7/8/19 Meal Plan Monday

stemarie_1650skitchen

This week I’m super busy- appointments, deadlines, and events for the kids. So I’m planning meals that are quick and easy. Also, it’s going to get increasingly hot this week, so easy to do meals that don’t involve using the oven.  Today I’m baking bacon (my secret to crispy splatter-free bacon) for meals throughout the week, and cinnamon rolls for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

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 playtime 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: Breakfast for dinner (fruit salad, cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, bacon)
  • Tuesday: Crockpot vegetarian chili (recipe coming up with week)
  • Wednesday:  Pesto Chicken bake (but I’m making it in the crockpot- recipe coming up this week)
  • Thursday: Ramen night (I found a big package of this ramen in the back of the cupboard)
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night (I’ll be making the dough earlier in the week and freezing it, so there is less work on Saturday)
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

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

Enjoy Fireworks & Fun at Legoland!

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If you don’t have plans for Thursday, check out the fun at Legoland California!

Don’t miss Fireworks set to a patriotic musical tribute with great viewing in designated locations throughout the Park.

Event activities include:

  • All-American family picnic games: water-balloon tosses, burlap sack races, Family Build Challenge and LEGO Hamburger relay
  • Patriotic costume parade: come dressed in your favorite Red, White and Blue attire
  • Fireworks
  • Character meet and greets
  • Special giveaways
  • Live performances and more!

The celebration lasts from 1:00pm to 9:00pm with fireworks at 8:30pm. All Red, White and BOOM! activities are included in the cost of admission to LEGOLAND California.

And if you are looking for a deal, Groupon has discount admissions here. Or if you stop by a San Diego County area McDonald’s location, you can pick up a coupon for a free child admission when you purchase an adult admission at full price.

If you are looking for more frugal fun at Legoland, check out my post here.  If you have a special needs child, learn more about the Assisted Access pass here.

7/1/19 Meal Plan Monday!

stemarie_1650skitchen

I wrote last week 10 Tips to Stay on Budget for Groceries, and I noted that it’s ok to go over budget sometimes. Well, I took my own advice. There were some things that we had run out of, so I did a big stock up shopping trip last night. Snacks, pantry essentials, and meat (we were down to 1 pound of bacon, sweet, sweet 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. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime 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: Grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit salad
  • Tuesday: Bombay Potatoes, cauliflower rice
  • Wednesday:  Veggie and bacon omelets
  • Thursday: Baked chicken Parm with homemade red sauce and zoodles
  • Friday:  Date Night
  • Saturday: Homemade Pizza Night 
  • Sunday: Leftover Night

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

6/24/19 Weekly Meal Plan!

stemarie_1650skitchen

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?

Shop Online with Affinityy and score $20!

I learned about Affinityy the other day and I had to try it.

Here’s the skinny:

$20 first purchase cash reward when you make your first purchase within 14 days of signup. Don’t worry, they will remind you to do so via email and on the website so you won’t miss out on your free $$.

Unlike the other cashback shopping site, Affinityy offers:

  • Earn $3 cash when you download the app
  • Up to $10 per referral of family/friends.
  • Earn $5, $10, and $20 cash bonuses the more you shop with Affinityy.
  • Receive your cash via check or PayPal

To try it out, I pulled out a JCP gift card I had been saving with $16 on it (I earned it doing an online survey- it was originally $50, but I did a little shopping a few weeks ago- Kids needed new pants!). Our crockpot died a few weeks ago (and taking along with it so really yummy pork chops- RIP chops), so I was hoping they would be on sale. Enter JCPenney in the Affinityy search bar, and click the resulting link.

Screen Shot 2019-06-23 at 9.28.05 AM.pngLucky for me, this one was on sale for $8.10! I also picked up a new bathroom rug for $5.95.

To save the shipping cost I chose in-store pick up. And I earned JCP Rewards by shopping online as well. Pretty good double dip.

