Talking about diversity with our kids

Talking about diversity with our kids

I had originally written this post about diversity in November 2017 but given all that has happened after the death of George Floyd, I thought it would be appropriate to update this post with additional links and resources for those of us who are working hard to raise white children who are actively anti-racist.

Are you ready to talk to your kids about diversity? I didn’t think it was going to happen at only 3 1/2 years old but it did. If you follow me on Instagram (please do! @nuggetlands), you probably saw my InstaStories about an unexpected talk I had with Big Nugget.

The conversation

At lunch last week, we were eating our burgers at Habit and people watching. Out of nowhere, she tells me “Mom we have the right skin color. Ours is the normal one and the right one.”

? I nearly choked on my burger. 

I asked her what made her think that? And she said it was something that she decided. I asked her then what about Ms Tika and Ms Missy (her school teachers who are African American and Latina) and she said their skin was ok and that she loved them.

We kept talking about it and I was trying to probe her more on where she heard something like this but she just kept saying “I decided that myself”.

Meanwhile, all that is going through my head is that racism is learned….who is teaching my child these things? FREAKING OUT. We chose her preschool because it was so diverse. We don’t talk that way and I’d like to think that our actions and words show her acceptance and empathy.

The Diversity Lesson

She now understands that no one has the right skin color and that everyone has different skin colors and hair colors and eye colors and each and everyone is perfect for that person. Just like the rainbow, the more colors that we have around us, the more beautiful it is. She loves rainbows so I think that really resonated with her. I said God made everyone perfect and different and that it’s ok. She asked about Jesus and what color he was and I said that he had dark skin like Ms. Tika.

She started to lose interest in our conversation at this point because, well, she’s 3 but I wanted to drive home the most important point to her, that saying something like that is not only untrue but hurtful.

I know this is just the beginning of educating her and making sure she is accepting and inclusive but HOLY HELL. I was blindsided.

Talking to teachers about diversity

That next day, I spoke with her preschool teacher about our conversation. At first, I had some doubts that I should bring it up. I didn’t want her to think that we were horrible parents and some sort of racists. She was very thankful that I told her about it and said that she hadn’t heard anyone of the kids saying anything like that but that she would be a little more vigilant in what she overhears. She gave us a book to read over the weekend and she said that she would incorporate it into class next week as well.

Let’s face it, having these conversations, both with our children and their educators, are more important than ever. It can be awkward or uncomfortable but not talking about it just makes it worse. I saw both of those conversations as opportunities to learn and grow, not just for my daughter but also, for me.

5 Ways to Raise Anti-Racists

  1. Read diverse books, both with your children and on your own.
  2. Provide diversity in your toy selection
  3. Talk to your school about how they plan to address diversity and inclusion – especially if you live in predominately white areas.
  4. Be the adult you want them to grow up to be – speak up with your peers say something racist.
  5. Educate yourself so that you can explain things to them at age-appropriate levels. Don’t rely on your POC friends to do this for you.

Diversity Resources

This is a great article for parents on how to talk about diversity.

This is a comprehensive anti-racist book list for kids from Ideal Bookshelf is fantastic.

I ordered a handful of books from Amazon for us to read at home. Karen Katz is one of my favorite children’s book authors, I was really excited when I saw she had this book.

I found this YouTube video about this book and decided to order it.

Finally, a classic book with a great message.

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5 Signs That Your Probiotics Are Working

5 Signs That Your Probiotics Are Working

Everyone is looking for ways to boost their immune systems lately and there is a lot of talk about how probiotics and gut health are important factors in supporting our immunity. Lots of people will blindly take probiotics but often don’t know how to tell that they are working. Unlike taking an ibuprofen for a headache and knowing it’s working because that headache stops, there really aren’t obvious signs that your probiotics are working.

Disclosure: This is a commissioned blog post in partnership with Seed. Any purchase of their product will result in a commission paid to me at no cost to you! All experiences and opinions are my own. 

What are probiotics? 

