Tag Archives: birthday party

Eichers celebrate wedding anniversary; countdown begins for daughter’s wedding

BensBirthdayCake2015WhippedToppingEditedToday, July 14, is son Benjamin’s 16th birthday. We want to bake him a cake, but I forgot to ask him what kind he wants before he left for work at 5:30 a.m. With eight children it’s hard to remember which is everyone’s favorite.

Tomorrow, July 15, my husband Joe and I will have our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Where have all the years gone? It hardly seems possible that it’s been that many years. We have so many blessings to thank our Heavenly Father for. I remember on the morning of our wedding when my mother, some of my sisters and I got all the chicken in skillets on the kerosene stoves to fry. Mom, sister Liz, and her husband Levi took care of the chicken until the cooks came to take over. Eighteen skillets of chicken were used to fry 300 pounds of chicken. We started frying chicken at 4:15 a.m. I helped until it was time to get ready before the guests started arriving between 6:30 to 7:00 a.m.

Daughter Elizabeth is back to work at the RV factory after two weeks of vacation. I think she is probably having more of a vacation back at work! She put in some long days helping clean and sew here at home. It’s hard to get her to take it easy, but I told her she has to be careful with having had double pneumonia. She still feels weak from it.

Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding is now a month away. Elizabeth sewed everyone clothes for the wedding except she still needs to sew her and Susan a white cape and apron that they will wear at the wedding. Mose and Susan will be their witnesses. The bride and groom both choose witnesses so Timothy will choose someone from his family. I still need to cut out and sew my dress for the wedding.

We have three bedrooms cleaned upstairs and still need to clean the boy’s bedroom. We are also cleaning the canning room. So, lots of jars to clean and put back on the shelf. Joe has been working evenings on making a bigger closet in our bedroom. That will need to be painted when he is finished with mudding the drywall. He installed a new shower in the bathroom, so the bathroom needs to be repainted too yet before the wedding.

Daughter Susan had a nice vacation. We are glad to have her home again. They could feed the deer from their hand in the cabin where they stayed and also saw black bears. They had a nice fishing trip.

We were surprised on Thursday with a visit from Uncle Joe and Betty from Geneva, Indiana and Uncle Menno and Martha from Phoenix, Arizona. Menno and Martha were out in the Berne, Ind. area to attend the annual Coblentz reunion. We were unable to attend but sounds like the Coblentzs had a lot of fun—like usual. Menno and Joe are my Dad’s brothers.

Sunday evening Timothy’s family surprised Elizabeth with a birthday cake for her June 14th birthday. Timothy’s sister-in-law Rachel made and decorated the cake.

This is now Wednesday morning and I need to finish this. We ended up making a chocolate cake for Benjamin’s birthday last night. He didn’t want us to put candles on it. I’ll share the chocolate sheet cake recipe I use. A reader requested a homemade cake recipe. God bless you all!

Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 x15-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to blend. Combine the margarine, water, and cocoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Whipped Topping Frosting

1 4-ounce box instant pudding mix (any flavor)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping

Add pudding mix, powdered sugar, and milk to a mixing bowl. Mix until blended. Let mixture stand three minutes then fold in defrosted whipped topping. Frost and keep refrigerated.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Mother-daughter bonding and festive treats for the season

First of all, a happy 17th birthday to daughter Verena today, December 10. How could those 17 years have gone by so fast? I am glad to have Verena here at home during the day. It’s good to have someone to help me with cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, and all that goes with keeping a house going with a family of ten. Every one of the girls has helped me before getting a full-time job. This is a precious time to me: spending time with my daughters and making a lot of memories together that we will always treasure.

It is also a great learning experience for them to learn how to do sewing, canning, baking and cooking. I helped my mother after I was out of school, and I remember how precious it was to work and talk together. Not only was she my mother but also my best friend. I want the same friendship with my children. My daily prayer is to be a good example to my children and to always guide them to live the life God wants.

Since Verena’s special friend, Marvin, lives a couple hours away, we decided to surprise Verena on Sunday while he was here visiting in Michigan. Others who came in honor of Verena’s birthday were Timothy and Mose; Jacob, Emma and family; their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel; and also my sisters Verena and Susan.

On the menu was barbequed chicken, hot wings and T-bone steaks, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, dressing, corn, potato salad, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, peanut butter pies and a variety of Christmas candy. Verena had another surprise when Marvin presented a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to her with candles for her to blow out.

Lovina's family celebrated daughter Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina’s family celebrated daughter Verena’s 17th birthday with a surprise party.

I forgot to mention that Barbara, a friend of our daughters, was also here for Verena’s birthday. She and Verena were born not too far apart, and Barbara’s mother and I both had the same midwife. Right after Verena was born at 6:32 a.m., someone came to our house to get the midwife, because Barbara was being born. Happy birthday wishes to Barbara!

Christmas is only a couple weeks away. Joe and I did some shopping on Saturday. Verena is wrapping some of the gifts this afternoon. I don’t mind that job, but it seems I always have something else that needs to be done. I have a meeting at the school this afternoon.

I would like to thank Carol from Washington for the four 1,000-piece puzzles she sent. We will have lots of fun putting them together this winter. And also a thank you to all the rest of you readers for your encouraging letters!

This week I’m going to share my recipe for popcorn balls. Mother made these every Christmas. She would put red food coloring in the syrup to give them a reddish color. I usually do half of them with red food coloring and half with green. It gives them a Christmas look during the holidays.

Lovina's family celebrated Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina shares her recipe for popcorn balls this week.

God’s blessings to all!

Popcorn Balls

2 1/2 quarts of popcorn (popped)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring (optional)

Cook sugar, water, salt, and syrup to a very hard-ball stage (256 degrees). Add vinegar and vanilla (and food coloring if desired) to light crack stage (270 degrees). Pour slowly over popcorn. Mix well to coat every kernel. Press into balls and cool.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Family visits and a caramel cake for summer’s end

Sister Verena’s forty-eighth birthday was Friday, August 22. She recently had our family and Jacob, Emma and their family there in honor of her birthday. We enjoyed a pizza dinner. Sister Susan made a cake for Verena but then surprised her with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Lovina’s sister Susan made this birthday cake for their sister Verena last week.

It has been over a week now since son Joseph’s surgeries. He seems weak yet, but he is getting better every day. We thank God for his many blessings!

This past week we were busy canning and freezing sweet corn. We have a total of 41 quarts so far. My tomatoes are also producing really well.

Some of the 41 quarts of corn that Lovina canned and froze last week.
Some of the 41 quarts of corn that Lovina canned and froze last week.

Sister Emma and Jacob will host baptismal services for a boy and girl in our church district in a few weeks. I was finally able to help her for a day last week. With Joseph not feeling well last week, it was hard for me to leave.

Joe’s sister Christine and her husband, Jake, and their family let us know that they would be at the church services at niece Verena and Melvin’s house. We were unable to go, as Joseph was still not able to stay up that long. We were sorry we didn’t get to see them. They live in a small community two and a half hours north of here.

We had surprise visitors Sunday evening. Joe’s sister Carol, Pete, and seven children came after supper. It was a hot evening so we all sat outside on our porch. The girls made popcorn and lemonade. Their family is planning to move to Tennessee, so we will not get to see them as often.

School doors will open next week for our four youngest children. Half of our children are done with their school years. Unbelievable! This is Loretta’s final year. She will be in eighth grade. Joseph, 12, will be in sixth grade; Lovina, 10, will be in fourth grade; and Kevin will be in third grade.

The first day of school, September 2, is Kevin’s ninth birthday. Kevin likes it better when I tell people that he is my youngest child than when I say he is my “baby.” He has grown up so much, but for some reason we don’t like to see time go so fast.

One evening this week the boys and Lovina decided to build a top to cover our little wagon. They were hammering away in the pole barn. Finally they pulled it out so we could see. I think the wagon will be a little top-heavy, but I was amazed at their ambition and success. They were creative and had fun doing it. I’m not so sure if Joe appreciated his tools being scattered around, and I told Joseph he wasn’t allowed to be pounding nails because of his surgery. Something tells me he didn’t listen after I was out of sight. Once children start to feel better after being sick, it’s hard to keep them quiet! Joseph told me he wants to be a carpenter when he gets older. He said it is fun using a hammer.

