My Not So Perfect Life Book Review

One of my favorite things to do during nap time, or while waiting for kiddos to get out of a class, is to read! I love everything from thrillers to love stories, but I really love a good book that I never want to put down. With school and working 3 jobs it can be hard to find time to read nowadays, so when I do it has to be good. I just finished My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, and it was definitely one of those I never want to put down books! I thought I would share some of my thoughts on it and why it is so perfect for any woman young or old.

IMG_0776

First off the main character is SO relatable! Katie is a 25 year old trying to make her name in the branding world in London. She has put in her time, at not so great jobs, so she could land the perfect one right in the heart of London. She moved from the countryside and adopted a new nickname and personality with it, all in hope of having “the perfect life” in London. While she thinks its going to be fabulous to live in London, she soon learns life in the city is not so glamorous. Katie is such a hard worker (another thing to love about her!) and so determined. This story touches on the idea that you can put out anything you want social media to make your life look perfect. While her life is far from perfect in London her Instagram tells a different story. It shows her drinking chic lattes in hip restaurants and loving the big city life.

The other main character Demeter, Katie’s boss. I think a lot of working moms would find her very relatable. To Katie she seems to have the perfect life but as the story unfolds you, and Katie, learn that things aren’t always as they seem on social media. Demeter is a 40something executive working in branding with a husband and 2 kids at home. In the most unlikely of circumstances Katie and Demeter find out they have much more in common than they thought.

I think the “don’t always believe what you see on social media” idea that this book puts out is so poignant and relevant to today’s world. I know just today I was scrolling through Instagram thinking about this one girl I know, who has amazing pictures from traveling all over the world, must have the most perfect life. This book reminded me though that I have no basis for those thoughts besides her Instagram pictures which don’t necessarily mean she has the best time ever. I find it really hard to not be envious of people on Instagram or Facebook. After reading this book my envy of others through their Facebook or Instagram posts is something I am going to try can care less about, because you never know if their life really is that perfect.

This book also hits on how hard it is to grow up and still stay true to your roots. It is something Katie struggles constantly with throughout the book but luckily with a happy ending proving you can after all find a balance. There is also a love story element to the book which I think is always fun 🙂 The relationship shows a glimpse of the struggles of dating in your twenties.

Overall I thought this book was great! Definitely worth a read. It’s a really easy book to read, lighthearted yet a page turner. I haven’t loved all of Sophie Kinsella’s books but My Not So Perfect Life is a hit. Let me know if you read it and whether or not you like it!

xoxo

Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2017

Necessary info for the new nanny/sitter!

Happy Thursday everybody 🙂 I have been lucky to work with some of my families for over six years now. While that has been so great some of them are starting to outgrow needing a nanny or babysitter, so recently I’ve started taking on some new families. I got names of families through a friend and have worked with three new families for a month now! It has been really fun, and such great experience having some babies again.

Since I’ve been with my families for so long now whenever I see them it’s like seeing family. It is so comfortable and easy. To say I was a little nervous to start all over again with new families was a given. I’ve been lucky to have enough work with my network of families for the last few years. BUT I wanted to form new relationships with some sweet new little kiddos. The families I’ve been working with have been so great! The kids are amazing and so fun, and the parents have been really nice and easy to get along with, which is something so important to me.

However the first day I nanny for the first family I got there, exchanged phone numbers, they gave me the daily run down, and then they were off! Thank goodness for modern technology and cellphones because I had a lot of little questions I forgot to ask in the morning rush. So that inspired me to come up with a little checklist or information to get from families the first time you watch their kids! I even created a printable, Notes for the Nanny, you can bring with as well 🙂

