Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 10 lists from 2011

I must admit that I am a sucker for top 10 lists at the end of the year.  I usually look up a couple and proceed to quiz anyone that seems interested.  Baby names are always a lot of fun to look up since they really do change from year to year.  It's fun to see the new standards, like Olivia and Sofia, take over the top spots.  My other favorite list to check is the top box office domestic gross movies for the year.  By checking by amount of money made at the box office, you can eliminate subjective lists based on opinon of what movies were the best.  Let's face it, who really agrees with the critics choices anyway? 

So, to save you some time, here are my favorite lists for 2011.

Top 10 Boy Baby Names
  • 1. Jacob
  • 2. Ethan
  • 3. Michael
  • 4. Jayden
  • 5. William
  • 6. Alexander
  • 7. Noah
  • 8. Daniel
  • 9. Aiden
  • 10. Anthony
    Read more on FamilyEducation:

  • Top 10 Girl Baby Names
  • 1. Isabella
  • 2. Sophia
  • 3. Emma
  • 4. Olivia
  • 5. Ava
  • 6. Emily
  • 7. Abigail
  • 8. Madison
  • 9. Chloe
  • 10. Mia
    Read more on FamilyEducation:

  • Top 10 Box Office Domestic Grossing Movies for 2011
    1.  Harry Potter
    2.  Transformers
    3.  Twilight
    4.  The Hangover 2
    5.  Pirates of the Carribbean
    6.  Fast Five
    7.  Cars 2
    8.  Thor
    9.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    10.  Captain America

    and I have to add #11 since it was a favorite of mine this year....The Help.

    So, quiz your friends, have some fun looking back at 2011, and Happy New Year!

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

    Do you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?  Ah...the great debate at the end of the year, at least for businesses.  Each year, we hear of another business mandating that it's employees say one or the other.  The endless dialog about not wanting to offend anyone with wishing them a Merry Christmas if they are not Christians is, well, a bit absurd. 

    If you are a Christian, would you be offended if a Jew said "Happy Hanukkah?"  These are just greetings, warm wishes.  So, why do we get all bent out of shape over them?

    If the United States is a country of religious freedom, then why can't we express our religious freedom in our holiday greetings?  If we are Christians, what is the harm in saying "Merry Christmas?"  The argument that this greeting is a statement about denying other religions or ideologies is just not true.  Isn't religious freedom not having to hide your religious convictions?

    In fact, is this really even a problem for the average citizen?  Outside of the business world, U.S. citizens greet each other with "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanzaa," and "Happy Holidays."  I have yet to see someone offended by these greetings, outside of business, even if their religion was not a match to the greeting being offered.

    Why not let the employee decide what and if they want to extend a specific greeting to customers.  Has this country gotten so enmeshed in legal nonsense that we have to walk on egg shells even when we speak?  If someone at Walmart says "Merry Christmas" to you, say "thanks."  It's not an overall statement about the religiousness of Walmart.  It's simply one person telling another to have a joyous day. 

    So, let's just get over it already and enjoy our religious freedoms even around the holidays.

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    Growing out of an egg allergy - Yes!

    My son has already received his gift for Christmas.  He can now eat baked egg!  This may sound like a little thing to you, but to him, it's HUGE!  No more special treats at school when someone brings in cupcakes or cookies.  No more saying "no thank you" to birthday cake at parties.  Now, he can say, "Yes!"

    When I tell people about this change, I often get asked how I know he has outgrown the allergy.  How can I be sure?  To explain, lets start with the severity of his original allergy.  He was diagnosed with an egg allergy due to welts and hives that appeared on his face when he was a toddler.  We took egg out of his diet and everything cleared up.  Problem solved.  We have not worried much about anaphylactic shock with his egg allergy since his reaction to blood and scratch testing was mild and there was never an instance of difficulty breathing for him with egg.  The prognosis was that he would be a good candidate to grow out of this allergy (80% of children outgrow egg allergies).  So, the goal has always been to do a food test when he got older.

