Enjoy the YMCA for free this Thursday!

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Ya’ll know my love of your local Y. This Thursday, July 4th, you can check out any San Diego County YMCA for FREE!  Thursday, July 4 YMCA locations are open 7:00am-2:00pm (Holiday Hours). Childwatch times vary by location, so call ahead or check the branch locations before heading out.

The kids and I will be hitting up the Y to get our wiggles out before heading out to party with family Thursday afternoon!

And if you are looking for a job, many YMCA locations are hiring! Year-round and seasonal positions currently available. Learn more at www.ymca.org/careers

 

10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Groceries

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I frequently get skeptical looks, the side eye, or people thinking I’m starving my kids when I tell them that our grocery budget is $80/week.

It takes a lot of work, but it is doable. I cook a lot from scratch- it’s healthy, cheap, and I can control what goes into each dish (hidden veggies, fruit, less sugar, etc.). I can make a cheese pizza at home for less than $4, and that is enough pizza for the kids for two meals!

Here are a few of our family tactics to stay on budget:

  1. CASH! Go to the bank/ATM and get your grocery money out of the bank every week. This is a great way to start. I get $80 out of the ATM each Saturday for the upcoming weeks’ groceries.
  2. Inventory your Fridge, Freezer, and Pantry. Bonus- You’ll also find stuff that needs to be thrown out or donated. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printables, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.
  3. Menu Plan. Start by using what you’ve got on-hand. Eat food that’s on sale or in season. We eat a lot of strawberries in the summer because they are cheap!
  4. Make a grocery list. Stick to the list Don’t be afraid to substitute brands, or make changes based on what is on sale, or any in-store markdowns you find.
  5. Don’t be afraid to go to more than one store. I’m not saying run all over town, but going to two stores is OK. In our area, there are a 99 Cents Only store and a Grocery Outlet in the same shopping Center. I hit up both each week. Then, on the way home, I stop at Food4Less and buy milk (cheapest in town!), eggs, and bread (if 99 Cents Only doesn’t have the high protein bread we like).
  6. Eat Less Meat. Not only does it save money, but it’s better for the environment.
  7. Take advantage of local resources. There are a few food co-ops in our area. Additionally, there are free produce distributions too. A couple of my friends and I split a co-op lot twice a month. It comes out to less than $20 per person, and we get all kinds of cool stuff. A quick google search can help you find both in your area.  In the summer, we take advantage of Kid’s free lunches too.
  8. Coupon and/or use money-saving apps.  My complete list of apps can be found here. Right now my favorite apps are Fetch Rewards and Ibotta.  I love that I can use Fetch at any store. It helps because I shop a lot of Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only.
  9. Speaking of which… Don’t forget to check out stores like 99 Cents Only. There are all kinds of great bargains. Here is my list of 10 Great Buys at 99 Cents Only!
  10. Be Flexible. Some weeks you will go over budget. It happens. Sometimes you need to stock up on staples, or your family wants to eat something that isn’t on sale. Sometimes you really want to order a pizza and wings. That’s OK! Frugality is a journey, it’s not a punishment or a life of austerity and suffering. You can still live a fun, full life while being frugal.

Talk Back: Share a few of your families tips for staying on budget?

6/24/19 Weekly Meal Plan!

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Big Kid started Summer school this morning, so he’s enjoying a few hours of learning and play away from his little sister (which I’m sure they will both enjoy- They’ve been at each other for the past few days). I stocked up on snacks and treats Saturday night at Grocery Outlet, so the kids will have yummy food to get them through the week.

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. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and play time before or after lunch.

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Tortellini soup- Recipe forthcoming this week!
  • Tuesday: Homemade Pizza Night (I’m prepping the crusts today and stashing the dough in the fridge overnight to proof)
  • Wednesday:  Pasta Free Lasagna 
  • Thursday: Frittata– I’ve got a lot of veggies that need to get eaten, and some bacon in the freezer!
  • Friday:  Date Night- I’m hoping for Ramen!
  • Saturday:  Chicken Korma and Cauliflower Rice
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

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

$1 Hot Dogs at Sonic Today Only!

