Our “Holidays in the Home” Seminar

TableSettingPicture‘Tis the season to be jolly! And “jolly” is definitely one way to describe the feeling that was in our office on Saturday, November 14th when Housekeeper Candidates from around the Bay Area met with Town + Country’s Housekeeper Team for our “Holidays in the Home” seminar. Attendees worked side by side perfecting their silver polishing skills, learning creative new gift wrapping techniques and setting a beautiful and inspiring dining room table after seeing new ideas for napkin folding and place settings.

We enjoyed hearing the stories, laughter and encouragement that was shared. We are grateful to all those who attended and we look forward to seeing you one or all of our seminars in 2016!

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Meet Monica, this month’s Candidate of the Month

Monica-RodriguezMonica is a former preschool teacher who has transitioned into working as a full-time Nanny. She has her Psychology degree from San Francisco State University and her teaching credentials from the National Hispanic University in San Jose. Monica has recently been placed in a full-time Nanny position through Town + Country Resources and is thrilled to be spending time with her two charges!

Monica is passionate about caring for children. She has made a lasting impression on many children and their parents. One of her prior families said, “My children absolutely love Monica. She has great energy! Monica is so happy and my children are so happy with her. She is fun, loving and always has funny stories for the children. She likes to joke around in a safe and responsible way. The children always have a great time with her.”

Get to know Monica: 

What does an ideal day with your charges look like?
The most ideal days are the ones filled with curiosity, laughter and imagination! We forget how wondrous it is to see the world with curiosity after years of “life” happening. Children see through a lens that reminds me of this daily. Days where we get to make and create are my favorite. Sure, emptying out lunch boxes, getting homework done and setting out clothes for the next day help mold responsible individuals. However, along with learning responsibility, baking muffins, puppet shows, making forts and going on backyard adventures are the makings of an ideal day.

What do you find most rewarding about being a Nanny?
I enjoy being present for so many of the little moments. So much learning is happening daily for children, and it is an honor to be a part of that. The trust and the bond that is shared with the kids and parents is really quite special. When the fit is just right, I feel like I just can’t wait to see the kids and parents will tell me how the kids have been asking all week “When is Monica coming?”

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?
Rafiki from “The Lion King,” HANDS DOWN! His character carries wisdom and compassion. He is all heart. He is presented as a crazy baboon, and he is a bit of a loon, but he has a sharp mind and a wise spirit.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
I can replay my favorite memories as if they happened yesterday like my cousins and I sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag after we’ve been told not to. Or, playing “house” and our imaginary stove catches fire and we have to run away screaming. We could never bore from playing Easter egg hunt, no matter what day of the year. I also remember playing endless hours of Disney tag through the sprinklers on the lawn on warm summer nights.

What event, past, present or future, would you want to see if given the chance?
In a few years, when the amazing kids I get to work with invent a time machine, I am going back to the late 1950’s to see Elvis Presley live and in concert.

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Meet our new Counselors!

The Palo Alto and Oakland offices of Town + Country are happy to introduce two new faces on our Nanny and Housekeeper teams. Monique and Emily are both fantastic additions to our committed teams and we can’t wait for you to meet them!

Monique Gutierrez

Monique-WebGet to know Monique:
Monique was born and raised in the Bay Area as the eldest of three in a large, close knit family. Growing up, she helped care for her siblings and as a result she is incredibly passionate for the well being of youth and children. Monique earned her Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington and nannied for families in Washington and California throughout college and for a year afterwards. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors on adventures with her family and her significant other. Monique is incredibly excited to be part of the Town + Country team placing passionate candidates in loving homes.

Monique has joined the Peninsula Nanny team as a Recruiting Counselor.

How would your friends describe you?
“My friends would describe me as fun-loving, kind and open to new adventure. They will tell you that I have many hobbies in many different categories. I enjoy the outdoors and getting dirty, I enjoy watching football and yelling at the top of my lungs. Yet, I have no problem settling down with a book and a cup of coffee snuggled up indoors for hours on end. My friends might also describe me as someone who cannot sit still for too long or feel comfortable sitting inside without becoming antsy and anxious. Unless, of course, coffee and books are involved.”

If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
“It’s a toss up between the ’20s and ’70s. I absolutely love the culture of these two decades. I feel as though these time periods produced unique styles and great music that cannot be duplicated just right in our modern times.”

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“When I was a child I wanted to be a teacher, which comes from my longing to continually grow and learn individually, as well as with others.”

Emily Bennetch

IMG_1834Get to know Emily:
Emily was born in Seattle and raised in Broomfield, Colorado. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Individual and Family Development from Seattle Pacific University. Emily has over ten years of experience caring for children and elderly in their homes. She finds great purpose in partnering with families to help fill their needs at any stage and is thrilled to be part of the Town + Country Resources Housekeeper team.  Emily lives in Stanford with her husband. She enjoys traveling, making jewelry, cooking and getting over to the ocean as often as possible.

Emily has joined the Housekeeper team as a Recruiting Counselor.

