Category Archives: family

Village for Parents – Q&A with Chris Winn

Greetings, all!

To continue with our recent Q&A blog posts, we are bringing you Chris Winn, Founder and President of Village for Parents, who works with a team on a mission to help parents live happier, simpler lives.

Q: What influential people or events in your life led you to the vision behind Village for Parents (providing ways to help parents live simpler lives)?

 A: I was first inspired to build Village in 2012 when my wife and I were expecting boy/girl twins. Like all moms and dads to-be, we wanted to learn as much as we could about how to be great parents, so we spent a lot of time researching products and how-to’s online. With so much information out there and so little factual or scientific data to support anyone’s opinion, it was really difficult to fully trust anything we read.

After months of research and dozens of design sessions, Faye (Head of Product) and I came up with a solution to the problem – a platform for moms and dads to get advice ONLY from other parents who are (or just were) in the same stage of life. This way, all of the advice is empathetic and genuine. A little later, we realized that some of the tougher questions required an answer from an expert, so we now have a growing network of child development therapists, sleep consultants, lactation consultants and more.

Q: With three little ones of your own (3 1/2-year old twins, 1-year old), what advice would you give to first time parents on how to be as stress-free as possible?

A: First, give yourself and your kids a lot of grace. Life isn’t scripted and often times you’re just going to have to roll with it. Second, trust your gut. Village is a great place to get advice, guidance towards making a decision but at the end of the day you’re the only one who knows what’s best for your values and your family. Lastly, make a point to stop and smell the roses. There are so many special moments in parenthood that you have to appreciate and hold close in order to get through the tougher times.

Q: What is the most frequent question you’ve received on your app? How did you reply?

A: The most common questions we get relate to the most stressful milestones for parents: breastfeeding, sleeplessness, teething, potty training and the like. In the six short months since we launched, we’ve aggregated hundreds of answers to these questions and made them all searchable in our app. That’s actually the hidden beauty of Village for Parents – as more and more questions are asked and answered, the app has become a living, breathing guidebook on how to raise kids. Whatever challenge you’re facing, Village can provide you with a few thoughtful answers that are just right for your parenting style, your values and your baby.

Q: For those who do not use the app, what would you say to convince them that Village for Parents is the best resource?

 A: As I mentioned above, parents should always trust their instincts when making decisions for their family. The problem most of us have is that parenthood often puts us in situations where we have little, if any, personal experience to fall back on. Village bridges that gap by presenting only the information that you need to solve a problem or make a decision. Our goal is to minimize the amount of time you have to spend on the app to get the information or validation you need to take action and then move on with your day.

Download the Village for Parents app on your iPhone by clicking here!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Jenna Helwig – Real Food for the Whole Family

Greetings, all!

We checked-in with our friend, Jenna Helwig, who is the creator and founder of Rosaberry- a culinary services company devoted to helping New York families eat better through culinary instruction and personal chef services. In our short Q&A below, we learned more about her and some of the things that inspired her to create Rosaberry.

Q: What influential people or events in your life made you want to launch Rosaberry?
A: My daughter was really my inspiration. I started Rosaberry soon after she was born. I was so excited about helping parents feed their families better, whether their kids were infants or older.

Q: For those parents or childcare providers needing to make dinner in a hurry, what top three quick meals would you recommend whipping together?
A: For me, the key is planning. I try to have a rough idea of what I’m going to make for most of the next week by Sunday. That way when I walk in the door I know exactly what I need to do: boil water for pasta or preheat the oven for veggies, for example. I also try to get some prep work done over the weekend, such as washing and chopping a head of broccoli, cooking some pork in the slow cooker, or making a pot of quinoa. Our hands-down favorite for a super-quick meal is Eggs in Purgatory, basically eggs gently cooked in tomato sauce. The recipe is in Real Baby Food, and it’s so quick and simple. My daughter requests it on a weekly basis.

 

Q: You’ve been making homemade baby food for your daughter, Rosa, since she was born. Any words of wisdom to expectant moms about to do the same?
A: The great thing about homemade baby food is that you can make a lot at once and freeze it, so you can always have some on-hand. That said, don’t stress if you need to supplement with store-bought foods sometimes. Do the best you can. One other piece of advice: try to introduce your baby to as many foods as possible before age 1. Studies show that the more variety they eat as babies, the more fruits and vegetables they’ll eat as older kids. What parent wouldn’t want that?

