Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Professional Housekeeper Training - San Francisco

We are taking The Professional Housekeeper Training Seminar to major cities. New York was a great success as we received feedback indicating how helpful it was to so many. Domestic workers rarely get an opportunity to convene and discuss issues on the job. They are grateful to participate in a conference type setting where they are able to share many ideas and learn from each other. Every day another person thanks me for all they learned in the "Career Development" aspect of The Professional Housekeeper training. They walk away with interview techniques, how to put their resume and portfolio together, while learning how to achieve the proper education and experience for the position they are seeking.

Domestic workers need support just like every other profession. This training program offers all of that plus an opportunity to meet others in the field, share ideas, engage and grow. Whether you work as a housekeeper, nanny or even as an Household Manager, knowing basic housekeeping, cooking, laundry, childcare, organization, and time management is a must. It is also necessary that everyone understands professional protocol, labor codes, employment agreements, and how to deal with termination issues properly.

After INA "International Nanny Conference" in Tampa, Fl May 12-15, we are looking forward to San Francisco - June 4th at the Hilton in Burlingame for The Professional Housekeeper Training Seminar.

Join us and learn more about your profession in the private service industry.

Marta Perrone


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Housekeepers: Cooking in 30 mintues

Ruth Rogers featured in WSJ opened River Cafe in London in 1987 and is known as one of the best Italian restaurants in the world. "Choosing the right ingredients at the market is of utmost importance!" This may mean using an "aged fatty Pancetta with a sweet perfume" or "selecting tomatoes that are winter-appropriate like Marzanos that have few seeds and are low in acidity so they work well in sauces". Learning these tips from great chefs around the world is one way of becoming a confident good cook. We can't all claim to be gourmet chefs enabling us to open restaurants, but we can certainly create our own magic in the comfort of our homes. Here is one of Ruth Roger's easy to make favorites:

Pappardelle With Tomato and Stewed Pancetta

12 ounces dried egg Pappardelle
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ounces Pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
8 whole canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
Kosher Salt
2 dried Hot chilies, crumbled
2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese grated
1/2 heavy cream

What to do:

1. Bring pot of salted water to boil
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat
3. Add Pancetta and crumbled chilies - cook for 5-6 minutes till brown
4. Squeeze juice out of tomatoes, roughly chop
5. Add tomatoes to pan and season with salt. Cook at medium heat 6-7 minutes
6. Cook pasta until al dente, 6-7 minutes, drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.
7. Stir cream into tomato sauce and continue to cook for 3-5.Add pasta to pan and using a wooden spoon, toss it gently. Stir in half of Parmesan. Add just enough pasta water so sauce is glossy and coats the noodles nicely.
8. Serve with remaining Parmesan sprinkled over top.

And there you have it in 30 minutes, an excellent easy to make meal provided by an expert chef, Ruth Rogers.

Learn to make good healthy meals as you continue to improve your skills as a professonal housekeeper


Friday, December 31, 2010

- Marta Perrone official blog

Our lives encompass essentials that enter our minds throughout each day. As we enter a new year, it is good to reflect on on 2010 and consider ways to improve in all these areas for the upcoming year. Life is ever evolving, but if we sit still in our minds and actions, then the movement is confined to a small space of little change.

1) Family - your role as it relates to family may mean that you are a wife, husband, daughter, son, mother, father, grandparent and/or more. This relationships you have with family members can at times be the most difficult due to the closeness, expectations and disappointments. Yet, getting each of these relationships "right" is important to feel whole as a person. Some of the biggest blocks we hold emotionally come from unresolved issues with "family". Easier said than done, clearly. My efforts in 2011 will be to have better communication with my closest family members and to try harder to develop relationships with those that are family, but I barely see.

2) Friendships - friends, like family will often disappoint you. The closer the friend, the greater the expectation, and the harder the fall. As in every relationship, it is necessary to cultivate it. This means paying attention to the needs of your friends and trying to be there for them more often. For example, being a good listener, accepting their faults, going out of your way to help them, forgiving them for their mistakes and taking time to see them.

