Friday, May 31, 2013

Product Review: AllerMates Grab-and-Go Medicine Bag

Check out my new bag!  Isn't it cute?  No, it's not a purse.  It's a medicine bag!


All you food allergy moms out there know you don't go ANYWHERE without your EpiPen!  But sometimes you don't want to take your big, bulky purse to your child's baseball game, soccer game, etc just to carry your meds.  This lightweight bag has the PERFECT name!  The Grab-and-Go Medicine Bag from AllerMates is the perfect way to carry and organize meds, throw in your phone and keys, and not have to tote around a heavy purse.

Here's the skinny on all the great features:

There is a back zippered pocket with an emergency information card.  Fill this out so others know your name, allergies, and who to contact in an emergency.  There is also space to write instructions on how to administer your medication.

 
 



This is the perfect size to hold 2 EpiPens (or other auto-injectors), an asthma inhaler, and Benedryl (tablets, single doses, etc).  We need to keep all three items with us at all times.  My old case was only designed to hold EpiPens, so it was a stretch to get the tablets and inhaler in there.  This is a much better fit.
 






There are three interior pockets with Velcro closure for easy access to meds.  There is also a removable strip with elastic bands designed to hold 2 EpiPens.  I love having things organized and in their proper place.  This way you always know exactly where to reach when you need something without fumbling through your bag.  This makes finding your meds much more efficient.


 
 
 
 
 
I also love the clips on the strap that allow me to easily attach this bag to another bag or a stroller for easy carrying.  How convenient!
 
 
 
 
 
This machine-washable bag is made of high quality polyester and is nickel and latex free.  It is just the right size to carry on its own or to fit into a purse (also easy to find in your purse with the bright, fun pattern). 
 
AllerMates carries all sorts of great products for your child with food allergies, from wristbands to lunch bags to medicine cases.  They are high quality and made with TLC!  They also offer a free online club for your child with games and a learning center.  Kids Club is a great place to let your kid play and learn about his/her allergies.  There are cute characters representing the common allergens, including food, latex, venom, and medicine, as well as characters for diabetes and asthma.  These characters all live in AllerTown!  What a great tool for kids!
 
This company was started by a food allergy mom, so she knows exactly what we are looking for!  Check it out!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Product Review: First Aid For Anaphylaxis: An Allergic Emergency

Would you know what to do if you saw someone have a life-threatening allergic reaction? 

I have just completed a one hour online training course from EpiCenter Medical for anaphylaxis first aid.  What an important course for every person to complete!


As a food allergy mom, I am constantly educating others on when and how to use an EpiPen for my children.  It often scares other parents, coaches, and even teachers to think about having to use one.  They are unsure that they will know if they need to use it or how to use it.  They are not sure they will remember what to do in an emergency.  Fear comes from the unknown, which is why education is so very important.

Millions of Americans have been diagnosed allergies, including food, latex, venom, and medication.  These allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which in turn, can lead to death if left untreated.  It is so important for everyone to know what to do in an emergency.  Many jobs, including teachers, daycare providers, and healthcare professionals, require certification in First Aid and CPR.  This anaphylaxis training should most definitely be added to the list of required certifications.  The only first aid for anaphylaxis is epinephrine, and people need to know when and how to administer it to those in need.  My wish is that this knowledge is as commonplace as is CPR.

This course offers a clear description/definition of allergy and anaphylaxis, along with important statistics such as emergency room visits for food allergies occurring every three minutes.  A very precise explanation of when and how to use an EpiPen is given in great detail, so it is clear to anyone taking this course what should be done in an emergency.  Legal consequences are also discussed so you can feel confidant in your decision to use an EpiPen.  Case studies are given with actual cases involving food allergies that will open your eyes to the need for action in an anaphylaxis emergency.  The content was very clear and of great benefit to everyone.

EpiCenter Medical also offers EpiKits, which are meant to be kept on hand in case of an emergency (stocked with EpiPens), in places such as restaurants or schools.  What a brilliant idea!  I can't wait for EpiPens to be readily accessible in these dangerous (as far as food allergies are concerned) places.

This information is invaluable and could literally save a life.  It is so very important to be educated on how to help people in need.  This course is just the tool to educate people and empower them to help others.

Did you know that 25% of schools don't have a nurse on staff?  And the schools that do have nurses are often sharing a single nurse between several schools, meaning that a nurse is not on site during all school hours.  At the school my children attend, I am confidant in the nurse's ability to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and to act appropriately.  However, she is not at our school full-time since she is one of these rotating nurses.  When she is gone, who will help my child?  Office staff?  Teachers?  Other school personnel?  They are not properly trained to recognize anaphylaxis and administer an EpiPen, nor would they know what to do after epinephrine is injected.  People need to educated! 

