Monday, December 30, 2013

Snow Painting

snow painting of smiley face

by Kelly Miller

Now that winter's in full swing, it is a perfect time to gather up old spray bottles and make snow paint!  Just fill spray bottles with water and food coloring (you will need one spray bottle for each color).  I have done this activity with many children over the years, and it is always a favorite winter activity. 

Step 1:  Gather spray bottles
Step 2:  Fill bottles with water.  Add food coloring.  Shake and be sure cap is tightly secured!
Step 3:  Have fun painting the snow!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy holidays!

No matter how you and your loved ones celebrate during this season, we wish you peace, happiness, and warmth. Thank you for being part of our community!

-Nannies from the Heartland

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Bonuses for Nannies

If you have questions about a holiday bonus for your nanny, check out this helpful article from Home Work Solutions.

You may also enjoy our article 15 Ways to Thank Your Nanny for other ideas about how to show your gratitude for her work.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Making Winter Memories with Children

by Kelly Miller

Now that we are in the Holiday season, I have been thinking about the memories I have made with my children and the children I have nannied for over the years.  Most people do not remember the gifts they received in years past, but the experiences!  Here are some memorable ideas to do with children this season.

One activity I did every year (for 5 years!) with one of my nanny families was making Snowballs.  Even my boss would get excited when I said it was Snowball Day!  This is a simple idea for young children.  We would simply insert a straw into a large marshmallow, dip the marshmallow in chocolate or almond bark, and then pile on the sprinkles!  These were easy to display in a large glass.

Take advantage of the snow!  I have helped many children decorate their yards with snowpaint.  It is easy to fill a spray bottle with water and food coloring. 

Put together a basket with holiday books.  Go to the library and browse your own books.  I have found that if the books are not together, it is easy to end the holiday season without reading them.  This is an easy way to get the children excited about reading!

One thing I do every year at home is have a basket with holiday craft supplies.  Ribbons, stickers, foam shapes, glitter, glue, sequins, etc. are great for boosting a child's imagination.  Every year I put the basket away after the holiday season, and it is ready to go for the next year!  I often buy the supplies on sale after the holiday, so it is ready to pull out the following year. 

What are you doing to make winter memories with your children?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Stress: Coping Strategies

For many children, the holidays are happy, fun and exciting. There is a break from school and a chance to see friends and relatives. However, the holidays can also be stressful and confusing.

Family plans and celebrations may be complicated a variety of factors. Relationships with adult siblings can put children in awkward positions. Family dynamics can be hard to navigate particularly with families who are separated, divorced or remarried.

The following are some tips for parents to help children cope with holiday stress:

Discuss holiday plans well in advance, and include your children in the planning process. Children need some degree of control and predictability. Prolonged uncertainty, constantly changing plans or last minute decisions can all increase stress. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a spontaneous experience but be careful that other plans aren’t upset in the process.

Make sure children get plenty of rest. While it may be exciting to stay up late, lack of sleep often leads to increased irritability. Stick to the “normal routine” as much as you are able. This is also true of regular meals and snacks. Holiday time brings in special foods and sweets. Be thoughtful about how these impact children’s health and wellbeing.

Limit the amount of time children spend alone watching TV or playing video games. Encourage physical activity and interaction with peers. Include physical activity in your holiday events. This can be a wonderful time to try something new together as a family. Our family loves to engage in group games and community service projects together. Getting outdoors to play or take a family walk are easy ways for everyone to enjoy physical activity.

Don’t promise things you can’t produce. For example, don’t promise something will happen during the holidays if the decision is really out of your control. Instead stick with plans that are achievable and reasonable.

Don’t try and compensate for an absent family member or inability to do a special activity with lots of gifts. What most children really want is your time and attention. Focus on them. In fact, limiting gifts can have a positive effect. Many families choose one special gift per child. Our family did this along with a family gift – a new game, special activity together or some other family based event that everyone could enjoy. This shifts the focus from gifts to time spent together.

