Tag Archives: Family

Family Fun Grows in the Garden

Gardening is an activity that families can enjoy doing together. It serves as a good way to bond, exercise, and learn about different kinds of plants. Not only that, it’s increasingly important to get kids to experience as much of the outdoors as they can, and one fantastic way to do that is to get them interested in gardening. Introducing them to growing their own flowers, herbs, and vegetables can help instill curiosity, empathy, and a nurturing instinct that is essential for a person to have.

However, it is difficult to find the time or the space to garden in an urban environment. The common lack of a garden, for starters, poses a basic problem that can seem hard to get around for this particular outdoor activity. However, there are plenty of ways to still get children interested in growing plants!

A great place to start is a potted plant inside the apartment. This can be an herb or a small flowering plant, or even sprouts! A child’s wonder at seeing their plant grow isn’t affected by the size of the plant or the scale of their gardens, but by the mere fact that they made this plant grow and change. Herbs and sprouts make wonderful potted plants, because they tend to be fast-growing and easy to take care of.

The natural progression from this may seem to be hoarding a ton of potted plants, but it doesn’t have to be. Try finding a community garden in the area! These are becoming popular in urban spaces, and can be a great way to expand your “garden”. It could even be the beginning of your child’s very own vegetable patch!

Personal Creations has put together a detailed guide that features what you can (and should) plant, and what to avoid when gardening with children. It even includes a list of kids’ gardening tools, and how to go about maintaining your garden. So grab those gloves, get a watering can, and get started!

Peronsal-Creations-garden

Special thanks to Katie Santos and Personal Creations for writing and partnering with us for this post!

Exploring the City of Lights with Family

Bonjour, les amis!

Last month my sister and I travelled across the pond and landed ourselves in Paris. It marked the first time either of us has been to the City of Lights, and were we the excited bunch!

It all started when my sister e-mailed me about a deal on TravelZoo (if you don’t get their Top 20 Deals every week – sign up for it!). Their weekly deals only last a handful of days, so we needed to make the decision, fast. After a couple days of racking my brain, and all of those around me, I decided to take the leap. The next day we were booked, and our countdown began!

The months that followed involved me reading up anything and everything I could about Paris. After my extensive research and asking those around me for recommendations, I finally settled on an itinerary. My sister and I were only going for four nights, so squeezing everything Paris has to offer in four days was an extreme challenge!

I wanted to share some of the fantastic things we did, and what activities would be great to do if you find yourself in Paris with family like I did.

1. For the shoppers. Take a stroll through Le Marais. Here you’ll find endless boutique shops on small cobblestone streets. Zig-zag through, and you’re bound to take home some unique souvenirs.

2. For the adventurer. Buy yourself a ticket to the summit of the Eiffel Tower. You’ll take a ride up in a glass elevator, where at the top you’ll have a view for miles, and a champagne bar for hydration. The second and third levels are great, too!

3. For free views. Head up to Sacré-Cœur, which offers a beautiful basilica and a view high above the streets of Paris. Tip: walk to the back of the basilica and veer to the left. You’ll be taken to Montmartre – filled with souvenir shops, cafes,  and street artists!

4. For paid views. Did you know you can go up the towers at Notre-Dame or to the top of the Arc de Triomphe? You’ll find wonderful views of both the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées.

5. For foodies. I did not have a bad meal, croissant, cafe, or glass of wine in Paris. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist, or there’s a possibility I got swept away by the charm.

Happy travels families!

IMG_0414

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Endless Possibilities with Concierge New York

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Elizabeth McBride Harless, who is the Business Development Director at Concierge New York. During our conversation, Elizabeth provided us with the inside scoop behind Concierge through a short Q&A.

Read along for our conversation, and learn how the possibilities are endless with the help of your Concierge team.

Q: Where did the inspiration of starting up Concierge come from?

A: Our founder started the company in London with the notion that anything is possible. She established Concierge with the mission of delivering exceptional service by going to ends of the earth to help our members.  At Concierge, no is not an option! No matter how large, small or atypical the request, Concierge will take care of every detail, seamlessly and with discretion.

Q: What sets Concierge apart, and would drive people to join if they are looking for a little extra help?

A: Concierge has offices in London and New York. We cap membership to 100 members worldwide to ensure an incredibly personalized, tailored service. We take pride in executing requests with great care, keeping our member’s best interests top of mind and delivering solutions that are best suited for their lifestyle and preferences.

Q: What service(s) do members find the most beneficial to have in their daily lives? Which do you think would be most beneficial for moms and dads?

