Yearly Archives: 2015

Vacation Information for Au Pairs

Vacation Information For Au Pairs

Planning a holiday while you are enjoying time in the USA as an Au Pair is exciting. There are a few things to keep in mind to allow your travel to happen smoothly.

Begin to think about your holiday astravels soon as you have settled in with your family. Every Au pair has 11 days of holiday, unless you were in rematch. An Au pair in her second family will have her vacation pro-rated between the two families. If she did not take any vacation with her first family, she will be paid for those earned days. The total 11 days will be lessened by this amount for the second family. It is usually best to take two smaller vacations instead of one long vacation. You can think of one holiday per every six months. You will plan to back up your five days off with your weekend off, giving you a longer holiday.

Start talking with other Au pairs about their travel plans. A group trip can be a great way to travel and save money. Trek America, and Cultural Highway have wonderful pre-planned trips.  You can also find great deals through the internet, especially on cruise lines. Try www. As soon as you have an idea, you will want to talk it over with your host family. They will need time to arrange for alternate childcare or to arrange their vacation at the same time. It might not be possible for the family to accommodate a certain date. Often, a family will know in advance when they want you to take your vacation. This works well, if everyone knows in advance, at least three months.

There are special papers and in some cases visas that will be needed, if you plan to travel outside the United States. These can take up to four weeks, so plan ahead. Refer to the Au Pair In America website for more details about travel outside the USA. There is even a link to your country’s consulate if you have special questions. Canada and Mexico travel is discussed on the web site. You will also need to get your DS-2019 form signed by Au Pair In America for travel outside the USA. You can learn how to go about this on the web site. When mailing your DS-2019 form to Au Pair in America, you need to use UPS or Fed Ex. These mailing services can track a letter and find where it is, in case it gets lost. If you send it regular mail, you cannot “find” it if it gets lost. An Au Pair in the thirteenth month or in an extension term cannot travel outside the USA. For more information see

It is not necessary to return home to renew your visa to extend your program year. You will be granted a new DS2019 form by the State Department, giving legal status to stay within the USA for up t0 12 months. Au Pairs are advised against saving up your vacation days to renew a visa. Many times the new visa is denied. The Au pair is not allowed to re-enter to finish the program when this happens.

Sometimes vacationing can be confusing. If you go on your host family’s vacation with them, it is not your vacation. It should be thought of as a regular work week with a schedule. All travel and hotel expenses should be paid for by the family. If you have time off during the vacation, your personal expenses are your responsibility. Taking a separate vacation from your family is an important break for you. This allows everyone to benefit. A little fun time away should leave you refreshed and once again ready to give your best to the children in your charge.




Hanukkah begins at sundown this Sunday, December 6th and ends on Monday, December 14th

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew Month of Kislev and lasts eight days. Hanukkah usually falls in the month of December, but occasionally can start in November.

The history

The books of the Maccabees tell the story of Hanukkah which occurred in 165 B.C. After three years of struggle, the Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus. The Jewish people held festivities in the Temple of Jerusalem, and rededicated it to God. After removing all Syrian idols from the Temple, the Jews found only one small pot of oil to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the small pot provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, then proclaimed a festival to be observed by Jewish people.

Hannukah Traditions

The Menorah

The centerpiece of the Hanukkah celebration is the Hanukkah or menorah, a candelabra that holds nine candles. Eight candles symbolize the number of days that the Temple lantern blazed; the ninth, the shamash, is a helper candle used to light the others. Families light one candle on the first day, two on the second (and so on) after sundown during the eight days of Hanukkah, while reciting prayers and singing songs. The menorah — either store-bought or homemade and crafted of metal, wood, papier mache, or clay — is filled from right to left, but lit left to right so each new candle is lit first.


Singing Songs

Hanukkah — one of the most family-oriented of Jewish holidays — comes with its own set of carols sung around the glowing menorah. These celebrate everything from the glory of God and the ancient Temple of the Jews (“Maoz Tzur”) to the simplicity of a dreidel (see below), as in “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel/I made it out of clay/And when it’s dry and ready/Dreidel I shall play.”


