Winnie’s Winners

Thanks to everyone who joined me Monday to speak about our love (or not) of grilled cheese sandwiches. I threw all the names in a figurative hat and the names selected are:

Patricia B.
Kathy Bailey
Congratulations ladies.  Select which book from my backlist you’d like to have (You can find a list at https://www.winniegriggs.com/booklist.html ) and contact me via my website with the title and your mailing address and I’ll get it right on out to you.

The Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

Who doesn’t love the humble but oh-so-yummy grilled cheese sandwich.  Its ooey-gooey goodness not only warms our insides but (at least for me) brings back warm memories of childhood around the dinner table. And, according to my National Day Calendar, April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, so today I thought I’d offer up some history and fun facts related to this well-loved comfort food.

  • It turns out, the idea of taking bread and cheese and heating them together into a quick and tasty meal goes at least as far back as the ancient Romans. However, the grilled cheese sandwich as we know it today is credited to James L. Craft, who created a method to keep cheese from spoiling quickly. With the advent of commercially available sliced bread in the 1920s he decided it was a match made in culinary heaven!
  • Early versions of the grilled cheese sandwich were made open-faced with only one slice of bread and the cheese was usually grated.
  • Schools eagerly adopted the grilled cheese sandwich, more often than not pairing it with tomato soup. It was a cheap and tasty meal option to fulfill dietary requirements for both protein and vitamin C.
  • Prior to the 1960s the grilled cheese sandwich was often referred to as a “cheese dream”.
  • In 1994 Diana Duyser, a work from home jewelry designer, took a bite from her grilled cheese sandwich then stopped when she saw an image of the Virgin Mary on the toasted portion of her sandwich. She kept the rest of thee sandwich for ten years then listed it on eBay. The winning bid was $2800, placed by Golden Palace, an online casino.
  • The New York restaurant Serendipity 3 holds the record for producing the most expensive edible grilled cheese sandwich. The bread contains champagne and gold flakes and the sandwich includes truffle butter and a rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese. The cost of this sandwich in 2017 was $214.
  • In 2006 competitive eater Joey Chestnut set a record by eating 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 minutes.

Some fun notes from various surveys:

  • The most popular pairing of the grilled cheese sandwich is with tomato soup.
  • The US cities that rank highest on the “grilled cheese lovers” scale (according to UberEats) are Baltimore, San Diego and Cincinnati.
  • By one estimate, an online search for “how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich” will yield over one million results.
  • According to a 2018 market study, Americans consume over 2 billion grilled cheese sandwiches a year.
  • The most popular cheeses for grilled cheese sandwiches (in the US) are American and cheddar.
  • Another survey reports that grilled cheese lovers are not only more generous than their non-grilled cheese lover counterparts but they are also more adventurous and travel more.
  • Food & Wine ranks the grilled cheese sandwich from San Francisco’s The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen as the tastiest. The chef is an MIT engineer named Heidi Gibson.

 

And of course this post wouldn’t be complete without a  recipe so here is a version for my own personal favorite grilled cheese sandwich

Ingredients:

  • Pepper jack cheese – a thick slab or a generous heaping of shredded cheese
  • 2 slices of bread – whatever you have on hand will work but I prefer sourdough
  • Butter seasoned with a touch of garlic salt and cracked pepper to taste
  • Brown mustard

Directions

  • Preheat your skillet on a low heat – I like to use a well-seasoned iron skillet but a regular skillet with a bit of butter will do
  • Spread seasoned butter on one side of each piece of bread (slather it on, don’t skimp!)
  • Add a very thin layer of brown mustard to the unbuttered side of ONE slice of bread (just a enough to flavor but not overpower)
  • Place the cheese on the unbuttered side of one slice of bread
  • Place the bread and cheese, open-faced style, in the skillet with the bread side down and cover for a few minutes, allowing the cheese to melt. Once the cheese starts to melt add the second slice of bread and cook uncovered until both sides are a nice golden brown.
  • Plate and Enjoy!

So let’s discuss. Is there any of the points above that surprised you? Do you like grilled cheese sandwiches? Do you have a favorite recipe?  Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for winners’ choice of any of my backlist books.

