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Lovina Celebrates Many Birthdays in February

It’s another sunshiny February day with the temperatures above freezing. Yesterday, I hung the laundry out on the wash lines to dry. Once again, I was able to bring it all in and fold it and put it away the same day. I don’t remember ever having this many days in February that laundry could be dried outside the same day. I am sure we will see plenty of winter weather yet.

I was hoping to take advantage of the weather yet and clean my windows. Time will tell if I get that far.

It’s so quiet here this morning. Daughter Loretta and her little boys aren’t here. Daughter Verena went over to their house this morning at 4 a.m. to help Loretta out while Dustin goes to work.

My plans are to go through the manuscript of my upcoming cookbook. My editors sent it to me to edit some of the recipes. I never knew how specific you have to be with a recipe until I made my first cookbook. Growing up cooking at a young age with it just being a normal part of life, I never understood that not everyone grows up with that knowledge. My editors are very patient, understanding, and so easy to work with that it makes it easier for me.

Tomorrow, February 14, is granddaughter Andera’s second birthday. She had a check up at the doctor, and they ordered a little boot for her to wear, so they don’t have to cast her foot. Hopefully she won’t be able to figure out how to get it off. She just doesn’t understand that she’s not allowed to walk on it much.

Saturday evening, our family attended a birthday supper for son Joseph’s special friend Grace. She had a delicious meal for us consisting of pulled pork (roasted that day) and all the trimmings, potato casserole, potato salad, strawberry cheesecake, rhubarb and pumpkin pies, and cake and ice cream. We spent the evening playing games.

On Sunday, Joe and I were home all day. None of the married children came over, so we mostly just rested. Daughter Verena and her special friend Daniel Ray attended church at his cousin’s baptismal services.

The one-thousand-piece puzzle we recently put together had a piece missing, so I couldn’t glue it or frame it yet. I had given up ever finding the missing piece. Well, Saturday evening I put on one of my sweaters. I happened to reach in my sweater pocket, and lo and behold, there was the missing piece. I thought that with having 12 grandchildren here often while we were putting the puzzle together that maybe one of them might’ve taken a piece and lost it somehow. And of all things it was me that had “lost” the piece.

A great big thank you to Marietta from Kentucky for sending the box of goodies for my grandchildren. They can’t wait to come to Grandma’s house to play with her new toys. What a thoughtful and kind deed. May God bless you! This will be hours of entertainment for them.

February 9 was also a special day for a special friend. My friend Ruth celebrated her 67th birthday. We wish you many more happy, healthy years, Ruth!

God’s blessings to all!

Mom’s Oatmeal Pie
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nut meats
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, then cream sugar, butter, and eggs together. Add corn syrup, rolled oats, and nut meats and mix. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until set.

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.

Hosting the Amish Men’s Choir and Caring for Family

There is a winter weather advisory out this morning. It felt good to be in the warm house and hear the blowing wind from the inside. My husband Joe and son Joseph left for work. I’m sure the roads were a challenge for the drivers.

The Ausbund is the oldest Anabaptist hymnal and one of the oldest Christian songbooks still in use. The Amish men’s chorus that met at Lovina’s house last week sings from this book. Photo provided.

Last Thursday evening we hosted the men’s church singing here at 6:30 p.m. In the winter months, the men gather every two weeks to practice the hymns from our German songbook (the Ausbund). Usually they go where church services were held last. The girls made sugar and monster cookies, brownies, popcorn, and coffee for them for a snack after they were done.

 

Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan, Ervin, and children, daughter Loretta, Dustin, and sons all came an hour earlier (5:30 p.m.) and ate supper with us. Daughter Lovina grilled hamburgers on the gas grill on our porch while I made a vegetable soup. Ice cream and the cookies were our dessert. Of course, everyone snacked again after the singing was over. The men gathered in our heated pole barn for the singing, as it’s quieter. The children were entertained here in the house by daughter Lovina reading books to them, and some were coloring. Of course, the little ones were being held and cuddled. Byron is five months and weighs around 14 pounds. Ervin Jay is eight weeks and weighs around 12 pounds. They sure are fun to have around.

It sure is nice having daughter Verena in the house again. She is still getting adjusted and has accumulated so many more belongings since living on her own for two years and being away from home for three years. She spent the weekend with her special friend Daniel Ray’s family, with several Christmas gatherings to attend with him.

