Box Tops for Education: No Scissors Needed!

I wrote about Box Tops for Education (and other ways to help earn money for your school too) here.

Well, times they are a’changing, and now you no longer need to clip, clip, clip to earn money for your kid’s school.

Screen Shot 2019-09-09 at 10.47.46 PM.pngBox Tops is changing to fit today’s families. The new and improved Box Tops mobile app uses state-of-the-art technology to scan your store receipt, find participating products and instantly add Box Tops to your school’s earnings online.

Not sure which products have Box Tops? Here is a complete list!

The differences are simple, and now that you don’t have to clip and save and remember to turn in, it’ll be so much easier to help schools earn money!

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Eventually, the Box Tops program will become digital-only. Participating brands are starting to change their packaging from a traditional Box Tops clip to the new Box Top label.

If you see this label, use the new Box Tops app to scan your receipt. Box Tops are still worth 10¢ each for your school. The app will find participating products purchased at any store and instantly add cash to your school’s earnings online.

 

When Life Gets Crazy…

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Oh, God.. I won’t lie. I had this entire post written, hit save, and it disappeared. Further proof that life is totally crazy right now.

I’ve got 3 weeks left of school, then (fingers crossed), I will graduate from college after a 17-year hiatus. So, I’ve got a lot of stress right now, between my regular responsibilities, studying, and getting ready for a huge almost weeklong camping event with my friends and a lot of my family.

I wanted to share some tips for how I keep it together when life is just crazy. These may not all apply to you, but they definitely help me.

Ask for help. I’ve been relying a lot on family, friends, and our respite hours through San Diego Regional Center so I can get out of the house without the kids to get stuff done. I love them, but sometimes shopping without them is just easier. Having a few hours alone to study in the library is nice. It’s hard to study when Legos are being played with right next to you.

Keeping to our schedule. Granted, there have been some changes to accommodate my schooling, but we are trying to get the kids to bed at night on time (sometimes that doesn’t happen), and out the door in the morning for school.  This includes my visits to the YMCA 4-5 times a week. I really believe that exercise helps me maintain a positive attitude and helps me manage my stress. I also have been continuing to meal plan, even though I sometimes forget to post it.

Be Flexible. This is a tough one for some of us (myself included). Sometimes life gets crazy, and you need to go with the flow. Sometimes that means cereal for dinner, sometimes it means going to bed the same time the kids do because everyone is tired.

Give Yourself Grace. Remember that this portion of your life won’t last forever. It won’t always be stressful, busy, or this hard.

Do What is Right for Your Family. This one can be hard, especially since we live in the era of Pinterest worthy, social media one-upmanship. I’m a fucking hot mess and I’ll admit it. As long as my family is loved and cared for- that’s all that matters. And sometimes that means cereal for dinner!

 

Talk Back: What do you do when life gets busy/crazy/unpredictable? 

 

Chipotle Reading Rewards: Rewarding the Little Readers in Your Life!

Disclosure: I received a free meal for four as compensation for writing this post, but honestly, reading/literacy is super important to me and the fam….

Chipotle is passionate about more than just perfectly rolled burritos, it is also committed to cultivating nourished minds and communities, and one of the best ways to do that is through Chipotle Reading Rewards – the annual program that rewards book smarts with delicious food crafted from real, whole ingredients.

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Now through Feb. 28, Chipotle is accepting educators’ and librarians’ applications for its Reading Rewards program, which can be added to an existing reading program, or Chipotle can provide schools with turnkey resources to kickstart their own.

The program is designed to help students develop a love of reading by rewarding them with free Chipotle when they reach their reading goals.

One of the reasons I love Chipotle as a family dining choice is there is someone for everyone, even the big kid, who is super picky (he has texture/sensory issues as part of his ASD). Chipotle is committed to making real food from wholesome ingredients without any added colors, flavors or additives. Chipotle has always prepared and used real ingredients that everyone can both recognize and pronounce.

The big kid likes that his food is made in front of him and he is in control of what gets added (no meat- he is a recently self declared vegetarian). I like that there are a lot of good options- freshly chopped veggies, salsas and guac made in the restaurant.

Chipotle’s craveable food is freshly prepared by hand each day using classical cooking techniques in its 2,500 restaurants.

Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone. Ordering through the Chipotle app or website is easier than ever before, and now you can get your food faster with delivery from DoorDash.

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To learn more about the Chipotle Reading Rewards Program, click here.

 

Money Saving Tips for Going Back to College!

collegeSo after a few year s(cough cough), I’ve gone back to college to finish up my AA and get ready to transfer to a CA State University.

