Friday, January 31, 2014

3 Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Cooking with Kids

The kids I care for love cranberry sauce and it's very easy to make. The most basic cranberry sauce simply consists of cranberries boiled in sugar water until the berries pop and the mixture thickens. But we have included a tart recipe that uses orange juice instead of water and a sugar-free recipe that uses honey, apple sauce, and pineapple juice instead of granulated sugar to sweeten the sauce.

Visit our new blog address to see the reccipes at

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caterpillar Pencil Topper

Creative Projects to Do With Kids

The teen I care for made this pencil topper for his little sister using a hot glue gun. I don't recommend young children using hot glue guns. But, you can easily and safely use white glue instead if you are making simple pencil toppers. Hot glue works better than white glue when making the caterpillar pencil topper pictured above and below.

You Will Need:

Hot glue gun
Pipe cleaners
Googly eyes or black beads

What to Do:

1. An adult or teen should use a hot glue gun to attach four pom poms to each other to make a caterpillar. Glue two beads to the head of the caterpillar to resemble eyes.

2. Have the kids wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle of the pencil and secure it tightly so that it doesn't slip up and down the pencil easily. Move the pipe cleaner towards the top of the pencil.

3. An adult or teen then glues the pom poms to the top of the pipe cleaner.

Photo by Stephanie Felzenberg

Monday, January 27, 2014

Diffusing Jealousy in the Parent/Nanny Relationship

Respecting Professional Boundaries

One of the most complicated aspect of the nanny and parent relationship is jealousy. In the book Touchpoints The Essential Reference: Your Child's Emotional And Behavioral Development T. Berry Brazelton, M. D. discusses the common jealousy parents feel when they go to work leaving their child in the care of another person.

Parental jealousy is a natural feeling when sharing the care of a child. Both nannies and parents should remember this rather than becoming resentful or hostile towards one another.

Brazelton says, "Of course, parents will feel jealous. They will mourn the loss. This mourning is accompanied by three defenses: denial, projections of their feelings onto others, and detachment from the baby's care. These defenses can interfere with the parents' relationship to the other caregivers, as well as to the baby."

"If they are understood as normal defenses -- necessary for protecting vulnerability -- parents can have some perspective and avoid becoming hostile with the very person upon whom they will depend," explains Brazelton.

To Diffuse Parental Jealousy Nannies Should:

1. Be sensitive to the fact that all parents miss their children and may feel jealous of your relationship with their children. Expect jealousy at times.
2. Don't leave the parents out. Tell them everything about the child.
3. Encourage the parent and child to bond.
4. Share with the parents what works best for you so they can have a similar experience with the child.
5. Follow the parents' directives. Do not intentionally ignore the parents' wishes.
6. Never criticize parents who are undoubtedly making their best efforts.
7. Ignore a few jealous or critical comments. Yes, sometimes it's better to just keep your composure, peace of mind, good mood, and move on.
8. Communication is always the key to resolving issues. Ask the jealous parent what they need from you to help them feel better.

Get your own copy of Touchpoints The Essential Reference: Your Child's Emotional And Behavioral Development by clicking the links above or below.


Touchpoints The Essential Reference: Your Child's Emotional And Behavioral Development

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Num Num Baby Dips: Promoting Self-Feeding

photo by
The Training Wheels of the Utensil World

The first dipper of its kind, Num Num Baby Dipsis a baby’s first step to self-feeding. Num Num Baby Dipshelps promote self-feeding without the mess. The innovative design makes it easier to use than a spoon because there’s no right or wrong way to hold it. That means less mess for parents and nannies while the baby develops the fine motor skills necessary to graduate to the spoon.

To see entire article please visit our new blog address at

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alia and Mamou: A Book About a Child and Her Nanny

Weekly Trip to the Library
By Thomas Dohman, Author of Alia and Mamou

Alia and Mamou,at its core, is a book of appreciation for what our daughter's nanny has given to our family and a lasting record of the relationship they share.

