Trick or Treat Tips for Parents: Halloween Safety Rules for Parents, Kids and Their Caregivers

In many communities, Trick or Treating occurs right after school, a sweet proposition for kids who can’t wait to don their costumes. But for parents, this safety-conscious trend may strike a sour note.

Many, if not most, working moms and dads simply can’t get home early enough to supervise and otherwise take part in the fun. But that doesn’t mean you can’t establish important ground rules for the nanny, babysitter, or grandparent who will be responsibility for your little ghost or goblin.

7 Halloween Safety Tips for Parents to Share with Caregivers

Talk to your kids about Halloween safety. We’re always filling our kids with information intended to keep them safe, and Halloween should be no exception. Instead of simply saying, “Be safe” call out certain things your kids should look for like lights (see # 5) and explain why these Halloween safety rules are particularly important, especially on a night where faces may be obscured by masks or face paint (a better choice from a safety perspective).

Keep your yard safe. Make sure your own yard is free of any debris or other objects such as broken lawn equipment (or furniture) so that no one trips and consider battery-powered lanterns versus candles, since those can pose a fire hazard. Keep the front door area well lit, too.

Dump the candy. No, we don’t mean toss it in the trash. Just make sure an adult has sifted through and inspected the coveted loot. It’s a great opportunity for kids to actually see what they’ve collected (and give the grown-up a piece or two as well!). Check for anything that seems out of the ordinary, including unpackaged popcorn, fruit, and other unsealed foods.

Walk, don’t run. Whether your children will be traveling along sidewalks or by the side of the road (we recommend sidewalks whenever possible), it’s always advisable for everyone to walk. Even though Trick or Treating begins during daylight, chances are that the festivities will end at dusk or later. Ghosts and goblins are easier to keep track of when they’re walking. And be sure to cross at street corners.

Carry a flashlight. Keep a flashlight handy to illuminate the way and while we’re on the subject, stick only to the houses with lights on outside (and ideally the homes of people you and your kids know).

Watch for cars. In the spirit of the night, kids sometimes forget that not everyone goes Trick or Treating. And unfortunately drivers don’t always remember that IT’S A BIG NIGHT that requires extra care.

Set expectations. Make sure you let everyone know how late the kids can be out and how much candy they can consume before heading to bed for the night. (And make sure all the kids brush their teeth!)

Written by: Erin Krex
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Brick Loot is a monthly box subscription company geared towards LEGO and Brick Lovers!

Get a surprise box delivered monthly filled with LEGO, LEGO compatible and brick products.

Brick Loot is an AMAZING GIFT IDEA for the holidays! It is perfect for the person who has it all and is hard to shop for.
Brick Loot has just launched and we got a special sneak peek – The December box has a $45 set inside along with other AMAZING products all valued at over $70!
You get all of this for as low as $23 + we have a special coupon code below!

Limited number of boxes for Decembers Launch!
Boxes will ship December 5th, just in time for the holidays!

First Class Care Clients!
Code: FCCbuild10



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First Class Care 2014 Nanny of the Year

First Class Care was HONORED to crown our 2014 Nanny of the Year Jane Sepulveda.

Jane was nominated by her employer with this letter to First Class Care:
We are writing to nominate Jane Sepulveda for Nanny of the year.

Our family was blessed when Jane joined us in 2007, and we have all continued to learn and grow together.  For my daughter, Jane is a mother figure, a tremendous influence and teacher. Jane is fun . . . there is always something going on from baking to playing cards to shopping.  Jane is a great teacher, helping with homework and making sure Gabi understands assignments and the work.  Jane is nurturing, comforting my daughter in tough times, like when her fish died.  Gabi’s care and safety is always her first thought.  And more . .  my daughter decided to learn to ride a bike one day.  They practiced in the back of the house.  While Jane was technically off work, when Gabi wanted to go over to the school parking lot at 9:30 pm, Jane was the first to want to see it through and support her.  

Jane also takes special care with our dogs, Molly and Pebble.  From feeding and walking to training, and general care.  The small one was quite fragile when she was young.  Jane made special efforts with Pebble.  I remember pulling into the driveway one night and seeing Jane with Molly (the older dog).  Wondering where Pebble was, I looked again to see her little head peeking out of Jane’s jacket.  Jane did not want her too wet and cold.  

