Overwhelmed with responsibilities at home? Now, you can rely on UrbanSitter for more than just child care—introducing pet sitting, senior care, and lots of household services, including cleaning, errands, and house sitting!
Headed on a road trip and can’t bring your pets, or looking for a dog-walker? You’ll find local sitters to care for all of your animals—cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, snakes (oh my!), and more on UrbanSitter.
To book a pet sitter or dog walker click on “Pet Care” from your dashboard and select your type of pet. We’ll automatically find sitters near you, and you’ll see a section on their profile with pet care details and experience.
Need non-medical companion care for an elderly relative? UrbanSitter offers an affordable solution as many sitters also offer senior caregiving, including fixing meals, assisting with tasks around the house, and friendly conversation.
Need a helping hand with cleaning, errands, grocery shopping, cooking, and driving, or looking for a part-time household assistant? No request is too big or too small.
To book household help click on “Household Services” from your dashboard and use the “Willing to help with” filter if you have a specific task in mind (housekeeping, errand help, house sitting, etc.). When making your booking, be sure to describe all of the household services you need in the Job Description.
Find help for the whole household now. Join UrbanSitter and start your free caregiver search today. Relief is only a few clicks away!
The arrival of a newborn is an exciting time and a nursery provides a tranquil, comfortable space for your newborn. Preparing the space before the baby’s arrival minimizes the stress associated with the first few weeks at home. Consider these six tips for getting the nursery in order before the big day to cut down on stress.
Select a Design
The décor of the nursery is the first thing to consider: colors, decorations and materials based on the baby’s gender. Select the fabrics first and paint to ensure the walls match the curtains and bedding. The design should also include items that stimulate your baby’s development like animals and mobiles. Because your baby will spend a lot of time on his or her back, consider adding a mural or stimulating design to the ceiling to stimulate the mind.
Childproof the Nursery
When purchasing or borrowing a crib, ensure that the slats are no more than 2 3/38 inches apart and you can consult consumer protection regarding recalls or warnings. Purchase a baby monitor with more than one receiver so you can move around the house while your baby is in the nursery. Crawl around the floor to ensure that the room is baby proof and add childproofing locks to cabinets for when he or she starts to crawl around the nurse. Also add soft padding to corners of cabinets, tables and other parts of the nursery so he or she doesn’t bump their head when they’re crawling about.
While there is no set time to prepare the nursery, it is easier to paint and decorate the room when it is empty. You should schedule a time to decorate the room several weeks before the due date once you know the gender of the baby. This also provides time for any paint fumes and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to dissipate. It’s best to use low-odor, VOC-free paint and materials whenever possible to prevent exposing your baby to such fumes. This target date helps determine the time by which items need to be acquired as well, like posters, stuff animals, furniture and so forth.
Make a Checklist
After choosing the type of nursery you want and when it needs to be finished, make a checklist to help keep you organized.
List the essential items you will need immediately after bringing the baby home.
Ask family and friends for advice on the items that they found most useful as well as what to borrow or buy. This will help you to avoid wasting money on unnecessary items.
Determine if you will use a bassinet, cradle or crib and a changing table or dresser.
Develop a timeline for accomplishing each task, such as painting the room and installing furniture.
The checklist will help you create a budget for larger items.
If your nursery is too small to fit everything, you will require creative storage and furniture arrangement solutions. Traditional baby furniture like a changing table, dresser and crib take up a large amount of floor space which may leave less room for play. So maximize the space for movement as well as furniture that serves multiple functions like a crib with drawers underneath and a low dresser than can be used as a dressing table. Because children’s clothes are smaller, you could add another crossbar in the lower half of a closet, for example.
Create a Sanitation Station
Creating a sanitation station will help keep the nursery germ-free with a diaper disposal system and clothing hamper. In addition to diapers, baby wipes and creams, the changing station should also have paper towels and a disinfectant cleaner for cleaning spills. By keeping everything nearby for easy access and removal, you will be able to cut down on germs and time when changing the baby’s diaper and smelling dirty diapers.
Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.
Itching for a little summertime DIY, but low on time, talent or budget? Here are five home projects with a big impact that anyone who can pick up a paintbrush can pull off in no time at all. These painting projects will go a long way in sprucing up your home and leaving you with some good DIY satisfaction. Call a sitter and get your creative juices flowing!
1. Shiny, Bright Door: There’s no need to break your back painting an entire room in your house to totally transform a space. You can make big change by simply changing the color of the door. Forget boring white. Seriously jazz up a door in your home, maybe the door to your kid’s room, a drab laundry room or even the front door by painting it a bright color with a high-gloss finish. Let the photo here inspire you (you won’t find any how-to on the Barcelona blog where we found it) and then head over to for step-by-step instructions for how to paint a door and have it look like you hired a professional. (via Transito Inicial & Pretty Handy Girl)
2. Family-Friendly Dining: Have your dining chairs fallen victim to countless mealtime mishaps and sticky fingers? Or maybe you’re ready to retire the highchair and move your baby into a seat at the big kid table…but you’re short a chair. No need to fret about finding an exact match. Hit CraigsList, a consignment shop, flea markets or your own garage or attic to scrounge up a suitable set. Then spray paint the chairs the same color for the look of cohesion or go wild with multiple colors for a rainbow of family-friendly dining options. Check out Confessions of a Spray Paint Addict to see how easy it is to totally transform something with a simple can of spray paint. (via Where Happy Lives)
3. Family Command Station: Will the wonders of chalkboard paint ever cease? You’ve seen them all – full blackboard walls and hallways, flower pots you can write on, even toys – but have you seen chalkboard paint turn a cabinet door into a family command station? You can use scrap cabinet doors (like leftovers from someone else’s kitchen renovation) to create colorful blocks of board that not only cheer up wall space and look like art, but also provide a handy space to keep the family organized and exchange notes. Either recycle an old cabinet door or take it a step further and paint a door or two that’s already hanging on a cabinet in your house. (via Lolly Jane)
4. Clever and Cute Stenciled Room: Stenciling requires more time, effort and finesse than simply applying a coat of paint – but the extra work pays off. While some stencils are complex and difficult to work with, one’s from StenCilit are easy to apply and include easy-to- follow instructions. Start with one wall – you might be satisfied with a feature wall, or may be so thrilled with your results that you’ll want to do all four walls. Remodelista has step-by-step instructions.
5. Painted Floor: Roll up the carpets and paint the floor! There’s a flurry of bright yellow floors on Pinterst. Whether you choose yellow or a more mellow neutral, white or charcoal, you’ll no longer need your rugs to liven the place up. Painted floors can be tricky to do on your own, but you can pull it off by doing your homework and making sure you have a suitable, well-prepped floor before you paint.
The bounty of toys from Santa + the mountain of stuff your child already owned = one hot mess of kid stuff.
Yikes! How is a busy parent to make sense of the mess, let alone organize it? Fear not! With these helpful tips, you’ll have the toys organized in no time. The next time your child cries, “I’m bored!” or a new sitter asks where you keep the Legos, you’ll be able to save the day by quickly pulling out a game with all the pieces, Barbie’s other shoe (well, maybe), or a puzzle that’s been long forgotten and now feels brand new.
1. Assess and Purge.
Now is the time to be ruthless. Organizational experts say you should part with one item every time you bring a new one into your home. You’ll likely find that you can do much better than that. Throw out anything that’s broken beyond repair, donate toys that your child has outgrown or lost interest in, and pack up and store toys for younger sibling. Another helpful plan – store a few toys for a rainy day. Even if they’ve been in your home for years, they’ll feel like new toys to your child when you bring them out of storage.
