Packing with food intolerances

Packing for kids with food intolerances | Conscientious Confusion

Even though we are light years away from where we started on our journey with our naturopath for my son’s food intolerances, his body continues to attack certain foods and have trouble absorbing the nutrients from common foods. We’ve also had to do a lot of travel recently, and often spontaneously. I think this is the third time in two months that I’ve packed all our gear with less than a day’s notice. That sounds like a lot of time, but not when you consider that I wasn’t able to stop any of our previous social engagements/school/playgroups.

So, because I was packing again when I wrote this, here’s a list of the things we typically bring for our dairy free, gluten free boy:

  • shelf stable coconut milk or almond milk
  • gluten free snacks
  • dried fruit
  • squeezy food like these or these  (affiliate links & I know disposable is bad but we are looking to have to refrigerate as little as possible and if we use our Squooshi pouches, we have to refrigerate them)
  • peanuts
  • our homemade low-gluten bread (I use our wheat bread recipe but substitute part gluten-free flour)
  • probiotics (we all use these – affiliate link)
  • digestive enzymes (he uses these and I use these – both affiliate links)
  • cultured coconut milk yogurt (example here)
  • liquid vitamins, since he doesn’t absorb nutrients from the chewables (we use this one – affiliate link)

Aside from clothes and bathroom essentials, these are the things I throw into bags and insulated coolers when we travel. Piece of cake, right? (um, wait, we can’t really have cake regularly…)

How do you pack healthy easy snacks for your allergic or food intolerant family members?

Tips for Summer Adventures: Travel or Staycations

This month’s blog sponsor is Allstate 21st Century Prosperity agent Shawn Spalding. Since I know that Allstate has dozens of years experience in auto claims, maintenance, roadside assistance, and that Shawn is probably an expert on saving money (since he’s a financial planner!), I asked him to share some of his best tips for summer adventures, whether you are on the road or not. It might seem a little early, but I asked him this because our family has already planned several road trips for our summer this year! How about you?

Summer Adventure Tips: Travel or Staycations | Conscientious Confusion

Road Trips

  1. Get your car checked!
    A tune up is a good idea. Low tire pressure or dirty air filters can reduce a car’s gas mileage
  2. Save on Gas!
    Use an online calculator, like GasBuddy.com’s Trip Cost Calculator, to help you estimate how much you’ll spend on gas: use your route and your car model’s gas mileage.
    Then use Allstate’s Fuel Finder – fast, easy-to-use gas price locator can help you find low prices at nearby pumps. All the preparations add up to money that stays in your pocket.
    Go easy on the accelerator when the light turns green!
    Keep to the speed limit. Promotes safer driving and more fuel efficiency, but it also helps prevent you from getting a speeding ticket, which can put a dent in any vacation budget.
  3. Pack your roadside emergency kit
    Items to include: snacks and bottled water, plastic trash bags for wind protection and car sickness, first aid kit, cellphone and charger, flashlight and batteries, blankets, waterproof matches and/or a lighter, properly inflated spare tire, jack and lug wrench, jumper cables, signal flares, pocket knife, atlas and state/local road maps, extra quart of high-quality motor oil, hand cleaner, and paper towels.

Can’t head out of town? Plan a Staycation!

Some of the benefits? Saves time (no traffic/no security check-in lines) & saves money (no expensive plane tickets/no checked bag fees).

Get the whole family involved. Encourage everyone to write down an activity on a slip of paper and choose out of a hat.

Activities that are eco-friendly and local

  • Camp out in your backyard
  • Take a walking tour or hike through a local park (I recommend Trinity Audubon Center!)
  • Visit a museum or spot of cultural interest
  • Use public transportation to see the attractions (saves gas and is good for the environment!)
  • Plant a garden
  • Build a composting bin (my post on composting)
  • Organize a Taste Tour (check Dallas Moms Blogs best restaurants for kids here, here, here and here!)
  • Cook new, destination or theme oriented foods at home. Make every evening an entirely different theme-inspired gustatory adventure! (try Central Market Cooking Schools for how-to: Plano or Dallas locations)

Note from Allstate 21st Century Prosperity: We gathered these tips from articles available on the Allstate Blog.

