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!

Ready to Eat Meals from Meal Prep Sunday San Diego!

Friends- This review is for those of you who have told me that you like the IDEA of meal planning/meal prep, but you lack the time, kitchen space, or energy to do it.

I’ve reviewed other Meal Prep companies before, but they aren’t local, so the food is frozen and delivered, and it’s… meh. Full of salt/sodium, bland, squishy textures, or just not satisfying. Hold onto your pants, because…

Meal Prep Sunday San Diego is 1000% different. They are located here in San Diego. The food is prepared here in town, delivered fresh in a custom insulated bag with an ice pack with reheating directions. And if you aren’t in San Diego? No Problem!
Delivery is available in all San Diego, Orange, LA, Riverside, and Imperial counties.

How is Meal Prep Sunday different (aka why is it so cool??):

1. Personalized Meal Prep: By Inputting your physical information, and fitness goal, we portion, and select the right source of ingredients.
2. They Shop for You: Never Frozen, fully organic produce, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef all provided by our local suppliers
3. They Cook for You: Their team of culinary professionals develops fresh seasonal recipes for you to enjoy
4. Advanced Packing Technology: Their modified atmosphere packaging system naturally keeps your meals fresh for up to 7 days
5. Free Delivery Every Sunday: Every Sunday 3-6 pm you will receive your meals in their custom insulated bag with an ice pack
6. Weekly Rotating Menu: They change your menu every week so you can have a variety of new meals week by week
7. 90 Days Workout Plan: They provide weight and cardiovascular training plans synced with your menu and fitness goals, included with your package
8. Save Time, Money: Save up to 10 hours, and $60+ per week, by removing shopping, cooking, cleaning, thus increasing your productivity

Meal Prep Sunday delivered 6 meals to me last week. You’ve probably seen pictures on Instagram.

Steak, Salmon, and Chicken. Yum. Not shown, but gobbled up quickly: An amazing omelet with andouille sausage, veggies, cheese, turkey bolognese with pasta, and a southwestern chicken dish with pulled chicken and southwestern veggies and black beans.

Everything was flavorful, tasty, and easy to re-heat.

One of the things I like about Meal Prep San Diego is that when you sign up, they ask for your age, weight, height, gender, fitness level (how much you are active per week), and what plan you want (build lean muscle, burn fat, balanced, or senior). Meal Prep Sunday San Diego uses these answers to generate a plan that is as unique as you.

They have three plans available.

For restaurant-quality, organic food that is ready to eat in 5 minutes or less and delivered straight to your door, that’s a great price.

The meals change weekly. For those of you who live alone, or if you are finding that you are eating out/getting delivery frequently, a meal delivery service once a week is a great way to save money and eat better.

A steak, mashed yukon potatoes, and green beans is a lot healthier than a burger and fries! not to mention more filling, and cheaper than a trip through the drive-thru.

Meal Prep Sunday San Diego delivered 6 meals to me to facilitate my review. I received no financial compensation. For more information, please see my disclosure page.

Achievement: Stay Active and Donate Your Points to Charity!

I love Achievement. It’s a great way to earn a little extra cash for syncing your fitness tracker! You can learn all about Achievement here and which Health and Fitness Apps are supported.

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7 (1)I received an email this week from Achievement about how you can use your points to help others!

Did you know you can donate your points to charity? Join Achievement in raising donations for these organizations that have made life-changing impacts in Black Communities across the country. In honor of Black History Month, they are highlighting these organizations on Achievement:

And if you are already hooked up with Achievement, Right now is a great time to refer your family and friends! When you refer a friend to Achievement and earn 450 points for EACH friend you refer (max of 20 referrals all time)! Refer a friend, earn points, and join them in amplifying Black voices all month long. Offer ends on Mar 1st 11:59 pm PST.

Disclaimer: if/when you click on my link above and sign up for Achievement, I’ll earn 450 Achievement Points. You can learn more on my Disclosure page.

Virtual Sleep Well Yoga with Jennie Olson Six

My friend and Yogini, Jennie Olson Six is offering an awesome, relaxing 30 minutes of unwinding movement and the rest of the time is a restful relaxation.

You can do this on your mat or in bed and then drift off to sleep!

Most of us miss our pre-pandemic exercise time. I don’t know about you, but I miss the quiet relaxation that yoga provides. It is impossible for me to do yoga in a house full of people (and CAT). Interruptions (mom mom mom mom mooooooom), cat trying to sleep on my mat, even the Amazon Guy knocking on the door- OY VEY.

The best part of this class is that it fits every budget-By Donation or Free
Zoom Link
Jennie has some great tips and more information on other workouts and yoga opportunities for FREE here.

Earn Money for Staying Active with Achievement!

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7 (1)If you are like me, you are looking for a way to stay physically active while gyms and fitness outlets are closed. The kids and I have taken up Pokemon Go- It’s a great way for us to get out and remain active while having something that keeps the kiddos engaged.