Probiotics are “good” bacteria and yeast that live in your digestives system. They can come in a variety of different ways – in food, pills, chewable, dissolvable, powders. They can also be called a variety of different things: prebiotics, probiotics, active cultures, symbiotic bacteria…it all gets a little confusing and VERY overwhelming. 

How to know your probiotics are working.

What are the benefits of probiotics? 

Probiotics can help you in a variety of ways, mostly in your digestive system. But don’t be fooled into thinking that it just helps if you have digestive issues, your gut health plays a part in so many other functions of your body. If you digestive system can’t process all the good food that you are eating to feed your body, then other things can suffer like your immune system or your skin. 

Why is it important to know if your probiotics are working? 

It’s important to know if your probiotics are working properly for a couple of different reasons. First of all, you’re making an investment in something, it would be nice to know if it’s working. Second, our bodies are all different so finding the probiotic that works best with your body is important. Taking a probiotic is different than taking an Advil for a headache, it’s hard to tell if they are working but there are a few ways that you can be sure you’ve found the right one. 

5 Signs your probiotics are working

  1. Poop! 
  2. Less bloating
  3. Improved skin
  4. Better immune system
  5. More energy

Why I like Seed Products

I’ve used a handful of different probiotics from ones at Target to super fancy ones from specialty stores. I keep coming back to the Seed product and here is why: 

  1. They have a complex scientific composition of their probiotic/synbiotic that benefits my entire system from digestion to the skin to heart to immunity. 
  2. They are plant-based. I can feel good about taking this pill each day and know that I’m putting good things into my body. Not only that, but they are also very earth-friendly in their packaging. 
  3. No refrigeration. When I have supplements that I need to keep cold, I forget about them. I can keep the glass Seed container right next to my coffee cups so that I remember to take it each morning on an empty stomach. 

Why the Daily Synbiotic from Seed? 

Probiotics can be an important part of your morning routine, building a strong digestive system, and supporting your overall health. Knowing what to look for to know if your daily probiotic is effective makes choosing your probiotic even easier. Seed makes sure that you are doing that with a product that is plant-based and scientifically formulated so that you get the most out of your daily synbiotic. 

Special Offer from Seed

Want to try Seed? Click here to preorder your supply for just $49.99/month. Use the code NUGGETLANDS for 15% off your first month supply.

How I’m going to read more books this year

How I’m going to read more books this year

It’s a new year and a new decade and with that, I’m thinking of what I want to work on in the next 12 months. I don’t like resolutions but I like working towards goals. This new year, I want to read more books. Easy enough right? Well, as a working mom with a preschooler and a kindergartener – it’s not and why it’s a great goal to set for myself. Last year I read 6 books, which is not too shabby but not near the avid reader status I’d like to have.

How I’m going to read more books this year:

  • Set a reasonable goal
  • Join the Book of the Month club
  • Lead up my Audible library
  • Hold myself accountable on Goodreads
  • Make the time

Setting a reasonable goal

First things first, I need to be reasonable with how much time I have to read. I work full time, have two young kids and have a side job. SO, when I really think about it there doesn’t seem like any time left. How am I going to read more books this year when I don’t feel like I have any time for anything besides what absolutely needs to get done?

When I peak at my handy screen time tracker on my iPhone, I see that I have PLENTY of time to scroll through social media. If I do that for just HALF the amount of time I did last year, I can probably fit in a few more books.

I just need to MAKE the time. Bring my book with me when I’m waiting at pick up or have time during my lunch hour. Listen to books when I’m out for a walk or driving to pick up the kids or waiting at dance class. There is time, I just need to take advantage of it.

Last year I read 9 books. Not a lot but it was a good attempt. I think this year a good goal would be to double that so I’m going to try to read 20 books this year.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Book of the Month Club

Book of the Month club is a great way to read more books. Each month, they choose five new nonfiction books for you to choose from – make a choice and have it at your doorstep in days. Or skip if nothing looks great. Plus it’s only $14.99 a month if you choose to pick a book.

How to read more books - join the Book of the Month.

I used it last year and LOVED being exposed to new books that I would probably never pick. I get a little overwhelmed in books stores or online so it’s nice to have a few different picks showcased and also helps me break out of my historical fiction niche that I usually default to.

