Archives for the month of: September, 2010

Last October we bought our first house. After living on the third floor of various elevator-less apartment buildings for years, I was more than ready to have a door on the ground floor and a washer and dryer to call my own. We love our house. It was built in either 1928 or 1935 and has charm oozing out of every crack of its uninsulated walls. The kitchen, however, was less charming and more disturbing.

Sadly, we didn’t take enough before photos. Here’s all I have:

As soon as we got possession of the house, we gutted it.

Here’s what the kitchen vomited into my backyard:

And here’s what it vomited into my dining room:

When we first planned the kitchen redo, we decided to keep the back door in the kitchen, where it originally was. It was pretty difficult to fit in enough cabinet and counter space around three doorways and a huge window, though. Here’s what we came up with:

Oops, right? It just didn’t work. I had good intentions with the double-level cabinets. I’m tall, so reaching into them wasn’t a problem, and we had planned to put all our small appliances in the cabinets right at counter level, with outlets for them within the cabinets themselves until we learned that that was against code. So I ended up with no counter space, no room for coats, boots, hats, scarves, and mittens in the winter, and a funky cabinet arrangement.

After our third little boy was born in April, Mr. Teatimewithmandy re-gutted the kitchen, moved the back door out, and re-arranged the cabinets. We repainted and put up a bead-board backsplash too.
I think we got it right this time.

I love it now, and am so happy with what we finally ended up with. I can tell you one thing for sure. I don’t plan on gutting the same kitchen twice in less than 12 months ever again.

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We had some friends over on Sunday afternoon. They’ve got three kids and we’ve got three kids, so 6 kids under the age of 5 makes for some mighty noisy times. They all conk out pretty reliably around 7pm, though, so once we wrangled them all in to their pjs, read them their stories, kissed their adorable little foreheads, and popped a few extra-strength tylenol (I’m not kidding), we shared a fun raclette dinner together. Good times. We also texted with strangers and hijacked each other’s facebook accounts, all on only half a bottle of cheap grocery store rosé! It’s amazing how resourceful parents can be, really.

Dessert was a triumph. Nutella Raspberry Refrigerator Pie. And I’m sharing the recipe. Because I’m nice like that.

Nutella Raspberry Refrigerator Pie

Ingredients:
– 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
– 5 tbsp butter, melted
– 1 block of cream cheese
– 1 tub of cool whip
– 2 cups of nutella
– Fresh raspberries

1. In a pie plate, combine melted butter and graham cracker crumbs with a fork. Press the mixture into the sides of the pan and throw in a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes, just until the crust is set.
2. In a mixer, combine nutella, cream cheese, and cool whip. I didn’t use the whole tub, but you could if you wanted to. I used about 3/4 of the tub and had just enough filling for my pie crust.
3. Spread mixture in crust.
4. Refrigerate.
5. Top with fresh (or frozen, I imagine) raspberries and serve.

I may or may not have served this topped with melted nutella and freshly whipped cream. I’m not admitting to anything.

I try to be a good mom and take my kids to the library. We live in small town south of Montreal, and the selection of English books is abysmal. The French section is only slightly better. Last week, Z decided to check out a picture book about jobs. We had a talk on the walk home about how he could look though it to pick out what he wanted to do when he grows up. Of course, when we got home there were two other kids to deal with and supper to make, so that plan went out the window. The next morning I wake up to Z standing beside my bed with the book in his hands. “Mama, why are there doctors that look at your bum?” Boy, was I thrown for a loop. Then he showed me a picture:

Apparently this is in a thermal spa. Um…ok. I’ve gotten massages before, and they’ve never involved lying bare naked on a table like that. Wonder what kind of massage parlor the author’s been frequenting?

I was even more confused when I saw the next one:

Spa treatment or prison hosedown?

We moved on to the farm section. Ooh, veterinarians! Fun, cute, safe! Right?

Oh no. Not the conversation I was looking to have at 7am on a Tuesday morning.

And then why teach kids that veterinarians only help to make animals better? Why not show them they also have the choice to work as a quality controller in a slaughterhouse. Every kid’s dream, no?

Luckily for me, Z told me that he had already decided what he wants to do when he grows up. He wants to feed the chickens. Alright son, sounds good to me.

In January I read a Martha Stewart magazine that talked about starting your garden early, indoors. In February, I went to the gardening center and bought pots, topsoil, seeds, gloves, and a special spray bottle. In March, I delicately planted a single pumpkin seed. It sprouted in a little pot on my kitchen windowsill and I watered it every day. In May I moved it to my carefully tilled garden. I watered it every evening for weeks. It flourished. 15 feet long, it had 20 or so huge flowers. One of those many flowers turned into a tiny green pumpkin. That tiny green pumpkin grew and grew until it was about 8 inches across and starting to turn orange. I pictured my children carving it and setting it out proudly by the front door of our idyllic new home in a few short weeks. This afternoon I went to go pick some tomatoes, and discovered the mangled remains of my pumpkin vine. A few feet away, there was half my pumpkin, covered in teeth and claw marks, with a huge turd sitting beside it.
I could cry.