Bubble Bars and…The Help

Over the years we’ve had many babysitters for our children and some have been excellent; the kind where you walk out the door and feel no anxiety.  Others have just been appalling.

When selecting a babysitter the problem is that you’re limited by choice because usually you end up with whoever will say, ‘yes’.  Other factors weighing in are that it would be handy if they could drive or live across the road because there’s nothing worse than arriving home and just before you get out of the car, sitting there arguing about who’s going to drive the babysitter home.

Bubble Bars

One night it was my duty to drive the babysitter home and on the way to her house I was stopped by police for a random breath-test which I managed to pass and then on my way home the mobile RBT unit had moved to the other side of the road and pulled me over again.  I said, ‘You just breatholised me.  You were over there and now you’re here’.  But in deference to common sense, reason and logic, they made me do another test.

We once had a babysitter who went into a coma.  At least that’s what we’re calling it because when we arrived home we couldn’t wake her up.  I had to physically shake her and yell her name into her eardrum and she still wouldn’t wake.  When she did rouse into some sort of semi-conscious state she staggered into the bathroom and shut the door behind her.  I couldn’t get her out of there.  I think she regressed into her catatonic state.  Carl came in from the car asking what on earth was going on as he’d been sitting there for about 20 minutes waiting for her.  We didn’t book her again.

Another girl thought it would be a great idea to throw an object around the house and let the kids run around and see if they could catch it.  Nothing was said when we arrived home and she took our money and Carl drove her home and I went into the dining room and found one of my crystal decanters in pieces with all the shattered glass piled up neatly where the perfect decanter once stood as part of a set of three.  We didn’t book her again.

There was another one we booked but at the last minute she said she couldn’t come (this is fairly standard), but that she had a friend who could come in her place and the friend could drive.  That seemed fair enough so the friend arrived and she did seem a sour little thing but she babysat for the night and when we arrived home I handed her the money and she said, ‘Oh I don’t get paid $10.00 an hour, I charge $15.00’.  This was 10 years ago when $10.00 an hour was generous.  I said, ‘Oh, I thought your friend would have told you we pay babysitters $10.00 an hour’.

‘No, she didn’t but I charge fifteen’.

‘Well I’m sorry about the misunderstanding but I don’t have any more cash so tonight you’ll have to take ten’.

We didn’t book her or her friend again either.

Another night we had a babysitter booked so we could meet friends at a restaurant.  At the last minute our friends’ babysitter cancelled on them (this is fairly standard) so they asked if they could bring their son to our house.  I said that would be perfectly fine.  I then phoned our babysitter and explained the situation about the extra child.  That sorted, I hung up the phone but a few minutes later her mother phoned me and said, ‘As you’re asking my daughter to look after extra children she’ll need to be paid double.’  This is the same mother who told me her daughter was 16 when she was actually 14 so she’d be paid a higher rate.  We didn’t book her again either.

Excellent teenage treats

It seems I’m not alone.  I have a friend who has been using a babysitter who is the 15 year old girl living across the street.  The other day my friend saw the girl’s mother clipping her hedges so stopped for a chat.  The woman remarked what a late night my friend had had the Saturday prior and how amazing to be out so late at her age.  My friend said, ‘No, it wasn’t a late night.  We were home by eleven.’  The woman’s face fell to the floor.  She said, ‘But Catherine didn’t get home until six’.  My friend said, ‘I dropped her here at this gate at 11.02’.  When the woman recovered she said, ‘I was hoping you wouldn’t be so late tonight.’  My friend said, ‘Catherine cancelled on us by text on Wednesday.’  The woman said, ‘Catherine told me this morning she has to be at your house at 7.30pm tonight.’  Awkward!

But the best story would have to be from a friend of mine who told me about a couple she knows who are both doctors and they needed a babysitter to look after their two boys while they were at work.  They found a young lady who they thought was quite suitable until one day they came home early and caught her swearing her head off.  After she left they found a notebook sitting on a table beside their phone and opened it up to find it was the babysitter’s diary.  It was full of appointments for night-time activities involving her other career as a prostitute.

Do you have any babysitting stories?

If you have a good babysitter, it’s always an idea to keep them on side by feeding them well.  These Bubble Bars are a favourite with teenage girls and actually, girls of all ages!

Bubble Bars

Makes:  16

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This is a very inexpensive treat.  There’s only five ingredients and they can be found in most pantries.

