Chimney Sweeps, CDs, Cinnamon Buns, and Curios…

On Monday night, I got a call from the company I’d called about cleaning the chimney last week…was very pleased because I’d expected to be waiting a lot longer than three days to get an appointment!  Here’s the history:  The first year we moved into the house (Nov. 29, 2008), we had a guy come and clean the chimney…he came just after Christmas (about a month after I called him…he was “backed up”).  I called the same guy in September of 2009.  He was still “backed up,” and also having some sort of surgery soon.  He said he’d put me “on the list.”  He never showed up!  I took him off my list this year…I called another guy (I’m a big believer in “getting a guy” to do things we can’t do, despite my dad offering to do it…I love him, but he doesn’t know anything about chimney cleaning!).  Even though he was listed in the Yellow Pages under “chimney cleaning” the guy told me he’d given it up: “too much liability” and “people don’t want to pay enough.”  He suggested the third company I called last Friday.  The man I talked to on Monday told me they would be in my area on Tuesday afternoon, so I stayed home from the bookstore to let him in.  It was a nice bonus…the house to myself for most of the day…yay!  I would use the time to listen to my music, make cinnamon buns, and play on the computer.

I got up on Tuesday morning, and got Jim and the kids out the door before having a shower…I debated getting dressed, but thought I should have clothes on for the chimney guys (as opposed to pyjamas)!  I skipped makeup, though, and never touched my hair again after brushing it when I got out of the shower.

I put on the first CD while I made myself tea and Toad in the Hole (with a bagel) for breakfast: Richard Shindell‘s Courier.  Wonderful!

I ate my breakfast, started the dishwasher, and started making the cinnamon bun dough:

Dough after mixing, before first rise...

An hour later, it looked like this:

Dough after first rise...

I punched it down, and covered it to rise again.  I put Meg Hutchinson‘s The Living Side on.  Her favourite of mine is Come Up Full.  I played on my computer some more.  Here’s the dough after the second rise:

Dough after second rise...

In the meantime, the guys arrived to clean the chimney…I put the baby gate up in the family room to keep Jake from terrorizing them.  On his way down the basement stairs, I mentioned to the head guy that the stovepipe might need to be replaced.  “You didn’t tell me that last night,” he muttered.  “I don’t have parts with me!”  He took his vacuum cleaner down to do the cleaning.  I took my dough in the dining room, and rolled it out, spread it with butter, sprinkled it with brown sugar and cinnamon, and then rolled it up.  Then I sliced the roll for the cinnamon buns:

Cinnamon buns before third rise...

While they rose, I ate lunch and listened to Rose CousinsThe Send Off…here’s what the buns looked like before I put them in the oven:

Cinnamon buns after third rise - ready to go in the oven...

The chimney guys finished their work within an hour…poor Jake spent the time running from one end of the house to the other, not sure which direction to bark at: Were the bad guys outside, in the basement, or by the back door?  I wrote them a check for $96 and change…the head guy told me they had used foil tape to patch the stovepipe (the same thing the other guy had done two years ago…foil tape must be chimney guys’ duct tape!).  After the workers left, I put the cinnamon buns in the oven…keeping with the “cinnamon” theme, I played a tribute album to Neil Young called Cinnamon Girl.   About 35 minutes later, the buns were ready to take out.  Hope came home from school, and we’d eaten three of them before I realized I’d forgotten to take a picture of the finished product…Hope took this one:

Finished cinnamon buns...yummy!

One of the hard parts about being a working mom is that I rarely get time with my kids “one-on-one.”  I took advantage of the hour-and-a-half Hope and I had to ourselves before Jim and Anna would be home for supper.  I took the opportunity to show Hope the dollhouse furniture my mom and her sisters used to play with in the late 1940’s…I had loved it as a child, and she had never seen it.  Hope is the only one of my kids who was really into dolls!  She had a great time arranging the furniture and tiny dolls:

The Bedroom (twin beds, of course!)


The Kitchen...


The Bathroom...please avert your eyes while the baby finishes up...


The Living Room, complete with piano and hi-fi...

While Hope played with the dollhouse stuff, I put on a pork roast and rice for supper.  By the time Jim and Anna got home, we had picked everything up…

It was a good day at home…


Filed under cooking, family, food, memories, music

27 responses to “Chimney Sweeps, CDs, Cinnamon Buns, and Curios…

  1. Wow you get a lot of topics into one post. I found you on someone’s blogroll and enjoyed the first post I read so now I have added you to my blogroll. I remember when we had a woodburning stove and had to deal with chimney cleaning. I miss the stove but not the chimney issues. Take a peak at my blog if you get a chance. Another Stir of the Spoon at

    • Thanks for stopping by, Jeanne! You are my second blogging friend named Jeanne… We have a wood furnace, which helps heat our big old farmhouse (it would cost a fortune to heat just using the electric baseboard heaters!). I left you a note over at your blog…very nice! Wendy

  2. Ah, Wendy, such a cooking and baking star! The cinnamon buns look just wonderful.
    Sunshine xx

  3. planejaner

    fun post! The kids are already salivating for the Christmas morning cinnamon rolls…

    • Thanks, Jane! Wow…you are more energetic than I am at Christmas time…I’ll probably be up until midnight Christmas Eve wrapping presents…it will definitely be “make your own” breakfast Christmas morning! Hugs, Wendy

  4. I *love* the little doll furniture. Reading your post and seeing those pictures, I had a flash back to when my grandmother once brought out some old dolls and furniture and how gorgeous and high-quality it was, like the photos you have. Makes all this rubber “Little People” furniture that my daughter now has seem really shabby and disposable by comparison! And the way she’s been teething on it, it truly IS disposable …

    Also, thanks for the reminder to call the chimney sweep. I keep hoping that a little chap in a top hat will show up, but it’ll likely be another dude in a pickup.