Yummy Treats

There’s nothing low-fat about Hanukkah – many of the traditional foods of the holiday are deep-fried. In honor of the oil-y miracle people celebrating Hannukah like to eat foods that are fried in oil like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) and different fried breads.  Want to have a go at making something?  There are lots of recipes for yummy treats here:


Spinning Tops

It’s customary to play with dreidels (spinning tops) during the holiday, even wage gambling games in which players guess which side of the top will fall face up. Legend has it that during the Greek-Syrian dictatorship in Israel of yore, Jews got around the ban on reading the Torah by bringing spinning tops to study sessions so their oppressors would think they were just playing around. The Hebrew characters carved into the four sides of today’s dreidels are the first letters of “Ness Gadol Haya Po/Sham,” which roughly translates to “Great Miracle Happened Here/There” (depending on whether you’re in Israel or not).


For fun and educational activities for children go to

Directions to play the Dreidel game (Play for Hershey kisses, a great way to have fun with the kids):

A very Happy Hanukkah to all!1-hanukkah

Thankful for Pie cluster meeting

wave_topWe had a lot of fun preparing our apple pie and apple crisp desserts! I hope you all will continue to use this recipe and will have fond memories of your “Be thankful for pie cluster meeting!”   20151114_144313

Thankful for pie2015

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Apple, cranberries, and a crunchy oat streusel topping make this a comforting fall dessert and Thanksgiving favorite.

apple crispbaking au pairs 2


6-7 Honey Crisp or Gala apples, peeled and sliced.

16 oz can  whole berry cranberry sauce

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons all -purpose flour


1/4 cup chopped nuts

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Vanilla ice cream to serve on top.

Place apples in 9×13 baking dish. Combine cranberry sauce, sugar and flour. Place cranberry mixture over apples. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle topping over. Bake 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.


jasmine cooking baking

Thanksgiving in the USA

Thanksgiving – What is it and why is it celebrated?

November 20, 2013 – 7:16 pm

What is the History of Thanksgiving in United Starockwelltes?The initial “Thanksgiving” feast, held in 1621, was really a traditional English harvest celebration. The Pilgrims shared it with the Native Americans because they had taught the colonists to plants crops and hunt wild game. Without the Native Americans, the Pilgrims may not have survived the harsh winter and been able to celebrate their first harvest of plentiful crops in the New World. The colonists’ first harvest feast lasted for three days. Food was served all at once, instead of in courses, so people ate whatever they pleased in the order that they desired. The more important members at the feast were given the best pieces of meat, while the rest of the diners ate whatever was closest to them. Since the Pilgrims didn’t use forks or plates, they ate their meal straight off the table with spoons, knives or their fingers. They used large napkins to wipe their hands and also wrapped it around food when it was too hot to hold.

Nowadays, the day before the third Thursday of the month is the busiest travel day of the year (even more than Christmas). In America people of all religions, races etc. celebrate this holiday and they bring to it the foods that they enjoy at celebrations from their home countries. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, stuffing, cranberry sauce are all traditional parts of a current Thanksgiving meal. It is a very important occasion for families to gather together from all over the country.

A fun movie to rent at this time of year is “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” a comedy about a man trying to get home for his Thanksgiving meal. Lots of laughs.


Au Pairs please note: While host parents and other workers are off for the day, it is NOT an Au Pair holiday off of work unless an Au Pair is given that day off by the Host Family…Au Pairs are to help the family in whatever way is needed as it is a busy day but, more importantly, Au Pairs should be part of this very American holiday! This may be your only time to join in a true American Thanksgiving!  Offer to help with the preparation of food or decoration, this will help to feel a part of the day. Enjoy.
– Victoria Paton


Thanksgiving story Posted by Silga Vasilevsky on N765e_turkey1ov 5, 2 009

The A B Cs of a Successful Au Pair Year!

