Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mom's Mysterious Potato Soup

The "mystery" is the ingredients you don't tell the kids are in it. As far as you're concerned, it's just potato soup.

5-6 medium-large yellow potatoes, cubed with skins on
1 head califlower, flouretted (is that a word?)
1 medium-large yellow onion, cubed
1 box organic free-range chicken broth
(I would have included some carrots, but didn't have any on hand).

Throw it all into a large pot. Simmer til veggies are all very tender. Whir it around in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste (I used salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder.

Very nice winter soup.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Going Rogue

We’ve been making some changes. Again.

A couple of weeks ago, we virtually eliminated meat and dairy from our family’s diet. I thought this was going to be really, really tough, because despite being fairly health-conscious, we’ve always been a “meat and potatoes with cheesy sauce” kind of family, and because T-Bear had drunk milk by the gallon for most of his life. It’s always been his beverage of choice.

But I read yet another source stating that cow’s milk is at the top of the list of probable triggers of Type 1 Diabetes and many other auto-immune diseases. It wasn’t the first time I’d read this, and this time I did some additional poking around on the internet and found other “reliable” sources stating the same thing. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. T-Bear has always drunk gallons of milk and developed Type 1; his two brothers with the same genetic background have always shunned cow’s milk and have not developed Type 1. Out with the cow’s milk and dairy products for a while.

Also, Papa Bear’s annual physical indicated his cholesterol is through the roof…still. (Funny how mine is fine, when we're eating the same diet). His Dr. wants to medicate him, but we’re not keen on the pharmaceutical approach…too many side effects. So, out with the meat for a while.

Now, we haven’t gone entirely vegan. I’m still using small amounts of butter for some cooking, and small amounts of goat cheese, parmasagne, feta, etc. for garnish. I’ve got a carton of milk in the fridge for occasional cooking (last week I think was the first time I ever had to throw out a partial carton of milk because it was undrunk). We’re doing fish a couple of time a week, and I'm using free-range organic chicken broth for cooking. But, as often as I have been able to, I’ve eliminated the dairy and meat, and we haven’t really missed it. And after the initial falling-to-the-ground-wailing-in-despair when I broke the news to T-Bear that he wouldn’t be drinking any more milk, he’s been totally fine with it. Go figure.

So, here’s what I’ve noticed since our fairly radical dietary shift. First, Papa Bear has dropped about 10 lbs and I’m pretty sure I’ve slimmed a bit, too. Papa Bear looks and feels better; better skin tone, shining eyes, elevated mood, etc. Me, I’m still not sleeping great, so probably still look pretty haggard.

More significantly, though, T-Bear’s insulin requirements have dropped. He’s gone from 20 u Lantus each evening to 15 u, and is spending more time in his target range (85-150). In fact, sans meat and dairy, we’ve had more lows that we’ve ever had until I got his Lantus down enough, and he’s still having them here and there. And while his carb/insulin ratio hasn’t changed, he’s not having highs as often as he usually does. If he’s eating vegan, two hours later he’s usually in range. If he eats meat or dairy, then using the same carb/insulin ratio he’s high two to three hours later (usually over 200).

And, that’s the other part of the “going rogue” thing. I’ve been adjusting T-Bear’s ratios and Lantus on my own. I haven’t been checking in every week with the endo, but have been watching “trends” and adjusting accordingly. It’s a little nerve-wracking, taking the full responsibility of this. But, then, it was incredibly nerve-wracking when we were traveling and I couldn’t get hold of the endo office (cell phone issues) to get adjustments for days at a time. I feel like I need to have enough confidence to make those adjustments safely myself, and this has been the first run at that, with the safety net of being about to call the endo at any time. I’ve been getting up more often in the middle of the night, but overall I feel very good about his numbers over the past two weeks.

So, what, exactly are we eating? I’ve gotten kind of creative with the cooking thing. Lots of lightly cooked fresh veggies as “main” dishes with whole-wheat pasta or buckwheat soba noodles (yummy!) or brown rice. And lots of potatoes (no skin off my spud-lovin’ nose, there). And lots and lots of fruit for snacks, rather than processed carbs. I’m figuring out how to make a pretty good bean soup, and veggie soups, and stir-fry has become a staple.

