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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Great T+C Candidates: Meet Annette!

Annette Sanchez 1Annette has 14 years of experience working as a Nanny and Family Assistant. She is organized, super pitch-in, warm, energetic and passionate about her work. Annette loves to cook and her other hobbies include reading up on child development, writing poetry and going to the beach.

Annette is excited about making another long-term commitment to a family!

Get to know Annette:

What is your favorite quote?
“The greatest power in the universe is the power of non-resistance.” -Eckhart Tolle

What three items would you take with you to a desert island (other than food and water)?
My iPad with Wi-Fi, my cell phone and some sort of survival tool from Home Depot.

Last book you read?
“A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle

What is your favorite day of the year and why?
First day of spring, because the weather is beautiful and the surroundings are fresh and new.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Give some to the poorer communities for housing, cars, get people off the street, get a house/car/nice vacation for myself, and invest.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Swimming and walking on the beach at sunrise and sunset.

Annette is working with Town + Country to find a long-term, full-time Nanny position. If you are interested in learning more about Annette or any of the great Candidates we’re working with, please call us at 650-326-8570 or 415-567-0956!

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How to relieve back to school anxiety

Young couple walking togetherThe beginning of the new school year gives parents and children both the opportunity to get a start fresh and a clean slate! Parents and Nannies can help their kids start the school year off right with these helpful reminders. These strategies start at home and carry into the classroom.

Relieve back to school anxiety
Back to school creates anxiety for every parent, child and teacher, and it’s best to face it head on! Go to sleep on time, get homework out of the way early, eat healthy meals and get up early. Making sure these tasks are taken care of every day will help to ease back to school jitters and help set the foundation for academic success all year long!

Complete homework early
It’s so easy these days to put homework off until the last minute. Especially with all the awesome television and video games that are readily available for entertainment. Try hard to get your children to complete their homework as soon as they have had their afternoon snack and a break from class. And if your child runs into any challenges that need a bit of additional help or tutoring, getting started early leaves time to iron out the kinks before homework deadlines.

Go to bed and get up early
No child wants to do either of these, and it can be tough on parents and Nannies also! But it’s best for all parties if you can get on a fixed, regular sleeping schedule early on. The National Sleep Foundation can help with many tips for sleep success!

Reward success
Your children are learning what it takes to be successful. Rewarding them for their efforts and accomplishments can help set the right habits. Learning to tie their own shoes, take the bus, be punctual, finish assignments and overcome fears are all daily opportunities for them to be rewarded and encouraged to get up and do it all over again the next day. Be sure and make it known that the little things they accomplish each day are so important and recognized.

We hope you all have a successful and easy transition into the school year!

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Things to do This Labor Day Weekend with Your Kids

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Red Tricycle

We like Red tricycle and have often found them to be a great source for what’s going on in the Bay Area. As we start our good-bye to summer this coming Labor Day weekend, we can expect glorious weather in San Francisco and just about all the surrounding cities.

If you don’t have plans yet, Red Tricycle has put together an awesome list of suggestions for what do with your little ones this weekend. You can check out their entire list at their blog posting, “Bay Area Kids Weekend Events: Aug. 29-31.”

One example: Three-day weekends with little ones deserve special outings and exciting entertainment.  Why not enjoy some outdoor yoga in Golden Gate Park or a day trip to the San Francisco Zoo?! The East Bay is offering an outdoor movie, children’s village and the 149th Annual Scottish Games. In true festival form there will be art, wine and sculpture contests in both the South Bay/Peninsula and Marin County.

Check out their entire list, and have a fabulous and safe holiday weekend!

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What are some California laws relating to childcare?

We found some interesting facts in an article recently posted at … “California-Is it legal or not?

We picked a few that may relate to some childcare or family assistant duties. Some of these laws seemed pretty obvious, while others came as a bit of a surprise. You can check out the full list by clicking on the link above.

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Some of the more interesting facts:

How young is too young to leave a child home alone? There is no minimum age requirement. But if a child is left alone who is not suited to take care of themselves that can be considered neglect and can result in a visit from Child Welfare Services.

