Mother’s Day Mania Continues

I know it may seem a bit precocious to be thinking about Mother’s day this early but I want to make sure supplies can be bought and you see the kids before Mother’s Day (some of my kids I only see a couple times a month). Alrighty, my inspiration for this week was moms in the kitchen and, before someone comments about me making a sexist gesture, read my post.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has loved 1)homemade things from my sister and I, 2) roosters, and 3)making dinner. Ok maybe the third one is a little stretched and its just something she does…but shes a good cook and I have never gone hungry. Anyways, my sister’s class made these recipe holders one year as a Mother’s Day craft and I thought I would share. It is super easy to make! As an added bonus/gift from you..add some of your favorite recipes on 5×7 cards.

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Supplies

  1. white ceramic tile (this is a 5×5 tile)
  2. paint markers or puffy paint
  3. clothespin
  4. hot glue gun
  5. paper for “Recipe of Love”

Directions

  1. Have the children draw a picture for their mom on the tile using the paint markers. Let dry completely.
  2. Hot glue a clothespin to the tile. Make sure the widest end of the clothespin is right on the bottom edge of the tile. It is used to make the tile stand up.
  3. Make the “Recipe of Love” card. This can be handprinted if the child is old enough, or typed on a computer. It should say something like: 2 cups of hugs/ 1 cup of kisses/ Mix it all together for a Happy Mother’s Day!
  4. ** ask the child what his or her favorite recipe that their mom makes is. Find the recipe and turn it into a recipe card that fits in this holder. You can add some of your favorites too. Take it a step further (with the help of the dad) and buy her a recipe book.

Homemade Drink Coasters

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Supplies:

  1. thin cork sheet (at craft stores, usually pretty cheap) Make sure to get enough to make 6-9 coasters
  2. puffy paint

Directions

Cut the cork into 2-3 in circles. Have kids decorate. These coasters are perfect for small flower pots, vases, and drinks.

Kitchen Magnets

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When you were little did your mom have alphabet letters on the refrigerator? Mine did. But after we grew up and took the letters down, the fridge was empty.. Now we have these cute magnets and they are easy to make!

Supplies:

  1. Magnets (depending on the design you can get circle or rectangle pieces) 
  2. scrap fabric
  3. glue
  4. glitter/faux gems/etc

Directions

  1. Be creative, there is no template or perfect design. Flowers, butterflies, suns, and animals are common subjects.

Ok, one more!

Homemade sugar scrub!

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Pamper mom with this yummy smelling scrub. Kids love mixing the ingredients by hand and you have the ingredients in your house!

Supplies:

  1. 1 cup granulated sugar (have a little extra just in case it gets too oily)
  2. 1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (coconut oil can be substituted)-some people think the smell is overbearing so coconut or almond is preferred. I haven’t had a problem with EVOO.
  3. 3-4 tablespoons of Lemon Juice/Lemon extract (if you are doing Vanilla flavor, add vanilla extract)
  4. Cute mason jar or any container with lid.

Directions:

In a large bowl, pour in sugar. Slowly add in oil while mixing with hands. The consistency should be smooth but not oily. If it does get oily, just add more sugar. Once the perfect consistency has been reached, add the flavor. Add as much as you want for the scent that works for you. For a soft lemony scent, 2-3 tablespoons is plenty. Put in container and add a cute label if desired. 🙂

Other flavor inspirations:

orange

lavender

peppermint

Lemon basil

brown sugar cinnamon

vanilla

honey citrus

strawberry

Hope you are having a relaxing Sunday!

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A Month til Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is SUNDAY MAY 12 this year. That means there is only one month left to shop for gifts, make crafts, ask the dad you work for if he needs help with anything….lots to do! Now, I don’t normally put this much emphasis on every holiday, but Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are extremely important to me. Parent’s put life onto this Earth, the feed, clothe and nurture these little blessings and they spend countless sleepless nights rocking children back to sleep. I want children to acknowledge their parents’ selflessness from an early age so they respect them more as they grow up. When I was in Elementary school, the PTA would have a plant sale the week before Mother’s Day so kids could pick out a little flower for their mother. But the teacher’s didn’t make pretty pots to put them in! So this year I asked one of the PTA mom’s at the kids’ school if they would be doing something similar. She said yes. I emailed the teacher asking if she had any plans for Mother’s day crafts and she said no, the budget wouldn’t allow for it. Thus, idea #1.

Painted Pots

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Supplies:

Small clay flower pots (check Dollar stores or home improvement stores for the most inexpensive)

Lots of paint (I used acrylic because the colors are brighter)

Paint brushes (although fingers work well too)

Newspaper and paper towels

Directions:

This can get messy so put old newspaper under the pots. Let the kids paint! Make sure to clean up really good after so mom doesn’t know! Tell kids its a secret! If their school is having a plant sale, let each child have $1 to buy a flower.

Alternative Flower Idea

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One of my families have severe allergies, so real flowers probably aren’t a great idea. Instead, I took the kids to Michael’s craft shop and let them pick out a pretty fake flower. We made a little arrangement and put it in a taller vase that the kids got to paint on.

