Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fill Your Bag at CVS/pharmacy

I've been quiet recently on this blog and my other social media channels because we've been having a FUN week free of computer and phone time.  I'll write a future post about the fun our family had at the beach this past week. First, I want to tell you about a great "Fill your bag" promotion going on at CVS/pharmacy right now...actually for only about 1 more week!  

I shopped at CVS/pharmacy right before we went on our beach trip to stock up on some of the essentials for the trip, AND to get a head start on our Kindergarten supply list!

Here are some of the great goodies I picked up:

When you go into your local CVS/pharmacy, first scan your card or enter your phone number as I did. The handy coupon center prints out your coupons on the spot!

I filled my bag with useful things for our beach trip and to check off some of our Kindergarten supplies. You also get this useful little bag for FREE if you use your 30% off coupon!

And look at all the money I saved. Not bad at all!!

Here's more about how the CVS "Fill Your Bag" promotion works.

CVS/pharmacy “Fill Your Bag” Promotion
  • This in-store and online event runs July 19 through August 8, 2015
  • To participate, members of the ExtraCare® program simply scan their cards at the ExtraCare Coupon Center for their 30% off coupon. Limit of one coupon each week per ExtraCare card holder.
  • Participating customers will receive a reusable shopping bag free with purchase; Customers can choose from more than 3,000 CVS/pharmacy exclusive items at 30% off.
  • During the promotion, ExtraCare members can save on items from all of their favorite CVS/pharmacy exclusive product lines including CVS Brand, Gold Emblem Abound, Gold Emblem, Total Home, and Caliber.
  • All of our exclusive, store brand product lines and CVS Brand products come with a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • For those shopping online, there is no coupon required. Savings will automatically applied to eligible online purchases.
  • Offer excludes sale items, vitamins, sun-care products, gift with purchase offers, CVS/pharmacy gift cards, clearance, batteries, Caliber, and all products containing pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and items limited by law.
More about our beach trip soon. Hope your summer has been going well too. Don't forget to follow some of our food, family and fun adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

CVS/pharmacy kindly provided me with a gift card to shop their great sale! All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Staying Safe at Summer Camp for Kids with Food Allergies

Navigating Summer Camp with Life-Threatening Food Allergies

Although Little Guy is only 5 years old, I often envision how we’ll plan for activities as he gets older since he has multiple food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy and sesame. So far we’re getting pretty good at planning for the usual pizza and cake laden birthday parties, but we have so many more activities to plan for in the future.

Summer camp is one of those activities.

Staying safe with food allergies at summer camp is possible, but it takes a lot of planning! (Just like everything else we do as parents of children with food allergies).

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Martha White, a Washington, D.C.-based, nationally recognized pediatric and adult allergy specialist. She’s also a founding board member of the Allergy & Asthma Network. 

She offered some great tips for staying safe at summer camp that I thought might be useful to you.

Here is a summary of my Q&A session with Dr. White:

Q: As food allergy parents, we do a lot of planning.  How should parents evaluate and plan for their child’s summer camp experience?
A: It’s important to do your homework and keep open communication with your camp.  Make sure you look at the camp’s website and ask about any policies for food allergic children.

Ask who is trained to recognize anaphylaxis and administer epinephrine. The ideal situation would be for all of the staff to be trained. At a minimum, the counselors, kitchen staff and bus/van driver must be trained. Also ask if your child will be allowed to carry his/her own epinephrine.

Q: On that note, what age do you recommend children carry their own epinephrine at camp?
A: It really varies by child. However, the camp policies sometimes dictate whether or not a child can carry their own epinephrine. There is really no magic age. You have to decide based upon your child.

Q: How do you recommend keeping epinephrine at the right temperature during hot summer camp days?
A: Epinephrine should be stored at room temperature at all times. That’s about 66 – 77 degrees. When outdoors, make sure to keep it out of the sun. Bring a dark bag/backpack to keep it in so the sun doesn’t get through to it. Try to keep it under towels or a shaded area. Children need to know not to jump in the water with it too. 

*Mamacado note – we love the FRIO Bag (affiliate) for sunny summer trips. This might also be a solution for very hot days at summer camp.

Q: If a camp is not close to a hospital, should a parent not even consider sending their child to that camp?
A: The camp should be within about 10-15 minutes of emergency care. This could be something like a hospital or urgent care center. It’s important that a rescue squad can get to the camp within about 10-15 minutes and deliver treatment for follow-up.  You have to consider distance especially if your child will take long trips outside of camp to remote areas, like a canoe trip.

