2021 Holiday Resources

I usually do these types of posts before Thanksgiving, but I’ve been looking for as many resources as possible to help those in need.

Much like last year, there aren’t a lot of free events, and most resources are stretched thin, as 2021 was as hard as 2020 for a lot of families.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Toys for Joy will not be holding their annual event this year, instead, their site sends you to other resources such as The Rock Church for food, and The Salvation Army for other additional resources. The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.

Sunday, December 19th, 2021 from 11am-2pm  is the annual H.O.P.E. event hosted by New Vision Church. Every child ages 0-11 will get a free toy! This is an all-free family fun event filled with free toys, carnival games and prizes, a live petting zoo, big bike giveaways, food, haircuts, jumpers, arts and crafts, live performances, DJ, and a whole lot more! The event will be held at both New Vision Church and Colina Del Sol Park and Recreation which is directly across the street. The entrance is at 5310 Orange Ave., San Diego, CA 92115.

Hope Leadership Academy is hosting an Event, Toys for Hope on December 18, 2021,9:00am – 1:00pm at the King Chavez School: 415 31st St. San Diego, CA 92102. Toys for Hope will be a walk-thru experience this year! Free toys for kids 13 and younger, free groceries, and bike raffles!

211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in just a few days, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any free local events, please leave a comment. 

Cute Holiday Dresses from DressLily!

Christmas Sale I know the official holiday season doesn’t for about a week, but I wanted to share some of these cute holiday dresses from Dresslily.

I have a bunch of dresses and home decor (tapestries) from Dresslily. They are of decent quality, especially when you factor in the price.

Right now they have a few deals going on:

  • All new shoppers receive 15% off their first order.
  • When you spend over $79 (which is pretty easy), you can choose FedEx shipping for free.
  • While they are size-inclusive (up to a size 5x/24), please be aware that because these dresses are made overseas, their sizing may seem off. Trust their sizing charts and order via their sizing chart, not what size you usually wear in American stores.

Here are a few of my holiday favorites:



DressLily also has cute accessories too. I’ve picked up a couple cute scarves (which I’m sure one or both of the kids will steal).  Regardless of what holiday you celebrate this winter, Dreslily has something cute and festive!

Daily Schedules for Kids (with tips for ADHD Family Members)

Recently, I posted our daily schedule for school days on Instagram.

Because the littler kiddo is still learning to read, I do a combination of words and pictures. I find that it also helps as sometimes when kids become disregulated, reading can be a little too much for our brains.

The Afternoon/Night section doesn’t have times because while bedtime is at a fixed time, it is important to grant the kids some freedom in the afternoons to relax and decompress from school. After being “on” all day at school, I like to give them 30 minutes to an hour after school to have a snack and relax without any kind of demands put on them.

There are of course times when that is not possible, for example when we have appointments immediately after school. Having a schedule for them to see really helps them organize and be aware.

Having two neurodivergent kiddos, it’s important to have visual reminders of schedules, family rules, appointments, etc. around the house. Each kid has a calender in room that is updated monthly with upcoming appointments, days off school and holidays. Updating those each month is something I do the first day of each month. I use stickers in addition to writing to help remind the kids of upcoming events on the calenders.

With Neurodivergency sometimes comes what we call “losing time”. The concept of time can be hard for kids to grasp, regardless of their neurodivergency. Another way that we help keep the kids on schedule is to use the old theater trick where we give them a one hour “call”, a 30 minute call, a five minute call, and then a time to go call. Grown ups call out, “One hour until X”, and the kids answer back, “Thank you one hour!” Making them repeat the amount of time they have left until we leave or transition activities puts it in their mind that whatever they are doing/playing/watching will come to an end.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about the tips and tricks you use to keep your family on schedule!

 

 

 

New Years Resolutions: Are We Even Doing Them for 2021?

Seriously… Can we skip them?

I know a lot of people who feel like they have to do them because of traditions, or it helps them feel like they are in control. If that is you, awesome! You do you.

