Monday, January 26, 2015

Milk-Free, Allergy-Free Find ~ Candy Necklaces

Candy Necklaces.  Do you remember them?  Did you love them?  I sure did.  Some kids would make them last for days and others would chomp them up in a minute flat.  :)

They are full of sugar and color dye, I'm not gonna beat around that bush.

But I couldn't help but appreciate that today's version is marked with a clear allergy statement label. Free of the Top 8 allergens plus gluten-free.

These make a special treat for food allergy kids and are affordable enough to pass out for Halloween, Valentine's Day, and class parties.  You can grab them on Amazon in bulk for about 42 cents a piece.  And the kids of course think these are super cool.

The Smarties website says that some other companies will buy these and repackage them.  Then they cannot claim they are not cross contaminated.  So make sure you buy the Smarties brand with allergy label.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Central Illinois Cow's Milk Allergy Study for Children

Cow's Milk Allergy Study for Children
Dr. Siri, located in Central Illinois, is conducting a clinical research study for children with Cow's Milk Allergy.

Who can be in this study?
·Healthy boys and girls 
·0-47 months  (3 years 11 months) of age
·Allergic to milk

Will you be paid for being in this study?
·You will be paid up to $200 for time and travel.

Will this study cost you any money?
·This study will not cost you any money.
·You do not need to have insurance to participate in this study.

For more information, please contact:

Betty Hostetter
Clinical Research Recruiter
Sneeze, Wheeze and Itch Associates
2010 Jacobssen Dr.

Normal, IL 61761

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Dairy-Free Spaghetti with Parmesan

Spaghetti with meat sauce is one of our go-to dinners.  We have it at least twice a month.  It's quick and easy for busy nights like ball practice or Bible study.  

Right now we are using Target brand or Aldi Organic spaghetti sauces.  I don't really make our own unless it's tomato season and there are tomatoes to use up.  

But the real star here is our dairy-free GO Veggie! Parmesan.  Our whole family likes it, even Jeff and I who know what the real thing tastes like.  So we don't even have real Paremesan in the house.  

With most every spaghetti dinner now, the boys remind us to get out the Paremesan.  It almost feels like we aren't allergic to dairy on those nights!  ;)

Have you tried this product?  What do you think?? 

How To Make a Customized Home Binder for Under $15

Happy New Year...23 days late.  ;)  I've been asked a lot about my home binder for this year.  I make my own because I want it to be specifically catered to me.  And I like to make it cute, because color makes me happy and motivates me to use it!  It cost me under $15 for the main supplies plus some printing.  I also added some $10 colored pens because, well, that's FUN! 

 Here's how I did it.

THE BINDER:  For the past few years I have gone with a white Avery 1" binder.  

SPINE TITLE:  I printed the title from Thirty Handmade Days

DAILY SCHEDULE:  I like to put my daily schedule right on the front of the binder.  Every year I look for a simpler schedule idea because frankly, I stink at daily schedules.  I need lots of flexibility. Click below to print.

MEDICAL BILLS:  In the front pocket, I have a spot for saving our medical bills.  Because some years we have spent enough in medical to write it off at tax time.  

I also have my mom ID that Graham gave me.  :)  And some business cards I always need handy.

The next section of my binder is tabbed for some important home information.  I like these simple tabs by Post-It.  

GOALS:  I made these printables to organize our goals.  Jeff and I talk these over together at the beginning of each year.  And it was fun to look over what we accomplished last year.  Feel free to click and print.  

HOME:  I chose some printables from Thirty Handmade Days.  I liked the Retirement, Health, and Insurance sheets.  Click and print!

Updated Family Binder Printables- 8 amazing printables to help you create a binder for all of your most important information by

I also added my new printable for Vitamins, Supplements, and Oils because I'm starting to use these a lot and wanted to track them.  Feel free to click and print.  

GIVING:  This is where I'm tracking gifts, donations, and our Christmas budget.  These are more free printables I have made for you to click and print.  Enjoy!

(3 pages)

MONTHLY BUDGETS:  The biggest part of my binder is our monthly spending records.  This is for tracking the spending categories that vary each month:

Food, Hygiene, Eating Out, Vehicles, Home Maintenance, Medical, and Home Miscellaneous.  

I track everything we spend and put it under the right category.  

I use a blank spreadsheet made on excel.  

