Is Summer Snacking Wrecking your Grocery Budget?

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Chatting with a friend via Insta yesterday, we were lamenting the “OMG DO THEY EVER STOP EATING!!” of summer vacation.

I’ve never begrudged my kids snackies when they are hungry, but seriously, on days when we are at home, building Legos and watching movies- THEY EAT ALL DAY.  I can’t let them rummage through the cupboard and eat whatever, so I started the snack box (for the pantry) and snack drawer (in the fridge).

We’ve had “The snack box” and the “snack drawer” in our kitchen for about 2 years now.

In the cupboard, I’ve got a basket like this one. It’s full of various types of treats and snacks. Instead of buying individually bagged treats, I often buy a box of whatever (in the photo below it’s animal crackers) and divide the large box into snack-sized Ziploc bags).  It just depends on what is available at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only on my weekly shopping trip. Those are my go-to snack stores.

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The Snack Drawer in the Fridge
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Pantry Snack Box- Refilled weekly

The Pantry Snack Box contains shelf-stable stuff: Juice boxes, crackers, chips, dried fruit, fruit snacks, individual Peanut/nut butter cups. I usually tuck a couple bags of microwave popcorn too. Sadly, we have none left. I was informed that I *must* rectify that matter tomorrow.

The Fridge Snack Drawer contains some of the following: Cheese sticks, yogurt, Ziploc bags of fruit or veggies (watermelon wedges, strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery, and jicama are just a few favorites), little cups of hummus, guac, ranch dip (homemade with greek yogurt and ranch dip mix).

The snacks vary by week, and I took these pics today- It’s midweek and they are pretty picked over- I did refill the Pantry Snack Box with stuff from the cupboard. That’s my secret- don’t put it all out at once. I stash the extras in the back of the pantry, where tiny arms can’t reach.

For those who read my blog regularly, you know that my weekly family grocery budget is $80. I spend about $25 of my weekly budget on stuff for the snack box/drawer. Sometimes more, sometimes less. During the school year, the function of these becomes for packing lunches in the morning. The Big Kid doesn’t really like sandwiches, and as he’s a vegetarian he gets most of his protein from nuts/seed butter and dairy sources.

I also keep Go-gurt style tube yogurts in the freezer- Those are mostly for Bitty, Big Kid doesn’t care for yogurt too often.

For the grown-ups, there is a basket in the pantry full of protein and fiber snack bars (Along with other more “grownup” snacks- which are sometimes new snacks that the kids veto after sampling). I get those at Grocery Outlet or 99 Cents Only. Grocery Outlet locations in my area always have a great variety of protein bars, snack bars, and protein cookie (Like these, which are also a hit with the Big Kid, so I have to dole them out) for a lot less than grocery or club stores.

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Close-up of the Pantry Snack Box. There is a little bit of something for everyone!

This is how my family keeps everyone fed at home and on budget. I’d love to hear about your family’s ideas to solve this issue.

Photo Freebies & Deals, Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Three weeks until Mother’s Day, and there is still time to make a fun, frugal photo gift for the mom (or grandma) in your life.

Ya’ll know how much I love photo gifts- They are perfect for our family that lives all over the country. We don’t see them much in person, except for the weekly FaceTime chats, so photo gifts are a great way to stay connected.

If you want to send a photo in a frame, Free 8×10 Photo Print at CVS (chose the pick up at the local store to save on shipping costs). You can score a great frame at Michael’s or Joann’s with one of their coupons- which are plentiful online and in their apps.

York Photo is offering a 5×7 Softcover Book for FREE from York Photo (just pay shipping- which starts at $4). I love these type of photo books because they are the best size for grandmothers to stick in their purses and pull out to show all their friends.  Use Promo Code: Soft5x7 at checkout!

If the mom/grandma in your life is more of a mug person, York Photo is offering a Free 11oz. Ceramic Mug. (just pay shipping- which starts at $6). Use Use Promo Code: FBHOT at checkout!

 

 

 

Canvas People  has a great deal: Receive your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas or get 65% off any other size Canvas from CanvasPeople, just pay shipping.

 

Order your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas from Easy Canvas Prints, just pay shipping.

Ready for MommyCon 2019?

