Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Favorite Posts: How to Make a Smilebox

Tis the Season for taking pictures so it's the perfect time to learn how to make a Smilebox.
Our friend Nanny Gael Ann has shared with us just how easy it is to make a Smilebox in one of my favorite Creative Nanny posts from October.

How to Make Smilebox

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quick and Easy Crafts

If your kids aren't already out of school for Winter Break, they will be soon.
Here are some simple things you can do to pass the time.

If you missed it, here is a link to our
Hannukah Gift to you

If you have already been through all those ideas, here are a few more. Some of these ideas were contributed by nannies from Nanny Mall St. Louis

There are so many beautiful things to do with snowflakes.
If you don't know how to cut out a snowflake you can learn by going here:

How to Cut a Snowflake

Nanny Barb suggests:
Once you cut your snowflake, the children can decorate it and hang it or you can take a picture of the child and put it in the middle of the snowflake, glue it down, hang it on the tree, use it for a gift tag or just put it in the window.

Another thing you can do

You can take clear glass or plastic christmas ornaments, and put glue on it and then use glitter to make any design or you can use plastic ones that snap open and put glue on the inside with the childs name or nicknames and then use glitter to be able to see it. You could also add some of those little confetti pieces on the inside to shake around. Either the kind you buy at a party store in holiday shapes or just make your own with shiny paper. Cutting tiny pieces of shiny paper is a great way to develop fine motor skills.

Another thing you can do with your Glass ornaments: If you have access to a computer, you can print out a picture of the child on Clear transparencency. When it is dry, you can cut it out and put it inside the ornament. You do this by taking off the top of the ornament and rolling the picture gently to fit down inside. Once it is inside, it will usually just pop out but if it doesn't, just use tweezers to arrange it. (be gentle around the glass top) Replace the top of the ornament and add a ribbon.
If you have a 2 inch ornament you will need a 2 inch circle. You can use a compass or an editing program on your computer. I use Printmaster.

I have uploaded a google doc with a 2 inch, 3 inch and 3.5 inch template on it. This should be helpful.


Nanny Frances shared this with us.

Footprint reindeer.

Paint the bottom of the child's foot brown, and make a print on a piece of heavy paper. When it is dry you make a red nose on the bottom of the heel and put black eyes on either side about where the balls of the footprint are, and make 2 antlers coming from the top of the toes. You could use the childs fingerprints to make the nose and eyes and pipe cleaners for the antlers.

We hope that you enjoy these ideas and make them with the children in your life.
If you have a craft idea you would like to share, please let us know.
You can email us or post it in the comments section.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hannukah Gift to you

Saturday night at Sundown, Hannukah begins.

The children that I nanny for celebrate Hannukah and over the years I have celebrated it with them too. Hannukah is a beautiful celebration of the miracle of lights.

I went through my charges Hannukah box to find craft projects we have done over the years in celebration of Hannukah.

The Miracle of Lights is celebrated by Jews around the world but, even if you celebrate the birth of Jesus at this time of year, you can still enjoy and celebrate the "Miracle of the Lights".
I hope that you will enjoy some of the Hannukah Crafts.

Story of Hannukah

Songs and Fingerplays

Menorah Gloves


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Creative Nanny: Bath Salts & Bath Fizzies

Bath Salts & Bath Fizzies
by Buffi Gentry

Bath Salts/Body Scrub

What you need:

2 cups Epsom Salts or sugar (when I use sugar, I use organic cane sugar)

1 cup carrier oil (carrier oil is a light oil-grapeseed, lite olive oil, sunflower oil-you don't want to over power the scent with the smell of oil)

8 drops of essential oil (buy at holistic type market or order online)

glass jars (mason or recycle other food jars)

How to make:

Mix salt/sugar with carrier oil.
Add the essential oil.
You may also add a drop of food coloring, but I usually leave it white.

Put mixture into jar

Bath Fizzies
What you need:

1/2 citric acid (order from if you can't find it in stores)

1 Cup Baking Soda

3/4 Cup Cornstarch

1/4 Cup cane sugar

6 drops food coloring

10-15 drops of essential oil

Silicone ice cube tray (I found tree and heart shaped trays at Ikea for $2 last year)

Small spray bottle for water (I used bottles I found in the toiletry section of the drug store)

Stir together citric acid, baking soda, sugar, and cornstarch.
Put mixture through a flour sifter.
Fill a spray bottle with water and food coloring.
Spray mixture lightly until it becomes damp. Be careful to NOT soak because you're remove the "fizz" You should be able to pack mixture with your hands.
Next add your oil.
Mix with your hand or spoon until color is even.
Use your hands to pack the mixture into the tray.
If it starts to dry, spritz again.
Let it dry for 12 hours.
Make sure to gently pop out carefully.

Buffi Gentry is a career nanny of 20 years. She's lives in Southern California with her husband, dog, four cats, and gerbils. She currently works with three girls ages 5, 10, and 15. In her spare time she likes to research different craft, arts, and spa/bath related recipes online.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly

Professional nannies contributed recipes and art projects to create the INA Cookbook called "Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly"
Today I am going to share with you 3 different kinds of recipes to give you an idea of the variety of ideas offered in the INA cookbook.

