Friday, September 30, 2011

Jasper Getaway 2011, Day One: Jasper Brewing Company Review!

Ahhh... It's 10:30pm, my feet are up, the TV is on, my husband is sitting beside me, feet up, relaxing. This is our first night in the sweetest little hotel suite at the Best Western Jasper. It is a loft queen suite with kitchenette, fireplace and balcony!

I mentioned on my Menu Plan for last week that we were going to sample a series of restaurants and since JNP is my favourite place on Earth, I wanted to share with you our weekend away and share with you all the wondrous things we are experiencing!

As we approached the park gates, my husband spotted our first wild life! After a dash across the highway and shimmying down an embankment, The Moose dashed out of the bush and turned and looked at us!


For dinner, we had planned to go to Jasper Brewing Company. I wanted a casual, relaxed place to eat tonight - something simple, tasty and spirited.

Initially, it wasn't really clear if we were to seat ourselves - finally, I did see a sign and we found our way to a table.

Once seated, the waiter appeared shortly to take our bar order. Being it is a specialty brew house, beer was on 'tap'. My husband selected the "Honey Bear" brew and I queried the waiter on a beer that didn't have a strong after taste.

He recommended one, however, I have to admit, he kind of left a bad aftertaste. He was curt, short and not at all pleasant - or even very helpful. He left and came back about 10 minutes later to take our dinner order.

We decided on the Sucker Punch Nachos for our appetizer and the Bacon Cheddar Burger (with fries) and the Cream Ale Battered Fish & Chips.

The nachos came quickly and were absolutely amazing. The fresh, in house made salsa was the highlight. Just the right amount of spice, flavour and it was easy to taste the fresh, high quality ingredients. The cheese and toppings were plentiful and the chips were fresh, light and not at all greasy. We happy munched away and both our beer selection complimented and highlighted the flavours perfectly.

Our dinners arrived before finishing the nachos - which was fine with us. Eager to sample the food, we both started immediately. The presentation was cool - the chips were in a checked paper wrapper in a coiled-metal stand and the fish, dark and rich in colour, lay on more checked paper. On the side was a dish of coleslaw and their fresh made tartar sauce. My husbands fries were presented in the same way with the burger laying happily beside it - dressed with a queen sized green olive (much to his dismay and my delight).

We both started eating - but first I had to "push" on the fish. It was ripe with oil - oozing out of the batter. I could see the paper was already soiled so I knew what to expect. I tasted the coleslaw - and promptly wished I hadn't. It mostly tasted like old cellar. I pushed it aside and tried a fry. They too were rather oil-laden and we were unable to resolve whether they were hand cut potatoes or cleverly disguised preformed French fries. The taste wasn't quite good enough to be the former but they were hot, appropriately salted and a reasonable accompniment to our pub fair.

My husband reported his burger as "dry". He said it had all the hallmarks of a top quality burger - handmade patty, fresh toppings and a nice bun but it was just not quite to the calibur he was expecting. Being we were in such a fantastic brewhouse, he had been expecting more from the burger. And frankly, I had decided on this restaurant because burgers are his favourite and I thought what better place to have a burger than a brew house. Over all, he thought it was "fine" - and as far as restuarant burgers go, it was probably one of the better ones he had eaten but was just as good as it could have been.

The fish - all the oil aside (I wasn't expecting it to be "dry" - it's deep fried fish, for goodness sakes, but I do expect the kitchen to "blot" some of the oil before serving. I had a pool of oil on the paper and had to continually move around the fish so it wasn't sitting in the newest puddle) was good.

The interior was 'doughy' - not raw or under-cooked, just too much mush from too much batter. I ended up cutting open the fish and scraping some of the mush out.

Once I did this and could taste it, I have to say it was, without one single doubt, the best tasting battered fish I have ever eaten. The batter was amazing - tasty in a way I've never experienced and the tartar sauce? Absolute perfection. I do think, however, the batter would be better suited to a firmer fleshed fish.

The ambiance was OK. It was pretty quiet - but we are in the "off season" so it was expected. The place is dark, I'm not a huge fan of dark restaurants and I would see older clientele having issues navigating the place (occupational hazard - being an interior designer, I see things from a bit of a different perspective). It's moderately noisy but being we chose to sit in the dining room, I think we were spared some of the loud, bar going patrons.

