Gelatin in Unexpected Places

Interesting night here as we were considering trying Paula Deen’s Pink Lemonade Cake. The cake calls for Minute Maid Lemonade and given the allergies, we did a quick search to verify the ‘natural flavors’ in the juice. Much to our surprise, we discovered that many manufacturers use gelatin in the refinement of juice and broth.

Not sure if Coca-cola uses that process or not but we will call. In the meantime, I thought all of you would appreciate knowing about the gelatin usage in general. . .

Fast Facts About Seafood Allergies

Allergic Living has a great site overall and a page devoted to seafood allergies. It’s worth the read as details the different between fish, crustaceans and mollusks and lists the cross-reactivity of all.

Hope it helps all my readers with fish and shellfish allergies!

Audi Shopping: They took my keys!

Frustrating experience yesterday at a local Audi dealer. The sales rep promised they would beat the offer on the table from a competitor, specifically saying that that they would ‘blow away the other offer’ and so I took the chance and drove up the the dealership.   

The sales team was quick to tell me that they were finishing up the year and trying to break the previously set sales record. They indicated that they were two or three cars short of their goal and would do anything to make it work – including selling the vehicle at a loss to the dealership. The pricing and discounting sounded promising and they asked to appraise my car. The rep took the keys telling me that he needed to check the mileage and would be right back. A long time later, 25 – 30 minutes, one of the sales managers returned and told me that they couldn’t offer me nearly as much for my car as I wanted and I needed to pay $1600 over the other dealer (for a lesser vehicle). He went on about how I wouldn’t want my fiancee or significant other to spend that much money on that (my current!) car for me and I couldn’t expect someone else to. He also indicated that the other dealership pricing was unrealistic and not true pricing. He went on about how they wanted to win my business and I decided I had heard enough. He didn’t return the keys though and they weren’t with him (and I was getting worried about that). I indicated I had to be somewhere and needed to leave immediately. Since I had told the sales rep that my time was limited before I agreed to an appointment, at least he understood.

Instead of directly responding, the manager suggested I wait awhile longer while they spoke with one of the senior managers and I declined. I specifically asked again for my keys so I could leave, and they said they could retrieve them from the other manager after I spoke to him. I followed these guys down the hall and there were four folks in this guys office, one standing with my keys in his hand about to leave that office. I asked for them and he reluctantly handed them over. I said my goodbyes and they told me to come back and discuss the numbers.

I thought it was way out of line for them to take the keys and not return them and was more infuriated to discover that my car had been driven (seat adjusted etc) and put in a different parking spot.

The sales rep did call later and apologize for not being able to discount like he promised and hoped to sell me a car later this year.   

Lesson learned: Never give your keys to anyone in the sales process, ever.

Scholarships for National Merit Finalists

Curriculum Recommendations on Amazon

At the request of several followers, I’ve started to pull together a comprehensive listing of the curriculum materials we used throughout our homeschooling. Over the years, we have purchased from a wide range of vendors but now most of it is available on Amazon. So, in the interest of ease, I’ve started a storefront. My goal is to set up the categories to you can explore the curriculum we used by subject area or by grade level. I’m looking forward to adding to it in the days and weeks ahead.

Textbook Coupons

Quick savings tip today:   

If like many of us, you look to purchase textbooks on-line, here’s a site that may help. Direct Textbook lists the current coupons available for online booksellers including Allbris, eBooks, eCampus, and

Cavalier Photo of the Week

We were fortunate to puppy sit a couple of weeks ago and here’s a picture of the little guy at 14 weeks!


Food Allergy Awareness

Thanks to my eldest, for this post on her blog. Reprinted with permission (

Today is the first day of Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 9-15, 2010. Food Allergy Awareness Week was started in 1997 by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). It is now officially recognized by twenty-seven states, as well by theNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

As someone with a severe food allergy, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. Over 12 million people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a food allergy and the prevalence continues to increase. Ninety percent of these food allergies are due to eight major allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Food allergies can be life-threatening, but there is currently no way to prevent allergies, nor is there a cure. The only way to manage an allergy is by strict avoidance of the allergen. In acknowledgement of this, the Food Allergy Initiative encourages people to give up a favorite food for Food Allergy Awareness Week.

The theme this year is Respect Every Bite, because even trace amounts of an allergen can elicit a reaction. Food allergies are a daily threat that have to be taken seriously.

For more information on food allergies, please visit:

For more information on this year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, visit:

Learning Russian

Interested in learning Russian?

If so, you may want to take a look at the following two sites:

Master Russian which offers daily lessons and Russian Language Lessons which offers self-paced lessons along with limited video.
And here’s a list of some free online resources for Russian:

MA Food Allergy Law Compliance: 4 Steps

Short video with the Blue Ginger’s Ming Tsai demonstrating how to comply with the new Massachusetts Food Allergy Law. Great piece to share with your favorite restaurant manager / owner, even if you don’t live in Massachusetts!