My sweet celiac and youngest, Izzy

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Sundays are about rest, recovery from the busy week, church, familyand food.  In this house it is also about meal planning, getting prepared for the week ahead and just plain organization.  You have to realize, having a child with celiacs and dealing with 3 other kids who aren't I have to plan/make breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack AND dinner, not just a meal plan for dinners.  Add in crafts and sometimes the weekly planning takes all day.  I don't want my kids to be bored with food and I'm super picky about ingredients so it's a lengthy process that most people wouldn't take the time to do or have the patience with.  This week I'm going to break apart each aspect of my planning and give you some ideas.  Yes, Pinterest has become my best friend as it just makes my life easier!

Let's start with my breakfast plan for this week.  I've had several people specifically request ideas in this department.  Mornings are hectic no matter who you are.  I try to stock as many things in my freezer as possible.  But healthy too.  Sometimes that can be trying.  I will buy organic fruits and put them in individual baggies for smoothies, smart healthy muffins (bite size and regular size - banana, carrot, blueberry, and even choc chip filled with flax and chia seeds), quick breads (zucchini, banana, apple, pumpkin also loaded with flax and chia) and pancakes ( all flavors, silver dollar sized).  Usually I just make a double batch of whatever I'm making for the day and freeze everything else so week day mornings especially are super quick.

This week I wanted to change things up some...
Here are my breakfast ideas are:

Sunday night I baked banana bread, I followed the general directions for Pamela's baking mix, added extra banana and used organic coconut palm sugar as my sweetener as well as flax and chia seeds.  I let it cool, sliced and toasted it with coconut spreadable butter with some fruit on the side for Monday's breakfast. 

Breakfast pizzas is next up.  For those of you who aren't Gfree you can toast some buttered or coconut spread English muffins. For those of you who are Gfree - I'm not a huge fan of what is out there for Gfree English muffins.  Lets be honest, they are awful.  For Izzy, I have used Schar's par-baked ciabatta rolls split in half and toasted lightly in the oven as well as making actual gfree pizza dough/cornbread in whoopee pie tins for the base.  Add a TBSP olive oil or coconut oil, some Gfree sausage/peppers/potatoes if you wish and sauté until cooked through (spices, marinara and sunny side up egg are all added if you choose), beat a couple of eggs and push sausage mix to the side and scramble the eggs in the other side of the pan.  Top your base  with the mixture and add some cheese and toast in the oven until melted  and serve!!

Breakfast casserole is also on the list.  You may use Gfree potatoes (shredded or diced), sausage, bacon, peppers, onions, eggs, everything and put it in the crock pot or oven, chives, cheese and plain organic greek yogurt are also among the add in and thing you want.  You don't have to make it with meat, it's just an option. No crust needed! A great Gfree start of protein to the day!

Yogurt with berries or whatever fruit of the season is in, even homemade applesauce/apple pie filling or pumpkin in the fall

This muffin recipe is THE BOMB...using all organic ingredients, homemade when you can and subbing both cups of flour that are not gfree for Pamela's or your favorite gfree blend and gfree oats....this is an amazing favorite in our house! You can def sub coconut yogurt or your fav non dairy, add nuts if you aren't allergic, flax, chia, or even dried fruits

Finally pancake dippers.  I reserve these for the weekends.  WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE about crispy bacon doused in Gfree pancake????? and dipped in 100% maple syrup?? This you'll need a skillet for. Make your favorite pancake batter, gfree or otherwise and cook the bacon.  I choose to cut the bacon package in half and bake the bacon for 20 minutes @350 F in the oven the drain.  Put bacon on skillet then drop ice cream scoop sized  pancake batter on top of the bacon and cook like a pancake.  A little side of maple syrup or agave and YUM!!!