Since Jeff gets paid every other week, I have the sheets set up that way.  

One layout, two pages, is for 4 weeks.

One page is two weeks.  

Each week is separated out, based on pay period weeks.    

Also in each tabbed month, I've included another printable from Thirty Handmade Days.  A month recap, including the variable spending AND the set bills for each month.  

I actually hand wrote out each bill on one sheet and then photocopied it.  Then I slipped a sheet into the front of each month in the binder to fill out later. 

Our set bills are:
Tithe, Mortgage, Home Tax/Insurance, Natural Gas, Electric, Trash, Car Insurance, Play Money, Jeff's Lunches, and Savings

Our variable bills are:
Food, Hygiene, Eating Out, Vehicles, Home Maintenance, Medical, and Home Miscellaneous.

YEARLY BUDGET:  Thirty Handmade Days also has a yearly budget recap sheet.  But I make my own on Excel.  

RECEIPTS:  I save our receipts about a quarter at a time in a Clear Pouch in the back of the binder in case I need to make a return.  

HOME LISTS:  I keep blank copies of my grocery and weekly to-do lists in the back pocket.  

Click to print!

And here's a more detailed grocery list if you want it.

ON THE FRIG:  I've learned over the years that there are a few things that can't be in the binder or I don't use them.  I need easier access.  So the refrigerator is the answer.

I printed my calendar from Thirty Handmade Days.

I am having a super fun time making our calendar cute enough to throw into our family scrapbook at the end of the year.  :)

PaperMate Flair pens are my new favorite colored pens!  They make doing paperwork a lot more fun.

Whew!  That was plenty of info.  Hope this helps you get organized for the new year.  

Total Cost:  Under $15 

Free Printables

Optional Costs:

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dairy-Free Kid Lunch ~ 3 Compartment Containers

We are off to our once-a-week home school group day, and I snapped a quick picture of the boys' lunches for you.  We very often get asked what to pack in a dairy-free lunch.  :)

And when I post these pictures, I always get asked about the lunch containers!  :)  We do love the bigger sections for my bigger boys.  And they come in other cute colors like pink and green as well as blue and red.  

Hormel Natural Ham
Ritz Crackers
Tofutti Cheese Square
Cutie Oranges

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Dairy-Free Castille Hand Soap

I absolutely love making our own hand soap with Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap.  It's all-natural and inexpensive. And I don't have to worry about it containing hidden milk.  

I make foam pump hand soaps for all the sinks in our house.  Bathroom and kitchen. 

These soaps are made with coconut, olive, jojoba, and hemp oils.  Then essential oils are added for scent.  

My favorite scents are the citrus and the peppermint.  They also make Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender, and more.

If you get the Baby Non-Scented Version, it doesn't contain the smelly oils.  :)  

I see there is an almond soap so take note if you have nut allergies and want to ask about processing.

The soap is 3x concentration.  So you want to dilute it with 1 part soap and 2-3 parts water.  I like the soap best if it's foaming.  I bought 3 foaming soaps from the store, dumped out the soap content, and now refill the bottles with my own Dr. Bronner's concoction.  

Be sure to stir the soap and water together with a butter knife.  Just shaking it doesn't work as well to incorporate the two contents. 

One big bottle of Dr. Bronner's will make about 6-7 foaming pumps of soap.  So this is very economical.  No chemicals, no additives.  It's healthy, too.  I love that.  Goes great with our e-cloth mission.

I tried to do non-foaming castille soaps for shampoo and body wash and wasn't as happy.  The foaming hand soap is where it's at.  :)  

Have you tried using castille soaps made with oils???  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Milk Allergies & Teeth (Part 4) ~ The Update

Part 1 - What the Doctors Didn't Tell Us
Part 2 - Important Tooth Care
Part 3 - Foods to Eat or Avoid

Well, here we are, twenty months after my first posting this Milk Allergies & Teeth Series.  My boys are now 7 and 9, and we have some updates for you.  GOOD updates!  Hopefully, this means that if you read my first 3 posts about what we learned about milk allergies and tooth health, that you may be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that we experienced.

Here is the exciting news, BOTH of my boys have been cavity-free for 20 months.  That's three check-up's each, every six months.

That's check-up's without x-rays AND check-up's with x-rays.  That means we had no de-calcifying cavities AND no flossing cavities.  I was especially thrilled about passing the x-ray exams!

