Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Nanny Confessions: Pet-Sitting Can Be a Pet-Peeve

If You Get a Puppy Pay Your Nanny More to Care for ItBy Stephanie Felzenberg

Families have the right to own pets. But when working parents that hire full-time nannies get a new puppy they should acknowledge that caring for the new pet will largely fall upon the nanny. Nannies need to be compensated for the extra work or they may likely become resentful.

Pet-sitting can be a pet-peeve (pun intended) for many nannies. Using a simple pet-sitting work agreement and giving the nanny extra money for caring for pets can be helpful when parents ask nannies to pet-sit.

For example, the family and nanny should create a separate pet-sitting work agreement that includes essential responsibilities for the pet-sitting job. If the nanny cannot or chooses not to perform the pet-sitting duties the parents can then use the work agreement when they hire another pet-sitter.

Information to Include in a Pet-Sitting Contract:

1. Emergency phone number where the family can be reached in case of emergency.
2. Veterinarian phone number.
3. Pet-sitter back up person in case of emergency.
4. List of family, friends, or neighbors that have a key to the house.
5. Detailed history of each pet.
6. Where family buys pet food and supplies.
7. What food to serve each pet, at what time, and the amount of food.
8. Detailed list of any medications required. When, how much, and what type of medicine should be given to each pet.
9. Which treats the pets are allowed to have and at what times.
10. Fees per walk and length of each walk (for example half-hour walk).

Monday, April 29, 2013

Professional Nannies Don’t Yell at Kids

Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies

When caring for other people’s kids I urge nannies not yell at children. To encourage kids to be respectful and kind you need to be respectful and kind towards them. Consider if you wouldn’t use an aggressive tone with another adult, why is it okay to us an aggressive tone and scream at a child? Although it’s inevitable that kids will occasionally “get under your skin” yelling at kids shows that the caregiver has lost control of the situation. Yelling at kids for something that is affecting you, will not resolve the problem with the kids.

Before responding to children in anger, take a deep breath and count to ten. Give yourself a few minutes before responding.

In the book 365 Ways to Raise Great KidsSheila Ellison says, “Instead of you joining in with screaming, here’s an alternative. Go to where the children and commotion are and have everyone stop, sit on the floor, and take three deep breaths. After the breaths, talking may resume in a sort manner. This will slow everyone down for a few minutes, and at the same time teach [children] a new tool they can use on their own.”

“Yelling at a child who is trying to annoy you gives the child the upper hand by getting a reaction out of you. Instead, calmly tell the child what you have to say. Constantly reacting to behavior contributes to misbehavior for the sake of getting attention,” says Ellison.

Let the consequences of their actions teach children. If you have a reward and punishment system in place let the rewards and punishments modify the children’s behavior rather than yelling.

For example, if the child knows they get a star on a star chart for making their bed and lose a star if they don’t, you don’t need to yell or criticize the child. Just give them the start they earned or take away the star they lost. If kids know they will lose a privilege if they yell at their siblings, then enforce the discipline instead of yelling.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Products Nannies Love: Bum Boosa Baby Wipes

Environmentally Friendly Product Nannies Can't Live Without

I love Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes. They not only make cleaning baby tushies easier, I love using them to clean up spills, and cleaning toddlers hands and faces when out of the house. Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes have the convenience of a disposable baby wipe available in a natural, biodegradable, and renewable alternative!

Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes are made from renewable bamboo, are soft, absorbent, and naturally scented with lavender and sweet orange essential oils. Bum Boosa Bamboo Baby Wipes were developed with both the planet and infants sensitive skin in mind. Bum Boosa mission is to provide a new option for a widespread consumer product that, through its use, trees, and water are saved. Bum Boosa are able to do this by drawing on the benefits of a bountiful, regenerative, and sustainable plant for our alternative non-woven fiber bamboo. Bum Boosa aims to consciously care for our consumers by making baby wipes with the promise of high quality natural ingredients, honesty, and integrity.

To that end, Bum Boosa plants a tree for each package of their 80 count wipes sold. In addition, trees are also planted to offset 100% of our calculated carbon emissions. Bum Boosa is passionate about pure essential oils.

Bum Boosa chose pure grade Lavender and Sweet Orange essential oils because they are known to be safe for our little ones, and when blended together they make a gentle, uplifting and calming scent. Both Lavender and Sweet Orange oils have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Bum Boosa use a one-percent dilution rate of pure essential oils in the wet solution, which is the common percentage recommendation for babies.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What Are Your Favorite Fingerplays and Preschool Songs?

Why Nannies Should Use Fingerplays and Musical Acitivities with Children

According to Dr. Harry Steckman of the Steckman Studio of Music in Oak Park, Illinois, nannies should use age-appropriate musical activities to aid in child development.

