29 March 2013

Family Movie Night: Mirror Mirror


Every Saturday we share our ideas for family movie nights, with Movie reviews, fun theme night ideas and a month of FREE DVDs courtesy of our sponsor, Fatso (see below for details).

Our Super-Cool-Fab Review Team...



Our crack team of expert Movie Reviewers are this week reviewing Mirror Mirror.

This is a fairly recent (2012) take on the story of Snow White. I honestly don't know why I didn't take my princess-loving Miss Fab to see it at the movies... perhaps I thought it looked a little dark? (I must have been getting mixed up with Snow White and the Huntsman [PG13], because Mirror Mirror[PG] is anything but dark.)

We were pleasantly surprised when this one turned up in our Fatso bundle this week, along with the rest of our Easter weekend viewing.
It's a little bit silly, a whole lot of pretty and mostly it's fun. It aint gonna win any Oscars, but for a family-friendly movie night watch, we think this one's a winner.

Julia Roberts is the evil stepmother/Queen, and she's quite a hoot.
Snow White comes off as a little insipid at first, but in the end she finds her spark.
The handsome prince is a quite a dish (his character is written in to the movie early on, rather than at the end).
And the seven dwarfs are cool.



The movie is seasoned throughout with irony and humour, great costuming and plenty of action.
Enough so that my boys didn't mind the kissing bits (of which there were only a few).
I missed the very beginning of the film so I can't say with 100% certainty that there are no scary bits whatsoever (OK, the Beast in the forest might give younguns a fright, but that all turns out rather nicely)... but compared to the extremely dark and foreboding "Huntsman" Snow White (which I watched on an airplane - by myself), this one is great family viewing.

Oh, and keep watching the film to the very end... the credits have a cute surprise... and a slightly odd bollywood-style dance routine...?!?



Here's what our experts have to say about Mirror Mirror.


Dash. B. Cool: "I liked this movie, it was pretty cool. Apart from the kissy bits - yuck! The dwarfs were cool, especially when they were on the stilts. I liked the fighting."

Dash scores this movie's "coolness" as: 


Foxy Fab: "I loved this movie! Snow White was so pretty and the Queen was so bad. It was like the story of Snow White from books but a bit different. It is one of my favourite movies we have watched lately. I will love to watch it again"

Foxy rates this movie's "fabness" as: 



Super Scrag: "Yeah, kissing is yucky! I liked Mirror Mirror. It was funny."

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


..............


(For more movie reviews and theme night ideas, click the TV)


What are your best Movie Night Ideas? Send me an email with your ideas (include a picture or link to a blog post if you can) so I can feature it here on Saturday Night at the Movies.


If you haven't tried Fatso Online DVD rental before, check out my post about why I love it. Then click the box above and use the magic code FAMILY45 to get a Month's Free Trial on the Super Plan (worth $28.99).


Have a great Saturday!
28 March 2013

Easter Posting from my Tablet (attempt #76)


NOTE: Before you read this, you should be told that I unsuccessfully attempted publish this post around a thousand and seventeen times last night. I was almost ready to throw the darn thing across the room. "Publishing failed" it said repeatedly, without a clue as to why. When I checked on my computer the draft wasn't even showing there. Grrrr! all those hours wasted. Then just now I had an idea. Try publishing it from the tablet again without the photos. Bingo! So there we have it. Photos have been added in from my regular ole computer. 

