The Sleepover Set Up: 3 Ways to Keep Your Child’s Friends Safe

They make you laugh and they make you cry; and if your hair isn’t graying, you’re pulling your hair out. But, the good times far outweigh the bad. Having children has been a blessing. Who knew how much you could love someone that can act like a tipsy undergrad when they’re cranky, right?

Making sure your kiddos are well-groomed, well-fed and well-loved is what it means to be a good parent. When you bring other kids into the mix, even if for just a night, everything can start to feel a little hairy.

Taking care of your own children is one thing, but watching over other people’s children is something else entirely, even if just for a night. When your kid comes up to asking to have a sleepover for their birthday, you can feel your body suddenly break into a cold sweat. “A sleepover?” You ask. “Wouldn’t you rather go to the movies instead with a buddy?”

Nope, they wouldn’t. Being the good parent that you are, you agree to the sleepover. Okay, so how do you prepare for a children’s sleepover?

Here are three ways to keep the little ones safe and having fun at your child’s next sleepover.

Chat Up the Parents

Before hosting the sleepover, call your child’s friend’s parents to discuss food allergies, nighttime routines and entertainment. Is their child allowed to see that latest installment of that hot new dystopic, or, are they only allowed to watch Disney? Can they eat peanuts, or do all nut provisions need to be removed from the house?

Lifehack writes that as the host parent, you need to make the sleepover’s activities clear to the other parents. With everyone in the know, the sleepover will have a better chance of going well as both the parents and children will know what to expect.

Set Up a List of Ground Rules

Kids (as you know) can get really excited, especially when they’re spending an evening away from mom and dad. To maintain some normalcy and authority, let the kids know that there are certain rules that are to be followed to make sure that everyone has a good time.

Rules should include:

  • No running in the house
  • No jumping on the furniture
  • No running with scissors at craft time (why do kids like to do this?!)
  • No eating after an adult has gone to bed
  • No screens after lights out

It’s necessary to set up a list of rules so that you can avoid a sleepover accident. Imagine that you didn’t tell your short-statured guests that there’s no running in the house. Ten minutes after visiting your home, one of your child’s friends runs full-speed into the sliding glass door. The door shatters and cuts them up, resulting in a trip to the ER. Not only is the child hurt, their parents can sue you for damages.

Rules will help to alleviate potentially nasty situations. For double protection, make sure your homeowners’ insurance can handle a home accident. It’s easy; compare homeowners’ insurance rates online and you’ll find a policy that’s sleepover proof.

Locked and Bolted

After you’ve gone to bed, the children will get a second wind and want to go tearing through the house, be it by playing hide-and-seek in the dark or crank calling their parents and other school friends.

Make sure the kids know that once it’s lights out, it’s time for bed. Make sure all doors and windows are locked (you don’t want the wandering outside) and that all electronics are protected with a passcode. Without the option to indulge in a little late-night fun, the kids will have nothing else to do but go to bed.

That’s it, you’re ready to host! Have fun planning the sleepover!

The proverbial umbilical cord

I’m not scared to admit my umbilical cord has not been fully cut. Now don’t be confused. I’m in no way financially dependent upon my parents. I can support myself, but there is definitely comfort in knowing my family will always have my back. I like my parents a lot, and I’m pretty sure they at least kind of like me too. You do like me mom… right?!

My parents are pretty generous folks and they still like to “spoil” me occasionally. Sometimes I feel a sense of bitterness from my peers when I mention my mom will give me money to put towards my student loan. Look I understand, you think I’m a spoiled brat who never has to work for anything. Spare me your jealousy. Is there really something wrong with letting my parents (who are in a way better financial position than myself) help me out from time to time? Should I be prideful and refuse any help or support from them? If you’re too macho to accept generosity, good for you. That’s not the way I roll. I’m a momma’s boy for life.

I’ve mentioned in past posts, Mom Ninja occasionally surprises me with a couple hundred dollar deposit in to my checking account. This money is only to be used towards my student loan. Does my mom have to give me the money for the loan? No. Have I ever asked her “Hey mom can I have some money to pay down my debt?” No. She does it because she is weird loves me, and is in a position where she can help me.

Not only do the parental units hook me up with the occasional b*tch slap to Sallie Mae, but sometimes they just like to give me a random gift. A few years ago I came home to a package from UPS. “Funny” I thought to myself. I didn’t order anything, did I? Open it up and blammo, a brand spankin’ new iPod touch from the rents. Or just this last weekend I got a picture text message of a pair of shoes mom ninja wanted to know if she could get for me (she knows I have a shoe fetish). The random gifts really make my day. It may sound petty, but getting gifts for absolutely no reason at all, really makes me feel loved. Does that make me materilistic or shallow?

More important than any tangible gift they could give, I most appreciate their support. I know they will always be my cheerleaders. They want to see me achieve my goals. They have spent a great deal of their love, money, and time on my personal development. The least I could do is try and make them proud, right? After all, I don’t want to be the worst investment they’ve ever made.

