Monday, December 31, 2012

DIY Kid’s Kitchen…a how-to post by Dave.



As Christmas approached, all our two beautiful girls wanted was a pink kitchen. We knew that a pink kitchen needed to happen, the only question was where to get one. After a long search including many plastic, cheap or overpriced options, I decided the best way to provide a quality pink kitchen for our girls was to build one. This blog will go through the step by step process of the build.

Step 1:  I decided to use a nightstand, coffee table and old cedar chest as the base furniture for this project.  Total cost $25 at thrift store.


Step 2:  The coffee table was sawed in half and the legs and supports were shifted and reattached to become the same width as the night-stand.  These were stacked on top of each other, held with wood glue and screws, then the body was sealed in with 1/4 inch MDF and pine molding, creating a solid two door refrigerator with shelving.


Step 3:  We envisioned the old cedar chest as a range with oven, sink and faucet and an under-sink cut out for more storage.  A jigsaw was used to cut out the front of the chest and 1/4 inch MDF was used at the opening of the oven to make the door and hinge flush to the chest.   


Step 4:  A backsplash was made with solid pine and attached with wood glue and finishing nails.  Refrigerator doors were made out of 1/2 inch thick MDF.  The oven door was cut out of sanded plywood and the window opening was cut with a jigsaw.


Step 5:  Range Burners were cut out of MDF using a router after a mold was created with a jigsaw, so that they were all uniform.  The hardware for the unit included antique drawer knobs for the range controls, a stainless steel bowl for the sink, and a real faucet found for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  This photo was taken prior to priming to get exact locations for all the hardware.


Step 6:  Priming is a key component to any good paint finish, especially with MDF.  All pieces were sanded and primed prior to painting.




Step 7:  Paint.  We considered a teal with pink accents, or a vintage distressed white, but in the end determined that the only thing that would suffice would be pink…all pink.  Cori had some say, but in the end we decided on Fairytale Pink.  We left the inside of the cedar chest natural, as we thought it looked cool.


Step 8:  Attaching doors & hardware should be the simplest part of the project, but it can make or break the final aesthetic appeal.  I was focused on the doors swinging easily and staying closed when shut.  The fridge doors are easily opened and will stay open unless closed.  They have a special hinge that holds them flush to the front panel when closed.  The oven door is made out of wood (to withstand the abuse it was bound to take) and it rotates on a spring hinge that makes it fall slowly to the ground as well as close on its own when slightly raised.  The window in the oven door is plexiglass.  We attached high quality stainless steel cabinet hardware from our local home improvement store to complete the look we were going for.



Step 9:  Now that the hard work is done on all the functional and structural parts, we started working on the top of the chest.  The backsplash was decorated with hand painted wooden letters spelling out “Heart of the Home.”  The faucet was installed normally, and the stainless steel bowl was secured down with liquid nails.  The burners were hand-painted black and then a small decorative circle was drawn with a metallic paint marker.  The burner controls (antique door knobs) were installed through the top, so that they would still turn and “control the range.”




Step 10:  The final touch was a hand-sewn curtain (courtesy of Danielle) to bring a splash of color and pattern as well as cover our under-sink storage.  She finished the curtain two nights before Christmas and was able to complete it in one night.  It really completes the kitchen and it wouldn’t be the same without it.  So proud of my wife.


The final product was hanging out in our garage until Christmas Eve.


On Christmas morning our two girls, Cori Belle & Finley Grace, awoke to find a one-of-a-kind, hand-made PINK kitchen.  It was truly a labor of love.  They were also blessed with aprons, pots & pans, plastic food products and anything else you think would be found in a kitchen.  They cooked all day and we have been eating non-stop.



Thanks go to Danielle for her seamstress skills, and believing in the vision and my ability to pull this off, Lance Jones for his epic pink painting skills, and Pottery Barn Kids for charging a ridiculous amount of money for poorly made things that has required dads to get back to being creative and getting their hands dirty.  I hope this process was enjoyable to watch unfold, and I will be sure to post the next adventure in building.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lights at the Zoo!


Just a quick post about our trip to see the lights at the zoo last week. We actually went the Saturday before Christmas and it was PACKED! It was also 38 degrees outside and FREEZING, but the girls had such a great time!!! So thankful we had just made a trip to the outlet mall and bought the girls their first real winter coats earlier that day. Yes, they are pink. Do you expect anything less coming from my very sweet 3-year-old who is obsessed with pink?! She literally refuses to wear any other color. If only you could be a fly on the wall when she gets dressed every morning! I have decided to pick my battles, but that story is for another day! :) Ha!

What a blessing this sweet little family is to me! Only two more weeks until we become a family of FIVE!! Can hardly believe it!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

Leading up to Christmas this year, the girls and I did an advent calendar with an amazing e-book called Truth in the Tinsel. Cori and I did parts of it last year, but this year we did it every day! It was such a fun experience and something Cori really looked forward to doing everyday! The girl would wake up every morning and run out of her room asking to do her ornament for the day! I loved that! In the midst of all our scripture reading and ornament making, I didn’t take a single picture. I think picture taking is going to be on my list of things to focus on in the new year! Here are a few pictures, post Christmas..

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So proud of her tree with all her hand made ornaments!!

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Christmas this year was so special! Three is really the perfect age to grasp a little bit of what Christmas is all about. Cori learned a lot of the Christmas story and could easily tell you that we celebrate Christmas because it is Jesus’ birthday. She also walked around all month singing, “Hosanna.. Hosanna.. Hosanna in the highest!” Bless my heart!