 

Winnie’s Winners

Hi folks. Thanks so much to all of you who dropped by earlier in the week to discuss the love of paper dolls with me. Because the response was so great I decided to select a dozen winners. And without further ado, here are the names:

Debra Guyette
Janice Hopkins
Julie Butler
Karen Humphries
Kimberly Murdock
Lori Smanski
Melanie Backus
Paula Shreckhise
Stacey Ulferts
Teresa West
Tina Wayman
Veda Funk

Congratulations to all!

Please select which book you’d like to have (you can find a list on my website at winniegriggs.com/booklist.html ), then contact me via my website with the title and your mailing info and I’ll get the book on out to you.

A Short History of Paper dolls

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  I actually had a completely different post in mind for you today, and had it half written, but other obligations and procrastination got the better of me. I did some research earlier in the week but didn’t get started drafting the post until this afternoon and got to feeling, shall we say, a bit under the weather before I could complete it. So instead I’m reviving a older post on a fun topic.  And by way of apology I’ll be giving away multiple copies of my books (I haven’t quite decided how many yet).

Once again I was trying to come up with some activity or thing the children in my current WIP could use to amuse themselves.  One idea I thought of was paper dolls.  But how common were they in 1894?  So off I went to do some research.  And here is a summary of what I found
First of all, identifying the date of the appearance of the first paper dolls depends on your definition of what a paper doll is.  As early as AD 900 the Japanese were using paper figurines in purification ceremonies.  In the thirteenth century the Chinese used large stick-mounted figures in their puppet shows.  But most historians agree that paper dolls as we currently think of them originated in the late eighteenth century when French dressmakers employed them as a way to illustrate the latest fashions to their customers.  Today you can find a rare set of  hand painted figures from the 1780s housed in the Winerhur Museum in Delaware.

In Europe, many of the early sets of paper dolls depicted actors and actresses of the stage and there were separately crafted toy stages to go with them.

In Pioneer America, however, paper was a prized resource and any child lucky enough to get paper dolls treasured them greatly.  They were carefully pressed between the pages of books or placed in a sturdy box.

In 1810, the S&J Fuller Company of London produced the first commercially popular paper doll.  Named ‘Little Fanny’, the two-dimensional doll was printed in a 15 page book that boasted seven distinct figures.  In addition to the various poses and outfits, the book included a moral tale for the edification of the children to whom it was presented.  Two years later, J. Belcher of America printed a similar doll with accompanying moral tale, this one named Little Henry.   Within ten years paper dolls were a popular toy for children in both America and Europe.

In the early days, basic paper dolls were created in various states of dress.  Some came modestly dressed with permanently painted on clothing, while others were attired only in undergarments.  Also, the early versions were missing the tabs for affixing the clothing that are common place today.  Before these came along,  children carefully applied tiny drops of sealing wax to the paper ‘clothes’ as a temporary glue.

Before chroma-lithography came into common usage, paper dolls were colored by hand.  Civil War widows often supplemented depleted incomes by embellishing the printed dolls .  However, even after the advent of lithography, some of the manufacturers continued to print in black and white for children to color themselves.

In 1856, Anson Randolph published the book Paper Dolls and How to Make Them, A Book for Little Girls.  Inside the pages were illustrations of dolls and clothing to cut out and play with.  According to The New York Evangelist:

“Paper Dolls and How to Make Them, is a book of a thousand for little girls. It contains instructions how to make those ingenious and beautiful little paper dolls, clothed with every variety of costume, and every style of appearance, which are sometimes sold at the shops. The instructions are so plain, and the plates giving illus­trations so numerous, that every little girl can learn the art, and in learning it, will have a perpetual field for the exercise of taste and ingenuity. The study is exceed­ingly attractive, and will furnish means of enjoyment to the nursery and fireside that may well alternate with books and plays. The author has displayed great tact in giving the descriptions, and a genial loving desire to promote the happiness of children — a trait which we place among the highest virtues, in anybody. As there is nothing of the kind in market, and opens a bound­less field of occupation and enjoyment, the little book must become a favorite.”

