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!

 

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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!

 

Free Samples!

file7261245785846.jpgEveryone loves a full mailbox, at least when it’s not full of bills! I’ve been stalking a few sites online looking for some samples of products I’d like to try, and I thought I’d share them with you!

Here are just a few of the freebies I’ve recently signed up for!

Freebies at 7/11 through the end of the year!

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Woo Hoo! 7/11 is treating us every Monday and Friday through the end of the year! Download the 7Rewards app (just go to your favorite app store online) to your phone or other mobile device and you can start and end your work week with freebies!

Stride Gum offer valid on 11/11, 11/18, 11/25, 12/2, 12/9, 12/16, 12/23 and 12/30/16 only.
Belvita offer valid on 11/14, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 12/26/16 and 1/2/17 only.

Fine Print: Quantities are limited. Check coupon in app to see if offer is still available. Limit of one offer per member per day. Program available only to members of the 7Rewards™ Program and available only at participating 7-Eleven® Stores, excluding Hawaii. Go to the 7-Eleven Mobile App for additional terms and conditions of 7Rewards.

Giveaway: Enter to Win Two LegoLand California Park Hopper Tickets!

img_9875I am so excited to share these tickets! As a LegoLand Blogger, I am given two free Park Hopper tickets each year. I can use them myself, or give them away.

I’ve decided to give them away. I want one of you to experience the fun of Legoland! This pair of tickets expires 12/31/16, so you still have a while to go and experience the fun of Legoland California!

#lifewithmargaret @legolandcalifornia #duploland #playground #playtime #horse

A post shared by Abby Hewes (@hewesfamilyfun) on

If you haven’t been to Legoland, it’s a great way to spend a day! There are tons of fun things to do: Rides, Shows, and of course, stations to build and play! We love the build and play area next to Heartlake City. It has a Duplo Theme. There is a playground, and in the playground you will find various stations where kids (and grown ups) can build whatever you’d like!

If you are looking to save some money, I recommend that you take a bottle of water (at least one). All of the snack stations/restaurants will refill your empty bottles. We take our Camelback bottles. The kids have these smaller bottles, and hubs and I have these larger bottles.  We also take snacks to munch on throughout the day. Family favs include: Apples, orange slices, fruit snacks, crackers and seed butter, protein bars (we are currently digging on Balance Bars). However, we do splurge on the Apple Fries- They are sooooo good!

To enter to win the pair of Legoland California Park Hopper ticket, please use the Rafflecopter widget below (or visit here). Please note that it is not mobile friendly, you need to enter from a desktop!

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Free box of snacks from Graze!

Have you heard of Graze?

Each Graze box is made up of perfectly portioned snacks customized for each individual based on taste preferences and dietary requirements. Available as a weekly or bi-weekly delivery nationwide to your office or home. Several different box options that showcase our assortment of 100+ snacks including the Variety Box, Sharing Box, Calorie Count Box, Sugar Count Box, and more.

And NOW- Graze is offering a box for free!! I am stoked. I love snacks, and I love free stuff, so I’ve signed up for ours. I’ll post of photo once it arrives (before we consume it).

If you sign up for your free box, I’d love to see a picture too! Which box will you get?