All Bets Are On!

Since we are edging ever closer to the big day, it is time to get family and friends involved in the excitement. A great way to do this is by starting a big day baby betting score sheet. Baby betting has become fairly popular over the years so there are many websites (some listed below) that offer free services to log and keep track of baby bets. A great feature about this is that friends and family can sign on themselves and you don’t have to mark down and keep track of everyone’s individual bets. Although if you are like me you enjoy hearing all of the different ideas and being able to look over them so it may be best to do a combination of a hard copy betting sheet ( templates are available online or you can make your own) as well as an online source.

It is easy to do a small betting pool just for friends and close family with only a few categories such as date of birth and sex of the baby (if not already known). When you want to do a large betting to pool to raise the stakes and have big cash winnings it is lots of fun to get friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and anyone else who wants in on the winnings involved (just make sure you have their contact info in case they are the big winner!). When doing a large pool it is best to include many categories to guess on so there can only be one winner in the end. These categories can include what date, time of day, birth weight, length, sex, and even hours of labor.

When if comes to the winners compensation you can simply make it free and treat the winner to a nice dinner, have them put in $1 or $2, or you can really get everyone’s blood pumping and have the bet in be $5 which can lead to winnings of hundreds of dollars! Doing a betting pool can also be a good way to raise money (for instance at the baby shower) for items you need for the baby. You can keep half of the money in the betting pool and give the other half to the pool winner.

Here are some sites to get you started on your pool:

About.com

Baby Center Reader Pools

Downloadable Templates

Online Pool

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Preparing for Baby

I believe that an expecting mother can never start preparing for baby too early from eating healthier to getting plenty of exercise there are so many things to be done. Perhaps one of the most fun things to do is to shop for the things your little love will need when they come into the world. Although I still have 16 weeks before the big due date, I have been thinking a lot about what items I can put on the baby registry.

When you go to your favorite store it can be very easy to get carried away selecting all of the items you want and need for your baby shower. It is important to consider what items you will need immediately after the birth of your baby. For this reason I have put together a list of necessities to have ready for the arrival and homecoming of baby.

  • clothing- including plenty of onesies, hats (for cool weather), and booties. Be sure to wash prior to wearing.

  • blankets- receiving blankets and thicker blankets for carrying baby out of the hospital (note that it is important to learn how to properly wrap a baby snugly in a blanket). Be sure to wash beforehand.
  • Infant car seat properly hooked up and checked (can be done at your local fire department) for safety and window shade
  • A crib (set to the proper height for an infant) and mattress or a bassinet
  • Baby monitor
  • Diaper Bag
  • Plenty of infant sized diapers and wipes-you don’t want to have to be running to the store when you are exhausted from lack of sleep. Don’t forget a transportable changing pad.
  • Nursing pillow and bras to make feeding baby easier
  • Infant bath tub, proper soap, washcloths, and hooded towel
  • Medical needs-thermometer, bulb syringe, rubbing alcohol, Vaseline, medicine (for emergencies), and creams
  • Baby Book and camera to be sure to catch every precious moment
  • Bottles, brush, and formula if needed

Ninja Time!

Last Sunday organized the first at home birthday party I have ever done for Kaydin. In the past, I have always thrown him a super fun birthday bash but it has always been somewhere that includes all the entertainment and they take care of the clean up. For example, last year we took a group of six kids to Casa Bonita in Denver where they watched a dive show and played arcade games. The year before we went to the Denver Zoo where we spent a great day with all of the animals.This year for the first time I had a group of 10 kids over and entertained them with a ninja themed party requested by Kaydin.

I had the most difficulty finding decorations for the party. I had originally planned to trow the party outside which wouldn’t have required much in the way of decor but when Sunday morning came and I woke up to a chilly 30 degrees with some high gust of winds I knew that we would have to shift indoors. I had searched high and low at all of the local party stores to find the proper ninja decorations (my son had forbidden me from getting anything that was “karate”, ninja turtles, or kung fu panda) so I decided to start searching online. After days of very little success, I found the Karate Mart website which had the best selection I had found of decorations and party favors (not to mention fair prices). I ordered a package that included drinks, cups, napkins,a birthday banner, and more for only $20. On Sunday morning I had arranged to pick up the cake and helium filled balloons but also made a quick run to the hardware store to grab some streamers. Overall I think the decorations turned out great!

Room Decor

The finished room decorations

Table Decor

For days before the party I was worried that the games I had planned for the kids wouldn’t be able to keep them entertained for to whole hours but the kids seemed to really have a great time and they went right up until the last 5 minutes of the party.

Since we didn’t ask everyone to wear ninja costumes to the party I planned to spend the first half hour or so turning them all into little ninjas. We laid Kaydin’s train table out with strips of black fabric I had bought from the store and some puffy fabric paint. Each child make his or her own special ninja headband to wear during the party. My only regret here was that I didn’t think through how long it would take the paint to dry (the bottle said 4 hours!) so I would advise using something else to decorate such as stickers or pieces of felt that can be hot glued on. But we had some extra strips of plain fabric that some of the kids choose to wear. Next each child picked out a dragon ninja tattoo that the adults helped put on and their transformations into little ninjas was complete! I would have liked to get them all long black shirts to wear as a costume but it did not fit in the already stretched budget.

Ninja headbands and tattoos

The ninja headband and tattoo set up.

While they were getting all dressed up we threw some pizza in the oven which they all took a break to eat (along with strawberries, chips and fruit punch) afterwards. Then we started the games…

The first activity involved finding and popping the gold balloons to let out the secret ninja who was hiding inside. The kids loved finding the surprise toy and had a great time finding unique ways to pop each balloon. The next activity was throwing stars (made out of plastic of course) where the kids each took a turn throwing the stars at a blow up ninja my husband had creatively hung up from the ceiling. Each time we went through the whole line of kids we would move them farther back and have them all go again. They loved this game and it was a great time filler!

Throwing Stars

Throwing Stars Game

Next we played a game called the floating orb where the kids had to keep a magic “orb” (balloon) from touching the ground using only the “bongo sticks” from Karate Mart. These sticks were a great alternative to buying expensive nun chucks for each child and they actually got to crack the end piece and watch them blow up which was really fun. They are incredibly durable (Kaydin’s is still fully blown up 4 days later!) and pretty safe too.

Bongo Sticks

Deflated bongo sticks and party favors

Magic Orb Game

Playing The Magic Orb Game

Finally we ended with cake and a dragon pinata. By the time it was all said and done I was totally beat but the kids had an amazing time and I felt like it was a complete success. I hope this can help with anyone else who has been given the difficult task of planning a ninja birthday party! I had so much fun I may even try it again next year : )