When our daughter, Alia, was born, my wife and I faced the choices that all parents encounter. Should we have one parent stay home to care for our child? Day care? Nanny? We initially started with day care, but had the good fortune of meeting the woman who would eventually become Alia's nanny, who she called "Mamou."

All parents worry about making the right decisions, and hiring a nanny brings many questions of its own. We brought “Mamou” on as our nanny and realized very quickly that we had made the right decision. One day, Mamou asked me a favor: “You must make sure she remembers me and how much we meant to each other.” This book is a direct result of that conversation. It is an attempt to record exactly what a nanny and her charge mean to one another.

The characters in the book are squirrels based on their real-life counterparts. Throughout the book, Alia and Mamou participate in many activities together. Many times, Mamou is doing more than Alia realizes for Alia's benefit. During an interaction with a stranger, Alia considers her true relationship with Mamou, deciding that “nanny” must be another word for “best friend.”

The 24-page book is appropriate for all ages, and highlights the fact that nannies very often play more than just the role of care taker, but also of best friend throughout the child's formative years.

Alia and Mamoumakes a great gift from either side: From parents who want their nanny to know how much they appreciate them or from a nanny who wants the family they work for to know how much their child means to them.

You can purchase your own copy of Alia and Mamouby clicking any of the links above or below:

Alia and Mamou

Friday, January 24, 2014

Easy Biscuit Recipe

 Cooking with Kids

Kids love baking. Here's the most basic recipe flaky biscuit recipe I found at These golden-brown rolls bake up tall, light, and tender. Let the kids help gather the ingredients, measure, mix, roll the dough, and cut out the biscuits. Be sure to serve the biscuits warm with butter or jam.

What You Need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup 2% milk

What to Do:

1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk egg and milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

3. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 1 dozen.

Photo by Stephanie Felzenberg

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils: Helpful or Hype?

Do You Use Aromatherapy and Essential Oils?

Essential oils are used to improve moods of babies and children. They can be applied topically through the skin, through inhalation, or be used in a bath, a compress, or diluted in lotions. While using aromatherapy and essential oils is generally safe to use small amounts in diffusers, candles, and lotions, there is a chance of allergic reactions.

To see this article please visit our new blog address at

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Making Paper Snowflakes

Creative Projects for Nannies

Whether you are buried under a foot of snow like we are in New Jersey, or not, all children enjoy making and decorating paper snowflakes. You can make the project as easy or difficult as you want and in a countless different shapes, sizes, and colors. Even kids that are too young to use scissors will love decorating paper snowflakes using glitter, paint, or crayons. If the children will be decorating the paper snowflakes it's best to use heavy weight paper rather than typical printer paper.

You Will Need:

White Paper
Paper Plate


Paint Brushes
Snowflake Templates
Newspaper (to protect work surface)

What to Do:

1. If the kids are going to paint or decorate their paper snowflakes with glitter, cover the work surface with newspaper.

2. Trace the paper plate onto white paper and cut out the circle.

3. Fold the circle in half three times to form an ice-cream cone.

4. Draw a pattern on the cone leaving at least 1/2-inch of space at the narrow und of the cone. Cut the pattern. Find great snowflake patterns at,, and inspirationforhome.

5. Allow the kids to decorate their snowflakes anyway they choose. If using glitter, spread a thin layer of glue on the snowflake with a paint brush. Sprinkle a little glitter on the snowflake. Pick up the snowflake and shake the extra glitter off. Allow to dry before hanging the paper snowflakes.

Photos by Stephanie Felzenberg

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Never Be Condescending to Your Boss

Nanny Confessions: Keep Your Attitude in Check

I confess, working as a nanny for 20-years I have developed some pretty strong opinions about how to raise children. I have a point of view on the best way to get infants on a sleep schedule, how to potty train them, and a preferred philosophy about disciplining kids.

But, while I do sell the fact that I have many years of working experience and a college degree when interviewing for nanny jobs – what has landed me my jobs is my attitude. No matter my age or my expertise, respecting the parents’ choices and opinions, and humbly following their directions, may be more important than many years of know-how.

