I’m back….

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to ALL of you fantastic food allergy mama’s out there who work tirelessly to keep your kids safe and happy every day. I hope you are baking something sweet and fabulous with your incredible children today. Or maybe perhaps they’re baking just for YOU!

Second, I deeply apologize for completely dropping off the face of the earth, at least in the blogging world. I jumped on here recently and saw that my last post was in February. In February?? I could hardly believe it and thought something was actually wrong with my wordpress. But then I quickly realized I was a total loser and yes, literally dropped the ball all these months and haven’t posted a darn thing. BUT…I’ll give you the readers’ digest version of the past few months and you’ll see why.

Right after my last post, I sold my house in Wilmette, IL. During this time I was also juggling house showings (which means lots of house cleanings) and writing my next book, The Food Allergy Mama’s Fast and Easy Family Meals for Everyday. Writing this book was a labor of love as it includes lots of amazing recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and treats as well as menu ideas. However, writing roughly 140 recipes means creating them, testing them, retesting them and then cleaning it all up! Which, with 5 kids, virtually no help (except for my beloved Halina who lovingly cared for my kids 4 hours/twice a week while I wrote), and an insane kids’ sports/activities schedule, I was literally using every minute of every day to accomplish every necessary task. So then, after I received an offer for my house in February, my husband and I flew off to sunny CA in search for our new family home. No easy task, yet I did all the legwork and research months before, so I knew EXACTLY where I wanted to live. We spent a weekend in SoCal’s San Clemente and looked at TONS of houses. We found one, put an offer in, and after some multiple offer craziness we got it. Next up was finishing my book manuscript and recipe testing. After I finished that, it was time to cook like a madwoman for the book’s photography. I used the same photographer as my last book, Robert Knapp, who is such a creative genius. He has the most amazing sense of style. However, the process of shooting food photos is more work than meets the eye. And I do all my own cooking, food styling, etc. so the process can be very labor intensive. However, after a few days of that, we wrapped the shoot and I sent the photos and manuscript off to my editor. I took one day off, then got our whole family ready for a trip to Disneyworld….

Disneyworld is truly a magical place and I am so happy we went, even despite the craziness of those few weeks. My friend and AMAZING food allergy mama Lissa Critz at My Magic Journeys set up the entire trip for us, and took care of every single detail from where we stayed to where we ate. And yes we ate OUT!!! That alone made this trip the most amazing experience for us, and especially for John. It felt like a real vacation, one in which we could be carefree and feel as safe as possible. I love Disney and how they make EVERY child feel special and cared for, even those with food allergies. Many of you have feared going for obvious reasons, but please, take my word for it, it is worth every expense to go. It will be the trip of your child’s lifetime. Contact Lissa, she’s the BEST of the BEST and will ease your every fear. She’ll send you detailed printouts ahead of time as to where you and your FA child can eat, along with other special touches. I am forever grateful to her for making this trip one of our favorites.

After we returned from Disneyworld, I attended and spoke at FAAN’s Food Allergy Conference in Chicago and shared my favorite recipes and cooking tips. It was an honor and privilege to be there, and like every other year I’ve attended, met so many wonderful and dedicated food allergy parents. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from these conferences. I am so thankful for FAAN and everything they do for families like ours.

After the FAAN conference, I was off to speak at my BFF’s middle school in my hometown in Illinois. That was truly one of the most amazing experiences. Those kids were so special, full of love, wonder, and had a great capacity of understanding and concern for learning about kids with food allergies. Afterward they each wrote me these amazing thank you letters, and they all brought me to tears. Every single one of them.

Then a couple of days after that I was off to Orlando again for my own weekend at the Ritz. I was supposed to go on my own as a treat to myself for finishing my book and meeting an old friend, but my one of my BFF’s was actually in FL too, and joined me for the weekend. We had a blast, and it was great to see old friends and meet some new ones too. Love that Ritz!!

After that trip I came home to pack for 10 days, wrap up the kids’ last days at school and get the final details in order for a cross-country move. Oh my Lord, that was no easy feat. In fact, much of it is still a blur. But I do remember landing at John Wayne Airport in Orange County thinking, “I finally made it”. It was a very emotional moment for me, as moving out west has a been a dream of mine for a very long time. The fact that we actually did it still shocks me. I love Chicago, was born and raised in the midwest, and I’ll always be a midwestern girl, but my heart and soul have always longed to be here. I am an outdoorsy-type of girl, one likes to roam and explore, and my spirit could no longer handle the brutal extremes of Chicago weather. In fact, I loved to be outside so much that I was always the dumb ass who could be found running outside at 5am in 15 degree temps and lower wind chills, many times even during snow and sleet storms. I NEED to be outside, all the time. Now that my kids are getting acclimated to the beauty and warmth here, they are loving it just as much.

