Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Peatnut Free Planet

Anyone who attended the November support group meeting had the opportunity to pick up some samples that Peanut Free Planet was kind enough to send us, including packets of Sunbutter, Doctor Kracker spelt crackers, and Honey Nutz which are honey roasted soy nuts. After visiting the website I was very pleased to find a one-stop shop which carried such a large variety of allergy friendly manufacturers and products. It was also nice to see that they strive to go the extra mile to reassure customers that they are getting a personalized shopping experience such as being able to shop by specific allergens, brands, or even price. And of course all products available from PFP are manufactured in facilities that are peanut free and tree nut free!

This would be an excellent site to keep in mind with holidays fast approaching!

Here's what another member of our group had to say about Peanut Free Planet:

"Peanut Free Planet is a terrific company. Ordering from them is a breeze and I am never dissatisfied. Twice a year my friends and I group an order together and easily place it online. It is a joy to find such a plethora of peanut and nut free items that look and more importantly TASTE the same as the nut contaminated ones we have locally. Our favorite is the Quaker Oats chocolate chip granola bars. Others are the mass number of candy bars that are allergy friendly, too. Peanut Free Planet is one of the only places I can order Kit Kat candy bars for my daughter...and they are peanut/nut free, which is what she needs. My non-allergic son can go to the local store and eat any candy bar off the shelf. My daughter can't. What is so 'big' about a sugary, sweet candy bar? To me, not that much... but to my daughter, it's everything. Just to have the same as all the other kids, especially her brother.
Just to be the same, that is where I fell in love with PFP! They have the exact same allergy-friendly items that I need. Last year my daughter got a Kit Kat in her stocking, she knew right away....Santa shopped at Peanut Free Planet!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009!

This year for Halloween Brody was Ninja Boy (of course) with his trusty sidekick the Kungfu Pup and Josh dressed up as Dr. Josh, Pediatric Allergist!

Notice the black belt...don't cross the Kungfu Pup!

We had a great time at the annual Food-Free Fall Carnival put on by the Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin!

The Blizzard Wizard and Tinkerbell stopped over to say "Hi"!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Movin' On Up (Karate Style!)

Earlier this month Brody participated in a promotion test and earned his brown belt in Karate! It's amazing to think how far he has come over the past 3-4 years and how dedicated and determined he still is to earn his black belt. Brody has always been the kind of person who sets his mind on something and won't stop until he achieves that goal.

Congratulations Brody! We are so proud of you!!

Brody's favorite part of the graduation ceremony was breaking a board. Watch the action in this video!

Preparing to Spar!

Sparring Mr. Griffey

Brody and Mrs. Hyke
Brody with his former instructors, Mr. Griffey and Ms. Genrich

Brown Belt Ninja Boy!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coupons, Discounts, & Special Offers

Many children (or adults) with food allergies also have environmental and/or seasonal allergies, asthma, and eczema. Which usually translates into lots of different medications! For example, both of my sons and myself suffer from all of the above ailments, so between the three of us we use about 20 prescription medications consisting of inhalers, nasal sprays, antihistamines, medicated creams/lotions/ointments, etc...which really puts a dent in the wallet. However, I have found that many medication websites offer great money-saving coupons! So next time you're given a prescription, be sure to check the affiliated website for special offers before heading to the pharmacy!

Here are the special offers that I have found so far. If you know of any others, please leave a comment!

~Nasal Sprays~

Save up to $15 per refill.

Up to $25 off your prescription and refills. Can use up to 6 coupons per year.


Offer limited to 4 prescription refills per year.

The coupon states it is for the Advair Discus (which contains a milk ingredient!), but I have verified with the company that the coupon is also good towards the Advair HFA inhaler. This coupon can be used monthly.

Not a coupon for the actual medication, but sign up here for a free Xopenex inhaler holder.

