**Disclaimer: I was not paid to promote products of Farm Fresh To You or their services.  It is a service that I tried on my own, for myself and family and would genuinely like to share it.

Farm Fresh To You

I just have to share with you all how I got my first Farm Fresh Delivery in less than a week and how you can too!

While researching Fibromyalgia, one of the best things I can do to help with pain management and inflammation is eating healthier and exercising more.  So while on my mission to do just that, we we’re walking around our local Farmer’s Market this past Friday night, trying to beat the heat while stretching and getting some exercise in. 

Among the many things we saw, from local eateries sharing their goodies to local artisans sharing crafts and local musicians dropping their beats, we stopped at the local farmer’s stand.  However, this one was different, there were no goods in front of him.  Just a very nice gentleman sharing some information and their services.

The Basics:

I’m going to run down the basics of the Farm Fresh To You services, however, I’m also going to give you all a link to check it out for yourself and get a discount on your first order!

After you go to the website to create your log in, it’ll prompt you to set up your order.  You’ll have a choice of boxes: fruits, veggies, non-cooking box, etc.  After that, you get to choose your box size (prices vary).  Once you have your box choice, you then pick and choose the produce in your box, it’s as easy as clicking and dragging.  Add your payment method, shipping address and delivery date, and you’re done! 

It’s that simple.

Best thing about this service is that not only is the produce organic and locally grown, but you can control just what you get, when you get it, access to your own website to decide all that, products such as homemade butters, jams, syrups etc., plus access to recipes and events Farm Fresh To You hosts as well.

We started with one of the smaller boxes at a promotional half off price to begin with and we’ll see how it goes.  So far, my kids are devouring it all, we just received our first box today and I had to pry it away to take a quick picture before they ate it all!  As you can see from the picture above, I picked all fruit, and I have to say, I’ve never tasted strawberries so sweet.  What a difference non-pesticide treated fruit tastes like! YUM!

So, I hope you all sign up, enjoy it and let me know what you think!  Here’s that link I promised you, which I’ve also added to my page for easy access:

-Sandra

 

How To Forgo Summer Camp & Save MoneyWhy send your kids to summer camp this year?  You can save so much more money by creating your own summer camp and spend that much needed time with your kiddos this summer!

By doing a bit of research, you can keep your summer spending to a minimum and still be able to enjoy all that your city has to offer.  I usually make a list of my kids favorite places and start there. 

Free Movies Days

Well, when my kids we’re much smaller, summer camp movies were free.  Now, depending on the theater you go to, it can be anywhere from $1-$4.  Either way, it’s still much cheaper than a full price ticket.

Living in sunny Southern California, I usually opt for Regal Cinemas or AMC Theatres.  Both offer summer camp movies 2 days a week and if you click on the links above, you can find theaters near you with a list of movies playing all summer.  Granted, these movies are NOT new movies, but escaping the heat, soaking in the air conditioning, and letting the big screen entertain your kids for a while, more than makes up for it.

Free Museum Days

If you’re like me and like to add a little culture and some learning to your outings, free museum days are a great deal.  Whether it’s checking out dinosaur bones or gazing at the stars, you’re sure to find something that will keep them entertained for hours and tire them out just enough to let you enjoy the day as well.  Some of the museums on this link are always free, some have certain days of the month available, and some are just by donations.  Rest assured, that if museums are on your list, you’ll find one right up your alley and with just a little bit of planning, it’ll make the kids happy as well.

Free Park Days

I know I already mentioned movies.  However, for a much more fun outing, pack a snack, bring your camping chairs, and catch a movie under the stars.  Most communities have local parks that plan both movies in the park or if you feel like dancing under the stars, music in the park.  Both of these fun outings beat the heat by being night time events and tons of family fun.  Best part about these, they’re free!

However, if you want some fun Adult time of the same variety, check out the Rooftop Cinema Club.  This specific one is local to L.A., but I’m sure most big cities have something similar.  How fun is watching movies outdoors, under the stars, surrounded by the glowing lights of the city!?!

