8/7/19: All-Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!

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I am very excited about this event! I received an email all about it this afternoon.
The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego and San Diego Family Magazine are hosting the 2nd annual

All-Inclusive Day of Play & Resource Fair!On Wednesday, August 7 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Miramar Hourglass Recreation Center, 10440 Black Mountain Road, SD, 92126, families from around the county are invited to celebrate the last days of summer and gather information from resource providers for families with all abilities. Your family is invited to this FREE summer event!

Activity Booths • Giveaways • Performances • Games • Family Resources • Networking & more!

Children of all abilities will enjoy activity stations including Woody’s Roundup Corral, Super Hero City, Wheelchair Awareness Course, Literacy Duck Pond, V.T. Raceway, Star Wars Space Station and more!

Plus, enjoy a variety of entertaining performances at the All Abilities Stage.

Over 40 resource services and providers for children of all abilities will conveniently be onsite to speak with parents and provide information.

All activities and resources are FREE and open to the public.

Sign up for your family’s FREE tickets on eventbrite now!

2019 Free Meals this Summer for Kids!

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Like last year, I’m still pulling together resources at the time that this is published, and I’ll be adding additional sites as soon as I can.

School will be out within a month for most kids in San Diego, and that means there are some parents (and kids) who usually rely on free or subsidized school lunches may find themselves wondering what to do.

Thankfully, a lot of great organizations have stepped up and partnered with local area schools, libraries, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer.

For any of these opportunities, there is NO PROOF OF INCOME OR PROOF OF NEED REQUIRED. You take your kiddos, show up at a location near you during the lunch period (each location sets its own hours), and the kids get a yummy, healthy lunch for free. Menus vary, but all lunches meet USDA guidelines for a healthy lunch (think of the food pyramid).

You can search here for a list of California Department of Education sites that offer free meals (some sites offer breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks).

Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 1.52.03 PM.pngFor those of us in Eastern San Diego County, Cajon Valley School District sponsors free lunches!

Menus will probably be available in the next few weeks. Last Summer every Friday was pizza day! And there are usually vegetarian options daily for those of you who have meat-free kiddos (previous options included bean, rice, and cheese burritos, hard boiled eggs, string cheese, cheese sandwiches, nut butter sandwiches, or Uncrustables)!

Last summer The El Cajon Library had lunch and activities (crafts, story time, etc) each day (Monday -Friday).

Screen Shot 2019-06-01 at 2.03.13 PM.pngSan Diego Unified School District has partnered with some awesome sponsors to host the Summer Fun Cafe 2019 all over San Diego County! Lunch will be served at over 30 locations all summer for kids 18 and under! The kick-off Summer BBQ (with free lunch for adults too) at Penn Athletic Field on 6/20/19 10:30am-2:00pm! There are all kinds of activities, community resources, and even free produce for families to take home!

Most locations will be serving lunch on June 17-August 16, 2019.

What I love about this program is that there are tons of rec centers hosting these lunches and they are usually adjacent to a playground, which means after a long morning of playing, the kids don’t have long to wait to get a yummy lunch!

Looking for a few ideas of summer fun with a nearby lunch?

  • There is a lunch location down at the Waterfront Park- which is also free (You have to pay to park at the meters)! It has a great playground and a splash area.
  • The Tierrasanta Rec Center has a cool kids splash ground that’s open early in the day. It’s not free, but it’s pretty cheap ($2/ kid, $4/adult).

If you know of more summer lunch programs for kids in San Diego County, I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment!

If you aren’t in the immediate San Diego area, text FOOD  (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.

 

California Climate Credit- Savings on Your April Utility Bill.

Screen Shot 2019-04-13 at 9.24.20 AM.pngImagine my joy when I opened my email this morning and I found out I have $44.85 SDG&E bill!

And if you have any of the following utilities: PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities, your April bill will have a credit.

The California Climate Credit. From the CPUC website:

“Twice a year, millions of California residents receive a credit on their utility bill identified as the “California Climate Credit.”  The California Climate Credit is part of California’s efforts to fight climate change.  This credit is from a state program that requires power plants, natural gas distributors and other large industries that emit greenhouse gases to buy carbon pollution permits.  The credit represents residential utility ratepayers’ share of the payments from the State’s program.  The credit program was created by the CPUC, which also oversees the program’s implementation.

