Summer Stuff I love (Grown Up Edition)

Friends- I’ve been working on this post for a few days. I’m not feeling especially summery today (and wasn’t yesterday afternoon either), but I’m hoping to distract you over the weekend, so on Monday we can come together and help our friends and family who will need us in the coming months. I’m spending the afternoon crunching on Sonic ice cubes!

It’s summer, and that means for most parents keeping the kids entertained (or letting them get bored), constantly filling the snack box/drawer, and looking for ways to make sure everyone makes it through the 12 weeks of Summer “vacation” without injury. I use vacation in quotes because it’s not a fun, leisure-filled 12 weeks. Most of us have to work, in addition to balancing all of… this.

BUT- That doesn’t mean that parents can’t have fun or enjoy their time in the summer sun. Here are a few things that I have recently come to love:

Sonic Ice Cubes. They are the little pebble ice cubes. If you don’t have a Sonic near you, or if you are looking for a way to make the perfect Sonic type ice at home, look for a Nugget or Pebble ice maker or ice tray. Walmart has a table top nugget ice maker here.

Electrolyte drinks. Not Gatorade, something better. I know a lot of people like Liquid IV, but this frugal lady likes Hydramate from Dollar Tree and Key Nutrients Lemonade flavor from Amazon. These newer electroylte drinks also have vitamins and other key nutrients that we can sometimes miss out on.

I made a list on Amazon of some of my other favorite things this summer:

  • Good SPF- Gotta take care of your skin. You only get one body!
  • Speaking of SPF, a Long sleeve 1/2 zip swim shirt. They are amazing.
  • Reusable cups with lids – I like the color changing cups.
  • Yoga strap for stretching- especially good after a long day behind the week (or a long day sitting on the floor building legos).
  • After Sun lotion- even if you wear a good SPF, the sun and the sea/pool water can dehydrate your skin.
  • Compression socks- seriously. We walk a lot in the summer, and wearing compression socks has really helped my feet and legs from getting so heavy and tired.
  • These sweet kicks from New Balance. They are my go to shoe for a day full of walking.
  • Beach Towels– JCPenney has a great selection and they are on sale!
  • Cuticle oil. The summer sun is rough on your hands, especially your cuticles. Give them some love.
  • Bermuda Shorts. I’m pale, I’m plus size, and I am not a fan of short shorts. Bermuda shorts cover all of my pale parts. And they make me happy because htey have decent sized pockets.
  • Character popsicles. There are a couiple places in San Diego where you can buy the popsicles that the ice cream man sells in bulk or at a discount. California Ice Cream and Candy in Lakeside (that’s near my house), and Circus Man Ice Cream in National City.  The kids and I hit up our local store each week and drop $20 on Spongebob, TMNT, Tweety Bird, and other popsicles. That’s about 13 or so, and that lasts us about a week! I personally love the Powerpuff Girl ones, they are orange and cherry flavored.

Talk Back: What are your favorite summer essentials?

Looking for Swim Lessons this Summer?

Now that things are starting to open back up in California, and it looks like pools may be reopening on June 15th, I’ve been looking into swim lessons for Bitty Bird.

I can’t be the only parent looking for information on swim lessons and getting kids’ water ready.

My usual go-to is the swim lessons held at our local high school, facilitated in part by Heartland Swim. They are NOT offering swim lessons this summer, however, the Grossmont Union High School District pools will be open for swimming. You can find the schedule and prices here.

The City of San Diego has private, semi-private, and group swim lessons at several of its pools. The prices are pretty decent. The prices and more info can be found here.

If you live in El Cajon, you’ve got some really excellent swim lesson options. Visit the Rec Center brochure online (swim is on page 19) here and take a look at all of the classes. Anyone can take classes, but El Cajon residents (of the incorporated city) can get killer discounts.

La Mesa has limited swim lessons. They also currently require a parent to be in the water with each student.

The Kroc Center offers swim lessons. Information can be found here.

The YMCA offers swim lessons at many of its facilities. Currently, they are offering private/semi-private lessons only. You do not need to be a YMCA member to take lessons there, however, the rate is cheaper if you are. The list of San Diego, CA area YMCAs that offer swim lessons can be found here.

