The past week has been crazy! Running around, having adventures, trying to beat the heat. This week I’m trying to finish up a couple pieces, get some new content researched, and get the house ready for out of town guests who arrive early next week. If you’ve got kids, you feel me on the “It takes a week to get your house ready” vibe.
I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done, so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.
You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.
I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:
Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix). I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.
Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me. The kids will be enjoying free lunches all over the county with free activities and playtime before or after lunch.
For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot (I am picking up my new crockpot this week) in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.
Monday: I won’t lie.. We went to Costco and had pizza and churros.
Tuesday: Leftover Night- There is leftover Spanish Rice, Beans, chicken breasts and salad lurking in the fridge.
I just told the Boy Child and he was so excited about this “holiday”, he almost burst.
July 30th is National Cheesecake day and there are all kinds of awesome deals to help you enjoy:
Cheesecake Factory is celebrating by offering dine-in guests any slice of its more than 30 legendary flavors of cheesecake for half price at all of its restaurants nationwide.
If you are in San Diego, stop by DZ Akin’s for $5.00 Cheesecake slices (and their slices are HUGE).
I personally am most excited about this deal. Their cheesecake is so good, and I will also grab some Matzo Ball Soup to go as well!
If you want to make your own at home but it’s too hot to turn on the oven, I love this Philadephia cheesecake filling in a graham cracker crust. You can top with your favorite fruits, or sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.
It also comes in Chocolate or Key Lime. Check your local grocery store.
If you are watching what you eat and still want to celebrate, I love the Cheesecake Jello Pudding mix. Make it as the directions indicate, or add 1-2 tablespoons of the powder to your favorite protein shake powder and blend with water, ice cubes, and fruit.
Chatting with a friend via Insta yesterday, we were lamenting the “OMG DO THEY EVER STOP EATING!!” of summer vacation.
I’ve never begrudged my kids snackies when they are hungry, but seriously, on days when we are at home, building Legos and watching movies- THEY EAT ALL DAY. I can’t let them rummage through the cupboard and eat whatever, so I started the snack box (for the pantry) and snack drawer (in the fridge).
We’ve had “The snack box” and the “snack drawer” in our kitchen for about 2 years now. In the cupboard, I’ve got a basket like this one. It’s full of various types of treats and snacks. Instead of buying individually bagged treats, I often buy a box of whatever (in the photo below it’s animal crackers) and divide the large box into snack-sized Ziploc bags). It just depends on what is available at Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only on my weekly shopping trip. Those are my go-to snack stores.
The Pantry Snack Box contains shelf-stable stuff: Juice boxes, crackers, chips, dried fruit, fruit snacks, individual Peanut/nut butter cups. I usually tuck a couple bags of microwave popcorn too. Sadly, we have none left. I was informed that I *must* rectify that matter tomorrow.
The Fridge Snack Drawer contains some of the following: Cheese sticks, yogurt, Ziploc bags of fruit or veggies (watermelon wedges, strawberries, grapes, carrots, celery, and jicama are just a few favorites), little cups of hummus, guac, ranch dip (homemade with greek yogurt and ranch dip mix).
The snacks vary by week, and I took these pics today- It’s midweek and they are pretty picked over- I did refill the Pantry Snack Box with stuff from the cupboard. That’s my secret- don’t put it all out at once. I stash the extras in the back of the pantry, where tiny arms can’t reach.
For those who read my blog regularly, you know that my weekly family grocery budget is $80. I spend about $25 of my weekly budget on stuff for the snack box/drawer. Sometimes more, sometimes less. During the school year, the function of these becomes for packing lunches in the morning. The Big Kid doesn’t really like sandwiches, and as he’s a vegetarian he gets most of his protein from nuts/seed butter and dairy sources.
I also keep Go-gurt style tube yogurts in the freezer- Those are mostly for Bitty, Big Kid doesn’t care for yogurt too often.
For the grown-ups, there is a basket in the pantry full of protein and fiber snack bars (Along with other more “grownup” snacks- which are sometimes new snacks that the kids veto after sampling). I get those at Grocery Outlet or 99 Cents Only. Grocery Outlet locations in my area always have a great variety of protein bars, snack bars, and protein cookie (Like these, which are also a hit with the Big Kid, so I have to dole them out) for a lot less than grocery or club stores.
This is how my family keeps everyone fed at home and on budget. I’d love to hear about your family’s ideas to solve this issue.
1st and 15th: Mail out SBKC junk mail envelopes. I process our mail when it all comes in and I put the junk mail in the envelopes as it comes in.
Daily: I spend a little time each day (usually while I drink my coffee in the morning working my points programs. This includes Mypoints (I save all of my Mypoints emails and do them all at once, one time a day). I also check my Field Agent App to see if there are any quick tasks I can do to earn some extra money that day.
As I am notified via email: Paid View Point (some of the surveys are time sensitive- those usually pay extra!), PineCone Research (surveys must be completed 3-6 days upon receiving the email).
Last day of the month: Clean out coupon wallet and removed expiring/expired coupons.
As needed/codes become available: I use the Swagbucks tool bar to do most of my internet searches, so I earn Swagbucks points intermittently with that too. I also order free samples when I see them available online. I’ll be posting about what I do with all the samples coming up.
I try to do as much shopping online with discounts as I can. That means I check with Mypoints and Topcashback to see who is giving the better points/cash back, and I shop online a lot (especially in the summer when I’ve got both kids at home- it’s easier on the budget).
Yesterday the kids and I headed over to Uptown Jungle in Santee. If you haven’t been there in a while (or ever) they’ve got a lot of exciting stuff going on right now!
For those not in the know, Uptown Jungle is an indoor playground with a giant trampoline, super slides, and 2-story indoor Mega Play Structure, Obstacle Course, and climbing walls! So regardless of the summer heat outside, kids can run and play.
The Santee location is going to be getting a makeover soon. The toddler area will be getting a wall-sized Light Brite board (which sounds super cool to me), the Obstacle Course is getting a cool ninja makeover, and the parent’s lounge will be reconfigured!
One of the best parts of Uptown Jungle is that the staff is really great with kids and they try to make sure everyone has an awesome time. The staff helps the kids safely get into the climbing wall harnesses and cheers them on as they climb. The trampoline area switches from little kids to big kids frequently, so everyone gets a turn to play safely.
One thing that really impresses me is that Uptown Jungle has Fundraising opportunities!
Forget selling candy bars, candles, T-shirts, etc. Host a fundraising event at Uptown Jungle and earn 35% of the group’s admission!
I want to share the fun of Uptown Jungle with you! One lucky reader will win 4 90-minute passes to Uptown Jungle. To enter, click here, or visit our Facebook page here (This option may not be mobile friendly).
Talk Back: How do your kids get their wiggles out in the summer?
Thanks so much to Ricky and his staff at the Santee Uptown Jungle for hosting the kids and me yesterday! We had a fun time, and they were exhausted after 90-minutes of running, jumping, climbing, and sliding!