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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!

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Activities

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Anyone else feel like Thanksgiving snuck up on you this year? If you’re scrambling for fun activities for the little ones this year, you aren’t alone. We rounded up a few last-minute yummy and fun activities to do with them to celebrate the holiday!

 

Nutter Butter Turkey Cookies

These turkey cookies are super easy to make and look so cute! Kids are sure to love placing the eyes, beak, and feathers of the turkey.

 

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

If you need a quick, yummy treat, these muffins are the perfect easy fix. They only require a can of pumpkin and a boxed spice cake mix! Have the kids help you mix the two and scoop the batter into a muffin tin.

 

Bubble Wrap Maize

This activity is great for keeping little hands busy. The texture of the bubble wrap engages their senses and they’ll love getting their hands dirty in the paint. Don’t forget to hang up their creations for Thanksgiving decorations!

 

“Thankful for” Printable

Gratitude is what Thanksgiving is really all about. Help your children express what they are thankful for on this free downloadable.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We hope the day is full of family, friends, and food.

 

10 Fall Festivities to Attend in LA

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In Los Angeles, you never have to worry about having enough fall activities for the family to attend. This year is no exception to the rule, so we compiled a list of traditional, spooky, and educational fun for the kids!

1. Spider Pavilion, Natural History Museum of LA – Exposition Park

Time: Now – November 25, 2018

Price: Ages 2 and under: free, Ages 3-12: $11, Ages 13-17: $16, Adults 18+: $19

*Members of the National History Museum enter for free

Kids and adults intrigued by bugs and insects are sure to love this educational walk-through of a safe, open-air pavilion to learn about various spiders and the engineering of their webs. (According to the NHM website, it’s the only Spider Pavilion in the United States!)

 

2. The Pizza Experience, Pasadena

Time: Now – February

Price: $30 General Admission

*All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Pizza enthusiasts will find their heaven at this brand new museum with 10 pizza-themed rooms, including a ‘Pizza Fitness Center’ and a ‘Pizza Dough Room’ with scratch and sniff art. General admission includes a slice of pizza and pizza flavored snacks throughout the museum.

 

3. Bob Baker’s Halloween Spooktacular, Bob Baker Marionette Theater – Downtown LA

Time: Now – November 5, 2018

Price: Ages 2 and under: free, Ages 3 and up: $20

For an entertaining, out-of-the-ordinary event, take the family to Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater! The holiday-themed show is an hour long and features spooky and jazzy music, followed by refreshments with the Puppeteers in their Party Room.

 

4. Spooky Science, Discovery Cube – Sylmar

Time: Now – October 31, 2018

Price: Online, All ages: $12.95; In person Ages 3-14: $14.95, In person Ages 15 and up: $19.95

Little ‘monsters’ will have a blast learning about chemistry, reflections and the human skeleton as they make potions, create electric sculptures, and experiment with infinity mirrors. Entrance to this DIY event is included in General Admission.

 

 

5. San Fernando Valley Halloween Drive-In Nights, Lake Balboa

Time: October 12, 6:30 – 11:30pm; October 13, 6:30 – 11:30pm; Doors at 5pm

Price: Individual tickets start at $16.95, Double Feature tickets start at $26.95

*Ages 3 and under are free!

Bring your picnic basket and take the kids to an old-fashioned drive-in to see Hocus Pocus or Beetlejuice! They offer a discounted group rate for 4 or more people and proceeds benefit the Valley Relics Museum.

 

6. Things That Go Bump in the Night, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – Claremont

Time: October 12 – October 13, 5:30 – 9:30pm

Price: Ages 3-12: $7, Ages 13 and up: $11; see website for RSABG member pricing

*Ages 3 and under are free!

Visit and learn about nocturnal critters including wolves, owls, insects, reptiles, and carnivorous plants! This event also includes a family comedy show about parasites, and how to avoid them. They recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as both nights are expected to sell out.

