Whoo hoo! The internet’s been decent so I was finally able to upload these photos of Judah and Jovelle’s Christmas present, as requested by a couple grandparents, so here you go, Dad and Mom….. 😉 (And by decent I mean that it only took two days instead of four! 😉 ) We have some more pics of the work in progress, but they’re hanging out on our friends’ camera right now, but the pics here give you the general idea, anyway. (And besides, we know you really want pics of the kids anyway and not pics of us laboring away!)
For Christmas this year (well, technically Three Kings’ Day since we celebrated Christmas in Ireland and weren’t too keen on hauling this over there 😉 ), Judah and Jovelle got a play kitchen that we made for them. When we were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania during our furlough, we stayed at a little B&B that had an adorable play kitchen set. I thought, “Oh, we could totally get something like that made in Nigeria!”
That thought, thanks to Pinterest, turned into, “We can do it ourselves!” You should probably know that neither Chris nor I have much of a handy bone in our bodies, but I DID take a woodshop class in middle school and I used to be quite impressive with a hammer and some nails (except for that one incident where I missed….), so I thought, “No problem. We can do this ourselves!” Chris decided early on that that philosophy works much better when there’s a Home Depot around the corner and there are actually places where you can get some of the supplies that we took for granted in the States, but we persevered – and is it too prideful to say that I’m quite proud of the end result? Granted, we couldn’t have done it without the help of our neighbors (Thanks, Phil and Steph!) and Phil’s mad drilling skills, but it’s kind of cool to see what you can come up with and the improvisations you can make when you don’t have typical tools and resources available.
The stove was an old medicine cabinet that I rescued from Chris’s office when they were clearing it out for their office expansion. The little rack in it is from the office, too – an old fridge shelf that Chris laboriously cut with his pocketknife (and one that I decided should definitely be the rack after I saw the look of horror on his face when I contemplated, “So do you think we should use this shelf or the wooden one that came with it?” “You mean you may not even USE this?!” “Oh…. no. Definitely using it. Definitely.”). I still have to spray it silver, but I decided that if I waited for everything to be done the way I wanted it done, Judah and Jovelle would be the only teenagers on the compound with a brand new (but perfect!) play kitchen.
The oven door is some leftover plastic stuff, but I might be upgrading that to something else a bit sturdier – though Judah doesn’t seem to know the difference or care. I tend to be a bit anal – uh, a realist – and didn’t like that the oven door opened sideways instead of like a REAL oven door, but I got over that when I saw how much the door is opened and closed and how much easier it is for Judah to reach in the “oven” and get his food out. I’m quite glad now that it opens that way.
The sink is an old little table… cut out a hole for a bowl, added a faucet, a shelf made from scrap wood, plywood behind the sink and on the sides and a curtain made from leftover material from our “real” kitchen curtains. One of my favorite parts is the little bulletin board. We made some boards for our house from ceiling tile, and we had some left that was the perfect size for Judah and Jovelle’s kitchen. I covered it with some more leftover material (It’s a good thing I have no concept of dimensions, otherwise what WOULD we have used for their kitchen?? 😉 ), and now they have their own little kitchen board with pictures of Grandpa and Grandma Boo Boo (my parents, named by Judah because my poor mom always seems to have a boo boo) and Grandpa and Grandma Plane (Chris’s parents, named by Judah because we always seem to be flying on a plane to see them or picking them up at an airport).
Since getting the kitchen, Judah has played with it every day, sometimes for more than an hour at a time. He has recently discovered that he can add water to things as well – as we learned when one day he had quietly gone into the bathroom, filled up his little pitcher in the sink and resumed cooking lemon soup, this time more liquid-y than when he first started. It’s a good thing our floors are concrete, because it really doesn’t matter how much water spills on it.
My parents brought some play food and pots and pans for us when we were in Ireland, and Judah is having a ball with them, too – and we’re having so much fun seeing how much he enjoys playing with everything and how much his imagination is kicking in.
Of course, you’re welcome to come visit us anytime and enjoy the “fruits” of our labor, as Judah will surely cook you up a feast!