Friday, March 28, 2014

Finding Stability in an Up and Down World

Literally. This is what it is about. Every day, for the rest of my life. As a person with type 1 diabetes I strive for stability and balance in a world of ups and downs. If it were just the numbers on my meter or Dexcom resulting from what I ate and what insulin or exercise I did, I'm beyond confident I would be an expert; well, almost! But it's all the things that feel beyond my control, like timing, stressors, sleep, emotions. Yes, I'm diabetic but I am human first. That's where it gets tricky...

This post could turn into a novel if I were to address all of the above so let's go with emotions. Not the ones that are caused by an argument or some really good news, but the emotions that are tied to those ups and downs on that meter. I've lived with diabetes for 34 years and I can't remember a time that I didn't see a blood sugar above range as "bad" and in range as "good," which automatically triggers the emotion directly correlated with it. I don't even know what label I would put on a low blood sugar but I know too well the rush of fear and frustration that goes with anything below 60 for me personally. Why? Why does a number on a machine stir such strong emotion in me? Guilt, failure, shame, and denial are all tied to anything above my normal range and on the other hand a sense of accomplishment, pride, security, and honest joy is what I feel when I see 89 on my Dexcom when I wake up in the morning (with a quick check on my meter to ensure it is close to 89 or right on, which still amazes and thrills me in itself! :)

I don't know the answer. But I do know these are the emotions that exhaust me, that cause me to be irritable when everything else in my life is pretty damned amazing, that cause me to be short with my daughters or husband when they are nothing but supportive. I consider myself to be a positive person and have an incredible outlook on life and think if you asked anyone who really knows me, they would agree. These same emotions are tied to food for me. I think that goes back to 1979 when anything with sugar simply wasn't permitted. I still remember the thrill of having swimming lessons for two hours when I was 7 and knowing my mom packed a Snickers bar cut into several pieces as a treat for running low. Of course, now with all our knowledge about fat and the absorption of those carbs in that little chunk of a Snickers post two hours of swimming probably wouldn't make that the best choice but I still have fond memories of Snickers, regardless of where it put me on that Glucometer!

Yes, I have ups and downs, just like anyone in life. Emotionally and literally on a meter. I try hard to not get too hung up on those numbers because I know what is up will always come down thanks to a little insulin or exercise and food or even Snickers in a pinch can bring me up, and the 89s anytime I will relish as long as I'm not dropping too far beyond that.
This was my blood sugar after a hard workout over my lunch hour a few days ago. I felt so good and was so proud of that 98 and the steady arrow. But I couldn't just look at that number, I felt bad about the numbers an hour before that workout when I was closer to 180. Some might consider that being hard on oneself but in the world of diabetes it is looking back at what I did and how it impacted my range, is it something I could change? This is part of the daily grind of finding stability and although it can be exhausting, knowing there is a possibility I might be able to fix that 180 to a 140 tomorrow gives me that same feeling of accomplishment that an 89 does.
Well, almost! :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Felt Accessories

I've had these steel dies from Papertrey since they were released a year or two ago and loved all the possibilities with them but if you're anything like me sometimes that flair for a project gets put on the backburner because of, well, life.

My mind never stops, goes a zillion miles a minute and I have so many ideas and things I'd like to do, create, etc. but often feel short on time. Anyone else? Yeah, I knew I wasn't alone. :)And then there's my love/hate relationship with Pinterest. The ideas are endless but I've pinned so many things in the last year and if I think about it too much, get a bit stressed wondering when I will ever get to those pins. Hoping Pinterest is still around when I retire so I can finally catch up!

So, back to the felt. I die cut lots of colors with Papertrey felt, which is amazing stuff if you haven't tried it! Cuts with clean edges and colors are beautiful! After die cutting the three layers, make sure all the dots are open by using a sharp object or rubbing your fingers over to ensure all layers line up nicely. Then you just take embroidery floss and stitch together. Put a metal snap barrette in the back pocket and voila! You can embellish with buttons, ribbon, felt die cut shapes. Endless possibilities! These were so easy to stitch even my daughters got in on the fun and made one. (they are 7 and 10 so patience allowed for one each, which I thought was pretty good! :)

Here are some of the finished barrettes:
And of course, Papertrey has this adorable stamp set to use for creating your own packaging. So I had to finally use that stamp (again, major self justification here:) to create the backing for one. These would make adorable gifts! Easter is just around the corner and I know a few little girls that would love receiving these!
Lucky for me that I just received several pastel colors of felt to add to my stash! (Lucky for the girls, too, but I'm not justifying here, just being honest! :) If you want to check these out or any other amazing Papertrey Ink products, you can do so here

