Month : September 2010

Help for Food Allergy Sufferers!

  Allergy cards

What It Is

For those who suffer from food allergies, the effects can range from stomach aches and hives to life-threatening reactions. Regardless of the severity level, food allergy sufferers have the constant concern of where their food comes from, how it is prepared, and what else it has come in contact with.

After talking with some friends and their family members who suffer from food allergies , I immediately saw a need that wasn't being met – the ability to quickly and conveniently convey the details and severity of food allergies to those who are preparing it.

Enter the Food Allergy Card, a little peace of mind for food allergy sufferers everywhere! Depending on your level of sensitivity and the foods you need to avoid, all information on this card can be completely customized to fit your specific needs.

How to Use It

Food Allergy Cards are the same size as a typical busines card, so they fit conveniently in your pocket, wallet, or purse. Simply pass them to the server when placing your order and he or she can clip the card directly to your ticket in the kitchen, ensuring (in bold red letters!) that anyone coming in contact with the preparation of your food is well-versed in the details of your allergy and its repercussions.

The card serves a second purpose for those with more severe allergies. In addition to food prep instructions and ingredients to avoid, the card can detail possible symptoms to watch for and provide emergency instructions should you ingest something your body cannot tolerate. The goal is of course that cross contamination issues are avoided altogether, but if a mistake is indeed made, vital info is readily available to those attempting to assist you. This info might include your full name, date of birth, an emergency contact, where in your bag an Epi pen is always located and how to administer it, or simply directions to call 911 immediately if you show any of a list of symptoms.

New Freedom for Allergy Sufferers

In the most minor of cases, the card is simply a convenience factor for those who have sensitivity to certain foods and prefer to avoid them. For others, it may prove to be an essential tool is staying healthy and alive.

Carrying a Food Allergy Card offers a level of security and confidence for those that suffer from food allergies. They provide a whole new level of freedom to dine outside of the home without worry. Severe sufferers no longer need to be nervous to eat out without someone who is educated in their allergy accompanying them. Parents of children with allergies can rest assured to send their child to dine out without their presence, armed with these informational cards.


Food Allergy Cards will be available in November. Please email me at if you wish to pre-order yours today!

The specs:

Food Allergy Cards are digitally printed double-sided in full color on glossy 15pt cardstock.

Set of 50. $25


Three years down, and they just keep getting better.

September 29, 2007 . Galena, Illinois

Time really does fly when you're having fun.

In some ways, it seems we've been married our entire lives, and in others, I can't BELIEVE how quickly we've gotten to this point, together for more than seven years and about to start our fourth year of marriage.

September 29, 2008 (courtesy of Megan Clausen Photography)

It's funny. You walk down the aisle thinking you know this person better than anyone else in the world, and probably rightfully so. But I love that with each anniversary that passes, we each continue to learn more and more about the other, appreciate each other deeply, and allow each other to continue to grow into the people we are ultimately meant to be.

October 2009 . Minneapolis

Every year has proven sweeter than the previous, as we've hit a stride while navigating this crazy thing called life. In a mere three years, we've made our share of major decisions together that have impacted the direction our life together has taken, and we are keenly aware of many impending decisions and directions to be made in the future.

August 2010 . Atlanta, Georgia

For right now though, at this moment, life is quite sweet and we are blissfully content.

I am very grateful.

What's more, I am very blessed.


Happy anniversary, Mr. Smith.

Here's to many more years of bellyache laughter, toasting our glasses, dancing to vinyl, yelling the Iowa fight song, bossing the other around, great times with amazing family and friends, daydreaming about what we'd spend our lottery winnings on, late night drive-thru binge eating, and of course, less-than-legal joy rides in that sweet convertible. Looking forward to all that comes next…




tex mex burgers!


It's officially fall. This was the first truly cool Saturday of the season…and rainy to boot. We headed downtown this morning to participate in the DSM Alzheimer's Memory Walk in honor of my grandpa. It was great to see such an amazing turnout despite the rain…and the cold…and the WIND. It was totally worth it to brave the elements and if someone can tell me WHO sang the National Anthem right before the walk, I would love to know – he was amazing!

