Yearly Archives: 2014

Hanukkah Begins Sundown on December 16th 2014


The first candle of the menorah is lit at nightfall of December 16th and each night until December 24th.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Lights or Feast of Dedication.The Hebrew word Hanukkah means dedication. Hanukkah is also written Hannuka or Chanukah. 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 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 cruse of oil which to light their holy lamps. Miraculously, the cruse provided oil for eight days. Judas Maccabaeus, the Jewish leader, then proclaimed a festival to be observed by Jews.

During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions are made to the poor. Each evening, one additional candle is lit on the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra). By the last evening, eight lighted candles stand together.

Holiday Party for Au Pairs!

A wonderful holiday party for the Suffolk County Au Pair in America Cluster on Sunday, December 14th at their Community Counselor’s home.

International Feast with dishes prepared by the au pairs and the Counselor, Cindy Garruba.  A grab bag gift exchange, gifts from Cindy to the au pairs and just lots of holiday fun!

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Stony Brook Village Promenade of Trees

IMG_20141207_142344On Sunday, Dec. 7th Suffolk County Au Pair in America host families and au pairs decorated a tree for the Promenade of Trees in SB Village.  Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor for Au Pair in America, provided ornaments for the kids to decorate.  She also handed out holiday coloring books to the children gathered to give their wish list to Santa. Santa arrived at 2 pm in a horse drawn carriage!

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The trees are on display through New Year’s Day!


Thankful Au Pairs & Host Families 2014


Host Family says: We are extremely thankful for our wonderful au pair. We feel truly blessed to have gotten someone as wonderful as her for this important year as we are welcoming our 4th child in the spring.  Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Au Pair says: What I’m thankful for is that I got a second chance, that I can spend my year in a family where I feel comfortable and home in, that my host family respects me and helps me to feel home and I’m thankful that I get the chance to live a different life.

Au Pair says: I am thankful for being able to fulfill my dream of living abroad in a country that is as crazy as wonderful with all its characteristics. I also am thankful for meeting so many new and different people from all around the world, who are all in the same situation and who are all feeling the same feelings. Moreover I am thankful for feeling home and welcome by my host family and my Community Counselor, Cindy, so that I don’t even think about feeling homesick.

Host Family says: We are thankful for our au pair because she is so good with our girls. She is sweet, considerate, patient, understanding and helpful.  She has excellent communication skills and really enjoy sharing our lives with her.

Au Pair says: I am thankful for my au pair life in New York that made me had a good experience and a good time with everyone I saw. Thank you very much for my host family who I am stay with and made me good memories with them. Happy thanksgiving to you, too Cindy!

Host Family says: I am very thankful for our au pair because she is so determined (and not giving up) to make my wild children into polite, thoughtful, neat, respectful little human beings.  And also for being so supportive to her host mom.Au Pair says: I’m thankful for being part of a beautiful American Family, that supports me and include me as I am part of them. I’m thankful for the kids that I have, because they color my gray days

Host Family says: We are excited that our au pair will be able to spend Thanksgiving with us, and we are so thankful that she’s part of our family and that she loves our son so much. I know she had a great time at the Rockettes this weekend. Thank you so much for organizing that!

Au Pair says: I am thankful for this awesome experience and how much I’ve grown in the past 6 months. I’m very thankful to my host family for making me very comfortable and I’m thankful that I get to hang out with 2 awesome little boys all the time! Happy thanksgiving to you, too Cindy!!

Au Pair says: I can tell you that I am thankful for the au pair program, my host family, and you. Without all of this I wouldn’t be able to realize how much I am thankful for my family, friends and my culture. I appreciate you card and letter, and I’m excited for our December meeting.

Host Family says: We love our au pair and we are thankful to have such a hardworking Au pair that blends right into our family! I’m praying she stays for 2 years!!  To be completely at ease while my husband and I work and to know everything is taken care of and my children are loved, is such a blessing!  I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Au Pair says: Being an au pair has made me thankful for my great host family, that shows me that it’s possible to feel at home away from home” 🙂 I am grateful for this new experience and that all my loved ones are healthy. I think our health is one of the most important things in the world, just as Family and friends. I’m thankful that I am part of this host family and I am thankful for all the support from my family and friends at home in Germany and of course for all the new friends I met here on long Island:) and that I am in such a great cluster like this 🙂

Host Family says: This year we are thankful for everything we have including a home (with heat and food on the table), jobs (to pay for it all), our health (in spite of the aching backs) , our family (they are all healthy and reasonably happy), and an Au pair to share in the chaos that makes up what we are thankful for.

Au Pair says: I am thankful for being an au pair in such a great family. I’m so glad that I can have the experience being an au pair in this family. They are so kind and nice, they treat me like a family member and I can talk about everything with them and we laugh so much together and I am very thankful for that. Of course I’m very thankful for my family in Germany and I appreciate them so much more since I’m here. Long story short, I’m thankful for everything in my life!

