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.

3/31/2011

College Park Patch: The Lies We Tell Our Children

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock, Parenting on a Tightrope

I was dreading the moment when my son, L, would declare that he felt a loose tooth in his mouth.  I’ve heard horror stories from other parents, who have a child on the Autism Spectrum, about this stage of life. Something as simple as a loose tooth can force a child on the spectrum to not eat for days because they don’t like the unfamiliar feeling of the loose tooth in their mouth or suddenly having anxiety about sleeping for fear of swallowing the tooth. 
The moment came, as I knew it would: the first loose tooth.  He didn’t seem fazed by it, which really surprised me.  We had been reading the book, The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist for weeks because in it Sister bear has a loose tooth and I thought it would help him feel prepared.  As if he’s been saving them up, the floodgate of questions opened. “Why do our teeth fall out?”, “Will it be bloody?”, “Will my new adult teeth fit in my mouth?”, “When will it happen?”, “Will I swallow it?”, “If I swallow it, what will happen to the tooth then?”
I did what I know works for my son in order for him to not have anxiety about something; I put the knowledge in his hands. I filled our bookshelf with an arsenal of information from the library on tooth anatomy - he needs these questions answered correctly and given to him with scientific proof. 
In the back of my mind was the issue surrounding the “tooth fairy.” How I was going to handle that?  See, L doesn’t lie.  He doesn’t understand the concept of it.  Life to him is very black and white with no gray area at all.  And when someone doesn’t tell him the truth he loses trust in them.  There have only been a handful of times when I’ve felt like this “no lying” thing smacks me in the face.   
Right before Christmas we began a new family tradition, Elf on a Shelf.  The idea of the Elf on a Shelf is that the Elf watches the kids during the day and at night flies back to the North Pole and reports to Santa on the status of the children’s behavior.  Every day the boys woke up and went looking for Happy, our elf, to find his new hiding place.  Since Happy came into our lives, L has a new anxiety of stuffed animals watching him. Big oops!  He has to turn all the stuffed animals around so that they don’t watch him in his room while he plays.    
Part of me wants to be honest with L about Santa, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and the other part of me wants to enjoy the magic that those make believe figures brings to childhood.  I love the idea of believing in something as simple as the tooth fairy and the land of make believe when we live in a world that is filled with negative images.  I grew up believing in them and at some point a friend leaked the truth about finding the presents marked from Santa under their parent’s bed, or recognizing that the tooth fairy’s handwriting was very similar to my mom’s. 
I know that L needs the truth but my younger son, who isn’t on the spectrum, very much enjoys believing in these make believe characters. Finding the balance is an extremely hard line to walk on. I’ve already started the Santa lie but here is my chance to tell the truth about the tooth fairy. He’s lost 2 teeth and I still haven’t addressed this tooth fairy issue.  Nothing has been left under his pillow, no money or candy or toothbrushes. He simply has lost teeth and that has been exciting enough. I know at some point a very well intentioned person is going to ask L, “What did the tooth fairy leave for you?” 
How would you handle the balance of telling the truth to one son while allowing the other son to believe in the lies?  Parents who have children with a large span of years between them: are you in a similar situation? Have you had to fess up and tell the truth?

3/30/2011

TOMS Shoes

TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One.  I personally can't speak about these shoes as I have never worn them but the mission of this company really speaks to me.  I will say though, that after watching this video they are on my list of "things to buy".  It also helps that I can finally get sparkly shoes in an adult size! 
Tom's One Day Without Shoes 2011 is taking place in cities all over the world on April 5th.  Join the movement and go barefoot on April 5th and change lives.

3/29/2011

Routine

Not exactly sure why this truck needs that many security cameras on the roof. 

3/28/2011

Free ticket from the Orioles for your birthday!

It doesn't matter if you are turning 5 or 35, the Orioles will give you one free ticket for a non-prime game during the 2011 regular season for your birthday.  Parents, you can also register your children and bring them to a game for their birthdays.   Please see the Orioles website for more information and to sign up for your free ticket.