    His last skin prick and blood test showed a decrease in his egg reaction.  There still was a reaction, but it was slight.  Knowing this, I had a cake made with 2 eggs for a family birthday party and let him have a piece.  There was no reaction.  Several months later, I let him have a cookie with eggs baked into it.  No reaction.  Recently, we decided to test him, at home, on a regular basis.  We decided to give him one item with baked egg once a week, on the weekend, during the day.  The weekend was necessary so that if he had a reaction, he had the rest of the weekend to recover.  During the day was necessary because we did not want him to have a reaction near bedtime.  For three weeks, each Saturday, our son had one baked egg item with no reaction! 

    Our home is primarily egg free already since my daughter also has an egg allergy.  So, my son was not going to get items with egg in them very often.  It was easy to keep his egg testing to once a week.  What this has really done for him is to open up his options at school and outside our home. 

    We did call our allergist regarding our testing.  They told us that we did not need to come in for blood testing to confirm our findings.  In fact, research has shown that scratch and blood testing are not very accurate.  It only gives you a percentage chance of a reaction.  However, they did warn that egg baked into an item is very different that egg on it's own.  The protein in egg is altered when baked into an item which changes the allergen and can affect a person's reaction.  We were warned not to give him direct egg, such as scrambled eggs, without a formal egg challenge in a doctor's office.

    If you think that your child may have outgrown his egg allergy, check with your allergist about testing him with baked goods.  Depending out your child's past reactions, they may encourage you to do this at home.  Otherwise, your doctor may opt for a more formal in office food challenge.  Always check with your doctor before testing a food allergy on your own and always make sure to have your emergency medication available.

    Growing out of his egg allergy can just in time for Christmas cookies season!

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Asthma flare ups in the winter

    Once the frost hits, the outdoor allergens lessen but my asthma does not!  Turn on the heat, turn on the asthma.  If you have allergic asthma, then you have been there.  A couple of rescue puffs during the day and all of a sudden you are also taking them before bed and during the night as well.  The most frustrating thing is that the triggers can be very difficult to find.  Is it the furnace kicking on?  Is it the dust stirred up from the Christmas decorations?  Pet dander trapped inside?  Scented candles?  Fireplace? 
    Allergic asthma can be hard to pin point.  Sometimes all I know is that the air seems "close" and stuffy, and that fresh, cool air is what I need.  Opening a window or stepping outside in the winter, can do wonders for me in those situations. 

    However, when it happens at my own home, it is particularly frustrating.  I can be fine all day and then experience a flare up haphazardly.  The best thing to do is to get started on my seasonal maintenance medication.  Generally, this will take care of the sporadic flare ups in my own home.  Singulair has been great for me.  I like it because it is not another inhaler, just a simple tasteless pill. 

    If I would stay on my maintenance medication all year round, I may not feel these asthma flare ups quite so much.  However, isn't the goal of all asthmatics (after your symptoms are controlled) to get off as much medication as possible?  I think I will still stay on the seasonal plan.  I just need to be better about starting on time.

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Thanks Mom and Dad

    By the title of this blog, you might assume that I am being sarcastic with this post.  I'm not.  I love Thanksgiving time since it gives everyone the chance to reflect on the good things in life.  Combine that with eating some good food and what's not to love?

    Well, I'll admit that getting together with family can be as aggravating as it is enjoyable.  And, parents can be the cause of some of that aggravation.  Whether you feel that you are still not living up to their expectations, or you just don't think that they appreciate you, it has become quite common to blame our parents for our bad moods over the holidays.  Not only common, but easy.

    Instead, this Thanksgiving I am giving my parents some much deserved praise.  I am blessed to have parents that are still together.  In a world where our public figures are making cheating and living together in place of marriage the norm, I am thankful to my parents for working through the hard times with each other.  Their relationship has become the foundation of our family.   Something my sister and I can count on. 

