Porchlight Community Holiday Toy Swap – Reuse, Reduce, Give Love!

Our friends over at Porchlight Community are hosting a toy swap on December 11, 2021. 

ToySwap – Bring your gently loved toys to swap out. Save our environment, Save Money, Donate and Help Charity!

About this event:

  • Walk away feeling great about contributing to your community while having fun with no financial worry.
  • Any leftover items will be donated to other local nonprofits.
Where: 8888 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Suite B, 92123
When: 9 am to 11:30 am
Toy Drop-off: Thursday 10am to 6 pm
How it works:
  • Drop off a box or manageable box of clean, gently used, or new toys.*Must be in good condition and have no missing parts. Electronics must come with batteries to test working conditions.

AO Opinions: Upcoming Toy Study $150

AO Opinions is another Market Research company that I get information from. Right now they are recruiting for an upcoming research study for Parents of children ages 1-6 for a study about toys.

To be considered, please complete the pre-screener survey here.

 

Compensation: $150 (if chosen)

Date: Tuesday November 16th or Wednesday November 17th 2021 Multiple times available each day

Have Your Hot Girl Summer on a Budget

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the phrase “Hot Girl Summer”, but do you know what it means? The phrase can be traced back to a Megan Thee Stallion song a few years ago.

On Twitter, she explained: “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party, etc.”

A couple of my friends have embraced it, and I think that it’s a pretty amazing outlook to have, especially since last summer was, well, Sad Trombone Noise? I know the kids are looking forward to having fun, more adventures, and getting out of the house. Here are a couple ways I’m bringing Hot Girl Summer (and sharing it with the fam).

New Bathing Suits. Kids grow, but what about me? Well after having the same swimsuits for 3 years, it’s time. Especially since we swim daily.  I bought a few new suits from Amazon. Since I’m fair-skinned I picked up one with long sleeves, the kids tease me about working at SeaWorld. This is just one of the many suits I’ve got. It’s perfect for prime sun time.

 

New Pool Bag and New Pool Toys. Every Summer it seems, we need new pool toys and a new pool bag. The Chlorine wrecks our bag (which is mesh- this helps the pool toys dry quickly), and daily use of toys leaves them.. wrecked. Dollar Tree has a great selection of sturdy pool toys, including inflatables for kids (We have a cool cookie ring that has a “bite” taken out of it). For me, I picked up a sweet inflatable float pool chair. 

Plans to meet up with friends. Now that most people have access to the vaccine, getting together with friends is a lot more feasible. We are still limiting ourselves and staying away from large gatherings where we don’t know everyone, but dinner and drinks with friends sound amazing. I’m hosting dinners a couple times a month over the summer for a few reasons: 1. To keep all of our costs down (Dinner out with drinks costs $$$ these days), and honestly, I don’t feel super safe going out for dinner all that often, especially now that there are no mask regulations in our state. And I’m having a weekend getaway with some girlfriends in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to a weekend away in a vacation rental doing a whole lot of nothing!

Take Advantage of the season: What does that mean? Summer has all sorts of fun advantages: Long days, Amazing fruit and veggies are in season, nice weather. Spend time outside (poolside, at the beach, exploring nature), enjoy a big bowl of fruit salad, make a huge salad! Community events are starting to come back (with limited event sizes), and there are lots of free events throughout the summer. EventBrite is a great place to find community events.

Make Time for You: I know… So many blogs and social media tell you to get self-care time and spend time doing things that you love, but as a parent, it can be hard without staying up late or waking up before dawn. Finding a sitter can be tough too. It’s ok to lean on family and friends. The past year has been exponentially tough on parents, and you need time to yourself. Swap child care with friends, or if you want to have a night out, split the cost of a sitter. Your kids can hang out together, while you and your friends get some time away.

Take Care of Yourself: And I don’t mean the stereotypical self-care of putting on a mud mask and drinking water with lemon slices. That’s fun, but I mean the simple acts that we often overlook as caregivers.

