Monthly Archives: March 2011

Unexpected Bliss

I should be packing the last minute things for our trip to St. George.

But Jordan took Rebecca & Nicole to the park and Abigail is (amazingly enough!) playing happily by herself. 

The unexpected bliss is so great I’m having a hard time moving myself away from the computer. If I move, it will all come crashing down. 

Abigail will cry to be held. Jordan will drag a crying Nicole back home because she needs to go potty, or because Rebecca ran away from him. My husband will finally get home and we’ll start packing so we can endure 5 hours of “fun” in the car together.

But if I hold reeeeally still, maybe things will stay quiet and peaceful for just another few minutes. 

Oh… wait. It ended anyway. Back to work, folks.

Allergy Test Results

We finally were able to go back to the allergist to talk about Abigail’s test results.
I never thought I’d be a mom who had a kid with a “-ist” doctor, as in some sort of specialist. Though who really thinks about that?

It was informative. Allergies are tested on a scale to see the probability of a reaction. Unfortunately, there is no test to know the severity of a reaction. We know this:
Abigail is in what’s considered the “gray zone” for all of her allergies…

and almond.

Milk is a “negative” if her blood work shows less than .035, and a “positive” if it’s about a 15. Her result was about a 5, though with her reactions the allergist said she’s definitely allergic to milk.

Eggs are negative at less than .035 and a positive result is above a 2. I don’t remember her exact number on eggs, but it was about a 1. A gray zone result, and he wants to do a challenge test for eggs baked in to things in six months. For that, she takes a bite of something yummy with an egg baked in (cookies, muffin, etc), and wait twenty minutes. If there’s no reaction, she finishes the treat and waits longer. He said plan on a 2-3 hour visit for a challenge appointment, which will be really fun with an 18 month old. Until then, we avoid all eggs, baked in or otherwise. If the egg test goes well, we will do a milk challenge test a few weeks later. If she can tolerate egg baked into things, all we really need to avoid is stuff like scrambled eggs and french toast. Which really isn’t that hard, if you think about it.

For almonds, negative is again less than .035, and positive is above a 15. Her result was about a five. Because we are pretty sure she’s never had any almonds at all (we’re not big nut eaters), he wants to wait a year until her challenge test. Nuts can be the scariest reaction of all, and he wants to give her time to get bigger. The older/bigger a person is, the safer an allergy challenge test can be. Now, she could end up being fine with almonds, or have a minor reaction, or be given 2 epi-pens and an IV to stop a deathly anaphylactic reaction. We really don’t know, though he felt like the probability was in our favor.

The good news is, the probability is high on all of these allergies that she’ll grow out of them. Until then, I’ll be experimenting with different recipes to make them Allergy friendly. If allergies are a concern of yours, follow along with my successes and failures in making our home safe for our little baby girl. 

In truth, it’s kind of a pain making two separate meals all the time. Not to mention telling her “no” to foods that everyone else is eating and she really wants, and she has no idea why. 

Which One is Which?

Here’s a fun game. Can you tell the difference between these cookies?

One is dairy and egg free. One is not. 
Okay, obviously the chocolate chips I used were not dairy free but let’s look beyond that for a moment, shall we?
Knowing this, which one would you grab off the plate, assuming it wasn’t allergy friendly?

A? (On left.)

Or B? (On right.)

What’s your guess?

If you guessed B, you were right! But be honest: you were just guessing, weren’t you?

Of course, the real test is a taste test. But it’s impractical to suggest you all come to my house to do a blind taste test. Of course, you’re invited! Still impractical though.

The winner…
well, the taste winner, in my opinion, was the cookie baked with butter. Sometimes there is just no substitute for butter.
Unfortunately, caramel popcorn is definitely one of those no-substitute rules. Don’t ask.

The good news is, the dairy/egg free cookie was good! It was actually really good. I took a bite to taste, walked off, and kept munching on the cookie without thinking. Meaning that it wasn’t such a big taste difference that I was thinking about it with every bite. I think if your family didn’t know they were eating dairy and egg free cookies you’d totally fool them. 

For Abigail, I scooped up a few cookies before adding the chocolate chips. She’s too young to know the difference. However, I’ve heard good things about carob chips (I’ve seen them at Winco in the bulk aisles). Some dark chocolate chips are also dairy free, I believe.

There are a million chocolate chip cookie recipes on the web, each proclaiming to be the best. The thing is, everyone is looking for a different thing in a chocolate chip cookie. 
I think we are most drawn to the cookie that reminds us of childhood, whether it be from a box or a store or from our kitchens.
For me, this cookie is my “perfect” cookie. I’m giving you the egg and dairy free recipe, but I’ll add the “normal” version too. 

Click on the recipe titles to view a printer friendly version.

