Raising a Child with Food Allergies Should Be Easier

Parenting a child with food allergies is not easy. Danger lurks in the most innocent of places — from child birthday parties to store bought food you bring home.

I grew up with food allergies in an era when almost no one took them seriously. Even in elementary school I had adults offer me food items with nuts when they darn well knew I was allergic.

Shoot… even as an adult I’ve had folks offer me food with nuts because they just couldn’t believe that it could be potentially dangerous, let alone fatal, to me.

Today I’m sharing a guest post… a heartfelt letter to parents raising children with food allergies. It’s not easy. But you are not alone.

Raising a Child with Food Allergies Should Be Easier

Dear mom in the grocery store reading the labels,

I see you.

I recognize that tired look you have from all the searching you have done.

Desperately trying to feed your already picky sensory child all with the added bonus of a food allergy.

It’s bad enough that you life revolves around avoiding deadly food and parties.

Having to turn down invites because your toddler has hit the “everything in the mouth phase.”

Add to that the sideways glances when you say “no thank you” to the store clerk who offers your child a sucker.

Or the whispers at the park when you swoop your child up quickly when a bag of Swedish Fish spills close enough for his fat little baby hands to reach.

They call us helicopter parents, but they don’t see that we are keeping our child alive.

They call us hippie dippie and they mock our methods, but we are keeping our child alive.

I see you.

You are not alone.

Let them talk.

You keep doing what you need to do to keep your child alive. ❤️

 

A special thank you to my reader Alisa Mitchell, who commented on one of The Sensory Spectrum’s threads and was kind enough to let me reprint this and shares this with other mothers. Alisa was responding to my post Sensory Wars.

To learn more about food allergies in children or about how to handle additional “picky eating,” consider the following affiliate links:

https://mommyevolution.com/food-allergy-books-children/

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and Mommy Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia!

Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!


 

Raising a Child with Food Allergies Should Be Easier | Mommy Evolution

Thanksgiving Oreo Cookie Turkey Pops Tutorial

Your kids are going to flip over these absolutely adorable Oreo Cookie Turkey Pops.

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends and FOOD. Why not give the kids an extra special treat this season by making these Thanksgiving Oreo Turkey Cookies. They’re so much fun to eat –right off of the stick! This post contains affiliate links.

Your kids are going to FLIP over this Thanksgiving Oreo Turkey Cookie Pops Tutorial | The Jenny Evolution

Thanksgiving Oreo Cookie Turkey Pops Tutorial

Ingredients: 

Royal Icing Ingredients: 

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C powder sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • Orange, yellow & red gel food coloring

Turkey Cookie Pops Made from Oreos

Cookie Directions:

  1. Separate the vanilla Oreo cookies.
  2. Place the half of the Oreo cookie with the filling on it on a plate.
  3. Add a layer of white royal icing* on top of the cookie filling.
  4. Place four pieces of candy corn with the white end of the candy corn on top of the royal icing.
  5. Place the candy stick on the icing until almost touching the candy corn.
  6. Put the top half of the Oreo cookie on top. (if needed add more icing to level to the top cookie).
  7. Allow to dry 1 hour before standing up.
  8. Add the mini Nutter Butter cookie on top of the Oreo cookie.
  9. Use the white icing as the glue to hold the mini cookie to the Oreo Cookie.
  10. Add a small dot of white icing as the eye on the mini nutter butter cookie.
  11. Place a tiny orange icing dot (eye ball) in the center of the white dot (eye).
  12. Add three tiny yellow  icing dots, touching each other, for the nose.
  13. Add a red icing for the waddle.
  14. Allow to dry for 5-10 hours.
  15. Tie a bow around the candy stick.

Icing Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl mixing on medium speed for 4 minutes. (except your food coloring)
  2. If icing is  not stiff enough add 1/4 C powder sugar.
  3. Spoon the icing into a bowl (#1).  Take out 4 TBSP of icing add several drops of orange gel food coloring.  Mix well!
  4. Spoon the icing into a bowl (#2).  Take out 4 TBSP of icing add several drops of yellow gel food coloring.  Mix well!
  5. Add several drops of red  gel food coloring in a bowl  (#3) of 4 TBSP of  icing.  Stir well to mix the color.
  6. Keep the rest of the icing as white.
  7. Spoon the different colors of the icing into Individual  pastry bags with a #5 tips.
  8. Twist the open end of the pastry bag to  force the icing to the tip.