$15 instant savings coupon


$2 and $4 coupons

5 day free trial prescription

$24 rebate

$2 coupons

~Autoinjectable Epinephrine~

$20 rebate


Singulair: Save up to $20.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Nick News online

The entire Nick News show, "I'm Allergic to my World", is now available to watch online!

What is it like to have a deadly allergy? Nick News investigates.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm Allergic To My World

On September 27, Dr. Robert Wood of Johns Hopkins will appear on "Nick News with Linda Ellerbee" to talk about kids living with food allergies.

Learn more here: I'm Allergic To My World


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here We Go Again!

It’s back to school time again which means purchasing new school supplies, backpacks, clothing, shoes, etc… But for those of us with food allergic children it also means renewing all emergency medication to be kept at school such as EpiPens, rescue inhaler, and Benadryl and just as importantly, it means meeting with our children’s new teachers and making sure they fully understand the seriousness of food allergies, including how to handle an allergic reaction should it happen while your child is at school and hopefully how to prevent an allergic reaction from happening in the first place!

Linda Coss, author of several food allergy cookbooks, has written an excellent article about why it is important for schools to implement food allergy policies to keep our children safe. It also is written in a way so that parents of “all the other kids” can hopefully understand why these safety measures are needed rather then simply telling the food allergic children “just don’t eat what you’re allergic to”. I personally plan on forwarding this article to the principal at my son’s school in hopes that she will send copies home with all of the children in his class to pass on to their parents.

Click here to read "Attack of the Killer Peanut Butter Sandwiches" :


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pictures from the Food Allergy Walk

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the 2009 Food Allergy Awareness Walk on Saturday! We all got a little wet (okay, a lot wet), but it was well worth it!

UW Marching Band

John Stofflet showing off his own EpiPen!

Epi-Man was there to save the day!

Brody's Team!!!

The kids enjoyed face (and body!) painting.

Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin logo.

Silent auction table

The bounce house was a hit...even in the rain!

Walking in the rain!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Coupons

Betty Crocker now offers four gluten-free products which include a brownie mix, cookie mix, devil's food cake mix and a yellow cake mix. To request a coupon for one free gluten-free mix, simply call 1-800-446-1898.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preparing for the Worst

For whatever reason, Brody’s mind has been on anaphylaxis lately. I’m thinking it may have to do with the fact that summer seems to be slipping by too quickly and another year of school is fast approaching. A couple of nights ago as I was tucking him into bed, he started asking me question after question about his allergies. Some of these included questions about past reactions he has had, scenarios of future reactions he could possibly have (especially at school), questions of how epinephrine actually helps stop an allergic reaction, what to expect during an ambulance ride to the hospital, etc…This went on for 2 hours. At one point he told me that he wishes that he had already experienced using an EpiPen so he would know what to except as far as pain from the needle and how quickly the medicine would help make him feel better. I couldn't agree more. There have been 2 times in Brody’s life that he absolutely should have received an EpiPen shot for a serious reaction, but unfortunately he never did. The first time was when he was only 13 months old. After grabbing his brother’s peanut butter sandwich and taking a nibble, he began projectile vomiting within minutes, but at that time we didn’t even know that he had food allergies yet and therefore no EpiPen. The second time was about 3 years later and was by far one of the scariest moments of my life. This time the poison to his little body was a tiny amount of milk when he accidentally took a sip out of his cousin’s cup instead of his own. Within 30 seconds he was clawing at his tongue because it “burned”, he was coughing and wheezing, he felt sick to his stomach and weak, and his face was flushed and broke out in hives. It was a terrifying experience. But yet we didn’t give him the EpiPen. Why? Because unfortunately up until that point we were very ill-informed from our allergist. He had told us that the EpiPen was to be used if Brody was ever exposed to peanuts again. He never once told us that some kids do have anaphylactic reactions to foods other than nuts, such as milk. In fact we were told that most children outgrow milk and egg allergies by school age and that these were most likely not very serious and would probably only cause a flare of his eczema if he was to accidentally ingest them. So in my mind at that moment of the reaction all I could think was “What in the world is going on? This shouldn’t be happening!”. I was completely overwhelmed and mentally unprepared for the whole experience. Thank God (!) the allergic reaction started to calm down after a dose of Benadryl and a couple puffs from his inhaler. But when I spoke to the allergist the next day about what had happened, he said “you’re lucky he’s alive”. Those words are forever burned into my memory. I still replay that night in my head over and over and beat myself up about it constantly, but I also know that because of that experience I will never hesitate to use the EpiPen again when Brody has another severe reaction. Notice I said when, not if, because odds are that Brody will experience more life threatening reactions throughout his life as unfortunately accidents are never planned.