Like any endeavor in my life, I’m trying to do the college experience on the cheap. Here are a few ways you can save money while going to school:

Start out by completing a FAFSA. That’s a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Regardless of your family income or situation, you should fill it out. You never know what kind of loans, fee waivers, or grants you may be eligible for. I was able to get a Governor’s Board Fee Waiver, which paid for my classes. All I had to pay was the Health Fee (which is $20).

amazonprimeAmazon Prime has a discounted program for students. The first 6 months are free (Courtesy of Sprint, and just $6.49/month after that. That’s 50% off the regular price.

You can rent your textbooks online, Amazon rents textbooks. Your local school library may also have short term checkout of some textbooks. You may have to ask the librarian for more information.

If you need a new computer, Apple offers a discount through Unidays. I’m still in the middle of setting my account up, but it looks like Unidays partners with hundreds of retail partners.

School supplies are always cheaper if you buy them off campus. I like to shop for school supplies at Dollar Tree, they have lots of great stuff all year long.

A list on online retailers offering discounts can be seen here, courtesy of Dealhack.

Once school starts, get a Student ID card.

Beyond saving money at on tuition, books, and supplies, your student ID may give you discounts out in the world! College students who meet some criteria may also receive a discount on your automobile insurance, cell phone bill, even fee free banking products.

Movie theatres, museums, local attractions, and restaurants sometimes give students discounts, make sure to check before you go.

Talk Back: What’s your favorite Student Discount?

 

More Free Summer Meals for Kids!

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This is an update to this post, which has sites all over San Diego County listed.

I just received this in my inbox this morning!  Here is a great list of East County resources for free lunches for kids- And many sites also serve breakfast too!  We’ll be checking them out in the coming days, and I’ll post pictures (probably on Instagram), so make sure to follow me! Dates vary by location.

I am really excited about Hilton Head Park being on the list- That is a great park with a splash pad (only $3 to use for the whole day), shaded picnic tables, and a fun, sandy playground!

If you aren’t in the San Diego, CA area and are looking for more information on free lunches for kids, check the USDA website here. THe USDA plans to serve over 200 million meals to kids 18 and under this summer!

Keepin’ Track of your stuff with Mabel’s Labels!

IMG_8445.jpgI received a free packet of labels, however all opinions of Mabel’s Labels are my own. If you click on the links in the post and make a purchase, I may be compensated- and that facilitates giveaways and the running of the blog!

While I was at Influential Summit over the weekend, I met with the nice folks at Mabel’s Labels. They gave each attendee a packet of their new Glitter Labels. LOVE IT! Fingers crossed, this will keep everyone’s mitts off my water bottle!

Henry has had Mabel’s Labels for his stuff for a few years. I really like them. I’m not a big fan of putting kids name on personal stuff where strangers can see it (I grew up in the days of after-school specials and heightened awareness of strangers), but I do recognize the need for labeling the stuff kids take to school.  I use Mabel’s Labels inside Henry’s backpack, and right under the loop on the outside. That way it is identifiable , but when he has it on, no one can see the labeling. I also use them on his lunch box, pencil case, and inside his shoes.  Mabel’s does make special shoe labels too!

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 6.51.57 PM.pngWe opt for labels in his clothes too when we are out in crowded public places (like Disneyland, the zoo, county fair). Even though Henry is 6, he is autistic and has problems remembering my phone number, and he can get distracted in crowds, or fixated on one thing and want to go back to it and wander off.

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Yeah I am!

If pastels and glitter aren’t your thing, check this out- You can select other motifs and themes, and they have different fonts to suit your personality.

Right now, you can shop the new Glitter Labels – $26 for 45 Labels.

Mabel’s is always offering specials and deals, so if glitter labels aren’t your thing, check out their site and subscribe to their email blasts.

 

Free lunches for ALL KIDS in San Diego County!

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That looks like a pretty good lunch, right? It was free! And what you don’t see is two little boxes of raisins that Lil’ Man basically chugged (they really are nature’s candy!). Pizza, nectarine, applesauce, Apple juice, and a bag of carrots.

There were other side choices as well, including a mixed green salad, brocolli, mandarin oranges, celery, and ranch for dipping and fresh salsa too.

Here’s the deal.. It’s not a deal. The USDA sponsors the Summer Food Service Program, open to all kids aged 2-18 years. No proof of need is required, and you don’t need to sign up in advance. Just find a location near you (here– this is for San Diego County only, for all other areas, click here), show up, the kids pick their lunches, and enjoy!

Most locations offer lunch Monday-Friday at a specific time, and some locations even offer breakfast too!

This is a great way to stretch your budget over the summer (and get the kids out of the house!). Locations differ, but include schools, rec centers, and parks.