Play Date Fun

Today we had a play date instead of doing a craft. My friend Violet is also a nanny and this morning she had the brilliant idea of combining forces. She was with her three kids a couple of miles down the road so I gathered up Penny and Jude and we went over to visit Violet, Alex, Andrew, and Alyssa. They were all outside playing and waiting for us. The kids got to play in the small pool and in Andrew and Alyssa’s little toy cars and Violet and I got some time to talk. I love play dates because the kids are able to entertain themselves for the most part and I can have a fun little hang out. The novelty of playing with kids that they don’t get to see very often was all these five kids needed to have a good time. They ran around laughing, screaming, splashing, and chasing each other around. It was a lot of fun. Honestly play dates are so helpful when the nanny or mom is a little tired and not knowing what to do with the kids because the hard part is getting them to the play date. Once Penny and Jude are at a playdate I find they are so entertained by their friends that I can relax a lot more than if we were same coloring at home because while coloring I always have in the back of my head the knowledge that any minute they could be bored and I will have to come up with something new, while at a playdate I don’t experience that.

The kids had such a good time that we stayed for lunch. They all ran around the house like a tornado while Violet and I cooked up some pizza and mac and cheese, not the healthiest of lunches but it was what we had on hand. Sadly I was so caught up in the moment that I didn’t take any pictures of all the kids playing together. However there is good news! The kids all had so much fun and Violet and I loved it so much that we are going to try and make it a weekly Friday thing, us going to their house or them coming to ours. So next week if we do it again I will post some pictures. Well the kids are up from their naps and the house, though we weren’t in it for a couple hours, is still messy. Until next week have a weekend!

~The Pinning Nanny

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Rainbows Welcome Spring!

First of all happy first day of spring everyone! This day has come after a very snowy winter, and so of course we are welcoming spring in with another 3-6 inches of it… Don’t get me wrong if you have read any of my other posts you know I have a deep love for snow, but this past week was just so warm and sunny! Alright well anyway that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about how much fun Penny, Jude, and I had making our St. Patrick’s Day rainbows.

wpid-20150316_162226.jpgAfter nap time, I cut out all the paper strips while Jude ran around like a mad man and Penny ate her snack. Jude wasn’t interested in anything other than expelling his energy and I let him run wild while Penny and I made the rainbow chains. I was impressed with how little help Penny needed from me. She practically made the whole chain herself, I only had to hand her the tape. She really enjoyed making them with me and Jude loved the finished product so I call that a success! And then we made one really big one which they both helped me with, and by help I mean that when it started getting long they held it while I continued to make it. No matter what it was a fun activity. The only thing that didn’t make it perfect was that I couldn’t find any string so we had to wait until their mom came home to attach the pots of gold to the ends.

wpid-20150316_163546.jpgThe rainbow chains are so bright and colorful I would say make them even though St. Patrick’s Day has past because they look fun and whimsical, just forgo the pot of gold at the end. Looking at them is making me smile even now, as it is snowing outside… Have a bright and beautiful first weekend of spring everyone, even if you have to get creative as I will.

~The Pinning Nanny

We Will Color!

Last week I thought I was going to use Octonaut coloring pages to get a little break because school has been really tiring. However I forgot about the circus and had to rally. This week is the week before spring break and so naturally I have papers/assignments due in all five of my classes. Because of my heavy school work load I’m going to pull out the Octonauts to save the day, again. This time though we will actually be using the coloring pages.

Of course I could tell you how much I really need Penny and Jude to love these coloring pages because I’m so exhausted and have so much to do. And all of these things are true, I dozed off reading two hours ago. But the reality is that just by writing this post I am spending time on something other than homework that I really shouldn’t be, no matter how much I love it, simply because I don’t have time to spare. So we’re going to keep it short and simple today. The kids and I are going to do some coloring this week. On Friday I will be on spring break and will be able to write a more lengthy or at least more interesting and thought out post.  So until then enjoy the sun that has once again appeared in the sky!

Surprise! Circus Trip!

wpid-20150306_101758.jpgI know this week the kids and I were supposed to color Octonaut pictures but I forgot something very important… We were going to the circus! (Which is also why this post is two days late, I was too tired on Friday.) A couple weeks back their mom had asked if I would like to take them to the circus with some of their friends and their moms. As an avivid lover of anything remotely magical I LOVE the circus! Naturally I said I would love to take the kids to the circus but I forgot to put it on my calendar so of course I forgot about it until Wednesday night when I was talking to their mom and she wanted to confirm that I was still good to take them. So no we didn’t color any Octonaut pictures, but when I got to their house on Friday they were so excited about our surprise trip to the circus!

wpid-20150306_121357.jpgLike I said when I got to Penny and Jude’s house their dad had just told them we were going to the circus that day. They were beyond excited! They behaved so well all morning simply because they wanted to make sure there was no way I could take the circus away from them, which I never would have done for the simple reason that I desperately wanted to go! The circus began at 11:00 am and having mezzanine seating I wanted to get there early so that we would be guaranteed good seats. We left around 9:40 picked up my friend, Natalie, and we headed to the big top! We got great seats, first row dead center mezzanine! And this was my trick to guarantee that the good behavior continued through the show: I didn’t buy them any treats until intermission so that they had to sit through the first half of the show before they got any reward and then could eat the whole second half. It worked like a dream!

wpid-20150306_121500.jpgThe show was amazing. There were actual moments that I was flabbergasted by what was going on in the ring. Jude loved the two animal acts. And Penny’s favorite was the act in which the woman’s outfit kept changing every time someone put a sheet or tunnel thing over her. Both of those acts were impressive but my favorite were the brothers that would sit on each other’s feet and do flips. All in all it was a spectacular day that ended in the fireworks of tears brought on my overstimulation, hunger for real food, and complete exhaustion. However I got to go to the circus so Jude’s meltdown at the end has quickly faded into a faint memory. I simply love the circus and was honored to take them to their first circus. It was a great week. I’ll talk to you in a couple days.

~The Pinning Nanny

Coloring to the Rescue!

108-Free-Octonauts-Coloring-Printable-PagesHello everyone! Last week was a bit crazy, hence I didn’t post at all, and this week is shaping up to be the same way so I need a break. Therefore I am pulling out an easy and hopefully imagination encouraging craft. I desperately need some time this week where I’m not elbows deep in homework or a craft with Penny and Jude. The craft that will ensure me some down time you ask? Coloring pages, Octonauts coloring pages to be exact. If you are a parent or nanny of young children you have probably come across the Octonauts before. For those of you who don’t have a personal relationship, freely or forced, with the Octonauts they are a group of animated animals that live underwater and go on adventures. Admittedly they aren’t my favorite my favorite show, I prefer Wild Kratts or a Disney movie, but every once in a while we watch Octonauts. Plus Jude saw the color pages when I originally found them and got really excited, and so this week is going to be a coloring week.

I envision the coloring party to be a hit. Penny and Jude enjoy coloring quite a bit and if I play my part right and really amp up the activity I think these coloring pages could be my saving grace. My hope is that they will just keep coloring and coloring. The pin I found links you to 108 free Octonauts coloring pages so it truly is a treasure trove. I’m going to print all the pages out and just keep on handing them out until their little fingers can’t color any more.

I’m praying that nothing goes wrong and I am able to achieve some relatively quiet and calm time. But I would be lying if I didn’t have my worries or doubts that that was going to happen. The problems I foresee are as follows: Penny and Jude might simply not be in the mood for coloring, it’s happened before. They might fight over a specific coloring page or crayons. They may want to color with markers which at times, like when I’m exhausted, I don’t give them markers and protests can abound! They may start out excited but quickly lose interest and move onto more strenuous activities. I could in my exhausted state forget to print out the pages before I leave home. Ugh, these  foreseeable problems are making me even more tired!

Well here’s to hope and coloring pages! I need a break and hopefully these Octonauts will do the trick. If these coloring pages and I pull this off my opinion of the Octonauts will be a lot better! I’ll let you know on Friday what happened…

Snow Rainbows

How-to-make-your-own-snow-paint1So last week I tried something new, and it failed. I wrote this post ahead of time and then scheduled it to be posted last Tuesday, while I was at school, from my phone. Needless to say it never posted. Which actually turned out alright because when I realized that it hadn’t posted was around the time that I realized the kids and I had played all day and not done the activity. And so we’re going to try again this week! As I’ve said before I simply love the snow! Seeing it fall from the sky and cover everything gives me such a thrill. This week I am going to take advantage of the snow and go out and play in it with Penny and Jude. However I will not be going outside empty handed, I’m going to be bringing along snow paint. As always I found the recipe on pinterest, it originally comes from a mommy blogger One Little Project At A Time. And like all my favorite projects it is super simple! There are only two ingredients, well three if you consider the snow, water and food coloring. You put the water and food coloring in water bottles and then take them outside to paint pictures in the snow.

I’m hoping that the kids will really like this craft because I’m really excited about it. I think that this could be really fun. It reminds me of coloring with chalk in the summer. Also the kids love being allowed to go wild and make things messy and this is a craft I feel I can allow them to do that. I can see them now a bottle in each hand shaking the bottles and spinning in circles spraying the colored water all over the snow. It should also be a fairly exhausting activity as well which means Jude will take a good nap and Penny’s teacher is just going to have to deal! I think this is going to be one of the crafts that we laugh the whole time we do it, and I really love those crafts.