Within just a few weeks after birth babies respond to human voices with gurgling. By seven- to eight-months-old children move their hands to music helping to develop their motor skills.

As children learn to grasp, sit up, crawl, and walk caregivers should offer them musical materials to play with to encourage eye and hand coordination. For example, offer them rattles, maracas, or wooden spoons to hit pots.

Young children do not have fully developed memories, so they enjoy short songs. Try playing with songs like, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes." Dr. Steckman suggests palm tickles, party games, Mother Goose rhymes, and songs with limited pitches that are directly tied to movement and action games to use with children from one- to four-year-olds. Songs such as the "Eency Weency Spider," "Humpty Dumpty," "Ring Around the Rosy," and "London Bridge" are good songs to use with children of this age. Most six- to nine-year-olds like songs that involve counting, spelling, or remembering.

The more nannies engage themselves in active music making, the more likely a child will be motivated to practice. If children see their parents and caregivers involved in the music making process, they will usually want to do the same.

Fingerplays and Songs for the Very Young by Carolyn Croll is a cute book I picked up with the preschooler at the library this week that includes more than 25 of my favorite fingerplays and action songs guaranteed to get giggles and have babies and toddlers playing along. Some of the fingerplays include:

1. This Little Piggy

This little piggy went to market, (Wiggle the child's big toe)

This little piggy stayed home, (Wiggle their 2nd toe)

This little piggy had roast beef, (Wiggle their middle toe)

This little piggy had none, (Wiggle the toe next to the smallest toe)

And this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home. (Start wiggling the smallest toe and on "wee wee wee" let go of the toe and run your fingers up and down the baby's side. Bigger kids love being tickled during this fingerplay)

2. Ring Around the Rosie

Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down

Have the kids hold hands and dance in a circle. On the last line, let go of hands and collapse on the ground.

3. Where is Thumbkin?

Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
(Hide thumbs behind your back)

Here I am!
(Bring right hand to front, with thumb up)

Here I am!
(Bring left hand to front, with thumb up)

How are you this morning?
Very well, I thank you.
(Wiggle thumbs as if they're 'talking' to each other)

Run away
(Hide right hand behind back)

Run away.
(Hide left hand behind back)

4. If You're Happy and You Know It!

If you're happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)
If you're happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)
If you're happy and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you're happy and you know it
Clap your hands. (Clap, Clap)

If you're angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)
If you're angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)
If you're angry and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you're angry and you know it
Stomp your feet. (Stomp, Stomp)

If you're sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)
If you're sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)
If you're sad and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you're sad and you know it
Cry out loud. (Boo hoo)

Make up new verses as you go along.

5. Six Little Ducks

Six little ducks
That I once knew
(Hold up six fingers to suggest six little ducks)

Fat ones, skinny ones,
Fair ones, too
(Use arm to mime "fat" and "skinny")

But the one little duck
(Hold up one finger on "But the one little duck")

With the feather on his back
(Place hand behind head to suggest a feather)

He led the others
With a quack, quack, quack
(Walk six fingers along with one leading)

Quack, quack, quack,
Quack, quack, quack
(Flap your arms like wings while quacking)

He led the others
With a quack, quack, quack

6. I'm a Little Teapot

I'm a little teapot,
Short and stout,
Here is my handle (One hand on hip to suggest a handle),
Here is my spout (Extend the other arm out with elbow and wrist bent)
When I get all steamed up,
Hear me shout,
Tip me over and pour me out! (Tip sideways in direction of extended arm like a spout)

7. Open, Shut Them

Shut them.
(Open and shut both hands in front of you)

Shut them.
(Open and shut both hands in front of you)

Give a little clap.
(Clap hands)

Shut them.

Shut them.

Place them in your lap.
(Place hand in your lap encouraging child to follow)

Creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin.
(Walk your fingers up baby's body to their chin)

Open wide your little mouth,
But do not let them in.
(Open your mouth really side and comically close your mouth with your hands over your mouth)

8. Pat-a-Cake
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can.

Roll it and pat it and mark it with a B.
And put it in the oven for Baby and me!

(Clap hands with baby on first two lines. Roll, then pat, hand as if shaping a ball of dough. Draw a "B" in the air and tickle the baby's tummy on the last line.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mini Lasagnas Made in Cupcake Tins

Cooking With Kids

Kids love anything that comes in the shape of a cupcake. The Grandmother of the kids I care for visited and made these adorable mini lasagnas in cupcake tins. They are easy to make and even easier to eat. I even pack mini lasagnas in school lunch boxes, which I never did with lasagna made in a large casserole dish. I highly recommend this recipe that uses wonton wrappers rather than pasta noodles. The simple instructions are below.


