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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween treat/goal achieved :)

I was able to pick up J from school today and stopped to ask the teacher a question. She was thankful because she wanted to ask what they heck we were going to do for J for the Halloween celebration. I told her I would send in chocolate suckers for her. When I got home I started feeling like this was not enough for her. I envisioned Halloween celebrations at my schools in the past and saw lots of cupcakes, cookies, candies and florescent colored icing!!! So when I got home I pulled out the recipes I had set aside to try for my cake baking goal. I was determined to achieve a chocolate cake that was at least edible. Well much to my surprise I made a moist brownie like cake that was so delicious I wanted to eat the whole thing. HOLY COW!!! M was inhaling everything I was giving her and J was trying to steal them as we were bringing them to our friends next door. She was "serving" them to grandma and grandpa and Auntie C when they stopped by. When I say "serving" I mean stuffing handfuls in her mouth as she was handing out crumbs to our visitors. I am BEYOND happy that we have found something edible that can be made into cake or cupcakes that she will be excited to eat while her friends eat cupcakes with neon orange frosting instead of staring longingly at theirs. I will go to the store and get some orange spider rings to go on top :) So success today equals goal met for baking an edible cake by Halloween as well as a happy preschooler at the party :). I will post the recipe in my pages!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The page that has EVERYTHING :)

I find myself having lots of new "passions" new goals as well as obsessions. It is so hard to start learning new things because then you are stuck with the proverbial "open bag of worms." I suppose this is why people live status quo and don't try too hard to make improvements. It is all VERY overwhelming and I have no idea where to start sometimes. I still can't seem to make the plunge everywhere for everything, but do try hard to live "globally" better. Obviously I am not perfect! In a search for something else today I stumbled upon a post by The Healthy Home Economist and WOW!!! It is a post that has all the resources that one may need for finding products that are good for feeding our families with real food. I love all the small stores involved in this resource! I'm also hopefully downloading half of her recommended reading list for my commute! Thanks Sarah!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The emotion piece....

I can't be true to myself or the concept of the title of my blog without sharing the lesson I learned today. So as ashamed as I am here it goes....I was reflecting on last night with J. She was up for four straight hours. Most of it she was not scratching, but some of it she was and I felt terrible for her. I did a search today for relief of night time scratching. I found a website regarding the itch/scratch cycle and was surprised at its content. I have always thought there was an emotional piece to J's scratching. She flares during emotion and gets emotional when she flares. The book is called Skin Deep and was written by a Harvard Clinical Professor of Psychology. He studies and specializes in allergies and major skin disorders. I am committed after reading the excerpts available online from this book, to concentrate on making sure my child does not feel the way the young woman in the attached excerpt felt.

For anyone who watches their child suffer through the itching spells related to eczema, working on the concepts in this book are in my opinion worth a try! Gosh I wish all the good resources weren't based on the east coast!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I was looking for new recipes for my vitamix party with my nephew and his girl friend and stumbled upon an amazing site with awesome recipes. It is not necessarily only for blenders, but has great ideas for blending. They label for allergens, raw and what appliance needed. I am hoping to utilize it for new ideas for my boring rut of a cooking life lately. I keep grasping onto the same comfortable recipes and need to jump out of my zombie of a kitchen routine! So here it is, I hope others like it as much as I do!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Norm has strayed!!!

