I’m thrilled to share that my children’s book about food allergies, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy, is now available! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the moment I could introduce you to this special little someone who has been a source of hope, comfort and inspiration for me and my family for quite a while now. HumFree the bee is like all of our kids. He just wants to feel good and have fun doing what he loves. For HumFree, this means buzzing around super fast with his friends! After discovering he has food allergies that are making him sick, he learns how to do just that. I hope you find his story as inspirational as we have!

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Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 8 to May 14, is just around the corner. I believe one of the most effective ways to bring food allergy awareness to children–to help our kids really “get” it–is through books. In this spirit, for today and tomorrow only, I’m offering a “Buy One Get One” giveaway of my children’s picture book, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy, to anyone who orders a copy from me on my website today or tomorrow! As a food allergy mama, I always look forward to Food Allergy Awareness Week. In past years it has meant having access to new resources, cool posters, fun stickers and spreading awareness about food allergies. It’s also a wonderful time to reconnect with my supportive food allergy friends, to thank my friends and family who help keep us […]

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The end of 2015 saw a lot of action on the food allergy news front with regard to advocating for better disclosure of food allergens on the part of manufacturers. One issue for food allergy parents is keeping track of FDA food recalls due to the presence of undeclared allergens, because the FDA is finding food allergens “where they shouldn’t be,” according to a SnackSafely.com report. Just weeks before Congress introduced a bill designed to improve food labels, a father from Chambersburg, Pa., whose family has been managing life-threatening food allergies for several years, released with the help of Cross & Crown an app they created entitled “AllertMe” — to notify food allergy parents like me about undeclared allergens and other safety issues that may exist in our products.

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Motherhood is never challenging, said no mama ever! Being a mom continues to be one of the most challenging and rewarding life experiences for me. How can we keep ourselves positive, happy and the best we can be? How can positivity and motherhood live hand in hand? Fellow food allergy mama Kristin Beltaos and I talk about five keys for embracing the positive.

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Children today face so many different pressures that can cause anxiety. Juggling everything from learning how to cope with inner emotional tensions to handling outside stressors like academics and cyberbullying, our kids are processing a lot. As a mama managing food allergies, I’m used to navigating many different levels of anxiety in my family’s life. So when I received Sherianna Boyle’s book, The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Childhood Anxiety, I dove right in. The cover describes Boyle’s book as “a mindful approach for helping your child become calm, resilient, and secure” and it definitely hits the mark.

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Do you like doing budget-friendly craft projects with the kids that are easy and fun? If so, do I have a cool book for you…. Just before our first major snow storm of the new year, I received crafting guru Jamie Dorobek’s awesome book, “Creating Really Awesome Free Things,” to review. While other mamas and papas were going stir crazy with a week off from school, my kids and I were having fun making everything from toilet paper reindeer to cereal box puzzles. This crafty mama totally saved us during Virginia’s big dig out!

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Wow. Our food allergy community made fantastic strides in 2015 on many key issues, from state stock epinephrine laws and enhanced food label transparency to the many food allergy-related products that will help foster awareness and safety. While having busy families, hectic days and of course food allergies and other health issues, our food allergy community is sharing its special gifts to help make strides, increase awareness and transparency, and essentially make the world a safer place for our little ones. Here is my 2016 outlook!

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I’m thrilled to share with you all my latest foodie find: Oreo Candies! As a food allergy mama who avoids dairy, egg and nut, there really isn’t much candy in our household. But don’t get me wrong; we DO love incorporating Enjoy Life chocolate chips and chunks into most of our baking recipes! I recently reviewed a cool, super cute cookbook for Fancy Shanty entitled Kids’ Treats by fellow mama Katie Wyllie. To my delight, many of her 50 cute snack recipes revolved around…wait for it…OREOS! So of course, I made my own dairy-, egg- and nut-free version of her Oreo bon-bon for our enjoyment!

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When the Auvi-Q first hit the market, I must say it soared in, hot and shiny. With its relatively smaller size, faster delivery and voice activation, I felt myself breathe a little easier. But now I know it likely was a false sense of comfort. And the repercussions of what could have happened are frightening. So when the maker of our formerly beloved Auvi-Q epinephrine auto-injectors, Sanofi US, in an Oct. 28 press release issued “a voluntary nationwide recall of ALL Auvi-Q due to potential inaccurate dosage delivery,” the food allergy community was hit with a huge blow. In my mind, I’ve started thinking about what has happened as “the Auvi-Q effect.”

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As we move forward on our food allergy journey, I’m realizing our diagnosis remains the same but everything else continues to change: our safety measures, our outlook, our comfort levels, our village of helpers, our forms of advocacy, and especially our levels of awareness. Two years ago after participating in FARE’s walk to find a cure, I realized I needed to focus much more on my son’s awareness. After my family walked again this year, I was reminded that change is constant, and that we as parents need to be ready for it as it calls us and keep moving forward.

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I have to admit that the writing and production process for my new book, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy, was much more fun than marketing and sales. I have one small problem: I just want to give everyone a free copy! I’m so excited to share HumFree’s messages of hope, empowerment, inclusion, awareness and friendship with everyone. I want to reach children who feel alone and help them feel and know they aren’t. I want them to feel empowered. I want them to feel included. I want all of our children to find a way to do what they love–while staying safe and happy! So I’ve been wrestling with how to share HumFree in a way that feels comfortable to me. And then I got it: have a giveaway!

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