Free Backpacks and School Supplies for 2020!

10997200_1551314338450648_5653174165881717305_nThis article contains location specific giveaways- for nationwide info, scroll to the bottom of the article.

For the past few years the great folks over at SMOAC have been doing an incredible service to the Eastern San Diego County school kids by offering free backpacks and school supplies.

And this year is no different! This year, they are hosting a drive-thru style event at two locations:

  • Rio Seco School 9545 Cuyamaca Street or Pride Academy 9303 Prospect Ave (Both in Santee)
  • August 16, 2020
  • 10AM until supplies run out
  • Kids must be present in the car
  • 1 backpack per child
  • This will be a contactless delivery event- Please Print the form here and complete it per the directions.

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And for those of you not in the immediate area, there are all sorts of other free school supply and backpack giveaways going on.

Boost Mobile is giving away backpacks and school supplies. More info is here. In San Diego County, there is 1 Boost Mobile in Oceanside that is participating.

Operation Homefront is having giveaways for military families on bases all over the US. Here is a list for 2020.

Rentacalc does free giveaways for backpacks, graphing calculators and protractors! You can learn more and enter to win here.

San Diego, CA Area Residents: FREE Produce! Tomorrow, August 7, 2020

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It’s Back!! Our friends over at Faith Chapel understand that with all that’s going on in the world that some of us still need help finding healthy food during this difficult time. And that’s it not always safe for us to go to the store or hit up a farmers market. This is going to be the last produce distribution at Faith Chapel for the next few weeks. Once it is back on, I will let you know ASAP!

Distribution is happening this Friday, August 7th,  beginning at 10:00am.

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. This week they are getting 1 truckload of produce delivered, so they will be only be given 1 box of produce to each vehicle.  BUT- Trust me- That’s plenty of quality produce for one family.

Here is an example of what was offered in previous weeks: unnamedNavel Oranges, Grapefruit, Plumcots, Lemons, and nectarines. All free.

Faith Chapel is located at 9400 Campo Road Spring Valley, CA 91977

San Diego, CA Area Residents: FREE Produce! Tomorrow, July 31, 2020

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It’s Back!! Our friends over at Faith Chapel understand that with all that’s going on in the world that some of us still need help finding healthy food during this difficult time. And that’s it not always safe for us to go to the store or hit up a farmers market.

Distribution is happening this Friday, July 31st, beginning at 10:00am.

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. This week they are getting 1 truckload of produce delivered, so they will be only be given 1 box of produce to each vehicle.  BUT- Trust me- That’s plenty of quality produce for one family.

Here is an example of what was offered lin previous weeks: unnamedNavel Oranges, Grapefruit, Plumcots, Lemons, and nectarines. All free.

Faith Chapel is located at 9400 Campo Road Spring Valley, CA 91977

2020 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

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I am usually sooo much more on top of these free lunch posts, but…well, life has been a little crazy around here, and all over the world.

Better late than never, so, here we go. In past years schools, libraries, and community centers have hosted these free lunches, this year, however, the list of facilities has decreased.

GUHSDIf you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

table of hopeAnd if you are in need of food for your entire family, but you find yourself not qualifying for P-EBT or other social services, I recommend that you check out Facebook. There are tons of local groups of neighbors getting together setting up Tables of Hope. In San Diego, there are several. Tables of Hope are small groups of neighbors that have set up food distribution tables within neighborhoods to help those who might be experiencing food insecurity.

Churches and community organizations are offering free food distributions that require no proof of need, like Faith Chapel in Spring Valley. They are offering free produce each Friday through mid-August. You can find out more info here.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

Summer Reading Programs for Kids!

With the Covid-19 shutdowns, most libraries are not doing a summer reading program.

If your local library isn’t doing a program, here are a few programs that are online. You can of course do as many programs as you (or your kids) would like.

bookitNow Enrolling: Camp BOOK IT!
Parents, join us for our first ever Camp BOOK IT! and keep rewarding your kids all summer long. Track and reward your kids’ reading for June, July, and August in our digital dashboard. When they meet their monthly reading goal, they’ll receive a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza® from Pizza Hut! We’ll also share fun activities and book recommendations each week to keep the fun going throughout the summer! For more info on the 2020-2021 school year Bookit program, check out this post.

The City of San Diego library system is doing its summer reading program with some modifications. You can learn more and sign up here.

scholasticScholastic has a summer reading challenge in which kids go online to record the minutes they’ve read during the summer. This year, kids can build an avatar, make new friends, earn virtual rewards, and help unlock donations for kids with limited or no access to books. All you need to do is sign up and keep a “reading streak” in Scholastic Home Base over the summer!

RIF

Soar with reading while summer is out with Reading Is Fundamental, the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit. From RIF reading lists and a collection of free ebooks to interactive materials on Literacy Central and a brand new Literacy Central app, Reading Is Fundamental has tools for every level to raise reading to new heights this summer and beyond.

