What’s on your table? T+C Thanksgiving recipe favorites

TreeThanksgiving is a time to give thanks, enjoy the beautiful friendships around you and indulge in delicious food. With the big day rapidly approaching, we’ve compiled a list of our tried and true recipes to incorporate into your traditional Thanksgiving favorites. Add some spice and decoration to your family table with our favorite sweet and savory dishes:

Roasted Fall Vegetables
Not only does this dish feature a nutritional variety of veggies, it also serves as a beautiful addition to your table with all of its bright fall colors. Ditch the plain green beans and treat the family to this beautiful thanksgiving favorite. Thank you Love Grows Wild for the recipe.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta
Peas and Crayons has created a Thanksgiving masterpiece with their use of complementary flavors: butternut squash, cranberries, feta cheese, honey and spices. In pairing sweet with savory, this colorful dish is sure to please the most discerning guests.

Mini Pumpkin Pies
Excite the children with these personalized mini pumpkin pies. These are the perfect personal treat for all of your Thanksgiving guests, sweet and creatively decorated to add to your festive table decor. The only thing better than a pumpkin pie, are multiple mini pumpkin pies for all! We’re quite sure the kids will agree. Thanks, Home is Where the Boat is.

Pecan Pie Bites
Similar to the Mini Pumpkin Pies, these tiny little treats leave all guests satisfied with their buttery crust and sugary filling. Plus, the pecan filling adds a sophisticated flare to the rest of your Thanksgiving table. We’re grateful for you, Gold Medal Flour!

In this spirit of thankfulness, Town + Country Resources wishes you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving. We are so thankful for all of you!

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Meet Deli!

deliDeli is one of Town + Country’s superstar Nanny candidates. She has been an absolute treat to work with ever since she started with us in 1997 – almost 20 years ago! Not only is she incredibly kind and gracious in working with the T+C team, Deli has established incredible relationships with the families we’ve placed her with.

Deli is flexible, loyal and has a gentle and loving demeanor. She is also an incredibly hard-worker. She is a life-long learner and takes great pride in the night classes she is currently attending. Deli is truly self-motivated, always striving to be the best she can be, making a positive impact on everyone she meets.

Get to Know Deli … 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you travel on an epic adventure?
I would absolutely love to go to Africa. I’ve always wanted to see that part of the world.

What is your most prized possession? What couldn’t you live without?
My children. Nothing is more important to me than being a mom.

What is your favorite part about the holiday season?
I love the holiday season! But, by far, Christmas is my absolute favorite part of the holiday months.

How do you like to spend your downtime?
I love spending my free time at the beach with my family when I’m taking a break from my job.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would definitely donate some of the money to a good cause. But, I would also love to travel the world and see all kinds of new places!

What motivates you?
My family is what truly motivates me. I would do anything to help make my family happier and more comfortable. 

Our favorite client quote about Deli: “You cannot put a price on the piece of mind that I get when entrusting my child’s care to Deli.”

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Help! How do I transition from working on my own to working with an at-home Mom?

MaryPat doesn’t fly around with a black umbrella, but she does have over 20 years of experience as a Child Development Expert. These posts will answer questions about child development concerns & managing your relationship with your employer or employee.

Dear MaryPat,
I have been working with my family for two years and have been so happy in my job. Thank you for helping me find them! 

For the past two years I have had a great experience caring for Jacob who was just three months old when I started. Mr. and Mrs. J were both working full-time, so I had Jacob all to myself. Last month, Mrs. J. had an adorable baby girl and she has decided to return to work only on a part-time basis. Mrs. J wants to keep me on full-time, despite the fact she will be home much more often than before. I imagine that my job responsibilities will change a lot. Do you have any advice for me?

- Sylvie

Hi Sylvie,
It is so nice to hear that the job has gone well and that you will be staying on full-time with your family. I do expect that your role will change both because Mrs. J will now be at home part-time and because of the new sibling to care for.

