Yearly Archives: 2013

Spider Web Snacks

Here is a fun Hal­loween treat of the sea­son. Who knew eat­ing spi­der webs could be so yummy?! These are easy, inex­pen­sive, and cute!


– pret­zel sticks
– white chocolate/bark candy coating
– choco­late (baker’s, candy coat­ing, or chips would prob­a­bly all work)
– raisins
– bag­gie or pas­try bag
– wax paper


Lay out your pret­zels on the wax paper in “star­burst” arrange­ments of 6 or 8 pret­zels (it’s a good idea to put it on a cookie sheet for trans­port stability).

After melt­ing your white chocolate/bark coat­ing, place in a bag­gie and cut the cor­ner off (or use a pas­try bag).  Start pip­ing your choco­late in the mid­dle of the pret­zel arrange­ment, mak­ing sure to coat all the pretzels.
Con­tinue pip­ing out­ward around the pret­zels, until you have a web.  Then, place two raisins in the mid­dle for the body of the spider.
Melt your reg­u­lar choco­late and pipe over the raisins.  I found that the spi­ders turned out bet­ter when I piped the legs of the spi­der first and then did the body.  Place in the fridge for a few min­utes until the choco­late is hard.  Then, gen­tly peel back the wax paper.…and eat!

Government shutdown and how it affects the au pair program

The Social Security office!  Yes, this is where the au pair programs are getting affected.

During the government shut down, the Social Security office is not accepting any new applications for social security numbers. Our au pairs all have their legal documents– J-1 visa, I-94 and DS2019 that permit them to legally work in our country, however they must bring these documents to the SS office and apply for their official and original social security card.

Then…they need their SS cards to apply for a PA driver’s license. Until the government reopens, everything is at a stand still. If you have your au pair driving, please be very clear of your insurance provider’s requiremnts in order to cover her as a driver. If they will only allow licensed CA drivers, she cannot drive until the government comes to an agreement and reopens their doors, allowing her to get the documents she needs to be covered.

Education matters

webinarWe are very proud of the ongoing training we offer our au pairs which provides further educational on a wide range of topics.. Our orientation trainers take great care to research and prepare the topics presented and we get great feedback from au pairs who attend. Please help us spread the word by sharing the information via your FB groups, blogs, newsletters and emails.

Au pairs are sent emails monthly with the webinar details and reminders on the day of training and can register through the webinar link in the email.

Webinar Schedule (All times Eastern time zone)

October 15
8 pm Nutrition. Good eating for you and your kids
9 pm It’s Up to You. Making the most of your Au Pair year
10 pm Activities to do with Preschoolers

October 29
11 am Language Development: Birth and beyond
12 noon Tantrums are no fun for anyone. Help, my kids are fighting again!
1 pm American holidays: what they are, activities and getting through
the holiday blues

November 11
8 pm Managing play with more than one child
9 pm Repatriation
10 pm Feeling Sad or Stressed: Tips for gaining balance in your life

November 26
11 am Help! My kids are fighting again
12 noon Activities for School Age Kids
1 pm Homesickness. Making it through

December 5
8 pm Activities to do with Preschoolers

December 6
9 pm Successfully communicating with your host family

December 9
10 am Homework: Finding the right strategy for your child

December 15
9 pm Homesickness. Making it through
10 pm Toilet Training 101

December 17
8 pm Tantrums are no fun for anyone

Know your driving rules


Au Pairs often find themselves driving the kids around to activities. Be sure to know the rules of the road in order to be safe and avoid getting a fine.  The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop the car.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
  • It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended. Vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway. Failure to stop can result in high fines which the au pair has to pay, not the host family.×199.jpg

Going Unplugged during working hours.

Au Pairs – Imagine for a moment that you went to the hospital and you were in the care of doctors and nurses.  How would you feel if those doctors and nurses who were there to care for you were more interested in texting or using their personal computer than caring for you?  How would that make you feel, about yourself and about them?  Would you think that you were getting the treatment you deserved?  Would you feel like paying the bill after your stay?

Life as an au pair, it is a fine balance between employee and family member. You live with your host family and participate with them as a member of the family, but you also have clear responsibilities as a childcare provider. Being a childcare provider is truly one of the most important jobs I can think of, because you are helping to shape our next generation.  What message are you sending them when you would rather interact with a computer than with them? How will they feel about themselves and about you? Children feel as though everything is about them. They will see this as a rejection of them and they will be more likely to act out.

It also poses a safety concern when you are not paying enough attention to the children in your care.  Accidents happen, but when an adult care giver is close by and appropriately supervising the chances of a major injury dramatically reduce.

During work hours, the following would not be considered acceptable:
-Talking to friends on the phone
-Chatting with friends online
-Using Skype
-Updating your status on Facebook
-Checking in on Orkut, Studivz, SiempreGente or any other social media site
-Watching videos on YouTube (even my really fabulous ones)
-Tweeting on your Twitter
-Uploading photos
-Anything else on the computer unless it is going to together with your host children

Think about this — even if you work 45 hours a week, that leaves you 123 hours per week for all of that other stuff, or about 70 hours (if you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night.)

Host Parents – You need to be clear about what you consider acceptable during work hours to avoid misunderstandings.  Also, please understand that you are dealing with a new generation of people who are very accustomed to being plugged in at all times.  Their intention is not to be rude, they don’t necessarily realize how their actions will be perceived.  Please use this information as an opportunity to begin a dialogue on the issue.