Uphold and maintain family traditions. Children count on certain traditions. They can have an important grounding effect. There is also a place to add a family tradition to as children grow allowing them to broaden their holiday experiences. I know a family who volunteers to deliver meals to families unable to get out. They have done this for years and their daughter looks forward to the tradition and the service to others. Our family plays tag football as part of our traditional Thanksgiving activities.

As the adult, take care of yourself. Try to avoid getting overloaded with obligations. If you feel stressed, it increases the pressure and tension on your children.

Most children enjoy the holidays. However, preparation, patience and honesty can help prevent conflict, reduce stress, and enhance the holiday season for the whole family.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Volunteering with Children: Now and Year-Round

We're posting this again as it's timely and appropriate during this season focused on giving.

By Colleen O'Connor Toberman

Community service is a wonderful way for children to learn ideals such as generosity, self-awareness, compassion, and appreciation for diversity. However, the lessons will be lost if volunteerism isn't introduced to children in the right way.

As a professional volunteer coordinator, I often field inquries such as, "Where can my children and I volunteer together?" Here is some of my best advice for making community service an enriching experience for both your family and the organization you are serving.
  • Consider your child's passions. If your son loves animals, find an opportunity for him to express this passion. If your daughter asks you questions about people you see who are experiencing homelessness, take advantage of this teachable moment.  Children (and adults) learn best when they are engaged with their work.
  • Realistically plan for your child's needs. Account for childrens' energy level, daily rhythms, and comfort needs. There are many opportunities that can be done at home on your own time, which may work best for some families.
  • Use your child's talents. A budding artist can make cards to send to troops abroad. A violinist can perform for nursing-home residents. Soccer fans can teach younger neighbors how to play. Children love sharing their talents and seeing that almost any skill can be used to better the community.
  • Find a volunteer opportunity. Good places to find family-oriented service projects include Doing Good Together, your child's school, scout troops, or your faith community. With some brainstorming you may even be able to come up with your own projects around the neighborhood: picking up trash, making cookies for a neighbor, or hosting a block barbeque. Ask your children what needs they see around them; you'll be surprised by their answers.
  • Make sure it's the right opportunity. When inquring about a volunteer project, be open with the coordinator about your family's abilities and needs. Volunteer coordinators are passionate about giving people great community-service experiences. However, a project that doesn't go well leaves your children turned off to volunteerism and the organization without its needs met. Therefore make sure that you have a clear idea of what will be expected and that the coordinator has a clear idea of what your family is prepared to do.
  • Take the organization's needs into account. Introducing children to volunteerism is crucial, but so is making sure that the organization is furthering its work. Pay close attention to what the organization's needs are and be sure that you can meet them while requesting a minimum of special accomodations. Some projects just aren't suited for young ones, and bringing your children along won't actually be helpful to the organization. Make sure you've found a project that suits your family.
  • Learn and have fun! If the work focuses on tasks that your children can do well and will enjoy, they'll be begging to volunteer again. Even very young children pick up on your attitude, so make sure you are enthused about the task at hand. Turn projects into games that make the time go by and may even incorporate some learning. Ask questions such as, "Why do you think people come to the food shelf?" or, "How many weeks of your allowance would it take to sponsor an endangered panda?"
  • Volunteer year-round. Community service often comes to mind during the holidays; however, children need to see that sharing with others isn't just a December activity. Most organizations have more volunteers than they can handle during this season, but their needs exist 365 days a year. By volunteering at other times of year, you might find that volunteer coordinators have more capacity to arrange a great experience for your family. You may also have more space in your schedule, and your family will have more energy to devote to the work at hand. Children don't need a holiday to get excited about community service. Any day will do!
More resources:
Help Your Kid Help Others
Volunteering With Your Family
Family Volunteer Guide: suggests volunteer projects based on your interests

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Colorful Corn for Your Thanksgiving Table

Add a festive touch to your holiday table by filling a vase with colorful paper cornstalks.

