Chickenpox

Ever have a moment where you felt like your over-protective gene might have been a little worth it?

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Mine seems to be working overtime since we had children, but every once in a while, I feel like it pays off. As we walked into daycare, there was a notice to parents that there had been a case of chickenpox in the center.

The board might as well say, “Guess what’s coming home with your child to infect the whole family!” But this time, I ignored it. Didn’t apply to us because both my children are vaccinated for it.

My oldest daughter sees the sign and sounds out chickenpox. She’s precocious that way, and it means you can no longer spell stuff to get it passed her. Anyway, she then turns to me and asks me what chickenpox is. I explain that it’s a really nasty sickness that some children get, but she won’t have to worry about it because she’s vaccinated. Those shots she doesn’t like getting are protecting her.

She asks me if that’s why I make her get the shots.

I say it is, and isn’t she glad she doesn’t have to worry now.

She nods and scampers off to class.

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If only this was as bad as it got.

I didn’t think much of the exchange until I was driving into work and remembered how bad I’d had chickenpox. So bad they were on my eyelids, in my throat, and covered my back, chest, arms and face. Even my legs were peppered with them.

It was over a week of hell. I itched so bad I hurt. I’d wake up scratching and my sheets would be streaked with blood. My mom got cotton gloves for me to wear while I was asleep. We tried calamine lotion, backing soda baths, oatmeal baths. They helped a little, but the entire ordeal was torture.

About the only time I got a drop of relief was when I stood outside in the dead of January winter. It was so cold and snowy that my skin sorta numbed. My mom wouldn’t let me do that long or often as I was already sick and she didn’t want to make it worse. First time in my life I appreciated living in a cold place.

Once the disease has run its course, the chickenpox scab over and you’re no longer contagious. But, you look like something out of the Walking Dead. Of course, going back to school was such a “joy”. I wore a turtleneck to hide as many of the scabbed-over sores as I could, but I couldn’t hide the ones on my face or hands under a sweater. The kids teased me mercilessly.

So, when the doctor asked me if I wanted to vaccinate my kids for chickenpox, I said yes. Even if insurance didn’t pay. I didn’t ever want them to go through that. First chickenpox scare, and neither girl got it.

 

How about you? Your over-protective streak ever save you from something? Maybe your kids? Or are you on the other side, where you’re glad you took a risk and it paid off?

 

Why Disney Needs to Buy MLP

My oldest daughter loves My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Loves it. I have, unfortunately, seen every episode numerous times.

All in, it’s not that bad of a show. The characters are all ponies, so there are no body issue concerns. The main pony, Twilight Sparkle, is smart and dedicated to her studies. At no point in the show do they have gender issues. Most of the main characters are female, and they always solve their own problems. It shows the ups and downs of friendship, how things aren’t always perfect, and teaches lessons like inclusivity.

There’s even the occasional funny that only an adult would get.

So, why am I saying Disney needs to buy them?

Because I am tired of not being able to get my daughter the toys she wants.

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You want Elena of Avalor? Aisles are full of her. You want Moana? No problem. Every Disney princess back to Snow White in 1937 is available to be purchased at your local Target. Want something a little more exotic? Amazon or Toys R Us has your back.

Want a crystal empire My Little Pony that has been featured in a dozen episodes over several years? Nope.  Not for sale

Want Diamond Tiara, one of the “villains” in the show that starts out in Season One and is a key player throughout the rest of the six seasons (not sure about the seventh yet)? Well, they made her once, in one set. That now sells for $279.99 plus $19.99 shipping. I’ve been trying to find this pony for my daughter for two years at a reasonable price. Can’t find it.

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So not worth $300

Disney would not tolerate such nonsense. You’re willing to give them money for a pink pony with a tiara on her bottom? Here you go, they’ll make a couple hundred thousand. They would way rather take your money than not take your money.

