My blog

June 19, 2017

To learn more about what it’s like to host an au pair, click here to watch our new video series!

As Top National Au Pair Childcare Consultant & Matching Specialist, contact me directly (nicole@aupairchildcare.com ~ 925-719-9767) for my personalized, expert support in matching and to help you find the right au pair for your family! Click on this pink button to register and I’ll take it from there – I’m here to help!


June 6, 2017

I’m so excited that my company just launched a new children’s book!

Ana the Au Pair tells the story of a young woman from Colombia who comes to live with a host family in the U.S. She shares her culture with her family and learns about their way of life, all the while becoming a part of the family.” Please call or email me directly to help you find “your Ana” – the right au pair for your family – I’m here to help! Families that register via my website before June 16th will receive a copy of Ana the Au Pair from me! Click here to register via my website and click on the pink “register now” button – please use promo code PCREGWAIVER to waive the reg fee and I’ll take it from there! I can’t wait to help you build your global family! 


April 6, 2017

Check out my April Newsletter to learn more about hosting an au pair!

Make sure to sign up for my Host Family & Au Pair Monthly Newsletter to stay connected!

 


April 3, 2017

What do all of these loving faces have in common?

T-6 Weeks! They are all super excited about joining their wonderful host families in May to start their fabulous year as an Au Pair! So happy for: Laura & the M family in San Ramon, CA; Ana & the W family in Boston, MA; Barbara & the S family in Berkeley, CA; Carolina & the S family in Antioch, CA; Eva & the P family in San Ramon, CA; and Lorena & the M family in Hood River, OR! I love building global families – I’m here to help!


March 24, 2017

Au Pairs are My Life!

Yay! My CA personalized license plates arrived and I’m taking my love for Au Pair Childcare on the road – literally!! It’s official, Au Pairs are My Life and I Love It! The plates may say California, but don’t let that fool you, I work with families in all 50 states! Contact me today – I’m here to help you find the right au pair for your family!


March 23, 2017

Au Pair Life – A is for Annika from Denmark!

Annika is one of the awesome Au Pairs in my group living with the L family! Annika is doing an amazing job caring for her 2 wonderful host boys – M & M (they are 9 and 7); Annika is also special needs certified and is doing an exceptional job bonding with her host boys! In Annika’s off hours, she loves to travel and explore all of the amazing places in the U.S.! Here she is on the iconic Kirby Cove Swing in the San Francisco Bay Area! **If you’re looking for amazing childcare, I’m here to help – it’s what I love to do!


March 22, 2017

Au Pair Life – H is for Hannah from Brazil!

Hannah is one of the awesome Au Pairs in my group! How fun to see Hannah baby-wearing 6-month-old baby J at Disneyland with her amazing host family – the D family! In addition to baby J, they also have his twin brother B and big toddler sister C. How do you go to Disneyland with 6-month-old twins and a toddler – HOST AN AU PAIR! Contact me today to build your global family and start enjoying family vacations again! 


March 12, 2017

Au Pair Life – J is for Jutta from Finland!

Jutta is one of the awesome Au Pairs in my group! I’m so excited that Jutta is extending with her current host family (the amazing A family) for another great year – YAY! When Jutta isn’t lovingly caring for S (her almost 9-year-old host child) and D (her 5.5-year-old host child), Jutta loves to travel and here she in Sacramento! Doesn’t it remind you of Disneyland?! It should, these iconic C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A letters that previously stood at the entrance of Disney California Adventure park for a decade have been enjoying their new home in front of the main gate of the CA State Fair! Leave it to these amazing au pairs to find all the awesome places to explore and incredible photo ops in the U.S.!

Contact me directly (nicole@aupairchildcare.com ~ 925-719-9767) for my personalized, expert support – I’m here to help you find the right au pair for your family! 


March 11, 2017

Want to learn more about Au Pairs? Sign up for my Host Family & Au Pair Monthly Newsletter and stay connected! Check out the latest news here – I’m here to help!

 


February 27, 2017

Three of the 3,500 Amazing Au Pairs Available Today!

Click here to register for free no obligation, save $250, and start building your global family today! I’m here to help you find the right au pair for your family – it’s what I love to do!



February 9, 2017

Follow me on Pinterest!

