Feeling the love; a story and a fun book giveaway…

I love a good book, especially one pertaining to food allergies, a topic so close to many of our hearts. Food allergy advocate and blogger Sloane Miller, AKA Allergic Girl, has written her first book, Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies, which officially hits stands March 1st (although I do believe it is already available for order through Amazon).  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but will pass along my thoughts when I do. The book is sure to be filled with great advice and stories from Sloane’s personal lifelong experiences of living with food allergies. I’m not one to do giveaways on my blog but this one is fun AND gives y’all a chance to win your own copy.

All you have to do to win Sloane’s new book is to comment about your most memorable or favorite loving act you did for your food allergic loved one. At the end of the week I’ll randomly select a name through Random.org and have the book sent to you from Sloane herself. How fun is that??

To get this started I’ll share my story: My sister in law sends Valentine’s cards to all my children every year and includes one free donut treat card in each card. The cards came yesterday, and my two little guys David and Matthew had to have those donuts as soon as possible!  So this morning, the boys reminded me promptly after waking up that today is the day to get the donuts. In normal circumstances, this is cute, fun and what getting impromptu treats is all about. However, I thought about John, who never said a word. He knows he can’t have it, and is never, ever able to partake in this simple joy of childhood. Then it occurred to me, that just because he can’t have those donuts, doesn’t mean he can’t go along with us for the ride.

So when my daughter and two other boys were suiting up to go out to the car, I told John to grab his coat and come with us. He looked shocked, and asked why? “I can’t have it Mom” he said. I told him that while this is true, it doesn’t mean he can’t go and see what it’s all about. Sometimes the magic lies in being in that moment, the anticipation of going there, looking around, and seeing what looks yummy. It isn’t always the treat that matters. I wanted him to know and share in that joy of coming with to take a look around at all those donuts. Besides, I promised to make him whatever he wanted later in the day, a special treat just for him.  John’s gorgeous brown eyes it up and he excitedly got up to get his gear on.

It was fun for him to see all the flavors and and the experience inspired me to create some new donuts that he wants to try. It was a meaningful moment for both of us. I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen again for him, and for all your kiddos too.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!! You’re the best readers anywhere and I’m so grateful for your comments, support and never ending recipe testing!! Love it all!

31 Responses

  1. My precious 3 year old is getting old enough to ask if it’s safe and pretends to read the ingredients and says yes it’s safe. lol. We know some friends who has a child with a peanut allergy and on the day of a mutal friend’s kid bday party. The little boy was there too. I try to have something for my son at parties and that day I had bought enough from a local bakery that is specifically for children with allergies. You should have seen how excited the other little boy was to have something to eat too with everybody else at the party. There have been many times we have snuck food into places so my little guy can join in on the fun too or have called a manger ahead. My son feels like one of the gang as he tags along with big kid adventures. My most recent memory is celebrating 3 kids birthday’s all at the same time at Celebration Station. The best of memories to have everybody together.

    Parties are so hard when you have six kids and the youngest being twins and one with food allergies. When the twins were little it was just to hard to attend parties. We made efforts to go to family parties and very special friends invites. I will never forget when my husband’s little sister was turning 20 and she had requested a pizza party with all the members of the family. My mother n law found special cheese for him and made the twins each mini pizzas especially for them. It was absolutely so special seeing how they included him and were so thoughtful to make it special to even the tiniest of the family. Love the hearts of others!

  2. First of all, I’m dying to read this book and would love to win a copy!

    I’d have to say the most memorable thing our family ever did was take my son to Disney world for a vacation. It was the first time in his five years that he was able to have a “normal” vacation — he could eat foods he liked and actually order from menus. We didn’t spend the entire trip worrying about the next meal and his allergies. For a few magical days, I think he felt as if he was like everyone else.

