Cheapskating, Mama Mojo, MicroLuxuries, Salty Mama Lists, Tips & Hacks

Happy Birthday to YOU!

One year, for Jaymi’s birthday, she made it her mission to travel around to all the different places that would give her something free on her birthday. She ruled out the free ferry ride to Catalina, but she vowed to tackle every.other.thing.

She’s never been so sick in her life.

Do you have any idea HOW MANY PLACES will give you free food and drinks on your birthday? It’s kind of ridiculous, but also, it’s kind of awesome. So, without further ado, a list of places that will give you something FREE for your birthday (food, drinks, and otherwise!).

1.Kohl’s- As part of their Yes2You Rewards program, you will receive a coupon for $5 off a $5 purchase (aka the holy grail of coupons). That’s $5 free dollars to spend on the item of your choice!

2. Baskin Robbins– When you sign up on their website, you will get a free scoop of ice cream for your special day.

3. Cold Stone kind of gets in on the action as a part of their eClub, but they’ll send you a Buy One Get One coupon instead of an outright freebie.

4. Dairy Queen wants to offer you a BOGO Blizzard, which they’ll send you if you sign up here.

5. Einstein Bros. BagelsBy registering for the emails (adorably called the Shmear Society), you’ll earn yourself a free breakfast sandwich when you purchase a drink.

6. IHOP– One stack of free pancakes, coming right up! You can sign up here.

7. Denny’s will give you a free grand slam, and you don’t even have to sign up for anything for that one. Just show your valid ID on your birthday, and breakfast is on them!

8. Starbucks– As long as you have an account, you will get one free drink of your choice. Any type, any flavor, ANY SIZE. So that means if you want a Venti Maple Pecan Latte with Extra Whip and a Shot of Espresso, they’ll give it to you for FREE, along with a complimentary tummyache.

9. Red Robin– Get a free burger anytime during your BirthMonth when you sign up for the Red Robin Royalty program.

10. Old Navy gives their email subscribers a free gift on their birthday. Head to their website at oldnavy.com and then scroll down to where it says “Sign Up For Email.” Make sure you update your preferences when prompted to do so, as that’s how you’ll get your birthday email.

11. Victoria’s Secret– Sign up on their website here. They want you to think you have to sign up for a credit card for this, but you don’t! Just scroll down to the bottom where it says “Get Exclusive Angel Offers.”

12. Krispy Kreme– sign up for their eClub, and you’ll get a free donut when your birthday rolls around.

13. There are plenty of other places that will give you something, like a free dessert, on your birthday, but honestly, that’s a LOT of places (Black Angus, Chili’s, Applebees, TGI Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, etc).  So if you’re heading to a restaurant to celebrate, make sure you check their site or ask your server to see if they offer something to the birthday boy or girl.

So there you have it, our (partial) list of places that want to help you celebrate your big day (or, in some cases, your big month!) in style.  Got any that you would add to the list? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Our favorite birthday freebies- food, drinks, and products!- and how to sign up for them, from thesaltymamas.com

 

momlife, Recipes, Tips & Hacks

Ten Meals that Take Twenty(ish) Minutes

What mom (or human, for that matter) doesn’t know the struggle of trying to get a decent meal on the table on the regular? Between work and extra-curriculars and homework and bedtime, getting dinner prepped and ready has to happen on an economy level. We don’t always have hours to chop and marinate and baby a meal until it’s ready, just crossing our fingers that the toddler won’t wake up before we’re done micro-dicing this onion, whatever THAT means. And nothing is worse than slaving over a meal that, after all that prep and hard work, kind of sucks.

So The Salty Mamas scoured the internet for recipes that are the triple threat of being easy, simple, AND tasty. Some DO take a little longer than twenty minutes, but that’s usually only the first time you make the recipe. After that, it should be smooth(er) sailing. And now, for your dining pleasure, may we present The Salty Mamas Guide to Meals that Take Twenty(Ish) Minutes.