The day after Brody asked me all those questions about his allergies, I decided we should dig out one of his expired EpiPens and practice injecting it into an orange to refresh his memory of how it all works and then we used an EpiPen trainer to do some role playing. He seemed to feel much more at ease and satisfied after we did this. As parents it is up to us to educate and prepare our children for how to keep themselves safe and healthy, and for Brody that includes knowing how to save his own life with an EpiPen.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Researchers Find New Way of Reducing Symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock

A team of researchers from the University of Glasgow have pinpointed a molecule (IL-33) which plays a key role in the development of anaphylaxis.

"Our study showed that IL-33 plays a pivotal role in hugely increasing the inflammation experienced during a period of anaphylactic shock and led us to understand how to intervene to reduce its impact.

An anaphylactic shock prompts a massive inflammatory reaction which often is so severe that it constricts breathing. In our study we found that the severity of the shock is linked to the IL-33 molecule, which acts as an amplifier to the inflammatory reaction. This can lead to a fatal constriction of the airway and, ultimately, death.

Our study suggests that patients with the most severe anaphylactic reactions have very high levels of IL33 in their system.

In basic terms, without the IL33 molecule, the allergic reaction experienced would be far less severe, greatly reducing the risk of death."

Read full article here:


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kiss The Cook!

Apparently I was in the mood to spend some time in the kitchen today! I woke up and decided I would tackle the challenge of coming up with a dairy-free ice cream that Brody would actually like for once! He has never been a fan of any of the soy, rice, or coconut milk ice creams on the market and would much rather eat a bowl of sorbet, preferably orange flavored. I decided to give it yet another try anyway since I have the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid just sitting and collecting dust. Since Brody is a big fan of mixing Sunbutter and chocolate chips together for a treat, we decided that it might be good with ice cream too!

Sunbutter Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"
(Milk-free, Egg-free, Nut-free)
2 cups Coffee Rich (or Rich Whip)
1/8 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/3-1/2 cup sugar

Mix these 4 ingredients together and pour into your ice cream maker as per directions. This makes a very soft ice cream, so I let it mix for an extra 5 or so minutes until desired consistency. During the last 1-2 minutes, add in a scoop of Sunbutter and a handful of chocolate chips. I didn't measure these amounts, just whatever looked good at the time!

I personally think it turned out very yummy...Brody's still not so sure. Guess I'll be making some more sorbet soon, too!

While I was in the kitchen, I figured I better do something about all the zucchini from my mom's garden that is taking over my counter space. I've been trying to use it up by baking zucchini bread and lots of veggie bakes, but felt like doing something a little different today. My mother-in-law makes a wonderful chocolate zucchini cake, but it's full of eggs. I came up with this recipe not too long ago as a way of using up some my zucchini surplus and treating my chocolate craving at the same time!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
(milk-free, egg-free, nut-free)
4 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 1/2 cup water, mixed well
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 box chocolate instant pudding mix
1 dairy-free chocolate cake mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix flaxseed meal and water and let sit until thickens. Add oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add zucchini and chocolate pudding mix and mix thoroughly. Add cake mix and cinnamon and blend until moistened. Mixture will be very thick. Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle all over the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool completely on a rack before cutting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2009 Food Allergy Awareness Walk

It's time again for the annual Food Allergy Awareness Walk! This is our yearly fundraiser so that FAAW can continue to help families with food allergies. If you are unable to attend but would still like to donate to the event you can visit Brody's fundraising web page and donate.