If you have any questions, you can always reach Shawn and his office at 972-980-0865 or shawnspalding{at}allstate.com.
Like them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter!

Thanks, Shawn and his wonderful office staff! And, happy travels!

Earth Hour 2014 is tonight! (Saturday, March 29)

Have you ever heard of Earth Hour? It’s one hour (from 8:30-9:30pm your local time), one day (Saturday, March 29 this year), each year where we turn off all our electric appliances and do non-electric things! It can actually be really fun, with candles and actual TALKING to another person. We have to make a few modifications over here because we have some little ones who will be in bed but are afraid of the dark and sleep with sound machines. But my husband and I have turned off all the other appliances in the house for ourselves.

Some of the goals of Earth Hour 2014 include raising awareness of our energy use, giving us time to reflect, and even offering the opportunity to donate the money you might have saved on electricity to worthy causes (after the hour is over, of course!). Another great outcome of Earth Hour is to help us continue to change our habits going forward, in a positive way.

For example, you’ll probably turn off your devices during Earth Hour, but what about the chargers for those devices? eCycle has provided an infographic below which illustrates how much more energy we can each save if we just make sure to unplug our chargers when not in use!

Turning off your gadgets during Earth Hour 2014I don’t know about you, but I don’t really turn off my gadgets AT ALL, and I am very guilty of leaving the chargers plugged in. I will make sure to unplug in the future! Join me?

It’s (organic) gardening time again!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice. All opinions are 100% mine.

I think we’ve seen the last of our 16 degree days here in Dallas, and just this week one of our chickens started laying again! I’m so excited to be doing yoga outside and cleaning the chicken coop (ok, maybe not the coop…), that I’ve also forgotten my past failures and I’m gearing up to start another organic garden.
In fact, I’ve already planted some seeds in biodegradeable seed cups. I have actually been keeping them in our downstairs bathroom because it’s the only window with a wide ledge inaccessible to children and the cat. Classy. The seedlings need to be watered several times a day to stay moist, so at least it is convenient!
This weekend, we went on a road trip. We had the cat’s autofeeder on, a weekend tablet for the fish, and plenty of food for the chickens. But the seedlings needed constant watering. So we took them with us!
Taking our organic seedlings with us!
You don’t pack your seedlings with your beach towels and cooler, too?
What am I planting? Right now, the seedling cups contain:
tomatoes
cucumbers
basil
bell peppers
spinach
I have more seeds for growing kale, swiss chard, and dill which will be planted directly into the ground as soon as I’m sure it won’t freeze again. There is also a bunch of rooted basil in a cup of water on my windowsill waiting to be transplanted into the ground.
I have this vision of being able to create freshly picked, organic bruschetta from my garden this year, on my own homemade bread. Yum!
Of course, it’s very important for me to keep my garden organic. Organic veggies are expensive, so if I can grow even a few, it is a great savings. And what could be more yummy than fresh organic veggies? The raised bed we built two years ago is low on soil, so I’m adding additional organic soil this year from Miracle-Gro Organic Choice before transplanting the seedlings. It is easy to find, available at the Home Depot down the street. If you’re looking for it at your local store, here’s what the bag looks like:
Organic Soil photo 72859510_22_zps758b34b4.jpg
If you’re a novice gardener like me, I recommend visiting the Growing Something Greater site, they had a lot of great posts with tips for successful growing.
Is it warming up where you are? Have you starting planting or sprouting indoors?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Being Indoors with 2 Preschoolers for 2-3 Days

As you might have seen on the news (or be experiencing along with me right now), the DFW area was hit with record levels of solid ice and sleet all Thursday night and temperatures haven’t risen above the 20’s since then. Because we live in Texas, we did not own any salt with which to ice our driveway, so we’ve been stuck in our house with both our kids since then. My children, who wake up every morning asking “Where are we going today?”, are NOT accustomed to staying at home for this long. Frankly, neither am I. I am so glad that today it is getting up to 40 degrees! We just spent a little over an hour breaking the ice on our driveway with shovels so that I can drive to the studio and teach a 2pm Lagree Fitness class. It will feel so good to get out of the house and to do a workout! I can guarantee that I will be purchasing driveway salt as soon as it is available again in this area. All you northerners, I’d love to hear your suggestions on other good preventative measures!