Maybe this sounds like I’m being a little materialistic or driven by consumerism.  And it is, a little. But this is one toy my daughter loves to death. The only show she *has* to see. We gave up cable years ago, and I buy the new episodes for her on Amazon. Way cheaper than a cable subscription, it’s commercial free, and she can re-watch the episodes to her heart’s content.

I’ve learned that the moment I see a new MLP thing in the store, I buy it and hide it away for my daughter. If I don’t, it won’t be there at a price I’m willing to pay. I saw this set with three of the main characters in the show at Target precisely once for $14.99. It’s now selling for $35. But hey, it comes with free shipping!

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Whoever is selling a kid’s toy for more than twice the price, I hope karma finds you.

Again, if Disney saw this selling for $35, I’d expect them to up their price from $14.99 to $19.99 and then flood the shelves with it. Moana came out in 2016. I have no problem getting toys. Why can’t Hasbro up their game? Why do all of their toys have to be like Tickle Me Elmo when they even bother to make them?

I wish I could say it was one or two “special” sets that this happened with, but it’s over and over and over. Go ahead and try to find a Queen Chrysalis. At least they made her. A bunch of the other frequent characters are nowhere to be seen. Discord, Big Macintosh, the changelings in their new evolved state. Where are so many of the characters that make the show interesting?

If you’re Disney, on the other hand, they’ve got you covered. You want Olaf, a troll, or even a snow man made from a sneeze? Yup, you got it!

So, yes, I would like Disney to go ahead and take over the merchandising rights for My Little Pony. Let me be able to buy my daughter some of the characters she loves. I already know she’ll play with them until they are so mangy not even a bath in dish soap will save them. Yeah, that knowledge comes from experience. Who knew plastic could be forever permeated with child fingerprints?

 

How about you? Your child ever want a really hard to find toy? Maybe there’s something you want that you can’t seem to locate? Or perhaps your children are also My Little Pony fans and you can totally commiserate?

8 Steps to Out with the Cold

It’s that time of year. Time to move the heavy winter sweaters to storage and start bringing out the spring and summer gear.

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This feels like a Herculean task this year. First, I have to get both of my little ones situated. Then I turn to my own closet, but the steps I follow are pretty much the same for all three of us.

  1. Is It Damaged – Anything damaged that isn’t easily repaired (or that I’m willing to pay a tailor to repair) is turned into rags. No one is going to wear it. If it is easily fixed, it must be fixed now. If it isn’t fixed now, it’s never going to be.

2. Does It Fit – If it doesn’t fit me or the toddler, the garment in donated. If it doesn’t fit DD1, it gets boxed up and the box is labeled with the size and the appropriate season. This makes it so much easier when I bring them out for DD2.

3. Has It Been Worn – This is really only applicable to me versus the kids. But I try to look long and hard at what’s being taken down to storage. Did I wear it a lot that year? Maybe not at all? If not, why not? Was there something that bothered me: the style, the cut, the color? If so, I donate it. My taste is probably not going to change in a couple of months. This year, I am giving my big heavy sweaters a second chance. It simply wasn’t cold at all this winter, which is very, very odd. Other things, though, I was ruthless on.

4. Will the Child Wear It? – While DD2 is getting a lot of hand-me-downs from DD1, there are certain things she simply won’t wear. I donate them. Mornings are hard enough. I don’t need to add trying to get kids into clothes they hate.

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5. Create the List – If there is anything I am donating that clearly needs to be replaced (say a ripped winter coat), I make note of it so I will replace it rather than forget.

6. Repeat – Once this is completed for everything going into storage, I then have to take stock of everything coming out of storage for DD2 and me. I go through everything, pair up outfits, and make a list of what we need. This is especially critical so there are no orphans (you know, that pair of plaid trousers you had to have only to realize it matches nothing in your closet. Not that I’d know anything about that…).

7. Take Stock – I now need to take stock of what everyone needs to make it through the season, but especially DD1. She’s not getting any hand-me-downs, so I have to buy most of her stuff new or through consignment sales. I want a solid list of what she needs so I can hunt it down.

