Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Secrets to a Great Cup-Cake

My number one secret to a great cup-cake is LOTS of icing. 

My number two secret is I purposely do not make huge, pop-over cup-cakes.  I don't want too much cake ratio to icing. 

And ... My third secret is NOT to over bake it.  For the last 5 minutes of baking time, place the cup-cake pan directly on top of an air-bake cookie sheet.  This allows the middle of each cup-cake to finish baking, while preventing the bottom from over baking.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting Started on the Insulin Pump

 Silverberg Family Tae Kwon Do Picture
Nathan ~ Rachel ~ Zach ~ Jason
Abigail ~ Mom ~ Dad ~ Anna Marie

The following is an excerpt from my book, "Reflections on Childhood Diabetes."

Getting Started on the Insulin Pump

            My two oldest sons have been on the insulin pump for five years, and they love it.  The pump has made managing their diabetes so much easier, especially through the teenage years, when many adjustments in insulin are necessary.
            However, getting started was not a piece of cake.  For myself and the boys, the decision was easy.  We listened to our doctor, read the information he gave us, and watched the video.  We were fired up and ready to go.  My husband was not so sure.  He had a fear of the pump malfunctioning.  He also loved to wrestle with Jason and Zach and believed the pumps would put an end to their kung fu days.  Our doctor helped to calm his concerns and get him on board.
            Getting the insurance to approve the pumps was another challenge.  They attempted to deny payment because the children were already in good control.  That hurt.  How dare they refuse us better control, because the boys were doing well?!  They were denying us more effective medical help, and in essence, punishing us, for our diligence in regulating diabetes.  Our doctor, God bless him, was not easily dissuaded from his good opinion.  He battled the insurance for months on our behalf, until at last victory was achieved.
            Jason and Zach were so happy the day they got their insulin pumps.  We went to the doctor’s office and then to a conference room at the hospital where we received operating instructions.  We graduated after a few hours of training on the pumps.  We were very excited when we went to lunch.  It was kind of scary on our own for the first bolus, but we got through it.  I was totally confident that we were going to make the transition smoothly.
            In reality it probably took two months to conquer the new routine, which meant lots of testing, phone calls with the doctor, re-adjusting basal rates, and formulas for bolusing.  It wasn’t as easy as I had thought it would be.  All three of us were a bit discouraged.  I was tired from getting up at night to check blood sugars, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.  I think the boys would have quit, if I had let them.
            Then at a school event, I talked with a mother whose child was on a pump.  She asked me how we were doing.  I slowly responded, “Okay.”  She must have heard the hesitancy in my voice, and she told me her experience.
            She explained to me that after a couple of months she was ready to bring it back to the doctor and say, “Here, take this thing!” but how they had stuck with it, and now were doing great.  She gave me the encouragement, my second wind if you will, to persevere.  We did just that, and in a short time it was mostly smooth sailing.
            Jason and Zach loved their pumps and the new freedom that came with them.   Now they had a lot more flexibility in their schedules, especially when it came to eating, and our living room is still bombarded by the sounds of kung fu fighting – all the kids against Dad, having the time of their lives.
            When the boys chose to disconnect from their pumps for our annual week at camp, I wondered how they would feel when it was time to go home.  Before we left for home, they both commented to me, “Mom, I can’t wait to get back on my pump!”
            Some time after making the switch to the pump, Zach came to me with a very interesting comment.  “Mom,” he said, “The pump is like a key to a bigger room.”  I didn’t understand his meaning, so he repeated, “It’s a key to a bigger room.”  You can imagine the puzzled look on my face.  “Having diabetes is like being locked in a room,” he answered.  “The pump is like a key that has let me into a much, much bigger room.  It’s still a room, but with a lot more space.”
            How profound!  It saddened me to get a glimpse into the sense of confinement he felt because of his diabetes, but I was so happy that the pump had loosened the restraints.
            Then there was the donut incident.  Unbeknownst to me, my two oldest boys challenged each other to a donut-eating contest!  Yes, that’s right, a donut-eating contest!  After a Sunday evening service, our church was serving those delightful Krispy Kreme confections.  What possessed two diabetic boys to engage in such a foolish activity, I’ll never know, unless I can attribute it to a common occurrence in teenagers I call brain dump.  (Regretfully, their mother occasionally suffers from this condition as well.)
            Zach ate a whopping eight donuts.  Not to be outdone by his younger brother, Jason triumphed with nine!  He still insists it was the ninth donut that made him sick; the first eight had nothing to do with it.  Zach’s testimony of not feeling too bad afterwards only reinforces Jason’s belief.
            You can imagine how shocked I was when I learned of the incident, and my disbelief only added to the boys’ amusement.  “Do the words ‘diabetic coma’ mean anything to you two?”
            I made a mental note to calm down.  I want the boys to be able to talk to me about anything, and I don’t think freaking out will encourage this, I told myself.  Slow down … breathe in … breathe out …
            “Boys, do you have any idea what that could have done to your blood sugars?”  They both assured me that their pumps had taken care of it.  They had counted carbohydrates and bolused accordingly for each donut as they were eating them.  When they tested two hours later their blood sugars were just right, and they woke up the next morning in the normal range.
            Wow!  I could hardly believe it, but I knew it was true.  I had no reason to doubt them.  I’m sure they would not have fared so well had it not been for their insulin pumps.
            “Well, I’m glad you were careful to bolus correctly, and I’m very thankful everything turned out so favorable, but I want you to consider what might have happened if you had bolused too much.  Your blood sugar could have dropped, and then you would have needed to take in more sugar.  Think of how sick you would have been.” 
            Both boys assured me they had no intention whatsoever of engaging in any similar contest ever again.  With that I had to be content, but I was very impressed with the insulin pump.
            Years later, both boys suffered major injuries, requiring months of recovery time.  Their insulin needs rose dramatically, and their diabetes entered a phase of high maintenance.  I was so thankful for their pumps.  It made all those adjustments and extra doses of insulin so much easier.  I believe their pumps, along with their dedication to recovering, kept their diabetes from interfering with their healing. 
            Three cheers for the insulin pump!

