I took a weekend getaway with my husband to Gettysburg. Talk about a taking a trip back in time. We stayed at The Swope Manor, which is one of the oldest homes in Gettysburg. They have a few different room sizes, some big enough to fit a family of 4 or 5.
We also took a tour of the Eisenhower property while we were there, a huge farm just south of the town that has been preserved since it was last inhabited in the 1960’s. There is a car tour where you can drive on your own throughout the property. You are given a map & drive from point A to B & read off the significance of the area. For kids, you can pass along the map & take turns reading to the family. They also offer kid-specific tours through the park service.
There are a lot of adorable bakeries and lunch spots in the area that are family friendly with high chairs and kid friendly menus. For dinner with went to the Dobbin House, which was my favorite part of the trip. They had one of those old huge fire places (the kind you imagine Santa coming down) with a big burning fire. Don’t let the kids near, but it is a sight to see & sure keeps that old house warm.
2014 brought a lot of new changes to Bell Family — we increased our set of services to include nanny placement and are expanding not only in NYC, but in other cities as well. Naturally, we needed a bigger headquarters for our growing business. Since you welcome our sitters, nannies, and caregivers into your homes with open arms, we figured we’d give you a little tour of ours:
The view from our new office window
What better place to house us than Grand Central?
We are so excited to continue growing and have the space to do so. We love when our sitters and families drop in, so feel free to give us a call and stop by! You’ll find us in the middle of an open concept office filled with other tech start ups and right across the hall from Facebook!
Looking forward to another great year filled with growth!
-The Bell Family
Snow days are one of kids’ favorite things. However, they can leave working adults in a panic. We have a few tips to help your family weather the winter storms.
- 1. Make a plan with your family: If the weather forecast calls for snow or bad weather, make a plan on who will stay home with the lil’ ones, if that is an option. It’s equally important for families who have divorced parents or have multiple homes to make an emergency plan about where kids will go on a snow day. This will ensure that your day goes smoothly.
- 2. Network: Kids love playdates, and whats better than a full-day playdate? Network with neighbors or friends who’s parents don’t work or who have a full-time nanny.
- 3. Talk to HR: Sometimes, HR departments can be surprisingly flexible if you tell them your situation. Some companies will let employees telework or come in later to give them time to find a childcare option.
- 4. Call BFC: The best back-up plan is to not need one. BFC caregivers are flexible and more than willing to help you out in a pinch. Most of our sitters are matched up with local families, so even in a snowstorm, they will be able to make it to your house. Plus, BFC sitters will do anything with your kids from sledding to hot cocoa making.
Services like Lyft and Uber have been in the news a lot lately for their ease and convenience. However, these apps are primarily targeted at adult riders.
In comes Shuddle, a family business that takes kids to and fro with highly trained teachers, nannies, and caregivers behind the wheel. Shuddle is insured to transport minors and boasts around 100 drivers right now, but is planning to expand.
What we love is you can request Shuddle rides up to weeks ahead, ensuring there will be a driver available to get your child to practice, a piano lesson, or a playdate. The driver and your child both have to know the password you pick out before the ride starts, ensuring it is really your driver picking them up. Also, thanks to a real-time GPS tracker, you can can watch the car move throughout town and both you and Shuddle HQ gets notified once the kids are dropped off.
Look out for this awesome service as it expands to NYC!
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of doing a three-day trial with the Arbonne facial kit. Arbonne is a one-of-a-kind skin care and wellness line for women that provides a chemical-free anti-aging kit. Arbonne also offers a full range of non-toxic baby products for the lil’ ones. A study conducted by naturalnews.com discovered that women apply an average of 515 chemicals a day to their skin. Makeup, perfumes, lotions, mascara, and other beauty products all contribute to the toxic brew that can cause health problems for women.
As a woman with a full-time job, I don’t have the time to experiment with costly and time-consuming skin care methods to find a product that works and is healthy for my skin.
However, my experience with the Arbonne anti-aging kit was simple and effective. After the second day of using the product, my skin felt fresh and radiant. By the third day, I could noticeably tell the difference in my skin; I saw improvement in moisture, clarity, and blotchiness. I enjoyed all of the products in the process, which takes less than 3 minutes to complete, but my favorite product had to be the Corrective eye Serum; it made my eyes look fresh and awake. This is a great gift for the holidays, and I recommend this for women of all ages!
For more information, please contact Rebecca_Wong@me.com and receive 35% off your first purchase!
-Hannah, BFC’s In-House Coordinator of Sitter Services
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an important figure in our country’s Civil Rights Movement. President Reagan signed into effect a holiday in his honor in 1983, and we have been celebrating it ever since!
Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most influential moments in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
Although we can appreciate events and visions that changed our country for the better, sometimes it can be difficult to discuss with our lil’ ones. We’ve compiled some educational events and resources to help your family celebrate the day.
Talking to our kids about big-picture events can be tricky. Check out some resources specifically for kids:
Have the day off from school? Check out these fun and informative activities going on throughout the city:
- -Dr. MLK Day at Chef Toni’s from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. features a celebration of Dr. King with child classes honoring his favorite dishes.
This was the first year my oldest daughter really understood the whole concept of Santa Clause. In year’s past, we told her the gifts came from him, but she was too young to comprehend all the reindeer, sled, and cookie-eating details. My husband and I realized we needed to get our “Santa game” going when Avery started asking lots of questions…..was Santa was going to bring her gifts this year? How was he going to fit down the chimney? What happens if one of his reindeers gets sick? Does he like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? I have no idea where she was getting all of these questions, but I knew we needed answers quick and those answers needed to be consistent between me and her Dad!
