Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

We don't do Halloween big style round these parts but we are having a scary supper (purple potato wedges roasted in the oven and moon shaped biscuits - actually broccoli would be more likely to scare the bejeezus out of Frank, so I may have a rethink!).
We have carved a pumpkin and Frank and I have fashioned a ghost costume out of a sheet to scare Daddy.
We are also going to watch Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".
I leave you with a clip from one of my favourite movies and one that is kind of befitting today.
Happy Halloween!
P.S. Thanks for all your great comments yesterday, I love hearing from you .

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Art or Science?

We have an ongoing discussion in our house about whether the management of diabetes is an art or a science?
Mr Muffinmoon feels it is a science, pure and simple. As does our Diabetes nurse, Shelagh.
For me, however, it is an art, almost pure and almost simple.
For example: At what point are we ever in full possession of all the facts?
Er, that would be never.
Let's talk it through:
How much is Frank going to exercise today?
How much will he grow and how will his hormones affect him today?
How many hissy-fits will he have and how will they affect him?
etc etc etc
There are just so many variables that it is impossible to make a decision and feel entirely confident in it.
Steve posted recently about instinct and mine has served me very well since Frank was diagnosed.
We had friends over for supper the other night and we were talking about this with them.
Mr M stuck to his "It's a science" theory and I stuck with my "It's an art".
I then asked him how then, he would explain the night I got home from Henley and we tested Frank's BG at 10pm, went to bed at 11pm and at 12:10 I got up saying "I can't get to sleep I need to test Frank again, some thing's bugging me".
Frank was at 3.3.
"So, what was that?" I asked Mr M in front of our friends, "An art or a science?"
His reply?
"That? Oh, that was just weird".
So there you have it, there are now three options art, science or weird!
What's your opinion?
I'd love to know.

Friday, 29 October 2010

No sleep til ... well, just no sleep!

Another short trip to Henley-on-Thames with my boy. Just me, Frank and my friend, Anne.
After the shocking and so saddening news from last week I looked my fear in the eye and took Frank away for three nights in a B&B.
My reasoning being "Well, if it happens, it happens, I'll do my damnedest to prevent it, but will not give in and let it rule me".
Bravado before a fall?
Turns out the fear isn't so easy to dismiss.
No shit Sherlock!
Henley is lovely, Severine is there and Frank and I already know and love the B&B and the family that run it (they put Brio trains out for him!).
It all sounds so great, hey?
But ... oh, the lack of sleep.
Maybe I just wasn't ready after the DIB story.
These things can creep into one's brain and fester.
With sole responsibility for Frank and with nerves still jangling I just couldn't sleep.
I tested and listened to breathing and tested again, finally falling into the arms of sleep around 4am and waking at 6am to check again and then doze until Frank bounded out of bed.
I thought a lot of Jen and her post a while ago where she declared something along the lines of "Oh, what's the point of even trying to sleep anyway?".
I was channelling Jen!
Then on our last day Frank got ill with a fever and spent all afternoon in bed.
I felt so frozen and yet somehow managed to sort out numbers for the nearest A&E and the Children's Unit with Jane, the landlady of the B&B.
She was fab but I felt so exposed and so very, very (more than usually) vulnerable.
I called Mr Muffinmoon and could barely string a sentence together.
My voice was tiny.
My sense of humour AOL.
However, at 9pm he rallied and got up, wandered around a bit, chatted and had some yoghurt.
I took a few deep breaths and after another sleepless night took him home.
I sleep better with Mr M fighting the D-Beast with me.
I will take Frank away again.
This much I know.
The rest I shall make up as I go along.
Right now, I am off to bed.
To sleep, oh boy, to sleep.
( Frank today. Funny boy, full of life.)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Corners of my Home ...

... from a four year old's point of view. Dinosaurs, dinosaurs everywhere!
Plus a Halloween candle holder and the edge of a mini heart I made him (from this book) with a little pocket in it for "something of Mummy's".
He puts something of mine in it and cuddles it whenever I go out.
Drama queen that he now seems to be, this also includes when Daddy is putting him to bed and I am just downstairs.
A corner of the nature table. Just a surface with a few seasonal bits and bobs on it.

A wonky corner of the lounge.
We have culled many books but seem unable to lose any more.

Wood piled in the front doorway ready for those first fires of Winter.

The train set, of course. With dinosaurs roaming freely too, of course!

My knitting corner of the lounge, complete with needles, pile of messy magazines and D-Kit.

