Looking for Frugal Fun for Christmas? Check out Neighborhood Light Displays!

file2901261162927.jpgIt’s back… We’ve already been through a few areas, and Henry is itching for a big cuppa Cocoa from Starbucks and a ride in Miss Sally (my car) to go check out all the lights in ONE NIGHT!

We love looking at holiday light displays, and I’ve noticed more neighbors than in past years are putting up lights all over east county! If you want to get out and check out the sites (and lights), here are our favorites:

EL CAJON, 92021

  • Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun 6-10 pm. There is usually a Nightmare before Christmas house, but we didn’t see it the other night. Henry was bummed.

LAKESIDE, 92040

  • 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. Nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1-25, 5:30-9 pm. Most of the houses on this street are very well decorated with lights and moving displays!

SANTEE, 92071

  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Through December 26th, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular! You can park and walk through. There are neighbors selling cocoa, coffee, popcorn, and cotton candy. If you walk, take money with you! Starlight Circle even has a facebook page!
  • 9773 Roe Dr. 27,000 Christmas lights dance to 10 songs over 128 computer channels. Food Bank and St. Jude donations accepted. Dec. 3-Jan. 2. Sun-Th, 6-10 pm and Fri & Sat, 6-11 pm.www.DBChristmas.com It is very impressive!
  • I haven’t been by to see if it’s up this year, but in years past…. If you love South Park, after you stop by Roe, cruise down Lake Canyon Drive (in the 9400 block, East of Carlton Hills Blvd) and check out the Woodland Critter Christmas Display.

 

We pack the kids into the car after dark with cocoa and snacks and head out for a drive. It’s a fun way to spend time together, and it’s pretty frugal!

What holiday traditions do you want to share with your kids?

 

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Fun Free Easter Events in San Diego!

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Looking for some fun this week to celebrate Easter? I’ve been combing the internet looking for some fun to share!

Here are just a few of my favorite free or cheap San Diego Area events! Most are Easter specific, but there are a few that are just good spring fun!

Meet the Easter Bunny, and hunt for Eggs at Lake Murray Playground this Friday, the 14th! I am sponsoring this event. We’ll have lots of fun for all kids!

Spring Eggstravaganza in Santee. This is a very busy and very popular east county event! It features continuous egg hunts for ages 8 & under, pony rides, crafts, inflatables, petting zoo, carnival rides and games, and more. April 15, 9 am-3 pm. Ride/activity tickets $1 each (cash only). You can park outside the lakes and walk in, otherwise entrance to the park is $6/car. Santee Lakes, Lake 5, 9310 Fanita Pkwy *Get there early to avoid the rush. We used to go when Lil’ Man was smaller to this event, but there are just too many people for us.

If you are going to be in Mission Valley, check out the free monthly craft at the Lakeshore Learning store! For ages 3 and up 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 15 at 7510 Hazard Center Drive (San Diego)

Grossmont Center, La Mesa is hosting an egg hunt for all ages, costumed characters, face painting and a train display. Free event. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. April 15.

A lot of the Rec Centers around San Diego are hosting events on Saturday. Here are just a few!

FREE Spring Egg Hunt at Adams Recreation Center. Egg scrambles, face painting, crafts, music and more. April 15, 10 am-12:30 pm. Bring a basket. 3491 Adams Ave., San Diego. http://www.sandiego.gov; 619-235-1149.

FREE Egg Hunt at Morley Field Sports Complex. Also, games, arts and crafts, egg toss, sack races and cake walks. April 15, 9:30 am-noon; egg hunt at 11 am. 2221 Morley Field Dr., San Diego. 619-525-8262.

FREE Eggs & Goodies at Pacific Beach Recreation Center. Egg hunts plus a 40-foot obstacle course, a bounce house, arts and crafts, and face painting. April 15, 1 pm. Returned eggs will qualify participants for special goodie bags. 1405 Diamond St. For details, call 858-581-9927.

FREE Torrey Hills Egg Hunt. Also, crafts, music, jumps and face painting. April 15, 9-11 am. Torrey Hills Community Park, 4262 Calle Mejillones, San Diego. 858-552-1687.

