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.

2/24/2011

Crochet Owls

After the felted sweater party I had a bag full of felted squares and scraps left over.  I needed to do something with them so I quickly crocheted up this simple owl using leftover yarn from a previous project and then added felted sweater bits for the nose and feet.  Buttons make the perfect eyes.  Fluffy, as he is called in our house has joined the ranks of the other cuddly friends that adorn my youngest son's bed.  Small enough to carry and explore the world with him.  I think I may need a Fluffy on my desk to keep me company at work.

2/23/2011

Great Mustache Giveaway!

Did you fall in love with the mustaches I made for the boys Valentine's?  Do you have a party coming up and wish that you had time to make these?  Well this is the giveaway for you!!!  I have 8 new mustaches (without lollipops) for the random winner who leaves a comment off of this blog post.  Remember leave your comment here, not on Facebook.  Winner will be announced in one week.

2/22/2011

DIY Felted Sweater Wreath Party


I saw this sweater party on the Green Eyed Monster's blog and I wished that I was invited.  It looked like such an amazing time and then I thought to myself, why don't I throw one?  So I did!  I invited some crafty ladies over to my house for a Sunday brunch and wreath making party.  Each woman brought 3-5 felted wool sweaters that we then cut up and shared with each other.  Thankfully we had enough wire coat hangers for some folks to make more than one wreath, if they were so inclined.  I served this yummy banana pumpkin bread and this easy cheesy potato spoon bread dish along with mimosas, it wouldn't be a CocktailMom event otherwise.  
I'm hoping to throw more of these crafty brunch parties, it was such a great way to spend the day.  What should we make at the next crafty brunch?  Share your ideas in the comments.


2/16/2011

Chesapeake Children's Museum

The Chesapeake Children's Museum is another great rainy/winter day spot in the DC area.  It's really geared towards kids under 5 years old with blocks and a train table, more baby dolls than you can imagine, a dress up room that is bursting with choices and a craft center that has all the supplies you need to create a masterpiece.  This is the perfect place to go and let your wee one play while you sit on a bench, an arm's length away and read a book.  Invite some friends to meet you there and have a playdate.  The cost is $4 bucks a person but if you have a family membership to another children's museum that is part of the ACM Reciprocal Program, like Port Discovery, it's free to get in.       

2/15/2011

Routine

Both boys are sick.  Fevers, no appetite.  The only consolation prize is that now they are old enough to realize when they are going to throw up and can run to the toilet.  Other than that, it sucks to have sick kiddos. 

2/14/2011

Valentine's Mustache Treats

I saw these featured on Disney's Family Fun Website and I knew it would be perfect for the boys to take as Valentine's treats for their class parties.  They were so easy to make,  all you need is a sheet of craft foam and a sharpie marker to trace the mustaches.   After I cut each mustache out I used a small hole punch in the center,  the tootsie roll lollipop easily slipped through the hole.  I was able to fit 25 mustaches on a sheet of craft foam that I picked up at Michael's for only 99 cents.  I secretly left some on a few friends' doorsteps hoping to brighten their Valentine's Day.  What adult doesn't love a fake mustache?
These would make great party favors too!      

2/10/2011

Building a Nest

Building a nest.   Becoming a family.
The house hunt has finally ended and our offer (#6) was accepted!  We have the inspection this weekend and now we begin the stage of tying up loose ends and getting paperwork in order.  I wanted to make Lauren something special for this occasion.  So I pulled out the paints, not a medium I tap into often.
For this project I used an old, stained apron that was destined for the trash and cut it to fit a wood embroidery hoop.  The fabric from the apron is a bottom weight fabric and the acrylic paint took really well to it.  I hot glued a ribbon to the backside of the hoop and finished it off with a fabric backing, hot gluing it in place.  We are looking forward to hanging it up in our new house.


