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.

10/28/2010

Simple Square Block Quilt

A simple quilt I made for Zane using pirate fabric left over from his birthday party pirate booty bags two years ago.  Instead of machine quilting it I decided to quilt it by using embroidery floss and knotting each square by hand.  I love how it turned out and it warms my heart every night when I tuck him in and know that he is surrounded by something I made with my hands.

10/27/2010

Scrapbook Paper Celebration Banner

About a year ago I posted a celebration banner I made from oilcloth and recently for my cousin's baby shower I made a very similar celebration banner but out of scrapbook paper.  No sewing required!  I cut the triangles from a stack of coordinating scrapbook paper and then hot glued them on a long piece of bias tape that you can find at any fabric store.  I attached the banner to the table cloth with safety pins and it added a festive bit of fun to the tablecloth I already owned.
You could do this for any party you are throwing, it's cheap and easy party decor!

10/25/2010

New York City

I love New York City.  It's my home.  It's the place where I belong, always has been.  I use to live there in another lifetime, it seems.  Logan was born there, which he takes great pride in the cool factor of that.  This past weekend I went for a visit, one of the many bonuses of being back on the east coast allows for such fun weekends away.   I dragged my girlfriend around the city showing her this and that... in and out of the subway stations, everything just came back to me naturally. 
"Did all the trash ever bother you?", she asked casually.
I paused, having to think about the question..."yeah especially when people would walk and just thrown their chip bag on the ground". 
But then it happened to me the same way it happens to everyone..I stopped noticing.  It no longer bothered me.  I remember the trash was an issue when I first arrived fresh and young in the city.  But it doesn't take long to get acclimated to your environment.  It happens to everyone I think, no matter where you live, you just stop noticing things.  I tried to look at New York City with fresher eyes, noticing the architecture on a building that I've passed a million times, a small church out of place hidden between two skyscrapers.  And I wanted to take note within my spirit to do more of this.  To take the time and notice my surroundings with clear eyes.  Not to just walk the dog every morning, the same route, but to actually see the walk.  To not just "stop and smell the roses" but to stop and take note of the color of them, where they are located even.  I don't want to go through life forgetting to notice everything around me.  I don't want to forget this moment and all that it holds dear.
I challenge you to do the same.
   

10/21/2010

Autism- Sensory Profile

It's time for Logan to be reevaluated for the services he receives at school, they do this every 3 years.  The different specialist and teachers who work with him will be conducting the tests and Logan's dad and I have to fill out questionnaires for them to gather our input too.  On the questionnaires there are statements for example: Holds hands over ears to protect ears from sound, you are to check a column Always-Frequently-Occasionally-Seldom-Never.  I remember 4 years ago when I filled out my first sensory profile most of my checks were in the Always and Frequently columns, my heart began to race with the realization that Logan would be on the Autism Spectrum.  At that time I honestly didn't know what that diagnosis would mean and what I was feeling was total and pure fear...fear of the unknown.  
Having your child diagnosed will do that to you, whether it's for a developmental delay or cancer.  It will make you wake up and look your own fear in the face.
Now as I fill out the sensory profile instead of panic racing through my body I look at each column and I can see how far Logan has come.  I feel proud of him and all of the hard work he's been doing.  What was once a Always check has turned into a Seldom.  It's progress.  I don't believe children are cured of Autism, I know this is a very touchy subject to even bring up, but I don't believe it.  I also don't believe that my son has anything to be cured of, the way I explain Autism to Logan and other kids is that his brain is wired differently.  That's it.  All the information still gets there, it just takes a different route. 

10/19/2010

Family Craft Night

Mondays are "switch days", the boys spend a week with their dad and then a week with me and because transitions from house to house are hard on most kids (not just kids on the spectrum) I try and make Mondays very low key.  I don't plan to be anywhere after school; no play dates, no errands to run. We just chill at home.  The boys enjoy the downtime to play with the toys they haven't seen all week and I welcome the no fuss evening of pancake dinner and family craft night.  
Yes, Family Craft Night! 
It's the only aspect of Monday that I plan.  The activity varies each week but I always keep it simple. Painting wooden cutouts to then turn into magnets, drawing on the same piece of paper from a large easel pad or building a playdoh house....the possibilities are endless!    My goal is for us to spend quality time together while expressing ourselves creatively.  This week we each sat around the coffee table and drew our very own comic book page and then we held up our page and told the story.  
Don't you love the train on my wedding dress?  A hug, a kiss and then marriage...if only it was that simple!
Click here to print off your very own comic book page and start your family craft night!

10/15/2010

Handmade Pocket Tissue Holders

I adore favors for guests at parties, maybe I should clarify that.  I adore small, useful favors.  I hate all the plastic crap that people hand out at kid's birthday parties but I love when people think creatively and come up with something useful.  For me the recent baby shower for my cousin was no different.  I wanted to give something that was small, useful and handmade.  I immediately thought of the pocket tissue holder that lives in my handbag.  When I recently went back to work full time a mom friend of mine made me one and inside the card it said, "change is hard, sometimes it requires tissues".
Having a baby is exciting and amazingly this little bundle brings people together... but it's a change.  A change in the dynamic of the family.  A change in the routine.  And though an exciting and happy change sometimes tears will fall because we must all have a minute to mourn what was once familiar.  Inside each tissue holder I put this quote:

 

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” - Edgar Allen Poe


 I found this wonderful tutorial on Skip To My Lou's blog.  These pocket tissue holder are extremely easy to make and in the directions she doesn't mention this step but it is evident in the photos that she does it...clip all the corners off at an angle before turning right side out.  When you clip the corners it makes it easier to press and sew.  These would make great stocking stuffers, I plan on making them as teacher gifts. 

10/13/2010

Baby Shower - Diaper Cakes

This past weekend was the baby shower for my cousin, Sarah.  Remember the baby shower invitations I posted previously?
I made my very first diaper cake!  It was extremely easy.  I found this great video tutorial on how to make them.  Click here to watch the video.
I put a ribbon around each layer that I picked up on clearance at Joann's and then cut three circles out of coordinating scrapbook paper and cut slits into the center to add a bit of depth to each one.  I hot glued buttons, from my stash, to the center of each circle.
These diaper cakes make a great addition to the baby shower decor and also double as a gift for the new mom. 

10/05/2010

Routine

A boy, his dog and a Buzz Lightyear = The best of friends.

10/01/2010

Mini Scrapbook Album GIVEAWAY!!!


A dear friend's birthday inspired me to dig through my scrapbook collection and create a mini album of random bits of goodness.  I decided to also offer one to one of my lucky readers!!  Here is your chance to WIN a MINI scrapbook!!!  The mini album is full of scrapbook paper, card stock, tags, embellishments, and quotes.  Use it as-is and fill with pictures or take it apart and use elements of it for card marking or your layouts.
Just answer this question in the comment section of the blog "What brings you JOY?"

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