For me, I cannot imagine life without Jane.  She shares her thoughts on my daughter’s growth and school progress and provides suggestions.  I have trusted her with my daughter in a number of countries, like Japan, France and the UK.  She always goes above and beyond.  I knew I had the right person when she approached me to suggest the “values” she would like to make sure she worked on with my daughter.   

And finally, we are forever in her debt.  I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma last year.  Jane was a stabilizing influence in our home, and really there for my daughter and me.  I’m sure I will never know all of the small things she did behind the scenes without ever asking her taking credit.  All is better now, and Jane was a key factor.

For this, and all she does for us, Gabi (Molly, Pebble)  and I would like to nominate Jane for the Nanny of the year (and for us, the decade!!).  Please consider her.

Jane was chosen because of her amazing bond to this family and how much she has made a difference to them within the 7 years she has been working. Jane is an amazing nanny with over 20 years of experience and we are so proud to call her a First Class Care Nanny of the Year.

Jane won a prize package worth over $700. This included a complete make-over from Teddie Kossof Salon and Spa, an INA Membership, a ticket to 2015 National Nanny Training Day, a $50 gift card and more!

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Chicago National Nanny Recognition Week Party – Sept 26th, 2014

First Class Care, Inc. is excited to partner with Kohl Children’s Museum for our National Nanny Recognition Week Party!

Friday, September 26, 2014
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Kohl Children’s Museum
  2100 Patriot Boulevard
Glenview, IL 60026

Every Nanny deserves recognition for the amazing job you do everyday to help your charges grow.

We want to celebrate you and have planned a fun filled event for you to bring your charges to and have fun!

A full day of activities is being planned
Full access to the entire museum all day
10am – 1pm – Craft tables for all ages
11am – Noon – Musical Performance by Dana Lawrence
10:15am – 12:15pm – Face Painting by Making Faces Chicago

Ticket includes all event activities as well as 1 raffle ticket per nanny.
Additional Raffle Tickets available for purchase $2 each


Raffle Prizes Include:
Teddie Kosoff Salon and Spa – Complete Make-over!
Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa / Manicure-Pedicure
Sam Martirano Salon & Spa / Manicure-Pedicure
$25 Michaels’ Hot Dogs Gift Certificate

 Thank you to our SPONSORS:
















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10 Gift Ideas for the Nanny in your Life! National Nanny Recognition Week is Sept 21 – 27, 2014

Did you know next week is National Nanny Recognition Week? That’s right– a whole week to celebrate the bright, dedicated, loving and totally amazing nanny in your life! This is the perfect opportunity to remind your nanny how much she means to your family and how much you appreciate everything she does for your children. Here are some of our favorite ways to say a HUGE “thank you!”

10 Gift Ideas for the Nanny in your Life!

1. Send her  to Chicago’s National Nanny Recognition Week Party Sept 26th! She will have a great time with the kids as well as meet other amazing nannies, have a private concert, be able to win AMAZING raffle prizes including an iPad Mini and spa treatments. BUY TICKETS HERE

2. Gift Certificate to Teddie Kossof Salon and Spa – Every Nanny deserves a day of pampering

3. Airline Gift Card – Nannies are often trying to get home for the holidays, help them get there!

4. Hand Crafted gift from the kids – Nannies LOVE when kids make them things they can cherish.

5. Professional Development and Fun! Send your nanny to an all expenses paid trip to Nannypalooza or and INA (International Nanny Association) conference. Professional nannies love to gain more knowledge in this field and this also gives them a get away with other nannies who are just as hard working as them! These friendships develop and seem to last a lifetime, giving your nanny her very own support group.

6. What is your Nannies Hobby? If you nanny is into sewing or scrapbooking find a gift that she can use and will love.

7. iPad  – Who wouldn’t love this as a gift!

8. Night Out! Movie Passes and a Gift Certificate for a restaurant. Nannies all need a night out!

9. Vacation Time! Offer your nanny an extra week of paid vacation. You are sure to put a smile on her face!

10. Great Tickets to a sporting event for a team you know she loves!

Remember– the best nanny-child-parent relationships are based on strong communication. So be sure to let your nanny know she is appreciate this week and always!


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DEMA Convention 2014 Discount!

The Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA) is a worldwide educational association for the Private Service Community. Founded in 2007, DEMA was created to provide a forum for Private Service Professionals and certified service vendors interested in better serving and protecting the interests of their clients. DEMA provides the Private Service Community with invaluable resources to tackle everyday challenges, thus increasing job security and empowering members to ensure they protect and preserve the estates they are involved in managing.

