Friday, May 31, 2013

Children's Health Resource

This information was sent to us by a neighbor of Nannies from the Heartland. Thank you Patty!

Children’s Hospitals and Clinics has teamed up with Star Tribune to launch a brand new section of its website, Kids’ Health. In this unique, first of its kind partnership, Children’s will have a strong presence through branding, content and advertising.

Star Tribune partnership
The collaborative content development process means Star Tribune writers and editors have developed news that parents can use to keep their kids healthy and safe, while also leveraging Children’s resources like our website and blog to provide our unique perspective and information. It’s truly bringing together two trusted names to provide one great resource for families.

Some interesting features:
  • New Kids’ Health section and navigation
  • Prominent Children’s-branded header throughout section
  • 100% Children’s advertising throughout section
  • “Presented by” article pages position Children’s as thought leader
  • Articles sharable through Star Tribune platforms
  • Info section drives visitors to, Find a Doctor and blog

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Interactive Discovery - Visit Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack Nature Center

If you are looking for a highly interactive, nature based experience for all ages - you won't want to miss Tamarack Nature Center. The link below brings you right to the page with all the information you'll need to have a great day of adventure and discovery. We'd love to hear your feedback on this very special park and your experience.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering on Memorial Day

The Original Order Creating the Memorial Day Holiday:
The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and comrades will, in their own way, arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are here to play, Comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers sailors and Marines, who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead? We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security, is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldiers and sailors widow and orphan.

It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Good To Know: When Nanny Travels with their Employer Family

This article comes from our friends at Breedlove & Associates
The summer months are right around the corner and many families are already planning their vacation schedule. For those who take their nanny along to watch the kids, this edition of The Legal Review addresses a common labor law mistake.
The Situation
The Kellogg family hired a nanny through a local placement agency to care for their three sons. The family needed someone who would be able to travel with them for at least two vacations during the summer. The agency was able to set the Kelloggs up with an ideal nanny who was eager to accept the position, in part because she had never been out of the state before and liked the idea of traveling to new places. The agency also recommended the family call Breedlove & Associates because traveling with a nanny can be tricky for families unfamiliar with labor law. The Kelloggs politely declined as Mr. Kellogg had worked in financial services his whole life and felt comfortable handling the nanny's payroll and taxes.
The Mistake
The first family vacation was a week-long trip to Disney World. The nanny was excited to go and assumed she would have some free time of her own. To her surprise, she worked much more than normal - instead of her normal 40 hour workweek, she worked 60 hours in Orlando. However, she didn't complain because most of her days were spent riding rides and playing games with the kids.
Upon returning from the trip, the nanny was exhausted. When she received her paycheck, she was surprised to find it was $300 less than her normal pay. When she read over her paystub, she noticed a $300 deduction for airfare. The nanny did not think this was correct, but before bringing it to Mr. Kellogg's attention, she contacted her placement agency who referred her to Breedlove & Associates.
The Law
When accompanying an employer on a trip - whether a vacation or a business trip - an employee must be compensated for all hours worked during the trip, including the time spent traveling to the destination. If the employee's working time exceeds 40 hours in a 7-day period, the employer must pay the employee for the overtime hours at the time-and-a-half rate. In addition to the regular and overtime pay, the employer is responsible for the employee's traveling expenses, including airfare and hotel accommodations. These expenses are covered by the employer because the employee would not have incurred these expenses on her own.
A traveling employee does not need to be compensated during her "free time," which is defined as time when she is not responsible for her charges and she has complete freedom to go and do whatever she pleases.
The Mess
A Breedlove & Associates consultant explained to the nanny that Mr. Kellogg had not handled her compensation for the trip correctly, but that this was a common mistake for new household employers. The consultant informed the nanny that she should have been paid for all hours worked and that Mr. Kellogg should not have deducted the expense of the flight from her paycheck.
The nanny presented this information to the Kelloggs and they were surprised and embarrassed to find out they had underpaid her. They apologized and explained to the nanny that it was never their intention to swindle her out of any additional money owed to her. Mr. Kellogg prided himself on paying the nanny "on the books," but admitted he was not an expert in employment law.
The Outcome
Mr. Kellogg contacted Breedlove & Associates on the advice of the nanny to figure out how much he needed to pay her. We helped him calculate the additional compensation owed to the nanny for the trip and explained more about household labor law so he would be prepared for the next family vacation. The Kelloggs made a catch-up payment to the nanny right away and ultimately decided to sign up for our service so they would never risk making a similar mistake again.
How the Whole Thing Could Have Been Avoided
If the Kelloggs had called Breedlove & Associates from the beginning - as their agency recommended - we could have helped save them the embarrassment of underpaying their nanny. Luckily the employment relationship between the Kelloggs and their nanny did not suffer from this incident, but their situation illustrates how easy it is to make a mistake with payroll or labor law.
888-BREEDLOVE (888-273-3356)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

