Category Archives: sitter

BFL – Baby To Go – Tips and tricks for winter with the wee ones


Baby To Go – in the cold!

Do’s & Don’ts for Safe Winter Adventures

The seasons have changed *fast* here in the Northeast, and we are heading into the winter! Just because the temperatures have dropped, that doesn’t mean we all need to stay home, but it’s important to keep our babies safe and warm.

BTG-shower cap car seat

DO – Use layers to bundle.

It is understandable to want to keep our tiny babes as warm as possible when it’s so cold outside, but puffy winter coats can interfere with correct fit of car seat harness straps, and overheating can be more dangerous than a slight chill. Concentrate on the extremities – keep tiny fingers and toes warm with socks and mittens.  Layer a light fleece under a heavier jacket so that the jacket can be removed in the car. A good rule of thumb for babies younger than 12 months is to add one more layer than you are wearing. Be sure to have a warm hat for baby, as most body heat escapes through the head.

DON’T – Use puffy coats or after-market car seat covers that interfere with the harness straps.

Injuries sustained in car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. With that in mind, it is important to minimize risk by using car seats in the safest way possible. Coats with too much bulk make it difficult or impossible to tighten car seat straps correctly, and can make an accident more dangerous. Car seats are not crash tested or designed to be used with after-market accessories, and anything that interferes with the harness straps can reduce the safety. Instead, tuck a blanket around your little one after the harness is safely fitted or look for shower cap style covers that don’t touch the harness straps.


DO -Use your body heat.

Babywearing has offers incredible benefits to both the parent and baby. In the winter, wearing keeps both of you warmer. Use a maternity coat or a jacket a size or two too large to zip over baby snuggles. There are also many specialty baby wearing coats and jackets available.

DON’T – Overdo it.

Babies, especially younger infants, lack the ability to regulate their own body temperature. Babywearing can help, but your baby will get colder quicker than you. Limit outdoor activities when the temperature drops too low, and take breaks indoors to warm up. Watch for signals that baby is too cold – blue lips, pale nose or fingertips, fussy or lethargic – or overheating – sweaty, flushed cheeks, bumpy rash.

BTG - skiing

- Sarah Ludwig is a stay at home mom who never stays at home. She loves helping families on their path to parenthood, and works as a childbirth educator, doula, and CPST. She is a Babywearing Educator with the local chapter of Babywearing International, and she blogs about her adventures at

BFL – Teaching an Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving has just passed, and of course I am excited about so many things. Holiday from work, vacation to Denver, CO, to see my wonderful old friends, and my first gluten free turkey day dinner!


I get very nostalgic and joyful around this time of year. Like many of us I become aware of how much I love life and others and how I want to spread my wings and give back to my community. And while I’d like to have a smaller waistline, less student loan debt and vets bills, and have more time for yoga, I am aware of just how blessed, lucky and down right thankful I am for all the gifts I have in my life!

Teaching kids about gratitude and thankfulness is a hot topic around the holidays in America and other parts of the world. We participate in food drives to feed the hungry, donate clothes, volunteer at soup kitchens or get involved in other ways of giving to others in our communities and beyond. It feels good to give back, and it feels even better when a child participates in service work and acknowledges their own gifts and want to share with others.

Here are some helpful tips on teaching kids about gratitude and being thankful during the holidays and and throughout the year.

  • Teach simple manners: Please, excuse me, thank you.
  • Sharing is caring and is the foundation of giving to another.
  • Make a gratitude list at the start or end of your day.
  • Play gratitude ping-pong.
  • Create a gratitude art project. Have your child draw a picture of what makes them happy and discuss the connection of happiness to thankfulness and gratitude.
  • Read a book or watch a movie that sends the message of gratitude and appreciation. Then talk about it!
    • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
    • Small Blessings, by Erica Becker
    • Have you Filled a Bucket Today?,  by Carol McCloud
  • Have a regular conversation about gratitude and giving back!
  • As parents and caregivers the best way we can teach our youngsters is by role modeling.
  • Gratitude starts with respect and acknowledgement of others and having polite manners.
  • Acknowledgment of others and a positive outlook!
  • Teach empathy.
  • Get involved with a community outreach program that support underserved populations.

Have a very Happy Holiday Season!

- Ali Sheppard


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 – Holidays are Upon Us

It’s officially that time of year…

I was driving home from work earlier this week and was struggling to find a song that I had not already heard 30 times that week when I came across the “holly” station on Sirius- and there blaring away was Elvis Presley’s version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.  It was then that it hit me, Halloween had come and gone and here we are, mid November, moving full steam ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas!



