Tropical Island is and is not allergy friendly…

Tropical Island is a wonderful place just outside of Berlin (Germany) which isn’t more than a 3-hour drive for my family. What it offers is a tropical vacation just a hop away. Inside a huge dome you will find a “sea” as well as a lagoon. You will find slides and a children’s huge play area. And you will find a walk through the jungle which includes a butterfly house, too!

Extremely exciting for our family, it is also now the place where our little man Max lost his first tooth!!!!

We chose to camp for two nights which gave us three days of entrance to the park. Here is our fantastic camp site. Our teepee had 5 cots. Outside of it was a table with chairs for our eating and nearby a toilet and shower room, as well as a wash station for pots/pans, and a stovetop for cooking. It was chilly but fun. The kids definitely enjoyed their teepee adventure!

In case you’re curious, the teepee came with bedding as well as had one light and one electrical outlet. We brought a rotating fan since the days were warm—the nights, we definitely did not need it.

And, surprisingly, ants did not invade the teepee as I assumed they would. We did keep all our food in plastic tubs, so that most likely helped.

Tropical Island asks that outside food not be brought in, as they have many cafe eating areas and a small shop (and they state for purposes of sanitation). But here is the allergy part: If you/your child has allergy, you can bring in food.

This was a blessing to read on their site. But after the third day, I went to the kids play area and examined their menu. The tomato pasta only listed tomatoes and wheat as allergens. We told the café worker we don’t even want the tomato sauce, just the pasta with a little oil. I mentioned probably 10 times that my son has very bad allergies and so his order was extremely important. She said, “Yes, yes…” and went to prepare the food.

Now, please understand—we were in Germany, but Tropical Island is a very International place. We heard many languages and the menu itself —including the allergy information—was in 3 languages, so I did put a little trust in this order.

When the bare pasta came, however, it had a small bowl of Parmesan sitting atop the pasta, spilling over onto the noodles.

My eyes went wide and I immediately began removing all pasta in that area. I had no words. What could I say??? Not even milk was listed as an allergen on the menu for pasta and even repeating myself multiple times this server must have thought in her mind, “Bare pasta slightly drizzled with oil? How boring! I’ll just add a little cheese to that!”

Now, she did not say that—but why else when a mom repeats herself like 10 times exactly how she wants the order because her son is deathly allergic to certain foods would she then place a horribly dangerous food on top of his food?

It’s because, unless you are me/or a parent like I am, you just don’t get it and assume that we are overreacting.

Let me tell you. We weren’t. As much as I removed every pasta in the near proximity to the cheese bowl and put what I hoped were a couple clean pasta pieces on a clean plate with a few French fries for Max, it took all of two minutes for him to tell us his head was feeling itchy and fuzzy. Needless to say, he didn’t eat another bite and we did our allergy routine to bring him back to “normalcy”. Then, for the next two hours, the poor kid had to endure twenty five million, “How do you feel now,” questions.

Paranoia comes with parenting no matter what—but when death can come with the wrong bite—paranoia intensifies 25 billion fold…

Even in the most tropical of islands.

So, the moral of the story is, Don’t feed the bears!

I was wrong —yet again— to try and feed my kid food I did not prepare, and my little man suffered the consequences because of it.

Hover hover hover. Take a slight break. Boom! Crash. Bang!

In the end, would I recommend Tropical Island for your allergy family? A deafening “Yes!”

Would I recommend eating off their menu?

A three hundred quad zillion billion maximillian “No,” even if it “lists” its allergens. People just don’t get it. People just don’t truly know.

Let me be the mistake you don’t need to make.

#packedsandwichesonvacation #yumyum #everyday

All in all, we enjoyed our “Tropical Island” getaway…

Crazy drivers and all!

Here’s a photo I took near the lagoon area—our kids were cray cray! We were out in the water until nearly midnight each night.

School starts tomorrow—here’s praying for a very uneventful allergy year to you and yours!

Xoxo b

Singer from Mumford and Sons speaks up for ALLERGIES!

chocolate smeared max

Ben Lovett from Mumford and Sons may be my ultimate NEW HERO!  Seriously.  I may make a cape and put either a big M&S on the back or a BL.  In any case, I absolutely love that a man from a popular folk music group speaks honestly on eating “rice and tinned tuna” while in one of the most exquisite culinary countries in the world because eating at a restaurant (anywhere in the world) is like saying “I don’t think your meal will have arsenic but there is the slightest possibility it may…”

Smacznego.

