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{ Peanut Free Mama }



when it comes to peanut allergy: nothing changes and everything changes



Updated: 2017-12-14T23:26:56.574-08:00

 



Coaching Spots Available!

2017-02-05T15:10:08.736-08:00


It's Super Bowl Sunday here in the US and I am taking a break before I eat too many nachos to let you know that I have some coaching spots available for February and March.

Why would an allergy parent need coaching you ask?

I've been coaching allergy parents for a few years now. It's been super rewarding to help create strong advocates for food allergic kids and their families.

Well, more and more, I had been getting emails from parents who need my help with managing food allergies in their lives..  Creating an action plan for parents new to food allergy was the logical next step in my mission to help those struggling as much as I did when Bella was first diagnosed (she's 12 now, can you believe it?).

My goal is to help families new to food allergies cope with the avalanche of information, questions, and anxieties that inevitably go along with being 'food allergy' parent.  I'll help you navigate the changes that need to take place in your lives and how to deal with things like doctors, anxiety, label reading, entering/surviving school, babysitters, special events, and those 'well meaning' family members who offer lots of advice.

At the end of our work together you'll feel more empowered to manage those food allergies (and not let them manage you)!

Sessions will be in-person and/or over the phone/Skype and will include scripts, articles and information packets to guide you each step of the way to becoming a strong food allergy mama/papa.

Does that sound like something YOU need?

If you are interested in coaching (food allergy or otherwise), or if coaching sounds like a great fit for someone you know, please email me at gabpeterson@gmail.com or book a complimentary consultation via the button below.

What have you got to lose?  Contact me to get started.

xo
G



Please VOTE!

2016-11-08T10:29:47.202-08:00

I may be too late to reach a good majority of you, but please if you haven't yet today (or were thinking of sitting this one out due to undesirable candidates)....

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(source unknown)
No matter what others tell you, YOUR VOTE COUNTS.

And if anything, go vote on your state initiatives and representatives.

Be the change you want to see in the world!

#lectureover



New year, new hurdles.

2015-02-24T09:15:08.465-08:00

Happy 2015!I think I probably qualify as worst blogger ever since my time here is few and far between, but I thought I would pop in today for a few updates.B is a middle schooler now!  How did that happen?  She goes to Outdoor Ed for 5 days next month and I am freaking out.  The camp has all sorts of things in place to ensure her safety but I'm an allergy mom so I guess there's no getting around the 'what if...?' scenarios.  I would love to hear how any of you out there have handled this.  I haven't sent her off to camp or anything so I am completely out of my comfort zone. No parents allowed - this is a first for me!!Last month we had a blood draw for a RAST and Component Testing.  Saw our allergist a few weeks ago.  More on that in a second.B finally feels ready to take part in the SAFAR trials, so I added us to the waiting list. Hopefully we'll get a chance to participate soon.  With the latest, incredible $24 million donation, the trials are very popular. It's definitely not an easy road, so it had to be her decision.  I'm glad she's brave enough to want to attempt it now. Speaking of being brave, B's anxiety levels are really tapering off.  She panics way less now about food related activities and we find ourselves going out a bit more to dinner and she eats at friend's houses without much issue.  Sure, there are some times that we go places and she doesn't eat anything (and is no doubt starving) because it doesn't feel safe to her, but I'm proud of her for learning how to navigate the world within her comfort zone.  I know it sounds weird, but I was really proud of her when she told me that now she'll eat something before she goes out, just in case she can't find anything safe to eat at her destination.  It just shows her thinking about this now - planning for the unexpected and still going somewhere that might not offer a safe choice - does that make sense to you guys?I've been avoiding Facebook lately - does anyone else find it a HUGE time suck and anxiety causing, inferiority complex building, site from hell? All joking aside, I feel way less stressed now that I only go on occasionally (as in 3 times since the beginning of the year).  I am, however, on Instagram.  Follow me there if you'd like!This latest discovery isn't helping my mood.  So, here's our news for the RAST, Component and Skin Testing.B is still allergic so we wont be changing the way we do anything around here.  So there's that.BUT...Her negative RAST has now turned into a positive one (in the 'high' level) and her Component Testing showed her in the reactive range for ara h1 and ara h2 (see the chart on this page to see what that means).  Rats.  Throw in a nice big positive skin test and we stay in the land of the allergic.  So, when we saw the allergist, he strongly recommended the clinical trials at Stanford.And I think that's about it.  I've been working, crafting (proof is on Instagram), decorating my new place, and still seeing the caddy.  Life's good.  Hope it's the same for you.Stay safe out there.xo G[...]



