Play time

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TiggersMommy's picture
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Play time

What sorts of things keep your LO happy and busy? As in, toys & activities. What can I get her to do that doesn't involve a television or me having to do much ... or clean much? Its not that I don't want to play with her but I'm pretty exhausted by the end of the day and physically playing with her can be too much. I'm all for just sitting there talking to her while she does something.

Its getting to be pretty darn near intolerably hot outside so my go to activity of chilling on the back porch while T messes around outside is quickly becoming obsolete. New toys keep her happy for like 24 hours max. I rotate her toys every so often so that old toys become new toys. Her glow worm that she hasn't seen in awhile has been keeping her occupied for the past 12 hours or so. She likes puzzles & books & stacking blocks but those things get me maybe 30 minutes of happy toddler.

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Aiden plays in his play space quietly on his own as long as I keep it picked up and organized and I'm in the same room (so it gets picked up every single night). Since it's with the dining room I sit at the dining room table and he plays. When it gets messy and toys aren't in their place he tends to get a bit wilder and demand more of my attention if he even plays over there at all. I try to only focus on him playing over there once a day. He goes over there more often on his own, but I only try to focus his attention there once.

I'm also loving the cooler weather of NC! AT least once a day I push DS out onto the deck with a big tub of toys that he only gets when outside (along with his trike and basketball goal that stay outside). Every 2-3 days we "swim" or he gets his water table. By limiting and changing up water play it stays a bit special and he doesn't demand as much one on one attention from me. Though it does depend on his mood of course.
Right now I have the back door open as I sit just inside as he plays in the very light rain. lol.

Oh! And I'm horrible about doing this, but art projects! We both sit at the table and I talk to him. I keep meaning to break out the contact paper and let him throw stuff on the sticky side of it. We've done that once before and it was a hit because I let him tear paper.

I don't mind cleaning up a mess if it means 15 minutes of a silent happy toddler though. I don't get that often really.

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DS loves his hotwheels cars. DH has already gone overboard and has bought several cars and a pretty cool carrying case. He even dug out his old cars the last time we were at his parents' house to add to the collection. It keeps Evan entertained for awhile, but if DH is there, it gives him an excuse to play too. We also have the oversized legos that Evan likes right now. Then there is the favorite activity of climbing to the top of the recliner and sitting up there like a bird, sigh. We are trying to get him to quit before there is bloodshed. I hope it works.

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We have a water table and pool outside and we'll play it that when it's not super hot out. Then I rotate toys like you do around to keep her attention.
She is loving crayons and markers so I got some of the color wonder markers by Crayola that only marks on certain paper and got her a cheap coloring book and some fat crayons. I just have to watch and make sure she doesn't eat them.
And bubbles, she loves bubbles and we even play with them in the house some because they don't make a huge mess ususally.

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Drawing!!!! We have a cup of crayons (if I give her too many she gets more interested in throwing them around than drawing) and a clipboard with paper so there's always fresh stuff right there and the clip kind of holds it down so it doesn't move around when she scribbles. DH just brought home some sheets of big newsprint from school, so lately she's been in love with lying on that on the tile floor to draw. And yes, crayon comes off tile pretty easily Smile She does demand for me to draw with her a lot, but that's a pretty low energy activity.

I also like to give her a pot of water and some cups--that keeps her happy for a while. Sometimes if it's too hot we'll do it in the kitchen and then just clean up the water after. You get a bonus clean floor that way anyway Smile Or I will get out her stool (GET A STOOL) and plug the bathroom sink and turn the water on the teeniest tiniest stream, practically just a drip, and give her a couple of things like a bowl and a duck--she loves that too!

Bubbles, yes, we do that too, but mostly in the bathroom or outside. In fact, we often do bathtime just for fun, not cleaning...it's nice to just sit in there with a beer or a coffee or whatever and let her splash around with her toys. I blow bubbles for her a lot during that. And I am always the one who has to call it--I think she'd live in there if she could. I know you don't have a tub, but could you put a little pool or tub in your shower for playing?

We also put on music and have dance parties a lot. Although that's not so relaxing for the parent, but sometimes I can get her to dance while I just watch.

