From the day I calculated my due date and saw that it was almost inevitable that my kids would both have birthdays the same week I started processing how I was going to throw great parties for each of them days apart for the rest of my life! Parties are kind of a big deal for me. Not only that... it meant getting them meaningful gifts at the same time and so very shortly after Christmas... oh the complications :)
For their 1st and 3rd birthdays the tall one and I decided to build the kids a play kitchen. One of the added benefits is that it turned out to be a series of fun "dates" for the husband and I as we were able to work creatively together to construct something that we hoped our kids would love and someday pass onto their own children (we've already decided that we'll have to build another as grandparents so that each kid has a kitchen to pass on ;) )
Half a year later and the kitchen is still not technically done but we're getting there. For your information it is the oven door and back splash tile that are missing. Also, excuse the angles... the kitchen is at the bottom of the stairs so it's hard to get a decent shot.
We started with a little old play stove and a night table that I found at Sally Ann ($15 total) and then designed a cupboard structure to fit around those. We used 1x12's for the sides, 1x10's for the doors and sealed the back with plywood.
The fridge was super simple as we just used 1x12's for the 3 sides as well as the doors. It made measuring a cinch!
The fridge doubled as a boat for a while. I love how we built their present under their noses without them really knowing what we were doing. They "helped" quite a bit.
With a nail gun (borrowed from our friend Matt) it was a pretty quick job. Unfortunately though we didn't think to bring the wood inside to allow it to "cure" or acclimate to the interior temperature and humidity (which you need to do when using wood stored in an outdoor lumber yard) and so after having everything measured and fitting perfectly, a couple of weeks down the road lots of the wood had warped - so frustrating!!!
We left the drawers in the night stand for storage and so I sewed a little sink skirt to cover them and attached with velcro. Oh yeah... the sink is missing as well but we're finding that the kids enjoy the counter space for cutting their Melissa and Doug foods and so we probably won't put it in.
I was able to find some of the hardware on clearance and I added a little magnetic board from the dollar store and painted it the same colour of the fridge so they could at least have a few fridge magnets.
One of the more recent additions has been the stackable bins for food in the fridge. It's keeping things way more organized!
Knowing that we were building the kitchen my parents bought the kids a pots and pans set, dishes, and cutlery from Ikea. The microwave was also from them and the toaster from their "big cousins" Josh and Syd.
Before we gave it to them we wrote a little message/blessing on the back of it - definitely a little more permanent than a birthday card.
It was such a fun project and the kids love it!