The Back To School Countdown has Begun!

I know some of your kids have already started school for the 2022-2023 school year, but my kiddos don’t start for another few weeks.

The Back to School countdown has begun, and here is how we are saving money.

School Supplies: Most schools’ public supply lists by class on their website. Once you know who your child’s teacher is going to be, you can purchase supplies. Most teachers like trusted name-brand supplies like Ticonderoga pencils, Crayola crayons, Crayola washable markers, and Expo whiteboard markers.  Here are a few of the stores that have great prices on school supplies!

Target: School supplies starting at $0.25
Walmart: Up to 75% off select school supplies
Office Depot and Office Max: Up to 60% off bestselling school supplies. Save 25% off on backpacks excluding Jansport
Michaels: Teacher Must-Haves, Art Supplies, and more all under $10.00

There will be several backpack giveaways throughout August. There is one tomorrow in Lemon Grove. Information can be found here. 

There will be a backpack and school supply giveaway courtesy of SMOAC on August 20, 2022 at Rio Seco School in Santee. It is a drive-thru event.

Clothing/Shoes: If you are like me, you grab kids’ clothes at swaps all year, but there are some things that you need to buy new. Once you’ve set your budget for clothes/shoes/accessories, keep an eye out for BTS sales (which are in full swing right now).

Because Southern California doesn’t get chilly in the fall, a lot of the standard BTS clothing fare isn’t great for our kids- long pants, turtlenecks, sweaters, jean jackets- I’m sweating just thinking about those! Don’t forget to scope out the sale and clearance racks for shorts and short sleeve shirts!

I love shopping Kohl’s and JCPenney. They frequently have sales, coupon codes, and deals where you can earn Kohl’s Cash/JCP Rewards for future purchases. Earn even more cashback when you shop online and opt for in-store pickup. I like shopping through Mypoints or Ibotta (make sure to check out both of their browser extensions to help you earn points/cashback). This is also a hot tip for Target and Walmart shoppers!

If your budget is a little too tight, check out local clothing swaps! Porchlight is holding one on 8/27/2022 for womens’ and kids’ clothing. More information can be found here.

We also shop a lot at thrift stores- Amvets and DAV are two of my favorites here in San Diego.

Food: I know this might be weird to include, but kiddos have to have healthy food to function and grow. Thanks to the California Universal Meals program, all kids in k-12 education settings will receive free breakfast and lunch if wanted. And I will continue to post about free opportunities for food each month, and more often as they come across my desk. Feeding San Diego Tour is a great resource that has locations all over San Diego County!

 

 

 

 

Managing a Household with Neurodivergencies (ADHD, ASD, etc.)

Earlier this week my friend Sam posted on Facebook, “Neurodivergent Friends what are some tools you use with others that help you with daily life, communication, relationships?”

A few friends posted that they needed help with meal prep, day-to-day stuff, and as y’all know, that’s my bag, baby!

Both my kids are Neurodivergent (ADHD/ASD and ADHD), and their dad has ADHD (combined type/ C) and because of that, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our daily life and how we function. And while our processes and schedules may not work for everyone, hopefully, these tips give you some idea and hope if you need it.

Some of these directly affect/benefit the kids, and some make my life easier, which in turn makes their lives easier.

Having an accurate(ish) pantry, fridge, and freezer inventory. I have made my own sheets in the past (using Canva), but the ones from Organized Home are great.

Meal Prep and meal planning (this includes using Dream Dinners once every few months). This frees up time each night to read, hang out, bathe, and get kids ready for bed.

Meal Prep can be as easy as cut up veggies, fruit, pre-portioned foods, and easy meals or side dishes prepared in advance that only need to be heated up to avoid wasting money eating out because “there is nothing to eat”. Also having one night for take-out. And I have a whiteboard that lists our meal plan for the week- I try and post it weekly on Instagram.

The Snack Box- I also organized our fridge and pantry to be more ND-friendly. Stuff that should be eaten (healthy food like fruit, cheese sticks, yogurt, etc.) is at kid eye level in clear packaging and is labeled (I use expo markers on my Rubbermaid containers), and I have a “Snack box” in the pantry that is available 24/7 for hungry faces. It’s got individually portioned shelf-stable snacks and meal components. And on days when I am too tired/rushed to cook we have “Meal of snacks” where I serve a variety of snacks on old-school sectioned cafeteria trays- fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, cookies, and a drink (juice or iced tea is a hit).

We have a list of snacks on the fridge so the kids know what there is to snack on. It is a visual list (I drew it), and when we are out of specific items, I cover the picture with a piece of posit note.

Calendars– in the kitchen, and one in each bedroom. I update them weekly, plus the grownups use the calendars on their phones and we have a shared family calendar. Kids get reminders each day in the morning and afternoon of any appointments or events that will take place during the day. The visual and auditory reminders really help cement the appointment in their mind.

Visual reminders– next to the front door at eye level there is a sign that reminds us we need: cellphone, wallet, keys, and garage door opener. It’s laminated.

