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Friday, December 28, 2012

DIY Play Kitchen

This might just be the most fun thing we have ever made together.  I think we had more fun making it than Shiloh has had playing with it.... well, maybe not entirely true... she hasn't stopped cooking food since opening it.

Our inspiration came from this kitchen, and then Ana's plans.  We initially were going to go the whole up-cycled old night stand route, however since we were traveling up to Oregon for Christmas and therefore wanted Shiloh to be able to open her present up there... we had to think about how to transport it.  So instead, Brandon used the plans from Ana's website to come up with a kitchen that he could build, disassemble, then reassemble in Oregon, and disassemble again to bring back home.  Complicated.  We know.  But in the end, it was worth it.

We started out with a loose drawing so that Brandon could buy the right amount of plywood, and cut it down to the necessary size pieces.

He found cabinet-grade quality plywood, from Home Depot.  1 sheet was enough, plus we already had scraps at home to make the face frame and oven door.

Then he build the "box" of the kitchen.  Next he built the face frame for the front of the kitchen, and the oven door.

At this point, we had to disassemble everything so that it could pack in our car and be taken to Oregon for Christmas.  So once there, we painted it.  We swear by Rustoleum's spray paints.  We use them for almost everything.

So we sprayed on 2 coats of primer, and let that dry overnight.  This is what it looked like with only primer on it.  We were trying to see how the stovetop would look, spacing and what not.

We found an old faucet, knobs, and towel bar from our local Habitat For Humanity Re-Store.  We had hoped to find the tall kitchen faucet... but they have any in stock, so we found one that looked really cute, even though it was smaller.

The bowl was from our local Goodwill store.  It was the perfect size, and white which was great.  The pattern on the side was, well, retro.  But it didn't matter because that would be hidden anyway.

4 old cds made great stovetop burners... we just spray painted them with 3 coats of black paint.

After painting the whole thing the final color, and letting it set overnight, we then attached the oven door, and began decorating it with the chalkboard, the towel bar, the faux window, sink, faucet, and stove top.  We still need to add the shelf next to the window and plexi glass for the oven front, and a pull for the oven door... but that will have to happen once back home.

Shiloh opened it up on Christmas morning and began playing immediately!  Its a hit!  And on the plus side, it only cost us 70 bucks, and we figure that Shiloh will play with it for years, and then Capri will too.... so you can't beat that!

Cost breakdown:
plywood          $30.00
other wood      free scraps
bowl                $0.89
faucet               $10.00
knobs               $1.00
towel bar          $3.00
cds                    free (already had)
curtains             free (already had fabric)
paints               $12.00 (already owned primer, white spray paint, & chalkboard paint)
trim                  $7.50
hindges            $2.00
velcro              $3.00
screws             free
photo               free (printed from computer)
TOTAL:         $69.39  (so once we buy the pull & plexiglass, likely it will be $75.00)
(Would cost a little more if you didn't already have some of these things on hand, or bought some of it brand new, or less if you found a night stand free and didn't have to buy the plywood.)

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An "A" for Effort

Last year we began a family tradition of Advent... celebrating the 25 days leading up to Christmas by doing certain things together as a family each day.  It was so much fun.  This year we planned to repeat our Advent calendar, we even changed up some of the things with new ideas.

We had a baby.

They don't lie when they say 'a baby changes everything'.  And a baby born 2 days before the 1st of December can change the entire Advent fun that was planned.  As in going out to do things was no longer easy... or at times even fun.  So some of our Advent activities were no longer realistic.

We're okay with it.  We give ourselves an "A" for effort.  Out of our 25 planned activities, we managed to do almost all of them.  The crossed through ones are the ones that we didn't get to do... some ended up happening accidentally at a later time...

1. Attend DTS Christmas party.

2. Set up Christmas decorations.

3. Decorate our tiny Christmas tree.

4. Attend YWAM staff Christmas party.

5. Set up nativity.

6. Make holiday crispies and give them to neighbors and friends.

7. Sing Christmas carols.

8. Date night with Daddy.

9. Make a Christmas craft.

10. Wrap Christmas presents. (finally got to it on Christmas eve)

11. Make family Christmas stockings. (maybe next year)

12. Drink peppermint hot chocolate in our pjs.

13. Read the Christmas story. (Grandpa did on Christmas morning)

14. Donate $ to the Salvation Army bucket.

15. Visit Santa Claus. (I was pretty sad this didn't happen...)

16. Pick out and donate a toy.

17. Go on a family walk.

18. Road trip to Grandpa's and RooRoo's house.

19. Build a snowman.

20. Make a gingerbread house. (well we did gingerbread men instead)

21. Go sledding.

22. Make and decorate Christmas cookies.

23. Watch a Christmas movie. (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the old cartoon version, and Elf)

24. Put out milk and cookies for Santa.

25. Christmas Day!

Next year maybe we'll be able to stick with it better.  Hope everyone's Christmas was Merry and full of joy, love, and hope.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome Baby Capri!

She's here!  After 286 days of pregnancy and 8 hours of laboring in the hospital Brandon 'caught' our 2nd daughter and we welcomed her into our arms.  {Warning: photo dump, hahaha}

Capri Avery Ekstrom.  She is quite the addition to our family!  Once again I have a beautiful daughter who looks more like her daddy than me... hahaha, go figure.  She is a grunter... all night long she'll grunt in her sleep, keeping us awake.  Gotta love it!

For me, I had completely expected her to arrive early.  So by 37 weeks (3 weeks before Thanksgiving), I was ready.  Little did I know she wanted to stay in and make me endure pregnancy into a 10th month.  10 months of pregnancy is no fun.  So I was VERY excited when I started feeling contractions late on that Tuesday night.  Finally!  Everything this time around was 100x better than with Shiloh.  I feel like, in a way, it helped redeem the more difficult parts of that experience 2 years ago.  Brandon was incredibly supportive and helped me endure labor into the wee hours of the morning.  We were ecstatic to finally be holding Capri in our arms, studying her little face & features, and cherishing those first moments.  Shiloh joined us later that afternoon, and our hearts overflowed as we watched our daughters become sisters.  Shiloh loves her sissy and has been such a great help with little things.

We are looking forward to a cozy holiday time with our sweet newborn.  And we are doing our best to freeze time and soak up all the moments while she is so young and little.

We are over the moon with Capri... Thank you to all who have prayed for us during this time in our family's lives!

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