    Thanks Mom and Dad and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    Teachers approving our children's snack - subjectively

    The denied snack.

    It is hard enough to get multiple lunches packed and ready in the morning without having to worry about a separate snack as well.  Each of my elementary school aged children have snack time in the morning before lunch.  First of all, is this really necessary?  I have an opinion on that question, but we will save that for another post.
    In our school, there are multiple allergies and several peanut free rooms.  Our house contributes to some of this since we have peanut, egg, and fish allergies.  Finding a safe snack that is labeled, for the teacher to check, healthy, and different that the other items in their lunch can pose a problem some hurried mornings.  Some teachers are now insisting that the snack chosen also must be what they deem to be healthy.  Sounds good, right?

    Well, as much as I like that teachers are concerned about our children's health, is it really their choice to make as to what snack my child consumes?  If I pack a safe snack that does not have any classroom allergens and is labeled, is it right for the teacher to take away my child's snack because she does not deem it healthy enough?

    I bought a multi-pack bag of Baked chips: Baked Ruffles potato chips, Baked Doritos, Baked Cheetos, Pretzels, etc.  for my children's lunches and snacks.  All these items are labeled and safe for the classroom.  These snacks may not have high nutritional value, but they are not sugary snacks either that will make the kids hyper.

    Recently, my child's teacher did not let him have his snack because it was not healthy enough.  It was Baked Cheetos.  Let me also add that I have sent him with Baked Doritos and Baked Ruffles before.  So, when are Baked Cheetos so much worse than Doritos and potato chips?  Why is this the teacher's choice? 

    What about treats that kids bring in for birthdays.  Most of the time they are sugary snacks that the children are allowed to eat in class.  Why is that o.k. and Cheetos are not? 

    Yes, we need to keep our children as healthy as possible.  We need to give them healthy options to eat.  But, since when is it the teacher's job to overrule the food choices we make for our children?  I am not talking about food allergy restrictions here.  That is a medical matter of keeping children safe.  I am talking about safe snacks that are taken away because a teacher makes the subjective choice of what is healthy enough.  Absurd!


    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    New use for lice leaf remover

    In a previous post, "Don't let it be true, not lice!," I exposed my lice Kryptonite.  Before it infiltrated our family, I was completely disgusted by lice.  I always thought that I would lose sanity if we ever got them.  I did not lose it when we got them.  As moms do, I rose to the occasion and got to where I could be a lice expert.  Even though they are still as disgusting as ever to me, I can deal with them now.

    If you have ever dealt with lice, you are familiar with those fine toothed lice combs.  Once your bought with lice is over, you may have thrown that comb away.  Hopefully, you boiled it and kept it because I just found the perfect "non-lice" use for it...Hair Leaf Remover!

    My kids love jumping into piles of leaves during the fall.  When they come inside, their hair is covered in leaf bits.  Multiple shampoos often do not remove all the debris.  However, a lice comb will!  Just comb through their wet hair, preferably with conditioner still in it, with the lice comb.  You will be surprised by how many leaf bits you are able to remove and were still in their hair!

    Try it and let me know how it works for you.

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Breakfast without eggs - cereal and oatmeal again?

    If you have or live with an egg allergy, you are nodding your head right now to the subject of this post.  As I sit down to write this, I am cooking some steel cut oats on the stove much to the chagrin of my kiddos.  Cereal and oatmeal are standard choices in our house each morning since they are quick, readily available and most importantly...EGG FREE!

    As blessed as I feel to have these morning options, they can get pretty mundane.  "What are the choices mom?"  "Cereal or Oatmeal."  "I'll have a Pop Tart." "No, that's not one of the choices."  "Well, what else is there?"  Now, some of you are probably wondering about fruit choices.  Yes, we do have grapefruit and cantaloupe some mornings which are great options.  In fact, when I am able to plan ahead, it is possible to have some egg-free variety in the mornings.
    One of our favorite egg-free morning meals is Keifer and Grape-nuts.  We came across this combination a couple of years ago when my husband introduced us all to probiotic foods.  Keifer is a liquid yogurt product with good bacteria to support your immune system.  Our favorite kefir product is...