Or maybe you’d like something a little more adventurous and want to watch movies surrounded by dead people.  For those thrill seekers, Cinespa shows movies in two locations, the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery or historic movie palaces around L.A..

Whether you choose the rooftop, cemetery, or palace, expect to pay for much more than just the movie, but with an experience like that, why not?

Free Beach Days

Most beaches in southern California have some type of parking fee, but usually it’s minimal.  However, a couple bucks to soak in some rays, getting wet, and tiring out the kids is more that worth it.  Don’t let parking fees keep you away, there are so many beaches in California, it’s not hard to find free parking either. 

Don’t want to melt in the sun?  How about the beach at night?  That’s right, it’s the time of year that the grunion run.   Don’t worry, you don’t have to run after fish on the beach, they come to you.  If you’re not interested in getting fishy, let the kids do it, or just let it be a learning experience.  Trust me, the kids will love it and you’ll love doing something free, under the stars, spending time with the kids, while they run around ‘til their little hearts are content.

Catch a local Ball Game

I’m lucky enough to live in an area with two Baseball teams, so I have my choice to choose from.  To get the best bang for my buck, I go with companies like seatgeek.com or cheaptickets.com.  I can get Dodger or Angels tickets starting at $5 each!  Which means, for my family of 4, I can catch a local ball game for $20, plus parking.  Granted, you’re not allowed to take your own snacks in, but you can have a large dinner before the game, tailgate, or spurge at any one of the food booths they have to offer.  Usually, this is the only family outing we spend a little bit more on during the summer.  But considering I’m saving so much money on everything else, it’s worth catching a game or two this summer.

So there you go, with a little bit of planning, a packed lunch, and some sunscreen, your kids will love the summer camp you have custom built for them, much more than those other ones.  Have fun!

-Sandra

Save

Tomato & goat cheese soup
Goat cheese in my soup? How did I get here?

A couple of years ago, my Chicago native husband convinced me to take a trip and traipse around the city with him.  Never having been and knowing my love for travel, I jumped at the chance to get to know the city he so deeply loved.  Of course, being the conscientious adventurer, I delved into all things Chicago, especially the food and had a list for my must stop and dine places in the city before we even left L.A.

One of the places we stopped at after our improptu photo shoot at Wrigley Field, was the Standard Market Grill.  Being a mom of a child with Celiac Disease, I make it my mission to research places that have gluten-free menus in place for our next visit with the kids.  I wish I could say I sampled everything on the menu, but no, sadly.  Having had a hearty breakfast, I opted for something light and refreshing to hold me over until dinner, and went with the gf tomato & goat cheese soup.

I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive about goat cheese in my soup.  Although I love all things cheesy, goat cheese is not high on that list.  However, I was reassured it was an amazing dish and it did not disappoint.

So how does this bring me to this recipe? Did I steal it? Nope! I didn’t take enough money for bail, so I scoured the web until I found something similar and just as tasty.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp-olive oil
1-medium yellow onion
2-garlic cloves
1/4 tsp-red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp-dried thyme
1 – 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
1-cup vegetable broth
2 oz goat cheese
2 oz queso fresco
black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Over medium low heat sauté with olive oil, onion diced finely, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried thyme, for 5 minutes or so or until onions are soft. Stir occasionally until slightly brown.

Next, put whole can of tomatoes and vegetable stock in a blender (including the juice from the tomatoes). Add the sautéed mix to blender. Blend on pureed setting. 

Then, pour into soup pot and bring to a boil. Add water if desired for a thinner soup. Pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Sprinkle on goat cheese and let melt before stirring.

Last, serve and top with queso fresco.

Side Note: if you’re not a soup person, use 1/4 cup less broth and use it over pasta for an alternate dish. Enjoy!

