Tag Archives: holiday

Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids

What’s the best part of Valentine’s Day? It’s a guaranteed date night! If you and your other half are headed out for a romantic evening, you’ll probably want to provide your little one’s sitter with a festive Valentine’s craft. We love these heart shaped animals from personal creations for an easy and fun art fix.

Simply print out your child’s heart-shaped animal of choice, then leave them with your caregiver. When it’s time to create, they can help your child cut out and assemble the pieces to make a creature they’ll cherish long past February. There’s a color version for a quicker craft or a black and white version if your little one wants to color the animal themselves. Happy crafting!

heart-animals_google-plus

Sherry Chen, Personal Creations

Ghouls, Ghosts, and Goblins, OH MY!

On the hunt for a perfect Halloween costume this year? Fear no more because we’ve done our research so you don’t have to!

Take a look at what category best fits you and then suit up for a fun night of trick-or-treating!

1. For the gamer
2. For the movie-buff
3. For the traditionalist
4. For the family outing
5. For the DIY-er
6. For the emoji-obsessed
7. For the youngster
8. For the tween
9. For the too old to be trick-or-treater
10. For the pup

Happy Haunting!

Halloween

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor 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!

10421162_10102411894466160_208797431585247347_n

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!”

C:\Users\owner\Dropbox\BFC Nanny Share\Nanny Candidates\New York\Kate Donehower\Kate Donehower Thanksgiving.jpg

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!”

C:\Users\owner\Dropbox\BFC Nanny Share\Sitters (New York)\Liza Harbison\Liza Harbison Thanksgiving.jpg

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!”

C:\Users\owner\Dropbox\BFC Nanny Share\Sitters (New York)\Meredith Hamler\Meredith Hamler Thanksgiving.jpg

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!”

C:\Users\owner\Dropbox\BFC Nanny Share\Sitters (New York)\Emily Jewell\Emily Jewell Thanksgiving.jpg

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.”

C:\Users\owner\Desktop\Ali Shepard thanksgiving.jpg

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 :)”

C:\Users\owner\Desktop\LBell Baby.jpg

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.

IMG_2174

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

Halloween TREATment

Greetings, all!

Today I’m here to share 8 creative Halloween treats to make for the little goblins in your house. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you hide some off to the side for your enjoyment.

1. Boo-nana Pops: Not a big fan of ingredients? Then this treat is for you! Head to the market to buy bananas, white chocolate, and mini chocolate chips. After that, a fun treat is in your hands!

2. Spider Crackers: Spiders have never been so yummy. Fill two Ritz crackers (try peanut butter or cream cheese), stick pretzel sticks into the filling, and dot with some raisins for eyes.

3. Clementine Pumpkins: Hate commercials? Me too. In your next commercial break, peel an orange, grab a stick of celery or tootsie roll, and stick it into the top of the orange. Then head back to your show.

4. Hot Dog Mummies: Consider this your main course. Just make sure you wrap the hot dog in crescent rolls, not toilet paper. I know that could easily be confusing.

5. Jack-o-Lantern Orange Packet: Did you forget it was your turn to bring the snack today? No problem! Head to the store and get the to-go plastic containers of either mandarin oranges or peaches. Grab a sharpie and doodle a jack-o-lantern face on the top.

6. Band-Aids: Don’t worry, no actual blood here. This is another recipe with only three ingredients, so no need to create a note in your iPhone for the recipe.

7. Sand-Witch: Grilled cheese might be best fall sandwich of all time. It also helps that it is one of the quickest meals to make. Try cutting a witch hat out of the bread, and let the cheese soup through (see what I did there?).

8. Jack-o-Lantern Snack Plate: This is like the appetizer sampler at your favorite restaurant, but BETTER! Take these ingredients and build your best face (gold fish, raisins, banana, cucumber).

I hope all of our readers have a great Halloween! And special thanks to Listotic, who brought us all of these creative ideas!

TB

Riley_Jim_Halloween

 

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

BFL – Presidents’ Day in the City

Most NYC schools have off Presidents’ Day, along with post offices, major banks, and many government agencies.

Presidents-Day-history

Take advantage of the day off and explore the city with these cool activities:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 7.39.36 AM

 

WWW – Santa Baby!

It’s a well known fact that I have LOVED Christmas my entire life!  When my baby sister was in grade school she wrote a school poem about me entitled, “Christmas Freak”.  (Yes, even then she had a biting sense of humor.)  I love the cold weather, the lights & decorations, the music (I’m listening to it as I write this), the cards, selecting presents for people & wrapping them creatively, making holiday cookies & crafts and the general feeling of goodwill among people during this time.  It’s just the most wonderful time of the year…made even more magical by our daughter!

