6/27/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgSummer break is here! We’ve got all sorts of adventures planned, you can check out some of our adventures here.

Summer school started, and I’m back on campus helping teachers and kiddos for the next month.

We went to Knott’s Berry Farm over the weekend and had a really fun time.

I did no meal planning over the weekend- It was all hanging out with kiddos and playing/swimming. So tonight I’ll hit the store and grab some stuff (thankfully we don’t need too many items this week).

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. I received a few more coupons over the weekend, so I’ll visit Sprouts sometime this week to pick up the new foods. I’m focusing on snacks and treats from Social Nature.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. This is really helpful for the summer when for some reason, kids are starving all the time. The kids get free lunch at summer school too!

Dinner: We finished our last Dream Dinner last week! I’ll be ordering more next month once the new menu comes out. I’m trying to get us to eat together as a family more often and get the kids into eating more fruits and veg, so you’ll notice that our meals are pretty simple this week.

  • Monday: Nuggets, fruit (apples or oranges), chips or crackers
  • Tuesday: Meatloaf sandwiches, salad, fruit
  • Wednesday:  Sonoma Grilled Steaks, Roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: Protein shakes and fruit
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday:  Peach Bourbon Chicken with Almond Green Beans

Summer Stuff I love (Grown Up Edition)

Friends- I’ve been working on this post for a few days. I’m not feeling especially summery today (and wasn’t yesterday afternoon either), but I’m hoping to distract you over the weekend, so on Monday we can come together and help our friends and family who will need us in the coming months. I’m spending the afternoon crunching on Sonic ice cubes!

It’s summer, and that means for most parents keeping the kids entertained (or letting them get bored), constantly filling the snack box/drawer, and looking for ways to make sure everyone makes it through the 12 weeks of Summer “vacation” without injury. I use vacation in quotes because it’s not a fun, leisure-filled 12 weeks. Most of us have to work, in addition to balancing all of… this.

BUT- That doesn’t mean that parents can’t have fun or enjoy their time in the summer sun. Here are a few things that I have recently come to love:

Sonic Ice Cubes. They are the little pebble ice cubes. If you don’t have a Sonic near you, or if you are looking for a way to make the perfect Sonic type ice at home, look for a Nugget or Pebble ice maker or ice tray. Walmart has a table top nugget ice maker here.

Electrolyte drinks. Not Gatorade, something better. I know a lot of people like Liquid IV, but this frugal lady likes Hydramate from Dollar Tree and Key Nutrients Lemonade flavor from Amazon. These newer electroylte drinks also have vitamins and other key nutrients that we can sometimes miss out on.

I made a list on Amazon of some of my other favorite things this summer:

  • Good SPF- Gotta take care of your skin. You only get one body!
  • Speaking of SPF, a Long sleeve 1/2 zip swim shirt. They are amazing.
  • Reusable cups with lids – I like the color changing cups.
  • Yoga strap for stretching- especially good after a long day behind the week (or a long day sitting on the floor building legos).
  • After Sun lotion- even if you wear a good SPF, the sun and the sea/pool water can dehydrate your skin.
  • Compression socks- seriously. We walk a lot in the summer, and wearing compression socks has really helped my feet and legs from getting so heavy and tired.
  • These sweet kicks from New Balance. They are my go to shoe for a day full of walking.
  • Beach Towels– JCPenney has a great selection and they are on sale!
  • Cuticle oil. The summer sun is rough on your hands, especially your cuticles. Give them some love.
  • Bermuda Shorts. I’m pale, I’m plus size, and I am not a fan of short shorts. Bermuda shorts cover all of my pale parts. And they make me happy because htey have decent sized pockets.
  • Character popsicles. There are a couiple places in San Diego where you can buy the popsicles that the ice cream man sells in bulk or at a discount. California Ice Cream and Candy in Lakeside (that’s near my house), and Circus Man Ice Cream in National City.  The kids and I hit up our local store each week and drop $20 on Spongebob, TMNT, Tweety Bird, and other popsicles. That’s about 13 or so, and that lasts us about a week! I personally love the Powerpuff Girl ones, they are orange and cherry flavored.

Talk Back: What are your favorite summer essentials?

Focus Group Connections: Consumer Research Project $250

Focus Group Connections is a research company located in Southern California. They conduct studies and surveys all over the US.

Currently, Focus Group Connection is looking for Men and Women to participate in an online Consumer Research Project taking place June 27th – June 28th on the topic of “Gaming.” This study will be for 2 hours (120 minutes). To participate, you must have a working Desktop or Laptop computer with high-speed internet, audio, and a working webcam. If selected, you will receive $250.00 for your time and insights.

If interested, please click here to fill in the pre-screen. Please note – not everyone will qualify to participate and not everyone will receive a call-back.

6/25/2022 Zero Waste Fair!

Thanks to our friends at I Love A Clean San Diego, there is a super fun and green event tomorrow.

In partnership with the City of Encinitas, I Love a Clean San Diego will be hosting the seventh annual Zero Waste Fair on Saturday, June 25, 2022, from 10 AM-1 PM.

