Sunday, June 8, 2014

Indoor Playhouse

We had a blast building this playhouse for our kids.  It was great to have a project to work on together and we are so happy with the finished product!  We have had a few people ask us for our plans, so I just wanted to share what we did.   Our House is 42" x 54" (not including the stairs) and 8 ft. tall. 

Frame Cut list 
4- 8' posts

2- 51"
4- 45"
2- 17.5"
4- 13.5"

1- 54"
2- 51"
4- 45"

Left Side:
3- 45"
2- 35"

Right Side:
3- 45"
2- 35"
2- 12"

We built the frames for the 4 walls, but did not add the 8 foot pieces until we brought them inside. The spacing and height of our windows was determined by the 3 1/2" tongue and groove paneling (This Paneling from Lowes) we used to create the siding look.  We did not want to have to notch out the pieces of paneling so we had to space things in multiples of 3 1/2".  If you use something different than the paneling, you may need to adjust the windows. 

(the board at the bottom of the door was just used to brace that frame until it was all put together--then it was removed)

We brought everything inside and screwed the 8 foot posts onto the front and back walls.  Then we screwed the 4 walls together.  We screwed the brace pieces near the ceiling at this point too.

We added these white 2x4 pieces between the 8 foot posts to create a lip above the floor piece.  cut 2  at 51", 1 at 35" and the one on the door side is a 17" with a 45" 2x4 up to the top. (the top 2x4 on your left side is 35" and 17" on the right side)  This will leave room for the door.  We put an 18" brace piece at the top of the door. (this had to screw into the inside of the top as there was no way to screw it in flush with the rest of the top.)

Next we added the floor of the second story.  We used 3/4" MDF cut at 51" x 39" (add 2 more 39" 2x4's across the frame under the floor to brace it)

We found out the hard way not to paint the paneling before you hang it up because little bits of paint in the tongue and grove part will make it uneven  Our two sides were off a little bit and the long piece over the door wouldn't connect right.  We had to tear it off and start over.

I bought this rug at IKEA and cut it to size with a razor knife.  
Make sure you leave some hanging out the door.  Pay attention to where you will need some for the stairs too.
For the bars upstairs, we used 10- 2x2s cut 44" and screwed into the back of the top rail and the lip around the floor.  On the front there is 4.25" between each bar and on the door side, there is 4.5" between the bars.  It is best to pre drill these holes as the 2x2s split easily.  Make sure the carpet is installed before the bars.

Next we added the eave.  We used 5 more boards of 54" paneling and drew a straight line from the center of the top to the corners of the bottom and cut them at that angle.  I think the angle was 33 degrees. We added another 2"x2" piece between the eave and the upstairs bars to stabilize this piece.  

The stairs were probably the most difficult part.  We used .75" MDF and used a combination of screws, wood glue, and dowels to connect it.  We made our staircase 12" deep, but if we had it to do again, we would make it 18".  (although I'm not sure the rug from IKEA would be large enough to cover the upstairs and 18" wide stairs)
PDF Stairs
We clamped the 2x2s to the stairs and figured out the height we wanted, clamped a 1x2 to it and drew lines on the 2x2x.  then we cut everything and used a nail gun to attach the railing to the posts.  We used lots of nails to attach the posts to the stairs.  It came out much more sturdy than I thought it would.  We added a tall compartment at the back because we have lots of swords, fishing poles, etc that never seem to have a place in our playroom.  We planned to add a little door to that part, but decided to leave it open.
Another option would be to buy this from IKEA and add a railing. or skip the stairs and make a ladder instead.
Next we added the roof pieces.  We notched the ends out so it would fit flush against the 8 ft pieces and extend to the edge of the house.  We angled the tops at 33 degrees to create the point of the roof.
Next we added 1X4 pieces to the inside of the windows and doors with the nail gun to cover the screw holes and give it a clean and smooth look.  We used 1x 5 pieces and rounded the edges to give a little lip on the window sills.  
We added a gate with a spring hinge to make it a bit safer when the kids are upstairs.
I used 4- 21" bars and 2- 14" and a small piece of MDF to stop the gate.

Next we added the door trim.  I love this part!  It looks like a real door.  We put white trim around all the windows, edges and under the eave (the angle at the point was 33 degrees).  


The flower boxes are made out of 1/2 " MDF.  The fronts and backs are 12" at the top and 10" at the bottom.  We had to angle the edges of the bottom and the sides at 15 degrees.  We glued these together with wood glue.  I bought wooded circles from Joann and painted them green.  The the flowers and mailbox are also from Joann and the post is made out of leftover 2x2s

We planned to put drywall on the inside of the downstairs, but decided to sand and paint the frames instead.  This gave a bit more space and the kids like putting things on the little "shelves."

We had a great time designing and building this as a couple.  It was nice to have a project to work on and connect over and of course, our kids love it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Just a little history for those who don't know... my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April of 2007. The cancer was in late stage 3 when it was discovered and we were given very little hope. We grieved, and we prayed like we have never prayed before. We were living in Kentucky at the time, and decided to move back to Florida in order to be closer to my mom and to help out with day to day needs that my parents had. After 8 rounds of extremely difficult chemo, mom's cancer counts were back in the normal "no cancer" zone. We praised God like never before. And she was cancer free for a while, but then it came back...

Since then, the cancer has gone away and come back several times. Last Christmas, she was very sick and we though her battle was nearly over. We began praying that she would get to meet Isaac. I feel so blessed that she has been able to know my sweet boy and see me as a mom. I'm still praying for miraculous healing, and that she gets to meet all of my kids! Her cancer counts over the last 6 months remained low enough that she did not need any treatment. She was finally able to gain some independence again and just enjoy life with her family and friends in a pretty normal way.

