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How are you showing your love?

Valentine’s Day is almost here! How are you going to celebrate this day with your family? Still trying to come up with a plan? Here a couple fun ideas to get you started but be sure to check out Family Fun‘s Facebook page for many more ways to show and spread the love this year!

-Cut out paper hearts in different colors. Write little love notes and words of encouragement/motivation to each of your family members (have everyone do the same) between now and Valentines (next week!). During your Valentine’s dinner, pass out the notes and take turns reading them out loud together.

-Do a Valentine’s Day telephone relay. Call up a family member or friend with all the members of your family. Each member takes a turn telling the person on the other end one reason they are loved. The last person asks them to pass it on! Maybe your phone will ring by the end of the night!

-Valentine’s Day falls mid week this year, why not pick out a favorite feel good movie and enjoy some cuddles? No need to work to hard, just enjoy the gift of time.

-Make a coupon book for free back rub, night off of dishes, extra 5 minutes of story time…what ever it is that makes the receiver smile and relax is sure to be a fabulously accepted gift!

 

Keep on keeping healthy!

With that first month of the new year under my belt, I’m also starting to feel those resolutions slipping from my mind. Here are a few little hints and tricks that help keep my family healthy eating all year round, enjoy!

#1 Cook with love!

I’ve never had an awesome meal after I spent hours slamming pots and pans and muttering about the days grievances. Enter your kitchen with your loved ones in mind and remember what you are preparing for them now is what will sustain them. A good healthy meal/snack shows how much you care and when it’s made with love it tastes that much better!

#2 Start early…in life.

We are what we eat, or so they say. If we encourage our kiddos to eat mindfully at a young age, it stands to reason they will grow up to be healthy eaters. Or at least you can feel good that you gave a great foundation.

#3 Get everyone involved- in all of it! The menu planning, the shopping, the cooking and plating.

It’s actually eye opening to ask for input on some of these things once in a while. Why should I have to be the only one coming up with ideas and being creative when it comes to meals? I love writing things like “2 side veggies” on my husbands grocery list, I’m often surprised with something I would have walked right by without noticing. I’m also a fan of establishing meal nights for each member to plan. It’s fun to see a recipe that hasn’t been made in months or a new one added to the menu, it’s also a good way to gauge what everyone is “craving” or “into” at any given time.

#4 “Mix it Up” and don’t quit trying!

This is quite literal. Mix it, blend it, puree it, dice it, shred it, slice it and don’t quit trying! A ton of foods that are so good for us, aren’t our favorite when prepared in different ways. It’s fine to not like certain foods, but its a disservice to not give everything a fair shot. I love the challenge of learning new ways to prepare the “same old” ingredients.

Something like spinach is very versatile and often disliked by kids. I never hated it but it wasn’t until I was a nanny that I learned I loved it cooked, thanks to a 3 year old girl who requested it daily. Spinach is awesome blended in a smoothie, makes a great salad raw, can be added into pasta sauces and soups.

Cauliflower is another sneaky guy. As a dairy sensitive gal with a love for all things mac and cheese, this is my latest and greatest find. Cauliflower can be substituted as rice, mashed into “potatoes,” pureed into “Alfredo” sauce. It takes on flavors similar to tofu, so it’s pretty amazing roasted with your favorite herbs or spices. It’s also fairly easy to turn this veg into a thickening agent for chowder soups or to half the “dairy” in homemade mac and cheese.

#5 Make it a “treat”- once in a while.

Don’t tell any one but healthy food can also be super yummy. Ever heard of brownies made with beets? How about making your own trail mix, sure you can add chocolate bits but also dried fruits and protein packed nuts! What about a fruit packed Popsicle or making your own fruit roll ups? Here’s a new one…shredded carrot in the cake?!? What? Just kidding on that one, haha.

 

 

Fun (and many FREE) events in and around Seattle this February

Oh my! Where has the time gone? 2018 has hit the ground running for my family, I can’t believe February is literally around the corner!

Here is a family fun bucket list for this month:

-With the 2018 Olympics this month, what about a trip up to Whistler? See the rings in the Whistler Village, do some ice skating, hit the slopes AND maybe even squeeze in a massage?

-I’m loving the “Free First _____day” Check out Thursdays and the many amazing Seattle museums. Museum of Flight, MOHIA, SAM and many more. What a deal and great way to help foster learning! Friday Bellevue Art Museum is also FREE!