Happy New Year

2014-01-23T13:07:19.126-08:00

Most people attribute this quote to Buddha, but it's actually from a character in a Carlos Castaneda book.  But still, it's true.It's already 2014.How did that happen?I must say, some pretty awful stuff happened since I last blogged.  I was glad to see 2013 end.  The last three months were crapola.My mom died on November 25th, just a couple of days before Thanksgiving.October started innocently enough. I turned 44 and Bella turned 9.  We had a dinner to celebrate both on the 5th - my mom had gone in for testing the day before for what she thought was a GI issue.  She was concerned but not too worried.She was diagnosed with cancer (affecting multiple organs, but originating in the colon they believe) the next Monday, October 7th, went through two rounds of oral chemotherapy, and ended up succumbing to the disease the evening of of Monday, November 25th.So, 6 weeks, beginning to end.  It's still so surreal.(This certainly isn't the way I was expecting her to go, the way I worried she would go.  Isn't that life though? The things you worry about don't ever really happen, do they?  It's the stuff that hits you on the side of the head that really take it clean off and shake you up.)So....She's gone.  And I'm devastated.  My father, her husband of over 50 years is too.  My brothers, sisters in law, nieces, nephew, and friends are as well.   She was quite a lady.But I'm also thankful.Thankful for the goodbye we were able to have.Thankful she didn't suffer long. Thankful for 6 weeks in which Bella and I (and Bella's dad, and my entire immediate family) were able to be with my mom and sit with her and talk with her and tell her we loved her, to tell her what she'd taught us and to thank her for being such a good mom.   How lucky were we to be able to do that?!?Thankful I got to ask her questions about her life, go through her recipe book with her, hear her stories one last time, burning every moment in to my brain to celebrate her life beyond her passing.And I'm thankful that I got to hear my mom tell me how she felt about me (my parenting style, my love life, etc.) and being thrilled to bits that it was all good.  That may sound a bit selfish, but having your mother tell you that after 44 years, that you're on the right track?  It just feels great.  What a tremendous gift!I still want my mom back.  So badly.There's just never enough time.She's always with me though.  I heard her talking to me over my shoulder when I was making Christmas dinner.  Spooky, but true (to me at least).  I hope it wasn't the last time.I guess that's all I wanted to say.Peace and love to you all in the new year - love each other (even if you're mad at someone, take a stab at forgiving them) because life truly is too short.  I've already taken my own advice and have begun to patch up some broken relationships hurt during my divorce.  It feels good.xoxoGp.s.  PLEASE get preventative testing done if you can.  push your doctors for you to stay on track with mammograms, colonoscopies, whatever.  own your health as fiercely as you own your or your child's food allergy safety.  please.[...]



Fall!

2013-09-25T10:24:10.841-07:00

Hi Everyone!  Long time no blog, right?  I wont even bother apologizing for not blogging over the summer (what's the point - you know I still love you guys, right?) - life just, well, HAPPENS.  I take it as a good sign that I only have time to post bits and bobs on Facebook (if you don't follow me over there, please join me - you'll see much more Peanut Free content that way).Here's a small glimpse into what's going on in our lives right now:SchoolB started 4th grade!  I can't believe it - 4th grade.  She starts middle school next year (yup, our district has middle school 5th through 8th grade and the whole idea of it makes me insane), so I'm just enjoying my little girl. The big changes this year are that she doesn't carry her epinephrine to the playground any more (her principal takes all the kids epis in a cooler each day to the yard) AND she's not sitting at the peanut free table anymore.  She was really starting to feel self conscious, and since she isn't airborne reactive, we are trying out her sitting at the regular tables with a buffer.  All of her classmates have known her for years, so they instinctively know not to sit next to her if they have peanut butter in their snack or lunch.  It's been working out great so far, and she feels less like the 'allergy kid'. AnxietyAlong with school came B's anxiety.  BIG TIME.  She's just a creature of habit, and the beginning of the school year always brings a lot of anxiety until she's settled.  That, coupled with her existing anxiety over her food allergies makes it challenging!  How are you all dealing with anxiety??  We are lucky in that B's teacher is so supportive and helpful - don't know what we'd do without her!BirthdaysSpeaking of B, her birthday is next month (the day after mine!) and we are throwing a Candy themed party for her at her dad's house.  So fun!  I have a Pinterest board full of ideas - cannot wait to get all crafty!  p.s. you can follow me on Pinterest if you want - I have an allergy board too as well as all sorts of random things.Enjoy Life Decadence BarsThe fine folks at Enjoy Life sent us a box of each of their new Decadence Bars.  Holy cow they are awesome!!  B's favorites, in order, are:S'moresCinnamon BunCherry CobblerChocolate SunbutterI tried them myself and every flavor is DELICIOUS (and I'm not just saying that) and the textures are great.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you really cannot go wrong with this brand.  The care they put into their product development is outstanding and so apparent when you taste their products.Thank you so much to Enjoy Life! Mondo BeyondoThis is a personal one for me.  I'm taking an online class called Mondo Beyondo and I'm just loving it.  This is my second time and it's even better this time around.  I highly recommend Andrea's classes.  They really just help let your dreams out so you can make them a reality!  No affiliate links or ads here, just my personal opinion. HalloweenB has asked for a day costume and an evening costume (jeez, what did I agree to??).  Each year, B goes out trick or treating, gets all the candy she wants and then we either trade out unsafe candy for safe candy or she leaves the majority of it out for the Halloween Fairy and gets a treat in return (usually a small lego set or something equivalent). The funny thing is that she's a candy hoarder.  I still have a bag of her halloween candy in the freezer from last year! I should probably throw that out LOL...LoveI'm still seeing the same guy. He's still traveling around constantly for work but his home is here with me and for that I am extremely grateful. Life is GOOD! :-)Hope you are all doing great too.  Please do join me over on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.  I love interacting with you all and seeing what you're all up to!Gabs[...]



Camp Blue Spruce Is Accepting Camper Applications!