And truth be told I really am very excited, I’m not ready for the endless replaying of Christmas music on the radio and in every store but I am ready for everything else that comes with it; time off from work, delicious meals that I am not yet preparing, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, quality time with the fam, fires, buying presents, picking out our tree, decorating the tree, the list goes on! And at the very top of the list is being able to experience the holidays with our daughter, who will be 15 and 16 months.  While planning and packing for her adds an entirely new somewhat stressful element, the opportunity to experience and relive the holidays through her eyes all over again is worth every painstaking second of the holly station from now through January!

- Sam Heller, Sitter2Mom extraordinaire…


BFL – Gift Guides Galore, oh my is it that time of year?

Is that Jingle Bells I hear already?  Halloween is barely over and the holiday music, decorations and displays are abundant.  I swear each year it moves up a week, soon we will be making lists right after Valentine’s Day.  While this is great for planners (such as myself), not everyone has the headspace to make a list, check it twice and buy everything in advance.  So BFC is making it a tad bit easier and doing you a  favor… We’ve gathered a few of our favorite gift guide picks…


Cool Mom Picks – always a favorite for their out of the box thinking and eclectic taste.  This year they have 2 guides…  Their Indie Gift Store & The Classic Holiday Gift Guide chock full of amazing categories from Foodies, to DIY, Homemade, Frozen Toddler Gifts, In Laws and more.  Don’t forget to check out the Cool STEM gifts for girls then scroll down and ETW the greatest gifts with a prize package worth over $800…


Uncommon Goods is a gem of a website and catalog.  Always inspiring and just plain neat (yes I’m aware that word went out in the 70′s).  Great stuff for everyone at every price point.  Check out their 20 Gifts for People Under 20 Gift Guide while you are perusing through.

RT stackedRed Tricycle has a whole slew of mini gift guides for tots to tweens and beyond.   While you are there, sign up for your city edition of the hottest happenings in your area each week.

Stem photograph courtesy of Cool Mom Picks

- Kelly Miller is a contributing writer and consultant for BFC.  She has 90% of her holiday shopping done already, but ill probably now spend more after writing this article as she discovered lots more cool stuff her kids must have….


BFL – weeSpring – gear reviews by mamas for mamas

Much in the tradition of Yelp, Open Table, Mommy Nearest and all of the other review sites that seem to be popping up like a dandelion not wanting to be picked comes weeSpring – a site for parents by parents that is review driven.   A few years old they are already a trusted source for everything  from bottles to gear, to food, to diapers and more.  You can add your own products if you don’t see them, comment on others, like and love everything.


Hear from Ally, the founder on why she started and join today!

The first time I walked into a Babies R Us, I burst into tears. I looked up at a ten-foot wall of baby bottles and saw – in all of those options – a metaphor for how completely unprepared I was for the hundreds (thousands!) of choices I’d have to make for my baby.

We founded weeSpring because we wanted new and expecting parents to have a simple, accessible resource where they can find out what helped them survive the early months, and then pass on their own tried-and-true advice.

We also realize that while there’s no shortage of people telling you what you should buy, it’s your friends who will tell you what you shouldn’t. Being a new parent is expensive enough, without buying things you don’t need or that don’t work.



WWW – Weekend with the Kids

My weekends typically were filled with non-stop babysitting during  my 20s. I babysat All. The. Time. & I loved it

Since my toddler nieces were born, I have filled in as much as I can for a true taste of working momness and I get the sweet memories of my babysitting days.

A few weeks ago, my new husband & I ventured to NJ to stay for a weekend with the ‘nugs’ as my family calls them. They are very cheerful and love to get into everything. My husband was constantly surprised how fast they could make it up their highchair side when you looked away for one second, or when you followed them into the bathroom, and they are already climbing to get on top of the toilet.

They are really funny.

Do any of your kids fake sneeze? These two fake sneeze all the time. & then they laugh about it.  And both of them get this face when they say ‘ohhhh No’ & hold their head like they are in real distress. Its hysterical.

Their favorite activity is being pulled in a wagon. Here’s a picture of us pulling them along looking at Halloween décor. They don’t cry one bit, just are so observant as we point out all the different trees, houses & pumpkins to look at.


These two nugs certainly are getting heavy. They weigh 25lbs each, so when my husband went to get dinner, I lugged them both up stairs & gave them a bath.