For January, I picked Topics of Conversation, a debut novel by Miranda Popkey.

Use the code NEWPAGE in January to get your first book for only $9.99.

Read More Books with Audible

Listening to books is definitely a personal choice but a great way to read more books. Since I have Amazon Prime, I prefer to get my books from Audible. I love listening to a book because I can do it when pulling out a real book to read isn’t an option. I can listen as I run or walk, I can listen during my commute or even sometimes while I’m working.

There are a few more variables that go into making it a good experience. Not only are you looking for a good plot and writer but you are also looking for good production quality. If the person reading the book isn’t good, it will really disrupt your audiobook experience.

Audible is always running different promotions and this month there is a free month of listening with their romance package. That isn’t a genre that I’m into so I don’t have a lot of recommendations there but a free month is a free month right?

Some of my favorite Audible books from last year are The Whisper Network, City of Girls, and Where the Crawdads Sing. I’m currently listening to Beantown Girls, I just started so I don’t have a recommendations either way yet.

Tracking my Goal with GoodReads

I use Goodreads to track what I’m reading and what I’m hoping to read. It’s a great place to read reviews of books and plan out what you’d like to read next. Whenever I see a friend posting a book recommendation, I’ll mark it in Goodreads so that I will remember it when I’m looking to get a new book. You can follow your friends on there and see what they are reading as well. It’s a great resource to help you read more books because let’s face it, bookstores can be amazing but overwhelming. I like to follow Book of the Month as well because it will give previews and reviews of their upcoming selections.

Kitchen Renovation Before and After

Kitchen Renovation Before and After

It’s taken me a long time to write this post and I think it’s because our kitchen renovation was more traumatic than I realized. It wasn’t planned and we learned a lot about dealing with a water leak but I’m really hoping I never have to deal with it again. Thankfully, I could not be happier with the end result but man, it was rough getting to this point.

The kitchen was always on our list to get to but it was fine for now. Perfectly functional even if it was outdated but there were other projects we needed to tackle and we were planning on spending some time and money on our backyard. We had already done the dining room, the windows, laundry room, and stair railing and knew that the outside was next since we spent so much time there.

Our house had other plans.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Kitchen Before Renovation

The layout of the kitchen was great but could have used a few tweaks. The white tile counters were the bain of my existence, so hard to keep clean and as a blogger who loves to share recipes, it didn’t photograph well.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

Keep in mind that I took these “before” pictures when we discovered the leak in the wall behind the sink, on Christmas Day. Things were in a bit of disarray but I knew this wasn’t going to be good and I attempted to document the old kitchen quickly.

During the Renovation

Since we had a water leak, we needed to get a mold remediation company involved. They worked with our insurance and came in and took out the affected area, removed the damage, dried everything out and left us with a blank space. This took weeks and was loud and felt like we were living in an episode of Breaking Bad.

We had a great experience with our company, Flood Solutions, but I’ve heard horror stories of people using shady companies for this part of the process. Do your research and make sure they have a good reputation.

How to Manage a Kitchen Renovation

  • Shop around for a contractor and get multiple estimates.
  • See if your contractor can get you into suppliers. We used Pro Source of San Diego and they were WONDERFUL to work with.
  • If you are using insurance, make sure you tell them if your initial settlement isn’t covering enough.
  • Develop your style – practical, modern, traditional. This will guide the rest of your decisions.
  • Set your budget and prioritize your needs vs wants.
  • Use Rakuten to get cashback on your purchases. We got over $350 dollars back from our appliances, lighting and kitchen accessories.
  • Plan if you can! It takes a long time for your cabinets to come in so we were stuck cooking in our garage for MONTHS while we waited for everything to come in.

