Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Home: The Dining Room

We've been asked to share about our dining rooms and about dining at home this month. When given the prompt, images of pretty table settings came to mind, with neatly ironed napkins, bowls full of steaming soup, a pretty tablecloth and colour-coordinated placemats... and I wondered what I was going to write about, since our meals are anything but pretty. There is only one word to describe mealtimes in our home: Messy. One kid keeps leaving the table and can't sit still, the toddler keeps spitting his food, and wants to self-feed using his hands, another struggles through meals very slowly and manages to get noodles on the table, the chair and the floor. Getting meals to the table on time can be a challenge, so we always keep things simple with unbreakable dinnerware for the kids, and no placemats or tablecloths (here's a peek at some of the meals we have).

While dining at home isn't picture-perfect, I must say our dining room is a rather pleasant place, and it is one of the rooms that works the hardest for us. I've blogged about how our dining table has been through so much. This Stornas extendable table is where we eat all our meals and do our home-learning and art activities. It has heard countless of stories being read aloud, it's surface has been dotted with paint and crayons (until I started using Klack trays during painting sessions, which reduces clean up!), it has hosted parties, dinners and craft sessions. (The posters you see on the walls were purchased from the Copenhagen Zoo, and framed using Ribba frames.)

Watching a Perler bead tutorial and working on his project. The tray really helps to minimize spills and cleanup! 

The dining room also holds the kids' library. This wall used to hold a huge planted aquarium (pictures here), but we decided to give away the fish and sell off the equipment after Junior J came, since maintaining it was a fair bit of work. In it's place stands three Expedit bookcases (these are now replaced by the similar-looking Kallax), and the compartmentalized shelves are great for keeping the books sorted by topics. 

To maximize our storage options, we use baskets and boxes in some of the compartments. These Branas baskets hold building blocks and train tracks, while the Drona boxes hold jigsaw puzzles and games, and these are easily accessible to the kids.

We also use smaller baskets (from Daiso) for some of their very thin books (like their Jolly Phonics readers). Their front-facing arrangement makes it easier for the kids to flip through the books to find the title they want, since the books are too thin to have titles printed on their spines. A Variera shelf insert (in the lower shelf in the picture below) helps to add an extra tier to the shelves, so that we can squeeze more board books in.

The dining room also is the place where our piano stands! We use these small drawers to store various small bits and bobs like mosquito repellant patches, plasters, postage stamps and coins. Since the piano is just next to the main door, we can easily grab these things as we head out the door.

More details on the artwork here, and here

We use a Kallax bookshelf as a sideboard too, and the drawers hold some of the boys' homeschool books, as well as dining necessities such as coasters and disposable cutlery. (The traditional basket next to the coffee maker holds our Nespress capsules!)

The dining room is also where we keep our art trolley, which holds some basic art supplies. I've pared down the contents of the trolley since the toddler tends to climb and ransack the trolley these days! It's a Raskog, which many crafters swear by (and hey, it's now going at a reduced price in the new catalogue, so hooray!).

Since the toddler has a bad habit of uncapping markers and throwing them everywhere, we keep all markers out of reach, using enamel cups and a Grundtal magnetic knife rack. This means the older kids can still get the markers, but their younger brother doesn't get to use them unless Mama is around.

This room is so busy that the piles of paper and stuff tends to accumulate here. Having to write this post was great since it made me clear out all the junk, and I'm loving how this room works for us right now!

PS: You can read about our living room here.

PPS: This post is part of a series of collaborative posts with IKEA. We were given a gift card to purchase some of the aforementioned items in this post, and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Thankful Tuesday: It gets easier

Over the weekend, we brought the older two to watch "The Cat in the Hat", and my parents kindly agreed to babysit Baby J while we were out. It felt a little strange going out with only two: loading the car with kids was faster (but the hubby had to catch himself from opening the other car door where Baby J usually sits) and we could actually sit down and watch a show, without having someone clambering all over us. In fact, it was rather nice, not having to lug out my usual backpack with diapers, bibs and thermos, not having to strap a baby carrier on, not needing to wear accessories that the toddler couldn't wreck. I could actually taste my lunch, and not have to shovel it down using one hand, while feeding a squirmy toddler with the other. And there was one less person stealing my french fries.

Baby J also had a good time: He went for a bus and train ride with Kongkong, got to "sit airplane, drive car" (those kiddy rides, but my dad had the good sense not to put coins in them!), and had a yummy lunch of "porr-idge and bah-ooo and toe-tato" (porridge, pork floss and tomato).