    You can read more about our trip here:

    http://bookingmama.blogspot.com/2009/10/our-normal-family-vacation.html

  3. Great Story Kelly!

    My favorite memory revolves around Halloween. Yes Halloween. That dreaded holiday filled with things my little one can not eat. My son is not only allergic to PN/TN but to corn, so that takes our all the sugary candy too. The only thing he gets that is safe for him is plain Better Maid Potato Chips. But he doesn’t care. He goes out every year full of excitement and joy. He runs up to each house and yells trick or treat. Out of all my children he is the last to go inside from all the house hopping. He’s learned that holidays, not only Halloween, are for the fun not the food. It always brings me such joy to see him running around with his bag of candy and not caring about the candy.

  4. My 2 1/2 year old daughter has allergies to eggs and milk. My husband and I both come from large extended families and we have a number of family birthdays during January/February. My daughter and I were talking about everyone’s birthdays and she said “oh, I not eat birthday cake though,” which of course made me tear up that she has started to realize she is different and eating different foods. I always make her some special treat to bring to parties or family gatherings so she doesn’t feel left out. At one of the parties I made her a very ellaborate chocolate layer cake (one of your reicpes from your book Kelly!). Of course there was a normal bakery cake there too. Well everyone LOVED the dairy and egg free cake they ate every last crumb! My daughter was so excited to see that she was eating the same cake as everyone else and how much they all talked about how good it was and she said “Mommy-everyone eat my cake” with a huge grin on her face. Before food allergies came into our life I certainly would have taken things like this for granted.

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  6. Just the other day the kids and I were grocery shopping and walked past the bakery section which was full of Valentine’s Day treats. Nick has been known in the past to look and comment but that day they were both impressed with these giant soft sugar cookies with red colored sugar. I told them I agreed that they looked pretty awesome and then we continued on our way. Later that day they were playing with their Dad and I baked the biggest soft sugar cookies with red sugar I could and brought them to the table for dessert and they were both so excited that I made safe cookies even bigger than the ones at the store. Big smiles.

  7. My husband and I both have Lyme disease. I am showing much more definitive signs that he is. It is a very difficult disease to cure; some say there is no cure. I have to believe there is!

    One symptom that comes along with Lyme is a huge-range of food allergies. With Lyme evading you immune system, your system becomes confused and then identifies certain foods as invaders. I was tested to have over 47 food sensitivities. My diet consist of meats, vegetables, proteins, and limited fruit. Visit my blog at mylymediary4me.blogspot.com

    Shortly after I was diagnosed with Lyme, my husband began showing symptoms-he went and had allergy testing done and found out he had to cut out many of the foods that he loves–one being chocolate-chip cookies due to the gluten, nut & soy factor. I felt so bad for him. I often refereed to him as my cookie monster. For desert, he was simply happy with a cookie.

    Although I could not have any form sugar and therefore couldn’t enjoy the cookies myself, I was determined to find an easy recipe for sugar cookies for him. I found one online and made him a batch. He was so grateful, and now I make him batches of dough at a time, wrap them up in wax paper, and freeze them so he can have them whenever he wants. He loves them and they make him happy!

  8. We moved to France a 18mos. ago and just weeks after finding out our 9mo. old son was allergic to dairy, eggs and wheat. When is first birthday came around I was still completely lost in the grocery stores here. I attempted to make him a birthday cake but it was a complete flop. It was hard and tasteless. I was so sad because he had no cake, no party and no family (besides dad, sister, and myself) to celebrate with.

    This fall I found your website and have been baking many of your recipes. I was so excited when his first birthday rolled around. We made him the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Had a party with guests. And though he only stuck one finger in the frosting and started crying (hates having his hands dirty) and would not eat any of it, I thought the day was perfect b/c he had a chance to have a real birthday cake like every other child. And I had back up mickey mouse shaped sugar cookies for him on hand, which he loves!

