Camping with Food Allergies

Note:  This article is by special request of a dear friend, Milk Allergy Mom.  We enjoy camping as we can do so close to home, homeschool in the camper (if needed) and can have the opportunity relax a little in this crazy life!

We recently walked through a season of food allergies.  While the allergist has now declared our child allergy free, we managed to camp safely, even with allergies.

  Here are some of the ways we stayed safe that can apply both to tent camping or a camper:

  1.  All the adults in the party, as well as the children, are aware of all the allergies.  If there is an allergen present we communicate it among everyone and separate the safe food from the unsafe food.  If you are not comfortable with an allergen being present that is fine!  The individual with allergies is normally served first if an allergen is present.  (It goes without saying, if allergens are present, be cautious of cross contamination.)
  2. Read labels.  Try and stick with tried and true brands as much as possible.
  3. Prepare a meal plan ahead of time.  We often camp with friends who still have multiple food allergies and share cooking duties.  So we coordinate meals ahead of time.  If there is a question about a product or brand, we are not stuck at the campground without something allergy safe.  Some of our favorite camping meals include allergy free pancakes and sausage, tacos, hotdogs, hamburgers and don’t forget the smores!  (You will also always find prepackaged foods and treats in our camper pantries just in case.)  We tend to stick with tried and true favorites that are known to be safe.
  4. Prepare food ahead of time. We often prepare safe cookies, Rice Krispie treats or even Milk Allergy Mom’s cupcakes at home ahead of our camping trips. Prepare fresh fruit and veggies at home ahead of time by washing and cutting and chopping.  In addition, if we know we may be going on an adventure for the day, I may prepare taco meat at home ahead of time by browning the ground beef at home.  I’ll add the seasoning and the meat to a crock pot in our camper the day we plan to eat it.  By preparing food ahead of time you are not out of the comfort zone of your own kitchen.  If you are preparing food at the campground, I prefer to use bottled water in preparation.
  5. Purchase your own portable grill.  The person at the campground ahead of you may have just made something with your allergen before they left.    Purchasing your own camping grill allows you to know what exactly has been cooked on your grill.  We have one similar to this.  They are great for preparing allergy safe meats, kabobs and grilled veggies.
  6. Have designated allergy safe roasting sticks and/or a smore maker if you plan to make something over the campfire.  We have this smore maker..
  7. Keep your epinephrine at the proper temperature, know your emergency plan and the location of the nearest ER.    Double check all labels.

In the end, do what works best for your family.  If that means you prepare all the food to be comfortable, that is absolutely alright!  If that means camping alone as a family, or only with those who understand and respect the allergies, that is absolutely alright too! Don’t forget to enjoy your time outdoors!


Finding Routine

Now that Classical Conversations has started back up and we are in full homeschool schedule mode, finding our routine is important.  Yes, it changes from year to year.  Here’s a few tips I find helpful as a mom who works outside the home:

-Keep going to bed and waking up consistent times.  (Because I work outside the home, this has to stay consistent for our summer break so for the most part tends to be a non issue when we start school.)

-Find a schedule that works well and stick with it as much as possible.  Of course this takes trial and error.  (It took me about four years to figure out it worked best for us to have piano lesson and a sports activity on the same night.)

-A morning routine is important to me.  I wake up early to have time alone and also handle some things for my husband’s business.  I also often use this time to put dinner (or at least part of it) in the crockpot.  If you aren’t a morning person, an evening routine may work well for you.

-I spend a little time each weekend doing lesson and meal plans for the next week.

While routines often work for a season, they sometimes need change.  I’m actually working to incorporate some things into our family schedule this fall on my afternoon off that will get us ahead of some activities next summer.

Do you have a great routine tip?  I’d love to hear it!

Weather Resource


We recently checked this book out from the library.  Weatherwatch has lots of neat facts and several somewhat easy and interesting experiments.  If you are doing an elementary study on weather you may find the book helpful!  Be sure to see if your library can get this book for you!

I always appreciate when other moms recommend resources to me as it simplifies my time.  Do you have a good weather resource to suggest?

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What we are reading this week…

We survived our first week last week!  These are a few books we plan to read this week:

Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body  (This is much younger than my daughter’s reading level, but I hear it goes well with Classical Conversation science this cycle.  I’m excited to find out!)

Who Was Walt Disney?  This is a fun read for my daughter before everything becomes related to Classical Conversations starting next week.

Do not forget to use your local library for books as well!

What are you reading this week?

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It’s alright to have a different schedule…

Working Momma,  I know you are often tired and worn out.  If you are like me, the vast majority of your homeschooling mom friends are full time moms.  That’s ok, there is no contest here.  We each need to do what God has called us to do for our family.

But, friend, if you are anything like me you find yourself sometimes frustrated.  My child does homework at 6:30 am while someone else’s child may not start until 9 am- and your child is of the age they realize the difference.

Or my biggest struggle is we cannot go on that field trip or fun group outing yet again because my schedule cannot be changed for the week due to some meeting or appointment.  I let mom guilt get the best of me- especially when my child knows about the trip I cannot make work.

Let me encourage you- it’s just fine to have a schedule to meet the needs of your family.  Your child will forget about that fun trip or have time for a different activity because your schedule looks different. God has called each of us to serve our families- but it’s going to look different for all of us regardless if we work full time, part time or stay home full time.  So, if you see a fellow homeschooling mom doing something you wish you had the time to do, do not despair- just do your very best.  It’s alright to be on a different schedule and not keep up with the rest of the homeschooling world.




An easy foil slow cooker meal…


I’m all about easy meals in the slow cooker.  This is a summertime family favorite that happens to be cooking today!

Bottom layer:

Wrap frozen, skinless chicken breasts in foil with BBQ sauce (or other seasonings to taste).  Put this in the bottom of your slower cooker.

Middle layer:

Dice potatoes and season to taste.  Wrap in foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  (We like a small amount of seasoned salt.)

Top layer:

Wrap ears of buttered sweet corn in foil.

I cook this on low all day.  Do you have an easy slower cooker recipe?

School has started!

If you follow the Employed Homeschool Mom on Facebook you know we started school on Tuesday.  I had not planned to start until next Monday, but Monday night my daughter asked to start.  Since I had everything ready to go- that’s just what we did!

She has also been attending a VBS this week where they serve kid friendly meals, so I do not have to break out meal planning until next week.  Of course, next week I have lots of meetings to schedule around too.  I hope to share some of my meal plans and scheduling tricks for working moms over the course of the school year.

Are you ready for the new school year?