Food Allergy Chronicles Thanks ‘Seize The Veggies’ For The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I am honoured to have received ‘The Inspiring Blogger Award’awarded to me by Julie @ ‘Seize The Veggies’. Julie is a vegetarian blogging about delicious tips for healthy eating. Julie also has a son with a tree nut allergy.

wpid-photo-may-5-2012-215-pm

Here are the rules:

  • Copy and paste the Award graphic in a post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, and tell them by posting a comment on their blog.

7 Things About Me:

1.  My hair is naturally curly and I have yet to colour it.
2.  I love dogs…especially big cuddly ones…unfortuately, our dog allergies have prevented us from adopting another into our family.  If we were to adopt another, I would love to own a Portuguese Water Dog.  It was our second choice…our first dog was a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Click here to read all about our experience having a dog with our boys.
3. I love peanut butter…not just any peanut butter but all-natural crunchy peanut butter...President’s Choice Organic Crunchy. I know it seems sacrilige to be even mentioning and providing a link to this contraband in our house…but it is my ‘girls getaway’ indulgence when I visit my mother. It is one of the many sacrifices our family with multiple food allergies has made in order to provide a safe environment for both our boys with peanut/tree nut allergies.
4.  Green Tea is my favourite tea to enjoy throughout the day.
5. A Soy Latte at Starbucks is a special treat…best enjoyed in cold hockey arenas.
6.  I am thrilled to be running again…physio therapists, a chiropractor/acupunturist and physiotrist have all been a big help in my recovery.
7.  I really enjoy writing my blog, The Food Allergy Chroniclesa big thank you to all that follow me!

I urge you to please take the time to acquaint yourselves with the following bloggers living with food allergies. Living with food allergies can be very isolating…it should not be a lonely experience…we need to support each other.

Read through and be prepared to be inspired!

My list of 15 ‘Very Inspiring Bloggers’ Living With Allergy/Eczema/Asthma:

1.  A Tale of Anaphylaxis Tips & Tricks On Living With Anaphylaxis! by the Epipen Princess: Sydney, a student, with food allergiesstrawberry, pineapple, cashew and coconut…with tips and tricks to surviving day to day life tasks with anaphylaxis. Sydney is inspiring as she tackles anaphylaxis through the eyes of a student….giving students with food allergies a voice and mentor. I love her ending sentence on a post she wrote on ‘How To Emotionaly Heal After Anaphylaxis’…”Don’t cry because it happened, SMILE because you are alive!” Click here for that post.

2. The Allergista How to Manage Your Skin & Food Allergies Without Losing Sanity OR Style Points: The Allergista has a skin condition called Allergic Contact Dermatitis ( a form of eczema) is lactose intolerant, deficient in Vitamin D, wears only cotton and must avoid touching anything with nickel. She also has multiple allergies…chocolate, cashews, green, brown and white beans, spinach, canned food wheat, shellfish, ground meat, vitamins, figs, pineapple, prunes, raspberries, mussels, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and licorice. There is more…click here for more about The Allergista. The Allergista inspires me with her enthusiasm for life…she will be an Official Expo Blogger at the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo in Chicago 2013. Click here to read more about it from The Allergista.

3. Celiac And Allergy Adventures Living a Full And Fun Life With Food Allergies And Celiac Disease:  A 30 year old who has lived with food allergies, asthma and eczema all her life and is now living gluten free. Celiac and Allergy Adventures inspires me because as she states,  ” I’m viewing this all as a positive learning experience and refuse to let these conditions take control over my  life.” It is a blog filled with personal experiences.

4.  lucys friendly foods:  A Cordon Bleu trained mom of two children with food allergies…dairy, egg, nut and sesame seed. She inspires me with all her delicious recipes…Rosemary Foccacia, Welsh Cakes and Ginger Flapjacks…I especially like all the British specialties.

5. Dairy Egg Nut: Dining out…with allergies:  as titled, the blogger writes about dining out with allergies…where they go and what they order. Dairy Egg Nut’s restaurant experiences inspires me to start ‘stepping out of our box’ and try some of their tips at our local restaurants.

6.  Intrepid Allergy Mum adventures with allergies: a mum living in Western Australia with her 5 year old son with food allergies…dairy, egg, fish, nuts, lentils and sesame. She inspires me with all her allergen friendly recipes that she creates for her son.

7.  My Eczema SkinCare Blog My Trials and Tribulations for Clearer Skin!:  The blogger hopes her experiences with her eczema, from the past 5 years, helps others find a solution to their eczema. This blogger is inspiring with her passion and candid exposure of her experiences with eczema.

