BLOGMAS 2018 – DAY 14 – FAVORITE HOLIDAY RECIPES

I’ve been looking forward to this day!  I have SOOOOO many many recipes, but these are the closest to my heart.  Grab a cup of homemade hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows and join me while we chat.

There are 3 SPECIFIC recipes that come READILY to mind. I’m adding a couple new recipes for neighbor plates this year that I suspect WILL become family favorites if they turn out the way I hope.

The first is my OATNUT SOURDOUGH HERB DRESSING, a recreation of my dad’s cornbread dressing.  Several years ago my brother asked me to try and reproduce the recipe as a scratch recipe and VOILE’, I did it!  This wasn’t easy since daddy started with a box of Mrs. Cubbinson’s cornbread dressing cubes and then started winging it from there.  I NEEDED to recreate it, BUT completely from scratch.


OATNUT SOURDOUGH HERB DRESSING
10 slices Brownberry or Oroweat OATNUT bread, cut into bite size chunks
1/2 loaf sourdough French bread, cut into bite size chunks
1 large sweet onion, chopped fine
1 small bunch celery (leaves and all), chopped fine
1/2 bag baby carrots, chopped fine
1 box mushrooms, chopped fine
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 cups hot water
2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Chicken base
2 tablespoons Buttery Herb & Garlic Mix (I believe McCormick makes it)
4 teaspoons minced garlic, Jar

  • Cut bread into bite sized chunks and spread out in a thin layer over cookie sheets.
  • Bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours until pieces are actually hard.
  • Chop all the vegetables.
  • In a large cast iron pan melt 1/4 cup of the butter.
  • Add the onions and saute until translucent. The add the celery and carrots and continue sauteing until crisp tender. Add the garlic last as it will burn first.
  • Whisk together the water, better than bouillon chicken base and all of the seasonings.
  • Add the melted butter.
  • In a large pan toss the bread slices together.
  • Add the sauteed vegetables and toss again.
  • Add the liquid mixture and toss again until well absorbed.
  • Fold entire mixture into at least a 9×13 baking dish.
  • Bake uncovered 1 hour.
  • At this point I use a small portion for our dinner that night and freeze the rest.
  • When it’s time to cook it again, I defrost it, put it back in the same baking dish and bake it again, but this time covered with foil until the last 15 minutes so it doesn’t dry out. We like it crisp on top so I remove the foil the last 15 minutes.
The second is crazy aunt Lousie’s Corn Flake Wreaths.
My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me.  My cousins and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them, the wreaths that is.  She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect! 
Aunt Louise was just plain crazy it seemed to me.  I can’t pinpoint any one thing that made me think that, but as the years wore she continually proved it.  Let’s just say if the made a movie of her life, Shirley MacLaine would play her part.  Aunt Louise reminds me of Shirley’s character Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias.

HOLIDAY WREATHS
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
30 large marshmallows (or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2 cups cornflakes
Red Hots

  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler. Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.

The third is a fairly recent one for my Marinated Prime Rib.

MARINATED and SEASONED PRIME RIB
5 pound boneless beef rib roast
3/4 cup Mad Housewife Merlot wine
1 small Vidalia onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Avocado oil
*2 tablespoons  Savory Spice Shop Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend
*2 tablespoons  Penzey’s English Prime Rib Rub 
*1 teaspoon  Penzey’s OR Savory Spice Shop’s Horseradish powder

  • Whisk together the wine, water and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Place roast in a large plastic bag that has been placed in a shallow baking dish.
  • Pour marinade over roast and seal bag.
  • Marinate 6-8 hours, turning bag occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Place sliced onions in bottom of roaster.
  • Drain roast and discard marinade.
  • Rub roast generously with the avocado oil. Let roast sit on drainboard a moment to allow excess oil to drain off.  At this point wash your hands to remove the excess oil also so the rub will go on better.
  • Stir together the Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend, English Prime Rib Rub and the horseradish powder until well mixed.
  • Sprinkle rub mixture over roast until well coated all the way around.
  • Place roast, fat side up on onion slices.
  • Insert oven thermometer.
  • Roast until desired doneness (we like medium rare which was 135 degrees and about 2 1/4 hours), but no more!
  • Transfer roast to cutting board and immediately tent with foil for 20 minutes before carving. This is the resting phase and mandatory to the perfect prime rib. During this phase your roast will raise another 10 degrees.

*If you want a thicker rub add more spices making sure to keep these proportions.

DO NOT SKIP THE RESTING PHASE!!
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This is for one of my go to neighbor plate recipes:

CARAMEL BUTTERSCOTCH FUDGE
1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup Kraft caramel bits
1 can Eagle-Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans
  • Line a 9×9 pan with heavy duty foil leaving enough foil overhanging the edges to use as handle to lift the foil out of the pan after the fudge has set.
  • Using a double boiler over medium heat melt the chips, caramel bits and condensed milk together until smooth.
  • Immediately pour into the foil lined pan.
  • Top with pecans using a piece of wax paper to press the pecans slightly into the fudge.

 

This is Cinnamon Roll day too – YUMMY!  One of my favorite days of the year.  The recipe originally came from one of my favorite aunts who taught me a lot about art, cooking and just plain being creative.  I have made a few minor updates to suit our tastes, but this recipe was ALL her and a secret that my cousin and I kept until the day she died.

ROLLS OF SHARON aka CINNAMON RAISIN BUNS
ROLLS
2 packages Fleischman’s Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup WARM water
1 cup scalded milk (2 minutes in the microwave)
1/2 cup Crisco stick
5 cups flour, divided
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon salt

  • In a small bowl combine the warm water, 2 teaspoons of sugar and both packages of yeast until well blended. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the scalded milk, Crisco stick, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Blend well.
  • Add yeast mixture and blend well.
  • Add the well beaten eggs and half the flour. Mix until well blended.
  • Add the remaining flour (a little more if too sticky) and mix well until dough leaves the sides of the bowl and is elastic.
  • With vegetable oil, wipe the inside of another bowl.
  • Place dough in bowl and turn once.
  • Cover with wax paper and a towel.
  • Let rest in a warm place until double in size.
  • Punch down and divide into 2 balls.
  • Put one on the pastry board and one back in the bowl.
  • Let rest 10 minutes.
  • While resting prepare the filling ingredients.
  • Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness in a rectangle about 18×24 inches.
  • Spread half the melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar.
  • Spread half the raisins over that.
  • Roll tightly jelly roll style and cut into 18 rolls.
  • Place rolls in greased pans 1/4 to 1/2 inches apart.
  • Cover with wax paper and a towel.
  • Let rise again until double in size.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • While baking prepare the icing.
  • When rolls come out the oven, put globs of icing on each one. Return to the oven for a minute or two to melt icing all over the rolls.

FILLING
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon Pumpkin pie spice
1 cup golden raisins

  • Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until well blended.

ICING
1 stick butter, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered vanilla
4-6 tablespoons milk

  • Mix all together until smooth.

When re-heating rolls, put a pad of butter on top of roll before microwaving.
These freeze really well.

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Now there is much debate over Gran’s cranberry salad recipe, but one thing was for sure, she’d have to make a double batch, one for my mom and aunt and another for everyone else.  Now while I usually helped prepare the above recipe, I hated it!! One year she even decided the grapes needed to be peeled – need I say more?I much prefer the recipe below.  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I have been known to eat a whole batch by myself.  In my defense it was while I wasn’t feeling good and had a sore throat.

HOLIDAY SALAD
1 package (3 ounces) cherry Jell-o
1 package (3 ounces) black cherry Jell-o
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups seedless green grapes, quartered
chopped pecans (optional)

  • Dissolve the jell-o in the boiling water in a large bowl.
  • Fold in the pineapple and cranberry sauce.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Fold in grapes and pecans if desired.
  • Refrigerate until firm.

Now on to the REALLY yummy stuff!

CHUNKY MONKEYS
3 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
scant 1 cup butter, melted

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Line a 13×9 cake pan with heavy duty foil, leaving plenty on the edges to use as handles later.  This will make clean-up so much easier.
  • In a medium mixing bowl stir together the pretzels, sugar and melted butter until well blended.
  • Press the pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
11 ounce package caramel baking bits (or 14 ounce vanilla caramels, unwrapped)
2 cups honey roasted peanuts

  • In a medium saucepan melt butter over a medium heat.
  • Whisk in the whipping cream and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  • Stir in caramel bits, stirring constantly until bits are melted and sauce is smooth.
  • Add in peanuts to coat well.
  • Immediately pour over pretzel layer, spreading evenly.

