Free NPR Music SXSW Sampler

Here's some great free music from the SXSW makers and iTunes.

Download a free 11-song sampler of the artists featured by NPR Music and public radio stations at this March's South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas. Click on the graphic to get the code, which is redeemable on iTunes through April 30 while supplies last. 

The collection includes performances by Spoon, Broken Bells, Local Natives, Freelance Whales, and many more.

Spring Ahead

Don't forget that Saturday night you need to Spring Forward and change the time on your clock ahead one hour at 2:00 am (or earlier). It will be nice to have longer, sunny days again.
 
If you have kids, you might want to ease the time adjustment by putting them to bed at least 15 minutes earlier starting tonight and tomorrow so you avoid the drama Sunday or Monday morning when they feel like you're waking them up at 3am.

Tampa St Patricks Parade in Ybor City

On Saturday, March 13, 2010 the Rough Riders krewe will be presenting the 15th Annual St Patricks Parade in Ybor City. It is the largest holiday parade in Tampa with over 90 floats, and drawing over 50,000 spectators. Saturday should be no exception with the weather forecast to be beautiful. The parade starts at 8 pm on 7th Avenue & Nuccio Parkway, and ends on 7th Ave & 20th St.
 
Since its spring break here, there will be lots of young college kids goofing off, always good for drama. I'm not sure if we'll go after a day at the Renaissance Festival, but if our guests are up to it we'll be there.

FREE Recipe and Craft ebook

Another holiday is around the corner, St Patricks Day! Its a fun one for kids and adults and there's usually a parade or two to attend and pretend we're Irish. Actually, I am a little bit Irish from my grandmother I think, so that gives me reason to celebrate the day. Watch for more news of local events in Tampa, and here's a nice activity book for the kids, its the FaveCrafts Recipe and Craft ebook. Its packed with recipes and ideas, all for FREE.

Friday Follow 3/2010

Friday Follow

Welcome to the 9th Friday Follow celebration hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades! It's all about sharing and having fun.



MckLinky Blog Hop

McCormick Moneymaker

Go HERE to print a $1/1 McCormick Spice, Color or Extract Coupon and then combine it with the $0.55/1 Publix coupon from the Healthy Kids booklet to make a five cents on McCormick Grinders this month at Publix. The Grinders are on Yellow Advantage buy all month at $1.50 each. Use Zip code 62946
McCormick Grinders $1.50
- $1/1 McCormick spice, herb, color, or extract print
- $0.55/1 McCormick off any spice, Publix coupon Healthy Kids Healthy Meals booklet (exp 3/20)
=-0.05 profit

Where's the Honey

If you're following the yogurt deals lately, you probably got some cheap FAGE Greek Yogurt with your $1/1 coupon, and also some of the Yoplait Greek yogurt that was free with the Publix clickcallmail coupon. I am partial to peach and berry flavors, but another blogger bragged on how wonderful the Honey flavor Fage yogurt was, so I tried it. And it was heaven, with the side tray of thick, golden honey to stir into the greek style gelled yogurt, it mixed great and tasted better.
 
Well, today I tried the honey flavored Yoplait and noticed the gelled yogurt, but when I dipped to the bottom of the container I didn't find any honey. Hey. Where's the honey? I tasted a bit and could taste the honey vanilla flavor, but I was still disappointed. Greek yogurt isn't supposed to be premixed. I think I'll let them know that. Their food scientists must have been on vacation when that product was developed. 

Finally Our Kitchen is Done

Finally our kitchen remodel is finished and we are able to enjoy the simple pleasures of eating off a real plate and using a dishwasher to clean the dishes. Our remodeling projects started exactly five months ago when we started removing tile from the walls of the bathrooms using a roto hammer. We did all the demolition of two bathrooms and our kitchen by ourselves, hiring a guy from craigslist to haul away over two tons (4000 lbs) of rubble, lumber, sheetrock and old cabinets and counters.
 
Our goal was to redo the bathrooms for $5000 each, and the kitchen for $10000, for a total of $20,000 for the remodel. We actually were over budget due to having to replumb our 50 year old home's plumbing we busted in the demo. It needed to be done anyway, but we blinded didn't think of it. It is a relief to know we have brand new plumbing behind our walls though. The bathrooms ended costing about $11000 including the replumb job.
 
