Friday, November 27, 2015

Home Depot Free Kids Workshops: First Saturday of Every Month

Home Depot offers a free hands on building workshop for kids the first Saturday of every month from 9:00AM - Noon. Kids receive a kit to assemble at the store, a Home Depot apron, and a pin for participating. Registration is recommended, but not necessary.

School House Bank
Saturday, November 28
Holiday Stacking Blocks
Saturday, December 5


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Top 10 Black Friday Shopping Tips

I've been Black Friday shopping for over 10 years. As an experienced shopper I'd like to offer some tips and advice to novice Black Friday shoppers who plan to brave the cold and crowds on the greatest shopping day of the year!

  1. Buy two newspapers on Thanksgiving morning. Sometimes one paper doesn't have all the ads, so buy a copy of the L.A. Times and the Whittier Daily News to cover all the stores. If you normally get the Sunday paper for the ads/coupons, the newspaper distributors know this and deliver a paper on Thanksgiving to distribute the Black Friday ads. If you don't find one of your porch, go out early and buy it. They sell out fast!  If you are hosting Thanksgiving, you may want to buy two copies of each paper so others can look at the ads as well. You can also look up the ads online now, type in a search with the keywords "Black Friday 2015", you'll find numerous websites that post links to ads that have been leaked or are available online.

  2. Make a plan. Figure out which stores you want to visit and rate them according to bargain priority. If a certain item is on sale for a limited number of hours you want to make sure you hit that store with enough time to park, find the item in the store, and pay. If a store is giving out a free item to the first few hundred customers, but there is nothing pressing that you want to buy there you can wait in line, get the free item and go with plans to return later on to redeem the coupon, voucher, or certificate. If a store is offering price matching, know that the price will only be matched during the same time restrictions as the store in the advertisement.
  3. Leave the little kids at home. A store crowded with bargain hungry people is no place for a young child.
  4. Take the Black Friday ad with you. Occasionally an item won't scan for the advertised price, you can't find an item in the store, or there are varieties of the same item but only one is on sale. It helps to have the ad with you to clarify any misunderstandings.
  5. Bring a friend. It helps to have someone to tag team with. In 2010, the line to check-out at Toys R Us snaked the whole way around the store and zigzagged through the aisles so far back that no one really knew if it was the line or not. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, one person can hold a place in the check out line and the other can shop, then trade places. At Kohls on Black Friday the line to check out throughout the day was over an hour long. A friend also comes in handy in cold weather; one year my sister came out to wait with me at Sears. We took turns holding our spot in line, getting warm in the car, and going to the bathroom.
  6. Know the layout of the store. Try to stick with stores that you are familiar. If you've never visited the store before it may be difficult to find a clerk to help you find something in the advertisement.
  7. Line up early.  A few years ago I went to a large retail store and was a few minutes late for the opening. I saw the line to enter curve around the building into the darkness. Instead of going to the end of the line I waited in the car for the end to come to the front of the store. BIG MISTAKE! I saw people who arrived at the same time as I did enter the store 15 minutes before me. There were so many people arriving that the end kept growing and growing. Even if the item you want isn't the big TV, get in line early.  Due to building capacity restictions Toys R Us limited the amount of people in the store at once. The store opened at 9pm, and line to enter lasted until 3am!
  8.  Skip the shopping cart. Some stores are so packed that it is impossible to navigate the aisles with a cart. You'll have to leave your cart at the end of the aisle and risk someone picking through it, or abandon it altogether. If possible carry everything in your hands. If you must have a cart opt to bring a stroller instead. A stroller is smaller and narrower than a cart and it's easier to get through the crowds. However, if you absolutely have to have a shopping cart bring one in from the parking lot, many times the store does not have the staff to round up the carts and bring them inside, all the available carts are in the lot.
  9. Get your car ready. Fill up the gas tank. I don't know how many gas stations are open after midnight, but I'm sure you don't want to find out. Clean out the trunk. You'll need space for all the bargains you will bring home. You don't want to leave packages in the passenger area, it's too tempting for a would be thief.
  10. It's okay to leave. If it gets too intense, the wait gets too long, people are starting to get angry, or you are tired, it's okay to go home empty handed. You can't win them all.