All aboard to Choo Choo Bob's!

by Kelly Miller

Are you the nanny or parent of a train lover?  Recently I have made two trips to Choo Choo Bob's in St. Paul (one with my nanny children and one with my son).  It is a must for train lovers, young and old!  What I thought would be a quick visit turned into a 2-hour outing with a 5-month-old and a 2-year-old. 

Storytimes, train displays and 10 train tables to play on that feature Brio, Thomas and Chuggington train sets (with many different train cars on each table).  The friendly staff welcome you and your children.  There are also two birthday party rooms, and as it is a retail store, they sell trains for both children and train collectors. 

Choo Choo Bob's is located at the intersection of Cleveland and Marshall Avenues in St. Paul.  There is both street parking and a parking lot behind the store (just enter at the door that says "Trains!").  This store is a worthwhile destination for people all over the Twin Cities area.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Avoiding Insect Bites

This posting comes from information found at this website:

Parents often have problems choosing an insect repellent for their kids. It seems even more difficult to know when to start using the insect repellent.

Surprisingly, there is an easy answer for these parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that insect repellents with DEET are safe to use on children as young as two months old.

Avoiding Insect Bites
Instead of, or in addition to, using insect repellents, there are also many steps that you can take to avoid insect bites. These protective measures include:
·         dressing your kids in thin, loose-fitting, long-sleeve clothing that doesn't include bright colors
·         encouraging your kids to wear socks and shoes instead of sandals
·         avoiding spending time outdoors during evening to early morning hours (dusk to dawn)-- when mosquitoes bite the most
·         avoiding scented soaps and other things that might attract mosquitoes and other bugs
·         using a bug screen over your child's stroller
·         controlling mosquitoes and other insects where your kids play
While long-sleeve clothing may not seem like a good option during the spring and summer because of the heat, it does offer double protection against the sun and bugs. Thin, loose-fitting clothing, while not as protective as thicker clothing, may help to make it more tolerable.

Insect Repellents with DEET
Most experts agree that an insect repellent with DEET is the best protection against mosquito bites and other insects. Choosing an insect repellent can be confusing, though.
Some insect repellents with DEET include:
·         OFF! Skintastic Family (4.75% DEET)
·         OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellents (5, 7, or 15% DEET)
·         OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent Towelettes (5.6% DEET)
·         Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes (7.15% DEET)
·         Cutter All Family Mosquito Insect Repellent (7% DEET)
·         OFF! Deep Woods (25% DEET)
·         OFF! Deep Woods Sportsman (30% DEET)
Keep in mind that insect repellents with higher DEET concentrations aren't necessarily stronger than those with lesser concentrations-- they simply last longer. So although the EPA reports that "there is no restriction on the percentage of DEET in the product for use on children," that doesn't mean that you should rush to use the highest form of DEET you can find.
If your child is only going to be outside for a few hours, you can likely just use an insect repellent with less than 10% DEET. Reserve insect repellents with higher concentrations of DEET--including those with 20% DEET or more--for when your child is going to be outside for four or five hours.
DEET-Free Insect Repellents
Although insect repellents with DEET work great and are thought to be safe to use on children, there are still many parents who prefer DEET-free insect repellents. Many older reports associate DEET with possible toxic side effects, including seizures. DEET has been found to be safe to use, though, even on young children. Still, a DEET-free insect repellent is fine to use if you prefer it and it works for your child.
Popular insect repellents that are DEET-free include:
·         Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard Insect Repellent
·         OFF! Botanicals Plant Based Insect Repellent (oil of lemon eucalyptus)
·         Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent (Picaridin)
·         Bull Frog Mosquito Coast
·         Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent (Lemongrass Oil, Citronella Oil, Rosemary Oil)
·         California Baby Bug Repellent Spray with Citronella
·         Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Remember that, according their labels, products with oil of lemon eucalyptus (e.g. OFF! Botanicals) should not be used on children under age three.
Picaridin is another chemical ingredient found in repellents and is not a natural product. It is thought to be as effective as DEET and can be another option for parents looking for an alternative to DEET to consider.
What You Need To Know
·         The AAP recommends that parents should not reapply insect repellents with DEET more than once a day.
·         You should usually avoid combination products with a sunscreen and insect repellent, such as Coppertone Bug and Sun and Bull Frog Mosquito Coast. The main problem with them is that sunscreens should be reapplied every few hours, while insect repellents should not. They may be a good option if you are sure that you will only be out for a few hours and you want the convenience of a single product, however.
·         To be safe, only apply insect repellents to exposed skin. Do not apply it under clothing, on a child's hands, near the mouth or eyes, or over cuts and irritated skin. You can even apply the insect repellent to your hands first and then rub it on your child to avoid over-application.
·         Wash off insect repellents once your child comes inside and will no longer be exposed to mosquitoes.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spring Time Safety Tips