We had a lovely time out that day. It was a reminder, that things do get somewhat easier when the kids are older. The first three to four years can be the most delightful, but the most exhausting: the initial challenges of babyhood with the many naps, seemingly endless feeds, the colic and reflux, followed by the constant need for vigilance to watch over the active toddler, the terrible twos and threes, the huge messes made by little busy hands. It can seem like there is no light at the end of this long tunnel, but there is, oh there is! There will still be challenges, just different ones, but it does get easier. It really does.

So dear exhausted parents of littles out there, hang in there, trust in God to give strength for each new day, and enjoy what you can of these little ones!

Mum in the Making

Friday, August 28, 2015

Wander: Tioman with kids

It's been a month since our Tioman trip, and I've yet to get down to blogging about it, since everyone has been taking turns to be sick! I'm so glad that the boys are more or less recovered, and my cough is slowly clearing up. The boys have been talking about Tioman since the trip, and sometimes play pretend games where they sail to Tioman during a flood. They say that they enjoyed themselves, and would like to go back again. 

We planned this trip with two other homeschooling families (we had seven kids between us all), and stayed for three nights at the Berjaya Tioman Resort (which is one of the more popular resorts over on the island).  There are quite a few options for accommodation when it comes to Tioman, from the no frills to luxurious, but we decided on something more comfortable since we had the kids with us, and wouldn't be wandering too much from the resort during our trip.

The resort consists of chalets spread across the rather extensive hotel grounds, and there was a playground, as well as rather nice children's pool, complete with a few slides. However, the kids spent most of their time at the beach just next to the pool, and my boys said that was the highlight of their trip: digging sand, and splashing in the crystal clear water while trying to spot fish. They all busied themselves digging a big hole for Baby J, and decided that it would be a tub for him, so they spent half an hour running up and down collecting water to fill the tub. It was such a delight watching them play together!

Time at the beach aside, Tioman is known as a good location for diving and snorkelling. The kids were too young to manage the snorkel masks that we brought along (from Decathlon), but they managed an island-hopping trip which took up the most of one day. You can book these trips via your hotel, and the trip took them to four islands, where they got to bob about in the sea and feed fish. If you go on such a trip, make sure you bring the sunscreen and slather it on! Most of the group went and had a good time, however, I opted to stay back and laze at the resort, as Baby J needed his afternoon nap, and the nausea from pregnancy meant I got easily seasick. Junior J ended up hanging out with me, since he too gets seasick. 

You can also go trekking in Tioman, and there are waterfalls to visit. However, we skipped that since we had little ones and I just didn't feel up to it with all that pregnancy exhaustion. I found out that there is also a turtle sanctuary you can visit, where you also can do volunteer work for a couple of days. The hotel also helps to arrange for visits to the sanctuary, but each trip takes over 2 hours, as the turtle sanctuary is on the other side of the island, and also includes a trip to look for mousedeer. We didn't manage to visit this round, but we would definitely include this for our next trip. 

Since we took it easy for this trip, we ended up having most of our meals in the hotel, which has two restaurants. The food wasn't anything to shout about, but the portions were generous (the spaghetti bolognese was so large that my three kids shared it and couldn't finish!), and meals were relatively cheap by hotel standards. 

Anyway, if you're intending to pay Tioman a visit with kids, here are some things to take note:

:: Pack light:
Tioman is a little troublesome to get to, since you have to get a ride up to the Mersing Jetty, and then you have to take a ferry ride across. A friend who frequently visits advised us to pack light, since the ferry can get crowded, so I packed really light this time round. We had one cabin luggage (with all the diapers and clothes, as well as some food and the electric lunchbox for cooking the toddler's meals) between us all, backpacks for the adults and the older 2, and a big tote with their beach toys. (You can read about our travel packing guide here.)

:: Useful things to bring:
The beach is littered with coral, which can be really painful to walk on, so pool shoes (like these Poolzies) can be really useful for little feet. Beach toys are great, sunscreen is essential, water bottles are useful, even if the hotel provides bottled water (I always find it's never enough!). I brought laundry detergent, which came in really handy, since the boys chose to wet their one and only jammies (I packed light remember?) two days in a row. The chalets all have a balcony/verandah which came in really handy for sunning their clothes, so we survived!