The service... Well, it was an experience. The waiter was not chatty (which I do appreciate, I'm not going to ever be your bestie and I don't care for idle chatter from someone I'm never going to see again) but some interaction may have been nice.

I also wasn't impressed with his "Ahhh... F&^&k." comment as he watched another patron enter the dining room. He was standing right at our table when he said it and, well, if we'd had our son with us, I would have left and complained severely to the manager. He was "surly" for certain and actually didn't speak to us - until he happened to notice me taking notes. But he quickly disappeared and had to be flagged down to get any additional service.

So... Jasper Brewing Company 624 Connaught Drive, Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Overall, it was good. The beer was very good, the food was reasonable and the tab (with tip) was $100 CDN for two (including 5 drinks). The service - I have hard time saying "it was bad" - because really, it wasn't. He brought us what we wanted but it was the odd silence and lack of any conversation that disturbed me. The setting - Rustic Mountain decor - cavernous and dark and not suitable for romance, but a light, positive atmosphere.

Out of Five Stars, we would give it:

Tomorrow, we have 6 o'clock reservations for Evil Dave's!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Short week, tasty treat!

The past few weeks have been a bit of a nightmare around house... I've been sick and meals have kind of been a last minute toss together (and yes, they were planned). I don't remember the last time we did a proper grocery shop and I haven't posted my menu (on our fridge) in months.

But with a new season comes renewed fervour to get my act together. This last go-round of being sick has reminded me why health is so important... That and my pants are too snug...

This coming week, however, is not the week I will be starting any diet. My wonderful husband and I are heading out of town for a FABULOUS four day, three night stay in Jasper National Park. We will be celebrating his birthday, our love (I tried to convince him to renew our vows but he wasn't as inspired)and a "kid free" weekend. Although as I type that, it makes me sad to think of spending all that time without my kids (furry or otherwise)! TroubleMaker will be having a fun time with his Memere and will get to spend a day with his Indiana Nana and Great Grampa Jack - his great grandparents have not seen him since he was 12 weeks old! Since Memere and TroubleMaker will be at our house, I want to ensure Memere gets the most of her time with her grandson and doesn't have to worry too much about preparing dinners so I'm taking the liberty of preplanning and preparing some 'ready made' meals for them to enjoy!

September 19 to 25
Monday Taco Casserole
Tuesday Spanish Chicken and Rice
Wednesday Crockpot Meatballs & gravy with Egg Noodles
Thursday Perogies

Friday Jasper Brewing Company
Friday YOYO (you are on your own)

Saturday Evil Dave's
Saturday Chicken Nuggets and French Fries with carrots and summer trees

Sunday North Face Pizza or The L&W Restaurant or Cassio's
Sunday Tortellini with meat sauce - FtF (From the Freezer)

We've got a kitchenette suite at the Best Western Jasper so some of our food will be staged there. Our plan is to do some photography, hiking, sightseeing and visit the Miette Hot Springs. So i will be taking along some basics for us - muffins, fruit, juice, coffee to have "in room". But I really wanted to try some of the other places in Jasper that I've seen 1000 times but never tried... I'm hoping to pick up coffee and pastries one morning at The Bear's Paw and maybe we'll grab a sandwich at Patricia Street Deli. While cruising around looking for places to try, I came across a Jasper based coffee roaster, Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters! While I know I've purchased and had their coffee, I don't think I knew they were located in Jasper - my favourite place on Earth! So, back to Nutters I'll go and pick up some of their delish beans so I can bring a memory or two home with us!

It's going to be a good week and I'm looking forward to our trip and our time together! I also don't mind the ability to let my eyes do the cooking! Have a great week and thank you so much for stopping by! Take care and be sure to check out the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday for more great meal ideas and menu planning resources!

Friday, September 23, 2011

52 Week Challenge: Week 38, Take Two

Ok. In all honesty, I had a completely different post written for this week. I was having a brag about my awesome new studio space and all the super cool storage I'd created for it.

But then I read Laura's post.

And although I can't be sure, I'm quite certain my husband had some direct influence on her post. It's a conspiracy, I know... And both will likely deny it, but I know - just as Laura knows her family moves her stuff so she can't find it - that it has to be.


