Category Archives: Bell Family Fridays

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 Info@BellFamilyCompany.com

BFC – Adventure in Gettysburg

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.

Swope Manor

 

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.

eisenhower map

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.

-Lindsay

 

BFF – When to Give Your Nanny a Raise?

There are so  many factors that go into setting a nanny salary, and each nanny/family pair is truly different.  However, we’ve compiled some industry standards to help you make your decision.

Nannies are an integral part of your family’s life. A great time to discuss raises is during your nanny’s yearly review, when you get the chance to talk about any changes, feedback as well as rewarding your nanny for her hard work.

Mary Poppins

Generally speaking, most families reward their nannies with a raise each year. Your nanny may seem like a member of the family, but remember she is also a professional. Typically, a recommended salary increase is the rate of inflation plus anywhere from 0-3% depending on performance. If your nanny is now taking care of an extra baby, a pet, or changed her list of duties, make sure to take that into consideration as well.

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Another good time to discuss a raise is if your nanny received additional education or certifications from her initial hire. This will make her more attractive to other families and more valuable to yours, so make sure you are compensating her accordingly.

The thought of spending more money each year for your nanny can be daunting, especially if it’s not in your budget. But remember, your nanny has expenses too and inflation and the economy do affect her. Sometimes families elect to give the nanny a bigger bonus at the end of a year, increase her vacation days, or pay more into her health insurance. The important thing is having a frank conversation with your nanny and being upfront about what your family can offer her.

-Lindsay Bell Wallace, President and Founder, and Lauren DiRuggiero

BFC to the Rescue

Bell Family 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?

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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 my sitter who played Mary Poppins in the Atlanta production but for all intensive identification, it was the ultimate babysitter 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.

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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 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.

-Jeanne 

BFL – Bedtime Routine Tips from the Experts!

Big City Moms has always supporting LLD & BFC, invited us a while back to their Sleep Experts Lunch to speak about the importance of communicating bedtime routines to your sitter. Here are a few important tips!

Newborn-sleeping
1. Give your sitter a tour of your home. Show your sitter the kids rooms, point out dangerous areas you want the kids to stay away from and give specific instructions on how things work.

2. Bedtime Rules. Talk to your sitter about your bedtime routine with the kids i.e. What time do you begin to wind down the night? What is your child’s favorite story and/or bedtime song? What time should they be asleep by?

3. Special Instructions.  Are there any special rules you have? Do your kids have any allergies the sitter should know about? Are the kid’s sick and need medicine?

4. Exchange Contact Info. Be sure to leave your sitter with your cell phone and an emergency contact numbers. Be sure to get her cell phone number so that you can text her throughout the night if you have any questions or to check in.

5. Anything else? Sitters are happy to lend a helping hand. If you’d like them to unload the dishwasher or change the laundry most sitters won’t mind. Especially once they have been at your home a few times and you feel connected to them. They will be happy to help!

I stayed to listen to Kira Ryan, mom, sleep lover and co-founder of Dream Team speak about her infant& toddler sleep tips. Here are a few!

  • Newborns should get 15-18 hours of sleep per day (24hrs)
  • A good bedtime for an infant is between 6-8pm
  • Signs of a sleepy infant: the cry is different, no engagement or eye contact, fussy
  • What is normal?
    • Up to 6 mo infants take naps every1 ½ -2 hours
    • At 6mo infants usually take 2 naps per day
    • 15-18 mo 1 long nap in the afternoon
    • Naps or ‘quiet time’ is recommended up to 3-4 years
    • White noise machines are great especially for city noise
    • Crib should be a sleep sanctuary, anything that screams party or playground should be removed
    • Check the nursery temperature! It should be between 68-72 F.
    • Is the room dark enough? Get blackout shades!

For more info on Dream Team click here

BFF – Ahhhh Arbonne

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. In a study conducted by naturalnews.com, they 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.

Arbonne photo

My experience with the Arbonne anti-aging kit was excellent. 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 Sitter Coordinator and resident beauty guinea pig

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.

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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.

miles fam

Fun Fridays – Behind the Scenes with Miles – BFC everything…

Another installment of behind the scenes… this time with Miles Spencer, the man behind the curtain at BFC..

How did you meet Lindsay and get involved with BFC?

We were introduced by my lawyer, who knew I had young kids in my portfolio- I guess she thought I should have an investment to match my new lifestyle!

You have been involved with start ups for years now, how has this company differed from your other passion projects beyond the fact that it is family based not techy or consumer product?

That’s the thing- it is tech, and it is the ultimate consumer product. Bell Family is a platform that matches supply (sitters and nannies) with demand (families). What Greg and Lindsay have done to convert the old process of phone and text into a working algorithm is simply amazing. And the fact that it is entirely referral only makes me feel were all in the same club.

How have your kids changed your life?  Day to day and big picture

Well, they were reason #1 in my second marriage, so their arrival was actually the realization of a big goal. Everyone laughed when I used to say “kids won’t change me”, and in many ways they haven’t: they have added to me. I just made a Demo Day presentation to 500 investors in Silicon Valley, and began by singing  a few lines from Everything is Awesome from the Lego Movie, and the first slide had Emmet in it.

Perfect date night, what does it entail?

Meli and me. Anywhere.

Favorite band?

U2

Favorite City?

The next one…

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

 

rope-course

Playground Hacks That Save the Day

From our friends over at Red Tricycle, (photo courtesy of Under The Sycamore) some ingenious ideas that will have you going, duh!! and making the same old same old, not so same anymore……

An afternoon at your favorite playground is bound to throw you for a loop at some point. From critters in the sandbox to splinters on the seesaw, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. No worries — just try one of these hacks for a safer, more fun adventure. Read on and get ready to MacGyver your local playground!

#1 When kiddo’s favorite jungle gym is closed for renovations, never fear. You can spice up a skimpy playground by making your own jungle gym with yarn. Simply tie pieces around the base of different trees and let them loose.

#2 Ward off creepy crawlers in the sandbox by sprinkling it with cinnamon before letting your little ones climb in.

#3 Transform playground flower bed bricks into a curvy highway with chalk. Not to fear: It will wash off with the next rain shower.

#4 Let Junior sit on a dryer sheet while going down a static-filled slide. Bye-bye Einstein hair!

#5 If your little princess insists on wearing her slippery, plastic “Frozen” slippers to the playground, squeeze on a few rows of glue-gun glue to boost grip.

#6 Calling all parents of curious tots! Check playground openings and holes with a half-folded dollar bill. To avoid head entrapment, no opening should be larger than a half inch.

#7 For super-crowded playgrounds, write your contact info on your kid’s wrist with a fine point Sharpie and coat with a layer of liquid bandage. You can never be too cautious.

#8 Be the hero mom or dad of the neighborhood playground by creating a Bubble Refill Station (glycerin, soap, water).

#9 Bring baby siblings to the playground and let them play in a small inflatable pool. They’ll feel like they’re part of the action with the big kids, but won’t get run over by them.

#10 Bucket swings a bust? Clip on a SwingEase, a portable mini seat that securely attaches to standard swings, converting them to fit kids 6-36 months. Genius, right?