Setting Up a Candy Buffet for Those With Food Allergies

set-up

If your kids are anything like mine, then you have been asked a time or 2 to have a candy buffet at a party. I tend to shy away from them because it seems these days everyone has a different allergy. Thanks to the folks over at Sweet Services who have brought us some tips on setting up a Candy Buffet when guests have food allergies.

Candy buffets are very popular right now, They are fun and beautiful, and they replace the cakes at a party and the goodie bags filled with plastic. However, even with something as easy as a candy buffet, there is an unseen danger. That danger is food allergies. If you are a parent of a child with allergies, you know that heartbreaking look you see when the other kids are indulging on things they can only dream of. With that in mind, let’s try to make a cool candy buffet that all the kids enjoy.

 

First, as a responsible parent, inquire with each if your guest and see who has allergies.

You will probably find several children who cannot have peanuts or tree-nuts or their products. Some children will not be able to eat chocolate or any candy with milk products. Gluten (wheat) free products are also very important. While a lot of people reach for sugar-free, there are a few people who cannot eat artificial sweeteners.

 

Armed with your list, contact your favorite bulk candy supplier and let them awe you with a solution list that is equally impressive. How you stage your candy buffet is your choice. It is wise to use a two-color scheme and a theme of the table. It is wise to set up one section of the table with food-allergy friendly foods. Labeling is essential, so the front of the table is a good choice. Unless you intend on making the entire table allergy-free.

 

Provide a few anti-allergy goodie bags for children to take home (Consider labeling the back of the bag, “candy made without tree-nut products, artificial sweeteners, and milk products”)

 

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

 

Tree-nut / Peanut-free candy

Natural gummy candies and jelly beans

Skittles

Peeps

Wonka’s Nerds and Nerd Ropes

Dum Dum Lollipops

Tootsie Rolls (or any product made by Tootsie)

Now and Laters

Pop Rocks

Marshmallows

Starburst

 

 

Gluten & Casein Free Candy

 

Cotton candy

Double-Bubble Gum

Peppermint

Licorice

Haribo – Gold bear minis

Sweettarts

Pixie Stix

Conversation hearts

Jelly beans

Variety of flavors of pops and suckers

Candy buttons

Candy Necklaces

Ring pops

Hard candy such as life savers

Jolly Ranchers

Orange and Cream Chews

Super sour straws

 

Use clear jars to display candy. Cover boxes with fabric or foil and use the boxes to raise or lower the jars. Read the labels and keep them in a spiral notebook for anyone else to read. Use scoops in the jars for easier retrieval. Consider keeping some dried fruit on the table for an all natural treat. Gluten free cereals make a pretty display and many parents consider this a staple item. This gives younger children a few options too.

 

With a little planning and the right supplier, your candy buffet will make any party beautiful and exciting. Use colorful balloons or ribbons or color hung behind the table for a beautiful backdrop. Use designer candy on display for your centerpiece or any bright theme item.

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Inspirational Parents Giveaway

InspirationalParents25.00 Target Gift CardGiveaway!!!

 

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Born This Way TV Show on A&E. I received compensation for this post, however all opinions are my own.

Being a mom is hard. I mean really, there are critics everywhere you go, and so many opinions. As much as being a mom is hard, being a mom of a child with a disability is an entirely different kind of hard.

I consider the parents of children with disabilities an inspiration. They have to be strong when they don’t know what is going to happen. They have to keep spirits up when they feel like hope is gone. Being a parent of a child with special needs myself, I get it.

My child may not be in the same situation as yours, but this mama understands a few of the things you go through. The loneliness, the second guessing every decision you make, and dealing with people who think they understand, but clearly don’t.

We as mamas put ourselves last. We run to therapies, and Dr appointments. We buy special equipment for our littles. So many times I have decided I was going to buy something I wanted, but then I found a new toy that could help with self regulation, or a compression shirt or chewie that I hoped would help instead.

