Have Your Hot Girl Summer on a Budget

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the phrase “Hot Girl Summer”, but do you know what it means? The phrase can be traced back to a Megan Thee Stallion song a few years ago.

On Twitter, she explained: “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party, etc.”

A couple of my friends have embraced it, and I think that it’s a pretty amazing outlook to have, especially since last summer was, well, Sad Trombone Noise? I know the kids are looking forward to having fun, more adventures, and getting out of the house. Here are a couple ways I’m bringing Hot Girl Summer (and sharing it with the fam).

New Bathing Suits. Kids grow, but what about me? Well after having the same swimsuits for 3 years, it’s time. Especially since we swim daily.  I bought a few new suits from Amazon. Since I’m fair-skinned I picked up one with long sleeves, the kids tease me about working at SeaWorld. This is just one of the many suits I’ve got. It’s perfect for prime sun time.

 

New Pool Bag and New Pool Toys. Every Summer it seems, we need new pool toys and a new pool bag. The Chlorine wrecks our bag (which is mesh- this helps the pool toys dry quickly), and daily use of toys leaves them.. wrecked. Dollar Tree has a great selection of sturdy pool toys, including inflatables for kids (We have a cool cookie ring that has a “bite” taken out of it). For me, I picked up a sweet inflatable float pool chair. 

Plans to meet up with friends. Now that most people have access to the vaccine, getting together with friends is a lot more feasible. We are still limiting ourselves and staying away from large gatherings where we don’t know everyone, but dinner and drinks with friends sound amazing. I’m hosting dinners a couple times a month over the summer for a few reasons: 1. To keep all of our costs down (Dinner out with drinks costs $$$ these days), and honestly, I don’t feel super safe going out for dinner all that often, especially now that there are no mask regulations in our state. And I’m having a weekend getaway with some girlfriends in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to a weekend away in a vacation rental doing a whole lot of nothing!

Take Advantage of the season: What does that mean? Summer has all sorts of fun advantages: Long days, Amazing fruit and veggies are in season, nice weather. Spend time outside (poolside, at the beach, exploring nature), enjoy a big bowl of fruit salad, make a huge salad! Community events are starting to come back (with limited event sizes), and there are lots of free events throughout the summer. EventBrite is a great place to find community events.

Make Time for You: I know… So many blogs and social media tell you to get self-care time and spend time doing things that you love, but as a parent, it can be hard without staying up late or waking up before dawn. Finding a sitter can be tough too. It’s ok to lean on family and friends. The past year has been exponentially tough on parents, and you need time to yourself. Swap child care with friends, or if you want to have a night out, split the cost of a sitter. Your kids can hang out together, while you and your friends get some time away.

Take Care of Yourself: And I don’t mean the stereotypical self-care of putting on a mud mask and drinking water with lemon slices. That’s fun, but I mean the simple acts that we often overlook as caregivers.

  • Sunscreen for your face and any exposed areas when you’ll be outside for more than 10 minutes during peak sun hours (usually 10am-4pm). Don’t forget the tops of your ears. Being super fair-skinned I also wear a sun hat too. Not super sexy, but I don’t want skin cancer.
  • Take something to drink with you. I know most of you pack snacks for your kids when you leave home, but take a few extra minutes to make yourself something that you like (bonus if it’s a snack that your kids do not like- No sharing!), and fill your water bottle. This is the water bottle I use. If you like fruit-infused water, bottles like this are great.  You can also opt for an infuser to go into your favorite bottle or insulated cup.
  • Find Something to Keep You Occupied.  Besides your kids. Pick up a book, grab a craft kit (I like embroidery- it’s easy and portable), Craftsy has some cool online classes to get you started.

I’d love to hear about how you are bringing Hot Girl Summer. Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

No Joke! Legoland California is Back 4/1/2021!

Oh, man, the kids are going to be pumped when I tell them about Legoland!

LEGOLAND® California Resort is excited to offer Park Preview Days with access to select rides and attractions beginning April 1, 2021, under California’s reopening health and safety guidelines with official reopening on April 15, 2021.  After closing its gates one year ago, the theme park built for kids is offering priority access to Hotel guests, pass holders, and existing ticket holders impacted by COVID-19 Park closure, for the month of April.

Park Preview Days offers access to select rides including Driving School, LEGO® TECHNIC™ Coaster, Fairy Tale Brook, and Coastersaurus.  Kids and families can also enjoy socially distant character meet and greets, live entertainment, a wide variety of food options, and Miniland U.S.A.

