Au Pairs – By the Numbers

AuPairCare_Au_Pairs_Outdoors_4_2Are you considering a live-in childcare solution but are worried about taking the final step? There is a lot to think about and finding the right person can quickly become overwhelming. AuPairCare works with host families from the very beginning to streamline the searching process and help host families zero in on an au pair that has the characteristics they need for a successful match.

When you qualify and apply for an au pair through AuPairCare, you are immediately assigned to an Area Director and a Matching Expert. Together we work with you to answer your questions with the goal of helping you find an au pair that will match well with your family. If you are unsure about applying, there are some factors to think about when searching on your own. The first thing to ask yourself is what skills you are looking for in a childcare provider. Can they provide the time and flexibility that you need? Are their interests and skill-set compatible with your family’s lifestyle? Since AuPairCare employs au pairs from 40 countries worldwide, AuPairCare’s au pairs have a wide variety of skill sets.

With information pulled from our active database, we’ve highlighted the benefits of our wonderful AuPairCare au pairs:

  • 100% speak conversational English and are eager to teach their own language to your family
  • 97% have a Driver’s license
  • 77% have either started or graduated with an advanced degree
  • 83% have art skills that they are ready to share with your children
  • 90% have cooking skills. Many prepare meals for their own family on a daily basis.
  • 70% have a teaching degree or experience such as managing a daycare or tutoring
  • 83% are intermediate to advanced swimmers
  • 53% have trained as a nurse or in first aid prior to to attending training at Au Pair Academy

Cost is another factor when deciding on a childcare provider. Hiring an au pair can offer significant cost savings. With an affordable hourly rate ($7.75/hour vs. $15 or more for a domestic nanny), extensive childcare experience and training, an au pair is the perfect childcare solution.

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Original source:  http://www.aupaircare.com/stories/au-pairs-numbers

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Simple Granola

Mikey's In My Kitchen

I love a challenge.

My challenge lately has been granola.

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My father in law challenged me to make homemade granola that is as tasty as the stuff he gets at whole foods. It has proved to be a greater challenge than anticipated.

But I’m getting closer.

This basic granola was batch #1. I wanted to make something super simple to taste and then go from there. Don’t get me wrong, this granola was good. But it was no where near my father in laws (nor my) expectations.

I can’t wait to share some of the amazing granola recipes I am coming up with at home. They are life changing. In the mean time, you can play with this recipe and add or subtract whatever ingredients you would like!

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I went with the basics.

You start with oats. Then you add 1 cup of any nut of choice, and 1/2 cup…

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What is it Really Like to Have an Au Pair?

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Erica Clark, a former au pair host mother

What’s it really like to have a live-in nanny?  If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this question, I’d probably have enough money to pay for my au pair. Seriously. Because it’s not just this question, but a million other questions that spin off from the fear that having a live-in childcare provider will be… well, kind of weird. Awkward. But believe me when I tell you that having a live-in nanny is not awkward. In fact it’s pretty awesome.

Before you become totally skeptical, know that “awesome” came from my husband. Because not only do I think having a live-in au pair is a godsend, but my husband does as well. As if it wasn’t enough that I love having a live-in nanny because of how happy my kids are and how much easier my life has become, he also loves it because of the convenience…..and, let’s face it, I’m a lot more relaxed. You see, having our au pair live in means that we don’t have to scramble to get the kids dressed and to daycare before the sun comes up. When someone is sick, they stay home and I don’t have to miss a day of work. Our au pair knows our routine and the ins and outs of our daily lives, saving her precious time and making for a seamless transition.

Our au pair knows our routine and the ins and outs of our daily lives, saving her precious time and making for a seamless transition.

If you are like everyone else who has ever asked me this question, you probably still don’t believe me. It’s okay, I won’t take it personally. But let me go ahead and try to answer the other questions you most likely have.

