Tag Archives: Family

Make Travel Hassel-Free!

Greetings, all!

Unfortunately for parents, the word “travel” has become synonymous for “nightmare.” This blog post is dedicated to parents traveling with children this holiday season and a few easy tips on how to make the experience better.

Preparing for your trip:

1. It is important that your children are prepared for your trip physically and mentally. Make sure children know the vacation itinerary, how they are getting there, and how to behave in the airport, plane, train, or car. It’s also good to have an emergency plan in case they get separated from you in transit.

2. Get them excited for this adventure by enthusiastically introducing them to your vacation spot and method of traveling through photos, books, bedtime stories, and maps. Physically prepare them by stopping by the pediatrician for a check-up and verification that all vaccines are current before departing. If you are anxious about traveling with your child, talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.

3. If your family is flying, be sure to read up on your airline and airport prior to departure. Some airlines, such as JetBlue, offer pre-boarding for families with small children, making settling in for your trip easier. Familiarize yourself with the airport and TSA guidelines, while packing in order to avoid any confusion, frustration, or delays in your trip

4. Look into creative luggage options for kids such as the “trunki,” a carry-on sized suitcase that your child can sit on and be wheeled through the airport (great for tired or cranky children!).

The Day of:

1. With your introduction to the travel itinerary, emergency plan, and exciting adventures that await, your child should be eager for your vacation.

2. If your flight, train, or bus is early, pack breakfast—this will allow them to wake up later, and give them something to do while waiting to leave.

3. On that note, make sure to wake children (and adults) up early enough to get dressed and out the door. Don’t cut it close—arrive at the airport or terminal at the recommended time or earlier to ensure you have plenty of time to make it through security with your rugrats as well as leisurely make it to the gate with all of your cargo.

4. Dress yourself and your children in comfy clothes, and most importantly, shoes!

Bottom Line: Travel doesn’t have to be frustrating! Prepare in advance, get excited, and just relax. Even if you have a long day of travel, just remember all of the relaxing days of vacation ahead! Bon voyage!

TractorDriving

Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell!

Christmas Butter Cookies

Greetings, all!

If there’s one thing the holiday season is good for, it’s family traditions. Every year my mom recruits my sisters and I to help bake Christmas cookies for our family gathering. Naturally, we have our classics that we make (Russian tea cakes, peanut butter blossoms, and magic cookie bars), but none of these have a hold on the infamous Christmas butter cookie recipe.

Luckily for my mom, she has helpers in the kitchen, which include all five of her daughters. Given that we are a small army, we tend to divide and conquer the cookie making. I somehow got to be the one who always makes the butter cookies, which I admit to getting a little too into decorating. I have to applaud my mom’s decorating efforts though, which usually includes blobbing a spoonful of icing onto the cookie. A for effort, right?

The butter cookie recipe originated with my great grandmother (don’t even get me started on her nut roll), and every year we carry on the tradition of whipping up a batch, or five, of these yummy cutouts. This year I wanted to share the recipe with our BFC family, in hopes you find the recipe as delicious as my family does. The recipe below typically makes one dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
3/4 c. butter (softened)
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour

Procedure:
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in flour until dough mix forms. We also make our icing from scratch by using powdered sugar and adding small amounts of water until the mixture becomes slightly runny (think the consistency of syrup). If you are feeling crafty, add a drop of red or green food coloring to the icing, and dash sprinkles on top.
Bake temperature – 350 | Bake time – 8-10 minutes

We recommend pairing this indulgence with a glass of milk (Santa stocking caps optional). Happy Holidays to all of our inspiring Betty Crocker’s out there!

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

Slopes for the Family

Greetings, all!

With the winter season creeping in, we all have fun snow activities on the brain. Everyone loves the traditional snowman building, toboggan shoot, and one of our personal favorites, skiing! We researched some ski resorts in the northeast, and found some that looked perfect for a fun family adventure. So grab the kids, and start practicing the act of wrapping them up in their outerwear, because nobody wants a Randy (from A Christmas Story) situation on their hands.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Macaroni Kid got this one right with their post on New Hampshire ski resorts. One family wrote, “It’s like Vermont meets Colorado.” Its accolades include their uncrowded, unspoiled, and wide open spaces. Stay nearby at the Indian Head Resort, or go more upscale at the Omni Mount Washington.