Daughter Susan took son Ryan, age 4, to the doctor on Friday morning. When he was here Thursday evening, Ryan was saying he had pain in his legs and refused to walk because of the pain. The doctor sent him to the emergency room, where they transferred him to a bigger hospital an hour from here. Needless to say, we were all pretty shook up not knowing what was going on.

The doctors were puzzled at first and did many blood tests, an MRI, a CAT scan, an ultrasound, etc. Ryan was admitted to the hospital on Friday and released on Sunday night. Results were strep throat and some fluid in his hip joint that caused pain. I’m not sure how to explain it, but if I’m understanding right the fluid/infection in his hip joint came from the strep infection. Ryan seemed to be not feeling well a lot this fall/winter, so hopefully the antibiotics will take care of everything. On Friday, Ervin joined Susan and baby Junior at the hospital, and they stayed the night with Ryan. Then on Saturday, Joe and I went to stay with Ryan while Ervin, Susan, and baby came home to shower and change clothes.  Ryan was asking for Grandpa. He’s Joe’s little guy. After Ryan lost his father Mose, he would always cling to Grandpa Joe. They formed a close bond through the grief.

Ryan was so happy to see us. He was giggling and having fun with Grandpa while we were there. Joe said they say laughter is the best medicine. When Ervin, Susan, and baby came back up Saturday night and we were going to leave, Ryan wanted to leave with us. Such a sweetie! We told Ryan to get better and then he can come home. It was good news when we heard Sunday he could come home.

Kaitlyn, 7, Jennifer, 5, and Isaiah, 5, wanted to stay with Dustin and Loretta the two nights Ryan was in the hospital. On Sunday morning Joe and I stayed home from church and had Dustins bring the children here for breakfast. Dustins took the children home at night. Joe and I went and took a casserole for their supper. Ervin’s parents and sister came with Curtis, 4. He stayed with them the last few nights. Ervin’s mother brought a casserole and pasta salad for supper, so we had plenty for everyone. Tim and Elizabeth and children came to visit Ryan and brought a peach upside-down cake. Along with the cheese and applesauce from Ervins, we all had a nice meal together. Ryan was so happy for all the attention.

Stay healthy and safe! God Bless!

Farmer’s Winter Soup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery and leaves, chopped
2 cups sliced potatoes
2 or 3 outside green leaves of cabbage, shredded
1 cup sliced yellow squash
1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 quarts chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup brown rice
2 hard cooked eggs
Chopped parsley

Sauté vegetables in butter or margarine. Add broth and cook for 30 minutes. Then add rice and cook 20 minutes more. Sprinkle with chopped eggs and parsley before serving. Add more broth if desired.

 

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.

Lovina and Family Enjoy a Fall Day Together

Today grandson Byron (son of daughter Loretta and Dustin) is 3 months old. He weighs 10 pounds, 12 ounces now. He’s a sweet little smiley baby. He’s cooing and an active little boy. Denzel loves his little brother but sometimes looks annoyed to have to share everyone with Byron. He likes to give Byron something to play with, which isn’t always a good thing if it’s somebody’s shoe. Haha!

On Sunday I made a breakfast haystack for brunch. Those joining us were Tim, daughter Elizabeth, Abigail, 7, Timothy (T.J.), 4, Allison, 3, and Andrea, 21 months, daughter Susan, Ervin, Kaitlyn, 7, Jennifer, 5, Isaiah, 5, Ryan, 4, and Curtis, 4, daughter Loretta, Dustin, Denzel, 16 months, and Byron, 3 months, daughter Verena and her special friend Daniel Ray, son Joseph’s special friend Grace, daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel, and nephews Henry, Jacob, and Steven.

For the haystack breakfast I made Mystery Biscuits (and crumbled them after baked), sausage, bacon, ham, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, cheese sauce, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, salsa, and gravy. For a haystack, layer everything you like, and add more ingredients to your menu if you prefer. Lastly, pour cheese sauce and gravy over everything. It is a good meal but takes time to make everything. It is easy for children; if they only like biscuits and gravy or scrambled eggs, they can take only that. We also had rhubarb juice, grape juice, V-8 juice, coffee, milk, and cider, as well as ice cream and pumpkin whoopie pies. Some of these recipes will likely be included among over one hundred recipes in my new cookbook The Cherished Table (release date June 2024)!

