Dinosaurs Invade Miniland USA at Legoland California!

If your kiddos are like mine, they love dinosaurs and Legoland.

Our friends over at LEGOLAND® California Resort have created more than 30 of the massive creatures that have taken over the Big Apple in Miniland U.S.A. Guests can get up close to Stegosauruses, Brachiosauruses, Triceratopses and the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex, among others, running rampant through the city. The fun scenes all depict what happens when a science convention has gone wrong and now families can join a LEGO® Mad Scientist in his search to find and identify all the creatures.

Each prehistoric reptile took a team of Master Model Builders more than 60 hours to design and construct. Each dinosaur weighs more than 20lbs and is built out of more than 30 thousand LEGO® bricks. Sharp LEGO® teeth, gigantic claws, and tiny T-rex arms are among the many identifiable characteristics of the carnivorous models. The Model Builders also had some fun creating silly and entertaining scenes in Time Square, Central Park, and high above the city skyline for all to enjoy.

LEGO dinosaurs will be roaming around the city that never sleeps now through summer at the Park… catch them fast before they go extinct!

The kids love Legoland, and they make it fun and easy for all families to enjoy their parks. If you are a family with special needs, check out my post about their Assisted Access Pass. And if you are trying to have fun on a budget- Legoland can be enjoyed on the cheap! Tips and tricks can be found here.

This dinosaur experience is included in the price of admission to LEGOLAND® California Resort. For LEGOLAND® California Resort ticket prices, Spring Break special offers, operating schedule, and additional information, visit www.LEGOLAND.com or call 760-918-LEGO (5346).

Utility Rates Going Up: Tips to Save

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 1.26.41 PM.pngFor those of us in San Diego County- you’ve probably read or heard by now, we have the highest utility prices in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Not something to be too proud of.

I’ve been researching ways for us all to save money on our bills, and I promise that none of them are too kooky. No turning off your hot water heater, sitting in the dark, or wearing dirty clothes. Some of the things I found in my research were… sketchy.

We’re going to hit up all the areas of your home, And yes, we do all of these things in my home.

The Thermostat: The memes about parents controlling the thermostat are real. For Serious.

  • Turn your thermostat to 72-75 degrees, or better yet, turn it off. For most of us in Southern California, it’s usually flip-flop weather or sweater weather. We only turn on the heat when we know it’s going to be cold (like 55 or below), or turn the AC on when it’s going to be 90 or above.
  • Install a smart thermostat. We have an Ecobee, and there is an app for our phones to control the thermostat, so if I know it’s going to be hot or cold, I can set the thermostat to keep the house comfortable upon our return from time away.
  • This brings me to my next point- Utilize Ceiling fans and box fans to circulate the air in your home. Did you know there is a setting on your ceiling fan for summer, and the opposite direction is for winter? The counterclockwise rotation of the fan pulls warm air up and forces cool air down, perfect for the summer!
  • Is it going to be cold? Close your windows, but leave your drapes/blinds open. The sun will shine through the windows and heat up your home (A little, not like a sauna). You may still need socks, a sweater, and pants. These two tips may keep you from having to turn on your heater.
  • Is it going to be hot? Close the drapes/blinds early in the day before the weather heats up. Use fans to circulate to cool air. If it’s going to be dangerously hot and you have to be at home, close the windows and get the thermostat to 72-75. 75 degrees doesn’t sound cool, but when it’s 90+ degrees outside, it feels amazing.

Water Heater:

  • Your water heater does not need to be turned all the way up. Gen X-er’s will remember this PSA from Tweety Bird. Turn down the temperature on your water heater.
  • Make sure that your water is in good repair, that the closet or area in which it is housed is clean and free of debris or anything flammable. In California, the water heater needs to be up off the ground and braced with earthquake bracing straps.

