Getting Ready for Back to School: Health Edition

The Back to school shopping crazies will start in a few weeks with sales and deals, but one thing we’ve done this summer to help with Back to school is getting everyone in tip-top health!

I made sure the kids are seeing all the doctors/specialists over the summer to minimize appointments during the school year.

Here in California vision and dental insurance is included under health insurance plans for kids 18 and under. To learn more, check the back of your kid’s health insurance card for phone numbers.

The kids saw the dentist and had eye exams. New glasses were ordered through the optometrist that are part of the vision insurance (one pair every 2 years from a list of specific frames), and we get the paper prescription for our family binder. 

I order extra pairs of glasses through online discount retailers such as EYEBUYDIRECT. A lot of online discount retailers have inexpensive kid’s glasses that can be less than $20 a pair, which is great to have on hand because we all know, kids tend to break stuff.

EYEBUYDIRECT prices start at $6 for select frames!

I also had the kids see any specialists that they needed to, in our case they needed to go to the podiatrist.

And of course, we took care of behavioral/mental health appointments and medication checks over the summer as well. And all future mental/behavioral health appointments are after school or on weekends.

The next health component that I am working on is getting our family first aid kit up to snuff, and that will be a separate post over the weekend.

Stay healthy This Summer and Save $5 with Mucinex!

Feeling stuffy? Illness comes all year round, and if you are feeling cruddy remember to give yourself time to heal. 

Here are my tips for recovering from the summer cold:

  • Hydrate! Push water, electrolyte drinks (I like this one LINK), teas, and even 100% fruit/veggie juice. 
  • Wash your paws. Especially if you will be in shared spaces. Use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to running water and soap. 
  • Stay home! Or if you can’t, mask up! Protect others from your germs by covering your nose and mouth with a mask. We all probably still have masks at home. 
  • Rest! Don’t push yourself to work, exercise, or complete chores. Take care of your body with naps, and go to bed early. No Doomscrolling on social media. 
  • Get your 5 a day! Remember fruits and veggies while you are sick. Whole produce is best because it contains fiber as well as other nutrients, but in a pinch, 100% fruit or veggie juice will suffice. 

And if you need some OTC meds to get you through it, check out this offer from Mucinex!

Join Mucus Fighters+ and get an exclusive $5 off Mucinex® coupon today, plus other kick-sick offers and tips.

ADA Foundation: Give Kids A Smile Program!

This came into my email from the kid’s school yesterday.

Dental screenings, sealants, and fluoride varnish at no cost to families! Dental sealants and fluoride varnish are a safe and painless way to help present cavities. This program is for children 1-18 years of age at participating offices from February 14 – March 7, 2022. To find out more information, click here.

These services are done by appointment only. Find a list of participating dentists here.

Flex for Checks- Earn up to $100!

Thanks to Leilani for this information!

Have you heard of Flex for Checks? If you haven’t yet gotten your Covid-19 Vaccine, or need to get your booster, register with Flex for checks, and once you have your vaccine card filled out (after each shot), upload a photo of it to Flex for Checks and you can earn $50 per shot (up to two shots)!

You have to have received your shots after July 1, 2021.

You can find out more information and details here, as well as sign up.

Reward funding is through HRSA and is limited by the terms of the Grant. Rewards will be distributed until the end of the Grant agreement with NMHA, or when all grant funding has been distributed, whichever comes first. This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $11.1million. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

My Favorite Things and a $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

I had respite last night, so I ran some errands and stopped to pick up a couple of my favorite things, and after my trip to CVS the other day, I knew I had to do this post. I posted about my trip here on Instagram.

I’ve shared my favorite things before, and this autumn I’ve got some new favs to share.

Note: This list is 100% pumpkin and pumpkin spice free. I know y’all love both, but I’m not a big gourd fan.

Gaiam Finger Massager Dual-Sided Hand Massage Roller Tool for Circulation, Stress, Arthritis and Hand Pain Relief- I picked one of these up at Target and it has done wonders for my stiff hands and fingers. And less than $10. I use it daily.

Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs. I like the Moroccan Rose (which I assure you does not smell like roses or old ladies), but the mango is good too. I usually buy it at Target, and it comes in 4 or 5 scents. Because it’s made with sugar, you can use it on freshly shaved skin!

I needed new sneakers for my job, so I picked up these New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam 1080 V11 Running Shoes and it’s like walking on a cloud! If you’ve seen my Instagram feed, you’ve seen my weekly posts of my step counts. I get a lot of walking in each weekday, and my feet needed something more supportive.

Speaking of support, I’m going to fully embrace my descent into becoming an old lady when I tell you compression socks are where it’s at. Seriously, they keep my legs warm, and they keep the soreness in my feet and legs at bay. This is super important when you are walking upwards of 15,000 steps a day.