Natural-colored raffia paper
Yellow poster board
Colored tissue paper

1.To make each stalk, cut three 18-inch lengths of natural-colored paper twist (sometimes called raffia paper). Untwist them, then trim the edges to resemble corn husks.
2. Fan out the husks so that they overlap and use a few drops of glue to hold them together.
3.From yellow poster board, cut out an ear of corn (about 10 inches long and 3 inches wide) and glue it atop the husks.
4.Now crumple a bunch of 3-inch colored tissue paper squares to create rounded kernels and glue them to the ear. Lastly, gather the husk bottoms and tie them together with a strip of raffia.

From Family Fun.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

15 Ways to Thank Your Nanny

By Nannies from the Heartland staff

As we approach Thanksgiving and the December holidays, families often ask us how they can thank their amazing nannies. Here are some ideas from the Nannies from the Heartland staff!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey

by Kelly Miller

As the current nanny of a 7-month-old, I am having a lot of fun introducing simple art projects.  Here is an idea that is appropriate for any age for Thanksgiving.

1.  Cover child's palm and thumb with brown tempera paint.
2.  Paint fingers each a different color ... orange, red, blue, green are a suggestion.
3.  Press child's hand down on white paper.
4.  Add a googly eye and a paint beak on thumb area.
5.  Paint legs and feet on bottom of palm area.
6.  When dry, add Happy Thanksgiving! and cover with contact paper.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fun with Cereal Boxes

by Kelly Miller

On Track

As a mother and a nanny, I am an avid reader of Family Fun magazine.  In the fall issue, I noticed an article called "4 Things to do with Cereal Boxes."  I have done the race car track with my son and two of the children I nanny.  Also, my daughter has been enjoying helping make the cases to file papers (perfect for each child's spelling lists, homework, field trip slips, etc.).

What other uses to you have for cereal boxes?  I have started cutting up cereal boxes for children to use for drawing and painting (after all, they are sturdier than paper and free!).  Have fun with your own cereal box creations!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giving to Others

Here is a wonderful article from the August 2013 issue of Minnesota Parent ( about the concept of giving and starting early.

It Starts at Home
by Karen McGuire
MN Parent August 2013

When I read stories of children who start charitable foundations at age nine, or donate their birthday gifts to homeless kids, I can’t help but wonder what makes these givers so different from my seemingly selfish brood. My kids seem to possess little interest in helping others, focused more on how to increase their collection of LEGOs and stuffed animals than aiding those in need.
I’ve tried to point out how fortunate we are and explain empathy and the importance of helping others. But it’s in-one-ear, out-the-other—kind of like when I ask them to close the screen door. We use the Spend, Save, Share concept in our house, splitting allowance into a jar for spending, saving for the long term, and sharing with others. We’ve had some success, donating share jar money to Project Smile through school and to the animal rescue when we dropped off an abandoned baby bird. But for the most part, the money just sits there, forgotten.
Admittedly, I have a hard time myself with charitable giving, feeling overwhelmed by choosing the right charity out of millions, nagged by the organizations that never stop calling, and disconnected to the causes I do end up funding.
Determined to making giving a family affair, I asked Jenny Friedman, executive director of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit Doing Good Together, for ideas. Doing Good Together promotes family volunteerism, “spending intentional time weaving the focus of giving back into families’ lives,” says Friedman, who also authored The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering. Here are some thoughts.
How old does a child have to incorporate giving into family life?
“Whatever age your children are, that’s a good age to start. The earlier you start, the more kids see it as part of what we do. Slowly they get it at a deeper and deeper level,” Friedman explains. “Empathy develops with age but some kids develop it more quickly and easily. With others it takes a lot of effort to think about what it might feel like to be somebody else.”
How do you start having a conversation about giving with your family?
“Have a nightly dinner table conversation. Ask ‘Who did you help today and who helped you?’” Friedman says it’s important to talk about how people help your family as well because we all have something to offer to others and giving should not be a one-way street, or a polarizing concept. “Don’t divide the world between givers and receivers,” Friedman says.
How can parents get kids more involved in charitable donation decisions?
It’s natural that kids won’t have their own ideas about where to donate money at first. Adults find that overwhelming too. Have a conversation about what really matters to them. Is it animals, other kids, the environment? Once you have that conversation, “pick three organizations and explain what they do,” Friedman says. “The more hands-on and easy to understand, the better.”
She likes Heifer International because it has a catalog of animals to choose from and a book, Beatrice’s Goat, that tells the story of how one animal can change a family’s life. Kids get that. 
Another way to connect kids to causes is to use their “share” money to buy supplies for hands-on projects. Buy art supplies and make cards for sick kids. Purchase fleece to make blankets. Or use the money to buy supplies on a shelter’s wish list and bring the items to the shelter with kids in tow. The shelter might even give you a tour. Use the money “to do something hands on,” Friedman suggests. “Money can be kind of abstract.”
What are some resources for parents interested in adding volunteerism into family life? – This organization gives birthday gift bags to food shelves and shelters so parents living in poverty can celebrate their child’s birth with a gift. – Connects families with families in need. Can send monthly care packages and exchange letters with the family you are helping. – A new project from Doing Good Together, the site has “recipes” for simple charitable projects that require little preparation. Families can complete them at home with kids of all ages. ­– Works with communities to end hunger and poverty, and care for the earth.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now?

