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Five Lessons Learned Since the Allergy Diagnosis

Five Lessons Learned since the Allergy DiagnosisIt 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?


Bonnie - October 29, 2013 - 7:04 pm

What a learning curve!
How great that he has learned to ask these questions for himself…and at only five? I’m impressed!

admin - October 29, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Thanks Bonnie – yes it has definitely been quite a learning curve. I am definitely proud that he has learned to ask the questions…it does help that he doesn’t like to get sick and wants to avoid it as much as possible!

Ann Marie - October 29, 2013 - 10:24 pm

My son has tree nut allergies and his lips swell up when he eats certain fruits such as watermelon and bananas. (Figures – healthy things he can’t eat but he does just fine with potato chips!) 😛 Stinks when you are trying to put some weight on him through eating healthy foods — unfortunately even protein bars all have nuts.
One thing I always thought was strange (hopefully this isn’t TMI – I breast fed my oldest, and with my twins it was formula. Guess who has the allergies…. yep, the oldest. (!!!)
Awesome that your son is so aware of his allergies at such a young age!! I’m not surprised though. You have pretty fantastic kids!!

admin - October 30, 2013 - 8:26 am

protein and granola bars are super scary to me! I stopped keeping them in the house because I found all of them had something scary in them!!!!
There is no such thing as tmi on here…but I did breastfeed both my son and middle daughter…the only differene I had was that I made my daughters baby food and did jars for my son…I always wondered about that too!!! I don’t know if we will ever find out what caused it :(

Amy Kossoff Smith - October 30, 2013 - 8:30 am

So sorry to hear you have this added challenge, but so happy you’re sharing your learning with other parents. We have 2 very close family friends (kids) with nut allergies plus a relative, so I’ve taken this very seriously. What I can say is this…When the kids are young (maybe 12 and under), the parent piece is really critical – reading labels, understanding what to do “in case,” etc., but I do recommend you include the kids in this process, “Johnny, help me read this label – you’re such a great reader – read it first, and let me know if you see any nuts mentioned, and then I’ll check too.” That way, you’re weaning the kid toward self-advocacy, which in the teen years, they will do beautifully. One girlfriend gave her kid a laminated card with guidelines so he could learn to help himself. Good luck, and stay safe…

Ellie {Musing Momma} - November 1, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Wow – it is really amazing how a diagnosis can shed light on things! I can’t believe his eczema was related to nut oils in the soap. I NEVER would have thought of that! It sounds like you guys have learned so much since then. He’s lucky to have such conscientious parents. :)

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Cake

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.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Cake


Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 pieces
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • ½ gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ sugar
  1. - Prepare the graham cracker crust - mix all ingredients, press into a 9x13 dish. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and cool.
  2. - In a bowl, combine all ingredients, except ice cream. Mix well. Fold in the ice cream, and then pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  3. - Seal the pan, and freeze until firm.
  4. - When ready to serve, remove from the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.
  5. I like to add whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles to mine...because, why not? :)

Amanda @ MandaLoves - October 25, 2013 - 8:47 am

That sounds amazing!

Apple and Cranberry Pork

Apple and Cranberry PorkThis 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:)


Apple and Cranberry Pork
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 ppl
  • 1 3 pound pork loin
  • 3 medium apples, cut in slices
  • 1 cup apple jelly
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  1. Place pork into a freezer bag
  2. Place apple slices and apple jelly over the pork, then add the onion, cranberries, vinegar, and mustard.
  3. Seal and freeze.
  4. 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.

Here is a view of the ingredients:

Apple and Cranberry Pork

The Freezing Method:

Apple and Cranberry Pork

And how I set up the ingredients in the pan:

Apple and Cranberry Pork

melissa - October 15, 2013 - 6:25 pm

I am a complete newb at freezing meals…but I am thinking I might start. I am pregnant with my third and was thinking how nice it would be to prepare for some meals. How long would you say freezer meals last?

30th Anniversary Cabbage Patch Kid Giveaway

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!

Cabbage Patch Kids 30th Anniversary


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.

30th Anniversary Cabbage Patch Kids

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 disappearingmilk bottle or food bowl with spoon, removable bib and 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!  The adorable Cuties come in a variety of precious animal themes including bear, bunny and kitty with a new thumb-sucking feature.



Mary Happymommy - October 10, 2013 - 8:43 am

My daughter would love it because she’s really into dolls right now.

Meghan - October 10, 2013 - 8:52 am

My daughter is very into dolls right now so I’m sure she’d love this! I have also passed down my cabbage patch dolls to my daughter & would love for her to have a new one of her own…and this one looks SUPER fun!

Tabathia B - October 10, 2013 - 9:09 am

My youngest daughter would enjoy this doll

Judy Mariano - October 10, 2013 - 9:12 am

I fondly remember a trip to Canada to purchase my daughter’s first one – back in the day when they were difficult to find!

