Gluten-Free traveling (the tale of 2 states)

This weekend we headed down to Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with some of Allan's family.  It was a lovely visit, but we learned some of the logistics of visiting friends and family while trying to keep a gluten-free diet.  The problem lies in our fine-line of: the kids and I have not been diagnosed Celiac and yet we experience symptoms when we get "glutened."  The problem is that I feel apologetic for our measures when we don't have an official diagnosis, so after about the 20th time of checking a label in front of someone who is trying to be a good host and saying "no, that has gluten" for the 100th time to a small child in a new environment filled with yummy gluten-laden treats, I start to buckle.  

Gluten-free cereals only look good when there are not other sugary, glutened treats available, so the answer becomes "Cocoa Krispies have the least amount of gluten of all these little shiny boxes, so you can have those."  

Belly aches, headaches and hyperactivity were present, but ultimately we had a good weekend with family.
Because sometimes you have to escape the lake house and go to...another lake house.  Haha, I love this traveling lifestyle sometimes!
Great-grandma leaks an airborne sedative from her pores, and was able to keep Corbin still unlike anything I have ever seen!
Corbin and Uncle John bonded doing man-things.
It's a well-known fact that Grandma cheats at Parcheesi, but the grown-cousins kept her reined in. 
The girly-cousins enjoying breakfast together.

We were sad to leave early on Sunday, but had a fabulous destination in mind.  It so happens that there was going to be a Gluten-free, Allergen-free Expo in New Jersey (about 2 hrs from where we were) this same weekend.  I was worried the kids wouldn't want to be pulled away from the cabin/family but when they got up Sunday they asked if they could go to the "gluten-free festival."  Bonus? We've never been to New Jersey!  So we said our goodbyes and headed off.
Terrible pictures from the moving car, but the area is absolutely beautiful.

We got to the Expo around 1pm on the last day.  (Doors closed at 2 and the event closed at 4) but we had so much fun.  It was absolutely fabulous to be able to tell the kids "eat any sample you want, it's all gluten-free!" They kept turning back and saying, "it's gluten-free, mommy!? It's gluten-free!" 
We visited the booths of some old favorites and found a lot of new favorites, too! Thankfully, lots of these places ship, so we will be able to get our hands on these products even though stores local to us at the time might not carry them.  I was amazed at the number of companies truly trying to make life better for people as opposed to just jumping on a bandwagon.
Loads of people took the kids' pictures.  I will be stalking Facebook pages to find them.  We *do* have the very cutest children ;)

But really, the whole reason I wanted to go was that one of my favorite companies in the whole wide world was going to be there.  In fact, I had heard about the Expo from their Facebook page.  
HAIL MERRY! ( www.hailmerry.com )Claudia and I (the lovely woman standing behind the booth) have had an email relationship since Corbin was in the hospital last March.  She has been an outstanding resource and a support for us, especially since she has 2 gluten-free children of her own and it was so great to meet her in person.  The very best part? The kids walked up to the booth first, (I'm not ashamed to admit they know the Hail Merry logo by heart) and Claudia exclaimed, "HEY! I know these children!" TOO COOL!  She is, of course, even sweeter in person and I am
so glad we got to go to the Expo.  (Side note: I am totally scheming to one day be a rep in some capacity and my completely biased unprofessional opinion is that my babies should be the poster children for HM.  Haha)

For the record, I love Hail Merry so much because they make super-tasty snacks that are safe for my babies, but I started loving them before we went GF because of their care in choosing ingredients.  Organic is important to me.  Whole food ingredients are important to me.  And since I have little people, sometimes convenience is important to me.  It is hard to find all these things rolled into one, but Hail Merry does it because they totally rock the house.  You can find them at Whole Foods, some other retailers and if all else fails, order from their site. I'm coming down from my soapbox now.  :)

Maybe we will follow the expo around after Allan deploys.  That would be something to look forward to, eh? The kids had a fabulous time and so did we.  

The ride home was about 5.5 hours and you might think we were all sick of the car by then, but one of the things I truly adore about our family is that we are road-warriors.  We all have our moments, but for the most part we love trips together.  I know this life is not for everyone, but for us-it works.
Lots of fun and treats wears little people out!
Blinded by awesomeness? Probably just the setting sun.
We stopped at Red Robin for a gluten-free dinner. (By the way, Find Me GF is a very helpful app while on the road.  We have had some great meals thanks to that app!) And then the littles were wound for sound so we sang, joked and laughed the next 3 hours in the car.  

We got a lot of new products to try out and review.  Keep an eye out for links.  Also, I promised Allan I'd use up all the flours/grains we have before he leaves.  After this haul, I have some serious kitchen work to do!

So while we still have some kinks to work out in our gluten-free traveling, I'd say it's getting better and that this trip was mostly a success. 

Another traveling lifestyle trick to get used to? Blog posts from my phone when I don't have Internet access to the computers.  Sheesh.  Technology is amazing, but my fingers prefer an actual keyboard.  

Do you have tips on eating GF or other special diets while on the road? How about at someone else's house? Who is your favorite GF company and why?

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