Yes, the umbilical still remains, but I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. If I was begging for mom to bail me out of jail, stealing money from their bank account, or was mooching off them in any capacity, it would be a different story. Thankfully, my parents raised me better than that.

So bloggers, do you still have an imaginary umbilical cord linking you to your parents? Do they help you out financially from time to time?  Do you ever feel like some people think you are spoiled or maybe even babied? If you completely cut the cord, at what age did you do so and why?

Net Worth: February 2010

I would like to officially welcome my Net Worth to 2010. I have some ground rules for the NW for the remaining 11 months…GO UP!!!! It’s all about growth baby, not to be consfused with “growing babies” (baby ninja’s aren’t coming till 2050). Let’s see how I’ve done…

Checking Account(s): $1,877, -$2,483. My checking accounts (INGdirect and Chase) took a hit over the last month, but for good reason: I transferred a couple thousand dollars in to my online savings account. You’ll see that growth in the next category.

Savings Account: $21,065, +$3,340. I have officially broken $20,000 in my online savings and it feels good. If you are wondering why I haven’t just paid my student loan off it’s for a few reasons. 1) I’ve got a wedding pending and don’t know how much to plan for my wedding expenses (i.e. gifts, honeymoon, etc). 2) Girl Ninja and I have many unknowns ahead of us, and having extra cash on hand helps calm us mentally. 3) Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want 🙂

Roth IRA: $13,368 -$387. I don’t like it when the stock market goes down, but I guess it has to happen from time to time. Oh well, glad it was only a few hundred dollars of money I wont touch till I’m old anyways.

TSP (401K): $11,759, +$118. Five percent of each paycheck makes its way in to this account, which get’s fully matched. I invest in very similar funds in both my Roth IRA and 401K. I use to contribute 8%, but after some thought, I decided to reduce down to 5% this year.

Student Loan: -$16,003, +$190. Oh Sallie Mae, how much I loathe thee, yet I still keep you around. I find comfort knowing I could rid myself of you at any moment. Don’t get too comfortable, you won’t be sticking around that long.

That put’s me at a net worth of….drumroll please….. $30,234!!! I’m up $1,441 from last month, which means I have officially joined the $30,000 club (if such a club exists). I can’t wait for this month to be over, because I will be seeing a $12,000/yr raise coming my way in early March, it should work out to about $700 extra each month that will go straight towards increasing my NW. Thanks for poking in ya’ll and I’ll be seeing ya tomorrow!

If you have wondered why the blue bar (debt) in the graph sometimes increases, it’s because my credit card balance gets taken in to account each month. Even though I pay the balance in full it still appears as a “liability” in Quicken. I just deduct this from my checking account balance to give myself an accurate net worth reading. This is why my total increase, may not always necessarily match with the total of each category, but I promise the overall total is REAL. I choose not to include my car in my NW calculations, which would probably increase my worth by about $8K.

Male = Income, Woman = Kitchen

I approximate mine and Girl Ninja’s combined income will be between $80,000 and $100,000 per year when we get hitched in August. At that point I will have just turned 25 and she will be 23. We will barely be in our mid twenties and could be potentially earning a six-figure income. That makes me very, very, very excited.

As we begin to plan out the rest of our lives, we have started discussing what we want our family model to look like. While I would like to explore the idea of adopting a 30 year old millionaire, Girl Ninja is really set on having babies of our own (I know selfish, right?). Kids come with a good deal of responsibility (so I hear). Neither of us are big fans of the idea of childcare, so one of us will be a stay at home parent… and by one of us I mean Girl Ninja will be 🙂

We were both raised in households in which Dad worked hard and made a decent income and Mom was able to stay at home and watch Oprah and do pilates (that’s all stay-at-home mom’s do, right?). Both of our mother’s did, however, begin working at least part time once the kids were old enough to go school. Girl Ninja and I have begun mapping out what we think would be the best for our particular situation and here is what we have come up with thus far…

  • Begin exploring the option of baby ninjas after two years of newlywed bliss. (yay newlyweds)
  • As Baby Ninja #1 comes along, the wifey will quit her job as a teacher and become a full time stay-at-home mom.(yay babies)
  • Our income will take an immediate $40,000 a year hit (boo loss of income)
  • Babies our expensive!!! (boo increase in cost of living)
  • As Baby Ninja #17 finally enters kindergarten, we will begin to explore GN going back to work (yay possible income boost!)

Girl Ninja totally wants to be a full time mom, and I am in full support of that decision. I’d be lying if I said having a loss of income, and a rise of expenses didn’t stress me out, but at the end of the day I think all will be okay. We want a very traditional, cookie cutter, leave it to beaver type household. Man works and builds things, woman makes dinner and cares for children.

I know in today’s culture, many woman have little or no desire to be a stay at home mom. They want to work just as hard (if not harder) than their male counterparts. That’s just not how Girl Ninja and I were raised, and not how we envision our family. So now I turn the soapbox over to you and ask what was your parents family model when you were growing up? If you’re married, What does your household look like? If you aren’t married, what do you envision for your future? For those of you that have a parent stay at home, was it hard to adjust to the lost income? For those that both parents stay working, was it hard to put your child in prison daycare? As always, any help/advice/insight is GREATLY appreciated.

p.s. whoever said all babies are cute, lied, as evidenced by the following picture…

The story….