"Can you hear me now?" may be a catchy advertising slogan, but is also a great question to ask ourselves when talking about effective, open communication. Both nannies and families know the importance of communication in their relationship, so why is it sometimes such a challenge?

Part of the reason could be that often the subjects nannies and families deal with come with an emotional attachment. Discussing issues regarding the children or job performance can be sensitive. Here are some techniques that may help when conversations have an emotional component.
  • Planning ahead by preparing notes about the issues can help compose thoughts and feelings, so that everyone can focus on goals or solutions.
  • Communicate concerns as quickly as possible. Don't wait for issues to "grow" into major problems or assume that the other party knows there is an issue that needs to be discussed.
  • Setting a time to talk and a location that is conducive for conversation is important. Trying to have a serious or detailed conversation while children are needing attention is difficult, if not impossible.
  • Be positive in initiating communication. This is a time to be constructive and share in an amiable, non-threatening manner.
  • Being aware of your emotional factors and being sensitive to others emotional responses can be helpful as you choose how to introduce issues.
  • Allow time for all parties to consider the information before making changes or implementing plans. Feedback is important for all concerned.
Two additional keys in improving communication are clarity of expression and reflective listening.
  • Clarity of expression deals with how we speak to others. Avoid being vague or abstract. Carefully choose words and phrases that are clear and free from jargon to minimize being misinterpreted.
  • Reflective listening is a technique to ensure that interpretation of information is accurate. By restating what we've heard in our own words to the speaker, we can begin to ensure that we haven't misread them.
My experiences communicating with my employers have generally been good, but there have been occasions over the years that I've needed to rely on these skills. When addressing an issue, I want to approach it from my personal view. The use of "I feel . . . " or "I have noticed . . ." rather than "You said . . ." or "You did . . ." is a more open form of getting the point across. I want to listen closely to responses which will let me know if I am being understood and also giving me insight into their feeling, concerns and viewpoint. By modeling an open communication style I have noticed that they will also use those techniques with me.

When we are talking about child related issues we work together to come up with a plan that we feel
will work for that child and agree to get back together after a particular time period to reassess the progress. When discussing job performance issues we also agree to thoughtfully consider any new goals, changes, or issues and revisit them at a later time for finalization. I recommend a periodic employment review so that all aspects of the position can be examined by the nanny and family.

I statements also work wonderfully when communicating with children. I can't tell you how many times using "I need you . . . ", "I would like . . ." and "I expect . . ." have made a huge difference in their willingness to complete chores or school assignments without the negativity that can come with other approaches. As the children grow they will pick up on the communication skills that they have observed all of us using.

Effective communication is a skill for life. When everyone is genuinely willing and committed, most issues can be resolved if they are handled in a timely, effective manner.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ghost Cookies

by Kelly Miller

For the past seven years I have made these cookies with the children I care for.  They are quick and easy to make because they require no baking!  Have fun!  I have enjoyed making these cookies with toddlers through school age children.