  1. 24 wonton wrappers
  2. 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or jarred)
  3. 1 lb. ground Italian sausage (turkey, chicken or pork) cooked, and drained
  4. 1 – 15 oz container low-fat ricotta cheese
  5. 1 – q/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  6. ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  7. 1 tsp. dry basil
  8. ½ tsp dry oregano


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, basil and oregano.
  4. Lay a wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin tin, pressing down and into the sides of the tin.
  5. Place 1 Tbsp. of the ricotta in each cup. Top with 1 Tbsp. of sausage and 1 Tbsp. of marinara sauce.
  6. Press another wonton skin down into the cup and then repeat the layers – 1 Tbsp. ricotta mixture, 1 Tbsp. sausage and 1 Tbsp. marinara sauce.
  7. Finish off each lasagna cup with a sprinkle remaining mozzarella and the parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake the lasagna cups for 15 minutes until the filling is bubbly, the cheese is melted, and the wonton wrappers are slightly browned.

Recipe from: http://www.easyrecipeplugin.com/

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Is it Ever Okay for a Nanny to Curse?

It's Not Cute When Kids Curse

Cursing got a rookie anchorman fired on his first day of work. Profanity on radio or television used to be verboten. Increasingly, an acceptance of coarse words has infiltrated media.

Usually the profane words are presented as the "F" word or the "S" word, or the even more infamous "M-F-er." Often, the curse is spoken with the last letter edited, fooling nobody. With the advent of HDTV, athletes' cursing can be easily heard or lip read. Boys, especially brothers, think they have a right to curse to prove their manhood.

I know many caregivers think it's cute when a toddler tries to say "Truck" but accidentally replaces the "T" with an "F," but I am embarrassed when a child I care for curses even when they don't know that they are swearing. It's even worse if they say a curse word because they are modeling a word they heard their caregiver say.

As a guardian of appropriate behavior, a nanny must prohibit profanity at all times. Whether the unknowing repetition of a three-year-old or the jock bluster of a teenager, the point has to be made and enforced that cursing is an offensive, poor, and lazy way to communicate.

The only time a nanny may curse is when explaining which words are "bad" and that they should not be used in public, on social media, or in polite company.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ice Cream Chore Chart

Wednesdays with Whitney

Introducing chore charts to little ones can sometimes be difficult. All the check marks, words, and undefined rewards can be complicated for a three- or four-year old. A much better approach involves lots of relatable visuals and clearly defined (and realistic) rewards. The Ice Cream Chart explained below is a perfect combination of these two things. The Ice Cream printables can be found at Fifth and Hazel  but the other aspects are “make your own” and my own personal spin to make it perfectly toddler/preschool appropriate.

How it Works:

Chores – Make a list of chores you think your little one can do. Making the bed, putting laundry in the hamper, and picking up toys at the end of the day are all good ones. Find very obvious clipart for each of the chores and print them out in small squares. Glue the printed and cut out clip art onto cardstock and glue that onto a magnet. Your little ones will keep their chores on one side of the fridge until they are done, and then move them to the other side of the fridge once each one is completed. Having a “to be done” and a “completed” side to the fridge lets the kids visualize what still needs to be done.

Ice Cream Scoops – To make the scoops, go to Fifth and Hazel and print out the templates. Like the chores, paste them onto cardstock and a magnet to complete the look. Then, if at the end of the day all of your little one’s chores are moved to the completed side, they can place an ice cream scoop onto their cone. They continue each day until they reach a decided upon number of scoops that allows them their reward. Six and seven are generally good numbers as they are easy for the kids to count up to.

Rewards – Have the little ones come up with something they would really like once they reach the agreed upon number of ice scream scoops. And be sure to keep it within the parents’ budget. Going out for ice cream is an appropriate one considering the chart, but you can do a lunch date or a train ride as well. Create an appropriate visual for the desired reward and place it up on the fridge as a reminder of what the little ones are working towards. You can even make multiple rewards and keep them in a cup so that every time the little one starts over with their ice cream cone they get to pick out a new reward to work towards.

Reference: Fifth and Hazel

The project and photos by Whitney Ziebartth. Don't forget to stop by next Wednesday for another fun project by Whitney and to check out her new venture Nanny Magazine at nannymag.com. Take her survey for nannies at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BZYJVMB

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Nannies Don’t Want to Clean Up Their Boss’s Messes on Monday Morning

Nanny Confessions
By Stephanie Felzenberg, Nanny and Editor of How to Be the Best Nanny

Nannies work in a service industry and they are at-will employees. Although caring for children is their priority, it is normal for nannies to do some housekeeping, even if they do not want to. The best nannies try to keep the kitchen and children’s areas clean, neat, and organized even when those duties aren’t spelled out in a work agreement.

But, that doesn’t mean nannies like walking into a messy house or to dirty dishes on Monday mornings. It's overwhelming to start the work day, or work week, having to clean up other people’s messes.

