Healthy, Frozen Fruit Pops!

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It’s summer and my kids would eat popsicles 24/7 if I let them. Most commercial popsicles (or as they are sometimes called, frozen dessert confections) are full of sugar and artificial ick. A few months ago my dad bought me a package of Zipzicles on Amazon. Zipzicles are long, skinny zip top freezer bags that can be filled with whatever you’d like and frozen. Think DIY Otter Pops.

What I really like is that you can be creative, use what you have on hand, and create healthy and fun treats with your kids.

Here are two recipes that the kids and I came up with. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pictures recently.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.47 AMMixed Berry Pops

Makes about 12 pops

  • 2 cups mixed berries (use whatever you have, I used 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 t. honey

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Use a small funnel to fill the zipzicle pouches. Place all Zipzicle pouches into a cup or larger zip top bag and place in freezer. Ready to serve in approx 4-6 hours, or as soon as frozen solid.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.35 AMTropical Pops

Makes about 20

2c frozen bananas
2c frozen Strawberries
1 pkg frozen mangoes
2c Orange Juice
Blend together, pour into Zipzicle pouches ( I use a funnel). Store in freezer until it’s time to consume.

They are so good, and no extra sugar is needed, because the bananas are so sweet.

Next, I think we’ll be making Bachelor Mousse treats. I think it will freeze well, and everyone loves fudgsicles!

For your convenance, Zipzicles can be purchased here (affiliate link), but you can also find them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

What would you put into your Zipzicles?

Summer Lunch Resources for Kids in San Diego!

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School is out (for most of us, the rest will be getting out next week), 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 school, rec centers, and civic organizations to provide free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for al kids 18 and under this summer.  For those of us in East County, here is a list of locations!

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Those of us in the greater San Diego Area, there are a lot of great options all over town!

There is a kick off BBQ at Skyline Hills Park 6/21/17 10:30am-2:00pm! Parents eat free at this BBQ and there are all kinds of activities!

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 12.53.16 PMLindo Lake in Lakeside is hosting a summer BBQ that’s free for kids, and only $4.00 for parents on August 15th! The best part is that each family leaves with 6 lbs. of fresh produce thanks to Feeding America! If the two lists above aren’t in your area, you can also turn to the USDA Find Summer Meals map here.

 

All of these programs are free and there is no proof of need and you do not have to sign up in advance. Just show up and hte kids get a tasty meal!

 

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!

 

 

Mom’s Money Summer Saving Tip #1: Keep them Fed!

file0002134801752.jpgIt seems like the second we pull out of the garage, two little voices announce in chorus, “I’m Hungry!!!” It’s not like they go without meals, like some sort of Dickens era soot faced moppet… But there is something about leaving the house that makes kids hungry. Especially when you are out and about during the summer.

To combat the chorus, we have a small backpack (Henry’s Pre-school Cars backpack) that is full of shelf stable snacks and drinks. While we are out having adventures, if the chorus starts up, I can pull out the backpack and soon everyone is happy.

Here are a few of our family’s favorite snacks and other stuff I keep in our snack bag (Amazon affiliate links for some items that you may have never seen):

  1. Re-usable water bottles (I fill them daily). Each child has their own, and I have a larger one. I put lots of ice in mine in addition to water. I also carry extra water in my truck at all times (in case of emergency, but frequently the emergency is just hot, thirsty kiddos).
  2. Powdered drink sticks. Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only has lots of great flavors to chose from.
  3. Freeze dried Fruit. Bitty Bird likes strawberries, Henry and I love pineapple.
  4. Protein bars, granola bars, goldfish crackers, Beanies (they are for toddlers, but, both kids love them), fruit squeezy pouches, Yogurt squeezy pouches, applesauce cups, individual cups of peanut butter, crackers to go with the PB (usually Ritz), individual cups of water packed fruit and veggies, Pirates Booty, home made trail mix, ziploc bags of cereal, and depending on what is on sale, juice boxes/pouches or sometimes shelf stable milk boxes/pouches.
  5. In a zipper pouch (this one), I keep hand wipes, plastic utensils, straws, and napkins.  I also carry a ziploc bag with extra ziplocs in it, and a few small trash bags.

While the initial outlay of money to buy a backpack and stock of food to keep in the car snack bag and water bottles way be steep (it was about $65 for us), you will save that much money in just a few weeks in the summer. You’ll be able to avoid drive-thru lines, and you can better control what your family is eating.

file0001779824833.jpgWhen we are going to be gone all day, I also pack a small soft sized cooler bag with blue ice and cold treats like frozen tubes of yogurt, berries, cheese, and cold cuts. I like using re-usable plastic containers, instead of zip top bags. They are usually better for keeping food cold and for squishable items like berries in good condition. These are all the same things that we eat for lunch during the school year, so our food budget in the summer does not increase.

Besides keeping your budget in check, there is another upside to having kids that eat regularly (even on the go): Behavior changes, like tantrums, can occur when kids blood sugar dips or they are hungry. Henry frequently doesn’t realize that he’s hungry until he’s OMGOSH SO HUNGRY that he’s Hangry. I offer him snacks every few hours in the summer, as we are so frequently on the go out with friends or at events in the summer during lunch time.

