2022 Holiday Resources

I will be updating this post as more information becomes available.  This year is very light on programs that are open to anyone, so I recommend that you lean on your community resources:

  • If you receive WIC or SNAP benefits, check in with your social worker to see if they have any information on holiday help programs. Events like Toys for Joy are being held on a referral basis only. You have to receive an invitation from the event to attend. These are being given out by social workers and those with connections to the group.
  • If you attend church/synagogue/mosque, check with your religious leader or the secretary/office staff. They may have referrals to programs offering holiday help.
  • Check with your kids’ school. Talk to the school counselor, resource teacher, or school secretary.
  • If you frequent local food charities or co-op’s, they may have some resources on holiday events or toy giveaways.

Here is my monthly list of free food opportunities within San Diego County. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, so it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

  • The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.
  • 211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, and events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in a few weeks, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any CONFIRMED free local holiday events in 2022, please leave a comment. 

 

Baby on the Way? Three Freebies Opportunities for Expecting Parents!

If you are expecting a baby, or know someone who is, this post is for you!

Here are three great offers, all with various freebies and opportunities to save money.

First up- BuyBuy Baby! Start your online baby registry, then visit a buybuy BABY stores to receive a free Goody Bag full of free samples and a buybuy BABY coupon!

And when you shop for essentials: Start earning points for every $1 spent. You”ll earn 10 points for every $1 spent – no exclusions.

Enfamil is hooking you up with some goodies!

Join Enfamil Family Beginnings® and get up to $400 in FREE gifts including coupons, formula samples, Belly Badges™, and more! (Available while supplies last!)

This is a great opportunity to try different formulas without breaking the bank.

If you are looking for other formula samples, check out this post about Kabrita. My kids loved this formula.

And finally- Walmart has a great offer! Create a Walmart Baby Registry & you can sign up for a free Welcome Baby Registry Box.

This offer is not mobile-friendly, so you’ll need to use a laptop/desktop.

 

Please feel free to share this post with anyone you know who might be expecting or adopting soon. The best part about these offers is that you will continue to receive coupons and discounts for baby and kids items for an extended period of time!

Tea Collection: Up To 40% Off Sale & Clearance!

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

Tea Collection is hooking us up with 192 new Fall markdowns + take up to 40% off sale & clearance prices!

It’s true! Now is a great time to shop wear-now styles at super-duper prices—including dozens of new markdowns.

Deal: Extra 25% Off Sale and Extra 40% Off Clearance
Coupon Code: PUMPKIN
Valid Through Friday, September 23, 2022, through Monday, September 26, 2022.

Carter’s: Great Deals on Children’s Clothes of All Sizes!

Carter’s has a couple really great deals going on right now!

And before you point out that my kids are bigger, I’m here to tell you that Carter’s sells kids’ clothes up to size 14, and Littlest Bit and I were at our local Carter’s store a few weeks ago to do some back-to-school shopping. She picked out some cute pieces.

These cute overalls were her #1 pick. She is obsessed with overalls and jumpers/rompers right now, and luckily they were (and still are) on sale!

Right now, Carter’s is having a huge sale on Baby Clothes, up to 50% off.

If you have bigger/school-age kiddos, separates start at just $8! And Carter’s sells its other associated brands: Oshkosh B’Gosh, Skip Hop, and Little Planet as well!

In Addition to great sales, Carter’s has a great loyalty program called My Rewarding Moments. 

There are tons of great perks, and it’s free to join.

Lastly, and for me, most importantly- Carter’s offers in-store pick up and Curbside pick up. Shop online, and pick up in about an hour. For those of us who don’t have time to shop in-store, or if you’ve got littles that aren’t huge mall fans, this is a great option.

 

 

 

San Diego Job Seekers: A.R.C.C. Center is Hiring Caregivers!

I posted about this on my socials too, but I really want to spread the word.

The A.R.C.C. Center is hiring Respite Workers all over San Diego County. If you are interested in working with children and teens who have special needs, gain experience in fields such as Nursing, ABA, OT, Speech, and Education, all while earning $17 plus $5/hr extra for each sibling ($22/hr for 2 kids, $27/hr for 3 kids) and paid mileage, visit arcccenter.org/join-our-team to apply and get more information. Be sure to add my name (Abby Hewes) to your application so they get back to you right away.
We use ARCC for Respite and our Respite sitter is amazing! This is a great opportunity for people looking for a part-time job, weekends, and nights. Families need respite all the time.

