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Posts Tagged ‘freebies’

  1. Surrounded by Molds

    February 1, 2015 by admin

    IMG_9969 We wanted an adventure on a recent weekend that was somewhere new and something unique.  It took a bit of research as we’ve already been to a ton of places within a two hour radius of our home.  But perseverance uncovered what we hoped would become a very interesting day trip.

    Just outside of Sparta is the FAST Corporation.  The company makes fiberglass statues and when they are done with a mold, they store it on their surrounding property with the hope to reuse it at some point.IMG_2765

    Tip1:  A sign at the entrance cautions that molds are favorite nesting spots for wasps in the spring.  Since we visited in the dead of winter, this was not an issue.

    When you first pull into the free parking area, your eyes are drawn to the welcome sign and a small grass yard with some abandoned statues.  We had a moment of worry that this was all the corporation had to offer.  And then we did a 180 and realized that we were surrounded by molds of all sorts and sizes.  Let the adventure begin!

    Tip2:  There are no public restrooms on the property during the weekend.  You might be able to use the FAST restroom during business hours.

    Our family spent a transfixed hour romping among the molds.  We saw everything from dogs to dinosaurs to indians to ET, the extra terrestrial.  It was oddly peaceful and a lot of fun to try and guess why someone would order something like a gigantic devil’s head.IMG_2766

    Even though we were dressed properly for a winter outdoor explore, the weather certainly influenced the amount of time we spent here.  We imagine you could easily take two hours to walk around this property in the warmer months.  This TR family is eager to return and discover molds we may have missed on our first visit to FAST!IMG_9988

  2. Holiday Tunes Update

    December 19, 2014 by admin

    fairy_10_mdWe are huge fans of holiday music.  Each year we try to seek out as many new songs as we can find to further fill out our extensive holiday playlist.

    And we attempt to do it for free.

    That’s right!  There is so much free holiday music out there, that each season we are able to add several hundred tunes to our collection.  You just need to know where to look.

    Free downloads are somewhat harder to come by than they used to be.   The big push to convince people to stream music instead of owning it outright has led many purveyors (like Amazon, for instance)  to offer “playlists” and streams, rather than true downloads.  But they are still out there.

    Here are a few starting places for you:

    Noise trade:  Many artists use free downloads from Noisetrade as a way to gain fans.  And this is no less true for the holiday season.  Head over to the Noisetrade website and type Holiday or Christmas into the search bar.  You’ll instantly see dozens of albums, eps and singles available for free download.

    iTunes:  Each week, the Apple iTunes store offers a free download from one of its many artists.  Stop by and add few free tunes!

    Let us know if you find other reliable sources for free holiday tunes and we’ll add them to the list!!

  3. Come on! Let’s go make some noise!

    July 26, 2014 by admin

    imageWas it too quiet in our house?  No, not really.  Not at all.

    So did we need a drum?

    Of course!  We added a snare drum to the mix.

    We picked up this drum curbside and immediately saw its potential,  It was a new musical instrument to enjoy and a repair project.

    We brought it home and cleaned it up a bit.  We discovered that we would need two new drum heads, so we measured our drum top.  Our quick investigation also revealed that we needed a drum key to remove the specialized bolts that hold the thing together.  So we headed off to the drum store.

    And of course, we had to get new drumsticks!  After spending about $20, we were ready to fix up our drum.

    All that we required now was a quiet afternoon to get to work.

    What a great project!  Bluey was right in there to take the lead on the repairs.  TRDad just helped with the bolts that seemed stuck and then leant a hand to make sure that all of them were more or less evenly tightened.The Repairs Underway

    You can see a wave in the drum head on one side, so we’ll probably try to re-do it at some point.  Maybe it’s not up to Neal Peart’s standards.  But for our purposes, it works!

    The OriginalWith about half an hour of effort, we turned a trashed drum into a new musical instrument for our growing collection.  And we learned a little more about the construction of musical instruments.

    Now when the call goes out to “Rock on!” we can drum in style!

  4. Costco

    July 18, 2014 by admin

    We recently rejoined Costco after letting our membership slip for a few years.  We are glad to be back.IMG_6756

    Costco offers two things we are always looking for in a store: good pricing and a fun experience.

    We love going to Costco. There are lots of things beyond food to check out, and usually an assortment free samples to snack on. Whenever there is food involved, our kiddoes are up for whatever you have to offer. So we never hear a complaint about going to Costco.

    Tip: Give the store a half hour or so after opening to get their sample stations set up. If you arrive right when the doors open, you won’t get any free snacks.

    Now, on pricing, it can get a bit tricky. You’ll need to keep your head and do the math to make sure you are getting a good value. $9.50 for two pounds of good quality, whole bean coffee? That’s way better than the typical supermarket price. $14 for two liters of Olive Oil? Well, we can buy 1 Liter for $5.50 at our local supermarket, so we’ll pass. If you check your prices carefully, you’ll end up saving a ton at Costco.

    Tip 2: There is an annual membership fee (about $65), so make sure you will go shopping often enough to get your value out before you decide to sign up.

    Examples of things we buy frequently at Costco at a good price: nuts, crackers, soups, coffee, cheese, and frozen veggies.

    Remember that you will need to be able to store all the food you purchase at your house.  And you’ll need to eat it before it goes bad. Don’t get caught up in bulk shopping if you can’t manage the storage and consumption issues. We are tempted by, but avoid, huge sacks of flour and rice that seem like a good value, but would surely go to waste before we could use it all up. Likewise, until we get a bigger freezer, we can’t take advantage of too many bulk frozen food deals.

    But if you watch the pricing, and buy what you will eat, Costco is a great place to add to your repertoire of shopping places.