Walk for Children, Teens, and Adults with Food Allergies
Saturday, August 8, 2009
9:00 A.M. Registration
Warner Park
2930 N Sherman Ave
Madison, WI

Join Us & Walk For A Child, Teen or Adult With Allergies!

Build Your Team or Register!

Six Easy Steps:
1. Go to
2. Click on "Register for an Event"
3. Select "Food Allergy Walk"
4. Select your registration type.
5. Log in or create an account.
6. Find a team to join or create a new team.

Or Contact:
Food Allergy Association of WI
2722 Union Street
Madison, WI 53704
Phone: 608-575-9535
Fax your registration and credit card information to:608-249-5215

Let your creativity run wild!
Create a t-shirt with your child's picture or show your allergies with signs, posters, and team shirts.

Create a Fundraising Page!

Build your own online fundraising web page at
Send your friends, family members, and co-workers messages asking them to support your own fundraising efforts. Ask your company if they have a program to match your donation.

***************See you at the walk!***************

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Needle-Free Epinephrine Autoinjector

LONDON, 1st July 2009-- "The Medical House PLC (“TMH”), (AIM:MLH) the specialist drug delivery company, announces that it has now supplied Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, with an advanced needle-free jet injector system specifically designed and manufactured to their specification. The system, known as “” incorporates a number of features not previously associated with needle-free devices, such as an innovative dose display. In addition, an enhanced security system allows for safe injection while the level of noise associated with the injection has been minimised..."

"In October 2008 TMH announced a non-exclusive development, licence and supply agreement with Catalent Pharma Solutions and Stallergenes to develop and distribute a variation of the company’s core disposable autoinjector technology for use with epinephrine. Under the terms of this agreement, TMH will customise its proprietary, patented ASITM disposable autoinjector device technology, according to an agreed specification and will be combined with epinephrine supplied by Catalent to create epinephrine autoinjectors for both adult and paediatric use.

These epinephrine autoinjectors are intended for the emergency treatment of anaphylactic shock, mostly due to hymenoptera venom or food allergies and for the use by patients themselves or by a person close to the patient in the event of an emergency. The newly-created product will be distributed exclusively by Stallergenes who are a European biopharmaceutical company, with annual sales in 2007 of ?? million, dedicated to desensitisation therapies for the prevention and treatment of allergy-related conditions. The Agreement covers 13 European countries, including the United Kingdom and incorporates provision for extension to additional territories."

Read entire article here...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thrill Rides at the Theme Park

Earlier this week my family took a little mini-vacation to Illinois. We enjoyed one day at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago (where the boys thoroughly enjoyed The Harry Potter exhibit!) and the entire next day was spent at Six Flags Great America. Other than a possible mild reaction to what I believe might have been food residue on the rides, which resulted in one large angry hive on Brody's cheek that lasted most of the day, we had a wonderful fun-filled time!

Although no outside food is allowed in the park, if you mention to the park attendants when you are entering that you have a child with special dietary needs, they will okay it. I was also told that all of the restaurants in the park have a book listing all ingredients and food allergy info. Also, because of the boys' Ocular Albinism, I stopped in at Guest Relations right inside the entrance and asked if there would be any accommodations they could offer us as the boys are extremely photophobic (their eyes are very sensitive to bright light/sunlight) and I explained that it would be hard for them to stand in long lines in the sun for extended periods of time. The person behind the desk was very understanding and gave us a Ride Accessibility Pass (RAP) which allowed us to set up a time to get on each ride without having to stand in line. Instead, we could wait elsewhere out of the sun and then enter the ride through the exit and get on almost immediately. We actually only ended up needing to use this pass a handful of times though since we were at the park on a Monday and the lines were not terribly long to begin with.