While we tried to be frugal by using 10% off Home Depot or Lowes coupons for all our purchases, we still got top quality stuff which costs more. At first we thought we would go inexpensive with white appliances, but then we realized that stainless is really what people want, and hopefully it won't be out of style in 20 years when we sell our house. We don't plan to do this again, so we wanted to do it right with good workmanship, quality cabinets, counters and tiling.
 
We were fortunate to have a referral for a great handyman who was able to do everything except the replumb for us. We changed plans last minute several times and he was able to work with the changes. I felt bad at first asking him to incorporate all those 2" accent tiles into the backsplash, but not enough to not do it. It took two days to tile and grout it, and its not even that large of an area. We decided since our refrigerator is only 6 years old, we'll keep it until it dies and then replace with a ss model. We designed extra space into that area to accomodate the larger models when we replace it.

Anyway, we ended up spending about $12,800 on the kitchen. Here is an approximate breakdown
 
$4100 Cherry cabinets (incl free sink base, soft close) Lowes
$2900 Granite counter top (incl free ss sink) Lowes
$3400 Labor over 100 hours for the handyman
$1400 SS Dishwasher, Microwave, Range, Kenmore Sears
$1000 Faucet, blinds, switches, lights, switchplate covers, dimmers, cabinet hardware, tiles, misc
 
Here are the ways we made it more affordable without compromising quality:
1. Saved the money ahead of time so we could take advantage of deals when it was the right time of the year. We saved a lot on the appliances at Sears with stacking deals like price matching, coupons and holiday sales.
2. We picked up our own appliances from Sears when we were ready for them to be installed. We borrowed our neighbors truck and loaded up the 3 boxes and unloaded them on our own, saving delivery and installation fees.
3. We purchased all supplies a 10% off coupon. If our handyman had to run and get something we just paid retail, no markup.
4. We gave our handyman a home depot gift card to use to pay for items he needed so he didn't have to charge them on his own card.
5. We did all demolition and cleanup ourselves by borrowing tools from our neighbor or from the handyman. We hired the handyman on a Saturday to help remove the old cast iron bathtub since it was so large. We also needed to move the shower and toilet drains in the bathroom to accomodate a new shower design which involved jack hammering the terrazzo floor through to the dirt and the buried drain. We rented the jack hammer for just 4 hours and returned it.
6. We installed simple things ourselves to save hours from the handyman - like installing the ceiling lamp, sanding, painting, lightswitch covers, cabinet knobs, installing undermount lights, put up blinds. It actually took us longer than we thought, but when we were done we were glad we didn't have to pay someone to do it.
7. We took advantage of Lowes and Sears delayed payment plans for interest free payments for 6 months (Lowes) or a year (Sears). We have the cash saved but are trying to pay back the credit with income rather than taking it from savings. This is working well and we have over half of our savings left from the budget that we might not have use for the kitchen costs.
8. When we did purchase something it was on the Mastercard or American Express card that earns points, and you guessed it we have redeemed the points for Home Depot gift cards.
9. We returned all unused items soon after to get credit back. We have tons of receipts and we couldn't always find the right one, or the item was purchased with a gift card. The cool thing is they just scan your credit cards you might have used and it shows if you ever purchased that item and they can give you credit back if you did. If you didn't show a purchase history, they give you store credit on a gift card. Either way works for us.

Disney Give A Day Program Has Ended

Hats off to a  million volunteers!
The overwhelming support received for the "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day." program has helped Disney reach their goal of inspiring one million people to volunteer a day of service to their communities. The program has now ended.
 
If you were signed up before they ended registration you are counted as part of the million volunteers and are still eligible to donate your time and get your free Disney Day. It may take up to two weeks to verify your volunteer activity and credit your account with the Disney voucher.
 
I'm still waiting since we completed our community service just this past Sunday.

Epcot(R) International Flower & Garden Festival Grow Your Garden Instant Win Game

Click Here to enter now. Please see Official Rules for more details.

Remember, you can enter the Grow You Garden Instant Win Game daily through April 30, 2010 for a chance to win a pair of Florida Resident 4 Day Dream Passes to enjoy the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. Also, Disney is awarding a garden designed by Disney Horticulturists using some plants from the Festival to an eligible community organization. Be sure to nominate an eligible organization.

Visit EpcotGardenContest.com for details. Open only to legal residents of Florida who are 18 or older.
Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival: March 3 - May 16, 2010
For more information on the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival growing on March 3 - May 16, 2010 click here.