1. This Beef and Brocolli Recipe from Rainy Day Gal will knock your SOCKS off with flavor. If I may say so, it is VERY close to what you might find in an (Americanized) Chinese restaurant. And as  a bonus, you can use cheaper cuts of beef than you normally can, so it doesn’t blow your grocery budget either.

2. Okay, so it doesn’t sound super appealing, but you’ll have to trust us on this one- this 8 Can Taco Soup Recipe from High Heels and Grills is the real deal.  It is quite literally the easiest thing I know how to make, and the flavor can’t be beat.

3. BuzzFeed’s recipe for One Pan Pesto Chicken Pasta is mouth-wateringly good, and so simple to make. And it’s pasta, so even my kids like it.

4. While we’re talking about BuzzFeed’s love for pesto, don’t forget to take a look at their Pesto Chicken and Veggies recipe. Simple, colorful, and its flavor is on-point.

5 and 6. Everybody loves tacos, and The Salty Mamas (and the little salties!) are no exception. For chicken tacos, we’re partial to these Spicy Chicken Tacos from The Cookie Rookie. When it comes to beef, we love these similar Oven Baked Beef Tacos from One Good Thing. (We’ve made her homemade crunchy taco shells, and they were super good, but honestly, I always forgot they were in the oven and burnt them up. So we stick to storebought now.)

7. This Mediterranean Chicken Salad Recipe from Cafe Delites is so fresh, clean, and delicious. I’m not the griller in our family, so I cut the chicken into pieces before marinating, and then brown in a pan on the stovetop. You will spend more time prepping this one than some of the others, but it’ll be worth it!

8. You can’t go wrong with these Ham and Cheese Sliders (Well, unless you don’t like ham. Or cheese. But you know what I mean.) They are made on Hawaiian Rolls and come out so melty and savory and amazing, and my kids like them, too. They are easy to “deconstruct” as our friends at Super Mom Hacks like to say, so they can easily become plain old ham and cheese sandwiches (or even ham, cheese, and rolls served separately, thank you very MUCH) for your pickier eaters.

9. Give these Chicken Avocado Burritos from Gimme Delicious a try (well, when avocados aren’t a million dollars each, that is).  They are light and refreshing, but still pack a big flavor punch.

10. My husband and I love this Beef Udon Noodle Stir Fry from Damn Delicious. It is a little bit on the spicier side, which my kids can’t handle, so I put aside a serving for each of the kids before adding any heat.

Like all mothers everywhere, we are constantly on the lookout for great recipes that don’t take forever to make, and we’ll add them to our Quick Meals the Whole Family Will Love Pinterest Board as we find them. Make sure to give the board a follow so you don’t miss out on any of our great finds in the future!

What are your family’s go to meals for busy nights? We’d love to hear what works for you in the comments section!

The best twenty-minute meals for moms to make after work, before soccer, or anytime in between! #dinnerideas
Ten delicious meals that can be made in twenty minutes or less! Read more at thesaltymamas.com #quickrecipes

 

Cheapskating, microhustle, Tips & Hacks

OhmConnect Revisted (AKA How I Got Free Electricity All Summer)

This post contains referral links, which means that we may receive a small commission from people who sign up using the link. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own, though your results may vary. Read more in our disclosure policy, and thank you for supporting The Salty Mamas!

Okay, so I have told you all about OhmConnect, and how residents of California and some parts of Texas can pay earn credits by saving electricity when they receive alerts that “dirty power plants” are about to turn on. You can read all about how it works here,  but Y’ALL. I just HAD to update you.

I didn’t pay for power this summer. Not a penny in June, July, August, OR September. And I keep my house at a brisk 72 degrees.

And I have OhmConnect to thank for that.

I know a few of you Salty Mamas have joined, and you may be thinking I’m a big fat liar since you are pulling in a massive 70 cent payout. I know. I hear you. It so doesn’t feel worth the sweat for 70 cents.

