Summertime Plans on a Budget!

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School is out for us on Tuesday. That means I’ve got 67 days to fill with adventures and “excitement” as my 6 year put it. No pressure, right?

Here are just a few things we’ll be doing to have lots of fun, but not spend a ton of money.

  • Taking advantage of free community events! Our local libraries have tons of fun events during the month.  Lego Club, craft afternoons, story time for pre-schoolers, and our local library has a great slate of summer events, including a summer reading program!
  • Using passes and memberships that we’ve already paid for. For us, that’s the San Diego Zoo and the YMCA. I plan on taking full advantage of the YMCA membership daily to get the kids out of the house and playing with others, as well as swimming at the activity pool.
  • Packing snacks and drinks when we leave the house. Henry’s pre-school backpack has become our go to snack backpack. I wrote about our family snack backpack yesterday.
  • Meeting up with friends at the park to play. We love playing at the park. It’s a great way to get out the wiggles, meet new friends, and catch up with old friends. There are tons of groups on Meetup.com or Facebook. If you haven’t checked out Momco on Facebook, it’s a great way to find moms looking to meet up and play!
  • I love to arrange craft or science get togethers. The kids get to make something or try a science project and play with friends. I’m not really into Pinterest all that much, but I do have a Pinterest Board with some of the science and crafts we want to do this summer.  I try to use the supplies we have on hand. I find that a lot of the supplies can be picked up at 99 Cents Only, or cheaply at Target.
  • We’ll also be painting a lot of rocks and hiding them all over this summer. Have you heard of Santee Rocks? Both kids love it and it’s a great way to get kids out and active!  It’s an awesome Facebook Group. Learn more here.
  • The Beach! I know not everyone has the beach near them, but if you do- take advantage!  Google your favorite beach and Tide Chart and find out when low tide it. Low tide is the perfect time to hunt for shells. If you are in San Diego, or will be visiting this summer, check out Coronado for the SS Monte Carlo. It’s a sunken ship that is visible and explorable at low tide.
  • Don’t forget the $1.00 kids movies at Regal Cinemas!
  • Here are a few of my other tips for a fun, frugal San Diego Summer.

Camping with Kiddos!

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As we prep for our annual family camping trip, I thought I’d share some of the fun things we do with the kids when we camp.

In addition to all of the usual camping stuff: Tent, blankets, pillows, air mattress, clothes, toiletries, Sunscreen, food, camp kitchen stuff…. You need stuff to do!

A friend and I made a huge batch of play dough last week, and we’re taking half of the batch, along with some cookie cutters, small rolling pins and other fun play dough stuff I got on my local Buy Nothing Group.

Games: High Ho Cherry-O, card games (like Uno, and a few regular decks of cards), lawn bowling.

We also have a craft box. It’s a large tote, like this one. I’ve filled it with all sorts of craft odds and ends. Mostly stuff leftover from other projects, as well as stuff I’ve gotten from Craigslist Curb alerts, and my local Buy Nothing group.  There is paper, scissors, glue, beads, pipe cleaners, paint, and so much more! The kids rifle through it and come up with some of the most interesting projects. I really believe that kids need to have free reign over creative play, so as long as I am there to make sure they are safe, they are free to create and play how they wish.

Bubbles. I make about a gallon of bubble solution, and we have all kinds of wands and stuff (Dollar tree and Target’s Dollar spot are great places to find bubble toys). We also make some out of pipe cleaners.

We also cook a lot when we are camping. We use dutch ovens to make all kinds of baked goods, including our favorite: Beer Bread. My dad has a cool clay Pizza oven (it’s this one), and we make pizzas in the late afternoons to snack on. Our favorite pizza recipe is here.

Here are a few pictures of our adventure last year:

We also of course, play at the campground play ground, go on nature hikes (and do some fun nature scavenger hunts- check out Pinterest for a bunch). We spend time with family and friends, and of course, check out all of the events and fun at the big camping event in which we are participating.

Camping is a great family activity, and here in San Diego there are so many places to camp! From the beach, to the mountains, to the desert, there are campgrounds, both private and public for low prices!

If you are a camper, where is your favorite place to camp?

Earn Free Concessions and tickets from Regal Crown Club!

We love to to go to the movies, but it’s expensive!

That’s why I love the Regal Crown Club! You can sign up at your local Regal Cinemas or here online.

For each dollar you spend (on tickets or concessions), you earn points that can be redeemed on concessions, tickets, or other swag.

And if you are a Disney Movie Rewards member, link your account to earn even more points on both platforms.