  9. I would love to win this book! Like Sloane, I am an adult with food allergies. I’m sure that I can relate to many of her experiences, and I’d love to hear her perspective and gain some additional advice, support, etc. Since it’s me (and not a family member) that has food allergies, I’m not sure what to share… but I’ll just say that peanut and tree nut allergies haven’t stopped me from celebrating life and doing the things I love. I just do them differently and more carefully. Living life fully (maybe no longer freely, but fully!) is my gift…to myself.

  10. Since my daughter was 5 months old (she’s 4 now), we’ve know she has allergies to milk, soy, wheat, eggs & all nuts. One of the most memorable things we do for her is on Halloween. She loves to dress up & go trick-or-treating, but can’t eat the majority of the candy. On Halloween night, she leaves out the candy she can’t have and the Halloween Candy Witch comes to take it away and leave her a little gift. It’s something fun she looks forward to every year!

  11. I have four kids and my third child who is 2 has an egg and nut allergy. I found out today that the school i have signed her up for preschool as a food allergy policy. That I must bring all foods she eats. She may never partake in the class snack or holiday celebrations. My older two sons have attended here as well. I know this policy is for her safety. I just felt it to be very discriminating to her. I am willing to make snacks for holiday parties that are allergen free to meet all kids needs, but on a day to day basis of snack. One person is reasonable for snacks for the week. I just feel she will always be singled out. I have not figured out a good way to deal with this yet. Does anyone have any suggestions as my other two children attend the same school?

  12. My most special food allergy moment thus far surprisingly does not involve my own precious dairy/egg/soy allergic twin boys, but my dairy/egg/nut allergic nephew. For my boy’s 2nd birthday last year we had a small family party. I made each of the kids, including my niece and nephew their own small three tiered birthday cakes (dairy, egg, nut and soy free, of course). My four year old nephew walked in the kitchen and saw the cakes and said “Those are so beautiful!” When I pointed out that he had one all for himself, too, he looked at me and said in disbelief “But…..is it Jack-friendly?” I answered that of course it was Jack-friendly and that it was very tasty, too (one of your recipes, Kelly- thank you!). He screamed with joy and ran to his mom and said “Mom! Mom! I have my very own cake and it’s safe for me!” The only moment that topped it was after we sang Happy Birthday and the kids dug into their cakes– my nephew looked at me with his eyes dancing and his face covered in chocolate and said “Thank you, Auntie! This is delicious!” and he made sure his mom packed up the leftovers to take home! I find great pleasure in making safe treats for my children and niece and nephew that are safe AND delicious, and then watching them indulge in them just like every other kid.

  13. I will second the post about the magic of eating at Disney for a food allergy kid. However, my top food allergy heart melter this year is when my daughter spent her time trick or treating for her mom and dad’s favorite candy bars. She would run from house to house and then check in with us on who had more of theirs in her bag. She was actually more excited to tell us about those then when she got a treat she could actually eat herself.

  14. My example is from my non-allergic 3 year old, whose big brother is allergic to nuts and eggs. He makes us laugh when he insists he can’t eat something because it has eggs in it; he wants to be just like his brother! We eat at my mother-in-love’s every Thursday night, and she takes great care in preparing food (and dessert) that our allergic son can eat. I appreciate it so much!
    Kelly, I picked up your book from my local library and have been impressed with all of the recipes that I’ve tried. The Texas Sheet Cake is AMAZING!!

  15. At five months, my youngest son was diagnois with food allergies. Because he was still nursing and I didn’t want to stop, I decided to give up all milk, egg, and nut products for the duration of his first year. After a year of not eating those foods, I have decided to continue eating with him instead of adding them back into my diet. While I am sure there will be more stories in the future, this is my “love” sacrifice for him!

  16. I am on an elimination diet in order to nurse my 12 month old. I stopped eatting milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts and soy once we received his diagnosis when he was 4 months old.