I suggest that you start a conversation with Mrs. J now. Ask her how she would like to manage things when she is home part-time. You will probably need to be much more flexible on what your duties are when Mrs. J helps with the children. You may find that Mrs. J wants you to focus on the baby or primarily with Jacob when she’s home or she might find it helpful to have you sometimes help with laundry or grocery shopping and other household jobs. I would also stay in close touch with her about discipline and routines with the children so that, together, you can provide a consistent clear message to the children.

She may be taking a maternity leave now so this is a great opportunity for you to check-in regularly with Mrs. J about what is working and what is not.

Feel free to contact us anytime as you work through this. We are here to help!

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Meet Michelle!

michelleMichelle is a lovely woman who has been working with Town + Country for years. She has recently been placed by us in three different part-time Housekeeper positions, all to rave reviews! Michelle’s communication skills are excellent, and she is very aware of the needs of others before they are even expressed. Her employers have described her as always going above and beyond what was expected of her and consistently taking a good level of initiative. She is a very capable candidate with a strong work ethic and over 10 years of experience working as a Housekeeper, Nanny and Caregiver.

Get to Know Michelle:

What do you love most about a rainy day?
I love being inside and listening to the sound of rain outside the window.

Who is your favorite music artist?
Any and all Pop oldies from the 1970’s or earlier! There are just too many to mention.

Who are your heroes?
Former Filipino president Cory Aquino, who was instrumental in the defeat of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Describe your typical day off.
Attending the Filipino-American Senior Association of Ballroom Dancing.

What is your idea of a perfect Saturday night?
Going out to eat with friends and shopping!

Our favorite client quote about Michelle:
“Michelle is very trustworthy. She is diligent in her work and is not someone who requires a lot of supervision or instruction on the job. She was always on time, and provided consistently quality work in my household.”

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How to Have a Successful In-Home Interview

1504852-1You found the posting for the perfect job. You sent your resume in. You passed all the initial screening. Now it’s time for “The Interview.” Interviews can be stressful but they are a necessary part of landing your dream job.

Interviewing for an in-home position can be even more challenging than typical corporate job interview. For jobs like Nanny, Family Assistant, Housekeeper, Estate Manager or Chef, not only do you need to have the qualifications, skills and experience, you also need to show that you will be the perfect fit to work in this person’s home. With good preparation and thoughtful follow-through, you can succeed in your interview, and in this blog post we’d like to give you some guidance for how to do that!

Preparation is key. It might feel like over-kill, but make sure you know ahead of time exactly how you’ll be getting to the interview, and how long it will take for you to get there. Map out your trip at least a day ahead of time. Take heavy commute traffic into account if your interview is in the morning or late afternoon. And give yourself a little bit of extra time just to be completely sure that you get to your destination on time.

Print out and bring an up-to-date copy of your resume along with you. Your interviewer already got a copy, but providing another copy will be greatly appreciated and helps show that you really want the job, you are prepared and you are taking the process seriously.

Do your homework! Make sure you have a really good idea of exactly what this job entails. If you are working through Town + Country, take the time to talk to your Counselor to learn as much as you can. Then, with this job in mind, look over your resume for experiences you’ve had in the past that likely fit this employer’s expectations or highlight why you would be a great fit.

Dress for success! First impressions really do affect the rest of the interview process, so make sure you are making a positive one! Your interviewer will form some strong first impressions based on how you make yourself look and how you dress. There is no “one outfit fits all interviews,” so for Town + Country interviews, talk to your Counselor to find out how to dress for this interview. If you don’t have an opportunity to get information ahead of time, the best bet is to dress simply, conservatively and professionally. Limit makeup, jewelry and especially perfume! A blouse that covers the shoulders paired with a nice pair of pants or khakis is a sure way to “wow” your potential future employer!

Start your interview with a warm, confident handshake and make good eye contact. Show interest in what they are saying, keep a nice smile. Keeping a friendly conversation going about the job, your experiences and their needs will help you make the personal connection with the family that shows you can be the right font in their home.