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Follow me on Pinterest to help with all things related to family – and share it with your au pair in case they are looking for some activities to do with the kids, or a fun idea for snack time, or a super easy dinner recipe to prepare for the kids tonight! There are also helpful parenting tips, ideas for meaningful family time, and tips on finding work-family balance. Click here!


February 1, 2017

Host Family Best Practices: Finding The Best Au Pair Match

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Choosing an au pair can be a tough decision, but there are ways to help ensure an au pair is a good fit for your family and community. We asked some of our successful host families for their best advice on the matching process and here are some great tips to consider! Click here: Host Family Best Practices – Finding The Best Au Pair Match


 

November 19, 2016

FREE Positive Parenting Webinar

It takes a village to navigate the world of parenting! Click here for a wonderful FREE webinar on Positive Parenting – I promise it’s well worth your time! Watch it with your au pair – or share it with your childcare provider – you won’t be disappointed!

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October 10, 2016

26 Ways to Help Your Au Pair with Homesickness 

Here are some helpful tips to support your au pair if she or he become homesick in their au pair year! 

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September 8, 2016

Helpful Homework Tips and Links

Here are some helpful Homework Tips and Links to support your au pair and your children to make it a successful school year for everyone! 

Click image to enlarge. 

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August 24, 2016

Nicole’s Monthly Au Pair News!

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March 15, 2016

14th Annual San Ramon Valley Community Fair

SRV Comm Fair 3.15.16

Summer is 3 months away! Come check out the hundreds of summer and fall youth programs and activities available, for ages 0-18, at The FREE 14th Annual San Ramon Valley Community Fair. I’ll be there sharing the Au Pair Program with families looking for childcare – stop by and say hello!

The programs include: Sports, Music, Camps, Childcare, Free & Low Cost Activities for Families and Children, and more! Mark your calendars for: Tuesday, March 15th from 3:30-7:00 p.m. @ Dougherty Valley High School Commons – 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon! I hope to see you there!


January 20, 2016

New Host Family Newspaper!

I love our new Host Family Newspaper! What a great way to learn more about the heartbeat of our program – our amazing au pairs and our wonderful host families!

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November 30, 2015

Cultural Kids Craft: German Advent Calendar!

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Did you know that Advent calendars originated in Germany? Long ago, families started counting down the first 24 days of December by drawing a chalk line on the door each day. To make your own customized Advent calendar for someone in your family, check out the information below!

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Families then began to adopt more elaborate ways to mark the days including lighting candles and hanging small religious pictures on the wall—later, printed advent calendars similar to the kind we use today were invented.

MATERIALS:
• Cultural Care German Advent calendar template 
• X-acto knife (for adult use only) or scissors
• Markers and/or scraps of magazines and photos
• Double sided tape

INSTRUCTIONS:
Print the advent calendar templates on the following two pages preferably on white card stock. Using the X-acto knife, cut the dotted ines on the three sides of the 24 boxes on the first page of the calendar to make openings. Decorate the inside of all the white boxes on the second page with magic markers or with pictures cut out from old magazines or photos. Tape the first page of the advent calendar to the second using double sided tape on the sides and top and bottom.

Have fun creating an advent calendar for someone special in your family!


November 3, 2015

Cultural Care Au Pair Runs the NYC Marathon!

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Cultural Care au pair Dana Hirsch ran the NYC Marathon on Sunday, and her parents, who were visiting from Germany, were here to cheer her on and congratulate her after she finished. Dana shared, “I’m going to cross this off my bucket list as one of the biggest achievements in my life so far.” Visit our blog to find out if she was able to accomplish her goal of running the race in sub 6 hours, what she thought about the course and how she was able to raise over $2,000 for her charity, Team for Kids: https://aupairbuzz.culturalcare.com/?p=29474753117


October 27, 2015

The Adorable Things Host Kids Say!

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German au pair Luisa cares for three little ones in CT and her 7-year-old host daughter Jane was asked to write a list of the things she is thankful for. Jane appreciates lots of things, including her “opare” Luisa!


October 10, 2015

Childcare – You Can Trust and LOVE – Like Family!

