Wednesday, October 16, 2013


If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.—JRR Tolkien

ROOT CELLARING: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

Authors: Mike and Nancy Bubel

Genre: Non-fiction, Prepping, Food Storage

I first checked this book out of the library to study it in 1999, I immediately purchased a copy after viewing the book to add it to my home library.  It has been a valuable asset to me ever since.

While there are many books on prepping they often say “store x amount of food per person” but give little or no information on the proper way to do it. 

Watching shows such as “Doomsday Preppers” can also be frustrating.  Many times they will show basements or garages lined with shelve full of glass jars and no information on how or why the storage is set up.  More over everything is in a glass jar.  Those jars cost money and quite frankly if you have an earthquake, a tornado, a blast or anything similar those jars will break. 

What if TEOTWAWKI does happen? Where are you going to get the glass jars in the future or the canning rings to seal said jars?  Good old fashion common sense and a knowledge of the old ways of food storage is essential.

Not a prepper, I know I’m not, but I do like having good nutritional food stored on hand in a proper manner to feed my family at all times. While I do can, dry and freeze foods, some foods can be stored for long periods with little to know preparation in a root cellar. 

No root cellar?  Then create one.  No don’t go rent a backhole and start digging, there are ways every person in the world can root cellar with little or no effort and no hole in the ground, but if you can dig one, so much the better.

In the book Root Cellaring Mike and Nancy Bubel take you through the steps of good root cellaring.  They start you in the very beginning with what to plant that will store well in a root cellar—a good thing to know.  Even if you don’t garden, you can use this info on what to buy in bulk on sale to store in your established dark cool place for proper storage results.

Once you grow the produce they tell you the proper way to harvest your produce (or pick it out at the green grocers) and prepare it for storage to get the longest life out of it.

This is followed up with the care of your stored foods over the cool winter months to help prevent spoilage and loss. 

In section four they tell you numerous ways to create a “root cellar” no matter where you live. Important tips like air flow are included in this section.

They then go on to tell you their own personal experience in doing cellaring and finally recipes are included for those wonderful foods you place in your root cellar. Because after all what is the sense in storing food if you aren’t going to eat it.

While I’ve had this book for many years I still find myself referring back to it periodically to refresh my memory on various aspects of it, or to check on a recipe.

I consider this one of the most valuable homesteading/prepping books on my resources book shelf.  Therefore it gets an A from me.

Jan who needs to tidy up her root cellar and start filling it up again in OK

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


A penny saved is a penny earned”

            -Benjamin Franklin


By: Amy Dacyczyn

Genere: Non-fiction, Frugal living

First off my confession.  I didn’t just read these three books for the first time.  I have read them over and over ever since the very first one came out.  I re-read them at least once a year because every time I read them I find another good helpful hint. 

While a few of the things in them are now out of date (like uses for film cans—who uses film any more?) and many things (like saving money on diapers) don’t relate to my family or lifestyle now I do still find a wealth of info in them.

From recipes, like her refrigerator dough potato bread that has a myriad of uses, to using wall paper samples to mat pictures the number of money saving tips in the three books is amazing.

Amy once wrote a newsletter that people from all across the nation subscribed to and sent helpful hints to.  In the beginning she included many of these wonderful ideas in the books.  As time went on she added more and more of her own frugal saving ways and three books worth of golden knowledge were the result. 

While there are some repetitions in the books, especially in book three it is worth your time to spend quality time with all three books if you are truly interested in saving money.

While she dropped pretty much out of the public eye after publishing her third book and appears to not have a webpage, that I could find, I did find an interesting article written about an interview with her in 2009

She apparently still holds the same core values she had when she and her family were in the public eye.  It also appears she listens to Dave Ramsey.  A huge plus in my book.

Anyway, this review is about all three of her books.  I rate them highly for their shared wealth of money saving ideas as well as the fact she gives credit where credit is due for the ideas sent to her by others.

I give this newsprint book an A.

Jan who has a long list of “economizes” she has developed from reading these books in OK

Friday, June 14, 2013



BY: James Patteron and Martin Dugard

Genre: A Nonfiction Thriller

As I have mentioned over on my Patterson’s Pantry Blog as a student I adored studying ancient history. While ancient Greece and Rome were my favorites I was also fascinated by the pharaohs of Egypt. So when I came across this non-fiction book written by one of my favorite authors I was thrilled.