The main reason I use a backpack instead of a box is that I can quickly grab the bag out of the car and toss it into the basket of the stroller when we hit up the zoo, YMCA for swimming, or the park.

I’d love to hear what kind of snacks you take on the go for your summer adventures!

 

Free Diapers at Vons!

Yeah, That’s right!!  FREE DIAPERS!

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.04.51 PM.pngGot a Vons card? Click here or log on to the Vons App, and click on baby care under just4U to see if you have an offer for free diapers!

If you don’t have babies, please consider picking it up and donating it to your local Food bank, a neighbor or friend with a little one, or your churches nursery.

Diapers make a great baby shower gift!!

Fun in Nature with Baby Wearing!

 

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out a new baby carrier. I love baby wearing- It’s a great way to stay close to your little one while being active.

We hike, play, and have adventures all while babywearing. I am able to take Lil’ Man out on hikes to places that aren’t quite good for unsteady toddler feet. We can hike Cowles mountain, explore Old Mission Dam, and even pop out to the tide pools!

Screen Shot 2016-12-28 at 8.44.18 AM.pngYou can check out the carrier on Amazon here. 

It’s got a ton of pockets, which is great for stashing keys and snacks.

The kiddo rides pretty high because of a plastic saddle type insert.

Bitty Bird totally loved being up high and snuggled onto my shoulder and fell asleep.

You can also wear this as a backpack to back carry, which I love for long distance wearing, like when we go for hikes.

Pros:

  • It’s cotton, and machine washable.
  • It’s easy to put on and take off by yourself.
  • Tons of pockets

Cons:

  • Because it was made overseas, the waist strap is kinda small. If you wear over a size 20 US ladies dress size or a mens pant size 44, the waist band will not fit you.
  • (this may not be a con for some people) The child rides really high, so they are in your face.

If you like to try out this carrier, I am happy to offer a coupon code! 20% off coupon code UPWX8RBS.  This deal expires on 12/31/16.

 

10 Great Stocking stuffers for kids under $15

With the Holidays approaching, most of use have either stocking stuffers to purchase of at least one gift exchange to attend. I’ve collected 10 great frugal gifts that would be a great addition to any holiday! Most of these gifts call for creativity and imagination. They won’t need batteries or make horrible sounds (for the most part). These are all gifts I would buy (or have bought) for my kids.

  1. These hair bows for babies and toddlers are perfect for the little girls on your list. Bitty Bird loves hers.
  2. If you’ve got a crafty kiddo, this craft kit is a perfect choice. None of the crafts require scissors, just a little imagination and glue (we use Elmer’s white glue).
  3. Speaking of crafty kiddos, if you’ve got one on your list that likes to make jewelry, this Melissa & Doug bead set has over 200 beads, perfect for hours of creativity.
  4. Is your kiddo a budding scientist? We have this science kit and Lil’ Man LOVES it. There are 11 scientific experiments for kids to conduct (all with grown ups help).
  5. No science experiment is complete without a lab coat. Lil’ Man has this one. He even wore it at Halloween. He was Dr. Doofenschmirtz from Phineas & Ferb. You can see photos on my Instagram feed.
  6. Lil’ Man got this set last year for his birthday. It’s an awesome set. It’s super fun, and you can hatch and raise Triops. Think Sea Monkeys on steroids! And you can actually see the trips grow and live. It’s nifty. I think everyone in the family enjoyed it.
  7. These cool interlocking blocks. They are little man approved.
  8. Magnetic Mini Tile Kit. They would make cool refrigerator magnets!
  9. This super cute (and mess-free) stained glass set. I love anything by Melissa & Doug. They make very well made toys and their craft kits yield great keepsakes!

 

What kinds of stocking stuffers do you buy for your kids?

Help kids play with Ikea’s Let’s Play for Change!

play_for_changeIf you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you saw all of my crazy posts this morning from Ikea San Diego. A group of bloggers (and our kids) enjoyed breakfast in their cafe and learned out Ikea’s winter Good Cause Campaign, Let’s Play for Change, which highlights the benefits of play for all Children.

Honestly, the best part of being a kid is free time to play and learn. Children learn through play: social skills, emotional development, and so much more. Anyone shopping for the holidays at Ikea stores world wide can help the cause! For every children’s book and toy sold through November 20- December 24, 2016, the IKEA Foundation will make a donation of €1 (that’s about $1.10 USD) to projects in some of the poorest communities in the world. And you can help twice- Each store has a drop box where you can drop off purchased toys. If you buy toys at Ikea, that’s a double dip for the cause!

You can learn about the campaign by watching the video:

Ikea has partnered with Handicap International Federation, Room to Read, Save the Children, Special Olympics, UNICEF, and War Child. You can learn more about the Ikea Foundation by visiting their website.

And if you hasn’t visited Ikea lately, check out their awesome Ikea Family savings card! It’s free to sign up and you score all kinds of great deals and perks every day!

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-3-50-18-pmIn addition to those perks, you score family only prices on tons of items each month. It’s definitely worth signing up. It’s free and easy to do.