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Papertrey March Blog Hop Challenge

March challenge is High Gloss! I used embossing on my card and finished off with a few glossy accents of enamel dots from Stampin' Up and My Minds Eye. All other products are Papertrey Ink aside from the stamp colors, Melon Mambo, Tangerine Tango, and Pear Pizazz from Stampin' Up, Peeled Paint from Tim Holtz. Washi tape from my stash...
Here is my card:
Inspired by my recent Friday Favorites post:
When I bought this a few weeks back I did love the scent but the packaging is what first drew me to even try it and I knew I had to make a card similar to the beautiful bright colors contrasting with the black and white stripes!
I covered my pink cardstock with a sheet of Scor-Tape and Prisma glitter, a technique I've been wanting to try for oh, maybe two years now, better that than never! :o) LOVE how it turned out and it was SO easy!  
I think the picture captures how sparkly it is. I know this was a gloss challenge but I don't think a little added sparkle to the challenge can do anything but amp it up! Thanks for stopping!

Monday, March 24, 2014

LOVE What You Do

Another cold weekend here but that meant the girls making Eric and I pancakes Saturday morning while we all lounged in our PJs, catching the Muppet movie (I strongly recommend, for nostalgic reasons if nothing else :), and house projects. Here is one I've been wanting to complete for a few weeks and with the cold outside, what better excuse?

I found this shower curtain at TJ Maxx for $14 and loved the colors and the watercolor feel. I'd been thinking about doing something different with the girls' bathroom and this was the perfect inspiration piece!  I wanted a print to put above the towel bar and my motto is if I can't find exactly what I'm looking for, I can at least try to make it, or wait. Have I mentioned I'm not a patient person? :)
A canvas half off from Hobby Lobby and a few colors of mist with some water and paintbrush and I set to work while the girls reminded me that I am not any sort of a Picasso or whoever painted watercolors!
This was the finished painted piece when I was done. I love how the water moved the colors in swooshes and soften the Sunset orange color to more of the coral in the curtain. Nothing special yet but let I let it dry for 30 minutes. I Mod Podged the coral color down with a nice heavy coat and let that dry for 30 minutes, then did one more coat. This is to seal in the color and trust me, this would've been done last week if I hadn't forgotten that step!
Next I used my Silhouette to cut some fun fonts to fit a picture I'd found on Pinterest and Graci really liked this quote, Addison couldn't care less as she was more into the colors and flowers so this was a win-win collaboration! Once all the pieces were cut I used adhesive to put them all in place. A tip here is to ensure all the edges are adhered well as the next step can be doable but tricky otherwise!
Carefully Mod Podge the pieces down by painting right over the top and coating evenly. Be careful around edges and if you find any are coming up, just press down with your finger for a few moments and it will seal down eventually. I like to do two coats of the Mod Podge waiting 30 minutes between coats. I picked up a few towels and used some chevron ribbon to tie them on the towel bar and hung the print. Check another one off the list and bonus that the girls love the new look and colors!
I made several cards and finally took pictures of the hair clips the girls and I had fun making and of course, with all the fun this weekend I had a few random blood sugar swings that I've been thinking about but it is Monday morning and work is calling so I will have to post about those another night. Check back tomorrow for my glossy inspired piece for the Papertrey Hop.
All this inspiration with Pinterest and shower curtains. What inspires you to do what you love? :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Favorites, March 21, 2014

Spring has officially arrived! In honor of the season, here are some fresh favorites for this Friday to get your weekend off to a bright start! 
  Bath & Body Works Mad About You Diamond Body Polish
I was originally drawn to smell this in the store just because the packaging is beautiful and bright! (Will share a card next week based on this imagery! So fun!) I'm not a fan of heavy scents or perfumes and this one is subtle sweet and the polish part of the scrub is a bonus after the dry winter.