Yum. Yum!

And absolutely, resounding, we are not DUMB, “No, thanks!”

Of course we wouldn’t eat a meal that may have the slightest possibility of arsenic.  We are not royalty food tasters.

We are typical humans with common sense, not subjects of any gold crown that demands we risk our lives to let the crown live.  Or at least I hope.

Therefore, his comparison (in the article I will leave below) made my heart feel all sorts of warm.  Because this famous man KNOWS.  Gets it.  Has opportunities to dine in the finest places in the world and still hides out eating rice and tuna.

Why?

Because the alternative risks his life.  And he knows that no matter how fine the cuisine, it’s not WORTH his life.

And it’s not worth the life of my son.

And he gets this.  That is why he started something brilliantly exciting to ALL of us that walk this crazy life-threatening journey.

And I think I am now one of Mumford and Sons biggest new fans.

Because of the tinned tuna.

Oh, and the man!

Here is the article.  Enjoy the read and feast at his place, if you have the chance:  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/features/mumford-sons-ben-lovett-life-and-death-reason-become-restaurateur/

Heaven in Poland…

Nungesser Family

You have no idea how HAPPY I am at this moment.

I know…I may be a year behind this beautiful article, but ah well…As the old mantra goes, “Better late than never!”

So, I have noticed that the need for expanding Max’s diet has changed like CRAZY ever since he actually went to school.  He was no longer home for me to prepare his food.  And the city that we live closest to has a VERY small selection of hardly anything that is Max friendly in terms of cheese or meats or spreads.  Yes, there are always carrot sticks—but, come now!  How many of those can we actually eat?  Enough—but that is usually not all.

Since Max had a horrible reaction once to chick peas, we don’t risk hummus, although it could have been cross contamination?  Who knows.  But, in any case, we avoid foods that we notice he has reacted to before (And, when I say reaction, I mean, “Mom, my mouth is burning!  My mouth is on fire!”) …Therefore, I emphasize again, we could send him with carrots for lunch every day but we sure would like to send him with more!

There is a brand of bacon that is milk free—but cold bacon?  unless you’re serving me a fresh BLT, then, umm…not the same, eh?!

And sliced ham?  Well, much has milk additives for flavoring—not all, but much.  He doesn’t seem to like ham that much, though, but should that really hurt my feelings?

He’s allergic to beef.

He doesn’t like chicken.

He does like items with eggs in them but not eggs by themselves.  Currently ruling out egg-salad sandwiches.  Maybe his taste buds will change in this year for that one???

But, my point is, packing second breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack is getting more difficult as he grows.

I don’t mind that he doesn’t have a huge palate for meat.  I mean, I love meat but what?  Am I going to force my children to eat it?  Not if they don’t care for it.

THANKFULLY he likes cookie butter.  He likes jam.  He likes tons of fruits.

We still gotta work on the veggies—but, hey!  What 6-year-old doesn’t need to expand his veggie palate, eh?!

In the MEANTIME…I am seriously OVER THE MOON THRILLED!

I was desperately Google searching today to figure out how I can make Max grilled cheese and pizza with cheese that is NOT nasty soy tasting when I came upon this beautiful article!

You have to also understand…I found Max a DELICIOUS…seriously, a fantastic cheese once at the grocery store in Germany with a rice/coconut base to it.  Not only that but it melted beautifully.  And, have I mentioned that it was DELICIOUS?  If not…YUM YUM!

And so I thought—I’ll just order from Germany this same cheese.  UMMM?  Euro costs, plus shipping, plus tax?  Yeah.  It was like a $40 could be purchase for cheese for at that time—a 5-year-old.  No, thank you!

But today—in my Mom wants to avoid laundry moment—I began to compensate for “Bad Housekeeping Mom” with “Good Feed Your Son Mom” and the search commenced.

And it led me to this…This beautiful piece of gold:

http://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/vegan-cheese-gets-creative-in-poland

Thank you, beautiful Honorata Jarocka!  You are my new heroine…

After searching all the brands/companies she has mentioned, I have found SO MANY cheeses to order and try for my little man!

And, if they are good enough—I think I’ll just switch the family over in one fell swoop…so that way I’m not busy making two of everything.  Two cutting boards.  Two knives.  Two bowls for two different yet similar meals .

