Travels and wedding celebrations

Another week has passed by since my last column. We made it to Kentucky and Tennessee for both weddings and are now back in Michigan. We were thankful for safe travels to and from the weddings. Dan’s (who died in the accident with son-in-law Mose) wife Jodi was our driver and she did a wonderful job. It couldn’t have been easy driving for all of us. She is a nice person to have around. I know she is still hurting just like daughter Susan, both missing their loved ones. It always makes me sad when I see Susan and her children drive in without her beloved Mose beside her. Seeing sister Emma without Jacob and sister Verena without sister Susan seems so unreal. It can get overwhelming and that is why we need to let go and let God. We need to trust his plans are different than what we want sometimes.

At Michael and Laura’s wedding I was a cook and my job was to prepare the fresh fruit for the fruit bowls. It was a good combination of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and kiwi. The menu consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, butter and jam, several kinds of pies, angel food cake, mixed fruit, and pudding.

In the afternoon we started out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. We stayed at a motel and attended the wedding at the church for Jamin and Saloma. Their weddings are different than ours as the father walks the bride down the aisle. The couple left after the wedding for their several week honeymoon. We wish both couples God’s blessings as they start their lives together as one.

The menu for this wedding was boneless chicken breasts and barbequed chicken, diced red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, ice cream, donuts, lemonade, and coffee.

We had supper with Saloma’s parents Pete and Carol (Joe’s sister) along with some of Joe’s family and others who had attended the wedding. We then headed back to the motel. The children enjoyed swimming at the pool. The next day we drove towards home about 5 1/2 hours then slept in a motel outside of Indianapolis, IN. The next day we spent the day at the Indianapolis zoo. We had a little over three hours to drive home.

We had a nice time but everyone was glad to be home again.

The Eicher family celebrated Kevin’s 16th birthday with cake and ice cream, after a supper of sausage and potatoes (recipe in this week’s column). Photo provided.

Son Kevin turned 16 on September 2nd while we were gone. Monday night we had cake and ice cream in honor of his birthday. Also on the menu were banana poppers and Italian potatoes and sausage.

We had some storms go through our area again but we didn’t get anything much. Hopefully no one else did either. Daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena came for the night.

Today Joe’s sisters and nieces will come help us clean. Plans are to clean the basement and can room, and if we get that far, our breezeway.

Saturday we have more help coming. Church services were set to be here September 19th. That isn’t far off and then the wedding of daughter Loretta and Dustin is coming up right after that.

God bless all of you as we travel into the unknown future.

Italian Sausage and Potatoes
6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan covered for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for 1 hour or until sausage is done. Some prefer to broil uncovered, cooking until sausage is browned.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding preparations continue as September begins

We have entered September. Today is the 1st, so we are only a month away from daughter Loretta and Dustin’s wedding day. Time does not stand still. We had a break in the humidity and heat. Nights are cool which makes for nice sleeping weather. My gardens are emptying out with only tomatoes and peppers left. A sure sign autumn will be here soon.

We will host church services here September 19th Lord willing. That gives us even less time to clean. I have help coming next week from both Joe and my family, so I’m sure lots will get accomplished. I still need to sew two dresses before the wedding.

Saturday around 14 men and boys helped Dustin work on the pole barn. It was a very hot day! I helped Loretta make two roasters of tater tot casserole the night before, so she has an easy lunch for the guys. I made coleslaw from the cabbage I have from the garden. Others brought in the desserts.

I didn’t go over to help with lunch as there was enough there to help Loretta. I took advantage of the time and sewed daughter Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for Loretta’s wedding and my dress, cape, and apron for nephew Michael’s wedding.

The pole barn is ready for concrete. The roof is on, and the windows and doors are framed in.

Tomorrow is son Kevin’s 16th birthday. How can it be possible that it has been 16 years since my last born?

Granddaughter Abigail keeps reminding us that she has the next birthday. She says, “I will be 5 on September 10th, Grandma.” Such a sweet little girl and so full of questions. She has curly blond hair. She is growing up so fast.

Last week daughter Susan was here and then in the afternoon daughter Elizabeth dropped her three children off here while she went to town. It was a hot day, so we let the children play with water outside. Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. wanted to make lunch in their little dishes. They went out to the garden and pulled what they thought were green bell peppers and broke them in little pieces. Son Joseph told them they can’t go in the garden but said they can keep what they picked, also thinking it was green bell peppers. Well, all at once T.J. started crying and we saw his mouth was red, so we discovered they had picked hot peppers and their skin was burning too from playing in the water with them. Needless to say, we had three little children who were burning from the peppers. We tried everything we could think of to relieve the burning. Finally, we tried baking soda and water paste and that seemed to help a little more. The heat just had to wear off, but the little ones didn’t understand. I don’t think they will ever go get something from my garden without someone telling them what is hot and what isn’t. I felt so bad for them.

Today around 4 p.m. we plan to head out for Kentucky. Daughter Verena called to book motels for us. Loretta isn’t going along because Dustin couldn’t have two days off with the wedding coming up and taking days off for the funerals. Daughter Susan and children will come stay with Loretta.

Tomorrow after the wedding we will head out to Pulaski, Tennessee, to attend niece Saloma’s wedding on Friday. There is lots to do before we leave so I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

 

Farm Style Omelet

12 eggs
1 pint milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of pepper

Put all ingredients into a bowl and beat well. Pour into hot, greased skillet. As it fries, lift the bottom with a spatula to let the raw part run underneath. When it’s almost done, cut in wedges and turn over. Fry one minute longer.

Topping:

1 cup bacon, fried and crumbled (or other meat)
1 cup salsa

Mix bacon and salsa. Spread on omelet and serve. Serves 8.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eichers prepare for upcoming weddings

We had a good soaking rain during the night but also some lightning and wind. I am so thankful when all is okay after a storm. After our last storm we think of it more. The sun is shining this morning, but it feels like it’ll be another hot, humid day.

Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan have plans to come here today. Verena wants to clean her bedroom and Susan will help me paint the master bedroom. We moved our bedroom suite into the living room so it’s a little bit crowded in here right now. Hopefully it will all be back in place by tonight.

Last week daughter Susan helped me paint Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. Little by little we are getting some cleaning done. Daughter Loretta finished her wedding dress. I had to help her here and there but she’s catching on fast. She needs to sew herself a dress for the wedding of Mary and Danny that they have a part in. Mary is the girl in our church getting married a week before Loretta.

I now have my material for the wedding next week of nephew Michael & Laura in Kentucky. I was asked to be cook and to wear royal blue. Son Joseph and Grace (his special friend) were asked to be tablewaiters (servers) at their wedding. Grace is supposed to wear royal blue as well.

Daughter Lovina and Daniel (her special friend) were asked to be servers in niece Saloma and Jamin’s wedding next week in Tennessee. Lovina needs to wear black at their wedding.

The material for Dustin’s pole barn should arrive this week. Plans are to try to frame the 40-ft. x 80-ft. pole barn and put the roof on Saturday if enough help shows up. Then it should take another day to pour cement, put the sides on, and install windows and doors if there is enough help there. We will take one day at a time.

Sunday was the first time we attended church since brother-in-law Jacob passed away. Sister Emma had a hard time being there without him. We all felt the emptiness. Nephew Steven, 14, has started his last year (8th) of school, and I’m sure it isn’t easy not being able to have his dad around. They all need our prayers as they travel into the unknown future.

Sunday was also sister Verena’s 55th birthday. Emma and all of her family and all of our family took supper to Verena’s house. All of sister Susan’s belongings are still there, and we miss her dearly. Daughter Susan brought her horse and her borrowed buggy. It was dark before she left, so son Benjamin packed his clothes and went home with her. He carried the sleeping children in the house for her and took the harness off the horse and turned it out in the field. Susan said this helped her out so much, as she always has to do that. Benjamin had his driver pick him up at Susan’s on Monday morning to go to work. Since Benjamin went home with Susan, daughter Verena decided to come home for the night.

Sister Verena is starting to stay some nights by herself. Life goes on and the road ahead still looks long but with God’s help we will make it through our many trials. God’s blessings to all!

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers (any color)
1/2 pound ground beef or sausage, browned
2 ounces pepperoni slices, diced
1 pint pizza sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 4-ounce can mushrooms, drained
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese, approximately 1/2 cup

Remove tops of peppers and inside seeds and blanch 3-5 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients except mozzarella. Set peppers in baking dish and fill each pepper half-full of mixture. Add a layer of mozzarella, then fill top of pepper. Cover and bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover and arrange additional mozzarella on top, then return to oven briefly to melt cheese.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Canning Vegetables and Cleaning Up After a Storm

Today daughters Lovina, 17, and Loretta, 21, and I canned 42 quarts of red beets from our garden. Yesterday we froze sweet corn and now tomorrow plans are to freeze green beans.

Loretta also started sewing on her wedding dress and I sewed on a dress for Lovina. It is almost 10 p.m. and I took the last of the red beets off the stove. I am so glad the beets are canned. Our garden seems to be emptying out gradually. My husband Joe and son Joseph picked around four bushels of tomatoes this week. I sent most of them to daughter Susan, as her tomatoes died. Susan and daughter Verena are busy canning pizza sauce and tomato juice. I didn’t have time to can tomatoes yet so am glad that Susan could use them.

We had a very bad storm go through our area last week. We had quite a bit of damage but probably the worst was losing our buggy, Susan’s buggy, and Dustin’s buggy. It was the morning after brother-in-law Jacob’s funeral, and we had parked our buggies out in the yard. Susan and children and daughter Verena spent the night here. The wind blew our buggy under the big oak trees and a few big branches came down on top of Susan’s, Dustin’s, and our buggies, totaling them beyond repair. We are so thankful that no one was hurt. Roads all around us were closed due to trees across roads, power lines downed, etc. Quite a few of our neighbors finally have their electric back on today. A lot are still without power. There is so much damage in the surrounding area. Our porch ceiling and a section of our railing was also ruined, but Joe and Joseph fixed that already.

The boys are still cleaning up our yard from all the branches and leaves scattered throughout. It also flattened my sweet corn, but we could save about half of it that was ready to freeze. The only thing that matters is we were all safe and no one was hurt. God was watching over us!

We are so fortunate this storm didn’t hit a day sooner for the funeral of brother-in-law Jacob.

On Sunday daughters Verena and Susan hosted us for Sunday lunch with a haystack meal. Our family except Joseph and Lovina were there. Joseph and Lovina went to church with Grace and Daniel, their special friends. Others at Susan’s house were sister Emma and all of her family, sister Verena, and daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children. It was a sad day for all of us. In less than eight months, three of our family are missing. Their presence is greatly missed and our hearts feel so much pain. It seems as if it’s only us that have so many taken from us. We need to trust and remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes and He is in control. Sister Emma looked so lonely when she left.

Jacob’s viewing/visitation and funeral were largely attended. We appreciated all the friends and family that came to pay their respect. Death is so final! Jacob was a kind-hearted man and will be greatly missed by many. Our church once again helped out so much!

While we were on our trip to the Outer Banks, daughter Susan and Mose would have had their fifth anniversary. It was a sad day for her. I am glad Mose’s family and some of ours spent time with her that day, since we were so far away.

I want to wish daughter Elizabeth and Tim a happy sixth anniversary, which was August 14st.

Our goal is to paint a bedroom upstairs yet this week. Friday in six weeks is daughter Loretta’s wedding, and there is so much to get done. Dustin’s pole barn frame that was ready for new metal blew down in the storm. This is where we had planned to have the wedding service. Dustin hopes to be able to rebuild before the wedding. We will take one day at a time! God’s blessings to all!

Apple Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
4 cups zucchini
2 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar and eggs; add applesauce and mix. Add zucchini, apples, and vanilla and mix. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and soda. Add to creamed mixture and stir. Fold in nuts, if desired, and mix. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

The Eicher Family Mourns Another Loss

It is with a heavy heart that I write this column. Brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was admitted to the hospital while we were at the Outer Banks. We were able to talk to him and Emma on Thursday night, but Jacob was very weak and losing out fast. He was airlifted to a bigger hospital. We arrived home from our vacation around 9:45 p.m. and Jacob lost his battle to his illness a little before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. It still does not seem real that he has also been taken from us. Jacob is 48 and so is sister Emma. They had 26 years of marriage together. Emma was a great nurse to Jacob since his illness, and Jacob wanted her beside him in the hospital. Emma and her children and Jacob’s mother were all by his bedside when he passed away.

In eight months’ time we have lost three very dear people and our grief is so strong. We question why but we know God is in control and makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier.

Long time readers of this column know how close Jacob’s family and ours were. Not a weekend went by it seemed that we weren’t doing something together, until we both had married children and grandchildren and we were sometimes busy with our own families. We would always get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, taking turns to host it. Sisters Verena and Susan would also be there. It doesn’t seem possible that last Thanksgiving we were all together here along with son-in-law Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob. No one was sick, life was good. Now in less than eight months, three out of our families have gone on before us. Sister Emma will have many lonely days. Jacob and Emma have two married daughters. Three sons are still at home—Jacob, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Steven, 14. Jacob and Steven both have muscular dystrophy. Our sympathy goes out to them, but we grieve right along with them. Jacob and my husband Joe are first cousins, so they have always been close and always leaned on each other when they needed help.

The viewing/visitation starts today (August 9) at 2 p.m. and tomorrow at 10 a.m. Funeral services will be on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Jacob and Emma’s house. We want to do laundry this morning before we go, but it’s supposed to rain. Hopefully it will hold off until it’s dry.

Our trip to the Outer Banks was very nice, but when we heard about Jacob our minds were always on him. I’m so glad we got to talk to him, even if it wasn’t much since he was so weak.

On Wednesday, August 4th, Joe, son Kevin, and I left home at 2:45 a.m. to meet the two charter buses at the home of Joe’s employer. All the employees and families (wives and children under 16) were there with their luggage.

After loading up, we headed out around 4 a.m. We arrived at the motel in Nags Head, North Carolina around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. if I remember right. Everyone went to go take their luggage to their rooms. Joe’s employer Daniel ordered pizza for everyone, so we all gathered in the dining area to eat a late supper. The motel had a pool and was right along the Atlantic Ocean, with a nice beach. A lot of the people went swimming or walked out along the beach.

 

On the Eicher family’s trip to North Carolina, they had the opportunity to see the wild horses on the beach. Photo Provided.

 

On Thursday we went to Corolla to see the wild horses on the beach. On Friday morning Joe and son Kevin left at 4:45 a.m. to go fishing with a guide. They caught some fish on the ocean. They came back around noon. Around 5 p.m. we left again to go on the two-hour dolphin cruise. We saw a lot of dolphins. We drove through the Allegheny Mountains both times and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It was a nice trip, but with Jacob being ill and then passing away it made us glad to be back home with our loved ones. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina had left Friday for Iowa to attend a reunion with their special friends and family. They arrived back on Sunday and it was good to all be together again. Please pray for us and also for sister Emma and family as they mourn for her dear husband/father/grandfather. God’s blessings to all!

Oatmeal Crunch Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 cup quick oats

Mix all ingredients. Spread mixture into ungreased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Freshening Up the House & Upcoming Vacation

We enter August with some much cooler than normal temperatures. We painted sons Joseph’s and Kevin’s bedrooms last week. Our next project is to paint the bedroom daughters Loretta and Lovina share. Loretta has moved a lot of her things over to Dustin’s house, so now with the room emptier, we decided to paint it. It is time-consuming, but the room looks so freshened up after a few coats of paint. As we move everything back in, we give it all a thorough cleaning.

Those here on Sunday for the noon meal were Sister Verena, Sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, Sister Emma and Jacob and their sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend) and her son Isaiah, niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their three children, niece Emma and Menno and their two children, niece Susan and Joe and their nine children, Daughter Elizabeth and Jim and their three children, daughter Susan and her two children, daughter Verena, Dustin, Daniel and Grace (special friends to Lovina and Joseph) and also Rosina (a friend of our children).

Sister Liz and Levi and family came out on Saturday to help Sister Verena with mowing, etc. They stayed the night, so I told them all to come here on Sunday.

Saturday visitors here were Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty and brother Albert and Sarah Irene.

We have three wedding invitations on our fridge right now. Nephew Micheal and Laura picked September 2nd for their wedding date. Micheal is a son of Joe’s sister Salome and Morris in Kentucky. September 2nd is also son Kevin’s 16th birthday. Niece Saloma and Jamin picked September 3rd for their wedding. Saloma is a daughter of Joe’s sister Carol and Pete from Tennessee. It will be a challenge for us to be in Kentucky one day for a wedding then the next day in Tennessee for another wedding. It is doable, so we will try our best. I am the cook at Micheal and Laura’s wedding, and son Joseph and Grace were asked to be table waiters (servers). Grace and I both have to wear royal blue, so I need to squeeze in sewing another dress before then. The third invitation is for Mary and Danny. Mary lives in our church district. Dustin and Loretta were asked to be evening servers and dish washers at their wedding. Congratulations to all the young couples. May God bless each of their marriages.

Now to tell you about our upcoming vacation. My husband, Joe, works at a metal shop, and the owner Daniel is taking all the employees, their wives, and children under 16 for a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We will travel on two big charter buses. If I understood correctly, there will be 106 people going. This includes Joe and me and son Kevin. Brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughter Sylvia are also going, and we get to travel on the same bus. It is a 14-hour trip to North Carolina. We leave Wednesday morning at 2:45 p.m. to meet up with the bus at the metal shop. Joe signed us up to take a two-hour tour on the Dolphin Cruise. He signed up him and Kevin up a half-day of fishing. There will be lots to do from the way it sounds. We have never been to North Carolina, so it will be exciting to see everything. It is kind of Daniel to take us all on this trip. We will return home late Saturday evening, Lord willing. The part I don’t like is leaving the rest of the family at home, but God is in control.

 

I am sure I will have plenty to write about next week. Until then, God’s blessings to you all!

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 ¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 mins or until done. You can substitute ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce in place of oil.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding Announcement & Preparations Begin

Today, July 27th, is grandson Ryan’s second birthday. Three little boys in our church share this date: Austin turns 3, Ryan turns 2, and niece Emma and Menno’s son Menno Ray turns 1. Happy birthday to the three little boys.

On Friday night, daughter Verena had a dozen friends at daughter Susan’s house for a hot dog roast, and they all brought snacks. It was nice for Verena to have a night with her friends. She has dedicated a lot of her time to be there for daughter Susan and children. May God bless her for thoughtfulness. It makes me feel better to know someone is there with Susan and her sweet little ones. Jennifer and Ryan think the world of their Aunt Verena.

On Saturday, son Joseph turned 19, so we decided to have our family come home for supper in honor of his birthday. Those here for a supper of pizza, wings, and ice cream cake were daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, and Dustin, Daniel, and Grace (Loretta, Lovina, and Joseph’s special friends). It was a nice evening to sit out on the porch. Tim and Elizabeth had everything done for church services at their place, so it was nice for them to leave and come for supper. Joe and I helped them with last-minute jobs on Saturday.

They had a tent up to have church services in. Quite a few visitors were there, so the tent was filled quite full. It was a nice day, but warm. I had made 24 gallons of iced tea from the spearmint and peppermint from our garden. Also on the menu for lunch was homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, grape jelly, butter, and lettuce (I had enough from my garden to take), as well as cookies, coffee, and iced tea. Noodles were made for the younger children.

After church services the bishop announced the wedding dates of two girls in our church. Mary and Danny chose September 24 for their wedding date, and daughter Loretta and Dustin chose October 1st for their wedding. Congratulations to both couples! It’s always sad to me when another one leaves home, but I am happy for them, and I feel as if I’m gaining a son, not losing a daughter. Dustin is a very nice young man and so helpful with Loretta and her handicap. May God be their guide as they begin their life together.

It has been five years since we prepared for our last wedding (daughter Susan and Mose’s). I am sure it won’t be an easy day for Susan. I do admit that I still get nervous thinking of all that needs to be prepared for the wedding, so I try to just think it will all get done.

Elizabeth and Tim had well over 100 people back for Sunday supper. Joe helped Tim grill 50 pounds of chicken, and Elizabeth had made four roasters of ranch potatoes the day before. Along with that, there were salads and desserts brought in.

Today daughter Lovina, son Kevin, and I picked our green beans. We had three big tubs full, so Loretta and Lovina washed them all and we bagged them for the freezer. We will use them for the wedding. Hopefully I’ll get another good picking to use for the wedding.

I have our clothes all cut out and have started on my sewing for the wedding. My plan was to be done already, but it seems one day after another slips by. Tomorrow my five daughters, son Kevin, my five grandchildren, and I are going to the zoo. Susan wanted to do this for Ryan’s birthday. If I would look on time I wouldn’t go, but we need to sometimes stop and enjoy a day with our loved ones. I am sure the little children will enjoy seeing all the animals.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Cheesy Carrots

6 cups carrots, partially cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Layer carrots and cheese in a 2-quart casserole. In medium saucepan, melt butter and add spices. Whisk milk and flour together and add to butter, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour over carrots. Sprinkle with the crumbs and drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Church preparations and July birthdays

Another week has passed already since I wrote my last column. It is a nice cool morning as I sit here writing. I was invited to a coffee break at our neighbor Wilma’s house with the other neighbor ladies this morning. Samuel and Wilma moved into our community recently. I have so much to do today that I didn’t think I had time to go, though.

Yesterday we were helping daughter Elizabeth with the final cleaning for Sunday, when they will host church services. With her three little ones, things don’t stay clean too long. Others there helping besides daughters Verena and Lovina, son Kevin, and I were sister Emma and son Steven, sister Verena, niece Elizabeth, niece Emma and her children Jessica and Menno Ray, daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan. Abigail, T.J., and Allison were glad for the little playmates. Seven children under age 5 keep it quite interesting. Son Kevin and nephew Steven gave Elizabeth’s house dogs a haircut. They did a good job.

We cleaned a lot of corners for Elizabeth that needed to be cleaned yet. Church services will be held under a tent on Sunday.

I made a casserole to take along for our lunch along with cucumber salad. Dessert was brought in by the others, so lunch was easy.

We attended church Sunday in a different church district at niece Elizabeth and Manual’s house. We stayed all day and had supper before heading home. Sister Emma was surprised with an ice cream cake from her family at supper. Emma turned 48 on July 19th. On Sunday brother-in-law Jacob attended church for the first time since his hospital stay, but it really wore him out. He has an appointment scheduled with a doctor in Ann Arbor next week. We pray this will help him and he’ll get good results.

A festive cake to celebrate Lovina’s son Benjamin turning 22 on July 14. Photo provided.

Son Joseph will have his 19th birthday Saturday so we will have another July birthday. Also grandson Ryan’s birthday is next week and he will be 2. Joseph was only a few months old when I started penning this column. It has been almost 19 years that I have written it and my mother wrote it for 11 years before that. After Mother passed away so suddenly, I took over. Life was different back then with having six children and the oldest only 8 years old. I thought I was busy then, but it seems almost like I’m busier now. The family grows and I like to help my married daughters when I can.

Today I want to make iced tea concentrate for the freezer so I can take it to Tim and Elizabeth’s house for church Sunday. I will make spearmint/peppermint which I have out in my garden.

Saturday I will go help Elizabeth mix her peanut butter spread, make casseroles for Sunday night supper, and help her clean up. Daughters Susan and Verena are going to take Elizabeth’s children for the day so everything will stay clean. They will make supper for Tim’s so they can go home to a clean house and be ready for church services. It’s not that everything has to be cleaned to hold church services, but it’s nice to have a goal to get everything cleaned. I’ll share the tea concentrate recipe. God’s blessings to all!

Tea Concentrate

6 cups water, divided
1 cup tea leaves of your choice, packed
1 1/2 cup sugar

Boil 4 cups water. Add tea leaves. Put the lid on the pot and remove from heat. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Put sugar in a 2-quart bowl. Strain liquid into bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Rinse leaves with 2 cups cold water, then strain and add this liquid to the sugar liquid. Cool, then measure out 1 cup concentrate into individual containers, and freeze. To serve, add 1 cup concentrate to 2 quarts cold water.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Birthday brings happy memories

July 14th—today our oldest son and fourth child turned 22 years old. How the years fly by. Happy birthday Benjamin! I had Benjamin at home with Joe’s aunt as my midwife. Benjamin weighed only 4 pounds, 13 ounces and was doing pretty good until he was two weeks old. He caught the flu and started dehydrating so we ended up taking him to the hospital for a few days. After that he seemed to gain and never had many health problems. By the time he was a year old he had easily passed the weight of the girls at age 1.

While I was having Benjamin, our three oldest girls, Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena, stayed with my dad and sisters. Mom would always come to be there for me. After Dad found out that we had a little boy he told the girls that they have a little brother and he’s going to be able to handle all three of them. I remember that at first they weren’t too thrilled about having a brother that might be able to outdo them. My dad loved to tease the girls. After bringing them home they soon fell in love with their tiny brother. After seeing how small he was they said, “Grandpa told us he could handle all of us but he’s way too small.” My dad laughed when he heard that they had taken him seriously. Eleven and a half months later daughter Loretta joined our family. I think between Benjamin and Loretta those two got into more things than any of the rest. They were two lively little ones and they kept me busy. For two weeks every year Loretta would tell Benjamin that she caught up to his age.