2013-04-03T11:06:51.305-07:00

I got an email from the folks at Camp Blue Spruce recently - they are holding their allergy free camp again this year and are accepting camper applications!  Here's the skinny on Camp Blue Spruce:Camp Blue Spruce, a worry-free camp for kids with food allergies, is like any other sleepover summer camp EXCEPT the food is prepared without any of the top food allergens.  Located in Banks, Oregon, just 30 miles from Portland, the camp is five days and nights, August 18 – 23, and is loaded with fun for boys and girls ages 9 to 14, including:SwimmingHikingArts and CraftsField GamesCampfiresAnd More . . .The camp is free of the foods that cause more than 90% of allergic reactions, including: dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, gluten and sesame. To learn more and register, visit www.campbluespruce.org or “like” them on Facebook. You can also contact them at 503-726-8886 or info@campbluespruce.org.And from their site:"Camps are an excellent way for children to become independent, develop new friendships, learn about teamwork and grow as individuals. Unfortunately, it is very hard for a regular camp, often with hundreds of children, to ensure that children with food allergies are safe and eating healthy food.Kids attending Camp Blue Spruce will have a true camp experience without the worry and anxiety they experience daily with their food allergies. Camp Blue Spruce parents can be worry-free, too!2013 DatesCamp begins Sunday, August 18 at 4pm and ends after lunch Friday, August 23.Daily ProgramDays and nights at Camp Blue Spruce are filled with fun indoor and outdoor activities.We have a swimming pool, a big playing field, and a creek. A professional Outdoor Educator teaches outdoor skills and leads hikes and other adventures.We have a well-equipped art room with painting, ceramics and beading supplies. All art supplies are reviewed to ensure that they are safe for the children to use.Kids can also enjoy fun music activities and cooking classes.Each night there is an all-camp activity such as a campfire, a carnival, guest presentations, or a scavenger hunt.RequirementsBoys and girls with food allergies, ages 9 - 14, can attend the camp. Friends and siblings without food allergies can attend if there is space. Camp Blue Spruce can accommodate 56 children at a time.LodgingFor one week this summer, Gales Creek Camp - normally a camp for children with type 1 diabetes - is providing their lovely facility and their guidance to Camp Blue Spruce. Gales Creek, located near Banks, Oregon, less than 30 miles from Portland, has been hosting kids with diabetes since 1952. The camp has two large cabins - one for girls and one for boys. Each cabin sleeps 28 kids.CostThe tuition for one week of Camp Blue Spruce is $525.RegistrationJoin us for a fun-filled week at Camp Blue Spruce! Hurry, we only have room for 56 campers.Register your camper now!"I can't wait until B is ready for sleep away camp - this will be perfect for her!  If your child attended last year (or is going this year), leave me a comment and let me know.  Also, if your child goes to sleep away camp, let me know how you worked with the camp to keep your child reaction free![...]



Hello 2013!

2013-01-01T14:31:03.783-08:00

Me & B - San Francisco, Dec. 2012Hey there - is this thing on?Boy, it's been a while - how are YOU?If I'm being honest, 2012 pretty much sucked.Don't get me wrong - lots of GOOD things happened. Work is great.  My home is great.  I'm seeing a wonderful guy.  Most importantly, B is great!The #1 best thing that happened in 2012 - and just under the wire - I'm divorced!!  I know it sounds terrible to make that a good thing that happened, but it was something that should have happened a LONG time ago.  I'm not against marriage, don't get me wrong, I'm just against marrying the wrong person.  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders and that I am finally living an authentic life. But the best thing I got from my marriage was Miss B - ain't she just the coolest (I know all moms say this, but I think THIS photo proves that maybe I'm not merely biased:B looking sassy before dinner, Dec 2012Only this child could pull of being this bad-ass  We went out to dinner the night I took this and on the way back to our hotel, we got out of our cab, and someone on the street looked at her and gasped "She is SOOO San Francisco!".  Love her!We had an allergy checkup in December that showed B's allergy as definitely NOT being gone.  PLUS we added cats officially to the allergy list.  Oh well.  At least we haven't added any foods - and we were reaction free in 2012 - well at least peanut allergy wise - woohoo!I think the thing that 2012 taught me most was that you can never get too comfortable with anything or assume anything.  Case(s) in point:I assumed B's peanut allergy would be gone at this year's appt.  I was wrong (and there was a HUGE wheal to prove it on the SPT). Crud.I assumed that during my divorce things would remain civil with my ex (they didn't)I assumed our collective friends would be grownups and remain friends with us both (they didn't)I assumed I could count on the very close friends I had to watch my back (I couldn't - in fact, one of them is dating my ex-husband now.  I know quite a few of you are saying to yourself "what a @!#!@%" - you wouldn't be the first to do so.  Yes we were friends when they started seeing each other and yes she kept it from me and NO we aren't friends anymore LOL).  I think out of everything, this was the worst betrayal of the whole divorce, isn't that strange?But you know what?  I have ZERO regrets about how things have gone down.  I'm so much happier, and lighter now that I know where things stand (plus un-friending on Facebook helps!).  Quality over quantity!So now, I'm starting with a clean slate for 2013.  I'm figuratively burning the sage around here to cleanse my life, my heart, and my most important my attitude about things (this, especially, spoke to me).  I'm responsible for me this year, no one else is.  And that, friends, is my rant.Yeah, I know this didn't have much to do with Peanut Allergy on the surface, but my divorce isn't much different from peanut allergy.  It's a crap hand to have dealt to you and what makes all the difference is how you handle it. No one understands it until they've been through it, family and friends disappoint you like crazy, and you feel alone. A lot.But you figure out your way, slowly, until that pinhole at the end of the tunnel gets bigger and bigger.And it's light again.-G-[...]



