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weluvgators

Gingerbread House School Project

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I would appreciate help identifying appropriate gluten free ingredients for the following gingerbread house school project items.

In particular, I need a great gluten free graham cracker that everyone will not complain about . . . lack of stability/rigidity is my assumption of a suspected difference between "regular" and gluten free graham crackers, but please share your experiences on that.  I understand that the class is using a Kleenex box base for the project, but I do not have a lot of details on the activity.

We last tried Pamela's, and they were appropriate for smores, although there were several broken ones in our boxes - BUT we had travelled a lot with them, so that could have been a handling issue.  I was planning to get extra boxes to accommodate some breakage.

I also see the Kinnikinnick "graham style" cracker - how will that compare to traditional graham crackers?  This is a "geometry" project, so I wonder if there is a traditional size for graham cracker expectation.

Any other gluten free graham crackers?   I didn't see any in my first search.  And "Wafer Cookies - small round ones" - what are those?  Not even sure that I understand what I am aiming for with that one.  Nothing comes to my mind when I try to think of that in gluten free . . .

OK, full list of items for the project below - your comments as to the other items that will certainly have gluten in them would also be appreciated.  I also need to find something similar and gluten free for those items.  Brand names for gluten free versions of questionable items would also be appreciated.  Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

Gingerbread House School Project

Box of graham crackers

Sprinkles

Gumdrops   

M & M's    

red hots     

jelly bean     

Bag of Coconut (snow)

Bag of Chocolate Kisses

Wafer Cookies-small round ones

Twizzlers-Thin pull and peel     

Peppermints-red and white

Small candy canes


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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I'm guessing the small round wafer cookies are like the Nabisco 'Nilla Wafers we used to use to make boston cream pie.

And Twizzlers? If I'm remembering correctly, those have gluten.


gluten-free since June, 2011

It took 3 !/2 years but my intolerances to corn, soy, and everything else (except gluten) are gone!

Life is good!

 

 

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Assume there are no other allergy or medical issues to accommodate.  Last I checked we were only aware of another gluten free child in her class.

I have confirmation that bartfull is correct in that wafer cookie interpretation.  Saw Kinnikinnik has those - any opinions or other options?

Thank you!


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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My daughter did that project.  She does not have celiac disease and it was before my diagnosis.  It was a mess in the classroom.  I would make sure your child's desk is separate from the rest (lots of teachers group desks into "tables").  The crackers and cookies were everywhere and there was only one sink in the classroom.   And parents were there to help!  

Can they not decorate card board (cut to size) using the icing as glue and candy to decorate?  It was a nghtmare trying to get the traditional gram crackers to hold together.   Our class used some lame store-bought icing.  Traditional gingerbread house icing works best.   To satisfy everyone's sweet tooth, send them home with little bags of extra candy. 

The Twizzlers have gluten.   KarenG has posted gluten-free candy links in the past.  Try running a search.   Costco has the best price (large container) of jelly bellies.  

My daughter had fun, but her house went into the trash.  It looked so man-handled!  Even she did not want to eat it!  


Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test (DGP IgA only) and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Repeat endoscopy/Biopsies: Healed

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Kinniknnik  vanilla wafers are very suitable to what I remember 'nilla wafers to be.

I can't remember the brand of graham crackers that we tried last, but all of the gluten free substitutions have been very hard and thick.  -not like graham crackers at all.

There is no edible Twizzler gluten free alternative.  The best you can do is cut Fruit by the Foot into narrow strips.

If you can find the gluten free sugar ice cream cones.  Joy brand is carried by Meijer and Kroger.  Look close because some stores have them right next to gluten product.  They make great trees to decorate!

If you are one of the mom helpers.  I suggest every child start with a layer of paper towel, then have the project on a suitable size disposable plate.  Have aluminum foil ready to wrap the project for transport home.  (every parent who has ever driven home with a messy project will thank you)

Good luck! and try to enjoy this age because it's gone before you ever get a chance to catch up on sleep.


Michigan

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Thank you!  All of the information has been so helpful for both myself and my daughter.

There is a nut allergy in the class, so that will now shape how we move forward.  We have no idea what other allergies are managed in the classroom, as they have not discussed or disclosed that information.  In general, allergies are not managed at a classroom and school level through food restriction, and there are currently no restrictions on foods that can be in the school/classroom.  This USA school district's allergy management plan is typically more of a student beware philosophy with a registered nurse generally present at the school.


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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Please find gluten free graham crackers that are the same size and shape that are needed because this is an actual math activity that deals with surface area, volume, perimeter, fractions (graham crackers can be divided into fourths).

