December 16, 2010

Nutcracker on Ice

For the second year in a row the Huntsville Au Pairs enjoyed a wonderful performance of Nutcracker on Ice performed by The Huntsville Skating School & Training Academy. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the story of The Nutcracker come to life on the ice.

December 1, 2010

December 2010 Newsletter

Welcome to December!

Does it feel like 2010 went by quickly or slowly for you? For au pairs celebrating their first American holiday, be sure to share with your host family how your celebrations at home are different. Your family at home might also be interested to hear about your host family's traditions.

If you will be traveling with your host family or au pair or using some of your vacation this holiday season, please review the "Traveling with your Host Family" and "Vacation Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines" information you received at the arrival orientation and let me know if you have any questions.

December Au Pair Activity

A Christmas Carol at Fantasy Playhouse Children's Theater. In this musical retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel, you will travel with Scrooge as he visits his past, present, & future on Christmas Eve. Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2pm. Tickets are $18. - SOLD OUT
Nutcracker on Ice at Benton H. Wilcox Municipal Ice Complex, Sunday, Dec. 12th at 2pm.

Save these dates

Jan. 16th; Feb. 13th; March 13th
Note: dates are subject to change if there's something fun we'd like to do that doesn't correspond with the dates I've chosen. Just let me know what you want to do!

Au Pair Birthdays

We have no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Au Pair Arrivals/Departures

We have no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

November 14, 2010

Ferdinand the Bull

At the last minute, we changed our minds and went to see a play instead of painting pottery. Isa wasn't going to be able to paint pottery with us and invited everyone to see the play that one of the girls she watches was performing in.

The play was based on the children's book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand, although a bull, would rather sit and smell the flowers than participate in a bull fight. The play added to the original story by including a parallel story about the prospective bull fighter, who would rather be a dancer but wishes to please his father.

We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was pleasantly amateurish, the music was fun, the flowers (of course) were darling, and it was a fantastic way to spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon.

After the play we headed to Starbucks and spent the next hour sipping coffee and chatting about various things. Overall, we had a fantastic meeting, and I'm so glad Isa changed our minds at the last moment!

November 1, 2010

November Newsletter

Welcome to November! I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! Were you one of the estimated 36 million+ trick-or-treaters? This year my boys dressed up as a Prince (Zachary, 3yrs) and Winnie the Pooh (Daniel, 11mos). What costumes did your kids wear?

Some important dates this month:
Nov. 11th is Veterans Day: a national holiday in honor of military veterans. It is
also called Armistice Day to commemorate the end of WWI. The 4th Thursday
in Nov. is Thanksgiving Day: an annual celebration feast originating from the
pilgrims. The day after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday" - be sure to plan
ahead to take advantage of the best shopping deals of the year!

November Au Pair Activity
Pottery Painting at Pottery By You, 181 Hughes Rd, Madison. The studio will provide paints, brushes, expert assistance and anything else you need to let your inner artist out! Costs: studio fee ($6) plus cost of your pottery (prices start at $6). Please see newsletter for date and time.

Save these dates: Dec. 12th; Jan. 16th.
Note: dates are subject to change if there's something fun we'd like to do that doesn't correspond with the dates I've chosen. Just let me know what you want to do!

Au Pair Birthdays
We have three Au Pairs celebrating birthdays this month:
Pamela on the 5th, Isa on the12th, and Vero on the 25th.
Please remember to wish them a Happy Birthday!!

Au Pair Arrivals/Departures
We're excited that Gaby has chosen to stay in Huntsville for another year and will be starting her extension year on the 16th.
We have no au pair departures this month.

October 18, 2010

Huntsville Ghost Walk

For over two hours last Saturday evening, the Huntsville/Madison au pairs and I walked around downtown Huntsville, listening to ghost stories. The night was a little chilly, but not uncomfortable, and we were one small part of a larger group, held captive by our tour guide, Kevin, as he brought Huntsville's past to life for us. We heard stories about corruption, death, and greed. Kevin had many stops on his tour, and each time, as Kevin introduced the building in front of us and began his ghost story, all eyes turned towards the edifice, eagerly searching for some indication that something otherworldly had joined our tour. Unfortunately, we did not experience any spirit activity, but we certainly enjoyed learning some of the history of our town. Although the ghost tour season is over for this year, some of us are all the more eager for the tours to begin again next June so we can experience the other tours!