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For outdoors we bought a small inflatable pool...it's bigger than those round plastic pools. he can stay in there for hours. Inside he has a playroom and like you I rotate toys out. Coloring will keep him entertained a long time too. He has a chalkboard he will use alot too. Stickers as well. The colors, stickers, coloring books and chalk are all from dollar store. He also loves balls so there are foam and plastic balls that he rolls kicks and throws over and over. I pull up sesame street on YouTube when I'm desperate and exhausted.

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When Dh wants to eat his breakfast in peace, he gives Rowan a cup of water and a tablespoon. It works great! Can't give her anything bigger than a cup though, because she'll get in it (we know this from having her tip over a gallon sized bucket by sitting on the edge of it).

Rowan will sit and look at books for about 15-30 minutes, but she has to be in the mood. Sometimes just giving her a pen and a piece of paper works as a distraction, but she really likes to draw on her legs. I got her the same markers that Molly mentioned above, that only draw on certain paper. She'll draw with them for a little while, but she gets mad that they don't mark her legs.

We have a water table outside for her. She won't really play much with it, but she likes to climb up and sit in it and then pour the water out. I can sit out there with her in the shade and read while she messes around. Saturday she played in it four times, for about a half hour each time. She was just taking off her diaper and running for the backdoor shouting 'water! water!'

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*december lurker* I have a feeling I'm becoming a permanent lurker to your board! LOL! December is basically dead!

I concur with art projects, crayons, stickers, foam stickers, paper and glue sticks aren't too messy either.

She will also play at the water table and on the slide we have for a long time with me just sitting there.

I'll add something called Sensory Bins - google it for ideas. I usually pick one filler (pasta, pom poms, beans etc.) then add small toys, cups, spoons etc. They don't have to be as elaborate as you see online.

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"tink9702" wrote:

*december lurker* I have a feeling I'm becoming a permanent lurker to your board! LOL! December is basically dead!

Good, then I won't be the only one. I just gave up and joined a month or so ago, when they killed the June board. And I hardly knew anybody on the Combined board but nearly everyone over here, so they were kind enough to take in a 2010 refugee Smile

Back on topic, I agree with Sara about having to be in the mood...honestly what she plays with best is whatever was HER idea. So if I need her to entertain herself, a lot of the time I just kind of see what she's getting into and then facilitate/supervise.

Oh, and I forgot another good one: the play kitchen. She loooooooves the play kitchen and will happily keep herself entertained with that for quite some time.

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I guess I need to stock up on art supplies. Teagan recently discovered stickers and is now OBSESSED with them. Every time she sees one, she chases me down yelling "ticka ticka ticka!!!"

I think T would get bored of the markers that only mark on certain paper really quick. She likes to give herself "tiger stripes" too.
My DH is a bit of a freak about our hardwood floors and I know he'll HATE the idea of letting her lose with a crayon or glue. If I could contain her creativity to the kitchen we'd be golden. Perhaps I can cover the kitchen table in paper and just let her go at it.

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That's a great idea. Just get some masking tape and cover what she can reach.

Addy loves to draw on herself too, but it's not a dealbreaker Smile I'm kind of strict about not letting her do it if I see it, so she doesn't do it unless I've been ignoring her for too long. Mostly it's just sidewalk chalk, since crayons and colored pencils don't work on skin, and she does NOT get access to markers. My mom let her draw with markers at her house yesterday, and she melted down when I took them away (because we had to leave) so I know she'd love it, but: trouble.

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Does she have a high chair? I just let Madison sit in hers and color, that way its still on that plastic surface.

Oh and like Leigh we have a play kitchen too, I also bought a lot of extra little stuff, thats a good 30 mins for Madison too.

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Yep, she has a high chair. I pop her up there when she plays with markers. It becomes a lot of work for me when she's in the highchair because it just becomes a game of fetch. I might try pulling her little table in from the back porch and having her do art on that. Then at least she can go play fetch herself.

I would LOVE a play kitchen. Unfortunately, DH saw the lovely kitchen Sara's DH made for Rowan and now he insists on making one himself (THANKS, Sara). Of course, he has no time to make such a thing nor is he artistically inclined in the least. We're one week into "I'm making a stool!" and I still haven't seen anything physically resembling a stool. Yes, there's a 3D computer rendering of a stool but nothing made of wood. He's having an internal debate over the most sound placement of a support bar. Don't you dare mention that it needs to hold no more than the weight of a single human being. So .... Teagan's never getting a play kitchen.