All in all, we had a great time and the boys are already planning a return visit next summer!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Video of Allergic Reaction to Peanuts

This is a very disturbing video of a man having a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. He decided to record himself during this reaction in hopes of informing people what a reaction can look like, however, this could have ended very badly for him and I certainly hope that anyone else having a reaction like this would use an EpiPen and call 911 immediately!

I'm also bothered by the fact that he states in the video that this would be considered a "mild reaction". According to the Anaphylaxis Grading Chart , this reaction would absolutely be considered anaphylaxis. Luckily this man recovered and now we can use his video as a teaching tool for ourselves and others.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Maybe, Possibly, Hopefully???

Last week Brody had an appointment for his yearly food allergy testing. I've been very hopeful that he will eventually outgrow his egg allergy, and according to the results from this year's RAST, it looks like that may indeed be happening! In fact the allergist believes that in another year or two we may be able to do an in-office food challenge! Whoo-Hoo!!

Unfortuantely his milk score is still >100...and always has been. I personally don't believe he will ever outgrow this allergy. It's just pure poison to his little body. Such a hard one to deal with considering just walking into a grocery store means that over 75% of everything on the shelves contains some form of milk or could be cross-contaminated with milk (not to mention all of his other allergies), but for now I'm choosing to focus on the good news of possibly outgrowing egg! Can you imagine my excitement of possibly some day making a cake with eggs again?!!!!

We didn't bother re-testing tree nuts or shellfish this year, but oddly enough, Brody's peanut score dropped quite a bit. I'm in no way getting myself excited about that one because A) the number is still high, and B) only 20% of children outgrow peanut allergy by school age...and Brody is already 9. (How can he already be 9?!) If I could choose, I would much rather he outgrow milk than peanut any day! At this point though, I doubt either will happen.

I just have to keep reminding myself to focus on the positive, focus on the positive, focus on the positive...

Swine Flu Vaccine Safe for Egg Allergy

Novartis is making an H1N1 vaccine in cells that should be safe for the egg allergic according to the following article.

"...the cell-based method "eliminates the rare but vexing problem of egg allergy" that means some people can't take a flu vaccine."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Talent Show Ninja

Watch the Ninja Boy in action! Brody participated in the school talent show today. He was a nervous wreck this morning, but cool as a cucumber by the time the show started. I volunteered to be the backstage manager, so unfortunately didn't get to actually see much of his performance until watching the video afterwards.

By the way, my darling husband did not realize that if you turn the digital camera vertical while recording video, it will show up sideways when you play it back. So if you get a kink in your neck, it's Shane's fault!! Brody on the other hand, thinks it looks like he is doing karate on a wall...kind of like Spider-Man! LOL Anyone know how to rotate a video?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Free Asthma Storybook for Kids

Follow this link to receive a free asthma storybook for elementary age children from Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and Schering-Plough!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Book Give-Away!

Be sure to stop by the Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin blog for your chance to win a new children's food allergy book! The Bugabees was written by a local author who wrote the book for her daughter who has food allergies.

The 20th person to leave a comment at will win a free book!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

Each year our elementary school celebrates Mother's Day by inviting all the mom's to join their child for a quick breakfast at the beginning of the school day...otherwise known as "Muffins For Moms". Brody was very excited to have me come to school with him for this event, so I asked what kind of muffin he would like me to make for him to bring along. It was a tough decision between Banana, Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon, etc...but he finally decided on Blueberry!

Blueberry Muffins (milk, egg, peanut & tree nut free!)
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour (I like to use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup frozen blueberries

3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp dairy-free margarine, room temperature
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. In large bowl combine 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, lemon juice, rice milk, and applesauce. Mix until thoroughly combined. In small bowl toss blueberries with remaining 2 Tbsp flour just to coat (prevents from sinking), then fold them into batter gently. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling half full. Set aside.

