Looking for Frugal Fun for Christmas? Check out Neighborhood Light Displays!

file2901261162927.jpgIt’s back… We’ve already been through a few areas, and Henry is itching for a big cuppa Cocoa from Starbucks and a ride in Miss Sally (my car) to go check out all the lights in ONE NIGHT!

We love looking at holiday light displays, and I’ve noticed more neighbors than in past years are putting up lights all over east county! If you want to get out and check out the sites (and lights), here are our favorites:

EL CAJON, 92021

  • 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. There is usually a Nightmare before Christmas house, but we didn’t see it the other night. Henry was bummed.

LAKESIDE, 92040

  • 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!

SANTEE, 92071

  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Through December 26th, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular! You can park and walk through. There are neighbors selling cocoa, coffee, popcorn, and cotton candy. If you walk, take money with you! Starlight Circle even has a facebook page!
  • 9773 Roe Dr. 27,000 Christmas lights dance to 10 songs over 128 computer channels. Food Bank and St. Jude donations accepted. Dec. 3-Jan. 2. Sun-Th, 6-10 pm and Fri & Sat, 6-11 pm.www.DBChristmas.com It is very impressive!
  • I haven’t been by to see if it’s up this year, but in years past…. If you love South Park, after you stop by Roe, cruise down Lake Canyon Drive (in the 9400 block, East of Carlton Hills Blvd) and check out the Woodland Critter Christmas Display.

 

We pack the kids into the car after dark with cocoa and snacks and head out for a drive. It’s a fun way to spend time together, and it’s pretty frugal!

What holiday traditions do you want to share with your kids?

 

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Holiday and Game Day Fun with Hormel Gatherings Party Trays!

I received free product in exchange for my honest review. I love this time of year- We go to and host so many events: Holiday Parties, Craft Play Dates, College Football and NFL Watching Parties, and of course Coupon Meet Ups!

Snacks are a huge part of any event, so I was stoked when Social Insider and Hormel asked me to review Hormel Gatherings Party Trays. If you’ve never heard of them before, it’s basically a party in a tray! They are an easy, stress-free appetizer option.

IMG_7110.jpgThere are three varieties: Hard Salami & Pepperoni Party Tray, Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray, and Supreme Party Tray. They all contain Sargento Cheeses and Hormel Meats.

I chose the Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray for our recent dinner party. We got together to play games and hang out.

IMG_7111.jpgIMG_7112.jpg

The tray is super sturdy, which is definitely a plus. Each component is packed up in the tray. All you do is open each sealed bag, and arrange the tray in a manner that suits you. Because of the tray and great snap-on lid, I think this would be a great addition to any tail gating event or potluck! Super easy to transport and store any leftovers- But who am I kidding… There won’t be any leftovers.

If you are feeling fancy, you can set out condiments that would go with the meats and cheeses. I mixed up some honey mustard and opened a jar of spicy stone ground mustard.

IMG_7116.jpgHere is the plate that Henry made for one of our guests. For a 6 year old, I’m impressed- He also took the picture with my phone. I love having the kids help with holiday events. It helps them get into the spirit too, and reminds me that these kind of events should be low stress.

Bitty Bird “helped” by stacking up paper napkins and announcing when guests arrived (“Mommy and Daddy, Peoples is in our HOOUSSSEEEE!!”), and Henry helped me by picking up the toys in the living room, taking coats, and getting drinks. He pretended he was a waiter. It was pretty funny. He refused to let me take his picture, but at one point he had a kitchen towel draped over his arm. He has asked that we serve PB Sushi at our next “fancy grown up party”.

Hormel Gatherings Party Trays are available at Walmart, so you can pick one up on your next visit while gathering other party supplies.

I’m giving one reader a chance to share Hormel Gatherings Party Trays at their next get together! One lucky reader will win a coupon for $15 off the purchase of any one Hormel Gatherings Party Tray 28 oz. or larger.