I was even more excited to see, according to the cover, it was a non-fiction thriller about the plot to kill the child King Tut I HAD to read it.

Unfortunately it was a disappointment. There was none of the suspense that Patterson usually includes in his books. The ancient history was so chopped up it was hard to follow.

I understand the importance of following the life of Howard Carter, the Egyptologist that un-covered Tut’s burial chamber, but so much time was spent on his failures over a 30 year time span little space was left to do the life of King Tut justice.

The third story running in the book could have been left out entirely or confined to the prologue and epilogue rather than thrown in as well. While I appreciate the fact Mr. Patterson was inspired to write the book there was no need to scatter here and there his plugs for his other books and who was doing what research. Again I would have much preferred more time had been spent in Ancient Egypt, and Tut.

Instead of spending hundreds of words on the long lineage of Tut he could have dealt more with just the lineage of his parents, and especially his stepmother Nefertiti, and how she died. Or more about his child bride and half sister.

Patterson claims they solved the “crime” of King Tut’s murder. I’ll leave you to decide if he did.

My rating for this book is a low B-. More for the research that was done on this book than for the story line.

Jan who will go back to reading the fictional characters of James Patterson’s genius and steer from any future non-fiction written by him in OK



By Ridley Pearson

GENRE: Fiction, fantasy, Young Adult

Disney Hollywood Studios and Epcot are the two parks covered in this third book of the series. 

Wayne is missing and it is up to the Kingdom Keepers with the help of the two Fairlies to find him before it is too late.

Who is the mysterious lady all decked out in Disney gear that seems to be stalking Finn and the Fairlies? Is she good or evil?  Should they trust her?
Where is Maleficent? These questions and more are asked and answered in this third installment.
I found this book moves faster than the first two books with far more action and intrigue.  Of course the Overtakers are very prevalent in the book complete with new back-ups. 

I particularly liked the exploration of the now defunct Wondersof Life Pavillion .  This quiet Pavillion was one of my favorites of days gone by.  So I was thrilled that they not only included it in the plot but included it as no longer in use. 

The glimpses of the behind the scenes areas continue throughout this book.

Overall, as a dyed in the wool Walt Disney World fan,  I have been enjoying this series of books simply because of where they take place and all the behind the scenes action you get to know about.

The plots are the basic good versus evil stories, but the adventure is well written.

I also like the fact that the teens in the book don’t just skate through disobeying without consequences. 

I must say that unlike many sequels the stories of the Kingdom Keepers are improving with each additional book.  I would give this one a solid B+

Jan who will be Reading the Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play soon in OK

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Every walk to the woods is a religious rite, every bath in the stream is a saving ordinance. Communion service is at all hours, and the bread and wine are from the heart and marrow of Mother Earth. -John Burroughs



Genre: Sci-Fi Fiction


I'm going to be right up front and say the very first few minutes of this movie made me uncertain if I even wanted to watch it. I believe in living with nature, but I am not a "bunny hugger". This movie started out with an environmentalist theme and it put me off. Later my son told me he thought about getting up and going and asking for his money back, but then he remembered we were seeing it for free.


As a family we believe everyone has a right to their own opinions about the environment, but no one has a right to shove their beliefs down the throats of others, so when movies start off blaming humans for every problem in the universe it leaves a bad taste in our mouths.


Luckily for the movie makers that one reference was all they made to the environmentalist movement. So we stayed to watch the movie. Or maybe it’s not so good for M. Night Shyamalan, because this review is not favorable for it.


The premise of the movie, if you haven't gathered it from the movie trailers filling the airways, is that man destroyed the environment and had to flee the planet. The new planet they went to was infested with man destroying beasts, called "Ursa" that were planted there with the sole purpose of hunting man down and killing him by tracking him by the fear pheromone.


This is where the movie becomes disjointed and starts to move erratically. Had they followed this story line a bit more the rest of the movie may have been more interesting. One brief glimpse of Will Smith, who plays the father, Cypher Raige, walking or, "ghosting" as it is called in the movie, all around the creatures without being detected is all you truly get of the battles with the Ursa.


Let’s stop here and discuss the names, which were for the most part not understandable when the characters spoke them,  in this movie.  First of all the name of the movie to begin with After Earth, it did NOTHING to describe the movie. 


The there is Will Smith’s character’s name, that quite frankly none of the three of us viewing the movie could make out what in the world they were calling him during the whole movie.  I had to look it up on the net to find out it was Cyper Raige.  What type of name is that?


