Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nanny Tips


Today I am sharing some tips and tricks for my summer job, being a nanny. I'm sure a lot of you substitute teachers have chosen the nanny route for your summer job. It can be a very rewarding experience. You will be with one, two, three, or MORE of the same children every day for an entire summer. At different times you feel like their friend, entertainer, parent, teacher, enemy, and confidant. It can be a challenge for sure but the memories you and these children will take with them is definitely priceless. The lessons you learn during your nanny experience can help make you a better teacher as well.

Tip #1: Create a schedule but go with the flow...

That is a hypocritical statement but I mean to reinforce the notion that you need to have some balance. You are your kids will need this. The children you are with should understand a rough outline of what their days look like. But you need to put in some spontaneity in the day too. I am a planner so I usually know what I will be doing with the girls I am with on a day to day basis. I may know earlier in the week that on Thursday I am taking them mini golfing but they don't need to know that. I can pull out a little magic and surprise them. On the flip side, I also declare no tv/electronic chunks of a day or a whole day on a whim. Children these days have a lot at their disposal, iphone, ipods, ipads (...thanks Mac). So it is important to remind them and introduce them to new experiences.

Tip #2: Have socks handy

We are out and about during the day and it's summer and most of us are in sandals and flip-flops. I made sure to sneak a pair of each girl's socks in my purse. That way if we are out and decide to go bowling, trampoline parks, or other indoor shoe required/rental places, we are prepared.

Tip #3: Car distractions

This is especially important if you have more than one sibling in the car with you at once. Having things in the car for the little ones to do will help minimize children trying to annoy each other. You don't want to be driving and have to stop a slap fight...trust me, it will happen. You don't have to have markers and play-dough in your car. Something as simple and wonderful as some books can usually do the trick.

Tip #4: Join the local library

If the family you are working for doesn't have a library card, get one. The library has so many programs through out the summer and it is a great place to go weekly, especially on a rainy day. I have found many children's books on tape for them to listen too while following a long in the book. One of the girls I watch absolutely loves the books on tape for the books that are above her reading level yet she still enjoys the stories.

Tip #5: Take pictures

I have done this for every family I have worked for and I think it is really special. I take a lot of pictures through out the summer and at the end I create a scrapbook for the children which documents their summer. I have made it myself and electronically through SnapFish. This year my girls are old enough that we can make one together. It is something I have found the parents really appreciate. They do not get to see everything and every moment while they are at work and I know a lot of parents feel guilty that they cannot be there. This book is a reminder that their children were well taken care of and they had loads of fun a long the way.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Favorite App: Do!

I love lists. I have note pads everywhere, on my fridge, on my night stand, and in my phone. I keep several different running lists on the Notes app on my ipone. I keep a wish list, you know, in case someone hands me a bunch of money and I have no clue what to spend it on. I have a "Apartment Wants & Needs" list, "Projects I want to do" list and the list goes on and on. I use the Do! app for my lists of things I need to accomplish in my day to day life.

The app is free by the way and cute! Do! really lets you personalize. Below are some screen shots of what you can Do! (hah) with this app.

I love being able to flag each item with different colored digital tape!

 You can even set an alarm to remind you of certain tasks.

 This is my horrible attempt at showing you that you can slide items up or down. After you have made your lists you may want to change the order, this app lets you do that.

Below is what it will look like when you are searching your app store. While I was looking for the app to show you the screen I also came across a new version of the app! I downloaded it and it seems pretty much the same expect the digital tape looks more like washi tape. It's so stinking cute I could have squealed when I found it. 

I should probably state that Do! has no idea who I am. I am just a huge fan of cute and organized.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Moving Day Recap!

The boxes have been moved, mirrors have been hung, and the aches and pains in my legs are finally gone. We've moved into our apartment. It went so smoothly. A lot of it had to do with the tips I posted here. Preparing for a move and actually moving are two separate things. Here are some things that helped me on moving day that wasn't in the previous "moving tips" post

1. If your friends are helping have them come in shifts. This may work out without you having to really schedule anything due to people having lives and all. I had a lot of help in the morning with getting boxes up to the third floor (no elevator here ladies and gentlemen!). I had three friends plus me to do this. With their help and three cars, we had all boxes in the apartment by noon (we started bringing boxes in around 9:45-10ish, not bad eh?!). We rented a UHaul and Dave (boyfriend) and his brother filled it with all the furniture and were responsible for bringing Uhaul contents up to the apartment. The reason why I didn't just have all boxes and furniture in the Uhaul together was that I thought it would become a bottle neck and slow the process down. I could just imagine everyone grabbing things from the Uhaul while furniture was trying to be brought it. It seemed crazy to me. Most of the boxes were moved into the new place while the furniture was being loaded into the truck from our old place and a storage unit I had holding a lot of my furniture. By the time we were done with the boxes, the Uhaul was at the apartment ready to unload. We never really crossed paths and weren't in each other's way.
      My mom came half way through the move, she was especially helpful in placing the furniture in places that made sense. Having someone come in with fresh eyes and who isn't exhausted from moving for four hours already will help keep moral up. She was probably an HGTV star in a previous life so she came in and sprinkled her magic design dust.

That's her doing her "leveling" work

Find a pizza place and order pizzas for everyone. I made sure to buy a case of waters too. The last thing you need is a dehydrated friend passing out on you. We ended up with too much pizza but I would have rather that scenario than people being left hungry and being put to work. We were able to give Dave's dad an entire pizza to take home with him. Consider buying some gift cards ahead of time to hand out to people you have asked to help as an added thank you. Another idea would be to pay for their meal the next time you are out with them.

3. Do some prep work at the apartment the night before, if you can.

We signed our lease on a Friday after work and prepped to move Saturday morning. After we signed the lease, I filled the apartment with some necessities. Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, paper plates, advil, band-aids. I also brought in bags that I had prepped the week of. 
-  a bathroom cleaning supply bag (don't forget the plunger) with a shower curtain and liner
-  a kitchen cleaning supply bag
-  a bag of command hooks, scissors, extension cords, surge protectors, box cutter

This helped save me an errand in the morning knowing all of this stuff was already in the apartment and placed in appropriate spots. 

4. Stay calm. 

Don't stress especially if you have friends helping you. At the end of the day, you want them to still be your friends. Things may not go the way you planned and their may be kinks but just keep your eyes on the final result.

Light bulb problems...not the worst thing in the world.