So what does she do each night?  Does she just hang out with you? Well, yes… and no. See, we like it when our au pair is around. It gives us a chance to know her better and for her to have fun with the kids without having to remind them to clean up their rooms. But most nights, we don’t see her a lot. She has class, plans with a friend, or heads up to her room to watch a movie or Skype. On a typical week night, she finishes her shift, we all have dinner, and then she goes upstairs while we finish homework, do some chores or watch a show. She might come down to do her laundry or grab a snack, but for the most part she does her own thing. On the weekends, things are a little more unstructured, so we let her know the plan and tell her to join us on whatever she chooses.

Don’t you feel self-conscious or awkward in your own house? Actually, no. For the first few days it felt like we had a house guest, and we did a little tiptoeing around. But we quickly decided that in order to feel comfortable in our own home and truly get to know our au pair, we would have to be ourselves. This includes quirks, fights, and anything else, no matter how awkward it might be! We encourage our au pair to do the same and just be family. It took a little getting used to, but we have been rewarded with easy, authentic relationships with both of our au pairs.

Aren’t you just ending up with another child to take care of?  Unless that child cares for herself and all the others, chops salad for dinner, folds laundry, and plays games in Portuguese with my kids, then absolutely not! The truth is, she is a member of the family. So if she runs into an issue with her class or needs help booking a flight for a trip, we help her out. That is what family does. But day to day, she is nothing but a huge help!

Listen, super-tired mom and stressed out dad: raising family, having a career, and managing a household will always be difficult. Live-in au pairs and nannies can ease that pain and give you a little breathing room – to spend time as a couple, hit the gym, or just relax. Trust this busy mom of three when I say it will be a lifesaver!


This article was written by Erica Clark, a former au pair host mother. Erica was also a previous Area Director for AuPairCare and now works for Intrax.


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St. Patrick’s Day Roundup

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St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, as is Spring Break around here. That can mean a lot of idle time for our little ones. This is a great opportunity to spend some time together with the kids doing some fun crafts and activities. Here are some ideas that I have found from around the web that can make for a day or week of fun. Click on the links below to go directly to the tutorials or scroll down and find out more about each one.

1. “St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Plaques” By Plaid
2. “Shamrock Crystals” By Tammy at Housing a Forest
3. “Loopy Rainbow” By Amy at One Arsty Mama
4. “Leprechaun House” By Carolina at 30 Minute Crafts
5. “Rainbow Water” By Jackie at Happy Hooligans
6. “Leprechaun Hat Favours” By Jeromina of Paper, Plate, and Plane
7. “Magic Leprechaun Rocks” By Katie at Gift of Curiosity
8. “4 Leaf Clovers” By First Grader … at Last!


Rainbow hand print art
Photo courtesy of Plaid

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Plaques” By Plaid
Moms are suckers for hand print art. It is just a fact. Something about seeing those tiny fingers (or toes) splayed out with tempura paint just pulls at our heartstrings. Every time we look at it, it reminds us our babies won’t be little forever and compels us to keep it on the fridge just one day longer. That is why I had to include this rainbow hand print art project on my list of favorites. It is sure to be mom and kid approved.


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Photo courtesy of Housing a Forest

Shamrock Crystals” By Tammy at Housing a Forest
This is a fun and easy activity to do with the kids. As a child, science always seemed like too much work to me. Perhaps if I had realized I could play with pipe cleaners and be doing “science-y” things at the same time, I would have felt differently. OK, so maybe your love for pipe cleaners is not as strong as mine (don’t judge me), but still, try this one. Your kids will think it is so cool and maybe when your kids reach sixth grade the words “Science Fair” won’t paralyze them with fear.


Leprechaun House
Photo courtesy of 30 Minute Crafts

Leprechaun House” By Carolina at 30 Minute Crafts
How stinkin’ cute are these little houses? Every time I wander into a craft store lately I am inundated right away by a giant bin of little wooden bird houses. I’m not sure what the rest of the world is doing with these for there to be such a demand. I’m talking about little decorative ones, not ones birds would actually live in, but at any rate, my kids go nuts over them. I never buy them (leaving my kids to trail along after me crying and clutching them to their chests) because I can never think of anything to do with them, until I saw this. The houses are cheap, so we can buy several of them, the kids can get as creative as they want, and when they are done, they will have a blast peeking to see if they have caught a leprechaun. This is a fun must-try project.


