Someone around here just had a birthday and I might have gotten a little carried away. This was the first year that he was really paying attention to birthdays and I wanted him to have a special day when it arrived. For months he's been asking if it was his birthday yet and we've been planning and counting down the days.
My big surprise was a small play kitchen I'd been making since late summer. I found this nightstand on Craigslist and since it was made from solid wood, felt it had a lot of potential for refinishing.
I was inspired by the many upcycled play kitchens on Pinterest and got some help from a few tutorials on refinishing varnished wood. I went with a light sanding, an oil-based primer, latex paint and a polyurethane finish. It took quite a few months to get it all done -- mostly due the fact that late summer became winter rather quickly and refinishing wood in the wintertime is not much fun. But I really liked the way it turned out and Jonas was definitely surprised. He's already made us many pancakes of all delicious varieties.
I wanted to add some knobs to the stove -- but we ran out of time and it was going to be a tricky operation to attach knobs that would actually turn. We'd like to be able to convert the kitchen back to the nightstand when Jonas outgrows that type of play, so I guess he'll just have to use his imagination. I also struggled with how to make the burners and in the end I just cut a few circles from black Contact paper. Easy to do and easy to remove. All of the pots and pans came from Goodwill and we had some play food floating around the house from last Christmas.
Another surprise I had in store was a train cake. I borrowed a train cake mold from a friend at our co-op and hoped that I would not have a cake making distaster on my hands. I had to make the cake in the few short hours before I went to work Friday when Jonas was out of the house. When I saw how intricate the mold was I feared the worst. However, the cake came out relatively cleanly and I had fun decorating it with some candy embellishments. Jonas was pretty delighted when we brought it out at his party.
We just had a few little friends over for some playing and cake-eating. I made a DIY stomp rocket launcher and we were lucky to get a sunny morning to enjoy while we were outside. The little guys were not quite strong enough to make the paper rockets fly very high, but Nick helped out with a few giant stomps. It was a pretty easy project to put together thanks to the tutorial. The kids had fun and worked up an appetite for some cake.
However, the best surprise of the birthday weekend was not planned by me at all. Right around bedtime Saturday night, we noticed snow had begun to fall. Jonas insisted in going out for some snow play before he went up to bed and then we had a great morning on Sunday walking to the frozen pond and making tracks in the snow along the way.
Jonas is growing into a fun and challenging kid. He loves to sing songs, play with trains, go for hikes in the mountains and terrorize the cats. He also loves reading, puzzles and hearing us talk about our day. We delight in seeing how the next year changes him and shapes his personality.