At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

{Guest Post} School: Time to Step Back and Review by Caroline of Grateful Foodie

Awhile ago, I asked my friend, Caroline of Grateful Foodie (who is one of the most amazing food allergy advocates I know), if she'd share some invaluable tips for parents and guardians when it comes to making the school year safe and successful for their allergic loved ones.  She graciously agreed (She's awesome!), and today I am happy to have her as my guest sharing said tips!  I hope you'll find the information as helpful as I have.

School: Time to Step Back and Review

School has been in full swing, and it is time to step back and evaluate all of the plans you’ve set in place. Are they working? Many of us have 504 plans in place that support important accommodations for our children’s health and well-being. Before the holidays and vacation time kick in, fall is the perfect time to gear up food allergy safety. In our family, the most stressful times at school surrounded celebrations and the return from vacation. Patterns and schedules get off balance and it seems as if all food allergy accommodations go out of the window!

Now is the perfect time to pause, evaluate and adjust. Here are some tips:

  • Ask for a meeting with your child’s teacher or other school staff that are key to your child’s health and safety.
    • Discuss what is working on the 504 plan.
    • Inquire if there are any suggestions or recommendations.
    • Have there been events and celebrations?  Analyze what could be updated or revised.
  • Plan the rest of winter and into spring.
    • Discuss upcoming parties, special projects, field trips and celebrations.
    • Will you be able to participate or offer safe suggestions for upcoming events and parties?
    • The holidays can be stressful, so consider different approaches to reducing your biggest school stressor, before things get tough.
    • This is the perfect time to remind all parties involved about the importance of inclusion and communication.  Discuss how your child will be included.
  • Check out your child’s lunch box, napkins, etc.Make sure they are still working okay. I once missed that my son had grown and needed larger food containers and he was cramming food into small spaces.
  • Check in with your child to see how their epinephrine-auto-injector carriers or holders are working. Looks for rips, tears or worn out straps.
  • Make a plan or the holiday and vacation season with your child. What is the plan if they are at school and there are unsafe treats? How will play dates be handled? Review your policy and who and how snacks are deemed safe, with your child.
  • Thank EVERYONE on your child’s “team” who work to follow policy and keep him or her safe. A heart felt handwritten note goes a long way. It is critical to keep reinforcing how important their time and energy is to your family.

Planning ahead and checking in periodically are key. Food allergies are so easy to brush off as being “self-managed” when everything is working. BUT,  this is the exact moment that we truly need focus and pay closer attention.


You can connect with Caroline at the following locations:

Grateful Foodie

Thanks for being my guest today, Caroline!

Here's a badge for you, if you'd like to use it.

Before you go, take a moment to leave Caroline some comment love below or ask her a question.  Better yet, hop over to her site, Grateful Foodie, and check it out!  You won't regret it!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Monthly Milestones 2016 {11}

Today is the eleventh Monthly Milestones of 2016.  If you want to share a milestone post, just leave a comment below with a link to your milestone post, and I'll pop over and visit it and leave a comment, and hopefully some of my other readers will, too. :)  Normally, Monthly Milestones, where I will be giving you updates on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc., will go live on the first Saturday of every month, though sometimes I may be a day early or late depending on circumstances.

Here is how I am doing as of today:

Me as of today, November 5, 2016, at 230 lbs.