Au Pair says:  I´m very, very thankful that my friends and family supported me and my plans to travel to the USA. I´m also very thankful that I found such a nice family, who offers me that much and that they give me the opportunity to stay here and let me be a part of their family for a year! This is such a great family!

Host Family says: All is well with us. I am thankful for our au pair because she is a part of our family and she loves our children. I already know that it will be incredibly difficult when she leaves to go home but my children will have a collection forever.

Au Pair says: This year I am thankful for so many things!!!!! I’m very thankful that I found such a great host family, I came to such a nice area and met so many nice and awesome people!! I’m thankful for everything I have, thankful for all the happiness and progress in my life 🙂

Host family says: We are thankful for our au pair’s good care of our daughter. Thank you

Au Pair says: I’m thankful for my host family because she gave me the feeling that I’m at home! My host parents help me and I can ask all the question I have. I’m also thankful for my family and my friends at home. They stand behind me and give me a lot of motivation and power!

Au Pair says: This year I am thankful for my kind and generous host family who shares their home with me and gives their best to be my new family and welcome me in their culture. I am also thankful for having such a nice community counselor who welcomed me when I didn’t know anybody and luckily was sympathetic from the very beginning so that I know that somebody “has my back” if I have a problem 🙂 I’m thankful for my family at home who misses me and thinks of me and, of course, for my friends at home who try to keep in touch as often as possible although it sometimes takes some time until I can answer. They make me feel like I never left home and I don’t miss anything while being here. But also, I am thankful for the new friends I found here who helped me exploring my new home and are a part of helping me feel not to be alone 🙂 I am very, very thankful that all my loved ones (and I) are healthy and happy and that my grandmother deals well with the death of my grandfather this summer. I am thankful that I could attend his funeral and see him a last time when he was very conscious and himself.

Au Pair say:  I am thankful that I could graduate this year with a satisfying result hand the support of my friends and family. I am so thankful that so many people believe in me, not only my friends and family but also the parents of the children I babysat for or tutored who always encouraged me to follow my dreams, as also my parents’ friends or people I actually barely know.  At last but not least I would like to express my thanks for my long gone great grandmother who made this year possible by inheriting me money for my future and always inspired me when I was little. And of course thank you APIA for helping me find a welcoming host family 🙂  Thank you Cindy for making me write this I would have never done it on my own but it was really nice to think about all the good thinks that are happening and to reconsider the developments in my life 🙂

Host Family says: We are so thankful we found our first au pair who so perfectly fits in with our family! We find the help from her wonderful and her contributions to our house are great. We are thankful for the memories she’s giving the children with our au pair experience!

Au Pair says: This year I am thankful for the opportunity to live the experience of being an Au Pair. I am thankful for sharing with a wonderful host family. I am Thankful for what I learn from them and from my hosts little girls. It has been the best experience of my life. Thanks therefore. Only once in life!!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Au Pair says: In this year I am so grateful with my new host family because they care about me, they trust in me and they love me as a part of their family and no just like an Au Pair. I am so grateful because I could visit so many places through this experience like Washington D.C, Miami, Los Angeles, Vancouver Canada, San Francisco, Seattle and NY. Being and Au pair is one of the best experience in my life because I enjoy taking care of kids and meeting new people around the world. I am so grateful to have 2 great women as a Counselor who always care about me in this experience out of my country because it was not easy at the beginning.

Au Pair says: This year I am thankful for my wonderful host family and their support and understanding in every situation. I am really happy to be part of this family. And I am glad that I already made lots of friends who I can talk about everything and have a very good time together. Also I want to say thank you to you Cindy. I really enjoy the APIA meetings and activities. It’s always fun. You are doing a great job. Happy Thanksgiving

Host Family says: We are thankful for our Au Pair from Germany who takes such good care of our daughter and dog too! We are happy to have her as our Au Pair!

Host Family says: I’m thankful for the health of my family and that our au pair cares so deeply for the children.

Au Pair says:  I AM THANKFUL FOR… the great Lord for giving me this fantastic opportunity to be an Au pair. My parents for being the awesome parents that they are, for being supportive, open minded and understanding me. My amazing host family. For au pair in America and all they have done for me. For my good health. My Family and friends that love and care for me. I’m thankful for all I have and everything I’m yet to receive and I am thankful and grateful for this wonderful life I have.

Host Family says: This year I am thankful for our au pair joining our family so seamlessly, so respectfully, and above all so lovingly. I am also thankful to be part of such an incredible family – inside and out.  There is so much to be said about being a mom, and for that, too, I am grateful!

Host Family says: This year we are thankful for the health of our family and the love and support we have around us.  We are grateful for our au pair’s calm approach to handling the kids and the love she has for them and them for her.

Host Family says: We are thankful for our au pair being so kind and patient in teaching the girls both Mandarin and emphasizing good social skills too. She’s a terrific addition to our family and greets every day with great humor and joyfulness!! Simply a delight to have our au pair be part of our household.

