Category Archives: House Projects

Musical Furniture

The arrival of the large easel initiated a cascade of furniture moving. Today, the whole family participated in:

  • disassembling the Ikea sleeper couch, taking it down stairs, and handing it off to our neighbors. Bye, bye couch. In the end it only served as a clean laundry sorting center.
  • Moving clothing storage bins and a bookshelf to where the couch had been.
  • Bringing up the play kitchen and doll house to add to the opportunities to play in the kids’ bedroom.
  • Taking down the train table sans trains and blocks which stayed in the bedroom. The train table is too big for our spaces and will be sold along with the glider that we also removed from the kids’ room.
  • Rearranged the sofa and a bookshelf in the playroom to make space for the easel.
  • Moved the easel in from the dining room to the play room.

Oh, and I helped put the couch together in my neighbor’s room and helped her and her boyfriend take out their old school sleeper sofa–the kind that weighs a ton to the curb.

So we didn’t go out today, but the kids and we are totally bushed. It was fun doing this project as a whole family and having their input into the process as we went. We built in space for twin beds that we need to get as my daughter has outgrown her toddler bed. We also left room for a DESK!

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Building a Dinosaur

Art supplies are scattered around the playroom, and my son is now old enough to use them with less or no supervision. It was time to consolidate them and make them more available to the kids. After some research, my wife and I settled on the dinosaur easel from Kidcraft. We already have a play kitchen set from them, and we know what we are getting in terms of quality. Kidcraft makes very functional kid furniture with fun designs, but they are by no means the top of the line. Materials are budget but sturdy for the most part.

14601251067_3cc8c168b1_zFirst we unpacked the box and separated the pieces. The kids had a blast sorting the pieces into piles of different sizes, colors, and other qualities. I just made sure I got the hardware kit and kept track of it.

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Next, we started following the directions one step at a time. It was neat to see how a 6 year-old 14787423372_5b48a0182d_zand a 3.5 year-old interpreted the illustrations in the directions. Both kids had turns inserting the screws and anchors and turning the wrench to tighten them up. I only had to do a slight further tightening on both of their work. One piece needed a hole redrilled, but otherwise all pieces were there and in good shape. When it was all said and done, the kids were very proud of their work.

We have now been using it for about a week, and they love the freedom to paint and even stand next to each other and paint on the same page together. I had moved the paper bar from the dry erase side to the chalkboard side because we really don’t want chalk inside the house, but the dry erase board ended up being inferior quality. I have now purchased a magnetic dry erase board to put over the one that came with the easel.

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Big Changes

IMG_1190These last two weeks have been spring break at my school. Amazingly, it is not my childrens’ spring breaks, so I have had time at home to do some projects. The first three days of my allotted 10 were spent taking care of sick kids. After that, I got rolling. I have had to discard ideas of working in the yard until today or tomorrow because the ground has been frozen solid. However, there is much to be done in the house. My desk has lived under mounds of projects yet to be started, and the kids’ playroom has succumbed to the entropy that their development brings. Many infant and toddler items take up space around the house, and those have to go to make way for the new. Throwing away the tattered diaper bag that was given to me by may amazing community at the Atrium School over six years ago brought the memories back. Also going out the door is the changing table; our dining room might start looking like a dining room! In the kids’ playroom, I added some paper storage for projects and blank construction paper. A dry erase board and some steel surfaces for posting pictures also added to the room. Even small changes make a difference. I hung a rope below the handrail on our stairs to the third floor. Now my son can hold on to something as he climbs these stairs, and we can let him do that without adult supervision. We are indeed moving up with greater speed and independence.

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In a Jamb

Two jambs actually. On Wednesdays, I put in an hour to an hour and a half volunteer time at my daughter’s afterschool program. Today, I worked on fixing two doors. One needed the pushbar reattached, and I was easily able to do that. The other one, though, needed a new threaded machine screw hole in the door jamb, and the door jamb was much thicker than my battery operated drill and wood/metal combo bits could easily handle. I will come back with the proper tools and finish the job. I like the volunteering, I like that my daughter sees me volunteering, and I like that my daughter sees me volunteering by doing things (especially with tools).

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A Fan, Finally

The saga of blown circuits and electricians has come to an end, for now. Today, my son and daughter assisted me as we installed the new ceiling fan in their playroom. This replaced a funky light fixture that went through bulbs faster on one side than the other and consolidated six wires sticking out of an old ceiling box into two wires and a ground neatly emerging from a fan box. This fan was relatively easy to install even with the help of two children. I probably banged it out in just over an hour. The room looks much better, and the air moves when we want it to. A drawback is that we have to set the light and fan speed the way we want so that when the kids flip the wall switch, they get the right combo.

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Fiat Lux

And there was. One electrician and his helper later, we have light. Now to install the ceiling fan.

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Where Did the Spoons Go?

Hey diddle diddle,
The Cat and the fiddle,
The Cow jumped over the moon.
The little Dog laughed,
To see such sport,
And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.

When my wife and I moved in together after I joined her in Boston, we merged our households. This included using some things we had and starting fresh with others. At that point, we really didn’t think we needed more than 8 place settings of anything, but as it turns out, we now go through small spoons and forks at an amazing rate. We have even lost a few teaspoons, and that exacerbates the situation when we need to feed the kids. Finally, we decided to get a new set of flatware, with enough settings to get us through a few days, and convert the old set to lunchbox duty where getting lost will not be such a big deal.

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