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Week Ten – Monday’s Lunch (I’m Back!! It’s a Short Week Too) October 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 9:04 am

Lunch #41: Today I have nothing fancy to offer, but at least I am back after a couple of weeks of illness, packing, moving, unpacking, and trying to get settled.  We did a lot this weekend to turn the new house into a home, and our dining area is finally looking less like a storage unit and more like it’s intended purpose.  We still need to get the kitchen fully organized (in the minus category, it’s got blue counter-tops and a decided country vibe circa 1982, yet the pluses are more cabinets and counter space).  Things are falling into place.

I was able to locate my digital camera, so I’m back…at least for three days this week (the kids are off Thursday and Friday due to parent-teacher conferences).  In the Easy Lunch Box I placed a floral cut-out sandwich using one of my handy dandy Lunch Punch cutters–it’s organic almond butter and apple butter on whole-grain bread.  Organic apple sauce mixed with organic vanilla yogurt, a bit of trail mix, and whole-grain Goldfish crackers complete today’s offering.  We REALLY need to go grocery shopping for some fresh fruit and pick the last of the cucumbers and tomatoes from our containers, so hopefully I’ll prepare something more colorful and exciting tomorrow.

No Feedback Today: Despite the fact the lunches were not blogged from 10/1/10 to 10/15/10, lunches were made and consumed once Ava felt well enough to return to school (there was no school on Monday, 10/11/10 as it was a holiday).  Thankfully, while she is still working on her third round of antibiotics, Ava is MUCH better and just yesterday she exclaimed, “I feel much better now that we aren’t at the mold house!”  I’m done with my antibiotics and feeling better too.  Thank you to those who expressed concern and well wishes.  Anyhow, I am picking up right where I would be if I’d been blogging the last couple of weeks, so obviously there is a gap between posts for lunch #30 and today’s #41, but I think that’s less confusing in the long run.

What Ava Did NOT Eat for Lunch: According to the district’s menu, kids buying their lunch from the cafeteria have a choice of Hot Ham & Cheese/Bun or Spaghetti & Garlic Bread–both served with Baby Carrots and Hot Cinnamon Apples.

Just 134 more lunches to go…

 

An unexpected break. October 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 7:11 pm

Some readers (if you are actually out there) have likely noticed a lack of daily posts.  I apologize, and plan to resume blogging soon.

If you’ve kept up with the blog, you may have noted that my normally healthy child has had a lot of illness since the beginning of school in mid-August.  Unfortunately, Ava had a round of antibiotics for double ear infections, which did not go away.  She got worse the night after finishing her antibiotics, so I took her back to the doctor and learned that in addition to worse ear infections, she had developed a sinus infection, and lung infection.  In fact, there was concern she was developing pneumonia, and the doctor ordered a nebulizer breathing treatment right there in the office, which helped her breathing just a bit; the doctor said she would need to continue them every four to six hours (this was very distressing to me since Ava has no history of asthma).  She was also prescribed second round of antibiotics, and codeine cough syrup for bedtime.  I was feeling pretty ill too, so upon being checked out by the doctor, I was  also placed on breathing treatments (I am asthmatic and have a nebulizer at home, which I hadn’t needed to use in years) and antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection.

When we got back from the doctor and pharmacy (a pricey endeavor, especially for a child without health insurance), I discussed the situation with Ava’s Auntie M (my sister) as it was bothering me that we had all been getting sick and feeling crummy lately.  We noticed that we all seemed to feel better when we were away from the house, and we talked about the moldy smell that had developed in our building (an upstairs/downstairs duplex–especially after it rains–noting that our town has had a VERY rainy summer).  The mold smell was bothering me, and I remembered there had been a crew of construction guys working on the exterior of the building (and the strong bleach smells coming through our vents) back at the beginning of July.  Back then our landlord had NOT told us there was a problem downstairs, but us being who we are (kind of nosy), we approached the workers and asked them questions about what they were doing.  At that time they said there was a crack in the wall, and the downstairs unit had flooded after a storm, but that they were repairing the problem.  As I thought about that water damage, I wondered if the continued rain throughout the summer was causing more problems downstairs (we had seen the crew of workers back again and heard them vacuuming up water downstairs the week prior), and perhaps creating a mold problem in the building.  Upon talking with the gal who lives in the room (that shares the same exterior wall) below where Ava and I slept, I was horrified.