Once we got our stories straight, the fun really began! She was so curious and wanted to watch every movie and read every book on this mysterious Santa Clause. We went to visit him and two of his reindeer, Snowball and Sven (children of Dasher), and this really blew her mind. She asked Santa to bring her two simple gifts and we were relieved! We could totally manage to get her a book and a soft bear without throwing the pocketbook off for the month. The joy from meeting Santa for the first time put a smile on her face that seemed to never end. She was genuinely fascinated that he would take the time to come to our home town when he had so much work to do to get ready for Christmas. We told her that is just what Santa does because he loves good little boys and girls so much!
On Christmas Eve, the anticipation was killing Avery! So many questions on her little mind. Would Santa really come? Would he eat the cookies she left for him? Drink the milk? Remember what she wanted and deliver on her requests? After she was all tucked in, we set the stage for her mind to be blown yet again. We gobbled down the cookies, chugged the milk, and placed the two gifts – a book and a soft bear – under the tree. We double checked that both girls were fast asleep and hit the sack ourselves. The next morning was truly priceless. She was ecstatic over every detail and loved the gifts. She couldn’t believe he remembered what she had asked for! It was a morning to remember for the whole family.
Although Santa Clause and gifts are not the true reason for the season, it was fun to watch her imagination run wild this holiday season! Can’t wait to do it all again next year!
- Sitter2Mom Mindy B.
With the end of the year traditionally high season for a deluge of new babies, we wanted to re-post some oldies but goodies.
One thing in particular that I have been obsessed with is swaddling. The twins were literally taken from the womb & placed immediately into a swaddle.
Here is what a swaddle looks like.
This simple technique mastered by many hospitals to comfort a newborns is preached to new moms as they take their lil’ ones home & boy does it work. The twins stay nestled in a swaddle all day & night. They are completely at ease. It’s when they are taken out of the swaddle for one of their many changes that it gets loud.
Swaddling is quick & easy. Most swaddle blankets even include instruction. Check out these photos to show you how to properly swaddle a baby.
- Keeps baby cozy and mimics the womb
- Helps reduce nighttime scratching
- Helps regulate baby’s temperature until that fully develops
- Can soothe an overstimulated lil’ one
This technique definitely isn’t a one-size fits all solution for helping a lil’ one sleep, but it sure works on my twin nieces & was highly recommended by the nursing staff at Mount Sinai.
-LB aka Aunt Linny
While in the midst of the holiday season it can seem overwhelming with the abundance of new toys, clothes and other additions to your home. Don’t wait for spring… Get organized now!
It’s a great time of year to get rid of the old and donate it, sell it or pass it on. Then get the kids involved and identify where the new toys or misc. items will now live (their designated space) in your home, especially the kids’ room. When children understand that jackets are hung up, hats and gloves go in the designated drawer or bin and socks and shoes also have their own home you will be amazed at how much time, frustration and arguments you reduce. With the younger kids I like to make a game out of it and with the older kids, it’s about being responsible for their belongings and taking care of their stuff. This is a great time to allow natural consequences be the lesson.
As parents and caregivers we have to make sure we are modeling that same behavior and respect with our things. If everything has its home and is organized, it becomes a habit and it will drastically improve transitions, playtime, bedtime, homework and leaving the house. I find simple, kid friendly; organization is the foundation of teaching children about personal responsibility, respect, time management and appreciation.
For more information on quick & easy to implement organizing solutions for your family send an email to email@example.com.
- Ali , Nanny coordinator BFC
Bell Family Company has been a wonderful option for my family. I’m afforded the occasional luncheon with a friend, yoga or spin class, and dinner alone with my husband. As all moms know, a few hours a week among adults (or simply people who speak) provide respite and recharge from the groundhog day of diapering, feeding, and burping a 7 month old. Admittedly, it took me over 5 months to separate myself from my newborn because I had such a horrid experience with a different agency. Who can you trust with your firstborn and much loved child?
The inevitable arrived when I went out to celebrate my anniversary with my husband who was feeling a bit neglected. A seasoned mother in my building referred me to Bell Family and guaranteed a good experience. In a leap of faith, I submitted my kid sitter request and hoped for the best.
Guess who arrived? Mary Poppins! Ok, it was Alice who played Mary Poppins in the Alabama production but for all intensive identification, it was the ultimate baby sitter in my eyes. After my two hour dinner, I found Alice cuddling Kermit and providing all the warmth and love I would want for him. With a short sound-bite of “A Spoonful of Sugar”, she had him from tears to giggles. She is amazing.
In the subsequent two months, I have met a number of other sitters who have impressed and restored my faith in kid providers. Not only is Laura a kind and loving person, she graduated from one of my favorite Big 10 schools and promised to teach me their fight song. Countless others have held my son and provided comfort to him in my absence.
All the sitters shared a common sentiment: Lindsay Bell is remarkable. I had to meet her. And so I did. She’s a savvy New York entrepreneur with sensible midwestern roots and charm. Our meeting solidified my trust in Bell Family Company.
I believe in good karma. I welcome Bell Family’s good energy into my home and am thrilled to meet such fascinating women with incredible New York experiences. Most important, I am so happy Kermit is exposed to such kindness and love. And that’s all a mother could ask.
- Accidental SAHM, Jeanne lives with her 7 month old and hubby in NYC