Friday, October 28, 2011

My Adventures in Babysitting, by Laurie Keith

What does it take to be a good sitter? Someone asked me that the other day and it made me think about my approach when it comes to meeting a new family and building a relationship with their children.

I believe successful babysitters have to have to demonstrate two things: building a personal connection with the parents and being clear about their childcare and family needs and becoming a trusting friend and mentor to the children.

I think it’s extremely important to get to know the family you’re sitting for. The first time I meet a family, I make sure to understand their parenting style and routines. What time does the child go to bed? Do they like water or milk? Do they get to watch TV before bed? Do they want a bedtime story or song? Every family is different and if you can mirror your babysitting style after what the child is comfortable with – you have a better chance of connecting to the family. Children want to feel safe and secure with you after their parents leave.

It’s also important to bond with the children. You can’t just show up and throw in a movie. I always engage with the kids and ask them questions about themselves and their lives. One unique thing I like to ask is “what questions did you ask today?” vs. “What did you learn today?” I love knowing what a child finds curious about the events in their life. I also think it’s important to play with the kids… they are kids after all! The last time I babysat, one of the children wrote a song and we put on a performance – I sang and they played the instruments. We recorded the whole thing to watch back. It was so much fun and a memory we’ll have forever.

To me – caring for children comes naturally. I think it’s because I am able to relate to them and see the world on their level. I want them to feel completely comfortable around me and be able to communicate to me about their wants and needs and also their dreams and fears. I think the role of a babysitter is unique – I’m clearly the adult that is in charge – however I develop a friendly bond with the children and act as a mentor for them. I think it’s important for children to have a role model outside of their parents – and this is the type of relationship I try to form with the children I babysit. Forming a special friendship with a child not only impacts their life – but also profoundly inspires mine.

Submitted by:

Laurie Keith

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beyond Teaching is Beyond Amazing: Interview with Dimity Kirwan

I had the pleasure of sitting down at Peacefood Café yesterday with Dimity Kirwan, the CEO of Beyond Teaching a super savvy, fast-growing online community of teachers seeking extra work as tutors and caregivers.

Dimity connects teachers with parents who are looking for skilled and knowledgeable individuals to work with their children. Sound familiar to LLD?

Beyond Teaching believes that providing children with ongoing learning experiences is essential. Dimity and I understand that parents often struggle to find top quality childcare and tutors. LLD & Beyond Teaching are proud to collaborate in developing a solution for busy moms throughout the tri-state area by providing the best local tutors and caregivers. During the interview I had the opportunity to ask Dimity several questions about herself and Beyond Teaching.

Tell us about your story?

I’m from Wilton, CT, which is in Fairfield County. I have a twin sister, a younger brother and sister, and 3 much younger half sisters, for whom I often babysat and nannied. I went to Tulane University, in New Orleans. When I graduated, I joined Teach for America and completed a masters of education, specializing in Childhood 1-6, from Pace University whil

e teaching in Harlem.

What led you to start Beyond Teaching ?

Throughout my first three years of teaching, I supplemented my income through babysitting and tutoring, but connecting with families was always tough. I loved working with kids one on one and wished that I had more opportunities to do so, as did my fellow teacher friends. I thought it would be such a great business to connect these wonderful families I was meeting with great sitters/tutors.

What is the coolest thing that has happened to you this far?

My grant to start Beyond Teaching from the Jones New Yo

rk Empowerment Fund and meeting Dee Dee Meyers! I heard about this grant offer through Ladies Who Launch, applied, and received the grant in September 2010. All the recipients were featured in an ad campaign that ran in Elle & Real Simple Magazine.

So what is your goal with Beyond Teaching ?

On a larger scale, I'm hoping to empower teachers to utilize their skills beyond the classroom and to be compensated accordingly. I would love to do this full-time as I love being able to connect families and students with quality tutors.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Generally, playing outdoors with my siblings. Our house was in the middle of the woods, and we created a fantasyland out of nature! My love for nature has continued - when I'm not teaching or working on Beyond Teaching , I'm an avid rock climber and yogi!

