Category Archives: Events

The Wedding Sitter

It may be cold outside, but we’re looking ahead to wedding season! Did you know that BFC offers wedding sitters and kid zones for your big day?

BFC can help whether you need an extra set of hands, confident door greeters, or need us to fully develop a Bell Family Kid Zone. We can assist to ensure your wedding goes smoothly. Our caregivers are extremely professional, and are comfortable playing with kiddies in event t-shirts or black tie attire.

Mom and Ava Wedding

Our Kid Zones are a custom made, interactive kid-only area designed to plug into your family friendly function. Bell Family designs a one of a kind pop-up play center fully equipped with activity stations that engage and empower your guest’s child, arts and crafts corners to further inspire even the most creative minds, princess, safari and fairy land entertainers that will light up their lil’ eyes, movie night when its wind down time and more!

Additionally, our dedicated sitters can tackle any event issue that may arise; we carefully lead a check-in/check-out station, provide custom take home gift bags and provide a level of exclusive service that will wow you and your guests. Our Bell Family Kid Zone is designed to help make your special day an even bigger success!

The Bell Family sitters & staff were such a relief during my wedding. I had sitters at our hotel caring for the lil’ ones & staff to help onsite with my photographer. It really brought me peace of mind on my big day having trusted women there to take care of anything I needed- Jessica, recent bride NYC

Check out more information on how we can transform your event with a Kid Zone or wedding staffers on our website or email us at

WWW – Santa Baby!

It’s a well known fact that I have LOVED Christmas my entire life!  When my baby sister was in grade school she wrote a school poem about me entitled, “Christmas Freak”.  (Yes, even then she had a biting sense of humor.)  I love the cold weather, the lights & decorations, the music (I’m listening to it as I write this), the cards, selecting presents for people & wrapping them creatively, making holiday cookies & crafts and the general feeling of goodwill among people during this time.  It’s just the most wonderful time of the year…made even more magical by our daughter!

It’s always been amazing to watch her little mind develop, but this holiday just puts her into overdrive.  There are lights and colors and new tastes, sounds and textures!  An everyday trip to Target is an adventure when she spots the holiday aisles from across the store.  She tells me “keep going mommy” until I reach the sparkly trees.  When we decorated our own tree, she couldn’t wait to hang ornaments and then examine each one carefully.  Don’t get me wrong, her excitement lasted for about three ornaments…three longer than my husband’s…but she had fun in the moment!  Now she has her favorites that she visits daily, and each morning as we walk downstairs she says, “Lights on!”

We’ve painted paper plate wreaths, made a handprint Christmas tree, cut Play-Doh shapes with cookie cutters, glued puff balls on foam shapes, decorated her own tiny tree in her play room and made daily “peanut butter guys” with our gingerbread man cookie cutter. Every morning she tries to stand higher on her tippy toes than she did the day before to put a new felt ornament on her Advent calendar.  I’m loving it!!!  She’s learning new concepts and I get to indulge my passion for the season.


One concept she’s got down quite well is a fear of strangers….particularly those in big red suits with long white beards.  She loves the guy from afar, can’t wait to yell his name at every opportunity, gets excited when we read about him in books, but the moment we get up close, all bets are off!   Last year’s Santa picture attempt was so traumatic I won’t even show you.  This year we tested the waters at a local party, and in mom’s arms, with fun auntie making faces behind the camera, it wasn’t so bad.


We’re still not going near the mall Santa, but this was progress.  And progress is what it’s all about with a toddler.  It’s also what it’s all about with a first time mom…like the lesson that you don’t take your 11 month old to visit Santa and expect her to smile for the camera.  Parker and I are navigating these waters together and everyday is an adventure.  I agree that her puff ball penguins should have eyes on their tails and she agrees that our craft time together is more important than me cleaning the house….besides it develops her fine motor skills as she picks up and hands dust bunnies to me J

- jolynn


BFF – A Christmas Spectacular – Radio City Style

  rockettes 3  

Just in time for the onset of the official holiday season, the Bell Family Company headquarters had the privilege of attending the opening night of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance on November 13th! There is no better way to kick off the holiday season. Not only is it an old New York City tradition, but it is a great outing for the whole family!

Radio City

The show keeps the traditional performances of the “Living Nativity” as well as the “wooden soldiers”, while bringing in the new traditions such as digital projections, floating snowflakes, and of course real animals. This year’s plot is about two young boys cannot afford to buy their sister a Christmas present. The eldest boy is a Santa nonbeliever, but he soon sings a different tune when he and his brother are taken on a journey to the North Pole, where presents come alive, and teach the boys that Christmas is not really about the toys, it’s about feeling the magic and believing in the spirit of it all.


