Friday, August 29, 2008

A weekend full of FREE music!

Wow, I hope nobody is planning on sitting at home this weekend! In addition to the Greek Festival and the Gateway Cup bike race, there are also several FREE concerts and a parade!

Friday night is the Battle of the Marching Bands in preparation for the Mizzou v. Illinois game. Activities start at 5pm and go until midnight on Laclede's Landing. The bands are supposed to be at the Big Muddy main stage at the corner of There will be a tug of rope contest across Eads Bridge and Robert Randolph & The Family Band will be playing from 8-10:30pm.

Saturday at 3pm is the start of the Big Muddy Blues Festival, also on Laclede's Landing. The festival is FREE (although of course food and beverages aren't). The music lasts until about midnight, and there are 3 stages so you should be able to find some great music that suits your style.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greek Festival this weekend!

This weekend is the St. Nicholas Greek Festival held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on the corner of Forest Park and Kingshighway. While you do have to pay for your food and any items from the market, the entertainment and tours are FREE and there is no other admission cost! You can park for free in the BJC parking garage and walk over to the church.

The festival runs Saturday and Sunday, 11am-9pm, and Monday 11am-8pm.

Check out the amazing Greek food that will be available. It's making me hungry. :)

***A note about the Japanese Festival this weekend at Missouri Botanical Garden: I called and confirmed with MOBOT that everyone will be charged admission this Saturday, so don't head to the Garden this Saturday hoping for free admission for St Louis City and County residents. The Japanese Festival has a lot going on, so you may find it worth the admission price. There are also many FREE children's activities in addition to the other events.

Gateway Cup bike race

The biggest bike race to hit St Louis is happening this weekend, Friday-Monday! The Gateway Cup 08 kicks off on Thursday night with race number pickup and pizza specials at Pi in the Delmar loop.

There are five races each day based on ability, ranging from newbies to pros. Each day is punctuated by the feature event, the men’s Pro-Am race. In this race, 150 of the nation’s top cyclists will hurl themselves through corners averaging 30 mph.

Friday will find your favorite amateur and pro cyclists in the heart of Lafayette Square.

Saturday the race moves downtown into the Loft District.

Sunday head over to the Hill for some more great racing, and a free pasta dinner after the races for participants! Rumor has it there'll be some bocce playing going on, too.

Monday rounds out the race tour with a stop in the University City Loop and a post-race party with plenty of BBQ.

All races are FREE for spectators, and there are FREE kids' races as well!

Monday, August 25, 2008

St. Louis Science Center

The SLSC is a truly great place, no matter how old you are. We took our boys, ages 5 and 6, on Saturday through a company-sponsored event. We've been many times before as it's a great place to take kids on rainy or cold days, especially since it's free!

Since we were there on a special event, we had the opportunity to take in some "extras" we wouldn't normally do. We visited the Exploradome and the Monsters exhibit. I was a little worried about it being scary, but it wasn't at all. It might have been scary if the boys had ever seen any of the movies that the props were from, but they haven't so to them they were all just animals and creatures, not really monsters. While it was interesting, I didn't feel there was enough in there to justify the cost, so it was nice that we were able to visit for free.

We also got to see a planetarium show (Mr. Hubble's Universe), which was great! They pointed out different star formations and talked about how stars are made and the different types of clusters. Very informative and entertaining. This I would definitely pay for if we were to go again. The planetarium also hosts free star parties on the second Friday of each month from January to October. Weather permitting, there are a number of telescopes set up and staff on hand to help you view and answer questions.

There are also many free interactive presentations throughout the day at the SLSC. Many of them are held downstairs on the Centerstage. There are presentations on optical illusions, plastic, DNA, electricity, and temperature, as well as messy presentations like "Science Goes Splat"!