Laundry:

  • Only run full loads of laundry.
  • Utilize the various cycles on your washer to make sure an appropriate amount of water (and the correct temp) are being used.
  • Use the correct amount of soap/detergent (more is NOT better). If your clothes are not getting clean the first time, that is also a waste of electricity/gas.
  • Line or hang dry clothes if the weather permits. We live in a 2nd-floor condo that does not permit external drying lines, but we have a retractable laundry line in the laundry closet where we can hang up clothes that are labeled tumble dry low or hang dry. It was very easy to install.
  • Lacking space? We also have a collapsible drying rack too.  We use it for pants mostly. It folds up and lives in the laundry closet when not in use. When we are using it, it is in the bathtub (mostly to keep the cat from messing with it).

All over the house:

  • Keep the lights off during the daytime. Open the drapes/blinds and take advantage of the natural light.
  • Going into a room with no natural light (like the bathroom or kitchen)? Turn the lights on when entering, and flip them off when you leave the room.
  • Unplug devices/appliances when not in use. Obviously, I’m not talking about your fridge, washer, or dryer. Toaster ovens, microwaves, and unplugging the cellphone and other device chargers when not in use. Most devices still draw power when not in use but remain plugged in. If you don’t want to go around plugging and unplugging, you can invest in smart plugs, like these. We have these on our Toaster Oven, microwave, printer, TV, Nordic Track, and PS4.

Programs to save money:

  • SDG&E has several programs to help you save money on your bills. CARE and FERA are programs that can save you 18-30% on your bills. More information and how to apply can be found here.
  • If you are a senior and have qualifying medical equipment in your home, you may qualify for a medical baseline discount from SDG&E. More information and how to apply can be found here.
  • Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 5.02.27 PM We use OHM Connect to save additional money on our SDG&E bill. Once you sign up, you will be alerted when the demand for energy increases. If you cut down on power usage during those peak times, you will not only reduce your power bill but also receive points from OHM Connect that can be redeemed for cash back via PayPal or gift cards (I usually get Target Gift cards). Ohm Connect is available in CA, Texas, and New York!

 

Daily Schedules for Kids (with tips for ADHD Family Members)

Recently, I posted our daily schedule for school days on Instagram.

Because the littler kiddo is still learning to read, I do a combination of words and pictures. I find that it also helps as sometimes when kids become disregulated, reading can be a little too much for our brains.

The Afternoon/Night section doesn’t have times because while bedtime is at a fixed time, it is important to grant the kids some freedom in the afternoons to relax and decompress from school. After being “on” all day at school, I like to give them 30 minutes to an hour after school to have a snack and relax without any kind of demands put on them.

There are of course times when that is not possible, for example when we have appointments immediately after school. Having a schedule for them to see really helps them organize and be aware.

Having two neurodivergent kiddos, it’s important to have visual reminders of schedules, family rules, appointments, etc. around the house. Each kid has a calender in room that is updated monthly with upcoming appointments, days off school and holidays. Updating those each month is something I do the first day of each month. I use stickers in addition to writing to help remind the kids of upcoming events on the calenders.

With Neurodivergency sometimes comes what we call “losing time”. The concept of time can be hard for kids to grasp, regardless of their neurodivergency. Another way that we help keep the kids on schedule is to use the old theater trick where we give them a one hour “call”, a 30 minute call, a five minute call, and then a time to go call. Grown ups call out, “One hour until X”, and the kids answer back, “Thank you one hour!” Making them repeat the amount of time they have left until we leave or transition activities puts it in their mind that whatever they are doing/playing/watching will come to an end.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about the tips and tricks you use to keep your family on schedule!

 

 

 

April is Financial Literacy Month! Budgeting and Savings Tips

Today I learned that April is Financial Literacy Month. Which is just in time for tax day (which has been extended this year, but it traditionally April 15th).

One of my favorite topics for this blog is how to save money. So I thought I’d put together a post with links to some of my best ways to save money and throw out some tips and tricks that work for me.

Last year I wrote a three-part series about making a practical budget that a family can adhere to and how to get some extra help if you need it. This was written during the pandemic, so there is a lot of information and resources especially for those feeling the financial panic that many felt during the height of the pandemic last year.

If you already have a budget or feel that your spending is out of control and you aren’t to the point yet where you feel that you need a budget, I did a series of posts in late 2019 about how to reign in the out-of-control spending.

