Monday, May 23, 2016

Restaurants and Food Allergies ~ Are They Equipped?

If you've wondered about food allergy safety in restaurants, here is a November 2015 report by FARE. They surveyed 110 restaurant managerial staff about their food allergy knowledge and procedures, and the results may or may not surprise you.  

I agree on the last statement, at least restaurants are trying.  And hopefully their accommodations just get better and better.  But for now, I think we are sticking to our family's stance on other people cooking for my son.  

What are your thoughts on these results?

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fun Trail Mix Cones {Dairy-Free}

So most every afternoons, like at 3pm, my kids ask to make trail mix.  I don't know where this started.  But I think it's been going on for years.  And since I don't have to make it for them, I inevitably concede.  The boys raid the pantry and usually mix together some organic cereal, raisins, and mini chocolate chips.  We actually shop for cereal based on trail mix needs.  And on rare occasions, mini marshmallows are in the house.  

But on this particular day, the kids thought to put their trail mix into an ice cream cone.  Isn't that the sweetest?  We had to take a pic and share this cute idea with you.  

Now tell me.  Are your kiddos also obsessed with trail mix???  I sure wish we could add healthy nuts, dang nut allergy.  Boo.  :(  

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Milk-Free Find ~ Vegan Goody Good Stuff Gummies

If you ask my kids, Goody Good Stuff gummy candies are definitely...good stuff!  

Our neighbor first introduced us to this brand when he went searching for dairy-free Halloween treats for my boys.  Very thoughtful.  He found them at County Market, our local grocer, but I'm reading that Target is starting to stock them.    

Here shown are three flavors:  Summer Peaches, Tropical Fruit, and Cola Breeze.  Yes, in the shape and color of little cola bottles!

It looks as though the company is out of Ireland, which is quaint.  And they have posted several allergy and ingredient questions over at the Goody Good Stuff website so be sure to check that out along with all their other flavors! 

Has anyone else tried these?  What are your favorites? 


Addition Table to Sum 15 + Flash Cards for Step-By-Step Learning

Over the weekend, I worked on math materials to help my son drill his addition facts up to the sum of 15 this summer.  Computer math games were not working so we are going back to the basics.

First, I created an Addition Table to Sum 15.  Some extra facts were added at the bottom to accommodate our Saxon and Classical Conversations curriculum.  

Second, I wrote out flash cards to offer a step-by-step process for learning the facts in the chart.

Food Allergy Reaction Poster from Allergic Living

Photo Credit:  Allergic Living

This is a great poster that quickly and easily explains what to do in the case of a food allergy reaction.  I will be printing this for school, babysitters, and grandparents.  You can print this and other posters at Allergic Living.  

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Easy Lettering With Markers

Write in black using your own handwriting & then go over it in brush markers.

If you aren't quite sure about jumping into hand-lettering, but want to try something may like to try this easy technique.  Here I just hand-write something in black marker and then go over it in my brush markers.  

Use this as a chance to play around with your lettering.  And use it as an opportunity to get a feel for your markers.  I like to use the sides of my brush markers in this technique so that it's a nice wide stroke.  If you don't have brush markers, feel free to pull out your Crayola's or whatever you have on hand.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Win An Allergy-Free Enjoy Life Package!

When this amazing package arrived on my porch today, I first wondered what sweet friend of mine had sent me all these goodies for Mother's Day.  You know, my friends are usually late like me.  ;)

But upon investigating, I learned this was actually a gift from Enjoy Life themselves, and they want to give away another box to one of YOU!  How cool, right?!

This giveaway is in honor of Celiac Awareness Month.  And the Enjoy Life brand is allergy-free, too.  Their products contain no artificial ingredients, tans fats, or GMO's, are made in a dedicated nut-free and certified gluten-free facility, and are always free from gluten, wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish.
To enter to win, go to Instagram and post about how you are celebrating celiac awareness month.  Or food allergy awareness week.  Tag @foodwithlove and @enjoylifefoods as well as hashtag #EatFreeLove.  Ends May 31, for U.S. residents only, and must be age 13 or older.  

If you aren't following us on Instagram yet, just look for us under milkallergymom, of course!  

