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?

 

Advertisements

Tie Dying: Family Fun!

I love to tie dye! It’s a great way to give clothes that may have been stained a new life. Since I get most of our clothes from clothing swaps, I often find really cute light colored kids clothes with minor stains.

Well, and when you’ve got kids, a lot of stuff ends up with stains, and not just their clothes, I have several shirts that I had to tie dye to cover little people stains from dirty hands and faces rubbing on my during hugs.

There are a lot of tie dye kits available at your local craft store, but what they don’t tell you is that the dye in those kits doesn’t last.  We used this kit last year and the remaining shirts we have have faded to very light pastels. So, if you want to do some awesome, vibrant tie dyes, I recommend using Procion Dyes like the ones Dharma Trading sells.

I also have cultivated an Amazon Store with all the stuff you will need , including a kit that contains Procion Dyes- All you need is a bag of Urea and the kit is ready to dye! Procion dyes are best for Cotton, ramie, hemp, rayon- Natural plant based fibers (not linen- that stuff is a bear to dye).  If you have blends with synthetic fibers (like polyester, acrylic, lycra), the color will not be as vibrant. Anything less than 50% natural fiber will end up being pastel.

Since Tie Dying can be a little intimidating, let’s break it down. In addition to your dyes and chemicals…

You will need:

  • A big open space (We use my parents backyard)
  • 2-3 6 foot tables covered in protective plastic (tarps or trash bags work well)
  • 1-2 Large Buckets (5 gallon buckets from Home Depot are great)
  • Access to warm water
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons (I recommend plastic ones)
  • Plastic bags or plastic wrap (to cover up /wrap up garments after they have been dyed)

Here is my pinterest board with tons of great folding techniques and patterns. You are ready to fold and tie once you’ve selected your garments and laundered them without fabric softener. I love incorporating marbles, canning jar lids, clamps  to make tie dying more interesting.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 8.19.02 PM.png
Folded, tied, and zip tied!

Once everything is folded/tied and secured (either with rubber bands, zip ties, or cotton string), it’s time to mix the washing soda and hot water. 1 cup of washing soda per gallon of water.  Mix together in the buckets, and soak the tied garments for 15 minutes-1 hour. The washing soda raises the pH of the garments allowing the dye to be more readily absorbed.

Washing Soda is NOT BAKING SODA.  Washing soda is caustic and will hurt you if you submerge your hands in it. Wear gloves when you handle it. Wring out the garments after soaking so they are damp, not dripping.  You can keep using the same water for your entire session.

While your garments are soaking, mix up your dye.  The most dye will come directions, but remember to mix your water with Urea. 1/4C of urea to 1 quart warm water. Urea helps the dye dissolve and remain mixed. It also helps the colors stay vibrant.

TIME TO DYE! Once your soaked garments are wrung out, it’s time to apply the dye. If you aren’t sure which colors will look good together, Get a color wheel. It will help you with color placement too. When you tie dye, colors will run together, so using complementary colors will help your garments look better when they are finished.

Remember to apply dye all sides, and if your garment is bunched up a lot, you may need to squirt dye between the folds to make sure the dye penetrates all of the layers.

Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 8.13.21 PM
Bags and bags of baby onsies!

After the garment is dyed, place it in a plastic bag, or wrap it up in plastic wrap. You want to lay the item flat.  Let the garments sit for 24 hours (or over night), rinse the garments one at a time under cool water until most of the water coming from our garment is clear or a very pale. Then remove the binding (rubber bands, zip ties, string).

Wash completed garments with Synthrapol. It’s laundry soap that binds the color molecules to the fabric and sheds the dye that is not bonded. Once you wash the finished garments with Synthrapol, the clothing won’t shed dye or rub off on you, you can use your regular detergent from then on out. I also throw a couple Color Catchers in the wash too for good measure.

Once your garments are dry, the are ready to wear! I use the word “garments”, but you can also dye fabric, bed sheets, even pillow cases.

Here is some of the most recent stuff I dyed:


Tie dye shirts make great gifts! You can also tie dye socks- That’s what Bitty Bird is getting in her Advent Calendar this year!

I have utilized Amazon links within this post, prices can change at any time, and I may receive a commission when you click the links to Amazon and purchase items linked. Commissions help cover the costs associated with blogging.

Holiday Resources For Those in Need

thanksgivingturkey.jpgIt’s getting to be the season of giving, and for some families there isn’t the means to give this year. For some families there isn’t the means for a sit down family meal either.

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

Here are some resources for those in San Diego County who might need some help.

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Meet the Need at Faith Chapel has a lot of great events coming up to help you get through the holidays:

  • 11/19/: Faith Chapel is giving out Food Boxes and Turkeys starting at 10:30am.
  • 12/3: Meet the Need’s first Sunday event will be featuring a limited number of free Christmas trees in addition to the usual free lunch and bag of groceries.
  • 12/17: Faith Chapel will be distributing toys to children in need after the 10:30am service.

Feeding the Flock and several other ministries are sponsoring a Thanksgiving food box (turkey included). More information and sign ups can be found here.

You can also find local food banks/pantries from AmpleHarvest or by calling 211 in your area.

Toys 4 Tots is a well know toy charity, however their deadline to request toys is early November. If you missed the cut off, there are a few San Diego based toy charities that can help out.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has 4 San Diego area events on December 9th. Toys for Joy is open to all children and families and no registration is required. One free toy will be given to all children attending the event ages 0 – 11. Free lunch will be provided in addition to free entertainment, kids activities and giveaways. All four locations have free groceries and one location has free gently used clothing available.

We Care Toy Drive provides 750 toys to local San Diego area kids. You can learn more by visiting their website.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 8.09.41 AMThe Closet on 54th has a great free clothing closet you can shop at once a month, they also have a free food pantry that is open three days a week. You can find more info on their Facebook page here.

 

 

A Review: What’s up with Restaurant.com?

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 10.29.17 PM.pngFor those who have never used Restaurant.com, but hear me extol it’s virtues, hear is how it works.

You purchase a discounted gift certificate (make sure to check the cert for restrictions, such as a minimum purchase amount or mandatory gratuity ) for a local restaurant.  You have a year from the date of purchase to use it.

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 10.29.09 PM.png

Here is an example of how to use the certs to your advantage.

Cafe XYZ- Certificate for $15.00.  Terms of cert: $15 off  the purchase of $30 or more.  Mandatory 18% gratuity.

  • The check comes to $30.00
  • Mandatory grat. 18% $5.40
  • Minus Cert amt. -$15.00
  • Total New Bill: $14.60
  • Gift Certificate Cost $6.00, but thanks to coupon code REAL, you save 50% off the certificate making the total $3.00 for the Gift certificate.

The price for this complete meal is $17.60 (that includes the cost of the certificate).  The total amount saved $12.40.

They offer discounted certs in smaller amounts too.

ABC Cafe- Certificate for $25.00.   Terms of the cert: $25.00 off the purchase of $35.00 or more.  Mandatory 18% gratuity.

  • The check comes to $35.00
  • Mandatory grat. 18% $6.30
  • Minus Cert amt. -$25.00
  • Total New Bill: $16.30
  • Thanks to coupon code REAL, you save 50% off the certificate making the total $3.00 for the Gift certificate.

The price for this complete meal is $19.30 (that includes the cost of the certificate).  The total amount saved $15.70.

There are always coupon codes for http://www.restaurant.com/ on Retailmenot

Brick or Treat at Legoland California

_EP_5609.jpg

It’s that time of year again!  Time for Brick or Treat at Legoland, and Henry is so excited!

BOT_PumpkinBuild_LLF_secondary.JPGBrick-or-Treat Party Nights is every Saturday night until Halloween (Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, & 28). Besides yummy treats at Trick or Treat Stations (with more than one million pieces of candy), there are tons of other fun to be had!

  • Live entertainment + new shows!
  • Character Meet and Greets
  • Costume Contests: Group, LEGO® Theme, Most Creative
  • Heartlake City Fall Festival with Pumpkin Patch Build and craft time with the LEGO Friends
  • The AstroBash Dance Party
  • Brick-or-Treat Party Nights Pop Badge Challenge

We’ll be going up on the 14th to check it out.  I’ll be posting photos on Instagram throughout the day, so make sure to follow me!

IMG_9497.jpg

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special event and admission can be purchased for as low as $49 if purchased online in advance. New this year, guests can purchase a full second day Resort Hopper ticket to enjoy LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Special event ticket holders can enjoy costume contests, trick-or-treating at candy stations filled with tasty goodies and other surprises, festive music and live entertainment. LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE aquarium are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on select dates throughout October and LEGOLAND Water Park is open weekends 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. through October 29. With special event admission to Brick-or-Treat Party Nights on September 30, October 7, 14, 21 and 28, guests can extend their day until 9 p.m. at both LEGOLAND California and SEA LIFE aquarium to enjoy all of the Halloween festivities-plus- add on a second day Resort Hopper ticket to extend the fun all weekend long. For exclusive savings and more information, visit www.BRICKORTREAT.com or call 760-918-5346.

Carry your Big Kid with Free Loader

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 8.56.02 PM.png
TA DA!

Last month I posted that we were going to test out a new baby/kiddo carrier now that Bitty Bird isn’t so Bitty any more.

We took the FreeLoader to her birthday party, and Daddy wore her while the kids played and frolicked on the play ground (Bitty was getting tired of walking and running at this point- She needed “Daddy uppies!”).

The Freeloader is awesome for bigger kids.

  • Carrying capacity: 25-80 lbs.
  • Minimum Age: 2 ½ years
  • Standing height: 33″-50″ tall
 Per Mr. Hewes (The hus-bear), the Freeloader is lightweight, easy to take off and put on. I will add though, it’s a two person job getting your kiddo strapped in.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 8.55.41 PM.png

Bitty had an awesome time (She is screaming “Whee Daddy!!” in this photo) being strapped into the Freeloader. It has a 5 point harness that snaps at the child’s back.

It was pretty warm that day, but thankfully the back of the carrier is open back in design and air flows through pretty well.

It’s got a chest buckle, and ergonomic waist strap. Combine that with the nice, comfy padded straps, The Freeloader makes carrying bigger kids easier.

We offered Lil’ Man a ride, but he declined. He was too busy having adventures in the creekbed.

The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more! See more at http://www.myfreeloader.com/ and find Freeloader on facebook.

Thanks to Freeloader and the great folks at USFG, you can save on your Freeloader! Freeloader FUN with the Family – 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” Take your children on the adventures of their dreams!

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 8.55.52 PM.png
Daddy, come on! Time for adventures!

Thankfully, the Freeloader is lightweight (5.8 lbs) and folds up flat- It’s going to be a staple for our late summer and fall adventures into nature! It fits in Miss Sally (My Nissan Versa) with tons of room to spare! It travels well too!

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 9.15.04 PM

Oh, and for those who are curious, Bitty Bird had a Batman Birthday Party. She loves 1965 Adam West Batman. We all wore Batman shirts, and I made her a full circle skirt from Batman printed cotton. She had on a crinoline under it.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 9.18.46 PM
Photo by Clicks by Christine/Christine Boyce

And of course, the only picture of me, is me and Bitty getting into the cooler to get the kids more water! But I’m wearing a Batman shirt!

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 9.14.50 PM.png

Toddler and Child Wearing with Freeloader!

freeloaderYa’ll know I love to baby wear…. Well, Itty Bittums isn’t so bitty anymore and we have had to pass along some of our smaller carriers to new homes. I am sooo looking forward to checking out the new Freeloader!

freeloader3The Freeloader is the First Child Carrier Built Specifically for Toddlers! It is a new, better child carrier. Compact, lightweight and portable, the Freeloader child carrier uses advanced materials and design to create a better experience for parents who love spending time with their kids. Whether you are traveling by air, going to the zoo, or hiking with your little ones, the Freeloader is ready to help carry the load. When not in use, the Freeloader’s integrated aluminum seat folds up neatly to the size of a daypack. The Freeloader is a perfect fit for parents that want a lighter, more versatile carrier. The Freeloader features an easy-to-use, 5-point safety harness. The safety harness is specially designed to fasten securely and safely out-of-reach of your child.
11063893_436296996539685_3379109432765157363_nThe Freeloader provides wide, ergonomic shoulder and waist straps to evenly distribute your child’s weight to your hips and core. The contoured shoulder straps are adjustable and provide extra padding for comfort and support. Padding in the back panel and seat offers extended comfort for your child.
The Freeloader is small enough to carry-on and stows away neatly, making it perfect for air travel, road trips and more! See more at http://www.myfreeloader.com/ and find Freeloader on facebook.

Thanks to Freeloader and the great folks at USFG, you can save on your Freeloader! Freeloader FUN with the Family – 10% off your Freeloader Child Carrier when you enter the code “freeloaderfun” Take your children on the adventures of their dreams!

I’ll be receiving my Freeloader in a few weeks, testing it out, and I’ll report back with my thoughts, as well as some pictures and even a video or two!

 
@usfg