We learned that the gal’s room downstairs had continued to flood over the summer, and that at one point she had mushrooms growing on her carpet.  She said the crew hired by the landlord had pulled out the sheet rock and carpet, and that they had found black mold.  She also said that she was told the foundation was cracked and water would continue to seep in with significant rainfall (cue one of the rainiest summers the town has ever seen).  The gal stated that her floor stays wet despite the constant use of fans and a dehumidifier, and that she can’t place anything (including her bed) on the floor since it will mold.  She told us that she sleeps at her friend’s house most of the time, because she gets sick when she sleeps in her room.   Additionally, she said that during the three weeks when her room was being worked on, it was sheeted off from the rest of their unit and she was told to wear a mask whenever she entered the room to access her closet.  What angered me about all of what she shared was that NO ONE ever told us about what was going on downstairs, and NO ONE ever told us we should not run the HVAC system (which we control and share with the downstairs unit).  Therefore, whatever mold situation had been going on in that unit was likely affecting our unit as well.  While this might not be a problem for some people, both my sister and I are asthmatic and all three of us have allergies.

We had been renting the upstairs portion of the building for a couple of years since moving to this university town for school.  In the beginning it had been a great place, we’d learned to overlook the musical tastes of several rowdy bunches of traditional college kids that cycled through the unit below us each semester, and grown accustomed to the occasional bout of “interesting smells” coming through our shared air system.  However, we had been thinking of moving at the end of this semester (hopefully into a single family dwelling–though we are not interested in buying since we are not sure if this will be our permanent home after school is no longer keeping us ties to this community).  Being very upset by the way things were “handled” with the flooding issues and mold downstairs, and fact that it had clearly not been permanently resolved, we decided to look for a new place immediately rather than wait until spring.  Our health, and particularly that of Ava’s, is paramount to us.

That same weekend we found, leased, and began moving into a house.   We got some of our young college guy friends to help us move all of our furniture.   It’s taken us just over a week to get completely out of the other place.  Ava never went back to the ‘toxic mold house’ after that weekend when we first learned the true nature of the problem in the building.  She has started to do a bit better over the last week, and while she’s on a third round of antibiotics, she has returned to school and has not needed a breathing treatment in a couple of days and is weaned off of the codeine cough syrup too.  As of yesterday she has even been able to even return to some of her activities (soccer–last game of the season, and creative movement).

I did go back to the building to help pack some stuff, which was a big mistake–that night I ended up coughing so much I threw up several times and needed breathing treatments.  After that, I did not go back again; I am almost done with my antibiotics and much feeling better.  Thankfully, my sister was not as sick as Ava or me (her room was on the opposite side of the house from where the water damage had occurred–not directly above and on the same wall like Ava and me), so she, along with some of our family were able to finish everything that needed done to get us our of the ‘toxic mold house.’

I’ve spent a lot of time wiping things down, dusting, and trying to minimize the amount of any mold spores we might have transported with us.  We also purchased a new vacuum cleaner and HEPA filter air purifiers for Ava’s room, my room, and our common living space.  We are still in the process of unpacking, putting away, and laundering.  At some point soon I hope to locate my camera, and begin blogging Ava’s lunches since she’s returned to school.  Stay tuned.

 

Week Seven – Thursday’s Lunch September 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 2:09 pm

Lunch #30: Today I made a healthier version of pigs in a blanket by wrapping an all beef nitrate-free hot dog in a slice of whole grain bread (topped with a bit of organic relish and ketchup first).  Then I sliced it in half and each piece closed with a food-pick.  A few Annie’s Homegrown Bunny Grahams and whole-grain Gold fish crackers complete the large compartment of the Easy Lunch Box, while half an organic nectarine, some grapes, and a mixture of organic blueberry applesauce, flax seeds and organic vanilla yogurt make up the rest of Ava’s lunch.

Feedback from Lunch #29 (Wednesday, 9/29/10): She ate everything at during lunch time except for her broccoli, which she ate later when she got home.  Ava reminded me that she usually doesn’t finish everything in her lunch box, because she is in a rush to go outside to play.  Duh, Mom!?!

What Ava Did NOT Eat for Lunch: According to the school district menu, kids buying lunch from the cafeteria have a choice today of Popcorn Chicken & Whole Wheat Roll or Yogurt & Bagel Basket, both served with Green Beans
Whipped Potatoes / Gravy.

Just 145 more lunches to go…

 

Week Seven – Wednesday’s Lunch September 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 8:06 am

Lunch #29: This morning Ava had two large slices of toast for breakfast, so I decided against making a sandwich for her lunch.    Instead, she will have her favorite grapes with slices of organic nectarine and organic apple (both spritzed with lemon juice to prevent browning).  I also added fresh broccoli with ranch dip, and mixed a few chopped almonds together with brown rice we had left over from dinner last night (yummy spicy red Thai curry chicken).  In a leak-proof container I combined flax seeds with organic vanilla yogurt.