But as in all things MicroHustle, you gotta focus on your long game. The more Ohm Hours in a row you hit  (they call it a streak), the higher your payout is going to be. And as you level up, your amounts go up again. So if you hit Platinum level on a 60 Ohm Hour streak, you could be talking about making nine times as much each Ohm Hour as you are right now. And if you haven’t sign up already?  Head to OhmConnect now to see if you qualify.

Now is the PERFECT time to start your streak, while the weather is cooperating and the sacrifice doesn’t seem as big. And by this time next year, you may be flipping the breaker and heading out to sip some margaritas, and proposing a toast to the good people of OhmConnect.

And to the Salty Mamas of course.  Because obviously.

Looking for a way to earn extra money? Or save on your electric bill? Head to thesaltymamas.com to find out how to get your bills paid for FREE! (Sponsored)

 

Bouncing Babies, momlife, Recipes, The Wonderful Ones

Toddler Muffins Recipe

Are you looking for an easy breakfast and snack idea for your toddlers? Well your Pinterest search is over! This easy recipe has all of the good stuff- whole grains, fruits, veggies, and even protein- with (less) of the “bad stuff.”  As a bonus, they freeze wonderfully and can be made in a mini-muffin pan, so that you can give your toddler what they need, even with their ever-changing appetites.

Note: We have tried a few different substitutions to eliminate brown sugar from this recipe, but none of them had the result we were looking for. So we decided to stick with a bit of sugar for the sake of keeping the recipe appealing to little ones. If you have toddlers over the age of one, two tablespoons of honey may be the closest substitute we can recommend. 

Also Note: We only tried to lower the sugar content so we wouldn’t feel as guilty about the three cupcakes the kid would be eating laterEnjoy! Continue reading “Toddler Muffins Recipe”

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties

Torrez of the Day

A few weeks ago, in a fit of desperation, I had a rare stroke of genius.

“The kid who cleans up the most blocks gets to be the Torrez of the Day!”

My son, aged one and a half, pretty much did nothing. Because…aged one and a half.

But my Four Year Old? Whoa. Continue reading “Torrez of the Day”

Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting

Get Outside

This post contains affiliate links. The Salty Mamas may receive a small commission from items purchased after clicking the links.  Additionally, we’d like to thank SourceBooks for providing a book, “15 Minutes Outside,” for a giveaway. Thank you for supporting us!

Are your kids getting enough time outside each day? Find out here, along with a list of great ways to play outside with your kids!

According to experts, kids are supposed to spend at least two hours a day playing outside.

Stop and take that in for a second. TWO. HOURS.

Now this may seem crazy when you think about the amount of time your kids are at school, or the amount of time you are at work. But when you think back to when you were a little kid, it might not seem that ridiculous.  I remember getting home from school and taking off on my bike with my friends. Or exploring the creek next to our house for hours.  Or playing endless pretend in our backyard, or gardening with my mom, or swimming in our (above-ground) pool. There was SO much time outdoors, that it wasn’t even a thing. It was just something that we did. Do I think my mom worried about meeting the required two hours each day? Uh, no. Because that was not a thing back then. You just sent the dang kids out.

And we (I’m talking societally here), just don’t do that anymore.  Even when you talk about going “screen free” or unplugged, it usually means board games and books and hours of playdough play.  It’s not considered safe for kids to roam around on their own, and our green spaces are kind of being eaten up.  So we have to make up for it somehow, as forced as it may seem at times.  Because yes, it is another “requirement” of childhood, but from a scientific perspective, it is crucial (check out this article from the New York Post if you want to read more about this). Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to be obese and are less likely to be diagnosed with attention-related disorders.  Time spent in green spaces is good for anxiety and depression, and reduces stress-and that goes for little kids and grown ups alike. We were biologically just meant to spend time outside, and we have to make sure that’s happening for our little ones, and our bigger kids, too.

 

IMG_20170730_131845132I recently read a book called “15 Minutes Outside” by author Rebecca Cohen, that gives hundreds of concrete, easy examples on how to get your kids outside. And most of the ideas aren’t even that big of a deal. Take a basket of books into the backyard on a blanket and read there. Or eat your dinner at the local park. Take a nature walk through your neighborhood, or go on your balcony and make wishes on the first early stars.  I tend to think of outdoor play as an adventure, requiring prep and large stretches of time, but this book really helped me to see that those little stretches can add up over time and make a big difference. Not only in the amount of time you spend outside, which, obviously. But also in the amount of quality time spent together as a family.