  • Part One- Start in the Kitchen
  • Part Two- Entertainment Some of these tips may not be applicable right now, as so many public places are still closed or have limited services (Like gyms and libraries).
  • Part Three- Shopping Around to Save. Internet, cell phones, health insurance (and that’s just three examples), a lot of times you can save money with a few clicks or a phone call.

Keeping an eye on your Credit Score is another great way to be financially literate. I wrote this morning about Credit Sesame, which I personally have used for at least 9 years.

And finally, if you feel like you need a little more help than the posts above to get a handle on your finances, check out Simplifi by Quicken. To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, Simplifi is offering a 30-day FREE Trial of Simplifi by Quicken.

  • Simplifi by Quicken was named the Best Budgeting App & Tool by the New York Times’ Wirecutter!
  • The app helps you stay on top of your money in less than 5 minutes per week.
  • After your free 30-day trial save 38% off the regular price. That’s $29.99 billed annually for the first year. For the cost of one lunch date, you can have a year of budgeting at your fingertips.

Talkback: What are your tips and tricks to saving money and staying on budget?

Free Credit Score and Monitoring with Credit Sesame!

April is Financial Literacy Month. Part of being financially literate or aware of your financial situation is to make sure that your credit report is correct. If you haven’t taken a look at your credit report lately,  it’s time to give your finances a fresh look and get your credit in tip-top shape.

Did you know that the recent FTC study found that over 20% of Americans or 40 Million credit reports have reporting errors that are costing consumers money in credit card interest rates and loans? These reports aren’t always indicative of something nefarious like your personal data being stolen, sometimes information on your credit report may belong to someone with a similar name as yours, or someone with a social security number close to yours. Whatever the case, it’s important to check your credit report once a year at a minimum, and make sure it’s correct.

Start by making sure that your credit report does not contain erroneous information that could be impacting your credit score. Keep tabs on your credit report activities and your score by signing up for free credit monitoring and score services like Credit Sesame, so that you can easily protect your financial good standing.

Credit Sesame is 100% free and offers-

  • Receive daily credit monitoring alerts
  • Get your FREE Credit Score Monthly
  • Limit ID Theft Damage
  • Find Potential Errors Sooner
  • Access to Better Loans and  that Can Save You Money

What are you waiting for? Click here to register for free in under 2 minutes. You’ll get your free credit score and a complete view of your credit and loans. Plus, when you turn on the Credit Monitoring feature, you’ll be notified of changes to your credit profile, along with $50K identity theft insurance and live agents to help you restore your identity in case of theft. All for free. All in one place.

Virtual Sleep Well Yoga with Jennie Olson Six

My friend and Yogini, Jennie Olson Six is offering an awesome, relaxing 30 minutes of unwinding movement and the rest of the time is a restful relaxation.

You can do this on your mat or in bed and then drift off to sleep!

Most of us miss our pre-pandemic exercise time. I don’t know about you, but I miss the quiet relaxation that yoga provides. It is impossible for me to do yoga in a house full of people (and CAT). Interruptions (mom mom mom mom mooooooom), cat trying to sleep on my mat, even the Amazon Guy knocking on the door- OY VEY.

The best part of this class is that it fits every budget-By Donation or Free
Zoom Link
Jennie has some great tips and more information on other workouts and yoga opportunities for FREE here.

Get your Free Credit Score and More With Credit Sesame!

Recently, we refinanced our home. Our lender was super impressed that our credit scores are so high (oh hi 800 club). One of the ways I’ve been able to keep my credit score so high is that I use Credit Sesame to monitor my scores with all three agencies.

I can check to see if there is anything on there that doesn’t belong and clear up any issues as soon as I see them.

Did you know that the recent FTC study found that over 20% of Americans or 40 Million credit reports have reporting errors that are costing consumers money in credit card interest rates and loans?

Make sure that your credit report does not contain erroneous information that could be impacting your credit score. Keep tabs on your credit report activities and your score by signing up for free credit monitoring and score services like Credit Sesame, so that you can easily protect your financial good standing.

