Free Covid-19 Test Kits: Order Before 9/2/2022!

The federal government will cease providing free COVID-19 kits on 9/2/2022, as there will no longer be federal funding. Learn more at COVID.gov/tests.

However, in the meantime, Residential households in the U.S. are now eligible for another order of free at-home tests on USPS.com. Here’s what you need to know about your order:

  • Each order now includes 8 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests (FDA has more details about at-home tests, including extended shelf life and updated expiration dates: Authorized At-Home Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests)
  • Your order of 8 tests will come in 2 separate packages (4 tests in each package), each with its own tracking number
  • Packages will ship free

It’s easy to sign up for free kits. Order your free kits here. We ordered ours, and we test when we have been exposed, even though we are all vaccinated and boosted. COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere, and we need to do what we can to protect ourselves and our communities.

Starting 1/19/2022: Free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests

As many of you know, Covid hit our house last week and trying to find tests has been impossible. Thankfully here in our city, the school district has testing facilities for students and staff. We will be masking up and waiting in that line tomorrow morning bright and early to re-test the big kiddo and get him cleared to go back to school.

For the rest of us, starting on Wednesday, you can order Free at-home COVID-19 tests from Covidtests.org.

Every home in the U.S. can soon order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests. The tests will be completely free—there are no shipping costs and you don’t need to enter a credit card number.

The website is up, but ordering capabilities will not be available until 1/19/2022.

In the meantime, a new federal law mandates that private insurance companies must reimburse covered individuals for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests at up to $12 per test.

Consumers can either purchase the testing kits at no cost or submit receipts for reimbursement from the insurance company. For more information or specific details, contact your insurance company directly.

As always, if you are sick (with anything, not just COVID): Stay home, wash your hands frequently, throw away your used tissues, cover your nose and mouth if you must be around others, stay hydrated, and REST. I know it’s hard to give yourself permission to chill and do nothing, but sleep and rest give your body a chance to recover. Also- Chicken soup. My recipe is here. The more veggies, the better.

 

Flex for Checks- Earn up to $100!

Thanks to Leilani for this information!

Have you heard of Flex for Checks? If you haven’t yet gotten your Covid-19 Vaccine, or need to get your booster, register with Flex for checks, and once you have your vaccine card filled out (after each shot), upload a photo of it to Flex for Checks and you can earn $50 per shot (up to two shots)!

You have to have received your shots after July 1, 2021.

You can find out more information and details here, as well as sign up.

Reward funding is through HRSA and is limited by the terms of the Grant. Rewards will be distributed until the end of the Grant agreement with NMHA, or when all grant funding has been distributed, whichever comes first. This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $11.1million. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.

Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family During Covid Fatigue (& A Giveaway)

So many of us are suffering from Covid Fatigue. Our bodies and minds have been put through the wringer. Worrying about our health, jobs, finances… It takes its toll.

I’m here to tell you- We don’t know when it’s going to end, but there are resources out there to help you. Don’t be proud. Take help that is offered, when you do, it can relieve some of the burden on your mind. 

I post a lot about different free and frugal opportunities to help my readers. When I talk to readers (I text and chat on FB messenger with a lot of y’all), I am frequently met with many of the same responses when I suggest that y’all take advantage of some of the opportunities I post. People feel bad about taking advantage of deals, offers, and freebies. 

I recommend that even if you feel like you aren’t “that bad off”, or that you know there are other people who “have it worse”, take advantage of free food events. Many times I have gone or driven a friend to events and the people sponsoring the events are so glad that SOMEONE has shown up, and because they have X number of items to give, but far fewer people show up.

If you feel like you aren’t in “enough” need, offer to drive people in your bubble, or grab food for t friends and coordinate a porch drop off. Most of them are sponsored or paid for by government entities, grants, or subsidies that are funded by our tax dollars. These resources may not have the ability to store or drive food to people who don’t have transportation. 

Helping others, even if it’s a porch drop off of produce can brighten your spirits. There are so many ways to release some of the heaviness that weighs on you. That heaviness is Covid Fatigue.