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup Heath milk chocolate toffee bits

  • Scatter each of these over the caramel layer.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbling.
  • Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  • Lift foil edges to remove bars from pan.
  • Cut into bars.
  • Layer between wax paper in an airtight container.  I store them in the fridge, but the can also be frozen for 3 months.

BUTTERFINGER COOKIES
Ritz crackers
creamy peanut butter
almond bark
sprinkles

  • Spread peanut butter on ritz crackers and top with another cracker.
  • Melt almond bark in the microwave.
  • Dip each cookie in the almond bark and set onto wax paper to harden.
  • If you’re using sprinkles do so before the almond bark hardens.

PINEAPPLE RUM PUNCH

“CHRISTMAS” PINEAPPLE RUM PUNCH
4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups cran-pomegranate juice
1/4 cup red hots
2 cinnamon sticks + 1 stick per glass for serving
1 cup cherry spiced rum OR pineapple rum
FRESH cranberries
FRESH pineapple chunks, FROZEN (optional)

  • In a 3 quart slow cooker, combine the pineapple juice, cran-pomegranate juice, red hots and cinnamon sticks.
  • Cook covered on low until heated through and red hots are melted.
  • Add rum.
  • Serve with FRESH cranberries and a cinnamon stick. Can be served warm or over frozen pineapple chunks.

NOTES: This can also be made on the stove, but use very low heat and watch that the candies don’t burn.

BLOGMAS 2018 – DAY 1 – HOLIDAY SCHEDULE

Christmas is such a busy time of year.  I find getting through the season is ALWAYS easier with a basic schedule.  While this is not a detailed extensive list, it IS a basic guideline for me to stay focused with.  There are a lot of little things like making a list of the ELF on the SHELF shenanigans and things of that nature that don’t make this list, but still needs done.

I hope you’ll join me and have some fun this holiday season.



HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 34 of 2017

HAPPY Monday everyone! I hope you had a good week and an even better weekend.  Ours was quiet, but productive. We celebrated our anniversary Friday night at a wonderful new to us restaurant and had a fabulous time. We also spent Saturday helping my uncle with a project getting all hot, sweaty and dirty so we came home, cooled off and relaxed the remainder of the weekend.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

I’m so happy we are NOT in Oregon for today’s total eclipse.  Until 2 years ago we lived near the 100% coverage area and from what I have heard it has been a zoo there for the past week with heavy traffic, sold out stores and gas stations, crowds and crowds of people…  I’m quite happy here in our 70% coverage area.

We are supposed to have beautiful skies, but will still be under heat advisory with triple digit heat and high humidity.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Protein drink and coffee

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE

I admit, it’s a wreck!

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… all caught up
  • LIVING AREAS… mostly tidy, NOT – I have packing materials everywhere
  • KITCHEN… quite clean except for the breakfast dishes
  • STUDIO… so-so with all the packing and ebaying going on
  • YARD… need to fetilize
  • BLOG… still doing some recipe updating and planing for future posts.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • STILL READING – Ava Miles #3 Dare Valley – Grand Opening

Pre-season Football has gotten a little boring so NASCAR is dominating as it gets close to the “PLAYOFF” time, formerly known as “THE CHASE”. PLUS, Defenders started Friday night as well as Guy’s Family Road Trip and the Great FOOD TRUCK race  started yesterday.

We still have a few summer shows going.

  • ZOO
  • DOUBT
  • STRAIN
  • SALVATION
  • NIGHT SHIFT
  • MIDNIGHT TEXAS
  • CHESAPEAKE SHORES
  • AMERICA’S GOT TALENT
  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES
  • MASTER CHEF – there are some interesting characters left this season and some I can’t wait to see go – hint hint JEFF HAS TO GO!

