Friday, February 28, 2014

Double Digits

     Numbers have a way of defining me, my moments, my memories, my ups & downs. I am 37, I have been married almost 12 years, worked with my company for 6. We celebrate so many merry moments based on a number.
     With that said, today is a big deal for my daughter, Graci. She is 10 today, double digits. I am so very proud to call her mine. She is witty beyond her years and has the kindest heart and soul. She really is such a gift to our family and I am excited to watch what she will bring to the wonderful world as she grows up. Today is her day for sure, but today is a pretty big deal for me, too!
     Being diagnosed with diabetes before the ability to check my blood sugar accurately (no offense to the fascinating science behind urinating in a cup and dipping a stick in it) and often left my future in question. I didn't know if I would be able to be a mother. Ever. While Eric and I were dating we had honest discussions about our future and difficulties of pregnancy if I were even able to become pregnant and we didn't even know if adoption would be an option. Could you adopt with a label of diabetes? It made me wonder if I was damaged regardless of how much love I had to give. So when I discovered we were pregnant after trying for less than a month I could barely control my elation!
     Pregnancy was difficult more so due to nausea and uncommonly low blood sugars but I made it through 33 weeks and although she was delivered emergency style due to my placenta calcifying, she was a fighter and we were home a week after delivery. I look back on that time now in wonder and joy, as difficult as it was, it truly was miraculous. And today I look at my two healthy daughters and know I am anything but damaged, even with my sidekick of diabetes.
     Numbers define me. I had a 52 at 1AM last night, I woke up at 5:30 AM above 200. I feel guilt and embarrassment and elation and disappointment based on some of the numbers on my meter or DexCom but I know day in and day out, I give it all I've got to give. That also defines me.  Graci is 10 today and from the days back when I wondered if I would ever be a mom to this moment that I look at her and thank God for all those numbers that worked out in my favor I am grateful to have today, just as it is. Happy Birthday, Graci girl!
     You know it wouldn't be a party without a little bit of ribbon and adorable packaging! Odds and ends, just a bunch of little special gifts like a macaroon candle and hair accessories, an Under Armour headband for 5K training this spring, an invite to pedicures with Addi and me. Boxes and cases made out of fun paper and wrapped up with ribbon makes any breakfast place for a 10 year old pretty sweet! Can't wait to see her face when she wakes up!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mason Jar Party Favors

     I just love when a mess like this...
     Turns  into a treasure like this...
     I had so much fun putting these little party favors together. Graci is sort of obsessed with vintage items and mason jars so when I got my shipment of new Papertrey Ink items and there was the library card and doilies just sitting on my desk, I went to work and decided to attach to mason jars with some stretchy ribbon that went through the ring and the top of the lid (a hole punched through the lid with a Crop-A-Dile so the straw fits easily) for the perfect little party favors...

    Graci put mini hand sanitizers and files from Bath & Body, nail polish, a few cute straws, and of course, a rainbow loom bracelet for each of her friends in each jar. These pictures just don't do these cute!

     Hope your week is going great! Snowy and cold here as usual but these mason jars have me dreaming of spring with the soft colors, maybe a little vodka lemonade in one of these on the deck with a few friends and sunshine? Oh, spring, where are you?!?!?!?!?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Papertrey February Blog Hop Challenge

A day dedicated to seeking inspiration through projects utilizing Papertrey Ink products.   This event allows all of our customers who enjoy sharing inspiration & artwork with their peers do so through their personal blogs.
The challenge:
I don't know about you, but I am ready for spring to arrive!   It has been a super cold winter here and I am counting down the days until the seasons change!  Warm sun, green grass, colorful spring blooms and everything else that comes along with it!  Your challenge this month is to create a spring themed project!  Whether you use a fresh spring color palette or use spring imagery, pull out all the stops to help elude the winter blues!

