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

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 at first.

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 live microorganisms, that when taken in adequate amounts, give a health benefit on the person taking them. They can come in a variety of different ways – in pills, chewable, dissolvable, or in 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. 

5 Signs your probiotics are working

  1. Regular 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.

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.

Kindergarten Summer Activities Guide

Kindergarten Summer Activities Guide

These kindergarten summer activities are a good way to connect and have fun while they – hopefully – learn something.

Why Kindergarten Summer Activities?

Now that camps are over, vacations are done and school is right around the corner, I am slowly starting to get Big Nugget into specific academic kindergarten summer activities. Nothing outrageous and still very play/game orientated but I’m wanting to get her brain dusted off after a fun summer. She’s not reading enough on her own just yet to do most of these independently so it’s a fun way to spend some time together and “do challenges” as she likes to call them.

One thing I did learn with these kindergarten summer activities is that sometimes she has a hard time listening and learning from me. When she starts to get frustrated and shuts down, we move on. I don’t push it because I’m not a homeschool teacher and this is just meant to be fun. She’s going to learn all the things at school – I’m not stressing myself or my daughter out making sure she’s acing these games. There are plenty of other things for me to be stressed about like what we’re going to pack for lunches and how are we going to deal with both kids transitioning into full-time school at the same time.

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! I was also gifted a few of these products to provide my honest review to you.

Highlights Summer Big Fun Workbook

Highlights can seriously do no wrong in my book. We are huge fans of their Hidden Pictures books, it’s a favorite activity the girls do with their Grandma, and we are subscribers. This Big Fun Workbook though gives your child a variety of activities to do from reading to math in a fun, challenging way. The illustrations are colorful and fun, just like you expect from your regular Highlights magazines. There is a progress chart that includes stickers for each chapter that your child completes and a fun hidden pictures bonus game.

Big Nugget wanted to skip over pages that she wasn’t interested in, mostly the tracing of letters, but the chapter completion stickers really motivated her. Such a great learning experience FOR ME as her Mom to see what she is motivated by and now I’m researching sticker charts for other activities (like chores)!

Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

They are available for each lower grade level so it can become a summer tradition for you to work through one of these workbooks each year.

The pages in this book – bridging preschool and kindergarten – include what Highlights calls Fun With A Purpose activities. Hidden Pictures puzzles, mazes, jokes and all are teacher-approved. They are designed to help with language arts, like sight words, and rhyming, math activities like counting, sorting, and simple addition and subtraction.

There are other sections that encourage you to go outside and others that give you step by step instructions to make a craft, usually at the end of the chapter. I would highly recommend this workbook for your rising kindergartener as a fun summer activity.

hand2mind Learn to Read Set

This set from hand2mind combines some great Bob Books with Versatiles. I had never seen them before but my 5 year old LOVES them. She has asked to play this “game” every night before bed. It’s quickly become one of her favorite kindergarten summer activities and made earning some phonics fun for her. The tiles were a little confusing at first but once I read the directions a few times, we figured it out.

Pro tips with the tiles: open the tile case and lie it flat on the workbook page. Make sure the tiles are arranged in order in the top two rows. Lift one tile and follow the page instructions on how to match it to the bottom.

We have loved Bob Books in our house for quite some time. They are simple but so effective in teaching the early layers of learning to read. The illustrations and the sentence structures are simple so that it’s easier to comprehend (and teach).

Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

Melissa & Doug Smarty Pants – Kindergarten

We’ve had this Smarty Pants trivia game since the spring and has been great for travel! Big Nugget also loves to do a handful of these each night before bed. They are a mixture of trivia, questions, math, matching, and logic. My only critique is that the type on the cards can be hard to see in the low light of a bedroom. #oldeyes

Other Kindergarten Summer Activities

  • FREE TIME! They are going to be so scheduled once school starts, give them the freedom that is what makes summer amazing.
  • Games like Guess Who
  • Have your child help you make a bucket list for the last few weeks of summer.
  • Other workbooks like this one and question cards like this one
  • Learning apps – we love the Endless Apps for reading and counting
  • Include them in your back to school shopping
Kindergarten summer activities that make learning fun for kids and parents. Ideas and products that help teach children sight words, science experiments, math, and art projects. #kindgergarten #learning #sightwords

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

I always struggle to come up with a great end of year teacher gift for our wonderful teachers. There is only so much room in one’s life for custom frames and coffee mugs. I want to give them gifts that are useful and meaningful and that show how deeply they are appreciated for what they do all year, not just during teacher appreciation week.

This end of the school year is a particularly special one since my oldest is graduating from this special preschool we’ve called home for the last three years. I wanted to do something a little different than our teacher appreciation week gift last year so I sourced some ideas from readers and ya’ll don’t disappoint.

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! 