-FEB 10th, 3-5pm at World Market on Western Ave, they are hosting a Peter Rabbit Children’s Story time. Free and snacks provided.

-February is Lunar New Year, many festivals to enjoy!

February 2-11, Pacific Northwest Ballet is putting on their production of Swan Lake. This event is sure to keep you inside, warm and dry and you may spark some young minds with music and dance!

February 17-19 is Kids weekend at Northwest Trek. Kids are free with a paying adult. Cool deal and great weekend field trip!

This last one just sounds plan fun to me…

February 24th, Yo-Yo contest at the Seattle Center Armory. Free!! I loved the assemblies in elementary school with the Yo-Yo master showing off. How do they make it look so easy? Some could spend hours trying to learn, wink wink…

 

 

The answer to your burning question- What is in that giant “purse?” Only everything!!

This past week has had me wishing I was still a nanny…or that I still carried around a purse like I did then. Sure, there are perks to having a desk at work that holds most of the same things but there is nothing like being as prepared as when you’ve got your “nanny purse.” When the week faces a true Seattle weather pattern (all the things in a day), doctors appointments immediately after work,  evening community advisory meetings, and one or two speed bumps at work- a nanny purse would have been a life saver more then once! Instead, I’ve got this now…

little purse

 

Which fits about this much…

little-purse-open.jpg Which is clearly, very little of my go-to’s of the past.

What is a “nanny purse?” We’ve all seen them. The giant bag that nannies carry that isn’t a diaper bag but could (and certainly does) double as a carry on at the airport. They’ll still call it a purse. Secure closures and zippered compartments to separate “my life” from “work life,” keeping nosy kiddos at bay. It’s half the size of the kid and carries the secret to their big smiles. It’s a bag of amazing and the answer to almost any problem, although sometimes only temporarily.

I’m sure I will over look at least 2-3 items I found essential to my nanny survival but here is what I consider pretty important and so wish I had with me this week:

-The basics: ID, money, card, and coins

-Keys/Cards for work (their house key, debit card, garage door opener, etc.)

-Tissues (if kept with sealed baggy, you have a portable garbage and germ holder)

-Wipes (they can clean near anything, even your leather purse!)

-Sanitizer

-Medications: headache, tummy, allergy, eye drops

-Sunglasses

-Umbrella in a plastic sealed bag (return to bag when done using and purse won’t get wet)

-Stain stick

-deodorant

-snacks (quick energy fixes like bars or nuts)

-pen and paper (a melt down can be avoided with a little drawing time or game of tic tac toe)

-hair ties

-book (you’ll need this when waiting in carpool lines)

-gum/mints

-band aids

Oh for the days of this guy…

big purse open

 

What’s in your nanny purse? What’s the one item you can’t you leave home without? Did I forget your favorite?

 

 

Time to hire a nanny but where do you begin?

You have decided to hire a nanny and navigate the waters without an overpriced agency. Now what? Do you go to Craigslist? Bribe your friends nanny to come work for you? Spend countless hours scrolling through profiles on the multitude of websites that gather anyone that wants to be a childcare provider? Take a breath, grab a cup of coffee and let’s sort this out together.

 

In all my years as a nanny and working with other nannies I have seen it all!! When it comes to finding that perfect person to trust your most precious kiddos with parents will try anything. Let me take a moment and help you determine the best path for you. Your individual personality and the level of involvement you want to have in the hiring process will help you make the choice that is best for you.

 

Word of mouth is likely the easiest and safest way to find a nanny. When you get referrals from friends or have seen a nanny in action that you love. It is rarely a great plan to hire a nanny by bribing them away from a family you know. Not only do you burn bridges but the nanny that will easily walk away from the current family is likely to do the same to you.

 

Posting ads, yourself in newspapers, on craigslist or any personal preference for sources is always a great way to get clear on what you want and be proactive. The perfectly written ad can certainly help you find a great candidate. The drawback to this approach is that you will spend more time weeding through the applicants. Just because you are clear on what you want and who you are looking for does not necessarily mean that the nannies that think you have the perfect offer will be the perfect fit for you. This can be successful but will require you doing your due diligence is sorting through those that apply.