My children will be attending Boys and Girls Club summer camp this year.  I got an e-mail today with loads of information on what to expect from the camp.  One of the headers was Medication:  Here is an excerpt:
"If your child uses an inhaler, epi-pen, etc., please send it with them on their first day. We will keep them in the office. Just a reminder, BGC is not allowed to administer medicine. We have floating nurses who will be in and out of each site all summer. They will assist when needed." 
YIKES!  I responded with an e-mail asking what I need to do to help make it possible to allow staff to help my child in a life-threatening situation.  I know the staff would not just sit back and watch my child die, but they don't have the training to know what to do.  It is a state regulation that the staff cannot administer any medication.  I am working with the managers to get this changed so staff can be trained to administer life-saving medication when needed.  There are all sorts of legal issues about who is authorized to administer meds, so often people are scared to help.

First Aid for Anaphylaxis: An Allergic Emergency is such an important course for all to take!  It only takes an hour of your time, and YOU could be the difference between life and death for someone.  Group rates are available, and I highly recommend school, daycare, and restaurant administrators (just to name a few) consider providing this course for your staff.  The course can be viewed on personal computers, and it can be paused and resumed at your own pace.  What a great feature!

I have only two suggestions for improvement: 
  • While there is a pause button, there is no "Back" button, so if you miss anything (because the phone rings, your 2 year old has to go potty, etc), you have to view the whole section again.  I recommend finding a time when you can devote your full attention to the course. 
  • There is no indicator on how much time is left in each section.  I would like to see some sort of timeline or a countdown clock so I know how long each section is.  Again, I recommend you just find an hour of time you can give to training.
The content of this course is unmatched and complete.  Please check it out and be prepared to help someone in need! 

As a thank you to my readers, use Activation Code EPICENTER to receive 30% off the course fee at EpiCenter Medical.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I'm always looking for new ways to prepare the limited number of foods that Bubs can eat.  I saw a pic of stuffed peppers and thought that I could make this with quinoa.  Here's how I made them.

Ingredients:
6 green peppers
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 c water
Italian Seasoning (or any other seasonings you like)

Preheat oven to 350º.  Cook quinoa on stove top. (1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and steam for another 10 minutes.)  Meanwhile, slice of tops of green peppers and remove seeds and membranes. 

Mix together cooked quinoa, beans, and water.  Add Italian seasoning to taste.  Spoon into peppers.  Bake for about an hour.  You can easily add meat of your choice along with any other seasonings you prefer.  I chose these ingredients based on Bubs' elimination diet. 



Bubs and GirlyGirl LOVED these.  As GirlyGirl said, "These are AWESOME!"  I'd say this recipe is a keeper!




"Buttercream" Frosting (Top 8 Free)

I've recently taken up cake making/decorating and have really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I am unable to share my creations with Bubs due to his allergies. For his birthday I was determined to give him a cupcake as close to normal as possible. Unfortunately the cupcakes themselves didn't turn out as well as I had hoped (I'll keep working on perfecting this), but the frosting wasn't too bad. It's not as great as I'd like, so I will be tweaking it as well, but it's a pretty good start.



 
Ingredients
1 c milk-free butter (I used Earth Balance Soy Free)
1/2 c rice milk (or other milk-free milk)
1 tsp vanilla
A dash of salt
2 lbs powdered sugar
 
Beat butter in mixer. Add milk, vanilla, and salt. Continue to mix while slowly adding powdered sugar. Whip on high for about 5-7 minutes. Pipe on to cupcakes with desired decorating tip. 
 
Substitution: If soy is not a problem for you, you can use 1/2 c milk-free butter and 1/2 c vegetable shortening instead of 1 c milk-free butter. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Turning 8!

Today's the day my first born turns 8!  My, how time flies. I still remember his birth like it was yesterday. I'm not sure who gets more excited for birthdays around here....the birthday kid or me!  Birthdays are so very special and important to celebrate. After all, it's the day this child changed our lives forever!

Today started off with an early wake up call from 2 year old Curls. It's great that she's potty trained, but she wakes up awfully early to go!  We got ourselves ready, ate breakfast, then headed to church. After church we enjoyed a rare meal out at a restaurant for brunch with my parents who are visiting from out of town. We all had delicious food, and of course we brought homemade safe pancakes for Bubs. 
 
