Sunday, October 7, 2012

Babysitting Manners & Etiquette for Young Ladies

We recently had a "Manners & Etiquette" class for the 12 & 13 year old girls (Beehives) in our church youth group.  I was asked to do a segment on Babysitting Manners & Etiquette for them.  In order to make my presentation more complete, I asked my Facebook friends for contributions... and boy, did it get people fired up!  As it turns out, many of the experiences my friends had with their babysitters weren't isolated incidents.  They were shared.  [Apparently, babysitters these days need a little training!]  I was able to fit each suggestion into one of three categories: "Do," "Don't Do" and "Know."


  • For an infant, keep a log of when they ate and how much, when they were changed, etc for the parents.
  • Do any chores the parents asked you to do (like rinse off dishes).
  • Put the kids to bed on time (not too early, not late) and in their pajamas, not their clothes/shoes, and with teeth brushed.
  • Close curtains/blinds and turn on the front porch light when it gets dark.  Keep the front door locked at all times.
  • Clean up after yourself and the kids -- leave the house cleaner than you found it.
  • Give the kids your full attention at all times -- play with them!
  • Bring your own snacks/sack lunch if you'll be there a while.
  • Change diapers, especially poopy ones!  If you aren't willing to change diapers, don't babysit kids in diapers. 
  • Be kind to house pets or leave them alone.
  • At least rinse dishes and stack them neatly in the sink -- even better, load them into the dishwasher.


  • Do not go into the parent's bedroom (unless the crib is in there).
  • Do not talk on the phone/text/play iPod or video games (ok once kids are asleep and house is tidy).
  • Do not yell or raise your voice to the kids.
  • Do not invite anyone over without prior approval from the parents -- NO BOYS, PERIOD.
  • Do not open the door for anyone.
  • Do not eat anything unless the parents offer it for you to have while you are there (ok to eat what the kids are eating).
  • Do not watch movies/TV unless the parents said it was okay, and never the whole time.
  • Do not use the computer/internet while babysitting.
  • Do not put the kids to bed with snacks (sticky/crumbs in bed - yuck!)
  • Do not take the kids anywhere, even if the park is close by.


  • Know where the address and parents' phone numbers are written in case of an emergency.
  • Know basic child development: infant, toddler, preschooler -- for instance, know how to calm a fussy baby (do not ignore the baby!)
  • Know basic first aid/choking/CPR
  • Know where the parents will be if you can't get a hold of them in an emergency on their cell phone.
  • Know that kids tell their parents everything... and often ask for a specific sitter they like.  Behave accordingly!
  • Know if the kids have any allergies or restrictions on what they can eat or do.
  • Know what the expectations/rules are for the kids and let the parents know if there were any problems.
  • Know basic safety (don't leave kids unattended in the tub, don't leave knives within reach of kids, supervise kids when eating,etc.)
  • Know some fun games to play with the kids to keep them entertained (however, hide and seek is not necessarily a good idea)
  • Know what your fee will be when people ask.  Know what a fair asking price is for babysitters in your area.  (When you are paid, don't count your money in front of the parents.)

As a follow up to this segment, and because of the responses I received from friends, we have decided to teach a babysitting series of classes ranging from first aid/CPR to child development and ending with putting together a babysitting kit with things and ideas to keep kids entertained.  [For those who are LDS, if you teach a full series that takes 10 or more hours to complete, the girls who participate in all the activities can count it for a Personal Progress Value Project for Knowledge.]  

Interestingly enough, we determined that in many instances, parents who are hiring babysitters need a few tips on etiquette and manners as well.  Such as: leave the babysitter with a basically tidy/clean house, pay a little extra if the babysitter goes above and beyond, arrange a babysitter ahead of time (like 24 hours, at least) and not wait till the last minute, commit to a time you'll be home and call if you're running late, etc.  These came from the girls doing the babysitting.  :)

Feel free to comment with additional ideas for babysitting manners & etiquette you would add to this list for the benefit of other readers.  We just expect that many of our young ladies simply know how to babysit and care for children, but when we educate them, they can become much better and more valuable babysitters for our children and our communities!