(Ah-ha – this is something I can use in my book!)

In 1859 Godey’s Lady’s Book became the first magazine to include a paper doll in its pages.  Other magazines quickly followed suit, including Ladies’ Home Journal, Good Housekeeping and Women’s Home Companion.  These dolls carried such names as Lettie Lane, Polly Pratt, and the famous Kewpie Dolls, and often included figures comprising full families, including servants and pets.   The most popular of these ‘magazine dolls’ came along in 1951 from McCall’s Magazine – Betsy McCall.

As paper dolls grew in popularity, manufacturers of household goods saw them as a great medium to promote their products.  Some of the products advertised include Pillsbury flour, Singer sewing machines, Hood’s Sarsaparilla, Clark threads and Lyon’s coffee.  These dolls were produced either as die cut items or as printed cards to cut out.  They were produced in large quantities and many examples can still be found today.  J&P Coats company (now Coats and Clark) took this a step farther when they came up with a unique take on the paper doll.  There were five different dolls available to purchasers of Spool and Crochet Cotton.  The unique feature of these dolls were that they had mechanical heads.  The head piece was separate from the body and was actually constructed in a wheel formation that contained three heads painted on both sides, so that the doll could be viewed with any one of six expressions, and even some slight variations on hairstyles.  This head was attached to the body of the doll at the neck with an eyelet,  The clothing for these ‘mechanical paper dolls’ were constructed with a fold and slipped over the head in the same fashion as a ‘real’ dress.

Another group that jumped on the paper doll band wagon were newspapers.  In the 1890s the Boston Herald printed two paper dolls, a blonde and a brunette along with instructions for ordering additional dolls.  They kept the interest alive by printing clothing for the dolls in subsequent issues.  The Boston Globe, not to be outdone, began printing their own series of dolls and clothing.  After the turn of the century a Teddy Bear paper doll series made an appearance in the paper as well.  By 1916 several other papers had begun following suit.  During the Great Depression, newspaper produced paper dolls enjoyed a huge comeback.  Many of the characters were pulled directly from the comic papers, characters such as Dick Tracy, Li’l Abner, the Katzenjammer Kids and Brenda Starr.

The 1940s and 1950s was the advent of America’s romanticized love of the Wild West and this was reflected in paper dolls as well.  Many sets of paper dolls were crafted after characters from western movies and television shows, and of the imagined life at a dude ranch.

By the early 1960s, Barbie had appeared on the paper doll scene and quickly became the most popular paper doll among American children of all time, a title she still holds at the time of this posting.

I admit, despite the popularity today of all the electronic gizmos, I have fond memories of the hours of creative play my sister and I had with paper dolls and fashion dolls exercising our imaginations to bring the toys to life.

So what about you?  Did you play with paper dolls as a child or is there a child in your life who did?  Do you have a particular memory you’d like to share?

Leave a comment to get your name tossed in the hat for a chance to win your choice of any of my books.

The Big Cheese

Hello everyone,  Winnie Griggs here. Happy Monday.

A while back I read a little historical footnote that in 1804 President Thomas Jefferson attended a public party at the Senate where an enormous loaf of bread, dubbed the “mammoth loaf” was part of the food offering.

If you know anything at all about me you know I couldn’t just let this intriguing bit of information go without digging into it further so of course I did some research. And oh boy, did I ever find out more than I bargained for – in fact in the process I came across an even more intriguing bit of trivia.

It seems that enormous loaf was baked to go with a mammoth wheel of cheese that President Jefferson had received as a gift two years earlier.  And for the record, I’m using the word mammoth deliberately, because that’s how these items were described at the time.  I found a notation that stated Americans of this period were enamored with the term due to their fascination with the then recent discovery of the skeleton of a giant woolly mammoth in the state of New York.

This massive wheel of cheese was the brain child of John Leland, the Elder of a Baptist  congregation made up of the staunchly Republican citizens of a farming community located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. The goal was to recognize and commemorate Jefferson’s long-standing devotion to religious freedoms. Leland asked every member of his congregation who owned even one cow to bring all the milk and/or curd produced on a particular day to a local cider mill.

