Sunday, September 16, 2012

Back to school

Well its that time again when the children end their very long summer break and head back for a new year at school. Isabel in going into fourth grade and Annika is starting PreK.
They are both attending the same school now which does make things so much easier. Annika will be attending 5 days a week from8.30am till 2.00pm.  I have mentioned how fortunate we are that Annika was selected as there were only 18 positions and 500 applicants applied.
These first couple of weeks are simply chaotic as there is so many half days, curriculum meetings etc.

I am looking forward to some sort of routine after 11 weeks of summer break!

I have decided to return to fulltime work which excites me and also terrifies me. I think the juggle is what really terrifies me. However living in the city of “outsourcing” I know I will be able to make it work.
I was offered a position in the Travel Industry however I have declined as it simply made no financial sense to take this on. I would have to employ a babysitter/Nanny to collect the girls after school so I need to factor this expense.It just didn't not work out. I actually would have been a perfect candidate for an au pair! 
However as I am not a US Citizen or Green card holder I don't qualify.Such a shame as the cost and flexibility of the program is why its become so popular here in the USA.

What is also a major consideration to me is how “family friendly” the employer will be?
So I am happy to say I will be doing my role as a Local Childcare Coordinator in a more full-time capacity. It works around the kids and I love doing my job.

So its all made perfect sense and I now start that new phase in my life.............

Friday, September 14, 2012

Want to meet my Host Families and Au Pairs???

Are you interested in meeting some of my current Host families and Au Pairs?

Well I am finally hosting a Host Family Conference 
Date: October 21 2012
Time: 10:00am
Upper West Side 
New York, NY

Please RSVP *important due to catering* by: October 8

Au Pairs-This is counted as your monthly meeting so attendance is required.
Please join your LCC and au pair group for a very special event: Our Host Family Conference!
I have the pleasure to announce that we will have a demonstration by Anne Grossman on healthy and nutritious snack and meal ideas for your kids.
Anne has generously donated her time and talents to give your au pairs a talk and quick lesson on how to prepare these foods for your children.
We also have Judith Frost founder of “The Little Global Village” kindly offer us her space for our meeting.
This is a great opportunity to meet other host families and au pairs in the area and will count as your attendance to one host family day conference during the year. Families interested in learning more about our flexible, affordable childcare program will also be invited to attend.

If you have been considering host an au pair ad live in Manhattan this is your chance to do so. Please contact me at for details.

Anne Grossman, owner of AnneMade, is a culinary instructor, food stylist, and recipe developer.   She has worked on AOL’s web video series with Gail Simmons and Lauren Braun Costello and taught afterschool cooking to children ages 5-8 at PS75 in New York City.   Anne launched her own business AnneMade in September 2011, designing fun cooking parties for adults and children, teaching cooking skills and challah baking to individuals and groups.   Anne’s focus and passion is teaching people how to cook healthy and delicious meals at home. 
Cooking runs in the family:  both Anne’s grandmother and great grandmother were successful caterers.  Always an avid cook and baker herself, Anne began taking culinary classes at the JCC in Manhattan in 2005 where she honed her skills and assisted chefs.   Anne volunteered her culinary skills to PS87, her children’s school, by organizing the annual school auction dinner for 700 people for the past 4 years.   Prior to a entering the food business, Anne was television graphic designer for Court TV, NY1 News, CNNfn, and the Food Network.   She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College in with a B.A. in art.  She received an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Pennsylvania.   She firmly believes cooking, like painting (which she continues to do) is an art which requires not only proper technique but also creativity, individuality, and beauty.

The Little Global Village
The Little Global Village on the West Side of Manhattan is a language immersion program for children of native speakers of English and non-native speakers alike.
We foster an environment of fun, learning and mutual understanding for infants and toddlers. Our world-class language programs build on the latest research in superior teaching and learning methods.
Classes are offered in Italian, Spanish, and French, with other languages to follow, as we seek to support parents in their quest to help their children become true global citizens. All our teachers are native fluent speakers of their respective languages.
After all, we believe that teaching concepts in another language – as opposed to simply teaching students another language – allows for more intuitive and successful language learning.
Founder Judith Frost
Judith has had a lifelong fascination with other languages. She speaks Spanish, German and Portuguese and has lived abroad in Santiago, Chile, Munich, Germany, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Following more than a decade in the corporate world, she decided to cultivate a meaningful program that she can share with her children and the children of the Upper West Side.
Judith is also an MBA graduate of New York University.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Au pair childcare grows in popularity as day care center costs soar

