October | 2014 | Charming Diabetes

October 2014 archive


How To Do Halloween With Type 1 Diabetes

Fall is here, which means Halloween is around the corner. It’s that time of year when everyone with a faulty pancreas is forced to face their demons. Literally, there are demons out, it’s Halloween.

A holiday dedicated to the procurement of candy? Really? And my body doesn’t make insulin? I mean…are there cameras? Is this a joke?

How to Do Halloweeen With Type 1 Diabetes | www.charmingdiabetes.com

Halloween doesn’t have to be torture with Diabetes. This post is really dedicated to the young people with Diabetes, because lord knows I struggled with this day when I was still in school. One year I stressed about avoiding candy for weeks leading up to Halloween– I’d brainstorm how I’d play it cool, ways to say no thanks without mentioning diabetes, why smelling it would be enough. And then one year I decided, screw it. No one’s gonna take my candy. I ate without reservation, pumping myself full of insulin with one hand while tearing into wrappers with the other. That year didn’t go so well, for the record.

My point is that I’ve tried it all, but the bottom line is, I like candy. Turns out that despite my bionic pancreas, the insulin pump, I am in fact human and enjoy sugar. I can’t lie to myself about it. After trying everything under the sun, I’ve learned that there are a few key tricks to Charming your Diabetes during a candy-centered holiday:


When I let my mind move past the candy obsession, I learned that there are lots of other Halloween elements that I enjoy much more than the candy.

–PUMPKINS. Love ’em. We paint them, we carve them, we visit them in the patch, I look at them on pinterest, we use them as decorations. Doing all the pumpkin prep work gets my mind off the looming day of candy. Not to mention the house looks fall-friendly!

–CRAFTS. Nothing distracts my candy-lovin mind like some good Halloween crafts. Great for the kids, great to give away. Great way to spend time together as opposed to obsessing over chocolate. Or sweet tarts. Ok I better get crafty.

Charming Diabetes Halloween Crafts | easy DIY spray painted skull

I love a good skull craft. I made this one–all you need is a cheap craft skull and some gold spray paint, which I also obsess over. When Halloween is over this guy guards my desk.

–DAY OF THE DEAD. If you don’t know about this mexican tradition you should look it up. It’s much more meaningful than Halloween and the decorations are even better. I love everything about El Dia de Los Muertos, and at our house this time of year has become more about having a dedicated time of year to remember and celebrate lost loved ones. I’m not singing songs around the cemetery or anything, but Halloween can be a great opportunity to teach kids about other cultures and traditions, and, if you’re not into altar making, talk about lost loved ones’ favorite things.

–FALL BUCKET LIST. For kids, this is so fun. Ours usually includes things like pumpkin painting, leaf collecting, wagon riding, and painting fall pictures (always hilarious with toddlers). It’s just a quick little list of fun fall things to do that DON’T involve candy.


Cut the candy out and replace it with something else. Sounds painful, but in the long run you’ll be a lot happier for it. Finger puppets, vampire fangs, plastic bracelets, glow sticks, basically anything from the dollar bin at Target. Use these alternatives to pass out to trick-or-treaters and keep them around your house for fun…without the guilt that can come along with candy.

There is the option to “replace” candy with sugar-free alternatives, but I don’t really recommend it. The chemicals and artificial sweeteners are sometimes worse than the real thing, and the whole idea here is to get past the candy–not just exchange one unhealthy item for another. If you do replace with other food items, I suggest going for homemade treats (where you can control the ingredients–but don’t waste those on the trick-or-treaters because any good parent is going to make their kid throw it out), or real food treats like raisins.


If you know that you’ll be giving out good ol’ yummy candy for Halloween, do yourself a favor and pick something that you don’t like. I buy my candy for trick-or-treaters a day or two in advance–there’s no need for that to sit at my house for two weeks before halloween taunting me. And when I do buy it, last minute, I buy the stuff I don’t like. I’m a candy lover, but even I have a few less-than-favorites. I don’t want to call anyone out ahem, twizzlers, but there are some candies that I don’t crave , and therefore am not tempted to eat when they’re on my counter.


Um. ‘Scuse me, what?

Yep. That’s right. Eat it. Don’t do it like me all those year ago, diving headfirst into a bowl of Rolos, but if you know that you (or your child) really love(s) it, then PLAN for it.

