Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cardboard Christmas!

Have I ever mentioned that I have my own personal kitchen elf?


He'll push a chair up to the counter and try to help me when I'm in the kitchen, or whine til I plop his butt down on the counter so he can "help."

Chunky went through this phase too. It was a few years before I started this blog.

Back then we was po'. And I reallllly wanted to buy a toy kitchen for Chunky. But I ran into the following problems:

a. Most (not all) toy kitchens are uber-girly;
b. The decent toy kitchens are expensive!; and
c. They take up a buttload of room--and then you've got to either sell, give away or trash them when the kid has outgrown it. What a pain in the ass any way you slice it.

A toy kitchen seemed like such a big and burdensome investment.

So, being the cheapass that I am, I made Chunky a toy kitchen out of cardboard boxes and contact paper.

I wish I had a picture of it to show you. Alas I do not.

The cardboard kitchen solves all of the above problems.

It's not pukishly pink and sparkly.

It's not expensive.

Ok, it does take up room, but when he's done with it, you literally smash it and toss it in the recycling.

Now that Moochie is going through the same phase of wanting to play in the kitchen* I wanted to get him a kitchen.

But I ran into the same old problems.

So back to the cardboard kitchen like I made his big brother seven years ago!

Here's what I came up with.

Now keep in mind it's not full of polished and clean lines like this cardboard kitchen, but you have to remember my target audience--a (soon to be) 2 year old. He doesn't give a care if the craftsmanship is a little, erm, off.

Besides, lord knows he WILL trash the hell out of this thing with regular play.

Sorry--the pictures!


The full view!


I never made Chunky a fridge--but I found this PERFECT box at work with the inner-lip and a flap that covers the entire width of the box. I couldn't resist. I even made him little produce drawers--ha ha!


The dollar-store-roasting pan sink. Milk bottle caps for the hot and cold taps.


A couple of burners and some cupboards.


And my favorite, a spacious oven!

I tried to do a tutorial for this, but in all honesty, I tried, and couldn't. You just gotta get yourself some boxes, packing tape, scissors, contact paper, and basically some trash (empty toilet paper/paper towel tubes, bottlecaps, plastic handles) and just go for it!

The most expensive thing I bought for this was the white "granite" contact paper. That ran me about $4. And then I found contact paper at the dollar store. My only advice if you buy contact paper at the dollar store--buy two rolls of each color you want to use. I nearly ran out of the fake woodgrain!

I hope he likes it!!! The hardest part is going to be resisting giving it to him BEFORE Christmas!

*Upstairs Neighbors rolled their eyes when I told them I was buying Mooch a set of toy pots and pans for Christmas. Fuck that. I mean how many chicks want to throw their panties at that Alton Brown? Or any of those other "hot" celebrity chefs? Nothing wrong with a boy playing with pots and pans. If anything, he'll end up learning to cook (and clean--Mooch is also getting a kiddie sized broom, I'm sick of sharing mine, for Xmas) and be the best husbandly catch ever!

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Blogger ccr in MA said...

Wow, I think you did a great job! And encouraging boys in the kitchen sounds like a wonderful idea to me. Win-win!

5:33 PM  
Blogger Captain Sharmie said...

wow, that is so cool! i hope that i get to do this for my kids someday. :)

i'm glad you're encouraging his natural interests, regardless of what they are. all children should know that cooking is a skill that can also be fun! :) it'll help stop later relationship arguments over whose responsibility it is to cook...

6:15 PM  
Blogger janna said...

That's so cool! I love the burners! And I totally agree that you should encourage his interest. Heck, even if he didn't have an interest, everyone needs to know how to cook at least some....

6:17 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:10 PM  
Blogger Laura said...


When my youngest sister and I were little, my dad used to bring home cardboard boxes from his factory job, so we could make doll houses out of them. We used to spend hours decorating them, and making furniture.

I had 5 brothers and sisters, and my family was pretty poor, so that was the closest I got to a dollhouse. Toys were a luxury for us for only Christmas or birthdays, and even then we didn't get much, and certainly nothing fancy or expensive.

In retrospect, I think that's probably a good thing, because it made my siblings and I develop creativity and initiative.

And what's wrong with boys playing with cookware or kitchen stuff?! My husband learned to cook and clean from his mom. My dad was a wonderful cook, and did nearly all of the cooking (and all of the packing school lunches) when I was growing up. I hate to see a man who is helpless when it comes to helping out around the house.

