Did you know that active duty military and veterans can receive up to four free passes to Sea World (also selected Busch Gardens and Sesame Place)? It’s true!
Sea 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 park you visit and what level of parking you select.
This offer is limited in time. Offer available online through September 30, 2017. Visitation must take place by December 30, 2017. If you qualify and want to take advantage, do it sooner rather than later!
I haven’t had much time to sit at the computer and write lately, but we’ve been busy! There are so many free and frugal things to do in the summer, and we haven’t even done a 1/3 of what we have planned!
Here are just a few of the adventures we’ve been having (and you can try them too)!
Rock Painting! Some of you have seen pictures of the painted rocks we’ve been making, hiding, and finding all over town on my Instagram feed. Santee Rocks was started by a local teacher to spread kindness. There are lot of other “rocks” groups all over San Diego, and the US! We even hosting a Rock Painting party at a local park! Over 30 people showed up, painted, and played. We hope to host another one in July.
We’ve also been hitting up our local libraries for all sorts of fun events and activities. Our favorite is the El Cajon Library. They serve lunch M-F, 11:30-12:30. Afterwards there are a variety of events and activities from special speakers, concerts, and even crafts! And they even serve an afternoon snack!
There is a small play area for kids with an interactive discovery structure, and a Duplo Wall! There is a shaded playground out front as well. It’s a great way to spend a few hours in a climate controlled place without visiting the mall or any place where you might spend money. We usually end up bringing home a few library books too.
We’ve been on adventures with friends! Playing T-ball at the park and going on the hunt for decorated rocks was the biggest hit so far.
And of course, We spend time at home, doing crafts, swimming in the community pool, playing Legos, and just hanging out!
I’m of the mind that summer doesn’t need to be packed with activities sun up to sun down. Frequently, we spend our time at home spending time together. We have friends over to play, but it’s super low-key.
I’ve taking a break from trying to pound out an article or post each day. I want to spend time with the kids and family.
What kinds of activities and adventures has you family been having this summer?
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.
Mixed 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.
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!
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!
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!
Lindo 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?
There is a lunch location down at the Waterfront Park- which is also free! It has a great playground and a splash area.
School is out for us on Tuesday. That means I’ve got 67 days to fill with adventures and “excitement” as my 6 year put it. No pressure, right?
Here are just a few things we’ll be doing to have lots of fun, but not spend a ton of money.
Taking advantage of free community events! Our local libraries have tons of fun events during the month. Lego Club, craft afternoons, story time for pre-schoolers, and our local library has a great slate of summer events, including a summer reading program!
Using passes and memberships that we’ve already paid for. For us, that’s the San Diego Zoo and the YMCA. I plan on taking full advantage of the YMCA membership daily to get the kids out of the house and playing with others, as well as swimming at the activity pool.
Meeting up with friends at the park to play. We love playing at the park. It’s a great way to get out the wiggles, meet new friends, and catch up with old friends. There are tons of groups on Meetup.com or Facebook. If you haven’t checked out Momco on Facebook, it’s a great way to find moms looking to meet up and play!
I love to arrange craft or science get togethers. The kids get to make something or try a science project and play with friends. I’m not really into Pinterest all that much, but I do have a Pinterest Board with some of the science and crafts we want to do this summer. I try to use the supplies we have on hand. I find that a lot of the supplies can be picked up at 99 Cents Only, or cheaply at Target.
We’ll also be painting a lot of rocks and hiding them all over this summer. Have you heard of Santee Rocks? Both kids love it and it’s a great way to get kids out and active! It’s an awesome Facebook Group. Learn more here.
The Beach! I know not everyone has the beach near them, but if you do- take advantage! Google your favorite beach and Tide Chart and find out when low tide it. Low tide is the perfect time to hunt for shells. If you are in San Diego, or will be visiting this summer, check out Coronado for the SS Monte Carlo. It’s a sunken ship that is visible and explorable at low tide.
It 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):
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).
Powdered drink sticks. Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only has lots of great flavors to chose from.
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.
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.
When 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!
For those of us in Southern California, we know the pain of summer. Heat over 100 degrees more days than not, wild fires caused in part by droughts, and lets not forget those fun rolling brown outs. That’s when the power goes out unexpectedly because demand on the power grid is too great.
Lots of us converse power, my family included. Partially because we are frugal, and partially because it’s a good thing to save resources. Now those of us with Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric can earn some green in our pocket while conserving power.
Enter Ohm Connect! They work with the electricity market and the three power companies listed above to reward users for conserving electricity! I signed up about a month ago, after reading more about Ohm Connect here (it will answer all of your questions. Trust me, I am totally skeptical of stuff that sounds too good to be true).
And to prove to you that, yes, you will earn money even when it’s over 100 degrees outside, here is a screen shot from my account showing that I just cashed out $43.63 (They give you an extra $5 if you post it on your FaceBook wall too!). I took the payment via Paypal. I should have the money shortly.
So why not give it a shot? You’ve got nothing to lose! And who knows, maybe you’ll be cashing out sums larger than $43 soon!
**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.