Tip: Parking next to the Science Center entrance costs $8. Ouch! But you can park on the street, or even better, go through Forest Park and park in the parking lots or on the streets next to the Planetarium. Parking there is free, and you can enter the planetarium and walk across the bridge over the highway to get to the Science Center. Then you also have the opportunity to check cars speeding down 64/40 with radar guns mounted on the bridge!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movies in the park

If you're not busy tonight, check out a free movie event in Lafayette Square Park (Jefferson and I-44). The movie is "Cars" and there are lots of activities to go along with the movie. See below:

We just wanted to give everyone an update on the Cars movie activities in case you haven't heard or seen the flyers around. The car show, police vehicles and race car will be in place by 6 pm. The activities and speakers will start at 6:30. The fire truck will arrive at 6:30. So please come early, set up your chairs for the movie and view the vehicles. Food and snacks will be available.

The prizes (valued at over $450!) that will be in the Raffle include—
Vino Vitae Wine Tasting Class for 6
Lumiere Gift Card
Bob Kramer Marionette Family Pass
I-55 Raceway Tickets
Walter Knoll Florist Gift Card
Happy Joe’s Pizza Gift Card
Museum of Transportation Family Pass
Book “Route 66 in St. Louis”
Route 66 favorites Ted Drewes & Donut Drive-In Gift Cards
Plus other prizes for the games!

And the exciting activities we have lined up are—
Traffic Control Car
Police Motorcycle
Mounted Police Officer
Antique Paddy Wagon
Fire Truck
Antique Fire Truck
12+ Vintage & Muscle Cars
Race Car (including 2 local race car drivers!)
Route 66/Cars Exhibit
Joe Sonderman, Author of the book “Route 66 in St. Louis” (he will be a Speaker and he will have his books available for purchase)
Speakers from the STL Police & Fire Departments
Kids Crafts & Games
Face Painters
Food Vendors—Square One Brewery, Vino Vitae Gourmet Wine Shop, Tropical Moose
Snow Cones & Lions Club Popcorn

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free jazz concert tonight

Tonight from 8-10pm there will be a FREE jazz concert by pianist Ptah Williams. The concert will be outside in the Brookings Quadrangle at Washington University's Danforth (Main) Campus. You can't beat the weather right now for an enjoyable outdoor concert!

For more information call (314) 862-0874 or see here.

For directions, go here and type in your starting address or check out a PDF campus map here. To get to the Quad, continue west from the main entrance of campus until you come to a large grassy area--it's pretty hard to miss. ;)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saving money moving

Money Saving Mom asked for frugal tips on moving. We've moved from Texas to Michigan, and then to Missouri as well as several smaller moves and always done it all ourselves. Here are some of my tips:

1. If at all possible, start planning about two months before your move. Write down all of the bills you receive as you receive them so you can make sure you get your address changed with everyone. Set up electronic billing if you don't want to worry about missing a bill. Find out how to get utilities set up in your new place and turned off in your old one. Some utility companies require deposits, so see if you will be getting any back and what you will need to pay to set up your new service. Check on any security deposits you may be getting back if you are renting and what you need to do to receive them in full. Make any repairs required to get your deposit back.

2. Find free boxes! For our first move, we scavenged boxes from store dumpsters. For our second move, I talked to receiving at work and was able to take home any boxes they didn't want. I also asked coworkers to save boxes for me. You should NEVER have to pay for boxes!

3. Find free packing material! Newspaper works great as a packing material and you can usually ask friends and family to save some for you. Again, scavenge paper recycling dumpsters or places at work. Even better than newspaper (since you have to dispose of the newspaper when you arrive!) is to use t-shirts. Most people have plenty of clothes and linens to move, so use your clean t-shirts, shorts, socks, towels, etc., to cushion your breakables. If you really plan ahead, you can use all t-shirts to pack the kitchen, all long-sleeved shirts to pack the bedroom/bathroom/Christmas decorations, etc., so that everything is organized when you arrive and have to unpack! (If you're going to do that, make sure you use clothes that you want unpacked first for the things you will be using--i.e., don't use your winter coats to pack your kitchen if you're moving to Alabama in July!)

If you use newspaper, be sure to wrap your dishes in something else to keep the newsprint off. I prefer to use plastic shopping bags--one for each plate--and then cushion in-between the plates with newspaper when you put them in the box. Then everything arrives as clean as when you packed it!