4/18/2022 Weekly Meal Plan

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I got to cook over the weekend and go some meal prep- it was awesome. I roasted veggies using some seasoning blends from Urban Accents. Citrus Pepper on Cauliflower, and Balsamic and Roasted Onion on baby Brussels Sprouts. I also made a huge pot of Veggie Loaded Tuscan Soup (Zuppa Toscana) to use up the rest of our CSA veggies from last week.

This afternoon once I’m home from work, I’ll get to work on this weeks CSA Box- Chopped and preparing!  Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

A quick trip to the store to pick up milk, cheese, bananas, and a few other things and we’ll be good for the week!

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.  The big kid still brings lunch from home.

Dinner: I picked up our April Dream Dinners order on Friday afternoon and we’ve got meals for the next month or so.  When we have them, I serve 2 Dream Dinners a week. It’s perfect for those nights when we have lots going on, and it’s a great way for the kids to try new cuisines!

  • Monday: Nug night- crinkle fries, apple slices & strawberries
  • Tuesday: Carne asada salad with beans and rice
  • Wednesday: Sandwiches and roasted veggies
  • Thursday: Spiced Chickpea and Cauliflower with Pita Bread, salad
  • Friday: Takeout night!
  • Saturday:  Leftovers
  • Sunday: Soup, salad, cheesy garlic bread

The San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering is back!

After a two-year hiatus, the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering is back in action and better than ever! Events include two block parties, interactive classroom learning, a movie night, a recycled art competition, weekly podcasts, a group hike, and much more! “We are so excited to be back this year! This next month is packed with both in-person and virtual events for families in our community,” said Sara Pagano, Managing Director of the Festival. “After a two-year hiatus, more than ever, our annual celebration of all things STEAM is so needed to inspire the next generation to a love of science and art.”

Starting tomorrow, there are tons of fun events for kids of all ages to enjoy through mid-May!

Barrio Logan Science and Art Expo Mercado Del Barrio: 1900 Main Street, San Diego, CA 92113 

  • April 16th 2022, 10:00AM-2:00PM

  • Combining culture, science, and art, the day will include a mix of student competitions, art displays, live exhibits, hands-on STEAM booths, and more!

  • This is a family-friendly environment where curiosity and exploration intersect creativity and culture.

Live Stage Event at Fleet Science Center 10am-2pm

  • Thursday, April 28th, 2022

  • Live stage performances featuring all things STEAM: rockets, reptiles, robotics, and more! Lineup to be announced soon.

North County STEAM Block Party 1628 Lomas Santa Fe Dr, Del Mar, CA 92014

  • May 1st 2022, 12:00PM-3:00PM, San Dieguito County Park

  • Join other industry partners and community organizations for a scavenger hunt with a twist.

  • Attendees will receive park maps for a scavenger hunt through the park’s nature trails, along with passport books to visit the booths to win prizes.

  • The day will include a family-friendly band and BYOP (bring your own picnic) if you choose!

STEAM Movie Night Waterfront Park: 1600  Pacific Hwy, San Diego, CA 92101

  • May 7th, 2022, 5:30PM-7:30PM. The movie starts at 7:30pm

  • The theme of the night will be “building community with STEAM.”

  • Before the movie starts, attendees will be able to engage with different booths, each with hands-on STEAM activities.

Live Well Trails Challenge Ranger-led hike starts at 10:00AM, at the Birdwatching on the Nature Center Loop at San Elijo Lagoon.

  •  May 7th, 2022 9:00AM
  • Participants will adventure to some of the most popular and picturesque parks in San Diego with the first one being at Nature Center Loop at San Elijo Lagoon.

Classroom Connections  

  • March 15th-May 15th
  • This year the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering will match classrooms at various grade levels with local STEAM industries to cultivate STEAM excitement and provide resources that many classrooms go without.

Stump a Steam Pro Saburo Muraoka Elementary School: 1644 Santa Alexia Ave, Chula Vista, CA 91913

  • Wednesday, May 4th 1-2:30pm

  • Science speed round discussion for 3rd graders to introduce them to a dozen STEAM professionals from different industries.

  • Students will have the opportunity to “stump” the pros to win points for their class.

Weekly “Women Who Inspire” Podcast Through May 10th (All new this year!)

