Daughter Verena Shares Her Train Adventures

Hello, this is Lovina’s daughter Verena. It’s Tuesday evening, and I decided to write Mom’s column. The sun is shining nicely, and there’s a nice breeze flowing.

I keep looking back at life at the age of sixteen. I was so excited to turn sixteen, and life seemed to go so slow. Now I am at the age of twenty-four and life seems to be going too fast. I wonder what I will be saying at the age of fifty!

I recently got to experience going on an Amtrak train. I left with friends Samuel and Wilma and their three-month-old daughter Kimberly. I enjoyed the train ride—the only part I didn’t enjoy was trying to sleep. It wasn’t too comfy. We left the morning of July 11. We then arrived in Colorado at Samuel’s brother Freeman and his wife Sarah’s house the evening of July 12. That is where we stayed until July 16. Samuel’s sister Laura and Laura’s friend Liz drove back with us on the train. Laura and I shared a seat. We sure had an enjoyable time.

On July 17, we had to get off and go on another train. While we were waiting at the train station, we decided to go find some food to eat. I saw the escalators and I got a wild idea to try one out with my mobility scooter. Without thinking of any consequences, I took the scooter up the escalator. It did a good job, so I wanted to try going down. So I did, and it worked perfectly. Although it didn’t impress the caretakers of the station. They had to put over the intercom that wheelchairs or any kind or scooters are supposed to take the elevators, not the escalator. It was a fun and funny experience. I do not suggest anyone tries it though!

Around midnight on July 18, we arrived an hour from home—just to discover our driver forgot to pick us up and had been fast asleep. Now we had to find a way to call home and find another driver. We finally were able to do that, and the driver came around 3 a.m.—we arrived home around 4 a.m. I did not sleep right away, either, so I definitely lost a lot of sleep, but it was definitely worth it.

Laundry day at Daughter Susan’s house, where Verena lives. Photo provided.

Sister Susan’s boyfriend Ervin moved up here into a rental house. It’s six miles or so from Susan’s house, which has made life much busier and brought more changes. The changes are good though. I’m very happy for Susan and Ervin. I’m also happy for the children—they sure have adapted well together.

Every morning, Ervin’s work driver picks me up around 3:10 a.m. That means I have to get up by 2:45, at least. Ervin makes sure to have my mobility scooter sitting out there so I can just drive it into the house once I get there. Ervin’s three children are still fast asleep, so I lay down close by them somewhere. They normally get up around 6 or 7 a.m. I then get them breakfast, then I wash the breakfast dishes and of course entertain the children. Around 11:30 we have lunch, and then I put them down for a nap. After they are napping, I wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and mop the floors if needed. Not all that gets done all the time before Ervin gets home. I then have a driver take me back to Susan’s after Ervin is home. Ervin gets home normally around 1­­–2:30 p.m. I also make sure to have supper prepared for him so he doesn’t have much to do.

Today I loaded all three kiddos up on my scooter and we drove to my parents’ house. Mom made breakfast for us, and the children loved it. We then went over to my sister Loretta’s house to see baby Denzel again. He sure is growing, and is doing well.

Wednesday, July 27, my nephew Ryan will be three years old. Ryan is Susan’s son. Ervin offered to have our family there at his rental house for Ryan’s third birthday.

I hope you are all doing well, and God’s many blessings to you all!

 

Garden Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating More Summer Birthdays & Anniversaries

On July 15 our family all gathered here for supper in honor of our 29th anniversary. (July 15 is also brother Albert’s 58th birthday.) A delicious supper was made on the grill, including banana poppers, wings, and chicken. Daughter Liz and Tim brought a nice, decorated cake. Abigail, 5, was so excited to give us a big helium balloon with “Happy Anniversary” written on it. Susan’s friend Ervin was here, but his children Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis were spending a few days with his wife Sarah’s parents. I am so glad they can still have that relationship with their grandchildren and still spend time with them. It can’t be easy to lose a son or daughter.

This week, Lovina and family celebrated her 29th wedding anniversary, along with other family birthdays. Photo provided.

July 19 was sister Emma’s 49th birthday—her first birthday without her dear husband by her side. She needs our prayers. Friday in two weeks will be her son’s wedding, and she won’t have Jacob by her side for that. Memories are all that is left!