So let’s all make an effort this week to get up, and get our kids out. Start small, and make a concerted effort to get out for just a little bit longer today than you usually do. The change of scenery may just do everyone some good.

 

Looking for more ideas on how to get out with your family and play? Here are six easy ways to get started.

  1. Take an Art Project Outside, like our friends at Little Mama Jama with this fun Minion footprint art. Read the instructions for this project here, or take any paints/crayons/chalk outside and create under a shady tree.
  2. Get Some Open Ended Toys. Here’s a list of really cool, open ended outdoor toys from Real Mom Recs. Most of them are fairly low-maintenance, low-prep ways to get your kids out and having fun.
  3. Put a Twist on Water Play. This little “fishing” game is the perfect way for your kiddos to practice learning to spell their name while they are getting wet outside.  It does take a bit of initial prep, but once you have it made, you can bring it out any time you need to change up your water play.
  4. Go On a Nature Walk. My kids had always been reluctant to amble around the neighborhood, until we put this fun twist on the standard stroll. Go on a nature walk- give your kids bags to collect items in nature (think flowers, leaves, etc.) and look for wildlife. You can even find printable Nature Scavenger Hunt checklists here to add some more fun and structure to your walk.
  5. Play some old school games. These little games have been around forever- and for good reason! Here is a list of old school games you can play outside with your children (or that they can play with the neighbors while you sit on the porch with a glass of wine lemonade. I’m just saying).
  6. Looking for even more outside fun? Imperfectly Perfect Mama has come up with a list of 50 fun and simple ways to get your kids outdoors.

 

Want to win your own copy of “15 Minutes Outside?” Share this post on the social media platform of your choice (buttons below!) and comment “Shared” here.  Giveaway is sponsored by SourceBooks, the publisher of “15 Minutes Outside.” Open to US and Canada only (sorry, International Salties!). Giveaway will close on Friday, September 29 at midnight PST and the winner will be announced by Sunday, October 1st. Good luck, and happy playing!

Our giveaway has closed, and our lucky winner is Lauren from explorermomma.com. Congratulations, Lauren! We’ll be contacting you soon to find out where to send your copy of 15 Minutes Outside, courtesy of SourceBooks. Thanks again to all who participated, and happy playing!

Cheapskating, microhustle, side hustle

MicroHustle Monday Presents: SurveySavvy

This post contains referral links, meaning that the Salty Mamas will receive a small commission when someone signs up for SurveySavvy using our link.  As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are our own. We cannot guarantee that your results and outcomes will be similar to our own. Thanks for helping to support The Salty Mamas!

Ahhh, the survey. The MicroHustle many of us love to hate/hate to love.  This is probably the MicroHustle I’ve taken the most heat over in recent years, because from a short-game stand point, it just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes I spend twenty minutes on a 50 cent survey, and those numbers just don’t seem to add up.  But the survey is the tortoise of the MicroHustle Universe.  You earn money in very small increments sometimes, it’s true. But eventually, you can win whole races- and pay for whole cruises– using these little guys.

I’m going to start by introducing you to the survey site that seems to have the most potential to make big money. It’s called SurveySavvy, and it works like most survey sites do- they send you surveys, you take them, and you make a little money.  (You can also earn referral credit when someone signs up using your link, so yes, I’d like you to use mine if you’re wanting to sign up anyways 😉 ) But the reason SurveySavvy ranks number one on my list of sites is that SurveySavvy is a screening site for CSpace, a company that businesses and brands hire to conduct panels.  And that, my friends, is how you make the big bucks.