After looking at graham cracker options (Kinnikinnik and Pamela's), the cardboard idea for a graham cracker sounds PERFECT.  Please help me sell it!

Not sure if the Kinnikinnik vanilla wafers meet the specifications required.  Kinnikinnik has the bonus of being nut free, so that is our leader . . . is there any "mathematical" difference between the Kinnikinnik and Pamela's graham "style" cracker?

And I am also in search of icing - preferably certified gluten free.  I got lost on what traditional gingerbread icing was, but it sounds like a great idea.

I sourced Sprouts coconut - any opinions?  There is no disclosure statement on the bag regarding gluten.  Since she doesn't plan to eat it, I figured it was safe enough.  But if anyone can recommend a certified gluten free brand, it would be nice to know.

 


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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Can't help you with the graham crackers but I just looked up gingerbread house icing and it is basically "royal icing". That's the stuff they make the hard flowers out of. You use three or four beaten egg whites, a little vanilla, and a bunch of powdered sugar. Make it the night before and refrigerate it. By the time she gets it to school it should have softened enough to be just right for use. When it dries it's hard and makes the perfect edible "glue".


gluten-free since June, 2011

It took 3 !/2 years but my intolerances to corn, soy, and everything else (except gluten) are gone!

Life is good!

 

 

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Here is a recipe for Royal icing.

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/crossculturaldesserts/r/royalicing.htm

 You can purchase the powdered sugar in bulk at Costco or Smart and Final.  Make sure each batch is wrapped tightly as it dries out and hardens like mortar (as needed to glue the house together).  It will keep in the refrigerator.  I also recommend the pasteurized eggs because of the classroom setting.     I store it in zip-lock freezer bags for extra protection.   We made houses  years ago when I was in MOMS Club when my daughter was a toddler but used a mold for the gingerbread.    Not good for this project.  

As far as the math assignment -- that seems like baloney to me.  I am sure being new to your school, it is easier to go with the flow.  Though my kid is holding a 96% in Honors Geometry right now.  Was it her Gingerbread Prjoect?  Who knows? ?

Bakers brand of coconut made by Kraft is fine.  I used some last night in my Cranberry Orange Coconut Shortbread cookies.  Not certified, but I am not sick!  

I like the cardboard walls.     The kids just want candy.  The teacher wants a project.  The end result is a house that  can not be eaten, but who cares.?   A candy bag will placate any kid!  And your kid will be safe.  

You would think that with two gluten-free kids and a nut allergy, this teacher would pick a better project.  But that is my opinion.   California  prohibits any food that is not store-bought but our district turns their eye.   I do not know I would handle this if my kid had celiac disease.   You could pull your kid out for the day (week here in CA is considered as being homeschooled so no truancy .)   Depends on your teacher.  Does she really understand what gluten does to your kid and what a hassle this is for you?  

Good luck.  

 


Non-functioning Gall bladder Removal Surgery 2005

Diagnosed via Blood Test (DGP IgA only) and Endoscopy: March 2013

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Osteopenia/osteoporosis -- June 2013

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Repeat endoscopy/Biopsies: Healed

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King Soopers / aka Kroger was able to be an easy stop to knock out gluten free icing (not certified gluten-free - boo!) and candies (not certified, but varying degrees of gluten free certainty).  The candy canes we found are from a dedicated facility free of several allergens.  They are manufactured on dedicated equipment free from peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat or gluten.  It is an unusually long statement.

I just realized the "equipment" denotation vs "facility".  I need a primer for identifying all of the different denotations for gluten freeness.  The guy at Sprouts told me that a customer came in for his gluten hypersensitive child and had a UPC scanning app.  Anyone know what is available?  Did I miss a thread discussing this?  My kids used some website that had a rating system for figuring out their Halloween candy.  If anyone remembers discussions about gluten free rating websites and apps, links would be appreciated.

as for,

"Does she really understand what gluten does to your kid and what a hassle this is for you?"

No.  How could she?  It is hard to read and hear another's history and understand their reality when it is starkly different from your own.  She assured us that she would never jeopardize my daughter's safety, as she stroked my daughter's face with her hands at the end of the day of school.  And my insistence at protecting my daughter's health and safety is not "going with the flow" at this school.

Never mind the fact that I think there are at least three other classrooms that may be doing this exact same school project on the same day.  So, even if I get her class activity gluten free, there will be a high influx of gluten contamination into her daily environment.

Back to ice cream cone trees . . . do you just cover them with frosting / icing . . . only from the other thread I learned that I guess I need to learn the difference between frosting and icing.  cover these things with frosting and candies?  And I assume that the kids would want to eat those (done as an activity at home, not school)?  I am not the decorating or baking kind . . . and honestly don't want to be, but my kids really love the stuff!