  1. Exchange phone numbers (including work numbers). This seems like a dumb one, I know, but sometimes you may forget to think that their office phone would come in handy. Say there’s an emergency and they aren’t answering their cell phones? It’s a long shot, and hopefully never needed, but good to have in case.
  2. ALLERGIES! I am so bad at remembering this one because I have no allergies and neither have any of the kiddos from my families I work with. BUT this is so important in case one of the kiddos does. Make sure you ask what exactly they are allergic to and what meds to give them in case they come in contact with it.
  3. Ask about screen time. This one can be so different from family to family so it’s always good to ask. Some don’t care and others limit it to a show a day. Whether you believe one way or the other always go with the parents rule. It’s not fair to the child or the parents if you change it up on the days you’re there.
  4. Ask about their favorite foods. This way you will have a good idea of what to make them for lunch or dinner without having to try and figure that out from the little one or guessing. Also ask if there is anything they really don’t like. That can help too when it comes to meal prep
  5. Ask about snacks. A hard moment for me is when the parents leave and then an hour later the kids ask for a snack and I don’t know if the parents let them have them whenever. Just ask right away. Ask what they usually have for snack and the timing. Most people have a snack shelf or drawer 🙂
  6. Wifi password 🙂 while this is more for the sake of the nanny during nap time, it can also come in handy in case any device in the house falls out of sync during the day! No one wants a sad toddler just because you told them they could watch Micky on the iPad and the signal is signed out.
  7. Random things it helps to know! Garage code (in case you leave), where the stroller is (in case you want to head outside), favorite activities (if you are searching for ideas), where the craft supplies is, nap time routine (if they need their nook or lovey), and any other little thing that puts your mind at ease!

Never be afraid of asking too many questions. Better safe than sorry is my belief. It also makes you look prepared and serious about your job. If you feel comfortable and prepared for your day ahead with the kiddos it will make you less stressed and keep them calm. Attached to this blog post is my link to Notes for the Nanny, which is a printable I created to easily get all the main information I need in case of emergency and for the day ahead! Enjoy 🙂

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2017

 

10 Kid Friendly Fall Activities

Happy fall everybody! I don’t know about you but I LOVE fall. Everything about fall… the chill in the air, apples 24/7, pumpkin spice and everything nice, apple and pumpkin scented anything, and leaves turning beautiful, gorgeous colors! Naturally, I share my love of fall with my nanny kiddos, but it turns out they have a great time doing the fll activities as well. So I decided to put together a list of my favorite fall, kid-friendly, activities!

il_570xn-453964500_rymh

The Nanny Guide’s Top 10 Kid Friendly Fall Activities

1. Go to an apple orchard!

Last year me and my boyfriend took Ruby to a local apple orchard, and it is a day she still talks about 1 year later. We all had SO much fun! The local one we went to had apples, apple cider donuts, hay pile jumps, tractor rides, and even more fun things for kids to play on! We went on a cloudy cold day and because it was so much fun forgot all about the cold. Another fun local (aka Minnesota) apple place is Jim’s Apple Barn. I can’t call it an apple orchard because its big draw is that it is Minnesota’s largest candy store haha still a great place for a family outing! They have apples, baked goods, candy, rooters, beef jerky, and a million other fun snacks!

2. Head to a Pumpkin Patch! 

Take the kiddos to a pumpkin patch! Usually this can be combined with an apple orchard trip but I thought it deserved its own line 🙂 This is a great place to take your family pumpkin-patch-desktop-wallpaper-5653-5939-hd-wallpapersChristmas card at if you’re looking to get that crossed off your list early! It’s also just a fun time to let the kids explore. Kids are fascinated with all the bumps, lumps, sizes, and colors of pumpkins. Once you’ve picked some out, bring them home to decorate! You can go the traditional route of carving pumpkins which if you know what your doing is fun. However I’m not a big fan of pumpkin carving… Too much mess, slime, and really hard to do right. I love decorating the pumpkins with marker, paint, pom poms, and any other arts and craft decoration. I also have found that this is easier for kids to be included in this way. The knives and tools involved in caring are not so kid friendly, but to each their own! 