Visual schedule– this is mainly for the kids. I drew up a daily schedule using words and pictures. I wrote a post about it here.

Lists– Everyone has a “Care tasks” list each week that includes appts, returning borrowed items, and tasks to do throughout the week. You can read about my weekly Care Tasks here. 

Larger font digital clock with day of the week, date, and what part of the day (morning, afternoon, evening, night). The kids can read a clock, but it can take time to engage their brains and count by 5’s, but the “old people clock” as it was marketed on Amazon helps them instantly and helps a lot with the “is it time for xxxxx yet?!?!”

Using your phone to stay on top of details- I saw this on Facebook in a group and I’ve started doing this. If you have an iPhone, there is a notes section in each contact. I’ve seen them used to keep track of favorite fast food at various restaurants, favorite foods/drinks, clothing sizes and brands, favorite colors, birthdays, and anniversaries. It’s such a game changer.

The fidget/stim box– we have a plastic box full of fidget/stim toys for everyone to grab when they need to focus. And everyone has some in their room too. This includes headphones to cut down on loud sounds (I buy the landscapers kind from harbor freight). We have 3 pairs in the house and two pairs in the car. For those not familiar- fidget toys can help calm the body so the mind can focus.

Some favorites include pop-its, hand strengthening eggs, fidget cubes, fidget spinners, stretchy tubes, pop tubes, and stress balls (the kind with Orbeez are super satisfying). Amazon sells really great fidget toys mutli-packs.

Medication Boxes- We refill our medication boxes each week (both AM and PM).  The three of us take our meds together each morning at breakfast time. Our medication boxes live on the kitchen counter, along with our pill minders: Jon Cena and Skeletor.

Stuff has a place– The kid’s shoes and backpacks are always by the door during the school year, ready to be cleaned out and refilled each night. My car keys and purse live in the same spot, the pool key has a special spot. The extra toilet paper and paper towels are always in the same spot (under the front bathroom sink). These are just a few examples of the ways that we remind ourselves and create routines. Creating routines can give us a sense of normalcy and be calming.

The Family Binder– One last thing that doesn’t directly “help” the kids but helps the family, especially in times of emergency is the family binder. I’ve had one since 2010 in various incarnations. I have a really old post about it here.  It’s basically my brain in paper form. It’s got all of our important papers, insurance info, important phone numbers, policy numbers, warranty information, receipts for expensive/valuable stuff, copies of most recent IEPS, copies of diagnosis paperwork, lists of everyone’s meds, doctors info, etc. Think of it as all the info you’d need if you lost power for an extended period, your house burned down, or there was a tornado.

There are a lot of other things that we do in our home to help the kids- keep them safe, regulated, and happy. The stuff listed above is just a small sample. Everyone’s home runs differently. And this was and continues to be a lot of work. The examples above are continually changing, and evolving in our home, and are a combination of 11+ years of hard work, learning, and failing. Some of this stuff I did to try and get organized in my late 20s, even before I was married and had kids.

 

 

Pizza Hut’s Book It Enrollment is Open for the 2022-23 School Year!

80’s and 90’s kids know what’s up!

Book It is still alive and well! Enrollment is now open for the 2022-23 BOOK IT! Program year. Parents can now enroll their homeschool children!

You also have the option to enroll in Camp BOOK IT!, which will run June-August, 2022. Just check the box to opt-in when you enroll!

PreK students (age 4 by Sept. 1st, 2022) are now eligible for BOOK IT! Be sure to include those students in your enrollment!

Another awesome feature of the 2022-2023 school year is that your entire school doesn’t have to participate, teachers can sign up for their individual classes!

Please share this post with the parents and teachers in your life! More info about Book It and FAQ can be found here.

Looking for a Smartphone? Check out Gazelle for Deals on Pre-Owned Smartphones!

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

Back to school means that some of us will need new phones. Why pay extra for a brand new phone, when you can save some money and pick up a pre-owned smartphone from Gazelle?

Gazelle has tons of great deals right now:

OR, if you need a laptop:

You can also sell your unwanted smartphones and laptops to Gazelle to earn money! I’ve sold a couple of our old phones and iPads to Gazelle. It’s a great way to earn some cash and keep electronics out of the landfill.

 

August 2021: New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

The printable coupon market is slowly coming to an end. Smartsource no longer offers printable coupons, and you may notice that there are fewer coupon inserts in your Sunday newspaper. This is in favor of more offers available on apps. But if you love printable coupons….

  • Coupons.com (printable coupons, e-coupons, and a cashback app)

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

August is back to school time! Deals on School supplies, lunch food, kids clothes, and electronics. Ibotta has a great cashback deal right now on school supplies and lunch food, check my post here. 