Granted, my sister is a dentist, and she says we have hit the age where cavities usually taper off for awhile.  So maybe we are just experiencing the norm for anyone.  However, I do think that some of the new things we have implemented have certainly helped.

Here are the things we have been doing that I think have helped the boys' tooth health:

  • Brushing with electric toothbrushes
  • Flossing everyday with pick flossers
  • Using ACT about once a week
  • Visiting the dentist every six months strictly
  • Allowing fluoride at the dentist
  • Brushing morning, afternoon, and evening 
  • Helping the kids brush periodically, in good lighting, for spot checks
  • Being mindful of brushing or chewing sugar-free gum after sugary snacks
  • Brushing after middle of the night meds like Tylenol or Benedryl 
  • Using essential oils for coughing instead of honey in the middle of the night
  • Drinking calcium fortified almond milk daily
  • Adding Vitamin D to our almond milk for calcium absorption 

Overall, I am so glad of where we are now with milk allergies and teeth.  We have crossed over a huge hurdle because I now know much more than I used to.  This is not to say that a cavity can't or won't pop up here or there in the future.  But I think we are past the big onslaught of week baby teeth.  

As my dentist sister says, God gave us two sets of teeth for a reason.  The baby teeth are for practice.  I pray we weren't too late getting on track for stronger teeth, and that my kiddos will have some pretty strong grown up teeth as they come in.  

Hope this series has been helpful for you.  If you missed the other posts, here they are.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

E-Cloth for Dry Winter Skin

I've been getting messages this winter about e-cloth's spa line because the dry skin that comes with sub-zero temps can be miserable!  I feel ya.  Been there...for many years!  But we now have a good handle on this area of our life.  Thanks to e-cloth products!

E-cloth microfiber is great for the skin because the cleaning mitts can be used with just water to clean, no abrasive cleansers needed.  The exfoliating mitt removes dry skin that makes you itchy.  And our towels simply wick water while leaving your skin moist.  

These are the products that I use from our e-cloth spa products.  

EYE PAD:  I actually use this to wash my whole face.  We sell a Face Mitt, but it's the same material.  So either one would work to wash your face and to take off your eye make-up with just water.  The microfiber is so fine and soft that it literally pulls my mascara off with just water.  You can use a little facial cleanser if you'd like.  But others swear by just washing with water, letting the microfiber do all the work.  

My chiropractor friend wants to use the eye pad for her newborn's baths this coming spring, so they won't have to use cleanser products.  I think that's a great idea!  Use the Face Mitt for bigger kids.

LUXURY HAND TOWEL:  After washing my face, I pat it dry with this uber-soft and moisture-wicking towel.  It's so much better for my face than a rough cotton towel.  If you really want to go all out, consider the Luxury Bath Towel for your whole body.  Each person in my family has one.  They only need washed every couple weeks because they dry so nicely without the musty smell that cotton towels get.  Both Luxury e-cloth towels have cut down my towel laundry tremendously!  Great gift for college students who don't like to do laundry!

EXFOLIATING BODY MITT:  We have had customers rave about how this mitt removes dead, dry skin, and I agree.  This is what I use in the shower for my whole body.  However, my new favorite use is to also exfoliate my face with it!  It has done wonders on my black head issues.  :)  

If you have any questions on the e-cloth spa products or any other e-cloth products, just leave a comment.  We are happy to help!

Remember, shipping is free to most of the U.S. on any size order. 
Flat rates for Alaska and Canada.  

Chemical-Free Cleaning Cloths

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Dairy-Free Salad Lunch for Kids

In the spirit of posting easy kid lunches, I wanted to show you what I do almost every Monday nigh for our home school group day on Tuesdays.  I'm the director for the group, and I have so much to do on Monday nights to get ready.  Packing lunches is that LAST thing I want to do after dinner.  It's honestly a good thing that we home school if only for the fact that I don't have to pack lunches everyday.  I would lose my mind!  

I simply cut up some dairy-free lunch meat and cheese and throw in some crackers.  The boys build their own sandwiches at lunch time.  Some fruit, veggie, and I call it "done".  My boys love a salad with homemade French dressing & raisins.  :)  

We love our Bento containers and Thermos's for water that keeps cold all day long.  We also use BPA-free, re-usable utensils for the salads by IKEA.  {affiliate links}

Tofutti American Cheese Squares
Ritz Crackers
Lettuce, raisins, French dressing
Enjoy Life Berry Bars (not shown)

Do you like packing lunches as much as I do?  ;)  

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

4-Store Grocery List for Food Allergy Families

If you are anything like me, food allergies mean that you can't just do all your grocery shopping at one place.  It's rather annoying, actually.  But it's a way of life at this point.  