Well, I've likely already spent my 121 hours searching for stuff... And that's just the past six months.

Things I've Lost Today (Friday, September 23):
  • purse
  • cell phone
  • house keys
  • purse again
  • water bottle
  • knife
  • spoon

And today was a good day.

On Tuesday, I lost my bus pass, missed six buses and was 45 minutes late for work. Although I've not yet lost my corporate identification badge, I have misplaced it a few times - the worst time was when it was buried under a pile of crap on my desk.

Laura asked a few questions, that I must again reiterate, have certainly been influenced by my husband... Let's examine them.

So this week’s challenge is this:
  • Identify one item that you seem to constantly be looking for. I’m curious to know what it is.
  • Identify a “home” for it that makes the most sense for you. Try this tactic…ask yourself “if this item was lost, where would be the first place I’d look for it?” Maybe that’s a good place to create a permanent home? Pay attention to how you think.
  • Consistently put said item back when done with it. Ahh that’s the kicker but so worth it!
  • Commit to giving yourself at least 20 days to build this new habit.
  • Relax and be less stressed!

1. What am I always losing? Everything. Purse, wallet, inhaler, keys. Screwdrivers, hammers, measuring tape(s), seam rippers. If it can be misplaced, I will do it... Trust me, I don't think there is a thing I own that I haven't lost... Except for our house and my sewing machines and our son.

2. I always have a home for stuff. My problem is I very often forget where. Hence why I lose so much stuff (and so frequently). My purse/wallet is likely the one I misplace the most but in my defense, I switch bags a lot. I have a messenger bag I carry to and from work and a purse I use for non work trips. I always move the wallet back and for but neither bag has a "home", per se. I try to put them in front of the appliance cupboard but they get in the way. If I had to pick a new home, I will pick the back entrance - but once it's renovated as currently, there isn't any room (my husband is Mr Marcos when it comes to shoes and jackets).

So, for the sake of argument (and this post), I will pick my... Wrist watch. I know, it's a weird thing to lose but I do - all the time (no pun intended).

3. Put stuff back... I do! My husband and son move it just to mess with me! Or maybe it is that I think I put it away - sometimes I even have visions of me doing it but when I return to where I think I put it, it isn't there...

My wrist watch will always be put on my bedside table.

4. Twenty days... Check back mid October and I'll let you know how I made out!

I commit to:

Putting my wrist watch on my bedside table every night when I get home from work. No more dumping it in the breadbox, kitchen counter, table or purse (or pocket - where I think it is now). I will make a commitment to walk the 30 steps from the back door to the bedroom to put it away. If I can't, I will leave it on my wrist until such time that I can make the trip to our room.

5. Relax and be less stressed. Ya, cause having to do something for 20 days in a row is going to cause me less stress!

Oh... You mean after the 20 days and I've built the habit... Okay, I'll try it then!

In all seriousness, I know what Laura is suggesting makes perfect sense. I know I waste an incredible amount of my time, my husband's time and certainly my son's time hunting for my stuff. In all likeliness, I'm quite certain many people in my life have spent many of their 121 hours looking for my stuff.

Fact: In high school, my two best friends had keys to my car because I could never find them when we were going out. It became easier to let my friend's have keys so we could actually make it out the door in time.

Part of my reason for participating in the 52 Week challenge was so that I could spend more time living and less time hunting, cleaning and trying to find stuff. I know my husband has the patience of a saint - he has too living with me. I can never find anything (ask me to find my glue gun - it hasn't been seen since 2007) and it drives me crazy - I can't begin to imagine how it affects the lives of those around me.

One of my famous tag lines from my old job was "Have you seen my??? Oh... Never mind, here it is. It was in the wrong pile!"

I don't want to spend another 121 hour looking for stuff. I can most certainly use those five days in a much better fashion - so today, it's my wrist watch... Tomorrow? Who knows? With these helpful hints and a potential plan of action, anything is possible!

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the encouragement and even a little public ridicule... At least I wouldn't mind seeing this on the six o'clock news!

PS For what is worth, I am always surprised when I lose something for I am always certain I put it away. The End.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We-Design-Day: Progress!