  17. My three yr old son is egg, peanut and tree nut allergic. Although the love and extra care are an everyday reality in feeding him safely, I really went a step further yesterday for Valentine’s Day. Using your pancake recipe I made pink heart shaped pancakes for dinner as a surprise “treat” for my son and daughter (who is not FA). The look on his face when he saw the special pancake was priceless!! My daughter has been able to eat breakfast out and get special fun shaped pancakes but, he has never been able to experience that. Yesterday, I was able to give that to him as well as show both of my kids how much I love them!!! Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. I have learned so much about baking for my FA son and so much about baking in general!

  18. I’m actually going to give my mother in law credit for this. We went out to the farm this past weekend to celebrate 5 birthdays in the family and I was very pleasantly surprised to find she had made dairy & free cupcakes for my daughter. I gave her one of your cookbooks a few months ago because she loves to bake, but my daughter can never eat any of her grandma’s yummy treats. I thought I had offended her, especially since she we’ve been out to the farm a few times since and she had yet to make anything “J friendly.” I was thrilled and delighted to find she had gone to the effort to make this birthday weekend special for my daughter – it certainly made a difference!

  19. We found out that my one year old son had allergies to milk, egg and peanut when he was 8.5 months old. I guess the fact that I took the allergies on as my own and continue to nurse him (and not just wean him because of the inconvenience) is a loving act!

  20. My son was diagnosed over 8 years ago and I’m having a hard time choosing a single event :) My daughter also had several FA’s, but surprisingly outgrew them a couple of years ago. I think being a strong advocate for him is one of the best things I do. It’s certainly a behind the scenes act many times though. We’ve started to share many of those responsibilities with him so he’s learning how to advocate at school and events, how to appropriately read and check labels – every time, and basically all the planning that goes on to ensure he can participate in the many activities that he does. We also had a wonderful experience at Disneyland and CA Adventure. We were thrilled to be able to enjoy a breakfast out – something we rarely do in regular life because of his egg allergy. He didn’t realize how wonderful and special it was since we work so hard to make safe versions of nearly any food.

    I’m also a volunteer on a Food Allergy support forum – Kids with Food Allergies. I find great joy in sharing my experiences, cooking tips, and our journey with other families.
    Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes here. It’s a joy to read.

  21. Jake is 8 years old and is allergic to milk, eggs and nuts. He is such a trooper and has always had a great attitude about his allergies. He is completely easy going and never complains. We were given a trip to Disney World a few years ago and had such a great time. Disney knows how to do food allergies! The chef’s came out every night and spoke to Jake. Not to me, but to him. Asked him what he wanted and let him decide. On the first night the chef asked him what he wanted for dessert. Jake replied that he couldn’t have dessert because of his allergies. The chef just smiled and said, “you can have dessert at Disney!” Jake’s mouth dropped open and we all cried. The first time Jake has ever been able to have dessert at a restaurant. We had a wonderful trip and we are planning our next trip in the fall. They made Jake feel special, not different. That is something that allergic kids don’t get very often!

  22. Our most memorable event happened this year. My husband found out about a local pizza place that will follow special requests. We inquired and found out their pizza crust and sauce were dairy-free. We were all able to eat individual pizzas from this place to celebrate V-day. Our oldest son (dairy, egg & peanut allergic) was thrilled to be able to eat a dairy-free pizza from a restaurant with the rest of his family. It is the first time he hasn’t had to eat spaghetti or have a homemade pizza. :-)

  23. My son is allergic to all peanuts, treenuts and dairy. Extended family celebration meals are always difficult with my family making some things “Connor-safe” and some things not. Also, many family members sometimes complain because things don’t “taste right” when they’re made without dairy etc…It’s also intimidating at times for them to try to make the substitutions and make them still taste good. And it’s always sad to tell my son that there are things on the table that he can’t have. Well this past Thanksgiving we were going to my family’s to celebrate ( the first Thanksgiving that we’ve done this). My mom declared that I (with her help) would be in charge of all the food so that I could make sure everything was prepared safely. When we sat down to dinner that day, my son could eat every single item on the table – we didn’t even put out butter for other family members. Connor said he wanted “some of everything!” with a huge smile on his face. After the meal, my mom said, “now that wasn’t so difficult after all!” Next we tackle Christmas Eve dinner….

