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Elf Antics – Week 1

8 Dec

Ollie was a greater hit than anticipated! He arrived on the evening of December 1st. Unfortunately I was not at the family’s home the evening he arrived to see the excitement ¬†ūüė¶ But I did get to hear all about it! ¬†He arrived on December 1st in the evening in a box with a letter from Santa.¬†IMG_1642 (1)



Mom put the box in the freezer (neat idea I found online) as elf is coming from the north pole after all (the boys are observant and did notice it was cold). Mom put the box on the doorstep and knocked on the door, making it away before the 5-year-old twins could see her. The boys were excited and puzzled to find a box the them and their sister.

The funny part? Dad wasn’t clued in and said “Lets wait until Christmas to open it.” Mom let the boys open it and one of the boys said something about the magic dust, ‘where is it?’ ‘Oh, there it is’ he says as there was glitter that had fallen from a piece of tissue paper (totally not planned). Apparently due to advertising the boys have seen “Elf on a shelf” online, so the other twin said ‘oh, it’s elf on a shelf’

The next morning the boys looked everywhere for elf and couldn’t find him. When they sat down at breakfast they found Ollie hanging from¬†the chandelier, how fun! ¬†They were quite amused by this. When they came home that afternoon the boys told me all about elf, as of course I naturally had no idea about what this unexpected visitor was doing at their home ūüėČ


One boys said, ‘He is alive’ ‘Can you believe it, he really is alive.?!’ I read the letter and read them the part about talking to elf or writing to him, one boy went right to writing him a letter. Which by the way, I only know what a few words are and he refuses to tell us what it says.

Here are some pictures of Ollies first week. Hope you enjoy!



For his first day he was hanging around from the chandelier. The boys were so

amused that he had moved from his shelf near the tv. See the note?


Besides the word red (which was asked to be spelled, I have no idea

what this note says!) I even asked and the writer refused to tell

me what it says. I’ll share with you how I remedy this later


Sledding down banister


For this one, one of the twins had Maw Maw get out of bed and get dressed

to come see! He also reminded Paw Paw that Elf must not be touched.


Toilet paper snowman (they were especially amused by the writing on the mirror)


Getting into the Cheerios


He has some on his face ūüôā


Reading to Toys



Brushing teeth. The boys thought it was funny he made such a mess!


Sitting in wreath with note (Have a good day at school)



I also found some fun rhymes that can be added easily any day with Elf

and gingerbread note cards for a personal note.

These should make some days easy planning!

gingerbread man blank note

Printable Elf Poems

And to show that things get messy before they were neat…


It’s all part of the creative process ūüôā

What’s been your favorite Elf antic so far? We’d all like to hear in the comments below!

Nanny G


Elf Preperation

2 Dec

Happy December!



Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a full day celebrating, enjoying great company and wonderful food!



I’m a planner by nature, Elf’s visit has been thought out in detail. It was so much fun to imagine what and where ‘Oliver Sugar’ will be each day in December around the house. ¬†I started the process by going online and searching images and blogs about Elves that have visited other homes. I compiled all I found on my Elf Pinterest board¬†. Pinterest is great for those of you who haven’t ventured there yet.

Elf has been around since 2005 and is really catching on (likely in part to children talking with one another about it, but also..its so much fun)! The basic idea is that Santa sends an elf to stay with your family for the month of December to keep an eye on the kids for Santa. He gets into some silly antics! He/She goes to the North Pole each night to help Santa in his workshop and returns to your home by morning. Elf moves each day and part of the fun is discovering where he/she will be, as well as what elf was doing while you were sleeping.


The pinterest board has links that have many ideas (often many ideas through one link). I’ve learned through experience that I pin some things on my board for the link and some for the cover picture. The latter being ¬†the case for most of my Elf on a shelf board. (I didn’t want to continue re-clicking the links to see all the the ideas. This way I can easily scroll through my board to see the ideas).

