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Chloe & Leo’s Vintage Play Kitchen

kids vintage play kitchen

I’ve mentioned the kids’ play kitchen many times here on the blog. Because of that I thought I’d post some photos of  this special “toy” that’s provided countless hours of play and learning, and also as a record for my kids to look back on someday.

play kitchen, melissa and doug sweet treat towerPlenty of room for storage, which makes clean up easy (though never organized like this).
play kitchen, sink detailThe “sink” is cleverly made with a tupperware style plastic container

First of all, the play kitchen was a gift from David’s parents. I believe they had seen it at a colleague’s home and offered to buy it. Eventually it became theirs, and then later they drove it all the way out here (to Portland) from Colorado on the back of their pick-up. I don’t know much else about it, but even before it became ours, it looked very well-loved, yet still sturdy. It has a handmade quality to it, but may have been put together from a kit, for all I know. The previous owners passed down several pieces of play food and dinnerware. More pieces were added later, mostly as gifts (like that Melissa & Doug Sweet Treat Tower puzzle that the kids got for Easter, in lieu of candy). Once, after cleaning it all up for the umpteenth time, I decided to put half of it away, mostly the mis-matched odds and ends. They still played with it just as much.

play kitchen, side view Side view. It sits between the kitchen and the dining area.
play kitchen, stove and oven detailThe oven handle says “Hamilton MFG Co” and the stove dials are record player knobs.
play kitchen, nursery rhyme detail, there was an old woman who lived in a shoe...There are decals all over depicting scenes from nursery rhymes. This one is “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…”

To be completely honest, I remember David and I hesitating when we first saw it. It isn’t really how we see our “style,” and takes up a chunk of space. However, I admit that its play value has completely exceeded our expectations. I am so grateful now to my in-laws foresight. I have grown to love it as much as the kids, and now see it as charming and important part of their history, to be cherished and remembered.


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Before & After: Painted Ikea Latt Table & Mysig Canopy

Ah well. Things are winding down for me in the motivation department. This happens sometimes. I’ll have this amazing streak of cleaning, decluttering, & project fulfillment and then it will dissipate back to my everyday amount of energy. Well, it was fun while it lasted!

Meanwhile, here is a quick pic of one of my projects from a couple weeks ago. We had this strange (for Oregon) winter sunny day and I thought ‘I’m going to paint!’ So, once the kids went down for naps I quickly gathered all the supplies and the kids’ Ikea LATT table and chair set.

I’ve been a fan of the dipped look for a while, so I decided to tape off a bit of the bottom legs to let the pine show through. The color is “Eden” by Rustoleum Painter’s Touch, satin finish. Anyway, I really like it and the kids do too! I wish I could find a before photo – by this point the wood had been stained with food and art supplies and who knows what else, so a quick sanding and layer of spray paint made it look good as new!

And what do you think of that MYSIG bed canopy? I totally fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I actually didn’t buy it that trip, because I wasn’t sure where I’d use it, but the next time I decided to grab one up. For $9.99, it’s a bargain. Since we have nothing for the wall there yet, I thought it would make an excellent topper for the table set. It’s hung with a single Command mini hook, so no nail hole was needed. The play kitchen is right to the side there, too, so the kids are always bringing their tea sets and play food over (as you can see). I’m thinking of having a vinyl wall decal made that says something like “Chloe & Leo’s Corner Cafe” to place underneath. Wouldn’t that be cute? Or would that be too much? 😉

P.S. I just happened to look up when we originally bought the LATT table, and it was when Chloe was 20 months old. I mentioned it here. How ironic that it should get a makeover when Leo was 20 months old!


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First Snow of Winter

Nothing like the first snow of winter! It rarely snows here in Portland, so when it does it feels extra special. Even though we were running late this morning with Chloe due at gymnastics, I couldn’t say no when she asked to go outside to play. This was also Leo’s first real experience with snow. Last December he was only 6 months old! Now he is running around and checking out the substance called “snow” like a budding scientist. And I’m glad they got the chance, because when we were done with gymnastics all the snow had gone as quickly as it had come.


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Reusing Packing Peanuts

Not very long ago, David ordered something that came in the mail with a TON of packing peanuts. Instead of throwing them away, we put them in a garbage bag, and let them take up space in the office. Honestly, we were never going to use them. We hardly ever ship things (unless we buy a gift online, and then we ship it straight from the company). This morning I decided to just let the kids play with them. You can just imagine!

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Dress-Up Storage Organization

Screen Shot 2012-05-14 at 9.50.17 AM

Following up on the previous post, I realized I never shared the awesome dress up storage rack that Grandma Sandy built for Chloe (although I did mention it on Facebook – I need to figure out how to link to those status updates here, instead of my long unused twitter feed). Anyway, it is fabulous, and a really nice way to store and organize all the costumes, play clothes and accessories that Chloe has been given. It is just the right size, and a fraction of the cost of buying one pre-manufactured. I have some beautiful metal dragonfly hooks that I’ll attach to each side, and eventually get some vinyl lettering to personalize the front. I would say Chloe uses it almost every day. Here is the link to the easy-to-use plans we found on ana-white.com. We chose to do the shelf-on-top option, which I highly recommend.

Screen Shot 2012-05-14 at 9.45.57 AM


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More kid art recipes & ideas

Homemade Finger Paint Recipe from Easie Peasie

Shaving Cream Bathtub Paint from Having Fun at Home

Sponge-soaked finger paints for less mess from Baballa

Making Pretend Make-up from Nail Polish from Not So Idle Hands

Cornstarch Sidewalk Paint Recipe from Pink and Green Mama

All finds thanks to the lovely eye-candy that is Pinterest.


