Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saving for Baby // The College Fund

As I mentioned in a previous post it's never too early to start saving for your child's college fund! With all the Black Friday sales I can't help, but think about all the great deals out there. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and lose sight of the goals we've set to help us achieve financial peace of mind.

This holiday, stay on financial track, Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on, including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits. Visit Capital One 360 to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products.

With tuition costs rising faster than inflation, by the time our kid heads off to college tuition will be through the roof. It's never too early to start saving.

3 Tips to Start Saving Today

Designated "College" Bank Account
Whether you're currently expecting or just talking about it -- it's time to set up a designated "college fund" bank account and start making contributions today. The sooner you start saving the better even if it's only $100 a month. 

Savings Bonds/Mutual Funds/Investments
Investing in mutual funds puts a professional in charge of your savings so that you don't have to watch the markets daily. Encourage family and friends to purchase $25 savings bonds in lieu or as part of gifts.

Make Saving Fun

Once your child is old enough empower them to start thinking about their future. Recycle and save -- you'll teach them about being green and saving at the same it. Birthday money -- have the child keep a small portion and put the rest in a savings account. A piggy bank at your baby shower for change then keep adding your lose change at home. You would be amazed at how fast it adds up.

By saving now you are creating a peace of mind for yourself and your child's future. What are a few ways you are saving for your child or teaching them to save?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bump Update // 31 Weeks

How far along: 
31 weeks today -- Time is quickly flying by.

Baby's size:
She's the size of an pineapple and measuring up to 16.7 inches and 3.8 lbs. There was definitly a growth spurt this week! 

Weight gain: 
Last Friday I was at 13 pounds, but after a week at home and Thanksgiving I feel like I put on another five pounds. Back to crossfit next week! My belly definitely got bigger in just one week-- chalking it up to all the bad (but good) food I ate all week!

Food cravings: 

My mom made chocolate chips cookies and I just couldn't resist. Such a simple treat, but so good. 


Still sleeping great! I'm one lucky girl. At least a solid 8-9 hours nightly.

Team Pink {reveal}

TONS! Sometimes it seems like she's moving all day.

 Best moment this week:
Taking our maternity/holiday photos two weeks ago. I was only 29 weeks and wonder if we should have waited, but we can always have someone snap a few photos when we actually have snow on the ground. My baby shower in San Diego.

Miss anything? 
Mimosas Thanksgiving morning. Other than that not much.


Still maintaining and feeling lucky. CrossFit, spin and mostly walking and some running (only at CrossFit).  

Thanksgiving week -- lots of walking/hiking and tabata - push ups, squats & burpees.

Maternity Clothes?
Yes and no. I'm in the market for leggings I can wear now and after. I really don't want to buy any more Maternity clothes since I only have nine weeks left, but I need pants. I'l love my over sized sweaters and long tops with cardigans. 

Still a combo of happy and stressed. Just ready to be done.

Looking forward to: 
This might sound crazy, but I'm actually looking forward to it snowing. It's always nice to have a white Christmas. We're actually hosting "friends" Christmas dinner. I can't wait to finish the nursery. We ordered this rug in grey yesterday and scored it for 75% + an additional $15 off! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving.

May your day be full of family, laughs and delicious food.

I'm Thankful for a life full of health, love and happiness.

This guy. He's my rock, takes my shit and makes me laugh. He's going to be one amazing dad.

A baby on board and healthy pregnancy. I feel so lucky and fortunate I'm able to workout as hard and much as I have been the last six months. I know this isn't the case for everyone. 

What's Thanksgiving without family. I'm thankful my family is healthy. I'm especially proud of my dad -- in January he started a journey to get healthier and he's killed it. Although, he might not be going downhill he's back on his mountain bike!

Friends -- new and old. The Tahoe tribe is strong and I'm lucky to have a great circle. Just a few of the ladies I'm lucky to call friends. 

