A Country Birthday in a City Apartment

My son’s first birthday party got the label of “Brooks’ Barnyard Bonanza!”

Based on his expressions it looked like he had a great time, but he’s only one, so it’s a little hard to tell. What I know for sure is that I had fun planning it, and the day off wasn’t too bad either.

My goals were to enjoy the moment and not get stressed, to not spend a lot of money, and to keep it focused on the type of birthdays I had growing up back home in Ohio.

My first task was to think of a theme. Farm and country got my vote.

Second, compile an invite list and create a design for the invitation. I outsourced adding all the e-mails to the evite I designed. Both of these were free!

Third, what to eat? I wanted to keep with the tradition of the birthday parties I remember, so I made my mom’s sloppy joes. Only one person at the party knew what a sloppy joe was (maybe these are a Midwest thing), but once people tried them they ended up being a crowd favorite. I also got an easy recipe for potato salad, which I would have bought, but no one sold it nearby. The potato salad took under 45 minutes and it turned out awesome!

Next, the cake. My husband wanted to help, so I gave this to him, but somehow I ended up executing on the matter. He ordered a cake from a grocery store on Long Island for $35, and let me tell you people, it was the most delicious cake I ever had. I ended up buying decorative icing to draw a cow and a barn on it, because my husband didn’t want to ask. It all worked out.

Forth, what to drink? My husband helped with this, too. I made the list and he bought beer, champagne, and orange juice.

Fifth (my favorite), the decorations. I am the product of two teachers and the oldest of five girls, so I grew up crafty. I made a homemade cow out of our dinner table by ordering a cow table cloth from Amazon, drawing a cow head, cutting out hooves for the table legs, and making a tail out of belts. Then, I cut out a barn along with some sun and clouds to make a farm on our family room wall. I bought a dozen cowboy hats to be placed on the back of chairs and around the apartment. The final thing was a ‘Yee Haw’ sign on the wall.

The attire for the party of course involved wearing flannels and jeans. My son also had a farmer bib to eat his cake.

I think the entire party cost me $300.00, which in NYC is about the cost for a custom cake.

If you need help with your next party let me know!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 1 – Bottle Prep

Welcome to the start of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we’ll be releasing a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.

This week we are featuring a training video about bottle prep!

Always follow the parent’s instruction on what type of milk they would like you to prep for the bottle. The three different types of milk include:

1. Breast milk only: The mother will either freeze or refrigerate her milk and have it clearly labeled. Make sure it is not old or sitting out for more than an hour.

2. Formula only: The video linked above walks through the instruction on powder formula, but there is also full strength liquid formula, which is fully prepared.

3. Breast milk and formula: Some moms will mix the two, and some will feed the baby a formula bottle, followed by a bottle with only breast milk. The reason for this is because some moms don’t produce enough milk, some are weening, etc.

When heating the bottle you can us a bottle warmer, heat the milk on the stove/microwave or, let it sit in a warm bowl for 5-10 minutes. Test the bottle’s temperature on the outside of your hand before giving it to a baby.

You also want to make sure the bottle is clean and that there is nothing in the bottle from the dishwasher. When assembling the bottle, make sure you secure the nipple tightly and that there is no room for leaks.

Every family has a different way of doing things, so be sure to ask the family for full instructions on how they would like you to prepare the bottle.

If the baby is not taking the bottle for some reason, text the family and let them know. It’s always a good idea to keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.

These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.

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Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

“Tales from the Top” from Female Entrepreneurs

I recently attended the Cornell Tech @ Bloomberg speaker series, featuring three successful female entrepreneurs. While there, they shared their “tales from the top” along with Cornell Tech students, Bloomberg employees, and the New York City tech industry.

Three female entrepreneurs were featured (two of them also mothers) including:

Katia Beauchamp founder of Birchbox,
Brit Morin founder of Brit + Co, and
Nadia Boujarwah founder of  DAI Global, LLC.

After listening to these three women, my takeaway tips for other entrepreneurs are:

1. What are you feeling or looking for? Sit in a silent space and give yourself time to reflect and think about the big picture.

2. Listen for work arounds. What should the core product be?

3. Verge into digital – try doing video rather than editorial. It will save you a lot of time and garner more views.

4. How do you champion other women? Get out there and mentor (i.e., e-mail women back that need help, be supportive not competitive). It’s hard enough out there!

 

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

goBaby: Your Source for Making Infant Travel Easy

It’s time to make traveling with your little one(s) easy and stress-free!

Meet goBaby – the Airbnb for Baby-Gear-on-the-Go.

We had the chance to meet with goBaby’s founder, Natalie Kaminski, and found out what you need to know about this on demand app today.

