Friday, March 30, 2012

The Magic In “Monkey See, Monkey Do”

This article came to us from Samantha Sawyer, M.A. CCC-SLP, a licensed speech pathologist who specializes in helping children communicate. 

Have you ever wondered how to speed up your child’s skill development and make these interactions more fun and rewarding for both child and caregiver?  I want to share concepts, based on powerful tools I’ve developed over the last eight years, that will show you how to “hide” learning in play, emotional bonding activities, and sensory stimulation.

Spring is a time of inspiration in The Heartland that beckons to get outdoors and fully experience the magical transition from a brown to fresh green landscape.  Engaging your child’s five senses in multi-sensory outdoor play is a great way to stimulate growth and development.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creating the Ultimate Craft Box

From our friends at Regarding Nannies here is a great article written by Kellie Geres. She's got some bright ideas I know nannies and families will love!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Driving Children - What You Need to Consider

From our friends at Breedlove and Associates.

Most caregivers are asked to drive as a regular part of their job -- using either the family's car or their own car. Either way, the errands and excursions can create exposure for families if auto insurance is not properly addressed.
We've created a hypothetical case in order to illustrate the potential issues related to on-the-job automobile usage.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Exploring Trains in St. Paul

Corrigan Layout
by Kelly Miller

I am the mother of a 2-yr-old who loves trains.  I recently went to the Jackson Street Roundhouse and also the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, both in St. Paul.

The Jackson Street Roundhouse was fun for my three children to explore (ages 2, 6 and 9 years old).  We enjoyed exploring old train cars, including sleeping cars, engines, a dining car and caboose.  Our family also joined another family in a classic bus ride through downtown St. Paul (included with admission).  My youngest child loved playing with the various train tables.  The Roundhouse also offers a caboose ride every half hour, but it was not available the Saturday we visited.  The Jackson Street Roundhouse is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The Twin City Model Railroad Museum at Bandana Square is another outing that will appeal to train lovers of all ages.  My 2-yr-old son enjoyed walking around the model trains and watching the trains come out of tunnels, go over bridges, etc.  His favorite was pushing a button that activated the Thomas model train.  This museum also has train tables for hands-on play.  The Twin City Model Railroad Museum is open Tuesday-Sundays.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Focus on Success

If you are regular to this blog you know how strongly I feel about setting children up for success. I thought I'd take this opportunity to expand a little more on this concept.

Success builds experience and confidence. The neural pathways constructed following successful attempts are strong bridges to the new pathways. My feelings about success do not mean that I make things simple or easy for a child. Challenge and struggle are powerful players in building skills, but I don't want to put up road blocks to positive outcomes. Children who are frustrated on a regular basis begin to believe that they "can't do it" - even before they try. So challenges need to be appropriate hurdles they can get over without becoming bogged down in frustration.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finishing the Hire

This article came to us from our friends at Breedlove and Associates, experts in nanny related tax information and more. Nannies from the Heartland provides all our clients with information about their role as an employer including tax information and we always include information on resources such as Breedlove and Associates with all our client families.

Finishing the Hire
Every year, thousands of families make the same household hiring mistake. After being consumed for weeks -- sometimes months -- with the tasks of finding the ideal nanny and vetting her, they fail to "finish" the hiring process by taking care of the financial and legal aspects of employment.

The main culprits are procrastination and misinformation. Many families think they can "just handle it next April" with their tax return. Others make plans to "take care of it in a few weeks, after we're sure she's going to work out" -- and then, of course, are very slow about getting around to it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is an easy quick bread that can be made and enjoyed anytime. The following is a recipe that includes golden raisins - a little gold for St. Patrick's day. You can omit the raisins completely or substitute regular raisins, currents or dried cranberries or a combination instead. We've tried them all and they were well received by everyone. Children love to help! Depending on their age they can measure, dump, mix, stir, kneed and/or form the rustic loaf. When children join you in the kitchen they are excited to try out the results. This is a great activity for the whole family and the bread makes a lovely gift for family, friends or neighbors.

  • 3 3/4 C of flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 3/4 C golden raisins
  • 2 C of buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  1. Allow the oven to heat up to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Dump in the brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda and toss to combine well.
  5. Fold in the raisins until incorporated into the dry mixture well.
  6. Pour the buttermilk into a separate small bowl.
  7. Break the egg into the buttermilk and whisk until completely combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated together and soft dough has formed.
  9. Flour a flat surface lightly and transfer the dough to the surface.
  10. Knead the dough 10 times or until the dough is pliable and smooth.
  11. Form the dough into a large mounded round.
  12. Place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet and use a sharp knife to cut a shallow X in the middle of the mound.
  13. Bake the bread for 45 minutes or until browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Communication Tips for Families and Nannies

Whether the job is going well or there are issues, good communication is essential between the employer and the nanny.  Obviously it’s much easier to communicate all the positives – how much you appreciate them, how the children enjoy them, how good it feels to leave the house knowing all is well, how much you enjoy your job, how great the family is, the latest fun activity or humorous comment from one of the children – these are the kind of comments that are easy to share.  It’s when there are issues that the need for effective open communication skills is essential.
Avoiding conversations about issues of concern is not a good approach.  Nothing can change in a situation unless dialogue is begun.  Nannies are great at teaching these concepts to the children in their care, but not always the best at communicating with their employers.  Certainly the personal nature of a nanny position is part of the challenge.  Employers often need to open that door.
Consider the following tips in effective communication with each other:

Friday, March 9, 2012

St. Patricks Day Activities

We loved activities, crafts, recipes, games  for St. Patricks Day! It was more than one day we stretched it out over a week or more with at least one new activity planned each day. Story time was always exciting during this time. We always made Shamrock Shakes and Irish Soda Bread. And it would be St. Patricks Day without a treasure hunt . . . follow the shamrocks, read clues, find the treasure. Ahh, sure as yar born it was a grand time! Here are some sites that have great ideas for you to enjoy the wearin' o' the green!

reposted from 3/2011 - we've added a few other websites for you to check out and enjoy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kiwi -- more than a fruit!