8. Shop – The joy of online shopping! Yes, I do most of my shopping online, even for the kids. I buy at a handful of stores, so I know their sizes. It’s not like I’d have them try on clothes if we went to a store, anyway. I’d love to say I’m a shopping pro, but the truth is, I’m not. I know there are ways to shop resell shops and save a lot, but that takes time and time is something I don’t have. My favorite places to shop all have free shipping and I can return to the brick-an-mortar store for free. Some even have free shipping on returns.

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As you can imagine, this is a huge undertaking, and I have to do it twice a year. Still, there’s a lotta things I have to be thankful for. The two amazing kids I do this for is a start.

I really envy my husband on this. Khakis and polo shirt. All year. *sigh*  Add this to my list of things I envy.

 

How about you? Do you have to switch clothes out for the season for you or your kids? How do you do it? Any tips for shopping for kids? I don’t shop after season sales because my kids growth spurts are too unpredictable right now, but there has to be others for busy moms.

 

 

 

 

It's Like Dating All Over Again

That sick feeling in your stomach. Are they going to say yes? What if they say no? If they say no, does that mean they don’t like me? Or does it just mean they’re already busy that weekend.

Sounds so much like dating, but it’s really just me trying to make other “mom” friends.

Making friends for an introvert is hard. Making friends as an adult introvert is even harder.

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Funny thing. I’m not even a dog person.

 

It’s an introvert’s nightmare.

I didn’t grow up where we live now, and lots of people in this area have never lived anywhere else. The rust belt isn’t exactly a hot spot for people to move to, so that means most people around here have known each other since grade school.

It also means there aren’t a lot of new people moving into the area. One of the hazards of falling in love with someone from the frozen tundra.

My situation is further compounded by the fact that most of our current friends are either childless or their children are older. As in getting ready to graduate from high school older.

So, you can see how I’ve become a bit of the odd-man-out. Not because anyone is trying to be mean, but it’s a lot harder for us to do stuff now than it was before having children. Especially having two children.

So, I decided the best thing to do was try to make other mom friends. Ideally, we could send the kids off to play and the moms could hang out together.

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Except, that’s a lot easier than it sounds. Especially for an introvert.

I’m at the beginning of this journey, and it makes me scared and nervous. Still, I joined a Facebook group for working moms in my area. We’ve been trying to meet, but the weather has been awful. Of course, we all want to meet on neutral ground and scope each other out to make sure we’re all okay. Maybe this summer.

My daughter was begging me for a play date with one of her friends, so I did ask her friend and her mom over for lunch. They came!!

Interestingly, when her mom e-mailed back that they could come over, I was elated. Until we got closer to the actual day, and then I got that sinking feeling all over again.

Why?

Because this is not my preferred way to spend time. I love hanging out with a few select people that really get me and I get them. But someone I don’t know? *shivers* Still, how do you get to know someone if you don’t go through the awkward stage first?

It was a tough stilted conversation at first, mostly talking about our kids as that’s what we had in common.

*sigh*

There has to be more to me than kids now, right?!?

I hope it’ll get better. Of course, it doesn’t help that interacting with people I don’t know is hard for me.

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After the three hour play date, I was literally worn out. I had a person I didn’t know, in my home, and I was trying to talk to them.

Yeah. Like running a 5K for an introvert.

 

How about you? Ever try to make friends as an adult? How did you do it? What worked, what didn’t? Maybe you have a funny story?

 

He's How Big?

Our Maine Coon has decided that my laptop is an offensive creature and should never claim my lap. It has been quite difficult for both my writing and my work.

Why do I care what my kitty thinks? Ah, you are also unaware that adopting a Maine Coon is quite similar to bringing a small mountain lion into your home. I was once, too.

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Yeah, about the right size for a male Maine Coon.

But let me explain how this happened.

