Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Project Life Weeks 51 and 52

I am officially finished with Project Life for 2013!  I have loved this project this year, and I've found that I am able to keep up with it pretty well.  I have already gotten started with 2014, and I plan to keep sharing my pages this year.
Week 51
This week started with some snow on Sunday morning.
 Maddie had a cold, so she and I stayed home from church that morning, and the guys ventured out in the snow for church.
 The third grade teacher at our school had a Mothers' Christmas luncheon, and she invited me to come as her guest.  She and the students had decorated the room beautifully, and the lunch was delicious!  The kids did a little program for the moms and gave them each a set of snowmen that they had made.  The mothers all loved the luncheon, and I was so glad to have been invited!
 My babysitter fell through at the last minute that morning, so Jim told me that Maddie could just hang out in his office during the luncheon.  I found them watching Curious George on Jim's computer when I went to get Maddie.
 Maddie is loving puzzles right now!
 The guys had a long, busy week this week.  They had big plans of doing something fun together Friday night, but they both fell asleep on the couch!
 Eddie got into everything this week - the Christmas decorations,
 the toothpaste,
 the candles,
 and the cookies!
 I spent quite a bit of time on the teacher gifts this week.
I made and packaged the hand warmers, and Jim delivered them to the teachers at school.
 We also spent several evenings working on Maddie's kitchen after the kids went to bed.
 We had made quite a bit of progress by the end of the week.
Here's what I did for Project Life for Week 51.
Week 52
We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast Sunday morning, and since Maddie still had her cold, the guys went to church without us again this week.
 Eddie did one of his worst things ever this week - he wrote on Jim's forehead with a marker while Jim was asleep!  Drew thought that was quite funny!
 We finished Maddie's kitchen Christmas Eve morning!
 We celebrated Christmas with Jim's mother at her house the night before Christmas Eve.  We had Mexican food for dinner (we are so traditional!), and then we exchanged gifts.

 Maddie was still really struggling with her cold, and her face was chapped from her runny nose.
 Jim's side of the family had their celebration early Christmas Eve afternoon, and since Maddie had a bad cough and was not feeling good, I kept her home.  The boys went without us and had a fun time.  They brought home a big bag of gifts for Maddie.  When they got home, we finished loading up the van, and we left for South Carolina.  We drove about four hours Christmas Eve evening and then stopped for the night at a hotel in Cincinnati.  We did our family gift exchange in the hotel that night.  Drew was very excited about his new Bey Blade stadium
and his Duck Dynasty shirt, among other things.
 Maddie's big gift was her kitchen (which we did not bring along!), but we also got her a few books and a Curious George DVD.
 Jim and I just got each other a few little things, and then we also bought ourselves some new clothes.  Jim loved his desk calendar!
 We did stockings the next morning, after a rough night with our sick girl.  She woke up in her Pack and Play around 2 AM, and then she struggled for the rest of the night.  She slept with Jim and me in our bed for a while, and she even slept for a bit on the floor!

 We spent most of Christmas Day driving to South Carolina, and we got there early that evening.  My sister and brother-in-law came over for dinner and a gift exchange that evening.

 Drew got lots of Ninja Turtle stuff for Christmas!
 The guys went to see my brother-in-law's work one morning, while the girls shopped the Christmas clearance at Target.  Drew liked seeing the machines!
 We played several games while we were at my parents' house.  This was a squirrel game from Germany.
 We got to spend quite a bit of time with my brother and sister and their families.  Maddie loves her baby cousin, Avery!
 It was fun to see everyone and spend time together!
 Maddie saw Avery getting a bottle, so she tried to feed my old baby doll with one of the bottles she got in her Christmas stocking.
Here are my Project life pages for Week 52.  I did two pages (front and back, with the back being the last page in the album.).  Here's the front of Week 52,
 and here is the back.  I had plenty of pictures for this week between Christmas and our trip, so two pages worked out perfectly.
 Here is what Week 51 and the front of Week 52 looked like across the page from each other.
I am linking up with The Mom Creative.
I have loved doing Project Life this year, and I am happy with the page-per-week, with a few inserts for special events and holidays here and there, format that I used.  I don't plan to change too much for Project Life 2014.  One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Project Life this year is that I find myself and my family reaching for the album and looking through it.  Drew, especially, loves to look through the album and point out things that he remembers from the past year.  I'm looking forward to another year of memories and the fun of documenting them for my family!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Maddie's Little Christmas Kitchen