Here are a few ways I’ve tried to lessen the stress monster sitting on my chest:

Focus on what I can change. For me that’s making sure we are all clean and fed. That we get outside to play (socially distanced with masks), get fresh air, move our bodies, and get to bed at a decent time.

Work hard, but not to the point where I am burnt out. Tomorrow is another day. Laundry can wait to be put away, the carpet will still need to be vacuumed tomorrow.

Take time to contact friends. It’s hard to be without friends and family for so long. Message them on FB, text them, or pick up the phone. If you don’t have enough spoons for that, scroll through your social media of choice and like some of their statuses. 

Disconnect as needed.  Yeah, I know it’s the opposite of the above, but doomscrolling or constantly refreshing your social media feeds obsessively isn’t good for you. Leave your phone in the other room, or put it in do not disturb mode. 

NuCalm

One thing I have been using to help relax at night so I can get some peaceful sleep is I downloaded the NuCalm appNuCalm is the world’s only patented neuroscience technology clinically proven to resolve stress and improve sleep quality – without drugs. I’ve been using the Reboot for the past few nights, and it’s really helped me fall sleep and stay asleep. You can select whatever amount of time works for you, and you can even loop it if you want to enjoy the peace all night. The kids love NuCalm too. 

Giveaway Time: I’d love to hear about what you do to lessen your stress and battle Covid Fatigue. Leave a comment and I’ll choose one on 12/31/2020. The winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card- But there is one condition- You have to spend it on yourself! Something that sparks joy!

Save Time and Money with Amazon Subscribe & Save!

Now that Southern CA is back under a stay at home order, I’ve been looking for more ways to save money and keep us out of stores.

Enter Subscribe and Save from Amazon. I’ve been using Subscribe and Save for about a year for food items that we eat a lot of that are cheaper on Amazon (like Squeezy pouches, PBFit, Malt Powder). Talking to some friends online yesterday afternoon, I realized that not everyone knew about Subscribe and Save!

Key Benefits of Subscribe & Save

  • Save up to 15% on a large and growing selection of everyday essentials!
  • Need an item now? Yes, customers now have the option to receive the item within the usual 1-2 day shipping window for a 5% discount, and activate the subsequent deliveries of the subscription for up to 15% discount.
  • Authentic products sourced directly from brands and their authorized re-sellers.
  • Set it, forget it, and never run out.
  • Save a trip to the store – save time and money. You can have your favorite products delivered straight to your door.
  • No fees. Available for any customer with no long-term commitment, for FREE.
  • Change or cancel a subscription anytime.
  • Coupons-  There are usually coupons available for selected Subscribe & Save. You can always check here.

And there are all sorts of categories that have Subscribe & Save: Household Supplies, Baby Supplies, Pet Supplies, Groceries, Personal Care, and Health & Wellness.

I ordered toilet paper and a couple cleaning supplies through Subscribe & Save this morning!

And don’t forget that you can connect your Amazon account to Dosh and Receipt Hog to earn points for your Amazon purchases as well! Check out my Smart Phone Apps page for all the info on these apps.

What I’ve Been Up To…

_DSC2099As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting a lot lately, either here or on Social Media. I’ve been busy. Distance learning is coming to a close for the year, so we’ve been doing a lot of meetings and paperwork (I’ll be glad when the mountains of homework packets stop).

In addition to supervising all of the learning (for both kiddos), I’ve also been taking a more active role in helping my big kiddo find behavioral therapies that will work well on his journey through life. My big kid is on the Autism spectrum (ASD) and that means that we do behavioral therapy a few times a week in addition talk therapy. So lots of time helping process feelings and emotions, and that leaves this mama bear feeling tired.

I (try to) get up early about 6:30 each morning, make coffee, do emails, and work on getting stuff set up for the day before the kiddos wake up. Sometimes I’m super successful and get it done. Sometimes I’m lucky if I get a shower.

Successes for the days are measured so much differently now. Did we make it through a day without tears? Missing friends, regular routines, going to the gym, extracurricular activities- all of these weigh heavy on the kids, and grown-ups.