Good luck!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Milk-Free Find ~ Almond Macchiato at Dunkin Donuts

It's no secret.  I'm a Dunkin Donuts fan.  I absolutely love the almond milk option there.  For me, that beats the dairy-free options of soy or coconut at Starbucks.  

And I have to share.  My new favorite drink is an iced almond milk macchiato.  It's like two drinks in one.  If you you drink from the bottom, you get the sweet vanilla almond milk like in a latte.  And if you drink from the top, you get bold iced coffee.  And seriously, can coffee get any cuter than this?  Check out those layers!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Managing Anxiety of Food Allergic Children

Photo Credit:  Allergic Living

Check out this special report from Allergic Living Magazine about stress management strategies to make life easier for your food allergy child.  

This reminds me of just this week when my non-allergic son asked my allergic son, "Can I ask you a question about your food allergy or it will it hurt your feelings?  Do you feel like a normal kid even though you have food allergies?"  Wow, this stopped me in my tracks, and I listened in hesitantly awaiting the answer.  Fortunately, the response was very positive and encouraging to me as a food allergy parent.  And we had a little discussion afterwards.  But I believe we can always be improving, learning, and growing as food allergy families, and this article has some good suggestions to think about.   

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Spring Cleaning is Good For Allergy Sufferers

According to these articles, spring cleaning can help tremendously with many different kinds of allergies:  roach, dust, dander, pollen, mold, chemicals, and more.   

U-T San Diego

Everyday Health

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tips for Successfully Making Rock Candy

What child wouldn't love trying to make rock candy?!  Mine were pretty excited to have this as one of the science experiments in Classical Conversations this past school year.  

But my tutors and I quickly learned that this experiment can be quite finicky.  

I tried both yarn and wooden skewers. I tried glass and paper cups. I tried a few measurements of sugar.  I tried sugar and powdered sugar.  I tried hot water and boiling water. I tried sunlight and less sunlight.  

With a lot of trial and error, my boys and I came up with a list of tips for a successful rock candy experiment.  So successful, in fact, that we've had crystals grow within a day!   

Favorite Vanilla Extract ~ Simply Organic

As much as we use this vanilla extract in our house, I was surprised to see that I didn't have our favorite brand posted for you.  Simply Organic Vanilla smells and tastes amazing, not like play-dough.  I'm serious.  Imitation vanilla smells like play-dough.  ;) 

We usually purchase Simply Organic Vanilla on Amazon.

Check out some of our favorite recipes:

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Allergic Living on Food Allergy Reactions

Are more kids allergic to peanuts or milk?  Are milk and egg allergies usually outgrown?  Does exercise make a reaction worse?  Get answers to these and other common allergy questions in this informative e-book by Allergic Living.  Share with schools, caretakers, friends, and family. 

What do you think?  Did you learn something new? 

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Brush Lettering ~ Broad & Fine Strokes

Practice fine and broad strokes in your own handwriting.

Hello Friends.  Today I wanted to give quick tips for how to start brush lettering with your Stampin' Up! or Tombow Markers.  These techniques can even be done with Crayola Markers if you're in a pinch.  

The key to brush lettering or calligraphy is differentiating and practicing your fine lines versus your broad lines.  Fine lines are done gently with the tip of your marker.  Broad lines are done with the sides of the marker tip.   

Play around with both lined notebook paper and blank copy paper when practicing strokes and alphabets.  Either is fine.

I found that practicing strokes using my own handwriting was the easiest way to get started. 

Easy Nutella {Dairy-Free, Nut-Free}

Perhaps I'm not qualified to put out a DIY Nutella recipe if I've never had Nutella.  It contains milk and nuts.  And sugar is the first ingredient.  Ack!

But my kids love when I doctor up their sugar-free peanut butter with some cocoa and honey.  A dash of extra salt doesn't hurt, either.  And a little splash of organic vanilla?  Sublime!  

This is absolutely delicious on apples or eaten plain off a spoon.  