Fun Thanksgiving Oreo Turkey Cookie Tutorial

For more wonderful Thanksgiving recipes:


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Don’t miss out on my other Thanksgiving family fun ideas for all ages (including grown-ups)!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Thanksgiving Oreo Cookie Turkey Pops
 
Kids (and adults) are going to flip over these absolutely adorable Turkey Cookie Pops.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • Package of vanilla Oreo cookies
  • Package of Nutter Butter mini round cookies
  • Bag of candy corn
  • Pack of candy sticks found at Michaels or Walmart
  • Ribbon of your choice for decoration

  • Royal Icing Ingredients:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C powder sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • Orange, yellow & red gel food coloring
Instructions
  1. Separate the vanilla Oreo cookies.
  2. Place the half of the Oreo cookie with the filling on it on a plate.
  3. Add a layer of white royal icing* on top of the cookie filling.
  4. Place four pieces of candy corn with the white end of the candy corn on top of the royal icing.
  5. Place the candy stick on the icing until almost touching the candy corn.
  6. Put the top half of the Oreo cookie on top. (if needed add more icing to level to the top cookie).
  7. Allow to dry 1 hour before standing up.
  8. Add the mini Nutter Butter cookie on top of the Oreo cookie.
  9. Use the white icing as the glue to hold the mini cookie to the Oreo Cookie.
  10. Add a small dot of white icing as the eye on the mini nutter butter cookie.
  11. Place a tiny orange icing dot (eye ball) in the center of the white dot (eye).
  12. Add three tiny yellow icing dots, touching each other, for the nose.
  13. Add a red icing for the waddle.
  14. Allow to dry for 5-10 hours.
  15. Tie a bow around the candy stick.

  16. Icing Directions:
  17. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl mixing on medium speed for 4 minutes. (except your food coloring)
  18. If icing is not stiff enough add ¼ C powder sugar.
  19. Spoon the icing into a bowl (#1). Take out 4 TBSP of icing add several drops of orange gel food coloring. Mix well!
  20. Spoon the icing into a bowl (#2). Take out 4 TBSP of icing add several drops of yellow gel food coloring. Mix well!
  21. Add several drops of red gel food coloring in a bowl (#3) of 4 TBSP of icing. Stir well to mix the color.
  22. Keep the rest of the icing as white.
  23. Spoon the different colors of the icing into Individual pastry bags with a #5 tips.
  24. Twist the open end of the pastry bag to force the icing to the tip.

Hanukkah Books for Preschoolers (Board Books Edition)

Whether you’re Jewish or not, understanding the Jewish faith and its beautiful traditions is important for any child. When my kids were little, we would read books like these Hanukkah books for preschoolers to make sure they understood the religions of the world and the people around us.

You can find these Hanukkah books for preschoolers at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience.

Hanukkah Books for Preschoolers

The Story of Hanukkah: Hanukkah is a wonderful time filled with games, food, family, and fun. It’s also the celebration of an ancient miracle, and retelling and remembering the story of that miracle is an essential part of the holiday, for young and old.

The story of the courageous Maccabees is retold in simple yet dramatic text, accompanied by vibrant paintings of the battle, the Temple of Jerusalem, and the oil which miraculously burned for eight long nights. Plus, a traditional recipe for latkes is included, as are directions for the dreidel game, for readers who want to continue the festivities at home.

Elmo’s Little Dreidel (Sesame Street): This sturdy board book introduces toddlers to the traditions of the Jewish Festival of Lights and even teaches them how to play dreidel themselves! What’s a dreidel? Elmo wants to know! He finds out as he celebrates the first night of Hanukkah with a friend’s family. He watches Gil, Susie, and their parents light the menorah and joins in as they sing Hanukkah songs. After supper he learns to play dreidel, the traditional Hanukkah spin-the-top game. And, at the end of the evening, Elmo gets his first Hanukkah gift—his very own little dreidel!

