DAY 500 update postponed to DAY 606 due to a contentious family betrayal and the perfect example of how you WILL USE algebra in your everyday life someday!

This is a little long, but all encompassing including a link to the before and after pictures.  If you read nothing else, the RECAP below will give you the BIG picture. The original update post with the before and after pictures also known as what did we get ourselves into is here.

We were on day 500 and still finding things to donate and un-clutter from our lives as we struggled to finally finish this horrific rehab project. Unfortunately, on day 476 as I was planning the BIG day 500 post, we received some distressing news. I was going to go ahead and do a follow up post, but was so emotionally distraught from the frustration and hurt of my uncle’s contentious betrayal with that news, not to mention that we were now about to be embroiled in a legal battle, that I felt it best to wait and not say anything until after it was over. Well, it’s pretty much over, at least legally. The very definition of those two words (contentious and betrayal) sums up who my uncle has become.  Needless to say these attitudes do not go together well with good family relations.

  • Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence which produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship among individuals. Often betrayal is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others. Someone who betrays others is commonly called a traitor or betrayer. In this case the betrayal actually borders on being defrauded or swindled since we were NEVER told the true depth of the situation. He glossed over ALL the important parts making them non-issues when they were HUGE issues in actuality.
  • Contentious is the likelihood of an argument or vexing issue being at the root of your problem.  In our case my caustic, toxic, self-centered uncle has become the actual issue complicated by what appears to be medical issues that are being NOT being diagnosed or dealt with.

I am so thankful that I have kept an active chronicle of descriptions, hourly work logs and pictures of our work (so were the lawyers), Chronicles of My Misguided Cousin Beth, Life in Remodel and Rehabbing Grams and Gramps House. No matter which category you choose, it all adds up to A House from Hell!

So, now here we are at day 606.  The house is done, the legal battle is done and so are we! In the end we’re still on the hook for $70,000 more than we should be for the whole project, but at least we can sell, not even beginning to break even and move on to begin again, but know that we did the right thing to help family, even if they are unappreciative.

I do realize that his contentiousness and betrayal is probably exacerbated by some yet known factor such as his possibly having Alzheimer’s himself or some form of dementia brought on by age as well as the undue influence of the new “girlfriend”the one he was having a virtual affair with for months before his wife of 59 years, my aunt’s death and announced he was marrying before we even had my aunt’s memorial service. The girlfriend appears to be calling all the shots now, but that does not lessen his actions or move me to forget the horrific pain and suffering he has caused us.

He is literally writing off what little family he has left to start a new one several states away. His normal cantankerous nature coupled with being an old man raised in the south (entitled and racist) and his overall caustic toxic nature is also being exacerbated by yet known factors. He believes the world and everyone in it owes him everything! He truly believes he can say “JUMP” and all those around him should do it immediately!  

I am not a doctor, but have spent the past 10 years dealing with those who do have Alzheimer/Dementia (including the aunt he was married to) that I am able to recognize the potential  symptoms (memory loss, constant repetition, personality changes and increased agitation by everyone and everything not to mention the delusions of grandeur and that everyone is one of his minions to control).  I also am doing nothing but stating my observations here so do no believe I am violating any HIPAA regulations as I do not have access to actual medical records. Many times these symptoms go unnoticed because there is not daily contact with the person experiencing them. I personally believe if he were to be properly diagnosed by doctors they would see he needs a legal guardian (like his son & NOT the girlfriend who appears to be a gold digger) and that he really shouldn’t be making decisions for himself or anyone else.

My uncle lured us down here (from 2000 miles away) with the promise of a good deal (we had the potential of making about $45,000) if we did the work to clean out and paint my grandparents old place, to help him with my aunt and be near family. According to my uncle the flooring, appliances, fixtures and furniture were good and would get us started. He swore all it needed was lots cleaning and paint. He was supposedly helping us get back on our feet after the years of the VA pulling the rug out from under us and stringing us along while we continue to fight for what is ours, my cancer and all the multiple surgeries as well as all the life issues that came with dealing with both of those LARGER than life altering issues at the same time!  We have yet to be able to start any of that with the immediate need to make this property livable as we worked day and night for over 16 months to make that happen.

We should have turned around and walked away the day we got here, but we stayed because we came to help family and obviously they needed more help even than they realized. Now that we have spent 20 months living in and cleaning out the filth and decay that his daughter created (with serious multiple bacterial infections incurred by me during that time), my aunt’s death, over 6000 hours of our blood, sweat and tears equity as well as over $50,000 of our own money to do the job, he literally wanted to steal it all away from us by forcing us out so HE could reap ALL the profit. He kept promising to get all the paperwork together so we could finalize the sale, but never quite got there.