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 7.36.04 AM.pngI’m stoked about this deal because I like hot dogs every once in a while. Not enough to buy them at the store and cook them at home.

The big kid is a vegetarian, so he’ll probably enjoy some tots, But the little and I will each get a dog.

6″ Chili Cheese Coney or All-American Dog are just $1 today at Sonic! You can order ahead in the Sonic App today using promo code DOLLAR. Plus, get half-price drinks and slushes with Happy Hour Any Time when you order in the Sonic App. Sweet Deal!
*$1 Dogs: Includes 6″ Chili Cheese Coney and All-American Dogs. Tax not included. Add-Ons cost extra. Limit 5. Valid only June 20, 2019, at participating SONIC® Drive-Ins. Not valid with Combos or any other offers. Not valid with third-party delivery services.

**Happy Hour Any Time: Get ½ Price Drinks and Slushes Every Time You Order Ahead in the SONIC® App. Includes Soft Drinks, Iced Teas, regular Lemonades and Limeades, Frozen Lemonades and Limeades, Ocean Water® and Famous, Real Fruit and Candy Slushes. Add-Ins cost extra. Excludes Mini size, Ice Cream Slushes, Combos, Wacky Pack® Kids Meals and other offers. Discount based on menu price. Order Ahead available only at select locations. Offer good for a limited time only at participating SONIC® Drive-Ins.

Friday: Freebies, Deals, and & Free Events!

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Friday means- Freebies, Deals, and Free Events!

Free Samples:

Free Food:

Magazine Subscriptions:

Deals:

Free Events/In-store Deals:

The Bravest Knight Comes to Hulu 6/21/19!

unnamed.jpgI am digging all the new content that Hulu has been putting out lately. I’m super excited about THE BRAVEST KNIGHT

Following the inspiring and perseverant former pumpkin farmer, Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, The Bravest Knight recounts personal tales of his journey. Sir Cedric shares his story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia, on how he transformed from day-time farmer to full-fledged knight. Nia, who is training to become a brave knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion; proving that knighthood is much more than slaying dragons.

You can catch the trailer here.  As a family that participates in Historical recreation (via our local SCA group), it’s important to me that my kids learn that knights and other chivalrous people do more than slay dragons, and a knight isn’t always a man. And my kids know that a family is what you make of it- Mommies, Daddies, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins- Every family is different and important!

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The show boasts a star-studded cast including T.R. Knight as “Sir Cedric,” Bobby Moynihan as young Cedric’s troll sidekick “Grunt,” Storm Reid as Not-Yet-Knight “Nia,” and will also feature the voice talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Wilson Cruz, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, Chance Hurstfield and more.  The Bravest Knight’s opening theme song was written and performed by Grammy-nominated musician, songwriter and activist Justin Tranter.

My littlest has watched the trailer over and over and she is so excited to watch all of Nia’s adventures. The bigger kiddo has mamas ear for voices and has already told me he recognizes some of the voices from some of his other favorite shows- Bobby Moynihan, Wanda Sykes just to name two!

If you don’t have Hulu, you can sign up here– In addition to The Bravest Knight, you’ll be able to watch thousands of shows and movies on Hulu, with plans starting at $5.99/month for 1 year.

6/22/19 Mass Creativity Day at The New Children’s Museum!

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 10.27.50 PM.pngHave you heard about the awesome with the New Children’s Museum in Downtown San Diego?

Mass Creativity Day is held at the park across from the Museum on Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 9:30am-3pm. Bring the whole family and enjoy live music, food, hands-on art-making activities, free admission to the Museum and more! Snacks at the event are generously donated by KIND.

I am looking forward to taking the kids to play and explore!

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 10.35.07 PM.pngThe New Children’s Museum is a great place for kids of all ages- And if your kiddo has accessibility issues such as autism or sensory issues), four times a year, the museum hosts an Accessibility Morning. RSVP is required to take advantage of this special morning (includes discounted admission for kids, and caregivers are free).  Learn more here.