8.  It’s An Itchy Little World / Eczema, allergies and asthma…oh my!: Jennifer is a mompreneur and founder of The Eczema Company. Jennifer shares her stories with her family’s battles with eczema, allergies and asthma using natural methods. Jennifer inspires me with her indepth approach to researching the best products for those suffering from eczema and inspires me with her stories of strength related to her son’s food allergies.

9.  Frugal Food Allergies:  Lindsey is a mother who believes it should not cost a fortune to cook with food allergies. Lindsey’s blog focuses on her daughter’s EoE (Eosiniphilic Esophagitus) as well as her daughter’s limited diet due to her mulitple food allergies. Click here to read about her lengthy journey. Lindsey inspires me with her positive energy, strength and determination to be there for her family.

10.  Dairy Free Diner: A blog about living with a dairy allergy in your family:  Jennifer’s son has a dairy allergy and febrile seizures and a daughter with alopecia areata…with both inheriting their father’s amblyopia. Click here to read all about the details of her journey. Jennifer blogs about her family’s trials and tribulations. Jennifer is another mother who inspires me with her strength and determination living with all the medical conditions her family faces on a daily basis.

11. Young Allergies: Magdalena has a son with eczema and food allergies…milk, soy, egg, peanuts/tree nuts. Magdalena blogs about her life with her two young boys and posts allergy friendly recipes. Magdalena inspires me as a mother of a child with food allergies that goes above and beyond to create a safe environment for her son to thrive within. Her candid honesty with her daily struggles with two young boys tugs at your ‘heart strings’. Click here for her post on ‘Struggles’.

12. Allergy Foodiethrive with top 8 food allergens: Anu blogs about her son with food allergies…eggs, wheat , soy , dairy, nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.  Anu’s ‘passion for the field of nutrition’ and improving the quality of life of her son…leads her to researching issues such as ingredient lists, new recipes, new products and substitute foods. Anu inspires me with her creative allergy friendly dishes and her determination to educate others on food allergies in general.

13. My 1/2 Dozen Daily: As Carla simply states, ‘Join me through the ups & downs of motherhood as I try to balance a husband, 4 kids, a cat, a handful of hobbies, my faith, homeschooling, living green & frugally in Canada all while keeping a smile on my face!’ She forgot to add…while living with eczema and food allergies (OAS)…most raw fruits, some raw vegetables, sugar, dairy, soy, cocount, peanuts/tree nuts, corn, oats and quinoa, gluten/wheat, hormones/antibiotics/pesticides, chemicals and preservatives, fish, sulphites and processed foods of any kind. Carla inspires me with all that she does for her family…her management of money, care for her children and her sewing and photography on the side to help ends meet…all the while living with the ‘puzzle’ of excema and her OAS and food allergies.

14. The Allergy Mom Life With A Child With Allergies: Melissa is the mother to two children with eczema and allergies…environmental, dairy, eggs peanuts/tree nuts. Melissa’s site is host to allergy related articles, allergy friendly recipes, an allergy forum, an allergy directory and her blog. Melissa is inspiring in all that she does to raise the awareness of food allergies with the public, as well as, navigating the world of food allergies in her daily life.

15. Jazzy Allergy Recipes Simple and delicious egg free, dairy free, and nut free recipes that everyone will love: Lori creates recipes especially for her daughter, Jazzy, with food allergies…dairy, egg and nuts. Lori inspires me with her dedication to her daughter to keep her promise…‘That I would do my very best to find a way for her to eat any food she wants to try.’ …A theme I have noticed that resonates between all the mother’s on my list of ‘Inspiring Bloggers’.

Thank you all for inspiring me…our experiences in life give us meaning…thank you all for sharing yours!

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Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkles For Carla

Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily hosted a very fun Secret Sister Swap this month.

My Secret Sister, Virna @ craftmates, loves chocolate…one of the gifts I put together for her was a package of freshly baked Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Click here for the adapted recipe.

 Carla left this comment on my blog… “Oh these look sooo good!! Yum! Going to have to see what I can do!!”

As I had already planned to stop by Carla’s place to drop off some toys on my way to a ‘girls’ weekend’ at my mom’s…I thought a Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookie version would be the perfect treat to surprise Carla.

Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies cooling

For Carla’s gluten free version…I followed the adapted recipe (link above) replacing the all-purpose unbleached flour with Namaste Perfect Flour Blend…I had just enough left.

