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.

5/29/2010

Autism: Logan talks about friends at school circa 2007


I love my iphone and I love my digital SLR camera, but the one feature I miss is the ability to make videos. I need to pull out the old point-n-shoot camera every once in a while and ask the kids some questions. I totally forgot that I made this video until recently someone commented and Youtube emailed me. It's so interesting to look back and see the progress Logan has made over the years. All the hard work that we have put in to open the "Autism window" has totally paid off. This video is from 2007 when he was attending Frances Fuchs Early Learning Center. A public preschool that works with children who are developmentally and/or physically delayed.

5/28/2010

Doorstops


One of my dear friends decided to head up Teacher Appreciation Week at my son's school and did a wonderful job celebrating the teachers with decorations and gifts. She convinced 5 of us to help her with the project of making doorstops for all the teachers.
Please note the picture above is of an empty doorstop, it looks cuter when filled. It was a super easy project to do and all the teachers love them. These would make great end of the year teacher gifts too! The best part...she created her first tutorial! (props to you Lauren, I haven't even attempted this yet!)
Check out the tutorial and her blog, Lucy Jane Gallery.

5/20/2010

Love 24/7


I drive 45 minutes each way to work. When I tell people this they inhale a large amount of air and then follow with a "wow that's a drive..."
I honestly don't mind it. I feel like my mind needs that time to decompress after work, before picking up the kids so that I can really be present for them. In the morning I drink my coffee and sing along to the radio like everyone else next to me in bumper to bumper traffic. It's a boring drive down the beltway not much to see....but during my first week of this job I was stuck in traffic and I happened to look over and I saw this graffiti on the back of a sign. I took it as a message from the universe. After that first encounter I searched for it again on my drive, when I would remember, and I would either have just passed it or a large truck was blocking my view. I decided that the universe would give it to me again when I needed it. Like a gift on a special day. I stopped looking. And I developed faith that some day...a random day...I would get to see it again and today was that day.

5/12/2010

Bicycle- Indian Head Rail Trail



Saturday I enjoyed the view of the beautiful weather from the seat of my bike. I tried the new Indian Head Rail Trail and it was worth the drive! The trail is completely flat. Which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you don't have to climb hills, a curse because you never stop pedaling. It's an up and back trail totaling 26 miles with lots of available parking. For those of you with kids this is the perfect trail for your beginner rider. Not only is it flat but it's straight, with only a few stops to cross a non busy 2 lane road. There are plenty of places along the ride to take a break on a park bench and discover nature. While on the ride we saw turtles basking in the sun, beaver lodges, a blue heron, a snake, lots of lizards and listened to a chorus of frogs.
And just an FYI- for the kids, like mine, who refuse to pee in the woods... there are plenty of port-a-potties along the trail also.
Add this trail to your list of free things to do this summer before it really heats up!

5/10/2010

Cheesy Potato Spoon Bread


I made this for Mother's Day brunch yesterday and served it with a side salad. It was heavenly. I pulled the recipe from Vegetarian Times.I made it in a 13x9 baking pan and did a layer of mashed potatoes and then a layer of the cheese mixture and topped with a layer of mashed potatoes. I skipped the cayenne pepper and parsley because kids at our brunch would be eating it also and you know they won't touch anything with green flakes!

Ingredient List
Serves 6
* 4 cups leftover mashed potatoes
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 Tbs. margarine
* 1/2 tsp. onion powder
* Salt to taste
* 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
* 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
* 4 large eggs, beaten, or 1 cup egg substitute
* 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, optional
* 6 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
* 10 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Generously butter 6 1-cup ramekins or 2-qt. soufflĂ© dish or casserole.

2. If using cold mashed potatoes, warm in large nonstick skillet or saucepan over medium heat until very hot, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

3. Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Put flour, margarine, onion powder, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper in mixing bowl, and pour boiling water over mixture. Using electric mixer on low, beat for 1 minute, and add very hot mashed potatoes. Beat again well. Add eggs, and beat again, until thoroughly combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

4. Mix parsley, shredded cheese and cream cheese in mixing bowl. Scoop 1/2 cup potato mixture into each ramekin, or put 4 cups into a prepared casserole. Make a well in center, and spoon in 2 heaping Tbs. of parsley-cheese filling. Cover filling with 4 Tbs. potato mixture. If using a casserole, top with remaining potato mixture. Place ramekins or casserole on baking sheet.

5. Bake 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sprigs of parsley, if desired.

5/09/2010

What my Mom did Right....


She taught me to be caring and to be selfless.
To give of myself to others.
She taught me to be forgiving, that holding grudges don't really get you anywhere.
She taught me that it's best to laugh the loudest at yourself cause life is pretty funny.
Because of what my mom has done right it is made me the mother I am today.
Thank you mom for growing me.

5/07/2010

StoryCorps

When Sarah Littman visited StoryCorps with her son, Joshua, he was a seventh-grade honors student who was having a tough time socially. Joshua, who has Asperger's syndrome, had some unique questions to ask his mother:

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.


This is a wonderful short animation video that arrived in my email inbox and I had to share with you all. Joshua's questions are quite compelling and his mother's answers are so rock on!
The last one I love the most...pull out the tissues!
Joshua's final question:
"Did I turn out to be the son you wanted when I was born. Did I meet your expectations?"

"You've exceeded my expectations, sweetie," his mother replied. "I really had to learn to think out of the box with you. It's made me much more creative as a parent and a person ... you are just so incredibly special to me, and I'm so lucky to have you as my son."

5/04/2010

Teacher Appreciation Week


Teacher Appreciation Week is currently happening at Logan's school. Back in the day of SAHM life I would have made something from scratch but now that I am working that just isn't possible. But that doesn't mean the dessert table in the teachers lounge is going empty! Boxed brownies it was. And the best part was that the boys helped me and I got to use my new Kitchen Aide Mixer. I'm now in love!


I wrapped each brownie up in foil with the idea that many teachers need a grab and go snack. Also I get creeped out with a bunch of folks touching a stack of brownies, schools are filled with germs! I cut thin strips of scrap fabric to make bows and added a little note atop each one with Logan's name on it. Call it "buying tolerance". :)

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