I’ve worn a fitness tracker (I have a Fitbit right now) for almost 10 years. I’ve been using Achievement to earn extra cash for tracking my steps and exercise for about 3 years now.

It’s super easy to use: Connect your fitness tracker (see the list below) to Achievement and be rewarded when you exercise, sleep, and log calorie or water intake.

It is non-intrusive, and you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for cash via PayPal, gift cards, or you can donate your earnings to various charities.

I earn $10 in PayPal cash about 4-5 times a year. I usually use it to reload my Starbucks Card.  It’s a nice little perk for being active.

It’s super easy to get started. Click here to sign up! This is my referral link- If you sign up using my link, I earn an extra points.

Achievement is compatible with over 20+ Android and iOS apps (and counting!).

Health and Fitness Apps:

  • Apple Health
  • Daily Mile
  • Expresso
  • Fitbit
  • Garmin
  • Google Fit
  • MapMyFitness
  • MapMyHike
  • MapMyRide
  • MapMyRun
  • MapMyWalk
  • Misfit
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Record
  • RunDouble
  • RunKeeper
  • Samsung Health
  • Stop, Breathe & Think
  • Strava
  • Withings

Lifestyle Apps:

  • A&D Connect
  • Qardio

Social Media Apps:

  • Twitter

Link to research that is done with the information collected: https://www.myachievement.com/research

Keeping Kids Active During the Quarantine!

There are all kinds of ways to get your kids active during the best of circumstances. However, life during the quarantine has proven challenging for all of us.

Chuze-RECT-rgb.jpgThanks to the awesome people over at Chuze Fitness, we can get our wiggles out as a family on the daily.

 On Chuze on-Demand new videos are posted each day, so the whole family will be able to break a sweat without breaking out of the house. This workout series was made in an attempt to bridge the gap when it comes to family-friendly workout videos by providing 20-minute classes designed for both big and little Chuzers to get their wiggles out.

On-screen, instructors lead their kids in stretches and fun movements that feel like a throwback to your own P.E. classes growing up – all you need to participate is a big room and a WiFi-connected device to follow along with. To access these Family Workouts, you can find them either on the Chuze on-Demand website or the Chuze Fitness YouTube page.

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7If this isn’t your cup of tea, or your kids need something that’s just for them here are a few other exercise options:

Go Noodle: Either from their website, or their YouTube Page. There are lots of fun videos to dance along to- we like Kitty High Five, Cat Party, Pop See Ko, and Run the Red Carpet.

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Jaime is a fun Yogini! She leads kids on fun asanas that often follow themes of their favorite movies, TV shows, or games. It’s a great way to make Yoga accessible to kids. We love Star Wars Yoga.

Dance Party: I’ll put on fun, funky, or silly music and the kids and I will dance for 20 minutes. Family favorite songs to shake our tails include anything by Grand Funk Railroad, Thrift Shop by Macklemore, Last Friday Night by Katy Perry, Rock Party Anthem, Uptown Funk, What does The Fox say.

Talk Back: How are you keeping your kiddos active during this tough time? 

Looking for fun for your littles? Check Out Uptown Tot!

I’m taking the littlest one this week for Upotwn Tot!

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When the older kids are away, the little ones will play! Visit Uptown Jungle for a discounted playtime event where the little ones get the entire park to themselves!
Exclusive Toddler Playtime
Ages: 5 & Under Only
When: Wed 10am-1pm (Excludes holidays & school breaks)
Admission: $10. Additional sibling: $5. All parents play free!

And don’t forget- If your kiddos love Uptown Jungle and you visit frequently, consider checking out their memberships! Ifor and a discount code can be found here.

Uptown Jungle: Monthly Memberships Available (and a $15 off deal)!

84129633_2726225264134145_3004108003239526400_o.jpgBoth kids love Uptown Jungle, and I do too. It’s Clean, they have free WiFi, and there is an awesome parents area so I can get work done while the kids play. BUT- I do enjoy pelting the little monkeys with foam dodgeballs on the trampoline too.

For us frequent visitors of Uptown Jungle, the monthly membership is a great bargain. Check it out:

If you’ve got 2+ kids, the family membership is the way to go! For the price of four kids 2-hour admissions, you can take the kids to Uptown Jungle as much as you want all month long!

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The parents lounge

And parents play for free! WOO HOO! If you’ve got a friend or family member who has never been to Uptown Jungle, have them utilize the FREE Buddy Pass!

Oh, but check this out- I know y’all love a deal! I’ve partnered with Uptown Jungle, and they are offering my readers a discount! When you buy a membership here, use discount code HEWES15 for $15 off the first month of membership.

We’ve got our membership, and I plan on taking the kids AT LEAST once a week to get the wiggles out. We hope to see some of you there to bounce and play!

 

 

Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Saving on Entertainment!

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This is one of the most divisive topics I write about. I am completely serious. Television. Specifically- cutting or lowing your cable or dish package to save money.

This is a big bone of contention for a lot of people who ask me how we live on one income. For some people, they “need their shows“ or they “have to” watch the game every week.

Cable and satellite television is expensive, and now with all of the streaming services in addition to cable, it is conceivable that a family may spend upwards of $300 a month on television. That’s JUST TELEVISION! That doesn’t include movie tickets!

Sit down and gather up the cost of each streaming service and/or cable subscription/dish subscription. Where is there overlapping entertainment?

  • Hulu Plus has a live option, which gives you access to sports, and television shows on the same day they air on cable television.
  • If you have cable that includes the Disney Channel, CBS, HBO, or Showtime, is there really a reason for you to pay for the subscription/on-demand versions of those networks?

If you feel like you are ok with changing your television viewing habits, ditching cable in favor for a few streaming options and over the air television which can be viewed with our digital antenna (which is easy to use/install) and is available for purchase for about $50-$100.

Depending on how strong the signals in your area are, you should be able to receive:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS (We get three PBS channels)

There are additional networks that are available in various areas of the county.  Here in So Cal, we also get:

Plus we get a few more Spanish language channels, and one Korean language channel.

Now that you’ve trimmed/cut the cord, what other entertainment do you see/attend/do? We don’t go to the movies too often, but we have a weekly date night budget of $50. I try to get it out of the bank in cash and if we are going out together, we spend it together, but if we are going out with other friends, or staying home with the kids, I give him half.  If we don’t use it one week, we roll it over to the next week!

images.jpgOne of my other main sources of Entertainment is the gym. I try and go at least 4 times per week for at least an hour.  Other places that you can trim and your family budget can include your gym membership. If you don’t require a gym that has the bells and whistles and lots of classes, you might consider changing your full-service gym to a more budget-friendly or discount gym like Crunch or Planet Fitness. Both of them have extremely reasonable rates, but they don’t offer classes or childcare usually.

If you’re looking at something that is slightly more family-friendly, I cannot recommend the YMCA enough! For our family, we pay $69 a month, and that is inclusive of childcare on-site for both children up to four hours a day (two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon as long as there is a lapse of four hours of time in between the two sessions), we can visit any YMCA location in San Diego County, and also have travel benefits if we go out of town. There are free classes for everyone in the family, on various types of exercise from family yoga to family kickboxing to open gym for the kids two-three times a week.

They have great swimming facilities for spring and summer, and the family swim is available year-round in the large pool at our local YMCA. I also like that they have trained people in the childcare/kids club area that know how to work with kids who have special needs, so I never feel like my big kid will be ignored or be feeling out of place. If you are a local and want to check out the YMCA, let me know and I’ll get you a guest pass!

In the past we had some really bad experiences with 24-Hour Fitness. We were also paying a lot of money to go to 24-Hour Fitness (upwards of $120/month Between our membership dues and the cost of the on-site childcare) and I felt like our fitness goals could not be supported because of the lack of support and education with their child care employees.

I also like that the YMCA offers discounted rates/scholarships for military families (active duty and retired), those with low-incomes, or receiving certain government benefits.

As far as kids’ entertainment, our local community library has us covered over school breaks. Between summer reading programs, spring break events, Star Wars Days, Back To School supply giveaways, and Christmas cookie decorating/Polar Express PJ parties. You would be surprised at all of the cool stuff going on at your local library!

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about how you save money on entertainment!

YMCA of San Diego County- Cyber Monday Deal!

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We love our local YMCA- They have great exercise classes, awesome free events for members and the community, open gym for the kids to run and play in the gymnastics area three times a week, an activity pool that is open in the spring and summer, and I could go on and on.

We go to the Y 4-6 times a week for exercise and so the kids can play and socialize- this is a HUGE help during school breaks because the kids club/child watch has great programs and play opportunities- and it’s included in the price of membership. And it’s so much more than the kid’s area at most chain gyms. The folks at child watch and kids club do crafts, lead games, read stories, and teach the kids how to play new games, and take them into the gym area to bounce on the huge trampoline!

Today Only, December 2nd- Cyber Monday, New members pay no joining fee if they join online using our special My Y Code CYBR19. Your friend will save up to $60! And if you are a member and your friend mentions your name at sign up,  you’ll get a free month of membership! If you are going to sign up, mention my name, Abby Hewes. Any way we can save money helps our families bottom line!

For our family, YMCA is definitely frugal: for $75/month, I am able to go to the gym for 2 hours a day and the kids can go to play and have fun. Any of our other local gyms can’t touch that price, and they don’t have the other programs or benefits.

The YMCA offers scholarships and reduced monthly membership fees for military families, families that receive WIC, and many other programs- don’t forget to ask about them!

And if you are the parent of a special needs kid, let me tell you that our local Y has the most wonderful, caring staff that cares for all kids. My big kid is autistic and he loves going to Kids Club to hang out and play. He also loves the monthly Kids Night at the Y.