3/16/2011

Banana Smoothie

I've dropped the ball on the fitness and healthy eating recently and it's time to get back on that horse.  There is no better way to jump start your day then with a smoothie.  This recipe makes 2 adult servings. 
  • 3 frozen bananas, first slice the banana in 1 inch chunks and place in a plastic container in your freezer overnight.
  • 6 oz container of Greek yogurt, vanilla or honey flavored.
  • 1 cup pureed peaches, I had 2 containers of baby food peaches that I am trying to use instead of throwing away but you could use any fruit in it's place.
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
Place all the items in the blender and process until smooth.  You may have to add more milk or water until it reaches it's desired thickness. 

3/15/2011

Check out the new header!

So what do you think of the new CocktailMom header?  I've been playing around in photoshop and trying to come up with an idea to make my company/blog name express what it is I do.  Because let's be honest the name alone conjures up an image in many people's minds of a mom sipping a martini with an apron tied around her waist, circa 1950.  (That is what I look like on a Friday night but with a stash of yarn at my feet and knitting needles in my hand.)  I wanted to create something I can have on the top of invoices and business cards.  So what do you think?

3/14/2011

My New Column on the College Park Patch

Last Tuesday marked my debut of the new parenting column I am writing called "Parenting on a Tightrope" for my local Patch, online newspaper.  I would be overjoyed if you stopped over and took a look.
Every Tuesday at 10:30am my new column will post.  I'll be talking about parenting and the balance between raising a child on the spectrum and off.  Hope to see you there.

3/10/2011

White House 2011 Easter Egg Roll: Lottery is Open

THE 2011 WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL - APRIL 25, 2011 The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition which dates back to 1878. The event has grown from a few local children rolling eggs on the White House Lawn to a national event filled with live entertainment, sports, interactive cooking demonstrations and of course the traditional rolling of Easter eggs. The Easter Egg Roll will promote healthy and active living and is designed for children 12 years of age and under.  

When I was 5 or so my parents took my sister and I to the Easter Egg Roll.  I don't honestly remember it, but I've seen the pictures of the 2 of us in our matching dresses on the White House lawnToday the lottery is open and though Logan will despise it because of the noise, the crowds etc,  I'm going to apply for tickets anyhow.  It's a once in a lifetime experience!

3/09/2011

Crock Pot Vegetable Soup

This is a super simple crock pot recipe that is sure to please everyone in your house.  Okay you may have to omit the parsley for the wee ones who refuse to eat anything green. 
Cut up potatoes, carrots and celery and place in your crock pot with enough organic vegetable broth to submerge all the items.  How many potatoes, carrots and celery stalks should you use?  This is where the recipe is super simple, you make what would feed your family.  For my family of 4, I cut up 1.5 pounds of potatoes, 3 really large carrots and 3 stalks of celery.  In the last 30 minutes of the 4 hour (on high) crock pot cooking I added one cup of frozen green beans and one cup of peas.
Here is the best part of the soup, the topping!
Place 1 cup of walnuts in a food processor until finely ground.  Then add one cup of Parmesan cheese, it's okay to use the Kraft kind for this recipe.  Mix the two while slowly pouring in olive oil until it reaches the consistency as shown in the picture.  Add a small pinch of parsley, for those who don't mind green things in their food, and enjoy!
   

3/08/2011

Routine

Walking the dog around Lake Artemesia, watching the sun set and spying a beaver and a blue heron.  Bliss. 

3/07/2011

Great Mustache Giveaway- THE WINNER

And the winner is...drum role please....

The Schuster's

Thank you so much for commenting.   I know you'll enjoy the mustaches. 

3/01/2011

Routine

 I could hardly believe it when I saw it, Wii advertising on my bananas!  Could we please just buy food without advertisements? 

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