Yearly Archives: 2013

Au Pairs Celebrate the Holidays in America

DSC_0898 (1024x673) photo 2 (1024x765)

After snow caused the Baltimore cluster to reschedule 2 outdoor events, they opted for a cozy meetup at Panera Bread Company where they enjoyed bagels, and each others company. Au pairs each received an umbrella with the APIA logo!  The Annapolis cluster participated in an International Cookie Exchange where all the girls brought home baked cookies typical of their home country to share!  All the girls went home with a bag of cookies from all over the world.  They also participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange and for some it was the first time they engaged in stealing gifts from each other!  Additionally, a Federal Marshall stopped by to speak with the girls about safety tips when out on the town with friends and how to remain alert when out with the children they take care of during the busy holiday season.  The Annapolis cluster received coffee mugs filled with hot chocolate as their gift!

Happy Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, dates back to the first European settlers in North America.  After much hardship, illness and hard work, the Pilgrims were finally able to celebrate a successful harvest which they shared with their Native American friends who had helped them through their difficult beginning in America.  Today this day is set aside to feast and to give thanks-something we can all share, as we too celebrate our cross-cultural friendships.

Some activities to share with the children :

Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls ( for children ages 3 and older): Add some chopped walnuts and raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Add enough melted butter to lightly coat popcorn. Stir. Pour maple syrup over the warm popcorn and stir until all the corn, nuts and berries are covered. Shape the sticky corn into balls and place on a plate to refrigerate until the syrup hardens.

Thanksgiving cards and place cards: Fold a piece of paper in half, place a leaf on the inside and close the card. Use a crayon to rub lightly across the front of the card in the area where the leaf is. The shape of the leaf will appear on the outside. Remove the leaf. Write a name on the front for a place card, or a message inside for a Thanksgiving card. Older children might want to make more sophisticated designs using more than one leaf.

Make a chain of paper doll (adults should do the cutting): Fold a piece of paper back and forth over and over again with a width between folds of 2-3 inches. With the paper folded cut out a shape of a person, make sure that the hands and feet touch the fold, but don’t cut through the fold. When you unfold the paper there will be a line of people holding hands. Children ages 3-10 can color the figures to look like Pilgrims(men wore big white collars, belts with buckles, and buckles on their shoes, pants to their knees; women wore white hats and aprons over solid color dresses) or Native Americans (draw feather headdresses and brightly colored geometric patterns on their clothes).

Tree of Thanks: This Thanksgiving tree is bound to become a new holiday tradition.

Trace leaves onto autumn colored craft’s paper and cut out. Punch a hole into the stem of each paper leaf. Measure and cut a 2” length of wire or twine for each leaf. Thread it through the hole and bend the ends to make a hook for hanging. Place the tree branches in a pot or vase. Let the children or/and guests choose a leaf or two and ask them to jot down things that they are thankful for.

Au Pairs Donate Winter Clothes for those in need

Au Pairs from the Baltimore and Annapolis cluster met in Ellicott City on Sunday, November 24th.  Our service project this month was to collect and donate gently used items such as winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves to those in our community in need.  We coordinated with Hope For All , a Christian ministry that provides people with basic needs without sufficient resources  in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and the Appalachian region.  We met at the Old Mill Bakery and then took a stroll through the historic town of Ellicott City.  While the weather was very cold we all gathered for lunch afterwards at Johnny’s Bistro on Main Street to get warmed up!  The food was delicious and our day was a big success as we were able to donate several bags to the homeless for the upcoming cold winter months.

DSC_0897 (500x367)DSC_0906DSC_0911DSC_0915 (500x380)

Au Pairs Participate in Baltimore's Color Run

photo (17) photo (24) photo (20)This past weekend au pairs from the Annapolis and Baltimore cluster participated in Baltimore’s Color Run.  Our group ran a 5K around the stadiums downtown and as we ran past the various stations we all got splashed with all the colors of the rainbow to include: pink, blue, green, orange, yellow and purple chalk!  There was live music and lots of celebrating at the end.  It was a terrific time for all who participated and we are hoping to do this event again next year should this run come back to our town.  Patty, the Baltimore counselor, surprised us all with a yellow rose for our accomplishment in finishing the race!

First Annual Christmas Village in Baltimore

bth_christmas-tree-1[1]For the first time Christmas Village will transform Baltimore’s Inner Harbor West Shore Park into a traditional German Christmas Market. Running from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve the spirit of the Holiday season will be alive along the waterfront. The Christmas Village is an indoor and outdoor holiday market modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany like the famous Christkindl Market in Nuremberg. From Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve vendors in more than 60 booths will sell traditional European food, sweets and drinks providing a unique shopping experience with international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry and high-quality arts and crafts. The outdoor area around the Walter Sondheim Fountain will bring the original Christmas Village charm with its traditional German style wooden huts to Baltimore. In addition a heated festival tent will create a Christmas shopping atmosphere with more vendors, a Food Court and live entertainment.

In Memory of Veteran's Day ~ Thanks to all who have served and still serve

Veterans DayTake a moment today to appreciate all those who have served in the armed forces to provide us with the safety and freedom to enjoy this beautiful autumn day.  We all have a family member, friend, neighbor or host parent who has served or is currently serving our country.  Let’s all make a wish for a peaceful world as we honor our veterans today.  To find out more about veterans day and the history go to:

International Education Week event: Rice Around the World

International Rice Week  HCC The English Language Center at Howard Community College will be holding an international event next week on Tuesday, November 12th from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm. at the HVPA Lobby.  Join English Language Center students for a culinary celebration of this tiny (but mighty!) carbohydrate that accounts for 20% of the world’s caloric intake. Get your “passport” stamped at each country booth as you interact with international students from around the world, sample their rice dishes, and enjoy musical performances. For more information on this event please visit their Facebook page at

5 Best apps to protect teens and children on line

Most kids have cellphones or tablets and are constantly texting or using social media, and experts say parents should use apps to monitor their children’s online activity.  This is a very informative article to help families navigate how to better protect our children while using smart phones, tablets and computers.

Great Halloween Lantern Parade – October 26, 2013

The Baltimore cluster had a great time seeing the very creative lanterns parade around Patterson Park on the Saturday before Halloween. Afterwards we went over to Matthew’s Pizza on Eastern Ave. They’ve been baking pizza in Baltimore since the 1940’s. A good time was had by all. A definite repeat for next year!

October 24 – United Nations Day

www.temple.eduThis is the anniversary of the creation of the United Nations in 1947, committed peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all people. Teach your children something about your country today – a song, a story, game, a new food or a national tradition.  A great day to teach our American children something about your country and open their eyes that while the world is big its getting smaller every day and we are all connected to each other.   Maybe even sign It’s A Small World After All together!