Kale, Kale, Everywhere!

Thanks to Tracey Chipps for this great article and the added photos! 
October has passed and we missed giving a shout out to KALE!  October was National KALE Month!!!!
 “I don’t like kale.”
 “It’s  green and doesn’t smell like bacon.”  <insert whiney voice> “Can I cover my kale in chocolate?” Oh sigh!
Perhaps after reading this article and learning the health benefits and fun and flavorful ideas for kale you will be willing to give this leafy green a shot.
Kale…it’s not like your grandmothers bowl of bitter covered in vinegar. The options with delicious kale recipes are endless! Why make such an effort to like something you detest? The answer is simple! The health benefits of kale are quite simply…..ah-mazing! Read on to be blown away by this easily accessible food…
Kale is a powerful antioxidant and high in Vitamin A and magnesium. Kale is also high in Vitamin C and K and is considered a detox food. Shall I go on? Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than MILK! Milk ya’ll!!
 Your liver, skin, vision, and more can become healthier by incorporating kale into your menu. Tell me who doesn’t want more beautiful skin? Kale is simply INCREDIBLE as it is believed to work in preventing lung cancer….other types of cancers too!
Kale is an anti-inflammatory which can improve many types of health conditions. Kale can help with asthma….hello!!!! Did you read that? Asthma. How many people do we know with asthma?!
It’s good for your heart and can help lower cholesterol. If arthritis runs in your family start “kaling up”! It is also known to help autoimmune disorders.  <—- that’s huge!!
It’s a no brainer that kale is good for your blood but did you know it’s good for your bones too? It’s October…Halloween! I, personally, want my skeleton looking strong and fine! ; )
Those suffering from Alzheimer’s have been known to show improvement when kale is added to their diet. Isn’t it worth a try for a loved one?
Are you iron deficient? Per calorie there is more iron in kale than beef. Let me repeat… There is more iron.in.kale. per calorie than BEEF!
“Let the cows moo while on kale you chew !” Okay, corny, but, you get the picture.
Kale is affordable and contains only 36 calories in an entire cup!
Kale is affordable! This one pound bag of kale was under $4.

Kale is affordable! This one pound bag of kale was under $4.

Here are some of my favorite ways to get kale into my diet on a regular basis. Experiment!
Kale Corn Muffins anyone? This is my employers favorite treat! Simply follow the directions on a package of Jiffy cornbread mix add chopped kale, bake and devour!
kale2
This whole grain linguine dish with kale is something I threw together without a recipe. It turned out fantastic. In a pan sauté onions, kale,and mushrooms. Add this mixture to boiled whole grain linguine and cover with your favorite red sauce. Picture perfect and delicious to boot! (Kale can easily be added to the layers of your favorite lasagna recipe. I make it for my employers often!)
rsz_kale3
Kale is for kids too! Especially when it looks like a tree. My 3 yr old charge gobbled up these tree leaves! I have even put kale on his pizza and in grilled cheese sandwiches. Never a complaint!
kale4
Nothing beats a kale salad! Choose your ingredients and your favorite dressing and wha-lah!
Fresh kale with cucumber, tomato, yellow squash, chicken, powdered hot peppers and a dab of ranch dressing.

Fresh kale with cucumber, tomato, yellow squash, chicken, powdered hot peppers and a dab of ranch dressing.

Let’s not forget juicing! Each time I juice using kale I always include a whole apple. I add carrots, pineapple or any other combo but it’s seems an apple is always the ingredient that makes drinking kale more pleasant.
To learn more about kale, read even more recipe ideas, etc visit http://rawl.net/kaleup/
Here’s to every Nannies health!

How to Build a Healthy Nanny & Grandparent Connection and a Child & Grandparent Bond

Involve your charge in creating love notes for the Grandparents. Place them on the Grandparents pillow at night or in their luggage as they leave to remind them how much they are loved.

Involve your charge in creating love notes for the Grandparents. Place them on the Grandparents pillow at night or in their luggage as they leave to remind them how much they are loved.