Well, at long last, our space is nearing completion. We are still in the dark and we haven't upgraded the power as needed, but I am starting the long journey of unpacking and rehousing all my stuff. This will probably be one of the toughest things I've done (short of packing up the room in the first place).

I have lots of stuff. So much so that I don't know half of what I have anymore. I've purged many things but there are lots of boxes and bins to go through and I have to get them to fit in a very small and confined space. Part of this fills me with anxiety - I love my craft stuff and the things I have parted with has been very difficult. Mostly because I keep seeing all these awesome craft ideas I want to do with the things I've parted with!

However, given my sister's incredible talent, I think the paint went to a very good home!


Design Tips Being an interior designer has taught me to be flexible and to often change things on the fly. Whether it's a new building, a gut and renovate or even a simple revamp, being flexible and having a willingness to compromise is essential.

It's ok to have a dream and to work towards it, but sometimes, design - as it happens in life - is subject to change.

the storage in the studio is a prime example. I need lots of storage. More correctly, in order to keep all the stuff I have, I need lots of storage. But I bought this unit from Ikea and I love it - but it doesn't work in the area I purchased it for... So, I decided (for the moment) to not finish the upper half of the salvaged cabinet (at this point - yes, honey, that means we have to find room for it in your garage).


I just love the way the Expedit unit looks on the refurbished unit! And this allows me room to put up my Bygel rails and a cork board!

I also got to work a bit on the office area. Above the rail, we are going to get a tack board and make a secondary family command centre. I want to gang the tables together and we so need a new chair!


Things are coming together and I'm excited to see it all fit... Assuming we get the lights done... ;) Thank you for stopping by and we'll see you again next week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tis a Scurvy Mon'ay, we be plannin', Mateys!

Arrrrr ye all pirate fans, I be planning a Piratey Menu Plan Mon'ay in honour of "International Speak like a Pirate Day".

I will not, however, be looking at anymore genuine pirate recipes while eating lunch... Pirates lived at sea without refridgerators and pirates did not eat nutritionally balanced meals. Planning a Pirate Inspired meal for tonight did not happen because, me mateys, I have a weak stomach and TroubleMaker is too young to drink copious amounts of rum.

September 19 to 25
Monday Pirate Party! Menu to be "finger food" only (pigs in a blanket, veggies n dip and fruit kebabs with Little Dipper Crock Pot Fondue)
Tuesday Chicken Club Burgers
Wednesday Boys Nite In! (dance class night for me) KD & Fish sticks
Thursday Hamburgers n chips
Friday Grilled Steak with Caesar Salad and French Bread
Saturday Assorted Sub Sandwiches
Sunday Grilled Chicken with Grilled Vegetables

PS It's supposed to be in the high, high 20's this coming week (thanks for showing up, Summer, but you're a season behind) so I am going to get one good hurrah out of our barbecue before the snow flies!

Thanks for stopping by and for more great menu ideas, check out all of us sharing over at the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! See you again next week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

All the things I need to know, I learned from my three year old...

Today, I took TroubleMaker shopping. My husband gave me the "get rested" speech as I'm several days into this cold and I'm not much better than the first day... So, I shopped.

I am not a shopper. I like the idea of shopping but I dislike the throngs of people and routing through a bunch of stuff I don't want in hopes of finding what I do want. I also get annoyed that the stores I want to go to are so far apart.

But this is about TroubleMaker, not me.

First, we went to PetSmart to get Max some Greenies. We had to look at the fish (the catfish were most confusing to him) and the rodents (Mommy, where are the bunnies?) and the birds. He liked the lizards and thankfully didn't ask to bring anything home.

We then went to a big box craft store. They had a sale if you had a coupon. I had the coupon. TroubleMaker rode in the cart. He liked this but he was annoyed that I was not buying him toys.

TroubleMaker's First Shopping Cart Ride_October 2008

We then went to the bank and then a mall. We had snacks. He ate a hot dog and we shared (via different straws) an Strawberry Julius. He much preferred today's Julius to the orange ones I made yesterday.

He asked me 17 times if his school was open. I can only hope his enthusiasm lasts through University.

We went to the fabric store but only after he informed me this "Mall does not have a fab-ick store." He admitted he was mistaken a few minutes later. Our trip was short - I had a negative reaction from the weekly Methotrexate injection and he just wouldn't stay near me. A fabric store is a dangerous place for a child. All that clean and a mustard and ketchup laden face...