Used a coupon code, and paid with my Gift card. A few hours later, I logged onto my Affinityy account and found that I had received $20 credit for my purchase and $3 for downloading the app!

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So far, it looks good! I’ll report back once I receive my money via paypal!

Talk Back: What is your favorite online shopping cashback portal?

Summer Movie Programs for Kids!

In the past, I’ve only posted about Regal Cinemas Summer movies but after some digging, I’ve come to discover that most movie theatre companies offer an inexpensive summer movie program for kids!

Looking at each theatres offerings, it appears that there isn’t tons of variety. Most theatres are showing kids movies that were popular in the last 5 years or so.

UltraStar Cinemas: A different film shown every week at 9:30 AM. Tickets on sale NOW at the theater box offices. $1 per movie. Mission Valley at Hazard Center Summer Program, every Monday-Thursday: June 17-August 8.

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Regal 2019 Summer Movie Express series– Movie ticket deals are just $1 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays featuring summer movies the whole family will enjoy like Shrek, Despicable Me, Kung Fu Panda and many more. Regal has the widest variety of movies.

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 8.46.09 AM.png Reading Cinema has summer movies as well! Tickets are just $1 each, and movies start at 10am M-TH.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-20 at 8.57.05 AM.pngAMC offers a summer movie program, however, there are only three locations in California: Bonsall, Irvine, and Apple Valley (Victorville area). Their Summer Movie Camp is being offered at their AMC Classic theatres ONLY.  The complete list of participating theatres can be found here.

The nice part about the AMC program is that the programs includes a ticket to the Kid-Friendly movie plus a KidsPack every Wednesday for just $4 (+tax).

 

To keep the frugal morning going, check out a free kids lunch location near the theatre.  For more info on San Diego locations, check out this post. If you live outside San Diego County, Text FOOD  (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.

Stretch your Grocery Budget with Free Produce Distributions!

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This list is only central, south bay, and east county locations. North County locations can be found on the Neighborhood Distribution Program website.

It’s a pretty common complaint that kids eat A LOT during the summer. There are lots of causes: Increased activity, change in schedules, and let’s face it- kids just eat a lot. This can increase a families grocery budget at a time when they are already spending extra money on activities for their kiddos.

I have a possible solution! Check out the San Diego and North County Food Bank Neighborhood Distribution Program! From their website, “The Neighborhood Distribution Program distributes food to thousands of individuals and families once a month at more than 20 different sites throughout San Diego County.

Distributions take place in our nonprofit partners’ parking lots. The majority of the food distributed consists of fresh fruits and vegetables which is part of the Food Bank’s Nutrition Initiative to provide healthy, nutrient-rich food to our clients.

Neighborhood Distribution Program sites welcome anyone in need of food assistance. I.D. and documentation ARE NOT required, and there are no income or asset restrictions for this program.”

You may be wondering, “But what do you get?” Well, one of the distribution points, Faith Chapel in Spring Valley posts photos on their  Meet the Need Ministry Instagram page!

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White onions, red potatoes, watermelons, honeydew melons, oranges and Washington apples were available today. And it’s not just a few of each. Each person who came through got a bag of white onion, a bag of red potatoes, 1 large watermelon, as many honeydew melons as they wanted, a bag of oranges, and a dozen apples.

This produce is often “ugly” or considered an “allowable second” (a production term used in several industries for an item that is functional but may not be perfect looking), but it’s always tasty and nutritious.

If you’ve got hungry faces that need food this summer, I recommend stopping by your local distribution at least once this summer. If you aren’t in the San Diego County area, check with your local food bank for Neighborhood Distribution Program.

Don’t forget that there are tons of free summer lunch locations all over the state of CA (for more info on San Diego locations, check out this post). Text FOOD  (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.

And if you need further help, here is a post with food resources in San Diego County. If you are outside San Diego County, Feeding America has a really great Food Bank Locator.

 

Talk Back: What is your kids favorite summer snack?