The Resort officially reopens on April 15, offering access to SEA LIFE® aquarium and LEGO® CHIMA™ Water Park. Guests will once again be immersed into the creative world of LEGO® and some of the Park’s more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions.

Guests are required to purchase tickets and make hotel bookings online in advance to reserve access for their desired dates to visit.  Guests wanting to book hotel reservations can do so now. The Park reservation system will be made available soon.

“It’s been a long and challenging year for all of us and we are extremely excited to be able to start reopening our Resort not only to our guests so they can build family memories, but for our staff who have been patiently waiting to return to work, “ said LEGOLAND California Resort President Kurt Stocks.

To further prepare for reopening, LEGOLAND is hiring for multiple positions within Attractions, Water Park, Food and Beverage, Retail, and Hotel.  Individuals interested in joining the LEGOLAND team can visit: www.legolandjobs.com

To ensure a safe and healthy experience for its guests, the Resort is implementing safety guidelines which include reduced capacity, cashless payments, social distancing practices, and enhanced cleaning regimes. Face coverings will be required for all guests two years of age and up as well as all staff members and temperatures will be taken upon check-in.  For more information, Park and Water Park guidelines, health and safety guidelines and to purchase tickets, visit: www.legoland.com/california.

Legoland California Update! Build and Play and More!

My kids miss Legoland California like whoah. I won’t lie, I miss Grannie’s Apple Fries. I got an email from Legoland California this morning about some upcoming openings in the park and at the hotel.

LEGOLAND® California Resort’s “Build ‘N Play” Days starting March 5, 2021.  This new experience offers guests a chance to explore play structures within the Park such as Kai’s Spinners and Cole’s Rock Climb in LEGO® NINJAGO® World and DUPLO® Playtown, building activities, a scavenger hunt in Miniland U.S.A., live entertainment, character meet and greets, shopping at The Big Shop and more!

With ticket prices starting at $19.99, Build ‘N Play activities include a Miniland dance party where guests can do the LEGO limbo, design their own Minifigure on the roof of the Model Shop, rock out to live musical appearances in Fun Town, and taste crazy food concoctions such as deconstructed S’mores and colorful churros. Two building activities have been designed to stretch children’s imaginations with separate sanitized brick packs and space for children’s creations to stay on display each weekend.

And this is the part that is super exciting to me (and I know the kids will dig it too)…

LEGOLAND® Castle Hotel guests can double their splashing fun by having exclusive access to LEGO® CHIMA™ Water Park! From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on visits between March 12 and May 2, Cragger’s Swamp, Lion Temple Wave Pool, Build-a-Boat, and Wolves’ Den Grill is open exclusively to Hotel guests.

Guests at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel can see movies outdoors at night, enjoy an outdoor play structure, listen to bedtime stories and meet their favorite LEGOLAND costume characters! Reservations for LEGOLAND Castle Hotel can be made online and guests can choose from three different room themes: Knights and Dragons, Royal Princess, or Magic Wizard rooms. Breakfast take out plus lunch and dinner take out and dine-outside options are available plus an in-room treasure hunt for the kids.

I’m going to start saving our pennies and see if we can make this happen over Spring Break! We’ve been to Legoland so many times, but we’ve never been to the water park. Both kids love Legoland, especially Chima and Ninjago-themed activities and rides.

Holiday Light Displays: Socially Distanced Family Fun!

One of our favorite family activities this time of year is to drive around the county and check out Christmas lights. I pack some snacks and hot chocolate (or just white milk for the Bitty Bird- She doesn’t like cocoa- I know…), and we head out for an adventure. I usually grab a couple extra fluffy blankets too. They tend to fall asleep on the way home!

I’ve included our family favorites, as well as some that came recommended by my Facebook fans. I did not include any that charge a fee to see. There are quite a few professional displays that charge a fee to drive-thru all over the county.

There are a few that I did not include as I have heard they are dark (Knob Hill in Vista), or the owners of the homes have moved or chosen not to do a display this year.

East County:

  • Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun 6-10 pm.
  • 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. Nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1-25, 5:30-9 pm. Most of the houses on this street are very well decorated with lights and moving displays! They have a Facebook page too!
  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Through December 26th, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular!  Starlight Circle even has a Facebook page!

North County:

  • 12631 Stoutwood St., Poway Off Twin Peaks Rd. & Deerwood St. Nicknamed “The Griswolds.”
  • 23542 Bassett Way, Ramona  Sun-Th, 5:30pm -10pm; Fri & Sat, 5:30pm – 11pm

Be safe, stay in your cars, or mask up and stay socially distant from others.

