Sharing recipes, crafts and frugal living, the challenges and triumphs of parenting a neurotypical child and a child on the Autism Spectrum. Yoga Instructor said goodbye to her nightly glass of Chardonnay to give up habits that were not serving her purpose in life! The CocktailMom name remains, however with a new focus on healthy and authentic living.



Put it on your calendar, a reminder in your phone...Take a Nap this weekend.


Greenbelt Patch: Instilling Thankfulness in Children

It's a struggle for every parent to instill in their children thankfulness and gratitude. Every year before family arrives for a birthday party or Christmas dinner I have to have the pep talk with my children that goes something like this,
"Even if the gift you open isn't something you really wanted you must smile, look the person in the eye and say thank you."
I have this talk because my oldest son, L, is on the Autism Spectrum and one of his unique qualities is that he doesn't have filters. He doesn't have the ability to lie, he can't comprehend the little white lies that we all say in order to make other people feel good—"It's exactly what I wanted" or "I love it, thank you!"—instead he's brutally honest.
I was chatting with his teacher afterschool one day (she knows that I am a yoga instructor) and she mentioned that she started going to the gym and was going to try the yoga classes offered there. L overhears our conversation and inquires, "are you going to the gym because you are fat?"


Adventure Time: Finn Hat

My son's school has a storybook parade on Halloween day. Children are encouraged to dress up like their favorite character from a book. Though Finn from Adventure Time is technically a character from a TV Show, my son when asked what storybook character he wanted to be held up a comic book and insisted comic book characters count too.

It is reading after all.

Luckily finding a pattern for a Finn hat is pretty easy to find after a google search. I had no idea Finn was so popular in the indie arena.
I used this pattern and white felt fabric with Velcro tabs under the chin. It was an easy project to complete and seeing the joy on my son's face made it completely worth it!


Eternity Birthday Scarf

My mother is a lover of knitted and crochet items. She's a thrifty knitter, buying most of her yarn at Joann's Fabric Store or Michael's Craft Store. She hardly ever splurges and purchases "expensive yarn", as she refers to it.

She was the one who taught me how to knit several years ago. Recently while shopping at a local yarn store, A Tangled Skein, I saw this cotton/bamboo blend that I knew my mom would love. The colors remind me of the beach, one of our shared favorite vacation spots and while the winter wind blows the seaside colors will instantly remind her of sandy beaches.

All of my knitted projects, I cast on and begin. I don't follow a pattern, I allow the yarn to spark my own creativity and inspire the piece.
Zen knitting! Give it a try.



You deserve a break.
Go ahead... pour yourself a hot chocolate and ENJOY!


Greenbelt Patch: Avoid DC Crowds and Head to a Baltimore Museum

For parents with kids on the Autism Spectrum, there are many experiences that we have to miss out on due to large, loud crowds. Children on the Autism Spectrum can be over stimulated easily and being put in an environment with a lot of people can lead the child to having a meltdown. My oldest son is on the spectrum and though the meltdowns have become fewer as he’s gotten older, instead over stimulating environments effect his attitude. He becomes “snippy”, short tempered, quick to argue with his brother in other words not pleasant to be around for the rest of the day.
We don’t take advantage of the museums in DC as much as we should mainly because of the crowds. Recently we discovered a hidden gem in Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum. This museum is fantastic for a child on the spectrum, don’t get me wrong it’s great for all kids but for children who are on the spectrum it’s pretty amazing. Here is why:


    Homemade Granola

    We are trying to make better choices around our house when it comes to food. Instead of grabbing the low-fat granola bar in it's individual wrapping, I'm choosing the Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of granola.   I'm enjoying the change and, dare I say, I actually look forward to this afternoon treat. I used Recipe Girl's recipe but tweaked it slightly.

    3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 cup sliced almonds
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons maple syrup
    1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roasted without salt
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried fruit (I used raisins)


    1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Place butter and syrup in microwave safe bowl. Heat until the butter is melted. 
    3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir together until mixed well.
    4. Stir the butter- syrup mixture to the oat mixture; mix until moistened. Spread the oat mixture into the prepared pan and pat down.
    5. Bake on a lower rack for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a spatula to move the granola around and expose pieces that were underneath. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the granola is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
    6. When cooled, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


    Organizing My Thoughts

    As the saying goes...."I have a lot of irons in the fire."

    My plate it pretty full.
    So in order to keep my mind clear I need to be organized. Otherwise it will feel like everyday is a panic race to the next item on my calendar, spending way too much time looking for a small piece of paper only to discover it on my mousepad....

    You know this drill right?

    Here is how I organize my thoughts and notes. I carry around a spiral notebook with me everywhere I go. Nothing fancy, just the spiral one subject notebook that you can get really cheap when the back to school sales are going on. (That is when I stock up!)

    If I get an idea for the next chapter of my book I always have pen and paper ready, my to-do list, ideas for blog posts or sequencing my next yoga class are in this notebook.
    At the top of each page I write the subject matter really big :BYF (Bee Yoga Fusion), CM (CocktailMom), PTA, etc.
    And then once I use all the pages in the spiral notebook I sit down and go through page by page and rip out the pages and put them in a three ring binder.
    Several of the pages are recycled, to-do lists for example.
    But ideas for future business marketing is stored in its correct divider in the three ring binder, which lives on my desk so that I can refer to it when needed.

    How do you organize your thoughts and ideas?


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