Before everyone left we had hot dog and bologna sandwiches, venison snack sticks, chips, pretzels, apples, popcorn, etc.

It was a beautiful fall day, and the children loved being outside. Their favorite place to play is on the big pile of dirt in our field behind our house. Son-in-law Dustin and his brother Daniel (Lovina’s special friend) run an excavating business besides working construction as well. They are digging a pond for us. We needed dirt to fill in to build a new barn so we decided to have them dig a pond instead of paying for dirt to be hauled in. It will be nice once it’s all done. Our barn is very old, so we need room to store hay, etc. So we decided to build a new one instead of trying to fix up the old one. It seems there is so much work that need to be done and so little time to do it. Our goal was to have this pole barn built before the snow starts flying.

Son Benjamin is hoping to get the okay from the doctor tomorrow to return to work. He laughs and says we were waiting to build the pole barn until he can help. We will be glad for his help.

Son-in-law Dustin and son Joseph worked on the stair steps one night and that is another project needing attention.

Recently one Friday evening, daughter Verena had Daniel Ray’s family and our family at her house for supper. Some of our grandchildren and Daniel Ray’s siblings are in the same school, so they had fun that evening. Dutch Blitz and dice games were played and the evening was enjoyable. Everyone helped bring food so it made it easier for Verena.

Church services will be set at our house in 6 1/2 weeks, Lord willing, so we are trying to clean as well. My daughters were home one day helping last week. I was so glad for their help. I know they are busy with their own work. I can feel I am not as young as I used to be when getting ready to host church services. I am thankful for my good health and should not complain when my work falls behind. Take one day at a time!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Filling:
1/2 cup milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3–4 cups powdered sugar

Cream sugar and oil. Add pumpkin and eggs. Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and spices. Mix well. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10–12 minutes.

For filling, mix milk, cream cheese, and vanilla with 3 cups powdered sugar. Add more sugar as needed to reach desired consistency. Spread between two 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.

Lovina Asks for Help Naming Midnight’s Colt

Yesterday, the mercury on our thermometer dipped down to 29 degrees. We had a good frost, but we don’t think it did any damage to my pepper plants. Still, we are going to pick what’s left on there and pull the plants. The weather forecast says we will get a few warmer days, with today being in the 70s. It’s time to take advantage of that and clear out the garden and garden beds. Another planting season down in history. We had a nice harvest, maybe not as good as other years, but we are thankful for every jar that was filled and everything that we could put in the freezer.

Before we know it, the snow will be flying, and it will be butchering meat season.

Friday night, our whole family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for our monthly family night. Ervin and Susan brought the casserole, daughter Verena brought a taco salad, daughter Loretta and Dustin brought Cake Delight, and I took a tray full of snacks. Oh, and Tim’s furnished ice creams and drinks. This time, I filled it and took it to Elizabeth and Tim’s. They will fill it for the next family night and leave the basket tray there.

My good friend Ruth gave me this basket with an insert that has compartments for a meat and cheese tray, a fruit tray, or other options. This is our family night snack tray. I filled the compartments with summer sausage, cheese, cheeseball, crackers, veggies, and veggie dip, and then I filled two compartments with chocolates (all kinds of little candy bars). This was a little too attractive to my hungry little grandchildren. This grandma loves to spoil her grandchildren, but I know that too much candy isn’t good for them or their teeth, so I try to limit it. (I said try haha.)

We had a nice night together and played games. Joe and I took our horse, Midnight. She was all excited to run the six-and-a-half miles home to get back to her colt. Yes, we still haven’t given him a name, and he is four months old. Any ideas?

Son Benjamin named his two-year-old horse Star; she is the daughter of his horse Beauty. Star has a star on her head, so he named her that. Joe’s first horse was named Star as well. Our neighbor boy Phillip is training Star for Benjamin since he broke his leg. Joe didn’t think he had the time and energy to train her. Once Star is trained for the buggy, then they can take over.

Eicher family members gathered to make applesauce for daughter Susan. The cooked apples are put through a strainer to sort out the seeds and peels prior to filling the jars for canning. Photo provided.

Today, my daughters and I, sister Verena, Ervin’s mom and sisters-in-law will assist daughter Susan with canning applesauce. They have 10 bushels of apples waiting to be processed and into jars. With five growing children, it takes a lot. They all love applesauce, and it’s something easy to put in lunches as well.