Can you legally leave your pet in your car unattended? While it is not illegal to leave your pet in your car unattended, if the conditions endanger the well being of the animal, it could become illegal. More and more windows on vehicles are being broken to protect animals in unsafe conditions, and police, humane officers and animal control officers can take steps necessary to remove an animal from the car.

What are the real size, weight and age that a child needs to be in a child safety seat? This law has recently changed. Under current law, a child must be buckled into a booster seat until the age of eight or until they grow to be 4 feet 9 inches.

Do you legally have to clean up after your dog? There is no statewide requirement for cleaning up after your dog, but many counties & cities do. Of course, it would be nice if you did so regardless! Can I feed the birds? Speaking of friendly animals, it may come as a bit of a surprise that it is illegal in California to feed pigeons or seagulls. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your backyard; the beach or a public park.

Can you pick wild flowers? Nope! If you’re in a state park, on a freeway or in a public space, it is illegal to pick or cut the pretty flowers or any other plant. Do pedestrians have the right-of-way? In California the law requires vehicles to yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians. This does not however give pedestrians the right to act carelessly when crossing the street.

Do I have to wear a bicycle helmet? Do the kids have to wear a bicycle helmet? This law hasn’t changed in sometime but just in case you’ve forgotten here it is. If you’re older than 18, the law says you do not need to wear a helmet, but any rider under 18 must wear a helmet.

Can you record a private conversation? This may be of interest if you’re a Personal Assistant or Executive Assistant. SFGate reports that “It is illegal to record any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without permission.”

Just a few things to keep in mind as you visit a park, go on a bike with your charges or take the dog for a walk. Do you know any other laws we ought to know about? Let us know!

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Meet Symone!

SymoneSymone has 18 years of professional experience caring for children. She has worked as a Nanny in the Bay Area and previously also worked as a Teacher in Brazil teaching second & third grades.

Symone has degrees in Business and in Marketing from a university in Brazil, an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the City College of San Francisco and is currently taking online classes through the University of San Francisco.

Symone is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and also considers herself to be a very good cook. She plays the harmonica and enjoys traveling, water sports and fitness in her spare time. She is also happy to pitch in with preparing family meals!

Get to know Symone!

What is your favorite quote?
“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” -Abraham Lincoln

What three items would you take with you to a desert island (other than food and water)?
A machete, waterproof lighter and a portable water filter .

What is the last book you read?
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

What is your favorite day of the year and why?
My favorite day of the year is Christmas Day because we have our family all together and we open presents.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Hire a professional tax and investment adviser and after that help my family!

What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Going on long hikes with my dog.

Symone is working with Town + Country to find a long-term Nanny position. If you are interested in learning more about Symone or any of the great candidates we’re working with, please give us a call!

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On a Mission to Provide Breastfeeding Support for New Moms!

Our very own Amy Horning was fortunate to have great support from her mom when she had her two daughters in 2003 and 2006. Nursing comes easily to some moms, but it can be a lot harder for others.

Moms who struggle with nursing often feel that there is something wrong. Many believe breast feeding is just supposed to come naturally, that it’s something new moms are just supposed to know how to do.

Amy H. reducedBut the fact is it typically doesn’t come naturally and there is a lot of learning for both mom and new baby. “I had great support from my mom as well as a group of moms I met when my first daughter was born,” says Amy. The encouragement she received in those first few months were crucial, but unfortunately, not all new moms have that kind of support. After learning more about the needs for breastfeeding support, Amy looked for a way to give support back to the “new mom” community.

“For several years I wanted to become a Lactation Consultant, although this would take additional education beyond my Bachelor’s, as well as many hours to then take a test. I looked for a ‘Plan B.’ About five years ago, I found the Nursing Mothers Counsel and went through their training program to become a volunteer counselor,” reminisces Amy. NMC is an independent, non-profit organization whose goal is to help mothers and their babies enjoy a relaxed and happy feeding relationship. Amy counsels moms over the phone and does home visits when needed. She also rents hospital-grade pumps from her home to new moms in the area who need this help and support.

Amy is pictured here with her sister and nephew, Henry, born June 2013. Amy finds it incredibly rewarding to help new moms during such a stressful time. The help Amy provides can foster lifelong relationships, and Amy finds it incredibly rewarding to help moms during what can be a stressful time. Thanks, Amy!