So now it is May 13th, I’ve been here nearly a month and still getting my sea legs. But I can tell you that I’ve never felt more at peace, or more at home. Every day I wake up, run along the Pacific Ocean and count my blessings. I am a VERY LUCKY girl. I am surrounded by the love of my family, the beauty of SoCal, meeting new friends whom I already adore, and looking ahead to bigger dreams. I think about the past year, and all my dreams that have come true, and have wondered, “now what?”. I’ve always been a daydreamer, someone who is constantly looking to learn more, know more, and see more. Now that I’m here with my family, and we’re getting settled, I’m already planning for new dreams and experiences. Hope…it’s what keeps us all alive and kicking.  Just like I have hope for a cure for food allergies, or hope that our kids won’t feel excluded at school, or hope that our kids stay safe and happy forever.

I sincerely apologize for being MIA these past several months, but now you know why. It’s going to be another fun and fantastic year as I prepare my next book’s release for you, and will be posting some new recipes (Mac and Cheese anyone??) I love you all and am grateful for your support all these years. Your comments, questions and advice make this journey a blast.

Happy Baking Everyone!!!

xo

31 Responses

  1. Kelly,
    you have been missed, but I am so happy for you!!! Such a big move! I made your lemon cake the other day, what a pleasant surprise. I have to convert your recipes to wheat free so I never know how they will come out:) also your brownies are out of this world! So excited for your new cookbook. You are a goddess for us food allergy moms. We love you for allowing us to create normal everday food and treats allergy free:)
    hope your mothers day was amazing. You deserve it!

  2. Welcome back! Glad you had a safe move and wonderful trip! do you know when your release date is for the new book?

  3. Congratulations on the move! I made your cinnamon bread for my son’s preschool Mothers Day tea and everyone loved it! I even had several requests for the recipe! It’s not easy to find allergy friendly food that will also appeal to the rest of the world but you have done that beautifully! Thank you, thank you! Wish you continued happiness in your new home!

  4. Can’t wait for the mac & cheese!!! Congrats on your house and achieving your dream — and I absolutely CAN’T wait for your book!!

  5. Hey Kelly!
    cannot WAIT to read your next book. We LOVE your baking book–I make 2 loaves of banana bread each week. Enjoy the nice weather.
    Best,
    Rose Ann

  6. Kelly,
    I literally don’t understand how you do it all. Hope you put your feet up for a few minutes on Mother’s Day. :)

  7. I’ve missed your blog so thanks for the exciting update. I can’t wait for your new book to be released! Congrats on your move/new home and thanks so much for all you do in the food allergy world.

  8. Kelly! I met you at the FAAN conference last year and bought your cookbook, which we use often with our son. We also just followed our dreams and moved from Chicago SW Suburbs to North Carolina. I wish you and your family well.

  9. So glad to hear from you once again! How wonderful that you have the opportunity to live where you do now. I grew up in Orange County and lived a few years in wonderful San Clemente. It remains my all time favorite place in that area! Enjoy your warm summers, mild winters and incredible sunsets. We look forward to your cookbook coming out!

  10. Congrats on everything you have done these past few months!!! I am so happy you made it to Disney and had a wonderful trip. We have gone twice with our FA son and are planning another trip for the fall. Disney’s special diet’s department is great and we have gotten so much helpful information from them prior to our trip. Also, during the trip we have found that the chefs at the table service restaurants and the managers at the quick service restaurants have been very informed and helpful with our food allergy needs. Now that you are in CA you will have to visit Disneyland and report back :)

  11. Hi Kelly,

    Great to hear from you!! You are always full of inspiration. I do wonder how you managed all that you did. :) Amazing!!!!!!

    Thanks for the good news on Disney. We have thought about it and friends that went this past Feb. couldn’t wait to tell me what she abserved how great Disney was at handling food allergies. She doesn’t have a fa child, but is very intuned because of us. I will contact your friend when we get ready to plan the trip. One thing, do you fly with John? That is our biggest worry. We haven’t flown yet with the kids and are concerned being up in the air and a reaction happens. Thoughts?

    Enjoy SoCal! Running on the beach every morning, sounds perfect!

    Kari

  12. I cannot WAIT for your next cookbook! Your baking book is my bible for special occasions, and it will be AWESOME to have a book I can use for everyday meals. THANK YOU!

  13. Kelly, there is absolutely no need to apologize!!!

    We love when you share with us, but you are the woman, wife, mama that God gave to you and your family first!! So don’t feel guilty – just do what you are called to do, and share with us when you can!

    I am the “food allergy Nana” to my little granddaughter Katie. Just this weekend I was missing you, and praying everything was all right. And I see that is! I was reviewing the recipes to make her something for her birthday.

    But with your inspiration to pursue – to know there has to be a way – I found a chocolate cake and even a frosting I could make for her birthday cake!

    Egg, corn, rice, milk and nut free chocolate cake and frosting! I ground the sugar to make powdered sugar for frosting in my Magic Bullet, used Fleischmann’s salt free margarine, and soy milk with cocoa and vanilla and made a delicious frosting (it was only very slightly grainy – next time will try grinding the sugar just a little longer).

