Thursday, October 28, 2010

Adventures in Allergy-Free Cooking, Part 1

As you may recall, in my post about Colin's 2nd year update, I challenged myself to begin branching out in the allergy-free world to find new foods for Colin. I have tried pizza, as you may remember from this post, but he was not a big fan! I also tried turkey meatballs, which he also didn't like. But this week, I think I've scored pretty big! 

For their Halloween party at school, I decided to try my hand at this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. YUM. I made a few slight variations for ours- allergy-free yellow cake mix with egg replacer and I made mini's instead of regular cupcakes since they were for little guys (and gals!). I also used Canola oil in place of vegetable oil that the cake mix calls for because vegetable oil comes from soybeans. Oh the things you learn! 

Either way, the cupcakes turned out great! Chris and I couldn't stop 'testing' them! I think those mini's have a somewhat addictive appeal to them. P.S. Reynold's makes some of the sweetest little cupcake liners I have EVER seen! Kroger had a very good selection! No word on what the kids thought of the cupcakes yet- I will keep you posted.

Not to keep you waiting for more, I also tried this recipe for gluten-free, egg-free chicken tenders. I used Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise and added the spices to the yogurt-mix rather than the cereal crumbs. I also used Rice Krispie cereal in place of the Rice Chex because it was all that I had on hand. The recipe was a great success! Colin loved them! I will definitely be making these more often. I served the chicken tenders with asparagus spears and brown rice but they would also be good with mashed potatoes and green beans. Can't wait to make them again!

Friday, October 22, 2010

How Did You Find Out About Colin's Food Allergies?

Just thinking about next week for Colin's Halloween festivities makes me exhausted! 

Monday: wear black to school, Tuesday: wear orange, Wednesday: wear Halloween costume for Halloween party and bring in assigned treats, Thursday: wear Halloween socks (who has those, anyway?), Friday: wear Halloween shirt. It's madness! They're two for goodness sake!

Nevertheless, I will be up baking into the night so that Colin has special treats to take to the party! Special, ALLERGY-FREE treats, that is. I can't really expect other parents to meet our expectations for food requirements so I always try to bring in something that is safe for Colin to enjoy!

People often ask us how we figured out that Colin even had food allergies. It didn't take long, really. Even though I was nursing, he had had chronic eczema from the time he was born. My pediatrician kept giving me prescriptions for a steroid cream. I was going through tubes of the stuff! The eczema would clear up and then come right back. He had it mainly on his face, as you can see in the pictures, but also on his shoulders and back which he would scratch until he bled. It was awful! 

Look at those red cheeks! I feel awful just looking at them

In May of 2009, when Colin was about 7 months old, we took a trip to Michigan and stopped at a friend's house on the way back. After playing with their dog, Colin looked like this:

We knew then that something was wrong. When we got back in town, I scheduled an appointment with a Cincinnati allergist, Dr. Ann Ghory (we LOVE her!) and had them conduct a round of allergy testing. Since he was so young, they only tested for the top 8 most common food allergies and dogs, of course. Allergy testing is not a fun experience. The nurse comes in and pricks their little back with needles containing a drop of each individual allergen. And if the pricks weren't enough, every time there is a reaction, a large red, itchy bump pops up at the injection spot. Not comfortable at all for an 8 month old. Needless to say, the results were nothing short of shocking- EGG, WHEAT/GLUTEN, SOY, PEANUT allergies!

In case you didn't know wheat and soy are in a LOT of foods. It's been an interesting journey. If anything, it has made us better eaters! I will have to get into the nitty-gritty of how we manage Colin's allergies day-to-day, this has already gone on far too long! Back to baking it is!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

WUV YOU and Life Lessons from Kiddie Books

In the middle of playing, Colin came up to me, hugged my legs, and said 'wuv you' before continuing on his busy way! MELT MY HEART! I am so blessed :)

Before bedtime, we always read a few books to Colin. We went to the library after dinner, so tonight we had two new books to read: No, David and Mr. Impossible. I had never read any of the books from either of these series and was actually very impressed with their underlying meanings. Or, at least, what I was reading between the lines. Who knows if that was the actual intent!

1) In No, David, the main character, David (of course), continues to try his mom by engaging in all sorts of crazy antics. Playing baseball in the living room, climbing on the counters- your typical boy activities. From beginning to end, all that you hear his mom say is 'No, David!' When he's finally put in time-out and gets upset, his mom says 'Davey, come here. Yes, David...I love you!' 

Isn't it so true? No matter how much they do, no matter how much they may disappoint us, we still love them more and more!

2) Mr. Impossible was about a little creature that could do absolutely anything! A little boy, William, takes him to school to share with his classmates and teacher. When William went home and told his parents about his day, they chuckled at him. 

As a mom, I want everything for Colin. I want him to believe that anything is possible. As Christians, we are taught that absolutely nothing is impossible through Christ. But society makes us doubt ourselves, and ultimately, God. An interesting thought from The Mission of Motherhood:

"I've learned that my influence on my children is limited only by the smallness of dreams and my lack of commitment to the Lord and his purposes."

Very humbling. Here's to undeserved love, BIG dreams, and always believing in the impossible!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

10.10.10 - A Baseball Extravaganza!

We couldn't have asked for a better day for Colin's birthday party! The weather was BEAUTIFUL and, in fact, it was down-right-HOT for October, but that didn't stop them from playing their little hearts out! We had friends, food, balloons, a giant playground and a mini-baseball field. Lots of things to do for a two-year-old boy! 

