Category Archives: Family

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

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!

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!

Introducing NY’s First Premier Nanny Concierge

The New York Nanny Center (a Bell Family Company) and Parenting Expert and author of “Secrets of the Nanny Whisperer,” Tammy Gold, partner to create NYC’s Premier Nanny Concierge Service

 

NY Nanny Concierge Services is the first nanny search and management service run

by licensed psychotherapists, former nannies, educators and mothers who match families with nannies suited to the specific developmental needs of their child. Instead of focusing on the physical match (days, hours, location) we match based on the psychosocial needs as well.

 

FullSizeRender

 

Childcare matched to the developmental needs of your child

 

Our nannies go through rigorous recruitment process that assesses each nanny

based on psychological and social behavior profiles as well as the childcare skills

and experience. We know that “one nanny does not fit all” and our nannies are evaluated against their abilities to deliver the specific developmental needs of Erickson’s 5 stages of child development as every stage, from infancy to teen hood, needs a specific set of caregiving skills.

 

Childcare matched to each specific family’s characteristics and needs

 

We make sure your nanny can handle the specific and diverse childcare needs of today’s families. For example we match nannies to specific medical needs, e.g. Type

1 Diabetes, or psychological needs, e.g. skills to handle the complexities of children

with ADHD or specific family needs, e.g. divorced dual family households.

 

Each Search Includes Nanny Trialing and Assessment

 

You really don’t know if you have the perfect nanny match until the nanny, children and parents are interacting on the job.  That’s why we build Nanny Trials into our search process to that nannies and families can experience working together before an offer or placement is made.  During the trial period we work with both families and nannies to be gain objective feedback and assessment of the suitability of the match.  This ensures a more successful, happier and long-term placement for families and nannies.

 

2 hours of post placement Parenting and Childcare Coaching for Nanny or

Family

 

We have licensed therapists, certified coaches and former nannies there to help with any childcare challenges (e.g. children not listening to the nanny) or relationship challenges (e.g. communication issues between parent and nanny) that commonly arise during the beginning stages of the parent-nanny relationship. This added support to family and nanny allows for stronger relationships, placements that last much longer and most importantly better caregiving.

 

Access to 24/7 Sitter Services coverage for Sick Days, Weekends and Vacations

 

We know that nannies can get sick, may need to travel or leave for an emergency and therefore included in your search fee, is a complimentary one year membership to our premier on-demand caregivers from Bell Family Company. Weekends or at night, our Nanny Concierge covers all your childcare needs and emergency childcare situations.

 

We know we are the best way to find the ideal nanny for your child. If you are interested in learning more please call our office at 212.265.3354 or start your application by clicking JOIN TODAY here. To receive a copy of Tammy’s book please contact us for details:

 

Lindsay Bell, [email protected] or Tammy Gold, [email protected]

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!

BFL – Bedtime Routine Tips from the Experts!

Big City Moms has always supporting LLD & BFC, invited us a while back to their Sleep Experts Lunch to speak about the importance of communicating bedtime routines to your sitter. Here are a few important tips!

Newborn-sleeping
1. Give your sitter a tour of your home. Show your sitter the kids rooms, point out dangerous areas you want the kids to stay away from and give specific instructions on how things work.

2. Bedtime Rules. Talk to your sitter about your bedtime routine with the kids i.e. What time do you begin to wind down the night? What is your child’s favorite story and/or bedtime song? What time should they be asleep by?

3. Special Instructions.  Are there any special rules you have? Do your kids have any allergies the sitter should know about? Are the kid’s sick and need medicine?

4. Exchange Contact Info. Be sure to leave your sitter with your cell phone and an emergency contact numbers. Be sure to get her cell phone number so that you can text her throughout the night if you have any questions or to check in.

5. Anything else? Sitters are happy to lend a helping hand. If you’d like them to unload the dishwasher or change the laundry most sitters won’t mind. Especially once they have been at your home a few times and you feel connected to them. They will be happy to help!

I stayed to listen to Kira Ryan, mom, sleep lover and co-founder of Dream Team speak about her infant& toddler sleep tips. Here are a few!

  • Newborns should get 15-18 hours of sleep per day (24hrs)
  • A good bedtime for an infant is between 6-8pm
  • Signs of a sleepy infant: the cry is different, no engagement or eye contact, fussy
  • What is normal?
    • Up to 6 mo infants take naps every1 ½ -2 hours
    • At 6mo infants usually take 2 naps per day
    • 15-18 mo 1 long nap in the afternoon
    • Naps or ‘quiet time’ is recommended up to 3-4 years
    • White noise machines are great especially for city noise
    • Crib should be a sleep sanctuary, anything that screams party or playground should be removed
    • Check the nursery temperature! It should be between 68-72 F.
    • Is the room dark enough? Get blackout shades!

For more info on Dream Team click here

Best Burping Methods

Dear Ask-A-Sitter,

What are the best burping techniques?  I have heard so many. I just want to communicate the best one to my sitter when I leave her with my infant.  What do you recommend?

-Tooty Twins

Dear Tooty Twins,

Yes that is true, everyone seems to have their own method, which makes sense because every baby is different. What works for your lil’ one may not work for another. Try out a few different positions & see which one seems to mesh with your infant the best. Sometimes I also find switching from one burping position to to the other helps the baby release gas.  Here are my top 3 burping positions that seem to work best with an infant:

– Hold your baby with their chin near your shoulder, support the baby with one hand and gently pat/rub their back with the other to sooth them while allowing their body to stretch out

– Sit your baby on your lap with one hand supporting their chin and pat/rub their back

– Lay your baby at a slight angle (with their head higher then their chest) on your lap facing you, rub their belly to sooth them while they stretch out their body. I use this method as a last resort after trying the first two above

Right after burping. The twins are as happy as can be.

Remember to support your lil’ ones head and pat/rub gently.  Your baby doesn’t always need to be burped, if he or she seems happy, they’re probably comfortable. And don’t forget to use a burp cloth regardless of the method you choose.

-LB