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Chinese au pair Xiaoteng, who had to say goodbye to her host family this week, wanted to leave her host child Lucy with something she would remember her by. She created chalk drawings for Lucy to pose in and took some beautiful photos of them. Amanda says: “Hey, sweet Lucy! I really want you to know I love you soooo much, not only for one year, but for my whole life. You asked me ‘Do you love me, Xiaoteng?’ and I say, ‘Yes, absolutely!’ I don’t know how to say goodbye, but I will see you again, I promise!”


September 22, 2015

Family Reunion!

Family reunion

Here’s a touching story about a wonderful host family and their “family reunion” with their amazing au pairs from the past 12 years! Bonding families and au pairs – for life – I love my job!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5zXJPY-k9I



August 17, 2015

Host family and au pair reunion – then and now…

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I love this story of a host daughter’s amazing trip to visit 12 of her former au pairs, dating all the way back to 1996! It’s amazing stories like this that make me feel so fortunate to be an au pair consultant – it sure brings our amazing au pair program to life!

https://aupairbuzz.culturalcare.com/former-host-child-visits-9-au-pairs-from-as-long-ago-as-19-years/


July 18, 2015

Here’s a great – pull at your heartstrings – video that shows the rich and rewarding experience of hosting an au pair! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7shsZOlKv5M&app=desktop

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April 30, 2015

How special to have coffee with Amanda – a truly amazing au pair in my group – and her lovely mum that is visiting from Sweden! It was so incredible to see where the awesome au pair that I work with comes from! I love my job!

Amanda and mum


Cultural Care Au Pair and Habitot Children’s Museum Partner on Poison Prevention Training for Local Au Pairs

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SAN RAMON, CA (April 16, 2015) — According to Safe Kids USA, for every 10 poison exposures in children, approximately nine occur in the home. These accidents are due, more often than not, to common household items that parents overlook when childproofing their home. In an effort to keep children safe this year, Cultural Care Au Pair will partner with Habitot Children’s Museum on April 16, 2015 to host a poisoning prevention meeting for local au pairs.

“Young children are especially at risk for poisonings because of their curiosity and their tendency to get into everything they shouldn’t,” said Local Childcare Consultant Nicole Biondi. “It’s important to parents that their childcare provider knows the proper safety procedures in case of a poisoning incident, so we teach our au pairs what household items could be toxic and what to do in the case of an emergency.”

The training is part of Cultural Care Au Pair’s ongoing Continuing Safety Education Program (CSEP), which requires local childcare consultants to review safety education with au pairs throughout their year-long stay in the United States. Au pairs also learn safety protocol during their 4-day stay at the Cultural Care Au Pair training school in New York before they arrive to their host families’ homes.

The San Ramon Valley au pairs together represent the countries of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, South Africa, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and UK. Biondi, resident of San Ramon, supports local parents and au pairs, advising them of education opportunities, as well as organizing fun activities for the entire extended family to enjoy.

According to Toni Mikulka, Development and Marketing Manager for Habitot Children’s Museum, the training will focus on basic steps to prevent poisoning accidents. “Household cleaning agents, the medicine cabinet, cosmetics and other personal products, even poisonous plants, all provide a potential danger to children,” said Mikulka. The au pairs will also learn that:

  • Each year, approximately 45 children age 4 and under die from unintentional exposure to medicines and household products. And millions of unintentional poisonings among children ages 5 and under occur each year.
  • More than 90 percent of all poison exposures occur in homes.
  • Children are at a significantly greater risk from unintentional poisoning death and exposure than adults because they are smaller, have faster metabolic rates, and are less able to physically handle toxic chemicals. Their natural curiosity and desire to put everything in their mouths further increases this risk.
  • In general, children ages 5 and under are at greatest risk for nonfatal poisoning, accounting for the majority of poison exposures. Children ages 2 and under are especially vulnerable.
  • Children can be poisoned by medicines, vitamins, household products, lead and carbon monoxide (CO).
  • If they suspect a poisoning, they should call the Poison Control Help Line first!
  • When dispensing over-the-counter medications to their children, only 30 percent of caregivers are able to accurately measure a correct dosage.