To Prepare Topping: In separate small bowl, stir sugar, margarine, cinnamon and nutmeg with a fork until crumbly. Spoon evenly over each muffin before baking.

Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

Top 10 List

In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week, food allergy author Linda Coss has released her list of the top 10 things that parents of children with life-threatening food allergies want:

#10: Delicious and Easy Recipes - For those who must eliminate multiple and/or common ingredients, cooking can be an enormous challenge.

#9: To Be Able to Easily Dine Out - We understand that it is not easy to prepare allergen-free food in the typical busy restaurant kitchen. But it would be nice if we could easily get correct answers regarding what's in the food.

#8: Nut-Free Flights - Airlines cannot control the food brought on board a flight by their passengers, but why must they serve little bags of peanuts? How about crackers, pretzels, raisins, licorice, tortilla chips, or just about any other popular snack food?

#7: Empowered EMTs - In many parts of the country emergency medical technicians do not carry - and are forbidden from administering - potentially life-saving shots of epinephrine. This is ridiculous.

#6: Appropriate ER Protocols - Because up to 40-50% of severe reactions are biphasic, those who go to the hospital for treatment should always be kept under observation for at least 5 hours. Unfortunately many emergency rooms discharge these patients as soon as they first stabilize.

#5: Understanding - We want the people in our lives to understand that we are not a bunch of paranoid hysterical oddballs who are making all of this up for the purpose of calling attention to ourselves and our children. Life-threatening food allergies are a very real condition. And yes, we really do have to take a lot of precautions to keep our kids safe.

#4: Knowledge - Currently the only treatment for life-threatening food allergies is complete avoidance of the offending allergens. Since food, and food residue, is everywhere, parents want to know exactly how to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. What steps do they need to take? What hidden dangers do they need to avoid?

#3: Clear Labels on Packaged Food Products - If there is a chance that a product may contain an allergen that is not included in the ingredient label, the package should say so. But if not, companies should not put "may contain" verbiage on the package.

#2: Safe School Environments - Our kids are not learning disabled and do not need "special education." But they do need a school environment that is not covered with allergenic food residue, and teachers who are prepared to recognize and treat an allergic reaction.

#1: A Cure - Most of all, we want a cure. A real cure - the type of cure that would result in our children being able to eat whatever they wanted to eat, without any risk of an adverse reaction.

Ms. Coss is the author of "How to Manage Your Child's Life-Threatening Food Allergies," as well as two popular food allergy cookbooks, "What's to Eat?" and "What Else is to Eat?" - both of which provide recipes for cooking without dairy, egg, peanut or tree nut ingredients. All three books are available at, at, and at various retailers nationwide.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ninja Boy- The Ups and Downs

Brody graduated to his red-stripe belt in karate last week! Only 3 more belts to go until he gets his black belt!!

Obviously that was the Upper, now for the Downer...We were just told a few days ago that Karate America Portage was closing it's doors for good this week. Brody and the other kids from his karate class are all brokenhearted, yet determined to keep working towards their black belts. We are looking into our options at other karate schools, but unfortunately it will mean traveling farther than Portage. Luckily Brody is busy practicing hard for the school talent show try-outs (karate form to music), so that is keeping him focused right now. Hopefully we will find a good fit for a new karate school soon!

Bleach Baths for Eczema Treatment

Recently a study was done looking at the role of bleach baths in the treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema). Click HERE to view the entire article.

"The treated group had improvements in several eczema scores compared to the untreated group, with improvements only seen in the body (submerged in the bleach baths) and not the head and neck. For example, compared to baseline, after three months the treated group had on average 24% less of their body affected by rash compared to a 3% improvement in the placebo group."