I’m not on any panels right now, but when I was, I would make about $60 a month per panel, and I was on two.  They would ask me to do things like participate in discussion groups, or visit a store and take pictures of certain sections, or post a video of me discussing why I liked (or didn’t like) their brand. It is very much like a focus group, except you participate from the comfort of your home and on your own time.  I found the activities to be kind of fun, and it was neat to see products that I had weighed in on showing up in stores a few months later. And, of course, the money wasn’t too bad.

So there you have it, my first and favorite survey site. Do you do surveys at home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

*  *  *

Note: SurveySavvy also has an app, called SurveyConnect, that you can download. This app will give the company some access to your phone usage and browsing history and, for what it’s worth- I don’t use it. The idea of having someone tracking my phone just gives me the ick factor. If you don’t have the same reservations, feel free to try it out, but I can’t personally speak for, or recommend, a service I’ve never used. Just food for thought!

Want to earn a little extra money, but don't want to sell anything? Try this! thesaltymamas.com

 

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, Why We're Salty

Taylor Swift: Look What You Made ME Do.

 

My daughter is a Taylor Swift fan. Like, a big fan.

She knows the words to pretty much every song on the 1989 album.  She knows what each song is about. She loves her music videos and her “fashion” and her pretty hair and she especially loves to dance to her TS jams. She loved Taylor Swift in the way that only a four year old can.

And now she doesn’t.

I let her listen to the song “Look What You Made Me Do,” recently, thinking she would be excited to hear something from her favorite singer. I thought the beat was catchy, and she could dance to it and learn the words easily.  I knew the video was dark, but I thought as long as I just played the song, the lyrics would be subtle enough to fly right over her head. I figured she’d be bopping and singing along in no time.

But you know what she said? “How come Taylor Swift got mean?”

If you haven’t heard it or seen the video yet, you’ll need to know that it is dark and edgy and the lyrics are full of bite. There are zombies and burglaries and car crashes.  The song is a lot more bitter and a lot harder than anything she’s put out before.   Clearly, she’s trying to reinvent herself.  And look, it is not up to Taylor to be anything for anyone but herself.  It is her life, and her brand, and she can do what she wants with it. That’s her right, and I stand by that. But Lila? Lila doesn’t.

And you know what? I’m kind of with Lila on this one.  You don’t have to get edgier, and sexier, and darker with each album. It’s okay to be kind, and sweet, and keep your optimism no matter what life throws at you. I’m tired of artists feeling like they have to constantly evolve.  You can have a truth and stick to it. You don’t need to keep up with the  Joneses Katy Perrys.  You don’t have to get mean in order to stay popular.  In fact, it may just end up costing you, and some of your fans, a little something in return.

So we’ll keep rocking 1989 in the car, and we’ll keep Shaking it Off. But otherwise, I think we’re done here.  Thanks for the fun, Taylor. It was good while it lasted.

How Taylor Swift's new song,

 

Caffeine, Mama Mojo, They Said WHAT?

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Coffee?

Hi, my name is Jaymi, and I am addicted to caffeine.

I first discovered my problem a few months ago. We ditched the kids and went away to a wedding, and had the best time ever. We were surrounded by people we’ve been friends with for decades, and it was absolutely amazing to get to do all the adult things I wanted, whenever I wanted to. Tops on my list? Hot coffee. And lots of it. Isn’t that every mom’s dream? We meandered down to this adorable little bakery and I told the lady, as I am apt to do, that I wanted a hot coffee the size of my head. And she gave me the biggest cup, and pointed me in the direction of the self-serve, and I emptied that sucker into my cup. Like, literally emptied it. And then I ate my delicious pastry, and refilled it. And refilled it one more time. And emptied the giant coffee dispenser again. And thought nothing of it, because I’m a mom, and everyone knows moms drink all the coffee. Except then my friends started giving me endless shit. And they’re like, damn girl, that’s some coffee consumption. And I laugh it off, and I’m like, “You guys drink coffee too!” And they tell me, “Lady, we did not empty those two giant carafes. You did.”

“But!” I tell myself. “But their kids are older! They are getting more sleep than I am! I shall ask my mommy friends, the ones with two or three kids under five. THEY know my struggle.” After all, we talk about coffee non-effing-stop. So I know they’re with me.

