All posts by Lindsay Bell

BFL – Annie Riley Fashion

Sometimes being a mom can be equated with less than glamorous looks (think: diaper bags, sweatpants, and sneakers), but we say it doesn’t have to be that way! One of our Chicago sitters, Annie Riley, shares some awesome fashion for moms. Annie has been featured on WGN Chicago, Fox News Chicago, and Fox Magazine addressing “how to make the most of your wardrobe” and “what styles to look for when shopping.” Annie popped in to style five weekday looks for moms:

Day 1: Toss on your favorite dress with a blazer, patterned scarf with a heel or bootie.

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Day 2: This is a fun way to layer with a short-sleeved sweater, your favorite blouse, a patterned scarf (pattern on pattern is OK), a skirt with heels or booties.

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Day 3: This is a great way to be warm enough with the transition into Spring – pairing a patterned top under a tweed blazer, camel colored pants with a heel or flat.

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Day 4: Now that Spring is nearing, you can try this look without tights and just your favorite tall boot or bootie – go monochromatic with an oversized top and pencil skirt.

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Day 5: A patterned blouse adds a funky flair with a textured pant and a blazer-pair with a fun earring or necklace, roll up the sleeves a bit with a heel, bootie, or oxford.

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-Annie credits her love of fashion and the arts to her Great Grandma Breed. She has carried “Grandma Breed’s” vibrant spirit and passion from her days after school with her grandma into her adult life and career. While obtaining her BA in Psychology at Loyola University, she worked for Anthropologie and the Chicago based Julie Rowland Showroom.  During her studies obtaining her MA in Counseling; Art therapy, she worked at J Crew for 6 years both in Chicago and New York City. While in New York, she styled for J Crew’s Blog and was featured in J-Crew training videos to demonstrate styling tips for other associates. Annie has also worked as a stylist on commercials for Verizon, Yoplait, Mercedes, John Varvatos, and others.  

WWW – Run, Carole, Run!

Today, we are feature BFC’s resident marathon runner, Carole Dempsey.  Carole has been with Bell Family Company for three years, and has really enjoyed meeting other great sitters and families. She’s also passionate about her job as an Associate Buyer at Macy’s in the Fragrance division.  Originally from Maryland, Carole moved to NYC after graduating from Dickinson College 3.5 years ago. She also played basketball all four years in college and still plays during the week, when she’s not training for marathons that is.

We sat down with Carole to hear about how she balances training for a marathon, why she’s running, and more! 

headshot for BFC

 Why are you running the NYC Marathon?  

I have run 6 half marathons and always thought I wasn’t interested in doing a full marathon, but it was so inspiring to watch the NYC Marathon last year! There was so much excitement and support for the runners, and it was so cool to see people travel from all over the world to run in the race.

 Why did you choose to fundraise for the Michael J. Fox Foundation?

In recent years, Parkinson’s has affected my family and changed our lives. I never knew much about the disease until a few years ago, and now I feel the need to make others more aware about it. I’ve also never had a charity or cause that I was passionate about until now, and this is such a great organization with a huge support system.

 How do you balance training for a marathon with the other parts of your life? (I.e. family/ friends/ work)

It is extremely difficult, but I just think about how much easier the race will be if I make the time to train. There were a few half marathons that I did not train for, and they were HARD. I do not want to experience that during a 26.2 mile run. Family and friends will be supportive of something that is important to me, so that is what also makes it easier.

 Is this your first marathon? 

Yes, this is my first! And I want to finish this one before I start thinking about the next.

 Many adults want to be physically active, but don’t think they have the time in their days to go for a jog or work out at the gym; do you have any advice?

I struggle with this as well. However, having a marathon, half marathon, 10K, or some goal makes it easier to stay active. I also feel much happier when I’ve been active. When I start to take a week or two off, I feel sluggish, tired, and eat more junk food. And a friend of mine always says, “You never regret that workouts you do, only the ones you don’t.” It is so true! 

Any other comments?

My goal is to raise $5,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, so I have a ways to go and need all the support I can get. Any donation, no matter how small, would be SO appreciated!

You can donate to Carole’s run here:  http://www2.michaeljfox.org/goto/caroledempsey

 

Good luck, Carole! 