Magic leprechaun rocks
Photo courtesy of Gift of Curiosity

Magic Leprechaun Rocks” By Katie at Gift of Curiosity
Ever wonder if the leprechaun makes it to find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Does a rainbow really have an end? This activity will spark the curiosity in your little one as they search for leprechaun rocks and discover what hidden treasure they hold inside.


rainbow ice
Photo courtesy of Happy Hooligans

Rainbow Water” By Jackie at Happy Hooligans
Hey all you moms (or au pairs) out there who are not feeling crafty. This one is for you! (You’re welcome.) If you can pour water into an ice tray, you are pretty much done here. But this ice has a twist. It is – you guessed it — rainbow ice! Serve this up with lunch or dinner, or just as a fun drink at snack time and your kids will think you are supermom. It looks like you did a lot, but really you just waited for water to freeze. You can’t beat that.


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Photo courtesy of One Artsy Mama

Loopy Rainbow” By Amy at One Arsty Mama
Where do I start? If color-sorting, fine-motor development, pattern creating, and cotton-ball-pulling fun are not enough for you, then how about the fact that the leftover craft supplies are also a delicious treat? Also, if you do it and accidentally leave it out and the dog eats it, it is really easy to make another one. Don’t ask me how I know this.


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Photo courtesy of Canadian Living

Leprechaun Hat Favours” By Jeromina of Paper, Plate, and Plane (tutorial shared on Canadian Living)
Are these bowls? Hats? Either way, they are adorable and can be filled with chocolate coins, so they had me at “Hello”. These are quick to make and make adorable decorations for St. Patrick’s Day. You won’t believe what these are made out of either. Click on over to the tutorial to find out how to make some for yourselves.


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Photo courtesy of First Grader … at Last!

4 Leaf Clovers” By First Grader … at Last!
I am so glad I found the blog First Grader…at Last! Sarah has a ton of ideas on her blog for both St. Patrick’s Day and just about anything else you can think of. I love this craft because it is simple but personal. Not only is this craft a great conversation starter to get your kids to open up about what they feel lucky about, but it enforces an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for what they have. I feel lucky to have found it. Thanks, Sarah, for sharing!


I hope you enjoyed my St. Patrick’s Day Roundup and can walk away with one or more ideas to try at home. If I can ever get my kids to take a break from painting the birdhouses, we will be trying all of these. If you have fun activities, crafts, or snack ideas that you would like to share with me involving St. Patrick’s Day, please leave me a comment.

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National Nutrition Month

nutrition monthMarch is National Nutrition Month. This is a campaign to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits.

One of the key phrases nutritionists are always saying when they talk about how you can eat healthy is to “eat a rainbow”, meaning eat foods of varying color to gain the most nutritional benefit. This snack plate from MySmallPotatoes looks like something any kid could get on board with.

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What foods can you use to “make a rainbow”?

Child Safety

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of U.S. children and adolescents suffer preventable injuries annually. In an effort to reduce the number of preventable injuries among children, AuPairCare would like to encourage you to visit this new website called “Make Safe Happen” where you can find specific safety tips for the ages of your children.

Why AuPairCare?

AuPairCare is an industry leader with more than 20 years of experience placing qualified au pairs with host families across the United States. Our program is distinct from other agencies in the following ways:

  • We have a large pool of carefully screened au pairs from over 40 countries.
  • Our Easy Match system provides families with access to our state of the art online matching system coupled with the personalized support of a Match Expert.
  • We provide superior customer service and enjoy an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
  • We prioritize safety with our SafetyCare program. AuPairCare au pairs receive CPR & first aid certification by the American Heart Association.
  • We are the only agency that has an Infant Specialized Program for families with infants.
  • We offer a Family Friendly payment plan and generous discounts for returning customers.