Several years ago, we lost a kitty to lung cancer. It was very hard as we’d had him for many years, and it came fast. From the time he started showing signs of being sick until we had to make the very hard choice was less than a week. In that time, he’d lost 1/3 of his body weight and couldn’t breathe without great difficulty.

We were also three weeks away from the birth of our second child.

We had a second cat, and he was incredibly lonely with the loss of his brother. So, I did a lot of research on cats to see what kind would be good with kids. The internet was all but unanimous in saying a Maine Coon was great with kids and perfect for families. The internet is seldom in that much agreement, and when I learned my mother was friends with a Maine Coon breeder, I figured it was fate.

So, I called my mom’s friend, put our name in for a kitty and sent her the deposit.

She did tell us that Maine Coon males were around twenty-five pounds, sometimes more, and were we okay with it.

I thought of my sister’s twenty pound cat and figured, yes, sure.

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Some of you are thinking, five pounds is a large difference. It’s 25% more cat than your comparison point.

Others are laughing at my naiveté.  You see, the size difference between a fat 20 pound cat and a full grown Maine Coon who is not even remotely fat at 25 pounds is, well, you can see the picture above.

Yeah. The cat carrier we had for him? He doesn’t fit. We had to get him a dog carrier. He doesn’t fit in any cat bed we’ve bought him, but he has commandeered the toddler sofa. He can’t sprawl out in it, but he fits. Mostly.

He is a beautiful, majestic creature. By and large, their reputation as gentle giants is well deserved. He has been amazingly good with the kids, and it helps that he almost outweighs them. See, they can’t pick him up even if they want to, so there’s no carrying him around the house by his upper half without supporting his lower half.

He loves to be part of the family. There is no hiding under beds for this cat. Nope. He greets guests at the door and demands worshipful pets. He then sits down in the family room so he can be one of the crowd.

Some have told me he reminds them of a dog in a cat body.

But no. He is still an Egyptian god. Just ask him.

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When he is displeased, it is not like displeasing an eight pound cat. Oh no.

He hates my curling iron. The other morning, he reminded me of this by sending it careening across the bathroom. He then looked at me, and I swear he raised a brow, challenging me to do something about it.

Normally, he’s good about being brushed or having his claws clipped. When he’s not, it takes DH to pin him while I clip.

This brings us back to how large and how sweet he is when I was trying to write on my new laptop.

Imagine being curled up on your recliner, snuggled into your favorite blanket. Now, imagine your Maine Coon has also decided it’s his favorite blanket, but only when you’re warming it for him.

Now, imagine the cat you see above coming bounding across the room on thunder paws and launching himself onto your lap.

He landed with enough force to send the recliner into the wall behind it and knocked the breath out of me.

He then proceeded to curl up on my “lap”, spreading himself from just under my chin to down across my knees. He then rolled over to give me his tummy to rub as he purred.

Fortunately for my new computer, I got it onto the side table in time. Barely.

So, while the computer survived, writing was done for the night.

And my Maine Coon claimed his rightful throne. Just ask him.

 

How about you? Have any pets that are less than fond of your electronic devices? How do they respond? What do you do about it?

When You Fail the Test

Kids test you. A lot.

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Patience has never been one of my virtues. Even now, if you want to really rile me, have my computer decide to take it’s sweet time when I need something done.

Kids do this all the time. It’s the way they’re wired. They must test boundaries, push you, and see exactly what they can get away with every single day. Because, you know, the rules have changed in the last eighteen seconds.

Like all kids, mine have their annoying little quirks. The youngest refuses to eat bread crusts. Even if you cut the crusts off the bread, she’ll leave the last little ring of bread on her tray as if it were a crust.

So, there’ll be half a sandwich of crusts on her tray, and she’ll toss them to the floor and ask for more.

