Farmhouse Pillows

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One of the easiest ways to quickly transform a room is simply by updating the pillows! I am absolutely in love with anything farmhouse, plaid and natural colors. I found some great (and inexpensive) pillow covers on Amazon that would be great for any season!  Start with an insert that matches the size you’d like (typical inserts are 18 x 18 – but again, this is your preference.  You can buy the basic inserts here).



1. Seed 2. Home Sweet Home 3. Fresh Eggs 4. Directions 5. Plaid 6. Deer 7. Fresh from the Farm 8. Bushel and a Peck 9. Number 7 10. Farm Fresh Chicken

I added a few more of the pillow cases I found on Amazon below.  Not all are entirely “farm” related but I just adore them!  Pillows don’t always have to be used for a couch or a chair. Add them to a bench, or a bed, or anywhere the needs a little bit of comfort thrown in!


How cute is this deer pillow? Super versatile! Definitely can be used for holidays, fall or even year round!


I love the use of the arrows with the directions.

I love how plaid is back in style! This would be great year round or around the holidays!

Oh hey #7! How I adore you! Love the black and white with the big number 7.

Home Sweet Home. Such a classic.

I think this is so stinkin cute and perfectly Farmhouse. It would also be great in a kids room too!

Simple and classic. I love the hand lettering style with the chicken!

Such a clever pillow. I adore the idea of using a feedsack as a pillow cover and this one is great. Way less expensive and easier than to make yourself.
This one isn’t exactly Farmhouse, but I really love vintage bikes! This one would be perfect on my porch!


Another great simply pillow!

Perfectly Farmhouse.


What are your favorite ways to add inexpensive updates to your home?  I’d love to hear from you!






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August Goals

I always admire other bloggers who post their “goals” for the month. I did the ONCE. Yes. one time and it was like 2 years ago – and who knows if I even remotely came close to accomplishing them. Let’s just go with probably not.  I’ve been really trying to push myself with writing so why not set some goals, right? 

My goals.. For August… 

This is the dirt pile in our front yard… 

1. Landscaping.   We have been working on this landscaping since we moved in.  Last summer I pulled a ton of pavers out of the front yard with the hopes to plant grass by fall.  That never happened and this is what our front yard looks like now.  (I cannot wait for another year to show the ENTIRE progression of start to finish!).  Didn’t quite get to this but are starting THIS weekend!

2.  Running.  My running has been so limited because of my back injury. However, I can start running again (slowly) by adding some biking and other low impact activities.  I only have 1 race scheduled for August and it’s a 5K this weekend (Gopher to Badger).  Last year I was in top shape and ran a great 1/2. This year I’ll be cheering on all the runners looking forward to my next one! (Which I swore last year was my last… but hoping to do Grandma’s in 2018 and MAYBE gopher to badger 2017?!)  Ran Gopher to Badger 5K and didn’t have my best run 🙁 

3.  Cleaning/Organizing/eBaying. I am a clothes hoarder.  This has been a bit of a revelation as I’ve gained and lost (and gained) weight. I cover up with new clothes.  So I’m slowly paring down my closet and selling my shit high quality clothes (several with tags) that I couldn’t live without and have never worn 🙂  Typical, right?   DID it.  Got rid of a ton of stuff!

4. Weddings.  Not mine. HA HA HA.  Two of them.  One which happens to be on my favorite weekend of the year.  Adam is in one so we’ll be doing wedding festivities all weekend the last weekend in August.  They will both be fun 🙂  handled.  One I spent two days recovering from.

5.  Pub Crawling.  Erin Adams’s Hargrove’s 10th Annual Polar Pub Crawl (North St Paul, MN) is this upcoming weekend.  I can’t even handle that it’s been 10 years since she started her pub crawl.  There have been a lot of fun memories, and some not so fun memories (headstands and card cheaters) okay that fits in both columns 🙂   We haven’t made it to all 10 but are really excited about making it this year.  See Instagram. Had a blast!!

