Ikea Play Kitchen Review


We have had our Ikea play kitchen for a year now - we bought it for our son last Christmas.  And both my son and I absolutely love it.  I am not big on large toys taking over the house, but this is one item that gets used constantly.  Our son's interests have changed quite a bit from a one year old to a two year old, yet he continues to enjoy playing with it and I imagine this will continue for years to come.


Here are some photos of how I "styled" the kitchen for him to find on Christmas morning.  While the Ikea play kitchen is on the less expensive end of play kitchens, it is still $80.  So while I would have loved to deck out his kitchen for his gift, I knew I needed to be patient and let the cuteness evolve over time.  So I used toys that he already had which about half of it I already had from when I used to take care of my nephews.


It was already pretty cute but if you peruse the internet or Pinterest you will find a ton of DIY hacks, making this set even more adorable.  I had big plans but not a ton of motivation.  A year later I have yet to change anything.  Plus I was a little nervous about paint chipping over time - so taking the time to do it right hasn't felt very appealing to me!


This was our son's second Christmas but his first where he was really playing with toys.  He was one and a half at the time and it was so fun to see him interact with the play kitchen on Christmas morning.


It was one of those parenting dreams come true - your sweet child playing so sweetly while mom and dad relaxed on the couch.  It is not a reality that lasts long, but even just looking back at these pictures reminds me of how sweet that morning was.


Fast forward a year later and our son continues to love playing in his kitchen and I have actually fallen in love/found contentment in how the kitchen looks as is.  No more DIY plans for the future and I feel really good about having waited it out.


What was the change?  I believe the right accessories balanced out the wood elements for me (I love me my white furniture you know!).  Most of the toys are wood and I prefer to keep it that way (both for look, sustainability, as well as noise - metal can be so loud).  But I went ahead and purchased the Ikea cooking utensils that are hanging (plastic and metal) and then just this season I found that Hearth and Hand came out with a new kitchen set which included the grey cooking pots and wooden spoons.


I added in some mini pot holders I found at TJ-Maxx and brown tomato containers that we buy cherry tomatoes in and the kitchen fulfills all my dreams of an aesthetically pleasing play kitchen.


I also got a large metal storage container to hold extra play food and accessories.  I use the wood boxes that some of our Melissa and Doug toys have come in to organize or line the bottom of the basket.  We also use them to corral food in the kitchen's refrigerator.  This metal basket has proven to be so handy to be able to toss all the toys in when it is time to clean up while still keeping everything looking cute and semi-organized.


Then when it comes to the holidays, the top of the play kitchen has been one of my go-to places to decorate on.  It feels festive and fun to have this play area decorated without getting too crazy with kid decorations.


Here is how it looked in the fall:

 

All in all, it is a play area we all love and was most definitely worth the investment.  If you are in the market for a cute play kitchen that doesn't break the bank then I say this is the one!  And I may just enjoy organizing it as much as my son loves playing with it!

Sources:

Melissa and Doug Wooden Food Groups Set
Melissa and Doug Cookie Set
iPlay Wooden Cooking and Cutting Play Set (comes with pot, utensils, salt and pepper shaker, and other accessories)
Melissa and Doug Felt Pizza
Hearth and Hand Pots and Pan Set (Target)
Ikea Kitchen and Serving Utensils

Family Tree Record Book


Quite a few years ago I picked up this Family Tree Record Book in the discount section of Barnes and Noble.  I wanted to start some kind of family tree and this inexpensive book was just too easy (versus all the elaborate DIY ideas that were tempting all my time and energy!).  I pulled it out the other day to update with some new information about our son and other baby additions to our family the last two years and thought it would be fun to share.

I believe some things are worth heavy creative time and energy.  But there are some things that are better simply done than not done because I don't have the time to do it beautifully.  This is one of them.  To have all this family history documented in one place will surely be appreciated for years to come.


I sat down with each of our moms - my mom and mother in law - and we went in deep with the family history.  We were pulling out paperwork and birth certificates.  It was work but also a special time to go down memory lane with our moms over the history of our family's past.

The book lays everything out for you and there are some tips and reading material that I have yet to really look at.


I have everything filled out for the family we know about and I haven't even bothered to put in any pictures.  While that would be a fun element (especially the family that my husband and I never knew) I am completely content with the written information.  It is far more than I ever imagined coming up with and I am so grateful I took the time and effort.


To get an idea of some of the pages, I am sharing the pages about myself (for the sake of other's privacy!).  Even the information about myself will be something I know I will appreciate reading again in the future and something I hope my own children will enjoy reading about.




You can find my same book over on Amazon: Family Tree Record Book

And here is another one that might be fun: Family Tree Memory Keeper

Winter Maternity Photos: Baby #2


A few weeks ago we took our tripod out and tramped through the almost melted snow to capture a few maternity photos.  It had snowed earlier in the week but by that afternoon rain had washed away most of it.  We got these pictures taken just in time to have a little snow in the background without needing to be in our full on snow clothes!

Of course by the time I got the tripod set up, our son already had mud all over his pants, shirt, and shoes!  Luckily we were able to wipe most of it off and our clothes were all dark enough to withstand a little dirt.  But nothing like the joys of an active toddler to throw a few challenges in!

I was currently 32 weeks (a bit later than when we took maternity photos for our son).  It feels like a good time - the bump is huge but I am not completely out of it yet.  Luckily we got in plenty of good shots within fifteen minutes and were back in our cozy weekend clothes.


The next one below is my favorite.  If we had planned to send out a maternity photo Christmas card this would have been the one.  But I did not want to put so much pressure on myself so we waited until our cards were already all sent out before we got around to doing this shoot.  I will just have to frame this one instead!


We ended our mini photo shoot with a few pictures my husband took.  While I love our tripod, these close up ones are especially good and sweet.  Proof that a human behind the camera is still always a bit more magical.


Just a little over a month to go before our baby girl will be able to be in these family photos herself!  The longest shortest nine months of my life!

Photo details:
We use this heavy duty tripod and love it.  Still shooting on our Nikon D600.  Photos taken in our backyard!

Pregnancy related posts:
-Our pregnancy announcement
-Gender reveal photos
-Our baby girl's name
-Pregnancy silhouette photos

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