If you are on the fence, feel like it might cause you more stress than it’s worth, it’s ok to skip New Years Resolutions or anything else that causes undue stress. We all have enough stress right now.

If you want to do them, I did a round-up of the top ten NYR in 2018 (for 2019) here. Some of the links within the articles may be outdated, but if you are looking for something specific, please feel free to reach out to me either via email or via Instagram or Facebook.

The one end of year/new year tradition that I do is to buy 4 new calendars: One for the kitchen, one for my bathroom (next to my vanity), one for each of the kid’s rooms. I update them all monthly with appointments, birthdays, and holidays. I usually buy a calendar with the daily silly “holidays” on it for the kitchen. I bought this one for 2021.

You will probably start to see more posts from me (and my helpers), as one of my plans (not resolutions) is to start posting more now that I am able to have a pretty solid daily and weekly routine.

If there are topics that you would like to see or learn more about, drop me a message. I’ve got a lot of fun and good stuff planned (like quarterly Amazon Gift Card giveaways), and I’m going to continue sharing savings tips and deals, and of course crafts and recipes!

 

 

 

 

Holiday Recipe Round Up!

Most of us are home for the holidays, and that means that we are at home cooking.

If you are looking for some new recipes to tempt your taste buds, here are a few of our family’s favorite holiday recipes:

 

Special Meal Distributions at Grossmont Union High School District Locations!

A few weeks ago two friends told me about the free meal distributions at the Grossmont Union High School district locations. I knew that the schools were offering them, what I didn’t know is that each Friday the schools give out a free pizza for the kids.

It’s roughly the size of a pizzeria medium-sized pizza. They offer cheese or pepperoni, your choice, and in addition to that, you receive veggies, a quart of milk, fruit, and breakfast items for the weekend! This is a great way to treat your kiddos to pizza, especially if it isn’t in your budget.

Like all of the other free kids lunches right now, there is no paperwork or enrollment, just show up at the school during lunch service times. 

They’ll ask you how many kids you have between the ages of 2-18 and give you the appropriate number of lunches. The high schools tend to give out better food in my opinion, and they tend to have more options (which is great if you have picky eaters or vegetarians).

We stopped by West Hills on Friday to check it out (I’m always down to investigate stuff for you guys!), and the lunch ladies handed out this flyer.

On December 21, 2020 all locations are handing out the supplies for a free Pot Roast Dinner: Stew Meat, Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Flour, Butter. Additionally, fruit and danishes will be included for breakfast!

On January 4, 2021 all locations are handing out the supplies for a free Carne Asada Dinner: Diced Carne Asada, Rice, Beans, Tortillas, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro, Jalapenos. Additionally, fruit and Pan Dulces (Conchas) will be included for breakfast!

And if you are looking for other food resources to help you through the holidays and beyond, here is my post about free food locations and organizations (I recently updated it, so there is lots of new info).

2020 Holiday Resources

2020 has been, quite frankly, a kick to the balls for so many of us. I’m posting holiday resources now, and I’ll be updating with as many other resources as I find them to help y’all out.

With all of the CDC recommended safety measures and well as local and state regulations to help limit the further spread of COVID-19, many of the programs that I have written about in past years have been changed or altogether eliminated.

If any of these programs look like a good fit for your family, I urge you to apply ASAP. There is a greater need for assistance this year, and many of these programs are spread thin.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out if any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

A Facebook friend posted this link a few weeks ago, Operation Santa 2020 is a group I am not entirely familiar with, but it looks like they will be helping out some families this holiday season. Nominations for Operation Santa 2020 close on 11/6/2020 (that’s this Friday), and there are two requirements:

  • Operation Santa is only considering nominations for families with reliable contact information, whether it be email or phone number.
  • Nominated families must reside in San Diego County to be considered.

If you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The dates for turning in completed applications starts this week (Tomorrow to be exact). You can find specific information here.

Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 1.53.34 PM.pngToys 4 Joy has served San Diego County families for over 20 years. Because of COVID-19, they are unable to host their amazing events. One of their main sponsors is The Rock Church. I would recommend contacting The Rock Church to see if any of their locations will be hosting a toy or food giveaway for the holidays.

