Spaghetti Squash – Who Knew How Amazing it Could Be!

I had an epiphany last night.  A spaghetti squash epiphany.  For 47 hears I’ve walked this earth and not once has a piece of spaghetti squash crossed my lips.  Not even one little piece!

Spaghetti Squash

And then this happened.  This plate of deliciousness magically appeared on my kitchen table (well, magically after about 50 minutes of cooking!) and I can safely say that our spaghetti eating days will never be the same.

Oh, I’ve heard the raving of spaghetti squash for years.  I’ve seen the infomercials for the Veggetti (and even bought my sister-in-law one for Christmas a couple of years ago) but I didn’t jump on the band wagon.  Maybe it’s my desire to march to my own beat.  Maybe I like staying with the tried and true.  Whatever the case, I was NOT jumping on the veggies instead of spaghetti train for nothing.

Sigh, and then you stop out of your comfort zone.  In our box this week from Plated.com was a dish called Spaghetti Squash Amatriciana  with Crispy Pancetta.  I was a little iffy when I saw it was going to be in the box and truth be told, if there was an option that I thought would be better I’d have picked it.  In fact, the crispy pancetta was the only reason I even considered keeping it.

Why We Splurged on New Wedding Bands

New Wedding Ring_WWIN

At the beginning of each year I set goals as to where we plan to spend our money.  Some years it’s a big family vacation, sometimes it’s big projects around the house.  Very rarely (OK – never) is the plan to spend a big chunk just on myself.

Last year though, we totally blew our plan so that Mike and I could get new wedding bands.  While I say it was a splurge and that we blew our original plan (both true) this large expenditure was not done on a whim.  We had been looking (and saving what we could) for years for a new ring for me.

Let me give you some background.  Neither one of us wore our original wedding rings.  My original ring didn’t fit anymore and I personally didn’t like it very much (I know that some of you will find that horrible – it is what it is).  Mike didn’t wear his because of work, the gym, it was outdated, etc.  The fact that neither of us wore our rings didn’t bother either one of us because while many people view their rings as a sacred symbol of their love, both of us view our actions within our marriage as more important than a physical symbol.  What did bother Mike was that I didn’t have a ring that I loved.  He felt that after being married for 23 years I should have a ring that I absolutely loved.

While I’ve wanted a ring for a while (and we’ve looked and looked and looked), I didn’t find one that I absolutely loved, one that spoke to my heart.  I’m one of those people that if I don’t love it I’d rather do without.  Why spend money on something that’s only “just OK”?  The other problem was the budget, the rings I did like were more than we wanted to spend.

On our last cruise (almost two years ago)  I found a ring that I really liked, for $40.  Of course it was costume jewelry but I decided to buy it anyway.  This was the perfect way for me to decide if this was the kind of ring I wanted.  After wearing it for a while we decided to start looking at real wedding rings again.

Over the years we’ve looked at hundreds of rings, unfortunately I’m not exaggerating, without finding anything I liked.  Since I now knew at least the style that I wanted, shopping for a ring was a little easier.  We went to a local jewelry store we hadn’t stopped at before and found the ring that we both fell in love with immediately.  Mike actually found the ring first and said “that’s the ring I want you to have”.  Slight problem – the price.  I have trouble spending money on myself.  Yes, I know I’m worth it but since we’re not rolling in the dough it just seems (to me at least) that the prudent thing to do is to spend extra money improving the house, doing something for the family, etc.

Instead of buying the ring then, I decided to keep looking.  Maybe I could find the ring cheaper somewhere else.  We also decided to amp up our savings since we had an actual dollar amount in mind .  After looking at A LOT more stores and various rings without finding one we liked as much we decided to get the one I fell in love with.

So, eight months after we first found the ring (I told you – this was a very emotional decision for me!) we went back and bought it.  We used the money from the ring fund as well as some bonus money and our tax refund.  Fortunately my negotiating skills paid off since I was able to get quite a bit knocked off the original price which allowed us to buy Mike a new wedding band as well.

While we do still need new windows, I enjoy having a nice piece of jewelry.  The best part however, is the joy that Mike gets out of seeing me wear a ring that we both love as well as now having a ring of his own that he enjoys wearing.  I truly didn’t understand how important buying these rings was to him and that I was robbing him of some of the job by making such a big deal out of not spending the money.  Sometimes we get so wrapped in our desire to be frugal we forget how much it can mean that we accept a gift when it has so much more meaning to the giver.

 

 

Things I Love – Pedicures

Photo courtesy of healingdream

With summer here it’s pedicure time.  While I really don’t love actually getting the pedicures because my feet are horrible ticklish,  I do love how they make my feet look.  My opinion is pedicures are pretty much a must in the summer if you are a sandal wearer but they don’t need to be done professionally or require colored nail polish even though I am a sucker for deep red.