  • Sunscreen for your face and any exposed areas when you’ll be outside for more than 10 minutes during peak sun hours (usually 10am-4pm). Don’t forget the tops of your ears. Being super fair-skinned I also wear a sun hat too. Not super sexy, but I don’t want skin cancer.
  • Take something to drink with you. I know most of you pack snacks for your kids when you leave home, but take a few extra minutes to make yourself something that you like (bonus if it’s a snack that your kids do not like- No sharing!), and fill your water bottle. This is the water bottle I use. If you like fruit-infused water, bottles like this are great.  You can also opt for an infuser to go into your favorite bottle or insulated cup.
  • Find Something to Keep You Occupied.  Besides your kids. Pick up a book, grab a craft kit (I like embroidery- it’s easy and portable), Craftsy has some cool online classes to get you started.

I’d love to hear about how you are bringing Hot Girl Summer. Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

Tryazon: Host a Spin Master RC Race Party

There is a new Tryazon Party opportunity!

Get ready to race with this Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, from Spin Master,  featuring the BIGGEST RC Grave Digger ever – The Monster Jam, Official MEGA Grave Digger – measuring at over 2 feet long! This opportunity also includes the gravity defying Air Hogs Zero Gravity Laser race car, and the Monster Jam, Official Grave Digger Remote Control Truck with a range of up to 250 feet!

They have 100 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those selected get to receive a party pack with a variety of Spin Master RC cars and other extras to share with friends and family! Learn more and apply here.

If you’ve never heard of Tryazon (pronounced Try-uh-zon ☺), Tryazon is a service dedicated to getting innovative products into people’s hands and mouths, in fun settings like the party we had today. They offer excellent product samples and savings for all who participate.

We’ve had so many Tryazon sampling events and parties in the past two years.

2020 Holiday Resources

2020 has been, quite frankly, a kick to the balls for so many of us. I’m posting holiday resources now, and I’ll be updating with as many other resources as I find them to help y’all out.

With all of the CDC recommended safety measures and well as local and state regulations to help limit the further spread of COVID-19, many of the programs that I have written about in past years have been changed or altogether eliminated.

If any of these programs look like a good fit for your family, I urge you to apply ASAP. There is a greater need for assistance this year, and many of these programs are spread thin.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out if any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

A Facebook friend posted this link a few weeks ago, Operation Santa 2020 is a group I am not entirely familiar with, but it looks like they will be helping out some families this holiday season. Nominations for Operation Santa 2020 close on 11/6/2020 (that’s this Friday), and there are two requirements:

  • Operation Santa is only considering nominations for families with reliable contact information, whether it be email or phone number.
  • Nominated families must reside in San Diego County to be considered.

If you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The dates for turning in completed applications starts this week (Tomorrow to be exact). You can find specific information here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has served San Diego County families for over 20 years. Because of COVID-19, they are unable to host their amazing events. One of their main sponsors is The Rock Church. I would recommend contacting The Rock Church to see if any of their locations will be hosting a toy or food giveaway for the holidays.

The Salvation Army also has programs to help families during the Christmas Season. You can find out more here.

Toys For Tots is also a resource for holiday gifts for kids.

211 San Diego also has a lot of great resources. If you are outside San Diego County, check 211 in your area!

If you know of any other holiday events or programs that can help those in need, please post links in the comments!

Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

Tryazon: Apply to Host A CurliGirls Hair Styling Party

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Tryazon has a new party that is accepting applications!

Straight or curly? CurliGirls don’t have to choose! Brand new CurliGirls dolls feature MagiCurl hair that curls instantly when you pull it. The longer you pull, the tighter the curl – it’s so easy! Curl with your fingers, or easy styling tools, then accessorize with hair clips and beads. Ready to change it up? Dip hair in warm water and watch it magically straighten! Then style and restyle over and over again. The styling possibilities are endless.

Get to know each of the CurliGirls! Charli, the Pop Star, is pretty quiet – except when she’s rocking out on stage! She’s a rebel with a heart of gold. Hayli, the Ballerina, is always on pointe – a poised, ladylike ballerina who is all sugarplums…with just the right amount of spice!! Bayli, the Birthday Girl, is the life of the party! This giggly girl is super organized and loves to plan the perfect celebration for her friends. No matter which doll you choose, you can express your CURL power, with CurliGirls!

