Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Since both Josh and Brody were born in December, we celebrated both of their birthdays with their friends yesterday. December is just too busy of a month to try to fit 2 separate parties in! The boys love Pokemon, so I made dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free PokeBall cupcakes and cookies.
And since Brody's really not that big of a fan of cake, we celebrated Brody's actual birthday today with a huge plate of homemade powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar donuts! Happy Birthday Brody! We love you!!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
"Based on the new study, it’s estimated that food allergies cause 50,000 emergency room visits per year, with overall anaphylaxis cases approaching 150,000 annually."
Wyatt Decker, M.D., the lead author of the study, discusses anaphylaxis and the study findings in the video below.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Or more like a Cozy Shack made from Graham Crackers…
Who doesn’t enjoy spending a fun-filled afternoon of quality time with their children building a Gingerbread House every year? That is, of course, unless your little one is allergic to some or all of the goodies that go into baking and decorating that house! How about thinking outside that cookie (or graham cracker) box and tying one of these alternatives?
Twinkle-Kids makes a felt Gingerbread House Kit that includes “over 60 felt candy decorations that magically stick to a plain brown felt house” that you and your little ones can decorate over and over again.
Oriental Trading offers many different Gingerbread House ideas to choose from including a foam kit, a felt kit that requires sewing, a 3-D Gingerbread House made of card stock paper, or even a mini GB house ornament kit.
Or maybe you still have your heart set on making your Gingerbread House out of actual Gingerbread cookies? A&J Bakery now offers Egg, Dairy, and Nut-Free Gingerbread House kits! You can order the kit to put together and decorate yourself or even order a predecorated house.
And if you are looking for a Gluten-Free option, I’ve heard The Sensitive Baker offers a kit just for you! You may need to email to ask specifically for it though.
If you’d prefer to bake the gingerbread yourself. Here is a wheat-free recipe using Pamela’s Products Wheat-Free Bread Mix.
For the Gingerbread house icing you might want to try the following recipe. Boil together 4½ cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1/3 cup light corn syrup until hardball stage (until golden brown and when you drop a little in cold water it turns hard). It won't give you that "snowy" look, but it will hold the house together!
No matter what type of gingerbread house you chose to build, spending quality time with your family is all that really matters. Enjoy!
Friday, December 5, 2008
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1-15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 stick dairy-free margarine
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed +6 Tbsp water (whisked together)
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, margarine, flaxseed +water mixture, and vanilla in separate bowl until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake in oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs (about 50 minutes). Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Rich Whip
2 Tbsp dairy-free margarine
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, sugar, Rich Whip and margarine. Bring to a boil over moderate heat while stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved.
To make the Pumpkin Bread Trifle, cut the pumpkin bread into small cubes. Cover the bottom of a trifle bowl with the cubes, top with dairy-free whipped topping (prepared Rich Whip) and drizzle with caramel sauce. Repeat to make 3 layers and enjoy!!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Oh so yummy with warm gooey chocolate chips straight out of the oven! These are Josh and Brody's favorite cookies...mine too! Who needs milk, eggs, or nuts in a cookie?? Not us!
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Milk, Egg, and Nut-Free)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 cup oats (I like to use half quick oats and half old fashioned oats)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp calcium powder (optional)
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Combine remaining ingredients in a larger bowl and mix dry ingredients together. Then pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.
(The calcium powder and flaxseed are optional, but I'm always looking to add more calcium and Omega-3's into Brody's diet!)
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
My Kid – My Rules. Why is that so hard for some people to understand? The Rules are simple. It’s not like I’m asking for the moon! Come-on people, work with me here!
Let’s count down my Top 5 Rules For School…
Rule #5 Nut-Free Classroom. This means no homemade snacks allowed and any snacks that do come in must be unopened with ingredient label intact. Any snacks containing peanuts or tree nuts will simply be returned home at the end of the school day.
Rule #4 Nut-Free Lunch Table. Brody dosen’t always like this one because sometimes his friends want to sit other places in the cafeteria and he feels left out, but for now it gives me great peace of mind knowing he isn’t sitting right next to 5 other kids eating messy PB&J for lunch. When he’s a little older, I’m sure he’ll win this battle and will get to choose where to sit…with some other rules in place probably.
