Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life Over Here

Funny how all the snails come out when you do yard work. We trimmed back all of our rose bushes and pulled all the weeds in our front yard.  I guess we disturbed a few of the snails' homes.
When Annalyn saw these two snails she asked to grab the camera.
"A Mama snail and her baby!"
With lots of slime trails decorating my front porch and walk way, I think I'll put down some snail bait.
Of course, a few of the kids want them around.
Awww, the joys of parenting.
Just now I noticed that Dennis' homework folder is still here.  Now he has two weeks worth of completed homework that we have forgotten to return.    
I wonder what his teacher thinks.  :(
A little note on Monday explaining my "oops"  tucked neatly inside his homework folder will have to suffice.
Unless of course, I forget to send it.  :)
Rachel is better.
She is back to eating everything-- even gum.
At first, I made her get rid of it since the doctor discouraged it.
But now, she can have it.
I have planted green beans in little egg carton thingies that I will transfer once they sprout.
I was at the nursery ready to buy tomato, cucumber, and strawberry plants.
Yes that means our planter box is ready to go!
The guy told me to wait a few more weeks until the last frost.
And I thought I was already late.
Thankfully, we still have time.

So excited to have a garden this year!
All is pretty great on the kid front. The huge storm that had been around for quite a while finally blew over a week and a half ago.
I'm only blogging about it now because I wanted to make sure it wasn't short lived.
Well a week is still a short time, but in parenting-- it can feel like a year.
On the Dennis front, I got the results from his allergy blood test.
Not good.
He is allergic to egg whites, wheat, and peanuts.
Egg whites are the highest-- wheat and peanut not very high at all.
Still processing the results.
I have so many questions.
He only began getting the eczema when we moved here to this desert climate.
Is there a correlation?
Can you develop an allergy over time after not being allergic for 4 years?
If he is mostly allergic to eggs, can I work on keeping just those out of his diet?
That doesn't seem too difficult.
I admit, the whole no wheat thing would be incredibly hard for our family.
I think Dennis would wilt away and die if I had to remove all wheat from his diet.
The peanut butter thing isn't too hard either.  I already have sunflower butter.
Will he grow out of this?
Is it really necessary to change his diet if the low dose cream (triamcinolone acetonide .025%) that I mix with baby lotion to put on his eczema has cleared up the problem?
The doctor said that Dennis can use this long term-- a pea like amount mixed with 5 times as much lotion lightly covering his problem areas.

Oh my.  So much to think about.


  1. If it makes you feel better, you definitely can grow into allergies but you can sometimes grow out of them as well! When I was 10, I suddenly one summer developed an allergy to peanuts and citric fruits. About 12 years later I got retested and had grown out of the peanut allergy! So it can happen!

  2. I wrote out a post and then it disappered! so if this comes through twice, sorry about that! Anyway, yes, allergies can come out of nowhere. I know if is overwhelming at first to think of doing without wheat. Our family is dealing with celiac disease, a disorder that makes wheat, rye, barley impossible to digest. Not an allergy but the same in that we get very sick if we eat that stuff. I have some resources that were helpful to me, so I'll share them with you (note, in these gluten = wheat). Here you go, and don't fret, ok? it's going to be all right and your little boy will just blossom once the allergens are out of his diet. :)

  3. If I were you, I'd drop mixing the eczema cream with the baby lotion. The baby lotion has fragrances and oils in it that may be irritants for him. Poor baby! I think of Dennis often- I just wish I could help. I know so many others do, too.

  4. My son developed an allergy to egg whites, nuts, strawberries, and blue dye when he was 6. He is most allergic to the blue dye and egg whites. Our allergist suggested that we take the two he was most allergic to out of his diet first to see if it alevieated the symptoms. Thanking the dye and egg whites out helped immensely, and we then slowly weaned him off nuts once the reactions started to worsen.

    I will say though that you have to look at the ingredients to everything though since egg whites are in some unexpected foods.

  5. I only became allergic to eggs about two years ago-- you can grow into allergies, but it's much more common to grow out of them. Not eating eggs isn't too hard, you cn substitute applesauce, vinegar, or enerG egg substitute when cooking. Just be careful when you're out--eggs are often hidden in breeds and fried foods (the batters). Sometimes I really just want a hard boiled egg.... I figure maybe in another 25 years maybe I will grow out of it too?!?