Explaining Santa was a different story! I really wanted Cori to know the true story of St. Nicholas and tie that into how Christmas is all about giving, just like how God gave us his son, Jesus. The difficult part in that is that everywhere we went, people felt the need to approach my children and ask them if they had been good this year and if Santa was coming. I guess I never really thought about it before, but the thought that my children would think that they had to be “good” to get gifts from Santa just didn’t sit well with me. The gift of Jesus was given to everyone, goodness doesn’t have anything to do with it! And, I’d rather not bribe my children with Santa! Someone in Publix actually asked Cori if she was getting coal or gifts in her stocking this year. Who says that to a three-year-old?! I was a little unnerved by that question!! Cori was also a little scared of Santa this year so every time someone asked her about Santa she got a little upset and would remind me how she didn’t want Santa at her house. .. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to rob my children of the joy Santa can bring, I just want to balance it with Jesus. Santa did come to our house. He left a stocking for both girls outside our front door. Cori was adamant that he not come inside! … Anyway, off my soap box now about Santa. I’m sure I’ll have more to say next year! Smile

Christmas Eve started out with Gingerbread Houses. I love that tradition! We are hoping it will be something fun that our kids look forward to doing every Christmas Eve morning. The girls had a GREAT time with it this year! They ate TONS of candy!! Cori actually worked really hard creating her house. I was impressed! Finley worked really hard at eating everything in front of her! It was a precious sight!

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Getting ready to build!

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Daddy and CB working hard on her foundation!

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The beginnings of Cori’s

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caught, red handed!

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More sprinkles please!

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Finished products!

Funny thing is that we posted this final picture on Facebook to see who won the Gingerbread making contest. From left to right it’s: Finley, Mommy, Cori, Daddy. Finley got lots of votes for eating her entire house!! But, I think Cori ended up winning for an overload of creativity!! What a FUN tradition this is!!

For Christmas Eve dinner Dave made steaks and homemade mashed potatoes. He is totally the chef in our family!! He is just so good at it! It was delicious and I am excited about steaks becoming part of our annual Christmas tradition!

Before bed, we took some sweet pictures of the girls in front of the Christmas tree in their matching PJ’s. We even got a family photo in there too! We haven’t taken many of those since we moved to Birmingham.

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We put cookies, carrots, and eggnog outside on the front porch with the girls stockings before heading off to bed.

When the girls woke up and headed out to the front room on Christmas morning, here is what they saw…

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Dave worked VERY hard on making the girls a kitchen this year. (DIY post on this coming soon!) Cori very much requested a pink kitchen so that is what they got! Not from Santa, but from their very hard working mommy and daddy! We also got them each a bike. They were so very excited and got right to work on getting aprons and helmets on!

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In the midst of everything they got, I think their favorite were the sleeping bags my mom got them. I couldn’t get Finley out of it all morning and Cori has actually been sleeping in hers on top of her bed every night since! Obsessed much?!

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Yaya also got them another stroller so they could stop fighting over the one we have. Now they can both push strollers around and it’s been great! Finley decided SHE wanted to ride in the new stroller though. Fits perfectly! Ha!

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Our girls were so blessed with gifts this year. It is so apparent that they are loved by their family. Thank you so much to all who gave them something. Each gift was special it it’s own way and much appreciated!! You all helped to make our first Christmas away special this year!

Dave and I were intentional about exchanging gifts this year. The last couple of years we have decided to do other things or get something we needed, but this year Dave said we needed to bring our creativity back. I made him a box of dates, one for each month of the entire year. I am pretty excited to know that I have a set date, already paid for (most of them!), to go on with my handsome hubby each month – for 12 months straight!! Wahoo! And, Dave made me a special little box of scripture cards, one for each day. I absolutely love it!! He just knows me so well and I love that about him. He also got me a bunch of other little treats too, but this was my favorite! I am excited to use these verses as memory verses each day and to bring me encouragement when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I truly have a wonderful husband!


After all the gifts were opened we sat down to Christmas morning breakfast. Dave made homemade French Toast, which was delicious and will surely become another tradition in our home. Then, we baked Birthday cupcakes for Jesus. Cori wanted to die the icing blue because that’s the color boys like, so she says.

Dave headed off to work at 3 and the girls and I visited with some new friends for Christmas dinner. I was so grateful for my friend Mollie who invited us over to join her family for Christmas dinner. It was perfect and a great ending to a joyous holiday.

When I got home that evening and put the kids in bed, I sat down on the computer and wrote the following blog, which I thought I’d share here. So thankful for the birth of Christ and my precious family!


December 25, 2012

This is the first Christmas that Dave and I have been away from our family, but yet it was our first Christmas with just our own little family. Truly, it was a great Christmas. We started a few family traditions all our own like gingerbread house decorating, steak & homemade mashed potatoes, and homemade French toast. We spent the 24th and 25th just hanging around our house and enjoying one another’s company.

At church on Sunday our Pastor talked about the song Silent Night and creating a “moments” in our life where God just shows up. That song has been playing in my head ever since. It just gave me such a warm feeling about Christmas this year and being intentional with my family. I feel like there were a lot of God moments as we taught our children about the true meaning of Christmas and family. I am so grateful for that. I am so grateful for a husband who wants to do that with me.

I think as I reflect back on Christmas this year, my husband is who I am most thankful for. Of course I am thankful for my Lord and Savior – the whole reason this holiday even exists! It was He who gave me my sweet husband in the first place! To Him be the glory! … God created Dave so perfectly for me. He gets me even when I don’t always get myself. I am so thankful for the way he loves me and our children. He is thoughtful and always puts us first. He reminds me of who I am in Christ – I am most grateful for that.

As this Christmas ends and we begin a new year, I am praying for many “Silent Nights” where I can just sit and see the splendor of the Lord in my life; the great works he has done and will do. “For there is born to you, this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord!” Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas everyone!