A: Upon joining Concierge, each member is assigned a dedicated account management team. While we have standard office hours, we also offer weekend and evening support. An individual from the team can be available at any time needed to troubleshoot unexpected issues or emergencies. I think the security and comfort in knowing that with Concierge, you have a reliable, honest support system is simply invaluable.   Be it organizing a house move, planning a birthday party, or finding the best tutor or pediatrician, Concierge helps manage and simplify life, so that time is spent with family and friends, doing what you love.

Q: If someone is looking to join Concierge New York, how do they go about signing up? What does the process look like? 

A: Concierge New York is selectively taking on new members. Should you be interested in learning more about the service and how it could be of value to your family, please contact Elizabeth McBride Harless at elizabeth@conciergenewyork.com.

For more information about Concierge New York, visit their website.

Concierge-NYC

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Five Key Findings in Recruiting and Retaining Nannies

If you haven’t read it somewhere else before, then read it here first; hiring a nanny through an agency is the route you should always take.

In a recent article posted by GTM Payroll Services, they go on to support the fact that when a person hires a nanny through an agency, rather than an online job site, they’re going to get a better quality nanny. One they’ll keep for longer, and spend less time finding the right match.

Here are five key findings from the article:

1. Families and Nannies Both Want a Good Fit
Employers cited “demonstrated responsibility and trustworthiness” as the top quality they look for when hiring a nanny. Employers were asked to rank 14 qualities on a scale from one to 10 with one being not important and 10 being very important. Responsibility and trustworthiness scored ahead of personality fit, passion for childcare, references, and experience.

2. Good Communication Practices Will Help Retention
Forty-three percent of families hired more than one nanny in the past five years. That means retention can be an issue for families who like and want to keep their nanny. Some of the top reasons reported for why nannies leave the jobs are 1) the family no longer needs the nanny, 2) schedule/number of hours, and 3) bad pay.

3. Hiring through an Agency Can Shorten Hiring Process
Seventy-four percent of employers who hired through an agency cited “time savings/hassle-free process” and “quality of candidates” as the top reasons they chose to work with an agency. Fifty-nine percent of agency users spent less than 20 hours on the hiring process, compared to only 24% of online job site users.

4. Benefits Can Help Attract, Retain Top Candidates
Most nannies receive paid holidays (88%), paid vacations (89%), and paid sick days (76%). This is the starting point for families when offering household employee benefits to a potential hire. To separate themselves from other employers, families may want to consider offering annual bonuses and flexible hours. Only 47% of nannies have schedule flexibility and just 44% get a bonus. Of the nannies that receive an annual bonus, 55% receive at least $750.

5. Paying Legally Expands Number of Candidates
By not legally paying an employee, a family cuts in half the number of available candidates for their position. Forty-six percent of nannies say it’s not likely they would take a job that paid “off the books.”

Read more details about the survey findings from GTM Payroll here.

Holiday Memories in Your Own Photo Booth!

To continue Bell Family’s week of spreading holiday cheer, we rounded up a great activity for everyone in the family. A DIY photo booth!

The holidays are the perfect time to capture memories with your little ones, whether it’s gathering around the Christmas tree, or sitting down for a delicious meal. A DIY photo booth can be a fun way to not only snap some photos, but have some fun while doing it! Simply hang a backdrop or some festive decor, and set up a camera to snap the pics.

These photo booth props from Shutterfly are perfect for such an occasion. There are so many to choose from, from antler ears to hot cocoa. Pick your favorite, print them out, and get ready for hours of fun.

Children will love playing pretend with elf ears, top hats, and reindeer antlers! They can make believe they’re in a winter wonderland with festive hot cocoa or gingerbread houses. The pictures you’ll get of your little ones having a ball will be priceless!

Christmas-BeardsFlannel 1 goodies

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Karli Jaenike at Siege Media.

Weekend with a Toddler

A couple weeks ago I journeyed to New York City to babysit my nephew for the weekend. Sadly, I don’t get to see my nephew all too often because we don’t live close by. It’s normally family outings with a dozen people around, and I’m forced to steal him away to spend some one on one time with him. Finally, I have him all to myself!

My sister put him down for his afternoon nap before they left, so I had a couple of hours until the shenanigans began. I made a gesture to my sister earlier on how the stroller could benefit from a wipe down, so that was my first target. The high chair and a few other items followed, and before I knew it, Brooks was up from his nap.

Bottle, snack, and play time consumed our afternoon. Inside play consisted of wheeling around a train, burying him in pillows and him popping out to scare me, and talking all things digger trucks. After that, we made our way to the roof top play area for some fresh air. This consisted of endless running laps and tossing a ball back and forth to support my mission of tiring him out.

We journeyed back inside for dinner and a little more play time. Lastly, it was off to the bath, to the rocking chair for reading, and then to bed.

We spent the morning together and then Mom and Dad returned. It was so great to bond with my nephew and see him play/interact with the things around him. The energy of a toddler is real, if you all haven’t heard already. I was surely tired at the day’s end, but the little rascal made it all worth it.