Grandparents are such a vital component of the family unit. They are our elders, our mentors, and precious resources of our family history. We look to them to guide us with their wisdom and years of life experience. As precious as they are…a visit from our charges Grandparents can prove uncomfortable and often stressful. What can you do as a Nanny to alleviate some of the stress and awkwardness?

Imagine, if you will, being a Grandparent and looking forward to a much anticipated visit with your Grandchildren only to find them cowering away from you and clinging to Nanny. If they Grandparents live long distance and your charges are young this could be a common scene. Think about the hurt that Grandparent may feel…

How can you assist in fostering bonding between your young charge and the Grandparent? I’m hopeful that this article will help guide you on bonding tips in the following ways:

  1. When Grandparents are not near
  2. When a Grandparents visit is approaching
  3.  After the Grandparent arrives for the visit

Additionally, I feel these techniques can also build a bridge to a healthy and mutually respectful relationship between Nanny and Grandparents.

1.      Here are a few ideas on how to make Grandparents a part of your weekly routine even when THEY ARE NOT NEARBY:

    •  Incorporate Grandparents names into songs your charges already know. “Grandpa Jed had a farm e-i-e-i-o” or “You’re Grammie’s sunshine, her only sunshine, you make her happy when skies are grey”
  • Make a photo album for your charge including photos of the Grandparents. Leave it with the toys or books so your charge has easy access to looking at it while at play.
  • Talk about the Grandparents while enjoying your daily routine. “Gigi loves bananas. I’m glad you eat bananas just like Gigi” or “I like bath time. Remember when Pop-Pop gave you a bath and put bubbles in your hand?”
  • FaceTime! Skype! The visual connection is a great bonding technique.
  • Ask the Grandparent to leave a voicemail for your charge on your cell phone. You can quickly access it and play it via speaker phone to keep your young charge familiar with the sound of the Grandparents voice. Recordable storybooks are another great tool!
  • Send art in the mail. Text or email pictures of your charges day and tell them key points such as funny things your charge said or something new they learned.

2.      Prepare your charges when the   UPCOMING VISIT IS APPROACHING and show enthusiasm about the visit. 

    •  Talk about the last fun visit with the Grandparents to help refresh your charges memory. Use pictures from the last visit as a visual!
  • Involve your charges in making a welcome sign, card, or artwork for the Grandparents arrival. Your charges will feel a sense of pride and it is a great conversation starter for when the Grandparents arrive. We also like making “love notes” to place on their pillows or bathroom mirror.
  • Perhaps your Nanny Family has an itinerary of sorts when they have guests. Talk about some of the things your charge will be doing with the Grandparents during their visit. Get them excited!

3.      Grandparents need to feel wanted, welcomed, and that their contributions to the family are valued. Below are some ideas to help you bond with your charges Grandparents and let them know they are an important part of the family unit WHILE THEY ARE VISITING:

  • Ask them to tell cute kid stories or fond memories about their own children. Ask if they see any similarities in your charge and the parent.
  • Ask them about recipes they made for your employer when they were growing up. Ask if they have any food ideas for your charges.
    • “DB mentioned your make the best lasagna on the planet. Would you be willing to make it while you’re visiting?”
    • Encourage your charges to interact and seek help from the Grandparents.
      • “I’m putting my shoes on. Can you ask Grandpa if he can zip your coat?”
      • “Grandma used to make Daddy’s snack. Lets ask her to help us make your snack”
      • “When Mommy was a little girl Mimi brushed her hair. I bet she can brush your hair just like Mommy’s!”
      • Invite the Grandparents to come with you to school pick up/drop off. Enthusiastically introduce them to your charges teacher!
      • Bring the Grandparents along on an outing!
        • “<insert charges name> would love to show you how he has learned to go on the big sliding board. Are you available to join us at the park today?”
        • “Would you be interested in going to The Little Gym with us tomorrow? <insert charges name> is starting to work on the balance beam!”
        • Get the Grandparents excited to teach their Grandchildren about things they did when they were younger.
          • “MB told me you played tennis in college. Would you be interested in helping us choose a child size racket?
          • “I understand you used to volunteer for a fire department. Would you enjoy going with us to visit a local station? I’m sure you would have great stories and information to share with us.”