Biondi provides these safety tips for local families:

  • Ensure that all medications and household products are locked out of sight and out of reach
  • Always read labels, follow directions and give medicines to children according to their weights and ages
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging
  • Discard expired medicine on a regular basis
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy”
  • Keep potentially poisonous plants out of reach
  • Don’t guess – be sure! Call the California Poison Control and Help Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222

About Cultural Care Au Pair
Cultural Care Au Pair is the leading provider of intercultural live-in childcare. Since 1989, Cultural Care Au Pair has placed more than 95,000 au pairs in welcoming American homes. A division of EF Education and a U.S. Department of State regulated program, Cultural Care Au Pair is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., with an extensive network of recruitment, screening and orientation offices worldwide. For more information about hosting an au pair, visit www.nbiondi.aupairnews.com or call (925) 719-9767.

About Habitot Children’s Museum

Habitot Children’s Museum was founded in 1992 to meet the unique needs of infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Habitot’s mission is to help the broad community of parents and caregivers raise curious, creative and confident children with dedicated programs for children with special needs, teen parents, formerly incarcerated mothers, and homeless families. Hands-on exhibits and programs focus exclusively on early childhood, ages 0-5.

Since opening 15 years ago in 1998, Habitot has welcomed almost 1,000,000 visitors, filling a niche for new parents and caregivers who seek safe and enriching experiences for young children, with parenting support, a toy lending library, affordable music and art classes, immersive learning exhibits, and a drop-in Art Studio.

Habitot Children’s Museum has been recognized as the “best museum for families” by Bay Area Parent Magazine readers. In addition, Habitot’s founder, Gina Moreland, has been honored with a Bay Area “Jefferson Award”, and was the City of Berkeley’s “Early Childhood Champion of the Year.” In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Parents’ Press readers voted Habitot “Best of the East Bay,” and in 2013 Habitot received the GuideStar Exchange Silver participation level, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability provided by GuideStar USA, Inc., the premier source of nonprofit information. In 2010, 2011 and in 2012, Habitot was designated a “Top-Rated Non-profit” by GreatNonprofits, a leading provider of reviews and ratings of nonprofit organizations. See all awards: www.habitot.org/museum/about_awards.html

For more information, contact:

Nicole Biondi
Local Childcare Consultant, Cultural Care Au Pair
(925) 719-9767

nicole.biondi@lcc.culturalcare.com

www.nbiondi.aupairnews.com.

Toni Mikulka

Development and Marketing Manager, Habitot Children’s Museum

(201) 937-1552

toni@habitot.org

www.habitot.org


April 14, 2015

Come to a Swim Clinic with 3-Time Olympian Matt Biondi (and my awesome brother-in-law)!

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Swim Families,

Come meet 3-Time Olympian, 11 Medal Winner, Matt Biondi (and my awesome brother-in-law!) for this Spring Clinic! This EPIC event will include a truly motivational talk – followed up by an in-water instruction & demonstration, and an autograph/photo-op signing opportunities for each attendee!

– Saturday April 18 at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville, CA! (Click here for directions!)

– 11 & up swimmers @ 1:00 – 4:00 pm

– 10 and under swimmers @ 2:00 – 4:00 pm

– Clinic is open to active swimmers ages 6-18 only, will be divided by age group, and must have been enrolled in a recreational or competitive swim team to participate.

– Space is limited!  To register for this event, please sign up here:  Next Level Champion Series Spring 2015 Clinic

– Here are just a few of Matt’s amazing Gold Medal & World Record Swims from Seoul 1988 Olympics: 50 Free, his best relay leg ever in the 4×200 Free Relay, & 100 Free!

We can’t wait to spend the day with your swimmer!

March 23, 2015

Adventure Awaits!

Cultural Care Discovery Tours Available for Au Pairs and Their Friends!

Cultural Care Discovery Tours are for 18-28 year olds that want to explore all the USA has to offer! Travel with friends and explore CaliforniaFlorida or Hawaii! Review the full trip itineraries here – and to receive more information complete the online form and a member of our tour team will contact you directly to book!

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March 16, 2015

Announcing: Cultural Care Discovery Tours for Au Pairs and Their Friends!

