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Here’s Why Your Family Should Consider Hosting a Male Au Pair:

May 5, 2015

Are you considering enriching your children’s lives by hosting an au pair in your home? Good for you AND your family! Take a moment to envision your expectations and concept of an au pair. You’re right, females are most commonly associated with the role of a childcare provider, but have you considered bringing a different perspective to your home by hosting a male au pair?

It’s possible that you don’t know anyone who’s hosted an au pair yet, so you can get “insider” information on the program, not to mention someone who has hosted a male au pair. Our friend and API host mom of a male au pair, Lynn P. can help with that! Here are some helpful insights she shared with API:

As a single mom with two sons, Lynn considered choosing a male au pair because “It was important for me to have a male au pair as they needed someone who could help them navigate the ins and outs of growing up and changing bodies. Plus, a male role model would be beneficial for them in navigating the social world. I also hoped he would play sports with them and engage in more outdoor activities […]”

She feels that a male au pair brings a different perspective to childcare in her home by talking “[…] to them in a no-nonsense way and discusses perspectives from both an identity and cultural bias.”

Other benefits Lynn sees to hosting a male au pair are “he pitches in to help bring in groceries and carrying heavy items. […] He likes to help out, plus my boys are helping out more simply by his example.”

Her advice to other families considering hosting a male au pair is to not be hesitant as “[…] he can be a great role model for your sons.”

Now you have some “insider” information to help you decide if a male au pair is a good fit for your family. All of our au pairs have hundreds of hours of experience, at minimum, and are well-prepared through our training program. Our au pairs are also approved through our multi-level screening process, for peace of mind. Visit our website (www.aupairint.com) today for more detailed information about our program and all available au pairs.

Available Male Au Pairs

Are you in need of affordable, live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing partners that help our host families introduce different cultures to their children! Together, we are currently featuring the following male au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S. Upon clicking on their photos, you will be taken to their personal profile on our website. If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family, please do not hesitate to contact us! Chat live with a knowledgeable Placement Coordinator today!

 

 

 

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The Wonders of Winter

December 22, 2014

Sometimes I envy those that live in states that boast warm weather all year ‘round, with not much change in seasons. Then, some of the first snowflakes start to fall and the landscape takes on a beautiful blanket of pure, quiet, calming white! Yes, it is cold and slippery and seals the fate of any fading foliage, but there is something serene about seeing the Rocky Mountains, pine trees and fields outlined in white. Kids can’t wait to create something from the phenomenon that’s fallen from the sky, and one of the first things that comes to my mind are the holidays that winter brings with it. Even though the retail stores have been reminding us of the holidays since Halloween ended, seeing the snow fall when winter arrives really reminds me of the spirit of the season.

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With winter brings time off from school for the kids. Of course it can be a challenge to keep them busy as they are now mostly inside where it is warmer. This is when our box of craft materials and board games come in handy! We also bake and decorate cookies, write letters and catch up on reading, not to mention a few Christmas movies here and there! Snowball fights, snowmen and snow forts are not abundant as of yet, but they are impending!

Here are some ideas to help keep the kids busy:

  • Reuse a jar to make snow globes
  • Make a hot chocolate bar with various fixings (marshmallows, sprinkles, whipped cream, etc.)
  • Various handprint crafts
  • Stuff an old sock with rice and shape into a snowman. Add various adornments (buttons, scarf, etc.)
  • Snowman bowling (make snowmen out of recycled materials)
  • Reuse pinecones and adorn with sparkles, etc. to make a decorated tree
  • Reuse items and string together for garland

Please visit our Pinterest page for more winter activity ideas.

Of course, my family’s most anticipated event of the entire year is coming on December 25th! We will celebrate Christmas by being around family (which always includes food), singing and listening to Christmas music, taking the “Polar Express” (our 4×4 truck) around to view how others have decorated their homes with lights and such, and generally trying to uphold the magic of the season. I was thrilled to hear what my kids have learned at school about a few other holidays celebrated in America, and I love that everything is turned into a learning experience!

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More information on some of the holidays coming up can be found here: Christmas     Hanukkah       Kwanzaa     New Year’s Eve

I know I am very fortunate to have a wonderful, healthy family, and the ability to live my piece of the American Dream, so every year, my family decides on how we will give back. Though we make similar choices throughout the year, we feel compelled to do more over the coming holidays. Although it never feels like it’s enough, we do what we can to help make Christmas special for others. It brings a smile to our faces knowing that we brought the same to others. I hope that during this busy season, others remember those that are not as fortunate.

