Sunday, January 26, 2014

Valentine's Day Craft Project

While I primarily function as the home's Artificial Pancreas, I also like to do a little crafting.  It feels good to create something and to bring a little decorating cheer around the house.  Not to mention, that it frees my mind from the wonderful world of type 1 diabetes.

It's rubbed off on my daughters too.  They love it as much as I do.

In this project, the girls and I played around with creating Valentine's Wall Art.  I found something similar on Pinterest before hand but that version required paint and I didn't really feel like doing that.  Sometimes, simple is better.

So for this project you will need a white canvas.  We chose a 16 x 20 sold at Michaels in a pack of 2.  Michaels 40% brought the cost down to just $6.00 (or $3.00 each canvas).

Borrowing my Naturally Sweet Husband's electrical tape for a cost of $0.00 and....

Using a piece of shiny red scrapbook paper that we already had for another total cost of $0.00.

We simply folded the 12 x 12 scrapbook paper in half to cut out a large sized red heart.  Any variation of this would look adorable.  Even a series of scattered tiny hearts.

Then, tape across the canvas in a horizontal pattern.  Be sure to cover the sides as they will be seen depending upon where your guest view the art from.

Then, glue on the red heart and voila! Instant sweetness!

Happy Valentine's Day from our house to yours!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Somehow we make it through.

A fellow t1d mom and I were talking about the difficulty in managing the endless amount of 'stuff'. 

OK, let me be honest.  I was really whining about how it seems like I am constantly toting a bag of medical junk.  And if I am not physically toting it, I am thinking about the two girls that will be and strapping survival bags to their petite frames.

Hey, one of us has to be prepared.  What is that warning about kids bearing too much weight in their back packs??  Weight load, schmeight load.  I kid, I kid.  Sort of.  Who wants to pack like they are living for doomsday?

Yet, this is not a new problem.  It happened when we first had babies.  Remember those enormous diaper bags?  It became worse when the toddler years came along with bottoms that spouted like faucets while potty training AND never-quite-full-requiring-you-to-pack-a-mini-fridge tummies.  Around grade school, however, most of my parenting friends were able to ditch the suitcases and start carrying impossibly tiny and adorable handbags.  I think one of my besties even got away with a cell phone pouch with two types of ID delicately tucked away.  Her purse was so small, it could actually dangle from her wrist.  Yes. Really.  I am still jealous! 

The ongoing baggage issue is the same for all of us with kids that live with type 1 diabetes.  Like plotting strategy in a game of chess, we are anticipating and hoping to predict the outcome. Thus, the need to pack it all, just in case. That tricky type 1 diabetes!  You just never know in a world full of highs and lows!

The interesting part of all of this brain packing wizardry is that sometimes it works and sometimes, unforeseen issues thwart our attempts - BUT SOMEHOW WE MAKE IT THROUGH!

That's right.  We make it through.  I don't know how exactly, but we do. 

At that moment in our conversation, we suddenly realized that the most successful moments in the world of type 1 diabetes happen after veering off-course.  And we shared a few of our favorite stories.

Like when we went swimming and realized that the sticky side of the infusion set wasn't going to hold for much longer and we were also out of IV3000.  That taught us that in a pinch, duct tape from the kids craft project will keep the site on until we can finish the drive home.

Or when we forgot to bring tweezers and an itty bitty wooden splinter had somehow worked its way into the bottom of a tender toe.  That taught us that we could use a sterile lancing device to carefully work out the sliver of wood - without tears too.

And the time the bee sting hurt so much that we were glad to have a bit of EMLA (numbing cream) crammed into the bottom of our purse.

I would be remiss without sharing my personal all-time favorite story which was the time when we were too far from home to get back without missing the fun and we realize that we have NO more insulin for oldest daughter's pump... so we hooked up the second sister and let her have a bolus or two until we could get back. 

(Disclosure:  clearly I am not a doctor, nor am I advising you to do this.  Consult your endo if you find yourself without insulin)

On this journey, we will always be learning as we go.  Maybe that makes a bit more interesting. 