3) Work - whether work means being a homemaker, having a paying job, owning a business or being currently unemployed, we have a responsibility to ourselves to be better at what we do and to work harder to attain success. For a homemaker, it may mean organizing your home or household help better so that it runs smoothly. If you hold a job, you may consider the ways in which you can be a better employee, more valuable to your employer and how you might move up the ladder. It may require that you look at your skills and see ways in which to improve them. A heightened awareness of yourself will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses. Make a list and challenge yourself to learn something new in your job. If you are a business owner, surely there are many ways in which you can increase your profits and create a better service. In today's times, this may be the greatest challenge of all, but we must stay positive and just work a little harder. If you are unemployed, sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring will get you nowhere. You must be proactive every day until you find that job. It may mean re-creating yourself and learning new skills.

4) Finances - learning to put money away is a good thing for everyone to learn no matter the age. If a child can learn to put money in a piggy bank and then deposit the weekly or monthly funds into a savings account, so can an adult learn to make take a dollar and make it two. We all come from different financial positions. Some of us live week to week, month to month or year to year. Some of us are more fortunate and have little financial worries. Either way, we could all learn to save more, spend wisely, allocate funds appropriately and simply be better with our finances.

5) Love - if we don't have that special person in our lives, it is simply lonely and empty. Whether you are married or in a partnership, going through a divorce, seeking a relationship, or have lost someone - love enters and departs, keeping it constant is what we need to remain healthy in our hearts. There are ways to make any romantic relationship better. Seeking romance improves our lives. It makes you feel better and happier. I know this to be true being recently married to the love of my life. It wasn't like this always, but I never gave up and now I have it.

6) Goals - without them we simply are stagnant. It may be learning a new language, speaking a language better, playing a sport or instrument, reading more, writing more, communicating better with friends and families, exercising more, making a certain amount of money, graduating from school, achieving a certification, getting a job, getting a better job, quitting a vice that is hurting you, improving your skills at work, traveling, dieting and on and on. For each of us, goals are personal. Sit down and discover your goals for 2011.

7) Personal Health - without it, we have nothing. Get your annual check-ups and stay on top of health. If you don't, no one else will! Being overweight is a problem. Drinking and eating things that are bad for you is a problem. Not getting enough vegetables and healthy foods in your body is a problem. Not exercising is a problem. Not caring for each part of your body that God has given us is a problem. There are ways for all of us to improve our health.

8) Giving Back - through charity, becoming more eco-friendly or "green", and a myriad of other forms of helping others is something that some of us do more of than others due to time and resources. But there is no excuse for any of us to not find a way of being more charitable to others and giving back.

Happy New Year to you, your family and friends!
Let's make 2011 a great year!!

Marta Perrone

Monday, December 27, 2010

Glass Cleaners- Product Reviews - Sprayway, Weiman or Windex

It may well be that most of you have primarily used Windex for just about everything. I know this because having worked years with so many housekeepers, they all seem to know Windex as the ultimate cleaner for just about every surface imaginable. It may seem easier to use one product on everything; yet, we have many wonderful products that have some unique qualities and are more suitable for a specific surface. One of the significant differences between the glass cleaners "Sprayway", "Weiman", and "Windex" is the ingredient "Ammonia".

Ammonia is probably something you may consider valuable as a cleaning ingredient; however many household workers would rather not breathe "ammonia" on a regular basis. It happens to be one of the most widely produced chemicals in the United States. When ammonia enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce ammonium hydroxide which is a chemical very corrosive that damages cells in the body on contact. The Severity of health effects obviously depends on the type of exposure and duration. Exposure in high concentrations in the air causes immediate burning of the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory tract and can result in blindness, lung damage or death. Inhalation in lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation. Not sure about how you feel at this moment, but I think I would rather seek products that are ammonia free.

In so doing, I discovered 2 products that are very similar and get the job done beautifully. Sprayway Glass Cleaner can be used on windows, mirrors and windshields. It comes out as a foam that leaves no film whatsoever. It has Ethyl and Methyl Alcohol but no ammonia and comes in a recyclable steel container. Some people even use it on Stainless Steel appliances such as the fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher. Although there are other products very good for cleaning stainless steel. Although Sprayway has their own stainless steel cleaner and polish, I happen to agree with the reviewers in that Sprayway Glass Cleaner also does the job!