          1 package Nutter Butter cookies
          1 package almond bark
          chocolate chips
          sprinkles, if desired

Melt almond bark.  Dip Nutter Butter cookies in almond bark; completely cover.  Set cookie on waxed paper.  Decorate with chocolate chip eyes, and sprinkles, if desired.  They look like ghosts!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

First Teacher - That's You!

Do you remember your first teacher? I'd be willing to bet that you are thinking of your Kindergarten or first grade teacher. But did you think of your parents, preschool teacher or nanny? In fact our parents and caregivers were our first teachers, and now we are teachers ourselves. Teachable moments abound in those early years and we have the privilege of taking advantage of them.

Teaching the children in your care doesn't need to have a formal feel. What's so wonderful about teaching young children is that much of it is done spontaneously or incorporated into activities we are normally doing with them. Encouraging the natural curiosity of children is a great place to start. Taking their interests to new levels is where we can incorporate trips to the library, museums or events, projects in art or science, use of dramatic play and even snack time.

Although you don't need a formal lesson plan or curriculum, planning is needed. Using themes can be helpful to your plan. You also want to consider the children's ages, abilities and interests. Including a balance of activities supports learning and keeps the child's attention (and ours as well). Have movement activities or games balanced with quiet time. Offer both large and small muscle development, creative expression and specific skill practice along with the inclusion of music, literature, food fun and experimentation provides for enjoyable learning for everyone. Children will undoubtedly offer plenty of input as you expose them to new ideas and concepts. Be ready to change gears and take advantage of the "spark" of interest can bring even greater enrichment.

Modeling is another way that children learn. Sometimes we don't realize how much they
watch us until we hear them use one of our expressions or quote us. We often think of modeling good eating habits or appropriate speech, but remember that they are watching us under all situations. What are you modeling when you are stressed or frustrated? How we express emotions, spend our free time, interact with others are all being carefully observed. If this gives you pause, it should. Children are like sponges and we should be continually asking ourselves what are they absorbing from us? Sometimes the most important life lessons are ones we learned just from watching others.

           What a privilege it is to be a teacher. Embrace this opportunity and see the wonderful difference you make in a child's life.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Advice on Communication

This article comes from the International Nanny Association (INA) recent newsletter. The current Nanny of the Year, Joanne Barrow, writes some practical advice on communication. For more information about INA please visit

Effective Communication
By Joanne Barrow, 2013 INA Nanny of the Year
Joanne Barrow
For those of us caring for school age children the early September bedlam of back to school nights, meet the teacher, activity registration and getting back in the swing of homework is starting to settle down and find its groove again. As the families (and your own) routine begin to normalize now’s a great time to suggest a quiet meeting with your employers to plan and review schedules, give and receive feedback, discuss any changes that have taken place over the summer and reassess theirs, and your own needs moving forward.

One of the most important factors in the success and stability of my career has been direct, open and honest communication. Relationships with our families are personal and intimate and like any close connection it requires open, ongoing dialogue. As I read the blogs and group discussions in Nanny world it seems the
number 1 breakdown (in otherwise) great working relationships is the difficulty we have in addressing issues ‘head on’ with our employers. It’s imperative to air thoughts and observations openly and frequently before grievances begin to
fester. It doesn’t have to be daunting and once you get in the swing of things it’ll become second nature and something you may even come to look forward to. 