Well, if you are a dairy-free mom of a little and nut free one (too) — well, hey !  You know what I am talking about.  Especially if your kid reacts even to the slightest touch.

And, believe me…prep work is WAY harder than you think…ask my mom.  She kept setting Max’s knife directly on the counter.  NO!  Set it on a paper towel or plastic clean plate, please, while prepping.

Wait!  New cutting board, please!

Yes…My mom is the best in the world…but it is way harder parenting an allergy kid than ANY mom would think.

Anyhow, if you are like I am and live in Poland or perhaps Europe and are having the SAME trouble as I am feeding your little one—may this article lead you to the companies and the search and the FIND for what you need!

All my allergy-momma love to you on your journey,

B (which stands for Brooke—but most commonly known as Mom of Adelyne, Max, and Jo)

 

An article to make one think…

Here I am … one woman responsible for 3 lives. It sucks the very wind out of me. It is hard enough to be responsible for my life—but compound that with the lives of wee ones is overwhelming.

Then add dangers to their lives and there you have it.

A mommy in paranoia.

If you don’t know Max’s backstory, he never was easy. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our 2nd child. Our rejoicing after years of infertility turned to sorrow as we lost our baby near the end of Trimester 1. Max came 2 years after that—in our 12th year of marriage. Just hours outside of his 34th week.

After spending a couple weeks in the NICU, we brought him home only to deliver him to death through RSV turned pneumonia—blood transfusion, coma, congestive heart failure and a stint of being bagged before our eyes.

Saying we miraculously made it through this is truly saying miraculously we made it through it.

Only to discover his life-threatening allergies.

I kind-of feel as if Max has handed me enough—but he threw this on the barbecue anyway.

And now it is my every breath helicopter mommy moment of my waking day.

Keeping him safe. Alive. And yet letting him live.

This young girl’s death is but another reminder to me that paranoia and triple checking to make sure items are safe IS NOT nuts.

It’s life.

And that’s exactly what I want Max to have.

Here is the article of sorrow.

My heart aches for this family: https://medium.com/@Weresquirrel/progress-or-backlash-the-dilemma-of-allergy-advocacy-8046d658502a

Bucket List? Become a Musher!

Here’s a little on what Max was up to during his winter school break! And, yes! France is a VERY dangerous country for our boy. We fed him only at home 😉

And 2 Makes Crazy

Mushing Nungessers

Okay.  So, technically, I had to look up the word Musher.  And really figure out what it meant.  I mean, we went dog sledding.  That one is obvious.  Musher.  I mean, I am a mommy, I am a “Professional Musher” of mashed potatoes, right?  That sounds like a musher.  You know, like smashing a lot of potatoes so they are mushy and buttery and delicious.

Or I love my children so much my daughter sighs, rolls her eyes, and proclaims, “Oh, Mommy, you are SO MUSHY!”  Making me a Musher Mommy, right?

Well, according to the real dictionaries my Mommy-ition of Mushers is all wrong.  Apparently a Musher is a driver of a dog sled.

So, I am happy to report that as of nearly 1 week ago, I have become officially (for an hour) a real-live Musher.

Also joining the “Musher Nungesser Crew” are:  Richard (the dad), Adelyne…

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Polish Apple Fritters and the Polish Housewife

Recipe for Polish Apple Fritters…

Just thought you should know that I made this dairy free. I can imagine gluten free flour would also produce the same divine results. Egg free ??? You may have to experiment a little more. In any case—smacznego! Which means, enjoy your meal!

Much love…
Mom of Max (aka Brooke at And 2 Makes Crazy)

And 2 Makes Crazy

My food heroine strikes yet again!

You should first of all know that I know Lois.  Yes.  You can insert envy 😉

She was a beautiful part of our ladies Bible study for years, as well as making Rich and I beautiful comfort food while Max was fighting for his life in the ICU.

She is as beautiful as the recipes she creates or makes…and I love every one I have ever made from her site!

On top of cooking, however, you can also buy her guide book on Berlin!

This woman is beautifully unstoppable!

Here is what I made Adelyne before school.  I just “whipped” it right up.  To be honest, I kind-of did.  That’s the beauty of her recipes.  Some require the simplest of ingredients and produce the most divine results.

In any case, here is my masterpiece via the recipe of my favorite Polish Housewife:  Polish Apple…

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Keep Calm and Allergy On!

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