For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:


Save $1.00 on ONE (1) DANIMALS® 6pk Smoothies
Save $2.25 on ONE (1) Chameleon Whole Bean Coffee, Ground Coffee, or Cold Brew Concentrates – Shelf stable packs
Save $1.00 on ONE (1) Undercover Snacks 2 oz pack of Quinoa Crisps
Save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) Clorox® Cleaning or Laundry Products (*excludes $1, trial size and travel size).
Save $1.50 on Any ONE (1) Finish® Quantum® 22ct+, Finish® Max-In-1® 24ct+, Finish® Deep Clean 38ct+ Dishwasher Detergent, Finish® JET-DRY®
Save $2.00 on ANY ONE (1) MAUI MOISTURE® Shampoo or Conditioner (excludes all Travel & Trial Sizes)
Save $1.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Fructis® shampoo, conditioner, treatment or styling product. (exclusions apply)

Free School Lunches for ALL California Students 2021-2022 School Year!

I read about this last week, got busy, and forgot to share this!

The state of California is joining cities like Chicago and Boston in offering free school lunches and breakfasts to students.  Previously students families had to meet certain income requirements to qualify for discounted or free school meals.

I’m so glad that this is now available to everyone. There are a lot of people who didn’t qualify but are facing food insecurity.

For more information, The NPR acrticle here has some deets. Be on the look out for information coming from your school district in your email or as a flyer in your kids backpack the few day of school.

Santee School District sent out an email earlier this week.

 

2021 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

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I have been working on this post for weeks, making phone calls and researching. I wanted to get this post up as soon as I could. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that haven’t posted their plans for free summer meals for kids.

Santee School District will be providing summer drive-thru meal distribution from June 14 through July 30, Monday-Friday, from 10:00-10:30 am, at Pepper Drive and Rio Seco schools.  Extended school year (summer school) and students attending Project Safe will be provided with food.

San Diego Unified School District has partnered with San Diego Parks and Recreation to have food available at neighborhood schools and Recreation centers throughout the city of San Diego. The complete list of locations can be found here. Times vary by location.

Grossmont Union High School District will be providing lunch for kids 2-18 all summer. Kicking it off, they will be giving out meal boxes on Monday June 7 from 11:30 to 1:30 on a first come first serve basis in the same area where lunches are distributed.  Summer meal distribution starts on June 14th 11:30-1:30 Monday through Friday.

Other school districts may be offering free lunches this summer, but currently there isn’t much information available.

If you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

Tryazon Event- Organize the Kids’ Clutter with Deflecto!

Tryazon has another really cool party/event opportunity- perfect for families that are homeschooling, distance learning, or are a teacher in school.

Clean up the kids’ clutter while fighting germs with Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, from Deflecto. Featuring a diverse line of antimicrobial storage and organizational products for kids specifically designed for the art, craft, and education markets. Deflecto’s kids storage now includes SteriTouch® an antimicrobial agent used to inhibit the growth of odor-causing microorganisms, mold and mildew. Durable, stackable and washable storage to keep parents and teachers organized!

Tryazon has100 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those selected get to receive a party pack valued at $75+ with a variety of Deflecto products to share with friends and family! Learn more and apply here.

If, you’ve never heard of Tryazon (pronounced Try-uh-zon ☺), Tryazon is a service dedicated to getting innovative products into people’s hands and mouths, in fun settings like the party we had today. They offer excellent product samples and savings for all who participate.

Hit Your Fundraising Goals with Dream Dinners!

Fundraising is usually not fun. Having kids sell wrapping paper, candy bars, Entertainment Books..ugh. It’s hard because it’s usually something that not everyone needs.

Dream Dinners wants to help you with a fun, successful fundraiser! Everyone eats, and this fundraiser not only supports your local nonprofit but gives caregivers extra time (most Dream Dinners take about 30 minutes to prepare and serve) around dinner time. The menu options for March are super yummy, and there are lots of kid friendly options!

March Matchness VR Email Header 2Host a fundraising event for you during our March Matchness campaign! In past years, Dream Dinners has raised more than $20,000 each March for non-profits around the country. This year, Dream Dinners will provide a match of up to $500 to the top ten fundraisers in March!

Due to COVID-19, they’ve adjusted their in-store fundraising events to take place as a socially safe, curbside pickup at our store. Here’s how it works:

Calendar IconChoose a date and time for your curbside fundraiser. Do you plan on having a lot of people attend? Dream Dinners can book multiple dates and times!
Chat Bubble IconInvite guests to your fundraiser event. Dream Dinners provides PDF invitations and content for you to share on social media!
Piggy Bank IconYour guests will pay $50 to attend and each attendee* will receive three medium-size meals (nine total servings) to take home and enjoy with their family. Your organization will earn a portion of the sales from each order!
Heart Plate IconRaise an extra $20 for each guest that places a follow-up order at Dream Dinners!
The Dream Dinners fundraisers are perfect for local nonprofits, including school groups, sports teams, animal rescues, food banks, churches, and other causes. Contact Dream Dinners today for more information and to book your curbside fundraiser event at Dream Dinners!

The La Mesa Dream Dinners Team can be contacted via phone at 619-460-6800

*One fundraiser order per household.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your favorite fundraising techniques for your local nonprofit!