Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

October 20, 2014

Why The Teal Pumpkin Project Matters to Me (a Non-Food Allergy Mom)


There was a time, not so long ago, back in the faraway land of the late 1980's, when I was an elementary school student. I have fond memories of my childhood education: being part of the school plays, running around in gym class, learning how to multiply, checking out books from the school library, writing stories in class, and generally making friends and having a grand ol' time.

Back in the land of 1980's, we had a lot of parties at school. Halloween and Christmas rolled around, and it was a free-for-all of dressing up, sweets and alarming sugar-highs. We'd sing songs, play games, make crafts, and then be sent home for our poor parents to handle. 

I loved those parties.

As a mom in the 2010's, though, school celebrations are a bit different. For a variety of reasons, we are rethinking the way we commence with parties at school. Part of this is due to the new regulations about nutrition standards. Another is an increase in food allergies. So, schools must now be more careful about what food is given out in school.

And it's causing quite a ruckus.

I am allergic to many things, but food is not one of them. I am also fortunate that my girls do not deal with food allergies. But I am friends with many who struggle with this on a daily basis. For whom certain foods are life-threatening. 

As a parent, I can imagine this is frightening. 

So I don't understand why people are up in arms over accommodating celebrations (school and otherwise) for those living with food allergies. I've heard many comments being thrown around over a variety of forums: 

"Well, the kids with food allergies can just bring their own food to parties."

"It's just one day."

"Kids with food allergies need to learn what they cannot eat."

"Why should my kid suffer just because other kids have food allergies."




Friends?

I am beside myself.

And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I hear the controversy over the amazing Teal Pumpkin Project from FARE.

Before we go any further, please click the link above. Read about this movement. 

Go ahead. 

I'll wait.

Isn't that such a great idea!?!? Having non-food treats available on Halloween for families managing food allergies? Homes can indicate that they have non-food treats by placing a teal pumpkin on their porch.

Amazing, right?

Then the internet goes right ahead and ruins it.

I was first alerted to the controversy by the fine folks at Scratch and Sniff. My friend Carrie of Chockababy also aptly shared her sentiments over the Teal Pumpkin Haters. I read through their well-written posts, and was appalled at the backlash that the FARE has been receiving over this movement. People are actually offended by the idea of accommodating ALL kids this Halloween. 

Why?

Because some people hate happiness.

Why am I all frustrated? I know. I'm not a mom managing food-allergies. But you know what? I believe that everyone needs to feel loved and fit in. That everyone needs to be safe. I may not have struggled with food allergies growing up, but I was socially awkward and picked on a lot. I struggled to make friends. I know what it's like to not have people to sit with at lunch or play with during recess. I know the loneliness of not having friends to hang out with or being the only person not invited to the birthday party.

It sucks being the odd man out.

Yet, with this outrage over non-food Halloween treats, for non-food options at class parties, and accommodating food allergies at the various celebrations of life, that's what we are relegating kids to. For life. Because many kids do not grow out of food allergies. It's something they'll have to manage their entire existence.

I can't imagine how complex it must be to be the parent of a kid who has food allergies. To have to think through every lunch you pack, meal you serve. Worrying if someone will bring in a peanut to the classroom. Or if there is an option at the birthday party their child is invited to. They want their kids to fit in just like everyone else. But they also want them to be safe.

Don't we all?

I want to live in a world where no one wins unless we all win. I want all kids to fit in, I want all people to feel loved. And if that means that we donate a new book to the class library for our birthday instead of bringing in 20 unhealthy, allergy-inducing cupcakes, I'm okay with that. If that means offering non-food options on Halloween or keeping a gluten-free baking mix or soynut butter on hand in my pantry for guests who visit that need these accommodations, I'm all about it.

Because it's all about the one. 

The one who can't eat the peanuts. Who can't eat the gluten. Who can't use the steps because of their wheelchair. Who doesn't want to come to school because of a bully. Who is afraid to read out loud in class because of a learning disability. Whose parents show their emotions through violence. Who struggles to make friends and fit in. 

I was one of those kids. 

Maybe you were one of those kids.

I matter.

You matter.

Every ONE matters.

So, no. Our kids won't know the sugar-laden class parties of years past. They may not be allowed to bring in cupcakes for their birthday parties. And they may just get offered glow bracelets instead of candy on Halloween.

And you know what?

They'll be okay. They'll still have amazing memories from childhood. Because my most cherished memories from school weren't the cupcakes from parties. It was the books I wrote in class in second grade that my daughters read today. It was searching for stickers on bottom of my lunch tray (because that meant we got a prize!). It was teachers reading from Shel Silverstein's book, Where the Sidewalk Ends, on rainy days when we couldn't have recess (our favorite was page 101 - "Spaghetti, Spaghetti"). It was my field trip to Dutch Wonderland.

It takes a village, friends. 

Because every last one matters.






And to the haters: I would venture a guess that if it were YOUR kid, you might be singing a different tune.  Just food for thought. (Pun intended).







October 14, 2014

GoPro Camera at Best Buy #GoProAtBestBuy

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Parents are all about catching life's moments: the first smile, the first steps, the first day of school. We don't want to miss one second of these little lives we've created, yet life moves at break-neck speed. It seems one moment we're bringing them home to the hospital, and the next we are waving good-bye to them from their dorm room hall way.