The rest of the day, we've been hunkered down in the house, cheering on the Hawks and then booing Penn State during their game against Temple. We were really hoping they'd lose and lack momentum for next week's game…I guess we'll just have to be that much better when we face off with them next Saturday!

We decided to try something new for dinner tonight. I had bookmarked a couple of recipes and we sort of combined them and edited them to our liking and overall, were really happy with how they turned out!


We started with 4% lean ground beef (lesson number one – for juicy burgers, use meat that isn't QUITE so lean), added an egg beater and a handful of bread crumbs to help the meat stick together, some seasoned salt, pepper, taco seasoning, paprika, chili powder, red pepper, and chopped jalapenos. We weren't thrilled about grilling in the rain, and when we realized we were out of gas (and too lazy to go exchange the tank) we decided to try making them on our panini grill instead. This worked super well – almost too well – another lesson learned: burgers on this sucker cook MUCH faster than a traditional grill. Could have done with about two-three fewer minutes.

Other than that, they were really quite delicious and we agreed with a different meat and less cooking time, we'd totally make them again. We topped them with jalapeno jack cheese…


…and a little chipotle mayo we concoted with some light mayo, a splash of ranch dressing, a spoonful of our favorite salsa, and some red pepper and chili powder.


These are excellent served with chipotle flavored sweet potato fries. 🙂


Please excuse the poor photos (taken on iPhone) – but trust me, these were yummy! Highly recommended. 🙂

Page’s first day!


First off, I must admit my "wife fail" – like a mom who forgets to take a picture of her kid on the first day of school, I completely blanked on taking a pic of Page either before he left for, or after he came home from his first day at his new job. He looked so web designer chic! 😉 (And yes if you know Page, you know he's all about the clothes!) So to make up for it, I took this one of him coming home from day TWO, which worked out well, because he looked a little less exhausted and overwhelmed. 🙂

He had a fantastic first day although he was WIPED by the time he rolled home around six. He literally collapsed on the couch but with a big smile to tell me all about the day. Although when he first started he said, "I can't even tell you what I did today – I don't even know there was so much to take in!" I had to laugh when he climbed into bed to watch TV (something we usually start doing around 9:30 or so to mellow out at the end of the day) and I pointed out to him that it was only 7:15!

The firm he is working with has been without a web guy for at least several weeks, so the queue of work has been building and everyone had questions for him and problems to solve from the minute he walked in the door. He said it was nonstop busy, but I could tell from his face that while he might have been exhausted, he was thrilled to be a part of it all. Right away, they put him on conference calls with some of their biggest clients and everyone listened as he spoke "web speak" with some of the designers they'd be outsourcing with – talk about nervewracking! He told me that going from a very routine workday with few challenges, to one that will be constantly full of new and unique problems to brainstorm and solve will be a huge push, but a great one – that it's so nice to be asked to THINK in this new position. I can completely relate to this and am really excited that his day job allows for so much more creativity – it will make for some great convos at home – we love to feed off of each other in our side jobs and now can do so with our day jobs.

SUPER excited for you, Mr. Smith. Here's to a great success in your newest venture!


Iowa v. Iowa State


I'm not even going to gloat about the score – I'm really not. 🙂 Let's just say it was a great win for the Hawks against their intrastate rival, Iowa State!

We made the trip into Iowa City on Friday night and the Benders were kind enough to host us (and four others) for a pre-tailgating sleepover. We all must have been SUPER excited to tailgate because there was WAY too much food and booze for a handful of people – but that made it that much more fun!

I was actually feeling pretty under the weather the whole weekend but tried not to let it slow me down. I did take a break from tailgating Saturday morning to curl up in the back of the Xterra and sleep for an hour or so to re-energize for the game. This was Page's first trip to Kinnick so I wanted to be as pumped up as he was!