After you read them I know you will want to enter our give away for December.
This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone who cooks.

Recipes from "Beyond Peanut Butter and Jelly"

The first is : Peking Chicken (As you can see,this would be an easy recipe for a child to help with)
You will need
6-Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1-8oz jar of Apricot Preserves 1-8 oz jar of Russian Salad Dressing
1 Envelope of Onion Soup Mix
Arrange the chicken in a 9X13 baking dish.
Combine the apricot preserves, salad dressing and soup in a bowl and mix well.
Pour over chicken.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.
6 servings

Rice Krispie Drops
1 C. Chocolate Chips
2 T. Peanut Butter
4 C. Rice Krispies
Heat the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler or saucepan until melted.
Combine the chocolate mixture with the cereal in a large bowl, stirring until the cereal is well coated.
Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Chill covered for 30 minutes before serving. Yield:2-3 dozen

Pasta Jewelry
Stringing colored pasta on cord is great way to help a child build their fine motor skills needed for writing.

Here is how to color your own pasta:

3-4 T. Rubbing Alcohol
Food Coloring
Pasta Bowl
Uncooked macaroni in a variety of shapes
Waxed paper

Combine the alcohol with a small amount of desired food coloring in a bowl and mix until smooth. Add the pasta and mix genty to color.
Spread on waxed paper and let stand until dry.
String on cords to create necklaces and bracelets.

In addition to recipes, sprinkled throughout the book are helpful tips such as this one:
A great storage idea is old suitcases. Keep things such as Legos and drawing supplies in small suitcases. They are quick and easy to grab when you need something for entertainment in the car. Larger suitcases can be used to store dress up clothes, car collections or building blocks.

The final element that is included in this book are words of wisdom from past INA Nannies of the Year such as this one by Harriette Grant:

Recipe for a Successful Nanny Career
1 C. of Open Communication
1 C. of flexibility
1 C. of patience
1 C. of love

Mix well and use generously on a daily basis. Make sure you visit Regarding Nannies to enter the Giveaway for the Beyond Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookbook.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A gift from Creative Nanny

A few years ago I made an Advent Calendar Activity Book for my great niece.
I set it up so that she could do one activity a day but you can really use these files anyway that you choose.The files consist of simple finger plays, songs, games and activities that can be adjusted to fit each age.
For example: On the coloring pages, if you have older children you might in addition to letting them color the pages let them use cotton for Santa's beard and markers or glitter or rhinestones to decorate.

On the games, you might want to print them out on card stock and laminate them so that you can keep a file of holiday games and activities that you can use over and over again.
Simply laminating your game pieces will save a lot of wear and tear on them. I set the matching games up so that the backs can be used for both games. You can also simply print out the pieces without backs or print out the backs and use your own stickers to create a game.

When you do snowman soup, I have included the graphics so that if you would like to make snowman soup for a gift you can do that too.

On the finge rplays I have added simple graphics so that if you want to print out an extra page and cut out the graphics, you can turn it into a counting game too. It adds one more dimension to the fun.

On the make a snowman, it is fun to print this out on a magnetic sheet and then you can play with it on the refrigerator all winter long.

There is really no right or wrong way to do this as long as you enjoy them. These are simply my suggestions of what worked best for me.

I would suggest you download all the pages, print them out and read through them.
You don’t need a lot of extra things to do the activities but you probably want to look through the pages and figure out what you need so you can be sure you have everything in one place.

I took a 3 ring notebook, printed out each page and slipped it inside a photo protector sheet. That way it was easy for me to see what we had and it protected pages from getting torn up. If I needed extra supplies, I just tucked it into the sleeve of the page.

I divided mine up into Songs, Games, Art projects and Finger plays.
You could also divide it up by Themes. Reindeer, Snowman, Gingerbread Man, Santa.

I have also included some Hanukkah pages and some religious themes, so you can choose whether or not you want to download those.
With or without them, you will have enough to keep you busy.
There is nothing like sharing the joy of Christmas with children!

Merry Christmas

The Creative Nanny

The majority of art used in these projects is from
They have wonderful graphics and ideas and I highly encourage you to check them out.
You won't be sorry.

Here are the projects: You should be able to click on the links and go directly to the page where you can print your projects.

Christmas Fun!

Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer
Song and Fingerplay

Reindeer Hokey Pokey
Song and Dance

Color the Gingerbread Man

Color Santa

Snowman Soup

Snowman Soup for someone else

Tic Tac Toe Board

Tic Tac Toe Pieces

Gingerbread Man Fingerplay

Gingerbread Man Song and Dance

Five Little Christmas Trees

Eight Little Reindeer

Five Little Snowmen

If you are a Christian and you celebrate the birth of Christ, here are some simple activities related to the Nativity.

Mary and Joseph Paper Dolls

Color Baby Jesus

Angels we have heard on high

Away in a Manger