Friday, December 26, 2008

Nut Free Christmas, with a little bit of Candy on the side.

I have not had a lot of time for blogging, or much of anything extra, for the matter lately. Hopefully, things will slow down, and I will get back on my regular schedule. You also could check out Matters of the Heart, I update a little more often over there.

I wanted to share with you, a little about the kids excitement. I had ordered a box of Chocolates, from Vermont Nut free. If you have not tried these, I would recommend giving them a shot. The chocolate covered pretzels, are delicious.

This is the box of goodies we received, a few days before Christmas. I hid the box, along with everything else. Christmas morning when the kids dumped their stockings, they found the foil wrapped snowmen, and went crazy. Candy is a big treat in our house. It is something that we just do not have around. One, they don't really need it, two, my little guy has the allergy to peanuts and all tree nuts.

Needless to say, when they tasted the Chocolate, it was like heaven to them. It was so wonderful, to see the joy in their faces. I will post photos of that later.

I am working with my new camera. These photos were still on my old card.

It took them awhile, reveling in the Chocolate goodness, before they even moved on to their gifts.

They especially, loved these gold coins. I too, was excited for them, these are some of the things I use to get as a kid.

We had a wonderful holiday. Everything, in both homes that we visited, were nut free. We did not have one reaction, what so ever. My husbands family, purchased all of their baking goods, from a list I provided them, and made an order from Vermont Nut Free also.

It was so nice for me to relax, and know my two year old could touch, or eat, whatever he wanted. I did not have to search the house, move bowls, or cringe when anyone wanted to touch or kiss him. This was a big relief.

I had one visitor, that brought a plate of unsafe treats. I immediately, without hurting any one's feelings, took the plate out to the garage. Today, when we were taking out the trash, someone was digging through it, and we gave him the plate of goodies.

I hope you all had a wonderful Nut Free, none reactive Holiday also. (More Photos to come)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Candy Canes for the Nut-Free home

If you are allergic to peanuts, and tree nuts, like we are, you probably have a stash of dum dum suckers somewhere. I know, I have blogged about these before, however, they really come in handy in our house. My kids love these, and this mom loves, that there is a safe easy treat available for them.

I was so excited to find, in the grocery store today, spangler mini candy canes, and mini dum dum candy canes, made by spangler. My kids are loving these also. We have not had one store bought Christmas type candy in the house yet, this December. Which is actually kind of nice, but, it is also kind of nice now the kids can have a special, SAFE, Christmas themed treat.

I also have a big box of Vermont Nut Free Chocolate on the way. The kids are going to be so surprised. Foil wrapped snowmen, skippers, chocolate gold coins, all the stuff the kids have been asking for, every time we walk down the Christmas isle. I can not wait to see their face when they get to dig in. Finally, Mommy does not have to say no, I am sorry we can not have those.

Hope you are all enjoying your holiday season. We have been sick, all of us, off and on in this house. It seems everyone is on the mend right now. We will visit the allergist again soon, stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Snot is upon us.

We have snot. I'm not talking a little either. Lots and lots of yucky snot. I just pray, that one time, just one time, maybe we can have snot, and a little sneezing and nothing else.

It always starts like this, then bam, we get hit with the big stuff. The cough, the breathing problems, mommy up all night, ER in the middle of the night for a steroid shot. Crying, inconsolable child, tired and worn out Mommy. I do not want to go there this time.

We are actually on day two with snot, usually we go south before now. I better get to bed, and rest now, just in case.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I learn something new everyday

Our first hosting of Thanksgiving went over very well. Even with all of the work, cleaning and preparing, it was still more comforting to know my little guy was going to be safe.. It truly was a lot less worry on my part.

In my last post, I clarified why we stay away from nutmeg. Interestingly enough, did you know that poultry seasoning contains nutmeg? Wow, I would have never thought that. I did some quick rearranging, and the stuffing and bird, came out just fine.

I made a special pumpkin dessert for my little guy, and the look on his face, when he said," yum mommy, this is good" made my day.

Hope you all had a special day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some Clarification

Thought I would clarify a little bit, since I have been asked about this a few times.

My little guy was tested for, and is actually allergic to nutmeg. Not all people allergic to nuts are allergic to nutmeg. Nutmeg is a seed, and he came up allergic, at a level two. We were advised to avoid anything above a level one allergy.

My little guy tests positive to many things, we just mostly talk about our lives with the peanut/tree nut allergy. We have some testing scheduled for next month, we may have to start talking about his wheat allergy here pretty soon.. Originally, we were at a level one, and I am hoping his recent reactions, are not due to an increase in this.

For now, I am off to get my shopping list done. Thank you for all your emails, and comments. I sure do appreciate all you have to offer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Plans

Okay folks, this year, I am cooking Thanksgiving Dinner myself. It is the first year ever. I am really rather excited about it.

Knowing that my son has severe allergies, makes going anywhere for dinner, not as pleasant as it used to be. There is the constant worry, checking, and watching. Then there are my questions, that get the weird looks. Come one folks, this is my kids life, there is no going overboard, if his life is in danger. Nuts can be hidden anywhere, especially during the holidays.

Now, even though it is going to be a lot of work to prepare dinner, with a two and three year old under foot. It just seems like it will be much more rewarding to me. I will not have to wonder what is in anything. I will not have to worry if someone doesn't wash there hands and wants to touch my kid. I will not have to worry about any cross contamination coming from my kitchen. I will not have to worry if there is nutmeg in that pumpkin pie, or if there are nuts in those cookies. I will not have to worry about my son walking up to the appetizer table and putting something in his mouth that I did not see. I think you get the picture. It is the safest place we could be, and celebrate a day of Thanksgiving.

