Tag Archives: church services

Hosting church brings surprise guests and plenty of fellowship

Today is the 59th birthday of my oldest sibling, sister Leah. Birthday blessings to her! Since we live two hours apart and I won’t get to see her, I sent a card and letter to her by mail.

Our children who still live at home spent today helping daughter Susan and her husband, Mose, in preparation for their upcoming hosting of church services. Also helping were sister Emma and son Steven, and my daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail. We all went over for breakfast, which was breakfast burritos, sugar cookies, peaches, and watermelon. We cleaned out cabinets, cupboards, and other items, and the boys cleaned out the barn.

Abigail kept herself entertained by playing with dolls and looking at books. She loves looking at books and really notices what a book is about. She plays “Mommy” and keeps her little “baby” happy. She asked her mother, Elizabeth, if she wanted to hold her baby. While she was handing the doll to Elizabeth, it almost dropped from her hands. Abigail said, “Be careful, Mom!” in such a grown-up voice. It was just so cute!

Baby Jennifer is seven months old today and also kept us entertained. She is just full of smiles but doesn’t like when her mom is extra busy, like today. She breastfeeds, so Jennifer enjoys those times with her mother.

We hosted church services last Sunday. There were some families missing but we had visitors, so I am guessing we had around 130 to 140 people here. It was a smaller group than I’m used to having, but it was nice to be done with the preparation. Dishes were all washed and packed up by 1:30 pm. Guests sat outside under the shade trees and enjoyed popcorn before leaving.

We had a nice surprise on Sunday morning. Sister Liz and husband Levi, nieces Suzanne and Elizabeth with Samuel and their children, LaRose and Samuel Lee, niece Rosa, Menno and baby Jeremiah, nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene all showed up for church services here. We were glad to have them! Liz and Levi were able to pick up Levi Jr. and Arlene on their way up to Michigan.

Our church lunch menu included: homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, red beans (pickled), hot peppers, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, iced tea, plus chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal cookies.

Saturday evening before church services here, our married children with grandchildren plus Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, as well as some friends of our sons spent the night here. We have a bed and cribs in the part of the pole barn where we have church services that was made into a temporary nursery for the ladies with small babies. Mose, Susan and Jennifer slept in there (their old living quarters when they lived here). It’s nice that they have their own bathroom out there. We also have a bed and bathroom in our basement, which is where Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail slept. The extra boy visitors divided up between our sons’ two bedrooms. So we had enough room for everyone!

Sunday morning, I made two breakfast casseroles and put them in the oven to bake while everyone dressed for church.

After church and lunch, Liz, Levi and family headed home in the late afternoon. Jacob, sister Emma and family, and sisters Verena and Susan, along with our family, were here for supper. Our menu was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken and noodles, gravy, peaches, cookies, sliced tomatoes, homemade bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, red beet pickles, hot peppers and more.

I didn’t invite more people to stay for supper, as we were so tired from all the extra work we did beforehand. Needless to say, we feel pretty relaxed this week and are taking life a little easier. God’s blessings to all!

Today’s recipe is for a super-healthy side dish that you can keep in the fridge for weeks to come. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

Marinated Carrots

2 pounds carrots
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 can tomato soup
1 cup sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash and scrape carrots. Cut into diagonal slices about 1 inch long. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool. In large bowl, combine carrots with onion rings and green pepper slices. Combine soup, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour hot mixture over carrot mixture. Cool. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight. Keeps up to a month in the refrigerator.

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

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Benches and Ausbund hymnals are hauled from one home to another to use for church services in homes, pole barns or basements. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held here on Sunday, Lord willing. The extra project of getting wainscoting and trim on has felt a bit overwhelming.

We are also putting a new ceiling up since the drywall still looks different from being patched in when we had the house fire several years ago. They ran into some problems putting it up so it delayed us from some of the cleaning.

It has just been one late night after another and I will be so glad once we have it completed. We regretted that we even started with a deadline so close but we will be glad its another check off our “to do list” or as my husband Joe would call it, “honey do list.” It does look very nice to see the windows with trim and the doorways. The curtain rods have been hung with the curtains. Every day we get closer to being done and every day brings us closer to Sunday. It is nice to have a big house but it takes a lot longer to clean it as well.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer came to help some more. We  had an easy supper of a lot of garden vegetables. On the menu were potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber salad, breaded zucchini—all vegetables from our garden. We also had some barbecued chicken that was leftover from the day before.

