McDonald’s: Free Breakfast 4/21 for STAAR Students & Teachers

mcdonalds oatmealHouston-area teachers and students in 3rd – 8th grades can receive free breakfast from McDonald’s April 21, 2015, in preparation of the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) Test. Between 6 am – 9 am, students can choose an Egg McMuffin or Fruit and Maple Oatmeal, apple slices, plus either 1% low fat milk or apple juice box. The free breakfast items are all 300 calories or less — and registered dietitian approved.

Coupons are not needed for the free breakfast, but a parent or guardian must be with them. Siblings (not in grades 3-8) and parents will need to pay for their breakfast.

All locations in greater Houston are involved in the free breakfast from Livingston to Galveston, Sugarland to Conroe, and everything in between.

Teachers are included in the free breakfast offer, with a valid teacher ID. Last year, nearly 25,000 Houston students received a free breakfast from area McDonald’s in prep for the STAAR test. This offer also is available in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Free Pet Adoptions at CAP April 18

Take advantage of free pet adoptions Saturday, April 18, 11 am – 4 pm, at Citizens for Animal Protection. Thanks to a partnership with Animal Planet, all adoption costs will be covered during the event. It’s all part of Animal Planet’s mission to highlight the importance of animal adoption and responsible pet ownership.

Register online here before the event to be entered to win a $100 gift card. CAP is located at 17555 Katy Freeway at Barker Cypress.

cap free 600p


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Houston Wing Open House April 18-19

Houston WingRelive history at the 20th Anniversary Open House presented by the Commemorative Air Force’s Houston Wing. Get up close to authentic WWII aircraft including a B-17 bomber and WWII fighters. Houston Wing currently has five flyable WWII aircraft and one in restoration.

Tour the WWII museum with collections relating to Aircraft Recognition, Allied Flight Helmets and Gear, German Military, Japanese Military, Women in the War and more. Warbird rides will be available for an additional fee.

Event hours are 10 am – 4 pm April 18-19 at the West Houston Airport located at 18000 Groschke Rd., 2 miles north of I-10 between Hwy 6 and Barker Cypress.

Admission is $10 per car. This event is a fundraiser for Commemorative Air Force, a non-profit national patriotic organization.

Thanks to Commemorative Air Force Houston Wing today for my media tour learning about all the planes, collections in the museum, and a personal flight experience. I loved flying in the BT-13 with Col. Cotter!

If you can’t make it to Open House, Houston Wing opens its doors the first and third Saturday each month for free museum tours and access to WWII aircraft.

Houston Wing Open House

El Pollo Loco Family Day April 18 + Win Free Chicken for a Year!

Make plans to attend a free Family Fun Day at the Sugar Land El Pollo Loco Saturday, April 18, 3 pm – 5 pm. The free fun features face painting, DJ, prizes and more!

El Pollo Loco

The first 100 people attending win free chicken for a year! The entry period for the chicken prize begins at noon, and the first 100 folks will receive a wristband. At 3 pm, winners will be announced, and you must be present to win. The prize is valued at $234 and includes an award card for 8-piece Fire-Grilled Chicken Family Meal, including 2 large sides, tortillas and fresh salsa each month for 12 months. Official giveaway rules are online.

The Sugar Land El Pollo Loco is at 4528 Hwy 6 South in Sugar Land. El Pollo Loco entered the Houston market in 2014 with locations in Sugar Land, Copperfield, Katy, and new location opening in Spring this summer.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of El Pollo Loco. All opinions are my own.

Free Advance Movie Screening April 22: Little Boy

little boyUPDATE: All passes are gone!

Houston on the Cheap readers have a chance to see a free advance movie screening of Little Boy Wednesday, April 22, 7 pm. There are 75 admit-2 passes available for free.

Little Boy, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity. The film is about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The film stars Kevin James, Emily Watson, Michael Rappaport, and Tom Wilkinson. Here are screening details:

April 22, 7 pm
Edwards Marq*E
7620 Katy Freeway

Follow this link to print out your free advance screening movie tickets.

