Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How We Cut the Cord ...and Still Watch Our Shows!

When we moved into our new house we went through a lot of changes and learned to adapt (umm... we do NOT have air conditioning or a furnace.. HUGE adjustment).  So when we found out that our internet plus cable was going to be close to $200 we had to make a decision whether or not it was truly worth it to have cable.

I started researching online, polled friends and family, and had a lot of conversations with Adam on what we should do.  He ultimately pays the cable bill so really this came down to him.  After a lot of research, a lot of maneuvering, we were able to cut the cord and both win by using streaming services.   Since we started doing this I have had a lot of people ask me how we make it work..

Here's how!

First things first, the ONLY reason we were able to accomplish much of this was through the help of friends and family.

Select your streaming device - we went with the Roku 2 (because we do not have a Smart TV).  There are a ton on the market, Apple TV, Roku, Fire Stick, etc. This is your first step in cutting the cord.  From there we found the following ways to watch TV and not miss our favorite shows!

1. We worked with our local cable company to purchase the internet package that allowed us to hookup our Roku to the local network.   This provides us with our local tv channels: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox.  We live in Woodville, between Eau Claire, WI and Minneapolis, MN.  Because of this, we get Fox Eau Claire and Fox Minneapolis = Packers Football (Eau Claire).  Adam's wish accomplished.

2. Netflix.  Each Netflix account allows multiple users, my brother gave us a login and we are able to watch shows on Netflix (Fuller House for me and Making of a Murderer for Adam).

3. Many channels require a cable login.  Since you can have multiple users on one account, we created our own login to access cable using Adam's parents cable account.  It doesn't impact them in any way and allows us to access the shows/channels we want to watch. Total win/win.

4. Hulu - I pay $8/month to have Hulu.  It's pretty much the equivalent to a DVR.  I get many different networks (ABC, NBC, CMT, CW, TLC, etc) AND I can watch shows the next day if i missed them the night before.  I caught up on SO many shows this way.  I love HULU, totally worth $8/month.

5.  Sling TV - Beta Version.  Sling purchased the rights to Fox Sports.   So we get FS1, FS2, and FSlocal, which for us is Fox Sports North.  FSN = Twins Baseball.  My mission was accomplished.  However, this one does come with a cost.  It's $20/month for Sling TV.  Other channels that come with Sling include HGTV, AMC, FX, Univision, etc... One of their greatest promotions (for us) was that if you purchased 3 months in advance you get a free Roku 2.. So we now have 3 of them that work on all channels.

6. Amazon Prime - If you have Amazon Prime, you can also stream videos on Roku as well.  We simply linked our Prime account and are able to watch Multiple shows (Downton Abbey!!).

7. And last, Roku has a TON of channels built in that you can access. Again, full transparency we are able to access all of these because we have the cable login - however there are some "Free" channels that do not require you to login.

While this may seem complex, it's something we have learned and has entirely grown on us since we started a year ago.  When we turn our TV on, it's as though we never cut the cord. I get to watch almost any show I want and without the crazy expense of cable.  My total bill per month is $28 and we may not keep Sling over the winter and re-subscribe next spring when baseball starts again.



Building Blocks - Building Fun!

Thinking back when I was growing up I absolutely loved to build with Legos, wooden blocks (remember those great blocks with the little letters on them?), and lincoln logs. Now that George is getting old, we absolutely have so much fun building. He LOVES building big towers and all sorts of other things (sometimes I think we have more fun building!). (Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored material and I am compensated for purchases).
A Fun ToyFrom A ConsciousCompany
One of the oldest and most reliable toys that children have played with for centuries is the simple wooden block. It's versatile, safe and most of all fun. While standard wooden blocks are still fun, there have been major innovations and advancements in technology to bring us to where we are now. The Tegu blocks are an awesome modern twist on a classic toy. These blocks may look simple at first glance, but only when you start to play with them do you realize truly how awesome they are. Tegu blocks come with tiny magnets embedded in the blocks, which means that kids of any can create structures they only ever dreamed of. And with plenty of options, there's a perfect Tegu set for any family!