Okemo, Vermont
Parenting.com provided a glimpse at this 20-year family owned resort. It offers a day care, ski school, a Kids’ Night Out (to keep them entertained while parents go play), and for the older kids, the Rampage Teen Center has an indoor skateboard park. Okemo also makes it easy on the wallet, too, with kids under 12 staying for free!

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
If you are all about those family activities, then this resort is a great fit for you! Whether you and your youngster sign up for a unique ‘Mom & Me’ lesson, or teaching your ‘Little Rascal’ to start skiing at age two, Smuggs’ has thought up the most innovative instruction in snow country. Parenting.com supported us with this one, too!

And to all of the Santa’s out there – it’s not too late to add a knit hat into all of the stockings this year!

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

Gender Reveal Getting Real

Greetings, all!

It seems like gender reveal parties or special announcements are all the rage. Now, it may not be the town crier from the British Royal Family, but there are several creative ways you can make a splash with your own baby announcement, and here’s how!

Everyone loves cake, right? Revealing the gender of the baby via a baked good may be one of my favorites! My sister, Lindsay (our BFC leader), was one to conquer this exact idea this fall when she sent cakes to the local bakeries of her family members. Skype also played a key role in this one when she video chatted with her family, as they took a slice into the cake. Altogether now…awwweee.

We connected with one of our favorite cake reveal bakeries, called The Hudson Cakery, located in Weehawken, NJ. Behind the wizardry of Head Pastry Chef, Jennifer Bunce, this bakery averages two cake reveals per week, where most of the time the mother or father-to-be drops off the envelope straight from the doctor’s office, so they don’t even know – just them! To learn more about The Hudson Cakery, check out their website, and take a look at one of their beautiful creations below!

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

Thanksgiving Memories with BFC

Greetings, all!

In spirit of the holiday season, our team wanted to share some of their favorite Thanksgiving Day memories. We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with their friends and family, and enjoying some of their own favorite memories!

Kate Donehower: “Every year, my sister and I participate in a Gobble Wobble 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. It’s a great way for us to bond and catch up, as well as burn some calories before the big feast!”

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Liza Harbison: “One of my favorite memories was being home for Thanksgiving during my freshman year of college. I loved hanging out with my sister and mom, since I missed them so much while I was away. There’s nothing like mother/sister/daughter bonding over pumpkin pie!”

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Meredith Hamler: “My most recent favorite Thanksgiving memory is the Friendsgiving I had with my NYC family this year! I’m so grateful to have such wonderful friends!”

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Emily Jewell: “I love driving home from my Aunt and Uncle’s mountain house after Thanksgiving dinner – listening to carols playing on the radio marks the official start of the Christmas season. I’m a December baby and enjoy everything Christmas and winter related, so it truly is a special moment!”

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Ali Shepard: “Last year I went to visit one of my most favorite families of all time in Denver, CO. I had so much fun visiting - Denver is a beautiful city. I went tubing for the first time in my life, ate yummy fondue at a ski lodge very high on the side of a mountain, and had my first gluten free/dairy free Thanksgiving, which  was delicious! I am so grateful to so many of the families that have allowed me to take care of their children over the years and due to our close relationship I have formed lasting bonds.”

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Lindsay Bell: “My newest favorite Thanksgiving memory is getting to hear my baby boy’s healthy heart beat the day before Thanksgiving, and seeing him move in my belly at the doctors visit. I am very thankful that I get to be a mommy soon :)”

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

Thanksgiving Fun for Kids

Greetings, all!

It’s the week that many people love, but turkeys could deal without. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you Thanksgiving! Since the Thanksgiving holiday often involves little ones running around, we thought we’d provide some fun activities to keep the kids entertained, and to keep you sane. So, take some of the ideas below and enjoy all that this family-filled holiday has to offer.