Don’t want to spend money on fake flowers? Check my upcoming blog on Homemade Flowers for a how-to guide on all the cutest flowers!

Come back next week for more crafts for Mother’s day!

Don’t Walk, RUN to Michaels!

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Michaels Craft store is having their “Biggest Sale” of the year. Pretty much everything is 50% off or more! I went and bought canvases and paint for each of my kids to make a mothers day present and only spent $15 (will post specific craft soon)! They have foam crafts less than $2, Crayola products 50% off, stamps, scrapbook paper, frames and more, ALL at RIDICULOUSLY LOW prices! Go to Michaels.com and print a 50% coupon. Check out their weekly ad to see some of their 60% off deals too!

From nanny to nanny, you can’t miss this deal!

Spark of Creativity: Abstract Art

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I used to take art classes in elementary school..Now with budget cuts, kids today can’t experience the fun I had when I was their age. This is one of the only remaining art projects I have left from elementary school. But I kept it because of its awesomeness. It is important for nannies to provide educational projects and crafts for their kids.  This piece explores colors, shapes, thinking outside the box.  The best part? It is super cheap!

Supplies:

  1. paper (I like thicker paper like cardstock and preferably in white)
  2. black sharpie (I used thin tip)
  3. crayons, lots and lots of crayons
  4. an imagination

Directions:

  1. Draw a bunch of random intersecting lines around the page with the sharpie. They can be swirvy, straight, circular, anything the child wants. It can make triangles, rhombuses, trapezoids, squares, circles, etc.
  2. Look at the drawing and see if anything pops out. I went through a music phase and saw musicians. You might see animals, cars, flowers etc.
  3. add a few lines to complete the outline of the people or animals you see. If you can tell by mine, I added triangle eyes, lines to form intruments, sleeves etc.
  4. Start coloring. Every shape has to be a different color. I.E, the shirt isn’t all one color,the color changes with every shape. Add lines for hair or buttons on shirts. The more random the better
  5. Frame it and put it up for everyone to see. Kids artwork makes great wall art and presents for family members.

Dory: My Pet Rock

Some of the best advice I have learned as a nanny has been through experience. In 2003, my parents went to a conference in Texas for the weekend. My sister and I stayed home with a sitter. I was only eight at the time and it was the first time my parents had left me overnight. To ease my anxiety, my mom did this craft with my sister and me before she left. We made pet rocks as a way to communicate while she was gone.

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Meet Dory. 🙂

My mom helped me make this and it was so special to me, I have kept it after all these years. Not only did it mean a lot to me to make with my mom, but I had a lot of fun making it! Now I make them with almost all of my families.

First we go on a walk to find the perfect rock.

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Then we start painting. My inspiration was after Finding Nemo, which had just come out.

5 Things to do with your Pet Rock:

  1. Make a play using your pet rock as the main character
  2. Play hide and seek
  3. Use your Pet rock as a paperweight on a picnic
  4. Dress it up with scrap fabric
  5. Make it a house to sleep in

Ooey Gooey Playtime Fun!

Let’s face it, kids love getting messy. I am all for having messy fun, especially in the summer when the kids can wash off in the pool or while playing in the sprinklers. Here are my 3 all time favorite messy things to do with kids!

Oobleck- Cornstarch and Water

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Supplies:

  1. Cornstarch
  2. Water
  3. Optional: Food coloring

Directions:

One of the coolest aspects of this, is there is no directions. In a large bowl combine cornstarch and water and keep adding until it looks watery but feels thick. Add food coloring if wanted. I did green one time to look like the slime from Nickelodeon.  I put it in a large bowl or small blow up swimming pool to keep it semi-contained. Kids love putting their hands and feet in it. Don’t worry about them trying to eat Oobleck. It is safe to eat but not too tasty.

Homemade Play dough

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NOTE: It is easier to make this at home prior to watching the kids.

Supplies:

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. 1/2 cup salt
  4. 2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
  5. 1 tablespoon of oil
  6. food coloring or Kool-aid mix if doing one color at a time
  7. gloves (if you don’t want tye dye colored hands)

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients (minus food coloring) over medium heat until it congeals (mixes together to look like and have the consistency of Play dough)  NOTE: if you are adding Kool-aid packet instead of food coloring- pour it in while mixing all the ingredients over heat.
  2. Remove from heat
  3. Knead in colors while warm if using food coloring
  4. Place in airtight containers for months!

Some nannies will keep the play dough after the kids are done playing with it for other kids or future babysitting trips. I get little containers from Dollar Tree and let the kids keep it. One, I don’t want to spread germs. Two, it makes for a great inexpensive gift for birthdays or holidays.

Just a warning, adding Kool-aid packets to the mixes will add vibrant colors and yummy smells. The kids WILL try to eat it. Luckily it is edible, but like Oobleck..it won’t taste all that great.