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 12.20.20 PM.pngJoin me at the largest natural parenting convention EVER!

I can’t wait for MommyCon San Diego on November 23rd. MommyCon is being held at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

This multi-day event features amazing shopping, interactive workshops, inspirational speakers and so much more. I loved the goody bag that I got last year! And of course, no event for moms (and dads) is complete without a snack station with all kinds of tasty snacks and drinks from some of the sponsors.

To view the schedule, buy tickets and get more info go to MommyCon.com and use code “MTAH19” for 10% off!

Are you or a family member in the military? Check out their Military Ticket  Program.

Would you like to attend but need a discounted ticket? Please learn about their Complimentary Scholarship Ticket Program.
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I’ll be posting more about MommyCon over the next few months, with more details and fun stuff!
Talk Back: With MommyCon all over the US, which one is closest to you? IF you have kids, will you be attending?

Giveaway: Gift Pack of Natural Goodies from Wow Summit!

Ok, so if you follow me in Instagram, you saw all my pictures over the weekend of the fun and excitement that was Moms Meet 6th Annual Wow Summit.

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Looking refreshed after a mid-afternoon nap!

One of the perks of the summit, besides learning how to be a better blogger, and listening to great speakers like Dr. William Sears, was to meet with new brands and sample products. The brands loaded us down with tons of awesome goodies to bring home to sample in our families- and of course to share!

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So many goodies!

I filled one of the reusable shopping bags they gave us with all kinds of stuff: candy, food, samples, beauty products, healthcare samples, personal care, and more!

There are samples, full size products, and/or coupons from the following brands:

Solgar, Table5 Pizza, National Peanut Board, NestfreshPlusCBD Oil™ by CV SciencesSambucolVitamin Friends, Wild Planet, Boiron, Bundle Organics, Child Life, Flora, Herb Pharm, Hippo Sak, Lindsay, Malaysian Palm Oil, Mum-Mum, Natracare, Organic OCHO Candy, Regular Girl, Don’t Go Nuts, Earth Science, Little Duck Organics, Mabel’s Labels, MacroLife Naturals, Scholarshare529, Sola, TruthBar, Motherlove, The Honest Kitchen, NOW, Stork Bites, & Juicy Jems.

Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this post. I’d love to know what Natural Product from the list above you are most excited to try. This contest is open to the US only. I’ll chose a winner on 11/12/18!

This is NOT a sponsored post, I am paying to ship this package to the winner. I just want to share the goodies with you guys!

 

Checking in from #Wowsummit2018!

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Pre-coffee selfie!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my pictures this morning of the Moms Meet Wow Summit!

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I’m meeting with tons of moms and brands today and tomorrow, and I’ll be bringing home tons of goodies- Expect an amazing giveaway next week.

Never heard of Moms Meet? Here is my post all about it!

Talk Back: What kind of goodies would you like to see in my prize pack next week?

#wowsummit

Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

Win two tickets to MommyCon!

I posted on Sunday about MommyCon and that it’s coming to town in less than a month! I’m stoked about all the cool classes and vendors.

MommyCon 12.jpgOne super awesome thing that MommyCon does is that they have a printer that prints photos posted to Social Media with a specific hashtag or tag during the event. Staff hang them up and you can grab them to take home at the end of the day!- I’m guessing it’ll be #mommycon.

Another thing about MommyCon that is cool is that babies and kids are welcome to come along. In fact kids don’t need tickets. For age restrictions on this, please check out the MommyCon website.  A lot of photos of past events show parents with littles in ring slings and various types of carriers.

 

 

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Look at all of these kiddos!

MommyCon Baby | www.mommycon.com And now for the best part- MommyCon is giving me the opportunity to give away TWO General Admission tickets to the fun here in San Diego, CA on Saturday, November 10th! That means two of my readers will get their chance to win!

Entering is easy-peasy. Just leave a comment below letting me know why you’d love to attend. Wanna check out the latest goodies for your child? Excited to meet other local moms in a supportive environment? Want to have a few hours alone to socialize? Whatever your reason, I want to hear it!

I’ll choose two winners on October 26th. Winners will be notified by email and provided with a one time use code for 1 free General Admission Ticket.

 

Good Luck!