How I’ve been keeping busy…

I’m busier now than I have been in ages! Most everyone has started distance learning, including our family.

Thankfully, Big Kids’ teacher is in communication and sent us an email with tons of great resources and links. I am trying to keep the kids entertained without relying on screens all day (even educational screen time). My kids are not motivated by worksheets either, so we need to do hands-on stuff.

Besides schoolwork, we’ve started our annual spring garden. Big Kid and I donned masks and hit up the local nursery. We picked out Catnip, Rosemary, Basil, and a hanging strawberry plant in addition to a few kinds of seeds. Our patio looks great, and the kids are outside daily tending to their plants and harvesting ripe strawberries. I kept the pots from last year’s garden.

The other night after the kids were settled, I decided to clean out the junk drawer (ok, 1 junk drawer, we have a couple), the utensil drawer, and the silverware drawer.

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I threw out old condiment packets, broken serving spoons, knives with broken/chipped handles, lids that had no corresponding cups, and I vacuumed out each drawer.

After I had completed that herculean feat, I dove headfirst (metaphorically) into the pantry.

I pulled everything out pantry and set it on the counter.

I checked all the expiration dates. Anything expired got the boot.

92843855_2893563990733604_4081992026843774976_o92828483_2893564054066931_3193846550136619008_oWhen all of this madness started a few weeks ago, I had gone to the store to do my weekly shop, and so many of the things that I’m used to buying were not available. I decided to purchase some alternate products from what we usually have in the house. Some were met with success, some were not so good- I’m looking at you Fideo Noodles.

As a result, I filled a reusable shopping bag with some food that did not cut the mustard. I took most of those items over to our local blessing box to help some of our neighbors in need. The rest I shared with some of the neighbors on our local free food group.

Our pantry is horribly laid out. It is very narrow and deep.  The dangerous part of our cupboard is you cannot reach all the way in the back without help. Last night I used a very long spatula to assist me. One of the things that I found was baby food. Little Bit is 4 1/2. I managed to clear out the pantry 100% and then refill it and move items around so it is easier to gain access

I get food in the mail or events from brands to cook with and post about on social media. Most of the time they give me a couple of each item, rarely they send cases. There were a lot of odds and ends of food from PR campaigns.

I’m also working my way through our closets to get rid of broken toys, clothing we’ve outgrown or don’t wear, or junk. I’ve come to realize that after all of this is over we’ll need to replace our towels (Our current set is from our wedding 12+ years ago), the kids need new sheets, and Big Kid is getting a new bed (which was in the works before Covid struck). And I’ll probably have enough clothing for a clothing swap- Both kids are mid-growth spurt.

It may seem like a lot of busywork, but we haven’t had a deep clean/in-depth declutter since we moved in- 5 years ago. I go through the kids toys several times a year, as well as their clothing and books. But, I’m bad about doing it with household goods and my personal items.

Today was more of a lazy day for us: We played some games, did some sight word writing, played Bingo, and made this stuff called Ooze Baff, which was 100% gross, do not recommend. If you want to try it, I bought it at Dollar Tree. For a Dollar.  In a little while, we’ll have bath time, and I’ll read to them. We may pull out the couch into a bed and all cuddle on the couch for a bit.

I would love to hear about how you and yours have been keeping busy! Leave me a comment!

1/26/2020 Free Soccer Demo for Ages 1-10 (La Jolla, CA)

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This Sunday, January 26th at the La Jolla Recreation Center bring your kiddo age 1-10 and check out Super Soccer Stars!

RSVP is required- see below for info.

Limited Spaces available

The child must participate in the class for their age group

To save your space, you may call (619-577-4009) or email (sd@supersoccerstars.com) to provide:

    • Child’s name
    • Date of birth
    • Email address

You may also RSVP by CLICKING HERE!

2020 Big Ol’ List of Birthday Freebies!

This is a brand new list for 2020. I’ve gone through and verified that all of these are still valid!

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I’ve been sharing birthday freebies since 2007! As I live in Southern CA, all of these freebies are specifically for those of us in that area. There are tons of other birthday freebie lists, but they may include offers that are not available here or may include stuff that I don’t consider worth it (like a free Rice Krispy treat when you buy an entree that’s $10+… That’s a hard pass from me, or the Aveda “freebie”- pay $10 and receive a product valued at $23+… No thanks).

I recommend signing up for these freebies at least a month before your birthday, so there is enough time for you to be added to their list. I have included only the freebies that I have signed up for and personally received, so there is no bunk.

