March 19, 2010

Office Makeover

So I mentioned in my first post that my kitchen was essentially my office, and while it met all my needs (laptop on the counter, a pen hidden underneath a month's worth of mail), it was a pretty pathetic space for me. For years now I have been trying to conceptualize somewhere in the house that I can make my own. A place where I could organize to my heart's delight, and label things, and stash my to-do's and to-don'ts. But, sadly I could never come up with a space that would be kid-proof, functional and the ever important stylish at the same time. Then something happened, the unthinkable, actually the predictable, my 13 month-old laptop went kaput, in which I was then "forced" to set my sights on a flashy and lovely and float-my-boat desktop computer that demanded a home other than my high-top counters. So I had to get a little more serious on my quest for a new home office space. My options were as follows:

Resolution Option 1: Move Harrison in with Ben, and use his room for an office.
Problem: Other than furniture issues, those two boys together at this point in their lives would equal no sleep for all involved and a grumpier than usual mommy.

Resolution Option 2: Use our actual office downstairs for "office" stuff.
Problem: Well other than being the obvious home for a computer, having the family computer be where the family actually spends 99.9% their time (upstairs) just seemed more practical.

Resolution Option 3: Get a garage sale sofa table and place it, well behind the sofa, and use that for my office.
Problem: Technically my office would then be in my dining room and I could just see myself in the future on some HGTV show where the designers are just shaking their heads in disapproval at my desperate design decisions. That thought was too much for me to bear. Also, after much scouring over craigslist and ebay, I could never really find the piece of furniture I was looking for at a reasonable price- like free.

Resolution Option 4: Use the space in the kitchen that was actually was supposed to be turned into a desk during our remodel.
Solution!!!!:  So let me back up to a couple years ago. You see back in 2007 we completely remodeled the kitchen in which my initial vision was to have a desk installed. Well then I got to thinking too much (like all women do I guess) and started wondering if I was going to have enough storage and those coveted horizontal spaces for all of my stuff. In the end I opted for more cabinets instead of the built-in desk. Obviously I didn't know myself very well then. But hey I'm innovative- so even though today it is not technically a desk, who's to say it can't function as one?

So I moved some stuff around and within a days time found myself happy as a clam with my new office.

Check out the before and afters:

Great area. I wanted it to be my baking station. Big problem with that concept though. I don't bake. I mean I do, but not very often. I love to cook, but I have a long way to go before I can say I love to bake, even like to bake. Don't get me wrong, I love to eat baked things, but that is where the love affair ends. So you can see why it was easy for me to give up this prime real estate for something a little more awesome. And don't worry, the mixer and canisters didn't get kicked to the curb. They are happily living in another part of the kitchen.

Ahhhh, there it is. Organizational bliss. That is the sound of my life becoming more efficient. And all for zero dollars, just using what I already had. Okay, well that's a lie. That adorable little lime green pen holder was $1 on clearance at Target, and the week old tulips were $4.99 at Dillons, and forget the price of the computer.

And check out my drawers. My desk drawers people. I converted the two utility drawers from places where I kept stuff I hardly ever used like an electric turkey carver and silpat pads into a place where I can find tape, thermometers, and gum on a moment's notice. Crazy. 

I got the cute little black and white tray at TJMaxx for like $5 over a year ago. In fact I picked up a couple of these stylish little guys and use them all over the house for different things like holding jewelry, mail, and extra toiletries in the guestroom. Ohhhhh the possibilities.
I don't know about you, but it seems like I am accumulating a new cord for something every week (think cell phone cords, camera cord, ipod cord, nano cord; seriously I need to get unplugged, but that's another post), and I can never find the one I need when I need it. Now I stash them in this little fancy urn I bought way back in the day, and instead of being a functionless little piece of pottery on the mantel, it's helping lower my blood pressure.

So that's my little office makeover. If you can call it that since it wasn't really an office in the first place. But hey, potato, patato.

Until next time,

March 14, 2010

The Ultimate Comfort Food: Chicken Noodle Soup

I had the opportunity to take dinner over to a sick friend the other night, and what do you take a sick friend? Chicken noodle soup of course!!! This is simply one of the easist, heartiest, most comforting soups you can make, and it takes no time at all! I dropped all the fancy making your own stock years ago (The horror!), so this recipe is fast, fast, fast. You'll love it!

No Fuss Chicken Noodle Soup

2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery, chopped
4 C chicken broth or stock
2 C water
1/2 t Thyme (dried)
salt and pepper
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/or
1 rotisserie chicken
Noodles of your choice (I love egg or fettucini, even orzo, the possibilities are endless)

First get out a large saucepan or dutch oven and let that butter get all good and melted in the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Then my personal favorite part, adding the onions to the butter. The smell of butter and onions sauteing is hands down amazing. I let those guys sit for a minute or two, mostly just so I can stand over the pot and breathe in the goodness. Okay, gotta move on. Add the celery and carrots, and stir around, letting them saute for about 7 to 8 minutes- or until the veggies are tender and onions are translucent. Next pour in your chicken broth or stock, water and chicken, and then season with the thyme and salt and pepper. Now raise the heat a little to let the soup come to a soft boil so you can add your noodles, then lower the heat so the soup can simmer for 20 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper as needed and voilĂ ! No Fuss Chicken Noodle Soup! Serve with some crusty bread and you're golden!

Bon Appetit!
March 9, 2010

Giving Kisses

Harrison has a friend named Lena. Harrison likes to give Lena kisses. Harrison is a Mack Daddy. Harrison's daddy is proud. Enjoy!

So Very Ben

Just a picture of Ben reading the Sunday paper inserts with his swim goggles on.  An ordinary day in the creative world of a three year old. Please disregard the fact that he is without clothing (again), at least the paper is keeping him modest. ;)

Sitting. Waiting. Wishing.

Just had to post this picture of Harrison chillin' by the fridge (no pun intended- okay maybe a little).

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