Next week Cultural Care Au Pair will start promoting three new tours (1. Hawaii, 2. Florida, and 3. Los Angeles, Las Vegas & Grand Canyon) specifically designed for our au pairs and their friends.  These tours will be announced in the au pair quarterly newsletter.  If you receive any inquiries from your au pairs please encourage them to email discovery.tours@culturalcare.com and a member of our tour team will be in touch to assist them through the booking process. Stay tuned for more info to come next week!

March 14, 2015

Cultural Care’s Regional Meeting for Northern California’s LCC-Force!

It was a great turn out – for the close to 75 – awesome Local Childcare Consultants (LCC) throughout the Bay Area! Here’s a photo of the LCC-Force in the San Ramon Valley and our amazing Program Director, Kelli Rose!

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February 12, 2015 – Christy Waller

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Happy New Year! January 1st doesn’t have to be your only New Year celebration. This February, celebrate the Lunar New Year with fun activities for the whole family inspired by ideas from our Chinese au pairs!

http://aupairbuzz.culturalcare.com/how-to-celebrate-the-chinese-new-year/


7 New Year’s Resolutions Every Family Should Make in 2015

Give up carbs? Go gluten-free? Nah, these resolutions are far more entertaining — and will have a huge impact on your family’s media lives.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/7-new-years-resolutions-every-family-should-make-in-2015?utm_source=010115+Parent+Default&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly


October 27, 2014 Jeff Haynes

10 Most Violent Video Games of 2014 (and What to Play Instead)

Common Sense Media identifies some of the most violent video games of 2014 and provides alternatives the whole family can enjoy.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/10-most-violent-video-games-of-2014-and-what-to-play-instead?utm_source=103014+Ages+7-12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly


Au pair vs nanny and daycare

As parents, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of all childcare options and choose what will work best for our schedule, budget and lifestyle. Families who choose daycare are often discouraged by the toll it takes on their work/life balance and finances. Many families like the idea of the one-on-one care a nanny can provide, but the high cost is a big deterrent. In most communities in the U.S., nannies are cost-prohibitive for middle class families.

Disadvantages of daycare

  • High cost and “per child” rates
  • Hassle of transporting children to and from the daycare facility
  • Inflexible hours and expensive late fees
  • High staff turnover and staff inexperience
  • High child-to-staff ratio
  • Long wait lists
  • Lack of coverage when children are sick
  • Tendency to expose children to colds and other illnesses

Disadvantages of hiring a nanny

  • High cost and need for salary negotiations
  • Lack of quality candidates
  • Lack of a qualified agency in the area
  • Lack of night or weekend coverage
  • The hassle of verifying her legal work eligibility
  • Absence of a back-up plan if she falls ill or quits
  • No regulation or support from a third-party agency or staff member

Hosting an au pair can give you the one-on-one attention and in-home convenience that you want but without the high cost and other disadvantages of hiring a nanny. Compare what you get with au pair childcare to what you would get from a nanny or daycare:

Read more…


5 Steps to a Cooler Halloween Costume That Saves You Money, Too!

Ready to escape the Halloween marketing madness? Take back control with a little DIY — it might be easier than you think!

Steer clear of marketing mania and gender stereotypes and still have fun.

Community Service with Cultural Care Staff

Cultural Care Au Pair staff from all over the world participated in an in-office community service project for Kids First to help children in need […]

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October 01, 2014 Ashley Matusiak

The Secret to a Successful Host Family Experience

While you may consider a nanny to be your employee, an au pair by definition is “on par” or “equal to”, indicating that your au pair […]

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September 19, 2014 Sylvia Kim

Download Our Numbers Language Cards for Bilingual Benefits

No one doubts the power of language. With the help of your au pair, make learning a new language fun with our numbers vocabulary cards and learn […]

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September 09, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

6 Steps to Hassle-free Homework

It’s no secret that getting your kids to finish their homework every night without a struggle can be a challenge. Though ensuring your kids are […]Read more…


August 05, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

7 Tips for Creating a Great Host Family Profile

When we asked our au pairs on Facebook: “What do you look for in a host family’s profile while matching?” they had lots to say. […]

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July 16, 2014 Stephanie Vandale

The Truth About Au Pair Childcare

“Only rich people can afford au pairs.” “An au pair is the same thing as a nanny.” “Au pairs are all women, and they’re all Swedish.” If you’ve […]

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