  6. Hi!

    I've read a lot of studies that the "cure" to a peanut allergy is actually peanuts! Starting in small doses, that introducing peanuts regularly can get rid of the allergy in children with it.

    I think the allergy testing is good but I don't always put a lot of stock in it and I don't necessarily correlate a food tested allergy to his eczema. if they had a good grip on what causes eczema I dont htink it would be such a large hard to treat hard to figure out issue.

    good luck! keep him moisturized and keep working on it.

  7. I have a GREAT cookie recipe that has no eggs. Give them a try!

    Coconut Cranberry Chews

    3/4 C butter
    1 C sugar
    1 t vanilla
    1 1/2 C flour
    1/2 t baking powder
    1/8 t salt
    T orange juice
    3/4 C craisins (try raisins or flavored craisins!)
    3/4 C shredded coconut (I skip this in half the batch since I have a few none coconut fans!)

    mix butter, sugar, vanilla until well blended. Mix flour, powder, salt and add to butter mixture. Beat 5 min. Mix in cranberries and coconut. Shape into balls and bake : 350 for 8-11 min. If you cook them a long time (15 min. +), they become super crisp. If you cook them the regular time, they are like regular cookies. This makes about 2 doz, so you probably want to double or triple the recipe :)

    blessings, Sue

  8. What did the Dr say about continuing to use the foods he's tested positive to? My daughter's allergy (not food) we have to keep her completely clear of the allergen because repeated exposure causes increasingly worse reactions, and we'd rather not get into dealing with anaphylaxis. Don't want to panic you (and indeed, I've never known anyone have anaphylactic reactions to wheat, but certainly peanuts and eggs can develop into full blown epipen type allergies if mistreated.

    And yet, I too have heard the above advice about desensitising to peanut allergies by eating peanuts - BUT - I've only heard of it being done under very very close supervision at hospital, and only with children who already have anaphylactic reactions to the allergen in question.

    Which is possibly the least useful advice ever, sorry! All I can say really is that with A, we have taken steps to remove as much as possible of her allergen (latex) from our environment, figuring that if she is not exposed to it at home, hopefully contact out of the home (and it really is everywhere) will not be too dangerous. We don't go as far as to remove all contact with other allergens linked to latex sensitivities, but we don't deliberately expose her either. Works for us, and at the moment her reactions are just skin based rather than anything else.

    I guess, maybe try for a week keeping D clear of those three things and see how his skin improves? Wheat intolerances can be linked to all sorts of things as well as eczema - bowels and behaviours can improve too if it is a problem.

    I hope you find a solution that works well for D, for you, and for the rest of the family.

  9. I have had exzema all of my life. Some of my kiddos have it as well. We have done allergy testing as well and I don't hold it to credible with our results at least for exzema.

    I would also not mix the trimin. medicine cream with baby lotion- unless it was aveeno or something specific for allergies. I use eucerin cream in a lg. tub or Walmarts brand of it- otc- after a bath that had capfuls of alpha keri oil in it. These were prescribed yrs ago by my dermatologist. My dad would even wrap my arms with saran wrap after this bath and I would sleep like that when I had a severe time usually because of weather ( cold and dry in winter).I am very sensitive to lotions, creams, and even make up. So I only use eucerin, this oil_ and you can get it at CVS and use their brand - it is just like the real oil but cheaper and I have a tub of the same cream prescribed for Dennis. You are not suppose to put the trimincinolone on the face so I have another prescription for my eye and face skin that works-metronidazol 0.75%. I as lactose intolerant and was fed goats milk when a baby. Now milk doesn't irritate skin just GI. I have gotten much better too as an adult. The key to any of this is consistency- I am "anal" about my skin care or the children who have this condition as well. I do it twice a day every day . Hope he gets better soon. It can make life miserable. Email me if you like.

  10. Christine, did they test him for yolk allergy, too? It is rare, and I had to insist on it with my daughter's allergist, but sure enough, she was allergic.

  11. Read Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride.

    My mow 4 yo's gut has now healed enough that he can eat all the eggs he wants. His first introduction was anaphylactic!

    If you want to take something out and see how he does it will take at least 2 weeks, closer to 3 to havean accurate judge.

    To annonymous^^ that thinks eczema and allergies have nothing to do with each other, please come over for tea and we can chat. I will show you my 2 yo and his skin and where he was a year ago. Please.

    When my oldest was struggling with allergy issues, I took everything out cold turkey bc we were desperate! for help. Then when I let him try something a couple weeks later it made him terribly sick. From that point on I could tell him it would make his belly hurt and he would not ask the second time. For anything. And he was 2 at the time.

