Can I be real with you guys for a minute? This week has been a tough one for me emotionally. As many of you know, my kids have food allergies. N is allergic to all nuts as well as sesame. E is allergic to nuts. The allergies are severe, meaning if they take a single bite of something that they’re allergic to, they could die without immediate treatment. Even with the use of the EpiPen, it’s still a very dangerous situation.

Food allergies are real, people. They’re not made up. They’re not something exaggerated or fake. We first found out about N’s allergy when he was 18 months old, had one drop of tahini and spit it out. It never even entered his stomach and his face still swelled up so much he was almost unrecognizable. It was hands-down the scariest and worst day of my life and it was also a life-changing moment for our family. Finding out about E’s allergies was slightly less dramatic, but they’re just as serious.

This week I heard about the anaphylaxis scene in the new Peter Rabbit movie. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard about it in detail. I know we live in a day and age where everything insults or offends someone and we’re all overly PC. However, making light of a food allergy is dangerous.

If you know someone is severely allergic to a certain food (in the Peter Rabbit example, blackberries), and you purposely try to get that person to ingest what they’re allergic to? That’s nothing short of attempted manslaughter in my opinion, and that’s not something I want in movies my young children are viewing.

Pair the knowledge of that movie scene with some frustrating stuff happening to my kids personally, and I’ve been an emotional mess. Dropping the kids off at school every day takes an enormous amount of trust, not only in my kids, the teachers, staff, other parents, and other children, but also in God. I have to leave it in God’s hands because if not, I’ll just drive myself insane. I am a control freak, but there are somethings I just can’t control. Something happened to both N and E on Monday and it shook me hard. I’m not going into details about what happened because I’m not interested in throwing anyone under a bus and it’s all been handled appropriately with steps taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Thankfully both kids are okay. Me? I’m still finding my way to “okay.”

There was definitely a moment at the dinner table where I was sobbing and telling the kids how much I love them and how careful we have to be. SOBBING. It was really attractive and I’m 99% sure the kids thought I had lost my mind.

Other than that, things are really okay. I know there’s probably a lot of you out there dealing with way worse than what I’m going through this week, but it was just really emotionally draining and I feel exhausted. I’ve also been getting up at 4:10 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to work out — days which happened to be Ben’s late nights this week, so that could have something to do with that exhausted feeling.

Speaking of exhaustion, I’m typing this on Wednesday and I thought I was going blind this morning. I woke up (4:10!), started the coffee and the oil diffuser and then went back to the bathroom. I put my glasses on and my eyes felt super dry and I couldn’t focus or see clearly no matter what I did. I rubbed my eyes, blinked hard, but still, everything was a big blur.

Then I realized. I wasn’t going blind. I forgot to take my contacts out last night. The dryness? From having my contacts in while I slept. The blurriness? From doubling up on my prescription when I put on my glasses. I think I’m in need of a vacation. Anyone with me?

I feel like I should type something happy after “my kids could have died” and “I thought I was going blind,” but this is already getting long and I haven’t even started throwing links your way! I’ll just say this: I’m incredibly grateful for EpiPens, good friends, and glasses. And even 4:10am workouts, because they make me feel amazing. 

So…here’s what else is new this week:

Contemplating: These weights for our gym. Anyone have experience with them? I already have sets of 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20 pounds. They’re currently taking over my living room – can’t wait for our basement gym to be completed! I’m tossing around purchasing a set of 25 pound weights but the adjustable ones are definitely the less expensive way to go in the long run. Because Ben will be using these weights as well, we need weights in 5 pound increments all the way up to 55+ pounds. At about one dollar per pound, it adds up when you’re buying two of each. If you have experience with the adjustable weights, I’d love to hear it!

New to me: I also jumped on the essential oils bandwagon recently, and I gotta say I’m kinda loving them. Anyone have any experiences with them or any favorite combinations?

Don’t know where yet: But I’m going to find a spot for this in my house – I love it! I also love this….just need to find an excuse to buy it.

New on Rachel Cooks: Lots of great stuff for Valentine’s Day….oh wait. But seriously, a no-bake chocolate tart that is made with only four ingredients is good anytime of the year.

  • Instant Pot Chili – This recipe is Whole30 compliant and also Paleo, buuuuut it’s amazing for anyone. I also dive in deep with tons of different ways you can adapt it, including making it on the stove or in your slow cooker.
  • Five Spice Sweet Potato Wedges – Aka the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had. (I mean when you load up a sweet potato casserole with butter and brown sugar, they’re pretty good too, but these are actually good for you.)
  • THE chocolate tart. This is a must-make, you guys! Perfect for entertaining because it looks so fancy but it’s ridiculously easy.
  • Whole 30 Sausage – Again, Whole30 but SO delicious. I’m going to make these pork and apple sausages year-round.
  • Caesar Croutons – Because once you go homemade croutons, you don’t go back.
  • Lemon Salmon with Dill – This is my go-to salmon recipe. Ben loves it and it’s healthy and easy to make!

Comment that’s making me smile: Keep leaving those comments! My favorite part of sharing recipes with you is hearing about your experiences with making the recipes! Hillary made my roasted broccoli and said, “Aside from the benefits of roasted broccoli tasting so DELISH, it also doesn’t make my house stink like steamed broccoli does! It’s like eating broccoli chips. YUM. Thanks for the recipe. I added some marble cheese 5 minutes before they were done.” Thanks Hillary, so glad you liked it! I’m going to try adding cheese next time!

Recipes from Around the Web Making me Hungry:

For the kids: I want to buy this darling vest for E (such a great sale!) and this old man sweater for N.


That’s all I have for today! Thinking up some recipes for the next couple of months — send me any requests you have!