Feedback from Lunch #28: She didn’t touch her broccoli and pea salad at school, but when she tasted it later she liked it.  Other than that, everything else was consumed at lunch time.

What Ava Did NOT Eat for Lunch: Kids buying lunch from the school cafeteria have a choice of Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich or Fish Bites & Bread Stick, both served with Oven Fries and Corn & Black Bean Salad.

Just 146 more lunches to go…

 

Week Seven – Tuesday’s Lunch September 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 9:09 am

Lunch #28: Today I prepared a princess shaped sandwich (organic almond butter and apple butter on whole grain bread), complete with a scepter (star cut out from the sandwich and half a strawberry flavored Clif Kid Organic Twisted Fruit).  I also included a few of Ava’s favorite grapes and some Annie’s Homegrown Bunny Grahams to the main compartment, and wrapped up the rest of the lunch box with a sliced organic pear (spritzed with lemon juice to prevent browning), and a bit of  fresh broccoli and pea salad I made this morning.  Hopefully this lunch will be fit for my princess!

Feedback from Lunch #27: As per usual she at almost everything at lunch time except for a peach slice, a baby dill pickle and part of her sandwich.  She ate those items after school before heading off to soccer.

What Ava Did NOT Eat For Lunch: Children purchasing lunch from the school cafeteria have a choice of Cheese or Sausage Pizza or Chicken Tenders, both served with Broccoli/Raisin Salad and Steamed Carrots.

Just 147 more lunches to go…

 

Week Seven – Monday’s Lunch September 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 8:38 am

Lunch #27: This morning Ava had requested an almond butter princess crown sandwich, but I soon realized we are out of bread.  Oddly enough, ours is a house where a loaf often dies a slow painless death in the bread drawer; however, while Ava was sick she did eat more toast than usual.  We quickly regrouped and opted for turkey, ham, Swiss cheese  and mayo on a left over deli roll (which would have likely gone bad anyhow).  Baby dill pickles and a few almonds complete the large compartment of the box, while a sliced organic peach, and whole grain Goldfish crackers fill out the rest.  Additionally, I prepared a simple salad of greens, peas, tomato wedges (from our container planting), with a splash blush vinaigrette, AND…wait for it: shredded cheddar cheese (per Ava’s request, despite last week’s declaration that she was “off cheese.”)

Feedback from Lunch#26 (Friday, 9/24/10): Ava ate everything at lunch time except half of her sandwich, which she had as part of her after school snack.

What Ava Did NOT Eat for Lunch: Kids buying lunch from the school cafeteria today have a choice of Cheese Quesadilla or Turkey a la King & Biscuit both served with Peas, Mixed Vegetables, and Tossed Salad.

Just 148 more lunches to go…

 

Week Six – Friday’s Lunch September 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lunchlady101 @ 8:41 am

Lunch #26: Today Ava requested a turkey sandwich, and informed me she is “off cheese,” because she “doesn’t like it anymore.”  So, in the main compartment I prepared sandwich wedges of turkey, lettuce, and mayo on an Earth Grains Multi-grain Thin Bun.  She also request tomatoes (from our container planting) sliced and on the side, so they don’t get her sandwich soggy.  For a bit more protein, I added almonds as well.   Finally, heart-shaped kiwi chunks and mandarin orange slices round out this lunch box.

Ava and I had an interesting conversation last night about her friend “Maddy” who also brings her lunch to school.  Ava said that “Maddy” gets to choose what she has in her lunch, and asked if she could do that.  I said she can help decide depending on what we have in the pantry.  I asked her what kinds of things “Maddy” chooses, and Ava replied, “Well, she kind of brings a lot of not healthy stuff.  A lot of junk.  Oh, and Lunchables with crackers.  Those are healthy!”  I explained to her that we would not be buying a lot of prepacked (also bad for the environment) empty calorie foods for her lunches, and why Lunchables are not the best choice because they don’t have whole grains, have too much salt, and probably also contain high fructose corn syrup.  We did decide to work together to choose the stuff that goes into her lunches, so this morning I gave her some options of what we had.  I think this will help her feel more empowered, which is a good thing.

Feedback from Lunch #25: She ate everything at lunchtime except for part of the sandwich, which became her afternoon snack before gymnastics.

What Ava Did NOT Eat for Lunch: Kids buying lunch from the school cafeteria today will have a choice of Taco & Chips w/Toppings or BBQ Chicken / Bun–both with Fruit Sherbet, and Baked Beans.

Just 149 more lunches to go…