It has been a couple of months since my son was diagnosed with allergies including the dreaded peanut allergy, along with tree nuts, cantaloupe, and finned fish. The past couple months have been a huge learning experience for us. We have read a ton about allergies, we have educated our son to empower him to take care of himself with his allergies when we are not with him, and we have done our best to keep him healthy, and reaction free! When I put up the original post about our allergy diagnosis, I received so many great pieces of advice from MMB readers who have lived with allergies in their house. I thought a “check in” would be helpful – so here are our five lessons learned since the allergy diagnosis.
1. Search until you find the cause of a health problem
First off, it is amazing how much the allergy diagnosis brought clarity to our life, and drove home the pint if you think something is wrong with your child, keep searching until you find the answer. My son’s reaction to the foods above is to vomit. Finally, we had an answer to all the times that my son had thrown up over the years. The Thanksgiving he threw up (sweet potato casserole with nuts), the park play dates where he vomited everywhere (cantaloupe was my snack of choice to bring along…I thought he was over excited), and the baseball game where he lost it (buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks…or not!!). We were so fortunate his reaction was vomiting, and not something more serious. We always knew something was off, but couldn’t find the reason. Knowing now why he gets sick, is a complete relief. Heck, anything to clean up less bodily fluids is a good thing, right?
2. Reading labels is critical
Since my son was born, we have always used organic body soap. I thought we were doing a good thing, until the day after his diagnosis, my husband was reading the bottle, and saw all the nut products included. Nut oils in body wash, yes…so we switched to a different bath product, and the eczema we had battled for years went away in a couple of weeks. There are things we have bought for years (i.e. different kinds of ice cream), which we look at so much more closely now.
3. Becoming assertive about talking to others about allergies.
We have become very assertive about talking to others about our son’s allergies – asking teachers at school if they are trained in epi-pen use, checking if a babysitter would feel comfortable using an epi-pen, checking with people about every ingredient in a food product. While people at times would blow it off because he only throws up, we had to explain that the consequences could always be worse. We have to try to make sure that we are protecting him as much as possible. Even though he is not quite 5 yet, we are trying to empower him to ask questions, and be aware of his allergies as well. I have to say, this past weekend, when we were doing the Breast Cancer Awareness walk, and someone handed him a granola bar – I was so proud when he said the words “Does this have peanuts or tree nuts in it? I am allergic.” The person gave him goldfish instead, but he still walked over, and checked with me before he ate them. Phew…
4. Educating our Friends and Family about Allergies
We have taken the time to become educated about our son’s allergies, but, we are not with him all the time…sometimes he is at school, with family, and more and more, starting to go on playdates, without me (so weird…). This past summer was the first time a non-family member drove my son somewhere. A friend took him to a birthday party, as I was just home from the hospital with the baby. I had looked up the facility online beforehand, and they were a no-nuts facility, but let’s be honest – you never know. I gave her the epi-pen, and a lesson when she picked him up at our house. I talked to her about his reactions signs, and I trusted. It was so hard to trust someone else, but, I know that our family and friends take his allergies as seriously as we do.
5. Always “being ready”
Once my son was potty trained, I felt the sigh of relief from my shoulders – they had a little less weight to carry in the diaper bag! With an almost 5-year-old, you can usually leave the house, without anything. We have had to train ourselves to always remember to have the epi-pen and Benadryl on hand. It does no good if we are at a playground and the epi-pen is in a drawer at home. This has been one of the hardest things to remember, because it is not always (and hopefully never!) needed, but we can not forget it.
These 5 lessons learned since the allergy diagnosis have been critical – we are working hard to manage this change in our lives, so that my son does not miss out, but also, does not get harmed in any way, from something avoidable.
Do any other parents out there have lessons that they learned along the way to share?
Things have been a little crazy around here. Juggling soccer and baseball for my almost 5-year-old, potty training my 2 1/2 year old, and hosting my daughter’s Baptism celebration at my house for about 40 of our family and friends. We have also been hitting pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and enjoying the beautiful fall weather that Mother Nature sent our way for most of September and October. I also had a little blog hiccup which caused me to pull back a little in writing. I missed the site though…so, I have a ton of posts which are in draft mode which I need to finish up, and about a million things brewing in my head that I need to just put fingers to keyboard on. With that behind us, I am jumping back on the pumpkin train. I saw a funny picture a couple of weeks ago on FB that had Forrest Gump saying – pumpkin coffee, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin soup, etc (picture the scene where he is talking about all the kinds of shrimp). I think that this is going to have to be my last pumpkin post for fear of sounding like Forrest…so enjoy this Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Cake. It is, for lack of a better word, awesome. Seriously.
