Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review: Andy and Don

I would not call myself a huge fan of The Andy Griffith Show, but I did enjoy watching the entire series from beginning to end on Netflix a couple years ago.  I was interested in learning more about the friendship of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.  Andy and Don:  The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show by Daniel de Vise was a great first choice on the subject.

The book opened with the early years of Andy and Don from their Southern roots to their first trips to New York City.  As the book transitioned in the years of The Andy Griffith Show and shortly after, I started to regret my choice.  The author did not sugar coat how Andy and Don truly were which was not the idyllic life portrayed in Mayberry.  I wanted to remember the pair in good terms without all of the bad things.  The further in I got the more I realized they were truly normal people and responded to fame as most people do.

By the end of the book, I was nearly in tears.  Changes occurred in the lives of Andy and Don in their later years.  I understood that one constant through everything was their genuine friendship.  While the classic TV show may be the most common remembrance, their relationship was so much more.  The book was everything I had hoped and then some.  Be prepared for some unexpected stories of the pair.  Otherwise the book in a wonderful tribute of friendship!

disclosure:  I received this e-book from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for this review  All opinions are my own!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Furry Friday: Baby Bunnies

A couple of weeks ago we were a little (though not completely) surprised to find six baby bunnies in one of the nesting boxes.  Last week they started to get their eyes open.

They are usually found sleeping in one big pile and are so fat and fluffy.  We are not sure who the mom is, but she is doing a great job.  Before long they will be hopping all over the place!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Homemade Fruit Leather

I have wanted to try making fruit leathers ever since I got my Excalibur dehydrator.  I never got around to buying the special non-stick sheets.  Instead I found a good, easy alternative.  W loves to make jerky, but it makes a huge mess.  It sticks to the dehydrator sheets which means cleaning them is a major chore.  That made me look for disposable solid sheets.  I found Paraflexx Disposable Parchment Paper Dehydrator Sheets that are pre-cut to the size.  First I tried them out for jerky.  They worked so well.  My only regret is that I did not buy them years ago.  That led me to trying them out for fruit leathers.

I decided to try two types.  The first one was apple using my homemade apple sauce.  I only had to open the canning jars for that one.  We have an abundance of gifted peaches in the freezer so I took a pack of those out to thaw.  Once they thawed I drained off a bit of the excess liquid and dumped the remainder into a blender.

I blended it until it was a smooth puree.

Next it was out to the dehydrator where I lined a couple of trays with the disposable sheets.

I poured the peach puree on one and the applesauce on a second.  These went into the dehydrator at 135 degrees for about 3 1/2 hours.  I should not have spread it out as thin as I did.  In the bottom tray, you can see the paper through the applesauce.  It was a learning experience.

This is after drying.  I just rolled up paper and all before cutting it into strips. I think if I had left it a bit thicker the finished product would have been chewier.  It was still delicious.  I will definitely do this again.  The ingredient list is super short.  The peach leather has peaches with a bit of lemon juice, and the apple leather has apple.  The store bought fruit strips have many more.  This is a healthy alternative when I am craving something sweet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Yard Sale Finds

Each November a local Methodist church hosts a holiday bazaar.  They sell holiday items and baked goods but also have a yard sale section.  We usually get there in time to stand in line 30 minutes before the doors open.  It is a popular event. Here are my finds.

This hat was in perfect condition for $3.  I often wear hats to church and was excited to find this one.

The canning book was 50 cents and the decorating book was 25 cents.

I walked past this magazine rack three times before I picked it up.  The bronze color goes with our color plans for the new house.  I am not sure if I will use it for magazines or for my crocheting yarn.  It was a bit more expensive at $8, but I really loved it.

I then rode around a couple of neighborhoods and found a small yard sale.  The homeowners had several brand new sets of stationery.  This is a rare find.  I picked out five sets that I liked.  They were priced at fifty cents each, but I offered $2 for the five.  My offer was accepted.  My pen friends can look forward to receiving letters written on this stationery in the coming year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekly Savings

Once again meals were all served at home.  A few of them were not anything fabulous, but they were less than eating out.  I stuck to my budget including buying a turkey for Thanksgiving.  Spreading out the holiday food purchases has worked well thus far.

I found a few yard sale items (more on those tomorrow).

I avoided using the dryer even though it meant I needed to wash a bunch over the weekend to hang on the clothesline.

We returned some items we did not use on the new house construction.  We also borrowed all put one set of scaffolding we needed.  That saved us the cost of renting.  We did have to purchase one set which W will use throughout the building process.  I went through Swagbucks and placed the order for in store pickup

I made breadcrumbs out of several bits and pieces of bread in the freezer.

W fixed a pair of my shoes when the shoe repair shop said the shoes could not be repaired.  They were a pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes which I bought used from eBay as I could never afford full price designer shoes.  They are practically as good as new for nothing out of pocket.

I picked more flowers from the garden for an arrangement.

Those are the highlights.  I was very busy with the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party set up for most of the week.  I will share more about that later this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review: The Healthy Mind Cookbook

I love cookbooks, but it takes a really good one for me to be impressed.  When The Healthy Mind Cookbook arrived by UPS, I took it out of the box and immediately started reading.  I was so engrossed sitting on the back steps of our new house that both W and my dad came over to ask what I was reading.  I was drawn in by the wonderful photos and the useful information.

Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson created a cookbook of healthy recipes that I want to cook and eat.  For the most part all of the recipes contain common ingredients.  The ones that are less common (kombu and ground kudzu root) can easily be purchased through Amazon.  I know this because I have already added both to my wish list as they are in recipes I plan to make.

The book provides information on 80+ ingredients and their health benefits.  Rather than getting the health benefits from pills, readers are encouraged to get them from food.  The recipes combine these ingredients into easy recipes to improve your brain and its many functions.  From Classic Magic Mineral Broth to Brandon's Roasted Broccoli and Pomegranate Mock Mojito to Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles, there is something for everyone.  This is a gorgeous cookbook that even a novice cook would find easy to use.

disclosure:  I received this book from Blogging for Books but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Book Review: Yarned and Dangerous

Cozy mysteries are some of my favorite books to read.  Before bed I need something interesting enough to keep me reading but not so exciting that I cannot relax and fall asleep.  Not every cozy mystery fits those two items.  Yarned and Dangerous by Sadie Hartwell hit on both accounts.  I have recently taken up crocheting as a serious hobby.  While this book has knitting as a backdrop, it was close enough to count for me.

The book follows Josie Blair who has returned to Dorset Falls to care for her grumpy great uncle.  I enjoyed the small town aspect of the story as I could definitely relate to that.  I did guess part of the outcome of the book from the very beginning.  The mystery side was strong enough to keep me uncertain for most of the book.  The characters were likable, and I look forward to reading more about them in future books.

disclosure:  I received this e-book from NetGalley but was not otherwise compensated for this review.  All opinions are my own!