Q: What “red flags” should a parent look for when deciding where to send their child to camp?
A: It’s probably a red flag if the camp:
  • Has no knowledge of or previous experience with food allergies.
  • Has no food allergy policy or procedure for children with food allergies.
  • Only trains the health room staff.  All staff should be trained.
  • Is restrictive about how children can carry epinephrine. 
Q: As parents, we'll hopefully do our part in preparing the summer camp to keep our child safe. But what are the top ways parents can prepare their child for camp?
A: Parents can prepare their child for summer camp by:
  • Making sure the child knows what they're allergic to, and they know to say things like "I’m allergic to milk, does this have milk in it?” They should know their allergens and how to avoid their allergens.
  • Teaching children symptoms of an allergic reaction. Teach them that an allergic reaction might feel like an itchy throat, tight chest, rash, or just a strange feeling. If they feel funny, they need to tell an adult that, “I’m allergic to food and I feel sick”. I have 6 year olds practice saying that with me in the office.
  • Teaching teenagers how to give themselves epinephrine.
  • Informing children that there is a food allergy plan in place with the camp.
Dr. White is a paid spokesperson of Mylan Specialty, the marketer and distributor of EpiPen®. I was not compensated in any way for this post. I was truly interested in speaking to an expert about staying safe with food allergies at summer camp.

You might be interested in these other food allergy focused summer camp resources:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

5 Allergy-Friendly Summer Snacks


I'm excited to share with you my guest post on the SunButter blog: 5 Allergy-Friendly Summer Snacks

I remember my family beach trips so vividly as child. They were full of sun, sand, swimming and SNACKS! Still, our snacks were most likely full of dairy, eggs, sesame or nuts – food that is unsafe for my 5 year old son with multiple food allergies.

Now, as a mom of a 5 year old and 2 year old (with no food allergies), I want to pack safe and healthy snacks for our whole family. We can’t just run up to the boardwalk when the kids get hungry, or pick-up snacks at a local store.  Our beach trips take so much planning, planning and more planning!

I thought this list of allergy-friendly snacks might be useful for other parents of children with food allergies. These snacks are perfect for the beach, pool or whatever fun activities you do in the summer! They’re portable and easy to grab right out of the fridge, freezer or cabinet. They’re also rather healthy. We try to focus on healthy and whole foods in our family, but we also try not to worry too much if a few “treats” sneak in here and there!

Since my son can’t eat other forms of protein like eggs and cheese – usually great portable kid snacks – we rely on SunButter to give him that boost of protein he needs. You can easily take a whole jar of SunButter to the beach in your cooler.  I also like to portion SunButter in bowls beforehand so everyone has their own. Bring some pretzels, crackers and precut veggies and fruit like carrots, celery and apples. Dip in SunButter for a healthy and satisfying snack!

My kids LOVE all kinds of vegan homemade muffins – banana bread muffins, pumpkin muffins, you name it! If you add a little SunButter on top of the muffins, then you have a well-rounded snack that will keep them satisfied. We love SunButter’s On The Go Pouches (affiliate). They make it so easy to squeeze the SunButter directly on the muffin - no utensils needed!

Fruit is such an easy and portable snack option. I’m sure you eat it all the time, just like we do. Choose a few favorite fruits that your kids love AND a fruit that you don’t usually buy. You never know, they may like to try a new food just because they’re having so much fun at the beach or pool! Wash and slice your fruit beforehand, throw it in a container, and go!  If you really need a quick and portable fruit snack, buy fruit like apples, peaches, grapes and plums that you don’t even have to cut. Just wash it and throw it in a bag!

These no bake oat balls are so easy to make and throw in a container.  I keep them in the fridge or freezer, and put the container in my bag when we’re ready to leave.  My husband and the kids all love them, and it’s a great snack option that’s a little different than the usual!

We can’t buy the traditional snack or trail mixes from the store as they usually contain nuts, dairy or sesame. So we make our own!  This snack mix is one of our favorite combinations. Pick your favorite safe snack foods like popcorn, pretzels, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, and mix them all together! You don’t even miss the nuts or other unsafe foods. It’s a satisfying and safe snack for all.

I hope these snacks help you and your family have MANY fun summer memories of sun, sand, swimming and SAFE SNACKS!

Need more snack ideas?  Try these!

Nut Free Granola Bars (dairy free, egg free and sesame free too!)

Simple Oat Date Bars (so easy!)

White Bean, Basil and Lemon Hummus (tahini/sesame free)
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