Entries Tagged as 'entertainment'

ditching cable and streaming TV

18.05.15

How to ditch cable and stream TV @ohbotherblog

I get questions every so often from people who are interested in ditching cable, so I figured I’d put this down in one place once and for all.

When I moved last fall, I chose not to bring my cable package with me. Since having kids, my personal TV-watching time has decreased, but I couldn’t give up television entirely because, yes, I let my kids watch TV sometimes (!) and because my dad (aka my daycare) appreciates being able to watch TV throughout the day. So here’s what we do in my house:

  1. I switched to Verizon as my Internet provider (about $56 a month for the enhanced Internet package to accommodate streaming.)
  2. I have a Roku, which ranges from $39.99-$99.99 on Amazon.
    1. I also have an Apple TV in my upstairs bedroom, though I actually prefer the Roku.
  3. I have Amazon Prime Instant Video through my Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom account ($99/year, so $8.25/month).
    1. There are some shows/movies that require purchase, so I try to be discerning. For example, Season 2 of Yo Gabba Gabba is free on Amazon Prime, but you have to purchase other episodes or seasons. I finally broke down and purchased Season 4 for my own sanity.
  4. I have Hulu Plus for new episodes and full seasons of current TV shows and some movies ($7.99/month).
  5. I have Netflix for movies, older seasons of TV shows and Netflix Original Series, like House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black ($7.99/month).
    1. If you can do without the Netflix Originals, this is a platform you could probably forego as there is quite a bit of overlap with Amazon and Hulu.
  6. I just signed up for Sling TV, which allows you to stream live TV on cable networks like Disney Channel, ABC Family (because I love Pretty Little Liars), AMC, ESPN, TBS, HGTV, Food Network and more ($20/month). You can also add HBO for an additional $15 a month.
    1. I signed up for Sling essentially just to be able to watch the Mad Men series finale live but it’s looking like it may become an integral part of our TV routine.
  7. I purchased a AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna for $24.99, which attaches to the wall behind the TV and gets me two networks (NBC and Fox)… and their weird digital channels (my Fox station has a digital channel that has all 1970’s sitcoms).
    1. This has been great for my avid Dateline viewing and some live events like awards shows that are on NBC or Fox.

So, for a $65-75 starting investment (Roku Stick + digital antenna), you can take the first step of saying goodbye to cable. Yes, I am still paying about $100 a month for my Internet and various streaming channels, but it’s less than I was paying for cable + Internet previously and I essentially have on-demand access to just about any TV show or movie imaginable. And, it keeps both my toddler and my dad happy. Annnnnd, most of these channels have mobile apps as well so you can stream on your phone or tablet.

By the way, if you don’t already have an Amazon Prime membership, I highly recommend, if only for the free two-day shipping. I Prime everything, including toilet paper (TMI?).

one week to GB’s party

14.03.15

GB's party inspiration board - red and aqua first birthday @ohbotherblog

 

GB’s first birthday party is one week away. Am I ready? Ha. Ha. No.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • I’m hosting the party at my pretzel shop, so there will be soft pretzels.
  • I’m doing a general red and aqua color scheme and “little man” theme with mustaches and bowties.
  • I ordered GB an adorable first birthday outfit (from Etsy of course).
  • I’m using a digital red and aqua scrapbook paper download to make some pennants to hang, primarily on his highchair.
  • I (actually) made some cute cupcake picks using crafty stuff from AC Moore. I even now own a Martha Stewart paper punch. Who am I?
  • I ordered some vanilla cupcakes to stick those picks in… and got a free smash cake in the process!
  • I found some red and blue sodas that I’m going to display in a metal drink tub.
  • I ordered a Dr. Seuss birthday book for guests to sign.
  • I’m using butcher paper to cover the tables.
  • I’m going to pick up some red and aqua helium balloons.

and… that’s about it. Since this is a small gathering with just family, they shouldn’t judge me if I don’t have a Big Top and photo booth and clown and foie gras, right? You guys know how I feel about birthday parties, after all.

I’ll share photos after the party!

taking a 2-year-old to disney on ice, or how I learned to “let it go”

19.10.14

Like 95% of children in America (the world?), Holden loves Frozen (or as she calls it, “Anna”). So when Disney on Ice “Frozen” tickets became available this summer for an October show, I hesitated for maybe three minutes before I decided to grab a pair. Holden has never been to a movie or live show before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. As you are now aware, Holden is not the easiest child to take out in public.

Last month, Target had a sale on a dress-up-Anna costume and doll, so I bought it, excitedly envisioning surprising Holden with the dress, perfectly braiding her hair and taking my eternally grateful, happy little two-year-old to her first live performance of her favorite story.

Things did not exactly go as planned.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

She refused to wear the dress, insisting it was “too tight,” even though it was clearly too big. I ended up settling for a Frozen t-shirt. She was clearly hating life. Inside, my heart broke a little. 

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

Nevertheless, we embarked on our Holdy-Mommy date, first stopping for lunch.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

Don’t judge me: it’s like the only restaurant that’s acceptable to take a child of her “spirit.” She behaved. She ate. She was excited. Things were looking up. 

And then:

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

Luckily, the tears only lasted for the first quarter of the 40-minute drive.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

When we got to the arena, Holden–possibly still groggy from her nap–was super excited.

When we got to our seats, she seemed mesmerized.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

She pointed out all the “Holdys”–little girls who actually wore their princess dresses. She laughed and pointed at the stage. She, of course, had to have a $26 light-up thing.

 

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  But as the lights went down, something was amiss. Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog She seemed a little tentative. A little unsure. Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog Then, by the time Anna and Hans sang their duet, she was downright miserable. Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog She turned to me and said, “Holdy done now,” which has sort of become my safe word for “shit’s about to hit the fan.” So we hightailed it out of the arena and took a little break. Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog I gave her the option of going back in or going home, and enticed her with promises of “Elsa’s Song” and Olaf, which were delivered after we settled back in.

 

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Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

 

Holden sat in my lap with her arms around my neck for the entire second half, but she seemed to love it.

She was even cool during the scary snow monster part.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

By the end, she was clapping and dancing with the crowd.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

 

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So, all in all, not a total disaster.

The parking lot on the way out, however…

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

But, let’s be honest, I’d do it all again for this kid.

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

Holden's first trip to Disney on Ice @ohbotherblog

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