4. Leave your dresser drawers packed. If you've used tip #2 with t-shirts, you will have some extra room in your dressers. Use the drawers to pack your breakables. Wrap them in whatever packing material you are using and put them in the drawers. They will be well-cushioned by your clothes and safe from being crushed by being in your dresser. This also saves you a lot of room in the truck and you won't need as many boxes! You can also pack your hanging clothes in your drawers. It is a waste of truck space to move an empty dresser!!

5. Find a cheap truck rental. I hesitate to say "cheap", because I wouldn't always go with the cheapest rental. Personally, we will never use one specific company because we've had problems with them and known many other people who've had problems with them. That said, decide on two or three companies you would be willing to use. Call each one to get a quote on your move, including mileage and any accessories like a car carrier. Then, bargain. Call each one again and say "Company XYZ will give me the same truck for $xx. Can you beat that price?" If no, see if they will discount the car carrier, or throw in free moving blankets for furniture (careful--these are sometimes already included in the quote!). For our moves, we went back and forth between two companies to get the best price, and it worked great. I wouldn't recommend calling the companies 6 or 7 times--there's only so much they can do. But it never hurts to ask if they can discount or beat another companies price. I was honest with our company and told them I really wanted to use them but the other company had a better price. The company we wanted to use lowered their price so we got the benefit of using the company we wanted as well as a significant discount!

6. Ask for help. Chances are good you know someone who has moved a few times, and they would probably be more than happy to come over to help you pack the truck. It takes a certain amount of finesse to pack a moving truck in such a way that everything fits and nothing will shift too much. Most people are very willing to help you move with a couple of caveats--provide some food and drink if it's going to take a while, and already have things packed!! If you need help packing, have a packing party one day and a truck loading party another day.

7. Be smart when packing your truck. Put things like your headboard or very large pictures in between your mattress and your box spring to protect them. If at all possible, put your couches and chairs on top of a row of boxes. It's usually best to put no more than one stack of boxes (depending on weight, of course) on furniture with springs, so this will help with your truck space. Pack cleaning supplies last, as you will need them to clean your now-empty house and possibly to clean whenever you get where you're going (it's amazing how dirty people leave places!). Pack a small bag with a change of clothes, travel size shampoo and soap, and any medications you may need--even if it's only supposed to be a one-day trip. This way, if your truck breaks down by the side of the road (it happens!) you won't be trying to dig through the back of your truck for things you need.

Leave as little empty space as possible, as those are areas that things can fall. Stuff pillows or furniture cushions into areas that are empty. Plan around your awkward items, and don't forget things outside the house like patio furniture or yard tools!

Missouri Botanical Garden

If you haven't had a chance to visit MOBOT, get over there and quick! :)

On Wednesdays and Saturdays before noon, the botanical garden is FREE to St Louis City and County residents. Not only is the garden free, but also the Children's Garden! You will need to give your zip code when you first arrive. Parking is always free. The garden is open every day of the year except Christmas.

Other ways to save on admission: Active duty military receive a two-for-one admission if you are going at a non-free time, or are not a St Louis resident. There is also a $1 discount if you show a valid Metro fare (ticket, transfer, or pass).

Tip: Do NOT wait outside in the ticket lines! You can purchase/pick up tickets at the counter inside the main entrance as well. Many people stop outside and stand in line when there is no waiting inside! Even if you are getting in free or have passes, you will need to stop at the ticket booths and pick up tickets which you will then show on your way into the garden. Be sure to pick up a map at the ticket booths as well, or ask for one.

It is a wonderful place to be, regardless of how hot it is, since there is plenty of shade. You can wander around and take pictures, or go climb a treehouse, or sit next to a relaxing lily pond.

Keep in mind that picnicking is not allowed in the garden, so if you want to make a day of it you can leave your picnic lunch in the car and go eat in Tower Grove Park (directly south of the entrance to MOBOT). I believe that the Garden does not allow in/out privileges, but I'm checking on that and will update this as soon as I know.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Free True Lemon samples!

While you can get a free sample from True Lemon here, you can also get extra free samples by posting about True Lemon on your site! See below:

Get Rewarded for Recommending True Lemon!

If you recommend True Lemon in a chat room, on a message board or in a blog, email us a copy of your posting, and we'll send you 10 complimentary packets - your choice of flavors! If you include the link to our free sample page in your posting, we'll add 5 more packets! Email