Weekly Meal Plan

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This week, I’ve got a bunch of event planning and scheduling to do, so I’m trying to plan out some easy/quick meals that use what we’ve got on-hand.

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 bought a lot of very ripe bananas recently, chopped them up and froze them in individual bags along with other fruit to make “shake/smoothie sacks”.

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.

I’m only posting our dinner plans, and links to recipes.

Monday: Pancakes and sausage with fruit (it’s our Group ABA night, so we don’t get home until late)

Tuesday:  Leftover Pizza with  a fresh green salad

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veg

Thursday: Stir Fry- I picked up a bunch of new sauces recently, I’m pretty excited to try the mall!

Friday: Date Night!! WOO HOO!

Saturday: Tacos with the fixins, after all, it is Cinco de Mayo.

Sunday:  Probably Bean, Rice, and Cheese bowls. We’ll have leftovers from the night before!

I’d love to hear about what you’re having this week! What new recipes are you trying?

Score Free Stuff and Share Opinions!

 

UPDATED 2021 to remove programs that are no longer in business.

I’ve been getting a lot of really great freebies recently in my mailbox, and I mean full-sized items, not simple sample sized sachets of lotions or laundry soap.

But how, do you ask? Word of Mouth Marketing or (WOM).  It’s not new.  Remember the “I told two friends, and they told two friends” commercial from the 1980′s? That’s word of mouth marketing.  Since the invention of the internet, WOM marketing has been amplified, lucky for us consumers!

Here are just a few of my favorites and some of the cool things I’ve gotten lately:

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 10.31.11 PM.pngBzzagent A WOM (word of mouth) website that helps spread the word on tons of great products. Sign up for campaigns when there are products that interest you, use them, and share your opinions (as well as coupons and samples!) with others in person or via the Internet. This sharing is called “buzz”, and the more you buzz and report your buzz, you earn Mypoints points, and chances for early invitations for more campaigns. I’ve been a Bzzagent for eight years, and I receive 2-4 campaigns per year. In the last year, I’ve gotten campaigns for: Glade Atmosphere Collection Purell Hand Sanitizer, Edwards Frozen Pie, Alexia Frozen Potato products, and Spin Master Toys.

Smiley360  is much like BzzAgent, in that it is also a WOM (Word of Mouth) website. Sign up for campaigns and you will receive samples to use, and coupons to share with friends. Report your sharing and earn points! I’ve received Laundry detergent (full sized bottles), vitamins, supplements, tampons, and razors all in the last year.

In the same vein as the two above, Generation Good by Seventh Generation uses the same type of interface as Smiley360. I’ve gotten Full size laundry and menstruation hygiene products from Generation Good.

Moms Meet I love Moms meet, but I haven’t been getting a lot of stuff from them as of late. Read my post here telling you all about Moms Meet and their awesome sampling programs.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 10.58.50 PM.pngSocial Nature is different. Sign up for food or beauty products that you’d like to try (they are in both the US and Canada), and if you are selected, they’ll mail you a full sized product (or a coupon to get the item for free in a local store). Then after you try it, complete a survey and do a few social media shares ( FB, IG, Twitter, etc.). This year I’ve sampled: Vegan Miso Soup, Ocean’s Halo Ramen Broth (it was crazy good), Little Northern Bakehouse bread, Emerald Valley Kitchen Salsa, A. Vogel Herbed Sea Salt, and the biggest family fav: Hip Chick Farms chicken tenders!

Home Tester Club is pretty cool. They are one of my new favorites. You sign up to review items and they send you something. A lot of the time they don’t notify you prior to shipping, you’ll get a package in the mail and a few days later, you’ll get an email notifying you that you were selected and a link to the survey to complete once you have sampled the product. I’ve gotten a Changing Pad Cover, Flushable Wipes, Makeup Remover, and a moisturizer.

And that’s my most up-to-date list of the WOM marketing companies that I use and get free stuff from.  I recommend any and all of these companies!