What Moms are Saying About Tegu

Christina is a mommy of three who shares fun activities for kids on her YouTube channel, The Purple Alphabet. During her video review of the Tegu blocks, she says "It really encourages your child to think creatively... you're gonna get a lot of use out of these over the years." "Bought these for my 6 year old grandson for Christmas and we now call his creations "the work of a City Planner. " The different shapes and structures take on the look of city skylines with random items like trees, bridges, etc. Geometry was never so much fun." -Deborah F. "My first reaction was "these are pricey!" but they were highly recommended to me so I gave it a go. Now I can tell they will be loved for years. My 3 year old loves stacking them and clicking them together and a part. I even have fun playing with these and I'm an adult. They are high quality and the colors are great." -Summer H.

The Social Impact

Not only are Tegu blocks fun, but they have a social impact. The business was founded in Honduras with the idea of helping out a country with an unemployment rate of above 30%. Local Hondurans are regularly hired and receive opportunities for growth and leadership within the company. If that weren't enough, with every purchase of a Tegu product, the company plants more trees or funds a whole day of school for a child without access to education.

With a product this fun and a company that is so caring, it's hard not to love Tegu, and the products listed here are only the beginning! Be sure to check out the full Tegu catalog to find out which one is right for you.

Classic 40 Piece

Create amazing structures and wonderful memories with the classic Tegu block 40 piece pack. Coming in four styles (tints, natural, jungle, and Nelson), the classic Tegu pack is the perfect purchase for kids who want to experience as many combinations as possible. classic

What's included:

  • 40 Magnetized Tegu Blocks in seven shapes
  • Large storage box
  • The Tegu Story booklet filled with build ideas and the Tegu story
Buy Now

On-The-Go Sets

This Tegu pack is perfect for families who are constantly on the go. Available in four sets, these Tegu mini packs come with their own carrying case to make sure you don't lose any of the pieces.


What's included:

  • Six magnetized Tegu blocks
  • High quality carrying case
  • Building ideas
Buy Now

Classic Wood

This set is perfect for more retro-minded families. The classic wood Tegu package includes 22 slick wooden blocks that can be used to create tons of different wooden structures and shapes.wooden

What's Included:

  • 22 magnetized blocks in four shapes
  • Storage box
Buy Now

To celebrate, Educents is offering FREE SHIPPING with code DISCOVER16 through Thursday, June 30th. Note it's one time use, on orders over $49


Monday, June 20, 2016

Bulletin Board Makeover

Before we moved to the new house our bulletin board (similar here)was the center of everything. We kept family photos, important dates, invitations as well as any other important paper we could tack up on it.  Then last July we moved and our HUGE bulletin board simply didn't really "fit" anywhere.

In our kitchen the previous owners had a large TV that they simply painted around.  Since they weren't keen on the idea of leaving the TV behind, we get to stare at a lovely outline of a tv and it's cords.

Now one might think, hey just paint that wall, right?  Right. Unfortunately out of all the gallons of paint they left, they didn't leave this one behind.  So I either have to repaint my entire kitchen or just this one wall something entirely different (which I'm thinking I could do a chalk board wall OR do a wall of shiplap).  It simply hasn't happened yet with all of the other projects we've had.

So I decided this would be an EXCELLENT place to put our bulletin board.  And it works to cover up that beautiful outline.  But it is hard to reach and really not something that i can easily update since it's right above our kitchen table.  Except George thought it could use an update and decided to color on it.  I grew tired of looking at it and finally googled "Painting a cork board."  To my surprise, there were a ton of ideas.

Before: Crayon and Sun Bleached Outlines 

I bought a can of spray paint from Target (similar here) and since we had only one small piece of newspaper, I used that and cut the rest of my masking from boxes in the recycling.  I masked off the frame (that Adam made using chair rail) and went to work!

This was super easy to paint! I did a few coats to get it even.  One could get creative and make different areas and could have done multiple colors, lines, or even chevrons.  Its really endless. I just wanted to brighten and clean up the board to make our kitchen a little more cheery.

I'm sure I will add more to the board as the summer goes on.  I am pretty happy with the way that it turned out and am glad I did it!