:: Watch out for sandflies: 
It's best to dress the kids in long-sleeved rashguards/suits when at the beach, since sandflies are a problem. Strange thing was, while there were days the kids were in short-sleeves at the beach, they didn't get bitten, but all the grown-ups did. At the end of the trip, we all had small red pimple-like bumps that itched like crazy, and they took ages to clear up. The hubs had 20 over, while I had 10 plus bites... but we were just glad the kids were spared. We read that the main way to avoid bites would be to cover up, so for the guys, you can keep your T-shirts on (Pack those dri-fit types. I forgot and hubby's T-shirts took ages to dry!), and for ladies, this isn't the place for bikinis, unless you want a spotty mid-riff to show off post-trip. The hotel gift shop apparently was supposed to sell a local concoction that worked as a sandfly repellant (regular insect repellant doesn't work), but they weren't selling it when we were there. 

:: If you are staying in Berjaya:
 If you have little kids, and opt to stay in Berjaya, ask for a room on the ground floor. The chalets are double-storied, and have wooden floors, so kids running and jumping around would really create a din if you are staying upstairs! The resort only has Wifi in the hotel lobby and the restaurant, and that sometimes doesn't work, so leave the laptops at home. 

We might make another visit down when the kids are older, since they enjoyed their visit so much. I'll share more about how to get to Tioman next week, since it's quite an adventure in itself! Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Thankful Tuesday: A question to ponder

Good morning! I know it's not Tuesday yet, but I figured it was time to share a blessing that has been on our minds for the past few months. To give you a clue, here's a Math question for you (it has to do with birthdays, but no, there are no Cheryl's in it, and it is a lot easier to solve):

Got the answer yet? 

It's the reason why I've been rather quiet on the blog and FB for the past two months, the reason why I've been finding it hard to find time to reply comments/messages/emails, the reason why I've not been doing much crafting or interesting projects with the kids. I think this round has been the hardest one of all, probably due to me being older, as well as the tiredness of having to care for three little boys. The nausea was a lot worse this round, and each day I was either feeling sick or hungry, or sick again. The exhaustion meant I was sleeping with the kids at nine plus, and yet I had difficulty crawling out of bed before the kids woke up. I walked around in a daze most days, and I had to ask hubby to buy dinner many times, as I just didn't feel up to cooking and could only summon enough energy to cook the toddler's meals. I had dizzy spells and headaches, and homeschool slowed to a crawl, as I only could manage to sit with the oldest as he read to me and practiced his math. The laundry piled up like crazy, and the boys even got used to heading to the dryer to rummage for clothes since I couldn't keep up with the folding.  

It was the toughest when the kids fell sick. All I could do was to focus on getting everyone alive through each day, never mind that the house was a terrible mess, or that my to-do list was getting longer and yet nothing was getting done.

But now, at almost 16 weeks, I must say things are looking up. The older two and I have caught the mycoplasma bug from Baby J, but my energy levels seem to be higher, so I'm back to cooking dinner (Junior J was starting to complain about why we kept eating the same things over and over again!). I'm still struggling with keeping on top of the chores and sorting out our exemption forms, but I'm so glad the nausea seems to be slowly going away. 

There is so much to be thankful for: The hubby who chipped in more during this period when I couldn't cope, and made honey lemon drinks for me everyday so that my dinner wouldn't end up in the toilet. The boys, who tried to help out at home with the chores and cleaning up. Our part-time cleaner, who quietly helped to tidy up the huge messes. My parents, who helped to babysit the kids on certain days, especially when I was sick and couldn't get out of bed. Our friends, who kept us in prayer, and helped in the little ways they could. 

And of course, we are so thankful for this little one, whom we'll be seeing in early Feb next year: 

Many have asked us if we hope for a girl. I guess a girl would be nice, but a little boy would be welcome too, since we believe all children are blessings from God. And no, we didn't have #4 because we were trying for a girl, we've always wanted four kids!

PS: One more thing to be thankful for: the policy changes announced yesterday during the National Day Rally. I'm so glad for the increased paternity leave!

Mum in the Making

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Baby J's guide to choosing a good diaper (Advertorial)

Hello! It's Baby J here today checking in. Mama has been pretty tired of late, and asked me to share about something I wear every single day: diapers. According to her, and my Ah Kong and Ah Ma, I am the squirmiest baby amongst the three of us boys. I guess I love giving them a challenge, so I'm usually up and crawling/running once my diaper is off! Because of that, they had to switch to pull-up/walker pants instead of the regular tape diapers, since walker pants are a lot easier to wear with one hand (so that the other hand can be free to grab me as I try to make a quick getaway). Also, I enjoy peeling off the tapes on the tape diapers, so my parents figured pants diapers would stay on better!

