Kids, Schedules, and Summertime!

file000981824153.jpgWe keep to a schedule at our house, even in the summer. I know summer is a time for lazy days, playing it by ear, and fun adventures, but when you have a kiddo on the autism spectrum you need a little structure in your life at all times.

Here is a copy of part of our daily summer schedule, I’ve cut off the afternoons as it contains our therapy schedule, as well as lessons/classes. Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 9.00.47 PM.png

Ok, so first of all, I know you are thinking, “Who the hell gets up at 7:30 during the summer?!?!”, well, us. My kids are usually up by 7:30am in the summer, and that’s sleeping in (ugh, 6:30am, you come too early during the school year).

I’ve included the analog clock  because the big guy is learning to tell time and it helps him visualize on the clocks in the house.

Despite the structure, there is room for creativity and flux. We have freedom in choosing breakfast, what to wear, and there is a 2-hour window of play time, where the kids can do whatever they want: free play, crafts, read a story, watch cartoons.

When my buddy was younger, we frequently went without a schedule, and honestly, I was nuts. Just wandering all day without a plan, I frequently had a headache at the end of the day, and would be dreading the next.  Now we have a loose overview of what to expect each day, and we fill in our time with free or low cost events. Check out your local library branch- they frequently have fun classes or events.

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The menu for El Cajon, CA free lunch locations. Pizza and salad twice a week!

And for some reason, kids are bottomless pits in the summer, we try to check out some of the free lunches for kids a few times a week. It helps keep our grocery budget in check, but most importantly, it exposes the kids to trying new foods, and new experiences.  I try and find out the menus ahead of time and expose the kids to 1-2 new foods per week in an environment where there are peers who already like to eat the “new food”.  When kids see peers eating something that’s new to them, often times they try it, even if they may give mom or dad some resistance. I’m not saying that peer pressure is always a bad thing.

In addition to free lunches, I try to keep our family snack bag well stocked. I tend to visit Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only for most of our snack needs. $25/week is my budget for lunches and snacks for the summer.

I try not to set our schedules in stone- We get invites to hang out with friends, go to events, or maybe some relatives will come out for a surprise visit (who knows). We want the kids to have fun over the summer, and I do my best to make sure they get a balance of fun times, learning, and relaxation.

I’d love to hear about what you do in the summer: Do you wing it, or have a schedule?

 

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More Free Summer Meals for Kids!

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This is an update to this post, which has sites all over San Diego County listed.

I just received this in my inbox this morning!  Here is a great list of East County resources for free lunches for kids- And many sites also serve breakfast too!  We’ll be checking them out in the coming days, and I’ll post pictures (probably on Instagram), so make sure to follow me! Dates vary by location.

I am really excited about Hilton Head Park being on the list- That is a great park with a splash pad (only $3 to use for the whole day), shaded picnic tables, and a fun, sandy playground!

If you aren’t in the San Diego, CA area and are looking for more information on free lunches for kids, check the USDA website here. THe USDA plans to serve over 200 million meals to kids 18 and under this summer!

Comic Con is Coming to San Diego… Are you Ready?

file3411293943936.jpgOk, so if you are new to town, or have been living under a rock for some time, you may not be aware that Comic-Con is coming to town next month! July 19-22 the downtown area turns into a completely different place!

You’ll see your favorite heroes and villains for comics, movies, tv, and cartoons! If you haven’t gotten a pass to comic con, you are probably out of luck, unless you are able to win one (all of the radio stations have contests a few weeks before). Passes sell out fast, but just because you haven’t gotten one, doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on all the fun…

Outside Comic Con has a great listing (and it keeps getting updated!) of all of the fun events around the con. Some are free, and some are not. Some are kid friendly, and well, others are not.

There is usually an area between the New Children’s Museum and the Trolley Tracks that is chock full of fun events and demos, and behind the convention center there has been movie and cartoon screenings on the grassy area.

If you want to wear a costume, here are my tips for doing it on the cheap.  I’m not planning on dressing up for con this year- I’m butt deep in designing and making costumes for Romeo & Juliet!