And still searching for ideas on *selling* the cardboard graham cracker idea.  The history of the graham cracker must be interesting . . . there is a wiki page on it.  I am feeling uncertain on who to approach with the graham cracker from cardboard idea . . . the teacher?  Probably, but how?  Should I volunteer to make cardboard graham crackers?  Of course, then I think I should do the same for all 4 classes - that is SUCH a realistic solution - but I would do it.  I could probably even make some "graham style" on a stiff paperboard.  Seems a bit excessive and unrealistic as a conventional solution, but anything that sells health and safety works for me!  Ideas for mass production of cardboard "graham crackers" would also be appreciated!  How many would I need?  I can't decide if this is a realistic or ridiculous idea.  I hate arts and crafts too!!


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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I am a teacher who would bend over backwards to keep a student safe, although I will admit that when I had a student with celiac a few years before I had it, I relied on the parents to provide safe materials for her.  Now that I have it, of course, my understanding of celiac has grown!  If there is a problem with selling your cardboard idea, I'd get a letter from the doctor explaining what a safe environment for your child is.  If that doesn't fly, do you have a state agency such as Children and Family Services that provides a child advocate?

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And this is a great math story!  So 15 boxes / class are needed, and there are four classes.  I searched online to find that 20 graham crackers per box might be right . . . not like I have or will get a box to find out.  Anyway, the math goes:  15 x 4 x 20 = 1,200 graham crackers.  Right?


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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And the history of the graham cracker, according to wiki, is intriguing!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_cracker


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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On December 3, 2015 at 11:44:49 AM, weluvgators said:

 This USA school district's allergy management plan is typically more of a student beware philosophy with a registered nurse generally present at the school.

This is actually not likely the case. The school can not disclose this information to you without specific say so from parents. There may be kids with 504 plans in the class and there may be many other requirements than you are aware of.  One more reason there just should be food in the classrooms overall. 

 

 

Spangler candy canes wold be safe for gluten and peanut.  M&M's are not last I read. Jelly Beans are iffy, depends on brand as would gum drops and red hots.   

And all these "complications" are for ONLY gluten and peanut.  Add dairy, egg and the other of the top 8 and it's a mess.  

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This is a "free-range" eating school district.  Best we can tell, common practice in schools throughout this district is one where kids can eat anything, anywhere, anytime.  Exceptions to this standard practice are few and far between (only know of one current exception, and the school has pushed hard to get that exception dismissed).  This particular class activity seems to have a similar "free-range"?  approach.

Now, each school also has a registered nurse assigned to it (I assume, as there is a dedicated nurse at each school that we are working with).  The action plans are in place, and the administrative side from a response planning perspective seems to be in good order.  Best I can tell it is a "student beware" approach to allergy management.  I have no clue how they manage other medical conditions.

I gave up on finding other allergen free candies - we just did gluten only consideration on everything except the graham crackers and vanilla wafers so that our child would have the necessary supplies for the school project.


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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The gluten free graham crackers are not even close to the same size as gluten counter parts.

I would describe the difference between icing and frosting as the texture.  Icing is more of a pourable liquid and frosting can be lifted and spread with a butter knife.

The ice cream cone can be pointed side up as a cone "tree" frosted then add decorations as a Christmas tree.  For the fun of decorating food in the spirit of Christmas.  You could also build a tiny little log cabin with the little pretzel sticks.   Your child can still have the fun, but these are the gluten free safe alternatives.

If the teacher wants a math lesson, how about how expensive allergen free food is compared to the standard food?  I would not buy all the classroom supplies for this project.  In all honesty, I pulled my kids from school because my daughter just kept getting sick from all this stupid crap.  She would end up hospitalized for dehydration for about 3 to 4 days.  The hospital bills were about $5,000 a year on top of private school tuition of only having up to 7 kids in a classroom.  (I did cover the supplies for things like this)  She does public school from home over the computer, and we go on a yearly mother/ daughter trip with the extra time, money, and health.

As a parent you are doing a great job!  You are looking for your options, thinking outside of the box but remember; It's your box.  You decide what you want to do with it.  If you want to pull her out of school during this project time, it is reasonable to keep your child healthy.


Michigan

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I found a Twizzler sub - CLIF Kid Organic Fruit Rope.  It is labelled "Gluten Free".


My super silly red siren is my guiding light. She has been a tremendous lesson for me in how gluten affects different people in very different ways. She is a super duper silly girl that was simply born that way. I have no idea why I am so blessed to have her guidance.

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