The Food Allergy Chronicles’ 2012 Summer Rented Cottage Holiday

I have to say, my favourite summertime holiday is when our family decides to rent a cottage in the summer for a week. It truly is, for me, a vacation!

Stunning view from our rented cottage 2012

I sat here every morning eating my breakfast with a cup of tea, watching and waiting for Andy to paddle back from his early morning fishing in the canoe. The water was so still and calm in the morning…it just took my breath away!

Andy’s parents enjoyed an overnight stay. In the morning, Andy’s father accompanied him on his early morning fishing trip.

Andy and his father returning after a morning fishing

This is them returning as I eat my breakfast. Unfortunately, with the water level so low this year, the fishing was very frustrating!

Our ‘little piece of heaven’ came complete with a guide to navigating the birds and the critters of the forest…our ‘forest friends’ were very friendly.

Imagine this…upon our arrival, the boys went to check out the layout of the cottage…they arrived back rather quickly with panicked looks upon their faces. “What’s wrong guys?”, I quiered. “The chipmunks…their scary!”, Matthew replied. “Really?”, I responded as they both nodded their heads, still with a look of horror on their faces. “What’s wrong with the chipmunks?”, I replied. “You know when you see a chipmunk and you walk up to them and they run away…well, these chipmunks came after us!”, the boys explained.

This I had to see for myself! I walked around to the back patio in search of chipmunks while the boys lagged behind…wary that a chipmunk would jump out at them! I didn’t see any chipmunks at the time but what I did notice was a note stuck just beside the back sliding door that stated that the doors must always remain closed as the chipmunks and squirrels would follow you inside the cottage! Another note, left for us to read on the counter, stated that the owner had left a bag of peanuts and seeds for us to feed to the birds, specifically the Blue Jays. (I tucked the bag away and left a note for the owner explaining why we were unable to feed the birds)

Sure enough, it was like we had walked into a live version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves! Chipmunks, Red Squirrels, Blue Jays and Chickadees surrounded us! While eating our Bruschetta that first evening, Chickadees were literally dive bombing us! We had to hold on to the plate as they would swoop down and land on the table…a chipmunk, literally jumped up on to my lap! I kid you not!

I broke some of the bread into little pieces and held it out on a napkin…no sooner had I done that, the little Chickadees were landing all around me…even sitting on my hands and taking pieces of the bread.

A chickadee sitting on my hand ready to take some bread

I really did feel like Snow White!

Before we headed up to our rented cottage, I had a week at home, between arriving back from my brother’s cottage, and heading off to the rented cottage. During that week, I had planned to do all my grocery shopping, prepping of meals, baking, laundry and packing for our week at the cottage…that all fell apart once I injured my neck and back. Click here for more details.

Thankfully, I had already pre-planned the menu for the week, I had pre-purchased some groceries, Andy is handy in the kitchen and the boys are old enough, and strong enough, to be set to work.

During the week, Andy bought, marinated and froze boneless, skinless chicken breasts for Lemon Chicken for Thursday night, marinated and froze 4 pork tenderloins for Monday night’s dinner with his parents, and froze 4 salmon fillets for Andy and I for dinner on Tuesday and our last night on Friday.

Normally, I would have liked to have baked and frozen my Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Pies, Dairy, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Date Squares, and Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Brownies…I was not up to it.

The boys were soooo understanding it almost made me cry with gratitude!

I managed to prepare Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares (which apparently I burnt), Michael’s Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Sub Buns and French Stick and Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes…to celebrate Michael’s 16th birthday! How could I not have something special for this big occasion! Michael even helped make the icing to his liking. 

As Michael’s birthday was in the middle of the week, Wednesday, I placed all the un-iced cupcakes in a container that were placed in the freezer upon our arrival. The icing was scooped into a separate container, kept in the fridge, so as I could ice the cupcakes on his birthday.

Dinner for Saturday night would be our first meal at the cottage. On Friday, the ribs were cooked up and covered in barbecue sauce for Barbecued Ribs for Saturday night. (leftovers were frozen for the boys to enjoy on the following Friday, our last night. Last night is always leftover night…anything left is game!)

Saturday morning the boys picked the ripened tomatoes and basil from our garden for our Bruschetta appetizer, cherry tomatoes for the Bruschetta Pasta (recipe will be posted soon) for Thursday night, fresh chives, parsley and dill for the salmon suppers while Andy hit the local farm stand for a dozen corn to be boiled for dinner for Saturday and Sunday with some leftover so I could make Corn Salad and Halendas for some hot and italian sausages for Sunday’s barbecue and chicken wings for Michael’s birthday dinner.

I think we had corn fresh from road side stands with dinner every evening! We initially brought corn up, Andy’s parents brought corn up on Monday and then even more corn was bought for Wednesday’s 16th birthday party which lasted us until we left for home.

A stop at the local grocery store in town, en route to the cottage, we picked up any last-minute groceries…little potatoes for Potato Packets with the pork tenderloin and corn, broccoli for the boys with the Lemon Chicken while Andy and I had a saute of sugar snap peas and mushrooms, a jug of bottled water as we were not sure about drinking the tap water, bread, milk and eggs.

Every day started with the sound of a loon calling, and a magical view of an incredibly peaceful, calm lake. 

Beautiful view of the lake and my boys

Pure heaven! It was just the prescription I needed… to put up my feet and ‘take it easy’!

I enjoyed my days of sitting back, reading my book or the many magazines in the cottage, being entertained daily with the boys’ water sports (water skiing, knee boarding, wake boarding, canoeing, kayaking and paddle boat riding), fishing, minnow, crawfish and frog catching…the days just flew by!

This is Michael slalom skiing…he is a ‘master’ of getting up on one ski! He is in his eliment on the water!

Michael slalom skiing

Picture taken care of Matthew. I stayed off the boat on these runs and enjoyed watching from the safety of the dock! Every evening, Andy took me for a smooth loop around the lake…very romantic! lol

This is Matthew wake boarding. 

Matthew wake boarding

Picture taken care of Michael. I am so proud of Matthew. Water sports are really not his thing but he was a real trouper…I told him I needed some entertainment. Once he started, he was  ‘hooked’!

Everyone took care of their breakfasts and lunches and came together for our simple, allergy friendly, delicious dinners!

Without a dishwasher to worry about unloading and loading, all dishes were hand washed…by me (washing was not a strain on my body, letting someone else do them would have been far more stressful)…lest their be any cross-contamination. I washed all allergy friendly plates, cups, pots, pans and utensils etc. firstly…rinsed off all the food allergens left on any of the dishes then washed them with a separate cloth. I left most dishes to air dry.

Talking about dishes…upon our arrival, I took out all the cutlery that we would be using, washed them all thoroughly, then placed them in a cutlery stand that stood on the table. I also brought some of my own knives, cutting boards and pots. The boys kept the same cups throughout the week, I washed the dishes that we would need and cleaned out any pots or pans before use. Parchment paper was used to cover baking sheets.

I am happy to note…there was not a single cross-contamination issue the entire week!

Our rented cottage vacation was stress free, allergy reaction free, bug free, full of adventures and activities for the boys to keep them busy, beautiful sunny skies in the day, filled with mesmerizing starry nights (we saw the Big Dipper and watched satellites and airplanes fly through the sky every night by the bonfire)…my idea of a perfect vacation!

P.S. The chipmunk was always nearby…just in case we changed our minds and wanted to feed him! The Blue Jay flew in everyday to say hello. It truly was a magical place!

Update: I have finally been able to book my MRI (October) and the results of my total body bone scan supported the results from the x-ray.

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