So how do tutors get involved in Beyond Teaching ?

It's easy - take 10 minutes to visit our website and register for free.

Thanks to Dimity for all the great insight! That's all for now, make sure to keep following LLD!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How young is too young for a babysitter?

As the oldest of five girls, yes five! I have spent much of my life as a mother’s helper for my own mom. That background and experience is without a doubt what led me to run Lucky Lil' Darlings (LLD). My mother always believed (and I now agree) that a 12 year-old is too young to babysit alone and be fully responsible for children. As a result, I and my four sisters grew up with a mother’s helper until I got a bit older.

Once I turned 16 I bought my first car and was able to take my first babysitting job. I babysat for a family of three girls (7yrs, 5yrs and 4yrs old) about 5 miles from my parents' house. I felt confident that I could handle any situation, as I had my own vehicle to drive the kids somewhere in case of an emergency, knew quite a bit about meal preparation for kids, and had experience with my own sisters.

Through having spent more than a decade focused on professional childcare, I have met hundreds of sitters of all ages and babysat for hundreds of families. I think the most important factor a parent should consider when selecting a childcare provider is good old fashion instinct. Always use sitters directly referred from friends and always check references. Then, when you meet the sitter in person, just follow your gut. Is this person a good fit with my family? Can this sitter handle an emergency? If you don't feel totally comfortable that the answers are YES and YES, then I strongly advise you to find another sitter.

That instinct is at the heart of our Secure Sitter Selection process at LLD. After the candidate is directly referred, passes a background check and after we check references I always meet the sitter in person before sending her to any of our member families. After speaking with so many sitters throughout the years, I know exactly what to look for and ask candidates. Is the sitter professional? Is this person 100% reliable? Does the sitter know how to handle certain situations? Does the sitter have the requisite childcare experience we need? And, ultimately, do I get that "good feeling"?

That's one of the things I love most about LLD. We are essentially a professional screening service that allows me to promise my clients that when a sitter arrives at their home - they'll instantly have that same great feeling. Not only is babysitting an essential service for today's busy family, but LLD makes it so much easier for parents. LLD member families know our sitters are all rigorously-screened role models their kids will look up to. Our sitters are all college-educated, referred, dependable, interviewed and FUN, and they quickly become an integral part of our members' routines.

For any questions on finding your first sitter or LLD please contact me at


Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Loves Disco Event & LLD

Only in NYC are kids taken underground for a cool dance experience with a rockin’ out DJ, yummy organic snacks, puppet making and more!

It all came alive this Halloween at the Baby Loves Disco event held at Le Poisson Rouge down on Bleeker. LLD hosted the popular puppet making table sponsored by Creativity for Kids, the company is based in my ole stomping grounds Cleveland, OH and has tons of inspiring products to entertain your child.

It was so cool.

The kids came decked out in lil’ spooktacular costumes and broke it down on the dance floor. Some of these kids can really dance. Huggies sponsored the event, which lucky moms left with heaps of diapers. My friends at Macaroni Kid Downtown were there giving kids Halloween tattoos, Plum Organics was next to our table handing out snacks, and moms loved learning about the new Chess NYC buddies programs & IntenSati for Mommies workshop on the UWS both of who are partnering their services with LLD! It was a day filled with fun for the kids as well as informational for the parents!

Moms & Dads left the event with a gift bag filled with coupons from Whole Foods, Clean Well & Ella’s Kitchen as well as lots of fun new activities to keep your lil’ ones active this winter! And for you loyal readers use code DISCO at check out on the Clean Well website!