Aldi for inexpensive produce and a few other items.  Target for some specialty foods.  Hy-Vee for a LOT of specialty foods.  Their health market is amazing!  The local health market on occasion.  And sometimes I gotta hit Walmart, too.  

With the new year, I made some printables for my home binder and a few other sheets for managing our home better.  

And having a four-store grocery list seemed like a good idea for us.  My hubby knows if we run out of something, he can write it on the list magnetized to the refrigerator.  I love that this system works for us.  

When I go shopping, I take the list down from the frig and fold it into four quadrants so it fits nicely into my purse.  

And since I was doing this for myself, I figured I may as well make this a handy printable available for all of you, too.  So feel free to CLICK HERE TO PRINT.  

How about you?  How many grocery stores do you have to frequent to get all the allergy-free grocery items on your list?  What are your favorite stores?  Please comment and share!

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Food Allergies, Bible Study, Jesus Calling, & Project Life! {WHEW!}

Hello, Friends!  Today's post is a little different and in response to questions I am getting on Instagram and Facebook.  I'm going to share how I am doing my Bible reading, devotional, and journaling in 2015.  

Here's the deal, I am a crafter at heart.  A paper-crafter to be specific.  I was a demonstrator for Stampin' Up! for more than a decade.  I recently gave it up to be able to devote more time to Milk Allergy Mom.  

But I miss my crafty time.  I would love to scrapbook a little everyday, but that's just not top priority.  But reading my Bible IS top priority.  

Recently, as I was shopping for a Bible journal for the new year, it struck me that perhaps I could combine my longings to be crafty and to be in the Word each day!  

So I came up with a new system to streamline these two passions.  It's a system that allows me to "craft" and look at pretty paper every day.  And a system that gets me excited to spend time with God each day.  And a system that motivates me to inspire and encourage others every day. Project Life Bible, Devotional, Journal tin.  :)

I have been scrapbooking with Project Life supplies for a few years now.  So I had plenty of supplies on hand.  I just had to organize them in a way that was fun for me.  Did I mention that I love organizing, too?  :)  

I found a tin lying around in the craft room, grabbed some girly Project Life cards, and put them in the tin with a journal pen.  To keep two piles separate (blank & written), I just tied the blank cards together.    

The great thing about Project Life is that the cards are double-sided with different designs.  So you always have a good selection of designs for your journaling.  

The Project Life Cards I am using are from the Dear Lizzy Neapolitan Project Life Kit.  It's a full kit that comes with 616 cards: (500) 3-by-4 journaling cards, 40 bi-fold cards, 16 first and last page cards, and (60) 4-by-6 title cards.  That's a lot of cards!  :)  I also use them for making greeting cards and such.  If you don't need that many, you can share with a friend, package some for gifts, or save some for next year!  There are several full kits in all sorts of themes and styles.  

This Seafoam Kit is 43% off on Amazon right now.  

You may be able to store your cards in your kit boxes.  But I loved decorating a special tin for my Bible cards.  I also have plastic containers that would work for good storage.  These would be so fun to gift to someone!  Purchase a large kit and several plastic cases...and hand them out to others!

To journal, I use these Project Life Pens.  If you aren't afraid of pens with acid, you can go for Ultra Fine Tip Sharpie Pens.  

Some have asked what devotional I am doing.  It's the Jesus Calling Devotional.  I read it first. Then I write down a sentence that spoke to me.  Then I read the related scriptures listed for that day.  And I journal the scriptures that were good to hear.  Those are the cards I am posting.  I fill out a second card with my prayer list for that day, and don't generally post those as they are more private.  

Now, what to do with the written cards?  You can simply keep them in your container as a journal box.  Or you can put them into a book as a journal book later.  Or you can intermingle the cards into a family scrapbook, like I plan to do.  Or just tape them around the house for constant reminders and encouragement.  :)  

Faith.  It's important to me.  Even more so on this food allergy journey.  I don't know what state of mind I would be in without it.  I hope you have peace and hope in your struggles, as well.  And I hope this post encouraged or inspired you in some way.  