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST

PROTEIN DRINK & COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK & COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK & COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK & COFFEE

PROTEIN DRINK & COFFEE

QUICHE LORRAINE

PANCAKES & BACON

LUNCH

SALAMI & CHEESE WRAPS

GRILLED CHICKEN and TOMATOES

SOUP & SANDWICH

MAC & CHEESE with HAM

SALAD & FRUIT

PASTRAMI BURGERS

APPETIZER PLATES for the RACE

DINNER

BBQ SAUSAGE & BEANS

COUNTRY BOB’S MEATLOAF & MASHED POTATOES

CHICKEN GUMBO and SALAD

CAST IRON SKILLET CHICKEN and VEGGIES

MARRY ME CHAMPAGNE CHICKEN & SALAD

BUNLESS CRY BABY BURGERS with POTATO SALAD

SEAFOOD SALAD with PARMESAN CRUSTED ROLLS

DESSERT

RUM RAISIN NOODLE BAKE

SNICKERDOODLES

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND

We have a “difficult” person in the family and are praying for guidance in understanding and dealing with this person.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

11 days to go to my testing that will determine surgery type and date as well as the overall treatment plan.  This has been a miserable wait and I’m ready to feel better!!!

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

I have been working hard at sorting and packing up all that I can (china, winter clothing, studio parts and pieces…) for the upcoming, yet to be determined move.  We still don’t have a date for my surgery, for that matter we don’t yet know which surgery will be done as my surgeon is waiting for the results from the tests being done on September 1st.  Either way, I am working at getting a lot of the heavy work done before that test and have made good progress.

I took another load to the donation center and have designated the spare bedroom as a staging area.  The mattress isn’t there any more either.  It was a full size and no one we know or have visit is comfortable on that size so the little boy next door now has a new bed as of yesterday.

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.

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CONVERSIONS

I know many people are finding delicious recipes from all over the internet these days. Some of the most unusual and tasty ones I have come across are from Australia and Europe. These are also the recipes that give me the most pause. Mainly because I now have to think. I have to do the dreaded math and convert from metric to standard. So I’m offering this handy conversion chart for those of you having the same qualms. I have found many different charts, but these particular measurements seem the most consistent and commonly used weights and volumes for the cooking we most commonly do for our families.

U.S. METRIC
VOLUME VOLUME
½ teaspoon 2 milliliters
1 teaspoon 5 milliliters
1 tablespoon 15 milliliters
¼ cup 50 milliliters
1/3 cup 75 milliliters
½ cup 125 milliliters
¾ cup 175 milliliters
1 cup ¼ liter
WEIGHT WEIGHT
1 ounce 28 grams
1 pound 454 grams
TEMPERATURE TEMPERATURE
Fahrenheit Centigrade
325 degrees 165 degrees
350 degrees 175 degrees
375 degrees 190 degrees
PAN SIZE PAN SIZE
9X13 inches 23×32.5 centimeters
9×9 inches 22.8×22.8 centimeters
8×8 inches 20.3×20.3 centimeters
15.5×10.5 inches

Jelly roll pan

39.3×26.6 centimeters

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY ~ WEEK 1 of 2017

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Christmas and a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR
We had a quiet New Year, at least as far as the 2 of us were concerned. We went to a neighbor’s house early for a little get together, but were home for the actual event which was good as the neighborhood was alive with fireworks and gun fire.  When will people realize the dangers of both?  I wasn’t too worried about the fireworks as it was raining, but the gun shots made me cringe.  What goes up will come down.
Did you know about the NEVER ON SUNDAY rule for the Tournament of Roses Parade and bowl game? This will be the 15th time this rule has come into play since its inception.  Originally the rule was made to prevent horses “parked” outside of churches from being spooked along the parade route as people attended church.
I also brought the BEFORE & AFTER of this house up to date in a post this past weekend. I should have done it room by room instead of all at once.  I can’t wait to be able to do an AFTER & DONE post!
Now it’s on to the business of 2017.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
The weather is gray, cloudy, windy and super thunderstormy, but at least it is a bit cooler than it has been.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
An English muffin and peanut butter with COFFEE of course.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
I am VERY pleased.  Everyone is gone now and Carlie has settled in well.  The tree is down which is unusual for us since we usually wait until King’s Day or so, but this year it was practical. All the Christmas decorations have been packed away and those that are being donated are in the car ready to drop off.

WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • GET NEW PHONE!! Mine is OLD, won’t hold a charge, changes the settings on its own…, but I wasn’t going near a phone store until the holidays were over!
  • Start on studio organization. You may see this EVERY week for a while.  That room has become the catch all of the house and will takes WEEKS if not MONTHS to get handled.
  • Work on new Website.
  • Start leveling backyard.

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR
I’m between books again and the old standards will begin again this week as well as the final season of GRIMM.