My favorite part had to be the floating snowflakes in the number “snow”. It truly felt like magic was coming alive, and left you feeling like a believer yourself. I would recommend the show for children ages two and up.

WWW – Mommy Poppins, Wee Work & Broadway Babes

From our fab Moms at fave blog Mommy Poppins, the yearly opp to take your kids to their first (of many?) Broadway shows is almost upon us.  Check out the deets below on how to be one of the chosen few….


The next Kids’ Night on Broadway (which really needs to be renamed Kids’ Week on Broadway) will take place Friday, January 9 to Thursday, January 15, 2015. Children ages 6 to 18 can see a Broadway show for FREE when accompanied by an adult paying full price. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, November 5 at 11am and frankly, for popular shows like Aladdin, The Lion King, Matilda: The Musical and Wicked, you have to move fast. Find the complete list of participating shows on the website and set your alarm for next Wednesday at 10:59am!

MP_WW logo

While you are whittling away the minutes to purchase tix, check out Wee Work!  A great go to source for rainy day crafts or just when the kids need some focus.  Most crafts are created with household items, so no trips to Michael’s are necessary.  Endless hours of entertainment here as well as seasonal and age skewed activities.

mindy fam

WWW – We Love Fall!

I’m pretty sure there is no better time of the year as a kid than fall…which means there is no better time of the year as a parent!  Although the temps are dropping, especially at our home in Chicago, there is just something special about this beautiful season.  Avery can always tell Fall has arrived when she gets to start wearing her boots and jackets to school every day.  As she gets older (now 3 ½ years old), she is much more into the typical fall activities…hayrides, fall festivals, pumpkin carving, apple picking, and camp fires to name a few.  And her little sister Sydney (now 6 months) is simply along for the ride.

This past weekend, we planned a family trip to Sonny Acres, a local farm that hosts their fall festival in September and October each year.  As we pulled into the parking, Avery’s eyes grew wider and wider as the animals, rides, and pumpkins came into view.  We spent the next several hours on pony rides, feeding goats, picking pumpkins, and spending way too much money on silly rides and comfort food.  At one point, my husband pointed out how much  money we had “wasted” on these silly rides and I asked him to look over at Avery’s face.  She was taking her 5th ride on the tilt-a-whirl and could not control her laughter.  She was having the time of her life, as her little care-free spirit got dizzier and dizzier.  At that moment, the money didn’t seem to matter.  We paused and realized how blessed we are to be able to provide her with these types of experiences.

mindy horse    

As we packed up the newest additions to our family – 2 very large pumpkins Avery hand-picked – we were all smiling ear to ear.  Our noses were pink, our hands were cold, and our feet were tired.  But our hearts were happy and our tummies were full of elephant ears, home-made apple cider donuts, and pink cotton candy.  Another amazing day with the family…thank you Fall!

mindy pumpkin

 - Mindy is a Sitter2Mom with 2 active (and soon to be) little girls residing in the Windy City.

red door front

Bell Family Loves – Spa Days!!! at The Red Door Union Square

Recently, I had the great fortune of a spa day at (newish) The Red Door in Union Square.  With 2 kids at home, working from home for 4 family friendly companies (including our own BFC), homework, dance, hockey, bdays and a hubby who I see occasionally, getting to any sort of female grooming establishment for 10 min is tricky, let alone a few hours for the works.  But the stars aligned and hubby was not on the road so here goes my experience, by far one of the best i have had in years on so many levels….

The Red Door offers all of the traditional spa services, salon services, hair and color & mani/pedi.  They also have a wonderful menu of Speed Services to get you in and out in under 30 minutes

Before you get 5 ft in the door an instant calm comes over you.  ethereal music is piping through the speakers, everyone on the floor has a genuine smile on their face, they really are happy to see you.   I walk to reception, give them my name and i am promptly given the run down of my services and then escorted downstairs for my first experience – a massage with George.

Red Door 1

Ok, the bathrobes in the locker rooms could rival any 4 star hotel in the Caribbean, I really wanted to stuff one in my bag, but I thought better of it.  Once properly dressed, I went to the waiting room, it was pretty, dimly lit & soft cushy couches and cucumber and pomegranate infused waters and tea awaited me.  George came out a few minutes later and we wound down what seemed like an endless hallway to his massage room.  It was 50 minutes of bliss let me tell you, George was great, it was a basic Swedish full body massage, highly recommend him.

Red Door 6

The Waiting Room Du Jour… Red Door 7

After my legs began working again, I detoured through the dressing room, lost my beloved robe and went out to reception, energized for the next phase – hair color – with Rachelle.  She was super sweet and apparently loved doing the colors I was accustomed to – coppery red with hints of burnt orange and chestnut.  Rachelle was swift and efficient, and I was left for the color to settle before being washed out.

