Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Songs, Fingerplays and Books

Here are some songs, fingerplays and books about Pumpkins from the crafty and creative Kari Ewest. Kari will be featured here starting in January with her Alphabet Express.

The Five Little Pumpkins is one of my all time favorites.

Five little Pumpkins/ One hand up
Sitting on a gate
The first one said Point to thumb
My, it's getting late."
The second one said, Pointer Finger
There are witches in the air."
The third one said/ Middle Finger
"But we don't care."
The fourth one said, /Ring finger
"We'll run and run and run."
The fifth one said/Pinky
"Isn’t Halloween fun!"
"Whoooo" went the wind
And out went the light pause/………and then big clap
And five little pumpkins rolled out of sight! /Roll arms

I'm a Little Pumpkin Sung to: "I'm a Little Teapot"
I'm a little pumpkin Round and stout
Packed full of seeds that you can scoop out
When I get all carved upThen I'll be
The cutest Jack-o-Lantern you ever did see.
Three Little Pumpkins Sung to: "Ten Little Indians"
One little, 2 little, 3 little pumpkins
Rolled down the lane like funny bumpkins
Had their faces carved & thought they were something's
Funny Halloween jack-o-lanterns!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Witches Fingers and More!

Today I am going to share with you a few fun projects that I found different places online.
I found this one at
Their magazine is published locally here in St. Louis, MO but you can also order it.
If you go to their website you can also sign up for their newsletter and get a great entertaining idea every week.
"Witches' Fingers" are without a doubt the hottest dessert this Halloween. You can find the recipes in almost any book or magazine. The drawback is that they all require quite a few ingredients, not to mention kneading and mixing. Not ours! We found a fun and simple way to create a similar dessert, but with a twist!
1 package of peanut butter refrigerated cookie dough (nothing with chips or chunks in it)
1/4 cup of peanuts
Chocolate syrup or chocolate icing
Cut the cookie dough just as you would to make round cookies, then cut the cookie circle in half. Form a long cylinder with your fingers or roll the dough between the palm of your hands to form something that looks like a fat snake or worm (great task for kids!). Arrange the cookies on a cookie sheet and if you wish, create indentations where the knuckles are. Bake according to package directions.
The cookies will flatten as they bake, turning out looking as if something ran over them on the road. Once the cookies are ready and have cooled, make the gnarly fingernail by taking half a peanut and adhering it to the tip of the cookie with chocolate syrup or chocolate icing. That's it, you're done
The next quick idea is Baby Boos.
A fun, easy cookie that kids of all ages will love.
Melt white chocolate in a double boiler.
When chocolate is melted, dip Nutter Butter cookies in the chocolate.
Lay them on a cookie sheet and decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips for eyes or whatever
creative idea you and your kids come up with.

Most houses are busy on Halloween night.
Everyone is rushing to get home, get dinner and get the kids out for Trick or Treat.
If you don't do this for Halloween, be sure to do it one night during the Fall Season so you
can enjoy Dinner in a Pumpkin

This recipe is from a wonderful nanny in Boston named Anne Marie:

Here is a great recipe that you have to make it is so yummy.
I found it in a book called the Abc's of Halloween.
You will need
1 Large Pumpkin
2 stalks of celery (cut up)
2 Large carrots (cut up)
3TBS of Butter
chicken breast cut up into small pieces
1/2 cup scallions
1/3 cup sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can of ABC soup
1 cup hot water
What to do
Hollow out the pumpkin and put aside. Saute chicken with scallions, carrots,
celery in 3 TBS of Butter. Add all the soups and 1 cup of water. add the
sour cream. heat to a boiling point. Place the Pumpkin on a cookie sheet
with foil and add all the mixture into the Pumpkin. Put the hat back on and
bake in the oven at 350 for 90 minutes.
Scrape sides of pumpkin when serving.

So yummy.
Here are some variations:
Lo calorie way (use all reduced fat soups and sour cream.)
Vegetarian way (add cream of mushroom soup and add tofu chicken.)
without the pumpkin
add all the ingredients and cook on the stove until thick. place in the
oven at 350 for 20 minutes.
watch for an extra Creative Nanny post from Kari Ewest tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parent Gifts for any Season

Parent Gifts for any season by MaryAnn X. Meddish
(2009 INA Nanny of the Year)

Once again it is that time of year where we all start scratching out heads trying to figure out what to get our employers. I have been asked for ideas so many times over the years that I started keeping a list of ideas, it keeps changing so here are some tried~n~true and some new ideas for you to refer to all through the year as anniversaries, birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s days, Grandparent’s day, and next years holidays start to gang up on you.Craft gifts you can make with your charges:These ideas can also be used to make gifts for extended family members and the household staff (i.e. an apron for the cook, flowerpots for the gardener, a scrapbook for the Au-pair). Remember that the expense of craft supplies is usually covered by the employers or you can ask for a Christmas allowance for the children to make gifts.