We raced home. He brought in the spider.

Wait, I didn't mention the spider did I?Our 'spider' is much, much, much bigger.

I introduced him to Pick Up Sticks. I was amazed by the simplicity of the game. He liked picking up all the red ones and didn't care for the rules. Once that got boring, we began assembling ramps. As I tried to explain the finer nuances of leveling the ramps so the cars could race down them - the gaps and the bumps would stop them.

He raised his little fist in the air and said "I KNOW WHAT CAN DO IT!"

We spent the next hour racing the monster trucks down our make-shift racing ramp! We laughed and giggled and had a fantastic afternoon of silliness! He loves things that go fast and he has no concern for logic or reason or the 'right' way to play. He only knows that makes him happy and what makes him mad.

I over heard him telling Max about the catfish. Funny he didn't think to tell Tsarina (our cat) about the catfish. Perhaps he thought the irony would be lost on her.

We had a simple supper - nachos loaded with lots of peppers and cheese. He had to help - when I said "No" he lost it and begged and cried at my feet to help me make dinner... Again, this is something I hope will carry forward!

I gave him a bath, we snuggled and he bugged me relentlessly. He told me that he just couldn't get enough of me. When I looked at his little face - his beautiful blue eyes and fluttery eyelashes, his cheeky smile and I see his personality sparkling in his face, I am amazed.

First day of playschool

He came from me. He is a part of me. He is the truest treasure I've ever known and I know if I had to live one second of my life without him in it, it would not be a life worth living.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Organizing: The things your mama didn't tell you about organizing

Forgive me, Laura, for it has been six weeks since I last organized anything...

When I get sidetracked, it really does take over. I have lots of things left on my list (to organize) and I keep discovering new areas I never thought about organizing. Like my bathroom drawers or the spice cabinet that still vexes me...

This week I got sick... Really sick. Pounding head, sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, yucky feverish, sick. Why do I tell you this? You see, when I get feverishly sick, I do strange things. I once cut off all my long, dark hair in a fevered frenzy three days before prom... I've been known to make rash decisions as well (like going back to school - quitting my full time job and applying to college without really saying a word to my loving and totally understanding husband)...

This time, I organized. Technically, it started on Tuesday, TroubleMaker's first day of school. With two hours to kill and a sore throat, I decided to try to sort out the mess that is...

My recipe book area... Before

Which led to cleaning the bread box.

And my cooking magazines. Before

And my recipe papers. During

My dresser (again)... After

TroubleMaker's toys (again)... After

My paint kit...
I didn't take a picture of this - mostly because the fan decks were spread throughout the house... Upstairs, downstairs... Now they are happily reunited and sitting happily on their new home so I can find them again.

When I get my mind on something, I can get kind of obsessed... It's about finding a system that works... You would not believe how often that runs through my brain these days. It is obvious my systems don't work. I've been at this Organizing thing for weeks now and it would appear I'm not further ahead than I was back in January... Except now I have more things to obsess about...

But... A System that Works... What does that mean?


That's the breadbox and my 'recipe station' After. I'm proud to point out that there is now room for bread in the breadbox. Additionally, that basket is filled with tomatoes from our garden! I hear they are delicious!

What works for me? Well, I've managed to keep all my recipes in a binder for over a year... Which means I no longer spend 15 minutes routing through a huge stack of print-offs trying to find the recipe for Beef Stroganoff... The problem I did have was that my binder was too small and I have a habit of being a bit of a messy cook and frequently dumped stuff on my papers. So, I thought I'd try page protectors (and a bigger binder).

I now have two three inch binders - one filled with all my cooking magazines (in page protectors, thank you very much) and one with my recipes. Sorted by meal - and further refined by type. There is some room to expand and everything is nice and tidy! This is one system that has worked and will continue to work for me!

I also realized that something a friend said to me a while back was too true. She said her husband was always on her case for her mess... And she couldn't ever figure out how her piles got so big and her office such a disaster. As we talked we both discovered that all too often, our piles weren't created totally by us and more often than not, a good majority of it belongs to our children (and even our darling husbands).

