December 20, 2011

Holiday Party

Once again we journeyed to Birmingham for a joint activity with the Birmingham cluster. Lucy hosted us at her home for snacks, conversation, and a game of dirty Santa gift giving. Eliana rode with me and we met up with Vero at the party. We missed Fernanda, who had to work. In the course of the dirty Santa game Eliana opened a pair of fuzzy socks and I opened a digital picture keychain. Someone "stole" the keychain from me, which left me without a gift, so I "stole" a Starbucks gift card from someone else. After the game we enjoyed some birthday cake in honor of Kerry of the Birmingham cluster.

December 1, 2011

December 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to December!

The holidays are here! Thanks to our diverse culture here in the US, there are many holidays to celebrate during December. Christmas is December 25; Hanukkah is celebrated between the 21st and the 28th this year; and Kwanzaa - celebrating African-American heritage and culture - is observed from December 26 to January 1. Whatever holiday your host family celebrates, this is a great opportunity for you to learn about American culture and share holiday traditions from your home country. Try cooking a traditional dish or teaching your host family's children your favorite holiday song from your childhood!

And of course, December 31 is New Year's Eve which everyone likes to celebrate - including host parents. Talk to your host family before making plans for that night as they may be expecting you to work. Au pairs can be asked to work on holidays.

Getting Ready for Winter

Although the calendar still says fall, winter weather is here. Don't forget to bundle up the kids when you take them to the park. Often the temperature warms up later in the day so dressing the little ones in layers is a good idea.

With the changing weather, driving conditions will often require extra caution. Wet or icy roads can be very slippery. If you will be driving, please slow down. Allow extra time when you need to pick up the children so you will not be rushed. Be careful and make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

December Au Pair Activity

Plan to join us for a combined Huntsville/Birmingham AuPairCare Holiday Party! It will be held at the home of Lucy Edwards, Area Director in Birmingham on Sunday, December 11th at 4pm. Please see the flyer in your inbox for more information.

Save These Dates

January 15 (Sunday) at 2pm, Ice Skating at Benton H. Wilcox Ice Complex
February 12 (Sunday) at 2pm, Mall Scavenger Hunt at Parkway Place Mall

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

Arriving here on December 15 is Maria Lasprilla Suarez from Colombia. She will be living in Guntersville. Please join me in welcoming Maria to Alabama!

November 20, 2011

Painting Pottery

Fernanda met me at Pottery By You for our meeting this month and the two of us had a fun afternoon of painting pottery. Fernanda picked out a cute little sock monkey to paint. I brought 1.5-month-old Eli with me and used his tiny little feet to decorate a tile to match those of his brothers. In honor of the Veteran's Day holiday, the studio fees were waived, which was a nice little savings, so I painted a second piece to hold business cards. We were sad the other au pairs weren't able to join us, so this is activity I'll keep on the suggestion list and we'll try again in the future. It's a fun thing to do that also gives us a chance to chit-chat.

November 1, 2011

November 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to November!

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This unique American holiday commemorates the early settlers from Europe who arrived in America looking for a new life. After a particularly hard winter the year before, they celebrated a bountiful harvest with the native American people who showed them how to farm the land. Although it's not certain where the first Thanksgiving was held, it is generally believed to have occurred near Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The early Americans continued to celebrate Thanksgiving each year in the fall. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday.

Although most Americans no longer grow their own food, we still gather with family and friends to celebrate all that we have to be thankful for. The traditional Thanksgiving Day menu includes roast turkey stuffed with a mixture of bread and vegetables, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Although many of these foods may be new to you, I hope you will join your host family for this traditional meal!

Are You Looking For Travel Partners?

A big part of living abroad is experiencing the new country that you're living in. As you know, the United States is big and there are many places to visit. However, some au pairs may be uncomfortable traveling alone. Group travel is a good way to see parts of America that you may have only heard about or seen on TV. It's safe and easy to arrange. Au pairs can go camping under the stars, shop on Rodeo drive, hike in the desert, or take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.

Intrepid Travel is a great option for group travel, whether you are looking for an exciting way to spend part of your two weeks of vacation or you have finished your year and are planning to spend the extra month seeing the US. You have already lived across the world without your family for a year, so how about one more adventure? Please call 1-800-970-7299 or go to www.intrepidsuntrek.com for more information. Be sure to ask about the "Au Pair Fall Specials" and get a 30% discount on some of their fall trips! The New Year's Eve trip to Las Vegas always books up quickly!