I created a card using the Chevron Vertical Die as my background, filling it in with the background I hope to see soon: green grass, blue skies, and a bright sun to top it off! I layered flowers from Bigger Blooms and gathered some flowers behind a mason jar from Friendship Jar with a sweet sentiment from Ruby Reprise. Now if only spring would arrive!!!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Bras and Blood Sugars

     I will apologize up front if bras are a bit too personal for you but this is just one of those stories I couldn't make up and in retrospect is just too funny not to share...
     I had taken off my Dex Com sensor on Saturday night because it was time to switch it and although I rarely go long without it, when I switch out sites I like to give myself that day, a 24 hour or so period, where I am free of one item beeping at me. Just 24 hours. So Sunday was my one glorious day of beep free living! I was off to a great start with a light breakfast and my usual coffee. Midmorning I checked and my blood sugar was 152, it was Sunday and I was on my second cup of coffee so I sat tight with that and made no moves. An hour later I was feeling a bit queasy and checked again, and, of course, I had bumped up to 238. Ugh! I did a correction bolus based on my insulin wizard and ate nothing. I had to hit the mall and gather a few small gifts for my Graci girl, who is turning ten on Friday while Eric entertained the girls at home. I'm not a fan of the mall in general but an hour or so free of any responsibility and no beeping had me happy!
     I found everything I was hoping for Graci's birthday gifts and then walked by the bright pink Victoria's Secret and decided to use this opportunity to purchase a bra that I've been needing for awhile now. The staff was friendly as I explained what I wanted and she walked me around the now larger and brighter remodeled store. She grabbed me a few to try on and I decided I had the time. So, here I am in this glamorous new huge fitting room with buttons to push if I need any assistance, why can't I get one of those for my day to day life?
     I was now onto the second style and feeling rather warm, was it the lights? The fitting room? I could barely hook the second bra and get the straps right, why was this bra so confusing? It must be this new store or new line or something! I was all out sweating in this now tiny fitting room and even though I wasn't sure about the straps on this bra, I was certain I was going to have to purchase it because I had sweat in it, ugh!
     I headed to the register area and it was packed. I waited in line patiently and was overwhelmingly warm but tried to keep my cool as everyone behind the register was glammed out in black from head to toe and big bright lipstick smacked lips. I felt awkward. Odd. Finally it was my turn and the gal behind the desk had some issues with the tags, had to call the back and get something. I was so confused. She commented on how cute my glasses were and I thanked her, noticing that I had had to push them back onto my nose several times in line. That's weird because they normally fit fine. It was because my face was now sweating. What was going on here. No one else seemed uncomfortable. I know my blood sugar hadn't been dropping because I wasn't beeping, oh, crap! I wasn't wearing my Dex Com! How could it beep when it wasn't on me. Yes, I've been diabetic for 34 years now and I often sweat when I'm low but I assumed my settings were accurate for that correction earlier. How could I drop so quick from 238 to this? I dug in my purse and shoveled in a few Honey Stingers calmly while I tried to look totally put together answering the gal's question about where I got my glasses.
     I got out to a bench in the mall and checked...43. Of course. The one day I get to enjoy no beeping and I end up spending $52 plus tax on a bra I'm not even certain will fit right and now I have to sit on this bench at the mall and wait for my blood sugar to rise to a safe driving level.
     Lesson learned and confirmed. This should explain why I only ever go that one day without my security of wearing the sensor, I do need to check the correction bolus for the daytime on my pump, and even though the bra was insanely uncomfortable and hard to hook while I was 43, the $52 plus tax was well worth it as it fits fine and when my blood sugar is normal I actually have no issues getting it on! :o) Now where can I get one of those buttons to push when I need help?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fanciful Frames Layout

     I was inspired to do this layout with Graci's recent dance pictures after seeing something similar on Lisa Dickinson's blog here:
     I loved the black background and all the frames filled with patterned paper! So, I tried something similar with colors that matched my photos:
     I needed to make mine a two page layout because, shockingly, I took a lot of pictures! I thought if I needed to do a double page layout I should keep it a little less busy by using a few large photos without any frame to anchor the page and I love the open black throughout. I added a few vintage pieces from a stash with pop dots and several enamel dots on those pieces and it was complete. Aside from the detailed cutting time it took my Silhouette to cut out the frames, this was simple!
Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Peanut Butter Bites

     Just wanted to do a quick update with the addicting recipe I've been promising. I whipped up a quick batch of these and they are always a great go to to for a satisfying treat!

2 cups quick oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey or agave
2 scoops vanilla protein powder

Stir ingredients together and form into small bites, a tablespoon each. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. You can add any ingredients like diced dried fruit  or mini chocolate chips if you like but I prefer them just like this. I typically don't see a big impact with these on my blood sugar with the fiber and protein but would be curious on total carbs. I will try to calculate that!

