Summer Stuff I love (Grown Up Edition)

Friends- I’ve been working on this post for a few days. I’m not feeling especially summery today (and wasn’t yesterday afternoon either), but I’m hoping to distract you over the weekend, so on Monday we can come together and help our friends and family who will need us in the coming months. I’m spending the afternoon crunching on Sonic ice cubes!

It’s summer, and that means for most parents keeping the kids entertained (or letting them get bored), constantly filling the snack box/drawer, and looking for ways to make sure everyone makes it through the 12 weeks of Summer “vacation” without injury. I use vacation in quotes because it’s not a fun, leisure-filled 12 weeks. Most of us have to work, in addition to balancing all of… this.

BUT- That doesn’t mean that parents can’t have fun or enjoy their time in the summer sun. Here are a few things that I have recently come to love:

Sonic Ice Cubes. They are the little pebble ice cubes. If you don’t have a Sonic near you, or if you are looking for a way to make the perfect Sonic type ice at home, look for a Nugget or Pebble ice maker or ice tray. Walmart has a table top nugget ice maker here.

Electrolyte drinks. Not Gatorade, something better. I know a lot of people like Liquid IV, but this frugal lady likes Hydramate from Dollar Tree and Key Nutrients Lemonade flavor from Amazon. These newer electroylte drinks also have vitamins and other key nutrients that we can sometimes miss out on.

I made a list on Amazon of some of my other favorite things this summer:

  • Good SPF- Gotta take care of your skin. You only get one body!
  • Speaking of SPF, a Long sleeve 1/2 zip swim shirt. They are amazing.
  • Reusable cups with lids – I like the color changing cups.
  • Yoga strap for stretching- especially good after a long day behind the week (or a long day sitting on the floor building legos).
  • After Sun lotion- even if you wear a good SPF, the sun and the sea/pool water can dehydrate your skin.
  • Compression socks- seriously. We walk a lot in the summer, and wearing compression socks has really helped my feet and legs from getting so heavy and tired.
  • These sweet kicks from New Balance. They are my go to shoe for a day full of walking.
  • Beach Towels– JCPenney has a great selection and they are on sale!
  • Cuticle oil. The summer sun is rough on your hands, especially your cuticles. Give them some love.
  • Bermuda Shorts. I’m pale, I’m plus size, and I am not a fan of short shorts. Bermuda shorts cover all of my pale parts. And they make me happy because htey have decent sized pockets.
  • Character popsicles. There are a couiple places in San Diego where you can buy the popsicles that the ice cream man sells in bulk or at a discount. California Ice Cream and Candy in Lakeside (that’s near my house), and Circus Man Ice Cream in National City.  The kids and I hit up our local store each week and drop $20 on Spongebob, TMNT, Tweety Bird, and other popsicles. That’s about 13 or so, and that lasts us about a week! I personally love the Powerpuff Girl ones, they are orange and cherry flavored.

Talk Back: What are your favorite summer essentials?

2022- Summer Fun on a Budget

681517ea18b6760354438c6a7f6190f1.jpgIt’s time for kids to finish up school, and be let loose on the world. But, instead of hours of screen time and endless whining, let’s fill the summer with some fun stuff!

If you are looking to beat the heat and need something free, check out the Waterfront Park downtown. They have a great splash pad area for kids, a really fun playground, and a big grassy area for picnics. Only downside- no shade trees.

 

Info on Free Summer lunches is rolling in very slowly. A lot of the sources for information (211 and the USDA) sites have not been updated with summer information. I’ll keep updating this post as new info is available on more sites throughout the county.

A San Diego Summer Favorite- Resident Free Days at Balboa Park

One of the best ways to pass a Tuesday afternoon in the summer is to hit up Balboa Park. Each week there are several museums that offer free admission to residents of the City and County of San Diego, and to active military personnel and their dependents. Please be prepared to present a photo ID with your address.