For more info on my book, please click on this link:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Two Graduation Party Songs

I like to make small changes in the lyrics of a song in order to make it fit the occasion.  Then, it’s usually my girls who sing it as a surprise to the guest of honor.  In these cases it was to their brothers at their high school graduation parties.

This is the theme song from the 80s TV show, “The Greatest American Hero,” a.k.a. “Believe It or Not,” with a few changes made for Jason’s graduation party.

       Look at what’s happened to you.
       I can’t believe it myself.
       Suddenly, you’re up on top of the world.
       It couldn’t be anyone else.
       Believe it or not, you’re grad - u - a – ting.
       You never thought you could feel so free – ee – ee.
       Flyin’ away right outta high school.
       Can it be true?  Believe it or not, it is you.
       Just like a night at the movies.
       It hit you from out the blue.
       Breakin’ you out of the spell you were in.
       Makin’ all you your wishes come true.
       Believe it or not, you’re grad – u – a – ting.
       You never thought you could feel so free – ee – ee.
       Flyin’ away right outta high school.
       Can it be true?  Believe it or not, it is you.
       This is too good to be true – ue.
       Look at me – ee,  so proud of you!
       Believe it or not, you’re grad – u – a – ting.
       You never thought you could feel so free – ee – ee.
       Flyin’ away right outta high school.
       Can it be true?  Believe it or not, it is you.
       Believe it or not, you’re grad - u – a – ting.
       You never thought you could feel so free – ee – ee.
       Flyin’ away right outta high school.
       Can it be true?  Believe it or not, it is you.

My girls also sang at Zach’s graduation party.  This song is from the movie, “High School Musical,” and it’s called, “Breakin’ Free,” with a slight change.

     You,re soarin’,    Flyin’
     There’s not a star in heaven that you can’t reach
     If you’re tryin,  so you’re breakin’ free
     You know the world can see you
     On the day that’s special for who you are
     You’re graduating today
     You’re breakin’ free
     You’re soarin’,   Flyin’
     There’s not a star in heaven that you can’t reach
     If your’re tryin’
     Yeah, you’re breakin’free
     Oh, you’re breakin’ free
     Can you feel it buildin’
     Like a wave the ocean just can’t control
     Connected by a feeling
     Oh, in your very soul
     Very Soul
     Rising till it lifts you up so everyone can see
     You’re breakin’ free
     You’re soarin’,   Flyin’
     There’s not a star in heaven that you can’t reach
     If you’re tryin’
     Yeah, you’re breakin free
     Oh, you’re breakin’ free
     To get to that place to be all that you can be
     Now’s the time
     So you’re breakin’ free
     You’re breakin’ free
     You know the world can see you
     On the day that’s special for who you are

These songs were a great surprise and a lot of fun too.  Everyone loved them, and it made the parties extra special.