ABC’s of a Successful Year as an Au Pair

Au Pairs at the Mall with CC


Alcohol – The drinking age in most states is 21. Yes, you used to be able to drink in your country – but you can’t drink here if you are under 21. If you are supposed to get a ride home with someone who has had too much to drink – find another way! If you get caught drinking and driving you have to go home!


Boyfriends – Some host families will not like the idea of you having a boyfriend – they will feel threatened by the time he takes away from them. It is best to be honest and find out about their rules regarding your boyfriend picking you up at their home (they may not want him to even have their home phone number – let alone their address). Don’t ever expect your host family to allow your boyfriend to spend the night.


Buddy – Be a buddy to the new au pairs that arrive! Please remember how it felt for you in those first days! Call new au pairs to say hello, take them out for coffee or to bring them to their first cluster meeting.


Car – The car is a privilege not a right. Please do not demand the car – there may be times when you do not have access to one (bad weather, other car not working, au pair car being repaired). Do not drive and use a cell phone at the same time! Never, ever – leave the children unattended in the car!!


Community Counselor – Your community counselor is here to help you to have a wonderful year. If you need advice about anything – call! Remember you can talk to your counselor on the phone. Many au pairs feel they need to discuss something – face to face – that is not necessary. Sometimes it is more important to talk immediately – than to wait for a convenient time for both of you to meet.


Cluster Meetings – A successful au pair will come to the monthly cluster meetings and stay connected to her counselor and the other au pairs. If you don’t come to the meetings – I don’t get to know you and there may be a time during your year that it is critical to you that I do know you!!


Downloading – Do not download anything on to your host family’s computer without their permission.


Eating – Au Pairs complain about gaining weight during their year here – portions are much larger – and it’s easy to gain weight. Be careful, eat right and make sure you get enough exercise.


Friends – Unbelievable as it may sound friends can cause problems. Make sure that they are respectful of your host family’s rules, too.


Grooming – Silly as it may seem to you – Americans shower everyday and change their clothes everyday. You will be expected to do the same.


Homesickness- It is very normal to feel homesick! The first 2 weeks to a month can be very challenging for you! Give yourself time and understand that your feelings are very normal!


Internet – You should never be on the internet when you are taking care of the host children. They deserve your undivided attention. Ask your host family when it is convenient for you to be on the internet. For some families you will be tying up their phone line – please be respectful and don’t stay on for hours and hours. Never give out information about yourself or your host family in a CHAT ROOM – it is very dangerous!!


Jerks – You will meet a lot of jerks while you are here in the United States. Don’t trust everyone you meet – don’t give out your host family’s number until you truly know the person – and with your host family’s permission.


Listening – Listen to the needs of your host children and your host parents. Keep the lines of communication open.


Money – Don’t spend all of your money every week! It is not a good idea to live paycheck to paycheck, ever! Have money on hand for unexpected expenses – insurance deductibles (medical and car – in case of illness or a car accident), extra college costs, clothes, Starbucks, phone bills – the list can go on and on.


Negotiate – If you are unhappy with anything – you must communicate this to your host family. You many not want to do this when you have just arrived to their home – but after you have earned their trust and respect. Remember – if you want a rule to change – even after discussion it may not change. Some things are not negotiable!


Overwhelmed – If ever you are feeling overwhelmed – speak up immediately. Some times you just need to talk about it – and you will feel better.


Phone – You should never be on the phone during your work hours. Don’t monopolize your host family’s telephone line for hours at a time. If they have call waiting – answer it – if it is for your host family get off the phone and let them know they have a call. Take good messages if you answer the phone and your host family is not available.


Quiet – Be respectful of the hours that your host family is putting the children to bed and when they are going to bed, too. Noise should be kept to a minimum and no calls should come in after 9:00.


Responsible – Your host family has given you the responsibility for their children. Please take good care of them and always put their needs above yours during your working hours.


School – You are required to attend classes for six semester hours or its equivalent (80 hours) at an accredited U.S. post secondary institution.


Trustworthy – Be honest with your host family – if you feel you must lie to them – it is not a good match. Talk to your counselor about your feelings.


