Tag Archives: Ideas

What Drives You Crazy?

Think about someone close to you.

What’s one thing that drives you crazy about this person whether it is a loved one, significant other, spouse, family member or friend? 

Or maybe there’s a few things?

As much as we would like to say, there is nothing.  With time,  most, if not all of us develop those pet peeves that can lead to inevitable arguments, disagreements, or situations.

The reality is they exist… and while compromise is a crucial part of any relationship, sometimes it is not possible.  Instead, it may require some acceptance on our part.

Accept it!??! That one thing that drives us crazy!?!?! Oh heck no!!!

But wait….

and hear me out…

The thing that drove me crazy for years was my husband’s love (aka obsession) for our grass. Perfect grass was not possible in the life of a family of two young kids and a Labrador. Yet, he spent hours relentlessly making sure that our lawn would one day be just that…perfect!

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In fact, one summer his deep partnership with our lawn, required many weekend afternoons caring for it.  Yet, after our basement flooded, we needed to have a lot of work done in the backyard to prevent future ones.  As our backyard was beginning to have more and more of the perfect set up for a barbecue or summer party, one patch of his beloved grass was destroyed by the workers. Therefore, any parties, barbecues, or actually … anyone near that area of lawn … was forbidden for the rest of the summer.

I tried… I really did… but when your husband comes home and runs to greet his growing patch of grass before his wife and kids…

…I admit I lost it! (A few times!)

That was until I took on a poetry challenge.   I love poetry and have been writing it for most of my life.  It had been around this time last summer where I wanted to push deeper with it… to push for a dream of mine a bit more seriously, the dream to be published

Therefore, I heard from a poet friend about an opportunity.   It required me to devise a poem base don a prompt and model poem.  If chosen, it would be published in an upcoming book. So what did I have to lose?

When I sat to review the prompts, one jumped out at me:

“For your own love poem, zero in on a single talent your beloved has.”

Right away, his grass jumped into my head.  His grass! My pet peeve – his passion…

Could that really been seen as a positive thing? A talent? This obsession that drove me mad!

The task called for me to learn about this talent and turn it into a metaphor.  Therefore, I sat outside on that late Spring evening, and asked him questions about terms I never knew existed. Or if I’m being completely honest, terms I never cared about. Or rather…never tried to care about…

Strangely enough, not only did a poem get drafted that was soon chosen to be published, but somehow something that drove me crazy for years turned a new leaf.  Suddenly, I did not feel so crazed over it either…

 

Grass

Who’s kept receipts anyways
things you’ve learned over these years
growth you’ve sang into the grass
never doubting sun and rain to not agree
what steps to grow what patience set free

why throw dough to someone’s stranger
when you can spread the seed or at least
you’ll start using the rototiller
sweating over the inches
spreading over the daunting dirt

so many weekends to foster new year’s lawn
fertilizer for the poking patches
tall fescue perennial rye
manual hose automatic display
and tools I cannot even say

sun and water and more seed
depend on you
to know how to apply
and bring back to life
lean on you never to die

– JK

 

For more poems and excellent poetry writing tips from this collection, check out the following book:

“The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics” – Diane Lockward

 

In the meantime, try it out sometimes, embrace what drives you crazy about someone you love, learn more about it, and see what happens.   I did not know it at the time, but it was the perfect way to combat or rather extinguish many potential arguments.

Try to find out why they love “that thing” so much.

We may always have patches of imperfect grass that call my husband to spend hours tending to it… that make me want to pull the hair out of my head…

but at least we can appreciate the beauty of its growth more…

…at least I can appreciate the passion and man behind it…

…and hopefully we can have a few barbecues in the meantime too…

Butternut Squash Soup

While I don’t always eat it, I love soup and get into little kicks of making it every weekend.  Since it has been unbearably cold lately, soups have stolen the spot from salads as my lunch.

After some experimenting, here is my new favorite butternut squash soup recipe.