 2 Clarisonic Facial Sonic Cleansing System
I cannot even begin to express my adoration for this product! If you've never tried this, I STRONGLY recommend it! You and your skin will not be disappointed!
3 GAP 1969 Faded Always Skinny Jeans
I tried these on last weekend and HAD to have a pair! Fit is great and color is fun for spring to go with all the fresh colors. If you hurry they are on sale through the 21st online and in stores!
4 FAGE fruyo, Vanilla flavor
It's been difficult for me to jump on the Greek yogurt bandwagon. I've always loved yogurt but the texture of most brands were hard for me to handle. However, my daughter, Graci, recommended we try this and I am sooooo glad she did! Delish! It literally tastes like a dessert by itself or with berries. The fact that it has no fat, 27 grams of carb and 20 grams of protein per 1 cup serving makes the dream dessert a reality because it is easy on the blood sugar with an extended bolus from my pump before devouring, I am set to conquer the world! Well, maybe not all at once but trust me, with those stats I sure feel like I almost could!! :)
5 My Paper Pumpkin by Stampin Up
Here are two cards my daughter, Addi, and I made tonight in literally 5 minutes! 
I love kits and although Stampin Up has had a card kit for about a year now, I finally got around to trying it and was thrilled with the little red box that arrived in my mailbox! For $15 I can make 8 cards that are super simple to put together but so beautiful! If interested, check out how to sign up here:
Happy Weekend!!! I've got a much needed date night with my favorite guy tonight! Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Knot Fabric and Bead Necklaces

     Sorry I've been MIA lately. Just a lot of random things going on but some of those random things do include some fun crafting so I'm popping by quick to share a super simple necklace that my girls found at a store that I decided we should try to make before buying.
     We were downtown for the yearly St. Patrick's Day parade and wouldn't you know it was cold and snowy?!?!?! So, of course, to stay warm we had to duck into all the little stores that line the parade route and we came upon a toy store with adorable clothing for kids as well and adorning many of the outfits were these fun, chunky, necklaces made with bright fabrics. I desperately wanted to snap a few photos but Graci and I locked the image of them in our minds and after the parade she, Addi, and I set out to find some fun fabric and wooden beads. We whipped these four out in no time and the fun part was, after I stitched the simple row securing the tube and pulled them inside out, the girls were able to put the beads in and knot them to make their own. Love activities we can all partake in, with a result of something looking store bought!
I started out with 1/4 yard fabric in a few different colors from Hobby Lobby, 30% off so total cost of this was around $6 and the wooden beads in two sizes were $4 per bag, plus the web coupon so total cost of materials for four necklaces with leftovers was roughly $12! The store was selling each for $11 a piece! LOVE when I can make something cute and save some money!!!  
Take the length of your fabric and fold it in half inside out. Sew a straight stitch a bit larger than the biggest bead you want to use so you will be able to put them in the tube of fabric. Once you are done stitching, pull the fabric through so it is now right side facing out. Next put a wooden bead in the fabric tube.
Center it and tie a knot with the fabric on each side. That's literally it! You could do one large bead in the middle or add a pattern of larger beads and smaller as you get closer to the neck on each side, just tie knots on each side of the bead or you could even leave the fabric looser, depending on what look you are going for...the possibilities are really up to you!
You tie them in a bow or knot and wear with anything that needs a fun statement piece! The girls each made two so of course I asked one of them to model for me and Addi volunteered but as I was snapping away was informed that I couldn't show anything above her neck so here is the necklace with my daughter incognito! :)
Made some fun barrettes so will be back later this week to try to share those and a new recipe or two! Need to catch the weather now as we've had major snow all afternoon and evening and wondering what tomorrow will bring! First day of spring this week and of course, a spring blizzard to go along with it!

Friday, March 7, 2014

March Friday Favorites

     So, considering my last Friday Favorites post was all edible items, I just want to take the opportunity to state I do have other interests aside from food! My relationship with food is a close one, as it is for a lot of people but I think having diabetes and knowing from the time of diagnoses how much impact food can directly have on my numbers makes that relationship even more unique. I have fond memories of being in the kitchen with my mom trying recipe after recipe, in hopes of finding a cookie or treat that wouldn't impact my blood sugar that actually tasted good. Many of those hours in the kitchen were in vain as I cannot even think of one recipe I still make today and most ended up in the garbage! But over the years and our A for effort attempts I have nothing but wonderful memories of the process, not the outcome. It is still that process that I enjoy and thanks to all that time I do pride myself on being a pretty good judge of recipes, what will actually taste good! Here are the most recent ones I've tried from Pinterest, LOVE Pinterest!