Tomorrow's got Lunches and afternoon snacks!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pause Button

Sometimes I wish there were a pause button on life.  We are already a month and a half into the school year with my sweet littles, a month into Shelby's senior year and Lana's freshman year of college and almost through our birthday "season" in this house.  All the time I thought I'd have once Izzy was in school full time was a farce, lie, total ridiculousness.  Fall is always so busy and I know it will calm down soon but then there will be the holidays and the new year and a move.  And this time next year I will be sitting here with all of my kids another year older wishing for the same thing....a pause button. 

So let's catch up on the last month and a half! 

First day of school for the littles was a HUGE success!  Izzy's allergies were taken care of quickly, efficiently and lovingly by her teacher and EVERY staff member at our school.  Within two weeks she not only had an action plan but a 504 as well.  Her teacher is amazing and has such an awesome personality and loving inspiration/environment that Izzy has been thriving!  Of course my girl is her usual social self and has made many new friends.  Sitting at the food allergy table has been a bit of transition, especially when they have special lunch days like "grandparents lunch" and all of our family is away yet she had no one to sit with, but we are working through the little things because in the grand scheme of things it is a VERY little thing.

Noah is in the BIG 1st grade now and is doing much better as I write this than when we first started school.  He has a hard time with change and this year has been difficult for him but he has already shown signs of improvement.  We had his 7 year old well check appt. this week to address some concerns his teacher had and I'm very happy to report that we are only looking at some dietary changes, and some other minor changes in his benefit.  She does not think that he is dealing with ADHD or Sensory issues or medication of any kind.  My heart lifted at that and my faith restored.  I have secretly been worrying about this for a month and I am so thankful that even at it's worst it wouldn't be the worst thing.  I have two children with such medical issues I thought we'd escaped with the middle two.  It's scary dealing with a heart transplant child and a child with an autoimmune disease.  Despite that there are 4 kids in this family with really big things going on and sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the other things. So I'm happy with the outcome as of now but there might be more to come. 

Shelby's senior year is going at warp speed already!  She's already applying to colleges and being recruited by a few.  She's got all A's and has redone her ACT's and improved her score.  So proud of her and all she's reaching to do in her life! She will take college by storm and in turn life.  She is so much stronger than she thinks she is and will do amazing things!  Watch out world, here she comes!!!

Lana has already taken the bull by the horns and started college and.......LOVES IT!  She's doing so amazing!  Proud parent moment is that with her new schedule we actually have one on one time that we haven't had in 18 years.  I love that she's going to school here right now and loving it as much as she does, here for an occasional lunch while everyone's in school or going to the elementary school to have lunch with her siblings.  It's truly been a blessing.  She's quite an amazing woman.  PS. Her transplant appt's have been fabulous!

There are some fabulous things happening with these kids and I'm so happy to see them flourish and develop their own personalities and traits.  What an amazing life...I want to pause right now.

New recipes to come!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

IHP, 504 and more.....oh my!

Well yesterday was the meet and greet/ orientation for Kindergarten.  All I can say is wow. Sometimes all of the preparation in the world is not enough and you get caught off-guard.  I'm very excited about being in this new school and having the kids on a year round schedule but apparently they had not received our records from the traditional school and had no idea about Izzy's allergies and as her teacher said to me, "I have no idea what celiacs is, I look forward to reading your letter".  My scariest moment was talking with the school nurse about lunchtime and listening to her say she could eat with everyone else.  But do not be discouraged.  Remember that you are your child's advocate and because things did not go as planned does not mean that they are not going to work the way they should.  I sent the school nurse and teacher an email with my letter attached and received great feedback same day.  They have already started the process of IHP with her doctors and are looking into a 504 plan for her in the future. 

IHP- Individualized Healthcare Plan is a plan put in place between the doctors, educators, parents and the school nurse to ensure your child is in a safe environment. An IHP will detail what measures the school team will take to reduce the risk of allergen exposure, recognize symptoms of an allergic reaction and how to treat symptoms of exposure (Izzy reacts differently than an anaphylactic child but it will be recognizable just the same) .  For instance, Isabelle will eat at the "allergy table" at lunchtime so that she will limit her exposure to gluten.  She will also have a designated area of the classroom where she will be able to play without worry of playdough or some other form of gluten coming into contact with her. 