After I found the best of the best from my searching, I compiled a list of everything I needed to do to get elf ready for his arrival (see list directly below, which I’ll expand on). What’s fun about Elf is that one can make him/her as simple and easy as they’d like, or can get really involved (I tend to be in the later camp ūüėČ ). See my pdf links below for my lists and ideas.

Purchase elf

Hack Elf

Name elf

Arrival Mode

Letter from Santa   LetterfromSanta

Elf Rules 

Elf Antics ElfAntics

Reasons Elf didn’t move¬†Elfdidntmovebecause

Departure note/gift 

Purchase Elf

Elf can be purchased online or at some bookstores. ¬†After purchasing elf and hacking him, I’m puzzled why he isn’t made with bendable arms/legs. After some more searching, ¬†I’d likely go with¬†this collection of Elves¬†in the future. From what I understand, they come with bendable arms and legs…plus they come with other accessories as part of their arrival kit. I’ve never seen one in person but they look superior in workmanship than the traditional elf on a shelf. Plus they are only a few dollars more than the elf on a shelf version. Apparently they have local stores, so I plan to take a look and see them in person sometime! The only downside I can think of with these elves is that they have a fabric face rather than a plastic one¬†(This could make certain antics more challenging or impossible).

Hack Elf

The elf hack (or surgery as I like to call it) is not necessary but will make it possible for your elf to stay in different positions. Elf is made out of felt and has floppy arms and legs. When he arrived I frowned after taking him out of the box (despite the fact of seeing him online and others describing how floppy he was, actually seeing and experiencing him in person was, disappointing). Its odd to me that he’s $30 dollars and there is not much to him (I suspect the book that comes with him costs much more than the elf himself).



Interested in a hack tutorial? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll write a blog post about it. ūüôā

Name Elf

I knew with time the right name would come to me. I started with a list of names (Zippy, Blitz, Elfie, Ralph, Louie, Jingle, Jangle), Then it hit me one day. MawMaw calls the children pet names (said with the best New Orleans accent of course ūüôā ) ‘Sugar Bugger’ ‘Sugar Lovie Dovie’ ‘Sugar Plum.’ Why not call the Elf Sugar? Then the Scholastic books arrived from school, and I was drawn to the story ‘The Littlest Elf.’ In the book the elf’s name is Oliver. So the name Oliver Sugar was born. His nicknames are Sugar, Ollie or Ollie Sugar.¬†

As with every aspect of Elf, his name and how it is chosen is as unique as each family. Some choose to write something in the letter from Santa about allowing the children to name the elf.

For this family, we decided the adults would name the elf and introduce him to the family already named (less argument over choosing one name, and the bonus of a name we enjoy saying everyday)

Arrival Mode

There are many ways your elf can arrive to your home. The most common way I found was in a box at your front door. Subsequent years Elf seems to arrive in different ways. Many put a letter from Santa in the box explaining why Elf is here and the rules surrounding his stay. I’ve seen him arriving subsequent years in a small toy car with other characters or in a sleigh near the front door with a trail of magic (glitter) dust behind him (with a sign saying: ‘I’m back!’), and arriving in a parachute or hot air balloon.


Santa Letter

The box elf arrives in to your home often contains a letter from Santa. In all my searches, I found these three to be the best overall ¬†nice printable letter, great letter & blog, and this one¬†(Letters are on the bottom of each blog post page). I’d recommend looking at these letter to see the different aspects and rules in each one has as well at the values each family would like to instill. The religious letters which talk about forgiveness and not having the naughty and nice list were neat perspectives. Worth a thought of including some of these if they are important to you and your family.

Here is an example of a letter I put together for the children (link below)


Along the ideas of choosing to have Santa part of your tradition…I ran across this wonderful letter a mother wrote her daughter about the Truth of Santa and thought it was such a magnificent way to do so! If your on the fence about adding the belief in Santa to your tradition I’d encourage you to give her blog post and letter a read. The time a child would believe in Santa is such a short time frame and really allows them to use their imagination (and you to enjoy the wonder along with them)!