Currently, all residential and eligible small business electricity customers of PG&E, SDG&E, SCE Pacific Power and Liberty Utilities receive the credit, as do all Community Choice Aggregator (CCA) customers.  In addition, natural gas residential customers of PG&E, SoCalGas, Southwest Gas, and SDG&E also receive the credit.  Customers don’t need to do anything to receive the credit – it is automatically applied to their bills.  The credit amounts vary among utilities, CCAs and from year to year.

If you’re not sure whether you’re receiving the Climate Credit, the first thing to do is contact your utility or CCA, the same as you would do with any billing questions.  That’s because although the CPUC oversees the credit and can help with any remaining questions you have, your utility or CCA is best positioned to access your individual records and answer questions about individual accounts.”

The 2nd credit will be on the October bill.

In addition to this credit, we also use the TIME OF USE billing to our advantage. Here is an article I wrote about last summer with some tips about how to save on your utility bill. Time of Use billing isn’t for everyone, but we use it as I am able to do the bulk of our energy using chores during off-peak hours, such as dishes and laundry.

And one thing that I find super helpful- We signed up for Ohm Connect a few years ago and it texts and/or emails you when you should conserve more power due to the demand on the power grid. It’s a win-win situation: You save money on your power bill, and you earn points from Ohm Connect that you can cash out for Paypal, Amazon or Target Gift Cards, OhmConnect store credit (to buy energy efficient thermostats, smart plugs, etc.) You can learn more about OhmConnect here.

First Week of College, and Beyond!

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I survived the first week of college! After ::cough 17 years cough:: a long time, it’s quite an adjustment getting back into the swing of studying, doing homework, and all of the other things that go into being a mom, wife, blogger/Influencer, and special needs advocate for my big kiddo.

I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me, and the family adjust to the change.  It’s just two classes, but that’s 10-12 hours a week of studying, reading, and homework outside the classroom, and that time comes out of the time I previously spent with the kids, working on the blog/social media, petting the cat, ya know, mom stuff.

Bitty is now going to preschool two days a week. Our city’s Parks and Rec department has a drop off preschool two days a week. It’s approximately $150 for 8 weeks, which is a great price, and she is in a class with 13 other kiddos her age, several of them she knows from her daily visits to the local YMCA Child Watch. While she is at preschool, I have three hours to work on school work. It’s amazing to be able to read and work on my homework in peace. If you need a few hours to get work done, check your local Parks and Rec department for this type of preschool.

Family: As someone who has family nearby, having my family able to help out with school pick ups and therapy drop offs, it is a Godsend. My parents, brother and sister-in-law have really stepped in and helped us with the kids and house. Last week Miss Sally (my car) needed new front and rear brakes, and two new tires. Thanks to my Sister-in-law, niece, and my parents I didn’t have to walk home with Bitty (5 miles with a 3 year old- No thanks) or call an Uber.

Schedule: As a family, we have a shared calendar on iCal, in which I put all of the kids appointments, weekly commitments, birthdays, deadlines. In addition, I also have a calendar (this one) in the master bathroom on my cork board. Yes, I have a cork board in the master bathroom next to the vanity, so we can see whats on the schedule for each day.  Having everything in the palm of my hand (on my phone), and in a place that is visible to us (calendar) has really helped keep us focused and on task.

Remembering my Skill-Set: I’m not reinventing the wheel here. To maximize my productive time, I make sure to use my previously honed skills: Meal Planning, Meal Prep, setting out everyone’s clothes the night before, making lunches the night before, organizing areas of the house to help us get out of the house in the morning on time.

So while you may see less blog posts until I get in the full swing of it all, but I’m still posting on Social Media like a madwoman.

I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter what your age, if there is something you want: College, new job, more time with your family, vacation.. Do it! Change can be scary, but believe in yourself and have a plan! It might be rough at first, but stick with it.

Enough motivational speaking from me, I have homework to do!

Talk Back: What have you done recently that moved you out of your comfort zone?

Get Out and Play at The Nat!

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Recently the kids and I got to preview the Natural History Museum’s latest interactive exhibit, The Backyard. Even though Henry is 7, he still had a great time playing and exploring. He loves the Nat, it has all the things he loves about nature (dinosaurs, animals, plants, and bugs).