Q: What led you to the idea behind goBaby? Was there a specific time or event where you recognized the need for rental baby gear? 

A: Traveling with kids is a lot of fun, but it is also very stressful. And having to carry all the stuff that kids need does not make it any easier. As a mother of two young daughters who takes several family trips per year, I have experienced this problem first hand. Following a trip to Chicago where I was able to borrow a car from a friend, but couldn’t find a way to rent a car seat, the idea for goBaby was born. I just could not believe that this type of service was not yet available, and as a digital product developer, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.

Q: Why should parents turn to goBaby when traveling?

Because it is super convenient! goBaby wants to make family travel easier. We want to allow parents to pack light instead of hauling bulky equipment, and rest assured that they can easily rent anything they may need for their children on-the-go.

Q: How does someone go about renting baby gear, or offering their own for others to rent through your app?

The goBaby app is very easy to use. After you download the app, you can search the available items by specifying location and dates. The app will present you with a list of items to choose from, and you can review photos, description, pricing and delivery items. Once you find the item you like, you make a booking request, which will be sent to the owner.

Listing an item is equally straightforward. Create an account, snap a photo of your item, provide description, pricing, and delivery options and you are good to go!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

A Giant Leap for Toddler-Kind

When it’s time for a child to take their first steps, a wave of excitement comes over parents. However, it also seems that the feeling of excitement is also paired with anxiety, caution, and nervousness. Good times, right parents?

One thing that can help ease some of these scary thoughts, is thinking about all of the cute shoes you can  pick out! Let’s face it, any shoe in mini form is adorable.

To help with picking out shoes for your toddler, we found a great article posted by Lucie’s List, which talks about the biggest things to look out for prior to purchasing, as well as some of the top walking shoes.

Here are some things to keep in mind before purchasing:

1. Size does matter. At your first go round – take a trip to an actual kids’ shoe store and have your child’s foot measured by a specialist. Also, pay attention to the width of your child’s feet to see if you’ll need shoes that run wide.

2. One size fits today. Don’t buy bigger shoes for the months ahead. Shoes that are too big are hard to walk in and can cause falling or tripping.

3. Bend it like Beckham. Shoes for toddlers should bend easily in your hand. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that toddlers wear lightweight and flexible shoes that allow their feet to move naturally.

4. New versus used. Generally used shoes for young kids take a beating and tend to be “single-user” items. Higher quality shoes last much longer and may be able to be handed down to another kiddo.

Here are some of the top infant walking shoes:

- See Kai Run
- Pediped
- Stride Rite
- Tsukihoshi
- Livie & Luca

For the complete article on the Lucie’s List website, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

When to Part Ways with Swaddling

Swaddling a newborn seems to have turned into a form of art. So, for all of the parents out there who want their inner-Picasso to shine, now’s your time!

As for those parents whose art skills don’t go beyond their elementary school coloring book, there’s the thought, “How much longer do I need to wrap my newborn up like a burrito?”

In a recent post published by The Bump, they talk about the best time to stop swaddling your baby.

“Parents should stop swaddling their babies by three or four months. At this time, most full-term infants are acclimated to life outside of the womb and no longer crave the constriction of a swaddle.”

Rest assured parents, the constant swaddling does have an end point! Once the baby has reached the four month milestone, he/she takes to moving around in their sleep. Don’t be alarmed – this is good news, as it gives the baby exercise and helps them develop towards even greater milestones, such as crawling and walking.

For the full article on The Bump website, click here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

When Your Lil’ One Has Eczema

Ahhhh my baby has eczema!

I’ve spotted small dry spots on my son since he was a newborn. I’ve always treated the spots with Vaseline or Aquafor, rubbing the ointment into his dry patches. I then followed up with a fragrance free moisturizing lotion like Babyganics, and smoothed that all over his body.

Since then the dry spots have gotten progressively worse.

Last night my baby woke up around midnight (which is odd - so close to when I go to bed – he never does that); and he was so agitated. His body could not get comfortable, and he kept trying to get out of my arms. I tried feeding him 2 oz. of formula, then another 2 oz., which he took down, but still was not satisfied.

I know his teeth are trying to come through, so that is an on-going thing to blame for these behaviors, but this time it seemed different. He started to use his nails to scratch his sides, which have patches of dry skin on them as does his back.

After an hour, I wondered if his skin was just so dry that he couldn’t get comfortable. I got the lotion and rubbed it all over him. Then I sat him down next to me, rubbed his back for a few minutes, and the little guy fell asleep in that position. As soon as I found the dry spot he was out for the night.

In the morning, I called the pediatrician because he was scratching the spots and causing them to bleed. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t an allergic reaction.