If you’ve got another WOM Marketing company that you’d like to share, leave a comment!

 

 

 

LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel opens tomorrow (and a deal)!

The kids and I are so excited! In just a few hours, we’ll be headed up to Legoland California for the opening of the Castle Hotel. We’re getting a sneak peak today, and the hotel opens officially tomorrow!

The kids are excited because the Hotel featuring more than 2,000 LEGO models made out of three million LEGO® bricks, a Knock-knock Joke Door (Henry is big into knock knock jokes), LEGO play pit, interactive play structures and themed entertainment each night. Oh, and the pool.

LLstatueInstall_0152.JPGThe pool has two interactive features: a water fountain and two tipping baskets which will splash guests in the pool from above.

The Royal Courtyard also features a picnic/cinema area with a large movie screen and seating, a stage for daily performances, a DUPLO® play area for toddlers and a Knight Training interactive playground for those children ready to balance, climb and play.

So, be expecting a lot of photos and posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I can’t wait to show you all of the awesome stuff going on up at Legoland and the new Legoland Castle hotel.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 8.33.29 AM.pngAnd if you are looking for a deal on Legoland Tickets, Don’t forget to check your local Denny’s location for a Kid’s Go Free Coupons! I found these at our local Denny’s!

I spied a fresh new pad of these coupons out at our local Santee Denny’s last week!

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San Diego STEAM Camp- Learning and Fun!

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 10.03.42 PM.pngMy friends Annie and Christine are hosting an awesome STEAM camp this summer, and Registration JUST OPENED!

They are very excited to be offering four summer day-camp sessions this year. Camp will be open for children age 5-10. We will be holding camp at two different locations in Clairemont and Kearny Mesa. Camps will be Mon-Fri from 9:00am-3:00pm and include free lunch. Lunches are provided by the San Diego City.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 9.54.50 PM.pngCampers will do daily art and science around a fun weekly theme. In addition to art and science, our days will also include interactive games, STEAM inspired stories, outside play time, free lunch and more. We will have an underlying focus on kindness and helping others. Each camper will put together a care package for Cali Kids Medical Foundation to give to a family with a child admitted in the hospital and will also make cards for kids in the hospital.

Be sure to submit your complete your child’s registration form.  You can learn more on their Facebook page.

Not only will your kiddos enjoy STEAM activities, but they’ll be helping a family and child during a tough time! I’ve known both ladies for many years and they love kids and they are passionate about STEAM education.

Celebrate the Mom in your life with Mama’s Jewelry!


Mother’s day is just a few weeks away. If you are looking for a gift for the mother (or grandmother) in your life, you’ve gotta check out Mama’a Jewelry. I’m excited to be reviewing one of their Bar Straight Bar Rings in the next few weeks.

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Mama’s Jewelry has been designing rings and pendants for moms for 30 years, and we have no intention of slowing down! Our company is committed to creating exceptional mothers pendants, rings and earrings at affordable prices.

About Mama’s Jewelry: A key benefit to shopping with us is our fast turnaround times. As soon as we receive your order, our CAD technicians and certified jewelers get to work designing and building your custom item. All of our processes follow strict quality control measures. Everything that comes from us has our seal of approval. If we wouldn’t give it to our loved ones, we won’t send it to you!

Most orders for mothers rings and pendants are able to be sent out within 3 to 5 days, reaching you about a week later. If you’re shopping at the last minute, Mama’s Jewelry will take care of you and ensure that you get a custom made item that looks like it took months to make!

Mother’s Day Special Offer – Save $10 Off already low prices. (minimum purchase $59) Visit their website to check out all the awesome stuff they sell! https://mamasjewelry.com/

 

Tax Day & Earth Day Freebies!

0207e888b0d42795291d2b65c42bc1e8.jpgLet’s be honest… Most of us have already done our taxes, gotten our refunds and spent them. For some of you, you are waiting until the last second.

Regardless of your status, we can all agree that free is good. Here is a list of freebies that are available this week.

