Part of what eased my transition back to work was our amazing nanny. In addition to being super warm and loving with the kids, she is also creative and thrifty (two of my favourite characteristics!!).
I put egg cartons in the recycling...she pulls them out and makes catapilars with the kids.
I put massive cardboard boxes in the recycling...she pulls them out and makes life size art of the kids!
Brilliant (and a bit creepy to look at...they EYE me even when they are asleep in bed!)