For the above reasons I am thrilled that I have been chosen to share a very special Giveaway on my blog sponsored by the TV Show Born This Way.

This Giveaway is for 1 very special MOM who is raising a child with a disability. This will be a very different giveaway. I am asking YOU my dear readers, to nominate, in the comments, a mom who you think deserves to win. The prize is a 25.00 gift card to Target. Please make sure this mom would be willing to share a little bit of their story, and able to contact us either via email or phone.

I will keep this giveaway open until Next Friday (August 12th at Noon Eastern time). That afternoon one (or both) of my daughter(s) will be seen either on a Live video (Facebook Live) or we will record the video and post it to Facebook with a Live drawing of the winner!!!

If you haven’t seen Born This Way it airs on A&E every Tuesday night. The young adults they follow are a delightful bunch and the twists and turns in life will keep you cheering, bring you to tears, and make you proud to be a human 🙂

Check out this clip and learn more about Rachel:
https://wdrv.it/present-project-detail/assetId/31466550/token/44ee5aa6b

 

These men and women are a great inspiration as well as their parents. Let’s help recognize some more amazing men and women who are raising children with disabilities. Nominate someone in the comments

Good Luck!!!

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Fun Finds Friday: Born This Way

Finding and Trying Fun New Things

Welcome to another Fun Finds Friday!!! Are you enjoying these as much as I am??? I hope so. This week I want to switch gears and talk about something a little different that I found. By now, most of you realize this blog carries a special place for those with disabilities. Having a child who may have 1 or more disabilities herself, this topic is in my heart always. So, naturally, when I was approached by Grace Hill Media to help promote their T.V. show Born This Way, I was intrigued.

I have learned that lots of people would love this blog to promote their products, so I am careful about what I say yes to. However, after talking with the media company and hearing their stories and vision for this show, I was hooked. Born This Way follows the lives of 7 young adults born with Down Syndrome. The 7 amazing and talented adults are working at finding and chasing their dreams. Such and inspiration.

One thing I love about the show is how raw the emotion and reality is. Not only do they follow these young adults, they also follow the families and that is an added layer of trials, emotions, triumphs and pain. It really gives you hope and also a true look at what lots of families face when dealing with disabilities.

I was lucky to get an exclusive interview with one of the mothers. Sandra is the mother of Sean. Sean is in his early 20’s and is an AMAZING golfer with a room full of trophies. I was able to ask her some questions about her life as Sean’s mom:

  1. As a parent, how do you deal with the negativity & ignorance that sometimes comes with raising a child with a disability?

I do my best to detach myself emotionally and patiently try to educate. That’s my hope with Born this Way is that people are being educated that people with disabilities are more alike than different and have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else does. And then there’s the truly ignorant folks who can’t be educated…and I see it as a blessing that Sean reveal’s their true character so I don’t have to befriend them and find out months later their true selves.

2. The teen years are crazy for any child, what helped you get through those years with your son?

PRAYER! And wonderful support from other parents. Sean is always in a sport, and I believe the ‘bleacher therapy’ of sitting with other parents for the duration of a practice or a game and hashing out the challenges and laughing about how we aren’t alone and everyone is experiencing the same things really made it a lot easier.

3. As the parent of a child with Down Syndrome, how did you find time to keep yourself going?

I am so fortunate to have a great husband who is a true partner. Rick can take over Sean’s needs without a manual and that allows me to have the time for myself, and I allow him to have time for himself as well. We have also been fortunate to have a couple of friends who will take Sean for a weekend so we can have quality time together too.

4. What is the best piece of advice on life anyone has ever given you?

Pastor Rick Warren—Every life has a purpose and if you ‘let go and let God’ then He will Take you places you could never imagine…and boy has that been the truth!

5. Looking back over the last 20+ years, what do you wish you could have told yourself at the beginning of this journey?

SAVE FOR COLLEGE! I had no idea there would be so many college programs available.