Many nannies hate having to do any housekeeping at all. Their reasoning is justified. Housekeeping chores do detract nannies from providing care for the children. But, no matter what field people work in, sometimes employees have to do things they don't want to at their jobs.

My confession to nannies this week is that I feel your frustration, but helping clean up after the children is part of our job. My confession to the parents is that nannies are childcare providers that want to focus on caring for your children, not cleaning up your messes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Are You Cleaning With and is it Safe?

Earth Day: EWG Guide to Healthy Cleaning

Ever wonder whether your green cleaners are actually green? Unfortunately, you can't just check the label to find out what's in the products under your sink or in your laundry basket.

So as we all gear up for some spring cleaning, the Environmental Working Groups (EWG) wants to make sure we're not actually making our homes more toxic by spreading around the plethora of nasty ingredients that are in some of the most popular cleaning products.

It's no surprise that many household cleaners contain toxic chemicals linked to asthma, cancer, skin irritation, and more. What is shocking is that for most cleaning products there is no federal law to make sure the labels tell you what's in them! So you often have no way to find out if your cleaners have harmful ingredients.

You have a right to know. That's why you need to check out EWG's just-updated Guide to Healthy Cleaning. They rated more than 2,000 home cleaning products on the health risks posed by their ingredients and the transparency of their labels. They added nearly a hundred new products, including a whole new category: laundry pods. They have also included more information on allergens -- including botanical oils that are known to trigger allergies.

Click here to see if what are you cleaning with is safe. Click here to see how your cleaners rate in EWG's updated Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Alphabet Soup Sorters by Learning Resources

Product Review Sunday

My three-year-old charge loves the Alphabet Soup Sorters by Learning Resources. It provides her hours of entertainment and learning.

Each can holds one uppercase and one lowercase letter, plus five object cards featuring real-life photos on one side, with words on reverse. Playing the game supports alphabet awareness, letter sounds, and recognition of letter shapes. Also builds early vocabulary, oral language, sorting, and fine motor skills. The ways to play this game are limitless.
Younger children can match the letters to the cans or work on naming objects. Older children can identify the letter the objects begin with or can sort the pictures by beginning letter sound.

The game includes 130 die-cut photo cards, 52 color-coded letters (red vowels, blue consonants), and 26 cardboard cans with lids.The Activity Guide includes intervention strategies. I think it's a great educational toy for kids aged three-years-old through Kindergarten.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are the Organic Foods You Buy Actually Good for You?

Weekly Trip to the Library: Foodopoly by Wenonah Hauter

Do you or the parents you work for try to buy only organic food? Do you only shop at the organic market for food? Do you support the local farmer? Do you ever think the fruit, vegetables, and the chicken you eat tastes different than it used to? Do you dutifully drag your charges to the organic supermarket only to hear from your employer: "Why is this food so expensive?"

To answer the questions and concerns above, Wenonah Hauter carefully explains the economic history and the high power lobbying that effects the quality and the cost of what you eat. She explains the consolidation and integration of growers, wholesalers, and suppliers.

Reading "Foodopoly" helps explain the the marketing strategies that appeal to the anxieties of parents those concerned about the dangers in a food-to-health link.

The author explains that only 20% of the produce at organic food superstores are organic, that most products are from just a few supporters, and the food is designed for quick growth and long distance shipping. She suggests that organic producers have been bought by giant companies and there's little way to know if the products are actually good for you anymore.

This provocative book can change your mind, your shopping, and your eating habits.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls

Cooking With Kids

I have teen-aged boys come to the house after school to play soccer, hockey, and basketball each day. They need big snacks with a lot of sustenance to have enough energy to play their sports. That's why I constantly search the Internet for snacks for the back of high-energy teens. Luckily the entire family three-years-old to the parents love this yummy snack.


1 unsliced loaf of (round is preferable) sourdough bread
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 oz bag bacon bits
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix


1. Using a sharp bread knife cut the bread going both directions. Do not cut through the bottom crust.
2. Place slices of cheese in between cuts. Sprinkle bacon bits on bread, making sure to get in between cuts.
3. Mix together butter and Ranch dressing mix. Pour over bread.
4. Wrap in foil the entire loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
5. Unwrap. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Reference: Recipe from plainchicken.com and photos by Stephanie Felzenberg and plainchicken.com 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Do You Serve Organic Produce to the Kids in Your Care?

Why I Think Organic Fruits and Vegetables Taste Better

With Earth Day celebrations coming up this weekend I want to urge nannies and parents to serve children organic fruits and vegetables. I believe fresh organically grown foods taste better. 

Think about the tomato sprayed with Windex that Jacqueline Astete described on our blog last year and you will understand that foods not covered in synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and waxes wouldn't taste as good as organic foods.

Since organic food is grown in well-balanced soil and with a safe water supply, it makes sense that these healthy plants have a great taste.

