My First Meal in my New (Unfinished) Kitchen

plllogMarch 30, 2010

We often have threads about what one's first meal is going to be. My kitchen isn't finished, but I finally got the dropcloth off of the island yesterday! And made a tiny, casual Seder. The big family Seder is on Saturday, which is when people can get together. Last night was fun and casual, and only five of us, though it seems to have used every appliance except the warming drawer.

First there was the cleaning and the washing of oh so many dishes that had to be put away so that I could stack the empty boxes behind the couch. I got tired of using one of my good mixing bowls for the rinse, so bought a big dishpan. My dishwasher is supposed to be fixed next week. In some ways, it's been useful having to handle everything and great properly reacquainted by washing, drying and putting away.

One of the last things washed--appropriately for putting away leaven--is my "bread bowl". The picture is really for Rhome410 who, like me, is a vesselarian.

Below is part of the reason that I love my plain white floor: It's so easy to see where one dripped!! I think that's watermelon juice. It's a big floor. I'd rather use a rag than get out the mop.

I LOVE my prep sink!! The trough works as expected. My favorite orange collander can sit either in the narrow end, or in the bowl. The soapstone is great if I splash (watch the flow washing celery!) because it's so easy to just slick the water into the sink. And having the fridge drawers right there to put things in and out of is even better than I expected.

So here's the set table, with the saltwater in the middle of the vegetable tray and an extra bowl of charoset because the amount that fits on the Seder plate isn't enough.

And here's the last cooking. At this point there's gefilte fish (brought by guests), eggs, and green salad in the fridge, as well as the wine chilling, and meat in the oven. Chicken soup was simmering with matzah balls on the gas. The tzimmis (what's on the stove) is baby carrots, baby golden beets, peewee potatoes, pearl onions and baby turnips, steamed in the combi-steam oven. The "sauce" is large sultanas and Trader Joe's dried golden medley -- or whatever they call it -- (golden raisins, cranberries, blueberries, and cherries), sauted with chicken stock and a little Manischewitz Concord Grape. Here they are combined and heating:

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    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:10PM
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Chag Sameach!

I am having a serious case of sink envy!size=1>

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Well that beautiful bread bowl has made a "vesselarian" out of me, too. And after seeing your awesome trough,
I may also be a "trougharian." That is one cool, very functional "wow" factor IMHO.

Beautiful table setting - how appropriate for a first meal!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:15PM
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"vesselarian" may be my new favorite GW word. I think I am a vesselarian wanna-be. None of my bowls quite measure up!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Thank you for inviting us into your (unfinished) kitchen and home. Love the vessel! Love the trough sink! Love everything you've shared with us so far! All is shaping up to be a classic of beauty and function totally befitting that food which looks downright tasty. Talk about whetting my appetite for more photos! You go!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:26PM
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Gena Hooper

That bowl. I'm also an aspiring vesselarian. Always sigh over. Rarely buy. Maybe once this kitchen is done...

Lusting after your cool sinks. I never thought I'd lust after sinks. What has this forum done to me? Looks like a wonderful first meal.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:36PM
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thank you for sharing a special and meaningful meal with us. It looks divine and I am sure you will get tremendous enjoyment from your kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:41PM
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Beautiful table, beautiful vessel and beautiful meal. Enjoy.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:42PM
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Thanks for my special bowl shot! :-)

Amberley and Pickle2, you don't have to have 'worthy' bowls to be a vesselarian...Just have to love them. Sighing and not buying is what I do best...or at least most.

That trough sink does look great, as does the food!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:54PM
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You put me to shame. Our first meal last Friday night was Papa Murphy's pizza. We got to use the oven even though virtually all the pans, dishes, etc. are still packed.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 9:59PM
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I really enjoyed reading how much you are enjoying your kitchen choices. Sometimes we spend lots of time stressing about making choices, so it is nice to hear that the outcome can bring such joy. (I love charoset! yum)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:03PM
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How lovely that your first meal was your seder. Everything looks beautiful. Passover was my mom's favorite holiday. She passed away in 2008 and I haven't been able/ready to make a seder since. Luckily we have wonderful friends who have invited us to their homes. My mom never got to see my kitchen renovation - which she would have loved - but I hope someday soon I will feel ready to make a seder at my home, without her, even though it will never be the same again.
Wishing you many happy holidays and occasions in your beautiful kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:03PM
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This is truly what it is all about. Thank you for sharing and reminding us!