Forget Peanut Allergy: Things I'm Loving This Week #1

2012-09-24T09:53:55.626-07:00

I'm sure it's premature to say, but I think Fall may be arriving soon here in Northern California  - I tried to wear summer clothes yesterday and was chiiiiiillly!  But, now that I've typed that, we'll no doubt have a hot spell in early October (just like we always do).Here's something new.  Non peanut allergy related.Things I'm loving this week:The BEST Artichoke SoupSource: Saveur MagazineGlass Beaches Source: Anthology Magazine (via Flickr)Big SurSource: Hiking in Big SurStitches West 2013Yes, I'm a knitting nerd. Signed up for this today with my best friend and I couldn't be more excited.  Source: Knitting UniverseOahuAnother trip planned - cannot wait!Source: Haleiwa TownTom Bihn BagsI want, no, I NEED this bag.  Anyone got any spare change hanging around for this beauty? The organizational FREAK inside of me lusts after this:Source: TomBihn.comMakeshift SocietyHow cool is this?  I want to join!Source: Anthology MagazineCurried Chicken and Coconut RiceUm, yummmmmm!?Source: Shutterbean.comAnd, last but NOT least, my boyfriend - ain't he cute?  Danny reading a putt for Angela Stanford in Alabama yesterday.  They tied for 3rd. (Source: Getty Images) How about you?  What are you loving this week?G[...]



Peanut Allergy: Life Lists?

2012-09-13T10:50:18.720-07:00

Do you guys keep a life list?  I do, and I'm tempted to share it here - would that be weird? I don't think there's one thing about food allergy on there.

Maybe I'll be brave and post it, we'll see.

For now, here's something I couldn't pass up.

The Things We Forget Blog

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The last year has been ALL about this, trust me.
Too cute.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Gabs
xxoo



Happy September!

2012-09-10T10:33:40.629-07:00

How did THAT happen?  It's been 3 months since I posted, and for that I am sorry.  Truth be told, most of my posts have been on Facebook (have you liked my page yet - you should!) - it's just easier than a blog post.  Lazy, I know!So what's new???B started 3rd grade - nope, not a typo.  THIRD grade.  She was pretty happy and check out her outfit - is she a trendsetter or what? I love those Boden yellow pants (they are SOOOO bright - this picture doesn't even begin to show the yellowness)!First Day of Third Grade!We've had an eventful few months.  B has had some major anxiety issues this year - to the point of Separation Anxiety Disorder - it had become almost unbearable until we started therapy and found this book:What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming AnxietyB's anxiety stems from a lot of things, but primarily our divorce as well as her allergies.  Even though she's in a safe environment both at home and at school (her teacher and school are pretty great) she still just worries, plain and simple.  But these worries were affecting her quality of life (and ours) so we needed to do something.If you have a child with anxiety issues, buy it.  I can't put into words how highly I regard this book. We still have a ways to go, but after just a week we were seeing tremendous changes in B.  These exercises, coupled with a more structured schedule as well as a lot more sleep in her life have made a huge difference.  Each week we are seeing a stronger, more confident (and worry free) child emerge. The other issue we dealt with this summer was Alopecia Areata - have you heard of it?  Luckily, at this point she has a mild case of this.  She had a small patch about the size of a silver dollar (remember those LOL) at the top of her head that has thankfully grown back, but boy was that scary! I've seen things online that indicate that kids with allergies and eczema are prone to this.  And kids with stress in their lives (hmm that sounds familiar).  If your child had this, can you leave me a comment?  I'd be interested to know how you treated it.  Ironically (am I using that word correctly? probably not), once we STOPPED using the cream the doctor prescribed, her hair starting growing back.  I think working on her anxiety and stress worked too.  We'll keep an eye out, but at this point she's in the clear for now.  Whew.Other than that, things are good.Still (technically) married, but that shouldn't be the case by the end of the year.  Divorce, in case you didn't know, really sucks.  Even when you agree on everything financial, custody, support, etc.  It takes forever (at least it seems like it does) and there's so much paperwork.  I don't recommend it if you can avoid it.I'm still coaching folks - it's going really well!  I was really overwhelmed by the number of folks that have contacted me.  If you're interested in a session, shoot me an email - I'd love to help you out.  I have something in the works for folks with tight schedules - look for an announcement in the coming months (here of course, but sooner on Facebook, who am I kidding?).Take care everyone - Happy September!!!Gabs[...]



Peanut Allergy: Peanut-Controlled Zone at Upcoming White Sox Game

2012-06-13T10:27:00.637-07:00

The nice folks at the Chicago White Sox emailed me recently about a peanut-controlled game scheduled for July 6th.  It really warms my heart to see organizations stepping up to create safe zones.  Here are the details:


WHITE SOX HOST A SECOND “PEANUT-CONTROLLED ZONE”For the Second Time, Reserved Seating Area Will Provide Haven for FansWho Suffer Severe Peanut Allergies CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox will host a second “Peanut-Controlled Zone” on Friday, July 6, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. against the Toronto Blue Jays. To provide fans who suffer from severe peanut allergies with the safest environment possible, no peanuts, nor anything containing peanuts, will be allowed or sold in three reserved sections of the Club Level at U.S. Cellular Field.   The concession stands closest to those special sections will not sell peanuts and the area will be meticulously cleaned and inspected prior to the game. “Every individual fan experience is important to our organization,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.  “We are very pleased with the turnout and fan feedback from the game in April and want to give these fans another opportunity to enjoy White Sox baseball in a peanut-controlled area at U.S. Cellular Field.” Along with tickets specially priced at $47, fans have the option to add $10 in “Bonus Bux” that can be used to buy food and beverage at any permanent club level concession stand and a $25 parking pass to their orders. Additionally, fans will enjoy a spectacular fireworks show after the game.  There are approximately 200 seats available, so fans are encouraged to order tickets early. For the least peanut-exposed path to the game, the club suggests entering through the Chicago Sports Depot near Gate 5 on the north side of 35th Street. From the second level exit of the store, escalators lead up to a bridge over the street which ends at the Club Level concourse. Fans interested in purchasing tickets and seating in the peanut-free section should email or call Dustin Milliken at dmilliken@chisox.com or (312) 674-5186.


