Enter to Win $75 Target Gift Card from the Carma Project!

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One lucky Carma Ambassador will win a $75 Target gift card. Enter for a chance to win by helping us raise awareness for National Safety Month by completing the following:

  1. Sign up or be an existing Carma Project Ambassador
  2. Press “Going” on our National Safety Month Facebook event page
  3. Tag your friends in the comment section of our pinned post on Carma’s Facebook page with: Check your vehicle’s recall status for National Safety Month!

This contest will run from 06/10/19 12:00 PM PST to 06/23/19 11:59 PM PST.

Winner will be notified via email on 06/24/19 at 12:00 PM PST.*

*To enter this contest, you must be signed up as an Ambassador at https://www.carmaproject.com, be 18 years or older, and live in the United States. This contest is void where prohibited by law. The name on your Carma Project Ambassador profile should match the name on your Facebook profile in order for your entry to be accepted. The contest prize will be delivered via email. This contest is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with Instagram, and/or Facebook.*

Back on Track for Fall! and a $25 Amazon GC Giveaway.

For most of our kids, school has either started or will start in about a week. I’ve had a rocking summer with the kids, but it’s time to get settled back into a routine for the family. I am a huge proponent of routines for kids. Having one for our family has really helped calm and allay fears of the unknown, which is huge for kids with ASD.

Not that everything has to be exactly the same every day, but knowing what will happen within a time frame gives kids (and some adults too) a certain sense of calm.

I posted at the beginning of the summer about our schedule, and it really helped. Our school year schedule is a little different, but most of our appointments are the about the same time each week.

A few other things that help us keep on track during the school year:

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 8.41.01 AM.pngHaving grab and go lunch items at hand. In the pantry, there is a basket filled with all kinds of lunch/snack items. Crackers, cookies, squeezy pouches, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, cups of PB/other nut/seed butters, pretzels, juice boxes, etc. On the counter we’ve got a trifle bowl (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made trifle in the past 11 years-but… it makes a great fruit bowl), that we will with lunchbox sized fruit: apples, tangerines, and occasionally pears. I keep the bananas separate on a little hook/stand.

I also keep a stash of frozen tubes of yogurt in the freezer, and a grip of cheese sticks either pre-packaged or home-made, depending on which is cheaper, in the fridge. What’ a home made cheese stick? Buy a big block of cheese, grab a large, sharp knife and cut the cheese into hunks resembling commercially made cheese sticks. I wrap them in saran wrap and keep them in a large zip top bag in the dairy drawer.

It takes about 15 minutes to organize the lunch stuff once a week, and it saves me a lot of time each morning.

A Pretty Solid Meal Plan. I’ve posted about meal planning so many times, and honestly, it really does help. I get a lot of magazines in the mail (free of course), and most of them are cooking magazines. I try to add a new recipe into the mix weekly.

Exercise. I know this sounds weird, but, for me, exercise is my me time. We go to our local YMCA, and the kids go to child care for up to two hours. I do an hour of cardio (and catch up on email, Facebook, or bring along a book), then do weights for about 20-40 minutes. It’s a chance to focus on my body and health. Sometimes I grab my travel bag, and toss it into my gym bag with a couple towels and go take a shower after my cardio. Taking a shower without little people interrupting you is one of life’s small luxuries. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to escape a little each day, I encourage you to explore it. 

Coffee. I’m one of those people that has to have coffee every day. It’s part of my daily ritual. I drink at least 30 ounces of coffee a day: hot, cold, heck even room temp., I don’t care. It can even be decaf. I set up to coffee maker before bed, and when we get up in the morning, there is a hot, fresh pot of coffee. And we don’t have a fancy coffee maker either… This is the coffee maker we have.

Giveaway: Let’s celebrate back to school! I’d love to hear about how you get back to it after school starts. Leave me a comment below and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC* here (This link may not be mobile friendly)! I’ll choose a winner on September 4th, 2018. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Winner subject to verification of entry tasks. Winner must reside in the USA. $25 Amazon GC will be rewarded as a digital Gift Code, emailed to the winner.