And yeah, I don't really have a recipe.  This is just a "to taste" kind of recipe.  But here are the ingredients:

Easy Dairy-Free & Nut-Free Nutella 

Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter
Cocoa Powder
Sea Salt

You don't need a blender.  Just add cocoa powder, honey, salt, and vanilla to the peanut butter, suiting your taste.  A little sweet.  A lot sweet.  Extra chocolate-y...whatever suits you.  

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dairy-Free Worcestershire Sauce

Well, the good thing about this is that I get to type the name instead of say it.  Because I never say "worcestershire" correctly, I'm pretty sure.  Finding this little organic gem at Target was a pleasant surprise and our wonderful dairy-free Facebook friends advised that they used this often.  Sure enough, it worked for our house, too.  Hope you can find it!

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dairy-Free Digestive Aid

I have a lot of supplements in my cabinet, but there's only one that I religiously take daily. And it's my all-natural digestive aid.  No tums for me.

My chiropractor told me about these fantastic little tablets, and I swear by them for digestive relief and acid reflux issues.  And trust me, I know these problems well.  I was a Nexium user for a decade, and these papaya tablets helped me wean myself off that stupid purple pill for life.  Along with changing my diet, of course.  

These are vegetarian and gluten-free.  And they contain calcium that I think has been good for me, as well.  I take three pills a day at meal times.  

The price is fantastic, under $15 for a big bottle of 600 tablets!  Give these a try.  You will love them.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Comparing Norwex & E-Cloth

Original Post 02-10-13

Since we began selling e-cloth here at Milk Allergy Mom, many of you have asked how it compares to Norwex.  That's a great question.  I wondered the same thing as a Norwex customer and did a lot of research that eventually led me to purchase e-cloth.  Hope this helps!

Norwex is out of Norway.  e-cloth is out of the U.K.  Both have been around since 1995.  And both are just recently creeping into the United States.  We Americans are slow to give up our chemicals!  

Milk-Free Find ~ Earth Balance Peanut Butter Pouch

Here's another game-changing find for our family.  Earth Balance Natural Peanut Butter Pouches.  Not only are these from a vegan company and dairy-free, but it also appears we have no worries of nut contamination.  

If you can have peanuts, this is a fantastic find for on-the-go with food allergies.  A protein that doesn't have to be refrigerated, WIN!

I absolutely love this product.  I don't like the sugar content in Jif cups.  And we can't do the potential nut contamination in Justin's pouches.  The safe processing and natural ingredients in Earth Balance Peanut Butter Pouches is just what this mom ordered. Sugar is not the first ingredient.  YES!

You can read more about the ingredients over at the Earth Balance website.  

And the price on these isn't bad, either.  About 77 cents each in bulk on Amazon.  I'm stocking up!  

We will be hauling these to soccer games and park days all summer long.  Enjoy on crackers, apples, bananas, etc for a filling, balanced snack.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

7 Days of Dairy-Free, Natural Snacks for Kids ~ Popcorn {Day 7}

It's a miracle!  This 7-Day series is finally finished.  Somehow this was even harder than the tooth series, and that was a lot of work!

Life has had a lot of major disruptions since I started the series so I'm going to cut myself some slack, I guess.  

It's about time to institute another 7-day sugar fast at my house, actually.

And our healthy, stove top popcorn recipe satisfies greatly during the afternoon munchies.  I love to use organic popcorn and coconut oil from Aldi.  Absolutely delicious and filling...with no sugar!

Be sure to check out our other "Natural Snacks for Kids" ideas.  

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Inexpensive Personalized Dog Tags

We made it!  Another year of Classical Conversations in the book, and my boy accomplished first-time Memory Master!  His dad and I are so very proud of the hard work Miles put into memorizing all the information for this year in the subjects of math, history, English, Latin, science, and geography.  

As the director, I was honored to recognize four Memory Masters on our campus at our Year End Ceremony last night.  The kiddos all received a certificate, a t-shirt, and an engraved dog tag necklace.  

The dog tag necklace is a tradition on our campus that started last year, and the kids love trying to collect them each year.  And I'm often asked how much they cost and where to get them.  

These fantastic little dog tags only cost THREE DOLLARS each.  No lie.  AND shipping is free. Not to mention, the online company ships these out lightning fast. 