 

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Non-food Goodies:

  • Free goodies at Sephora (It changes every year)
  • JCPenney Rewards: Birthday Reward (It’s usually $5, but it can change)
  • $3.00 ECB at CVS when you register online for the CVS ExtraCare Beauty Club
  • Best Buy– $5.00 off Coupon for those in the My Best Buy Program.
  • DSW Shoe Warehouse – $5 off birthday coupon, plus 500 points for signing up for their loyalty club.
  • Members of the Cost Plus World Market Explorers program get a surprise birthday gift, among other perks; you will also get a 10% off coupon upon enrollment.
  • As a member of Swagbucks, you’ll get 50 Swagbucks on your birthday.
  • Torrid– Members of the DivaStyle Club will receive $10 off their next purchase of $10+
  • bareMinerals (cosmetics)- The birthday freebie changes each year. Last year it was lip gloss, this year it’s eye shadow!
  • Old Navy: Sign up for their email list and they’ll send you a $5.00 off coupon to use in store.  You can also sign your kids up too! Scroll all the way to the “Sign up and Save” box at the bottom of the page.
  • Ace Rewards members score a $5.00 coupon for their Birthday (Ace Hardware)
  • ClearWater Cleaners (dry cleaners)
  • Aqua Clean Carwash
  • Free brow wax at the Benefit Brow Bar. It’s back. More info can be found on their FAQ page.
  • Dave & Buster’s: $10 in free game play for those in the D&B Rewards Club.
  • This is a BOGO, but I know a few people who have done this and they said it was fun- Free Trip to Catalina Island! Free round-trip travel for two with the purchase of one full fare Adult ticket on your birthday
  • My Aunt told me about this one! Join Passport to Provence to score a FREE birthday gift from L’Occitane en Provence. Also, you can score $20 off your first purchase at L’Occitane here!
  • Join the Sally’s Rewards Club and score a $5 coupon on your birthday, as well as tons of other super sweet perks!

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Free Food Noms:

  • Red Robin:  FREE burger on your birthday and all the latest Red Robin news.
  • Rubio’s   Free plate/combo
  • Del Taco  Free Shake (You also get something free when you sign up!)
  • Starbucks – register a free Starbucks Card and get a free birthday handcrafted beverage of your choice (as well as other goodies throughout the year).
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Free single scoop.
  • Sonic Drive-in: Free Medium beverage (OMG- Cherry Limeade FTW!)
  • Denny’s: Free Grand Slam for your Birthday. They also email out other freebies and coupons.
  • IHOP: Free Meal (It varies by year) on your birthday.
  • Arby’s Birthday Club: Offers a “surprise” it changes each year.
  • Dunkin Donuts Birthday Club will kick down with a free coffee.
  • Bj’s Brewhouse Rewards members receive a free Pizookie for their birthday.
  • Jersey Mike’s: Free Sub for your Birthday! (No matter what you read online, there is no Subway or Submarina birthday Freebies- Those deals are DEAD)
  • Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt: When you sign up for a Smile-age Account, you’ll score a free Fro Yo for your B-day!  (I love Menchie’s!)
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes: Join their email list and receive a FREE Bundlet on your Birthday. (look for the link at the bottom of their website)
  • Sbarro Rewards Club: Free piece of pizza for your birthday when you purchase a drink. You’ll also get a coupon for a free slice when you sign up.
  • Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt: Free Frozen Yogurt on your birthday.
  • Sprinkles: Get a free cupcake for your birthday when you join the Sprinkles birthday club.
  • Pita Pit: Free Pita for your birthday when you join the Pita Pit E-Club!
  • Bruegger’s Bagels gives you three free bagels for your birthday. SCORE! Our family eats tons of bagels, so this is a sweet deal.
  • I Birthday Club. They have offers in San Diego, Orange, LA, San Bernadino, Riverside, and Santa Clara Counties.
  • D Z Akins
  • Mary’s Donuts East County peeps know what I’m talking about! Free drink and TWO Donuts!
  • Habit Burger Grill’s CharClub Score a free Charburger on your birthday.
  • Panera– Sign up for MyPanera and get a free pastry or sweet on your birthday.
  • El Pollo Loco: Sign up for Loco Rewards to get a FREE birthday meal (2pc Chicken Meal or Classic Chicken Tostada Salad.)!
  • Food, but not a restaurant offer. Like Yogurt? Join the noosa Yoghurt fan club, Cream of the Crop, and they will mail you a coupon for free yogurt for your birthday!

Some of the offers that I have been told about but no longer exist include free tokens for the b-day kid at Chuck E. Cheese, free cheeseburger at Fuddruckers (now it’s a BOGO), Free cake at Corner Bakery Cafe (It’s a free dessert WYB an entree). Another deal that everyone and their mama go nuts about is Benihana Japanese Restaurant – complimentary meal up to $30 when you purchase an Adult meal at Regular Price (You must sign up for The Chef’s Table club) . This used to be a FREE meal, no strings attached, but it has changed to basically a BOGO. That’s a no go for me, but it may still get you excited.