The blood, sweat and tears equity is worth over $200,000 alone. Somewhere around the end of our first 1000 hours which ONLY dealt with getting rid of my cousin’s things and ridding the house of the vermin, transporting donations to donation centers, a TON of garbage and filth which included all the appliances, fixtures and flooring was when he realized how bad this place was with the added need for now new electrical and plumbing also, not to mention bringing EVERYTHING up to code and on December 18, 2015 he FORGAVE our $10,000 down payment and also agreed to a much reduced price from what we originally agreed to since the original price included working appliances, fixtures, flooring and furniture that didn’t exist in reality. 

WORD OF WARNING: GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING – EVEN FROM FAMILY!!!! ALWAYS!!!!

The only piece of salvageable furniture was my grandparent’s headboard from their original bed in 1935 and he tried to take that too after repeatedly giving it to me again an again.  I was able to salvage a few mementos that are mine now as they were shoved into forgotten corners and left untended and un-cared for. Things I will truly cherish forever, one being my grandfather’s original postal badge from when he was a special deliveries carrier many, many moons ago and the other my great grandmother’s quilt.  Hubby found the badge in an old coffee can full of dead cockroaches with nuts and bolts.  I found the quilt wadded up in the corner of an upper bathroom cabinet that had been built above the shower so it was exposed too often to moisture.  I have been able to salvage it quite well.

Grandpa’s badge is laying on great grandma’s, his mother-in-law’s quilt. The head board is leaning against the horrible wallpaper that is now fortunately gone for good! Other than the head board, we were forced to purchase ALL new appliances, fixtures, flooring and everything in between including new furniture.

The minute he hired a lawyer to try and force us out by stating we had not done anything to contribute to the property during the time we have been here HE was the one that severed ALL family ties. You do not treat family or ANYONE like he treats people.  That is for him to answer to God about and I KNOW the Karma explosion will be knocking on his door VERY soon!

I am so thankful that I have kept an active chronicle of descriptions, hourly work log and pictures of our work (so were the lawyers), Chronicles of My Misguided Cousin Beth, Life in Remodel and Rehabbing Grams and Gramps House. No matter which category you choose, it all adds up to A House from Hell! My uncle recently told my mom what a deal he gave us on this house.  Evidently his idea of a deal uses his family and their money to his benefit and then he kicks them while they are down.

We had to hire a lawyer (which is adding up to more money quickly also) to deal with his lawyer to force the sale and protect ourselves and the financial investment we already have invested. So, yes he is being quite contentious and is betraying his own blood. The lawyer that sent us the letter to vacate is the same lawyer my uncle said was drawing up the contracts over a year ago. Ironically, the lawyer never knew that and now that he is getting the bigger picture he has advised my uncle to get this settled because he would not continue to represent him if it went to court.  All telling signs in my book. 

Just to get this settled so we can move on with our life has forced us to agree to things (like paying the down payment anyway) that were just wrong in general and especially on principle (like also paying the originally agreed upon price even though the house was not worth it), but necessary evils unfortunately to keep a roof over our heads and not lose the investment of time and money from the last 20 months.  According to our lawyer going to court we would have won on principle, but spent the same amount anyway.  At this point we just want to be rid of this mess and the now bad memories, but first we have to pay him off.  In the end we will be completely upside down financially, emotionally and also over the moon to be rid of this mess!

RECAP: The original update post with the before and after pictures also known as what did we get ourselves into is here. Coming here was supposed to accomplish three things.  The first being a place for us to settle and re-group our life after the Cancer, multiple surgeries, years of care giving for multiple people and have time to deal with the VA claim from hell.  Well, that has YET to happen as we have spent every waking hour just making this place livable. The second was to be near family – the same family that now that now that we’re here can’t seem to take time to spend time together unless there’s an emergency. The third was to help out my aunt and uncle after my cousin’s death.  My uncle had his hands FULL since my aunt’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.  We were glad we could be here to help him especially after the fall that shattered her knee, the surgery for that shattered knee along with the hospitalization and skilled nursing for the rehabilitation and the infection that ultimately took her life.  We did NOT expect him to decide two weeks later he was getting re-married and moving 5 states away.

I ask myself why did this happen this way? Repeatedly!  Even our lawyer asked what was he thinking?  This was supposed to be a simple transaction to help family.  He held ALL the paperwork necessary to make it go smoothly.  LITERALLY! He held ALL the necessary pieces for EVERYTHING to fall into place, but yet he went from toasting his wonderful niece and her husband for coming to help save him from this holy hell at a family dinner to sending me a text telling me to feel better and thanking him for providing him with some information he needed to suing us for doing nothing to aid him or the property in our time here.  Obviously some undue influence (disease, new girlfriend, etc..) is affecting his ability to think clearly. In the end his wrongfully suing us brought to light his own issues that would have left us with thousands of dollars of encumbrances and ensuing legal battles done by his actions had we followed the simple plan he had originally laid out, not to mention we found out during this process that he had done the paperwork when gramps died and it was filed in the wrong county and such. This could have taken years to straighten out.  Hiring a lawyer cost us A LOT, but saved us more in the long run probably.