If you know of any light displays in San Diego County that are active this year and free- Please leave a comment! (that you have gone to- please no linking to other websites)

Exploring Free Play- Fostering Imagination and Growth

As a Gen X parent, I never quite understood why we “had” to fill our kids afternoons and free time with 10,000 activities (sports, club meetings, scouting, etc.). My brother and I didn’t have tons of stuff each day after school. By the time I was in the 5th grade, both my parents worked, and frequently we were left home alone for a few hours after school a couple times a week.

We did our homework, played, read, and did chores. Even before that, there were plenty of times where we were home without structured activities. We still had scouts, soccer (my brother did AYSO for one season and decided it wasn’t for him), Key Club, Choir, JV Football. Many kids in my generation were latchkey kids and filled their afternoons with free and imaginative play.

Free play is an incredible learning tool for kids. It fosters imagination and gives kids opportunities to discover and explore. There are all sorts of toys that encourage free play- dolls, food toys, blocks, legos, to name a few.

My two love Playmobil. Playmobil is a German company that has been around since the 1970’s. They have so many different sets and types of toys- everything from princesses and fairies to knights and safari sets.

A jungle adventure after preschool. Complete with a feast

Recently, my son and daughter started pulling out some of their people as well as some of the animals and created their own adventure. Enter Carl the Mongoose and Mr. Chicken. Carl is a Meerkat, and Mr. Chicken is a Bald Eagle, but the names have stuck.  Other characters include The Birdkeeper and The Man with the Gray Hat, and Cleopatrick (my daughter named her). All of these people are from various sets, Cleo was the only one that sort of resembles her name, as she came from an awesome set of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.

The animals and their people have all sorts of adventures. They have run a food truck, run a zoo, been on a cruise, gone on safari, hunted for wild animals, opened an iron and gold mine, run an orphanage (we have a lot of little kid Playmobil people), gone to college, gone to preschool, and taken a road trip to the “ocean” in Ohio. We paused the game for a bit to look at the US map to discover there is no ocean in Ohio, but they could go to Lake Erie instead. It was deemed the “Lake Erie ocean beach” adventure.

These adventures give the kids a chance to explore themselves and work on interpersonal relationships, even if it’s as a talking Bald Eagle and his keeper.

Even in these crazy times where nothing is certain, give your kids some time to play and explore. Taking a “brain break” (which is what the big kiddos teacher calls them) throughout the day for some playtime may help your kids more than you think.

Right now we are all home together, trying to scramble into some sort of routine of distance learning, being quiet while we all learn/work, breaks, and trying to play after school is over without making too much noise while grown ups work. It’s tough. It’s crazy. The house is messy, we’re frazzled, and we weren’t “with it” last week to follow our meal plan. But we got through it, and we’re trying again this week.

We’re all learning. And that means we should grant ourselves grace.

Be kind to yourself. Wash your paws, wear a mask, flatten the curve. Have a good week!

 

7/27/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about a month, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

So I haven’t kept up on getting snacks replenished, so I’ll be getting some new snackies this week. Otherwise, we are still ok on groceries and I’ll probably be able to skip a full grocery run.

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 (I update it after every shopping trip), 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.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon. I’ll be posting more info about summer lunches this afternoon or tomorrow.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  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. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

We’re in the final stretch of summer vacation. Summer School is over, and so now we are left to our own devices for the next month or so.  To that end, we’ve recently started playing Pokemon Go to help get our bodies active. We go out for walks each day to try and get some monsters and steps. I love that the big kid has a pokemon Buddy in the game and as part of taking care of his buddy, he has to “walk” the buddy daily. It encourages him to get exercise and it teaches him empathy- something that can be hard for kids on the spectrum.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers
  • Monday Biscuits, Country Gravy, hashbrowns, poached eggs, and melon (I am not ashamed to admit I ate half of a cantaloupe)
  • Tuesday:Veggie Burgers or chick’n nuggets, salad or fruit
  • Wednesday: Pulled BBQ Chicken, rice, steamed veg
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Shephard’s Pie (I haven’t made this in AGES, and we have all the ingredients!)
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Tryazon: Apply to Host A CurliGirls Hair Styling Party

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Tryazon has a new party that is accepting applications!

Straight or curly? CurliGirls don’t have to choose! Brand new CurliGirls dolls feature MagiCurl hair that curls instantly when you pull it. The longer you pull, the tighter the curl – it’s so easy! Curl with your fingers, or easy styling tools, then accessorize with hair clips and beads. Ready to change it up? Dip hair in warm water and watch it magically straighten! Then style and restyle over and over again. The styling possibilities are endless.