  5. All Around The Mulberry Bush

    June 27, 2014 by admin

    It’s mulberry season again!  Yay!IMG_0070

    We love this time of year- searching out old trees to forage from, and testing our stamina against the mosquitoes who always seem ready to thwart our mulberry picking plans.  But we persevere!

    We have brought home several pints of these little berries in just a few days.   Of course, we eat most of them straight, but what are you going to do with all those mulberries?

    You can use them almost anywhere you’d use another berry- pancakes and muffins, for instance.

    This year, we started making mulberry cobbler!  This simple recipe takes only a few minutes to whip together and bakes in just about half an hour.


    1 Cup Flour

    1 Cup Sugar

    3/4 Cup Milk

    2 t Vanilla

    1 Stick Butter

    2 Cups Mulberries

    1/3 Cup Sugar



    1.  Melt butter in the bottom of a baking dish.

    2.  While butter is melting, warm berries and 1/3 cup sugar on the stove to melt the sugar.

    3.  Mix the flour, sugar milk, vanilla and milk together, and pour into dish over melted butted.  Mix this a bit.

    4.  Pour sugared mulberries on top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350.


    Let cool for about 1/2 hour as it will be super hot.  Enjoy!!

  6. Tweet For A Track

    June 20, 2014 by admin


    You know we love pointing out sources for free and legal mp3s.  Here’s a new one we discovered recently, thanks to Righteous Babe Records.

    How about a simple way to combine supporting artists while you spread the word about them, and then they give you free music?

    Could it be simpler than sending a tweet?

    At Tweet For A Track, you find a song you like and send out an auto-composed tweet about it.  Then the service sends a download code to your email for the track.

    It’s free,  It’s simple. We’ve picked up tracks from Joan Jett and Ingrid Michaelson, as well as tons of new artists, all for a simple tweet.

    Give it a go!

  7. The Pabst Theater

    May 4, 2014 by admin

    Pabst TheaterWe are always on the search for sites offering free, legal Mp3s to expand our musical knowledge-base.  A frequently overlooked source for free cutting edge songs is the venues that host concerts.

    Many theaters are able to host songs from bands as promos for upcoming shows.

    2767747155_0ef8e6cac9A great theater we love (where TRMom and TRDad saw the ubercute Martha Wainwright, among others) is the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.

    A quick view of the Pabst website shows the “Free Mp3” tab on the right-hand side.  A few seconds later you’ve got eight or ten new songs to enjoy.

    You don’t need to attend the concerts, or join the theater’s website.  You don’t need to live in Wisconsin, or anywhere near the Pabst.  Just download and enjoy!

    Is there a theater near you offering free music to entice ticket sales?  If so, let us know!

  8. New Musical Express

    April 4, 2014 by admin

    images-1New Musical Express, once the go-to magazine for news about the hottest bands in the UK, is now host to a great website that includes tons of news articles, retrospectives, free album streaming, and free downloadable Mp3s.

    NME (as those “in the know” call it) is one of the largest online music magazines these days!  And did we mention the free music?

    Only trouble is, freebies aren’t grouped together into one single part of the site.  So the best way to find the many free tunes is to head over to NME, and type ‘free mp3’ into the search window and marvel at all the posts that pop up.

    Just today we found remixes of Roxy Music, 19 free songs from London-based record label Something In Construction, and songs from The Weather and Seven Saturdays.

    Although NME is a UK magazine, the music reviews and downloads are not all British bands- indeed the last two bands noted above are from Portland, OR and LA, respectively.

    So put NME in your bookmark file, and check in regularly.  You are bound to find some great new music (along with keeping up to date on the latest in music news- like Kate Bush doing live shows! )250px-Nme_cover


  9. Free on iTunes

    February 28, 2014 by admin

    itunes-logoAs you know, we are big fans of free and legal music downloads.  We search regularly for opportunities to sample new songs and find new artists to listen to.

    One of the places we head to frequently is the ‘Free’ section at the iTunes store.

    You may already have an iTunes/AppleID account, but don’t forget to make a regular stop at the “Free” page.  As one of the largest sources of online music, iTunes is able to host free downloads from the major label artist you have already heard of and may already like.  The free songs rotate regularly, so check back often.

    Tip: You can also download videos, TV shows, books and movies from the free section.

    Kelly Clarkson, Zola Jesus, Kellie Pickler along with other top artists and up-and-comers have had free tunes up on iTunes recently.  So make a point to stop by, see what they’ve got to fill out your playlist a bit more.

    Maybe you’ll discover some great new music.

  10. Scrap

    October 28, 2013 by admin


    Looking around our house, you might be surprised at how many miscellaneous parts of games and toys we have everywhere.  Are we just really that disorganized? No.

    We’re surrounded by the bits and pieces we’ve picked up on purpose.  We scout out the “free” boxes at garage/rummage sales and pick up parts of this game and that toy.  Why?  Because released from their set, a piece of a toy can become anything your child needs or wants it to be.

    Our kids don’t know the intended purposes of our various finds, so the parts become whatever they desire:  robots, spaceships, cats, houses, and parts for bigger tinkering ‘inventions.’  We find that having these partial games and toys around helps our kids create their own worlds—the way generations of kids have had more fun with a simple cardboard box than any toy on the market.

    Suddenly, these bits turn into something special with a back-story, powers, and skills- all straight from our kiddoes’ creative minds.  There is no commercial tie-in, no movie franchise, and no Happy Meal association interfering with the play.

    And when our kiddoes tire of the pieces and move on, it’s OK.  The partial bit cost nothing, or almost nothing.  But it gave so much more.