Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Photos!

I don't remember if I posted about it, but just a few weeks before we left Albuquerque I had pictures of my kids taken by a local military wife.

She gave me the freedom to choose the location and I chose the Elena Gallegos Park which is near the Tramway. I loved it out there and I think the photos came out beautifully! My children are gorgeous, if I do say so myself! Can't wait to actually get these lovlies printed out and place them in our new home.

So, anybody left in Albuquerque or the surrounding areas who enjoy this photos, contact Melissa Stern Photography and have her work her magic for your family! It was a pleasure working with her.










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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The New Base Slump

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I have officially hit the "new base slump" in earnest.

Not sure what it is, but I just feel like I'm in limbo.

I know things will start picking up in the next month, but for the time being... I'm sort of lost.

There are a couple ladies I have spent time with and had fun. My house is coming together. There are appointments on my calendar (some of them social). We're still church hunting.

But this isn't home yet.

I guess that's what it all boils down to.

I HATE the weather here. It's too hot and muggy to spend time outside during the actual daytime so I am indoors mostly. And the sky is not big and blue like it was in Albuquerque. It seems shrouded. Hazy?? Whatever it is, it makes me feel sleepy here -- all. the. time.

It's just hard when you first move because you're starting over.

I don't have a friend to call up and spend the afternoon at their place chatting while the kids play. I don't have a meeting to go to for something I'm working on. Will isn't in school yet, he won't even be starting until the fall. There's no therapy sessions I'm scrambling to go to. With finances strapped from the move I don't exactly have the money to go shopping. No random Facebook messages or phone calls from friends inviting me out to some activity/movie/coffee.

I've got crafts I want to tackle, but with the move-in mess I'm not really prepared to get them underway.

Today I got a care package together for my brother and found a post office (with difficulty). Then took the longer way home just so I could explore more. The city is NOT laid out in a grid so it will take me awhile to find my way around. Wish me luck.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go gym hunting and check out the local YMCA. I hear it has a pool... and childcare! That will give me something to do and if I go for a membership it's something I will happily add to my schedule.


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

It is Memorial Day today. I hope you took time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Not just them, but those who have been injured, those who have served, and those who are currently serving in our armed forces.

I will admit that with our recent PCS and STILL moving into our house (unpacking, organizing) I didn't do anything spectacular to mark the occasion... but I did think back and reflect on the amazing memorial I experienced in 2011.



Click HERE and you can see pictures and read about the Yuba City's Calvery Christian Center "A Grateful Nation Remembers" I went to last year. They open this amazing memorial annually. Amazing!

It would have been thrilling to go to it again, though I know it was nearly impossible for me to attend... what with moving, and hubby starting classes, and the whole airfare cost.

So with all that I was doing today I took time to think and reflect.

This year, I thought about my "little" brother who is currently deployed to Afghanistan at a FOB and I'm praying for his safety.

I thought about my uncle's nephew (my cousin-in-law) who, right now, is recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center from devastating injuries he received in Afghanistan.

I thought about the family stationed in Germany, a friend of a friend, who just experienced that dreaded knock on the door and laid to rest their loved one this week.

I thought of my many military friends who have husbands deployed. And those who have husbands at home.

I also thought about my dad, who is now retired from military service.

And, of course, I thought about my husband and our place in this country.

I hope you all had time to reflect on this Memorial Day and why you get this day off from work and school. It's much more than BBQ's and parties.


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Saturday, May 26, 2012

We're Here Now

As I mentioned, we are in Ohio now.

A couple things: it is VERY green. Not "green" like the Pacific Northwest is green... it's like golf course green out here. And there's LOTS of grass. My kids are enamored with all the grass to walk on -- we kind of didn't have that in New Mexico. Oh yeah, and there are trees! Not evergreen trees like in Washington, these are crazy bright green trees that I have a feeling will change colors in the fall and be nekked all winter.

Also, water. There are lakes and rivers and decorative lake/fountain things all over the place! While we're driving around Lana sees them and starts almost crying that she sees water. It is apparently very exciting. Guess that was another thing we didn't see much of in New Mexico.