Once we headed over to the stadium, I barely noticed how cruddy I was feeling. The weather turned out to be beautiful (although a little hot and we did get sunburned) but I didn't care. We watched the awesome marching band…


…and my heart was literally pounding as the loudspeakers played the theme from Varsity Blues and the Hawk Vision went to live feed of Kirk & Co. walking from the locker rooms to the field entrance. IN KIRK WE TRUST! 🙂


Here are some very excited fans:



Here's to rival domination and a killer rest of the season for the Hawks. I-O-W-A!!!



Fall Frills: Keeping it Simple


It's crazy to think I've been keeping this blog for almost three years! A huge benefit to long term blogging is being able to go back and read past posts. In particular, I've been checking out my September posts from 2009 and 2008, specifically this one and this one and this one on making the transition to fall and how I decorated to accomodate the new season. It's fun to look back and compare – some of it inspires me and some of it makes me cringe a bit and wish I had done something differently. It's all good though and I refuse to ever go back and edit posts. It messes with the authenticity of what was going on in that moment.


I'm very slowly making the transition to fall. In fact, I started working on this post last week, then had to keep saving it for later, as other things kept coming up. We've been living the excitement of football games and I've been doing more than my fair share of "back to school" shopping (is it still back to school when you're 26 and four years out of college??). However, our house was still lacking an infusion of fall merriment.


This past week, I finally found the energy (dang cold that won't go away and has since turned into pneumonia) to clamor around in the garage and bring in some fall loot and start packing away everything that screamed "summer". I did a good bit of shopping in this arena last September, so everything still feels new and fresh and I love it all. A lot of what I did is an exact replica, so I didn't bother to put up pics of all that again. I've moved a few things around and replaced a couple small items. I told myself that because I spent too much decorating MYSELF for fall this year, I need to be on a serious budget when it comes to the house. 🙂 Overall, I'm keeping it simple – switching out some pillows and bought a few more candles and a runner for a ceterpiece. I also added some fall touches to pieces I keep out year-round. I do not claim to be a decorator and with being sick, I have had zero energy to do much around here. I love house stuff and I love creating an atmosphere, but for me, even when I'm healthy, decorating has to be quick, easy, and take less than an hour to do while a lasagna bakes. 🙂 Someday, when I have the luxury of a basement to store it all (and a free day to do nothing but work on decorating!) I may go a bit crazier.


Here are a few quick snapshots…I do love the feeling of cozying up the decor for the changing seasons. What fun things are you doing to YOUR house for fall? I'd love to see pics!


Pager’s next step!


There is some exciting buzz circulating around our house lately…Page is on the move to a new job – his self-proclaimed "dream job" to be exact!

Since we moved here three years ago, Page has been working in an IT position downtown. He has met some amazing people and gained some great experiences, but it was time to move on and hone in on what he loves to do – web design. For the past two years, he has been growing a business on the side, Page Smith Design, specializing in new and redesigned websites for small businesses. He has built a great portfolio of work and discovered that this is what he wants to do full-time. Most recently, he took on a pro-bono project for the "Holes for Hope" golf tournament, to raise money for Autism. (Okay, maybe it's not COMPLETELY pro-bono…I think he gets a spot in the tourney!) Check out the holding page to see his latest work and learn more about this fantastic event!

His new position is with a forty-person advertising agency, serving as a lead web designer. He will get to work with a variety of clients and grow his knowledge of designing websites and gain more marketing education. He couldn't be happier, and I am SO excited for him. This is a move he has wanted to make all year and it's so fun to see it become a reality for him. Congrats, Mr. Smith! 🙂

Be Bold – Wear Gold!


It's one of my favorite times of the year….the start of HAWKEYE FOOTBALL!!!!!

I'm wearing my black and gold, I have the above image as my iPhone wallpaper for the next twelve weeks, and I'm ready to CHEER…

Hawk door

Only to be outdone by my uber-creative mom. Check out her front door! I LOVE IT. Read her full post about "door candy" here. Way to do the Hawks proud, Mom!

All together now! The word is 'Fight!' 'Fight!' 'Fight!' for Iowa, Let every loyal Iowan sing….