Monthly Archives: December 2017

Au Pair of the Year 2017 Winner!

Being an Au Pair is so much more than just looking after children. It’s about opening your heart for people you briefly meet over skype before making the mutual decision of spending the next couple of months together. It’s about leaving everything you know behind for a certain time to explore a new country, a new culture, for some a new language even. It’s about becoming a mix of a big sister/big brother, a person of trust, a role-model, a best friend and sometimes even a second mom or dad. Being far away from home, there are definitely Au Pairs that go the extra mile and who understand that it’s about becoming a part of a family!

We were truly overwhelmed by all the love and heart-warming words put into the nomination letters we received for Au Pair of the Year 2017! Every letter we read touched our hearts tremendously and every Au Pair would be very deserving of becoming the Au Pair of the Year 2017, however one nomination especially stood out. We are pleased to announce that the winner of Au Pair of the Year 2017 is: Laura J. from Austria!

Please see her nomination letter below:

Au Pair of the Year Essay

Weiner Schnitzel, yummy baked goods, a sweet demeanor, and a willingness to make others happy (just to name a few attributes)—this describes Laura J., our Au Pair. She immediately formed a bond with our family instantly when we had our initial Skype session. She beamed with pride and joy the moment she laid her eyes on our boys. As a Mother, it is so very important to have my children surrounded by positive role models and people who love them dearly. Laura always shows an authentic, genuine love for our children and our family—this has never wavered. It is the kindness in her heart, she is grateful, she is willing to help, and when there is a need, she always offers her support.

The moment Laura arrived in Canada, she was already planning our 5 year old’s birthday cake. She made a beautiful fondant Lightening McQueen Cars 3 cake for our family party, and of course, my son was amazed and thrilled.

The summertime and the beginning of the Kindergarten school year were packed full of fun activities and day trips. Laura attended everything! We went on our newly purchased fishing boat to the local lakes, out to family fun play centers and mini-golfing, having fun in our backyard treehouse enjoying the great outdoors, throwing water balloons, playing in the sprinkler, the pool and on the playground equipment and slides…you name it, we did it. When school started Laura had spent copious hours of her own time venturing to the local mall to pick out the perfect items for Jake’s schulttle (I do not know how to spell the German/Austrian name for the gift given at the start of Kindergarten). This is a tradition that kids in Austria remember their whole lives. Pictured below is the huge gift she created for him! Jacob is enamored with Laura. He loves her kind heartedness, her gentle demeanor, and her willingness to play with him. Frequently, his younger brother is the one garnering the attention but Laura has a soft spot for Jake and she always makes sure he is loved and well looked after.

The Kindergarten gift created by Laura for Jakes 1st day of school

                In the 3-4 months Laura has been here there have already been some difficult moments for me personally with my Mother having to be in hospital and a long recovery from surgery; only then, to find out after all of that she needs Chemotherapy and Radiation treatment for Cancer. With all of the stresses life brings with it, there have already been significant changes and alterations to the daily routine. Laura never dwells but always asks how she can be of help. Laura has spent time with my mother, taken the bus to visit her during her time off, and constantly looks for ways to brighten the day. Currently, she is working on a homemade advent calendar for my Mom so that she has something handmade and beautiful to open daily. It is created with the wood from the trees in our backyard and has the kids’ artwork attached.

Witnessing my husband and I struggling to find time to spend a moment together, except the wee hours of the evening once the kids are asleep and we need to be getting organized for our next day of work, Laura offered to organize an afternoon bowling session with the kids and did not want to be paid for her time, so that my husband and I could venture out to a movie and have a ‘date afternoon.’ It is these acts of kindness that epitomizes who Laura is as a person. This is not something you can make up—she is indeed ‘the’ “Au Pair of the Year!”

We cannot say enough good things about Laura—you do however, have a one page limit on the essay (haha). She has our full recommendation to be crowned-even in her short duration here-The Au Pair of the Year!

                                      Our backyard bouncy castle

 

CONGRATULATIONS, LAURA!

Thanks for doing an incredible job!

 

Yours, International Nannies & Homecare Ltd. Team!

Tis the season of giving! Having trouble thinking of the perfect gift to give to your Au Pair or your Host Family? Don’t worry – you’re not alone, so we’ve put together a few suggestions to help get your ideas flowing!

 

FOR YOUR AU PAIR

There are a couple things to consider when putting together a gift for your Au pair. The first is that they are a traveler and will be returning by plane to their home country at the end of their stay, so you will want to refrain from anything that will be difficult to transport or take up a lot of space. The second is they are here in part, for a cultural exchange and therefore will greatly appreciate a gift that will benefit their time in Canada. The third consideration to be made, is what type of person is your Au Pair? Take the time to discover their passions/interests and go from there.

For the Adventurous Au Pair

This Au Pair is looking to discover Canada hands on and will enjoy an experience more than anything material. You could keep it simple with tickets to a local game or show they’d enjoy, or go all out with a small trip – if you’re planning on going away for Christmas, surprise them with an activity like skiing or scuba diving that they can enjoy during your stay.

For the Foodie Au Pair

Maybe they’re not all about the eating, but enjoy the preparation too! In this case, a cooking or baking class would be a hit with this Au Pair. Not only will they have fun, but it’s a skill they’ll be able to put to good use while caring for your children and also later on in life.

For the Homebody Au Pair

Does your Au Pair spend a lot of their free time at home? Nothing wrong with that! It means they are comfortable in your house and as part of your family. Why not get them a few things to take their comfort to the next level? Maybe a cute pajama set or silly slippers, your favourite book with a personalized message written inside, or a mug (with photos of your kids) and a selection of tea would go over well.

Other Ideas

If you’re Au Pair doesn’t fit into a specific niche, you could always try one of these classics: a spa day –massages, manicures/pedicures, or facials are always well received, gift cards go over well – especially if you know their favourite shops/restaurants, or if you’re truly at a loss, you can’t go wrong with a personal note and a Christmas bonus! Let them know they are appreciated as the holidays can be a difficult time for Au Pairs.

 

FOR YOUR HOST FAMILY

Because living and traveling abroad can get expensive, odds are you don’t want to spend too much on presents this year. That’s okay! Here are a few ideas of inexpensive yet heartfelt gifts to give to your Host Family.

For your Host Parents

Make a scrapbook of all the fun their kids have had with you. Include pictures, quotes, funny stories, and drawings done by the children. Your host parents will be thrilled with the keepsake and this special memento will show them how much you care. Years from now it will be invaluable, not only to them but to their children as well.

For your Host Kids

Here is a great opportunity to do yourself a favour! Think about gifts that your host kids will enjoy, but will also make it easy for you to care for them: crafts to make together, activity books they can use when you need some quiet time, gifts from your home country that you can use to teach them about your culture, etc. Be sure to double check recommended ages or choking hazards before purchasing a gift for your host kids!

For the whole Family

If you have a specific skill that your Host Family enjoys, utilize it this Christmas! It will be an especially personal gift and it will also save you money. For example, if you are great at cooking/baking, make them something delightful for breakfast on Christmas morning, or a fabulous dessert to go with Christmas dinner!

Other Ideas

None of the above gonna work for you? Maybe try a gift that will bring you together as a family. Board games are a great idea, an activity that everyone will enjoy – you could get them a soccer ball for the whole family to play with when the weather turns, or a movie that you would like to share with them on a family movie night.

You don’t have to break the bank when giving a gift; oftentimes it’s the inexpensive and personal gifts that are the most cherished. Hopefully our suggestions have helped out, or inspired you with a few ideas of your own!