He recently told my mom what a deal he gave us on this house.  Evidently his idea of a “deal” uses his family and THEIR money to his benefit and then he kicks them while they are down.”  He has even been known to be “bad mouthing” us and our actions to his girlfriend – we know this because he fails to disconnect his phone from calls before having those conversations. The mere fact that he calls my mom just to chat like he isn’t screwing her little girl takes a lot of balls! He will have to answer to God for what he has done and I KNOW Karma will be knocking on his door VERY soon.  You don’t treat people like crap without it coming back to haunt you. I don’t even need to witness the KARMA EXPLOSION to know it will be HUGE.

Personally, I have NO USE for anyone, let alone family who uses ANYONE and basically steals everything from them, but especially from the family who is helping you and you are supposed to be helping too.

The house is done, the legal battle is done and so are we! In the end we’re still on the hook for $70,000 more than we should be for the whole project, but at least we can sell, not even beginning to break even and move on to begin again, but know that we did the right thing to help family, even if they are unappreciative.

For the past several months he has been jumping up and down like a child throwing a tantrum DEMANDING that we close this transaction immediately. We stuck to our guns as he had yet to satisfy the liens and such.  We refused to sign anything or invest anymore monies in this property without him making things right with HIS creditors.  For some reason even now he believes he has been right all along and that we have NOT done anything to better the house or HIS situation.  I never even factored in all the days I worked 10-12 hours on the house, took a quick shower and then spent 4-5 hours at night sitting with my aunt so he could get out and do what he wanted.  AND he will be getting a bill for the first 1050 hours that dealt only with cleaning out the property from the vermin infested mess it was.

You know how people say you’ll never use algebra after you get out of school? Well, I’m here to prove them wrong.  I loved word problems and algebraic equations and find I really do use them all the time.  This house is a perfect example.

X (minimum cash outlay) + Y (reasonable sweat labor done at a reasonable pace) + Z (fair price) = (PLACE TO SETTLE at a reasonable cost while helping family and regrouping)

Seems like a simple equation right? That was before when my uncle said all the fixtures, appliances and flooring were good.  He did say the garage and backyard needed some cleanup as well as the house needing cleaned up and painted.

He did NOT say that the garage leaked like a sieve and would also need major work. So now ALSO factor in the ALL the things he DIDN’T tell us about “correctly” – like ALL fixtures, appliances, flooring, windows and doors, electrical and plumbing needing to be replaced, city and county code infractions, major drywall repair, bug and rodent infestation, as well as the fact that my cousin was a pack rat/hoarder who didn’t clean and that it would take 2 1/2 months of 12+ hour days, 7 days a week JUST to clear out ALL her trash and potential donations, not to mention the $900 or so of beer and soda to keep the trash guys happy so they would take everything each trash day (which is twice a week fortunately) and that she was a chain smoker that left everything covered in a layer of tar and nicotine.

So now the equation looks something like:

5X+ (maximum cash outlay) + 20Y+ (maximum sweat labor done at a breakneck pace just to make it livable) + 5Z (no longer a fair or reasonable price because uncle wants same amount he did originally and then some) = (PLACE TO FLIP because it has become a money pit) AND (leaving us completely upside down in time and financial means, but at least we helped family whether they appreciate it or not!)

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

BUFFALO CHICKEN & POTATOES

WHY IT WORKS: This recipe works because it is simple, week night friendly, flavor packed and PURE comfort food. It also makes a great addition to a backyard BBQ or church pot luck supper.

BUFFALO CHICKEN & POTATOES
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into 1 inch strips
1/3 cup Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
6 cups diced hash brown potatoes, thawed*
1 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup seasoned Panko crumbs**
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 bunch green onions, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the chicken strips and hot sauce, tossing to coat well.
  • In a LARGE mixing bowl whisk together the undiluted soup and ranch dressing.
  • Fold potatoes into the soup mixture.
  • Spoon potato mixture into baking dish.
  • Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer on top of potatoes, drizzling any excess sauce evenly over top.
  • Evenly top with grated cheese.
  • In a small bowl combine Panko Crumbs and butter until a coarse mixture.
  • Sprinkle Panko crumbs mixture over chicken pieces.
  • Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through.
  • Top with green onions.
  • Cool slightly and serve warm.

NOTE 1: * The original recipe called for a southwestern style hash browns.  Tater tots in a single layer work in a pinch also, but make sure everything is COMPLETELY thawed and drained of all moisture.

NOTE 2: ** The original recipe called for corn flakes crumbs.

Save

CRAB AND CORN CAKES WITH LIME SOUR CREAM

WHY IT WORKS: Classic crab cakes, but with a TEX-MEX flair by adding the corn, hot sauce, red pepper and cilantro with the lime sour cream to the mix.