Q: Your Instagram photos look delicious! What is your all time favorite recipe?
A: Oh my gosh, that’s so hard to say! I will tell you may favorite recipe for right now - I’ve been making a roasted carrot salad with toasted pepitas, cumin, and cilantro, and my mouth waters just thinking about it!

You can follow along with Jenna’s delicious recipes through her Instagram and Twitter handle
@jennahelwig.
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Slopes for the Family

Greetings, all!

With the winter season creeping in, we all have fun snow activities on the brain. Everyone loves the traditional snowman building, toboggan shoot, and one of our personal favorites, skiing! We researched some ski resorts in the northeast, and found some that looked perfect for a fun family adventure. So grab the kids, and start practicing the act of wrapping them up in their outerwear, because nobody wants a Randy (from A Christmas Story) situation on their hands.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Macaroni Kid got this one right with their post on New Hampshire ski resorts. One family wrote, “It’s like Vermont meets Colorado.” Its accolades include their uncrowded, unspoiled, and wide open spaces. Stay nearby at the Indian Head Resort, or go more upscale at the Omni Mount Washington.

Okemo, Vermont
Parenting.com provided a glimpse at this 20-year family owned resort. It offers a day care, ski school, a Kids’ Night Out (to keep them entertained while parents go play), and for the older kids, the Rampage Teen Center has an indoor skateboard park. Okemo also makes it easy on the wallet, too, with kids under 12 staying for free!

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
If you are all about those family activities, then this resort is a great fit for you! Whether you and your youngster sign up for a unique ‘Mom & Me’ lesson, or teaching your ‘Little Rascal’ to start skiing at age two, Smuggs’ has thought up the most innovative instruction in snow country. Parenting.com supported us with this one, too!

And to all of the Santa’s out there – it’s not too late to add a knit hat into all of the stockings this year!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Thanksgiving Memories with BFC

Greetings, all!

In spirit of the holiday season, our team wanted to share some of their favorite Thanksgiving Day memories. We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with their friends and family, and enjoying some of their own favorite memories!

Kate Donehower: “Every year, my sister and I participate in a Gobble Wobble 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a great way for us to bond and catch up, as well as burn some calories before the big feast!”

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Liza Harbison: “One of my favorite memories was being home for Thanksgiving during my freshman year of college. I loved hanging out with my sister and mom, since I missed them so much while I was away. There’s nothing like mother/sister/daughter bonding over pumpkin pie!”

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Meredith Hamler: “My most recent favorite Thanksgiving memory is the Friendsgiving I had with my NYC family this year! I’m so grateful to have such wonderful friends!”

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Emily Jewell: “I love driving home from my Aunt and Uncle’s mountain house after Thanksgiving dinner – listening to carols playing on the radio marks the official start of the Christmas season. I’m a December baby and enjoy everything Christmas and winter related, so it truly is a special moment!”

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Ali Shepard: “Last year I went to visit one of my most favorite families of all time in Denver, CO. I had so much fun visiting - Denver is a beautiful city. I went tubing for the first time in my life, ate yummy fondue at a ski lodge very high on the side of a mountain, and had my first gluten free/dairy free Thanksgiving, which  was delicious! I am so grateful to so many of the families that have allowed me to take care of their children over the years and due to our close relationship I have formed lasting bonds.”

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Lindsay Bell: “My newest favorite Thanksgiving memory is getting to hear my baby boy’s healthy heart beat the day before Thanksgiving, and seeing him move in my belly at the doctors visit. I am very thankful that I get to be a mommy soon :)”

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Thanksgiving Fun for Kids

Greetings, all!

It’s the week that many people love, but turkeys could deal without. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Thanksgiving! Since the Thanksgiving holiday often involves little ones running around, we thought we’d provide some fun activities to keep the kids entertained, and to keep you sane. So, take some of the ideas below and enjoy all that this family-filled holiday has to offer.

1. Craft Time: How about some jazzy Thanksgiving-themed hats? Try out a turkey, or a classic pilgrim style hat.

2. B-I-N-G-O: Who doesn’t love a quality game of bingo? Try out one themed for this holiday.

3. Coloring = Classic: Print out these fall festive images and bust out the crayons!

4. Snacks: The kids can even help put this turkey snack tray together, and then nibble. The adults will probably want to nibble, too.

