Kids Care Fest 10/5/19

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It’s that time again! Kids Care Fest is coming to Lemon Grove on October 5, 2019. Sponsored by the Grossmont Healthcare District, this community event is open to the public and features free health screenings for children and their families.

Kids Care Fest is an opportunity for community members to get together, have fun and receive free, vital health screenings from healthcare professionals. Along with vision and dental checkups, Kids Care Fest features a variety of local health and community-based organizations offering medical and wellness resources. Free flu shots will be available as well (while supplies last).

Additional free activities will include a bounce house, rock climbing, and demonstrations and displays from public services, including police and fire officials. Free child fingerprinting services and children’s books will also be available.

A complete list of community partners and services can be found here.

This event is 100% free!

 

9/6/19- Weekly Freebies and Deals!

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Woo Hoo! Friday means Freebies and deals!

In the Mail:

In Stores/Events:

 

Magazines:

Top Five Ways to Save Money as a New Parent

765500e0739c9b82c56108534584887c.jpgAhhh, kids. So cute and cuddly (and frustrating sometimes, let’s be honest), but oh my goodness, do they cost a fortune!

A few friends have recently given birth, and I shared with them my tips for saving money the first few years, so I thought I’d share them with you too!

  1. Resale shops, consignment shops, clothing swaps, and hand-me-downs are life (and budget) savers. Kids grow so fast, there is no reason that you need to break the bank buying new clothes. Most of these also have gear and toys too!
  2. Speaking of kids growing quickly, Car seats are a thing that has to be replaced too. Between September 16-30t, 2019, you can trade in an old car seat at Walmart and receive a Free $30 Walmart Gift Card to use on the purchase of a new car seat or other baby gear item. Target sometimes holds similar events.
  3. Mom support groups- Hear me out. Mommy groups get a bad wrap on social media, but it’s nice to know that there are people out there that know what you are going through. You can find mom groups via Facebook and Meetup.
  4. Free Stuff. There are so many companies that cater to parents and kids, everyone is giving away something, you just need to know where to look. Formula companies give away samples and send coupons (I won’t get into the whole debate of breastfed vs. formula fed. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know about my struggles with IGT– FED IS BEST). Kabrita has a great offer. And as your kids get older, companies like Enfamil/Enfagrow have transitional formulas- and they offer samples and coupons too. I post freebie offers that include stuff for kids and babies each week!
  5. Stores like Walmart and Target usually run free gift bag deals when you start a registry. Right now you can order a Free Walmart Welcome Baby Registry Box when you start a registry.  Huggies has a “Made By You” free sample kit right now as well.

If you aren’t a new parent but know of one, here are a few ways you can help them out (and a recipe, because really, I love cooking!).

 

Hiking with The Canyoneers & THE NAT!

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I love exploring nature with the kids. My dad took us on hikes a lot when we were kids and it was a great way to learn more about nature and the history of San Diego.

When THE NAT emailed me this morning to share their free, guided nature hikes, I knew I had to share it with my readers!

Canyoneers are citizen scientists and volunteers who have had comprehensive training by Museum scientists and local experts on the natural history of the region. Check out the full schedule of hikes between now and June 2020, and hit the trails with the Canyoneers! Look for the Canyoneer sign at the designated parking area. We are always hoping to see wildlife. Please leave dogs at home and come enjoy nature.

The Canyoneers offer free, guided hikes on trails throughout San Diego County from September through June. The new season kicks off this Saturday, September 8 with an easy, 1-mile hike on the Kumeyaay Lake Trail at Mission Trails Regional Park, perfect for children, seniors, and birdwatchers. 

In total, the Canyoneers are offering 80 hikes. Most are offered on weekends—with a few midday hikes being offered on select dates—and cover diverse terrain, ranging from the coast to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and from the Tijuana Estuary to Palomar Mountain.

  • New hikes in Cleveland National Forest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and several other locations including Gremlin Way Trailhead in Dictionary Hill Open Space Preserve. 
  • Once a month, the Canyoneers will lead a mid-week hike to locations that are often crowded on weekends due to limited access. Examples include Equestrian Trail in Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (November 13) and Luelf Pond Preserve in Ramona (May 12). 
  • The desert hikes that are scheduled on consecutive days allow for camping opportunities, reducing the amount of driving necessary to get to both hikes. The desert at night is a special treat. 
  • Some trails offer shorter hikes with little elevation change—good for younger hikers—and some very flat and paved hikes that are perfect for strollers and anyone with a disability. One example is the Batiquitos Lagoon Gabbiano Trailhead (September 14). 
  • If the weather cooperates, there’s a chance to see waterfalls on Cibbets Flat to Kitchen Creek Falls hike (February 9) and the Green Valley Falls Loop (June 28). Green Valley Falls is an amazing hike and has pools of water that are fun to play in!
  • Hikes in some of the most interesting geological areas in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, including Fish Creek/Split Mountain (January 4) and Canyon Sin Nombre (February 8)—perfect for slot canyon fans. 