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Why aren't you on pinterest?! Blum 3 That's where I keep finding things that make me go "oh yeah!" Like bath crayons in the shower. I wrote my grocery list this morning thanks to that! I also found lots of sensory tub ideas there among 1001 other things.

Just hop right on in wherever you want Mel! Smile

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I so want a play kitchen for Aiden. He likes to steal my kitchen stuff and pretend with it at some point everyday. I was wanting it to be a birthday/Christmas present but maybe I'll get him one early and stay low key and super simple for the holidays.

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Erin, can't you sell him on the version of making a play kitchen like we did it? By converting a used entertainment center? Cheap, recycled, and doesn't take more than a single day--just put on some cute paint and knobs and you're pretty much set. Also, my SIL found one for her daughter the previous Christmas on FREECYCLE. It was a really adorable wooden one, barely used. One man's trash...

My DH gets crazy DIY ideas too (about seriously anything I could ever possibly want to buy) and I usually let it go on for a bit, point out how IT'S CLEARLY NOT HAPPENING after he's had a chance for the heat of the idea to settle, and then propose a more realistic solution. Usually that works. Seriously. You know I have a bumper sticker on my car that says "Creativity Before Consumption" and I totally believe that, but at the same time...BEFORE, not entirely instead of even when unrealistic and/or inappropriate. SIGH. Men!

Jackie, we did Adair's for Christmas but I don't think at this age there's anything wrong with keeping holidays simple if you want to make a bigger purchase at another time. It's not like they really get it yet anyway. Play kitchens are AWESOME at this age, and for a while yet! I remember playing with mine when I was like six and seven.

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I'm getting really tempted to get one early because the thought of the holidays being even simpler sounds amazing with the new baby. Maybe I'll get him the M&D metal shopping cart then as his big gift. Then maybe I can retire the other two push walkers until the new baby wants them at a year. Wink

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"alwayssmile" wrote:

Why aren't you on pinterest?! Blum 3 That's where I keep finding things that make me go "oh yeah!" Like bath crayons in the shower. I wrote my grocery list this morning thanks to that! I also found lots of sensory tub ideas there among 1001 other things.

Just hop right on in wherever you want Mel! Smile

This is the main reason I use pinterest is to get all the ideas on toddler activities and crafts. I get recipes too!

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Ditto to the water table and inflatable pool for outside play. He loves those. He also usually climbs onto the water table. Can't really move once he's up there, but he loves it.

Mel, feel free to join anytime.

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I'm not on pinterest because I already spend waaaaay too much time talking to you ladies. If I ever join pinterest I might as well give up on ever getting my PhD.

Have you seen pics of Rowan's play kitchen? Its like the end all be all of DIY upcycled play kitchens (not to belittle your play kitchen, Leigh). DH has fanciful ideas of what he'd like to do. Perhaps I can take it upon myself to build one for T this weekend. That'll solve the problem. To the HabiStore!

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No, but please. No worries. We didn't try to get fancy with it--just wanted something for her to play with! DH is such a terrible carpenter that the oven door is all wonky and tries to crush her feet whenever she takes out the food box. I really need to put a second magnet on it.

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Oh yeah and PS, I am totally on board with your Habistore plan. It's always easier to ask for forgiveness than permission! Lol

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"TiggersMommy" wrote:

What can I get her to do that doesn't involve a television or me having to do much ... or clean much?

Get her a sibling! lol
DD1 plays with DD2 constantly. I can get so much more done now than I could when I had just 1 (like shower, dry my hair, check email). Does that sound awful?

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Don't encourage her! She's barely hanging on as it is! Lol

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"BuckeyeK" wrote:

Get her a sibling! lol
DD1 plays with DD2 constantly. I can get so much more done now than I could when I had just 1 (like shower, dry my hair, check email). Does that sound awful?

ROFL So there's hope for me and 2 kids then???

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That doesn't sound awful at all, Kristi!