If you have any stories to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments or on our facebook page at

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Bet Clara Barton Never Gave a Speech With a 496 Mg/DL....

Did Clara Barton ever give a speech with a blood glucose reading of 496 mg/dl?

Probably not.  Well, not until today, I suppose. 

Today, my own little Clara Barton did.

And now, we wait and see if it effected her grade (or not).

Because the tricky, sneaky, horrible, and frankly, awful part of type 1 diabetes is sometimes not realizing that you forgot to bolus for a delicious lunch until it is much later in the afternoon because you are so excited to pretend to be Clara Barton.

It is especially tricky, sneaky, horrible and frankly, awful to have type 1 diabetes, because sometimes you think that all you have is a case of nerves.

Or as youngest daughter explained to me in her own words, "I thought I had butterflies in my stomach from being really excited."

When I asked her how she thought her performance as Clara Barton was, she told me, "No one even knew that my number was so high.  I did a GREAT job!"  As she tells me this, she is giggling.  Her smile is wide and I can tell that she is feeling proud of making it through the speech. Clearly, type 1 diabetes is not getting her or her alter ego, Clara Barton, down today.

I asked her if she told anyone besides me about her afternoon blood glucose and she said no. 

"After I texted you, I put in my correction, sat down with my water bottle and waited for my heart to stop racing.  The teacher was busy listening to the other kids give their speeches and I knew that I was going to be fine.  I was too.  I took care of it."  She smiles even more broadly and holds her hand up for a high-five.  This makes me realize that she views me as her co-conspirator.  It is 'us' against 'it'. 

And for once, we won.  So I smile back just as broadly and scoop her up for a hug and a tickle.

Later this occurs to me; maybe she channeled Clara Barton, a.k.a, 'The Angel on the Battlefield'. 

Because sometimes I think the battlefield is the world of type 1 diabetes.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Pancreas Gets A Shout-Out!


Last night, while my two daughters and I were watching a re-run of America's Funniest Home Videos, the host Tom Bergeron, said to the audience, "Most people are fond of their brains....."

Then, looking directly into the camera, he says, "But me?  Well, I am pretty fond of my pancreas."


What did he say????

If there was ever a celebrity shout-out, than this was it because both girls jumped up and screamed, "HE SAID PANCREAS!!!!!" at the top of their lungs.

Then, they rewound the episode on the DVR and played it about two more times over.

Now, I have no idea if that was simply written into the script or if Tom is dealing with anything pertaining to his pancreas, but what it did lead me to realize is that perhaps, we should try to work more than the word 'diabetes' into our daily conversation.

In fact, I might just name drop pancreas a few times myself! 

Or bolus.

Or infusion.

Or glucometer.

Or basal. 

And the list goes on and on.  Who knows?  Maybe we can get some pancreas trending during 2014. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Clara Barton Wax Museum

Meet Clara

Today, my fifth grader is finishing up her wax museum project. 

Ironically, she was assigned to Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.  When she came home with her assignment, I knew we had a good handle on it. 

After all, we do a lot of medical stuff around here.   Because sometimes, type 1 diabetes x2 really DOES come in handy. 

Not to mention a broken arm.  Or a broken leg.

Or even the million bits of Band-Aids that we have tucked away.

My favorite though, was the practice syringe that we have from a glucagon training.  Who knew  how handy that would be? 

So to show a bit of what our version of Clara Barton looks like, here you go...

Our remade lunchbox, now serving as a first aid kit.

Re-created vintage supplies using dollar store items and a training syringe from an old practice glucagon box.

Jelly Bean medicine.  She's old enough to understand that medicine is not candy but this was a fun prop.

Vintage Red Cross Uniform and Nursing Cap.  Thanks to Grandma! 

A Tri-Fold Perspective on Clara.

I hope you enjoyed this look at our fun project!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Someone was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes today.

Most days, I do not focus on the type 1 diabetes diagnosis numbers. 