BTW2_Portraits_04172016_AT_0322

Thank you Sandra for taking the time to answer these questions.

I plan on letting the girls watch with me, where I can answer questions that may arise and they can learn at a very young age just how alike we all really are. This show is a powerful tool to help raise awareness about disabilities. It has it’s sad and serious parts, but it is definitely fun to watch these men and women follow their dreams.

Born This Way will have their season 2 Premier on Tuesday July 26th on A&E.

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Fun Finds Friday: Picky Eating and the Dinner Winner Plate

***This is a Post Sponsored by Lifetime Brands & Fred. I was given product to review and giveaway, but as always, the opinions are 100% my own***

Welcome to Fun Finds Friday. I’ll be reviewing some awesome products I am sure will help you in your everyday life. Today we tackle Picky Eating with the Dinner Winner Plate.

Kids are picky. It is just how things are. One day they love a food, the next they “hate” it. The oldest is beyond a “Picky” eater and more of a “problem” eater. However, through feeding therapy we are overcoming that. If your child either eats very little all together, or eats very little of certain food groups, keep reading, this post is for you.

Dinner Winner plates were designed to make meal time more fun, while helping kids to eat more. Some of you probably have at least one child you wish would “Just eat more”. The oldest, would not touch fruit or veggies unless they were completely liquid form (still working on this).

 

Dinner Winner Plates For The Win!!!

 

Having The Oldest in Feeding Therapy, and since The Youngest is a great eater, we decided, with the help of our Occupational Therapist, to use these just as something fun to do once in a while. Working pretty intensely in feeding therapy I don’t want to stop the progress, however, for those who aren’t in feeding therapy you WILL want to read on.

I told the kiddos we were going to do something fun for breakfast, and I pulled out these pretty little plates and washed them up right in front of the kids. They were really excited and when they realized there was going to be a prize at the end, and then candy for the prize at that, they were all for these plates.

I filled the plates with yumminess. The Youngest usually loves everything I was putting on these, and I filled the sections with half easy foods for The Oldest and half with some more challenging foods for her.

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To my surprise, The Oldest LOVED this idea.  She got a bit shy when it came to her challenging foods, she ate every section and made it through to the end. The Youngest, I found out doesn’t like soggy waffles. She at least ate part of her waffle, but ate everything else as I knew she would.

The Oldest ready to try the Dinner Winner Plate

I would say these are a success for sure. We used a piece of chocolate as the prize, but the ideas are endless. Some people have used: Fruit, yogurt, raisins, or stickers. For my girls, I made them turn in the “You Won” piece for their prize and that worked a lot better than trying to keep them from peeking to see what was under the lid there.

The amazing people over at Fred sent me over 4 of these plates. Since we only need 2, I am hosting a Giveaway!!! Check out how you can enter to win one of these awesome plates below:

 

 Giveaway is open to residents in the U.S. and Canada who are 18 or older.
Good Luck Everyone. What is your child’s least favorite food???
Dinner Winner Plates: Helping picky eaters enjoy mealtime

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Emotional Resources: Helping Kids Learn About Emotions

Raising small children can be tough. You wonder, are they meeting their milestones? Are they understanding what they should be at this age? It is enough to drive a parent bonkers. One of the important parts of parenting small children is teaching them basic skills, and helping them understand the world around them. Emotions are one of those hard to understand, at times, subjects that we must help our children understand.

My children often make me wonder. Having one who is younger and understands some of the concepts that my older one doesn’t, makes it harder to figure out ways to teach at times. I feel like I didn’t spend a lot of time working on emotions with my youngest, and yet she is picking up on it much faster than her older sister who has had quite a bit of work done on the topic. I often turn to the internet to help me find new and interesting ways to work with my kids (and at times myself) on the subject of emotions. I have complied a round up of some of my favorite resources.