  1. My weight is down 2 1/2 lbs!  I have recently discovered that I have a major issue with water retention which was causing a lot of trouble with me losing weight, along with some issues with stiffness/mobility.  I can gain anywhere from 2 to 5 lbs. overnight and daily due to said water retention issues, regardless of diet/exercise.  My doctor put me on a water pill (hydrochlorothiazide) for it, and it has helped a lot.  I just started consistently taking it, so we'll see how I do on it from now on.  So far, so good. :)
  2. The weather has been nicer for this time of year, so my activity level is still pretty high.  I'm going on walks as I can, and I'm determined to keep that up even after the temperatures drop as possible.  Pray that I'll be able to do that!  It is super key to my mobility and good health.  I'm also working on adding chores that I used to consider "once a year" or "once a month" to more often so that I can keep the activity level up...and the house being that much cleaner isn't a bad thing either. :)
  3. Dietary/lifestyle changes are still happening.  I am now officially off coffee - regular and decaf!  I feel like I am sleeping better (for the most part), so I feel this is a positive change.  I limit myself to black tea once a day, and any other is decaf, green tea or herbal.  I have noticed that the herbal teas tend to help with any colds or congestion wonderfully (I am thinking about sharing a list of my favorites on Natural and Free soon), too.  Green tea is supposed to help with weight loss, too, so - all positives here. :)  I am very excited about these changes!
  4. My health is still mainly stable for now.  I have not had any more weakness issues in awhile.  This is great!  I'm not sure if this is going to be permanent or temporary, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts. :)  I do deal with stiffness and some pain now and then that I associate with not being able to go to the chiropractor, but that tends to fade as the day goes on.  Please continue to pray for me in regards to my health.  I'd LOVE to be "better" and not face another round of weakness, but I've been here before, so I'm cautiously optimistic. :)
    My vision is still not 100%, but it is stable mainly, too.  Most of the time, things are marginally blurry, but not terrible (unless a font or picture is too "fancy" and then it takes a lot of concentration to read or see it correctly).  Night time driving is still an issue if it is very dark, and low light makes it harder for me to see things clearly.  Again, there is no pain, double vision or loss of vision that is "concerning" at this point, but I will continue to monitor it.  It may resolve or it may not.  Time will tell.  I'll definitely see the eye doctor if it gets too bad, too.
    My right ear's hearing is still "off".  Most of the time I feel as if I am hearing through a cotton ball or something like that.  My regular doctor can't find the issue, and all tests he's done shows my ear is "fine".  If it gets too awful, I will ask about seeing an ENT.  All I know is, I hate asking people to repeat themselves when there's a lot of background noise or when I have a cold. :)  Again, this is just an "annoyance" for now more than anything.  Your prayers are appreciated, as always! :)
  5. I haven't been able to get back to the chiropractor yet, but I have found some chiropractic stretches that are helping.  As I mentioned last time, our deductible has reset, and our chiropractic care cost is now back to self pay until the new deductible level is met.  The deductible is less than last year as my hubby's insurance coverage changed, but due to paying off last year's bills and the higher cost of the new insurance plan along with no increase in his pay, we still can't afford to incur a lot of new debt unless absolutely necessary.  Unfortunately, chiropractic care is on the "would love to, but can't justify it at this time" list.  Thankfully, based on stretches the chiropractor showed me, I was able to find some chiropractic stretches that are helping in the meantime.  It is my hope that I'll get to see him this month, but that may not happen.  We'll see.  Prayers appreciated that I don't wait too long, and that we'll get the funds to not only pay off last year's medical bills (more than just a little at a time), but get the chiropractic care that has helped me so much (hubby, too).  Thanks!
  6. Homeschooling is still going well!  Monarch is still a great fit.  The plan right now is probably to add electives after Christmas, but we're still not 100% on that due to cost.  Pray for guidance and wisdom here.  Thanks so much!
  7. Thank you for all your prayers, and we would appreciate your continued prayers!  We appreciate all the prayers and support as we've gone through so much this last year, especially. It's been a real blessing! 

    Please continue to pray for us with the homeschooling, my health, and for some other unspokens at this time.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  8. Blog updates have stalled, though posting has increased! I've not been able to post quite as much as I'd like, but I'm still trying to post monthly (if not more often) to this blog and Natural and Free.  I'm hoping to have a guest post soon on Natural and Free, and hopefully some new recipes and such soon there, too.  I am hoping to be able to post other types of posts here, too, soon as well.  We'll see!

That's about it for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will leave a comment sharing your thoughts and/or milestones (with a link to your post, if you wish).  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)