New Food Allergy Resolutions for A New Year

New Year: New Food Allergy Resolutions

2016
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Welcome to 2016! Time to Tackle a New Year With Some New Food Allergy Resolutions!

It’s the beginning of a whole new year.  For me, it always feels like I get to have a fresh start.  Yes, I will still be running around trying to keep up with the demands of preparing milk and soy free food, managing my husband’s busy travel schedule, taking the girls to and from the dance studio, getting my workouts in, and, yes, I am still unpacking from our move last summer.  But, for some reason, January brings a reset in my mind that is settling, even motivating.  So, I am working on some new food allergy resolutions in 2016!

Every year I like to take some time to look back at both my successes and my failures to close out the year.  For us, 2015 had some big changes!  We finally found our home in Texas.  I launched 2 new eBooks.  The girls finished up their first year at a new dance studio and on a competitive dance team and are now well into their second year.  I still have boxes scattered in different areas of our house and many big projects to tackle from moving…

After looking back, I get to look forward…where do I want to be next year? in 2 years? 5 years? What do we as a family want life to look like both now and in the future?  I have many goals this year, but here are the ones that relate to our food allergy/intolerance journey.

Goal #1: Read more current research on food allergies.

In order to do my part of managing my girls food sensitivities, I need to understand everything that I can about the reason behind them.  This will also help me to better serve you as I learn new things about the development of new treatments and, hopefully, even cures!

Try out 1 new milk and soy free recipe each month.

Life has been busy lately.  I haven’t been making the time to find new dishes to prepare and, frankly, we are getting bored with our food!  It’s time to introduce some new dishes to our rotation.  I’d love to do it more than once a month, and maybe I will, but 12 new recipes in 1 year seems doable to me so that’s where I set my goal.

Find a new doctor for our family.

After moving to a new state last year, we looked for a doctor we thought would be near where we were buying a house so that we could get our prescriptions set up.  Unfortunately, our new house is on the other side of the city and it takes longer than I want to drive when I am sick to get there.  So, we are looking for a new family doctor who understands our various conditions and can manage the majority of our family’s needs.

What are your new food allergy resolutions?

Maybe you need to find a new doctor, or decide which vaccinations are safe for your child.  I’d love to discuss it with you!  Leave a comment below and let me know what you are working toward this year.  Or chat with me on Facebook or Twitter!

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P.S. If you are brand new to this whole food allergy and intolerance world, be sure to check out my FREE eBook Your Kid CAN Eat This! It’s a 7 day meal plan with recipes and shopping list that is free of the 8 most common allergens.

 

I Failed…But I’m Not A Failure

I Failed…But I’m Not A Failure

two eggs

I knew I needed to go and buy more eggs for Friday’s breakfast.  I even asked the girls to remind me to get eggs when I dropped them off for dance class.

Friday morning, I headed to the kitchen and stared to make breakfast.  I didn’t get very far before I realized I had forgotten to get the eggs.  I only had two eggs.  And Andre needed to get to work early for a meeting.

I failed.

Edison

Now, I know, forgetting to buy eggs is really not that big a deal.  And we did find a solution so that everyone got to eat breakfast and Andre got to work in time for his meeting. And if I follow Edison’s thinking, I really just found out another way that doesn’t work. But, it affected the whole rest of the day.  We were running behind, the girls had a hard time focusing on their school work.  By the end of the day, I was tired and frustrated.

And, it’s not the only time I have failed.

As I look back on my failures, big and small, they all fall into two categories: either I failed because of me or I failed because someone or something I can’t control held me back.  When I fail on my own it is almost always because I either did not plan or I didn’t implement my plan.

Failure is a part of life, but it is not who I am.

Things become more complicated when the reason for failure is out of my control.  When I fail because of restrictions, I feel cheated.

I don’t want to unnecessarily restrict my children and cause them to fail.  But, I have to restrict their diet so they are healthy.  This is why I spend so much time in the kitchen trying to figure out how to make things a new way.  I don’t want my kids to fail.  But the truth is – they will fail.  Sometimes they will fail because they don’t do what they’re supposed to do.  And sometimes, they will fail because of the restrictions placed on them by others.