The annual DEMA National Convention will be held September 26-28, 2014 in Orlando, FL. The convention is for anyone who is either currently in the industry or considering entering it.  Some of the benefits of attending include:
◾Workshops on the major concerns of household management, from staffing, smart-home technology, estate manuals and more;
◾Sharing of industry best practices, from choosing champagne to creating the “Dream Estate;”
◾DEMA vendors will showcase the latest products for the upscale home;
◾Networking opportunities with other Private Service Professionals;
◾Ability to meet directly with agencies from across the country;
◾A Career Day, which allows job-seekers to make connections, as well as develop their interviewing techniques and perfect their resumes.

How valuable is this convention? According to Kellie Geres, the Washington DC DEMA Chapter President, with over 25 years of experience as a nanny and household manager, “The DEMA Convention is a must for any private service staff or company that deals with private service, staffed or HNW homes. Why? Where else can you walk into a room and not have to explain to others what you do? Stepping into the DEMA Convention and having a roomful of peers and professionals who ‘get it’ is priceless.”

We would encourage you to attend this convention, as it offers a unique opportunity for the PSP. Additionally, DEMA is offering our candidates a $100 discount on the price of a convention ticket.  To take advantage of this offer, candidates should visit the DEMA Convention website and include this promotional code FCC, when you register.

If you have any questions about the DEMA Convention or this offer, please contact DEMA at (888) 313-3362.


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Chicago Housekeeper Imelda – Candidate Spotlight of the Week!

Imelda has over 30 years of housekeeping experience and has been with her clients for over 20 years! Imelda is bi-lingual English/Spanish. Imelda is professional, reliable and hard working. She is a certified First Class Care Housekeeper and took the Charles MacPherson Housekeeper Course.

Availability: 4 days a week Mon – Fri

Salary: $23-27 an hour

Housekeeping tasks are you willing to perform? Make beds · Dust · Mop Floors · Clean bathrooms · Clean kitchen · Clean Stovetop · Clean oven · Clean refrigerator · Clean/Organize pantry · Vacuum · Load/Unload dishwasher · Clean inside windows · Polish silver · Wash dishes · Clean crystal · Feed pets · Walk pets · Water indoor plants · Organize household · Errands · Driving
Ironing tasks are you willing to perform? Limited touch up · Table linens · Shirts · Adult’s clothes · Bed linens · Children’s clothes
Rate yourself on Cooking skills: Excellent
Rate yourself on Organizational skills: Excellent
Are you willing to work in a home with a child? Y
Describe the kinds of household duties you are not willing to perform: I am happy to help out in any way I can.

Imelda is an amazing candidate and looking for her next long term family! Is it you? For more details and to meet Imelda please call First Class Care – 847-733-2700

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30 Days in Vegas with a KID!

I used to wonder what people meant when they stated they couldn’t wait to get home from a vacation so they could relax. I just spent 30 days in Las Vegas with a very curious 9 year-old, and now I understand!

It all started with the perfect plan. My husband would be busy playing in the World Series of Poker, while my son and I would soak up the sun at our private pool, compliments of the Summerlin home we rented. Summerlin is just far enough away (20 miles) from the hustle and bustle of the city to assure I would focus on a little work and a lot of relaxing. There was just one problem; Google is my sons best friend. In the weeks preceding our trip, he managed to compile a list of “things-to-do” that amazed me. I didn’t realize Las Vegas has so much to do beyond the casinos, clubs, spas and amazing restaurants.

Well, we reached a compromise. I would do a little work and together, we would do a few things from his list everyday with time reserved to meet Dad for dinner. Our adventure went a little something like this.

Thanks to the History Channel, our first mission was to check out my son’s favorite reality stars. We were able to locate and visit many including:

Toy Shack
Awesome store if you like toys! Got to meet the Toy expert!
450 Freemont Street
Las vegas, NV

ATM Store Las Vegas Information– TANKED
You enter through a gift shop and can see through to the working warehouse
3451 W . Martin Ave. Suite C, Nevada  89118
9am-6pm Monday-Sunday.

Gold & Silver Pawn Shop Las Vegas – Pawn Stars
Have been 5 times and never seen anyone from the show, but cool to see.
713 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89101
24-7 Monday-Sunday.

