On Sunday we returned home from a full week in Northwest Michigan, one of the most beautiful places this side of the Mississippi. I love it there with the tall pine trees, the beach just beyond them, and the constant breeze keeping the sweat from rising up on my forehead. If it weren’t for family here at home, I’d buy a house on a lake, pack up and move in a heartbeat. My husband would be leading the way.
It was a lot of prep work to get ready for this vacation, but this view from our deck every day and the fun we experienced was totally worth it.
Here’s how we did it.
1. We rented a house with the family (and thanks to my in-laws for footing the bill!). With a house, we could cook all of our meals which took a lot of stress out of the whole week. I cooked most of the meat ahead and then prepped the sides once we were there. My husband and I did all of the dinners. That way, we knew exactly what N was eating, and he was safe all week long. Renting may seem expensive, but it’s usually about the same as a hotel with a mini kitchen once you add it all up. Plus, we went home with CLEAN clothes because we had a washer & dryer. Not having to tackle the Mountain-O-Laundry once you get home might make renting a house worth it right there!
2. We packed our meals for travel days and ate at rest stops. This is a two for one. Safe food and the kids get to RUN! The kids love the picnic atmosphere and the fresh air energizes you for the next leg of the trip.
3. Severe allergens were not allowed in the kitchen. My sister-in-law and her man graciously kept their peanut butter upstairs in a bedroom and the door stayed closed. At the end of the week, the dirty dishes/utensils came down and went straight into the dishwasher. Thank you to Sharon & Adam!
4. Relax. Seriously, try to RELAX. Yes, stay vigilant and cautious, but relax so you can think clearly and keep your food allergic kiddo safe. One thing that helped me relax was locating the nearest hospital ahead of time. Another thing that helped me was taking a TON of safe food. Not knowing what the grocery stores were like there was nerve wracking, so knowing I had plenty of safe food on hand was comforting.
What did we do on vacation? It’s more like, what didn’t we do? We hiked, fished,
floated down the river,
ate (safe) ice cream at least twice, played in the sand,
had s’mores, boat rides, beach trips, sunset walks, playground exploration,
and junior explorer class to search for bugs.
You name it, we did it! Food allergies don’t stop us very much, and our Epi-pens were with us every step of the way….even on the float down the river. I want my son to be a kid, and experience things just like I did as a kid. I try not to freak out (at least outwardly) so that the anxiety doesn’t rub off on him. He had a blast, and this face…..
….is totally worth it.
In my next post, I’d like to share some products that helped make this trip a little easier, and some foods that made this excursion lip-smacking good!
So…when it comes to vacations and managing food allergies, do you hold back and get scared, or do you relax and enjoy yourself?