My Favorite Fine Tip Marker Pens

Hello paper-crafting friends!  I felt like I left you hanging in my post about brush markers by Stampin' Up and Tombow so I wanted to elaborate a little more today about a good fine-tip marker option.  

While I absolutely love my SU markers for their brush tips, the fine tips seem to dry out sooner and the pastel colors are hard to see.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chicken, Apple, Sweet Potato Skillet (Dairy-Free)

When I saw this beautiful one-skillet dish posted on Instagram by one of my food allergy friends, I begged for permission to share it.  I've been keeping my eyes peeled for one-pot dishes that my kids will like.  And this one looked pretty straight forward and simple with ingredients my children will eat.

Michelle was so kind to send over the recipe for us.  So here it is if you would like to try this soon, like me!

Michelle added, "The original recipe also called for brussel sprouts which I would have loved BUT my husband is stretching himself eating the sweet potato in this so I cut them out. You would add them in the same time as the onion and potato."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

E-Cloth's Universal Stone Cleaner ~ Compare to Norwex Cleaning Paste

Original Post 8-14

Hands down, one of my favorite e-cloth products is the Universal Stone Cleaner.  We sell just one cleaner and it covers most all my cleaning needs.  Except toilet bowl cleaner.

Universal Stone Highlights
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Free of Toxins and Acids
  • Biodegradable
  • Safe for Kids!
  • Does Not "Go Bad"
  • Lasts A Very Long Time
  • A Little Goes a LONG WAY
  • Made In Europe Under Strict Controls

Friday, April 15, 2016

$4 Compasses for a Fun Compass Walk

It's hard to believe that we just finished week 24 of Classical Conversations this week.  That completes my family's third year.  Wow!

Our last week of science included a Compass Walk that all the children immensely enjoyed. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't JUST because of the treasure box at the end.  ;)

I gave the children a starting point at an orange cone in the church.  And then each class, one at a time, followed my compass directions written out on the white board above.  We measured out yards by laying string end-to-end on the floor with the students' help.  

The compasses were the shining stars in this activity, even more so than the treasure.  All the parents wanted to know where I got them, the kiddos were asking to try them, and my son came home wanting to buy one with his own money.  Fortunately for him, these are less than $4 on Amazon right now, and I let my little guy indeed buy his very own compass.  

Ibotta App ~ Rebates on Allergy-Free & Natural Products + $10 Free!

APRIL 2016:  For a "limited time", new Ibotta users receive a $10 bonus when they redeem their first rebate!  This is the time to sign up.  Right now there are $1+ rebates on brands like Zyrtec, 7th Generation, Zico, Mott's, Clif, Just Mayo, Lindsay Olives, Burt's Bees, and more.

As many of you know, I am a fan of saving money where I can (food allergies are costly), and the Ibotta app for smart phones is one of my very favorite money-saving methods.  I use it more than my Target app have completely stopped using printable coupons.  Ibotta is where it's at, folks, when it comes to convenience and saving big.

This is not a coupon app, it's a "money-back" app.  You check in after you purchase qualifying products and Ibotta will send money-back once you have acquired $10 for redemption.  You don't have to mess with the app at the cash register, which my husband likes.  You do everything at home.  

If you are super coupon savvy, you can use store and manufacturer coupons in conjunction and on top of Ibotta redemption.

Milk-Free Find ~ Nature's Bakery Fig Bars

Fantastic folks at our Facebook page tipped us off to these dairy-free Fig Bars by Nature's Bakery recently, and we couldn't resist picking up several flavors to try.

Our gluten-free friends will be happy to know that some varieties are safe for them, specially marked, "gluten-free".  

I'm relieved to find these just in time for spring outings like soccer and park days because they are easy to pack and are quite filling for my boys.  

We thought these tasted a lot like Kashi cereal bars, but they are marked GMO-free and there are many more flavors by Nature's Bakery so that's a big win.  

Not to mention that Nature's Bakery is now making dairy-free Brownie Bars and you KNOW we are trying these next.  Ordered them today.

We hope you can give these a try!

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Brush Tip Dual Markers for Lettering

You know what's the best?  It's when you find a new hobby, but figure out that you already have plenty of supplies on hand to get started.  I know, "the best", right?!  

