Valentine’s Day classmate cards on a budget and minimal time!

Hello all! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner that means school Valentine’s Day parties are just around the corner! That means valentine’s cards for all 30 classmates, candy for each, and some way to get those together. Ain’t nobody got time for that! haha but seriously all of that takes a lot of effort and cost money. Money and time a lot of parents and nannies could spend doing other things on their never-ending to do list. You need to go to Target to buy the cards and candy, which anyone who has gone to Target knows ends up being at least a 30 minute trip. Then you have to assemble them all, write everyone classmates name down, and sign each one. All in all this can take awhile.

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However if you are looking for an inexpensive option where you don’t have to leave the house, this may be your solution. All you need is an Amazon Prime account. If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account I highly suggest you get one. I know this may sound like a promo for them but really it’s just because I find it so helpful and worth the money. For only $99 a year (aka $8.25 a month, or the cost of 2 Starbucks coffee drinks a month) you get free 2 day shipping, access to their video streaming and music, and the best part AMAZON PRIME NOW. Prime Now is the world’s greatest invention. You can order something from Amazon (Say candy for valentine cards) and get it delivered to your front door in 2 hours or less.

Given our crazy schedules (between Ruby’s mom and mine) Valentine cards for Ruby’s classmates got lost in the busy days. So last night, with 4 days till Ruby’s Valentine’s Party, Amazon Prime Now came to the rescue and at an extremely low cost! Lindsay ordered a set of 32 My Little Pony Valentine Cards for $1.36 and 2 bags of candy for the price of one (promo right now). Shipping is FREE. So all in all 32 Valentine’s with candy cost $4!!! The $4 purchase showed up in an hour right to the front door. From there she looked in the craft closet and found glitter sticker hearts Ruby and I had used on projects this summer. She did the added touch of putting them in cellophane sleeves, but she already had them from her office. Use what you have!! If you have mini cellophane bag use those or just do the old school tape the candy on the Valentine 🙂 Assembling took the usual time of writing and sticking, but she saved a lot of time and money by using Amazon Prime Now.

Something that could have been stressful and time consuming, turned into a quick, easy, inexpensive project. PS. 3 year old Ruby spent the time to sign each one herself!! We were both soon proud! (and we made sure to tell her. Positive reinforcement is key in raising a kid!).

SO save some time, money, and stress wrinkles, Amazon is here to save the day! Stay inside tonight and spend some time with your kiddos while Amazon does the heavy lifting. Wait for your things to arrive and have fun assembling them together! Or if you want to get them done quickly while your kids asleep (because we all know helpful kids are a blessing BUT sometimes make things harder) wait till then, have a glass of wine and TA DAH.

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

Who Am I?: Animal Edition. A Educational Game for Kids

Hi parents and nannies! Happy Wednesday! I hope the new year is treating you all well. Today I wanted to share a fun interactive, adaptive game I created for a job interview recently. It is suitable for young toddlers, as well as preschool age kiddos. It’s called Who Am I?: Animal Edition.

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I created this as an activity to bring to a job interview that could be played with children from 1 to 5. You can practice remembering animal sounds and fine motor skills with the young kiddos, and practice spelling and more complicated, recognition questions with older, preschool age kids. This game is easy and inexpensive to make on your own. Here’s how it’s done!

What you need:

  • Foam poster board
  • Animal picture printouts (I just googled clip art of each animal)
  • Markers
  • Index cards
  • Multiple purpose fasteners (aka velcro stickers)
  • Scissors
  • Tape/ Adhesive

How to create:

  1. Google each animal you want. I chose horse, chicken, cow, pig, cat, dog, duck, elephant, lion, and frog. Once you have found the pictures, print them out, and cut them apart.
  2. Begin with the poster board flat on the ground and lay each animal along the sides.
  3. Once you are satisfied with the layout, tape each animal down to the board. IMG_3566
  4. Take your index cards and clearly write out each animal name. I chose capital letters because those are the letters most children recognize and learn first.
  5. Take an index card and adhere two sets of velcro to the back of it. Then stick it on the poster board next to its respective animal. (If you use the Scotch brand of velcro it WILL feel like you have to rip it off the board really hard, but it gets easier the more you use it!)
  6. Write the title of the game at the top of the board with a marker. Mine is on blue paper because I messed up the writing the first time haha so just go with it!
  7. Viola! You have a fun, easy to use game.