Today I had a conversation with a good friend about the norm in the food consumption of our culture. We were discussing how we are the ones who are constantly on the defense when it comes to what we feed our children and attempt to eat ourselves. Me, less so now, due to allergies making it more understandable to people. When I say "we" I mean that she and I try to buy organic as much as possible and feed unprocessed foods that are made with real ingredients grown from the earth and put together by real people and not in a lab. It always amazes me that when discussing food or health in public I find myself apologizing often and calling myself "nuts." I do this partially because I don't want to come off holier than thou, but also because what I "spout" is in some situations considered "fringe" concepts. I find this to be mind numbingly aggravating. To me I find it so logical and clear that we live in a world created to feed and nourish us through food. Let me ask the world a question.....Can you find a box of fruit loops in the circle of life? Are pesticides created and meant for biological warfare meant to be sprayed on an antelope in the jungle just before a lion devours it? Would you add aspartame to your pooch's morning bowl of water? Would you feed your children a glass/bottle of bovine growth hormone??? I am pretty certain that the answer to all of these questions is no!!! So my confusion here, is why am I continuing to feel that my actions to attempt a clean, safe consumption of real food needs to be followed by an apology or justification? Why do I have to feel guilty for trying to eat outside of the box? The craziest part is with just a click of the search button you can see on the American Cancer Society's website, a list of known carcinogens. Some are items that we consume or use on a daily basis. Is it crazy to try to avoid these things? I think the crazy thing is that using something that we know to cause cancer is the norm!!!

Attention!!! Soap box is over!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Natural parenting and me...

I have, for a while now, been obsessively reading about more crunchy topics. It started about 8 years ago and has gotten progressively broader since having kids. I find myself reading blogs, websites about "natural parenting" because these mothers/authors seem to be "crunchy". I have lots in common with their lifestyles. One thing I didn't consider common is the gentle parenting aspect. I, to be honest, thought it was a cop out. A downfall of society if you will, parents too easy on their kids no boundaries. I always skipped over the posts or topics on this item. I let J cry it out at times, regret it! I have yelled, spanked, put in time out and lost my cool on occasions, regret it! I read a post recently that made me think differently. Maybe I am changing, maybe I just never really read too much about the topic. But this post made me think. Now I am not saying that I will never put my child in time out or give them genuine and reasonable consequences, but this opened my eyes to a different thought. If I am so willing to move the ends of the earth to help my girls heal from the inside out why can't I take the same time in parenting them with a little more gentleness and understanding of something they may be trying to communicate? I am not saying when J is physically restraining her BFF G after touching her toys that I won't give her consequences, but maybe try to prevent it more and understand why she flips when friends enter her domain. Sometimes I let the day get to me and lose it. I hate feeling guilty about an interraction with my girls that didn't go the way it should have. This happens way to often. It is very easy to get frustrated with two little girls who are already heightened sensory wise due to allergies and itchiness, but add their stubborn personalities and I'm a goner! But alas, I have another item to add to my to do list......stop, listen and learn about what is driving my kids behaviors and start there!!! Thank you to
for a different perspective!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Safe Probiotic (hopefully)...

Recently I have realized that some of the supplements that my girls take can also cause flares. WOW! How I didn't realize the degree an allergy or two or 100 can affect your life. Cross contamination, derivatives, petry dishes and more are all considerations I never would have thought I would be thinking about. But an allergy is NOT just removing the burger from the bun as I once had thought. I digress ;)....I am happy, elated beyond words!!! That I have found what looks like a "safe" probiotic. It is not grown on soy, milk, rice it is free of wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar and starch! I ordered it and am crossing my fingers that I didn't just spend an arm and a leg for something that will give my one year old red cheeks and red tushie and my three year old itchy skin!!! I have tried just about every kind at my local health food store and have called just about every online retailer and have not had any success. I think this is the key! There are only two ingredients besides the probugs themselves and the plant capsule that I will be emptying anyway. Here is to hoping!!! AND here is the website that has a great supply of vitamins and supplements that are "hypoallergenic" whatever that means ;)|Pro-Bio%20Gold%E2%84%A2%20Hypoallergenic-Kirkman%20Labs

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vita who vita what vita woot woot!!!!