If you could be a fictional character, who would it be?
“I would want to be The Little Mermaid. I always wanted to be her when I was a little girl. I would love to live under the sea and I also remember loving the dresses she wore when she was a human.”

If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve personally seen what would it be?
“Being a visual person there are so many sights captured in my mind. Some of my favorites are the golden light falling over the tops of the roofs and domes of Florence, the backdrop of the Pitons over the still water in St. Lucia, the silhouette of an acacia tree in an African sunset and the vibrant colors in a farmer’s market in Sicily.”

What is your greatest accomplishment?
“My greatest accomplishment is being the first woman in my maternal line to graduate from college.”

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Ask MaryPat: Arranging Time Off During the Holidays

3856777MaryPat doesn’t fly around with a black umbrella, but she does have over 20 years of experience as a Child Development Expert and over 10 years experience as a Placement Counselor in our Palo Alto office.  She’s has a wealth of knowledge and we’re confident you will find her advice spot-on!
Dear MaryPat,
How can I arrange to take time off around the holidays? Thank you for your advice!

Dear Alicia,

Not all families offer paid time off, and it is not something that they are required to offer, but when families hire through Town + Country we suggest that they offer paid paid time off for major holidays and two weeks of paid vacation time. In addition, we always suggest to both nannies and families that at least one of those two weeks of your vacation time be coordinated with the family’s vacation, so that you will continue to be paid when the family goes on vacation.

We recommend that families provide a clear written work agreement that outlines your responsibilities, hours and how time off will be handled. If you do not have a written agreement you can ask your employer for one.
It is also best to have a clear plan for paid holidays, including a list of paid holidays in your work agreement. Common holidays include Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Your employer may ask you to provide notice when requesting vacation time off, and as we mentioned above, they are also likely to ask you to coordinate some of your vacation time with their family’s vacation plans. I recommend that you bring your desired dates to your employer with as much notice as possible and have a two-way conversation to coordinate dates that work for all of you. The sooner you can talk about time off the better, so families can make alternate arrangements for their children if necessary.

If you are meeting with them to discuss holiday plans you may also want to map out some of your dates for 2016 as well.


Teaching Independence

4144821Yes, it may be easier to pick up the toys, put away the laundry or put the dishes away your self, but by asking your charge to help you out you are teaching responsibility and independence.

We know you’ve heard it a hundred times, but by spending the extra few minutes now you’re helping your charge build confidence and a life-long skill of perseverance. Don’t expect things to be perfect. As a matter of fact, give up the idea that it will be.

Encourage your charge to do their best and if you’d like to see changes, try a positive approach, maybe “I hadn’t thought of doing it that way. Would you like to see how I do it?” If they’re not interested in your way, don’t stress. Enjoy the help and the smile on your charge’s face when they accomplish a task. Don’t forget to praise their efforts along the way, your approval means the world to them!

Meet Aly Grant!

Aly-Cropped-for-webThree of Town + Country’s departments have welcomed new employees in the last couple of months, and we’re so excited to tell you about each one! Last week we introduced Tim Sherrill who joined our Estate + Executive Staffing department, and this week we would like to introduce you to Aly Grant, who has joined one of our Nanny teams as a Recruiting Counselor.

Get to know Aly:
Aly was grew up right here in the East Bay. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Texas, Austin … “Hook’em Horns!” While at the University of Texas, Aly worked in the Football Program in recruiting and operations. After college, she worked in Staffing Services at Google before joining Town + Country. Aly lives in Danville and enjoys spending time outdoors with her two children and husband.

If you could share a meal with any four individuals, living or dead, who would you choose?
Aside from my family, I would want to have a meal with Beyonce, Jesus, Lyndon B. Johnson, and my grandfather, whom I never got to meet.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
I have been skydiving! But my greatest adventure is having two children, 17 months apart!

What three things do you think of the most each day?
My babies, snacks and naps!

Aly has joined the San Francisco & East Bay Nanny team as a Recruiting Counselor.

Meet Tim Sherrill!

Tim-Cropped-for-BlogTown + Country’s Estate + Executive Staffing team has a new Recruiting Counselor! We’re excited to have Tim Sherrill join the EES team in our Oakland office!

Tim grew up in Northern California and Germany. He earned Bachelor’s degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing at California State University, San Francisco. He has worked in a wide variety of professions, most recently in the recruitment of au pairs. He enjoys recruitment as he gets to see the impact his work has on other peoples’ lives. In his free time he runs a community-based board and video gaming group, does some reading, tries his hand at cooking and spends time exploring the Bay Area.

A few questions to get to know Tim:

If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Probably spend an entire day with all my friends and family in Disneyland. It would be amazing to have everyone that I care about joining me in one of may favorite places to visit.

What’s your favorite family tradition?
St. Patrick’s Day for me is always the best. We have corned beef with all the traditional sides, talk, laugh, and raise a glass or two for loved ones who can’t be there. Comfort food centric holidays are rare in the middle of the year, and so this one is nice to have.