On Friday evening, daughter Susan will host Mose’s family for a family night supper. That will also be different without Mose there. I am so glad that she still has a relationship with his family and that Jennifer and Ryan get to see their grandparents. It means a lot if family accepts change and will support it. They all need our prayers.

On Monday, July 18, I had a voicemail from Aunt Lovina, who lives in Ohio. She wanted to let me know that she is thinking of us on my mother’s 86th birthday. Lovina is a sister to my mom. I want to call Lovina back today, as it is her 83rd birthday if I remember correctly. It was nice to hear her voice again. We have many precious memories of times spent with her family.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s brother Benjamin, Miriam, and family from Ohio. It was nice to visit with them. Their children are growing up so fast. Time certainly does not stand still.

Daughter Verena is back home from her Colorado trip. She is staying a few nights with daughter Elizabeth. Son-in-law Tim had the chance to go fishing in New York with his co-workers at the sawmill. It is an expense-paid trip. Grandson T.J. was going to go along but ended up being sick so granddaughter Abigail went instead. They left Sunday afternoon and will start home Wednesday morning. One night when Tim called home, Abigail said, “Mom, I’m catching more fish than Daddy!” I am sure she will have plenty to talk about when she gets home.

Elizabeth, T.J., Allison, and Andrea spent the night here Sunday. Monday morning I made breakfast burritos. Elizabeth and children and I walked over to Dustin and Loretta’s house before she headed home. I took some burritos to Loretta and Lovina for their breakfast. Daughter Lovina is still assisting Loretta with her housework. Of course we had to hold sweet little Denzel. He is doing great. He had a checkup on Monday at the pediatrician and everything seemed to be well.

Yesterday daughter Verena spent a few hours at Dustin and Loretta’s to see Denzel since she hadn’t seen him since he was one day old. I walked over to visit with Verena since I hadn’t seen her since she was back from Colorado.

I will share a recipe this week for Zucchini Egg Bake. It was our supper last night and I used hamburger. I think adding sausage instead would make a good breakfast dish. Everyone loved it, so I’m sure we will have it again with all the zucchini we are getting from our garden. Until next week. God bless!

Zucchini Egg Bake
4 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
1 pound hamburger or sausage, browned and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
seasonings to taste
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix everything but the cheese and put in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Add cheese and bake a few additional minutes 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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Welcoming a new grandchild

I am excited to share the news of the birth of our seventh grandchild. (Although I consider it number 10, as I include Ervin’s three children.)

Daughter Loretta and Dustin were blessed with their first child on July 10, 2022. Denzel Michael was born at the hospital at 3:30 a.m., weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long. He has already won our hearts and is the new “boss” at their house. He is such a sweetie!

Loretta and Dustin went to the hospital Saturday morning and I joined them around noon. Denzel took his time coming but he finally arrived at 3:30 a.m. He was born by natural birth. With Loretta having muscular dystrophy, we were thankful that everything went well for her. It went better than I expected and I was glad I could be there with her. It’s amazing how God created us. Loretta did a great job with delivering and Dustin is already in love with his sweet little son. They are experiencing sleepless nights and finding out what parenthood is all about. Daughter Lovina is helping out over there, and I also go help whenever I can.

Last night daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children brought pizza to Dustin’s for all of us. Daughter Susan and children were also there and are spending the night here. Grandson T.J. was so excited when he heard Dustin and Loretta’s baby was a boy. He wants the boys to catch up with the girls. We would have four granddaughters and three grandsons but with Ervin’s three it makes it five of each.

Plans are that Ervin moves all his belongings up here in Michigan on Friday from his parent’s house where he was living. He will actually be our neighbor, renting a house owned by our bishop and his wife. It will be nice to have him closer. Daughter Susan will have his children while he goes to work. Somehow we will make it work.

Ervin and Susan appreciate all the encouragement from everyone. It’s not easy to move on, but life doesn’t stop, and we need to leave everything in God’s protecting hand.

Daughter Verena left early Monday morning with friends and traveled to Colorado by Amtrak train. She is staying with her friends in an RV at their relatives. She will attend a friend’s wedding in Colorado. The RV she sleeps in had a visit from a bear the night before. She is hoping she will get to see a bear while she’s out there.

