F is for…
Food allergies. The FAAN Walk for Food Allergy in our area just so happened to coincide with the "Letter F" theme for my daughter in our school this week. We were among several hundred people, including many from our local support group NC FACES (Food Allergic Children Excelling Safely), who gathered on a rainy Saturday morning. The committee did a fabulous job setting up the venue so we could register, peruse sponsor tables and participate in activities under cover. The rain had slowed to a sprinkle while we all enjoyed walking around the lake. Even if it were pouring while we walked together, it wouldn't have mattered. It is a fabulous to feel the support the walk showcases.
Fantastic, not fearful. The annual event is a chance for my 9-year-old son to feel like part of the gang. Joseph's allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, sesame and mustard don't isolate him or make him feel anxious at the Walk for Food Allergy. Instead it is a time when he feels support from the hundreds of other kids just like him, along with friends and family who gather just for all those kids with food allergies.
Fever. Yes, Pamela really embraced this "F" week theme. Unfortunately, she has been fighting a bad cold complete with cough and a fever. So she and my husband, Gary, had to miss the food allergy walk. But she was happy to wear her walk shirt to support her brother from home. While Joseph missed having them at the walk, he feels the support from Gary and Pamela in the way help keep him navigate life with food allergies each day.
Fundraising. The walk allows kids like my son to feel a sense of community, while also raising money to advance the efforts for research, education, awareness and advocacy. I am so proud that Joseph contributed his own money that he had saved, and even his little sister Pamela chipped into the cause with her own cash. My 4-year-old said, "I want to help my Joseph so he doesn't get sick."
Fall favorites. The food allergy walk is one of many fun, Fall activities we have been enjoying. Fall colors and shapes are natural subjects for various crafts that involve lots of colorful paint, glitter, paper and glue. Pamela especially enjoyed painting a big fall tree and then throwing colorful leaf confetti onto her creation. We recently visited a local pumpkin patch, where Joseph and Pamela had fun checking out the huge pumpkins in the field and choosing their own smaller, orange beauties to paint. My favorite find was the Long Island Cheese Pumpkins. Not only was I happy to find something connected to my Long Island roots here in North Carolina, but also I was thrilled that the pumpkin yielded wonderful puree to make tasty allergen-free pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.
Fresh fruit. Thankfully Joseph's allergies do not prevent him from enjoying fresh fruit. Each season brings variety in the fruits we enjoy. Fresh apples and oranges are in abundance right now and make healthy, simple snacks that we have been eating each day.
Fitness and football. The weather, until Saturday, had been sunny and less humid. Perfect for all of the tennis my son enjoys playing. Whether he's been practicing, competing in matches or playing with friends, Joseph has been playing tennis about four days a week. He is having a blast and exercising his lungs, which seems to be helping his asthma. He also enjoyed playing football in his homeschool gym class, a sport we especially enjoying watching while we cheer for our favorite college football teams. So of course, I had to work football into our "F theme" week and brought out the football beanbag toss game to play in school. The kids have fun with a little math thrown in.
Fudge. Pamela was thrilled when I mentioned that fudge starts with "F." So we pulled out the allergy-friendly recipe for fudge that we use each year during the holidays. I use the "Oh Fudge" recipe from "The Divvies Bakery Cookbook", using Vance's DariFree milk alternative and Enjoy Life Mega Chunks. What a treat to indulge in the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate! It certainly brought a smile to Pamela's face during a week she's been sad because being sick has meant she's had to miss fun events like the food allergy walk and her dance class.
Footprints. Pamela will be stepping her little bare feet in various colors of paint and walking across a long sheet of paper to make footprints as one of our "F" week crafts. It is such a messy, fun craft. I'm sure we will be enjoying more fun, Fall activities even after "F" week is over. I'm glad that we were able to participate in the FAAN Walk for Food allergy so that Joseph was able to feel the support of hundreds of people leaving their footprints of support for kids like him with food allergies.