Tag Archives: mom

Baby Shower Revival

Greetings, all!

Hosting a baby shower can be hard work. From the invites and theme, to finding a good location and food; there is a lot of planning that goes on behind the scenes. Then, it’s time for all of the action to take place, and the host is left to entertain the crowd. In efforts to keep the guests engaged, we’ve provided some fun activities to share with your crowd, because let’s face it, watching your friend open gifts for an hour starts to lose its thrill.
  • Activity 1: Gender Reveal
  • For those moms who have done a good job of keeping the gender of their baby a secret, how about revealing the gender at the shower? This gives the guests (and mom to be) something fun to look forward to at the shower. Some of our favorite gender reveal ideas:
  • Cakes: We love the work done by Jennifer Bunce, at The Hudson Cakery in Weekhawken, NJ!
  • Mustache or bow: Try out these pins on Etsy, and have your guests pin on their guess when they walk in. You can even give a small prize away to those who guess right!
  • Activity 2: He Said/She Said
  • Meredith, with Unoriginal Mom proves her name with this game. Get to know the mom and dad of the upcoming bundle. Have both mom and dad provide 5-10 facts about themselves and combine them onto one sheet. Have your guests circle either “he” or “she” to indicate who the fact belongs to. Try giving away a Hershey bar to the winner, shading either Hershey or Hershey.
  • Activity 3: M&M Bottle
  • Fill a baby bottle with M&Ms (or like candy) and have guests guess how many are in the bottle. Winner goes home with the bottle!
  • Activity 4: Word Scramble
  • Team up with the people at your table to unscramble all of the baby-related terms on your sheet of paper.
  • Activity 5: Price Is Right
  • From Frugal Fanatic, Adeline Ganley shows us how to create a Price Is Right themed game, by listing 10 baby-related items on a sheet of paper, and having the guests guess the price of each one. At the bottom, have them total up the cost of all items, and the person that’s closest to the actual total wins the showcase! You just need to decide what the showcase is.

Happy planning to all those baby shower goers out there! I know I’ll be caring these tips over into the upcoming showers for my two sisters this winter!


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!


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.


Written by our Founder & President, Lindsay Bell!

Expecting Mom vs. Baby Brain

Greetings, all!

We recently checked in with one of our moms who just found out she is expecting her first child this spring! She was able to share her build up to receiving the exciting news, and some of the things she has done to prep for the newest addition to her family. Here is what she had to say…

“Baby Brain” to many expecting mothers is a term to define a block in your ability to think clearly. To me, it means trying to cram my brain with as much knowledge and awareness about becoming a new mom. I think it is important for moms to be, to not set unattainable expectations on themselves. For many, this is a once in a lifetime experience, and if you think like me, everything will fall into place accordingly. So, sit back and enjoy the ride!

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I was overjoyed. My husband and I have been trying for several months, and resorted to a form of fertility treatments. I am in my late 20′s, but the dreaded biological clock seems to be knocking on my door, even though technically there is still plenty of time. I took a couple of weeks to enjoy the news fully and not think about how I should start preparing. That time soon came to an end, as I could no longer keep all of the baby thoughts outside of my brain. Luckily for me, my husband is in the healthcare field, so together we started doing a lot of research online. I made copies of text from his medical books and printed probably 265 lists of things to do/get. Not to mention, I will be a working mom, so I immediately visited my company’s HR site to review and print maternity leave forms. My binder is beginning to resemble a copy of the Old Testament.

At the end of the day, my husband and I are competent people with an amazing support system. I know several expecting moms, and that brings me a sense of solace. Though, it is great to have a reference book with colored tabs and highlighted areas, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask other moms and resources questions along the way. I find other moms to be the “holy grail” of baby knowledge and a great support system.

Also remember ladies, there is always wine at the end of this journey!

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

Toddler Tips

Greetings, all!

We’re spinning off of our October blog, “Infant 411″, by bringing you some every day tips to keep in mind with your toddler(s). You can thank the toddler master, Mama Bell, for her first-hand experience through her five children.

1. Cut food into small enough pieces to prevent choking.

2. Make sure steps are blocked with gates or obstacles to keep them from falling.

3. Watch that all toys are age appropriate as they put everything in their mouths.

4. Door knobs of rooms that are unsafe for children to enter should be covered.

5. Kitchen cupboard doors and drawers need to be safeguarded as there are many unsafe things to get into. Things on countertops need to be put out of their reach–move back towards the wall.

6. Keep toilet seats down.

7. Make sure when putting them to bed, all toys and extra blankets are removed.

8. When put into high chairs, strollers, or anything else, make sure the straps and buckles are secure.

For additional tips, check out some of our older posts on the BFC website–bedtime routine and teething toddlers.


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!


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!



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!