United States of America – May this year here be one of the best of your life. You are responsible for your destiny here. This year is what you make it. Don’t sit around and complain to other au pairs – and do nothing about your unhappiness. Sometimes it is just a change of attitude that is necessary.


Vacation – Vacations need to be mutually agreed upon. Talk to your host family about when a good time for you to vacation will be.


Work/Study/Play – The best au pairs find a balance between their work as an au pair, their school and their free time. Obviously, your host family’s primary concern is that their children are being cared for by a responsible adult.


X-Rated – Attitudes regarding sex may be very different in your country. Please be aware of what is appropriate viewing for children in America.


Yo Yo – This year will be filled with ups and downs. If you understand that – it will make things a lot easier.


ZZZZ – Make sure you get enough sleep! You need to be on top of your game everyday!!


Halloween in the USA ( information and safety tips)

Halloween in the USA!            Happy_halloween_design_background

Halloween, the last day of October, has a special significance for children, who dress in funny or ghostly costumes and knock on neighborhood doors shouting “Trick or Treat!” Pirates and princesses, ghosts and witches all hold bags open to catch the candy or other goodies that the neighbors drop in.

Since the 800’s November 1st is a religious holiday known as All Saints’ Day. The Mass that was said on this day was called Allhallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hallow e’en, or Halloween. Like some other American celebrations, its origins lie in both pre-Christian and Christian customs.

Today school dances and neighborhood parties called “block parties” are popular among young and old alike. More and more adults celebrate Halloween. They dress up as historical or political figures and go to masquerade parties. In larger cities, costumed children and their parents gather at shopping malls early in the evening. Stores and businesses give parties with games and treats for the children. Teenagers enjoy costume dances at their schools and the more outrageous the costume the better! Certain pranks such as soaping car windows and tipping over garbage cans are expected. But partying and pranks are not the only things that Halloweeners enjoy doing. Some collect money to buy food and medicine for needy children around the world.

Symbols of Halloween

Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. They are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows. Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night. In the weeks before October 31, Americans decorate windows of houses and schools with silhouettes of witches and black cats.

Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-colored squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser. He couldn’t enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips, beets or potatoes representing “Jack of the Lantern,” or jack-o’-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn they were more plentiful than turnips. Today jack-o’-lanterns in the windows of a house on Halloween night let costumed children know that there are

goodies waiting if they knock and say “Trick or Treat!”   HallHallow halloween buckets

Information obtained:

Halloween Safety Tips:

Safety is a very important issue for Halloween.   This is the most popular holiday for children who are able to go from door to door showing off their choice of costume for this year, collecting candy from the neighbors. For au pairs there are issues to consider that may not have been encountered before. I have put together some reminders to help make this holiday fun and safe. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 

-Children should always be supervised by an adult when going “Trick or Treating”.

-Only go to those homes that are known in the neighborhood to be safe participants.

-Never let a child go inside the neighbor’s home unless you know the person.

-Always check the candy before letting children eat it. Make sure that anything that has been unwrapped, home made or just does not look safe is thrown away. Ask the parents about this.

-When driving please slow down, as there will be a lot of children out in the dark. They may not be visible.

-Talk to the children about safety during Halloween. (crossing the street, talking to strangers and waiting until their candy is checked before they eat it).

-Children may want to use a flashlight to see in the dark, this is also a good way for them to be seen by drivers.

-If you have any safety concerns, talk to the parents.  

-Ask the parents about rules for candy consumption for the children. Most parents will not want their children to gorge themselves with a lot of candy at one time. Usually parents will let children have a couple of pieces a day.

-Enjoy yourself.   Halloween is a fun holiday for adults too! You may want to dress up with the children. Don’t forget to take lots of photos.

Fun Halloween Snacks!

Monster Mouths

Youngsters will go batty over these apple-and-peanut butter treats, perfect for Halloween parties.

Big mouth recipe

What you will need:

  • 2 medium green or red apples
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup candy corn


Core apples; cut each into 8 thick slices. Make each mouth by spreading about 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter on an apple slice. Add about 5 pieces candy corn for teeth.