Bub's pancakes and syrup for brunch
Bub's enjoying his meal with the rest of us


Delicious meal!


 
 
 
 

Grandparents and kiddos outside the restaurant.


My beautiful girls

After the littles had a nice long nap, it was party time!  Several of Bubs' friends came over to help celebrate this day. An afternoon of backyard sports and a silly string fight made them work up an appetite for birthday cake. Here's the cake I made, but of course Bubs can't have any. I made him some special cupcakes with some "buttercream" frosting. (They didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, so I will be continuing to try allergy friendly cake recipes.)


Cake full of allergies.  Not for the birthday boy!



Allergy-free cupcake for Bubs
Happy Birthday To You!
 
Once the party was over, it was time for a big family dinner. Burgers on the grill, pasta salad, watermelon. Yum!  Of course, Bub's had the same meal as the rest of us with some modifications.  His beef is grass-fed only beef (to avoid gluten contamination).  His buns are pictured here.  They actually taste really good!

 
 
 
I made his pasta salad with gluten-free noodles and milk-free cheese.  That was his favorite part of the meal!  Of course, the watermelon was safe for all!
 

 
We finished the evening with a round of gift opening (that seemed like Christmas.....geez, this kid is spoiled!) and family time.  An activity-filled day is a great way to celebrate turning 8!
 


Our back deck family dinner


 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pizza Puffs (Top 8 Free)

My parents are visiting from out of town this Memorial Day weekend.  I wanted something quick and easy to make for lunch today, so I threw some frozen pizzas in the oven for us.  But since Bubs can't have regular pizza, I made these easy-to-make pizza puffs.  I found the recipe on SuperJenn's page, but of course I had to modify it slightly to fit our needs.  Here's my version:

Ingredients:
Gluten-free flour (I use King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Multi-purpose Flour)
Baking powder
Italian seasoning
Salt
Rice milk
Egg equivalent (I use EnerG Egg Replacer)
Shredded Mozzarella milk-free cheese (I use Daiya)
Optional
Chopped pepperoni (or hamburger, sausage, etc)
Pizza sauce for dipping (Bubs is off tomatoes, so he just had these plain)

To view the full recipe and instructions, click here.


 
 
This makes a batch of 24.  Bubs ate 12 in addition to 2 bowls of salad, grapes, and rice milk, and he wanted more of these puffs!  I told him I was freezing the rest to have a quick meal on hand another day.  What a hit!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Quinoa Burgers

We are fairly limited on the foods Bubs can have, so following a traditional recipe is difficult for us. I see all sorts of savory recipes online and on other people's blogs, but we just can do eggs, flax, garlic, etc. We cook pretty basic around here.

So tonight we are trying simple quinoa burgers. 
 

Begin by rinsing 1 cup uncooked quinoa.  Add 2 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and steam for another 10 minutes (just leave the cover on your pot but remove from burner). 

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare black beans.  I got home late tonight so I just mashed the black beans with a fork.  I would recommend pureeing them in a food processor for a smoother consistency.

 
 
 When the quinoa is ready, mix in black bean puree, a few dashes of Italian Seasoning, and a little Canola oil (as you can tell, I'm not good at measuring when I cook), enough to allow you to form patties.  Now you are ready to grill!  We used our George Foreman for quick indoor grilling.
 

 
These turned out pretty good!  I served it on gluten-free bread and sprinkled some milk-free cheese on top.  The kids cleaned their plates and asked for more!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Food Allergy Bullying: It's not a Joke!

"1 in 3 children with food allergies reports being bullied because of their food allergies."  I posted this on my Facebook page one morning, then that evening Bubs told me he had been bullied that day at school because of his allergies. 
Bubs doing what he loves most.  Soccer!

There are many forms of bullying, from harsh words or laughing at to physical violence.  During this specific event, Bubs was being made fun of and laughed at during lunch at school by two boys at his table because he has food allergies.  The boy who instigated this has known Bubs since they before they were two years old as they attended the same daycare.  As long as they have known each other, Bubs has had food allergies and brought his own food from home.  I'm not sure what made him decide to tease on this particular day. 

I asked Bubs what he did when they made fun of him, and he said he asked them to stop.  But they didn't.  I told him that teasing over something like food allergies is just plain silly.  It would be like teasing this boy for having red hair.  It's just how we are born!

I've heard of more severe food allergy bullying that involves taunting a child with the food they are allergic to.  Or throwing peanuts at a peanut-allergic child.  Or even worse, contaminating the child's food with an allergen. This scares me to pieces!

