All posts by Lindsay Bell

To Be or “Nut” to Be?

I have been away from my blogging desk to be a part time nanny to my twin granddaughters. I hope I’m not too rusty. One day, with my daughters okay, I gave a slight amount of natural peanut butter on a cracker to the twins. Her pediatrician said to try it after 2 years. Within a minute, hives developed on one twin’s face and quickly moved to the tummy area.

Out came the Benadyrl and slowly the rash cleared up. Why did this happen? There is no one we know of in the family lineage that has a food allergy and  why to one child and not the other? Off to the doctor I went with my lil’ peanut to get some answers.



Unfortunately, the answers were vague or nonexistent. The test given to her determined the allergy and a future blood test will tell its severity. We left the office with the epi pen prescription, a pile of light reading on the topic, and the direction not to eat any nuts at all. I did learn that peanuts were a legume and even candy sprinkles have tree nuts in them. I will also add nutritionist/dietician to my resume as I am becoming proficient in label reading!

From one nut to another,

Mama Bell

How To: Set up PayPal

One of the main reasons a credit card might be rejected is if the credit card has been used in the past and is associated with a PayPal account. PayPal assumes that if this is the rightful user of the credit card they would log-into PayPal to use the stored card, and since it is being used without the log-in credentials, the assumption is that it’s fraud and the card might have been lost or stolen.

If would like to use the same credit card that is associated with an active PayPal account, the option “Don’t have a PayPal account” will not work unless you use a credit card that is not associated with any active PayPal account.

Being that PayPal defaults to the users associated bank account as payment, sometimes you might not want to log in to PayPal to pay. However it is really easy to change the payment method that PayPal is using to process your checkout request.

  1. On the Bell Family Company “Family Checkout” screen click on “Confirm”
  2. Select the “Log in to your PayPal account” toggle menu as shown below:


3. Log-into PayPal with the associated email address and password. *THIS IS NOT THE SAME EMAIL AND PASSWORD THAT YOU USE TO LOG-INTO BELL FAMILY COMPANY

4. Once, you are logged in, click on the link that says “change” as shown below:


5. When you click the “change” link, you will be able to select a different payment method other than your Bank Account.



In conclusion, if you have a credit card on file with PayPal and want to make purchases with that credit card, you need to do it by logging into your PayPal account and selecting it as a payment method. If you try to use it without logging into your PayPal account, chances are it will be declined.

-Greg, CTO, Bell Family Company

Impromptu Child Activities

Parents sometimes have to bring their kids to places where there isn’t readily available entertainment or are running low on fun ideas. Our BFC sitters are experts in drumming up ideas, so we figured we’d share some impromptu child activities:

  • 1. Host a Hoola Hoop & Limbo contest with the neighborhood kids! Have the kids make signs & promote the contest.  Invite parents to attend, set up & play!
    Props: hoola hoop & some music
  • 2. For the car ride, play rounds of “I Spy”
    Props: Nothing necessary!
  •  3. Play a game of Keep it Up!  This is classic, get a balloon or pool ball & play rounds of keep it up. This game can be played anywhere & it can go on for hours.  Make teams, play-one-on-one & more.
    Props: Balloon or pool ball
  • 4. Duck, Duck, Goose.  Okay another classic.  This gets the kids outside or can be played indoors & encourages them to be active!
    Props: Nothing necessary!
  • 5. Hot & Cold Treasure Hunt.  Designate one person to be ‘it’ & direct the other person to go find the hidden treasure by following the map.  ‘It’ is responsible for telling the other when they are ‘hot’ or ‘cold’
    Props: Treasure map style-hide toy(s) through the house & then map it out for them to follow

shannon Smith photo

If you do not have any props/toys to work with here are some other fun ideas!

  • 1. Read books (maybe rent a few from your local library to bring with you on your outing)
  • 2. Color (bring crayons and construction paper if you have on hand)
  • 3. Dance parties (a Bell Family  favorite). Download kidzbop on pandora for an instant dance party; they also have a children’s sing along station which could be fun!



BFL – Sleep Training

Did anyone read the NY Times article on March 26th about Sleep Training at 8 weeks: Do you have the Guts? Tribeca Pediatrics, one of the largest pediatric practices in NYC, swears by it. They started the sleep training concept at 4 months, then 3, then again at 2 months to prove the theory. Obviously just because one way works for one family, doesn’t mean it works as well for the next. Do keep that in mind!

