Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WFMW ~ Box Tops For Education


This year, I was asked to become the Box Tops For Education Chairman for the elementary PTA in our small town. I won’t lie to you and say that it hasn’t been a little time consuming! However, it has definitely been rewarding not only for me, but for our school district! Box Tops For Education is an excellent way for your child’s school to raise free money….yes, free money!


These are just a few of the items currently in my home that carry the Box Tops For Education label. There are actually hundreds of General Mills products that have the labels…everything from Cheerios to Hefty trash bags. General Mills graciously adds more products each year to the list and I suspect that you have currently have several of these items in your home. Many times, they will offer bonus Box Tops as you see on the Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie mix. Even some of the wholesale clubs sell items that have 5 to 10 bonus Box Tops on them.

…And yes, that is a box of Hamburger Helper. I’ll admit it. I do buy the stuff! We don’t eat it that often, so don’t freak out. Hey, times are hard, money is tight and my kids have to eat!…

For each one of those little labels you clip and turn in to your school/PTA, General Mills will pay 10¢. I know what you are thinking…10¢ big deal! Well, that 10¢ adds up very quickly when your school/PTA promotes this campaign and gets people involved. It is a big deal in our school district. Last year we were #4 in the state for total money raised. This is free money for our children that we use to purchase needed equipment for the schools, instead of begging the school district to put it in the budget. We all know how difficult that can be!

So this is what works for us and our school district and I know it could work for you too! Check out other great ideas each Wednesday at We Are THAT Family.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WFMW – Egg free, milk free Blueberry Waffles


Our youngest son, who I lovingly refer to as our “challenge child” has food allergies. He is allergic to milk, eggs and nuts. We discovered the milk allergy when I tried to give him some milk based formula at 11 months of age…he vomited within a minute of drinking it, screamed bloody murder and then proceeded to break out in a rash over every part of his body the milk/vomit touched! It was quite a site!

After a visit to the allergist, our concerns were confirmed and he in fact has allergies to all three foods. He actually has the more severe reactions to these foods, with wheezing and burning sensations in his throat. We carry an Epipen and Benadryl with us at all times. Fortunately, we have never had to use the Epipen. Benadryl has always been able to control his reaction, but that could change at any time.

To say that food allergies are a challenge would be an understatement. Food allergies are a nightmare, especially in today’s processed food world! We have to watch everything he eats. I have looked at more labels than I ever dreamed of, searching for words like whey and casein. Who knew these two items are actually milk proteins and are definitely things that Jack must avoid?

Jack is very much aware of his food allergies and has become suspect of any new food, therefore causing him to be a very picky eater. Who can blame him though? He does not want to try new foods for fear that it will make him sick. Actually, I would rather that he not want to try new foods, especially when we are not around. Having food allergies doesn’t seem to bother Jack most of the time, but occasionally he will ask why he can’t have what other children are eating. We ALWAYS try to bring something special just for him to eat. This normally makes him feel better!

Finding food that is free of milk, eggs and nuts can be difficult, but labels are finally better at listing the possible allergens. When we do find something that Jack can and will eat, we stock up on it. Since we live in a small town, the two local grocery stores do not sell a large quantity of organic or allergy free items. We have to travel to the “big city” to Whole Foods to stock up on many things he can eat. The “big city” is an hour away, so this isn’t always convenient.

We did find something at one of our local stores that Jack loved…Van’s Organic Blueberry Waffles. They are dairy free, egg free, nut free and actually taste good! He ate them every morning for breakfast for close to two years, then the local store stopped selling them! The corporate office handles the ordering, so I couldn’t get them to restock. Whole Foods does sell them and I would pick up several boxes when I shopped, but if I ran out and couldn’t make the trip for a few days, Jack would be very upset!

I had to come up with my own recipe and hoped that Jack would eat them. He actually likes my homemade version better! That’s my boy!!! Here is the recipe…

Jack’s Blueberry Waffles

2 cups Bisquick ~ I use the Heart Smart

1 1/3 cups Silk – I use the Very Vanilla, since that is what Jack drinks

2 T Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 t Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 2 T warm water ~ see note below

1 cup blueberries ~ I normally buy the frozen ones and then defrost in the microwave

Optional ~ Most of the time I will add one tablespoon of ground Flax Seed to the mix…Jack has never noticed the difference.


