IMK February and reno update (Be warned, not much food!)

Well, I did say we were in for a big, busy year and that has proven to be true just in the first couple of weeks. We headed off to Pambula Beach for our annual dose of camping surf and sun, knowing full well we would have to return at some stage for the arrival of our first grandchild. Well, 4 nights into our holiday, the call came in so we secured camp and headed the 5&1/2 hour drive back to be rewarded with the beautiful ‘Charlie’ being born early the next morning. I think I was more stressed waiting for his arrival than I was going through the birth of our own children. A good outcome with a healthy baby, a healthy and happy mum and dad and some very thrilled grandparents. Here we are, the first hold of our first grandchild. Pretty darned special!

1st Hold

Three days later mum and Charlie, were sent home to make their own way in the world. Mr ATMT drove to Rosebud to pick up his 87 year old mum, brought her back to Newborough (2 hour drive each way) so she could see her 8th great grandchild then drove her back home again (he was a tad tired after all this driving). What a delightful experience it was to see her face as she welcomed this new addition to the family. As someone who never met a grandmother and barely remembers a grandfather it was quite a special moment seeing the four generations, mother & son, mother & son, together.

Not bad for 87 is she?

4 generationsIn My Kitchen-There is not much food cooking!

We have stripped everything out from the old kitchen space and commenced stripping the painted brickwork of the chimney. I trialled a sample of a product called Peel Away and we were very impressed with the test patch so here goes nothing. This product is reputed to be able to strip up to 30 layers of paint in one hit, doesn’t smell and is suitable for removing lead and asbestos based paint. The process is simply a matter of slathering the product on, covering it with the special paper they supply and waiting 24-48 hours for it to do its stuff. The paper is then peeled away and what’s left easily scrapes off and the surface can then be scrubbed clean. If repainting a neutraliser needs to be applied before painting.

Here is the spot we trialled on the front of the chimney under the mantle. Pretty impressed!

Peel AwayFirst section of the chimney brickwork treated with Peel Away. Coating applied and the special laminated paper placed over it waiting for it all to cook!

Peel Away Paint Removal SystemThe builders are back on site after the Christmas break and continue to excel in doing a sensational job. We came home from camping to having a roof on the new section, complete with keeping the old tin (with old telephone insulators) from the original gable and reinstalled it into the new gable. It’s little touches like this that keep the authenticity of the house intact.

IMG_6341We have ceiling windows installed that will become part of the new kitchen.

Ceiling windowsThe windows have been delivered and we are excited beyond words waiting for them to be fitted so the existing kitchen wall can be removed and I’ll get a real feel of what the space will be. In fact I had to start removing a few of the boards……………  just because I had to.

IMG_6367There have been a few little bits of food coming out from the toy oven and temporary kitchen. We had friends join us for a gathering on Australia Day so I made a tomato, cucumber, feta cheese and red onion salad.

IMG_6333 I served an assortment of breads. Potato and rosemary focaccia (toy oven), plain baguettes and herb baguettes (cooked in the barbecue) and 2 rye loaves (toy oven). All went down well with dukkah, cheeses and pickles.IMG_6331 I made a chocolate pavlova which made a nice change from the normal pav. I anticipated someone else would bring a pavlova and was right so it was nice to have a choice between normal and a chocky one. I topped this with freshly picked mulberries,  strawberries and lightly sweetened cream that I had grated chocolate into. Very nice.IMG_6335The mulberries were from our own tree and this is the first year we have had such a bountiful harvest. We think it may have something to do with the fact we set up a timed sprinkler  under the tree so all our pots would be watered while we were away. Boy, have we enjoyed mulberries! This is a 5 minute harvest-extra large coffee cups.

MulberriesBut look at what happens when you pick them.

IMG_0132Hence the warnings issued that when you plant a mulberry tree don’t plant near paths or areas where you will be troubled by staining. I love it!

Head over to Maureen’s at Orgasmic Chef to see what others are doing ‘In their kitchens’ this month, some may even have some food and goodies to share! Thanks for hosting Maureen.



35 Replies to “IMK February and reno update (Be warned, not much food!)”

  1. This post made me cry. What a wonderful photo of the 4 generations and you’re right, she doesn’t look much over 70. There is nothing like holding your first grandchild and it gets even better as they get older. Thank you SO much for sharing this special event plus the exciting reno. Don’t get me started on the berries! Envy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh dear Maureen, didn’t mean to make you all emotional. Yes, pretty special indeed. Sorry, slipping mulberries as I write and there are a couple in my bubbly drink too 🙂


  2. This month’s kitchen posts show an amazing range of bravery… stripping paint and reconstruction projects get a high bravery score in my book! Congratulations on the baby.

    best… mae at


  3. It a very special time being a new grandparent, enjoy the love with Charlie. Very impressed with the bread you baked in the BBQ and I wouldn’t be bothered by stained hands either, the mulberries would be worth it. I’m watching your kitchen reno with interest

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a bit in awe of my reaction to becoming a grandie. Blown me away a bit, not so much the baby (but I do love him) but seeing my beautiful daughter transitioning into a parent is quite overwhelming. Sniff, sniff…..
      A good wash gets rid of the mulberry stain, I quite like the shock factor 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What interesting things to share this month: the latest (and adorable) family addition, a truly major renovation plus a tasty spread coming out of the reno-in-progress kitchen. Can’t wait to see the next update.

    I’ve never seen mulberries before – they really DO exist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, yes they do exist! This is the first year I have been convinced too. Strange, the blog was named after this tree and yet we hadn’t had much return from it. Amazing what a bit of water can do 🙂


  5. Congrats on Charlie, how adorable. Despite the lack of a proper kitchen you still manage to produce such gorgeous bread! Love the tomato, cucumber and feta salad. It’s a staple for in me in the summer and I’m missing it right now.


  6. What a fabulous start to the year, a grandchild, real reno progress… I love the roof and the original tin bits you retained, lots of bread, mulberries and gorgeous summer salad (so necessary in the heat & humidity). I’m taking baby steps with bread making, and it’s so gratifying to bake and eat my own modest bread efforts, I’m in awe of yours 🙂


    1. Thanks EllaDee, I think the bread is one thing I can control in this mess! There most simple of breads are still much better than store bough, full of nutrition and love! Cheers, Maree.


    1. Hi Jan. I love the name and the boy! Getting a bit antsy about the reno. All those horrible finishing details need sorting now which I’m not good at. I just want to get up one morning and see it all in front of me! 🙂


  7. Hi Maree – congratulations on your beautiful grandson 🙂 May he fill your heart everyday. Your kitchen/house renos are coming along – hopefully things will move along now with Christmas out of the way. Loving your bread – they look delicious! I can’t believe you forget to wear gloves while you picked your mulberries! Lovely colour though 😉 See you next time #IMK x


    1. Thanks Nicole. It is indeed a beautiful gift seeing a beautiful, healthy babe appear. Gloves! What are they? Only ever get them out if paint stripper is around. I would never make being a hand model! 🙂


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