I have recently become obsessed over the vitamix blender!!!!! I was on a two week long mission to find one and buy one on eBay. Well I am happy to say on Wednesday I was successful! I am even happier to say it was delivered four days earlier than expected and I brought it on our trip with us. We busted it out today and created a breakfast green juice and a mid afternoon green smoothie. Both girls loved it!!!! I even froze the mid afternoon smoothie for a dessert slushie!! I just know that my life has completely changed and I can't wait to go to town with our new machine! I will be attempting a couple soups this week as well as breakfasts and it will replace my bullet for making my oat flour. I can't wait to begin incorporating more and more ingredients into our life. Please leave me any fun recipes if you have any!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vaccine saga continues....

On the way home from work yesterday my mind was cycling through the regular thoughts and I realized that I am supposed to have J's physical form in by Friday or no school on Monday. Yikes! What am I supposed to do. I don't have a pediatrician that is functional for me! My rockin Doc prefers that you have a primary care doctor so he likely won't do it! J's vaccination schedule is far from complete. We have had a long road with vaccines and I am not completely convinced that they have not played a role in her autoimmune issues, but that is another story. She started life on a select/delayed vax schedule and hasn't had a single one or a visit to our ped since 2. We stopped going to the ped after he told us she couldn't possibly have allergies. I was so overwhelmed by the lack of help I was getting regarding J's skin that I just gave up on the office. But now I am stuck!!! Need a physical and her vax records and the urgent care doesn't provide physicals to kids as young as her. So I swallow my issues and call the ped to get the goods. I figure, I can take it, just get the papers and go right?!?! Well lucky me!!! The latest appointment is with THE ped! THE ped that wouldn't write the referral to the allergist!!! THE ped that caused our switch to PPO!!! Oh man!!! Really??? I have to try to squeeze into the room with his ego??? Well I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, he did start with why  she hasn't gotten this? this? and this? But once I showed him pics of her reactions and discussed her reactions, he expressed the fact that he does not want to be the one administering vax to her. I would need to collaborate with the allergist. I just kept nodding and pretending that I was listening. But the fact that he provided me resources to try to find a vax that is more "hypoallergenic" was a baby step. I chose not to tell him that a needle containing a vax will not enter the same room as J at the very least until we figure out the rest of her puzzle! He said that she is about as bad as eczema gets at her worst and needs further research. In the end he was still pushing the darn things as well as delegating the research to someone else, but the attitude he had with me was so different. Are they (docs) really THAT bad? He honestly thinks these things are needed right???? He is not just pushing a profit?? Who knows!!! Regardless, even the most aggravating people have redeeming moments right???

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Doc that rocks.....

We started with a new doctor a couple of weeks ago. He has an MD in pediatrics, but specializes in eastern medicine. He is an east meets west doc. Well he prescribed a couple of things for J and one is probiotics and one is calcium magnesium. The calcium for two she doesn't take in any type of dairy and two her skin really seems to respond to calcium. When she doesn't have it she goes on a downward spiral, when she does have it we see improvement. The only caveat is that J can't take just anything. She is allergic to both foods and preservative and ironically everything they grow bacteria/vitamins in or on are either corn, rice, wheat or dairy derived. This or they have a filler that is inulin (rice) maltodextrin (corn, rice). So we are in a pinch...the supplements help, but do they also flare?!?! Well the best news ever is that we found a new brand, the doctor and myself were on a mission. He took the time to email me three times today back and forth while we played detective. I called the company today and they assured me that the citrates were grown on corn, but all corn ingredients are removed and not likely to cause reactions. Same with the acsorbic acid, so we found a source for vitamin C since she can't have anything citrus. YAY!!!! I was so happy that he not only spent the time to help me, but he also affirmed the notion that I can have insight into my own child's health/behaviors. I appreciated his request for my knowledge in the search. It was almost like we were a team working together for Julia. This does not happen often! Anyway, here is a link to the website that is very allergy friendly when it comes to vitamins and supplements. Now if I could only find a source for safe probiotics.
The customer service at Pure Encapsulations were so nice, they transferred me right to a chemist who answered all my questions!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What J Can Eat!!!

