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!

 

 

4/11/17- Meal Plan!

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So I’m a day late… Mr. was sick yesterday, paired with the first day of spring break and I was toast by 11am! That being said I picked up some cheese, milk, and veggies yesterday. We’ll be good for the rest of the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  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 with frozen bananas and PB2.

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! This week is spring break, so I’ll be cooking lunch at home or we’ll have a picnic/sack lunches if we are on the go (but we may have pizza out- I haven’t decided). 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:Everyone was in bed by 7:30! We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) We had these last week and they were soooo good, and super easy. I caramelized a bag of onions and peppers in the crockpot, made rice with broth in the rice cooker and added cheese and a can of Ro*tel Tomatoes to a can of refried beans.

Weds:

  • D: Roasted chicken with veggies (made in 1 pan- very easy!)

Thursday:

  • D:  protein pancakes, eggs, and sausage (maybe fruit salad(

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (it’s a complete meal with veggies and quinoa!)

Sunday:

  • D:Leftover buffet

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.

We went to the Zoo today with friends, and I made sure to fill up our snack backpack and bring our drinks!

3/27/17 Meal Plan Monday!

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Bringing it back! To help get us back on track and use up what we’ve got in the pantry. I just did a pantry and freezer inventory, and I’ll need to do a quick trip to pick up some frozen veggies and fresh fruit tomorrow, but other than that (and a gallon of milk), we should be good for the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  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 with frozen bananas and PB2.

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:Crockpot pulled BBQ chicken, steamed veggies, garlic bread

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers)

Weds:

  • D: Fritatta (with veggies, bacon, and cheese) and fruit salad

Thursday:

  • D:  Veggie Enchiladas (it’s a complete meal, no sides needed!)

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Crockpot Chili (I’ve got a batch in the freezer- I’ll de-frost and toss it into the crockpot!), fruit salad

Sunday:

  • D:Chicken and Veggie teriyaki stir fry, rice

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. I need to replenish our snack bag that lives in the car, and make sure to take our water bottles when we leave the house!

 

Boudin is Celebrating National Clam Chowder Day (BOGO Offer)!

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-7-57-39-pmI love a good ol’ bread bowl of soup! Tomorrow (2/25), stop by your local Boudin’s for a Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl and you’ll get one FREE.

In addition, you’ll get another coupon! Boudin will be issuing another offer to guests who purchase the Clam Chowder deal. These guests will get a coupon printed on their receipt good for a Buy One, Get One Free of any entrée (of equal or lesser value) on the menu good for use between February 26thand March 12th.

SCORE! That’s four meals for the price of ONE! That’s what I call a GREAT DEAL!

To  find your local Boudin’s location, click here.

Big Holiday Meals on a Budget!

imgp8302Now that we’ve gotten through with Halloween, we can start focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. That means two big family dinners, and most likely, countless other get togethers, potlucks, and shared meals.

Here are a few tips on how to prepare some healthy meals and stay on budget!

Ask for help! Everyone has a dish that they excel at making. Ask friends and family to bring their best dish. It will make everyone feel included and cut down on your budget. Each Thanksgiving, my parents make a turkey, rolls, stuffing and potatoes (I make the gravy as soon as my mom pulls the the turkey out of the roasting pan to rest!). Our guests bring all sorts of other awesome dishes. We all end up stuffing ourselves and taking home tons of leftovers. But the best part is trying all of the great, different dishes! Just make sure that everyone tells you what they are bringing.. You may just end up with 10 green bean casseroles!

Make a Budget and stick to it Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses! If you can’t afford everything that you think you need, just do with what you can afford. Trust me, you don’t NEED 5 different types of dessert!

Shop at discount stores. You all know my love of 99 Cents Only and Grocery Outlet by now, so I shouldn’t have to remind you, but don’t forget to shop at discount stores too! You’ll find all kinds of deals! I love starting my weekly shopping trip at 99 Cents Only. While they don’t accept coupons, I frequently find great deals on produce from name brands like Dole, Del Monte, Foxy, Driscolls, and Earthbound Organics! Check your local stores websites to see what’s on sale before you leave home.

Stretch your budget with low cost items. Potatoes are usually very inexpensive, so stretch your menu with a tasty, filling potato dish. Despite their bad reputation as being full of carbs, potatoes are also high in vitamin c, potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese. Roasted spuds tossed in olive oil and fresh herbs- YUM! Other inexpensive foods this time of year are apples. Apple crisp is one of my favorite dishes. I’ll be posting the recipe later this week!