  12. I would suggest avoiding baby lotion as it contains lanolin (well it does here in the UK) which can be a massive trigger/irritant to pre-existing exema.

    Check any lotions for it - I really can't push this on you enough that it can be one of the worse things to put on exzema inflamaed skin. Also check things like fabric softners.

    Do you have pure acqueous cream in the states? This is proper miracle cream in my book!

    Can be used in their bath in place of soap, and then afterwards as an emollient.

  13. I wrote an article on allergies a few years ago. In it I interviewed an allergy specialist. She said allergies develop after at least two exposures. It also isn't uncommon for the allergies to be so minor for a long period of time, that they're not noticeable.
    Thankfully, we don't have to deal with allergies on a daily basis around here. We have some seasonal hayfever type stuff...but no food allergies (that we know of). I do, however, have two nephews who are Celiac. I have found a couple of cookbooks that are FANTASTIC. They were written by an author (who I also interviewed) - Stephanie O'Dea. Her recipes are gluten free, inexpensive, easy to make and best of all - delicious! :) Check out her website at ;)
    Hope Dennis feels better soon! :)

  14. Our son has eczema but has never tested positive for any allergies. It seems that every child is different in what works or doesn't related to keeping eczema under control. For us using very natural laundry products (vaska for us, no dryer sheets or softner other than vinegar) as well as natural body products (Dr. Bronner's soap and coconut oil for moisturizing) has helped quite a bit. For clothes we try to have them be very breathable.

    Along the food allergy route, we live in the Midwest and my husband recently (several allergies) recently started going to Allergy Associates in La Crosse, WI. He has been having great success with their model of care. Might want to google them to see if you have anything similar where you live. We plan on taking our son this summer for more extensive testing as perhaps they are food/environment but we havne't identified the right culprit yet. Good luck!

  15. Oh, I was also going to mention two other things...

    A friend has had luck using a hazelwood necklace with her child with severe eczema. Haven't tried it--have no idea the reasoning behind why this could/should work.

    Our dermatologist was telling us there are some studies showing a greater percentage of eczema sufferers were born via c-section versus "naturally". I had to do some digging but did find out our son (through adoption) was a c-section baby! Any idea with Dennis? I just found this out so haven't done any further research to find out if there are any positives related to treatment and their studies.

  16. I don't know if you have looked into or considered his eczema to be a reaction to preservatives and additives in food. Almost all packaged, processed foods (crackers, cereals, dressings, soups, etc.) contain preservatives and also MSG, almost impossible to avoid in store bought foods. There are a lot of articles on the internet that directly link the causes of allergies and eczema to these ingredients. Might be something to look into. Also, you can make a simple cream out of olive oil, coconut oil and beeswax. Add a soothing essential oil and you'll have a nice cream. has an easy recipe for the cream. Whatever the cause, I hope he feels better soon.

  17. Going wheat free is a lot harder than it sounds!! They make great products out there that are wheat free and inexpensive; especially, if you are just buying them for him to eat it shouldnt be too bad! At least he isn't allergic to gluten...that is in almost everything! I hope avoiding these things helps does take several weeks though before you notice the difference.

    If he is only a little bit allergic I'd still avoid them. There are several things that I'm only a little bit allergic too (latex, glue, etc.) and my doctors advised me to avoid them completely...since repeated exposure can not only make you more allergic to them in the long run, but you never know when that one extra exposure will be a severe reaction.

    Epicuren is an amazing lotion line. It is fragrance, chemical free. I am allergic to the sun, and I use it on my burns/rashes (similar to Dennis') and it cleans them right up. Perhaps try that! Plus, a little goes a long way.

  18. Oh please don't kill the snails. They do nothing to harm you, so why poison and kill them?

    If you don't like them in your yard, you can have the kids who like them pick them up and take them down the street!

    I even make my dog be careful of where he walks, so not to step on snails!! :)

  19. Hey Christine!

    So, I too developed allergies late in life - about 3 years ago to both dairy and wheat.

    It seams completely overwhelming at first, especially the entire wheat thing. But, once you get into a rythm its not too difficult...

    One thing my family does often ,is when we make something that typically wheat based we still make it that way, with a small portion for me in a gluten free form.

    For example - when if my family has pasta everyone eats regular pasta and I will eat either rice, corn or quinoa pasta. my favorites are Quinoa, rice then corn. though check pasta for eggs...

