we are the luckiest.

Is this real? Did I really just win $1500 worth of baby products from some of the best, most adorable brands? And how is it that we don’t already have ANYTHING that was offered? Seriously, on cloud 9. JoMo and I could not be luckier.

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This week, I noticed this #showusyourbump giveaway through a blogger I already follow. The only requirements were to “simply share a picture of your bump OR repost this image on Instagram for a chance to win.” I wound up posting only two pictures to the hashtag, I followed all 5 brands on Instagram and used the app at the bottom of the post to sign up for emails and earn a few extra entries. Easy and quick.

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AND I WON! Can you believe it???? A brand new crib from The Land of Nod, a sink tub from Puj Baby, two Solly Baby wraps, four moccasins from Freshly Picked and three packages from The Honest Company! I mean holy cow! I follow many bloggers who use these products and have had some friends who are HUGE advocates of The Honest Company. I can’t wait to receive these packages and have our new little girl here to try them all out.

I’ll keep you posted when we receive these items – I’ve already had 2 of the 5 brands contact me! Thanks for all the Facebook and Instagram love the past couple days 🙂

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i’m cutting the cord, like for reals – how to cancel your cable subscription

Everyone loves watching TV. EVERYONE! It’s been estimated that the average person watches like 4 hours of TV while simultaneously spending 6 hours online and playing video games for another 8 hours EVERYDAY! (Don’t quote me on that. 67% of all statistics are made up anyway.) However, that much loved entertainment comes at a hefty price. And who enjoys paying $75-$300 per month for such wonderful service? NOBODY!!

Being a newlywed in our first home with a new puppy in the family, 2012 has been an expensive year. Expensive year + expensive bills = cutting the cord. I know, I know. What about football, baseball and basketball? What about DesperateRealHousewivesBachelorettePad-whatever-you-call-it? (Don’t judge, anyone who has met my wife knows there’s no getting around her affinity for trashy television…)

In our desperate attempt to remove this monthly expense from our personal income statement, I did a little research… I believe I have found the solution. This is not an all-in-one solution, but a combination of offerings to achieve a resemblance to what we were already getting. So here it goes…

  1. HDTV Antenna Receiver – RCA ANT800 – (plus cable splitter and coax cables) $79.65
  2. Netflix streaming subscription – $7.99 (I cannot express the amount of annoyance I would feel if I had to call that Qwikster)
  3. Hulu Plus – $7.99
  4. AppleTV – $99.00
  5. Optional – Upgrade internet service

Hulu Plus/NetFlix/ESPN3 are all apps on either the AppleTV or my gaming consoles*. So between those 3 alone, we cover most (if not all) of our preferred shows. But wait, you can’t watch them live! Oh yeah, that’s right. We never did anyway.

The only missing piece is the live sports (specifically the Dawgs, Braves, and Hawks). That is where the HDTV antenna comes into play. Oh you didn’t know there are antennas that attach to your house to get HD channels for free? Well, wham, bam, thank you ma’am because there is! I found this site was the best place to look to determine what antennas you need. There are different types for uban/rural, amplified, multi- or single directional etc. And if you’re unsure of the signal strength in your local area, go here to help determine which antenna fits your geographical needs. Based on where we live, we’ll get CBS, FOX, CW, NBC, ABC, PBS, and a few more channels with acronyms I’m unfamiliar with. Hello live sports.

Since a lot of the non-live shows/movies will be streaming via the internet, we will be switching from AT&T’s sub-par internet speeds to a Comcast data plan. Those telecomm companies don’t have the bandwidth that cable operators can offer. Luckily for us, we’ll be paying roughly the same price for FASTER speeds.

So, after some up front costs (antenna + parts and AppleTV if you don’t already own one like I do), our monthly bill has gone from $95 per month down to $16… For those of you who don’t want to reach for a calculator, that’s nearly $1,000 a year in savings. You’re welcome, now go invest it in an Roth IRA… or go buy a couple of these.

Now some of you sports fanatics may have some crazy, overpriced all-inclusive sports package. I’m sorry to say, there is no replacing those types of bundled packages. And yes, there will likely be a weekend or two when the Dawgs aren’t on my awesome new setup. That’s when I will either go to a local bar or pick a brother-in-law’s house to watch it. Worst case scenario, since I don’t care what my friends think, I will very rudely invite myself to their house. If I’m lucky, it’ll be the ultimate excuse to go watch the game in person. Win-win if you ask me.

If you give it a shot for yourself, please let me know how it goes. I’m interested to hear how this can be done for people with various circumstances. I plan on posting a follow-up mid football season for a progress update.

*Since I was born in the mid 80’s, I am not ashamed to say I was a gamer through college and I also own a couple gaming consoles that also have these apps.