Home & Roxy girl. I'm thankful the hubby and I have a home we can call our own in Tahoe. Although, it's a work in progress it's ours. Roxy will always be our first baby dog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

His Christmas Wish List 2014

His Christmas Wish List

The last few years "His" gift guide was a combo of my hubby's picks and what I thought he might like. This year I completely let Nick make his christmas list (for the blog). This is what I gathered from Nicks list -- gift cards for clothes and golf/fishing gear. So what is he in the market for?

The hubby really got into golf this year. He actually uses my clubs. I love him, but it's funny when he pulls out the putter with a hot pink grip. It's time he starts building his own set. He's starting with a driver and putter. He's also in the market for shoes, gloves and some new clothes.

He's my outdoorsman and really enjoys fishing year round. A few items he's looking to add to the mix include: float tubewaders, retraceable fishing pole and auger extension -- among other things. 

Gift cards
Some people may think that gift cards are a bit impersonal, but for my guy they are perfect. Honestly this way he can pick out the exact fishing and golf gear he wants and likes.

The hubby had clothes on his list, but no direction. HA! I picked out these GAP pjs. They'll be perfect for the late night diaper changes :) I know he could use a few new t-shirts, shoes, and a hoodie/soft shell or puffy jacket.  I think he would look good in this, this, this and this.

What's on your man's wish list this year?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Baby M's Christmas Wish List 2014

Baby Christmas Wish List

I feel a little silly putting together a christmas wish list for our unborn baby, but I've had so much fun shopping for baby stuff that I just couldn't resist. With that said if it was our baby's first christmas these would definitely be on the list.

Let's face it buying girl clothes is just so fun! After our baby shower we're going to have one stylish kid. I'm in love with this and this from the baby gap. Seriously, how cute are these leggings

Freshly Picked is having a "Black Tuesday" sale today and mocks are only $45! You guessed it I'm eyeing a few pairs like these pink and gray ones. There are so many to choose from.

So she probably won't be playing with these for awhile, but I love how they promote learning.

It's never too early to start a library. I figured the "soft" books are perfect for the early days.

What's on your little one's wish list?

Linking up with Cheers Y'all

Monday, November 24, 2014

My San Diego Baby Shower

Yesterday was Baby M's first baby shower. My mom and step-mom hosted a beautiful lunch. Our baby is truly loved. Get ready for the photo overload -- you've been warned ;)

Clearly we're having a girl. The decor looked amazing and was full of fun DIY touches. My mom made the diaper tower -- how cute is that! One of the games was the "price is right." The goal was to guess what the total cost of everything was.

There were DIY details everywhere. How cute is this banner. 

Pom-poms and baby clothes!

The diaper station -- guests could leave a funny message or draw a picture for a good laugh later.

Baby's first piggy bank and college fund.

Drink station

The food was amazing and there were tons of "healthy" options.

With the two hostess with the mostess.

My sister and I.

Friends since middle school.

We received so many thoughtful gifts. I feel extremely lucky to have amazing people in our lives.

Baby UGGs!!

I've heard you can never have enough diapers...

If you follow me on instagram I'm sure you saw who she'll be cheering for!

I'm extremely thankful to have had a beautiful shower in my hometown. Our baby is definitely loved and she doesn't even know it yet. Opening all the adorable and girly clothes made it feel a lot more real. This girl is coming in two and a half months (fingers crossed)! I can't wait until everyone gets to meet her.

Linking up with Join the Gossip

Friday, November 21, 2014

Her Christmas Wish List 2014

Her Christmas Wish List

I love reading everyone's Holiday gift guides. Typically I wait until after Thanksgiving, but I thought I would post a few days early. I'm kicking it off with her wish list -- up next his wish list, stocking stuffer ideas and maybe even baby m's wish list.

Fitness is a big part of my life and some new threads will help motivate me before and post baby. I'm loving the thesethese and these. {size m}

After our bundle of joy arrives I have a feeling I'll start working out at home more. I really love using the TRX Suspension straps at the gym. They would be perfect for at home workouts. Kettlebells (15/20/25) are also on the list. Maybe I can even convince the hubby to build me a box for box jumps :)

Like workout clothes one can never have too many shoes. I love the mint green REEBOK Crossfit Nano 4.0.

