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.


Simple Salad- Apple & Tomato with Sunflower Seeds

Sometimes even the simplest salad deserves it's shining moment.
Cherry tomatoes sliced in half with an apple and a sprinkling of sunflowers seeds and feta cheese.
(oh…. and it's gluten free, skip the feta and instead add olive oil and it's instantly vegan!)



“Kids don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” 
― Jim HensonIt's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider


Winter Bird Feeder

The amount of snow we've gotten in Maryland has come as a huge surprise for many of us. Our families in GA and NC received an even bigger surprise of snow! Don't forget to fill those bird feeders, supplying food for the local birds to rely on. The bird feeder in our yard has become a local hangout and the kids and I have enjoyed bird watching along with researching the different types of birds that frequent our backyard. The book we are using to research the birds is National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America.  Be sure to clear any snow from the top of your bird feeder and fill it often. Enjoy your new hobby!


Bow-tie Pesto Pasta

A new spin on pasta night!
We all have those nights during the week where we barely have time to boil water let alone chop vegetables. Kids have sports practice, I have yoga classes to teach, homework needs done and the dogs need walked. On those particular crazy, busy nights I rely on dishes like this one. Simply boil pasta and in a saucepan sauté onions and spinach. After draining cooked pasta, mix onions and spinach with pre-made pesto sauce. I buy mine from Costco and it tastes fantastic, a little goes a really long way!



I'll never stop dreaming that one day we can be a real family, together, all of us laughing and talking, loving and understanding, not looking at the past but only to the future.
-LaToya Jackson


Pregnancy Announcement Picture

There are so many ways in which to tell your friends and family that you are expecting, but this is hands down my favorite! I had a wonderful photo shoot with a family that is expecting their second child and wanted to announce it to their family in an anti-cheesy way. They aren't fans of the heart shaped hands on the belly or the dad kissing/talking to the belly shots, which I can't blame them I'm not a fan either. So we came up with this simple, creative way to document the arrival of their newest family member. Using sidewalk chalk we wrote the year in which each member was born and the year that the baby was due to arrive. Hopefully we can recreate this shot with the baby sitting in his/her place next fall!


Mammogram: My date with the Beast!

For my thirty-six birthday I decided to give myself the gift of a breast reduction. I have always had large breasts and felt that it was time to finally take matters into my own hands and have the surgery that I've been dreaming of for years. I had enough money saved and knew it was the right time in my life, I was done having kids and I had maintained the same weight for years. During the required mammogram before the breast reduction the doctors discovered a tumor. Within a month I was lying on the surgery table to remove the tumor. (You can read more about the journey here.)

Since my breast surgery I have had to get a mammogram every six months. The type of tumor that I had removed, Phyllodes, has a high reoccurrence rate and grows rapidly. Thankfully I have not had any reoccurrences and this past week after the mammogram appointment the radiologist announced that she was going to recommend that I move to yearly mammograms. It's almost been two years since my surgery and I am beyond thrilled to not have to endure the emotional tumor of getting a mammogram every six months.

Every time I stand in the paper gown and hold my breath while the machine presses down on my breast I say a prayer in my head, "Please God don't let there be anything. Please God!"
"Okay you can breathe." The technician calls behind her glass encasement.
I try to release all of the worry but it's hard not to feel as though you are back in time, to the day when they did find something. Each and every time I have panic attacks as I drive to the appointment. I practice the breath work that I do in meditation and I try my best to remain calm but it feels as though I am on an emotional roller coaster. On the outside I look the same, but on the inside I am in turmoil. Flashes of my journey during the past two years enter my head, in between prayers to God and then doubt about making the decision to not have the full mastectomy....I think I age ten years in those thirty minutes before my appointment.

"We are going to miss seeing you.", my friendly technician says to me. I have been fortunate to get the same technician almost every time. She's probably about my mom's age and has amazing skills on being gentle while also being efficient and getting the images that the doctors need without having to redo them because of a skin fold or another type of hiccup. She makes this stressful process a wee bit easier to manage. We often end up in a conversation about yoga and I instruct her on some yoga poses to do in between patients. I live and breath yoga. Everywhere I go I have incorporatedit into my life.

"When you leave we all talk about your images.", she says chuckling to herself like she's a child telling a silly secret. "Huh?", I reply with a hint of worry. "Your pec muscles are gorgeous! Tell your yoga students that pec muscles make better mammogram images because the muscle pushes the breast tissue out. I've never seen a woman with pec muscles like yours." "Thanks, I think." She gives me a wink as I nervously laugh to myself. All of those chaterungas are paying off!

I haven't fully accepted and embraced my new body, I'm still healing physically and emotionally. I still feel betrayed by my body, yet at the same time I am in awe of my strength to not only endure this experience but to share my feelings and experience openly online and in my yoga classes. I've embraced the vulnerability of breast cancer. This two year journey has been eye opening. When faced with a life altering decision, you look at the world differently. You don't take things for granted. I've become very clear about my goals and how I want to share my message with the world. I'm continuing to surround myself with the people who lift me up and encourage me to be the best version of myself. 
And today I celebrate one year and 6 months of being sober!

You don't need breast cancer to reevaluate your life...put yourself on the to-do. You deserve it! Let's honor Valentine's day by focusing on self-love and sharing the best version of YOU with the world.  



Valentine's Gift for the one you LOVE!

My wife gave me the most thoughtful Christmas gift that I thought would also be a great Valentine's gift for you to recreate for your spouse. She filled a big box with little cards and on each card she put one word, inside the card was a memory that we have shared that coincides with the word. I cried while reading each card, and then laughing with tear stained cheeks. The gift was so thoughtful and I will forever hold these cards dear to my heart.

You don't need to spend a fortune this Valentine's Day. Show the person you love how much you care for them by recreating this special gift of love notes.



Sometimes you need to change your view in order to get a different perspective.


Great Educational Game for Kids- Mini Veritech

Recently we scored a Mini Veritech tile set with workbooks from Freecycle. I had never heard of this before but after a google search it seemed exactly the type of thing that my youngest son would love. And he does! Several of the workbooks go up to age 12. And begin at age 4 years old.
It's a great activity for my son, who is 8 years old, to do on his own. He's the type of child that would rather play games than play with action figures. And I am always looking for games that are both educational and not electric. This fits the bill!
I highly reccomend investing in a set for your children or your classroom, it would make a great "centers" activity.
From the website: 
12 tiles - numbers on one side and a geometiric pattern on the other, enables children to complete all the self correcting exercises with little or no guidance. The illustrations and varied themes, combine to stimulate and sustain the interest of children while they develop literacy and numeracy skills (and discover natural science depending on the workbooks used.)



“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

-Victor Hugo


Family Motto- Do Something Amazing

Does your family have a motto or mission statement? Something that is original to your family?
When you leave our house, right above the front door is our family motto. A reminder each and everyday to "Do Something Amazing".

Sit down with your family and discuss ideas for a family motto and then create a sign, print it out and frame it in a location in your house that everyone will see it on a daily basis. Or like I did, use scrapbooking stickers to adhere it to the wall. I personally like that ours is in a location where you see it everyday but you also forget that it is there. Someone new will come over to the house and ask about it and it will remind us again to look at it as we leave the house.
It reminds us to reflect and go out into the world and to Do Something Amazing today.


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