Julius has this cute habit lately of finding things around the house and giving them big hugs and telling them he loves them. It is really adorable and makes me so happy. Some recent examples; “I love you snake [maternity] pillow”, “I love you bee [humidifier]”, “I love you bug [bathtub toy]”. The snake pillow was especially helpful because now I know what to do with that giant pillow after I have the baby! Throw a slipcover on that thing with eyes and a tongue and -bam- it’s a snake.
I hope Julius likes his new sibling as much as he likes all these inanimate objects! He’s been really silly – whenever I tickle his belly he shouts “stop! Be careful of the baby.” I guess I have said that a lot. That’s pretty much the only time he mentions any sort of baby though, unless I have to leave in the car without him. Then he asks if I’m getting pictures taken of the baby. Before the anatomy ultrasound I gave Julius a hug and told him I had to leave to get pictures taken of the baby in my belly. He cried and said “don’t leave me, I need you”. I had to explain to him that because of the virus no one could come with me, and that I definitely would have him come with me if it was allowed. I wonder what he would have thought of the ultrasound. I think it would have been cool for him to see it; maybe it would have made it more real for him. Who knows though, he’s a toddler.
Speaking of the baby in my belly, after the ultrasound we sent out gender reveals for our family members. I don’t know how, but the first time we did this for Julius it worked great and no one spoiled anything for anyone, but this last time was a near disaster. I won’t go into details, but let me suggest that you mail any gender reveals to people staggered at the times you want them to be opened. We did scratch off tickets last time, which some people in the older generation were a little confused about – so we decided to go with something more obvious that clearly stated the baby’s sex. I made 10 party crackers this time around – which I thought everyone has seen in one form or another. This didn’t go quite as flawlessly as I would have anticipated. I think only a couple people in the group opened them like actual party crackers – and I think I know why (see below). Either way I guess it’s good I didn’t waste a whole bunch of money on adding tiny explosive devices so they’d really crack. Instead the entire project was made from recycled materials and things I had on hand. I’d like to note that these are not for the feint of heart. Unlike the scratch offs – which were quick to make, these took me many hours to complete. This is why I was so heartbroken that the whole secret had nearly been ruined! Also in our letters to the family we called these Sex Reveal Crackers which is the technically correct terminology, but for the sake of anyone actually finding them on my blog I call them Gender Reveal Crackers below.
Gender Reveal Crackers
What you’ll need (for each cracker):
- fabric and fabric paint in gender stereotypical colors for the sex of your baby (pink for girl, blue for boy)
- Cereal box thickness cardboard to make a stencil
- My cricut patterns here and here
- pink and blue ribbon
- 3 cardboard tubes (toilet paper tubes)
- recycled paper for outside the tube
- pink and blue paint
- tissue paper – not pink or blue (again ours was recycled)
- hot glue
Make the banners
- With pinking sheers cut out 7 flags for “boy” or 8 flags for “girl”. I made a ton of flags in equal sizes in a short amount of time by drawing lines spaced 5 inches apart, then marking 4 inch segments along the line. On the line above I marked the direct center of the 4″ segment from below. Then I drew a line connecting the two points, forming multiple triangle segments at once.
- Next I created a stencil by using my Cricut to cut out the letters for “baby girl” on recycled cardboard.
- I used yellow paint and a spouncer to stencil a letter from “baby girl” on each of the 8 triangles for my banner.
- Next you’ll want to feed ribbon through your pendants to form a banner. In my prototype I did this by using a tapestry needle, but decided this was way too time consuming. For the other banners I simply cut two 1/2″ vertical slits into the top of each pendant at either end and fed the ribbon through there.
- Continue threading until you have all the letters on the banner equally spaced. I also had some cute little plastic pacifiers left over from favors from the shower my family threw for me pre-Julius – so I put these in the middle of the words “baby” and “girl” until they ran out.
- Leave at least 6″ of ribbon on each side of the banner for the recipient to hang it up.
Make the wrapping paper
- Flatten your recycled white paper out onto a surface (it is way easier to do this in bulk). You will need an 11″x9″ piece of paper for each tube.
- Take the sponge and randomly sponge a pattern of light pink paint onto the paper. Let dry.
- Take the sponge and randomly sponge a pattern of light blue paint onto the paper interspersed and overlapping the pink paint. Let dry.
Assemble the reveal cracker
- Cut a 6″ piece of pink ribbon and a 6″ piece of blue ribbon for each cracker. Tie one to either end of the banner. This step is only necessary if you used an obvious gender color like pink or blue for the ribbon on the banner. The ends of the banner from the ribbon are going to poke out of the cracker, so we don’t want to ruin the surprise before anyone opens it…
- Fold banner up like an accordion and roll slightly so it will fit inside the cardboard tube. Then wrap this gently in a single layer of tissue paper. Be sure to tuck the ends of the banner’s ribbon in a bit so only the pink and blue ribbon ends from step 1 poke out. (This is to prevent anyone peeking in the end of the tube and seeing pink or blue pendants and ruining the surprise.)
- Place tissue paper wrapped banner inside a tube, with pink and blue ribbon ends poking out either end.
- Center the tube on top of the wrapping paper, so tube is parallel to the 11″ long side. Glue gun the edge of wrapping paper to the tube at one end.
- Place two dummy tubes on either end of the cracker tube, then roll the tubes to envelop everything in wrapping paper, then secure with another line of hot glue along the length of the paper.
- Pull one of the end tubes out slightly so the edge of the paper overlaps the tube about 1.75″.
- Holding the middle cracker tube, and the 1.75″ paper on top of the guide tube, twist in opposite directions. This should form a nice crisp fold.
- Make sure everything is hidden inside the cracker, and tie a length of blue ribbon around the fold you just created to secure the cracker. Remove the cardboard tube.
- Repeat for the other side of the cracker with pink ribbon.
- Hot glue the pink and blue ribbons sticking out of the tubes to the inside ends of the cracker, so when they pull the cracker, those come out with it. **I think this is what confused everyone – a lot of people didn’t open these like normal crackers and instead pulled the ribbons only instead of the entire ends of the crackers. I would recommend gluing the ribbon down flat to the cracker, not just at the ends of the ribbon so you cannot possibly lift the ribbon up to pull it out! This would solve that problem – that’s usually how the snaps inside are glued on and no one tries to just pull those…
Finally we shipped them all off with these instructions:
If you want to find out baby #2’s sex… make a guess… then grab the ends of the cracker and pull!