I hope that all of our wonderful au pairs and host families are sharing their seasonal traditions, songs, recipes and games with each other. Moments like that are what makes this program so unique and life-altering! Enjoy each other over the holidays and find the wonders of winter! Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a joyous new year!

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Autumn Greetings!

September 24, 2014

Autumn is upon us! For most of the country, that means the end of flip-flops and tank tops. Who’s ready for comfy jeans and sweatshirts? That’s right, fall is my favorite season! Who can blame me when a trip to anywhere in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, boasts bold, fall colors on every mountainside? It is truly breathtaking!

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This is the time of year when Major League Baseball (MLB) is winding down, and the National Football League (NFL) is gearing up. Seasonal preparations start for the home, and subconscious thoughts of the holidays start with every suggestion from the media and retail marketing (seems like it is earlier every year). The kids are back in school, and the organized chaos has begun!

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So what’s an au pair and their host family to do with these shorter days and cooler, longer nights? Share your favorite fall activity ideas with us! Here are some of my ideas:

  • Scavenger Hunt with media device or item collection
  • Create an obstacle course
  • Map out the stars with an app like this: http://www.vitotechnology.com/star-walk.html
  • Outdoor game (kickball, whiffle ball, soccer, basketball, etc.)
  • Build a fort (recycled boxes, chairs and sheets/blankets)
  • Take a nature walk, pointing out seasonal changes
  • Traditional game from your childhood
  • Collect different fallen leaves for art projects
  • Act out a favorite poem or short story
  • Trace each other’s shadow in different poses with chalk
  • Traditional games with different rules
  • Four-square
  • Visit the API Pinterest page for more fall activity ideas http://www.pinterest.com/aupairsquare/

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Bring us along on your journey!

We’d love to hear about your au pair experience with API! 

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AU PAIR INTERNATIONAL REQUESTS THAT YOU DON’T POST PHOTOS OF YOUR HOST CHILDREN ON ANY SOCIAL MEDIA SITE.

 

Cultural Journey to Jamaica

May 16, 2014

Next Stop on our Cultural Journey Series: Jamaica!


The 4,244 square mile tropical island of Jamaica is about 1,000 square miles smaller than Connecticut and overflowing with beautiful beaches, comforting food, passionate music and vibrant culture. Early settlement was dependent on the location of its plantations, and today, Jamaica’s economy hinges on the exportation of bauxite, sugar, bananas, coffee and tobacco. Since its discovery, Jamaica has been many things to many different people, cultures and religions. Its multiracial population of more than 2.8 million people strive to live their national motto; “Out of many, one people.”

Jamaican Traditions

 

Junkanoo

Junkanoo – The streets come alive every Boxing Day (December 26th) when Jamaicans parade and dance in costume to celebrate the holidays. It is believed that Junkanoo started in the 16th and 17th centuries, possibly with West African origins. It has evolved into intricate costumes and dances choreographed to goatskin drum beats and cowbells. Junkanoo parades have had cameo appearances in the Jaws the Revenge movie and the James Bond film, Thunderball.

 

Independence Day!

Independence Day – At midnight on August 5, 1962, the Jamaican flag was proudly raised, showing their independence from the British. The flag symbolizes Jamaica’s hope, agriculture and abundance with green, creativity and courage with black, and natural resources and sunshine equally divide it all by yellow, diagonal, intersecting lines. You can be sure that every year, Jamaicans celebrate this historical event by wearing the colors of Jamaica, sharing traditional foods and making the music that brings it all together.

Cricketer

Cricket – Cherry? Peach? Fruit Salad? To some, this sounds like part of a grocery list. To cricketers, these are terms for the cricket ball and various ways to bowl the ball to the batsman. Beginning in 1895, cricket has easily become one of the most popular sports in Jamaica. American baseball and English cricket share similarities such as the use of a bat, ball, an outfield, innings, pitchers or bowlers, umpires and many other aspects. Some of the best, most popular, earlier Jamaican cricketers are George “Atlas” Headley, Lawrence Rowe and Michael Holding. Two of the more recent stars of cricketing are Courtney “Cuddy” Walsh, who is one of the best in the world, and Chris Gayle, who currently holds the record for the highest innings in a Twenty20 International.