So, we were stuck indoors with 2 preschoolers for 2-3 days. What did we do?

To begin with, let me be clear: I am not one of those Pinterest moms who has great ideas on creative and educational activities. And my children have seriously destroyed most of the creative ideas I have tried. Like the sensory bin using beans – that was a TERRIBLE IDEA. They put the beans in dozens of containers which they carried around the house for days. I was finding beans all over the house for months. Literally. It was very creative, what they did. But not at all what Pinterest had in mind. Apparently most children leave the beans in the bin. Ha!

I got a lot of good ideas from my Facebook friends on what to do with 2 preschoolers indoors. Here I will list them for you. Please note that these are ideas from other people, not me:

  • homemade play doh
  • baking Christmas cookies (we did bake breakfast cake, and that was so much sugar that I had to hold off on the cookies)
  • marshmallows and toothpicks
  • pipe cleaners and kitchen strainer
  • use duct tape on hardwood floors to create a hopscotch grid
  • go outside and play
  • play with cardboard boxes
  • empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls
  • play in the bathtub
  • If you don’t have beanbags, fill reusable sandwich bags with beans or lentils or even coins, give the kids a cardboard box, and let them toss the bags.
  • Have a color scavenger hunt. Call out a color, have them find as many things of that color in one room that they can.
  • Write out numbers 1-10 each on a piece of paper, tape them to the floor, and have them hop to each number, calling that # out when they jump. You could also make a homemade twister board. If you don’t have colored construction paper, have them help by coloring paper.
  • Draw shapes (geometric, but also apples, snakes, houses, animals, etc) and let them practice scissor skills. Start with straight lines, then slightly curved, wavy/scalloped, then circles & shapes. Many of each for practice.

Which of these activities did my children actually do?

  • imaginary play involving two ninja fighting sticks, winter hats, and mittens
  • painting
  • painting
  • painting with glitter glue
  • fighting each other
  • I gave them an empty egg carton and they randomly played with that for a while
  • destroying our Playmobil advent calendar
  • watching shows
  • doing activity books
  • using every single toy in the house to create an elaborate play scenario in their imaginations
  • dumping the toys out of their toy bins and sitting inside them (they do this a LOT, actually)
  • talking about doing yoga but not sitting still long enough to do it
  • reading books
  • we did go outside, LL peed on herself after 10 minutes and had to come back in

So, there you go. Maybe these will be helpful to you if you’re stuck in side for 3 mind boggling days with children.

Stuck indoors with preschoolers

And also: sorry to my friends with great ideas which my children rejected in lieu of beating each other with ninja sticks. I thought your ideas were better, too.

Being Conscientious During Christmas

Ever since a few years ago when we kind of cancelled Christmas due to a housing situation, we haven’t looked at Christmas the same way. That year, we had not one but 2 Secret Santa boxes show up at our door and bless our children with gifts. Neither that year or even last year did we actually buy our children gifts from us. They had plenty to open thanks to BlogHer toys and toys from their grandparents and other family. I can guarantee you that a (then) 1 and 3 year old never noticed the difference between 4 toys and 14 toys. And even this year at 2 and 4 years old, we will continue to share with them that Christmas is not about getting, but about giving. Last year we even had the opportunity to be a Secret Santa to another family in a situation similar to ours.

I shared on my blog Facebook page this graphic from my friend Stephanie:

The fact that stores are even open on Thanksgiving day this year, forcing already low income workers to go to work instead of spending time with their families, is a sign of our severe consumption addiction in this country. We are not even willing to let retailers rest. We are asking them to serve us rather than thinking about who we can serve in our own abundance. Something I want us all to stop and think about.

Operation Christmas Child

If you’re looking for a way to give back this season, one thing we have enjoyed doing as a family and with our community group is Operation Christmas Child. Run by the nonprofit ministry Samaritan’s Purse, this program distributes shoebox-sized boxes to needy children across the globe. The fun part is that you get to pick the age range and gender of a child and fill the box with suggested items for them. My kids have had so much fun participating in this each year! Our boxes just went out today, through our church — we save on shipping if we send them all together.

