Wacky Wednesday Activities with I-yo and Jare Bear

Since school is winding down and the kids  no longer have homework, they have been very interested in my blog. Their stardom continues with a look at their favorite activities, activities they want to do and not so fun activities. Here is a look at my “interview” with the young-soon to be “celebrities”.

Jare Bear:

What is your favorite activity to do with your nanny?

Play board games like Candyland and Headbandz and umm… drawing contest.

What is your favorite way to spend afternoons when you don’t have homework?

watch t.v., play wii or riding my bike and scooter with neighbors. (Jare bear can jump more than 500 jumps on the pogo stick!)

Do you have a favorite game?

Probably basketball (I am really good!) and Headbandz (Disney edition)

Are there any games you want to try that you have never played before?

Operation!

If you could go on any day trip with your nanny, where would you go? 

Panning for gold at Knott’s Berry Farm (I love gold and foreign money!)

I-yo:

What is your favorite activity to do with your nanny?

I like to go to Pinkberry and do arts and crafts like drawing and cutting out designs and stuff.

What is your favorite way to spend afternoons when you don’t have homework?

I like doing drawing contests with my nanny and brother. And I also like swimming!

Do you have a favorite game?

My favorite games are Monopoly, freeze tag, duck duck goose, Minecraft and I like freeze dance!

Are there any games you want to try that you have never played before?

Pop the Pig, we have it but it is broken so I haven’t played it before.. And infection (kind of like tag but the person that is it is the infection..)

If you could go on any day trip with your nanny, where would you go? 

I would want to go to Seaworld or the movies (if Pinkberry is included) or the aquarium because I love animals! I really want to go Horseback riding with Kelsey because we both love horses! I want to ride a white horse and Kelsey likes the butterscotch and spotted ones 🙂

I am NOT the Mom, I’m the Nanny

I often say being a nanny is like being a mommy in training. Changing diapers, making meals, helping with homework, driving kids to soccer practice and dance class.. The list is endless. But I am only 19 and I don’t plan on having a kid anytime soon. So I always find it humorous when I take my munchkins out and people mistake me for the mom. When I work for my families with younger-not quite school age yet- kids, I love taking them out to lunch or to the Dollar Store. It gets them out of the house and they love the excitement of shopping and feeling like a big kid. So one day, while on the way to the park, I stopped at the Dollar Store with a 9 month old and a 2 year old to pick up water and a snack since I had forgotten to pack it. Mace, the 2 year old, was extra talkative, pointing out every food item, toy and candy. We kept passing an elderly lady, who would give me the stink eye every time she passed. Of course she thought I was a teen mom, in way over my head. I am old enough to have a two year old and nine month old. I have friends who do. Fast forward and we find ourselves in line behind her at the checkout. Mace saw a toy he really wanted so he said “Miss Kelsey, toy please?” To my surprise the lady turned around and apologized. She had wrongly made assumptions about me being one of “those” girls. She was very impressed by Mace’s vocabulary, manners and personality for a two year old. I said it was a common misconception and I am lucky to have two munchkins as cute and well behaved as these two kiddos. She agreed and went about her merry way.

On another one of our adventures, we went to the park. I was sitting feeding Matt, the 9 month old, a bottle. A mom came up and started lecturing me about how babies should be breast fed as long as possible and formula was bad for their development. And while I agree, there are times where breast milk just isn’t an option. I looked at her, stumped. How could someone come over and voice their opinion so bluntly and accuse me of being a horrible mother? So I looked at her and said I am the nanny, the mom couldn’t breast feed this morning so this is my only option other than letting the baby starve..which when given the option I think I pick formula. I am not the mom nor are you. Thanks for the concern though. Should have seen her face as she walked off.

While on my most recent excursion to Chuck E Cheese, a mom went as far as to give my “son” Mace coins since she felt bad that I probably didn’t have “extra income” to give my kids fun stuff. Can I just say What the H.. E.. double hockey sticks?? While I am not an advocate of teen pregnancy by any means, treating the girls that are young mothers like bums is totally unacceptable! I handed the coins back to her, and said his mom gave us fun money for the afternoon, thanks. Wish you could have seen her face.. it was priceless.

Now please don’t think I am a Smart Alec with all the people who ask me about “my kids”. Often times people are cordial saying “your kids are so well behaved” or “how old is your son”. Some times I just answer “thank you” or “two, thanks” since explaining my job would take to long. Other times, like while waiting in line, I will respond “thank you, but I can’t take all the credit for their manners, I am the nanny”

What is my point? I don’t mind being assumed as the mom of the kids I nanny. In fact, I hope someday my kids are as well behaved, cute and funny as these kids are. But I do mind insensitive and rude comments that are hastily made based on stereotypes and cultural assumptions. My point of this posting is this, be respectful of people’s situations and don’t be quick to judge. Who knows, the young girl with two kids could just be the nanny.

 

Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle the situation?

Fun Day Fridays: Jare Bear’s Jokes!

Knock knock

Who’s there?

Cuke

Cuke who?

I’m not cookoo you are!

………………………………………………..

What do you call a sneezing train?

A-ah-achhoo choo train!

……………………………………………….

Why was the broom always late?

’cause he overswept!

……………………………………………….

What did the baby cow say to the mother cow?

What?

It’s either one way or the udder

……………………………………………..

There was a one story house that was all purple. The carpet was purple, the couch was purple, the table was purple, the desk was purple, the bed was purple, the phone was purple, the clock was purple, the dog was purple, even the food was purple…

What color was the stairs?

There are no stairs in a one story house! Duh!