Get to know each of the CurliGirls! Charli, the Pop Star, is pretty quiet – except when she’s rocking out on stage! She’s a rebel with a heart of gold. Hayli, the Ballerina, is always on pointe – a poised, ladylike ballerina who is all sugarplums…with just the right amount of spice!! Bayli, the Birthday Girl, is the life of the party! This giggly girl is super organized and loves to plan the perfect celebration for her friends. No matter which doll you choose, you can express your CURL power, with CurliGirls!

Tryazon will select 100 hosts for this opportunity. Those chosen will receive a party pack with a variety of CurliGirls products to showcase with friends and family!

To apply or learn more about what each Party Pack includes, click here.

We’ve done several Tryazon parties- it’s a great way to try and share new products!

MY SPY- On Amazon Prime!

unnamed.pngThe kids and I saw My Spy in the theater right before the stay at home order was put in place. It was super cute and both kids (5 & 9) loved it. And now you can watch it at home on Amazon Prime or at a local drive-in theater with your kids!

Drive-In Theater Listing

My Spy follows JJ a hardened CIA operative (Dave Bautista) who has been demoted and finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) where he has been sent undercover begrudgingly to surveil her family. When Sophie discovers hidden cameras in her apartment, she uses her tech-savviness to locate where the surveillance operation is set. In exchange for not blowing JJ’s cover, Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance, JJ finds he is no match for Sophie’s disarming charm and wit. The hilarious actioner is directed by Peter Segal from a script penned by Jon and Erich Hoeber and stars Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Kristen Schaal, Parisa Fitz-Henley and Ken Jeong. Producers are Chris Bender, Peter Segal, Jake Weiner, Robert Simonds, Gigi Pritzker, Dave Bautista and Jonathan Meisner.

There were a few times where the violence was a little intense for the kids, but the physical comedy, explosions, and jokes made up for that.

My son loves Kristen Schaal (You may know her as the voice of Mabel from Gravity Falls, and Louise from Bob’s Burgers), so he was hooked after I showed them the preview.

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If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly action movie to entertain the kids this summer, check out My Spy

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Giveaway: Enter to Win SCOOB! Digital Movie Code!

Thanks to the peeps over at Warner Bros. for sending me this awesome offer to share with ONE of my readers!

unnamed.jpg“SCOOB!” reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global “dogpocalypse,” the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.

Scoob is available on May 15th for 48-hour Rental via Premium on Demand for $19.99 or premium digital ownership for $24.99, check your digital platform for more details, or visit this website.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, check it out here.

D4478F73-D9DA-41FC-8202-1FE493122013Entering to win is Easy Peasy! Leave a comment on this post with your favorite Scooby-Doo memory. Your favorite episode, crossover, movie, Scooby-doo related foods or snacks, whatever you love about Scoob and the gang!

I will pick a winner on May 15th mid-morning, and email you the code. 

Keeping Kids Active During the Quarantine!

There are all kinds of ways to get your kids active during the best of circumstances. However, life during the quarantine has proven challenging for all of us.

Chuze-RECT-rgb.jpgThanks to the awesome people over at Chuze Fitness, we can get our wiggles out as a family on the daily.

 On Chuze on-Demand new videos are posted each day, so the whole family will be able to break a sweat without breaking out of the house. This workout series was made in an attempt to bridge the gap when it comes to family-friendly workout videos by providing 20-minute classes designed for both big and little Chuzers to get their wiggles out.

On-screen, instructors lead their kids in stretches and fun movements that feel like a throwback to your own P.E. classes growing up – all you need to participate is a big room and a WiFi-connected device to follow along with. To access these Family Workouts, you can find them either on the Chuze on-Demand website or the Chuze Fitness YouTube page.

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7If this isn’t your cup of tea, or your kids need something that’s just for them here are a few other exercise options:

Go Noodle: Either from their website, or their YouTube Page. There are lots of fun videos to dance along to- we like Kitty High Five, Cat Party, Pop See Ko, and Run the Red Carpet.

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Jaime is a fun Yogini! She leads kids on fun asanas that often follow themes of their favorite movies, TV shows, or games. It’s a great way to make Yoga accessible to kids. We love Star Wars Yoga.

Dance Party: I’ll put on fun, funky, or silly music and the kids and I will dance for 20 minutes. Family favorite songs to shake our tails include anything by Grand Funk Railroad, Thrift Shop by Macklemore, Last Friday Night by Katy Perry, Rock Party Anthem, Uptown Funk, What does The Fox say.

Talk Back: How are you keeping your kiddos active during this tough time?