Elf Rules

From my research, it seems most families have elf be the eyes and ears for Santa in December. Many elves are reporting back to Santa each evening to determine on whether they will be on the naughty or nice list. While I do like to encourage children to make great choices, it seems odd to only encourage that for one month. Children should be given gifts regardless of behavior (unconditional love) and not be threatened with empty words (I mean who really don’t give a gift to a child if they are able to?) Elf apparently flies back to the North Pole each evening to help Santa and then is back ¬†by morning, appearing somewhere new around the house. Most elves are not to be touched at all or they’ll lose their magic dust and won’t move the next day. They also don’t move is there was behavior that was not so great.

For my charges impulse control can be a challenge and likely impossible for the boys not to touch Elf. We have decided what works for us is to allow the children to touch elf upon finding him and then putting him up in his ‘home’ spot, likely next to the tv (which is up out of reach). ¬†The children will have to leave him alone during the day or he may not move the next day.

There should be much thought and careful consideration as to how to introduce Elf to your family. He/She should emcompass the beliefs and values you’d like your children to have. Each elf is as unique as the family they visit, make it fun!

Elf Antics


Now that everything else is done… on to the fun part! I have so many ideas for elf, enough for at least two years of Decembers. I’ve decided the easiest way is to make a calendar, like this one (picture of calendar below)¬†and have everything already prepared. I’ve attached a pdf of a master list I compiled, if lists are your thing. I have an easy and involved list (for those nights/mornings when something quick works best). I’ll post a weekly blog post with pictures of what Sugar has been up to this week.


Here is a link with all the antics (enough for over 2 years!)

Reasons Elf Didn’t Move

There will be days/nights when Elf may not move. I’ve found some fun ideas for those days when you weren’t able to get it all together, or the kids behavior just didn’t match up with expectations. I’ve attached a pdf Elfdidntmovebecause¬†for a list I made from this and this post.

Phew, you catch all that?! This is a long post (obviously), as I wanted this to be an all inclusive post so that you can know what you are getting into. Research is fun for me, so I’ve taken the work out of it for you by giving you a overall idea and plan for Elf. Have questions or ideas? As always I appreciate the dialog and ideas you put in the comment section below (I’ll do my best to check comments often this month, so you’ll have a reliable source during the hustle bustle of the month for any questions you may have.)

I anticipate the fun and wonder Ollie will bring this month.

See you soon!

Nanny G


IMG_1642 (1).jpg

p.s. anyone know how to post a picture of a pdf to post in my blog?

Sugar the Elf

19 Nov




Elf after



Hello blog followers! Its been a long time since I’ve posted and much has happened since my last post. I’m writing to you from the sunny south this time and have enjoyed my time here (sunshine’s always a good thing in my book). Decided on reviving my long neglected blog with Elf on a Shelf this year.

I’ve considered having an elf visit a home for quite some time and this year I’m in luck! Sugar the Elf will be visiting the charges I care for and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this process. It’s not official that his name will be Sugar but I’ll call him that for now until he has his official name.

I’m excited to be sharing my adventures with you from this very fun and busy household. As always, I appreciate comments on what you’d like to see here.

I’ve scoured the internet for the best ideas on everything elf and look forward to sharing a full post with you the week after Thanksgiving on how I worked through the process of getting him ready for his month visit.¬†I’ve ‘hacked’ him, or as I like to say given him surgery, thought of tons of ideas, have a long list of to-do’s, written a rough draft of a letter from Santa (no joke, at least enough for 2 Christmas seasons thanks to Pinterest).¬†Leave comments below on what you’d like to see in this post and I’ll do my best to include what you’d like to see. What would be the most fun and helpful for you to prepare your Elf visit? Here is Sugar before ‘surgery’

elf before

Elf before ‘hack’

I’m excited to be back and look forward to hearing from you all. What’s new in your lives? Have you ever done Elf on the shelf? If you have I’d love links/comments to your favorite ideas!