     Quick update on the turkey burger recipe I shared, I recommend using 99% fat free ground turkey breast. That's what I use and it works well with that recipe and that way keeps the fat down.

     Hope you are enjoying the start to your weekend! It's a cold one here again so we are curled up watching speed skating on the Olympics and hearing about our daughters' fun evening at the school sock hop tonight! Will be back this weekend with a layout or two, if my Saturday allows! :)

Friday Favorites

     I love to try new things. In fact, my sister-in-law, Amy, often tells me I should be a paid consumer because I'm always sharing the best new whatever with people. My husband calls me a bit of a sucker since I will try anything that is new but hey, I've discovered some fabulous things this way that are now part of our daily or weekly routine. And yes, my husband, Eric, has even embraced my recommendations from time to time!
     So, onto my five favorites today. They are all items to eat or drink but rather random in all other ways...
          Beware: these are addicting! They are basically peas that have been freeze dried and are crunchy, salty goodness. I suppose you could count these as a vegetable serving on a good day but regardless, they make me feel a bit better about eating than a bag of potato chips and I don't know about you but serving size is a big deal to me. If I can have 4 crackers as a serving, sort of disappointing. These allow 22 pieces, which is a pea apiece, which is actually almost 1/3 of a bag, for 15 grams of carb. Nice snack and haven't noticed these impact my blood sugar like a similar size of a potato chip serving would, even though there are 7 grams of fat. It must be because it's a veggie, huh? :) 

      This stuff is amazing! 15 grams of protein, 0 carbs and it has a flavor reminiscent of Jell-O liquid. No other way to describe it but it is fabulous after a hard workout and really does taste quite good. This flavor I think is strawberry and it also comes in lemon and grape that I know of but my favorite is this one! 
      Who doesn't love a good cup of OJ? I typically save this drink for blood sugars that are low but whether you have diabetes or are just a big fan of OJ in general, Simply Orange is by far my favorite of all! I do consider myself a bit of a connoisseur on orange juice for the simple fact that it was THE recommended treatment for low blood sugars back in 1979 when I was diagnosed and it has stuck by me all these years! I could literally drink half of this jug but that just wouldn't be good in any way, whether you have diabetes or not! So, enjoy a small glass in moderation, or a larger one if your blood sugar is 50 and dropping! :)
     I think I have mentioned I enjoy red wine now and again and you just read that I am a bit of a connoisseur on orange juice, but if I consider myself an expert in anything edible, it would have to be peanut butter! Now this is beyond nostalgic for me...after I was diagnosed with Type 1 I recall going to lots of appointments with dietitians and diabetic educators and even spending a Saturday at various classes near where I grew up but a lot of this time invested was for my mother's sake, God bless her, so that she could understand what I should be eating and when. Protein was a big deal and eating it with every snack and meal was instructed to help better control my blood sugar. Well, my dear mother took that to heart and I had to choke down two tablespoons of peanut butter every morning before getting on the bus. This started back in 1979 and lasted throughout my teen years until I went onto college, where, I can't lie, Mom, I didn't eat peanut butter every morning! But I do stick by the protein idea about sustaining steady blood sugar (see, Mom, I do listen some of the time! :). Well, with all the years of peanut butter expertise behind me, I discovered Reese's about two years ago and I don't care what you are using it for or eating it with, IT IS THE BEST! Seriously, I feel like if I have a spoonful of this I don't even miss the chocolate and it's comparable to a peanut butter cup! YUM! 
      Last but not least, Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. I strictly use these for treatment of low blood sugars and I cannot tell a lie, after trying one I couldn't wait to have a blood sugar below 70 just to sample one again! These were recommended to me by a peer, Anna, whose son has Type 1 diabetes, and he is very active in high school sports. These are his go to and now mine. I've only tried the fruit smoothie flavor but they come in a ton of options. I get a large box on Amazon for around $20 but each packet has 39grams of carb so they last awhile and there are 12 packs in a box. This is where I recommend being a Prime member with Amazon so shipping is free...LOVE Amazon! I have a pack or two in each bag, purse, car, etc. and I've also noticed they don't freeze solid if they are in your car, important note, especially this year in SD! They are also energy chews so a nice option for runners or any strenuous activity!
     I had a few stories to go with this Friday Favorites edition but I promise to be a bit more brief next week! Now, go out and get a jar of that fabulous Reese's peanut butter and stop back this weekend; I will find my recipe for those peanut butter bites I promised to share! (And no, I won't judge if you use up your Jif, Skippy, or generic PB before running out to find the Reese's, but I do recommend it! :o)


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Who Knew a Burger Could Be Healthy?

