Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flour Substitution

Finally I have found a flour substitution for all of my recipes! Hooray for me! I just stumbled upon it tonight. It's safe for both boys too. Just wanted to post it before I forgot.

All Purpose GF Flour Mix
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tsp xantham gum

Now I just have to find a place that sells sweet rice flour around here!

There are plenty more posts to come as soon as I get a chance to sit down for a while.

For now here's a new recipe I stumbled across.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Waffles
1 cup gluten free flour mix*
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 cup milk (can sub 1/2 cup apple juice & 1/2 cup water for milk)
1 egg (can omit by increasing baking powder to 2 tsp & decreasing milk to 3/4 cup)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp club soda
Heat waffle iron. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar in bowl. Add milk gradually and stir to mix. Add egg, oil and vanilla. Beat or whisk until smooth. Add club soda. Whisk for one minute. Pour 1/2 cup batter into waffle iron. Cook according to manufacturers directions. Serve immediately with syrup, preserves, etc.

Have fun!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

and the winner is...

Jennifer Marie Campos!!! Congratulations!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Eileen is the name of Adam's nurse today at the hospital. She was Adam's nurse for BOTH visits today. I will forever love this nurse. Adam loved her too. If not for her, our day would have been MUCH more difficult. Thank you Eileen! (Not that she'll ever read this but still.)
Adam had surgery this morning. It was a routine surgery. Finally after being scheduled three times Adam is now circumcised. Owen had been circumcised at birth, only to require a second circumcision because the doctor messed up the first one. We decided not to have Adam circumcised because of this. Then, it turns out it was medically necessary because of problems with the foreskin.
Adam and I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 AM. We met with a couple of nurses. This was the first time I realized that Adam knew where he was and was NOT happy about it. He was not compliant AT ALL when nurses tried to get his heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. I think all this medical stuff is finally getting to him. After the two nurses left the anaesthesiologist came in to see us, asking questions and prepping us for what was about to happen. Due to Adam's allergies the doctors decided not to use a medication they normally give patients to help knock them out. It has dyes in it. Instead it was just the gas mask. The anaesthesiologist also mentioned that they would tube him, which I hadn't expected, just to make sure his airways stayed clear.
The procedure was to begin at 8:30 AM. I walked Adam to the doors of the surgical room and handed him over to another nurse. Eileen was there, but she wasn't the main nurse. At about 10 AM they brought Adam back to his room. This time Eileen was with him. She had held him when he woke up. She brought comfort when he was missing his Mommy, and LOVED him to pieces. When I was battling another nurse to have his IV taken out, she was my advocate.
Adam had nothing to eat or drink since 8 PM the night before. No formula was allowed after midnight. No water was allowed after 4:30 AM. Jason and I woke Adam up at 4:25 for one last bottle of water knowing he would wake up within the hour for his usual bottle. Of course he refused the water and also refused to go back to sleep. We took turns staying up with him until it was time to leave for the hospital.
Needless to say he was extremely hungry and thirsty when he came out of recovery. He downed 2 bottles of Elecare in 3 minutes flat. Then he fell fast asleep again in my lap. It was there I noticed that the hand without the IV in it had 4 needle pricks. It wasn't until the fifth try that they were actually able to find a vein to use for his IV. I am so grateful he was asleep when they did that. Then I noticed a little bruising on Adam's neck. It almost looked like a scratch that didn't bleed on the surface, but underneath. I asked Eileen about it. The anaesthesiologist looked at it. It was documented.
Eileen played with Adam as we walked the halls waiting for discharge. She held him while I went to get the car and gave him a kiss when we left. Our experience in the hospital was very pleasant that morning. Especially as Adam decided right after having surgery, he wanted to walk the halls. Still groggy Eileen and I each held a hand as he walked the halls and said hello to everyone. When Adam had gained more strength he decided to break free from us and run to every exit door he had seen open during the course of our stay, trying to escape. It was quite adorable.
Adam and I arrived at home about 11:30 AM. He took another bottle, ate some Trix, said hello to Owen and was ready for a nap by noon. Owen and I took a nap too. At about 3 PM Owen woke up. Adam was still asleep. This is very abnormal for him. He continued to sleep until 5 PM when I woke him up for dinner. As I woke him up I noticed his eyes were VERY puffy and swelled up along with his lips. Honestly his whole face looked quite odd, but I just attributed it to the fact that he just woke up.
Adam ate four helpings at dinner and covered himself in goulash. At about 5:30 Jason took off his shirt and pants to put in the wash. That's when we saw everything. There were welts all over Adam's stomach, chest, and back. The outline of the stickers that were used to monitor his heart rate during the surgery were bright red. Adam had broken out in HIVES!