Au Pairs in attendance: Gaby, Vero, Laetitia, and Pam.

October 1, 2010

Newsletter: Oct. 2010

Welcome to October! We have now definitely left summer behind and moved into fall (also called autumn). Have you noticed some leaves starting to turn colors throughout the city? If you're from a more temperate climate, the changing colors are quite a treat! If you're from a colder climate, you may be disappointed that it's not as spectacular a show as you would see farther north, but we do the best we can for being a southern city. When helping kids get dressed each day, pay attention to the forecast and dress them appropriately - remember that layers are great for cool mornings with warm afternoons!

I also wanted to let everyone know that our booth at the Madison Street Festival was very successful! I was kept busy most of the day and talked to over 60 people about AuPairCare. Of those, 15 families were interested in more information! I have a lot of work cut out for me, making lots of phone calls, but I'm really excited that so many families in our area are discovering AuPairCare as an option for their childcare needs! Many of them expressed interest in talking to current families and au pairs. Please let me know if you would prefer NOT to be contacted by prospective families. Thanks for your help! Hopefully we'll have a few new families joining us soon!!

Did you know that this month marks one year since I started working with AuPairCare? I've really enjoyed being your Area Director this past year! Thank you all for being such a great group. I'm looking forward to what this next year will bring us!

October Au Pair Activity: Huntsville Ghostwalk
Our Au Pair meeting for this month is Saturday evening, 10/16. We're going on a ghostwalk! Tours begin promptly at 6pm, so please plan to arrive at 5:40pm. Admission is $8.00. Tickets sold in advance at Harrison Brothers or on the night of the walk. The walk will be approximately 2 hours long, so please choose your outfit and footwear accordingly! It's been a while since we've had a meeting, so I was really hoping everyone could come, but I understand there are some scheduling conflicts this month. To avoid this issue in the future, I'd like to start reserving spots on your calendar a couple months ahead. So, please save Nov. 14th and Dec. 12th for the next two meetings. Note that we can change these dates if there's a particular activity you'd like us to do that doesn't fall on these days. However, this way we can hopefully avoid scheduling conflicts in the future! This should also allow plenty of time for everyone to arrange transportation. Questions? Suggestions for activities?

Save These Dates: Nov, 14th; Dec. 12th.
Note: dates are subject to change if there's something fun we'd like to do that doesn't correspond with the dates I've chosen. Just let me know what you want to do!

Au Pair Arrivals and Departures
We are sad to say goodbye to Kirsten who finished her year on Oct. 4th. Before returning to South Africa, Kirsten is taking advantage of her 30-day grace period to do some traveling.
We are excited to welcome Pamela from Brazil! Be sure to help her feel welcome!

September 26, 2010

International Host Family and Au Pair Day, 2010

Thank you to everyone who came to our pizza party on Friday! And a special thank you to The Little Gym at Providence! I think it's fair to say that everyone who came had a wonderful time.

Some highlights of the evening:
  • Meeting our newest au pair, Audrey, and also a visiting au pair from North Carolina, Marina. So glad you came!

  • Watching the kids play in the Gym, especially Krista, as she ran at the wedge-shaped mat and knocked it down with all her might!

  • Celebrating Laetitia's birthday with an ice cream cake made by Vero!

  • Seeing two precious, 5-week old babies. Thank you to their parents for bringing Justin and Jayden! They are darling!!

  • Seeing au pairs and host families getting to know each other, and each other's au pairs and host families (does that make sense?). I hope everyone feels like they actually know who else is in our cluster, beyond just names and phone numbers on a sheet of paper!

Thanks again to everyone who came!!

Au Pairs in attendance: Gaby, Isa, Vero, Laetitia, Kirsten, and Audrey

September 1, 2010

Newsletter: Sept. 2010

Welcome to September! School is now in full swing, the weather is starting to cool down, and the stores are full of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, yes, even Christmas. Between now and the New Year, we spend a lot of time preparing for, enjoying, and cleaning up after these holidays, but don't let the hype distract you from enjoying the beautiful weather days this month has in store for us! Be sure to take advantage of this time to enjoy going to the park or even just talking a walk down your street before the weather turns cold and we start focusing on indoor activities.