We finally dealt with the wire mess around the TV and hooked up the WiiU as well as Amazon Prime.  So far have found Goliath with Billy Bob Thorton and The Man in the High Castle (I LOVE anything WWII) that are catching our interest.

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
Soon, really soon.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

 
MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
BREAKFAST CASSEROLE old family recipe – link to follow soon
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER


CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN, MASHED POTAOES, PEPPERED GRAVY & GREEN BEANS
C.O.R.N.
BLACK EYED PEA CHILI & GRILLED CHEESE
WHITE CHICKEN LASAGNA new recipe link to follow soon & SALAD
C.O.R.N.
DESSERT
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

ON MY MIND
I’m praying for a good start to the new year and getting this house finished before the hot weather sets in.  I’m also concerned for my uncle who appears to be exhibiting all the classic tell tell signs of dementia and Alzheimers, but is also stubborn as a mule and won’t recognize the need for medical help.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • Every morning when I get up and feel the wonderfully plush carpet under my toes I realize the house is almost done.
  • I’m loving the research into a new place to call home and a new house.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
Hubby took this beautiful dramatic shot of the clouds out back.

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.

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BEFORE AND AFTER UPDATE ~ AKA WHAT DID WE GET OURSELVES INTO?????

Our original thought as we walked through the door (after braving the jungle of a backyard) 431 days ago was WTF did we get ourselves into here.  We were weary and tired, the dogs and cat were miserable after 6 days on the road.  We honestly considered turning around and going straight back to Oregon for about 10 minutes, but that made us even more tired when we thought about it. ALSO, we had moving trucks from where we had things stored in two different states already on the way and had already spent a fortune to get here.  PLUS this was to help family so we stayed to see it through and have been working REALLY hard ever since.  I know grams is no longer turning in her grave at what her house became and is resting peacefully seeing it restored.

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 we’re here can’t seem to take time to spend 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 along with the hospitalization and skilled nursing for 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.

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)

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 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 = (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)

So on to the before and after pictures. Hubby is upset that the before pictures don’t truly show how HORRIBLY DISGUSTING this place really was. I just hope the after pictures show how truly GREAT it is now – it really is turn key now!

MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM BEFORE

There was “STUFF” everywhere!  The walls where all stained from who knows what and the carpeting was full of melted wax and cigarette burns even in the closet.  I have to say that my cousin was evidently suffering from some form of mental illness because this is NOT how she was raised!

The picture above is what I got out of the bedroom carpet on the first pass of available floor with my Rainbow Water Vacuum. Disgusting does not begin to describe how it looked or felt.  Below was just one of the cracks to be repaired that was caused by the foundation issues.

The master bathroom didn’t look too bad until you looked close or opened a door and saw all the mold in the wood. So, it ended up getting gutted too. It took me 2 weeks, but I did get the tile clean in the shower, but we still need to find someone to professionally refinish the tile.


MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM NOW 

Finally a new window and completed bedroom. We used wainscotting floor to ceiling for the new bathroom walls.

SPARE BEDROOM BEFORE

The spare bedroom was stacked to the ceiling with junk!  It also housed much of her “business” food products.  What was the city thinking when they gave her a food license to operate out of this house? Not to mention it is completely against the H.O.A. rules and regulations for this neighborhood. In the photo below the bottom left hand corner was mouse droppings. YUCK!!

SPARE BEDROOM NOW

KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY AREA BEFORE
THERE WAS “STUFF” EVERYWHERE.  NOT ONE CABINET WAS CLEAN OR ORGANIZED .
THE CABINET HANDLES THAT WHERE THERE WERE GREASE AND DUST COATED. THE CABINET DOORS WERE HANGING BY A THREAD.

THE REFRIGERATOR WAS FULL OF SPOILED AND SPILLED FOOD, MILDEW AND MOLD – A SERIOUS SCIENCE PROJECT IN THE MAKING AND ONE THAT THIS IMMUNITY CHALLENGED GIRL WAS HAVING NO PART OF.  THE SEAL ON THE REFRIGERATOR DID NOT WORK AND HAD BEEN LEAKING OUT FOR SOME TIME. THE FREEZER WAS ANOTHER ISSUE TRYING TO GET THINGS OUT SINCE THEY HAD FROZEN INTO ONE BIG GLOB BECAUSE OF THE LEAKING SEAL.
This is the pantry floor as clean as it would get!  We scraped off all the linoleum and sanitized the foundation before re-flooring.
BEHIND THESE DOORS (which are off their hinges and just propped there) IS THE LAUNDRY AREA AND ONE OF THE SCARIEST LOOKING AREAS.  THERE WAS A RATS NEST UNDER THE COLLAPSING, NOT TO CODE WATER HEATER base.  THE DRYER WAS NOT VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE AND HAD NOT BEEN FOR SOME TIME AS THE LINT WAS EVERYWHERE AND THE WASHER LEAKED LIKE A SIEVE!