It was reported that the milk from about 900 cows went into the making of the cheese and that the cider press they used measured six feet in diameter.  The final product, once cured, measured more than 4 feet in diameter, 13 feet in circumference and 17 inches high. I read one report that said it weighed in at 1,235 pounds and another that reported 1325 pounds but in either case it was BIG. In fact it was so big it couldn’t be safely moved the entire distance on wheels. The logistics in and of themselves were interesting – it traveled by sleigh from the town to the Hudson River, from there by barge to New York City. Then it was moved to a sloop which carried it as far as Baltimore. The final leg of the trip to Washington D.C was accomplished via a wagon pulled by six horses. All in all, the approximate 500 mile trip took over three weeks to accomplish.

President Jefferson praised the people who had donated the extraordinary gift for the for their skill and generosity   Because he believed he should refuse gifts while in office, he paid Leland $200 for the cheese.

The cheese lasted for quite some time as it was gradually consumed at various White House functions over the next couple of years.  Finally, on March 26, 1804, the President attended the above-mentioned party designed to rally support for a naval war with the Barbary States. A Naval baker created a huge loaf of bread to accompany the remnants of the mammoth wheel of cheese as well as large quantities of roast beef and alcohol.  It’s assumed that the last of the cheese  was consumed during the event.  An alternate theory is that after this party, the remnants were disposed of in the Potomac River.

Is this bit of historical trivia something you already knew about?  And why do you think people are fascinated by things of an unusual size?  Is it perhaps the novelty of it all or is it something else entirely?

The Grand Canyon

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here.  According to my This Day In History calendar, today marks the 113th anniversary of the day Teddy Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. I myself have visited the park twice, once in 2012 and once in 2017, and can personally attest to the fact that the word awesome fails to do it justice. 

You can find accounts and photos from those trips at the these two links:

LINK:   My First Trip To The Southwest

LINK:   My Second Trip To Southwest

 

And here are some trivia and fun facts about the Grand Canyon.

  • The park is massive in size.
    • To give you some idea of its scale, here are some various types of measurements:
      • It’s 1,904 square miles (1.2 million acres) – the state of  Rhode Island is only around 1,212 square miles.
      • The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide at its widest point. And at its narrowest point it stretches 4 miles. However that’s less than a fifth of the Colorado River’s total length of 1,450 miles,
    • Though it’s only about 10 miles as the crow flies between the North and South rim visitor services centers, there are 211 road miles and takes more than four hours to drive from one to the other.
    • Though the Colorado River has a maximum depth of 85 feet, it drops in elevation nearly 2000 ft as it travels through the Grand Canyon.

  • One really cool thing about the Grand Canyon is that it actually creates its own weather.
    • From the highest points at the rim of the canyon to its lowest point, the temperature can change by more than 25 degrees. That’s because sudden changes in elevation have tremendous impacts on temperature and precipitation. So whatever weather you’re experiencing could be very different based on your actual location in the park. The coldest, wettest weather station in the region is on the north rim at the Bright Angel Ranger Station while 8 miles away at the depths of the gorge near Phantom Ranch, is where the hottest and driest can usually be found.

  • The canyon is full of hidden caves.
    While only the Cave of Domes is open to the public there are an estimated 1,000 caves within the canyon itself and only 335 have been recorded.

  • Depending on how one measures size (length, depth, width, etc) there are several other canyons that are larger, among them are the Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru, the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal and the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. 

 

  • There is some debate about the age of the Grand Canyon.
    For a long time scientists believed the Colorado River started carving out the canyon six million years ago. Then, in 2012, a study theorized this erosion process may actually go back 70 million years ago.
    It’s also believed that it’s likely that today’s Grand Canyon began as a number of smaller canyons but the scope of today’s canyon didn’t start taking its current shape until more recently.

  • Even though the Grand Canyon is fossil rich, you won’t find any dinosaur fossils among them. What you will find, however, includes diverse specimens that include ancient marine fossils from over 1 billion years ago as well as more recent land mammals that left their remains in canyon caves about 10,000 years ago.