 

7. The Original Farmers Market Fall Festival, The Grove & Farmers Market – La Brea

Time: October 13 – 14, all day

Price: Free!

For traditional fall fun including a pie-eating contest and a petting zoo, visit the Original Farmers Market Fall Festival. The line-up also features live entertainment and plenty of pumpkin-themed activities for the family.

 

8. BeatBASH Carnival, The Palladium – Hollywood

Time: October 14, 10am – 2pm

Price: Ages 1 and under: free, General admission: $40, VIP: $99

The children’s music duo BeatBuds is having a pop-up carnival with games, crafts, bouncy houses, food trucks, gift bags for those under 18, and a live show! The carnival will also have donation opportunities for Baby2Baby, a non-profit organization that provides diapers, clothing, and basic necessities to children living in poverty.

 

9. Preschool Explorers Story Time, Ocean Park Branch Library – Santa Monica

Time: October 15, 3:30 – 4:30pm

Price: Free!

Preschool-age children are invited to attend a one-hour story time at the Ocean Park Branch Library to learn about the science of pumpkins with hands-on activities. As noted by the name, this event is geared towards children in preschool and younger.

 

10. Calabasas Pumpkin Festival, Juan Bautista de Anza Park – Calabasas

Time: October 20 – 21, 10am – 5pm

Price: Ages 2 and under: free, tickets purchased before 10/15: $5; after 10/15: $10

Celebrate everything pumpkin at this full-fledged festival! Attractions include a pumpkin patch, professional pumpkin carving, an assortment of pumpkin foods, pumpkin painting, various vendors selling jewelry, Halloween, and home and garden items, and live music.

What’s your favorite fall activity in LA?

National Nanny Recognition Week: Show Your Nanny You Care

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September 23rd is the start of National Nanny Recognition Week 2018! NNRW is the 4th week of September each year and, as of this year, has been around for 20 years. It was started by industry leaders and nannies to acknowledge, support, and bring awareness to the importance and value that a nanny contributes to his or her community.

This week is all about giving back to your nanny, so show them you appreciate them! There are endless ways to show your support and appreciation, but we’ve given you a head start with a list of gifts or gestures any nanny would love!

 

1) Give them a memento

Frame a photo of your nanny with your children and have your children sign the year on the back of the frame. Nannies are a huge part of a child’s life, and vice versa, so why not give your nanny something to remember your children by!

 

2) Let the children tell them

Kids really do say the darnedest things! Have your children write a memorable note for them or draw a picture of them with their nanny.

 

3) Pamper them
Your nanny works really hard! Give them a little relaxation on their day off with a massage or manicure gift card.

 

4) Caffeinate them
We all have those crazy days when we could use a caffeinated afternoon pick-me-up. Give your nanny a gift card for their favorite coffeeshop so she can pick one up while running errands.

 

5) Promote their healthy lifestyle
Chances are your nanny wants to stay fit to keep up with the energy of little ones. If your nanny already has a gym, pay for a month of their membership or a yoga class. Or if they want a membership but don’t have one – sign them up!

 

 

6) Be sure they’re well-connected
In 2018, it’s no secret that it’s important to stay connected electronically. Help your nanny stay connected and find the best, newest places to take your little ones by giving them a new smart device.


 

What’s your favorite way to show your nanny you care?

The Best Sunscreens for Your Summer Activities

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Summer is upon us here in California, and day camps, family vacations, sports tournaments, swimming lessons, and trips to the beach are in full swing. While summer weather is great for heading outdoors, please make sure you and your children, or the children you care for, are using the best non-toxic sunscreen.

With so many sunscreen brands available, and even more information about certain sunscreen ingredients being harmful to the environment or humans, it can be overwhelming to know which sunscreen is best to protect you, your child, or the child you are caring for. Luckily, Environmental Working Group, or EWG, has an entire guide to sunscreen including a list of the best-rated sunscreens for your little ones, explanations of sunscreen ingredients, and a super helpful sunscreen search function to compare various brands.