When Brody was younger his eczema was so out of control that his entire body was red, scaly and constantly itchy. Both our allergist and dermatologist suggested adding bleach to Brody's bath water twice a week to try to help kill the bacteria on the skin to reduce the chance of infection. Also, swimming in a chlorinated pool weekly was recommended. At first the thought of adding bleach to my little guy's bath water seemed like it would be torture on his already extremely sensitive skin, but actually we found it to be quite soothing for him. Luckily Brody's eczema is under much better control now, but next time an eczema flare rears it's ugly head we definitely won't hesitate to pull the bleach out again!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Vote for Trixie!

Last month the boys wanted to enter Trixie's picture into the Hotel For Dogs Cutest Dog Contest at our local Family Video store...and she won! Now her picture is automatically entered into the National Cutest Dog Contest. Online voting begins today and will end May 8th.

There are lots of cute doggie entries (about 430 I believe!), but we would really appreciate it if you would vote for Trixie!

Thank You!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunbutter Banana Bread

I love making quick breads. Pumpkin, Zucchini, Banana,'s all good! There's just something very satisfying about quickly mixing together the dough and then having the wonderful aroma from the oven fill our house while it's baking. And of course the excited anticipation from the boys asking over and over..."is it done yet??".

Yesterday I came across a recipe in a magazine for peanut butter banana bread with a gooey layer of chocolate running through the middle of the loaf. Obviously that's not going to happen in this house! So I tweaked the recipe to fit our needs and the result was absolutely delicious! In fact, I may need to bake another loaf today. =)

Sunbutter Banana Bread
(milk, egg, peanut & tree nut free)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Sunbutter (soynut butter would also work)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine, softened
1 pkg (8 oz) soy cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 Tbsp water (to replace 2 eggs)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp calcium powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

In small bowl, stir the topping ingredients together until crumbly. Set aside

In large bowl, cream the margarine, soy cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flaxseed/water mixture and beat well. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.

Divide half of the batter between two greased 8 x 4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle with half of the topping. Top with chocolate chips. Repeat layers of batter and topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Asthma Medication Resource

This page from is a helpful resource for anyone who deals with asthma, whether in yourself or a loved one. Not only are there pictures and information about all of the different asthma medications, spacers, and nebulizers available, but there are also diagrams demonstrating how to position a patient for dosing, and even a list of advantages and disadvantages of each type of medication and delivery device.

Overall, a great resource for asthma medication information!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Table Topper

Parents of food allergic children know what it's like to worry about the possible cross-contamination from a table where their little one is eating. Well worry no more! Neat Solutions For Children has a great product available called the Table Topper. This new disposable adhesive placemat provides a barrier against food contamination, germs, and dirt that may be unseen on a table surface and is stationary so kids can't easily push or throw the placemat to the ground. And even better yet is the All-In-One Meal Kit which includes a sip cup, table topper, bib with crumb catcher, fork & spoon. Just grab and go!

Visit to view all of the convenient products available. And check out this YouTube video for a demonstration of the all-in-one kit!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Elementary School Art Fair

Brody's school has an annual Science and Art Fair that the students can participate in if they so choose. This year Brody decided to submit an art project. He ended up making a paper mache replica of Trixie!

Apparently Trixie wasn't so sure what to think of her long lost twin though!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Allergen Labeling Study

A study at the University of Nebraska found that peanut, milk, and egg proteins were found in products labeled with "may contain", "shared equipment", and "shared facility" warnings. Even more unnerving were the results from a separate study showing that a handful of products with no warnings whatsoever did indeed test positive for milk and/or egg protein.

The Nebraska study found that milk was commonly present in products with a variety of labeling terms:

23 of 50 labeled as "may contain milk"
13 of 57 with "shared equipment" language
9 of 40 with "shared facility" language
16 of 29 with milk listed as a "minor" ingredient
1 of 3 with other labeling terminology

In order to keep our food allergic children as safe as possible, we should all remember that if there is *any* type of may contain warning on a package to assume that it could, in fact, be contaminated and avoid it.