DH and I actually discussed #2 yesterday. We're both still firm on not starting down that road until the end of the year at the earliest. It would be best if DH were to have graduated before #2 arrives but we really don't want our kids to be more than 4 years apart. Even if our situation isn't "perfect" we're definitely going to get things underway before Teagan is 3. So long as my IUD stays in place, there's no veering off plan. I am due for my annual though. I might need a little strength to keep me from asking to get it pulled Wink

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You sound like you're getting weak with your resolve. Wink

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I can invite you over to the pool when the whole family is there the day of your appointment. You might ask for a second IUD. Wink

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There are 100 different things I should be doing right now, but instead I'm looking up play kitchens again, paying attention to their size so I can make sure it'll fit somewhere in his play space. Lol

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ROFL

There are some really cute ones out there! Here's the one we made in two afternoons using a $20 entertainment center off Craigslist, a couple of cans of spray paint, and a few pieces from Michaels and the dollar store. Simple but effective! I just need to put a second magnet on the right side of the oven door so it doesn't fall down when Addy bumps it.

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Uh...because what I need to be doing on my last day in the office for two weeks is google shopping for play kitchens I don't even need! But seriously: What? What's the cage? I don't know about you, but my coffee generally comes in a pot...

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I'm so making a play kitchen this weekend. I'm actually quite handy when I put my mind to it.

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YAY! Go for it. It's actually a really fun project.

I know--I'm actually way handier than DH. He should have let me make the oven door, but his manliness was offended by the suggestion. :roll:

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Leigh, that is a great play kitchen!!

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Thank you! Personally my favorite part is the fake water, which DD plays with all the time (pretends to wash stuff, etc.) I stole the idea from our children's museum. It's a crumb cup I glued inside the faucet, and then just cut lengths of bead chain (like for a ceiling fan pull) and put it through the holes.

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Lee, that is fantastic for the cheap!!! I don't know if I could be that creative because it would all be on me. DH tends to go overboard and would insist on renting tools, extensive research, etc. It took him months to build DS's dresser with help. And the man has less time now than he did then!!! In fact I wonder if he's like Erin's hubby in this regard. lol

I don't get the cage either! WTF. Lol

If money wasnt' an issue this would be showing up to my house: http://www.camdenrose.com/product/a_simple_hearth/31/?catID=99

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Over $100 cheaper, but DH would still **** a brick if this showed up: http://www.willowtoys.com/catalog.php?item=93&catid=1&ret=catalog.php%3Fcategory%3D1

Lol

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Ooooo...a cutting board. http://www.amazon.com/Camden-Rose-Beautiful-Hearth-Kitchen/dp/B0019Z1WSE/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&coliid=I28MZ29PC7BA5W&colid=1EE9B7UUSY09D

I have expensive tastes. Need to tone it down a bit. Maybe settle for something like M&D or Hape. Blum 3

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LOL...me too Smile

I actually like that green Hape one, but here's the cheapest plain wood one I see: http://www.amazon.com/Treehaus-16378900042-Wood-Play-Kitchen/dp/B005Q9BCD4

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That Treehause one has such horrible reviews that it's scary! lol.

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Oh sorry, I didn't look at that. Just sorted by price Smile

In that case, Amish!

ETA: omg Lol wow, I can't believe ANYBODY would buy it after those reviews!!!

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"cactuswren" wrote:

ETA: omg Lol wow, I can't believe ANYBODY would buy it after those reviews!!!

I know!!!! I saw a whole heap of them on clearance after Christmas for like $30!!! That right there scared me.

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WTH? Amish kitchens don't have electric stoves.

I'm so totally inspired right now. I may even swing by good will on the way home to look for things to use. I'm gonna get my craft on.

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"alwayssmile" wrote:

I'm getting really tempted to get one early because the thought of the holidays being even simpler sounds amazing with the new baby. Maybe I'll get him the M&D metal shopping cart then as his big gift. Then maybe I can retire the other two push walkers until the new baby wants them at a year. Wink

Rowan has that shopping cart. She loves it. She loves running into the wall with it. I crocheted a yarn bumper to keep it from doing too much damage.

"TiggersMommy" wrote:

Have you seen pics of Rowan's play kitchen? Its like the end all be all of DIY upcycled play kitchens (not to belittle your play kitchen, Leigh). DH has fanciful ideas of what he'd like to do. Perhaps I can take it upon myself to build one for T this weekend. That'll solve the problem. To the HabiStore!

If anyone is curious, this is the play kitchen that DH made: http://wanderscraps.blogspot.com/2012/03/rowans-play-kitchen.html

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That's actually really similar to ours and what we did...we were just way less careful about it Biggrin It looks great!

I love that you crocheted her a bumper! I was eyeing that M&D cart. But I figured it would spend a lot more time getting pushed into walls in our microscopic house than anything.