Rule #3 Children will wash hands when entering classroom in morning and after lunch. I have no idea what little Johnny or Jill ate for breakfast, although I’m guessing quite often it might have been peanut butter on toast. Two years in a row I know of a child that showed up to school with obvious peanut butter all over his face and shirt. Nice. Don’t parents at least check to see if their child is clean before sending them off to school?
Rule #2 I will attend all class field trips. Allergic reactions are more likely to happen on field trips because the daily routine is thrown right out the window and its extremely hard for a teacher to keep track of all 20 or so kids running amuck. Plus the fact that on the last field trip I attended, the child that my kid was paired up with pulled a huge bag of peanuts out of his lunch sack. Niiiiiiice. I think Brody and I will just move over here by this nice shady tree and eat on our own, thank you very much. And hey, teacher, pass the wipes to little Johnny please!
And finally, the absolutely positively most important #1 Rule for School…
Rule #1 Brody ONLY eats food that I have checked and okayed. Period. End of story. Why must people make this more difficult then it needs to be? Yesterday apparently the third graders were doing some state-wide testing. For whatever reason, the principal decided to buy them all gum to chew while taking the test. Teacher hands Brody gum…Brody asks if "mom checked it". Teacher then reads ingredients to Brody and asks HIM if he thinks it is safe. Brody again states that “mom should check it”. Teacher then gives gum to another staff member, who in turn reads the ingredients to Brody and asks if he thinks it is safe. Brody again says “mom should check it”. Staff member then gives gum to school nurse, who reads the ingredients and states that she thinks it is fine for Brody. Brody again states “I think my mom should check it”. Finally school receptionist is given the gum and told to call and check ingredients with me. Why in the world did it have to take this long to call me when that is what should have happened in the first place? Do not put the responsibility of knowing whether or not something is safe on an 8-year-old child! Brody will have his entire lifetime to have to read ingredients to keep himself safe…he shouldn’t have to shoulder that responsibility right now. This is why I made The Rules to begin with! And for anybody thinking to themselves, “but it was just a piece of gum”….Right, just like it was just a grape flavored tongue depressor that Brody reacted to last year when the speech therapist at school gave it to him without possibly thinking there could be any ingredients in the grape flavoring that Brody might have an allergic reaction to. Well guess what…he did! His lips swelled and itched to the point of bleeding and the whole lower half of his face turned bright red.
I'm very proud of Brody for sticking up and advocating for himself yesterday! I praised him and reassured him that he absolutely did the right thing by insisting they check with me. Oh, and just so you know, there are a couple of brands of gum that I can think of right off the top of my head that do contain milk protein. Of course most people who aren’t avid label readers wouldn’t know that though.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So once we had this all sorted out and the breathing treatment was over, Brody was back to his normal, happy, active little self. I did speak to his allergist yesterday and he put Brody on a short burst of oral steroids and nebulizer treatments twice a day for a while until his lungs are back to baseline.
The moral of this story is...Trust your gut instincts!!! And don't just believe that a doctor knows what the heck he/she is talking about! Remember that doctors are just giving us their best educated guess most of the time. But you know what? Sometimes we know more then they do! Several of the nurses even came into our room just before we were leaving and thanked me for letting them know that this specific medication should not be used for peanut allergic patients because none of them knew anything about it.
So for those of you interested, here's the scoop...
Atrovent (ipratropium bromide) Inhalation Aerosol is contraindicated in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to soya lecithin or related food products such as soybean and peanut. Atrovent Inhalation Aerosol should also not be taken by patients hypersensitive to any other components of the drug product or to atropine or its derivatives.
(Info found on http://www.drugs.com/)
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
½ cup brown sugar
½ stick dairy-free margarine (Fleischmann's Unsalted)
4 oz Rich Whip
3 Tbsp corn syrup
1½ Tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp vanilla
Heat ingredients over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up to medium-high and cook mixture at a rolling boil until temperature reaches 235F on candy thermometer, stirring constantly. Immediately pour into a metal bowl and allow caramel to cool to 200F before dipping the apples.
Crushed Oreos or other safe cookies
Mini dairy-free chocolate chips
Granola (homemade, of course!)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Scour pad contains pieces of walnut shells that my be released during use. Product may cause an allergic reaction in individuals having a tree nut sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I just finished reading "Matters of Faith" by Kristy Kiernan. In fact I read it in 2 days because I was having a hard time putting it down! The story is about a family affected by life-threatening food allergies. This book is certainly a must read for everyone in my opinion and I hope it will help raise awareness of the issues many families deal with day to day while raising kids with food allergies.