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chore Charts & Kid Bucks

I've had many requests lately for my Chore Charts and Kid Bucks System in the pre-assembled/shipped format, so I've added that listing again to my Etsy Shop.  Check it out!  :)


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Sunday, August 5, 2012


My new favorite quote! :)

If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Homemade Frozen Cookie Dough

Is there anything better than warm, just-out-of-the-oven cookies?  Have you ever purchased one of those tubs of frozen cookie dough from your child's school fundraiser and wished you could have the convenience of the ready-to-bake dough without paying an arm and a leg for it?  ;)

Making cookie dough to keep in your freezer is really easy and it is an awesome thing to have on hand.  A neighbor's birthday is today?  Take them cookies.  A friend just had her baby?  Take her cookies.  Someone went out of their way to help you out?  Take them cookies.

I like to double my cookie dough recipes when I make cookie dough for the freezer.  It takes me 30 minutes or so and I've got 7-8 dozen cookies that can be hot and gooey in a matter of a few minutes' notice.

1.  Make up a batch (double it) of your favorite cookie dough.  We've done chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and oatmeal raisin and they've all turned out beautifully.

2.  Roll the dough into 1-inch balls.  (For snickerdoodles, also roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.)  Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet or tray that will fit in your freezer.  Place them fairly close together, just not touching each other.

3.  Let them freeze for a minimum of 30-60 minutes, until they are solid on the outside and won't stick together.

4.  Put the frozen dough balls into a gallon-size freezer zip bag.  Label the bag with what type of cookie is in it, and the temperature called for in the recipe.  For the baking time, add 2 minutes. No need to defrost ahead of time.



If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Fudge

Last year, for neighbor and co-worker gifts, I made little boxes of fudge and truffles. I made chocolate fudge, butterscotch fudge, and peppermint fudge along with rich dark chocolate/cream cheese truffles. When I found this recipe for Orange Creamsicle fudge, I knew I had to try it! Everyone I shared it with raved about it. Super yummy!



3/4 C. butter
2 C. sugar
3/4 C. heavy cream
1 package (10-12 oz) white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow cream/fluff
1 T. orange extract
food coloring (5 drops red, 12 drops yellow) to make orange


1. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large, heavy saucepan combine the sugar, cream, and butter over medium heat. Continually stir the mixture until the butter melts and the sugar is completely dissolved.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil and once it starts boiling, stir continuously for 4 minutes (set a timer).

4. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the white chocolate chips and the marshmallow fluff. Stir until smooth.

5. Working quickly, put about 1 C. of the mixture into a bowl and set aside. Add the orange extract and the food coloring to the saucepan, stirring until it is a smooth, even color.

6. Pour the orange fudge into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Drop the white fudge over the orange fudge by the spoonful. Take a butter knife or toothpick and drag it through the fudge to create swirls.

7. Allow the fudge to set at room temperature for 2 hours or in the fridge for 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

If you're curious how I made the other flavors of fudge, it's really quite simple. Start with your basic fudge recipe (this is the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme Fantasy Fudge Recipe, my personal fave):

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz. (340 g) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-oz. (198 g) jar Kraft Marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped nuts (optional - I usually leave them out)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Traditional method:
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts (optional) and vanilla beat till blended. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares.

- For butterscotch, I substituted the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips.
- For peppermint, I used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips but used peppermint extract instead of vanilla and sprinkled the top with crushed peppermint candies before the fudge set (pressing down slightly to get it to stick to the fudge).
- I also thought about making peanut butter fudge using peanut butter chips, but never got that far. I'm sure they'd be yummy too!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, Clever Homemaking friends!


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pinterest Etiquette

Anyone else annoyed when they try to follow a pin on Pinterest, only to get to a blog where you can't find the post that was originally pinned? ;)


p.s. To find me on Pinterest, I am kimijoy357. Happy pinning!

If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dishwasher Trick

Our maintenance guy gave me a pointer the other day when he was fixing our dishwasher and I had to share! Just before you start your dishwasher, run the hot water tap until the water is hot, turn off the tap, then start your dishwasher. Otherwise, you're starting the dishwasher running with COLD water (unless your water heater is in your kitchen, which most aren't). Your dishes will be cleaner because your dishwasher is designed to work with HOT water. It works, trust me! :)


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cleaning with Kids

I tried a different approach this past week when we teamed up as a family to clean house, and it really worked!

