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To Pod or Not to Pod, That is the Question?

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The constant dialogue amongst families with young children right now is ‘To Pod or Not to Pod?” We asked the owner of Kinder Ready and Elementary Wise, Elizabeth Fraley, M.Ed this exact question, her response was eye opening!

“Ripping children from their normal routines and school communities is tough right now. I highly recommend having children stay on track with their child’s regularly scheduled Zoom. School Districts/private schools structure the sessions in usually 30-45 minutes. Then students have free time to work through the assignments. Tutors are generally best for one on one individualized support. Pods are great for social and emotional development but don’t really address students one on one learning needs. To make the pandemic easier, parents should strategize their expenses with one on one support opposed to a group of children. Pods are great for social and emotional development. Play dates are great too.” Kinder Ready and Elementary Wise offers one on one in person academic support.

http://www.kinderready.com
Elizabeth Fraley CEO/Founder

7 Gifts for Father’s Day, June 21, 2020

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We hope these past few months have offered some quality family time with memories that will stay with your whole crew! By now, most parents have been some sort of at-home teacher, whether it’s been as a math tutor teaching multiplication charts, backyard soccer coach, or chef de cuisine of daily PB&Js. Us moms and dads are playing more roles than ever, and with it has come both exhaustion (anyone else forget everything from their fourth grade social studies class?) and a newfound appreciation for this time spent so closely with one another.

With summer right around the corner, Father’s Day is coming right along with it on Sunday, June 21st. Here are some great gift ideas for the dad who’s been doing double duty as #1 Dad and baseball coach/Lego master/make-believe tea cup party attendee.

1. The Box That Holds Everything

Gift this indestructible, take-it-anywhere, keep-everything safe container from YETI for the dad who’s got plenty of plans for family hikes, beach outings, road trips, and tree house construction.

2. Re-discover Favorite Throwback Music

This awesome subscription for monthly vinyl records delivered to your home curates his favorite bands and songs to create custom records he’ll love jamming out to.

3. Ultimate Barista

Perfect for anyone who considers themselves a “coffee connoisseur.” This little pot makes the perfect cup of hot or iced coffee. Plus, it’s USB-charger friendly, portable, and he’ll have a new gadget he’ll love trying out (AKA better coffee for you, too).

4. Virtual Hole-in-One

Can’t make it out to the green? This virtual golf course is the perfect thing for the guy who’s wanting to perfect his swing.

5. After-Workout Massage and Muscle Recovery

This massager can be used all over for muscle fatigue, soreness, and trigger points. Whether he’s an avid exerciser or busy at home, trust us: he’s gonna love this.

Children’s Books That Effectively Teach Equality | Ages 4-13

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Recent events this past month have left us at VIP Nannies, along with the rest of the world, feeling very heavy-hearted. The horrific and unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other African Americans are impossible to understand.

So, how do we teach from pivotal moments like this with our children? We don’t have all the answers, and being faced with this same question for our own kids here at VIP, we wanted to share some impactful books for different age ranges we’ve found that teach about equality. And while the outcomes of these recent tragedies can’t be reversed, we hope these resources can keep an open dialogue between you and your little ones on using our words and actions to create a positive change.

Without a doubt, we have a duty to show, teach, and raise our children—our future generation of leaders—to know that we never, ever judge another individual based on the color of their skin. It starts with us.


Click on each book to learn more about and purchase. If you have any books that you would like to recommend, please let us know.

Ages 4+

Ages 8+

7 At-Home Gifts for Mother’s Day

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Day who knows of quarantine is here, filled with attempting to understand our second grader’s homework, trying all the stay-home activities we can think of, and long wish lists of things to do and people to see once it’s safe to do so. You’ve got a lot on your plate! 

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we’re sharing our favorite gift ideas that can give moms a moment to relax, enjoy, and take a break from the day-to-day flurry. 

1. Get Cozy in Comfy PJs

While we’re in a world where we take off our daytime pajamas to put on our night time pajamas, we can’t think of anything better than an extra-fancy set that feels like pure luxury. We love this set from Lunya – and she will, too. 

2. Restaurant a la Home

Finally, a restaurant where you can always get the best seat in the house! Get the kids in on the fun and recreate Mom’s favorite restaurant right at home. Create a menu, set the table, impart a dress code, and have kids play roles of waiter, chef, and busser. Treat her to an unforgettable meal that the whole family will love playing a part in. 