A brief overview of the book:
At age twelve, Marshall Tobias saw his best friend killed by a train. It was then that he began his search for faith—delving into one tradition, then discarding it for another. His parents, however, have little time for spiritual contemplation. Their focus has been on his little sister Megan, who suffers from severe food allergies. Now Marshall is home from college with his first real girlfriend, but there is more to Ada than meets the eye—including her beliefs about the evils of medical intervention. What follows is a crisis that tests not only faith, but the limits of family, forgiveness, and our need to believe.
And to read an excerpt, please visit Kristy Kiernan's website: http://www.kristykiernan.com/excerpts.php
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
But unfortunately that's not really the topic of this post. Today Brody jumped into the car after school and was visibly upset about something. He said, "Today was the worst day ever". Now this isn't the first time he has come home from school saying this. Usually it involves one of his classmates unexpectedly bringing in a treat for the entire class that he couldn't have or he often feels lonely because his friends don't want to sit with him at the Peanut-Free table in the cafeteria. So I braced myself and asked why he felt this way today. Turns out his friend "disinvited" Brody from his birthday party this weekend! As in a party 3 days from now which Brody has been looking forward to for several weeks! A party that the mother had told me about weeks ago and said she would call me at some point this week to go over the whole food allergy aspect. My guess/suspicion/gut feeling is that she decided it would just be much easier to not have Brody there rather than try to accommodate him. Which if she would have called me, I simply would have gave her a crash course in allergic reactions, what symptoms to watch out for, and how to use an EpiPen just in case. Then I would have provided Brody with his own snacks/cupcake anyway. How difficult would that have been?
What I really don't understand is how any mother can possibly think that uninviting a child to a party wouldn't hurt him emotionally? Especially Brody. The fact of the matter is that Brody never gets invited to birthday parties for his classmates. EVER. This was honestly the first time he got an invitation and it was also going to be the first time I let him stay at a friend's house by himself (without me hovering) for a couple of hours. He was very excited by this prospect and wants so badly to be more independent...no matter how hard it is for me to let go and trust others with his life.
So Brody cried because he feels his so-called friend doesn't want him at his party and all he desperately wants is to feel included. Instead, time after time he's excluded and left to feel very hurt and alone. I cried because my heart was breaking for him and also because I know this won't be the last time something like this happens. Josh is angry about the whole situation and thinks I should "just call the friend's mother and yell at her". Well, the thought certainly crossed my mind, but of course that's not the correct way to deal with this. Although I'm not entirely sure what the correct way to handle this is other than to keep hugging Brody and reassuring him that it's okay to be upset/hurt/mad/sad and that tomorrow will be a better day. I hope! (Gee, I seem to say that quite often.)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
The Bad news is that Brody failed the skin prick test and is very much still allergic to almonds.
The Ugly news is that Brody was prescribed yet another medication for his allergies/eczema/asthma. I believe this brings the total of medications in his daily arsenal up to about 12. Ack!! You wouldn't even want to know how much we spend on prescription co-pays every month between both boys and myself!
So why was Brody happy about the outcome today? Because for the past several weeks he has been terrified of the thought of actually eating a nut since his entire life we have driven the fact into his brain that he is deathly allergic to all tree nuts. I honestly really had no idea how we were going to manage to get him to even put a teeny-tiny bit of almond in his mouth today. But it turned out the skin prick test was positive after all, so that was the end of the the IOFC. Dr. Gern actually said it was an "iffy positive" and that Brody probably had a 50/50 chance of having an allergic reaction. I told him I didn't like those odds and he agreed wholeheartedly. He then mentioned that maybe in a year or 2 we could probably try again...to which Brody chimed in and said "how about 5 or 6 years instead"! =)
The only reason I had hoped Brody would pass the almond challenge was because it would have been another good source of protein and healthy fats for him, plus the thought of adding almonds to cookies and other goodies sounds awful tasty to me! Oh well, we've lived 8 years without any nuts. I suppose it really doesn't matter at this point!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
In any case, we could really use some good vibes, thoughts, and prayers coming our way! Stay tuned to find out how it all unfolds next week.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Some of our campsite cuisine included Hobo Popcorn, Campfire Doughnuts, and S'mores. All free of Brody's allergens of course!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
This picture is what Main Street looks like now after the lake has dropped more than a foot.