Tag Archives: Lovina Eicher

Eichers sell their cow, get ready to host church services

It’s around 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. My husband Joe left at 3:50 a.m. for the RV factory. About a month ago, son-in-law Mose started working at the same RV factory. They leave and come home at the same time.

Sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, left at 5:15 a.m. to go help nephew Noah.

Daughter Susan quit working quite some time ago so she is a big help to me. Susan and Mose have been shopping for a place but it seems like nothing has come up that suits them. They need some acreage for their horses and it seems the places for sale have either too many or not enough acres. We don’t mind having them here beside us. I know the feeling that you want something to call your own. When Joe and I were first married we lived with my parents for a while before we moved into a mobile home on the other side of the drive from my parents and lived in that. We lived there until after we had Elizabeth and Susan. We bought a house several miles from my parents and lived there until we moved here in Michigan in 2004.

After much thought we decided to sell our cow Bessie to a close-by dairy farm. She gave way more milk than we could use and with the boys leaving so early it made an extra chore before they left. I’m sure Bessie will be much happier with other milk cows. Joseph was usually the one who milked Bessie mornings and evenings. He said it helped build up his arm muscles. Bessie was a good cow and I hope she does well for her new owners.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, Mose and Susan will have their first anniversary. How can it be a year already? And Aug. 14 is Timothy and Elizabeth’s second anniversary.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan, and Lovina, 13, went garage saling with Elizabeth’s horse and buggy pulling our buggy trailer. There were around ten garage sales at Amish places so they were able to buy some clothes as well. Abigail thinks she has to hold the driving lines and tell the horse giddy up. Elizabeth said when they pass another buggy Abigail waves and says, “Hi!” Then she goes back to telling the horse to go.

Steven, son of sister Emma and Jacob, had his tenth birthday on Sunday, July 30. He was very excited to get to sit with the boys in church now. After the boys and girls turn ten they don’t have to sit with their parents. Son Kevin, 11, was so glad Steven could come in with him.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail and sister Emma and Steven will come to help us prepare for the upcoming church services we will host in three weeks. It looks like we will be canning hot peppers and pickles. We are planning to wash out cabinets also and wash laundry if weather permits. Daughter Susan will also come over to help so we should get something accomplished today with all the help.

Friday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena, 19, and son Kevin, 11, traveled to Berne, Ind., with my good friend Ruth. We met readers and signed books at the Faith and Life Books and Gifts store in Berne. This was during the busiest time of the year for Berne—the Swiss Days Festival. After not being there for 14 or 15 years it has really expanded throughout the streets. I think the reader there for the signing who was from farthest away was Sharon from California. Then I found out she is a cousin to Aunt Gyneth Coblentz—a small world!

We stopped in to say hi to sister Leah and Paul. Then we stopped by my home place, where I was born and raised and lived until I was married with two children—bittersweet memories! We also went by the house Joe and I lived in for eight years. We stopped in and said hi to our old neighbor Emma, then we went to visit sister Liz, Levi, and daughters. Liz had surgery and was still recovering from that. She wasn’t feeling too good while we were there. Before heading for home we stopped at brother Amos and Nancy’s but no one was home so we headed back to Michigan. A big thanks to Ruth for once again taking time out of her life and away from her family to drive us!

God’s blessings!

Fried Corn

4 ears fresh sweet corn
2 strips crisp bacon and drippings
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Cut uncooked corn from cob and add to bacon drippings. Add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top.

 

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 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.

Elizabeth hosts the family for brunch, family games, and birthdays

This column will bring us more than halfway through 2017 already!

My arms are sore this morning from all the painting we did yesterday. Sister Emma and I helped paint three rooms at our sisters Verena and Susan’s house yesterday. The new floor will be put down next week so we wanted the painting done before that.

Tuesday evening Verena and Susan moved back to their house. Most of their furniture is still here in our basement. They do not have hot water yet and no refrigerator but they are using a cooler with ice for now. It doesn’t take much food for the two of them. I told them they can come over to use our shower since they don’t have the water heater hooked up yet. Also their laundry can be washed here for now, but they are just glad to at least be back in their home after three months. They appreciated all the gifts of money from readers. With sister Verena’s health not being the best lately and unable to work a lot, it helped out more than you know. Verena couldn’t help paint yesterday as her feet hurt to walk on them. The swelling has gone down some.

While we were painting, daughter Verena, 19, took our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser, to drive Loretta, 17, Lovina, 13, and Kevin, 11, to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned. Good ole Stormy—what would we do without him? He has taken us many miles over the years we have had him.

For Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and husband Timothy served a brunch for our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan. It was delicious. She made a big roaster full of Breakfast Casserole and French Toast (Overnight) Casserole (page 53 of my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook) and she also made pancakes, served with their own maple syrup. We all took in a dish or two of dessert so we ended up having way more food than we needed.

Also on the menu were peanut butter pudding, Rice Krispie treats, Jello cake, watermelon, peaches, chocolate crinkle cookies, coffee, juice (rhubarb, grape, and orange), chocolate milk, and homemade bread, butter and jam.

After the dishes were washed we played games outside. We played croquet as well as “Aggravation” under the shade tree. As usual there was a lot of excitement in the Aggravation game.

Elizabeth made root beer floats for everyone later in the day. And of course little Abigail received the most attention. Every time I see that little girl she has learned to do more new things. When we have a silent prayer before we eat she will fold her hands together to pray. But this only lasts for a few seconds, just long enough for all of us to see it; then she wants the “Amen” part to come already.

We then had birthday cake before we left for home. The cake was in honor of sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph’s, 15, birthdays. I asked the boys if it’s okay to just have one cake for both their birthdays and they were okay with that. With so much cake around lately I thought it was wise to just have one. Joseph turned 15 on July 24 and now we won’t have a birthday in our family until September when Kevin and Abigail will have birthdays.

I was helping daughter Susan this week with canning pickles. We also made four batches freezer pickles for her. Now she should have some when they host church services in September. Mose’s parents sent her a few buckets of cucumbers so she was glad to have enough to make pickles.

I want to can and freeze some pickles too. Daughter Elizabeth is coming today and will bring cucumbers. Zucchini is in full swing and we are enjoying making different casseroles. Daughter Susan is trying to make a recipe to share with you readers—our newest invention of using our many zucchinis. God bless all of you! Meanwhile enjoy this Breakfast Casserole recipe.

Breakfast Casserole

1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 flour tortillas
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 layer fried potatoes
1 pound sausage, fried
3/4 pound cheese, shredded

Mix sour cream and soups. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a roaster (needs to be bigger than 9×13). Cut tortillas into squares and put on top of that. Layer the remaining ingredients in order. Add the rest of the sauce. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes.

 

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, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying summer vegetables makes meal planning easier

Our weather has been hot and humid this week. This morning it is looking like it could rain. We need rain and it would also cool everything off.

Daughter Elizabeth and sweet little Abigail came yesterday to spend the day. We did laundry, which seemed extra huge with bedding and curtains in the wash. We washed walls and ceiling in son Benjamin’s bedroom upstairs. I still need to clean out his closet.

I have been working on my mending, which has accumulated in the past few months. It seems there is always something needing a button or has a tear here or there.

Our garden is doing well. Those weeds are trying to take over. We picked the first tomatoes from our plants. We are enjoying buttered beets from the red beets also. Zucchini and cucumbers are also ready. My cucumber plants all died but two, so I am hoping someone close by will have extra. Radishes are over but we still have lettuce, green onions, and peppers. Peas are done for the season. We had a few meals of red potatoes, too. Corn, broccoli and cabbage are coming along. I always like this time of the year when we can enjoy all the vegetables from the garden, as there is such variety to choose from. It makes meal planning so much easier.

I ordered peaches so that will be another thing off my “canning list.” I am afraid my canning will be in full swing around the time church services will be held here. We will host church one time in August and once in September. Then daughter Susan and husband Mose will also host it here once in September.

In between our church services we will have a hog roast for my family. I don’t have an exact count but think we are a total of 125 or more. It sure increased in size since the last time we took our turn to host my family. It was our turn last year but due to Susan’s wedding, my health, and then the surgery, I was unable to have it. We also canceled hosting church services here last year so that is why we have it twice this year.

I planned the hog roast for May but then sister Liz and Levi were preparing for niece Rosa’s wedding. So far it looks like it will suit all my siblings for September 16.

Sisters Verena and Susan are still living in our basement. The work at their house is progressing, with the dry wall mudding being done. The floor is on order. As soon as the drywall is done, we want to go help paint it. Two bedrooms upstairs and the bedroom and living room downstairs needed to be redone from the fire. The exterior is done now. It has been almost three months since the fire. Finally things are beginning to take shape for their house.

Son Joseph’s fifteenth birthday will be Monday, July 24. This is the third birthday in July for our family. Joe and I had our 24th anniversary on July 15 and brother Albert’s 53rd birthday was also on July 15. His sons, Albert Jr. and Andrew, were both born on Albert’s birthday in different years.

Sister Emma turned 44 on July 19, and her son Steven will be ten years old on July 30. My mother would have turned 81 on July 18 if she was still living. We get lots of cake in July.

