30 September 2013

Grateful to the Absolute Max

Hello lovely blog-readers.
I am determined to be better sooner than later and hoping to get some blog posts out this week (at least two, including this one)... depending on how long I can sit here at the computer without my hands and feet going tingly and my body getting shaky and nauseous. I miss blogging. Mainly because I miss being able to tell stories. So much to say, so much to share.
I thought since today is Monday I will knock out a grateful post, because I have so so so much to be grateful for.

I am first of all grateful for all the prayers. People all of the world were praying for me. Guillaine Barre can be very very nasty; my hubby knew someone who was in hospital for nine months. The doctors were amazed by the "dramatic turnaround" and said "maybe the prayers worked". 36 hours after they were all set to give me the plasma treatment, they sent me home. There was no nerve damage and I don't need any physio. Thankyou to everyone who prayed for me. You were part of a miracle.

Secondly I am grateful to everyone who has supported my family practically, with meals made with love and playdates. I am able to do little bits but it leaves me shaky and weak, so you have no idea what the meals have meant to us. It has given poor Mr G one less thing to do. Each and every meal has been nutritious and delicious. We are all infinitely grateful.

Two people in particular need special mention: Firstly, Sophie from the Sisterhood, who has coordinated all the meals from Christchurch. What an amazing thing the Sisterhood is. Sisters all over the country supporting unmet sisters in need.(My Auckland blog friends apparently needed no cajoling to sign up to make us meals, which is so heartwarming to hear!) I urge you to check out the Sisterhood and see how you can get involved. It's a wonderful thing, and I'll be grateful forever.  I am blown away by the real love and support for me and my family, from our not just the blog girls but also our church, family and local community.

Next honourable mention is Deb Robertson, blog friend and quilt maker extraordinaire. Deb heard I was in hospital and sat up all night hand-quilting a "Quilt hug" for me. She couriered it to me in the Neuro Ward and I can tell you, it was the most amazing blessing, which arrived on the worst day of my hospital stay. That quilt was truly like a hug. When I lay sleepless in my bed after a day of hideous tests and panic attacks, I felt loved and cared for laying under that quilt. I am not the first person Deb has done this for; she uses her talent to send quilt hugs to sisters in need of one, usually forking out over $140 per quilt to get them professionally quilted, as her little machine isn't up to the task. Some lovely blog friends are running a campaign to raise money to buy Deb a quilting machine both to bless Deb and to make it easier for her to keep on blessing others with her beautiful Quilt hugs. Here's the facebook page if you want to know more; I'd love it if you would get behind it and give a little towards Deb's machine. Every little bit adds up.

And finally. I am grateful to my amazing husband who has had to juggle work and home and carry the lion's share of the parenting. He definitely deserves a medal and I am truly grateful to have such a capable hands-on dad and husband. Overall, although I am not 100% yet, and can't drive or do very much for very long, I am so blessed and grateful to be where I am. no still in hospital. Not facing a long rehabilitation. Surrounded by love and practical support from so many amazing friends. I couldn't be more grateful.

Join in with The Grateful Project
Use #thegratefulproject hashtag on Instagram and your "Gratefuls" will show up here automagically...

Use the #thegratefulproject hashtag to join us on instagram (and twitter)... or you can share your gratefuls in the comments section. There's even a button so you can let others know you're joining in...

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Gratefully Yours,

25 September 2013

A Super Quick Update from Simoney

Hi blog friends. Gosh it's been a while.
This is a super quick update for those who don't follow me on Facebook (so might not know) that I came out of Hospital over the weekend and am now recovering at home.

I am being blessed by so much love and support (and practical help) that it's almost embarrassing.
At the moment I am on the mend (and obviously no longer sick enough to be in hospital) but the process is agonisingly and frustratingly slow.
I can't actually tolerate being on the computer at the moment so this update will be super quick just to let you know that I will be going slow on blogging for a while until I am fully recovered and can sit at the computer without getting pain in my hands, body-shakes and nausea.
I also have had to put my little Etsy invitation business on hold and will not be able to fill any orders for blog makeovers either. I've decided to not even think about that until next year. The Blog Design shop is shut for now. The Etsy shop will probably reopen sooner and normal blogging will hopefully resume before too long... crossing fingers and hoping for sometime next week?

