Christmas Traditions- Making Christmas Crackers

Another one of my family’s Christmas traditions is having Christmas crackers as our party favor for Christmas dinner each year. Christmas crackers were invented by Tom Smith of London in 1847. He added the “crackle” sound because he wanted them to sound like a log that had been put in a fireplace. Tom Smith sold sweets called bonbons and even today, some people call Christmas crackers bonbons.

They are brightly colored cardboard tubes that usually contain a paper crown, a joke or riddle, and a prize. You open them by pulling on both ends of the tube. Christmas crackers also contain a small strip with a chemical that, when pulled, makes a popping noise.

This year, we thought it would be fun to try and make our own. It was really fun, and we were even able to peanut/tree nut safe candy inside, so everyone will get an extra surprise when they open theirs this year.

We bought some prizes, like little fortune teller fish and metal wire puzzles to put inside of them, along with some Hershey kisses, and Canadian Smarties, which are like M&Ms, except they are peanut/tree nut safe.

My mom, my sister and I spent all morning making them, and I actually like them more then the ones we used to buy at the store. It’s really getting me in the Christmas spirit!

I put some pictures of my sister and I making them below if you want to see how we did it.

Until next time!


PS. If you have any questions about how to make these, feel free to comment and I’ll answer your questions the best that I can!

Special Delivery!

Guess what day it is?

My favorite day of the month!

It’s Pnotbox delivery day, and once again they didn’t disappoint! We ordered the Loaded Plan and receive ten new peanut and tree nut free goodies to try each month. I recently got December’s Pnotbox in the mail, and this month’s box had a few old favorites and a lot of holiday cheer. The gingerbread and candy-canes were so fun, but the chewy chocolate granola bars are still my favorite. In fact, after the picture was taken, I kind of ate all the granola bars in one fell swoop. It was incredible.

Come back soon.  I will be posting more fun Christmas traditions and projects this week.

Until next time!


Note: This is not a sponsored post. My family bought our own Pnotbox membership, but if you want one of your own, follow this link:

Christmas Traditions- Frankenmuth

Another one of my favorite traditions come Christmastime is traveling to Frankenmuth with my family. Frankenmuth is a historic German town in Michigan that dates back all the way to 1845. It has since grown into a bustling vacation and tourism center.

Frankenmuth was featured as one of the Christmas towns in the United States on the Travel Channel. Our two favorite places to visit when we go to Frankenmuth are Zehnder’s and Bronner’s.

Zehnder’s is my absolute favorite restaurant in the entire world. It is a family style chicken restaurant that’s been around since the early 1900s. It is world famous for its fried chicken meals, and they are DELICIOUS!!!

Zehnder’s isn’t completely safe for me. I can’t have their bread (but I usually can’t have bread in restaurants), and I can’t have their stuffing, but their main attraction, the chicken, is safe for me! Their chicken is so good, that people travel across the country just to taste it. Zehnder’s is sort of like part historic landmark part chicken heaven all rolled into my favorite restaurant ever.

After stuffing our faces at Zehnder’s, my family hits up Bronner’s. Bronner’s is another major Frankenmuth landmark, as it is literally the biggest Christmas store in the world.

Bronner’s was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner. Back then, it was just like any other store, but through a series of major expansions and renovations, it has grown into a 7.35 acre space. That is the size of 5.5 football fields!

Whenever my family visits Bronner’s, we always each pick an ornament or two to put on the tree. I usually pick something pig-related, as I love pigs, and my sister ends up picking a mouse-related ornament.

I had such a tough time choosing my ornament that my parents let me get two this year. Of course, they were both pig ornaments. I really really love pigs.

It’s quite a drive to get to Frankenmuth, but boy is it worth it. It is pretty much an entire day of fun, and I look forward to it every year.

Since Zehnders does serve products that contain nuts, please make sure to contact the restaurant to discuss your allergies before visiting.

Until next time!


Christmas Traditions

Wow, I can’t believe how close Christmas is. With less than ten days away, I can practically feel the excitement in the air.

