Monday, July 25, 2011
Yes, it's July 25th and only 5 months til Christmas (I actually have one family member bought for but the other's will have to wait until closer to Christmas).
The summer is just FLYING by. I want it to slow down so that I can saver the weather and the children much, much longer. But alas, the first day of school is only 4 short weeks away.
So far I've got the boys outfitted in uniform shirts. I used to buy the premium priced ones because they hold up better in the wash. And they do. The only problem is that the boys usually stain them so badly fairly quickly that I end up throwing them out before laundering can take it's toll. The Little Man is the biggest shirt destroyer but Older Boy has his moments. Luckily I got wise and stopped paying the big bucks. Instead I found uniform shirts at our local K-Mart for $5.98 for the short sleeve and $7.98 for the long sleeve. If you live by me, there is no point in going to the local K-Mart if you need boys white or light blue uniform shirts in sizes 8 or 10-12. Sorry, but I cleaned them out.
The boys and I also went school supply shopping today and got everything on the list. I actually had quite a few things in the "extra supplies drawer". In the spring our local Flower Factory went out of business. At the time, I loaded up on as much discounted school supplies as I could. But we still needed a few things. So today we hit Target. After comparing all the fliers, Target seemed to have the best deals on the stuff we needed. Other stores have a couple of items cheaper but at almost $4.00 per gallon, there was no way I was driving around from store to store so we got everything at Target. We also picked up a new lunch box for the Little Man (he used his for 2 years and it's starting to rip), a new water bottle for Older Boy (he used his for 3 years and it gave out last year), new shin guards for fall soccer, underwear, and socks. Mark that list as COMPLETE.
I still have pants and shoes to do. I'm not too concerned about pants because they wear uniform shorts for the first month and they are both set on those from the spring. But remembering back to last year, the cool weather comes upon us quickly, so I'd like to get the pants now so I don't have to worry about it later. The Little Man is on the shorter and thicker side. Since they don't make husky's in a size 7 (man I had the worst time finding husky's in size 6 last year and paid big bucks for them) I try to look for uniform pants that have elastic in the back. I found a pair at K-Mart and they fit him perfectly. They aren't tight in the waist and they are long enough to give him room without him walking on them. The only problem is that they only had 1 pair so I'll have to call around to other K-Marts to see if I can find two more pairs. These pants were $12.99 and that's a price I like. Older Boy is going to be the hard one this year. He can wear slims or regulars (if they have an adjustable waist). His size 8's are too short and the next size for boys is 10/12's which are going to be way too big on him. He needs a size 9 but those are hard to find. I did find them at School Belles, but at $24.00 a pair I'm going to keep looking. At least I have them as a back up, but I'd really like to find something cheaper.
We also have school shoes, tennis shoes, and gym shoes to do. I *think* the tennis shoes I bought at the end of spring will still fit them (I'm really hoping!) and I usually get gym shoes at a big box store. They leave gym shoes at school all year and by the time they come home at the end of the school year, they don't fit anymore. It seems a waste to spend big money on something they wear for 45 minutes a week and then grow out of. So far they both don't seem to mind their off brand shoes when most of the other kids have NBA quality shoes.
Windbreakers still fit from last year. Both boys already have winter coats. The Little Man will wear the one the Older Boy wore for the last two years. And Older Boy will wear this coat that I purchased a couple of years ago from a resale shop. I paid $40.00 and the lady in the shop kept gushing about what a deal I got, but I knew nothing about Spyder (and still don't.) Now I'm glad I snatched it up. So we only need boots this year.
Yes, I'm surely spending money like it's Christmas in July. I always thought that they called it that because of July 25th (December 25th) but maybe it's really because of all the money that is thrown around because of back to school.
For more information on the real origin of Christmas In July, visit wikipedia.
Merry Christmas and happy back to school :)
Monday, July 18, 2011
Or at least it was last week for the the family of Chupieandjsmama.
We had a wonderful time, recharged our batteries, and didn't want to come home.
Much prep went into the planning and execution of this trip. Vacations are always a lot of work to get organized, but if you have food allergies, there's even more work involved.
The week before we left, I had to:
1. Buy and pack safe food items that I knew I couldn't get at the beach (Ener-G hamburger buns, GF crispy rice cereal, safe cookies, crackers, etc.). This mostly involved dry goods.
2. In years past, we ate out every night and would just bring the Little Man's food with us. Last year he started to mention that he felt left out, so we had already decided to eat at a few safe restaurants, eat out one night when we'd have to bring his food, and cook and eat in several nights.
3. Eating in means that mom cooks. I decided to bring the slow cooker so that I could start dinner in the AM and by the PM it would be ready to go. That meant that I needed to plan a menu and a grocery list for when we got to our location.
