Monthly Archives: February 2012

Leap Day – February 29 2012

leapday‘Leap Day’ is February 29, which is an extra  day added during Leap Year, making the year 366 days long – and not 365 days, like a common (normal) year.


Every 4 years is a Leap Year in our modern calendar.


Leap Year the movieTraditions and folklore

Leap Day as a concept has existed for more than 2000 years, and is still associated with age-old traditions, folklore and superstition.

It’s a popular day for women to propose marriage.     The Movie Leap Year starring Amy Adams (2010) is about this tradition.  Her character, Anna Brady travels to Dublin, Ireland to propose to her boyfriend Jeremy on February 29, leap day, because, according to Irish tradition, a man who receives a marriage proposal on a leap day must accept it.  Maybe you can rent the movie  it is a fun romantic comedy!

Brief history of the Leap Day

Leap Years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun. If we didn’t add a day on February 29 nearly every 4 years, we would lose almost six hours every year. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by approximately 24 days!

The ancient Roman Calendar added an extra month every few years to maintain the correct seasonal changes.  Julius Caesar implemented a new calendar – the Julian Calendar – in 45 BCE (Before Common Era) with an extra day added every 4 years. At the time, Leap Day was February 24, because February was the last month of the year.

Academy Awards this Sunday, February 26

Time to pick the best picture and actors!  You can still catch most of the nominated movies at the local theaters and on DVD.  Watch the Academy Awards on Sunday evening.  Start with the Red Carpet pre-show which is on several TV channels.  I love the fashions, seeing who has the best and the worst outfit!   Check out the official Academy Award website for the nominees and all things Oscar.

In NYC you can actually take your picture holding a real Oscar for free!  oscar Cindy

You’re Invited!

  • Have your picture taken holding an actual Oscar statuette to share with friends and family via Twitter and Facebook!
  • See the Oscar statuettes that will be awarded to the Best Actress and Best Actor winners at the 84th Academy Awards® (these statuettes will return to Hollywood on Friday, February 24 at noon).
  • See the Scientific and Technical Award – an Oscar statuette – presented to the Eastman Kodak Company in 2007 “for the development of photographic emulsion technologies incorporated into the Kodak Vision2 family of color negative films.”
  • See a display of Oscars in various stages of completion.
  • Also on display, Michael Douglas’s Best Actor Oscar from Wall Street. 

                                                                                                            Cindy Garruba with Oscar Statue


Wednesday, February 23 through Sunday, February 27         


Wednesday: 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.             

Thursday – Sunday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall


Free and open to the public

Au Pairs Enjoy the Harlem Globetrotters!

harlemglobetrottersOn Sunday, February 19 Au Pair in America Long Island Clusters enjoyed the basketball show by the World Famous Harlem Globetrotter. 

Stunts, dancing, tricks and general silly funny mixed in with great basketball was enjoyed by all the au pairs and a few host families.  One Au Pair even brought her visiting real family from France with her! 



Harlem globetrotters 004The Au Pairs were surprised that the Globetrotters were so funny as well as so athletic!  The mascot, “Big G or Globie” was quite a dancer! 


398554_272552186149965_100001855572340_644370_1924809593_nHarlem globetrotters 008Harlem globetrotters 007

President’s Day

Presidents’ Day is celebrated in February to honor two of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. The holiday is celebrated in the United States on the third Monday in February.   George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 and was the first president of the United States.  Abraham Lincoln was president during the Civil War and was born on February 12, 1809.

Most of your host children will be off this week from school.  Traditionally this is a winter break for Long Island schools.  It is a great time to plan some activities in and out of the house with your host children.  Many of the libraries and museums will have special activities for the kids home from school.  Check online and bring your kids to explore these activities. 

flower-craft-free-kids-pop-sticks-easy-patty-pans1Mid winter is a great time for crafts and for board games.  Pull out the games the children received for their holiday gifts and play them together.  Gather the craft supplies and get creative! Dreaming of spring?  How about coloring or painting some pictures of with the kids of spring flowers?  Decorate the room with the colorful pictures!  It might be cold outside, but inside the flowers are blooming on the walls!  Enjoy!!

Heart Expressions

In honor of Valentine’s Day, some heart idioms!  

Idiom definition:  an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own.

  1. To have a heart of gold – to care about other people.
  2. To have a big heart – to be giving, caring.
  3. To be cold-hearted – lacking in sympathy.
  4. To wear your heart on your sleeve – to let everyone know how you feel about someone.
  5. To cross your heart and hope to die – to promise.
  6. To cry your heart out – to cry a lot and feel really badly about something.
  7. To eat your heart out – to be jealous of someone.
  8. From the bottom of your heart – to really mean something.
  9. To have a change of heart – to change of your mind. 
  10.  To have a heart – to be compassionate, to care about other people.
  11. To have your heart in your mouth – to be scared or nervous.
  12.  To have your heart set on something – to really want something.
  13. To set your heart at rest – stop worrying about something.
  14. To be soft hearted – to be sympathetic.
  15. To take something to heart – to have your feelings hurt by something someone says or does.

Reading to Children

mom readingIt is never too early to start reading to children.  Children of all ages enjoy having stories read to them.  Reading, cuddling up on a couch or reading before a child takes a nap or goes to sleep at night, is comforting for the child.  This special time together builds a bond, take the time to read to the children in your life.

  • Read slowly, this gives children time to think about what you are reading.
  • Change your voice for different characters, or read in a softer voice from some characters, louder for others.   A sing song voice is fun for young children.
  • family-reading_300Share a picture book with a child and have them tell you a story from the pictures!
  • Read every day!
  • Children have favorites, so don’t worry if they want the same story every day, but add a few others so they can develop new favorites.
  • Talk about the story, ask the children what was their favorite part.  Let them share the story back to you or their parents!
  • Do arts and crafts about the story.  Have them draw you a picture about the story.
  • If the children are old enough to read themselves, have them read you a story.  Alternate, you read, they read.  This will encourage them to read more!
  • Have fun, read stories about subjects you and the children enjoy!
  • Turn off the TV and computer and read!

Wall Street Journal Article on Switching to Au Pair in America

WSJ babyWall Street Journal writer, John J. Edwards III writes a blog called “The Juggle” for families who work at balancing family life and work.  His latest blog entry is about why he and his wife have decided to switch from a full time babysitter to an au pair.   

Click on the link below for the article:

John Edwards will be continuing to post entries as the au pair selection process and the experience of using an au pair.