Squirrels are a common view. The other day we had this huge gray squirrel in our back yard. I called Will to the window and he giddily watched it run across the grass, slide through and climb the chain-link fence, walk along the top of the fence, jump over the gate, then climb the wood side of the fence before disappearing out of sight.

While living in TLF we saw a skunk across from us in another field.

I know these aren't strange things to see... but when the wildlife you've been watching for over 2 years has been coyotes, rabbits, prairie dogs, and roadrunners it is a little fascinating to see something different.

I'm already not a fan of the humidity. Everyone says it will be getting worse soon and I dread it. New Mexico had lovely DRY heat: you step in the shade and immediately feel good. Humidity doesn't allow that. Tokyo was awful in that way and I'm sad to have to experience it again.

I didn't really talk about our search for our house. It was a bit stressful with our time crunch before Ryan started school. We looked at 2 houses and were not thrilled. We just weren't willing to pay the extra money for certain things. We reluctantly decided to look at what the military housing was and were pleasantly surprised at what we were offered. They gave us a step up in rank for the house we were given. Even saying that, it is smaller than what we had in Albuquerque... but it is nice, comfortable, and I can see us living here happily for the next 2 years. It has been making us purge more, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Umm... the kitchen is half the size of what I had before. Purging, yes.

1 car garage instead of 2 car garage... how much are we willing to store ourself??

But I digress. This will be just fine.

only pic of our house without the address visible
Our stuff arrived a day after we got our keys so we've been busy trying to move in. We're hoping to pretty much be done with the unpacking by this weekend. Ryan starts classes in earnest next week so he won't be around to help. I should mostly just have some organizing and picture hanging to do by then.

This week I went to the AFIT Spouses Orientation and met some lovely women. We heard presentations from several full-bird colonels about what to expect, how to help our husbands, and services that are provided to us. I thought it was very helpful. I also got to hear about different clubs within the AFIT spouses to get involved in so I should start getting busy soon.

What else...

Got connected to the school district about Will so we should have a meeting soon to discuss his services and have them prepared for him next year. We have an appointment with his new pediatrician next week to go over Will's history and get him new referrals for therapy. Once those come through I can schedule how life will most likely go.

I found out about gyms in the area and hoping to add that into our daily schedule as well.

I'm supposed to e-mail the chaplain and get some info from him about the local PWOC. Once I have that I'm excited to get involved!

Tried out one church but going to keep our search up for a bit longer.

As you can see, I'm trying to stay busy and find connections here. It is always lonesome when you first PCS, but I'm doing okay. Just hoping I can make a good friend soon.

and blog posts can be boring without pictures so...:

 here are my kids playing in the back yard in the sprinkler for the FIRST time ever:



and the day the movers came to the house our childcare didn't pan out so I took the kids to the Kittyhawk center to get away for awhile and it so happens they were having a pet extravaganza/safety thing going on. We got a new helmet for Will, jumped in bouncy houses, got to see lots of dogs, and the kids got their faces painted. It was fun!




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Thursday, May 24, 2012

slammed windows

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In the process of renting our home we were talking with the housing woman about what actually brought us to AFIT and the opportunities and life situations that occurred which steered Ryan in this direction.

During the talk she referred to the common saying, "well, where God closes a door he always opens a window..."

and I retorted, "He also slams the little window shut that you're trying to climb through so you'll turn around and see the door he's holding open."

Very true...

and I thank God for those slammed windows sometimes!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PCS Drive to Ohio, Pt. 2

(in best Yoda voice) Left you hanging, I did. Busy times, moving is.

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Read Part 1 HERE.

When I left you, my sister and I, with my two kids, were an hour outside of Topeka. It was dark, raining hard, with no safe shoulder to pull off on, and not near an offramp when my windshield wipers die on me!