We are going to visit my family this weekend and will stay with my sister. She asked me what J can eat so she could grocery shop for the weekend, awesome I know! The worst part of traveling is everything we have to bring. We bring the regular stuff, but also bedding, towels, lotions, supplements, ointments and above all FOOD! So this brings me to what J can eat :) I thought wow it is much easier to put it that way then what J can't eat....GEEZE that list would take me a decade to write. So here it is....all the food that we have learned are "safe" for J. This list is ever changing and we are not absolutely positive about all of it, but here it is:
apples, pears, melons, plums, cherries
carrots, squash, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, green beans, brussel sprouts, greens, peppers, celery, garlic
Beef, pork
Grains:Gluten Free Oats, quinoa
olive, flax
black beans, apple sauce (organic apples as only ingredient), flaxseed crackers, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips, dried unsweetened apple rings from trader joes, corn free baking powder, baking soda
Though this list is short, these are the only things we have tested and seen very little if any reaction to. It is a long process and we hope to add many more items.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The things I wish I had figured out sooner.....

Why is it that doctors seem to have such gaps in knowledge? It is though they lack global knowledge of health. The one thing that sticks out in my mind the most is our first pediatrician that told me J couldn't possibly have allergies....really? wow! pretty genius!!! So the following is a rambling of what I wish the doctors would have known, told us or get through their thick prescribing skull!!!
-Eczema is NOT "no big deal" or normal! Especially to the toddler waking up with bloody sheets and the mom watching her child squirm in her own skin! It IS related to allergies way more than they will ever give credit too.
-Diet and nutrition can heal not only harm you!
-Antihistamines, steroids and cortisone only cover up the root of the problems related to hives and eczema and not well.
-Allergies present themselves in so many different ways (eczema, hives, rhinitis, OCD, ADHD) and allergies can exacerbate even more.
-Elimination diets/exposure, not lab/skin tests are the only really accurate way to test for food allergies.
-People can actually have an allergy to anything!! ANYTHING!
-Eczema can be brought on by food allergies and environmental allergies together, it doesn't have to be one or the other.
-Calcium deficiencies can have a big impact on skin health at least for J.
-Digestions/gut health directly affects overall health in every way possible.
-Just because a box says organic, natural, fortified or whole grain doesn't mean its healthy.
-Night time is a nightmare and benedryl doesn't work for everyone!
-People can react to preservatives in everything.
-Environmental allergens can make food allergy reactions worse and visa versa.

These have been great lessons and I am sure I will learn many more to come. I wish everyone who presents with eczema would immediately be referred to a good allergist!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Avocados,Parties and Healing

Every day is a new lesson when it comes to the ins and outs of my kids' allergies. Yesterday we learned something new about J's....she is indeed allergic to avocados. They were on our "maybe" list and moved to the definitely list when she hived, swelled and turned all red after eating one with lunch. It is always so awful to watch her go through such a horrible experience, but she is doing better and better coping. We had read that people who are allergic to bananas (J is) are most likely also allergic to avocado, but we hadn't seen the proof like we did yesterday. She was incredibly uncomfortable, we cuddled and then she got over it. Oh how I wish she didn't have to experience the trauma!
On a positive note we decided to go to a BBQ at one of our friend's houses. I have been subconsciously avoiding these situations for many reasons, but decided to give it a try. We got all of our food ready and headed over. In the past J would be completely attached at the hip to either T or myself. She would freak out about going even 2 inches from her and would go into panic mode if we left the room. This was even around family at family parties. She was manic and paranoid over noises, she would cry if even one person laughed "at" her when she was being cute (even my hubby). Well I am happy to report that she was all over everyone today! She giggled, played, ran around and even said out loud in a group that one of my hubby's friends was "cute". She flirted, played hide and seek and let many other people hold her. She did not have any desire about keeping tabs on where mommy was and didn't notice or care when I went in the house to go to the ladies' room. She was the center of attention a couple of times when the whole group laughed "at" her for being so cute, though she was a little uncomfortable with it, she just smiled and moved on. She ate her dinner and her own dessert and didn't care when she was not allowed to eat the corn chips. When she started to get itchy because we were outside the whole time she made her own "accommodations". I am so proud and so lucky to have such sweet and amazing little ladies! I am so thankful that she enjoyed herself and is now passed out because of her expended energy :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Snack time...