Several studies have reported that organic produce has a lower level of nitrate. Lower nitrate levels have been linked in many studies to better taste.

Taste is definitely an individual matter, but hundreds of gourmet chefs across the nation are choosing organic food to prepare because they believe it has superior taste and quality. An increasing number of consumers are also of the opinion that organic food tastes better.

In honor of Earth Day try eating organically grown produce this week and see for yourself if you think organic produce tastes better than conventionally grown produce.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Painting With Bubble Wrap

Wednesdays with Whitney
By Whitney Ziebarth

Today’s craft was much more about the process than the final product. The unusual texture of bubble wrap is fun to touch and this activity gives little ones an excuse to do it for hours at a time.


Bubble wrap
Paint (washable tempura paint)


1. Simply add the paint to the bubble wrap and let them go crazy.

2. When all the paints are mixed and squished around, have the kids press paper on the bubble wrap.

3. It makes a neat print the kids will admire for about half a second before they start squishing the paint around again. The prints make good paper to cut cool shapes out of.

Warning: if you don’t like messes, stay away from this activity. We used lots of newspaper and I still had a significant amount to clean up off the counter.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Like Keeping Kids in a Safe Nanny Bubble

Nanny Confessions: Don't Talk to Kids About the Boston Bombings Unless They Ask

I am so thankful that my employers don’t allow their kids to watch television while I am working. Yesterday, I had a great day with the kids. We went on playdates, to classes, and to sports practice in the fresh Spring air. I got a kick out of watching the youngest enjoy her bubble bath and relished all my charges enjoying the nutritious meal I prepared for them. We had so much fun because we were ignorant to the carnage in Boston.

Although I cannot shelter kids from all difficult topics forever, at least I can take some time to formulate an appropriate response if kids ask me about a difficult topic.Thankfully because I didn’t watch TV while working, I had an entire evening to process the event before discussing it with the kids.

Although it’s impossible to keep children safe from all dangers in the world, I confess that I take pride in the fact that I am able to create a safe cocoon for the kids in my care. I am proud that I can be mature enough to not discuss difficult adult issues in the children’s presence.

Click here to see how to talk to kids about scary things.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Professionals are Paid On-The-Books

Respecting Professional Boundaries

It's April 15th and it is Tax Day here in America! Unfortunately when it comes to being paid legally there is a huge problem in America called Nannygate. Nannygate is the term used to describe the estimated 90 percent of working American nannies that are illegally working under-the-table, which robs the American government of millions of dollars in taxes each year.

Those tax monies are used to pave roads, pay educators and teachers, fund the military, and to help the most vulnerable citizens with services such as healthcare (Medicaid) and retirement expenses (social security).

The best way for Americans to protect themselves if they lose their jobs (unemployment benefits), get sick (disability benefits), or get hurt on the job (workers compensation) is to be paid-on-the-books. If you aren’t submitting taxes there is no better time to ask your employer’s to start the paperwork so you can submit your share.

Many nannies and parents incorrectly assume that process of paying and submitting wages and taxes is difficult. All that parents need to do is use a nanny tax company to do the work for them. It easy for you to get paid legally and receive the tax benefits that you, and all hard-working American’s, deserve.
Be legal and get the tax benefits you deserve using a nanny tax company.

We recommend:

Stop by next week for another Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents by Stephanie Felzenberg

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Have You Ever Used Cloth Diapers?

Nannies Love the GroVia Cloth Diaper System

According to The Diaper Jungle it is estimated that each baby will use 6,000 to 8,000 diapers. When using disposable diapers that costs $3,000 and $4,000 dollars per baby. In comparison, enough cloth diapers to last for three years cost between $300 to $800 hundred dollars. At a minimum that is about a $2,200 dollar savings. And even though there is a cost to use electricity and water to wash cloth diapers these costs are infinitesimal compared to the cost of expensive disposable diapers.

Toxic chemicals are present in disposable diapers too such as trace amounts of Dioxin (Listed by the EPA as the most toxic of cancer related chemicals), Tributyl-tin (TBT)and sodium polyacrylate. In comparison, cloth diapers are free of the chemicals contained in disposable diapers.

Eighty percent of the diapering in the United States are done with disposables. They are the third largest single product in the waste stream behind newspapers and beverage containers.

My favorite cloth diaper is GroVia System. They are so cute, adjustable, and come in great colors. The cloth diapers (called "cotton soaker pads") are made from an absorbent hemp/cotton blend covered in cozy microfleece. They are designed to snap into place inside the waterproof, breathable shells for a perfect fit and diapers that stay put no matter what baby's up to. When the cloth is soiled, simply snap a new soaker pad into place.