As if life wasn’t already expensive enough, Child Care Aware® of America (formerly the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies or NACCRRA), just released its annual report earlier this month and concluded: “Quality child care is becoming increasingly difficult to afford for working families.”
Their in-depth investigation revealed that in 36 states (including Washington DC), the average annual cost for daycare coverage for an infant was higher than a year’s in-state tuition and related fees at a four-year public college. In many states, center-based childcare costs for an infant and a 4-year-old exceeded annual mortgage payments.
The report also reveals that “Even for families fortunate enough to have jobs, wages have decreased while everyday costs continue to rise. ‘Real earnings’ declined in 2011 by about 1 percent, but the cost of living rose by nearly 3.2 percent during that time, and the cost of infant care in a center increased 2 percent.”
New York, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Indiana and Wisconsin were identified as the least-affordable states for full-time daycare for an infant while New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Vermont, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Maine and Rhode Island were listed as the least-affordable states for full-time care for a 4-year old.
Because of these rising day care costs, families are looking for other solutions, and one of these solutions has been the au pair program. Stereotypically thought to be cost-prohibitive, many families arefinding au pairchildcare to be quite the opposite. Melissa Fredette, Executive Vice President for Cultural Care Au Pair, confirms that the demand for au pair childcare is growing. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in families’ interest in the au pair program over the last year.”
Many Cultural Care families across the country would agree that the program’s affordability, along with the flexibility and quality, make it the best choice for their childcare needs.
Amy Pond, a host mom in Denver, CO has hosted four au pairs to care for her twin girls since 2009. She says, “To put my kids in daycare would cost me at least double what I’m paying for an au pair. The same thing goes for a nanny versus an au pair. This type of program works for our lifestyle, too. I love not having to deal with the hassle of drop-off and pick-up from daycare.”
For over a decade now, Andrea Riberi, single mom to 13-year-old Jacob and 11-year-old twins Gabriel and Dustin, has hosted au pairs. The Upper St. Clair, PA resident says, “The au pair program works because I need a significant amount of childcare that varies with my job. For three children, it has been much more cost effective than daycare or nannies. It is also much more convenient to have our au pairs living with us. They feel they are a part of the household and like big sisters to the boys.”
Dana and Walker Lockhart of Seattle have hosted three au pairs since 2009 to care for their 5-year-old sons Oliver and Finlay and brand new baby. “With twin boys in Kindergarten and an infant at home, it was hard to swallow the cost of the double-tuition for after-school care and full-time infant care. It has been a huge relief to know there is a less expensive option. When you factor in the annual program fees, the weekly stipend, and other expenses (education, car insurance, and food), we are still paying at least 30% less then what we would be paying otherwise.”
Parents, how are you keeping your childcare costs in control? (For those who decide to use au pair childcare, Cultural Care Au Pair has more available au pairs than ever before!)
If you would like more information please don't hesitate to call me on 212-729-4256 or email me at

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Atlantis Resort Bahamas

Well we finally got to the Bahamas. It was a bit touch and go for a few days as we had hurricane Isaac trying to ruin our much anticipated vacation.
August being the last month of the summer break for the kids also tends to be high hurricane season too. This is why the deals are amazing and we were also able to get a great deal for Atlantis.
Isabel has been dreaming of Atlantis since the day we arrived in New York. They do endless advertising on television. I have to admit it looks like an island paradise so I can totally understand how alluring to her it was.
I also realize that as a Travel Agent the amount of inquires I have had about Atlantis was quite amazing. I was curious to see for myself the hype around this place. I also have Cruise Clients that stop in Nassau and buy a day pass to the Resort.
For those of you who have no idea about this resort here it is:

We arrived and it was overcast and very windy. We had been warned that the weather was going to be a bit bad as Isaac had passed however still relatively close. After clearing customs on our arrival into Nassau we boarded our bus to the resort full of anticipation and delight. We had been driving for about ten minutes when we first had glimpses of the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. As we got closer I was amazed at the color of the water and even more amazing it was so cloudy and overcast yet this water was spectacular. I could only imagine what it would look like in sunshine. We had come to the conclusion that we were probably going to have bad weather all week. We were ok with it as we were on vacation and we had the amazing slides and resort to enjoy.
We arrived and much to our delight we upgraded to a larger room and an ocean view!
The view we had was breathtaking and here is a photo.

The time we had was probably one of the best vacations I have had with the kids. The resort is truly amazing and caters so well for families. Everything was five stars and the service was impeccable. I am more than happy to go into specifics if anyone is interested in a vacation there. Please just email my work email and I am happy to elaborate

And to top of what was a magnificent time away we had picture perfect weather that definitely was the icing on the cake. I now have a new addiction ..........The Caribbean and to discover every island!
We are currently suffering the “vacation blues”

This is one of the Lazy rivers. We just had a ball!

Yes that is my coming down the "leap of faith".

Hugo and Isabel during a Shallow water interaction.This was their dolphin named "Missy"

Isabel got to cuddle and kiss her. It was an experience she will treasure always!