Matthew and I enjoyed sampling a few to make sure they were worthy…delicously decadent!

A package of Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Chocolate Crinkle Cookies and a package of Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

In the morning I also baked some Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies for Carla’s girls to enjoy.

Carla surprised me with one of her lovely creations…a coupon holder with a magnetic closure.

A coupon holder made from Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily

Just the right size to slip into my purse…thank you Carla!

Did you figure out the ‘pink gift’ for Carla’s eldest daughter?

Carla's eldest daughter with her pink hair

PInk hair dye! How fun is that! 🙂

Looks like it is going to be a fantastic weekend…looking forward to getting outside and enjoying the day with my mom on our ‘girls’ weekend’!

Decluttering…finding new homes for the boys’ toys

Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily has, once again, inspired me to undertake the most dreaded of tasks…decluttering. It seems to be a never-ending process.

This time I decided to tackle the boys’ basement toys…a.k.a the boys’ ‘toy box’ (the Ikea storage unit).

Ikea Toy Storage

Lego, K’Nex, toy cars, a collection of super balls, games, puzzles, etc. all came under scrutiny. (this is the storage unit all cleaned up)

As the boys and I worked our way through the toys, two people came to mind that might be interested in becoming a ‘second home’ for some of the toys…Carla’s daughters @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily and my neighbour, Joanna’s son @ That Thing I Made.

Carla home school’s her girls…the perfect home for some of the boys’ educational toys…Junior Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit DVD for Kids, BrainQuest, Klutz Kwiz Kindergarten launch, Skip Bo Junior, and Leap Frog Twist and Shout Addition, and an Apple Pie Fraction Game…are all fun interactive, educational games.

An assortment of games, educational toys and super ballsI added in a collection of super balls, the game of Perfection, and some Yes and No Invisible Ink Game Books. I am so happy to have all these great games go to such a wonderful home!

 Joanna was happy to make room for the Lego, K’Nex, the assortment of toy cars, trucks, plastic animals, and flashcards. Her son, Tristan, was happy with the cars…he had fun playing with my boys as Joanna and I worked our way through the assortment of toys.

A bag of toy trucks and toys

Best of all…she took the ‘toy box’ to store them all in!

I was very happy to receive some freshly picked garlic from Joanna’s garden that her husband had just unearthed. This prompted Joanna to remember the leaves she had dried from an edible flowering plant in her garden she wanted me to try…Pineapple Sage.

Garlic from the garden and dried Pineapple Sage leaves

Apparently, one can brew dried PIneapple Sage leaves to make a winter tea. Click here for more information. Has anyone ever tried it?

As Carla lives nowhere near my neighbourhood,  you may be wondering how I will manage to get everything to Carla’s girls. Luckily, Carla lives on the way to my mom’s home.

I am excited to be able to tie in a quick visit tomorrow on my way to a ‘girl’s weekend’ with my mom.

P.S. I have a special surprise ‘edible gift’ for Carla and the girls. Stay tuned for Friday’s reveal.

P.P.S. I also have a little something for Carla’s eldest daughter…as most of the educational games and toys will be a bit too young for her to enjoy.

Mystery gift

Can you guess what it is? I won it at the 2012 Epi Pen Take Action Event…my boys were fascinated by it! Click here for our experience at the event this year.

Do you have a basement filled with outgrown toys like I did?

An Update On My Secret Sister Swap

I was relieved to hear that the package I sent to my Secret Sister arrived safe and sound! I can now reveal her to you…Virna @ craftmates.

She has just posted about the package I sent her for the Secret Sister Swap that was hosted by Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily. Click here to view.

Thankfully, Virna posted pictures of all the gifts…unfortunately, in the rush to get the package off, I accidentally deleted all the pictures I had taken of the gifts from my camera. 😦

I focused Virna’s gifts on her love of everything to do with sewing, the 70’s and chocolate…she loved the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies! Click here for the adapted recipe.

For the 70’s aspect, I found a funky 70’s mug and put together 6 mini packages of individual cacao mixes…2 tbsp of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar and 1 tbsp of Mum’s Original Organic Cacao Powder…along with a recipe for her to enjoy. All she has to do is mix 1 tbsp of milk or milk substitute with the cacao mix, add 1 cup of hot milk or milk substitute, stir and enjoy!

Michael enjoys his hot cacao made with soy milk!

I also discovered, in one of my decluttering phases, stationary from when I was a child. Would you believe I still had a letter and envelope set with the ‘Brownie Owl’ at the top of the page! I couldn’t resist using it to write a letter to Virna explaining all the items in her Secret Sister package. 