Enjoy the next visit from the Grandparents and remember that you are a dynamic component of building the bond between Grandchild and Grandparent!

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.-Alex Haley

Create a fun birthday sign for the Grandparent and let your young charge take part. Display it in the home if the Grandparent is visiting or take a cute picture of your charge holding it and send to the Grandparent. It's sure to make their day!

Create a fun birthday sign for the Grandparent and let your young charge take part. Display it in the home if the Grandparent is visiting or take a cute picture of your charge holding it and send to the Grandparent. It’s sure to make their day!

Who's heart wouldn't be warmed with a welcome sign greeting them at the door?! It's also a great way to talk to your charge and prepare them for the upcoming vist!

Who’s heart wouldn’t be warmed with a welcome sign greeting them at the door?! It’s also a great way to talk to your charge and prepare them for the upcoming vist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Tracey Chipps

Tracey Chipps has been a Professional Career Nanny for over 18 years. During her career she has worked with a variety of types of families. She has experience with typically developing children as well as those with special needs.

Detox Salad

Nanny Tracey is at again with another healthy recipe for us.  She made this yummy detox salad the other week and raved about it.

Ever feel like your body just needs a ‘detox’? All the over-indulgence of the holidays (because they just seem to keep coming!), and you feel like your body is craving something healthy and nutritious? I know this happens to me frequently. Of course, I admit, I splurge a little to often!

 

detox salad 1

Tracey’s salad

 

 

 

All of the ingredients ready to be stirred together. Look at all

of those beautiful and natural colors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

detox salad 2

Tracey’s salad

   

 

 

 

       Blended together beautifully and ohhh so delicious!

 

 

 

For the entire article and recipe please visit:

Detox’ Salad full of Dark Green Leafy Veggies

by  shared on Yummly 

Lemon Water and the nanny

Image courtesy of piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Warm Lemon water has LOADS of Vitamin C and other benefits to help us fight colds and flu bugs. As a follow up to Tracey Chipps’ Monday Moxie titled

Preparing your body for cold & flu season, she wanted us to know about the benefits of drinking lemon water!

….Their pièce de résistance however, lies in their astonishingly high levels of Vitamin C. One lemon contains a whopping 187% of the recommended daily allowance.

Vitamin C is one of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your immune system. It helps neutralize free radicals associated with aging and disease and it’s also excellent for the skin.

 

To read the rest of the benefits of lemons and warm water please visit Reboot with Joe’s article

Why You Should Start Your Day with Lemon and Warm Water

Preparing your body for cold & flu season

sneezing

Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Tracey Chipps

Last years cold and flu season hit us so hard and lasted so long that I felt compelled to reach out to the Nanny community now….BEFORE cold and flu season hits again.
Will my tips guarantee you a cold and flu free season? There’s never a guarantee. However, I am confident that these tips will make your body stronger, healthier, and better equipped to fight off germs and viruses. We are Nannies! We hold up the pillars of our Nanny Families worlds so we must stay strong and healthy!

*Drink plenty of water!

 A well hydrated body is essential for overall wellness and water does help flush out things that could cause you illnesses. Choose your favorite water bottle and take it everywhere!

*Rest, relaxation, & sleep!

While we can’t “store” sleep, beginning a good sleep routine NOW will pay off once cold and flu season strikes. A well rested body will better ward off illness than a body that is already weak and fatigued. Additionally, relaxation is key! What does relaxation mean to you? Going for a walk, snuggling with your partner, playing with your pets, watching a movie, laughing with a friend, reading a book, or listening to beautiful music are good ways to reduce stress. A stressed mind and body cannot fight off illnesses as well as a less stressed mind and body. De-stress my Nanny friends…de-stress!

*Exercise!

Exercise strengthens your body and reduces stress. Increasing your heart rate to the point of breaking a sweat can help purge toxins from your body. Choose your activity! Bicycling, power walking, Zumba, jumping jacks…go for it! Sweat it out!