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Town + Country’s “Communication & Professionalism as a Nanny” Seminar was a Success!

IMG_4081Last week Town + Country hosted our second Nanny training of the year. This seminar focused on “Communication & Professionalism as a Nanny” to help candidates be more effective in their jobs by communicate with their employers with respect and professionalism. Our San Francisco Nanny team enjoyed intimate conversations with the Nannies they work with on a daily basis.

This seminar covered effective communication, how to take feedback; phone, email and Internet etiquette; developing healthy work boundaries between you and your employer; how and when to ask for a raise; and tips for how to work with T+C as your agency. We talked about real work situations and worked through various possible approaches and solutions.

Our Nannies came together and shared experiences and job tips. Everyone was enthusiastic about learning and sharing in a safe and fun atmosphere and expressed gratitude for the information and guidance. Our entire San Francisco Nanny team, Sarah Thigpen, Cara Sullivan, Marissa Costello and Rebekah Santos, were there meeting Nannies, leading some great discussions and serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

We’re really happy about the success of this seminar, so we’re excited to say that we’ll be offering it again in our Palo Alto office on Wednesday, August 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. If you are interested in this event please go to our Eventbrite page to purchase tickets for $20.

And, as always, don’t forget about 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 look forward to seeing you at future events!

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Social Media Etiquette 101

There’s no shortage of buzz out there about Social Media etiquette, but it seems like plenty of people still manage to get themselves into trouble by posting things that get them in trouble at work or reflect poorly on the professional reputation that otherwise deserve.

CUP0094991Maybe gave a good general rule when they blogged recently that “The reality is that companies pay their employees to do a series of tasks. And unless those tasks involve managing the corporate social media accounts, there is no reason to be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram during work hours.”

This is also true if you are working in or hoping to find an in-home position.

In-home positions can be isolating, and it may feel like you’re “at home” and therefore especially tempting to jump online. But the home you’re working in is essentially your “office” and spending time on social sites is taking away from your hours on the clock for the family you’re working for. Remember that your work references will specifically address your ability to stay on task. Spending time surfing or positing on your smart phone will get noticed by your employer and is likely to be remembered when your next potential employer calls for a reference.

Remember also that any agency you may work with, including Town + Country, will also be searching for you you on the Internet. A glowing reference is likely to be instantly disregarded if an agency or potential employer’s online searches shows up inappropriate or crude information.

Obviously you want to privatize your social media accounts, but anything you post may get shared by online friends whose privacy settings aren’t as carefully set as yours are. Before you post anything, think about how a potential employer will view that picture, comment, tweet, status update or post and ask whether it could keep you from losing a great opportunity in your job hunt. Whatever you post is out there forever whether you delete or not!

Happy job hunting!

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“How Building a ‘Green’ Cleaning Caddy” Seminar was a Success!

Last night Town + Country hosted our fourth Housekeeper training seminar of the year. This seminar focused on “How to Build a ‘Green’ Cleaning Caddy.” Our very own Sarndra Elejorde dazzled our attendees with natural cleaning tips and products to use instead of traditional toxic alternatives.

ReducedThis was a hands-on workshop. Town + Country provided the tools, parts & ingredients, and Sarndra showed attendees how to mix their own green products and assemble their own caddies. Everyone left with their completed caddies, ready to use them on the job or at home! The booklet for the event was printed for future reference on the topics covered.

The cleaning caddies came with a bucket, all-surface cleaner, multi-purpose cleaner, disinfectant, baking soda, wipes, gloves, multi-colored sponges, microfiber cloths and a scrubbing toothbrush. The class included tools and tips for stuck on grease and grime and other common cleaning challenges. Natural cleaning tips by room and appliance were provided.

Our Housekeepers came together and shared experiences and tips for on the job training. Everyone enjoyed learning and sharing in a fun atmosphere. We look forward to our next seminar in September. Be sure and check-in with our Facebook page for future events!

Also, don’t forget about our referral program. If you refer a new Nanny or Housekeeper or any other candidate and we place them in a permanent position for 30 days, we will send you a $200 check! Click here for more details.

See you at the next event!

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