There are a lot of different ways that you can abstain from consumerism and instead opt to give back. Will you take your “down” time this holiday to think about how you can turn the tide in your own family?

An Afternoon of Music: The Sense-able Gym Celebrates 6 months!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching kids yoga classes beginning in 2014 at The Sense-able Gym in Garland (near Richardson)! We’ve written about The Sense-able Gym on Dallas Moms Blog in the past, and the kids and I were able to visit last month to check it out. While it is geared to specifically assist children with sensory needs, it’s a wonderful play space for kids at all levels of learning. My kids LOVE the “Quiet Room” which is dark and has wonderful lighted toys, a music keyboard with shapes that you can jump on, and a light-reactive touching wall. I could go on and on, but I want to tell you today that The Sense-able Gym is celebrating their 6 month anniversary with a FREE special event THIS Saturday, November 23 from 3-5pm including demos and Q&A with myself, the music therapist, and a kids karate teacher. There will be sign-ups for all of our classes available and you can ask us any questions. Be sure to also follow Sense-able Gym on Facebook for updated info and their new open play hours.

The Sense-ableGym - Afternoon Of Music, November 23 from 3-5pm

 

 

Good weekends can really drain the week

Birth Without Fear, Texas Veggie Fair, Super Why birthday party

Two weekends ago, I spent the whole weekend at the Birth Without Fear Conference and had a great time. It was such an encouraging time in many ways — as a green blogger, as a mom, as a so-called hippie, and it even encouraged me to go back to my “weird” hair to see so many beautiful women with their rainbow hair. Now I’m pastel purple.

pastel purple hair

This past weekend, Little Sir turned 4 years old! We had a party with just some close family and friends, and then spent all day Sunday at the Texas Veggie Fair. It was a great time, very active, very social, and very exhausting for me. Both weekends.

I admit, I didn’t blog last week because I felt that I owed you, my readers, a comprehensive recap of the entire Birth Without Fear conference. And I just couldn’t do it. The truth is, having no free time for two weekends leaves all the grocery shopping, the errands, the chores preparing for parties and guests and starting two new kids yoga series to happen during the week, eliminating any spare time for blogging. When I did have opportunities to sit down for a few minutes, I was so overwhelmed by the amount of things I wanted to say about the conference that I could not write.

I think I am going to have to let that one go. I want to say a huge “thank you” to January for organizing the conference and providing the opportunity for all of us to meet and pursue birth without fear. And maybe as we head toward child #3 some day in the future, the topics we covered at the conference will come in this blog. I am sure I will never forget the things I learned. And if you do want to see a blow-by-blow, search the #bwfconference hashtag on Twitter — that was me tweeting for both myself and Green Child Magazine. It really is pretty comprehensive, including quotes and pictures.

I hope that writing down the reasons for my failure to write will give me the internal permission that I need to start blogging again without feeling I left out something.

I’ll be at the Texas Veggie Fair 2013!

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be doing 15-minute Kids Yoga demos in the Kids Veggie Village of the Texas Veggie Fair 2013 in Dallas, Reverchon Park, on October 20. The Festival runs from 11am to 6pm, but the Kids Yoga demos will be at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30. So, every hour for most of the day!

From the Festival’s web site:

The Texas Veggie Fair is put together by an all-volunteer team of Dallasites who are passionate about building + engaging the local community interested in the benefits and promotion of a plant-based diet, environmental causes + animal welfare. Get ready to be rocked with food, products, live music, speakers, games, activities + information which celebrate choices that do not inflict pain and destruction to animals, people or planet.

Will I see you there?

Texas Veggie Fair 2013 | October 20, Reverchon Park, Dallas TX

March Against Monsanto Dallas, TX

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March Against Monsanto Dallas, TX

Today was my first (peaceful!) protest march – March Against Monsanto. These marches took place all across the globe in major cities to protest Monsantos ubiquitous barrage of GMO’s in our food supply. I was so encouraged to see the diversity of people and march together with a common concern. Above are links to my Flickr photoset because there were too many to upload via WordPress. Valerie and I went together and she created this awesome video of our impressions immediately after the event {video here}:

Let’s keep up this fight and push for (at the VERY LEAST) labeling of GMO foods and GMO-derived products! Thanks also to everyone who came out!