8 Steps to Cut the Cord (from Cable TV)

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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..

8 Steps to Cut the Cord

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Netflix.  Each Netflix account allows multiple users, my brother gave us a login and we are able to watch shows on Netflix (Parenthood for me and Making of a Murderer for Adam).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!!)  You can get a 30 day trial of Amazon Prime and see if you like it before buying it for the entire year.
  8. 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.

XOXO

Kristen

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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.

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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  educents.com/#upnorthmama

XOXO

–Kristen

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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!

xoxo

Kristen

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Bedroom DIY – Part 1

Hello friends!


Where the heck have I been? Well, most of you know that we moved back in July.  While we hoped buying this house would be less DIY and more R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N, we were seriously wrong! Each room we’ve done so far has presented different challenges, including a bathroom which once we painted, re-trimmed and cleaned up, turned out to have a serious leak and created a rainstorm in our lower level bathroom.  I digress…


So we started working on our Master bedroom (seems legit with a leaky bathroom, right?!).  When we first moved into this room we were seriously puzzled.  There is a walk through to another room (my office) which put a door on one of the long walls..  The other wall, had 2 windows… which meant we either had to put our bed against a window, against a wall or on a diagonal.  Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE balance, so any of the above are not an option.   The first few months of living here, I propped pillows up and locked the door to center our bed in the room. 

So Step 1, talking Adam into removing the door and closing off the walk through.  At first, he wasn’t a fan of this idea, but after months of sleeping against a door, he was convinced 🙂   

 North Facing Window (please excuse the mess, I was trying to get before pics and this is the best I could get!) 

West wall that accesses our Master closet, laundry room and the master bathroom (which will likely have its own post because it needs some serious attention!)   Notice the trim is painted the same color as the wall?  Yes, our whole house is done this way = replacing a lot of trim!

South facing wall – double windows with our pellet stove in the corner. 


It may be hard to tell but there was a chair rail running around the entire room, with the lower half painted one color and the upper painted another.  The carpet was a dark green, and while it was in great shape, it was simply too dark.  


We wanted to make this “our space” and a complete retreat from the rest of the house. Adam and I have very different styles, but we have been able to truly mesh them and make them our own.  He’s so incredibly talented and anytime I have an idea he runs with it.  


You can see in the 3rd photo above that there is a pretty stack of wood… One of my favorite websites is Houzz and I find so much inspiration by the talented designers and carpenters whose work is featured on the site. One of the photos I found had an entire wall of barn board in the bedroom and since Adam LOVES the rustic and woodworking in homes, he fell for it and we decided to do a wall of “barnboard.”

However, let’s be honest, we aren’t made of money and finding 100 year old barnwood within a few weeks of starting this project for less than a few hundred dollars simply wasn’t going to happen.  Then we considered pallets.  Has anyone ever tried pallet projects?  This wall was 18*8 = 144 square feet.   That’s a lot of pallets that must be harvested, sanded, sized, stained, etc.  So, while it sounded awesome, we both knew there was going to be WAY too much work involved in using pallets.  After searching Pinterest, I found a blog where they used 6′ dog eared fence slats, so that’s what we did.  At $2.45 each, they were already a bit rustic looking, cedar, and not nearly as thick as rough cut lumber.

He gave each of the boards a light sand and then we started to choose different stains.  We had a hard time finding the right color because under the garage light the boards looked one color and inside under incandescent light, it looked completely different.  After a few attempts we settled on mixing Jacobean and Golden Oak. It produced a beautiful deep color with a bit of a reddish huge. I LOVE the way the stain brought out the different knots in the wood… 

Here is a sneak peek of the wood going up!

As you can see, we’ve added quite a bit of electrical to the wall and I cannot wait for you to see the finished product!!  

 

Adam working hard to put the wall up!  You can see he marked off the wall, so he knew where the studs were. He nailed directly to the studs, we didn’t put plywood up behind the wall (as others have done).  He staggered the boards and as you can see the boards go directly to the door. We opted to skip trimming out the door.  This was a lesson learned.  The door itself was poorly installed and had to be reinstalled, once he did this, he realized he had to make adjustments to the boards.  


The wall is getting closer to completion!  I LOVE the way this turned out.  We also opted to use black switches and outlet covers.  We had to go with a white thermostat for our baseboard unit, and it stands out like a sore thumb.  Fortunately Home Depot online carried many of the outlet covers that we needed and if you ship to store, the shipping is free.  We also installed dimmer switches next to our bed, which again, had to be ordered online.  

And here is our finished wall!  You can see some of the other finishes with the painted wall and upgraded carpet, which I will highlight in the next post.  The vintage sconces in Olde Bronze (from 1-800 Lighting – similar here) are one of my favorite touches with this wall. They are absolutely stunning and the vintage bulbs that dim are amazing.  It really brings the wall together. I cannot wait to move our new furniture in here!  


Again, Adam did incredible work. He’s so talented. I wish I could say I had a hand in the technical aspect of hanging this wall, but I didn’t. Design? Yes.  That is all me.  The rest? All Adam. 


I hope you LOVE what we have done so far in this room. I cannot wait for the rest of the room reveal!  Stay tuned!

xoxo 

Kristen

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