OK, so not a corner of the house but his Daddy's bottom. With dinosaurs, of course!
Frank and I are away visiting Sev in Henley-on-Thames for four days as of tomorrow.
We are very much looking forward to the Wind in the Willows exhibition at the River and Rowing Museum there.
I will be back here next Friday and wish you all a very good week.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Heart Ache & Love

So many amazing parents.
So many wonderful posts and comments on the sad news from the D-community these past days.
You all know what I am referring to.
In all honesty I can't add anything to the eloquence of Meri, Reyna or Jen.
I have cried for this family I don't know. Their reality is one we all dread, one we all know is a possibility.
I accept this disease in our lives.
I will never like it.
Any time it wants to head out the door is fine by me.
And yet it has brought amazing, truly amazing, people into my life.
People I am so so glad to have.
It has also made me aware of my luck and so very grateful for my life.
I would like to add one more thought to our sadness over this loss and it is this:
Take a breath. Cry for a while. Then, head up and look to today and this moment. Letting the fear rule us is not an option because then D steals every moment from us.
And that is not an option either.
My love and respect to you all for ... well, for it all.
For the love and tenacity you show in the face of the D-Beast day in, day out.
For being there for me when it all feels too much.
Cyber hugs to you all and all your little sprogs as well.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


The sun shone, the kids played and then fell out and then played again.
We ate well and drank even better.
The kids kept us busy enough to forget to take enough photos.
But I can offer you these of our Saturday morning stroll along the Wivenhoe Trail.
This little munchkin is Nancy on her Daddy's shoulders.
They have the same beautiful red hair.

Matilda and Frank had a great time on their balance bikes and climbing trees.
They were also very eagle-eyed when it came to blackberries and chestnuts. Yum.

And that's my sister, Heather.
It was a busy, lively and fab weekend.
I'll be back very soon with some questions about four year olds and their behaviour. So, brace yourselves. It's gonna get lively!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Been Craftin'

In my few spare moments over the past month I have been sewing a lot! The knitting happens in front of the TV or whilst playing board games with Frank or listening to music but sewing is an altogether more difficult thing to arrange when there is a four year old to amuse.
However, after setting the boy up with his own little sewing table along with scraps of cute fabric and safety scissors I have managed to get a few items actually completed as he chops his fabric up.
First up, the bath mat from Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.
It's a great book and one I would highly recommend for its straightforward ideas and methods.
It advocates using what you already have, which ticks a lot of boxes for me as I have lots of old sheets and towels, for example, and will be able to run a few of these up for friends in future without buying anything new at all.
This one is made from an old yellow towel and some curtain cut-off material. I have also been making little bunting messages for friends for Christmas pressies. None of them read my blog so it's OK for me to post about them!
The blanket cost £2 at the Salvation Army shop in town and I've spend ages hand sewing the letters and hearts on them and I think they look so cute.
There is a tactile warmth from blanket and felt that will look great at Christmas time.
I am also using a lot of the lovely vintage buttons I inherited from my Great Aunt Dolly (real name Emily Lucretia. How's that for a great name? Frank escaped only by being a boy!!).

I will be taking a long weekend away from the computer as my sister, Heather, and her family are coming to stay and I want to soak up every moment with them. We haven't seen them for eighteen months. They live on a dairy farm in Dorset (Thomas Hardy country) and this is the only weekend they have before the cows start calving! Cool, eh?
See you next week and have a fabulous weekend.
Mine will be filled with kids, sisters, red-haired dairy farmers, beef joints fresh from Dorset, chats and wine (ahem ...).

Monday, 11 October 2010

The "Stitch This" Display

Just a quick post this evening to show you all, as promised, the display window with my craft group's bras for Breast Cancer Awareness at Cornerstone in Colchester.
Not so sure they will be offering us the space for FGM Awareness month in February.
Ahem ...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Celebrating his two year Diabetes birthday!

So, 10th October is a memorable day for us.
It is Frank's diagnosis day and we have taken to celebrating it as his Diabetes Birthday. This is our first year of doing this as even last year we were too freaked out still to feel like celebrating.
Now though, it feels different, and I am aware of wanting Frank himself to be involved in celebrating.
I spoke to him about it yesterday evening as I was putting him to bed and said we'd make a cake. He said chocolate would be "the best, 'cause it's may fay-vrit and it needs chocolate buttons in a circle and berries in stripes".
Who am I to fly in the face of such good taste?
So, as we drank our Smoothie Sunday smoothies we made a sugar-free chocolate cake from this book.
It rose really well and tasted fabulous.
I covered it in a chocolate ganache made from double cream with melted 80% Green & Blacks in it and then my little artist got to work with his decorating.

He did a great job and enjoyed two pieces today! Some family and friends popped in to help us eat the cake and we still have two slices left for tomorrow.
In putting Frank to bed this evening I suggested one was for him and one for Daddy.
His reply?
"Maybe I could have both as it was my cake?" delivered with wide, innocent eyes and a cheeky smile.
Hmmmm ....
Hope you all had a lovely weekend too!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Quince Brandy & a completed creation

Yesterday I picked eleven of our quinces from the little tree in the garden.
So, today, with my boys off at the zoo, I made a quick batch of quince brandy.
I have drunk brandy all of twice in my life, I think, having more of a taste for Scottish Whisky given the chance, but have to assure you all that I am such a horrendously cheap date that a glass of wine is about all I can manage before needing pyjamas and a cup of tea!
However, there is something about this beautiful season and about wanting to use what we have grown in new and long lasting recipes that has seen me buying brandy and pouring it over quartered quinces in jars, adding a cinnamon stick and some cloves.
The recipe called for star anise but two of our local supermarkets failed to provide it so I threw in some cloves instead. Star anise would look much prettier but rustic drinks like this look great whatever you do with them. Here are the home-grown babies waiting for the chop.
Quartered and ready for a brandy bath.