Verena was able to see baby Denzel before heading for Colorado. She didn’t like that she will miss out on his first days, but there will be time to bond with her new nephew after she’s home.

Last night after we walked home from Dustin’s, Jennifer asked if she could sit on me to go to sleep. I rocked her, and she was soon fast asleep. Allison, 2, cried after we left because she said she wanted to go home with Grandma, too.

Tomorrow, July 14, is son Benjamin’s 23rd birthday. From July 1 to July 14, him and Loretta are the same age.

Benjamin harnessed Susan’s horse up before he left so she doesn’t have to this morning. He might go spend the night over at her house tonight since Verena’s in Colorado. Susan says she’s fine by herself, but I think she likes the company. And of course the children enjoy when Uncle Ben comes. He’s always teasing them.

We are getting lots of zucchini from the garden so I’ll share a zucchini recipe.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Relish
10 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
5 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds red and green pepper, chopped
5 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 cups sugar

Cover the first 4 ingredients with cool water and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse with water. Mix and heat the remaining ingredients in a large pot. Add chopped veggies and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Seal in jars and process in boiling water bath for 5 to 15 minutes. Makes 6 to 7 pints. Good with roast beef, hamburger, or hot dog sandwiches.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Midsummer Celebrations and Camping Memories

Time keeps going on and I really need to get this column written. We had a good soaking rain during the night, along with a thunderstorm. The garden needed rain, so it was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I, with son Joseph and his special friend Grace, attended the wedding last Thursday of nephew Sam and KatieAnn. They had a nice day for their wedding. It was nice to see family and friends. Sisters Liz, Verena, and I made the chicken noodles for the meals. Sisters Leah, Emma, and sister-in-law Sarah Irene made the gravy, so we were close enough to get a lot of visiting done as well. The menu was mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, fried chicken, corn, salad, with pecan, pumpkin custard, and strawberry pies, angel food cake, caramel pudding, and fresh fruit with a fruit glaze. For the evening meal, meatballs were added to the menu as well. The tables were also lined with stacks of nothings (a pastry also known as elephant ears). This is a custom at weddings in the Berne, Indiana area.

I was a cook at the wedding, and Joseph and Grace were table waiters. We traveled the two hours with sisters Verena and Emma, nephew Benjamin, and his friend Crystal. Benjamin and Crystal were also table waiters. We left home at 5:30 a.m. and arrived back home safely after 10 p.m.

We wish the couple a long, happy life together! Brother Amos was missed by many at the wedding, and a very nice poem in a frame hung in the wedding corner in his memory. Sam and KatieAnn will live with sister-in-law Nancy and have separate living quarters. Amos and Nancy’s big house that was so fully occupied is now very empty. Life goes on and time brings changes that we must accept, although it isn’t easy.

Brother-in-law Jacob and sister Susan were also missed, as they would’ve always traveled with us to the wedding in Berne.

Friday was daughter Loretta’s 22nd birthday. Our family gathered at their house in honor of her birthday. We were served a delicious supper of pizza, ham and beans, chips, cheese ball and crackers, ice cream, and cake.

On July 4th, we spent the day at home. Then later Joe and I decided to go join daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Verena, daughter Susan and children, and Susan’s friend Ervin and his children on a wagon ride to town to watch the fireworks. It started to rain lightly and we were afraid we might get wet, but it quit then. It was around 11:30 or later by the time we arrived back home to Tim’s house. The children were all cuddled in blankets sleeping when we arrived there.

It was enjoyable to spend time with the children. I held little Andrea and she watched the fireworks with big eyes.

Tonight, daughter Lovina and son Joseph leave to go camping with their special friends’ family by the lake for three nights. Hopefully the weather will be good as they will sleep in tents.

