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.


Bat Stuffed Animal - Happy Halloween!

This year my sons will be with their father for trick or treating. We switch holidays each year and along with Thanksgiving and Christmas we rotate Halloween. Thankfully their dad and I have a good parenting relationship, after they get gobs of candy from the houses near where he lives they will be stopping by to trick or treat our house. I am going to surprise them with these new "cuddly friends", as my youngest likes to call them. Special Halloween bats for the special boys in my life.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween!



First off let me tell you a little about me...I don't like guns. I refuse to allow fake guns into my home, that means no nerf guns or toy guns of any kind. This past summer I was convinced to purchase water guns but that is as far as I will go.
I have two boys and the reality is that they will turn anything and everything into a gun. I shouldn't have found it surprising when I came into the living room and found my oldest using my (unplugged) glue gun as a toy gun in his make believe battle.
It made me chuckle and I had to snap a quick picture. Only my kids, sons of a crafter would think to use a glue gun!


Simple Crochet Baby Hat

Everyone is having babies around us, it's dangerous!!!
I created this simple crochet hat for one of the newest additions. I purchased a skein of cotton/bamboo yarn and went to work single crocheting in a circle, adding three rows of double crochet to make it interesting. As always I didn't use a pattern and just eyeballed it until I felt it was complete.


Photo Gift Tags Upcycled into Frame

My sister-in-law has the cutest pictures of my nephews printed on Moo cards and uses them as gift tags for the holidays. I adore this idea! 

But I couldn't bring myself to just throw away the gift tags. So I decided to place them in a frame to hang on our "family wall". (More pictures of our "family wall" to come.) The cards are an odd shape so it was difficult to find frames that would display them in a traditional sense. After many trips to various stores I gave up and decided to add them all to this multi picture frame that I already had in the attic. I adhered the pictures to a textured piece of scrapbook paper. I actually don't mind the blank spaces and feel as though it highlights each picture nicely. 


College Park Patch: Holding on to Hope

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

Ten years ago, Sept. 11, 2001, I didn’t have children; I was living in New York City managing an Off-Broadway Theatre.
It was my day off, and I was sleeping in.
I woke up to the sound of my best friend’s voice leaving a message on my answering machine: “An airplane flew into one of the twin towers. Gretchen, WAKE UP!”
I sprang out of bed not knowing if I was awake or if this was a dream. I remember the sound of my bare feet hitting the hardwood floor as I ran to my fire escape, where I had a clear view of the twin towers.
All I could see was smoke.
I grabbed my camera — the only thing I owned that would give me the ability to zoom in and really see what was happening. I poised the camera to my face and looked into the viewfinder. My finger automatically went to the shutter button, and I pressed my finger as another airplane flew directly into the second tower.
To read more click here. 


College Park Patch: Collecting, Counting or Compulsion?

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

Most kids at some point in their lives have a collection of something: Polly Pocket dolls, Pokémon cards, stamps, and so on. A lot of adults have collections as well. At one point my mom collected little pig figurines that aligned the top of a dresser in her house. (Thank goodness that phase is over!)
The difference between neurotypical kids and kids on the Autism Spectrum is that, AS kids tend to be obsessive about their collections.
There was a time when L would collect “treasures” on our walks — random things he would find that would interest him. Shiny rocks, a hairclip, bottle tops … there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason for what caught his eye.
But God forbid you even think of throwing them away!
Curled on the couch, in a lull between reading stories, I asked my youngest son, Z, “Do you think at some point you would want your own room?”
I am shocked by how fast Z answers with a firm, “No!”
“Why not?”
“I’d be too lonely. I’d miss L. And I can’t sleep without his counting.”
“What do you mean? His counting?” I asked, rather perplexed because this is the first I heard of counting happening after I tuck them in.
To read more click here.



I'm making an effort to have more moments like this in my life. It fills my well...spiritually, emotionally and physically.


International Walk to School Day

Today is International Walk to School Day in the USA. The boys and I walk to school everyday. Well I walk, as they scooter. We live close to the school so it isn't a huge ordeal. On the days when I've driven in order to commute to a yoga class that I am teaching... I feel embarrassed about it.

So it was a no brain-er when the PTA put a call out for volunteers to help corral the children from the designated meeting spot to school. I wanted to make the morning special for the kids so I woke up early and headed out of the house with sidewalk chalk in hand. Along the route I wrote messages to the kids, words of encouragement and fun things to do along the way.
Walk the Tightrope.

Spin. Jump. Tap your head. Wave.

And who couldn't benefit from hearing "you are so smart" as they make their way into school.

I know the kids had fun this morning and hopefully some of them will ask their parents to be able to walk to school more often.

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

I am ready for fall. I love the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet. I love wearing just a sweater and a pair of jeans. I love how frisky the dogs are as they run around the yard. I love the acorn top collection that begins to live in every pair of little boy pants I wash. And let's be honest....I look good in fall colors. :)

In trying to use what I have on hand in my refrigerator and pantry, I created this very easy vegetarian split pea soup for the crock-pot. Throw all the ingredients in together before you leave for work and by the time you get home....dinner is ready! 

4 cups of water
4 cups vegetarian vegetable soup stock
20 baby carrots chopped
4 stalks of celery
1 pound bag of dried yellow split peas
2 Tablespoons dried, chopped onion flakes
1 Tablespoon Tastefully Simple Garlic and Pepper seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste


College Park Patch: Leading the Way

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock, Parenting on a Tightrope
School has started; we have returned to early bedtimes and homework nightly. Spelling lists and classroom paperwork adorn our refrigerator.
My oldest thrives in this structured environment; my youngest would rather have a bit more room to wiggle.
This year, for the first time both boys are going to the same school. Thankfully I am able to walk the boys to school each day; we have a routine in place already with morning drop off.
On the second day of school we walked in the building together, and I took the boys to the top of the hallway -- our drop off point -- so they can get right in the habit of walking themselves to class. The staff doesn’t like parents walking kids to their classrooms; most kids line up outside and then go in by grade level.
It tends to be a bit of a madhouse.
L fights the urge to have a breakdown because the environment is over stimulating, with the noise and the amount of people in a small space inadvertently bumping him and touching him. To continue reading click here.


College Park Patch: Teaching My Kids to Unplug

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock, Parenting on a Tightrope
Both of my boys are video game addicts.
They are 6 and 8 years old, and I recognize that this behavior is pretty standard for their age. Seasoned parents have warned me that it gets worse, but I'm growing tired of their constant desire to be plugged in.
I realize that their generation will be able to text while doing everything else they need to do, including eating and bathing. Texting will be second nature to them. I understand that ... but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
I know many parents who aren't setting a good example of unplugging and being present in the moment. I've been guilty of it myself, muttering an "uh-huh" to my son while trying to make dinner and text a friend, none of those tasks getting my full attention.
"At Daddy's we can play Wii all the time," my youngest son said to me after I warned him that in five minutes the Nintendo would be put away, and he has to choose something else to do. To continue reading click here.


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