Fish tacos
Who's craving spring?!?!??!?! I am! When I came across this recipe I figured it's worth a try because and they were fabulous! My husband and kids both enjoyed but I did leave out the cayenne pepper, we are sort of wimps when it comes to spicy. I recommend this one! Use corn tortilla and great gluten free dinner! Link is below

Egg and Avocado Toast
I love eggs and I love avocadoes but I've seen this all over and I wasn't sold but finally had to try it and can I just say THANK YOU for whoever came up with this! Delish! Link is below but it truly is three ingredients and there you go, I fried egg and left yolk soft or you could follow recipe...yum!

Broccoli chicken
Easy crockpot meal and fairly healthy aside from the cream cheese but use 1/3 less fat cream cheese and this is a satisfying meal.  I used fresh broccoli that I steamed a few minutes before tossing in because I just can't handle frozen spinach or broccoli, it's a personal preference thing. Toss in more broccoli and this is so hearty and healthy!

Turkey meatloaf
This is our go to meatloaf recipe since this long winter and my kids love it, in fact their neighbor friend has been here on two separate occaisons and joined us for dinner and she's a fan, too!

Zuppa Toscana
I've developed an obsession with is so healthy and packed with nutrients but I struggle to just eat it as is because of its heartiness. My favorite thing to do with it is tear apart the leaves, discarding the core of each lea, laying it on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt and bake until crispy. These are literally as satisfying as potato chips and so much better. Greens are great for blood sugars! Anyone else have ideas on what to do with kale? This is a close second favorite, but don't use cream, I use fat free half and half and it is so good! I never use cream anymore, always fat free half and half! Drain the sausage, too and the more kale the better! This is a good one and comes together quickly on a weeknight!

Happy weekend! I'm off to Minneapolis with my family tonight and meeting up with some good friends I don't see often as well as my sister-in-law and her hubbie; we are meeting their new newfoundland puppy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


     Everyone wants to be a part of something. We are born into or adopted into a family, crave being picked to be on the team, work hard to become one of the best of "the best," whatever that means to us in our own unique life. Belonging and being valued is a valid human need. I have an incredible life because of the people in it that enrich my world, make me who I am, but I must admit there is one club I am a select member of that if it would have been a choice to accept the invite, I would've declined. If I had a way out, I would jump at the chance. To be in this club, you have to have diabetes. You never want to be a member but once you are in this club and find others who belong to it, honestly, you've found yourself another true family who understands that this disease impacts every moment of every day.
     Anna is one of those friends. We talk a lot but only see each other every few months at most so the last time we reconnected was at a work event with a photo booth. Enough said!
This layout was a blast to put together! The fun photo strip helped, of course, but the Heidi Swapp gray striped paper and Primrose spray were the perfect backdrop for it, along with some chevron paper and the mint green puffy Thickers. A few camera details and it was complete!

     Thanks for stopping by! Busy midweek but I will be back Friday for another favorites favorite recipes that I've tried in the past month...check back if you are looking for something new and easy to try!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cold & Crafty

     Well, the sleepover was a success and all girls had a good time. My favorite part of Graci's party was when I walked into Graci's room to try and settle the girls down approaching midnight and overheard them counting down as though it was New Year's. Turns out they knew it was her official birthday at 11:51PM and they started the countdown to her official time of arrival! So cute! Close second favorites would be the cocoa beauty masks that made a disaster of the bathroom and the fact that Addison was included in the festivities with the "big kids."
     Saturday afternoon was another cold one as is today so I did get to spend some time with my favorite hobby since going outside just doesn't seem fun anymore when it is below zero, windy, snowing... you get the drift!
     I have had the Studio Calico add on kit from Antiquary for a few months now and finally put it to use on a few cards and a layout...

 A few pictures from our Valentine's fun this year. This layout took me little time to plan out and actually put into place..  something I LOVE about kits!
Next up, a few cards. I have the travel bug and these all involve getting away, not sure if it is because of the never ending winter or because I really haven't been anywhere other than Chicago for work in a few months but I am sending this one tomorrow to my sister-in-law in hopes she, too, has the bug and will escape somewhere for a quick getaway soon with me! 

These puffy stickers fit my travel mood perfectly and I love the glittery hearts; they were attached to toothpicks but I popped them off and they made perfect apostrophes!
I hope wherever you are, you have a chance to escape, whether to a warmer climate or to soak up some relaxation with a good book or something crafty! I am hopeful as Thursday the forecast has 36 (above zero, just to clarify! :o) in it so I am excited that this week may warm up!
Studio Calico has a new kit on sale called Office Hours, can't wait to get mine in the mail! Check out their site at