Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Serenity

Don't you wish that you could prepare better for life's sudden transitions?  A sign like this would sure be nice.

But even without that, having the understanding that life is full of change, helps.  I often think that change leads to greatness.

That means that you are indeed GREAT!

The Naturally Sweet Sisters.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Teens in Charge: Got Ideas?

Oldest daughter reached out on a teens with t1d forum to ask a question that had been on her mind.

I had no idea that this was something that was bothering her until I was sifting through my own FaceBook feed and came across her posted question.

The gist of it was that she wanted to know how to keep her sites on while she is swimming.  She wrote that she had to put a new site on virtually everyday as the site adhesive was basically dissolving in the water.


I knew she had one or maybe two sites pop out, but I didn't realize that all of her sites were doing that.  She is older now and able to do site changes without me.  As I read her question, I realized that she was handling more than I even realized.


It took me a moment to catch my breath.  Just a year ago, I was still the 'in-charge of type 1 diabetes' person and let me tell you, NOTHING escaped my notice. 

But now, well, now she was very much edging out my control (in a good way) and things were not nearly as cut and dry as they once were.  No pun intended.

On a side note, I swear the change in her skin can only be attributed to the dreaded puberty.  It most likely is changing, causing different balances in oils and the new skin easily detaches from her IV Prep infused, Tegaderm covered Inset 30 infusion set. 

Oh the joys of growing up! 

So all of this led to my oldest daughter reaching out and asking about new ways of handling things.  That's pretty darn incredible.  For everyone reading this at home with young babies, toddler and kids living with type 1 diabetes, this day really does come.... the day of independence.  And to me, well, it is a little awesome and a whole lot of amazing.

Of course, being the elder 'in-charge of type 1 diabetes' person, I am going to try to help her out. 

What do you use to keep infusion sites on while swimming?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tomorrow Is Endocrinology Day

Calendar courtesy of Shari Osborn

Endocrinology Day.

It sounds almost like an official holiday.

I can almost imagine the excitement from the girls early in the morning:  "Wake-up!  Wake-up!  Today is the day, mama!  Today is the day!  It is Endocrinology Day!"

And then together, we would decorate a tree, open some presents, put out the American flag, hide some eggs and dress up in our finest costumes while stuffing our faces with turkey.

Hmmmmm.  Well, a girl can dream right?

Tomorrow is our Endocrinology Day.  While we do not mark our calendar exactly, I will be planning a little bit of fun in and around the time spent in the office. 

Why not?  Even if the rest of the world isn't celebrating Endocrinology Day, that doesn't mean that we can't!

Happy Endocrinology Day, everyone!!!!

And The Winner of the Madiola Pump Pouch Is.......

The adorable winning pump pouch in gray roses.  Check out Madiola Designs for more options.
Marjorie said...
Amy would love the purple birds!
I've searched the Internet high and low and have com across a few pouches we like. Wish I could sew better!
     July 23, 2013
Please send us an email on our Naturally Sweet Sisters Facebook Page with your address so that we can send you a beautiful Madiola Designs pump pouch.
And if you did not win, you can still order a back-to-school pump pouch in any style of your choice from Madiola Designs through August 1st with a 10% savings by mentioning Naturally Sweet Sisters on your order.
Thank you and hope to see you all at many more Naturally Sweet Sisters giveaways soon!!!! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pump Pouch Giveaway - Madiola Designs and Naturally Sweet Sisters

Youngest and oldest modeling their new Madiola Designs

The dog days of summer are upon us and if are like me, searching for a cool haven in the heat means only one thing... ONLINE SHOPPING!!!!!

Whoo hoo!

And even better, thinking ahead to back-to-school shopping!

Blue and white polka dot with red flower

Which is exactly what I stumbled across with Madiola Designs, maker of  the world's cutest and most adorable insulin pump pouches.  Madiola Designs can also be found on Facebook.

With a clear window for viewing too!

As soon as I laid eyes on them (and with a squeal from youngest daughter as she saw them), I thought it would be a perfect new, back-to-school, look for our two little girls. 