  • Episodes will cover successful women in the science, engineering, and art fields. They will dive into their backgrounds and find out what influenced their career trajectory.

For more information, visit lovestemsd.org or call 858-455-0300 ext. 4152. Connect on Facebook (facebook.com/loveSTEMsd), Instagram (@lovestemsd), and Twitter (@LoveSTEMsd).

Green Kids Crafts: 25% Off Select Boxes + New Numbers Lab!

Science & Craft Subscription Boxes for Kids ages 3-10+My kids love to get mail. They also love doing science experiments. With our winters looking kinda rainy, kinda gloomy, I’m trying to find something fun and indoorsy that’s not the usual. That leads me to Green Kids Crafts. 4-6 educator designed STEAM projects in every box. Millions choose us for our award-winning hands-on activities.

Right now, Green Kids Crafts is offering 25% off their favorite boxes!

Use code FAVORITE25 at checkout and save 25% off their select favorite monthly boxes through the end of the month.

I know that Henry will love the Volcano Kit. The Volcanoes Discovery Box contains FOUR award-winning Creativity and STEAM Science Kits! Your pint-sized volcanologists will have a blast (literally!) with these fun learning kits including Break Your Own Geode Kit, Volcano Splatter Art Kit, Exploding DIY Volcano, Crystal Making Kit, and more!

And I think Margaret will be interested in the New Numbers Box! The Numbers Lab Box contains FOUR award-winning art and science STEAM kits! Your young mathematician will learn counting, number recognition, and matching and patterns with this sensory box that contains the following fun learning kits: Playdough Kit, Telling Time, DIY Flashcards Kit, Counting Games, and more!

What I like about Green Kids Crafts is that you can buy individual boxes or do a subscription! We’ve gotten their boxes before (when Margaret was a baby) and Henry loved them. They are great for the naturally curious kiddo in your life.

 

2021 Holiday Resources

I usually do these types of posts before Thanksgiving, but I’ve been looking for as many resources as possible to help those in need.

Much like last year, there aren’t a lot of free events, and most resources are stretched thin, as 2021 was as hard as 2020 for a lot of families.

The holidays are more than food and gifts, but no one should go hungry any time of year!

Here is my post with a list of food banks/pantries in San Diego. Many of the food pantries also have special holiday distributions, it is worth a call to find out of any additional food or gift distributions will be done.

As of now, I am not aware of any free Christmas tree giveaways, however, as I gather more information, I will update this post.

Toys for Joy will not be holding their annual event this year, instead, their site sends you to other resources such as The Rock Church for food, and The Salvation Army for other additional resources. The Salvation Army does an Angel Tree program to gather gifts for children in need. For more information about this program, contact your local Salvation Army location.

Sunday, December 19th, 2021 from 11am-2pm  is the annual H.O.P.E. event hosted by New Vision Church. Every child ages 0-11 will get a free toy! This is an all-free family fun event filled with free toys, carnival games and prizes, a live petting zoo, big bike giveaways, food, haircuts, jumpers, arts and crafts, live performances, DJ, and a whole lot more! The event will be held at both New Vision Church and Colina Del Sol Park and Recreation which is directly across the street. The entrance is at 5310 Orange Ave., San Diego, CA 92115.

Hope Leadership Academy is hosting an Event, Toys for Hope on December 18, 2021,9:00am – 1:00pm at the King Chavez School: 415 31st St. San Diego, CA 92102. Toys for Hope will be a walk-thru experience this year! Free toys for kids 13 and younger, free groceries, and bike raffles!

211 San Diego has a listing of all sorts of holiday assistance from food to toys, events- all free. Some programs/events require proof of need, but not all.

santeesantas.pngIf you live in Santee and need help with food and gifts for the holiday, contact Santee Santas. You can download and print forms, check into eligibility (it is income-based and they are very strict from what I’ve been told), and see what forms you need in addition to the application here.

The window to apply for Santee Santas is closing in just a few days, so if you want to apply, I recommend checking their website TODAY and apply ASAP.

Talk Back: If you know of any free local events, please leave a comment. 

AO Opinions: Upcoming Toy Study $150

AO Opinions is another Market Research company that I get information from. Right now they are recruiting for an upcoming research study for Parents of children ages 1-6 for a study about toys.

To be considered, please complete the pre-screener survey here.

 

Compensation: $150 (if chosen)

Date: Tuesday November 16th or Wednesday November 17th 2021 Multiple times available each day