Enjoy the YMCA for free this Thursday!

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Ya’ll know my love of your local Y. This Thursday, July 4th, you can check out any San Diego County YMCA for FREE!  Thursday, July 4 YMCA locations are open 7:00am-2:00pm (Holiday Hours). Childwatch times vary by location, so call ahead or check the branch locations before heading out.

The kids and I will be hitting up the Y to get our wiggles out before heading out to party with family Thursday afternoon!

And if you are looking for a job, many YMCA locations are hiring! Year-round and seasonal positions currently available. Learn more at www.ymca.org/careers

 

Friday Freebies and Deals!

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Free Samples, Food, and Events:

Free Magazine Subscriptions:

When Life Gets Crazy…

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Oh, God.. I won’t lie. I had this entire post written, hit save, and it disappeared. Further proof that life is totally crazy right now.

I’ve got 3 weeks left of school, then (fingers crossed), I will graduate from college after a 17-year hiatus. So, I’ve got a lot of stress right now, between my regular responsibilities, studying, and getting ready for a huge almost weeklong camping event with my friends and a lot of my family.

I wanted to share some tips for how I keep it together when life is just crazy. These may not all apply to you, but they definitely help me.

Ask for help. I’ve been relying a lot on family, friends, and our respite hours through San Diego Regional Center so I can get out of the house without the kids to get stuff done. I love them, but sometimes shopping without them is just easier. Having a few hours alone to study in the library is nice. It’s hard to study when Legos are being played with right next to you.

Keeping to our schedule. Granted, there have been some changes to accommodate my schooling, but we are trying to get the kids to bed at night on time (sometimes that doesn’t happen), and out the door in the morning for school.  This includes my visits to the YMCA 4-5 times a week. I really believe that exercise helps me maintain a positive attitude and helps me manage my stress. I also have been continuing to meal plan, even though I sometimes forget to post it.

Be Flexible. This is a tough one for some of us (myself included). Sometimes life gets crazy, and you need to go with the flow. Sometimes that means cereal for dinner, sometimes it means going to bed the same time the kids do because everyone is tired.

Give Yourself Grace. Remember that this portion of your life won’t last forever. It won’t always be stressful, busy, or this hard.

Do What is Right for Your Family. This one can be hard, especially since we live in the era of Pinterest worthy, social media one-upmanship. I’m a fucking hot mess and I’ll admit it. As long as my family is loved and cared for- that’s all that matters. And sometimes that means cereal for dinner!

 

Talk Back: What do you do when life gets busy/crazy/unpredictable? 

 

$50 off when you join the YMCA!

Ya’ll know how much my family loves the YMCA- when this deal came across my desk, I had to share!

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Spending time with friends at the Y is a great way to stay connected and get healthy at the same time. Please let your friends know that new members in September will receive up to $50to use toward a class or a program this fall.

Stop by the Welcome Center at any Y to find out how to process your referral.

* Terms and conditions apply. Credit value is based on joiner fee paid. Limit one per household. Must join by September 30, 2018. Click here for details.

And if your family is a military family, or you receive WIC, CalFresh/SNAP, or several other kinds of support, you may be eligible for a scholarship to reduce your monthly membership fee.

unnamed (2).jpgIf you are a local and you want to check out the Y, let me know- I’ve got guest passes I can share! Most of the Y locations in San Diego are offering a free day on 9/3/18 to celebrate Labor Day! 7:00am – 2:00pm, everyone is invited to the Y on Labor Day! Join us for an exercise class, a swim or a workout! Note: Cameron Family, John A. Davis and Peninsula Family YMCAs will be closed.

Back on Track for Fall! and a $25 Amazon GC Giveaway.

For most of our kids, school has either started or will start in about a week. I’ve had a rocking summer with the kids, but it’s time to get settled back into a routine for the family. I am a huge proponent of routines for kids. Having one for our family has really helped calm and allay fears of the unknown, which is huge for kids with ASD.

Not that everything has to be exactly the same every day, but knowing what will happen within a time frame gives kids (and some adults too) a certain sense of calm.