Here is the schedule:

First Tuesday

Second Tuesday

Third Tuesday

Fourth Tuesday

Fifth Tuesdays

  • Regular admission prices are in effect

The Following Tuesdays: July 26th, 23rd, September 27th, October 25th,  November 22nd, and  December 27th:

  • The Comic-Con Museum (Not valid for “Beyond Amazing: Spider-Man – The Exhibition.” This special exhibit is an extra charge)

As a lifelong San Diego County resident, I’d pass on the automotive museum, it’s kinda meh (I’m not a gear head). And unless your kids are super into airplanes or outer space/NASA, I’d skip the Air and Space Museum. We paid full price a few years ago, and the kids hated it (ok, mostly Bitty hated it). The Mingei Museum is full of all kinds of stuff (folk arts, useful goods like pottery, clothing, quilts- it’s not super kid-friendly), but it’s pretty interesting.

Take a picnic, and enjoy eating in any one of the gardens/open spaces.  Another free activity in Balboa Park is the Botanical Garden and Lily Pond. Right next door is the Spanish Art Village, which is fun to explore as well.

Talk Back: What is your favorite part of Balboa Park?

 

Summer Movies for Kids!

One of the kid’s favorite summer activities is to hit up the local theater for a showing of one of their favorite movies.

Big buckets of popcorn, snuck in candy (shhhh), and a drink and they are ready for 2 hours of fun in the Air Conditioning.

In my search for theater chains offering this fun this summer, several of our old friends are not participating as of the writing of this post.

Select Reading Cinemas will have the Reel Kids program, where throughout the summer (June 21-August 9) there will be kid-approved movies for the reduced price of $2/ticket!

And perhaps my kids’ favorite, 2022 Regal Summer Movie Express is back! Express tickets are just $2 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays featuring summer movies the whole family will enjoy. Availability varies by location. My kids are excited to see Lego Movie 2, Lego Batman, Scoob, and Shrek.

AMC has information about their $5 Fan Favorites on their site, but no information or schedules for the summer.

Cinemark (No locations near us) has 8 weeks of Movie Fun planned. More Details can be found here.

Talk Back: What summer movies are you looking forward to seeing?

 

Sonic Drive-In App: Your Free New App Reward Is Here!

Check your Sonic Drive-in App!

Red Bull® Slushes are back, and you can get one for FREE in the SONIC App!

Redeem your new app reward at checkout and get a FREE Medium Red Bull® Slush with any app purchase. Grab the classic Red Bull® flavor or the NEW Summer Edition flavor ­— Strawberry Apricot! This reward is available through June 26, 2022.

And don’t forget- Order through the Sonic Drive-In app and get 1/2 off drinks all the time. Check app for details and restrictions.

Rockin’ Jump: Annual Pass Special

We love us some Rockin’ Jump. It’s a super fun indoor trampoline park here in San Diego.

Get ready for Summer with their May Special. The $99 ANNUAL PASS will give your jumper 90 minutes of jump time every day for a full year.

In just 5 visits this pass has paid for itself.

This is an exclusive limited-time deal offered up until May 31st or up to 100 passes sold. To purchase, or learn more, click here.  

2022 Summer Reading Programs

Summer is just around the corner. And you know what that means- keeping kids occupied so we don’t have to hear choruses of, “I’M BORED!” And how do we do that?

Around these parts, both kids go to summer school, but we also take advantage of free and low-cost summer programs. One of my favorites is the Summer Reading Programs that are sponsored by both the City of San Diego Library system, but also the County of San Diego Library system.

The City of San Diego Summer Reading Program starts June 1st. You can find out more details here.

The County of Sa Diego Library system has not yet released their Summer Reading Program at the time of this post, but their website should be updated with information closer to June 1st, the usual start date.

If you want your family to experience a multi-cultural world through reading, I  recommend PJ Library.  PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children from birth through 12 years old.