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

November Au Pair Activity

November 12 (Saturday) at 2pm, pottery painting at Pottery By You, 181 Hughes Road #9, Madison AL. Studio fees are $6 per person and pottery items start at $9.

Save These Dates

December 11 (Sunday), Christmas party with Birmingham group. Details TBA
January 15 (Sunday) at 2pm, Ice Skating at Benton H. Wilcoxon Ice Complex

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 one birthday to celebrate this month: A very happy birthday to Vero on the 25th!!

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

October 10, 2011

Host Family and Au Pair Day 2011

Our October activity was our annual Host Family and Au Pair Day! We were at The Little Gym at the Village of Providence again this year. Both my mom and sister-in-law were in town, having flown in to meet the newest little member of my family - Eli was born on September 22nd. Unfortunately only one host family was able to attend the event as one was on vacation for fall break, one was working, and one was celebrating a family birthday. Vero and Eliana (our newest au pair) were also there. The kids had a blast playing in the gym while everyone seemed able to find someone with something in common.

October 1, 2011

October 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to October!

This month we celebrate Halloween. Although this is a holiday that is celebrated all over the world, few countries celebrate to the extent that we do here in the United States. What used to be primarily a chidren's holiday has now become an opportunity for all ages to dress in costumes and have a good time. I hope you will be able to join your host family's children as they roam the neighborhood for "trick-or-treat".

Don't forget about safety at Halloween time! Young children should be accompanied by an adult when they go out trick-or-treating. Be sure to check all treats before allowing children to eat them. Costumes should be easy to move in and not pose a tripping hazard. If you are out after dark with the kids, be sure to carry flashlights and hold their hands when crossing the street. The same goes for grown-up partiers: Don't forget to keep yourself safe. Only go to parties where you know the people who are hosting the event. If you are out in the city, be aware of your surroundings. For those who are 21, drink responsibly and never drive if you have had anything alcoholic to drink!

It's Important to Keep In Touch

One of the many responsibilities of an Area Director is to keep in touch with all the au pairs and host families in the area. The Department of State rules require Area Directors to contact each host family and au pair once every month. This allows AuPairCare to make sure all au pairs are doing fine and answer any questions that may come up. Please assist me with this important communication by returning my call if I leave you a message. And if you have a cell phone, make sure that the voicemail is set up!

The monthly events are also a vital part of the au pair program. While class or work schedules can sometimes prevent you from attending an au pair activity, please try to attend whenever possible. It's important for our group to get to know each other and greet the new au pairs who have just arrived. I hope to see you at the next activity!

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

October Au Pair Activity

unday 10/2 6:00-7:30pm: Host Family and Au Pair Day! This year's event will be at The Little Gym at The Village of Providence. Please watch your inboxes for an evite soon!

Save These Dates

November - Saturday 11/12 at 2pm: Pottery Painting at Pottery By You.

December - Sunday 12/11: Christmas party with Birmingham cluster. Details TBD

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

September 10, 2011

Hayride "Apollo 18"

Once again, the rain foiled our plans. Instead of a hayride at the Botanical Garden, we met at Monaco Pictures and decided on a space movie: "Apollo 18" It turned out to be a light horror. So we enjoyed some snacks and soda while watching alien rock creatures terrorize astronauts. We chatted a little after the movie and then headed home in the rain.

September 1, 2011

September 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to September!

Whether you have just arrived, or are in your extension year, it's good to remember some basics for having a good au pair experience. Communication is the basis for any good relationship. You should feel free to tell your host family how you're feeling and ask questions about anything you don't understand. It's not always easy to have an honest conversation, but it is important! Equally important is mutual respect. Don't forget that your host family has trusted you with their most precious possessions: their children. But also don't forget to treat their home, car and other possessions with respect. At the end of your stay your room should look much like it did when you arrived. Your host family should also respect you and understand how difficult it can be, coming from another country and culture. (If they forget - remember to use a little of that communication!) If you ever feel there are difficulties arising that you can't handle by
yourself, please call me. I'm here to help!

