Meal Plan Monday 7/16/18

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The heat is finally starting to break around here, which is a good thing. I am looking forward to eating hot food again. Our bbq died (we can only have propane grills at our HOA, because of insurance purposes, and really, having a grill with a shut off is probably  good thing here).

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. I also keep sandwich ziploc bags of  other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

Monday: Breakfast sandwiches on the homemade sourdough English Muffins my mom made over the weekend, and fruit salad.

Tuesday: Crockpot chili. We’ve got lots of beans in the cupboard, so I’m using them up!

Wednesday:  Chicken Tetrazzini, asparagus, fruit

Thursday: Bean, rice, and cheese bowls

Friday: Pizza and salad

Saturday: Hamburgers, salad, and fruit

Sunday: Leftover night!

What are you having this week for dinner?

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Planning for Pregnancy with Sharp Hospitals

My sister-in-law is about to have her first baby. Some months ago, we loaned her husband, my brother-in-law a copy of The Expectant Father.  While he was reading the book, he discovered that we had left a set of our oldest’s ultrasounds in the pages of the book.

She texted me a few days ago to let me know that they were mailing them back.  I received the ultrasounds today, and it really took me back to when I was pregnant with my oldest. I had no idea what I was in for. He was unexpected, and so neither myself nor my spouse knew what to expect beyond what modern media tells us (and what I’d experienced babysitting family and neighbors growing up). Reading the books we had purchased blindly at the bookstore (so many books on being pregnant and birth are available!) were helpful, but learning about what we needed to know first hand from professionals would have been so much better. I wish I had known about Planning for Pregnancy Events from Sharp.

CORP00264-Planning-for-Pregnancy-B-1080x1080.jpgComing up July 23-26 at 5 different Sharp locations throughout San Diego County is a free Planning for Pregnancy event where you’ll meet doctors including a Sharp-affiliated reproductive endocrinologist, OBGYN and other experts.

 

In addition to getting your questions answered about pregnancy and preparing for pregnancy, you will learn more about:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy, including diet, birth control and what to avoid
  • Having a baby later in life
  • Choosing an OBGYN and pediatrician
  • Reproductive planning
  • Determining your natural fertility schedule and optimizing your ability to get pregnant
  • Fertility challenges and treatments, including how common conditions — such as endometriosis and fibroids can impact pregnancy
  • Support groups and classes at Sharp HealthCare. We used a lot of these support groups after our oldest was born. I had a lot of challenges with breastfeeding and PPD.

What I really like about these classes besides that they are free and open to ANYONE, regardless of which insurance company you have, is that doctors and specialists are there to help you on your journey to parenthood. Wherever you are in your journey, even if you’ve just gotten married or are thinking about kids someday in the future, this class at Sharp can help you.

I’ve taken a lot of classes at Sharp- all of which were free, and easy to sign up for. If this Planning for Pregnancy Event sounds like something you are interested in, you can learn more, and RSVP here.

This post was sponsored by Sharp, however all opinions are my own. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Freebie Time! Samples & Events

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Right now there are some pretty cool freebies, samples, events, and offers!  Here are a few that have us pretty excited:

TODAY!! Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven – July 11th

Free Medium Sub at Firehouse Subs w/Water Bottle Donation

Free Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Caramel for Kroger & Affiliates

Free Bookworm Bookends at Home Depot

Free Sample of Sephora Collection Clay Mask (Must have an Instagram Account)

FREE Munchkin Baby Bottles on Prime Day

Free Poise Light Leaks Sample Pack

Free K’NEX Play Time Party

Free Personal Pizza at Chuck E Cheese’s
Free Back to Nature Crackers or Cookies

 

Exploring Legoland:Assisted Access Pass

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“No Mommy, I don’t want to have my picture taken with a shark, I want to pick my nose.” Margaret

Recently, the kids and I got a sneak peak of the Lego City: Deep Sea Adventure ride. It was great fun- it combines a submarine ride, a treasure hunt, and Legos! The kids had a blast. Henry loved getting his picture taken with Lego “Sharky”, and of course the building station to entertain the kids while we waited in line.  I like that the building station has directions and information about real life fish and ocean wildlife that kids can build with the Legos found at the building station.