Here are a few steps that have helped me navigate these conversations.
  • Be professional- Focus on being constructive, not critical and keep emotions to a minimum.
  • Start on a positive note- Perhaps a brief synopsis of the kids latest strides and accomplishments.
  • Come prepared- Write down in advance the points you need to cover in the time frame you have. Know your objectives and direct the pace of the conversation so you don’t run out of time.
  • Bringing up a problem? Bring a solution….or two! Be proactive and offer up solutions or ‘give and take’ ideas that will work for everyone involved.
  • Don’t be intimidated- Some subjects are more difficult to discuss than others; for me money has always been my least favorite topic. Preface difficult issues by saying, ‘I feel a little awkward mentioning/ asking this but…. its important for the children/ its been on my mind / it’s necessary for us to clarify’ etc.… 
  • Don’t be defensive- Do you close up like a clam the second you receive criticism- constructive or otherwise? Take a moment before you respond and attempt to see the issue through their eyes as parents. If you can do that, you’ll likely find a way to adapt that will make them more comfortable. Long term success with our families is all about flexibility and understanding.
  • End the way you began- on a positive note! Thank them for their time and remind them you’re there to
    help and always open to suggestions and constructive advice.
Start this new school year as you mean to go on, talk it out before you walk out. And finally…Don’t wait until there’s a problem, request a monthly meeting with your employers, the better the lines of communication the stronger your relationship and position will remain.
Good Luck!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Apple Pizza - Delicious Fall Dessert

Here is a quick and easy recipe that is a delicious way to celebrate fall. This is also great without the topping if you'd like a more apple tart type dish. A great recipe to make with the children. They can cut apples, roll out the dough, arrange apples, mix topping ingredients and assemble the pizza.


          1 package pizza dough
          6 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
          1/3 cup sugar
          1 tsp cinnamon

                3/4 cup flour
        3/4 cup sugar
        1/4 cup butter, melted

For the pizza, roll the dough to the desired thickness. Place on a round baking pan. Arrange apple slices on the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over apples.

For the topping, combine – flour, sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Mix with hands until the topping is crumbly. Sprinkle over pizza.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cut into slices, serve warm . . . also great cold.

Monday, September 30, 2013


By Monica Schoenborn (from Twin Cities Professional Nannies, September Newsletter)
Feedback questions are apart of every nanny’s daily workday. How long did she nap today? What did he eat for lunch? How was class? Is the rash getting better? Has the dog been out lately? What is the speech therapy homework? What was the last time meds were given? What is the homework situation? Did the painters show up today? How is potty training going? I am sure at this point we could fill up the remaining space here with the questions you and I have heard over time during our work as nannies. The point being there are a lot of things that can go on in our work setting and a child’s life. Communication on a daily basis is important to help their family life function smoother. It helps the parents and nanny develop into a working team.

How families prefer to communicate about the daily lives of their children varies. Verbal feedback of the day is a given and for some parents this is all they may want. Besides verbal feedback many parents like to have a written daily log. We have always used a simple notebook as a daily log at my work. There are sites like that offer a download copy of a baby or toddler log sheet that can be printed.  There are various reasons that a family may like to use an online resource where everyone (traveling parent or if parents are divorced etc…) can be kept up to date. offers a free basic service that will send daily emails of what was put into the log. They have an app for the ipad and in the Google play store ($4.99) for other devices at this time. Also, during the day the parents may like a text update and/or picture sent to them from your cell. Some parents and nannies use email as a form of updates to log the activities of the day. Parents may forward emails to the nanny that are related to the child’s activities that they are involved in as more organizations seem to be using email to inform and update participates.

The daily log content will evolve as the children age. My boss will once and a while still refer to it as the “poop sheet” even though the potty training years are well behind us. The daily logs have been a record of development, meltdowns, meal data, medication time logs (and amounts), activities, phone messages, appointment information, quotes of things the kids have said, messages from the kids, repair service information and much more.  In the mist of the potty training days there was one frustrating day that the only feedback I gave was “no your child is not potty trained yet”.  A log has been very helpful in giving pediatric doctors better informed information on when symptoms or change in behavior started.

