Kids, Schedules, and Summertime!

file000981824153.jpgWe keep to a schedule at our house, even in the summer. I know summer is a time for lazy days, playing it by ear, and fun adventures, but when you have a kiddo on the autism spectrum you need a little structure in your life at all times.

Here is a copy of part of our daily summer schedule, I’ve cut off the afternoons as it contains our therapy schedule, as well as lessons/classes. Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 9.00.47 PM.png

Ok, so first of all, I know you are thinking, “Who the hell gets up at 7:30 during the summer?!?!”, well, us. My kids are usually up by 7:30am in the summer, and that’s sleeping in (ugh, 6:30am, you come too early during the school year).

I’ve included the analog clock  because the big guy is learning to tell time and it helps him visualize on the clocks in the house.

Despite the structure, there is room for creativity and flux. We have freedom in choosing breakfast, what to wear, and there is a 2-hour window of play time, where the kids can do whatever they want: free play, crafts, read a story, watch cartoons.

When my buddy was younger, we frequently went without a schedule, and honestly, I was nuts. Just wandering all day without a plan, I frequently had a headache at the end of the day, and would be dreading the next.  Now we have a loose overview of what to expect each day, and we fill in our time with free or low cost events. Check out your local library branch- they frequently have fun classes or events.

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The menu for El Cajon, CA free lunch locations. Pizza and salad twice a week!

And for some reason, kids are bottomless pits in the summer, we try to check out some of the free lunches for kids a few times a week. It helps keep our grocery budget in check, but most importantly, it exposes the kids to trying new foods, and new experiences.  I try and find out the menus ahead of time and expose the kids to 1-2 new foods per week in an environment where there are peers who already like to eat the “new food”.  When kids see peers eating something that’s new to them, often times they try it, even if they may give mom or dad some resistance. I’m not saying that peer pressure is always a bad thing.

In addition to free lunches, I try to keep our family snack bag well stocked. I tend to visit Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only for most of our snack needs. $25/week is my budget for lunches and snacks for the summer.

I try not to set our schedules in stone- We get invites to hang out with friends, go to events, or maybe some relatives will come out for a surprise visit (who knows). We want the kids to have fun over the summer, and I do my best to make sure they get a balance of fun times, learning, and relaxation.

I’d love to hear about what you do in the summer: Do you wing it, or have a schedule?

 

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Comic Con is Coming to San Diego… Are you Ready?

file3411293943936.jpgOk, so if you are new to town, or have been living under a rock for some time, you may not be aware that Comic-Con is coming to town next month! July 19-22 the downtown area turns into a completely different place!

You’ll see your favorite heroes and villains for comics, movies, tv, and cartoons! If you haven’t gotten a pass to comic con, you are probably out of luck, unless you are able to win one (all of the radio stations have contests a few weeks before). Passes sell out fast, but just because you haven’t gotten one, doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on all the fun…

Outside Comic Con has a great listing (and it keeps getting updated!) of all of the fun events around the con. Some are free, and some are not. Some are kid friendly, and well, others are not.

There is usually an area between the New Children’s Museum and the Trolley Tracks that is chock full of fun events and demos, and behind the convention center there has been movie and cartoon screenings on the grassy area.

If you want to wear a costume, here are my tips for doing it on the cheap.  I’m not planning on dressing up for con this year- I’m butt deep in designing and making costumes for Romeo & Juliet!

Regardless of your costume status, my recommendation is to wear comfy shoes, ’cause you will be walking a lot! And bring a refillable water bottle. And a snack (protein bars are great!). And a camera (or really, just your phone these days!).

 

Free Fun this weekend!

Wow- I’ve been busy this week! I haven’t had a chance to sit down and post all week, but I’ve been trying to post on Facebook and Instagram- so remember to keep up with me there too.

This weekend there will be all sorts of free fun going on! Today is both Free Comic Book Day, and also Cinco de Mayo.

Here are just a few ways to celebrate:

Free Comic Book Day is always the first Saturday in May. Find your local Comic shop that participates here. Most shops have tons of free comics and other fun stuff (like cosplayers who will pose for photo ops with kids. Our favorite shop usually has Batman.)

Cinco_de_mayo_logo1.pngCinco de Mayo- Luckily for us, we’ve got Old Town San Diego State Historic Park close by! Each year, Old Town hosts an amazing festival with music, dancing and art.

If you don’t want to brave Old Town, There is also a festival at Balboa Park,and The Timken Museum will be having a fun, free craft (and the museum is always free to visit).

If you want to avoid the crowds, check out Chicano Park. There are some amazing murals, and it’s close by some pretty tasty restaurants.

And if you are looking for other free fun, The San Diego City Libraries area great place to start. County Libraries may also be having fun stuff too.

Santee has Creative Play ~ Each Saturday from 10:30-11:30 am. Children learn through play! Meet new friends and have fun while developing early learning skills. Geared for ages 5 and under (but they are not strict with it- as long as the kids behave).

La Mesa’s branch library is hosting a Sensory Playtime tomorrow.

 

What kinds of fun events will you be going to this weekend?

Looking for Free Fun? 10 Local Community Events

IMG_20120331_163227We love getting out of the house to have adventures, but, being frugal means that I have to get creative.

Thanks to local publications like The San Diego Reader and San Diego Family Magazine (both are free and available all over), as well as Facebook, we are never wanting for free fun.