In the meantime, thanks to my brilliant new SWYPE keyboard app on my phone (which makes ouchy typing a thing of the past) I am still active on Facebook and Instagram, so if you want to keep up with my progress, please follow via one of those two channels.

I am incredibly grateful for all the love and prayers and messages of support. When I am up to it I will tell you the whole whirlwhind saga and hand out accolades to all those who have blessed me and my family during this crazy time. The blogging community - particularly my Kiwi sisters - have been AMAZING. You all have given my husband a real appreciation of the value of blogging. He no longer rolls his eyes when I mention the blog. He has seen and experienced for himself what an amazing network of wonderful women we have in Blogland.

Love heaps everyone, must go, my toes are tingling and my fingers are going a wee bit numb. Best get off.
See you over on the Facebook page ... Ta Ta For Now.

Love from

P.S. I absolutely loved Meg's Bloggy Hijack. Didn't she do fab? If you missed it here's the link: Bloggy hijack in Progress
18 September 2013

bloggy hijack in progress

Hello just a wee blog update from me (Meg) to let you all know that Simone is in hospital at the moment and won't be able to blog for a wee while.  Remember when she wasn't feeling good last week? Well turns out that there was a reason for that.  The poor love has a nasty thing called Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome and has been in hospital for the week getting all sorts of tests.  It has made her hands and feet weak and tingly and the worry is that it could progress to her lungs.  The nurses come and check her breathing even during the night! 

They're looking after her well, but at the moment her condition isn't improving.  Doctors say she'll be in for at least another week now, leaving Mr G to juggle the kids and work and hospital visits.

I went in to visit her this morning (ward 81, Auckland Hospital, if anyone wants to send some love) and she trustingly gave me her log in details so I could let you all know.  It's so tempting to hijack her blog with links to my blog (see my amazing blog here! teehee) but really I wouldn't do that to her (although my suggestions did make her laugh and laugh which was nice).

These lovely flowers had arrived from Cat so I got a photo of them with the view from Simone's window (oh a room with a view!).  Apparently the rooms on the other side of the ward can see the Sky Tower.

As I was about to leave Cat arrived so we had fun playing  nurses and making the patient giggle.

Simone has no TV and only her wee cell phone for company. She's also having trouble typing on her phone as her hands aren't so good right now.  Please leave her some comment love or funny hospital stories or links to cool things (although not more than one per comment as they'll get rejected by the anti spam thingy).  You could also email her (use the button on the right) which I'm sure she'd love.  She may not be able to reply just now but believe me they will cheer her up a lot.

I'll update you again as she gets better but it may not be for a while.
Meg x
14 September 2013

Family Movie Night: Wreck-It Ralph

Every Saturday we will be sharing with you our ideas for family movie nights. Movie reviews and fun theme night ideas.

Our Super-Cool-Fab Review Team...

Our crack team of expert Movie Reviewers are this week reviewing Wreck-It Ralph.

When Wreck-it Ralph turned up in our Fatso packet this week the kids all went YAY! Wreck-It Ralph! Secretly, I did too. This is one of those kids movies that is clever enough that  grown ups really don't mind watching it at all.
I shouldn't have been surprised that John Lasseter - who is also the creator of Toy Story - had a hand in this one too.
Like Toy Story, this movie is original, funny and clever, with witty dialogue and plenty of tongue in cheek. It is populated by characters who are creatures from video games, and like the Toy Story characters, they think and act like game characters, not humans. Their concerns and worries and struggles are all consistent with being characters in video games. The story has no gaps in logic, the characterisation is superb and the pace is brilliant.
Wreck-It Ralph is action packed and full of laughs, but also there's some deeper truths that can be drawn and tucked away to illustrate a truth in parent-child chats (especially the one where Venellope who thinks herself a glitch, a mistake, discovers that all along she has been deceived and is in fact the star of the game; the one where Ralph learns that his job doesn't define him as a bad guy; he may be "the bad guy" but he's not a BAD GUY.)

