My brother, Dave, and his family struggle with my niece’s peanut allergy year round but it is never more difficult to control than on Halloween when the thought of her going into anaphylactic shock brings another layer of fear to the celebration.
To help alleviate their anxiety Dave and his wife, Rita, stick to some
simple and easy to follow rules.
Their home is always a peanut-free zone. If my niece can’t eat it, then the food or treat can’t be brought into the home.
Education is the key to survival. My niece is going to have to live with this allergy for the rest of her life so it’s important that she understands the need to read labels and look for the peanut-free symbol. This is a lot easier now that she is nearly eight and can read.
Always have a peanut-free substitute on hand. Rita is diligent about providing a peanut-free alternative. She gives the teacher a box of peanut-free cookies, so when a classmate brings in birthday cupcakes, which may or may not be contaminated, my niece does not
feel left out.
These three simple rules are followed on Halloween too. Here in Canada it is an easy to find peanut-free threats, with Nestle, Hersey, Mars, and many more providing safe, clearly marked alternatives.
My niece and nephew are not allowed to eat any candy while trick or treating. That’s a good rule for any child.
All the goodies are brought home where my they divide all the candies to piles, one to keep, one to give to the food bank, and one, where the goodies are suspect, to be thrown in the garbage.
Now most children wouldn’t like to have over half of their Halloween candy taken from them but Dave and Rita have a solution for that too. They purchase extra peanut-free treats and substitute them for the ones that have to be given away, thus ensuring a safe and happy Halloween.
For more information
on Halloween please click on the link below.
The other day I was in my local supermarket when I spotted a lady giving out free samples of food. Now, I appreciate a free appetizer because I love to eat. I delight in the comfort you get when you bite into a hearty chunk of fresh-baked bread or the rich, creaminess of a piece of good chocolate as it melts in your mouth. And free nibbles are the best. You get to experience new flavours without the having to pay for something you might not like.
So being the orally fixated person that I am, I headed on over to the display table to discover that the only thing on offer was lettuce. Try and understand my disappointment, it was lettuce for goodness sake.
“Would you like to try some?” the hostess asked politely.
I should have been just as gracious but I wasn’t. “Lettuce? Seriously, you’re giving out samples of lettuce,” I cried.
“It’s a new (Insert fancy name here) lettuce. Won’t you try some?”
Now, I have to tell you, I was shocked; in fact, I was so shocked I
blurted out one of my deepest, darkest secrets. “I don’t like lettuce.”
The lady clucked her tongue and shook her head in what I can only assume was disapproval. “Leafy greens are good for you.”
At that point I had the good sense to beat a hasty retreat. I’m a grown person, I know the stuff’s good for me, but to me it tastes like poison. If you’re trying to kill me sneak some lettuce into my food.
There is a reason I’ve kept my dislike of the leafy green stuff a secret, and that’s because people are so appalled by it. I don’t know why. I exercise, watch what I eat, and my BMI is in the healthy range. So why should it matter? Since when did your choice in food make you a social pariah? To be honest I have no idea but I do know that to me it tastes like sour grass. I know, because I tried eating grass as a child. (I tried eating dirt too but that’s another story for another day.) It’s not as if I told anyone their baby was ugly, or pointed rudely at someone because they’re different. I just don’t like lettuce, and am astounded that people are so taken aback by this.
I say it’s time to accept people who are taste bud impaired. Do you have any dislikes that make people look at you as if you’ve turned green and sprouted an extra head? If so I’d love to hear about them.
Here is comedian John Pinette’s take on salad. It’s a short clip only one minute, and thirty-one seconds in length. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m often asked where I find my research material. I use the same sources as everyone else, books, historical documents, and the internet. Obviously, I have to be a little more discerning when it comes to my web sources, after all, if someone decides that all castles were built by an alien named Roo, that’s hardly a fact. I would
say it falls under the heading of unrestrained revisionist history.
One branch of the internet I do enjoy is YouTube. They have some wonderful, well-researched documentaries from reliable sources such as the BBC or the History Channel. They give me an opportunity to view the past, not just how I imagine it from dry texts but how experts in the fields of history and archeology see it. I find this both inspiring and informative.
One of my favorite series is Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives, not only is this series educational but the humour makes it fun to watch.
This is my favorite episode - The Damsel. I hope you enjoy it.
As an immigrant I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving. It is purely a North American holiday. But I love it. What’s not to love? I enjoy the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven, the fun of baking pumpkin pies with my children and relaxing at home with my family.