Jamaican Gems

 

Dunn's River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls – Fed by spring water, Dunn’s River Falls is so beautiful, it was worth fighting for! The English defeated the Spanish Expeditionary Force from Cuba at the Battle of Las Chorreras in 1657, near the falls. Only a few travertine waterfalls in the world fall right into the sea as Dunn’s River Falls does. Tourists flock to see this rare phenomenon near Ocho Rios. Natural and manmade steps allow visitors to interact with the falls before the water is returned to the Caribbean Sea.

Negril

Negril

Negril – Rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world! Negril is unique in that it offers miles of beaches, a lighthouse, cliff diving, watersports, family fun, nightlife, resorts and relaxing, all while keeping its simple charm. Beginning its development in the late 1950’s the small town kept its beautiful secret until the first resorts and hotels were built in the late 1960’s. Tourism really took flight when a small airport was built in 1976 near Rutland Point. There is something unforgettable for everyone in Negril.

Blue Mountains

Blue Mountain Range

Blue Mountains – Jamaica’s longest mountain range are the Blue Mountains. With walking paths leading to the highest peak of 7,402 feet, the north and south coasts can be seen. On very clear days, even the outline of Cuba is visible. The mountains house more than 500 species of flowering plants and more than 200 species of birds. The climate and rainfall on the mountains provide rich soil for Jamaican coffee beans. Mostly exported to Japan, Blue Mountain Coffee is one of the most expensive and coveted coffees in the world.

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt – Currently holding the 100 meter world record, Usain Bolt continues to dominate as a sprinter. Born in Sherwood Content, Trelawney, Jamaica, in 1986, “Lightning Bolt” grew up playing cricket and football. By age twelve, his sprinting ability started to develop as he became the fastest in school for the 100 meter. Even surprising himself, Bolt broke the world record on May 31, 2008 at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City, with a 100 meter time of 9.72 seconds. Besides earning many gold medals in the World Championships, Bolt took home three gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and three more at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. What will his next feat be in the 2016 Games?

Bob Marley (Photo by Peter Murphy)

Bob Marley  – “Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others, and you will live again”, Bob Marley-Passionate about music, freedom and soccer, he is the most beloved artist of the reggae genre. Born in St. Ann Parrish, Jamaica, Marley continues to be an inspiration to others worldwide. His expressive music was deeply personal, spiritual and political. Becoming widely popular after collaborating with The Wailers, his albums went platinum ten times over in the United States in 1984, though posthumously. His son Ziggy and daughter Karen were there to accept when Marley won the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Thirty-three years after his death, Marley’s legacy is still celebrated around the world for his work to promote peace and the Rastafarian culture. “In this great future, you can’t forget your past,” Bob Marley, No Woman No Cry.

Jamaican Cuisine

Reflecting its cultural and demographic diversity, some of the influences on Jamaican cuisine include Spanish, British, East Indian, West African, Portuguese, Chinese, French and Dutch. Using many of their natural resources, some main food staples consist of rice, breadfruit, legumes and plantain. Main entrees for special occasions can include seafood, beef and curried goat. This broad assortment proves to please all palates!

Click on any photo below to try a taste of  the Jamaican island in your home!

Rice and Beans

Rice and Beans

Plantain Tarts

Plantain Tarts

Salt Fish Fritters

Salt Fish Fritters

Bush Tea

Bush Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican Au Pairs

Are you in need of affordable live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing Jamaican partners that help our host families to introduce the Jamaican culture to their children! Together we are currently featuring the following Jamaican au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S.. Upon clicking on their photos you will be taken to their personal profile on our website.  If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family please do not hesitate to contact us!

Chalsian W.

Chris-Ann D.

Jemile L.

Tenesha G.

Tenesha G.

 

 

 

 

 

Treshana M.

Treshana M.

Latoya T.

Nickoy P.

Shamar W.

Shantiell W.

Cultural Journey to Spain

March 31, 2014

Continuing on our Cultural Journey Series to Spain!1Spain flag

Bienvenidos! Rich with history and traditions, it is understandable why more than 47 million Spaniards choose to make España their home. Occupying 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, its beautiful beaches, mountain ranges and precious architecture compliment unforgettable cuisine and a proud, fun-loving population. Spain is rated as one of the best tourist destinations in Europe, and has nurtured many famous artists, authors and entertainers. It continues to strive toward its national motto of “Plus Ultra,” meaning “Further Beyond.”

