Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sommerfly Sleep Tight Weighted Blankets

In past posts, I have discussed our difficulties with Brady's sleep issues. *Knock on wood* For the last 6 or so months, Brady has been able to sleep through the night! We tried several things along our road to slumberland. Some things worked, some things absolutely did not. But, one of the things that seemed to have helped was giving Brady a weighted blanket to sleep with.

The suggestion of using a weighted blankets had been given to us by several people. But, for various reasons, we just didn't hop on it like we should have. First off, weighted blankets are expensive. We didn't know anyone we could borrow one from, so that was not an option. Secondly, I had no idea which one, which brand or which weight to buy. So, me being me, I began my research and quest to find the very best weighted blanket for our nocturnal son.

In my research, the things that mattered most to me were:
- Price
- Material
- Durability
- Washability
- Customer Service

There are SEVERAL weighted blankets on the market. There are hand-made ones with custom fabrics. There are ones with removable weights. There are ones with fancy designs. But, what caught my eye about one in particular was its unique design. I mean, come on...a blanket with a unique design? Yes, this unique design is what sets apart this blanket from the rest.

The one with the design that caught my eye was a beige corduroy Sleep Tight weighted blanket from Sommerfly. The reason the design was intriguing is because it had a "U" shaped cutout to allow the blanket to lay over the shoulders, rather than a straight edge that would lay across the shoulders. Another feature that I liked was that it wasn't incredibly thick or "bubble" looking like some of the other weighted blankets. And, because this is for a child, I wanted a blanket that didn't require anything but tossing it in the washing machine to clean it. And, Sommerfly met that requirement, too!

Like I mentioned, weighted blankets are not a cheap item. They are quite the investment. But, when you are about at your wit's end with no sleep, you would gladly pay the amount for some sleep! We chose a small 8 lb. weighted blanket for our son, Brady, which ran us $166.00. Sommerfly's website has a very useful sizing guide to assist you in selecting the appropriate weighted blanket.

We noticed a remarkable difference in the calmness Brady exhibits when under the weighted blanket. When covered with the blanket, he does not move. It instantly calms him. He likes his blanket so much that he has named it his "HUGGY BLANKET". Each night as we tuck him into bed, he first asks for his "brown blanket" followed by his "huggy blanket". And, on the occasional night when he awakes for a moment, as soon as he is returned to his bed and the weighted blanket is draped over him, he drifts back to sleep. Below is a photo I had to get stealth like of Brady with his weighted blanket. It's not the best photo, but you get the point! Normally, he has the blanket pulled up over his shoulders. But, because it's been a little bit warmer these last few weeks, he prefers to have it pulled down a little.

Now, I can't end this post without telling you that I was really impressed with Sommerfly's customer service. I'm just a person who believes that if you are investing in something like a weighted blanket, the company should be able to answer your questions and assist you in making an informed decision about their product. Sommerfly employs several wonderful occupational therapists that are more than qualified and happy to answer your questions and help you select the most appropriate product for your needs. 

So, if you are in the market for a weighted blanket, I suggest you consider Sommerfly. We found that Brady's use of a weighted blanket not only provided him sound rest, but gave US much needed sleep as well. We even travel with his weighted blanket! It's on our packing list right after underwear and before toothbrush! And, we even turned my father-in-law into a Sommerfly weighted blanket user! He has his very own 25 lb. weighted blanket! 

For more information about their products, please visit them at Sommerfly.com . 

*This is NOT a sponsored post.*


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lighter Beef Pad-Thai

Last week I shared that the hubster and I are trying to cook lighter dinner entrees. We have really stepped out of our comfort zone of heavier pastas, potato and rice laden dishes and embraced more things like spaghetti squash and cauliflower based selections. We have been sticking with this challenge pretty religiously for the last month. Much to our surprise, we have really enjoyed many of our new selections!

One of Dave's favorite new dishes is this lighter version of Pad Thai. Rather than using the traditional rice noodles, this recipe uses spaghetti squash. While it requires a little more prep work, it is very delish!

Another switch-a-roo this recipe calls for is PB2. Have any of you tried it? It's powdered peanut butter that contains 85% less fat calories than your traditional peanut butter. I had to order it from Amazon.com, but, I think I'm going to try and use it in more recipes so it's a good investment in my opinion!

Again, I totally forgot to take a photo of the finished product. Soooowww-rrrryyyy! I basically was so hungry, I shlepped it in a bowl and dug in! But, trust me, it's yummo! And, to get a two thumbs up from hubby is huge! Hubby approved stamp of approval!

Well, let's get down to the nitty gritty...

Clearly, I make it a point NOT to include all of the ingredients in 1 photo because that would make TOO much sense.