Immediately I told Jason to get the Benadryl. His face still swollen I realized it was all allergic reactions. Time to call the doctor, but which one? His surgeon? His urologist? His pediatrician? I decided to call our pediatrician's office. Thank goodness I was able to speak directly with him.
Stating that we had already given Adam Benadryl, I asked if there as anything else we could do. He explained that would be fine unless his symptoms got to a certain point and then he would need to be taken to the ER, (He had only been told Adam was having an allergic reaction.). I asked him what point that would be. He asked for me to describe his symptoms. Immediately he said to take him in.
I called our neighbors to take Owen. Thankfully they were home and were most gracious to watch him. Jason came with me, which was heavenly. I had already spent 4 hours in the hospital with Adam today alone and 15 hours last month in the ER alone with Baby O. Going it alone was not going to be cool in the least bit. It was a good thing he came too because it took both of us to manage Adam while waiting for the doctor. Adam was NOT pleased to be back at the hospital, in a hospital gown, and stuck in a little room.
By the time we reached the hospital the swelling in Adam's face had gone down thanks to the Benadryl. The welts had also diminished a little bit. We were seen by a nurse immediately and then taken straight to a room. Another nurse came in to take vitals, which Adam didn't like very much at all. It was then that I realized somehow the Vaseline and antibiotics I needed for Adam at every diaper change didn't make it into the bag. I asked the nurse if I could have some Vaseline. His response, "We don't carry that down here." WHAT? I told Jason I was going to the nurse's station to ask someone else. After all I knew most of the nurses from when Baby O was in the ER last month. That was when I saw her. It was Eileen.
She was on duty in the ER tonight. Eileen was a little shocked to see me. I explained what happened and she immediately wanted to see Adam. He was actually pretty excited to see her, as excited as he could be to see anyone. She looked at his face, swollen, red, and blotchy. She looked at his chest, stomach, and back noticing the welts and redness. To her it was all quite unbelievable. She KNEW he hadn't looked like that when he left the hospital this morning. Immediately she gave us Vaseline for Adam. We were wondering if we could give Adam a bottle, since it was that time. She went and asked the head nurse and then checked to see how long the wait for the doctor was. Eileen checked in almost every 5 minutes before the doctor came. To know she had been with us this morning and now again tonight brought SO much comfort to me. Comfort that I wasn't going crazy. Comfort that someone else had witnessed everything that had gone on through the course of the day. Comfort in knowing Adam would receive the best care because someone cared.
The doctor came in and asked for a medical background on Adam. I'm learning I need to keep a list of all the medical procedures and dates they were done with me at all times, along with a list of the foods Adam's not allergic to. It's easier to recite those. He looked at Jason and I in disbelief. Then he examined Adam. As he looked at Adam's chest, stomach, and back, he was shocked. He had never seen such a reaction from stickers before. Openly he admitted he wasn't sure what to do. Steroids were an option, the only option, but he wasn't ready to give them. He complimented us as parents, amazed that Adam looks so great despite such a messed up immune system. We made the right decision by giving him Benadryl. Things could have gotten much worse very quickly. The doctor wanted to discuss the case with Adam's pediatrician before deciding on a course of action.
He returned shortly. It was decided that it was for sure the stickers causing the reaction. But, to determine what's in the stickers that specifically caused the reaction... We have to call the manufacturer. The doctor explained that most reactions of this magnitude are caused by ingestion of the substance, not the touch. To react so drastically to the touch means the allergy is very severe. After talking to the pediatrician it was decided that steroid treatment would be held off. They're so hesitant about treating Adam's reactions with steroids. If he blisters or his reaction does not improve or gets worse in the next 24 hours we are to return to the ER. We're all hoping it doesn't. For now he is being treated with very strong cortisone ointment and a high dose of Benadryl every 4-6 hours.
The doctor wished us good luck, complimented us again, and then shook his head in disbelief at Adam's reaction. Eileen returned to the room shortly after. She asked about everything. When we mentioned needing to know the exact equipment used on Adam and the manufacturer she promptly went and retrieved everything, including the package with bar code etc... I honestly don't know what we would have done without Eileen there tonight. She said her goodbyes to us and to Adam who smiled at her.
After only 3 hours we returned home, relieved, exhausted, and a little shaken. What will cause Adam to have an allergic reaction next? His food allergies are bad, but we've never had to take him to the ER over them before. Tonight we've gained more experience, a little more paranoia, and also confidence in ourselves as parents. We did do the right thing in the very beginning when things really mattered. That made all the difference.
This definitely wasn't a fun situation, but it could have been much worse! Honestly a nurse named Eileen made all the difference.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Recipe Challenge