Spanish Traditions

Fútbol Fans

Fútbol Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Goal! Spain is well-known for its most popular sport, fútbol! Teams like Fútbol Club Barcelona and rival, Real Madrid, draw crowds of more than 70 thousand fans in a season. Competing at a world-class level, clubs have won the FIFA World Cup (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and have earned both silver and gold Olympic medals. Two of the more popular footballers in Spain are Lionel Messi, playing for F.C. Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo who plays for Real Madrid. Becoming a professional sport in 1926, Spanish fútbol clubs have continued to cultivate their fan base and acquire elite players, making it the most important spectator sport in Spain.

Parade Float

Carnival – Besides religious and New Year’s celebrations, Spain hosts many festivals throughout the year. During the last week of February, Spain hosts Carnival. With slight variations in different cities, these celebrations are about having fun parading brightly colored costumes, dancing and music to entertain thousands of festival-goers.

 

 

 

Flamenco Dancer

Flamenco Dancer

Flamenco – Combining music, dancing and guitar playing into Flamenco is another beautiful Spanish tradition. It is said that this tradition was created by migrants bringing instruments and songs of their culture. Characterized by different levels of intense emotion and changing themes such as death and despair in one section, love and humor in another. The Flamenco conveys a story to its viewers. Beautifully-colored costumes and harmonious music entrances audiences and evokes the intended emotions.

Treasures of Spain

6Playa de las Catedrales

Playa de las Catedrales

Playa de las Catedrales – Located in Ribadeo, it is one of Spain’s top beaches. Famous for its rock formations, the “Beach of the Cathedrals” only reveals its beautiful arches at low tide. Visitors are reminded of the ocean’s strength and revel in nature’s creations.

 

 

 

 

Alcazar de Segovia

Alcázar de Segovia

Alcázar de Segovia – Originally built in the 12th century, Alcázar de Segovia was home to Castilian monarchs who each added on to the castle, causing continuous construction through the 16th century. Looking like a ship breaking through the rocky hilltop, Alcázar de Segovia is a top tourist destination in Spain.

 

Weeping Woman, 1937

Pablo PicassoKnown as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881. Helping pioneer the artistic style of cubism, his work steered the direction of today’s art. His depictions of reality transferred through his work. Like many artists, Picasso’s humble beginnings turn to posthumous fortune as some of his paintings are listed in the top ten most expensive, selling for more than a million dollars.

 

 

 

Tilting Windmills,

Windmills in Consuegra Spain

Miguel de Cervantes – Born in the Spanish capital of Madrid, Cervantes was a novelist, playwright and poet. He is most known for his humorous story about a man of La Mancha, Don Quixote. Translated into more than 60 languages, Cervantes wanted to portray real life by using common speech in the strong narrative. Though authoring many other works, Don Quixote earned his literary status among peers.

 

Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família

Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família

Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família  – Spainish architect Antoni Gaudí took over construction of Basílica i Temple Expiatore de la Sagrada Família in 1883 and finished about 15-25 percent of the church before his death in 1926. Architects struggle to adhere to Gaudí’s design, and work complete the church by the scheduled date of 2026, a century after his death. This incredible display of Gothic architecture has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.

Culinary Art of Spain11cuisine

Being a gateway between Europe and Africa, Spain has been fought over throughout history. As a result, different inhabitants have influenced Spanish cuisine. Spain is known for its olives and wine, tying it to Greek and Roman culture. Its Celtic heritage introduced meat and fish pies, and the Moorish culture brings the use of honey, citrus fruits, almonds and various spices such as saffron. Of course each region has its own variation of traditional dishes and pepper in some modern twists as well. One can be certain that a Spanish meal will be rich in taste and history!

For a mix of traditional and modern dishes, click on any photo below to bring a taste of España to your home!

Empanadas

Flan

 

Gazpacho

Gazpacho

Paella

Paella

 

Spain Au Pairs

Are you in need of affordable live-in childcare? Au Pair International is fortunate to work with some amazing Spanish partners that help our host families to introduce the Spanish culture to their children! Together we are currently featuring the following Spanish au pairs who are seeking host families in the U.S.. Upon clicking on their photos you will be taken to their personal profile on our website.  If you have any questions or would like more information on becoming a host family please do not hesitate to contact us!

Rosa Marie J.

Rosa Marie J.

Sandra A.