Thanks to We Are Teachers for the heads up on some of these summer programs.  The original article has some additional resources that are regional (and not applicable to San Diego/Southern CA).

San Diego, CA Area Residents: FREE Produce! This Friday, June 19th

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Our friends over at Faith Chapel understand that with all that’s going on in the world that some of us still need help finding healthy food during this difficult time. And that’s it not always safe for us to go to the store or hit up a farmers market.

For the next NINE (9) weeks, Faith Chapel is offering FREE Fresh produce straight from the farmers to give to you! Distribution is happening this Friday, June 19th, beginning at 10:00am.

This is a drive-thru style event, so you don’t have to leave your vehicles. Take as much as you’d like! Tell your family and friends!

Here is an example of what was offered last week: unnamedNavel Oranges, Grapefruit, Plumcots, Lemons, and nectarines. All free.

Faith Chapel is located at 9400 Campo Road Spring Valley, CA 91977

5/10/2020 Weekly Meal Plan!

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the kids at home learning schedules, and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier.

And I’ve been trying to visit the store once a week or less. I stocked up yesterday on stuff the kids love (and eat a lot of), so we should be good for 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 (I update it after every shopping trip), 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.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day: Right now our local school district is serving lunch for a drive-through service for kids 18 and under M-F. It’s great because it helps stretch our budget and it gets the kids out of the house for a few minutes. They also include a cold lunch (usually cereal and milk and a piece of fruit) for the next morning. Often times, the cereal ends up being a snack for late afternoon.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  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. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

We’re on week 4 of distance learning. It’s finally become a habit, and there are plenty of chances to play and get our wiggles out. I bought the kids a kiddie pool for the patio and that is totally helping them get out the pent up energy.

  • Sunday:  Cheeseburger Salad (It’s a cheeseburger served sans bun on a bed of greens). The kids will have chick’n nuggets as Big dude is a vegetarian, and Bitty doesn’t like red meat.
  • Monday: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli casserole, fruit salad, Texas Toast and leftover nuggets. The casserole has a very small amount of chicken, so I can scoop some out for the big kiddo and he can have some meat-free.
  • Tuesday: Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls with grilled veggies
  • Wednesday:BBQ chicken and veggie bowls (with rice)
  • Thursday: Pizza Night!
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: Waffles and fruit salad

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

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!

BLOOM: An Event for New and Expecting Moms

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Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.com

Are you currently expecting a baby? Have you had a baby within the past year? Are you planning to grow your family soon? If so, this BLOOM event is for YOU!

In partnership with their national network, City Mom Collective, they will be hosting BLOOM: an event for new and expecting moms on Sunday, April 26th from 9am-12pm at the beautiful Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay.  This exclusive event is designed to bring new and expecting moms the latest must-have products as well as the newest information possible from local experts.  BLOOM is presented by Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, the largest pediatric primary care group in San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties.

I really wish there were more events like this when I was still having babies! I love the camaraderie and friendship that these types of events have. It’s so empowering to meet other moms and learn and grow. And also have brunch without having to share! Today until NOON, there is a 40% off sale!

FLASH SALE 40% OFF Tickets
BLOOM: An Event for New and Expecting Moms!

Sunday, April 26th from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
at the beautiful Bahia Resort Hotel

Code FLASH40 (Sale ends TODAY at NOON)

Early Bird BLOOM VIP Ticket
40% OFF – $58  (
Regular Price $95)
Includes a VIP swag bag {valued at $400+}, a welcome mimosa or mocktail, Access to VIP brunch and lounge, refreshments, early entrance from 9am-10am and your choice of a mini maternity or mommy & me session with a professional photographer and 2 digital photographs {valued at $200+}, with the option to purchase additional photos at a discounted rate.  A total value of $600+. VIP ticket holders will receive 12 raffle tickets.

Early Bird BLOOM Premier Ticket
40% OFF – $24 (Regular Price – $40)
Includes a swag bag with high quality product samples {valued at $100+}, a welcome mimosa or mocktail, light brunch, refreshments and access to all vendors and special speakers from 10am-12pm. Premier ticket holders will receive 6 raffle tickets.

6 Days of Free Crafts at Michael’s 3/8-3/13/2020!

Michael’s is hosting 6 days of Free Kids Crafts 3/8/2020-3/13/2020!

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  • Sunday 3/8/2020: Craft Stick Bee 2-4pm
  • Monday 3/9/2020: Pom Pom Caterpillar 4-6pm
  • Tuesday 3/10/2020: Stained Glass Kite 4-6pm
  • Wednesday 3/11/2020: Beaded Butterfly 4-6pm
  • Thursday 3/12/2020: Friendship Bracelets 4-6pm
  • Friday 3/13/2020: Clothespin Birds 4-6pm

Parents/guardians must remain on-site. Each craft is free, including supplies!

Kids Club! Saturday 10am - noon

If this doesn’t work for your schedule, check out Kids Club! Each Saturday 10am-noon, your kiddos (ages 3+) can choose from 2 30-minute projects. Most projects are free or have a low cost.