Olive Garden Leap Day Deal: $2.29 Take Home Entrée!

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Olive Garden is celebrating Leap Year today! Today only,  2/29/2020 for a favorite and leave with another for just $2.29.

Choose from three classic entrée options—Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo or Five Cheese Ziti al Forno.

Plus, for a limited time, upgrade to our Spaghetti with Meat Sauce & Meatballs for just $1 more!

And if you are one of those lucky ducks with a birthday on 2/29/2020, there is a special dessert at Olive Garden too!

2020 Big Ol’ List of Birthday Freebies!

This is a brand new list for 2020. I’ve gone through and verified that all of these are still valid!

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I’ve been sharing birthday freebies since 2007! As I live in Southern CA, all of these freebies are specifically for those of us in that area. There are tons of other birthday freebie lists, but they may include offers that are not available here or may include stuff that I don’t consider worth it (like a free Rice Krispy treat when you buy an entree that’s $10+… That’s a hard pass from me, or the Aveda “freebie”- pay $10 and receive a product valued at $23+… No thanks).

I recommend signing up for these freebies at least a month before your birthday, so there is enough time for you to be added to their list. I have included only the freebies that I have signed up for and personally received, so there is no bunk.

 

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Non-food Goodies:

  • Free goodies at Sephora (It changes every year)
  • JCPenney Rewards: Birthday Reward (It’s usually $5, but it can change)
  • $3.00 ECB at CVS when you register online for the CVS ExtraCare Beauty Club
  • Best Buy– $5.00 off Coupon for those in the My Best Buy Program.
  • DSW Shoe Warehouse – $5 off birthday coupon, plus 500 points for signing up for their loyalty club.
  • Members of the Cost Plus World Market Explorers program get a surprise birthday gift, among other perks; you will also get a 10% off coupon upon enrollment.
  • As a member of Swagbucks, you’ll get 50 Swagbucks on your birthday.
  • Torrid– Members of the DivaStyle Club will receive $10 off their next purchase of $10+
  • bareMinerals (cosmetics)- The birthday freebie changes each year. Last year it was lip gloss, this year it’s eye shadow!
  • Old Navy: Sign up for their email list and they’ll send you a $5.00 off coupon to use in store.  You can also sign your kids up too! Scroll all the way to the “Sign up and Save” box at the bottom of the page.
  • Ace Rewards members score a $5.00 coupon for their Birthday (Ace Hardware)
  • ClearWater Cleaners (dry cleaners)
  • Aqua Clean Carwash
  • Free brow wax at the Benefit Brow Bar. It’s back. More info can be found on their FAQ page.
  • Dave & Buster’s: $10 in free game play for those in the D&B Rewards Club.
  • This is a BOGO, but I know a few people who have done this and they said it was fun- Free Trip to Catalina Island! Free round-trip travel for two with the purchase of one full fare Adult ticket on your birthday
  • My Aunt told me about this one! Join Passport to Provence to score a FREE birthday gift from L’Occitane en Provence. Also, you can score $20 off your first purchase at L’Occitane here!
  • Join the Sally’s Rewards Club and score a $5 coupon on your birthday, as well as tons of other super sweet perks!

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Free Food Noms:

  • Red Robin:  FREE burger on your birthday and all the latest Red Robin news.
  • Rubio’s   Free plate/combo
  • Del Taco  Free Shake (You also get something free when you sign up!)
  • Starbucks – register a free Starbucks Card and get a free birthday handcrafted beverage of your choice (as well as other goodies throughout the year).
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Free single scoop.
  • Sonic Drive-in: Free Medium beverage (OMG- Cherry Limeade FTW!)
  • Denny’s: Free Grand Slam for your Birthday. They also email out other freebies and coupons.
  • IHOP: Free Meal (It varies by year) on your birthday.
  • Arby’s Birthday Club: Offers a “surprise” it changes each year.
  • Dunkin Donuts Birthday Club will kick down with a free coffee.
  • Bj’s Brewhouse Rewards members receive a free Pizookie for their birthday.
  • Jersey Mike’s: Free Sub for your Birthday! (No matter what you read online, there is no Subway or Submarina birthday Freebies- Those deals are DEAD)
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt: When you sign up for a Smile-age Account, you’ll score a free Fro Yo for your B-day!  (I love Menchie’s!)
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes: Join their email list and receive a FREE Bundlet on your Birthday. (look for the link at the bottom of their website)
  • Sbarro Rewards Club: Free piece of pizza for your birthday when you purchase a drink. You’ll also get a coupon for a free slice when you sign up.
  • Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt: Free Frozen Yogurt on your birthday.
  • Sprinkles: Get a free cupcake for your birthday when you join the Sprinkles birthday club.
  • Pita Pit: Free Pita for your birthday when you join the Pita Pit E-Club!
  • Bruegger’s Bagels gives you three free bagels for your birthday. SCORE! Our family eats tons of bagels, so this is a sweet deal.
  • I Birthday Club. They have offers in San Diego, Orange, LA, San Bernadino, Riverside, and Santa Clara Counties.
  • D Z Akins
  • Mary’s Donuts East County peeps know what I’m talking about! Free drink and TWO Donuts!
  • Habit Burger Grill’s CharClub Score a free Charburger on your birthday.
  • Panera– Sign up for MyPanera and get a free pastry or sweet on your birthday.
  • El Pollo Loco: Sign up for Loco Rewards to get a FREE birthday meal (2pc Chicken Meal or Classic Chicken Tostada Salad.)!
  • Food, but not a restaurant offer. Like Yogurt? Join the noosa Yoghurt fan club, Cream of the Crop, and they will mail you a coupon for free yogurt for your birthday!

Some of the offers that I have been told about but no longer exist include free tokens for the b-day kid at Chuck E. Cheese, free cheeseburger at Fuddruckers (now it’s a BOGO), Free cake at Corner Bakery Cafe (It’s a free dessert WYB an entree). Another deal that everyone and their mama go nuts about is Benihana Japanese Restaurant – complimentary meal up to $30 when you purchase an Adult meal at Regular Price (You must sign up for The Chef’s Table club) . This used to be a FREE meal, no strings attached, but it has changed to basically a BOGO. That’s a no go for me, but it may still get you excited.

I have not included Ulta in my list because you have to make a purchase the year previous (and it needs to be a certain amount- I’ve been told different amounts by various Ulta Employees anywhere from $5-$50), so for me, that’s not a freebie. If I have to buy something to receive something, that’s a BOGO deal.

Talk Back: What is your favorite birthday freebie?

Join the Shmear Society & Get $5 Off Your Next Order at Einstein Bros. Bagels

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Hey- Do you like bagels? We do, more specifically, Big Kid does. If you cut him open, he’d be at least 55% bagel.

If you have a bagel connoisseur in your home, consider joining the Shmear Society from Einstein Bros. Bagels. When you join and make a purchase, you’ll score $5.00 off your next purchase. That’s a tasty breakfast!

They have an app too! And Shmear Society Members score a birthday freebie too.

So year, my carb lovin’ friends, there is no reason not to join!

 

*Disclaimer- I get $5 if one of you does this deal. And I know you all want to. Because… Cream Cheese.

10/4/19: Weekly Freebies and Deals!

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Woo Hoo! Friday means Freebies and deals! There are a lot more freebies and deals this week. I’m excited to share!

Samples

 

In-Store Events/Freebies

Magazines

Deals

House Party by Ripple Street: Host a Scooby-Doo Birthday Party!

Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 4.13.02 PMAs I type this, I am eating Scooby Snacks. I love these things.

Host a Scooby-Doo™ Birthday Party

Gather your gang and throw your own Scooby-Doo™ themed party celebrating 50 years of spooky, mysterious fun—complete with a special screening of Scooby Doo! Return to Zombie Island!

This event is only open to residents of the US.