Regardless of your costume status, my recommendation is to wear comfy shoes, ’cause you will be walking a lot! And bring a refillable water bottle. And a snack (protein bars are great!). And a camera (or really, just your phone these days!).

 

Freebies for Donut Day on June 1st!

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Ok, so first let’s find out why there are two National Donut Days... Thanks Mental Floss.

Now that we’ve figured out that mystery, it’s onto the free donuts….

So far as I can tell, the only place giving away FREE DONUTS with locations in CA and NO PURCHASE is.. Krispy Kreme!

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Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away a free Classic Donut with the purchase of any drink.

There are no Duck Donuts locations in CA yet, but it looks like they are all over the East Coast…  Enjoy a FREE Classic Duck Donut on June 1, 2018 including cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or bare. NO purchase is required!

There are plenty of location, regional chains and independent Donut shops that participate too!  If you know of one, please leave a comment!

Free Meals this Summer for Kids!

file0001360139839.jpgI’m still pulling together resources and lists, so I’ll be posting more resources as they become available.

School will be out within a month for most kids in San Diego, and that means there are some parents (and kids) who usually rely on free or subsidized school lunches may find themselves wondering what to do.

Thankfully, a lot of great organizations have stepped up and partnered with local area schools, libraries, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer.

You can search here for a list of California Department of Education sites that offer free meals (some sites offer breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks).

Some Library sites offer lunch too! Here is a complete list of areas that offer free lunches or snacks.

Some County of San Diego Library Locations offer lunch or snacks. Here is a filtered list for the month of June. Most libraries have a print calendar each month available that can be picked up with more info. The El Cajon Library on East Douglas has a really great lunch program in the summer with a fun activity/craft afterwards.

San Diego Unified School District has partnered with some awesome sponsors to host the Sumer Fun Cafe 2018 all over San Diego County! Lunch will be served at over 30 locations all summer for kids 18 and under! The kick off Summer BBQ (with free lunch for adults too) at Skyline Hills Park 6/20/17 10:30am-2:00pm! There are all kinds of activities too!

What I love about this program is that there are tons of rec centers hosting these lunches and they are usually adjacent to a playground, which means after a long morning of playing, the kids don’t have long to wait to get a yummy lunch!

Looking for a few ideas of summer fun with a nearby lunch?

If you know of more summer lunch programs for kids in San Diego County, I’d love to hear about them! Please leave a comment!

Free and Low Cost Summer Movies for the Family!

One of my favorite things about Summer Vacation is that lots of businesses and parks get into the fun of summer with free and low cost movies!

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.55.08 AM.pngRegal Cinemas has $1 movies all summer! Each location has a different schedule, but the same movies. Here is the complete list and your closest location.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 11.58.02 AM.pngSummer Movies in the Park is an awesome summer long event that takes place all over San Diego County in various city and county parks. There are lots of great movies for kids and families to chose from!

Santee Lakes will be hosting Movies and More at the Lakes all summer long! The event is free, but park admission is $10 per carload during the event. If you go in earlier in the day and just play at the park, it’s $6/carload. The first movie is on June 22nd, and it’s Lego Batman! Here is the calendar with all of the events taking place at Santee Lakes all summer!

 

Which movie are you looking forward to seeing with your kids this summer?

Freebie Friday!

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We’ve been busy getting ready for our camping trip next week, but I am sitting long enough to share these awesome freebies!

Free Subscription to Redbook Magazine

Free Redbox Game, DVD, Bu-ray Rental

Free MAKEbreak Celebration Slime Event at Michaels

Free Sample of Garnier Whole Blends Oat Delicacy

Target Baby Registry – Free Welcome Kit In-Stores

Free Subscription to Sports Illustrated

Free Sample of The Republic of Tea Tea Bag

Free Father’s Day Event at JCPenney

Free 2-Year Subscription to Midwest Living Magazine

Free Just Because Greeting Card at Hallmark

Free Larabar for Kroger & Affiliates

Free Red Bull at 7-Eleven

Free The Original MakeUp Eraser

Complimentary Subscription to Real Simple Magazine

 

What is your favorite freebies this week?