Lighter Beef Pad-Thai
Adapted slightly from www.sandyskitchenadventures.com

What You'll Need 
3 1/2 cups of cooked spaghetti squash
1 cup of shredded/chopped cabbage
1 1/2 to 2 lb. boneless flat sirloin steak tips (or similar)
1/4 cup reduced sodium beef broth
4 Tbs. PB2 Powdered Peanut Buter
1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs. red cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp minced garlic
dash of red pepper flakes

Optional garnishes
2 Tbs. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Chopped cilantro

The How To
Preheat your oven to 375. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length wise. Scoop out seeds, being careful to leave the flesh. Place cut side up in a casserole dish or baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until cooked. Let cool before scooping out fleshy noodles. Set aside.

We like our meat

In a small bowl, combine beef broth, powdered peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, cayenne pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Set aside.

Season your steak. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning. I prefer to let my steak sit out a bit (about an hour) before I cook it. Grill (or cook however you prefer, I used a grill pan) your steak. Set aside to rest and cut after giving it some time.

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray (I use my Misto). Add spaghetti squash, cabbage and sauce. Heat over medium heat until warmed through and cabbage is slightly wilted. Add beef. Garnish and serve!

Makes 3-4 GENEROUS servings.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to School Giveaway!

I'm so happy to be partnering with our bloggy friend www.Prettymyparty.com to bring to you a fabulous and spectacular Back To School Giveaway!

With our kiddos going back to school soon, who couldn't use a little extra help to pay for all of those pesky school supply and new clothes expenses? I know, I sure could use the help!

The Back to School Giveaway will start today at 9 a.m. PST/12 noon EST. There will be 2 winners who will each receive a $450 Visa gift card toward their back to school necessity purchases! The giveaway will end 8:59 p.m. PST/11:59 p.m. EST on August 23rd!

My friends, it's pretty easy to enter! See below for the ways you could earn EXTRA entries! Good luck to everyone!

And, don't forget to stop by and see all of the wonderful ideas at www.prettymyparty.com!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

10 Odd Facts About Moi

Hubby and I often laugh about our oddities. It makes for interesting conversation because often times, when I tell him something odd about myself, it floors him. Even after nearly 10 years together, we surprise each other!

So, I'm about to reveal 10 ODD things about me. Things you probably wouldn't have guessed in a million years.

1. I am afraid of popping balloons. AND the sound canned biscuits make when you open them. So afraid, that I will not blow up and tie a balloon. And, I close my eyes when opening canned biscuits. 

2. I am completely addicted to reality tv. If I am sick or feel like veggin' out completely, I will turn on a marathon of any reality show and watch. I've watched the one about rattlesnake wranglers, Buck Wild, Teen Mom, Guiliana and Bill to name a few. Right now, embarrassingly to admit, I am watching Total Diva. Yes, me, sensory bin and slightly crunchy mom watches TOTAL DIVA. (I'm totally covering my face as I admit that).

3. I look into people's showers when I use their bathroom. It's not like I care what's in there - but for some reason, I need to make SURE there is not an axe murderer or sociopath waiting for me to pop a squat before making me their next victim.

4. I cannot hold something if I'm laughing hard. My husband finds it hilarious to ask me to squeeze his finger if I am belly laughing. It's physically impossible for me to to do it. I would be toast if I had to hold onto a cliff while someone told a joke. I have to add this fact to my list of reasons never to rock climb, too.

5. I have a secret crush on Brody Jenner. Yes, from the Hills and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. AND Taylor Kinney. Yes, Lady GaGa's boyfriend. I have problems. I have a hall pass from hubby in case my seductive powers capture them and they can't refuse. I mean, look at them, can you blame me?


6. I love, love, love french fries. I'd rather eat french fries than a fancy meal any day. I love them with ketchup, ranch or bleu cheese dressing. I often convince my kids that we are getting fries as a treat for them, but REALLY it's for me. 

7. I consume myself with some pretty serious stuff during the day like autism, parenting, finance, education stuff. So, to cleanse my palette, I often read PerezHilton.com and Dlisted.com before I go to sleep. It's my after dark secret!

8. I am both fascinated and deathly afraid of snakes. I often devise a plan of escape for several different scenarios of encountering rattlesnakes. I know EXACTLY what I'd do if I saw one in my kitchen, in my yard, in my garage or even in my driveway. I spend way too much time thinking about it. I am both repulsed and intrigued at the thought of them.

9. My dream car is toss up between a Chevrolet Suburban and a Masarati Quattroporte. Wonder which one I have a better chance of getting in this lifetime?

10. I don't know how to iron clothes to save my life and choose my clothing accordingly. 

That's not me, but if you added about 15 lbs., flip flops, flabbier thighs and a hyper child tugging at my leg, it COULD be me. Just sayin'.
So that's my oddity package in a nutshell. Hope you are enjoying your week!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mother Goose Time - Little Inventors Week 1

This was our first week of the Little Inventors themed box. I wasn't quite sure HOW interested Wes would be with inventors, but to my surprise, he's actually really into it! Here are a few highlights of our first week!

