Tag Archives: cultural care

Stefanie from Germany, Suffolk County APIA Wins Photo Contest!

APIA 4th July Photo Competition!

by Au Pair in America on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 8:58am · 

Thank you to everyone for sending your photos, it was really tough to pick a winner.

Congratulations to Stefanie Linnemannstoens, Stefanie celebrated the 4th July in New York.

 tiffi wins photo 4th of July

“I celebrated 4th of July with my host family. We joined a parade and had lots of fun. Later  in the day I went to New York city with friends to see the fireworks. It definitely was a great day, since we had tons of fun! 🙂 The picture shows me in my 4th of July outfit. I love America!”

The Brooklyn Bridge and South Street Seaport

Brooklyn Bridge &south_street_seaport1ny brooklyn bridge 001Sunday May 6th was a beautiful day in NYC!  Some of the au pairs from the Long Island Clusters of Au Pair in America walked from Borough Hall in Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The bridge was crowded with walkers and bikers.  It was also the day of the NYC Bike-a-thon through all 5 NYC boroughs!  ny brooklyn bridge 006

South Street Seaport is close to the bridge, so we walked over there after walking across the bridge.  The area was full of people enjoying the beautiful weather in outdoor restaurants and all the kiosks along Fulton Street and on the wharf!  ny brooklyn bridge 007

Let’s Go Fly A Kite!

We have had so many windy days that I thought you might enjoy kite flying with your host kids!  Why not make your own with the children!  make-your-own-kites-med


Handmade Kite How-To

Downloadable instructions
1 dowel rod- 2 feet long (3/16” diameter)
1 dowel rod- 3 feet long (3/16” diameter)
Wood glue
Craft knife
Nylon, plastic, fabric or paper
Tape or glue
Lightweight string or fishing line
Ribbon or repurposed fabric
Kite string (on a spool) or lightweight string and a cardboard roll


1. Take your 3-foot long dowel rod and measure a foot from the top of the stick, making a mark with your pencil. Center the 2-foot long stick horizontally on top of the longer stick where you made the mark, creating a cross shape.

2. Attach the two dowel rods where they intersect with a couple dabs of wood glue. Once the glue has dried, use your string to weave in and out of the four posts until the two sticks are sturdy. Secure the end of the string with a dab of glue.

3. Use your craft knife to cut a small notch in the end of each point of your kite’s frame. Starting at the bottom notch in the cross, wrap a piece of string or fishing line all the way around, securing it in each of the four notches. Upon reaching the bottom of the cross, tie the string or fishing line into a knot.

4. Once you’ve built the frame of your kite, lay it atop one of the following materials:

  • Ripstop nylon: This lightweight material has a checkered weave that’s designed to prevent ripping. Purchase ripstop nylon at a fabric store or online, and the frame of your kite won’t require a combination of materials. While ripstop nylon is great for kites, any lightweight, wind-proof nylon is ideal.
  • Plastic: Plastic bags or sheeting (found at hardware stores) can easily be used to cover your kite. If you’d like to give your kite a decorative appearance with fabric, apply plastic as a base layer since most fabrics aren’t wind-resistant.
  • Paper: Newspaper, rice paper or butcher paper can all be used to cover your kite, but these materials aren’t always the best for especially strong winds since they can be prone to ripping.
  • 5. Trace the outline of the frame onto your material, measure 2” from each of the four sides, and draw a 2” wide border.

    6. Cut out your material and make a slit in each of the four corners so the material doesn’t bunch when you fold the border. Lay the material on top of the frame, and wrap the border around the outer string or fishing line of the kite. Use glue or tape to adhere your material of choice in place.

    7. Make the kite’s bridle—an arrangement of strings attached to the bottom of your kite that allows it to maneuver. The bridle is also what you’ll tie your kite string to in step 8. To make the bridle, Cut a 3 1/2’ piece of string, and tie one end around the top of the frame. Make a small loop one-third of the way down the string and tie it in a knot. Tie the open end of the string to the bottom of the frame.

    8. Tie your kite string or a lightweight string to the loop in the bridle. If using string that doesn’t come in a roll, wrap it around a cardboard roll.

    9. To make the kite’s tail, tie a 6’ long piece of string or fishing line to the bottom of the frame. Knot several short pieces of ribbon or strips of repurposed material to the string, each about 8” apart. After completing this step, you’ll be ready to fly!