Thanksgiving is one week away, can you believe it?! Where did 2015 go?

Nanny G


Kool-aide twist

28 Oct

I have seen and done the shaving cream and paint idea with Mack several times. Have never tried it with Little One because he is still putting things in his mouth. Plus, I have never liked the smell of shaving cream. (If anyone has found one that smells decent, please let me know!)

Came up with my own twist to this one that even little one can do. You will need Kool-aide (non sweetened) and whipping cream. I just purchased the already made kind in the squirt can but one could make their own as well. Simply squirt little piles of whipped cream  and sprinkle with kool-aide.

This worked great for Little One. He was a little leery of the idea initially but then really had some fun with it! As observed from prior behavior he did try the mixture. Didn’t care too much for it though ūüôā I am guessing the kool-aide has a bitter flavor to it.




Think outside the box,

Nanny G


Wacky Wednesday-Pipe Cleaners

25 Oct

Last week I left you with the challenge of pipe cleaners. What did you come up with, can’t wait to see!

Here is what Mack, Little one and I came up with

Create a design and blow bubbles with them

Get a colander and let them have some fun!

This kept them preoccupied for about 30 minutes the first time ūüôā

Also there were enough pipes and holes that they shared splendidly!

Noticed when doing this the difference between the two kids. Mack holds the pipe cleaners¬†towards the bottom and Little one holds them towards the top. Little one is learning he has better control when holding them towards the bottom. Fun to watch his eye hand coordination at work as well as his brain ūüôā

Mack came up with the idea to make arches with them!

We also made the shapes of flowers and animals, which I didn’t take pictures of.

I am certain there are many more ideas and as we come up with more, I will add them!

Hope that was as much fun for you as it was for us!

What ideas did you come up with this week? Appreciate if you leave your ideas in the comments below to share with all of us!

This weeks challenge

Find¬†two opportunities for RAC’s (random acts of kindness). Purchase someones coffee, leave a random¬†encouraging¬†note, open the door for someone. Be creative and see what you come up with!


Nanny G

As a side note: Some of these ideas I spotted on Pinterest. The links did not work when I clicked them.

Memory Monday

15 Oct

Here we are with the start of Memory Monday, the very first one.  I looking forward to this new schedule, it gives me a mission with my blogs. This past week I have several memories that stick out to me.

Little one is a pro walker now, sure keeps me active. He is starting to say many words; ball, No!, uh-oh, being his favorites (right along side Mama and Dada). I had forgotten how watching and observing a child learn to speak is so rewarding. He tried very diligently to say the word banana, carefully watching my mouth move and sounding out parts of the word.

One of my favorite moments with him was during a time I was rocking him for an afternoon nap. He heard an airplane and immediately sat up and pointed up at the ceiling. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed at the distraction from sleep, but sleep came soon enough.  Little one observes the smallest things,  he notices airplanes and birds, often before I do. Not to mention he is a pro at finding the littlest things in the most obscure places.

Always noticing the airplanes

Mack said ‘I love you’ for the first time this week. I was getting set to leave for the evening and he wanted a big hug. He then gave me the most genuine ‘I love you, Sarah’, I have every heard. ¬†Aww, doesn’t that just melt your heart?! Sure does mine.

He also made some choices on his own that lead to a great opportunity for both of us. While putting his brother down for a nap he had a stack of new library books to look at. ¬†It was taking a while to get his brother down, due to the distraction of the airplanes as¬†described¬†above. Naturally, he finished the books before I was finished. He made the decision to get out his markers and a pad of paper. Upon emerging from his brother’s room I found him sitting on the couch drawing intently, which brought a smile to my face. This lead to a great discussion about patience. We (parents and I) have been reminding him to be patient. Patience has been a challenging concept for him to grasp. This was a great opportunity to let him know he made a choice in being patient. Also a reminder to him (and myself) that patience is waiting until someone is¬†finished¬†with something, often finding something else to do while waiting. He also made the choice¬†to draw, as opposed to the many things he could have chosen to do (which has been the case in past times). I let him know that he made a good choice by coloring, I also let him know I was proud of his patience. This brought a smile that couldn’t have been any broader.