I can’t imagine many things going wrong with this craft, but there are a few. Bottles could spill before we get outside, which would mean I would have to clean up before we went outside cutting into our play time. It could be bitterly cold outside and the kids might only be able to bear it for a few minutes before the cry out in protest to go back inside. I know their parents wouldn’t care if we got a little bit of the colored water on their snow gear but I’m sure they wouldn’t be too thrilled if say Penny rolled in the painted snow dying all of her snow gear.

As long as I can avoid those three problems I think this craft is going to be a hit! Ugh! I hope it goes well because I really want to laugh and play with them in the snow like this.  I’ll let you know how much fun we have with this one on Friday!

 

It Was a Bit of a Fixer Upper

Yesterday Penny, Jude, and I made the Frozen flubber. The whole process of it wasn’t as easy as singing one of the songs from the movie that’s for sure. I actually had a bunch of moments when I didn’t think this flubber was going to come together.

wpid-20150115_162910.jpgOn Wednesday my friend Lily needed to borrow my car for a babysitting job, but she was going by the store with borax so I told her as long as she got me borax and glue it was fine. I thought that borax and glue were the only two items I didn’t have in my possession, I thought wrong. At dinner I asked where she had put my blue and white glitter after using it to make a New Year’s sign. She told me that she had left it in our friend Paige’s room, a room notorious for swallowing needed objects. This is when I started worrying that the Frozen flubber might not come together, without glitter it would just be blue flubber. Now I didn’t have my car so I couldn’t go in search of the needed glitter, I called Paige and asked her to look for it and let me know if she found it. Thursday morning arrived, I had the kids but no glitter. I decided to hold off making the flubber until after school and nap time in hopes that by some miracle I would have the glitter by then. Instead of making flubber we spent the morning outside and it was fun, but in the back of my head I kept thinking about the missing glitter.

wpid-20150115_163531.jpgBy the time I dropped Penny off at school I still hadn’t heard from Paige. Then like Disney magic Paige called me while Jude was napping, she had found the glitter! I told her I would pick it up at I got Penny from school. Paige only lives about 5 minutes from Penny’s school it was easy enough for me and the kids to go get it and return home only 15 minutes later than we usually did. I put Penny to bed and played with Jude for close to 2 hours. Then I realized that if I actually wanted this craft to happen it was going to have to happen now. Jude and I set up the ingredients,bowls, and the Frozen soundtrack playing. It wasn’t until we had started that I looked into my box of food coloring and realized that I was out of blue food coloring, a quick look in the kitchen told me that they didn’t have any either. Luckily glitter and white glue still look like snow and I was able to play it off to a three year old that we didn’t need food coloring because snow is white. Penny woke up just as we were finishing up making the flubber. Together they played with the flubber until their mom got home 30 minutes later, and I got to tidy up the house.

It wasn’t the magical easy experience that I was expecting but it did turn out nice in the end. Today they were playing with it again and Penny said that this was the best flubber ever! So I guess even though my experience wasn’t perfect it all turned out well because the kids were happy. So anyway have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week.

~The Pinning Nanny

Snow Day!

I have to 20141211_102456 (1)apologize for this week. I have had tons of papers to write, including a surprise assignment that was sprung on me on Monday. Luckily I a done! That’s right my crazy semester is over and all I have to do is do Christmas shopping, read my book, catch up on my TV shows, and craft with the kids. This week a craft did not happen because of school, but we did get to play outside in the little bit of snow.

It was fun and needed to get outside yesterday and play in the little snow there was. It is amazing to see how kids react to snow. As soon as we got outside they started running around screaming and laughing. Their imaginations ran rampant. And they loved sliding down the slick slide. For me the fresh air was a great brain stimulant that helped me finish up and submit my final paper last night. And they simply loved being able to to run wild! So until next week everyone have fun, play in the snow if you have any, and get in the Christmas spirit!

Fox Fun!: Result>Experience

Yesterday Penny, Jude and I tried our hands at making the fox masks I talked about on Tuesday. I’m going to say it right now the result was awesome! Honestly I’m really proud of these masks, they’re really cute and fun. However the whole experience of making the masks was not as fantastic as the end result. Was it worth it? Yes, but I wouldn’t want to repeat the mayhem that was making the masks. So what happened you may be asking, well let me tell you.

