President’s Day 2/17/2020 Free Admission to your Local YMCA!

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Celebrate President’s Day with a fun and healthy Freebie! All YMCAs are free and open to everyone during regular hours, Monday, February 17, 2020. You can enjoy a healthy time at the Y on the holiday, and invite your friends to come along with you!

And bring your kids along to enjoy the fun of Kids Club or Child Watch! There are tons of fun games and activities for kids to enjoy, and the staff is engaged and spends time with the kids. It’s not just glorified babysitting, it’s a fun time for the kids. My littlest begs to go to the Y daily to see her friends and play.

Remember, any time you refer a new member, you can get a month free!

We’ll be there bright and early! Monday is yoga day for me!

Tips to Reign In and Out Of Control Family Budget: Saving on Entertainment!

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This is one of the most divisive topics I write about. I am completely serious. Television. Specifically- cutting or lowing your cable or dish package to save money.

This is a big bone of contention for a lot of people who ask me how we live on one income. For some people, they “need their shows“ or they “have to” watch the game every week.

Cable and satellite television is expensive, and now with all of the streaming services in addition to cable, it is conceivable that a family may spend upwards of $300 a month on television. That’s JUST TELEVISION! That doesn’t include movie tickets!

Sit down and gather up the cost of each streaming service and/or cable subscription/dish subscription. Where is there overlapping entertainment?

  • Hulu Plus has a live option, which gives you access to sports, and television shows on the same day they air on cable television.
  • If you have cable that includes the Disney Channel, CBS, HBO, or Showtime, is there really a reason for you to pay for the subscription/on-demand versions of those networks?

If you feel like you are ok with changing your television viewing habits, ditching cable in favor for a few streaming options and over the air television which can be viewed with our digital antenna (which is easy to use/install) and is available for purchase for about $50-$100.

Depending on how strong the signals in your area are, you should be able to receive:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • CW
  • Fox
  • PBS (We get three PBS channels)

There are additional networks that are available in various areas of the county.  Here in So Cal, we also get:

Plus we get a few more Spanish language channels, and one Korean language channel.

Now that you’ve trimmed/cut the cord, what other entertainment do you see/attend/do? We don’t go to the movies too often, but we have a weekly date night budget of $50. I try to get it out of the bank in cash and if we are going out together, we spend it together, but if we are going out with other friends, or staying home with the kids, I give him half.  If we don’t use it one week, we roll it over to the next week!

images.jpgOne of my other main sources of Entertainment is the gym. I try and go at least 4 times per week for at least an hour.  Other places that you can trim and your family budget can include your gym membership. If you don’t require a gym that has the bells and whistles and lots of classes, you might consider changing your full-service gym to a more budget-friendly or discount gym like Crunch or Planet Fitness. Both of them have extremely reasonable rates, but they don’t offer classes or childcare usually.

If you’re looking at something that is slightly more family-friendly, I cannot recommend the YMCA enough! For our family, we pay $69 a month, and that is inclusive of childcare on-site for both children up to four hours a day (two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon as long as there is a lapse of four hours of time in between the two sessions), we can visit any YMCA location in San Diego County, and also have travel benefits if we go out of town. There are free classes for everyone in the family, on various types of exercise from family yoga to family kickboxing to open gym for the kids two-three times a week.

They have great swimming facilities for spring and summer, and the family swim is available year-round in the large pool at our local YMCA. I also like that they have trained people in the childcare/kids club area that know how to work with kids who have special needs, so I never feel like my big kid will be ignored or be feeling out of place. If you are a local and want to check out the YMCA, let me know and I’ll get you a guest pass!

In the past we had some really bad experiences with 24-Hour Fitness. We were also paying a lot of money to go to 24-Hour Fitness (upwards of $120/month Between our membership dues and the cost of the on-site childcare) and I felt like our fitness goals could not be supported because of the lack of support and education with their child care employees.

I also like that the YMCA offers discounted rates/scholarships for military families (active duty and retired), those with low-incomes, or receiving certain government benefits.

As far as kids’ entertainment, our local community library has us covered over school breaks. Between summer reading programs, spring break events, Star Wars Days, Back To School supply giveaways, and Christmas cookie decorating/Polar Express PJ parties. You would be surprised at all of the cool stuff going on at your local library!

 

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about how you save money on entertainment!

YMCA of San Diego County- Cyber Monday Deal!

