When Life Gets Crazy…

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Oh, God.. I won’t lie. I had this entire post written, hit save, and it disappeared. Further proof that life is totally crazy right now.

I’ve got 3 weeks left of school, then (fingers crossed), I will graduate from college after a 17-year hiatus. So, I’ve got a lot of stress right now, between my regular responsibilities, studying, and getting ready for a huge almost weeklong camping event with my friends and a lot of my family.

I wanted to share some tips for how I keep it together when life is just crazy. These may not all apply to you, but they definitely help me.

Ask for help. I’ve been relying a lot on family, friends, and our respite hours through San Diego Regional Center so I can get out of the house without the kids to get stuff done. I love them, but sometimes shopping without them is just easier. Having a few hours alone to study in the library is nice. It’s hard to study when Legos are being played with right next to you.

Keeping to our schedule. Granted, there have been some changes to accommodate my schooling, but we are trying to get the kids to bed at night on time (sometimes that doesn’t happen), and out the door in the morning for school.  This includes my visits to the YMCA 4-5 times a week. I really believe that exercise helps me maintain a positive attitude and helps me manage my stress. I also have been continuing to meal plan, even though I sometimes forget to post it.

Be Flexible. This is a tough one for some of us (myself included). Sometimes life gets crazy, and you need to go with the flow. Sometimes that means cereal for dinner, sometimes it means going to bed the same time the kids do because everyone is tired.

Give Yourself Grace. Remember that this portion of your life won’t last forever. It won’t always be stressful, busy, or this hard.

Do What is Right for Your Family. This one can be hard, especially since we live in the era of Pinterest worthy, social media one-upmanship. I’m a fucking hot mess and I’ll admit it. As long as my family is loved and cared for- that’s all that matters. And sometimes that means cereal for dinner!

 

Talk Back: What do you do when life gets busy/crazy/unpredictable? 

 

Weekly Meal Plan!

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Mondays are crazy around here, between my college classes, and Big Kid’s weekly social skills class, we don’t get home until late. So publishing our weekly meal plan is not a high priority after a busy day. I did write it out yesterday while I was at the Y!

This week we are focusing a lot of eating up what we’ve got on hand. There are a lot of changes afoot in my household (there will be an upcoming post, I promise). I’m focusing a lot on the kids, and trying to return to my frugal roots.

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.

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.  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 and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Ramen- I’ll post pics on Instagram today. Our local Grocery Outlet had bone broth, and I used Brown Rice and Millet Ramen noodles. poached eggs, and spinach
  • Tuesday: Breakfast for Dinner- Waffles made with Kodiak Flapjack Mix and Fruit Salad
  • Wednesday: I’m going to the grocery store, so I’ll probably pick up a rotisserie chicken and a salad
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday:  I’m going out with the girls, so the kids will have Pizza!
  • Saturday: Chicken enchiladas (made from the rotisserie chicken leftovers), beans, rice, and brocolli
  • Sunday: Chicken Soup (made from the carcass of the rotisserie chicken and the remaining meat).

 

Talk Back: What will you be cooking this week?

Host a Frontera Whole Foods Party!

House Party by Ripple Street Frontera™ Whole Foods Party House Party

Houseparty by Ripplestreet has a great party coming up, and they are accepting applications right now!

Show your friends how they can make authentic, delicious dishes for their Cinco de Mayo parties and how Frontera™ products will help them make it quick AND simple. Available at your local Whole Foods Market® for Cinco de Mayo.

This event is only open to residents of the contiguous US.

If you’re selected and confirmed as a host, your exclusive Party Pack will contain:

  • Whole Foods Market® gift card
  • Frontera discount coupons for your guests
  • And more

If you’ve never heard of Houseparty by Ripplestreet, you can learn more here. I’ve already applied!

Five Back Visa Gift Card Deal! #5Back17

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If you are looking for a great way to stay on budget this holiday season, check out the great offer from Five Back Visa Gift Card!

Pick up the Five Back Visa gift card at Office Max, Lowe’s Hardware Stores and Albertsons Family Stores including: Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons. Buy it online at giftcardmall.com. Put your Holiday budget on the pre-paid Visa Card. That way you can’t go over board! No “shopping hang over” in January.

Five Back Visa gift cards work everywhere Visa debit is accepted, but users earn up to 5% back to their gift card when they shop and dine with preferred restaurants and retailers! Find a full list of participating retailers and restaurants at fivebackgift.com.

Here is a scenario where you can save an additional $19.05 on gifts when you buy a Five Back Visa gift card BEFORE you do your holiday shopping at Five Back preferred retailers and restaurants!
1. Grab a $500 Five Back Visa gift card (including the $5.95 purchase fee)
2. Shop at Five Back preferred retailers & restaurants (find a full list at fivebackgift.com)
3. Earn up to $25 back to your card. $25 – $5.95 purchase fee = $19.05! Save even MORE when you double dip on holiday coupons, sales, and shopping through websites like Topcashback or Mypoints!