Hold the Money Invention
The first activity we did this week was Hold The Money Invention. We attempted to create our very own box to hold our money for the activity, but it did not hold up too well. Boo. But, alas, we had a clear acrylic box that served as our money holder for the "learning" part of this lesson.

I had Wes make a "deposit" of $10 into our money box. We took turns drawing "invention cards" and "withdrawing" the item's cost from our box. Not only did Wes practice counting, but we worked in a simplified discussion of how when we go to the store, each item has a "cost" or price.

You can spy "Falco Falcon" still chillin' in our household. We still read the feathers daily!
Making a "withdrawal"

Tote-Along Toolbox
One of Wes' favorite activities of the week was making his Tote-Along Toolbox. We started by coloring all of our tools. 

Wes then painted his tool box.

When the toolbox was dry, we attached our handle and label.

After the toolbox had a chance to dry completely, Wes added his tools (well, and a couple of other things like die-cast cars). He has been toting his toolbox around all week!

Who Invented That
We have referenced the included poster several times in our week. I actually have left it out on the counter for Wes to refer to whenever he feels like it. In this particular activity, I had Wes select a "magnifying glass" and then we found the object on the poster. On the reverse side of the magnifying glasses were facts about inventions, such as who invented the phone and how there is a wheel in almost every machine invented (gears, wheels, dials, etc.)

Looking for his wagon

Building Words
Wes really enjoys Mother Goose Time's word building exercises. This week we worked on "cat", "bat", "car" and "start".

Sticky Designs
We had a lot of fun making our sticky design. I used the enclosed plastic bag to have Wes "design" his glue blob.

Don't forget what great fine motor and proprioceptive work squeezing glue can be!

When he was finished with his designed, I had Wes place his yarn to so that we could hang it afterwards.

We finished the sticky design with sequins and glitter.

Everything is better with some glitter, right?!
Finding out by that the glue wasn't dry!

Book of the Month - Doctor Maisy
The book of the month is Doctor Maisy by Lucy Cousins. And embarrassing fact is that Wes was introduced to the Maisy series through Chick-fil-a and the small books included in their kids meals. After reading the story, we broke out our doctor's kit and role played the storyline.

Que Es?
One thing I really appreciate about Mother Goose Time's curriculum is that they introduce Spanish through very simple and easy to do lessons/activities. I am by no means fluent in Spanish, but being so close to the border, we get a ton of practice with Spanish influenced street names, foods and places. Bonus is that I'm learning right alongside him! On a side note, Mother Goose Time also includes activities that teach and review many words in American Sign Language, too. As a matter of fact, we learned "thank you" this week as well!

This activity introduced Wes to the spanish words for "wheel", "flashlight", "glue" and "telephone". I used the same teaching technique as Nick, Jr. (Thank you Nick Jr. for the informal training!). I simply would prompt, "In English we say "Wheel". In Spanish we say "Llanta". We would repeat it several times and I gradually faded my prompting until he filled in the words himself. I'm definitely making this one a ziploc bag on the go activity.

Sticky Bandage
We are working a lot on teaching empathy, which is not an easy task for a 3 year old. I use anything as a learning opportunity for my young Wes. This activity really used a fun way to teach about empathy, while making it fun and catchy!

We started off by coloring our little boy (still unnamed).

Next, we recited the poem, which basically spoke about how the boy twirled around, scraped his knee, got a band-aid from his daddy and a kiss for his ouchie.

Getting little boy a band-aid

Kissing little boy's ouchie

After we were done adhering our band-aid and giving little boy a kiss on his ouchie, we role played the poem and acted out the parts. Wes loved this so much that he actually reenacted it at his well-child check up at the doctor's office.

What Begins with B & Journal
We practiced writing the letter "Big B" this week. We practiced several pre-writing strokes like "up to down" and making "bumps". I did a tiny hand over hand, but surprisingly Wes is moving along beautifully with independent writing. After he made a "B" he was happy about, we gave it our stamp of approval (which is a monster stamp) and we placed it in our Little Inventor's journal.

Selecting the "perfect B"

Memory is a fun game to play and pretty versatile to adapt. We have played memory in the past with the cards flipped facing up, matching items, to make it easier to grasp the object of the game. This time, we placed ALL of the cards facing down and gave it a go. Much to my surprise, Wes needed very little help and really enjoyed remembering where he saw the cards. Another ziploc on the go activity!

This week we also made a vacuum with the included cardboard tray, tube and paper bag. Wes painted his vacuum blue because it's his favorite color. I've already caught him trying to vacuum up his cars. You'll notice in the photos that he is STILL playing with the globe beach ball from last month's Little Artist curriculum box!

So proud of his "invention"

Just tidying up...if only it was REAL!
As you guys already know, we LOVE our Mother Goose Time lessons. If you want more information on how you, too, can bring Mother Goose Time to your little ones, please visit them at www.mothergoosetime.com.

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