Not so, my friends.

I make a quick survey asking my momsquad to give it to me in ounces, their daily intake.
“One twelve ounce cup in the mornings.”

“Sometimes a latte in the afternoon.”

“Once in a while I drink two cups in the morning, but usually one.”

What. The. Hell.

On average, those coffee-obsessed broads are drinking between 12 and 20 ounces a day. While I’m putting away 50. But because I hear about coffee nonstop, and I’m not that vocal about it, I always assumed whatever I was doing was normal. Coffee isn’t even “My Thing.” It’s our cousin Daniel’s, who we sometimes call “coffeecoffeecoffee,” or my friend Courtney’s, who posts about coffee on her Facebook page about once a week. The ones who are constantly waxing poetic about their daily joe.

There are millions of memes, images, dialogues about coffee. There are shirts emblazoned with “All I Need is Mascara and Caffeine,” and mugs saying, “Heart, Hustle, and Coffee” (okay, that’s my mug, and I made it. But still). We’re smack dab in the middle of a culture that has us celebrating coffee, glorifying coffee, and making it a primary topic of conversation in mom circles everywhere. It’s a thing now. Moms. Love. Coffee. So when my one cup became two became three became five, I honest to God went full-teenaged, “Well everyone is doing it.”

Again. Not so, my friends.

So now here I am, wondering whether I should take this newfound knowledge, own it, and celebrate it. Give zero effs. Maybe post a few more coffee cup selfies here and there so the world can I see that I drink that coffee without shame. Maybe I scale down my use a bit, see how it goes, in a moderation-is-everything approach? Or do I take this new information and use it to find a program, and get myself some help? I feel like it’s gonna take a bit more than the Serenity Prayer to get me through a day with these little monsters, but hey, it’s worth a shot.

Of espresso, that is. Obviously.

We live in a coffee culture. But how much are people REALLY drinking? And how do you know when to say enough is enough? thesaltymamas.com

 

Effing Four Year Olds, momlife, parenting, The Salties, They Said WHAT?

A Teacher Gift You Should Start on NOW

For many of us, school is just getting started.  End of year teacher gifts are FAR off of our radar. We are miles away from Teacher Appreciation Week (thank goodness. It has turned into such a circus, but that’s a post for another day.) The last days of school? Please. Let’s just get through Back to School Night first, am I right?

My teacher has a voice like a buffalo

Except then I had the CUTEST idea. On the first day of school, when I asked Lila how her day was, she said “I need three popsicles. And a nap.” The second day, she said, “When Mrs. D gets mad, she sounds like a buffalo. It’s AWESOME!” And it made me think about all the funny/silly/sweet things my students must have told their parents about me and my classroom, and I desperately wished I could have heard what those things were (I mean, the nice things, of course. I’m not a glutton for punishment. I don’t want to hear about how the kid said I’m a monster, obviously).  

So I decided that I would keep track of the little things Lila reported about at school on a  cute little paper somewhere, and then at the end of the school year, we could gift Mrs. D with a collection of the sweet, crazy, funny little moments that stood out most for Lila. Along with a fat gift card to Target. Because TARGET.

And I can’t just keep something like an adorable printable to myself, so we’ll go ahead and share it with our friends (aka YOU!).  Download the free printable HERE and put it in a safe place where you can add to it throughout the year, and we’ll check back in with you in the Spring to see how it’s going.  Follow the blog to make sure you don’t miss out on the update! End of Year Teacher Gift- Quotes Page

 

Want to make your printable even cuter? Click the link below to purchase a custom copy that includes the student and teacher names of your choice.

Custom Quotes Printable

This custom printable will take your gift to the next level! Simply click through to purchase, and you will be contacted for the names you would like included. We are also willing to make changes to the months and questions for no additional fee.

$2.00

Do you have a kiddo in school? We’d love to hear the funniest thing your child has said about their classroom or teacher in the comments below.

Wow your child's teacher with this easy, printable gift idea from thesaltymamas.com