The Salvation Army also has programs to help families during the Christmas Season. You can find out more here.

Toys For Tots is also a resource for holiday gifts for kids.

211 San Diego also has a lot of great resources. If you are outside San Diego County, check 211 in your area!

If you know of any other holiday events or programs that can help those in need, please post links in the comments!

Talk Back: What is your favorite way to help others? 

Get Ready for the Holidays with Address Labels from Mabel’s Labels!

** This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

It’s that time of year when some of us start to think about holiday cards, end of the year letters, and other touches to make our holiday mail special!

I received an email from Mabel’s Labels this morning with some of their great deals to help with your holiday mail.

My personal favorite is the wraparound return address labels– They have 8 different designs for a variety of winter holidays.

If that’s not your speed, they have return address stamps, return labels, and perhaps my favorite The Holiday Gift Tags. It features the same 8 designs as the other holiday labels and stickers.

Cute 2020 DIY Personalized Christmas Ornament Now Available

Ok, so at some point, we have to laugh about some of the craziness of 2020, right?

I found these online last night and I wanted to share. While Covid is no laughing matter, how our society has handled certain aspects (Toilet paper shortages??) are pretty strange. With these ornaments, you choose how many people can be on the easily personalizable ornament, which includes people wearing masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and the year 2020.

Receive 50% OFF and FREE Shipping on purchase of 3 or more Ornaments, and prices start at $12.95.

 

Shopping Smartly: Using the Cycle of Sales to Save Even More!

Manufacturers and stores use holidays or events to entice people to spend more in their stores by offering sales, coupons, cashback offers. I have listed below, by month which types of items are on sale. Not only food, but home goods, furniture, and electronics.

I recommend checking out sale flyers (most can be found online) and cashback apps (A list of my favorites can be found here) before each shopping trip.

JANUARY

  • Diet Food and Weight Loss Equipment (New Year’s Resolutions)
  • Gyms have sales and free trials
  • Healthy Food including Veggies
  • Television and other Electronics (Super Bowl Sunday)
  • OTC Medications (FSA’s expire in Jan./Feb.- Use it or Lose it!)
  • Winter Clothing and Shoes (Formal clothes are usually 75%+ off)
  • Organizers (totes, Christmas ornament storage containers)
  • White Sales (Sheets/Towels)
  • Snack-y food for Super Bowl parties: chips, dip. Velveeta, salsa, taquitos. There are often times really great rebates for snack food and beer or soda around the Super Bowl.

FEBRUARY

  • Diet Food and Weight Loss Equipment (New Year’s Resolutions)
  • Healthy Food including Veggies
  • Furniture and Housewares
  • Candy and Chocolates

 

MARCH

  • March is National frozen food month. Many Stores like Albertson’s have a “fill a bag” sale where you are given a paper or plastic bag and you receive a discount (typically 15-25%) on each frozen item in that bag.
  • Spring Apparel (Easter Dresses and Suits)
  • Depending on when Easter falls, look for sales on Easter Dinner food: Ham, Prime Rib, stuffing, veggies, eggs, and Easter Basket Supplies.
  • Luggage and Travel (Spring Break)
  • Spring-cleaning sales will start and there will be rebates for cleaning supplies- especially with SC Johnson Products.
  • Between March 13-17th (St. Patrick’s Day) Corned Beef, Potatoes and Cabbage are all Dirt Cheap. Stock up!
  • During Lent, seafood is inexpensive.

 

APRIL

  • More Spring cleaning sales and rebates
  • Paper products (plates, napkins) start to have really good sales.
  • Paint & Wallpaper (In the same vain as spring cleaning, a lot of people start to spruce up their homes in the spring)
  • Jewish Foods and Eggs (Passover)

 

MAY

May is the start of picnic season. Barbeque food, Hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, condiments will all be on sale throughout the summer and will be until September.