When I was talking my mother, in England, this morning she asked me an important question: -
Why do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving? I didn’t know.
We all know the American story of the puritans and this holiday, but what about us? So I asked my children, after all, they attend school here, and you would think that some teacher, at some time would have explained why we have our statutory holidays. They had no idea. And so I resorted to asking my husband.
Now, I love the man but normally he only focuses on things that interest him, like his family, motorbike, and sports. So I wasn’t surprized when he didn’t know either.
So I put it to you
out there in the cyber-verse, why do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving?
Is it just so we can have a wonderful meal and day off work? You tell
Whatever the reasons I’m thankful for them.
I hope that your holiday is as full of family, friends, and love as
I was thinking the other night
about my own mortality. I started to have these grim thoughts of my early demise
because my husband has recently purchased a motorbike and would like me to ride
with him. Of course my knee-jerk reaction was ‘not in this lifetime’ and ‘one of
us has to stay alive to raise the children.’ But it got me thinking, as I
approach my half century I wonder about my children. Do I have any little gems
of insight to impart on them? Are there any rules that will help them handle the
ups and downs that part of our everyday existence? The obvious springs to mind
don’t drink and drive, and don’t do drugs.
After giving the matter some thought I
decided that I really do have something to teach them. Unfortunately, I also
realised that as they approach the torment that comes with adolescence the last
person they will listen to is their mother. You remember how your mother did not
understand you and how you were never going to be that lame. I recall feeling
that way in my teenage years, so why should my children be any different. And
so I have chosen to share the things I have learned with you, in the hope that
my insight might be helpful, or humorous, to someone. So for what it’s worth
here are my nine nuggets of wisdom.
It’s your life.
You are responsible for your own happiness. You make the decisions regarding
your own life. Obviously if you choose to do drugs then your life will go down
the tubes. But it is more than that. You choose the kind of man you marry. You
choose who will be your friends. Are your friends the kind of people who are
happy for you? Will they cheer when you meet someone special, or will they
resent your happiness?
Choosing the people who share your
life is one of the most important decisions you can make, so it’s okay to be
Careers. You are
expected to choose a career path by the time you go to college. The trouble with
making such an important decision when you are young is that as you grow you
change. Everything about you will change, your priorities, your outlook, your
goals, and your dreams, and most of your interests will change too. Something
that challenged you at twenty might lose its lustre by thirty.
And so, my advice to you is this, follow your heart and allow for change. When you
decide what kind of career path to follow think about your working day will it
be a long, drawn-out grind while you pray for death? Or will it spark your enthusiasm?
Remember whatever you choose it does not have to be
for a lifetime, it’s just for now. You can change your mind down the
Remember to take a
moment in everyday just for yourself. Do this even if it’s only for a few
minutes. It could mean taking the time to have cup of coffee or a bubble
Just take a few minutes every day to enjoy yourself and be alone with your
Treats. A good
indulgence is the perfect pick-me-up for a bad day. We all enjoy treat like
chocolate, and chips, and ice cream, but remember, even if you are naturally slim eating too much sugar and too much fat will always come back to haunt you.
I believe you should treat yourself
every day because constant denial will only make you miserable. Just do it in
People come in all shapes and sizes and very few of us look like models or
Hollywood stars. Most of us get the odd pimple or have hips that accentuate our
ability to bare children. That’s just fine.
A woman is at her most beautiful
when she is confident and happy. Accept and appreciate your body, it works hard
Don’t diet, unless
your weight is endangering your health. Eat when you are hungry. Dieting
makes you conscious of every little bite of food you put in your mouth. Diets
are all about denial, and once again will only make you miserable. If you must
lose weight chose a program that focuses on healthy eating.
Don’t go on a fad diet, you may
lose the weight but in all likelihood you will gain it back again, and that
will just damage your self-esteem.
Never trust a man
who says “Trust me.” You can trust him to get you pregnant or give you an
Any man who tries to get you to
ignore your intuition and do something that you know is not in your best
interests is not worth your time.
Laughter. If you
are lucky you will marry a man who makes you laugh.
Not only is laughter the best
medicine but it will get you through all the hard times and trust me everyone
has hard times. There is simply no way to avoid them.
And lastly and most
importantly, Respect. The only person who has to like you is you.
If you don’t like and respect
yourself no one else will either.
Those were my nine rules that I
wanted to share with you. Oh and of course I nearly forgot, always wear clean
underwear in case of an accident. That is a little gem my mother taught