Free movie summer

Beginning in July, you can see free movies in the Rochester area three nights a week, thanks to Monroe County and the town of Chili.  All movies start at dusk. It’s like going to the drive-in without the cost or the long drive.







9-Jul Tuesday Jaws PG Ontario Beach Park
11-Jul Thursday The Lorax PG Highland Park Bowl
12-Jul Friday The Lorax PG Union Station Park
16-Jul Tuesday Amazing Spider-Man PG-13 Ontario Beach Park
18-Jul Thursday Ghostbusters PG Highland Park Bowl
19-Jul Friday Space Jam PG Union Station Park
23-Jul Tuesday Skyfall PG-13 Ontario Beach Park
25-Jul Thursday Madagascar 3 PG Highland Park Bowl
26-Jul Friday Wreck It Ralph PG Union Station Park
30-Jul Tuesday Hunger Games PG-13 Ontario Beach Park
1-Aug Thursday Les Miserables PG-13 Highland Park Bowl
2-Aug Friday Free Willy PG Union Station Park
9-Aug Friday Rise of the Guardians PG Union Station Park

Birth of an addict

I’ve always loved word games.  I grew up playing Scrabble and doing crosswords and word find puzzles. As I grew older, games took a back seat to other priorities and hobbies.

A couple of years ago I found Words with Friends on Facebook and started playing games with my connections.  But the pace of the games was pretty glacial, extending over days and weeks and most of my friends were not as into it as I was.  So I stopped playing after a while.

wordheroA few months ago, my good friend Steve gave me a Kindle Fire for my birthday.  I went shopping for free apps, the best kind.  And one of the first ones I found was WordHero.

WordHero is multi-player, realtime word find game similar to Boggle.  You have to spot 3-letter or longer words in a 4×4 grid of letters.  The letters have to touch each other to be made into a word.  At the end of each round you find out how many words you’ve located out of all possible words and how well you scored compared to all potential points.  Usually you’re doing good if you find 10% or more of the words (yes 10%!)

The fun part of the game is playing against people from around the world,letting you see how you stack up compared to others. The more people playing the harder it is to score in the top 20% or better, but it always gives you something to shoot for.  I like to play in the early morning when there are less players.  My scores have been good enough to raise me from the Silver league, which is where you start, to the tougher Gold league.

Each round takes about 3 minute ( 2 minutes 25 seconds to play,15 seconds to presents your individual stats, 15 seconds listing all participants scores and ranking)  which is where I get in trouble. I’ll turn on my Kindle with the intention to play 2-3 rounds (shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes).  My problem is I can’t just play 2 or 3 rounds.  Before you know it I’ve played 5 and there goes 15 minutes or more.  I’ve had to limit myself and in some cases not even start to play because I know I’ll have a hard time stopping.  My husband claims I play the game all the time which is not true!  (only when I have 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 minutes…)

I’m trying to be careful about how often I play on my Kindle and when, even though I’m pretty sure this game is good exercise for my brain.  I’m convinced this is how video game addicts are born. I have to finish writing this post so I can fit in a few rounds….

More Ways to Give it Away

Since this coming Saturday, May 14, is Give Your Stuff Away Day, I thought I’d suggest alternative options for redistributing items you own but no longer want.  You can post your free items on Craigslist (there’s a Free category under For Sale ) or  Freecycle and let them know they can find the items at the curb. If you’re having a garage sale it’s always good to have some items to give away for free.

There are other choices less obvious choices for giving items away, some of which I found in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

Books – Try donating them to your local library book drive where they’ll be sold and the proceeds will go to support the library.  You can also donate books  to schools through’s Swap4Schools program.  There’s an organization, Books for Africa,  dedicated to sending books to children in Africa.
Furniture Habitat for Humanity‘s Restores resale outlets accepts donations of building materials and other household items.    You may also be able to donate some of your furniture items to local agencies like the Goodwill and Volunteers of America.  They may even come to pick it up.
Cellphones–  The Wireless Foundation collects and recycles unwanted wireless devices otherwise destined for the landfill.    Cell Phones for Soldiers takes donated cell phones and sells then to a recycler and uses the money to buy talk time for soldiers.  You can print a pre-paid mailing label on either site.
Computer equipment and software– The National Cristina Foundation directs donations of used computer equipment to non profit organizations, schools, and public agencies throughout the United States.  Computer donations benefit Computers with Causes charity organization in the United States. Their charity Computer Donation program participates in a zero-waste recycling program

Do a little homework and you might find a great new home for those items you don’t want.

Redbox freebies

In our house, we very rarely go to the theater to see a movie.  It’s expensive to take a family of four, even if you don’t visit the concession stand.  For the price of one trip to see a movie , you can usually buy the DVD (not a Blu-Ray version).  I don’t want to invest the $15-20 in a movie I haven’t seen, so I take advantage of my Netflix account to see a movie first.

Many times I’m home on the weekends in the mood to watch a movie but because of our one-DVD-out-at-a-time plan I am waiting for the next movie to arrive in the mail.  My kids have an annoying habit of delaying their watching of a movie until Thursday night, meaning it goes in the mail Friday, arrives at the post office Saturday and my next movie won’t arrive until Monday.  So this means I need to go with the backup plan.