She is also an insanely picky eater. We’re trying to decide if she can grow-up healthy living on nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and fruit. She’ll eat any fruit under the sun, and a lot of raw veggies, but heaven help you if you offer her a piece of chicken. The offending morsel must not be allowed to stay on her plate. Oh no. It gets chucked across the room.

We’re working on that.

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Meal time is never a treat in our house.

Getting ready in the morning can be even worse, especially as we have a deadline to get out the door.

It’s amazing how difficult it is to get two kids into their coats, hats, and mittens and get them out to the car. Of course, then comes the bucking bronco as I try to get the youngest into her five-point car seat. You’d think she was going on a roller-coaster ride with the safety restraint system rather than the three miles to daycare.

This is when I yell.

Why am I so angry? Because we have places to go. Because I don’t want to be late to work myself. Because I want to be doing something other than dealing with their shenanigans.

And that’s the crux of it.

A lot of my test-failing is directly related to being frustrated. To want to do something – have a family meal, get to school on time, put them to bed – that they don’t really want to do. So, they resist. Sometimes directly by throwing themselves onto the floor, and other times indirectly as they refuse to be able to find their hat on thirteen degree day.

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Ask a kid if they want to go to the zoo, and see how fast that hat, mittens and coat go on!

My frustration is especially evident after a long day at work, or when I have expectations that may not always be realistic for small children. As this is my first time with kids, I don’t always have realistic expectations.

I don’t want to be the parent that’s always angry. I want to enjoy the beautiful little creatures that inhabit this house with me.

To try to get there, I’m trying to accept that there’s going to be a lot of times that I’m not going to get what I want.

I might not get a full hour of writing. I might have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to go with the three oranges and eight strawberries she’s having for supper. But in the end, my relationship with them is worth the sacrifices. They are amazing kids. For the most part.

I’ve also learned to start getting ready in the morning sooner. If I get them to daycare ten minutes early, no one really minds. It saves a little of my sanity, if you can call someone that has voices in her head sane.

I’m figuring it out, and I’m making mistakes along the way. But I figure as long as I approach parenting with love, I can’t screw them up too badly.

 

How about you? Any coping techniques when things really frustrate you? Or getting kids ready in the morning? Ever have to deal with a picky eater? How did you handle it? Or maybe you’re the picky eater?

The "i" Generation

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I wish the above weren’t so true. Although, she is figuring out a fork. Just not as fast as she did my iPad.

There is a ridiculous amount of guidance out there on how much “screen” time you should allow your children to have.  For the longest time, children under two weren’t supposed to get any. Even if they had older siblings.

We tried to follow this with our first child, and I swear she could smell the iPad. She could find it tucked away in the back corner of a dark room, and she hated dark rooms. She would find it and come toddling out with it triumphantly clutched in her tiny fingers.

Our saving grace was that she loved being showered with attention more. Loved being read to, “helping”, anything that put her front and center of our world. So, we could get the iPad away from her without a complete meltdown.

I know, kids cry, etc. But when you work, you’d like your few hours with your child to be as nice as you can get them without a tug-of-war over an electronic device every day.

At a neighborhood block party, I asked some of the other moms how they kept their little ones away from their TV and iPad. They offered me a cocktail, told me to sit down, and then explained that they didn’t. If the pediatrician asked them about it, they’d lie.

Wait, what?

Most had older children, and they said it just wasn’t possible or reasonable. They then informed me our school district gives kids an iPad starting in kindergarten to do all of their homework, reading assignments, etc.

Still, I tried to keep her away from TV and the iPad for a while longer, but the realities of making dinner, doing laundry, and washing the dishes won out, and we allowed her to have Sesame Street.

That mostly made her happy, and she would drop TV like a rock the moment we could again give her our undivided attention.

DD2 is an entirely different child. She likes attention, but on her terms. She laughs, gives hugs, and even pets you to soothe herself, but she wants “alone” time. We were terrified at first that this was a sign of autism, but our pediatrician reassured us. DD2 was normal. DD1 was exceptionally high maintenance.