Making Money Online with Social Media!

spilled-money.jpgI’m sure you’ve seen some of the Work at Home scams floating around the internet, in fact, I talk about a few of them in this post.

This post is all about making money (and/or scoring free cool stuff) via social media.

What’s your brand? Crunchy mom, Working mom, Millenial, Xennial, Stay at home mom, DINK, LGTBQA+, Latinx, Green living, a combination of the above, non of the above? Did you know that you are your own brand, and what you post about online is of interest to larger brands and PR companies.

These companies are looking for unique voices and viewpoints to promote their products and services. Sometimes it’s for free products, sometimes money, sometimes both! This is known as Micro-Influnced marketing. What is a Micro-Influencer? Mavrck says, “Micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have 500 – 5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant topics.” Most of you reading this fit this description and didn’t even know it.

That’s awesome, you are thinking, but how do I seek out opportunities?

Here are a few companies that I use:

Tomoson: This is a company that works with brands to find influencers to share products (sometimes services too). Mostly social media sharing, but also blogging opportunities. Sometimes you can get free stuff, sometimes it’s discounted, sometimes you’ll get paid just to distribute content, sometimes you’ll get paid. BUT- Watch out, there are still companies and brands that want you to buy their product on Amazon with a coupon code and review the item (positively, of course) on Amazon. This is against Amazon’s TOS, and you can get your account wiped. That’s a nice way of saying the remove most or all of your reviews, and revoke your ability to leave reviews on anything in the future. NOT WORTH IT!!

HeartBeat: This is a great one- It’s all on Instagram! I’ve done two campaigns so far, and I have received free product in addition to payment. It’s quick work too. Anyone with an Instagram account can join!

If you are looking for just free stuff in exchange for social media shout outs, check out this post on Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing is a perfect way to start out when you are dipping your toe in the Influencer world.

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

 

6 Tips for Getting Ready for Back to School!

back-to-school.jpgIt’s coming… For some of us, back to school is NEXT WEEK! For others it’s later in August, and some lucky folks, have until Labor Day in September. Regardless of when your kids go back, it’s nice to be prepared and save money.

 

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and stay on budget!

Packing an Awesome School Lunch.

Shop Online to Save Big-  I love shopping online, especially at JCPenney and Kohls. Lots of great deals to be had, coupons, and ship to store to save even more!

There is a backpack and school supply giveaway in Santee on August 19th. More info here.  If you need school supplies sooner, Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber is sponsoring a Back to School Kick off and Community Health Fair on 8/11/18.

If you are worried about being able to provide a nutritious, healthy lunch for your kiddos, The San Diego Food Bank sponsors Neighborhood Distributions throughout the month all over the county. You can go and get free, fresh produce- usually between 10-30 lbs. per family.  No proof of need- Just grab your reusable shopping bags and go!

a72904da152a0795ba05aaecba3a28bc.jpgAdjusting back to the school-year schedule can be a little tough- That’s why we start to get the kids back to bed at their regular time starting the beginning of August. For our kiddos, keeping them busy and active all day, really helps. Trips to the playground, beach, zoo, and pool really help.

We’ll be hitting up the night time zoo this week!

And one last back to school tip: Let your kids play and hang out with friends as much as possible before they go back, especially if they aren’t able to see some of their friends at school. We’re hosting a K’Nex Play Time Party with Tryazon this Wednesday at Shadow Hill Park in Santee! If you and your gang will be in the area, please stop by! There will bea chance to win prizes, yummy snacks, and cool toys!

 

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.

Looking for Free Fun? 10 Local Community Events

IMG_20120331_163227We love getting out of the house to have adventures, but, being frugal means that I have to get creative.

Thanks to local publications like The San Diego Reader and San Diego Family Magazine (both are free and available all over), as well as Facebook, we are never wanting for free fun.

