Gate A-4


I, too want to live in that place.

Originally posted on Live & Learn:


Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be…

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May MADNESS! recap!


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This is my first opportunity to post since Food Allergy Awareness Week.  My boy has had a busy month!

We attended a Kyle Dine concert hosted by the Austin Families with Food Allergies and as the PR volunteer – I was busy snapping photos.  I didn’t realize that the NPR/ KUT Austin crew who were there to interview, snapped a shot of the boy!  I received a call from a friend travelling in Iowa.  She’d gone to NPR’s website and was tickled to see the kid’s face on their homepage.  I must admit…so was I!

Then, there’s the 3rd Annual Food Allergy Retreat.  Instead of the usual 6 and under obstacle courses, my bravehearted 5 year old was persistent on going with the 6 and up crowd.  He wanted to hang out with his 9 year old buddy, Noah.  – AND to our dismay, climbed a 40 foot rock wall and ziplined for the first time!

During Food Allergy Awareness Week, we announced, Danny’s Pantry:

Danny's Pantry

We’re collecting non-persishable food items FREE of the top 8 food allergens.  I was inspired 3 years ago, as I read an article in Living Without Magazine titled, “Special Diet Pantries.”  It made me think about the food insecure and families with food allergies right here in the Austin community.  We’re currently in the phase of collecting food, but also collecting donations via the Austin Community Foundation.

We also received news coverage during Food Allergy Awareness Week – with a little help from our allergist and friend, Dr. Allen Lieberman at the Asthma and Allergy Center of Austin.  Here “he” is again!

If I include our Houston trip and the Austin parks we frequented – It was March ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!!  Fun and exhausting.


Our new pit stop to beat the heat!


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Casey’s New Orleans Snowballs!

My buddy, Carl Webb suggested we attend the grand opening a few months ago.  So glad he did because the kid tried the rainbow flavored sno – ball for the first time and it’s now his favorite! Even with the long lines, Mars and crew took their time to find food allergy friendly flavors for our order.  THANK YOU!

Casey’s New Orleans Snoballs “food allergy friendly” Rain – Bo (flavors):

Bubble Gum
Tiger’s Blood
Custard or Pineapple

He loves the rainbow flavor!


My ADVENTUROUS 5 year old ziplined for the first time this month!


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Earlier this month we attended the annual Food Allergy Retreat at Peaceable Kingdom hosted every year by the Austin Families with Food Allergies.   It’s always a treat to connect with other families with food allergies within the community.   Every year our son has enjoyed the kiddie obstacle courses, theater, archery, arcade room and other amenities. This year was different.

Instead of our usual routine of connecting with the 5 and under crowd – the kid asked if he could join the “BIG BOY” group.  Initially, I was a little hesitant…but, realized my bravehearted son has always been FEARLESS.  So, I asked a staff member if we could give it a try and the rest, shall we say, is history!

Looking up at the rock wall before climbing, FOCUSED!

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The kid climbing the 40 foot rock wall to get to the 175 foot zip line.

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Video of of the kid zip lining. He had a a blast! :)


Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11-17th!


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This week is the 18th Annual Food Allergy Awareness Week, from May 11 – 17, 2014.  Austin Families with Food Allergies (AFFA) has shared a few ways you can get involved:

Monday, May 12:

  • Wear teal today in support of food allergy awareness! ‪#‎TealTakeover Post your photos on our Facebook page!
  • Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) Twitter Party! To kick off Food Allergy Awareness Week, FARE will be hosting a Twitter chat that will allow you to “Ask the Experts” your questions about food allergies. With members of FARE staff moderating, Ruchi Gupta, MD, PhD and Wayne Shreffler, MD, PhD will answer questions submitted by parents or individuals with food allergies, or anyone else interested in the topic.  Click the link below for details –
  • Challenge your friends or family to “subtract” an allergen from their diet for a week!
  • In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week – Support Danny’s Pantry’s FIRST Food Drive ending May 17, 2014.  Please donate food FREE of the following: Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Peanut, Soy, Gluten, and Shellfish.   Location: Cameron Road Church of Christ (East Austin).  For more information, contact Sun at sunconnor (at)gmail (dot)com.

Tuesday, May 13:

Wednesday, May 14:

  • Anaphylaxis Awareness Day! Learn how to use an epinephrine auto-injector or train someone else.
  • The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, in cooperation with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC), offers the Be a PAL Patch Program. Girl Scouts from any council can earn the patch. Information located on FAAN’s website.

Thursday, May 15:

  • Contact your legislators. You can help to get important legislation passed by simply contacting your representatives and asking for their support. Visit for all the information you’ll need to easily do this.
  • Host or Create your own Fundraiser to support this year’s Austin Walk for Food Allergy.

Friday, May 16:

  • Read a food allergy story at your local library, go into your child’s classroom, do a social media blitz to your friends, family, co-workers.  Visit for video links, story ideas, coloring pages & more.
  • Jennifer B-Food Allergy Buzz’s – ANNUAL Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW) Twitter Party! Use #foodallergy to tweet and participate! Let’s make #foodallergy #1 trending topic again! (Twitter @foodallergybuzz)  Learn more here.

