Haley must have been a pretty good girl last year – she had a really awesome Christmas.  When we went to see Santa at the mall in the beginning of December, she very quietly asked him for a Brushy Brushy Baby (whom she had totally fallen in love with at Target just a few days before) and a combine like Grandpa’s.  Santa wound up bringing her both of those things (although, for the sake of practicality, the combine was the toy version of Grandpa’s) … and then he also brought her a bunch of other fun things.  Most notably, a play kitchen that the kid inside of me is totally jealous of!

The kitchen Santa picked for her is the KidKraft Uptown Kitchen in a natural finish.  It is awesome!  We love the size (it’s a little bigger than most which we hope means she won’t outgrow it so fast) and the amazing amount of storage it includes for all of her play food.  We also love the fact that it makes no annoying noises, but still provides for endless pretend play, and that it is just so pretty to look at.

Then, to go with her kitchen, Grandma and Grandpa gave Haley a table and chair set.  They picked the Kidkraft Avalon table and chairs.  And, again, we love it.  The set is super sturdy and it’s sized a little bigger than some so she’ll hopefully be able to get many years of use out of it.  Plus, it’s a perfect compliment to her new kitchen!

After Christmas, we spent about a week playing with all of her new things in the living room by the tree before deciding we really needed to find a permanent home for all of them.  We’d thought about it some before Christmas and realized that we didn’t have a great spot on the main floor for both a kitchen and table and chairs.

We figured the key to her playing with them lots was to put them in a place where we spend a lot of time as a family.  Having them in our kitchen would have been ideal, but we just didn’t have space for them there.  So, our next pick was to move them upstairs where we spend most of our days.  We wound up making some room in our extra big laundry room (which was converted from an old bedroom) by moving out an old tube TV and stand and re-locating our elliptical to the master bedroom.

With all of the extra space we gained, we had plenty of room for Haley’s kitchen, table and chairs, and a few other toys.  It’s such a happy, sunny space (although the cloudy snowy day out the window really doesn’t make it look that way in these pictures!)

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The view from the door.

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Haley’s new kitchen and table & chairs.

I just love how her table and chairs fits so perfectly under the window.

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The other side of the room. Washer and dryer are to the right in this photo.

So far, we haven’t added much to this room besides her kitchen, table and chairs, and a basket of toys that she’s pretty much outgrown, which we’ll probably think about donating soon.  Most of her toys are still on the shelves in her bedroom, which I think helps to keep this space feeling more like a laundry room with a few toys rather than a dedicated play room.  Chad and I were both nervous that creating a “play room” would mean it would always be crazy messy with a million toys all over, but that hasn’t been the case – at least not yet.  I have a feeling as she grows we will need to make sure we do a good job of editing the toys that wind up in there and sticking to a schedule for keeping it picked up and clean.  But, for now, it’s working really well for us.  I have to say we have spent more time in the laundry room since Christmas than I think we have the entire time we’ve lived in the house – this is definitely a more functional use of the space than how we had it before.  We will just need to make sure that Santa brings more moderately sized toys next year – we are officially out of spaces to convert to play rooms.  Ha!

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