Kelly Miller recommends . . . .

KIWI MagazineGrowing families the natural and organic way is Kiwi magazine's motto.  This magazine includes articles on health, activities for children and families, parenting tips, crafts, recipes and product recommendations.  Kiwi would be a good resource for both parents and nannies.  Check it out at .

Monday, March 5, 2012

Update on INA Scholarship Offering

We ran this notice a month ago. Since that time donations have come in and we are excited to share that two scholarships are being offered. In addition, the sponsoring groups are announcing that they are opening up the scholarship to any TCPN member or former members of NAN whether this is their first conference or their 27th. Please read the details below for how to participate!
**This scholarship includes registration to the conference plus one night's hotel.**
Nanny Groups Honor One of their Own by Sponsoring INA Conference Scholarship
Local nanny group, Twin Cities Professional Nannies (TCPN) and former members of the National Association of Nannies (NAN) have come together to establish a scholarship to the 2012 International Nanny Association (INA) annual conference. This scholarship honors nanny, Lori Baker who was a member of NAN, TCPN and INA. Lori was killed in her home a few days after Christmas. Establishing this scholarship allows those who knew Lori and the whole nanny community, to honor her memory.

Lori was a dedicated nanny, child advocate and a leader in the local nanny industry. She served on the Board of Directors of TCPN for many years heading up the Playgroups Committee and working on the annual conference. Lori always gave 100% to anything she was doing.

Her commitment to her nanny employers was exemplary. Lori had been with her current family for nine years. She was devoted to the whole family, providing them with not only quality child care but support for the entire family. They were equally devoted to Lori.

Beyond her commitment to being a professional career nanny Lori loved to be active in her community and loved being outdoors. She was an animal lover and a cat owner. Lori loved to scrapbook, make her own cards and sew. She was an amazing friend to all - although she seemed quiet at first her friends discribe her as lively and great fun! She will be missed by many.

Lori Baker Memorial Scholarship

In honor and memory of Lori Baker, a board member of the Twin Cities Professional Nannies (TCPN) and a former member of the now defunct National Association of Nannies(NAN) we (the former members of NAN and current members of TCPN) would like to join together and offer a scholarship to the 2012 INA Conference.
  • Only former members of NAN and current members of TCPN are eligible for the Lori Baker Scholarship.
  • A working nanny who currently works in the field at least 24 hours a week.
  • Never attended an INA Conference First time attendees or those who have previously attended
  • You must be a member of INA as of March 9, 2012
  • By submitting this essay you are committing to attend the 2012 INA Conference. ( INA Board of Directors, conference speakers and workshop presenters, conference sponsors who receive complimentary registration, the 2011 and 2012 INA Nanny of the Year award recipients are not eligible)
* Submit an essay on the following topic: “What my professional nanny connections mean to me”
  • Essay must be between 300-500 words.
  • Do not include information in your essay that would identify you, such as the name of your city. We would like to keep the submissions as anonymous as possible.
  • Essay must be submitted between Wednesday February 22, 2012 and Friday March 9, 2012 11:59pm EST.
  • Be a professional. Recipient will be chosen by content and presentation of essay. Use spell check and count your words.
  • Award recipient will be notified via phone and email on Monday, March 12, 2012.
Essay submissions should be sent to
The INA conference is May 3-6.
It is suggested that you arrive on Thursday evening May 3rd so that you can attend the Welcome reception Thursday evening and be there for the opening session on Friday morning.
By submitting this essay you are committing to attending the 2012 INA Conference.
You have discussed this with your employers and they have agreed to give you the time off to attend the conference.

The Lori Baker Scholarship will be funded by donations. If you would like to make a donation please contact

Nannies from the Heartland, Inc. is a proud, long time business member of TCPN.

Nanny Conference - Early Bird Registration!

For full information about the International Nanny Association and the annual conference visit The conference logo is on the home page and will take you to all the particulars.
This is a great conference! We will be there again this year . . . we'd love to see YOU there!
 International Nanny Association
Early Bird Registration Now Through March 31

If you are new to INA or joined INA after June 1, 2011, and have never attended an INA Annual Conference, you are eligible to receive 50% off of your conference registration.
Your conference registration fee includes admittance to all conference workshops on Friday and Saturday and networking breaks, Friday and Saturday continental breakfast and lunch and the welcome and closing receptions.

Register Now!

International Nanny Association
P.O BOX 1299, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 888.878.1477 | Fax: 508.638.6462
Email: |

Privacy Policy | Email Preferences Copyright © International Nanny Association. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey

Nannies please participate in this survey. It only takes a few minutes to complete. The International Nanny Association is one of the few places where accurate information on our industry is being tracked.

 International Nanny Association
2012 INA Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey
Each year, the International Nanny Association conducts the INA Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey to gather important data about salary and benefits for nannies.
By taking the survey and by sharing the survey with nannies you know, you are helping INA to gain an accurate picture of the employment trends in our industry.
If you are a nanny, please take the 2012 INA Nanny Salary and Benefits Survey. If you are an agency owner or staff person, please share the survey link with your nannies.

Thank you.
Michelle LaRowe
Executive Director
INA Membership Services
International Nanny Association
P.O BOX 1299, Hyannis, MA 02601
Phone: 888.878.1477 | Fax: 508.638.6462
Email: |