Important Reminders About Insurance

Now that summer is coming to an end, fall is right around the corner. The weather will be cooler and that means more time inside. Plus, many of you are caring for young children who are back to school. This adds up to more colds and flus! With this in mind, I thought it would be a good time to provide some information about your insurance. Au pairs have "travel insurance" that covers you anywhere in the world except your home country. While the insurance will pay your doctor bills if you get sick or hurt, there are some limitations. Any problem that you had prior to coming to the US will not be covered. Also, there are many doctors who will not bill the insurance company; you will need to pay the bill and then file a claim to get reimbursed. Most hospitals will send the bill to the insurance company, but if you go to the hospital "emergency room "and it's not truly an emergency, you will have to pay $250. Please go online to read more details at www.avi-international.info, or www.falck.com/travelcare if you applied through an STS office.

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

September Au Pair Activity

Sunday 9/4 at 2pm: Hayride and Fall Festival at The Botanical Garden. We'll meet at the entrance (inside) at 2 and go on the hayride first. Afterwards we can explore the Sorghum Maze and Scarecrow Trail and then you can enjoy the rest of the garden if you'd like. Admission for non-members is $12.

Save These Dates

OCTOBER - Sunday 10/2 6:00-7:30pm: Host Family and Au Pair Day! This year's event will be at The Little Gym at The Village of Providence. Please watch your inboxes for an evite soon!

NOVEMBER - TBD. Please save the date: Saturday 11/12 at 2pm

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


There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

August 25, 2011

Ghostwalk Sea Rex in 3D

We were going to enjoy going on a ghostwalk this month, but on the day of the scheduled event, the rain was coming down so hard I could hardly see the street from my front porch. We rescheduled for the 19th to see "Sea Rex in 3D" at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Unfortunately, one au pair was out of town, one had to work, and one simply forgot. So I saw the show by myself and then headed home. I thought it was a neat little video, but was disappointed that the meeting didn't really happen.

August 1, 2011

August 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to August!

School age children in Huntsville/Madison will be headed back to school on August 10th or 15th, though many preschools may begin later. If you care for school-aged children, it will soon be time to shift gears and get into a different routine. Some children have a hard time adjusting to this new, and often more confining, schedule. Talk with your host parents for suggestions of how to deal with the upcoming changes in their children's routine. Your work schedule will probably change too, so be prepared to do some adjusting yourself!

Do you drive the children to school? If so, remember to be extra cautious when driving in school zones. The speed limit is usually 25 mph, and sometimes even lower. Always leave the house on time so you don't have to rush when taking the kids to school. And be sure to ask the children about their day when they get home - young students love to share what they've learned in school!

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

August Au Pair Activity

Sat. 8/13 at 6pm: Huntsville Ghost Walk. Meet at 5:30 in front of Harrison Brothers Hardware (124 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801) Admission is $8 (cash or check only!)

Save These Dates

SEPTEMBER - To Be Determined. Please Save the Date: Sunday afternoon, September 4th.

OCTOBER - HOST FAMILY & AU PAIR DAY!! Sunday, October 2nd, 6-7:30pm at The Little Gym at Village of Providence. More information will be sent out in early September. (Please note that this is a different date than in the last newsletter)

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

We are sad to be saying goodbye to two Au Pairs this month!! Gaby has already said goodbye to Huntsville and is living in Corpus Christi, TX until August 27th when she'll travel to her new host family in Maple Grove, MN. After almost 2 years in Alabama, Minnesota might be a bit of an adjustment for her, but we're so glad she gets to finish her extension year and not go home early! We're also sad to say goodbye to Laura - she'll be moving back to Seattle with her host family on August 15th. She only got to be here for a short few months, but we're so glad she did! I hope everyone will join me in wishing them both the best of luck in their future endeavors.

We're excited to be welcoming Eliana from Brazil at the end of this month! She'll arrive in the U.S. on August 28th and will travel to Huntsville on September 1st. Be sure to welcome her when she arrives!

July 19, 2011

Sam & Greg's

We met at Sam & Greg's Pizzeria and Gelateria on Courthouse Square and enjoyed some great ice cream together. I picked this restaurant for its historic building, which dates from the early 1800s. I was joined by Fernanda, Vero, Gaby, Pam, and Laura, who is visiting Huntsville these two months with her military host family. It was almost the biggest meeting we've ever had! The skies had broken open and the rain was pouring down, but I was so glad that everyone braved the weather for an evening of great conversation. The restaurant is not particularly large and we were fortunate that there was plenty of space available for us. We had so much fun enjoying pizza and ice cream and talking and laughing together that we stayed past closing time. When we realized the wait staff had cleaned everything else up and were waiting for us to finish we reluctantly licked the last bit of ice cream from our spoons, located our umbrellas and headed back into the deluge.

The Italian ice cream was definitely fantastic and I was assured that the pizza lacked nothing, but considering the paid parking (it is downtown after all) and limited seating, this is a venue that I may not add to our list of activities for the future.

July 1, 2011

July 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to July!

This month we celebrate the birthday of the United States! Independence Day is on July 4. On that date in 1776, the founding fathers declared that the United States of America would be its own country, independent of British rule. The holiday is celebrated with parades, barbecues and picnics during the day, and fireworks displays after dark. I hope that you will share the festivities with your host family! July 4 is on Monday this year so many people will take off for a three day weekend. Please note that au pairs do not necessarily get holidays off. If your host family would like you to care for the children that day, they can schedule you to work.

AuPairCare will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the holiday. I will return all calls and emails the following day. As always, if you have an emergency after regular business hours you can call 415-434-8788 and someone will assist you.

Summer Reminders

The sunny weather is finally here, so here are some reminders for summer:

* Don't forget to put sunscreen and/or hats on the children if you're out at the park all day.
* If you are around a pool or other water with the children, never take your eyes off them. Don't trust that a lifeguard will keep them safe. YOU are the lifeguard!
* If you are thinking of taking a summer trip, talk with your host family well in advance about getting time off. Vacation should be taken at a mutually agreed upon time. Planning ahead is important!
* Start now to look for classes that will begin in August or September.

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

July Au Pair Activity

Thurs. 7/14 at 8pm at Sam & Greg's Pizzeria/Gelateria, 119 North Side Square , Downtown Huntsville. The building dates from the early 1800s and has been a part of Huntsville's original Courthouse Square. Come enjoy some Italian ice cream, coffee, or pizza!

Save These Dates

AUGUST - Sat. 8/13 at 6pm: Huntsville Ghost Walk. Meet at 5:30 in front of Harrison Brothers Hardware (124 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801) Admission is $8 (cash or check only!)

SEPTEMBER - at 3pm: We will meet at Pottery By You, 181 Hughes Road #9, Madison AL. Studio fees are $6 per person and pottery items start at $9.

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

June 20, 2011

Lunch at Applebee's

Pam, Vero, and Fernanda met me for lunch at Applebee's. We missed Gaby, who was on vacation. I've found that Applebee's is a great place to meet the au pairs for lunch: there's plenty of variety on the menu for everyone to find something that appeals to them and there's just enough ambient noise yet not too much to enjoy conversation. Our meal was marred by errors and tardiness on the part of the wait and cook staff, but they did their best to correct the situation. Having lunch together is always on my standby list of great activities. We may try a different place next time just to mix things up a bit.

June 1, 2011

June 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to June!

Remember to discuss vacation plans with your host family well in advance of your trip. Vacation time must be mutually agreed upon! If you will be traveling out of the country make sure you have made copies of all your documents and checked to make sure everything is in order before you go. Please let me know what your vacation plans are when you have them finalized.

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

These local businesses have partnered with AuPairCare. If you find yourself in need of their services, please consider them first!

Dr. Katarina Allman, M.D.
Allman Family Medicine, 1878 Jeff Road Suite G, Huntsville, AL 35806; 256-428-0444

The Jacob's Wings Foundation, jacobswings.org

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

June Au Pair Activity

Sunday 6/13 at 12pm: Lunch at Applebee's on South Parkway (3028 Memorial Parkway Southwest, Huntsville, AL 35801-5303)

Save These Dates

JULY - Sat. 7/9 at 3pm: Pottery painting at Pottery By You, 181 Hughes Rd. #9, Madison, AL 35758, (256) 325-2964. Studio fee is $6/person; items start at $9.

AUGUST - Sat. 8/13 at 6pm: Huntsville Ghost Walk. Meet at 5:30 in front of Harrison Brothers Hardware (124 Southside Square, Huntsville, AL 35801
(256) 536-3631). Admission is $8 (cash or check only!)

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

Just For Fun

Cool Cucumbers
A refreshing side dish on a hot day.