6.  Pepper Fest See #4.  My favorite weekend of the ENTIRE year is in North Hudson, WI.  I grew up down the street from Pepper Fest and L-O-V-E going every single year!!  This year will be cut short by a wedding …ahem… please be considerate and check a calendar next year folks… j/k.  Parades, Italian Food, Beer, Music, and old friends!  What more could you ask for?  (Pepper Eating Contest, Spaghetti eating contest, a 5k/10K race, rides for the kids, bags tournaments… ) Seriously, one of the best summer get togethers around!!  Only made it to the parade this year.

7. Help Dad.  Dad is having knee replacement surgery August 15th.. So while he’s pretty humble about his health and what’s going on, he is going to need his army behind him for this one!  While I’ll be covering most days and a few nights, the rest of the family will be helping as well.  So grateful for all that he has done for us and am so happy to be able to give back and help him 🙂    Did this!  He is recovering like a champ!

Grandpa and George taking Sam for a walk

8. Unpack.  Seriously.  We STILL have boxes at Adam’s parents… and we STILL have several unpacked boxes in our basement.  I think until we actually paint and get each room the way we like it, we will have boxes of stuff just waiting to make its debut!  I tackled TWO WHOLE boxes this month.  Hoping for more next month!

9. Go to Church.  I am baptized and confirmed Catholic but have never felt as connected as I once was in Arizona (99-01).  I recently went to a funeral (good time to think about your Faith) and admired how connected the Pastor is to the community.  The following Sunday George and I went to service and the minute we sat down, the pastor walked over and introduced himself. I felt welcomed and knew that was where I needed to be.  George and I have been going to church the past few weekends there and plan to continue going.   This one sadly fell by the wayside.

10.  Be in the moment.  That was last week’s church message.  Just appreciate where you are when you are there.  Put the phone down. Put your tablet down.  Put any and all distractions aside and simply live in that moment.  How often do we meet a friend for coffee, or take our kids to the park only to find ourselves with our heads buried in our phones or thinking about something else?  I AM SO GUILTY!!!   I am trying to simply put my phone down and enjoy a few minutes of whatever it is I’m doing. Simply be.  Oh how I need to remember this one.

11. Live in front of the Camera.  I read a blog post another woman wrote, where she recognized that she was capturing all of her children’s milestone moments but was never visible in any of them. She was behind the camera.  There was nothing to show that while the child blew out his birthday candles and opened presents she was there.  She was taking the pictures.  This hit home with me. I was looking for a recent picture of myself with George and my storage is maxed out but none of them have me in them.  So when I stumbled upon this it truly spoke to me. My goal is to post one picture a day for the next 365 on my Instagram Account.   Go check out my Instagram (shameless plug) @upnorthmama1 for my daily post of in front of the camera!  While I didn’t get a post in every day, I am definitely better about being in front of the camera now!

Dinner selfie – no filter, unedited. 





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Exploring: Downtown Hastings, MN

I had so much fun with last week’s post about Hudson, WI that I thought i would try to make this a weekly series where I explore a small town and share some of the great adventures I have along the way.

Last Thanksgiving my friend Vicki asked me to run the Thanksgiving Gobble Gait 8K with her in Hastings.  I had never spent much time there and just figured it would be like any run.  Let me say, it was one of the most beautiful runs I have done!  All of the money from the race is donated to the Hastings Family Service which serves the local community.  What started as a small run has now grown to over 2000 runners.

Post Race Photo with Vicki (right) and her friend Stacie (center)

Although it was cold and went, it was SO WORTH it!  Just being able to say I did it and knowing my race fee went to someone in need felt pretty darn good!

The race started and finished on Main Street in Hastings and although it was cold and wet, I fell madly in love with Main Street!  There are tons of cute little shops and restaurants.  Its very quaint and a nice little day trip. From the Downtown Business Association of Hastings, MN, ” The Historic Downtown Business District of Hastings, Minnesota. You’ll find charming shops that feature; Antiques, Collectibles, Gifts, Fashion, Imports, Toys, Pottery, Jewelry and many one of a kind specialty items and services. Most of our shops are located in preserved historic buildings dating back to the 1800’s.”