Instinctively, I know that parents around the world are hearing the news.  To be exact, about 80 people are diagnosed every single day. 

Children are still be diagnosed.  Again, to be precise, about 15,000 children each year.  And do not discount the 15,000 adults that are also diagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes hasn't let up.  The numbers are scary.  From 2001 to 2009, the world saw an increase of about 23% in new diagnosis.

That time frame was also when my own two daughters were diagnosed.  2006 and 2009, respectively for youngest and oldest daughter.

It's sad to type this because it only underlines the desperate situation that we are living in.  Anyone could be next.  Really.

Today, an official announcement came from a parent of a newly diagnosed child that is now living with type 1 diabetes.

From Fox News :

"Serious health issues have recently arisen in our family, and under the circumstances, I have decided to discontinue my campaign," she said. "My children and their futures were the motivation for our campaign and their health and well-being will always be my overriding priority. ... Though this campaign stops today,  my commitment to keep fighting with you and your families  for the fundamental values that have made this nation and Wyoming great will never stop."

Unlike most newly diagnosed families, this diagnosis landed squarely on a family that has a well-known last name.

From :

One of her five children has type 1 diabetes, according to campaign spokeswoman Kara Ahern.

Without even personally knowing this family, my heart still broke a bit more. 

Another diagnosis.  Another grieving parent.  Another child living with type 1 diabetes.

It needs to stop.


The only ray of light in this situation is the potential to further shine a spot-light on the absolutely critical need for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Sending all of our love and support to former Vice-President Dick Cheney, his daughter Liz (a senate hopeful), and their newly diagnosed grand-child and child (a naturally sweet little girl) that is now living with type 1 diabetes.

Let's cure this.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Disney and Diabetes - Goal and Activity Calendar

The Naturally Sweet Sisters Winter Goal and Activity Calendar

Since most of the country is soundly plopped into the middle of winter, it should come as no surprise that many of us tend to feel a bit 'blah' when it comes to visualizing much more than devouring a bag of chips while watching Friends reruns.

Usually, that is me too.  Except this year, I have decided that the Naturally Sweet Sisters aren't going to get sucked into a winter rut.  And I do mean 'we' because all of us from young to old are susceptible.  No one wants to go out or do anything and we end up waiting for the big thaw... three months down the road.

To rid ourselves of this problem, I decided to bring home a large, green, poster-sized piece of paper.  My initial thought was that I would add a calendar for our family to fill in with things that we wanted to do over the next few winter months.  

Notice that I chose a bright green glowing poster paper???  There was no way anyone in the family would miss it!  Sneaky mom!

My Naturally Sweet Husband thought that was a great idea but wanted to take it a step further.  He decided that he wanted to log in running miles and times on the treadmill.  As a family we have a fitness goal too.  In the winter, that goal is hard to obtain. Writing it down for all of us was fantastic idea too.

Then, oldest daughter smiled and chimed in with the idea of saving up for a few items that she had her eye on.  The rest of us thought that sounded terrific.  A great way to see how much you are saving and to know how many more chores needed to be accomplished to get there.

Not to be out done, youngest daughter simply wanted to cross off days until her spring break.  Personally, I loved her line of thinking as I too, secretly counted the days off.

To help each of us achieve our personal goals as well as our family activities, my Naturally Sweet Husband created a quarterly chart to record our information.  

It's not fancy.  And in fact, the only real investment was time.  

I just have a feeling that it will be paying out happy rewards!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Disney and Diabetes: Crafting a Pin Trading Book

Pin Trading Books via Naturally Sweet Sisters

It's January 4th and already I am ready to tell winter to pack it in.

The wind chill was below zero (BRRRRRR!), the forecast is calling for 6-12 inches over the weekend, the day is dark almost as soon as it is light, and every board game has been played to the point of wishing Monopoly was never created!

Yuck.  I am soooo not a winter person.  Why do I live in the north anyway????

With the big emptiness of not being able to stay outdoors to play, the girls and I are going a bit stir-crazy.  For the first time, we braved a drive in the cold to get to our favorite local craft store.  After a few minutes consideration, we decided to make something fun.  