You all are gonna have to bear with me. I’m a guy and guys are not very good at telling stories. I’m gonna give my best attempt to appear romantic and fill ya’ll in on how the proposal went down two days ago. Here goes nothing…

The backstory…

Girl Ninja and I are both originally from the Seattle area. We also both currently live in San Diego (not together). I decided in August that I wanted to wait until Christmas time to propose because we would both be in Washington with family and friends. I bought the diamond in June, and for six months kept that sucker hidden in my desk. Needless to say, I was really excited for December 28th to come.

The Proposal…

I picked Girl Ninja up at 12:00 on Monday, for what she thought was 12:30 lunch reservations at the Barking Frog. The restaurant is part of a really beautiful winery/lodge and was the perfect spot….

Inside the Barking Frog

Now Girl Ninja, was under the impression that we were meeting friends for lunch (a double date), little did she know that was never the plan. As I pulled in to the lodge’s parking lot, I called my friend that we were suppose to meet up with and pretended like we were a half hour early. Girl Ninja and I decided it would be cool to walk around and check out the lodge, while we waited for our friends to arrive.

As we walked around, through the various gardens and fountains, I became increasingly more nervous as I knew we were nearing the proposal spot. As we approached the final courtyard, my hand began shaking uncontrollably from anxiety/excitement. I began to drag Girl Ninja to the table set up with the ring. As my hand was shaking, reality started sinking in, and Girl Ninja realized what was about to happen.

She looked at the table, then looked at me and said “No!” Still walking towards the table, I looked back at her and said “Yea!” We approached the table where I had the ring, some flowers, a Bible, and a scrapbook waiting for us….

The proposal table, next to a fountain (Girl Ninja LOVES fountains!)

We arrived at the table and it was time for me to put my game face on. I picked up the Bible and read this verse from Genesis…

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

I then got on my knee and said something like “I’ve been waiting a really long time to do this, Will you marry me?” I don’t really remember what happened after that because I was so freakin’ nervous/happy/excited/anxious that the next couple minutes were all a blur. I do remember one thing though…. SHE SAID YES!!!!!

Immediately after she said yes!!!

After some celebrating and chatter my friend and brother, that had been snapping pictures from the distance, came up to congratulate us and continue taking some AWESOME pictures. We then flipped through the scrap book I made which had a list of my Top Ten Favorite Moments together. Here is a picture from the scrapbook (the bottom left corner is empty so we can include a picture from the proposal)….

The last page of the scrapbook (aka my most favorite moment with Girl Ninja)

We took some more pictures and then headed over to the restaurant for our actual lunch reservations. I told Girl Ninja, there was no double date and that it would just be her and I. I could tell she was a little sad she had not been able to share the big moment with her parents, but little did she know I had some tricks up my sleeve. About 10min into our lunch reservations her parents surprised her and had lunch with us. Girl Ninja began crying and we had some great conversations.

At 2:15, it was time to leave lunch and head over to the Willow’s Lodge Spa so she could her nails done (I had to make sure her hands were looking pretty when she showed off her ring!). From the Spa we headed to Downtown Seattle and went to Starbucks so she could begin calling friends and family and sharing the exciting news with them. After an hour or so at Starbucks we headed to Pike’s Market to buy some flowers to bring back to her parents.

At 5:30, we left Seattle so we could make it back to Girl Ninja’s house for dinner plans with her family. Little did she know, there was more suprises to come!!!! We arrived to her house at 6:00 sharp to be welcomed by 40 of our closest friends and family. Getting to share the most exciting day in our lives with those closest to us truly amazing. I could tell that Girl Ninja was a little sad that one of her best friends, who lives in New Mexico, was not at the party. We mingled with our friends for about 15 minutes, before I pulled out my last surprise…. I had secretly flown her friend up to Seattle to be there for our celebration. I called for Girl Ninja’s attention and at the site of her best friend, tears and screams rang out.

The ring, with freshly painted nails, and our engagement cupcake!

We partied hard for a couple hours and overall had an amazing day. Here were my favorite parts…

1) Surprising Girl Ninja with a ring

2) Surprising her with lunch with her parents

3) Throwing a suprise party for us, when she thought we were just having dinner with her family

4) Flying her best friend up to Seattle to share in our special day

If you can’t tell I am a big fan of surprises and wanted to do as much as I could to let Girl Ninja know I love her. I can not believe I get to spend the rest of my life with such an amazing woman. The Lord has truly blessed me and for that I am thankful.

Thank you to all who have sent congratulatory comments and tweets. I have shared each and every one of them with Girl Ninja. I may not know any of you, but they still mean a lot 🙂

p.s. About six months ago I blogged about how I sold my motorcycle…that was to subsidize part of the cost of the diamond 🙂