How to play:

  • Easy: Take all of the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Show your kid the first card and say what animal says woof woof? If they can’t talk yet, have them point to the animal. If they can talk, have them say the animal name and point. If they get it correct celebrate it and show them where to place it on the board. Keep going until all the cards are on the board correctly. This version of the game will help with memory, recognition, fine motor, and recall skills.
  • Medium: Take all the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Look at the animal name on the card and give your child clues about it. For example, if it is COW I would say, I have black and white spots. I provide you with milk. I can be found hanging out on a farm. If they don’t get it by that point then you could say I go moo. Once they guess the animal correctly hand them the card and tell them to place it next to the animal on the board. Keep going until all the cards are on the board. This version of the game really helps test children’s long term memory of facts about animals. It will make them recall information they have stored in their brain.
  • Hard: Take all the cards off the board and hold them in your hands. Hand the first card to your child and tell them to sound out the word. You can help them if needed. Once they have sounded it out ask them to place it on the board next to the animal. Celebrate each mini victory until they have gone through all the cards. Obviously elephant or chicken are not going to be super easy ones to get, but each time they see them and repeat them they will get more comfortable with the word and more practice. After they place the card on the board you can tell them to point to each letter and spell the word back to you as well. It is important to have them point to the letter (or you yourself point) because this will help them associate the proper letter sound with letter.

As I said above this is a fun, adaptable, and engaging for kids of a wide age range! I hope you all have an easy time making this game and a fun time playing it.

xoxo Kelly

© The Nanny Guide 2016

The Giving Season: My Holiday Gift Guide on a Budget

Hi all! Happy Tuesday! With Christmas right around the corner I thought I would put together a list of my go-to gifts for kids, family, friends, nanny bosses, etc that are all budget friendly:)

Christmas is my most favorite time of year! I think it is magical and perfect in every way. Giving someone a gift that they will love and use is very important to me. Now that I am spending my own hard earned money (that could go to groceries & gas) on gifts for everyone on my list I’ve tried to get a little more thrifty. When buying gifts for my family I am willing to spend more so they are less of a concern. My main problem comes to buying gifts for all my tiny humans I like to make feel special this time of year! With 8 kiddos I like to buy for I have had to find ways to keep my spending under control. While it may be tempting to buy your kid the new latest and greatest LEGO set, with my college nanny budget $50 for one gift is not going to fly. This time of year it can be hard to buy for others as well. Those including cousins, friends, aunts /uncles, and nanny bosses. Those people who are important to you add up. I have found instead of ignoring those groups of people all together set a small budget like you do for the kiddos are stick to that. These are some of my go-to gifts and helpful tricks I use to make holiday shopping easier on the budget and mind 🙂

 

My Tips to Stay on Budget 

Check the Target Cartwheel App. I am not a loyal user of this app because I don’t think you save that much. BUT recently I’ve realized if you look, you can find great deals on things you may be interested in buying for gifts. Last week Disney Princess costumes were 50% off. I’ve also seen LEGO sets on sale. They have books, movies, toys, crafts, and other things that may be on your list. It is definitely worth checking it out before you go make you gift purchases.

Keep eyes open for toys/gifts on sale year round. This is something I do mainly for gifts I am going to buy my nanny kiddos. Throughout the year when Target, Toys ‘R’ Us, and other kid stores have things on sale I buy them then and then save them for Christmas. I found a Cinderella Barbie carriage for Ruby in September for $20 (originally $40). This can work for friends and family too. If you see something in July you think your friend Rachel will love, get it! Bring it home and just put it somewhere you will remember!! You don’t want December 22nd to come and have to tear your house apart to find it 🙂

Shop at the Target $1 spot or $3 spot. This is for kids especially (nieces, nephews, nanny kids, stocking stuffers, cousins, friends kids)! Kids can’t tell whether something they get was only $1. These days the $1 spot at Target has some great things! Everything from Minions to Disney Princess to Elmo. Take advantage of this area and use that as small little gifts to go with a bigger one, or buy a few of the little things and that can be their gift! It is the fact that you thought about the kid and something to get them that matters.