Entering is easy: Just leave a comment with your favorite holiday beverage to serve at parties. I’ll choose one winner on December 5, 2017.

Holiday Resources For Those in Need

thanksgivingturkey.jpgIt’s getting to be the season of giving, and for some families there isn’t the means to give this year. For some families there isn’t the means for a sit down family meal either.

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

Here are some resources for those in San Diego County who might need some help.

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Meet the Need at Faith Chapel has a lot of great events coming up to help you get through the holidays:

  • 11/19/: Faith Chapel is giving out Food Boxes and Turkeys starting at 10:30am.
  • 12/3: Meet the Need’s first Sunday event will be featuring a limited number of free Christmas trees in addition to the usual free lunch and bag of groceries.
  • 12/17: Faith Chapel will be distributing toys to children in need after the 10:30am service.

Feeding the Flock and several other ministries are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food box (turkey included). More information and sign ups can be found here.

You can also find local food banks/pantries from AmpleHarvest or by calling 211 in your area.

Toys 4 Tots is a well know toy charity, however their deadline to request toys is early November. If you missed the cut off, there are a few San Diego based toy charities that can help out.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 4 San Diego area events on December 9th. 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 four locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.

We Care Toy Drive provides 750 toys to local San Diego area kids. You can learn more by visiting their website.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.09.41 AMThe Closet on 54th has a great free clothing closet you can shop at once a month, they also have a free food pantry that is open three days a week. You can find more info on their Facebook page here.

 

 

Tons of Freebies from Kroger stores!

I love me some freebies… And right now the Kroger family of stores (which for us So Cal peeps means Food4Less and Ralphs) has a bunch of great freebies that you can load to your club card.

It doesn’t matter which card you have (Ralphs, Food4Less, Kroger, etc), you can load all of these great freebies to one card and head to the store!

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.39.12 AM.pngKScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.39.07 AM.pngroger has Free Arla Cream Cheese and free Lifeway Kefir Cups! Click this link to get started.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.46.57 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.44.49 AM.pngRalphs has a free Silk Yogurt Singles here.

Food4Less has a free Nissin Cup Noodles here.

 

Each Week Ralphs/Kroger has at least one free item!

If you are new to Free Friday Downloads from Ralph’s, here is more info about how it works:

WHAT IS FREE FRIDAY DOWNLOAD? An exclusive benefit to having an account online at ralphs.com is FREE products (yes, we said FREE!). When you download the free product coupon, it will be loaded directly to your Shopper’s Card and applied at checkout in-store.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Visit this page on Fridays

DOWNLOAD the digital coupon for the free product (make sure to download between 12:01 am and 11:59pm PT). View the coupon under ‘My Coupons’ in your account online or in the mobile app.

You have two weeks to redeem this coupon in store! Pick up the product at your local Ralphs store and digital coupon will automatically apply at checkout.

Free Water & Energy Savings Kit from SDG&E!

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 1.26.41 PM.pngThis offer ends 12/3117, so order ASAP!

If you are an SDG&E customer, check your emails for this offer!

When you install a Water & Energy Savings Kit, you can save up to $100 per year in water and energy costs. This kit is valued at $30 and you have been pre-qualified to receive it at no charge.

Take advantage of our improved online order process and receive your kit sooner. Quantities are limited so order now while supplies last.

The Water & Energy Savings Kit includes:

•1 Low-Flow Showerhead

•1 Kitchen Faucet Aerator

•2 Bathroom Faucet Aerators

•1 LED Sensor Night Light

 

I just ordered ours! Anyway we can save money and natural resources is a win-win in my book!

Free fun from Lego!

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 11.49.51 AM.pngHenry loves Legos (Duh, you may have gathered that from reading this blog), and they are pretty expensive. There are never coupons and most Target and Toys r us deals/coupons specifically exclude Legos.

However, you can still score some cool freebies and deals from Lego!