Yesterday was a half day for J at preschool for teacher meetings. I was so excited not to have to pack her lunch! We received a reminder in their backpacks Wednesday reminding us of the half day and the no lunch fact. But they wanted to make sure we remembered a healthy snack. My husband typically takes the kids to daycare/school and he asked me to do it Thursday. Well I guess with the excitement of not having to pack the lunch it somehow slipped my mind to pack the snack instead. We were halfway to dropping M off and I realized my mistake, as I usually do way too late. I was panicking the whole rest of the car ride. What in the world am I going to "pick up" for J's snack??? There is a grocery store next to J's school and I was just hopeful because at the very least I could grab a piece of fruit. I initially thought I would grab apple sauce as long as it was "just apples" since she can't have the ascorbic or citric acid. But I immediately thought about the fact that she eats her body weight in apples/apple sauce in a day and don't want to get her, yet again, more apples! So J happily accompanied me into the store and we went straight to the produce section. We first saw the apple slices in mini bags as an options, but read the label "ascorbic and citric acid". So I spotted baby carrots in little bags. I asked J's approval and she giggled and smiled a big YES! She saw the little bags of carrots and LOVED the idea! On the way to the check out lane she wanted to grab an apple as well. We decide on a plum instead, she eats slightly less of those than apples. When we got to the car she was so excited to hold her bag of carrots and her PLUM. I don't know if it was the cute little bag or the fact that she helped shop for them. But she was pleased as punch! At that moment I didn't know whether to feel bad that my 3 year old was getting overly excited over baby carrots as a snack or to feel lucky that my 3 year old was getting overly excited over baby carrots. One thing I did know was that this was proof, yet again, that the hang ups I have over my kids missing out on things are just that....mine! They know only what they know. They are learning different eating habits, but they will be their eating habits and won't know any different. When we walk past junk food in pretty colorful boxes with cute characters on it and J asks for it...I just say J that's not real food, lets go find some real food to buy and she says okay, smiles, and moves on (most days). Now my job will be to make their eating habits more and more fun so that when they are exposed to more and more foods that they can't have, they don't begin to get the hang ups about "missing out" that I have! Bring on the vitamix ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Baby steps....

I was born into a family of eight children, 7 of us are girls, all of us girls have at least one girl. The lone boy decided not to procreate. (who could blame him with all the girls???) Needless to say the family is full of drama queens!! Today I received a comment on yesterday's post from one of my nieces, the queen of being dramatic!!! She commented that my posts make her "nervous."  She is more like me than she wants to realize!!! Let me just give you an example... She posted on Facebook yesterday a shout out to her boyfriend because he deals with, essentially her dramatics. But specifically her fear of anesthesia that she will be getting during knee surgery. Recently a discussion with my hubby went like this:
Me: I was up for an hour in the middle of the night googling breast milk aspiration.
Him: Why? (you are crazy! look on his face)
Me: M was really congested and her breathing was very heavy and I was afraid the milk was going into her lungs.
Him: Eye roll (you are crazy! look on his face)
Anyway, it made me start to think about how overwhelming all of this move towards healthy living really is to me!!! Crazy enough I stumbled upon a post on my current favorite blog about this very topic while searching for support in my quest to rid my family of it's immune system issues!!! It gave me motivation to do things slowly, but stay on track and stay motivated!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Far from covered!!!

