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.

8/31/2010

Free Printable Coloring Pages


At my house coloring books are a huge waste of money. My kids aren't that interested in sitting and coloring page after page in an actual book. That being said they do enjoy to color a picture every once in a while. I found this great site that has free coloring pages online. I know there are many sites like this but the thing I LOVE about this one in particular is that they have the non-popular-mainstream characters that my boys enjoy. Pictures from movies like Meet the Robinsons, Doogal and Krypto. There are so many choices, but I will warn you the site is not in English. Don't let that discourage you though, it's pretty easy to find your way around.

8/27/2010

FREE Fall Baltimore


FREE FALL BALTIMORE IS BACK FOR 2010.

Now in it's fifth year, Free Fall Baltimore brings wonderful cultural activities to your doorstep. With more than 300 unique events scheduled, you’ll be able to find an art activity on almost every day of October.

Search out something new this month. Visit a cultural organization that you don’t know; take a class in a new art form; attend a performance of a new group. Here’s your chance to get a taste of the exciting performances, workshops, classes, exhibitions, lectures, festivals, concerts, and tours that are available in our fair city. Try them out in October for FREE!

Just one highlight: The Baltimore Museum of Art is offering Free Family Sundays
Bring your family for fun drop-in art activities every Sunday in October. Test your skills for seeing details, create critters, draw man’s best friend, and sculpt with clay during these entertaining and educational workshops.

Sun Oct 3 2pm – 5pm Construct Creepy Crawlies
Sun Oct 10 2pm – 5pm Craft a Sea Critter
Sun Oct 17 2pm – 5pm Dogs vs. Cats – Draw Your Winner
Sun Oct 24 2pm - 5pm Sculpt Mythical Creatures
Sun Oct 31 2pm – 5pm Family Tour – On the Hunt for Animals in Art

8/25/2010

Moment


“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
-Baba Ram Dass

8/24/2010

Autism: Logan reads names circa 2007


This video is from 2007 when Logan was attending Frances Fuchs Early Learning Center. A public preschool that works with children who are developmentally and/or physically delayed. This was also during his pj phase. He went through a phase where he would only wear pajamas, all of time. I bought doubles of every spiderman and superman pajama set I could find.

I've posted another video from that time previously, you can view it here.

Logan was 4 when he went to this school, he had no previous preschool or daycare experience and so when we arrived for the placement testing it was a nightmare. They wanted him to sit at a little kid table and chair and he refused. They wouldn't let up which resulted into Logan going into a total meltdown, crawling under the table and crying, refusing to participate. The testing team wouldn't allow me to help in any way, they said it would interfere with the results of the testing. So I sat quietly biting the inside of my lip, on the verge of tears myself as I watched my child struggle with this environment and wonder if he will ever be "normal".
That was back in the beginning of the Autism journey. Before I read every Autism book I could get my hands on, before we started all the therapies (ST, OT, PT etc etc), before I realized that Logan's "normal" would be so much cooler than what I was scared of him becoming. Since Logan wouldn't participate in the testing they placed him in a class with children the same age who were non verbal. Logan's language at the time was delayed about 2 years but he was beyond non verbal and thankfully the teacher realized right away that he would be better off in a different classroom. Logan was the teacher's helper, taking care of the other kids and flourishing in that role. While in this class I realized that Logan was "reading" by memorizing the way the word looked. So using a magna doodle I would write words on it and teach Logan how to read the way his brain could comprehend. Later Jon and I created a video using the same idea to help Logan tackle his Kindergarten word list.
I wonder what this year will hold.

8/23/2010

A mother's wish.


I wish you a wonderful start...
I wish for a room full of friends who work hard to understand you and accept your differences.
I wish for patient adults who think outside of the box when teaching kids who don't fit into the standardize-testing-box.
I wish for safety.
I wish for compassion.
I wish more people were as caring as you.

I would never wish for anything different.

8/21/2010

Another school year!


Along with the excitement of having Zane start school begins the anxiety of Logan's school year. There are so many factors to be considered...placement, if his aide will be returning, new teacher, educating new staff on how to be successful in interacting with him...the list goes on. Our county is not great as far as education goes. Logan is at a wonderful school though, a diamond in the rough, and has a wonderful responsive team. We went and met his new teacher, reconnected with his old Special Ed teacher and Logan had the chance to explore his new surroundings.
I'm...
Relieved to hear that his aide will in fact be returning this year.

Ecstatic that Logan was placed in a classroom with some kids he made friends with last year and a neighbor kid who he plays with on the playground.

Impressed that Logan opened up and started talking to his new teacher right away and told her the things he is interested in and remembered to raise his hand in the classroom.

I'm starting another school year full of hope but that doesn't mean that I go into it blindly. I made these cards last year and this year I decided to focus more on Logan and his "logan-isms", to help the people in the school understand him a little better.

8/20/2010

Empty Nest




Yesterday was kindergarten orientation for Zane. A big moment for both of us. He had no problems going blindly with the other students into his classroom with his new teacher. Some kids cried, some insisted mom/dad walk with them...not Zane. He heard his name and darted out of his seat and into the line up. In mere seconds he was tapping the boy in front of him on the shoulder and talking.
Oh my children are quite different indeed!
Zane is attending the same Performing Arts School that I went to and while we were in his classroom yesterday a familiar face crossed my path, as fate would have it a girl that I went to school with has a son in the same exact class! I know this happens in small towns all the time but this hardly ever happens in one of the largest county school systems in the USA.
I'm really excited for Zane. Excited for him to be in a school where he doesn't have to follow in anyones footsteps, that we won't have to live through sibling comparisons at school. Zane won't have to be in a situation where he has to chose to follow along or be an advocate for his brother. Zane can just be Zane. And to be honest...to have a break from living under the autism spectrum umbrella. This is going to be a very exciting year for him! I mean how can it not...he's in kindergarten and has his own locker! So very cool!!!

8/19/2010

My new love- Roasted Beets!


Something happened to me this summer...I fell in love with beets. Roasted beets to be perfectly clear. This is my hands down favorite summer dinner. I cut up some beets and some sweet potatoes and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic.
For the MD folks I have a hook up if you need a consultant, just let me know in the comments.
Place it all in a pan in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees.
I then chop the beet greens and saute in a skillet with oil. Right before serving I sprinkle it all with crumbled goat cheese.
It's heavenly.

8/18/2010

Zane is 5! Thank you Cards


I adore handwritten cards, adore them! I know, I am a dying breed. These were Zane's thank you cards for his birthday this year. Now that the boys are older and able to write I am insisting that they help me, right now they only need to write their names but someday they will be doing it on their own. This is one of those "mama rules" that I won't let up on. I believe thank you cards are important and want to instill that in my boys as well. My older cousin has always made her 2 boys write thank you notes and I love receiving them in the mail and seeing their handwriting change over the years...both of her boys are now teenagers. I think it's important to teach kids to express their gratitude and reflect upon the gift, to take a moment and quiet their spirit with a small thoughtful task.

8/13/2010

Chewy Granola Bar


Just in time for school lunches here is a recipe for a fantastic chewy granola bar. And it's super easy to make! Also it is Wheat free, egg free for any allergy sensitivities. I am sure you could substitute the peanut butter with soy butter too.

2 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal (I used cocoa krispies)
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup dried fruit; raisins, craisins (I used pomegranates)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan bring brown sugar and syrup to a boil, stir constantly.
Add peanut butter and vanilla and stir until well blended.
Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal and stir until well coated.
Add chocolate morsels and stir until blended.
Press with your hands into a 13x9 inch pan and let cool for an hour on the counter top at room temperature.
Cut into bars and store in Tupperware.

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