It should say a lot that first thing this morning, our tween movie expert "Dash B. Cool" creaked open our bedroom door and whispered, "Can we watch Wreck-It Ralph again in the lounge...?"

It really is one of those movies you can watch over and over...


Movie Plot Summary: Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy in his 30 year old arcade game. When the arcade closes each night he goes back to the dump where he lives, alone. His fellow gamesters think that because he is "the bad guy", he is also a bad guy. He is tired of being lonely and sets out to try and prove to people he can be a hero too. He gets into a neighbouring action video game to try and win the "hero's medal", accidentally setting off a chain of events which could be disastrous for every game in the arcade (a virus gets loose thanks to him; he is Wreck-it Ralph after all). In the mess of his crash landing in the game, Sugar Rush, he loses his medal to a "glitch" (Venellope) who is also trying to escape exclusion and isolation by entering a race using the medal as the entry fee. Can Ralph get his medal back and prove he's not really a bad guy? Will Venellope ever get to race and prove she's not just a mistake, a glitch? Will the virus bugs destroy the whole arcade or can Ralph fix something for once?

Ahhh, it might sound confusing, but just watch it. Really. It all makes sense when you're watching it and is loads of fun, for kids and grownups alike.

RATED [PG] but is really more of a [G]. Very sensitive of children might be a little scared by the scenes in the Soldier video game and when the virus gets lose in Sugar Rush.

Here's what our experts have to say about Wreck-It Ralph.

Dash. B. Cool: "Wreck-It Ralph is cool. I like it a lot. It makes me laugh and it has a cool story. I also think it's clever. This is a very cool movie for everyone. Everyone should watch this movie."

Dash scores this movie's "coolness" as: 

Foxy Fab: "My favourite bit is when the glitch asks: Are you a HOBO??? It's funny. This is a funny movie. I like it a lot cos it makes me laugh and it's not boring at all."

Foxy rates this movie's "fabness" as: 

Super Scrag: "THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE SEEN IN AAAAAGES! I love Wreck-it Ralph. It it the coolest movie ever."

SuperScrag scores this movie's "super-ness" as: 


All together we wholeheartedly recommend this movie to you for all but the very youngest and most sensitive children. Try it. You will LOVE it!

What are your favourite family moviesSend me an email or leave me a comment with your suggestions so we can check it out and feature it here.

Have a great Weekend!
11 September 2013

I Keep Thinking Today is Thursday...

...when clearly it's not. It's Wednesday and I am all out of kilter.
I'm about to crawl back to bed, courtesy of this awful virus I can't get rid of a.k.a last week's lurgy which I thought I'd kicked to the curb only to be revisited with a vengeance.

I went to the doctor yesterday to get some bloods done, thinking all kinds of morbid thoughts after visiting Doctor Google with my symptoms (silly, I know).
Apparently this weird collection of symptoms is actually a virus that's going around.
Nausea, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, numb hands and feet, elevated temperature...
I've had to reschedule umpteen appointments, cancel orders and rely on hubby to do most of my jobs on top of his.
So this is a heads up, cos I hate to think of my blog lying dormant, unloved and empty: I am poorly. In bed. Crook. Normal posting will resume when lurgy has GONE.
In the meantime Mrs Readalot is indulging in some good reads which she will share with you all upon our return to health.
And I have my phone by my bed, so although I'm bedridden I'm still "around" on Facebook and Instagram.
You can find me here...


luv from

P.S. the freesias in the picture are from my garden to cheer me up and remind me that Spring is indeed coming, any day now...
09 September 2013

Grateful for School Mornings (Even on Monday)

Monday is always a good day to force myself to be grateful. After the relatively relaxed pace of  the weekend, Monday mornings can often be a shock to the system. Especially if you are feeling seasick and under-the-weather, as I have been lately.