and finally, The Post...
Here's a first for me... I'm attempting to write a post from my tablet. This means that i must conquer the confusion of predictive text, type without a proper keyboard, and hit post without knowing how on earth it's going to look... it's an experiment.
It makes a  change to be able to sit on the comfy couch with the tablet on my knee instead hunched over the keyboard in the dark dreary hallway.
But this could get a bit hairy.
How are youth know whether my inane ramblings are the product of predictive text gone mad... or are simply evidence of a mind which has finally snapped under the strain of domestic drudgery?
You can't know for sure.
Since this is experiment, a test run of sorts, and yet it still needs to be in keeping with my recent promise of "quality" over "quantity" i decided to take for my subject the up and coming topic of Easter.
Since i handily happen to have an instagram snap of scrag wearing his kindy-made bunny mask i thought maybe i could have a little fun with it.
Usually i go deep at Easter.
We dress middle Eastern and eat lamb and pita... retell the story of the last supper... ponder the deep stirrings of my Christian faith.
This year i am no less in awe, no less grateful for the good news of the Easter message... but it's kind of hard to be profound when you are battling predictive silliness... when your tablet tries to call your kid "scrap" and all of sudden you look back at what you've typed and find the word "Andrew" in the middle of it. (Andrew? Who the heck is Andrew???)
So tonight all i am going to say about Easter is, yum. I love chocolate.
And i don't care if chocolate has nothing to do with the true meaning Easter. I can't give a toss if the Easter bunny is a pagan symbol of fertility. All i know is that chocolate is GOOD.
And the best kind?
Chocolate given by a friend.
Even better if it's fair trade chocolate. There's something about that stuff... yummy AND socially just.

I got to spend the morning hanging out with these lovelies as we advance plans to relaunch Kiwi Mummy Blogs
Cat blessed me with Fair Trade chocolate among other wonderful treats (a great magazine, some Lush bath bombs
and some Rescue Remedy among other stuff); Leonie crocheted me a dishcloth, gave me homemade peppermint
Jif and a Whitcoulls voucher. It's not even my birthday. I feel loved and blessed.

Thankyou Cat. I ate the chocolate while i cooked dinner and it prevented world war 3 in my kitchen.
Isn't kindness wonderful? Doesn't generosity and thoughtfulness make your heart swell and your eyes  prickle?
And so i have done all i can do for my experiment tonight.
I don't know if the picture will post properly. I don't know if you will make sense of my ramblings.
But i promise to log in tomorrow to my proper computer and do damage control.
In the meantime, what do you think?
Do you ever blog from your tablet?
(Or is it in the "too hard and way too annoying" basket?)

..........................
A FUN GAME: How many errors can you spot in this post? Typos? Nonsensical sentences? A Prize for the winner



Other (deeper) Easter Posts from Years Gone By

25 March 2013

Bloglovin Explained

[source]

Today I'm going to tackle the issue I have studiously been ignoring until Saturday: Google reader is going away.
Old news to most of you I'm sure.
Actually it won't really affect ME in terms of how I read blogs (I rarely use google reader anyway) but I know that for some people this will be a shock.
The main issue for me is this: I have spent years collecting "followers" on GFC, like most of us. Painstakingly, one by one. There they sit in my sidebar: Six hundred and sixty-four of you.
Will you all just disappear on me?
Anyone else worried about this?

One of my readers is. She sent me this email on Saturday and it got me thinking...
"I'm having a panic because Google reader is closing and it seems everyone is going over to Bloglovin and I signed up but I cannot work out how to find the code or make it work. Pleeeeease can you fix this for me???? I have no idea how this works. If everyone has already swapped over, will they end up missing my blog??? Aaaargh. I know it's not life threatening or anything but you know, it's my blog and I've worked hard at it :)"

Ahhh, I hear ya, girl. What's a blogger to do?
And what's all this about Bloglovin? I thought I'd better look into it a little, since it's such "big news" in blogland. Here's what I found....

Bloglovin is an alternative reader to Google. It's simple, easy to use and looks nice. I signed up years ago, but never did anything with it. My friend's email pushed me into having a look at it again, and turns out, it's a pretty cool way to keep up with your blog faves.

You can automatically, very easily, transfer all the blogs you are following over to Bloglovin. Once you've signed up, just click here and follow the steps. Too easy.

Follow on BloglovinYou can also syndicate your posts through bloglovin to have them automatically publish on your FaceBook page or profile. Saves having to register for Networked blogs as well. Keeps things tidy.
Bloglovin also have a very helpful support page with all the questions you might have, answered here.
(I also found this helpful review of Bloglovin by EmmyJune)

Not so simple is transferring all your FOLLOWERS to Bloglovin.
There's only one way: ASK THEM TO COME FOLLOW YOU THERE.