However, this means that if DD2 gets a hold of an iPad, there is no getting it back without screaming. It’s like stealing her favorite toy. Which, in a way, it is.

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So, we compromised, as parents so often do. She’s at a formal daycare all day, so she gets no screen time during the day. We figured a little at night while we’re making dinner won’t hurt anything. And if I’m truly honest, I’m concerned not introducing kids to technology early enough puts them at a disadvantage to their peers.

We took our old iPad and removed almost everything from it except some games specifically designed for her age group that her therapist recommended. These were games she was only allowed to play while she stood on uneven surfaces, for example.

She loves them, and they do seem to be teaching her things.

We still have story time and snuggle time. Playing with Fisher Price Octonauts time, Duplo time, and Magna Tiles (Magna Tiles are amazingly fun, even if you’re a grown-up). To that, we have added TV time and iPad time.

Everything in moderation.

How about you? Did your kids know how to work an iPad before a fork? Did you allow them to have any TV?  Could you lure them away from an iPad with books?

Dreaded Morning Ride

There’s this time each morning a I dread. Not as much as actually waking the kids up, getting them dressed, and getting breakfast in their stomachs, but a far stranger time. A time I never know what to expect.

The time from the moment I start the car engine until I pull in daycare’s parking lot. During this time, I’m a captive audience. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. This is when my preschooler peppers me with the strangest “facts” and then demands to know if they’re true.

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Of course they’re not, and then comes the explanation.

Which must be worded carefully because you know she’s going to share with her whole preschool.

For example, earlier this week, my daughter waits to spring the question on me until I’m pulling out of the driveway. At which point, she says, “Momma, if you get frostbite on your big toe or your little one, you have to chop them off, right?”

I blink a couple of times, shake my head, and focus on getting out of the driveway while I think how to phrase my answer.

I assume that her daycare teachers were explaining to the children why they had to wear their outside clothes to go out. I can only imagine the “joy” of two teachers getting fourteen kids into their hats, mittens, snow pants and coats before going outside every day, twice a day.

So, I proceed to explain to her that, no, just getting frostbite doesn’t mean they have to amputate your toes. We talk about how bad frostbite is and how much worse it can be. We then talk about how important our warm winter gear is and how it protects us from getting too cold and getting frostbite.

“And hypothermia,” says my preschooler.

“And hypothermia,” I agree.

“If you get hypothermia, you’ll die.”

“Which is why you have to wear your winter gear,” I say. Because of course I have to get this point across to the child that quotes Elsa at me whenever she doesn’t want to wear her mittens.

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I then tell her that you don’t necessarily die if you get hypothermia and are treated for it in time, but then I pause. Did my preschooler just say the word “hypothermia”? And use it correctly in a sentence, in the proper context?

I want to ask, but almost don’t because sometimes it’s better not to know. Still, curiosity won out. “Where did you learn about hypothermia and frostbite?”

“I don’t remember.”

So, she can remember the word hypothermia and what it means, but not where she learned it. Going out on a limb, I ask, “Why did you think we’d have to cut off your toes if they got frostbitten?”

“Well, *insert her friend’s name here* said so, and we were talking about it on the playground…”

Ahhh, playground misinformation has already started.

When the conversation finally ended and I took her into daycare, I reminded her to wear her winter stuff so she wouldn’t get frostbite.

“Or hypothermia,” she said as she skipped off to her classroom.

I shook my head, got back in my car, and enjoyed the silence all the way to work.

 

How about you? Your child ever ask you strange questions? How did you answer them?  If not a child, maybe a co-worker or friend comes up with some zany things?

Talking Turnip

It’s January.

It’s cold. It’s dark. Did I mention cold?

Why did I move to the frozen tundra again?

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You’d think I’d have lots of time for writing, but being stuck inside with two small children during these dark and cold days is not conducive for writing, revising, or anything resembling creativity. Unless your definition of creativity is running out of ways to burn their energy, giving in, and letting them watch more TV.