I've thought a lot about what makes one person tease or bully another person.  What is comes down to is lack of knowledge.  I work with people every day who have physical disabilities (something that is often made fun of), and knowing the person and the reason behind the disability gives me insight.  I can put myself in their shoes, which gives me empathy.  I know the families and see the lengths they go to for their loved ones.  The concept of empathy is difficult for children, but we can certainly teach them (and adults too) about food allergies.  Education is key!

Here are some tips on bullying from the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) website (www.foodallergy.org)

As a parent, teacher, friend, or neighbor, you can help prevent and address food allergy bullying. Here’s how:
  • Encourage open communication. Be sure kids understand what bullying is and what to do if they – or a friend or classmate – are bullied. Emphasize the importance of reporting bullying to a trusted adult
  • Teach kids the skills they need to stand up to bullies, including saying "stop" or "leave me alone" with confidence, using humor, and walking away. 
  • Recognize the signs of bullying. These can include torn clothing or damaged books; unexplained reactions or injuries; avoiding school; physical complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches; consistent nightmares; lower grades and loss of interest in school; social isolation; and behavior changes, such as sadness or outbursts.
  • If your child is being bullied, be calm and assure him or her that you’re going to help. Don’t encourage retaliation or confront the bully yourself. This can make the problem worse. Instead, talk to the appropriate personnel at your child’s school or camp.
  • Encourage teachers, administrators, the school nurse, or counselors to offer educational programs about food allergies and bullying.
  • Talk to school or camp administrators about establishing policies and plans that protect children with food allergies and protect all children against bullying. 
  • Set up a buddy system. Encourage kids who are bullied to stay with a group of trusted friends in high-risk situations, such as at the lunchroom or while walking home from school.
Please, please, PLEASE educate your children about food allergies. You wouldn't want someone to tease you or taunt you because of something your were born with and had no control over, would you?  Please teach your child to be respectful, helpful, and kind.

A small disclaimer:  I realize that kids will be kids and growing a thick skin is part of growing up.  I would just prefer that this so called thick skin be gained by something other than that which affects my child's ability to breathe!  That is all.
 

"My tummy hurts!"

"My tummy hurts" is something I hear daily (or multiple times each day). Ever since GirlyGirl could talk, she has complained about her tummy hurting.

When she uses the word "hurt," it's hard to know what she means. Sometimes she means something itches, sometimes she's hungry, or sometimes she needs to use the bathroom. Or anything in between. She would usually complain first thing in the morning, so I would tell her she would feel better after breakfast. She would complain at other points during the day, but when she was preschool age, she was unable to describe how she was feeling. In the past year or so, she hasn't mentioned it as often. I figured she was starting to understand when she was hungry or full or whatever else was going on so she didn't feel the need to tell me it hurts all the time. 

A few days ago we were on our way to a doctor appointment, and she told her brother we were going because her tummy hurts. That was not why we were going, and I wondered why that's what she thought. With further prodding, she explained that the hurt she feels is like she has to throw up. All the time. She said she does her best to ignore it so she can enjoy playing with her friends. My heart sank and broke in two. This poor girl is living with nausea every day.

I felt absolutely guilty and horrible about brushing her off all this time. Now, I've not been completely neglectful, as I have mentioned it to her pediatrician on more than one occasion. I have also asked her repeatedly what makes her tummy hurt in order to get a good handle on what she's feeling. She also is full of energy and has a smile on her face most of the time, so I didn't know she was in constant pain.  I think she is finally old enough to articulate exactly how she feels.  

So now what? I have once again brought it to her pediatrician's attention. He wants yet another abdominal x-ray. We had one a year and half ago, but didn't really find anything of significance. We will get the x-ray next week, but we are also going to begin a gluten-free diet. There is so much   physical discomfort related to gluten, so I figure it's worth a try. After all, Bubs is already gluten-free. Switching her over won't be that difficult. Stay tuned for updates....

                                                                                                

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Life with Food Allergies

If you or your child does not have a food allergy, you may not realize how much food is interwoven into our society. Food is not only available for 3 meals and a snack each day. It is everywhere, all the time!

There are birthday parties, ball game treats, school functions, even treats in the classroom (that's a topic for another post) just to name a few. Every time there is a social gathering, there is food.  We, as a society, are always eating!  And it seems like adults ALWAYS want to feed children (to keep them busy/entertain them?). No wonder we are an obese nation!