Melissa tries to get them going by physically pushing them down... only to have them get stuck again. We give up and continue to drive SLOWLY(flashers on) in the right lane, both carefully watching the road to make it to an offramp where we (hopefully) can asses the situation. Thank goodness there weren't much for cars on that boring road.

We come to an offramp and see what used to be a gas station. It was lit and covered! Next to it is the only store -- an adult book store. I think it was the back of the store too and thank God, nobody came out to talk to us. Didn't even see a face look at us through those sleazy windows!

Lissa is on the phone with my dad and I'm sitting in the car since Ryan calls me as soon as we pulled under the covered area. The hood is popped and we're trying to figure things out. Our consensus?? The motor for the windshield wipers had died. Nothing we can do about it until we make it to a mechanic.

By then the rain had let up (stopped) so we continued to venture on our way and prayed that God would hold off the rain until we reached Topeka.

Long story short, we make it to Topeka and as we enter the city it starts to rain again. Very funny, God. But, we did find our hotel and meet up with Ryan safely.

Our plan is that tomorrow on our drive out we'll stop at Whiteman AFB where Ryan was stationed as an enlisted man. I was looking forward to seeing what his life was like during that time. And that night we'll stay in St. Louis.

Morning of the next day begins and we stop at WalMart so we can get some RainX to hopefully help if we run into rain again. Since we shouldn't really encounter anymore wet weather on the route we can take care of the windshield wipers when we make it to Dayton. (ha, ha, ha)

We are back in the car and I turn the key to start.... aaaaaaaand nothing.

Crap!

"Honey, I think my starter has gone out."

Ryan gets it running with some effort and we drive it immediately to a Sears Auto Repair Center.

I'll not bore you with details. Just suffice it to say we then spent the next almost 6 hours hanging out at the local mall. It had food, it had a play area, it had bathrooms... we could deal. We are thankful we at least had a place to go and be safe!
on a little ride at the mall's play area
round and round

We head out on the road again... much later than we planned... with a new starter, working windshield wipers, new transmission fluid and the filter to go with it, and some noted problems with the brakes.

Ryan couldn't get pet-friendly (affordable) hotels in St. Louis so we went about 20 minutes away to Alton, Illinois. It was nice and relaxing after such a LONG day. We did not get to go to Whiteman to see Ryan's past, unfortunately, so we'll have to plan to do that another time.

The next day Ryan says he will head straight out to Dayton while the rest of us check out the St. Louis Arch.

After a little bit of miscommunication with Garmin we make it!

What a nice break! St. Louis was wonderful. I'd love to go back and see more of the city again sometime.

Gateway Arch
a neat place to check out
Our final leg of the journey took us through Southern Illinois and Indiana... which was actually a pretty drive. I wouldn't mind going through there again.
there was a GIANT cross on the side of the road

We stop outside Indianapolis to get gas. Go to start the car.... and it won't start. WTH?!?!

I carry a rechargeable jumper/air compressor with me so we jump the battery and go on our way. We then refuse to stop again until we make it to TLF in Dayton.

But make it, we do! Our first night in Dayton we actually have a Pet-friendly TLF room so we gladly settle in and go to bed.

We made it. We were safe. But we still had a ways to go to finally "LIVE" at our new base.


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

PCS Drive to Ohio, Pt. 1

Today the movers arrive to unload our things in our new house. I may have a few more guest posts soon but for now I have time to blog so I'm sharing:

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Shall I tell you about our "wonderful" drive out to Ohio from New Mexico?

It wasn't as 'uneventful' as we hoped.

Let me back up to before we left.

There were some car problems that showed up about 3 days before we had to leave. A new O2 sensor, new rear wheel bearings, and brake pad replacements put us on our way.

Ryan stayed behind in Albuquerque to finish up some things while my sister and I took the kids up to Colorado Springs to see our brother off to Afghanistan. (Melissa had come down to New Mexico to help with the kids during this PCS and drive out to Ohio with us).

The trip up to Colorado went fine. Pretty smooth except for the pancake burger I received at McDonald's... but that's whole 'notha story.