    Lifeway's strawberry and blueberry cultured milk smoothies.

    Since our family is not a fan of drinkable yogurt.  We pour the keifer in a bowl and add Grape-nuts for texture.  Mix it up and eat it like cereal.  Add lots of Grape-nuts for a thick mix and just a sprinkling for a bit of a crunch.  This is a fast and easy morning egg-free option that I can feel good about serving.  Although Lifeway's keifer can be found at many specialty health food stores, we have found it to be priced the best at Costco.  You can purchase a box of smaller sizes with at least two varieties to choose from.  We get about two servings out of each of those small bottles.

    Now, going out to eat for breakfast is another story set with different challenges for the egg-free.  I'll save that for another post.  In the meantime, enjoy your probiotic breakfast!

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Well, we can't eliminate all foods?

    One of the most frustrating comments that I have gotten from other adults in response to accommodating food allergies is "Well, we can't eliminate all foods."   Why is it that a request to limit peanut intake is often met with this statement?

    I would agree that peanut allergies have gotten the most attention out of all the food allergies in the school system.  This is because peanut allergies are well know to cause anaphylactic shock, where the person has a closing of the throat and difficulty breathing.  This type of severe reaction can be fatal.  Although anaphylactic shock is not limited to peanuts, they are the most common food culprit and most prolific in school age food choices.  Shellfish is the other food allergy diagnosis that almost always comes with a prescription of epinephrine due to it's tendency to cause anaphylactic shock.  However, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are much more of a common item in school than cocktail shrimp and fish sticks.

    I believe some of the resistance to limiting peanuts in the schools comes from the "what's next" fear?  If we don't allow peanuts in the classroom, will they take away snacks with egg too?  What if a child comes in with a severe allergy to wheat?  Will we have to take away bread?  Pretty soon, there is nothing left to eat safely and we are forcing non-allergic people to purchase expensive gluten-free, allergen-free foods.

    This is how many non-allergic parents truly feel.  It's not a question of accommodating one allergy.  It's a question of where will the requests end, and the fear of how it could make their lives more difficult.  This is where the comment, "Well, we can't eliminate all foods!" comes from.

    It can be extremely difficult to calmly deal with this statement when having a discussion about food allergies.  However, I have found the best way to handle it is to chuckle a bit and explain that you don't want all food to be restricted.  You are just asking for some basic steps to be taken to keep your child from a potentially life threatening situation.

    No one wants to "be that parent."  You know who I mean.  The one that asks for special accommodations and always seems to make things difficult.  Well, get over it!  There will always be those parents, school officials, neighbors, family members, and friends that just don't get it.  Their comments can be insensitive and hurtful.  The best thing we can all do is to remember that in the end, we all want what is best for our kids and no one wants to see a child in jeopardy.  So, swallow your anger at insensitive comments and do your best to explain the real issue with allergies.  Many people will come around.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Church shopping

    I cringe just reading this title.  Church shopping?  It just sounds wrong, doesn't it.  Nowadays, there seems to be multiple types of protestant churches to choose from, even within the same denomination.  We have found that finding a church is not as simple as going to the local church on the corner and meeting up with your neighboors.  Your neighboors are most likely spread out among several churches in the area or they might even be driving well out of town.

    Today, church services are so individualized in their attempt to meet the changing needs of their congregations that it is hard to know just want you are going to get walking into a church.  One church we visited played Disney music upon entering, while another had the pastor preaching from a flat screen.  Traditional services have been redefined.  In fact, I would venture to guess that the children of Generation X would have a completely different definition of a typical church service than their parents.