Rick’s Restorations Las Vegas
They have a free tour and we got to meet Rick and get an autograph
1112 S. Commerce St., Las Vegas, NV 89102
9am-5pm Monday-Friday;
10am-4pm Saturday; and,
Closed Sunday.

Clark County Museum
Very cool place and we did get to see the Beard of Knowledge
1830 S. Boulder Highway
Henderson, NV 89002
Daily 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
CLOSED Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
General Admission: adults $2.00, seniors and children $1.
(702) 455-7955

Counts Kustoms
You can see a bunch of cars, but none of the guys are around usually
2714 S Highland Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Ultimate Sports Cards and Memorabilia
Very cool store and got to meet the owner and get his autograph
450 Fremont St  Ste 183
Las Vegas, NV 89101

For a touch of culture, we found some age appropriate museums such as the Titanic Artifact Exhibition at The Luxor, Pinball Hall of Fame and the Mob Museum. We also had a blast visiting many of the Hotels and their tourist attractions.

Here is a short list of must sees:
Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition
Very interesting. You get a passport and find out at the end if you survived.
Luxor – Titanic – 3900 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Mob Museum
Really cool history and exhibits
300 Stewart Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Mandalay Bay Shark Reef
Smaller than an aquarium, but a few neat fish to see.
3950 S Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89119

CSI Experience
You get to play detective – very fun for kids ages 8+
MGM Grand – 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat
Didn’t get to see much dolphin’s but we did run into Siegfried – How cool is that!
3400 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The Golden Nugget Shark Pool
129 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Pinball Hall of Fame
Fun for the kids and doesn’t break the bank!
1610 E Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89119

Hoover Dam
Something everyone has to do atleast once in their life.

Bellagio Fountains
3600 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

High Roller
World’s largest ferris wheel
3545 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

The Linq
Cute side road filled with shops and restaurants – leads to the High Roller.
3545 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Kid heaven – Parents nightmare!
Circus Circus Hotel
2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Hershey’s Chocolate World
4 floors of chocolate heaven
New York New York Hotel
3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
You can drive through the canyon and stop to take pictures. BEAUTIFUL!
3205 State Route 159, Las Vegas, NV 89161

Coke World
3785 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

M&M World
4 stories of candy and fun. They even have a free 3D movie.
3785 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Don’t forget to check out The Strip at Night and Fremont Street (downtown).

Of course, the magic of Las Vegas would be nothing without real magic. My son wanted to see David Copperfield, mission accomplished! We also saw magic shows from several others such as Mike Hammer, Mac King, Murray and Nathan Burton.

Mike Hammer
Mike is super funny and entertaining. Great show off the strip.
4 Queens Hotel – 202 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Mac King
Harrah’s – 3475 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Tropicana Hotel – 3801 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Nathan Burton
Honestly one of the best shows I have ever seen. Action packed with illusions, great music and fun for the whole family.
Planet Hollywood Hotel – 3663 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

David Copperfield
MGM Grand Hotel – 3799 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Whew, I’m not sure how we managed, but we also ate at great places such as Pizza Rock, Secret Pizza – Cosmopolitan Hotel and Flour and Barley – The Linq.

Pizza Rock -
201 N 3rd St
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Secret Pizza
Cosmopolitan Hotel – 3rd floor
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Flour and Barley
The Linq – 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

As we arrived home to relax (Ha Ha), I realized that my 9 year-old son had taught me an important lesson. No matter where you go in this world, there is always fun and exciting things to experience other than the status quo. I encourage everyone to go online and locate many of these extraordinary places and make a pilgrimage to remember.  Vegas will never be the same as when you ventured there as a single, but doing it as a family is way better.

About the Author:
Erin Krex is a working mom living in Glenview, IL. She owns multiple companies including First Class Care, Chicago Mommy Concierge and After School Sitters. Erin has been an award recipient of the Leading Mom’s in Business 3 years in a row and also holds the title of 2010 APNA Agency of the Year winner. As an agency owner and working mother with domestic help, Erin frequently writes and speaks on subjects related to employee best practices for both families and employees. Erin is Bump Club Chicago’s resident Childcare expert and provides classes to families about how to hire a nanny and more.




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Insurance Issues when Employing Household Help

At our insurance agency clients frequently ask for guidance on insurance issues when they hire household help. Questions arise about workers compensation and automobile insurance. 

