Stretch your Grocery Budget with Free Produce Distributions!

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This list is only central, south bay, and east county locations. North County locations can be found on the Neighborhood Distribution Program website.

It’s a pretty common complaint that kids eat A LOT during the summer. There are lots of causes: Increased activity, change in schedules, and let’s face it- kids just eat a lot. This can increase a families grocery budget at a time when they are already spending extra money on activities for their kiddos.

I have a possible solution! Check out the San Diego and North County Food Bank Neighborhood Distribution Program! From their website, “The Neighborhood Distribution Program distributes food to thousands of individuals and families once a month at more than 20 different sites throughout San Diego County.

Distributions take place in our nonprofit partners’ parking lots. The majority of the food distributed consists of fresh fruits and vegetables which is part of the Food Bank’s Nutrition Initiative to provide healthy, nutrient-rich food to our clients.

Neighborhood Distribution Program sites welcome anyone in need of food assistance. I.D. and documentation ARE NOT required, and there are no income or asset restrictions for this program.”

You may be wondering, “But what do you get?” Well, one of the distribution points, Faith Chapel in Spring Valley posts photos on their  Meet the Need Ministry Instagram page!

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White onions, red potatoes, watermelons, honeydew melons, oranges and Washington apples were available today. And it’s not just a few of each. Each person who came through got a bag of white onion, a bag of red potatoes, 1 large watermelon, as many honeydew melons as they wanted, a bag of oranges, and a dozen apples.

This produce is often “ugly” or considered an “allowable second” (a production term used in several industries for an item that is functional but may not be perfect looking), but it’s always tasty and nutritious.

If you’ve got hungry faces that need food this summer, I recommend stopping by your local distribution at least once this summer. If you aren’t in the San Diego County area, check with your local food bank for Neighborhood Distribution Program.

Don’t forget that there are tons of free summer lunch locations all over the state of CA (for more info on San Diego locations, check out this post). Text FOOD  (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.

And if you need further help, here is a post with food resources in San Diego County. If you are outside San Diego County, Feeding America has a really great Food Bank Locator.

 

Talk Back: What is your kids favorite summer snack?

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?

Photo Freebies & Deals, Just in Time for Mother’s Day!

Three weeks until Mother’s Day, and there is still time to make a fun, frugal photo gift for the mom (or grandma) in your life.

Ya’ll know how much I love photo gifts- They are perfect for our family that lives all over the country. We don’t see them much in person, except for the weekly FaceTime chats, so photo gifts are a great way to stay connected.

If you want to send a photo in a frame, Free 8×10 Photo Print at CVS (chose the pick up at the local store to save on shipping costs). You can score a great frame at Michael’s or Joann’s with one of their coupons- which are plentiful online and in their apps.

York Photo is offering a 5×7 Softcover Book for FREE from York Photo (just pay shipping- which starts at $4). I love these type of photo books because they are the best size for grandmothers to stick in their purses and pull out to show all their friends.  Use Promo Code: Soft5x7 at checkout!

If the mom/grandma in your life is more of a mug person, York Photo is offering a Free 11oz. Ceramic Mug. (just pay shipping- which starts at $6). Use Use Promo Code: FBHOT at checkout!

 

 

 

Canvas People  has a great deal: Receive your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas or get 65% off any other size Canvas from CanvasPeople, just pay shipping.

 

Order your FREE 11×14 Custom Canvas from Easy Canvas Prints, just pay shipping.

Upcoming Clothing Swaps!

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It’s time to start cleaning out the closets, dressers, and drawers! My favorite clothing swap is this weekend!

I love clothing swaps- it’s a great way to get gently worn clothes and other goods (I love looking for linens and new accessories), and get rid of the clothing your kids have outgrown.

The Skyline Swap is scheduled for March 30, 2019. I’ve got it in my calendar and I’ve started the bag of clothes to swap! It costs $2.00 to get in, kids under 12 are free. I have two huge bags in my garage ready to go!!

Porchlight Community is hosting a Clothing Swap on April 27th at their office in Clairemont.

And if you’ve got kids, Bethel Christian Assembly in Alpine is hosting a kids clothing, toy, and gear swap on June 8th.

And as always, here are a few other clothing resources:

Naomi’s Closet is located in Santee, and they provide clothing and toiletries to women in need.

The Sonrise Church in Santee has a clothing swap too! One for kids clothes, and another for women’s clothing. Miss Charity’s Closet & Little Blessings Boutique 2nd Saturday of every month at 9:00 am Contact Charity Murphy for more info clmurphy71@gmail.com

If you are looking for a group that hosts clothing swaps more frequently, check it out the Thread Bumpin’ Meet up Group. They host a monthly swap in OB area.