 BONUS TIP #1: If you want to avoid the first major rush of crowds and most of the lines, head out around midnight. This would work well if the items you want are not any of the main doorbusters or a limited quantity items and you were looking to simply get the discount available to all early shoppers. If shopping for clothes and the size you want isn't available, take home the exact item in a different size and return to the store in a week when the stock is replenished to exchange the item.
BONUS TIP #2: Make sure Black Friday sale prices are significantly better than regular sale prices. Use your knowledge of sales throughout the year to compare the Black Friday price to regular sales throughout the year. If it's not a significant discount do not make that store a priority. I remember one year the Children's Place offered 30% off everything in the store for Black Friday. I can usually get a 20% off coupon and use my Children's Place credit card to get an additional 10% off which is pretty close to the Black Friday sale the store was running. At the mall a store was offering $10 off of jeans, but my sister said that $10 off of jeans sale is pretty common. In 2011 I waited six hours in line at Sears to get 55% off of a washer/dryer set. Throughout the following year I scanned the Sears ads and the lowest sales price at any other time was 37% off, so I know I bought it at a good price.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Donate 5 Canned Goods & Join the YMCA for free!

Montebello-Commerce YMCA
2000 W. Beverly Blvd
Montebello, CA 90640
*This offer is valid for new members 11/1/15-11/30/15, is not applicable to previous purchases, and must be redeemed in person. Monthly membership fees will apply.
Current YMCA members are welcome to donate canned goods to the lobby of the Montebello-Commerce YMCA.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Family Fun at the Vineland Drive-In: Industry

This summer I was invited to the Vineland Drive-In to share a movie experience with my family. I invited another mom, and two of my daughters friend's to a double feature of Inside Out & the Minion movie.

We had an amazing time! The kids liked watching the movie from the back of the car, and running around the parking lot before & between the movies.

As adults we didn't have to worry about shushing the kids if they talked back to the movie, or if they became wiggly in their seats. I loved that I was able to save big by skipping the concession stand, and watching two movies for the price of one!

I highly recommend the Vineland Drive-In Theatre as a low-cost family friendly activity.

The Vineland Drive-In on a summer Tuesday night.

Tickets are $9 for anyone nine years old or older, $3-$3.25 for children ages 5-8. All children under the age of five are FREE! Nearly all shows are double features and guests are welcome to bring their own food.

To prepare for our trip I made sure the kids showered early, dressed in pajamas and loaded the car with all the blankets and pillows they could carry. I packed a basket of snacks and a cooler of drinks, and we stopped to pick up pizza on the way.

The girls finished their dinner before the first movie started, so we took them to the concession stand to use the restroom. The building has not only a snack bar and clean restrooms, but there is also a seating area, and vintage projectors and speakers from days-gone-by on display.


One of two vintage speakers on display.

The Vineland Drive-In Theatre manager Mr. Juan Gonzalez, was very welcoming and gave me a tour of the facility before the movies started. Two years ago the theatre upgraded to digital projectors. Playing a movie now is as easy as downloading  the file and clicking "play."

New digital projector.
Mr. Gonzalez's tips for a great family movie experience:
  1. The closer you park to the concession stand the better the sound quality. There are 15 minutes of ads and trailers, so if you want to move your car for better sound, you have time to check the sound before the movie starts.
  2. The digital projection looks best on the two smaller fields.
  3. There are no ads or trailers for the second & third movie, those movies start right on time.
  4. The busiest day is Saturday, especially opening movie weekends. There could be long lines to enter the theatre, arrive early.
  5. A vendor comes to sell snow cones on hot summer nights.
  6. The manager can make special announcements for proposals, birthdays, anniversaries, or lost people over the speakers. Announcements are made right before the movie, or after the credits.
MontebelloMom's tips for a great family drive-in experience:
  1. Pack a flashlight. It will come in handy on the way to the concession stand after the sun goes down, or if you drop something in the car.
  2. To decrease the chances of getting lost, count the aisles of cars you pass on the way to the bathroom.
  3. Take a bag to collect your family's trash. There are cans throughout the field, but it's easier to keep one handy and dispose of it when you get home.
  4. Bring camping chairs and blankets for anyone who wants to sit or lay outside the car.
  5. Pack enough food and drinks to keep the kids satisfied through two movies.
  6. Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds.
birthday icon hatMr. Gonzalez says that the drive-in is available for birthday parties. If a parent wants to celebrate their child's birthday at the drive-in he will allow the birthday child, and a few guests, up to the projection room and give the birthday boy/girl the honor of starting the movie! He can be contacted via email here.

