out the celebration banner for milestones that go unnoticed.

Your kindergartner walked down the hall to class without crying for the first time since school started, 3 months ago.
A perfect score on a spelling test that hours were spent studying for.
Your first grader finally made it across the monkey bars all by herself.

The moments when children's faces light up, when they are so proud of themselves...celebrate that! Celebrate the everyday!
Available in my Etsy Store for you to enjoy at your house.


3 Things I am loving right now

These vintage children's blocks I picked up at the cutest cottage store in Lessburg, VA. I could have bought the whole damn place, I loved everything. A daily reminder on my desk to simply "be". It's a lot harder than you think.

Aveda Personal Blends Pure-fume.
I am not a perfume type of person. My favorite smell of all time is clean laundry. I've been known to compliment random people when I can smell the scent of fresh, clean laundry wafting from them, their reply "oh this just came out of the dryer"...yeah I know. I recently went to the Aveda store and discovered my personal perfume. You go through 21 scents and narrow it down to your favorites which are then blended to give you the scent you like the best. I love how light, and clean my scent is. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Simply Home Yankee Candle in Autumn Pumpkin.
My mother is the greatest. On one of her recent shopping trips she smelled this and knew I would LOVE it and I do. Oh how I do. My house smells like fall, it's heavenly.


Vanilla Chocolate Chip Waffles

We eat a lot of waffles and pancakes in our house, in case you haven't noticed. It's a great way for me to sneak in some added protein and/or veggies for my 2 very picky eaters. Add chocolate chips and it's an instant kid favorite!
5 eggs
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup bread flour
3/4 Quinoa flakes
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup oil (vegetable, corn, almond... whatever you prefer to use)
3 cups soy milk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

I mix all the ingredients together, because I don't have time to use more than one big bowl. Pour onto waffle iron and get other random things done while the waffles that sink full of dishes!


Custom Personalized Name Baby Blocks

Some of you may recall the cute blocks I made for a customer a few months ago,here. I added a custom listing to my etsy store today. Design your own baby shower gift! Personalized fabric baby blocks with the child's name is the perfect gift for any new baby in your family. It's also the gift that will continue to engage and grow with the child through the different stages of development. I use many different coordinated, textured fabrics to enhance sensory development. Corduroy, chenille, terry cloth, fleece, cotton etc. You pick the color palette and I will coordinate a gender specific set. Is there a color you/mom/dad can't stand? Let me know, I am so happy to make this gift the way you want it.

Each block measure 4 inches and filled with polyfil. The letters are felt. Some of the blocks will have a jingle bell and/or ribbons sewn in for the child to grasp. I only use small stitches to insure extra seam durability so that the blocks can withstand being played with by any child.

I look forward to making the perfect set for you!


Cleaning for a Reason

Through a friend (thanks cindy!) I recently heard about this awesome company, Cleaning for a Reason, that donates their services of housecleaning to women who are fighting cancer. Housekeepers will come to your home and clean entirely for free while undergoing chemo treatments. Pass the word, donate money if you can, be a part of something bigger than yourself.


Mini Gift Books

I made these little mini books for each of the kids in my group on the recent field trip I chaperoned. Logan loves having little books like this filled with pictures of friends. They are so simple to make and a great way to use up some of the paper you aren't in love with anymore.
Take a 12x12 piece of paper and cut it in half. I used 3 pieces of paper per book.
Adhere prints back to back so there is a print on each side. Fold in half, using a bone folder to create a sharp crease. Assemble the order of your book, laying the prints open on top of each other. Hole punch all the papers in the crease at the top and bottom of the book and then use a ribbon tie the pages together. And that's it, you are done!


"Logan's Mommy! Why does..."

I recently chaperoned a field trip for Logan's class to a petting farm. I was stunned when we got off the bus and was informed by the teacher that I would be on my own with 4 kids for many hours, if I would have known that I would have had that extra cup of coffee! But in the end we all had a great time, I came and left with the same four kids..that's a good sign, right?
My kids were awesome, so well behaved and ready to learn and have fun. I was shocked when I found out that they never experienced a picnic before! How could that be? Logan was happy to show them how it's done, to take the lead and clearly show a side of himself that he rarely does in school. The most interesting part of being around his classmates, was that they were finally able to ask questions about Logan to an adult who actually answered them. For example one girl on the bus asked "Logan's mommy why doesn't Logan like it when people touch him?" Another kid asked "Logan's mommy why does Logan not make sense sometimes?" I took the time and answered each of their questions, with Logan right next to me I would try and engage him in the conversation to teach him how to answer these questions for himself. It was amazing when Logan answered the boy about not making sense sometimes by saying, "I talk like that when I'm really excited!" He's beginning to understand that he's "different", he sits on a special cushion on his seat in the classroom, uses a slanted desk...he's becoming aware. And with that I want to give him the skills to wade through the questions that his peers have so they can all understand each other and embrace their differences.