Here are our Top Ten Community Events that are for kids and families for Q1 2018:

  1. 1/2/18-1/4/18 Santee Library hosts the most fun, creative events for kids. They are starting the year off with 3 events, January 2-4 in the afternoon.  We are very excited to go to Imagination Day. If you aren’t in East County, check out your local San Diego County, or City of San Diego Library branch. Most branch libraries have fun events for kids after school and during holidays.
  2. 1/6/18 Free Family Fun Fest at the Kroc Center.  The Kroc Center hosts a lot of great programs and events each month. The Kroc Center Free Family Fun Fest – Meet & greet with the San Diego Sockers, sports challenges, arts & crafts, inflatable park, costume dress up, giveaways and more
  3. 1/16/18 Family Read and Play Day. Again the Kroc Center is hosting this event. They host a reading event usually once a month. Sometimes the kids get to take home a copy of the book as well. Family Read and Play day, featuring the book, “Children Around the World” by Donata Montanari.
  4. 1/20/18 Santee Active Life Expo.  From 9am-2pm, some of the free activities include: Watch professional athletes compete, Health & wellness activities, Extreme obstacle courses, Trial fitness classes, Firefighter challenge,  BMX trick shows, Free breakfast (while supplies last), Learn how to race walk
  5. 2/3/18 The Water Conservation Garden over at Cuyamaca Community College offers Free Docent lead tours of the gardens. Tours begin promptly Saturday mornings at 10:00 am in the Plaza. No reservation required. 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West
    El Cajon, California 92019 My kids love this place- There are tons of fun areas to explore and learn all about nature.
  6. 2/6/18 is National Frozen Yogurt Day.  There are no concrete details yet, but in past years Menchie’s and Yogurtland both gave away free froyo. I will for sure be posting more details as they become available.
  7. 2/9/18 is National Pizza Day.  In the past there have been great offers for free slices and free whole pizzas. Sbarro and Pizza Hut usually participate.
  8. 2/13/18 is Shrove Tuesday which means that FREE PANCAKE DAY will be around that time. IHOP is the only restaurant in our area that offers free pancakes.
  9. 2/14/18 is Valentine’s Day. There are usually free events for kids at local libraries.
  10. And finally- Henry’s Birthday is in March. While there are no specifc free events for his birthday, here are my lists of birthday freebies (for kids and adults). Original List and the updated list with some fun new stuff.

I’d love to hear about what your favorite free local events are!  Please drop a comment with details and a link!

Ninjas invade Legoland today!

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 5.38.26 AM.pngHenry and I went to Legoland yesterday to experience all the fun of Ninjago weekend!

Like any event at Legoland, there are tons of things to keep any little ninja busy!

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 5.39.45 AM.pngWe started off the morning by checking out the new LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE Video Game at the WB Family GameSpace. It’s available on all the popular platforms. Henry played by himself and with a few other kids and had a great time exploring Ninjago City as his favorite character (The Red Ninja). You can check out the game too from 10am-5pm today.

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 5.39.50 AM.pngNext up, it was time for the LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™ Character Meet & Greet with Lloyd, the Green Ninja! Henry was so excited to take to Lloyd all about his adventures with the Ninjago gang (and Master Wu too). There will be many times available today to meet many different Ninjago character! 10 a.m., 1 1a.m.12 p.m.1 p.m.2 p.m.3 p.m.4 p.m.

After riding a few rides, we checked out the Mystery Mosaic LEGO® Build (available from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.). We each got to build a square for the mosaic! It’s very easy, so even the youngest builder can help!

We finished up our day with a quick lunch and the Miniland U.S.A Scavenger Hunt! It was a little difficult, but we did it! It takes and eagle eye to find the ninjas in Miniland U.S.A. and complete your entry form for a chance to win a LEGO NINJAGO prize pack! Available 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

And of course, no trip to Legoland is complete without a goofy photo…

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 5.39.59 AM.pngIf you are looking for some family fun, check out Lego Ninjago Day today at Legoland California!

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 5.58.22 AM.pngOr if you are looking for something  else to do, the Lego Ninjago movie is out in theatres now! Henry and I saw a sneak preview of it on Tuesday night, and it’s a great movie for your little ninjas.

Henry and I both enjoyed it. It’s full of family fun, discovery and friendship, and of course, a cat laser!

Friday Freebies are back!

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While a flower in your mail box is cute, freebies are better!

I know most everyone likes a good freebie, so I’m bringing back Freebie Friday!!

LEGO Monthly Mini Build – Free LEGO Robot (This one is in store and you have to sign up in advance- it’s super fun!)

Free Subscription to Real Simple, Shape, TIME & More

Possible Free Samples from Healthline & Sampler

Free Small Bag of Select Dog or Cat Food at PetSmart

Free Redbox DVD Rental

Free Sample of Born Sweet Zing Organic Stevia
Free Gold Rush Panning Party with Tryazon (I applied for this one- Henry is obsessed with the Gold Rush!)

Free Subscription to Woman’s Day Magazine

Free Garnier 5sec Optical Blur + Make Cash & More from Toluna

Free LEGO Ninjago Mini Dragon at Barnes & Noble

Free Seventh Generation Disinfecting Spray

101 Free 4×6 photo prints from York Photo

Kroger/Ralphs Free Friday download is a Hormel® Compleats® Microwave Meal (your choice). This makes a great donation for food drives!

For those of you in San Diego, Geppetto’s toy stores are celebrating their 25th Anniversary tomorrow with freebies and a party at each of their locations!

The Santee Historical society is hosting a Children’s Safety faire tomorrow!

Friday Freebie Round Up!

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Yee-Haw! It’s back! I haven’t done a weekly freebie round-up in a while, but there have been too many good ones lately, so I’m bringing it back, complete with cheesy cowboy clipart!

Don’t forget the free admission to Seaworld for active military and veterans too!