Cucumbers in Sour Cream Sauce

3 large cucumbers, sliced thin
1/2 Vidalia onion, sliced thin
8 oz. sour cream
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
pinch baking soda
salt and pepper to taste

Place sliced cucs in a dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour to draw out the water. Drain cucumbers

Mix together the sour cream, vinegar, sugar and baking soda. Add to the sliced & drained cucs and the onions.
Adjust seasonings if needed. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Enjoy! These are best served cold.

May 20, 2011

Birmingham Zoo

We were fortunate to have perfect weather for our day at the Birmingham Zoo!! Gaby and Pam rode with me from Huntsville and we met up with Vero and the Birmingham cluster at the zoo. We all had a picnic lunch together and then began our zoo adventure. My oldest son, Zachary, was with us and the au pairs enjoyed taking turns pointing things out to him and lifting him up to see better. Although it was a bit of drive for us, this is definitely an activity to keep on the list: not only did we have a great day at the zoo, we got to spend time with the Birmingham cluster too!

May 1, 2011

May 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to May!

Following the incredible storms on April 27th and the devastation they caused, I am so grateful that all of you were kept safe. Now that we have our power back and we're returning to our regular routines, please remember those who were greatly affected and still in much need. For information on donating supplies or volunteering your time, please visit these sites:

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

These local businesses have partnered with AuPairCare. If you find yourself in need of their services, please consider them first!

Valley Music Therapy
Carla Durham, 256-345-8772, musicladycarla@yahoo.com

A Nurturing Moment - Maternity and Breastfeeding Boutique
964 Airport Road Suite 10, Huntsville, AL 35801, 256-489-2590

Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

May Au Pair Activity

Birmingham Zoo (joint activity), Saturday, May 14th, Birmingham, AL
We will be meeting the Birmingham cluster at the zoo entrance at 11:00. Please bring a lunch. Water and juice/soda will be provided by Birmingham's Area Director, Lucy Edwards. Contact me if you would like to carpool. Zoo entrance is $14. You may also want to bring extra money for souvenirs or food once we are in the zoo. Please wear comfortable shoes and don't forget sun protection - we will be outside most of the afternoon. Please let me know if you will not be coming or if you have any questions.

Save These Dates

JUNE - Pick your own fruit, details coming soon. Please Save the Date: Sunday, June 12th

JULY - To Be Determined. Please Save the Date: Sunday, July 10th

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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

Just For Fun

Deviled Egg Boats
Ingredients
12 hard-boiled eggs
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons vinegar (white or cider)
1/4 to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 red, orange, yellow, or green bell peppers
Paprika

Instructions
Peel the eggs, then slice each one in half to make boats. Place the yolks in a medium-sized bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the mustard and the vinegar, then add the mayonnaise, stirring until the consistency is smooth but not soupy.
Next, make the sails. To do this, cut each pepper into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch squares and slice each square in half diagonally.
Fill the egg-white halves with the yolk mixture. Stick the sail upright into the filling and sprinkle with paprika. Makes two dozen.

April 20, 2011

Crawfish Boil

In celebration of Mardi Gras, we took advantage of a ticket deal on Living Social and attended a Crawfish Boil! Vero and Gaby met my family and me at the door. We arrived right as everything was getting going and stopped to check out the live crawfish on display in plastic kiddie pools. The kids weren't so sure about the live crawfish but the au pairs got their cameras right out. There were some inflatables at one end of the conference room, so my husband took the boys over while the au pairs and I found a table and got caught up on each others' news. Soon a line began forming for the crawfish! The au pairs decided against trying the delicacy, but we were all delighted to watch the boys (aged 3 and 18 months) experiment with the new flavors. Pretty soon the band started playing and the high volume prevented further conversation. The au pairs stayed a little longer and then made their good-byes. My family and I finished our crawfish, took one more turn on each of the inflatables, and then we too headed for the exits.

As a former resident of New Orleans, I found the experience both enjoyable and disappointing. I'm not sure this is an activity we'll repeat again.

April 1, 2011

April 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to April!

This month we're continuing to create and grow relationships with local area businesses to help spread the word about AuPairCare. Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

Please 'like' our Facebook Page "AuPairCare of North Alabama" and help spread the word.
If you have photos from our monthly activities, please feel free to upload and share them!

Community Partner Spotlight

These local businesses have partnered with AuPairCare. If you find yourself in need of their services, please consider them first!