    Being a constant visitor at several different churches is not a fun task.  And, yes, it is a task.  There are just too many and it's exhausting!  If you are lucky, you will have a friend that invites you to their church and you feel comfortable there.  The unlucky ones will find themselves bouncing from church to church around their neighborhood until they just stop going all together.  Inviting friends to church with you is even more important today than ever before.  It's easy to get lost in all the options. 

    More choices isn't always a good thing.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Treats become tricks at Halloween parties

    No tricky treats!

    It's that time of year again...Halloween!  I love dressing up, and I love seeing my kids all excited about their costumes.  Halloween is great in that you get to be someone else for a little while.  Maybe someone a bit more goofy, a bit more sexy, a bit more like a superhero...your choice.

    The thing that scares me the most about Halloween are the school parties.  Yes, the kids are super cute and it's great to watch them have fun dressing up and acting goofy.  However, when the treats and snacks come out, it's a food allergy parent's nightmare!

    Candy corn, chocolate bars, and donuts...Oh My!   Halloween is usually the first school party of the year, and it's the one where you will catch a lot of mistakes being made in the food department.  I have heard many parents say that kids that have food allergies should just bring their own snack.  Fine, they can do that and most probably will.  Excuse my sarcasm when I say that it certainly is refreshing to hear how accommodating adults can be.  Yes, some children go to great lengths to be unique.  However, I have yet to meet a child that feels great about being set apart due to their food allergy.

    Come on people...just try to bend a little.  Changing the party a little for a child to be safe and feel included is not so hard.  The extra effort will pay off a lot more in the end.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Pumpkin flavored anything!

    Another reason to love fall is that it brings out the pumpkins!  Not only are there pumpkins decorating stores and houses, but there is pumpkin flavored choices for your favorite foods.  Let's just list them shall we...
    • pumpkin lattes
    • pumpkin cookies
    • pumpkin pie
    • pumpkin bread
    • pumpkin ice cream
    • pumpkin cocktails
    • pumpkin butter 
    As I am listing these out, I am realizing that they are all sweets.  No wonder why I love pumpkin so much!  And, let's not forget about the pumpkin seeds that toast up so delicious.  It's the only good thing about digging all that gunk out of those jack-o-lanterns.  Try garlic salt on them.  It's so tasty!

    Are you drooling yet?  I just ate some pumpkin ice cream, and am trying not to dive into the scrumptious pumpkin muffins sitting on my counter.  Fall is yummy!

    Oh, and here's a tip:  A can of pumpkin and one box of chocolate cake mix makes some great pumpkin chocolate muffins.  You can't beat two ingredient recipes!

    If your Kryptonite is pumpkin due to a possible allergy, click here for more information.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Waiting rooms

    The name says it all, waiting room.  In other words, you will be here for a long time for no apparent reason, so sit back and settle in.  When you have a child with you, the wait can seem even longer.  Not only must you occupy yourself with a hopefully interesting magazine, but you also must find something for your child to do while not touching too many things.  I just cringe when my children insist on playing with the toys at doctor's offices.  These are the places where sick people hang out, and who knows what germs are lurking about.  It's much better when your child can read, and you can just bring a book from home.

    Don't you find it odd that you must arrive on time for your doctor's appointment or face a penalty, but they are very rarely on time themselves?  I finally had a nurse tell me the truth about appointments.  She said that if your appointment is at 9:15, the office really registers it at 9:30.  That way, they are not waiting around for you!

    Finally, we are called back from the waiting room to see the doctor.  Or so we thought....Really, we are heading to the second waiting room.  We sat there longer than we did in the first waiting room.  How many levels of waiting rooms are there?  This is one time I am not quieting my child as she loudly states, "When can we go home mommy?  We have been here forever!"

    Thank goodness for doctors, but I would rather wait at home for the appointment than in the waiting room!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Don't let it be true, not LICE!