(Look at all these super cute pics!!)  I am thinking I need some letters at the top or something more :) But until then I just added a cute little $4 banner from target (because I'm too lazy to cut this out myself) and some pics I quickly printed off an app that gives you up to 100 prints for free (per month, you pay shipping).

Happy Summer!!



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bedroom DIY - Part 2

This post has been in the making for quite.some.time!  Our room is not 100% finished (it's lacking curtains) but I HAD to share the rest of our progress we've made. (Part 1 - here)

One of the ways I gain inspiration for each of the rooms we complete is through reading blogs, websites, and watching home restoration shows (This Old House and Fixer Upper are my Favorites!).   I found this awesome website called Olioboard where I could gather different items and make a style board for our bedroom project.  Here is the board I created while working on this room.

I wanted to blend both the rustic and modern styles Adam and I both love.  I needed a little pop of color which I got from the night stands.  We actually took an Ikea Rast Dresser ($34.99) and made it over to give it an upgraded look.

From this:

To this:

I simply LOVE the way these turned out!  I like how I can quickly explain to Adam what I'm thinking, hand him some primer and paint and off he goes.  Again, simply blessed to have someone so talented in my life!  (And so patient with all my "ideas!")

Our fabulous sconces (up close) stemmed from one of my random ideas (Hey honey - what do you think about adding some lights above each side of the bed, and then put switches next to our beds....?)   I swear that man's head might explode if I have any more "Hey honey ideas."

I bought these online at 1-800 Lighting (similar here). They come in bronze and brushed nickel.  I just adore this vintage look with our barnboard wall!  (Of course I went to Ebates first and got my 5% cash back too!) I think they also had a coupon for new customers and I also got $10 off each light!  Pretty sure every online shopping trip starts with Ebates!!

One of my dear friends has these absolutely stunning curtains in her dining room that I have been pining over since the first time that I saw them.  They are gray buffalo plaid, floor to ceiling. Gorgeous!  So imagine my surprise when I saw a similar pattern in a duvet cover at Ikea!  It was an easy sell to go with the rustic/modern feel in our room.

You know when you take a photo and you think it looks great, then post it and it's not as fabulous? Yeah. I'm not remaking the bed for a picture.

I think the biggest struggle for us was choosing paint. Who knew that finding a gray would be so challenging?  After 3 different attempts we finally got it right!  Thankfully Sherwin Williams isn't too far away and the people were beyond amazing helping me select the right color.  I came home with 3 samples and I put them up so we weren't making the same mistake again!  (The light in our rooms made every paint color look blue - notice the background the samples are painted on - that's our 2nd attempt at gray).

From left: Silver Strand, Mindful Gray, and Colonnade Gray

The 3rd Coat of paint going up and NOT blue!

We finally went with Mindful Gray from Sherwin Williams and have been SO very happy with the color.  I was so hesitant at first because it looked tan and I wanted nothing to do with anything that resembled brown.  But it was absolutely stunning when it went up on the walls!! I have recommended it to so many people and have had rave reviews about the color as well.

Adam trimmed out our windows using 1x4s and 1x2s and white paint (and of course some caulking). I am beyond in love with how the windows turned out, which I think is why I'm so lazy at putting curtains up! I love these beauties! They remind me of vintage windows in older craftsman style homes.

Absolutely stunning!  It's also amazing to me how different the paint colors look at night vs day and in summer vs winter.  These pics were taken months apart (notice the snow in the background in the top photo?!  Gosh I am SO sorry it took forever to post this!).

And finally... another 3 round try before we finally got it right, but this sliding barn door is B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!! It turned out absolutely amazing.  We ordered the barn door track online and then purchased a door (3 of them...) from a local overstock company.  We gave her a shiny coat of Peppercorn from Sherwin Williams (I am a loyal fan of their paint - this is not a sponsored post) and hung her up to close off our laundry room.   My biggest recommendation is to make sure you buy the door BIGGER than the size of your opening!  It doesn't need to fit the opening like a regular door, if you buy it that size, it will be too small and you will be disappointed!!

Our master bedroom is by far my favorite room in the house!  We have many projects upcoming and I can't wait to share each and every one with you.  Again, apologies on the delay in time.  I will post again soon!