The morning of the party, Colin woke up in his usual good-spirits. While I was getting ready, I heard this sound rubbing against the wall. I found Colin trying to 'hang' his birthday cards. I decided to help him out a bit and taped them to his bedroom door. He was very pleased! I liked the idea so much that I may just have to make it a family tradition:

During his afternoon nap, Chris and I worked in shifts getting things ready for his party. Here's a look at a few of the details:

 The food. Most important, the baseball-shaped Rice Krispies cake. Colin is limited on foods and cannot have your typical cake due to the wheat flour and egg, among other things. Rice Krispies, however, he can enjoy!

Each guest signed this wooden baseball bat as a keepsake!

One of our little guests, Ava. She brought along her little purse to the party, so cute!

The balloons! We had a love/hate relationship that day. Colin was obsessed with them but the wind liked them more! We lost a few good balloons that day :(

The gift table! Lots of fun toys for the little guy.

We were blessed to have our family and friends celebrate with us. Thanks everyone for making it a great day! Now with the party over, we are welcoming Fall with open arms and gearing up for Halloween! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Colin's 2nd Birthday Pictures

I didn't take 18 month pictures of Colin and I definitely regret it. It has been a full year since we've had professional pictures of him. Anna Kennedy did Colin's 2nd Birthday pictures at a local pumpkin patch. We were pretty pleased with the results! Here is a glimpse of her work:

I love them all! I couldn't stop posting!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Colin Turns Two

Tuesday, October 5th, marked Colin's 2nd birthday! We made a trip to see Dr. Poon for his 2-year check-up. Everything looks great! He's growing, slowly, but he's growing, coming in at 31 3/4 inches tall and 23 lbs. and 6 oz! He really is a Little Guy. I think he hit the 30% for his height. So we're making progress!

To celebrate his big day, my parents came over for dinner. We had Chipotle (the BEST restaurant for Colin's allergies. He can eat pretty much anything there!) and cupcakes from Sugar Cupcakery in Milford, Ohio. They made gluten-free, vegan vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkes. They were delicious! However, both my dad and Colin were not big fans. I think Colin isn't into chocolate frosting these days. Crazy, I know. But he put down a couple of allergy- free sugar cookies that I had made for him to take to school. Also, very good. There are a lot of great allergy-free baking products available now. 

Before he went to bed, he opened a few gifts from all of us. His favorite toy of the night was the fire engine riding toy that he got from Chris' dad and Theresa. Of course, he can go very fast and it makes lots of noise! We love having toys like that around the house, haha. But he loves it! His birthday party will be this Sunday so I'm sure there will be a lot more noisy toys to come!

Here is an update of Colin's development...

No new foods. Although, he did eat a TON of asparagus at the wedding reception. So I guess we can add that one to the list, if it wasn't already there. I will admit, I do need to start introducing more foods to his diet. The poor kid can only eat so much beans and rice, and macaroni and cheese! We will make that my challenge over the next few months!

'Bus' - he loves to point out every bus on the way to school in the morning!
'Beep' - whenever he hears a car horn on the road he always follows up with his own 'beep beep'
'Up/Down' - he's beginning to get the point of these words and often uses them correctly. The same with On/Off
'Melk'- milk. This is a word that we have been waiting for for a LONG time. Teacher Becky even mentioned it to us at school. But he said it last night and I made him repeat it just to be sure!
'Decky'- and speaking of Teacher Becky, Colin refers to her as Decky
'Carter' - his little friend at school. So sweet!
'Nana' - my mom
'Pop' - what he now calls my dad, who was originally Pap. Oh well. Pop is cute!

I'm trying to think if I've missed anything else- it seems like he's been saying so much more! I probably missed a few here or there. He is doing very well with language and can actually carry on somewhat of a conversation with you. He has moved up to the 2 year old room at school so being around the older kids should help him even more in this area!

Potty Update:
He has now gone pee on the potty twice all by himself and poop once. All three times, he has taken off his own diaper and walked himself to the bathroom and sat down. So we know he knows HOW to do it, we just need to make it a more consistent activity! Very excited with his progress here, it hasn't taken much effort on our part so far. Chris just needs to relax about the possible 'accidents', however, or else Colin will be in diapers until he's 7!

Looking forward to spending a beautiful day at the park this Sunday for Colin's Birthday! We've been very blessed to have such great friends and family be a part of his life. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sous Chef

I'm playing catch up these days! This posting is a collaboration of a few weeks worth of stories...

A few weeks ago, I took Colin to the grocery store with me. I do not remember what day or what time of day it was, but it was freakishly empty so I let him walk with me rather than sit in the (very uncomfortable-looking) cart. He was quite the helper! He followed along side me very well and only strayed a few times to pick up things that he recognized- box of rice, gatorade, etc. It was very cute! I was amazed that he was able to recognize the items that he can have.

Flash forward a few weeks, I was making a box of the macaroni and cheese that we purchased. The Little Guy got into the cabinet and pulled out a pot for himself. While the water was coming to a boil, I let him have the dry macaroni and a spoon. He went to town 'making' his macaroni and cheese! He really enjoys to watch what I'm doing in the kitchen and tries to 'help' as much as possible. Maybe one of these days he will be cooking for us!

Tomorrow is the Little Guy's 2nd Birthday! Check back for a run down...