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!