 

Utilizing the online service websites such as sittercity.com, urbansitter.com or care.com will often be the best of all worlds. You can post your own ad, you can scroll through and view potential candidates and you have the added benefit of having some built in security features available to you such as background checks, drivers record reports and testimonials/references right on each profile.

 

This is where Wholeness Nanny and You will shine. We help you choose which approach, or approaches is going to be best for you and your hiring needs. We help fill in the gaps, streamline the process and guide you through with as much support and hand holding as YOU wish to have. We would love to connect with you today and help you get started on the path to finding the perfect nanny for you!!

Staying healthy in 2018

My husband likes to joke that from September to June is sick season for any one who works with kids. We are either getting a cold, fighting a bug, just over something, or feeling a tickle in the throat, you name it and we’ve probably already got it (twice) or are all about preventing it.

Here are a couple common germ fighting, cold busting, tried and true solutions to start 2018 with that immune system in full force!

-Wash your hands!!! All the time!!! If you hadn’t already heard this little tidbit 20 seconds is the rule- try humming the ABC’s or happy birthday, makes the time fly by.

-Get sleep. Your body is at it’s best when it’s rest, no matter the age! Your immune system is also working it’s hardest while you sleep…why not give it all the time it needs?

-Vitamins, at the least vitamin D (that’s the one we get from sunshine). If it’s sunny, get out for a walk, hike, bike ride. Not only will you get a boost of Vitamin D, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after some fresh air!

-Water, drink it and often! Without enough water our bodies aren’t functioning at their optimum which can lead to lower immune health.

  • Fun fact, if you make yourself a glass of lemon water you are tackling two germ killers at once! Lemons have Vitamin C so give yourself a little one two punch.

-Sneeze/Cough into your sleeve or elbow. You can avoid spreading germs by by eliminating covering coughs and sneezes with your hand when possible.

-Carry some sort of sanitizer or wipes in your pocket/purse when in crowded areas. Although soap and water are best, in a pinch there is some relief in a quick way to disinfect (like after that fellow bus rider spent the last 15 stops coughing and blowing their nose).

– Keep a small sandwich bag in your pocket along with a pack of tissues during cold season. When the need to blow your nose arises, you’ve already got a spot to put the holder of germs.

-When sick, stay home. I feel like this is the hardest one to follow. Life must go on, but must it go on with my spreading an awful cold or bug to my coworkers, friends, and family? Think of how much quicker you’ll recover if you tackle your illness head on with rest, water, and some TLC.

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2018!

What’s your favorite stay healthy trick? Share it here!

Wondering how much to pay the newest “member” of your family?

Finding the person who fits with your family and your ever changing needs can be a long up hill battle. Once you’ve gone through the postings, phone calls, email, scheduling time for interviews and have found the “one,” the final step to securing happiness is making that offer. One wrong step here and it’s possible to see those dreams slip away.

Here are some guidelines and things to consider when it’s time to name a price and make and offer:

-What is the minimum wage for your state/city?

  • WA state as of Jan 1, 2018  is $11.50

-What is the average rate for child care near you?

  • Seattle rate average $17.49
  • Bellevue average $17.70

*A few miles can change expectations!!

-What experience does your future nanny come with?

  • Experience is gold in this field. With experience comes a wealth of knowledge that can benefit not only the child but the whole family. What’s that worth to you?

-What certificates and/or degrees do they have that relate to childcare?

  • CPR
  • 1st aid
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Behavior Technicians
  • Etc

-What responsibilities are expected of nanny?

  • When adding extras such as chores, errands, pets care or anything that exceeds strict childcare services it is recommended compensation be considered.

-Will additional benefits be offered on top of base pay such as insurance (car or health), sick pay, vacation time,  travel?

  • If so, these can be used as bargaining tools to find a good compromise between employee and employer.

-How are raises and/or performance reviews conducted? How often?

  • When coming to a pay rate both parties find acceptable, it’s wise to keep in mind the frequency of reviews and raises. Be up front and transparent about potential for wage increase. An exact number doesn’t need to be presented. The knowledge and assurance that a beginning wage has room to grow and time to discuss performance of job at a designated time often settles anxieties on both ends from the very beginning.

Best of luck on this adventure! We are just an email away if you’ve got any questions or road blocks you need help with along the way!

 

 

Might I suggest snowmen? Inside??