Free Hot Dog on A Stick (or Veggie Dog) 4/17/18

If you live near a Hardee’s: Free Sausage Biscuit at Hardee’s  (Carl’s Jr. isn’t participating.. Sorry West Coasters).

National “Chill out Day”! Free Kona Shaved Ice on April 17th From their webpage, “Our motto is “No taxation without relaxation!” It’s free shaved ice for all of working America on Tax Day. Come chill out with us!”

Now I’ve heard that there are some Chick-Fil-A locations that are giving away free 3 count Chicken Minis.. I’ve emailed some people I know that do PR for CFA and I’ll post when I get confirmation/denial.

Now in some states you can’t specifically say the freebie is for tax day (some laws about the freebie being a bribe or gift for doing your taxes), so they may just be freebies. And not all of these are available every area, so you may want to check before you leave home.

Other Freebies this week that I don’t necessarily think are Tax Day Freebies, more like Earth Day (on 4/22) Freebies:

5 Lbs of free shredding at Office Depot or Office Max

Staples – Free 1 lb. of document shredding

National Parks – Free entrance days on 21st
Ikea:  4/21 & 4/22: Each day, the first 200 IKEA FAMILY members to show their membership card will receive a free gift! (One per customer per day.)

Saturday SNAJDA laundry bag
Sunday STAJLIG multifunction hanger
Saturday and Sunday Talanda milk chocolate bar or Talanda dark chocolate bar

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 9.22.17 PM.pngNOT FREE, but Gift with Purchase…. Disney Stores Go green! Get a FREE reusable tote bag with any purchase on Earth Day, April 22nd, at any Disney store location.

 

Now in past years that have been more freebies, but like so many things, those days have passed. If you plan on taking advantage of any of these dales/freebies, maybe do some other free stuff on the way. Visit a park, go for a walk, or if you are at the mall, duck into See’s Candy for a free sample. Heck, if you are at Ikea and are a Family Rewards Member, go upstairs to the Cafe and get your free cup of Coffee!!

4/16/18 Weekly Meal Plan!

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This week, I’ve got a bunch of event planning and scheduling to do, so I’m trying to plan out some easy/quick meals that use what we’ve got on-hand.

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 bought a lot of very ripe bananas recently, chopped them up and froze them in individual bags along with other fruit to make “shake/smoothie sacks”.

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.

I’m only posting our dinner plans, and links to recipes.

Monday: Grilled cheese and soup (it’s our Group ABA night, so we don’t get home until late)

Tuesday: Chicken and Wild Rice (based on a recipe here, minor tweaks to the recipe have been made), steamed brocolli

Wednesday: Fritatta with whatever veggies I have in the fridge (probably onion, shallot, spinach, and brocolli), and cheese (of course!). Served with Fruit salad.

Thursday: We are having a friend over, so I’ll probably make Salsa Chicken, and I’ll add some black or cannelli beans. Served with green salad.

Friday: Date Night!! WOO HOO! We’re going to go see Infinity Wars. Not sure what we’ll have for dinner. The kids will probably have grilled cheese and fruit.

Saturday: I’ll bust out the crockpot and make BBQ chicken. We’ve got  some events that day, so I want a dinner that’s quick to serve. Probably brown rice, steamed vegg, and fruit salad.

Sunday: I’m thinking Pizza! Either we’ll make a batch of dough and do a DIY pizza night, or, we’ll order delivery. Either way, we’ll have leftover fruit salad to go with it.

What’s with my obsession with Fruit Salad? We eat a lot of fruit, and fruit salad is a quick, tasty food to prep, everyone likes it (which is saying a lot in this house). I can make one batch and it’s good for 2-3 meals, plus the occasional snack. For those who are curious, I’ll post my recipe later this week.

I’d love to hear about what you’re having this week! What new recipes are you trying?

Find (Frugal) Family Fun in Your Community

xmas eve 013.JPGSummer vacation is on the horizon, and that means that there will be choruses of, “I’m bored!”