This Month: Host Family and Au Pair Day
Come join us for a pizza party at The Little Gym at The Village of Providence on Friday, September 24th 5:30pm - 7:30pm.
If you are a current host family or au pair and you did not receive an invitation from evite.com, please check your spam folder. If you still cannot find it, please let me know. If you are interested in learning more about our program, we would love for you to join us! Please contact me so I can have a correct headcount for food. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there!!

Happy Birthday!
Laetitia's birthday is Sept. 24th. Happy Birthday!!

Au Pair Arrivals and Departures
We are excited that Audrey from France will arrive in Huntsville on September 16th!! Please help her feel welcome!
Keep those referrals coming! Spread the word about AuPairCare!

August 14, 2010

Activity Cancelled

Sadly, we are unable to have our au pair meeting this month. Although we had scheduled to go on a ghostwalk on the 14th, too many conflicts have arisen for that weekend, and with the area director out of town and unavailable for the rest of the month, there is not enough time for us to get together! This is very unusual for us and I will greatly miss seeing everybody. As such, I expect everyone to already have our next activity on their calendar and hopefully there won't be any conflicts! We have International Host Family and Au Pair Day next month, so please make plans to attend!!

August 1, 2010

Newsletter: Aug. 2010

Welcome to August! The weather is still blazing hot, but it's time to start getting ready to go back to school. It's not too early to start thinking about your autumn, which tends to be a very busy time with activities, sports events, holidays, and even the run-up to Christmas. Before everything gets too hectic, plan one last fling this month and create a few more summer memories!

I have some very important information for you, so please take time to read everything! First of all, you should have received this month's newsletter, roster, and map via email. As ever, let me know if you did not receive the email or have any trouble with the files.

I will be out of town at the end of August. During that time I will be available by phone/email (barring any unforeseen issues, like, say, a faulty charger cable...). However, I have requested three days of vacation as we will be busy with wedding activities. Again, Melissa Bush has agreed to cover for me while I'm gone. Please don't hesitate to contact her if you need anything. Please see the email I sent for the specific dates.

Save the Date: this year's Host Family Day will be the weekend of September 25th and 26th. Everyone is invited! I have not yet finalized plans and would love to hear any input! Would Saturday or Sunday be better for you? Do you have any particular suggestions? For those who have been with AuPairCare for a while, what have been successful Host Family Days in the past? I will be scheduling a venue early this month, so please share any ideas you have! Also, please feel free to invite any friends who are interested in learning more about AuPairCare.

Just a reminder that my business number is now also my cell phone number. If you need to reach me on the phone, please call <number removed>. The old cell number has been deactivated. This number also now accepts text messages if that is your preferred method (though please note that I do not have unlimited messaging on my plan).

August Au Pair Activity: Huntsville Ghost Walk
Saturday, Aug. 14th at 6pm in front of Harrison Brothers Hardware, 124 Southside Square, Downtown Huntsville. The tour starts promptly at 6, so please be on time. Admission is $8.00.
Tickets sold in advance at Harrison Brothers or on the night of the walk.

Au Pair Arrivals/Departures
We are excited that Veronika from Germany will arrive in Huntsville on August 12th!! Please help her feel welcome!

July 26, 2010

Lunch with the Au Pairs

This month we had planned to enjoy a leisurely lunch at a local restaurant that serves homemade southern fare. Unfortunately, I didn't think to check their schedule until the day of our meeting and discovered, to my dismay, that the restaurant is not open on Sundays. This led to a hasty round of emails and Facebooking, during which I was truly thankful that I have an internet-capable phone, because my family and I were not at home for the entirety of the morning! But by the time lunchtime rolled around, we all found ourselves at the same place and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Applebee's. The food was good, the conversation was great, and the company was even better. Thanks for a great afternoon girls! See you next month!!