I posted at the beginning of the summer about our schedule, and it really helped. Our school year schedule is a little different, but most of our appointments are the about the same time each week.

A few other things that help us keep on track during the school year:

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 8.41.01 AM.pngHaving grab and go lunch items at hand. In the pantry, there is a basket filled with all kinds of lunch/snack items. Crackers, cookies, squeezy pouches, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, cups of PB/other nut/seed butters, pretzels, juice boxes, etc. On the counter we’ve got a trifle bowl (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made trifle in the past 11 years-but… it makes a great fruit bowl), that we will with lunchbox sized fruit: apples, tangerines, and occasionally pears. I keep the bananas separate on a little hook/stand.

I also keep a stash of frozen tubes of yogurt in the freezer, and a grip of cheese sticks either pre-packaged or home-made, depending on which is cheaper, in the fridge. What’ a home made cheese stick? Buy a big block of cheese, grab a large, sharp knife and cut the cheese into hunks resembling commercially made cheese sticks. I wrap them in saran wrap and keep them in a large zip top bag in the dairy drawer.

It takes about 15 minutes to organize the lunch stuff once a week, and it saves me a lot of time each morning.

A Pretty Solid Meal Plan. I’ve posted about meal planning so many times, and honestly, it really does help. I get a lot of magazines in the mail (free of course), and most of them are cooking magazines. I try to add a new recipe into the mix weekly.

Exercise. I know this sounds weird, but, for me, exercise is my me time. We go to our local YMCA, and the kids go to child care for up to two hours. I do an hour of cardio (and catch up on email, Facebook, or bring along a book), then do weights for about 20-40 minutes. It’s a chance to focus on my body and health. Sometimes I grab my travel bag, and toss it into my gym bag with a couple towels and go take a shower after my cardio. Taking a shower without little people interrupting you is one of life’s small luxuries. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to escape a little each day, I encourage you to explore it. 

Coffee. I’m one of those people that has to have coffee every day. It’s part of my daily ritual. I drink at least 30 ounces of coffee a day: hot, cold, heck even room temp., I don’t care. It can even be decaf. I set up to coffee maker before bed, and when we get up in the morning, there is a hot, fresh pot of coffee. And we don’t have a fancy coffee maker either… This is the coffee maker we have.

Giveaway: Let’s celebrate back to school! I’d love to hear about how you get back to it after school starts. Leave me a comment below and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC* here (This link may not be mobile friendly)! I’ll choose a winner on September 4th, 2018. 

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*Winner subject to verification of entry tasks. Winner must reside in the USA. $25 Amazon GC will be rewarded as a digital Gift Code, emailed to the winner.

Why I love….

purple crocusThis year, I wanted to add  a few new weekly posts in. I already have Meal Plan Monday, and I try and post freebies on Fridays.  This year, I’ll be adding in Why I Love… on Tuesdays. Each post will have a Talk Back question. I’d love to hear from you to help make my blog more about what you want to learn about and be a part of.

I’ll be sharing products, services, books, whatever I am into at the time. Starting off, I’ll be sharing my love of… The YMCA.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.41.46 AM.pngWe joined our local YMCA two years ago when Bitty Bird was about 6 months old. What drew me to our local Y was all of the incredible options it held:

  • Child care for 2 hours a day while I exercised, took classes, swam, or just went and took a shower.  There is child watch for kids 5 and under, and kids club for bigger kids. Each area has toys, games, and books, as well as a staff that interacts and plays games with the kids. When the weather is nice, the bigger kids go outside to play field games. When it’s cold or wet outside (or crazy hot- come on, this is a desert), the kids get to go into the gymnasium and play games, do obstacle courses. Both kids love to go. I try to go at least 5 times a week.
  • Great fitness classes included in our membership fee.
  • A great pool with an area just for kids.
  • Our membership includes access to all of the YMCA locations in San Diego, and access to YMCA locations across the country if we go on vacation.
  • Guest passes to bring friends.
  • Free classes and events for kids and the family (Our local Y does a free movie night once a month or so).
  • Free local community days- Usually on holidays, our local Y offers the community free access. It’s a great way to bring friends and neighbors to see what the Y is all about.
  • Free guest passes- I can bring friends whenever I want!
  • Low cost personal training and speciality classes. They offer personal training, TRX, and other specialty classes for a low rate. It’s a great way to get a “boost” to my fitness goals and stay on budget. There are also classes for kids: Gymnastics, karate, tumbling, art-pretty much anything they could want!
  • Scholarships and discounts. If you have an EBT card, receive WIC, SSI, or other social services, or you are active duty or retired military, you can qualify for a scholarship (a discount on your monthly dues), or a military discount.

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.42.45 AM.pngRight now, most YMCA locations are offering deals for the new year.

Join the Y anytime in January and get up to $50 towards any program of your choice! From personal training & swim lessons to summer camps, at the YMCA, there is something for everyone!

For more information and details, contact your local YMCA.

And if you join a San Diego area YMCA, please give my name as a referral: Abby Hewes. I can earn discounts or a free month for referring new members (and once you are a member, you can too!).

I can’t wait to share more about what’s going on in our lives and what we are into.

Talk Back: If you are a member of the YMCA, what is your favorite part?

 

New Year’s Resolution #5 & #6 Exercise & Lose Weight

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Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!
The Number 5 & 6 New Year’s Resolutions on most top ten lists are: Exercise and Lose weight.  I decided to tackle both of these at the same times since they can go hand in hand.

I am not a doctor or dietician.  I will share with you what works for my family, but YMMV, and remember to go to the doctor and get the OK before starting to exercise or diet. Seriously.

#5: Exercise without breaking the bank:  Starting in probably 2 weeks, even before January 1st, there will be ads in the paper, magazines, on the internet and of course commercials on TV advertising free 7-day trial passes for every gym on earth.  Take advantage.  If you haven’t worked at a gym in a long time, or are thinking about joining one, Check out a bunch of different gyms and see which one is a good fit for your goals.  BTW, when those free deals go live, you know I’ll be posting them.

If you aren’t a gym person, check out your local parks. Lots of parks in our local area have special walking loops and even fitness stations (Mast Park in Santee has both!). Other parks in San Diego with fitness/exercise stations include: Mission Bay Park,  Embarcadero Parks North & South, Tidelands Park near the base of the Coronado Bridge as you arrive in Coronado, Hilton Head Park in Rancho San Diego, Chollas Lake Park, and Morley Field (near Balboa Park). If your local park doesn’t have a fitness course, play on the jungle gym or go for a walk!

Luckily in So. Cal. we are blessed with pretty good weather, so outdoor exercise is almost always an option. On those extremely rare days where the weather sucks, try indoor mall walking.  I know, it makes me sound like an old lady, but when it’s cold or rainy, I strap the kiddo in the stroller and we walk a few laps over at Parkway Plaza. A few laps around the mall and I’ve gotten almost 4 miles under my belt! There is also a play area where the kiddo can let his energy out while mama recuperates.

Everything seems to go better with a partner in crime- enlist the help of a friend or family member.  Exercise with a buddy.  Go for a walk, look at holiday lights.  Keep each other accountable!

#6: Lose Weight without losing your shirt.  Losing weight doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Here are some tips, tricks and deals you can use to save while you lose.

Sign up for free websites that can help you be accountable: Spark People is a great site that can help you track your calories and exercise. I also like Map My Run.  It helps you log activities and gives you a rough idea of how many calories you burn when you are active. And you can use it to log all kinds of physical activity, not just running! I also use Achievement– It syncs with your fitness device and you earn points for being active, logging water and food in your device. Points are redeemed for money via paypal.

If you are changing your eating habits, your doctor may recommend that you take vitamins.  And they can be expensive.  Keep your eyes open for sales at the drugstores in January and there will be coupons too!

There will be tons of sales and coupon available in January for healthy foods and supplements!

What are your frugal  tips and tricks for exercise and losing weight?  I’d love to hear from you!