2/09/2011

Meadowside Nature Center

Are you a mom/dad in the DC area that has become desperate to find indoor activities for your kids while you wait out the rest of winter?  You don't feel like trekking into the city and Ikea has gotten old, the College Park Aviation Museum is always fun but you just don't have it in you today.  Head over to the Meadowside Nature Center, it's just a quick 25 min drive from the college park/greenbelt area.  Your kids will love it!
There is a room that is great for little kids to get down on the floor and play, filled with puzzles and books and enough blocks to build a decent size structure.  And for the slightly older 5-7 age range there is a very cool magnifier microscope thing (in the same room) with a flat screen tv that projects everything under the lens, this entertained my kids for a long time.  The walls are adorned with small aquariums housing snakes, toads and turtles.  Outside is where the "awesome" is!  In 3 large cages are birds that have been rescued and can no longer live out in the wild; a one eyed owl, a hawk, and the largest bald eagle I have ever seen.  In another section of the nature center kids can dress up in pioneer clothes or climb in and pretend to paddle the Indian dugout canoe.  My boys would agree that the best part was the cave in the Legacy of the Land Exhibit.  Over and over again they went through the cave and down the small slide...some things just don't get old.
As an added bonus once the weather gets nicer there are apparently 8 miles of nature trails to enjoy. And the best part...it's all FREE! 
           

2/08/2011

Routine

I can just imagine the conversation this person has with friends, "Man I don't know why I'm not getting any business, I put a sign on the back of my truck and everything! I'm "Sirous" about carpet!" 

2/07/2011

I love Todd Parr

My boys have been surrounded by books their entire lives.  As small toddlers and even now they can be found sitting for hours in front of a bookcase with books surrounding them.  On rainy/cold weather days we will read curled up on the sofa or in one of their beds until I call it quits because my voice goes hoarse.  One of my all time favorite children's authors is Todd Parr.  We have owned almost all of his books, passing along titles to friends only because we had the board book version (also referred to as "baby books" in my house).  Recently we revisited a few at the library and I fell in love all over again with We Belong Together.  It is such a beautiful and simple story about adoption and how there are different types of families, even families with 2 dads and 2 moms!  Another personal favorite is The Family Book.  Todd is an amazing author, his books use simple images with resonating text that tackles issues like race, acceptance of gay and lesbian families, and environmental issues.  The books teach kids that it's natural for there to be more than one way to exist in the world and many ways to feel while existing, the lessons I want my children to learn in life. 
Each book has a message at the end from Todd, like this one:


Peace is being different, feeling good about yourself, and helping others. The world is a better place because of YOU!
Love,
Todd
If you haven't added one of his books to your children's bookcase I highly recommend all of his titles.  Check them out here on Amazon.     

2/03/2011

French Toast -Using the entire loaf!

I struggle with eating the ends of the bread loaf.  I've tried smearing them with peanut butter and turning them to the inside of the sandwich but it's just not the same.  The bread slides around, and to be honest I don't like the taste.   I feel guilty throwing perfecting good food away because my taste buds are acting childish.  I can't believe I didn't think of this in the beginning but the ends of the bread loaf are perfect for french toast!  Anything covered in butter and maple syrup and my taste buds are happy.  
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • dash nutmeg
  • 6 pieces of bread
In a shallow bowl or plate, whisk egg and egg white until foamy. Whisk in vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Dip slices of bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat thoroughly. 
Place coated bread slices in hot skillet. Cook, turning, until both sides are nicely browned, about 2 minutes each side.  Serve with butter and maple syrup or sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

2/02/2011

Contessa- Frozen dinner goes green

 
There are nights when you just don't feel like cooking.  And if you are on a budget going out to eat may not be an option.  For those "non cooking" nights I highly recommend Contessa frozen dinners.  First of all, they are the first Green manufacturing frozen food plant in the USA.  Located in Los Angeles, the new plant is certified by the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Contessa’s Green Cuisine plant achieved Gold-level certification.    Also their specialty seafood cartons are made from recycled material, printed with soy-based inks. 
This is a company that I can feel good about supporting with my purchasing power!
The Jambalaya meal is a 2 person serving so in order to make it serve my family of 4 I added a can of diced tomatoes and a can of chili beans.  I topped each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese.   A delicious dinner for a "non cooking" night.
 

2/01/2011

Routine

House hunting.  It's a part of my daily, if not weekly routine.  Finding a house within our price range, that has a yard and zoned for the right schools.  It's a bigger challenge than I had anticipated.

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