Red Door 8

Again in the calm of the mirrors and pictures of haircuts that I could only wish I could carry off.  30 min later, Mandy came over and washed and conditioned me up for my haircut.

Wade was the stylist of the day – an Arizona transplant to NY, he had quite the back story as we chatted.  He made quick work of my simplistic style (as I can’t spend more than 10 min on my hair in the am) and gave me the choppy layers that I love along with a blowout that was perfect for my girls night out later that day.

Red Door 2. JPG

A quick trip outside for some fresh air and a snack and back I was with Nancy – the makeup artiste extraordinaire – who really insisted she give me the benefit of her training.  I must have been the most boring client she had all week as I tend to not wear makeup save for special occasions such as weddings.  I asked for subtle and earth tones as girls night at the Billy Joel concert did not call for full eye makeup and a clubbing vibe.  What she did was perfect,  it moisturized, calmed, colored and highlighted my skin.  I lost count of how many different products were used, but it didn’t feel heavy at all.   And the client before me was going all out and Nancy did a wonderful job.  Best of all, there is no obligation to purchase any of the Elizabeth Arden products with the mini makeover, but of course they will welcome your credit card.

Red Door 5

All in all, it was a wonderfully spent 3.5 hours which I would do again when those stars align, say in a year or so.

Woo Hoo – everyone benefits – My Favorite manager Amanda has offered 20% off services Mon – Thurs, just mention Bell Family!

These services were provided free of charge in exchange for this review of Red Door, all opinions are the writer’s own.  

- Kelly Miller is a work at home mom who consults for BFC, Baby Loves Disco, Miles of Marketing and more.  She can be seen out and about with her 8 and 4 yrs olds in tow… 

Halloween Trick or Treats? How to manage the sweets!

With Halloween right around the corner, parents cringe when they think about the still “candy driven festivity.” How can we allow the kids to partake in an age-old tradition while not being a killjoy or allowing them to devour all the processed sugar they receive? Here are some fun easy solutions to enjoying the tradition and setting limits!

Have a Halloween Party: Invite over a few of your children’s friends and enjoy party games, prizes, and healthier treats. Focus on the costumes and celebrate with Halloween music, traditional Halloween games and treats galore…but without all the extra high fructose corn syrup.

Halloween Goblin: After the kids come home from trick or treating allow the kids to eat as much candy as they want (within reason) and they can save 1-2 pieces (hide them from the Halloween Goblin) who comes over the night and takes the candy (wink, wink).

Candy Swap: When the kids come home and spill out their candy. Let them swap their treats with siblings and friends for their favorites. Then after they enjoy a few pieces stash the rest away for later enjoyment.

Buy Out: When the kids come home, and select a few pieces to enjoy, parents offer to trade all the candy for a desired toy, game, healthier treat, like Pinkberry, or an experience the child is excited about?

Self-Regulation: Teach the kids that candy should be enjoyed in minimum qualities, talk about the ingredients and encourage them to make healthy choices for their bodies.

Halloween is a wonderful, fun holiday that many kids still look forward too today and it’s our responsibility as parents and caregivers to set limits and teach by example a healthy relationship with food and making healthy decisions for our bodies!

 - Ali Shepard, nanny extraordainaire and BFC contributor



Fun Fridays – Crave Culture At The Jewish Museum

Common misconception – You do not have to be Jewish to appreciate the revolving installations at this Upper East Side Museum.   Saturdays are FREE for everyone and kids under 18 get in FREE all other days of the week. Our friends at The Jewish Museum have put together some great ideas and facts for the wee ones when exploring beyond the playground and usual playspaces.  NYC is abundant with culture, just there for the taking, don’t miss out!  (Psst, BFC reader discount on membership below, so read on!)

From The Jewish Museum’s Education Department – written by Nelly Silagy Benedek, Director of Education; Rachel Katz Levine, Senior Manager of Family Programs; and Rachael Abrams, Senior Coordinator of Studio Programs.

Why is culture important for early learners?

Having cultural experiences at a young age supports the development of critical learning skills in fun and engaging ways. The Jewish Museum’s family programs encourage young children to look closely, describe, move, and think in response to original works of art through gallery and studio art experiences.  Similarly, our family concerts inspire children to listen actively and express themselves by singing and dancing—all this in a friendly, collaborative environment. Through their participation in gallery conversations, performances, and hands-on activities, children express themselves creatively. They also learn how to share their experiences with others.