–After trick-or-treating, pick 2 treats to eat right then and there. Count the carbs, and bolus for those.

–Go through the remaining candy and choose a few pieces to keep for later in the week–if you have kids this is a great time to get them involved in the decision making process and have them help choose the magic number of pieces to stay. I do this with my kids and they don’t have Diabetes.

If you need help getting that conversation going with your kids, the Switch Witch might be a good way to start. Like a Halloween Santa, she comes to your house to collect the candy on Halloween night and swaps it out for some other toy or prize. I just heard about it and haven’t tried it with my kids, but it seems like a good idea.

–The remaining candy goes away. Do not pass go, do not collect $100, just GET THE CANDY OUT.  Let the Switch Witch take it, give it to friends, donate it, throw it away . Don’t feel too guilty about tossing it out, you’re making a healthy choice for your faulty pancreas. I’ve found that the throw-away-guilt makes me keep it around, and when it’s just lying there I eat it with reckless abandon.

The idea here is that you (or you and your kids) are  CHOOSING to keep a few select pieces that you know you love. You no longer have the giant bag staring at you, begging you to eat it. You are no longer thinking about the giant bag of candy you have stashed somewhere that you shouldn’t be eating. You are freeing yourself. You have made a conscious decision to keep this select amount, and when you eat it you’ll bolus for it, and it will be delicious. None of the guilt, no closet face-shoving of m&m&m&m&m&m&m’s.

You’re free to eat it. Just do it wisely.

And here’s my last tip for Halloween–if you must buy Candy Corns, get the ones that come pre packaged in the small individual baggies, so that you have built in portion control, and you can get the exact number of carbs. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve fallen into the “I’ll just grab a couple of Candy Corns” trap! Those little suckers are dangerous!

Happy Candy Bolus, everyone!




Charming Diabetes October iPhone Download

Free Wallpaper | Charming Diabetes October Download

Here it is!

October’s FREE wallpaper download. I love Frida Khalo, and for some reason all the Day of the Dead and Halloween decorations that come out in October always put me in a Frida mood. This download is inspired by her quote:

“Pies, para que los quiero si tengo alas para volar”

“Feet, what do I need you for if I have wings to fly”

I love that quote. Frida’s life was full of both physical and emotional pain, and that quote is like a beacon of light for me on tough days. Because let’s face it, we are made for more than dwelling on our struggles. So this month’s download is a Diabetic take on Frida’s words that I hold near and dear to my heart.

It’s a big file, so for best results download it onto your computer and then email to yourself, open that email on your phone and save the image–from there you can set it as wallpaper from your camera roll or your settings.

Charming Diabetes October iPhone Download


Man, I love Frida. And what do I really need that pancreas for, anyway? I’m making it just fine…




Aquí lo tienes en español! Soy un poquito obsesionada con Frida Khalo, especialmente en octubre con todo los decoraciones del Dia de Los Muertos.

Esta descarga gratis fue inspirada por sus palabras

“Pies, para que los quiero si tengo alas para volar”

La vida de Frida estaba tan llena de dolor físico y emocional, que la cita es como un rayo de luz para mi en los dias difíciles.

El archivo es bastante grande, así que para obtener los mejores resultados descarga primero en una computadora!

Alas para volar _descarga gratis


See other Charming Diabetes Downloads Downloads HERE

PS… I own this image. I took this photo, and I created this graphic to be used as an iPhone wallpaper. It would be against US copyright law to copy it, pass it off as your own, try to sell it, or do anything with it other than use it on your own personal iPhone. Thanks!


Make A Shrine | Surviving Diabetes With Toddlers

So I’m the head chef in our house. I cook the meals, I make the snacks, I prep the food, I simmer, stir, and sautee all the time. I LOVE IT. I love to cook. My mom taught me, and since she passed away getting in the kitchen and measuring, mixing, smelling, and taste testing is my favorite way to keep her memory close.

I may be the Chef de Cuisine here at the Charming Diabetes maison (ooh la la), but by no means do I have it all under control. Yes, it’s relatively easy for me to whip up something yummy and cooking is another creative outlet for me. No arrogance in that, it’s just one of my gifts, I’m no Top Chef and I’m terrible at lots of other things.

