Home Archive Services – Photo Scanning That Makes House Calls

My Nana and Grampa, just married

My Nana and Grampa, just married

Jack Bielan is an amazing combination. He is a talented musician, a skilled technician, a happy family man, and a spiritual person who is devoted to the concept of vocation as service.

In other words, he’s a really nice guy.

After a long career in music management, Bielan sold that business and looked around for something else he could do professionally that would “be of service to people.” And what he came up with is Home Archive Services.

He comes to your house and carefully scans your old printed photos to create digital copies, using high quality scanners. He brings all of his own equipment and can scan up to 400 photos in an hour. When he’s finished, he hands you a USB drive or a DVD and leaves. Done. OR, he’ll stay and show you how to create a photo book using an online printing service, or he’ll upload everything to Flickr or Picasa so you can easily share the photos with friends and family worldwide, or he’ll load it all on to a digital frame and add music, too.

Baby Agoura Hills Mom, formerly known as West Haven Kid

Baby Agoura Hills Mom, formerly known as West Haven Kid

What he loves the most about this work, Bielan says, is the way that transferring photos to digital can bring families together.

An Agoura Hills native, Bielan will travel to your house here or all over the Conejo Valley and the LA basin. You fill out a contract with him that protects your photos and your home, and he agrees to come for a minimum of 2 hours for $85 per hour. He takes care of everything…except choosing the photos.

Only 11 years ago - none of this was digital, all film

Only 11 years ago – none of this was digital, all film

Bielan came to my house recently so I could try his service. In preparation, I pulled out some oddly sized vintage photos, some proofs from our wedding, and other assorted memories. Warning: this will send you down memory lane and make you want to call the loved ones with whom you haven’t spoken in a long time! Or, it will make you share hilarious and embarrassing photos of your friends with their big 80’s hair on Facebook…

My buddy Lee on the left

My buddy Lee on the left. It’s a Polaroid!

He arrived on time, set up everything – even his own table! – without a hitch. All he needed was enough space and light and a power outlet. He scanned almost all the photos I set aside for him in the short time he was here, and I truly enjoyed hearing his stories about how his service lights up the lives of older people, especially. It’s the personal attention to his service that really sets him apart, not just the house call, which is rare enough! I appreciated that I didn’t have to send my precious photos away to be scanned. I did recently do that with 1,000 other photos and it took over 2 weeks – I started to get nervous at the end there. I mean, what if any of them had been lost? There’s no way to get those memories back. With Home Archive Services, nothing leaves your house, and at the end you have a digital copy so that if the photos do get damaged or lost, you at least have a backup.

My Gramma and Grampa

My Gramma and Grampa

A few years ago I had all of my husband’s old home movies from his childhood transferred to DVD and sent copies to his mother and brother as Christmas gifts. Now I can send old family photos to my own family members via email. What a wonderful and meaningful gift this will be.

Now through December 24, Home Archive Services is offering a special: get three hours for the price of two! That’s a lot of photos you can get scanned. It’s easy to set up an appointment and the travel time and equipment set-up and break-down time are not included in your three hours.

See this post for some great shots of Home Archive Services in action, scanning the photos of Sarah Auerswald of MomsLA.com.

I received two hours of complimentary service to facilitate this feature.

Need Childcare? Check Out Cultural Care Au Pair

Have an extra room in your house but absolutely no free time, and not one bit of extra energy? Dreading the back-to-school childcare madness? Maybe it’s time for a live-in.

Cultural Care Au Pair

Some of us have family schedules that we describe as “insane,” “crazy-busy,” or “ridiculous.” I have used at least two of those labels if not all three at various times in my life. I’ve learned the hard way that I need to ask for help or let some things go. But I know that when school starts, we’ll go back to the daily mess of getting up early. Picking the kids from school. Bringing them to this/that/the other. Errands. Work. Cleaning. Sports. Homework and school projects. I’m already tired just writing this. Excuse me while I go take a nap.

I’m not complaining. (Well, not too much.) I know I have a pretty sweet setup, but I also know that many local families have multiple kids, two working parents, a single working parent, or blended families with more than two working parents. Sometimes even the kids are working too – lots of local youth have entertainment industry gigs, making the schedule even more hectic.

While daycare or nannies are great options, a live-in caregiver can help you around the clock. And Cultural Care Au Pair, one of only 14 State Department-licensed agencies, can help match you up with an au pair from another country who not only cares for your children and helps your household run smoothly, but also shares his or her cultural background with you. (Hence the “Cultural Care” in the name.)

Using a set program with a flat fee pricing schedule, au pairs (au pair is pronounced “oh pare,” and is French for “on par,” which means they are just about the same as a family member) stay with your family for one year, with the option to extend for up to 12 months. The agency can even help you find someone who is great with babies, or multiples, or children with special needs.

The company has made the selection process easy and in tune with today’s plugged-in parents. It starts with the company’s website, which allows you to view potential au pair profiles online – they even have videos introducing themselves so you can see what their personalities are like.

When all costs are considered over the course of a year, it amounts to about $8 per hour for a 45 hour work week. This low price has me fantasizing about having more free time, less frenzy, and a helping hand who is energetic and even educational, teaching my kids about life in Brazil, or Italy, or Thailand. We have an extra bedroom in our house so there is plenty of room, and instead of hiring a nanny who might need to drive to Agoura Hills from far across Los Angeles, we would have our caregiver right here!

If you find yourself scrambling for childcare and you want something better for your family, consider Cultural Care Au Pair.

This weekend there is one more reason to consider an au pair! New families who register from Friday, August 2nd thru Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 will receive a $75 waived application fee in addition to a $500 program fee discount when welcoming an au pair to their home by October 4, 2013. Plus, new families who select their au pair by August 26, 2013 will receive an additional $500 program fee discount – a total savings of up to $1,075. When registering, families should use the promotion code PCAF2013.*

This post is sponsored by Cultural Care Au Pair. All opinions and fantasies are my own, but I have a feeling you might start having them too.

*To qualify for the $75 registration fee waiver and the $500 program fee discount, families must be new to Cultural Care Au Pair, register from August 2, 2013, through August 6, 2013, and welcome an au pair byOctober 4, 2013. To qualify for the additional $500 program fee discount, families must finalize their au pair selection by August 26, 2013. Selection fee of $175 must be paid upon final au pair selection. Offer cannot be applied retroactively and may not be combined with any other program fee discounts (excluding host family referral bonuses). Program fee discounts must be applied at the time of registration, and may only be applied to program terms of 30 weeks or more.


Summer Camp By Camp Agoura Hills is 50% Off!

This is the best deal in town, folks. If you are doing last-minute shopping for summer camp consider this. Half day camp at Reyes Adobe Park, MWF, all summer, only $12.50 per day. The counselors are young and full of energy, and they are trustworthy. My kids have gone to programs with the Rec Center since 2010, and we love it. They’re not even paying me to say this!

agoura hills camp