On Sunday August 5 was Mose and Susan’s second anniversary. Next week on August 14 will be Timothy and Elizabeth’s third anniversary. I wish both couples a happy anniversary and God’s richest blessings. May they enjoy many more happy and healthy years together. We have been blessed with two great sons-in-law that are willing to help us when we need help with our work. We like to return the favor. It helps parents to know their daughters are happy in marriage. May God always be their guide as we travel into the unknown future.

The ceiling we are putting up is wood and needs staining. We are staining it a natural oak. All the work of the staining is being done by sons Joseph, 16, Kevin, 12, and daughters Verena, 20, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14. They have put in many hours of staining the 4×8 sheets by hand. We wanted it to have two applications but ran out of stain. Tomorrow morning we will get more so it can all be dry by evening.

We have more help coming tomorrow. Sister Emma and sons, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls will come in the morning. Their husbands will come after work to help finish hanging the ceiling and help with whatever else Joe needs done. Niece Emma’s special friend Menno will also come help. Also daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin. We are sure appreciative of all their help. It seems with mowing, gardening, etc., its just a busy time of the year.

Last Saturday those assisting us with our work were Jacob, Emma, and sons Jacob Jr, 18, Benjamin, 16, and Steven, 11; Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and Dustin.

Joe has some work that he needs done in the barn. He wants to make room for a few new horse stalls so the chicken coop area is all being torn out. We butchered our old chickens and will wait until spring when we can start new ones in hopefully a new chicken coop separate from the barn. The young boys got the job of cleaning up the barn.

Jacob Jr. and Loretta were in charge of grilling 30 pounds of chicken for our lunch. They also made potatoes on the grill cooked in olive oil. With desserts being brought in and adding cucumber salad and tomatoes to the menu we had a delicious meal for all the hard workers.

Now I need to go to bed. Writing about all this work is even exhausting! Everyone else has gone to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 dozen.

 

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

 

 

 

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Another busy week! Yesterday was a long day. Sister Emma and sons Jacob, 18, and Steven, 11, daughter Elizabeth with Abigail, and daughter Susan with Jennifer assisted us with our work.

Steven had his eleventh birthday on Monday, July 30. Son Kevin and Steven always enjoy spending time together. They both have muscular dystrophy, so they are limited with what they can do. Other children at that age don’t always want to take the time to play with someone that is slower at walking. It’s the age when others are active and want to run and play sports. So most of the time these two boys keep each other entertained at school, church, etc. Until I had handicapped children I never thought so much about it but once you are at this end of it you really appreciate the people that are considerate of your children. It is hard for boys this age to sit back and watch the other boys running and playing games that they can’t participate in. God helps us through our trials.

Yesterday our back entrance was cleaned from top to bottom. Some kitchen cabinets were also cleaned out. I sure was glad for what all was done. Everyone who came to help had a breakfast of biscuits, sausage gravy, fried eggs, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, watermelon, coffee, milk, and juice. For lunch we had vegetable soup and hot dog sandwiches.

In the evening my husband Joe, sons Joseph and Kevin and I went to Menards (a large lumber and supply store) to pick up our order of trim and wainscoting. Yes, we are finally getting our trim on. One year after another slips by since we moved in our new house. It seemed we could always use the money somewhere else and that is still the case but Joe said we need to get it done. It will look a lot better I’m sure. We have the family coming to help us with it on Saturday. Then we have one more week after that to be ready to host church services.

Daughter Verena, 20, is disappointed to be out of a job again. Nephew Emanul shut down his woodworking shop where she was a secretary. She had found some work suitable for her and it was working so good for her. Again we will trust God to lead the way. I sure am glad for her help with the cleaning but I understand that helping her mother doesn’t pay.

Last Friday my sisters Verena and Susan spent the day here helping. They cleaned a lot of windows. They used white vinegar in water to wash them and use cheese cloth towel to dry them. It made the windows nice and sparkling. Joe made grilled hamburgers and French fries for our supper before they left for home. I sure appreciate everyone’s help.

We were invited to a fish fry at neighbors Joas and Susan’s place last night but couldn’t attend as we had to go to Menards.

I have pickles that need to be canned today. I will also make freezer pickles with them. For canning pickles, I use the recipe that a lady in our church gave me called sweet dill pickles. I will share the recipe with those of you that like canning your own pickles.

God bless!

Sweet Dill Pickles

Cucumbers, (sliced, enough for about 3 quarts, or double plus extra for 6-7 quarts)
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves (per quart)
2 dill heads (per quart)
pinch of alum (per quart)

Put sliced cucumbers, garlic, dill, and alum in jars. Heat vinegar, sugar, salt, and water together then pour over pickles. Cold pack according to your guide for water bath canning. Makes 3 quarts.