Our local grocery store, Wegmans, eliminated their video department and installed two Redbox kiosks.  Redbox is very simple.  You rent a movie using your credit card.  They charge you $1 for every night you keep it.  You can’t beat the price.

One nice beneift of Redbox is that you can pick up a DVD from any Redbox and return it to any other kiosk.  So if you’re out running errands and see that a Redbox has the latest movie you’ve been wanting to see, you can rent it, take it home to watch and then return it to the closest Redbox kiosk.  The kiosks are very user friendly.  If you’re planning to rent a movie from a Redbox, I recommend going online to reserve a movie since it is easier to browse movies from home than when you’re in line and there are 5 people standing impatiently behind you waiting to use the machine.

This month Redbox is offering multiple freebies.

Now’s the time to get out and try Redbox, especially with all the great deals.

Report Card Rewards

It’s getting to the time of year when the kids come home with their final report card of the year.  You may or may not reward your kids for good grades (we just started giving them monetary rewards for grades of B+ and better), but you can take advantage of offers by some local stores to reward your kids for a good report card.

According to Blockbuster’s website, their Good Grades program rewards students with a B average or better with a free Blockbuster Favorites rental.  Your child can be rewarded for every report card throughout the year, and if you have multiple children, they’re all eligible to get a free rental.  Not a bad deal.

Rather than reinvent the wheel on this topic, I’m sending you to blog called Saving Dollars & Sense, written by another mom.  The author, Kristie, has some great tips for saving money.  She shares great deals that she comes across.  Here’s a link to her blog on Report Card Freebies.  My kids would love to take advantage of the Krispy Kreme deal but alas, they’re nowhere to be found in our area.

Do you know of any other deals for good grades?

Listen to the Music

One of the fun things about summer in NY is all of the fun festivals and events that happen.  On any night you have multiple ways to enjoy yourself.  I’m always looking for free and cheap entertainment that the family might enjoy.  Since I am working in Lockport, I am in the Buffalo/Niagara area during the week more than I am home.  I’m also starting to hear about lots of free concert events in this area.

There’s a great site that catalogs all of the free concerts and festivals in one location for Buffalo and western NY, Best of  The free concerts at Artpark, in Lewiston, NY,  on Tuesday and Wednesday nights sound good, though the $10 parking fee is a bit discouraging.  Artpark is going to be visited by some great performers this summer: Foreigner, the Doobie Brothers, Sara Evans, and American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee.

I wish there was an equivalent website in the Rochester area, but I haven’t found it yet. There were free concerts at the Lilac Festival and there will be more at the Park Ave Fest and Corn Hill.  There are free shows during the Rochester Jazz Festival.    If you got to the Venues page and click on the links under Free Concert Venues, you’ll see the schedule of free performances.  And you can always count on some good groups to show up for the free Party in the Park concerts in the city.

Starting searching the web for festivals and concerts you might enjoy and plan to attend a few.  You might even decide it’s worth it to travel a bit to see a favorite group.  Let me know if know if you know about any other free concerts in the Buffalo or Rochester area.

I just found out there is also a series of free concerts at the Hard Rock Cafe in Niagara Falls.  Check out the schedule here.  The headliners are native Rochesterian Lou Gramm, Soul Asylum and Tonic.

Another free sample-jump on it!

This time it’s from Kraft and you have a choice of 4  “packs” of items.  To qualify, you must “like” the Kraft Foods Facebook page and sign up to receive FREE Recipes by Email along with additional special offers and opportunities.

The sample packs contain a combination of sample sized products and gratuity coupons.

The offer expires 5/10/10, while supplies last.  Get your free sample quick, before they’re gone.

Give it Away on Give Your Stuff Away Day

I was happy to hear of a grassroots movement started by a Rochester area man called Give Your Stuff Away Day.  Mike Morone  of North Chili has designated Saturday May 15 for that day.  I probably only live a couple of miles from Morone so I’m amazed I’ve never heard of his efforts.  Morone is hoping that people take the time to go through their belongings and set any items they don’t want at the curb on that weekend for others to take.

My friend Lori has been decluttering her house for a while in preparation for putting it on the market.  She knows that if she sets things at the curb it is usually only a matter of a couple of hours before the still useful items find a new home.  Of course how fast things move depend upon your location and the desirability of items left there.  Usually after a garage sale I have items I just want to get rid of so I’ll put them near the street in the hopes that someone stops and takes them.

I think Morone has a great idea. He’s been successful enough in his efforts to get the Governor of Connecticut to proclaim May 15 as Give Your Stuff Away Day.  He also has a Facebook page.  Morone has posted guidelines on his website for types of items to not put at the curb (you should also check with your local municipality to see what can’t be left at the curb).  He has suggestions on what to do with the items that are still there at the end of the day (Craigslist, Freecycle) .  This is an easy, low stress, low effort way to declutter.

That Saturday might be a great day to drive around town if you’re in the market for some items.  You might even find some things you can turn around and sell.  Seriously consider participating if you have been wanting to get rid of stuff.  Help promote his effort by Tweeting about it or posting a link on Facebook.  Help make a difference!