Weiman Glass Cleaner has been around just about as long as Windex by Johnson and is very similar to Sprayway's product. It clearly does the job without leaving residue or streaks. The Weiman family is best known for their special polish used to preserve and protect fine wood furniture. (I happen to love their jewelry cleaner.) They also happen to make a great cook top scrubbing pad for glass and smooth top ranges to prevent scratching.

Another nice aspect to both the Sprayway and Weiman products is that they each are associated with a charity by making donations from purchases. Sprayway donates to breast cancer while Weiman is heavily involved with the National Ovarian Society.

In checking prices, it appears that Sprayway is somewhat more cost effective. Might be better to buy the Weiman products in bulk to get a better price.


How do I find a Nanny Job in the New Year?

Now that the holidays are over, it is time to get back to the business of finding a job working as a Nanny and/or Housekeeper. Here are tips on how to get the process going:

1) Take a look at your resume and be sure that it is updated. Review it carefully to ensure that it reflects your job experience, education, objective, talents and skills clearly. A resume will be reviewed within 1-2 minutes, so you need to make that one page impressive. Have additional copies available and put it on a hard drive/computer so it can be sent electronically.

2) Call your previous references, wishing them a good new year and advising them that you will be searching for work. Let them know that they might be receiving calls, but you will only give their numbers out to employers that you are serious about engaging. While you have them on the phone, ask them to put the word out to their friends that you are looking for employment.

3) Go on line and look at various job listing sites that specialize in your field. Some of the more popular ones are: sittercity.com, care.com, nannies4hire.com, elderlycare.com. Go into each site and get your resume up and registered. Be very descriptive about your experience. This is a resume on line so every word counts.

4) Go on line and look up agencies in your area. Some you may have already registered with and need to send an updated resume. Make contact with a specific person and keep a record of who you spoke to and when. Make appointments to visit the agency and reconnect with them so they are reminded of you. Be sure to take with you copies of your complete portfolio.

5) Check your local newspapers for ads seeking employees in your field. Cut the ads out, tape them to individual sheets of paper and make notes concerning each job and information you received by phone. Even if the job is taken, call back in a week or so to see the status since many times new employees do not work out for one reason or another.

6) Get business cards made with your name and skill. Pass them to people that you meet and tell them about yourself. Consider doing an email blast to your contacts to spread the word.

7) Have your "interview outfit" clean, pressed and ready to go so that you can respond to a call at any moment. Even take it with you in your car in case you get a random call and need to get to the interview quickly.

8) Check your certifications to be sure they are current. Consider classes that might improve your skills. Enroll so that you are constantly improving yourself in your field. This will also be impressive within an interview.

Stay positive, upbeat and focused. Be persistent and the right job will come your way.

Marta Perrone

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Housekeeping Tips for Year-End Cleaning

Cleaning up the house after holidays is similar to conforming your closet to a new season. There are things that must be cleaned, put away for the next Holiday, and in some cases thrown out. The task is not always easy, but getting through it will make the house look better and more organized.

Here are some tips for the year-end housecleaning.

1. The refrigerator is the most important appliance in any home as it stores food at the right temperature to prevent spoilage. If the refrigerator is well-functioning, it helps the family stretch its food budget and allows bulk purchases of vegetables, fruit and other meats. However, it can only run efficiently if it is cleaned regularly. Cold air cannot flow freely if the refrigerator is overstocked. Leftovers left too long can develop molds and other organisms dangerous to health. Spills should be wiped, jars cleaned, and and dripping stopped and secured. Throw out any expired food items and leftovers that are less than a single serving. Discard half-used cartons of cream, packets of mixes that will never be used and any old restaurant leftovers.

Once per week, re-arrange fruits and vegetables, jars and other containers checking on freshness. Wipe down the racks and shelves regularly with vinegar-moistened kitchen towels. Make sure the air vents are clear and unblocked to maintain constant temperature and proper circulation of cold air.