July 1, 2010

Newsletter: July 2010

Happy Fourth of July!! This month we celebrate our nation's independence. What fun activities do you have planned? Many families enjoy celebrating the holiday with picnics or BBQs, swimming in a pool or playing at a park, and, of course, no 4th of July is complete without a fireworks show!

Also this month we have an Au Pair birthday to celebrate: Kirsten's birthday is July 27th. Be sure to wish her a happy birthday!!

July Au Pair Activity
This month we're sampling homemade southern fare at Lyn's Gracious Goodness at 2306 Whitesburg Drive. We'll meet at the restaurant at 1pm on July 25th. Let me know if you need a ride! You can check out the website and take a peek at the menu at www.lynskitchen.com

A Couple Reminders
Please remember that I am out of town at the beginning of this month (please see email for specific dates). I will be available by phone or email; however, if you need immediate assistance, please contact Melissa Bush.

Also, remember that the AuPairCare offices will be closed Monday, July 5th in observation of Independence Day.

June 20, 2010

Harmony Park Safari

This month we went on a Safari right here in Huntsville. Since there are only four of us right now, we only needed one car, which was nice! The park is a drive-though safari, so we stayed in the car almost the entire time. It's not a huge park and the circuit didn't actually take very long. There's food for sale at the entrance to the park, and although we didn't buy any, the animals know that incoming cars have lots of food, so we immediately found ourselves surrounded by goats, deer, and ponies. The goats were so upset we didn't have anything for them, that one actually head-butted my car! Eventually the animals moved off the road and we were able to continue our trip. During the rest of the safari we saw more goats, deer, and ponies, as well as camels, emus, peacocks, buffalo, cows, and alligators. At the end of drive we parked and got out to see the turtles and some other reptiles that live inside a small structure. The safari was definitely a great way to see lots of exotic animals up close (and I mean UP CLOSE) from within the safety of the car.

Au Pairs in attendance: Kirsten, Gaby, Isa

June 1, 2010

Newsletter: June 2010

This month we remember to honor our Dads: Father's Day is Sunday, June 20th. While many dads can be hard to shop for, remember that a handmade card is sometimes better than another tie. You may also want to plan a special dinner, or a fun activity.

Summer Safety Tips
The occasional thunderstorm notwithstanding, summer is upon us! If you are caring for your children, keep sunscreen and sun hats handy. If you are in charge of the children near water, never take your eyes off the kids! Water emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye. Always follow the host parents' rules regarding child safety.

June Au Pair Activity
We're going to a baseball game! We'll see The Huntsville Stars play The Montgomery Biscuits on Sat. June 19th. Meet at the ticket counter at 5:45 for the 6:00 game. Tickets are $8; parking is
$4 (cash only for parking). See you there!

Au Pair Arrivals/Departures
This month we are pleased to welcome Laetitia from France! She will arrive on Thursday, June 17th. Please help her feel welcome!
We have no au pair departures this month.

May 1, 2010

Newsletter: May 2010

Welcome to May! We have two big holidays this month: Mother's Day on May 9th and Memorial Day on May 31st. If you're short on gift ideas for Mom, try making something for her even if it's just a card. Also remember that sometimes the best gift you can give is time: plan a special breakfast or dinner that she won't have to cook or clean up after!

Memorial Day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. Most schools and businesses will be closed on that day and many community pools will open for the summer on this weekend. Enjoy!

May Au Pair Activity
This month we are continuing our animal theme and taking a road trip to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere on Saturday, May 15th! Visit the zoo's website at www.nashvillezoo.org for more information. If you would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page to RSVP.

We're on Facebook!
AuPairCare of Northern Alabama has its own Facebook page! Click the 'like' button to keep up with our activities, participate in the discussion forum, RSVP for events, and upload pictures and
videos (do not upload anything without proper permission).

April 1, 2010

Newsletter: April 2010

Welcome to April! Did anyone fall prey to an April Fool's joke? Did you play one on someone else? While practical jokes can be fun, be sure to keep it safe and don't do anything to someone that you wouldn't want them to do to you.
Speaking of staying safe, April thunderstorms can often bring tornadoes and flooding. Listen to the radio for severe weather warnings and don't leave home during severe weather if you don't have to. While thunder and lightening can be scary, remember that "April showers bring May flowers"!

