Archives for June 2013

Cloud Dough

Cloud dough is so much fun! Super simple to make too! (recipe at the bottom if this post)

I had been waiting for what feels like forever to do this project with the girls. I thought about it a lot during the winter and early spring. I knew I wanted to do it outside so that the mess wasn’t inside {this is a pretty messy activity} and I knew they should probably be in onesies because I didn’t know how well it would wash off their clothes. This meant I’d have to wait till it was nice and toasty warm outside. Finally the weather really warmed up and we had a nice hot day, perfect for making cloud dough.

I didn’t want to be constantly telling the girls to keep the cloud dough in the container so I ended up pulling out their baby pool and putting the container and the girls in that. That way, even if they got it all over, it was still contained and easy to get rid of.

It’s somewhat hard to describe cloud dough without giving someone the chance to actually touch it, but I’ll do my best. It’s flour and oil so it’s soft to the touch, silky really, and resembles a plain powder. However, if you squish it in your hand, it will form somewhat of a ball shape. If you’re careful you can move the ball shape around and even pass it to another person but it does crumble relatively easily. It’s a great sensory experience for kids. 
It’s fun for adults too!
I gave the girls big mixing spoons and measuring cups. They liked squeezing it in their hands, sharing it with me, packing it down and then crumbling it up, and using both spoons to mix it all up. They even stuck their feet in it. They found sticks on their own and added them to the mix. Somehow we ended up making a birthday cake and singing happy birthday to both Elmo and Cookie Monster. 
Every time we went outside over the next week or so following this activity, I’d hear “cloud dough!?!” from one or both of the girls. We made it second time pretty shortly after because of this. I’ve also done this activity with an older child, a 4 year old. He loved it too. With both ages, the activity lasted well over 30 minutes. While the 4 year old was pretty clean after (not so much for the floor!) the girls were messy as can be. They had it head to toe. Luckily I had put them in just onesies so I took those off and ended up basically hitting them against the porch railing like you would a rug. Then they went straight into the washer. It brushes off skin pretty easily. 

We will absolutely be repeating this activity a few more times this summer!
Now time for the super simple recipe!
1 cup oil (I used vegetable oil so that it was edible, but you can also use baby oil)
8 cups all purpose flour (this seems like a lot, but it’s not!)
Just one step – Mix the two together! You may need a bit more oil (I’m talking adding more in tablespoon increments), but ours seemed to become a better consistency/texture the more we played with it, so be sure to play with it for a bit before making the decision on whether you want more oil or not.
*I have somehow had this post half finished, waiting to be completed for weeks. Unfortunately for me, one of my dogs is (re)injured and the other is essentially having a panic attack because of the crazy loud thunder storm we are having outside. I decided to make the best of the situation {since my terrified dog is currently trembling and shaking next to me, so clearly I’m not headed off to dreamland anytime soon} and finish up this post!*