Right now they are redoing some sections of Main Street so my photos may be a little limited in the angles as I was simply trying to photo without all the yellow tape and orange cones.   However, even though it was under construction we were still able to navigate to all the shops with no trouble.

My friend Jayme has super awesome taste and had told me about Eye Candy Refind, so I HAD to check it out.  (If you’ve ever been in the Loft at Viva Voce Salon in Hudson, they have several stunning pieces from Eye Candy!!) After a quick trip to their shop in Hastings, I was sold!!  First of all I LOVE the owners.  Super bad ass ladies who run a great shop with gorgeous pieces!  They are SUPER friendly and totally willing to help you with anything.  (and I mean anything, I’m still looking for my card catalog and they are too!).   I ended up buying a gorgeous buffet my first trip there and continue to get inspiration every time I go to their shop!

My buffet table from Eye Candy

I absolutely adore the signs, furniture and decor in Eye Candy Refind. They also do painting classes in the Hastings Store as well if you want to learn how to chalk paint.  Additionally they share TONS of new pieces on their Instagram (eye_candy_refind) and Facebook Pages.  If you’re looking for a one of a kind, quality piece at an affordable price, check out Eye Candy!!!

If you’re someone who wants to DIY your own furniture pieces then stop into one of the many antique shops in town!

A few others:

Second Street Antique Mall

If home decor isn’t your thing, they also have cute little clothing shops as well!  One that is always a stop when we are there is Lah-Tee-Dah Boutique.  They have adorable clothes at very reasonable prices!  You will also find that unique piece you wouldn’t find online or at a mall.  That’s what makes small town shopping so special.  You don’t look like everyone else and you’re supporting a local business.

Other shopping locations for gifts and goodies:

Mississippi Clayworks

Let’s be honest, after all that shopping I’m usually starving and (in my opinion) the BEST place in town is the Busted Nut.  We completely stumbled into the Busted Nut on a whim when we were picking up my buffet from Eye Candy.  It was the best decision ever!!  Fresh peanuts when you sit down and cold beers!  But better than that is the food.  I have been there several times now and I am never disappointed.  Last time we were there, a friend said “This is the best mushroom swiss burger I have ever had!”  I typically order the Chicken, Bacon Ranch Wrap with waffle fries and season sour cream and it’s AMAZING!!!  (See below)

Although the Busted Nut happens to be my favorite, there are lots of other choices while in the downtown area.


The Onion Grille (I’ve heard this place is awesome too!)

Karl’s Red Rock Cafe (Breakfast and Lunch)

Spiral Pizza

While I was walking around taking photos, I saw the sweetest scene in Reissner’s Meat and Grocery. I was transported back 50 years. (or what I imagine life to be like 50 years ago).  Two older gentlemen were standing in the business enjoying a conversation and a coke.  It was the most refreshing, simple moment they were sharing.  They didn’t have cell phones out, they weren’t distracted by anything but what the other person was saying.  It truly warmed my heart.

One thing that always catches my eye when I’m in town is the Meyer Company Sign (Carhartt, Levis, shopping).  It again, takes me back to a time before modern technology.  And while I don’t know the history, I imagine it was put up in the early years of Jc Penney, Montgomery Wards, Sears Roebuck Co.  Just the lettering takes me back to flipping through catalogs at grandmas house.


As you find your way out of town, take a minute to see the beautiful new bridge that was built in 2014.  It’s stunning at night and beautiful during the day.

Hastings is only a short drive from the Twin Cities on Highway 61 South, and about 45 minutes from Western, WI.  I love any excuse to get down here to shop and eat!  (and there may or may not be a casino stop or a stop at Ellsworth Creamery on the way! Pretty sure we’ll be checking out Ellsworth in the near future so I can go back for more fresh cheese curds!)

I hope you are able to seek out new adventures in Hastings or any of the towns I mention along the way.  It’s such a fun journey for me to check out new places and bring friends along for the ride!



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8 Steps to Cut the Cord (from Cable TV)


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.



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