Jaden Smith’s, Will’s actual son, is named Kitai, at least that one we could understand as Will Smith said it often and loudly in the movie.


The only two other characters that seemed to have names in the movie were the mother Faia Raige and the deceased sister Senshi Raige.  


Then of course there is Ursa, the creature.  Ursa was a she bear in ancient times, but this thing looked nothing like a bear and they called it both he and she in the movie.


That wasn’t the only continuity problem we found in the movie, IF you should decide to see this movie you will see that even when running through a planet with no shoe stores Jaden Smith changes shoes, more than once.  We weren’t looking for continuity problems, but this and others jumped out at us.  We are fans of continuity in our movies and dislike glaring problems with it.


One HUGE continuity problem was the fact the movie was NOT what the trailers lead you to believe.  I cannot tell you the reason I say this without ruining the movie for you die hard Will Smith fans.  So I’ll stop there.


As you have probably already guessed by all I have typed, the rating on this movie is not very high in this family.  The three of us voted, the votes ranged from a C to a low B in our household.


My recommendation, if you are going to see only one movie, this shouldn’t be it, maybe after it comes out on Netflix, but not before then.  Of the two movies we saw Saturday, “Iron Man III” was far better.  You can read my review of it here.


Jan who is certainly glad she didn’t pay to see After Earth in OK



“How Superheroes Make Money:
- Spider-Man knits sweaters.
- Superman screw the lids on pickle jars.
- Iron Man, as you would suspect, just irons.”
Jim Benton, Okay, So Maybe I Do Have Superpowers


Genre: Fiction, Marvel Comics Super Heros

As part of our “staycation” this weekend we saw two movies on Saturday.  The first of which we saw was “Iron Man III”.  It was standard Iron Man fair, flying suits, resident bad guy, save the maiden type fare, but it was a fun movie.

Robert Downey Jr. took up his ongoing role of Tony Stark, aka: Iron Man. In this episode he is a bit more neurotic suffering from panic attacks.  His salvation is a young boy, Harley,  played by Ty Simpkins.

Harley is the first supporting child actor featured in the Iron man films, he adds a bit of added humor to the movie with his easy handling of Tony Stark throughout the movie.

Of course I don’t want to give away the plot, I hate when people do that.  So I simply will remind you to keep your eyes open for Stan Lee making his cameo appearance as he does in all Marvel Comic movies.  We spotted him easily, but he’s only there for a split second, so keep your eyes open.

Throughout the movie we caught quick references to other Marvel Comic superheros, which always makes movie watching fun.  Kind of like listening to  Disney animated movies for that one snippet of “when you wish upon a star” playing in some piece of movie.  It’s generally there, you just have to watch/listen for it.
For one final smile stay through the credits for a final scene that includes another suprise cameo.

In our family rating system we give this movie a solid B, with all three of agreeing it was a far more interesting movie than the second one we saw, “After Earth”.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CONFESSIONS OF A BUTCHER, Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save $$$

CONFESSIONS OF A BUTCHER, Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save $$$

Author: John Smith

Genre: Non-fiction, Frugal Living, Cookbook, Butchering

As I listened to the early morning news shows talking about how meat prices were escalating I thought of this book.  I’ve actually owned it for several years, but periodically refer back to it.

I first became familiar with it after I had spoke with a few butchers on how to cut large pieces of meat to meet my family’s needs for lower prices. One of them recommended this book.  To this day I thank him.

The hundred or so pages explain how often various cuts of meats ranging greatly in price are actually all the same piece of meat.  He explains how to cut, or substitute a far less expensive piece of meat for the same taste at a much lower price.

Here is an example of the information included in the book to give you an idea of the savings you could reap with just the knowledge in this book.

From page 7: “The rib eye is the same cut of beef as the prime rib or rib steak but without the bone.  Both the rib steak and prime rib are quite a bit cheaper than the rib eye (often two to three dollars a pound cheaper). Purchase whichever is cheapest.  If prime rib is cheaper ask the butcher to cut it into steaks for you.”

He then goes on to say that the eye of chuck steak, which is even cheaper than the other meats previously listed, is basically the same cut of meat as rib eye.  That it does have a little more marbling and may be slightly smaller, but they are the way to go for a good grilling steak at a much more reasonable price.

Since reading this years ago we’ve learned how to cut a good quality chuck roast into nice steaks, especially if we are marinating, for the charcoal grill.