And whatever you do, make sure to avoid two very common mistakes:

  1. Never, ever bash or criticize a former employer. The family interviewing you will get the impression that you may bash them later after you leave their job, and no one wants that.
  2. Never, ever lie or exaggerate about your prior jobs, experiences or education. Speak about your experience in complete truthfulness. Dishonest claims will usually be discovered, and even if you only told one little “white lie,” it will tend to undercut everything else you’ve said. After all, if you were dishonest about that one thing, what else are you being dishonest about? For in-home positions, families need to be able to have complete trust in you before being comfortable having you work in their home.

Finish your interview the same way you started it. Emphasize your interest in the position, and say good-bye with a confident handshake, a warm smile and good eye contact.

Follow-up! Send your interviewer an email or, even better, a handwritten note thanking them for their time and again expressing interest. Double check that all names are correctly spelled and that you don’t have any typos.

Prepare, dress for success, show respect and follow-up afterwards - give yourself the best chance to succeed!

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Professional vs. Unprofessional Phone Use by Nannies and Caregivers

CUP0094991As the largest domestic placement agency here in California, we see a lot of what works and what doesn’t work for the families who hire through us. Most of the families we’re working with these days want to be able to communicate easily and effectively with their in-home employees, including through emailing, texting and good old fashioned phone calls. And just like so many of us these days, our candidates are doing their emailing, texting and phone calls using their smart phones. No doubt about it, smart phones are fun and super useful, and every day they’re becoming a more important as work tools.

A while ago, we did a post on “Social Media Etiquette 101” where we focused on some important social media do’s and don’t’s for people who have in-home jobs, including nannies, housekeepers and other caregivers. But how about using smart phones for more traditional ways of staying in touch with your employers? Mastering professional phone usage is always an important job skill, and with the flurry of hiring that seems to happen every year right about this season, it seems like the time is right for some reminders of exactly when and how phone use is appropriate on the job.

The best piece of advice we can give is to talk to your employer about their rules and expectations. Start your job off right by having a conversation about how the two of you will try to communicate day to day. That said, after having had many, many conversations about it with families, here are a few examples of what we have found to be appropriate or inappropriate phone usage while on the job:

Appropriate Phone Usage:

  • Mid-day updates for mom & dad.
  • Using the alarm and timer features.
  • Photographing cute events throughout the day that may be of interest to the parents.
  • Communicating with parents throughout the day addressing any concerns or requests they might have.
  • Making shopping lists requested by employers.
  • Recording important notes given from employers.
  • Using the calculator for superior math tutoring.
  • Surfing the web for fun craft and activity ideas.

Inappropriate:

  • Personal calls and text messages.
  • Asking for a raise. Discussions about compensation are completely appropriate, but they should always be done in person.
  • Canceling with your employer at the last minute via text message. Cancelling should only be done as an absolute last resort, and if you have to do it, please call instead.
  • Asking for vacation time via text message. Again, conversations like this should be in person, with any confirmation on dates or other arrangements made by email.
  • Scrolling through and posting on various social media sites.
  • Playing games on your phone.
  • Any cell phone use that distracts your attention away from your job, especially any use that distracts your attention away from the kids you are caring for.

We haven’t tried to address every situation here, and these are just some examples. Open, honest & direct communication is key to building trust and a positive working relationship! And a great place to start those lines of communication is to have a conversation about it with the family you work with. You’ll end up improving your own level of professionalism while also taking advantage of all that modern technology has to offer!

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Great Family Friendly Foodie Places in San Francisco

AYP1330497Who says the foodie explorations need to stop with the kids? Sure, it might be true that the high-end Italian restaurants and multi-course meals may need to be set aside temporarily – or maybe not entirely, as this recent article at the New York Times seems to suggest.

But regardless, what if we were to tell you that “foodie fun” for the whole family does indeed exist? And we do mean for the whole family, not just the kids. After all, we do live in one of the liveliest parts of California for food innovation. Every corner seems to offer a new culinary treat, and that’s precisely one of the biggest reasons so many of us came here.

So, with the entire family in mind, here are just a few suggestions for taking advantage of local treats:

The Hall on Market Street (1028 Market Street between 6th and Jones, San Francisco)
Why? Why not! The Hall is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and truly caters to all. Open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm (closing a bit early at 5:00 pm on Sundays), we’re confident it can fit into your busy schedule somehow.