This past weekend, we went apple picking. It is one of my favorite family activities of the fall, and I look forward to it as soon as the leaves start turning. More on our adventures in an upcoming post, but I was so excited to make some of my favorite dishes to use some of our tasty apples. This Apple and Cranberry pork is so delicious. The sweet flavors make it a hit with the kids as well. My husband who is not a huge fan of pork liked it as well. I have a reader who asked in a past post why my husband didn’t like pork. Well, side story….I went a little overboard during the swine flu time, where people thought that pork was affected, and it was always on sale – so I would buy it, and make pork 1-2 times a week. He was so over “the other white meat”, I now only make pork dishes once every 2-3 months, even though I am a big fan. Ah, marriage is all about compromise, right? Either way….enjoy this Apple and Cranberry Pork Dish – it is a huge hit for me and the kids
Place apple slices and apple jelly over the pork, then add the onion, cranberries, vinegar, and mustard.
Seal and freeze.
When you would like to eat this, thaw the pork in the refridgerator. Preheat the oven to 350. Place the roast in the center of the baking dish, put the apples, onions, and cranberries around the pork. Bake for approximately an hour and a half, or until the roast reaches 160 degrees.
Disclosure: Information on Cabbage Patch Kids 30th Anniversary provided by JAKKS Pacific, MMB received the item which will be provided for the giveaway.
The other week, I shared a bit about my favorite childhood toy, my cabbage patch kids and the 30th Anniversary Cabbage Patch Kid Celebration. As I mentioned, my daughter has totally taken over as mommy to the dolls of my past, and loves them just as much as I did back in the day. With the release of Cabbage Patch Kids 30th anniversary dolls, I was so excited for my daughter to receive a new CPK doll – one that maybe wasn’t as “loved” by her mom!
The CPK Celebration kid was the perfect one for my daughter. It is described as dressed in fun, playful, party themed fashions with brightly colored hair streaks, the ‘Kids™ are ready to party.
Um, yes, that sounds just like my daughter! She immediately loved the pink streaks in the doll’s pig tails, the funky boots, and she loved her birth certificate that makes the doll “hers”. I am absolutely in love with this line, and so is my daughter! I am excited, because I am sure that this will line will be a hit with MMB readers, and I am able to provide one for a giveaway.
Please use the rafflecopter entry below to win your own version of the Cabbage Patch Kids 30th Anniversary Celebration Kid. The entries start off with telling me what child in your life would love this doll and why a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget about the other two new types of CPK dolls as well:
Cabbage Patch Kids® Babies (SRP $24.99, Ages 3+) come with either a magic disappearing-milk bottle or food bowl with spoon, removable biband fashion. Of course, each baby has a unique name, Adoption Papers® and Birth Certificate®. The original baby-powder scent of Cabbage Patch Kids® can bring memorable smiles for generations.
The Cabbage Patch Kids® Cuties (SRP $9.99, Ages 3+) are even cuddlier this fall! Theadorable Cuties come in a variety of precious animal themes including bear, bunny and kitty with a new thumb-sucking feature. www.cabbagepatchkids.com
Ok, I warned you that I was obsessed with fall flavors! Next up in Fall Flavor obsessions are pumpkin twice baked potatoes. My neighbor and I each receive the Food Network magazine. We look through the magazine, and pick out the recipes to try, talk about how we would change them, and finally…make the recipes After reading through the magazine, these potatoes were first on my list to try, as I love twice baked potatoes, but rarely take the time to make them. I found that making whipping them in the stand mixer, adding more scallions, some milk, and a little more pumpkin and cheese to these potatoes made them a little better for our family. All in all, these pumpkin twice baked potatoes are delicious….as in husband complimenting, kid clean plate club kind of delicious. They were the perfect complement to our steak dinner (steak marinated in Stubbs, along with some broiled zucchini and tomatoes tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese), and I think it would be an awesome side dish for Thanksgiving. I love that you can freeze these as well, which would help if you are making them for something like Thanksgiving, and want to minimize your preparations right before the big feast.
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