  24. My most memorable and heartfelt moment is actually from this week on Valentine’s Day. Thanks to your amazing Food Allergy Mama Cookbook, I was able to witness the biggest smiles on my kids’. My son is allergic to dairy, egg, peanut and sesame seeds. My daughter is allergic to dairy and egg. They both get very disappointed when we go to the store and see all these delicious bakery items and cannot have them. I am always saddened as well and have been trying for the past few years to find delicious recipes for them. While my little ones were napping, I was able to surprise them with a beautiful Valentine’s Day party highlighted by two of your recipes that I made; I baked heart-shaped cupcakes and heart-shaped cookies. When I saw how everything turned out, I felt such joy and pride knowing that I was able to do this for them. When they awoken and came down from their nap and saw everything I had done for them, the look on their faces was priceless. Besides the cakes and cookies, I set up balloons and other decorations in addition to gift bags with some allergy friendly treats, which are very hard to find as well. When my husband saw what I had done and how much time and effort I put in, he was so grateful to me. We had the best Valentine’s Day ever! The cakes and cookies were delicious and I am so thankful to you for this cookbook. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  25. I have to say that your story brought tears to my eyes.

    Right now, I am still recovering from Valentine’s Day. We had fun celebrating. For me, I love to celebrate little holidays. I get nervous in front of kids, though. I’d rather be in front of a group of adults than a group of kids. I’m not sure why but anyway. I planned and put on my food allergy kid’s valentine party at school. Calling parents- no problem. Buying treat bags- no problem. Planning a craft- no problem. Talking in front of the kids explaining the crafts and gathering groups of kids to make the fruit dip- nerve wracking. I was so proud of myself. And my son, had a safe, fun party where he could participate in everything. Plus, he is at the age where he still likes to see mom at school.
    On top of that- I worked extra hard to make it to both of his brother’s parties. They are super aware that he gets more attention on holidays.
    We had fun. We were safe. And, I was super duper exhausted at the end of the day!

  26. Everyone in our family has done something loving for our tree nut allergic 2yo daughter, but her big sister leads the pack. She is 4yo and has no food allergies but attends a nut-free school. When we learned of our younger daughter’s FA our older girl said, “She can still come to parties at my school.” And sure enough she holds her sister’s hand at every party, finds her a seat, and fixes her a plate of food. When it comes time for treats she always asks us if we brought her sister’s chocolate chips – she never eats cake but loves chocolate chips! It is amazing to watch her care for her sister so sweetly!

  27. The most special moment for us was right after we found out my daughter was allergic to peanuts. My new friend of only a year immediately went to her pantry and put huge X’s over the boxes of snacks that weren’t Ava safe so that there would never be a question of which snack my daughter could have when we had our play dates. Her support still brings tears to my eyes because she was the first person of my family and friends to do this for us. What was a new friendship made at a mommy and me group quickly became a friend for life.

  28. Wow…I can’t tell you how much I love reading every single one of these stories. All of them made me weepy, teary and just so amazed at all the heroic efforts our families make every day. Behind every family with food allergies, there are these amazing back stories of incredible love and devotion to our children. I learned so much from all of you. Thank you so much for sharing all your beautiful stories.

    I wish, oh how I wish I could have Sloane mail every single one of you a book, but I’m not Oprah and can’t work that kind of magic. :) But I do have ONE winner, chosen from http://www.random.org (a cool little site that randoms selects a name from the list you put in…so coolio!). Drum roll….

    Jennifer L. Congratulations!!! You will be mailed a copy of Sloane Miller’s new book Allergic Girl!! Go Jennifer! Let us all know how you like the book!!

    Thank you again everyone!!!!!

    Kelly

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