Love that prep sink!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:09PM
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You have my son's favorite faucet! He REALLY wanted us to get that one for our new kitchen. It looks awesome with your sink and soapstone.
I love your bread bowl, too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Warm, happy kitchen. Best wishes!

You can send me your big enamel bowl when your dishwasher is repaired.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:26PM
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3 years post-reno and I haven't hosted Passover since the old kitchen! Maybe next year......!

It looks like you had a fun and filling Pesach!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:28PM
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Happy Passover! I completely agree that you need an extra bowl (or 2) of Charoset on the table. Happy cooking (& eating!)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:47PM
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What a lovely, lovely meal. A fitting kickoff for your new kitchen. And that breadbowl...ahhhh...



    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 10:57PM
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Oh, plllog, what a gorgeous table and lovely seder. Tiny and casual seder? We are not philistines but that is a teeny bit more than a tiny and cas seder. It is lovely. And I love that Miriam's orange is front and present, as it should be. For those new to the orange at the seder, it is an affirmation of equality for women.

We too had a wonderful seder with 29 people at my cousin's house. Long story but they are world class and world renown people who re-write their own Haggadah and omit all the smiting and meanness and include tolerance and understanding of/for old enemies and say that these are old stories and let's learn and move forward. Wow. I could never, ever, read an old Manischewitz Haggadah now, without throwing up!!!!!!

And my husband takes a piece of paper. On the front, he types, "Passover Hagadah- 2010" and on the folded over inside he types the old joke, "They tried to kill us, we won, now let's eat!" And I laugh and thinks he's cute, and everyone, more sophisticated, says, Yeah, Yeah, Bob, tell us a new joke.

Plllog, I trust you had a lovely holiday. Sounds delicious, is beautiful, and I hope that you and yours enjoyed the special day.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:20PM
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Our kitchen is coming up on two years old but last night was the first time we've hosted our rotating seder since it was finished. The company, as usual, was wonderful and it was so nice to have plenty of counter space, an oven big enough for a leg of lamb AND a filet of salmon, a burner powerful enough to heat up the matzoh ball soup in record time, and -- for my husband the dishwasher's sake -- a dishwasher at the end of the evening that was more than just his hands.

Congratulations on hosting such a lovely dinner to break in your wonderful new kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 11:32PM
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plllog, what a gorgeous table (love the chairs) and delicious looking Seder. I miss celebrating Passover. I now just have to work during my busy season since my family stopped celebrating the holidays when my father passed away 2.25 years ago. Before that, we did not have much of a Seder when my grandfather passed away. Thanks for the pictures and the fond memories.

I really am enjoying reading how much you love your new kitchen despite it not being totally finished yet. You must post a picture when it is all finished and one next year of your delicious Passover dinner.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:06AM
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Thanks for the kind words and good wishes everybody! Cakelady nailed why I wanted to post this. I think it's remarkable that the last meal was Seder last year, and the first meal in the new kitchen was also a Seder (with cooking spread over a few days).

I'm with Rhome! You don't have to buy the bowls to be a vesselarian!! I only have a few bowls worthy of mention. They're just really good ones! The salad was in a fluted, ochre bowl with poppies that I'd been given. It was just big enough and fit in the fridge. I sent it out and my father announced it wasn't big enough to dress the salad in. Now, I did plan to let people dress their own because there are differing opinions about salad dressing, but since he said so, I got down my big ochre pie edged bowl with the sunflower in it (matches the plate with the vegetables). I love my "butler's pantry" too! So easy to just grab what's needed instead of having it buried deep in the kitchen. The tzimmis was set off by my wide, shallow red bowl, and the berries were in a dusty blue fluted coil pot bowl, also a gift, that's very like the poppy one in size and shape. That's my little serving bowl collection.

