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.

11/27/2009

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!

11/23/2009

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.





11/17/2009

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!

11/13/2009

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.

11/12/2009

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.

11/11/2009

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 cook...like that sink full of dishes!

11/09/2009

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!

11/05/2009

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.

11/04/2009

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!

11/03/2009

"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.

11/02/2009

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.

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