The three big tricks to customizing songs successfully are:

1 - Find a song with lyrics that mostly fit the occasion, one where you don’t have to make a lot of changes.

2 - When you change the lyrics, make sure you match syllable for syllable.

3 - Make sure you keep the rhyme intact when you switch words.

Monday, April 11, 2011

How to Wash a Broom Skirt and Keep the Wrinkles Intact

             Machine wash your broom skirt using cold water with like colors.  Lay flat.

                                                          Roll up.

              Place 8-10 rubber bands along the length of the skirt, and let dry overnight.

                                                       A closer look.

                              Remove rubber bands, and hang to finish drying.

Perfect wrinkles ... Every time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recipe ~ Ice Cream Cake

This is always a smash hit with my guests, and if you’re like me and like to de-frazzle your entertaining, you can make this frozen dessert days or weeks ahead of time.  It feeds a crowd, and is fresher and better tasting than its store bought version, not to mention less expensive.  I first had home-made, ice cream cake at my sister-in-law’s.  I asked her for the recipe, and she said, “There’s no recipe, I just make it.”  So, I made a few different versions, but this is my favorite.  Your family & friends will love it too!

You will need:
2/3 package Oreo cookies (I use the double stuffed, Wal-Mart brand)
1   box Cookies & Cream ice cream (I also use the cheapest brand)
1   box Chocolate ice cream (Ditto)
2   bottles Magic Shell (or the kind that hardens = very important) Chocolate Topping
1 - 8oz container whipped topping (I use the Wal-Mart brand – Do we see a theme
    developing here?)

Remove ice cream from the freezer and let it set at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Chop or crush (I use a food chopper) 1/3 bag of the cookies, filling included, and spread them in a glass or ceramic 9x13 inch pan.

Carefully & evenly scoop the Cookies & Cream ice cream over the crushed cookies.  Let it set at room temperature for an additional 10 minutes to allow each scoop to soften more.  I then use two forks to pull apart each scoop of ice cream until it is evenly spread over the crushed cookies.  Don’t worry if it’s not exactly level.

Drizzle one whole bottle of chocolate topping evenly over the layer of Cookies & Cream ice cream.  Put the pan in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate topping time to harden.

Evenly scoop the Chocolate ice cream over the Chocolate Topping layer.  Again, allow the scoops time to soften a little more and then pull them apart with your forks.

Drizzle the second bottle of chocolate topping evenly over the layer of Chocolate ice cream.  Put the pan in the freezer for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate topping time to harden.

Spread the whipped topping over the chocolate topping.  Place 1/3 package broken / cut cookies on the whipped topping.  I brake / cut the cookies on a bread board and then place the pieces on the cake.  This keeps all the tiny crumbs from falling on the whipped topping, and keeps it looking “clean” & pretty.  Cover and store in the freezer.

Let the ice cream cake set on the counter at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.  Otherwise, you will have a battle trying to cut the ice cream!  Enjoy the cake and the compliments. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Party Game

We recently played this game for the first time at Jason (my son) and Nicole's Wedding Rehearsal Dinner.  It was a huge success!  It would also work great at an anniversary or birthday party.  I got the idea from a photo caption contest in a magazine.  I thought, "Why not have my own, photo caption contest?"  So, I chose an interesting and complimentary photo of the soon-to-be, bride and groom.  He was down on one knee, proposing to her on the shore of a beautiful lake.  The guests wrote their name and caption on small papers and put them in the designated gift bag.  At the appointed time my husband read the captions.  Some were serious or romantic, while others were hilarious!  The bride and groom were the judges, and picked two runner-ups, and one winner.  The prize was a $10 gift card to Starbucks, and the judges also received a $10 gift card.  Looking back, I wish I would have had prizes for the runner-ups ... Next time.  Furthermore, this game brought the whole group together for the activity, and was a great time of laughter, not to mention a fun way to focus on the guests of honor.  I plan to play this game at my mother's, up-coming, 90th birthday party.  Feel free to "borrow" it!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recipe: Chunky Monkey Banana Milk Shake

Chunky Monkey Banana Milk Shake
This shake is both delicious & healthy ... Great for breakfast or a light lunch ... Kids love it and so do adults.  You will need to use a high powered blender, such as a VitaMix.

1 Banana
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon (or a little less) Honey
1/4 Cup Milk (Okay to use low fat or soy)
1 Cup Ice

Blend first 4 ingredients on medium speed until well blended, about 30 seconds.  Add ice and blend on low until ice is crushed.  Slowly increase speed to High, then blend for about 30 seconds.  Enjoy!