CRAB AND CORN CAKES WITH LIME OUR CREAM
1 pound crab meat, picked and cleaned
1 1/3 cups Panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 cobs)**
2 large eggs PLUS 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup FRESH chopped cilantro
FRESH ground salt and pepper
1 large lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Frank’s Original hot sauce
Shredded lettuce
Shredded carrots

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the crab, Panko crumbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Gently add the eggs.
  • With gloved hands mix and form 8 tight patties about 3/4 inch thick.
  • Place patties on plate – place in freezer for 5 minutes.
  • Toss together the lettuce, shredded carrots and cilantro. Divide between plates.
  • In a small mixing bowl, juice the lime and fold in the cilantro and sour cream.
  • Add hot sauce, whisking until you have a pourable sauce.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • Add 4 crab cakes at a time, flipping once until both sides are golden brown.
  • Serve over shredded lettuce mixture with sauce and lime wedge.

NOTE: If you like, canned corn works, but I prefer the small white shoepeg corn. It is a much more tender corn.

Save

Save

PINEAPPLE CHERRY PIE

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: This recipe works for so many reasons, but most importantly because it’s Pineapple Cherry Pie! You end up with a tart, thick gooey tasty goodness sandwiched between two layers of flaky, crispy crust.

PINEAPPLE CHERRY PIE

4 1/2 cups fresh tart cherries
1/4 cup Pineapple Brandy
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Your favorite pie crust or pie dough recipe for 2 crust pie
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sanding sugar

  • Place butter in freezer.*
  • Pit cherries and place in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir in Pineapple Brandy.
  • Cover and simmer until cherries begin to soften and lose their juice.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the granulated sugar and cornstarch.
  • Pour the cherries into the sugar and stir to blend until sugar is dissolved.
  • Return cherries to pan and simmer over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Remove cherries from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Prepare your dough and divide into 2 sections.
  • Place 1 section in your pie pan. **
  • Pour cooled cherries into pie pan.
  • Grate butter evenly on top of the cherries.
  • Place top pie crust on top, fluting the edges.
  • Slit top in several places for steam to escape.
  • Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  • Bake 35-45 minutes until crust is golden and flaky.
  • Cool on cooling rack.

NOTE 1: * Putting the butter in the freezer makes it solid enough to grate.
NOTE 2: ** I love my air cool perforated pan. I just wrap the bottom with foil in case any juice gets out.

Save

Save

CREAMED CHICKEN & MARINATED CARROTS

I’ve been making these recipes for years.  I originally found them in AMISH & MENNONITE KITCHEN (1995).

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS and what doesn’t:

The Creamed chicken works as a comfort food that is satisfying and rib sticking too. I made a few “small” changes over the years to add some additional flavor. It can be made quickly and easily on a week night.

The marinated carrots add tons of color and a bit of acidic tang too. You just have to plan ahead on the carrots since this recipe requires marinating and chilling overnight. I’ve included my next best marinated carrot salad recipe (given to me by a very sweet old lady) that I’ve been using since the 80’s. Both recipes keep well in the fridge and taste better several days later.

The cookbook called for the creamed chicken to be served over “FLOATING ISLANDS”. I tried making them twice, but they were VERY bland and terribly horribly full of fat and cholesterol.

CREAMED CHICKEN

2 tablespoons GHEE or butter
1 shallot, sliced or diced thin
3 tablespoons Wondra flour
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pink Himalayan salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken*

  • In a large skillet melt ghee.
  • Saute’ shallot until translucent.
  • Add flour, salt, pepper and celery leaves, stirring until smooth.
  • Add milk and chicken broth, stirring to blend.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil and and boil slowly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add chicken pieces and heat through.
  • Serve over toast, wide egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

NOTE: *I use rotisserie chicken quite often, but usually just brown and shred 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

MARINATED CARROTS (COLD)

1 pound baby carrots
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1/ green pepper, sliced
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • Bring a pot of water to boiling.
  • Add carrots cooking JUST until softened. DRAIN.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss together the carrots, onion rings and bell pepper slices.
  • In another mixing bowl whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables.
  • Chill and marinate overnight.
  • Serve chilled.

An alternate recipe for this type of marinated carrot salad is:

CARROT COINS
40 ounces +/- canned sliced carrots, drained
14 ounces +/- canned baby peas, drained
1 medium red onion, chopped small
1 can Campbell’s tomato soup**
3/4 cup vinegar (I sometimes use apple cider and it is just as good)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Whisk together soup, salad oil, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add carrots, peas and onions.
  • Chill overnight so flavors blend.
  • Serve cold.

**I replaced the canned soup with the following recipe:

CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup pureed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
dash each of garlic salt, onion salt, basil, and oregano.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and seasonings and cook until bubbly.
  • Add tomato puree’ and blend well.
  • Remove from heat and gradually whisk in liquid.
  • Return to heat and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened to desired consistency.

