Time for a Staycation

Being cooped up in your apartment can leave you stir crazy, especially if you spend daytime there during the week (looking at you moms and dads at home with kids). One night when I couldn’t sleep, I did some research on staycation spots near NYC, and here is what I found.

1. Upstate New York
This Inn seems perfect once it gets a bit cooler, think fire place, hot beverage or red vino, and maybe some hiking in the good ole outdoors. The rates seem really reasonable too, around $160 a night.

2. Long Island
For food.
For wine.
For stay.

3. North Fork
This place seems the place to be in October, as I can’t find a hotel or bed & breakfast available for under $700 a night. It may be worth waiting till off season.

For additional things to do in North Fork check out Conde Nast Traveler.

And for future trips around the city check out Timeout New York!

Power Your Happy

On September 20th, I attended a local book signing for Lisa Sugar. Lisa is mom of three, entrepreneur, wife, and now author of the recently published Power Your Happy: Work Hard, Play Nice & Build Your Dream Life. She is the founder of PopSugar, the number one independent media company for women. In her book, Lisa shares her journey of turning a passion into a job. Her passion of sharing pop news to women was taken to the next level with some support from her husband. They grew a small scale blog into an enormously successful, growing company with over 500 employees who also love what they do. PopSugar’s current reach is 100 million unique visitors.

My favorite sound bite from her keynote was about making every day of the week enjoyable. How much do we all dread Monday’s? Lisa’s book coaches readers to love EVERY SINGLE DAY! Lisa helps you navigate your overwhelming, confusing days, to end up in a place where you can combine your passions and talents for success.

I hope you all find time to read it! Big congrats to Lisa on all her hard work!

You can order her book here.

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Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell

Meet Songs for Seeds!

Songs for Seeds introduces an interactive class that encourages children (newborn to 6 years old)  to sing, dance, and play along with a live, three-piece band. After being named “Best Kids’ Music Class” by New York Magazine and “Most Magical Music Class” by Red Tricycle, it’s no wonder everyone is wanting to know more about Songs for Seeds. We sat down with them for a short Q&A to learn all about their offerings. Read below, and sign your little one up for a class today!

1. What can a child and their parent(s) expect to takeaway from one of your 45-minute classes?
The biggest takeaway from our class is that it is really awesome to learn through play! Without even realizing it, the children walk away signing songs that reinforce colors, shapes, numbers, animals ad all they know is that they just had a good time! The parents walking away having just been able to enjoy themselves and their children is a relaxed, stimulating area.

2. How involved are the child’s parent(s) in each of the classes? Are they actively participating or just looking on from the sidelines? Parents/Caregivers are encouraged to participate throughout the entire class, however, it is their choice to be involved as little or as much as they want to be and feel their child wants them to be. All of the clapping, playing, dancing and questions-answer activities are designed to include a child and their adult.

3. You also make your services available for birthday parties and events. What do you provide for such events and how would someone go about hiring you?
Although we are not able to bring our roadie box (classroom setup) with us for parties or events, we do create an interactive concert. Using a lot of the songs/activities from class, we are able to engage them children with instruments, scarves, magic and of course, play! A quick inquiry e-mail to greenwich@songsforseeds.com OR a phone call (646-820-9916) is all it will take the get the conversation going and book your party or event.

4. For the moms and dads wanting to sign their little one up for a class, how do they get started?
Head to our website! You can find all schedules, classes, and pricing information directly on our site. You can also call me, Courtney Fischer-Karasin, directly 646-820-9916. We are so excited to share this AMAZING program with all of the little seedlings of Fairfield County!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Wee Ones Club to the Rescue

Have an infant and already worrying about being cooped up in your apartment all winter log?

If you live near Midtown East, sign up for a trial at Wee Ones, and hop into their Turtles and Tadpoles class! 

It’s a quaint, clean space with what seems like very happy teachers. My son and I went on a trial pass and it was a great experience! My son is 5 months and was the youngest baby in the room. The class is for 4 to 14-month-olds, which is quite a large span.  The class started with introductions followed by “tumbling” time; one baby at a time participated, while the others sat and watched. After this, there were sing-alongs, a short playtime, a puppet show of sorts, and a very colorful parachute ending.

This is their youngest class offering designed to introduce and develop skills for children who are not yet walking. Curriculum is carefully designed to explore all developmental domains of our youngest members and includes music, gentle movement, basic sign language, tumbling, parachute, and bubbles. Class structure supports language, social emotional, physical and cognitive development.

The trial was $15, and you can sign up for a semester class which comes out to approimately  $50 per class at 50 minutes per session.

I found the class on Kid Central Station. It was easy to find and easy to book! 

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Installing a Nanny Cam

Thinking of installing a nanny cam? Make sure to read these laws first!

What Nanny Cam Laws Should I Know?
It can be difficult to make the decision to purchase a camera, but if you choose to, it’s important to know the legalities. Families can choose whether or not to tell their caregiver that they have a nanny cam. And there are two types of laws you need to be aware of: ones for video surveillance and ones for audio recordings.

  • Video surveillance laws: It’s legal to install a nanny cam in all 50 states, even if you choose to videotape your nanny without her consent. However, you can’t tape her in private areas of your home, such as the bathroom or a live-in nanny’s bedroom. If you do install a nanny cam, be sure to do so in common spaces, such as the kitchen or playroom.
  • Speech laws: While you can videotape your nanny, several states have laws to protect against audio recordings. If you live in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania or Washington, you must notify your nanny if you have a nanny cam that records both audio and video. Not only could you be prosecuted for violating this law, but any evidence of abuse or neglect found on the tape could be inadmissible during legal proceedings.