*Healthy and well balanced eating!

We teach our charges about proper nutrition and eating from the food pyramid. Practice what you preach! Fresh fruits and veggies help tell those cold and flu germs where to go! Leafy greens and other fruits and veggies are natures gift to you for combatting illness. If you struggle with eating balanced meals consider a good multivitamin.

*Hygiene!

Wash your hands! Wash your hands A LOT! Wash those germs away! Keep hand sanitizer close at hand in your purse, diaper bag, and car.
Avoid placing your hands near your eyes, mouth, ears, and essentially any opening in your body where viruses like to make their attack.
Oh! With all of that hand washing your hands will become dry. Moisturize those hard working Nanny hands to keep your skin hydrated and healthy!

*Flu shot!

This is a highly controversial subject. Some Nannies, such as myself, are required by contract to get the flu vaccine. Other Nannies highly oppose it. Whether you chose to get a flu shot or not is entirely up to you. I just couldn’t omit this option from my suggestions.
Morgan Potts mentioned this magic cold flu fighting paste in her article in MindBodyGreen. I think it’s worth a try! Here’s what she had to say…
“This one’s my favorite. This is something you can make right in your kitchen with a combination of a few healthy antimicrobial ingredients:
1 TBSP raw honey
½ clove raw garlic (minced)
1/8 TSP cinnamon
½ inch fresh ginger, (peeled and minced)
¼ inch fresh turmeric root (peeled and minced)
Mix all 5 of these ingredients together
Stir it into a nice paste, then eat it!
Its actually quite delicious, the honey does a nice job of making it all very palatable. Do this at the first sign of symptoms, and again before bed that night. Take some again in the morning and until you feel well. This has worked miracles with me. Magic! If you only have some of these ingredients, go ahead and make it anyway, each of these has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties and heal in their own ways.”
Check Pinterest for a variety of cold and flu fighting soups and teas! I made my employers a salmon and kale flu soup last year and they asked for more!
Don’t be too judgemental when you read the ingredients of these super healthy recipes. The tasty combination may surprise you and your body will thank you!
Here is wishing my Nanny colleagues across the United States a very happy and healthy Fall and Winter!

Music! Homemade Musical Instruments

great for brain development!
by Tracey Chipps

You’ve heard the term “music makes the world go ’round”. Music makes a child’s “sensory environment go ’round” as well!  Experimenting with a variety of sounds will enrich our charges sensory environment. We often focus on tastes and textures or exposing our charges to different colors.  But, how often do you stop to discuss and play with the sounds you hear every day in music? Loud, soft, steady, slow, fast or slow rhythms and beats? How often do you get down on your charges level and clap your hands to the beat of a song or tap your knee as you read rhythmic books?

Children ages 1-3 begin to benefit most from music when they can have a hands on experience. Casually listening to music in the background while at play or drifting off to sleep is beneficial and enjoyable. However, when you give a child an active encounter with music such as with exploring with musical instruments many thing begin to happen within the brain.

The frontal lobes of our charges brains are stimulated when exposed to music. The frontal lobe is where our skills for language and motor development are formed. This frontal lobe portion of our brain is also where our decision making skills come into play. Now your getting it right? Participating in music NOW is setting our little ones up for success LATER in life!

 

Hands on musical experiences with drums, shakers, tambourines, and other instruments help form more trails between the cells in their developing brains. These neural connections lead our charges to better reading and math. Simply turning on the radio in the car or playing a cd while your charge is building with blocks make these brain connections too, but the most successful way is actively being engaged with the music.

I’m going to show you two instruments that my charge and I made together from re-purposed items. In the following photos you will see how we created a shaker from an empty salt container. You will also see our homemade drum! 

shaker time

The ideas are endless and soon you will be creating your own homemade instruments too. I hope you will share your creative instrument ideas with me!

 drum instructions

Boredom buster with Frozen Fun!