4. The Little Man had his birthday while we were there. I packed safe cupcakes so that we could celebrate.
5. I also bought and packed safe food for the trip there. The hardest thing is to find a restaurant along the way. Most of the time it's fast food, which can be OK, but all my son can usually get to eat is French Fries. Not the healthiest or most filling of options. I packed a cooler with safe lunch meat, yogurt, fruit, veggies and GF hummus, string cheese and I also brought safe chips, pretzels and crackers. These "snack" items held us for the entire 8 hours we drove the first day. We didn't need to stop for food until we got to the hotel for the first leg of our trip.
6. Pack at least 3 two packs of Epi Pens. One for my purse (it's always in there), one for dad or the beach bag, and one to stay in the condo.
The first night of the trip we stayed at a hotel. There's no way for me to slow cook there so we ate out. And we moved outside our comfort zone and tried a new place for the Little Man. We went to Chili's for the first time. I had research it and knew that they have Allergy Menu's but we never tried them out. Because of my son's multiple allergies, I had looked at the menu's before and cross referenced what would be safe for him to eat on the egg free, peanut free, tree nut free, and gluten free menus. When we got there they handed me the "allergy menu" book and I cross checked everything again. Not wanting to stray too far off the "comfort zone" path, we stuck with what he usually eats safely at other restaurants. I ordered him a steak with no seasoning cooked in a clean pan (no grill for him). He also got corn on the cob and loaded mashed potatoes (I thought he would like these, but he didn't...should have gotten him the steamed broccoli instead). All worked out well at Chili's. The server and manager seemed knowledgeable on how to handle food allergies and the kitchen accepted my chef cards and returned them when the order came out. I don't know if all Chili's are this way, but we had a good experience at the one we tried.
Once we got to our destination, we ate at our go to safe restaurant for the Little Mans birthday dinner, Outback Steak House. We've always had good luck here. Again, my son gets a steak with no seasoning cooked in a clean pan and 2 baked potatoes (he loves Outback potatoes!).
Last year when we vacationed, we went to Carolina Wings and Ribs. The manager was able to cook the Little Man boneless chicken wings in olive oil and garlic (in a clean pan) and he had a baked potato to go with it. He wanted to return so we stopped in ahead of time to inquire if this was still a possibility. They assured us that it was so back we went. That evening the very nice manager informed us that our son could order regular wings and Wing Chips (totally delicious home made potato chips) because they have dedicated fryers. Unseasoned potatoes go in one fryer. Plain unseasoned wings go in another fryer and breaded stuff has it's own fryer. Needless to say the Little Man was in heaven. His wings were plain, but I brought a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's in my purse (doesn't everyone carry BBQ sauce in their purse??) so he had BBQ wings.
He was so excited by this new addition to his restaurant repertoire that we had to eat there again before we left (let's just say that I'm good on greasy bar food for a while).
3 nights I slow cooked and I used Stephanie O'Deas Make It Fast, Cook It Slow cook book.
We had Chicken Tacos, BBQ Beans and Weenies, and Spanish Rice. All of these recipes were new to us and all of them were big hits. I'll be making them again at home real soon!
So how did I survive all of this food and eating?? For restaurants with nutrition information, I tried to plan my meal (calorically) ahead of time. For restaurants like Carolina Wings that doesn't have nutrition information (or at least I couldn't find it) I did the best I could and made sure that I ate a small breakfast and lunch. I also exercised every day except driving days. I either walked on the beach in the morning
or used my Leslie Sansone Walk At Home DVD's that I brought with me (it depended on the daily schedule and how much time I had). I didn't lose any weight, which I've been trying to do, but I didn't gain any either and with all the eating I did, I credit the exercise for that.
Another great tool was my smart phone. It let me look up allergy information for each restaurant or grocery item that I was unsure of. The phone paid for itself and then some on this trip (the GPS helped too during the traffic jams we were stuck in).
All in all we had a wonderful trip, a food allergy safe trip and we're all ready to go back.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
How did my baby get to be 7 seven years old? It seems just like yesterday God sent this sweet angel into our lives. His delivery was easy (45 minutes), but life's been a struggle for him ever since with allergies, asthma, ear infections/ear tubes, multiple life threatening food allergies. But he's a fighter, this one. He takes most things in stride and meets them head on. And he does it with a smile. Everyone who knows him says "He's always smiling!". That may not be completely true ( believe me, it's not ) but the joy just radiates from him and passes on to others. I thank God every day for sending this boy into our lives. I love him with all of my heart.
Happy Birthday to our sweet boy!
Happy Birthday to our sweet boy!