As our lives get busier, it gets harder to squeeze in a home cooked meal before that ball game or dance class. Most people just run through a drive-thru and eat in the car on their way to their destination. We, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) don't have that luxury. Bubs is allergic to virtually all restaurant food (either directly or from cross-contamination), and GirlyGirl has to be careful to watch for peanut contamination. So we plan ahead and pack food. 

We always have a stash of birthday party-type treats in the freezer for the parties, and we keep treats at school for all those classroom birthday celebrations. We keep a bag of small trinkets to offer Bubs when the other kids are earning candy in class for a job well done. And we bring our own post-ball game snacks while we watch the other kids devour Cheetos, Little Debbie snacks, or granola bars. And on the rare occasion that we eat out, we bring a lunch box for Bubs so he can dine out with us. 

We have learned to adjust and (always) be prepared. Our kiddos are really understanding when something comes up where others are eating when we didn't expect food to be present.  We tell them we will get something later or have a little something special with dinner. They understand and are fine with it. 

It's when you have to watch so closely what you eat that you realize that food is EVERYWHERE!  Our family has learned to adjust, and luckily our children fully recognize why we look at food differently.  

I am so grateful to those who understand what we go through on a daily basis. We appreciate your patience and compassion. We haven't encountered much negativity or glares, and I hope as people continue to learn and accept others' differences, we will continue on a path of positivity and healthy thinking about food. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I love my job, but who has time to work?

I absolutely love my job! I am a physical therapist, and I work in a subacute rehab setting. I couldn't ask for better coworkers, better hours, or more flexibility. Watching and helping patients improve their quality of life is truly rewarding.  What more could I ask for?

Time. Time is a luxury. I have to admit that I am quite envious of stay-at-home moms. Not the ones who sit around watching soaps all day. But the ones who are involved in their kids' schools and activities. I would love to be a room parent, volunteer in the classroom or lunchroom, or attend every field trip. I want to be a soccer coach and girl scout leader.  Have time to exercise and clean my house. It would be great to not have to worry about work when the kids are sick or have appointments. Or try to figure out what to do with them when school is out. I wish I had more time/energy to keep my house clean, cook more/better meals, and not race through the grocery store before I have to pick up my kiddos.

Here's the thing. I try to juggle it all. I attend class parties, try to go on some field trips, am active in PTO, make it to the grocery store every week. The kids are involved in extra-curricular activities. Several nights a week. I spend time reading to and cuddling with the kiddos. I drop off and pick up the kids from school most days. However, housework is failing. I don't exercise regularly. I don't get enough sleep. But all that can be sacrificed right now. My kids are growing up too fast, and I don't want to miss it. I want to enjoy as much as I can. 

So, if I have to work, my job is perfect!  Like I said, you can't beat the flexibility. It allows me to take kids to appointments, go to classroom parties, etc. And there are exceptional rewards watching my patients recover. I know other working moms can relate. Life is busy with four kiddos, and its not going to slow down any time soon. I love my crazy, busy, hectic life!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Potty Training Adventures

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about potty training. Ugh! Even though I thought I was pulling out all the stops with the older two, we just didn't have much success. With L, I followed the steps in the book "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day." It was fabulous! She was trained in just 3 hours! She had occasional accidents from time to time, but overall, I thought she was pretty well potty trained (at least compared to the older ones). But 6 months later she moved to a new classroom at daycare, an the accidents gradually increased to a point of frustration. It was nothing the teachers were doing wrong. I think she just found a new way to get attention.

Since the younger 2 are just over a year apart, I was dreading going through this again! But since the book method worked so well with L initially, I thought I'd go that route again.

During the training session with I, she didn't seem to get it at all. She was just interested in the treats. So interested that she didn't seem to be paying any attention to me or my instruction at all! The next couple of days actually went better than expected based on how our training session went. She seemed to be picking up on this potty thing. Then she got a tummy bug and had diarrhea for 2 days! So on wet the Pull-ups! I thought we were ruined. Once the bug cleared, she has had only 1 accident. Here we are 3 weeks since our initial training session, and dare I say it, SHE'S POTTY TRAINED!!! I need to knock on some wood so I don't jinx this thing.

Ignorance is Not Bliss!