Summer is finally here! The kids are out of school and its getting hot out there! “I’m bored”, “What can we do now?”, “I’m hot”, or “I’m tired of doing that”. Oh boy! We’ve all heard those phrases come out of the mouths of our charges. When the routine of the pool and the water sprinkler park get too mundane what’s a Nanny to do?  Here’s a project that you can easily and affordably create to throw a little something new into the summer time mix.

layering items to freeze

layering items to freeze

Frozen Fun 

This recipe for frozen fun is made using a Rubbermaid type container, water, and a collection of toys or objects safe for freezing. After frozen, this project can be used to entertain and teach charges from toddler, older child, to teen. I will give you a quick overview of how to make this effortless project and provide ideas to customize it toward different age groups.

 

  • The first thing you will need is a plastic container. It can be small, medium, or large and of any shape from square, rectangle, to round. It is preferable to have a container with a lid but it is not required if you have freezer space that will ensure the container will not tip over and spill.

 

  • Place about approximately 1 ½ inches of water in the container and arrange a few of the objects you have chosen into the bottom. Place in freezer and allow the first layer to become firm.

 

  • You can then add the second layer of water and objects, allow it to freeze and repeat. This method of layering will allow the object to freeze in position throughout the ice block rather than all objects clustering together. Remember to leave at least a half inch of space between your last layer and the top of the container because, as you know,water expands when it freezes.

 

  • When all layers are completely frozen it is time for the party to begin! It is quite easy to pop this frozen ice block out of its plastic container by running a little warm water over the container.

 

Lets get the ice out!

Lets get the ice out!

 

As shown below in the photos, I used this frozen ice project in a water play table with my toddler charge. Some other places you can take the fun are in a swimming pool, sink, on a baking tray on the porch, in the driveway, or in the bathtub. We chose to handle the cold cube with bare hands and watch it change while melting but you can also provide tools for your charges to work the objects out of the ice. Closely supervise so they do not hurt themselves with the tools or break any of the objects within the ice.

 

Around and Around

Around and Around

                                                             

A red lego is almost free!

A red lego is almost free!

Choose the objects to include in the container to make it appropriate for a variety of ages. Many of these items will be found around the house or you can find new items at the Dollar Tree or similar type store.

 Toddler: ABC magnets, rubber animal bath toys, plastic shapes, or teething rings.  

Older Child:  plastic necklaces, coins, beads, cars, hair accessories, buttons, or Legos.

Teens: Yes! You can also use this frozen activity in a creative way for teens! As grown up as they may seem, they do still enjoy having fun and being silly! Ideas for a teen could be to add a couple of low dollar gift cards,  earrings, coins for pool vending machines, movie tickets, a special note or other passes (enclosed in a zip lock bag before emerging in water), key chains, colored shoelaces, hair accessories, or get their house key cut into a funky pattern.

Consider going with a nature theme using rocks, feathers, small sticks, blades of grass, or flower petals. You know all of those shells and treasures you brought back from the beach trip? Make a beach theme ice block and talk about the beach memories!

This activity can be a great start to discussing temperature, textures, colors, shapes, counting…..the learning opportunity is whatever you make it!

Make this activity ahead and have it on hands for when you really need a fun break, some diversity to your routine, to reward a well behaved charge, or to simply help cool off. Enjoy!

All ready to play with!

All ready to play with!

Written by Tracey Chipps

Tracey Chipps has been a Professional Career Nanny for 18 years. During her career she has worked with a variety of types of families. She has experience with typically developing children as well as those with special needs. Tracey is the founder of Triangle Area Nanny Group (T.A.N.G.) in Durham, NC. If you would like more information on joining T.A.N.G, please email TANGnanny (at) gmail (dot) com . 

Rubber Ducky, Rubber Ducky what is that inside of you?

 Baby J's favorite duckie who is dressed in cognito as a frog. What will I find lurking within this innocent looking bath toy?

Baby J’s favorite duckie who is dressed in cognito as a frog. What will I find lurking within this innocent looking bath toy?

Cute Rubber Ducky…but, what’s inside doesn’t look so cute!