Want to win a $25 gift card to your favorite grocery store or restaurant? Click HERE to find out how! Please participate! I really need your help!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Fun Times

On Saturday night we had a special movie night. I totally stole this idea from a friend of mine, but it was a good idea.One of my favorite children's books is Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Just recently they turned it into a movie. It is now on DVD. The boys hadn't been introduced to the book because it was all about they can't eat. BUT, my friend mentioned that one of the main characters in the movie has an allergy to peanuts and actually goes into anaphalactic shock during the movie. As soon as I read about this I just HAD to see it. Would this be a chance to teach the boys about their allergies? Maybe!Jason and I watched the movie on Friday night to make sure it was okay. By far I like the book better, but the movie wasn't bad. We were nervous about Owen getting a little scared at parts and not really understanding a lot of it, but in the end decided to move forward with our plans.To kick off the movie event we had a spaghetti dinner. This was a HUGE deal because it was Adam's first time trying tomato. Adam loves angel hair pasta. Of course it has to be organic, and he won't eat the whole wheat kind, but we're just excited that he's eating pasta at all. Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce is 100% all natural and safe for Adam to eat. Instead of ground beef we used all natural ground turkey seasoned with rosemary. I wasn't sure if Adam would eat the ground turkey, just because he's tried it plain before and didn't like it but on this occasion...He LOVED everything! And the best news of all... NO ALLERGIC REACTIONS!!! Tomatoes are a go!
We are so excited to be able to add tomatoes to Adam's safe food list. It opens up so many possibilities. Last week Adam tried black beans. He loved them and NO ALLERGIC REACTIONS!!! Not every food we've introduced lately has gone over this well. Garbanzo beans are definitely out. With the addition black beans and tomatoes to Adam's diet it appears that we'll be having lots of Italian dishes without cheese and Mexican dishes without cumin and cheese. We're excited!Owen refused the Spaghetti dinner of course and ate his usual chicken nuggets, but wanted Mommy to take a picture of him too, just like Adam, so I did. He even smiled for me!After our spaghetti dinner I popped popcorn and we put in the movie. It was so much fun watching it together as a family.Adam dumped his popcorn all over the living room and then was sure to step on it all and even crumble it with his hands. Owen sat in his seat the whole time and watched the movie. He did get a little scared at some parts. Watching a movie about food was an eye opener. I realized that Owen doesn't even know what a cheese burger is. That was just the beginning. He did understand the concept that too much sweets will make you sick (like one of the characters), and when it came to the character with a peanut allergies he exclaimed, "Peanut butter doesn't make me sick Mommy!" He's right. It doesn't. So we talked about the foods that do. Owen definitely doesn't understand his allergies yet, but he's starting to grasp bits and pieces of the concept. I'm excited! Awareness is everything for him!
As far as Adam is concerned... We've have three consecutive nights of Adam eating what Jason and I eat or some variation of it. The first night was spaghetti, the second night allergy friendly pancakes, and then tonight he had kidney bean casserole without the cheese and broccoli. I couldn't be happier! (The kidney beans unfortunately didn't work out. There was an allergic reaction.) Still every success means everything!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

After a NOT So Fun Day at Church

After coming home from church today and I feeling inspired, actually I was more fuming mad than anything, I wrote this letter to our bishopric (clergy) and Stake President. I am hoping that some good will come of it. Never did I realize how much of an advocate for my children I would need to become, until the these past few weeks. Am I up for the challenge? Yes! Am I excited about it? NO! But I am determined to teach others how the human race can still have fun even while accommodating those with food allergies. Everything is not about food right?