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.21.55 PM.pngInspired by a quintessential San Diego backyard patio, The Backyard is packed with experiences that encourage curiosity about the natural world including, a shade tree, live animals, a potting bench, a giant ladybug, stepping stones, a pergola-covered reading nook, a garden bed for infant tummy time, an urban nature soundscape, and more.

The Backyard contains interactive activities and objects that instill a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world.

Exhibition highlights include:

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.22.05 PM.pngA garden bed (ages 0-2): Modeled after a self-contained garden area, this enclosed, soft space is separated from areas designed for older toddlers and preschoolers. It is an ideal area for infants to work on tummy time, rolling over, and sitting up. Within this space, older infants have an area to practice crawling, walking, and grasping different textures.

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Dinos enjoy The Backyard too!

An old oak tree (ages 2-5): Children will embody imaginative, dramatic, and realistic play as they dress like familiar backyard animals, crawl on a giant ladybug, and gallivant around an old oak tree. Self-directed play can take many forms as kids build block structures, color mix on the light table, and uncover hidden sounds and live animals in the garden wall.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.22.11 PM.pngA potting shed (ages 2-5): Adults can relax and recharge on plush bench seating with free WiFi and a charging station while kids exercise fine motor skills and build imaginations as they create and pot flowers, read books, solve puzzles, and sort shapes. The Potting Shed area has a great selection of kids books (that are available in the gift shop as well).  Henry and I loved the dinosaur books!

The Backyard is located behind the cafe on the bottom floor of the museum. Entrance to The Backyard is included with your museum ticket. In addition to the fun exploration for the kids, there is a new 3-D movie at The Nat called Backyard Wilderness:3-D. It’s all about the beauty and natural wonder that is around us- even in our own backyard. The kids loved it, and Henry has been asking for us to “get into nature” so we can explore more.

If you haven’t been to The Nat lately, its completely different! With lots of great exhibits all about the natural history of San Diego/Southern California, there are lots of exhibits at kids level, with hands on and interactive learning stations for kids. Margaret loved the Coast to Cactus in Southern California exhibit. There were lots of hands on activities and cool stuff to look at at her eye level. Henry enjoyed the Fossil Mysteries exhibit, and of course, Unshelved.

We’re going back to The Nat soon, I hope to see you there!

Legoland: Kids go free with purchase of Adult Ticket!

LEGOLAND_California_main_entranceWe’re heading to Legoland for the first time this summer and I am stoked. Ok, not as much as Lil’ Man who is currently spending this rainy afternoon building  animals and a zoo with his Duplos.

If you’ve got kiddos that are Jonesing for a trip to Legoland, but your budget is a bit tight, check out this sweet promotion from McDonald’s. Visit any SoCal area McDonald’s restaurants (L.A. and San Diego) from June 29 to July 31 and you’ll receive a Kids Go Free offer with any purchase!

PirateShores22Kids Go Free with paid adult ticket to LEGOLAND® California Resort and your choice of LEGOLAND Water Park or SEA LIFE® Aquarium. It is a $104 value!

Hubs is excited because of the sweet new Star Wars stuff at Legoland! The 8 feet wide LEGO® Star Wars™ Death Star Model Display has been added to LEGO Star Wars™ Miniland.

In addition to Duplos and Regular Legos, we were gifted with some Friends sets not long ago and Lil’ Man loves building with those as well- There are so many cool pieces in the sets (like animals, perfect for when he wants to build a “delicate” zoo – which is how he refers to regular Legos and the Friends pieces: Delicate Legos), they are great for girls or boys.  Lil Man can hardly wait to visit LEGO® Friends Heartlake City.

Heartlake City has all kinds of great things to do and see: Ride the beautiful new carousel in Mia’s family ranch. Stroll through the LEGO horse stables. Sing along with Andrea at her stage. Or cool off with new friends in the Heartlake Fountain.  The adventures are endless in Heartlake City.  Visit LEGOLAND.com for details.

I can’t wait to see the big smiles when we go on the rides, and of course when Lil’ Man splashes Daddy at the water park!

I’ll be sure to post tons of photos and tips to save money at the park after our trip! And if you have tips that will make our adventure more fun (or frugal!), please leave a comment!