  • The Grand Canyon offers one of the most visible examples of a worldwide geological phenomenon known as the Great Unconformity. The Great Unconformity refers to the fact that rock layers  that are estimated to be 250 million years old unaccountably sit directly on rocks that are 1.2 billion years old. It is a complete mystery as to what happened to the hundreds of millions of years of layers that should lie between them. 

  • The Canyon boasts about 91 species of mammals, 447 species of birds, 58 species of reptiles and 18 species of fish only five of which are native.
    • Several of these species are endangered, including the peregrine falcon, the California condor, the bald eagle, the southwestern willow flycatcher, the Ridgway’s rail, the humpback chub, the razorback sucker, and a species of snail, the Kanab ambersnail. There are also number of endangered plants that can be found there.
    • One interesting reptile, the Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake can only be found in the Grand Canyon. It’s one of six rattlesnake species that can be found in the park. The snake’s unusual color is an adaptation that allows it to blend into the surrounding rocks which makes it extra surprising when someone actually catches a glimpse of one.
    • Surprisingly though, even though the Grand canyon is home to dangerous animals such as snakes, Gila Monsters and big horn sheep, if you look at actual attacks on people, the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is the innocuous-looking rock squirrel. Many visitors are bitten each year by this rodent than any other animal, many while trying to take selfies with or feed this “vicious” critter.

  • There are interesting facts around trying to hike the Grand Canyon
    • Believe it or not more people have walked on the moon than have actually completed a continuous length-wise hike through than Grand Canyon. 
    • Hiking the Grand Canyon is not for the casual hiker. A reasonably fit hiker takes four to five hours to trek from the South Rim to the Colorado River and, as to be expected, much longer to make the return trip.
    • The hiking records are interesting. The best known times to make it by foot from the South rim to the North rim and back for women is 7 hours, 28 minutes and 58 seconds and for men it’s  5 hours, 55 minutes and 20 seconds.
    • Trying to hike this area when you aren’t adequately prepared can have serious consequences. About 250 people have to be rescued from inside the Grand Canyon on average every year. According to park rangers, one of the biggest mistake many hikers make is to not carry enough water with them. Of course underestimating the effort involved and their own fitness to undertake the effort plays a part as well.

  • It’s been shown that the air at the Grand Canyon is among the cleanest air in the United States.

  • Like a sculptor, the Colorado River, along with other environmental elements like win and precipitation, is still working on shaping the Grand Canyon, though this is being done at a pace that makes a snail look speedy.

  • The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) owes its existence to the Grand Canyon. Apparently it was common in the 1950s for commercial planes to take detours that  routed them over the ark to give their passengers some breathtaking views. Unfortunately, in 1956, two  planes collided with tragic results – there were no survivors. As a result the federal government moved to create the FAA. 
  • Seven years after the Grand Canyon was established as a national park, 37,745 visitors were counted. In 2019 they had 5.97 million visitors, making it second only to Great Smoky Mountains National Park as the most visited national park.

  • Did you know the Grand Canyon National Park has a physical address? It’s 20 South Entrance Road, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023.    However, if you want to send mail thee, the park’s mailing address is P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

There’s a whole lot more I could tell you but this is probably enough for one post.

So was there anything in this list that surprised you? Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon yourself? What were your impressions?

A Favorite Christmas Candy From My Childhood

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Can you believe Christmas is just a few short days away? December just really got away from me. I only just managed to get my tree decorated and stockings on the mantel this past Sunday. But better late than never I suppose.

 

When I first thought of what I might produce for this post, I let my thoughts run to the Christmases of my youth. And one of the first memories that came to me was of my momma in the kitchen making Christmas candy, so called because she only made these treats at Christmastime.  She would make fudge, pralines, divinity, and bar cookies. There was one in particular that was my very favorite. I know everyone thinks of pecans when you think of pralines but they do come in other flavors as well. One of these flavors is coconut. Since I’ve never been much of a fan of pecans, these were a real favorite of mine. And come to think of it, I’ve never seen coconut pralines anywhere else – just those produced by my mom and grandmother.