Saturday, May 17:

  • Learning at Libraries Day!  Donate a Food Allergy Book to your local library.
  • Don’t forget to register for the Austin Walk for Food Allergy!
  • 10:30 a.m. – Food-free Family Story time at the Round Rock Library (216 East Main Street, Round Rock, Texas 78664). This interactive program includes a variety of activities such as books, fingerplay, music, movies, and puppets.

For more information on Food Allergy Awareness Week (and giveaways), visit our Facebook page here.

Austin Families with Food Allergies is a support group of parents located throughout the Austin-metro area raising children with food allergies.  The Austin Walk for Food Allergy is organized by Austin Families with Food Allergies in conjunction with The Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

FARE is a non-profit organization that provides services nationwide, funds research of food allergies and has been at the forefront of progress in food allergy awareness, advocacy, education, and research.  Findings from FARE-sponsored studies have been used to change laws here in Texas, improve school policies, raise public awareness, and provide education for patients, caregivers and health professionals.  Funds from programs like the FARE Walk for Food Allergy support FARE’s efforts to achieve these feats.

Reasons to volunteer with Little Helping Hands…


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Little Helping Hands

Hmmmm…the little guy in the batman shirt looks VERY familiar!!!

The kids are the future building blocks of our society and that is why it is very important for us to offer life lessons and fond memories which will be beneficial for them throughout their lives. We should teach and show them  things that will help them be responsible and caring citizens of the world.

The question is how can that be done?

Well, there are various ways of doing so and one of the ways is to indulge a kid in the aspect of volunteerism. This way they will learn the need to help others.  Most of the time, through hard work it’s nice to see the look on a child’s face when they begin to understand the benefits of assisting someone in need.

It takes the attention off of “ME-ME-ME!” and their little minds go into overdrive with curiosity on every detail of the task at hand.  They feel good about helping someone else.  That’s why my family’s so grateful for all Marissa Vogel and staff at Little Helping Hands have continuously provided for the Austin community.  Little Helping Hands is a great way to get the entire family involved.

Learn more here:

Valentine’s Day Tips for Parents

Originally posted on FARE Blog:

Homemade ValentineValentine’s Day is the sweetest of all the holidays, both in sentiment and in sweet treats. But with candy and confections being shared and parties being thrown, it’s also a good time to review some basics of effective food allergy management.

Here are some helpful reminders for parents of children with food allergy as this holiday approaches:

  • Remember that candy manufacturers may change packaging for holidays like Valentine’s Day. For example, a peanut butter cup might come in the form of a foil-wrapped heart instead of the tell-tale cup shape. Don’t assume anything. Read every label, every time. If a label is not available, don’t take chances and avoid the treat.
  • Buy some safe candy or inexpensive toys or trinkets and prepare a special Valentine’s goodie bag for your child. Or have these items available for a trade in case your child receives treat that he or she cannot have…

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The fun filled kung-fu class through my kid’s eye!


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Last summer, the kid began kung-fu sessions with Master Gohring. I was a little skeptical about whether he’d like it or not…if he’d cooperate.  But, I was surprised when he came out bustling with joy.  Later that week, he declared himself a “Lil’ Dragon” as he hung from a tree at Green Gate Farm.  I appreciate that although there were so many kids of similar age, Master Gohring and Instructor Hunter’s ability to give equal attention to all of them. The best part is despite the fact that the directions were sometimes hard to understand (or follow for a then 4 year old ENERGIZER BUNNY)… the master and instructor would reiterate the rules in such a manner that made it fun, and doable.

The art of Kung Fu helps with focus and concentration in your kid.  My little lovejoy has expressed to me that they were taught about focusing with their eyes, mind and body. They were tough to speak in a way which shows utmost respect for the teacher. Not only that but, also two of the major techniques were taught to the kids. The techniques are that of paying attention and bowing.

My kid even loved it more because now he pretends to be a Ninja which I find helps tremendously.  He sits quietly sometimes at home which initially shocked me – but, he later announced that he’s “being a Ninja!”

Kung-Fu is not only good for the aspect of self defense. It also helps to enhance the factor of confidence in young kids.

Last but, not least – it’s a FOOD FREE ACTIVITY!!!  (Anyone who knows me KNOWS most of his extra-curricular activities are.)

Our “Noon” AND New Year’s Eve Celebrations


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We started the day with a “Noon Year’s Eve” party at Pinballz Arcade.  It was our first time, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  It was empty when we arrived, but quickly filled with kids 12 and under.  There were crafting tables and other projects to decorate.  It was nostalgic for me to see all of the games I used to play as a kid like Pac Man and Centipede!  Those brought back fond memories.  After an hour or so, there was the “balloon” drop at noon!  Really cute, the kids loved it!

Later that day, we ended the night at one of the kid’s FAV places.  Our church member’s ranch.  There’s a horse, chickens, a little lake for kayaking and a veggie garden with lots of space to run!

The kid experienced his first bonfire, which was really nice… and roasted marshmallows.
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Our hostess with the mostest also provided fireworks!



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