She's tiny and this pouch actually looks size appropriate!
As oldest daughter pointed out, the Madiola Designs are super cute, especially with their own belts.  "Belts are totally in!" She said and ran to show me her iPod with pictures from Instagram.  "These would look so cute with my braided belt.  Or this one."  She said as she pointed to different pictures of her friends, whom all were wearing the similar versions of the same belt.

Oldest daughter is a picky fashionista and this Madiola Design passed her test!

I understand her desire to be fashionable as she is teetering on teenager years.  The fall will bring about an entirely new set of challenges at Junior Highschool and for me, I hope (as I do every school year) that my child not only takes new books and school supplies, but also her type 1 diabetes along.

If a new pump pouch helps that to happen, than I am 'in' too! 

After a simple communication with Madiola Designs (color, pump style and the decision to use our own belts - everything can be purchased with or without belts), in a short few days, our beautiful pump pouches arrived in a nice brown envelope.

Fun mail is the best mail!

I don't know about you, but pretty tissue paper always makes me happy!  Opening the Madiola Designs pump pouches, we found our two, made perfectly for youngest and oldest daughter.

The pump pouch is designed to have a nice, zippered top.
It is thin and not bulky which is perfect under or outside of shirts and tops. 
The back has two straps for a belt to go through.  I don't think this limits you to pants though as it could be worn on the outside of a dress or a skirt too. 

This could be yours!  See below for the giveaway details!
Before I let the girls try them on, I thought it might be fun to see what else we could use the Madiola Designs pump pouches for.

Injections.  We fit in several injections, there was also room for an insulin bottle and a few glucose tabs.

Injections can be cute too! 
Smarties.  Sometimes, when my kids will be gone on field trips, it is nice to have a little extra glucose.  You could also remove the belt and just tuck the pouch into a purse, lunchbox or even a backpack.  Or use one of the hardware store ring clips to make the pouch into a keychain and dangle it right in the locker, off a book bag or even clipped to a binder.

Candy, candy, candy everywhere or until you need it, right?

Sigums.  Or what some people might refer to as a Dexcom G4.  It fits perfectly! 

I love hot pink and navy!

Here is youngest daughter modeling her pump pouch.   Too cute for an early a.m. photo op!

Here is oldest daughter modeling her pump pouch.  Sweet girl!

And the best news...  Madiola Designs graciously offered one free pump pouch to a reader.    Here is youngest daughter holding the pouch up to hers.  Isn't that the cutest style????  It is called gray roses and would be adorable with anything pink, yellow, black, white... even red!  Super cute!!!

Contest details:

To Enter the Madiola Designs and Naturally Sweet Sisters giveaway,

1.)  Simply go HERE to check out all of the Madiola Designs pump pouches
2.)  Then, leave a comment on this blog post (must be on the website) telling us what your favorite Madiola Designs pump pouch is. 

You may enter 1 time.   The contest runs from today, Monday, July 22nd, 2013 to Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m..  The winner will be announced on Thursday, July 25th, 2013.

3.)  To add a very sweet offer, if you do not win or want to order a Madiola Design for your back-to-school sweetie, please order directly from Madiola Design and be sure to send a message that states you are a Naturally Sweet Sisters reader for an additional 10% off of your order from now until August 1st, 2013.  So be sure to order right away!!!

Madiola Designs can also be found on Facebook if you would like to send a comment on how cute these little pouches are:)

Good-luck and can't wait to see who wins!!!!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Youngest daughter's blood sugar was a little wacky this week.

Thinking it might have been the stress of losing someone close, I quickly changed the infusion set and consoled her little heart with a hefty dose of 'mommy-time' hugs and kisses, with a bit of tickles for good measure.

Then, out of the blue, oldest daughter had an unplanned (and unexplained) ride on the diabetes blood sugar roller-coaster.

We corrected, waited and watched re-runs of Friends late into the evening that night.   While oldest giggled at Joey's antics, I kept an eye on the soaring numbers as they slowly crashed back down.  We carefully made the landing a bit softer by eating a few of our good 'ole TABBBBBBS aka glucose tabs.  Somehow, having Friends on and getting to stay up well past summer bedtimes, made the ills of having high to low blood sugars a bit easier.  Thank you Phoebe and Joey, her two favorite characters!