And the fun part of these candies, besides the fact that they were oh so delicious, was that momma would buy fresh coconuts still in the shells and once she cracked them open, drained the milk (which I loved!) and dug out the meat, she would give them to me and my younger sister to peel and grate. with a hand crank grater. My sister and I really enjoyed this, especially since once the pieces got too small to work with we would eat them – so yummy! I still have that old grater to this day, though I haven’t used it in years.

 

And here is the recipe, named for my Mom:

Shirley’s Coconut Pralines

Ingredients

    • 2 cups of sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon of salt
    • ½ cup of whole milk (coconut milk can be substituted for all or part)
    • 2 cups of shredded coconut
    • ½ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract

 

Directions

    • Combine the first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart or larger saucepan.
    • Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
    • Continue cooking, without stirring, until contents reach the soft ball stage (235-240°).
    • Stir in the shredded coconut; then continue cooking until it reaches the soft ball stage again.
    • Remove from the stove and allow to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
    • Stir in the extract and then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and turns creamy in color.
    • Quickly, before the candy hardens, drop by rounded tablespoons onto waxed paper, forming patties. Let cool before removing from wax paper.

 

Wishing you all a joyous and blessed Christmas regardless of your circumstances.

 

 

Winnie’s Winner

Thanks to everyone who stopped by on Monday to discuss my upcoming Amish release. I threw all the names in a virtual hat and the person whose name I selected is

MARYANN

Congrats Maryann. If you’ll contact me via my website and send me your mailing info I’ll get a copy of Her Amish Wedding Quilt out in the mail to you ASAP.

HER AMISH WEDDING QUILT

An Amish seamstress and a single father have a chance to make a fresh start in this heartwarming first novel of a new series.

Spirited, forthright, impulsive — everyone told Greta Eicher she’d have to change her ways if she ever hoped to marry. Then her best friend Calvin, the man she thought she would wed, chooses another woman. Now Greta’s wondering if the others were right all along. Her dreams dashed, she pours her energy into crafting beautiful quilts at her shop and helping widower Noah Stoll care for his adorable young children.

Noah knows it’s time to think about finding a wife. When Greta offers to play matchmaker on his behalf, Noah eagerly accepts. After all, no one knows his children better. But none of the women she suggests seems quite right, because, unexpectedly, his feelings of respect and friendship for Greta have grown into something even deeper and richer. But will he have enough faith to overcome the pain of his past and give love another chance?

 

To learn more or purchase check HERE

Winnie Griggs New Release and a Giveaway

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I am excited to announce the release of my first Amish Romance novel Her Amish Wedding Quilt, will release in just a little over a week. This is a genre that for me as a writer wasn’t even on my radar 16 months ago. But then last September an editor contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying my hand at writing one. It so happened I was at a point in my career where I was ready to try my hand at something new so I jumped at it.

It’s been quite a year as I’ve immersed myself in research and all things Amish, trying to learn the ins and outs of this unique culture. I’d actually planned to make a couple of trips to Amish country this year but we all know what happened to travel plans in 2020 🙁

Anyway, Her Amish Wedding Quilt is the first of a three book series that will follow the Eicher sisters. This one features Greta, the middle sister, and Noah Stoll, a widower doing his best to raise his two preschoolers with the help of his younger sister.

Greta is a bit of an outspoken, take charge kind of gal, which is something of a problem since everyone tells her she needs to tone it down a bit if she ever wants to find a husband. Noah has just learned he needs to stop relying on his sister’s help and his answer is to find a wife.

The book opens on the first day of a brand new year with Greta convinced this is the day her best friend, Calvin Stoll will propose to her. But by the end of the day her whole world has come crashing down around her.

In this scene, Greta, who has successfully done some matchmaking in the past, has decided to help Noah out more as a way to take her mind off her own problems as anything. Oh, and for those of you not familiar with Amish dialect, here is a quick glossary:

  • fraa = wife
  • Gotte = God
  • jah = yes
  • kinner = children
  • mamm = mom

 

“Esther told me you asked her to help you find a new fraa.”

Something akin to irritation flashed across Noah’s face before his guard went up. “And why did she feel the need to speak of it to you?”

“She and I are good friends and she knew I’d help in any way I can.”

“Help?”