Thank you Chicago White Sox for looking out for the peanut free peeps!

G

p.s. Interested in details regarding efforts to create a peanut free zone for the San Francisco Giants?  Visit and 'like' the San Francisco Giants Fans for Peanut Free Baseball page!



Peanut Allergy: Would You Eat This?

2012-06-11T08:00:02.494-07:00


I was going through the blogs in my feed reader and stumbled upon this:  Jif is now making Hazelnut Spreads.


I know what you're thinking - ugh, peanutty!

But not so fast there, tigers!

Being the chocolate lover concerned Peanut Free Mama that I am, I decided to investigate.  Things might not be so bad. Here's the label from the Chocolate Flavor:

I found this REALLY interesting.  Mainly because under the allergy information, peanuts aren't listed as a 'may contain' item.  Frankly, I was shocked.  And I know what you are going to say:  You're not going to eat that are you?! What about cross contamination with all those tree nuts and sunflower and wheat and soy???  

Well, yeah, there's that.  I didn't say it was allergen free.  

BUT IT IS PEANUT FREE - AND IT'S FROM A COMPANY THAT MAKES PEANUT BUTTER!!!  Is this progress or what??

Oops, sorry for shouting - I was just a little excited about a PB company having dedicated lines for non-pb products (I am assuming this - I haven't called them so I don't know for sure - but I can hope, otherwise why wouldn't they list peanuts in the may contain statement?).

We don't avoid 'may contain' warnings when it comes to tree nuts (and our allergist supports this) so technically, B could eat it.

But would I buy it for B instead of Nutella which I am more comfortable with her eating?  Probably not, but maybe I'd buy the mocha cappucino flavor for me.  There's no way B would eat that :)

I'll keep you posted.

p.s. have any of you seen this on the shelves?  tasted it?  do tell!!







Peanut Allergy Product Review: Allermates

2012-06-08T07:00:02.689-07:00

I think this smile says it all, yes?Last week, when I got home, at my door was a big box.I LOVE big boxes (and I cannot lie)!It was from a company called Allermates - they sell products that help identify your child's allergy, but in a cool way.  They make wristbands, dog tags/necklaces, lunch boxes, and shirts.  The company was started by (what else?) an allergy mom.  Here's what they are all about:"With allergies on the rise and many of my friends and family members facing similar issues, I realized that there was a great need for kid friendly allergy awareness products. I decided to create products that would not only help protect kids with allergies, but ones that would also make them feel good about themselves regarding their allergies. Products that were fun, colorful and, let's face it "cool". I noticed how most kids I knew, including my own, were absolutely fascinated by colorful characters. Next thing I knew, I was writing bios for fun, cartoon like allergen charcters that came to mind. And so P.Nutty and the rest of the gang were born. I'm confident that the AllerMates images and stories will appeal to kids of all ages and make them feel good about themselves regarding their allergies. Most importantly, our products will help identify and safeguard kids with allergies and give their parents and caregivers some peace of mind." - Iris Shamus, FounderThe folks at Allermates were kind enough to send us the following items to review:Bracelet - I honestly didn't know if B would be into this, but she immediately put it on and wouldn't take it off.  Ringing endorsement, right?  Every Food Allergy mama I know has had issues with their child keeping their medical id bracelet on - this one looks like it might stick.  Not heavy, adjustable to different wrist sizes, and super cute.  And great colors!Necklace - I loved that they use a rubber necklace here.  B loved this one too since she has other necklaces just like it and this will blend in with those.Dog Tag - These dog tags are adorable.  The characters that Iris came up with are really cute.  It's also not too big and doesn't have the big medical emblem on it that prevented B from wanting to wear her other medical id's. Lunch Bag - They promote this as a lunch bag OR a medicine kit. It is big enough for bottle of water (or metal reusable bottle) and food for the day.  As a medicine bag it would be great, since it's insulated.  You could also put a photo in the laminated side pocket.What I love about these products are:Price Point - The prices on these items are reasonable and they wont break the bank.Quality -  The quality of these products is amazing.  They are really well made and I KNOW that the lunch bag, for example, isn't going to fall apart in a week.  Cool Factor - many of my issues with allergy related apparel and products is that they are WAY too cutesy.  These are kid friendly without being over the top.  I mean, look at that photo - B is at an age where COOL is everything and she LOVES this bracelet (and has made me PROMISE that she can use the lunch box at school next year).  The Little Things - On the side of the lunch bag (which you can see here on the website) there's a place to check off your child's allergy, but also a place for EXTRA allergies (sesame?  coconut?  melon? no problem!).I highly recommend Allermates to you guys - so proud of this fellow food allergy mama for creating such a great product line!Thank You Allermates!Gabs[...]



Peanut Allergy: Need some help? It's HERE!

2012-06-10T10:19:15.230-07:00

Hi Guys!

I wanted to tell you about a new chapter I'm starting in my life.  I'm adding a new feature to this site - coaching!  I've already gotten my PAC/ELL training certification and I'm working towards my Life Coach certification this year.

Am I quitting my day job?  Nope.  So why the coaching?  Well, more and more, I have been getting emails from parents who need my help.  Creating an action plan for parents new to food allergy was the logical next step in my mission to help those struggling as much as I did when B was first diagnosed.