My parents have tried a few brands of pull-up diapers for me, and recently, I got to try the Merries Walker Pants again when Merries kindly sent some over. After all my rigorous testing, here are some tips for choosing a good diaper:

:: Softer is better, no plasticky bits please: 
Softer diapers usually are more comfortable. I tried some tape diapers where the tapes were plasticky, and I didn't like them because sometimes the tapes cut me. Also, some diapers have gathers that are rather rough too, and those caused abrasions for my brothers when they wore them. The Merries Walker Pants had nice soft gathers, so I was comfortable, and was all the more able to run away to hide when Mama was looking for me!

:: A good fit is important, but you'll only know if you try them:
How the diaper fits is important, because a good fit means less friction/abrasions, and also reduces the chance of leaks. (You should see Mama yell when my diaper leaks after a poop. Someone should tell her to lighten up. After all, it's only poop right? Everyone needs to do it right?) Also, it's helpful if the diaper has the front and back clearly labelled, especially in the case of pull-ups, and grandparents (who have worn my diaper wrongly before because the pants didn't have labels).

In the case of Merries Walker Pants, I've yet to have any leaks (phew!), and no rashes or abrasions too, even though I'm always climbing everywhere and getting into trouble. The pants have various features to ensure a good fit: soft gathers around the waist, small diagonal cuts in the crotch area to allow for a better fit and flexibility, and a flexi-fit "W" shape. (Sorry, all these adult terms are confusing for me, but I can tell you they fit well. Even the adults think so, because Merries was awarded a "Good Design Award" for the fit of their diapers.) The front is clearly labelled as such, so Kong Kong won't get confused if he has to change my diaper. 

It's hard to tell about how well diapers fit by just looking at them though, so its always good to ask for samples so you can test them out (if you want Merries Walker Pants samples, go here!). 

:: You'll want something breathable. Or you'll be stinky, or rash up:
If you're sitting in something that holds your pee for a couple of hours, you'll want it to be breathable. Especially if you live in sunny Singapore, where you're usually sweating buckets when you head outdoors. The Merries Walker Pants are designed to allow air to flow freely between the diaper and the skin, and allows moisture and heat to escape, so it means no diaper rash for me. Yay!

:: Wetness indicators can be useful. Otherwise just do the patting and smell test:
Merries Walker Pants have a wetness indicator which turns from yellow to green, which indicates that it's time to grab the baby and give him a change. Mama tells me that these are pretty useful for first-time parents, who aren't too sure about when to change a diaper. She says that she and Papa usually do what seasoned parents do: they just pat my diaper to see if they need to haul me away for a change. For poop, they do the "pull-or-smell" test: if my diaper is accessible they pull it to take a peek, and if I'm in an overall or onesie they do the sniff test! Works every time. 

This is another feature of the walker pants that Mama really loves: the tape at the back of the diaper, which you can use to wrap around the diaper when you're done with it! For tape diapers, you can use the tapes to secure the dirty diaper closed, so that you don't get runaway poop. You can't do that for walker pants, so the tape is a really useful feature!

Here's something else that I liked: these limited edition Merries Japanese dolls! For the month of August, you can redeem a pair of these really cute Japanese dolls with a minimum purchase of $50 worth of Merries diapers in a single receipt. Just visit this page, and submit your details along with a scanned copy of the receipt of your purchase. (Terms and conditions apply, and there are only 2000 pairs available for redemption!)

These dolls are now my friends at parties, and love eating the food I cook for them. At least I think they do. Thank you Merries

[This post was sponsored by Merries, and Mama was also sent 3 packs of walker pants for me to try. For more information, please visit their website and FB page. All opinions are my and my Mama's own.]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thankful Tuesday: We can only do so much

After more than a week of nights of coughing, crying and puke, I'm glad to say that this little boy is more or less on the road to recovery. We brought the kid to the PD as he was coughing for more than a week, and she diagnosed him as having mycoplasma. After a course of antibiotics, he's much better now and his appetite is slowly picking up. I'm really so thankful for our PD: her diagnoses are usually spot on, and the kids usually start improving after a visit to her clinic.