My dresser was a true testament to that. It was piled high and toppling over... But not with my stuff. Story books and toys. My son likes his books and his cars! So I'm going to try and change the way we see his toys and books - since I am naturally lax about putting away my own things, I think it has rubbed off on TroubleMaker. So, since I'm big into role modelling appropriate behaviour, it's time for Mama to get off her duff!

Thanks for stopping by - I'm back on the Organizing Junkie's Train and hoping I can keep it up! Stop back soon, I love having you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We-Design-Day: An Introduction to Ergonomics

With the first We-Design-Day project nearing completion, it is time to start looking at how to make the new 'family' computer workstation usable, friendly and organized. The office space in the studio will be used by all of us. Me, my husband and TroubleMaker. Additionally it is likely that visitors will use the station as well (to check email or surf).

It is open to the rest of our family room so the space is always in view and always accessible. This is a risky endeavor for me. As some of you may have come to realize, I am... Well, I'm a clutter bug. I attract clutter like honey attracts bees. It doesn't seem to matter how often I purge and organize, whenever I turn around, more clutter and piles have appeared and I never can quite figure out how. Well, I have a theory, but I don't quite understand how bunnies could be responsible...

We have limited layout space. We have one 24"x39" table butted up to a 24"x60" table. This is our flat work surface. I also have a 24"x39" table on castors to wheel around when extra space is required - at tax time and my husband's company year end. I just have to make sure I don't pile it three apples high with papers!

There are a few things a person can employ when designing their own work space. Now, I know the tables I purchased and our existing chair aren't exactly perfect specimens of ergonomically designed furniture but with other devices, we can work to make the space more comfortable and usable.

Keep in mind the people who will be working in the space and these considerations:
1. How tall are the users?
2. Do they were glasses? (Bi or trifocals will also add another level of complication)

A workstation can be flexible and adaptable. Adjusting chair height and the position of the monitor can often be enough to make a station usable for people of varying heights and sizes.

Posture is a key concern, especially when one spends much time at a computer. Ergonomically, often the correct position is uncomfortable as we've become so accustomed to having poor working posture. The rule of thumb is:
The computer workstation should allow you to sit with:

  • head held upright to follow the curve of the spine
  • arms held horizontally with an approximately 90-degree angle at the elbow
  • wrists in neutral position
  • thighs parallel to the floor so that the hip angle is 90-degrees
  • feet should be supported by a foot rest or the floor so that there is a 90-degree angle at the ankle

As a right-handed person but a left-hounded mouser, I can also tell you it is essential to ensure your forearm is supported while using the mouse. Avoid pressure on the wrist - those gel wrist rests are garbage - toss them out! I spent a good long while drafting at a kitchen table on a plastic lawn chair (in a design office, no less) and it trashed my arm.

I've been asked about office chairs. I've specified chairs for a variety of people and at a variety of price points. Chairs, like footwear, glasses and blue jeans, change with the season. What is the hot seat (haha) this year is different than it was ten years ago. But like blue jeans, glasses and shoes, they all have basic principals that never change much regardless of the colour or style.

Here is a link to some basic chair terminology.

Chairs have several parts. Some move, some don't. They all provide support and hopefully, comfort. Choosing a chair is a personal thing. I once had a client who wanted the cheapest, most basic chair she could get out of the office supply store catalogue and I've had clients have me bring in 10 different chairs to 'test drive' before committing to a model.

PhotobucketBasic Steno Chair

PhotobucketTeknion's Contessa Chair

PhotobucketHerman Miller's Aeron Chair

The latter two pictures are the "hot" items at the moment. I've sat in both and both are great seats. The Aeron is "the" chair and it is a great chair. It comes in sizes (a first for a chair, I might add), has a breathable mesh back and seat and is truly a comfort to sit in. It retails for around $900 CDN. The Contessa is Teknion's answer to the Aeron. It is a good chair too, nice comfort and a good fit. It too has a price point around $900 CDN.

I don't know about you, but that's a lot of money for a chair. That said, I have a super nice executive chair in my husband's office. But that's because I got it at a design fundraiser for a SONG! My office chair is a $50 Staples special.

Before making a decision, it's important to identify how you will be using the chair and anything specific about your physical need. I am tall, I like a deep seat pan and a waterfall edge. The seat has to adjust up and down (height) and have adjustable arms - even though I don't use them, not having them makes me feel like I'm falling out of the chair!