When the soaker pad is wet, simply snap in a fresh soaker pad. Change the outer shell twice a day and inner as needed. Washing Organic cotton inners must be washed/dried on hot three times prior to first use and doesn't reach it's full absorbency until approximately six to eight washes.Wash hot and tumble dry before use. Remove as much solid matter as possible. Place soiled soaker pads in a dry diaper pail -- no soaking is necessary. Wash every two days. Start with a cold rinse. Wash in hot water with half the amount of recommended detergent (depends on detergent). Do an extra rinse if desired. Tumble dry or hang outside for extra freshness and to remove stains. Do not use bleach, enzyme cleaners, or fabric softeners.

Reference: The Jungle Diaper 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Reviews by Kids for Kids

Geronimo Stilton I'm Too Fond of my Fur by Geronimo Stilton
Review by Olivia, 8-Years-Old

Do you like adventures? Well then this is the book for you. This book is about a mouse named Geronimo Stilton. Geronimo Stilton is a small, scaredy- mouse. Geronimo gets a phone call from his friend, a scientist. His friend says he is in trouble, so he packs up his bags and goes to the Himalayas with his family.

They go to the Himalayas and there they find a tour guide who helps them on their journey on Mt. Everest to find the missing scientist. Geronimo finds a frozen Wooly Mammoth in the Himalayas and his discovery gets put in a museum. That’s so cool.

This book reminds me of the book The Mt. Everest Expedition, because Geronimo Stilton goes climbing up Mt. Everest and they have to do the same thing in the Mt. Everest book.

I also like this book because Geronimo is a very funny scared character. He screams when he sees shadows, and he gets in trouble a lot. This book reminds me of Charlottes Web because all the animals talk. The animals all have their own personalitlies.

Another good thing about this book is how the font changes style and color, and sometimes it makes pictures. It is very unusual, and it makes it really fun to read.

I recommend this book to people who like exciting endings, talking animals and adventure. I recommend this book to all people. I think kids who are in second grade and older would like it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Make Simple and Yummy Apple Pizza

Cooking With Kids

Kids love pizza and they love dessert. Here's a an easy recipe that combines both their love of pizza and treats but isn't as rich as the desserts parents don't want their nannies to serve their little ones. The kids in my care (three-years-old to 13-years-old) love this delicious treat and they love helping make it as well.

You Will Need:

1 pizza dough (thawed and room temperature)
3 Macintosh apples
white sugar


1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick) softened room temperature.


1. Roll out pizza dough on pizza stone. Let stand about 10-15 minutes. Do not allow dough to rise much.

2. Slice apples. Toss with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Arrange individual slices of apple on entire pizza. Crumble topping over apples.

3. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.

Reference: Recipe from nanny Maria Lopez of Miami, Florida. Photos by Stephanie Felzenberg.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Making Spring Forsythia Blossoms

Wednesdays with Whitney
By Stephanie Felzenberg

One of the first blossoms in April in here in New Jersey are the yellow forsythia bush blossoms. In California and other warm-winter areas, forsythia may bloom in January, while here in New Jersey and in Iowa it typically blooms in mid-April. The three-year-old I care for full-time loves all flowers and squeals with joy when she sees the yellow forsythia. Clusters of one-inch-long, bell-shaped flowers range from pale to blazing yellow, only last for two to three weeks. So we made this craft so she can enjoy forsythia all year long on her bulletin board.

You Will Need:

  • Brown marker, crayon, or water color paint
  • Green marker, crayon, or water color paint
  • Yellow tissue paper (Use pink tissue paper for cherry blossoms and purple for lavender blossoms)
  • White or sky blue paper
  • White glue
  • Gold sequins (optional)


1. Draw or paint slim brown branches with a marker on white paper for young children. Older kids should  draw or paint their branches themselves.

2. Then let the kids draw or paint a few green leaves on the branches as well. Caregivers can draw or paint the leaves for younger kids.

3. Allow kids tear pieces of yellow tissue paper and and crumble them into blossoms.

4. Let the kids glue the blossoms on the branches for spring forsythia blossoms.

5. For children that don't put tiny pieces in their mouths you can let them add gold sequins to the center of the tissue blossoms.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just Because I’m Overweight Doesn’t Mean Your Kids Will Be

Nanny Confessions: Overweight Nannies Can be Great Role Models of Good Health
By Stephanie Felzenberg

Undoubtedly nannies have a huge influence in children's lives. Nannies are role models for the kids in their care and the best role models are a great source of guidance and bring out the best in children.

There are countless reasons why people are overweight. People aren’t only overweight because they eat junk food, don’t exercise, or lay around watching television all day. And being overweight doesn’t necessarily mean an adult cannot keep up with little kids.

As an overweight nanny myself I know first-hand that heavy nannies can absolutely make great caregivers. Despite the fact that I am overweight I certainly don't model unhealthy eating habits for the children in my care. I serve, and eat, well-balanced and nutritious snacks and meals alongside the children in my care. I know that the easiest way to encourage good habits in children is to lead by example so I only prepare and serve nutritious foods to the children and let the parents decide when to serve their children desserts and sweets.