5. Mad Libs/Word Search: Print these ones out for the kids, too. Maybe you can even give a treat to the one who solves all the riddles!

 

I hope all of our readers have a great Thanksgiving with their loved ones – from all of the girls in the Bell family.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Fresh Organic Sleep

Greetings, all!

Yes, you read that title right - fresh organic sleep. It seems like everything these days is going organic – from foods, to dry cleaning, salons, and now even your mattress! Today’s post dives into the idea of the organic mattress, and what it brings for you and your family.

Your baby or toddler spends over one-half of his/her life sleeping, which many adults also wish could be the case. During this time, your toddler is in close contact with the mattress and the chemicals within it. It’s because of this, that many parents are opting for an organic mattresses.

Lucie’s List put together a great, short list of organic mattresses, and we are loving them!

1– Lullaby Earth (Naturepedic): Manufactured without the use of known allergens found in many other mattresses, such as latex, wool, soy, and without polyurethane foam of any kind.

2– Naturepedic (Naturepedic): This mattress is made with organic cotton fabric and fill, as well as steel innerspring.

3– Pebble Pure/Pebble Lite (Nook Sleep Systems): The “Pure” boasts a certified organic coconut core layered with 1” of natural latex foam.

4– CocoMat/Spring Mat (Naturalmat):  Uses 100% renewable and sustainable sources such as organic lambs wool, coir (coconut), mohair, and latex.

To read more information on the mattresses listed above, click here.

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

A to Z of D-Toxing

Greetings, all!

Using clean, toxic free products in a family’s household is something that is important to many people. With great work from Sophia Ruan Gushee, author of A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, she dives into tips for reducing toxic exposures in every day life. We did a short Q&A with Sophia, to learn more about her and her great achievement.

1.  What inspired you to spread awareness and empower people by writing your book A to Z
of D-Toxing
?

I really disliked the way that I was learning about upsetting information that was important to my children: accidentally as I skimmed reading materials late at night, followed by hours of online research to see if credible sources could verify alarming claims; then hours more research to identify alternative products. After “conquering” the latest chemical of concern that I had learned about, like BPA, I would then feel defeated as I accidentally learned about another chemical of concern, like phthalates, parabens, and more. Feeling like the list of specific chemicals of concern may be endless, and tired of having no control over when I would learn more upsetting information, I became determined to take control of my education on this important topic. So I dived into the topic to empower myself with facts and to prepare myself as alarming headlines would surely populate the news.

Also, I started learning about this topic at a time during which I had an infant, with hopes of having more children. So I wanted to learn as much as I could to help my young, growing family.

Having a full-time job outside the home that I loved, I was really demoralized that there wasn’t an easier way for me to get informed about toxic exposures from within my own home. Studying this topic became my night job. Eventually, I decided to resign from a career that I loved (my day job), partially to be more involved in providing my children with a healthier childhood and to create a practical strategy to reduce my children’s unnecessary toxic exposures.

As I learned details about how interconnected we are, I became more convinced that I need to spread awareness to engage more people in this topic. There is so much that we, individually, can do to reduce unnecessary toxic exposures. However, we can only do so much alone. Significant positive change will come from more awareness and collective efforts.

It wasn’t until I became a mother that I cared about our environment because it seemed irrelevant to me. Now, especially as a mother, I understand how relevant it is to each of us because our inner environments reflect our outer ones.

2. Eight years of research is much dedicated time, how was it writing a book and juggling/raising a family during those eight years?

It was really hard. The past eight years have been an extraordinarily busy time in my personal life with three daughters that are now 8-, 5- and 3- years old. In addition, growing families in NYC usually involve expansion of real estate or renovation projects. Plus, there were several nursery school and kindergarten application processes to go through. Lots of other things going on too.

But, that context should communicate how important this book was for me to create. I was fascinated to discover a wealth of scientific studies on this topic that is relevant to everyone, especially children. I felt compelled to research it, organize it, and present in a practical reference book that will be useful for me and my family life. I hope it’s also useful to others.

3. How do you hope to promote your book? Will you be speaking around the city?

Above all, my goal is to create awareness, empower people with relevant facts, and to inspire change. So, I’m working in various ways to promote the book, including working with a PR firm to secure media coverage. I have a few select speaking engagements around the city and welcome invitations as stimulating productive dialogue is another key goal. People can visit my website to learn the latest news and events: NontoxicLiving.tips.