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Total Time: an hour

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups vegetable stock/ vegetable broth

Olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped

1 yellow onion

1-2 butternut squashes (I usually use 1.5 for the soap and the other .5 for another meal)

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

optional – nutmeg

1/2- 1 cup of So Delicious boxed unsweetened coconut milk

1 bag of riced cauliflower

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the butternut squash in halves and sprinkle lightly with olive oil. Place face down in the oven for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees or until soft.
  2. Chop the other vegetables.
  3. Saute the onions and garlic with some olive oil for 3-5 minutes. (Optional)
  4. Add the vegetable stock or broth, carrots, onion, apple, and all the spices into a pot on the stove.   Cook on a medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  5. When the butternut squash is done.   Spoon out the squash and put into the pot on the stove.
  6. Mix in the coconut milk.
  7. Blend it all in a blender.  Our favorite is the Vitamix.
  8. After it is all blended, pour back into the original pot and add the rice cauliflower for texture until it is warmed up and ready to go.
  9. Add some paprika and cilantro to the top or even some crumbled organic turkey bacon (Optional)
  10. Enjoy!

Delicious! Now, I am excited for my lunch for the next couple days and the best part is…. with a crazy busy week coming up, I don’t need to do a single thing but heat it up.

Do you have a favorite soup? If so, what kind?  I am always up for a new soup recipe to try out.

 Give this one a try, but of course modify it to your dietary needs and taste buds.  It will not disappoint even on a counter that still needs to be cleared…

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Replacements Over Recipes

We spent a lot of that first year or two after TJ’s diagnosis, avoiding, avoiding, and more avoiding. It was easier and safer for us to just do our own thing and not have to worry about food allergies, skin reactions, cross contamination, and other people’s ignorance to it. However, despite what I once believed, avoiding was not the best option for us.

Let me explain…

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To start, we are homebodies who like to get out sometimes. Since TJ still has not eaten food other than what we’ve made or bought, we make sure to be prepared beforehand. This may mean…packing his favorite foods, contacting the parent before a birthday party or a family member before a family gathering or holiday.

For preschool, I ask for a monthly list of special events where treats would be given or food would be present. We also kept a bag of Oreos, a treat he rarely has but loves, for the times that somehow slip through the cracks or an impromptu kind of party.

Whatever it is, it helps us ensure that we have alternatives that are dairy, egg and peanut free and that TJ is included as much as possible.

(Look for an upcoming post on some of our favorite store-bought party options for when baking does not fit into our schedule.)

In all the allergy free recipes we’ve tried, TJ and I have had the most success with replacing ingredients, instead of full recipes. Here is what I mean:

You can make anything just as tasty, if not tastier peanut, egg and dairy free or whatever allergen you have… it just calls for some creativity.

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To start, we like to find actual recipes that contain even his allergies and then we replace with safe products and work our magic.

One of our creations in 2018 was stuffing for Thanksgiving but it would be delicious to add to any dinner throughout the year. Our entire family devoured it too. Of course, letting TJ have his portion first.

Here is the beauty:

Stuffing

(Dairy, Egg & Peanut Free)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Oven temperatures: 300 degrees then 350 degrees

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 of a loaf of organic honey bread
  • 4 Tablespoons – organic Earth’s Balance spread
  • 3/4 cup of diced celery
  • 3/4 cup of diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 package of turkey sausage (We used Applegate’s chicken and apple version)
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of vegan vegetable stock (We used the Kitchen Basics brand.)
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sage
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop bread into cubes and toast the bread cubes in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  2.  Once out of the oven, turn the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt Earth’s Balance then saute onions, celery and garlic until soft.  (about 10 minutes)
  3. Add veggies to bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Don’t wash pan, but remove the veggies, and add sausage and cook.  Then, cut it into bite-size pieces.
  5.  Add chicken or vegetable broth/stock, applesauce, and the spices to bread cube mixture.   Mix until moist.
  6. Transfer into a greased oven pan/tray.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.

 
Let us know what you think. Let us know if and how you switched it up and made it your own.  We hope you enjoy!

And remember even though our kitchen counter may never be cleared off, we are continuing to smile our way through the mess one recipe at a time…

 

stuffing

The Blogger Interview

Thank you New Crunchy Mom at http://newcrunchymom.com/ for nominating me for The Blogger Interview tag.  Your kindness and encouragement are very much appreciated and inspire us to continue to write and smile on…

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The Purpose:The Blogger Interview is to get to know the artist behind the art.

The Rules:
• Mention the person who tagged you. 
• Answer the questions in full. 
• Tag up to ten bloggers.


