Easy-Make Oven

Pictured above is a play kitchen, featuring life-like and cool retro styled appliances that are only $250 or so each, available at your local retail indulged child outlet. Don't get me wrong. They are beautiful pieces, nicer than what's in my own kitchen, despite their non-functionality. And I would have been very excited to play with them as a child. Who's kidding? They'd be fun to play with now. But, isn't it scary that you can take that same $250 and purchase a real live working oven or fridge?

After searching a bit online and flagging some less expensive play kitchen items for my son, it dawned on me that I could just make him a play kitchen. Having moved a few months ago, we've got our share of perfectly sized cardboard boxes. And I faintly remember that a long time ago I used to be a creative and crafty person who enjoyed doing just this sort of thing. That's before I allowed workaholicism and then new motherhood to take their toll.

So, I squirreled away materials for a few weeks. Then my mom coincidentally gave Turtle a set of toy pots, pans, and cooking utensils. Inspiration finally struck and, box cutter and packing tape in hand, I created my masterpiece.

Notable features: 4 red hot burners, see through oven door with velcro closure, pull out basket pantry below.

Accessories: Pantry items such as box of rice, can of beans, carton of milk, and oatmeal canister made from the real thing emptied & cleaned.

Tooting my own horn some more: Cut triangles out of picture on frozen pizza box to make slices of pizza, made realistic looking pancakes out of scrapbooking paper and cardboard, folded edges of silver coated cardboard inserts from ?? packaging from something I can't remember ?? to make cookie sheets/griddles.

Coming soon: Utensil holders made of toilet paper rolls glued to the side. And a sink/pantry unit and refrigerator.

This is fun! Turtle already loves it and has been making carrot soup in his stockpot and hot water in his teapot for what he calls "eatmeal" (oatmeal), and is trying to learn to flip pancakes with his mini spatula. The only downside is the lack of sturdiness factor, but the upside is that when he loses interest, it can be torn down and recycled.

Meanwhile, it's nice to know that when we move into our new house in a month, at least one of us will have a really nice kitchen!

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