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Memorial Day Weekend

We spent a lot of time outside this weekend, although it rained off and on. On Saturday, Chloe and I went to the Farmer’s Market and David took the day to go fishing. This time we stopped to enjoy a marimba and drum performance, which brought back memories of high school, playing marimba in the drum corp. We also munched  on a lot of freshly popped kettle corn. Afterwards, despite the cool weather, I let Chloe gleefully play in the park fountains along with some other adventuresome kids. She seems to have caught a little cold, though, so maybe that wasn’t the best idea.

Other highlights from our weekend include working in the garden/playing in the dirt, blowing lots of bubbles, a little last minute baby shopping and going with Chloe and David to the pool on Sunday. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Chloe so excited to be somewhere, but she LOVES the pool. It was so good to see her laughing and splashing with such confidence. The smile hardly left her face for a moment. Luckily it is something that she and her daddy can do together, because once the baby comes I’m thinking I won’t be able to join them for a while.

Besides all the good stuff, I also had two noteable not-so-pleasant moments. One included this surprise crawling up my leg in the car, the day after David went fishing. While I know that stoneflies are harmless, they are ugly and very big. Not something you want to look down and see while you are driving. The second included someone’s poor parking job next to my car at Babies R Us. Even if I wasn’t hugely pregnant I wouldn’t have been able to fit between the cars to get to the driver’s door. Instead I had to awkwardly lumber in through the passenger door. Either this person was simply oblivious, or downright thoughtless, neither things I appreciate.

What about you? Did you have a nice weekend?


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Home addition!

Big news – As of right now, we are currently moving forward with plans to add on to our house! Can you believe it? For years David and I have been discussing  ideas on how an addition would make our tiny home so much more liveable. And now I think it might finally happen!

How will it look? Well, basically our plan calls for a rectangular push out into the back yard. We’ll be losing our office space (boo!) to re-convert back to the garage, and losing our existing bathroom to make way for a hall. We’ll be putting both those rooms back within the new space, but what we’re really gaining is a large dining room (and possible small play space) and a second bathroom! What we are also not doing is making any changes to the kitchen, which is hard since it is so tiny, but it is serviceable, and we’ve decided it isn’t as high a priority to us as being able to sit at a real dining table.

That is one of the hardest parts about planning out our new space – figuring out what our priorities are. We plan on living here for a long time and raising two kids, plus we have a dog. It didn’t make sense to do just a part of it now, and hope that we’d add on again later. It is much more cost-effective to break up the house just this one time. And honestly, I’m nervous (and pregnant!). How will we cope with all the racket of construction as we continue to live in the house? How will Chloe nap (light sleeper that she is)? What about dirt, dry-wall dust and other airborne particles with a newborn baby around? Will there even be a working bathroom during my last trimester? So much to think about!

Lastly, all we can do right now is design on paper, but we all know that the way things look on paper and how they look (and feel) in real-life can be different. There are so many questions and choices. I can only hope we are making the right ones for us!

Just for the record, our humble shoe-box ranch looks nothing like Niek Geurts‘s modernist Lego house (above). While we love modern, our neighborhood association is strict about matching the current look of the structure. With my husband and daughter so into Legos right now, I thought it was a cool example of the possibilities.


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Crafty Felt Fun

My friend Greta is literally about to pop with baby-girl number two, yet somehow she has found the time and energy to post about some amazing felt toys and accessories that she’s made for her two-and-a half year old daughter, Ava. I can’t help but find these objects beautiful, functional, and oh-so-inspiring! Click on the links for more details and photos on her blog.

Hair clip ribbon with leaf pocket for ponytail holders

Felt Roll-Up Play Mat

Felt Tea-time Goodies and other Play Foods


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Chloe’s playhouse


Isn’t this a fabulous little playhouse? Chloe’s Grandma Sandy custom made it just for her! What a lucky little girl. I can see years of fun out of this particular gift. It fits perfectly over our kitchen table and includes lovely details like windows complete with white eyelet curtains and pink ribbon tie-backs, a sewn-on garden hem, half yellow and half pink interior walls and little buttons to hold the door flaps open. That Grandma Sandy is just so clever, I tell you what. Of course Chloe loves it! What little girl wouldn’t want a cozy and fun place to play (or simply enter and exit over and over)? Thanks again Grandma Sandy!

See more photos in Chloe’s Playhouse Set. Other Grandma Sandy related projects include these baby bibs, appliqued handtowels, and nursery mural. Just wait until I get a chance to photograph Chloe’s Busy Book!


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More Cute Babies

We enjoyed a get-together with several members from our birthing class yesterday. It was so neat to see how each of the babies have grown and to talk to the other parents, since all of our babies were born around the same time. Here are a few of my favorite photos.


Kora with her mom

Wren

Gavin

Chloe


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The Three Little Pack 'n Plays


The perfect one for us, Monkey Business

We broke down and bought a pack n play. Chloe is just too mobile. We take our eye off her for a second and she’s into something (the paper recycling, a pair of shoes, the dog, when she can corner him). It is really a relief to have somewhere safe to put her down, especially in the office, and still allow her to move about.

It is embarrassing to admit, but we purchased 3 play yards before settling on the one. The story is not unlike The Three Little Pigs…

The first one was ugly, but cheap (my husband sort of forced it on me, because, understandably, he didn’t want to spend any more than we had to), but I just could not make myself like it.

The second one was a fancier model – chocolate brown with contoured sides – but also heavier and bigger. We chose this one because it was marked down to half price. Unfortunately, when I looked it up online, I found that it was recalled, due to a “risk of suffocation or positional asphyxiation.” No good. Back it went.

The third one was another very basic and affordable model – sturdy, with an acceptable print and neutral color. It sells in the store for about $7 more than on Target.com. I mentioned this at the checkout and the cashier adjusted the price for us. Overall, it wasn’t much more than we paid for the first one, making it just right. 🙂

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