My job is to help them work around and through their restrictions so that they can succeed at whatever they put their mind to doing.  Here’s how I help them:

  1. Recreating former favorites that are free of milk and soy
  2. Plan ahead as much as possible so that we are able to participate in any opportunities we are given.
  3. Don’t make food restrictions an excuse not to try.
  4. Provide realistic opportunities to succeed or fail. (Because I’d rather they learn to handle failure with the little things now than be knocked off their feet at adults.)

How do you defeat failure?  How do you help your kids defeat failure?

3 Steps to Manage Your Crazy Schedule!

IMAG0878Do you feel like you are running around constantly and getting nothing done?  Are your days so full and your list so long that you never seem to actually finish things?  Are you stuck scrambling to figure out what to eat at the last minute?

I know how that feels.  We have a very full schedule most weeks, but this week will be even busier than normal.  We have company coming from out of state, a birthday, 4 dance classes, dress rehearsal, 2 dance concerts and my husband is going ahead of us to start his new job in a new state!  Yikes!  So, how am I still calm? (OK, somewhat calm.)

I have a plan!

I took some time this weekend to fill in my planner pages for the week.  Here’s what can be done to make things work without losing your cool!

  1. Completely fill out your planner.

    Use whatever format works best for you.  I like a weekly vertical planner for my weekly planning.  It helps me to look ahead and see what is coming up so I am prepared.  Make sure you get all your appointments, classes, etc. on first.  Then, use the front pages to make a list of all the things you hope to accomplish during the week.  Map out the first day of the week, but leave things that don’t have set times as a list and don’t add them to all the days of the week.  This allows you to change the order as you make progress in certain areas.  And keep your list for each day to 10 items or less.  And consider it a success if you finish 2 of them!

  2. Simplify your menu.

    It’s okay to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day for a while.  Yes, we will be tired of it by the end of the week, but it’s only 1 week!  Those of us with food sensitivities don’t have the option to go grab fast food when things get crazy.  And, honestly, our whole family eats a lot healthier because of this one fact!  I write my menu on my planner pages in pencil.  This makes it easy to see what I need to get ready the day before and still keeps it flexible if plans change.

  3. Get your groceries and prep your food ahead of time.

    My little ace in the whole on these weeks is serving the week’s lunch menu for dinner on Sunday night.  This forces me to get all the prep work done and really, once you are started it’s not that much more work to double or triple a recipe or throw a couple extra pieces of meat on the grill.  And, then you only have to wash the dishes once! (My favorite part!)  This week I did my grocery shopping on Friday.  Then on Sunday, I filled my grill with a variety of meats and prepped salad veggies for the week.  I now have a complete salad bar in my refrigerator to feed hungry bellies all week long!  I’ll warm up some garlic bread and chop some fresh tomatoes as we go, but a healthy simple lunch will be on the table in 10 minutes.  I can even pack it up the night before for dress rehearsal day.

So, how do you keep yourself on track for a crazy week?

6 Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer

I already told you how we like to have things planned for summer.  It keeps the girls from getting bored.  I keeps me from losing the little bit of sanity that I still claim to have…most days.  So, to help you out, here are 6 Things I plan to do with my kids this year.

1. Go camping

For inspiration you can check out my pinterest board on camping.  For ideas on where to go you can search at Reserve America (if you like to use an RV) or at the National Park Service.  Also check the state park information for your area.  A good local camping supply store can probably make some good recommendations as well.

2. Pursue passions.

  For my girls, that means LOTS of dance.  But, you can do whatever your child is interested in.  Maybe you have the next soccer star, artist or musician.  Summer is a great time to focus on those things.  Plus, lessons and classes tend to give your summer schedule just a hint of structure.

3. Play outside.

I know, summer is hot and people want to hide inside in the air conditioning.  But, being outside is good for all of us.  I do recommend that you get outside early before the heat of the day.  You can hike, take a walk around the block, ride bikes, or do some messy things like liquid sidewalk chalk paint.  And if it’s just too hot, get out the sprinkler!