Where does the time go?




I'm excited that technology now offers us a way to keep up with even life's fastest moments with the GoPro cameraGoPro’s new line of cameras allow you to beautifully and authentically capture and share the experiences that bring purpose, adventure, and joy to your life.



These video camera's can come on all of our family adventures. Imagine being able to capture the thrill of a roller coaster mid-ride or a family ski trip down the slopes. Run, hands-free, alongside your child as they learn to ride their bike, getting footage every step of the way. 





They go everywhere you want to go!

GoPro's will be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. These camera's make amazing gifts for adventurous families or young budding videographers! Learn more about these awesome cameras. Here are some fun spec about the GoPro's available at Best Buy:



· GoPro HERO4 Black: the most advanced GoPro ever, featuring improved image quality and a 2x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates1, HERO4 Black takes award‐winning GoPro performance to a whole new level.

· GoPro HERO4 Silver: the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling The camera, playing back footage and adjusting settings is ultra-convenient—just view, tap and swipe the screen. With 1080p60 and 720p120 video, and 12MP photos at a staggering 30 frames per second, HERO4 Silver combines powerful, pro-quality capture with the convenience of a touch display.

· GoPro HERO: Featuring high‐quality 1080p30 and 720p60 video, and 5MP photos up to 5 fps, HERO captures the same immersive footage that’s made GoPro one of the best-selling cameras in the world. 12x more powerful processor with 2x faster video frame rates.



Learn more at www.bestbuy.com/GoPro or visit your local Best Buy to check out the latest cameras in person.



What moments are YOU excited to catch with the GoPro?




Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

October 6, 2014

Prep for the Holidays with Appliances from Best Buy #HolidayPrep

October is here. And for some, this means Fantasty Football, tailgates, hayrides and stocking up on miniature versions of all your favorite candy bars for Halloween. For others, though, it is the door opening to a new season. A season wrought with family, friends, parties, gift swaps, and food.

SO MUCH FOOD.

So, with the ushering in of October,  I get to unleash my full giddiness over the upcoming holiday season.

::SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE::

Ahem.

Sorry.

For me, the Holiday Season begins October 1st. Yes, it begins with the full month leading up to Halloween, preparing for the spooktacular night of sending my kids out like minions to bring home buckets full of candy that I will eat every night after they are in bed for several weeks.  

November 1st begins my planning for Thanksgiving, aka "Food Coma Central." I scour for recipes, fight with my sisters over schedules and generally save my appetite for the entire month until the third Thursday arrives. 

Then come December 1st, the start date for all things Christmas. I will already be 6 months too late as I begin my holiday shopping, and most days are spent sneaking cookie dough that I will ostensibly be making for others. 

The next two months are full of warmth, excitement, anticipation and full bellies. So how does one prepare?

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the holidays:


Meal Plan

Some people utilize meal planning regularly, while others fly by the seat of their pants. During the holidays, it helps to plan out meals ahead of time. Not just for parties (which you should plan out at least 2 weeks in advance), but for your weekly family meals as well. During these months, there are a lot of random nights out with school concerts, winter sport practices and other holiday celebrations. Planning out your meals will take some of the stress out of this chaotic time of year!


Shop Sales

If you are throwing a party, attending a party or planning to gift loved ones a food gift, it's important to shop grocery sales. If there is a pantry item that is a necessary ingredient (such as canned pumpkin, sugar, flour, etc), it will most likely go on sale at some point. Even if you are a few weeks out from using it, stock up while it is cheap! That way, you'll be ready on cooking/baking day!

Make a Cleaning Schedule

This is important if you are hosting a party or having out-of-town guests in during the holidays. While it is crazy motivating, waiting until the day before (or worse - the day of) to clean your house when you are expecting guests is only going to serve to drive you insane. Mark the calendar 2-3 weeks before the day of your party (or when your guests arrive) and make a cleaning schedule. Bathrooms and vacuuming will happen closer to the event, but laundry, rearranging of rooms, etc can happen a few weeks out. Give yourself enough time to not stress clean!

Focus on Making Memories

Don't get so caught up in the stress of the holiday season that you forget what it's all about: your loved ones! Focus on the special moments and making memories. The pumpkin roll can wait until tomorrow.







So much of our holiday prep tends to happen in the kitchen. Preparing for all of the holiday food needs can also be made easier with cutting-edge kitchen technology. Are you familiar with the latest appliance technology? Induction cooking enables you to boil water in less than two minutes, as seen in this Frigidaire. A great thing about induction cooking? It reduces clean up time because spills don’t burn on! This Frigidaire range also includes a convection oven which circulates the air in the oven for quicker baking time. 

You know what's better than one oven? TWO. This Whirlpool still fits within the space of a standard range but allows you to cook two dishes at two different temperatures. At the same time That's right. 

Mind. Blown.

All of this technology will allow you to get the food the way you want it prepared and saves you time so you can spend it with the ones you love. 

Learn more at bestbuy.com/holidayprep.


What are YOUR Holiday Prep tips?


Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
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