My Year as an Au Pair

My Year as an Au Pair

Holy moly these 9 months have flown by! Right now I’m either at the airport or on my flight from Stockholm to Chicago. If this is your first time on Boarding for Chynna, I’ve been an au pair in Finland for the past 9 months. If you want to know more information about being an au pair below are some blog posts I have written!

My year as an au pair has definitely been an interesting one. As a 25-year-old it’s not something you hear of people doing after college. I will say that taking a year of was really nice so that I could travel before having to get into the game of life. But I don’t think I will ever not stop traveling! I’ve had a fun year and I’m excited to share what I did today!

August and September

Tallinn

I arrived in Finland at the beginning of August and the weather was great! I visited the capital, Helsinki, for the first time and met some other au pairs in the same city. At the beginning of September I went to Tallinn, Estonia by boat with some of the au pairs. Tallinn is a beautiful place I would have never thought of going to, but so glad I did. You can read about my trip HERE.

October and November

My Year as an Au Pair

October was a big month! I turned 25 and went on my first solo trip to Prague! My grandpa is from Prague so I have been wanting to go for a long time and was blown away by the beauty of the city. If you would like to read about my trip to Prague, click HERE.

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

In November I took my next solo trip to Copenhagen! I loved this city! Even though it was chilly at this time of the year, it was amazing! You can read about my trip HERE.

December and January

One au pair I met was from France and when she found out I wasn’t going home for Christmas she invited my to her families house to join them! Seriously the nicest thing and I’m forever grateful for it! We spent a day in Paris before heading to her family’s town and then two other days exploring Metz and Nancy. You can read my posts about France, HERE and HERE.

Traveling to Amsterdam During Winter

After Christmas I made my way up to Brussels and then to Amsterdam. I will say that Brussels didn’t really blow me away, but Amsterdam did! Amsterdam is gorgeous and the canals are a dream to just look at all day. You can read my post for Brussels HERE and Amsterdam HERE.

In January I took a weekend trip to Stockholm with another au pair and her friend. Stockholm is a beautiful city, but pretty cold during the winter! You can read about my weekend HERE. 

February and March

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

I’m not going to lie, February was rough. It’s cold and dark and it feels like winter will never end. On a positive note though, I did get to go skiing with my host family for the first time!

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

I also went to a public sauna and jumped into a frozen lake! Very very Finnish thing to do in the winter.

In March I finally saw a friend from back home! After not seeing any of my friends since August I was so happy. I’m so glad I was able to meet up with them in Barcelona! You can read about my trip to Barcelona HERE. 

April and May

5 Things You Should Do in Lisbon

April was a great month! I had another friend come to visit and we took a trip to Lisbon Portugal! I fell in love with this city. There is so much to see and do. You can read my Lisbon posts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

How to Spend a Weekend in Northern Austria

And here we are in May! At the beginning of the Month I traveled to Germany and Austria to visit an au pair I met in Finland. You can read about my weekend HERE and HERE.

My Thoughts on Being an Au Pair

People ask if I would do it over again and it’s such a hard question. If I didn’t come I would have never met the people I did or do the things I did. And really I’m not sure I would want to give that up. But also I overall didn’t enjoy being an au pair. I love working with kids and even have a degree based on working with them, but this is completely different. I am not in control of anything and had to base my life on what 5 other people were doing. So really I have not felt in control of my own life these past 9 months which has been hard for me. It was an experience though and was able to do so much, so for that I am thankful.

I want to thank everyone who has kept up with my journey these past 9 months and can’t wait to share what I will be doing during this next chapter in life!

 

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My “Must-Haves” for Spring

This post may contain affiliate links. All thoughts are my own. 

My Must-Haves for Spring

Spring is my favorite season! The Earth is coming alive again and I think people are just overall happier. I have been getting into skincare/health a lot this year. Even though I am in no way old, I am not getting younger and that means I need to take care of my skin and my body. Today I’m sharing some of my recent finds that are now my “must-haves” for this spring!

Sheet Masks

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love face masks in general, but sheet masks are so convenient! I love to take them on a plane with me to wear so my skin doesn’t get dehydrated. I have been using the Garnier ones, since that is what is available in Finland, but there are so many good ones out there! Let me know your favorite ones so I can try them 🙂

Sunscreen

My Must-Haves for Spring

If you don’t wear sunscreen or your makeup doesn’t have an SPF, then you need to get some now! I use this ACO Sun Face Fluid. I am not sure if it is available in the States, but I got this at a local drug store. I really like this kind because it is not oily or heavy on my oily skin.

