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!

 

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Our Summer Bucket List (Have you made yours yet?)

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Summer is lurking… Can you feel it? I got a sunburn over the weekend, so I can definitely feel it.

The kids and I have already started our bucket list- stuff we gotta do while we’re running wild this summer.

So far Henry has requested:

  • Checking out the soon to be open re-done Kids slash ground and pool at the Santee YMCA.
  • And the splash area at the Tierrasanta Pool.
  • Hunt for shells at Silver Strand State Beach.
  • Swim everyday (he has said this at least once a day for a week).
  • Free Museums at Balboa Park on Tuesdays
  • Using our Zoo and Living Coast Discovery Center passes.
  • Play with friends at the park and have “Free Picnics” (aka free lunch for kids-As soon the websites are updated, I will post them).
  • Lots of crafts- And I’ve got tons for him to do, including shrinky dinks and faux stained glass projects.
  • Go to the La Brea Tar Pits.
  • Go to Legoland solely to go to the waterpark.
  • Family Movie night with the “puffy bed”- Set up the air mattress in the living room and snuggle and watch movies.
  • Special events at our local library- They always have fun stuff for kids during the summer.
  • Ride the coaster and have lunch.
  • Ride the trolley with friends to Seaport Village. Ride the carousel and have ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s.
  • Go to the “Kids Movies”- Regal Cinemas has discount second run kids movies all summer a few times a week. They are just $1.00!

I’d love to hear about your summer bucket list and plans!

Free Fun this weekend!

Wow- I’ve been busy this week! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and post all week, but I’ve been trying to post on Facebook and Instagram- so remember to keep up with me there too.

This weekend there will be all sorts of free fun going on! Today is both Free Comic Book Day, and also Cinco de Mayo.

Here are just a few ways to celebrate:

Free Comic Book Day is always the first Saturday in May. Find your local Comic shop that participates here. Most shops have tons of free comics and other fun stuff (like cosplayers who will pose for photo ops with kids. Our favorite shop usually has Batman.)

Cinco_de_mayo_logo1.pngCinco de Mayo- Luckily for us, we’ve got Old Town San Diego State Historic Park close by! Each year, Old Town hosts an amazing festival with music, dancing and art.

If you don’t want to brave Old Town, There is also a festival at Balboa Park,and The Timken Museum will be having a fun, free craft (and the museum is always free to visit).

If you want to avoid the crowds, check out Chicano Park. There are some amazing murals, and it’s close by some pretty tasty restaurants.

And if you are looking for other free fun, The San Diego City Libraries area great place to start. County Libraries may also be having fun stuff too.

Santee has 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).

La Mesa’s branch library is hosting a Sensory Playtime tomorrow.

 

What kinds of fun events will you be going to this weekend?

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!

Why I Love… Denny’s

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I’m serious. Stop laughing! I love Denny’s. Here is why: When you have a kid on the spectrum, a lot of stuff is about textures, sounds… the “feels”, if you will. And almost every Denny’s looks the same. The menu is the same, the food tastes the same.  So, no matter where we go, he can have something to eat he likes in a place that is familiar.

And honestly, as far as diner food goes, it’s pretty good. They have heathy choices, they have junk food, and I can get a plate of scrambled eggs and chocolate shake at 2am if I need it.

Other reasons that Denny’s is the bee’s knees:

  • They have coupons. Sign up for their rewards club here, and they’ll email you coupons frequently. They also publish coupons in the Sunday paper, and sometimes in the junk mail too- just keep your eyes peeled.
  • When you are a rewards member, you’ll get a free build your own Grand Slam on your Birthday. SWEEET! That is Henry’s favorite birthday freebie- He knows that I’ll share it with him.
  • They participate in Dosh. We get 5% back when we eat there, can I can combine that with the coupons mentioned above.
  • The four of us can have a meal there for less than $25.00 (before coupon and Dosh cash back). Frequently there are leftovers too. Can’t beat that.
  • The do have Kid’s Eat Free twice a week, but my kiddos are pretty big eaters, and I find it easier (and cheaper) to order them something from the “grown up menu”. Right now, they are obsessed with sharing the Everyday Value Slam. Henry eats the pancakes (with butter), and Bitty eats the eggs and sausage. breakfast for 2 kids for just $4…. uh, ok. And I don’t have to wash the dishes!
  • We frequent the same 3 or 4 locations and the waitresses know the kids. They are always so sweet.

This week, I am professing my love for Denny’s. What do you love this week?

Legoland Ticket Deals!

unnamed.jpgI just discovered this deal this morning, and I had to share! Ya’ll know we love going to Legoland, and with the new Ninjago 4-D Experience that just opened last month, there is even more to see and enjoy.

Groupon has ticket deals for Legoland California. 50% Off Legoland Florida & California Tickets for either 2 or 4 2 day park hopper tickets. But, the deal gets even sweeter (you know it would, right?), you can save 25% Off Groupon with New Coupon Code NOW25. Oh, and you can use the coupon code 3 times per account!

unnamed (1).jpgThe new Legoland Castle Hotel is opening on April 27, 2018! I can’t wait to check it out once it’s completed! I love that Legoland hotels are just more than a place to crash at the end of your Legoland day. The Royal Courtyard outside is designed to immerse children in a fairy tale of their own creation with a DUPLO play area for the younger kids, larger play structures for the older kids, giant movie screen for nighttime movies, a stage for live plays and shows, a gradual incline pool and hot tub. The pool bar and grill will offer smoothies, sandwiches and salads prepared fresh to order. And, for our family, we love that breakfast will be included with each guest’s stay and includes made-to-order items along with a buffet (our kids love breakfast!).

With so much to see and do at Legoland, this Groupon deal is the perfect excuse to plan a trip over Spring Break!

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Henry’s latest Lego Creation