    The dreaded note came home today.  "Lice was found in your child's classroom."  Aahhhhhhh!!!  I hate seeing that note.  I dread checking my kids hair just in case I might find something.  So far, so good.  We have made it through the fourth grade with 3 kids in school and no lice.  I never had it as a kid, and have no experience with it.  I really didn't know what I was looking for, but would look at their heads anyway when that note came home.

    Well, today our lucky streak ended.  I checked my child's hair and found what looked like eggs.  We quickly went and bought a lice kit and started applying.  This is when I knew my child definitely had those awful bugs.  They came out in the comb. gross!  I must have worked on my child's hair for 2-3 hours just to make sure we got it all.

    Now, I feel itchy all over.  Do I have it?  I was not messing around with this.  I called in a professional.  Local louse remover, "Nits B Gone," sent out an angel within an hour to help us!  She applied the louse killer to my hair and then combed through it to get out any nasty things.  Sure enough, I had them.  Not bad, but they were there.  With all my thick hair, it took her 3 hours to go through my whole head and guarantee elimination.  Although my husband is not happy about the price, $100.00 per hour, I feel it was worth it.  Not only am I louse free, but Nits B Gone will come back in a week to do another check (all part of the price).  If they find anything, they will give me another treatment. 

    Not only are lice gross, they cause massive panic and house cleaning.  I am knee deep in laundry and can't seem to get through it fast enough.  I am exhausted and the night is not over yet since each mattress needs to be vacuumed, all pillows need to be heat dried, and sheets need to be changed. 

    I have already called the school about the lice.  Thanks goes out to the other mom that did the same so that we could quickly find ours.  Booooo to those moms that keep the dirty little secret to themselves out of embarrassment.  Let's help each other out and get over it!  These things have got to go!

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    Coffee date and peanuts

    Finding time to bond with my older children can be difficult with all of our busy schedules and their reluctance to answer a bunch of questions about their day upon their return home from school.  Not that I blame them.  I remember, all too well, getting the third degree about my day after school and hating it.  Those innocent, "What did you do today?" questions can drive kids nuts!  I've learned to back off the questions right after school and save them up for dinner time.  They seem more apt to talk about their day after they have been home a little while.  But even then, it can be hard to get serious one-on-one time with my oldest.

    So, I am trying a new tactic this year.  I'm taking her out to coffee.  Well, at 10 years old, she won't get coffee, but we will end up at a coffee house.  This is one of my favorite things to do with my girlfriends.  Coffee houses are a great place to sit back, sip something warm, talk, and relax.  I am hoping that these outings will give my daughter and I that much needed girl time together.

    Tonight, was our first coffee/hot chocolate date.  I indulged in a pumpkin spice latte, (I love the fall flavors) and she got a hot chocolate, carmel drink.  My daughter is allergic to peanuts.  We have gotten her hot chocolate at other places without checking.  However, as I am ordering her drink, I start to wonder..."Is the hot chocolate nut free?  Is the carmel flavoring nut free?"  I've never had to worry about allergens at a coffee house before.  With my allergic daughter with me, I suddenly feel unsure whether this was a good idea.  I asked the barista if the carmel flavoring was nut free.  She read the label and it said that it was made in a facility that uses peanuts but there were no peanuts in the product.  I felt that this was o.k. and we sat down to enjoy our drinks.

    We had a great time on our coffee date.  We went out after dinner, just the two of us.  Those questions that she does not like to answer after school were not so bothersome to her at coffee.  Since I think this will be our new thing, I am going to dive into coffee house ingredients.  I need to know if a peanut allergic individual can drink safely at most coffee houses and what to watch out for. 

    Would love to have some comments from those with peanut allergies that drink coffee at coffee houses.  Any advice to share?

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Asthma - ugh!

    It's such a laid back, lazy, fall afternoon.  The type of Sunday afternoon that I love to enjoy right before the start of the work week.  The only thing missing from this perfect afternoon is complete relaxation.  I can couch potato it up all I want, veg out with the best of them, and my lungs for some reason will not cooperate. 

