Feb
07
girl scout cookies

These three cookies are safe for my daughter with severe food allergies to milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.

I never imagined Girl Scout Cookies would be safe for food allergies, but last year decided to do some research and was pleasantly surprised to learn there are many cookie options for people with allergies to common foods like milk, egg, peanuts and tree nuts!

Where do the cookies come from?

There are two different bakeries where all of the Girl Scout Cookies are produced, the ABC Bakers and the Little Brownie Bakers. Where your cookies come from depends on where you live in the United States. In Minnesota, our cookies come from the ABC Bakers but yours may be different!

How are they safe for food allergies? 

Both companies have very clear allergy protocols and labeling standards which exceed the labeling laws in the United States. They both acknowledge on their web sites the seriousness of food allergies and promise to disclose if there is any chance of cross-contamination. They clearly list ingredients, call out specific allergens in a separate line AND include a warning if the cookies have been made on shared equipment. More on this below.

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Jan
31

ThankfulA small dry-erase board on the side of our refrigerator sat empty for a few days when we moved into the new house. I’m not one to leave things empty or blank very long. Should we use it for the grocery list? Notes to each other or reminders?

And then it hit me. I could use it for parenting and bringing us together as a family. I could use it to spur discussions about important life lessons that may otherwise feel awkward or forced to bring up. I didn’t talk with anyone about it, I simply wrote: “Word of the Week: Thankful” on the board and left it there.

We gathered around the table that Sunday night, all six of us, to eat dinner. I don’t remember what we were eating, but I do remember what came next. I asked if anyone noticed the Word of the Week and they all said yes and said “Thankful.” We talked about why it’s important to be thankful and what we are thankful for. We talked about the opposite of thankful: ungrateful or entitled.

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Dec
07

Santa kids Ruby 2015 crop

Suddenly it’s December in Minnesota, which really means that everything takes longer and there’s never quite enough time to do everything. Every morning there’s a mad search for matching gloves and boots, and we add an extra 15 minutes to the routine so the kiddos have time to put on snow pants and all their gear before venturing outside. The roads are slippery and that super cute dog of mine comes in all wet from the snow… and yet there’s happy Christmas music and pretty lights dotting our commute to and from work and school. Everyone seems just a bit happier and looking forward to holiday parties and family gatherings.

Today as we were driving to see Santa with our puppy Ruby on her first Christmas (isn’t this picture just the cutest ever?), Avery asked me if I believed in Santa Claus (gulp). Of course, like all smart parents do, I avoided giving an answer and asked her the question, “What do you think?” Her response was a resounding yes. Although the very fact she asked tells me her little mind is grappling with this concept. And then (double gulp) Alex chimed in that one of the boys in fourth grade has been spreading rumors that Santa isn’t real, but Alex knows it’s not true because Santa is actually a Saint (they learned about it at school). And while I’m grateful the spirit of Santa is still quite alive in our home, Avery has been suddenly complaining that the Elf on the Shelf’s smile is creepy. So I’m not sure he’ll make it much longer around here.

This season seems even more joyful as Jason and I are planning our wedding for January and preparing to move and merge our families together. We’re keeping the wedding as small as we can, but of course there are a number of details that need to be arranged. You know, all the things that come with planning a wedding and packing up, moving and selling a house. Yet instead of feeling like a giant burden of stress, the joy and excitement and love we all feel is motivating us and propelling us forward.

Oh, and I can’t forget, my Christmas baby, Avery, turns 8 on Christmas Day! Her birthday party is this weekend and heavens I haven’t even planned a gift or a cake (maybe cupcakes) so I have a bit of work to do this week. But it will all get done and it will be great, I’m sure of it.

And before I sign off, a holiday warm-fuzzies PSA: If you are one of the few people on Earth who has NOT seen the movie Love Actually, go fire up your Netflix and watch it right away. I promise, it’s one of the best romantic (and funny!) holiday movies you’ll ever see.

Nov
15

engagement photo

Friends, I’m so thrilled to share with you that Jason and I are getting married! Many of you know we’ve been together nearly three years (our anniversary is in January). We (and our kids) spend as much time together as we can and love our {blended} family. Oh yes, and the puppy Ruby loves Jason, too.

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Nov
04

You are amazing. Yes, you, the parent of a child with food allergies. It’s not easy. Actually, it’s damn hard. And I want to take just a moment to celebrate how strong and inspirational you are to me and countless others.

I know being thrown into this alternate reality must have felt like the world’s cruelest joke – your child actually getting sick from eating food. And I know you have done everything you can to figure out what was going on and painstakingly research the best doctors in town, labs who work the best with kids for countless blood draws and hunted up and down for coupons and cheapest pharmacies for the very expensive medications you must now buy for your child.

I see you tracking down safety information for food and very cautiously trying out restaurants. I know you drive all over town, to multiple stores, for safe and “normal” food options for your child. I’ve watched you doing your best to make birthday cakes from scratch when you’d much rather order from a bakery. And being worried about who your child is sitting next to in school and if they had peanut butter on their toast for breakfast.

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