2. Go through the pantry. This may be a good time to get rid of all those sweets and goodies you bought for those holiday parties. Take them to the office and give them away.

3. The microwave oven can be cleaned by putting a half-full microwave safe bowl with a mixture of half vinegar and half water - then nuke it for 2 minutes. Wipe down the interior with a sponge or rag dipped in the hot vinegar. The vinegar's acetic acid sanitizes and deodorizes the microwave.

4. Clear out the drawers of useless tools and gadgets that may be specialty tools used for that turkey and other prepared foods for the holidays. While you are there, take a look at your utensils and throw away any old ones that have missing parts or need to be replaced.

5. Re-arrange your linen & china closets, putting the holiday place mats and tablecloths, dinnerware and stemware in the back, making it easy to reach the items you will most likely use throughout the year.

6. Go through your clothing closets and take clothes that you typically use for the holidays and re-arrange your things putting those items that you will not be using in the back. Do the same with those heavy winter jackets used on holiday vacations.

7. Review the cleaning products and equipment checking for replacement of those you use most often. Consider getting a new mop or if necessary a new vacuum. If you keep the old vacuum, change the bags and have it cleaned professionally.

8. If you used the fireplace more often, give it a good clean-out. You can get a chimney sweeper to do it or try it yourself. Open up the damper and carefully climb up on your roof taking rods and brushes with you. Remove the chimney cap and run the brush down the chimney using a plunging motion. You can go back in the house and use the short chimney brush to clean the flue. Use a vacuum cleaner or small broom and dustpan to remove the cold ashes. Brush the floor and walls with a stiff dry scrub brush and vacuum up all the remaining dust and debris.

9. The door thresholds may have accumulated a lot of soot from the rains and harsh weather conditions. Clean them out with a vacuum attachment and then wipe them down with a damp cloth.

10. Be sure to get the air ducts cleaned out so that you don't accumulate dust and debris in the house.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2011 in your very clean home!!!

Marta Perrone

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Housekeeping Quick Tips Just Before the Guests Arrive

Housekeeping Quick Tips Just Before the Guests Arrive

Inviting people over for the holidays is a wonderful way to end the year. It gives all friends and family an opportunity to see each other and catch up. If you are concerned about what the house might look like and see this as a deterrent, here are some tips on how to get the house in order so that you can have these get together nights throughout the holidays.

1. Choose the room(s) that everyone will spend the most time and focus on these: Living Room, Family Room, Kitchen, Dining Room and Powder Bath.

2. Living Room/Family Room: a) check the fireplace for fresh wood, clean the mantel and wipe down the artifacts on the mantel, check the flute is open if you are going to put the fireplace on, b) vacuum the rug or sweep/mop the floor and wipe down the baseboards, c) fluff the pillows up on the living room couch, d) dust the coffee table, end tables and other furniture pieces and put things back neatly, e) fluff up the pillows on the couches and sofa chairs, f) check the ceiling lights, corners for cob webs.

3. Kitchen: a) wipe down the stove and vent, b) take everything off the counters and wipe them down putting things back neatly (take away any unnecessary stuff that has been sitting there waiting for you to put away), c) wipe down the refrigerator taking expired items away and cleaning the shelves and drawers, d) empty out the dishwasher and sink of dishes so you have room for new ones, e) sweep/mop the kitchen floor, and f) be sure the kitchen garbage is emptied.

4. Powder Bath: a) wipe down and clean the sink and counter, b) clean the mirrors, door and switch-plates of any smudges, c) clean the toilet and leave a new roll of TP, d) sweep/mop the bathroom floor and wipe down the baseboard, e) empty the trash, and f) lay out guest towels for the guests.

5. Final touches: a) Light a candle, b) lay out some nuts and candy, c) be sure to have coasters and/or cocktail napkins available, d) create a light cheese/cracker/fresh fruit platter, and e) light the fireplace and put on some good music.

A quick clean-up of 4 major rooms of the house where the guests will most likely visit may take you a matter of 1 hour or so if you work quickly and efficiently. Don't let the mess in your home prevent you from inviting people over to share in the joy of the holiday season.