 

Have a fabulous Friday

-Jare Bear and Kelsey

The Winning Lunch Combination

Lunch is such an important part of a child’s day. After a long morning of classes and playing, their body needs re-energizing. Like many of you, I pack lunches for kids on a daily basis. Sometimes, options are limited and lunches get boring. But I always stick to this rule of thumb when making a lunch:

Include:

1 Fruit

1 Veggie

1 whole grain item (this can be the bread on a sandwich or granola bar)

lean meat or protein

1 healthy snack

1 small treat

Let’s start with the fruit. It is such an important part of a child’s diet because of the natural energy that is inside. Fruit is sweet which can be a healthy alternative to cookies and candy when kids have a sweet tooth.

Fruit choices:

apples, bananas, grapes, watermelon, berries, oranges, kiwi’s, mango

Dried fruit is a healthy switch from greasy potato chips.

Many fruits can be accompanied with dips like peanut butter, cream cheese dip, and others to make them more delicious.

One of the most neglected pieces of the food pyramid is vegetables. Kids need them!!! Now it is probably best to keep the brussel sprouts at home but here are some fun ways to incorporate veggies into meals:

ants on a log: celery sticks topped with peanut butter and little raisin (or chocolate chip) ants

carrots and dip

hide veggies in their sandwiches

make a veggie pizza on whole grain english muffins

I grew up on Wonder White Bread and it was delicious…but not as wonderfully nutritious as I thought. White bread is just processed starch which 1) has no nutritional value 2) doesn’t keep you full and 3) doesn’t provide the energy needed when running around on the playground. I highly recommend switching as many carbs to whole grain as possible. Stores have whole grain bread, waffles, english muffins, bagels, pizza dough, and more..most are the same price as their processed counterparts.

A sandwich a day is boring! Mix it up by making a wrap with a tortilla, or serving english muffin pizzas. Kids will appreciate change!

If your child likes salads, give them a whole grain granola bar or oatmeal cookie to make sure they have healthy carbs.

Lean meats and protein! These are vital to keeping your little ones energized and focused.

I use left over chicken, ham and beef from dinners in lunches to minimize lunch meat usage. Lunch meat is high in salt and fat.

Hard boiled eggs, cheese, nut butters, yogurt, raw nuts and lean meats are all examples of protein packed foods.

Healthy snacks vary depending on what is already in the child’s lunch. Trail mix, granola bars, rice cakes, yogurt, pretzels and nuts are always on hand at our house. They are easy to eat on the go and have protein, carbs and energy. The snack rounds out the food pyramid. If I give the child a sandwich, I will try to stay away from more carbs and go for a dairy product or nut. If they have a lot of fruits and veggies that day, I will give them crackers or pretzels.

Some may disagree with me, but I think it is fine to give children a little treat a couple times a week. By little treat I mean fruit snacks, a cookie, 1 piece of candy etc. One family I work for only allows “junk food” on Fridays. Not only do the kids overdose on sweets on Friday, but they try EVERYTHING to get their hands on sweets during the week since their body craves it. Then they actually eat more sweets than originally intended. I am not personally a fan of this but it is the family rules, so what they say goes. Where a small treat goes awry is when meals are comprised of fats, sugars, empty carbs and topped off with a treat. In those cases, children lose all nutrition and start to crave junk.

As long as everything is consumed in moderation, children will grow up happy and healthy!

9-1-1…am I in the Ghetto?

I fell asleep to the sound of distant sirens last night and was reminded of a time when I had to call 911 on the job. I had recently started a nanny job in an unfamiliar neighborhood for a family with two kids. Jay is ten and Jo is eight. Our day started out like any other. They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, finished homework from the night before and cleaned their rooms. When it was time to leave for school Jo decided she didn’t want to be the door locker (a job that alternated by day), so Jay volunteered. I don’t remember checking to verify if it was locked or not since Jay was responsible. I took them to school and picked them up. When we got home I made popcorn while they took out their homework and told me about their day. Jay stopped talking and asked if someone was upstairs. All three of us were downstairs and no one was due home until dinnertime. The noise came again from their parent’s bedroom like someone was walking around. Creaking floorboards, jingling jewelry… the noises continued. Not knowing the area very well, I was unsure of crime rates and how common break in’s were. I took the kids to the back yard and called 9-1-1. The operator asked questions and sent a police car immediately. We went through the side gate to the front of the house where we were told to walk down to the mailbox. By now the kids were freaked out but trying to remain calm. The first police man arrived but had to wait for his partner. He talked with the kids and was very gracious when the stereotypical “what’s your favorite donut ’cause all policemen eat donuts” came up. Jay was intrigued with his guns and the car’s computer system. Minutes later the partner arrived. The police searched the home but didn’t find anything. He took the kids through the house to help confirm that everything was ok. They left and we finished homework and started dinner.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Go with your gut, if you don’t feel safe call for help. In this case, since the parents were far away at work and my parents were not close, 911 was my only option. 
  2. Take the kids to a safe area.
  3. Stay calm. Children sense fear and feed on it. If you stay calm, they will too. Reassure the children that calling 911 is just a precaution but they should always ask a grown up before calling 911 themselves.
  4. Keep parents in the know. I called the mom before calling 911 and after the police left to calm her worries and make sure everyone was on the same page.
  5. Know the area you are in. The police man said there had been five break ins in the past year in this particular neighborhood. I would have never known if I didn’t ask. City Halls and police stations have up to date criminal records.. take a look.
  6. Check to make sure all doors and windows are locked before leaving. The door had been locked that morning but it is important to double check.

* just as a side note, a few months later, the house was burglarized, and someone stole items out of the families side yard. Crazy huh? Luckily no one was home.

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 🙂