With happily behaving blood sugars (yay! Because for whatever reason, the cold weather has been GREAT on blood sugars!), we put together two homemade Disney Pin Trading Books for our (hopeful) trip sometime to Disney.  

In the past, the girls have loved wearing their Disney Lanyards with special Disney pins (you can buy the Disney pins virtually anywhere in any of the four Walt Disney World Parks or in Downtown Disney).  The lanyards represent which people visiting the park that are also into pin trading - even adults get in on the pin trading fun.  

The only issue we had was having some of the pin backings - miniature mouse ears made from rubber - dislodging from the pin.  If one was lucky, the pin stayed on and only the backing was lost.  However, a few times, that precious trading pin was also lost with the backing.  

I also noticed that several of the pin traders carried small official Disney binders.  When I checked into the price of these, I figured that unless my kids were going to be PROFESSIONAL pin traders - ha ha!, that I needed a way to make these on my own.  

With medical co-pays deeply cutting into the frivolous mouse spending budget, we try to make these little extras on our own.  

And hey, it pays off!  I find that most things Disney are even better when they are made especially for the person that needs them.

Now, I couldn't find anything like this on Pinterest or through a Google search, so this might just be a one-of-a-kind project and since I haven't tested it in real life, I am hoping that it will work as good as we hope!

Here is a picture of the supplies we gathered:


1.)  Small CD case (at the dollar store)

2.)  Felt Squares (we found ours at JoAnn Fabrics 4 for $1.00.  I bought 14 to make 2 books.  You may need more or less.

3.)  Disney ear appliques.  JoAnn Fabrics for $4.99.  You could make this as well but I wanted something easy to use.

(not pictured... scissors, glue gun, initial cardstock stickers and ribbon)

Our dollar store had several colors of the CD pouch.  And I think almost any similar style would work,  In fact, if you wanted, you could even recover the front so the design on the outside wouldn't matter.

I also considered adding a crossbody strap but the girls vetoed me and said they would rather keep the books in their backpacks.  

Before I started, I checked the size of my applique against the front and determined a plan for the outer cover.  With two girls, I needed to make sure that each one could recognize the pins as their own and not be confused by accidentally using a sibling's pins.

Oh, can you imagine how that would end up????

I also bought a couple of initial cardboard letters from a bin at Michaels.  These were only a dollar for each package but would be invaluable for identifying each child's pins.

Next, using an actual CD, I measured loosely for size on the felt.  This would be my template for determining how much felt per backing that I needed to hot glue onto each CD layer within the case.  Without the felt, the CD layer would be too flimsy and the heavy pins would tear or fall off.

 Just cut around the edges and glue right on top of each CD page.  I did both sides (not pictured) and it felt more secure when I put the pins on.

Now, your case may be more roomy but mine was not.  After adding the pins, we discovered that we needed to add a hot glued ribbon to close the case.  The kids liked that idea better and said it was easier to get in and out of.

In the picture below, you can see that I used a leftover scrap of felt to give the ribbon more stability.  Believe me, those ties are solid and no matter how hard the kids tug at them, they are staying put!

 Here are the books finished and loaded with pins.  The ones on the floor have been declared to be 'keepers' and will be kept in a special box for each child.  The others will happily be traded for potentially more 'keepers'!


And no, I haven't made plans but since it is on my New Year's Resolution list, I figure that part of achieving our goal to vacation with the mouse is to have fun while we wait! ((insert big happy smiles!!!))

Pin Trading Books via Naturally Sweet Sisters

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year = New Resolutions

Welcome New Year!
A few days into the New Year and I thought I should probably write down what I have been planning for my New Year's resolutions. 

Although the list is pretty short, it never hurts to have it written somewhere so that you keep on task when life attempts to derail you.  And when you live the highs and the lows of type 1 diabetes, that can happen quite often.

So without further ado, here is my list:

New Year's Resolutions of 2014

1.)  Have Fun!

2.)  Have Fun!