    Great wintery post! Now I want one of those cinnamon rolls!

    • Hi Amanda: Glad you enjoyed the post, and that it brought back good memories for you…I’m really glad my mom was a “keeper”…so much of the other people’s old stuff has gotten chucked out I’m sure! I hope chimney sweeps are easier to find in your neck of the woods than they are here! Good luck! Wendy

  5. Hippie Cahier

    Could we trade places for just a day? Just until the cinnamon rolls are done? I could smell them baking and hear Richard singing (nice choice!). 😉

    I love the oriental rugs. You might want to keep a close eye on those when TJ comes to town.

    • Sure, Hippie…as long as you take the kids off my hands too! Ha! Those Oriental rugs are probably the only ones I’ll ever own…sigh…so excited for TJ’s visit! I’m going to ask locals on my Facebook account where I should take her for pictures (and tell them she’s “a guest from California who has never been to the Maritimes before”)…it will be fun! Wendy

      • Hippie Cahier

        LOL…it was after I remembered the kids that I added, “. . . for just a day.” I now have an unbelievable craving for cinnamon rolls.

        Going to check out Meg Hutchinson, too. Thanks!

  6. I love the doll house furniture. When my daughter Christy was three my Dad and brother made a replica of the old Dutch colonial home we grew up in and Mom made all the furniture for it. Such a treasure! I love having one on one time with my kids. They are all so different when the rest aren’t around. Happy for you that you got some special time together.

    Your cinnamon rolls reminded me of my Grandma this morning. She used to cut strips of dough tie them in a knot, roll in butter then cinnamon and sugar for caramel rolls. They used to greet us when we got home from school on some of those cold Minnesota winter days. I sure miss that dear woman and especially her baking.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Jeanne…my ex and I constructed a dollhouse (from a kit) for my oldest daughter, but it didn’t survive several moves…the new stuff just isn’t the same quality as the old stuff! Does Christy still have hers? Your story of your Grandma’s caramel rolls reminded me of my mom’s “sugar pies”…she would take leftover pastry and put it in aluminum pot pie pans with butter, sugar and cinnamon and bake them for my brother and I…yummy! Wendy

  7. I love the little doll furniture. I had the pink bathroom set and baby doll when I was young. Never could afford a doll house though.

    • Thanks for stopping by, gigi…I don’t know if mom and her sisters ever had a dollhouse either…I know they each have some of the furniture (I got Mom’s when she died). I’ll have to check with my aunts… Wendy

  8. Wendy – I am always amazed by your cooking talents. Those cinnamon rolls made my mouth water! It’s great that you have the doll house furniture to share with your children. Very special. Hugs, Diane

    • Thanks, Diane…I really enjoy cooking and baking…cleaning up, not so much! The crazy thing is that I’ve almost forgotten about the cinnamon buns (which is probably better for my waistline)…I didn’t have any yesterday, and haven’t had any yet today… I’m glad my mom saved the furniture…there are a couple of missing pieces, but they’re not in bad shape for being more than 60 years old! Hugs, Wendy

  9. Congratulations on a successful chimney cleaning 🙂 I was thinking of Mary Poppins and humming the Chimney-sweep song while reading 🙂 Totally loved how you wove music and baking together…a Musical Baking class! Those buns look Happy 😀

    I’m so glad you got to spend time with Hope and share memories. Loved the pictures of the little arrangements 🙂 I have a lot of doll furniture from my childhood but never had a doll house. Always wanted one!

    Hugs, H.

    • Hi Harsha: Glad you enjoyed it…funny, the chimney sweep we had looked more like Dick Van Dyke does now than when Mary Poppins came out!

      It was fun seeing the furniture again…my mom passed away just over three years ago, and I hadn’t seen the furniture since we packed up her things… Hugs, Wendy

  10. Honestly, Wendy, I think you could have paid those guys in cinnamon rolls and gotten away with it. They look delicious!!!

    I love the doll furniture. I can’t believe you were able to keep it all in such good condition. The rug under the piano is a nice touch. Are you saving these for Elise?

    • Hi Maura: Boy…you’re quicker than I am…I never thought of offering the chimney guys the cinnamon buns…doh! My mom is the one who kept the furniture all these years…I was allowed to play with it as a child, but I was always pretty careful with it. I’m not sure who will get it…might be a tough call with three daughters…of course, there are boxes and boxes of other stuff (which I have yet to unpack – Mom died three years ago – I’m still struggling with her being gone!). Wendy

  11. I always wanted a doll house like that as a child. Now my daughter has the barbie dream house which is cheap and plastic but still somehow has filled my need for playing with miniature things.

    Your buns look awesome. Cinnamon buns I mean.

  12. I don’t know which I love more, the cinnamon rolls or the dollhouse furniture…

  13. My husband bought me a dollhouse for a recent Christmas present after hearing me speak so nostalgically about playing with them as a girl at my friend’s homes and wanting one of my own so badly. I swear I remember some of those dollhouse pieces you have posted here.

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