I also did some digging for parents of kids on the Autism Spectrum. Aqua Pros offers classes specially designed for kids on the spectrum! More information and class prices can be found on their website.

These are just a few of the options available. There are of course private swim instructors and private companies that offer private or small group lessons. The ones listed above are for more of the price-conscious in mind.

Talk Back: If you or your kids have had great swim lessons, leave a comment and let us know where! The more options, the better!

7 Frugal Ways to Beat The Heat!

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Ok, so it’s not *that* hot, but close…

This week has been slightly hellish. It’s hot, humid, and just so gross no one wants to move.

It’s too expensive for us to run our AC all the time (Thanks SDG&E!), and really, I don’t want to spend all day in the house, so here are my top 7 Frugal Tips to Beat the Heat in San Diego!

  1. Check out your local library. Both County Libraries and City of San Diego Libraries have awesome summer programs for kids and adults!
  2. There is still time to sign up for Kids Bowl Free All Summer! Just pay for bowling shoe rental!
  3. Visit Balboa Park for Free Tuesdays at various museums each week. Another free activity in Balboa Park is the Botanical Garden and Lily Pond. Right next door is the Spanish Art Village, which is fun to explore as well. Pack some snacks and make a day of it.
  4. Check out your local indoor mall for fun family activities. In San Diego, we’ve got a couple- Plaza Bonita, Parkway Plaza, and Westfield North County (the mall formerly known as North County Fair). Each one has monthly fun activities for kids and families- just check your local mall’s website.
  5. Have you seen the kinds of Groupons that are available lately? Uptown Jungle has 6 options! There are all kinds of fun activities from Axe throwing to waterparks, you’ll be having all sorts of frugal adventures in no time.
  6. Get in the Water! Beach, lake, river, local pool… whatever. Heck, get in a kiddie pool and splash around. Don’t forget the SPF and snacks.
  7. If you want to stay home, close up all the windows, draw the shades/curtains, turn on all your fans, set the AC to something comfy but not arctic (for us, that’s 80-82 degrees when it’s going to be over 100 outside). Once the house is chilled out, pop some popcorn and assemble some awesome snacks (We had this pumpkin/fuck it bucket because I received it in the mail to review), make a pillow fort and watch some fun movies. We did that the other day. We watched Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Zootopia.

If you are looking for a way to cool down in your pillow fort, this little dude is pretty cool (haha, temperature pun!)

Talk Back: What are your favorite ways to beat the heat?

Spring Break in San Diego!

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Spring break is upon us, and I know that without a plan, I’d go nuts for two weeks. Here are some of the adventures we plan on getting into:

Legoland: There is a new 4-D Movie, based on the popular Lego City cartoons! You can check out a preview here. Plus the usual fun stuff, and of course Granny’s Apple Fries. YUM.

Balboa Park: As we have two weeks off, that gives us two opportunities to enjoy two Resident Free Days down at Balboa Park. If you can’t get down to Balboa Park on a free Tuesday, you should definitely make it down for the new exhibits and films down at The Nat. 

Tide Pools: The Pacific Ocean is still too cold to swim in during April, but it’s never too cold to explore the Tide Pools. My favorite Tide Pool is at Cabrillo National Park. Here is a list of the 6 best Tide Pools in San Diego.

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The Big kid and his friends at the Tierrasanta Pool back when he was a little guy.

Swimming: While the ocean may be cold, our local pools are not. The Cameron Family YMCA has a great children’s splash pad/pool, The Ned Baumer Pool in Mira Mesa has a kids pool/splash pad, and the Tierrasanta Pool has a fun splash pad for littler kids.

San Diego Zoo: As I’m sure most of you are aware, the Pandas are going back home to China at the end of April (April 27th to be exact). I’ll be taking the kids to the zoo at least once to say goodbye to the pandas and see the other animals. But, no trip to the Children’s Zoo Playground. The Children’s Zoo is closed while they remodel the area.

Play dates at the Park: We’ll be playing with our friends at the park, investigating the creeks, and doing crafts with our friends. I’ve ordered a couple craft kits, including a suncatcher kit, and a Bouncy Ball making kit.

Being Lazy at Home: I can’t be expected to run all over town for 2 weeks, right? We’ll for sure have (at least) one day at home where we will hang out in our PJ’s, eat popcorn, and watch movies.