I remember one year when Joe and I had only a few children we went camping with sister Liz and Levi and their children back by his parent’s cabin and pond. Levi’s and us all slept in a big tent, and once we were almost all settled for the night sister Liz flashed around the tent to make sure there weren’t any spiders in there. Well, she spotted one, and of course she and I freaked out, so Levi and Joe had to look for that spider and kill it so their wives could sleep. After all the excitement and all was settled again, it started pouring and then storming, so everyone sleeping in tents decided to move into the cabin for safety. Levi and Joe carried the sleeping children one by one through the rain to the cabin. We all slept on blankets on the floor. Several more of Levi’s siblings were also camping there, so it was quite packed. The next morning the sun came out and they made a delicious breakfast over the open fire. It was a memorable camping trip! God bless!

This isn’t the recipe used at the wedding, but I’ll share a recipe for Pumpkin Custard Pie this week.

Pumpkin Custard Pie
1 9-inch pie shell
3 eggs
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine eggs, evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, sugars, flour, salt, allspice and cinnamon. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake 60-65 minutes or until pie is set in center. Optional—top with Cool Whip.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

A Day in the Life with Lovina and Her Family

Diary of June 28, 2022

4 a.m. The alarm rings, and it’s time to start another day. I pack lunch for my husband Joe and make him breakfast. For breakfast, I make him an egg, sausage, and cheese in a soft tortilla shell. He likes to stay away from too much bread, so I get the low-carb tortillas.

4:30 a.m. Son Joseph, 19, gets up and goes out to do the morning chores. I make him a grilled cheese with an egg and sausage in it.

4:45 a.m. Joe leaves for work at the metal shop. Joseph comes in and eats breakfast while I pack his lunch.

5 a.m. Joseph leaves for his construction job. They have an hour and a half drive to the job site.

Son Benjamin, 22, gets up and gets ready for work. He doesn’t want any breakfast.

5:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves for work at the factory. I sit down to read awhile in my recliner but doze off and don’t get much reading done.

7 a.m. I get up, shower, and make a pot of coffee. I have some mail to get out and some bills to get ready to send out.

8:30 a.m. Daughter Elizabeth brings Abigail, five, Timothy (T.J.), three, and Allison, two, here to stay while she goes to help with preparations for their nephew’s wedding. She takes Andrea, four months, along to breastfeed.

8:45 a.m. Daughter Lovina, 18, son Kevin, 16, and I eat breakfast with the little ones. We have pancakes and bacon.

9:15 a.m. Lovina washes dishes and cleans the house up. The little ones keep me busy. They go outside for a while to bike and then decide they want to look at books. I sometimes forget how short their attention span is.

11:45 a.m. Lunch is bologna and cheese. The little ones want to make faces with their bologna, so we use pickles for ears and cheese for eyes, etc. They each want us to look at the face they made. Allison is tired and ready to nap, so I rock her to sleep.

1:15 p.m. Elizabeth is back to pick up the little ones. I get to hold Andrea for a little bit. She is so cuddly and all smiles.

Lovina mixed up a batch of Chocolate M&M Cookies earlier with the help of Abigail and T.J. and is baking them. The children want a cookie to take home. They are delicious, and I will share the recipe this week. They are very simple to make. I know they won’t last long here.

5 p.m. Everyone is home from work and getting chores done. Sons Benjamin and Joseph cleaned the horse stalls and the rest of the barn tonight.

5:30 p.m. Daughter Verena came here with Abigail, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn (daughter of Ervin, who is daughter Susan’s friend). She left the horse and buggy here, and the four of them went down to my sister Verena’s house. They will spend the night there. The three little girls were excited to go with their Aunt Verena to her Aunt Verena’s. They looked so cute with their backpacks on their backs. Of course, they wanted to sample the cookies.

Before they left, all three girls came and hugged me and said, “Bye, Grandma.” I had to laugh when Jennifer hugged me and said, “Grandma, you smell pretty.” I’m not quite sure how you smell pretty, but I hope she meant I smell good. Smile!

7 p.m. Supper is later tonight. The menu is potatoes, smoked sausage, and cheese, along with fresh lettuce and onions from the garden.

Tomorrow, I plan to have a coffee break at neighbor Leah’s. The neighborhood ladies are having a welcome to the community coffee break with her. I am sure she has had some lonely days living two hours from her parents since she moved in. The young couple seems to be adjusting quite well, though. Daughter Lovina is making tortilla meat and cheese roll-ups for me to take.