The doctor said it was eczema.

Once I received the remedy (rub Hydrocortisone cream 1% on the dry patches/spots and then lather up his body in Vani Cream), my lil’ guy felt good as new!

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Written by our Founder & CEO, Lindsay Bell

What Parents Want in a Sitter

To pinpoint only a few items that parents look for in a sitter can be difficult. When it comes to someone else caring for their little one(s), the ”want” list in terms of childcare can soon fill an entire notebook.

So, what exactly are parents looking for? We asked a dozen families, what are the top three things they want in a sitter?

1. Reliability - Be on time!
2. Ability to engage - Energetic and positive sitter to play with their child.
3. Trust - Knowing that the sitter will always do what is right.

Additionally, we were able to gather a handful of parents from Bell Family to provide insight as to what they look for in a sitter. Here’s what they had to say…

“The most important thing is a responsible person who we can immediately trust with the safety and well being of our child.”
Mom of 1, Tribeca

“I want my son to feel loved and cared for while I’m gone. I want a sitter that will smile, laugh, dance, play and engage him. Seeing a happy baby when I get home makes me feel less bad for leaving.”
Mom of 1, Midtown East

“Knowing I can go to work and focus on providing for my family with peace of mind that my little one is in great hands, is the most at-ease feeling a working mom can hope for.”
Mom of one, 9 months

“A key aspect when choosing a babysitter for our son, was knowing our sitter personally and understanding her experience and how that will assist with her time with our son. I know that’s not always the case when searching for a qualified babysitter so I would rely highly on recommendations. I would observe his interactions with someone we were interviewing in addition to the recommendations by others.”
Mom of one, 6 months

“The sitter needs to have been recommended by someone I trust.”
Mom of one, 3yrs old

The Bell Family team is confident that if you take this advice with you on all of your sitting adventures, you will make for one praiseworthy sitter!

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Have a Birthing Experience Like an A-Lister

Giving birth to your newborn child is one of life’s most precious things to experience (or so I’ve heard). That doesn’t go without saying that there are some not so precious things that occur during labor. To spare everyone of all the glorious details, let’s instead talk about how giving birth can be one of the most luxurious experiences of your life!

You’ve heard it here first; labor can be an experience where you feel like a queen, and it may leave you never wanting to leave that hospital room again.

In an article published by parents.com, they introduce some of the most luxurious birthing suites in the US. That’s right ladies, think spa treatments, 24-hour concierge service, and a private chef! It’s time to leave the roommate life behind, and experience a birthing experience as Amal Clooney would.

  1. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
    Birthing suites are designed to look like the outdoors! Oh yeah, your food is delivered by a tuxedo-wearing “food ambassador.”
  2. Rose Medical Center in Denver
    Birthing rooms have private bathrooms with Jacuzzi bathtubs, rocking chairs, and flat-screen TVs. To be totally low key, VIPs can enter one of the luxury suites, and be offered the services of a private chef.
  3. Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles
    If a three-room suite isn’t enough, mom can treat herself to an in-suite manicure, pedicure, or haircut. Celebs like Kourtney Kardashian, Rachel Zoe, and Victoria Beckham have given birth here, so start planning your totally casual celeb run-in now.
  4. The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
    Enjoy your luxury suite overlooking Central Park and have your newborn wrapped in muslin cotton swaddling blankets. And no mom leaves without a postpartum massage!
  5. The Women’s & Children’s Hospital at Centennial in Nashville
    How about a 24/7 concierge service to handle your requests? From making sure your car gets an oil change to delivering food from Nashville-area restaurants – can we say VIP?

 

We provided the top five luxurious birthing suites. For the remaining five you can read the full article, here.

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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Treat Your Head Right with Headspace

Happy. Healthy. Enjoyable.

These are three words that describe the teachings of Headspace to help motivate everyone to live their best life.

Headspace was launched in 2010 by two passionate head health individuals, Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson. Their mission – to get people everywhere to look after their health of the mind by sitting to meditate for a few minutes a day, everyday.

Headspace quickly grew from their events company when attendees wanted to take the techniques they’d learned home with them. Since then, Headspace has worked to make such techniques available through events, books, and a comprehensive online resource and mobile app service. Headspace is now used in over 190 countries, with the books translated into 12 different languages.

In June 2016, Headspace released their newest product, Headspace for Kids. This program was created to teach children the basics of meditation and mindfulness in a fun and engaging way, for both kids and parents to enjoy together. Headspace for Kids is offered for three age groups 1) Five and under, 2) Six to eight, and 3) Nine to 12.

For complete information about Headspace, visit their website.

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Image provided by headspace.com.

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell