Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dude, you need to relax.

So you think you're all cool and not at all worried about allergies. You're sure you're not harboring low-level anxiety at all times.

And then your cell phone rings in your office while you're at work, and it's someone calling from the preschool, and your heart is racing as they're saying, "This is so and so from such and such school, and I'm just calling because..." And you're thinking to yourself, "How fast can I get there?"

Except that all they are calling about is the fact that school pictures are happening on a Monday, but your daughter doesn't attend on Mondays, so you'll need to make a special trip to drop by if you want to have her included in the class photo.



So, um? No one's dying?


We'll be there at 8:00.

Oh, and p.s. did you know that you just gave me a heart attack?

(No, I did not say any of that. Was just thinking it.)

Anyway, apparently I need to take a chill pill.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chef's Card: Before and After

I had been meaning to create a decent chef's card for a long time but had never gotten around to it. Part of the delay was admittedly due to the fact that we just don't take Georgia out to eat much, but I know that's no excuse - I mean, it's not like we never go out to eat. And then every time we'd get ready to leave for a vacation, where we'd obviously be eating out several times in a week, the idea of a chef's card would come to mind again. I guess that in the hustle of wrapping up work, getting ready to leave town, buying necessities (and usually packing for 3 of the 4 of us), the chef's card always fell by the wayside.

Well, after this little incident, I finally got off of my duff and created a better one. If you aren't familiar with chef's cards, I think the pictures will explain it.

Makeshift Chef's card
{Yes, that's a scrap of pink construction paper. Nuts/Fish/Sesame is my way of shortening peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame. I know it's important to convey ALL of Georgia's allergies, but I'm also of the mind that too many words can lead to people tuning out the whole thing. Maybe others disagree?}

Chef's card: Take 2
{Free template available on FAAN's website. I highlighted the words at the top to draw attention to them. This one is printed on bright paper so that it's less likely to get overlooked by a waiter or cook, and it's laminated. I only have the one but figure I should print some more since they're likely to not return from the kitchen.}

What do you think? Looking at it now, I'm wishing I had specified pine nuts, but at least I remembered to put pesto, which is the usual sneaky pine nut culprit.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Georgia and June's Crayon Party

We celebrated Georgia's 3rd birthday and June's 1st with a crayon themed party. (Allergy-friendly, of course, which I feel compelled to mention since I've parked this post here on Dining With Goldilocks.)

This first picture is just for fun, lest you get the idea from the rest of these pics that everything always looks so put together in our house.
{Here's Georgia "helping" me with the decorations the day before. She's in pajamas, eating dry Cheerios, it's about 5:00 p.m., and she has strewn cupcake wrappers everywhere, amidst a pillow that she dragged into the kitchen and a toy stroller she knocked over.}

We covered all tables and parts of the wall in butcher paper for drawing. Crayons were on sale for back to school at Target, so I was able to get several hundred for just $4.00.

The cupcakes were maybe my favorite use of the theme. I bought a nice set of food coloring (which I'll be able to continue using for a long time), and made a veritable rainbow of frosting colors, in various shades of each hue. I purchased the edible crayon cupcake toppers.

Originally I thought I would go on Flickr to find cool pictures of crayons to use in our decorations, but I couldn't figure out how to print them. Then I thought, why don't I just photograph some crayons myself? Here is a no-sew Happy Birthday banner that I made out of 4x6 prints of my crayon snapshots.

Here's a better look at one of my crayon shots. They're all available under my Flickr handle (baumgak) if anyone wants to use them.

My niece, Alice, drawing on our walls. I figured drawing on the walls would be a treat seeing as how it's usually a big no-no.
Alice drawing on wall

I discovered this after the party. I believe it's supposed to say "Juney and Georgia".

We had a ton of fun making the favors, and they were a great tie-in to the theme. Here's a picture of the favors before they were bagged. Georgia helped me to upcycle crayon bits from the bottom of her box into star and circle shapes by melting them in the oven. Instructions found here. (Tips: Do not use washable crayons. If using silicone pans, put oven at 200.) Also, I adapted an idea I think I originally saw on Design Mom of taking a photo of an outstretched fist and inserting a lollipop stick, but instead we did it with crayons. Such a cool effect! I must say I'm impressed with us that we were able to get a usable shot of June for this purpose, since she can't make a fist on demand. She is pictured handing someone a tiny leaf that she found on the ground. Hey, whatever works!

We played "Drop the Crayon", a variation on the more familiar "Drop the Clothespin", wherein the goal is to drop a small object into vessels decreasing in size with each round. We started with a large metal mixing bowl and worked down to a drinking glass.

Sam checking out whether Harry made it.
He did!

Here I am casting a spell on the presents. Just kidding. Actually, in lieu of other gifts, we did a book exchange. Every child came with a wrapped book, and every child got to go home with a book new to him or her. I think it worked great for a very small group of young children close in age like we had.