In other news, Michigan experienced it's annual 'dog days of summer' with the heat reaching highs in the upper '90s and warnings about heat indexes in the 100s. 

I could fry an egg on the sidewalk right now.  Total digression here...  but that might be good for soaring blood sugars since it is carb free fun!  Hmmmm, I think I like that phrase even more now.

So is roller-coaster blood sugars and heat just a coincidence?

Maybe.  But we have been around long enough to realize that sometimes weather plays a role in blood sugars.  This is completely unscientific data but seeing it BOTH daughters at the same time, sure does seem to provide a little bit of clarity.

What do you think?  Are you seeing swings in this heat?  And if you are, might I suggest a good dose of Friends to make it all a bit easier???

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Life was challenging this week.

One moment, things were smoothly sailing along and the next moment, life tossed us another curveball.

This is not a unique consequence of living.  It happens to all of us.

I know that this is just LIFE in all of its glory: good, bad and ugly.

And as an adult, I am mostly equipped to handle the curve (ball)s, twists and bends.

Sometimes though, for a second or a bit longer, it breaks me. 

I become weak, humble and lost, while wondering a lot of 'whys'.  Especially when I didn't see it coming.  Really, that is when it makes me most vulnerable.

As a result, I am once again gathering up that surprisingly never-ending supply of strength, courage and fortitude and will face it all head on.  But this time I am not alone.  I am moving ahead with support from family and from friends.

It also reminds me to me think about my own future and the time that I have here in this world.  It has created a desire to reflect about how I want my own life to be and what type of legacy that I want to leave behind.

And maybe, if I try really hard, one day, I can be thought of with as much love, kindness and greatness as the ones that I am saying good-bye too.


But probably not. 

Some are truly the greatest in the world.  There will never be another like this.  For that, I feel blessed to just have shared a little bit of their life.

From Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, 1602:
In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em.

And some are all three.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swimming With Type 1 Diabetes

Photo: Spending the day at beach!
Our fourth of July lake view

A mom of a newly diagnosed daughter with type 1 diabetes reached out to discuss the effects of swimming while trying to stay in good blood sugar range.  First, I just wanted to give her a big, huge hug and then, I wanted to do my best to help.  That first year is full of new challenges and if I can do anything, it is to share what I have learned.

Immediately, I thought back to my own early days and remembered how summer vacation, while easier in many ways, is also much harder.

Especially when it comes to swimming.

While I do not profess to have all of the answers (we learn something new every single day!!!), I do have a few tricks that our family uses.  A lot of it revolves around food.  For us, it seems to be the number one way to stay in range while swimming.

A loose schedule during pool or lake time for our family is something like this:

12:00 p.m..         Test blood sugar, eat a light lunch (lunch meat or peanut butter sandwich and water), dose full amount of the bolus for food.  Disconnect insulin pump and kids allowed into the water.

1:30 - 2:00 p.m.. Reconnect insulin pump.  Test blood sugar.  Eat a small snack (cheese, small piece of fruit or crackers plus more water) and dose 1/2 of the amount for bolus for food.  Disconnect pump and swim.

4:00 p.m.            Reconnect insulin pump.  Test blood sugar.  Eat a small snack like above or drink a chocolate milk,  dose full amount of the bolus for food.

6:00 p.m.            Dinner as usual.  Blood glucose check, dose insulin as needed and more water.

8:00 p.m.            Bedtime blood glucose check, snack, dose insulin as needed.

2:00 - 3:00 a.m.  Check in the middle of the night just to make sure blood sugar is in range after a day at the beach or pool.  I do this anyway, but especially when the kids have spent a day in the water.  Swimming works every single muscle and makes it really tricky hours later.

The food doesn't have to be a lot of food, just smaller amounts and a good mix of carb to protein (weighing slightly heavier on the protein). 

The bigger two issues that we tackle are frequent blood sugar checks and encouraging tons of water consumption.  First, our kids typically prefer to swim on hot days where the chance of dehydration is greater and the risk of ketones is always a possibility.  Like my oldest daughter says, "Ketones STINK" and we like to avoid them at all cost!!!