I am blessed with wonderful memories from this past week. Looking forward to sharing with you my memories next week.

Catch you on Wednesday for Wacky Wednesday and the first challenge, your ready for this?  The challenge will not be too challenging, more fun and creative!

What memories do you have from this week?

Do you have a little one just starting to use identifiable words?

I would enjoy hearing about ideas or thoughts on this post in the comments below.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Make marvelous memories this week!

Nanny G


14 Oct


It has been a while, far too long! Why has it been so long? ¬†Shall we say…type A, perfectionism, and lack of inspiration? ¬†Think that pretty much hits the nail on the head. It isn’t that I don’t want to blog, I enjoy¬†immensely writing about my days with the boys and documenting the¬†activities¬†we do.¬†¬†It is often that I get hung up on making a post perfect. Realize that keeping to a schedule will help inspire me (plus I recently pinned many new things!).

A friend recently sent me a link to a blog I rather enjoyed. The gal who writes the blog has a structure to how she posts things and I rather like that idea. She posts every day, which is a bit advantageous for me at this point. Felt the following was a bit realistic for me currently. My hope is that it will inspire and get this blog going! The following days are days I will post something new.

I also ran into a fun mom and her five boys today while shopping. We started chatting and I gave her both my blog and pinterest information. She stated that she is looking for inspiration of things to do with her three year old (as her other four are back in school). She said it is challenging to figure out things to do with him as his siblings normally entertained him. Let me say, she is not alone, I have heard this from several mothers.

It is for such a purpose that I write both my blogs! My hope is that mothers, nannies, governesses, and caregivers can find a place for inspiration and connection. That being said, I absolutely enjoy hearing from my readers (you guide this blog by your interest and comments). If you did a project, how did it turn out?

Here is my proposed posting schedule (subject to change at my discretion, but I will let you know if I decide to change it up!)

Monday– Memory Monday. I will share a memory from the past week.

Tuesday-Trip Tuesday (every other week) I will tell you about a trip we took, the fun we had and potential challenges we faced.

Wednesday-Wacky Wednesday (This will be a challenge day, a day where I give you (the reader) a challenge. Take that week to complete the challenge and post your results in next weeks comment section!)

Saturday-Craft/Activity post. I will post a craft or activity we did that week.

Have an idea for a theme day? I would enjoy hearing about it in the comments below!

Have a wonderful day,

catch you for Memory Monday!

Nanny G

Shhh…..Don’t tell!

15 Jun

Fathers Day is coming up and I have been looking for the perfect gift. Pinterest had many ideas but none that really struck my fancy. I wanted something simple and classy. This idea originally came from pinterest, the fact that I used an apron. Dad likes to grill so I thought what a great way to give something useful as well as creative.

For this project you will need:

  • An apron (I used black)
  • Fabric paint
  • Paper plate (s)
  • Baby wipes

I purchased the apron at Williams Sonoma and was surprised it was just under $20.00. It is cotton and nice and sturdy, plus I love the cut. Paper plates are not a have to but they sure make the job easier on cleanup!

I looked online to find a suitable saying and laid my design out on paper first. The puff paints were a bit challenging to use, but I managed. The time I gave myself for this project was limited so I had to have the kids put their hand prints on while the writing was still drying (not ideal, but it turned out!).



Here is the finished product. Shhh…don’t tell, it is a surprise for fathers day (We’ll see how long Mack can keep that secret)!


What is your favorite memory of your Father?