Benjamin always looked out for Loretta. One day I put her in the playpen so I could go outside to do something real quick. When I came back in Benjamin had crawled on the countertop and found my scissors in the cabinet and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could get out. I was scared to think what could’ve happened with him having the scissors. He would use the drawer handles to climb up on the cabinets. Needless to say, Loretta was happy to be turned loose again. After that I knew they weren’t safe alone for even a few minutes. I also had to get another playpen because the netting was ruined.

Today we will again go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. Sister Verena came last night for supper to help us enjoy all the fresh goodies from the garden. She stayed the night, and we will take her home before heading over to Elizabeth’s house.

Our menu last night was fried chicken, steamed red potatoes, buttered red beets, cucumber salad, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and homemade sour cream. Daughter Lovina made some chocolate crunch brownies to take to Elizabeth’s today, so everyone sampled them. They are delicious. The potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes are all from our garden. We are enjoying the fruits of our labor. Zucchini is also ready and sweet corn should be soon. Hot peppers are ready as well.

The rain has done wonders to our gardens, but it also makes the weeds grow. We try to keep up with everything else going on.

Tomorrow July 15th my husband Joe and I will be married 28 years. Do we appreciate enough to have that many years together? My thoughts go to daughter Susan and others that only get a small number of years together. It is all God’s plan, and we must not question His ways. Let us trust and keep the faith! God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for these chocolate crunch brownies made by her daughter Lovina. Photo provided.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups crisp rice cereal

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a greased 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until cake is set. When cool, spread marshmallow creme on top. In a saucepan, mix peanut butter and chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal. Spread on top of marshmallow creme.

Note: Lovina doubles the marshmallow creme and uses 4 cups of rice cereal. Marshmallows can be used instead of the marshmallow creme, but if using them return the pan to the oven for a few minutes to melt.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Summer heat and blueberry season

It has cooled down a little, but the thermometer still shows 78 degrees at 9:45 p.m. It was a warm, humid day. One thing I do appreciate is our battery-operated fans. That was something I grew up without.

Our gardens are doing well but oh my, did the weeds ever take over. We need to get out there but on days like this I don’t care to. The dog days of summer have come in full blast.

Lovina’s daughters Verena and Lovina transformed three cakes into this special design to celebrate Loretta’s 21st birthday.

Saturday, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) had our family and his family over to help him tear the old metal off his big pole barn. He will put on new metal and a new roof, new doors, and add ten windows. It will be almost like new after it’s done. With both sides of the family there were ten guys to help him. The women made lunch and washed Dustin’s windows in his house.

Sunday evening Joe and I visited with brother-in-law Jacob and sister Emma. Jacob still has a long road to recovery but looked much better than last time we visited. This is a rough time for them to be without his income. They appreciated the gifts of money from readers. God bless you for caring.

Today sister Verena, daughters Susan and Lovina, and I attended the viewing/visitation of Suzann, a 48-year-old single woman from our settlement that was stricken with that dreadful disease cancer only months ago. Suzann taught school and I remember she always had a smile for everyone. It brought back fresh memories for sister Verena as she was reminded of not having sister Susan there to live with her. Both left the world much too soon. God knows best but we don’t always understand why some things happen. Going to a viewing/visitation is always sentimental for daughter Susan as well. Her dear Mose is still so much missed. Susan’s little daughter Jennifer thinks when she sees my sister Verena sad that she is missing her daddy. She told Verena when she gets big she will take care of her and she said don’t cry for my daddy because he’s with Jesus. Oh, such innocence from a sweet little one. Her little mind doesn’t comprehend that Verena is missing sister Susan.

Tonight Jennifer rode with daughter Loretta in the mobility scooter down to sister Verena’s. Dustin was mowing Verena’s lawn. Jennifer loves being with the girls.

Tomorrow our plans are to go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. They will host church services in less than three weeks. Son Benjamin was helping son-in-law Tim put in hay and helped him build a ramp to their patio so Loretta can drive her scooter into their house. This is so much appreciated when family tries to help make it easier for her to get in and out of their house. Making an effort like that shows they care and want to make it easier for her when she comes. Until you have a member of your own family with a disability you don’t realize how difficult it can be for them if there are steps that they can’t drive their wheelchair or scooter on alone. It is so good for them to be as independent as they can possibly be. God’s blessings to all!

U-pick blueberries are ready in our area, so I’ll share this recipe.

Delicious Blueberry Cake

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 quart blueberries

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix until smooth. Fold in berries. Pour batter into greased 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. After removing from oven, brush top with butter.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.