My goal is to help families new to food allergies cope with the avalanche of information, questions, and anxieties that inevitably go along with being 'food allergy' parent.  I'll help you navigate the changes that need to take place in your lives and how to deal with things like school, babysitters, special events, and those 'well meaning' family members who offer lots of advice.   At the end of this program you'll feel more empowered to manage those food allergies (and not let them manage you)!

Sessions will be in-person and/or over the phone/Skype and will include informational packets to guide you each step of the way to becoming a strong food allergy mama/papa.

Does that sound like something YOU need?

This program is in the beginning stages and I'd love to have a few 'beta' testers.  If you are interested in complimentary coaching sessions, please email me at gabrielle@peanutfreemama.com.


UPDATE:  All my beta testing slots are filled, but I'd still love to help you with (reasonably priced) coaching sessions.  Email me at gabrielle@peanutfreemama.com for more information.



Peanut Allergy Giveaway: OK2BPNUTFREE WINNERS!

2012-05-01T11:49:14.189-07:00

Hi Everyone!

Here are the winners for the OK2BPNUTFREE giveaway:

Allergy Shot Kit

1. Geena
2. Linda M.
3. Michelle


Boy Tag

1. Mara
2.Julie
3. Stephany in Pittsburgh
4. Andria Jones


Girl Tag
1. Jenny C.
2. Keeley
3. Brandi B.
4. Jessica Ryan

Congratulations everyone :)

Email me at peanutfreemama@gmail.com with your email address and I'll pass it along so your prize can be sent to you!

Thanks to OK2BPNUTFREE for these great giveaway items!!



Peanut Allergy: Sometimes the Stars Align...

2012-04-27T19:05:54.899-07:00

So it's summer time soon.  Less than two months until I have a (are you ready for it?)...THIRD GRADER.GAH!So, as you know I am a working mom.  I am SO lucky though, because I get to work at home 3 days a week.  I head into my office one day a week. During the year we have all sorts of creative ways of making sure B has after school care.  We have Nana's (not nannies, NANA's) that help, thank God!  But I also do work early in the morning or later at night after she's asleep so I can be there at the door after school.  Some days (like the day I'm off) she's with me.  Anyways, we make it work.So, where was I?  Oh yeah, summer. B's dad and I knew that we needed to find someone to help watch her over the summer.  She's just NOT into summer camp or activities this year and we're not gonna' fight it. But where to start?  We put an ad on care.com (meh) and asked everyone we knew.  Nothing.This is where the universe stepped in and gave me a gift.I'm walking down the hall to my apartment and I see my new neighbor.  We hadn't really spoken - she goes to work pretty early - so we finally got a chance to talk. She's so sweet and has the MOST polite son (he's in Jr high and when I met him in the hall one day he introduced himself and shook my hand and was wonderful - frankly I was shocked - this lady is doing something right parenting-wise).  So we are talking and she tells me she has a daughter, who's away at college.  But she'll be home for the summer.You know where this is going, right? She's looking for a summer job as a BABYSITTER!OOOO  MMMMM  GGGGG.I ended up talking to her on the phone and she sounds so sweet, the hours work for her, etc. etc. WIN-WIN!And then today she comes to meet us in person (me, B's dad, and B).  Gotta' make sure she didn't have facial tattoos or piercings!  (Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you, but frankly that's the LAST thing I want B asking for when she's 7.)So how did it go? Well, B loves her - hugged her when she left.  B's dad and I like her A LOT too. But back to the 'interview'. She was super polite, and cute, and nice, and we talked about school and the kinds of things B likes to do. And we're chatting about B and I hesitantly bring up that she has a peanut allergy.  I'm thinking, this is going to scare her off.  People are either ok with it, or you get that look, like a deer in the headlights, accompanied by the sound of crickets.So we brace ourselves.This is what she says:  "Oh, my brother is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat and eggs."  She then goes on to tell me about the multiple times her brother has been in the hospital, stories of anaphylaxis and epis, and the trouble of eating out due to cross contamination.Uh, excuse me?  Beg your pardon?My jaw = floor.In that moment, in my head, I said "Yes!".  You know why I said it!!! Not because this poor kid has all those allergies. I'm the Peanut Free Mama, people!I said "Yes!"  in my head because I don't even need to explain how this works to her.  She 'gets it'.   I swear I almost hi-fived her right there.  We're team food allergy now right!?!?  Woohooo!Needless to say, she starts the week after school ends.See how everything has a way of working out?Now I can exhale.Gabsp.s. have you signed up for the giveaway yet?  No?  Do it!!ppss have you signed up for my newsletter?  No?  Do that too![...]



Peanut Allergy: Newsletter Sign Up!

2012-04-23T16:24:30.641-07:00

Do you see that?  Over there --------------->?

Yup, it's a new link to sign up for the brand new Peanut Free Mama newsletter. You can use that link or you can click this one right here.  They both take you to the same place.

Sign up to get non-bloggy updates and offers from me, the Peanut Free Mama.  And I promise, no spammy third party emails!

Tell your friends!



Peanut Allergy: Safe, Homemade Pancake Mix

2012-04-23T11:10:37.820-07:00

B loooooooves pancakes.   So much so, that I was going through pancake mix REALLY fast.  


Every morning she gets three big pancakes (sometimes dotted with chocolate chips) , maple syrup, some fruit, her vitamin, and some milk or juice.  I love that she eats a good breakfast every day!


To save time in the morning, especially those days that I have to head in to my office (the rest of the week I work at home), I make things easier by whipping up the pancake batter the night before and keeping it in the fridge.