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Henry loves Legoland, and so does Margaret. I love taking them. In addition to fun rides, there are tons of areas for kids to play, run, build Lego, and splash (in addition to the water park). What I really like is that they offer an Assisted Access Pass.

A lot of readers don’t know this, but Henry is ASD (That’s Autism Spectrum Disorder). So going on rides, waiting in line with a lot of people, loud noises, and weird smells can trigger him and lead to meltdowns, or just shutting down (sensory overload). Thankfully Legoland offers the Assisted Access Pass. For anyone with a disability, pick one up at Guest Services near the entrance. The pass entitles the pass holder, plus up to five additional people in your party to by-pass the regular line, and wait in a shortened line.

After you get into the by-pass line, the Model Citizen (that’s the staff member) will sign your pass and give you the next time that you can utilize the pass again. You can use it all day. We usually use it 3-4 times to go on the rides the kids really want to go on and have a long line. The wait time to use the pass again can be passed at a splash pad, play area, or building station. There is lots to see and do besides rides. There are quiet areas where kids (and adults) can decompress and relax at both First Aid and The Baby Care Center.

469ABCF7-367C-4837-BF98-445D13D1A387.jpgI also like that you can bring your own snacks into Legoland too. I pack our backpack full of snacks and treats, and our reusable Camelback bottles , (which you can refill with ice and water for free at anyone of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines throughout the park).  But- the kids and I do love the goodies and treats at Legoland. Especially, Granny’s Apple Fries.

If you and your kiddos are ravenous after 5pm in the park, check out this deal:

Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 8.56.38 PM.pngKIDS EAT FREE AFTER 5 PM THROUGH 8/18/2018 * Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen, Wok ‘N’ Bowl Ramen, Garden Deli & Café, Pizza Pasta Buffet and Smokehouse BBQ only. Offer is available for a limited time, see locations for availability and details. Kids receive one FREE Kids’ Meal with the purchase of one full-price adult entrée. Offer is available after 5pm at Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen, Wok ‘N’ Bowl Ramen, Garden Deli & Café, Pizza Pasta Buffet and Smokehouse BBQ at LEGOLAND® California. Adult entrée purchase equals one FREE Kids’ Meal. Cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Restrictions apply. The right of final interpretation resides with LEGOLAND California Resort. Prices, times and schedules subject to change without notice.

The kids dig the Pizza and Pasta Buffet.  I dig Kids Eat Free.

And here are photos of Henry pretending to be Arthur- The king, not the aardvark.

 

For our family, Legoland is a great way to spend the day together on our schedule, with little to no stress.  Talk Back: What is your favorite way to spend time with your family that low key and enjoyable?

 

 

Giveaway: 2 Tickets to PowPac and Pickwick Players Romeo & Juliet

Some of you may not know this, but before I blogged about frugal living and my family adventures, I was a costume designer. I made and sold costumes for a living. All kinds of crazy stuff: Corsets, Harry Potter Robes, Jedi Costumes, Roman, Egyptian, Biblical, and Renaissance. Heck, once I made a Prince Charming costume for a groom to surprise his bride with at the reception.

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Juliet, Romeo, and Friar Lawrence

Screen Shot 2018-07-07 at 5.35.08 PM.pngLast year, my husband decided that he wanted to put in a bid to direction a production of Romeo &Juliet with PowPac and co-produce it with Pickwick Players.  His bid was accepted, and the magic began! Many hours go into the production of a play.

I was lucky enough to design the costumes for the cast. I love creating costumes that suit both the actor and their character. Small details that reveal more of the characters.. well character. Colors, fabrics, and the lines and fit of costume can really reveal a lot about a characters motives or intentions.

And while the set is very barren and modern (UV lights, glow in the dark, and LED lighting is utilized)IMG_5409.jpg, the costumes and language are classic. And you may notice for the photos I’ve posted that there is also gender blind casting. From this article, “The show used gender-blind casting, something Hewes called both modern and very old. “Shakespeare had no problem with unisex casting, plus it was the law,” said Hewes. “So I didn’t either. I wanted to open the male roles to women.” Hewes said this was to make sure he had the best casting for the role, no matter what gender, and also because it is easier to find female actors than male.”

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Benvolio and Mercutio

Here is an article that was published in the San Diego Union Tribune about the show.

I am also lucky enough to sponsor a giveaway for a pair of tickets to the show. Entering is EASY PEASY.  All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite play of all time. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare either.  It can be the Spongebob Musical (yes, that’s a thing). 