Many of the parents I have worked for have had completely different parenting styles. While it may have upset me in the past when I thought a parent was too strict or too lenient, what I have noticed is that all of my previous charges have turned out great! They are all growing into wonderful young women and men (despite a few natural growing pains along the way).

So this week, I confess that while I do think it’s okay to gently share my insight with my employers, it’s vital not to overstep professional boundaries. Whenever I feel I know a better way to raise a child, I must always remember that I am not the parent of the kids left in my care.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Activities to do With Kids on MLK Day

How to Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

To honor Martin Luther King, Jr. many schools have are in recess today. So, there is no better time than to engage the children in activities and age appropriate discussions about the civil rights movement in American history. Check out our ideas at our new blog address at:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Children's Books About Martin Luther King Jr.

Weekly Trip to the Library

On Monday Americans honor the great civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of service. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a United States holiday marking the birth date of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., observed on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday, January 15.

Martin Luther King Jr. led the civil rights nonviolent activism movement of the 1960's. At the age of 35, Martin Luther King Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of over $54,000 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement. He was assassinated in April 4, 1968.

Here are some books to use with children to learn more about the nonviolent civil activist:

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By Doreen Rappaport

This picture-book introduces Martin Luther King Jr. to young children. It uses quotes from King's writing and speeches from King's life, beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs sprinkled throughout his hometown. He questions his mother about their meaning, and she assures him, "You are as good as anyone." Listening to his father preach, the boy asserts that "When I grow up, I'm going to get big words, too."

The author also discusses King's role in the Montgomery bus strike that followed Rosa Park's 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and his subsequent efforts as a civil rights crusader. After briefly describing the circumstances of his death, the story concludes, quite abruptly, with the statement, "His big words are alive for us today."

The author relies on Martin Luther King's own words to show his power, passion, and pacifism. Watercolor and cut paper collage art feature closely focused, lifelike images of King and other individuals against an inventive montage of patterns and textures. The portraits of the civil rights activist exude his spiritual strength and peaceful visage.

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Apostle of Militant Nonviolence By James A. Colaiaco

This short book for older children discusses all the main issues and themes of the life of King. The author traces the course of events from the emergence of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national black spokesman during the Montgomery bus boycott to his radical critique of American society and foreign policy during the last years of his life. He also provides the first in-depth analysis of King's famous Letter from Birmingham Jail - a manifesto of the American civil rights movement and an eloquent defence of non-violent protest.

A Kid's Guide to African American History: More than 70 Activities (A Kid's Guide series)By Nancy I. Sanders
Reveiw by Carolyn Phelan

This large-format paperback introduces many aspects of African American history, from Africa to colonial America, from plantations, to emancipation. There is also information about the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the achievements of black Americans, the civil rights movement, and hopes for the future. Throughout the book, crafts and other projects offer nannies, parents, and teachers practical ways to involve children in African American heritage.

Included are activities such as making a bead necklace, constructing a star-watching chart, and various recipes and crafts that revolve around the symbols of Kwanzaa. The pages are well designed, with illustrations in shades of gray and plenty of white space.

Click on the titles of the books above to purchase your own copy of the books we have reviewed.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Easy Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Cooking With Kids

Typically I make Shepherd's Pie whenever I have leftovers and add ground beef. But this week I had extra chicken so made the dish with chicken instead. This is one of those dishes that you just throw things in a pot and hope for the best. Use what you have and be creative! The recipe I used can be found at

You Will Need:
1 can of Cream Of Mushroom Soup
Leftover Cooked Chicken (about 1/2 of a cooked chicken)
Vegetables of your choice (corn, green beans, mushrooms - as many as your family can stand)
Mashed Potatoes (using about 6 - 8 potatoes)
before adding potatoes
4 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 to 1 cup milk
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Dash of paprika

What to Do:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and boil your potatoes until cooked. Mash with butter, and milk Let the potatoes sit until the meat mixture is ready.

3. Heat oil and sauté onion until it is translucent. When the onions are almost ready, add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes.