     I feel like our world is looking for the eternal way to be healthy and young but really, the truth sort of hurts here. This "way" doesn't really exist in the pills and bottles and potions that we all have spent time and money on. The truth is, you are what you eat! I don't know about you but when I find myself eating snacks out of a box and meals out of the freezer, I seriously feel crummy.
     While even  making my own burgers at home is healthier than what you might get at the drive through, I am aware that I am just a tad past 20 now and while I fully enjoy a good steak every now and again, fact is cholesterol is something I need to keep an eye on. Everyone in my family struggles with high cholesterol and I have the added bonus of diabetes! Thus far, my cholesterol is great thanks to estrogen (no I'm not 20 anymore but I'm closer to that than 60! :o) and my HDL is above 100 (typically unheard of but I continue to tell my medical providers red wine really should have a prescription!) but if I can find alternatives to red meat for a nice dinner, why not?
     I found this recipe for a turkey burger a few years back and my kids and husband are all big fans! I have watched Rachael Ray since she started on the Food Network and have been a fan ever since. My only disappointment with her magazines and cookbooks is that they don't list the food facts...I love to cook but it is so nice to know exactly how many carbs, fat, fiber, etc. are in the serving for appropriate blousing, right? I have written her several times with this request but somehow she must not be getting my letters. With this recipe however, we don't even eat a bun or roll with it. I slap that big spiced up burger on the plate with a dollop of the aioli and it is delish! Not much to bolus with this one and if you want to go lighter on the fat side, use fat free or light mayo and no cheese. I can't skip the cheese so we us Havarti just because it's one of our faves!

     Here is a link to the recipe from Rachael Ray magazine, which I highly recommend! I hope the link is live, if not I will keep working on this but you can just copy and paste into your address bar if not, still learning a lot about this whole blog experience!
     I hope you give it a try! I honestly don't even miss the beef when I think of this burger! A nice alternative for spring (if it ever decides to arrive and actually stay here!)
     I have a few great recipes I've tried recently and will attempt to get those up on the blog in the near future...a crock pot recipe that again, has very little carbs so nice on the blood sugar, and peanut butter balls that are addicting! For some reason I am feeling hungry now that I've raved about these burgers, if only I had time to whip these up, I am guessing I will have to raid my refrigerator for leftovers instead...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Exercise = Blood Sugar in Range (Most of the Time)

     For those of you who know me, you know I am a bionic woman of sorts. I am the one with my daughters at the pool in the summertime that other moms look at as they catch their children staring at the same thing they were looking at with embarrassment. No, I am not a glamour girl in my bikini or some bronzed goddess (I am very Norwegian and sport my fair skin with major sunblock :), that they are checking out. Not at all! But I do proudly wear my OmniPod insulin pump as well as my DexCom sensor, which is a continuous glucose monitoring system that monitors my blood sugar and can warn me if am going up or down too quickly as well as getting too low to prevent a major catastrophe from occurring anytime, especially on a low key, all about my girls, fun in the sun sort of day! So at the pool I am sporting both of these devices on my Norwegian white body:

