Clean Out Your Closets, it’s SWAP TIME!!

Ya’ll know I love me a good Clothing Swap. If you are a San Diego, CA area resident, there is a great swap coming up on the 29th of September.

Skyline Church in La Mesa is hosting it’s twice a year swap, and boy am I excited! I’ve been cleaning out our closets, dressers, and every space that we store stuff.

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I even cleaned out my trunk to make room for all of the new stuff we’re taking home!

In addition to clothing, they also accept housewares and all kinds of other stuff, so I’ve been going through the kids bookshelves to take along any books they may have outgrown or any duplicate books.

We’re dropping stuff off next Thursday afternoon. I’ve always got extra items, so if you’re a local and want to come but you don’t have anything to swap, let me know!

If you can’t make this swap, but want to learn more about future swaps all over San Diego County, Check Out Thread Bumpin’– It’s a Meetup.com group, especially for clothing swaps. It’s free to join. If you are new to clothing swaps, check out my post here all about them and why they are so cool!

Finally: If you are in need of clothing, but have nothing to swap, two good free clothing resources in San Diego are The Closet on 54th (Men, women, and children’s clothing) and Naomi’s Closet (only women’s clothing).

Talk Back: Have you ever been to a clothing swap? What is your favorite part?

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Smart Games & Tryazon: Enjoying STEM with Friends!

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Getting the gang back together!

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I, along with some friends and their moms got together at a local park to explore some fun STEM based games from Smart Games.

I invited my home schooling friends, along with other moms that are like me: always looking for educational and fun games and opportunities for kids.  What I love about the games from Smart Games is that they are fun- the kids didn’t realize that the games were educational. The kids took turns playing Penguins on Ice, which was the overall kid favorite. The moms liked Quadrillion the most, and we all took turns playing it with the kids and each other.

While the games are one player, the kids all worked together, which was great to see. There are no batteries needed, none of the games make sounds or have flashing lights, so it’s all about imagination and working it out. The Younger kids gravitated towards Trucky 3, which is a great visual puzzle game with larger block and little trucks.

The other crowd pleaser was Color Code, which quickly was also popular with the moms.

Color Code was also the game that we gave away- I love that Tryazon and Smart Games sent us 4 games to try out and keep, and I love sharing with friends- So I try and give away at least 1 item at each party I have.

It was a perfect, educational afternoon! There was a lot of giggling, play time, and learning.

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Working hard on making a pattern.

If you want to learn more about Smart Games, their website is full of great information.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received the games free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we do get to keep the games!

 

It’s Freebie Friday!

8101f95433a1458fa8c2371f3b11b849.jpgIt’s Friday, and that means it’s time to celebrate making it through another week with some cool freebie offers! Here are just a few of my favorites from the past week:

Free Samples:

Free Magazines:

Free Food:

Pinecone Research: Get Paid $3 per survey!

Screen Shot 2018-09-07 at 8.13.21 AM.pngPinecone Research is my favorite survey company! Right now they are looking for new panelists! Sign up to take surveys and earn $3 per survey from Pinecone Research. They only send you surveys you qualify for- no wasting time doing lengthy qualifiers.
I’ve earned over $50 this year just from Pinecone Research!
 
Only users who fit into one of the 3 demographics below will qualify: Males (regardless of age), All users aged 18-24, and all users that identify as Hispanic.
 
Pinecone will send you an email notification when you have a survey available. Complete the survey and earn points to be redeemed for either cash or prizes. Occasionally, they will send you a product to test, too.
If you are looking for other ways to earn cash, here is the list of side hustles I do. 

Get Out and Play at The Nat!

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Recently the kids and I got to preview the Natural History Museum’s latest interactive exhibit, The Backyard. Even though Henry is 7, he still had a great time playing and exploring. He loves the Nat, it has all the things he loves about nature (dinosaurs, animals, plants, and bugs).

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.21.55 PM.pngInspired by a quintessential San Diego backyard patio, The Backyard is packed with experiences that encourage curiosity about the natural world including, a shade tree, live animals, a potting bench, a giant ladybug, stepping stones, a pergola-covered reading nook, a garden bed for infant tummy time, an urban nature soundscape, and more.

The Backyard contains interactive activities and objects that instill a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world.

Exhibition highlights include:

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.22.05 PM.pngA garden bed (ages 0-2): Modeled after a self-contained garden area, this enclosed, soft space is separated from areas designed for older toddlers and preschoolers. It is an ideal area for infants to work on tummy time, rolling over, and sitting up. Within this space, older infants have an area to practice crawling, walking, and grasping different textures.

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Dinos enjoy The Backyard too!

An old oak tree (ages 2-5): Children will embody imaginative, dramatic, and realistic play as they dress like familiar backyard animals, crawl on a giant ladybug, and gallivant around an old oak tree. Self-directed play can take many forms as kids build block structures, color mix on the light table, and uncover hidden sounds and live animals in the garden wall.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 7.22.11 PM.pngA potting shed (ages 2-5): Adults can relax and recharge on plush bench seating with free WiFi and a charging station while kids exercise fine motor skills and build imaginations as they create and pot flowers, read books, solve puzzles, and sort shapes. The Potting Shed area has a great selection of kids books (that are available in the gift shop as well).  Henry and I loved the dinosaur books!

The Backyard is located behind the cafe on the bottom floor of the museum. Entrance to The Backyard is included with your museum ticket. In addition to the fun exploration for the kids, there is a new 3-D movie at The Nat called Backyard Wilderness:3-D. It’s all about the beauty and natural wonder that is around us- even in our own backyard. The kids loved it, and Henry has been asking for us to “get into nature” so we can explore more.

If you haven’t been to The Nat lately, its completely different! With lots of great exhibits all about the natural history of San Diego/Southern California, there are lots of exhibits at kids level, with hands on and interactive learning stations for kids. Margaret loved the Coast to Cactus in Southern California exhibit. There were lots of hands on activities and cool stuff to look at at her eye level. Henry enjoyed the Fossil Mysteries exhibit, and of course, Unshelved.

We’re going back to The Nat soon, I hope to see you there!

Chick-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day is coming!

Are you ready? Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A is coming up on July 10th! The kids love it, so we are prepping to go. You can check out my past post here with how you can DIY a quick costume with stuff that you may already have around the house.

It’s easy to score a free Entree at Chick-Fil-A on 7/10/18:

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Anyone who goes into Chick-Fil-A wearing any sort of cow apparel will receive a free entrée on July 10th.

Children wearing anything cow-like will receive a free Kid’s Meal.

I’ve been saving the treats (I’ve got a free fries and a free fruit cup, and a free White Peach Tea Lemonade) on my Chick-fil-a app to use on the same day- So lunch will be free for all of us.

I’ll be posting pics of our adventure on Instagram, I can’t wait to see yours as well!

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?