Now, what I really need help with, is my menu. I am still not sure what I am going to make, besides a Turkey of course. Any fun, family recipe, ideas would be great.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fabulous and Forty

Yes, this is the fortieth post over here, and a fabulous award.

My new friend Jill, at Sneaky Momma, sent me this wonderful award. It is the first award, for the spin off blog, here. The whole meat and potato's, can be found at, Matters of the Heart. If you have not visited Jill yet, I suggest you stop on by and say hi. She has a wonderful family, and I am finding we have quite a few things in common.

Requirements for accepting the award are, I must list five of my favorite addictions, and then pass along the award to five other blogs. I will apologize in advance, I am going to only do half of this. I believe, you only want to know, five of my addictions anyway.. There rest of you know your fabulous, so why do I need to pick only five of you.

I am addicted too, with no shame, I might add.

1. Coffee, any and all. I love it, even day old.

2. Blogging, and anything that goes along with it, I think you all get the idea.

3. A few nighttime TV shoes. Can't miss Prison Break, The Unit, The Biggest Loser, Survivor.

4. Hugs and Kisses from my little one's. Oh, I can not live without these.

5. Right now, I am loving me some pumpkin scones from Starbucks. Goodness, I wish they never asked me to try one.

So that is it, five of my many. Thanks again Jill, and to the rest of you fabulous bloggers, take the button, and feel grateful you don't have to admit your addictions. Of course, if you want to, you can share the love in a comment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flashback Photo

I was looking through some photos the other day, and came across this photo of our little man.

This was a picture before we found out about his allergies. His poor face was always red and rashy like this. If you look real close you can see little scratch marks, from him constantly scratching his face. If you think this looks bad, you should see what his bottom always looked like.

Speaking of bottoms, we are going through something else right now. Our little man sure has been scratching his bottom a lot lately. It is getting real rashy again. Last night he kept saying his tummy hurt too. Today, no complaints.

I know all you allergy moms out there can relate. It feels like a scary roller coaster I'm riding on. I sure did appreciate all your supportive comments on the funk I had been in. Hopefully I am coming out of it. I know I will feel much better when we get through the holidays without an incident.

I have been planning my Thanksgiving menu, so I have been looking through lots of recipe books and magazines. Is it me, or does it seem like every other page has a nut filled recipe on it? Peanut butter this, almond this, hazelnut gooey this, or that. I am so sick of seeing nut recipe's I could scream.

Okay, so I am done venting. How much difference do you think no nutmeg in a pumpkin pie is going to make? That's right we are allergic to nutmeg too.

Here is a new photo for your viewing pleasure, this makes it all worth it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The big 40 and an Apology

So this is my 40th post her at "Nut Free Living", it has gone by so fast. I have met some wonderful people that are on this same journey. I have learned so much, yet most days, still feel overwhelmed, with my little guys allergies.

I also have to say, I am sorry for my lack of posting over here. Seems like I have been blogging more on our family blog, Matters of the Heart. I'm coming up on the big 100 over there.

I think the overwhelmed feeling right now, comes from thoughts of the holidays. This is our first year we know about the allergy, and let's be honest, there are nuts everywhere this time of year.

Friends bake, thoughts of stressful play dates, wondering if a peanut or tree nut has been left behind. Others seem worried about watching my little guy, for fear of reactions. I worry to leave him, for the same fear. He's two, he puts everything in his mouth..

I feel like people look at me like I am crazy when I explain the serious nature his allergy. Some people close to me have a hard time really getting it. I put way to much thought into things.

I'm cooking Thanksgiving this year, which I have never done before, this way we can stay in our own home. Not sure what we will do about the rest of the holiday's.

So, I think I have been avoiding posting, because I am in a real bad place right now, with our allergy. My little guy has another unexplainable rash right now. The list goes on. I am so afraid we might have to give up wheat also.

All you seasoned allergy moms, any words of encouragement right now, would surely help me get out of this funk.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Do we ever have to do it again?

Besides seeing my kids dressed up, the rest of it can go...

Our plan took a little detour, however we still managed to have a safe and happy time.

We had decided we were going to take the kids trick or treating to a few houses that I had dropped off safe candy at. The kids had such a great time with that, and did not want to quit.

I was armed with wipes, benadryl and an epi, so we attempted a few other houses. My husband also had a back up bucket to put non-safe candy in.

We instructed our little man not to touch anything that was handed to him. Remember, he is two, how do you think that worked?

After the first house, my husband held on to little man's free hand at the door, and would not let go. Little man was unable to grab the candy. If my husband saw an unsafe candy coming, he intercepted, and put it into the back up bucket.
As far as my daughters bucket, we did a trade, for yummy Vermont Nut Free Skippers, when we got home. By the way, I love those little skippers, and my daughter is so happy to have what she calls safe M&M's.

We did not stay out too long. The kids got tired quickly, and we returned to the house. The rest of the night was spent fighting over who was going to hand out our allergy friendly candy. Luckily they took turns and everyone was happy.

All and all, the night went well. I still felt a lot of anxiety about being around so many unsafe things with my little guy. My husband must of too. When we got back to the house, he said, "I guess from now on, we can go away for Halloween, so we do not have to deal with all of this."

That is a nice thought. I will leave you with a few photos, which was the only thing that made yesterday worthwhile.

Our Pink Minnie Mouse

I eat nut-free cookies

Oh the love

Too many smarties

End of the night silly girl

Brother couldn't resist being silly too

Thursday, October 30, 2008

His first bite

I posted a Flashback Friday post, over at Matters of the Heart. It actually has a photo of my little man, and his first bite of peanut butter....