Every where I look I’m seeing the signs of the season and loving it! What makes it better, in my humble opinion, is letting the little ones help out with the decorating in their own special way!

December is such a great month of crafts it’s almost hard to decide. I like to pick a theme and go from there.

Today’s theme is: SNOWMEN- when it’s cold enough for snow, why not start dreaming

Great gift for the parents or grandparents! 

NEED I SAY ANYTHING?? Love may not melt but this sure melts my heart!

gift snowman

For those who like to use a little of everything!

dolie snow man

How much fun is this, and how cute! The ideas on how to decorate this guy (or gal) is endless! I love the idea of using paint, craft sticks, pom poms, and more. Any craft that can include up to 7 items, none of which are glitter, is an A+ in my book. It allows the artist to incorporate thought and planning into their art. It also allows for many interpretations. Show your kiddo this finished product, give them the same materials, and I dare you to see what they create. Art is beyond fun, it is also window into the mind of the artist- make sure you take time to really observe.

 

Snowmen ornaments…using tealights?!?

I just think this one is cute. and how adorable to turn into a little gift for classmates or stocking stuffers for parents/siblings? Of course I also see endless possibilities for materials and outcomes which ups the fun-o-meter by quite a lot.

tealight snow man

 

Snowman for the older kiddos-  or a patient and loving adult who is willing to get messy and work on these over a little time. It’s a super way to throw a little science into the mix too. Who knew yarn, balloons and glue could do this?? Well, maybe you did but it’s always fun to see the reactions of some else as they learn the magic.

older snow man

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, check out pinterest for these and many more amazing crafts! Until the next artsy craving comes along, I think I’m off to watch me a little Frosty the Snowman! Happy crafting all!

-LS

 

Family First…

When looking at the hustle and bustle of a busy family life it is easy to get conflicted on what the priorities are. For myself, as a single mom, who runs 2 businesses, leads a GS troop, home schools, volunteers at church and keeps one foot in the door at a job I have loved for 20+years I understand BUSY!!! I know we all have different family structures, different demands on our time and more invites to do more than we can possibly squeeze in to a month let alone a day. It is all to easy to crawl in bed at the end of the day and wonder if anything that was done that day will be worth a memory for your family years from now. As promised, we have a few tips for you!

First, learn when to say Yes, and when to say NO. Every mom I talk to will have a different opinion on when you do either. As a mom, a business woman AND a nanny I will admit that I can not, or should not be the one to tell you when to say which. I will however encourage you to be proactive in your life choices. Before you schedule another thing stop and evaluate your family and the needs of each member of your family at THIS moment. Is there someone who needs extra support?  Do you have an existing commitment at work or a goal that is requiring extra time? Once we take the time to set our priorities for this season making plans becomes much easier.

I read a book years ago by Patrick Lencioni entitles “The 3 Big Questions for a frantic family” it was one of the best tools I have to date for slowing down the pace of our family life. Taking the time to get super clear on what our families priority was for the next week/month/quarter allowed me to weigh every invite or activity offered against our goal. When I could clearly see what the value was and if it helped us achieve the goal, took us away from it or had no impact on it I could quickly and confidently decide if this was something that I would say Yes to.

Next, look at your family and determine how you want this season to feel. Do you want it to be calm, quiet, serene, reflective and cozy? Do you prefer to feel vibrant, energized, excited and in awe? When it comes to Holiday fun we all WANT to say yes to every party, community event, fun field trip, and excuse to play hooky from adulting and embrace the magic of the season. For some of us the busy crazy fun is exactly what our family needs and wants to feel inspired and energized. For others, it is exhausting, constraining and leaves us feeling overwhelmed. In a world that thrives on “too much” of a good thing be strategic in where you place your energy and what will ultimately leave your family feeling exactly how you want to feel.

Finally, I would invite you to recognize that most of the opportunities we have this time of year are NOT once in a lifetime events. Although we may really love going to a specific holiday party, or catching the Christmas Carolers at the mall or a light show in that one neighborhood, most of those will be around next year. Remember that making memories and putting your family first will allow you to step in to the New Year refreshed, renewed and excited about what is to come.  In our home we have years that every day from now until the New year is full of events and activities and we THRIVE on that. We also have years, that staying home and creating a cozy quiet tradition is exactly what we need. We hope you take the time to CHOOSE what it is that will serve your family best this year.

~Staci