Spring is here and summer is around the corner. This is the time that we’re getting outdoors to enjoy all that Minnesota has to offer. It’s also the time to be reminded about keeping safe during these warmer seasons.

Playground Safety

Heading out to the neighborhood play areas are great outings for all ages. I liked to plan to visit different playgrounds around the metro area throughout the spring, summer and fall. Part of that plan was checking the playground ahead of time to be sure the equipment is in good order and safe. Most area playgrounds are well kept and frequently checked, but it’s a good idea to have a look before you take children. Previewing the play area can help you direct the children’s activities while you are there as well as keep them safe. Many parks have great play areas along with large open spaces which are perfect for running and ball type games.

Bike Safety (or anything with wheels)

Whether the child is new to biking/rolloer blading/riding a scooter or any other wheel based outdoor activity - or if they are prose, there is still a learning curve as we enter the outdoor season. Reviw the child's equipment and make sure that it is sized properly for them. This includes helmets and any pads. Bikes need a complete going over to be sure they are operating safely.

Make sure that everyone understands the rules of riding. Rules can change depending on location. Riding or roller blading in the neighborhood can be different than at the park or on a trail. Review the expectations before you start out.


Along with spending time outdoors engaged in play, biking or group activities comes making sure everyone is hydrated well. Once children are feeling thirsty they are already deficient in hydration. The warmer the weather and the more active the children are the more vigilant you need to be. Have water available during activities and encourage children to drink. Water should be encouraged over other drink options whenever possible. If children are overheated cooling off and re-hydrating are important to do before offering food.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Science is Cool!

I totally believe science is cool and young children are wonderful scientists - they are experimenters! Feed their curiosity and developing interests by providing great, content rich science activities. Here are some wonderful websites that have lots of different types of science experiences. Give them a try and enjoy!

Monday, May 13, 2013

International Nanny Association Announces . . .

2013 Nanny of the Year™

Joanne Barrow
Joanne Barrow
Introducing INA's 2013 Nanny of the Year
Joanne Barrow of Valley Cottage, NY
Read Joanne's Acceptance Speech

Joanne feels honored to have given her working life to helping families raise children for the last 22 years. She has cared for a family struggling to overcome the loss of their mom, children whose parents were in the middle of a divorce, and helped a busy single mom adopt, care for, and connect with her children. Joanne moved here from England when she was just 20 years old through an Au Pair program and has become a true professional American nanny.