Here are our Top Ten Community Events that are for kids and families for Q1 2018:

  1. 1/2/18-1/4/18 Santee Library hosts the most fun, creative events for kids. They are starting the year off with 3 events, January 2-4 in the afternoon.  We are very excited to go to Imagination Day. If you aren’t in East County, check out your local San Diego County, or City of San Diego Library branch. Most branch libraries have fun events for kids after school and during holidays.
  2. 1/6/18 Free Family Fun Fest at the Kroc Center.  The Kroc Center hosts a lot of great programs and events each month. The Kroc Center Free Family Fun Fest – Meet & greet with the San Diego Sockers, sports challenges, arts & crafts, inflatable park, costume dress up, giveaways and more
  3. 1/16/18 Family Read and Play Day. Again the Kroc Center is hosting this event. They host a reading event usually once a month. Sometimes the kids get to take home a copy of the book as well. Family Read and Play day, featuring the book, “Children Around the World” by Donata Montanari.
  4. 1/20/18 Santee Active Life Expo.  From 9am-2pm, some of the free activities include: Watch professional athletes compete, Health & wellness activities, Extreme obstacle courses, Trial fitness classes, Firefighter challenge,  BMX trick shows, Free breakfast (while supplies last), Learn how to race walk
  5. 2/3/18 The Water Conservation Garden over at Cuyamaca Community College offers Free Docent lead tours of the gardens. Tours begin promptly Saturday mornings at 10:00 am in the Plaza. No reservation required. 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
    El Cajon, California 92019 My kids love this place- There are tons of fun areas to explore and learn all about nature.
  6. 2/6/18 is National Frozen Yogurt Day.  There are no concrete details yet, but in past years Menchie’s and Yogurtland both gave away free froyo. I will for sure be posting more details as they become available.
  7. 2/9/18 is National Pizza Day.  In the past there have been great offers for free slices and free whole pizzas. Sbarro and Pizza Hut usually participate.
  8. 2/13/18 is Shrove Tuesday which means that FREE PANCAKE DAY will be around that time. IHOP is the only restaurant in our area that offers free pancakes.
  9. 2/14/18 is Valentine’s Day. There are usually free events for kids at local libraries.
  10. And finally- Henry’s Birthday is in March. While there are no specifc free events for his birthday, here are my lists of birthday freebies (for kids and adults). Original List and the updated list with some fun new stuff.

I’d love to hear about what your favorite free local events are!  Please drop a comment with details and a link!

San Diego Area Readers: Donate Canned goods receive a free facial or massage!

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Firefly Wellness is having our seventh annual holiday food drive to support the San Diego Food Bank. Items can be dropped off  through December 20th at their location in North Park.

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.44.59 PM.pngThe best part of this offer is that not only are you helping others with your food bank donation, but when you donate ten or more food items off at Firefly Wellness, you’ll receive a certificate for a free 30-minute massage or facial. You can use it yourself or give it as a gift.

I know most Frugalistas have at least ten extra (and unexpired) items in their cupboard they could part with. If you are unsure what kind of items to donate, here are items that the food bank always needs:

  • Canned Meats
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruits
  • Canned Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal & Oatmeal
  • Rice & Pasta
  • Powdered Milk, beverage mixes (like shelf stable juice concentrate, instant coffee, hot cocoa pouches)
  • Infant Formula (The sample sized canisters or sample pouches that you may have received free in the mail are perfect donations!)

(if you are looking for coupons to help you shop for donation, check out the coupons here)

Food Drive Information:
 
When: Now through Dec 20, 2017
Where: Firefly Wellness
How: Drop off items on your next visit, or call 619.249.4323 to schedule a drop-off or pick up or your items.
BONUS: Receive a THANK YOU GIFT CERTIFICATE when you donate ten or more items.  (Limit one per person.)
Please comment if you will be taking advantage of this great deal (and what you’ll be donating). I’ll be donating Oatmeal and Peanut Butter among other things.