B'more--you don't have to wait! They're available!. What I love about it, besides how perfectly it fits in the sink, is that it's so much cuter than a galvanized tub. :) (See, a good vessel can entice me to spend double. ;) )

DCWesley, I'm not sure that counts. Heating isn't cooking, right? I think you get a do-over for a real first meal.

((((HUGS)))) Jeanteach. It's not the same at my house as at my mother's, either, though you make me appreciate even more just having her here. She refused to let me make Seder at her house last year (I think it was the cleaning), hence the pre-Demolition derby here using all her pots and disposable plates (mine were packed), and me playing Pharaoh's taskmaster on my GC and Cabinetmaker (also Jewish) to get the kitchen done enough to cook this year. Well, I think it was more pleading and whining than decreeing, but they did it! I hope you'll feel more like it next year. My advice is to start small if you're not feeling up to doing for 30 people. Small was really nice and easy, too!

Cat_Mom, Next year in Jerusalem!

Westsider, I have never been to a Seder with less than chai at the table. With all the rushing and cleaning I just didn't have the energy to go to anyone else. The soup and matzah balls were already made and frozen for the big Saturday Seder (which is shy 8 who will be out of town so is only about 23). I have an egg cooker, so that was no problem. And the fish came. All I made for the day was a one apple charoset, a brisket, salad and table veg, and the tzimmis--for five people. And the casual, colorful dishes. Bare feet. Lots of laughing. Though somehow I ended up the youngest one--again!!! After all those years of being the baby of the family, here I am long grown up and guess what page just happened to be on my turn to read? We've always used the Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan haggadah, which is a wonderful distillation of all Jewish thought, ethics and history. :) And, yes, thank-you. It was very low pressure and very fun!

Shalom, Weedmeister, and Chag Sameach Amysrq and Keptoz! Welcome to the Loyal Order of Vesselarians, SoCal, Amberley, and Pickle. Thanks for sharing with me, Sochi, Rjr, Timberj, Cj and JReuter.

Tomorrow comes the gigantabird!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:26AM
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SW, Congrats on having Seder from your new kitchen this year!!

Thanks, Lynn! That's another great thing about the tiny Seder! We got to lean! And sit in those chairs which took me years to find. With the whole family it's tables built out into the living room, and folding chairs. I'm so sorry you haven't been having a Seder. You know, if you let the word out like a month before Pesach, you're sure to get invitations. They might not be like home, and it's never like it was with grandparents, but even if it's your busy time, you still need nourishment, body and spirit, right?

I promise, and will continue to promise, there will be a proper reveal when it's all done. There's so much going on, I think it'll actually be easier to see after the previews. I'm still taking it all in--the tape finally came off the pulls too!!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:34AM
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AAACK!! Marthavila, I went all right! (Very Big Grin!) I just noticed that I lost the whole part where I addressed you! Many thanks for all the support and encouragement and understanding of the artistic process. Even more, thanks for the particular compliment that the food looks tasty (I think it was tasty too!), rather than just pretty. I used to go to an annual conference that had three sit down meals per day, during which a lot of work got done. The food was beautifully presented and plated and nigh on inedible. Lots of midnight drive-thru there (it was In-'n-Out, so salty, but quality, and much more edible). I'd rather have tasty food any day! One of my best soups is something I call O.D. Sludge (as in olive drab, which color it is). It's thick and lumpy, and could probably entice ten year old boys. It's delicious! But to have something that looks tasty! That's a real compliment!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:51AM
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hi plllog - The best thing about reading your thread is that it's quite easy to hear your joy and happiness spring out of the words of your post about having a functional kitchen available so you can make a meal with LOVE for your friends and family. It appears as if all that planning is paying off big time. Congratulations on getting what you need from your kitchen and dining area. It looks lovely.