Can’t wait for the next Baby Loves Disco Event November 5th in Park Slope!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

spooktacular themed snack

It’s almost Halloween and I love it! I am spending the weekend out in Locust Valley with one of our LLD families. Long Island has it all for fall; the changing of the leaves, the smell of crisp fall air, pumpkin picking…ahhhh country. Well sort of. My favorite thing about Halloween is hosting a gathering with spooktacular themed foods. As I surf the net for fun new recipes, I receive a thank you from an event that I attended (and LLD partnered with) hosted by Mom Trends at Glassybaby , the goodwill glass maker down in the village this past Tuesday. Perfect timing! They sent me the delicious recipe for their Parmesan Popcorn. Just what I needed! See recipe below. Let me know what you think of it!

Happy Party Planning!

Parmesan Popcorn

This is one of my favorite go to party snacks, perfect finger food to serve in, for example, decorative paper cones. Easy to make & actually very cheap. (Even though you couldn't tell by the flavor.)

1/2 stick of salted butter

2 tblsp truffle oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Melt the butter and the truffle oil over low heat or in the microwave. Take of the heat. Drip over popcorn and then add the parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are you missing the great outdoors?

Lucky Lil' Darlings
is! It's fall and the leaves are changing everywhere, the air is crisp and brisk, and the days are getting shorter. We can't wait to make all of those adorable Jack-O-Lanterns! Who can forget the days of apple picking, hay rides, and visiting pumpkin patches. Being in the city, we miss some of these unforgettable fall experiences. Lindsay, LLD's lovely President, knows exactly what this feels like after growing up in Ohio where an apple picking orchard was right around the corner and there were cornfields galore where farmers made cornfield mazes for all the families around.

The other day Lindsay stumbled upon the Something Creative Daily blog, which made her realize how much she missed the country and fresh air. This mom, her husband and her son decided to go apple picking at the Tenure Orchards outside of Princeton, NJ. Their experiences sounds amazing! The farm has family fun weekends with pumpkin picking, pony rides, country food, and of course, apple picking in their orchards. It sounds like a great place to spend the afternoon with the kids while fall is still in full swing. Take a trip out to Princeton, just over an hour outside the city, and escape the busyness of the city. We know we sure will be!

Make sure you visit the Tenure Orchards website and see everything they have for families on the weekends. Also visit our Facebook and Twitter for updates on LLD!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Lil' Blurb from our President

I spent some of my Sunday Funday at the New Parents Expo meeting with mom-targeted brands, local families, trying new products and more! I was happy to hear they had a bag check as I am the NYC bag lady, always carrying my life with me. I was invited to attend on behalf of Lucky Lil’ Darlings and proud to be there.

I saw some familiar faces, HAPPYBABY, Baby Loves Disco, and Baby Bites who I have worked with in the past on different marketing campaigns. It was great that the expo brought everyone together under one roof.

What I loved most was meeting with the new brands & companies that LLD or I are not yet affiliated with such as Carnegie Kids. They have a great kids program in the winter that would be perfect for LLD children looking for some entertainment during those long winter weekends. Then there were some new brands that I really loved, Peg-Perego Strollers, perfect for busy moms looking for a light stroller. And how about Woodloch Resort, only 2hrs outside the city near the majestic Pocono Mountain lake region of NE Pennsylvania. They have everything for the perfect family getaway; outdoor/indoor sporting activities, outstanding family entertainment, golf for dad, yoga for mom and delectable dining. I can’t wait to try it out! Better yet, free show for the kids (12 and under), use promo code PIER 92 1015 now through 12/19.

I was intrigued by NYC Dads Group, as typically we all think moms are the only ones with groups. As many of our LLD dads now book sitters and have a much bigger role in childcare, I loved the concept and encourage our LLD dads to check them out.

I really enjoyed meeting with Dana’s Kids; the owner speaks on a variety of mom & children topics including how to train nannies and she even gives CPR training. And finally, I am an avid reader of NY Family Magazine and loved meeting with the editor and learning more about their publication.

Great meeting all of you, looking forward to bringing our families together!