It’s always been amazing to watch her little mind develop, but this holiday just puts her into overdrive.  There are lights and colors and new tastes, sounds and textures!  An everyday trip to Target is an adventure when she spots the holiday aisles from across the store.  She tells me “keep going mommy” until I reach the sparkly trees.  When we decorated our own tree, she couldn’t wait to hang ornaments and then examine each one carefully.  Don’t get me wrong, her excitement lasted for about three ornaments…three longer than my husband’s…but she had fun in the moment!  Now she has her favorites that she visits daily, and each morning as we walk downstairs she says, “Lights on!”

We’ve painted paper plate wreaths, made a handprint Christmas tree, cut Play-Doh shapes with cookie cutters, glued puff balls on foam shapes, decorated her own tiny tree in her play room and made daily “peanut butter guys” with our gingerbread man cookie cutter. Every morning she tries to stand higher on her tippy toes than she did the day before to put a new felt ornament on her Advent calendar.  I’m loving it!!!  She’s learning new concepts and I get to indulge my passion for the season.

jolynn1

One concept she’s got down quite well is a fear of strangers….particularly those in big red suits with long white beards.  She loves the guy from afar, can’t wait to yell his name at every opportunity, gets excited when we read about him in books, but the moment we get up close, all bets are off!   Last year’s Santa picture attempt was so traumatic I won’t even show you.  This year we tested the waters at a local party, and in mom’s arms, with fun auntie making faces behind the camera, it wasn’t so bad.

jolynn2

We’re still not going near the mall Santa, but this was progress.  And progress is what it’s all about with a toddler.  It’s also what it’s all about with a first time mom…like the lesson that you don’t take your 11 month old to visit Santa and expect her to smile for the camera.  Parker and I are navigating these waters together and everyday is an adventure.  I agree that her puff ball penguins should have eyes on their tails and she agrees that our craft time together is more important than me cleaning the house….besides it develops her fine motor skills as she picks up and hands dust bunnies to me J

- jolynn

 

BFL – Teaching an Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving has just passed, and of course I am excited about so many things. Holiday from work, vacation to Denver, CO, to see my wonderful old friends, and my first gluten free turkey day dinner!

Thank_You

I get very nostalgic and joyful around this time of year. Like many of us I become aware of how much I love life and others and how I want to spread my wings and give back to my community. And while I’d like to have a smaller waistline, less student loan debt and vets bills, and have more time for yoga, I am aware of just how blessed, lucky and down right thankful I am for all the gifts I have in my life!

Teaching kids about gratitude and thankfulness is a hot topic around the holidays in America and other parts of the world. We participate in food drives to feed the hungry, donate clothes, volunteer at soup kitchens or get involved in other ways of giving to others in our communities and beyond. It feels good to give back, and it feels even better when a child participates in service work and acknowledges their own gifts and want to share with others.

Here are some helpful tips on teaching kids about gratitude and being thankful during the holidays and and throughout the year.

  • Teach simple manners: Please, excuse me, thank you.
  • Sharing is caring and is the foundation of giving to another.
  • Make a gratitude list at the start or end of your day.
  • Play gratitude ping-pong.
  • Create a gratitude art project. Have your child draw a picture of what makes them happy and discuss the connection of happiness to thankfulness and gratitude.
  • Read a book or watch a movie that sends the message of gratitude and appreciation. Then talk about it!
    • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
    • Small Blessings, by Erica Becker
    • Have you Filled a Bucket Today?,  by Carol McCloud
  • Have a regular conversation about gratitude and giving back!
  • As parents and caregivers the best way we can teach our youngsters is by role modeling.
  • Gratitude starts with respect and acknowledgement of others and having polite manners.
  • Acknowledgment of others and a positive outlook!
  • Teach empathy.
  • Get involved with a community outreach program that support underserved populations.

Have a very Happy Holiday Season!

- Ali Sheppard

 

BFF – A Christmas Spectacular – Radio City Style

  rockettes 3  

Just in time for the onset of the official holiday season, the Bell Family Company headquarters had the privilege of attending the opening night of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance on November 13th! There is no better way to kick off the holiday season. Not only is it an old New York City tradition, but it is a great outing for the whole family!

Radio City

The show keeps the traditional performances of the “Living Nativity” as well as the “wooden soldiers”, while bringing in the new traditions such as digital projections, floating snowflakes, and of course real animals. This year’s plot is about two young boys cannot afford to buy their sister a Christmas present. The eldest boy is a Santa nonbeliever, but he soon sings a different tune when he and his brother are taken on a journey to the North Pole, where presents come alive, and teach the boys that Christmas is not really about the toys, it’s about feeling the magic and believing in the spirit of it all.

Rockettes1

My favorite part had to be the floating snowflakes in the number “snow”. It truly felt like magic was coming alive, and left you feeling like a believer yourself. I would recommend the show for children ages two and up.