Daylight Savings Time Ends on November 2nd!

If you’re a fan of sleep you’re probably a fan of November 2nd, that’s the day when most of us get to set our clocks back one hour at 2:00am and revel in the end of daylight savings time 2013 which brings with it an extra hour of sleep.daylight savings time ends 

Daylight savings time was originally enacted to cut down on energy consumption during World War I and World War II, it was believed that tacking an extra hour of daylight to the end of the day would lead to less overall electricity use at night and while the practice worked for a short period of time it eventually led to studies that both supported and debunked the theory all together, leaving many people to wonder why the practice is used at all in today’s modern age. In the meantime daylight savings time leaves some people coming into work an hour before normal and kids arriving at school before the doors have even been unlocked.

So remember before you go to bed on November 3rd to set your clocks back one hour if they don’t it automatically for you!

Last Pumpkin Picking before HALLOWEEN!

Halloween is Friday, October 31st!  This is the last weekend to pick your own pumpkin at a local Suffolk County Farm.  Check out this link for a great selection of farms to visit: pumpkin farms

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firebear1October is Fire Prevention Month and the American Red Cross is encouraging people to take steps to lessen the risk of a fire in their home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are between 350,000 and 400,000 house fires in the United States every year. Home fires are the biggest disaster threat to families in this country, above floods and hurricanes.

That’s why the American Red Cross is encouraging people to remember two key fire safety steps: installing smoke alarms and developing a fire escape plan.

“The Red Cross responded to more than 62,960 home fires in fiscal year 2011,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Fires strike suddenly and spread quickly. It’s important to take simple steps now to protect the members of your household. During a fire, every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the effects of these devastating disasters.”

It is recommended that people check each smoke alarm in their home by pushing the test button at least once a month and replacing batteries every year, or as needed. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes from every room in the home and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the home. Practice the escape plan at least twice a year and revise as necessary. Families are encouraged to pay particular attention to developing and regularly practicing escape plans for children and older adults.

Additional recommendations include:

  • Keep matches and lighters away from and out of reach of children.
  • Don’t leave the kitchen, and don’t leave the home while you’re frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.

During Fire Prevention Month, visit for more steps people can take to lessen the chance of a fire in their home.

Time to Enroll in Classes!

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Au Pairs need to take 6 credits or 72 hours of classes each year in America. Host families contribute $500 towards the classes and the transportation back and forth.   Check out the local options in the right hand column of this blog under education.

It is time to enroll in ESL, Suffolk Community College and in the UCLA online class.  Au Pair in America has the only State Department approved online class!

Au Pair in America went Canoeing on the Nissequogue River



Today, Sunday July 27th, Cindy Garruba and Eileen Friedman enjoyed canoeing the Nissequogue River with 25 au pairs from their Long Island clusters.  Rain was in the forecast this morning and this evening, but the daytime was perfect for canoeing.  2 to 3 au pairs matched up in canoes for the 2 hour trip.

We passed families of swans and one group even saw a water turtle!  A few tangles into the reeds growing along the river bank and then everyone got the hang of it.  At the end of the trip, some of the group picnicked at the Paul T. Givens park near the famous Smithtown Bull.

3 of the au pairs were at their very last cluster activity with their Long Island friends.  They each had spent at least one year on Long Island, one is heading for a 2nd year but in Connecticut this time.

Our August activity includes some host families, too!  What could be more American than an evening of baseball?  We will be going to a Sunday evening Long Island Ducks baseball game!

Au Pair in America Summer & Water Safety


IMG_20140608_143723On Sunday, June 8th the Suffolk County, LI Au Pairs had a cluster meeting at their Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba’s beach house on the beautiful North Fork of Long Island.  They spent time enjoying the summer weather, even a few took dips in the chilly Long Island Sound!  Everyone got to know each other a little better, many new au pairs meeting current au pairs for the first time!



The meeting heading inside for some serious talk on summer and water safety.  A former lifeguard and swim instructor, Cindy reviewed basic water safety since all the au pairs will visit the beautiful Long Island beaches or swim in their host family pools, many while caring for their host children.  We also reviewed first aid, sunscreen usage, hydrating in the heat, what poison ivy prevention and explained ticks, lyme disease and more.

IMG_20140608_161432Presentation of awards and certificates followed the safety lesson.  Cindy is presenting Justine Probst, German au pair, with a Global Awareness recognition certificate.  Justine did a lesson on German culture in her host child’s second grade classroom.  A wonderful way for children to learn first hand about another culture!

4 au pairs will be heading home soon and came to their last cluster meeting.  Thanks for all the love and support you gave your host families and fellow au pairs this year!

Jarka from Slovakia; Ramona, Chrisi & Jessica from Germany are heading home

Jarka from Slovakia; Ramona, Chrisi & Jessica from Germany are heading home

We finished up with strawberries, blueberries and cream.  It is strawberry season on the local Long Island farms!  Then a few last pictures on the deck.  Everyone had fun!