Tryazon will select 100 hosts for this opportunity. Those chosen will receive a party pack with a variety of CurliGirls products to showcase with friends and family!

To apply or learn more about what each Party Pack includes, click here.

We’ve done several Tryazon parties- it’s a great way to try and share new products!

Funovation Panel is looking for Members!

I’ve been a member of the Funovation Panel for a few years now, and we’ve tested several toys for them, and won a couple gift cards!

  • The Funovation Panel is a community of families that provide their feedback about new toys, videos, images, and much more. We’re looking for new members to help us understand what families want from toys today.
  • Members are invited to participate in projects such as in-home toy tests, early screening of TV shows, trend identification, and providing input on toys and ideas in the early stages of development. Help shape what will appear in stores and on screens across the world to better suit your family!
  • Also, to show our appreciation, for every Funovation survey you complete, you will be entered into a drawing for one of three $50 Amazon gift cards. That starts with this one, so click below!

It’s Coming… Playmobil The Movie!!!

361183id3_STX_Playmobil_27x40_1Sheet_sRGB_Live[2].jpgMy kids about lost their damn minds when I showed them this trailer earlier this evening.

Both kids LOVE Playmobil toys. And I love them too.

Ok, for those who are thinking, “Huh.. What’s a Playmobil??” They are these awesome toys from Germany and they’ve been around since the mid-1970’s.

They come in all kinds of themes, including Vikings, Pirates, Ancient Egypt, and Zoo.

I’m so excited about taking the kids to see #PlaymobilTheMovie.

In PLAYMOBIL’s® animated action-adventure, a top-secret organization has caused citizens from different lands to vanish from thin air.  The dashing and charismatic secret agent Rex Dasher (Daniel Radcliffe) must partner with smooth-talking food truck driver Del (Jim Gaffigan) and Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) a smart, savvy civilian with her own secret agenda, to rescue them. Against unthinkable odds, the trio goes on a fantastic journey across stunning new worlds as they gather clues for their rescue mission.

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Bitty loves her Playmobil Doll House and can’t wait to take one of her “Play Ladies” to the movies soon!

We’ve got tons of sets, including this awesome Pyramid, treehouse, and dollhouse (Bitty received it for her most recent birthday). Even their Blind Bags are rad!

What I love about Playmobil is that they encourage creative play, and they are perfect for any kid, ages 3+.

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This is me as a “Play Lady” per Bitty

Each set, no matter how small, has tons of details and little accessories that make every playtime an adventure.  I mean, check out this awesome Advent Calendar. I may be getting this for the big kiddo.

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Close up of one the “the dudes” cooking

The closer to the release date we get, I hope to have more details to share…

 

Talk Back: What is your kids favorite toy that “unplugs” them from TV, tablets, etc?

 

#playmobilthemovie

 

One Toy, One Smile – Donate and Receive Free CBX Tickets!

unnamed.jpgIn honor of Día del Niño (Children’s Day), Cross Border Xpress (CBX) – the bi-national bridge connecting San Diego to the Tijuana International Airport – will be collecting toy donations for children in need as part of their “One Toy, One Smile” initiative.

To participate, users of the bridge can simply bring a new toy to the CBX San Diego ticket counter and, in exchange for their donation, receive one FREE southbound CBX ticket ($16 value). Donations will be accepted through April 28.

unnamed-1.jpgThis year CBX pledged to donate 100 toys to Hospital Infantil de las Californias, a children’s hospital in Mexico, which will, in turn, give children a toy prior to medical procedures. Through the generous guest and staff donations last year, CBX was able to donate to multiple organizations in Tijuana, including Orphanage Emmanuel and Casa Morada del Niño Jesus. CBX aims to increase donations and expand to even more organizations this year.

Cross Border Xpress is located at 2745 Otay Pacific Drive, San Diego, CA 92154 (map).