Our Zero Waste Fair is back in person this year at the EUSD Farm Lab in Encinitas! Come ready to experience a wide array of zero-waste activities, including informative presentations, booths from sustainable companies, and hands-on low-waste DIYs.

This one-of-a-kind event will highlight tips on low-waste living, composting, recycling, sustainable swaps for everyday products, and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to discover local zero-waste businesses, and win eco-conscious prizes!

To learn more or RSVP, check out the event site here. 

6/24/2022 Friday Freebies and Deals!

It was a week of frugal fun!

We swam, we built legos,  went to the zoo, the kids redeemed their Pizza Book It coupons for June, and had tiny pizzas! If you are looking for some frugal adventures for this summer, check out this post.

There are so many awesome freebies and deals this week, and the weather this weekend is supposed to be AWESOME (AND WARM) here in San Diego.

Mask Mandates are changing constantly in California and can vary by city and county, so please do your part if you are going to any in-person freebies.

2022 Birthday Freebies are here!

Freebies:

Free Products from Influenster
Free Discover the Beauty in Wetands Book Cover
Free Box of JonnyPops Popsicles Product
Free Old Spice Body Wash at Walmart
Free Year of AAA Membership for T-Mobile Customers
Free Discover Pen, Nail File, Decals & More
Free RowdyPower Burn Energy Drink
Free Constellation Viewer from Home Depot
Free Star Collection Bookmark
Free Baby Samples & Full Sized Products from Amazon
Free Best Nest Wellness & Munchkin Mom & Baby Products
Free Beard Wash, Balm, Beard Oil & More
Free Beckon Lactose-Free Ice Cream Pints
Free Bookmarks, Posters, Activity Sheets & More
Free Vegan Wonder Cookies Sample
Free PediaSure 6-Pack or Shake Mix Coupon
Free Pint of Wildgood Ice Cream
Free CandyCan Sample Pack
Free Lane Bryant Gift Card Giveaway
Free Dr. Brandt Skincare Products
Free NFL Fan Packs
Free pH Testing Strips for Women
Free Facial Wash, Body Soap or Balm
Free Humblemaker Coffee after Rebate
Free Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk After Rebate
Free Night Cream & Micropolish or Face Oil & Clay Mask
Free Sample of Zignature Dog Food
Free Sample of Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pacs
Free 256GB SSD at Micro Center
Free Crayola Summer Coloring Pages
Free Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 PC Game
30 Free Lactaid Care Club Points
Watch The Princess Bride for Free
Free Fall Guys for Xbox
25 Free Disney Movie Insiders Points

Deals

Cuisinart 17-PC Artiste Knife Block Set ONLY $49.99 (Reg $130)
Morphe 35T Sweetest Tea Artistry Palette ONLY $16.80 (Reg $28)
Cooks 30-Pc Nonstick Cookware Set ONLY $71.99 (Reg $180)
Kid Toddler Pillowcase 2 Pack ONLY $7.99 (Reg $20)
Up to 70% Off at Banana Republic Factory
NuWave 14-Qt Air Fryer ONLY $39.99 (reg $80-140)
Cooks 1.5 Quart Slow Cooker ONLY $11.69 at JCPenney (Reg $22)
Swing Hammock Chair ONLY $48.99 (Reg $130)
Kids Pajamas Only $3 Shipped at Walmart
5-in-1 Sport Center Game System ONLY $25 (Reg $49)
Intex 10ft x 30in Inflatable Pool ONLY $49.99 (Reg $100)
Save 50% on Select Bathroom Decor at Target
Insignia 24-Inch Fire TV ONLY $89.99 (Reg. $170)
LOL Surprise OMG Dance Virtuelle Fashion Doll $13.97 (Reg. $26)
70% Off PicassoTiles Magnetic Building Blocks + Extra 15% Off

Recipe: Making Pie Crust!

Pie crust is easy to make. It has few ingredients, but there is some finesse involved in making a light, flaky pie crust.

There are no special tools needed, but a pastry cutter is nice (You can use a whisk instead, or your bare hands).

This is the pie crust recipe that I use. I know it by heart and I make it frequently. It’s great for sweet pies like pumpkin, or savory meat pies like chicken pot pie (that recipe is coming later this week).

This recipe makes 1 pie crust for an 8 or 9-inch pie plate, if you need two (top and bottom), double it.

Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon AP Flour
  • 1/3 cup shortening OR unsalted butter -It needs to be cold butter or room temp shortening. This part is SUPER IMPORTANT.
  • 1/4 cup ice-cold water (You may need an extra tablespoon or so if the weather is very dry).

 

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add flour and fat.
  2. Using a whisk, pastry cutter, or your hands, mix flour and fat until incorporated into little (pea-sized or smaller) pieces.
  3. Slowly add water and combine to form a large dough ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will help ensure that your crust is flaky.
  4. Flour a clean, flat surface, and roll the dough out into a large circle. Do not over roll it or manhandle the dough- this will make it heavy and flat.
  5. If you are making a bottom crust, press it into a pie plate, and trim the edges.
  6. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times to keep it from bubbling.
  7. If you are making a pie that will be filled and baked again like pumpkin or quiche, bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely before filling and baking a second time.
  8. If you will be using the pie crust as a top only (no bottom crust), once the crust is rolled out, fill your baking dish with whatever you are cooking, top it with the uncooked crust, pierce it a few times (to vent the steam), and bake per the directions of the recipe.