wpid-20141120_155302.jpgToday the kids and I were at my house, which was nice in the morning because my sister and friend, Helga, were there so I got to hang out with them. My mom also had kids today she didn’t just have Amy (the little 2 year old) who she usually has but she also had Amy’s brother, James (5 years old), and two sisters Beatrice (5 years old) and Jenny (3 years old). It was a full house, to say the least! Plus Penny’s school had different times this week so she was home to eat lunch and nap with her brother by 11:45 am. So with all the kids and the changed school drop off and pick up times my head was swimming a little bit. Penny took a long time to fall asleep so she was still out when the rest of the kids got up from their rests and wanted something to do. I knew I had to make the mask with Jude, but I also knew the rest of the kids would want one too. I told my mom she was going to have to handle their masks. So Jude and I started out and it was going ok. I had found a template for a mask on pinterest, and it was good I just resized the width and eye hole so they fit him better. We cut out the mask, I cut out the mask he made jokes with the girls, and the little ears. I only had regular glue so I glued on the ears so they would dry while Jude and I colored in the mask. I used a pen to mark where I wanted to use the marker to be safe and then went over the pen lines with a sharpie. Every once in a while Jude would put his hand on top of mine but for the most part it was me working alone on the mask. It was while I was coloring the white around the eyes that the other kids started demanding my attention, Beatrice wanted the white marker I was using, James wanted to know how to spell the word Jewish, and my mom was having trouble following my instructions. I calmed the storms and went back to my coloring. Around this time Penny woke up and I quickly get her an apple and went back to my work. I finished the coloring, handed over my marker, and threaded the yarn through the sides of the mask. The result, ADORABLE!

wpid-20141120_162214.jpgNow I had to do it all over again. Penny took one look at her brother’s mask and wanted her own right away! I quickly found my little fox who was in his den, the stairwell, growling, and took his mask from him to use as an advanced template to save me some time and effort. I speedly traced out the new mask and gave the mask back to Jude who ran off back to his den. At this time my mom needed me to coach her through attaching the yarn to James’ and Beatrice’s masks. I gave instructions while cutting Penny’s mask out. Luckily I didn’t need to glue on ears and so after cutting it our I could get right to the job of outlining where the white would go. Penny wanted to do the coloring herself and so even though I wanted it to come out perfectly I told her what colors went where and sat back. I have to say she did a good job. By this time I could hear “What Did The Fox Say?” playing in the other room as Jude, James, Amy, and Beatrice danced around in their masks. Penny finished up her mask, adding polka dots. I threaded the yarn through her mask and voila we were done! It was an exhausting craft but the result is so cute that I can’t help smiling even now. Try these masks out, but just do it when there are less kids present or more adults! Have a great weekend everybody!

How can these faces not make you smile?!
How can these faces not make you smile?!

Pumpkin Butter and Cake

The pumpkin butter was a success! I am so happy to report that yesterday I made pumpkin butter with the kids without a hitch. Ok maybe almost without a hitch is a better way to put it. As I was setting up all the stuff to make the butter the kids went a little crazy. We were at my house yesterday and my mom was taking care of two kids herself. Usually Penny and Jude get along famously with the kids my mom watches, let’s call them James (5 years old) and Amy (2 years old), but yesterday was different. I was in the kitchen pulling out all the ingredients when BAM pandemonium! Amy pushed Jude, Jude took Amy’s toy, James desperately wanted a hug from Penny,Penny didn’t want to give James a hug, and EVERYONE was screaming! I ended up having to discipline Jude and deal with all the screaming before I was able to start the pumpkin butter. 20141009_100929

Once the madness was over I got back to the task at hand, making the pumpkin butter. Just before all the drama I had set all the ingredients out so I called James and Penny over to help me measure and put the pumpkin and the white sugar in. Then I had Jude come over and help me with the brown sugar. And finally I had little Amy help me stir it all together. I held off putting the spices in until 30 minutes from the end of the cook time because I had seen in another recipe that by doing that the spices came through better. And so with the pumpkin and sugars mixed in the crock pot I let it cook on high for the 3 hours, stirring occasionally to stop it from burning.  Every time I took the lid off to stir it I was hit with the pungent smell of pumpkin, it was a good way to spend a few hours. As I said in my prediction, I almost forgot about stirring it at one point because I was doing homework luckily my best friend, Hannah, was down stairs and stirred it for me.

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The end result was delicious. Hannah having a sweet tooth craving decided to bake a little Busy Day Cake while the kids were napping and I was doing homework. By the way Busy Day Cake is a great easy recipe for when you need a quick no fuss cake. And so after the kids got up from nap I cut up slices of cake and served it with the pumpkin butter on top. Let me tell you YUM! There is nothing like fresh cake with fresh pumpkin butter on top! Needless to say the kids were happy, not only did we get to make something in the morning but we got to eat it over cake in the afternoon. I think this recipe is great and would encourage all those who don’t want to go through roasting their own pumpkin to try out this recipe. The kids were pleased and so am I, I mean how could you not just look at the end result!20141009_155733