Set a budget for how much you want to spend. And stick to it! If you only have $10 to spend on each person, that is okay! Don’t feel pressure to go overboard because others are. You can get some great stuff for a small amount of money these days. Take advantage of sales, shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal, check out your local Dollar Store, or make something! These days handmade gifts (like candles or cocoa mix in a bag) are just as special. Just make sure you take your time and make it nice by adding little details, like ribbons.

Here are some of my go-to gifts for kids, friends, nanny bosses, and family!

Gifts for kids t300_8a654cc96f475ac3c6c93a8a17a69fc115716281

  • Melissa and Doug Sticker Books $5
  • Mini Lego Sets $5 – $10
  • Fleece Tie Blankets: This is particular one of my favorites. I gave one to a girl I have watched for a long time a couple years ago, and she still sleeps with it every night 🙂 Something as simple as a blanket can mean so much to a child because it reminds them you love them. If you look out for sales on fleece at your local fabric store this can be an inexpensive gift! It just takes some time to make.
  • Framed picture of the two of you: You can embellish the frame to with stickers and jewels.
  • Hot Cocoa Mix in a Bag: All you need is cellophane bags, cocoa powder, sugar, powdered sugar, and a pinch salt. Here a link to an easy recipe! Pour desired amount of mix in cellophane bag. Add mini marshmallows to the top and seal with ribbon!
  • Fun outing with just you two: Kids love to feel special and celebrated. Give them the gift of your time. Tell them to pick a fun thing to do and restaurant to go to together. Then do it around Christmas time. Maybe buy something special while your out to remember your happy day together.
  • Scrapbook: This is very time consuming and costs more than the others, BUT it is one of the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts you can give. I handmade one for Ruby at the end of our summer together. She and her parents love it! It makes me so happy to look back at them when I am there on Fridays now. It’s a physical reminder of your time together. While I took the long route of making each page by hand, there are now much more efficient options online. Check out Snapfish or Whalgreens!

 

Gifts for nanny friends/cousins 

  • Anthropologie coffee mug with letter $8: I give these out a lot and sometimes add homemade hot cocoa in a bag to put in the middle of the cup. It makes for a nice yet inexpensive gift!
  • Bath and body works deals: There are usually tons of sales at Bath and Body works. They have the buy 3 lotions get 2 free a lot so take advantage of that! You can get 5 gifts for friends/family for the price of 3!
  • Lush Bath Bomb $5 – $9
  • Framed picture of you two (embellish the frame)
  • Homemade spa stuff: There are lots of recipes of these online. I received some form one of my cousins last year and it was amazing!

Gifts for nanny boss

  • Handmade art by their kid (mistle toes, handprint)
  • Candle: Easy to find at Target, Bath and Body works, etc
  • Personalized ornament: Head to your local mall and get an ornament personalized with all the family members names on it. This is an easy, meaningful gift that parents enjoy.
  • Ornament in general: If there is a special ornament out there that you think would be meaningful to the parents get that! This year Ruby, I, and her mom were 3 Disney princesses for Ruby’s birthday. So I decided to get Ruby and her mom an ornament of each princess we were to forever have that memory.
  • A calendar full of pictures of the kid: I highly suggest this gift! I made one for only $13 with shipping and Ruby’s mom LOVES it. Right now on Snapfish you can make one for $8!! It is a very thoughtful and meaningful gift. I got all of the pictures of their family from Facebook and pictures I had of Ruby so it was a fun surprise for her mom. It is pretty easy to do these with helpful websites like Snapfish or Shutterfly or Whalgreens! More often than not they have sales going on so make your calendar and then order while there is a sale! Check all 3 to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

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In the end what really matters when giving a gift is the thought you put into it. You don’t need to spend $100 to show someone you love them. I hope you find this list helpful! Merry Christmas to all of you 🙂

xoxo Kelly

 

Toddler Fashion on a Budget

Move over Crewcuts and  Jack and Janie, there is no need for you in today’s toddler fashion world! Thanks to stores like Target and Old Navy I can find just as fashion forward and adorable clothes that you sell for more than half the cost! My little toddler fashionista Ruby loves clothes, especially dresses! Everyday getting dressed is her favorite time. Usually we end up getting dressed 3 or 4 different times in new outfits 🙂 While usually a child with a love for fashionable clothes comes at a hefty cost, we have found ways to avoid that cost! All of her clothes come from Target, Old Navy, The Children’s Place, Khol’s, Gap, and TJMAXX. She gets compliments everyday on how cute her outfits are and people ask where we get her clothes. Every time I respond with Old Navy or Target people are usually surprised. Attention everyone: Target and Old Navy have the cutest clothes for little ones and at an affordable price point!!