     In addition to my glamorous taped medical devices, usually worn on either side of my abdomen, I carry the larger than phone PDM device that lets me check my blood sugar and controls my insulin when I eat, also known as bolus, and background insulin, also known as basal rates. So yes, moms and children look at me oddly sometimes at the pool but these babies allow me to control this disease that otherwise could take me down, literally! Some moms ask and I explain and some kids think it's cool or scary, either way. It's all good! My daughters actually thought all moms had these items attached to their bodies until they went to school and met "normal" moms. But hey, only my kids can say they have a "bionic" mom! 
     So, now that you understand the basics of my day to day devices with diabetes...onto my initial idea for a post, exercise and type 1 diabetes. Yes, all of us should be exercising at least 30 minutes a day according to the latest standards. And I do completely see the difference in my blood sugars on the days I decide to skip the gym vs make the effort and go. There are so many options for people with diabetes, type 1, and especially all of the oral medications that are more for type 2 but I honestly believe that good old exercise is one of the best options for all of us!
     Case in point, I had a rough morning yesterday with blood sugars, I woke up higher than my typical 80ish and after I ate two eggs and two cups of coffee, no carbs involved, I spiked up close to 200,  which I think had to be the caffeine, caffeine just has that effect on my blood sugar, not severe but enough to irritate me!
     So I was free over lunch and headed to my intense workout at Kosama, a full hour of aggressive cardio. And yes, in case you were wondering, my bionic devices protrude from my tummy under my otherwise sleek workout wear but my peeps at the gym know me by now so it is just the newbies that are caught staring! Ha! Anhow, look what that workout did for me!
     92 with the little arrow showing my blood sugar is stable, nice and steady! Exercise alone dropped me from 180ish to 92 and steady...find me a drug that can do that in an hour! So, lesson learned and I need to be reminded of this lovely view...this is the power of activity! Now, the "most of the time" part of my title I will need to ponder another day. What I mean about most of the time is how about when you expect numbers like mine above with exercise but you end up spiking up to 180 or higher from adrenalin? Or dropping too low because you didn't cut your basal or had a little too much insulin on board. That is a whole other blog post or many blog posts, no doubt! However, that will happen in the near future I am sure so to be continued...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Party Procrastination

     So unlike me to procrastinate (if you don't know me that is sincere sarcasm!) but my daughter, Graci, is turning 10 at the end of the month and I'm not sure if it is my typical procrastination that has kept me from sending out a few invites for her sleepover party or sincere denial that my first born is turning double digits! Where has the time gone since that night we missed Leap Year by nine minutes (thank goodness! :) and Graci blessed this world and changed our lives forever? Yeah, I think it is definitely the complete denial that is my reason for party procrastination...but, as we all know, the party must go on!
     And so, with that, we have her little owl invites. My Silhouette literally did all the work, literal by even the handwriting look of the invitation inside! Love the sketch pen option. Just printed the invitation with the bright pink pen and then switched out the pen for blade and cut the owl and all the sweet little pieces that accent the front of the card.

     Graci is very crafty with fabric and such but doesn't have as much interest in paper crafts. Luckily my youngest, Addison, has that obsession (no idea where she might get that from! :) so she helped me gather all the little cut pieces and attach to make the finished cards!

     Done! And Graci did a great job addressing the envelopes and they are even going to make the Saturday mail! See, I'm not in denial at all! (Although I see the flag is still up) not that I'm considering it or anything! Happy weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Old Friends, New Crafters

     I had the privilege of working with two lovely ladies for the past several years and although I no longer get to work with them, we still catch up often over a cup of coffee and I have wanted to invite them over forever to teach them how to make a few simple cards since they both had the time one evening last week, we finally got together for some much needed red wine and a few cards!
     Everything used was from Stampin' Up and the first one is all from the new spring catalog. We chose to use lots of bright colors because it has been a rough one for us here in the Midwest, actually come to think of it, sounds like it has been a brutal winter for everyone! So, if we have below zero, brutal, colorless days here in SD, why not add a few splashes of bright pink and turquoise to get that warm & fuzzy feeling? Maybe not quite but a girl's got to try, right?
     Here is the first one:

     So fun, and the adorable glass delicacy sitting next to it is something a dear friend of mine left on my doorstep today, a treat for Valentine's Day with little goodies inside! Isn't she the sweetest? My picture taking skills don't do it any justice, I will work on those, I promise! Isn't it the cutest thing ever?!?!?! LOVE!

     And for the next one I knew both of the gals were big fans of gardening and flowers so I wanted something springy and delicate and it just had to have GOLD!  Not sure why but I am obsessed with gold these days! Love how it really made this card just a notch above fabulous! So delicate and sweet...

     So that about does it. Such a fun little evening with two good old friends over some yummy red wine, I think it was called Eruption, a nice blend of reds if anyone is looking for a new one to try. And both gals went home with their own renditions of these they just have to figure out who the lucky recipients will be of their newly created treasures! Never fear, we will get together again for a craft lesson so they can add to their stash!
     Happy Valentine's! I am going to sign off and enjoy some grilled steak and perhaps another glass of red wine with my hubby while the girls cut into the red velvet cake they made for his Valentine's surprise.