Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Playroom Situation

Our house has a little breakfast room off of the back of our kitchen.  It is clear that its original intended purpose was for dining because of the old build in corner cabinets that I ah-dore.  Because the house already has a spacious dining room and because this little nook was easy to be closed off, I decided to make it a playroom for the kids.  In theory, my plan was nothing short of brilliant.  It was an adorable little nook of a space that the kids could make a mess in and visitors didn't see it right when they walked in.  I pictured myself making homemade dinners from scratch, dressed in an apron, while the children played quietly in the room together.  (Yes, I recognize that image is nothing short of delusional).  Anyway, the room has worked pretty well for us for a little while.

The room is one of my favorite spaces in the house - it is filled with light, an adorable rug, and lots of fun toys for my little ones.  Problem is, now that we have put the theory into practice, we have discovered it is a really, really small space for a playroom.  My two year old loves to dump out all of his toys and now my 8 month old has started crawling.  In about two seconds flat, there is no room for either of them to move.  And I had to put an adult chair in there for me so that I had somewhere other than the floor to sit and that just clogs the space up more.  So, what happens is that after just a few minutes of playing, the kids become overwhelmed by all the toys around them and are (I'm projecting my feelings here) most likely clausterphobic, and they want out.  And that is just with me and the two kids in there.  Forget about having friends over to play!

Here's the playroom as it is right now:





And when the kids inevitably evacuate the small playroom, where do they go?  Straight for the living room with my brand new custom upholstered furniture.  YIKES!  But I don't blame them for wanting to get out of there.

In between the living room and the kitchen is a large dining room.  When we moved in, I toyed with the idea (pun intended) of making the dining room a second living area/playroom but then ultimately decided I really wanted a dining room.  Three main problems: 1) We just aren't entertaining as much as we used to.  We are exhausted from running after the kids or my husband is travelling for work. 2) The house is just too small to have large formal dinner gatherings because we only have one living room to accommodate 5 or so people max comfortably (in my opinion).  3) We moved from an even smaller house in DC and have only a dining room table.  To furnish a large dining room the way I want to would mean a pretty substantial investment.  I just don't know how long we will be in this house and so I don't want to buy furniture to fit this space when I'm not sure what the needs/set up of the next house will be.

Sooooo, my plan is to turn the now dining room into the new and improved playroom and move the dining table to the breakfast room.  Not only will that offer the kids more space to play but it will be much easier for us to entertain more people with another place to hang out.  I'm mentally wrestling with this plan since I can't imagine not having a proper dining room.  I also really didn't want to succumb to having my kids toys so prominently displayed in our house but after a lot of thought, I just think it will be more comfortable for everyone.  This isn't a forever plan...this is just what I think will work for us right now.  Stayed tuned for the big switch.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Pineapple Slow Cooker Chicken

Whew.  What a week.  My husband travels for work now but this month he's had to be gone even more than usual so I've been single parenting 5-6 nights a week for the past five weeks.  With my husband gone a lot, I really don't enjoy cooking for one all that much.  Don't get me wrong, it was novel at first not having to worry about fixing dinner (cereal anyone? lean cuisine?).  But, after a while, that gets really old and you want something good and home cooked, not just out of the freezer, cold cereal or popcorn.  Problem is, by the time I get the kids to bed, I'm exhausted and don't have a lot of energy left for a full blown cooking session.  I've taken to doing some slow cooker meals that I put together when the kids are napping and then it is all cooked when I am ready to eat later in the evening.

Please tell me ya'll know about Damn Delicious?  Every recipe we have tried from there has been easy to follow and tastes phenomenal.  She's got a great archive that is super easy to search.  But warning - it WILL make you hungry.  And if her recipes weren't enough to get you to check out her site, her adorable corgi sure is!  I seriously want one.

Anyway, last night I tried her slow cooker Pineapple Chicken.  As usual, it didn't disappoint.  My pictures don't look anything like hers but whatevs, it still tasted good.  And the house smelled amazing as it simmered all afternoon.

Recipe here

If you hadn't already heard of Damn Delicious, you can thank me later.



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