If you use an insulin pump and have troubles with adhesive sticking, I can share what works well for us (although this may or may not work for you as everyone has different skin types - some oily, some dry, some in-between).

The Naturally Sweet Sisters Method of Placing Infusion Sets: 

1.)  Wipe the site area with an alcohol based IV-PREP pad.

2.)  Wait about 1 minute for the area to dry and become tacky/sticky.

3.)  Insert infusion set as normal.  Press down adhesive tapes.

4.)  Layer on top of the infusion site a IV3000 for Infusion Sets (hole is already cut for tubing to go through).  Press down on all sides.

5.)  You're ready to go!!!!!

Placement of the infusion site is wherever you feel most comfortable.  As my daughters have grown, they do have strong opinions about how 'open' they want to be while wearing a bikini.  I respect their thoughts and have allowed them to be a voice in the decision during that process.  The only over-riding rule is that if they chose a site prior to our swim adventure, they have to pick a new place.  Meaning, that they can't choose their bottoms every single time.  That would ultimately lead to scar tissue and to lose the chance to use that area ever again.  That means we rotate everywhere but with an idea of where we are going or what we will be doing.  So far, it seems to be working.

Even with a perfectly placed infusion set, we still have to carefully monitor the girls' infusion site area.  One year, on a beach in Florida, we actually had a small grain of sand work its way into the plastic connector.  That small grain of sand clogged the tubing and made it impossible for insulin to get into our child's body.  Lesson learned: visually check the infusion sets often to make sure that the adhesive is sticking, the tubing is still in or even to ensure the site is infection free; no redness or irritation. 

With all of that in mind, be sure to pack extra sets of everything:  tubing, cannula, batteries, cartridge, needles, etc..  Packing insulin falls under your mileage may vary (YMMV).  Often since we are using pumps, we choose to leave this at home to avoid the risk of spoilage in the sun or opened cooler.  If you do bring the insulin or are using injections in either syringes or pens, consider purchasing a Frio bag which allows the insulin to be protected and stay fresh. 

Here is a list of swim-friendly snack foods that we often tote along:

  • Water, water, water
  • Propel or Gatorade - in case dehydration sneaks up on you
  • Cheese sticks or cheese cubes
  • Frozen Go-gurts or tubed yogurt
  • Individual sized Chocolate Milk.  To risk spoilage, we buy ours at Costco where the Kirkland brand is sold as shelf - stable.
  • Sliced turkey, ham, bologna, chicken.
  • Crackers or bread without condiments to avoid the yucky mush
  • Fresh fruit - sliced or ready to eat for little fingers

Don't forget your fast acting glucose too.  Just in case your adventure at the beach or pool includes a low blood sugar (it happens to all of us!) be sure to add in either glucose tabs, juice or fruit snacks.  Bringing the Glucagon is another YMMV but always check with your endocrinologist to make a safety plan before deciding either way. 

Finally, in all of our years of going to the beach, there is one final area that we still watch carefully... that is our basic first-aid and safety.  My kids tend to be active swimmers and over the years have had many a bump or a bruise.  I have a love affair with keeping Neosporin, aloe vera, Tylenol, Cortisone cream, and Band-Aids in the swim bag.  Too many times to count that I have had to use them, so now I feel like it is a necessity.  If you numb your child's infusion site, bring along the EMLA cream or the boo-boo ice pack because there is nothing worse than needing a site and watching a little one melt down at the thought of it. 

Enjoy your time at the water!!!!!  I hope I see you floating by soon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Overheard: Giggles and Observations

During the summer months, I am sometimes invisible.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, because really, what it means is that the beauty of summer is allowing the freedom of playing without mom constantly offering suggestions for boredom or breaking up squabbles.  On this particular day, while I sat quietly in the kitchen, writing up a grocery shopping list, I had the chance to overhear a gem of a conversation between my daughters.  Even though I was in full view, both girls seemingly forgot that I was there or perhaps didn't realize that I was listening. 

And boy, am I glad!  This was a conversation that had me trying to hold in my own laughter. 