We’ve also been trying to get our home more organized, and we’ve been getting some help from a family friend who is a Konmari guru. We’re about halfway through the process, and it’s been super liberating to get rid of stuff that no longer serves us. We sold all of the DVD’s/video games that we no longer wanted, and raised over $200, that we’ll put towards family fun (maybe sock it away for a 2021 vacation?). Thankfully our local thrift shops are accepting donations at this time. We’ve been loading up the back of my car weekly to donate goods.

In an attempt to wear the kids out physically, I’ve been taking them out for a walk a few times a week with my parents at a local park. Social distancing and masking occur- Also a liberal application of mosquito repellant is applied- The kids and I are very tasty according to the local ‘squito population. We also picked up a small pool for the patio- We are on our second. The first was not heavy-duty enough. This is the one I recommend. We also put tarps under it to protect it from the textured decking. I also use this solar fountain to keep the water moving all day, and we cover it with a tarp at night. I usually dump the water and refill it 2-3 times per week.

downloadSaving money has been a challenge as of late- There aren’t as many deals as supplies aren’t being delivered to stores regularly, less staff to stock shelves, etc. And really, who has been shopping lately for fun? Not many of us. I’ve been using coupons when I can find them, but what I have really found useful is Honey. Honey is a browser extension that helps you find coupon codes and sale prices on items that you are shopping for online. I used it to save over $145 when we bought the big kids new bed a few weeks back.

And I’ve been making masks for family and friends- I made some especially for the kids this week too.

kalecutI’m here y’all! I’m up to my eyeballs, but I’m here. And of course, I’m doing the Always Eat After 7pm program, so I’ll be posting about that. There are so many good recipes I am excited to try (dark chocolate dipped PB cookies, uh, yeah). and I’ll be posting some recipes this weekend- I’ve got a killer Kale Salad recipe that is so tasty and easy (and it keeps in the fridge for a few days too).

I’ll be hosting an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway soon! I want to spread the love with you!

 

Talk Back: What have you been doing lately? 

Warrior Shirts from Cents of Style!

GraphicsI love the shirts from Cents of Style! I am super excited that today’s weekly sale is some incredible Warrior Women shirts. While these shirts are in ladies’ sizes S-3XL, a lot of these shirts are great for anyone!

They sent me this shirt with a quote attributed to Joan of Arc: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”

Right now, we are all warriors, fighting for ourselves, our families, our health. In the past 6 weeks, our lives have all changed so drastically. We have all had to step up in various ways. I am proud of all of you. I see so many friends and family members struggling, and I am proud of what you do every day: Going to work as essential employees, taking care of family and friends, supporting and lifting up others in need.

Here is my other favorite shirt:

Graphics

If you want to express your inner warrior, Cents of Style is having a sale on these shirts right now:

Take $9.95 Off + FREE Shipping w/code: IAMSTRONG

This sale is going on through 4/30/2020.

I will be picking up a couple of these shirts for friends and family members during this sale. If you want to see how the shirt fits on me, check out my Instagram feed here. I took a few pre-coffee pics with Little Bit this morning. For reference, I ordered a size 3xl because I like my shirts loose/baggy. Let’s face it, I am not an Instagram model, but I am digging this shirt.

 

Graphics

Talk Back: I would love to hear about how you are a warrior through these crazy times. 

How I’ve been keeping busy…

I’m busier now than I have been in ages! Most everyone has started distance learning, including our family.

Thankfully, Big Kids’ teacher is in communication and sent us an email with tons of great resources and links. I am trying to keep the kids entertained without relying on screens all day (even educational screen time). My kids are not motivated by worksheets either, so we need to do hands-on stuff.

Besides schoolwork, we’ve started our annual spring garden. Big Kid and I donned masks and hit up the local nursery. We picked out Catnip, Rosemary, Basil, and a hanging strawberry plant in addition to a few kinds of seeds. Our patio looks great, and the kids are outside daily tending to their plants and harvesting ripe strawberries. I kept the pots from last year’s garden.

The other night after the kids were settled, I decided to clean out the junk drawer (ok, 1 junk drawer, we have a couple), the utensil drawer, and the silverware drawer.

93842746_2893563864066950_1571496488855404544_o

I threw out old condiment packets, broken serving spoons, knives with broken/chipped handles, lids that had no corresponding cups, and I vacuumed out each drawer.