A yucky feeling, to look back and see that photo. Click here if you want to read our walk down memory lane.

The delivey man has arrived

We just received our first order from Vermont Nut Free Candies. My little nut allergy boy is asleep right now... the surprise will have to wait..

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nut Free Halloween - You have to see this

Check out this site Allergy Free Halloween. You can download a sign for your door, if you are giving away allergy safe candy. You can become a fan of this group if you have a facebook. They have a few other helpful things to check out also.

Spread the word.....

Exzcema is upon us.

Red rashy face is all I see, runny stuffed noses, and a cough that won't quit. Allergies all around us right now....I must not forget, that I need a Claritin a day, to keep mine away.

My poor little guy has a bout of that red rash on his face. I am never sure if it is something he has had or eczema rearing it's ugly head again.

On another allergy note. My daughter went into the petting zoo yesterday, and for the rest of the day she had a stuffed nose, and she has been coughing ever since. Now, normally I would say this might be a cold, however, she just got over being sick, where she got a shot and 10 days of antibiotics.

Well, just wanted to give a quick update on our allergy front. If you want to see what else we have been doing, go visit us at Matters of the Heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

His first taste

We decided to go to the pumpkin patch today. I knew there would be candy all around, so I came prepared. This is my little man's first taste of Skittles.

As you can see, it went over well. He really enjoyed them. I will have a full post, of our trip to the pumpkin patch,over at our Matters of the Heart blog, later this evening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ruby shares her....

That's right, Mom was reading a new book tonight about sharing. You guessed it, we turn the page, and Ruby, shares her bag of nuts.

The kids just looked at me strangely... What do you say? It was a great opportunity for me to ask.. Do we eat nuts? Thankfully both kids said no. Even at two and three they are starting to get it.

Just another lesson for this mom. I can't hide them from it. I can only educate them, and hope that I prepare them for what is to come.

Anymore talk of this tonight might send me into a tailspin. I have been so worried about upcoming events, and holiday celebrations, that I just need to let it go for now.

I have been in one of those, I hate nuts, and allergies all together moods. Very emotional about the whole thing. I know that this will get easier. Right now, a two year old, that touches everything, and or puts everything in his mouth, with severe nut allergies, is not the greatest to deal with.

I will be glad when this year is over with, and we have made it through every holiday, and family get together safely.

I now think I will take my overtired self to bed.

Moms talking about allergies.

There are many things that go through a mothers mind, when they have allergic children. On any given day, I have a multitude of feelings on the subject. I love to hear, and read, how other mothers are dealing with the situation., has several videos posted right now, with moms talking about their children and allergies. How they found out. How they cope. How they deal with others. Click here to check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Candy, Candy, Candy

Since I was talking about candy, I thought I would throw in a dress up photo. I also posted a Flashback Friday post, that includes a couple dress up photos, click here to see.

Candy, is something we do not have much of around this house. I am not complaining, It is kind of nice not to have all that tempting stuff around me. We have our usual stash of dum dum suckers, and smarties, and we are good to go.

Today I decided to breakdown and buy some skittles, thought they might come in handy as a potty training treat. I also broke down and ordered some chocolate, from Vermont Nut Free company. I figured, since we were having the Halloween festivities at our house, I might want to have a few special things on hand.

Anybody ever use Junior Mints with their PA and TNA child? I saw them listed somewhere as tree nut and peanut free. I'd love to hear from you if you have had them. I would also love to hear what kind of candy you keep to pass out to the kids.
To me this is a scary time, we did not know last year my son had this allergy. This is our first year to deal with all the holiday festivities nut free.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thought filled Tuesday

On my other blog, I am doing a thought filled Tuesday or Thursday post. Thought I would share the love over here.

This has been burning in my mind, thought I would solicit some wanted advice. How would you handle this hypothetical situation. (wink)

Your child is highly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. Every nut imaginable. You meet some friends, they get out of the car with their kids eating a snickers, and a butterfinger candy bar. To go even further. What if the snickers was somewhat melted, and you notice the child just digging into the wrapper with their fingers? Imagine using your finger like a spoon, to dig out the melted chocolate, peanut mess.

What is a mother to a two year old, highly allergic to ingredients, in these things do. Since this is a hypothetical situation, that is all the information I can give you.

Okay, I'll add the kids will come in contact with each other at some point.

Can't wait to see how one should handle a situation like this. Please, do not be shy, leave your answer in a comment. If you would prefer to leave it private, you can email me.

Thanking you in advance, because I know you will all come through on this one.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Look.

So I decided to fancy it up around her a bit. Found this great website scrapblog, it's free to create and share. It is also a lot of fun. It does have an option where you can purchase your creations, I have not gone that far yet.

If you like to scrapbook, check it out. I am not a big scrapbooker, however, this website was fun and relatively easy.

On to the update. My little guy, is doing real good. He has a small patch of rash on his backside, nothing he is complaining about. We are just watching things, and documenting right now. A few of you mentioned environmental allergies, and it certainly could be. His big sister and I both have these. In fact, mine are acting up right now. Maybe it him before me.

Either way, diligence is the key, when you have an allergic child. How many of you would agree with that statement?

If you have time, I made a topper for our family blog too. If you want to check it out click here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My little itchy boy.

I have to say, off and on, we keep experiencing this new rash and with it comes extreme scratching. It is so difficult to watch your children experience any kind of discomfort.

I am really starting to believe that this is due to one of the foods, that came up in his panel, as a low level allergy. The doctors told us these could become worse.