EASTER SUNDAY in the United States

Quick Facts

Easter Sunday March 31 ,2013.

Easter Sunday is an important day in the Christian church calendar because it celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection, according to Christian belief.

Many Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox.

What do people do?

Many churches hold special services on Easter Sunday, which celebrate the Jesus Christ’s resurrection after his crucifixion. Many people also decorate eggs. These can be hard boiled eggs that can be eaten later, but may also be model eggs made of plastic, chocolate, candy or other materials. It is also common to organize Easter egg hunts. Eggs of some form are hidden, supposedly by a rabbit or hare. People, especially children, then search for them. In some areas, Easter egg hunts are a popular way for local businesses to promote themselves or may even be organized by churches.


In Pagan times, many groups of people organized spring festivals. Many of these celebrated the re-birth of nature, the return the land to fertility and the birth of many young animals. These are the origins of the Easter eggs that we still hunt for and eat.

In Christian times, the spring began to be associated with Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. The crucifixion is remembered on Good Friday and the resurrection is remembered on Easter Sunday. The idea of the resurrection joined with the ideas of re-birth in Pagan beliefs.

10 Easy Easter Crafts for Kids

March 20th – First day of Spring!!!

First Day Of Spring 2013: Vernal Equinox Comes On March 20

Wonderful, warm, beautiful spring is almost here.

At 7:02 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 20, the sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator during a moment known as the vernal equinox when both day and night are about equal — also the official start of the new season. The seasons are reversed for those in the Southern Hemisphere and the event instead signals the beginning of fall.

Spring will last three months until June 21, and summer will carry on until the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22 at 4:44 p.m, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

  • A bird sits on a branch of a blooming cherry tree at a park in Tokyo on March 17, 2013. Japan’s weather agency announced the official beginning of cherry blossom season in Tokyo on March 16, equalling the record for the earliest ever start. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
  • Raindrops hang on to Crocuses at Kew Gardens on March 1, 2013 in Kew, England. Today marks the first day of Spring, though the Met Office have said that temperatures are likely to be below average throughout March. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • VALENCIA, SPAIN – MARCH 18: A woman dressed in traditional costume works at the base of a large model of Saint Mary covered with flowers on March 18, 2013 in Valencia, Spain. The Fallas festival, which runs from March 15 until March 19, celebrates the arrival of spring with fireworks, fiestas and bonfires made from large ninots (puppets). (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
  • A young man and woman enjoy the sun and spring-like temperatures on a pier at Lake Starnberg in Niederpoecking near Munich, southern Germany, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Andreas Gebert)
  • Images of Earth during the seasons. Winter (top left), spring (top right), summer (bottom left) and fall (bottom right).
  • Toronto Blue Jays’ Jim Negrych loses his helmet while diving back to first base after leading off on the play after reaching first on a single in the second inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • ROME, ITALY – MARCH 14: Nuns enjoy a picnic in a park the day after Jorge Bergoglio was elected as Pope Francis on March 14, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • A man takes a rest in a park in Shanghai on March 18, 2013. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images
  • Naga Sadhus or Hindu naked holy men get ready to take out a procession to reach Sangam, confluence of Hindu holy rivers of Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, for a ritual dip, on the third and last royal bath of the Maha Kumbh festival on occasion of Basant Panchami in Allahabad, India, Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Millions of Hindu pilgrims are attending the Maha Kumbh festival, which is one of the world’s largest religious gatherings that lasts 55 days and falls every 12 years. During the festival pilgrims bathe in the holy Ganges River in a ritual they believe can wash away their sins. (AP Photo/ Rajesh Kumar Singh)
  • Snowdrops emerge at Kew Gardens on March 1, 2013 in Kew, England. Today marks the first day of Spring, though the Met Office have said that temperatures are likely to be below average throughout March. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • Boiled crawfish lie on display at Kjean’s Safood in New Orleans, Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The wet winter weather in south Louisiana could be making for a bountiful crawfish season. The harvest is just getting started and peaks into the spring. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
  • Spring flowers bloom inside the Norman Foster designed Great Glasshouse at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on March 5, 2013 near Carmarthen, Wales. As the weather improves, staff at the gardens – which opened in 2000, stretches over 500 acres and contains the largest single span glasshouse in the world – are gearing up for the arrival of the spring season. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17, because that is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.  It has become a holiday all around the world, where everyone can share in the fun and be Irish for the day.

Fun Ideas with the Kids

St. Patrick’s Day Recipes

  • Rainbow Cupcakes
  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Corned Beef & Cabbage
  • Fun Facts

    • The color green is also commonly associated with Ireland, also known as “the Emerald Isle.”
    • One estimate suggests that there are about 10 000 regular three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
    • Legend says that each leaf of the clover means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for luck.

    2012 taxes due April 15

    Why do we pay taxes? Everyone pays taxes – they can be in the form of sales taxes (on clothes, gasoline, food in restaurants, to name few) and income taxes. Tax dollars are used to keep many services running that all citizens need. They also pay for Social Security, health care, national defense and social programs such as food stamps and public housing.

    As a temporary member of the community of the USA, au pairs are potentially required to pay income taxes. They use the 1080-EZ NR form (for non-residents).