Glass Water Bottle

My Must-Haves for Spring

I love glass water bottles because they don’t have toxins like plastic ones do and you are helping the environment! You are also helping your body stay healthy by drinking water more often since you have it with you!

Whole Fruit, Vegetable, and Berry Supplements

My Must-Haves for Spring

I have a pretty healthy diet, but even I struggle with getting all the servings of fruits and vegetables per day! These are great to bridge that gap so that you get all the necessary nutrients you need. You can find these HERE.

Omega

My Must-Haves for Spring

Omega can befit your body and brain! It is great for cardiovascular health, skin health, cholesterol, and many other things. I love these omegas because they are Non-GMO and plant-based, so there is no fishy taste. They also have omega 3,5,6,7, and 9 all in one pill! So you don’t have to take multiple. You can find them HERE.

 

What are your favorite spring finds?

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20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

20 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is an April 22 this year! This years theme is to End Plastic Pollution. I am personally really excited for this theme and that it will educate a lot of people on the plastic pollution in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to help the Earth. Celebrating Earth Day can be a great way to start making positive changes that will positively impact the Earth. So celebrate with me with one or more of the 20 ways this year!

Stop Using Disposable Plastic

Of course this is the first one on the list since it the theme of the year. Stop using plastic bags at the grocery store and invest in cloth ones. Refuse straws and invest in reusable bottles.

Join a Community Clean Up

Research a community clean up in your area and join it! Seeing a clean community makes you feel better about where you live too!

Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper

This is a win-win since you will save money buying paper towels and you will help the Earth!

Plant or Donate a Tree

You can donate one HERE.

Change Your Paper Bills to Online

A simple change that can help the Earth!

Buy Local Food

Find your local Farmer’s market and buy what you can from them!

Buy Organic Food

This keeps harmful pesticides out of the environment.

Or Start Your Own Garden

If you like to garden, this would be a great way to help the Earth and save money on groceries.

Use Non-toxic Cleaning Products

Keeping toxins out of the Earth is so important!

Donate Old Clothes Instead of Throwing Away

The clothing market is one cause of pollution I did not even realize was a problem!

Use 100% Recycled Paper

This way new trees won’t be used!

Make Sure to Recycle

Look up how you can recycle in your community.

Reduce Your Meat Consumption

You can read about some of my favorite vegan recipes HERE.

Compost Kitchen Scraps

Here in Finland they actually have a biodegradable trash service, which is so cool! But since we don’t have that yet in America we can compost in the meantime.

Wash Your Clothes Only When Needed

And use cold water.

Turn Off Lights

Always when they are not needed!

Take the Stairs

Saving energy and getting exercise!

Read Online Instead of Printing

Saving paper!

Join Earth Day Network’s Campaign

You can join HERE.

Carpool

Reducing traffic and pollution!

 

I hope you will be celebrating Earth Day in some way with me this year!

How are you celebrating this year?

 

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Three Ways to Reduce Stress

3 Ways to Reduce Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month! As someone that can get caught up in stress, I am sure there are others out there that feel the same way! Stress comes and goes in our life. For some it is easy to handle, but for others not so much. I know for me, I know there is really not much to stress out about because everything always works out but sometimes your mind can’t let it go. Stress can cause problems though. It can make you not sleep, eat, or weaken your immune system. It is important to try and reduce stress as much as possible so that you are healthy and happy! Here are three ways I reduce stress!

Exercise

This can be in any way that you like! I hate running so I’m not going to go running to reduce stress. I like doing yoga, lifting weights, and going for walks. Doing these things really help me reduce stress and stay focused!

Get Fresh Air

Sunshine and fresh air make a big difference! Go outside to read a book or go for a walk! Let yourself enjoy nature. Going outside for a walk is one of my favorite things to do when I’m stressed, especially in a forest.

Talk to a Friend

Sometimes just talking to someone can help you reduce stress. Meet a friend for coffee or dinner and let yourself relax and laugh! I find that most of the time my friends are also stressing about similar things, or have in the past. They can help give advice or just understand how you feel.

 

How do you reduce stress?

 

 

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3 Things to Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Au Pair

3 Things You Should Ask Yourself Before Becoming an Au Pair

Deciding to become an au pair is a pretty big decision. One that I should have probably thought over a little more than I did. Luckily it ended up well and nothing horrible happened, but there are some things I should have asked myself before I signed my contract.

Am I okay with doing more than what my contract says?

For example staying home with the kids when they are sick. I don’t get paid anything extra and I lose my free-time during the day. Or doing the dishes everyday. I am only supposed to clean once a week lightly and then once a month a heavy cleaning. Even though this isn’t a big deal, spending 15 minutes of your morning almost everyday cleaning up after people can get old (and they start to expect it). If you aren’t okay with doing more than what is in your contract, then you need to be true to yourself and know how to say no. I am still working on that one.