I’m not sure if I think I will take the plunge at 8 weeks. From my experience as a childcare provider & running a sitter and nanny placement service for nearly 10 years, I believe there is a fourth trimester for both the mother & baby. I’ve interviewed countless mothers during that period, which if you’re lucky is 3 months after the baby’s birth. From the mothers that I have spoke to, they are not ready to let go & it doesn’t seem like the babies are either. I do think the babies sense their mother’s anxiety, so if the mother is upset or nervous or simply not ready, the baby will sense that & react in the same manner.

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However, there is this thing called sleep that we all need. So I completely understand wanting to start at 8 weeks if the parents need sleep as they may have to get back to work and cannot function without it. Talk with your partner on what you are ready for, and then try it out. Just be ready when its go time!

-Lindsay Bell

Happy Holiday Weekend

Happy Easter/Passover weekend! We hope everyone is ready to enjoy some quality family time. Whether you’re hosting lil’ ones or just bringing yours to a friend or family member’s house, we’ve come up with some festive ideas to keep them entertained:


  • -Every kid loves an Easter egg hunt. Don’t be dissuaded by city living; Easter egg hunts can easily be set up indoors with eggs in plants, pots and pans, and centerpieces.
  • -Dye eggs. Make sure to buy a few extra as some might crack while hard boiling them.
  • -Jelly bean counters. Fill a jar with jelly beans, and have kids guess how many are in there. This is a great exercise that will get kids doing some math without even realizing it.
  • -Bring along a craft for the kids table. Some crafts are messier than others, so make sure to carefully choose your craft depending on the age of your children and where they will be. This page is a great resource for ideas.



  • Decorate an Elijah’s cup; you can find a plastic chalice at Michael’s or any craft store.
  • Get kids helping in the kitchen with this simple recipe for matzo haystacks.
  • Check out some great ideas to make your Seder kid-friendly.

WWW- Annie Riley Fashion (Pt. 2)

Annie Riley, BFC Chicago sitter, shares some additional fashion looks 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.” You can check out some styles Annie shared on our blog last week as well.

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A green cargo pant, blazer, with v-neck tee or sleeveless blouse, and oxfords or flats.


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Grab your favorite white button down, a fun sweater, your distressed, painted, or plain jean with a kitten heel or flat.


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Maxi skirts are easy with a boxier top, loafers or flats, and a long necklace to “grab and go.”



BFL – Baby Bumps

It’s no secret that my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. This has been my master plan since I realized I could have my own baby. It is definitely an inexplicable feeling once you are ready…really ready!

Even though I already feel immersed in the mommy/baby world, I am still constantly learning new things. There are so many resources out there, but one convenient spot I like to get new information from is The Bump. They do a good job of informing, and I like how the content is non-judgmental, just recommendations.Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.03.40 AM

Every woman’s body and life is so different between different stress levels, financial means, hours worked, etc.; I think its fair to say that each woman makes the best decisions for her body and should follow her gut. However, there are some generally accepted practices surrounding pregnancy. I knew when a woman is trying to conceive that she should start taking prenatal vitamins, have one glass of wine instead of two, not smoke, lay off tuna, etc.

Here is a shortened list (because I know you don’t have time to read an epic article, nor do I have time to write it!) of what The Bump recommends paying attention to  as you prepare:

  1. Caffeine in moderation
  2. Don’t smoke. (I don’t know anyone that does anymore anyway…)
  3. Repeat: have one glass of wine instead of two
  4. Keep your weight stable
  5. Did you know there are foods that make you most fertile? This one was my favorite
    -Men: eat ketchup, lycopene is your friend!
    -Ladies: eat spinach, you want lots of folic acid
  6. Make a dentist appointment and keep it!
  7. Be active, but don’t overdo it. Try 5-10 minutes of yoga every morning; even something small helps!
  8. Don’t drink out of plastic bottles (as I have a plastic bottle in front of me)…I just threw it away.
  9. DON’T STRESS!! I have not figured out this solution yet, but I’ll get back to you
  10. High mercury fish-just say no!


-Lindsay Bell Wallace is Bell Family Company’s fearless leader. Lindsay has been a mom-in-the-making since childhood, where she was charged with babysitting her four younger sisters. Lindsay and husband Brad are hoping to add a new member to the Bell Family soon! 

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


-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.