Abigail is 10½ months old now. She is discovering everything. She stands by furniture and she discovered our open stairway steps. It looks like I’ll be getting my gate out again to block off the steps. We stayed behind Abigail to see how far up the steps she would go, and she just keeps going up one step after the other. She doesn’t realize that if she stands up she will fall back. How did the months slip by so far, that she is already this old? We sure have a lot of fun entertaining her. She loves playing in the kiddie pool and splashing water everywhere.

Broccoli from Lovina’s garden will soon be ready for a yummy and nutritious veggie casserole like this.

God bless you! Enjoy this recipe especially for fresh broccoli casserole!

Broccoli Casserole

3 cups Rice Krispies, browned in 1 stick margarine or butter
1½ cup fresh lima beans
2 cups fresh broccoli
1 cup water chestnuts
1 cup sour cream
1 package dry onion soup
1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

Brown Rice Krispies over low heat in butter. Set aside. Place lima beans, broccoli, and water chestnuts in 2 quart baking dish. Pour sour cream and mushroom soup over ingredients. Cover with dry onion soup mix and Rice Krispies. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

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, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That time the toddler conspired to free the baby from the playpen . . .

Another week has gone by, and it’s time to get another column on its way. This will wrap up June already. Half of 2017 is now history.

We are invited to a wedding in Berne, Ind., tomorrow for Lana, the daughter of one of Joe’s cousins. She is getting married to my cousin’s son, Abe. It doesn’t look like it will work for us to go. It will be Joe’s last day of work before a week’s vacation. We appreciated the invitation, though.

Saturday will bring us into July. Daughter Loretta was born to us on July 1, 2000. Her birthday goes with the year, so it’s always easy to remember her age! She will be 17. Son Benjamin is 17 until July 14, when he turns 18. Loretta always teases Benjamin that she caught up with him in age—although that only lasts for two weeks.

That was a few rough years when those two were toddlers! Growing up that close in age meant there was a lot of competition between the two.

I remember one day when Loretta and Benjamin were young and we were still living in Indiana. We had an attached garage, where I did my laundry. Back then I had to heat all my water on the stove in the house and carry it to the washing machine in the garage. Joe would fill up big garbage cans with cold water for me so I didn’t have to carry all the cold water. At first we had a washing machine without a motor, so it had to be operated by hand. But that is what I had grown up with, so I was used to that.

Still, I was pretty excited the day Joe brought me home a Maytag washing machine with a motor. We had only one motor, so Joe would take it off the pump jack that pumped the water from our well and hook it up to my washing machine. So if I decided I wanted to do laundry when Joe wasn’t home, I couldn’t. Finally, I figured out how to switch it myself. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

Now to get back to the story I started: on laundry day, I would put Loretta in the playpen while I carried hot water. She could crawl by that time, and I didn’t want her to get in the way. She didn’t like not being able to get out of the playpen. One day I went in to check on her and Benjamin. He had climbed up on a chair, reached my scissors in my desk and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could crawl out.

It still makes me shudder to think how easily he could have cut himself or Loretta doing that! Loretta was all smiles about the fact that her big brother helped her escape. Needless to say, the playpen didn’t work very well after that, what with a hole in it.

Another time, after we moved to Michigan and Loretta was three and Benjamin four, I was hanging out laundry. It was chilly that day, and I thought Benjamin and Loretta were entertained enough with their toys. Joseph was taking a nap, and the three oldest were in school. I would hang out one basket of laundry and then come in the house to check on the little ones. That day I found Benjamin and Loretta scrubbing my brand-new oak kitchen table with dish soap and scouring powder! They told me they wanted to “help” me. They had managed to use up almost a bottle of dish soap and a big can of scouring powder. I caught it before it did too much damage to the finishing on the table.

Lovina shares a delicious recipe for Italian Cucumber Salad—great for using ample fresh garden cukes!

I must say that Benjamin and Loretta have both grown up to be kindhearted young teenagers. But they are typical teenagers, so life still isn’t dull with the two of them. We have five teenagers in the house, so there’s never a dull moment!

So a happy birthday to Loretta! We wish her many more happy years. We plan to get together somewhere for pizza with the family of Dustin, Loretta’s special friend, in honor of Loretta’s birthday.

My daily prayer is that God will give Joe and me guidance to show our children a good example of serving such a wonderful God that we have, in good times and bad times.

May God bless all of you!

Italian Cucumber Salad

2 cups cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup onions, sliced
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Mix vegetables together. Add dressing and toss.

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, 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.

 

What happens when Lovina accidentally sleeps in—until 6:30 a.m.

It is already Thursday forenoon, and I still don’t have this column on its way! I made an attempt to write it last night after everyone went to bed, but I kept dozing off. I finally gave up and decided I would write it this morning.

Well, my day didn’t start out as intended. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., packed my husband Joe’s lunch, and went back to bed after he left at 3:40 a.m. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are helping nephew Noah and his construction crew at my sisters’ house today. They will be repairing everything that was burned and damaged when lightning struck their house on April 29 and caused a house fire. Noah told the boys to meet him there at 6:30 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m., son Benjamin woke up, and I was still sound asleep. He woke me up and said he thought we overslept. He jumped on his bike and left while Joseph quickly milked our cow, Bessie, before he left. Bessie had to be in the farthest corner of the pasture field, and she seemed to walk slower to come up to the barn. It probably just seemed that way, since Joseph was in a hurry.

But if there is actually such a thing as picking a good day to oversleep, today was such a day. On other days, a driver for the crew would have had to wait for them.

Joseph was on his way thirty minutes after Benjamin left. I sent their water jugs with Joseph and told the boys we would send them something for lunch since I didn’t get their lunch packed. On warm days like this, they like meat and cheese roll-ups. I use soft tortilla shells, add some ranch dressing and meat and cheese and roll them up. Other than maybe a few protein bars, the boys don’t want much else in their lunch. It gets too warm to eat, and they would rather wait until we have supper.

I decided that since I made the boys late, I would send a morning break to all the workers there. We made breakfast burritos, iced tea and coffee, and the girls took it over to my sisters’ house.

Daughter Verena has been going with sister Susan on house-cleaning jobs the last few days. Sister Verena is laid up and under doctor’s care. Some tests were taken. Hopefully she will soon be on the mend, but for now she has to keep her legs elevated. Sisters Verena and Susan are still staying here with us since their house fire. They will be glad when they are able to get back to their own house after it is finished.

Son-in-law Mose is keeping the garden watered on dry days. Our soil is sandy, so it dries up the moisture really fast. We replanted cucumbers as some plants died off. It seems everything is a little late this year. We are having a nice, steady, drizzling rain right now.

I am writing this column in my bedroom at my desk. If too many people are around, I need to get away from all the noise so I can think better. Then again, I can’t get too relaxed or I’ll start falling asleep again!

I’m glad we did laundry yesterday when it was nice outside. We are starting to do laundry three times a week. The boys need more work pants, so until I get more pants made, I need to do laundry more often.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day yesterday. It looks like Abigail’s first two teeth are finally ready to pop through. My children always had teeth before they were her age. She keeps rolling her tongue where the teeth are coming through. She probably feels the tiny bumps. Her sounds are really coming out, and she just gets sweeter all the time!

The bishop for Lovina’s Amish community made this beautiful little bench for baby Abigail Elizabeth. The bishop’s wife’s name is also Elizabeth.

Try this recipe with your zucchini this year. God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Zucchini Bars
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups finely shredded zucchini, packed

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butterscotch chips

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat in soda, salt and baking powder. Mix in flour until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 15x10x1-inch pan. Mix together brown sugar and butterscotch chips and sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

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, 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.

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

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, 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.

Remembering the deep grief of seven years ago

May 24—this date always takes my thoughts back to May 24, 2010. The day started out just like any other day. I was out on the porch watering the flowers while the children waited for the bus. The bus came and I could hear our phone ringing in the pole barn. I decided to finish watering the flowers before going to check if we had a voicemail from anyone. When the phone kept ringing and ringing I decided I had better go answer it. I will never forget how that phone call affected our lives.

I called my neighbor Ann to see if she could take me to sister Emma and Jacob’s house right away. We arrived and the first responders were already there trying to revive sweet little eight-and-one-half-month-old Marilyn. She didn’t wake up that morning.

I went with Emma to the hospital following the ambulance. Ann stayed with us. Another good friend Irene went to go pick up Jacob which was about a forty-five minute drive where he was working at the time. Ann prayed with Emma and me as we waited. It was too late to save Marilyn. Her death was ruled sudden infant death syndrome. Our hearts and minds questioned why. God doesn’t make mistakes and He needed another angel in heaven. Although I was devastated for losing my sweet little niece I could not begin to imagine what my sister was going through. The baby she had breastfed since birth, the bonding, and the joy of the family. With our youngest being almost five it seemed that Marilyn was my baby too.

