Frugal Jewgal FREE family activity

Labor Day weekend is here.  enjoy the long weekend with some Frugal Jewgal saving tips and coupons. 

My family is taking advantage of being a Bank Of America cardholder.  Its the first weekend of the month so check out this Bank of America Museums on us website and find a museum close to you to for FREE admission when you show your card. 

Our Saturday is planned.  Were taking the kids on a train ride to The Museum of  Discovery and Science in Ft Lauderdale Museum entrance is free, the kids ride the train for free, my amazing boyfriend already has a monthly train pass and for me, they have an all day train promotion through the Trirail for $5.

Keep a close on on the website FREE night of theatre 2010.  The Free Night of Theatre program introduces people to the thrill of live theatre – absolutely free of charge!  They should be posting locations and shows near you within the week.  You have to be quick though, the tickets sell out quick.

You can sign up for a FREE kids workshop at Home depot  Saturday 9/4/10.  This week children will be building a football display.  This activity is for ages 5-12.  You can also check out your local Lowe’s Build and grow clinic. Check out the link  for details on the next Lowe’s proect  9/11/10. Bring your child to Lowe’s and they can build a fun Leash Hanger!  Parents can stick around to help.  Its fun frugal bonding time with your children.  Great activity for dads.  Be sure to sign up and show up early since supplies do run out!

For some money saving printable coupons, check out the Red Plum website, type in your zip code, and there will be pages of grocery and cosmetic printable coupons.  Check this site one time monthly since they are always changing the coupons.  Beware that you can only print out each coupon twice per computer. 

Coupons.com is another printable coupon website with over 200 coupons to print.  Take advantage of these money saving coupons and match them up to the weekly groceries on sale in your local supermarkets for extra savings.

One of my favorite money saving printable coupon sites is TARGET.  You have to be quick and print out target coupons when you see them since they change often.  You can pair the Target coupons with manufacturer coupons for extra savings.  Again look for these items while they are on sale for major bonuses!

With kids back in school, what better way to encourage there reading than by exposing them to large bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble.  Get lost for a few hours reading through the books and magazines and have a treat at the coffee bar.  Stop by this Borders link for 40% off and Barnes & Noble link for 10% off money saving coupons for non-members. 

Try out some fun arts and crafts this weekend using this Michael’s  50% off coupon.   They also have free children’s activities monthly in your local Michaels store.

Who said life had to be boring when times are tough.  There are  tons of promotions for free or discount stuff out there.  Keep your eyes open and take advantage of them.  Your children will thank you. 

Enjoy your long holiday weekend and please comment on any steals and deals you have encountered!

  • Share

 

The faces of Belle

The homework drama diaries should be a post written by my Belle.  Unfortunately she is stubborn and doesn’t want to read or write any more than necessary.

Today, again, Belle refuses to do her homework but this time she turns the drama up a notch.   Upon suggestion from my amazing boyfriend, I sit down with belle and we attempt to work on her homework together.  Not even one word into her homework and the tantrums begin.  “Blah Blah Blah” she says when I calmly help her sound out her first word.  I try ignoring her sarcasm.  I coach her again.  “I cant hear you, I cant hear you, is there someone talking next to me?” Belle says.  My calm veneer begins to fade.  I try taking deep calming breaths and remind myself  that she is testing me, she is just trying to get me angry and frustrated so she wont have to do her homework.  I continue.  “Sound out the word Belle”, I say.  Her sarcasm continues and she covers her ears.  I get up to leave before I really get angry and this is when I see red and stars.  she says to me “you are a s*****, d***, b****”.  I am livid.  I yell at her to get in her room and that her behavior (from my angel) is completely disrespectful!  I am trying to calm down.  I am hurt and disappointed in her choice of words.  I hear her yelling from her room  “I don’t want to live here, I’m gonna leave and be homeless”. 

This next part, well you as a mother might think I went a bit overboard.  Please understand this is a long time of homework struggles with my Belle and I do lose it sometimes.  So I called her bluff.  I calmly went into her room, told her that I loved her and did not want to see her unhappy.  I told her if she didn’t want to do her homework, if she didn’t want to be respectful, if she didn’t want to be a part of this family, that although I would miss her, she was free to leave.  Tear stricken wide eyes looked up at me.  “what do you mean mommy” she said quietly.  I hugged her and told her that maybe she would be happier if she took care of herself.  Found her own food, looked to live on her own.  I told her I’d miss her desperately but I wanted her to be happy.  I told her to get her shoes on, I gave her a bottle of water and I opened the front door.  I said “your free to leave”. 