Buckner Chiropractic
256-895-0606; bucknerchiropractic.com

Denise Crosby, Mary Kay Independent Senior Sales Director
256-464-3191; www.marykay.com/dcrosby

Upcoming Activities

APRIL - Crawfish Boil
Saturday, April 16th at 3pm, Von Braun Center, South Hall
Entrance tickets are $7 per person and do not include food (kids under 12 free w/ paying adult). (See website for menu prices). Tickets are available at the VBC Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000. http://headstailscrawfishboil.com/
Friends and Host Families are welcome as well since this is a unique event! There is a strong possibility that my husband and children will be there too.

MAY - Birmingham Zoo (joint activity)
Saturday, May 14th, Birmingham, AL
More details will be available soon. Please anticipate that this activity will take up most of our day on Saturday.

JUNE - To Be Determined, Please Save the Date: Sunday, June 12th

Au Pair Birthdays

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

We are very excited to welcome Maria from Mexico this month!! Everyone be sure to introduce yourself and help her feel welcome!

Just For Fun

Peanut Butter & Jelly Picnic Treats

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups seedless jam, such as raspberry
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Instructions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. In a medium-size bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, then set it aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and both sugars until well blended, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter. Beat them until well blended. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough is formed.
Spread two thirds of the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan, then spread the jam evenly on top. Scatter small mounds of the remaining dough over the jam layer and sprinkle it with the peanuts.
Bake the dessert until golden brown, rotating the pan halfway through, about 45 minutes. Let the dessert cool before cutting it into squares. Makes 18 bars.
Tips:

Make-Ahead Tip: The bars can be made up to two days ahead and stored in an airtight container.

To-Go Tip: Layer the bars between sheets of waxed paper.

March 29, 2011

Bowling

We had a lot of fun bowling! Pam, Gaby, and Vero came, so it was our whole cluster this month! We played two games and Pam was the best bowler of us all. I took last place both times but I'm going to blame it on the baby growing in my belly. This was a great activity for our monthly meeting because we had lots of time to chit-chat while one person was bowling. Although it would seem like there would be a lot of downtime for each person to wait her turn, the waiting went very quickly because we were having so much fun! This is definitely an activity I'll include in our list of suggestions.

March 1, 2011

March 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to March!

I bet the kids are looking forward to Spring Break this month - does anyone have vacation plans for that week?

Earlier this month we celebrated Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), which ushered in the Lenten season for many. On the 17th is Saint Patrick's Day, which is marked by the color green and often celebrated with corned beef and cabbage. For a fun dessert, try the rainbow cupcake recipe below.

Growing AuPairCare in North Alabama

This month we're focusing on creating and growing relationships with local area businesses to help spread the word about AuPairCare. Do you know someone who is a small business owner? Would they be interested in partnering with AuPairCare? Contact me for more information!

March Au Pair Activity

Ready for some bowling? Sunday, March 20th, 2:00pm, at Plamore Lanes of Huntsville. 2404 Leeman Ferry Rd, Huntsville, AL 35801; 256-539-2785.

Costs: $2.25 per person per game, plus $3.50 for shoe rental. You may also want to bring some money for concessions. Remember to bring socks!

Save These Dates

March 13th, April 17th, May 15th.
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

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

There are no Au Pair arrivals or departures this month.

Just For Fun

Here's what little leprechauns look forward to on St. Patrick's Day: a magical snack that can add color to the grayest March afternoon. Pot of gold not included.

Ingredients
  • White cake mix
  • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
  • Baking cups
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Instructions
Prepare your favorite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.

RAINBOW COLORDROPS OF FOOD COLORING
Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
Blue12 drops
Green12 drops
Yellow12 drops
Orange12 yellow and 4 red drops
Red18 drops

Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.

Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions.

Before serving, remove the paper wrapping, and if you like, top each cupcake with a whipped-cream cloud.

February 16, 2011

Youth Programs Showcase 2011

For our February meeting we again had a joint meeting with the Birmingham Au Pairs. Because I had asked everyone to save Sunday, Feb. 13th for our meeting I found myself rather limited in choices of things to do. Fortunately I stumbled across information about a "Youth Programs Showcase" with tickets just within my price range: $20. So that's where we went.