Check out this great deal they’ve got going right now if you check out all three new Disney movies this summer:

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  • See any ONE of these films and receive 100 Disney Movie Rewards bonus points
  • See any TWO of these films and receive 100 Disney Movie Rewards bonus points + 1,000 Crown Club credits
  • See any THREE of these films and receive 2,000 Disney Movie Rewards bonus points + 1,000 Crown Club credits + free small popcorn (loaded directly to your Crown Club card)

Disney Movie Rewards points can be redeemed for all kinds of great stuff: Disney Gift Cards, Starbucks Gift Cards, and tons of Disney dvd’s/Blue Rays, and other merchandise! You can earn points by buying Disney movies, seeing movies in theatres, and by playing various games online and taking part in various promos.

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Regal Cinemas also has a great summer movie program. Starting in Mid June and running through the summer, Regal Cinemas shows kid and family friendly movies for just $1.00 per person on Tuesday and Wednesdays!  It’s a great way to beat the heat, and spend some time with the Kiddos!

Incredible Deal on Mastercard Gift Cards at Staples (and an Amazon GC Giveaway!)! #StaplesEZr

file3331271364663.jpgYou know I love a good Gift Card Deal! Right now through April 29, 2017 when you purchase $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards at Staples you will receive a $20 Staples gift card by rebate. See store for more details, find your local Staples here. What is great about this deal is you can choose different denominations of Mastercard Gift card to reach the $300.

There are so many great ways to work this deal!

  • Use your points or cash back credit card to purchase the gift cards for a double dip! Our American Express Card gives us 5% cash back when we shop at office supply stores.
  • Pick up gift cards in smaller amounts ($25) and give to your child’s teacher to help with supplies a few times before the school year ends. Did you know that teacher appreciation week is coming up??
  • Great for sending to college students or for graduation gifts!
  • Use the gift cards to stay on budget for gifts and online shopping! Because you can shop in store or online with gift cards, it’s a great way to triple dip (use a cashback online shopping website like ebates or Topcashback to redeem your gift cards. You will earn even more cash back!).

Right now, you can enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Stock up on essentials for upcoming spring break, or buy yourself something nice! Click here to enter (the Rafflecopter may not be mobile friendly).

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This is a sponsored post, thanks to Tatu Digital Media for including me on this awesome offer and giveaway! All opinions are my own!

Freebie Roundup!

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It’s that time again! Let’s dive into spring with some new samples!

Free Color Sample of Kelly-Moore Paint (these samples are great for small projects, like painting wooden craft kits)

Free Sample of Natures Design Supplements (They have a limit of two samples per household!)

Free Bottle of Diet Standards Prenatal DHA

Free Samples of Seni Pads & Briefs

Free Sample of Naked Essentials Jerky Bites or Kibble
Free HydroMassage Massage on April 15th-22nd

Free Comic Book Day on May 6th

Free 2017 National Parks Entrance Days (there is only 1 National Park in San Diego county- FYI)

LEGO Monthly Mini Build – Free LEGO Race Car

If you are going to be near a Penzey Spice store tomorrow, here is an awesome freebie! Free Penzeys Embrace Hope Spring/Easter Mini Gift Box In-Stores

Another program that I love is Social Nature. They offer coupons for free natural products in exchange for honest reviews. I’ve sampled many really tasty products, including Ezekiel products (they have yummy high protein English muffins).

Here is my post all about how I score free stuff, beyond finding cool samples like these online. There are a lot of programs that are looking to share full size products with you for free!

 

3/27/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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Bringing it back! To help get us back on track and use up what we’ve got in the pantry. I just did a pantry and freezer inventory, and I’ll need to do a quick trip to pick up some frozen veggies and fresh fruit tomorrow, but other than that (and a gallon of milk), we should be good for the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D:Crockpot pulled BBQ chicken, steamed veggies, garlic bread

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers)

Weds:

  • D: Fritatta (with veggies, bacon, and cheese) and fruit salad

Thursday:

  • D:  Veggie Enchiladas (it’s a complete meal, no sides needed!)

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Crockpot Chili (I’ve got a batch in the freezer- I’ll de-frost and toss it into the crockpot!), fruit salad

Sunday:

  • D:Chicken and Veggie teriyaki stir fry, rice

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first. I need to replenish our snack bag that lives in the car, and make sure to take our water bottles when we leave the house!

 

Common Kindness: Save Money and Help Others!

CKLogocolored.jpgSaving money is awesome, but helping others while saving money is even better! That’s why I like printing coupons onCommon Kindness.

Common Kindness donates a portion of each coupon amount redeemed to the charity of your choice! At no cost to you! They have mostly Organic/All Natural food coupons, but they’ve also great HBA coupons:
Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.25.22 AM.pngThese items are available for sale at Dollar Tree (which accepts coupons).

If you need to stock up on HBA, Common Kindness is a great resource for printables!

.50 for a bottle of body wash or shampoo/conditioner is a great deal, and that price is even great for donations to your favorite charity!

If you want to learn more about redeeming coupons at Dollar Tree, check out their Coupon Policy Here.