What is your proudest accomplishment?
Graduating with two Bachelor’s Degrees. I first graduated college in 2007 with a degree in English Literature and then returned in 2009 to get second bachelors, this time in Creative Writing. I love that I was able to balance working with pursuing education, and even graduated with honors.

Tim has joined the Estate + Executive Staffing team as a Recruiting Counselor.

Part One of our Wellness Series with Natalie Beck

IMG_8029Our Estate Staffing Division held the first of our two-part Wellness Series last week in Palo Alto. Natalie Beck, a Town + Country Chef and Registered Dietician, “nurtured the attendees’ minds and bodies.”

Natalie had an information-packed power point presentation outlining the food colors of the rainbow, discussing the nutritional benefits of each color and giving examples of different foods associated with each color. She also gave tips on how to do quick and easy food prep to get the most out of your meal every day, including adding walnuts to your salad or chia seeds in your smoothie as a way to quickly add protein and omega-3s; or putting one or two vegetables into the oven for 20 minutes before starting your meal to ensure you’ll have a delicious vegetable with dinner.

IMG_8026Of course, Natalie also gave an extensive and engaging Q&A with the attendees, and everyone left with some great tips to use at home and work and several delicious recipes to try on their own.

The second session of our Wellness Series will be in our Palo Alto office on Wednesday, July 29th from 5:45 pm to 8:00 pm. This session will focus on fostering a healthy working relationship with your employer without sharing too much of your personal life or taking their family dynamics on as your own. Town + Country Placement Counselors Kristine Lange and Shannon Riehman will lead the discussions and present information on how to help ensure effective communication, how to manage a difficult conversation with your employer, and how to set healthy work boundaries. You won’t want to miss this – we hope to see you there! Register here.

Fun & Science at our Iridescent Learning Event!

IMG_6507Question: What’s better than a morning of hanging out with like-minded people who have the same passion for education and childcare as you? Answer: Hanging out with like-minded people who are all eager to take their passion to the next level!

That’s exactly what a group of Nannies and T+C employees did on Saturday, May 30th, at a seminar hosted by our partners at Iridescent Learning. Nannies were challenged with hands-on activities using household materials to create child-appropriate scientific projects that required planning, multiple design phases and execution. Attendees also watched empowering videos about how to encourage their charges to explore and experiment.

IMG_6493The conference room at Town + Country was filled with a lot of great conversation, laughter and most importantly, confidence to stimulate children to look at things all around in a scientific light as they engage in active play.

Town + Country is grateful to Iridescent Learning for putting on this wonderful training seminar that also helped our Nannies gain three hours toward their Curiosity Machine training model.

Meet Emily!

IMG8067Emily is a Town + Country Nanny with a passion for working with children and expanding her knowledge of child development. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Individual & Family Development from Seattle Pacific University and enjoys applying her knowledge to those with whom she works. She is a pitch-in, forward-thinker with an enthusiasm for childcare. She hopes to become fluent in French over the next couple of years. In her spare time, Emily likes to walk, read, make jewelry and cook.

One of Emily’s greatest strengths is the ability to dive right in to any situation and thrive. One of her previous employers said that what she most appreciated about Emily was that she is “genuine and super dependable. My mom joked that when Emily moved that they should come and take Emily’s place, but no one can take her place. She has a great balance of strength and vulnerability, good boundaries and a strong sense of self.  She was a wonderful role-model for our girls.”

Get to know Emily:

What’s your favorite thing about being a Nanny?
Some of my most gratifying moments being a Nanny have come after my actual time with the children. I get to hear about it from their parents. It’s in times when the kids will start to sing songs that I sang with them, and their parents will ask where they learned that song … and the response is, “Emily taught it to me…;” or when they rhyme or dance or repeat little rituals we would do together. That tells me that I had a lasting impression on them, that my moments with them mattered. Those are the reflections of the love that I gave them and that continues to be experienced.

Describe the perfect day with your charge.
One of my perfect days was getting to take 2.5 year old Fiona to the aquarium for a mermaid show. I had researched it and planned the day out. Watching the show and getting to see her face with uncontained joy and eyes of wonder was magical. She was exhausted when we came home to have lunch. She fell asleep very quickly when we read stories together in the glider chair. I remember the weight of her head on my chest and noticing when her breathing changed to a heavy, slow-sleep, breath. I think that is one of the best feelings … the weight of a cherished one on your chest.

Who’s your hero?
I have had many heroes in my life … but the one that will be my forever hero is my husband. I admire his intellect, his humility, his ability to speak truth to me and love others. He brings me so much peace and makes me understand myself better. I love journeying with him … I’m his fan!

What’s your favorite family memory?
My dad just fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams: Teaching me to surf on the perfect beginner wave at Waikiki Beach on O’ahu. I grew up listening to his stories of surfing and how one day he would teach me … and we just got to experience that together last month. We paddled out and were racing the setting sun … a memory that will forever stay with me.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
The first thing that came to mind was the ability to speak perfect French. My husband grew up in Belgium and I’ve always wished my three years of high school French translated to perfect fluency. I think to wake up tomorrow and greet the world being a Francophone would be pretty marvelous.

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