And Finally, the Closet of 54th isn’t a clothing swap per se, but they do help those in need with new to them clothes. They are open once a few times each month. You can find them on Facebook. They are located at the Calvary Lutheran Church, 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA. Contact The Closet at thecloseton54th@gmail.com.

 

Talk Back:  I’d love to hear about other San Diego area clothing swaps that you know of! Favorite swaps and/or what your best score has been!

 

2019 Upcoming Clothing Swaps!

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It’s that time again- Clean out the closets and dressers and get swapping! I love clothing swaps- it’s a great way to get gently worn clothes and other goods (I love looking for linens and new accessories), and get rid of the clothing your kids have outgrown.

The Skyline Swap is scheduled for March 30, 2019. I’ve got it in my calendar and I’ve started the bag of clothes to swap! It costs $2.00 to get in, kids under 12 are free.

Naomi’s Closet is located in Santee, and they provide clothing and toiletries to women in need.

The Sonrise Church in Santee has a clothing swap too! One for kids clothes, and another for women’s clothing. Miss Charity’s Closet & Little Blessings Boutique 2nd Saturday of every month at 9:00 am Contact Charity Murphy for more info clmurphy71@gmail.com

Not strictly clothing related, there is the San Diego Really, Really Free Market. They also meet about once a quarter in various areas around town.

Also not strictly Clothing Related, but one of my favorite give back orgs is the Buy Nothing Project. There are chapters all over the US, and we have a few here in San Diego.

If you are looking for a group that hosts clothing swaps more frequently, check it out the Thread Bumpin’ Meet up Group. They host a monthly swap in OB area.

Trendy Trade hosts events all over the West Coast at various times throughout the year.

Don’t forget Freecycle. Do a quick google search for Clothing swap + the name of your city.

And Finally, the Closet of 54th isn’t a clothing swap per se, but they do help those in need with new to them clothes. They are open once a few times each month. You can find them on Facebook. They are located at the Calvary Lutheran Church, 3060 54th Street, San Diego, CA. Contact The Closet at thecloseton54th@gmail.com.

 

Talk Back:  I’d love to hear about other San Diego area clothing swaps that you know of! Favorite swaps and/or what your best score has been!

Meal Plan Monday 3/5/18

file000738334533.jpgSpring Break is just 2 weeks away and Henry is asking daily if it’s “Time for Spring Adventures” yet. I tell him not yet.

Even though he’s got school each day, I try and plan an adventure for him, it can be as simple as a walk at Walker Preserve or making cookies (these Justice League sugar cookies have been a recent hit).

The reason my Meal Plan Monday is so late today is that we had our daily adventure after school today. After school I treated the kids to Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake. By The Way… The pieces are HUGE. I know have three half decimated pieces of cheesecake in the fridge. We’ll be eating cheesecake for days!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Pancakes and applesauce.

Tuesday:

  • D: roasted chicken and veggies- I’ve got tons of marinated chicken in the freezer. I’m trying new combinations of veggies and chicken roasted in the oven. Onions, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and garlic have been popular together.

Weds:

  • D: Black Bean Soup, cheese toast, and fruit salad 

Thursday:

  • D: Cheese quesadillas, beans, rice, and green salad

Friday:

  • D: Date Night

Saturday:

  • D: Family night in- Not sure yet, maybe home made pizza?

Sunday:

  • D: Chef Salad/leftover buffet. I love chef salad because you can just put whatever you’ve got in the fridge in the salad.

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

 

Ralphs Free Friday Download: Chobani Smooth!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 8.16.21 PM.pngThis week, you can download an offer for a two pack of Chobani Smooth!I love Greek Yogurt, and I can’t wait to try this kind!

If you are new to Free Friday Downloads from Ralph’s, here is more info about how it works:

WHAT IS FREE FRIDAY DOWNLOAD? An exclusive benefit to having an account online at ralphs.com is FREE products (yes, we said FREE!). When you download the free product coupon, it will be loaded directly to your Shopper’s Card and applied at checkout in-store.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Visit this page on Fridays

DOWNLOAD the digital coupon for the free product (make sure to download between 12:01 am and 11:59pm PT). View the coupon under ‘My Coupons’ in your account online or in the mobile app.

You have two weeks to redeem this coupon in store! Pick up the product at your local Ralphs store and digital coupon will automatically apply at checkout.

Don’t forget to check out the Kroger affiliate in your area, if you don’t have a Ralphs. There are usually freebies for all of the stores!