Our New Kitchen

To say I love it is an understatement. We added white quartz countertops with a waterfall edge on the peninsula, new cabinets in two different tones and a farm sink with an apron front.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

We didn’t change the footprint of the kitchen during the remodel but we did move some things around to create more function and openness to the space. The microwave moved from above the stove to below the countertop in the peninsula. We also moved the stove to the left so we could add a small countertop to the right of it with a pull out spice drawer.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel
Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

In keeping with the openness of the kitchen, we decided to add open shelving to the corner that was once bare. I made these shelves with some L brackets that my contractor installed in the tile and 1×12 boards from Home Depot, similar to the shelves I built in our laundry room. The new window treatments are from Lowes.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

The kitchen cabinets are two tones – maritime blue for the bottom cabinets and woodgrain for the uppers and pantry wall. Black hardware for the woodgrain cabinets and gold library pulls for the lower blue cabinets. We kept our old refrigerator and this is exactly how it looks on a daily basis.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

The new pantry wall features glass front doors over the coffee counter, we extended the cabinets above the refrigerator for added storage and have pull out shelves in the pantry to increase functionality.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

This is my favorite spot in the kitchen though. I love this sink. I love the faucet. Most of all, I love this view. This is where I can watch my girls play in their playhouse, explore the hill and get as dirty as their little heart’s desire in the yet to be redone backyard.

Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel
Before and After Kitchen Renovation with ideas and costs. See our farmhouse sink, herringbone backsplash with white subway tile and our DIY open shelving without changing our layout. Two-tone cabinets in woodgrain and blue. Including tips to get the most out of your budget. #kitcheremodel

How to make the most of LEGOLAND Brick or Treat Party Nights

How to make the most of LEGOLAND Brick or Treat Party Nights

We’ve had annual passes to LEGOLAND California for years. It’s one of our favorite destinations in San Diego County, along with the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Not only is LEGOLAND California a great place for kids, especially the under 10 crew, but it gets extra bonus points for being VERY close to our house. We were SUPER excited when LEGOLAND invited us to Brick or Treat Pary Nights 2019. When I was home with the girls full time, LEGOLAND was a regular destination for us during the week but we never made it to their annual Brick or Treat event, until this year.

LEGOLAND California Brick or Treat is a must see for the whole family. Our complete guide on how to make the most of your time at the park. #LEGOLAND #carlsbad #halloween

The Details

It’s important to note that Brick or Treat tickets are not included with regular admission to the park (or your annual pass) and need to be purchased separately. The event only takes place on Saturday nights during October and goes from 5 pm to 9 pm. Parking is not included with your ticket and is $18 unless you have a Merlin Pass.

LEGOLAND California Brick or Treat is a must see for the whole family. Our complete guide on how to make the most of your time at the park. #LEGOLAND #carlsbad #halloween

7 Can’t Miss Things at Brick or Treat Party Nights

  • Costume Contest – enter one of a few different categories like group, heroes and villains or LEGO characters, to win great prizes.
  • Special Entertainment – various new shows throughout the park that give you a chance to get off your feet! We really enjoyed the “Frankenbrick” show in the 4D theater.
  • Seasonal Treats – a wide variety of seasonal goodies are available throughout the park. These adorable marshmallow treats are in Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen.
  • Treat stations with more than a million pieces of candy. Lines can get long but they tend to move quite fast.
  • Crafts – take advantage of new craft stations called “Family Building Stations” where your kids can make LEGO pumpkins or color their own Halloween LEGO character hat.
  • RIDES – nearly everything is open so make sure to budget some time to get on your favorite ride or two.
  • Decorations – plenty of photo ops around the park to get that perfect Halloween picture.
LEGOLAND California Brick or Treat is a must see for the whole family. Our complete guide on how to make the most of your time at the park. #LEGOLAND #carlsbad #halloween

Is Brick or Treat worth the extra cost?

The bottom line is yes but as long as you have a full idea of what you are getting for the money and can manage your time appropriately. Parking is extra and the lines can get long. I’ve been spoiled with being able to enjoy LEGOLAND California during the week when the crowds are light so when I go on the weekends and during special events, I’m reminded what a popular destination it is. That’s because LEGOLAND does Halloween right. The decorations are great, not too scary for the young kids. The talent of the LEGO artist always amazes me. The staff at the park and the costumed characters are engaging and accessible.