Shaving Cream Creations

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There are so many variations. My favorite is making bathroom paint out of shaving cream and food coloring. I mix it in a an old muffin tin and give the kids an old paint brush. They go to town painting the bathroom tiles. After they are done, I rinse them down (already strategically placed in the bath tub) and wash down the tiles. I have never had problems with the food coloring staining anything but others have.. Kool-Aid packets work if you are worried about dying the gout.

Not a bath time kind of person? Try mixing shaving cream and glue to make puffy artwork. Mix the shaving cream, glue and food coloring together in different containers. I like letting them paint on a large piece of butcher paper, less mess and more room to let their creativity flow. 🙂

The craziest thing I have done with shaving cream is used it as part of an obstacle course on a jungle gym at one of my family’s houses. We put colored shaving cream on the slide. The kids had several obstacles like riding their bike, bouncing a ball and hoping around the yard. When they got to the jungle gym/play set, they had to swing, go on the monkey bars and finally go down the slide. The first person to get down the slide won. Their prize? Swimming in the blow up swimming pool at the bottom of the slide! Easy clean up and kept the shaving cream in one place. SO FUN!

Enriching the Future and Preserving the Past:Day Trips for Kiddos

I live in Southern California which is basically the the only place in the world where you can be at the beach, in snow covered mountains, in a freakin’ hot dessert or the metro of Los Angeles in about an hour. Pretty cool huh? It makes nannying here a whole lot easier too! I love taking my kids on field trips to local museums and zoos. The occasional beach day or snow day is fun too. It doesn’t matter where we go, because we are getting out of the house and that is totally cool with the kiddos. Today I am checking out the Getty Museum and Villa. Museums are a great way for children to learn history visually through art, photographs and storytelling. Since I am a nursing/science major, I love taking kids to the L.A Science Museum. They have a hands on kids center full of fun activities for every age group…even college age nannies haha 🙂

I know I know, you are probably asking…how can you afford to take kids to all these places?? Very simple. I research free days or community days. Most museums have them. Zoos, aquariums and family fun centers also have discount days. Here are a few SoCal places to go with children. They make for great family days too!

  1. San Diego Wild Animal Park and Zoo– They offer free kids admission during the month of October in honor of their anniversary. As a San Diego county resident you can get great discounts on year passes too!
  2. San Diego museums– I love Balboa Park in San Diego. It is home to several big museums like the Air and Space museum (for aspiring pilots and astronauts), the Museum of Man is perfect for little nurses and doctors. They also house art galleries and history museums. Best part? They offer FREE days for residents of San Diego County every Tuesday! Not a resident? Some Bank cards, companies and grocery stores offer free admission on certain days.
  3. For older kids the Holocaust Museum is really inspirational. The museum is donation only so it can make for a really inexpensive day. My high school used to offer a field trip to the Holocaust museum but after budget cuts, it got cut. :/ I would HIGHLY recommend that everyone see this museum.
  4. The Getty Museum and Villa. Both the Museum and the Villa are free for admission, parking is $15. I have heard great things about this place and the Villa is located in Malibu, so hittin’ the waves after visiting it is radical dudes!
  5. The Huntington Library is located in Pasadena California. Home to one of the Gutenberg Bibles, ethnic botanical gardens and an expansive art gallery, this is an all in one kind of place. They offer free limited admission on the first Thursday of every month but you have to reserve your spot online about a month in advance. Still, if you plan ahead it is pretty inexpensive day! BONUS: Pasadena is home to the Rose Bowl stadium for sports lovers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for little astronauts, and Old Pasadena for a walking trip through history. All have tours!
  6. The Beach– always free, always fun and always full of sand 🙂 need I say more? California has over a 1000 miles of beach and coastline! Take your pick at which beach you would like to go to. My favorites include Oceanside, Doheny Beach and Malibu. Orange county and San Diego Counties have some of the cleanest and most family friendly beaches.  Check out one of the famous California piers while you are out. Santa Monica pier is one of the most famous, with its rides, food and vendors.
  7. Family Fun Centers– There are several in So Cal like Boomers, Castle Park, Mulligan’s and Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom. While each is priced differently most offer $1 ride specials or $20 all day passes. Family Fun Centers have arcades, mini golf, go carts, bumper boats and more.
  8. Knott’s Berry Farm– Ok so this isn’t free or as cheap as the above options but.. we gotta live a little! Granted I don’t do this often, but I have taken a family here. After getting online discount and free tickets from Ralphs (buy one get one free) each ticket came out to about $15. You can’t always get prices this good but if you look for deals they will find you. Can’t get amazing deals like this? Ask your employer if they would pay 1/2. My employer once paid for my Disneyland pass in exchange for me watching the kids for the day there. Not a bad deal especially because the kids were so fun to be around.
  9. Six Flags, again not cheap but!! For $60 you can get a year pass! So, if the family goes multiple times, the ticket pays for itself again and again!
  10. Plays.. I’m not talking expensive productions at the Pantages, kids love local community and high school theaters. Check it out! They are usually under $10.

Hope this inspires you to take the kiddos out of the house. With spring and summer break upon us, its the perfect time to take a day trip.

Can’t wait to see the Getty today! Don’t worry you will get a full report tonight 🙂