Elaine Koutsitzis - October 10, 2013 - 9:38 am

My daughter loooves CPD’s!!!

Kerry - October 10, 2013 - 10:04 am

My daughter would LOVE to have another baby to take care of…and it would be so fun to watch her with a doll from when I was a kid :)

Tami Vollenweider - October 10, 2013 - 10:15 am

My Niece would her!!

Chrisitne - October 10, 2013 - 10:19 am

OMG, B would love this dolly and so would my niece….

Rochel S - October 10, 2013 - 10:54 am

My daughter! She loves playing ‘house’ with all her dolls!

Tabitha P. - October 10, 2013 - 2:04 pm

This would be for my daughter.
She loves to be a mini mommy.

Emily O'B - October 10, 2013 - 2:32 pm

My oldest daughter is freaked out by cabbage patch kids. So I’m entering to win my youngest daughter one to see if she’s more like me. I loved my redhead sailor cabbage patch!

Laura J - October 10, 2013 - 3:27 pm

Oh my niece would love it! She loves dolls, and this would be extra special for her and her daddy! When my little brother was younger, he wanted a boy Cabbage Patch doll when they first came out! I remember running all over town for months before Christmas trying to help my mom find him one! She did finally get it….so this would be so neat!

Kelly D - October 10, 2013 - 6:33 pm

My daughter would like this doll because she enjoys pushing dolls in strollers and playing house with them.

Janice Cooper - October 10, 2013 - 7:56 pm

My 3 yr old niece would love this doll. My niece loves baby dolls and would get the biggest kick out of this doll. She loves putting her baby dolls in her toy grocery cart and stroller. Her mom which is my sister grew in the Cabbage Patch era and had lots of Cabbage Patch dolls. This would be a perfect Christmas gift if I win.

Jennifer Marie - October 10, 2013 - 9:08 pm

My niece would love this because she loves dolls.

Courtney Renee - October 11, 2013 - 12:13 pm

My daughter and because she loves babies! I gave her one of my cabbage patch doll I had as a child and she adores it!

Rebecca Parsons - October 11, 2013 - 11:56 pm

My granddaughter would love this even though she doesn’t know exactly what a cabbage patch doll is she loves dolls.

Suzanne - October 12, 2013 - 12:22 pm

I have wanted to get one of these for my grand daughter but they are just too expensive! Would love to win one!

Karly - October 12, 2013 - 11:01 pm

My niece Aurora would love one for her birthday on New Years Eve.

rod jackson - October 13, 2013 - 11:43 am

Our niece would love this.

Rebecca Parsons - October 13, 2013 - 1:09 pm

My granddaughter loves baby dolls so this is right up her alley!

Kim Kihega - October 13, 2013 - 8:57 pm

My daughter because she loves playing with dolls and playing house.

Sarah - October 13, 2013 - 10:50 pm

My daughter. She’s got one full sized and mini cabbage patch dolls. She’s all about the “babies”!

courtney b - October 13, 2013 - 11:20 pm

my daughter mila would love this :) she loves all dolls…

Sara Floyd - October 14, 2013 - 10:44 am

My daughter would love this! She likes dolls a lot.

Rea Liz - October 14, 2013 - 2:27 pm

My niece would love this!

amy pugmire - October 16, 2013 - 12:21 am

My daughter loves dolls and she plays with my old cabbage patch doll from 28 years ago.

Heather Turcany - October 16, 2013 - 5:24 pm

Me I have my originals!

Heather M - October 16, 2013 - 6:20 pm

My daughter would love this. She loves dolls, it’s one of the only toys she plays with. But my 21m old son would probably steal it from her, he loves dolls too.

Pumpkin Twice Baked Potatoes

Pumpkin Twice Baked Potatoes

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.

Let me know what you think of these!

Pumpkin Twice Baked Potatoes
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 4 Potatoes
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin filling
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbps milk
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  1. Pierce potatoes and bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour
  2. Cut the potatoes in half, and scoop out the insides. (save those potato skins, obviously!)
  3. Mash the potatoes together with all ingredients above. You can also mix them together in the stand mixer for a less lumpy potato mixture. Spoon the mixture into the halved potatoes.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  5. If freezing - place potato halves on a baking sheet, and place in freezer. When frozen, transfer to a freezer bag. To reheat, either thaw and heat in microwave or oven for 15 minutes at 400.




Angela Gilmore - October 4, 2013 - 11:24 am

These. look. amazing! I am absolutely going to try these out for Thanksgiving and freezing them is the perfect idea. I can imagine taking them on in the morning and then just popping them in the oven when I get home from work! LOVE it!

admin - October 5, 2013 - 9:11 pm

I am so glad you are going to try these! I can’t wait to hear what you think. I have a couple more Thanksgiving recipes coming up, so keep your eye out :)

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