This morning as the Monday routine kicked in, I found myself being naturally grateful for my kids' growing independence, and their ability to pitch in an help get themselves ready in the mornings.

Every school morning used to be torture and I must have tried umpteen different clever ways to try and eliminate the stress and yelling. Nothing worked long term - until I finally stopped trying to do it all for them and got them to take responsibility for themselves.

[Dash with self made lunchbox from a couple of years ago]
We now have it down to an art - the kids make their own school lunches. They dress themselves. Sometimes they get their own breakfast. And increasingly, they are even getting themselves out the door and off to school on their scooters, leaving me waving from the doorstep.

I know that probably sounds shocking to many of you, especially given that my youngest is only five.
But here's the thing: He has a big brother and sister. They are looking out for him and showing him the ropes. In the process everyone benefits.

[no recent lunchbox-making photos are available. Here's Miss fab in 2011]

The older kids have been making their lunchboxes for ages now. I have a special basket in my room full of "Lunchbox only" snacks to which they add fruit, yoghurt and a sandwich. The only lunchbox I was making was Scrag's - since he is only five after all.
But Scrag doesn't want to be left out of the lunch-making action. He wants to be a big boy too and do his own lunchbox. Sometimes he even wants to make it the night before. 
Since he's so keen to be independent (and I'm all for encouraging that), now he does the snacks and I just make the sandwich.
He's learning independence and taking responsibility for himself. I've got a keen independent little lad who doesn't need his mummy to do it all for him. Celia Lashlie would be so proud!!

[....and it's a 2011 photo again. Really need to take more pictures...]

Now with the warmer weather and bright spring days on the increase, they even occasionally all scooter together.

One, two, three little ducks all in a row. Scooters and helmets. Big brother (Year Six)  Dash calling, "I'll go in front, Scrag you come in the middle, Fab you come behind Scrag to make sure he's safe..."

As I wave and blow kisses from the front porch, I can't tell you how full my heart feels to watch my kids working as a team. To see the big kids surrounding and leading their little brother. To watch them all take responsibility.

I've noticed there's been less fighting and squabbling lately. I'm not sure what to put that down to, but long may it last. Sure they still get mad at each other, but it's just less scrappy somehow.

I'm loving this new stage of kids who are finding their feet, taking responsibility and gaining independence. It's good for them, and it's good for me. It makes me feel very grateful...

I'm grateful for:

The kids learning to take responsibility for themselves, practising on the little things, gaining skills and confidence that *they can do it* - it's setting them up for the future, which is gaining on us every day.

The kids looking out for each other and developing their friendships with each other. If anything ever happens to me and Mr G, they will have each other. they are learning how to support each other now, in the little everyday things. It warms my heart.

Grateful for scooters, Road Safety lessons learnt by heart and teamwork.

Grateful for mornings with no shouting, kids out the door on time or early almost everyday and waaaay less stress. Such a nicer way to start the day. And the week.

Grateful (again and always) for SPRING!

Now it's your turn: What are YOU grateful for today? (Leave a comment, or use the hashtag on Instagram/Twitter and/or link up a blog post in the linky)

Join in with The Grateful Project
Use #thegratefulproject hashtag on Instagram and your "Gratefuls" will show up here automagically...

Use the #thegratefulproject hashtag to join us on instagram (and twitter)... or you can share your gratefuls in the comments section. There's even a button so you can let others know you're joining in...

Grab button for The Grateful Project
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Gratefully Yours,

06 September 2013

Around the Web We Go...

The lurgy is abating round here, thank goodness, and I am back online.
Although, with the help of my delightful smartphone, it's as if I never left.
While I languished on the couch I was able to keep abreast of online conversations and controversy, and even find a few internet gems.