If you’re selected and confirmed as a host, your exclusive Party Pack will contain:

  • Scooby-Doo themed party supplies from Party City
  • An exclusive Scooby-Doo Funko Pop! Flocked Vinyl Figure from BoxLunch
  • Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island DVD
  • KEEBLER® Scooby-Doo! Graham Cracker Sticks
  • And so much more!

SCOOBY-DOO and all related characters and elements © & ™ Hanna-Barbera. (s19)

To learn more or apply or this party, click here

 

Top 5 Freebie Sites that Actually Deliver!

Y’all know how much I love freebies, I post them at least once a week.  There are a lot of sites out there that promise to deliver freebies, but fall short.

Here are my top five favorite freebie sites:

  1. PinchMe– Answer a series of questions about your household and shopping habits in the Member Profile. They learn what you like and offer samples just for you.

Once you’ve had a chance to try your samples, complete a short feedback survey to tell Pinchme what you think of the samples.   New samples are available once a month!

2. MySavings– MySavings updates their freebies and deals daily! I love the variety of samples they post. And if the offer is no longer valid, you just click the Expired button and notify them.

3. Social Nature- If you are into Organic/Natural/Healthy products, then Social Nature is up your alley. Sign up and apply to sample products that you are interested in. I get probably 1-2 products to sample each month. And most of the time it’s full-size products, not just a tiny sample.

4. Smiley360  is a Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing 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.

5.  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.

BONUS- Looking for some freebies to celebrate your birthday? Check out my list here

 

Weekly Meal Plan

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AHHHHH!!! The last day of school is Wednesday.  Summer school doesn’t start for the big kid for 2 weeks. I’m going to have to ramp up my frugality to 11! Here is my article about keeping kids fed over the summer, and my article on free lunches this summer for kiddos. 

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  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 soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

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: Chicken meatballs & Cheesy cauli-rice.
  • Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner (Waffles, bacon, and melon)
  • Wednesday: Frittata and fruit salad
  • Thursday: Nugget Night! This was such a hit last week, we’re doing it again! The big kid is a vegetarian, so I make him Chick’n nuggets, and the rest of us have chicken nuggets or another variety of meatless nuggets. The Buffalo Chick’n nuggets are popular among the grown-ups. I serve carrot sticks, and apple slices on the side.
  • Friday: Date Night (dinner out)
  • Saturday: Birthday party leftovers! Bitty’s 4th birthday party is Saturday and we’ll have pizza, cake, and fruit leftover.
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

Legoland California Turns 20!

We’ll be visiting Legoland California during spring break. The kids are so excited to check out all of the new shows celebrating the 20th birthday!

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If you are headed to the park soon, you will be greeted with all kinds of fun!

In honor of the special birthday, LEGOLAND California is handing out free child-size Minifigure hands to the first 1,000 kids entering the Park. The LEGO birthday cake, created out of more than 100,000 LEGO bricks, will also be on display showcasing the many attractions that have been added to the family theme park since it opened 20 years ago including a LEGO submarine, representing the Park’s newest ride, LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride.

The birthday kicks off a year-long celebration that includes a new interactive Birthday Dance Party, LEGO Friends birthday show, exclusive birthday desserts, pop badges and more. The new shows can be seen daily now through Sept. 1 and are filled with singing, dancing and characters for all families to enjoy.

Plus, LEGOLAND California is paying the birthday fun forward to its younger guests – all children ages 12 and under get free admission on their birthday all year long! And for grown ups, there is a great deal on Groupon right now! One-Day Admission or Two-Day Resort Hopper Admission to LEGOLAND California Resort (Up to 31% Off)

And starting next month there will be a new 4-D Movie, based on the popular Lego City cartoons! You can check out a preview here.

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If you are looking to do Legoland on a budget, check out my post here.

Do you have someone in your party that has a handicap? Check out my post about the Assisted Access Pass and how we do Legoland with our kiddo with ASD.

Family Binder: Important Info at Your Fingertips

The other day I was talking to a friend about how we store all of our information now that my computer is on the fritz/being repaired.