Kid Friendly Earth Day

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As you may already know, Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22. While Los Angeles has countless outdoor activities year-round (gotta love that sunshine!), we’ve compiled a list of kid friendly activities to celebrate our Mother Earth this weekend.

 

Saturday, 4/21, 10am – 2pm:Earth Day LA 2018, Highland Park

Age: All ages

Price: Free

Activities: Food, giveaways, various exhibits, and entertainment. Kids can explore LA Sanitation trucks on-site

Special tip: If driving, plan where to park ahead of time, as the goal is to have participants consider taking public transportation in the spirit of environmental awareness.

For more information: https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/events/earth-day-la-2018

 

Saturday, 4/21, 11am – 4pm:Kids’ Earth Day Celebration, Playa del Rey

Age: All ages

Price: Free

Activities: Teaching children about environmental awareness through hip hop, bounce houses, games, and giveaways

Special tip: Must ‘buy’ an Eventbrite ticket for the event, showing acceptance of the liability waiver.

For more information: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kids-earth-day-celebration-tickets-43369202452?aff=Facebook

 

Saturday, 4/21:Free Entrance Day in National Parks, various locations

Age: All ages

Price: Free

Activities: Attend one of California’s national parks for free! Find the park nearest to you at the link below.

Special tip: April 21 is the kickoff of National Parks Week. This year’s theme for park week is “Park Stars”, with a focus on starry skies.

For more information: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm

 

Saturday, 4/21 – Sunday 4/22, 10am – 6pm:California Poppy Festival, Lancaster

Age: All ages

Price: Adults (13-61): $10, Seniors & Children (6-12): $5, 5 and under: Free

Activities: Food, musical acts, vocalists, and educational animal and conservational talks for kids

Special tip: Bring sunscreen and drink lots of water!

For more information: http://www.poppyfestival.com

 

Saturday, 4/21 – Sunday 5/13, 10am – 4pm:Wild for the Planet, Los Angeles Zoo

Age: Ages 3 and up

Price: All activities included in zoo admission price

Activities: Aerialist shows, interactive puppet show, conservation expo, nature journaling, and zoo-keeper talks and demonstrations

Special tip: The LA Zoo celebrates Earth Day over 4 weekends, and this year the zoo is highlighting their bird conservation achievements with 5 bird gardens throughout the grounds.

For more information: http://www.lazoo.org/wildfortheplanet/

 

Sunday 4/22, 10am – 4pm:Children’s Earth Day at the STAR Eco Station, Culver City

Age: All ages

Price: Free

Activities: Exhibits featuring exotic wildlife, eco-friendly games, face painting, and food

Special tip: Tours of the STAR Eco Station Exotic Wildlife Rescue Museum are offered at a discounted rate.

For more information: https://www.childrensearthday.org

Happy 11th Year Anniversary to VIP Nannies!

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IMG_1775

Eleven years ago today, Rebecca spoke to a loan officer (pictured) about her dream to open a nanny agency. She was given a small business loan, which launched VIP Nannies Inc.
VIP’s success has far surpassed anything Rebecca could have ever imagined.
She would like to say a big “Thank You!” to Clay Appleton for believing in her dream!

Nanny Interview Series: Chatting with our #notjustananny, Samantha

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 – Samantha –"Not Just a Nanny" Logo

Tell us a little bit about how you decided to become a nanny?