Although I am overweight I swim with the kids, play soccer with them, and walk to our activities whenever possible. I don't allow them to be couch potatoes playing video games or children's shows. I go outside and play with the little ones whenever possible.

Although it may be an unfair stereotype, parents do often worry that overweight nannies won’t model the good eating habits and active lifestyles they want for their children. But I urge parents (and others) to look at the big-picture and realize that just because a caregiver is overweight doesn’t mean the nanny cannot be a great model of health for the children they care for or that the kids will also become overweight just because their nanny is.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Don’t Come Home Late on Weeknights

Respecting Professional Boundaries for Nannies and Parents

Live-in household employees should never stay out too late on a week night. When nannies stay out until one or two o'clock in the morning, parents worry about the quality of care provided for their children.

Without proper rest childcare providers tend to become impatient, slower to respond in emergencies, less interactive with children, and may become a safety hazard to children.

Nannies must avoid situations that alter good judgment and reduce their ability to be responsible caregivers.

Being home early indicates to employers that you posses good judgment, take your work responsibilities seriously, and care about your interpersonal relationships with the parents. Nannies shouldn't allow parents to worry about them or need to enforce a curfew. Responsible live-in nannies have social lives outside of their jobs, but arrive home at a reasonable hour.

Advice from Be the Best Nanny Newsletter by Anne Merchant, author of, The Child Care Textbook

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Nanny Notebook by Julie Kemsley

Products Nannies Love

The Nanny Notebook is my favorite product made specifically for nannies I have ever reviewed!

Nanny agencies recommend nannies keep daily logs in a central place of the home (such as the kitchen and near a phone) so parents and caregivers can have easy access to important information.

The Nanny Notebook is the best nanny daily log I have ever used. I love this beautifully illustrated, high-quality organizer with refillable pages. It is of the highest quality in great colors (mine is in a beautiful teal color that the company calls blue).

The Nanny Notebook is divided into four sections: Nanny Notes, Current Routine, Emergency Info, and Baby First Aid.

At the top of each Nanny Notes page there is space for parents to leave a note to their caregiver. Similarly, there are sections for caregivers to write notes such as whether or not there were any incidents during the day, a message to return or a phone call, and a shopping list. The adorable graphics also include spaces to list what the children ate, when and how long they napped, and when their diapers were changed throughout the day. There is space for nannies to list the indoor and outdoor activities of the children and their mood during the day.

The second section is entitled the Current Routine. The Current Routine
contains pages that allow caregivers and parents to detail the daily routine as detailed or as succinct as they like – the idea is to write down the children's current age sand general routines so that you don't have to re-write it each time a different person babysits.

The third section entitled Emergency Info allows families to record all the essential contact information they need to keep close at hand. Everything from the parents’ work telephone numbers, emergency contact information, health insurance information, a child's list of allergies, and the poison center number are stored safely here.

The last section covers the following four important infant first aid topics: CPR, choking, poisoning, and burns.

There are spiral nanny notebooks available as well that you can learn more about at http://www.thenannynotebook.com/

I urge nannies not to forget that to really impress the parents, list developmental milestones and describe funny moments with the children in the daily log.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

Book Reviews by Kids for Kids
Review by Taylor, Eight-Years-Old

Flat Stanley is about Stanley Lambchop. One day a bulletin board fell on Stanley and made him flat. At first he was upset, but then he learned that being flat could be fun. He did things no normal person could do. One day Mrs. Lambchop and Stanley were walking Mrs. Lambchop's ring fell in a hole. But Stanley went down into the hole and got the ring back. He no longer needed keys to open doors. He was sent through the mail. He even helped to solve a crime.

Arthur, who is Stanley's brother, is the best brother in the world. He tries to help Stanley when Stanley is sad. I thought it was great when Arthur put the books on himself so he could be flat like Stanley.

The illustrations in the book matched the story and helped, especially when Stanley did things that were hard to imagine, like being sent through the mail. In the back of the book is a colorful cut out of Stanley. I am going to mail him to some of my friends.

My teacher is having all the students mail Flat Stanley to friends or family that live somewhere else and they will take photos of Stanley at important places they visit. I mailed my Flat Stanley to my cousins in New York City and they already took a photo of my Flat Stanley at the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

Stanley is my favorite character. He may be flat, but he is a hero to me. I think others should read this story because it is very interesting. There are a lot of adventures they will like.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Nannies Should Never Yell at Children

People Only Yell When They Have Lost Control

Nannies and au pairs are important role models for the children in their care. It's common sense that to teach good table manners caregivers must use good table manners, to show kids how to share childcare providers must share, and to teach kids to be kind the adults in their lives must be kind towards others.