You can view the article in its entirety here:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why have you forsaken me Sara Lee?

One of my biggest pet peeves of all time is when a specific brand of food that I have grown to trust over the years to be safe for Brody suddenly reformulates their product and adds one of his allergens! Arghhhhh!!!! For many years I have been buying Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, and considering the fact that Brody takes a sandwich in his lunch box to school every single day, we have gone through countless loaves during this time frame. Just recently Sara Lee has now started adding milk to every variety of bread they make. Why??? Why fix something that isn't broken? I'm betting that adding that small amount of milk will not change the taste what was even the point? I'm irritated for myself and all the other families with milk allergic children who will now have to try to find a new brand of bread that they trust. Thanks for nothing, Sara Lee.

If you would like to take the time to contact this company and let them know how much this change will affect your friends/family with milk allergic children, you can do so here:

Here is the message I sent:
As the mother of a severely milk allergic little boy, I am very disappointed that you have now begun adding milk to all of your breads. I have been buying Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread for many years because it was one of the only brands I felt safe with for my son, but unfortunately I am now left trying to find a new brand to trust.

On behalf of all milk allergic children and their families, I ask that you reconsider the new formula and bring back what was once safe for these children.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trixie Pics and an Uh-Oh Moment!

Just thought I'd post a few more cute puppy pictures. Trixie certainly has been a welcome addition to our family and she keeps us laughing! Those sharp little puppy teeth sure do wake you up though! The boys like to call her The Little VamPoodle (vampire poodle) when she gets overly excited and tries to gnaw on any body part she can sink her teeth into! LOL

The boys love to take Trixie for walks every day now that the snow has finally melted. Her legs are so little though that she gets tired out and ends up getting carried back to the house. =)

We did have a bit of a problem last week though. I keep telling Josh not to let Trixie lick his face and to always wash his hands after playing with her. Josh was upset about something, so Brody picked Trixie up and put her by his neck so "Trixie could give Josh some love". Of course she got excited and started licking Josh's neck. A few minutes later he came out into the kitchen by me and the entire right side of his neck was covered with hives! I had him jump in the shower, rubbed some hydrocortisone ointment on the hives, and gave him his nightly dose of Zyrtec. He was itchy for a while, but by the next morning the hives were completely gone. So obviously we now know that Josh is definitely allergic to Trixie's saliva, but he hasn't had any other problems whatsoever since we brought her home. When the boys see the allergist in June we will definitely be talking about those allergy shots. But as long as Josh doesn't let Trixie lick his face he seems okay for now and he certainly has no desire to give up his little pup. I hate to think what would happen if he wasn't on antihistamines twice a day though!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Karate Kid Strikes Again!

This past Sunday Brody participated in the Capitol City Open Karate Tournament held in DeForest. This turned out to be a very intense competition because Brody ended up tying for first place in his division and had to do a face off! And once again he walked away with a First place trophy!

When I asked him what was going through his head when the judge explained there would be a face off, Brody said he was thinking "yeah, now it gets exciting!" and he was happy that he would get to show off his form again to the judges that he has been working so hard on.

Way to go Brody!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Puppy Love

We did it. We adopted a puppy. And we are all head over heels in love with her! I can't believe just how much I have missed having a dog. She is the sweetest little thing and her tiny face just melts my heart. So far so good with Josh! No signs of any allergy symptoms rearing their ugly head yet. Of course that could have something to do with the fact that Josh is already on antihistamines twice a day anyway for other allergies, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will be okay.

So this is Trixie the Wonder Pooch! Isn't she absolutely adorable? She is a Silky Poodle which is a mix between a Silky Terrier and a Toy Poodle. Her parents were only 5 pounds each, so she will always be a tiny little thing. Little is good! Little means less dander to set off allergies. Little also means less mess to clean up...I could really do without the whole potty training aspect! But then she looks at me with her insanely cute puppy face and my heart melts all over again, so I forgive her little accidents.