Don’t forget your coupons! Starting in the next week or so, printable coupon sites (like the ones listed here) and coupon inserts will be peppered with coupons for holiday feast foods. Canned soups, french fried onions, stuffing, pantry staples. And don’t forget rebate/couponing apps (like these) too! You will be saving money left, right, and center!

Prepare food that is in season.  For the fall, that means root veggies, gourds (yeah, that includes pumpkins!), apples, dark leafy greens (think kale, etc.), and for those in warmer climates oranges and pomegranates! Buy meat that is on sale (typically turkey, ham, and prime rib). Tons of baking supplies and pantry staples go on sale in the fall and winter too. Stock up when prices are low- most pantry staples have a long shelf life. It will help you stretch your budget through the spring.

Bake/cook from scratch! Not only is home made food more cost effective and healthier than pre-packaged foods. Bonus- home made baked goods like bread and cookies always taste better, right? Here is my go to beer bread recipe and my families favorite cookie recipe

 

My favorite: Use what you have on hand!  Before you hit up the stores, write out your menu for these special occasions. Make a list of  ingredients needed for the recipes and check your pantry.  You’d be surprised what you may already have.

 

I’d love to hear your tips for saving money on food this holiday season!

 

School is Back in Session- Time to Start Saving!

Bus2I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got both kids home all the time, it’s a lot harder to keep on my frugal goals.

I’m all about taking advantage of local free and cheap fun (like events at our local library or community center, local parks and splash pads), but for some reason summer vacation always distracts me from frugality. Maybe is the 100+ degree temps we’ve been having most of the summer.

Well, we are into our second week of school and I’ve re-committed to my frugal lifestyle for my family.  Here are just a few things I’ve done over the past two weeks:

  • Meal Plan using what’s on hand in out cupboard before heading the the store. I’ve also planned out school lunches too!
  • Committed to taking drinks with us when we leave the house.  This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when it’s over 100 degrees in the shade, we go through a lot of water on our daily adventures. Check out the cool growler I got on Amazon. It’s supposed to be for beer, but I fill it with ice cubes and water each day and it comes with me in the car- it’s an easy way to get your 8 glasses in! I also take iced coffee with me in the morning to school drop off.
  • Set a schedule for Bitty Bird and I.  Again, a schedule doesn’t sound like a way to save money, but now I know what we are doing each day after Big Boy is at school. I have time each day while she is napping to write, research, and do Amazon Reviews.
  • Plan out shopping trips a little better.  Now that I don’t have two extra sets of hands helping me shop (especially a 5 year old who is constantly near death starvation when in proximity to a grocery store), I can look at ads, check my smartphone apps for rebates and deals. I also have more time to print coupons! This really saves me money (and time).

Now that school has started, I’d love to hear how you’ve recommitted to your goals (whatever they might be).

 

Bringing it Back: Meal Plan Monday!

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It’s back! After a long hiatus, I’m back to meal planning! If you are new to meal planning, check out my article on how to get started here.

This week I’m starting off by doing a quick fridge and pantry inventory, and making a batch of cookies.

Monday:

  • D:Baked Ziti, steamed veggies

Tuesday:

  • D:  Indian food (Chicken Korma, steamed rice, steamed veggies)- I have a kit!

Weds:

  • D: breakfast for dinner (probably pancakes, eggs, and sausage) and fruit salad

Thursday:

  • D: Salsa Chicken with brown rice

Friday:

  • D: Bean and veggie enchiladas, green salad

Saturday:

  • D:Veggie and cheese egg bake

Sunday:

  • D: Leftovers

Lil’ Man has started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with yogurt and fruit.  Mr. C has been eating Oatmeal (from a awesome recipe I found online and altered) every AM, and I usually have an HMR Protein Shake, or I’ll make myself a bagel too.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually a grilled cheese, yogurt, a granola bar, and fruit (cut up apple, orange, or banana).  I have leftovers or a frozen entree, and Mr. C usually a salad or leftovers or an HMR protein shake (He did  the program last year and really digs on the shakes), or he has a business lunch and opts for a salad and lean protein.

Now I’m off to make a big ol’ batch of cookies!!