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"TiggersMommy" wrote:

WTH? Amish kitchens don't have electric stoves.

ROFL

Glad you're feeling inspired! To be honest, I looked at the Habistore and couldn't find anything good at the time. But it's always a crap shoot so worth checking out! Goodwill is definitely a great place to check. I really wanted to get everything used, but since we were on a schedule we ended up going with Michael's (knobs, dowels, crates), Ace (for the sink hardware and paint), the dollar store (sink bowl and potholders, etc) and of course Craigslist for the entertainment center.

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"TiggersMommy" wrote:

WTH? Amish kitchens don't have electric stoves.

I'm so totally inspired right now. I may even swing by good will on the way home to look for things to use. I'm gonna get my craft on.

ROFL Oh my gosh...I'm dying over here with the Amish thing haha

ETA: We have a small Steps 2 Kitchen. It's around $40 on clearance after black friday Smile

Leigh that kitchen is too freakin cute!!

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Ahh, I'm gonna have to back read but here is what DS1 and Odin both like and do at this age. Keep in mind that we live house that has a preschool so there is no shortage of stuff to do. I'll try to think of stuff DS1 did more when it was just us.

-Water color painting or tempra at the table. I use full body bibs as smocks at this age. IKE has some cheap.

-Finger pain with this same idea
-Playdough (yep, homemade with added oils for scent) with plastic animals
-Play Kitchen with wooden cubes and old boxes/containers from our food stuff. (The grandparents bought our super nice wood one with dishes as a Christmas gift when DS1 was 1 as a joint gift.)

-ABC letter phonics on the fridge
-Cheap red 'party' cups that you use for kegs. So many uses!
-Stickers
-We collage everything using liquid starch or contact paper at first and then gradually moving to glue.

-Baskets, Lots of baskets (thrift shop cheap) to put random stuff in (rocks, sticks, wool, feathers, little animals, babies, it goes on)

-Lacing cards. We have some pre-made and we make some.
-We've always had a 'play' baby stroller but borrowed a shopping cart too that was a big hit

-Plastic tub with sink float stuff.
-Eye droppers with colored water for color mixing, water play, and dropping water on ice (you might have those or pipets at your lab)
-Ice play

-Add food coloroing to water in an ice cub tray, insert pieces of cut up straws for a handle. Instand ice painting on white paper. It looks cool once dry.

-We do a LOT of cooking. Muffins, breads, cutting fruit, soup. I always let the kids cut, mix, kneed, as long as they wash first.

-Sweeping and dusting. Sounds lame but they have their own kid size broom and squirt bottle (water) and rags and they do it all the time.

-Squirt bottles with water in backyard. Also paint brush with bucket of water for water painting outside. Both very fun.

-Chalk and oil pastels on black paper. Looks cool and both are high toddler interest. Get bold vibrant colors.

-Containers or boxes with lids (cut a whole or slit in some to push objects in) with small objects inside (clothes pins, tongue depressers, pegs, ect). They always love putting the objects in the hole or just taking the stuff out and putting back in.

-Plastic kids tea set with water. Great for outdoor use.

We have a ton of sensory bins too for preschool. Never had those with Ryland but Odin loves them. We have rice, birdseed, corn, beans, and tons of themes. Also never had a little table for DS1 until he was like 2 1/2 or 3. I just put a booster at our table for him for art projects. DH sealed our nice wood table so that art stuff wasn't an issue. Odin doesn't know what life would be like without a kid size table.

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oh my these diy ones you all made are awesome!

normally im all about being crafty but i have zero energy to do that.
how did this turn into another chat thread and why am i now researching ones to purchase? Smile

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"BuckeyeK" wrote:

Get her a sibling! lol
DD1 plays with DD2 constantly. I can get so much more done now than I could when I had just 1 (like shower, dry my hair, check email). Does that sound awful?

No, its the truth. Ryland and Odin totally entertain each other thankfully. If I would of know this then I would have had kids closer in age a lot sooner!

Leigh--Totally love the kitchen you guys made! Super cute!

Here is the kitchen we have http://www.novanatural.com/toys/christinas-kitchen I love this website but some of the stuff is $$$ thats why we always ask for things from here for bday and Christmas gifts. Anyway that kitchen has lasted a good 6 years and probably 20 or so kids at this point so worth the money.

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