3. Make a leaf pile and play! 

img_9177This one is pretty self explanatory. Rake up the fallen leaves in your yard and jump on in the pile! Kids find this so fun! I have some great memories as a child of jumping into leaf piles. It’s an easy and free way to have some good old fashion outdoor fun. I also used to take leaves and make houses out of them by making lines on leaves for rooms. Kinda hard to explain but my point is let your kids imagination go wild with the leaves!

4. Make a bonfire

If you have a bonfire pit or access to one, this is fun way to stay warm on the chilly fall days. A fun learning experience is to have your child find different things in nature (think leaves, sticks, pinecones, etc) then you can throw them in the fire pit and listen to the different sizzles! After you’ve had enough time hanging around the fire you can always add to the day by roasting marshmallows and making s’mores 🙂

5. Walk through an area with trees!

You can go anywhere whether that be a forest, nature reserve, or neighborhood. As you walk talk through the trees spend some time talking about the different colors your child sees. This helps practice color recognition. If your children are older it can be interesting to stop and tell them about the different types of trees they see and what colors each tree turns.

6. Go to a Football Game!

This does not have to a NFL game! I actually suggest you don’t go to an NFL game haha. This is because the fans can be very aggressive and shouting profanities. My suggestion is to go to a local college football game! This can still be just as satisfying for your kids as an NFL game. They can cheer on the team and spend some quality time with you, all while being a less expensive day out for you 🙂

7. Walk through a corn maze

Once again this might be able to be accomplished at an apple orchard, but sometimes you need to go elsewhere. A local Minnesota one, Seever’s Corn Maze, provides hours of fun! Kids learn trial and error when getting stuck trying to find their way out of the maze.

8. Bake something fall with them! Pumpkin pies, apple crisps, anything! 

img_3744It’s always fun for a child to be involved in baking something sugary and sweet! When children are involved in the process they feel a sense of accomplishment, and they can physically see what they helped create. Baking with your child also enhances their math skills by counting cups and tablespoons. It also helps enhance gross motor skills with stirring or rolling. When I was little we used to make pies every year with my mom! I always include Ruby when baking anything, and she loves it! It’s a great bonding time. Because patience isn’t usually a child’s strong suit, when Ruby and I bake I usually plan it so the food bakes while she naps! However if you want to practice patience then do it during play time! You can turn on the oven light and they can watch the bread grow or muffins puff up.

9. Taste test some caramel apples 🙂

Carmel apples are my favorite fall treat. Anytime I have an option to get one I do! I think they all can taste a little bit different too. Pick up various caramel apples from local grocery stores or caramel dips and have a taste test! Other places such as Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory make really fun gourmet caramel apples with chocolate, peanut butter, M and M’s, and so much more. So you can always get even more creative! You can ask them before which one they think might be the best and write that down. Then after they test them all, ask again, and see if it changes! To keep this from your kid taking in too much sugar, cut the apples into slices and try each one with just that one slice.

gourmet-caramel-apples

10. Have a fall family or nanny night in!

Cook a fun fall meal (maybe chill or chicken apple sausages), make some warm apple cider, have a yummy fall treat for dessert, and cozy up on the couch and watch a movie! This is a great way to spend quality time with your kiddos and catch up on life with them. If you are a nanny you can do this in the morning or afternoon with them! Instead of dinner, you could make a snack (maybe apples, or pumpkin bread), have some apple cider, and cozy up and watch a movie then!

I hope you all enjoy theses activities and have some great fall fun with your kiddos! This is just my list of fall fun, and I would love to know your families favorite fall activities!

xoxo

Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Goodbyes are not the end

Hello and happy Tuesday to all the lovely mommies, nannies, and caregivers out there! The Nanny Guide has been on a bit of a hiatus… Crazy end of spring and summer! Loss, love, and laughter all included in 5 months. BUT now I am back and plan to be much more consistent as the fall air and routine sets back in!