    And so glad to find “Wacky Cake” which uses vinegar, salt and soda to make it rise – it’s nice and moist and everyone loved it!

  14. Congrats on your move Kelly! You will always make a difference in our lives, no matter where you live…although I will miss running into you at the Chicago FAAN walk each year :)

  15. I just wanted to tell you thank you so much, you truly inspire me. I am new to the food allergy world, we just found out that our 18 month old is allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and possibly soy. My whole world has changed. Once I found your blog and bought your baking book, I started feeling a little more hopeful in that I knew I wasn’t alone. Thank you for helping me and so many us!

  16. Congratulations Kelly and welcome to sunny SoCal…we are happy to have you here! We look forward to your new cookbook (we love your first cookbook) and to reading new blogs posts from you soon. Best wishes to you and your family!

  17. Kelly,
    Welcome to Southern California! Thank you for your posts. They’ve been a lifesaver to me and my son. We can’t thank you enough and we love to share about your blog with others. I am happy to hear you had a good experience at Disneyworld. I have had trouble at Disneyland in CA (though we love to visit there!). In one restaurant in the park on one visit, their allergy menu, on which I based my purchase for my son’s meal, contained inaccurate information and actually contained dairy products (though the menu said it didn’t). I was surprised that somewhere like Disneyland would have allergy menus that weren’t up to date. If you find someone to navigate a day through SoCal’s Disneyland, would you pass that name along?? Congratulations on your book and your move!

  18. Kelly,

    For the brief time that we spent together at the basketball game a couple of months ago, I realized, you are one very special (and yes, lucky) girl. You have such a blessed gift and are making the world a better place (and safer for allergy kids everywhere). I wish you many memory making miles along the Pacific Ocean and loads of laughter with your family. I LOVE your book and am excitedly awaiting the 2nd book’s arrival (let me know when I can order it).
    xo
    Beth

  19. Kelly, Congratulations!!! What a whirlwhind!! Many blessings to you! Of course, all of your midwest fans need to see some pics of your toes in the California sand so we can live vicariously!!! Sounds adventurous and fabulous! :)

  20. Glad to hear all the exciting news and can’t wait for your new cookbook! It is quite a relief to know that all is well in your household as I have to admit that the hiatus in the blog entries had me worried. Our daughter, Sarah, is in Grade 12 this year, and your chocolate chip cookies have seen her through some emotional and stressful times … awaiting university acceptance or scholarship awards, writing exams, performing in dance competitions. You’ve saved the day more times that I can count! Thank you!!!

  21. Kelly,

    The Reader’s Digest version made me exhausted. I don’t know how you do it! I’m so glad your Disney vacation turned out so wonderfully and that you’ve achieved one of your big dreams. Good luck in your future endeavors and thank you for helping all of our food allergy lives so much easier.

    Regards,
    Audrey

  22. Kelly,
    We’re planning a trip to Disney World with our food-allergic kids based on many wonderful reviews from the parents in the FA community. Our son has most of the same allergies as John with the addition of sesame seeds and poultry. It seems like all the bun options at Disney have milk. Were you able to find one without? Any comments on your experience would be great if you have time. Thanks.
    P.S. We don’t know what we would do without your baking book.

  23. Congratulations on your move to the OC!!! I lived in Newport Beach for many years (got married on Little Corona Beach in Corona Del Mar) and all I can say is …. jealous! I look forward to hearing about your school and restaurant experiences in SoCal.

    Be sure to head down to Coronado Island in San Diego with the kiddos to enjoy SIlver Strand Beach :)

    Enjoy!!!!!!

  24. I just found your site – I purchased you’re book; The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking – LOVE IT!! :) I had breastfed my son for the first year and few months of his life. He has only been eating people food for 5 months now; he is allergic to Dairy, Eggs & Nuts- when his first reaction to milk happened I had no idea what to do (simple yo baby yogurt- almost killed him-I didn’t even get an entire bite in his mouth before he got hives). This has been so incredibly challenging to say the least. I feel like a beginner in this world-and I am so paranoid, no one gets me – and I just want to quit working to stay home with him to keep him in a bubble, silly as it sounds- it the honest truth, but I can’t afford to stay home. I must work and I have to trust that he is cared for and that they are cautious and realize how important it is to keep his allergens away. I want to keep my son alive, and others are reprimanding me because I want to keep allergens out of the daycare. I even offered to make all the snacks and bring the food, just to keep him safe. My son living is more important than your cookies, is what I want to say! But I LOVE to cook!! You have helped me figure out new ways and what I CAN give him! I just baked from your book this weekend, and let me just tell you that you have inspired me to cook everything (of course when I have the money to purchase all the different ingredients). I made my son his first cupcake and he just kept saying “emmm, emmm, yummy!” and that probably wasn’t the best thing to give him for an afternoon snack; he didn’t want his dinner, LOL… just another cupcake. Oh, it was so worth it to hear him and see him enjoy every bite of it! THANK YOU!! I am so looking forward to your new book!! I hope you will have it published really soon!!

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