We have a pretty fun house, I’d say. Lots of books and toys. Multiple Barbie houses and dollhouses and even travel-type versions of each. A spoiled little dog who loves attention. Enough LEGO to fill a minivan from floor to ceiling.
But when my kids are home sick, our house becomes the most boring place in the whole world.
Kids today, they can’t resist the siren call of those darn YouTubers. They want to watch kids unboxing, pranking, performing, pretending, challenging. They want to play Minecraft — well, or just watch YouTube videos of other kids actually playing Minecraft. They want to watch other kids play with toys and do makeup and invent dance routines, while they sit there in a stupor.
Now, when kids are home sick, it’s understandable they don’t have a lot of energy. Watching a screen doesn’t take any energy, other than keeping your eyelids open. Yes, they are going to want to lie on the couch and take it easy while they watch a show.
A custom entertainment unit was something we’d been talking about for years and never got around to building …
… but suddenly it was bumped up to the top of our project list.
We had a new curved TV that needed to be hung lower than our last one, which meant our electric fireplace no longer fit neatly before it. It got the boot, and then we had nowhere to store all of the crap that goes under a TV — digital box, video game consoles and a zillion snaking cords that need to be hidden.
We stuck a small cabinet there temporarily. It looked awful.
And so, I started sketching to see what we needed in our new custom piece. While it would look like a TV stand, our TV was wall-mounted so it wasn’t going to be standing on anything — just floating right above it, making it technically a credenza. We needed shelves for electronic components, and also cabinets to hide baskets of Wii accessories and folded-up quilts.
Then we got out a measuring tape and started getting specific. We wanted it to span the entire wall, which meant it needed to be about 90” long. Height-wise, we had about 36 inches of space to fill vertically before it would skim the bottom of the wall-mounted TV …
Don’t forget to pin this idea so you can find it again later!
The snow wasn’t stopping and the kids had already played outside. They’d also played Barbies and LEGO, read books and played with the container of Moon Sand I keep hidden away for “special” occasions. Lunch was hours away, or is that just how it felt?
The kids needed another activity, so our seven-year-old daughter asked if we could make a batch of “oobleck.” I had no idea what she meant until she described it.
“Oh, you mean ‘magic mud,’” I corrected her, smiling at the memory of my mom making magic mud for me and my sister when we were kids. It was just cornstarch and water, but something about that combination was magical — squishy and firm, but dripping and oozing a second later.
I was hurrying to clean up the kitchen in between phone calls, since a snow day for the kids doesn’t mean I get snow day from my work. I was flustered and already thinking through my next task for as soon as I could escape back down to my home office.Read More