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!