Which is what I'm doing today (so I don't lose you. So you don't lose me.)

I'm also helping you do it for your readers as well. I've created some little social media buttons, and a banner button (in code) which you can copy and paste into your sidebar. (Bloglovin has their own but these are to match the collections I've created already).

To use the buttons I've created for you, you first need to sign up to Bloglovin (if you haven't already) and then find your Bloglovin ID.

The highlighted text is where you add your unique Bloglovin "number" or ID. I am still a little unsure as to the simplest way to find this, but I found mine by going to: account/followbuttons and then click on one of the widget styles to reveal the grab code, like this...
Your Bloglovin ID will be hidden in the html code. See, I've highlighted the bit you should copy and paste into my button codes so when people click on it, they'll be taken to your blog's Bloglovin profile.

And while you're at it, dear readers, can you please click through and follow me there as well? Cheers. Thankyou kindly. I promise not to spam-post you. Quality vs quantity from now on remember?

Here are the button codes (in styles to match my other social media button freebies)...


BLOGLOVIN HEART
<a href=" http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/BLOGLOVIN-ID"><img style="border: 0pt none ;" title="Follow with Bloglovin" alt="" src=" http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy162/donnasimone/heartbloglovin_zpsf2af24f3.png" width="220" /></a>

BLOGLOVIN ROUND GREY
<a href=" http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/ BLOGLOVIN-ID"><img style="border: 0pt none ;" title="Follow with Bloglovin" alt="" src=" http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy162/donnasimone/roundgreybloglovinlabel_zps08f9ed61.png" width="45" height="45" /></a>

BLOGLOVIN ROUND RED
<a href=" http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/ BLOGLOVIN-ID"><img style="border: 0pt none ;" title="Follow with Bloglovin" alt="" src=" http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy162/donnasimone/roundredbloglovin_zpsf23402dd.png" width="45" height="45" /></a>

BLOGLOVIN ROUND BLACK
<a href=" http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/ BLOGLOVIN-ID"><img style="border: 0pt none ;" title="Follow with Bloglovin" alt="" src=" http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy162/donnasimone/roundblackbloglovin_zps65d49ebf.png" width="45" height="45" /></a>


BLOGLOVIN COFFEE
<a href=" http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/ BLOGLOVIN-ID"><img style="border: 0pt none ;" title="Follow with Bloglovin" alt="" src=" http://i788.photobucket.com/albums/yy162/donnasimone/roundblackbloglovin_zps65d49ebf.png" width="45" height="45" /></a>



MORE HELPFULNESS:
19 March 2013

Hanging On; Checking Out...


I'm hanging on, but just barely.
Remember my post a few weeks back, about the Long and Winding Road?
Well, things have been rough, to say the least.
Unmedicated Me is not a nice person or a very pleasant mother. For my poor family, it's been like living with a volcano, or snuggling up to a porcupine.
The little things become insurmountable obstacles and the big things, well, let's just say I still haven't learnt my lesson about taking on too much (using up my limited energy on all the wrong things, of course).

It turns out that Unmedicated Me sucks.
It turns out that the good does not outweigh the bad.
We are not just dealing with "the odd panic attack" which can be ridden out for the sake of having the good emotions back. We are dealing with a cave-bear on a hair-trigger.
Not. Good.

So today I'm going to talk to my counsellor and then I'm going to fill my prescription for some happy pills.
Not the nasties I was on before, something gentler.
But it turns out, I need the drugs.
All you brave souls who live with this black dog, unmedicated, I guess I am just not as strong as you.

I'm also going to take a little break from blogging, check out of blogland for a spell, while I try to get my equilibrium back. For the next week, I'm hanging out the "Back in 5" sign.

Just one less thing to worry about, you know?
Because I love this space, I love writing and sharing and connecting... but right now I just don't have enough Go Juice to do everything I want need to do.
I'm having to trim back the extras, just to get through each day.