Gratitude Journal

I recently made this gratitude journal for Jabby's birthday. We both have always been journal people...we each have helped the other move endless boxes filled with journals dating as far back as middle school. I don't think we'll ever part with the boxes that continue to move from house to house, apartment to apartment. They are a part of us, our history and in the rereading we've learned some things about ourselves. I made this journal for her because I wanted to be a part of her life for a while, as she schleps it around in her bag or as it sits ready on the shelf for her to pull out and take a moment to center herself and write..pen to paper. Feeling in that moment as if we are together.
The cover picture is a recycled card that she sent me last year for my birthday. It was so perfect I've been holding on to it waiting for the right project. Now it's found it's home. I used mini file folders again as dividers and recycled more of my Soul Beautiful calendar incorporating some of the awesome images. Quotes, tags and other odds and ends make it a confluence of creativity, that I hope she will love.


Halloween Craftyness!

Crafty moms everywhere have their sewing machines humming, glue guns hot and ready, spray paint poised...ready to finish the last minute Halloween costume or crafts. I'm not a costume maker. I know this information may catch you off guard. And maybe someday I will change my tune. But right now my boys are into classic things; superheros, ghosts, skeletons etc. Things I can find readily available at any thrift store for cheaper than I can make it. This year I actually found a handmade Robin (of Batman and Robin) costume at our local thrift store. I know whoever slaved away to make this elaborate outfit would be overjoyed to discover that there is another little boy in the world who chooses the sidekick as his favorite hero too.
Zane discovered this fabric remnant during a recent Joann's visit and I promised to make him a trick or treat bag to match his skeleton outfit. Sewing machine buzzing at 9am, and I am finished in plenty of time to fill it with loot tonight. Have a happy Halloween!!!


Sweet Potato-Spinach-Mushroom Burrito

When I was recently in Philly we ate at this really great restaurant, El Vez, and I had this amazing burrito. I came home and I did my best to recreate it. Sweet potatoes, portabello mushrooms, tofu, corn and a dash of cilantro. I tried. I will admit the one I ate in Philly was amazing, absolutely amazing...but my recreation was pretty darn good and I'll definitely be making it again.


Whole Wheat Pancakes

This recipe whips up enough pancakes to feed a hungry family of 4. I like to top my pancakes with peanut butter and Greek yogurt to add a punch of protein to a somewhat carb heavy breakfast.

3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups whole milk
3 eggs well beaten


FREE Night of Theatre

I love seeing live theatre. I didn't appreciate the amount of theatre I saw when I lived in NYC, I totally took seeing a show a week for granted. Just heard about this company though and I'm super excited about it. FREE THEATRE!! Theatre Communications Group's FREE NIGHT OF THEATER program is celebrating its 5th anniversary, I can hardly believe this is the first I have heard of them. Free Night introduces people to the thrill of live theatre- absolutely free of charge! Yes read that line again...FREE THEATRE!!!

"Last fall, 650 theatre companies, in 120 cities from coast to coast, opened their doors to over 65,000 new theatergoers. This year, our participating theatre companies will offer even more tickets for free. Join thousands of audience members - from Portland to Charleston, and from Houston to Minneapolis - and explore all the wonderful entertainment your local theatre community has to offer! Whether you've never been to the theatre before, or just haven't been in a long time, our Free Night theatres have something for you!"- from their site

Click here and see if what is showing in your area.


CocktailMom Etsy Store

Things are moving and changing, I'm on the cusp of a new journey and I love, absolutely LOVE being in this spot. Embarking on something new. Embracing the change. Acknowledging the fear and moving past it....leaping.
After 6 years I've decided to shut down and move all the items I make under one name, CocktailMom. I opened an Etsy store and currently stocked it with some children's items. Yes I am still going to sell hip gear for kids but I'm also going to offer upcycled items for you and your home. I'm really excited about expanding beyond children's items and I hope you will enjoy being able to purchase the items you've seen featured on the blog.
(raising glass) Here's to embracing change and leaping. CHEERS!


Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

I just did a whirlwind trip to Philly to see Cirque du Soleil. Absolutely amazing show, if you ever have the chance to catch a it! You won't be disappointed.
But before seeing the show my friend Lauren and I bopped around the city in the cold rain, had lunch and went to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens. And boy are they magical!
"Philadelphia's Magic Gardens is a folk art environment, gallery space, and nonprofit organization that showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar. Located at the site of Zagar's largest public mosaic installation, the Magic Gardens includes a fully mosaiced indoor gallery and a massive outdoor labyrinthine mosaic sculpture. The installation, primarily consisting of found objects and contributions from the community, covers half a city block with myriads of tile, texture, and color. A walk through the labyrinth will reveal sculptures from Latin America and Asia, bicycle wheels from local South Street shop Via Bicycles, Zagar's hand-made tiles, and mirrors of every shape and size."=from Philadelphia's Magic Gardens website
Walking through the maze and the building your eyes never stop scanning and trying to take it all in. At times it feels a bit overwhelming and then you spot this message on the wall and you gasp. Yes, inspiration will find you when you didn't know you were looking for it.

Amazing garden paired with an amazing show. Philly I'll be back to see you again.


Star Wars Printable Masks

For those of you with Star Wars fans in your house this may make your day...DIY printable Star Wars masks! There are many to choose from and all you do is download and print right from your computer. Instant Halloween costume without the big price tag!


A week in the 7

My musical theatre degree really comes in handy everyday at story time. I don't think my kids realize that not every mom can do character voices/accents.


A week in the 6

Every coat pocket has an acorn in it..they are multiplying faster than I can keep track of.


Related Posts with Thumbnails