cooking in the inferno
monday news

a toddler-friendly house

It's no surprise that our house has undergone some changes since Finn started walking. Given my personal penchant for rearranging furniture and constantly tweaking our home to make it more livable, I really embrace the opportunity to create interesting and safe spaces for Finn to explore and enjoy. I hope you enjoy the tour!

playing the drums in the music room

Our music room/dining room is set up for Mama and Daddy, as well as Finn. The set of drums, which I found at our local fair trade store, are from India. Each drum rotates on a donut cushion, which makes it easy to angle them to better accommodate Finn's small stature. On the other side of Finn, which you can't see in this picture, is a basket containing a handful of interesting percussion instruments which I switch out periodically: bells, a triangle, a maraca, and a wooden egg shaker.

living room with reading nook

The dining room features a child-sized rocker and a handmade book sling for larger picture books.

book sling close up

You can find the tutorial for making a book sling at Penny Carnival.

living room with potty and book basket

Another view of our living room reveals the little potty station, well equipped with a basket containing wipes and a few books. (A note about how EC is going ... we're currently experiencing a lack of interest in the potty. Ever since Finn started walking, he's been less concerned with signaling to use the potty, and that's cool (and also quite normal for EC-ers!) He still sits down a few times a day to read books with us, and we still catch most number 2's because that happens somewhat predictably upon waking, but for now, potty time is on the back burner!)

finn's bookshelf

Here's yet another nook for Finn - a tiny bookshelf that holds a few books (including the talented Melissa Crowe's felt baby book featured in my book!), as well as his baby doll, a music box that was mine when I was little, and a basket containing two sandpaper letters which are from fellow Montessorian Polliwog 77. Finn loves carrying them around. I figure that I'll just casually introduce some letter sounds to him as a game. Just this morning, Finn walked over, picked up the "f", rubbed his finger over it, and said "ffffffffffff."

nature cabinet

Here's the nature cabinet - a bit sparse at the moment, but we do have a few duck and geese feathers on display, as well as some interesting seed pods and a summery drawing. The chair is from the Michael Olaf 0-3 catalog, The Joyful Child.

kitchen play

And here's the heart of the home - the place we spend the most time - the kitchen. It's certainly where we put most of our resources - both money and sweat (notice the new blue walls? Much brighter than the former dark orange look.) Thanks to a generous refund check from the IRS, we were able to purchase the most gorgeous cherry play kitchen by Camden Rose. It matches the Camden Rose shelf/play stand that we've had for a while. Finn loves it in here - whether it's opening and closing his kitchen doors and putting things in or taking them out or playing with bubbles in the little sink, he always finds something of interest - which is important for the big people in the house, because we like cooking and baking, and it's pretty difficult to get anything done with a baby hanging on your leg. The toddler-sized table and chair are also from Michael Olaf.

little bird on a branch

His other favorite kitchen activities include playing with the real "play" phone, exploring garlic bulbs and other fresh produce, and playing with the saucepans, lids, and serving spoons, which are available to him in one of the low cabinets. Oh - and I just thought I'd show you one of my favorite details of the space - the fabric bird on a branch curtain rod.

washing dishes with daddy

His absolute favorite kitchen activity, however, is hanging out in his Learning Tower and helping us wash dishes or fruits and veggies. His tower was a birthday gift from his grandparents, aunt, and great aunt and uncle. Although they're not shown in this picture, we like to keep the "gaps" in the side and back closed off with a few bungee cords until he's a bit bigger and more steady on his feet. Also, if he's working with a lot of water, we'll drape the "floor" of the tower with a towel to keep things from getting slippery. It's made kitchen work so much more fun, for all involved!

reading in finn's room

And here's the little fellow in his room ... which hasn't changed much. I just rotate out the activities on the shelf and he's happy as a clam - always something to do.

opening and closing basket

Right now, this opening and closing basket keeps his interest. (These little woven baskets are perfect for little hands and for holding interesting "toys" like shells, stones, and blocks. I found mine fair-trade at our local Whole Foods market. They are made in Ghana.)

potty station in bedroom

Here's the potty station in his room, outfitted with books, of course!

toddler in the studio

And here's novel toddler space - my sewing studio! Inspired by Anna Maria, I made some changes in order to welcome Finn into this space. No toys are necessary here - just some spools of thread, a basket of scraps, and some interesting notions in a small cabinet that opens and closes, along a few books.

toddler in the studio 2

Embroidery thread is fascinating.

toddler-proofing the studio

Here's an invaluable gadget that allows me to safely keep my sewing machine, serger, and computer plugged in - it's called a Lectralock.

toddler in the studio 3

I'm still not able to get much work done with Finn in here with me, as he's constantly asking to read books together. How can I say no to that request?

It's nice to have a home that all of us can enjoy, and that allows Finn to explore freely without me worrying about safety issues or off-limits, adult-only spaces. We're here together all day, every day, and we love it!