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.