For more information, read the full article provided by Care.com here.

We also found two other articles that provide helpful info if you are still debating on the nanny cam purchase.

For the NY Times article, click here.

For the Brick House Security article, click here.

Sitter 411

Are you looking for a refresher on caring for children. Here are some helpful posts we have done over the past few months to help guide sitters. It is always a good idea to stay informed and updated on the latest childcare trends as methods do change.

1. Diapering
2. Burping
3. Nap & Bedtime Schedules
4. CPR
5. Bath Time
6. Teething
7. Entertaining Kids
8. Bee Stings, Mosquito Bites and Food Allergies
9. Swaddling 

If you have any questions please contact us! We are always here to support our sitters in providing the best of care.

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Treatments for Kids

Are you looking for ways to treat some of the common pests that wiggle their way into your child’s life?

We found some great treatments that we wanted to share with you all when it comes to bee stings, mosquito bites, and food allergies. Take a read below and find pests no more!

 1. Bee Stings

What’s a normal reaction? It often includes, pain and swelling or redness around the bite. Swelling may extend beyond the sting site.

What can you do? Make sure you clean the area and apply ice if necessary, but make sure you have a garment of some sort between the ice and the child’s skin so that the ice is not directly on the skin.Then per the family’s permission you can use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to ease the pain or discomfort of the child. If the child is struggling with the pain, tell the parent and the child may need an antihistamine.

When to call the doctor? If you see hives, swelling near the face or mouth, wheezing, restlessness or anxiety, rapid pulse, or dizziness.
– At home itch remedy: mix baking soda with water to make a paste. If you see the stinger, make sure the stinger is taken out. If you can pull out with your nails, make sure they are clean. Or if you can pull out with tweezers.

For more information on Bee Stings click here.

2. Mosquito Bites

What’s a normal reaction? When a child gets a mosquito bite they may have itching, swelling and red lumps. The size of the bite varies.

What can you do? Mosquito bites often do not require treatment, but you should encourage the child not to scratch the bite. You can apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream, but speak to the parents first.

When to call the doctor? If it is large in size, yellowish drainage, crusting, warm to the touch, or the child has a fever and muscle weakness.

For bug or mosquito bites, some parents use calamine lotion. Make sure this is okay with the parents first! This will dull the itch.

For more information on bites click here.

3. Food Allergies

Overall - Make sure you get the rundown on any food allergies from the parent upon arrival. Most families keep their profile updated with this information, but in case they don’t, make sure you ask.

What can you do? You’ll want to review each ingredient label of the food the child eats. If you are still not sure, snap a photo of it and send it to the parent to review before you give the food to the child.

If the child needs an epipen, make sure you carry that at all times. The parent can train you on how to use it, or you can read and watch a tutorial video here.

For more information on food allergies click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Get to Know Bruce Plotkin Photography!

We’re introducing one of our favorite event photographers, Bruce Plotkin, in our latest Q&A blog post.

Get to know the face behind the photographer who is snapping great memories for clients all around the New York and Connecticut Metropolitan area.

Q: You grew up being surrounded by photography with your father being a photographer himself. Is your father the biggest inspiration as to why you chose to be a photographer?
Dad was certainly a big influence in my becoming a photographer. He was a wedding and portrait photographer in Worcester, Mass, where I grew up, for 40 years and photographed generations of families, many of whom still stop me to tell me how his photographs grace their homes. A week ago I actually photographed a wedding in the Adirondacks and the mother of the groom was not only someone I graduated high school with, but my dad photographed her wedding.  A wonderful feeling of continuity.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing you get from being a photographer? Is there a particular event/subject you enjoy capturing the most?
The most rewarding part of being a wedding photographer is in delivering the finished product to the bride and groom and their families, whether on-line or in album form, and hearing from them about thrilled they were with the results, and that I was able to capture all the key moments (including at times ones they never even witnessed), and that I clearly succeeded in creating a document of their wedding day that they’ll be able to share with generations to come.

Initially I wanted nothing to do with wedding photography and spent the first two decades of my career as a NYC based advertising and magazine photographer, with kids as my primary focus. I photographed everything from ads for Huggies diapers to Jello, and had covers of both Time and US News and World Report.  When I decided to shift gears and devote myself to photographing weddings, which has been my principal focus for nearly the last two decades, I discovered the world of contemporary wedding photojournalism, more of a story telling approach to creatively and unobtrusively documenting the wedding day. For me this new life was truly coming full circle, and I never looked back.

Q: It looks like most weddings that you’ve covered are in the New York and Connecticut areas. Are these your primary locations? What other events could people hire you for?
While most of my weddings take place in the New York/Ct. Metropolitan area, they have indeed taken me everywhere from Maine to the Caribbean. This year, in addition to last week’s trip to Lake George’s wedding,  I’ve travelled from Washington, DC to the campus of Penn State U. Always excited by these new adventures.

While I do, on occasion, photograph other types of events, and often photograph the babies of my brides and grooms, my main focus remains photographing beautiful wedding celebrations.

Bruce Plotkin

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell