Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

The last few days have been warmer and we sure enjoyed the sunshine! Now this morning it rained, but the sun is out again.

Son Joseph is harnessing our horse Mighty, so I can take the buggy to a garage sale. The sale is being held by a neighboring Amish family. They’re selling clothes, so I thought I might be fortunate and find some, to save time in sewing. Fabric seems to go up in price so it pays to buy garage-sale-priced clothes.

Last Thursday we attended the wedding reception of niece Lisa and Matthew in Berne, Indiana. It was cold and rainy. We arrived there about 2 p.m. I helped fill the peanut butter pies so my job was pretty easy.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, grilled sausage links homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding and angel food cake topped with a mixture of whipped topping, cream cheese, and strawberry glaze, as well as pecan, cherry and peanut butter pies. “Nothings” [pastries] lined the tables on plates, a tradition in that area.

My brother Amos was raising hogs to make fresh sausage for this wedding meal; after he died, his sons Ben and Sam took over butchering the hogs to make the sausage. We enjoyed seeing the family but there was an empty spot without brother Amos there. It just doesn’t seem possible that Amos isn’t here anymore. We must accept God’s plan, but I can understand why it’s hard for Nancy (Amos’s wife) to go on. The wedding reception especially made us miss Amos even more.

We arrived back home that night around 11:30 p.m. It was a short night as we had to be up by 3 a.m. for Joe to leave for work at 3:45.

On Friday evening, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Loretta’ special friend Dustin joined us for supper. We played games afterwards.

Saturday morning early, my husband Joe and I went to Menards to get lumber to rebuild part of our haymow. It was getting weak from all the hay and needed more support. Joe also is making more space for hay. Our barn is old so it always needs some fixing up somewhere, but I guess it still works. Joe and the boys would like to build a few more horse stalls in there and move the chickens to a coop outside the barn. Dustin, nephew Henry, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and husband Joe worked on the haymow the rest of the day. They accomplished quite a bit.

Later, Dustin and Loretta, and daughter Verena left for a friend’s house for supper. Henry and Benjamin went to a birthday supper as well. Daughter Lovina was helping at Mose and Susan’s house and stayed the night. Lovina then came to church with them on Sunday. So that left just four of us home for supper: Joe, Joseph, Kevin and me. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs, an easy meal.

A few families from church took supper in to Mose and Susan’s on Sunday evening. They wanted to visit after Jennifer was born but didn’t get around to it sooner. I left Lovina go home from church with Susan and Mose to help her with Jennifer. Susan was glad for Lovina’s help. Saturday afternoon and evening, Jennifer was being fussy, which makes it hard for Susan to get much done. The baby loves having her gums rubbed. At three months old, I really hope she isn’t pushing through teeth already.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came for the day. Our breakfast was biscuits and gravy. For lunch we had leftover Tater Tot casserole from the night before. The girls took Abigail outside in the afternoon. It was so nice and she enjoyed being outdoors again.

I’m eager to get outside myself and look for dandelion greens. These warm days should be bringing them up. Rhubarb is peeping through and so are spring flowers. I think I’m having a bout of spring fever.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini or regular muffin pan with liners. Mix brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans. Stir. Add eggs and butter until combined. Spoon batter in muffin cups about ½ full. Bake for 12 minutes for mini, or 16 minutes for regular size muffins.

Life goes on: preparing for a wedding reception without Amos

Life goes on: preparing for a wedding reception without Amos

It’s Thursday, April 5. Today is niece Lisa and Matthew’s wedding reception in Berne, Indiana. Lisa is brother Amos and Nancy’s daughter—the third from youngest out of ten siblings.

Matthew and Lisa joined hands together as one on January 20. They were going to wait to have their reception until it warmed up. Little did they realize Amos would be gone eleven short days later. It must be so hard for Nancy and her children to prepare for this meal without her husband there—my dear brother Amos—to help.

Amos was a hard worker and was always busy with something. At all his other daughter’s weddings, Amos would always greet us when we came. This is Amos and Nancy’s seventh daughter getting married. He always made us feel like we brightened his day. We question why but we do know God makes no mistakes. Trust in Him. His ways are not our ways!

I had a dream this week and in the dream I was having a good talk once again with Amos. He was so happy in the dream, almost as if telling me, miss me but let me go!

My wish for Matthew and Lisa is to have a happy and long married life together with God as their guide. Matthew and Lisa have been living with Nancy since their marriage which I’m sure has been a comfort to Nancy since the sudden loss of her husband.

Daughter Verena is table waiter at the reception today and I will be cook. Verena will do the best she can with still wearing the Aircast boot on her foot.

Tuesday morning I cut out Verena and my dresses, capes, and aprons for the reception today, Friday. Verena has to wear dark blue and white. I will wear black and white. The girls made the meals so I could keep sewing. I managed to get both suits sewed. I actually surprised myself that I finished.

As I sewed, my mind often went to the dream I had of Amos the night before. Life goes on and we never know who is next to leave us. What’s important is to be ready when our time comes. With Easter Sunday just this past week, we were again reminded how Jesus Christ sacrificed for us.

On Good Friday we had a nice time with family at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. The afternoon was spent visiting and a few of us played Phase 10. The men and boys all went for a walk in the woods and back by the river that runs behind their property. It was a nice day. We went outside with granddaughter Abigail for awhile. We also enjoyed baby Jennifer until Mose and Susan left to go to his parents’ place for supper.

On Sunday evening we made supper here for all of our family, sister Emma and Jacob and family, and my sisters Verena and Susan.

On the menu were grilled pork steaks, potatoes and mushrooms (also on the grill), deviled eggs, homemade horseradish cheese, cheeseball and crackers, and desserts. The desserts were all brought in by everyone which ended-up all being puddings—cinnamon pudding, dirt pudding, and peanut butter pudding.

Abigail got to help color these Easter eggs last weekend for the first time! The beautiful colors are enjoyed by all.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came home for the day. It was blowing snow, and quite cold once again. Spring does not want to be here. Joe said our rhubarb is peeping through. Also some flowers so we hope warm weather will soon be here to stay.

We leave at 11:30 a.m. today for Berne. Cooks and table waiters have to be at Amos and Nancy’s house by 2:00 p.m. to prepare supper for 5:30 p.m.

Son Kevin, 12, is enjoying this week at home on spring break from school. The Yorkies are happy to have him here all day!

God bless you all!

Deviled Eggs

1 dozen eggs, hard boiled
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons Miracle Whip
3/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper
2 teaspoons mustard
paprika

Boil eggs and cool.

Deviled eggs. (Photo by Melodie Davis)

Peel eggs and and slice them in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; in separate bowl, mash yolks with fork. Add Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir until smooth. Fill egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika as desired.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Prayer and fasting give way to joyous Easter for Eicher family

We are in the last week of March with Friday being Good Friday and Easter is Sunday, April 1. It’s an early Easter this year.

My oldest sister Leah and Paul were married 37 years ago on April 16. I remember that Good Friday was April 17 in that year (1981) and was the day after their wedding. I was in the third grade and still remember going to the mailbox to get in the mail on Good Friday. That is one way I can always remember that mail does go on Good Friday.

In our community, we honor Good Friday and have a time of prayer and fasting in the forenoon. We usually have lunch with family or friends and enjoy the rest of the day visiting.

Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy want our family to come to their house this year. Timothy plans to grill some chicken, with Elizabeth making all the trimmings. I always look forward to spending time with family. Of course, spoiling my little granddaughters is so much fun.

Right now little Jennifer is staring at me and smiles when I look up. How precious! Daughter Susan just breastfed her and is rocking her to sleep. Susan came this morning, as she has a very stiff neck and it was hard for her to lift the baby off the bed. Mose and the driver dropped them off here early this morning when the driver picked up my husband, Joe, to go to work.

After applying heat and cold packs and taking some pain relievers, Susan says her neck is feeling a little better. She thinks she sprained it from lying on it during the night while feeding Jennifer. A stiff neck can be miserable! Jennifer is extra fussy today, so I’m glad she is here so we can help her. And no one complains when they have to hold Jennifer!

Daughter Verena was excited to have her cast cut off last week at her doctor’s appointment. She does need to wear an air boot for four more weeks. She is having some pain as she gets used to walking on her foot again, but it’s getting better every day. Mail time is still exciting for her. We appreciate everyone who took time to send a card, write a letter or mail a gift to her. May God bless you for your kindness.

Son Kevin, 12, went along to the appointment so that Verena’s doctor could check his feet. The doctor decided to wait six months and have him wear night splints that help his feet. It’s very miserable to sleep with the splints on, and he can’t walk in them. He wasn’t too excited, but he chose those over the braces, which he would have had to wear during the day. We will see what is going on in six months and will try to prevent surgery if possible.

Yesterday the girls and I attended sister Emma’s Tupperware party and stayed for lunch. Our friend Beth picked us all up with her van, and she picked up daughters Elizabeth and Susan as well. Emma served us a good lunch of tater tot casserole, macaroni salad, cheese, dirt pudding, applesauce, Jello and chocolate chip bars. She had leftover food so she sent some home for our supper. It was nice to have supper made. Daughter Loretta left with Dustin and his family to attend a visitation and viewing for a friend of the family who died. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went to town to get some groceries for me. The boys were back for supper but Loretta wasn’t.

Our horses, Midnight and Beauty, will be three years old this spring. We gave Beauty to Benjamin for his 18th birthday last year. The horses need miles, and it helps when the boys drive them during the week. My husband, Joe, trained both horses last summer. We saw a lot of excitement, and I was glad when he had the horses going in the buggy! Midnight was a challenge and I didn’t think she would ever listen. But now she takes us wherever we want to go.

Lovina shares her recipe for a large traditional potato salad serving 12-18, great for a get together or potluck.

I need to finish this column so that I can get to my sewing. Jesus has risen! Have faith in Him and He will always be there for you. I hope you had a blessed and happy Easter. Peace to all!

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut up
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing (or store brand)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through slicer. Then combine potatoes, eggs, celery and onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together. Large recipe serves 12-18.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Attentive doctor reminds his patients to trust God

Spring has arrived—or at least that’s what the calendar says! We did have some nice sunny days, with the mercury on the thermometer reaching almost 60 degrees. We have taken advantage of the weather and dried the laundry outside on the clotheslines. It sure makes it so much fresher than when it’s dried in the basement. Monday the air was chilly, and I was cold by the time I had hung everything outside!

It is almost 4:30 a.m. here at the Eicher home. I think we have adjusted to the Daylight Savings Time now. Son Benjamin, 18, is waiting on his ride to go work at the RV factory. My husband, Joe, left 45 minutes ago for work. I almost forgot that this column needs to be written before we leave this morning at 6:30 a.m. for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Daughter Verena and son Kevin have appointments with the doctor who did Verena’s surgery. This doctor’s office is located at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. We always like to start out early enough. It takes time finding a place to park, etc., once we get there.

Verena’s surgery was five weeks ago. She is getting impatient to have her cast off. She is hoping the doctor will let her take the cast off and give her a walking boot. I’m not so sure that will happen, but we will find out today. It all depends on how well it is healing. Verena sure enjoys all the cards and letters she has received. She looks forward to mail time! On Friday evening some of her friends are bringing snacks after supper and will stay to play games.

On Sunday we attended church in a neighboring church district. Church was held in the basement of Dustin’s brother’s house. (Dustin is Loretta’s special friend.) We took Verena along. Timothy, Elizabeth, little Abigail, Mose, Susan and baby Jennifer also went to church there. They wanted us to all stay for supper, but we decided to come home in the afternoon to do our evening chores. Our children, except for Verena and Kevin, and nephew Henry stayed for supper.

Tippy, Susan and Mose’s dog, gets super excited to visit his “old” friend Kevin, Lovina’s youngest son.

The weather was so nice that Verena and Kevin said they were going for a ride with our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser. Joe and I decided to also go for a ride with our almost three-year-old horse, Midnight, and the buggy. We all went to Mose and Susan’s. Timothys showed up there as well. We loaded Verena’s battery-operated scooter on the pony cruiser, and she and Susan went for a walk with Kevin and Tippy (Mose and Susan’s dog) trailing behind. Because he lived with us for so long, Tippy is always excited to see us come, especially Kevin. When he sees Kevin is along, Tippy jumps into the buggy and goes crazy over seeing Kevin! Kevin spends a lot of time with Verena’s Yorkies also.

I volunteered to watch Jennifer when the girls went on their walk. She is always full of smiles, and it’s just so much fun watching her. I went with Susan to Jennifer’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. She weighs almost 13 pounds and is 23 3/4 inches long. The doctor said she is doing great!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan take their little girls to the same pediatrician I took my children to after we moved to Michigan. He is a good doctor and has been a great help to us. He was the first one to notice that some of our children have muscular dystrophy. He noticed the signs even before we did. I remember how upset I was, and how he encouraged me to put it all in God’s hands. Life goes on, and we must take one day at a time and put our trust in God. Where would we be without God’s help?

I wish God’s richest blessings to each of you and good health as well!

Easy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with water and boil until soft. Mash and add remaining ingredients. Put in a greased baking dish and refrigerate overnight.

Hamburger topping:
2 pounds hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Brown hamburger; drain. Add can of soup. Put everything on top of the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Lovina’s diary offers glimpse of an Amish woman’s ordinary day

Lovina’s diary offers glimpse of an Amish woman’s ordinary day

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings—time to get up and pack husband Joe’s lunch, fill his water jug with ice and water, make a pot of coffee, etc.

3:45 a.m. Joe’s ride is here to go work in the factory. In January it was 13 years ago that he started working there. On March 20 it will be 14 years that we made the move to Michigan from Indiana.

4:00 a.m. Son Benjamin, 18, is up and getting ready for his job at the RV factory. He usually packs his own lunch. He does well to always hear his alarm.

4:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves for work; he only has a 15-minute drive to the factory where he works. A coworker picks him up and brings him home.

4:40 a.m. Nephew Henry leaves for work. He works for a local Amish family. They build trusses for lumber companies, if I understand correctly. I go back to bed for awhile and take advantage of getting some more sleep!

5:45 a.m. Son Joseph gets up to do our morning chores. I pack his lunch.

6:30 a.m. Joseph leaves to go help our nephew Noah on his construction crew. Son Kevin, 12, is getting ready for school.

6:45 a.m. The bus is here. Kevin leaves. I take a little nap on my recliner. I have a headache and think it might help.

8:00 a.m. I feel much better. The girls are up, and we are getting breakfast started. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan have plans to come for the day. It sure is hard to get used to the time change again! I really wish the time would stay one way or another all year long.

8:30 a.m. The girls have arrived. Susan picked up Elizabeth this week with their horse and buggy. Elizabeth and Susan come together each week, taking turns driving their horses and buggies. We bring the girls Abigail, Jennifer and Nikiah (the girl Elizabeth babysits) in from the buggy. They get plenty of hugs and kisses from Grandma and all the aunts. Abigail wants to get Ruby (Verena’s little puppy) right away. She can carry her around. Jennifer smiles at us in recognition. At eight weeks old, she is learning new things all the time.

9:30 a.m. Breakfast is ready. Abigail likes to sit in a booster seat on a “real” chair at the table instead of a high chair. Baby Jennifer gets to lie on a blanket in the middle of the big table so we can all watch her while we eat! Our breakfast is scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, pon hoss (from Jacob’s butchering), coffee soup, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, cheese. We also have milk, grape juice, and coffee.

10:30 a.m. Dishes are being washed. Sometimes when too much is going on in the house, like today, Lovina does her schoolwork in the heated pole barn. She also works ahead on some days so she can enjoy her little nieces when they come.

We do some odds and end jobs around the house, but nothing too much. Mostly we visit and enjoy our time together. The girls were working on some names they are making out of plastic canvas. A man from our church is also here (out in the barn) putting new shoes on our horses.

12:30 p.m. Elizabeth feeds Nikiah a lunch before her mother comes to pick her up after she’s done working.

1:00 p.m. Nikiah leaves with her mother. I make a one-kettle soup for our lunch.

1:30 p.m. Ready to eat lunch! My husband Joe comes home from work. Abigail wants Grandpa to show her the Country magazine after she’s done eating. He holds baby Jennifer while we eat. Benjamin comes home while we’re eating and eats a bowl of soup too. He then leaves to take his buggy to the repair shop.

3:30 p.m. The girls and their babies are leaving for their homes. Joe and Joseph are burning some trash. Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty Coblentz come for a visit. Today is their 48th anniversary. We wish them more happy, healthy years together.

5:00 p.m. Daughter Loretta leaves with her special friend, Dustin, to go to the hospital. Dustin’s mother had surgery today.

6:45 p.m. Supper tonight is pizza!

9:30 p.m. Loretta is back home, and everyone is getting ready for bed.

God’s blessings to all!

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

 Frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
1 pound powdered sugar

Cake: In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, soda and salt; set aside. Combine butter, water and peanut butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour over flour mixture. Add milk, vanilla and eggs; mix. Pour in a greased 11 x 15-inch baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting: Bring butter, peanut butter and milk to a boil in saucepan. Mix in powdered sugar. Pour warm frosting over cooled cake.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Placid evening after family devotions a fitting finale for the day

Supper is over and we have had evening devotions. All the children have gone their own way now—some to bed and some reading, writing or just relaxing. I love evenings like this, when everyone is close by. Every mother has those moments, I’m sure.

Making my day even more complete was having daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their sweet little daughters, Abigail and Jennifer, home for the day. This grandma actually fell asleep holding the baby on the recliner. Jennifer loves being held and cuddled.

Elizabeth hasn’t started potty-training Abigail, but today I started asking Abigail if she has to go to potty. She even comes up to me and tells me she needs to go potty. Well, we go through the whole routine and then she just sits there. I told Elizabeth she will eventually get the hang of it. I don’t think Elizabeth is too enthused to start the potty-training process. I keep asking myself why I’m so happy to help potty-train my granddaughter when I dreaded it with my own children! Maybe it’s because I can do it for a few hours and then quit when they go home. My dad always told us if he had known that grandchildren were so much fun he would have had them first. It was just one of his many jokes.

Back to supper tonight: our menu was biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes and cheese. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went after a new bearing for the buggy wheel on our one buggy. Then nephews Benjamin and Steven and niece Emma came over with some pon hoss and fresh sausage. They butchered pork on Saturday.

The Eichers were happy to can and freeze food staples such as this beef, which is customary among most Amish families.

Our beef is all canned, bagged and frozen. Freezers are filled to capacity. Do we appreciate that we have plenty to eat? There are so many in this world who are less fortunate. Let us pray for those less fortunate and also pray for peace in the world. There is so much hatred. God can be our only comfort at times when all else seems to go wrong.

My husband Joe and several of the children made around 300 hamburger patties, which are all frozen individually so they can be taken apart and put right on the grill. The rest of the hamburger was bagged and canned. I like using the canned hamburger for casseroles when I’m in a hurry. I went shopping with daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Loretta on Saturday. I felt so happy coming home to find out that this big job was all done—and maybe slightly guilty for not helping!

On Sunday church services were held with Dustin’s (Loretta’s special friend) parents being hosts. Loretta, Lovina, Benjamin, Joseph and Henry attended church in their district. Joe and I were also planning to go but Joe wasn’t feeling well during the night so we changed our plans. Joe was also home from work one day, running a fever and just not feeling well at all. The next day he felt good enough to go back to work, but he was still ready to see the weekend come. Those early mornings come around so fast! So often we take our good health for granted.

Several of our children and I went to visit sister-in-law Nancy one day this week. So much sadness. I have such a hard time going there and not seeing my brother Amos come walking to greet us. He was always so overjoyed to see us when we’d stop in for a visit. Amos and Nancy’s daughters—Lovina and her daughter and Elizabeth and her son—were home for the day. And Lisa, Laura and Sam were home, so we visited with everyone.

We were happy to hear we have another nephew, Seth Paul, born to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry on March 2. Seth makes child number eleven for them. Their oldest son, Henry, has lived with us for almost seven months now. He went home to greet his newest little brother on Friday night. That makes 59 grandchildren for Joe’s late parents. Joe’s mother died at age 54 when we only had Elizabeth. She would be so happy to see all her grandchildren now.

Daughter Verena seems to be doing okay with her cast on her leg. She is getting a little impatient and tries to busy herself writing letters to others who need cheering up.

A reader shared with me her recipe for hot wilted lettuce. She says they eat this on top of boiled potatoes.

God’s blessings to all!

Hot Lettuce

1/2-1 pound bacon
1 heaping tablespoon flour (or a little more if needed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
1 head of lettuce, torn

Fry bacon in large skillet. Remove bacon. Stir flour into grease and brown. Put egg in medium bowl and beat a little. Add salt, sugar, vinegar and water and then add this mixture to skillet. Add lettuce (you can use more or less than a head, as desired) and crumbled-up bacon and stir briefly in skillet until lettuce wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org

Nothing better in late winter than visits from Grandma’s little sweeties

We have entered the month of March, and it is definitely coming in like a lion! It is rainy, cold and windy here in our part of Michigan. We had several nice sunny days with temperatures hitting the upper 50s and lower 60s. It spoiled us and we really wanted it to stay. It sounds like we might get more snow though, so we better just be patient.

Our week has been spent cutting up beef, pressure canning, grinding hamburger and slicing steaks, and of course, bagging the meat for the freezer. Last Saturday we decided to butcher both beefs instead of waiting for another time. So we have double the work. My husband, Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, son-in-law Timothy, son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped dress the beef on Saturday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose and Susan have also been helping to cut it up. Work goes much faster with so many helping.

Lovina and Joe’s granddaughter Abigail gets excited when her parents’ buggy pulls in to Grandma’s house.

Elizabeth said when they came driving with their buggy, little Abigail spotted our house and said, “Grandma!” She was a little busybody last night. She loves to color and write. I’m amazed at how well she holds her pencil. Jennifer is such a sweetie too. She smiles often, and Susan said she reaches for the toys she hangs in her swing. I was so busy that I didn’t get to spend enough time with the sweeties last night.

I made rare beef for supper for everyone. The girls had made a casserole as well. I have mentioned before how we make rare beef. We slice the most tender steak into really thin pieces. I deep-fried it in olive oil last night. Some use oil and some use lard. You make sure your oil is really hot and then take a piece and stir around, flip over, stir once and it’s done. We put salt and black pepper on both sides of every slice before we start. We put on a lot of black pepper. It’s spicy, but it just doesn’t taste right without that much.

We didn’t put much pepper on Abigail’s pieces, but she still didn’t care for it! I remember when our children were younger they would have a glass of water to dip the meat in so some of the pepper would come off. I wouldn’t put on as much pepper when they were younger.

My grandpa Graber was an expert at deep-frying rare beef. Then my mother took after him and always made it for our family. Now I can see how she was probably glad once everyone had their share! I make the rare beef while everyone else eats so that it’s fresh. It doesn’t taste as good when it has cooled off.

Sunday we went to church and then stopped in to visit Jacob and Emma. Jacob wasn’t feeling well enough to come to church.

We ended up at Mose and Susan’s house for supper. Timothy and Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin and nephew Henry were all there, plus all of our family. Mose grilled brats and Susan made pizza casserole. It was nice to get out of cooking. I spoiled Jennifer and Abigail while the girls made supper. Daughter Verena was glad to get out of the house for a while. She elevated her leg all day, as she lost her balance and fell on her cast. She had quite a bit of pain so I called the doctor. It helps to elevate it more often, and now Verena says it is feeling better. In three weeks we will go back to the doctor and see how it’s doing. I hope it is healing well!

I want to thank everyone for the sympathy cards you sent. May God bless you for your kindness!

A reader shared her recipe for butterscotch pie with me. She says it’s much easier to make than mine. I’ll share it with all of you as well. Thanks, Patricia!

Butterscotch Pie

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie crust, baked

Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan; stir in water, milk and butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Boil one minute. Stir 1/2 of mixture into egg yolks, then blend into remaining mixture with vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust. Chill. When cold, top with whipped cream topping.

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

The sun is out! The sky is so lovely today. What a great master artist we have. Only He could paint a picture like this. The temperature is at 36 degrees.

The Eicher sewing machine gets plenty of use!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan spent the day here yesterday and of course sweet little Abigail and Jennifer. My daughters were occupied cutting out and sewing baby dresses. They were using up some scraps of material I have. It seems so much of the time I have just enough material left that I can’t make a shirt for the boys or a dress for the girls. So now it can get used on the little grandbabies. The girls decided to cut out matching dresses for Abigail and Jennifer to wear to church on Sunday.

I went with Susan to Jennifer’s one-month checkup at the doctor. She weighs 10 pounds 7 ounces now. She weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces at birth so she’s doing well on gaining. She was 20 inches at birth and is 22 inches long now. Monday she will be six weeks old. I miss not seeing her every day since they moved back home. It’s good for them to be able to be back in their own house now.

Daughter Verena was glad for the extra activity yesterday and entertaining Abigail and holding Jennifer. She has days when she gets bored with her cast on. Once the weather gets nicer outside and warmer, she can go outside more often. She had some visitors Sunday afternoon. Timothy and Elizabeth told us to come for supper. Timothy grilled hamburgers and Elizabeth made macaroni and cheese, chips and ice cream. They also told Mose and Susan to come over so they drove the two miles. The whole family was there and it was an enjoyable evening. The boys put Verena in the buggy for the drive to Timothy’s. It was refreshing for her to go on a buggy ride.

Saturday husband Joe and the boys plan to dress and hang our beef. Timothy and Mose will come help too. One half of the beef will go to Mose and Susan. We have another beef we are raising that we still need to butcher yet this winter. We decided to butcher one at a time. It will be nice to have that big job done. We will cut up, can, and bag the meat for the freezer at our house.

The mail just came and had a card and letter from sister-in-law Nancy’s sister Sharon (Nancy and Sharon are cousins to my husband Joe). Sharon said in her letter that Nancy hasn’t been sleeping well at night which is understandable. Wish I could be closer to visit more often. I am glad Nancy’s parents and her siblings all live close to her.

Daughter Verena has been writing and sending cards to Nancy and her ten children. It gives her something to do. She looks forward to mail time.

I answered a lot of reader mail this morning. I was getting behind like usual. A big thank you to all you readers that sent the recipes I requested. I will share them in future columns. I will not be able to share all of them but will look through them.

Our sympathy goes to the family of Marcella, age 88, from Minnesota. She was daughter Elizabeth’s pen pal for over three years. Marcella and her niece Rachel traveled from Minnesota in 2015 to come here to Michigan for Elizabeth and Timothy’s wedding.

Lots of flu going around. Stay healthy everyone!

God’s blessings to all!

Tomato Jelly

4 cups peeled chopped tomatoes
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is okay too)

Boil ingredients together 20 minutes. Turn off and add a 3-ounce box of strawberry jello. May be canned or frozen.

Note: One recipe says to add one 3-ounce box of jello and another one said two.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write” column

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write’ column

Daughter Verena’s surgery on her foot was a success! She has been having more pain since the numbness wore off but that can be expected from a surgery like this. Verena will probably have her cast on for six to eight weeks according to the doctor that did the surgery.

Dr. Caird does a wonderful job! She did the heel lengthening surgery on Verena’s other foot and also did it on both of daughter Loretta’s feet. The surgeries were all done at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We arrived home a little before 6:00 p.m. So after several hours on the road Verena was ready to elevate her foot again. The cast comes all the way up to her knee. Elizabeth and Abigail are here today and Abigail is tickling Verena’s toes that peek out of her cast. Verena put a compression wrap on Abigail’s leg and foot and she held her leg beside Verena’s saying she has an “ouchie” too. It didn’t last more than a few minutes though until she was done with her bandage.

Abigail’s aunt Verena brought her her first crayon from a tour to the Crayola plant in Pennsylvania.

With the surgery yesterday and being gone all day I didn’t remember that I needed to write a column. After having breakfast with Elizabeth and Susan and children here I didn’t once think of it until all at once it dawned on me that I never wrote a column. So now this is where writing a column gets to be a challenge. Who can resist little Abigail. She was pretending to write too after I gave her a pencil and a little tablet. That didn’t last long before she was bored so Grandma here tries to teach her how to color in a coloring book and she’s more enthused with the crayons. I am again reminded how short attention spans 17-month-olds have. Daughter Loretta rocked her now and she’s sleeping. Baby Jennifer is also taking a nap so Grandma has no excuses to not get on with this column (except joining the girl’s conversations).

It is a foggy day here in Michigan. Visibility is not very good. Our school cancelled because of the fog. Kevin will also be home Friday and Monday for their mid-winter break. So I guess they get an extra day. Kevin isn’t complaining for the extra day. He wasn’t too overjoyed when I told him it would be a good day to clean up his bedroom.

I graded a lot of Lovina’s school work and she is ready for a unit test. I made up her schedule for the next few weeks. Home-schooling can get very time consuming and it also renews my brain again.

We had a nice enjoyable lunch with Amy from MennoMedia. It was great putting a face to her name and I’m sure she was glad to do the same. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were also here so she was able to see my granddaughters.

A Happy Birthday to niece Emma Schwartz (Jacob and Emma’s daughter). She turns 20 today (February 15). Another niece, Emma (Coblentz) Wengerd, daughter of brother Albert and Sarah Irene, also celebrated her 21st birthday on February 9.

We had a laugh about Emma and her husband Johnny’s birthday surprise parties. Johnny’s birthday was February 6 so Emma invited both sides of their families for lunch on Saturday. Johnny wanted to surprise Emma for her birthday and invited both sides of their families for supper on Saturday. So everyone went for lunch, left again and went back for supper. I am sure there were a lot of laughs about this. Happy Birthday to Johnny and Emma!

Jacob (sis Emma) was off work due to having pneumonia. We wish him better health in the future.

Sunday church services were held at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. It was a cold day! Lunch was served consisting of homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bologna, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, coffee, tea, chocolate crinkle, sugar and chocolate chip cookies. Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Our thoughts and prayers are often with sister-in-law Nancy and family. It’s still so hard to believe my brother Amos has passed on. God has a reason for this but we still question why. That is why we need to put our full trust in Him. Let go and let God!

Pineapple Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
15-ounce can pineapple slices, drained
8 slices bacon
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix ground beef and Italian dressing salt and pepper. Shape into 8 patties. Press pineapple slice into each patty. Wrap with a slice of bacon and secure with wooden toothpick. Mix remaining ingredients. Place patties in glass 13×9-inch dish. Pour barbecue sauce mix on patties. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Grill patties, pineapple side down, about 10 minutes. Turn and brush with sauce. Grill another 10 minutes. Heat remaining sauce to serve with burgers.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS: text=840 words; end material=61 words

Contact: DorothyH@MennoMedia.org; 540-980-2438

 

Lovina’s brother “didn’t know a stranger”

Lovina’s brother “didn’t know a stranger”

So much sadness has been brought to our family since I last penned this column. God has once again reminded us that one does not have to be old to die.

A week ago, January 31, my sister-in-law, Nancy tried to wake up my oldest brother Amos. Life had fled—Amos was only 56 years old.

He left behind 10 children and 15 grandchildren and his wife of 34 years. Here are the details: Susan is married to Joe and they have seven children: Nancy, Susan, Joe, Steven, Amos, Lyle and Barbara Ann. Elizabeth and Paul have three children: Lisa, Amanda and Amos. Mary Jane and Amos have three children: Amos, Marvin and Mary Jane. Ben and Lovina have a daughter Leanna. Arlene is married to Robert. Marlene is married to Chris (Arlene and Marlene are twins). Lovina and Benjamin have a daughter Kristine. Lisa is married to Matthew. Laura, age 16, has a special friend, Enos. Samuel is 14 and in eighth grade.

Amos was a great brother to me. He had many friends. Amos never met a stranger. Five years ago in January, Amos was in an accident on his way to work not very far from our house. Two of my cousins were killed in this accident and Amos’s life was spared. The driver taking them to work hit a patch of black ice and rolled the van numerous times. Amos was treated and released at our local hospital.

My sisters Verena, Susan, Emma, and brother Albert and wife Sarah Irene, all gathered at the hospital to be with Amos since his family was so far away yet. We brought Amos to my house and visited together until Amos’s wife Nancy and their children came to pick him up. We felt so fortunate to still have our brother. Every January since, I think back to the widows my two cousins left behind and their families. Last Wednesday morning right after my husband Joe left for work, we received the shocking news that brother Amos wouldn’t wake up.

A special gift from Lovina’s brother, Amos, to daughter Verena.

Amos had let our daughter Verena pick out a Yorkie puppy and he wanted to just give it to her since she has no income. Verena talked with Amos a few weeks before his death and he wanted her to wait until January 31 to pick up the puppy. Little did we realize that he would be gone that day. That day Verena came in and told me that Amos is on the phone (our phone is in an out building) and had asked if he could talk to me. Amos would use the driver’s phone to call while he was on their way home from work. Amos and I talked for a long time. (He had a few hours drive to and from work.) That time I didn’t think I had to talk with him, is so precious to me now. Those were the last words I talked with Amos. I will forever treasure that phone call.

Viewing visitation was Thursday, February 1 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. We traveled the two hours back and forth every day. On Saturday the funeral services were at 9:00 a.m. It was a cold day for a funeral. The first evening more than one thousand friends and family walked through. Such support is a blessing to the family. The community outdid themselves with bringing food for the meals. So many lent a hand to help.

This past Tuesday, Joe and I and daughter Verena, Mose, Susan and Baby Jennifer traveled to Berne (Ind.) and visited with Nancy and the children. Her son Ben, daughter Mary Jane and three children, daughter Lisa and Laura and Sam were also there. Sam made sure Verena could take her puppy (who she named Ruby) home after the funeral. Verena will have a very nice memory of her Uncle Amos and always remember his kindness in giving her the puppy.

Brother Amos also trained our horse, Mighty, and he is a good safe horse. I am glad we have a horse Amos trained to remember him by also. Mighty is our “Old Faithful.” I like taking him to town as I trust him around the traffic.

Quite a few from our community traveled the over 100 miles to the visitation of Amos. We appreciate all the family and friends that took time to come and show their support. May God reward them for their kindness. Rest in peace, brother Amos. You will forever be missed.

Now tomorrow, on a happier note, I look forward to meet and have a visit to our house from one of my editors from MennoMedia. Safe travels, Amy Gingerich!

Butterscotch Pie

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon soda

Combine brown sugar, boiling water, butter, salt and vanilla. When mixture begins to boil, add soda. Boil until syrup forms a hard ball in cold water.

1 egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 baked pie shell
Whipped cream

Combine egg yolk, flour and sugar; slowly add boiling water. Add to syrup mixture and bring to a boil. When filling is cooled, beat with spoon until fluffy. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with whipped cream.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.