2 sticks Nucoa margarine 
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
4 T. Water
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 3/4 c. flour
2 c. dark chocolate or carob chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugars. In small bowl, mix Egg Replacer and water. Add Egg Replacer and vanilla to large, mix will. Scrape bowl if necessary. Mix in baking soda and salt, mix very well. Mix in flour, but don’t overmix.
Stir in dairy free chocolate chips.
Scoop onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 T. vanilla
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 3/4 c. flour
2 c. milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla to large bowl, mix will. Scrape bowl if necessary. Mix in baking soda and salt, mix very well. Mix in flour, but don’t overmix. Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Steal of a Deal on Tangled!

Feeling pretty good about my coupon skills today. 
I just picked up one of these babies

for a grand total of…


Oh yeah, baby!
How’d I do it? 
You wanna know? Do ya? Do ya do ya?

Okay, because I’m dying to tell you! I got a mild reaction from my husband but seriously, people! $11.70! Come on!

Target has the Tangled 4 disc combo pack (that’s Blu Ray, Blu Ray 3D, DVD, and digital copy) for $24.95. Usually Target prices their new movies low for the first few days so I wanted to scoop it up quickly. 
Disney also has a Tangled combo pack coupon for $5 off, but take note, it’s only for the 4 disc pack. 

Which brings me to $19.95. How’d I go even lower?

Target is having a couple of fun promotions this week. Their Pedigree dog food is on sale for $10.99, but don’t you worry, I used a $3 off coupon. If you buy two, you get a $5 Target gift card.
They are also having a promotion on men’s beauty products (chuckle, chuckle). If you buy 4 of select products (Degree deodorant, Dove Men+Care deodorant, Vaseline Men’s lotion, and a few other things), you get another $5 gift card. So here’s the break down of what I did:

Purchase 3 Degree Men’s Deodorant Twin Pack at $3.99 each
Purchase 1 Dove Men+Care Deodorant at $3.99 each
Use 3 of the $1/1 Degree Mens Deoderant Coupon from 3/27/11 RP
Plus use 1 of the $1.00 off of one Dove Men+Care Deoderant Coupon from the 03-27-11 RP
Pay $10.96 OOP but get $5 Target Gift Card

With me? “OOP” means “out of pocket,” by the way.

Purchase 2 of the Pedigree 20 lb. Dry Dog Food at $10.99
You pay $15.98 but you will receive a $5.00 Target Gift Card
(I knew getting a puppy would pay off one day!)

I paid for that transaction, then purchased Tangled with my two Target gift cards and paid $11.70, tax included!

In case your husband isn’t in need of a year supply of Degree deodorant, you can also spin your Target deal this way. And yes, I’m stealing this deal from Freebies 2 Deals, who stole it from Totally Target. Ah, blog love!

Possible Scenario
Purchase 1 Men’s Vaseline at $5.00
and 1 Dove Men+Care Deoderant at $3.99
and 1 Suave 2-in-1 Suave Shampoo at $2.69
and 1 Suave Styling Pomenade at $2.69
Then use the $1.00 off of two Suave Men’s Hair Care Target Coupon
Plus the $1.00 off of one Vaseline Mens Lotion Target Coupon
And the $1.00 off of one Dove Men+Care Deoderant Target Coupon

And the $1.00 off of one Vaseline Lotion Coupon from the 03-27-11 RP
And the $1.00 off of one Dove Men+Care Deoderant Coupon from the 03-27-11 RP
And the $.50 off of two Suave Mens Shampoo or Styling Product Coupon from the 03-27-11 RP
You pay $8.87 but you will receive a $5.00 Target Gift Card
Total cost $3.87 for all 4 or $.96 each! 

I should be done, but I’m not. I just found out, via Freebies 2 Deals, that you can use the Movies Reward Magic Code inside the DVD case to receive a free Tangled Charm bracelet, minus $2.99 s+h. Score!

Prettified Hair

I’m not one of those moms who take a lot of effort with their girls’ hair.
Sometimes, it’s just enough to know that their hair is washed.

Sometimes, it’s enough to know you thought about washing their hair.

Since we have Rebecca, my step-daughter, full-time now, I’ve decided to try a little harder with her hair. Not everyday. But once a week (or more, if she asks really nicely), I’ll get up early and do something special with her hair.

Usually it’s curled (I need a lot of practice). I’ve also done the triple barrel thing, which looks adorable in her hair.

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea!

It’s actually  been a lot of fun for both of us. We get up *early* (like, super early) and put on a show in my room, and we both watch it as I do her hair. I’m sure soon enough the novelty of cute hair styles will wear off (for me) and we’ll go back to the little ponytail on the top of her head. For now though, we do fun stuff like this:

Isn’t that cute? I got the idea off this fabulous hair blog:
It looks super complicated but seriously it wasn’t. It was time consuming, but mostly because I was dealing with a wiggly seven year old and I’m inexperienced. I love that it holds the headband in extremely securely. In fact, Rebecca is still wearing this hairstyle and it looks great.

Oh, and Nicole assumed that since pictures were being taken, I’d want her in them. So…

And yes, they are eating pizza in these pictures.
Okay, and it was 7:45 at night at the time. But it’s Spring Break, and sometimes life just happens that way.
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