2. Replace old boxes and corral scattered pieces.
A ratty old box will sabbotage any organizing effort. Toss torn packages and corral game and puzzle pieces and instructions into easily stackable containers. These plastic boxes from Ikea are inexpensive and nicely sized. You can also use recycled baby wipes containers, plastic food storage or even Ziploc bags.
3. Make it easy to see and easy to find.
Before you choose a wooden box or a deep trunk for stashing your kids’ supplies, consider whether or not they’ll be able to see the contents. Often, if they can’t see it, they can’t find it. Use acrylic containers, such as these drawers, which are excellent for storing small pieces, like beads, Barbie clothes or stickers. Shoe holders, like the one shown below, are great for throwing over a door and corralling art supplies.
4. Label it.
Give everything a home by assigning it a place and putting a label on it. You can stick labels on containers or hang name tags on bins or baskets. If it’s labeled, there’s no mistaking where it goes.
5. Get down on their level.
For toy storage to work, it has to be easy for kids to access. Why not create a drawer that serves as a play space or race track you can simply slide under the bed when they are finished playing. If that’s not an option, think about wheeled crates or bins that slide under the bed, shelves placed low on the wall or cups for art supplies on a play table.
6. Make storage part of the décor.
Don’t make anyone search for ways to clean up. Incorporate storage into the decor by choosing furnishings that double as storage and display creative containers and collections as artwork.
7. Incentivize kids to help you keep it clean and clutter free.
It’s all about the Chore Chart. Even little kids can benefit from doing chores and can be assigned simple toy clean up duty. Download and print a chore chart that will work for your family from our Pinterest Printables Board, and post it so your kids can remember their assignments and track their progress. Laminate your chart and use a dry erase marker to check boxes.
Spend a few hours organizing your kids’ space, and your kids, your sitter and your sanity will benefit each and every day of the year!
UrbanSitter is an excellent resource for finding just the right babysitter.
You may be able to take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggle to navigate the often wild and rapid waters of everyday family life.
There are five common problems most parents confront in their day-to-day lives that can be at least alleviated, if not solved, with the help of an app. We’ve scoured, reviewed and talked with parents to find favorite apps that could bring a welcome, helping hand to your world.
Five Apps for Busy Families
1. Managing your family’s activities and calendars.
Chances are you have your preferred calendar method pretty down pat by now, whether it’s a paper day planner, Outlook, Facebook or another calendar you can access via your mobile device. All are tried-and-true, obviously effective methods of keeping your calendar. But when it comes to keeping track of calendars for several members of your family, you may benefit from taking it a step further.
A popular go-to calendar app is Cozi, an awesome solution for organizing your day-to-day calendar in a simple format, adding after-school activities, meals, to-do lists, chores, social events and more with ease. But, there’s a newcomer that’s caught our attention as a real productivity booster. UpTo is an app that streams public calendars, such as college and pro sports schedules, TV show schedules, new movie release dates, concerts and other important events you’d like to be reminded of, and lists them alongside your own events. So, you not only remember to take your son to the dentist, you also don’t miss the season premiere of your favorite TV show or your alma mater’s big game. You know, the important stuff.
2. Getting a decent dinner on the table.
Stop scouring the Web for what to do with those chicken legs you bought on sale or for that fantasy recipe that you’ll be able to whip up in minutes. Epicurious Recipe and Shopping List app is a one-stop-shop for nearly any recipe you could need.
It’s a virtual smorgasborg of more than 30,000 recipes pulled from around the world, all of which are divided into categories that are organized by skill level and theme such as Quick and Easy and Kid-Friendly. Not only can you find recipes on the go, you can also add ingredients to a shopping list and save your favorite recipes. It’s quick and easy to pull up the shopping list when you walk into the grocery store. You’ll be instantly prepared to pull off any dinner, last-minute throw-together or otherwise. If you prefer to have a hard copy of your recipes while you cook, there’s the Epicurious app for an HP printer that enables you to send recipes directly to your printer.