1. Craft Time: How about some jazzy Thanksgiving-themed hats? Try out a turkey, or a classic pilgrim style hat.

2. B-I-N-G-O: Who doesn’t love a quality game of bingo? Try out one themed for this holiday.

3. Coloring = Classic: Print out these fall festive images and bust out the crayons!

4. Snacks: The kids can even help put this turkey snack tray together, and then nibble. The adults will probably want to nibble, too.

5. Mad Libs/Word Search: Print these ones out for the kids, too. Maybe you can even give a treat to the one who solves all the riddles!

 

I hope all of our readers have a great Thanksgiving with their loved ones – from all of the girls in the Bell family.

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

Village OB – Pregnancy at Ease

Greetings, all!

Village Obstetrics blends vast clinical expertise with a strong passion for helping you have your best birth. Our founder and president, Lindsay Bell, had the pleasure of sitting down over coffee and croissants with Dr. George Mussalli and Dr. Jaqueline Worth, to learn more about their mission. Their happy demeanor and wide experience is your guide throughout pregnancy, bringing you a deep sense of ease knowing that you are in the best of hands. Read Lindsay’s first hand experience below, and fall in love with Village OB just like we did!

I first learned of Village OB through a client, and became curious. A few weeks later, another client mentioned them to me. As an expecting first time mom, the birthing process completely terrifies me. Village OB provides a level of medical care I haven’t come across before. Their two doctor practice is a combination of of a 24/7 concierge with your own pseudo mom and dad available. They are always available to answer your questions on items regarding expecting and the birthing process.

My favorite aspect is the 24/7 concierge. I understand firsthand how hard running a 24/7 service can be! For a company or practice to offer that level of care and service, you know they are passionate, dedicated, and love what they do – they are ready to answer your questions at any time!

The uniqueness of each family is taken into account in order to cater your specific needs. Their philosophy is based on trust, joy, care, dependability, excellence and fun! Your doctor will guide you smoothly through each milestone appointment with ease. They provide a simple calendar for you to follow throughout your pregnancy, so that you know your appointments upfront and can plan in advance. As a fellow planner, this immediately takes away some of the anxiety of pregnancy.

Village OB delivers at Mount Sinai Hospital, where birth plans are supported. The practice has a high vaginal birth rate, including moms who have had a prior C-section. Village OB strongly support doulas as an important personnel, especially for those who desire unmedicated birth.  They can also help facilitate a number of techniques such as hydrotherapy, meditation, and hypnosis. It’s unhurried, safe birth, and a low c-section rate.

If you are interested in speaking with a member of their team or would like to speak with one of their past clients on their experience, please feel free to contact: info@villageob.com.

VillageOB

Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell!

Fresh Organic Sleep

Greetings, all!

Yes, you read that title right - fresh organic sleep. It seems like everything these days is going organic – from foods, to dry cleaning, salons, and now even your mattress! Today’s post dives into the idea of the organic mattress, and what it brings for you and your family.

Your baby or toddler spends over one-half of his/her life sleeping, which many adults also wish could be the case. During this time, your toddler is in close contact with the mattress and the chemicals within it. It’s because of this, that many parents are opting for an organic mattresses.

Lucie’s List put together a great, short list of organic mattresses, and we are loving them!

1– Lullaby Earth (Naturepedic): Manufactured without the use of known allergens found in many other mattresses, such as latex, wool, soy, and without polyurethane foam of any kind.

2– Naturepedic (Naturepedic): This mattress is made with organic cotton fabric and fill, as well as steel innerspring.

3– Pebble Pure/Pebble Lite (Nook Sleep Systems): The “Pure” boasts a certified organic coconut core layered with 1” of natural latex foam.

4– CocoMat/Spring Mat (Naturalmat):  Uses 100% renewable and sustainable sources such as organic lambs wool, coir (coconut), mohair, and latex.

To read more information on the mattresses listed above, click here.

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

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