And if you have kids, there is a special program for students and classes too!

“Kids are most inspired by nature when they get outside and experience it for themselves—seeing a Monarch butterfly or a coast live oak in person helps bring to life what they’re learning in the classroom,” said Judy Gradwohl, president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum. 

The program is made possible with support from Subaru of America, who is generously supporting the Canyoneer hiking program for the fourth year in a row.

The Museum aims to serve approximately 550 students this year through the program. Space is limited on the hikes. For more information or to book a hike, visit sdnat.org/schoolnaturehikes or call 619.255.0349. 

If you are looking for books about hiking and exploring the many awesome trails and cool nature spots in San Diego County here are two books I completely recommend!

This is my personal favorite and has TON of kid and family-friendly hikes!

9/14/19 Come Out and Play at the YMCA- Free for Everyone!

Open House September 14

 Open House September 14

COME OUT AND PLAY AT THE Y OPEN HOUSE IS SEPTEMBER 14
Sports, swim, gymnastics, camps, dance, martial arts, fitness — the Y is your No. 1 spot for active and healthy kids. Check out everything the Y has to offer at our Open House, Saturday, September 14, 2019.

All 18 YMCA locations will be open all day to the community, with special events from 9:00am to 12:00pm, including fun activities and program previews, with plenty of coaches and staff on hand to answer your questions.

As part of the 5-2-1-0 Childhood Obesity Initiative, the Y is here to ensure your children get 1 hour (or more!) of physical activity every day.

They are all about making it fun. Find your family’s next favorite activity at the Y! The kids and I go to our local Y 4-6 times a week. Exercise, swim, play at Open Gym- There are all so many different things to do included in your monthly membership!

AND IT GETS BETTER- THEY ARE WAIVING THE JOIN FEE!
New members pay no join fee on September 14 — save up to $60! All locations are free and open to the community all day!

Family Recipe: Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

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I’m always on a mission to add more fruits and veggies into our diet. My pasta sauce recipe is full of veggies: Onions, peppers, carrots, zucchini, celery, fresh tomatoes.

And because I love meaty sauce, I can’t forget the 80/20 ground chuck!

I served it last night with both whole wheat pasta and Italian squash that I ran through the spiralizer (I have this one).

The kids aren’t too big on zoodles, but that’s ok. We paired our meal with a green salad (cucumber slices for the kids), and garlic bread (a family favorite).

 

Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs ground chuck or your favorite ground beef (don’t use super lean beef)
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. each chopped or diced: carrots, celery, bell peppers (I used red)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes 
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 t. Shallot pepper seasoning
  • 2 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 4 large zucchinis, spiralized, ends diced and reserved for sauce

 

Directions

  1. Brown meat in olive oil over low, breaking up meat as it cooks.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cook until soft and onions are translucent.
  3. Add garlic, cook until fragrant.
  4. Add fresh and canned tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  5. De-glaze pan with wine, add seasoning, and small pieces of zucchinis leftover from spiralizing.
  6. Cook on low for 2+ hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. To cook zucchini spirals, steam for 6-8 minutes, drain and serve right away!

 

This sauce freezes well too and gets better overnight in the fridge.  You can also use this sauce to make lasagna.

National Night Out- Tomorrow!

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 10.43.32 AM.pngTomorrow, the first Tuesday in August is National Night Out.

Most communities in the US and Canada hold this event. It started in 1984 as a way to increase community awareness about police, safety, and anti-crime programs in communities.

Some communities use this night as a chance to have a festival, carnival, cook-out, or block party.

My local community is having one! Santee and Lakeside are co-hosting an event at Santee Trolley square. If you are looking for your local National Night Out event, check the National Night Out website here.

I’ll be taking the kids- They love events like this. Our local first responders have their vehicles open and the kids can explore the fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles. The last event we went to like this, The Big Kid got to check out the SWAT Vehicle and try on SWAT gear. I find that this kind of accessibility is great for little kids like Bitty, so she isn’t scared to approach a first responder if she is in need. It’s very useful for the Big Kid because some kids with ASD take things they are told literally. He would refuse to talk to a stranger if he needed help or was in danger because it’s drilled into kids heads at a young age. Meeting first responders and receiving reinforcement that they are NOT strangers, they are HELPERS gives him the reinsurance he needs that it’s ok to seek help in an emergency, especially if I am not around, or if I am the one who needs help.