I'll be using my time when the kids are out to refresh, recharge... so that when they walk in the door it's their loving mother who greets them, not some angry cave bear who is likely to erupt if they leave a mess on the bench, or don't shut the pantry door.

I'm still open to doing blog design jobs (I can manage one per week) and my Etsy shoppe remains open - these endeavours are now helping me stay sane by funding a cleaner.

Don't worry, you won't have time to miss me, the way the days fly past so quickly. I'll be back before you even know I'm gone.
See you in a week or so.
xx

[Image adapted from here]
17 March 2013

Hollywood Theme Night and Photo Booth Fun


Finally it's raining here. The drought appears to be broken. Perfect weather to snuggle up for a Movie Marathon, especially as we've had Daddy away here for four days.

I got inspired by Sophie over at Little Gumnut, with her Hollywood themed party, complete with Photo Booth, so I thought that this weekend, I'd share Sophie's fab movie theme party with you, as well as the perfect movie series for a Family Movie Marathon, good ole Shrek.
(More picks for a Family Movie Marathon here)

Whether you're having a movie marathon or just a family DVD night, a Photo Booth will make it all much more fun. We think the Shrek Movies and their spin-off "Puss in Boots" make for perfect Hollywood theme night viewing... (and a super-fun marathon too).

THE SHREK MOVIES (PG) *****

The Shrek story is finally complete, after four movies. The original is laugh-out-loud funny and simply can't be beaten.
Shrek 2 is a great sequel.
Shrek The Third is probably the weakest of the bunch, but it's still great to see Prince Charming get his come-uppance.
Shrek: The Final Chapter ended the collection on a high note.
Our family loves all the Shrek movies, kids and adults alike.

Imagine having a Shrek Movie Marathon... watching the whole lot from start to finish? Perfect for a Hollywood themed movie night, as the land of Far Far Away even mimics the Hollywood sign and there are lots of Hollywood references.


KID WATCHABILITY Awesome for all but the most sensitive.
SCARY BITS  The last movie has lots of witches, but they're silly rather than scary. Having said that, I think Shrek 4 is slightly darker than the rest.
GROWNUP WATCHABILITY We discovered the original Shrek while on a date night, kidless. We walked out of the very lame "The Mummy Returns" and sneaked in the back of "Shrek" - a love affair was born. The Shrek Movies are classic, and we rewatch them on a regular-ish basis.



PUSS IN BOOTS (PG) ****

I took the kids to see this at the movies, and we all loved it. Puss is one of the great characters from the Shrek movies, and this spin-off actually works really well, we thought. Puss's back story was ironic and a bit tongue-in-cheek. there was all the humour we had come to expect of the Shrek movies; Puss in Boots is a good family watch. We'll be adding this to our DVD collection when it comes out.
KID WATCHABILITY Our boys and girls both loved it.
SCARY BITS Cannot recall any particularly scary bits. But it's PG so there must be something there. Perhaps the giant goose??
GROWNUP WATCHABILITY I'd watch it again. Mr G liked it. Not painful at all.



RATING GUIDE:
***** Outstanding, Highly recommended
**** Very good, enjoyable, Recommended.
*** OK, not bad, but not memorable
** Barely OK, could do better.
* A bomb. Avoid at all costs.

"Kid Watchability" is based on children aged 3-6 years. Movies with PG are more suited to older, not-so-sensitive children.




Sophie's Hollywood Theme Night
Soph had been worried about her daughter Lillipilli's upcoming birthday. She was running out of time and inspiration, so she put the call out on her blog for ideas and here's what happened...

Sophie says...
"...the minute I pressed that little publish button, I started having ideas.  

Idea 1: I remembered I had lots of jam jars I had been saving to put candles - they would be great to put on the table.  

Idea 2: Then I thought about all the photo booths that have been swimming round the internet.  That would be a hoot for the girls to do too.

Idea 3: Simoney reminded me in the comments that bunting is easy peasy to do with a stapler and some string (or in my case, gold card, cellotape and string!)

Idea 4: As the girls were going to watch one, the movie theme made me think Hollywood too and with the gold card I bought I planned to do gold stars behind the photo booth or some kind of glittery background.