Louis A. Stelzer County Park, Lakeside 10 – 11 a.m. event April 15 at 11470 Wildcat Canyon Road, 619-561-0580. There may be a $3 parking/park entrance fee per vehicle.

 

Looking for Frugal Fun for Christmas? Check out Neighborhood Light Displays

One of the family traditions I want to carry over from when I was little is driving around to look at Holiday light displays. And for those of us in San Diego, we’re in luck!

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Bitty Bird, Excited to see the Sesame Street decorated house at Starlight Circle!

Here are our favorites, addresses and info courtesy of San Diego Family Magazine.

Here is a link to the original PDF so you can print it off and take it with you!  It’s got addresses and more info.

We’ve already visited most of these east county locations:

EL CAJON, 92021

  • Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun 6-10 pm. Our favorite is the Nightmare Before Christmas House!

LAKESIDE, 92040

  • 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. Nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1-25, 5:30-9 pm. Most of the houses on this street are very well decorated with lights and moving displays!

SANTEE, 92071

  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Dec. 17-26, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular! You can park and walk through. There are neighbors selling cocoa, coffee, popcorn, and cotton candy. If you walk, take money with you! Starlight Circle even has a facebook page!
  • 9773 Roe Dr. 27,000 Christmas lights dance to 10 songs over 128 computer channels. Food Bank and St. Jude donations accepted. Dec. 3-Jan. 2. Sun-Th, 6-10 pm and Fri & Sat, 6-11 pm.www.DBChristmas.com It is very impressive!
  • IMG_0879.jpgIf you love South Park, after you stop by Roe, cruise down Lake Canyon Drive (in the 9400 block, East of Carlton Hills Blvd) and check out the Woodland Critter Christmas Display.

 

We pack the kids into the car after dark with snacks and head out for a drive. It’s a fun way to spend time together, and it’s pretty frugal!

What holiday traditions do you want to share with your kids?

Have an awesome time at Medieval Times!

 

Ok, so a few weeks ago, I wrote about Medieval Times.  Right now, they have an incredible deal, CLICK HERE and use this exclusive promo code MT3629 through 2/17/17 and receive Adults for just $36.95 and children (12 and under) only $29.95.

That’s an incredible deal! Dinner at Medieval Times would make a great gift for the little knights or maiden on your gift giving list!

Lil’ Man and I headed up on Sunday with our friends, and we had a great time!

IMG_0694.jpgWhen you enter the King and his chancellor speak and knight the birthday kids, you can grab a drink at the bar (they have non-alcoholic drinks too!), and check out the horses while you wait for your show to start. Here we are sitting on the Royal thrones! Lil’ Man loves making goofy faces!

(BTW, yes, his shirt says Property of One Awesome Mom)

IMG_0703.jpgThe food was cool! You eat off metal plates and bowl with handle, no silverware (I snuck plastic spoons in- I didn’t want the kids to melt down because they couldn’t eat their soup).

We sat in the Red & Yellow Knight’s section, hence the weird orange tint to the photo of our dishes!

The show starts after you are seated (You are “sorted” into cheering sections as you enter the castle). The knights are introduced and food service begins.

The King’s feast includes garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, sweet buttered corn, herb-basted potato, pastry of the Castle (Lemon pound cake for us!) and beverages. It was great! Our server was so cool.

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Overall, the show was great- so much excitement and drama. The kids were riveted for the entire show. They almost didn’t eat because of how much they enjoyed the show.

There were a lot of people celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events.

But really, no one ever needs a reason (or excuse) to visit the King’s Castle at Medieval Times!

If you don’t live in Southern CA, fret not! There are locations all over the country!

 

San Diego Fire Rescue 5K & Kids Run October 8!

SDFRF_5K_medal_finalI am so excited to share this great event with you all!

Fire danger is real here in San Diego, and as a result, San Diegans have a special affinity for Firefighters and other emergency workers. To help these firefighters train and continue to hone their skills, The San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation is proud to sponsor the San Diego 5K & Kids Run.

The event is on October 8, 2016- It’s also a great way to kick off Fire Prevention Week!

The San Diego Fire Rescue 5K & Kids Run is for everyone and offers several divisions including:

  • 5K Run/Walk,
  • 5K Run/Walk Stroller Division,
  • 5K Public Safety Division,
  • 1-mile Kids Run and a 100 meter Sparky Sprint

Firefighters will run along with participants and meet them at the finish line to hand out finisher’s medals.

Families, the community and race participants can also enjoy the interactive Fire Safety Expo. The Expo features firefighter demonstrations, SDFD specialty divisions including Bomb Squad, Hazmat and Heavy Rescue. Also present will be Sparky the Fire Dog, San Diego Project Heart Beat, CERT San Diego, San Diego Lifeguards, SDG&E Fire Safety House and more.

Race Details:

When:  Saturday, October 8, 2016   First Race Start: 8:30 am

Where:  Embarcadero Marina Park South 200 Marina Park Way San Diego, CA 92101

Admission:      Entrants may sign up online hereI have a special for my readers,  Save $5 off your entry fee with coupon code: SDFIRE5K 

  • $40 – July 1 through September 11
  • $45 – September 12 through October 1
  • $50 – October 2 through October 7
  • $25 – 1 Mile (Kids ages 6 – 12)
  • $10 – Sparky Sprint (Kids ages 3 – 5)

Entry fee includes: race shirt, drawstring goodie bag, custom finisher’s medal, access to the safety expo and beer garden (21+). Individuals, families, and kids are welcomed participants. Awards will be presented for first place male and female in each division!

As the course is very flat and stroller friendly, we’ll be walking as a family, and I’d love to see readers out there as well! If you participate, please let me know!

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Family Fun this weekend at the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering 2016!

SDFSE-EXPO-Day-IMG_9641-Photo by Melissa JacobsHenry informed me the other day that he wants to be a farmer scientist. We’ve started our garden of tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, lavender (to encourage bees to visit our garden), wild flowers, and a succulent. Henry really wanted to have a cactus garden, but I worried about Birdie being around pokey plants once she’s a little bigger and able to play outside on the patio.

I am super excited to take him and Bitty Bird to the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering 2016 down at Petco Park on Saturday, March 5th.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., we’ll be there at 10 on the dot. Henry is excited to get hands on with all kinds of experiments and fun! There are scheduled to be more than 130 local businesses, corporations and organizations providing interactive, hands-on science, technology, engineering and math exhibits and activities to budding K-12 science lovers.

New EXPO Day Features for 2016:
  • The Recycle Challenge: Are you familiar with the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? Are you into technology, creativity and want to help keep our planet green? Well, the blue bin isn’t the only place for your recyclables. With a little imagination and craftiness you can turn your “trash” into awesome works of art! In this Star Wars-themed challenge, students in grades 5 to 12, will convene in teams of four to design, build and present a wearable garment or innovative device out of recycled materials to wear in the Star Wars Universe! Student inventors will then present their creation and explain how they built it and/or where in the Star Wars universe it will be utilized.
  • K-Zone: Looking for a place where your youngest scientist can unleash their natural creative ability in a setting where they are free to touch, explore, and participate in whatever their developing minds can come up with? The K-Zone is a place where budding tinkerers can come and explore numerous activities guaranteed to nurture and engage their active minds. Go ahead and let them run free, they just might change the world. (this is where we’ll be for most of the day, I’m sure!)
  • TedXKids@ElCajon Take The Stage: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. This local version will showcase the passion and potential of our children! Organized by the Cajon Valley Union School District, these students offer a unique platform to share their ideas. Connect with our future leaders, and leave inspired. Come see samplings of their talks throughout the day on the Dugout Stage!
  • Student Designed Merchandise: Come check out the winners of our STEM Design completion. This year we’ve got sizes for the whole family and newly featured women’s racerback tank tops! Pay tribute to our local student artists. The Festival continues to work hard to keep all items very family affordable with nothing over $10! The merchandise tent is located inside Park at the Park – check it out and get your awesome Festival gear to wear all year long!
  • Star Wars – Steampunk Universe: The two fastest expanding creative universes, Star Wars and Steampunk, will converge at the Star Wars – Steampunk Universe booth, just inside the Gaslamp Gate entrance. Learn how to salvage your everyday watch and bicycle gears, vintage brass plumbing parts, industrial revolution steam era antiques, old leather and lace into personal visual expressions of your love of the Star Wars saga. Come by and take photos with the Star Wars – Steampunk Universe crew. Kids will also be able to participate in a fun coloring activity. Booth attendees will also learn how Star Wars – Steampunk Universe turns “Cosplay into Cause-play,” combining their love of dressing up and participating in charity and community events.
  • Bright Idea Society Alley – Powered By ViaSat: No need to scour the map, our Bright Idea Society winners this year will all be gathered together in their own row inside park at the park! The three winning schools include Olive Elementary, Feaster Engineering Charter, and Dragons 5229 Boys & Girls Clubs. Come be fascinated by these young minds and let them teach you!

If you are looking for a fun, free event to take your kids to this weekend, check out the Festival! I hope to see you there!

Cutting the Cord: Going without Cable

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Disclaimer: This money saving strategy isn’t for everyone- I’ll admit it. If you HAVE to watch “your shows” or sports games and they aren’t available to stream on the TV channel’s website (FOX, CBS, NBC, and AMC have tons of their shows streaming on their site), this won’t work for you.

We don’t have cable.  Never have. Mr. C watches sports over Antenna TV or he’ll go to the gym and spend time on the treadmill or StairMaster while he watches football!

In my area, cable tv (with Cox Cable) is $61.99/mo for the cheap-o plan.  It’s usually on special for less, or you may get a discount if you bundle it with your home phone (we don’t have one!), but after any introductory rates have expired, the monthly price is $61.99/mo at a minimum.

So, in the 10 years we’ve lived together, we’ve saved roughly $7500 by not having cable. That’s A LOT of money.

There are a few things to consider:

If you want to cut the cord, before you call your cable company and tell them to shove it consider this. How old is your TV?  If it’s older than 3 or 4 years old, you’ll need a digital convertor box.

Why?  In 2009, the FCC made the switch from analog (over the air) TV to digital TV to free up analog airwaves for emergencies.

So if you have an old tv, plug it in and flip the channels, you’ll get static because your TV can’t access the digital airwaves without a convertor box. Convertor boxes run between $40-$60 and can be purchased anywhere that sells electronics. You need one convertor box PER television in your house that is over 3-4 years old.  If you are unsure if your TV has the convertor internally, check online or call the company that manufactured your TV.

Pick up a convertor box.  But you’ll still need one more thing.

An Antenna.  Not a pair of rabbit ears.  Newer antennas plug into your television, and the wall (yup they have an amplified signal, so you’ll get more channels!), and they hang on the wall. You’ll need one for each TV in the house.

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This is what ours look like, it’s a slim, shiny back box that hangs on the wall. They run anywhere from $45-$90 (depending on what type you get)

OK, so Convertor box (if needed)-Check!

Antenna– Check!

Now your are all set.

The directions that come with the antenna will tell you how to set it all up and find your local channels.

Now, you can call the cable company! Remember to return the cable boxes and remotes so you aren’t charged any extra.

Now the next question I get is: How many channels will  I get?

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

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS
  • V-me (Spanish PBS)

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.

So- the take away is this: depending on how many TV’s you have in your house, and their age, you may spend a few hundred dollars up front to get all set up, but you may be paying a few hundred dollars a month on cable or the dish.  It will pay for itself in just a few months.

You won’t get ESPN or MTV or any of the other eight million other channels. But, you’ll get more quality time as a family.

We’ve never had cable. We’ve lived together for 10 years, and we’ve lived with broadcast TV (over the air with an antenna and converter box), Netflix- Streaming only (a gift from hubby’s parents!), and we have a HuluPlus subscription (at a whopping $7.99/month).

We’re not addicted to TV.  We watch Netflix or a show or two on Hulu at night, and Little Man and I watch PBS in the morning for Sesame Street and many other educational cartoons. We read, talk, or play games while most people are glued to the tube each night for 4-5 hours. We go for to the gym, or for a walk as a family.

 What would you do with an extra $700+ per year? What would you do with the extra time you could have not being glued to the TV each night?