The one that I am suspicious of, is another big one to me. It is wheat, holy cow, just saying it overwhelms me. I thought we had it hard with peanuts and tree nuts. If in fact these reactions are to wheat, things just got a whole lot more complicated in our world.

I do not know much about the wheat allergy yet, I have only began to do the research. We are scheduled in December for additional testing, in the meantime I am going to try eliminating foods and see if things clear up.

I am so glad there are so many avenues I can go down for help on this issue. Not to mention great ideas for foods all over the web. Today on they have a Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Recipe, that even has a video to help prepare it. Allergic girl is talking about this recipe and site today also, check it out.

Now, to eliminate things a two year old has been eating, what fun it is going to be.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little Man Update

My little guy is doing well. The rash is gone, and has not come back. I am really thinking this may be an environmental allergy, except for him saying his tongue hurts. Could be one of the things we have been eating that he tested level 1 for, that is getting worse. We have allergy testing to see where we are at in December. I am going to ask to be tested for a few other things that we are unsure about.

So, I had a comment on my other blog, that someone could not leave a comment here. Can you please test it out and let me know if that is still the case? Come on, I know you can help me out with this one. If you attempt, and are unable to leave a comment, hop on over to the other blog and let me know there. Anybody ever have that happen on their blog?

Thank you in advance for your help on this.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I'm Stumped.

Not only am I stumped, but I can't believe I am posting for a third time today. I guess if you count my other blog, this would be the fourth post of the day.

My little guy, once again has a rash on his neck, that he can not keep his hands off of. He keeps saying, "Mommy kiss it." It is red all the way from the tip of his chin to the top of his chest. He also again said, "my tongue hurts." I gave him some benadryl, and that has seemed to soothe him.

Another baffling episode. I can not put my finger on these random breakouts. Any thoughts?

Clean bill of health.

My little guy finally got his two year check up today. All is well, and he is growing normally.

Talked only a little bit today about the allergies, our Primary Care Doctor does not offer much in this department. He is knowledgeable, however, I have always found the allergist more helpful. One thing we did talk about, was some of the his so called, lower level allergies.

When I say that, I mean the foods he got a one or a two on his RAST. My understanding, was to stay away from the two's, and if the one's, gave no reactions, then they were okay. Peanuts and Tree nuts are all above a level three for him.

Wheat, some fruits, clams and a few others are at level one and two. Since it is fall, and pumpkin everything (which happens to me one of my favorites) is all around. I needed to double check one item that was on his list. My little guy has a level two allergy to nutmeg.

Anybody else have nutmeg included in their allergy list? Anybody have a good nutmeg free pumpkin pie recipe?

Two year checkup.

We are going to attempt to get my little guys two year check up today. We have been unable to do it for the last month, because he has been so sick. We have an appointment today, and I am in hopes the doctor thinks he is well enough to proceed.

Hopefully I will be back later today with a clean bill of health..

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mix and Match

Mix and match, was the only thing that came to my head, when I was thinking of a title.

Not sure what that's all about, except I just have a bunch of random updates to chat about.

Not me Monday is in full swing again. You can see my "Not Me's at Matters of the Heart. If you want to participate visit McMama's site at My Charming Kids.

McMama has a wonderful, and entertaining blog, if you have time, check it out, she could use our prayers right now.
I have to say, my little guy is doing much better. I am so relieved, let's see how long he can stay well now. At least we can do breathing treatments at home now, if needed.


An update on the whole pre-school issue. Today, I decided to attend the room mother meeting, just so I could here first hand what was going on. I was so relieved to hear the director address the whole nut free issue. She addressed the controversy, and politely said, "we are not going to have it." "It is only three hours and it is something that needs to be dealt with." She also said she did not feel like they were asking to much, and could not understand why there was controversy. She went on to say," please direct the parents with the issues to her." It was nice to hear some parents chime in and say things like, "whatever it takes to keep these kids safe." It was comforting to hear, some people really do get the severity of this allergy. All that aside, I am very glad that things are not going to change
Another little update on the yogurt place. I went there myself, since I was only hearing this information from my husband. They did say that they keep the yogurts in the same machine each day. They are drained every night and sanitized. They happened to be out of peanut butter yogurt when we went in, and it was an empty machine. I had them give me the contents of the vanilla yogurt, there was nothing I felt uncomfortable with. There are a lot of nut and cereal toppings that are a no no for us, they are near the other toppings, this I would not feel comfortable with.

We decided we would give it a try. We got a small vanilla, with no toppings for my two little one's to share, and they had so much fun with it. I really was not nervous, which was good. It was nice to talk with the manager and feel comfortable. They were well aware of why we were asking and I felt even better about it. It seems lately, more and more places I ask at, realize the importance of my questions.
That's all folks for my random mix and match update.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'd love to take you for a yogurt

With my daughter now in pre-school three days a week. My little guy and I have lot's of Mommy and Son time. I was thinking yesterday, I really wish we could go have a frozen yogurt together.

We have this new yogurt shop, and it would be fun to just take him for some special time. Not to mention, they have fat free and sugar free yogurt. This would let Mommy get a nice yummy treat without feeling too guilty.

My husband has checked the place out, and unfortunately, it really is a no go for us. They serve peanut butter yogurt, the flavors are never in the same machine. One day the peanut butter flavor will be in the first machine, two days later it may be in the fourth machine. They also have lots of nut and cereal topping choices, that have already spilled into each other.

Nothing is very simple, when you have an allergic child. I guess I will have to think of a different Mommy-Son treat. Any ideas.

If you are in the mood check out my Friday Flashback post.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tomorrow is another day.

Thanks for all the comments on the pre-school post. Real glad to hear I wasn't too far off base. It is real nice to meet some new people traveling the same road, thanks for stopping by.
Tomorrow is another day, we will see if there is any new news at the school. I have heard the board members will uphold their decision no matter what...