Ervin’s mom is bringing sandwiches for lunch, and I am taking a vegetable soup. The rest will probably bring snacks or whatever they decide. We should get a lot done for Susan. She said they bought 10 yards of material, and Esther (Ervin’s mother) will take it home and sew the three little boys some new pants for her. This really helps Susan.

On Sunday, Joe and I were home alone, so daughter Loretta and Dustin told us to come for breakfast. They made a good breakfast, or rather brunch, of fried eggs and potatoes, bacon, sausage, cheese, and hot peppers. Then we ended up also having supper there. Supper was mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken roll-ups, coleslaw, tomatoes, and cheese. Another good meal. Daughter Verena and her special friend Daniel Ray joined us there. Denzel loves Daniel and ran for him when they arrived. We played games after supper. Verena came here for the night and is still here. She will go along to Susan’s today and then go home from there. God bless!

Cherry Jubilee Cake
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup cherry preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch square cake pans. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter with sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. The batter will be stiff. Stir in the vanilla, zest, and cherry preserves. Spread batter in pans. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center 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.  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.

Lovina Prepares for Son Benjamin’s Surgery

It’s Monday night, and I want to get this column written tonight. Early tomorrow morning (5:15 a.m.) I will be leaving with son Benjamin to go to the hospital. He will have surgery done on his leg and screws put in for his fractured fibula and torn ligaments. He’s been having a lot of pain, so hopefully the surgery will help with that. His brand-new buggy will need repairs as well, but that can be fixed. He can be so fortunate that it wasn’t worse and his horse was okay. He appreciates all the well wishes, cards, etc. It’s unbelievable what the estimated cost of the surgery will be, but I guess everything is going up. It could have ended so much worse, so we want to thank God for having his hand over Benjamin.

On Sunday evening, most of our family were home for supper. Joe grilled twenty pounds of chicken and some wings. Along with that, we had mashed potatoes, gravy, coleslaw, cheese, and dill pickles. Dessert was Swiss roll bars, M & M bars, cookies, grape salad, and ice cream.  Sister Verena also joined for supper.

Tonight, our supper was leftovers from last night. That was an easy supper.

We did laundry today and canned 22 pints of Thick and Chunky Salsa. I would like to can tomato chunks yet this week.

Wednesday I am invited to a birthday surprise for a neighbor lady. I am hoping I can go. Frieda will have a birthday next week. Her married daughter is planning the surprise. When we moved out here 19 1/2 years ago, Frieda and Abe showed up to help us unpack. We used to be in the same church, but after it got too big, we had to divide it. Sister Verena is also invited, so we will probably go together. That is, if Benjamin’s surgery goes okay. Frieda is five years younger than I am—she is sister Susan’s age.

Tomorrow, daughter Susan and Ervin plan to bring supper in. It was their date to bring supper in—our bishop’s wife Janie passed out slips of paper with a date on it to bring supper in for daughter Loretta and Dustin and our family. That really helps out and is greatly appreciated.

September 26 is daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel’s 22nd birthday. We wish him a happy birthday and many more to come. Sunday night after communion services, our whole family will come here in honor of Daniel’s birthday.

Sister Verena stayed here for the night, then left this morning to go help niece Emma. They will host church services in 2 1/2 weeks, Lord willing.

Leaves are starting to fall and the calendar tells us autumn has officially begun.

I need to sign off and get ready for bed. Daughter Verena came tonight and will be here tomorrow while I am at the hospital.

Good night to all and God’s blessings to all of you.

 

Cheddar Chowder Soup
4 cups potatoes, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onions, chopped
4 cups water
4 cups cheddar cheese
2 cups ham
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

White Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk

In a large pot, cook all vegetables in water until tender. Add cheese and ham along with salt and pepper. To make white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in flour to let it start cooking. Gradually add the milk and cook until thick. Stir into vegetables. Makes 16 one-cup 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.  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.

More Birthday Wishes from Lovina’s Children

To mark Lovina’s 52nd birthday on May 22, each of her children have contributed these short reflections in her honor. Last week we shared the first half of them, and this week we’re sharing the second half.