3. Bring Out Her Inner Artist

If mom has been looking for a creative outlet, these adult paint-by-numbers are pretty enough to hang up in the home and show off when finished. 

4. The Perfect Perk-Me-Up

This may feel like a bit of a cliche, but nothing beats a gorgeous fragrance that offers a quick escape. These scents from Maison Margiela were created to invoke memories of favorite pastimes like walks on the beach, heading to the farmer’s market, and even sailing overseas. Dreamy, right? 

5. Endorphins Make Her Happy!

If Mom’s been missing her favorite workout class, almost all gyms are offering some type of online subscription. Places like Peloton, Tracy Anderson Method, CorePower Yoga, and obe Fitness are offering amazing online classes. Pair it with a workout set from her favorite store, and dedicate an hour or your day set aside to let her work out in peace! Best. Gift. Ever. 

6. Caffeine, Stat

Because Mommy needs her coffee, like, all day long (we know we do). This easy-to-use espresso machine makes the perfect cup, complete with a milk frother for that latte she’s been craving for the last couple of months. 

7. Flowers That Last… and Last… and Last

We know, we know… flowers. But hear us out – these incredible bouquet of roses last up to an entire year! We love that they can be an everyday reminder of the love and appreciation your family feels for her. 

Staying at Home: 7 Interactive Activities for Kids

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Life has shared more than a few curveballs over the last few weeks! Whether you’re a parent or a caretaker, the Safe at Home mandate is changing our children’s day-to-day schedules for the next month or so (not to mention yourself!).

Over the next couple of weeks, we wanted to give you some activities that your kids can enjoy to connect, calm, and break up the days—some are educational, some can help give everyone a little exercise, and some are just to have fun.

We’d love to see if you’ve tried one of these! Tag us at @vipnanniesla on Instagram and share your days with us!

Ultimate Clean Up!

Here’s a game that’s as fun as it is helpful keeping your home disinfected. For every child, hand them a damp washcloth you’ve added a kid-friendly disinfectant too. On the count of three, have them go around a room (kitchens are great!) and compete to see who can wash the most cabinet and door handles. Let the winner choose the afternoon snack!  

Become a Scientist for a Day

Check out these Safe Science Experiments by ThoughtCo. Create invisible ink, make a lava lamp, or even learn to make paper. These are great activities for school-aged kids – and who knows, maybe you’ve got a future scientist on your hands! 

Build a Fort

Anyone else remember blanket forts? We love them, too. Pick an area of your house and get to building! All hands will be on deck for this one, working to create a fort that will turn into the perfect spot to read, listen to music, and play make believe. 

30-Second Songs

Grab a timer or your phone and set it to 30 seconds. Every round has a star singer, and their audience gets to pick one word they have to sing about for that amount of time. For example, if the group chooses the word “strawberry,” then the star of the show gets to sing their own tune. It’s super silly, and the more rounds that go, the funnier the lyrics get! 

Funny Food Faces

Have a little fun with your next lunch. Whether it’s a sandwich, pizza, or fruit and veggie plate, turn them into works of art. Need inspiration? We love @weelicious’s creative examples. 

Photo credit: @weelicious

Indoor Obstacle Course

Turn the house (or a designated room) into an interactive obstacle course. In the dining room, in order to move onto the kitchen, each contestant must sit in every seat at the table. Once they’re in the kitchen, navigate through the pots and plans placed on the floor (use hand towels to protect them). You could then turn the living room challenge into stacking four couch pillows on top of each other without falling for five seconds. Make it as unique as possible based on the way your home is set up! Your kids will love coming up with ideas and setting it up with you. 

To Infinity… and Beyond! (at Home) 

One of our favorite things to do with our opened packing boxes is turning them into something out of this world! Grab some markers, paper, and tape, and turn them into spaceships, cars, Batmobiles – the options are limitless! 

2019 Holiday Gift Ideas

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Happy holidays!  It’s that time again. Every year we are asked by many of our families what is an appropriate bonus and/or holiday gift ideas for your household help… So here we go!

A standard holiday bonus is one week’s salary for the first year and a slight increase for every year after that.

Here are some of our top gift ideas for the 2019 Holiday season:

  • A gift card to a spa and/or hair salon- every nanny could use some self care
  • New iPhone
  • AirPods or Beats by Dre
  • A new handbag in a neutral color
  • A locally made candle that smells amazing
  • A gym membership! We like YogaWorks and Orangetheory
  • A coffee subscription like Trade
  • Nice sunglasses

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

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            We meet nannies and household staffing candidates daily here at VIP,  and among all the important discussions, there is one thing we cannot stress enough: what you post on social media will make or break your career.