The book deals with various cuts of beef, lamb, veal, pork, and chicken (did you know a roasting chicken is just a fat frying chicken?—compare the prices of the two in the grocery then go looking for a good size fryer to roast)

Later on in the book are a few recipes.  There are several helpful hints on cutting up the meat yourself if your local grocery does not have a butcher.

I would say this little book is worth its weight in gold, but that would be short changing the book because it is small and the money I’ve saved over the years from the knowledge I gained from is worth far more than that.

Jan who says save serious cash on meat costs and feed your family well in OK


Monday, May 27, 2013


“I think people need hope when times are tough. I think they also need escape and adventure and fantasy. Books are like cheap mini vacations.”
Michelle M. Pillow


By: Matt Wixon

Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel

Well I finally came across a book that I give an A for its genre.  I have to admit I picked this book up on a whim.  I periodically work on ideas for Summer Time Fun posts on my Mind Your Pennies Blog.  While I was in the library I decided to look this book over looking for ways to entertain children while they are out of school on summer vacation. After all most such books deal with traveling with children only.

I choose the Memorial Day Weekend to read this book and found so many ideas for my own family of three adults I soon found myself taking copious notes so I wouldn’t forget them.

Mr. Wixon writes as most of us speak, facts sprinkled generously with humor and some sarcasm.  Yes there is a lot about traveling with children, but there are also large sections on adult travel.

My family is not new to staycations, but we have never approached them in the manner that Mr Wixon suggests and I can see how his suggestions could make it feel so much more like a “real” vacation. Remember we are big Walt Disney World fans.

The book is broke down by the various types of vacations you would normally be interested in ranging from roughing it in the outdoors to deluxe spa treatments.  Each section has a multitude of web links to help you locate the perfect staycation for your entire family. 

I have already found far more possibilities for my family than I ever dreamed was available less than 100 miles from our home in just a few hours after completing the book.

If you have any reason you are not going on a vacation this year consider a staycation of any length from just a few hours to a full blown all out two week (or longer).

A great place to start in your staycation plans would be this book.

Jan who is glad she picked the book up on a whim in OK

Friday, May 17, 2013


“The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.”
Alfred Hitchcock


Genre: Movie, Sci-Fi, Action

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Since so many movies are based originally on books or the characters from books I’ve decided to include movie reviews with the book reviews on the rare occasion I go to the movie.

I admit when the original Star Trek series aired in the late 60’s to be followed by the various off shoots I followed each episode and movie closely.  I laughed at how hokey some of it was, laid bets on what “red shirt” would die first and knew all the characters by name. 

So when ds offered to take dh and I to see “Into the Darkness” we jumped at it.  I still have trouble wrapping my head around seeing someone, Chris Pine,  playing the young Captain Kirk instead of William Shatner , who has moved on to if hokier (is that a word? ) commercials.  But he is growing on me, and this movie did a lot to win me over.

For some reason I’ve had no adjusting to Zachary Quinto as Mr. Spock, I guess there is enough resemblance to Leonard Nimoy I can imagine him looking like Quinto when he was a young Vulcan.

I will admit I paid close attention to Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov, because he is also starring as Odd Thomas  in the movie that will HOPEFULLY be released here in the US later on this year.  If you haven’t read the Odd Thomas books by Dean R. Koontz I really recommend you do.   I’ve decided he will do quite well as Odd.

I highly recommend you get in your seat at this movie BEFORE it starts, because the action starts immediately and you really don’t want to miss any of it, because the theme plays through as the movie goes on.  I’d also vote you skip the jumbo coke so you don’t have to scoot out of the movie in the middle of it.

While it is your typical Star Trek sci-fi it is definitely a fast moving action movie, with small splashes of humor thrown in—listen for the term “red shirt” and watch for the look on the actors’ faces—it pops up more than once.

The special effects were good.  I love that they still use much of the same theme music in the movie.  What I didn’t care for was the theater I was in had the volume way too loud for the background music, which drowned out some of the softer dialog.  But I think that was the theater’s fault, not the producer’s fault.

I can’t tell you much about the plot without putting in major spoiler alerts and I HATE it when someone gives away the plot to a book, movie or tv show.  So I won’t chance it. 

I will say I was surprised to hear a few exclamations come from the crews’ lips that would have never made it to the television screen in the 60’s.  Nothing super bad that would be of concern to most parents, just surprised me.