Then a few weeks ago, she began to experience dizziness, headaches, and balance problems. The tests revealed our greatest fear. Her cancer had spread to her brain--and it was all over. Last Friday, she finished a 3 week regimen of daily radiation on her brain and the doctors decided to admit her to the hospital because she was experiencing excruciating pain. It was determined that she needed to have a pump implanted so that she could have constant access to her pain meds. Throughout this hospital stay, her doctors also recommended that we transition her to Hospice so that she could have home nursing care and more access to pain relief. "Hospice" was a difficult word for me to hear. We have been assured that she can continue treatment at Moffitt for her cancer while using hospice care, but it's hard not to think of it as the end of the fight.

I'm definitely dealing with lots of emotions and have many things on my mind that are not easy to explain...these are some things I'm learning and thinking lately.

  • God is big enough to handle our questions, our emotions, and our fears.
  • Sometimes my fears and sadness are so heavy that I find it hard to breathe.
  • There are other times when God gives me peace, and I'm learning that's in those times, I don't need to walk around with a sullen face and a sad disposition--I need to be thankful for the times of peace and joy and enjoy them as a gift.
  • Isaac has kept me busy--this has provided a much needed distraction from the heaviness of this time.
  • I have watched God use these circumstances to transform my dad into the most tender, patient, and humble person I know.
  • I find myself constantly going back to the Psalms during my quiet times. David's emotions are a comfort to me. He writes about the sorrows, the joys, the struggles, and the victories of life in such a real way. This book constantly leads me back to the heart and love of God.
  • Thanksgiving without my mom (she was still in the hospital) felt so strange.
  • I'm thankful for my husband who is learning how to comfort me. Sometimes with laughter and sometimes with tenderness.
  • It's hard to tell the difference between the ideas of acceptance and giving up.
  • Something about putting up my Christmas tree always makes me very introspective. It's like a mixture of joy, melancholy, nostalgia, and sweetness. The emotions seem more intense this year.

Friday, August 6, 2010

God is so good...

We just got home from housesitting for my parents, and as I went to do my quiet time this morning, I realized that I left my Bible at their house. So I found an old Bible that I haven't used in a while on my bookshelf. When I opened it, a bunch of note cards fell out into my lap. These are verses I wrote as I walked through the pain of infertility and longing for a child. I am overwhelmed as I think about God's faithfulness today--he truly is finishing the work he began in me. These are the words I read this morning...

""Have mercy on me, O God, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul." Psalm 86:3-4

"Surely I spoke of things I did not understand (my suffering), things to wonderful for me to know." Job.42:3

"is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son." Genesis 18:14

"Sarah said, 'God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." Genesis 21:6

"Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer and his wife Rebekah became pregnant (with twins)." Genesis 25:21

"Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son and said 'God has taken away my disgrace.'" Genesis 30:22-23

"O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me and not forget your servant, but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life." 1 Samuel 1:11

"And the Lord remembered her, so in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel saying, 'because I asked the Lord for him.'" 1 Samuel 1:20

"'So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.' And he worshipped the Lord there." 1 Samuel 1:28

"And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters." 1 Samuel 2:21

"For you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?...But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:2, 5-6

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child...enlarge the place of your tent, stretch wide your tent curtains, do not hold back. Lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and the left; your descendants will settle in desolate cities. " Isaiah 54:1-3

"Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:4

"He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children." Psalm 113:9

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can't I just freeze time???

I'm absolutely loving everything about motherhood! I wanted to record a few of my favorite things right now...
  • Isaac's smile is the most beautiful thing in the world to me right now. I think God is going to use my boy to bring joy to people!
  • He learned to roll over yesterday and after the first time, he looked so surprised. Then I made him do it over and over until he cried and gave me the "ok...I am DONE, Mommy!" face.
  • 10 hours of sleep last night :) I had to wake him up this morning!
  • I am finally back into my pre-pregnancy pants!
  • Isaac thinks I am funny. I'm pretty sure he's the only one in the world who would characterize me this way. He laughs at my silly faces and my singing :)
  • I feel overwhelmed with joy at watching my mom with Isaac. This is a blessing that I didn't think I'd ever see. One of my major prayers throughout her sickness is that she would get to see me as a mom. God is so good!
  • I love my video monitor. It is so fun to watch him in his crib--he plays and talks and waves his arms around while trying to fall asleep. We need to hang it higher though, because he scoots down and by morning, all I can see is the top of his head.
  • Daniel is a great Dad. He gets the best smiles and laughs from Isaac. When Isaac wakes up, he always asks if he can get him.
  • Bath time! Isaac splashes like a crazy man and is so smiley during bath time. I think this is his favorite part of the day, so I've started giving a bath every evening. He has never cried in the tub.
  • Little bitty laundry--every time I fold his tiny little clothes, I thank God for his sweet gift to us. Tiny jeans have become a symbol of God's blessing in my life!
  • I love how whenever I walk into a house where Ava is, she immediately says, "where's Ise?" She absolutely loves her little cousin.
  • When I went to pick Isaac up from the church nursery yesterday, the ladies didn't want to give him back and they said he was the sweetest baby :)
  • I love getting to be mommies together with my sister. I am so thankful we live close to each other. She is my best friend and one of the only people in the world who truly knows me. It's a little chaotic with all three kiddos, but it's so much fun!
I'm sure there is more to say, but I need to take a shower before my little guy wakes up.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day Photo Shoot

While Daniel was at camp I had my friends Mary Beth and Chen Wang ( come an take some pictures of Isaac as a Father's Day present for Daniel. I think they turned out so cute! Here are some of my favorites...