BFL – St. Patrick’s Day in the City

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday celebrated around the world. Everyone loves leprechaun coloring books, green top hats, Lucky Charms, and of course, green food coloring in everything!

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The big to-do in NYC is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but there are plenty of other activities as well if you can’t make that!

When in doubt, green food coloring can be added to almost anything to make a festive treat! Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day week!  

BFF- Welcome to the Family!

We’d like to welcome two members to the Bell family: Aubrie and Holly!

Aubrie is our resident free spirit! Originally from the Adirondacks, she graduated with a BA in French, and is BFC’s Operations Manager! She has worked with children of all ages, teaching English to French high schoolers abroad, assisting special needs elementary children in Austin, TX, working with preschoolers in college, and nannying with an UES family. Prior to her big move to NYC last year, she also completed two years of AmeriCorps, as volunteering and community service are big passions of hers. She also enjoys traveling, the outdoors, movies, dogs, and of course, children!

Aubrie (Right) hanging out with Lindsey G. (left)

Aubrie (Right) hanging out with Hannah (left)

Holly is originally from Kansas City, KS; she moved to Upper Manhattan this January (2015) looking for a full time nanny position. She attended undergrad at University of Kansas BSBA – Accounting and later received her MBA at the University of Central Missouri with a concentration in Information Systems . Holly is as sweet as they come! She is also smart, kind, happy and enjoys nothing more than caring for children. During her 18 years as an accountant, Holly spent most of her free time providing childcare for primarily newborn through preschool children. Her role as an on-demand sitter and weekend nanny included the following: soothing & calming fussy babies, meal prep, helping toddlers potty train & changing diapers, serving as an excellent role model for young children, arranging playdates, teaching & coaching games, activities & helping with school work, leading children through bedtime routines and helping as a parent’s helper at events, parties, etc.

Holly is also a former team leader at her church in KS. There she worked every Sunday for 15 years in a classroom with 6-8 children at a time caring for children 6 weeks to toddler aged. There she attended to the emotional and physical needs of the children, helped entertain the children, give them snacks/bottles per the family’s request, etc.

Over the years, she realized that her fulfillment from childcare surpassed the achievement she felt as an accountant, thus she is now fully dedicated to her passion for childcare. She speaks basic Spanish and Sign Language, is CPR certified, has a valid driver’s license (and clear record) and a red belt in tae kwon do! Holly loves scrapbooking, baking, and going to the theater in her spare time. She is naturally nurturing and very positive, and would love to find a great family to work with in NY.

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Welcome Holly!  And welcome back, Aubrie! We’re so happy to have you both on the team.

 

 

WWW – Let’s Play!

As parents and caregivers we all know how fun it is to play with the children we love and care for. Depending on the child, their age and developmental level the way we play will vary. One of my favorite ways to interact, engage and be an active participant when working with children is facilitating Child Direct Play (CDP). CDP can be used with children ages 2-10 years old (will vary with age). Once the grown-up has the basics down you expand on this and use this as a foundation piece when interacting and wanting to play with your kids. This approach truly eliminates power struggles, empowers the child to choose and direct, builds self-esteem and confidence, creates positive time with the caregiver and child, promotes self-regulation, foster independence, & increases creativity.

Here is the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How:

Who: Parents, Caregivers and Teachers- (Grown-ups)

What: Child Directed Play- CDP

When: Anytime that you (Grown-up) can focus your undivided attention on the child/charge/student for a 10-15 minute duration.

Where: Distraction free environment with a variety of safe, age appropriate toys, crafts, instruments etc. Typically done where your children play in your home.

Why:

  • -Build language and fine motor skills
  • -Practice parenting skills
  • -Share time and space with your child/charge
  • -Child gets your undivided attention with positive interaction
  • -Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • -Increases self-regulation and social awareness

How:

  • -Grown-ups- follow the leader- the child is the leader.
  • -Move closer to them and get curious about what they are doing.
  • -Acknowledge verbally what they are actually doing.  Use as few words as possible, esp. with kids 5 and under.
  • -Imitate the child’s play. If the child is building Legos, acknowledge and say, “Wow, good idea, I want to build a house too.”
  • -Expand descriptions for more learning and language building (older kids deeper rapport)
  • -Notice and praise child’s wanted (good) behavior, “You are so gentle with the baby. What a good mommy you are.”  “You are so careful with the paint, good work.” Be specific.
  • -Allow the child to switch gears if need be. They are the leaders. Clean up can happen later. There is no right or wrong way for a child to play with toys. Support imagination.