 

Am I patient and flexible?

Not only will kids test your patience being belief, but sometimes situations will arise where you need to be flexible. Like if the taxi doesn’t come at 5am for the dad and the mom needs to drive him. That means you have to wake up and be in the house with the kids (if you don’t live in the same house). Or maybe a toddler is throwing a tantrum and has cried for the past 20 minutes. You can luckily learn these two things over time, but I would ask yourself if you are willing to.

 

Am I okay with doing these differently than I do?

Not every culture does things the same ways you do. What they eat for breakfast, how they spend their free time, and how they raise their children. Are you open to do things differently or not?

 

I think these are really tough questions to answer and ones that should be thought over before making a decision. For some of you these might be easy and you know or have known you wanted to be an au pair for a while. That’s great and I hope you have the best time! If you want to know how I became an au pair in Finland you can read my post HERE.

 

Do you have any more questions about becoming an au pair? Feel free to ask me!

 

 

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Four of My Favorite Children’s Books

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

April 2nd was Children’s Book Day and as an Elementary teacher, I love children’s books! Even as an adult, some of these books inspire me. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite children’s books that I like to read in a classroom or to any child I know!

 

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

Red is a crayon, but is not good at drawing red things. All of his “red pictures” like strawberries keep coming out wrong. That is until he realizes that he is not actually red at all, but blue! This book is so inspiring to be your true inner-self!

 

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

This book is hilarious! It’s a story about a boy, Duncan, who went to get his crayons but finds letters about why they have quit instead. Orange and yellow believe they are the true color of the sun and are no longer speaking, black wants to do more than just outline, and blue is done coloring bodies of water.

 

Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

Maya Angelou is one of my favorite authors, so I love being able to add that into a classroom. This books shows a glimpse of Angelou’s life and how she never gave up on her dream!

The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch

Four of My Favorite Children's Books

In most fairy tales you will find that the Princess is the one who needs to be saved, but this is not the case in this book! When Princess Elizabeth finds that her Prince, Ronald, has been kidnapped and her clothes have been burned by a dragon; she sets off to save him!

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3 Reasons Why You Should Start Listening to Podcasts

3 Reasons You Should Start Listening to Podcasts

Until this past year I have been completely unaware of the podcast world! There are so many out there about anything you can think of, we have a whole app designated for it an iPhones. After I found out about these and the app on my phone, my life has changed. Because of this, I want to share with you 3 reasons why you should start listening to podcasts!

Listening to Podcasts Makes Information Personal

When you are listening to the podcast, you almost feel like you are apart of the conversation. This makes it meaningful to you and you want to listen.

You Learn Something New

There are so many things in the world that we don’t know! This also means that we are missing out on a lot. There is some pretty interesting stuff to learn and some interesting podcasts out there that talk about those things.

You Become a Better Listener

Sometimes when you have a conversation with someone you might not even realize you have taken over the conversation. When you are listening to a podcast it is kinda hard to give a response to someone who can’t hear you. This forces you to only listen to what they think and feel and not respond at all.

If you are new to the podcast world, here are a few of my favorites!

  • Manifestation Babe
  • Self Service
  • Atlanta Monster- if you are into crime shows this is a good one for you
  • Empty Frames- a mystery podcast where the speakers look at great unsolved museum mysteries
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class
  • 60-Second Science
  • The Gratitude Podcast

 

Don’t see anything that might interest you on this list? Google something you are interested along with the work “podcast” and you are sure to find something you will enjoy!

 

What podcasts do you like to listen to?

 

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Why I became an Au Pair After College

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Something no one tells you about is how the last few months of college are crazy. I remember thinking “what the heck is going on with my life” on a daily basis. You’re basically giving up a life you’ve loved for the last four years and going into another that is not exactly as exciting (it can be, but in general bills don’t seem exciting). Fast forward and I’m currently sitting in a super cute cafe in Tampere, Finland and planning a trips to Barcelona, Portugal, Germany, and Austria. So if you are wondering if you should take a gap year after college, here is why I did!

 

I Can Be a Teacher the Rest of My Life!

College

What is one year going to change? Nothing. The real world will still be there when I get back. Also, I don’t mind pushing off the adult world another year 😉

 

I Wanted to Experience a New Culture

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

Living in a different country really opens your eyes to how other people do things. You also learn that just because we do it one way, not everyone else does, and it doesn’t make them wrong. I also got to try so many different things from living in Finland; I went skiing and also went to a public sauna and jumped into a frozen lake! I would not have done any of those things in Indiana.