-Sandra

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

please leave nothing but your feetprint

What do you do when spring break comes around and haven’t planned/saved for a vacation!?! You enjoy a staycation!

Growing up, vacation wasn’t a word I was familiar with. We usually visited family a couple of hours away, but that was the extent of our outings. Dad and Mom worked non-stop and it just wasn’t feasible to plan for a vacation for a family of 6, not to mention, we really did love being home. Southern California has so much to offer, so much so, that people plan their vacations to come here, to our backyard.

Needless to say, our kids get the best of both worlds. Between a yearly camping trip in Yosemite, one of the most famous National Parks in the U.S. and an “away” vacation every other year, our travel calendars are quite full. But I have to admit, having staycations with our kids are the best.

For indoor adventures, we can visit local historical sites, missions, museums, and more. And for outdoor fun, the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains are practically in our backyard where we have access for a quick hike and/or picnic in the forest. But by far, one of the best things about Southern California is that from just about anywhere, you can essentially visit the city, mountains, beaches, or desert within less than an hours drive. So planning a few of our favorite activities for this spring break is pretty easy.

Amusement Parks

Although the cost of living in So Cal is pretty high, exploring the sights doesn’t have to be. About the only splurge we allow ourselves is our Disneyland Annual passes. It doesn’t matter what time of week or year you visit, it’s a horrible experience if the park is packed, not to mention, pretty much a waste of money.  Between long lines for rides, food, and bathrooms, most of your day is gone trying to maneuver around the crowds. This is why we invest in the annual pass. It’s close enough to go and visit when we want, ride a few rides, leave when it’s too crowded and go back some other day.

Museums

Museums are another fun exciting activity we enjoy. With so many museums to choose from and a variety of different free museum days to go on, why wouldn’t we take advantage of it!?! Some of our favorites are the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum, and the Discovery Cube, but there are so many! Click on the hyperlink above for a full list of free dates and times.

Beaches

California is famously known as the Golden State for many reasons, the gold rush, the golden gate bridge, but mostly for it’s golden sunshiny days and what better way to soak up those rays than heading to the beach!?! A few of our favorites are Huntington Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Laguna Beach, and Cabrillo beach & aquarium, just to name a few. But with so many to go to, how do you choose? It just depends what kind of adventure you’re up for. Some beaches are more about sightseeing and walking the pier or boardwalk. Others are just to put your feet in the sand and splash in the water. Yet others still, are most famous for night time bonfires by the beach. I’ve attached a list of beaches, that has been divided up by counties and has something for everyone. Have a look!

So, between using our Disney pass to visit Mickey, soaking up some rays at the beach, picking a few historical sites to tour, and catching some free museum days, what could possibly be left to do during spring break!?!  How about doing just that…..taking a break. Sneaking in some naps. Maybe visiting family. Catching a movie. I don’t know. But the best part of a Staycation is just that, being able to stay home and not rush around cramming in everything you possibly can, as we often do on vacation.

-Sandra

I have to say, one of the best things about being a Southern Californian is the close proximity to Disneyland. I admit, even if I didn’t have kids, we’d still go as often as possible. As annual passholders, we have some perks to the park that others don’t.  Such as a monthly payment plan (making it affordably easier to pay off). Park hopping and discounts on dining and merchandise,  Not to mention occasional Disney exclusives.

The California Adventure park has been hosting it’s Festival of Holidays event (November 10, 2016-, 2017) with a mixture of Latin flair and Disney magic. Although we’ve gone a few times since it started and have found something new each time.  

I’m sure I’ll miss something, but below are a few of the additions we’ve enjoyed:
  • The nighttime World of Color water and light show in front of the boardwalk now boasts festive holiday colors and music.
  • Additional food and beverage kiosks have popped up all over with a delicious array of goodies, from warm tamales and sopes, pozole and ceviche, and  some southern comfort food like spicy chicken sausage and sweet potato pie. With pumpkin spice hot cocoa, fruit punch, and eggnog for the kiddies and beer and wine for the adults, there’s something for everyone!
  • They’ve kicked up the entertainment around the park, from a stilt circus, to live acapella singers, live bands, mariachi bands, and dancers.
  • Let’s not forget a festive corner to visit, chat, and take pictures with the jolly ol’ man in red, Santa!