            Over the years, countless clients have turned away candidates based on their social media presence. As we all well know, every household position is a precious and sacred thing. Even more so, childcare is a precious and sacred thing. If your online presence is less than honorable and trustworthy, you have eliminated yourself from the professional game. Make your account private. Think twice before you post always. Even private posts are not private because any follower can screenshot and share your content.

            Another more localized issue here in Los Angeles, is a “Secret Facebook Group” which, *spoiler alert*, is not a secret.  You can easily incriminate yourself on these pages by what you post and even the tone in which you speak with others. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. The more members in a group, the more eyes are watching and reading what you post.  Please be careful.

            It’s a small world, and the nanny industry is even smaller. In this competitive market, everyone is under a microscope.  Be cautious and careful of what you say about others and to others online. Be extremely cautious of what you say to your coworkers and employers.

Top Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we want to help you get a jump start on gift ideas to get mom.

Here are just a few of my favorites unique gifts:

Tiny Tags

www.tinytags.com

“The gift every (new) mom really wants”  said Oprah magazine.

Roots Blooms

www.rootsblooms.com

An all natural skin care line inspired by cultures all over the world. 

Small San Francisco based company.    Can only be found in the Bay Area in Tiffany’s preferred client gift bags, Bay Area based Anthropolgie, and private events.

Rebecca’s personal favorite!


Spa Le La

www.littlehousespa.com

Studio City based spa that offers childcare for the busy mom on the go.  It’s a few stores over from Aroma café, so a spa day plus lunch at Aroma Café sounds like a win-win.


Laduree

www.laduree.us

Who doesn’t love French macaroons?  Mom will go absolutely crazy for these perfect little bites.

Celebrate Read Across America Day!

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Read Across America Day

This Saturday is Read Across America Day! The day was founded by the National Education Association in 1998 and is held on March 2nd every year, on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The day was founded in the hopes of encouraging children to read, which seems to be particularly important as the world continues to be more and more technologically driven. There are countless ways to encourage kids to read, but we’ve listed a few events and ideas below to celebrate Read Across America Day!

 

Target

Get some Saturday shopping done while the kids listen to a reading of the Dr. Seuss classic What Pet Should I Get. Readings are at the top of every half hour from 10 – 11:30am and there will also be giveaways and activities! Check the link below for participating stores.

https://www.target.com/c/store-events/-/N-9x2nj?ref=tgt_adv_xc&afid=d_tmn&cpng=dvm0060H00000mO0ODQA0DISCRETIONARYEntertainment&fndsrc=tmn&DFA=1&Nao=0

 

Barnes & Noble

Starting at 11:00am, children can listen to readings of Dr. Seuss books, play games, and participate in fun activities! Check the link below for participating stores. The in-store cafés will also be giving out coupons for a grilled cheese and milk or juice for $4! Check the link below for participating stores.

https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061998927-0#

 

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Continue the fun with even more readings at Menchie’s in South Pasadena (1040 Mission Street) from 12:00 – 2:00pm! The event includes storytelling, games, and $3 froyo cups for the kids. The event is free, but you can register at the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/menchies-national-drseuss-day-tickets-57229247219?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

 

Santa Monica Public Library

The Santa Monica Public Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) is hosting a “Super Suess-a-bration” from 10am – 12:30pm, including crafts, two shows by juggler/magician Abbit the Average, and an appearance by Mayor Gleam Davis for March’s edition of “Let’s Read with Gleam.” This event is free and more information can be found at the link below.

http://calendar.smgov.net/library/eventsignup.asp?ID=29409

 

Little Free Library

If you can’t make it to the above events but still want to do something special for Read Across America Day, head to a local Little Free Library! Encourage your little ones to give an old book that they no longer read or have outgrown for a new, gently-used one. You can find your local Little Free Library at the link below.

https://littlefreelibrary.org/ourmap/

Valentine’s Card Totes!

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Valentine's Tote Bags

It’s officially the month of love, and what better way to kick it off than helping the kiddos create a tote bag to hold all of their Valentine’s cards and candy! Get the template and tutorial for these super cute bags on the Crate Paper blog, and get crafting!

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