One more thing that we are thankful for would be this sudden change in the relationship between the younger two boys. Previously, Lil J had been constantly expressing his dislike for Baby J, probably due to sibling rivalry. He would say that he didn't like him, and after reading in the Bible about Joseph, he decided that he wanted to sell Baby J away! We did everything we could: we tried to spend one on one time with him, we reassured him we loved him, we kept talking to him about loving his brothers. Nothing seemed to get through, and knowing how strong-willed Lil J was we steeled ourselves that this phase was going to be a long, long one.

However, for the past week, this little boy's heart seems to have softened. He now says he loves his brother, he sometimes pats him, and is now willing to share some of his toys with him and include him in games. With this comes a growing pride, as I see them all playing nicely together, and a sense of relief that hopefully, this difficult phase has passed.

I'd been praying so hard for the relationships between the three of them. Sometimes, I wonder if all this conflict and fighting is a result of our parenting, and many a times you wonder where you've gone wrong. Times like these are a good reminder that there is only so much we can do, and that God is the one that can change our childrens' hearts. With so much parenting "self-help" articles going around these days, it is tempting to think that our children will grow up well, so long if we were to follow all of these guides. We forget that our kids too are flawed and fallen, and that they too need God to transform them into new creations.

This little change in Lil J's heart has been such an encouragement to me during this period, and I am thankful for the reminder to keep trusting and hoping in God, who has our children in His loving hands.

Mum in the Making

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thankful Tuesday: Going forward

It has been quite some week! I came down with some bug after our trip, and spent two days in bed. The chills and aches were so bad I couldn't walk, and I had to take Paracetamol in order to get out of bed, or even try to sleep. Thankfully the hubby managed to take leave to help out at home, and my dad also helped with the kids, so I managed to get some rest, and am now more or less recovered. Now it's time to play catch up, and I've been just trying to ease myself back into our usual routines and trying to get on top of the chores.

Anyway, this is old news, but we were awarded the "Top 10 Most Popular Blogs" award at the Singapore Blog Awards! It came as a surprise to me, since this blog doesn't boast a huge readership unlike some of the other blogs that were in the finals. But whatever the case, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you out there who voted for us. This is certainly an encouragement to me to keep writing and sharing about the things close to our hearts.

There's going to be major changes up ahead (I'll share in time to come!), so I'm going to take this month to focus on sorting out homeschool matters and our application for exemption, as well as continue our decluttering and organizing efforts at home. There will probably be less posts over here in August, since I really need time to sort things out at home, but you can still find more updates over on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. Meanwhile, I'm still thankful: for this season in life for sorting and slowing down, for times with my three little boys, for friends and family. Here's wishing everyone a blessed August ahead!

Mum in the Making

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thankful Tuesday: Simple is best

We've just returned from a short trip to Tioman! We went with some friends and their kids, and while it was quite a challenge getting there and back (there was the drive, then the 2 hour ferry ride, and lots of waiting), I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

There wasn't much time to do a lot, since we only reached our hotel on Friday evening, and had to leave to catch the ferry at the unearthly hour of 5.15 am on Monday morning. We ended up eating at the hotel all the time, and the kids spent most of their time playing on the beach. We did manage to squeeze in some island hopping, but Junior J didn't want to go (he gets seasick), and the trip was too long for Baby J who still needed his nap, so I stayed behind with the two of them while the rest went.

The resort we stayed in only had wifi at their lobby and restaurant, but most of the time the wifi wasn't working in the restaurant. However, having wifi at the lobby was sufficient enough for us to send out Watsapps to our family members to let them know we had reached safely. We didn't have any internet access otherwise, which was good, since it meant we could rest and relax without being distracted by our devices.  It felt liberating to be unplugged for most of the trip, and not think about replying emails and messages!

I had a chat with the kids about what they enjoyed about the trip, and they all agreed that they enjoyed playing at the beach most. Which more or less confirms this article, that kids really prefer the simple pleasures most. It was lovely sitting in the shallows, watching all seven kids get busy in the sand. There wasn't any need to entertain them, and they automatically grouped together and started on their own project of digging a hole, which they later used to "bathe" Baby J in. Simple is really best, and I am thankful for this time we could have soaking in the sun and sea, together with family and friends!

P/S: I'll blog more about the trip in time to come!