Spread another apple slice with about 1 teaspoon peanut butter; press on top of first apple slice. Makes 4 servings.

A mobile App for information about your Au Pair insurance!

myCISI iPhone app is free for our insureds and provides instant access to many features. This works for android phones as well.CISI Mobile APP Flyer


Options for care- What an au pair needs to know!

Au pairs can go to mini clinics for a number or illnesses:

Colds, flu, Cold sores, ear infections

Coughs, headaches, migraines, insect bites, head lice

Urinary tract infections, Sinus infections, rash, Ringworm,

Upper respiratory infections, Pink eye, skin irritations

Stomach aches, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting

Seasonal Allergies

Some examples of mini clinics are:

Urgent Care Center

Walk in clinic

CVS Minute Clinics

Walgreens Take Care Clinics

Walmart Clinics

Target Clinics

Kroger Clinics

Primary Care Physician office (This is will require an appointment and might not be available on the same day or after hours)

Mini clinics are open after hours and late hours and do not require an appointment. When visiting these clinics or physicians office please direct receptionist to look on back of card for details of your net work. You are a part of the First Health Network.

To Search for a doctor or clinic in your immediate area go to and use the U.S Search Provider Tool.

The Customer Service department is available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Standard Time at 1-800-303-8120 or

For emergencies outside normal hours Team Assist is available at 312-935-1703

Au Pairs should avoid using the Emergency Room if the condition is not life threatening.

Three Reasons you should avoid using the Hospital emergency Room for non-threatening illnesses:

  1. A 500.00 deductible will be charged if you seek medical care in an Emergency room for an illness that is not deemed to be an emergency. This 500.00 deductible will be charged whether you have the upgraded insurance or the basic insurance. Basic insurance already has a 100.00 deductible, so this would make a 600.00 charge for basic insurance users.
  2. Typically the wait for treatment in an emergency room will be long.
  3. Hospital emergency rooms are for those with true life threatening injuries or illness. It is important to keep medical coverage available for those who need this care.

Of course, if you are experiencing a true, life threatening emergency, treatment should be sought in an emergency room!

Information was obtained at

English For International College – Au Pair English Program.

Au Pair English Program

All Au Pairs in Metro Atlanta and beyond are welcome to participate in these classes.  The Au Pair English Program is offered in the morning and evening.  We offer the required CEUs and credit hours for Au Pairs who complete our English program successfully.  CEUs and credit hours are earned in two terms (4 months). Call to find out when the next placement test is given and when classes will start.

Contact Information:

This School is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant students
Copyright © 2013 English for Internationals
575 Colonial Park Drive | Roswell, GA 30075 | (p)770-587-9640 | (f)770-587-0427

We offer two schedules:

2 Days/Week

  • Monday/Wednesday     9:00am – 11:15am
  • 1 Class:  Grammar

2 Nights/Week 

  • Tuesday and Thursday            7:45pm – 10:00pm
  • 1 Class:  Grammar

Placement test/Levels

Classes are divided into levels and each student takes a placement test before classes begin to determine their level.  Seven levels are offered from Beginner to the Advanced level.   Each level is completed in 8 weeks.


The cost of the Grammar class is $250 and approximately $60 for books.

An online option for class through UCLA.

picture of teacher

APIA Advantage includes American Studies Online, an academic program offered by UCLA Extension, as well as a community involvement component developed and monitored by Au Pair in America

This is a super option for an Au pair whose schedule is not a good fit for traditional classes. It is also great to avoid the stress of driving at rush hour traffic for your class! This class provides the full 80 hours of education and costs $500.00. There is a short presentation to a young child’s class room called a Global Awareness presentation. This is an easy 15 minute presentation about your country. Au Pair In America provides coaching and resources for this presentation.

The next UCLA class – American Studies Online –  will run from September 19, 2016 – February 13th, 2017.

Registration is currently open 

How to Enroll: Visit

For more information read the flyer link below.

APIA Advantage flyer

**This class requires a high level of  English skill.