Rear Facing Car Seat Safety

Today I was talking to a friend who is also a nanny. She is struggling with having a two door car and twin boys who are bigger and taller than the average for their age. We were discussing car seat safety and I told her that while you can forward face a child at 1 year and 20 pounds, this is the absolute bare minimum age and weight that you can do so. Also, it is actually no longer recommended to make the switch that early. This post is going to be dedicated to explaining why guidelines have changed and why it is in fact in your child’s best interest to keep them rear facing as long as possible.
Years ago the standard became switching children to forward facing at 1 year and 20 pounds, however, as I stated before, this is the bare minimum. All of the “big” organizations are now recommending you keep your child rear facing until they are at least two years old. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has created a new website all about keeping children safe in cars. On the website they don’t even mention switching at a certain age. They recommend switching when your child has reached the maximum height or weight limit for rear facing. For many car seats (remember – not infant carriers) the maximum rear facing weight isn’t until 35 or 40 pounds. The average child reaches this weight around 3 or so years old. The American Association of Pediatrics says essentially the same thing –  keep them rear facing until they reach the maximum height or weight for rear facing in their car seat. Also, it is perfectly okay for their knees to be bent and their feet to be touching the seat in front of them. There have been no documented cases of a child being more injured rear facing then they would be if they were forward facing. Simply put, if there is enough force in an accident that your rear facing child breaks their hip or leg, there was enough force for them to have severe neck injuries or to even break their neck if they were forward facing.
Now that you know what the “new” guidelines are, let me explain the reasons why. In an accident in which a child is restrained in a forward facing car seat, the majority of the force is put on their head, neck, and shoulders. This causes severe head and neck injuries and unfortunately all to frequently, death. In an accident in which a child is restrained in a rear facing car seat, the force is spread along a greater area with less pressure on the head and neck, which means a decrease in head and neck injuries. In fact, studies have shown that a rear facing child has at least a 75% less (yes, SEVENTY FIVE percent less) chance of being seriously injured or dying in a car accident than a forward facing child.
Here is a video showing what can happen in a crash.
Sometimes we have to be reminded that a child can’t decide things like this for themselves. It is up to us as their caregivers. It is our duty as caregivers, whether that be as parents, grandparents, or nannies, to keep them as safe as possible. We have to remember that we need to do what is in the best interest of the child instead of what is better or more convenient for us. This is an instance where one decision you make can literally save a child’s life. 

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now!


What’s In My Bag?

As I was browsing through some Youtube videos the other day I saw a lot of girls doing “what’s in my purse” videos, between this and some one of my nanny friends asking what she should put in her diaper bag for twins, I figured it would be a good idea to do a post on what I carry in my diaper bag for my twin girls. This bag always sits in my car so that it’s there if I need it. The night before a longer trip (to the zoo, an all day park adventure, etc) I make sure to go through it and see if I need to add anything.
I use this organizing utility tote from Thirty One.
I chose this bag, not only because it’s big enough to carry everything I need in it, but also because when I don’t need a diaper bag anymore it has multiple other uses. {Side note: Have you seen their new chevron pattern? I love it. I recently did an order for other bags and got that pattern.} I sometimes wish it had a zipper, but then again it’s easier for me to grab things without one.
I can easily throw my keys, cell phone, and water bottle into the outside pockets and I also carry a little travel first aid kit in one just in case. 
Inside the bag is where my organizational OCD kicks in because there aren’t separate compartments. I carry two gallon sized ziplock bags and in each one I have one complete matching outfit – pants, onesie, hoodie, and socks. I suck all the air out of the bags and then zip them up so they barely take up any room at the bottom of my bag. This way if one of the girls gets messy, I’m not digging around in the bag trying to find clothes that match and I also have something to put the messy clothes in so they aren’t getting anything else dirty.
There’s a gap between one side of the diaper bag and the end of the ziplock bags when they’re laying flat and that’s where I put diapers and a travel case of wipes. I also slide in a travel changing mat along side of everything. Those diaper changing tables that are attached to walls in the bathrooms of places gross me out so badly. I sincerely hope that no one uses them without something over top. Yuck. 
On top of the ziplocks and diapers I have this zipper pouch, also from Thirty One.
This isn’t the pattern I have, they don’t carry it anymore, but all the same. It’s lined with a laminated fabric, and while I don’t think the bag itself is completely waterproof (because of the zipper), I’ve never had anything spill out into the rest of my diaper bag. This is the bag that I used to carry the girls bottles in (and yes, I had a few leak into this bag and I’m so glad it’s lined!). Now that they’re off bottles I carry anything that has to do with food messes in here. I fit in the disposable place mats since the girls are eating real food now but aren’t quite ready to have a real plate in front of them (like at a restaurant) just yet and sometimes plates aren’t available (like at the zoo). I love that these stick to any table surface too. In the same bag I put some antibacterial wipes and bibs in as well. I carry a separate thermal tote from Thirty One that I carry their lunch in on days I need to pack one. If their sippy cups don’t fit in the tote, I put them in the zipper pouch. Usually the girls are either holding their snack traps or they’re laying on top of my diaper bag. 
Other than a book or two and a stray toy, I think that covers everything! I’d much rather be over prepared than under prepared. Oh, and just so there aren’t any questions about this, this is NOT a sponsored post! I purchased everything, I just happen to find Thirty One bags very useful.


