2019 Holiday Resources

I usually do this post later in November, but I’ve been getting a lot of requests for information for 2019.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 3 San Diego area events on December 14th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All three locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 10.24.34 AM.pngThe Cameron YMCA is hosting a free Cookies and Milk with Santa on Saturday, December 14th.
Bring the entire family and join us for our annual Cookies with Santa!
Enjoy Cookie decorating, ornament making, letters to Santa, pin the
heart on the Grinch and photos with Santa!
Pre-Registration Required. This event is not limited to YMCA members! To register, please call the Cameron YMCA in Santee at 619-449-9622. Check with your local YMCA- most San Diego area YMCA locations have an event like this.
santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need addition to the application here.

 

The intake dates are November 21 or December 3, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Rio Seco School on Cuyamaca St.

Representatives will be there to assist you in processing your application.

Once again the ladies of the  American Veterans Ladies Auxiliary Post 534 are working with the VFW in Lakeside to host a super fun event for kids age 0-11.

In addition to meeting Santa, there will be crafts, snacks, and lots of fun!

vfwxmas.jpg

In order for your kids to receive a gift, please sign up your kids up to 12 years old via email to Jerrilynn: Kids_Christmas_Party@cox.net by December 9th please include name, age & gender and gift idea under $20.00.

If you know of any other holiday events or programs that can help those in need, please post links in the comments!

 

Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

November is Military Family Month at the YMCA!

ymcaOne of the things I love about the YMCA is that they support military families with discounts and special programs. Through November 11, The San Diego County YMCA’s are directing 50 percent of new-member join fees toward financial assistance for military families.

Military families get extra membership benefits at the YMCA, including a waived join fee ($60 value), 10% off monthly membership fees, and access to child care referrals and the Exceptional Family Member Program for Navy families who have children with special needs.

If you haven’t checked out your local YMCA location recently, The Y will be free and open to all during regular hours, Monday, November 11. Veteran’s Day is just one of the many free community days the Y has throughout the year.

We love our local Y. With 2 hours of childcare each day, so I can exercise (or really, sometimes I just want to take a shower in peace), or make phone calls/catch up on emails/write in the newly remodeled lobby of our local Y (#nomomshame, I see lots of other moms do it too before or after their workouts), free classes, events, and weekly open gymnastic so the kids can play and get wiggles out- no matter the temperature outside, there is something for every family.

I’ve always got free passes too- so if you can’t make it on Monday, November 11, 2019 to your local Y, let me know and I can slip some passes your way!

Full Cart- Pantry Staples for Less!

 

fullcartlogo.pngI learned about Full Cart from Reddit. After doing some internet sleuthing, I have come to the conclusion that Full Cart is a great deal for those who do not have discount stores like 99 Cents Only or Grocery Outlet nearby. You can choose from one of three packages full of shelf-stable pantry staples that are quick and easy to cook.

Good news for vegetarians, they have options for you too!

Full Cart offers three packages:

Custom Box $22.99

What’s Included**

  • – 30 lunch/dinner servings
  • – 22 side dish servings
  • – 5 breakfast servings
  • – 8 snack servings
  • – 3 fresh produce items

Signature Box $19.99

What’s Included

  • – 28 lunch/dinner servings
  • – 8 side dish servings
  • – 10 breakfast servings
  • – 2 snack servings

Essentials Bag $14.99

What’s Included

  • – 25 lunch/dinner servings
  • – 10 side dish servings
  • – 5 breakfast servings

Typical items include:

Instant Oatmeal Packets, Macaroni and Cheese Kits, Stroganoff Meal Kits, Mashed Potatoes Kits, Red Lentil Jambalaya Meal Kits, Italian Veggie Pasta Meal Kit
(Bulk Bag), Loma Meat Free entrees, Tuna in pouches, Spanish Rice Meal Kit, Cheesy Pasta Meal Kit (Bulk Bag), Italian Veggie Pasta — Tomato Flavor Meal Kit
(Bulk Bag), Chicken Noodle Soup Meal Kit (Bulk Bag).  These items change frequently, so when you order, you may have other options!

Now clearly, this isn’t all that you need, you’ll still need additional items to make most of the kits/meals Full Cart sells, but any of these packages are a great way to stock your pantry for less. The meal kits area great Starting point for cooking tasty, nutritious foods for your family.

The best part is that there are always coupons and promo codes to bring down the shipping price further.  Because Full Cart is a non-profit, the food is free, all you pay for is for shipping. Coupon codes are to help you save on the price of shipping. Right now use coupon code AHEWES at checkout to save $3.00.  Coupon Codes are emailed out frequently when you sign up for Full Cart’s email list. You can sign up here.

Shipping prices vary on where you live, and I’ve seen reports on Reddit that depending on the coupon code, which food box you choose, and your area, boxes of food were delivered for as low as $8.00.

Talk Back: Have you tried Full Cart? What did you think?

10/21/19 Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

This week is going to be busy with appointments and running around, so I’ll be leaning on stuff in our freezer. This week batch cooking will be saving our bacon!