Idea 5: The amazing Stacey lent me some of her party equipment that she hires out and offered to help with with some printables for banners, drinks bottles etc, and then lent me some decorating supplies and gave some popcorn boxes, straws and cupcake holders she had left over from other parties as well as great advice on how to decorate the cupcakes.  

Idea 6: I had had a little squizz on Pinterest earlier in the month for ideas on parties with a movie theme and found an image of a cake that looked like a bucket of popcorn.  I thought that would be fun (and easy) to do.  Stacey's advice was for the simpler classier red on white and white on red cupcakes!

This photobooth was such a success, I think might do it at every party.  Stacey created the letters for the banner and all it needed was a few balloons, some stars cut out of gold card and a basket of dress up accessories from the kids room.  Easy as pie and a great big hit with the girls...."



I absolutely love Sophie's idea for the theme, which would work perfectly for a super-special movie night as well as a brilliant movie birthday party. I love that she was able to pull it together quickly and easily; it looks great AND the girls all look like they're having a blast.

You can read the whole story over here at Little Gumnut...


What are your best Movie Night Ideas? Send me an email with your ideas (include a picture or link to a blog post if you can) so I can feature it here on Saturday Night at the Movies.


If you haven't tried Fatso Online DVD rental before, check out my post about why I love it. Then click the box above and use the magic code FAMILY45 to get a Month's Free Trial on the Super Plan (worth $28.99).

Have a great Saturday!
15 March 2013

What's Not to Love...?


Here's a few things I'm lovin' lately:

Mummy-and-Scrag Fridays (soon to be a thing of the past)


Super-serious faces (worried the tram is not headed in the right direction)



Clever Young Bakers (whipping up brownie, all on her own)




Eager young painters (insisting on helping with party prep)



Keen young helpers (all ready to assist at Scrag's Carnival Party)



Funny camera-finds (and the truly interesting angles in a four-year-old's photography)
 

DIY, upcycling and paint effects (and the free stuff you find at the Dump)


This week I've also been loving...
....and well as getting paint under my fingernails and all over my arms from all that painting; hanging out with dear friends and spending all day TALKING; and getting through another week, drug-free, somehow. By the skin of my teeth.

What are you loving lately?
14 March 2013

Lemonade and Hot Cross Buns (a Garden Tea Party)


It's been an incredible summer and it's not over yet.
I can't remember the last time it rained (yeah, I know... the poor farmers...)
Autumn is really nowhere in sight.

Every Monday I host a playgroup at my house. A bunch of local mums turn up with pre-schoolers in tow and morning tea to share. I set out the toys and lay the table.
We chat. We sip tea and snack on goodies.
The kids run wild in our garden.

We love playgroup; but with Scrag heading to school next term, it will be coming to an end.*
This means I want to make each and every last playgroup, super-special.
So when dear old Bakers Delight offered me some free hot cross buns for my playgroup morning tea, I remembered what a lovely time we had last year feasting on our favourites. Of course I said yes.

"Don't worry about bringing Morning Tea," I txted the girls. "Bakers Delight are supplying us with yummy hot cross buns again."


I mean really, who doesn't love hot cross buns? For me it's one of the best things about Autumn, when the Hot Cross Buns are back instore. Even though it still feels like the height of summer, I'm happy to warm up a bunch of cinnamon-and-currant delights and munch them down while wishing for rain (for the poor farmers).

Seeing as the weather is so splendiferous I decided to go the whole hog.
Not just regular morning tea under the carport grapevine. Nah, that's cool, but lets' push the boat out a little.
On a crisp clear golden summer-autumn morning like this, there must be bunting.
A rustic trestle table under the crab-apple tree.
And of course a lemonade stand serving home-made lemonade.



My whimsical-lovin' heart was singing with the delight of it all as I strung the bunting and spread the green-checked cloth.
Now all we needed was the Hot Cross Buns to arrive.
Lovely Julie from Bakers Delight was having them delivered specially in time for playgroup so the buns would be as fresh as fresh can be...