Church has become a very dangerous place for our children with food allergies. We have brought this issue up to the stake president once before and have spoken with primary leaders, teachers, etc... but proper precautions are still not being taken. It is our fear that we will not be able to attend our meetings because of the unsafe environment they are providing for our children. This may seem extreme to those who do not have children with food allergies, but this is due to a lack of understanding and education. The number of children with food allergies is growing at a startling rate. In our ward alone at least one of the Knapp children have food allergies besides our own children. There are children in the Fulton ward with special diets. I know several other mothers of children with food allergies throughout the US who are members of the church. Many of whom have life threatening allergies, that cause anaphalactic shock and death. There is no reason for the 3 hour block to be unsafe for those with food allergies. Church is not about food.

The reason for this e-mail is because today yet again our children are being put in unsafe situations. Fruit snacks were handed out to all of the primary children after church by the primary presidency. Nursery children had some of these snacks. Owen is allergic to many kinds of fruit snacks. Adam is allergic to ALL fruit snacks. Just as we were coming in to pick up the boys Adam was heading straight towards another child's bag of fruit snacks. As we were dressing the boys to leave, a parent approached Renae wanting to bring in treats for nursery next week because it's Valentine's Day. She tried to emphasize that other than the foods specifically listed in large print in the nursery room, there was really nothing else that could be brought in that would be guaranteed safe for both of our boys. Even if alternatives are brought for the boys, they are in nursery. Food is dropped and spilled everywhere and can be eaten off the floor by anyone.

The boys will grow older and become aware of their food allergies, but this will not eliminate several dreaded situations to come. Some examples include:

Gifts to mothers and fathers on Mother's Day and Father's Day that contain chocolates and sweets. Chocolates, cookies, and wrappers are everywhere! Do we not attend church that day because of the food and danger it causes our boys?

Primary teachers bringing in treats for class or leaders using food as rewards during sharing time etc... You may think this isn't happening, but it is! During rehearsals for the primary presentation the presidency brought in huge spreads of crackers, peanut butter, fruits, and vegetables. Almost everything Adam is allergic to. Owen was also allergic to many of the items. Had they been in primary it would have been a nightmare. Is there really a reason for food like this to be given out during the three hour block?

Special holidays like Easter and Christmas where food seems to be a part of a holiday lesson...

Birthdays in primary where children receive bags of candy... There are so many other alternatives to candy as gifts.

We're not asking all food to be eliminated in church. We're especially not asking for parents to stop bringing snacks for their kids during sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting is where everyone is sitting with their parents or guardians. It is a very controlled environment. This provides safety. For those with extreme life threatening allergies, a safe roped off pew or set of chairs where children can not run and play at their leisure, is safe for those with food allergies to enjoy sacrament meeting without worrying about their child going into anaphalactic shock.

Our main concern is that teachers, leaders and other members of the ward are giving food to children and youth when parents aren't around, despite pleas for our children's safety. What if an investigator comes to church one Sunday with her child. Her child has a severe allergy. A treat is handed out in primary or right after sacrament meeting forcing them to leave? Again this may seem very extreme, but food allergies are VERY REAL and VERY SCARY.

We are fine with the fact that we can't participate in any events outside of the three hour Sunday block because of our children's food allergies. We are fine with bringing snacks to nursery for all of the children to enjoy. But when we can't even guarantee our children are safe during that three hour block it's too much to handle. We have three options as parents to children with food allergies:

1. Stop coming to our meetings because of the unsafe environment for our children.
2. Ask to be released from our callings so we can attend all meetings with our children to guarantee their safety.
3. Educate leaders and teachers and remove all food from the three hour block except sacrament and snacks that parents bring their own children to eat during sacrament meeting and after church.