When the children become school age then the homework feedback questions start. The activities that a child is involved in plus the length of time it takes to do homework impacts the family life. Over time we have come up with a second “log” of sorts that we call P.O.A. (Plan of Action) for one of the kids.  For example:

P.O.A. – Wednesday Sept. 25th
 Pg. 23 2-24 evens, 25-30 odds

We make a word document with all the subjects and homework information on it. Then the kid numbers the subjects in the order he will do the homework and he checks them off as he completes it. This helps him develop time management skills, planning skills and keeps him organized.  It is also the place his parents can check to see where he is at in homework without distracting him. His brother used his school planner so a P.O.A wasn’t needed but he still had to develop the time management skills. One thing to note is the schools are changing with the technology developments. It is helpful to check if the school district web site has teachers assignments posted online. We just cut and paste the assignments and put them in a word document to save time. It is also helpful to see if the students are allowed to use the camera on their cells to take a picture of the assignments written down in class.

Just because a kid goes to school doesn’t mean they automatically are mini adults and have all the life skills a middle age adult has gained. (Okay, we can all come up with exceptions but you get the idea) They still need nannies. Our feedback changes but it is still about the well being of the child, tween or teen. Feedback is more verbal for the simple fact we have helped this kid to learn to read. The tween may not want to read that we think he may have hit the age where deodorant is needed. Middle school highlights that teens are developing at different rates.  Playdates change to hang out time with peers. But we can still be a trusted adult in their lives that is part of their team during the school years.

As nannies providing this type of feedback in its various forms, we are showing our employers one of the reasons it is valuable to hire a nanny in the first place.  Other childcare options generally are not going to be able to provide this level of feedback.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Minneapolis #3

Minneapolis was #3 in a recent article ranking the best places to be a nanny. While we're excited to be included, we'd like to add is that although they present an average nanny wage in Minneapolis we feel this is not reflective of our experience. The method in which they determined the average hourly compensation is described on their site - . As you'll see they grouped all child care in determining average wages. This includes babysitters and nannies. We feel that career professional nannies are in their own category. If you'd like more accurate information about career professional nannies compensation and related industry information you can visit the International Nanny Association website at and you'll see their recent Salary and Benefit Survey on the home page (lower right hand corner). This survey is done by a professional service and provides extensive information about statistics on the industry.

For the article follow this link:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26 is National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

One of our blog readers has asked that we post this link out to all of you. They have helped organize an online awareness campaign that is running today. We'd like to make others aware of this disease and the facts everyone should know. Here is the link to their page and how to participate:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tasty After School Snacks - Healthy Options

A good after school snack is important to children. In previous nanny job it was that time of day to relax over light refreshments and check-in with each child.
My current family has a long commute from school to home and so snack has taken on an even larger role for them. They will actually have a mini-meal to tide them over until parents are home and dinner is on the table.
Here are a few favorites that I've had success with over the years. I hope you enjoy them too!

Warm Tortilla Chips and Dips
Large Tortilla
Cooking Spray or Oil
Cut tortilla up into strips, geometric shapes or using cookie cutters you'll get all kinds of fun chip shapes. Place tortilla pieces onto baking sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray or a spray oil. (I had a pump sprayer that accommodated any oil which worked very well). Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning. You can also use a cinnamon sugar mixture for a sweet version. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes until golden.
Serve with salsa, veggie dip, hummus or other options. Delicious!

GORP Buffet
Gorp is a type of trail mix style treat. We'd gather a variety of cereals, dried fruits, mini-marshmallows, snack crackers, pretzels, nuts, etc. - whatever we had around. I'd put them into small bowls with a spoon. Each child would get their own bowl or cup to scoop up their favorite mix. The children would love the buffet idea and would often eat items that if served alone they weren't interested. Great for munching while doing homework with a glass of milk, juice or water.

Snack Rollups
Large Tortilla Wraps
Sandwich Fixings
These are bite-sized sandwiches that are healthy and fill that gap between lunch and the evening meal. Take the large tortilla and build layers of their favorite sandwich items. Roll the tortilla up and then cut into one inch sections. I liked to provide several different choices to them including veggies, cheeses, meats, peanut butter or other options so they could sample. If you have leftovers they do well when placed in an airtight container and refrigerated.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Local Nanny Conference Day

Twin Cities Professional Nannies is hosting their annual Conference Day on Saturday, October 26. The focus is on professional growth and development. The information and registration is posted here for your information. Please feel free to share this information with others.