Sandra A.

Latorre_photo

Maria M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura B.

Laura B.

Laura C.

Laura C.

Mireya H.

Mireya H.

Sara S.

2014 Au Pair of the Year Winner!

March 4, 2014

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Congratulations to Svetlana K. – Au Pair of the Year!

 

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Svetlana was selected by Au Pair International among several contest entrants to be our next Au Pair of the Year!

After losing his wife to cancer 2 years ago, John decided that it would be beneficial to have additional support for his son Bryce in her absence. After contacting Au Pair International with his concerns, they both decided to welcome Svetlana into their home in May of 2012.

According to John, “Svetlana has become a mother, daughter, friend, sister and lifelong part of our lives. I can’t imagine her return to Russia in 6 months. At 22 years old, she has shown such maturity and compassion for Bryce and built a deep loving relationship with him. Bryce has truly benefited from her presence. With a huge hole in our home from the loss of Patty, Svetlana stepped in and helped Bryce feel loved and cared for during a situation that is difficult to imagine and understand.”

Svetlana is recognized as being an invaluable member of her host family and is the proud recipient of an Apple IPad!

To read more about Svetlana and read the nomination letters please Click Here!

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Congratulations to our Au Pair of the Year Contest Runner Up Winners

Colecia and Marina!

 

Colecia L. from Jamaica – Nominated by the Robertson Family!

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Colecia’s host mother writes “Collette has been a wonderful addition to our family. We have 5 young children and she came here with a joyful heart, eager to quickly bond with us, and a willingness to help. She went above and beyond to understand our children’s unique likes and dislikes, and became a “big sister” to them. Collette has also been a wonderful addition to our community. For example, a local family recently adopted several children from Haiti, some of which have a disability. One young girl in particular (the same age as my daughter) is a double-amputee and has only been in the United States for a few months. The little girl has learned English, gotten prosthetic legs, and is really enjoying her new life with her new family. One thing was missing though -her new family didn’t know how to properly care for her hair since she was from a different culture. Collette pitched in without being asked and helped their family know what to do, and has braided the little girls’ hair several times. This may seem like a small thing -but this was huge because it continued to give this little girl a more positive self-esteem and her smile now goes from ear-to-ear.

Click Here to read more about Colecia’s nomination!

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Marina N. from Germany – Nominated by the McNeil Family!

Marina2Marina3Marina1According to her host family, “Marina has incredible patience and continuously goes above and beyond in creating new ways to teach, guide and encourage positive behavior in a calm atmosphere. Marina has always honored us as parents and takes great pride in continuing the parenting and discipline methods throughout each day from potty training to bedtime routines. She believes it’s important for the three of us to be on the same page to create clear messages of consistency and uniformity. Our two children Toren, who is 3 years old, and Sophia, who is 4, have built a very special bond with Marina that is unexplainably perfect. People often tell us, “Marina is so amazing with your children”, and “you are so lucky to have her” or “I honestly thought she was their mother because of the way she cares for them.” We have the greatest trust and respect for Marina and know she will always make the best decisions regarding our family in any situation.”

Click Here to read more about Marina’s nomination!

Au Pair International Heads to New York!

February 19, 2014

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Join us in New York from April 23-25!

Invite your friends and enjoy the company of other au pairs from around the country as we explore famous tourist attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Central Park! Other exciting attractions include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rockefeller Center. Don’t miss a chance to eat at the Hard Rock, see a show on Broadway, or pay your respects at the September 11th Memorial Site!

Cost To Attend: (Hotel and Subway expenses only)
– 2 star hotel/hostel: $400
– 2 star w/o Broadway Show: $300
– 3 star hotel/hostel: $550
– 3 star w/o Broadway Show: $450
** A $50 Early Registration discount will be applied if paid in full by March 1st!

Attend University in New York for the Weekend!

Complete part of your Au Pair Program educational requirement in style! After visiting the sites of New York City you will have the option of staying for an additional 3 days from 4/25-4/27 to accomplish 3 credit hours of post secondary education at LIU Post University! The cost to attend will be an additional $350 and includes the following:
– Accommodations and 5 meals
– Transportation from the train station
– 3 Credit hour course of your choosing to include:
– Cultural Dynamics and American Society
– Marketing and Social Media
– History of American Music
** Classes fill up quickly so act FAST!

Contact Lisa Kempton for more information!
LKempton@aupairint.com

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