Out of the mouth of babes...

Youngest Daughter:  I am glad you are my sister. (admiring a homemade sticker that her sister had cut a small hole out of to put over her infusion set on her arm).

Oldest Daughter:  Why?

Youngest Daughter:  No one else would make me a special site sticker. 

Oldest Daughter:  Yes and no one else would know what a site was.

Youngest Daughter:  (laughing) They might think a 'site' is something you see.

Oldest Daughter:  (giggling like crazy) Or maybe a site is something that you go to.

Youngest Daughter:  Remember that lady who thought we wore walkie-talkies?

Oldest Daughter:  Yes!  She was CRAZY! (hysterical laughter).

Youngest Daughter:  She was!  I wanted to say "Lady, I don't even know what a walkie-talkie is!". 

Oldest Daughter:  That lady was OLD!  She was... dad's age!!!!!!  (gobs of laughter from both!)

All I have to say, is thank goodness that was 'dad's age' and not mine!

Monday, July 8, 2013

PortionMate: Giveaway Winners Announced

Mail is always more fun when it includes a free giveaway!!!!!

And the winners of the wonderful, fun and super cool PortionMate, Inc. measuring cylinders which will arrive in your very own big brown box are.........

#2.  Bvrooks 
"Your blog rocks!! So many great ideas :-)

The portion mate cylinders would be great for my girl to start to figure out what a portion size is. Right now she weighs everything; which is great but not always possible when we are out and about. These cylinders would make that soooo much easier!"
To claim your PortionMate, Inc. prize, please click on our Naturally Sweet Sisters Facebook Page and send me a private message with your shipping address.  Your PortionMate, Inc. will be mailed directly from PortionMate headquarters for you to immediately start enjoying.
If you didn't win and would like a chance to own a set of PortionMate cylinders, including the free nutrition guide, please visit or click HERE.
Thank you and keep us on your blog roll because I am hoping to feature more fun products and many more giveaways for all of our Naturally Sweet Sisters friends. 
Special thank you to PortionMate, Inc for allowing us to feature their product and to keep all of our families living with type 1 diabetes, healthy, happy and successful in our blood sugar management!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Serenity

A parent reminded me of how hard it is to come to terms with a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for one's child.  The parent was terribly sad and thinking about things that may or may not have caused this for her son.  We talked for several hours until finally, (I hope) our conversation helped to convince her that this was not something that anyone could cause or in advertently make happen.  Type 1 diabetes just is... and right now, no one understands why.

Until we have a cure, this is a beautiful reminder to be kind to yourself. 

You are the only you that this world has.

You are amazing.

You are strong.

You are the entire world to one small child.

My promise to you:  Type 1 diabetes will never define you or your loved one and in the hours, days, weeks or months ahead, you will discover all of this for yourself. 

You can do it!

The Naturally Sweet Sisters

Friday, July 5, 2013

She Doesn't Deserve This: No One Deserves This

I woke-up at 4:15 a.m. this morning, feeling disoriented and a little sweaty from having too many covers piled on top of my sleeping form. 

As I shoved and kicked the sheet and comforter off towards my feet and moved into a more comfortable position, my mind focuses in on the evenings' events.  Suddenly one single worry breaks through the clutter.

Oh no!  I missed the 2:00 a.m. blood sugar check!

With my heart playing catch-up to my thoughts, I could feel my pulse instantly quicken while I fumbled for my glasses on the bedside table.  Racing toward the girls' bedrooms and nearly stepping on the dazed kitty asleep in the hallway, I run straight into oldest daughter's bedroom where both girls were having yet again, 'a sister's sleepover party'.

Throwing a quick glance to their sleeping bodies and heading straight to the blood glucose meters, I make a mental note about their current physical status.  One is covered up head to tow (as I was) while the other is without any blankets at all.  Worried about the thought that perhaps the one overly smothered in blankets might be having a low blood sugar, I grabbed her little finger first.  Quickly injecting a lancet and noting that the resulting blood looked 'normal'; a nice, easy flowing, not-too-dark red. I relaxed slightly and let out a breath.  BEEP!  110 mg/dl.  Our youngest daughter was fine.