Sunday, October 16, 2011

LLD A Day in the Park

A big shout out goes to all of the parents who brought their kids to our Day in the Park with Lucky Lil’ Darling sitters. It was a HUGE success! We loved having the chance to meet some new adorable kids, help them get a jump-start on homework after school, and spend some time in the great outdoors. The weather was beautiful and we couldn’t keep ourselves off the playground at the park. Some of the more adventurous big kids were climbing all over the rocks! As you can see, we were having a blast!

Our sitters helped kids pick different leaves, sticks and rocks for a school project about nature. LLD sitters really do try to go above and beyond!

Before we sent the kids on their way home, we had a tasty treat of ice cream and wandered around the outskirts of the park. We really were sad to see them go! Here’s a great picture of Lindsay hanging out with some of the kids during the event.

We really hope everyone enjoyed the play date as much as we did and we can’t wait to have another Day at the Park with LLD. Keep tuned for more upcoming opportunities to get involved with LLD! As always, make sure to follow us @Luckylildarling and like us on Facebook.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beauty, Fashion and Event Planning tips from stylEast Group!

Hey moms! Are you ready for some great fashion, event planning, and style advice? Well, you’re in luck! This week LLD had the opportunity to interview with an expert from stylEast Group, an event planning and beauty company, and we have answers for you. StylEast Group does everything from fashion consultations to spray tanning, and event planning at corporate events. Jessica La-Rotta, Event Planner and CEO, gave us her advice about some problems and questions all you busy moms might have about planning parties, make-up, and style. Jessica is a successful young entrepreneur who loves life and loves helping others. Here is what she had to say about some mom-geared questions from LLD!

When event planning, do you have any advice for making a kid party, parent friendly? It can be so hard making sure the kids are having fun, but there's something for the parents to do as well.

Adult beverages aka “Alcohol!” I know what you're probably thinking, but you should feel guilt-free about this idea. Sharing a pitcher of mimosa's amongst the mothers (and a beer or so for the men), can help you relax with your peers and mix and mingle. Just be aware of your intake of alcohol. Also, parents can definitely participate in the kid friendly games; nothing is more exciting than a parent-kid friendly competition against others.

For moms trying to transition their summer wardrobe into fall, what would you say are the must-haves going into this season, and what are the fads that we can pass by?

Moms remember that fall follows summer not winter so make sure to still keep those light colored clothes out, there is no need to put them away and bring out all the winter boots and dark clothes. Also fall is out so there is no need for strappy sandals/heels. A nice peep toe shoe says you’re ready for falls cool nights. We are also seeing the 70’s and 80’s clothing coming back out so go ahead and bring out those flare jeans that have been sitting in your closet for a few years and get ready to start getting rid of all those skinny low waist jeans which aren’t always flattering to the hips.

What are some budget friendly tips for moms who are planning a party?

There is nothing like some fun DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects for your party that can save you some extra dollars. Grab your kids and have them help you do the favors, centerpieces or anything fun and creative you want to add to the party. Not only is it cost effective but also gets your child involved in being creative and helping out. Also, do not spend a lot of money on purchasing expensive items; take out the coupons and start looking for sales in stores and/or online. Bargain shopping, coupons and the dollar store are one of my favorites to keep my clients expenses low and keep them happy!!

Being a busy mom, why is it so important to hire an event planner?

Hiring an event planner is the best choice you can make when you have a household and family to take care of. As a trained professional and coordinator, managing time and putting together fabulous events is our area of expertise! This can relieve the stress associated with planning a party and give you more time to attend to other priorities such as your family’s needs. This is a win-win for both parties, you will have more time for the family while still having an event planner execute your vision and also provide an event planner with a project that they love to do!

Moms on the go don't have much time to mess around styling their hair for hours on end, what are some quick easy solutions after getting out of the shower to make sure moms are looking their best, but still ready to get those kids to school on time? Following that, what are some quick and easy make-up tips?

