Friday, March 13, 2009

Around the Kitchen Table

The kitchen is the heart of our home and I love that.

We pray together, play together, share our meals and snacks, color and create all around our kitchen table. Homework is done, letters are written and the bible is read all around our kitchen table.

When we first moved into this home, I attempted a more grown up decor, but as we live in this little space, functionality continually wins over decor. So, I am doing my best to create beautiful function that compliments our lifestyle and promotes organization. Easier said than done, let me tell you! I tend to complicate systems in my need to have things precise and neat. The result is that I am the only one in the family that can keep the system going and that does not work when there are 5 (and sometimes 7) of us living here, making a mess.

Hopefully, I have struck a balance in our kitchen, only time will tell.

These were my goals:
1) Have the napkins, S & P shakers, memory verse & daily prayer cards and bible neatly available on the table.

2) Create a space for all the arts & crafts supplies that allowed me to keep things like scissors & glue out of reach but still in sight and allowed free access to pencils, paper, activity books, etc.

3) Organize a homework station (goodness they bring a lot of paper work home and they are only in Kindergarten and Pre-K)

4) Hang a clock so we could start learning how to tell time.

5) Plant a kid friendly herb garden.

6) Display their artwork in a way that gives it the honor it deserves.

7) Create a spot for our new goldfish, Goldie, my bible study stuff and the treat jars for the dog and the kids.

I accomplished all of my goals, want to see?

I used the backside of restaurant tent cards to write the verse and prayer on. Hubby calls on restaurants for work, so he has stacks and stacks of the things. Simply folding card stock paper would work, too. This really helps us all learn our bible verses as a family and keeps us centered on Christ whenever we come to the table. Having the kids' bible readily available really reinforces the lesson that we can and should go the Word in all things. I love the Adventure Bible that we are using, it makes morning devotions so simple, yet interesting for all of us.

Here is our arts & crafts center, I am pleased to tell you that as each of the children first saw it, they gasped in surprise and then with lots of oohs and wows thoroughly investigated it, then promptly sat down to create. I would call that success, wouldn't you? The clock makes bird calls on the hour and was given to us by Nana & Papa right off their kitchen wall after they moved away. It was hanging in the laundry room and has been in need of a battery for some time. I am tickled to have it back up, every time I hear a bird singing I just smile and think of my wonderful parents. I think I need to add some numbers around the edge before I attempt to teach the kids, though.

Here is the homework station. I really, really needed this. I am amazed at how much paper comes home every day. Some of it needs immediate attention, some needs to be saved, some is to do at a later confusing. And big stacks of paper just I have had the kids stuff all over the place in various forms and I still managed to miss something on a regular basis, hopefully this will work since it is at their level and they can help manage it. They each have an inbox for things that are ongoing like a pad of writing paper for homework, books I've read cut & color pages to turn in, etc. The "In" and "Out" folders on the wall are for parents paperwork. The drawers have papers, stickers and stuff for projects.

Here is our little window box of herbs. We have dill, sweet basil, sage and cilantro. I want to add chives, parsley, rosemary and thyme, but we need to figure out a hanging basket or something....
The kids are my big helpers on the whole watering thing, I tend to forget...or rather, think of it and then get distracted my the twenty-nine chores I do between thinking of watering the plants and actually doing it.

I could gaze at this all day. There is nothing more beautiful than my children's artwork...except maybe my children themselves! I wanted to have a few different options for displaying, so in one frame I strung string with little clothes pins and in the other I put cork. Then on the little wall I hung cork and put several smaller frames with space to hang a 3-D creation that I know will appear soon. I want to get a small shelf as well, to place items on.

We talked about all their pieces this morning at breakfast and their smiles and looks of pride in accomplishment were just precious. It also gave them an opportunity to compliment each other...let's just say it was a love- fest this morning!

And finally, a neat spot for our newest member of the family, Goldie. He/she (the kids keep changing their minds on that one) came home last night as a fifth birthday present. By the time hubby and I went to bed poor Goldie wasn't looking too peppy and this morning he/she was um....sleeping. That's what the kids decided anyway and I felt like I dodged a bullet. The last thing I wanted to do this morning was tell them that their new beloved Goldie was dead as a doornail. So, Goldie "went to the Dr. with Daddy" and came back all healthy.

I also needed a spot to plop my bible study and my FlyLady Control Journal and a new home for the dog treats and kid treats. The kids are responsible enough to be able to reach the dog treats themselves and the kid treats are a new addition. We are implementing a reward system for random acts of kindness, going to the potty (for littlest ones, mine & the one I sit) and special accomplishments like writing your own name (for the middles, mine & the other one I sit). Right now it is filled with organic, grain sweetened chocolate chips & raw almonds. They can have one each time. I intend to switch the treats between edibles and stickers and such.

And that completes your tour of our newly designed kitchen. I loved showing you around the heart of our home and I hope you enjoyed your visit!


  1. I love your kitchen. It's great how you've combined kid stuff with grown up stuff to make it a truly functional space, and it looks nice too. I think I will use your home work station idea, I have a hard time keeping up with the paperwork.

  2. Your kitchen looks great! I especially like the craft area and the pictures on the wall. It look soooo neat and tidy and fun! Good job :o)

  3. Beautiful!! I love the kids artwork too :)

    I can't wait to start doing this in our home!

  4. Wow, that looks fantastic. I think the tidiness and organization makes a house look nice. Little baskets and containers and shelves everywhere looks great.

  5. I am in love with your kitchen! I'm so gonna steal oodles of your ideas... Hope you don't mind. :) I'll post when I'm done thieving. Jenny

  6. WOW!! your kitchen looks great!!! Its very lovely you did a good job.

  7. Love it! I totally get what you are saying about not being able to have grown-up decor...we can't very well either. I keep saying one day I will be able to have an elegant Christmas tree, but then I will miss my babies (who aren't babies anymore). I will just enjoy them now and worry about elegance at a later time.

  8. Great ideas!!!!

    Another idea for artwork display (I saw this on HGTV recently) is to use carpet squares (you know, the kind that put together make a full carpet, but you can replace just one piece if it gets damaged). They have them in every color imaginable and you can make all sorts of sizes and colors for your display wall...and then I think they just attached it to the wall with peel and stick velcro strips, that way it can be replaced with other colors later or taken down easily.