Benjamin, 23

As a young boy, I would scare Mom a lot and find it funny. I would crawl out the upstairs window onto the roof and run around until Mom would see me. She would be relieved once she had me inside the window. I didn’t realize the danger back then. Mom was worried I would hurt myself. Our pony Stormy was a real calm pony, and I would climb on his back with just a halter on and tie baler twine to the halter for lines. It scared Mom every time.

Mom makes sure to stay up until all her children are home safely. She has done a lot for me in my life. Mom doesn’t have much gray hair, but I’m sure I caused a lot of what she does have. I’m blessed to have her as my mom. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Loretta, 22    

I’m going to write to honor my mom’s 52nd birthday. I just hope I look as good as her at that age.

I thank God that he blessed me with an encouraging, supportive mom. One thing I know I miss since leaving home is her garden meals, especially waking up on a Saturday smelling bacon—just a great way to wake up. I know her cooking is one thing I try to copy, but it just doesn’t seem to taste like Mom’s. And it isn’t as good if I have to make it. Haha! I know when I was a little girl, I would stand behind Mom’s office chair while she would write her columns or whatever she was writing at the time and pick on a small birth mark on her neck.  I would ask her why it doesn’t come off. There were times us children took turns massaging Mom and Dad’s feet. Mom and Dad would bribe us with a dollar if we did, and I tried to get enough so I could buy something at the store.

One thing I always remember is the first time Mom found out we had muscular dystrophy. Mom cried when the doctors told her—that’s something a mother doesn’t want to hear, but she never gives up on us children. I’d say she was the reason I didn’t give up. Now I’m married with an amazing husband and baby boy. I’m so proud to have a mother like her to show me the steps in life, and I’d say she did really good because I like to think I’m pretty cool. Haha! I have to brag on myself sometimes because nobody else does. Haha, just kidding.

Happy 52nd birthday, Mom. I love you so much.

Joseph, 20

When we all still lived under the same roof and before anyone was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, I remember Dad and Mom playing kickball with all of us children. Mom would have a team and Dad would have a team.

I always look forward to suppers because Mom always makes a good meal. It is a treat to have after a hard day of work. I always enjoy it even more through the summer because Mom makes some fresh meals out of the garden.

Mom will always pack my lunch, although I tell her I can pack my lunch myself. I like how she doesn’t let me go to work on an empty stomach. I don’t think anyone could make a better Saturday morning breakfast than Mom.

She is a good reader and has a great way of explaining the Bible to us. She always teaches us how to keep everything organized and clean. Mom is always really energetic, and she is the best mom. She has a sense of humor that a lot of people don’t see. Playing games is much more fun with Mom playing—she likes to try to add rules to the game to help her team win. She is very competitive in a game, which makes it more fun. Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you!

Lovina, 19

One of the funniest things that I remember Mom always doing when we were younger is answering her own questions. “Lovina, are the windows open?” And before I even get a chance to answer, “Yeah, they are,” she’d ask me, “Hey what time is it?” Meanwhile she’s looking at the clock, and then she’d say, “Quarter after 5,” and go back to whatever she was doing.

I think I was just there for support.

I love how Mom pushes me to be the better version of myself. She taught me how to be organized, how to save money, how to sew my own dresses, how to cook and can. How to be respectful, how to turn to God.

Although being named after Mom was Dad’s idea and not hers, I’m glad I got the name I did. Sharing her name is one of the things I’m proud of, even though we both answer when someone says, “Lovina.” I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her, and I’m so thankful to have a mom like her. Happy Birthday, Mom! Hope you have a great one! Love you always!

Kevin, 17

I want to thank my mom for being there for me and helping me out with my disability. I appreciate her support.

Mom makes the best food, and I’m always glad when Joseph doesn’t eat all the food Mom packs in his lunch because I’m more than willing to eat it.  Playing marble chase is one of our favorite games to play. Mom never likes sitting beside me in the game because I always send her marbles home. I am probably the hardest of her children to wake up in the mornings. So Mom, thanks for always putting up with me. I will always love you!

 

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.

Lovina’s Children Wish Her a Happy Birthday!

To mark Lovina’s 52nd birthday on May 22, each of her children have contributed these short reflections in her honor. We’re sharing the first half of them today, and will share the second half next week.

Elizabeth, 28

There are many stories I could write about my mom. I’ll try to keep it short.

