Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review for Evarance - Rise of the Shadows

This is a book review for the new release of the book Evarance - Rise of the Shadows.  First of all, I am a little bit biased because my sister wrote the book.  That said, I LOVED this book!!!  I mean, wow.  I had no idea that Bonnie had such a fierce imagination and a way with words.  Evarance is written for the pre-teen/teen/young adult audience, however, I completely enjoyed reading it as well.  It transforms you into a world of dreams and mystical elemental creatures capturing your heart and your imagination. While reading this book, you think about the reality of your own dreams. What if our dreams were real? Even more, what if we got trapped there?  To enter a drawing for a free book (expires in two days) click on this link.  

Here is an excerpt from the back cover:
It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She gently lifted the bracelet out of the box and clasped it around her wrist, admiring the little fire charm that shimmered in the sunlight and looked as if it were really burning. She didn’t know it yet, but that one simple act would change everything forever. Trapped in a world of dreams turned to nightmares, Rachel struggles to escape the encroaching darkness and the shadow wolves that hunt her. Aided by firefoxes, mysticorns and other elementals, she must now travel across the land in search of a way to return home. The clock is ticking and death awaits if she fails . . ."
Have you ever had a dream so vivid you were sure it was real only to have woken up to find yourself in bed?  I know I have.  Evarance - Rise of the Shadows takes our dreams to a whole new level when a young girl, Rachel, finds herself surrounded by firefoxes in a world entirely not her own.  When shadow wolves begin hunting her, some mishaps happen and she gets stuck leaving her body in a comatose state.  All seems lost until her brother and sister read her journal and realize that they have been traveling to the SAME place.  (Okay, no more spoilers on the plot.  Read the book!)
This new dream world is filled with magical creatures as well.  Honestly, Bonnie has a beautiful way of intertwining elements with animals.  One example is with Caligo, a mysticorn.  From her book she states, "Caligo didn’t care for confined spaces, so during the nights he stayed outside, dissolving into a low-hanging mist as the cover of darkness fell over the land."  When I read this, I was able to picture this creature as it truly was - solid when ridden, but extremely mysterious and ethereal as it transforms completely into mist.  I felt as if I were a part of the scene, trapped within, rather than just a reader.  Beautifully written.
Full of action, questions, and wonder, Evarance - Rise of the Shadows is a great book for anyone who loves fantasy or who loves the dream world.  It is nice having a clean book on the market that is safe for our children while still full of excitement and suspense.  It has a great story line and is great for adults and kids alike. My son (12) LOVED it and he is an avid reader. Honestly, this would make a great movie. I can't wait for book two to come out!!!
Evarance - Rise of the Shadows is now available for purchase.  Order yours today!

For the Hardcover Version:

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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Blog Moved over to Website

I have moved my milk allergy companion blog over to my website:  

Thank you for your support!!!  Hope to see you over there:)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Casting Call for milk and peanut allergy families in California!!!

I got an e-mail from Ian Young regarding a show they are making on allergies.  Because my son is now challenge testing, we are not a good fit, however, if you live in CA and think you may be a good fit, please contact Ian (see e-mail message and contact information below):

Good morning, I found your website and wanted to discuss our show with you.  FARE is teaming up with us to do a show on dairy and peanut allergies.     I would love to see if your family is right for the project and if not, perhaps you know a family who is.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience.  We need to lock down a family for this project in the next couple of days and the stipulations of what we require are specific enough that we lose out on a lot of families.  Looking forward to speaking with you!  The episode will be all about how to make a birthday cake for kids with Dairy and Peanut allergies.

Ian Young I Supervising Casting Director I
Trium Entertainment
10960 Ventura Blvd 2nd Floor Studio City, CA 91604
Skype:  TriumIT
Twitter:  iyoungcasting

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Challenge testing - so far, so good!

My oldest son has been slowly challenge testing with baked milk products.  We have tried little bits of margarine (which contains whey) baked in cookies and the like.  So far, he has had NO symptoms.  No excessive gas, no hives, no rash, NOTHING:)  So happy.

The next thing we have tried was an imitation cheese.  It is lactose-free but contains casein in it.  I was hesitant at first, but decided that I would just keep a close watch on him.  Again, no reaction!!!  This makes me very happy.  Hopefully this means that if he were to get a trace amount of milk products while out and about (or if he travels abroad) then he will have no problems with it.  It is easy to spot cheese, sour cream, and the like, but not so easy to spot hidden dairy items like whey and casein.  I am thrilled that he has thus far passed the challenge tests.

The next test I plan on trying is baking 1/4 c of straight cow's milk into something like pancakes with the rest using almond milk.  I may start with a smaller amount at first.  The last time I tried this, he broke out head to toe in a rash.  However, due to his current challenge test results, I think I am finally ready to try again.  Here's hoping for success!!!

Dairy-free chocolate chips option!

We went to Costco and found bulk chocolate chips there.  They are Kirkland's brand and contain NO dairy!!!  That said, they were manufactured on equipment that may contain dairy products.  We have had no adverse reactions with them and are so happy to have found a more economical way to make dairy-free chocolate chip cookies.  We have also found some dairy-free ones at Save Mart out west that have no cross-contamination.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Challenge testing - it's time:)

My son, who is now 15 1/2, has begged me to try the baked milk challenge test again.  When I baked 1/4 cup milk out of 2 c in corn bread a few years ago (giving him about a tablespoon of baked milk), he broke out in a rash all over, so I have been hesitant to do it again.  That said, I think it is time we tried again as he will soon be going to college and I want to make sure he is safe from hidden sources of dairy.  We are going to try baking in 1 T of regular milk out of 4 c of milk in pancakes, and then I'll watch him closely to see if there is any reaction.  If there is no reaction, then we will slowly increase the amount of baked milk.  I'll keep you posted as to his progress!

Great use for leftover almond pulp

We have been making our own almond milk now for a while with great success.  It saves a ton on the grocery bill and my son loves it.  I have found that soaking the almonds overnight is sometimes too much, so I usually only soak them for an hour.  Using our recipe of 1 c almonds (soaked for an hour and then drained), 3 c water, 2 T sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla (optional), we blend it all together in our VitaMix and then pour it through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth (I use a spoon to push out the excess milk or twist the cheesecloth and squeeze the milk out over a pitcher (I wash my hands really well to do this)).  We then chill until ready to use.  This method produces roughly 3 c of almond milk or so, costing about $1 (buying almonds in bulk).  That said, I have found that when I save the "paste" or leftover almond pulp in a tupperware, I can use it in baking.  There is enough paste leftover to make 4 c of almond milk.  I put the pulp in a measuring cup and add enough water to make 4 c.  I then stir it together to make the reconstituted "milk."  I use this in muffins and pancakes and sometimes cake.  We can't really taste the difference.  Using this method, I can get around 7 c of almond milk for $1!  This totally makes the effort worth it considering 1/2 gallon of almond milk costs almost $4 where we live.  Happy baking:)