As soon as my breathing had regulated, that uneasy panicky feeling sharply returned.  Perhaps it was the other daughter, laying so still that was headed towards a serious low blood sugar. 

(And for those without multiple family members living with type 1 diabetes, this might be  my world's worst moment in having two with t1d... how do you pick a child to help first when danger might be lurking?)

My fingers robotically changed lancets and test strips on the blood sugar meter.  A sharp poke and I noticed that the blood that came forth was lighter, thinner and more watery.  Before the alarming BEEP BEEP BEEP, I knew.  59 mg/dl.  

While wiping away the smear of red, I quickly uncapped a jumbo sized bottle of glucose tablets and counted out three.  My oldest daughter hearing the bottle rattle, sat directly up and held out her hand with her eyes closed. 

"How many did you give me?", she asked, still chewing with her eyes shut tight.

"Three."  I quietly answer her while carefully watching to make sure that all of the carbohydrate goodness went swiftly into her mouth and hopefully, even faster into her blood stream.

"I think I need one more", she said. 

I nod my head because it occurs to me at the same time that she will mostly likely want to sleep in.  It is after all, summer vacation.  A time where most 12-year olds sleep long into the late hours of the morning.

Handing over another glucose tab, I smooth back her hair and kiss her forehead.  I start to apologize because I feel so horrible for having her drop low.  I think of a few of the what-ifs and it saddens me to the core.  Night watch is not on her shoulders.  It is on mine.  She shouldn't have to wake up and think about blood sugar numbers and the necessary number of glucose tabs which will allow her to sleep.

A few sips of water and she is already curling back into her coverless cat position. 

As I get up to walk out of her bedroom, she calls to me. 

"Thank you, mom."

For a long while after, I lay awake and think about that.

How is it ever alright to say thank you for something that you do not deserve?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Indepence Day!

May your Independence Day be filled with love, light and laughter.  Have a wonderful night!

The Naturally Sweet Sisters

by Carl Sandburg (from Smoke and Steel, 1920)
clr gif

Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
      spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue
      and then go out.

Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night.
            Many ways to spell good night.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Vacation Tricks AND Giveaway Day with PortionMate

See Contest Below for Details

Now that type 1 diabetes camp is over, I can officially declare it to be SUMMER in the Naturally Sweet Sisters house.   Living in the northern part of the US, with school ending mid-June and camp following closely after, it seems like we can't really get a good start on vacation until July.  Which, ironically is about the same time back-to-school supplies appear.  But who wants to think about that?

Did I mention that I LOVE SUMMER???????  Whoot!

Let me tell you what I think the greatest part of summer is.  To me, this is the one time of year that we are not forced to adhere to a rigorous school schedule and I can actually stop stressing about my children's blood sugars.  If they feel low, they can test their blood sugar and grab a snack without interfering with anything.  If I feel like they might be low, it is less daunting that trying to text or send the aide a note, all we need to do is look at Sigums (CGM) and see which direct the arrow is going. 

It is so relaxed that I can almost feel the tension melting and the years rolling back. 

Well, OK.... it isn't that magical, but you get the idea. 

Best of all, we can spend the days making it up as we go.  Want more time at the beach?  Not a problem, dinner can be a few minutes later than normal.  After all, summer is a very short season around here.  We might as well make the most of it that we can!

One way to shorten up the time spent on type 1 diabetes care is to employ a few summer vacation helpful tricks:

1.)  Pre-measure snacks into plastic 'to-go' baggies that are labeled with the amount of carbs using a Sharpie marker.  This is perfect for impromptu zoo, hiking or beach trips.  Even on bike rides around the block.  Snacks keep kids safe!

2.)  Keep one or two emergency infusion set changes, extra needles or testing supplies in the car, the beach bag or even at the office.  Having supplies ready to go in a pinch is a great asset that reduces stress and time!  Makes me remember the time we were on our way to visit Cedar Point Amusement Park and realized that we had left behind the diabetes bag.  Not a problem as my husband was smart enough to keep a bag of goodies at his work.  What a super hubby!  He literally saved the day!