Save

Save

Save

HUMPTY DUMPTY HAM & STUFFING

This is another recipe originally found in COLD WEATHER COOKING (1990) by Sarah Leah Chase. I have manipulated this recipe several times over the years to a whole new recipe, but loved the name so have always kept it.

The original recipe called for a bone-in ham. I have by passed that for convenience, BUT I always keep a Honey Baked Ham bone in the freezer for recipes like this and Split Pea Soup. I usually make them back to back for that reason so nothing is wasted also.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: It is sweet and savory ALL at the same time, makes enough for the perfect family Sunday dinner with plenty of leftovers too.  The extra dressing freezes well too.

HUMPTY DUMPTY HAM
4-5 pound ham
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup Marsala wine (original recipe called for Madeira, but I use what I ALWAYS have on hand)
3/4 cup salted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
6 large mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
4 ribs celery, chopped
4 cups stuffing (I usually make my own out of stale sourdough), but the original recipe called for Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing
2 cups chopped pecans (original recipe called for 2 1/2 cups)
1 large can crushed pineapple (NOT the one in heavy syrup and DO NOT DRAIN)
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish**
2 tablespoons sour cream**
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Zest of 1 large Orange
1/2 cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 cup ham broth
1 cup cream Sherry
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup honey
Honey Baked Ham bone

  • In a large dutch oven cover ham bone with water, season with salt and pepper and simmer over a medium heat for 2 hours until ham is falling off the bone.
  • Strain broth into a large bowl to cool.
  • Pick through ham pieces saving the best for your Split Pea Soup and save for later.

  • Make a crater in the center of each half of ham and set aside.***
  • In a small sauce pan bring the wine, raisins, apricots and mushrooms to a SLOW boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat to cool.
  • Over medium high heat, melt the butter in a LARGE skillet.
  • Add onions, shallots and celery, sautéing until they soften.
  • Transfer onion mixture to a LARGE mixing bowl.
  • Add stuffing, pecans and pineapple blended loosely.
  • Stir in apricots and any residual wine.
  • Whisk together the horseradish, sour cream and egg. Then blend in cloves, coriander and orange zest. Fold into stuffing until well blended.
  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Stuff each side of ham with the stuffing mixture and then either tie the ham pieces together with kitchen string or us baking bands.
  • Bake any leftover stuffing in a baking dish at the same time.
  • Place ham in roasting pan.
  • Whisk together the pineapple juice, orange juice, ham broth and cream sherry. Pour around the ham.
  • Cover with foil and bake 1 hour.
  • Reduce heat to 325° and uncover the ham.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of the pan juices with the honey.
  • Spoon half of the honey mixture over the ham ad bake another hour, basting often with the glaze.
  • Let ham rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Slice serve and enjoy!

**Original recipe called for 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, but I am deathly allergic and have had to make substitutions.

***I often just halve the ham and make a thick layer of stuffing between the two halves and close with baking bands.

NOTE: If you are FORTUNATE enough to have a really cool butcher, they will USUALLY bone a bone in ham for you. Be sure and save the bone for soup at a later time.

Save

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 25 of 2017

I have been REALLY under the weather.  I thought it was just a sinus/allergy thing, but it turned out I have Pneumonia and Pancreatitis.  I am so ready to be healthy again! But, it looks like we’re just starting the next round of diagnosis testing to find the definitive source of my issues after I get over the pneumonia.

So, I’ve been under hubby induced house arrest while I fought off the high fever (which finally happened late Saturday night when it finally dipped under 100°) and got some antibiotics and such into me.  Hubby has been taking really good care of me, he makes the BEST scrambled eggs which is about all I have been able to tolerate while my throat was also so swollen.  I think I sat on the couch more in the past week than in the past year.  Now he was really glad that while all I wanted was scrambled eggs and such that he could eat “GUY” food like Kraft mac & cheese and hot dogs.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
I think this has become my stock answer as we move deeper into summer. It is VERY warm (mid to high 90’s), high dew points (75+), high lows (75+) and VERY humid (80%+) with lots of cloud cover and a threat of thunderstorms all week as a tropical storm is forming. After all, it is June on the Gulf Coast of Texas so not much changes – HOT, HUMID and OPPRESSIVEHURRICANE SEASON PREVAILS.

 

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Scrambled eggs and Green Tea

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

It’s a wreck! I haven’t done anything since I got sick last Tuesday so have tons to do, but it will wait another day or two.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYjust a couple loads – hubby did keep this up for me while I was down.
  • LIVING AREAS… what a wreck – lots of dusting, vacuuming and tidying to do.
  • KITCHEN… total wreck – hubby tries, but it needs a deep clean.
  • STUDIO… it also needs a deep clean, but I am making progress on the ebay elimination pile.
  • YARDnothing this week YAY since it’s way too hot to be out there!
  • BLOGsome recipe updating and planing for future posts.  I’m adding a “WHY HIS RECIPE WORKS” section to my new recipes like they do in America’s Test Kitchen. I’m even thinking ahead to BLOGMAS 2017 and making some vague Christmas plans as we are not sure where we will be exactly, but do know we are changing a few things for a more home style Christmas.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

I’ve cleaned out most ALL cooking shows, lifetime movies and Hall mark shows while sick. I’m trying a few new shows on NetFlix and Amazon Prime. We have FINALLY started watching The Walking Dead!  We are just not sure how that hasn’t happened before now.