Belle was torn.  Her stubbornness made her answer quickly “I’ll go” she said.  I told her I loved her and my heart tore when she replied “I love you Mommy”.  I closed the door and ran to the kitchen window wondering what she would do.  I texted my two  friends who live within a few houses of me and told them not to let her in the house, that I was calling her bluff.  She stood outside for a while, wondering what to do.  she then went a few houses down to my best friends house.  Belle says to Charisse, “I’m coming to get some juice plus + for my mom”.  later belle tells me she was hungry, it was dinnertime.

Finally after some sanity brought upon us by Charisse, Belle returned home to apologise and explained that she wanted to be a part of this family.  after 100 hugs and kisses and many “I love yous”, we worked on together and finally completed her homework.

While my bluff may have been harsh, I can only hope it was effective.  I dont want my Belle to suffer but I want her to understand that she makes her own decisions.  She has the power to control her words and actions.  She is responsible for her future.  I am merely the teacher to guide her on her journey.

  • Share

Hidden under Belle's bed.

So, as I’m attempting to contain my major frustration because my Belle is deciding to boycott her  word search homework, I seek out a stress reliever.  My stress reliever is cleaning.  Yes I am a bit OCD(obsessive compulsive) where I like things around my house to be in order, basically clutter free.    So my mission was to seek out all missing toys in Belle’s room. 

My amazing boyfriend (yes that’s his title for blogging purposes) is attempting to assist my drama queen daughter with her homework, while me and Max are uncovering all sorts of secret hiding spots in Belle’s bedroom!

The picture to the right are all the toys that we found shoved under Belle’s FULL size bed (no max wasn’t found under there to!)  There were more toys but Max was throwing them in the hallway and in the closet before I could get a full camera shot.  In Belle’s “kitchen” we found candy wrappers, dried up pieces of cheese, chewed gum and oh that earring we’ve been missing for a while.  Max’s puzzle pieces were uncovered (literally) under Belle’s blanket as well as one slipper, a few pairs of panties, an ice pack and about 3 pairs of pajamas! Behind the curtains,  lo and behold we find incomplete homework and some dusty Barbie clothes. 
Now you must be thinking my daughters room is a mess and how can she possibly be the product of my genes.  For your information, this Frugal Jewgal comes from frugal OCD parents.  Max even seems to have acquired some OCD traits in that he generally will put his toys away when he’s done playing or he likes to line his toys up neatly.  Belle?  I have no clue where she has come from.  She tries to keep her room clean because I am constantly nagging her however her typical cleaning solution is to hide all her toys, clothes and schoolwork into secret locations.  The funny thing about all of this?  She knows exactly where everything is!  Plus she can find my stuff and Max’s missing things as well.  I am always amazed by this talent.
I know I cant change my Belle, and I wouldn’t want to.  Why would I when I can always get a good laugh out of the things I find hidden in her room.  Someday I would also like to reveal the things hidden in her soul. 
Moms out there…How do you deal with your frustrations?  What are your stress relievers.  Leave me the comments and I will pass them along to all the other moms who could use the words of wisdom.
  • Share

There are a few key words that I could end the sentance  “Sometimes all you need is a good” with although for today I am sticking with the word CRY.  I’m not usually a crier and the only few emotions I do like to show are happiness and sometimes, annoyance.  I’m all for crying, for others it could be such a relief, but for me?  My eyes just get really red and puffy and that’s more uncomfortable than the actual relief of crying.

If you haven’t guessed it already, I am a Jewish mother.  I believe in my religion although I am by no means religious however it is important to me that my children be raised with a strong background in Judaism.  I am a member of Temple Sinai in Delray Beach Florida.  My daughter attends Sunday school and she loves it. 

So why am talking about crying?  Well, being a single mom with two children iS stressful for anyone.  throw in other daily stresses besides your children, and life can be HARD!!  My Jewish mother had suggested I talk to my Rabbi at my temple.  I resisted for a while because as my mother would call me (and herself) a Martyr.  I don’t like to ask for help and the best way to get things done I feel is by doing it yourself.  But the pressure was building so I listened to my mother’s advice (I don’t do this enough). 

Temple Sinai

I made an appointment with my rabbi.  I had no clue what to expect but I kept an open mind.  I walked into his office and before I even sat, the water works began and did not stop for an hour!

