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.


Creating Special Time with Each Child- MOMMY DATE

My oldest son, Logan, is on the Autism Spectrum, though he has grown and matured and is now more adaptable to various settings. We still feel as though we are sometimes limited on what environments he will tolerate or for how long. I have often talked about my internal struggle with guilt that my younger son, Zane, has to live under the "Autism Umbrella".  Thankfully he doesn't know any different though, this is his "normal". Watching his brother go to various therapy appointments or special camps where he goes on various field trips to learn social skills has sparked a bit of jealousy from time to time.

To offset that jealousy I like to have a special day with my younger son that we call a Mommy Date. I give him a few choices of things that we can do, often times choosing things that I know Logan wouldn't tolerate. Recently we went to a paint your own pottery type of place and enjoyed talking while painting our pieces of pottery. I chose to do a large mug and I traced Zane's hand on it so now I have a special mug that I can use with my morning coffee to remind me of our special Mommy Date.

Carve out some time for each of your kids, you don't have to spend money or go somewhere new. Take a walk around the block, or lay in the hammock together. The important thing is to talk, to truly listen to just that child and offer them your undivided attention. Turn off the phone and other distractions and tune into that sweet child.


Catapult Craft

Kids love to throw things, they love to see objects fly through the air. I took their love of flight and combined it with a craft, making a catapult! 

Here is what you will need:
craft sticks, rubber bands, plastic spoons and craft pom poms. 

First we stacked 10 large craft sticks on top of each other and secured them together using rubber bands on each end. Then we put a craft stick on the bottom and on the top in the shape of a V and secured with a rubber band at the tip. Then in the center of the stick making an X with the rubber bands, attaching it to the 10 craft sticks. The final step is using a rubber band to secure the spoon to one of the V shaped sticks. As you can see the kids colored the sticks with markers making each catapult unique. 

We set up targets; a paper plate, a bowl and a plastic cup. Then we tested various heights using yoga blocks. First predicting the outcome and then determining what we can do differently to get the outcome that we wanted. It was a lot of fun and just a wee bit educational…but the kids barely noticed that!


25 Gift Ideas For Kids (That Don't Involve Bringing More Plastic Crap into Your House!)

Yes, kids love to open gift on Christmas day but as a family who has often lived in small spaces, we have had to invite other ideas for gifts that grandparents, aunts and uncles could send the boys. Gifts that don't take up any room in our house. Gifts that were more experience driven rather than consumerism of stuff.
Here is a list of ideas that we have enjoyed in our house.

  1. Membership to a children's museum. For several years this was our #1 gift request because when we would visit the grandparent in their state we used the affiliate program and was able to go for free. We would often also go to a children's museum while traveling or on vacation. We got a lot of bang out of that buck!
  2. Aquarium membership. 
  3. Subscription to a children's theatre. 
  4. Spring break camp (we don't normally do spring break camps so this is special in our house).
  5. Season pass to minor league baseball games.
  6. Season tickets to college women's basketball games, we are close to the University of Maryland and the women's basketball games aren't as crowded as the mens' games which works well for our family. And the tickets are less expensive.
  7. Night at Great Wolf Lodge.
  8. Adopt an animal at the zoo,
  9. Tickets to an amusement park.
  10. Movie tickets.
  11. Gift card to a place where we wouldn't normally go that is an experience, for example a Pump It Up or a trampoline gym or a climbing wall facility.
  12. Magazine subscriptions. When the boys have finished reading them I take them to their school to use in their positive behavior school store.
  13. Online video game coding program, my youngest has really enjoyed this one. Learning how to make his own video game has taught him to look at all video games differently.
  14. Online video game like
  15. Minecraft Homeschooling game, we haven't tried this yet but it's on our wish list for this year. 
  16. Gift card to an arcade.
  17. DVDs.
  18. CDs.
  19. Video game.
  20. Gift card to purchase Apps for iPhone/Ipad.
  21. Art classes.
  22. Cooking class.
  23. Paint your own pottery type of experience.
  24. Subscription service  that comes in the mail: delivers STEM and creative projects for the child to do at home.
  25. Gift card to book store or comic book store, I would personally rather be overrun by books than plastic crap any day of the week!


Indoor Party Game for Kids

Cooler weather means kids are cooped up indoors and so is their energy, which may be driving you a bit wacky. This is a fun and quick game that can be used for kids of various ages whether it's a rainy day indoors, a snow day home from school or an inexpensive party game to play at your child's birthday party.

Purchase a large bag of various colored craft pom poms, I like to use the kind that are about a half inch in diameter or smaller. Throw them in the center of the floor and have the kids try and pick up a particular color for one minute only using their feet. The person who gets the most balls of one color in a pile is the winner.

Not only is this game quick, easy and great for all ages but it also builds the muscles in the child's feet which will help their yoga practice, dance technique and soccer skills.


Monogramed Initial Sticks

My yoga kids love nature and what better craft activity to complement a walk in the woods than making a monogrammed initial out of sticks that we found on our nature walk. I let the kids pick out embroidery floss in their favorite colors and each child sat and concentrated on making their initial.

Try this craft with your kids. Take a walk through the neighborhood or in the woods and pick up sticks that you find along the way. Then find a quiet spot to wrap string or yarn around the joints to hold the initial in place. For the younger kids I used twist ties to hold the sticks in place so that they could manipulate the embroidery floss around the sticks without the letter completely falling apart.

Enjoy the quiet moments with your children. While they are working ask questions about their day at school, their friends etc. Sit and listen. Don't comment as you normally would and instead try and listen and observe. Keeping an open mind and an open heart.


Simple Candy Corn Painting

Need a quick and easy craft that will keep the kids occupied for a little while? This is it! Great for kindergarten through fourth grade students. The supplies are minimal so it's great for a classroom project.

All you will need is:

  • white construction paper or white card stock
  • orange and yellow paint
  • clothes pins
  • craft pom pom balls
Cut the paper in the shape of a large candy corn, you can do this or have the kids do it if they are comfortable with scissors. Then place orange and yellow paints on paper plates in the center of the group for everyone to share. With the clothes pins grasp a pom pom, I chose to use coordinating colors so that no one would mix the clothespins in the wrong paint. 
yellow pom pom = yellow paint
Have the children dip their pom pom in the paint and dab on the paper repeatedly creating a candy corn design. Hang and let dry.
This craft is perfect for the fall and Halloween time, especially for the kids who might be a little scared of Halloween themed crafts that involve ghosts and skeletons.  


Clothes Pin Dolls and Fairy Houses

The mission of the Bee Yoga Fusion Yoga Kids Program is to support the develop of the whole child, what that means to me is to create an environment where the children can use their imagination to play freely while also learning how to be compassionate and caring individuals.

I love to give the children the opportunity to create their own toys to play with. On this day we first created dolls using clothes pins. You can purchase a bag of blank clothes pins at any craft supply store, JoAnn's or Michaels both carry them. The children drew on the clothes pins with marker to create their person. They then twisted a pipe cleaner around the body to create arms.

Our dolls needed a place to live so we gathered some sticks and leaves and began building our "fairy houses". We made an entire town, complete with hammocks and bedrooms.

Take your playtime outside today and see what you can create using branches and leaves that have fallen to the ground. See what type of word your child envisions.


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