  • Auto Maintenance (tires, oil changes, tune ups)
  • Beverages, Hot dogs, Ground Beef, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Ribs (Often times there are some really great rebates WYB beer or soda)
  • Bug repellents – Sprays and Candles
  • Home Maintenance (carpet cleaning, duct cleaning)
  • SPF and After Sun products (like Aloe)

 

JUNE

  • Summer Clothes
  • June is National Dairy Month- Dairy Products
  • Summer Activities (local attractions sometimes have “locals only” days or rates)
  • Beverages, Hot dogs, Ground Beef, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Ribs (Often times there are some really great rebates WYB beer or soda)

 

JULY

  • Air Conditioning units
  • Summer Sports Equipment & Craft Supplies (things for families to do together)
  • Beverages, Hot dogs, Ground Beef, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Ribs (Often times there are some really great rebates WYB beer or soda)

 

AUGUST

  • BBQ and Patio Equipment (Just in time for Labor Day!)
  • White Sale – Linens and Towels
  • Back to School Supplies – Sales may Start in Late July, Depending on when school starts in your part of the world)
  • Bathing Suits and the last remnants of summer clothes
  • Back to school clothes
  • Jackets and light coats for fall
  • Beverages, Hot dogs, Ground Beef, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Ribs (Often times there are some really great rebates WYB beer or soda)
  • Breakfast foods (cereal, oatmeal, juice, bars) Cereal sales will start this month and continue into September as school starts up.
  • Lunch box food- juice boxes, lunchables, snacks, chips, yogurt

 

SEPTEMBER

The traditional Back to School Sales will start. For most schools, classes begin the Tuesday after Labor Day. This is a great time to stock up on snacks that are healthy and shelf-stable. 100 calorie snack packs, fruit leathers, 100% juice boxes, bottled water, peanut butter. Watch the inserts for Lunchables coupons too- they will start going on sale!

  • Back to School Supplies (Office Depot, Staples, and Walgreen’s often have Freebies)
  • Canned Goods. Canned soup and spaghetti sauce also starts to go on sale in September.
  • Frozen Pizza

There are LOADS of rebates and special cashback offers through apps like Ibotta and Checkout51 in the last quarter of the year. Why?

The last three months of the year are packed full of holidays and entertaining possibilities. Sales, rebates, and cashback offers will most likely be for the types of food and beverages that are associated with entertaining: crackers, cheese, wine, beer, candy, nuts, etc. Many of these food items are shelf-stable and it can be a good opportunity to buy a few extra to stock up, especially if it’s something that your family consumes regularly.

OCTOBER

  • Home goods such as serving dishes, and glassware (to prepare you for the onslaught of entertaining you will be doing for the holidays)
  • Candy, nuts
  • Baking/candy-making items (choc chips, sprinkles, vanilla, corn syrup, nuts, etc)
  • Fall/Winter clothing
  • Fabric, Patterns, sewing machines (Halloween)
  • Coats/Jackets

NOVEMBER

  • Winter Clothing
  • Blankets and flannel sheets
  • Heating Devices
  • Turkey, ham
  • Canned goods (soup, chicken broth, condensed milk, veggies, etc)
  • Baking goods (flour, sugar)
  • Baking wear

DECEMBER

  • Toys- there are usually deals through Target’s app, and online as well
  • Gift Items-Stock up and fill your stockings and keep your wallet full.
  • Post-Holiday Sales- I like to stock up on plain colored paper goods after each holiday and stockpile them to use throughout the year for parties and events. No one will know the red napkins are from Valentine’s Day, not from Christmas. Light Blue gift paper from Chanukah will wrap a present for a baby shower gift just the same.
  • Party Foods, Baking Goods, and Various Meat There will be a lot of rebates, keep your eyes open!
  • Canned goods (broth, soups, etc)
  • Prime Rib, Turkey, Ham

 

Year-round after a holiday, you can always pick up cheap cookie dough. Cookie dough freezes really well for about two months.   You can also find plain colored paper goods, including plain-colored wrapping paper and tissue paper after each holiday in the clearance section.