Thursday, Joe and I, son Joseph, and his special friend Grace will attend nephew Sam and KatieAnn’s wedding in Monroe, Indiana. This is the last of brother Amos’ 10 children getting married. I will be the cook at the wedding. Joseph and Grace are table waiters. Sister-in-law Nancy will be all alone now.

We received another wedding invitation from niece Leanna and Alvin. They set their date for August 18th. Congratulations to them as well.

9:30 p.m. Time for bed—Good night and God’s blessings to all!

Chocolate M&M Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mini M&Ms
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and both sugars until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. In a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add these ingredients to the butter mixture. Fold in M&Ms (and walnuts if desired). Drop dough by rounded tablespoon about 2 inches apart onto a lightly greased tray. Bake at 350 degrees. Bake 7–9 minutes for chewy cookies or 10–12 minutes for crispy cookies. Yield: 24–30 cookies.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

An Update on Daughter Susan

It is time to get this column written and on its way. Although the mercury on the thermometer is already up to 79 degrees, a breeze is coming in the windows. Yesterday was different and much warmer, and there was less breeze with higher humidity.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim and four children and daughter Loretta and Dustin were here for supper last night. Daughter Lovina made a taco supper for everyone. That is a nice meal on a hot day. Of course, with ice cream afterward. Elizabeth said when two-year-old Allison heard they were coming, she said, “I’m excited to go to Grandpa and Grandma’s.” Her blond hair and blue eyes have such a sparkle to them. She’s little but mighty, and nothing stops her from doing whatever her older siblings do. Tim’s double buggy, which we call a surrey, is being repaired so they brought their two-seated open wagon. As warm as it was, Allison saw her daddy (Tim) put on socks, so she thought she had to also wear socks.

Our family had a very nice time camping for three nights at a local campground. Lots more memories were made.

Sister Verena also went with our family to the campground. Our cabins had AC, so I think she enjoyed that on the hot days.

We all gathered at our cabin to have brunch together in the forenoon, then again for supper. Lots of s’mores were made later at night while sitting by the campfire.

Daughter Susan, 26, is dating a 28-year-old widower now. Ervin has three children and lost his wife Sarah to cancer three months before Mose died. Ervin and Susan have found comfort in each other, and both went through a lot of grief losing their first loves. Their friendship with each other seems to be strengthening. They both know how it is to be a single parent with children.

Ervin is a nice man and a good father to his children. Susan’s children and Ervin’s children blend well.

We have grown attached to his children Kaitlyn Rose, five; Isaiah Edward, four; and Curtis Dale, two. They are so sweet and easy to love. Kaitlyn and Isaiah both remember their mother. So when Ervin and Susan get together, they have two two-year-olds, two four-year-olds, and a five-year-old. Not a dull moment.

Mose and Sarah will never be forgotten, but we do know they will never come back. We do not always understand God’s ways, but we know his ways are not always our way.

I am glad to see Susan laugh again and live life. With God as their guide, I wish the couple his many blessings.

Susan has met Sarah’s family and appreciated the support they offered. This can’t be easy for the families of Mose and Sarah, but hopefully they can all accept the new partners they have and wish them a good future together.

Ervin lives in a community 45 minutes from here. He lives with his parents so his mother can take care of his children while he works. Ervin has plans to move to our community here in Michigan in the future.

With Ervin’s three children and our six grandchildren, there were a lot of little ones five and under at the campground.

If there are readers out there that have lost a partner and remarried, I am sure Susan and Ervin would enjoy hearing from you.

Susan wants to thank all of you readers for all the encouragement and gifts, money, etc., that have been a great help to her with no income since Mose died. You have no idea how this helped her be able to keep up the payments on her property and be able to stay living there.

Daughter Verena also helped move in with her and the children and was there when she needed support when night times became harder. Jennifer’s, four, biggest concern about Susan having a friend is that she wants Aunt Verena never to move away. She has grown so attached to Verena and shares a bedroom with her. She loves when Kaitlyn comes, though. God bless!

A reader requested a dandelion jelly recipe so that they have it for next spring. Here is one to try.

Dandelion Jelly
1 quart dandelion blossoms
1 quart water
1 package fruit pectin
1 teaspoon lemon extract
4 1/2 cups sugar

In the early morning, pick blossoms without stems attached. Boil blossoms in water for 3 minutes. Drain off 3 cups of liquid. Add fruit pectin, lemon extract, and sugar to the drained liquid. Boil for 3 minutes. Put in jars and seal according to guidelines provided by your local extension office.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Looking Back on a Special Day of Birth

June 14th was the 28th birthday of our first-born daughter Elizabeth. I wish her many more happy and healthy years. She has been married almost seven years to a nice loving husband, Tim, and they have been blessed with four precious children Abigail, five; Timothy (T.J.), three; Allison, two; and Andrea, four months.

This year was hot on June 14th, just like in 1994. That was a very hot night when Elizabeth was born at 9:58 p.m. We were living with my parents, and Joe’s aunt was my midwife. Dr. Osborne was also there just in case there were complications. Dr. Osborne had delivered me in that same house 23 years earlier. He delivered all eight of us siblings.

I had a long labor, and I remember how warm it was. It was warmer than when all my three July babies were born. We didn’t have fans like we do now, except my dad would use a little square fan that ran with batteries when it was that hot. He had asthma and hay fever, and that little fan would help him breathe. I still remember when Dad saw me having all the hard pain; he handed that fan to me and told me to use it for myself.

I was often thankful to have my mother there those next weeks when I tried to take care of our first baby. I had problems getting her to breastfeed, and Mom spent lots of nighttime hours helping me. I have many precious memories of my parents!

On Monday evening, daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. It was supposed to storm, and they felt better to be here. We had a lot of wind. Some places had trees down, etc. We were very fortunate that everything here was okay. We have a sitting area in our basement, and with the heat and the storm coming, it was nicer to just sit down there after supper. Our basement is often a nice place to sit in with these days of excessive heat.

As we sat there visiting, it was funny when Jennifer said, “Kevin, you can smile. It will be okay.” Since he wasn’t smiling, she thought he was worried about the storm. Ryan wasn’t too worried. He found the toys down there and was playing, and of course he brought his black hat (his daddy Mose’s hat) and was wearing it again.

This week daughter Loretta and I made strawberry freezer jam from the 16 quarts of strawberries that neighbor Susan and Joas brought over.

Lovina prepared rhubarb juice with her daughter. Photo provided.

We also canned 66 quarts of rhubarb juice from my rhubarb. Now Loretta has jam and rhubarb juice in stock. We also did laundry yesterday, so it was a full day’s work.

It was so warm yesterday that we just had frozen pizzas to heat up for our supper. We ate over at Dustin and Loretta’s house after the last of the rhubarb juice was canned. I am so glad that is done.

Thursday evening through Sunday, our family has plans to go camping. We are renting three cabins and an RV by the lake. We plan to do some fishing, swimming, and just make more memories together. The grandchildren will have a lot of fun. It is also Father’s Day on Sunday. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.

June 15th is sister Emma and Jacob’s 27th anniversary. It’s her first anniversary without her dear husband. I’m sure today will be a hard day without him. My thoughts and prayers go to all those that have lost loved ones. May they rest in peace!

God’s blessings to all!

Cheese Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon salad oil
3/8 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups (4 ounces) of fine noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli (may use fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound of American cheese
pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil, add water and bouillon cubes, and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and salt and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt and cook for 4 more minutes. Add milk, cheese, and pepper and continue cooking until cheese melts, stirring constantly.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Saturday Night Supper and Sunday Brunch

After my husband Joe and our sons Benjamin, twenty-two, and Joseph, nineteen, left for work, I took a shower and now want to get this column written.

Daughter Lovina will go to work this morning helping stain trim at a friend’s house. My plans are to go help daughter Loretta get her house cleaned for the Tupperware shower daughter Elizabeth is hosting for her. It’s a belated wedding shower, and lunch will be served afterward.

Sister Verena spent a few nights here again. It gets lonely for her when she doesn’t see anyone for almost a week. She came Sunday night and had supper here, then went home Tuesday.

On Monday, she went with me to daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house. We helped Loretta clean windows, wash some laundry, etc. Then in the evening, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and four children came to help. Sons Benjamin and Joseph also came over. The men did the plumbing and installed two new toilets and a new vanity for the bathroom. They worked late to try to get the water hooked back up. Dustin was glad for their help. Elizabeth and I helped Loretta make supper which was mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, corn, mixed vegetables, etc. The rest of our family (Joe, daughter Lovina, and son Kevin) also came over to eat supper.

Their house is looking good with the remodeling they have done and much more open space. I think they will be glad when it’s all done. It still needs trim and baseboards, but at least it’s livable now. She has much more cabinet space now as well.

Sister Verena came home with us again that night. It was late by the time we came home, but at least we didn’t have far to go as Dustin and Loretta just live across the road.

The children had fun roasting hot dogs and making s’mores. Photo provided.

Saturday night, our family went to Elizabeth and Tim’s house for supper. We sat around the campfire and sang together. That was something we hadn’t done in a while. The children had fun roasting hot dogs and making s’mores. Some of us stayed the night, and some went home and came back for brunch on Sunday. Air mattresses were put up for extra beds.

It was fun to wake up and play with the little grandchildren. Andrea is almost four months old and is such a sweetie. She tries to talk, and her smile is so precious.

Of course, grandson Ryan, two, has to come with his dad Mose’s old black hat. He thinks he has to wear that all the time even though it’s much too big for his head. When Grandpa Joe puts his hat somewhere, Ryan will take his hat off and set it on top of Grandpa’s.

Brunch was delicious; the menu included biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, cheese, hot peppers, donuts, brownies, rhubarb and grape juices, and coffee. It was an enjoyable weekend!

Yesterday, son Kevin and I washed laundry. It was a nice day to dry it. In the afternoon and evening, we had grandson T.J., three, and granddaughter Allison, two, here while Tim and Elizabeth, baby Andrea, and Abigail went shopping. It was fun to have them here. I made hamburgers on the gas grill and had buttered beets and macaroni and cheese with that.

T.J. fell asleep on the couch right before supper, so he didn’t have supper yet when Tim came back to pick them up.

Those two little ones put in so many miles in a short time. They kept Grandma busy. They slipped upstairs to daughter Lovina’s bedroom and sprayed perfume all over them, so I had to change their clothes because it was so strong. They were really giggling about it.

I soon remembered that two- and three-year-olds are not safe to be left alone long. Smile! They were enjoyable to have here. God’s blessings to all!

I want to let all readers know that the mailing address has changed, so make sure you send all mail to the new one, which is P.O. Box 234, Sturgis, Michigan 49091.

Pea and Cheese Salad
1 12–16-ounce package of frozen peas, thawed
1 cup chopped celery
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup cubed Colby cheese
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir into pea mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Upcoming Graduations and Weddings

The last day of May brings us temperatures in the 80s. A nice breeze is blowing, helping us stay cool. This breeze will help our hay dry. Hopefully, it will get baled tonight.

Tonight is nephew Steven’s eighth-grade graduation, which we plan to attend. This is the last of sister Emma’s (Jacob) children to graduate from school.

Son Kevin never had his graduation since it was in 2020 when everything was shut down from COVID-19.

A trio of Lovina’s horses. Photo provided.

Emma’s son Benjamin and Crystal have been published to exchange wedding vows on August 5th Lord willing. Congratulations to them. August 5th would be daughter Susan and Mose’s sixth wedding anniversary if he were still with us. We must accept God’s plan and life goes on. Mose will never be forgotten, and we treasure the memories we have of him.

Tomorrow my husband Joe and I will attend the wedding of Jeremiah and Sarah. Jeremiah is from our church district, and they bought a place in our district to live after they are married. We have a few more wedding invitations on our fridge. Congratulations and God’s blessings to all the young couples as they unite in marriage.

We had a great turnout Friday night and the pleasure of listening to Robert Rogers tell his story. Many tears were shed as he told us about losing his wife and four children in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. His faith in God is amazing. His encouragement to all the families that have lost loved ones is amazing.

We were also happy to meet his second wife, Inga, and their five children.   It was also great to meet Inga’s parents as well. They are readers of my column, and we had a lovely visit.

We appreciated all the church members that came in support as well. Ham and hotdog sandwiches and snacks were enjoyed afterward.

Our hearts ache for the families in Texas who lost loved ones in the school shooting. Also, for the ones who witnessed the tragedy. May God be their guide and his many blessings be showered upon them. Lots of prayers are needed!

We had a few questions about the church meal: Egg salad was made from chopped hot dogs, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and mayonnaise. This mixture is spread on homemade bread, and many add pickles on top. Some also add hot peppers.

Another question was asked if we use both the house and pole barn when we have church. Church services are held in the pole barn, but the house is open as well. The women with babies or young children use the house as a nursery to care for their little ones. With only one bathroom in the pole barn, some come in during the service to use the bathrooms in the house.

I will share the egg salad recipe we used for church. I do not add onions or celery when I make mine.

God’s blessings to all!

Egg Salad

3 pounds of hot dogs (may substitute ham)
2 1/2 dozen hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 cups whipped salad dressing
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Grind the hot dogs in a grinder. Place ground hot dogs in a large bowl and stir in the hard-cooked eggs, whipped salad dressing, mayonnaise, onions, and celery until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Happy Birthday, Lovina!

The grandchildren work on adding 51 candles to Lovina’s birthday cake. Photo provided.

I had a very nice birthday on Sunday, May 22. All my family came for supper, bringing pizza, ice cream cake, and chips. Games were played before and after supper, and I was showered with lovely cards and gifts by all. A “5” and “1” were on my cake, but son Benjamin bought 51 candles and let my sweet little grandchildren help put all the candles on the cake. My daughter had a challenge getting all the candles lit. The children enjoyed watching Grandma try to blow out all 51 candles. I feel so blessed to call all of them family. The cards were so meaningful, and much love was shown. It was a memorable birthday!

On Saturday our new neighbors Levi and Leah moved in. They have two little children. Leah is my cousin Esther’s daughter. Esther stopped in on their way home from helping the couple move in and gave me a birthday gift. She is 10 years older than me and said she remembers well the day I was born. She said they had been doing something out in the field and her younger brother Danny came running really fast, jumped the fence, and ran to them. He was so excited to come tell them Uncle Ben and Aunt Elizabeth had another baby. I was born on the birthday of cousin Chris (their brother). Danny was killed in the same accident brother Amos was in here in Michigan eight years ago, along with another cousin of mine. Amos died a little over five years after the accident. He had ended up in our local hospital after the accident and was treated and released that day. I went to go get Amos and bring him to our house until his wife Nancy and children came to get him. He was shaken up from the accident, having seen one cousin dead and the other dying as he was pinned underneath him. Their construction crew was building a Menard’s close by and their van hit black ice and rolled quite a few times.

Included in the gift Esther gave to me were two pints of apple butter. Esther has her dad’s (Uncle Chris) copper kettle that he always used to cook apple butter. Our family and their family always had apple butter cooking days together. The evening before we would all gather at Uncle Chris and Lizzie’s house. We would all sit around their big kitchen table and snitz (slice) bushels of apples. The next day the apples would be cooked down in the copper kettle. I have never tasted apple butter quite as good as that. I look forward to trying this apple butter. I remember coming home from school and eating apple butter sandwiches. We also like it on corn mush or pancakes.

I neglected to write last week about our visitors we had one night for supper the week before we hosted church services here. It was nephew Michael and his wife Laura from Kentucky. It was nice visiting with the young couple. They were married last September. Michael is Joe’s sister Salome’s son.

On Friday night daughters Verena and Susan are hosting Robert Rogers, with his story to “live a life of no regrets.” Robert experienced a tragedy when he lost his wife and four children in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. Hs is an accomplished worship leader, pianist, songwriter, and author of Into the Deep, 7 Steps to No Regrets, and Rise Above.

This will be held here in our pole barn with sandwiches and snacks afterwards. Susan and Verena invited our church and more people from the community, so we should have quite a crowd here. We look forward to hearing from Robert after reading his books.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Rhubarb Coffee Cake
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup + 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup sour milk
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups rhubarb
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream shortening, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, vanilla, and egg; add milk. Add soda, salt, and flour, stirring until all flour is moistened. Dice up rhubarb and mix in. Spread in 9-inch square pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon that has been mixed together. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.