Vineland Drive-In theatre has been in operation for over 60 years. It's the busiest drive-in in all of California, and people come from as far away as San Diego to visit. It's one of only a few hundred drive-in theatres in the nation. It's truly an American experience that everyone should have at least once in their life. Take the family; they will have a good time.

443 N. Vineland Ave, City of Industry, CA
Gates open: 6:30 pm on weekends & 6:45pm on weekdays

Events at Montebello Library

1550 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello, CA 90640
(323) 722-6551
Monday-Tuesday, 10am-8pm
Wednesday-Thursday, 10am-6pm
Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm

All event descriptions in italics are transcribed directly from the L.A. County Library website.

Teen Game Night
Monday, November 16, 5pm
Monday, December 21, 5pm
Teens and tweens, take a break and come play some of your favorite board games and card games with us! Ages 12-18 are welcome to join.

Teen Book Club
Tuesday, December 1, 4pm-5pm
Do you enjoy reading?  Come discuss our monthly book, answer trivia questions, and make new friends!  For a copy of the book, please ask the Information Desk. We will be discussing Inhuman by Kat Falls.  In the aftermath of a cataclysmic war that has caused people and plants throughout the eastern half of the United States to mutate into creatures that exhibit violent animal-like chracteristics, 16-year-old Lane forges a dubios agreement with handsome guide Rafe in order to save her missing father. We will be distributing our next book club title at this program. Parents: Please be aware that refreshments will be served at this program.  A list of ingredients will be available. Ages 14-18 are welcome to join.

Tween Book Club
Tuesday, December 22, 4pm
Do you enjoy reading?  Come discuss our monthly book, answer trivia questions, and make new friends!  For a copy of the book, please ask the Information Desk. We will be discussing Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  Headed for Canada to visit his father for the first time since his parents' divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, with only the clothes he has on and a hatchet to help him shape a life for himself in the wilderness. We will be distributing our next book club title at this program. Parents: Please be aware that refreshments will be served at this program.  A list of ingredients will be available. Ages 12-14 are welcome to join

Bug Zapper: My Latest Strategy in the Battle against the Mosquitos

My latest round in the battle against the mosquitos is this bad boy right here:

Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer
 It's so easy to use I didn't even have to ask Mr. MontebelloMom for help.
1. Attach the included mosquito attractant to the bottom of the unit, hang it the yard, and plug it in.
2. The glowing blue light attracts bugs who like lights, and the chemicals in the mosquito attractant lure mosquitos to the unit.
3. When the bugs touch the light it zaps them, and they die.

I placed a white sheet under the bug zapper and this is what I found in the morning.

I'm fed up with the mosquitos in my backyard. I'm hearing people say there are confirmed West Nile Virus cases in Montebello, and L.A. County Vector Control has verified that there are invasive
"yellow fever" mosquitos in Montebello.

I've taken preventative measures, but my family is covered with mosquito bites. We find new bites before the old ones have healed. I'm hoping that by taking these mosquitos out of the population there will be less eggs laid, and less mosquitos in our backyard.

If you purchase a bug zapper via the links above MontebelloMom will get a small commission (4%) from Amazon, at no additional charge to you. The reviews from amazon of this electronic insect killer are excellent, and I can attest that it works in Montebello.

Click below for more information about the 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Used Book Sale & Boutique: East Los Angeles Library


Stock up on chapter books for silent reading or pictures books to read at home with your child at East Los Angeles' library Used Book Sale & Boutique.

Thousands of books, videos, DVDs, magazines, and audio books are available. The items sold are library discards,were donated by schools, or private individuals. Most are in good/great condition and some are brand new!

The community room filled with books for sale.

The last sale had children's books start at 25 cents each. There are books for pre-schoolers though teenagers, and there are favorites such as Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Junie B. Jones, Beverly Cleary, American Girl, Goosebumps, Chose your own Adventure, Magic School Bus, Roald Dahl, and more!