Having a kid who has ADHD and ASD, I frequently hear that lament after school (like, before we even pull out of the school parking lot in the afternoon) complete with body slump and flailing of arms.  To combat this, I’ve assembled a list of events that can keep kiddos entertained with little to no cost.

Everyone knows about their local, neighborhood parks for free fun outside, but don’t forget your local libraries and community centers for sources of free fun!

Our local library has events after school (starting at 3pm) for kids grades K-3, including:

  • Read with Grandma Marcia ~ Every Tuesday
  • Kids Exploration Day ~ 2nd Wednesday of the month
  • LEGO Club ~ 3rd Wednesday of the month
  • Creative Play ~ Each Saturday from 10:30-11:30 am. Children learn through play! Meet new friends and have fun while developing early learning skills. Geared for ages 5 and under (but they are not strict with it- as long as the kids behave).

With all of these activities, a responsible adult must be present and participate.

Check out your local library’s website.

San Diego County Libraries

San Diego City Libraries

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 6.38.53 PM.pngIf you have a Starwood Mall nearby you (Here in San Diego, Parkway Plaza is a Starwood property), check out their kids club called MallStars. From the Parkway Plaza website, “MallStars Kids Club offers exclusive kid friendly events in a safe, community environment, throughout the year. MallStars Kids Club is a FREE kids club open to kids 10 years of age and younger.

The program features exclusive, kid-friendly events for its members throughout the entire year. MallStars members also receive free giveaways; a quarterly newsletter with upcoming events and special offers; as well as priority registration and exclusive invites to mall events.”

Last Month we got to make pizzas, and learn how to roll out dough with friends at Fuertes NY Pizza!

My kiddos love the beach- I know not everyone has the beach near them, but if you do- take advantage!  Google your favorite beach and Tide Chart and find out when low tide it. Low tide is the perfect time to hunt for shells. If you are in San Diego, or will be visiting this summer, check out Coronado for the SS Monte Carlo. It’s a sunken ship that is visible and explorable at low tide.

If you have a YMCA membership, check out their free programs for members. Our local Y has Open Gym three times a week, plus a mommy and me craft time for little kids, and lots of other fun programs that are included in our monthly dues. If you are interested in checking out the YMCA but are lacking funds, I encourage you to visit your local Y and ask about scholarships or financial aid.

I also find lots of local events and free fun stuff by checking the “Events You May Like” section on Facebook Events.

Talkback: I’d love to hear what kinds of free (or cheap) fun stuff your family does!

Friday Freebies!

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for some freebies! Now that school is back in session and we’re all healthy- I’ll be posting more often!

Here is a fairly extensive list of Freebies. There are all kinds of goodies. This is a nationwide list, so some of the stores are not in our area. Here are just a few of my favorite freebies:

What is your favorite freebie?

4/10/18 Meal Plan… Tuesday

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OMG- Yesterday.. You Guys… Was HORRIBLE. Miss Sally (my car) had her battery die, so had to get a jump start and then off to the shop for a new battery. Luckily, it was still under warranty, so it was free. That debacle threw off my entire day, and by the time the kids were in bed, I was too popped to post.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually  fruit, chocolate milk (home made with protein powder and ice cube so it’s still cold at lunch), a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

this week is supposed to be hot, so I am planning a lot of foods that don’t require the stove or oven.

Monday:

  • D: We scrounged leftovers last night- too tired to cook.

Tuesday:

  • D: Smoothies and Salad- It’s currently 82 degrees in our living room, so I am not turning on the stove or oven!

Weds:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (in the crockpot)

Thursday:

  • D: Spinach Salad with Feta and Grilled chicken breasts

Friday:

  • D: Date Night (dinner out)

Saturday:

  • D: Leftovers

Sunday:

  • D:   Breakfast for dinner/Frittata

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).  One thing that I love to make that cuts down on food waste is fruit salad. It always gets eaten quickly, and everyone in the house loves it!