April Au Pair Activity
This month we are going on a safari! Harmony Park Safari is a federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic & endangered animals. This is a "drive-through" animal park where we will remain in the car on the two-mile route to see zebras, zebus, antelope, buffalo, a camel, ostriches, pythons & crocodiles. Please visit our Facebook page for more details.

Mother's Day Approaches...
It's not too early to start thinking about how to celebrate our moms this coming Mother's Day! Au pairs may want to help the kids make a special card or even a homemade gift for Mom. Another idea is to plan a special breakfast or dinner for her. Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9th.

March 2, 2010

Newsletter: March 2010

Welcome to March! Hopefully we've said goodbye to the last of the freezing weather and we'll be able to start enjoying being outdoors again! I bet the kids are looking forward to Spring Break this month - does anyone have vacation plans for that week? I'm really looking forward to our activity for this month - I hope everyone can participate! Also, AuPairCare is offering a double referral bonus for the month of March - you could earn $400 for telling your friends about AuPairCare! I'd love to help you earn this bonus, please contact me if you have any questions or ideas!

March Au Pair Activity: Share-A-Bear
This month all Au Pairs and Host Families are invited to a Build-A-Bear party on March 14th at 2pm to create special bears to donate to children in our city! Please see invitation for additional details (let me know if you did not receive an email invitation). RSVP by March 7th.

Referral Opportunity - Double Referral Bonus!
Do you know other families interested in learning more about the benefits of hosting an au pair? Host an AuPairCare information session at your home and receive $250 just for hosting PLUS $400 for each of your friends who joins the program! Contact your Area Director for more information.

February 1, 2010

Newsletter: Feb. 2010

Welcome to February! I have to admit that February is my favorite month because it includes my birthday :-) It's also a month full of holidays (which often mean a day off from school) and we start looking forward to warmer weather and spring.
February's Holidays
Feb. 2: Groundhog Day - A special day for Punxsutawney Phil
Feb. 12: Lincoln's Birthday - Sixteenth president of the USA
Feb. 14: Valentine's Day - A day of candy, cards, flowers, & hearts
Feb. 15: President's Day - Celebrating our nation's presidents
Feb. 22: Washington's Birthday - First president of the USA

February Au Pair Activity
Constellation Tour at Monte Sano State Park Planetarium Sat. 2/13; Please plan to arrive at 7pm; show begins at 7:30pm; Admission: $5 We will take a look at multicultural myths and interesting objects located in the constellations of Ares, Taurus, Canis Major, Gemini, Auriga. Weather permitting, we'll enjoy viewing the night sky through telescopes as well. Directions: www.vbas.org/directions.htm

Au Pair Arrivals and Departures
We are sad to say goodbye to 3 wonderful au pairs this month. Grace has enjoyed her two years here and is looking forward to returning home to Thailand. Before flying home to Brazil, Rafa will reunite with her family on a cruise. Miho will also be traveling before returning to Japan; her itinerary includes Las Vegas, Washington DC, and California.

We are excited to welcome Isabel from Germany on Feb. 25! Be sure to help her feel welcome!!

January 1, 2010

Newsletter: Jan. 2010

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and an enjoyable New Year's celebration. Did you make some resolutions for the the new year? Were you able to keep some of your resolutions from last year? January can seem a little bleak after all the bustle of December. Try to plan some fun activities for the kids and yourself to keep from feeling blue. Check out the sidebar for a couple ideas and visit http://www.huntsville.org/visitors/calendar/ for more events in Huntsville and Madison.

January Au Pair Activity
Raise your hand if you were inspired to ice skate after watching 'Nutcracker on Ice' last month - I certainly was! We'll be at the same place on Sunday, Jan. 24th from 3:00 to 4:50. Try to arrive 20 minutes early to get skates rented so we can have as much time on the ice as possible. Admission: $7.00; Skate rental: $2.25. Let me know if you can't come.

Important Communication Reminder
Let's get 2010 off to a good start! It is very important that I speak with you every month. If I leave you a phone message, you need to call back! This is very important. If I don't hear back from you after several tries, the AuPairCare headquarters office will get involved. Also remember that you can always call me before I've contacted you. Thank you for your help!