How do I have the energy to do all that walking? I’ve recently come to appreciate the Espresso Con Panna. It’s two (or more) shots of espresso topped with whipped cream. Yup. so delicious.  And water. Lots of water. don’t forget to hydrate!

And possibly my most favorite items this fall are Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser. I have been in love with these products for like 10 years. Probably longer. Ever since I was introduced to Dermalogica in beauty school, I fell in love with their products, and for the longest time, I didn’t use them because I couldn’t afford them.

Now it’s sold at CVS. In the fancy/expensive product area. Where it’s all locked up. I had a 30% off my entire purchase coupon and I also had some extra care bucks, so I decided to splurge.

My skin has not felt this good in so long, I am frugal, and I always try to use quality skincare products, but I think I’m going back to Dermalogica 100% now.

Life has kicked up a notch, and I’ve been so busy. You’ve probably noticed fewer posts here and on Social Media.

I wanted to celebrate my new job and this awesome season by giving away a $100 gift card. The winner gets to choose either an Amazon.com GC, or a Target gift card to be delivered via email. More information and deets will be listed below.

Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter here. Your first step is to leave a comment on this blog post. I want to know what you would buy yourself if you won. I want you to spend this gift card on yourself! New cozy sweaters, or some of the items on my Favorite Things list! I’ll choose a winner on 11/6/21- that gives you plenty of time to enter- there are entries you can do daily.

**Details, etc. Contest available to US residents only. The winner will select from $100 Amazon.com GC or $100 target GC to be delivered via email within 24 business hours of confirmation/certification of the winner. Failure to respond within 24 business hours to the winning email will result in forfeiture of the prize and a runner-up will be selected.

 

Fresh Fruit and Veg Delivered to Your Door with Yasukochi Family Farms CSA!

A bunch of you saw my unboxing pics on Instagram yesterday of my  Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, and the incredible large bouquet of flowers.

The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:

  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • Fuji Apples
  • Navel oranges
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Salad Mix
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Celery
  • Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Russet Potatoes

 

 

And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.

Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!

No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).

If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.

What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:

  • Last night we had roasted asparagus.
  • I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
  • I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
  • I made a Marinated Salad
  • Tomorrow I’ll make a big fruit salad for a few upcoming meals
  • I’m planning on making a big baking sheet of roasted veggies for lunch- I’ll be posting pics on Instagram!

The strawberries got gobbled up last night at dinner.

I’ll be posting more pictures on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month will kinds of recipes and ideas. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For more information on Yasukochi Family FarmYasukochi Family Farms, check out their website, Instagram, or Facebook.

Achievement: Stay Active and Donate Your Points to Charity!

I love Achievement. It’s a great way to earn a little extra cash for syncing your fitness tracker! You can learn all about Achievement here and which Health and Fitness Apps are supported.

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7 (1)I received an email this week from Achievement about how you can use your points to help others!

Did you know you can donate your points to charity? Join Achievement in raising donations for these organizations that have made life-changing impacts in Black Communities across the country. In honor of Black History Month, they are highlighting these organizations on Achievement:

And if you are already hooked up with Achievement, Right now is a great time to refer your family and friends! When you refer a friend to Achievement and earn 450 points for EACH friend you refer (max of 20 referrals all time)! Refer a friend, earn points, and join them in amplifying Black voices all month long. Offer ends on Mar 1st 11:59 pm PST.

Disclaimer: if/when you click on my link above and sign up for Achievement, I’ll earn 450 Achievement Points. You can learn more on my Disclosure page.

Save Time and Money with Amazon Subscribe & Save!

Now that Southern CA is back under a stay at home order, I’ve been looking for more ways to save money and keep us out of stores.

Enter Subscribe and Save from Amazon. I’ve been using Subscribe and Save for about a year for food items that we eat a lot of that are cheaper on Amazon (like Squeezy pouches, PBFit, Malt Powder). Talking to some friends online yesterday afternoon, I realized that not everyone knew about Subscribe and Save!

Key Benefits of Subscribe & Save

  • Save up to 15% on a large and growing selection of everyday essentials!
  • Need an item now? Yes, customers now have the option to receive the item within the usual 1-2 day shipping window for a 5% discount, and activate the subsequent deliveries of the subscription for up to 15% discount.
  • Authentic products sourced directly from brands and their authorized re-sellers.
  • Set it, forget it, and never run out.
  • Save a trip to the store – save time and money. You can have your favorite products delivered straight to your door.
  • No fees. Available for any customer with no long-term commitment, for FREE.
  • Change or cancel a subscription anytime.
  • Coupons-  There are usually coupons available for selected Subscribe & Save. You can always check here.

And there are all sorts of categories that have Subscribe & Save: Household Supplies, Baby Supplies, Pet Supplies, Groceries, Personal Care, and Health & Wellness.