I cannot tell you how painful children’s shows are to the grown-up brain. Worse yet, is when my husband and I look at each other and then try to come up with a logical reason for anything in the show.

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At one point, we’re watching the Octonauts, and my husband makes a comment that they aren’t properly classifying some creature. They have the wrong phyla, and the creatures in the story are not actually closely related.

At which point I look at him, and ask him if that’s his biggest issue with a show that features a walking, talking turnip and a polar bear “captain” that doesn’t eat the penguin, sea otter, or rabbit on his ship.

Yeah, too much kids’ shows.

How do you get through these brutally cold, dark months? Any kids’ shows out there that don’t make your brain want to explode?

6 Things I Learned Making Christmas Dinner for Someone with Allergies

My sister has serious food allergies. Ones that a lot of people have to endure, such as peanuts and tree nuts, but also some really difficult ones like soy.

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Yes, soy. If you look at the ingredient list of most pre-packaged foods, you’ll find they contain soy. It’s apparently a great emulsifier, so it’s commonly used in processed foods as a stabilizer.

That means when she comes over for dinner, specifically Christmas dinner, you have to really think about what you serve, and I want everything on the table to be something she can eat. That means reading the ingredient list on anything I buy in a package. Don’t believe me, look at the ingredient list on your bread. Soy. Check your ice cream. Unless you bought Breyers vanilla, good chance there’s soy in it. Chocolate chips?  You guessed it, soy!

So, when we hosted Christmas dinner for the first time many years ago, I really struggled. And, frankly, dinner was bland and not very tasty.

I feel like this year I did a lot better. The food was tasty, and everything I made or bought was safe for her to eat.

Here are a few things I learned:

1.Less Is More – Food with fewer ingredients on the ingredient list tends to taste better as well as have few allergens. The bread I purchased had flour, salt and yeast. It tasted amazing!

2. Short Shelf Life Is Actually Good – Things with a short shelf life tend to taste better and be lower in potential allergens. You can combat the shorter shelf life with a refrigerator or freezer. I live in the frozen tundra. Come December, my entire backyard is a freezer. Not kidding. We actually put things in coolers outside to keep them from freezing solid as the cooler will insulate against the cold.

3. Keep it Simple – Much easier to make allergy friendly food when what you’re making is simple. We prepared a huge fruit and veggie tray (that got demolished, by the way), and everything was allergy friendly.

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4. You Have to Make Stuff – In your kitchen. Where you know there are no nuts or anything else lingering. Mashed potatoes weren’t hard. Gravy was a different story. And while my first attempt at making gravy wasn’t as good as the stuff out of the jar, it was just butter, flour, and turkey drippings with some chicken broth added. Give me a few more attempts, and it’ll be better than the jarred stuff.

5. Enjoy Life – I’m not getting paid to say this, and I think this company is amazing.  When I went through the battle of eczema with my daughter, this place was the only reason I could still have chocolate. Not sure I’d have made it without chocolate . . . It’s the only places we know of that makes chocolate chips my sister can eat.

6. Experiment – My mother-in-law has an amazing cheesy potato recipe she shared with me. But, one of the ingredients was a can of cream-of-mushroom soup. There are no cream of mushroom soups available for purchase in my area that don’t contain an allergen I need to avoid. After researching some other cheesy potato recipes, I substituted softened cream cheese for the can of soup. Recipe tastes great!  So good, in fact, when my mother-in-law tasted it, she wanted the recipe.

Overall, I like to think the food was good. I’m not a gourmet chef, and I really don’t even like to cook. But I wanted to make Christmas a time we could kick back, relax, and enjoy family without anyone having to stress about what they’re eating. I think we accomplished that.

 

How about you?  Any food allergies you’ve ever had to deal with? How did you do it? If not food allergies, any other sensitivities you’ve encountered? What did you do?