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We love our local YMCA- They have great exercise classes, awesome free events for members and the community, open gym for the kids to run and play in the gymnastics area three times a week, an activity pool that is open in the spring and summer, and I could go on and on.

We go to the Y 4-6 times a week for exercise and so the kids can play and socialize- this is a HUGE help during school breaks because the kids club/child watch has great programs and play opportunities- and it’s included in the price of membership. And it’s so much more than the kid’s area at most chain gyms. The folks at child watch and kids club do crafts, lead games, read stories, and teach the kids how to play new games, and take them into the gym area to bounce on the huge trampoline!

Today Only, December 2nd- Cyber Monday, New members pay no joining fee if they join online using our special My Y Code CYBR19. Your friend will save up to $60! And if you are a member and your friend mentions your name at sign up,  you’ll get a free month of membership! If you are going to sign up, mention my name, Abby Hewes. Any way we can save money helps our families bottom line!

For our family, YMCA is definitely frugal: for $75/month, I am able to go to the gym for 2 hours a day and the kids can go to play and have fun. Any of our other local gyms can’t touch that price, and they don’t have the other programs or benefits.

The YMCA offers scholarships and reduced monthly membership fees for military families, families that receive WIC, and many other programs- don’t forget to ask about them!

And if you are the parent of a special needs kid, let me tell you that our local Y has the most wonderful, caring staff that cares for all kids. My big kid is autistic and he loves going to Kids Club to hang out and play. He also loves the monthly Kids Night at the Y.

November is Military Family Month at the YMCA!

ymcaOne of the things I love about the YMCA is that they support military families with discounts and special programs. Through November 11, The San Diego County YMCA’s are directing 50 percent of new-member join fees toward financial assistance for military families.

Military families get extra membership benefits at the YMCA, including a waived join fee ($60 value), 10% off monthly membership fees, and access to child care referrals and the Exceptional Family Member Program for Navy families who have children with special needs.

If you haven’t checked out your local YMCA location recently, The Y will be free and open to all during regular hours, Monday, November 11. Veteran’s Day is just one of the many free community days the Y has throughout the year.

We love our local Y. With 2 hours of childcare each day, so I can exercise (or really, sometimes I just want to take a shower in peace), or make phone calls/catch up on emails/write in the newly remodeled lobby of our local Y (#nomomshame, I see lots of other moms do it too before or after their workouts), free classes, events, and weekly open gymnastic so the kids can play and get wiggles out- no matter the temperature outside, there is something for every family.

I’ve always got free passes too- so if you can’t make it on Monday, November 11, 2019 to your local Y, let me know and I can slip some passes your way!

9/14/19 Come Out and Play at the YMCA- Free for Everyone!

Open House September 14

 Open House September 14

COME OUT AND PLAY AT THE Y OPEN HOUSE IS SEPTEMBER 14
Sports, swim, gymnastics, camps, dance, martial arts, fitness — the Y is your No. 1 spot for active and healthy kids. Check out everything the Y has to offer at our Open House, Saturday, September 14, 2019.

All 18 YMCA locations will be open all day to the community, with special events from 9:00am to 12:00pm, including fun activities and program previews, with plenty of coaches and staff on hand to answer your questions.

As part of the 5-2-1-0 Childhood Obesity Initiative, the Y is here to ensure your children get 1 hour (or more!) of physical activity every day.

They are all about making it fun. Find your family’s next favorite activity at the Y! The kids and I go to our local Y 4-6 times a week. Exercise, swim, play at Open Gym- There are all so many different things to do included in your monthly membership!

AND IT GETS BETTER- THEY ARE WAIVING THE JOIN FEE!
New members pay no join fee on September 14 — save up to $60! All locations are free and open to the community all day!

Enjoy the YMCA for free this Thursday!

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Ya’ll know my love of your local Y. This Thursday, July 4th, you can check out any San Diego County YMCA for FREE!  Thursday, July 4 YMCA locations are open 7:00am-2:00pm (Holiday Hours). Childwatch times vary by location, so call ahead or check the branch locations before heading out.

The kids and I will be hitting up the Y to get our wiggles out before heading out to party with family Thursday afternoon!

And if you are looking for a job, many YMCA locations are hiring! Year-round and seasonal positions currently available. Learn more at www.ymca.org/careers

 

YMCA- Free To All on 6/16/19!

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Ya’ll know my family loves the YMCA! Between the great child care, clean pools, excellent group classes (I love yoga!), I am stoked that All San Diego County YMCA locations are open and free to all this coming Sunday, June 16, 2019.