My 4 year old nephew is allergic to milk. He has been in daycare since he was an infant, and the daycare providers have always been very helpful and cautious when dealing with food for him. However, about 8 months ago, he started at a new daycare that is closer to home (for convenience). Despite lots of food allergy education and advocacy by his mom, the teacher and director don't seem to get it. They offered him candy at Halloween that wasn't labeled (luckily he knew enough to wait to ask mom before eating it), they use chocolate pudding for painting an Easter bunny, they purchase soap for the center that clearly states "Milk Protein" on the label (on the front of the bottle in big, bold letters). Today I hear that his teacher suggested that he be home schooled since avoiding milk is impossible. I'm speechless! It seems like they are not even willing to try!

My sister-in-law has been very patient with this staff and does her best to kindly educate them. Every child deserves an equal education, regardless of food allergies. What a stupid thing to discriminate against! My son has much more involved food issues, and we seem to manage just fine at school and with extra-curricular activities. It is not impossible to teach or involve a child with food allergies. You just have to be willing to learn and try.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cupcakes!

In my "free" time, I like to bake! While I make plenty of "safe" food for the monkeys, I also enjoy baking for others. I have been trying to perfect my chocolate cake recipe, so this is batch number...well, I've lost count. The white cake is pretty darn good if I don't say so myself, and this batch of strawberry has puréed fresh strawberries. Delish! I made this sampler platter to send with the kiddos to school for Teacher Appreciation Week. The leftovers are going to work with me and the hubby. :)

Don't Feed My Monkeys

I have so much to share, and I'm not sure where to begin. So I will start with explaining my title.

I have four little monkeys: Bubs is an almost 8 year old boy. GirlyGirl, Cutie, and Curls are girls, ages 6 1/2, 3, and 2. Bubs and GirlyGirl have food allergies.

When Bubs was just a baby, we discovered that he could not handle milk-based formula. He would vomit and break out in hives. So we switched to soy-based formula. After he turned 1 he was fed scrambled eggs. That resulted in vomiting, wheezing, and hives. So we invested in a nebulizer and avoided eggs. I knew another family who has a child with a peanut allergy, and they suggested I take him to a children's asthma and allergy specialist. So at 15 months old he had blood drawn and was tested for an allergy to milk, eggs, and peanuts. They tested for milk and eggs because of our experiences, and they chose to test for peanuts as well since peanut allergies are on the rise. We discovered that he is highly allergic to all three: milk, eggs, and peanuts. We fumbled our way through the next several years including a trip to the ER with anaphylaxis (from milk), but we became pretty good at feeding him in all situations. I provided most of his food at daycare (all except fruits and vegetables and a few pre-approved snacks), and on the rare occasion we went to a restaurant, we brought his food in a lunchbox. Oh yeah, he also has asthma.

Bubs has always been a rowdy boy with lots of energy. I know, some say that boys will be boys. But this was more intense. He was aggressive towards others, and we couldn't seem to get it under control with various behavior modification techniques. 1st grade was a rough year that made us take drastic measures. We met with various behavior specialists seeking answers. That's when we met David, the school's behavior specialist. He listened to our history, and I casually mentioned his food allergies. David suggested that food may be to blame for his aggressive behavior. He suggested that his body is on edge all the time. We ended up paying a visit to our local naturopathic doctor and had more blood work done, this time testing for 184 foods. The results showed that he is allergic and sensitive to 56 of the foods tested! He was put on a strict elimination/rotation diet. I was completely overwhelmed! But I quickly figured things out. And as for his behavior, well, he is a completely different kid! I only wish we had done this sooner. I'll share more about this later.

GirlyGirl seemed ok with all foods, except she had terrible cradle cap and eczema as a baby. Because of what we knew about food allergies and eczema, we switched her to soy formula. But when she was old enough for milk, she seemed to do well with it. Since our lives were peanut-free both at home and at daycare, we never saw any problems. Until the day they made walnut muffins at daycare (she was 4 1/2). She broke out in hives over various parts of her body. I quickly took her to be tested. It turned out she's not allergic to walnuts, but she is highly allergic to peanuts! The walnuts must have been contaminated at the factory. Of course this fact didn't change our lives much since she was already peanut-free. It is a bit more challenging now than she's in kindergarten. The families provide daily snacks and the school is not peanut-free. But we have gotten by just fine so far.

Cutie and Curls have been tested. Results show no allergies for Cutie and slight sensitivity to wheat for Curls. We have not seen any problems with her eating wheat so far, so we are just keeping an eye on it.

Well, that's much longer than most of my posts will be, but I thought I should explain why I don't want you to feed my monkeys!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jumping on board!

OK!  I've decided to jump on the blogging train.  I'm excited to share tidbits of my daily activities as well as advocate for my kids' food allergies.  More to come.....