    Or Pizza, we make a gluten free dough and a larger amount of normal.

    This help a lot with saving money - as it is quite costly to switch an entire family gluten free. We usually make the gluten portion first, and put it somewhere in "keep warm" mode in order to make less dishes...however considering the size of your family this may not be as practical.

    I would love to talk some recipies if you are interested. I'm not comfortable giving out my email online here, but I can find you on facebook or something if you'd like.

  20. Triamcinolone is wonderful. We switched to that recently from Fluticasone (which also worked but irritated his skin first for 5 - 10 minutes before clearing everything up). The skin issue may be completely separate from the allergy issue. Our son at 18 months now has both food allergies plus Atopic Dermatitis. Atopic Dermatitis can be exacerbated by food allergies but not caused by it. I don't know if that will help. We had to see both an allergist and a dermatologist.

    If you do have to remove wheat there are SO many substitutes (which actually surprised me). I have a cousin who is allergic to wheat as well as a lot of other things (seems to run in the family). Hope this helps.


  21. Oh, FYI - atopic dermatitis (a specific type of eczema)is caused by dyes (in detergents, medication, foods etc), perfumes (also in detergents as well as in perfume and other items including air fresheners), even makeup on a sisters skin if it rubs against his skin can cause a reaction. We had to switch our detergent to an allergen free, dye free, perfume free detergent and we have to do EVERYONE's clothing in the same detergent. If you wash bedding in a detergent that has perfumes, scent or dyes in it can cause a reaction if he sits on someone else's bed. It's really a change that many times the entire family has to make. I can't wear makeup or perfume because if I pick him up or kiss him goodnight it will cause a breakout. Once we eliminated simple things around the house that had these items the eczema got a LOT better on it's own. Now we only have to use the triamcinolone maybe once or twice a week if he has a minor break out. He doesn't have them nearly as often and they are growing further apart. I can't control what he comes into contact with out in public (perfumes, makeup etc) but controlling what he is exposed to at home makes things SO much better.

  22. Eliminating the causes of his allergies may end up being the only way to clear up his eczema. You can develop allergies at any point in your life, so it's possible that these allergies are new to Dennis. One mom to another, I would be very cautious about exposing him to an allergen in an attempt to desensitize him (another posted suggested this for peanuts). You never know when an allergy could go from being minor to being anaphylactic. That sort of thing is probably best done under a physician's care. The good thing is that allergies can be outgrown! I feel for you on the wheat - my son was tested for celiac's a few months ago - wheat is in so many things.

    Has Dennis ever been evaluated for asthma? Just asking because asthma, eczema, and allergies are very intertwined.

    Take a deep breath and know that you'll get through this.


  23. It could definitely be the environment, but it could also be that he's grown into them. I certainly did, but I also react to the environment. Changes of season are the worst time for my eczema.

    I agree about the lotion thing. I use Sorbolene as a first port of call, and also use a "soap" version instead of soaps. Be really careful about soaps, shampoos, etc. I found changing those made my eczema almost disappear. Also check your washing powder - did you change the brand when you moved?

    Is he allergic to cooked egg white, or just raw?

  24. I just googled ezcema and desert climate, just out of curiousity! Like you, I wondered if there was a link. And turns out there is TONS of information out there about the link between the two. It all seemed to focus around lack of moisture in the air/skin. Def worth a quick google search!

  25. Bravo for the garden!!! :D

  26. Going wheat/gluten free for one child isn't as scary or as difficult as you may imagine. Our son is wheat and dairy free, and has been for the past 5 years. Everyone else in the family eats a regular diet. We have found ways to make life easier that works for us, and we are pretty streamlined with his meals and snacks now. There are many foods out there that are wheat free that you don't even think about, and there are lots of meals that can easily be gluten free for the whole family if you don't want to make adaptations for one child every night.

    There are basically three ways to do wheat/gluten free:
    1. Make everything from scratch. Buy substitute flours, xanthum gum, etc and experiment with recipes. Cheaper, yet time consuming.
    2. Use pre-made mixes for the basics, like muffins, pancakes, brownies, etc. Easier, but not as cheap.
    3. Buy everything packaged and already prepared. Frozen chicken nuggets, prepackaged cookies, etc. Very easy, but pricey, unless there is a sale.