With the new school year beginning my little Ruby is off to PreK, and I’m back full time at school and working as a teacher in a local daycare for a little different experience. As sad as I am to be closing my chapter as Ruby’s nanny, I know she will always have a place in my life and I will always have a place in hers. As my old friend Dr. Seuss once said “don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” #rubyworld This is one thing that is very important to me when it comes to leaving a nanny family.

If possible maintain contact with the family and their little ones. If you have worked with them for a year or more, you have become part of their family or at least an integral part of the children’s lives. If you just disappear and never come back that can be very hard on a little one and can leave them feeling hurt and sad. Now I know this isn’t possible in every circumstance (they/you move, bad experience with family), I think it is important to try to make time for them if you can. That said here are some of my favorite ways to spend some special times with all my past nanny kiddos.

  • Have a nanny date night! Take them out to dinner somewhere fun and catch up with them. Ask them about school or sports or life in general. The best part is this doesn’t have to be some fancy, exciting restaurant. Most kids grin ear to ear if you mention going to McDonalds! Another date night idea is to take them to a fun movie in theaters. This was always a hit with my older nanny babies. We have even found an inexpensive local movie theater where tickets are just $2.50.
  • Give them a framed picture of the two of you. I love doing this for my kiddos, young img_5408and old. If you have a fun, cute picture you love of the two of you (or all of you if you have multiples) frame it and give it to them. You can pick up a nice, inexpensive frame at Target or Michael’s Craft store. If you have a printer and a good deal on ink, I suggest printing at home because you are just printing one picture. However, if you don’t have access to a printer at home check out your local Walgreens to see what there deals on photos are right now. Usually you can find a good coupon on there for 40% off 4 by 6 prints or prints for 10 cents, etc. Then send in your order and you can most likely pick it up that day. Walgreens has a super easy to use app that makes this process even simpler.
  • Plan something special for the 2 of you around their birthday. Instead of just getting them a present or card, I like to plan a special outing for the 2 of us so we can spend some quality time together. I try to think of fun special things that parents wouldn’t easily be able to do with their kids. One time I took an old nanny baby to get a pedicure and she about died! She felt so grown up and I relished in the smiles and giggles. Other things I’ve done include taking one of the boys out to a local baseball game, and taken a girl out to tea at the American Girl Place. I’ve done the American Girl Place multiple times now with different kids and it’s always a MAJOR hit! I highly suggest this if you live near one.
  • Send them mail! Most little kids rarely get mail and if they do it is the greatest thing ever. Clarification: THIS IS NOT AN EMAIL (most young kids don’t have an email anyways haha) Go the traditional route and mail them a handwritten card or letter. This small gesture is minimal in cost (think paper, envelope, stamp) and means a lot to the children and the parents. If the child is old enough you could even write down a few questions for them in your letter so they can write you one back! Pen pals have never been so cool 🙂
  • Ask the parents if they want to go on a date night and you can babysit! I have heard from a lot of parents that they don’t want to ask you to babysit too often because they don’t want to burn you out. While that may be the case for some, for me I would spend every weekend babysitting if I could 🙂 Shoot one of your families a text every so often asking if they want a night out any weekend in x month. All the families I’ve worked for have been more than happy to pick a night and go out and do their thing! Quality time + a little bit of cash never hurt anybody.

Finding time for old families is something that is so important to me. Each and everyone of the kids I’ve watched has left a special mark on me and I hope I have left one on them. Maintaining our connections and bonds are natural and necessary for me. I have been so lucky to have great relationships with all the families I’ve worked with, I hope you all are just as lucky!

xoxo

Kelly

PS: Here are some of my favorite memories with all my babies who I don’t see every day now 🙂

Children are the best medicine

Hi all! I have been on a bit of a hiatus for the last month. It has been the busiest, most stressful, scariest part of my life, with high highs (making the deans list) and very low lows (almost losing my mom). Through it all one thing has held constant, the love and joy I have when being around all my babies.