For Virna’s love of everything to do with sewing, I revamped a tomato pin cushion following the directions from Tara @ Sew Tara. Click here for her DIY tutorial. My neighbour, Joanna @ That Thing I Made, had the perfect 70’s material for the job…she even threw in some bamboo bag handles for me to give to Virna.

The bamboo handles had me off on the hunt for a pattern and material. I tried to stay as close to Virna’s favourite colours of mustard, olive-green and turquoise as possible…while keeping that 70’s vibe. I was so pleased when I found, what I considered, the perfect material on the clearance rack at Fabricland …the lovely ladies swinging bags with olive-green and turquoise polka dots! There was just enough material for the budget friendly pattern…yeah!

I love to bake! I believe the quality of one’s ingredients = the quality of the product.

With that in mind, I put together a little bottle of pure vanilla…I split one vanilla bean and added it to 1/2 cup of vodka. The mixture will need to rest for at least a month.

All in all, I truly enjoyed my quest to put together a fun, creative budget friendly package for around $20. 

A thank you, once again to Carla @My 1/2 Dozen Daily for hosting the event.

P.S. If you live in and around the Milton area, you might be interested in the first craft show that Virna and her other friends @ craftmates will be attending on the weekend of November 10 and 11th 2012. Click here for more information.

Secret Sister Swap: My Basket For My Secret Sister

A few weeks ago, I signed up for a ‘Secret Sister Swap’ that Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily was hosting.

Gift Basket for my Secret Sister

I thought I would share with you my adventure with the ‘Secret Sister Swap’!

I have never participated in anything like this and I have to admit…I was a little nervous that my ‘crafting abilities’ might be a little ‘rusty’!

I need not have worried…from start to finish the entire experience was loads of fun!

By luck of the draw…my ‘Secret Sister’ turned out to be none other than my neighbour Joanna…we did the neighbourhood Earth Day clean up together.

With a list of all her favourites…glass canning jars, the colour purple, a sweet tooth for caramel, lip balm, tea…I headed out to peruse one of her favourite shopsValue Village!

It took only one visit to Value Village to find what I needed…one large basket, a purple patterned scarf, a bone china tea-cup with purple violets, and 2 glass canning jars…perfect! The ‘bones’ of the gift were taking shape!

My hardest decision was what to bake with caramel?…Joanna is prediabetic.

I decided that I would use a less refined sugar for the baking…Wholesome Sweeteners Sucanat and Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar. Sucanat is made by extracting the juice from sugar cane, heating it until it becomes a lovely dark colour and then letting it cool into granules. Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar is derived from sugar cane and crystallized. Both are still sugars and should be consumed in moderation.

I wanted to bake something to compliment caramel…

Shortbread Cookies Drizzled with Caramel Sauce!

Shortbread Cookies made with Sucanat and drizzled with Caramel Sauce

My Shortbread Cookie recipe was adapted from Birdie SomethingGranny’s Shortbread…this recipe was one of her childhood favourites (scroll down past Granny’s Tarts).

I liked this recipe because it used simple ingredients and seemed lower in sugar. I substituted the 6-7 tbsp of sugar with 4 tbsp of Sucanat and 2 tbsp of cane sugar. (For a dairy-free version, substitute the butter for Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. I baked the cookies on parchment lined paper to avoid cross-contamination with my baking sheets.)

The Caramel Sauce recipe I adapted was from Lucy Waverman’s Fast & Fresh Cookbook.

It was super simple:

In a medium pot, combine 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup Sucanat and 1/2 cup whipping cream…heat to boiling stirring frequently…boil for 1 minute while stirring. Cool slightly and add 1 tsp pure vanilla. Store covered in the refrigerator.

I think this Caramel Sauce recipe could easily be adapted to be dairy free…replace the butter with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and the whipping cream with Belsoy Organic Cooking Cream.

The glass canning jars were perfect for storing some of the Shortbread Cookies and the Caramel Sauce.

Glass canning jars with Shortbread Cookies and Caramel Sauce

Tied with a bit of found raffia…perfect!

Some of her other goodies included: Werther’s Sugar Free Caramels, Burt’s Bees lip balm with SPF 8, St. Dalfour Deluxe Spread Strawberry Jam sweetened with grape juice for the Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies, Creme Au Caramel Rooibos Tea, my homemade Pure Vanilla, and a Stevia plant for her garden…perfect to sweeten a fruit salad or a refreshing summer drink.

