Tag Archives: family

A to Z of D-Toxing

Greetings, all!

Using clean, toxic free products in a family’s household is something that is important to many people. With great work from Sophia Ruan Gushee, author of A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures, she dives into tips for reducing toxic exposures in every day life. We did a short Q&A with Sophia, to learn more about her and her great achievement.

1.  What inspired you to spread awareness and empower people by writing your book A to Z
of D-Toxing
?

I really disliked the way that I was learning about upsetting information that was important to my children: accidentally as I skimmed reading materials late at night, followed by hours of online research to see if credible sources could verify alarming claims; then hours more research to identify alternative products. After “conquering” the latest chemical of concern that I had learned about, like BPA, I would then feel defeated as I accidentally learned about another chemical of concern, like phthalates, parabens, and more. Feeling like the list of specific chemicals of concern may be endless, and tired of having no control over when I would learn more upsetting information, I became determined to take control of my education on this important topic. So I dived into the topic to empower myself with facts and to prepare myself as alarming headlines would surely populate the news.

Also, I started learning about this topic at a time during which I had an infant, with hopes of having more children. So I wanted to learn as much as I could to help my young, growing family.

Having a full-time job outside the home that I loved, I was really demoralized that there wasn’t an easier way for me to get informed about toxic exposures from within my own home. Studying this topic became my night job. Eventually, I decided to resign from a career that I loved (my day job), partially to be more involved in providing my children with a healthier childhood and to create a practical strategy to reduce my children’s unnecessary toxic exposures.

As I learned details about how interconnected we are, I became more convinced that I need to spread awareness to engage more people in this topic. There is so much that we, individually, can do to reduce unnecessary toxic exposures. However, we can only do so much alone. Significant positive change will come from more awareness and collective efforts.

It wasn’t until I became a mother that I cared about our environment because it seemed irrelevant to me. Now, especially as a mother, I understand how relevant it is to each of us because our inner environments reflect our outer ones.

2. Eight years of research is much dedicated time, how was it writing a book and juggling/raising a family during those eight years?

It was really hard. The past eight years have been an extraordinarily busy time in my personal life with three daughters that are now 8-, 5- and 3- years old. In addition, growing families in NYC usually involve expansion of real estate or renovation projects. Plus, there were several nursery school and kindergarten application processes to go through. Lots of other things going on too.

But, that context should communicate how important this book was for me to create. I was fascinated to discover a wealth of scientific studies on this topic that is relevant to everyone, especially children. I felt compelled to research it, organize it, and present in a practical reference book that will be useful for me and my family life. I hope it’s also useful to others.

3. How do you hope to promote your book? Will you be speaking around the city?

Above all, my goal is to create awareness, empower people with relevant facts, and to inspire change. So, I’m working in various ways to promote the book, including working with a PR firm to secure media coverage. I have a few select speaking engagements around the city and welcome invitations as stimulating productive dialogue is another key goal. People can visit my website to learn the latest news and events: NontoxicLiving.tips.

A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures Book Launch

A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures is available now on Amazon.

Nanny, Daycare or Nannyshare

Greetings, all!

Deciding what childcare fits best for your family can turn into a long and stressful decision. To sort through the many options available to parents, it’s important to ask yourself questions prior to making a decision. Read below, an article published by Huffington Post, and find yourself ready to make a decision faster than ever.

1. How many hours a day will I need childcare and for which days?

2. How much flexibility do I need? Will there be days I need to leave the child longer? Or will I work part-time some weeks and full-time other weeks?

3. What is my budget? What can I afford to pay?

4. Do I want the caregiver to have a childcare education or specialized degree? Or is experience enough?

5. Do you prefer more individualized care for your child or more of a group environment?

6. What size of a group do you prefer for your child to be in?

a.) For example, do you mind there being 20 other children in a class or would you rather it was a very small class–like 5? Maybe you would prefer your child to be with his/her siblings most of the time and then have play times with other children?

7. Do you need some other help around the house, like doing the child’s laundry or fixing his/her meals?

8. How will your employer handle it if you need to take a day off if the caregiver is ill?

For the full Huffington Post article click here.

Have a great week everyone!
TB

Easy Bite Before Date Night

Greetings, all!

Picture yourself about to head out the door for date night, when you realize you wanted to prep a meal for your little one(s) before the sitter arrived. With only minutes to whip something together, you go into a frenzy thinking about what to make. Today, I’m here to help, by providing five easy bites to make before date night.

1. Crockpot Mac & Cheese
Everyone introduce yourself to your crockpot, because it should be your best friend. It’s also an added bonus that mac & cheese is scientifically proven to be loved by kids. Check out the recipe by Pipp and Ebby here.

2. Breakfast
Is breakfast food always delicious?  Yes, yes it is. Whip together some eggs, toast with jam, and a side of fresh fruit or raw veggies. I also like all the hype behind breakfast muffins. Take a look at a variety of them from Thriving Home.

3. Lasagna Grilled Cheese
Once you see the photo and the simple recipe for this sandwich, you will want to make one for yourself. Consider it your appetizer before you go out.

4. Homemade French Bread Pizza
Try making one off of this impressive list. Quick, easy, and always a crowd pleaser.

5. Chicken and Broccoli
What’s better than chicken and broccoli? How about a 12-minute chicken and broccoli. Take a peak at the recipe here.

Have a great weekend, readers!

Ava_Amelia_eat

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

Pram for the Fam

Greetings, all!