Colorado was actually alright. Mom, Dad, and LaRetta met up with us there so we were all together. We went to the Olympic Training Center, hung out, ate, checked out "the INCLINE", and worked on some gifts we were sending Mike off with (a candy card and a book of stories, letters, and pictures from all of us).

Melissa, Will & Retta, Alanna, Me, and Mike in the Olympic Rings
bottom of the Incline

Will walking the path leading to the incline
hanging out in Manitou Springs
I was still stressing from all the PCS stuff and I was having issues with my brakes. Why yes, the very same brakes that just had something done to them!

We took my van into the local Pep Boys and were basically told there was nothing wrong with them. They said we just had too much weight in the car, which was a bunch of bull. It was like pulling teeth to just have them look at the brakes! They did make an adjustment on the rear brakes and there was a bit of a difference so I went on my way.

working on the book to send with Mike (at 2 am)
As I mentioned, we were there to see my brother off to Afghanistan. He left us on a Thursday. Now, in Mike's case, he had stayed behind for a special Army competition while his platoon deployed so there was no big send off or anything. So all of us went to the airport to see him off. His boss was there, as was one of his friends/co-workers. When he went to check in we were surprised and pleased that the airline allowed ALL of us to accompany him to the gate. Oh, and his plane was delayed.
mom & dad with Mike
my bro and I
Mike with his nephew and niece
us 4 kids
Mike with his Candy Card: "Shockers Mike, You're 3 Musketeers and Extras know it will be a Mixed Nuts Marathon with your Junior Mints and the other Dum Dums over there! If you find any TicTac Whatchamacallits, don't listen to the Snickers. It's UP2U to send in the Runts and Nerds with their Bazookas!!! Kisses, Dad, Mom, Melissa, LaRetta, Sierra, William and Alanna"
Mike saying goodbye to Alanna

We all spent a large amount of time in that airport... and William did not do very well.

But, we were there to say goodbye to Mike and watch him board the plane. It was sad.

Friday morning we all went to Seven Falls and had a nice time with each other and the kids LOVED their little popper toys Aunt Retta got for them. I didn't climb the big stairs, only Melissa and my dad did that. But I did purchase a fun salt rock light... can't wait to use it!

My kids and I outside the elevator on the first level

a view of the falls
Melissa, LaRetta, and William

That afternoon was when Melissa and I headed out to meet up with Ryan (and Maya). Originally the goal was to meet in Manhattan, Kansas but apparently a college graduation was going on that weekend so there were no vacancies in pet-friendly hotels.

We agreed to then meet him in Topeka where he found a pet-friendly hotel with a room.


Now, I have decided that so far in my exploration of the United States that Kansas is my LEAST favorite state to drive through. It was very flat and boring. Not even buildings or trees to really look at. If it wasn't for the good conversations I had with my sister I'm not sure I would have stayed awake through there. And honestly, I wouldn't mind if I never had to drive through there again.

The ride was going fine until about an hour outside of Topeka. My wipers stopped working... in a downpour. It was dark, not a safe shoulder to pull off on, and nowhere near an offramp.

What was I going to do??

Find out next time.



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Friday, May 18, 2012

Praying For Your Children

I have great news! Ryan and I have found a house and plan to move in this weekend! I wanted to share pretty pictures but they are on my phone and I didn't have time to mess with fancy editing stuff to blur out my house number... so I'm not sharing them. Boo! Sorry!

Anyway, we are doing okay during this PCS but I'm still quite busy and have another guest post for you. This time it is from Tegan over at Tegan's Musings. This is my dear friend and I was so sad to leave her behind in New Mexico. What I'm posting is actually something she shared with the local PWOC down there and I thought it was good to pass along.

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Praying for Our Children

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Why should we pray for our children?
It seems like an obvious question, doesn’t it? I’d like to outline several reasons for why we should pray for our children and then I’d like to give some ways that we can pray for our children.

Our children are gifts from the Lord - Scripture tells us that our children are a gift from the Lord, that “sons are a heritage from the Lord”. Our children are knit together in are womb and the Lord knows them before they are even born.