I did finally get through my stack of magazines while I was laying around.

  • SUPERHUMAN
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT
  • WORLD OF DANCE
  • DATE MY DAD
  • GREAT AMERICAN BRITISH BAKING SHOW
  • MASTER CHEF
  • THE “F” WORD

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I’m updating our address book and password books into new books and really cleaning out! It was the one thing hubby would “allow” me to do sitting still and actually didn’t make me feel worse.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

I have high hopes for enough energy to cook this week, but only each day will truly tell.  I may be taking last week’s menu as well as this week’s menu and recycling them into July. Fortunately I did have a couple recipes ready to post so it looks like I actually did something last week (SHHH, I won’t tell if you don’t.)

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
QUICHE LORRAINE
WAFFLES
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
??
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
PORK CHOPS with SWEET SOY GLAZE and SCALLION SESAME RICE
BACON WRAPPED APPLE CHICKEN
CRAB and CORN CAKES with LIME SOUR CREAM
FONTINA STUFFED PORK CHOPS
PORK TOMATILLO STEW and TORTILLAS
CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
BAKED HAM with ORANGE SAUCE
DESSERT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

Having just traveled I really wish I’d seen this first one BEFORE we went. It’s a GREAT idea!

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

I ask myself why did this happen this way? Repeatedly!  Even our lawyer asked what was he (my uncle) thinking?  This was supposed to be a simple transaction to help family.  He held ALL the cards and paperwork necessary to make it go smoothly.  LITERALLY! He held ALL the necessary pieces for EVERYTHING to fall into place, but yet he went from toasting his wonderful niece and her husband for coming to help save him from this holy hell at a family dinner to sending me a text telling me to feel better and thanking me for providing him with some information he needed to suing us for doing nothing to aid him or the property in our time here.

Obviously some undue influence (disease, new girlfriend, etc..) is affecting his ability to think clearly. In the end his wrongfully suing us brought to light his own issues that would have left us with thousands of dollars more of encumbrances and mulyiple ensuing legal battles done by his actions had we followed the simple plan he had originally laid out, not to mention he had done the paperwork when gramps died and it was filed in the wrong county and such.

This could have taken years to straighten out.  Hiring a lawyer cost us A LOT, but saved us more in the long run probably. In the end is being an ass was a blessing.

I’m working on my latest update post on this horrific house.  It should post later this week as I’m still filing in the middle of narrative, but here is the beginning to give you a feel for where this is going:

“We were on day 500 and still finding things to donate and un-clutter from our lives as we struggled to finally finish this horrific rehab project. Unfortunately, on day 476 as I was planning the BIG day 500 post, we received some distressing news. I was going to go ahead and do a follow up post, but was so emotionally distraught from the frustration and hurt of my uncle’s contentious betrayal with that news, not to mention that we were now about to be embroiled in a legal battle, so felt it best to wait and not say anything until after it was over. Well, it’s pretty much over, at least legally. The very definition of those two words (contentious and betrayal) sums up who my uncle has become.  Needless to say these attitudes do not go together well with good family relations.

  • Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence which produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship among individuals. Often betrayal is a complete break from previously decided upon or presumed norms by one party from the others. Someone who betrays others is commonly called a traitor or betrayer. In this case the betrayal actually borders on being defrauded or swindled since we were NEVER told the true depth of the situation. He glossed over ALL the important parts making them non-issues when they were HUGE issues in actuality.
  • Contentious is the likelihood of an argument or vexing issue being at the root of your problem.  In our case my caustic, toxic, self-centered uncle has become the actual issue complicated by what appears to be medical issues that are being NOT being diagnosed or dealt with.

I am so thankful that I have kept an active chronicle of descriptions, hourly work logs and pictures of our work (so were the lawyers), Chronicles of My Misguided Cousin Beth, Life in Remodel and Rehabbing Grams and Gramps House. No matter which category you choose, it all adds up to A House from Hell!

He recently told my mom what a deal he gave us on this house.  Evidently his idea of a “deal” uses his family and THEIR money to his benefit and then he kicks them while they are down.”  Personally, I have NO USE for anyone, let alone family who uses ANYONE and basically steals everything from them, but especially from the family who is helping you and you are supposed to be helping too. The mere fact that he calls my mom just to chat like he isn’t screwing her little girl takes a lot of balls! He will have to answer to God for what he has done and I KNOW Karma will be knocking on his door VERY soon.  You don’t treat people like crap without it coming back to haunt you. I don’t even need to witness the KARMA EXPLOSION to know it will be HUGE.