Substitutions:

If you are vegan, use shortening. Do not use spread/oleo/margarine.  They contain water and will make your crust turn out funky. Butter flavored shortening is great.

If you are gluten free, use 1 for 1 AP flour.

Talk Back: What kind of pie do you like?

Dream Dinners: Kick Off Summer with a June Meal Bundle!

It’s that time again! Time for a Dream Dinners Bundle Sale!

This deal is only good through Friday, June 24th at 9am, so if you are interested, please your order ASAP.

This bundle is great! You will get eight medium-size meals from the June menu for just $190!

 

The June Mini Bundle includes:

  1. Texas Roadhouse Burger
  2. Backyard BBQ Chicken with Corn Medley
  3. Summer Grilled Pesto Chicken Pizzas
  4. Sonoma Grilled Steaks
  5. Al Pastor Pork Street Tacos
  6. Buffalo Ranch Chicken with Summer Grilled Vegetables
  7. Summer Shrimp Boil
  8. Peach Bourbon Chicken with Almond Green Beans

A Medium Meal feeds 2-3 adults (honestly, it’s usually 3+ in our house), so you’ll be getting 16-24 restaurant-quality meals for $190!

Our local store here in East County is La Mesa, run by Marsi and her friendly staff! Store Email: lamesaca@dreamdinners.com  Store Phone Number: 619-460-6800.

6/20/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgSummer break is here! We’ve got all sorts of adventures planned, you can check out some of our adventures here.

We hit up the library last week, and we’ve got stacks of books to work through this week. In addition, I think we may try to visit night time zoo this week (we have zoo passes), and maybe the Natural History Museum (we got free passes from the summer reading program at the library). There will be pics on my Instagram feed.

I did a bunch of meal prep for the week yesterday afternoon: Roasted veggies, and chopped up fruit (including a seedless watermelon), and I did a slight reorganization of the pantry.

And the big kid decided that maybe he wants to try meat after being a vegetarian for 6-ish years. So, we are slowly trying to introduce meat back into his diet. I’ve planned meals this week that have some meat but also allow him to eat semi-vegetarian if he wants.

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods. I received a few more coupons over the weekend, so I’ll visit Sprouts sometime this week to pick up the new foods. I’m focusing on snacks and treats from Social Nature.

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 (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. This is really helpful for the summer when for some reason, kids are starving all the time. We’ll be hitting up the free lunch sites several times a week over the summer.

Dinner: We finished our last Dream Dinner last week! I’ll be ordering more next month once the new menu comes out. I’m trying to get us to eat together as a family more often and get the kids into eating more fruits and veg, so you’ll notice that our meals are pretty simple this week.

  • Monday: Nuggets, fruit (grapes, watermelon, strawberries), chips or crackers
  • Tuesday: Baked Chicken parm, served with pasta and red sauce, roasted veggies
  • Wednesday: Bean, Rice, and veggie bowls, and cheese quesadillas
  • Thursday: Protein shakes and fruit
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday: Pancakes, eggs, and fruit

Drop: Join Now and Score a $15 Bonus!

Our friends at Drop are hooking us up!

Now through June 29, 2022 when our friends and family sign up with Drop, and earn 1000 points (it’s pretty easy),  they will earn 15,000 points ($15 value).* And as a bonus- the referring Drop member also receives 15,000 points! Win Win.

But what is Drop? Drop is a smartphone app, and if you use your phone to shop, you need Drop. Earn points by shopping through their app (they have tons of stores and websites that participate), and earn points playing games on the app too. In addition, you earn points when you shop in-store at specific stores (you can pick from a list: I have 7-11, Starbucks, Target, McDonald’s, and a few others). Points can be redeemed for gift cards.

I redeemed my points for a Chipotle card the other night. I’ve been craving queso, and the kids love their kid’s meals. We’ll be using our gift card during one of our summer adventures.

If you want to check out Drop, click here and use my referral code t7zgb to take advantage of this deal.

If you are looking for more ways to earn using your smartphone, check out my post here.

(The Drop Link is my personal link, if you sign up and complete an offer, I may earn a small commission. This money helps me run the site and offer contests and giveaways. You can see my Disclosure info here.)

 

2 Free Donuts for Dads!

Hey dads! Do you like donuts? If you nodded your head or screamed out, “HELL YES!” This awesome deal is for you!

If you’ve read my past Birthday Freebie posts (the 2022 one can be found here), you’ve seen that I’ve posted birthday freebies from Birthday Club Hub, which works with businesses in eight states to disseminate birthday freebies and other freebies throughout the year to club members (BTW- it’s free to join).

Mary’s Donuts is part of the Birthday Club Hub, and they send out a free offer for moms.

Score 2 free regular donuts on June 19, 2022 at either their Santee or Lakeside Location. Simply show the email to the cashier/friendly donut seller- and don’t forget your kiddos!