I will keep you posted...
By the way, my little guy is having such a hard time shaking this upper respiratory thing. I thought he was turning the corner, now we seem to be at a stand still with it. Lots of yucky stuff out there right now.
Want to hear a funny story about my other little one, hop on over to "Matters of the Heart"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Help me out here.

So, I am not really sure how to feel about some information I received today.

I've shared before, my daughter goes to a pre-school that has gone nut free. My daughter is not the allergic one here. I was just very happy about this because next year, when my allergy boy is ready to go, I thought there would be a lot less worries. This was the schools choice, through education, and the amount of students that were seeking enrollment that had the allergy.

Well, and I say that with and exaggerated sigh behind it. Today, I was told that one of the parents is not happy with the pre-schools decision, and is going to try to get a petition going, in order for it to be changed. I guess, this parent feels that the pre-school accommodating the peanut allergy is a bigger inconvenience for the rest of the parents.

Like I said, I am not sure how I even feel about this. Partly because I have an allergic child, and of course I want the school to remain nut free. My first reaction was, hello, it is three hours a day, give me a break. I know, I am very biased on the issue, however my PA guy is not even there right now. I just think, if someone told me that there kid could be at serious risk if I ate something around them, I feel like I could accommodate them. Am I wrong here? The parent feels the pre-school should not have accommodated the peanut allergy in the way they chose too. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. Not sure if she is just angry right now, and saying it, or she really will find people to sign it.

I would never want to put someone elses life in jeopardy. To top all of it off, again not sure what this is all about. Another parent, who's child is in a class with a PA child, has asked the parent to sign a release, saying he would never be liable if anything ever happened to her child in class. What is that all about?

This was a bit of a reality check for me. I have not really had to worry about outside influences, as of yet. My son is two and his world is still pretty much in my control.

Please let me know what you all think about both of these situations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We have turned the corner

Just wanted to post an update about my little guy. It is so hard to talk about it, when you are right in the middle of it. So sorry, I have not told you how things have been going.

I just looked back to see where I left off, oh boy, way to long to keep you hanging.

Friday evening, the life care place called and said they would not be able to deliver the breathing machine until morning. I just about started to cry. I knew my little guy would not make it through the night. I knew we would end up in the ER. This is the last place I wanted to go on a Friday night. Of course I would do anything for my little guy, but if we don't have too.

He cried all day long. Really, I am not exaggerating, not even a little. He was miserable, and so was mom. All my daughter kept saying, who is three by the way, is poor brother. I secretly thought, poor brother, what about mom.

Enough pouting, and I was told they would deliver the machine by 7:00. I didn't really pout, I had a few stern words, and a little pleading.

The breathing treatment helped. He was still pretty miserable, at least his airway didn't sound so scary. He still cried most of the night. He seemed to be so jittery. I think all the medications, not feeling well, and not being able to rest, really got to him.

I know it got to me. Finally, I did something I really never do. I laid him down in my bed. I always fear they will not ever want to sleep in there own bed again. At this point I did not care. I really needed some sleep. Two full nights of zero sleep, was not going to be an option. It worked, he fell fast asleep, and finally I could rest.

The breathing treatments worked, little man does not like them. It is nice to have the option to help him out at home. The rest of the weekend we only needed to use the new medication they gave us, and he started to do much better.

He is not completely better yet, however, we are on the way to a full recovery. Right now, he sounds like he has a simple cold. His airway is clear, and he just has a yucky runny nose, and a cough that is not making him struggle too much.

This is the season for sickness, and I just pray that the viruses know they are not welcome in the Nut Free Living home.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Not Me Monday

It's here, Not Me Monday. To see what it's all about, check out my "Matters of the Heart" blog.

It has nothing to do with nuts, but a lot to do with how our week went...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here we are again.

It's only been three weeks, since my little one had a bout with a breathing problem, and the croup type cough. That was, it started three weeks ago, lasted two, one week in between, and here we are again.

Sure enough, I heard it coming yesterday afternoon. Isn't it funny how we moms know our kids? He cleared his throat once, and I asked him to say mama, there it is was, some thing in the way he exhaled. I thought, by tonight, he will sound like I seal. I prayed, I would be wrong.

Sure enough, an hour later, a slight cough started that had some distress in it. Out came, what Zach calls "orange"can anyone figure out what that is???? (leave a comment with your answers)First one to answer correctly wins..not sure if you will physically win something, just the joy of knowing your a winner should make it fun.

Five hours later, we were in serious distress. Just writing about it now really makes me want to cry. I hold it together so well for him, and really feel I do a good job, handling situations as they arise. It is the calm after the storm, that always gets me. Maybe it has a little something to do with the fact that I did not get much sleep. Either way, and I am sure most of you will agree on this, it is so hard to watch our precious children struggle with anything.

My little guy is a trooper, and I know he is going to grow up to be big and strong. We made it through the night, came close to needing to go to the ER. I knew my doctor would take us in the morning, so I wanted to wait it out.

Sure enough, we got right in this morning. He sounded horrible. He was given a steroid shot, and they are going to deliver a breathing machine, to the house by this evening.

My sweet boy is handling it very well, as usual. I think I will be fine too, sleep is over rated anyway..

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scary moments

Sunday night I was getting the kids ready for bath. As I was taking Zach's diaper off, he said "hurt mommy." I said, "what hurts" he pointed to the side of his bottom. Sure enough, he had raised bumps and it was red around them.