Contents of my baske for my Secret Sister

With a little purple tissue paper…everything fit perfectly inside the basket…only thing left to do was to deliver it!

Picture, if you will, me…sneaking across my neighbour’s front lawn…carrying a polka dotted basket…crouched down so as not to be seen through Joanna’s front glass door…ringing the doorbell…and then making a dash for it back across my neighbour’s front lawn!

I felt giddy as a school child!

Back at my house I began to wonder…did I hear the doorbell?

I decided to walk down my driveway and pick up the boys’ newspaper bundles to bring up to the garage. As I turned around, there was Joanna looking about at the top of her driveway…I gave her a wave and with a sigh of relief,  headed back up my driveway.

Mission accomplished!

I made a visit to my ‘Secret Sister’  later that day…

Joanna with her 'Secret Sister' goodies

I think she was happy with her surprise ‘Secret Sister’ Basket!

P.S. To read all about Joanna @ That Thing I Made’s experience receiving her ‘Secret Sister’ Basket from me…click here.

P.P.S. I wonder who my ‘Secret Sister’ is?

P.P.P.S. Have you ever participated in a ‘Secret Sister Swap’?

Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache Icing

I am ‘pleased as punch’ with the results of my latest adventure in gluten-free baking!

Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cupcakes With Chocolate Ganache Icing!

Gluten, dairy, egg, soy and peanut/tree nut free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing

Truly a hit!

I have always been a little intimidated with gluten-free baking. My early years baking gluten-free were not that successful.

I was a mother of a young baby with multiple food allergies living in a world that had yet to embrace our food allergy limitations. Let’s just say, it was not easy!

To be honest, I was relieved when my son could consume wheat. I never gave gluten-free living another thought.

Times have changed…and I have too.

More and more people are living a gluten-free life…whether through wheat allergies, celiac disease or for their own dietary reasons.

Whereas I used to feel like I was the ‘only person in the world’ dealing with food allergies…I can’t seem to get through a conversation without being made aware of someone else who is living with food allergies, intolerances and/or sensitivities.

I am venturing into gluten-free baking for three reasons:

1) I am meeting more and more people living gluten-free. I want to reduce the gluten-free intimidation factor so as to open new doors for those living a gluten-free life.

2) I am curious to try adapting some of my recipes to be gluten-free and highlight the ones that my family and friends find tasty.

3) I am always up for a challenge!

On that note, here is the first recipe for an adapted version:

Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chococlate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing!

Gluten Dairy Egg Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing

Recipe: Follow the directions for my Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cake and substitute all-purpose flour for Namaste Perfect Flour Blend. Click here for the recipe.

Allergen Friendly Chocolate Ganache Icing

1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1/4 cup Ryza Rice Beverage

Place a heat-proof bowl over the simmmering water. Heat rice and then add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Remove from heat.

Let chocolate mixture cool, I placed mine in the fridge, until cooled and thickened.

Enough icing to cover 12 cupcakes.

Enjoying a Gluten Dairy Egg Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache Icing

Enjoy!

P.S. I made these cupcakes especially for Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily. Click here to read about our ‘Meet and Greet’.

How successful have you been at adapting your recipes to be gluten-free? Please share your experiences.

My Sunshine Award

I am honoured to receive the Sunshine Award from Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily.

You can learn a little more about me as I answer a few questions and pass on a ‘little sunshine’ to some fellow Food Allergy Bloggers.

sunshine award

Spreading a little sunshine and smiles along the way makes me happy!

1. What is your favourite colour?

Red! I have loved red since childhood. Not really sure why…but I have been drawn to red for as long as I can remember. As a result…I believe everything should have a ‘touch of red’!

2. What is your favourite animal?

This is easy…dogs! Again, I have loved dogs since childhood. My first dog was a black poodle…he was a birthday present. He lived until I finished university. My second dog was a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier…again a birthday gift. My husband and I purchased him in the spring, the year after we moved into our first house. I am allergic to dogs as our my two boys. Therefore, sadly, for health reasons, we will now live vicariously through other people’s dogs.

3. What is your favourite number?

Once again, another childhood favourite carried over into adulthood…the number 8! The number 8 is a very significant number in our family. My husband and I were both born on the 8th, we were married on the 18th, our house number is 18, my eldest son was born in the 8th month and my youngest was born in 1998.

4. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Funny how all these questions so far can be related to my childhood…lemonade! I  love to make my own lemon syrup and add sparkling water to it…yummy! It’s now my boys favourite summertime drink. I am currently enjoying a glass of sparkling water (made from our SodaStream) with lemon juice…so refreshing!