This 10 pound bag of sugar was spilled ALL over a pantry shelf and was one of the biggest sources for the ants, cockroaches and mice.

KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY NOW
STUDIO BEFORE
STUDIO NOW
ATRIUM BEFORE
ATRIUM NOW

 

FOYER BEFORE

The door would no longer open due to the foundation issues and she used this 24 square feet (8×3) as a “CAT BOX” area.  I hate to admit that this was the MOST disgusting of ALL the house and required several bottles of hydrogen peroxide etcher after we removed the toxic 2 layers of tiles.

FOYER AFTER

New floor, new door and new paint are done and looking good. I LOVE how much light the new door lets in.

LIVING ROOM BEFORE

These are cracks, tears and stains in the atrium/living room carpeting.

It took weeks/months to get the living room to this organized point LOL.  Notice the crack near the vent?  It went all the way to the floor and was 3 inches wide.  It is also why we waited over 3 months for the highly recommended dry wall guy that turned out to be a HUGE joke. The picture below is the living room after we finally got it emptied and ready to start painting.

This is one of 3 sections of the living room carpet that had melted candle wax all over it.  She had just arranged the furniture over it.

 

LIVING ROOM NOW
We made built in cabinets in the living room to hold things like the DVD player, WiiU, movies and games, etc…

I could not get Whiskey to move so she’s in the picture! There are still many Christmas things sitting around as I get them pack up to put away, but all in all it’s looking good.

SPARE BATH  BEFORE

There was a funky built in area above the tub for linens that needed to be removed and the walls had to be re-done after the 2 layers of wall paper were removed and the wall board was peeling away. 

SPARE BATH NOW
GARAGE  BEFORE

This was after hubby spent 4 weeks cleaning and and making a path for donation and trash.

GARAGE NOW

Hubby has done wonders at creating a neat and organized garage!

It took months to get to this freezer and then weeks to get into it.  The key wouldn’t work!  Turns out the seal had failed and there was a HUGE layer of ice sealing it shut.  It then took hubby days to chip away ALL the ice and bag the food that was there. 

We are SO thankful for our trash guys.  For a case of beer and soda twice a week they took ALL we gave them.  Way more than they were supposed to or should have.  We thank them for going ABOVE and BEYOND!

ATTIC
From this point in the attic you can turn 3 directions, but they all look about the same.  We got as much stuff out of the attic as the house it seemed. It is now ALMOST empty except for some insulation that needs bagged and the storage boxes I added just around the opening for when we move.
I tried to salvage these globes covered in nicotine and dirt, but in the end it was a lost cause.
JUST A TYPICAL TRASH DAY.  It looked like this, sometimes double this EVERY! trash day (2 times a week) for 9 months!
The wiring had to be all re-done as gramps and possibly Beth’s boyfriend, Tom had done some really scary Mickey Mouse jobs that left us thankful the place hadn’t been burnt to the ground.  We found an awesome Electrician and while Tommy was expensive, he is a Master Electrician and left us with a safe feeling allowing us to sleep at night.

This was the path hubby created through to the back gate. We are anxious to get this area done next month.  Right now it is empty, but very uneven so we will begin with 100 bags of leveling sand and see where it goes from there.

Did I ever mention that the neighbor next door in a 2 story tried to buy this place because he loved the floor plan, but my uncle wouldn’t sell until the foundation work was done? In ALL honestly this house would still be sitting here in the same condition we found it if we hadn’t come long when we did.  Unfortunately for us it appears my uncle does NOT appreciate any of this. He still wants more money than it was worth and said if he’d realized it’s condition, he would have just dumped it.  If that is the case I have to wonder why he didn’t sell to the next door neighbor to begin with and honestly if he’s going to “DUMP” it why not do so to the people who spent the money for the parts and labor AND did the back breaking work for over a year?

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