I will save you the time of waiting through the credits to see if there is any after action.  There is none, so run for the restroom as soon as the credits start.  I told you not to drink that big coke!

Based on the action, special effects and yes even some of the acting I’d give this movie a B+.

Jan who is now looking forward to the new Star Wars movie in OK

Thursday, May 9, 2013


“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
Mark Twain

By: Dave Ramsey
Genre: Non-fiction, finance, budgeting, debt freedom 

I must confess I didn’t just read this book.  I first read it about six years ago.  At that time I read it and thought “We should try this”, but that is as far as it went.

Then in December 2008 I read it again and decided to really give it a go.  Little did I know at that time we would be unemployed two months later, and stay that way  for eighteen months.  I had no idea at the time I read it and decided to follow the plan that we would get through that time of great financial inconvenience not only staying fairly current on all our bills, but actually payoff some smaller bills as we struggled financially each month.

Over the next four years I have re-read this book numerous times and found guidance  and inspiration every time I’ve needed it.  Today we have been free of using credit cards for nearly four years, our indebtedness has dropped to less than half of what we once owed.

If all goes as scheduled we will be totally debt free, house and everything, in 18-24 months.  All thanks to the guides offered in this book.

The book itself is really an easy read where finances are concerned.  I’m a math nerd and over the years I have read numerous books on finances, investing and similar books.  Quite frankly many of those books cause my eyes to glaze over.  They are so technical, or preachy that I’ve often not finished some of them.  Or I’ve gleaned one or two items from them and ignored the rest.

Not so with “The Total Money Makeover.”  In it Dave Ramsey takes you through the baby steps of becoming debt free.  DR does not talk down to you, but instead tells of his own personal trek from being in bankruptcy with a wife and small children to being debt free and a millionaire. 

On his radiotalk show he says he gives the same advice your grandma would give you, but he keeps his teeth in.   This type of humor is throughout the book. 

As he walks you through the baby steps he gives personal stories of not only his family, but of others who have followed the baby steps to gain financial freedom.

From the very beginning he leads you through the different stages of going from being a slave to your creditors to total financial freedom. 

He starts the book with telling you in the introduction what this book is NOT about.   It is NOT a “get rich quick” book.  It is simple basic common sense. 

As the book progresses he dispels many money myths, and points out obvious things you would not normally think of.  A fine example of this is have you ever considered why there are no Pay Day Loan, or Pay at the Lot car dealerships in affluent neighborhoods?  The answer is simple, those companies will charge you such high interest and feed off the financially desperate.  Often they charge as much as 300% interest and no affluent person would ever pay that, they wouldn’t be affluent if they did.  So why should those who can least afford to pay it? He gives you alternatives that you can do for free or near free to avoid such places.

You are walked through the steps of setting up a budget, how to get current on your bills, common sense on what bills should be paid and in what order.  Most importantly how to deal with the financial bottom feeding bill collectors. I will not lie to you, it is not going to be easy every step of the way.  The very first baby step is to put $1,000 into savings for an emergency fund.  For some of us that is extremely hard to do, but he gives  you suggestions on how to get that $1,000. 

The strange thing is once you get that $1,000 you realize a certain sense of freedom.  You have a cushion, a safety net.  You will also find you guard that $1,000 furiously.  What once before  you perceived as an emergency, becomes an “I want” and will often become an “I can wait on it, until there is money in the budget.” 

Obviously there will be times, as in our case, the hot water tank went out before our household repair sinking fund was fully funded and we had to use part of the baby emergency fund to have hot water for showers. 

This, of course, put us back on baby step one temporarily, but we found the second time we had to fund the emergency fund it was easier. 

As time goes on he walks you through snowballing your bills toward being debt free and beyond your bills to plan for a future of financial freedom.

Most people, if they follow the book, will be debt free in two years or less.  Our journey was of course slowed down by our debt load,  by being unemployed for eighteen months, followed by employment that was 25% less financially than we had previously enjoyed.  I will also admit that we have not been gazelle intense the entire time.  Hey, we’re human!

I could write volumes about what I’ve learned along the way from the writings in this book, but it would be better if you read it yourself.

I must add one thing here.  One person, who was on the verge of losing their home, I suggested this book to angrily told me I was a fool for following it, that the only way such books help anyone financially is the author who sells the book, and all the add ons that could go with it.  Today that person still has their home, but only because a family member caught the loan on it up for him and they are still struggling to put food on the table.