Studio art is an important component of our early childhood programming. Families create original works of art inspired by their experiences and by the works of art they encounter in the Museum’s exhibitions. Our studio art programs and projects emphasize the importance of using the imagination, articulating objectives, experimenting with different materials, developing original ideas, making thoughtful choices, learning from mistakes, and expressing different points of view.

Family programs at museums offer enriching artistic and cultural experiences for multi-generational audiences in an environment where families can learn together.  Furthermore, children who begin coming to museums at a young age are more likely to feel comfortable in museums and other cultural institutions and are more likely to seek out similar experiences throughout their lives. We hope that visiting museums at a young age is a first step to fostering a life-long passion for the arts.

How can my children and I better engage with art as a family?

•           Follow your child’s lead. What sparks his or her interest?

•           Look closely. Describe what you notice in a work of art. Explore the colors, shapes, textures, and materials that you see. Discuss what is happening in a scene.

•           Take your time. Give your kids time to make close observations.

•           Choose a theme. Plan your museum visit around an idea or topic, such as people, place, nature, color, shape or materials. Hunt for specific images or objects in the galleries. Discuss the artwork by asking questions related to your theme. For example: Find a work of art that involves something from nature such as an animal, tree or plant. Have you ever seen this animal or plant before? Where? How is this work of art similar or different from the real animal or plant?

•           Ask open-ended questions, such as: What do you think is interesting about this work of art? What do you think is happening in this scene? Does this remind you of anything?

The Jewish Museum is pleased to offer your readers a discount on family memberships.  Normally a Jewish Museum family membership is $135, but we can provide a special rate of $100 just for your readers who join by December 31, 2014.  Readers can use the discount code BELFAM and redeem the offer by:

-       Emailing the membership desk at

-       Call the membership hotline at 212.660.1519

-       Visiting the membership desk at the Jewish Museum and mentioning the code or bringing in the blog entry

Further information about membership at the Jewish Museum and benefits can found at by looking at the section headed “Family $135.”

Pedal to the Metal – Cycle For Survival

For the past 3 years Lindsay and Family have Cycled for Survival for this great cause.  2015 will be no exception to that rule.  We have our bike shorts and shoes on and are ready to sweat.

Consider joining the Bell Family team this year or creating your own, its a fun day of exercise and fun, even if you have never taken a spin class in your life.

Cycle for Survival is one of the fastest growing fundraising events in the world having raised over $50 million dollars for rare cancer research and funded more than 100 clinical trials and research studies since it was founded in 2007. Jennifer and David Lynn co-founded the indoor team cycling event to raise crucial funds for rare cancer research. All of the funds raised in Cycle for Survival go directly to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and are allocated within six months of each event which has drastically reduced the time it takes for treatments to reach patients — in some cases cutting the span from years to months. Cycle for Survival is an event that Bell Family participates in by both raising awareness and supporting the event with a cycling team in NYC.

Here are the stats for this year’s Cycle for Survival:

  • 9 days, 13 cities, 49 rides, 4,500 bikes & 20k participants
  • 2015 Cities include: Boston, Chicago, Greenwich, Long Island, LA, Miami, Dallas,  New York City, San Fran, Palo Alto, Seattle, Summit NJ & Washington DC


KCS train

Keep em entertained !

Living in the city with kids has a slew of considerations all their own (what other city do you have to register for preschool while the kid is still utero ??).  Kids need freedom, they need space and most of all in a city like NYC they need an outlet for their energy that could power a freight train.

Whether it is art, music, gymnastics, bowling,  checkers, DJ academy or gardening to name a few, the apple has a ridiculous amount of offerings for the wee ones up to high school.  And it can make your head spin when trying to navigate the options, it’s plain overwhelming.  Our friends at Kidz Central Station are trying their hardest (and succeeding) in helping make this process painless.  Their one stop shop gives you 3 click access from looking to booking and then moving on to more pressing issues, like a glass of wine ;-)

Kidz Central Station: Your Go-To Resource for Kids’ Fall Classes

If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids active and learning this fall, check out Kidz Central Station a one-stop-shop for parents to find, compare, and enroll their children in classes and activities in and around NYC! With over 3,000 classes to choose from (in music, art, soccer, ballet, mommy and me, and so much more!), Kidz Central Station makes it easy for busy parents to find and manage their kids’ activities all in once place. Use the site to:

  • Narrow a class search by age, location, class type, date, and price.
  • Enroll in hundreds of NYC’s top class providers, such as 92Y, Gymboree, Little Maestros, and Super Soccer Stars.
  • Sign up for trial classes.
  • Earn reward points! With the Kidz Rewards program, the more classes you book, the more discounts you earn toward future purchases!

Visit Kidz Central Station to check out all of the great activities for your child this fall!