By now you’ve likely heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project – a food allergy mom came up with the idea to help be inclusive of kiddos with food allergies. A teal pumpkin on a doorstep signifies the homeowner has either non-food treats or allergy-friendly treats. It’s a great idea and we’ve been keeping a teal pumpkin on our doorstep for the last three years.
This year our local food allergy group held an allergy-friendly trunk-or-treat event. A member of our group found a church parking lot who was willing to let us use their space. All of the participants agreed to only give out candy that was free of the top 8 allergens or non-food items.
I had never been a part of a trunk-or-treat before and needed to figure out how to decorate the trunk of my car. I had seen an example of a teal-pumpkin themed car on Oriental Trading website and was inspired. So I ordered supplies from them and the car turned out really great. I also used some of the FARE posters explaining the Teal Pumpkin Project.
The week before the event, I actually heard from the folks at Oriental Trading company about their Halloween toy packages, which are perfect for handing out to trick-or-treaters. They offered to send some my way to use on Halloween or donate to our food allergy group. I loved that they had so many options and chose the Mega Deluxe Toy Assortment and Halloween bracelets. We used these to give out at the trunk-or-treat event and donated some to school for the kid’s Halloween party. Thank you to Oriental Trading for helping make it easy to support kids with food allergies and for being generous to share with our family and community.
Disclosure: I paid for all the vehicle decorations from Oriental Trading. The giveaway toys were provided for free in exchange for sharing information about them on my blog. My opinions, as always, are my own.
I have a story to share, but I want to be clear about something first. My goal here is not to shame my child publicly. I will not name names… or even use pronouns. Because every child makes mistakes, and hopefully learns from them… and in no way deserves to be shamed online. So that’s not what this is about. Instead, it’s about my role as a parent – and how I found a creative solution in a difficult situation. One that turned out better than I expected, and by sharing, might help someone else.
I was at a complete loss. A call from the principal telling me my child caused pain to another child by using very unkind words. I was speechless. It was one of those parenting moments where I didn’t have a single, freaking clue how to handle the situation. A situation that broke my heart and made me question my effectiveness as a parent.
Luckily, I had some time to think it over before I got home from work. I told a couple of close coworkers what happened and watched their faces drop. I called my husband to talk it through and he, too, was speechless. We were both struggling to know what to do. The usual “go-to” punishments didn’t seem at all adequate – taking away screen time, or allowance or foregoing other privileges. No, taking something away didn’t seem right at all. It wouldn’t fix anything and it couldn’t transform the heart of a child who said hurtful words.
We had a REALLY big event in our family last week – my eight year old Avery who has severe food allergies passed a baked milk challenge! Woot!
Avery has had food allergies since she was a baby, diagnosed at 12 months. Each year she has IgE blood testing to see if her allergy sensitivity increases or decreases. It’s one way to monitor if she will be able to outgrow any of her allergies. Her allergists have suggested that she may, someday, outgrow her milk and egg allergies – although the allergies to peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish will likely be lifelong.
The milk numbers have continued to drop each year and this year her allergist said he was comfortable with us performing a baked milk challenge.
It’s not uncommon for children with a milk allergy to be able to eat milk baked into food at a high heat. “Recent evidence suggests that 70–80% of children with IgE-mediated cow’s milk allergy will tolerate baked milk products.5 Furthermore, children with milk allergy who tolerate baked milk products may outgrow their milk allergies faster than those who cannot tolerate baked milk,1” according to a published study, Predicting Food Challenge Outcomes for Baked Milk: Role of Specific IgE and Skin Prick Testing.
We usually only eat at the table, but a bowl of grapes was accidentally left unattended in the living room. I came around the corner to find Ruby with her little face in the bowl, but I couldn’t tell if she had eaten any since she didn’t have any in her mouth at the time. Still, my heart sunk, knowing it was possible that she had eaten some.
Luckily, I knew grapes could cause a serious problem, even death, for dogs. And luckily, I had a magnet on our fridge with the number to the emergency vet clinic in the Twin Cities, Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service. I called right away and they confirmed grapes were very dangerous and we should try to get Ruby to vomit as soon as possible. It turns out that even a few grapes can cause some dogs to go into kidney failure. We tried an at-home option of using hydrogen peroxide, but unfortunately it didn’t work. So Jason took Ruby to the emergency pet hospital.
Many people are afraid to use EpiPens in an emergency because they have needles. But the fact is that EpiPens are super easy to use. They are called auto-injectors because they already have the medicine in them and you basically just need to point and push to give the medicine. No measuring medicine or dealing with syringes.
My daughter has severe food allergies and carries two EpiPens with her on a belt whenever she leaves the house. I make sure to train anyone who will be watching her on how to use the EpiPens in case of a food allergy reaction.
Last night we were using expired EpiPens to practice as a family and reacquaint ourselves with what it’s like to give an EpiPen injection. I also wanted to make sure everyone understood the new FDA instructions to hold the EpiPen for only three seconds. My daughter wanted to demonstrate for all of you how easy it is.