I’ll select a winner at random at 7/19/18 about dinner time.  Tickets will be held at PowPac will call under the winners name and are good for any showing of the play.

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Romeo & Juliet

Photo credit: Adriana Zuniga-Williams

New Month, New Coupons!

Now that we’ve settled into July, it’s time to post about some of the new printable coupons! Last month I posted that the coupons weren’t that great. This month, they are slowly but surely getting better to ramp up for back to school.

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite website is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

Here are just a few of the new coupons that have me excited:

Save $1.00 on any FOUR (4) WYLER'S LIGHT® Drink Mix Items - Includes Singles to Go, Canisters or Pitcher Packs
This coupon is great if you have a Dollar Tree location near you. These little boxes are $1.00 each and contain 8-10 packets. With this coupon, it’s like buy three, get one free!

 

Save $2.00 any ONE(1) CLEAN & CLEAR® product(excludes trial and travel sizes)
If you use this coupon, check your Target app to see if there is a cartwheel/savings deal in addition to this coupon- The best way to save money is to stack deals.


$1.00 OFF any ONE (1) Once Again Nut Butter ( 12 oz. or 16 oz.)
Perfect for Back To School Shopping, especially if your school is peanut-free or you have a peanut allergy in your home.

$1.00 OFF any TWO (2) flavors Lenny & Larry's The Complete Cookie 4 oz.

These cookies are so delicious.

 

 

And if you live in California, check out the CA Dairy Board’s website! Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and look for this:

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You can print two coupons per computer, every thirty days. It’s a great way to save a little bit of money if you already purchase milk and other dairy products.

What coupons or deals are you excited about?

6 Tips for Combating the Mid-Year Frugal Slide

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It’s July, and for most of us, Our New Years Resolutions are a thing of the past. Mr. and I were talking today about ways we could reign in our budget. We’re not making it rain by any means, but… we could make a few changes. Here are my top ten tips, and trust me, I’ve already started incorporating some of these. I’ll have all of them back in the works by weeks’ end.

  1. Back to meal planning and sticking to it. No more trips to Denny’s when I am feeling lazy in the morning, or Mondays after group therapy.  That means I’ll be back to meal planning posts and new recipes too. And I’ll have several “back up dinners” on-hand in case the day gets away from me, or it’s too hot to cook the original meal. I took advantage of the sale on chicken breasts at Smart & Final the other day, and picked up 10 lbs. I came home and cut up the whole half breasts into more manageable sizes, and marinated some of it with different spices and put it in ziploc bags in the freezer. 10 lbs of chicken should get us 5 dinners, plus leftovers from each meal.
  2. Back to maintaining a robust snack bag in the car, refilling it daily, and remembering our water bottles when we leave the house. I fill our water bottles (we have these for the kids and these for the adults- in 40 oz) with water and ice before we leave in the AM and refill them as needed throughout the day in various places.
  3. In conjunction with #2, start taking surveys on receipts for deep discounts and free stuff again. I am Sonic’s text list, so when they have a daily deal that I have change in my car for, the kids and I stop for .50 ice cream cones, 1/2 price drinks (cherry limeade!). Frequently when you check out, there is a survey on the bottom of the receipt that will score you an XL (Route 44) size beverage for free! I really need to get back into stretching the buck.
  4. Check all my apps before I go shopping. I’ve been bad about this over the past few months. I’m sure I’ve missed out on Ibotta deals, Checkout 51 offers, and Cash Dash promos. No More! I’m back, baby!!
  5. Allowance. Yup, just like a teenager, I’m putting myself on an allowance, and Mr. is going to as well. I’m sticking to $40 in the summer, and $25 once we are back to school. This will just be for “fun money”. I still shop around for gas to stay within budget for gas each week. Costco is usually the cheapest.
  6. Keeping eyes open for cheap entertainment. Big Dude is in ESY (summer school) for the next few weeks, so a lot of the traditional summer things that are fun and cheap we haven’t been able to do (like Regal Summer Movies). We’ve mostly been doing fun stuff at the library, which is free, but I think we need to look beyond that. It’s starting to get too hot for park play dates!

I’d love to hear from you about how you combat the frugal slide. What do you do when you feel yourself slipping off your track?