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Book Review: A Noble Groom, by Jody Hedlund

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I have read all of Jody Hedlund’s books, and I’m sorry to say that, while she is a talented author, A Noble Groom did not draw me in as much as her other books. The biggest issue with this one is that the characters seem formulaic. Annalisa and Carl each have their one main skill/hobby (storytelling and scientifically tinkering around, respectively), their one main circumstantial obstacle to overcome, and their one main area in which they experience inner, personal growth. Their romance is sweet, but nothing remarkable. They fall in love because they are both decent, kind people who happen to be in the right place at the right time. I do think Jody Hedlund does a good job in this book of bringing to life the poverty and hardship experienced by German immigrant settlers in the nineteenth century.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Simply Put

T and I were discussing the negative aspects of communism. D.L.F. asked, “What’s communism?” So T launched into an explanation. Then I said, “But in America, we are not Communists. We live in a capitalistic society.” D.L.F. said, “I think it’s actually called a house.”

On the Menu

I volunteered to bring the main dish and sides for church tomorrow. This is what’s on the menu:

Spiral-Sliced Ham
Pioneer Woman’s Do-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes (with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon)
Peas and Carrots
Whole-Wheat Bread
Fresh Fruit Salad (pineapple, apple, and banana chunks, with bowls of chopped walnuts, sweetened dried coconut, and sweetened dried cranberries on the side for toppings)
Dessert (made by someone else in the church)

There’s really not a ton of preparation involved. The most time-consuming thing was peeling ten pounds of potatoes, which my sweet husband did for me. The mashed and sweet potatoes are made, and just need to be heated tomorrow. The ham is pre-cooked, so it just needs to be heated through as well. I will steam the peas and carrots and mix them with butter and salt right before it’s time to go. Same for chopping up the fruit for the salad. The bread’s easy, too–I’m just going to make it in the bread machine, cut it in chunks, and serve it hot with butter.

My Deals This Week

I received a coupon in the mail for $10 off any in-store purchase at JCPenney. I found an outfit for 1-year-old, originally $12.99, on sale for $5.99, and a set of 3 pairs of sterling silver hoop earrings, originally $10.00, marked down to $4.49, so I only paid $.48.

At Walgreens, L’Oreal Studio Line products (in white bottles) are on sale 4/$3. I had a $1 coupon, so I got some mousse for free with $.25 overage.

Nestle Turtles (formerly DeMet’s Turtles) candy are on sale for $.99 a box. I had a $1 coupon (which specified DeMet’s Turtles, but there was no problem at the register), so they were also free. I will probably use them as a white elephant gift at a party this weekend.

Cornbread

I did end up being sick with a stomach bug for several days, but I am better as of yesterday. Normally, I love to cook, so you can tell I am sick when I stop doing anything in the kitchen. For several days, we just scrounged around in the fridge for leftovers and easy fixes or got take-out, but yesterday I felt better enough to make Tammy’s Mom’s Meatloaf, cornbread (recipe to follow), and steamed vegetables. The meatloaf turned out great, nice and moist and easily slice-able, but out of personal preference, I might add some more spices next time I make it. I think I’m used to more flavors in my meatloaf.

This cornbread recipe is not particularly healthy, but it is the yummiest I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet and almost cake-like. Serve hot with butter and honey!

Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups cornmeal (I use yellow, but any kind works)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Procedure:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 8x8x2″ pan.

Combine milk, melted butter, and egg in large bowl. Stir in all other ingredients at once until flour is just moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 20-25 minutes (20 is always long enough, in my experience) until golden brown.

I Don’t Want to Get Sick!

Bleh…I woke up this morning with flu, or morning sickness, or food poisoning, or something that made me feel nauseated all day until around 2 P.M., then I suddenly started feeling better. Maybe it’s the same thing 1-year-old had last weekend. Anyhow, praise the Lord that I am feeling better now, because I am supposed to sing at our friends’ wedding tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to miss their wedding for anything, not only because they’re counting on me to sing, but also because I think they are wonderful for each other, and I want to be there to celebrate with them.

1-year-old is very definitely teething today. I can feel the tooth breaking through. He was pretty cranky all day, but now that his papa is home, he is more cheerful.

Home

1-year-old and I met Hubby for lunch today. There is a cafeteria where he works, so we ate there. 1-year-old had fun trying to entertain Hubby’s co-workers. 🙂 We went to the post office and finally mailed out our Christmas letters and a package for Hubby’s parents, who live too far away for us to get together at Christmas.

When 1-year-old and I pulled into the driveway of our apartment complex, 1-year-old contentedly uttered, “Home!” It warmed my heart to know that he was glad to be home.

Getting Better

1-year-old is getting better. He still doesn’t have his usual appetite and is quite cranky, but at least he isn’t feverish and throwing up anymore.

A Sick Little Boy

Around noon today, Hubby, 1-year-old, and I went to the store to do a little Christmas shopping. 1-year-old fussed and whined the whole time. I thought that was strange, but I just figured he was tired. I put him to bed right away when we got home and he slept for about an hour and a half. Then he woke up, and we went in and tried to give him some diluted juice in a sippy cup, but he wouldn’t even touch it. This was even more odd to me, as we only recently started giving him juice, so he thinks it is a special treat. He just kept crying and crying for no apparent reason. I held and rocked him for a while. He just snuggled up to me, which he never does–he is not really a snuggler. Then, all of a sudden, he threw up all over himself and me. Poor little guy. He felt so miserable. He got sick a couple more times, and then seemed very exhausted and took a little catnap in the chair. He was running a fever around 100 degrees. I put him to bed around his usual bedtime, and he seems to be sleeping soundly. We are praying that he will feel better in the morning. I am grateful that 1-year-old is usually so healthy, and that this is really the first time he’s had something worse than a little cold. Still, it is hard to see him feeling so awful. But I have to say having him want to snuggle with me for a change was nice. 🙂 It feels good to be able to comfort my child in a way that only Mama can. 1-year-old didn’t want anything to eat or drink for the rest of the evening, but he did nurse a little before bed. I suppose mama milk and plenty of rest are about the best things for him at this point. It makes me glad I haven’t completely weaned him yet, so he still has the option of nursing when he doesn’t feel like anything else.

A Neverending Project

So I moseyed on down to the local mega-craft-store, and spent a blissful evening browsing almost every aisle just for the fun of it. I came home with a scrapbook, a page of baby boy stickers, and a book of various colors of cardstock for matting photos.

I basically haven’t done anything with pictures of 1-year-old except store them in a mini photo album that is bursting at the seams. And that’s not to mention all the pictures sitting around on our digital cameras or hard drives that haven’t yet been developed. But the time has come to get organized. I don’t want to just end up with boxes and boxes of uncategorized photos. I want to keep track of things now so that I can arrange the photos and jot down my thoughts about them.

For a while, I was thinking of going to digital scrapbooking, but Hubby and I decided against it because we like glossy real photos, not just pictures printed out on a page. So now I have the task of designing pages of the past fifteen months of our lives. We decided to not try to do a separate photo album for each child, but to instead just keep chronological “family” albums. So if there’s still room in this album when the new baby is born, we’ll put in all of his or her baby pictures, too.