While bathing Baby J one evening, I noticed that our cute yellow ducky bath toy had an odd color showing from within. Could this be the nasty mold  I had been hearing about or was it simply discoloration from the aging rubber toy? I set the questionable toy aside so Baby J would no longer be exposed….just in case. I continued the fun with the smaller rubber bath toys by having penguin and frog romp in the soapy water and starfish and crab do the Cupid Shuffle down the side of the bathtub. As Baby J giggled at my show I wondered if the same discoloration was happening inside these darker colored toys.

Only one thing could tame my curiosity…yellow duck had to go under the knife! (Don’t look Nanny Dana! Rubber Ducky was a gift from sweet Dana).What I found inside after carefully slicing the rubber toy with a sharp butcher knife was disgusting black mold. Sadly, Ducky had to hit the road followed by all of his little friends! Moist environments promote mold and bacteria and these rubber bath toys are the perfect host! They have a small opening which is easy for water to get in but not so easy for the air to enter to dry the toy out. Some of the molds that are found in our charges bath toys can include molds that cause staph infections and intestinal and respiratory issues. If you have charges with asthma some of these molds could possibly cause their symptoms to flare. You may notice a lingering cough in your charge and it is possible that moldy bath toys could be the reason. Tummy cramping and diarrhea could also ensue after our babies and toddlers playfully put these mold filled toys to their mouth.

Dr. Paul Williams of Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Section on Allergy and Immunology was quoted in an article by Leigh Balber as saying, “[Parents] don’t need to be worried in the sense that their child’s health may be harmed by ordinary quantities of mold in the environment. There are thousands of mold spores in the air that we breathe every day. So, in a lot of ways, molds are just a part of our everyday environment and our system handles it quite nicely.”

The article also noted Dr. Konopasek, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New York-Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center and mother of two as saying, “The likelihood of a child getting sick from this is close to zero,” but adds that kids who would be at risk are those with immune problems and those younger than three months old.  That may be true, but that is not good enough for my Baby J! If he is going to slurp bath water from toys (because we all know that our charges do despite our urges for them to stop!),  I want him to slurp from a toy that I can actually see from all sides.  As his Nanny I am responsible for his well being and I am certainly not taking any chances!

These bath toys look cute and enticing...but what is lurking within?

These bath toys look cute and enticing…but what is lurking within?

While there are methods of cleaning bath toys on a regular basis from using simple soap and warm water to using bleach or vinegar mixture we are taking a stronger approach in our bath tub environment. Baby J’s bath toys now include only toys we can clean easily and without small holes that can harbor water. Toys such as hand sized balls, small buckets, stacking toys with no holes, and terry cloth puppets can be great choices for fun in the tub. Select safe recyclable items such as small plastic juice bottles can be used and put out for the recycle when your charge loses interest. Plastic boats that have a top that easily pulls apart to clean are also fun. (To keep in good graces with Baby J, Nanny Dana replaced Rubber Ducky with a new and similar version. We will keep an eye on Ducky!)  Keep in mind that even these toys that are less likely to harbor mold still need sanitized regularly by either using the methods mentioned above our by running them through the dishwasher.

 

Cover your eyes Nanny Dana!  (Sweet Nanny Dana bought this fun toy for Baby J) After opening the toy carefully with a sharp knife I found disgusting mold. Some larger pieces of mold fell out into the sink before I got a photo. *Please note that Nanny Dana was kind enough to replace this duck with a brand new red duckie. A score for Baby J!

Cover your eyes Nanny Dana!
(Sweet Nanny Dana bought this fun toy for Baby J) After opening the toy carefully with a sharp knife I found disgusting mold. Some larger pieces of mold fell out into the sink before I got a photo. *Please note that Nanny Dana was kind enough to replace this duck with a brand new red duckie. A score for Baby J!

Now that this moldy issue has been brought to your attention, take time to evaluate your charges bath toys. Those that already have mold should be disposed of immediately and those that you even suspect could be containing mold you will want to be tossed out as well. Talk about this with your employers so you can all be aware of the possible dangers and be a team in providing a safe and fun bath time experience for the children. Rub a dub dub play safe in the tub!!

written by Tracey Chipps

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