I needed that cry and it felt good to vent to someone who was completely impartial and non judgmental and no pressure was on me to “make an appointment for next week and that will be $75 please”. 

Now I’m not saying one bitch session and some tears will make all your stress and pain go away, but ya know what?  I needed it!  I had more spring in my step, and my smile touched my eyes.  That’s how I would like to feel everyday.

So moms, take care of yourself.  Its ok to let go sometimes.  Maybe you can try seeking out some religous escape or the best thing I think, vent with other MOMMIES!!!!

  • Share


I know I’m not the only mom who gets all manic Monday mornings!  By Sunday night I’m already anxiety stricken about how  my Monday will turn out.  Will the kids be little angels, or will the devil be possessing them at 7am wake up and an exorcism needs to be done.  I know when my daughter whines in bed ”Mooommmm, how much more time do I have left of school”,  I know its going to be another manic Monday morning.  For all you 80′s moms who remember the Bangles song, I know you can relate.  My daughter practically can sing the song verbatim!

Some useful mommy tips to help alleviate some Monday morning stress include preparing your children’s clothes for school the night before.  I have my daughter choose her complete outfit and she leaves it on her desk.  Organization for our family definitely keeps stress lower than usual.  All homework is completed the night before and no television until it’s signed off on by this frugal jewgal! 

I car pool and I find it easier if the other mommy does the pick up in the mornings.  My daughter is high maintenance, so every morning is usually difficult one way or another, so I find that my daughter will get out of the house easier if she knows she has to be ready for someone else other than her mother!

Another useful tip is talking to your children about the importance of sleep and how much sleep is necessary for the age of your child.  I like to teach my 7 year old that nighttime is when her brain and body are growing most quickly and if she doesn’t get good sleep, she wont be super smart and super tall! She seems satisfied with that explanation…for now.  A guideline I like to follow of how much sleep my kids should be getting are as follows:

Age Hours per Day
Birth to 3 months 14 to 18
3 to 6 months 14 to 16
6 months to 2 years 12 to 14
2 to 5 years 10 to 12
6-9 years 10
10-12 9
Teens 8-9.5

Another tip for the mornings are to eat a healthy breakfast.  In our efforts to make our kids happy, we often succumb to sugary cereals which do nothing for growing brains. Some brain foods that are simple and quick breakfasts include hard boiled eggs (I prepare them the night before) for protein, peanut butter on whole wheat bread, whole wheat waffles with pure maple syrup ( I like to prepare waffles in a waffle maker and keep a few in an airtight container for the week).  The best brain food breakfasts my children LOVE are fruit smoothies.  I use frozen strawberries and blueberries, crushed ice, whole milk and some honey as well as a scoop of Juice Plus + Complete drink mix for an added boost of fruits and vegetables!

The most important thing to keep your sanity is consistency.  Start a healthy routine and stick with it.  I know my children thrive on our schedule.  Every little bit helps.

So all you moms out there, leave your comments about how you survive those manic Mondays!

  • Share

Max @ indoor Simon mall playground

Rainy days and Sundays always get me down.  In South Florida the sun is, for the most part, shining.  So how do you keep your kids occupied when you cant be frolicking outside?  I know keeping my children busy is important considering both my kids I think, are filled with more energy than the average kid.  If I don’t keep my children active, I am paying for it at night when they have continued energy and don’t want to sleep!

Some fun, frugal, indoor activities on rainy Sundays include a nice long trip to the mall.  In South Florida, luckily, we have some malls with indoor playgrounds.  We take a long walk around the mall, window shop of course then we play.  It is a small, contained play area so both my children can run around safely while the parents watch from the cushioned benches or ( play on their iPhone).   For lunch we either pack a lunch or share a big salad from the food court.  The fun part about the food court is, you guessed it, more free food samples!

Another fun indoor treat is going to the movies during the day.  Alco theatres offer discounted movie tickets for $5.50 before 6pm.  At Regal entertainment group theatre you can sign up for the Regal Crown club.  Members receive rewards each time 50 credits are earned. Regal Crown Club members will receive 1 credit per dollar spent on ticket purchases.  Points earned can be used towards free movies, popcorn, soft drinks and more!

Although I am not a big advocate of using movies and television as a “babysitter”, an outing to the movies occasionally is fun for the family.  Enjoying a movie on the big screen with surround sound is a real treat.  I know my toddler is usually mesmerized for 1 1/2 hours.  Use caution when going to the movies, watch your kids closely and please choose age appropriate movies.  There are ratings from the movie industry for a reason!