3. Staying connected with your spouse.
We’re a bit partial to this one, but it’s so good at simplifying your life as a parent, we have to toot our own horn and remind you of it again – The UrbanSitter iPhone App. It’s incredibly valuable to be able to find and book a babysitter, even exchange logistics with her, while on the go.
You simply use the app to see who is available to care for your kids when and where you need her, read profiles, check parent reviews, and send him or her an instant request.
It’s an app that can put the spontaneity back into your life, ensuring that you never have to turn down an invitation for a dinner with your spouse or a coffee with a friend.
4. Taking care of a newborn while juggling an already hectic life.
“Momnesia” may not be a medically documented condition, but forgetfulness and that feeling of losing track of what you were in the middle of doing is a reality for most parents – first-times and old pros, alike.
Keeping track of all the necessities, such as when and how you last fed your baby (bottle or breast), when you changed a diaper, how long your baby last slept, and when you need to do it all again is mind-boggling – especially to sleep-deprived, pulled-in-every-direction parents.
Baby Log is an ultimate baby log app. It holds unlimited data for all your baby’s activities, and can be used for multiple babies, too. Let it keep track of it all, so you can enjoy a bit of peaceful time with your baby, instead of fretting over the schedule. It also offers a nursing or nap timer, and provides a place to record milestone, growth or precious moments.
5. Archiving the memories so you don’t forget a minute.
When it comes to dealing with the masses of artwork and school projects that flood your home once you have a preschooler or school-age child, many parents are fans of Artkive. It allows you to take photos of your child’s masterpieces, share the work and archive it so you can show your grandkids what their Mom created when she was three.
But what do you do if your little one isn’t yet producing any art, yet the pressure of just keeping up the baby book is enough to put you over the edge? Meet Moment Garden. It’s an app that allows you to keep pictures, track weight and growth, record all trips to the doctor and keep first-time events of your baby on your phone, and privately share them with your closest family and friends. With a single click, you can even turn your Moment Garden into a Moment Book, a beautifully printed book like that baby book you never had time to finish!
We’d love to know which apps you find indispensable in the fight to keep your head above water in the fun, but sometimes frantic world of parenting. Give us a shout!
Making sense of what you can do to keep your baby clean and “green” can be overwhelming! It can be difficult to cull through the deluge of information and warnings out there to decipher what you should do to simply steer clear of environmental dangers that may affect your baby’s health. Here are some simple suggestions from experts:
Choose, store and serve food with care.
Once your baby is old enough for solid foods, make your own purees with organic produce and hormone-free meat and dairy products. Be sure to wash and peel produce before pureeing it.
Check with Healthy Child’s Safe Fish list for help in choosing the safest fish at the grocery store.
If you warm bottles or food in the microwave, use glass containers rather than plastic or plastic wrapped containers to avoid chemicals potentially leaching into the food they hold.
If you use plastic bottles or containers, look for those with a 1, 2, 4 or 5 recycling symbols on the bottom. These are free of harmful BPA, phthalates and PVC.
Clean and treat your home and garden wisely.
Choose all-natural cleaning products, including homemade solutions of vinegar and baking soda, to keep harmful fumes out of your home.
Use nontoxic pesticides in your home and on your lawn and garden. According to an article on BabyCenter provided by Healthy Child Healthy World (a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of children from harmful environmental exposures)boiling water kills weeds, and basil plants repel flies and mosquitoes.
Promote clean air.
Open your windows! You can improve the air quality in your home by simply opening windows on a daily basis. First, make sure it’s not a high-ozone day (check AirNow.gov), and if you’re in an urban or industrial area or have seasonal allergies, use an air purifier instead of opening the windows.
Ensure that your baby is not exposed to second-hand smoke, including smoke from the fireplace.
Install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and test for radon gas.
Buy household plants to help cleanse indoor air.
Read labels before choosing baby products that are applied to the skin.