I think it really goes back to my foundation and how I was raised. My father worked in the public and private service industry, and it was all very fascinating to me. Watching your parents serve others, and being taught that everyone has something they can bring to the table, regardless of how small the contribution is, really sticks with you. My mom was a stay at home mom, and we were taught to be there for other people when they needed us, and to lead by example. At age 11 I started volunteering in the nursery and by 13 I had a regular afternoon nanny job, and a weekly Sunday gig. I continued to hear people say I needed to pursue working with children, but it never occurred to me that taking care of kids could be a career. Teaching was never my calling. Staying inside a classroom all day, and not being able to teach the children the real life things that were important to me, as a fellow human, wasn’t something I was interested in. How could I turn “being a mom” into a paid job!? I continued babysitting on occasion, and had a few “regular” nanny jobs. At 18, I decided to take the plunge and head into working full time for one family exclusively. I met them in 2008, they had 4 children at the time, and they changed my life forever. I became a built in family member, a big sister, a “meanie” when it was required, an assistant, a receptionist, a chef, a nurse, a clown, an organizer, a planner, a best friend, and a catch all for anything and everything they needed. I stayed with them through 4 years, 3 pets, 2 adoptions, 2 businesses and a lifetime of memories. I knew I had to continue to pursue this type of job. That was it for me – I would be the “glue” in someone’s family. If my small contribution of holding the house together could allow other people to do amazing things for society, then this was how it was going to be. I would try to help support today’s leaders, and raise up tomorrow’s. My parents had prepped me just perfectly for this job, and I can’t thank them enough!

What experiences best prepared you for this career?

I think it has a lot to do with how I was raised. In addition, I am the oldest of 3 girls, so being “bossy”, as my sisters call me, came naturally. I was an organizer, a planner, and a perfectionist, from birth, I learned my teaching and homemaking skills from my mother, and got my service skills from my father. Life has a funny way of prepping you for exactly what you need.

 What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I think the most challenging part of my job is making sure that I devote enough time to really raising and molding the children that I work with. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day, and I find myself running around from place to place, when in reality, sometimes you just have to stop and take a minute to appreciate the stage that the kids are at right now. Take a deep breath, and just appreciate the fact that we get raise tiny humans! That high strung kid with anxiety is going to harness that and be one heck of a lawyer one day, that kid who is so kind and compassionate is going to be someone’s mother one day, that kid who doesn’t do so well in school is going to find a way to change the world. We are the ones who are responsible for making sure they get there, and that’s not always an easy job.

How would you define success in your current position?

I really think I’ve found it. We’ve got 5 amazing kids who I love more than anything! They are kind, caring, lovable kids who are going to do great things! Helping raise amazing people is success for me.

How would you explain to a parent that you are “Not Just a Nanny”?

  •  What are some of your best qualities that make you a great nanny and how does that explain you are “Not Just a Nanny”?

People notice a good nanny. They see things from the outside. A nanny who does everything – manages the kids schedule, does play dates, goes grocery shopping, dropped off the payment for Cub Scouts, wrote the “thank you” notes from little Billy’s birthday, and texts back even when it’s not “working time”. They see the end result, and they like what they see. They would like to have someone like this in their lives, and want to know how they can make it happen. They don’t realize that when you hire a nanny, family assistant, or house manager you are really hiring another family member. You are hiring a stand in parent for your children for 20, 40, or even 60 hours a week. You are hiring someone who will be there no matter what. Someone who will throw up on the couch with your child when everyone’s sick, someone who will be in the kids scrapbook, and someone who ultimately becomes family. The people who ask me how they can find this rockstar nanny, are often the same ones who ask me what I’m going to do after I leave my family, when I’m going to be done with school, and what job I want to have long term. They see my job as a stepping stone – something I am doing out of necessity or to get to something better. They don’t understand that this is the “something better”. This job is a choice, and at the end of the day I will always choose the path that makes the most difference in the life of a family.

  •  Give us an example of when you feel you went the extra mile for a family/child(ren)?