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

 

 

Scary moments for Eicher family

Scary moments for Eicher family

It is Thursday morning and past time for this column to be on its way.

Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, are almost ready for the school bus. Son Benjamin, 17, is hitching up a horse to take our daughter Susan to work. The temperature is staying right around the freezing mark this morning. All our snow has disappeared. The weather lately seems too warm for this time of the year. We are hoping for more cold weather next month which makes it easier to butcher beef and pork. When the temperature is cold, you can keep the meat cold while you work with it.

Our week started out differently from usual. Susan and I were washing laundry in the basement when daughter Loretta, 16, heard something fall upstairs in the hallway. She called up to daughter Verena, 19, and didn’t get an answer. Since it takes Loretta longer to climb the stairs, she yelled down to the basement for us to come help.

Verena was breathing but could not open her eyes or talk to us. I called her doctor and they said to take her to the ER. Lots of tests were done, but she would not respond. The doctors decided to transfer her to a bigger hospital an hour away. She was admitted there and a CT scan, MRI, and lots more testing was done. She started opening her eyes and finally said a few words to me. Tuesday evening she was released and we brought her home. The doctors think it was due to some recent head trauma that caused her to black out like that. She has a history of lots of small concussions since a bad one in 2009 in which she lost over a year of her memory. She has been through a lot. She seems weaker than usual since she’s home and has headaches. She would be interested to hear from others that have dealt with post-concussive syndrome after a brain concussion. She has had her share of hospital visits due to past concussions. The brain is hard to figure out and doctors still have lots to study about how differently one brain heals from another.

It’s a scary moment for the family when you can’t get someone to respond and not sure what will happen. That is when we especially depend on God! He is in control. Let us trust him for he makes no mistakes.

Today we will go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning preparing for church services at their house. Her husband Timothy’s family went to help them on Tuesday. Church services will be there a week from Sunday. This is a new experience for them to host church services. Jacob and Emma will host services two weeks after Timothy’s so we also want to help Emma with her cleaning. It doesn’t look like there will be much time to rest this winter. Our friend Beth is going to take us to Elizabeth’s with her van. I didn’t want Verena to ride in the buggy yet. Verena will go along but can rest over there. She can help keep Baby Abigail entertained while we clean.

Time this morning is going fast and I need to be ready to go by 8:30 a.m. God’s blessings to all. Prayers would be greatly appreciated and we will do likewise in great weakness. Stay healthy!

Try this breakfast casserole. We like something like this even for supper.

Cheesy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

8 frozen hash brown patties
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until browned, turning patties after 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add milk, sour cream, garlic powder, mustard and pepper; mix well. Stir in bacon, 6 ounces of the cheese and onions. Pour over hash brown patties. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (add more cheese if desired).

Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

 

All hands on deck cleaning house for church services—even on a great sledding day!

This is a cold winter day with the mercury on the thermometer dipping way down to 5 degrees. It is snowing but the wind isn’t as strong as it was yesterday.

Joseph, 13, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 10, didn’t have school yesterday. It was cancelled due to the weather. This was their first snow day this season. With church services being held here Sunday there was plenty to do. Lovina cleaned the bathroom in the basement and washed the basement steps while Joseph and Kevin swept and mopped the basement floor. I gave the refrigerator down there a good cleaning. Things look clean and good enough now in the basement.

I let them go sledding in the afternoon since they did such a good job. I heard Joseph tell Kevin and Lovina that he hopes if there are more snow days it will be after church services are held here! I had to smile when I heard that. Evidently, his idea of a snow day was sledding outside with our pony Stormy pulling the sled. Joseph will be 14 in July but he is already taller than I am. He has passed Benjamin, 16, in height as well. Milking Bessie every morning and evening has also given him a lot of arm strength. Joseph is the comedian in our family. He is always making us laugh.

While we were cleaning yesterday we were surprised to have our supper sent over by neighbors Marlin and Janie. This was so thoughtful and very much appreciated. The evening before our neighbors Joas and Susan brought supper in. What a treat to not have to make supper. May God bless them for their kind deeds!

I wasn’t able to attend our last church services due to some health issues I’ve been having. I still wanted to take our turn to host church services and appreciated all the offers to come help me prepare.

My sisters Verena and Susan and Emma and her daughter Emma and her son Jacob Jr., assisted us with our work last Friday. This was a warmer day before all this snow and cold weather came. It was a perfect day to get all the windows cleaned and curtains washed, plus all the walls and ceilings were washed off. They also cleaned the furniture.