Here’s why I love pedicures:

  • Your feet get a clean, polished look.  A must have in my book whenever you wear sandals.
  • A flower painted on your big toe gives you a little sassy flair.
  • Easy inexpensive DIY project – I’ll be sharing shortly the proper way to give yourself a pedicure.  This can make a fun activity for your daughter’s next sleep over.
  • They make great gifts – to either get or give
  • Pedicures make for a great cross generational activity.  My grandmother loves getting her feet done as does my daughter.  Whenever we visit my grandma we make a trip to the nail salon for a four generation nail day.

Do you prefer to do your own pedicures or get them done at a salon?  What’s your favorite polish color?

If you like this post you might also enjoy the some other posts in this series:

Wall Words
Gladware
Just Dance
100 Things About Me

Things I Love – Wen Hair Care

For those of you with teenage daughters you know how they are starting to really get into beauty care, my daughter is no different.  Last summer she started hounding me that she wanted to try Wen.  I was not going to spend that kind of money on her but I did put it on her Christmas list. 

When she opened the bottle of Wen on Christmas morning she was pretty excited.  However, when she started using it she really didn’t like it.  My daughter’s hair if very long and she felt that it made her hair greasy, I wasn’t a huge fan either so it sat for a while in the shower without being used.

One day we ran out of shampoo, since I had $50 worth of Wen (yes – I bought the big bottle) sitting in the shower I decided that I was going to use that until I could get to the store and buy more shampoo.  Surprisingly I found that I really liked it the second time I tried it.

Here is what I like about it:

  • Saves time – Before I used both a shampoo and a conditioner which took twice the amount of time in the shower that Wen does.  I put it on, wash my face and then rinse. 
  • Leaves my hair healthy – I color my hair and as I get older it has been feeling incredibly dry.  I have tried expensive salon shampoos and cheaper regular shampoos and haven’t found any brand that leaves my hair as soft as Wen.
  • Natural ingredients – I feel like there is so much ‘stuff’ in everything that we use, if I can weed out some of these ingredients I like to do that.

I know that this product is a little expensive but sometimes I think spending more money on a product is sometimes worth it.  I go as long as I can betwee haircuts so having a product that keeps my hair healthy is worth it.

Things I Love – Wall Words

A few years ago a friend of mine had an Uppercase Living party and I fell in love – with wall words that is.  I actually booked my own party (which I really hate doing) because I wanted to buy more than I already had.  I’ve pretty much maxed out the walls on my house with words but I’m pretty happy with the results.

Why do I love wall words?

  • Meaningful phrases – I try to pick phrases that give me pause and force me to think about what’s important, kind of like putting life’s instructions on the wall
  • Fun – My daughter had fun picking out her words, she feels like she had the chance to really make her room her own
  • Easy – I’m not allowed to do any painting in our house (Yes – I’m that bad) but this is easy enough that even I can do it
  • Removable – Since these are easily removed I could add this to my wall at work personalizing my space a little bit
  • Looks cool – I like they way they look!

Here are some of the different areas that I’ve added them.  I apologize for the pictures – not the best lighting.

                                                                             Kitchen

Danielle’s Room (the green wall really isn’t as ugly as it looks here!)

Bottom of the steps into the basement

Grown-Up Family Room

Our Bedroom

Do you have any decorating ideas that you went crazy with?

Things I Love – Just Dance 2

Every so often I feel the need to write about something that I REALLY love.  Just to note – I am getting absolutely no compensation for this, just sharing a particular items that I enjoy. 

Right now one of the things that I love best is the Just Dance 2 game for the Nintendo Wii.  My daughter received it for Christmas and we have been having a lot of fun with it.  Here’s what I love about it.

1)  It’s something we can do as a family.  Mostly it’s just my daughter and I playing it but seeing my husband (who has no rhythm) dance to “Proud Mary” really made me giggle.  Especially since his score was higher than hers.
2)  The songs are a a lot of fun and there is something for everyone.  The music selection covers every generation.  We’ve had my mother and father in law up there dancing with us.
3)  This is the one way to get me to exercise.  I get bored with the treadmill and bike but I find that I can easily dance for 30 minutes.  According to my arm band I reach the “vigorous” activity stage when I do it which should = lots of calories!
4)  This game brings out my competitive spirit.  I love going through all the songs and taking over the high score whenever my daughter beats me.  The need to be ‘the best’ keeps me coming back time after time.

If you have a Wii game console I would recommend this game as some good family entertainment.