I took him out to the living room, for dad to examine, this was the only place he had the hives. As we were looking for signs of anything else, he said, "my mouth hurts." I had already given him benadryl by that point. Just him saying that, scared the holy heck out of me. His tongue and lips were fine, and he was breathing normally.

He was fine, in every other way, but the red hive like area, which the benadryl immediately helped. He had not eaten anything different at home that day, so I am not sure what it really was.

This has happened several other times, where hives will just appear and go away with benadryl.

He does have a few level one food allergies, that do not bother him much, could be those, could be environmental, could be, who knows what???

Even in that scary moment, I was able to keep it together. I'm finding strength, I never knew I had, when it comes to living with this life threatening allergy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thank you to those that come before us.

I just have to say thank you to all of you PA moms and dads out there that have come before me.

You truly are paving the way for those of us, that are not as far down the road yet. I love the stories, the advice, the recipes. Most of all, I love the encouragement.

I love meeting people like me, that would do ANYTHING, to keep their child safe.

Today, I met the women that paved the way, for the preschool we choose to be peanut free. How wonderful, all her hard work, prepping the preschool for her little one, has now multiplied itself.

If you remember, in an earlier post I said, "this preschool, really gets it." This is thanks to the mom I met today.

This lovely women, is so involved in the PA world, she had a wealth of information. I am so grateful she has pushed for the preschool we choose to be so aware.

She also had a wonderful thing I wanted to share with you all. Customized EpiPen carriers.

I loved this one, it could be carried like a purse, or you could take the straps off.

Let's face it, pre PA, sometimes I did not carry anything with me, now there is one thing I can never be with out.

There are lots of fabrics to choose from.

This was a little over one arm sling.

This was back pack style.

You can visit her website at This PA mom, is doing amazing things.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Peanut Free Snack.

My little guy has been a bit goofy lately. It seems that he likes to paint, paint his own face that is.

He also likes to put mommy's glasses on, and say cheese for a picture.

I love my little two year old, peanut allergy and all. I feel so blessed, these sweet moments captured, help me remember that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our New Preschool.

My daughter, who does not have food allergies, started preschool this week. My son, who is PA/TNA, thought he was going to attend with her. Notice his backpack in hand.

I know so many families have problems when it comes to schools and their children's allergies.

I just wanted to share our journey, and the positive outcome it has had.

Knowing that Zach would attend preschool, the year following his sister, it was very important for me to find one that had a good allergy plan.

I searched, and now know, that I could not have found a better school.
Last week at parent orientation the director stressed, the no peanut policy, for everything. Birthdays, lunches, snacks etc....

I was rather pleased at that point, however, I did notice a ton of parents talking through that portion, and become a little worried that they were missing it.

Today, I found a new level of comfort with the school.

As parents, we needed to provide emergency earthquake bags. Parents were bringing in their bags, and they were checked by the teachers. Anything that contained peanuts or said "processed in a facility with peanuts" were turned away.

My daughters teacher was explaining, so well, the severity of the allergy. I listened to a couple of parents say "I can't find any snacks that do not say may contain nuts, what am I to do?" I so wanted to say, "welcome to my world." I just listened, and when the teacher looked at me and said, " this is so serious, I hope you all understand." I promptly said, "I know, my son has the allergy."

It was at that point, I was able to help the mom's with snack ideas. I was just so relieved that the school was taking it so serious.

The teacher thanked me for responding, and proceeded to tell me all about the in service they had, about the allergy, and the use of epi-pens.

It is so nice to see, that some people are, getting this issue.

I feel safe knowing, that my daughter will not come home from school having any peanut residue on her. I also feel, even better knowing, that next year, my son will go to a safe preschool.

Talk about a hugh relief. Hopefully, within the next two years, this will spill into our local elementary school.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Birthday Boy.

I am back. I am so sorry for the delay. We had a very busy few days, leading up to a very busy weekend. We also had a fun start to this brand new week.

If you want to read all about my daughters first day of preschool click here. On a side note, she is going to a completely peanut free preschool. I will talk about that here in a later post.

My big dilemma for the birthday boy, was the cake. As I shared before, I loved a bakery bought cake. They are so cute, and you do not have to usually worry about how they will taste. As most of you PA moms know, that option is a thing of the past.

I set out on a mission, to make, and decorate, my own cake. I was very apprehensive. I am not that creative, and decorating, sometimes just does not work for me. Overall, I was pleased with the result. Most of my family thought that I had bought the cake.

The most important thing was, the Birthday Boy loved it. He is really into trains right now, and just loved, that he had a Thomas cake. (the Thomas on the cake was a toy)

We had a weekend of celebrating. Friday evening we had family over to our house. That is the safest place for me. I can control the food, and I really do not have to worry much about Zach's safety.

Mom, Dad, and Birthday Boy having a great time.

Zach, on his new tractor.

Saturday, we headed up to my mom's house, for a second celebration. It is a little harder to be away from home, however, I really feel my mom gets it, and we feel safe there. I brought some cupcakes up for our little celebration.

Zach giving a thumbs up to his new basket ball set.

Overall, we had a very nice birthday weekend. My little birthday boy had so much fun, and most importantly he was kept safe.

I really did have fun making his cake, so much so, that I would like to take a decorating class. I guess, I got the fever.

So many things that you think may be an inconvenience, due to this allergy, really do turn out to be blessings.

Now, my little one is two, and my big one is at preschool. They grow up so fast. For today, I am just enjoying the moment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

When knowledge backfires.

Can you ever know to much? I didn't think so, however last night, I might have answered yes to that question.

Ever since we found out about Zach's allergies, to peanuts and tree nuts, all I have wanted to do is educate myself.