    You can also do a combination, which is what I do. I buy a lot of mixes, since my attempts at trying to bake gluten free were completely frustrating and unsuccessful. I will revisit it in the future, but for now, mixes are my friend!

    I think the key is to give the wheat-free child similar foods to what everyone else is eating so they don't feel left out. I do buy some prepackaged cookies to have on hand -- the good ones, to save whenever his siblings and I are baking flour-based cookies or having a similar treat.

    I also just have a running list of meal options for him on hand, so I don't have to scramble to find a special meal for him. For Ben, he loves beans and franks, chicken salad, potato salad, hummus, fritos, applesauce, grilled chicken with honey mustard, and a quick Minute Rice dish that I throw together with frozen veggies, and grilled chicken with some (fake) butter, garlic and salt.

    For the whole family, I have just decided that quinoa pasta is just fine for everyone -- that way I don't have to make separate wheat pasta. We also do taco salad in a huge bowl with tortilla chips, lettuce, tomato, taco-seasoned hamburger, olives, a bottle of Catalina dressing. We add in the cheese and sour cream separately so Ben doesn't get the dairy. No biggie.

    I can also send you a list of our tried and true favorite products, because some are just not as good as others.

  27. Allergies are auto immune responses. Maybe worth investigating what the source of the aggitation is and removing that - a homeopathic doctor can help with that. I had hundreds of foods allergies appear out of nowhere only to find that I had an extremely high mercury (fillings & fish & sticky blood syndrome allowed it to get high) and lead. A few cleation treatments and miraculously my allergies, thyroid-disorder, migranes, and IBS are gone :-)

    Our little guys probably have way more exposure to lead in their earlier years than we want to think about :-(

    Hoping you are all doing well!


  28. You can definitely grow out of allergies (mild ones at any rate - not sure about severe ones). My sister was allergic to eggs when she was around Dennis's age but grew out of it within a few years.

    I think you can also develop allergies after not having them. My entire life I didn't have any allergies until I had an allergic reaction at 16 to some ant bites (as they were in a local park I have difficulty believing I'd never been bitten by them before).

    I know people whose eczema flares up in winter - for us, that is the dry season of the year. My husband sometimes gets skin problems then too. He doesn't have eczema but he does have psoriasis. My mum sometimes gets eczema on her feet from walking on certain grasses, and this is exacerbated by dry weather in winter.

    I understand Meg's caution about exposing him to his allergens, but if you are careful I don't think it would be a bad thing. My other sister and mother are both allergic to things which they don't avoid - my sister because we still haven't identified exactly what causes the reaction (it's an ingredient in some sunscreens but not others); my mother because she is allergic to so many things but the reactions are so minor she can't be bothered trying to avoid all her allergens. And none of their allergies have developed further, although my sister's reaction LOOKS quite bad - she gets big welts and when it's on her face, her entire face puffs up.

  29. PS - my comments about exposing him to his allergens were not meant as an *encouragement* to do so, but as evidence that it is not necessarily dangerous if you were thinking about trying it.

  30. Hi!I will plant some flowers tomorrow.I must watch about planting to many blooming flowers because up here in the North we are still getting frost in some areas. Frost can wipe out a whole flower garden.Good luck with your flower planting. Pat

  31. My son Logan was allergic to wheat until shortly after his fifth birthday. Giving him a wheat free diet is quite restrictive, but can be done. If you'd like some recipes for home baking without wheat, drop me a line, (you have me on Facebook) I'd be happy to share some of what I accumulated and used for him. Dennis will feel so much better without ANY wheat in his diet, if he is allergic!

  32. Dear Christine,
    When I moved to Sunnyvale, CA, my skin itched after showers as never before, and when I moved away, after thinking I was allergic to something, it stopped. While you are exploring allergens, consider experimenting with water. I would suggest a few weeks of bottled water for drinking and bathing. I know it would be a bit expensive, but if you get a few of those big jugs maybe you can drive back and fill them from the taps at your old neighborhood. After I moved, I saw an article saying the water in Sunnyvale was found to be contaminated by some chemical, but of course, "not enough to harm people." I am allergic only to sulpha drugs, but I know I was sensitive to something in that water, and no one else was. If he could stand the abandonment issue, it would be nice if he could stay with someone in your family in the old city for a few weeks this summer and see if it clears up. Then you would know whether to look for environmental factors. I agree the timing is very suspicious and in my case the Dr. clearly overlooked the environmental factor.
    Good luck and God bless, Sherry


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.