Disney Festival of Holidays

One of the perks of being an annual passholder is a special corner with exclusive activities, such as coloring, making ornaments, and a special outdoor “photo booth”,  just to mention a few. While our kids are slightly older, it didn’t hold their attention too much, but we did have a great time watching all the little kid’s faces light up by the Disney Christmas merriment in the air.

As much as I have loved the change in the Disney air for the Holidays, I’m ready for the new year and for things to go back to normal…..and smaller crowds.

-Sandra

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

We hung out at the Griffith Park Observatory yesterday and the girls had a blast!

Since it was a full moon, we decided to get there a bit early and take a quick hike, but of course, we didn’t foresee the nightmare parking issues the park has, so the only hiking we did was up the hill to the Observatory.

 

We got there just in time for sunset and took some great pictures of the girls in front of the Hollywood sign.  It was the perfect night for some great night shots of the city under a full moon, but of course, these came out a bit dark.

After our photo shoot (yes, yes, I’m a major tourist!), we waited out the 45 minute line to see the view from the Hubble telescope.  The girls were so excited to see Venus and Saturn….they had no idea you could see stars and planets in the daylight!!

                      
Later, we caught a show in the Planetarium, which gave us a bit of motion sickness, but we all really enjoyed it.  All-in-all we had a really great time…..other than the traffic there (what can I say about our famous 5 fwy!) and the lack of parking of course…
-Sandra

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

I know, I know….it’s been a while.  What can I say?  Life got in the way!

Since my last post, I’ve spread myself a little thin….I started working part-time for a finance company selling insurance, then I started and quit a 2nd job working (full-time) with nuns (yes, as in Catholic Sisters…lol…I can’t begin to tell you what an experience that was!), and now my 2nd part time job is working as an Executive Assistant for a web designer.

My girls have since ended a school year and are about three weeks away from going right back in.  So back-to-school shopping is in full swing.  YAY!!!

With summer coming to an end, we’ve been taking full advantage of the free movies Tues. and Wed. at the Regal Cinemas, Movies in the dark, Concerts in the park and eventually will make ourselves over to O.C. Fair.

Since my hiatus is officially over, I’ll be posting frequently (hopefully) and keeping you all abreast of my madness!  By the way, you can all follow me on FaceBook as well.

-Sandra

My princess is 8 years old now!!!  I can’t believe it’s been 8 wonderful years since the midnight birth of my baby….where did the time go?
As you can tell by the background…there’s only one place we spend birthdays at……Disneyland!  I’m all about the Anaheim Rat (Mickey), so we went to the happiest place on earth.  Although this particular day was overly crowded, we still managed to have a great time.  We got on some rides, had dinner, and went shopping.  Since we have the annual pass, it doesn’t bother the girls much how crowded it is or how many rides we get on because we can always go another day.  We were all just happy being together and enjoying what turned out to be a gorgeous day!
I did however have an epiphany!  I figured out why Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth…..it’s not because you have such a great time, or the great rides, or even the food….it’s because they make so much damn money!!!  It’s the Happiest Place on Earth for them, not for us!  It’s like Las Vegas…yeah, you have a great time while you’re there, but once you leave (with empty pockets) you find it really wasn’t that great now that you’re broke.  Either way, the novelty of it is wearing off of the girls; they could care less how many times we hit Peter Pan or swirl around on Dumbo.  They still love it, but it’s not as exciting for them anymore.  I’m sure once a new ride is put in; they’ll be excited all over again….
       
Anyhoo, all that just to say…Happy birthday Toria!
-Sandra

Save

Save

Save

Save