{NOTE: As with all advance screening, SEATS ARE NOT GUARANTEED. Arrive early! Seating is first-come, first-served. The theater is overbooked to ensure a full house. The theater is not responsible for overbooking. No admittance is allowed once the screening has begun.}

Free Weekend Fun in Houston April 17-19

Get ready for a weekend of free fun! What are your plans? Here is a snapshot of 16 Free Things to Do in Houston April 17-19:

Discovery Green


Enjoy the wonders of the Earth — Miller Outdoor Theatre is presenting a visual, musical performance Friday called Bella Gaia, meaning Beautiful Earth. Created by classically trained violinist Kenji Williams, it features world music performers and dancers, with orbiting visualizations of Earth from space, thanks to NASA. Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color in the world in space, will perform spoken word on stage. Free covered, reserved seat tickets are available at the Miller box office the day of the performance between 10:30 am – 1 pm.

Enjoy live music — Get ready for a free  outdoor concert with local favorite, The Tontons, at Market Square Park. The music kicks off at 7:30 pm at 301 Milam.

Enjoy a movie under the stars — The new Chipotle Music & Movie series presents live music at 7 pm and free movie at 8 pm. Grand Old Grizzly performs before the feature, Fed Up, a documentary by Katie Couric that reveals more about obesity in the U.S. and the role sugar plays in the process. First 250 get free chips and salsa from Chipotle. Located at Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney.


san jacinto dayEngage in Texas history — Go back in history Saturday at the San Jacinto Day Festival and Reenactment at San Jacinto Battleground State Park. From 10 am – 6 pm, folks can enjoy live music, visit Mexican and Texian camps of 1836, watch demos of 19th century craftsmen plus enjoy kid’s entertainment, camel rides, pony rides, snakes, Birds of Prey show and more. Catch the Battle of San Jacinto Reenactment beginning at 3 pm as Texas wins its independence. It’s a day of fun set against living history. Located at 3523 Independence Parkway in La Porte. photo: BFSMan

Celebrate the earthEarth Day is a free celebration at Houston Arboretum & Nature Center packed with fun activities for the whole family from 10 am – 2 pm. Don’t miss earth-conscious activities, demonstrations, crafts, face painting, guided habitat hikes, Intro to Geocaching, and a native plant sale.

Try your hand at kayaking — It’s the 10th annual Spring Kayak Demo Days April 18-19, thanks to Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK). Test any of the 80+ models they have at The Pond at Butler in Conroe. Demo hours are Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Plus save up to 30% off on a variety of kayaks! The same event is going on in Austin this weekend.

Explore the arts — The annual Midtown Art in the Park is a fine art festival featuring local and regional artists. And it’s free! The goal of this festival is to bring the cultural arts and entertainment community together. Open 10 am – 6 pm at 1701 Elgin.

Japan Houston FestivalLearn the culture — Get immersed in the Japanese culture at Japan Festival Houston, a free two-day festival with live music, culture, games, and cuisine. Festival hours: 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Find the complete schedule online including the Saturday Sushi Roll Off at 6:15 pm! Located at Hermann Park.

Engage with dance — Vitacca Dance Project is sharing a free Day of Dance Saturday at its Montrose location. Classes are geared to ages 9 to adult and include Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, and Variations from 9 am – 4:15 pm. Folks are invited to stay and celebrate Dominic Walsh, who was instrumental in the planning. day with a 6:30 pm reception. The day also includes a ribbon cutting for the build-out phase of VDPs newest studio. Located at 2311 Dunlavy.

Love the arts — Folks interested in the arts will love MenilFest, a free event comprising literature, music, and performance arts + Houston indie book fair. Plenty on the schedule including family concert, family-friendly films, HCP scavenger hunt, and kids’ hands-on crafts with the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art. Located at The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross.

Get excited about STEM Southeast STEM Festival is right here in Houston Saturday for folks interested in Science, Technology & Math (STEM). The full day festival, 8 am – 5 pm, is held in conjunction with the annual CTEM Challenge. Students can learn about STEM programs for after school, summer programs, and college opportunities. This is free and open to the public.