4. Go Swimming!

  Check out the local pools or lakes.  You can fill a whole day with just sitting by the pool and swimming.  Make sure to pack a lunch, towels, a  blanket and some kind of shade to make sure everyone stays comfortable and safe.

5. Read.

If you don’t already spend time reading to your kids, summer is a great time to get that habit started.  All kids love a great story!  Talk to your local librarian for book recommendations.  You can even get some books on CD so you can listen while you drive around having fun or do your chores.  You can sign your kids up for one of these summer reading programs, too.

6. Learn something new.

  Summer is a great time to show our kids that learning should be fun.  The whole reason we teach them to reading, writing, and math is so that they can learn about things that are interesting to them!  So, teach them how to cook, let them learn a new language or build a bird feeder.

If you need more ideas (and I’m sure I will before summer is over) check out my summer fun board on pinterest.  I’ll be adding to it all summer as I find good ideas!

What things are you planning for summer this year?

Summer Is Coming!

Have you planned for your summer yet?  The local schools are wrapping up their school year this Friday.  Since we are homeschooling, we opted to continue with a reduced schedule through the summer.  So, these next few weeks will be light on school work because of the craziness of dance concert, auditions, and a homeschool conference.  We also have some folks visiting in the next few weeks.  So, we are switching gears slowly so that we can enjoy the fun of summer.  I’ll be posting an update about how we decided to schedule for summer in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here are some resources that I like to use to plan our summer:

1. Our schedules

.  Both girls will continue taking dance classes over the summer.  I am planning on completing a triathlon this summer.  And of course there is Daddy’s work schedule.

2. New chores.

  We use the relaxed pace of summer to teach the girls new chores.  This is definitely in order this year because the girls are getting bored with the same chores all year.  Plus, they are older and ready for a bit more work.

3. List of Activities.

I am working on putting together a list of things to do together over the summer.  I am also making a list of things that the girls can do with out me to keep them busy and out of trouble.  I’ll share mine when I have them finished.

How do you prepare for summer?

How We Handle Sick Days At Our House

Today is one of those days…We had a wonderful Easter yesterday, but the girls started showing signs of an impending cold shortly before bedtime.  I gave them their allergy medication hoping it was just allergies.  But, we got up this morning to two girls with runny noses, sore throats and lots of sneezing.  One girl even has a fever.  So,now what do we do for a sick day?

If they aren’t very sick…

First, if they just have a slight runny nose or are sneezing, I encourage them to try and work through their day.  Sometimes, they just need to start out at a slower pace and by the end of the week they are feeling about the same as normal.  This is especially true if they have accidentally eaten milk or soy.  But, if they have a fever, they go back to bed.

When one girl is sick…

While most colds make a full round through all of our family members, we usually don’t ALL get sick at the same time.  So, it often happens that one girl is sick while the rest of the family is not.  On those days, we put the sick child to bed and keep going with the other child.  That means a shorter day for the well child because we will skip any subjects that they do together, but it does help to keep the momentum of school going for our family.  Usually, each girl only needs about one day of complete rest and then the fever breaks and they can make it through at least a partial day of school quite easily.

When two girls are sick…

Every once in a while, both girls are sick on the same day.  When this happens, both girls go back to bed or we watch some TV.  There isn’t much point in trying to teach them anything when no one feels good.  That usually just results in someone getting in trouble or lots of frustration for mom.

When Mommy is sick…

When I am the only one who is sick, I try to get through the day as best I can.  But, if I have a fever or am just too sick to make any sense, the girls do school work that they can do independantly and/or we do “video school” using one of several recorded science shows that we keep on our DVR.

What about Extracurricular or Outside Activities?…

Like many other families who attend a local public or private school, we have a no school, no activity policy at our house.  If they are too sick to get their school work done that day, they are too sick to go to dance classes or any other outside activity.

How do you handle sick days at your house?

Spring has sprung!…So where are my flowers?

Spring officially began on March 21st.  We are now into April, and there is still snow on the ground and not even my daffodils are blooming!

While spring is fresh with new plans, and hope for what is still to come, it is sometimes hard to wait for things to actually bloom.