Mom wants Vietnamese? Dad wants Indian and the kids want burgers? Comin’ right up! This “super pop-up” won’t be around for more than a couple years, so there truly is no time like the present to join in on the fun! The vibe is casual, social and fun. Families are not only welcome, they’re encouraged. Both you and the kids will love the picnic-style table seating and hip décor. So, pack up the crew and head over to this new SF favorite that will cater to each member of the family!

Blue J Café (919 Divisadero Street, San Francisco)
Quaint, tasty and warm, Blue J Café welcomes the family with their special – kids eat free daily until 7:00 pm. How can this be? Don’t ask questions, just enjoy. Even better? Fridays before 7:00 pm is Movie Nite! A beautiful location, tasty food and a blissful atmosphere, Blue J Café really is your family’s next Friday night out.

Or try them on a Saturday morning. Blue J Café is quite Mimosa-friendly, especially for Saturday morning brunch.

And one last thing, do yourself a favor and give the Fresh Pacific Red Snapper a try. You won’t regret it.

Off The Grid Picnic at the Presidio (Main Post Lawn, Montgomery St., San Francisco)
This “Indian Summer” perk is definitely one of the best parts about October here in San Francisco. Every Sunday through November 2nd, head over to the sunshine (hopefully!) and the green grass of the Presidio and indulge in the treats being offered by the many food trucks and tents. “Variety” is an understatement and prices are very affordable. Enjoy Italian, Indian, Vietnamese, Mediterranean and American food, all at the same venue. Plus, the Off The Grid Picnic at the Presidio is a safe, family fun place for the kids to run while the parents enjoy a craft beer or two. Now, get out there and enjoy this incredible city with the entire family! (Note that the Main Post Lawn is located on the “other” Montgomery Street – the one in the Presidio, not the one downtown.)

Happy eating!

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Town + Country’s “Housekeeping Manual” Seminar was a Hit!

hk blog postTown + Country recently hosted our fifth Housekeeper training of the year. This seminar’s focus was on learning how to build your very own Housekeeping Manual for quick reference on the job. One of Town + Country’s favorite placement counselors, Sarndra Elejorde, equipped our sixteen attendees with the tools and knowledge to successfully create and manage a personalized “household manual” for each of their jobs.

Each attendee got a pre-made Housekeeping Manual template that could be customized for their various employers. The manuals were filled with relevant information for proper management of a home including checklists, inventory lists, cleaning & laundry rules unique to that household, child & pet information and emergency contacts and plans.

Our Housekeepers were clearly excited to be able to get together, hear about others’ past experiences and share valuable housekeeping information.

We’re really looking forward to our next seminar in November and we’re hoping for another full class! Be sure and “like” our Town + Country Resources Facebook page for current updates on the upcoming seminars.

And as always, seminar attendees don’t have to be T+C candidates. Invite your friends, and if they become a T+C candidate, you will be eligible for our referral program! If you refer a Nanny or Housekeeper to us that meet our requirements and get placed in a job for 30 days, we will send you a $200 check!

We can’t wait to see you in November!

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Bay Area Halloween and October Festivities for the Whole Family

FAN2016960 (3)Houses are decorated, candy corns are a-plenty, the air will soon be getting crisp, and it’s time for the family to come together to celebrate the spookiest time of the year! No matter where you live in the Bay, we’ve provided you with some of the greatest family-fun thrills the area has to offer.

And ready for the best part…? They’re all F-R-E-E! So, rally the family, grab a blanket and kick-start one of the best months of the year!

SAN FRANCISCO

What: Boo at the Zoo
Where: San Francisco Zoo
Dates/Times: Oct. 25th and 26th, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Admission: FREE with paid San Francisco Zoo admission
Details: Bring your family to “Boo at the Zoo” for incredible thrills and chills! Roam the Zoo in search of candy, see special animal enrichment, create take-home crafts, take your picture with Casper the Friendly Ghost and much more.