For more helpful hints and do’s and don’t, click on this link: http://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/TF-%20CBT/pages/7%20Positive%20Parenting/Client%20Handouts/Parenting%20Skills/Child-D

-Ali S. our in house nanny placement coordinator

BFL – Sugarfina

This week, we are all expecting some spring-like temperatures, which only makes us dream of warm summer days and, of course, the sound of ice cream trucks driving around.

We may not be able to make summer come any faster, but we can recommend an awesome way to quench your adult sweet tooth without chasing down the truck for two blocks before it stops.

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Sugarfina is a chocolate-making company based in California (don’t worry, they ship). They carry treats everyone big and small will enjoy. We’re impressed with the wide array of treats they offer; from chocolates to champagne gummy bears to custom treats, Sugarfina seems to have something for every occasion.

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What we love most though, is the personal touch they add to every package. Each package that gets shipped out includes a hand written note; receipts and shipping labels are emailed separately, so all that’s left is a personalized package for you or a friend.

Check them out if you’re in need of a gift idea, personalized treats, or just want a sweet snack!

BFF- Meet Lindsey G.!

Lindsey was our amazing Bell Family Company intern this past semester. She assisted with the nanny/sitter screening process, drafted content for social media, specifically the twitter, supported business development and performed administrative tasks.

Aubrie, Lindsay, and Lindsey at last week's Sitter Mixer

Aubrie, Lindsay, and Lindsey at last week’s Sitter Mixer

She is currently a sophomore at Fordham University in the Bronx, NY. She is studying Communications with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. In high school, Lindsey worked for a pre-k classroom for 3 years and continues to do so on breaks from school. She has babysat for many families in her town, and taught tennis to Elementary school children. Lindsey enjoys reading, cooking, and running in her free time.

We will miss Lindsey so much in the office! Best of luck with your last two years and make sure to come back and visit!

 

Spring Break

Even working moms need a break! BFC is here to make sure that your kids’ Spring Break is truly a break for the whole family. Whether your family is traveling or staying put, BFC can help.

A mini sitter in the making preps the family car for the road trip!

A mini sitter in the making preps the family car for the road trip!

Our Travel Sitters have traveled with member families throughout the Caribbean, Florida, Europe, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and most of the Rockies Ski resorts! We provide excellent vacation and holiday coverage so you and your family can have all the extra care and support needed for a restful vacation. Check out some of the capabilities we offer:

  • -Pre-trip: BFC can provide assistance packing, getting to the airport, running errands, etc.
  • -During travel:  Travel Sitters provide entertainment during airport waits, sit in coach with children, and can help your family navigate airports, baggage claims, and travel to and from the airport with ease
  • -Vacation: Sitters will accompany your family throughout your trip so you can have date nights, extra hands on day-trips or excursions, and more fun & interaction for kids with an older role model on-site

For more information, check out our website or email us at info@bellfamilycompany.com! 

BFL – Motherlode

Parenting in the age of the Internet is hard, especially since parents are raising a new generation of digital natives. A recent blog on “The New York Times” site caught our attention. The author states her child “asked the internet” for answers to a number of daily questions, such as whether or not there is a frozen pizza left in the fridge.

She brings up the point: “What do children, especially young children who are just starting to make sense of the world, think about the Internet — what it’s for, where the information comes from, how reliable it is? And how do these notions change over time?”

Studies show children are good at using computers to provide facts, but not as useful for making moral judgements or deciphering the veracity of claims made on the internet. Children are fairly predictable in their internet behavior: they trust sources that have been correct before and discredit those that have been proven wrong.  

This means children will be increasingly looking to the internet to solve knowledge gaps. The author closes with a great point: with our children immersed in the Internet practically from birth, we need to know what they understand, and more important, what they don’t, so we can fulfill our parental duty of filling in the gaps.