In the morning, I just heat up a pan, drop in some batter, and in about 3 minutes - voila!  Pancakes!


But back to that mix....I created my own pancake mix using a few easy pantry staples and thought I'd share it with you guys.  My secret ingredient is rolled oats.  Makes them nice and hearty (but not heavy, I promise!).  And this is super budget friendly.


PFM's Pancake Mix


Mix well, in an airtight container:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Rolled oats, pulverized in the food processor
3 T baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 T plus 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


To make the batter:
Take 1 cup of the pancake mix and put it in a bowl.  Add 1 egg and 1 cup of milk. Mix well.  Note: Sometimes I add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla (if I remember).


Now you're ready to make your pancakes!  


----------------------------------------------------------


Hope you guys enjoy these just as much as B does!




Peanut Allergy: Allergy Free Camp - Summer 2012!!

2012-04-20T09:32:03.446-07:00

I got an email yesterday from a camp up in Oregon (www.campbluespruce.org) that's offering a week long, ALLERGY FREE, sleepover camp this summer.HOW COOL IS THAT???Here are the details:"Camp Blue Spruce, a worry-free camp for kids with food allergies, is nowaccepting registrations! Sign up now for a week of swimming, hiking, arts & crafts, field games,campfires, and more! All in a camp that is free of the foods that causemore than 90% of allergic reactions – dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts,fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, gluten and sesame. Parents of children with food allergies now have a worry-free campenvironment for their children. Our cooks prepare most of the food fromscratch, using fresh ingredients. All the manufactured products at CampBlue Spruce are carefully vetted and will mostly come from allergen-awarecompanies. Oregon’s great outdoors will make Camp Blue Spruce the highlight of yourchild’s summer. We are accepting campers now and with only one weekavailable (August 19 – 24), the 56 slots will fill up fast. Priority is given to children with food allergies, ages 10 – 14. Check out our website for more information:  www.campbluespruce.org oremail info@campbluespruce.org or call 503-726-8886."If any of you sign your kid(s) up, please let me know!  Wish B was 10 so she could go as well - heck, I wish I could go!!- Gabs[...]



Peanut Allergy Giveaway: OK2BPNUTFREE

2012-04-29T20:00:22.119-07:00

NOTE:  GIVEAWAY CLOSED - THANKS FOR ENTERING!!Hi Guys!I'm back from a glorious trip to Oahu and I have something special for you.  A giveaway!A fellow allergy mama, Shannon DeBlock, started her company OK2BPNUTFREE to 'create products that not only promote an awareness of a child's food allergies but also reduce the stigma of put on these children for something they cannot control'.And boy did she!  She sent me samples of her products including the following:This is MY FAVORITE item - The Allergy Shot Kit box!  Perfect for a classroom, daycare, or your home.  This sturdy case holds epi pens, antihistamines, allergy plans (and I even put a safe snack in mine).  Shannon also sent me a sample of a button (great for a backpack!), bag tags (you can see images of the boy and girl version here - along with an image of what the back of the tag looks like), as well as an adorable girl's tee.  And can I just say, the quality of the tee is awesome!  Aren't these the cutest???  Love, love, love superhero look of the kids.Shannon is kind enough to offer some of these products to YOU GUYS!  Here are the details:  We have 3 shot kit boxes, 4 boy bag tags, and 4 girl bag tags to give away.  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post, telling me what you're interested in winning.  On April 29th I'll use a random generator to choose the winners.How easy is that?In the meantime you can see ALL of OK2BPNTFREE's products on Amazon.  Good Luck!p.s. Full Disclosure:  Shannon sent me these items to review and asked me to host this giveaway.  I was not paid for this post, but was given these samples.[...]



Peanut Allergy: Attention Chicago White Sox Fans

2012-02-27T11:23:37.770-08:00

The folks at the Chicago White Sox contacted me recently to let me know about a peanut controlled game coming up next month - so cool!  Here are the details: WHITE SOX HOST A “PEANUT-CONTROLLED ZONE Reserved Seating Area Will Provide Haven for Fans Who Suffer Severe Peanut Allergies  CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox will host a “Peanut-Controlled Zone” on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. against the Baltimore Orioles. To provide fans who suffer from severe peanut allergies with the safest environment possible, no peanuts, nor anything containing peanuts, will be allowed or sold in three reserved sections of the Club Level at U.S. Cellular Field.   The concession stands closest to those special sections will not sell peanuts and the area will be meticulously cleaned and inspected prior to the game. “This is another example of us responding to fan feedback,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing.  “Hopefully, some of our fans and families who typically could not attend a White Sox home game due to potential allergic reactions will be able to enjoy an evening of White Sox baseball at U.S. Cellular Field.”  The tickets are specially priced at $36.50 and include $10 in “Bonus Bux” that can be used to buy food and beverage at any permanent club level concession stand.  There are approximately 200 seats available, so fans are encouraged to order tickets early. For the least peanut-exposed path to the game, the club suggests entering through the Chicago Sports Depot near Gate 5 on the north side of 35th Street. From the second level exit of the store, escalators lead up to a bridge over the street which ends at the Club Level concourse. Fans interested in purchasing tickets and seating in the peanut-free section should email or call Dustin Milliken at dmilliken@chisox.com or (312) 674-5186.   I LOVE that they tell you about the 'least peanut-exposed path to the game'.  THAT RULES.BIG thumbs up to the White Sox!!Gab [...]



February 2012 Living with Food Allergies Carnival!