Handprint Art:

I have made T-shirts, sweatshirts, and wall hangings with my charges handprints and footprints and cute things written on them like “We can handle Daddy”. A wreath wall hanging is easy with a large piece of felt and a couple shades of green and red fabric paint (have the oldest child use their hands to make a widely spaced wreath of green hand prints then have the next child start filling in the wreath a bit with their prints and so on until each child gets a turn. Have the children place red fingerprints for holly berries in the wreath.) Always date these shirts and label the handprints as they will probably be saved even if they are not worn. I have done plaster-of-Paris handprints and then carved the child's name and the date. After drying you can paint the handprint to make it stand out. For a more modern twist of hand prints pick up canvas board, paints, and a frame at the craft store and have the children do a hand and foot prints with class – one of my favorites was a splatter painting background with footprints. One year for Christmas I painted acrylic paints on the children’s hands and had them pick up glass globe ornaments (paper Mache ornaments would work too) then I then held by the hangers while they let go so they would not smudge – I hung then to dry on the tree and then hid them away before the parents came home.

Children’s Art:

An easy gift for grandparents, parents who travel, or doctors on call is pillowcases. Buy a box of fabric markers and let the kids decorate ~ you can go to Kinko's and add iron on photos if you want. You can even trim the open end with ribbons. Other items you can paint and decorate include hats, aprons, tote bags, placemats, and throw pillows.Take the kids to the local ceramics painting place and let them pick out an item to decorate - remember these items have to dry and be fired which can take a week or more.Garden memory stones have always been a hit. The kits contain everything you need to make either gray or terracotta colored pavers. The kits have ideas along with supplies like small stones and shells for decorating. Have each child make one to ring the birdbath or line the path to the garden.Picture frames are fun, you can also pick up frames at the Dollar store or go to a framing and matting store and have then cut you some small matting frames for the fridge or ask for their scraps and cut & glue the strips together to make your own frames. Place self adhesive magnets on the back of the frames. Give the kids a variety of things to glue on the front (sequins, pompoms, coins, foreign stamps, puzzle pieces spray painted different colors, candy, woodsies pieces, etc.)

Decoupage flower pots and give the gift of flowers.

Make a scrapbook with pictures, drawings, stickers, and all that other fun scrapbook stuff. Title it “A Year in Review 2009” or “Our Family” and work on it with the kids during the year.

You can make your own holiday wrap for the kids to wrap presents by making fingerprint trees on white paper with green and brown paint and adding gold stick on stars.

You can also lay some paper in the yard and letting the kids splatter paint with watered down red and green paint.

Gift Certificates:Give a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant, favorite clothing store, local gourmet shop, favorite bath shop, a manicure or pedicure at a day spa, a bookstore, a video store, iTunes, or a catalog they order from frequently.

Gifts Baskets:Gift baskets are not to difficult if you work with a theme. Pick up a basket at goodwill or the craft store then add a little tissue paper, your theme items, and ribbons.

Bath - pick a few items like bath oil, bath crystals, body gel, body splash, lotion, a scrubby, a bath pillow, and a nice candle.Tea Lover / Chocolate lover - check out the grocery store and a specialty shop and fill the basket with divine little goodies. A special tea cup and saucer or a big cocoa mug will finish this off perfectly.

Sports Buff - get some great munchies and a six pack of their favorite beverage, then add a hat, T-shirt, or tickets to their favorite team.

Golfer - line a basket or small cooler then sprinkle with their favorite brand of golf balls, some tees, and something else that catches your eye at the golf shop.

Gardener - gardening gloves, trowel, decoupage pots, and seeds with a small plant thrown in for color.

Dinner – placemats, napkins, candles, wine, gourmet pasta & sauce, grated cheese, bread, and a dessert item (Marshall’s & TJMaxx are great for this stuff).

Baked Yummies - Make some of your favorite cookies, breads, and candies, then add in a couple packets of hot chocolate mix and a few candy canes. I can promise you that ridged potato chips dipped in chocolate and drizzled with red & green color candy coating (or blue & white for Chanukah) is always a hit despite how it sounds.

Gifts under $50 give or take:Buy a set of picture frames or collage frames and designate one for each parent and then fill them with pictures that you think mom and/or dad might like. Include a card in each saying I thought this would brighten up your desk.

Digital photo key chains for each parent uploaded with great kid photos. You can also buy a digital photo frame – they come in a variety of styles and sizes and you might be able to fit a whole year of photos on the memory card.

Order a photo calendar from Vistaprint, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, or Kinko’s – you can even enter special dates to be printed in the calendar including holidays, birthdays, the school calendar, kids activities, and special events.