  •  124g (4 oz) butter
  • 2 tbspns honey
  • 4 oz brown sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 4 cups rice bubbles

In a small saucepan bring butter, honey and sugar to boil.  Boil for 3 mins then add vanilla extract.  Stir to combine, then add coconut and rice bubbles.  When combined, pour into a 20cm x 20cm tin and press down.  Cut into squares while still warm.  Allow to set in fridge.

This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.

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  1. Oh my!  I love the one where the girl was ‘outed’ by your friend to the mother.  I wish I had stories, but I’ll have to enjoy yours instead!

  2. These bars are the perfect treat for anyone. Yummy!!!

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oh dear! Sounds like you’ve definitely had your share of “unusual” babysitters! :O

  4.  My gosh I LOVE your babysitter stories…I really feel for you for having had so many bad ones in the past, but they sure turn into funny stories to tell after. 😀

  5. Those are some stories Charlie! Here in Canada the kids have to take a St John’s Ambulance baby sitting course. Not sure if it makes them more responsible. My SIL uses her old Nanny from time to time, it’s more expensive than a kid but then again you won’t find her booking appointment s for her night job!
    We call those bars Rice Crispie Squares! They are very tasty.

  6. Niasunset says:

    Wonderful post again and I loved these bars, Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia 

  7. Darcie Cash says:

    Wow, you have had some real interesting “experiences” with babysitters!  And, it sounds like Miss Catherine had some “explaining” to do. Haha!

  8. We hired very few babysitters when our kids were young, but our favorite was a teenager around the block who was an absolute delight.  She is now an attorney, specializing in civil rights issues.  We lucked out!

  9. FiSh SzeHui says:

    your kid is alright after changing so many babysitters? usually kids will cry and refuse the new ones..

    Latest: 100 Years Old Creation

  10. 15 dollars an hour.

    shooot, i need to start babysitting.  

    where do you live?!!  x

  11. The only interesting story I have is the time the baby rolled/fell off the couch. Her sister, two years older, told us. The babysitter did not. Needless to say I was not a happy mama.

  12. I have been a babysitter lots of times and awkward things happen to us too!!! Like for example I babysit my neighbours many time, they gave me 10€/hour and they were 8 kids but that’s not all as many times I also had to babysit for friends of them who had also many, many kids, it was like being a teacher for kids of all ages and being paid nothing hahaha I still can’t believe how I actually babysitted for them for so many years and nothing bad ever happened!!!!!

  13. gardencorrespondent says:

    I love that these are called Bubble Bars. And Rice Crispies is such a boring name compared to rice bubbles. I want to get in a tub full of rice bubbles!

  14. Bubble bars! I’ve never heard of them. They look sooooooo good. And talk about some horrifying babysitting stories. For now we have a family around, but I dread the day when Mike’s parents retire to Florida. 

  15. As frustrating as they are, these stories make for great anecdotes:) My girls cannot wait to start babysitting and I know that I have a lot to teach them before they let the neighbors know they are available:) 

  16. I think I was quite lucky with babysitters, or maybe I just didn’t discover what they were really up to!  Love the Bubble Bars great for the Glam Teens. GG

  17. A_boleyn says:

    My brother and I were latch-key kids and never DID have a babysitter and I’ve never had any children so I haven’t any babysitter stories. Which makes me quite thankful based on your stories.

    In Canada/US, similar bars are made with the commercial cereal, Rice Krispies, melted marshmallows and butter, and they’re called rice krispies squares. Very tasty and quick to make using the microwave to melt the marshmallows and butter and then stirring in the cereal.

  18. Choc Chip Uru says:

    I’m lucky and have never had to have a babysitter because my grandparents are with us – your stories tell me my parents would have had a hell of a time trying to find one!

    Gorgeous bars of course – cant resist 3-4 at least 😉


  19. Barbara at winos and foodies says:

    I used to make those bars and always added a packet of marshmellows.

    We once had a babysitter booked thru a agency that boasted the sitters were all lovely grannies. It was during the day. When we arrived home around 5pm we were met at the door with the words “thanks be to the lord,, thank god you are home, I’ll never babysit these children again”. My boys were two and three at the time. She had left them in the bedroom where they stripped off , undid the window, climbed out, crossed the road to our friends for a swim in their pool. Our friends were home and returned the boys to the babysitter, who was not aware they were missing.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Unbelievable Barbara! How could she not have realised they were not there! And they must have been gone a while too. What a hopeless babysitter xx

  20. Amazing stories, Charlie!  Am glad there were good ones sprinkled in among these (now) amusing ones.  I was so lucky with baby-sitters as I live in Mexico and had access to warm, loving sitters who were connected to me via the women who cleaned my house.  Lucky indeed.