* Receive daily credit monitoring alerts
* Get your FREE Credit Score Monthly
* Limit ID Theft Damage
* Find Potential Errors Sooner
* Get Access to Better Loans and Save Money

And unlike those “free” credit report offers that you see on TV with the catchy jingles,Credit Sesame is 100% free. You don’t have to enter your credit card number.

Good Credit is important- it’s the gatekeeper to so many things in life! Good credit gives you better access to better APR’s for credit cards, mortgages, car loans, lines of credit.

DIY Cloth Masks- Links and Tips

There are a lot of patterns and videos floating around the internet for non-medical personnel to make their own masks to keep safe in public when we have to go out for necessities.

These masks don’t filter all dangerous pathogens, but they are a good way to remind ourselves not to touch our faces, and keep our germs to ourselves.

MyBluprint has patterns and info here. There are several options/patterns, including a pattern for those who cannot or do not sew. MyBluprint is also hooking us up and staving off boredom by extending their FREE online crafting classes until 4/16/2020.

92393442_10157973738991061_532184793442418688_nIt’s a great way to learn some new crafts, or just watch the videos and plan for later.

I’ve been making masks for family and friends who are essential employees, you can see some of the pics of me making silly faces and modeling a couple different ones here on Instagram. *Warning*- Quarantine hair in the pics.

I used the pattern from Kaiser Permanente, which you can see here. There is a printable pattern on page 11 of the PDF.

92493115_10157984846031061_3631192701837246464_n
This fabric came from Dollar Tree!

Here are a few helpful hints that I’ve discovered in making over 20 masks this week:

  • Make a few masks per person. They need to be washed after each wearing in hot water.
  • If you don’t have any fabric in your home, you can use cotton bandanas, old sheets or pillowcases. The fabric needs to be tightly woven like cotton pillowcase fabric. Avoid sheer and or gauzy fabric.
  • Elastic is very hard to find these days, so I used new elastic hair ties, like these in the kids masks (I made the ear loop masks for them). I got hair ties at Dollar Tree (some Dollar Tree locations have precut quilters cotton fabric too). The majority of the masks I made have ties and are for adults. We are keeping the kids out of public as much as possible.
  • If you want to make the masks a little more protective put a layer of shop towel or interfacing between the layers of mask. I couldn’t find either at the time, so I skipped this.

I’d love to see what your DIY masks look like! Leave a comment. If you need masks but don’t sew, there are a lot of local seamtresses and costumers that are out of work right now who are making masks to help pay their bills.

Keeping Sickness at Bay & $5 off Mucinex Coupon!

I haven’t been posting a lot of coupons lately. Either they are low value, or they aren’t for products that I think y’all would like. But, check out what popped up in my inbox this morning: Mucinex $5 OFF Coupon here.

A lot of people are battling the winter ickiness, and that includes mucus (eww). When you join Mucus Fighters Plus, Mucinex® will email you an exclusive $5 coupon and other special offers, plus tips for putting mucus in its place.

Here are a few tips to keep sickness at bay:

  1. Wash your paws! Seriously. Soap, warm water, 30 seconds of vigorous rubbing, rinse, dry. Sing Happy Birthday or count to time yourself.
  2. Throw away your used paper towels, used tissues, and put dirty dishes that have come into contact with your mouth into the sink. Don’t leave your germs around to share. In this case, sharing isn’t caring.
  3. If someone in your home is sick, wipe down surfaces they touch one a day (or more frequently). We use Clorox wipes. you can also use Lysol Spray.
  4. Change out your toothbrush! Bacteria can live on your toothbrush. Change it out once you are feeling better.
  5. If you don’t feel well, it’s ok to take it easy. Skip non-essential obligations. Your friends and family will thank you for not spreading illness.
  6. To piggyback on #5- REST. It helps you get well faster. Sleep. Take a shower. Read a book. Have a low key movie night with the kids and serve a dinner of snacks on a blanket in the living room.

Talkback: What are your tips to recovering from the winter sickies?