Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hooray for parcels

I received not one but two parcels today, both from amazon and both fabulous books to feed me for the months ahead. One is "Nourishing Traditions" and is about eating real food, prepared with love and with time spent in the kitchen. In the last few years I have come a long way from my roots and have been constantly improving the food I create and eat for myself, my family and friends. This book is still going to be a revelation and a fantastic resource, I can feel it.
Frank meanwhile has been fascinated making up games to play with the conkers he has been collecting. We have even managed to extend the Conker Table to being an Autumn Table with pine cones, a mini pumpkin and acorn cups. Oh, and a seagull feather and three shells from his morning at the beach with Rowena and Heath. I am really trying to let him lead games at the moment (thanks Lynne for the information on this aspect of child development) and he seems to really thrive on it.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Stag beetles and chocolate ice cream

So, the day started well with Frank running a potato and apple shop from the front room, whilst munching on peanut butter (chunky please, Mummy) on toast. Budd and I sipped our tea and tried to wake up after being late to bed, being disturbed in the night and a rather early start. Apples and potatoes are quite expensive in Frank's shop and tend to cost a full pound each. Sometimes when I tell him I don't have much money things start to cost 1p instead. Seeing his language and awareness of money and numbers developing is fascinating. He went to the pantry to get us each a bag for our purchases and even scanned the items on his little till. What a great way to start the day!

We went into town in the late morning to pay a visit to the Natural History Museum. After running around there for a while looking at poor stuffed animals and the fantastic switch-activated stag beetle we went to the Love Bistro at the Minories for lunch. Frank chowed down on bacon, eggs and toast whilst I had the falafel burger and salad. A cappuccino might have slipped down too! We whiled away the few minutes waiting for our food taking photos of each other. The following two were the ones Frank took that weren't of his chair. Not a bad shot is he?

We also spent a good deal of time collecting conkers in the garden at the cafe and rolled home with about fifty more to add to the collection. I have been wokring on the idea of a nature table but have had to admit defeat in the face of a boy who loves to collect large numbers of one thing: CONKERS. So, we have a conker table.

Frank had a hypo yesterday and was at 3.0 when he was with Budd and he didn't eat any of his bread at lunchtime with me today, leaving his carefully-ordered meal (balancing carbs and protein) sadly out of whack. Thus we found ourselves sitting in The Little Ice Cream Company's cosy cafe on Eld Lane partaking of a (medicinal, you understand) chocolate (Frank) and Dime bar (myself) ice cream. As you can see he loved it and I treasure the days when we can do mother and son trips like this and enjoy food without worry. Since his diagnosis almost a year ago we have given him more sugar than I ever would have were he not diabetic. We need constant access to juice or fruit purees to bring him back from the brink of hypos. One never travels light with kids but we need juice boxes, smoothies, biscuits and his diabetes kit with us at all times. It's hard.

This afternoon Frank had one of the mini chocolate muffins I'd made on Sunday and some water. I thought I'd managed him just right but before dinner, when I tested his blood sugar, he was hypo again and at 3.2, although showing no symptoms and not mentioning he felt "wobbly". We both went into action making sure he had some juice and a small fruit yoghurt before his sausages, pesto mash and peas. He then tucked into fresh mango and pronounced himself fully full in his own special way by telling us his back was full as well as his tummy.
Budd was out at a football match this evening and before the now traditional recounting of The Enormous Turnip Frank and I had a huge amount of fun learning to throw conkers into a basket from across the room. Then bath and bed for cuddles and stories, as well as us taking turns to be a scary snail to frighten each other. This seems to involve hissing and jumping on the unfortunate victim. If my husband reads this post he is duly warned for tomorrow evening when he is on duty as I am out teaching.
And to bed with the new arrivals from best bud amazon: My Life as a Pancreas by Priscilla Call Essert and The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. Crime and Punishment can wait another day or two.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Bench Monday, first attempt

I was working all day today but still managed to cycle into town for a coffee and a look in The Remnant Shop. They have lots of cool fabrics and I am itching to get myself organised with a sewing machine soon. In terms of buying one I have to wait for Christmas money, I think, but my lovely friend Anne might be able to spare hers for a few days before that. I have a big floor cushion to cover and would also like to make some trousers for Frank for spudding about in the garden. A quilt is also on the horizon and I have a lovely feeling of anticipation with Autumn closing in as it means more time to sit in front of the fire and sew or knit.

