Oriental Trading Novelties: A Fun Allergy-Friendly Trick-Or-Treat Option

Even though many annual holidays filled with food-based traditions are distressing for most food allergy families, Halloween often tops the list.  Not only does the frightful holiday involve a great deal of food…tradition has trick-or-treaters collecting virtually every type of candy available- and from people we don’t often know and that don’t know about food allergies!  For me, it’s not only the costumes and mischief that make this one of the scariest days of the year.

Thanks to the Teal Pumpkin Project, Halloween can now be a little less scary for families with food allergies.  Whether you are familiar with this movement or not, I highly encourage you to check it out so and share it with others!  There are so many ways to participate and to get the entire community involved!

My kiddos are mostly grown up now, but when they were younger Halloween was a very difficult holiday to navigate.  Now that they are outgrowing trick-or-treating, we look forward to the opportunity to pay it forward each year.  Our church holds an annual Trunk-Or-Treat event where church members meet at the church parking lot, festively decorate the trunks of their cars, and then offer treats and games to trick-or-treaters of almost every size.

Last year we participated, my husband designed this fabulous Harry Potter theme for the trunk of our car.

This year we are Continue reading

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Oriental Trading Great For Allergy Aware Classrooms

So you already know I’m a blogger and freelance writer.  But did you know I’m also a Transitional Kindergarten teacher?

It’s true.  In fact, I’m starting my 9th year of teaching at a local preschool and it’s no exaggeration to say that every single day is an adventure all of its own!

When my son started at mother’s day out/preschool almost 13 years ago, he was one of the few if not the ONLY child with food allergies on the roster.  During my 9 years of teaching, I’ve seen the number of children with food allergies at our school increase. This school year is no different.

So as I began back to school preparations, Oriental Trading reached out to see if I needed any classroom supplies and if I’d be willing to blog about them.  Honestly, their timing couldn’t have been better.  Oriental Trading can be a go-to for me because it mostly takes food allergies out of the equation.  But they were an even bigger blessing this year, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey where so many families in our neighborhood lost their homes in flood waters.  Many of these little ones have been through so much and a special back to school pick-me-up is just what the doctor ordered for my class.

Courtesy of Oriental Trading’s Learn 365, I was able to give my students this special back to school treat.

Continue reading

Enjoy Life Debuts New Chewy Bar Flavors That We Love

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I am a fairly devoted Enjoy Life fan.  I especially love their sugar cookies, seed and fruit mixes, and chewy bars.  It makes me downright giddy to have safe, yummy, AND portable snacks that make my family happy!

Enjoy Life is never one to sit back and get complacent with the products they have.  They are always pushing the envelope to make their existing products better and introduce new products as well.

The folks at Enjoy Life were kind enough to send me a free sample of three new flavors they are adding to the Chew Bar family:  Caramel Blondie, Carrot Cake, and Lemon Blueberry Poppy Seed.  Not only are these new flavors, they’ve added some innovative ingredients including their Pure Life Balanced Dry Blend (TM) flour made from sunflower kernels, cassava, sorghum, and quinoa.

Have food, will travel. Took this picture in our hotel room on vacation with our Enjoy Life Chewy Bars.

Interested?  It gets better.  Continue reading

Safety Lessons From Hurricane Harvey Natural Disaster

We are almost a week post-Hurricane Harvey here in Houston and life is anything but normal.

I haven’t seen a national newscast in more than a week, so I don’t know what is being said and shown, but here’s a window into what is happening in my Houston neighborhood.

Homes in all directions are standing but eerily bare.  The downstairs, and sometimes upstairs, framework of the house is all that is left inside after wet sheetrock, insulation, wooden floors, cabinets, and more have been quickly removed.  Piles of trash (destroyed furniture, insulation, tile, etc.) so fully line the curbs of houses, the structures themselves are hard to see.  A stench of mold, water, sweat, and tears permeates the neighborhood…literally.

But in front of those piles of trash, the streets are lined with bumper-to-bumper cars of friends and neighbors that are helping each other.  Facebook is inundated with people asking who still needs help with their houses or who could use some cold water or cleaning supplies.  Neighbors and groups from different states are driving in and banding together to prepare and deliver lunches.  Hot meals are being delivered for free to those hardest hit and the people who are helping them.  Families are reaching out to house complete strangers because they need to feel safe and have nowhere to go…and won’t for months.  Continue reading