My Windy City Live Appearance…

Hope everyone is well! Things have been fabulously slow around here and I am just enjoying being home with the kids and having no obligations. This morning I had an appearance on Windy City Live, a local live talk show in Chicago. It was big fun and everyone was so willing to talk about food allergies, especially the new study that came out Monday. I am just grateful that more people are talking about food allergies, and hopefully with that comes more awareness. I’d love you all to spread the word, and comment on the clip at the Windy City Live site, or at their Windy City Live Facebook page. The more people talk about it, the more food allergy segments and topics we could see in the future. Thank you so much!

Finally, I’d love to know what kind of recipe you want to see here next. I am looking for YOUR fabulous ideas and inspiration. Thanks so much everyone as always for your amazing support!!


Food Free Classrooms…In Progress!

This week has been one of parties, parties and more parties. Everything from end of school year, end of soccer, birthdays, you get the picture. It has taken its toll on John (and me, for that matter with all the baking I’ve done this week, and I’m not done yet). It’s always a process, from figuring out what’s being served, to what I can bring, to reminding John to never eat anything I don’t personally approve. But this week has had its share of hiccups.

For example, my good friend invited John to her son’s birthday party and I made a special treat like I always do, for John to bring in place of the birthday dessert. I happened to have a lunch date with girlfriends that day, and my husband drove John to the party. But for some odd reason, John told my husband that he didn’t want the special treat, and that it was fine. He’ll just have water or something there. Like most of you, I’m sure, I would have made John bring the treat “just in case”. When I picked up John, he seemed to regret that he didn’t bring it, but after talking a little further about it, I learned that sometimes John just gets tired of having to bring or have the “special” treat. I personally think it is because of all the parties recently, and it can be just as tiring for an 8-year-old boy to be on his guard. As his mom, I can certainly relate.

However, the following email from my school superintendent literally picked up my spirits, and made me feel that little by little, we are getting to the point of regulating how much food we are bringing into our children’s classrooms:

Hi Kelly,

The Ad Council completed their review and have made recommendations for next year that include the restriction/regulation/control of food in the classrooms, but not an out right elimination. Staff and Parent handbooks will be revised to codify these changes.

However, our work is not complete. The new guidelines are still considered “under review.”  We are hoping to work with them and see how implementation goes.  Interestingly, a few teachers have already made comments like, “It might be easier for me to simply avoid the use of food in my classroom.” While this sentiment is clearly not universal, you can see that opinions are changing.

Additionally, we have given the Curriculum Department the task of doing a subject-by-subject audit of the curriculum.  Our goal is to identify every place that teachers are using food as part of their instructional practice. Once identified we will be asking how necessary this lesson is and what controls need to be put in place.

I know that this is not exactly where you want us to be (at the moment). However, we are taking a concerted effort to move in an improved direction.

The superintendent was right in saying that “this is not exactly where I want them to be”, but I am SO HAPPY we taking the next steps to developing a responsible policy that is good for EVERYONE, not just the children with allergies. It is a chance for educators to really pause about how they use food in their curriculum, and to determine if it serves an educational and valuable purpose. I am very proud and happy that this getting the attention it needs. Don’t ever give on your schools; they WILL listen and try to work in the best interests of our children. It may take a while (in my case, YEARS) but in the end, ALL our children will benefit from these healthier and important changes in the classroom.

Finally, I have another blog post up at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living. I’d love for y’all to check it out and post your comments! Thanks so much everyone and here’s to the start of a fun and WARM summer!!