I went to each room that needed cleaning and wrote down all the individual tasks that needed doing. I put the list of tasks on a small piece of paper and taped it to the light switch in that room.

Because the cleaning was broken down into small tasks, it all got done! (These lists are for weekly cleaning tasks, not heavy deep cleaning, and we started in the morning when the house was still reasonably tidy.)

For example, the kitchen list looked like this:


dispose of leftovers in fridge

wipe down fridge & dishwasher doors/handles

scour sink & faucet, rinse well

wipe down counters with disinfectant

clean microwave inside & out

clean stove top (& pans), wipe down front

sweep and mop floor

empty trash & recycling

add to the shopping list any supplies needed

The kids would mark off what they completed, but left the lists in place. I came through when they were done and double checked that each task had been completed properly.

There were a few things that I marked with an "M" meaning Mom would do them (toilets, for example). Mostly because I knew otherwise, they wouldn't get done! :)

I typed the lists up and will just print, cut, and tape the lists up next time. There's something about being able to mark something off a list that is incredibly satisfying, even for kids. :)

My house was clean in record time and I was one happy momma!


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Renewed Etsy Listings for Chore Charts

Dear Friends,

I had no idea my Etsy listings had expired for my Chore Charts! Oops! They have been re-listed. Sorry 'bout that! :)


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets

Along the same lines as the mixes post below, I am sharing with you my new favorite "make it at home instead of buy it" money-saving recipe. INSTANT OATMEAL. Those little packets that you have to eat 3 of in order to not be hungry by 10am (ok maybe just 2?). Anyway, all kidding aside, these little things are packed with preservatives and additives. We've recently given up cold cereal at our house (I know, we're crazy!) and this is our g0-to breakfast now. These are generously sized, so they're equal to about 2 of the little packets you buy at the store. You can half the amounts below for little kid packets, but we've got all big kids at our house and these are just the right size for school-age appetites. I spend less than 30 minutes putting these little packets together and we're set for the whole week!



First, process some of your quick oats in the blender or food processor until powdery. How much you process depends on how many packets you're planning to make. Start with processing 1-2 C. and go from there, processing more as needed.

START WITH: 1/2 C. oatmeal (quick works best) + 1/4 tsp. salt + 1/4 C. powdered oats



BROWN SUGAR / CINNAMON: 1-2 T. brown sugar + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

RAISINS / BROWN SUGAR: 1-2 T. brown sugar + 2 T. raisins

CINNAMON RAISIN (my personal fave): 1-2 T. brown sugar + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 2 T. raisins

APPLE CINNAMON: 1-2 T. sugar + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 1/4 C. chopped dried apples

APPLE CINNAMON RAISIN: 1-2 t. sugar + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 2 T. raisins + 2 T. chopped dried apples

FRUIT AND CREAM: 1-2 T. sugar + 2 T. non-dairy coffee creamer + 1/2 C. dried fruit

TO COOK: Empty oatmeal mix into a bowl. Add 1/2-3/4 C. boiling water. Stir and let stand for 2 minutes. Adjust as desired for thinner or thicker oatmeal. Alternately, you can add 1/2-3/4 C. water from the tap, stir, and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Add milk, stir, and enjoy!


A few notes to the above...
- Store in air-tight containers (snack-size baggies are just the right size). Write the flavor with a sharpie on the outside before filling.
- The original recipes I found call for the larger amount of sugar, but we've found the smaller amount to be sufficient. Start with less and add more if needed.
- I usually like to add about twice the given amount of raisins. Yum!
- If you're using dried fruit, make sure it is SOFT. If using bananas, for instance, banana "chips" won't work. They'll be crunchy little bits in your oatmeal. But hey, if you like 'em that way, more power to ya. :)
- The easiest way to chop soft dried fruit is with a pair of kitchen shears.
- Quick oatmeal works best, and you don't have to process any of the oatmeal if you don't want to. Just omit the powdered oatmeal. The processed oatmeal makes the finished product more "mushy" like the store-bought packets, but is not necessary. I like my oatmeal with a little more texture anyway so I forgo processing the oats.
- Look for oatmeal in the bulk foods section at your grocery store. It is usually a lot less expensive than the canisters. Or buy it in a large bag or bucket from your warehouse club store.


If you're reading this on a feed reader or on Facebook, check out the blog homepage at and follow me on twitter @cleverhomeblog