As a school-age child, I remember coming home from school eager to tell Mom all about my day. I’m sure at times those silly school stories were a bit boring for her, but she listened with open ears.

I remember helping Mom mow lawn. We would both use a self-propelled walk behind lawnmower. I enjoyed it! I have always liked mowing lawns, so I didn’t consider it “work.” I remember laughing, trying to keep up with Mom.

When age “sweet 16” came for me, I was overly excited. As most young Amish girls are at that age, I was filled with anticipation about the next step in life. After Tim would bring me home from Saturday evenings at the youth center, or from Sunday night singings (as we call it), wedding dinners, etc., I loved to tell Mom the stories of my evening.

Mom and I (and my siblings) have become best of friends over the years of us growing up. As we continue to move on with our lives, Mom is there with us each step of the way. She always has advice and love to give us, and I know she prays for us always.

Now, being the mother of four children, I realize the love, patience, and many prayers it takes to raise a child. My mom is a strong woman! She conquered many challenges that came her way—not just in motherhood, but in life itself. She is a true inspiration and a wonderful loving mom/grandma!

Mom, I hope you have a wonderful 52nd birthday! We love you!

Susan, 27

To this day I still ask Mom how to do some of the canning or sewing, and I’m married with children. Moms never stop being a mom. She was a good teacher if we listened. Some of us could be a little hard-headed…like me when she tried to teach me how to sew. Now I wish I would have listened. There are a lot of memories with Mom. One memory I have is when Mom sang with all of us girls. She taught us how to sing praise to God. I also recall waking up in the morning and hearing Mom singing in the kitchen while preparing breakfast. The house would smell like bacon. I would lay there just listening to Mom. I love to hear her sing.

Happy 52nd birthday, Mom. May God bless you. Love you.

Verena, 25

Monday, May 22 is my mom’s birthday, so I had all my siblings write a story they remember with her or just write something in honor of her birthday.

I have many, many stories I could write down, but I would never get done. I want to thank my mom for being my biggest support—she is always there for me and the rest of her children. Which I know we all appreciate very much!

I remember the days that Mom would put all five of us girls’ hair up for us. Having our long hair combed would sometimes make us say “oww” from a tangle. Dad would always sit there and ask us, “What kind of bird are you?” Mom would tug at our hair a little and we’d say, “Oww” (Owl). Ha!

Mom used to play kickball with us when we were all younger.  Every time it was her turn to kick the ball, I would run in the house and go upstairs and hide because I worried she’d hurt herself. I always looked up to her, and I still do, so I never liked to see mom hurt or do anything that could get her hurt. The reason I worried so much about her playing kickball was because she did get a blood clot when the ball hit one of her veins one of the times.

Living on my own is a good experience. I see how often I depended on my mom, and I still do. When I dealt with my brain injury, it was very scary to me, and I remember how Mom and my sister Susan were my biggest comforters.

I thank God every day for giving me such a great mom. I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said she had no plans, but she deserves to have a good birthday and every birthday should be celebrated. The plans as of right now are to gather at Dad and Mom’s on Monday night to have a birthday supper for her.

Happy 52nd birthday to Mom! I love you.

 

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.

Lovina Keeps Busy with Deer Jerky and Snack Sticks

It is a nice sunny day on this first day of March. We had a mild February, and now I wonder if March will make up for it with snow. The temperature is mid 40s already before noon.

I am having a hard time sitting down to write this column with too much work waiting on me. We worked until 9:30 p.m. last night mixing several batches of deer jerky and snack sticks. The snack sticks took so long to stuff in the casings. And of course something goes wrong when you want to hurry—the stuffer quit working, and our other stuffer doesn’t have the tube size for snack sticks, so we ended up using brat-sized casings for the rest of the snack sticks. We mixed 25 pounds of snack sticks that are ready for the smoker now. We still have 44 pounds of jerky to put in the 10-tray dehydrator, so it will take time and a few days to do it all. Fourteen pounds of that jerky is for Dustin and Loretta. That should wrap up the venison for this winter. We are waiting to butcher a beef until we get a colder week to chill it. What a relief it will be when it’s all done and in the freezers. And what a blessing to be able to do all that for another year ahead.

We washed all the dishes up and the slicer, stuffer, and grinder, which all takes time. After getting done late and getting to bed later, I was ready for a nap after the boys and Joe left for work.