....and to be honest, I am officially jealous of your induction and gas set up, just like I told elizpiz that I was jealous of hers. I strongly considered doing that in my kitchen for a month or so, but it didn't work out with my layout. (However now I'm considering making a small "canning" kitchen in the back section of my house so maybe in two or three years I'll have gas available inside too.) I have no doubt you'll enjoy having the induction and gas in your kitchen. After a 6 months or so, I'd be interested to hear if you use them equally or if you favor one over the other.

again...CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Your family is going to love it that you are running at full capacity again.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 6:28AM
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Hello Plllog, Chag Sameach. Your table looked lovely, so festive, warm and inviting. Congratulations on hosting a Seder before you'd finished your kitchen. My first big dinner was Thanksgiving. The kitchen is almost finished now, just a few last minute things to be done, then I'll post the photos. I just wish I had taken photos of my Seder on Monday, for 12. I was thrilled with how the kitchen functioned, how easy it was with the induction range to roast 2 chickens, a leg of lamb, potatoes, and even heat up a kugel. On the stove top, we heated up the soup and matzoh balls, and cooked the asparagus in the microwave. The last lot of dishes etc. went into the DW this morning :) It was fun, too.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 12:22PM
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Plllog - I dont always comment, but I always read and enjoy your threads. I read every response too as they are all interesting and entertaining. Like the others, I canÂt wait for the full reveal. I too love your prep sink and that faucet - - IÂve been asking myself it that faucet would fit in my "traditional" kitchen makeoverÂ

I would also like to be included into the Vesselarian Club (I actually Googled that word), but IÂm as green as they come. Anyone care to recommend a first vessel for me to start with??? :-)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Congratulations on such a wonderful dinner in your new kitchen. Those golden beets and tiny potatoes do look delicious. And the table setting is so pretty. It's so nice and thoughtful of you to share this with us.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:21PM
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Congratulations, Plllog, and thank you for sharing such wonderful photos! Your bowl is gorgeous - I think I may be vesselarian, too ;-)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:44PM
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I'm irritated that you guys have been posting such beautiful pictures of your first meals!!! Lol. I made a deliberate choice to have the one dollar microwaveable pizzas as the first meal.

I figured that way I wasn't building some false expectations! But now that you guys have such cool photos I'm kinda bummed. :(

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 4:14PM
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looove that bowl! and your ch*airs. beautiful t*able setting for you dinner.

just yesterday I saw your prep sink online. I looove it. it made me question (for about 3 seconds) if I should have a prep sink in my k*itchen (prep to me is opening a box or unwrapping takeout). Then i switched to wondering how it'd work in my mstr b*athroom...

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 5:00PM
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You all are so nice!

Today's news: The mini-gigantabird (20-22 lbs.) fits, in its carton, in the top fridge drawer, with room for the celery, carrots and onions to spare.

Country, that's just it! I don't cook anything all that fancy very often, just good home cooking, but breaking bread (or matzah) is what keeps the family strong, and I enjoy entertaining friends as well. You're right: It's all about the love! The canning kitchen sounds like a fantastic idea! You certainly can enough to justify it. My setup is just the same five burners that anyone might get, but split between induction and gas, rather than one or the other. So far, it's working great.

Dancingcook, Chag Sameach! I know what you mean about the pictures. I didn't get any by the time things were moving along. The fish and eggs looked really great on the little flower plates that go with the colored dishes. I live for the memories, however, rather than the pictures, so I'm glad to have remembered to take the few when there was a calm minute. I'm so glad to hear that your new kitchen is working so well, too!

Jeri, thanks for posting and for the kind words. I definitely think you could put a Karbon faucet in a traditional kitchen if you can put a microwave in it!! Call it art! For a first vessel, I'd recommend an oversized serving bowl, that's wide at the top, and fairly shallow, and really really pretty. Make sure you have a place to keep it first though! I can't tell you how useful these are!

Thanks, Steff! You've shared so much of the process with me, it's me thanking you!

JMC, welcome to the club! The bowl is one of the traditional Bunzlaur patterns.

Morgne, it's never too late for cool photos!! If it's not your first meal (giggles on the dollar pizzas), you can have your first "event"! Maybe a scratch pizza party if you want to keep the expectations down.