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 Bitty. The big kid takes his lunch to school, but once in a while, I can convince him to buy his lunch.

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. I did a lot of prep for the coming week over the weekend. I cut up the produce, bagged it for meals, made up some smoothie kits, and cut up cantaloupe to have this week. Thanks to some frugal shopping over the weekend, I’ve only spent half the grocery budget for the week. I will probably use it all.

  • Monday: Spaghetti or zoodles with Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce 
  • Tuesday: Omelets with cheese, bacon, veggies. And Dave’s Killer Bread 
  • Wednesday: Chinese Chicken Salad, garlic bread
  • Thursday:  Taco Salad (Taco meat from the freezer)
  • Friday:   Date Night!
  • Saturday:  Breakfast for dinner: Smoothies and Bagels with cream cheese
  • Sunday:   Leftover night

 

Talk Back: What are you planning to cook this week?

10/17/19 National Pasta Day!

d885edea4dac6850a5f9bdde459b5c86.jpgDid you know that 10/17/19 is National Pasta Day?

I didn’t. There aren’t tons of freebies. Like… None.

Olive Garden has some sort of shenanigans going on via Twitter, but ain’t nobody got time for that. IF you sign up for their email club, you can get a free app or dessert.

For those of us who don’t have time to chase deals, and want to eat a bowl of plain ‘skettis at home, here are some yummy pasta recipes to try:

The kids have requested Mac and Cheese for dinner- so we’re celebrating!

San Diego Local Halloween and Fall events for Kids!

7be30acaf94af3fc23ce78b5df96f46cHalloween is just TWO WEEKS AWAY!! Are you ready? Thankfully I only have a few last-minute tweaks to make to the big kids’ Knight Costume, and Little Miss’s Elsa dress is store-bought (much to my chagrin).

Trick or treating door to door isn’t really popular in our area, but a lot of churches and civic groups host carnivals or events either on Halloween or on the weekends leading up to it, so there is no shortage of fun for the kids.  If you are in San Diego County, here are just a few fun events that we’ve enjoyed in the past:

10/25/19:

10/26/19:

10/31/19:

a9e9d4b9823ec9482155e106114ca37cDon’t Forget HalGLOween at the San Diego Zoo! And most YMCA locations host a Halloween event that has a small fee, but has lots of fun games, crafts, and candy.

And if you are looking for tons of fun, don’t forget that Brick or Treat is still going on at Legoland California, tickets are on sale here.

Talk Back: If you know of a free, fun Halloween or harvest event for kids in San Diego County, please leave a comment. 

Brick Or Treat Party nights are Back at Legoland California!

bot-t3-vampire-show

I’m stoked! Brick or Treat is back at Legoland! This will be our 3rd year going, and the kids can’t wait!

Join Legoland California every Saturday night (Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, and 26) at 5 p.m. The family theme Park transforms into the ultimate family Halloween party with tasty goodies, monster jams and spooktacular entertainment! With treat stations located throughout the Park and inside SEA LIFE® Aquarium, there is sure to be something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Along with tons of candy, guests can collect specialty items such as LEGO® Commemorative brick, LEGO® Life Magazine and healthy treat options!

The popular Brick-or-Treat festivities are back with a new out of this world Pop Badge Challenge! Families can collect an exclusive Brick-or-Treat pop badge by snapping a selfie with an intergalactic dancer at Club Astro Bash! After dancing their way at Planet Boogie, they can collect one pop badge per weekend, with an exclusive, new Pop Badge design offered each Brick-or-Treat Party Night!

The ultimate family Halloween party is filled with frighteningly- fun entertainment as the Boo Crew returns with a new creepy crawly stilt walker, The Spider Queen! Guests can get in the Halloween spirit by jumping in and boogieing down at the seasons most frighteningly-fun dance parties which includes Midnight Monster Jam where guests help the Monster Crew bring their spooky fun character concert to life! Wacky Professor Frankenbrick returns to Brick-or-Treat with one goal: to be the best mad scientist in the world! Kids can partake in the interactive Frankenbrick’s Lab show by using their imagination to bring his LEGO® Monsters to life. Kids can celebrate the season by singing along and moving their feet to the beat with The Witchettes in the Courtyard Theatre or by joining in the interactive play, Mail Order Monsters. Guests also have a chance to win some scream worthy prizes by showing off their coolest costumes in the Brick-Or-Treat Costume Contest presented by Disguise Costumes! With three categories: Group, Heroes & Villains and LEGO Themed, as well as a Costume Parade for all kids to join in, there is a chance for everyone to strut their stuff during the Halloween celebration!

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $64 if purchased online in advance. Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, decorations, character meet and greets, trick-or-treating, live music and tons of frightfully festive entertainment. Guests can follow the fun by using #BRICKORTREAT2019 on social media.

We’re going on October 5th, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram Feed for photos of all of the cool treats, spooky costumes, and of course, Granny’s Apple Fries!