First, sign up to be a Lego VIP here. It’s free, and here are just a few of the benefits…

  • Points towards valuable rewards! Get a $5 reward for every 100 points earned!
  • Members-only gifts and more! VIPs enjoy access to special promotional gifts throughout the year.
  • Monthly promotions! Earn bonus points on select LEGO sets every month, both online and in store.

Once you are signed up as a VIP, you’ll be able to register for free Monthly Mini Model Build at the LEGO Store. Registrations start the 15th of the month prior to the event (e.g. sign up in November for December event), and space is limited at each store, so don’t wait. We’ve done a couple and they are always fun!

Don’t forget that Toys R Us also has fun, free lego events a few times a year as well. It’s important to RSVP to TRU events, so you definitely get a kit.

Lastly, did you know there is a free Lego Magazine for kids age 5-11? You can sign your kids up for a free subscription IMG_0236.jpg. The latest issue arrived yesterday and Henry poured over it for hours. The magazine is packed full of comics, activities, LEGO® fan creations and building tips (Henry’s fav part), and kids receive the magazine 5 times a year!

 

And here is a tip on how to keep your feet Lego-free…. When the kids play Legos, I spread out a huge table cloth and pour the Legos onto it. Once play time is over, I pick up the cloth and pour the Legos back into their big tote.

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This set up provides hours of fun, and just a few minutes of clean up. And the best part… No stepping on tiny pieces of Lego in the dark, unleashing a torrent of swear words and threats of bodily harm to those under the employ of Lego.

We have a lot of Legos- Hand me downs from friends who have outgrown them, some from when Tyler was a kid, and some sets and kits that Henry has been given. Even though we save all the directions, there is nothing more satisfying to me as a parent than to see Henry and Bitty express their creativity through building.

This is a combine. Henry built it all by himself. Not bad for a 6-year old who has never seen one in real-life. The big wheels in the front moved. Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 12.14.44 PM.png

Talk Back: What are your money saving tips for Lego Lovers?

BOGO Holiday Beverages are back at Starbucks (and a DIY Hack)

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 3.35.18 PM.png It’s back. Halloween is over and that means Starbucks is already to serve their holiday beverages!

November 9-13 from 2-5pm each day, you will get a holiday beverage free when you buy one at regular price.

The Starbucks Holiday Beverages include:

  • Peppermint Mocha
  • Gingerbread Latte
  • Egg Nog Latte
  • Caramel Brulee Latte
  • Holiday Spiced Flat White
  • Chestnut Praline Latte

And from November 12-16th from 2-5pm each day you can score one holiday favorite free when you buy one holiday favorite.

This deal is at participating locations only, so check with your fav. location beforehand.

If you can’t make it to your local ‘Bux in time to score one of these sweet deals, here is my holiday drink DIY:

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 3.54.04 PM.pngLocate your favorite mug.

Brew your favorite coffee double strength (because let’s face it, not everyone has an expresso machine at their disposal)

Screen Shot 2017-11-03 at 3.50.23 PM.pngHeat some milk (I prefer 2% or whole milk) and I use a frother like this one.  It makes the milk nice and frothy- just like the steamer at the coffee shop.

Pour coffee into your mug, add 2-4 pumps of syrup (I like my coffee less sweet, so I do 2 pumps), stir and then add your hot milk. Put a dollop of froth on top. Top with whipped cream (if desired, not needed).

If you are feeling fancy, you could always top your beverage with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, or fancy sprinkles.

For syrups, I prefer Torani. Amazon has a bunch of different variety packs for holiday drinks, I like this one the best. If you live near a Cost Plus World Market, they usually have a great selection of flavors. Since I’m not a huge fan of single task anything, I also put Sugar free syrups in my protein shakes, and in my regular coffee each day. I’ve got a regular coffee shop set up in my kitchen. Ya know, except there is no bearded hipster.

If you are making a mocha, I use Nesquik. Really. I’ve got kids, so we always have it in the cupboard. But you could use your favorite cocoa mix.