IMG_2435

It all began with my crazy course load this semester and having a final on the 23rd of December!! I was frustrated and defeated after studying for weeks. Then the night before a super tough final, Ruby spent the night at my house. No it may not have been the best way to study (try studying media ethics while playing princesses), but it was just the medicine I needed that week. I put her to bed in my room, and when I went to bed I captured this peaceful, precious moment. Ruby sound asleep under the Christmas tree I have slept under all my life 🙂IMG_2836

Following that was the holidays which are always crazy busy, but in the best way possible! That meant family parties, dinners, seeing my babies, and attempting to decompress from a difficult semester. I had 3 family Christmas parties in 3 days. So much fun, but so exhausting. Ruby and I spent on day going to visit Santa Claus, and it was perfection. Watching the magic of Christmas expressed in her eyes and words was so much fun. I was reminded why this time of year is so special to so many, the magic and hope brought from the holidays in and of itself is calming. Then of course I had to play Santa Nanny and visit all my babies and give them their presents! One present was a date night with my boyfriend (or Ruby’s boyfriend as she calls him), another was a tie blanket, and for another family, my all time favorite children’s princess movie ENCHANTED. Visiting them and being able to put a smile on their faces was the perfect way to unwind

After all the parties ended and things calmed down I had a minute to breathe- not very easily. I had come down with a cold a day after all the crazy ended. So my usual coping mechanisms of baby cuddles was off the table. I spent 5 days in bed watching Netflix (Damages is amazing!) and getting updates on how all my babies Christmas’ were 🙂 While in bed one day I got an email saying I made the Dean’s List! Given how hard my semester was I was hoping just to pass, so this was unbelievable. I was going into the first week of January on a high. Everything was going perfectly, and I had a trip to Chicago with my boyfriend in a few days to look forward to.

Then the unthinkable happened. The scariest moment of my life. I got a call that my mom was being taken, via an ambulance, to the hospital because she had had a brain bleed.IMG_3185 Everything stopped. My heart stopped. My mom, my best friend, my person was in danger of losing her life. After a very long night and copious amounts of tests, we were given the news that she was no longer in immediate danger. She needed to be hospitalized for a week because there was still blood in her brain which is obviously not good. I learned a lot in those first few days. I learned how strong I can be in the face of uncertainty. I learned every technical medical term known to man kind related to my mom’s brain bleed 🙂 and I learned how lucky I am to have such amazing support system. Of course my dad, brother, boyfriend, best friends, and extended family were there for me, but beyond that the families I work for were there for anything I needed. It was not only through the calls and texts I received about being there for me, but the flowers they sent to my mom and well wishes and offers for food or anything for me and my family. It was truly amazing. What I told most of them I wanted was to come babysit for a few hours and watch their kids as a little distraction and comfort 🙂

All and all my mom is on the mend and doing better. The uncertainty is scary, but I know if I ever need anyone to talk to I can call any one of the moms I work for and they would be there for me in a second. The relationships I have formed with the families I work for is an undoubtable blessing. Getting to spend time with all of the kids in my life is the best medicine and cure for any hopeless, scary situation. One moment spent with one of them and I am reminded of the wonder, innocence, and joy there is in every moment of life. After almost a week in the hospital my mom is back home recovering. I have spent the whole last week at home hanging out with her while she tries to get back to normal. Once Friday rolled around I couldn’t spend another week without my Ruby. It was the perfect day. Ruby, my mom, and I spent the morning together having breakfast, laughing, and playing. Seeing my mom getting back to being herself and joking around with Ruby was a moment I will never forget. All I need to be happy in life is my mom and my babies 🙂 (and my boyfriend, and dog, and best friends, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins… you get the picture).

 

I have some big things planned for The Nanny Guide this year so stay tuned! As always thank you for taking the time to read my blog 🙂

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016