Posted by Christine Connally on May 10, 2013
I just saw this on Facebook and I thought it was such a simple idea that could really make your kids day. Imagine if you were a kid and every day when you open your lunch box, you find a different drawing on your sandwich bag.
The person who made the designs here just uses colored Sharpie markers on regular ziploc lunch bags. Check out his Flickr album for lots of inspiration. This is something you could start right now at the end of the school year or plan for next school year. The designs can be simple, so you don’t need to be a great artist to make this special. You can decorate the baggies ahead of time or get up early and enjoy some art time before the kids get up. The possibilities are endless! If you give this a try, I would love to see some of your creations, so please share.
Posted by Christine Connally on Apr 23, 2013
We are lucky to have Six Flags America amusement park in our cluster area. Since lots of au pairs have expressed interest in going there, I wanted to share some tips on how to get the best deal on admission.
Prices and offers are subject to change. This info is correct as of 4/23/13. Check website for specifics.
Six Flags has Season Passes for $49.99+tax per person, if you buy them in packs of 4. If you can get together with some friends to take advantage of this deal. If you buy less than 4 season passes, they are $59.99+tax per person.
Single-day Admission to Six Flags is $39.99-59.99, depending on whether you buy them online or at the gate. So, it is a much better deal to get the season pass.
If you decide not to get a season pass, you should buy your Single-day Online Ticket in advance to $15-20 off the price you would pay at the gate.
Season pass and other tickets may be purchased here on the Six Flags website.
Other costs to consider
Parking – Single Day ($20) or Season Pass ($50)
Food & Drinks – Meals are approx $15
You are not allowed to bring outside food and drinks inside. To save money you can pack a lunch and keep it in the car. There is a picnic area in the parking lot where you can go out and eat lunch and then re-enter the park. Make sure to get your hand stamped on the way out in order to be able to re-enter the park that day.
Discount Tickets for Other Amusement Parks
MNCPPC offers discount admission tickets to Six Flags, Kings Dominion, Hershey Park and several other amusement parks in neighboring states. Those are available at community centers in Prince George’s County. Check the PG Parks website for details.
Posted by Christine Connally on Apr 18, 2013
Last weekend we had a cluster meeting enjoying the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and going paddle boating on the Tidal Basin. As a lifetime resident of the DC area, this was my first time doing either of those things! We had a beautiful day.
Posted by Christine Connally on Apr 10, 2013
We have been talking about taxes at our Coffee Meetings since January and the deadline for filing is almost here.
Here are some of the basic questions:
Who is supposed to file taxes? – All au pairs who made $3800 or more in the calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31.) Au pairs who made less than $3800, are not required to file a tax return for 2012.
Will all au pairs have to pay something? – No, it depends on when you arrived and how much money you earned last year.
When are 2012 taxes due? – April 15, 2013
Where can I get the tax form? - 1040NR-EZ Form
Where can I get the instruction booklet? – 1040NR-EZ Booklet
Where can I get detailed information and see a sample au pair tax form? – APIA Tax Info for Au Pairs
Where should I mail my tax return form?
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 1303
Charlotte, NC 28201-1303
How do I write a check or money order? – Check here
How do I address an envelope? – Check here
Posted by Christine Connally on Apr 4, 2013
Every community needs volunteers. If the children are too young to help at a food pantry or soup kitchen you can simply take a trash bag and clean up a local park to make it more pleasant for everyone. Be sure to wear plastic gloves and don’t touch broken glass.
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 20, 2013
Take a walk outside and look for signs of spring – swelling buds on the trees, flowers poking up from the ground, more birds back in the trees.
Photo by: Thomas Quine
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 17, 2013
St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17, because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It has become a holiday all around the world, where everyone can share in the fun and be Irish for the day.
Fun Ideas with the Kids
St. Patrick’s Day Recipes
Irish Soda Bread
Corned Beef & Cabbage
- The color green is also commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “the Emerald Isle.”
- One estimate suggests that there are about 10 000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
- Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 15, 2013
On Wednesday, March 20, noon-9pm, all Rita’s Italian Ice locations will give each customer a FREE regular size Italian Ice. What a sweet way to start the season!
What is Italian Ice?
From the Rita’s website:
“Rita’s signature product is our Italian Ice, which is much smoother than a snow cone and combines ice with real fresh fruit; made fresh daily at each location and served within 36-hours of mixing. Trans-Fat Free and made fresh daily in dozens of deliciously refreshing flavors.”
There are Rita’s locations in Silver Spring, College Park, Riverdale, Bowie, Crofton, Annapolis & more. Check here on their website to find the nearest one for you.
**Contest** – The first au pair in my cluster to send me a message (email or Facebook) telling me their favorite flavor of Italian Ice will win a gift card for a sweet treat.
UPDATE – We have a winner – Cecilia!
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 14, 2013
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s festival will be MARCH 20-APRIL 14!
The predicted peak blooming period of the cherry blossoms for this year is – MARCH 26–30.
They have Free Apps for iPhone & Droid to help you keep track of the festival events and share your festival experiences via social media.
Here are some of the highlights:
Family Day - Saturday & Sunday, March 23-24, 2013
National Building Museum
401 F Street, NW
Metro Judiciary Square, Red Line
Sat – 10 am-4 pm & Sun- 11 am-4 pm
Smithsonian Kite Festival – Saturday, March 30, 2013
Washington Monument Grounds
10 am-4:30 pm
Fireworks Festival - Saturday, April 6, 2013
Waterfront Park – 600-900 Water Street, SW
Fireworks at 8-9 pm
Cherry Blossom Parade – Saturday, April 13, 2013
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW
10 am- 12 pm
There are many more great events, visit the festival website for more information.
Cherry Blossom Festival Website
National Park Service Bloom Watch
Metro Website (use the trip planner feature on this website to find the metro options, taking metro is much better than driving for the festival events)