3.)  Have Fun!

4.)  Repeat numbers 1, 2, and 3 in no particular order.

And that my friends, really is the short and sweet of my list. 

Now if that seems odd, I am going to direct you back to the review of 2013 where I learned a bit about the pearls of the oyster.  That wisdom has brought me to where I am right now.  I can't let another year go muddled in sadness and so I am embracing all of the things that bring joy and light to our life... simply put; the things that bring you joy.

If I subtitled some of that, than I might add the following:

1a.)  Go to Disneyworld.

2a.)  Run a 5K but only the silly ones like the ColorRun where rainbow paint is dumped on willing participants.

3a.)  Take in a Drive-In Movie.  The girls have asked to go for a few years and I can't believe we haven't done it.  2014 is our year for this.

4a.)  Enjoy the 'quiet' and savor the 'laughter'.  And repeat again and again and again. 

It is all pretty darn simple stuff and I feel confident that I can make it happen. 

And if you want, you can join us in our quest for fun too!  Shouldn't this be a new movement? 

Welcome to 2014 - the year of joy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Project Blood Sugar Fairy

Shortly before Christmas, a dear friend and local mom of a little boy that lives with type 1 diabetes, posted an adorable picture of a present that he received in the mail; his Blood Sugar Fairy.

Standing just about an inch tall and made simply from a bit of wire and repurposed diabetes supplies, the little fairy brought out an enchanting quality that is rarely seen in the world of needle pokes, A BIG SMILE!

The Blood Sugar Fairy Book
Each fairy also arrived with a cute little book and an index card that says, "They say that when the sun has been tucked into bed at night and the stars are twinkling trying to stay awake... that is when the Blood Sugar Fairies come out.....".

Aw!  Total sweetness!
Oldest daughter with her newly opened Blood Sugar Fairy, now named Sitearia.

Instantly, I was smitten.  As a mom of two little girls that still keep tiny fairy-sized homes in their closet and bookshelves, I thought that this might be the most fantastic creation for those that are living with type 1 diabetes.  Magic and sweetness entwined together, the tiny little fairy was the perfect size for slipping into a pocket on a tough diabetes day or to dangle from a lamp used in middle-of-the-night blood sugar checks.

For my Youngest Daughter, the thought of having a little fairy to keep watch over her at night was also important.  Her moments of anxiety are heightened on the days that we struggle with blood sugar management.  Even Oldest Daughter has had difficulty from time to time.  Sleepovers took on a new dimension last year when she realized that being away from mom also meant the need to figure out who would be responsible for those late night/early a.m. checks.

So I wrote a note to the kind woman that is making these, inquiring about getting two for a pair of Naturally Sweet Sisters.  The inventor is also a mom of a little girl that was diagnosed with t1d and has great sympathy for the stress that the disease can give children (and their parents!). Instead of sitting idly while we wait for a cure, she went ahead and created these adorable fairies to simply help kids of all ages to cope.

She also encouraged me to share this special fairy with all of you.

In her words, 

"Spreading the word is the best way anyone can help with our mission. SO please do share. There might be someone who sees it who really needs the hope."

Even our night watchman had to get in on this.  I swear he knows when the girls are having lows.  

Here are a few special pictures of the Naturally Sweet Sisters opening their own blood sugar fairies.  I purposely waited until after Christmas, so that the magic would come at a time when our world was once again quiet.

It was the perfect time!
Just about a third of the size of a DexCom.  

Youngest Daughter said, "She is so pretty!".

Oh and in case you are wondering what they named them, Youngest Daughter has decided to name hers Poksie (for the little pokes that she gets!) and Oldest Daughter named hers Sitearia because she said that it would help take the pain from infusion site injections.  Of course, hearing them talk about their fairies and how they would help sort of broke my heart, BUT knowing that they had a special moment with their fairies and that for at least that moment, none of it seemed to bother either of them.

Thank you Blood Sugar Fairy!  You are making a difference!

For more information on getting your own Blood Sugar Fairy, go to

or visit