Want more info? Looking for some additional help in setting up an ergonomic workstation?

Ergotron Workspace Planner
Ortho Info

Aeron Chair Image courtesy of Gabriel Ross
Contessa Chair Image courtesy of Teknion

If you have any seating questions, feel free to send me an email or post a comment and I'll do my best to help you out! Thanks for stopping by and see you next week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - TroubleMaker Starts School!

This week, I become Mom to a school-aged child. My little boy - my angel baby, is starting play school on Tuesday morning. I am clueless as to where the time has gone - it seems only moments ago that I stood him up behind the wheel of our Jeep (taken around this time in 2008)!


I've wrestled with the idea of school. He's a couple weeks short of three and one half years old. He has been home most of his life with one parent or the other and although he is very well socialized, he doesn't always get the educational instruction that is common these days for young, young children who typically go to daycare.

But all that aside, he would move out if I told him he couldn't go to school tomorrow. His bags are packed (lunch kit and back back, not his suitcase) and he's tucked up in bed all ready for his big day!

So his first big day deserves fun food for supper and what could be more fun than pizza-esque sandwiches?

What's on your menu this week?

September 12 to 19

Monday Leftover Take-Out (please note that this is likely the second time in my 13 year relationship that we've had leftovers the night immediately following the night we ate the original meal)
Tuesday Stromboli
Wednesday Gramma's Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Thursday Crockpot Roast Beef w/ Vegetables around the roast
Friday Chicken Nuggets & Fries
Saturday Nachos with Homemade Salsa
Sunday Homemade Fried Chicken* & Oven fries

For more super menu planning ideas and resources, check out the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

*I'll post my fried chicken recipe tomorrow. It's all bad for you but oh so tasty!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

We-Design-Day: Palletable Fun!

With my recent interest in upcycling all I can, I've really being taking notice of all the interesting ways people are reusing things in their lives. One item that I hadn't considered reusing (before seeing this) were pallets.

I recall hauling heaps of them away when I managed a warehouse and calling around to company after company asking them to please take them... I may have even offered my sister as part of the deal once (she worked with me), but I still couldn't get rid of them!

Now, I'd really like to get my hands on a pallet or seven! I always saw the wood as moderately valuable but until you really look at an object as a whole and not as the sum of it's parts and even toy with the idea f making it something it isn't, are you really able to open up to the infinite possibilities so many things in our present world can offer us.

A woman (who shall remain nameless) recently built herself a snazzy back yard retreat out of pallets!

Work in progress

There are numerous things to consider when reusing pallets - I like Funky Junk Donna's article about pallet wood. Check it out, please, before undertaking any pallet wood project.

From shelving units to tables, there are hundreds of ideas out there for reusing pallets and the wood salvaged from them. If you ensure the quality of the found items, use them responsibly and keep an open mind, we all could seriously reduce our consumerism!

Finished Product

Need some more inspiration? Check out these cool places for funky and interesting pallet upcycling!

The WebEcoist 13 Fab Pallet Projects
The WebEcoist - 20 DIY Pallet projects
Pallet Long Island

Thanks for stopping in and see you again next week for our We-Design-Day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Someone stole my wagon

I've fallen so off the bus when it comes to blogging and menu planning (and my participation in the 52 Week project). It's like my wagon got stolen because it was just sitting by the side of the road, abandoned and neglected.

Between the basement renovation and starting my new job, I'm just not keeping up with anything (TroubleMaker told me tonight we should "clean up the toys" in the basement because he keeps tripping on them). I keep meaning to plan a way out and back to doing the fun stuff in life, but I just keep running out of day!

I have been, for a few weeks, planning the dinner menus for September. I've been trying to cook up a new way of planning. It's taking me much longer than I think it should but at least I've got a few things worked out for this week!

September 6 to 11

Monday Easy Hot Wings, Gramma's Potato Salad, veggies n dip
Tuesday Caesar Salad and cold cut sandwiches
Wednesday Grilled Chicken, corn on the cob
Thursday Something Simple?
Friday {CAMPING}
Saturday {CAMPING}
Sunday Nuggets & fries

For more super menu planning ideas and resources, check out the Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon!


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