I want to know everything I can, in order to keep my child safe. If I don't know an answer, I look for it. I have found others, dealing with the same thing, to see how they manage.

I watch for updates, I read everything I can find, that has to deal with this allergy. I want to be informed, and know exactly what I am dealing with.

Last night, I hit my threshold. I stumbled upon a website, that had way too much information. First I must preface this, I was very tired from working late last night. My guard was down, way down, I would add.

I started reading about some tragedies that involved the peanut allergy. This was not news to me. I know the reality, this is serious, I got that a long time ago.

For some reason, last night, I could not read about it any longer. I got off the site, shut the computer down, and went to my husband and cried.

I had an overwhelming feeling, that there was going to be a day, I could not protect my son from this horrible allergy. I was so scared in that moment. My husband just listened, and let me cry.

As mothers, we just want to protect our children, and the thought, that there is something out there, I may not be able to protect him from, terrifies me.

After my good cry, I pulled it back together. You know they say, tears cleanse the women's soul. Not sure who they are, but it did feel like my soul was cleansed.

I needed to have that moment, to draw closer to God. The only way I can deal with this, is to trust in him. My God is bigger than this allergy, and I trust that he knows what he is doing.

My plans, are not always his plans, when I fight that, is when life seems to difficult. When I align myself with God, there is nothing I can not get through.

Monday, September 1, 2008

It really is Labor Day.

Two years ago today, we celebrated Labor Day, by me being in Labor with Zach. It truly was a "Labor Day".

Now, my allergy boy is turning two this week. His allergies, bring a whole new dimension, to the birthday party planning.

I love having parties, I especially love celebrating the kids birthday's with friends and family. What I usually love to do is buy a beautiful bakery cake. That is not part of the plan this year.

I have no problems baking a cake, in fact I have a few yummy recipes. My problem, is the frosting, and the decorating of the cake. I can make a great butter cream frosting, however it never quite looks that great (to me anyway) when I top the cake.

Not to mention, it is his 2nd birthday, and he is partial to a certain character. I am not very artistic at all. In my mind, I think I can do it, and then it just does not come out the way I had envisioned.

For the safety of my son, I am going to attempt it anyway. He really wants a choo choo cake. I have a great idea. I can't wait to see how it comes out. I am going to practice with the frosting in the next couple of days. I really do not want to get stuck Friday, with everyone coming over and not have a cake to sing Happy Birthday with.

I will keep you posted, and I pray, I will have pictures nice enough, to want to share.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So the night goes.

Funny, I had meant to start a little update here, and I actually ended up posting on my Matters of the Heart blog.

I originally started a separate blog, thinking that maybe I would be able to find a few people living with the Peanut and Tree Nut allergy issue. Thankfully I have, however, I find myself intertwining both blogs. It is our life and I guess it is hard to separate.

My little guy did well last night, and continues to do well today. I think getting into the doctor ahead of time was the key. He still struggles with his cough, but has not really struggled with getting enough air today.

The medication is doing it's job. The only thing I dislike, it puts him in a really grumpy mood. He is normally a sweet, sweet boy.

Today, he had this growl, and a yell, that sounded like it came from the devil himself. I will be glad when we can discontinue this round of medication.

I'm really hoping that this passes quickly, we have some celebrating to do.

Someone will be two, very, very soon.

I will be back to discuss my cake struggles. Warning...It is not going to be pretty.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Allergies, Eczema, Asthma

Do the three go to together? I am really hoping not in our case. I am told that these three things often accompany each other in certain individuals. We have been diagnosed with two out of the three, and our praying we do not hit the third.

My little guy was having a hard time breathing today, and had an ugly cough. It is hard to describe what he sounds like, it is more what he looks like, that always concerns me. It looks like he has to hold his breath to cough. Almost like his cheeks puff out, and he has a hard time getting it out.

It seemed like everything lined up for us just right. I called our Primary Physician, to see if we could get in, due to the cough. It always starts like this, then by the second night, we are so bad we end up in the ER needing a steroid shot. I wanted to get a head start on it this time. So glad I did.

Went in, and sure enough, Zach started coughing when we were in there. Dr. said is lungs sounded okay, however, the cough didn't sound good, and he could see there was a little trouble on exhale.

They brought up, what I call the "A" word. The "A" word in our house is asthma. It is bad enough we have life threatening peanut and tree nut allergies, I just don't want my baby to have asthma too.

Our doctor said the office had a new Allergist/Immunologist on staff, so I would not have to be referred out anymore. He thought maybe he was available to see us today. He asked if I would like to go on over. Of course I said yes.

Very good visit. Of course, just going over everything again is a bit daunting. He reviewed his tests again and said because of the reaction we were seen for originally he called Zach a true peanut allergy patient.

It made sense after I thought about, first I was a bit taken back. What do you mean, there are false peanut allergy patients? I was a bit sensitive today, it is just a term they use.

I guess, if you just have a positive test, and never a reaction, they are not sure if you are really allergic. We had a reaction first, then a positive test. He also said, given the fact that all our rash/eczema issues have cleared, since giving up all tree nut and potential tree nut products, he was probably truly allergic there also. He was really speaking to the false positive and false negative aspect to the RAST test.

We reviewed the original RAST, and yep all four's and fives. The Dr. was more concerned with the other level (number) that is noted. He showed me data on the probability of reaction with each nut and peanut. It was great data, not sure where he got it.

I really had a nice conversation with the doctor. He said," some people just don't get it." That is so true. Once again, it was nice to be reminded that I can never be too paranoid about this. He has a two year old at home also, so he could relate to that aspect.