Joanne was nominated by Faith Popcorn and Glenn Kaufman who had this to say about her:  "My daughter was 3 years old when she [was adopted from China] and had never heard a word of English. Though play and everyday activities Joanne worked tirelessly with her to develop a command of the English language. Joanne was instrumental in helping her adjust to the monumental transition" commented Faith. "She has a work ethic and proactive nature as great as any I have witnessed, and both her time management and organizational skills make the countless tasks, decisions, actions, needs, and challenges of a typical day and substantial projects seem virtually effortless. She anticipates and assesses situations with a level of thoughtfulness and decisiveness required to take the nanny role to a level beyond the highest of expectations" added Glen.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Bonding and Relationships

Parents sometimes are concerned at the depth of the bond their child has with their nanny. They shouldn't be. The most important bond that children have is with their parents . . . it's number one! Everyone else is taking a back seat.

That being said there is good evidence that bonding with other adults is important to children's growth and development. Primary caregivers such as nannies are a good example. This bond supports and encourages emotional development, self-esteem and serves as ground work for building other relationships. Particularly in the young child (0-5), a consistent circle of primary adults are critical. First and foremost are the parents, followed by nanny or caregiver, then grandparents and other adult family members, and finally other consistent adult family friends. Each adult has their role to play in encouraging emotional balance for the child.

Each relationship the child forms with a significant adult is unique and specific. If you observe closely you'll see baby react differently to each individual. Parents are sometimes torn about how pleased their baby or toddler is to see the nanny - they begin to think that maybe their child is favoring the nanny. It couldn't be farther from the truth. While they are happy to see their caregiver coming they are IN LOVE with their parents! They will grow to love their nanny as another special person in their lives, someone they can count on - this is healthy and to be expected.

Parents who expect and encourage these other adult relationships with their child will see the benefits. Children who have experienced not only the love and support of their parents but other adults as well will have better coping skills in all types of situations, confidence and a strong self image.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There are few things children enjoy more than digging in the dirt and making mud pies. They are fascinated by looking for worms and bugs, and love to water the garden. Children also enjoy planting seeds, watching them grow and harvesting what they have grown. By cultivating their curiosity about these things, you can help them to develop a love of nature and gardening. They will also enjoy the special time they get to spend with you.

Encourage their enthusiasm by planting seeds that mature quickly and are large enough for a child to easily handle. Vegetables are a good choice for young children. They germinate quickly and can be eaten when mature. Some popular choices are radishes, zucchini, pumpkins, carrots, lettuce, peas, broccoli and potatoes. Children may even be encouraged to eat vegetables that they have grown and would otherwise avoid.

To add interest and color to the garden, you might want to add some flowers such as marigolds,
nasturtiums and sweet peas. Be sure any flowers you plant are non-toxic. Children love to choose the seed packets or starter plants for their garden and should be allowed to do the planting themselves. They can then proudly say it is “their” garden. After the planting has been done, be sure to put the empty seed packet or plastic insert in the soil next to the plants to label them and mark their spot. The garden should be located where it is easily accessible to the child and can be admired by others. Allowing children to be included in the garden planning encourages a sense of ownership. When a place is chosen, remember to keep it small. Measuring out a “yardstick” garden keeps the size manageable for most children. If you don’t have much space, pot and container gardens are a fun choice.

Watering and weeding their garden may not hold as much interest for children as the planning and planting did. Garden tasks will be easier to remember if you make a garden calendar. That way the child can take charge of completing tasks and crossing off days.

Activities in the garden are not limited to springtime. Fall is a good time to have children assist in the planting of trees and spring-blooming bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses. Re-seeding small areas of the lawn can be a fun activity too. They will be more likely to stay off the newly seeded areas if allowed to contribute to the project.

Children should have their own tools to use in the garden. Child sized trowels, gloves, watering cans

and rakes can be found in garden shops. Less expensive alternatives might include old kitchen spoons or measuring cups.

Sometimes waiting for weather to cooperate is too long for a child to wait. Indoor options are available. Herbs are a great example. They grow easily indoors, growth is quick and obvious, and they can be harvested multiple times and used in a family meal.
Gardens do not have to be planted in a square or rectangle. A “pizza” garden can be planted in a circle and divided into wedge-shaped sections. Assign each child their own section or plant different plants in each section. Or use a tripod support to train climbing plants such as sugar snap peas, beans or nasturtiums to grow a live teepee. Planting sunflowers in a circle or square, leaving space for entry, and tying the tops loosely together near the heads can make a sunflower house.
            Whatever gardening experience you choose, remember to enjoy this time together!