After I had completed that herculean feat, I dove headfirst (metaphorically) into the pantry.

I pulled everything out pantry and set it on the counter.

I checked all the expiration dates. Anything expired got the boot.

92843855_2893563990733604_4081992026843774976_o92828483_2893564054066931_3193846550136619008_oWhen all of this madness started a few weeks ago, I had gone to the store to do my weekly shop, and so many of the things that I’m used to buying were not available. I decided to purchase some alternate products from what we usually have in the house. Some were met with success, some were not so good- I’m looking at you Fideo Noodles.

As a result, I filled a reusable shopping bag with some food that did not cut the mustard. I took most of those items over to our local blessing box to help some of our neighbors in need. The rest I shared with some of the neighbors on our local free food group.

Our pantry is horribly laid out. It is very narrow and deep.  The dangerous part of our cupboard is you cannot reach all the way in the back without help. Last night I used a very long spatula to assist me. One of the things that I found was baby food. Little Bit is 4 1/2. I managed to clear out the pantry 100% and then refill it and move items around so it is easier to gain access

I get food in the mail or events from brands to cook with and post about on social media. Most of the time they give me a couple of each item, rarely they send cases. There were a lot of odds and ends of food from PR campaigns.

I’m also working my way through our closets to get rid of broken toys, clothing we’ve outgrown or don’t wear, or junk. I’ve come to realize that after all of this is over we’ll need to replace our towels (Our current set is from our wedding 12+ years ago), the kids need new sheets, and Big Kid is getting a new bed (which was in the works before Covid struck). And I’ll probably have enough clothing for a clothing swap- Both kids are mid-growth spurt.

It may seem like a lot of busywork, but we haven’t had a deep clean/in-depth declutter since we moved in- 5 years ago. I go through the kids toys several times a year, as well as their clothing and books. But, I’m bad about doing it with household goods and my personal items.

Today was more of a lazy day for us: We played some games, did some sight word writing, played Bingo, and made this stuff called Ooze Baff, which was 100% gross, do not recommend. If you want to try it, I bought it at Dollar Tree. For a Dollar.  In a little while, we’ll have bath time, and I’ll read to them. We may pull out the couch into a bed and all cuddle on the couch for a bit.

I would love to hear about how you and yours have been keeping busy! Leave me a comment!

Keeping Kids Active During the Quarantine!

There are all kinds of ways to get your kids active during the best of circumstances. However, life during the quarantine has proven challenging for all of us.

Chuze-RECT-rgb.jpgThanks to the awesome people over at Chuze Fitness, we can get our wiggles out as a family on the daily.

 On Chuze on-Demand new videos are posted each day, so the whole family will be able to break a sweat without breaking out of the house. This workout series was made in an attempt to bridge the gap when it comes to family-friendly workout videos by providing 20-minute classes designed for both big and little Chuzers to get their wiggles out.

On-screen, instructors lead their kids in stretches and fun movements that feel like a throwback to your own P.E. classes growing up – all you need to participate is a big room and a WiFi-connected device to follow along with. To access these Family Workouts, you can find them either on the Chuze on-Demand website or the Chuze Fitness YouTube page.

b0e5d5e05457e2c8a12dc87c9b6eafc7If this isn’t your cup of tea, or your kids need something that’s just for them here are a few other exercise options:

Go Noodle: Either from their website, or their YouTube Page. There are lots of fun videos to dance along to- we like Kitty High Five, Cat Party, Pop See Ko, and Run the Red Carpet.

Cosmic Kids Yoga: Jaime is a fun Yogini! She leads kids on fun asanas that often follow themes of their favorite movies, TV shows, or games. It’s a great way to make Yoga accessible to kids. We love Star Wars Yoga.

Dance Party: I’ll put on fun, funky, or silly music and the kids and I will dance for 20 minutes. Family favorite songs to shake our tails include anything by Grand Funk Railroad, Thrift Shop by Macklemore, Last Friday Night by Katy Perry, Rock Party Anthem, Uptown Funk, What does The Fox say.

Talk Back: How are you keeping your kiddos active during this tough time? 

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.