“Help you find a new fraa, of course.” She smiled. “And a mamm for your kinner.”

His guard eased a bit, but now he seemed ready to dismiss the subject. And her. “I appreciate your desire to help me, but I think this is something best left to Esther. She knows me and she knows my preferences.”

Greta wasn’t going to let him get rid of her that easily. “I realize Esther is your cousin and you might be more comfortable dealing with her. But perhaps you don’t know that I have experience helping other young men find a helpmeet.”

Jah, I’m aware that you’ve played matchmaker in the past.”

The way he said “played” got her back up, but Greta decided to ignore his tone and keep her focus on convincing him he needed her help. “Then perhaps you’ll understand why Esther thought I’d be able to help in your search as well. If you give me a chance I know I can find a woman who’ll make you happy.”

“What do you know about what will make me happy?”

Good question, especially after her spectacular failure on her own behalf. And for a moment her certainty wavered.

But then she rallied. This was different. “I believe I understand people well enough to know who’ll get along nicely together and who won’t.” At least when it came to others.

He raised a brow at that. “Do you now?”

She refused to let his skepticism affect her again. “It probably sounds like pride and boastfulness to you, but it isn’t. I believe this is a gift from Gotte, just as your skill with woodwork is, and that it would be wasteful not to use it.”

She saw him sober at that and study her thoughtfully.

Trying to press her advantage, she quickly added. “But of course you’ll need to help me figure out some of your own specific likes and dislikes.” Would he agree? She realized she wanted to help him, that she needed to find some purpose to fill the emptiness that was stretching out in front of her.

 But rather than respond directly, he asked a question of his own. “Why do you want to do this?”

“Because I love your kinner and want to help see that they are well cared for. And also because I think it’s something I can do well.”

“And for no other reason?”

She squirmed a bit under his steady, much too perceptive scrutiny. Surely he didn’t know about her feelings for Calvin and what had happened New Year’s Day.

She tilted her chin up. “What other reason would there be?”

 

Noah saw the slight reddening of Greta’s cheeks that belied the confident expression on her face. Was she thinking of Calvin? If she’d been so wrong about his brother’s feelings, how could she possibly know what he needed? But somehow it seemed cruel to point that out to her. And what could it hurt to let her try? “I suppose we could give it a try.”

Her face blossomed in a smile that made him blink—it had been a while since he’d seen those impish dimples of hers.

Her hands clasped tightly together as if trying to hold in some big emotion. “Good.” Her tone was charmingly businesslike. Apparently she’d wanted to do this more than he’d realized.

 

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at Her Amish Wedding Quilt.  To be entered in the drawing for an advance copy of the book, leave a comment related to Amish fiction – love it, hate it, never tried it but want to, or anything else that fits the bill.  I’d also love to know what you thought of this set-up and excerpt

HER AMISH WEDDING QUILT

An Amish seamstress and a single father have a chance to make a fresh start in this heartwarming first novel of a new series.

Spirited, forthright, impulsive – everyone told Greta Eicher she’d have to change her ways if she ever hoped to marry. Then her best friend Calvin, the man she thought she would wed, chooses another woman. Now Greta’s wondering if the others were right all along. Her dreams dashed, she pours her energy into crafting beautiful quilts at her shop and helping widower Noah Stoll care for his adorable young children.

Noah knows it’s time to think about finding a wife. When Greta offers to play matchmaker on his behalf, Noah eagerly accepts. After all, no one knows his children better. But none of the women she suggests seems quite right, because, unexpectedly, his feelings of respect and friendship for Greta have grown into something even deeper and richer. But will he have enough faith to overcome the pain of his past and give love another chance?

 

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Winnie’s Game Day Winners!!

 

Hello gang. Between my book deadline and preparing for Thanksgiving, I totally spaced on picking a winner for last week’s Game Day. But better late than never, right?

You all did such a great job captioning the photo that I had a hard time selecting a winner – so I picked THREE!  And they are:

ABQNANCY
SARAH TAYLOR
DENISE HOLCOMB

Congratulations! Just go to my website and decide which book you’d like to have. Then contact me via my website with the title and your mailing info and I’ll get it sent on out to you.