Teething Toddlers: What to Expect

“Teething is the pits!” my friend told me.  I had no clue what an understatement that would be.

As a first time mom, I had no idea what to expect when it came to teething.  The pediatrician said I will detect excessive drooling but that’s it.  She failed to warn me of hunger strikes.  I was thoroughly confused when Kermit, at 6 months adjusted age, abruptly stopped nursing and drinking from a bottle.  Complicating matters, his teething directly coincided with introduction of solids and doctor mandate for him to gain more weight since he was falling off his growth curve.  My pediatrician, who I totally respect and value, instructed me to make a “valiant effort” to feed Kermit 30 oz of milk and 3 solid feedings of diluted rice cereal.  Seriously, I spent every ounce of energy trying to feed my child.

I would wake him up two times in the middle of the night because that’s when I found him to be more amenable to drinking larger volumes.  Until he stopped.  I would sit for an hour at every solid feeding waiting for him to open his mouth.  I would sing and dance, make crazy sounds by smacking my lips, and tickle him for any opportunity to shove the spoon into his mouth.  He got smarter:  he’d laugh with his mouth closed.  I laughed and cried to the point of exhaustion.

I finally figured out he was teething when I heard loud shrieks in the middle of the night.  For an infant who loves his sleep (he could sleep 12-14 consecutive hours throughout the night at 4 months old), something was amiss.  After three weeks of his food strike and interrupted sleep, Kermit cut his first tooth on New Year’s Eve.  His second tooth emerged three days later.  He had mild discomfort for the next two weeks and then the symptoms reappeared with great force.  His uppers came in—4 at the same time!  Let’s just say feeding and sleeping was even more miserable for both of us.

I almost cried when I learned babies grow 20 primary teeth by age 3.  TWENTY!  According to Baby Center’s website, this is the order of appearance:
1.  2 lower central incisors at 4-7 months old
2.  2 upper central incisors at 8-12 months
3.  2 upper lateral incisors, right and left of center, at 9-13 months
4.  2 lower lateral incisors, right and left of center, at 10-16 months 5.  2 upper first molars, the wider teeth second to the back of the mouth, at 13-19 months
6.  2 lower first molars at 14-18 months
7.  2 upper canines/ cuspids, which fill the gap between the incisors and first molars, at 16-22 months
8.  2 lower canines at 17-23 months
9.  2 lower second molars at 23-31 months
10.  2 upper second molars at 25-33 months.

If you pay close attention to the age of each tooth’s appearance, there is a lot of overlap.  Like I mentioned earlier, Kermit got his upper central and upper lateral incisors all at once.  I suspect he is getting his upper and bottom molars simultaneously as I write.  Poor little guy.

Most reference guides list drooling, gum sensitivity, irritability, gnawing behavior, refusal of food, and sleep problems among teething symptoms.  One must read between the lines, though, to understand the extent of the experience.  Sleep problems translate to sporadic deafening shrieks in the middle of the night; refusal of food can last for weeks; and irritability demands constant attention to baby’s clingy-ness.  In addition to these symptoms, Kermit would tug on his ears and cough a lot before a tooth cut through the gums.

The one thing I wish someone told me at the beginning of this process is:  your baby will not go hungry for the duration of the food strike.  He will definitely eat when he’s hungry.


Treatment for teething pain include:  cold things, pressure, topical medicine, painkillers, and homeopathic remedies.  I tried all of these suggestions except for topical medicine (e.g. numbing cream or gels) because, as one friend warned:  what numbed the front can numb the back of the mouth resulting in gagging.  Of course, this was my personal decision.

Kermit predominantly found relief in iceys and anything cold.  I would make flavored ice cubes out of puree and milk.  I also would feed him cold milk on some of my more exasperated feeding days.  My friend made cold or frozen washcloths for her twins’ comfort which Kermit also loved.  To soothe his growing discomfort throughout the day and particularly at night, i would preemptively give him homeopathic chamomile drops every 6 hours.

On really really bad days when he would awaken every hour in pain, I gave him half doses (that the pediatrician recommended according to his respective weight) of acetaminophen only at night time.  I also made the personal decision to give him painkillers for a maximum of three consecutive nights followed by at least two nights of no administration.  My rationale was I did not want him to be too reliant on acetaminophen because he may have a lower threshold of pain when the molars and canines appeared.

Currently, Kermit has 6 pearly whites and, I think, 4 molars cutting through the gums.  He will not let me near his mouth.  He will sometimes eat solid chunks only if he can administer the feeding himself.  He likes to test his teeth while eating puffs and wafers and gnawing on his crib rails.  We await for another 10+ teeth.  God help us.

Despite the hardship, it’s undeniably cute when he smiles his little chipmunk gap toothed grin.  It melts my heart every time.


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 – 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.