Sometimes staying at home with your children is all you need to pass the time and have fun.  Any fun activities with parent participation, is appreciated and wanted by any child.  So all you moms, act like a kid again, play hide and seek, color in coloring books or play with play-do.  Quality time with your children is most important!

Please leave comments from all you moms about how you keep your kids occupied when its raining!

  • Share

My bargains at BJ's Wholesale

A fun and frugal activity me and my toddler enjoy about once a month, is buying in bulk at BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco.  We plan our outing either at snack time or lunch time.  The bulk warehouses always have all different FREE food samples!  Basically one trip to Costco and we have our meat sample, our grains sample, a fruit sample, a drink sample then we head over to the bakery for our desert sample.  Max (my toddler) and I are usually full by dessert!!  If we’re still hungry, they have a small food court with cheap pizza, soda, ice cream and the HUGEST hot dogs you’ve ever seen!  We leave Costco on a full tank  because they also sell discounted gas at their own gas station. 

Our second trip of the month is to BJ’s.  Although BJ’s has less in the sample department, they more than make up for it in great savings through the use of coupons.  Not only does BJ’s send out monthly coupon booklets to their members, but you can couple the BJ’s coupons with manufacturer coupons for extra savings!  My recent trip I bought  bulk Scott toilet paper 24 rolls which were $17.99.  I used the $4 off BJ’s coupon and the $1 off  Scott tissue manufacturer coupon making the total price $12.99.  BJ’s brand diapers which I find are  so absorbent for my toddler cost $24.99 a box with a coupon for $4 off making a huge box 21.99 and that lasts about a month.  My high maintenance boyfriend prefers label foods over generic brands.  Therefore,  I buy him two humongous bags of Lays Potato chips in bulk for $5.99 with a $1 off manufacturer coupon for a total of $4.99.  Lastly 2 pounds of bananas are $1.39.  I buy them still green so they ripen at different times and last about a week.

To become a member of Costco and BJ’s to buy in bulk, you can sign up on line or in the store.  they usually have promotions when you sign up and a trial offer.  The yearly membership rates are pretty reasonable to.  A good was to save extra money on membership fees is to have two fugal moms, one joins Costco and the other joins BJ’s then you add your frugal friend onto your card and voila!  Two for the price of one! 

Hey moms, please comment on your funny outings while shopping in bulk!  I know there is always a story to tell when your out with your little ones!

Dont forget mom’s, tomorrow is sunday, the hottest day of the week to check out all the hot coupons in the sunday newspapers!!

  • Share

Swim with the Dolphins Miami SeaQuarium!!

Spending quality time with my children is extremely important in my life.  Whether I was working full time or as I currently am a stay at home mom, getting my children involved in fun, educational family oriented activities is high on my list of priorities, especially on the weekends.  It is important to nourish your children’s brains.  Staying home watching Nick Jr. on television, listening to music on an I-pod, playing Nintendo DS or Wii is not on my list of healthy activities for children of any age.  Below is a list to get all you moms out of the house with the kids and have some fun.  Going out doesn’t have to cost a ton of money!  Good ‘ole fun comes in all different price ranges!

The weather is cooling offf so check out your local ZOO ‘s and children’s museums.  In Palm beach county South Florida we like palm beach ZOO .  Don’t forget to bring a bathing suit because there is a fountain water park where the kids and adults can cool off.  The South Florida science museum has rotating exhibits and a planetarium.  In Broward county check out Museum of Discovery and Science and Butterfly World and for Miami-Dade area

Palm Beach Zoo

Miami Metro Zoo and The Miami Science Museum.

You can find money saving coupons either through the website links I attached or in your local community magazine.  Pack a lunch and drinks to save on food! 

If your a Bank of America customer, show your Debit card on the first weekend of each month to select museums and your entry is FREE!!!  check out this Bank of America link for museum locations near you!

For those parents who purchase monthly passes on the Palm Beach, Broward, Miami -Dade Tri Rail, you can find monthly savings and coupons for family attractions as well as restaurants.  Follow this link to Tri Rail Rail Rewards for more information and great savings.

Don’t forget to leave comments on your own family weekend ideas.  The more unique the better.  Help other moms out with creative suggestions on how to get their kids active while having fun and being frugal at the same time!!

