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.

93842746_2893563864066950_1571496488855404544_o

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

close up of hands holding baby feet
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!

michaels.png

  • 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.

Parents Helping Parents: Behavior Training 3/10/2020

download.jpgOn Tuesday, March 10, 2020, the Santee School district is presenting a behavior training with a “Make it, Take it” for behavior resources at home.

Visual Schedules: Children benefit from increased structure and predictability. Help take the stress out of your daily routine by providing
your child with a visual schedule.

Behavior Contracts: Contracts help keep kids on track and reduce family battles. Let us help you create one for your home!

Zones of Regulation: Help teach your child how to identify how they’re feeling and then utilize a co teach them about self-control.

Positive Reinforcement: Learn how to shape your child’s behavior with positive discipline. This will help to reinforce behaviors we want to increase in the home.

Santee’s Behavior Team Come meet Santee’s behavior team and find helpful strategies to implement at home. You’ll leave with individualized strategies and resources that you can begin implementing right away. You’ll have access to three team members to help you create individualized systems for your child! Listed above are just a few of the strategies you’ll go home with!

 

This event is free- If you have any questions, or wish to RSVP, contact the school district office at: (619) 258-2300

Date & Time: 3/10/2020 9:30am-11am
Location: Santee School District 9625 Cuyamaca. Santee, CA 92071

San Diego STEM Expo 3/7/2020!

unnamed.jpgWe are more of a STEAM house, because you have to have ART, but I’ll let it slide in this case because the San Diego STEM Expo is coming to PetCo Park on 3/7/2020 and it’s going to be an awesome day full of all kinds of cool kid-friendly fun and learning!

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering kicks off with its largest event EXPO DAY, a daylong celebration at PETCO Park on Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 10am to 5pm. EXPO DAY is the Festival’s signature event, with more than 130 local businesses, corporations, and organizations providing interactive, hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math exhibits and activities to budding K-12 science lovers.

And to make sure that no kiddo is left out of the fun, there will be a PRE-K ZONE!
Location: Between Park at the Park and the Tot Lot.

There will be STEAM activities for children under 5 at EXPO Day! Visit the pre-k zone to excite your tiny future innovators. All activities are for children under 5 years of age. I know that the big kid can’t wait to introduce little sister to the joys of science!

I’m most excited about the fireside chats: A mini version of the TED Talk. Join industry professionals for an engaging 10-15 minute discussion in an intimate setting! Learn about their careers and what sparked them to the world of science, technology, engineering, and math! Following the discussion, there will be time for the audience to participate in extended conversations and Q&A.

We’ll be packing snacks, riding the trolley, and making an entire day of it!

Food Bank Resources in Northern San Diego County

DSCN2469A few years back, I wrote this post, which I update about once a year with information on Food Banks/Food Pantries and food co-ops in San Diego County. Considering san Diego County is larger than some New England states, I decided to dedicate a post purely to North County food resources, as I have been getting requests for those lately. Thanks to my friends Elizabeth, Kate, Yvonne, and Stephanie for assisting me with the research!

distro2.jpg
North County Neighborhood Distribution Sites 2020

There are of course the Neighborhood Distribution sites from The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank. There are no requirements or proof of need (no ID either).  Just bring a few reusable bags or a cart to carry your food home.

Learn more about Neighborhood Distributions here. The 2020 Calendar of Neighborhood Distributions can be found here.

If you live in Escondido or Oceanside, check out the Interfaith Community Services Website for information on food.

In Encinitas:

  • The Community Resource Center has Bread distribution and other food distributions several times a week. More information can be found here.

In Vista:

  • North County’s Food Bank 1175 Melrose Way, Vista, CA, 92081 (760) 761-1140 The Emergency Food for Individuals program is direct food assistance available to needy individuals. Program is available every first, third and fifth Monday of the month.
  • Food Distribution at Lamb of God Food Bank 1120 Highland Dr, Vista, CA 92083 (760) 458-4655 every Tuesday and Thursdays, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

In San Marcos:

  • Summit Church 292 E. Barham Dr., San Marcos, CA 92078 760.471.6267 or office@summitsanmarcos.comArrive: 11:00 am, food distribution: 12:00 p – 1:00 pm

    Summit hosts a farmers market-style free food outreach 2x per month!
    Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday of every month, they give 25 lbs of food to anyone
    in need in the front parking lot. Everyone is welcome; there are no requirements!

In Ramona:

  • Ramona Food and Clothes Closet Each 3rd Friday of the month, a truck will bring perishable food items like produce to the store for distribution.  You do not need to qualify for this program.   Patrons are asked to line up before 9:00 AM in an orderly fashion and wait their turn.  

    Each person will receive approximately 20-25 pounds of food per family.  It is a first-come, first-serve basis.  You will need to bring your own bags or rolling carts.

Feeding American San Diego has a map on their website of various resources in the San Diego area, many of them require no proof of need or paperwork.

If you have any food resources to share, please leave a comment!