The View: Nanny Style

2013 TCPN Conference Day and TCPN Member Meeting

Saturday, October 26

9 AM to 3 PM

Light breakfast items and Lunch included in your registration

 Twin Cities Professional Nannies, a nonprofit organization, presents a day of professional and personal growth at our 2013 Annual Nanny Development Conference and Member Meeting!

Invite your friends, family, and nanny peers. The day will include Nanny Industry and Child Care Topics, Member Meeting, Networking, Door Prizes and More!

Register now and join us!


Cindy Horgan Video: This is the fourth video in the Cindy Horgan series TCPN members have been enjoying over the past year. If you missed previous videos – no worries! Each video stands alone on a particular topic. This final topic is Understanding Anger and Power Struggles. Focusing on understanding our own style of demonstrating anger helps us to teach children to manage their anger in healthy ways. Along with avoiding power struggles by learning to help our children deal with their strong emotions make our job easier. We’ll have ample time to discuss the video after the presentation and everyone will be able to share their personal insights.

Table Top Discussions:  Every year TCPN Conference Day attendees ask for more opportunities to discuss topics that are critical to our profession. This year the board has planned for this by providing several topic starters and the time for all participants to share and get some practical takeaways that you can use immediately.

TCPN Annual Meeting: Following the conference day members will move into the annual meeting portion where they will get an overview of the operations of TCPN over the past year. Members will be able to voice their ideas for future events and projects.

Event location: St Andrew Lutheran Church,
13600 Technology Drive Eden Prairie, MN 55344
TCPN Email:

TCPN Conference Day Registration Form
Early Bird Registration must be postmarked by October 15, 2013
City:_______________________________________________State:_____ Zip:__________
How did you hear about our conference?_________________________________________________________
MEMBERS                                                                                           NON-MEMBERS
Early Bird Discount Postmarked by October 15 = $32                               Postmarked by October 15 = $40
Postmarked after October 15 = $45                                                          Postmarked after October 15 = $65
Make your check payable to TCPN
*JOIN TCPN + Conference for $65 – a great deal for a professional conference and a year of membership
$75 – at the door charge members and non-members
*****Breakfast Goodies and Lunch Provided*****
Check-In: 8:30 AM (Light morning breakfast items)
Start: Promptly at 9:00 AM
Lunch Break: About 12:00 Noon (Lunch Provided)
Raffle/Drawings: 2:00 PM
Annual Meeting: 2:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Return to:
P. O. Box 11275
St. Paul MN 55111

Friday, September 20, 2013

National Nanny Recognition Week - September 22 to 28!

National Nanny Recognition Week (NNRW) was created in 1998 to recognize and celebrate nannies across the country. NNRW is a week during which families, businesses, and the media will be encouraged to focus on the positive aspects of the nanny profession, the important role nannies play in the lives of the families and the wonderful contribution they make in the lives of the children they care for. We hope you will join us in celebrating your nanny!
Nannies from the Heartland appreciates all nannies serving families and children! Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place!

Some Ways to Show Your Appreciation
  • Say Thank You and have the children say Thank You
  • A Surprise Day Off
  • Treat your nanny to a special meal made by you and the children
  • A card and framed photo of the family
  • Membership in a local nanny group or professional organization such as
  • Twin Cities Professional Nannies (TCPN) ( or International Nanny Association (INA) (
  • Registration fees for a professional level conference:
  • both TCPN and INA have nanny specific conferences available
  • CPR and First Aid Course Fees
  • Gift Certificates to favorite restaurant, store, online shopping, movie, spa experience, fitness club, etc. 
  • Basket of treats and goodies
  • Handmade card or gift from the child or children
  • Your heartfelt appreciation means a lot - share how important your nanny is to you and your family! It speaks volumes!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day History!

Happy Labor Day! I found this history of Labor Day on the Department of Labor website. You might be interested in knowing more about Labor Day.


The History of Labor Day

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

Labor Day Legislation

Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

A Nationwide Holiday

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.