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.


College Park Patch: No Longer Standing Guard

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch. 
My children are now old enough that I can leave them in the bathtub while I go downstairs to check my email, without fear of them drowning. I no longer need to cut their food in bite-size pieces for fear of them choking.
We’ve moved into a new stage of their development that I am calling “playground independence.”
We bought our house in this neighborhood because of the playgrounds and because there are so many families with children. From my front door, we can see one of those playgrounds, and within seconds of hearing laughter from that direction my sons will put on their shoes in lightening-fast speed, calling as they run out the door, “I’m going to the playground to play with …”


College Park Patch: Teaching Children About Responsibility

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

There are many moments that I hope my children will recall as fond memories from childhood when they are adults — moments they don’t appreciate now, but might later say, "If it wasn't for my mom..."
We are working on responsibilities in our house. Each member of the family has responsibilities in our household — including the children. I'm purposely not calling these "chores.” I'm not looking at this solely as an opportunity to have someone help me scrub the toilet or feed the dog, but hope to eliminate whining about homework and begging for a toy every time we walk into Target.
Each week some responsibilities change, and some remain the same, like doing homework. Each completed responsibility earns my children a smiley face. At the end of the day, if they’ve received a smiley face next to each of their responsibilities they earn 25 cents. If they don't earn a smiley face for even one responsibility ... no money.
It only took my youngest son, who is six years old, two days to catch on to this.


College Park Patch: Using Behavior Charts in the Classroom

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

My children are well behaved, but I don’t notice it as often as I should.
L had years of public meltdowns; the meltdowns of a child on the Autism Spectrum are nothing like a meltdown of a nuerotypical child. Trust me on this one.
He no longer lies motionless, completely dead weight in the middle of the supermarket aisle. He no longer kicks, arching his back and screaming while trying to put him in the car seat, every single time that we have to go somewhere.
Thankfully we have moved past that phase. He’s no angel, and like anyone he has his moments, but with maturity they have become more reserved. He’s become embarrassed by the public attention that a meltdown attracts.
His teacher last year said she could have written his name in permanent marker on the top on the behavior chart hanging in her classroom, because he was so well behaved. He never moved from the top spot all year.
Enter son No. 2. I knew from the get-go we would have issues with a classroom behavior chart.


College Park Patch: Starting the Day Off Right with a Compliment

This article was originally published on the College Park Patch as part of the weekly column by Gretchen Schock,Parenting on a Tightrope
(My sister has one of the best smiles when she laughs, I don't tell her that enough.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Everyone woke up in a happy mood, got dressed and brushed their teeth without one gripe or grumble.
We left the house for church on time instead of our usual rush. As we walked to the car, L grabbed my hand and looked up at me as if it was the first time he’d seen me … really seen me that morning. 
He looked me directly in the eye and said, “Mommy, I like your clothes and necklace.”
My mouth dropped open. Giving another person a compliment — unprompted — has been one of L’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals for the past two years.
Making eye contact and noticing something about another person is a huge milestone for a child on the Autism Spectrum. I wished I could freeze frame this moment and replay it for the entire IEP team, which consists of his special education teacher, occupation therapist, speech therapist, general education teacher, school psychologist, school counselor and the four other random people who sit in on every IEP meeting.
I promptly thanked him, and he gave me that huge smile that makes his eyes twinkle.
During church I tried to pay attention to the minister, but all I thought about was L’s compliment and how far he has come in his development. And the more I thought about it, I realized that maybe our entire family needs to work on this goal of giving another person a compliment, unprompted.
Couldn’t the world use more compliments? What if everyday we said something nice to another human being?


Public Service Announcement for on Special Education

It took a little longer than expected, but the final version of the special education teacher recruitment video is live on the web!

Did you know that my son Logan and I participated in a Public Service Announcement for 
They are creating videos to solicit people to become teachers for underserved populations. 
i.e.: african-american males, latino and special education. We were asked to participate because Logan is on the Autism Spectrum and because I am such a HUGE advocate for him.

A group of moms sat in a circle and we talked for hours. And out of that amazing day came this 5 minute PSA! Logan and I are both featured throughout the video along with some amazing kids and
mama lions.

The easiest way to share is by viewing on the US Department of
Education's YouTube site -
It's the featured video!

Please share widely! Post on your Facebook page, send a Tweet with the link, email to all of your friends and even people that you only sort of like! 

We've also been told that the video will be used as one of the lead ins at each of the screenings of the new documentary "American Teacher."


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