    Flying Your Kite

  • The right weather: Check the weather for the wind conditions in your area. A lightweight kite will require at least 5 mph winds to fly while strong winds over 25 mph can prove to be more challenging. As a general rule, if you see branches blowing, the wind should be strong enough to fly your kite.
  • Where to fly: Clear, open areas like beaches, parks and fields are best for flying. Steer clear of areas with power lines and trees.
  • How to fly: Start by standing with your back to the wind. Hold your kite up by the bridle point and let the line out. If there’s enough wind, your kite will go right up. Let the kite fly away from you a little, then pull in on the line so it will climb. Repeat this step until your kite gains the altitude necessary to find a good, steady wind. The higher your kite flies, the stronger the wind.
  • Tip: If you’re having trouble getting your kite in the air, try letting out a small length of string and begin to run with your kite until it’s lifted by the wind.

  • Dipping: If your kite begins to take a sudden dip, run or pull on the kite string to give your kite a lift.
  • Landing: When you’re ready to wrap up your activity, begin to steadily wind the kite string around its spool. To prevent any damage to your kite, have a partner catch it as it nears the ground.
  • Tip: When you’re done flying your kite, consider hanging it as décor. We love the look of a kite hanging in a child’s bedroom. Try making a few kites of different sizes, and display them in a whimsical arrangement.

    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.  http://www.oscars.org

    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

    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!!

    Happy Chinese New Year!

    Kung Hei Fat Choy!

    year_of_the_dragon_activitiesToday, January 23, 2012, we wave goodbye to the rabbit and welcome in the Year of the Dragon!  

    According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, which begins on January 23, 2012 and ends on February 9, 2013.  The Dragon is the fifth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal signs.  The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend.  In ancient China, the celestial Dragon represents an emperor and  power. Today, it  is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success and happiness.           May the celestial Dragon bring great good luck to everyone.

    Fireworks and Family Feasts

    At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

    September Au Pair Cluster Meeting

    AP's Sept 2011 023 webThe Suffolk County cluster of Au Pair in America meeting in September was filled with au pairs and with important information.  Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor advised all host families to make sure their au pair attended this important meeting.

    All summer long Au Pairs were arriving in Suffolk County.  Some of them came to families whose former au pair had completed her time as an au pair and was heading home to her own country.  Some were coming to new host families!  Along with au pairs who have been in the country several months, the new au pairs gathered at Cindy Garruba’s home.  They had lessons on safe driving led by Cindy, always a high priority for all au pairs.  Cindy also taught the au pairs about managing the needs of their host children going back to school; things like handling the stressful morning on school days, safe trips to the bus stop, communicating with school through the back pack, and advice from teachers.

    AP's Sept 2011 027 webAlong with the valuable lessons learned, the au pairs also had a chance to talk about themselves.  They each told the group their name, their country, when they arrived in the USA, where their host family lives in Suffolk County, how many and the ages of their host children.  The group includes au pairs from Europe, Asia and South America.  Everyone made new friends!

    Brazilian Day in NYC

    The event is celebrating its 27th anniversary, with the Lavagem da Rua 46 on Saturday September 3, and Brazilian Day on Sunday, September 4, at 46th Street, also known as Little Brazil, and 6th Avenue, near Times Square. Presently the event takes over 25 blocks surrounding Little Brazil.

    The festival began to celebrate Brazil’s Independence Day. Since 1984, that small celebration has only grown, up to the point of attracting over1.5 million people in 2010, according to official information from NYPD.

    Brazilian dayPeople come from as close as Connecticut and as far as California. Perfectly bonding with the diverse population of New York City, people also come from Europe, Asia and Africa, to join in the festivities. Some travel in groups, they commute by bus, some fly in, and others simply drive hundreds of miles. No one wants to be left out of this party, which is now considered the world’s biggest Brazilian event outside Brazil and one of the greatest ethnic events in the Big Apple.

    The organizers of Brazilian Day, The Brasilians Newspaper, The Brazilian-American Cultural Center (BACC) and TV Globo Internacional, are expecting a record number of participants for the 27th celebration.There are no precise estimates of how many Brazilians live nowadays in the United States. However, the Brazil Information Center (BIC), a non-profit poll organization based out of Washington, D.C., estimates that there are over a million Brazilians throughout the entire country. Of those, 300 thousand live in the three-state area of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The NGO also estimates that 100 thousand alone live in the Borough of Queens, New York.

    The Brazilian Day festival is not simply a party celebration; it has become an opportunity to reach out to the Brazilian community in the United States. On that day, Brazilians join each other from different parts of the world, many coming from Brazil just to attend the festival, show their pride, advertise their culture and live their nostalgic and anonymous feeling of being an immigrant away from home.