I have not included Ulta in my list because you have to make a purchase the year previous (and it needs to be a certain amount- I’ve been told different amounts by various Ulta Employees anywhere from $5-$50), so for me, that’s not a freebie. If I have to buy something to receive something, that’s a BOGO deal.

Talk Back: What is your favorite birthday freebie?

Giveaway: Summer Fun at Uptown Jungle!

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Henry playing Dodgeball with the Big Kids

Yesterday the kids and I headed over to Uptown Jungle in Santee. If you haven’t been there in a while (or ever) they’ve got a lot of exciting stuff going on right now!

For those not in the know, Uptown Jungle is an indoor playground with a giant trampoline, super slides, and 2-story indoor Mega Play Structure, Obstacle Course, and climbing walls! So regardless of the summer heat outside, kids can run and play.

The Santee location is going to be getting a makeover soon. The toddler area will be getting a wall-sized Light Brite board (which sounds super cool to me), the Obstacle Course is getting a cool ninja makeover, and the parent’s lounge will be reconfigured!

One of the best parts of Uptown Jungle is that the staff is really great with kids and they try to make sure everyone has an awesome time. The staff helps the kids safely get into the climbing wall harnesses and cheers them on as they climb. The trampoline area switches from little kids to big kids frequently, so everyone gets a turn to play safely.

One thing that really impresses me is that Uptown Jungle has Fundraising opportunities!

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Forget selling candy bars, candles, T-shirts, etc. Host a fundraising event at Uptown Jungle and earn 35% of the group’s admission!

And of course, there are opportunities for Birthday parties or team parties!

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Uptown Jungle has a Customer Royalty Program! When you download the app, you receive an offer for 1 hour of free play added to your paid admission! Find it wherever you download apps.

And they also have an email club! Join the Email Club for a Buy One Get One Hour of Play Time!

I want to share the fun of Uptown Jungle with you! One lucky reader will win 4 90-minute passes to Uptown Jungle. To enter, click here, or visit our Facebook page here (This option may not be mobile friendly).

 

Talk Back: How do your kids get their wiggles out in the summer?  

 

IMG_5970.jpgThanks so much to Ricky and his staff at the Santee Uptown Jungle for hosting the kids and me yesterday! We had a fun time, and they were exhausted after 90-minutes of running, jumping, climbing, and sliding!

 

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“Get my Good Side Mom!”

Summer Reading Program at San Diego Area Libraries!

Summer is upon us! And that means summer reading program at both San Diego County and City of San Diego Libraries!

Screen Shot 2019-05-16 at 5.49.13 PM.pngThe County of San Diego Library System has not yet put up their 2019 reading program. But their main website is here and las years summer reading program can be found here. I’m going to go talk to the kid’s librarian over at our local branch this weekend and see if I can get some info to post.

srp_2019_web_bannerThe City of San Diego Library System has its 2019 reading program up here.

Each program is different, and the prizes for each program are pretty cool. From tote bags and free lunches, to raffle tickets to win awesome grand prizes like drones and Lego sets, these programs are a great way to motivate kids to keep reading all summer long.

In addition to reading programs, there are also fun events at county and city libraries throughout the summer. My recommendation is to check out your local branches Facebook page. The Mission Valley branch has tons of great summer events planned!

 

 

Smart Games & Tryazon: Enjoying STEM with Friends!

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Getting the gang back together!

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I, along with some friends and their moms got together at a local park to explore some fun STEM based games from Smart Games.

I invited my home schooling friends, along with other moms that are like me: always looking for educational and fun games and opportunities for kids.  What I love about the games from Smart Games is that they are fun- the kids didn’t realize that the games were educational. The kids took turns playing Penguins on Ice, which was the overall kid favorite. The moms liked Quadrillion the most, and we all took turns playing it with the kids and each other.

While the games are one player, the kids all worked together, which was great to see. There are no batteries needed, none of the games make sounds or have flashing lights, so it’s all about imagination and working it out. The Younger kids gravitated towards Trucky 3, which is a great visual puzzle game with larger block and little trucks.

The other crowd pleaser was Color Code, which quickly was also popular with the moms.

Color Code was also the game that we gave away- I love that Tryazon and Smart Games sent us 4 games to try out and keep, and I love sharing with friends- So I try and give away at least 1 item at each party I have.

It was a perfect, educational afternoon! There was a lot of giggling, play time, and learning.

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Working hard on making a pattern.

If you want to learn more about Smart Games, their website is full of great information.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received the games free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we do get to keep the games!