Check out my post here for tips about saving when you shop online.

And to celebrate this great deal, you can enter here to win a $50 Visa Giftcard! Woo Hoo! Just in time for Holiday shopping (or buy yourself something nice, I won’t tell!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Holiday Resources For Those in Need

thanksgivingturkey.jpgIt’s getting to be the season of giving, and for some families there isn’t the means to give this year. For some families there isn’t the means for a sit down family meal either.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here are some resources for those in San Diego County who might need some help.

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Meet the Need at Faith Chapel has a lot of great events coming up to help you get through the holidays:

  • 11/19/: Faith Chapel is giving out Food Boxes and Turkeys starting at 10:30am.
  • 12/3: Meet the Need’s first Sunday event will be featuring a limited number of free Christmas trees in addition to the usual free lunch and bag of groceries.
  • 12/17: Faith Chapel will be distributing toys to children in need after the 10:30am service.

Feeding the Flock and several other ministries are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food box (turkey included). More information and sign ups can be found here.

You can also find local food banks/pantries from AmpleHarvest or by calling 211 in your area.

Toys 4 Tots is a well know toy charity, however their deadline to request toys is early November. If you missed the cut off, there are a few San Diego based toy charities that can help out.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 4 San Diego area events on December 9th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All four locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.

We Care Toy Drive provides 750 toys to local San Diego area kids. You can learn more by visiting their website.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.09.41 AMThe Closet on 54th has a great free clothing closet you can shop at once a month, they also have a free food pantry that is open three days a week. You can find more info on their Facebook page here.

 

 

Great Deal on Tide at Lowe’s!

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.13.59 PM.pngI love a good deal. And while I’m not big into deal blogging any more, it’s my duty to help ya’ll save money. If you are frugal like me, you wash your laundry with whatever gets your clothes clean and is inexpensive.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 6.14.04 PM.pngLowe’s has a great deal right now on Tide 40-fl oz Refreshing Breeze High-Efficiency Laundry Detergent. It’s $2.00/bottle, instead of $4.28. 53% off isn’t too shabby.

A quick check on Lowes.com shows that the closest store to me is Poway, but because I have a mylowe’s account (that’s their store loyalty card- it’s totally free and you can sign up online immediately prior to your purchase), I can score free shipping. WOO HOO!

In a mere matter of days, I’ll have 50 bottles of Tide. I figure based on how many loads of laundry I do, that will last me about a year. That’s 625 loads. That’s about $.08/load. I can’t make laundry soap that cheap.

I know there are sometimes coupons for Tide, but with the limits on P&G (the company that makes Tide) coupons, that’s two per household, per day for those playing at home, it would take me quite a while to amass a stockpile on laundry soap.

That doesn’t take into consideration:

  • How on earth would  I get 50 coupons? (no, I won’t pay for them)
  • How on earth would I find a store where I could find 50 bottles of Tide?
  • It would take me 25 shopping days (that’s about a month, since I only shop when my big kid is in school), so I’m sure the coupons would expire before that.
  • The gas driving to the stores each day to buy the detergent.

 

If you need Laundry Detergent, check your local Lowe’s via Lowes.com!

And Don’t forget you can save even more by shopping through Topcashback or Mypoints.com!

 

 

 

 

Our Buy Nothing Week- The Results

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Our first Buy Nothing week was a success. I wrote about my plans here, and they went well. We managed to eat at home all week, pack snacks, and find all kinds of free fun.

I managed to inventory the pantry, clear out and donate some food that we weren’t going to eat, and did a toy purge and gave away some toys that no longer held the kids attention.

We tried it again this week, and well, it didn’t go so well.

Failures:

Wednesday night we went to the Lego Store at Fashion Valley for a free Lego Build (it was a cute platypus), but while we were there, we picked up a few blind bags and Lil’ Man’s Birthday gift. Mr. is part of the Lego Club, where you earn points for every purchase. It is double points month, so we earned enough points for $5.00 off. Since Legos seldom if ever go on sale, we took advantage. Then we had dinner at CPK. I used some money I had earned selling some stuff on Craigslist.

I also had to go buy milk, but I had figured that I would need to, so I set pulled out a few dollars in change from our change jar.

 

But then again, I had a few successes:

We tried some new recipes and improvised using what we had on-hand.

I ran out of tape while packing up a box to mail, so I borrowed some packing tape from my parents.

We played a lot, and did some fun crafts. We also discussed how we could have fun at home and in the neighborhood without spending money.

Yesterday a friend shared her food Co-op bounty with us, so that helps keep me out of the store for a few more days.

Overall, I am pleased with how the week turned out. We were more conscious of spending money and used work arounds and more careful thinking to use what we had, relied on neighbors and family when we needed help.

We’ll be doing it again, but probably not for a month or so. This next week is Lil’ Man’s birthday, and we need to prep for his birthday party. We’re doing a Lego themed party, and I’ll be posting about it next week.