I ordered toilet paper and a couple cleaning supplies through Subscribe & Save this morning!

And don’t forget that you can connect your Amazon account to Dosh and Receipt Hog to earn points for your Amazon purchases as well! Check out my Smart Phone Apps page for all the info on these apps.

A Practical Guide to Setting A Budget (Part Three)

The first two parts (Part One, Part Two) of this series talked about the essentials of how to budget. This third part is for those of you who are having a difficult time making the ends meet to get your needs met.

I’m talking about when cutting cable and going cash only for groceries isn’t enough. When you need help. When there isn’t much (or anything) to eat. When the power might be shut off. When there isn’t money to put gas in your car to get to work or job interviews.

This is the most important thing to remember: It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to seek out services and take advantage of programs. Do not worry about what others will think- This pandemic and all of the fallout that has happened has affected so many of us. So many hardworking families and individuals need a hand up right now. 

A lot of the services and programs listed below are specifically for San Diego County. If you live outside San Diego County, I recommend that you call 211 anywhere in the US. They can help you find resources- all judgment free!

So when I talk about needs being met, I mean:

  • Shelter (Rent/mortgage assistance/utilities)
  • Food (Healthy food for you/your family and pets)
  • Comfort (Clothing, healthcare, medication)

Shelter:

  • If you have a mortgage, contact your lender for a forbearance. You may have to provide them with proof that you are unable to pay.
  • If you are a renter in San Diego, here is the County Rental Assistance site.
  • If you require assistance with your utilities, SDG&E has many programs and assistance available.
  • For your water/sewer bills, you will need to contact them directly. There are so many water municipalities in San Diego County.

Food: Food insecurity is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I have all kinds of resources to share!

Many food banks give out pet food as well- don’t forget to mention your furry friends when you complete your intake paperwork (which is oftentimes to find out demographic information to obtain additional funding from the government or private grants). Some do not require any paperwork at all.

Comfort: Being housed and fed is important, in addition to this I’ve added the comfort category. This includes clean, well fitting clothes, access to health care, and prescription medicines.

  • There are many resources for no and low cost clothing (besides thrift stores, which have become increasingly higher in cost in the past year). Naomi’s Closet, Closet on 54th, Charity’s Closet at Sonrise Church, Sharia’s Closet are all San Diego resources. I’ve been told that some Salvation Army churches offer free clothing vouchers to be redeemed at their thrift shops. Don’t forget your local Buy Nothing Group too! So many of your local neighbors are cleaning out their clothes and purging while they are stuck at home, you’d be surprised what your neighbors are will to share with you.
  • If you are in need of healthcare, there are several options. Medicaid/Medi-cal may be available for some. If you have had a “life event” (job separation, birth of a child, death of a spouse, marriage, etc.) you can look for health insurance in your state’s Health Insurance Exchange. Here is a link to California’s Exchange. There are frequently lower rates or discounts for those with certain income limits.
  • If you or family members take prescription medicines, look into discount programs like Singlecare (which you can access via the Fetch Rewards App and earn cashback/points), or GoodRX. Some pharmacies have their own discount programs too. Make sure to ask the pharmacy staff. Another option is to ask your doctor for medication samples when you are visiting them. Many doctors have medication samples in their offices, and most doctors are willing to help you when you tell them you need assistance with medication costs.

 

 

 

Healthy Swap Recipe: PB Chocolate Malts!

This is a family favorite, and I’ve been making this shake recipe for almost 10 years.

I’m linking to most of the items on Amazon, so if you don’t want to leave home to try this recipe, you won’t have to. As a reminder: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This recipe all started back when I was doing medically supervised weight loss and we had to drink 5-9 shakes per day, so adding in low-calorie flavor options was a must. A few of the “approved” options were peanut butter powder, malt powder, and in phase 2, frozen fruit (in the case of this recipe, frozen bananas). Now that I’m no longer on the program, I still have a shake once a day, usually to curb cravings for sweets.

Feel free to use whatever type of protein powder you like. I use the HMR brand. My kids love these shakes. In fact, the big kiddo has one a few times per week for breakfast.

I use a Calphalon Active Sense Blender, but any blender or immersion/stick blender will work.

Mrs. Bear Special –  PB Chocolate Malt

serves 1 grown-up, or two kiddos

Ingredients:

  • 1 Scoop Chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
  • 2 tablespoons malt powder
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1-2 handfuls of ice
  • 8-12 ounces of water (If you want it creamier or are not calorie conscious, you can use fat-free or plant milk)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender.
  2. Blend on smoothie or ice breaker mode until smooth.
  3. Serve with a milkshake straw.

 

Depending on your protein powder, the completed shake will have 25-30 grams of protein per shake.