BONUS: Teachers, you get an additional discount! Just tell the cashier you are a teacher, they will probably guess when they see your huge pile of books, and they'll give you a huge discount. Once I was charged only 10 cents a book!

I picked up all these books, 27 in total, for only $14.25! Retail value is over $100! Average price, 53 cents/book.

Saturday, October 31, 2015



Going back to work part-time, volunteering, and caring for my family has me very busy these days. I haven't had much free time to update my blog. Please visit's facebook page, for the latest Halloween events in our area.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Halloween & the Price of Candy: Are you ready for Trick-or-Treaters?

550. That is the number of kids who come to our door at Halloween. No joke. I count. The kids get bused in from East L.A. and they're dropped off in front of my door. I used to spend around $100 every Halloween. Since I started using coupons and stocking up early I now spend less than $50 for the same amount and quality of candy.

To get a good deal on Halloween candy you need to read the serving label on the back of the package and do some calculations. Find how many candies are inside the package and divide the cost by the number of candies.
How many Candies Inside?
Serving Size
3 bars
Servings per Container
Total Pieces (3x15)
Package Cost
Price per Candy (1.25/45)
2.7 cents each

A good price on candy is 5-10 cents a piece. Buy candy when it's on sale and if possible use a coupon to maximize your savings. I once bought Pixie sticks for half a penny each!

Good Price for Halloween or Pinata Candy
Mini/Fun Size
Chocolate Candy
Kit Kat, Snickers
10 cents on sale / 5 cents on sale + coupons
Mini/Fun Size
Non-chocolate Candy
5 cents on sale / 2-3 cents on sale + coupons

Halloween is also a great opportunity to clear out the cupboards. Last year we accidentally bought Gushers instead of regular fruit snacks and I had about 2 dozen kid-power-bar type snacks that I received as samples that my kids didn't care for. Both of those went to trick-or-treaters.

One year I gave Play-Doh! It was a hit, especially with the older kids. A good price for the small individual canisters is 15 cents a piece.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween Festivities: Montebello

Halloween Festivities
Friday, October 30, 2015
Cathy Hensel Youth Center
236 George Hensel Drive
Montebello, CA 90640

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kidgits Carnival Event: Shops at Montebello

Simon Kidgits Carnival
Saturday, September 19
Center Court, Shops at Montebello
Kids will have the opportunity to play carnival games and win prizes at the Shops at Montebello's Kidgits Carnival event.
Families with children under the age of 10 can try their luck at carnival games, where kids can earn tickets to cash in for prizes: just like an arcade! A clown will also be at the event to play fun games with the kids.
 All kids 10 years old and under will receive a carnival theme zippy cup. Kidgits Club members will also get a fun balloon from our Balloon Twisters and a bag of Magic Cotton candy.
This event is free for all. Kidgit membership is $5 a year and includes membership perks at sign-up and throughout the year. To become a Kidgits Club member sign up online or at Guest Services. More information on Kidgits and memberships can be found at

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

20% off Los Angeles Zoo Membership: Discount Coupon Promotion Code

The Los Angeles Zoo shared an exclusive code for Montebello Mom readers code with me that takes
 20% off any membership + a free plush animal!
Sign up for Family Membership or higher and take an additional $5 off
Sign on for Family Deluxe Membership or higher and you'll also receive a free tote bag!

Seven levels of membership are available with this discount, from Individual Membership to Conservation Associate. Here is a sample of L.A. Zoo benefits at the Family Level:

FAMILY MEMBERSHIP - $102,(regular price $134)
  • Free unlimited admission for two adults named on membership card
  • Free admission for your own children and/or grandchildren (ages 2 - 17) for one year
  • Two free Safari Shuttle tickets (up to $8 value)
  • Two free Conservation Carousel tickets ($6 value)
  • 10% discount in shops, restaurants, educational programs, & special events
  • Subscriptions to Zooscape and Zoo View publications
  • Invitation to exclusive member only events
  • Tax-deductible amount: $134
  • Zoo/Aquarium Reciprocal List. Visit 170 partner museums and zoos across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico on the reciprocal list and get free or discounted admission!

The discount code is 11509MMW. This code can only be used online and must be manually typed in, do not cut & paste. Thanks to the Los Angeles Zoo for the discount!

Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association
5333 Zoo Drive • Los Angeles, CA • 90027 • 323/644-4759

If you like what you've just read and are interested in free and low cost family friendly events in
Montebello and the surrounding area, please "Like" Montebello Mom on Facebook, or subscribe to the e-mail newsletter on the sidebar. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Montebello Garage Yard Sale Weekend

Four times a year people from all around Los Angeles County converge on Montebello for "Yard Sale Weekend".

The city hosts four permit-free weekends a year when residents can have yard sales. On these designated weekends there is practically a yard sale on every block. It's a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

Yard sale weekends are always the first full weekend (Friday-Sunday) in March, June, September, and December. Saturdays are most popular but there are many sales on Friday and Sunday too!

September 4-6, 2015
December 4-6, 2015
 Benefit from my yard sale experience and read my top selling and my shopping tips to make the most of your day.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What streets are the yard sales on?
Yard sales are held on pretty much every block of the entire city.
What part of Montebello should I start shopping?
The sale is held throughout the city, start at whichever streets are closest to you.
Are there a lot of sales on Friday or Sunday?
Compared with Saturday, there are significantly fewer sales on Friday & Sunday. I estimate about one-fourth of the sales are 2-day sales that extend to Friday or Sunday.
It says here that the yard sale weekend is next weekend, but there are people having yard sales this weekend, which is it?
Many people get confused and think yard sale weekend is the first Saturday of the month, but they are incorrect. The official weekends are the first Friday through Sunday weekend that occurs within the selected months. If a yard sale is held at a time outside of the official yard sale weekend a city issued permit is required.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bookmobile visits Montebello

The L.A. County Public Library has a bookmobile that visits Montebello every month. Much like a traditional library, a librarian is on site to process library cards, check out books, assist with research, and manage holds.

The 27 foot long Bookmobile has thousands of titles of books, movies, music, and magazines to lend to patrons, is climate controlled, and wheelchair accessible.

The Bookmobile's schedule is on a three week cycle, and visits Montebello select Fridays from 1:30-3:30pm. Items checked out of the bookmobile have a three-week lending period, can be renewed online, and are returnable to the bookmobile or any L.A. County library.

L.A. County Bookmobile
Approximately every 3rd Friday
Potrero Heights Park
8051 Arroyo Dr.
Montebello, CA

Bookmobile Schedule for 2015
August 28
September 18
October 9
October 30
November 20
December 11

A special thanks to Facebook friend Strella T. for sharing the Bookmobile information!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Montebello Parade & Mariachi Fun Run

Free Vision Screening & Free Eyeglasses

"Is it better now, or now?" The Lions Club is sponsoring free eye exams & free glasses at it's annual Friends in Sight event. For more information please call 909-598-0554.

Montebello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo

The Montebello Chamber of Commerce is hosting it's annual Business Expo that allows it's members to network and promote their business to local residents and area businesses. The event is open to the public and free to attend. Many businesses offer free samples, raffles, and brochures. The event is oriented for adults wanting to learn more about the businesses in the community, please leave children at home.
Montebello Chamber of Commerce
Business Expo
Thursday, August 13
Quiet Cannon
901 W. Via San Clemente, Montebello


East L.A. Parade & Festival

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with the 67th annual East L.A. parade!

East L.A. Parade & Festival
Sunday September 13, 2015
Parade 10:30am
The 1.5 mile parade starts at Cesar Chavez & Mednik and travels west to Gage Avenue
Festival Noon-5pm
Mednik Avenue between Cesar Chavez & 1st Street

Project Child Safe: Montebello Senior Center, City Park

The event website reads,
"The Montebello Police Department in conjunction with Project Child Safe is hosting a town hall meeting focusing on safe storage of firearms in the home on August 9, 2015 at 10;00am.

Officers will discuss relevant firearms safety in the home. Free firearms locks will be provided thanks to Project Child Safe.

The meeting will be held a the Senior Center located at 115 S. Taylor Ave. at the Montebello City Park.

Bring your children, activities for the children will be provided and facilitated by McGruff the Crime Dog."

Toy Loan Anniversary Celebration: Potrero Heights Community Center, Montebello

Doggy Play Date, Acuna Park, Montebello