  • Share

My motivating factor for this Blog was to share with all the moms out there how to save money especially during these tough economical times.  I am a smart shopper.  I use coupons for EVERYTHING from food to clothes, housewares, restaurants,  automotive and even family attractions.  You name it, I can find a deal.  I have mastered the art of getting things for free.  Lets just say its become a hobby of mine.  My dad doesn’t call me the “COUPON QUEEN” for nothing.

Here are some great deals to use either on the web or in the stores.  Please remember if your lookin for a particular coupon or deal, leave me a comment and I will get back to you when i find it!

Here’s the coupon for:

 30% Off  GAP, OLD NAVY, BANANA REPUBLIC FACTORY STORE and GAP OUTLET in-store.

remember to look on the sale racks first for extra savings!

Use this coupon for great savings at KOHLS 15%OFF in-store and on-line.  They have tons of clothes on sale from childrens to adults clothing. Expires 8/28/10.

MOMS treat yourself to a new pair of shoes at NINE WEST by using this coupon.  Expires  8/30/10.

Save big at STEIN MART 20-40% off from 8/27/10 to 8/28/10 with this coupon code.

Head over to The COACH FACTORY STORE for 20% 0ff until 9/6/10 using this link.  They have some great discounted handbags, wallets, belts and men’s accessories to!

If you live in New York City, head on over to BRYANT PARK for A free pair of Levi’s® Curve ID jeans .  

Starting at 10 AM on Friday, August 27th, stop by Bryant Park and bring something that doesn’t fit (which will be donated to Goodwill) and at the same time, get something that does. A free pair of Levi’s® Curve ID jeans. New custom fits for women. Because hotness really does come in all shapes and sizes.   Use this link to Like them on facebook and get more information.

If your heading out to the movies, stop at REGAL CINEMAS and use this coupon for a FREE small popcorn 8/27-8/29/10.  Just Like them on facebook.

For those who cant live without chocolate, head over here to sign up for GODIVA CHOCOLATIER rewards card.   You will receive a free piece of chocolate each month plus You will also receive a free gift each month you spend $10 or more.

Use online code agift10 at checkout to score your $10 off at CRABTREE and EVELYN.

  • Share

Birch Elemantary School 1980

Freedom Shores Elemantary School 2010

Tonight was my 7 year old “curriculum night” which is a fancy word for school orientation.  I cannot believe how times have changed.  

I thought it was bad when my daughter was in kindergarten learning math reading and writing, full days and NO NAPS!!!  I remember I was DUMB in kindergarten.  We went a few hours to school and I specifically remember taking naps because that was probably my favorite part of the morning!!  We played and had fun. 

So now 2nd grade is like Jr High school. For all you moms who can remember that far back think about what it was like for you growing up.  My daughter has all these different teachers.  One teacher for math, science and English and another teacher for reading and social studies.  Not to mention everyday a different “special”  class including PE, media, media lab, guidance, science, music and art.  She is expected to pack up her bag and change classes three times a day at specific times.   And I thought I was a stringent time keeper!!  Freedom Shores Elementary school has there stuff DOWN PAT.  My compliments to the Principal Ms. Haines for running a tight ship! 

From what  understand, this is the second year Florida schools have implemented this new program.  It still has some kinks however the teachers seem to know what there doing but what do I really know.  I’m with my kid four hours a day and they spend six hours a day with them!!  This is of course all early preparation for the FCATS which is competitive testing for children each year which determines if they will move up to the next grade or remain in the same grade until they pass. 

My feeling is that there is much higher expectations of children nowadays and with that they are doomed to fail.  With all the new and ever changing technology not to mention the competitive nature of human beings, we are putting to much pressure on children to learn to much at a young age.  I may have been dumb as a young kid but I had fun and look at me now.  I Completed college and became a professional.  From what I see of kids and teenagers now?  They look like slackers.  They don’t look motivated to keep excelling because they learned to much so young.  More young kids are using drugs and taking more risks for quicker and easier thrills as compared to when I was young and I’m only 35! 

With all this pressure in mind, all I can do as a mother is to not forget to allow my children to be children, let loose,  to be free and to be a child.  Its OK to make mistakes, Its ok to be silly in a restaurant, Its OK to have temper tantrums once in a while, Its OK to be a unique individual.  Our children will have enough stress and problems as adults.  Lets allow them to enjoy life to the fullest while they still have a chance.

Please feel free to share your opinions or share some memories from your childhood.

  • Share