  1. Mosswood Connections. This website has several great games and fun activities for helping young children to learn about emotions. A few of my favorites from the site include: Stick Up For Your Feelings , How Am I Feeling? , and Balloon People. This website is a great resource with so many different simple ideas.
  2. Views From A Step Stool. Another website with great ideas for teaching children, and also ideas for helping parents understand development. It is often parents who get to impatient when it comes to the development of a child, and knowing and understanding this is paramount to teaching your children anything you may want them to learn. Some helpful links: 8 Tips for Calming an Angry Child, Setting Up a Calm Down Area, and 5 Steps to Reconnecting with your Kids After Yelling.
  3. Discovery Toys  has a lot of interesting toys that help encourage understanding emotions. Some of my favorites include: Express It Buddy, and Flip Flop Faces.  These toys are amazing and really help to teach kids about emotions. Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.09.59 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.11.18 PM
  4. Books. There are several books that are helpful when teaching children about emotions. One in particular helps address the death of a loved one. Michele McAvoy wrote a book called My Super Hero Grandpa which tells a heart warming story of a boy whose grandpa is a “Super Hero” because he watches over their family from heaven. It is exactly the kind of hope and happy thoughts you’d want your children to think of in times of sadness. I read this book to my kids (they have not had to experience the loss of someone they knew as of yet) and they enjoyed it as well. It is a well written and illustrated story, and I am honored to have been able to review it.

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So, there you have it. This is my “start” of resources for teaching and helping deal with emotions, in your child as well as yourself. I’ll be adding a 2nd edition to this and also creating a separate resource soon to help parents discover new ideas, products, and other learning materials.

How do you work with your kids on emotions???  How do you help yourself deal with your own emotions???

***Disclosure: I received a product for free to review with my kids. All opinions and views expressed in this post are my own (and the kiddos).***

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Working Together Wednesdays: Special Wundies

Working Together Wednesday Bloggers, Brands, and Causes

I can hardly believe it is already the 6th day of April. WOW this year is just chugging along. Anyway, I am excited to bring you, yet another Working Together Wednesday. The folks behind an amazing product for children with special needs, Special Wundies, are here today to tell a bit of their story and share the product with us. Take it away guys.

Special Wundies

  1. Give us a quick intro of you and your family.
  2. What is your business/blog.

 

My wife Carrie and I are the proud parents of our ten year boy Sam.  Unfortunately Sam suffered a stroke in utero leaving him severely disabled.  He does not walk, talk or swallow.  All things that most people take for granted.  Given that Sam does not swallow, he is fed via g-tube.  To help protect his g-tube, we keep Sam in onesies.  As he grew, my wife and I knew we had to find larger onesies that could not only keep his G-Tube from coming out or having him pull it out, but could also withstand his heavy therapeutic regimen and around the clock nursing care.

Finding the right onesie has never been easy. The onesies we found that fit his growing body were either too expensive, fell apart after only a few wears or were always out of stock when we needed to re-order. Our frustration reached a point where we decided that if we wanted the right onesie for Sam we would have to manufacture it ourselves. So the journey began and after two years of product development and field-testing came Special Wundies. Now your child can enjoy the same soft, comfortable and durable onesie Sam has grown to love.

Neck-tie Onsie

Hola Ladies: Onsie

3. What is your best piece of advice?

For many years I was told “G-d only gives you what you can handle”.  I really don’t believe that because G-d then must think most people can’t handle much.  However, I do believe that to raise a child with special needs takes a certain personality that is unrelenting in the face of “No”. “No, your son will never walk”, “No, your son won’t live until 10”, “No, your son will not smile”.  Here we are ten years later and Sam has started to walk and smiles all day.  It was not easy but we got here.  The No’s have turned to Yes’s.  Parents just have to keep pushing and creating opportunities.

  1. Where can we find you? (like an email, or your social media networks)

www.specialwundies.com

Thanks guys!!! Your products are truly amazing and they are needed by many. Thanks for sharing your story with us, and introducing us to this amazing product.

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