I mean, Most people have everything stored on their computer or on the cloud/external drive, which is great, but if your computer goes out… Are you really going to access everything via your smartphone? That was my plan originally, but after like.. oh, say 8 hours of that, I posted on Facebook, asking my friends if anyone had a spare computer or laptop I could borrow. Because don’t you know it, the computer died… 2 days before school started. When I was taking an ONLINE CLASS!!

My friends Michael and Amanda are generously loaning me their laptop, and it’s much easier to do homework and write.

IMG_3895So, how to store all the important stuff… I’m bringing back The Family Binder. It’s a 3 inch binder, with section dividers, heavy weight page protectors, and plastic folders. We’ve has one for a long time, and as we moved more to paperless bills, it got used a lot less, and became a good way of storing a copy of our monthly budget, important papers, passwords (so many passwords, you guys!).

As you can see I’ve decorated the front of the binder with photos, the Brandon Bird SVU Valentine’s Day card Mr. Husband got for me years back, sonograms of the kiddos. You can make it as plain or fancy as you’d like.

IMG_3901I use some of the pages from the household notebook section of Organized Home.  I love the holiday printables from Organized Home the best. I’ve been using them since 2010, and they really help us stay on budget and keep track of all of the shenanigans that the holidays bring!

Additionally, I have extra sections for vacation planning, important papers (marriage license, vaccination records, copies of prescriptions/ list of all of our medications, birth certificates, kids social security cards, insurance id cards/policy information, and a copy of the deed to our home), and vehicle maintenance. IMG_3896I have a folder tucked in the front pocket of the binder for the big kids educational/medical stuff like his most recent IEP, Regional Center correspondence, and copies of his medical diagnostic paperwork.

I know a lot of you are reading this thinking that most of this information can be accessed online or via your smartphone, but think about when you will most likely need to access this binder… In an emergency. Not the time you want to drain the battery on your phone trying to figure out what your homeowners insurance policy number is, or your insurance agents phone number.  I also keep notebook paper in the back, in case of an emergency. If nothing else, it’ll keep the kids entertained!

If you want to make your own Family Binder, you can put as much work into it as you’d like. I made ours while I was pregnant and nesting with the big kid. So I went to town with with laminating sheets, scrapbooking stickers, decals, paper, and all kinds of doo-dads. I even made a family binder for my Sister-in-Law and her husband when they got married.  Just make sure that you store extra empty page protectors in the back- you never know when you’ll need to add more information!

I keep ours in a safe, easily accessible location, in case we need to leave the house. Living in San Diego County, it will most likely be a wild fire that causes us to leave home. We live too far inland and up high enough where rising flood/excessive rain water won’t touch us.

Talk back: If you have a family binder, I’d love for you to share photos in the comments or post pics on Instagram and tag me: @hewesfamilyfun  using #familybinder.

 

1/28/19 Meal Plan Monday

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Mr. husband is on the second week of his cleanse.Much like last week,  the kids and I will will be eating some similar foods, it’s hard to convince the kids to eat kale and steamed salmon night after night.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

You may notice a lot of plant based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: 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.

This week is going to be a little different tan usual. With Mr. on the cleanse, we’ll be eating a lot of whole foods/vegetables raw, and an old family friend steel cut oats will be coming to breakfast.

  • Monday: Leftover Pizza, fruit salad
  • Tuesday: Vegetarian crockpot chili
  • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner- Blueberry pancakes (Kodiak flap jacks), fruit salad. Blueberries are on sale this week at Sprouts for .88, so we are eating a lot of them!
  • Thursday: Homemade red sauce, spiralized crockneck squash, Italian marinated chicken breasts
  • Friday:  Date Night (dinner out, but I’m not sure where)
  • Saturday: Salad bar night: mixed greens, kale, and whatever types of veggie bits I pull out, various nuts, and dressings. The kids love cheese on their salads too.
  • Sunday: Ladies night out since it’s my birthday. Probably use one of my million free birthday meal offers.

 

Talk Back: What will you be cooking this week?