With all the baby planning I started thinking about my hospital bag and what to pack. After labor I think a fresh pair of PJs is just what the doctor ordered. Plus tons of cuddle time. I'm eyeing these and these from Victoria Secret. This Will Leather Goods tote would be perfect for running errands and holding all the new mama stuff.

I'm a big fan of Sorels, but I love wearing UGGs in the fall and spring when it's not snowing. I think it's time for a new pair. {size 7}

Since I've been lusting over the Tiffany Arrow Necklace and wayfarer Ray-Ban sunglasses for awhile it's time they're on the list.

What's on your list this year?

Linking up with Cheers Y'all

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Baby it's Cold Outside // Upgrading our Fireplace and Saving Energy

Thank you PG&E for sponsoring this post. Follow PG&E on social for more useful energy efficiency tips to save money!
Green is the new black. It's a struggle, but we try to be as "green" as possible whether it is recycling, cleaning up local beaches or keeping our thermostat at 65 degrees -- every little bit helps.

Being energy efficient (or using less energy) is beneficial because:
    • Direct benefits
      • Financial: saves money
      • Productivity: saves time
      • Comfort: improves quality of life
    • Indirect benefits
      • Puts less strain on the grid (reduces outages)
      • Puts less strain on other natural resources (like water)
      • Reduces emissions that can harm the environment

PG&E offers consumers some great tips on warm weather, cold weather and everyday savings (broken down by no cost, low cost and investment solutions). Owning our home has allowed us to make adjustments and upgrades that help keep monthly bills low. Our biggest up front cost, but biggest long term energy saver was purchasing a wood insert.

When we purchased our house we knew this was an upgrade we were willing to invest in. There are many advantages to having a wood stove for your main heat source, or at least as a supplemental heater.  First is the fact that wood is cheaper to buy than other heating fuels.  With the hike in oil prices, propane gas is now one of the most expensive of fuels, and electricity has always been one of the most expensive ways to heat your home.

An open fireplace might be nice to sit next to, but it's an inefficient heating source. Plus, it can create high levels of smoke in your house. Enter the wood insert or stove. A energy-saving wood insert transforms your existing fireplace into to to a very efficient fireplace. It can even cut your bills up to 40% (depending on house size, insert, climate, etc.)!

Our fireplace before installing the Jotul C 550 wood insert.

Aside from adding a wood insert we painted the brick and added a reclaimed wood mantel.

Each summer we start prepping for winter by collecting 2-4 cords of woods. We actually collect rounds and spilt the wood ourselves. Oh, there's no axe involved -- we barrow a gas splitter from a friend. Then there's the stacking aspect. The goal is to collect and split early in the summer. Then stack in the fall once the split wood has had a chance to dry.

It's been three years since we purchased the wood insert and we're extremely happy. It has paid for itself. Since the wood insert is energy-saving we even received a $300 rebate on our taxes! Winning.

Other energy saving upgrades we've made include:
  • Replacing single pane aluminum windows with double pane vinyl windows.
  • Purchasing insulating blinds/curtains
  • Adding insulation under the house
  • Upgrading appliances -- washer/dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator and stove
  • Using CFL bulbs
Future energy goals include:
  • Upgrading to a tankless water heater
  • Requesting a energy audit from our electric company
  • Utilizing PG&E's Money Saver Tool to plan upgrades and research rebates offered
Tips from PG&E:
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Healthier Dessert Options from Whole Foods Market

{Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Northern California's Whole Foods Market. Although I received product for review opinions are 100 % my own.} 

There are two things I can't pass up -- a good sweaty workout and dessert.  So when Whole Foods Market came knocking and asked if I wanted to try a few new dessert items I couldn't resist. As we approach the holidays I've continued to maintain my workout schedule, but am really trying to watch my sweets in take. Enter Whole Foods "healthier" options. I'm still able to indulge in a craving, but without over doing it. Alright, let's dig in.