I think going the extra mile on a daily basis is what makes us special and separates us from being “just a nanny”. It’s not about us. It’s not just a job. This is someone’s family, someone’s children, and the choices we make daily are the ones that can affect them long term. Doing this job is exhausting, and not for everyone, and of course, I recommend an awesome vacation at least twice a year, but I encourage you to strive to be an above and beyond nanny. So often we roll our eyes that we are asked to do some additional task, walk the dog, pack for a move, re-design the playroom, whatever it is, big or small, ask yourself if it helps the family. If the answer is yes, then put on a smile and get it done. This does not mean take away from your daily duties, or get burnt out (so easy in this profession), but try to find a way to go above and beyond on a regular basis! Trust me, it will help everyone, and raise our collective value as nannies at the same time!

Nanny Interview Series: Chatting with our #notjustananny, Kelly

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 – Kelly –

Tell us a little bit about how you decided to become a nanny?

As a kid, all I wanted to be was a mom. My mom has taught Sunday School since before I was born, and she was the one who helped me get started teaching Sunday School at the age of 12. I took it upon myself to create a class schedule and lesson plans, and it was the perfect opportunity to engage children and help them grow. I complied a box of necessities that I would bring to class to assist in teaching the 2 and 3 year olds.

In high school, I watched the staff’s kids before and after school, and worked in the nursery at most of the school events. I also took on my first babysitting gigs during this time, and was complimented on how great I was with kids. I honestly didn’t have much direction after high school, but fate had something special in store for me.

When I was 19, I got my first nanny position and loved it. At the time, I didn’t think that nannying was an actual career. I didn’t know anything about the industry, and I didn’t know any other nannies. Because I thought the natural progression was to go and work in a daycare, I did just that. I worked my way up to Director rather quickly, but I really missed being a nanny and went back to it after only a few years in daycare.

I eventually found INA and the nanny community and realized that I could make an actual career out of what I loved doing. I take every opportunity  to become the best nanny that I can be. Looking around, though I may not be a mom yet, I realize that I have exactly what I always wanted. Children to help raise. Nannying is the dream that I didn’t even know existed.

What experiences best prepared you for this career?

Teaching Sunday School and watching my schools staff’s kids helped prepare me for the start of my career. The classes, groups, and friends I have discovered along the way have helped shape me into the nanny I am today and set me on a path for the nanny I will be in the future.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of being a nanny is saying goodbye. There’s support, articles, and books to help you overcome problems that may arise in your position, but nothing prepares you for saying goodbye when the job is over. I have been very fortunate that most of the families I have worked for keep in touch, but it still hurts not being there every day. It is definitely difficult starting over with a new family.

How would you define success in your current position?

I just started my current position, but in my last position I had a lot of successful moments. I worked with special needs kids who had what I like to call “invisible” special needs. What I mean by that, is that their issues are something that you can’t see by just looking at them. Over the years, I saw these children grow leaps and bounds. One of the biggest successes we had was when the little boy, at the age 5, was finally able to recognize his letters and there sounds. That may not sound like a big deal to everyone, but to us, and him especially, it was a very big deal.

He was also struggling with teachers saying “he can’t sit still” and “he’s uncontrollable”. I realized he just needed someone to have a little patience and understanding. I worked with him everyday and he learned what he needed in order to get into a private kindergarten where he excelled. I remember the day that his acceptance letter came in the mail. We were all so excited and proud of him and even more, he was proud of himself. Those are the types of successes I work for.

How would you explain to a parent that you are “Not Just a Nanny”?

  • What are some of your best qualities that make you a great nanny and how does that explain you are “Not Just a Nanny”?

I see myself as a “need filler”.  I do not just come in everyday, work, then go home. I am constantly looking for ways to help the parents I work for engage the kids. In my last position, I went from a part-time fill in nanny to eventually being a full time family manager. I’m always looking for ways to help and became an invaluable part of their family team. I still manage the kids calendars, even though I am no longer their nanny.

  • Give us an example of when you feel you went the extra mile for a family/child(ren)?

With my previous family, I registered to be a volunteer at the school they went to. It was a requirement of each family of the school, but at the time, their parents were not able to. I offered to volunteer so they could meet their requirements. The kids loved it when I show up to their school, and I think it really helped the family out.

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