Some of us prayed that we would even have children, why stop now? - Like Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, some of us spent many an hour in fervent prayer to receive a child. The Lord has answered that prayer in the affirmative and here you, a mother, running around changing diapers all day, preparing meals, chaperoning/refereeing (if you have more than one child), carpooling, cuddling and caring for this human that the Lord has bestowed upon you. Life can get so busy, and it is easy to forget to pray for what is right in front of us all the time. We need (need, need, need) to pray for our children.

We are commanded to pray - The Lord commands through His Word that we need to be diligent in our prayer life and I think that goes without saying that we need to be praying for the children that He has given to us to train up and raise. First Thessalonians tells us to pray without ceasing – all the time. Philippians tells us in everything to pray, with thanksgiving. Thank the Lord for your children, even when they are being disobedient and defiant and you want to send them off to Grandma’s for a week, thank the Lord for your children.

When Samuel the prophet was talking to the people of Israel, he said to them “Far be it from that I should sin against the Lord in failing to pray for you.” We need to follow Samuel’s example. We need to not fail in praying for our children.

Jesus modeled prayer for children for us - In Matthew 19, Matthew tells us that the people brought their children to Jesus so that He could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked the people for bringing the children. Jesus then rebuked the disciples, telling them to let the little children come to Him, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.

Jesus laid his hands on the children when He prayed for them. I want to tell you a personal story about Sophie, my firstborn. When Sophie was about 13 months old, she was in this stage of just being not a very nice child. You know that toddler defiance stage . . . so one night, I went and knelt down outside her bedroom door (I would have gone in and actually laid hands on her, but I was afraid that I would wake her up), and prayed Scripture over her. Scripture like Galatians 5:22-23 – the fruit of the Spirit. I just inserted Sophie’s name right into the Scripture. And you know what, her attitude changed. I encourage you to go through the Scripture and when you read it, pray those verses and put your child’s name right into the verses. The psalms are great for this, as are epistles, but don’t limit yourself.

How should we pray for our children?

For their Salvation - The Lord gave us our children to train up in righteousness, but that doesn’t mean that they come automatically born again just because we are born again. Our children should be the first people that we are discipling and a large part of that comes through prayer. We need to pray for the salvation of our children. 2 Tim 2:10 tells us “that we endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Jesus Christ.” Isaiah tells us that the Lord is our Salvation. We can easily put our children’s names into Isaiah 54:8 “ . . .let salvation spring up [in your child], let the righteous flourish with it..."

For their protection from the enemy - The Bible tells us that the enemy is real and is prowling the earth like a lion, looking to devour who he will. We need to pray for the protection of our children from the enemy, and not just their physical protection, but their spiritual protection. When Ephesians talks about putting on the armor of God, you might have noticed that everything is for defense, except for the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Bible. Your Bible is your weapon to use against the enemy and it is important to pray Scripture over your children. When you pray Scripture over your children, you are taking the offense against the enemy for your child. You are praying the Word of life over them. In Isaiah 54:17, you can pray that no weapon formed against your child shall prosper. In Psalm 91, you can pray that the Lord will command the angels concerning your children to guard them in all of their ways. You can pray a hedge of protection over your children. There are so many places in the psalms where the Lord gives us word pictures of protection – hiding us in the cleft of the rock, for example, or under His wings. Pray these words of protection for your children.

For their relationships – future spouse, friends, schoolmates - Our children are always going to be in contact with other people, and they will form relationships. Even Sophie and Edward, who are 3 and 2 years old, have friends that they know by name and enjoy being around and ask for. They have relationships. It is important that we pray for the relationships that our children have and will have in the future. This can mean friends, classmates, future spouses and so on. We can pray for them to live in harmony with one another and to not be proud, as it says in Romans 12:16; we can pray that they would be devoted to one another in love (Rom 12:10); we can pray for them to make every effort to promote peace and do what leads to mutual edification (Romans 14:19). For their future spouses, we can pray that their future spouse will love God with all their heart, soul and mind (Deut 6 and 2 Cor 6:14). We can pray that they will honor the Lord with their bodies and remain pure until their wedding day, abstaining from any sexual immorality (1 Thes 4:3, Heb 13:4, 1 Cor 6:19) and the Lord will be the center of their marriage relationship (Ecc 4:12). By the way ladies, we should be praying that for our marriages as well.