First up and forefront in my mind is this strangely contradictory story about posting kids pics to Facebook. My blog friend Lisa at All in a Daze alerted us to this story and it kinda got me thinking. Not that I agree with the author at all. No. She is extreme and paranoid, refusing to post even a single picture of her daughter on her facebook account in case face recognition should one day come back to haunt her, yet (paradoxically) actually chose her daughter's name via Google - based on whether there was a domain and gmail account available. AND she illustrated the post with a picture of a small child in the bath (obviously not her own child, but I wonder whose?)
Go figure.
It's an interesting discussion don't you think?
How much is too much? How much caution verges into paranoia? How much photo sharing invades our kids' privacy? And as bloggers, where is the line between over-sharing and keeping it real?

For myself, I am trying to walk the path of common sense.
I gave my kids aliases on my blog, right from the start. I tell stories and keep it real, but don't do it in a way that will embarrass my kids. I don't share the parts of their stories that aren't mine to tell.
On FaceBook, I only accept friends on my personal page that I actually know, or have a meaningful connection to, I set my privacy to "friends only", and I never turn on geolocation on Instagram or anywhere else. I figure that's enough? Without being paranoid?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it all... How much is too much? And how much is enough? Where do you draw the line?
(Meanwhile another blog friend, Monique from Mogslee & Tiger wrote this response)


On a similar vein, in another part of the blogosphere, some fine writing managed to stir up controversy without even trying to....
A friend shared the link on FB, to a post by "Mrs Hall", an open letter post to teenage girls called "FYI: If you're a Teenage Girl..." about putting sexualised images of themselves online and how as a family they would filter those girls out. I loved the post... but then came the comments. Mrs Hall had posted some photos of her sons at the beach... and oh the backlash. The accusations of double standards was vicious and overwhelming!

Mrs Hall, whose usual readership is "19 faithful readers" responded to the criticism with humility and grace, handling this backlash with much aplomb. She has now removed the offending photos of her sons in their board shorts...
This post again got me thinking. I admire Mrs Hall's stand and the way their family sets high standards of accountability for their kids around social media... but it also made me cringe at the nastiness and eagerness to judge and jump on a bandwagon by the hundreds of people who commented.
This is one aspect of social media which I abhor. The freedom some people seem to have to pour vitriol on others, and the way once this gains momentum, a tidalwave of abuse is heaped upon an unsuspecting writer. Kind of makes me glad none of my posts have ever gone viral - I doubt I would be able to handle such an outpouring of judgement and criticism in the way Mrs Hall did.

How about you? Have you seen this occurring in social media, where people jump on a negative bandwagon?

Now, away from all that controversy, I'd like to introduce you to my friend Meg, who has recently begun a blog to document her family's overseas adventures as they live and travel around the world. Her blog is "Awake and Dreaming" and already I love it. Meg has only been blogging for a couple of week, but she is a natural blogger; she is drawing me into her adventures with wit and humour. At the moment they are in the Phillippines and Meg's latest post is a heart wrenching one. I'd like to share that post with you today...

So there you go. A round up of what's caught my attention on the interwebs lately, good, bad and ugly.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on it all....!

05 September 2013


There are now three of us in our house "down with the dreaded lurgy" - me, Mr G and Dash.
(a.k.a. sick;  a.k.a. poorly; a.k.a. miserable)

I don't even want to be on the computer (now you KNOW I'm sick)... but I have so much to do!
I really want to get on with making angels in Photoshop for my revised book... I've been starting to get enquiries from people about it recently, I guess as we draw closer to Christmas.
There was a *sniff* from a maybe interested publisher... but haven't heard anything for a couple of weeks now.
Heigh Ho.
I will persist with Blurb, much as I HATE their exhorbitant shipping costs. Needs must. Better than nothing and all that.


Yeah, I really should get off this contraption and get cosy somewhere. Curl up with a book. I've been ploughing through books lately; read a few gooduns. I feel a Mrs Readalot post coming on...


So *cough* I'm off to bed. I've replied to my urgent emails, done my urgent design jobs and put off what i can til next week.

If I'm not blogging much this week, now you know why...