Let me tell you, I am so, so glad we did. The performance was absolutely fantastic. Okay, so maybe I wouldn't have picked certain songs, or maybe I didn't like their interpretation of some of the numbers, but the incredible talent of these young people on stage was so amazing, that it didn't matter if some of it wasn't to my taste. There were approximately 90 performers, ranging in ages from 5 to 18. The performed over 20 songs, from Broadway, movies, and pop culture, complete with costumes and choreography. I was in 7th heaven. (Have I mentioned that I'm a big fan of musicals and live performances?)

I was disappointed that fewer than half of the Au Pairs were able to come. I won't see most of the Birmingham Au Pairs again because they'll have their new Area Director next month, and I also missed seeing some of my own Au Pairs - one of whom is leaving this month and I probably won't see her again either. Once the performance began I was sad so many hadn't come for another reason: I was sad they missed this incredible event. Next month I think we're going to go bowling, but I plan on scheduling another live performance outing before too long!

February 1, 2011

February 2011 Newsletter

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 sometimes 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

Important Information

This month I am continuing to provide service to both the
Huntsville and Birmingham areas. We expect to have an Area
Director in Birmingham by March 1st. Our combined Au Pair
meeting will again be in Birmingham.

February Au Pair Activity

Youth Programs Showcase 2011 by The Red Mountain Theater Company
Virginia Samford Theatre, 1116 26th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35205
Sunday, Feb. 13th at 2:00pm. Please plan to arrive at 1:40pm.
Admission is $20. More info and to purchase tickets online:

Save These Dates

March 13th, April 10th, May 15th.

Au Pair Birthdays

There are no Au Pair birthdays this month.

Arrivals/Departures

This month we are sad to say goodbye to Isa. She will begin her extension year on Feb. 22nd and we wish her the best of luck with her new family!

January 19, 2011

Ice Skating in Birmingham

This month I've had the privilege of covering the Birmingham region for the entire month while we look for a new Area Director for the area. So we had a combined activity in Birmingham with the Birmingham and Huntsville Au Pairs. We met at the Pelham Civic Ice Complex and enjoyed ice skating for about an hour and a half. The Huntsville Au Pairs actually made the two hour drive the day before to meet up with some of the B'ham Au Pairs and spent the night. I was very pleased that almost all of the B'ham Au Pairs were able to come to the Ice Complex, although not everyone was interested in ice skating. I think I did the most ice skating of the group, but I loved seeing how everyone was getting to know each other, making plans for the rest of the day, and just enjoying each other's company. We will definitely have to get together with the B'ham cluster a few more times. Maybe there's a zoo visit in our near future...

January 2, 2011

January 2011 Newsletter

Happy New Year!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and an enjoyable New Year's celebration. Did you make some resolutions for the new year? Were you able to keep some of your resolutions from last year? And how about that snow?? Who would've thought we would have a White Christmas in Huntsville?! While I'm not a particular fan of cold weather, I must admit that a blanket of white snow is really beautiful.
Remember to stay safe and warm during winter weather. Use extra caution on the roads and don't forget hats and gloves for you and your children if you go outside.

Important Information

The Area Director in Birmingham has left AuPairCare as of December 31st and I've been asked to cover the region until a new Area Director can be found. If you know anyone in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area who you feel would be a good fit for the Area Director position, please let me know! We'd like to have the position filled by the start of February. Host Families: beyond recommending likely candidates, this development should not affect you in any way. Au Pairs: what this means for you is that we will be doing a joint monthly meeting with the Birmingham Au Pairs! See below for more information.

January Au Pair Activity

I hope everyone's looking forward to ice skating on Sunday, Jan. 16th! We will be skating at the Pelham Civic Complex Ice Arena just south of Birmingham. Public skating is from 1:00 - 3:00. We will meet in the lobby area (near the ticket counter if it is inside). If you are unable to arrive at 1:00, please come find us inside the skating area. Admission is $7 and skate rental is $2. You will want to wear warm clothes and may even want to wear gloves or mittens. Large purses and other items should probably be left in your car or at home. The address for the Civic Complex is 500 Amphitheater Road, Pelham, AL 35124-4338. Phone: (205) 620-6448. The website is http://www.pelhamciviccomplex.com/

Double Referral Bonus

AuPairCare is pleased to announce that a double referral bonus of $400 is now available to host families and au pairs who share the AuPairCare program with their friends and family! Please contact me if you know someone who may be interested in hosting an au pair.

Save These Dates

February 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.