2012-02-23T18:30:38.564-08:00

Welcome to the February 23, 2012 edition of living with food allergies carnival.  I'm so honored to be hosting this month - wait until you see all of the great content submitted this month!Thanks to everyone who submitted - what an incredible resource for the food allergy community!Eric AiXeLsyD recommended quite a few articles this month (both his own and other sites - thanks Eric!):ERiC AiXeLsyD presents The AllergyEats Blog » Blog Archive » Zero8 Resto-Bar, free of ALL “Big 8″ allergens… and then some! posted at The AllergyEats Blog - Best of the Blogosphere, saying, "Article about a visit to Zero8 resto-bar from Paul at Allergy Eats. I may plan a road trip to Montreal just to check this place out! They have a menu free of the top 8 allergens!"ERiC AiXeLsyD presents My Food Allergy Responses Graph posted at World (and Lunar) Domination, saying, "This is what happens when you tell people you have a food allergy..."ERiC AiXeLsyD presents The Science of Anaphylaxis: An Allergic Storm posted at The Allergist Mom, saying, "Great article by The Allergist Mom. Knowledge is power & all that. Might be scary for some. It’s very informative!"ERiC AiXeLsyD presents School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act posted at Please Don't Pass The Nuts™, saying, "Get on this. FAAN has more information on how to contact your local representative about these two bills that could save a child’s life. Act now."ERiC AiXeLsyD presents Blah Blah Food Allergy Blah Blah - Cartoon posted at Food Allergy Fun, saying, "Sad, but true."ERiC AiXeLsyD presents No More Dead Children posted at The Allergic Kid, saying, "Couldn’t agree more."ERiC AiXeLsyD presents We Have Come Too Far To Forget, Separate Is Not Equalposted at Advocate by Fate, saying, "It’s got a great message. Obviously the first thing it brings to mind is racism, but it can now be applied to any group facing discrimination."ERiC AiXeLsyD presents Top 10 Misconceptions About Food Allergies | It's an Itchy Little World posted at It's an Itchy Little World, saying, ""The truth is that so many kids have food allergies now, that almost every school is bound to have this issue come up. Children with food allergies already have so many limitations on their lives, it would be so great if we could increase awareness and perhaps some schools, restaurants, airlines, hotels, etc… would start putting in policies that would help include us. Most of all, I would really like to tell the word about the below, which I believe to be the top 10 myths about food allergies.The truth is that so many kids have food allergies now, that almost every school is bound to have this issue come up. Children with food allergies already have so many limitations on their lives, it would be so great if we could increase awareness and perhaps some schools, restaurants, airlines, hotels, etc… would start putting in policies that would help include us. Most of all, I would really like to tell the word about the below, which I believe to be the top 10 myths about food allergies.The truth is that so many kids have food allergies now, that almost every school is bound to have this issue come up. Children with food allergies already have so many limitations on their lives, it would be so great if we could increase awareness and perhaps some schools, restau[...]



In honor of Valentine's Day...

2012-02-14T15:11:56.841-08:00

My favorite poem.  I hope you are all very loved today!!

xxoo,

Gab

The Telephone, Robert Frost

'When I was just as far as I could walk
From here to-day,
There was an hour
All still
When leaning with my head against a flower
I heard you talk.
Don't say I didn't, for I heard you say--
You spoke from that flower on the window sill-
Do you remember what it was you said?'

'First tell me what it was you thought you heard.'

'Having found the flower and driven a bee away,
I leaned my head
And holding by the stalk,
I listened and I thought I caught the word--
What was it? Did you call me by my name?
Or did you say--
Someone said "Come" -- I heard it as I bowed.'

'I may have thought as much, but not aloud.'

"Well, so I came.'



i knit.

2012-02-10T06:39:00.366-08:00

i have a sticker on the back of my car that says just that.

i knit.

do you?

i started a bazillion years ago - my mama taught me.  and i stopped for a looooooong time. 

(image)
Super Cupcake Hat!
but then i started up again.  i love it!  i'm generally a fidgety person, so it helps me sit through a movie (or even a tv show).  it's hard not to be obsessed with all the gorgeous yarns you can buy nowadays. 

this is the last thing i knit.  Super Cupcake Hat! i finished it a couple of days ago. it's pretty darn cute - i think i'm gonna make myself another one in black.  just because.

today i'm organizing my patterns.  this is what my dining room looks like - boom!












i'm also on ravelry.  it's sort of like facebook for knitters. except not.  just go look if you don't know.  but if you do know, are you on ravelry too?  friend me there!

i even have a knitting board on pinterest.  it's just a baby though - need to add some more pins!

p.s. I know this isn't at all about peanut allergy.  i'm trying to post more and this is just part of my life :)



Products I LOVE: No More Tangles!

2012-02-08T09:21:00.504-08:00

B has gorgeous, thick hair.

But it's long.

And with long hair comes tangles.  She doesn't get a huge amount - she gets one big mamma jamma right in the back where the ponytail holder used to live. Combing it out is a nightmare. 

If you have a girl with long hair, you probably know what I'm talking about.  I'll spare you guys and not post a photo.  Put it this way, if B had expletives in her vocabulary, she would use them every time her hair is brushed.

So you can imagine how elated I was when I found this in the salon where she gets her hair cut.

The Knot Genie!!
It's amahzing!  It's a stiff bristle brush/comb and it really works - just like they say - without complaining!  It's a Miiiiiiiracccullll!  p.s. that was my Oprah voice there :)

I have nothing to do with this company and they haven't asked me to write this, nor did they give me one (dang!).

I love it so much I got one for B's dad's place too.  I know that he will thank me :)