Talk Back: If you haven’t already had your spring break, what will you be doing?

Top Ten Must Haves for Your Summer Swim Bag!

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We braved the very very cold pool at our HOA today, which prompted me to go through our Swim Bag and make a list of new Pool Toys that we “need” (according to the kiddos).

I usually replace the pool toys once every 2-3 years. We swim 5+ days a week in the late spring and summer, that means our pool toys and swim equipment gets a lot of wear. I tend to buy a lot of the items on the list below at Dollar Tree or 99 Cents only. The quality is usually the same as what you find at Target at the Dollar Spot area, or at Wal-Mart in the seasonal area. The main reason we’re doing an overhaul or our pool toys this summer is it has been 3 years since I’ve bought new ones. Some of our current pool toys will be kept as they are in good shape, but some of the older toys (mainly the squirt guns) are starting to fall apart or have developed extra holes.

Here are the Top Ten things you need in your Swim Bag:

First off, you need a good bag! I like the All Purpose Utility bags, like these. They’ve got pockets on the outside. Roll up your towels and stuff them into the pockets, or use for SPF, bottles of water, or snacks- You can’t forget the snacks!

    1. Goggles. We go through a lot of goggles, mostly because my kids are clumsy, or they share them with friends and they disappear. I usually pick some up at 99 Cents Only to keep just in case, but we have several pairs of these Aegend goggles and they are excellent.
    2. Floaty toys- Like Inflatable Rings, or animal shapes. We’ve got a giant shark that lives in the garage in the off-season (November-May).  I like picking up a handful of inflatable rings at Dollar Tree and stashing them in the closet. If I need extras when friends swim with us, we won’t be short. I like these rings. I ordered 8 online for store pick up. Kick boards and arm floaties also fall under this category. I usually keep a few of each in the arsenal, just in case.

3. Fun Toys. Henry enjoys playing frisbee in the pool, so we’ve got a couple. Margaret likes trying to swim after an inflatable ball, so we’ve got a few of those. They both love the diving sharks. They are big, and they glide like a torpedo under water. The weighted diving toys like dive rings and the little ribbons with the weight attached are nice too.

4. Squirting Toys. Squirt Guns are a favorite. Not Super Soakers, but regular, old fashioned small squirt guns. Another favorite are the water squirters that look like long, giant pencils.  I usually get them at 99 Cents Only. Our rule is: No squirting people in the face!

5. SPF- Ok, this should really be #1. A good SPF. Water proof, sweat proof. You want a broad-spectrum SPF that protects against UVA (the rays that age skin) and UVB (The rays that burn skin). I like mineral sunscreen. And remember to reapply as needed!

6. Good Towels. I’m not talking about Egyptian Cotton, plush, fluffy towels that cost a fortune, but good, durable towels. I like to get white ones, since the chlorine from the pool can bleach the colors out. We tend to get the larger towels, or bath sheets. We have these from JCP. They were around $7 each.

7. Extra sunglasses. I don’t know what it is about my kids, but they lose sunglasses ALL THE TIME. I pick up a fistful at the beginning of the summer at 99 Cents Only or Dollar Tree, and dole them out. I keep 2 pairs in the swim bag.

8. First Aid Kit. Seriously. Kids get hurt all the time. It doesn’t need to be a fancy one. You can get small first aid kits with everything you need for less than $8.

9. Reusable water bottles. It’s hot and you are in the sun playing. Hydration is important. We have an Extreme Canteen, and it’s really awesome. I fill it with ice and water, and it stays cold all day with minimal ice melting.

10. A waterproof sealable pouch or bag to keep your keys, phone, and other important stuff in (Like snacks). We usually use a large ziploc bag (or two and double bag).

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Henry age 3, swimming with Mommy.  I’m pretty sure the pool was freezing then too. 

Now a few bonus items that Henry told me to mention (we may have a guest writer on our hands soon) include a swim mask (like this one), a shark fin and tail (like the one he got for X-mas), and diving fins. Those are all items that he uses regularly in our swim time.

Talk Back- I’d love to hear what’s in your Swim/Pool Bag!

I’ve included many links for reference. Please refer to my disclosure policy regarding possible bounties or compensations I might receive.