The 2012 Happy Mama Conference & Retreat was an amazing success! We got great feedback and we’re looking forward to making our next retreat even better! Following are highlights of the 2012 Retreat, in case you weren’t with us last year.


Our presenters were generous enough to share their presentations:

Dr. Daphne Timmons:

Stress, Resiliency, and the Special Needs Parent

Kristin McClure:

Techniques to Decrease Stress

Twitter: kristmcclur




When: Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. – Sunday, July 29, 12 p.m, 2012.
Where: Rock Barn Golf & Spa, Conover, North Carolina

What: A CONFERENCE that focuses on your needs as the mom to a child with a very real, but invisible, brain-based disability, like ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, FASD, PBD, SPD, PDD, or one of the many other overlapping conditions that make parenting your child an extra challenging situation, and a RETREAT, where we’ll provide you with wonderful food, spa opportunities, fun activities, and comraderie with other moms who know exactly where you’re coming from. Please see conference schedule of events (below) for details.

Why: Because parenting children with invisible disabilities is an extremely stressful, isolating, and emotional job and one which can impact your health and well-being in a negative way. But if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

How: Price is $129 (through July 1; after July 1 it’s $145), which includes all lunch, dinner, break, and beverages the day of the conference. Mini-spa treatments and activities on July 28th will have extra cost, which we are trying to keep minimal (and will hopefully find a sponsor for!). We have 2 choices for lodging, the lodges at the Rock Barn or Holiday Inn Express in nearby Hickory. Please see registration page for complete details.

Rock Barn Clubhouse

Clubhouse at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa, Conover, North Carolina

Schedule of events:

Friday, July 27: early arrival. Stay at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa (in lodge or in town homes, space is very limited) or in nearby Holiday Inn Express. See Registration page for complete details. Please note that accommodations are not included in price of Happy Mama Conference & Retreat.

Saturday, July 28:

9:30 a.m. Check-in and registration for give-aways.

10:00 a.m. “Welcome!” by Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, co-editor of Easy to Love but Hard To Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories.

10:30 a.m. Ice-breakers/Let’s get to know each other!

11 a.m. Jill Critchfield, Nationally Board Certified Exceptional Children’s Teacher and Educational Advocate: “Advocating For Your Child in School,” and Q+A

12 p.m. Break

12:15 a.m. Lunch and give-aways

1:30 “Parenthood, Stress, Health, and Resiliency”, by Dr. Daphne Timmons, experienced clinician for children and adults, and certified parent trainer through CHADD.

3 p.m. Break + more giveaways

3:30 – 5 p.m. Kristin McClure, MSW, LCSW, Family + Child Therapist: “How to Be Happy: Calming Techniques for You and Your Child.”

5 – 6:30 p.m. Break (on or off site)

6:30 – 8 p.m. Dinner + Mingling

Sunday, July 29

a.m. – breakfast on your own

10 a.m. Fun activities! These may include spa treatments, relaxing by the pool, gem mining, hiking, yoga, horseback riding, or kayaking. Some of these activities may be at the individual’s expense.


2012 Speakers:

Jill Critchfield has always had a heart for working with children with Special Needs. At 19 she was the Aquatics Director of the world renowned Children’s Beach House in Lewes, Delaware, where Jill had the opportunity to live with children that were Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ADD, ADHD, Severe and Profoundly Disabled and Hydrocephalic. After graduating UNC-Greensboro in the field of Deaf Education and English Education she moved to Atlanta and began work as an Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf. During this time Jill had the opportunity to work with a Deaf and Autistic Child, giving way to a new field of interest. Jill worked with one of the Nation’s top Autistic leaders to learn the beautiful weave of an Autistic mind.

Jill earned her third teaching certification in Learning Disabilities at UNC-Wilmington, while employed as a Lead Teacher for the Transition Program for Young Adults.  For two years Jill taught Young Adults with Special Needs how to live independently, seek gainful employment and navigate the city bus routes. Following this position Jill worked for the state as an Early Intervention Specialist for children that are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Finally, Jill settled down as an Exceptional Children’s Elementary School Teacher.  She received her National Boards in Special Education as well.  It was during these special years that Jill had the opportunity to work with students of all disabilities: Tourette’s, ADD, ADHD, Autism, PDD-NOS, Deafness, Learning Disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, and Behavior Disorders.  Jill taught each of her students in the way they would learn best, not adhering to any conventional way of teaching. If a child wasn’t learning, Jill wasn’t teaching it correctly. It made for many fun days of learning, and challenging days working with others that weren’t able to comprehend Jill’s teaching philosophy.

Kristin McClure is a family and child therapist who specializes in childhood anxiety treatment, adult anxiety treatment,and depression and bipolar disorder in children and adults. She is interested in exploring how people can be happier, more mindful, and more connected.
Kristin was born in New York and went to undergraduate school at Suny Albany and graduate school at Suny Buffalo, where she got her Master’s degree in Social Work. Her focus of study was young children’s mental health. She moved to Charlotte in 1995, where she worked at the Family Center as a child therapist for five years. She specialized in child trauma. Later, She went on to work for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the Mecklenburg County Health Department with at risk children with a variety of disabilities. She spent a year helping a local foster care agency developing  intensive treatment tracks for children with MR/ DD and severe mental illness. She also started the local child advocacy center here in Mecklenburg County. Since 2003, She has been in private practice.

You can find Kristin on Facebook, on Twitter (#kristmcclur), and on the web here and here.

Dr. Daphne Timmons is an experienced clinician with extensive child, adolescent and adult experience in residential and community settings. She has worked in  private practice and public mental health experience and human resources consulting experience. She is ac certified trainer in parent education with CHADD and she provides clinical consultation for adults and children on medical necessity for and on the appropriate interventions for treatment as well as psychological evaluations for Autism ,Asperger and PDD disorders and parent education and clinical support to clinicians. She also works with children in foster care and children who are in the process of adoption.

In addition, she also provides psychological services for parents of adult children with special needs and is developing e-books on parenting challenges for exceptional children and adults. She has served in leadership roles in health care organizations and developed program models for clinical treatment that have been adopted in multiple states.


 2012  Sponsors


Gold Sponsors








Silver Sponsors

I Stitched With Love

Star Jewels

Sophie’s Hats



Bronze Sponsors

Suzie’s Imaginarium

Grateful Beads



Divine Lulu Creations

Blue Ridge Origami

The Lemon Dahlia

Willow’s Earthly Treasures

Lois’ Crafty Corner

Constantly Unfolding

Gypsy That I Was

Embellish by Andrea

Aloha Cookie Girl

Chakra Dreams

The Pretty Do-Good

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