So, I think we’re going to stick with this for awhile. It seems to be doing us good. No one has threatened to leave, and there have been no uprisings over our frequent meat-less meals. Though Papa Bear did fall off the wagon and buy chips and sour-cream dips for our last group gathering, and has a pleading look in his eyes each time the subject of the impending Super Bowl party comes up.

It may take a little more adjustment, and some “’cause Mama says so” stubbornness on my part, but I think we can do this. And, I am certain it will be best for everyone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Another Great Service Project

Craft Hope is at it again with another great opportunity to help out those who need it deperately.

Project 11: Conbit Sante is focused on putting together safe birthing kits to be sent to Haiti. Please read about this very important project here.

It is heartbreaking how little it takes to help a mother safely bring her newborn child into the world, and so often that "little" is simply not available. A bar of soap, some plastic sheeting, clean string, an alchohol wipe. When these things are not available, both mother and child are placed at risk of infection and death. It costs us so little, but can mean the world to them.

Our local homeschool group is putting together five Safe Birthing Kits to send. Please, PLEASE consider putting one (or more!) together. On your own, as a family project, or as a group. It will mean the world to a mother and her new child.

Thank you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Last First Lost Tooth

Say that five times fast :)
Since BooBoo Bear is our youngest and last child (whew...I don't think I could survive daily contact with one more!), and this is his first lost tooth...this is our Last First Lost Tooth. A family milestone, to be sure.

Yeah, he does look slightly demented. I swear I tried to get a decent picture. But, he's six. You know how it is.
BTW, I've been "catching up" on the blog and post-dating posts, so be sure to scroll down a few days if you want to see what's been going on. I can't promise my posts will be more prompt in the future, but I'll work on it ;)

Sunday, January 16, 2011


BooBoo Bear was busy on Saturday building a spaceship for Space Bear. A box, two paper plates, one Christmas tree stand, and some tape...

...a few muffin papers and more tape...

...wood shims and more tape. Yes, Space Bear is still in there.

The "Mosquito 10,000".
On Sunday, he built a second space ship. This one was just a bit bigger and included a Wii steering wheel, a furniture dolly, and quite a bit more tape. Electrical tape. A full roll. This one requires a ring full of keys.

I'm pretty sure this was the inspiration for building the machine...

And, here's the maiden voyage. The wooden sword is for steering and braking (Brother Bear's suggestion). Brother Bear is at the bottom of the road in case he got going too fast. The helmet was at my insistance.

Did you notice there's still a patch of snow on the road?

BooBoo then went on to build a third spaceship, this one for Brother Bear. Snow saucer (probably won't work very well on asphalt), kids' booster seat (comfy!), woodworking clamps, plumbing pipes... Ace Hardware bucket (booster rocket), and mosquito repellant fan (not sure why).

This one hasn't been taken out for a spin yet. I think the Cubs are putting in their request for more snow and ice, even though our driveway still has ice from last Sunday's storm.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Random Pix

BooBoo Bear's breakfast...the world's biggest panckage. Yes, I helped him flip it. No, he didn't eat the entire thing. But, he did make the batter up himself (from mix), pour it, and cook it on his own.

My first attempt at a vegetarian sandwich. It was yummy.

Don't sit on that hat. Yes, knitters are nutters.

Can you tell I've been in the house too long?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Snow Pix

It snowed here on the night of Jan 9th, so we woke up to about 6-8" of white stuff covering the world. While did manage to get a few pictures, after a short time outside my camera decided it did not want to function in the cold. Probably a good thing for all of you, or else there'd be a whole lot of boring snow pictures to scroll through. Unfortunately, though, no good pix of people :(

Upturned planters.

Distressed garden rooster.

Popper...not quite ready for camping.

Icicles and lights.
I did manage to get this video of our neighbor and his granddaughter sledding, though.

And, yep, the adults did at least as much sledding as the kids. Probably more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mythical Baret

I knitted each of my "guys" hats for Christmas. I didn't quite finish Brother Bear's because he wanted a baret, which takes a bit more time than a regular hat. He was a bit perplexed when he got two balls of yarn cast on and partially knit on a set of round needles, but I think he agrees it was worth the wait.

Brother Bear as Jaime Hyneman...


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Random Holiday Pix

Yeah, I know I'm tardy. I seem to be behind in everything right now...

Papa Bear's magnificent pies.

Rufus meets a new friend.

Bro Bear with his new Red Rider air rifle.

New boots in new snow.

Unique snowman.

Jenny's new best friend.

New footies for all!