This doesn't have much to do with the crayon theme, other than the fact that it's colorful, but I got the idea for using a Pack n Play to make a ball pit from Rookie Moms. I thought it was hysterical and the kids got a real kick out of it, too.
See, Sam is why we need a sign like this. : )

Sam and Harry having a chat in the ball pit.

Well, that about does it for showing off our decorations. On to the party pics and gratuitous face-full-of-cake shots!

"We are making these nice fake smiles for your photograph. May we eat our cupcakes now, please?"

Max re-purposing a "Drop the Crayon" bowl.

Happy Birthday!

How many people does it take to blow out 1 candle?

My sister commented that June appeared to be approaching the cupcake like a blind person at first. You can see what she meant from this picture.

Ahhh, there we go!

Just wanted to show off their "1" and "3" t-shirts. Georgia wore the "1" on her first birthday, too. I've decided to make number shirts a birthday tradition in our house. (Well, for the kids anyway!)

Synchronized cupcake eating!

I think Georgia's face is saying, "Daddy, please shave." Joe's been keeping his vacation beard well past vacation just for fun. It's going away this weekend, but now it will be forever remembered in photographs thanks to the many momentous occasions we celebrated in August 2010.

My baby!


A genuine Juney smile.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walnut pesto mayo. Are you kidding me?

I feel like I'm beginning to bore myself with so much recent allergy talk, so I'm going to make a long story short:
  • Went out to lunch with the girls last Friday.
  • Looked at the menu online ahead of time for safe options.
  • Ordered her a ham and cheese sandwich.
  • Told the waiter about Georgia's allergies (nuts, fish, sesame). (Aka, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame.)
  • Tried to hand the waiter a small piece of paper with Georgia's allergies written down clearly in all caps. (My shoddy version of a chef's card, I guess.)
  • Reminded the waiter to be careful not just of her food but of cross contamination from other food (e.g., the person who just prepared a PB&J shouldn't handle Georgia's sandwich).
  • Food arrives. Georgia eats one bite only. She's normally a big eater.
  • I notice one hive and ask my sister to wipe Georgia's cheek, thinking it might just be a contact reaction to something.
  • I notice the mayo on Georgia's sandwich looks a little funny and ask my sister to investigate.
  • Turns out, they put walnut pesto mayo on Georgia's sandwich! Are you kidding me?
  • Remain calm. Wait to see if medication is needed. Decide medication is needed, because Georgia is acting like a spaced out zombie.
  • Give Benadryl. She immediately perks up.
  • Total reaction amounted to about 2 hives, zombie-like state, loss of appetite, redness on her cheek, one or two coughs (which may or may not have been related to any of this), and whatever the hell else may have been going on inside of her that I will never know about. (See below for more on that.)

I was kind of mortified that this all happened in the company of my sister's friends and their children, because I felt like we were causing a bit of a scene, even though everyone couldn't have been nicer about it. Good news is that Georgia ended up fine. Bad news is that this was a very frustrating experience. I'm normally so embarrassed (I know I shouldn't be) to address Georgia's allergies head on in restaurants, but this time I think I really did everything I was supposed to do up front. There was just a breakdown in communication between the waiter and the kitchen, I guess. Because I am a huge nerd, I have since written the restaurant manager a letter to tell them what occurred and that I think they may need better allergy policies or staff education in place. Basically, I just want to keep this from happening to someone else.

Silver lining here is that Georgia and I had a nice chat about her reaction on the way home. Any reaction, though unfortunate, is a data point that we can learn from, an experience that will help Georgia to better identify and articulate in the future when she thinks she may be having a reaction.

I feel like an idiot, because during our chat, I asked her if it felt funny when she ate the bite of sandwich, and I totally misundertsood her anwer. She responded by saying that it felt like she had a pipe in her mouth. A pipe? I was picturing the type of pipe a person would smoke tobacco from, and I couldn't even think of where she had seen a pipe, other than Curious George books, or maybe pictures of Santa. So I figured there was no way she'd really know what having a pipe in your mouth would feel like and basically chalked her response up to toddler nonsense. But later that day, when Joe got home from work he asked her about what had happened at the restaurant, and Georgia again told him that her mouth had felt like it had a pipe in it. "A pipe? What kind of pipe?" he asked. "You know, a pipe. Like how water goes through pipes," she said. Ohhhhhhhh. Duh. So, I gather that she was feeling some constriction of her throat or swelling in her mouth or something, based on this description. Which makes the whole experience just a little scarier in retrospect, but I am not going to dwell unnecessarily on that, because the point is that she recovered quickly and is fine.

(Wish I could have said the same about my mental state that day. I was still replaying everything in my head and worrying unnecessarily about hypothetical situations by the time I went to bed.)