The house is done, the legal battle is done and so are we! In the end we’re still on the hook for $70,000 more than we should be for the whole project, but at least we can sell, not even beginning to break even and move on to begin again, but know that we did the right thing to help family, even if they are unappreciative.

For the past several months he has been jumping up and down like a child throwing a tantrum DEMANDING that we close this transaction immediately. We stuck to our guns as he had yet to satisfy the liens and such.  We refused to sign anything or invest anymore monies in this property without him making things right with HIS creditors.  For some reason even now he believes he has been right all along and that we have NOT done anything to better the house or HIS situation.  I never even factored in all the days I worked 10-12 hours on the house, took a quick shower and then spent 4-5 hours at night sitting with my aunt so he could get out and do what he wanted.  AND he will be getting a bill for the first 1050 hours that dealt only with cleaning out the property from the vermin infested mess it was

INSPIRATION

This seemed like the best quote for this week.

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

JELL-O TRICKS


I think most everyone knows this trick by now, but it always amazes me how much better it makes a bowl of Jell-O. So, I thought it was worth mentioning again even though I first mentioned it in 2008.
Around our house we always put canned fruit (peaches or pears usually) in the Jell-O for a little bit of extra UMPH to an otherwise bland snack! AND If I keep this made, we both tend to eat this at night when the munchies strike and stay away from the chips and ice cream.
  • When you drain those canned fruits, use a sieve and drain them into the measuring cup for the cold water first.
  • Then just add enough water to bring the level to where you need it. I usually get about 1 1/4 cup of fruit juice. Doing this will make for a better, more substantial flavor to any Jell-O.
  • Just after I pour in the Jell-o I use a small salad fork to stir up the fruit in each bowl. The fruit will usually end up well distributed in the Jell-O.
  • We also don’t like the film that forms on the top and I hated trying to stack all the bowls in the refrigerator, so I started using my Pampered Chef prep bowls for making Jell-O. Once you’ve made it, put the lids on and you can easily stack them in the frig.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

 My Daddy was the best!

He loved me even when I was at my worst and taught me to be my best.

He gave me strength ALWAYS.

He taught me about life and how to do for myself as well how to respect others, take pride in being myself, having a strong work ethic and loving without fear.

Losing him so close to father’s day 24 years ago has made all the father’s days since bittersweet.

Save

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN ala TAMY

I originally found this recipe when we were living in the mountains and needed some hearty rib sticking meals in the long cold winters.  I found it in an old (1990) cook book called in Sarah Leah Chase’s Cold Weather Cooking. She called this chapter Stormy Weather and Magic Mountains. The recipes were all from the New England area, but really spoke to me as all around cold weather YUM!

According to Ms. Chase the original recipe was one her grandmother concocted for her grandfather to be able to make hearty food on hunting and fishing trips. While her family debated whose version was the best, I have adapted it to my family’s likes.

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN ala TAMY
Serves 4

4 slices bacon, diced
1 small Vidalia onion, halved root to tip and sliced thin
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 Portabella mushroom, cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery hearts and leaves
2-3 tablespoons SWEET Hungarian Paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup homemade chicken broth
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces**
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1 cup sour cream
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Prepared egg noodles***

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat brown bacon until crisp and crumbly.
  • With a slotted spoon remove bacon pieces to drain on paper towels.
  • Add onions and shallot to hot bacon grease and saute’  JUST until soft and beginning to brown.
  • Add mushrooms to pan and saute’ JUST until mushrooms are cooked through.
  • With a slotted spoon remove onions and mushrooms to paper towels also to drain.
  • Generously season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken breasts to bacon grease and sear well on both sides.
  • Remove chicken (it will not be cooked through yet and that is okay!)
  • Whisk together the chicken broth, paprika and tomato paste until well blended.
  • Add tomato mixture to pan along with celery pieces.
  • Return chicken, onions and mushrooms to the pan making sure to spoon sauce over top of everything.
  • Reduce heat, cover and SLOW simmer, basting frequently, until chicken is tender and cooked through 30-45 minutes or more depending on breast thickness.
  • Remove chicken pieces and keep warm.
  • Whisk sour cream and flour together until smooth.
  • SLOWLY (so as not to curdle your sour cream) add the sour cream mixture to the tomato mixture until well blended.
  • Heat though, stirring constantly, but DO NOT BOIL!
  • Return chicken to pan and coat well with sauce.
  • Serve over wide egg noodles.

**NOTE: I have also cut the chicken into chunks to make more of a stew with great success. Doing it this way will reduce your simmer time considerably.