504 Plans are a little more extensive. It gets its name from the 504 section of the ADAA regarding disabilities.  It's purpose is very similar to an IHP but can allow for things such as extended absences due to a gluten exposure.  It also would benefit her if her auto immune symptoms worsen in the coming years for other accommodations that I don't expect we will need but are there as a safety net if they are.

No  matter which plan is instituted, make sure all of your concerns are in writing. It is so important for the school staff to understand their role in keeping your child safe.  Make sure the plan addresses key issues that require attention in the classroom (like Izzy needing a playdough/food free zone to play) as well as other areas (like the lunchroom). 

Stay excited, prepare your child like I said earlier in the week, make the new line of communication in a new school a positive one.  Izzy already feels comfortable knowing I've spoken to the teacher and the school nurse and is excited to go to school on her first day.  School is supposed to be the most amazing experience and journey, allow that. 

On our celiac journey I also wanted to note that there are some key things your immunologist/doctor should be looking at, that I was unaware of.  So, whether you are gluten sensitive and/or have celiacs or are just on a strict g-free diet your doctor should be testing some levels regularly.  Iron, Niacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin D (We got plenty of Vitamin D this summer in FL;)).  I don't like my sweet girl getting stuck but it's important with most celiacs absorption not at a level it should be. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back to square 1 and back to school

Life can be so funny sometimes.  Two years ago our trip home left me feeling like I couldn't wait to leave and get back to the Midwest.  This summer's trip left me feeling like all I wanted to do is be home again for good.  Izzy's food allergies have been a very similar circle as well.  Two years ago we were certain of celiacs, then another allergist introduced a another possibility(FPIES) as well as another food allergy (egg), now on our way home from Florida we had an appointment with a pediatric GI specialist that brought us right back to celiacs.   The auto-immune affects that go along with that were suddenly overwhelming me all over again as if we had a new diagnosis. Suddenly my writers block of the last year or more is free flowing again. It's as if I was waiting on confirmation of something I already knew.  All in all, my sweet angel who seemed so tiny when I started this blog for her and Lana, is starting school on Friday and that just introduces a whole other set of crazy emotions.  My oldest graduated high school as my youngest graduated preschool and heads to a whole new world in a whole new school.  It reminds me of all the hidden dangers for her, new people to train on her allergies and not wanting her to feel different.  It hit me today, my best defense is a good offense so just as I did 13 years ago with Lana, I'm writing the teacher a letter to educate her a little more on Izzy's allergies and what it means to have her in her class. It occurred to me there are a lot of us dealing with the back to school blues (or celebrations;)) right now and I have a few tips to keep yourself organized and keep our allergy kids safe. 

First off, the letter.  The teacher is just as overwhelmed at meeting all the new kids as well as parents as we are sending them off.  She doesn't really have time to listen to all you have to say about the allergies while you are in orientation or on the first day.  So a letter is perfect.  She'll know exactly the hidden dangers in the classroom and can ask you questions via email as needed. Secondly, ask her for a list of the kids birthdays in the class so that you can send in a safe treat for your child and they don't feel left out.  Keep "safe snacks" in the classroom as a back up, labeled with your child's name. Find out the schools policy for lunchtime on where your child sits (allergy table or in classroom, etc) and prepare your child so they aren't surprised the first day.  As with celiacs, Izzy can't even play with playdough so the teacher needs to be aware of that and I'll either make a batch of safe playdough or send in moon sand for her to be able to manipulate in the classroom safely.  Forming a relationship and partnership with the teacher as well as the school nurse and other school administrators is key. The best thing though is preparing your child.  "No food sharing/trading" should be a rule no matter where you are but especially in the school setting.

Prep breakfasts and freeze extras for easy mornings (muffins, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches or wraps are all easy to freeze and reheat).  Look for fun alternatives for lunch boxes so not only does everyone else want what they have but they don't get bored with the same old thing. 

These are just a few tips, as the week progresses I'll post more and some recipes too.