    As I write this, I am feeling a tightening of my chest.  I know this feeling all too well.  Right now, I can ignore it and take some deep breaths to try and calm down what is coming.  However, I know that tonight will be an albuterol night for me. 

    If you have asthma, you know just what I am talking about.  Feeling good one minute, after taking your rescue inhaler, and feeling that asthma monster creep back in the next minute.  It's not always a wheeze either, and not always a worrisome register on a peak flow meter.  However, you know what is coming and know that asthma tightness when you feel it. 

    As an adult who has had asthma since infancy, I don't use peak flow meters anymore.  My biggest problem is to get on that maintenance medication before the fall comes instead of waiting for the symptoms to begin.    It's so hard to stay on top of your own medical issues when you are trying your best to stay on top of your family's as well.  Right moms! 
    Even flight attendants tell you to take care of yourself before taking care of your children (put on your oxygen mask first).  However, who really does this?  I'm willing to bet that most moms don't miss their child's annual well check up as often as they miss their own.  You make sure your children get their daily medications before the end of the day, but did you take yours? 

    As I reach for that rescue inhaler (thank you albuterol), I realize that I should be reaching for the phone next.  Calling in my renewal for asthma maintenance medication is definitely a must.  I've done it already for my kids.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    No Coffee!

    I write this while enjoying my morning cup of coffee.  Yesterday was rough and today is shaping up to be quite busy, but this cup of coffee sure is soothing.  I like mine in a big mug that I can wrap my hands around.  Hot coffee makes you pause.  You have to take slow sips which is a great little break in the hectic morning routine.

    A tried to give up coffee for Lent one year.  I figured that Lent is close to spring and the weather would be getting warmer.  Coffee wouldn't be impossible to give up for Lent.  Well, it wasn't impossible.... However, I don't think that I will be doing that again without my husband giving it up with me.  Smelling his coffee brewing the morning was a bit much.  I'm pretty sure that he doesn't want me to give up coffee again either! 

    With all the allergies we deal with in this house, so far there is no coffee allergy.  However, I must mention that coffee allergies are out there and real!  For those allergic individuals, their immune system will react to the proteins found in coffee beans, the caffeine, or even cross contamination issues from the processing and packaging.  This can cause reactions similar to other food allergies such as hives, wheezing, and stomach cramps, to name a few.

    Giving up coffee is definitely a kryptonite idea for me.  However, I would be willing to forgo that morning cup o' joe if sitting with a friend that was allergic.  Even the smell of coffee can set someone off that is highly sensitive. 

    Well, my coffee cup is empty now.  Time to start tackling the day!

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Fall - A love/hate relationship

    I love fall!  The warm days, the cold nights, and kids are back in school.  By the time September rolls around, I am ready to begin the structured, chaos that is the school year.  You mom's know what I am talking about.  Hectic schedules are still schedules and there is something nice about getting back into the fray.  Admit it...a part of you will always laugh at that old commercial with the mom joyfully riding her grocery cart through the school supply aisle.

    I also hate fall.  The colder weather and the start of school starts spreading colds around.  I have already started picking up used tissues around my house, and even took my daughter's temperature today.  On top of it all, are the ALLERGIES!  Fall is one of the worst times for allergy sufferers.  It beats out spring by a hair for us.  Although beautiful, the trees are dropping allergens all day long, and they are blowing through the air and into my house.  Since we choose not to live in a bubble, we still enjoy the days outside (with a little help from antihistamines) but keep the windows closed at night.  There's nothing like a night bought of asthma to cure you from the desire to enjoy the fresh night air through your open window.  We just enjoy the fresh autumn air during the day.

    Do I love or hate fall?  It's a beautiful time of year full of pumpkins, colors, and transitions.  Also, I did name my youngest daughter Autumn.  So, I would say that love won!