My First Chanukah: In My First Chanukah, Tomie dePaola’s gentle text and understated artwork provide insight and background into the holiday for young readers. Eye-catching foil lights up the cover!

Happy Hanukkah, Curious George: It is the eighth night of Hanukkah, and George and his friends have gathered for a celebration. They light the menorah, spin the dreidel, make latkes, and learn the importance of mitzvah! In this tabbed board book, youngsters will even find a tasty latke recipe and instructions for constructing a dreidel, with rules for play. A festive foil-stamped cover makes this a fine holiday gift for fans of Curious George.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? Filled with warmth and cheer, this new book by the bestselling team of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague makes a perfect gift to be read again and again, year after year.

Come along on a joyful romp filled with tumbling dreidels and melting gelt as America’s favorite prehistoric pals spread a little mischief this season. Children will laugh out loud as dinosaurs fidget, fuss, and stomp through every occasion, while their human parents shift from shock to weary patience. How do dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? The same way they say Merry Christmas: With an abundance of love, joy, memory, and gratitude.

Grover’s Eight Nights of Light (Sesame Street): The story includes gentle messages about friendship, kindness, and tolerance to highlight the Sesame Street mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. It’s Hanukkah on Sesame Street, and Grover invites his friends to a Hanukkah party at his house. Girls and boys ages 2 to 5 will learn the why and how of celebrating Hanukkah along with Elmo, Telly, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, Zoe, and Murray. The story offers a simple outline of the holiday’s origins, lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating latkes and other traditional delicacies. This colorful paperback storybook offers stickers, press-out Hanukkah cards, and a poster with a Hanukkah party game.

Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah: Celebrate Hanukkah with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth! Clifford and Emily Elizabeth are celebrating their first Hanukkah. They love hearing the story of Hanukkah, eating “latkes” (fried potato pancakes) and “sufganiyot” (fried jelly donuts), and playing dreidel. After dinner, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth take a trip into town to see the giant menorah. But when they get there, they discover that one light is broken. It’s too late in the evening to call a handyman, but maybe Clifford is big enough to help save Hanukkah!

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama: Selina Alko’s joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes, and Dreidels: With dazzling images and engaging text, readers learn about the historical and cultural significance of Hanukkah and why it is celebrated around the world. From the lighting of the menorah to the special foods that are shared to the spinning of the dreidels, they’ll get insights about this holiday’s traditions and the Jewish faith. This book also offers fascinating facts, a recipe, and a Common Core-aligned activities.

The Night Before Hanukkah: It’s the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins, and everyone is excited! Each evening, the family gathers to light the candles and share holiday traditions such as playing dreidel, eating latkes, and exchanging gifts. The seventeenth title in Natasha Wing’s bestselling series, The Night Before Hanukkah captures all the joy and love in one of the most wonderful times of the year!

Hanukkah: A Counting Book: Your child will learn about Hanukkah, as well as how to count all 8 nights in Hebrew and Yiddish! Pronunciation guides help kids say the words, and die-cuts reveal the candles as they are lit each night. Simple graphics and design elements enrich this holiday offering.

Like these Hanukkah Books for Preschoolers? Find even more engaging book lists for kids with more than 100 book-themed reading lists!

Hanukkah Books for Preschoolers (Childrens Board Books Edition) | Mommy Evolution

Hanukkah for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual Hanukkah for Kids blog hop! Be sure to visit all the participating blogs for create ways to share this special time of year with kids. Plus you can find all these and more on our Hanukkah Pinterest board! (And don’t miss last year’s blog hop, 2016, and 2015!)

Participating Blogs

All Done Monkey on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Moms & Crafters
Kori at Home
Melibelle in Tokyo
Coffee and Carpool: 8 Days of Hanukkah Kindness Activities
Mommy Evolution

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe

Even though this is supposed to be a “copycat recipe” of The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake, it’s superior in many ways because you choose where the ingredients come from, and you know they’re the fresh and the real thing.

