Hole-y Swim Fingers!

Hole-y diabetic swim fingers Batman!

Extended periods of time in the pool give everyone wrinkly fingers, but time after time I’m shocked by what happens to fingers that have been pricked hundreds and hundreds of times.

Normally they just have small marks, like polkadots, on their finger tips. But when the skin shrinks up and gets wrinkly they look like tiny little sponges!

The kids gets a kick out of it, for now.

These are Luke’s fingers, after 4 years of blood glucose checks. I wonder what they will look like in 10 more years. Does this ever go away?

The Disappearing Gingerbread House

Evie made a spectacular gingerbread house in her class on Wednesday! It was great fifth grade Christmas fun. She brought it home carefully and put it on top of her dresser.

Evie and her gingerbread house

Note the presence of a roof. And the copious amount of candy decorating the roof and yard.

This….is the same house, this evening:

Pilfered gingerbread house

I was perplexed why her blood sugar was 476 mg/dL at 1:00am, but I think I have a pretty good idea now of what happened!

Anyone else have a T1D with a massive sweet tooth?

Why I’ll Never Buy Microwave Popcorn Again

PopcornI love popcorn. And my kids love popcorn! Plain popcorn is a healthy, crunchy, whole-food snack with only 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup (popped). What I don’t like, however, is popcorn smothered in butter, oil, and sugar and/or salt. I want it PLAIN.

I also want it to be quick, and without a lot of fuss, or an extra appliance to fiddle with. I tried Alton Brown’s Good Eats method once, but the process of shaking a metal bowl of kernels over a gas burner was cumbersome, and it turned my bowl black (and it was HOT!). I need something more kid-friendly.

Enter the microwave, the quintessential convenience tool. Throw in a bag, enter the time, stand back and listen for the POP. Great, right? Except that most of the microwave popcorn found on grocery store shelves is full of ingredients that make me cringe.

Even the few labeled “Home Style” and “Natural,” and the organic varieties, contain tons of oil (usually soybean or palm oils, sometimes partially hydrogenated) and salt. The worst offenders contain nasty ingredients like diacetyl, which gives a butter flavor, chemical preservatives and colorings, and artificial flavoring agents. To top it off, the bags are lined with PFCs (perfluorinated compounds). Yum.

So it dawned on me yesterday that there wasn’t really anything special about microwave popcorn. I have paper bags. I can buy plain popping corn. And sure enough, it was a breeze to make. Here’s what we did:

Evie measures out the popcorn into a brown paper lunch sack

The right amount of popcorn for a brown paper lunch bag is between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup. Our first try resulted in a bag that opened up mid-pop, so we solved that problem by threading it closed with half of a wooden skewer. I think a toothpick would work just as well.

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

A wooden skewer keeps the full bag closed while the corn pops

We set our microwave for 4.5 minutes, and it finished popping around 4 minutes. Every microwave is different, so make sure you listen for when the popping slows to 1 or 2 per second to avoid burning.

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Evie pours perfectly fluffy and white popcorn into a bowl

Open the bag carefully (it’s hot!), pour into a bowl, and munch away! If you’re not really as into plain popcorn as I am, here are some fun recipes to try:

Source: foodgawker.com via Angie on Pinterest

Quick Lunch: Madras Lentils and Spinach

This is my latest go-to quick lunch for busy weekdays, when I often only have the time (and the inclination) to throw something in the microwave. It’s usually dinner leftovers, but those run out. This is a great alternative to a pb&j when you need a speedy meal that’s both filling and healthy.

I buy these shelf-stable packages of Tasty Bite pre-cooked Madras Lentils at the grocery store (in the Natural Foods section at Fred Meyer) or Costco. They contain 2 servings per package, but I’ve found the whole package to be a nice amount for lunch.

INGREDIENTS:
Water, Tomatoes, Lentils, Red Beans, Onions, Cream, Salt, Butter, Sunflower Oil, Chilies, Cumin.

All you have to do is tear the top of the pouch about two inches, toss the whole thing in the microwave for 90 seconds, and then pour it into your favorite bowl.

photo 1

Like so.

photo 2 The lentils will be piping hot at this point. To boost my veggie intake for the day, and to add some crunch, I pile on a big heaping handful of spinach leaves. The hot lentils will wilt the spinach slightly, but you can return it to the microwave for another 60 seconds or so if you like your spinach softer.photo (1)Voilá! A 300 calorie lunch packed with Vitamin A, fiber, B-Vitamins, essential amino acids, and trace minerals, made in under two minutes. Throw a kiwi (or other Vitamin C rich food) onto your plate to increase your iron absorption from the lentils and spinach, and dig in!photo 4

Calories: 307, Carbohydrate: 37 gm, Protein: 8 gm, Fiber: 11 gm. Vegetarian. Gluten-free.