Mix all ingredients and then let sit for at least 5 minutes…they seem to rise better if you do. Spray your waffle iron with cooking spray and then pour about 1/3 cup of your mix onto the center. I normally spread the mix to even it out. Waffle is done when steaming stops, normally less than 5 minutes for me. Try not to open too early or the waffle will not cook correctly. It took me a while to get a feel for then the waffle is done. You can serve immediately or freeze for later use. I normally freeze them and then pop the waffle into the toaster and hit the defrost setting.

This makes about 8-10 waffles depending on how thick you spread in your batter. Try not to make the waffles too thick or the batter will ooze out the side and make a mess!



A note about the Ener-G Egg Replacer. You can get this at Whole Foods. It contains no eggs or animal proteins. It has potato starch and tapioca flour as the main ingredients, but it really reminds me of corn starch. It has no flavor at all and I have used it in other things and have not noticed a difference as far as the flavor goes. It seemed weird to me, but once I tried it I was sold, so don’t be afraid of it!

This is what works for our family and maybe it will work for your family too! If you want to read other great ideas and tips, visit We are THAT Family each Wednesday. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I learned this week ~ Never leave my keys in the car!

what-i-learned-this-week My seven year old son, Will, had baseball practice last Thursday night.  Our four year old, Jack, normally comes with us, unless he has practice too.  Jack likes to play with one of coach’s sons, who is also four.  Both of the four year olds wanted to watch a DVD in my car, so I had to leave my keys in the ignition.  After a few minutes the two boys were bored and decided to do something else…you know how long the attention span of a four year old can be!!! 

Well, Jack was in and out of the car during the entire hour of practice and I thought nothing of it.  Just when it was time to leave, Jack tried to open his door, which he couldn’t.  My biggest fear set in and was immediately confirmed.  Yes, the doors were locked and my keys were still in the ignition! 

This wouldn’t have been that big of a deal normally, however my husband is a CPA and this is the last week before April 15th.  He has been working very late and planned on doing so that evening.  Plus to make matters worse, his office is about an hour and fifteen minutes from the practice field.  I couldn’t ask him to leave right away and even if I did, he wouldn’t be there for quite a while.

The coach’s wife offered to give us a ride to our house where I said I had a key hidden.   Of course, when we got there I couldn’t find the extra key that I had hidden!  I guess I hid it too good!  She graciously offered to bring us back to her house until my husband could come and get us and we gladly accepted.

Then it hit me…we hadn’t eaten dinner either!  To complicate matters even more, my purse was also locked up inside my car, so I had no money to even buy us something to eat!  Could this get any worse?  I felt like the worst mother ever!   Fortunately, her kids had not eaten either and she offered to pick up something for us all to eat for dinner.  

I should just tell you that I love this woman!  Not only is she the coach’s wife, who works seven days a week, she is also the local elementary PTA president and my friend!  I seriously don’t know what we would have done with out her!

So finally around 9:45 that night, my husband was home and we picked up my car.  He wasn’t upset either…I love him for that too!

1 four year old + keys in ignition = 1 locked car

Lesson learned…………..

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Top Ten Tuesday ~ 10 Things I Should Be Doing Right Now!

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I found this Meme on another site and thought it sounded like a fun thing to participate in each week, but I wondered what would I write about.  I always loved Letterman’s Top Ten List each night, back when I used to watch him many years ago.  His show has always come up with some very creative topics each week…could I do the same?  Who knows, but for this week as I thought about this I realized there were probably 10 things that I should be doing other than working on this list!  Here they are in no particular order…

1.  Make the beds...a made bed definitely gives the room the appearance of being clean, at least that is what my step mother always told me and guess what?  I think she was right!

2.  Tackle the mountain we refer to as laundry.

3.  Weed the flower beds…boy do they look terrible right now.

4.  Exercise or take a walk. 

5.  Spend more time reading the Bible ~ i.e. more than just my weekly Bible Study.

6.  Sweep the floor…we have laminate and a dog that sheds…enough said!

7.  Wipe down the baseboards…looking a little yucky!

8.  Clean the windows inside and out…it has been a while!

9.  Thin out some of my boy’s toys…throw away the broken ones, gather up the McDonalds junk and take those to my son’s preschool for their weekly treasure chest, and box up the good ones to either sell at the semi-annual consignment sale or to donate to charity.

10.  Spend a moment in prayer, thanking God for blessing me with such an amazing husband and three beautiful, healthy children.  I think I’ll do that right now :)

Jump on over to oh amanda and join in on the carnival each Tuesday.  See you there!