A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures Book Launch

A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures is available now on Amazon.

Nanny, Daycare or Nannyshare

Greetings, all!

Deciding what childcare fits best for your family can turn into a long and stressful decision. To sort through the many options available to parents, it’s important to ask yourself questions prior to making a decision. Read below, an article published by Huffington Post, and find yourself ready to make a decision faster than ever.

1. How many hours a day will I need childcare and for which days?

2. How much flexibility do I need? Will there be days I need to leave the child longer? Or will I work part-time some weeks and full-time other weeks?

3. What is my budget? What can I afford to pay?

4. Do I want the caregiver to have a childcare education or specialized degree? Or is experience enough?

5. Do you prefer more individualized care for your child or more of a group environment?

6. What size of a group do you prefer for your child to be in?

a.) For example, do you mind there being 20 other children in a class or would you rather it was a very small class–like 5? Maybe you would prefer your child to be with his/her siblings most of the time and then have play times with other children?

7. Do you need some other help around the house, like doing the child’s laundry or fixing his/her meals?

8. How will your employer handle it if you need to take a day off if the caregiver is ill?

For the full Huffington Post article click here.

Have a great week everyone!
TB

Easy Bite Before Date Night

Greetings, all!

Picture yourself about to head out the door for date night, when you realize you wanted to prep a meal for your little one(s) before the sitter arrived. With only minutes to whip something together, you go into a frenzy thinking about what to make. Today, I’m here to help, by providing five easy bites to make before date night.

1. Crockpot Mac & Cheese
Everyone introduce yourself to your crockpot, because it should be your best friend. It’s also an added bonus that mac & cheese is scientifically proven to be loved by kids. Check out the recipe by Pipp and Ebby here.

2. Breakfast
Is breakfast food always delicious?  Yes, yes it is. Whip together some eggs, toast with jam, and a side of fresh fruit or raw veggies. I also like all the hype behind breakfast muffins. Take a look at a variety of them from Thriving Home.

3. Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Once you see the photo and the simple recipe for this sandwich, you will want to make one for yourself. Consider it your appetizer before you go out.

4. Homemade French Bread Pizza
Try making one off of this impressive list. Quick, easy, and always a crowd pleaser.

5. Chicken and Broccoli
What’s better than chicken and broccoli? How about a 12-minute chicken and broccoli. Take a peak at the recipe here.

Have a great weekend, readers!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Halloween TREATment

Greetings, all!

Today I’m here to share 8 creative Halloween treats to make for the little goblins in your house. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you hide some off to the side for your enjoyment.

1. Boo-nana Pops: Not a big fan of ingredients? Then this treat is for you! Head to the market to buy bananas, white chocolate, and mini chocolate chips. After that, a fun treat is in your hands!

2. Spider Crackers: Spiders have never been so yummy. Fill two Ritz crackers (try peanut butter or cream cheese), stick pretzel sticks into the filling, and dot with some raisins for eyes.

3. Clementine Pumpkins: Hate commercials? Me too. In your next commercial break, peel an orange, grab a stick of celery or tootsie roll, and stick it into the top of the orange. Then head back to your show.

4. Hot Dog Mummies: Consider this your main course. Just make sure you wrap the hot dog in crescent rolls, not toilet paper. I know that could easily be confusing.

5. Jack-o-Lantern Orange Packet: Did you forget it was your turn to bring the snack today? No problem! Head to the store and get the to-go plastic containers of either mandarin oranges or peaches. Grab a sharpie and doodle a jack-o-lantern face on the top.

6. Band-Aids: Don’t worry, no actual blood here. This is another recipe with only three ingredients, so no need to create a note in your iPhone for the recipe.

7. Sand-Witch: Grilled cheese might be best fall sandwich of all time. It also helps that it is one of the quickest meals to make. Try cutting a witch hat out of the bread, and let the cheese soup through (see what I did there?).

8. Jack-o-Lantern Snack Plate: This is like the appetizer sampler at your favorite restaurant, but BETTER! Take these ingredients and build your best face (gold fish, raisins, banana, cucumber).

I hope all of our readers have a great Halloween! And special thanks to Listotic, who brought us all of these creative ideas!

TB

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!