Monday, June 29, 2015

Water, Wolves & Winona

All food allergy families that travel with their own foods, please raise your hand (hand raised). All food allergy families that don't like last minute trips, raise your hand (hand raised). All food allergy families that stress and grumble and cry and have a mini meltdown until the very last second and then have an amazing burst of energy to somehow cook and pack up your family safely due to food allergies, raise your hand (hand raised). AND, all food allergy families that have raised their hands to the above but cannot resist a family get away, raise your hand (hand raised).

Does any of this make sense? Am I the only one that hems and haws and grouches but then pulls it altogether to make it a great, safe family bonding time? (Hems and haws....what does that mean, exactly?!) Alas, NutriGrandpa approached me with a graduation gift for my minions since one graduated Middle School and the other Elementary and graciously offered us a night at Great Wolf Lodge. So I pushed past my stress, put aside my anxieties and accepted. NutriKids were ecstatic- I was a nervous wreck. Why? May I bring all of you back in time for just a moment when NutriSon & NutriHubby went on a school trip for a few days Please read, view pictures and then continue with us, here, with a better insight about my insanity - (Food Allergy Mom Goes on Strike).

It's Only One Night Yes, one night. But one night also includes lunch the day of check-in, poolside snacks & drinks, dinner, breakfast and more snacks...did I mention snacks? Need a short version of what we bring? Gaze upon how simple it looks here-

Now, this is the real list:
  • Homemade Muffins- Three varieties (chocolate chip (yay, can we say Enjoy Life Foods?!), blueberry and plain corn. Why three types? Because everyone likes something different (because if everyone all like the same thing, then it would just make life too simple)
  • Freedom Foods Cereal- Cocoa Crunch and TropicOs sealed in ziplock bags. Why this brand? Because my children want those tiny, GMO-riddled boxes of other cereals but will accept this awesome cereal instead, without a fight and they love them. Sealed to prevent spilling, even at this age, and bags to have less travel clutter & keep everything waterproof.
  • Breakfast Sausage (cooked)- again, two types (links & patties) because everyone knows that even though sausage is the exact same, some children who shall remain nameless insist that they taste differently in a different form. And because I am neurotic about protein, especially in the morning, I oblige. Oh, OH- the best part is that NutriDaughter will only eat links but ONLY if I remove the skins....(counting to 10 slowly)
  • Cookies- This is just a no-brainer. Since we are an Enjoy Life Foods family, we brought two boxes. I could have made cookies but these are travel-worthy and we all love them.
  • SkinnyPop- Salty, carbs, allergy-friendly (free of dairy, peanut, tree nut & gluten). Well loved by all.
  • Gluten Free Pizza- Precooked and sealed in a plastic bag to heat & eat.
  • Dang Coconut Chips- These are strictly for me (hey, I can have my own goodies too!) Delish! They melt in your mouth and it's easy, portable protein.
  • Winona Pure Oils- Oil...for a water park...huh? Yes- Popcorn Butter for the muffins and Coconut to help get rid of the horrible, dried out hair you get from being soaked in a human pool of salt, germs and whatever else for two days. Coconut oil has a high moisture retaining capacity so it keeps hair soft and prevents breakage of hair. I give you the proof-

Extras, don't forget these!- Sturdy paper plates for reheating, cups, napkins, extra plastic bags, utensils, waters, juices, ibuprofen and ear drops (in case anyone gets water stuck in their ears). MEDS- Yes, bolded because you never, ever, EVER travel without (at least) two doses of epinephrine (plus we have his asthma inhaler). And, NEVER leave it in the car...which, for the first time ever in 13 years, we did. Luckily, I also carry extra epi in my purse so we were covered.

Should Have, Could Have In the hustle of last-minute preparations, I did not have time to call Great Wolf Lodge and discuss food allergies and their policies ahead of time. And, sometimes, NutriSon doesn't want to try out new places he just wants to go and have a good time. This, I understand. But I have to say, from even staying just one night, I wish we could have tried it out to see how safe it was. Even though I had all of our foods, I stopped and spoke with Annette, a chef at their Loose Moose Dining Cottage. I was impressed how quickly the hostess brought out a chef and Annette went through all of their buffet options. Did the word buffet freak you out too?! Chef Annette told me that they accommodate- if you need fruit, they will slice fresh fruit in the back on a clean cutting board. If you need sausage or bacon, they will cook it for you on a separate, clean griddle. If you need tater tots or potatoes, they can make these for you as well since the tater tots share the fryer and the breakfast potatoes are right next to the eggs- a no-no for NutriSon. I am thinking next time I may listen to my own advice. 

*Allergy Warning* I did notice one item that nut allergic travelers need to watch out for- Great Wolf Lodge provides a lotion that contains almond oil. This is also why we travel with our own toiletries. Also, vending machines- not one speck of allergy-friendly options. Great Wolf Lodge Peeps- get in touch, I would be uber-excited to help you with that! It's what I do and I know we could easily work well together. I do appreciate how eco-friendly your facility is. There were recycling receptacles everywhere- like, everywhere. At the pool, in the hallways, in the rooms, the lobby...everywhere. Nutrimom approves of eco-friendly big time. Now the weird, too small sheets and blankets in the kids' beds...that needs an explanation. No worries- the kids passed out but you know, sheets help.

The outcome- No allergic reactions, no accidents or injuries. But also no work, no cooking and no stress for almost two full days. I, Nutrimom, am reminding all of you as well as myself that we have to remember to just go with whatever comes our way sometimes. Remember that it's important to be safe and vigilant but it's also important to be a happy family. You know your job as a parent is done well when all of the food is gone and everyone is sleeping peacefully.

....until they get home, then they are magically wide awake ;)

*This blog post is sponsored by my friends at Winona Pure Oils ~


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