7:10 PM

7:12 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Your cardboard kitchen looks better than my real one ;).

I think encouraging Moochie to follow his passion is a good thing. Weren't most professional bakers and chefs men?

Anyway, my daughters play with knives (yes, real ones) whittling things and have learned to build fires. They also like to climb trees and play with toy cars. I think it's unfortunate that people think I'm doing good by my girls for teaching them more "boyish" skills, but you teaching Moochie how to cook is frowned upon. Very sad.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous joymama said...

Awesome. Yes for so many reasons already stated by others. F-ing awesome.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

Wow, that's amazing. Pretty sure Moochie's kitchen has more counter space than mine too!

I bow down to your patience. I don't know if I could do all that work. Amazing, dude, just amazing!

8:39 PM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

BTW, men that can cook are hot, so you're doing him a huge favor. My hubs does most of the cooking and I LOVE it.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

That is totally awesome! I like yours better than that boring white one you linked to. WTG!!

9:55 PM  
Blogger ~RaenWa~ said...

That is so freaking cool. Your neighbor can shove it for the eye roll. I bet he loves playing in it & will love the pots & pans too.

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

You rock

7:06 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

i had something very similar as a kid. that's awesome--what a great gift!

7:38 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

That's too cool! I had a toy kitchen that lived in our outside playhouse for years. I loved that thing. Where are you hiding it? Basement I'm guessing?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

It's adorable. We got a kitchen set used from somewhere and it got so much use. Of course as the girls got older, they wanted nothing to do with the real kitchen. The only other toy that got nearly as much use was the dress up box. Funny how both toys depend on imagination and not batteries.

7:55 AM  
Anonymous SiressYorkie said...

That's amazing!! You did such a good job with it!! I bet he'll love it to pieces...literally.

I made Max a rocket from all the very large moving boxes we had lying about. With some cheap-o decorations (and yes, milk caps like you did for buttons), it was awesome. You just need the time to do it, don't you...

Bea will probably want a toy kitchen, and when she does, I'll go the cardboard route. Those fake kitchens are really gaggingly cutesy.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous SiressYorkie said...

Oh, and BTW... when we were younger, THE thing was to have an air hockey table, but we couldn't afford one. So my mum got a big box, decorated it like an air hockey table (with the lines and dots, etc), and made pucks from the metal lids off OJ containers. Kids used to line up to play with it. Go figure.

WV: schoccit: what every kid wants in their stocking at Christmas. "Look! Santa left me some shoccit!"

9:00 AM  
Blogger kew said...

I love your cardboard kitchen, so will Moochie!

When I was growing up, my mom always had us "helping" in the kitchen while she cooked and cleaned. I do the same with my 3 kids, and now the 12 year old son wants to be a chef! My mom is now teaching my 2 year old nieces where cookies come from (not a package!)

Not only will your sons be great catches, but you may get some time off in the future when they are making dinner or helping with the Christmas cookies. Each of my kids has their own special entree they prepare, and they cooked some of the cookies we brought to the family reunion this summer!

9:49 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

That. Rocks.

Moochie will love it. And screw anyone that tells you it's not manly. Dan is just starting to cook, and he's getting a cooking for kids cookbook for Xmas.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That is so creative--and adorable! And your neighbors are lame. Count me as another lass who would throw lace panties at AB. Not Guy Fieri, though! :)

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh!He is going to LOVE that!!!
Dang I wish I was there to see him!
Love, Mom

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are Frikken Brillant in the Creative Dept......

That kitchen is Awesome!!


3:57 PM  
Anonymous Marie Grace said...

You are too awesome. And as far as boys playing with pots and pans... our little Bubba will be inheriting Tater's old play kitchen along with the pots and pans and I know he'll love it.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

It's wonderful! You did a great job!

We had a thrift-shop toy kitchen for Owen when he was little. It wasn't too girly and it lasted long enough. I think we supplemented it with some cardboard appliances.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

I am jealous of your almost two year old...would have loved something like that as a kid! Sigh...

And you're is even better than the linked version as you have a faucet! Not just knobs! So cool! And the burners are such an awesome touch!

6:51 PM  
Blogger Ina said...

That's brilliant! Not to mention on New Year's Eve, you can all bang on pots to drive away teh bad luck.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Miss T said...

Too. Cute. And a wonderful idea. Screw your stupid neighbors.

4:05 PM  

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