CHEESECAKE FACTORY PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE COPYCAT RECIPE The Jenny Evolution

It’s really hard to properly enjoy a dessert like this after a full meal. That’s why they hope you’ll spend 6-8 bucks on a slice, or better yet take home a whole cake. But you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost, and you can be assured that your ingredients are the freshest and healthiest too.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe

Ingredients:

Pumpkin-Cheesecake

  • 12 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 6 large room temperature, lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 2 cups whipped cream, sweetened
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans

For wonderful baking wear, consider the following affiliate links:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Find even more inspiring recipes on Mommy Evolution!

For more cheesecake-inspired recipes, consider the following affiliate links:

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4.3 from 8 reviews
The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Love The Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Cheesecake? Then you'll love this Pecan-Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake Copycat Recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2¾ cups sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds room temperature cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 6 large room temperature, lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
  • 2 cups whipped cream, sweetened
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped, toasted pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the center position.
  2. Using some of the butter, coat a 10-inch springform pan.
  3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the butter with the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup of the sugar and a pinch of salt.
  4. Packing it tightly and evenly, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. After cooling on a rack, wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil.
  7. Place the wrapped pan into a roasting pan.
  8. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil.
  9. While waiting for water to boil, using a mixer; beat the cream cheese until smooth.
  10. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until just light. Scrape down bowl sides and beaters as needed.
  11. Whip in the sour cream.
  12. Add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, 1 teaspoon salt and the spices.
  13. Whip until just mixed and once done, pour into the cooled crust.
  14. Without pulling the rack out, gently place the roasting pan in the oven.
  15. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
  16. Bake the cake about 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the outside of the cheesecake sets but the center is still loose.
  17. Turning off the oven; open the door briefly to let out some heat.
  18. After leaving the cheesecake in the oven for 1 more hour, carefully remove the springform pan from the roasting pan.
  19. Cool on a rack for at least an hour.
  20. Run a knife around the edges to loosen it somewhat, and then cover pan and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or even overnight.
  21. minutes before serving, bring the cheesecake to room temperature.
  22. Unlock and remove the springform ring.
  23. Place a spoonful of the whipped cream on each slice.
  24. Top with a sprinkle of the toasted pecans.

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My Phone, My Self – One Mom’s Plea to Stop Judging Her!

“Mama, put down your phone.” A small voice peeks over the couch, directing its plea in my direction.

I sigh, put down the phone and cuddle up on the couch, to watch Ninjago once again.

Perhaps my brain will actually turn into goo and leave my body if I have to watch this particular episode one more time.

The media, experts and even my kids tell me I spend way too much time on my iPhone.

And I get it. From their perspective, I’m tuning out the world and not “living in the present.”

I can hear them echo in my ears, “Bad mom. Bad mom.”

But am I really?

People are so quick to pass judgement on the mom at the playground who chats on her phone or checks up on Facebook. However, this may be the only 30 minutes she actually gets to herself in a day to connect with others. The other hours are dedicated to taking care of her children.

Strangers sometimes give me questioning glances at the grocery store when they see me constantly checking my phone. I’m actually looking at my grocery list and marking off the items.

My children think I’m not giving them my undivided attention because I check email on my iPhone. The truth is, work/life balance is a farce. In today’s society, work/life integration is more realistic.

I get as much as I can done when they’re at school. Granted, if I checked my phone every five minutes, they may have a case. But because I sneak in 10 minutes of email while they’re watching cartoons, they get the lion’s share of my attention throughout the afternoon and evening.

Smart phones have changed how we communicate, work and connect.

It has turned into a tool that has become an integral part of my life.

Does this mean I could survive without it? Yes.

Paper grocery lists and hard copies of newspapers still exist. But because I have a smart phone, my family receives more attention from me.

I no longer have to compartmentalize my time. Instead of disappearing behind a computer for an hour, I can check on my blog community before dinner and bed.

Some day, my children will understand my smart phone allowed me to be with them. They will understand my phone acts as a newspaper, camera, email inbox, to-do list, calendar (for all four family members), work station, website and telephone.

Besides, I honestly don’t need to watch Ninjago one more time. I’ve already memorized the episode playing.

 

For fun, I thought you’d like to know how people break their iPhones. I don’t see “children” listed.

How People Damage Their iPhones Infographic

My Phone, My Self - One Mom's Plea to Stop Judging Her!