Life as a nanny

This is a picture-less day in the life of a nanny to two adorable 17 month olds. May 23, 2013 if you’re wondering!
8:00- I arrive at work, the girls are happily playing. I sit on the floor with them and we play for a bit – putting together puzzles, making a block tower that they thoroughly enjoy knocking over repeatedly, and reading several books.
8:40 – Both girls get diaper change #1 of my day with them. I use diaper changes to give each girl some (brief) individual time with me. I ask them questions (even ones they don’t know how to answer just yet – “Did you have a good night last night?” “Did you sleep well?” “What was your favorite thing we did today?”) or sing songs – they choose which song.
8:50 – Mom comes down to say goodbye before she heads off to work. Dad joins us too. E starts getting upset and cranky because she’s hungry and wants to eat breakfast a little early today. So, upstairs to eat we go.
9:05 – While I’m prepping the pancakes, M poops so it’s time for diaper change #2 for her.
9:15 – Breakfast time! Blueberry pancakes, eggs for E (M is mildly allergic, she breaks out in a rash each time she eats them by themselves, so no plain eggs for her) both get yogurt and peaches too.
9:40 – Breakfast is over, time to play! We play with the princess castle that I talked about in this post.
9:50 – E poops so its diaper change #2 for her. I check M to see if she needs to be changed but she’s still dry.
10:15 – I get the girls dressed and pack our books to head to the library and get new ones.
10:35 – I do a diaper check to make sure they’re both dry before we leave (they are) and we head to the library. At the library we pick out lots of books, play with puzzles, explore search and find bean bags, and play with plastic people figures. We also read a few books that we didn’t bring home with us.
12:40 – We get back from the library and it’s diaper change #3 for both girls.
12:50 – We start a late lunch of chicken sausage, sweet potatoes, yogurt, some grapes, and peaches.
1:30 – Lunch is over, we come downstairs and play while I wait for the after lunch/before nap poops. Seriously. It’s like clockwork just about every day. {Hoping this will help potty training!}
1:40 – I ask M to poop, so she does. {She’s awesome at doing it when I ask. Once again, this will help potty training!} Diaper change #4 for her.
1:47 – E poops, diaper change #4 for her too.
1:55 – I tell the girls it’s milk and book time, so they walk over to the books. I sit down and both girls sit on my lap and drink their milk. We read 3 books. We finish up our little nap time routine and the girls are put in their cribs.
2:30 – It has never taken the girls this long to go to sleep! They were so so so chatty today, E in particular. I’m pretty sure M conked out around 2:15 or 2:20 because I didn’t hear her talking after that. E is having a full conversation with herself or her stuffed Elmo instead of going to sleep.
2:38 – Both girls are now asleep. Typically, they’re both out by 2:10 or 2:15 at the latest. While the girls nap I finish up anything that needs to be finished – putting any outdoor toys we may have used earlier away, folding laundry, getting snack ready, etc. Today everything was already finished, so I was able to relax right away and get some smaller things done that I needed to cross off my to do list.
4:08 – I hear a voice through the monitor. M is awake. As soon as I get in their room, E wakes up.
4:10 – We’re downstairs now with milk, water, and goldfish. The girls eat their snack and drink their drinks while I get out crayons and open a fresh blank coloring page.
4:20 – Diaper changes #5 for both girls, one at a time while the other colors. 
4:30 – Diaper changes are done so we get to color together now. I get asked to write their names as well as asked to draw lots of hearts and squares. These girls know exactly what they want when it comes to coloring. They scribble, switch colors, scribble on what I drew, switch colors, and repeat.
5:00 – Grandma comes over, we chit chat for a bit and then I head out to rest up for the next day.