We would prefer the third option. We are more than willing to educated leaders and teachers, but NEED an endorsement and statement from the Stake President and Bishopric so that they will listen. Obviously the educating that we have been doing isn't enough. We are not aware of a church wide statement about food allergies but we hope and will advocate for one. Schools have been forced to accommodate the growing number of children with food allergies. Airlines have accommodated food allergies. Even manufacturers of foods now by law are required to print what allergens are in foods AND if the food has been manufactured on equipment or in the same facility as certain allergens. Isn't it time that we as a church step it up too. It's so important to ensure that every individual who has the desire and can attend their meetings be able to. We accommodate the physically handicapped with ramps and changing the locations of classes. Please accommodate our children and so many others with food allergies.

Again, we are more than willing to help educate people and to assist in any other parts of this process to ensure the safety of those with food allergies. Let us know what we can do and we will do it! Please help us be able to attend our meetings!

Jason and Renae Eddy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Owen's Third Birthday

Owen turned 3 on January 23rd. It's so hard planning birthday parties in the middle of the winter where the average temperature is 0 degrees F. This year happened to be the first year that one set of grandparents could even attend because there wasn't the usual Lake Effect Snow Warning. Throw in food allergies and you've got yourself quite the dilemma. But as always, I do believe we conquered this one!

Owen chose to have a Thomas the Train Birthday Party. Thankfully creating the atmosphere was easy since our train table is in the middle of our living room. During the party all of the children enjoyed playing with the trains. To entertain older children and adults, I had picked up a few Thomas the Train games: Bingo, Birthday Thomas, & Thomas the Train Uno. The board games worked well for the season and now we have them to use all of the time.
Food was the biggest dilemma as always, but honestly the dilemma was choosing from all of the great ideas I found. In the end it came down to money, as it always seems to, so we went with the most basic and inexpensive plan. I made a train out of cardboard boxes. Box cars were filled with plain potato chips, air popped popcorn, and tortilla chips. These are the safest allergy friendly snack food we have.
If the boys ask for another train birthday party in the future, I'm dying to try the Fruity Pebbles Train recipe I found along with making candy trains for everyone. I do believe I could have switched out the candy to make it work for Owen and all attending the party. Hopefully next time around we have more money.
The cake or should I say cupcakes were the big hit of the party. I had purchased the train cake pan from Williams & Sonoma awhile back with a gift card I had been given. Using Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake Mix, instead of Williams & Sonoma Cake Recipe, and substituting allergy friendly candy and frosting, the end result turned out really well. The cupcakes were made with the same mixes and left over frosting.
Each child was able to choose a box car to eat and the adults ate the regular cupcakes. I will admit, I still miss REAL cake, but the Cherrybrook Kitchen Yellow Cake Mix wasn't all that bad. Obviously the cupcakes were the most expensive part of the party.

The last challenge was the goodie bags. I looked everywhere for Thomas the Train items and besides the usual bubbles and... I forget what else. They cost a fortune. No place in town sold train items, not even at Dollar General. So, trying to avoid food because of the allergies, I searched and found an organization called Operation Lifesaver. They have a website and everything. The organization promotes train safety. They offer several promotional items for close to nothing in price and will ship them to you. You can request to have someone come to an event to talk about train safety and everything. I was excited! So here's what I ordered:Train Whistles
Zipper Pulls
Train Erasers in multiple colors
Rulers & Bookmarks
Pens & Pencils
Crayons & Colored Pencils
& Train Safety Activity Books.
The ages of the kids varied so much that I tried to find items that would work for older kids too. Lastly, for the younger kids, I was able to order engineer hats. They were adorable and MUCH cheaper than the clothe ones.
I highly recommend this site. My only advice, order as early in advance as possible to save on shipping!
So that's another allergy friendly holiday done. Next in line Valentine's Day and then Easter. My mind has already started turning with ideas. I'll post them once I complete them.
We're definitely having fun with food allergies!
Perhaps if Adam has a train birthday party (his birthday is in the summer) we can go to a real train station or museum, perhaps even ride a train. So many ideas... If only it weren't winter!