Common Unity

com·mu·ni·ty    kǝ-‘myü-nǝ-tē\  n.   
            1. A unified body of individuals.

We were blessed to spend our Thanksgiving this year with a wonderful group of new friends. This group of people has been working together, living together, and celebrating together throughout the evolution of life over the past ten-plus years. They are singles, couples, parents and children, and soon-to-be-parents. The group has shifted and changed over time, but their core values persevere:

Love. Compassion. Support. Joy. Family.

Put into practice, these values result in acceptance, generosity, genuine interest in the lives and hearts of other people, true emotional connection, and gatherings that are dang fun.

Something new that my brood and I bring to the group is diabetes. Insulin, pumping, finger sticks, hypos, infusion sets, middle-of-the-night alarms, carbohydrate counting–these are things that are now so pervasive in our lives that I’ve almost completely lost the perspective of life without diabetes. Spending extended time like this with new friends makes me more aware of just how burdensome and strange it all can be.

For example, another mom in the group offered to take Luke home with her from the park we were all at to play with her son, and it took me nearly a full 60 seconds of silent internal deliberation, calculation, and trouble-shooting to even answer her. And then I had to give The Plan. And then I made mental notes about absolute times when I was going to need to call and check-in. Would 1 hour be too long? I’m sure I seemed like a crazy person.

And did I wake anyone when I was shuffling through the house, barely conscious at 3 o’clock in the morning, to maneuver through a pile of sleeping kids and check blood sugars? Did anyone notice the vacant stare I adopt when my kids sit down with a plate of food and I’m mentally analyzing and calculating the carbohydrate content? That fleeting look of panic when someone starts to cut up pie?

Evie learns to make pecan pie from scratch. Score!

Evie learns to make pecan pie from scratch. Score!

The great thing about this cohesive group was their acceptance and attendant willingness to learn about what makes our world go ’round. People asked questions. They talked to my kids about their experiences and were interested in the answers. They watched me change infusion sets and dial in boluses, asked me about food and routines, and just genuinely cared about us.

And that’s what is so valuable about being part of a community. Whether it’s a small group of friends and family, a church or social circle, a local support group, or the larger cultural or medical communities, it’s valuable and vital to be able to share your struggles, burdens, accomplishments and joys with people who share some common thread. A common unity.

Everyone needs a community.

Kids have a remarkable ability to meld into relatively cohesive groups within hours of meeting each other.

Kids have a remarkable ability to meld into relatively cohesive groups within hours of meeting each other.

An Amusing 2 am Blood Sugar Check

Things like this remind me that the fingers I’m poking belong to a six-year-old boy. Luke rocked his beloved new skate gloves all through the night. Good thing they are fingerless!

All For A Free Shower

“Mom, I only have 6.7 units left in my pump.”

These words were uttered during breakfast this morning, about five minutes before we were set to leave for school. Five. Minutes.

Evie is fairly self-sufficient with her insulin pump. Self-sufficient in that she knows how to perform the operations herself, not so self-sufficient that she notices and acknowledges things like low-reservoir and missed-bolus alarms. This happens a lot. Luckily, we’re pretty quick with the set changes.

Ok. FIve minutes. I can do this. She has to finish eating anyways.

But then, Evie made an impassioned plea to save her set change for after her pre-birthday-party shower this afternoon. Could she do an injection bolus for breakfast and lunch and save the rest of her pump insulin for her basal needs for the day? After my shower? Please?

Oh, sweet girl.

I take for granted the ability to simply take a shower without having a medical device adhered to my body. If you’re a pump wearer, it must feel really, really great to be able to soap up without worrying about scrubbing your infusion set off in the process. To have your body completely free of adhesive tape and invasive plastic cannulas, if only for the time it takes for a good, long shower.

So we’re doing a combination of injections and pumping today to get her through to that highly-anticipated free shower. It’s sure to confuse the Bolus Wizard–the name given to the complicated algorithms the pump uses to calculate dosages–but that’s what our backup brainpower is for.

If that’s the normalcy she is craving today, then we’ll do the extra work to help her find it.