We’ve made friends with the nicest family in our neighbourhood and my kids are as obsessed with spending time with their kids as I am about spending time chatting to their Mama. Every single day my kids ask when we can have a playdate and our family friendship has grown into the kind where you call at 2.55pm to ask if your friend can pick your kids up from school since your 2 year old is still napping and you don’t want to wake him. She has become the friend who delivers homemade soup at 7pm along with your children she’s been minding all afternoon because you’re laid up in bed and your husband is overseas for work. They’re the friends you spend New Years Eve with, the ones you have impromptu Friday night Pizza evenings with week in and week out because even your husbands can enjoy a beer together. I feel incredibly blessed to have met a friend so special and one whose entire family brings happiness to my own.
She’s a very talented woman and creative to boot. Her home is perfectly decorated and her daughter’s hair is immaculate every single morning – I’m talking Queen Elsa braids! And despite my knowledge of her talent and creativity, when she told me a few weeks ago she was making a Mud Kitchen for her kids I don’t think I even asked what it was. I certainly hadn’t heard of one before. I must have been consumed with frustration about the incomplete state of my renovation that has regrettably filled my brain for the past few months.
Fast forward to Friday two weeks ago, I had the boys to my place after school for a playdate and Tahlia headed to their place to play. At 5pm we rode our bikes and scooter along the road to return her son and pick up my girl and was invited to the backyard for a cup of tea in the mud kitchen. Out in the garden the girls had created the most beautiful collection of ‘cakes, pies and sandwiches’ for sale. They were enthusiastically doing dishes in the mud kitchen and nothing, I mean nothing, could distract them from the magic they were creating here. Beau got involved and actually ended up throwing one of the most horrific tantrums I’ve ever witnessed when I said it was time to go home and leave the mud kitchen behind. That told me this was something we might also enjoy in our backyard.
That was Friday afternoon.
That night after the kids were in bed, I jumped onto on our local Facebook Community Page and put out a couple of requests:
- An unwanted old sink, single good, double sink amazing. Needed for a kids Mud Kitchen
- Any unwanted pallets please
Bless the locals, we hooked up the trailer and spent Saturday afternoon driving around the neighbourhood collecting the goodies offered up. Can I just say at this point that I really thought it would be a simple exercise requiring a hammer, a few nails and a bit of nous to get the mud kitchen whipped up.
Husband was busy creating and installing my long-awaited Scullery shelves so offered zero assistance. “Girls Can Do Anything” I kept telling myself.
I realised quite quickly that I need more pallets and more time, so I slept on it and woke early on Sunday morning to visit the streets around Airport Oaks where I had heard there were discarded pallets outside industrial businesses. There I found the most perfect pallets, but boy were they heavy! I put the “Girls Can Do Anything” mantra on repeat and heaved four of the suckers into the back of my car.
Once we got them home I heaved them behind the house and laid everything out on the back lawn as I tried to again get my head around how to put this creation together. And within approximately five minutes of brain exertion and overload, concluded it was actually going to be much harder than I had initially thought!
I visited several internet tutorials and a few Pinterest postings showing beautifully rustic variations of the Mud Kitchen, but none seemed as straight forward as I’d hoped. This isn’t a tutorial because I honestly very roughly knocked this together, but thankfully the kids don’t look too closely at the crooked nails and the non-flush joinings of 4 by 2 that would likely make my perfectionist husbands blood curdle. haha. The sink fits perfectly snug into the frame I slapped together and the already boxed up for Salvation Army kitchen bits and pieces have found a new home in our back yard.
We have a tap to install, but that was a late comer to the collection so it hasn’t yet been done. We use old paint buckets for under each of the plug holes because obviously when the water needs to be released, it’s gotta go somewhere! I used an extra pallet to set the entire thing onto so that Beau could access the sink easily too which makes it entire family fun.
It’s not perfect, but it’s rustic and perfectly adequate for my kiddos and you know what… it cost me nothing but my time. You know the saying “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”? Well it’s 100% true since I managed to create this Mud Kitchen for free!