The location closest to us, the Cameron Family YMCA in Santee is opening it’s newly redesigned Fitness center this Saturday- I can’t wait to check it out on Sunday morning! If you join in June, there are all kinds of deals, including no enrollment fee (a $50 value)!

$50 off when you join the YMCA!

Ya’ll know how much my family loves the YMCA- when this deal came across my desk, I had to share!

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Spending time with friends at the Y is a great way to stay connected and get healthy at the same time. Please let your friends know that new members in September will receive up to $50to use toward a class or a program this fall.

Stop by the Welcome Center at any Y to find out how to process your referral.

* Terms and conditions apply. Credit value is based on joiner fee paid. Limit one per household. Must join by September 30, 2018. Click here for details.

And if your family is a military family, or you receive WIC, CalFresh/SNAP, or several other kinds of support, you may be eligible for a scholarship to reduce your monthly membership fee.

unnamed (2).jpgIf you are a local and you want to check out the Y, let me know- I’ve got guest passes I can share! Most of the Y locations in San Diego are offering a free day on 9/3/18 to celebrate Labor Day! 7:00am – 2:00pm, everyone is invited to the Y on Labor Day! Join us for an exercise class, a swim or a workout! Note: Cameron Family, John A. Davis and Peninsula Family YMCAs will be closed.

Back on Track for Fall! and a $25 Amazon GC Giveaway.

For most of our kids, school has either started or will start in about a week. I’ve had a rocking summer with the kids, but it’s time to get settled back into a routine for the family. I am a huge proponent of routines for kids. Having one for our family has really helped calm and allay fears of the unknown, which is huge for kids with ASD.

Not that everything has to be exactly the same every day, but knowing what will happen within a time frame gives kids (and some adults too) a certain sense of calm.

I posted at the beginning of the summer about our schedule, and it really helped. Our school year schedule is a little different, but most of our appointments are the about the same time each week.

A few other things that help us keep on track during the school year:

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 8.41.01 AM.pngHaving grab and go lunch items at hand. In the pantry, there is a basket filled with all kinds of lunch/snack items. Crackers, cookies, squeezy pouches, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, cups of PB/other nut/seed butters, pretzels, juice boxes, etc. On the counter we’ve got a trifle bowl (I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made trifle in the past 11 years-but… it makes a great fruit bowl), that we will with lunchbox sized fruit: apples, tangerines, and occasionally pears. I keep the bananas separate on a little hook/stand.

I also keep a stash of frozen tubes of yogurt in the freezer, and a grip of cheese sticks either pre-packaged or home-made, depending on which is cheaper, in the fridge. What’ a home made cheese stick? Buy a big block of cheese, grab a large, sharp knife and cut the cheese into hunks resembling commercially made cheese sticks. I wrap them in saran wrap and keep them in a large zip top bag in the dairy drawer.

It takes about 15 minutes to organize the lunch stuff once a week, and it saves me a lot of time each morning.

A Pretty Solid Meal Plan. I’ve posted about meal planning so many times, and honestly, it really does help. I get a lot of magazines in the mail (free of course), and most of them are cooking magazines. I try to add a new recipe into the mix weekly.

Exercise. I know this sounds weird, but, for me, exercise is my me time. We go to our local YMCA, and the kids go to child care for up to two hours. I do an hour of cardio (and catch up on email, Facebook, or bring along a book), then do weights for about 20-40 minutes. It’s a chance to focus on my body and health. Sometimes I grab my travel bag, and toss it into my gym bag with a couple towels and go take a shower after my cardio. Taking a shower without little people interrupting you is one of life’s small luxuries. Whatever makes you happy and allows you to escape a little each day, I encourage you to explore it. 

Coffee. I’m one of those people that has to have coffee every day. It’s part of my daily ritual. I drink at least 30 ounces of coffee a day: hot, cold, heck even room temp., I don’t care. It can even be decaf. I set up to coffee maker before bed, and when we get up in the morning, there is a hot, fresh pot of coffee. And we don’t have a fancy coffee maker either… This is the coffee maker we have.

Giveaway: Let’s celebrate back to school! I’d love to hear about how you get back to it after school starts. Leave me a comment below and enter to win a $25 Amazon GC* here (This link may not be mobile friendly)! I’ll choose a winner on September 4th, 2018. 

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*Winner subject to verification of entry tasks. Winner must reside in the USA. $25 Amazon GC will be rewarded as a digital Gift Code, emailed to the winner.

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!