3.)  Consider using a PortionMate measuring tool for dinner.  Hand the colorful, fun cylinders to your children before dinner starts and let them calculate the amount of carbohydrates that they will be eating.  Kids (or adults) can simply spoon in the meal items into the pre-measured PortionMate cylinders and be ready to go before you are even seated. 

PortionMate, A meal and snack measuring tool.

4.)  Swimming or playing outside all day?  Think ahead to easy to grab and eat bedtime snacks.  Have things like yogurt, individual 1/2 cup icecream servings or single serve peanut butter tubs ready to go.  Allowing the kids extra outdoor time means that they will be asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow.

Well, from one parent to another... we hope that happens, anyway!

Win a Free PortionMate!!!!

To help make your summer more enjoyable, PortionMate, INC. has offered to provide TWO Naturally Sweet Sister Readers with a free set of PortionMate, INC. cylinders and recipe/guidebooks. 

Two lucky readers (US and CANADA) will win via a random drawing that must be entered by Saturday, July 6th, 2013, by 11:59 a.m.. 




(You may enter only 1 time.  Please be sure to leave the comment on the blog page as that is how we will determine the two lucky winners).

Naturally Sweet Sisters will contact the winners on Sunday, July 7th, 2013 after the contest has ended.  You will be asked to provide a shipping address so that we may send your FREE PortionMate. 

From PortionMate and Naturally Sweet Sisters, we wish you all a very happy Independence Day!!!!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Diabetes and Crafts: Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix

Last week, I shared that I have been performing a dietary science experiment on my own body.  The experiment involved removing gluten from my diet. 

I know this can skew blood test results but I wanted to see how I felt before I went any further.  Several good friends who were recently diagnosed with both Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, shared their symptoms with me.  As I listened to the list of issues that they were finding, I mentally ran through my own list of symptoms.  Fatigue?  Check.  Stomach issues?  Check.  Nausea?  Check.  Digestive issues?  Check.  Unexplained aches?  Check. 

All of this from gluten?  I thought it might be from turning the magic 4-0.  Could it be that this was all in my head?

Almost immediately, I felt better after removing gluten.  My energy improved and most all of the my symptoms started to go away.  Of course, none of this is proven to be a result of Celiac Disease, especially since I removed gluten before I had blood work performed. 

I would not recommend this to anyone as I am now faced with the daunting task of having to resume eating gluten and feeling possibly even worse than before just to confirm my hypothesis. 

It makes me wonder why anyone would eat gluten, though.  And why the heck is gluten in virtually everything we eat or use daily?  As my dear friend Angela pointed out, it is even in the sticky part of envelope adhesive. 

Good grief!

During my gluten free adventure, I discovered a delicious bread mix from Hodgson Mill.  I am calling this a craft because this is something fun that you can do with your children as well as by yourself.  Wrap it up in cellophane, add a pretty ribbon and you have a gift for a neighbor, relative or friend!


The bread mix reminds me a little of my beloved beer bread.  The consistency is thick and the bread is heavy, with a good crunchy crust.


We made our version in a bread machine set at medium brown crust for breads that are 1 1/2 pounds.

The ingredients:
1 package of Gluten Free Hodgson Mill Bread Mix
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 whole eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 packet fast rise yeast

Starting with wet ingredients, layer into the bread maker pan.  Add dry ingredients and finish off with the packet of yeast.  I believe our cycle took about three hours to make.

The girls and I sampled this and while it was delicious warm with a smear of 'butter', we decided to try a little fruit jelly too.


I had just made freezer jam during strawberry season, so we tried that as well as a jar of Georgia peach preserves that we had picked up from a farmer's market on the way back from Disney World this spring.


Both were delicious.  As would be nut butters, honey or on the savory side, herbed cheese or olive oil with spices. 

Anyway that you choose, it is nice to know that if you are going gluten-free, there are choices for bread that tastes much like any other variety that you are currently eating.  Without a bread maker, consider trying UDI's breads. They even have bagels, hotdog and hamburger buns! 

Wish me luck on blood testing!  We've got some work to do to find out a few more answers.