End of Year Teacher Gift Ideas

  1. Handwritten notes about why you loved them – such a great idea and so deeply personal. Get a stationary set about something the teacher loves and have your child write a note on one and give the rest to them to use. How cute is this camping set or one for the Disney fan? My oldest loves to write her own thank you notes. I just write the text on a piece of paper for her and she copies it on her own.
  2. Book Store Gift Card – Teachers can never get enough books right? I also love giving them a gift subscription to Audible. That way, they will be motivated to use it for themselves and not the classroom.
  3. Wine – No brainer. These wines from Verse + Wine pair poetry with great wines.
  4. Survival Kit – a great end of year teacher gif idea from one of my readers! She used a 4×6 photo storage box and made this adorable DIY gift loaded with goodies from Target and the Dollar Store.
  5. Cookie Jar – The theme for our graduation party, yes we are doing a preschool graduation party, is One Smart Cookie. This cookie jar paired with a cookie mix, an oven mitt, and a spatchula will be perfect!
  6. Trinket Box – Something that is teacher related but not so literal – this Kate Spade Apple Box.

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Share in the comments!

End of year teacher gifts from students. Show your teacher appreciation from preschool to high school, these DIY and inexpensive gifts are meaningful and unique. #teacher #giftidea #school

Potty Training the Second Time Around

Potty Training the Second Time Around

Here is what I learned about potty training the second time around.

There are a lot of things that you think you know when you have your second child. You have some idea of what labor, delivery, and recovery will be like. You know about all the things that no one talks about – I’m looking at you hemorrhoids. You’ve been through teething and introducing foods. All those big milestones the first few years happen so quickly and if you’re anything like me you’re thinking this whole raising kids thing is not so bad.

Then it begins. Your toddler starts showing signs. Probably with a fascination with the toilet. Or the annoyance with the diaper and an overwhelming need for your toddler to be naked. Watching their older, independent, sibling use the toilet freely certainly is fuel to this burning desire to want to use the toilet themselves.

Potty Training, no problem right? I’ve done this before, how hard can it be to get this other tiny person to use the potty…correctly? Piece of cake.

That’s when my motherhood reality check hit me smack dab in the face. Here are my potty training takeaways this second time around.

There Is No Potty Training Blueprint

Just because it’s your second time doing this does, by no means, mean that you know what you are doing. There is no one size fits all way to potty train a child. My two daughters couldn’t be more different both in physical stature and in their personalities. What worked for my oldest does not work for my youngest so why then would I think potty training would be any different?

I went into potty training having SOME idea of what worked but that easy peasy 3 days of nakedness at home and they come out of it potty trained did NOT happen here. Sure we cleared our schedule one weekend and stayed home and did the thing but at the end of the three days, she was still wearing a diaper at night and during naps and ya know what…I’m totally ok with that and so is she.

Don’t Rush It

This was something I learned the first time around – listen to your child, they will show you when they are ready to make this leap. My oldest had urinary reflux when she was a toddler and we had a few visits with an amazing Pediatric Urologist. Her biggest advice to us was to not rush potty training. Too many parents are in such a rush to get their kid out of diapers for one reason or the next when really they are better off staying in them until THEY are ready, not you. Don’t worry, they aren’t going to go to Kindergarten in diapers, it will happen and it will happen much easier if you go on their schedule.

We waited until Big Nugget was almost 3 until we potty trained her so I thought we had PLENTY of time until we had to do this with Little Nugget. She, like always, had other plans. Around the time she turned two she started to really dislike her diaper and would take it off whenever she had a chance. So we went with it and by the time she was 26 months, she was daytime potty trained.

Make It a Family Affair

Little Nugget things the earth revolves around her big sister. Anything she does, Little wants to do twice as badly. I used that to our advantage when we were potty training. Getting big sister involved not only helped the little one, but I could see Big Nugget’s confidence and pride grow each time she helped out.

That also means that if you are going to reward your toddler for going pee in the potty, that you have extra. When I was handing out marshmallows for a successful pee in the potty, there were four hands waiting for their handout, not just two. And that is totally ok. Fostering the sense of accomplishment not just for your own achievements but for others as well is a great lesson to learn as an older sibling.

We also utilized our reward jar a lot during this time. The girls loved earning rocks by just going to the bathroom.

Potty Training Stinks

Both literally and figuratively. One thing that hasn’t changed is that you have to bring your A game with your patience. There is no relaxing on the couch when you have a minute or two. No focusing on other tasks at hand when the naked one is on the loose. You’re always on. Always waiting for the next “I gotta pee” scream and sprint to the toilet.

When the accidents happen, cause they will, then you have to put your own frustrations aside and be as supportive and reassuring as possible. This is a big undertaking for that little person and it’s just as easy for them to get frustrated and discouraged. Patience and persistence will eventually pay off, I promise.

Want to see all of my must-have products for potty training? Check out my Amazon Store list called….potty training.

Potty Training lessons learned from a mom who's been there, done that...twice.