Then bedtime for them. But not for me, at all. They were generally good sleepers, but I was not. I got up every 30 minutes to check on them and make sure they were still breathing. Every noise I heard, I got up & looked around. I used to do that babysitting too, I can’t help it.

All in all, its just so fun being around kiddies. I love teaching my sitters all the tricks I’ve learned over the years. I’m sure I will have more to come when I have my own one day.

- Lindsay Bell is the founder of Bell Family and pictures of her nieces are frequently the stuff of fodder in our posts.  

WWW – Is change really a good thing?

Quite a bit has changed since my last entry a couple of months ago, my daughter Ashton turned one (shes 14 months now) and I went back to work as a teacher full time.  There has been quite a bit of change around here and lots to get used to; our new daily routine, sending her to daycare, being back in the classroom and getting used to the idea of being a “working mom” and what that entails.  By far the hardest part of it all is the daycare part; walking out the door of her “classroom” each morning and driving away.  Ashton has never cried, not even shed one tear about being there, I on the other hand can not say the same!  I truly am happy being back at work; I love being a teacher and I have the most adorable 3rd graders this year but that has not taken away from the guilt I feel when I drop her off or the urge to just scoop her back up and take her back home with me.  I know that she is thriving and that she is getting much more out of her day then she would at home with me, it is just hard for me to swallow the idea that she is being taken care of by other people all day long or that she will do things for the first time and I will miss them.  Perfect example, I am 99% sure that her first steps were taken at daycare, I will never really know for sure and my husband swears we witnessed her first steps in our living room.  I also do not know if it will get easier, I feel pretty confident saying that I know it won’t, especially down the road when our family grows, so for now I will just keep taking it one day at a time!

 - Sam Heller is a Sitter2Mom & 3rd grade teacher living in Westchester NY with her adorable daughter and hubby.


How to pay your Nanny!

I recently attended a very informative seminar about how to pay your nanny and learned a wealth of information about having a written contract, decided on the standard weekly hours, tax information , health care and worker’s compensation.

Nikki Kristol, MST is a Upper Westside wife and mother of two with a Masters degree in taxation. She is an enrolled agent with extensive domestic and international tax experience. She is also the owner of My Home Payroll, a Total Nanny Solution Agency.

Nikki facilitated a very informative, easy to understand seminar about the simplest and most straightforward ways to pay in home domestic employees. In addition to assisting her clients completing the necessary forms, she showed how families can help their nannies get health care coverage at reasonable rates and show families how to apply for possible subsidies to off set the cost.

Did you know that worker compensation is an absolute necessity if you employee domestic workers? Nikki and her Home Payroll team know exactly how to navigate the often ambiguous, confusing tax and government process so your nanny and your family can be prepared and covered.

My Home Payroll is also offering all NY Nanny Center and Bell Family (BFC) Families  20% off the setup fees when you enroll for services. In addition to providing you all the needed support, knowledge and action to pay your nanny on the books and save your family money, My Home Payroll can take care of processing your nanny’s (and other domestic worker’s) paycheck with direct deposit.

For more information about paying on the books, compensation packages, taxes and payroll services, please contact Nikki Kristol at 917.929.9486/ or visit

Personal home accountant and check writer that’s not me – um yeah!!!

What’s it like to be able to just go home on Friday after work?  Just go see your family, and not have to worry about stopping off at the ATM for cash to pay your nanny or housekeeper?

With My Home Payroll, we pay your nanny by direct debit, as often as you like, and automatically file your nanny taxes too.

-We seamlessly pay any domestic employee, nanny, etc.

-Backed by Intuit Payroll Software

-Remote Access to submit hourly wages from anywhere.

-We pay your employees by direct deposit.

-We pay your federal, state, and local taxes.

-We submit your quarterly and yearly filing obligations.

-We handle Workers’ Compensation in your state.

-You spend more time with your family.

My Home Payroll is Beyond Nanny Taxes – we provide a complete service for employers of domestic help.  Founded in 2013, we are dedicated to making the nanny tax an affordable afterthought.

Founder, Nikki Kristol, graduated from Philadelphia’s University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, and graduated from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University with a Master’s Degree in Taxation.  She worked for 7 years in London, England as an International Tax expert, including 3 years at a Big 4 firm, before returning to the U.S.  Nikki is a big advocate of making the nanny tax affordable for families and caregivers.  She founded My Home Payroll in 2013 as a mom-entrepreneur with a unique perspective on household employment, and how to pay for it properly.  She lives with her husband and children in New York.