For their character (i.e. fruit of the spirit) - We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will develop in them and help us to teach in them Godly character, such as mercy, justice, patience, peace, joy, love, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, perseverance, and so on. Gal 5:22-23. That our children would have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way (Heb 13:8)

For their future ministry - We all have a ministry. In case you didn’t know, you lead your very own ministry – maybe you just started or you’ve been in Christ for years – either way, if you are in Christ, then you are called to minister to, mentor and disciple others, whether it is a wife, parent, friend, Bible study facilitator, on the [PWOC] Board and so on. As parents, we are called to minister to our children. Our children, Lord willing, will come to know the Lord as their God and Savior, and then they too will have a ministry. We need to be praying for their future ministry, whatever that may look like: spouse, friend, lay person in the church, pastor, teacher, elder. We can pray that they will be a good witness and bear testimony to what Christ will do in their life (Acts 1:8). We can pray that even as children, they will set a good example to other children and adult Believers (1 Tim 4:12). We can pray that their partnership in the faith will be effective (Philemon 1:6).

In the books of Acts, when Paul was leaving Tyre to travel on to Ptolemais, the believers went down to the shore with him to pray. Paul makes a note to say that everyone, including the children, came to kneel down and pray with them before they left. We can model prayer like that for our children and God willing they can be children who pray like that as well. Jesus prayed for the future believers in John 17, and we can likewise pray for the people that will come to know Jesus Christ because of our children. We can pray that our children will declare the Lord’s glory among the nations and His marvelous deeds among the peoples, as it says in Psalm 96:3.

Praying prayers that are already in the Scriptures and incorporating our children’s names.

Lastly, and in a bit in summary, we can pray prayers that are already in the Scriptures and simply insert our children’s name into those prayers that were first prayed by people like Moses, Hannah, David, Solomon, Mary, Paul and many others.

One example is Ephesians 3:14-21 “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen (your child’s name) with power through his Spirit in (your child’s name)’s inner being, so that Christ may dwell in (your child’s name)’s heart through faith. And I pray that (your child’s name), being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that (your child’s name) may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Another example would be Numbers 6:24-26 – the priestly blessing, which is repeated in Psalm 67. I will leave you with this last example:

"The LORD bless (your child’s name),
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on (your child’s name)
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward (your child’s name)
and give you peace.”’

All for His Glory,

Tegan

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Thank you so much Tegan! This is some great advice, and I'm glad I now have it here to refer back to when I feel I'm lacking in any of these areas.




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

An Oven From a Box: Guest Post

Another guest post! This time it is from Samantha. She's sharing a crafty idea that almost anybody can do!

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Having two little boys in the house usually means that we are filled with our share of cars, trucks, racetracks, trains, and blocks, but with the recent addition of a child-sized chair for Jack, we ended up with the perfect box for a homemade oven/stove for the boys to play with! I set to work creating this quick play station to keep these little hands occupied.


The Initial Box






Drawing the burners...






Time to cook! (My own pots and pans)






What's cookin' fellas?






The finished project






Proper knobs & buttons






Ready for playtime!





The boys LOVED this! They even tried to get INTO the oven which was quite alarming, but Charlie then had a blast making this warmer and using my pot-holders to get dinner ready. Dried pasta was great for mixing into their creations (as was blocks and cars), but overall, this really kept them occupied! (I also liked that Charlie always seemed to be cooking broccoli!) A quick play kitchen fix without spending a dime!



Follow me on Pinterest here.


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Thanks Samantha! This may come in handy after we've unpacked all our boxes in our new home!



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