Brooks-me copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

What Are Your Kids up to While You’re Away?

Have you ever wanted to know what your kids are up to while you are away? Daily Nanny helps to give a comprehensive view of just that in their app!

We recently had the opportunity to team up with the creators of the Daily Nanny app, to learn more about how it works, and why parents everywhere should add this to their download list. Read below for our Q&A!

Q: How can a user download the app? Is there a fee associated with it?

Daily Nanny is a one time charge of $4.99 to get access to all app features. Visit the iOS app store or Google Play to download.

Q: What does a user do once the app is downloaded/opened?

For parents, when you first open the app you’ll sign up, enter some basic information, enter your kids information, and then invite your nanny. Then you are brought right into the app and you can start using it right away! Not only can nannies use Daily Nanny to keep parents informed, but parents can also use it to keep spouses informed, or just use it as a way to store meaningful information about your kids early years. Parents can keep track of naps, meals, medicine etc, and store photos as well.

For nannies, you sign up, and if you were invited by a parent, you’ll see the kids you care for right away. If not, you can enter the kids you care for and invite their parents to use the app. Nannies can keep track of hours and overtime as well, so parents and nannies are always on the same page.

Q: How do I navigate the app? What information and tools are available to me within the app?

The app is very simple to use. There are four tabs. For parents, the first tab gives you a timeline of everything that has happened today, including meals, naps, photos and more. The second tab is a photo gallery of all the photos you or your nanny has uploaded of your kids. You can comment on photos, save them to your device, and share them with friends. The third tab is a group messaging thread between you, your nanny, and anyone else added to receive notifications about your kids. And the fourth tab lists your kids, detailed information about them, and allows you to go back in time and see what was entered in the past!

For nannies, everything is the same except for the first tab. You can clock in for the day and track your hours, see how much money is owed for the week, as well as manage all your shifts in the past. You can mark shifts as paid and enter/edit shifts in the past.

For a  video walkthrough of the app and additional information, check out the Daily Nanny website!

Daily Nanny copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Family Style Halloween in NYC

It’s the time of the year where you can dress as your favorite superhero, movie icon, or role model, and fit right in with everyone else. What can be even more fun than planning your own costume? Dressing up the little ones as their favorite character, too!

This Halloween, jazz up the kids, and take them to a special Halloween photoshoot offered by Classic Kids Photography. You know your child looks adorable in their costume, but nobody else does! Get great, high-quality photos to share with family and friends, and also for yourself. Make an appointment for the October 31st photoshoot by e-mailing (upperwest@classickids.com), or calling (212.799.3730) Classic Kids. Pets are also welcome!

Looking for another Halloween activity for the family around NYC? Mommy Nearest provides a great list of fun things to check out!

If you want to bust a move: head to the Broadway Dance Center on October 25th for a Halloween themed dance class and party (for children and teens).

If jack-o-lanterns are your favorite: go to Governors Island  to see more than 1,000 jack-o-lanterns lit along a windy night time trail.

If you’re feeling playful: take a stroll in your costume to Asphalt Green (in Battery Park or Upper East Side) on October 27th for fun games and prizes. The first 500 kids get a free goodie bag!

If you want to show off your costume: the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is the place to be! Take part in the afternoon costume parade, while enjoying giant stilt walkers and musicians.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Upcoming Event: The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival

Will you be strolling the streets of NYC this weekend looking for something to do? Head on over to Westfield World Trade Center on August 26th-27th, for a weekend full of flavor and fun with The Creative Kitchen!

The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including food demonstrations, live entertainment, food sampling, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission.

And for those enthusiastic eaters and little epicures alike, you can attend hands-on cooking classes at the James Beard Foundation Future Pavilion, where renowned chefs pass on their recipes, skills, and love for all things culinary to a new generation of learners!

Visit the website, on the Kids Food Festival Facebook page, and on Twitter at @KidsFoodFestFun to stay up-to-date on all things about the event.

Kids Food Festival 2017 Digitial Poster

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Positive Affirmations to Inspire Mom

If your calendar alert didn’t go off reminding you that Mother’s Day is this Sunday, then consider this your official reminder.

Mother’s Day is a great time to remind moms everywhere how much they are valued, loved, and appreciated for all of the things they do. It’s important for moms to relax and reflect on all the joys motherhood brings, and appreciate the hard work they achieve each and every day.

With special thanks to Personal Creations, they provided a list of 52 Positive Affirmations to Inspire Mom, in a recent post on their website. This is a great read for moms, not only on Mother’s Day, but all days of the year! Personal Creations also provides some great printable pages to go along with the read.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there!

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” Jill Churchill

Mom_group copy

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell