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.

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.

Grandparents Gift Guide – Easy, Creative and Thoughtful Gifts

Grandparents Gift Guide – Easy, Creative and Thoughtful Gifts

Finding the perfect Grandparents Gift is the most difficult aspect of the holidays for me. They either have everything they need or don’t want anything. Some don’t like trinkets and like gifts that can be used. Some love the trinkets. Not to mention that most of our family lives out of town so it also needs to be shippable.

Here are my tried and true Grandparents gift ideas. I started a fun tradition of gifting the grandparents coffee mugs that are festive and decorated with the kids handprints. I loved it so much that I made one for myself and they have become my favorite part of getting the holiday decorations out. Last year I hosted a brunch for my friends and had the amazing Clay a GO GO come and help us create one of a kind mugs, plates and ornaments. I’m super excited to plan this year’s brunch, it’s such a fun way to kick off the holiday season. You don’t need a friend with a kiln though, these mugs are easy to do at home.

Another grandparent gift that I’ve started to do is to make photo books of the last year. For the last two years, I’ve used Mixbook. Not only do they have a fantastic end product, their layouts are great and their user interface is super easy to use. How cute is our book from last year? PLUS, they always have a great Ebates offer. Do you use Ebates? Read WHY you should be here.

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! `

More Grandparents Gift Ideas

Amazon Echo Show My Mom doesn’t do well with technology and I think she’s no different that a lot of other grandparents. Since she lives far away, the only way she can see my kids regularly is to video call. With the Amazon Echo Show, she can video call us without having to have my sister around to help her set it up. 

Owl Eyeglass holder – my In-Law’s love functional gifts and I could totally see this in their office or reading space.

Mother’s Journal I gave this to my Mom for Mother’s Day. I really hope she’s filling it out because my girls love to hear stories about before they were born and they will love this.

Tiny Tags – What Grandmother doesn’t want to flaunt her grandchildren’s names on a necklace? I wear my Tiny Tags necklace everyday and they have so many gorgeous designs.

Heirloom tea towels – This is a great way to preserve handwritten family recipes and makes such a thoughtful gift.

Illustrated Family Tree – How amazing is this illustrated family tree?

And last but not least – my absolute favorite grandparents gift idea of all time – custom bobbleheads. What Grandparent wouldn’t want a collection of bobbleheads of each child and grandchild? 

grandparents gift

So You Want to Start a Blog

So You Want to Start a Blog

It’s my birthday! Well, it’s Nuggetland’s birthday. I started this blog one year ago and I’m blown away by how far it’s come in just that short time.

I started this blog after I got laid off. I knew I was going to take a break from a full time corporate job yet I wanted to stay creative and fight off any rust that being out of the workforce for an extended period of time can bring. In my last corporate role, I created websites, marketing and advertising campaigns, generated and nurtured leads though compelling content and shared that on social media. Branching out on my own with a blog seemed like a natural fit and in a lot of aspects, it was. But man on man, did I have a lot to learn.

There is so much that goes into having a successful blog beyond just writing a good story. There is the technical aspect of building and managing a site. There are the layers upon layers of creating content that is found, and read, and engaged with. There is the monetization of your site and setting yourself up for earning an income. Don’t even get me started about photography and video. <Cue my shameless plug to subscribe to our Youtube Channel>

How Do I Start a Blog?

I get asked a lot about what it takes to get started. First and foremost, you have to like to write. You have to be confident in yourself and put aside any worry about what other people will think. It’s one thing to put out your work behind a corporate brand, it’s a completely different feeling when it’s your work and your name and your life and whoo. It’s rewarding but humbling. Putting yourself out there, either in a home project like my laundry room or in a deeply personal post, like when I shared about being a victim of domestic violence, isn’t easy.

Second, you need to give it time. It takes time to build the content, it takes time to build an audience. An authentically engaged audience. Since my girls are young and not in school full time, I only have time to work on the blog part time. It’s not a realistic expectation to make thousands of dollars a month as a new blogger – no matter what Pinterest tells you. Especially if you’re like me and you don’t have 8 hours a day to focus on it.

Blog Resources

There are plenty of resource out there to help you start. Here are the ones I’ve found most helpful. Some of these are affiliate links, meaning if you click and buy the company pays me a small commission at no cost to you. And if you care curious about blogging as an income stream, then affiliate links are a great way to supplement your income.

Bluehost – this is the hosting service that I use. I’ve been extremely happy with their support and service.

WordPress – Build and manage your site with WordPress. Customize your theme, layout and content.

Google Analytics – take their free courses and learn how their reporting works. You will gain so many insights on your audience and content that it will be integral in helping develop your content calendar.

Canva – easy way to up your Pinterest and graphics game.

Blog Clarity – their Pinning Perfect course not only helped me develop a pinning strategy that has significantly increased my reach on Pinterest (resulting in website traffic) but elevated my blog content dramatically. It’s worth every penny.

Tailwind – I have a very limited time to work each day since I’m home full time with my girls. This service lets me automate my pinning. It’s a game changer and time saver.

Mom 2.0 – This conference helped me not only from a professional education standpoint but increased my network significantly. I met some really amazing women who have mentored me and become my friends. It’s a great experience if you are looking to expand your reach as a mother with a platform – i.e. Mommy Blogger.

I’ve got big plans for the next year at Nuggetlands. I’m so thankful to the woman who told me when I first started and was feeling a little clique about it all – that no one has my voice and that there is always room for another voice to be heard. It’s so true and has been so gratifying. Thank you for reading and being part of this incredible journey so far. Even though I’m currently looking to get back to work, I always plan to keep this site up and growing, sharing our family, fun, food and function at home.

Blog Resouces

 

 

4DX Movies are a Must See for the Whole Family

4DX Movies are a Must See for the Whole Family

We were invited to see The Incredibles 2 in a 4DX movie theater and let me tell you, it takes your movie experience to a whole new level. It was also Little Nugget’s first movie in a theater. I was a little nervous about how she’d react since she currently can’t sit through a full episode of Sesame Street but once again, she surprised me.

4DX Vista Cinepolis.jpg

What is 4DX?

4DX movies are shown in a theater equipped with moving seats and environmental effects like wind, rain and scent. The movement and effects are perfectly coordinated with the action of the movie, fully immersing you into the experience. The screen is the same, the only difference you notice are the seats are grouped in clusters of 4 and giant fans hang from the edge of the ceiling.

4DX fans in theater.jpg

Our 4DX Experience

4DX attempts to bring you into the film, not only with seats that move, vibrate and punch you. Yes, punch you but it’s a gentle punch. You also get fog and mist, wind, lights and smells. It’s truly an experience that gives you the thrill of a good ride a Disneyland with the movie magic you are used to. It made a fun movie like The Incredibles 2 even more fun, for both myself and my kids. At first, Big Nugget was a little scared of all the enhancements but by the middle of the movie, she had taken her fingers out of her ears and was giggling like crazy when the chairs started to move and even enjoyed the fans she was so scared of at first. My dare devil of a Little Nugget sat on the arm rest most of the movie pressing her water button on and off and reveling in every bounce and twist that the seat made.

I’m a bit of a movie nerd. Film was one of my minors in college and I love the magic of seeing a movie on the big screen. I was a little concerned that this would take away from the move but adding in the 4DX elements made it so fun. Is it necessary? Absolutely not. Is it right for every film? No. But there are plenty of movies that this experience would be perfect for and worth the extra money. And really, as a parent, you can take all of my money if it means hearing my girls giggle and enjoy themselves in a movie like they did seeing The Incredibles 2 in 4DX.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b55IB9zX__0&w=560&h=315]
 

The Incredibles 2 Review

I’m a little late to the game in reviewing this movie but I was so pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The action was fun. The storyline was creative. The were lots of laughs and nothing too scary for my very sensitive 4 year old -she only closed her eyes once. I loved the switch of the typical gender roles in the main characters and I especially loved how they both succeeded in them. It drives me crazy when the man is put into the role of primary caretaker and is stripped of any ability to function or feel. I know I hit the husband jackpot and have partner that is not only more than capable but a willing participant in the everyday lives of our kids but all too often, I see this played out in movies or tv shows where the man is unable to be a father. I also felt for ElastiGirl when she was excited to go to work, excited to accomplish things in her career, torn when it came time to balancing work and home and then overjoyed to have her kids back in her arms. Granted, her kids had to save her for the villain but I’m confident that mine would do the same thing for me if they had super powers. The Incredibles 2 not only delivered on the laughs and entertainment factor but it delivers on the adult subplots. And if you can still catch it in 4DX – go!

4DX theater.jpg

Do you have a 4DX theater in your area?

•             Regal Union Square Stadium 14 (NYC)

•             Regal’s E-Walk Stadium 13 & RPX (NYC)

•             Regal L.A. Live Barco Innovation Center (Los Angeles)

•             Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 & IMAX (Orlando)

•             Regal Meridian 16 (Seattle)

•             Regal Gallery Place 14 (Washington, D.C.)

•             Marcus Gurnee Mills Cinema (Chicago DMA)

•             CGV Buena Park (Orange County CA)

•             Cinépolis Pico Rivera (Los Angeles area)

•             Cinépolis Vista (San Diego area)

 

Unique DIY Halloween Costumes

Unique DIY Halloween Costumes

Remember the days when our DIY Halloween costumes consisted of something super cheap from the thrift store and we just said we were random characters from a 70’s tv show? Now as a parent, things are a bit different. There is so much pressure to figure out what costume everyone is going to wear.

When Big Nugget was a baby, I wasn’t into Halloween, much less making a DIY Halloween costume. It was just too much effort for an hour (or less). Now that the kids are older, it feels way more festive. There is the costume day at dance class, Halloween party at preschool and then the actual holiday itself so I’m totally into it. It’s one of those holiday’s that I have such fond memories of as a kid, I want that same warm fuzzy feeling for my girls.

Last year Big Nugget wanted to be a pine cone for Halloween. And ya know what, we made that happen and she was the CUTEST pine cone you have ever seen. See a full tutorial on how I pulled it together rather easily here.

DIY Pine Cone Costume. Complete tutorial to make this unique Halloween costume. Perfect for a toddler, preschooler or teen, this custom craft project is easy and affordable. #DIY #Craft #Halloween #Costume #uniquecostume #pinecone #toddler #preschool #homemade

What was so wonderful about the pine cone idea was that it was just so unique and organic. So now the pressure is on and we are on the hunt for this year’s great Halloween idea. I am struggling to remake that magic and of course, took to Pinterest to hopefully inspire something in us. No luck yet but we had a great time pulling together this list of unique DIY Halloween costumes.

We are still narrowing down our list of ideas for this year and Big Nugget is wanting to incorporate her Little in some way. This should be interesting. Maybe I need to pull together a unique DIY Halloween costumes list, pairs edition next. In the meantime, check out these amazingly creative and unique DIY Halloween costumes.

Unique DIY Halloween Costumes

 

Owl

Pinata

Nesting Doll

sister costume

rainbow bird

hot air balloon

broccoli

scuba

gum

snail

butterfly

DIY Halloween Costume Roundup

 

Looking for more costume ideas for kids? Check out these 11 DIY Halloween costume ideas!