A moms "must have" is Velcro rollers! Why Velcro rollers? Moms won’t need to spend a lot of time styling their hair because they are not only extremely easy to use but they stay on your hair without any pins or falling and leave your hair with lots of volume! :) Velcro Rollers dry quickly and all you need to do is set them in your hair, spray and leave them on while doing your makeup or getting yourself or the kids ready. Once you are ready to start your day you can simply take them off and you are ready to go with a fun, volume, sexy mommy stylish hair!

TIPS: It is not necessary to use rollers all over your hair, you can just simply set them where you want the most volume as well you can use different size rollers on the top and sides of the head. Last but not least, it is very important to use the proper products for your hair type to help your hair get the most volume, combat frizziness, and just make it look healthy and fabulous! An amazing tip for makeup is to use a tinted moisturizer to give your skin more pigment without having to spend time applying foundation. To complete the look, some powder, a little bit of blush that can be applied to your check bones, eye brow bone and a quick touch on the nose. Add mascara and a lip gloss and you are ready to go! That's the basics of makeup, and moms can do it in less than 8min! :)

Even though moms are so busy, they still want to pump up the volume for those special events. How can moms re-vamp their daytime look to make it more nighttime and event appropriate? Are there specific products moms should try investing in to give their look that extra "umph"?

An easy way to revamp your daytime makeup look into a more intense sexy night look is to apply some eye liner to the upper and/or lower eye lid(s) followed by a darker lip color and reapplying a darker blush. With these simple quick changes, moms will be ready to go out and enjoy a wonderful night out without spending too much time! Also, always carry a pair of black heels in your baby's diaper bag. You can always change the way your outfit looks by adding black heels!

How would you define your style, and how do you develop it over time along with all of the trends and fads?

Defining your style depends on your lifestyle and the different stages you go through in your fashionable life. We recommend that even as a busy mom, DO NOT forget to spend a couple of extra minutes every day loving yourself and embracing your curves and style. Make sure you do the "3 R’s". Revamp, Renew and Reinvent yourself and your wardrobe using the newest trends and match them to your style. Do not be afraid to have a little fun and spice up the “Mom” wardrobe.

What would you say is the most important aspect of a person's style? Is it the clothes? The make-up and hair? The shoes? The attitude?

I think the most important aspect of a person's style is their confidence. It goes with everything! Make sure you feel good and you will!!

Thanks so much to Jessica for all of the great insight! And the best just got better because starting now any LLD Moms that want to book event planning or beauty services from stylEast Group will receive a 20% discount off the total package (not including gratuity or tax). So moms, make sure you visit the website at and see everything they have to offer. For more information about stylEast Group, check out their facebook at and follow them @styleastgroup.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Need a babysitter at the last minute?

Wish you could find a
cpr/ first-aid trained babysitter that you can trust?

Do you need
a regular babysitter for date night?
Need an extra pair of hands
on your next vacation?

Well…you are in “luck”!

Lucky Lil’ Darlings (LLD) is a dependable family care solutions company equipped with a hand-selected group of stellar sitters. Currently servicing 200+ families in New York (Manhattan, Long Island, Hamptons & Westchester), New Jersey & Connecticut as well as the greater Los Angeles area, LLD has a well-established, solid reputation for quality, excellence, and care. Each sitter has been carefully selected through our in-depth screening and interview process; as well as background-checked.

We are coming to Philadelphia!

Come join us for a fun meet & greet on Friday, October 14th at the following locations:
Saxby's in wayne 110 E. Lancaster Ave Wayne, PA 19087 from 10:00am-11:30am snacks & coffee menu available!

Cosi in wayne 223 E Lancaster Ave Wayne, PA 19087 from 12:00noon-1:30pm
Full lunch menu available!

Meet founder & president Lindsay bell
who will introduce all the great services from LLD!

Free Annual Membership giveaway to one lucky Parent!

Meet new moms, dads and lil’ darlings!
Please RSVP to
For more info visit ***