  21. Loved these stories. Surprisingly, I have no stories of my own. Our sitters were all a ok. Well, at least what we know!

  22. GourmetGetaway says:

    FAR OUT!!! I used to babysit when I was a teenager and I got stuck with the bad families!! I used to have to cook the childrens dinner (which I didn’t mind), but before I could get at the kitchen sink I needed to do a weeks worth of washing up!!

    We don’t usually have babysitters, I have always dragged my kids around with me with like minded (babysitter destitute) couples.  Now I know why :0

  23. I had some pretty bad families when I used to babysit. One kid picked up my tan leather handbag and threatened then proceeded to draw on it and then took my can of drink and tipped it down the sink.

    Nothing beats the kid my sister looked after who chased after her with a knife.

    A friend recently told me about a babysitter who seemed fantastic and one night they came home to find her very very drunk. 

    By strange cooincidence I was digging in my pantry this morning and thought ‘I really need to get rid of these rice bubbles!’

  24. I used to love making bars like this but for some reason haven’t done so for ages – perhaps you were right about the appeal for teenagers and I’ve started to develop mature tastes!

    Also, I hope Catherine’s mother took her in hand 😛

  25. Juliet Batten says:

    I’m amazed at how many bad luck stories you have! I hope you have some tales of good fortune to balance them out.

  26. These babysitter stories are terrifying and hilarious!  I spent a great deal of my youth earning money as a babysitter and I took that job VERY seriously.  I would have been very happy to find a plate of these treats to snack on whilst babysitting!

  27. Uh oh! This just about puts me off having kids…Guess the grandparents will have to be enlisted if I ever want to go out!

  28. I think these stories are good reminders for why I want to be as available as possible for my daughter when she needs a babysitter. The idea of my granddaughters being with someone who lapses into a coma…LOL! I make a similar bar, but mine doesn’t have coconut! That would be a heavenly addition. I must try that! Debra

  29. InTolerant Chef says:

    We were lucky and rarely needed sitters, but we did once use a girl from church and came home to find her and her boy friend curled up on the couch together. Another time my friends daughter was booked so she and I could go out, but then she turned up with her husband as a substitute instead, he is a lovely man but it freaked out my little daughter who had planned a lovely girly tea party 🙂
    Maybe if I had made some of these yummy snacks the night would have been more successful?

  30. We have something similar like this in the Philippines its called rice puffs, nearly the same concept but its rice coated in caramel then formed into balls, we do puff our own rice as well.

  31. Good lord. That post makes me happy that I don’t have a need for babysitters. Luckily, my sister has several family members who love to take my nieces whenever she’s in need of a babysitter.

  32. WOW!!!  Those are some crazy babysitter stories, LOL!  I do not have kids, but I remember my personal stories…..and well trying to forget them too, LOL!  I love that you named them bars Bubble Bars, what a fun name:-) Hugs, Terra

  33. I have yet to find a babysitter I am comfortable with besides my parents. Actually we did have one, who was my boys kindy teacher but she charge $25 an hour to look after the three of them, her fees ended up costing as much as our night out! I’m glad I didnt read thi when I was 16 as I would have totally been impressed with the idea of going out after babysitting duties and telling mum, the parents were out late! 😉

  34. Arabella says:

    These are soooo good

  35. I love your sitters stories mine is a lot different. My kids grew up partly in the Philippines and the dynamics of having help there is different.  We have help 24/7 as in they live with you.  I have 3 kids and had 3 nannies for them.  When we came here to the US they were big enough that I didn’t need any sitters for them…  good grief!

  36. Hahhaa these stories are both funny and kind of scary…and I can’t believe how that mother tried to lie to you that her daughter was 16 just to get more money of you…gosh…i’ve actually never had a baby sitter before….it was either mum, my sisters, friends coming over or lol i just stayed at hoome 😛  OOO i wanna try these Bubble Bars!

  37. ChgoJohn says:

    I can just hear the doctors’ kids. “Do you remember the time Mom & Dad hired a prostitute for a babysitter?” Hopefully, they’ll be retelling the tale to friends and not a shrink.  🙂

  38. OMG what stories. I have had some troubles but nothing like these!

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