 

The Ability to Travel

Why I Became an Au Pair After College

This was probably the biggest reason. I have been able to see sooo much since I have been here! There is a huge world out there to see and seriously it’s really cool.

So if you are considering taking a year to travel, do it. You really have nothing to lose and a world to see!

HERE is the link to how I became an au pair in Finland if you are interested in becoming one.

If you have any questions or just encouragement, message me!

 

 

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Four Books to Read This Spring

Four Books to Read This Spring

It may feel for some of you out there, but it’s still a little chilly here! Spring is my favorite season and I love being able to finally enjoy the sunshine and just sitting outside. One of my favorite things to do is grab some good books and read outside in the sun! There are so many good books coming out this spring and these four I’m telling you today are the ones I’m most excited for! So head on over to your favorite book store, or amazon, and get to reading 🙂

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marissa de los Santos

Four Books to Read This Spring

This is a New York Times bestselling author’s newest novel! De los Santos revisits the characters from her past novels Love Walked In and Belonged to Me. In her story two women have an unlikely meeting, one young and one old. The two take turns telling the story about a broken engagement, life-changes gifts, and the mystery of the heart.

Amazon $13-$27

Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead

Four Books to Read This Spring

Greathead’s debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter in the high society of New York City and all that it entails.

Amazon $13-$17

The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat

Four Books to Read This Spring

In a story about being an immigrant in America today, Tamirat’s novel begins on an unnamed island where a young woman and her father are the newest members of a commune. Even though the commune was built on the idea of utopian principles, they soon find out that this is not the case.

Amazon $14-$26

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Four Books to Read This Spring

A novel about womanhood, ambition, power, and so much more including the flame that we all know that is inside of us that is just waiting to be seen!

Amazon $15-$28

What books are you excited to read this spring?

 

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How I’m Getting Rid of Bad Eating Habits Before Summer

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How I'm Getting Rid of Bad Eating Habits Before Summer

Summer getting closer and I’m not sure if my clothes are getting any looser (maybe the opposite)! I’m currently living in Finland where the main food group is CARBS. Bread, pasta, and more bread. Oh and potatoes. Since I am an au pair I live with a host family I don’t get to choose my food all the time. When I first arrived I didn’t want to be disrespectful by denying their food. Now, 7 months in, I want my healthy food back!

Since I will be returning to the States in two short months I decided that now is the time to start shedding the bad eating habits I have picked up these past months and get back on a healthy track! Here is how I did it!

Shred 10

I met a friend through an online travel group and she was posting about a 10 day program to help get you shred your bad eating habits and replace them with healthier ones. Last month was my first one and I am hooked now! You get meal plans, shopping lists, a food and exercise dairy, a private group to talk to others doing the shred, and a coach who you have access to 24/7! Seriously so much! If you are looking for something to do to help you get on track I would recommend doing this! If you have any questions on when the next Shred 10 is happening, email me at boardingforchynna@gmail.com.

Drinking More Water

This is like a no brainer, but sometimes so hard! I also found that waking up and drinking a glass of lemon water or just water right away is a great way to boost your metabolism! I’ve seen a lot of apps to remind you to drink water, but I haven’t found one I love yet. If you have one let me know!

Don’t Eat After 8pm

In Finland they have this thing called a “night snack” where they eat before going to bed. I started doing this (because I was hungry since all I ate was carbs all day) and got into a bad habit! To break this I drank a glass of water when I felt hungry and it help!

Protein Powder

Protein powder has been a lifesaver for me! It keeps me full and I love love love having a smoothie in the morning! My favorite it this protein powder with spinach and a banana. I sometimes add other fruits depending on what is available. They also have chocolate and even individual packets of protein powder for when you are on the go! This has been a lifesaver for when I am traveling!

Get Your Vitamins!

I recently found out that most people have a vitamin D deficiency and they don’t know it! This can make you tired and also feel depressed. So if you don’t currently take vitamin D, go and get you some! I got mine from Amazon.

I also reallyyyy love these capsules. As I’ve mentioned before I’m an au pair and I cook for a family with 3 young boys. Sometimes they can be really picky (what kid isn’t) and new things don’t always go over well. So most of the time pasta is a go-to food for them. I also don’t buy the groceries so it isn’t very reasonable for me to ask for a whole separate grocery list for myself. This has caused me to eat a lot less fruits and veggies than before. But these capsules are amazing because they are real fruits, vegetables, and berries! It feels good knowing I will still get some of the nutrients I need!

 

How are you getting rid of bad eating habits?

 

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