Many popular personal care baby products that have been around for years contain chemicals that may be absorbed through the skin. If you want to keep it all-natural for your baby, but you aren’t sure what to look for and what to avoid when choosing baby products, check labels and avoid products that contain the following known carcinogens:
Phthalates, a man-made chemical that is used to make plastics flexible and used in many products to prolong a fragrance’s scent.
Parabens, a preservative found in many personal care, food and pharmaceutical products.
Two harmful chemicals – formaldehyde and 1,4-dioxane – are often found in personal care products but are hard to avoid because they aren’t listed as ingredients. They are released over time as a by-product of commonly used ingredients, such as the preservatives quaternium-15 and DMDM hydantoin. Choosing all-natural products will help avoid these harmful additives.
Avoid harsh chemicals in sunscreen by choosing sunscreens that use minerals, such as zinc and titanium, instead of chemical barriers.
For a more complete list of ingredients to avoid in personal care products for your baby, see the list provided by Earth Mama Angel Baby.
Do you ever wish you were one of those parents who create really, really cool spaces in their homes just for kids? We’re talking the kind of space that kids don’t just use and enjoy, but go absolutely ga-ga over. The kind of space that make their jaws drop, light bulbs go off in their heads, and their friends’ drool with envy. Maybe it’s not so hard to put those good intentions into action. After all, a playful home will help your kids learn to play independently, foster creativity and learning, and help them become more self-sufficient, organized and even focused.
Check out these insanely awesome kid spaces that are really quite doable. And, well, get to work! You will be rewarded!
Chances are, you don’t have the square footage in your home to suddenly create an office for yourself and a playroom for your kids. The super-star Mom Blogger from Studio Pebbles didn’t let this minor detail stop her. She created a shared space for herself and her children, dividing it enough so that she had a spot of her own and could still easily watch over the kids while they do their own thing. Check out her blog to see the fantastic job she did in creating a fun, creative space for kids to play.
You’ll notice a few reoccurring themes that will help convince you that you, too, could pull this off:
Ikea is a go-to source for inexpensive, kid-friendly furniture and storage that offers clean, modern lines;
Toys are typically boldly colored. Don’t fight it by trying to create a subdued or strict color scheme. Embrace it by turning the room into a rainbow of bright hues;
There’s a reason Etsy is so popular. Handmade is really awesome. Get your kids in on the decorating to really make the space their own. We love the paper garlands!
An Art Spot
We’re always demoaning our failed attempts at organizing art supplies in a way that keeps them corralled yet accessible to our kids. Why not dedicate a spot for not just the supplies, but for the whole creative process? Creating an art space for kids shows them their creativity is something valuable. Make the space work by choosing a location that’s easy to oversee, and amp up the storage options to keep mess to a minimum. If you plan well, a toddler space can easily morph into a spot for practicing ABCs and eventually homework.
A Quiet Nook
Kids need quiet time as much as parents do, probably even more so. Rather than sending them off to their rooms to read or look at a book as if it’s a punishment, entice them to find recluse and peace in an irresistibly cozy nook that is just their size.
How to build one in your home? Replace a closet door with curtains and voila, the closet becomes a perfect hide-away. If you can’t forego your coveted closet space, try a tent hung from the ceiling or an unused (or more likely, an under-used) spot in your house, such as under an eave, a dormer, or under a stairway to create a calming nest. Once you find the space, fluff it up with a comfortable chair, beanbag or a few pillows, add a light if need be, and an easily-accessible stash of books on shelves, bins or baskets.
No Ordinary Bedroom
You respect creativity and certainly know the value of quiet reading time. How do you feel about INDOOR outlets for PHYSICAL play? Are you brave enough to put a swing in your house? How about a climbing wall? It’s not surprising that any kid would be over the moon with having one of these typically outside toys in his or her own room. What’s surprising is that the installation doesn’t necessarily require a professional and the final product often works quite well indoors.