Envision yourself standing in the baby section at the store searching for the ultimate stroller for the newest addition of your family. Suddenly, you find yourself  doing endless repetitions up and down the aisle, while picturing yourself pushing the perfect stroller. You’re thinking about becoming royalty, and pushing a Pram alongside Kate Middleton, or maybe  you have a trendy Bugaboo for your Central Park run-ins with Sarah Jessica Parker. Before you know it, two hours have past, and you are still roaming the aisles. Well today, I’m here to help make that stroller purchase  more seamless, because let’s face it, you were ready for lunch two hours ago.

Over the past week, I’ve done online research to find the best stroller in each of these four categories:

1. Portability: Britax B-Agile Stroller

Are you a mom that is always on the go? If so, having a light weight, easy-to-use stroller is like music to your ears. This stroller got five awards  through BabyCenter’s 2015 Mom Top Pick Awards, including best quality, ease of use, and space saving. The only reason this stroller wouldn’t be a good pick, is if you count lifting it as your workout for the day.

2. Comfort: Simmons Tour Buggy

If the Kate Middleton reference from earlier describes you, this stroller may be a great and affordable option. It works best for newborns up to the age of two, and during this time in your child’s life, he/she will surely feel like royalty from its comfort. It’s made by Simmons Mattress, yes you heard me correctly. This stroller also converts into a standard Pram model! Here’s a quick 8-minute video from Baby Gizmo showing all that this stroller has to offer.

3. Cost: Graco LiteRider Stroller

If your shoe addiction has forced you to scale down your budget for a new stroller, then take a look at this one.  BabyCenter has provided all of the details behind this one, ranking the stroller as the “Best of 2015″ in the 2015 Moms’ Picks Awards. This stroller starts at only $60! Its nods go to its lightweight and one-handed fold up option.

4. Storage: Jeep Cherokee Sport Stroller

Let’s face it, the list of items that you need to take with you and your child on an outing is getting longer than your grocery list. If you’re looking for a place to momentarily hide these items, this stroller does a great job doing so. These wheels are accompanied by a child tray with cup holder, a parent tray with two cup holders, side storage pockets, and full bottom storage basket underneath. Consider this The Container Store of strollers.

Stay safe, riders!

TB

Ava_pushing stroller

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell!

 

American Cancer Society’s Annual Mothers of the Year Luncheon

One of our fantastic former sitters who is now an expecting mom invited the Bell Family Team to the the American Cancer Society’s Annual Mothers of the Year Luncheon. Bell Family will be at the front door greeting guests & supporting this year’s event.  Read below for more info & get your ticket here http://main.acsevents.org/Mothersoftheyear  Hope to see you there!

-Lindsay

 

On Monday, October 19th, 2015, the American Cancer Society will host the  20th Annual Mothers of the Year Luncheon at The St. Regis Roof in New York City.   Proceeds from the event will benefit critical cancer research, education, advocacy and patient service programs supported by the American Cancer Society. Marion Scotto, Rosanna Scotto, Elaina Scotto and Dr. Susan R. Drossman are the 2015 Mothers of the Year Honorees.

 

The Mothers of the Year Luncheon, is supported by prominent members of New York City’s social and philanthropic community and is one of the American Cancer Society’s signature events in Manhattan.  The Luncheon was created in 1995 to shine a spotlight on mothers – celebrating their daily duties as caregivers to their families and the extraordinary work they do to care for their communities.  Since the event’s inception, the Mothers of the Year Luncheon has raised nearly $5 million dollars for the fight against cancer.

 

Previous Mothers of the Year honorees include former First Ladies of New York, Libby Pataki and Matilda Cuomo. Katie Couric, Paula Zahn, Vera Wang, Kathie Lee Gifford, Susan Bloomberg, Anne and Charlotte Ford, Carolina Herrera, Sarah Ferguson, Cynthia Lufkin, Ann Curry, Tory Burch, Grace Hightower De Niro, Muffie Potter Aston, Anne Hearst McInerney, and Deborah Norville. Ambassador Brenda L. Johnson and Cricket Burns are the event Co-Chairs. Diana K. Feldman, Volunteer Chairman, of the American Cancer Society’s Special Events Committee will receive a Special 20th Anniversary Outstanding Leadership Award for her dedication and leadership to the cause.  Paula Zahn will return as Mistress of Ceremonies.

 

The event will begin with cocktails and a silent auction at 11:45AM followed by lunch and the awards presentation at 12:30PM.  Tickets begin at $500 and Bell Family Company clients will be entitled to a discounted ticket at $395.00.

 

Please visit the events website http://main.acsevents.org/Mothersoftheyear  to reserve your spot!

Father’s Day – Part 2

“My dad is the person I feel the closest to in the whole world, who gets me more than anyone else. He’s who I always turn to for advice, where I can count on him to be objective and honest. He encourages me to be adventurous, to be emotionally open, and to have faith. With his support, I feel strong and capable enough to take risks and succeed. Happy Father’s Day to the greatest dad ever, my mentor, my role model, my friend. I love you!”

me and pops

-Aubrie and her Dad (2014)

 

“My dad is my number one supporter and I feel so lucky to have him in my life! Whether it’s teaching me how to golf (or at least trying to), helping me with my wacky DIY projects, or pretending he doesn’t see me stealing chocolate cake off of his plate, I know he always has my back.”

-Lauren

 

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!

 

 

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!