That's what happened when I decided to get into hand lettering.  The brush calligraphy on Instagram especially caught my eye.  And after doing a little research, I figured out that I actually had the perfect stash of brush markers already!  

While many brush calligraphers rave about Tombow dual tip markers, my Stampin' Up! markers are very similar.  And obviously there are many colors!  When I was a demonstrator, I always thought I heard that our markers were actually made by Tombow.  But I can't seem to verify that now.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Classical Conversations English Grammar Printable {Cycle 1}

Hello, friends.  We have been blown away by the tremendous response to our simple home school helps. I love writing these fun review sheets for my kids, and sharing them with you is an honor.  Thank you!

Today, I have a Classical Conversations Cycle 1 English Grammar Review Sheet.  It is colorful, includes all 24 weeks of grammar divided by the weeks.

How to use this chart?

Year-end review.  Memory Master review.  Poster for your school room.  Include in your Cycle 1 folders. Laminate into place mats or wet erase check-off sheets.  You get the idea.

My kids love to reference this chart while listening to the Preposition Song put out by Classical Conversations.  And my oldest did accomplish Memory Master and memorized all this English grammar for Cycle 1.  We are very proud.  :)

We hope this idea is helpful to you.

If you would like to be notified when this printable is made available again, please join our email list below so you don't miss it.  Thanks! 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Milk-Free Find ~ Daiya Cheese Cake

Yes folks, you read that right.  Dairy-free CHEESE CAKE.  How can it be?!  

Well, Daiya, the makers of all kinds of dairy-free cheese and other products, has certainly hooked us up with this one.  It was a thrill to see my boy enjoy this delicious treat.  And he wants more, pronto!

The size was smaller than normal cheese cake, about the size of a dinner plate.  But it tasted remarkable.  We topped ours with fresh strawberries, and it honestly didn't taste too different.  I don't like many dairy-free cheeses, but I truly loved this cheese cake along with the rest of my family.  The graham crust was perfect.  We will certainly be buying this again, and soon.  

Other flavors I see at the store are Key Lime, Chocolate, and Strawberry.  We have our eye on the chocolate for next time.  Has anyone tried these yet?  

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Allergy-Free Breakfast Cookies

Original Post 1-14

One grey, winter afternoon I decided we needed to whip up a new, filling treat because my kiddos could not stop asking for food.  

So the boys helped me throw together some healthy ingredients , we put them into the oven in the name of "cookies", and the results were actually quite stellar.  Our recipe was deemed a winner by the whole family.  

These little cookies are so healthy that they can be eaten anytime, even at breakfast.  And two growing boys think that's completely awesome!  

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Milk-Free Find ~ So Delicious Coco Whip

Well, if there's one milk-free find that is a huge game-changer at my house, it's So Delicious Coco Whip!  While eating right from the tub is definitely delicious, there are also so many other ways we have found to use it.  It's fantastic on Strawberry Short Cake, great in hot cocoa and lattes, perfect with pumpkin pie, and just recently we layered into a pudding dessert.  We hope you can find this in your supermarket, and how would you use it?!  

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Strawberry Romaine Salad {Dairy-Free}

I got this recipe years ago from a friend, and we enjoy it most every Easter and all throughout strawberry season.  

The salad dressing does call for mayonnaise that contains egg.  But with all the vegan products on the market now, you can now find an egg-free mayonnaise alternative.

This poppy seed dressing goes great on other salads like turkey and dried apple over romaine.  Yum!  

If you are worried about poppy seeds and food allergies, it's fine to omit the seeds.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Molding Your Own Dairy-Free Chocolate

Original Post April 3, 2010

Last Easter, I splurged on store-bought dairy-free chocolate bunnies at about $15 each.  I thought my boys would be ecstatic to get their first-ever chocolate bunnies not made by mom. But guess what happened?  They told me they missed my DIY chocolate Easter suckers.  I could have saved myself $25 and my kids would have been happier!  

Lesson learned.  I will keep molding our own chocolate candies at home.  

But I may need to upgrade to a 5" bunny next Easter!

Here is how to easily mold your own dairy-free chocolate candy: