Porchlight Community Services

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 11.02.54 PM.pngFor those of you who have read my blog for a while, you know that food insecurity is a cause near and dear to my heart.

In San Diego County, one in seven families experience food insecurity. Food insecurity means you’re not sure where your next healthy, nutritious meal is coming from. It means you probably don’t have extra cans in your cupboard, or that you need to be more than just a little creative when it comes to cooking that a few days before payday.

Food insecurity is an issue that I feel very strongly about. No one should be hungry, and no one should have to eat mass-produced, poorly made, food devoid of nutritional just to fill their belly. Quality, nutritious food should be available to anyone and everyone at an affordable price.

That is one reason I am so excited to share with you today about an awesome organization in Linda Vista called Porchlight Community Services.

Porchlight Community Services is different from a lot of other food organizations in that they are a food rescue organization. They work with produce distributors, grocery stores, and bakery to rescue food that is otherwise destined for the dumpster.

Next time you’re at the grocery store take a look at all the fruit, all the produce, all the baked goods. The likelihood of all of those items will sell before their pull date is slim.

So when items are pulled off the shelf prior to their expiration date, they are frequently thrown in the trash. That trash heads to the landfill. Grocery store, bakeries, food distributors do not compost their unwanted food. Food rescue agencies like Porchlight Community Services pick up the food (that is still good, by the way, pull dates are usually arbitrary, and only affect the appearance of the food, not it’s quality or viability). They then take the food back to their offices where it is gone over to make sure that it is still quality, and edible. And it is been distributed to families who support Porchlight Community Services mission.

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 11.14.09 PM.pngProduce that can not be distributed (it’s leftover at the end of the event), is often donated to neighbors with animals, or local animal organizations. Once again, eliminating food waste and helping others,

Some of the companies that donate to Porchlight Community Services include Ralphs, Boudin Bakery, Wal-Mart, Starry Lane Bakery, and California Produce.

Porchlight Community Services is not your average food bank or pull date co-op. There is no minimum or maximum amount of money your family needs to make to participate. Some people who shop at Porchlight do so because they believe in the mission of keeping food out of landfills (like my family- it hurts my heart to see perfectly good food go to waste). Some people go to Porchlight Community Services because they are in need of wholesome nutritious groceries that fit a specialized diet (like Gluten-free or Dairy-free) but can’t afford to shell out money every week or two for the costly groceries at a mainstream grocery store.  Some people are in a tight spot and need to stretch what little money they have until payday.

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An example of past food items available

Distributions are usually held weekly. You can find out about upcoming events here on their website, or follow them on Facebook.

All funds that are raised go towards paying rent and utilities- to keep the Mission of feeding others going. 

If you are interested in helping Porchlight Community Services, they are always looking for volunteers to help unload food as it comes in on distribution days, organize and stock shelves, refrigerators, and freezers.

They also need help volunteering with event prep- setting up tables and bins.

This might be a good opportunity for girl scout troops or other civic organizations! Contact Porchlight Community Services here to find out about more volunteer opportunities.

 

 

National Night Out- Tomorrow!

Screen Shot 2019-08-05 at 10.43.32 AM.pngTomorrow, the first Tuesday in August is National Night Out.

Most communities in the US and Canada hold this event. It started in 1984 as a way to increase community awareness about police, safety, and anti-crime programs in communities.

Some communities use this night as a chance to have a festival, carnival, cook-out, or block party.

My local community is having one! Santee and Lakeside are co-hosting an event at Santee Trolley square. If you are looking for your local National Night Out event, check the National Night Out website here.

I’ll be taking the kids- They love events like this. Our local first responders have their vehicles open and the kids can explore the fire trucks, ambulances, and police vehicles. The last event we went to like this, The Big Kid got to check out the SWAT Vehicle and try on SWAT gear. I find that this kind of accessibility is great for little kids like Bitty, so she isn’t scared to approach a first responder if she is in need. It’s very useful for the Big Kid because some kids with ASD take things they are told literally. He would refuse to talk to a stranger if he needed help or was in danger because it’s drilled into kids heads at a young age. Meeting first responders and receiving reinforcement that they are NOT strangers, they are HELPERS gives him the reinsurance he needs that it’s ok to seek help in an emergency, especially if I am not around, or if I am the one who needs help.

 

Recipe: Pesto Chicken Bake

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That’s Basil, the key ingredient in Pesto

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a couple weeks, but with summer vacation and the kids needing to see me, talk to me, touch me every.moment.of.the.day….. I’ve been a little behind.

This is so easy, so tasty, and so cheesy. And it works with almost every dietary restriction:

If you are vegetarian but omit the chicken.

If you are Gluten-free, substitute GF pasta for what’s the recipe.

If you are vegan, use your favorite vegan “cheese”. And remember to check the pesto- sometimes commercially made pesto contains cheese!

Pesto Chicken Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Pesto (I Like Costco’s Pesto) If you want to make it yourself, I like this recipe.
  • 1 Box Farfalle Pasta. I like Banza– It’s made with chickpea flour and is high in protein.
  • 1 T. Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 C. chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces. You can also use rotisserie chicken.
  • 2 c. cheese, divided- I like Italian Blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with spray release and set aside.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions, drain pasta and toss with butter/oil.
  4. Mix Pesto, pasta, cooked chicken and 1 cup of cheese together.
  5. Pour mixture into baking dish.
  6. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and browned (approximately 20 minutes).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving with crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish or 8-10 as a side. This is a great dish for potlucks!

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Yum! 

7/17/19- National Hot Dog Day!

Today is National Hot Dog Day! Let’s celebrate with a couple yummy deals!

If you’ve got a Weinerschnitzel nearby, stop on by for 5 chili dogs for just $5! (Original Chili Dog only, must order in multiples of 5. Cheese extra, today only)Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 7.35.44 AM.png

 

Screen Shot 2019-07-17 at 7.36.17 AM.pngFeeling more like a Sonic Drive-in Coney?

Open up your Sonic App, and use promo code YUM for $1 6-inch Chili Cheese or All-American Dogs all-day*. And don’t forget when you order via the Sonic App, it’s half-price happy hour** all the time!

*$1 Dogs: Includes 6″ Chili Cheese Coney and All-American Dogs. Tax not included. Add-Ons cost extra. Limit 5. Valid only July 17, 2019 at participating SONIC® Drive-Ins. Not valid with Combos or any other offers. Not valid with third party delivery services.

**Happy Hour Any Time: Get ½ Price Drinks and Slushes Every Time You Order Ahead in the SONIC® App. Includes Soft Drinks, Iced Teas, regular Lemonades and Limeades, Frozen Lemonades and Limeades, Ocean Water® and Famous, Real Fruit and Candy Slushes. Add-Ins cost extra. Excludes Mini size, Ice Cream Slushes, Combos, Wacky Pack® Kids Meals and other offers. Discount based on menu price. Order Ahead available only at select locations. Offer good for a limited time only at participating SONIC® Drive-Ins.

The Bravest Knight Comes to Hulu 6/21/19!

unnamed.jpgI am digging all the new content that Hulu has been putting out lately. I’m super excited about THE BRAVEST KNIGHT

Following the inspiring and perseverant former pumpkin farmer, Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, The Bravest Knight recounts personal tales of his journey. Sir Cedric shares his story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia, on how he transformed from day-time farmer to full-fledged knight. Nia, who is training to become a brave knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion; proving that knighthood is much more than slaying dragons.

You can catch the trailer here.  As a family that participates in Historical recreation (via our local SCA group), it’s important to me that my kids learn that knights and other chivalrous people do more than slay dragons, and a knight isn’t always a man. And my kids know that a family is what you make of it- Mommies, Daddies, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins- Every family is different and important!

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The show boasts a star-studded cast including T.R. Knight as “Sir Cedric,” Bobby Moynihan as young Cedric’s troll sidekick “Grunt,” Storm Reid as Not-Yet-Knight “Nia,” and will also feature the voice talents of RuPaul, Christine Baranski, Wanda Sykes, Wilson Cruz, Teri Polo, Steven Weber, Donna Murphy, AJ McLean, Dot-Marie Jones, Maz Jobrani, Chance Hurstfield and more.  The Bravest Knight’s opening theme song was written and performed by Grammy-nominated musician, songwriter and activist Justin Tranter.

My littlest has watched the trailer over and over and she is so excited to watch all of Nia’s adventures. The bigger kiddo has mamas ear for voices and has already told me he recognizes some of the voices from some of his other favorite shows- Bobby Moynihan, Wanda Sykes just to name two!

If you don’t have Hulu, you can sign up here– In addition to The Bravest Knight, you’ll be able to watch thousands of shows and movies on Hulu, with plans starting at $5.99/month for 1 year.

Dave & Busters: Unlimited Fun on Thursdays (and More Deals)!

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-08 at 8.42.51 AM.pngDave and Buster’s is hooking you up right now!

Unlimited wings, Unlimited video games* for just $21.99 every Thursday!

This is a perfect deal for date night, or just an escape from the usual.

If this isn’t something that appeals, the Eat and Play Combo is also a great deal.

I recommend joining the Dave & Buster’s Rewards Club.  I love taking the kids during the summer when we get coupons.

  • $10 FREE Game Play with $10 game play purchase for joining
  • MONTHLY EMAIL SAVINGS and a first look at what’s new (the past few months it’s been deals like $20 free when you load $20 on a card!)
  • EARN $10 FREE Game Play for every $100 spent in-store
  • PROTECTION for lost or stolen cards when registered online
  • 24/7 ONLINE ACCESS to your Power Card® or Power Tap® chip, ticket and Rewards point balances

 

*All You Can Eat Wings promotion is valid one per person, per seating, in store only. Valid for limited time only while supplies last. Unlimited video game play is valid on day of purchase for non-redemption games ONLY and excludes ALL ticket redemption and Virtual Reality games. Not valid with any other offer. Pricing varies by location. Other restrictions apply. See store for details.

 

Summer Fun on a Budget!

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It’s here again… Summer Vacation. Soon we shall hear the sounds of sighs, the boredom, and the wailing about how there is nothing to do or eat.

Ya’ll can feel me, right? Ok, so here are some ways to beat the boredom without breaking the bank.

Kids Bowl Free All Summer! Just pay for bowling shoe rental!

Free Summer Lunches for kids– Lots of locations have events or activities nearby, so you can have fun and have a free lunch!

The splash ground at Santee Lakes is GREAT! It’s only $2.00 per kid to play and if you park outside the Santee Lakes, you don’t have to pay to park! Take a picnic and it’s a great frugal outing! We go at least once a week in the summer and it’s always
a GREAT time!

The Santee Lakes hosts free summer movies throughout the summer.  If you park your car outside the gates (there is lots of street parking!), there is no cost of the movies.  If you drive your car into the park, it’s $8.00 per car, regardless of how many ppl are in your car.   Bring a picnic and some blankets and kick back for a fun family movie!

There are a bunch of municipal pools in San Diego that have open swim times, and a couple that have splash pads!

Most San Diego, CA area YMCA locations have fun events for kids a few Saturday nights per month. Our local Y does Kids Night at the Y twice a month. It’s only $20 per kid (Just a little more if you aren’t a member), and your kids go have fun for 4 hours. It’s cheaper than a sitter and a lot more fun!

Speaking of the YMCA- Most locations have pools, splash pads, or other aquatic fun, entrance is included with YMCA membership. If you aren’t a member, entrance fees are just a few dollars (it varies by location).

Balboa Park still offers Free Tuesdays at various museums in the park.

San Diego County Libraries have story time and various kid events each week.  I love taking the kids to the Santee library story time!

El Cajon, La Mesa, and Escondido all have classic car shows/rallies each week that are free.  Most have free live music too!  Check out some sweet rides, cool tunes, and have a fun frugal night with the fam!

San Diego County has great parks, as do most of the cities in San Diego County! Our favorite parks include Big Rock Park in Santee, Kennedy Park in El Cajon, La Mesita/Junior Seau Park in La Mesa, Harry Griffin Park in La Mesa (great for little kids).

If you’ve got a Starwood Managed Mall Near you (We do- It’s Parkway Plaza), check out their fun kid’s events each month called: MallStars.  There are different crafts, games, and sometimes even snacks for the kids (10 and under) to do! Times and locations within the mall vary, so check with mall management.

Talk Back: What kind of stuff do you do to keep your family entertained for free?