Right on time there's a knock at the door. The courier hands me a bag with two packs of buns in it. I sign for it, wondering where the rest of the buns are... then she waves and is gone.
I stand there with my two packets of buns thinking, OH CRAP.

I promised them buns. My playgroup mummies are coming from far and wide on the promise of delicious Bakers Delight buns, warm and crunchy from the oven, dripping butter low-fat dairy-free spread.
This was meant to be one morning tea they didn't have to make...


Better make the best of it and see how far two packs will stretch.
I flick on the oven, put my two packs of buns in to warm, while I start popping popcorn, opening crackers.
Somehow we scrape together morning tea.
And those buns do look good. And smell even better.
We divide them up carefully, half a bun here, quarter of a bun there.
Who wants chocolate chip? Who wants cinnamon and raisin?
Surprisingly two packs go quite a long way...!


I am sure there was some kind of mix up. Crossed wires. Tangled lines of communication.
It doesn't really matter.
The sun is shining, come on!
Just look at that blue sky. And the lemonade stand is pretty darn cute too...


The kids are having a ball (as always), the mums are enjoying themselves (as always)...
We came for the hot cross buns but stayed for the fun times, right?



They are trying to persuade me to keep playgroup going next term after Scrag goes to school. I shake my head and laugh. No. I love it, but someone else (with preschoolers) can pick this up if they want to. Me, I want to start an art group* (anyone wanna join my arty group? I can promise lemonade and tea; Mondays or Thursdays; BYO yummies).

[How to build this rustic lemonade stand; recipe for delicious homemade lemonade]

Can you imagine? Painting under the crabapple tree? Creating in blissful peace with some creative mummy friends...?
Heck, crafty mummies like Hot Cross buns and lemonade too.

Later I email Julie and tell her about our little mix up. She is so nice. She offers me a bunch of extra free vouchers for my playgroup. Looks like it will be hot cross buns and lemonade for morning tea again next week, ladies. And maybe an Easter egg hunt... (BYO Easter eggs.)



VOUCHER GIVEAWAY
Hands up who loves hot cross buns? I've got three $10 hot cross buns vouchers to give away. If you want some free buns courtesy of the nice people at Bakers Delight (who make THE YUMMIEST hot cross buns around) you can get some one of two ways: Come to my super-awesome playgroup next Monday (contact me if you dare*) or leave me a comment answering one of the following deeply interesting questions:

  • What's your favourite kind of (easter) chocolate?
  • Easter traditions: do you have any? Share!
  • Are you really praying for rain for the farmers or are you secretly reveling in the best Kiwi summer in living memory???!!!
(I'll choose three winners on Friday and email you for your address; your vouchers will be sent in the post early next week.)
12 March 2013

So... I SEWED! (weighted blanket tutorial)


 It's true. I actually got behind the wheel of a sewing machine and SEWED.
Me, the sewing-machine-a-phobe. (I've had an irrational fear of the needle going through my finger since Intermediate, when a girl in my sewing class did just that).

If you know me AT ALL (or have been reading my blog for longer than five minutes) you will understand what a big deal this is for me. I am the glue gun queen. I make bunting with staples and spray glue.

And yet, here I am sewing.
It must be a truly worthy cause...


Here's the back-story.
My oldest son, Dash, has been an ongoing terrible sleeper for years. He used to be a great sleeper when he was a baby, that was a long time ago. He's now ten. This has been a LONG back-story.
Dash walks around with black circles under his eyes.
No matter how early we send him to bed, he can just not switch off his brain.
For the longest time, one of the only ways we could get him to sleep without hours of procrastination (until he finally collapses with exhaustion) has been to have the comfort of a warm body lying next to him to help him settle.
Sometimes I would have to lie with him. Sometimes we would find him snuggled up in one of his siblings' beds.
This was not ideal, for anybody. Especially with him getting older.


I was bemoaning this fact to my counsellor, and complaining about our nightly battle getting our eldest to go to sleep, and she suggested something radical.
A weighted blanket.
Jane had actually made one for her son, from 5kg of rice and a pillowcase. She brought it out and showed it to me. It looked simple enough. Heavy. Hard to know how this would help.