Then Saturday Timothy and Elizabeth and Susan’s friend Mose came to help us. Timothy and Mose helped clean the new building where church services will be held. They helped my husband Joe with what all needs to be cleaned up outside. Elizabeth cleaned the boys’ bedroom which isn’t the most fun job. How those three boys can accumulate so much stuff is beyond me. All I can say is “boys will be boys.” When Elizabeth finished it looked so refreshing and clean. They are trying their hardest to keep it looking good.

Saturday evening Benjamin brought three of his friends home to spend the night and all day Sunday. Those four boys enjoyed eating shelled peanuts at some time overnight. When I went up Monday to get their bed sheets to wash, there were peanut shells all over the floor. At least it’s something easy to sweep up—and they all enjoyed the peanuts.

We had a brunch Sunday forenoon so the boys could sleep a little later. The rest of the day was spent playing games, resting, etc. I made a campfire stew on the stove for an early supper before the boys left for home. There wasn’t a singing scheduled for the youth so they just stayed here for supper. With all the snow and ice we were having, it was good to see them stay home.

Joe has to work on Saturday at the RV factory so Timothy and Mose will come help set up the benches for church services on Saturday. They also have to make room in the barn to tie all the horses on Sunday. If the family hosting church doesn’t have a big enough barn, others will bring horse blankets for their horses on cold days as they stand outside.

This week I’ll share the recipe of baked egg in the nests that daughter Verena made for our breakfast yesterday.

eggs.in.nest

Baked Egg in the Nest

1 slice bread
1 egg
butter
shredded cheese
black pepper

Put slice of bread on a baking sheet. Press down the center of the bread with a spoon. Spread butter on the outside raised edge of the bread. Put the egg on the bread (the raised part will help hold the egg inside). Sprinkle the cheese on top of the buttered outer edge of the bread. Sprinkle black pepper on the egg. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

 

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.

Who will be the donkey? Fun game for your holiday season plus pumpkin pancakes!

It’s Thanksgiving week already! We will have my sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, Jacob, and family here for Thanksgiving dinner and also all of our family. I am planning to prepare two turkeys plus all the trimmings.

Son Benjamin, 16, was excited last week to shoot his first deer. My husband Joe and Benjamin cut and ground all the meat on Saturday. Joe wants to make jerky and summer sausage with it.

Friday evening our family traveled the seven miles to Timothy and daughter Elizabeth’s house with our horses and buggies. Elizabeth had prepared a tater tot casserole and Timothy grilled venison burgers and steak. They wanted us to spend the night there so Joe could go hunting with Timothy early on Saturday morning.

After supper was over we played “Donkey” and enjoyed popcorn. For those of you who don’t know how to play Donkey, I’ll explain the best I can.

We use Rook game cards. Every player is given three cards and spoons are placed in the middle of the table. Put one less spoon out than there are players. One of the players takes the cards that haven’t been passed out and takes one card at a time and passes it to the next player. The object of the game is to see who gets three cards with the same number first. So if you get a number you want, then switch it with one of your three cards and pass it on. The first player that gets three cards the same will grab a spoon. One player will be left without a spoon and will get a letter “D”. The first player that has the whole word “donkey” spelled out loses.

After they have lost, the other players keep playing but aren’t allowed to talk to the “loser”. If you do, then you get another letter. Son Joseph, 13, was the first to be the “donkey” (smile) and he was good at tricking us into talking to him. It is so easy to forget if he asks a question, to answer him. We had a lot of fun but it’s a noisy game. Spoons fly around a lot after the first person grabs one.

We were excited to wake up Saturday morning with a layer of snow on the ground. It snowed most of the day on Saturday and I think we received around seven inches of snow. The hunters were glad for the snow too. The snow clung to the tree branches and made such pretty scenery. Only God can paint the earth with such beautiful scenes. The children enjoyed sled rides on Saturday evening.

Sunday we went to church for the first time since our church divided into two districts. It was smaller but we had a lot of visitors from other districts so there were still a lot of people there.

PumpkinPancakesEditedFor this week’s recipe I’ll share pumpkin pancakes. Daughter Susan didn’t have to work at the factory yesterday and today, so we made these for our breakfast this morning. If you love pumpkin, you’ll like these pancakes. We had maple syrup with them.

I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving and safe travels if you are traveling, or anywhere where you are—be safe! God’s love to all!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of nutmeg

Whisk pumpkin and egg together until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fry in skillet like normal pancakes.

 

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.