He was real big on discussing all the cross contamination issues, which again, was so helpful. I love hearing that I am not going overboard. I am doing everything I can to protect my child, and that is exactly what I am suppose to be doing.

I loved his statement, "people just don't get it." It sums it up so well. The reality for me is, they don't have too. My job is to protect my child, as I see fit, and you can't blame me for that. Trust me, if they were in our shoes, they would do the exact same thing.

Some days, it is so overwhelming to live with this allergy, and the fear it brings, and others, like today, I feel empowered. My God is bigger than this allergy, and I can do this with his help.

I will talk about the asthma issue, and what the new doctor said about that, in a later post. I want to see how Zach does tonight with the medication.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Way to go Spangler

When you have a child allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, there are not many safe candies out there. Most things, say either may contain nuts, or processed near nuts. We stay away from anything at all that says that. Even if it does not say that, and it is at risk for cross contamination, we stay away from it.

It is kind of nice for this mom, I really do not have to deal with having it in the house. However, it is nice for the kids to have a fun treat once and awhile.

I picked up a bag of dum dum suckers today. Here is what the bag says. "This product does not contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat or gluten. It has been manufactured on dedicated equipment."

That allergy statement, is music to my ears. I only pray, that one day, every manufacture will be that clear.

For this Mom, who just wants to keep her son safe, one meal at a time, I do not think that is too much to ask.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How it all happened.

Not sure when, or where, I remember the very first sign of problem. One thing I will say, anything I write in this blog, is simply my interpretation of our situation. I am by no means an expert, or authority, on any allergies. I just know what has happened to us, what we have been told, and how we handle our daily living.

Hindsight is twenty twenty, they say. Looking back, I can tell you all the signs I missed, and of course, all the things I should have, or shouldn't have done.

Truth be told, I am really bad about second guessing myself. All that aside, I refuse to play the blame game on myself.

Zach was born a little early, after a horrible pregnancy. I read, not to long ago, about a study done on stressful pregnancies and allergies. Who knows???

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong, every test that could come back bad, came back bad. Tons of outside emotional stress, and a long stay in the hospital on bed rest, when I had sixteen month old at home. Even when I got home, I remained on bed rest, until a week before he was born.

He came into the world looking perfect, doesn't every mother think that? He was though, everything was fine. He looked good, took to nursing right away, and slept better than my first baby right off the bat.

A couple weeks later, he got, what the doctor called, eczema. He also had the cradle cap real bad. Nothing took the rash away. We finally got a prescription cream that kept it at bay. This rash lasted a very long time, it also came up in different places. Not once did anyone suggest it was something I could be eating.

When Zach started solids, he often would get rashy around his mouth. He also always had a rash on his bottom. Not where typical diaper rash was, this was high up on the back of his bottom, the cheeks.... When his diaper was off, he would just scratch and scratch.

I did not know this until recently, not sure it would have changed things for me, however.....
I was told, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you wait until your child is three before introducing peanut products. Do you know how many kids under three I know that eat peanut butter...

I also was told, after the fact, that a child that develops eczema early, is more prone to allergies. Again, I say, why did I find out these things from my doctor after the fact. Would I have waited to introduce peanuts given that information.

We will never know. At thirteen months Zach had a tiny bite of a peanut butter cup, it was Halloweeen, he was fine. A couple months after that, I gave him a quarter of a peanut butter sandwich with his lunch. He LOVED it.

After lunch I went to nurse him for nap. I looked down and he had a welt on his cheek, I watched him, within minutes his face was covered. By the time we got to the doctor he had welts from the top of his head to his stomach.

He was given a shot and an at home course of steroids for a week. We were also instructed not to give him peanut products and see our regular physician.

Now, even though we did not have the official diagnosis, I was devastated. I knew enough about a peanut allergy to know this was horrible news. This was something that could kill my son.

This is where it got sticky for me. Our physician said," looks like he might be allergic, don't let him have any." I thought, that is not good enough, shouldn't we know for sure? He said, "well, if you want we can do a blood test." Of course I want to know.

A few days later he calls and said we need to discuss Zach's allergies. That was plural. He went on to say that Zach did in fact have an allergy to peanuts and it was life threatening. He was also allergic to Almonds, cashews, filberts, walnuts etc... etc... There was not a nut he was not allergic to at a high level. He had fours and fives on most nuts on his RAST. Even nutmeg. He also had some level one's on a few things, wheat, clams and lemons. All I kept thinking was, and you did not even want to test him. What if I had given him almond butter instead.

We went into the office to get our referral to the allergist and our epi-pens. The rest is history. It is daily living with this scary allergy. Not sure if I am even incredibly happy with our allergist at this point.

One thing I do know, that Zach's rashes cleared up after we eliminated from his diet, anything and everything that said may contain nuts, processed in a facility with nuts and anything that had any nut in it. Amazing. There were so many things we ate that had trace amounts of nuts in them.

We have a totally nut free home for the safety of my child. There are so many situations, that come up on a daily basis, you deal with when you have a child with life threatening allergies. Reading other blogs, connecting to other families in similar situation, and now blogging myself, have all been a tremendous help.

This is how we found out the single thing that has changed our life forever. I look forward to sharing more of our journey as we march along.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My welcome message.

Living with a peanut, and tree nut allergic child, is one of the biggest challenges I have had to face to date.

In my next post, I will give you "our story", the one where we found out our lives would change forever.

I have been doing a lot of reading, and have found some great families out there, blogging about this very subject.

That is what kind of led me to branch out, and separate my blog. I will still blog at Matters of the Heart, however, "Nut Free Living" will be dedicated to just our peanut and tree nut allergy issues.

More often than not, the stories will intertwine, because, this is our life, as we know it.