I also hit the Natural Foods shop in town and bought a few new items like amaranth grains. Reading Shauna James Ahern's "Gluten-free girl" has made me very aware of how I rely on wheat, and in particular bread, and how it can make me quite tired at times. I don't think I have an allergy but maybe a sensitivity. So, I am going gluten-free every other day to ease into making different chioces about what I consume and to build my immunity for the Winter. It is also good research as we have been informed that as a Type 1 diabetic Frank has a much-increased chance of developing Coeliac Disease. Having a few recipes up my sleeve can only be a good thing.

Today is also my first Bench Monday, and I completely forgot until the light was fading and I was tired enough to have precious litte in terms of inspiration. The mango is going to be breakfast and I was giving it a squeeze as I was grabbing the camera to head out for the bench bonding. Next week will be better... Maybe a pineapple...

Once Frank was asleep I spent my evening pottering aimlessly and spending far too long on the internet. Must knock it on the head as I have so many fab books to read and great ideas for soups to get making. I plan to begin this once I have posted my blog. The tea is a triple ginger by Pukka and is just what my brain needed today. Yum.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

A sunny Sunday

The fabulous weather continues and I spent the morning sitting in the garden finishing "The Girl on the Landing" by Paul Torday in anticipation of the book club meeting coming up. I have at least ten days yet but the next book is "Crime and Punishment" and so I reckon it's advisable to get ahead on that one.

At times the sun was too hot for me to stay out and I scurried into the shade.

Friends dropped in today and we all had a mellow time of it with the paddling pool getting a lot of use. Frank has again fallen asleep to the sound of me telling the story of "The Enormous Turnip". A vegetable theme has very much made itself felt today with Emily bringing yellow courgette muffins to go with our afternoon tea.

My evening is now being spent writing this, ironing, packing a bag with all the necessary paperwork for my first observation at a local school tomorrow morning and doing a little bit of this

whilst watching bench Monday photo streams on Flickr. Watch this space for muffinmoon's bench Mondays. Coming to a blog near you...

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A day of fresh air and reflection

The weather has been glorious and we have all been out all day walking and on the beach.

I have been feeling so grateful for my life and my little family. After such a hard three years and Frank's diagnosis last October (10th at 5:10pm if you wish for more detail) there have been some dark times. It takes a long time to adjust to having a child in the first place and bringing my two year old, wholefood-fed boy, home from three days in hospital after a shock diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes was like having a new born again. Is he OK? Is he breathing? Did I hear him moan? Maybe I can just stay awake and watch him all night? Maybe if I cry enough it will reverse itself just like Alan Rickman coming back to Juliet Stevenson in "Truly Madly Deeply". So, I cried. I did the whole howling , snotty-faced bit and yet he still has Diabetes. Bugger.

Then something strange happened. I began to take on board that this was about Frank and not about me. Sure, I was horrified, and in some ways remain so. But I can deal with this now and can offer my boy as good a start and be as supportive a Mum as possible.

One day at a time and it seems less freakishly enormous a deal. He fell asleep this evening having had "The Enormous Turnip" read to him three times and then asked for it to be told to him in the dark as he drifted off.

You see even when nearly asleep he makes healthy choices! What a star.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Mellow fruitfulness

My love of this season continues. Today, whilst driving through the countryside around Hardy's Green, Frank and I came upon a huge number of blackerry bushes. We leaped out of the van, grabbing a bowl as we went and filled it up. After half an hour one of us had a dark blue stained chin and had contributed a total of zero berries to the pot and the other had demurely eaten only one berry, saving the others for enjoying with creme fraiche (flavoured with maple syrup and vanilla extract, yum) at lunchtime.

I will leave you to guess which of us did which.
Lunch was eaten outside today as we are enjoying a September heatwave and my little man ate blackberries and chicken thighs like a pro. I love the way he has dessert and main on the same plate and generally just encourage this. Time enough to eat in other more prescriptive ways. We are grateful he loves his protein as this helps balance his blood sugar and he can always be relied upon to eat well.

We also visited a garden centre where Frank was given free reign to chose some plants for his big blue pot in front of the summerhouse in our garden. He chose peas, and despite my efforts to get him to go for more colour, he was firm and reasoned that he could eat them whilst playing. The 34 week wait fazed him not one bit.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Autumn afternoons

I love this season with its warm sun and slight chill in the air and have been taking Frank to feed the ducks at Lexden Park. He loves it and tells me each day that we should go again as "the ducks are really hungry, Mummy". The first time we went was as a treat for being brave about going to pre-school. Now we just love to go. We race each other from the bench to the tree and collect conkers, acorns and leaves for the nature basket that sits on the table at home. It doesn't get much better than this.