Life really changes when you have kids, doesn’t it? Sometimes Peter and I wonder what we did with all our time before having children. They bring some of the biggest blessings in life and some of the greatest challenges.
I stay home with the boys during the days, and I wouldn’t change that. BUT, I will attest that it is the hardest and most taxing, yet most rewarding, job I’ve ever had. Training and shepherding takes a lot of patience out of me…and lots of prayers for discernment and wisdom.
Peter is sensitive to the fact that staying home with the kids can be difficult. He does his best to make our home as easy as a place as it can be for raising little children. He goes out of his way to make my life more convenient.
Here are a few ways he (with a little of my help) has done that.
1. A playroom with a dedicated place for toys.
This is technically supposed to be our dining room. We have a breakfast nook area just off the kitchen as well that serves perfectly for our family meals and for hosting company. Since we desired a place to house toys and meet some fun needs of our little ones, we dedicated our dining room to serving the kids.
We ordered these storage book cases from Amazon and the striped bins from Land of Nod. The book cases have been turned on their sides to make perfect seating for adults and another great play surface for cars, trucks, and tractors.
I don’t have a tutorial, but we used half inch plywood, some sturdy foam from Joann’s, and printed duck cloth to create cushions on the tops of the shelves. Feel free to ask questions in the comments if you want more details on how we made the cushions.
This room was inspired by the playroom from the talented Jen at IHeart Organizing. You should check her playroom out if you like a bit more color and playful patterns.
2. A place for hanging your children’s artwork.
We built a huge wood frame and painted it. Then we secured some MDF board behind the frame. We wall papered some Serena and Lily wall paper on the board. Finally, we attached Ikea’s famous art display wire and clips.
3. An activity tower for our toddler.
We made this tower when Case was a toddler, and it made life so much easier! He could stand at the counter with me while I made dinner. He could watch what I was doing, and since it surrounded him on all sides, he stayed rather contained.
Like with most toddler furniture, please don’t ever leave your child unattended.
It appears the original blog we used for inspiration for our tower isn’t up and running anymore, but here are a few instructions others have offered for an activity tower: a learning tower and a helper tower and a one with pretty thorough instructions here.
4. A hinged baby gate.
Since we don’t have a door on the stairways that leads downstairs, we had to do something. I really didn’t want to mess with latching and unlatching a baby gate every day…you know, the ones that kind of work like a tension rod. Plus, this is right off our living area. Kids are running by this every day, and having something sturdy and secure makes my life so much easier.
Peter used the plans from the this blog. They were an excellent help. One change, he did make, though, was adding a double hinge so the gate would hang flat with the wall if we left it open all the way. Right now you can see the piano sits behind the gate, but when the piano is not there, is is really nice that the gate will swing all the way open flat against the wall.
5. A playhouse and sandbox for the back yard.
This project was definitely a bit more involved, but Jamin and Ashley from The Handmade Home have laid out some excellent plans for their famous Handmade Hideaway. Peter changed a few structural things, but other than that, we followed their plans rather closely.
Oh, and we added a sandbox. The boys LOVE the sandbox. Me? I’ve learned to embrace sand in the entry way, in the washing machine, on the changing table, in the shoes, it comes out EVERYWHERE! (The vacuum has become a permanent fixture in our kitchen.)
We have some fun plans to add shutters and a few hanging flower baskets this summer.
These are a few projects that took a fair amount of time and some monetary investment. Sometimes we do all these grand projects and then find we didn’t really use them like we suspected. All these listed here are used almost every day. They each have made our lives easier is some respect or another!
What are some of the best changes you’ve made in your home to make it more kid friendly?
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