My kids love learning about faraway places and experiences different from their own. The PJ library books have opened their eyes to new holidays, customs, and ways of life.

Read Conmigo provides free books for kids by mail in Spanish and English to children ages preschool to fifth grade. They are only available to kids in CA, TX, and Florida. We used to receive the books, and they are ok, but my kids aren’t interested in learning Spanish.

Barnes and Noble has a summer reading program starting July 1st. More info here.

Dolly Parton has established the Imagination library, it is available in select regions (sadly not available in San Diego California), and those who live in areas that are participating can receive one book for their kids every month via mail.

Book It has a summer program called Camp Book it, where kids can read, and earn free personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut! Book It is the FAVORITE reading program in my house.

And if you haven’t done it yet, don’t forget to sign your kids up for the 2022-2023 school year Book It program. Teachers can sign their classes up too!

 

Talk Back: If you know of any other reading programs in the San Diego/Southern California area, please leave a comment!

Free Admission to Sea World for Active Duty Military & Veterans!

Did you know that active-duty military and veterans can receive up to four free passes to Sea World? It’s true!

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 7.19.30 PM.pngSea World has a program called Waves of Honor. Waves of Honor permits any qualified active or former U.S. military service member to one complimentary admission per year for military personnel and as many as three guests.

This isn’t available at the park, so you’ll have to sign up here and fill out all the forms before you go.

Parking isn’t included in this offer and starts at $17, depending on which level of parking you select.

Get your tickets by verifying your military status here. All tickets must be obtained by May 15 and used by July 10, 2022.

Get 20% Off Mabel’s Labels Best-Selling Camp Labels #sponsored

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

I love Mabel’s Labels. Each kid has a set, I have a set (unicorns if you had to know), and we have a family set for our bigger pool toys and camping equipment.

If you’ve got campers or really busy kids, this sale is what you need!

Mabel’s Labels best-selling camp labels will be 20% off until May 31, 2022. Shop the early access sale here!

Products include:

  • Sleepaway Camp Label Pack
  • Day Camp Label Pack
  • Mini Custom Clothing Stamp
  • Iron On Labels
  • Duffle Bag Labels
  • Contact Info Labels
  • Washaway Lunch Box Notes

And until April 30, 2022, you can use code CAMP10 at check out for 10% off the Starter Label Pack!

Features of any of Mabel’s Labels Camp Starter Label Packs:

  • Laundry proof (Washer and dryer safe)
  • Waterproof & Weatherproof
  • Durable
  • Easy to Apply
  • Personalized & Custom Designs


Note: coupons cannot be stacked on top of the products discounted at 20% off.

Don’t forget, Mabel’s Labels also offers free standard shipping on all orders!

Time to Hit the Road: Don’t Forget the Snacks!

I’ve talked about our snack basket at home, but what about when we leave home? Oh yeah, we take snacks everywhere!

When it’s time for the zoo or another day out on the town, I pull out the “snack backpack” which is one shoulder slingback bag like this.

Here are a few of our family’s favorite snacks and other stuff I keep in our snack bag:

  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 trunk 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 have lots of great flavors to choose from.
  3. Freeze-dried Fruit. Strawberries, Pineapple, and mangoes are favorites here.
  4. Protein bars, granola bars, goldfish crackers, fruit squeezy pouches, Yogurt squeezy pouches, individual cups of peanut butter, crackers to go with the PB (usually Ritz), Pirates Booty, Individual bags of popcorn, homemade trail mix (extra M&M’s no raisins), Ziploc bags of cereal, fruit leathers/fruit rollups, Mott’s Fruit Snacks (these are specifically requested), 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 snack bag and water bottles may 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-sided cooler bag with blue ice and cold treats like frozen tubes of yogurt, berries, cheese, and cold cuts. I like using reusable 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- We also take advantage of summer school lunch programs as well.

I’m really looking forward to our spring and summer shenanigans!