***NOTE: Also quite good over mashed potatoes for a more rib sticking comfort feel.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER AND MENU PLAN MONDAY week 24 of 2017

We were away this past week for hubby’s military, 1st Cavalry, reunion and while the reunion itself was good (there is serious room for improvement for organization by those in charge of the actual events and the hotel was not staffed or equipped to handle a crowd of this size appropriately – the food really SUCKED!), we enjoyed seeing some old friends and catching up though. The weather was beautiful so it was really nice to head north and be relieved from the oppressive heat and humidity here at home.

We also spent an afternoon in a local college town who happened to be having a street fair that had good food and great music! AND I also found some parts I needed for some Christmas presents in one of their antique malls.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
VERY warm and VERY humid with lots of cloud cover and a threat of thunderstorms all week.  After all, it is June on the Gulf Coast of Texas so not much changes – HOT, HUMID and OPPRESSIVEHURRICANE SEASON PREVAILS.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Green tea and Honey Nut cheerios with a sliced banana.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

Today and tomorrow will be serious deep clean days since we were gone and the house sitter was her with Gunny and Sady. I usually vacuum every other day, sometimes every day with the animals so being away so long makes my OCD go nuts LOL!

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… SEVERAL loads from being gone 4 days and not doing before we left – dang I should have thought that through!
  • LIVING AREASneed to do a deep clean after being gone and not doing much before we left
  • KITCHENquite clean since we were gone, but I plan to make a mess soon. I’m such a messy cook as I invent
  • STUDIONeeds a good cleaning, but still hoping to get to Christmas cards soon.
  • YARDA little mowing, edging, pruning and dead heading of some old blooms.
  • BLOGsome recipe updating and planing for future posts.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We just got home so will try to catch up on anything that accumulated on the DVR and will check for anything that might start this week so I can set it to record.  We always record so we don’t have to watch commercials.

As for reading, I’m now in between series so have to decide what series to start next.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
FRUIT & COFFEE
SCRAMBLED EGGS
TOASTED FRENCH TOAST
CHICKEN & WAFFLES
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP
MEAT ROLL-UPS
SALAD
MEAT & CHEESE
C.O.R.N.
??
DINNER
CREAMED CHICKEN & MARINATED CARROTS
HUMPTY DUMPTY HAM
HUNGARIAN CHICKEN & SALAD
C.O.R.N.
FOIL WRAPPED CHICKEN
CASHEW CHICKEN with LIME MARMALADE DIPPING SAUCE
SOMETHING ON THE GRILL
DESSERT

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

Still trying to resolve the family situation with my uncle. We CANNOT wait to have this burden lifted from our shoulders. We pray every day will be the day the resolution happens and soon.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

My heart and soul are still refreshed from watching A DOG’S PURPOSE and THE SHACKBOTH movies spoke directly to my heart and soul to restore order to my world. It is just that simple! I’m reveling in this renewed spirit.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

This is a picture of a picture from 2002 and already in a scrapbook, but is truly one of the best ones ever.  When Whiskey was young I had to keep her and Gunny apart for about the first 6 months of her life because Gunny was SOOOOO BIG and she was so tiny. So when we were at home I kept a baby gate up between the front and back of the house (we had an old house with an actual door to a hallway that led to the back of the house) so I could monitor them.

This one day Whiskey was up on her toes at the gate and Gunny came along and wanted to play.  Gunny took her ear in his teeth and put a paw on her head.  Then he made the mistake of tugging forward on her ear and pushing back on her head at the same time.  Whiskey became ALL teeth and needless to say ran the roost from then on.

I just can’t even tell you how much I MISS her! We did receive her beautifully carved box of ashes this week and I had a special tag made for it. Watching Gunny (who is even older yet) miss her so much is the hardest.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

_

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

THE BAPTIST WHITE LIE CAKE ~ A little Sunday Morning Humor

I received this in an email several years back and LOVED it!

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this, especially all of the ladies who bake for church events.

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church Ladies’ Group in Tuscaloosa, but forgot to do it until the last minute.

She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets, found an angel food cake mix & quickly made it while drying her hair, dressing, and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured and she exclaimed, “Oh dear, there is not time to bake another cake!”
 
This cake was important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of friends.  So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake. She found it in the bathroom – a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing.

Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect. And, before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work,  Alice  woke her daughter and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the moment it opened at 9:30 and to buy the cake and bring it home. When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found the attractive, perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone & called her mom.

Alice was horrified-she was beside herself! Everyone would know! What would they think? She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed! All night,  Alice  lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice  promised herself she would try not to think about the cake and would attend the fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a fellow church member and try to have a good time.  She did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa, but having already RSVP’d , she couldn’t think of a believable excuse to stay home.

The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old south and to Alice’s horror, the cake in question was presented for dessert!  Alice  felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake!  She started out of her chair to tell the hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor’s wife said, “What a beautiful cake!”

Alice, still stunned, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, “Thank you, I baked it myself..”

Alice smiled and thought to herself, “God is good.”

Save