You can design a photo book on Snapfish, Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly– you get to pick the colors and prints for the backgrounds, you can choose soft cover or hardbound, you can type in anything you want printed and pick how many photos per page. With one family I was leaving we did photos of the kids cooking their favorite foods with the recipes.

Monogrammed or personalized stationery can be created at a number of places such as American Stationery, Vistaprint, and many other websites. There are also websites for other personalized items and stores such as Thing’s Remembered .

Go to a wine shop and ask for help choosing a wine that would go with a meal that your family enjoys.Pay attention to those little comments like ‘I wish I had a nice pair of gloves’ and ‘Someday all the glasses in my kitchen will match’ you could make your bosses day.

Portraits are always a nice gift at Christmas as long as your employers don't have the same idea. To add a little flair have the kids photographed in black and white and have the prints hand colored or have sculpture portraits (the finished products are mounted on Plexiglas and cut out and mounted so they stand).

Make a donation to a charity of your choice in their name and ask the charity to send a letter telling them the donation was made.

Start a charm bracelet for your boss or if the bracelet is to expensive ask dad to buy the bracelet and have each child and yourself provide a charm.

Gifts of time

Put overtime coupons in there stockings or cards ~ make an envelope of coupons such as "Get out of the 'I was late doghouse' free" or "Go out without kids" or "Mommy gets time for a haircut" or "Nanny does the dishes" I try to think of things they say they don't have time for and then make the coupons funny and decorate them (as they are redeemed collect them in a new envelope so you will be ready for next year).

Give your employers free 24-hour care overnight for their anniversary ~ I just make a coupon and stick it in their anniversary card (be sure to note when it can be used such as within 60 days of your anniversary if you don’t want then to pull it out on New Year’s).
Well, that is a starter list that I hope helps you not only during the holidays, but all year round!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesdays Creative Nanny: Scrapcoloring

Scrapcoloring is not only a site for coloring pages, but you can also create names that you can decorate and print. Another really fun feature of this site is that you can color them online with a variety of colors, patterns and two toned gradients.
Whether you are a professional nanny, mom, teacher or grandparent, this site is just fun, and useful for lots of things. is an innovative concept dreamed and developed by Elsa (kindergarden / elementary school teacher) and Stephane (software engineer).In their quest to find coloring pages for their 3 children, they discovered that there was not a lot of room for creativity offered in online coloring sites.
Their goal was to reinvent online coloring, allowing kids to color not only with basic flat colors, but also with fabrics, papers, textures, patterns and gradients. They wanted to allow them to also create and test new patterns very easily, to choose their colors and size. The ScrapColoring concept was born!

Scrapcoloring provides more freedom to the young artists, and enables them to sharpen their coloring skills, as they have to carefully draw between the lines in order to obtain a beautiful result. With ScrapColoring, online coloring becomes creative, artistic, and very fun! Stephane and Elsa hope that your kids will like our site.
Stephane and Elsa ask you to
Please leave feedback, share ideas and suggestions and also share the colored pictures made by our young visitors. If amongst our readers there are some people who like to draw, we could try to transform your images to our online coloring pages.
Don’t forget to tell your friends, share this blog post on facebook and twitter and link it to your blogs and websites. With winter upon us, we will all be looking for creative entertainment for kids of all ages, scrapcoloring is the perfect way to enhance creativity and learn about color and shapes at the same time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Creative Wednesday: Fun with Contact Paper!

A Great Craft Project For Every Holiday
By Alice Shaffer

This is a fun craft for children ages 2 and up, and you can make it to fit any holiday. For Halloween you can make spooky bats & cats, and colorful pumpkins. For Christmas you can make trees or stars; for Thanksgiving a turkey or pilgrim. You can also make animals or any other object.

This example shows how to create a Fall tree.

Things you’ll need:
- Clear contact paper (1 - 2 rolls)
- Scissors
- Colored tissue paper (choose color that fits holiday)
- Hole punch
- String / yarn
- Construction paper
- Your and your charges’ imaginations


1 .Trace a shape of a tree with branches onto a piece of construction paper and cut it out
2. With two pieces of contact paper laying ontop of each other, cut out a "tree top leaves" shape.
3. Tear little squares or pieces green, red, yellow, orange etc., tissue paper. The kids can do whatever they like they can ball them up into little balls, or just make little square shapes etc. There is no right or wrong with tearing :)
4. Peel off one of the tree tops from the contact paper
5. Place your construction paper tree with branches on the sticky part of the "tree top leaves" shape.
6. Place the little pieces of colored tissue paper on it to create “leaves.” Use your imagination.

5. Peel off the second "tree top leaves"shape from the contact paper and place it on top of the other tree.

6. Punch a hold in the top of the tree top. String the yarn through the hole.

Hang tree in your favorite window to create your own “stained glass” Fall Leaves tree.
Please send us your photos of your creative projects! You can email them to us at regardingnannies (at) gmail (dot) com