And here they are in a beautiful Kilner jar and an old sauerkraut jar (well washed and rinsed, I assure you!).

And then glowing on the kitchen window sill.
I shall wait for a cold night and a fire roaring in the grate before posting about the taste of this amber nectar.
Now, brace yourselves!
I competed a knitted, mohair bra the other evening.
Yes, rub your eyes and blink, you read that right.
I belong to a newly begun crafting group called"Stitch This" that aims to highlight issues relating to women through crafted items and occasional exhibitions.
We have the display window of the local Cornerstone, health and lifestyle community resource centre, for a few weeks for Breast Cancer Awareness.
This is my contribution.
I will take pictures of our display window and post them sometime once it is all on show (so to speak!).

And so I leave you with mohair bras floating before your eyes and with the information that February is Female Genital Mutilation Awareness Month (FGM Month).
You can't say I haven't warned you.
I tell you this is crafting on the edge.
With teeth.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Assington Mill

Two blogs in one day, I'm channelling Reyna here!
Today saw me on an all-day bread baking course at the stunning Assington Mill in Suffolk ( my home county).
My lovely friend Anne had bought me this day as a birthday present way back in March.
There were ten of us and the tutor, John, and we all had such a great time.
For me a whole day, uninterrupted by a small, and also adorable, four year old clamouring for attention was relaxing and energising.
I love hanging out with my boy but am constantly amazed at how very much I can achieve when left alone.
So here are a few pictures of my day.
The light was bad and I think Frank had smeared the lens with hot chocolate the other day so it's all rather foggy.
I came home with five loaves of bread:
  1. Soda bread
  2. Spelt bread
  3. Sourdough bread
  4. Brioche
  5. Kamut bread

For a few days I won't need to write about what we will be eating.

It'll be bread.

Luckily I made a big dish of hummus and another of tzaziki yesterday.

We have olives and I'll make falafel and dinner will be sorted for the next week! Yeast doing its thing in my bowl.

The work station I shared with the lovely Riaz.

The converted barn where we spent our day.

Spelt loaves in their bain Marie and sitting in the sun on the window sill to boost yeast action.

Soda bread cooling on the window sill.

My sourdough sitting and looking pretty.

All My Sons. Sorry, all my loaves. The burning happened due to the nature of the oven and not my bad baking.
John assured us all of this as we all had burnt bits here and there.
Ahem ...
Thanks, Anne, it was such a great gift and I had the best time.

Some answers ... and a first

First off a huge thanks to all of you for your advice and good wishes.
I have struggled with these issues so very much and have felt so abandoned at times, but, it turns out, I am the answer.
Accepting and working with what you have rather than expecting anything else seems the way forward.

Some of the answers I have found are as follows:
  • resign my job

  • never leave anyone with Frank who does not appear to take D seriously or refuses/is not able to learn

  • limit my own contact with people that make me feel they don't take D seriously

  • stop trying to explain why I need certain things done and start voting with my feet
  • work hard to remain positive and give new people a chance to learn about D
  • see a therapist for a while to get through the feelings of my own family not seeming to care enough to make an effort when it is a matter of life and death
  • blog and read blogs like mad to find comfort and solace and some fab friends who just "get it"
  • and look for the joy in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT with my boy (not that I don't get ratty and tired too)

Something I love about D (believe it or not) is that it makes certain choices absolute no-brainers.

So much is non-negotiable that the rest falls more easily into place and if you face that with a light heart.

These are the small answers that I have found so far.


We have been enjoying very wet Autumnal weather over here in England and I took Frank into town the other day to buy some felt in Autumn colours to make a garland and promised him a hot chocolate in a cafe.

It was his first such drink.

Normally he gets sparkling water and gets excited about it and about having a straw.

But what with the information available on line and it being so cold I decided to go for it and ordered him a hot chocolate with cream.

It really made me smile the bloody work it was to enable him to ingest 30g of carbs without major problems for his little body.

It was like a military maneuver!

We ate lunch, injected enough insulin to cover the hot chocolate as well and jumped in the van.

With this playing in my head we headed into town, parked and began the walk to the cafe.

Frank did his usual walking on walls, chatting, flopping around saying he can't walk and then a good few minutes from the cafe saying his tummy felt funny.

Bearing in mind I had injected him with extra insulin I was freaking out a bit but we made it to the cafe, a well known one with its carb content on-line, some of you may even have heard of it!

He was a happy bunny, drank his drink slowly and enjoyed every moment.

We coloured and chatted and said we'd do it again on another rainy cold day.