    The 4th of July is the USA’s Birthday!

    Happy birthday america

    On July 4, 1776, Americans claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” so they can begin their American Dream.

    The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people. Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings. Through the Internet we are learning about and communicating with people of different nations, with different languages and different races throughout the world. Bringing the world closer with understanding and knowledge can only benefit all nations.

    Au Pair in America is dedicated to cultural exchange and hopes all our host families and au pairs are celebrating this truly American holiday together!  Enjoy your barbeques, picnics, and all the fireworks!

    There are parades in most communities this weekend, check your local paper for the one closest to you!

    Macy's 4th of July fireworksHere is a list of some places to watch the 4th of July Fireworks:



    Fri, Jul 01, 2011 10:00 PM
    Sun, Jul 03, 2011 10:00 PM
    North Sea Fire Department’s Fireman’s Memorial Athletic Field
    Noyac Road
    North Sea
    The North Sea Fire Department will have fireworks in the Fireman’s Field on Friday, July 1, and Sunday, July 3, at approximately 10 p.m. Rain date July 4. For more information, call 631-283-3629, ext. 5.

    Friday, Jul 01, 2011
    Southampton Fresh Air Home Benefit   (National Class)
    Place: Shinnecock, Southampton, NY
    (This is an expensive event, so park nearby and just watch from there!)

    Saturday, July 2, 6:00 PM-11:00 PM, Monday, July 4, t 6:00 PM-11:00 PM, Fireman’s Carnival and Fireworks Display, Fireworks display will take place July 3rd and 4th at 10 p.m. Fireworks are visible at the school, carnival, and at locations throughout Greenport.

    Riverhead Sunday, July 3  Starts at 9 PM, Peconic Bay Waterfront, behind Atlantis Aquarium,  5 PM  – 9:30 PM Come down to the beautiful Peconic Riverfront to celebrate Independence Day with a great family concert by Brady Rymer and a Rock & Roll Review. The salute to American Independence ends with a spectacular fireworks show at 9:00pm at Grangebel Park on the Peconic Riverfront!

    Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Viewing Party
    : View the legendary Macys 4th of July Fireworks celebration on the Hudson River from the Flight Deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum located at Pier 86.
    : Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
    : Monday, 7pm – 10:30pm

    Summer & Water Safety Meeting for Au Pairs

    Cindy Garruba’s Suffolk County Au Pairs learned about WATER & SUMMER SAFETY to prepare for childcare this summer with their host children on Long Island!  Though it was a bit cloudy and cool, the au pairs enjoyed the Northville beach and the heated pool. 

    006Cindy taught the au pairs to recognize poison ivy to prevent exposure, and what to do if unfortunately a child or the au pair develop the rash. Everyone agreed sunscreen and avoiding the peak sun is very important.  We discussed prevention tips and what to do if someone gets a sunburn.  We even discussed deer ticks, lymes disease, splinters, and basic first aid.

    We reviewed the ways to keep children safe around pools and on the beach.  EVERY AU PAIR IN SUFFOLK COUNTY WILL BE ON THE BEACH OR IN A POOL THIS SUMMER.  Water safety is essential for good childcare this summer.  Josi and Kristina really enjoyed the pool and know the importance of water safety!!

    • 007The most important lesson for the day was that everyone must learn how to swim. 
    •  Never take your eyes off the kids around water
    • At the beach, swim near the lifeguard, but still keep your eyes on the kids, the lifeguard is there for emergencies!
    • Keep a phone outside near the pool for emergencies.
    • Learn Red Cross CPR – Au Pair in America gives scholarships for Red Cross classes!
    • Keep access to pools locked when not in use this includes doors from the house and gates to the back yard.
    •  No running around pools!
    • No diving in shallow water
    • Keep life saving equipment in pool area – poles & flotation devices
    • Tubes and lifejackets on children are not substitues for adult supervision
    • Keep toys out of and away from the pool when not in use, children might follow them into the water!
    • If a child is missing, check the pool first!!!!

    008The au pairs had time to socialize with each other.  We talked about some upcoming summer activities including going to a see Mary Poppins on Broadway in July and to a Long Island Ducks Baseball game in August.  It is Strawberry Season on Long Island and Cindy served some strawberry shortcake and the au pairs loved it.  She encouraged them to visit the farms this season to pick your own berries or just go to the farm stands to buy fresh fruit and vegetables this summer.  There are some Strawberry Festivals in Suffolk County.  Cindy’s favorite is the Mattituck Strawberry Festival.  This year it is June 17, 18 & 19.  http://mattituckstrawberryfestival.org/