This week I will share my caramel cake recipe. I have had quite a few requests for it since I wrote about my sister Susan bringing one along when we went camping. Until next week—God bless!

Caramel Cake

 Cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup bread flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 2 eggs

Set aside 1 cup cake mix for topping. Combine remaining cake mix, flour, oil, water and eggs. Beat well and then pour batter into a 9×13 cake pan.

 

Topping:

  • 1 cup reserved cake mix
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup nuts
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine

Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle topping on cake and cut through batter with a knife to create a marble effect. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done.

 

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water

Mix together and drizzle over cake when done.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Garden goodies and a midsummer night’s sleepover

We are having all kinds of garden goodies lately. It makes meal planning so much easier. Our first batch of sweet corn is ready. We’ve also been enjoying tomatoes, green beans, buttered red beets, zucchini, cucumbers and hot peppers. The peas are now over for the season.

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Onions hang to dry on the porch.

The boys pulled all the onions from the garden and we tied them in bunches to hang under the porch to dry. Before it gets too cold we will move them to the basement. I hardly ever have to buy onions from year to year if I plant enough to store for the winter. We also like to plant enough potatoes but this year they didn’t do so well. I’m surprised if we will have enough for storage. There is a potato field close by, where we can go pick up potatoes after the picker goes through. They miss a lot and it’s easy to get plenty from the ground.

This Thursday we plan to travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend niece Marlene and Chris Troyer’s wedding. Daughter Elizabeth has almost completed sewing her periwinkle-colored dress for this occasion. Elizabeth and her friend Timothy will be table waiters and I’ll help cook. More on that next week.

Congratulations go to niece Elizabeth and Sam as they announced their wedding plans for September. This would be sister Liz’s oldest daughter and the first wedding to prepare for. Liz has a wedding wagon she rents out to people so she should be well prepared with all the tables, stoves and dishes that she will need for the wedding.

For my own wedding my mother had to borrow stoves, pots and pans, and some dishes—as wedding wagons were unheard of then. It was a lot of work to gather these things and then make sure everything was delivered back to its owner.

We are enjoying making banana poppers on the grill lately since our banana peppers are big enough to stuff with cream cheese and shredded Colby cheese. We then wrap bacon around the peppers and grill them. We make a few with jalapeños for Joe and me but the children prefer the banana peppers as they aren’t quite as hot. It seems like the banana peppers can’t grow fast enough to keep up with making the poppers.

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Banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. This is just before putting them on the grill.
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The finished banana peppers.

Son Kevin, 8, loves to husk the corn for me when we have sweet corn. I thought it was funny when he asked where he should put the wrappers when he takes them off. He was talking about the husk.

Son Joseph, 12, had four of his school buddies here for the night on his birthday, July 24. They slept out in a tent in our backyard. I think they told each other so many scary stories that they were a little scared to go to sleep. They came in and told me they saw eyes in the barn. After investigating, it happened to be our dog Rover. At 5:30 a.m. they all moved up to the boys’ bedroom as they said it was getting really cold sleeping in the tent. We had 54 degrees that morning, unusually cool weather for July.

Joseph wanted cupcakes instead of cake for his birthday. Daughter Verena, 16, baked chocolate and white cupcakes for him. She topped them with vanilla pudding frosting.

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Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for Joseph’s birthday. To make the frosting, add 1 box instant vanilla pudding to a container of Cool Whip.

I want to thank all of you readers that have taken time to encourage me to keep writing. Life brings us disappointments in various ways. Being honest in all things and letting God be our guide is such great advice.

Until next week, God bless.

Green Bean-Egg Casserole

  • 1 quart green beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup cheese, grated

Cook green beans until tender (or use canned beans). Chop onion and sauté in 2 tablespoons butter. Slice or dice eggs and mix with the beans. Pour beans, eggs, and onions in 1½ quart casserole dish. Pour mushroom soup over all. Toast bread crumbs in 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle casserole with cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Bake 40 minutes at 350°.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.