Steph, thanks! LOL about the takeout! I'm hoping with the new kitchen to get back to where I was before overwork, and then bad old kitchen, and have so much good food at home that there's no appeal in take out. After a year of no cooking, I tell you I'm SOOO ready! Maybe you will be too when you have your new kitchen, but for the master there are much gorgeouser sinks. :) You can even find an interesting old vessel and drill out the bottom.

Thanks to you all for sharing the holiday with me!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 8:47PM
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Chag Sameach! Your new kitchen is sooooo lovely. Your Seder looked like a lot of fun! A couple of weeks ago you didn't think you would make it - but you did and beautifully~ Mazel tov and may only happiness, fun and wonderful food be cooked in your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 9:46PM
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Chag Sameach from me too! Congrats on putting together a seder in your new kitchen. I hope the rest of the holiday is filled with joy!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:09PM
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I don't post often but I have also been an avid follower of your kitchen renovations. Even checking your blog out a few times. I wanted to say Mazel Tov on your beautiful and one of a kind kitchen. Your tsimmes looks almost too beautiful to eat. We hope to get underway in our renovations shortly and I hope I can host a seder half as beautiful as yours.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:13PM
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Congratulations, plllog, well done! Your first meal is worthy of what I've seen of your new k;tchen. I can't wait to see the whole thing.

I am so glad that you have poppies represented still in your k;tchen, even if not on the wall. It was a memorable emblem and needed to be somewhere in all its bright red glory. On a vessel, for a vesselarian, is an honorable place.

I'm with you in your goal of diminishing the appeal of takeout/convenience food. I've promised my DD 11 that the new k;tchen will be a place for us to spend more time together.

GW Glossary:
Oinch - That feeling in the pit of your stomach just before you begin demo or make a huge decision (mistyped by trailrunner in response to pinch_me)
Vesselarian - You all know what that means
[My favorite new GW phrase, thanks to rhome] - "Sighing, not buying"

Enjoy the blessings of your new k;tchen, plllog!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 10:23PM
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Yummmmmm.....and another delightful glimpse of that wonderful tile.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 2:38AM
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Plllog, absolutely's all about the love. It's so wonderful to be able to share your wonderful kitchen with the people you love...and on such a special occasion. Ahhh, it really does give us all a chance to pause and think about what's important.

Thanks for sharing!

(PS Love the pics...your table looks the dishes and the chairs...and...everything.)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 4:09AM
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Warms my heart to see you creating beautiful family memories. I missed Passover at my brother's house this year due to a family situation; but I so enjoyed seeing yours. Your kitchen (and food) looks fantastic and give me hope!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:22AM
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Mo'adim l'Simcha, Learningguru and Karen Belle! Today is the day to spread the joy to the rest of the reception area, which is still something of a mess. :)

Ptyles, after the holiday I'm going to update the blog and bring it all the intervening stuff that I was too overwhelmed to think about during. For your kitchen, just remember what made Dusenbergs such beautiful cars is that they started with function, and the pretty just came.

Thanks, Jsweenc! Love the glossary. I've already learned some newfangled ways of freezing (freeze, remove from container, wrap in plastic and vacuum seal in special bag) on the Cooking Forum. I don't know how to make stew or lasagna for two, but I can serve up portions!

[Grin] Needs, thanks for saying that. My friends came over while I was cooking and were disappointed because they couldn't see all of the tiles. :) Putting stuff (pots, dishes, food) on the counters doesn't bother me at all! That's what they're for! This isn't a TV kitchen that's never seen actual people in it. :)

Thanks, Julie. What was especially fun about this occasion is that it was spontaneous. Since we do the big Saturday Seder it wasn't planned. It was just, oh! we should just have the few of us and have a Seder on Seder night. (And let me try out my new appliances on them--and force me to finish the cleaning on time.) We had so much fun!

Remodelfla, I hope the family situation isn't too serious and is resolved soon. Your kitchen is going to be splendid too!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 12:56PM
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