I planted seeds last weekend.  Some are already sprouting.  It is exciting to think of all the yummy vegetables we will be eating this summer and hopefully into next winter.  With the rising food prices we are already seeing, I am hoping to gather a stash to last us at least part of the year beyond growing season this year.

Gardens for me have been hit or miss, so I won’t pretend to be an expert.  But, I really do enjoy knowing where my food is coming from.  Plus, I really do like to “play in the dirt" on occasion!  My girls will help out some in the garden this year, but they usually don’t have the attention span to be particularly effective with gardening yet.  I hope to pass these skills on to them…just as soon as I learn them myself. :-)

So, what are you looking forward to this spring?

When Mommy (or your primary chef) isn’t home?

Have you thought about what to do when you need (or want to be away from your food sensitive child?

Every year, I attend a “Mommy Conference” at a fancy hotel about an hour’s drive from our home.  It is a wonderful time for me to take a break from all the busyness of being a mom and refill my reserves.  But, my husband doesn’t cook.  (I know, we are a bit old fashioned.)  So, I have to be prepared ahead of time.

Here is my little checklist for leaving the girls with Daddy overnight.  I would also use this if we were leaving them with a babysitter, or with grandparents.

1. Prepare meals ahead of time that can be reheated or just served. 

I try to prepare one meal for each meal that I will be gone.  I try to plan on kid favorites if I am leaving them with someone other than Daddy, just to make life easier for our helpers.  When Daddy is watching them, I expect that there will be some extra meals because Daddy likes to take them to restaurants because it’s easier and he likes to give them a treat.

2. Make sure that emergency medicines are easily accessible and that proper dosages are included.

This is important – even for Daddy – because, not only am I the primary chef, but I am also the one who normally takes care of the girls if they do end up having an accidental exposure.  You don’t want any second guessing or experimenting going on in that situation.

3. Charge your cell phone and keep it with you on vibrate.

Obviously, you don’t want to disturb others around you, but you need to be available in the event of a true emergency.  That way you can check your messages between sessions to handle less urgent questions, too.

4. Be confident that you have chosen an able and competent caretaker for your child and enjoy yourself!

If you are at all like me, this is the hardest part.  I tend to feel like a part of me is missing when I go do things without my kids.  But, I have found it to be an extremely beneficial thing for my kids and me.  It lets them know that they are OK without Mommy.

What else do you do to prepare your family for your absence?

Resolutions: What will you make of your New Year?

Resolution: a promise you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.

It is a practice that has been around nearly as long as the calendar….

The Babylonians promised their gods that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts at the start of each year.  The Romans began each year making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.  During Medieval Times, knights took a vow to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry at the end of the Christmas season. (Above references are all according to wikipedia.)

I like to take the week in between Christmas and New Year’s Day to reflect on the projects I started, or planned to start, and determine a plan for what will come in the year ahead.  It is usually a pretty quiet week around our house.  We are taking a break from school, and the girls have new toys to keep them busy.

Over the years, I have made many New Year’s Resolutions.  Many years, I have given up on all of them by the time January is over.  I have learned in recent years that for my resolutions to last, I need to turn that time into more than just a time of reflection.  I must plan for these resolutions to become goals.    I must plan for these goals to become reality.  Sometimes, that means baby steps in the right direction. 

I found this great graphic on goal setting that I think you will find helpful as you set your own goals.  It is from Iowa State University.  If you click the image, you can go to the original post online.

Thoughts on the Colorado Floods

Thoughts on the Colorado Floods

 

Colorado Flooding

Longmont Flood - 3Longmont Flood-2Longmont Flood-1These are some of the scenes that have filled my view finder these past few days.  As of today there are still thousands who are out of their homes due to the catastrophic floods that have engulfed our town and most of the state of Colorado over the past week.  If I focus on the pictures and the never-ending news coverage, I will miss the sun that now shines clear and bright in our blue skies.

In life, if we stare at the never-ending drama of the floods of our lives, we will miss the Son shining in all His glory, in every area of our lives.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

Psalm 29:10 (NIV)

What flood are you facing today?