My entire family has been super busy, not only with Christmas preparations, but with a whole bunch of fun pre-Christmas events.

In my family, only a part of Christmas is the actual Christmas day. So much of the holiday season revolves around fun Christmas traditions that my family does.

As I was thinking about my Christmas traditions today, I realized just how much they revolved around the use of food.

I think you don’t always realize just how much social gatherings and activities revolve around food until the food itself becomes dangerous.  My mom told me when I was four and I was first diagnosed, she would panic before every party.  No matter how much you try to explain a food allergy there is always going to be the relative that insists on bringing their own cookies or cake to the party.  Pretty rough when you are a kid and that cake looks good.  Thankfully there will hopefully always also be that relative like my Aunt Susan that practically sends a hazmat team into her kitchen before Thanksgiving and then greets my mom at the door with a bag of safe labels to “double check, just in case”.  I guess my point is there is always going to be food at gatherings, but usually everyone tries really hard to make everything safe for you.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is my family’s gingerbread party. My mom loved decorating gingerbread cookies as a kid, and she wanted me to be able to do the same thing.

Unfortunately, most gingerbread house kits are unsafe for an allergy child like me.  So about twelve years ago she started making them from scratch. LOTS of them!  Every year she makes about 20 to 25 gingerbread houses from scratch and then assembles them.  Then my friends and family come over and we all decorate our own. It’s so much fun!

She even gives me and my sister gingerbread cookies to decorate with frosting.

It is probably my favorite part of the Christmas season, maybe even more so than Christmas itself!

Since Christmas is almost upon us, I decided to share the recipe my mom uses to make her special gingerbread houses!  The recipe will make about two houses and some extra cookies.  She makes twelve batches each year before the party.  As always, double check to make sure the ingredients are safe for you, and check with your allergist if you are still unsure.


Makes Two Houses And A Few Men

1 cup crisco
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons vinegar
5 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream crisco, sugar, salt.
Mix in egg, molasses, and vinegar.
Sift dry ingredients together and add sift into molasses mixture.
Chill overnight.
Roll, cut, place on parchment or a greased cookie sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for about 6 to 8 minutes (depending on cookie size).

That’s it! Enjoy!

Until next time!


Early Christmas!!!!!

Christmas just came early for me!!! Yesterday, I received my first Pnotbox in the mail. If you don’t know what Pnotbox is, it is a Canadian-based company that will mail you boxes full of peanut and tree nut free goodies monthly. My parents signed me up for a membership a while ago, and my first box arrived in the mail yesterday.

I had heard about this company before, but none of what I had heard prepared me for all the delicious candy, cookies, and treats inside of that box.

We signed up for a loaded membership, so we will receive 10 to 12 delicious peanut and treenut free goodies a month!  This does not mean 10 to 12 items, oh no, 10 to 12 types—-there must have been about 75 items in the box.  Message to self–must remember to count next time before eating half the box. Haha.   They came in the mail looking like this…


And here’s a peek at the goodies….well most of the goodies….I am a hungry fifteen year old boy after all…


Look at that! We had to take this picture quickly because within the first five minutes my family had descended upon it like hungry animals and taken about a dozen pieces. Strangely enough though, the boxes still look full. Whoever packs these things really knows how to cram a lot of treats inside of a box.

It felt really good to actually be able to eat whatever candy I wanted, and there was a lot in there. Between chocolate chip brownies, cookies, chocolate caramel bars, and safe Kit-Kat bars, I’m probably going to be enjoying all this candy for a while.

Of course, I shouldn’t be the only one who gets to enjoy all of this! If you want to sign up to get a box every month or to order a really cool Christmas present or college care package, just go to their website and sign up for one of their membership plans!  There is a loaded plan like mine with 10 to 12 different types of treats and a simple plan with 5 to 6 types.  I am so excited about this!  I think most people with food allergies tend to get stuck eating the same foods over and over.  You have to be safe, but with this I will get to try so many new things!


That’s all for today, folks, I’m gonna go eat another brownie… or two….or three.

Until next time!



This was not a sponsored post!  We bought our membership! I just had to share the awesomeness!