March!


:: Making a collage at the Hyde Collection ::

Wow, what happened to February? It went by in a blink. Here it is, the second day of March already. Big things happening here. For starters, we've been doing a lot of things I enjoy lately: visiting the Hyde Collection (two Tuesdays in a row - a good record for us); snowboarding & skiing; snowshoeing; reading (A Visit From the Goon Squad for me, Smiles, the Sound of Long "I" for 'A'); working at the Farmer's Market; attending our UU congregation; sewing a prairie girl dress-up dress for 'H'; and celebrating life and friendship with friends and loved ones.

We've been up to something else as well.... planning our upcoming trip to Disney World! By upcoming, I mean soon... very soon. The chatter of excitement grows louder every day here. I imagine that most families plan out what rides they want to go on and which attractions they want to see, and while we're spending some time on that too, my top priority is getting 'A' through the entire trip without having an allergic reaction, and if she does, being prepared to handle it. That means getting her medicine bag in order, identifying the nearest hospitals and finding out if the Orlando ambulances have Advanced Life Support equipment on board, contacting chefs at restaurants to alert before we arrive, picking out the perfect sized food bag to hold her lunch and snacks every day, and thinking about what food she'll be able to eat.


:: 'H's favorite activity: cutting paper. Hyde Collection ::

I've become increasingly cautious and nervous about 'A' and food. This past year she has had more reactions than ever before, and the severity scares me. In the past two weeks she had two more - not anaphylactic ones requiring a hospital visit, but reactions nonetheless. The first one was to some Tyson Fun Nuggets she ate. They're the dinosaur shaped nuggets that, according to the packaging, contain Wheat and no other allergens. She ate the nuggets for dinner and her stomach was a mess the following day. We didn't connect the dots, and fed her the nuggets two days later for dinner, and again her reaction was the same. I reported it to the company and to the USDA. Clearly there is an undisclosed allergen in the nuggets, and although she is allergic to dairy, eggs and nuts, I would say it's dairy.

The second incident happened a few days ago. I was feeling wiped out after snowboarding on Sunday and ran into the grocery store to pick up dinner supplies. I got a bag of Green Giant steamed vegetables from the frozen aisle. They were in an olive oil sauce. Again, the ingredient label didn't indicate any allergen. I had the presence of mind to rub the sauce on 'A's skin before she ate it, and to my surprise, that section of her skin blew up with hives. Again, there was clear evidence of an undisclosed allergen. I contacted the company.

One of the things that caught me off guard both times I contacted the companies about the undisclosed allergen was the way I was told, "We never hide allergens in our products, we are required by law to report them. We wouldn't do that," as if I were lying to them and falsely accusing them. The Tyson representative asked me if I was sure she has allergies. The Green Giant rep tried to get me to say what else she had eaten that day, that perhaps it was something else.

All of this has filled me up with new emotions, with anger and fear taking more of a central place than ever before. It's one thing if I know for sure that a food item has an allergen - I simply choose to not feed it to 'A'. But when the product is something she's had in the past, or is clearly labeled and does not appear to contain dairy, eggs or nuts, I relax my guard and think it's OK to serve it. See why I'm starting to feel crazy?


:: Name Cards ::

On to a completely different topic: Laura and Mary (I have to bring it up, don't I?). We're finishing up Little Town on the Prairie. In it, Laura and her friends purchase name cards and exchange them. Who do you think ran downstairs to make name cards right away? 'A' and 'H' made them up and had a ball exchanging them. Jeff and I made some name cards too and we joined in the fun.


:: More Name Cards ::

Now the girls and I are going to look through all the artwork I've saved. I really want to mount or frame some of their pieces and display them. The questions are how and where?


:: A year's worth of painting and drawings ::

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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!