Summer LEGO Mania

My 8-year-old is a LEGO Friends fanatic. My dishwasher is not. I know this because of the horrible sounds it’s been making since swallowing one of the tiny plastic bricks meant to stabilize the slide on my daughter’s Heartlake City Pool set. I’m this close to tossing out the rest of the set and booking a trip to New York City.  That’s where Nathan Sawaya’s massive LEGO display is being showcased for kids of all ages to enjoy.  Perhaps, immersing my child in another LEGO lover’s colorful brick designs will take her mind off her mother’s moratorium on LEGO play. … Continue reading

Spring Into Summer for Free

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer; a time when most families hit the road in search of sun and fun.  Whether you are heading to the Jersey Shore, making tracks to Florida’s coastal communities or cruising to California, you can experience sun, sand, and surf without sacrificing your entire summer travel budget. The trick is to take advantage of the free activities and amenities offered at your vacation destination. For example, if you are planning to travel to San Diego this summer, there are a slew of family-friendly options that won’t cost you a dime to enjoy, including: … Continue reading

Summer Lovin’ for Less

Ah, summer; a time to bond with your loved ones in the great outdoors.  Whether you cherish trips to the beach, enjoy hiking at area parks or prefer barbecuing in your own backyard, the season of sun allows for a ton of fun. The key to making the most of summer vacation is to find activities that fit your family’s budget.  Whether you are pinching pennies or have some extra cash to burn, top tourist destinations are hoping you will spend some time in their neck of the woods. For example, San Diego is pulling out all the stops to … Continue reading

Spring Exploration in the Great Outdoors

April showers bring May flowers… and hopefully some warmer temperatures so you and your family can enjoy inexpensive outdoor explorations. Old Man Winter refuses to exit gracefully this year.  Many parts of the country are still buried under snow and ice, including my neck of the woods.  However, in some states spring is well underway and with the change of seasons comes a host of affordable travel opportunities that allow you to conquer cabin fever without going broke: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:  California’s largest state park is located roughly two hours northeast of San Diego.  It boasts more than 110 … Continue reading

Travel Deals for LEGO Lovers

My 8-year-old is obsessed with LEGO Friends.  I too am quite fond of the popular plastic building blocks, though I appreciate them far more when they aren’t stabbing the bottom of my feet. Wouldn’t it be great to have a huge area dedicated solely to the construction and demolition of LEGO masterpieces without worrying about having your feet branded?  A place where kids can let their imagination soar while being inspired by gigantic one-of-a-kind LEGO structures? That’s exactly what can happen when you travel to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California.  But, now, instead of just touring the enchanted theme park, you … Continue reading

Beach Getaways for Budget-Conscious Travelers

Spring arrives next week, though you’d never know it by the freezing cold temperatures and fresh snow falling in much of the Midwest and Central Plains.  If you are dreaming of ditching the ice in order to splish, splash into spring, consider the following beach deals that won’t wipeout your travel budget: Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach:  From now through May 1, 2013, the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach is offering a money-saving “Beach Spring Break Package,” which includes complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children and use of the hotel’s beach accessories (umbrella, two beach chairs and four … Continue reading

Save on a SoCal Spring Break Escape

With abundant sunshine, gloriously warm temperatures, 70 miles of gorgeous beaches and a slew of world-famous attractions, San Diego is a hot spot for families looking to enjoy a fun-filled spring break.  Fortunately, the popular Southern California city is also a haven for frugal travelers.  Right now, several area hotels are offering incredible package deals catering to budget-conscious clans. Some of the money-saving getaways include: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa:  From now through May 23rd you can escape Old Man Winter’s wrath and luxuriate at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, located within minutes from La Jolla; one … Continue reading

Medi-Cal and the Affordable Care Act

Part of the Affordable Care Act includes the ability for states to choose to expand their Medicaid program. In California, the program is called Medi-Cal. There have been problems with this program in the past. Here is a brief summary of what California is planning to do in regards to the expansion. In December of 2012, a U.S. Court of Appeals made a decision about a situation that had been going on since sometime in 2009. The state of California cut the reimbursement rate for doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who treated patients who were covered by Medi-Cal. … Continue reading

SoCal Spring Break Without Breaking the Bank

Are you ready for spring break 2013? I’ve been ready since November 2012. I would do just about anything to escape the brutal cold and ever-present snow that has smothered our neck of the woods for the past four months. Are you with me? If you need a reprieve from Old Man Winter, but don’t have a ton of cash to fund a luxurious spring break getaway, consider the plethora of travel deals being offered in sunny Southern California: March 7-10, 2013:  Enjoy the magic of Oz on picturesque Coronado Island.  Next month, the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission is presenting … Continue reading

Is Your Sofa Safe?

I often worry about the chemicals I use in my house.  I worry about what exactly is in the air freshener I use.  I freak out when my husband buys a Teflon skillet. But, I just read that another real threat in my house may be my sofa. My sofa?  A threat?  Yes. Since 1975, California has required that all furniture with foam such as sofas and baby products such as car seats be treated with flame retardant chemicals.  That standard, maybe because California is so large a state, became the standard for most other states. The problem is while … Continue reading