Workers Compensation Insurance
Employers are required by law to provide workers compensation insurance, in most states, for employees who will work full time  Although many states do not require workers compensation insurance for a part-time employee, the employer can still be held liable for injuries sustained.  Workers Compensation provides no-fault compensation for injuries sustained at work and lost pay.  The cost is usually around $1,000 per year for a full time employee.

Workers compensation insurance reduces the possibility of being sued by an employee, as the right to sue is generally waived in order to claim the scheduled benefits.  Health insurance is not a substitute for workers compensation insurance.  Many people don’t realize that a health insurer  might decide a claim it paid was really work related, and pursue the employer for reimbursement.  A homeowners policy is not a substitute for workers compensation insurance. There may be some coverage for injuries, but there may not be coverage for lost wages. In addition, workers compensation insurance is paid almost immediately, while the homeowners policy will typically provide reimbursement at a later date, after a claim has been are submitted and evaluated.


Auto Insurance
If your employee drives their own car, you should ensure that the employee has sufficient liability limits because if there is an accident you will likely be brought in to any lawsuit as the employer. You might pay the difference to increase the limits on the policy, or you might want to insure the vehicle yourself on a separate insurance policy.

Because it is likely that your own auto liability limits are higher, the preferable solution may be to have the employee driver your car which is probably safer than their car anyway.  You should add your employee to your policy as an additional driver so accidents that occur when driving your car will be covered by your auto policy.


A representative of Chartwell Insurance Services will be pleased to discuss all aspects of your personal insurance.
Contact:  Rebecca Korach Woan
312-645-1200 or

Copyright 2013  Rebecca Korach Woan, all rights reserved.

Chartwell Insurance Services, Inc. is an independent insurance broker specializing in the personal asset protection of high net worth individuals.  


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The After-School Childcare Dilemma

For millions of families across the country the after school childcare dilemma is something parents dread on a daily basis. What are the kids going to do after school until we can get home from work? Do we find an after school program? A babysitter? A nanny? A neighbor?  Why is this such a constant area of stress?

Owners Erin and Steve Krex of First Class Care, a domestic placement agency and After School Sitters, an online resource have figured out 3 great options that could suit any family’s needs!

What are the options of childcare for older kids?

Option 1: Full Time Nanny Manager
A full time Nanny Manager duties include childcare, light housekeeping, organizing, laundry, errands, grocery shopping, schedule appointments, light cooking, manage any household vendors, driving kids to activities and help with homework.  This option offers parents full flexibility of having full time help  when the kids are sick or off of school.

Option 2: Full Time Housekeeper / Nanny:
A full time Housekeeper Nanny duties include full cleaning, childcare for school age kids, organizing, laundry, errands, light cooking, and driving kids. This option offers parents the same full flexibility so when the kids are sick or have a day off of school you have someone to care for them as well as have full cleaning of your home completed while the kids are in school.

Option 3: After School Sitter:
Hiring an after school sitter is a great option if you truly only want to  hire someone part time for the hours you need. Typically the type of candidate this will be is a collage or high school student who has after noons free. Professional nannies usually do not want just afternoon hours so finding someone with a flexible schedule like a student is key. The duties of an after school sitter are usually pick up the kids form school, driving to activities, homework help and possible meal prep.

How do I find the option I am looking for?
For option 1 and 2:
If you try to hire someone directly, it’s very time consuming and tough to find the right fit. You must go through the process of checking each candidate’s references, experience, performing background checks, etc. It is an arduous task to sort through all the applicants. By going through a professional agency like First Class Care, a parent knows that each applicant has already been carefully screened, interviewed and reference-checked. First Class Care accepts less than 3% of applicants. They send only the best matches for your job. First Class Care takes care of the interview scheduling as well as provide ongoing support during and after the placement.

For option 3:
Using a website like www.afterschoolsitters is a great resource as the site is very specific to your needs. Although the candidates are not fully screened, the site gives you all the tools to be successful or you can use First Class Care’s a la carte services help you out.

Tip for Parents:
If you want to go through a search try to allow at least 2 – 4 weeks for the process. Hundreds of great candidates are available, but you need to have the time to interview, which for working parents is usually only in the evening or weekends. To prepare yourself for your search make a list of expectations, duties and schedule. Use the tools provided to you to help with interview questions, contracts and reviews. Communication is the key to any domestic relationship!


By: Erin Krex
President of First Class Care, Inc.

President of After School Sitters

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