Mum in the Making

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Home: The Living Room (Before and After)

Hello! Today, I'm popping in to bring you for a tour of our living room. It's really the heart of the home, and is where the boys do most of their playing and doodling, and is often in a whole big mess! It's pretty interesting to see how the living room has changed after almost ten years of living in our home. Here's how it looked like when we first moved in:

Then, we had no kids, and were in love with the look of dark wood. Most of our furniture was deep brown, and in retrospect I think it was a little overwhelming! Since there were no little hands to mess with our stuff, our CDs and DVDs were stuffed helter-skelter in random boxes and stored in our TV bench. 

After the arrival of the kids, we slowly started making changes to the room. First, the toys appeared, so we had to add toy storage, and kid friendly furniture. The boys started ransacking the TV bench, so we felt the need for more storage where we could store our CDs and DVDs out of reach. And after a few years of changing this, and removing this and adding that, here's how our living room looks today, as you enter our home:

Now let me clarify before I bring you for a tour: the living room is not the first room you see when you enter our home. We have an access corridor (which we converted into a learning corner), and upon stepping into home you'll be greeted with our blackboard wall and the dining room. Our layout is unique, because we opted to hack a wall, and sacrifice a bedroom to open up the living-dining area. The initial layout was awkward, and made the living space dark and stuffy, so we felt giving up that bedroom was worth it. So our living room was actually carved out from a bedroom!

We are not fond of built-in furniture, but decided to get wall-mounted Besta units from Ikea as these were cheaper than getting a contractor to build cabinets from scratch. We matched those with more Besta units at the bottom. I admit I went a little nuts, and filled up the rest of the wall space with all sorts of wall art:

Artwork by artist Azisa Noor, whom we commissioned to do three paintings featuring our family in different dreamy landscapes. We printed and framed these in Ribba frames.

Home poster from IKEA (but I think they no longer stock this poster), large globe from a Belgium flea market, small globe from Typo, and wood artwork from Gracesmiths.

The Besta units are fantastic storage! The wall mounted units keep all our DVDs and CDs safe from little itchy fingers. I also store some of the kids' smaller manipulatives out of reach in Glis boxes, which fit perfectly on the narrow shelves. 

The lower Besta units are used to store the kids' toys, while the drawers are used to store their DVDs and CDs, so that they can access them easily. This cupboard is used to store all their building materials:

We hunted around for awhile before finding the perfect boxes for the unit:
Daiso shoe boxes! The boys can easily see what are inside the boxes,
and each shelf can hold exactly 3 boxes. 

We also displayed other artwork that we picked up on our travels (two of my fav buys when overseas: artwork and magnets!), as well as some of the boys' artwork (the wooden letters were decorated by the boys using washi tape). Next to the TV bench is the boys' Duktig play kitchen, which they use almost everyday:

I love how durable the kitchen is. This has withstood many years of play, and has cooked an uncountable number of strange meals. 

We brightened up the kitchen using MT washi tape, as well as a tea towel. 

On the side near the window is our Trofast unit, which holds more toys. 

The lower shelves hold their toy vehicles, while the bins hold Duplo. 

This child-sized typewriter was a vintage one that I scored when we visited the UK.
The cash register is a Duktig one, again from IKEA.

A few years back, Junior J decided to draw on our old sofa with oil pastels, and we never really got the stains out. So two years back, we opted to buy a new Kivik sofa

We used to have framed photos taken during our New Zealand honeymoon hanging on the wall over the sofa (you can see the photos here). However, we needed space for a big world map, so we replaced those pictures with this large world map. We had our contractor build a ledge behind the sofa, which we use to hold our library books and current reads:

This set of Svalsta nesting tables is our most recent addition to the room. We used to use a kid's table, but swopped it out for this pair of tables. I love how we can push the smaller table under the larger one when it is not in use, and how it does not have any sharp edges. 

The tables are great for all sorts of activities: building lego, holding tea parties, and drawing monsters and dinosaurs. 

The boys use wooden stools, carved in the shape of different animals.
We picked these up when traveling in Malaysia. 

The smaller table is great since it's slightly lower, so it's the perfect height for baby J!

I love how this room has grown along with our family, and I think this whiter, brighter look suits our home much more. What do you think? 

Whatever the case, I think this room is going to hold plenty of good memories as the years pass! 

PS: This post is part of a series of collaborative posts with IKEA. We were given a gift card to purchase some of the aforementioned items in this post, and no monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.


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