 

The Interview Questions:
How did you get into blogging?

Back in March 2015, I started this blog as an outlet for all of the emotions I was feeling and information that I was learning about the world of food allergies and eczema. While those first few months after my son’s anaphylactic reaction were filled with intense anxiety, fear, and frustration, I knew that I needed to turn it into something positive. Therefore, instead of laying in bed crying as my son napped, I started to spend this time putting it all into words with a blog (at the time on another site) .It was the beginning of retraining my brain to steer my focus from the challenges and terrifying “what ifs” to all the possibilities for smiles. A weight had started to be lifted…

Also, instead of sending long-winded text message updates to everyone who simply asked how my son TJ was doing with everything, I saw this site as a way of keeping family and friends updated on our journey. By sharing our story and the valuable information that we learn along the way, I hope to help educate others about this world of food allergies and eczema. Most importantly, I want to encourage all who reads this blog to “let your faith be bigger than your fear.” 

While I have just started this blog about four months ago, I believe that the following statement will become reality with time…Smiling Away Allergies is the place to share experiences and information about food allergies and life while staying cautiously optimistic, smiling on…


 

  • What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?

Since I consider myself a new blogger, the following advice is what I have been following myself.

  1. Set Goals: Like anything in life, I believe in setting short-term and long-term goals for yourself.  While I find my daily to-do lists important, weekly and monthly goals are also important for success.
  2. WordPress Classes: Sign up for Blogging 101 and 201 classes.  Both classes were extremely helpful resources that challenged me and sparked my creativity.   My site has come a long way since July due to these classes.
  3. Networking: Don’t be shy! To be honest, although I believe in the value and impact of my blog, I felt silly sharing it through social media.  It was scary at first; however, totally worth it. Reach out and explore the many, many other amazing blogs all around you.   There are really some great ones out there to connect with!
  4. Be Proud: This goes back to #3.  Share, share, share! You have something incredible that the world is waiting to read!
  5. Get Ideas/Don’t Compare: Love this quote and it really has been what I keep reminding myself over these past four months with starting this blog.

- Jon acuff

 

  • What would be your dream campaign?

Wow! I never thought about this.   It would be any campaign that would allow me to connect and help an even larger population of people.

  • Do you have a plan for your blog?

Being an organized person, I always have a tentative plan.   However, this past year and a half has really taught me that I do not have the ultimate control over these plans no matter how precise they are drafted.   Still, I use my “Weekly Smiles/Events” to guide me while also using my moments of inspiration to direct the rest.   I am constantly jotting down ideas on a note in my phone as these inspirations randomly come to me throughout the day.

  • What do you think about rankings?

I don’t use rankings. My focus is not on how people rank me. In fact, it was quite freeing once I stopped worrying about areas like my “rankings” in life. Instead, shifting my focus to what matters most in life has definitely helped us smile on to endless possibilities…

 

My Blog Nominations

 https://fivelittledoves.wordpress.com/

http://padgettwithpassion.com/

https://theletstalkaboutblog.wordpress.com/

https://amandaorlando.wordpress.com/

http://parentingfromtheheartblog.com/

http://younfolded.com/

http://dreambigdreamoften.co/

https://amommasview.wordpress.com/

http://domesticatedmomster.com/

http://myrandommusings.blogspot.com/

http://thejoyoffive.com/

https://jenniferpeck23.wordpress.com/

http://superinspiredmoments.com/

http://nickysdaywithautism.com/

http://happyfamilyblog.com/

 

 

The Teal Pumpkin Project – Information for an Allergy-Friendly Halloween – updated September 20, 2015

The following three links are excellent resources if you are interested in participating in The Teal Pumpkin Project to help keep Halloween allergy-friendly. After hitting up Target and Amazon, I provided some examples of what we will being handing out this Halloween. Because some people have already reached out to me and told me that they are excited to participate, we have  even more reasons to smile on…


Halloween-with-Food-Allergies

(Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/page/welcome.aspx)


The Teal Pumpkin Project – An Allergy-Friendly Halloween

(Source: http://blog.foodallergy.org/)


15 Ideas for Non-Food Halloween Treats

(Source: http://blog.foodallergy.org/)


Some Examples of Non-Food Halloween Treats

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Super Busy Mum