4. Meanwhile, shred or cube the leftover chicken, add to a large bowl.

5. Add the vegetables of choice, the onion/garlic mixture and the can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Mix well.

6. Place the meat mixture in the bottom of a baking pan (I used individual dishes) and then cover with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.

7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until gravy is bubbly.

Photos by Stephanie Felzenberg

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Baby Brezza Formula Pro: Keurig for Baby Formula

Products Nannies Love

If you love the convenience of using a Keurig for your morning coffee, you are going to love the Baby Brezza Formula Pro One Step Food Maker for making formula for babies.

Although there are dozens of unnecessary baby products on the market, the Baby Brezza Formula Pro is one of the worthwhile investments in a trendy baby product out there.

The Formula Pro uses patent-pending technology to measure, dispense, and mix water and powdered formula to the perfect temperature and consistency. With the push of a button, you can prepare a bottle within seconds that has no air bubbles. The water and formula powder are stored in right in the machine, so it’s always ready for you when a baby gets hungry. The machine works with all bottle sizes and all formula brands and types. You can also choose the amount of formula you want to make: 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 ounces.

Here are what some Be the Best Nanny Newsletter readers have to say about the Baby Brezza Formula Pro:

Alexis, a nanny from Boston boasts, "After baby wipes and diapers, this is the best baby product I've ever used. It is much more efficient, reducing the time to prepare a bottle."

Linda, a mother and nanny employer explains, "When we have a new babysitter on the weekends or my parents are watching the kids I know that they are using the right formula to water ration because it's so easy to use this machine. I wish I had this when my other kids were babies."

Tim, a father from Florida appreciates the ease of using the Baby Brezza Formula Pro with his daughter. He says,"'This formula machine is a dream to use! We have it setup and ready to go near where our daughter sleeps at night, allowing for quick dispensing of a perfectly mixed bottle of formula at body temperature. It is able to produce a warm 2 oz bottle in about 15 seconds."

A mother in NJ admits, "At first I had my doubts to whether the machine was working correctly making bottles with the correct amount of formula powder. But I called customer service who were great and they walked me through procedures to ensure my machine was working properly. It makes 3 am a lot easier to cope with."

Ann, an au pair in Philadelphia, PA shares, "This is a fantastic product! When juggling toddlers and the infant I don't have to stress about if I mixed the formula right. This machine solves all the guesswork and stress with a press of a button!"

Susan, a nanny working in San Francisco, CA recommends, "Read all of the instructions, especially the part about which attachment to use with the formula you choose to feed the baby. This is very important because if you use the wrong piece, it can result in a wrong mixture of formula/water ratio. I love this product but suggest doing a few trial runs to get it just right."

It's easy to purchase your own Baby Brezza Formula Pro by clicking the links above or below:

Baby Brezza Formula Pro One Step Food Maker

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Puffy Paint Recipe

Getting Creative with Kids

There is something magical about the three-dimensional appearance of Puffy Paint. Puffy paint is easy to make and you can simply find the ingredients already at home. Allow the kids to use the Puff Paint recipes as finger paint as well -- although I don't like adding color to the puffy finger paint because I have had trouble washing off the color from little hands previously. Here's what to do.

You Will Need:
Shaving Cream
Elmer's White Glue
Food Coloring

What to Do:
Simply mix equal parts of shaving cream and Elmer's glue. Add food coloring, a few drops at a time, until you get the desired color. Apply the puffy paint to heavy paper.

Recipes from Geyer YMCA
Photos by Stephanie Felzenberg

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Children's Birthdays Remind Me that I'm a Year Closer to Having to Find a New Job

Nanny Confessions

I confess, I am sad that my youngest charge has another birthday coming up.

Although I am thrilled to see her developing into a confident, curious, intelligent, social, and happy little girl -- every time she has a birthday it reminds me that I am one year closer to having to find a new nanny job.

I confess, if I had it my way I would stay working for the same family until the kids are well into high school. I would rather change my job description to include more duties such as cooking, being a personal assistant, personal shopper, and cleaning the home rather than having to go through a job search.

