11 apps to help find reliable childcare

11 apps to help find reliable childcare

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Summertime freedom for kids can mean an extra scheduling burden on parents who are juggling work and home life. 

Especially when parents don’t have predictable schedules, their kids’ summer activities can alter an already chaotic flow.

Fortunately, numerous childcare apps and websites can help solve your babysitting needs.

A Zum sitter opens the door for a child.

A Zum sitter opens the door for a child.

Zum is a new app that helps parents find babysitting and rides for their children to and from activities. It might be ideal for shuttling the kids back and forth between summer camp schedules. The downside is the app is only for parents in the San Francisco Bay Area, and while the app itself is free, the cost per hour for help is higher than minimum wage. The company reports that all its drivers have childcare experience and pass extensive background checks.

Urbansitter searches your area to find the top-rated babysitters and shows recommendations from your neighbors. The site boasts that most requests receive a response in 15 minutes. Using the site is free and if you live in a major metropolitan area, you’ll find many babysitters across a range of cost options. 

Care.com is a matchmaking site for parents and sitters. Started as a website, Care.com also has an app that makes searching profiles and messaging potential sitters quick and easy. The site has been around since 2007, and is trusted by sitters and parents alike, though use of the service costs $26 for the first three months. Once you sign up, canceling your account is a little tricky. As far as safety, Care.com lets sitters put in references and will do background checks for an additional fee. However, a 2012 investigation of the Care.com’s and Sittercity’s background checks found they missed key information.

Like Care.com, Sittercity is a site that matches parents and care providers. The site has been around since 2001 and because of its longevity is more likely to be in your town if you live outside a major metropolitan area. The site also allows parents to review a sitter and request background and motor vehicle checks. But as mentioned above, online background checks don’t always catch everything.

Okay, forget babysitting. Maybe the thing you really need help with is laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping or odd jobs around the house. TaskRabbit connects you to local people who will help you get the job done and maybe free up some time for the pool. Taskrabbit might also be more affordable than a sitter, because there is a wider range of prices. Also, the people performing the tasks are vetted by TaskRabbit and all jobs are insured.

While Taskrabbit will connect you with anyone willing to do the job, its competitor Handy links users to local professionals who will do anything from clean your home to decorate its interior. Handy has no monthly fee, but reviews of the app report a lot of missed appointments and subpar work.

Babysitting is expensive and a luxury not everyone can afford. If you aren’t interested in a regular sitter, Sitting Around is a site that connects you to local babysitting coops, where you and other parents you know can trade sitting hours. Membership to the site costs $15 per year and the babysitting is free. 

Sitter is another babysitting app that works to connect parents and caregivers, but Sitter works a little differently by allowing parents to send a message to multiple sitters at once. The first sitter who accepts is the first to get the job. Sitter is a free app. You add the sitters you know from your contact list. You can also view the sitters of your friends (if they use the app) so you can add those people as well.

Seeking Sitters is a one-stop-shop website that, for one-time fee of $59.99, will match you to your perfect sitter. That doesn’t include the cost of the sitter. The site is more expensive but it boasts enhanced safety, noting that each sitter is checked by a private investigator instead of an online background check.

eNannysource connects parents with qualified nannies. Much like Care.com or Sittercity, eNannysource is mostly web-based and allows for background checks and messaging within the service. The service also offers more comprehensive background services for a fee. But know, this site is specifically for people who can hire a full-time nanny; you won’t find part-time or occasional sitters here.

Babysitters4Hire boasts over 20 years in the babysitter matchmaking game. It is also the priciest option, with a $99.99 annual fee. It is affiliated with Care4Hire and Nannies4Hire. The site says it is used by the Dr. Phil Show. It encourages parents to do their own digging into sitters’ backgrounds and references.

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This story was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2018.

The Haunting of Hill House director breaks down that one-shot episode

The Haunting of Hill House director breaks down that one-shot episode

'The Haunting of Hill House' episode 6 attempted the old one-shot trick.
‘The Haunting of Hill House’ episode 6 attempted the old one-shot trick.

Image: Steve Dietl/Netflix

Wondering how the sixth episode of Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, the one that looks like it’s all one continuous shot, was made? 

Writer and director Mike Flanagan gave fans a rare look at how the ambitious episode of the streaming platform’s horror series was created, in a lengthy Twitter thread on Sunday.

Flanagan broke down the scenes for the episode, and the difficulties involved in filming what he describes as essentially “five long takes,” three in a funeral home, two in Hill House. 