Hitting children doesn't teach kids to stop hitting, biting them doesn't teach them to stop biting, and yelling at them doesn't teach children to stop yelling.

I remember from my psychology courses in college and days as a counselor with kids that when adults yell at kids it's the adults that have the problem, not the children. People only yell when they feel they have lost control.

Yelling at a kids who are trying to annoy their caregivers gives the children the upper hand by getting a reaction out of adults. Instead, calmly telling kids what they have to say gives nannies the upper hand. Constantly reacting to behavior contributes to misbehavior for the sake of getting attention.

Let the consequences of their actions teach children. If there is a reward and punishment system in place let the rewards and punishments modify the children's behavior rather than yelling. For example, if children know they will earn a star on a star chart for making their bed and lose a star if they don't, nannies don't need to yell at the kids because they forgot to make their bed. Just give them the star they earned or take away the star they lost. If kids know they will lose a privilege if they yell at their siblings, then caregivers simply need to enforce the discipline instead of raising their voices at them.

And when adults feel like they are about to respond to children in anger, they ought to take a deep breathe and count to ten.

It is natural that kids will occasionally "get under our skin." But, yelling at kids for something that is affecting adults doesn't resolve the problem.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Watching Tulips Grow Without Soil

Science Project to Do with Kids

Breathe a little fresh color into the home you work in by doing this simple science project without the mess of potting soil or dirt. Bulbs generally contain all the nutrients required for blooming, although they still need water to grow blooms. Bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, amaryllis, and lilies grow without soil and last longer than cut flowers. A clear glass vase, filled with pebbles, and a little water is all you need. You and the kids will love watching the roots grow from the bulbs, then the green sprouts, and finally bloom.

see the roots growing
1. Put an anchoring item in a clear glass vase like glass pebbles or the plastic insert we found at the local florist shop.

 2. Place the bulbs onto the top of the anchoring material with the pointed tip end pointed up. 

3. Add water to the container until it comes to just below the base of the bulb.

4. Place the vase in an area that gets bright sunlight for at least six hours a day.

5. Replenish the water as it evaporates, always filling the container to just below the base of the bulb.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sometimes You Have to Bite Your Tongue

Nanny Confessions: Parents Should Think Before They Speak
By Stephanie Felzenberg, Nanny and Editor How to Be the Best Nanny Blog

In the perfect nanny and employer relationship neither party complains or gossips about the other to others. Unfortunately, more often than not, parents and nannies do gossip to friends and family about one another. It’s immature and unprofessional for sure, but it is human nature to complain to others when we feel unappreciated.

Of course some constructive criticism (or educational criticism) is necessary at any job. Bosses have to explain to their employees how to properly perform their jobs. In a perfect world, when parents complain about something, nannies calmly ask their employers to show them how they would like them to perform their job and make an effort to make those changes. But, more often than not, nannies feel they are being negatively criticized, resent the comments, and turn around and complain about their employers to friends and family.

To reduce negative feelings, parents simply should think before they speak. It is helpful if parents remember that most nannies have good intentions and are doing the best job they can. Meanwhile, nannies must realize that parents aren't necessarily criticizing them when they are simply giving them instructions. Nannies can be sensitive, so parents should consider the big picture¸ learn to pick their battles, and think before they criticize their domestic employees.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Taxes: Being Prepared and Choosing Preparers

April To-Do List

Whether you have filed your taxes yet or not, April is a fine time for you to review your record keeping and filing procedures and make a choice of tax preparers.

√ Create a Great Filing System:
The choices for filing and storage of documents has never been greater and easier to use. Using the Cloud, downloading a program or setting up a file are not the hard parts. The difficult part is maintaining the discipline to update regularly all tax-related information including donations, deductions, interest, and all types of income.

√ Review Your Passwords:
April is also a good time to review your passwords. For those sites or files that you wish to be secure, be certain that your passwords are a combination of upper case and lower case letters and numbers. Another trick is to make your password an acronym of something only you are aware of, such as "My car insurance policy for 2010 Honda" could be a password of "McIpf'10H"

√ Should You Do Your Taxes Yourself?
Should you decide to do your taxes yourself or should you use a tax preparer? The answer, of course is, it all depends. If you have a simple tax profile and are so inclined, there are ample free services, including the IRS, and there are online tax services that can guide you efficiently through tax form preparation.

√ Hire a Tax Expert:
If you decide to use a tax preparer or a tax preparation firm, be certain that the preparer is an expert of taxes. You should ask to make certain that you are hiring a tax expert. Do not allow someone simply "trained" in taxes to help you. Because a person is a CPA or an attorney does not mean that the preparer is an expert on taxes.

√ Put All Tax Info on a Flash Drive:
Maximum safety and security is achieved if you put all tax information on a flash drive and refrain from disclosing sensitive and unique personal data on unsecured sites. Remember that the IRS does not email personal communications.