What: “Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch and Hay Maze”
Where: 1620 7th Ave., San Francisco
Dates/Times: Oct. 1st to 31st, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm
Admission: Free
Details: Three generation family-owned pumpkin patch. In addition to pumpkins of all sizes, there are gourds, corn stalks and Indian corn. Crawl through a hay maze after picking out your pumpkins.

PENINSULA

What: Menlo Park “Halloween Hoopla
Where: Fremont Park, intersection of Santa Cruz Ave. and University Dr., Menlo Park
When: Oct. 25th, 11:15 to 3:00
Admission: FREE
Details: Come in costume and participate in the annual parade to Fremont Park. Participants will receive a trick or treat bag. A performer will be at the park to entertain parade participants. There will also be art and craft activities, a candy guess and a pumpkin weight guess. After the parade, trick or treat through Downtown Menlo Park at participating stores.

What: Webb Ranch Farm Pumpkin Patch
Where: Webb Ranch Farm, 2720 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley
Dates/Times: Opens Sept. 17th, Sun-Thu: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm; Fri-Sat: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; hours for certain activities may vary
Admission: Free
Details: Pumpkin patch, haunted house, and jumpy house are open daily. On weekends also enjoy pony, hay rides, train rides, face painting and a petting zoo. Webb Ranch asks that you not bring any dogs.

EAST BAY

What: Berkeley Thrills and Chills Haunted House
Where: MLK Jr. Youth Services Center, 1730 Oregon St., Berkeley
Dates/Times: Oct. 31, 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Admission: Free; fun for ages 5-15 years
Details: Get ready to scream as you enter the scariest haunted house in Berkeley. Come join in the fun as you have a ghastly and ghoulish good time! Get your best Halloween outfit ready for an evening of music, food, fun, and fright.

What: Speer Family Farms “Bay Street Pumpkinpatch
Where: 5600 Christie Ave., Emeryville
Dates/Times: Sept. 19th to Oct. 31, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Admission: Free
Details: Pumpkin Patch features local grown coastal pumpkins, pumpkin carving kits and contest, hay maze, petting zoo, jumpy house, play area, and more!

NORTH BAY

What: Kevin’s Strawberry Villa Pumpkin Patch
Where: 100 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley
Dates/Times: Oct. 4th to 31st, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Admission: Free
Details: Pumpkin patch off Highway 101 with pumpkins, an inflatable slide, and an inflatable jump house.

What: Petaluma CreameryGreat Peter Pumpkin Patch
Where: 4235 Spring Hill Rd., Petaluma
Dates/Times: Sept. 27th to Oct. 31st, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Admission: Free
Details: Pick your own pumpkin, taste fresh cheeses, homemade ice cream, dig for potatoes, pet baby animals, milk a cow, wander through the hay maze, and hay rides. Fun for all ages and live music on weekends!

Thanks to NBC Bay Area for the suggestions. Visit NBC’s list of October Festivities for more Halloween fun!

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The Crock-Pot: A Family and Nanny Crowd-pleaser

FAN2024679Let’s face it, we’re all quite busy people. With summer over and fall well underway, our time is becoming increasingly limited. School, soccer practice, art class, tutoring, dance … a million and one things that all seem to take precedence over cooking a good, healthy meal.

Family dinner at the end of the day is arguably one of the most important family bonding times of the day, and passing up such a precious opportunity due to a lack of time would be such a shame. So, nannies, mothers, fathers, family assistants and housekeepers, rest assured that we’ve got the absolute perfect solution for you… the Crockpot!

In the morning, or even the evening before, throw a few ingredients in, turn on its slow-cook feature, and you’re free until dinner-time! Easy and delicious, they’re sure to be a real crowd-pleaser.  Here are a few of our favorite “can’t miss” recipes:

The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken. Throw it in a sandwich, wrap or salad and you’re bound to be one happy camper.

Roast a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot. Can you even believe how easy this is? Thanks, Family Fresh Meals!

Carrots with Herbed Honey Butter Sauce. An easy and yummy way to entice the kids to eat those veggies.

4 Ingredient Cheesy Macaroni & Cheese. For those cold nights when comfort-food is entirely necessary.

Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili. Protein, anyone?

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