Get country– If you love Country, don’t miss Tomball’s Honky Tonk Music Festival with free admission and free parking. Good old-fashioned fun for the whole family. The festival is 11 am – 6 pm at 201 S. Elm in Historic Tomball.


messiah butterfly festivalRelease a butterfly — Celebrate new life at the Butterfly Festival, noon – 3 pm, at Messiah Lutheran Church in NW Houston. The afternoon of free fun includes a live butterfly release, science show and children’s activities, moonwalk, and games. The event also features a BBQ lunch, silent auction and raffle benefiting youth education. Messiah Lutheran is located at 11522 Telge Road in Cypress.

Enjoy family fun  — Free admission for Family Day at Rienzi and Bayou Bend! Enjoy games, workshops, performances and more. Take advantage of free transportation from one venue to another. Bayou Bend: 6003 Memorial, Rienzi: 1406 Kirby

Learn the culture — Get immersed in the Japanese culture at Japan Festival Houston, a free two-day festival with live music, culture, games, and cuisine. Festival hours are 10 am – 7 pm Saturday and 10 am – 5 pm Sunday. Located at Hermann Park.

Try your hand at kayaking — It’s the 10th annual Spring Kayak Demo Days April 18-19, thanks to Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK). Test any of the 80+ models they have at The Pond at Butler in Conroe. Demo hours are Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Plus save up to 30% off on a variety of kayaks! The same event is going on in Austin this weekend.

Rienzi & Bayou Bend Invite You to Free Family Day

Rienzi and Bayou Bend—the two house museums of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston—team up for an afternoon of free fun! Drop by Sunday, April 19, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., for music, games, art workshops, and more. Park once and take a shuttle between the two locations.

Bayou Bend Family Day

At Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, explore “Parade of Books” in the exhibition Rienzi Library: Highlights from a House. Enjoy performances, art workshops, and scavenger hunts on the grounds of the estate.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the MFAH house museum for American decorative arts, celebrates “Fabric of America.” Discover the evolution of clothing through storytelling and tours, plus learn the basics of stitching and weaving!

Admission and refreshments are FREE for all ages, no reservations needed! Rienzi is at 1406 Kirby Drive, and Bayou Bend is nearby at 6003 Memorial Drive. Visit Museum of Fine Arts, Houston online for details. Bayou Bend Family Days are presented by Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

This is a sponsored post by Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Tax Day Freebies & Deals in Houston 2015 {Updated}

Tax Day Freebies 2014Businesses are gearing up for Tax Day deals and freebies. It’s always a favorite list here at Houston on the Cheap! This list will be updated as more freebies & deals are announced.

Boston Market — The food retailer is offering Buy One Individual Meal, Get a Second Individual Meal Free in honor of Tax Day. This offer is for dine-in and carry-out purchases. Valid April 15 only. No coupon is required. Limit 3 BOGOS per person.

Carmike Cinemas — Popcorn bucket owners can get free popcorn refills April 15 at Carmike Cinemas. Valid for Tax Day only, April 15.

Clay’s Restaurant — Snag a 1040 Special at Clay’s April 15: Get a Clay’s Cheeseburger, fries + tea or soda for $10.40. Print or display on mobile to get this deal. Located at 17717 Clay Road.

Entertainment Book — Save big April 15 on your local Entertainment Book! Get the Houston Entertainment Book for $10.40 ($35 value) with discounts on local restaurants, entertainment, services, travel and more.

Great American Cookies — Folks can get a free regular Sugar Cookie at Great American Cookies April 15, thanks to its Tax Day promotion. No purchase is necessary — or proof of taxes filed! Nine locations in Houston.

Hard Rock Café — Houstonians can earn a free Legendary Burger from Hard Rock Café  just by “singing for their supper.” Folks simply select their favorite song and perform it live on the restaurant stage. The promotion is April 15, 7 pm – 9 pm pm. It also will extend Happy Hour till 9 pm with drink specials for all: $3 domestic drafts, $4 house wines and well drinks, and $5 house margaritas. Located downtown at 501 Texas.