I personally have spent ZERO money to do the plan in this book.  I originally checked it out of the library for FREE.  Later a good friend gave me a copy of the book as a gift so I wouldn’t have to keep re-checking the book from the library.  I listen to the Dave Ramsey radio show both on my computer and on my radio for FREE.  I get emotional support for free from the folks on the  . My family and I follow the plan for FREE and as a result we are becoming FREEEEEEE from debt.

Yes, DR does sell books, he does sell cds, cash envelope wallets, and numerous other things, but you do NOT have to buy any of it to follow the plan set forth in the book.  You can be free for free. All you have to do is read the book and follow the baby steps.

Jan who says the smartest thing she ever did financially was to read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” and follow the plan in OK

Friday, March 22, 2013


“To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero


By: Ridley Pearson

Genre: Young Adult fiction, fantasy at Walt Disney World.

Imagine being a 14 year old teen model asked to be a DHI (Disney Holographic Image) to act as a tour guide for the Magic Kingdom at the “happiest place on earth”.  Then imagine something goes wrong with your computer program and you find yourself each night waking up as a hologram in the Magic Kingdom Park battling the Disney villains for control of the Magic Kingdom.  That was the premise of the first fast moving book.

In this second in the series the five teens find themselves battling for control of the Animal Kingdom, and maybe all the outside world as the evil witch, Maleficent from Snow White, escapes her captivity to try and team up with the most evil of all the Disney villains.

That is the very simplest of explanations of the plot of “Disney at Dawn”, but there are various sub plots and fairly fast moving action throughout the book.

This is not why I love this series so much though.  As an avid Walt Disney World fan I am intrigued by all the behind the scenes information about the park that is included in the book series.  

The first book,”Disney After Dark” (which I recommend you read first),  took you inside the castle to Walt’s private apartment, the apartment over the fire station and various other backstage production areas of the Magic Kingdom.  

In “Disney at Dawn” the back stage tours continue, in the Animal Kingdom park, complete with an explanation as to how the tigers are moved around in Maharajah Jungle Trek for the safety of all concerned. 

These back stage tours make me all the more anxious to get back to Walt Disney World and to check out all the areas that are listed to see what is fact and fiction in the public areas.

If you were a fan of such young adult books as “The Hardy Boys”, “Nancy Drew” and yes even good ole “Harry Potter” you will probably enjoy the Kingdom Keeper series, although the writing is not near as intense as Harry Potter, it does move quickly and keeps your interest. 

I give this series of books a good solid B in my rating system for light and quick reading.

Jan who will admit she is still a kid at heart and enjoys young adult fiction books for light entertainment in OK

Sunday, March 17, 2013


The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.
- B.B. King


How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse

By Sam Sheridan
               Genre: Non-fiction on prepping with a little fiction thrown in.

When I asked about what types of books I should write reviews about people responded frequently they wanted to hear about books on prepping.  With the state of the world around us I understand this completely.  They wanted both fiction and non-fiction on the subject.  This book fills the bill on both levels.

Sam Sheridan writes about his true life mission to become safe in the world no matter how or when the apocalypse hits. 

Before marrying and having a son he was an adventurer. He had worked as an EMT, a wilderness firefighter, a sailor, a cowboy, and even a construction worker at the South Pole. 

He had also traveled the world as an amateur boxer and mixed martial arts fighter.  He had thought he was prepared for anything and everything and he worried it would all hit the fan some day.  He had been a soul that was filled with what ifs from childhood.

Then he married and had a child and he suddenly realized full force how unprepared he was.  This book is the story of his journey to be more prepared than your average prepper.  Well beyond the usual buckets of grain and deodorant in the basement. 

The fiction in the book is the ongoing “story” of why he sought training in so many fields.  The fictional story starts with the “big one” hitting near his home in Los Angeles, CA and with his son and wife trapped in the back seat of their car under a slab of bridge.

In this scenario he needs to figure out how to rescue them before a semi-truck that is dangling on the remaining bridge pieces above them falls to crush them fatally.  Obviously he needs to move the heavy concrete swiftly and get them out of the car, but how? 

This is where the non-fiction steps in and he tells of seeking out an Olympic weight lifter for specialized training.  He goes into the details of how to do a proper lift.  He gives some wonderful detail on the type of training he received, who he received it from and what NOT to do. 

Back at the fiction part you find out if the training works, or what other knowledge he might have to include to protect his little family as they struggle to survive not only the earthquake, but other scenarios as they struggle to live the next several years in TEOTWAWKI.