Jim teases me that I sometimes take my thriftiness to extremes, and Maddie's little kitchen probably falls into that category.  I found the original kitchen out at the curb in front of a house on trash day.  It was an old, wooden preschool classroom kitchen that someone was getting rid of, and when I saw it, I just couldn't bear to see it get thrown away.  I pulled over (in the rain), hauled it into my little black Nissan (this was several years ago), and took it home with me, where it lived in our garage and then our shed for the last few years.  Once Maddie was born, I knew I wanted to give that little kitchen a long-overdue make-over, and Jim and I decided to make that our big gift for Maddie this year for Christmas.
The original kitchen was in rough shape.  The finish was worn and dirty, and it had some water damage.  We knew it was going to need a paint job, so we took it apart so we could clean and sand it.  We also decided to move the knobs, so we totally removed the "back splash" piece.  
Once we had the prep work done, I painted the entire kitchen with a pale blue paint/primer combination paint.  The old wood needed several coats of paint, and then I gave it a few coats of clear spray polyurethane.  When everything was dry, we started our assembly work.  We had decided to turn our original stove into a full one-piece kitchen, so to turn the one side into a sink, Jim used a jig saw to cut a round hole into the top of the piece.
 Then he drilled some holes for the faucet.
 Here are his cuts.  I traced the faucet and sink bowl onto the counter, and then Jim cut inside my markings.  We sanded the edges a bit to smooth them out.
In order to add some storage space and substance, we attached a painted sheet of MDF to the back of the kitchen unit.
I bought a real faucet from our local Re Store, and we installed that and our sink bowl (a metal dog bowl with a lip around the top) to make the sink.  On the other half of the kitchen counter, we placed four burners (thin wooden craft circles that I painted black and then coated with polyurethane).  We used Gorilla Glue to glue the burners on, and we weighted them down with some of our old college yearbooks overnight.  We were able to reuse the red plastic knobs from the original kitchen unit, but we moved them down below the burners.  Jim screwed the knobs on so Maddie would be able to turn them, like real knobs.
After we finished the top of the stove, we reattached the oven and cabinet doors.  We had wanted to make the oven door open downward, like a real oven door, but we weren't able to make it work.  We attached the oven door handle horizontally, so it looked more like a real oven door, and we attached the cabinet door handle vertically.
We hung a shelf and a metal bar with hooks on the back wall of the kitchen.  We also added some thin wooden trim along the bottom of the kitchen, because the one side had some water damage that we were not able to repair.  The trim covered the damage and added a finished look to the base of the kitchen.
 We hung a little chalkboard on one side of the kitchen, so Maddie can write out her menus.  :)
We didn't end up giving Maddie her kitchen until about a week after Christmas.  There were several reasons for our delay - we were traveling the week of Christmas, Maddie was getting lots of kitchen gifts from family, and we wanted to put the kitchen where we had our Christmas tree.  The day after we got home from our trip, we took down the Christmas tree and brought the kitchen up from the basement while Maddie was napping.  I stocked the kitchen with all the Christmas gifts and got it ready for her.  I hung her new cooking utensils from the hooks, and I placed the pots and pans on the burners.
 I put Maddie's play food and her little mixer into the cabinet and oven.
 When the little chef woke up from her nap, she was quite surprised.  She immediately started checking things out.

 As she pulled each item out of the cabinet to show me, she said her latest word, "Ta da!"  It was so cute!
 My mother made Maddie a little apron and a hot pad, and she knitted her some dish cloths.  We went thrifting while we were in South Carolina for Christmas, and my mom found Maddie this chef's hat.  It was perfect!
 Maddie loves her little kitchen!
 All our work and planning was definitely worth it!
 Drew is enjoying the kitchen too!
 The two children have been playing together in the kitchen during the last few days of Christmas break.
I kept a list of supplies we bought and the approximate amount we paid for this project.  I tried to be fairly thrifty, but there were a few things I splurged on.  Here is the list:
Kitchen unit - free - salvaged from the side of the road
Faucet - $16.00 - Re Store (I probably could have found this cheaper if I had searched a bit more.)
Sink bowl - $1.00 - thrift store
Shelf - $2.00 - thrift store (I loved the scalloped bottom!)
Rail - $9.00 - Ikea (There was a less expensive rail, but this one was a bit more feminine - a little splurge.)
Hooks - $3.00 - Ikea
Handles - $2.00 - Ikea (in the clearance section)
Chalkboard - $2.00 - Joann's
Burners - $4.00 - Joann's
Wood trim - $3.00 - Joann's
Wood backing piece and screws - $12.00 - Home Depot
Paint - free - Ace (free quart of paint during a promotion this past summer)
A few other things we already had - paint (black and white), polyurethane, nails, gorilla glue
All together, we probably spent about $60.00, and quite a few hours, on Maddie's kitchen.  We were really happy with how everything turned out, and we are so glad that she really loves her new kitchen!