I’m just relaying this so you understand that despite the fact that cooking food comes easily for me, I am very bad at everything else that goes along with meal time. I’m useless at clean up, awful at setting the table, I usually don’t have everything finished at the same time, and I’m always forgetting the drinks. Martha Stewart I am not.

It seems that between trying to keep the kids from killing each other or tearing the house apart while I cook, I get a little distracted. I never get around to any of the dinnertime set up that needs to happen beforehand so we can eat. So every night, after all kinds of mini interventions and referee calls with the kids, at some point, dinner is ready. And then I herd them all to the table like cats. Kid one, kid two, and husband. Kid one gets down, put her back, kid two cries, get her settled, ok now we’re all at the table. Oh wait, forgot the forks. So then I scramble to get forks and napkins and sippy cup refills because I have an inability to plan ahead.  And of course I’ve gotta GET THE GREEN BEANS away from someone’s APPLESAUCE. Oh and did I mention that part of this chaos stems from the fact that I usually have two versions of dinner (one version is more toddler friendly. I’m not a fan of that, btw, it’s just a self preservation that I’m working on changing).

So THEN I sit down, usually without anything to drink, but who cares because the silence that comes over the table is so seductive….


The fork comes up to my mouth and….UGH!


Every night. Right at dinnertime. Since I didn’t check it, there’s no way I can know if I need to correct it, plus I need insulin to cover the meal and now here I am ready to eat with no insulin on board. Super. So now I’m up searching for my meter and lancets and UGH. I suck at diabetes.

This is how things went for me for a long time until I decided something had to change. I have two toddlers. This season of my life will involve hectic mealtimes, certainly. I can accept that. But I couldn’t afford to completely ignore my blood sugar in the chaos.

So I made a Shrine. Here it is.

making diabetes more fun with a blood sugar testing shrine | www.charmingdiabetes.com

Let me break it down for you. My shrine is basically a cheap plate from target, with a cute bowl to hold my lancets, and that’s where I keep my meter, lancing device, test strips, etc.

I’m visual, so it was important to me to have it look a certain way, hence the cute bowl and the flowers nearby. It helps me feel happier about it. The medical devices themselves are less than inspiring, so the creative in me just has to spruce it up a bit to distract from the “meh” feelings they give off.

I love having it on a plate because I can just pick the whole thing up and move it;  Over to my desk if I’m working, out of the way if we need more space one the counter, beside the couch if I’m having a sick day. I keep one downstairs on the kitchen counter, so that when I’m in the dinnertime trenches it’s close by, and I can check quickly and move on. I have a second one in my bedroom, so I don’t have to go downstairs at bedtime when I’ve inevitably forgotten to check it until I’m in bed.

Plus now that it’s all together, the random lancets and test strips floating around are greatly reduced. Nothing like a toddler finding a used lancet on the floor to make you feel like a good parent. The kids know this is my diabetes plate and not to touch it, and should they have a toddler moment and forget, I can easily grab it and get everything up out of their reach.

Here it is again, after I found some gold spray paint and a lost monkey and decided my shrine would need a mascot. I reeeealllly love gold spray paint.

Charming Diabetes Shrine with a gold monkey because, why not

The shrine (both with and without the monkey) has changed my life. It’s aesthetically appealing to me, which is the biggest deal, because I like how it looks. I’m bought in; I don’t dread searching for my meter, or wander around muttering curses to my faulty pancreas. I have a nice little spot set up and ready to go. I’m checking more often, and I feel less stressed about it. BOOM! Diabetes = Charmed!

All you really need to set up your own is a plate, and a container of some sort for the lancets. If your plate is big enough, you could even have a separate trash bowl on the plate to drop the used lancets and test strips in. The one in my bedroom consists of a bingo plate I liked and wasn’t using for anything else, and a short, clear plastic, party cup for the lancets. Easy. I got the extra meter FREE from the doctor’s office. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t buy a second one until you’ve checked with your doctor–odds are good they can hook you up with a freebie.


It works for me…I hope it works for you too! When you get yours set up, let me know!! Send me your pictures to sara@charmingdiabetes.com or share it on instagram and use the hashtag #charmingdiabetes

Happy checking!

Making Diabetes more convenient with diabetes checkpoint near the bed  | www.charmingdiabetes.compretty diabetes set up | www.charmingdiabetes.com



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