The continuing story covers just about every apocalyptic scenario you can think of and the specialized training he took in real life to not only survive, but to thrive.

It’s all covered from rioting gangs, thru zombie attacks, to three years of solid snow. You learn along with him on how to drive like a stunt driver, shoot like a sniper, knife fight dirty, steal cars, do first aid, drive a sled dog team, build an igloo and much more.

Survival is the theme of this nomadic family as they flee LA just ahead of the mechanical giant alien spiders and run into other troubles along the way.

The book is written in a no nonsense manner and if you are easily offended by the rare swear word (and I do mean rare in this book) then this book is not for you.  If you are interested in learning some basics on survival in all aspects of a possible TEOTWAWKI situation then it is a good book to read to get the basics of true survival under your belt.

In my rating system I gave it a B.  Although the swear words were rare, I saw no need for them at all, but that is my own preference and that is not why I gave it a B.

Parts of the book really dragged for me.  I know that at my current age I am not going to go train with an Olympic weight lifter, nor am I likely to take up Eskrima.  I’d be happy just to be able to pick up a fifty pound bag of feed and carry it right now.  So all of the training detail was a bit slow for me.  I did read it thoroughly though so I’d know how to move that feed without hurting my back in the future.

Nor am I ever likely to take on a gang of zombie like creatures intent on eating me and mine for dinner with nothing but a sharp knife.  Yet, I did read that section in case I do ever find I might need to.  I’m going to be the pot roast for certain.

Like I said the book drug a bit for me toward the end, after the fictional part was finished and I more skimmed than read the last few pages.  But then it was late that night and I was tired. 

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, if for no other reason than to be an eye opener as to how unprepared we all are for any doomsday scenario.

Jan who needs to take the stairs more so she could possibly at least walk to safety in a hurry if need be in OK



Monday, February 25, 2013


February 24, 2013


I cannot live without books. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third president of the United States.


Genre: Novel on friendships of all types

Because this new blog is all about sharing with friends and hopefully soon to be friends my love of reading and the books I read and review I thought this the perfect book to begin with.

It is an easy to read novel by Darien Gee who also writes under the name Mia King.  This is the first book I’ve read by the author under either name and I found it an enjoyable read.

It has all the highlights of a good “soap opera” type book.  You begin with Julia, a grieving mother, who mysteriously finds a plate of Amish Friendship Bread along with a bag of the starter and how to use instructions on her front porch one day.

As the story develops you are introduced to more and more characters with a bit of their background explained as the book continues forward and the starter is spread about the small fictional town of Avalon, Illinois. 

The starter takes on a life of its own, similar to that of a chain letter, only no dire consequences (other than the possible waste of good food) if you do not pass it on. 

There, as in all good soap operas, are moments of drama, the possibility of a love affair or two, some hilarious moments and of course the sad and good times.

While I seldom read novels, much preferring other genres including mysteries I did enjoy this one.  However, it does have a bit of a mystery as to where the first bag of starter came from and you must read the book to find out who started the sequence of events that brought several lonely people together in the small town of Avalon, Illinois.

Then there are the recipes in the back of the book to intrigue you and a website  and a facebook group dedicated to the hundreds of recipes you can use the starter for. It also has gluten and dairy free recipes for both the starter and the uses of it.

In my tough rating system of one to five stars I give this book a 3.5 star rating.  It moved a little slow for me in a few places with a bit of the drama being repetitive, but it was an interesting read. Interesting enough I will be reading more about the ladies of Avalon, Illinois in the second book by Darien Gee “The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society” soon.

Books written by Ms. Gee under the name of Mia King are: “Good Things”, “Sweet Life”, and “Table Manners”.

On a personal note I have often heard of Amish Friendship bread, but had never had any.  I did know prior to reading the book that it was not actually developed by the Amish, but just some how got the name and it stuck. You can read more about the history of this starter and its use on various sites on the web.

I decided to “create” the monster and try this recipe out for myself to see if it’s a sour dough recipe my men folk would like. I’ll be posting my adventures with Amish Friendship Bread on my Patterson’s Pantry blog and the recipes I use will also of course be on the recipe blog as well.  Today is day one of my starter.  Follow the hyper links over to see how it goes.

Jan who hopes you will enjoy the book “Friendship Bread” by Darien Gee and in the solid form of bread in your own kitchen in the near future in OK