I function under the notion that I have at least somewhat of a handle on my family's health. Well I was hit with a BIG awakening last night while going through my night time routine after pondering the content of this informational post (! I was washing my face with ProActive, brushing my teeth with Crest and putting Aveeno on my hands. None of these products rate lower than a 5 on the cosmetic database for sure! ( I was also thinking of my shower routine I am still using regular shampoo full of sulfates and regular soap as well as conditioner. I still wash my clothes in regular detergent, it is Arm and Hammer Free and clear. I do use house hold cleaners made by me with vinegar, baking soda, tea tree etc. But essentially I came to the conclusion that I have a long way to go to have everything covered as far as endocrine disruptors, cancer causers and safety in regards to autoimmune issues. How can I be so cognisant of what goes in our bodies' and not what goes on and around?!?! We have done the logical thing for autoimmune health in terms of food (GFDF), but there is SO much more! My goal is to start making changes one at a time. As each item runs out I will replace it with something home made by me or home made by someone or in a pinch made by a health food company. I have tried this before without success. I can't seem to go "no poo", it has taken a long time to get to where I am now just washing my hair every other day.  I just don't know if I will get there, but I am going to try a more natural approach. I also tried coconut oil for the face, but the problem lies within. I have to stay off sugar PERIOD! I also tried every natural/organic deodorant under the sun, my husband staged an intervention ;) But again the problem must lie within and I will search for the cause! So needless to say there will be more to come with my adventures in trying to think globally in terms of not only what we are eating, but what we are exposed to daily!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don't judge a book by its cover....

Did you ever have those days when a message just follows you around???
Today started in a 7:45 am building meeting at the therapeutic day school that some of my students with severe profound disabilities go. On the way to this meeting I was on the phone with my oldest sister (I am one of 8) and we were discussing our inability to slow down. We are always so busy and in such a hurry and if we don't be careful life will pass us by. I was determined to try doing this today. During the meeting one of my friends passed me in my chair and dropped a piece of paper on the table and said "this should be our motto!" It was a quote by Albert Einstein. It read "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." I thought to myself "WOW! How have I never heard this before??" I just smiled, enjoyed the quote and went on with my day.  Then I was walking down the street back to the therapeutic day school from one of my middle schools thinking about all the things I would like to do to become a better teacher, mom and person in general. One of those things was less judging and more understanding! I though about another quote "Don't judge a book by its cover." I elaborated on the quote to myself "just open it and learn about the battles being fought within." Later that afternoon I had a conversation with someone at my work that I don't particularly interact with due to me thinking this person is a little odd. We had an in depth conversation that wouldn't normally take place. It was almost meant to take place. We discussed their spouse's battle with an autoimmune disease and J's fight with her autoimmune issues. I also learned that this person lost a son at the age of 5. I wanted to cry for them. Here I was sitting and thinking this person is socially awkward at best. There they are fighting their own battle. The whole way home I was thinking about the fact that this was a day that I was supposed to get a message and it was delivered and I was glad I slowed down enough to be open to hear it. I had been out for 2 days cause the girls were sick and I have a TON of work to do, but not once while I was talking to this person did I look at the clock. I just listened and learned the battles that they fight on a daily basis behind every interaction of their day! I had what my oldest sister would call "A Holy Spirit moment." :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Be still my heart!!

There is nothing better than coming up with ideas that please your children's taste buds and make you feel like you are providing them a little more "normalsy" even though this issue most likely lies with me and not them! Anyway, after brainstorming and playing around in the kitchen, I decided to make "chocolate candy" for the girls. It started with my friend's idea of chocolate suckers and her cute flower molds. Then I thought about making chocolate covered graham crackers (see recipe) yummy. Then asked her for silicone heart molds and YUMMY.  The combination of the crunchy Grahams in the solid chocolate is delish! I melted J's chocolate chips and was surprised at how well they melt and how good they hold up in a sucker and "candy". So needless to say we will be making some fun chocolate combinations in the future! The only change that needs to take place sooner rather than later is a trip to the store to by smaller silicone molds. The hearts are big and Mommy ends up eating them :) I see small chocolate candies in the girls' future!!