A glass of sparkling water and fresh lemon juice

5. Which do you prefer- Facebook or Twitter?

I would have to say Facebook as I do not have a Twitter account. I can barely keep up to all that goes on with Facebook…my apologies for my inability to link my blog to Facebook…I have yet to figure that out!

6. What is your passion?

Gosh…this is a hard question to limit to just one! So I will give a list of things I am passionate about: my husband, boys, family, friends, maintaining a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family, being ‘present’ for my boys, proving that although living with multiple food allergies, eczema and asthma can be a challenge they can also have many positive life changing benefits, a good book for my down time (including cookbooks and magazines!), staying positive, active and enjoying life along the way. As I tell my boys…’you have only one life to live…take care of yourself and live it well!’

Update: My brother was ‘floored’ that I did not include ‘cooking’ as one of my passions. In his words, “That was a hard question? Seriously, you did NOT say cooking!???? OMG, that is all you ever do or talk about!” He is right…so cooking has now officially been added as my number one passion!

7. Do you prefer giving or receiving presents?

I take great pleasure in the act of ‘giving’. My favourite gift to give is the gift that one is not expectiing…the ‘just because gift’. I can be spontaneous that way. It usually comes in the form of a baked good, a simple card or something that catches my eye. Knowing that you are being thought of is the real gift.

8. What is your favourite pattern?

As I sit and look around me I would have to say…floral! I am surrounded in floral tablecloths and cloth napkins. Even the purse I am now carrying around is covered in a floral pattern!

Floral table cloths and napkins

9. What is your favourite day of the week?

Friday! For many reasons…Homemade Pizza and Movie Night, my husband and I enjoy our pizza together with some wine, there is a relaxed feeling about the evening and the whole weekend lies ahead!

10. What is your favourite flower?

I love all flowers! But if I were to narrow it down to one flower…I love the beauty and simplicity of a tulip! They are one of the first flowers I see pop open in the spring and can be enjoyed indoors all season long at a reasonable price. Although, at this moment in time, I am enjoying this lovely bouquet of flowers still in bloom from Easter!

Bouquet of flowers on my dining room table

Apparantly, Matthew’s favourite flower is the For-Get-Me-Not…I did not know this. They are just starting to bloom in my garden.

Here are 5 Food Allergy Bloggers that help to ‘spread a little sunshine’ and make me smile.

1. Jennifer @ It’s An Itchy Little World is a mother of two children with eczema and food allergies. She recently made a YouTube video titled “Stuff Eczema Mamas Say” click here to view. This truly added sunshine to my day, made me smile and had me in hysterics!

2. Anu @ Allergy Foodie is a mother of a son with food allergies. She recently hit her 100th post and dedicated it to her 16-year-old niece. It was so touching to read her account of her niece’s support over the years. Click here to view. It always brings a smile to my face and a tear to my eye when I hear stories like this one!

3. Jennifer @ Dairy Free Diner has a daughter and a son. Her son has a dairy allergy. Her stories generally centre around her children…one stands out in particular for me. It is the one where her daughter writes her first story, “My Green Leprechaun In A Jar”…it is about a leprechaun granting her 4 wishes, one of which she chooses to cure her brother of his allergies. Click here to view. I found it very heartwarming. Jennifer’s interpretation of her daughter’s story definitely brought a smile to my face!

4. Lindsey @ Frugal Food Allergies has a daughter with Eosinophilic Esophagitus. Click here for a description from The Allergy Asthma Information Association (AAIA). It has been quite the journey for her daughter. It brought tears to my eyes to read Lindsey’s account of her daughter’s recent food trial and 34 skin tests! Click here to view. Lindsey’s excitement for her daughter’s growing food repertoire is contagious and brings a smile to my face!

5. Nutrimom has a son with food allergies. I first discovered Nutrimom as a guest blogger at It’s An Itchy Little World. Click here for her guest post. Nutrimom describes  herself as a mother who “cooks A LOT” …definition, “to a very great degree or extent”. She takes this definition one step further to add, “When you are the mother of a food allergic child, it’s not a trend, not a passing fad or new diet – it’s an entirely new lifestyle.” If this brought a huge smile to your face like it did to mine…then check out all these fabulous women.

All five of these Food Allergy Bloggers work hard in their kitchens, changing lifestyles, creating allergy friendly recipes and bringing ‘sunshine and smiles’ to all those lucky enough to be touched by their presence and/or stories.

We all need a little sunshine to brighten our days…have a great weekend!