Sweater Dress: Target $19 Leggings: Old Navy $4 Boots: Old Navy $15

One of the cost struggles of having a child is the amount of money spent on clothes for them, because they are constantly growing. If you don’t have a sibling or family member close in age, hand-me-downs are out of the question. Then comes the struggle every season to make sure their clothes fit and if not get new ones. Instead of dreading going shopping for your kiddo because you think cheap clothes equate with ugly and low quality, think again. The majority of Ruby’s closet consists of clothes from the stores listed above. Every piece lasts through the whole season and we always find fashion forward pieces.

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Vest: Target $15 Jeggings: Target $7 Tunic: Target $15 Boots: Target $13

We rarely ever buy anything when it is full price. Every store below always has a sale. These are our shopping tips for each store listed below.

Our favorite stores:

Target: Use cartwheel! They usually feature brands, such as Cherokee or Carter, each week for a certain percentage off. Buy your clothes then. Stock up. It may feel like you are spending so much one time, but in the long run you will be saving money. Also take advantage of their text message sales. The day we got the vest, tunic, leggings, and boots, they were having a sale where if you texted a number you would get a coupon for $10 off every $25 spent. That will save you so much! Especially when buying winter clothes, because those are always more expensive. The main point here is stock up when these sales are on because in the end you will spend less money overall. As always check the sale racks too. You can usually find some good stuff there as well.

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Shirt: Old Navy $12 Shorts: Target $5 Sandals: Target: $15

Old Navy: They always have on trend clothes there! If you are looking for nice dresses and coats, or basics like leggings you can always find those here. You can usually always find these items on sale as well. Recently all toddler and infant clothes have been 40% off. Ruby went on a shopping spree last week because she had grown out of all her 2T winter clothes
IMG_2125 and we needed some new ones. Getting 40% off sweaters, long sleeve dresses, shoes, and pants is AMAZING! She got multiple pairs of leggings for $4 each. Shirts, like this cute one in the picture, for $5, and the pink sparkle leggings for $4 as well. Her pink boots in the pictures on the top were $25 originally, but we bought them on sale and saved a bunch! Once again my main point here is stock up when the sales are on. We did the same thing this summer when buying new shorts and dresses. The savings add up over time.

The Children’s Place: Once again with this store always buy when on sale! We usually end up at the mall once a week (going to the play place there) and each time we’ve walked by in the last few weeks, they have been promoting 40% your entire purchase. These savings were on top of other sales going on in the store. All fleece jackets were on sale for $20 and then you got 40% on top of that, so the cheetah print, cozy jacket we got Ruby was only $12. Once again stock up and take advantages of these sales. We got her a Christmas tutu dress, leggings, jacket, and headband for $30.

Kohl’s: This store as well always had tons on sale. You have to be willing to dig through all of the clothes on the rack, but you can usually find some  good stuff. We got a lot of cute summer stuff back in the springtime when it was on sale.

Gap: I was hesitant to put this one on the list at first. Their clothing is more expensive, in general, than clothes from the other shops. I worked at Gap for a few months and what I realized is that something is always on sale in that store. One week it may be pants, the next t-shirts, and the next dresses. My tip for this store is only buy clothes from there if it is on sale. There is no need to spend $30 on a dress when it could be on sale the next week, or you can find one just as cute, for less, at another store. The one things I can attribute to clothes from Gap is that they can be higher quality fabric and materials then other stores.

All in all buying clothes for your toddler should not be something to be dreaded anymore. There are so many inexpensive places to buy cute clothes these days. Make sure to be vigilant of sales and stock up when you find a good one.