If you would like to join me on Instagram with your own faith-inspired cards or journaling, be sure to hashtag #myfaithcards so I can see! 

Have a blessed day.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

January 2015 Dairy-Free Coupons & Rebates

Some think you can't save on allergy-free or organic food, but with a little scouring, you sure can!  I do often. and the Ibotta app are two of my favorite ways to save.  

For example, right now you can use both printable coupons and the Ibotta app on some of the same products to double your savings!  $2 off So Delicious, $1.50 off Sugar in the Raw, $2 off Dunkin Donuts, $1.75 off Monk Fruit in the Raw, 

Be sure to check labels on these.  I think most are dairy-free, but can't say for sure.  

Here are my favorite deals for the month:

.50 General Mills Cereal (1)
.50 Hormel Natural Choice Sandwich Meat
.50 Sugar in the Raw
.75 Cascadian Farm Granola Cereal
.75 Food Should Taste Good
.75 Monk Fruit in the Raw
$1 Stevia in the Raw
$1 So Delicious Product
$1 Celestial Seasonings Tea (2)
$1.75 Dunkin Donuts Coffee (2)

And here are some dairy-free Ibotta rebates available right now:

$1 So Delicious Product
.25 Any Bread
.25 Any Coffee
.50 Honey Maid
$1 Enjoy Life Soft Bake Cookies
$1 Enjoy Life Baked Chewy Bars
$1 Enjoy Life Plentils
$1 Enjoy Life Fruit & Seed
$1 Enjoy Life Decadent Bars
$1 Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies
$1 Enjoy Life Flax Cereal
$1 Sugar in the Raw
$1 Monk Fruit in the Raw
$1 Green Works Laundry Detergent

You can just go to and start printing.

And you can read our blog post about the Ibotta app to learn more and sign up!

What are other ways you have found to save on dairy-free and allergy-free products?

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dairy-Free Chicken Bacon Ranch Tortilla Pizza

Seriously...finding a way to have ranch with a dairy-allergy is a huge least for me.  :)  We already loved making quick pizzas on tortillas so we were ready to bump it up a notch. Take it to the next level.  Who doesn't love a chicken bacon ranch pizza?  !!!  Or chicken bacon ranch anything for that matter?  

We simply used tortillas for crust, dairy-free ranch dressing for sauce, and topped with cooked chicken, bacon, diced tomatoes, and dairy-free mozarella shreds.  Both Daiya and Go Veggie! make safe shreds for us. 

Bake in the oven on 375 until cheese is melted and tortilla is golden brown.  Simple.  

I like baking our pizzas on our stone baking sheet.  We actually own two so we can bake several tortilla pizzas at the same time.  ;)  

What do you think?  Did you know dairy-free ranch was possible?!  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Guest Post ~ Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

A local friend and fellow food allergy mama, Carrie, sent me this recipe for dairy-free granola bars. Aren't they beautiful!?  

She was kind enough to share all these helpful tips and tweaks, and I can't wait to give these a try.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dairy-Free Lunch Tray ~ Bacon Sandwich

Holiday break is over.  {sigh}  So we thought it was time to honor "back-to-school" with another lunch tray idea.

Bacon Sandwich on safe bread with mayo
Sweet Peas
Smore (graham cracker, chocolate pillsbury icing, marshmallow fluff)
Silk Unsweet Almond Milk with a drop of Vitamin D

I often get asked where to buy trays.  I don't see these white ones available anymore but you may want to check out this Green Eats Divided Tray on Amazon.  Made in the USA, free of bpa, melamine, and phthalates and dishwasher safe.  Available in assorted colors.  Measures 9.5x13".
This post contains affiliate links.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Cranberry Bread

Original Post:  12/04/11

This recipe was inspired by the recipe in the children's book, Cranberry Thanksgiving.  

I normally chop the cranberries in my blender.  However, Jeff made up this recipe for me this time, and he left the cranberries whole.  The family verdict?  CHOP!  :)  From now on we will keep chopping the cranberries, even if it means I have to clean a blender.  

The original recipe called for raisins, but we leave those out.

Also, for the orange, I used orange juice and a few drops of Do Terra Orange Oil instead of peel last time.  :)

And on a side note, the boys really liked this book from the library.  It is out of print and sells for only $100+ online, used!  WOW!