LEGOLAND California Brick or Treat is a must see for the whole family. Our complete guide on how to make the most of your time at the park. #LEGOLAND #carlsbad #halloween

Kids (and adults) are encouraged to wear costumes. My girls LOVED dressing up! However, I always recommend that people bring a change of clothes to LEGOLAND because of the number of water rides at the park. This is especially important if your child’s costume isn’t easy to get around in or they want to wear it again.

LEGOLAND California Brick or Treat is a must see for the whole family. Our complete guide on how to make the most of your time at the park. #LEGOLAND #carlsbad #halloween

There is a variety of things to do so you have to make sure you prioritize what you want to get done in a limited amount of time. Since it’s a later event, little ones might not make it the whole time (our two year old started to meltdown around 7).

We tried to get in some of our favorite rides, some of the treat stations, dinner and a show. That seemed to be all we could pack into the few hours we had at the event but we made some amazing memories and can’t wait to go back next year.

Mammograms Aren’t Scary.

Mammograms Aren’t Scary.

I had my first mammogram. It didn’t hurt. It was fast. It was negative. It was necessary.

I’ve known that I was due for a mammogram. I was actually overdue but since I had my second child at 40 and was breastfeeding for a year, I never scheduled it. Fast forward another year and I finally got around to making that appointment.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about it. I told myself it was no big deal. That it’s routine and needed for early detection – especially given that I don’t know 100% of my family medical history since I was adopted.

All of those things are rational thoughts. The part of me that was avoiding it was that little voice in my head that usually triggers my anxiety or a panic attack around my own mortality. My brain starts to run through all the bad things that could happen. At one point on the day before my mammogram, that voice made me remember a moment cause this could be the last “normal” day I had with my girls. The what-if’s started to creep in and I had to work really hard to push those thoughts out of my brain. Those are the thoughts that I was trying to avoid by avoiding a mammogram when really I just need to face them head-on and rationally tell that voice that my health is important.

Mammograms can be scary but they don’t have to be. Everything you need to know about your first mammogram, what to expect, when you get results, what the images, machine and diagnostic is like. My tech was amazing and walked me through everything that would happen.

I’ve witnessed so many people deal with breast cancer on various levels. People who are currently fighting it, people who have won their battle and some who have lost, and people who have taken steps to prevent it when their risk levels were high. You can read about my friend Christy’s double mastectomy – it’s brave and it’s eye-opening for people with a family history of breast cancer.

The bottom line is that I just needed to put my big girl panties on and make the damn appointment.

3 Things to know before you go

  1. Contact your insurance first. Know what they cover and don’t cover as well as where you are able to get your mammogram done.
  2. Plan to schedule it in advance. When I called to make my appointment, the earliest available was 3 months out. Three months for me to overthink about all the what-if’s but I took the appointment and didn’t think about it until a week prior.
  3. Don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant.
Mammograms can be scary but they don’t have to be. Everything you need to know about your first mammogram, what to expect, when you get results, what the images, machine and diagnostic is like. My tech was amazing and walked me through everything that would happen.

What the mammogram is like

I got to my appointment early and ended up waiting for quite some time in the waiting room – which wasn’t exactly great for my anxiety. They finally called me back and had me disrobe just my shirt and bra. Thankful that I didn’t wear a dress and could keep my pants on.

The radiologist who performed my exam was very open and explained the entire process to me. The machine that was used in my mammography was a 3D imaging machine. She positioned my breast in the machine and told me to hold still and to hold my breath while the machine rotated 180 degrees to make the images.

That was it.

Mammograms can be scary but they don’t have to be. Everything you need to know about your first mammogram, what to expect, when you get results, what the images, machine and diagnostic is like. My tech was amazing and walked me through everything that would happen.

The hardest part of the exam was holding my breath.

And waiting. The radiologist told me that my Dr would review the images and message me. I would also receive a printed copy of my results. Thankfully, I received the all-clear from my OB/GYN the next morning.

This once a year appointment can save my life and I’ve pledged to myself, and my daughters, that I’m never going to put it off again.

Mammograms can be scary but they don’t have to be. Everything you need to know about your first mammogram, what to expect, when you get results, what the images, machine and diagnostic is like. My tech was amazing and walked me through everything that would happen.