More Great Food Allergy Moments of 2011

We continue on with the best of 2011.

August  Cake Break in the beach town of Rehoboth, DE is a nut free bakery.  Son could eat whatever he wanted there!  It was wonderful seeing him get to pick.  He sat at the window seats with his cousins and had the best time. This is my personal favorite allergy moment of 2011.

start of school 2011September  School started back up – whether we were ready or now.  Here’s a shout out to all the great 4th grade friends who choose to sit at the peanut free table.  You guys rock!

October  Our son has a super Sunday school teacher who contacted us ahead of time when she read his info sheet.  He always feels safe and included in her class.

Halloween was a non-issue for us this year because son got pneumonia that weekend.  He had the Harry Potter cape borrowed from his best friend and everything.  Nasty timing.

November  This past year brought some challenges and some frustrating days where I felt like banging my head against the wall.  How many times do I need to say the same exact thing?  And then say it again a different way?  A big thanks to the nova food allergy support group – these folks have seen and heard it all.

December We are so thankful to our son’s teacher and parents for a year-end party where everything was safe for his classroom.  He didn’t need to even open his safe cookie box from home.

Kudos to cooks on both sides of our family, who can manage to serve tasty and safe holiday meals to our  son, an uncle who is vegetarian and wheat-allergic, and a cousin with celiac.   You are amazing!  This year we passed around gourmet chocolates from Simply Nut Free Chocolates  that were safe for everyone at our celebrations.  Rave reviews!

Happy New Year!

Thanks to all who made 2011 so great.  We hope 2012 brings more wonderful allergy friendly products and even more people who “get it”!

Best Moments of 2011

February  We made the trip to Baltimore to see Dr. Wood, though not much had changed.  We found out dear son’s tummy aches after soup were because of soy protein isolate or soy protein concentrate.  Very powerful form of soy protein, even if it is a last ingredient.  Thank you Dr. Wood!  You are always worth the trip!

March It was super NOT to have to make cupcakes for the end of the season.  Joy of Cupcakes baked basketball cupcakes and delivered them fresh right before the last game.  The team cupcakes had tiny basketballs made of icing – of course the boys ate them first!  Not a single icing ball was thrown at a teammate.

April   Our boy had some of his best moments of 2011 on a tour of Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, the home of the Phillies.  He sat in the dugout and posed in the press room.  Awesome!  We hope some day he can see a game in person.  Phillies fans, keep plugging for an allergy free seating area.

May  The baseball practices got much longer this year as son moved into AAA Little League.  We are so grateful to all his coaches.  They were willing to learn the Epipen, to watch out for any reactions, to treat him like all the other boys who just get dropped off for practice.  Special thanks to Coach Leo, Coach Tony, Coach Paul and Coach Darrell – you are helping our son grow into a responsible young man.

June   Both kids did a great job cooking this summer.  Our daughter made beautiful breakfasts, with eggs and fruit and a taste of chocolate too.  Son’s specialty is his fresh fruit designs.  We were very proud when he served this meal of hot dogs, corn and fruit salad.

July Nationals park on a summer afternoon, best friends, baseball, peanut free area – all added up to a fun day.  It went into extra innings and I don’t remember who won.  Who cares?  A great day.


It is easy to be negative.  The Halloween candy is already out in all the stores and most of it is not safe for dear son.  A young friend recently outgrew his peanut allergy.  We are so glad for him and his family.  But our son seems to be picking up new allergies – not outgrowing anything.

But last week a busy single dad took the time to find an ice cream snack made in a nut free facility – a product I had never seen locally.  A mom on the team brought grapes to the game from her peanut-free home.  A new Sunday School teacher emailed us before the first class to ask about safe snacks.  Son’s peanut free table was overflowing with friends even the first day of school.

Is a peanut allergy irritating to live with?  Yes!  But this week we feel very blessed for the wonderful folks in our lives.  I hope your first couple weeks of school have gone well also.

Find lots more allergy aware signs at


Starting School with a Food Allergy: Decisions

A few years ago, I wrote a children’s book “Starting School with a Food Allergy:  Tips for a Peanut Allergic Kid.” It covers the rules a boy named Ricky needs to follow to keep himself safe at school.  Ricky will eat his own food from home and will sit with friends eating safe lunches.  Ricky will learn to read and will love recess!

My kids are annoyed with all the back-to-school sales and ads.  But it is that time!  If you are sending a food allergic child to school for the first time, this can be a very busy stressful time for you!  Here are some important decisions you need to make:

  • Who can provide my child with food?
  • Does my child need an allergy free table?
  • Is my child mature enough to tell a teacher if he or she feels sick?

Who can provide my child with food?

Along with peanuts and tree nuts, our son has some less common allergies to chick peas, lentils and other foods.  At home we avoid any foods that may contain traces of peanut or tree nuts.  We decided it was safest for him to only eat food from home while at school.  Even if a teacher or cafeteria lady or friend thought the food was safe, it was not allowed.

Every child with food allergies has a unique situation.  Research the cafeteria food.  Decide now what is right for your child this year, and then be consistent with your child, the teachers and the cafeteria workers.

Does my child need an allergy free table?

This again depends on your child’s situation.  My son’s friends yelled with their mouths full, especially in K and 1st grade.  Sitting next to them was interesting!  At times I had to swab off my face.  So yes, we did and still do have a peanut free table.

Unfortunately, a severe milk or egg allergy can be more isolating than nut allergies.  Some schools have a dedicated desk that is covered, except when the specific food allergic child goes to lunch.  The child uncovers the desk and pulls it up to the main table.

Plan to go to lunch several times that first week of school.  You need to see for yourself how things are going.  This is easier and more reliable than trying to extract info from your child after a long day.  Is your cafeteria plan working?  The ideal situation is for your child to be safe and not socially isolated.

Is my child mature enough to tell a teacher if he or she feels sick?

Accidents happen.  Reactions occur.  Your child needs to tell an adult if they feel unwell.  Encourage your child to speak up.  If they have their hand up to go potty, they can wait to be called on.  If they feel symptoms of an allergic reaction, they should be able to get immediate attention from a teacher or aide.  They don’t need to sit and wait to be called on.  Give them permission to break the regular rules and get out of their seat to ask for help.

More to come soon on Kindergarten kisses, cafeteria trash cans and classroom helper jobs!