Then I made a dessert to take to the viewing visitation of Chris, an older man in our church district. Chris and his wife Katie were in Pinecraft, Florida, for a while this winter already. Chris had a stroke while they were in Florida and then later died there.

Our church members will all take supper in tonight and then sing for the family as people walk through the viewing/visitation. It makes it so nice to have the support of the church, family, and friends when you lose a loved one.

I am writing while holding grandson Denzel. He will be eight months old next week. He sure brings a lot of sunshine to our days. He is amazed at my moving pen, but I’m sure my editors will see the consequences of my messy writing.

This is now even later and Denzel is sleeping. He wasn’t quiet just watching the pen—he decided he should move the pen with his hand.

Before we leave tonight, I need to go to town to pick up Loretta’s prescription. She still needs a blood thinner shot every day, and she is out of them. Dustin is working 45 minutes away at a construction job and won’t be home in time to go get the prescription before they leave to go to the viewing tonight.

Son-in-law Ervin is finally getting relief after going to the doctor for his cough he’s had a while. He has bronchitis, so the doctor prescribed antibiotics and an inhaler, and it seems to be helping.

Sister Verena is staying at sister Emma’s this week. She also is battling a cough. Emma is a good nurse and sounds like she (Verena) is getting a lot better. I will sign off on this as I have so much on my agenda for today. Unfortunately, my work doesn’t run away. Haha!

I will share a recipe for Butterscotch Pie. Brother Amos always loved Butterscotch Pie. Rest in peace, dear brother.

God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Pie
1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 pint water
1/4 teaspoon soda
3 pints milk
6 tablespoons cook-type clear jel (slightly heaping)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pre-baked 9-inch pie crusts

Brown the butter and sugar together in a saucepan. Then add the pint of water and cook until all sugar lumps are dissolved. Add soda and then 2 1/2 pints milk. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and mix with clear jel. Bring remaining mixture to a boil and then add clear jel mixture along with the rest of the milk. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla. Pour into pie crusts and let cool. Makes three 9-inch pies.

 

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.

Daughter Susan and Ervin Get Married

I am Lovina’s “English” friend Ruth, and I had the opportunity to help Lovina the week of Susan and Ervin’s wedding by taking photos of the wedding prep, running a few last-minute errands, and also attending the wedding on Friday, December 30. Typically, Amish weddings are held in the shed (pole barn) of the bride’s parents’ house, but with it being winter Susan and Ervin decided to use the CYC (Community Youth Center), which is a beautiful building that is used primarily for the youth to gather on Saturday nights for social activities but is also available for the Amish community to use for special events. It has two large rooms (the size of a gym) plus a fully furnished kitchen. This building has solar power, and the kitchen even has electrical outlets, which are not allowed in Amish homes even if they have solar but are allowed in the CYC building. The one large room was set up for the wedding ceremony and the other large room was set up for the noon meal after the wedding.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the wedding, friends, family, and church members came to the CYC to set up for the wedding, to prepare food for the noon meal, and to support Susan and Ervin. More folks gathered early Friday to start the cooking for the meal.  Each morning when Lovina and I arrived for the preparation, Susan and Ervin and the children were there before everyone else to get started on that day’s list, and they were the last to leave each afternoon. They greeted everyone as they came in with smiles and words of gratitude for the help given. Many of you know Susan lost her husband Mose about two years ago, and Ervin lost his wife Sarah a few months before Mose passed. What I found so endearing was that both Sarah’s and Mose’s families were not only supportive of the marriage but came to help with the wedding prep. On the day of the wedding Omer and Rose (Sarah’s parents) and William and Rosanna (Mose’s parents) were seated at the head tables with the family. Susan and Ervin also were intentional about honoring and acknowledging Sarah and Mose as they started their new journey as husband and wife.

A typical Amish wedding ceremony goes from about 9:00 a.m. until noon. It includes preaching by a number of local ministers, some singing, and finally the pronouncing of the couple as married near the end of the service. Before the service begins, the couple and their witnesses sit near the door where people come in and greet all guests as they arrive. Then they go to a private room to meet with the Ministers, the Bishop, and a deacon to receive advice on having a good marriage and to pray. They are then seated in special chairs in the middle of the room where the wedding is. The bride and her witness sit across from the groom and his witness.  After the ceremony there is typically a noon meal, a 5:00 p.m. meal, and a meal with the youth at 7:00 p.m. Susan and Ervin only had a noon meal and limited the guests to family, church members, and some close friends. Even with cutting back, there were still about 425–450 people there.  Typically everyone sits down and table waiters pass food to everyone, but only the head table and immediate family was served this way. Everyone else walked through a buffet line to get their food. It was done very efficiently and we were all served quickly.

