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Archive for January, 2013

Be my valentine!

St. Valentine's Day

St. Valentine’s Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

“In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in CanadaMexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia” (See http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day). With the international cultural origins of au pairs, most will be familiar with Valentine’s Day.

In many countries, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolate—often deep, dark chocolate blended with a variety of delicious ingredients. For those who love private and multiple Valentine’s Day celebrations, there is a unique brand of chocolate bars that blend the best of food ingredients with  love poems that are printed on the inside of the wrapper.

Chocolove chocolate bars are sold in many natural food stores and online. Each flavor (Almonds and Sea Salt, Cherries and Almonds, Raspberries, etc.) comes in milk or dark chocolate and each features a different poem.

What a nice way to bring an international tradition home to your Host Family and children!

XOXOX

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Flag of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Image created...

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

Albuquerque is a semi-desert area–with lots of sandy soil, cactus, and a humidity factor that plummets during most of the year. Temperatures make extreme changes when the climate is dry, rising and falling as much as 50 degrees between day and night.

Host children (and Host Families) in New Mexico may enjoy learning about these changes at a site designed especially to teach children about deserts.

The example given is the Sahara Desert, where summer temperatures exceed 100 degrees during the day and drop to 50 degrees or less at night. Albuquerque isn’t as extreme as the Sahara, but it still requires an understanding of how to dress in layers and how to keep hydrated.

Au pairs with native skills in desert and semi-desert lifestyles (and those who develop these skills in caring for their New Mexico adopted families) will recognize Albuquerque weather on this website.

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Creamy guacamole

(Creamy Guacamole, Wikipedia: Public Domain)

What is harder than thinking up delicious (and nutritious) meals for Host Children—and doing it every day?

There is hope. Au Pair Sis has gathered an awesome collection of easy and fresh meals on her Pinterest page.

Southwestern soils grow good vegetables: kale, asparagus, avocado, and others. Avocadoes caught my eye, as they are favored in New Mexico cuisine. The featured link to yummly.com offers  awesome alternatives for avocadoes in guacamole. Is anything missing here? Only a local emphasis on green chile added to the guacamole. Yum!

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Flag of the city of Atlanta, Georgia

Flag of the city of Atlanta, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

One of the links from the Go Au Pair blog for Atlanta, Georgia (a beautiful natural area, by the way) is to the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.

Younger children will enjoy a visit to this site. If you mouse over the heading, the girl and boy hiding behind the banner pull back and then come back out to smile at visitors. The website is designed interactively and in bright colors, with dropdown menus, a movie, and a box to sign up for the email newsletter. Lots of au pair ideas here!

While the activities on the museum page will easily capture the interest of younger Host Children, older children who are beginning to develop an interest in social networking on the internet (and their Host Moms and Dads who want to learn more about social networking and supervise their interest) may enjoy the link below to Engauge.com, the author of this website.

The Insights page (and other pages) at engauge.com offer a variety of high quality networking directions  that can be adapted for older Host Children.

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English: AuPairCare Au pair

AuPairCare (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

To many families the process of matching with and then receiving a Department of State cultural au pair into their home and family seems daunting—but there are many ways that Go Au Pair, one of the eight original au pair agencies approved at the beginning of the DOS program, can make the process easy.

Go Au Pair has nearly 300 au pairs (young adults between 18  and 26 years) around the world who have finished their training and are ready to match. If the au pair is in his/her native country, Go Au Pair’s international staff guides the process of completing the local embassy interview and acquiring the J-1 Visa needed to enter the United States. When the au pair is ready to fly to join his/her Host Family, the international staff coordinates with the Local Area Representative to make the process seamless.

Throughout the year of service, the au pair and the Host Family continue to be supported with necessary local information such as where and how to obtain a Social Security card and a driver’s license. Then, when it is time to return home, the international team springs into action again.

All of this planning  supports the making of wonderful memories for all concerned. Kids who have grown up with au pairs are different—in good ways.

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Taken in Megeve, France

Megeve, France (Photo credit: Wikipedia), , Public Domain)

What if you could teach your youngest Host Children to create moments of peace with names like as “knocking with mittens quiet” and “reading to the fire quiet”?

Ms. Underwood’s Christmas Quiet Book for children aged 4-7 is published by Houghton Mifflin, listing for $12.99. Au pairs who are savvy about online pricing may find discounts and additional titles at http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Quiet-Book-Deborah-Underwood/dp/0547558635 . A Kindle edition is available as well.

The Christmas Quiet Book is part of a series that also includes The Quiet Book (for all seasons) and The Loud Book. A related Amazon video charms children and adults alike.

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English: Photographer is V. Green - it's a pho...

English: Rio Grande in Albuquerque, NM(Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

A wonderful thing has been happening in the publishing industry for the past few years—the publication of free magazines and newsletters of very high quality that are targeted for specific audiences. Rio Grande Family is a free magazine for New Mexico families (including families with au pairs) that has recently won the 2012 editorial and design competition award for the Parenting Media Association.

The December 2012 edition of RGF (Volume 2 Number 11) contains information on area events, and a variety of departments (“Facts & Fun,” “Family Health,” “Great Reads,” and others) that are keyed to active involved families with children.

The website for Rio Grande Family is www.RioGrandeFamily.com .

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