Caramel Pears

So the caramel might have melted a little in the car ride home and my dog might have managed to eat the "tuxedo" half-- oops, but OMG -- This pear was unreal. Dipped in caramel then two types of chocolate it was a "healthy" party in my mouth. A tad on the rich side for me, but it's perfect for sharing. I sliced the half that wasn't touched and stored it in the refrigerator. Over the course of a few days I enjoyed a slice here and there. I  recommend buying a fews and slicing them up for your next get together.

WMF Details: Caramel pears are the new caramel apples. Surprise your fruit-loving guests with  these perfectly-ripened pears, covered with toppings like Walnut Caramel, Sea Salt Caramel, Pistachio Caramel, and Tuxedo (Dark and White Chocolate) Caramel. Only available through fall and made by our in-house bakers, get them while they last! MSRP: $3.99/each

Coconut World Organic Coconut Jam 

I definitely didn't know what to expect and honestly was a little scared. Preggos likes avocado on her toast in the morning. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised. I don't even know how to describe it other than awesome. When I first opened the jar I thought oh that's going to be hard to spread, but my knife cut through it like butter. It spread across my toast as though it was meant to be. The taste wasn't what I expected, but then I really didn't know what to expect. It was so creamy and tasted like milky coconut with a hint of caramel. 

WFM Details: Made from just coconut milk and coconut syrup, coconut jam offers benefits of coconut milk and the low glycemic index of coconut syrup. We think it’s delicious on toast or fruit slices, melted in oatmeal, or as a filling in baked goods. Additionally, Coconut World brings sustainable social and economic development opportunities to families in the Philippines. MSRP: $11.39/16 oz.

Madhava Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Brownie Mix 

My husband couldn't wait to make these. I'm not kidding. The same day we picked up the brownies he insisted on making them. We actually spruced up the brownies by adding walnuts and sewi-sweet chocolate chips! Living at altitude we also added flour to the mix. Well they were utter perfection. You would never know they were organic. I personally like the brand madhava and have enjoyed their agave nectar syrup for awhile. We'll definitely buy this brownie mix in the future.

WFM Details: Madhava Natural Sweeteners has been creating delicious sweetness since 1973 – using only pure honey, agave nectar, and now organic coconut sugar. The ooey-gooey chocolate brownie mix is organic and made with ancient grains (spelt, KAMUT®, farro), cane sugar, coconut sugar, vanilla and salt. MSRP: $5.99

There you have it, a few healthier options to enjoy this season. What are your favorite treats to pick up at Whole Foods?

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Happy Monday! 
I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Winter is quickly approaching and I'm savoring the last days of fall --  weather and seasonal flavors like pumpkin! This weekend we were busy baking, walking the dog and taking our maternity/holiday photos! Our photos should be ready in a few weeks. Hopefully my barely there baby bump is noticeable :)

Some how we ended up with five extremely ripe bananas. Instead of freezing them for smoothies we made three loafs of bread -- classic banana bread and pumpkin banana bread! I say we because Nick was my sous chef! He's the best.

Last year I made Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips and it was insanely delicious. I tried to convince the hubby to add chocolate chips to the pumpkin banana bread, but he wanted to keep it simple. It's a good thing I listened to him the banana and pumpkin combo was pure perfection! So moist and full of flavor.

Pumpkin Banana Bread {via}
Makes two loafs

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can (15 oz.) Pure Pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 medium) very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, bananas and vegetable oil in large mixer bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture; stir in nuts.  Split between two prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Additional Blogger Notes 
For high altitude we added 1/3 cup flour and cooked for an hour and 15 minutes. We also used pecans instead of walnuts. Tip: Freeze one for later and enjoy one now.

Linking up with Join the Gossip, Lisa Loves John and Hun What's for Dinner