Transitioning into a new nanny job is always stressful. It’s hard to learn each child’s favorite songs, games, and activities. It can be even harder bonding with the children the first few days and weeks on the job.

So, I confess, I want to stay at my current nanny job as long as possible so I don’t have to find and start a new job. Each time a child left in my charge celebrates another birthday it is a bittersweet moment in which I am proud of the child, but sad that they are getting older as well.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Nannies: Do You Eat the Family’s Food When Working?

Respecting Professional Nanny Boundaries

While working, nannies are typically invited to eat meals with the children in their care. This includes a slice of pizza when out with friends, food they prepare for the kids in the home, and leftovers in the fridge. But, each family has a different budget and different customs. In-home child care providers must respect their employer’s wishes when it comes to eating their employer’s food while working.

During the interview is the time to discuss food allergies, religious customs, or dietary restrictions to ensure compatibility between nannies and families. For example, if a child or a nanny is allergic to peanuts, follows a Kosher diet, or is a vegan this may affect or limit what the nanny is allowed to eat while working.

Typically, live-in nannies are allowed to eat anything in the house. But, a few families prefer the nanny keep their food separate from the family’s groceries and kept on a separate shelf in the refrigerator or cabinet in the pantry. Although this isn’t the norm, nannies need to be sensitive to the parents’ preferences.

It is often difficult for live-in nannies switching to live-out jobs to adjust to the fact that they may need to bring their own food with them to their new nanny jobs.

Whether working as live-in or live-out in-home child care providers, nannies must always respect the fact that the family is buying food for their family’s needs primarily and not for their employees. Nannies should be mindful to not eat the last yogurt, pint of ice cream, or last juice box used in the kids’ lunchboxes.

It’s important for employees and parents to discuss what foods nannies are allowed to eat while working from the very beginning of their working relationship to reduce resentment by either party.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lotty Dotty Shirts: Dress Up the Doll on Your Shirt!

Products Nannies Love

I have finally found the best birthday gift for girls. They are Lotty Dotty high-fashion T-shirts featuring screen printed doll figures, that can be dressed interchangeably with Velcro-backed designer mini-outfits. You literally change the look of one’s T-shirt by using 3D detachable clothiung. You literally change the clothing on the doll on the front of the shirt! It is like having a hundred shirts in one! They also sell tote bags and adult T-shirts with the same concept.

Lotty Dotty is a Paris-based clothing company with a brilliant idea stemming from the fond memories of the founders, Shevanne Helmer's and Maya Persaud's passion for playing dress up with paper dolls.

The company also serves as a showcase for unknown talented designers who create the mini-outfit collections, and are promoted on the company’s website and packaging. Lotty Dotty uses organic and recyclable materials as much as possible and is dedicated to aiding women and children issues.

Lotty Dotty’s t-shirts are made of 100% organic cotton and manufactured using green energy from wind and solar power. On each t-shirt your doll will come with a Velcro bathing suit in an array of different colors, which may vary and she will be dressed in a signature bow dress.

For more information visit

Saturday, January 11, 2014

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Book Reviews by Kids for Kids
Book Review by Jordan, 8-Years-Old

If you were a mouse and you had a glass of milk what would you want with it? In this story a mouse wants everything and he is never satisfied.

The characters of this story are a mouse and a boy. They live in the boy's house. The boy gives the mouse a cookie. Then, the mouse asks for a glass of milk. So the boy gives it to him. After that, the mouse wants to do a whole bunch of stuff and I think the mouse drives the boy crazy trying to get all of the stuff for him.

This book is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I almost busted a gut. The mouse is asking the boy for so much stuff I think the boy gets tired of doing it all.

I think the moral of the story is if kids really need something, they should get it for themselves. My favorite part of the book is when the mouse asks for a pair of scissors because he wants to cut his hair. I think this book would be best suited for preschool and elementary students because it is so funny.

Children's Books Make Gifts. You can purchase this book simply by clicking the links below:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...)