Have a neat gift you have given?

Happy with the results!

Nanny G

First project!

7 Apr

Well, here we are with the first project done with the boys. Have to say it was a success.

This day was my second with the boys. The snow had melted and only a light jacket was needed to be outside. After a bit-o-sunscreen on our faces, out we went.  We all just pretty much stayed in the sandbox.  Little one*  kept leaning back and looking up at the sky, nearly tipping over as he did so (think he only managed to actually tip once.).  He had me laughing a few times!

It was really nice to be in their moments with them. Children are very in the moment little people. ¬†We also enjoyed listening and spotting the many airplanes in the blue sky. ¬†Mack* was ¬†really enjoying looking for them as he heard the sound they made. There was never a time he was not equally amazed at the next one’s appearing.

Another fun moment was when I was putting Little One down for a nap. Apparently I forgot to turn the fan in the hallway on and Mack runs up and opens the door and says (in his cute high squeaky 4 year old voice)

“You forgot to turn on the fan!”

“Thank You” I said, while tying to be a bit quiet as Little One was nodding off.

Apparently Mack didn’t hear because he pokes his head in the door and says, “Can you say Thank you?”

“Thank you” I said.

It took everything within me not to burst out laughing. I have been working on asking not telling adults what to do and he was simply putting into action what I was teaching him.  Loved this moment!

Oh, the first project you say? Patience, here it is.  We did paint in a bag.  It is a project that, surprise, surprise, I found on pinterest.  The original idea can be found on the feeling Lovesome blog Erin, the blog owner has worked 3 years as a preschool teacher and has some wonderful ideas!

This project is great for when you may be cooking and need something for the kids to work on while you are working. What is nice is that the mess stays in the bag. Believe me there are plenty of times they will have fun with sand, water, and finger paints. Sometimes it is nice to have an easy cleanup project.  Beware that little ones may want to bite the bag, so supervision is always necessary.

Mixing colors and  hand-eye coordination are a few things they will take away from this project.  Adding extra objects will allow them to experiment with what kinds of tracks different object make.

What you will need for this project:

  • Gallon zip lock bags
  • Washable finger paint (in a variety of colors)
  • Strong tape
  • Optional: objects such as crayons, cars, etc

Next  open all the paint lids

( I find this useful so I can have my other hand to keep the bag open)

With one hand hold bag open and squeeze desired amount of paint into bag

Then seal bag

To secure bag more add the tape

All set!

Add different object for added fun!


* the terms “Little one” and “Mack” will be used throughout this blog ¬†as the names of my charges I work with, ¬†to protect their identity. ¬†I came up with the terms because the 11 mo. old is so tiny and cute I can’t help but call him “Little one.” Mack is pretty self¬†explanatory¬†in that the 4 year old is obsessed with ¬†Cars!

Did you enjoy this post? Let me know what you enjoyed about it  by leaving a comment below.

On to the next project… what will it be?

(hint, it has jello as an ingredients)

Nanny G

Sneak Peak!

4 Apr

So I spent today enjoying the snow here. Learning to scrape very wet snow off my car and navigating ¬†the area. I went to a store that I have said I would rather die than go there again…but you know what?! This particular store that stats with a “W” wasn’t like any of the others I have been in, anywhere! That is a good thing. I truly dislike this store and supporting it, but given the weather and my lack of knowing what stores are and where…I decided this would be worth a shot! Phew…long sentence there…o.k., breathe..given the altitude here..o.k. now I can continue!

I planned some activities for the boys this morning and am so excited to see how they like them tomorrow! Here is a sneak peak at what their activities will have. After purchasing the supplies I was so giddy! Seeing my planning in action was so much fun for me. Thanks to ideas on pinterest, tomorrow will be one fun day.  Stay tuned and I will fill you in on the next post!

Can you name all  the  items I purchased? I will send a postcard to the first person who can name all items.   Ready, set, go!

Nanny GImage

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