The director speaks to problematic flooding caused by rain machines, praises the stand-in actors who helped rehearse the lighting, blocking and cinematography, and explains how the crew pulled off a 360-degree shot featuring adult characters being replaced with their child selves.

Flanagan even details exactly how long each shot runs for, which would be stitched together in post-production for the seemingly one-shot full episode.

Here we go. There’s a mild spoiler vibe in a few of the tweets, just so you know.

Phew! So much detail. But there was one final question to answer.

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10,000 flames lit at the Tower of London mark 100 years since WWI

10,000 flames lit at the Tower of London mark 100 years since WWI

10,000 flames were lit in the moat of The Tower of London as part of a memorial installation marking the centenary of WWI.
10,000 flames were lit in the moat of The Tower of London as part of a memorial installation marking the centenary of WWI.

Image: In Pictures via Getty Images

This year marks 100 years since the end of World War I. 

700,000 British soldiers lost their lives in the war, which was fought from 1914 to 1918. The fallen soldiers are being commemorated at The Tower of London in the British capital with a pretty spectacular light show. 

10,000 individual flames are being lit every night around the 950-year-old castle in central London. The flames will be lit from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night until Armistice day on November 11th — the day marking the truce signed in 1918.

The installation, located in the old moat of the fortress, is entitled “Beyond the Deepening Shadow.”

Image: In Pictures via Getty Images

The installation was designed by artist Tom Piper, who previously worked on the 2014 installation “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” — a project which involved 800,000 ceramic flowers being spread throughout the moat surrounding The Tower of London. 

As commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War, an installation at the Tower of London, called Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers fills the moat with thousands of individual flames: a public act of remembrance for those who lost their lives in the Great War, on 4th November 2018 in London, United Kingdom. The tribute will run for eight nights, leading up to and including Armistice Day. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Image: In Pictures via Getty Images

The title of this year’s installation derives from a war sonnet by poet Mary Borden, which reads:

“They do not know that in this shadowed place/
It is your light they see upon my face.”

As commemoration of the centenary of the end of the First World War, an installation at the Tower of London, called Beyond the Deepening Shadow: The Tower Remembers fills the moat with thousands of individual flames: a public act of remembrance for those who lost their lives in the Great War, on 4th November 2018 in London, United Kingdom. The tribute will run for eight nights, leading up to and including Armistice Day. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Image: In Pictures via Getty Images

The torches will be lit for the last time on November 11th.

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Robb Vices has the fanciest subscription box weve ever seen

Robb Vices has the fanciest subscription box weve ever seen

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The Rosé All Day box with Macari Vineyards Rosé,  20 oysters, and leather wine storage.
The Rosé All Day box with Macari Vineyards Rosé,  20 oysters, and leather wine storage.

Image: robb vices

Did seeing pictures from The Royal Wedding have you feeling like a damn peasant? Because same.

If you’re trying to be treated like royalty too, up your fancy game big time with a Robb Vices luxury subscription box to give you a monthly dose of that good life. 

If you’re wondering what we mean by “fancy,” just think about that video of Nick Offerman (AKA Ron Swanson) drinking whiskey by a fireplace. The monthly box from Robb Vices is basically that in subscription box form.

We’re talking top shelf alcohol, luxury kitchenware, cigars, leather accessories, artisan food samples, and more — one month’s box had a literal record player and a record. The creators (from Robb Report magazine) refer to these curated items as “vices,” picked especially for you to have a unique experience for whatever type of connoisseur you are.

Each box has a fun theme, too. Sometimes it’ll be geared toward the specific month or season (last August’s was called “Sun Salute,” which came  with a pair of gold-plated aviators, natural mineral sunscreen, and BBQ sauces) or may be a more general theme like “The Art of Being a Gentleman.” They’ll also throw in a nice little booklet filled with fun stuff like food or drink recipes.

Yes, that’s a Bluetooth speaker pictured above and yes, that’s pair of over-the-ear headphones. Both look expensive AF and were in boxes from 2017. Robb Vices partners with premium brands, which is how they’re able to get their hands on such nice stuff for you.

You can apply and prepay for one of four plans: Month-to-month for $99.95/month, three months for $94.95/month, six months for $89.95/month, or one year for $84.95/month. (Before you say “That sounds a little pricey,” remember that the value of each box is like, two to five times more than what you’re paying.) Besides, you’re a baller — time to act like one.

If you’re in need of a gift idea for someone who enjoys the finer things in life, they definitely don’t have this yet. Learn more here.