The idea is that you give them a soothing backrub, then place the blanket over their "middle". The weight takes the place of a body, it helps the child who struggles to sleep feel "anchored" in the bed.

"Was he always a bad sleeper," Jane asked me.
"No, he was brilliant as a baby. The best sleeper out of all of them," I replied.
"So when did he stop being a good sleeper? Did you used to wrap him? Was it when you stopped?"
"I... um... YES! That's it! When we stopped wrapping him! Hubby used to do this thing he called 'a geordie straitjacket'. I've got video footage of Dash trying to houdini himself out of it in the morning... he would have been about 18 months old, I spose...."
"Bingo," said Jane. "There's your answer. He needs to feel that security in his body so he can get to sleep."

"Want to borrow it? See if it works?"
Oh yeah!


That night I showed Dash the weighted blanket, secretly rather skeptical about whether something so simple (and heavy... and surely uncomfortable???) would actually work.
Dash seemed to accept it without question.
We did the backrub, said a goodnight prayer and then laid the rice blanket across his middle...
I did not expect miracles.
Usually there would be at least five procrastinatory bed-exits, three lots of thumping on the wall asking for milk and at least one request to go sleep in my bed or have a snuggle.
This time, not a one.
Nothing. Nada.
From Dash's room, only silence.

The next morning a bright eyed, bushy-tailed boy emerged from his room stretching and proclaiming: "THAT was the BEST SLEEP EVER!!!"

IT'S A FLIPPIN' MIRACLE.
Who would have thought that 5kg of rice sewn into a pillowcase could have such an effect?
So this summer, in spite of the heat, Dash has slept well with his body laden down with rice.

Until Jane needed her blanket back, and I had to figure out how to make one.
In desperation, I began sewing a pillowcase by hand, but that was just painful.
Finally I turned to my clever, KIND, friend Meg.
Would she sew the blanket for me with her magic sewing machine (since she knows how sewing-machine-challenged I am)??
Kind Meg.
Some over, she said. Bring the rice, bring the pillowcase, she said.
So I did.

And then came the twist.
"YOU are going to sew it!" she announced. Is that an evil laugh I hear???
MWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, Meg turned the tables on me.
Insisted I face my fear of needles. Helped me every step of the way...



And suddenly I am sewing my child his very own rice blanket. ME!
I'm doing this! (yeah, just look at my face. It's another miracle.)

It took around two hours to complete - rice is tricky to handle. At the end, well it was a eureka moment.
I sewed my kid his own blanket. He decided that it was BETTER than the original (maybe cos it's RED?).
Meg also test drove the blanket on her boys... who found it uncomfortable and annoying. This is not for everybody. But for us? For Dash?
A miracle cure.
No more procrastination at bedtime. Just a familiar ritual and a blanket made of rice to anchor him to the bed and send his brain the message that it's time for sleep.
No more dark circles under his eyes. A boy who can concentrate in class and cope with pressure better cos he's getting a decent night's sleep every night.

If this sounds familiar, you might want to give making this weighted blanket a try...
(or you can save yourself the bother and shell out lots of dosh on a professionally made one from here)


What You Need:

  • 5kg bag of rice
  • a measuring scoop
  • a cotton pillowcase
  • a sewing machine
  • a kind friend to push you out of your comfort zone and help with filling the rice (optional)


Weight guide: the professionals advise 10% of a child's body weight in rice + 1 kg extra.
Dash weighs 35kg; our blanket weighs approximately 4.5 kg, give or take a bit.
The trick is just to measure the same amount of rice into each pocket. (Oh, and fill it over a tray or a large bowl so the rice doesn't get everywhere...)



The Finished Article...



(Wobbly sewing... but it WORKS)



SO. PROUD.


MY NO-SEW CRAFTYNESS
(which could be a thing of the past - do I feel a sewing machine coming on??)

[PHOTO CREDIT: All Photos taken by Meg. While I SEWED.]