HydroMassage — Get a free massage at participating HydroMassage locations across the United States April 13-17, 2015.  One location is participating in Houston this year: Planet Fitness, 10701 Jones Road. No call ahead is needed there. Just print out this coupon for this free deal.

Kona Ice Houston — Enjoy a cup of free tropical shaved ice from Kona Ice Houston April 15 for its National Chill Out Day promotion. Visit the Kona truck located outside Frost Bank, 2443 Westheimer between 2 pm – 4 pm April 15.  This is just one example of how Kona Ice is encouraging folks to Flavor Our World and give back.

Schlotzsky’s — On April 15 only, get a free small Original sandwich with purchase of a 32 oz. drink and chips. No coupon required.

Sonic —Sonic Drive-In is offering half-price Cheeseburgers all day April 15.

Texas de Brazil — Patrons get $10 off each dinner at Texas de Brazil (up to 8 per table) in honor of Tax Day! Valid April 15 only. Mention to server to get this deal. Located at CityCentre, 822 Town & Country at Beltway 8.

Dating on the Cheap: Photo Safari

Dating on the Cheap shares inexpensive outings in Houston that will impress your date without breaking the bank. Please welcome our new partnership with Trip Chandler, a service that creates customized guides to Houston for visitors and residents.


Old Sixth Ward neighborhood tucked away near downtown is picture perfect for exploring the city from a camera lens. Capture scenery ranging from street art to shotgun cottages with plenty of pit stops on Washington Avenue to set up base camp.

6th Ward sign

Track down your own Big Five in The Sixth Ward:

1) Street art is abundant in the area with an evolving canvas at the corner of Silver Street & Washington Avenue. Be on the lookout for an installation of Houston Zoo Gorilla series on 2119 Washington Ave. Zebras have been known to lurk in the area as well.

Six Ward Street ARt

2) Flora can be found throughout the neighborhood with landscapes designed to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and your shutter button. For curious gardeners, on the corner of Decatur and White St., the office building housed in a former church posts labels by their parking lot plantings.

3) Neighborhood vistas featuring millwork and yard art to fill your frame.

Six Ward Neighborhood

4) Wild game ranges from squirrels scavenging for nuts, camouflaged lizards, tough alley cats, and still life versions too.

5) Landmarks include historic homes which you can track using the Old Sixth Ward guide. MECA, the cultural community center, where you can pop inside to pose in front of their Dia de los Muertos Mural located in the Dow School on 1900 Kane Street (10-7 Mon-Fri). Glenwood Cemetery offers a picturesque, contemplative setting to view the resting place of Houston notables.  Please be sure to review their visitor’s guide for the helpful map and general information.

Glen angels

Base Camp Options: 

Early risers – Prep for your photo shoot at Catalina Coffee for morning beverages and baked goods. Load up at Beaver’s with their big shareable breakfasts for weekend brunch. In-between takes you can hunt for bargain treasures at Salvation Army.

Golden Hour – Time your photo shoot an hour before sunset on a Monday and you can wind down with $1 oysters with and happy hour cocktails at Julep for an affordable luxury. Liberty Station offers beers galore, craft cocktails, and a food truck is usually on site for a post-shoot sundowner and dinner.

Tips: Be mindful of the parking restrictions in the neighborhood. Pack a cooler with snacks and bottled water to stay hydrated during your photo trek. And be sure to make sure your camera battery has a full charge!

Your Trip Chandlers,

Joni & Dana

Trip ChandlersJoni is a Houston transplant via Kansas, North Carolina, Scotland and New Orleans. Dana is a native Texan who grew up in Houston but considers New Orleans a second home. They have joined forces as Trip Chandler to personalize the city whether you’re here for a short stay or a permanent move.

50% Off Papa John’s Pizza on Rockets’ Wednesdays

papajohnsAll season, Papa John’s is offering a special half-price deal tied to its partnership with the Houston Rockets. Customers can get 50% off their pizza every Wednesday when the Houston Rockets play. Today is the last day of regular season to take advantage!

Head online to and use promo code ROCKETS. This is valid at participating Houston-area Papa John’s.