A beautiful wedding cake to celebrate the marriage of Susan and Ervin. Photo credit: Ruth Boss

Susan chose jewel tones of burgundy, purple, red, and green for the wedding. The cooks wore hunter green, family wore burgundy, Susan, her and Ervin’s children, and the mothers wore purple, and Ervin wore a black suit and a white shirt. Susan’s cape and apron were white, as were Verena and Sarah’s, who were witnesses. Susan chose sister Verena and brother Kevin as her witnesses, and Ervin chose his brother Nelson and his wife Sarah as his.

The décor was red and white with Christmas-themed touches of evergreen, pine, poinsettias, and candles. The “Eck,” or corner table, where they sat was set beautifully with china, special glasses, and candles. Lovina will write more about the wedding in upcoming columns.

My impression of the week and the wedding was that Susan and Ervin are loved and supported by their families and community, and that was shown by the gifts of time and words of encouragement they received. It was clear that Ervin and Susan love each other and love their children, both their own and each other’s. May God continue to bless them richly as they begin their new life together and may their home be filled with love and laughter.

 

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.

Helping the Newlyweds and Enjoying Family Time

The temperature is staying in the low 60’s today. Leaves are falling and it’s a typical fall day. Yesterday the mercury almost reached 80 degrees, and it was a lovely day with the laundry drying very well.

I’m frying chicken for our supper tonight. Daughter Lovina is washing potatoes for steamed potatoes as well. Dustin and Loretta will join us for supper. Our house is empty without Loretta here anymore. I am glad she’s close by so we can help her. It’s hard to believe half of our eight children aren’t at home anymore.

Friday night, sons Benjamin and Kevin went to a wedding. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina went to their special friends’ house leaving just Joe and me at home. We decided to go to daughter Susan’s house for supper. We picked up sister Verena, and then daughter Elizabeth, Tim and the children also came.

Daughter Verena made supper for all of us. She made chicken casserole and apple cobbler which was delicious. It was enjoyable spending time with the grandchildren. It seemed like over the wedding we didn’t get much time to spend with them. Abigail is really enjoying school. She stayed the night with Jennifer so they were excited for their sleepover. There is still such an empty spot when we go there. It seems like Mose should be coming back from hunting and telling us about the big buck he saw.

Tim and Elizabeth bought a surrey (a two seated buggy) for their family. There will also be more room for them if they want to pick up daughters Verena and Susan to go somewhere. It seems like short years ago when we drove a surrey and had eight children with us. Life goes on and time brings so many changes…some happy, some sad.

Dustin’s birthday was October 8th so his mom and dad made supper at their house in honor of his birthday. Saturday night our family gathered at Dustin and Loretta’s house in honor of his birthday. Daughter Susan and I helped Loretta during the day with her cleaning and washing and putting away wedding gifts/dishes. One other day my sister Verena and I also helped Loretta with getting her house organized with all the new gifts they received.

It will be easier for Loretta once their house is more handicap accessible, but it all takes time and money. Nothing is cheap anymore. Starting out as a young couple takes a lot. I remember when we were first married, how one thing after another came up. And when you buy an older farmhouse you always have repairs.

What matters most is making a house a home and enjoying each other’s company. Dustin is a good son-in-law and seems like a son to me. He is a great husband to Loretta, and he says she is a great wife to him. May God always be the center of their marriage. What a blessing when you gain a son instead of lose a daughter. Dustin and Loretta appreciate all the good wishes from you readers. I am trying to talk them into writing the column next week.

A special reminder of the day, this matrimony piece made for Dustin and Loretta was part of their wedding decorations.

Loretta is having fun cooking for her and Dustin but tells me my recipes are much too big. I am having trouble downsizing with my meals so I need to learn to adjust as well.

God bless all of you and keep us in your prayers as we travel into the unknown future.

Chicken Casserole

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 (7 ounce) package macaroni, cooked
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and cover with buttered bread or cracker crumbs or croutons. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

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.