The doctor said we could hold Marilyn; we wrapped a blanket around her and thought we should see her open her eyes and smile that sweet little smile of hers. Jacob arrived at the hospital. How do you tell someone they lost their child? I offered to go to school and let Jacob and Emma’s children know and bring them home. I knew that my children would want to come home too. The children were all so shocked and I tried to brace up for their sake.

It was decided that the viewing would be held at our house and the funeral at the local community building. When I arrived home there were already church and family friends cleaning everywhere. Church services had been set the day before to be held at our house in two weeks.

In my column in September, 2009, I had shared the good and exciting news: “Congratulations to sister Emma and Jacob as they are blessed with another addition to their family. Marilyn Jane was born by C-section this morning. She is a very tiny bundle weighing four pounds ten ounces and is seventeen inches long.” Weeks and months passed by and Marilyn never lacked attention.

How well I remember the day before Marilyn’s death. We all went to church and when Jacob and Emma arrived at church, our daughter Loretta (age 9 at that time) ran like usual to get baby Marilyn and brought her to me. Marilyn was so happy to see me and gave me a baby hug. That evening Jacob and Emma and family came to our house for a pork chop supper in honor of my birthday (May 22).

My oldest daughter Elizabeth (almost 16 at the time), sister Emma, and I sat in the yard with Marilyn and watched the rest play basketball. As usual, baby Marilyn was passed back and forth. Little did we realize these were our final hours with her.

Seven years have passed and I miss our sweet little angel. My granddaughter Abigail is now the age Marilyn was at that time. She wore Marilyn’s dresses when she was younger but is bigger than Marilyn was at this age, so she has outgrown them.

Happy birthday cake for Lovina.

My sisters Verena and Susan, and our married children brought supper in for my forty-sixth birthday which was Monday, May 22. After eating, we all went on a hayride. It was so enjoyable sitting on the bales of hay and being all together with my family. It was a bit chilly so we wrapped little Abigail up warm. We stopped in to say “hi” to Jacob, Emma, and family while on the hayride.

A big thank you to all who offered good wishes for my birthday. I also want to thank the many readers who showed up at the book signings in Goshen, Ind. at Better World Books, and at Barnes & Noble in nearby Mishawaka. So much encouragement from all of you! God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bars

1 cup flour
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine

Cut in margarine to the flour and powdered sugar. Mix well and pat crumb mixture into bottom of 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups rhubarb chopped

Meanwhile, mix additional dry ingredients listed above. Add beaten eggs. Stir in chopped rhubarb. Spoon on baked crust and bake for additional 35-45 minutes.

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, 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.

 

Corralling nine horses: all in a day’s work for Lovina

Diary of May 10, 2017

7:00 a.m. Lovina and Kevin leave for school with the bus. Joseph bikes to school because he can be home 45 minutes longer. With the chores he does, biking doesn’t make him so rushed. School is only three miles from here so it doesn’t take him long.

7:30 a.m. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for my sisters Verena, Susan (staying with us after their house fire), and son Joseph, for their breakfast. Verena and Susan leave for work.

7:45 a.m. Joseph bikes to school. Daughter Verena doesn’t have to work today so I let her and Loretta sleep in until everyone else is gone for the day. They get the job of washing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Verena cleans some windows. She makes scrambled eggs and toast for herself, Loretta, and me. I can relax better by sitting down and eating breakfast after everyone else has left.

9:00 a.m. I start sewing on Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. I had a late start. Had to do some book work first, answer some mail, pay some bills, and now I can feel relaxed to sew.

1:30 p.m. So much for being relaxed. Verena looked out and saw our horses all out in the yard, happily eating grass. We have quite a few horses so they need to be caught and put back inside the fence. Usually one of them is a troublemaker and takes off running away. I caught our pony Stormy, and two-year-old Beauty that the boys are training to drive. The rest took off. Verena almost caught Tough Boy (Mose and Susan’s pony) but he decided to pull away and join the rest! I knew Verena, Loretta, and I wouldn’t be able to get them all in when they took off down the road and back behind our neighbor’s field. I called the school and asked them to send Joseph home to help. Our neighbor Joe drove his four-wheeler to go herd them back up while Joseph, the girls, and I tried to help chase them in through the gate. What a relief when the last one was inside. We have five horses and two ponies, and Mose and Susan have one horse and one pony. So all together there were nine head of horses. We chained the gate and were trying to figure out how they opened it. Then we saw our miniature pony Prancer go up and take the chain in his mouth and wiggle it back and forth. Joseph tied a rope to secure it better.

2:45 p.m. It was too late for Joseph to go back to school so he took our mower over to my sisters’ place and mowed their grass for them.

3:00 p.m. Lovina and Kevin came home from school on the bus. I am finally finished with daughter Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. She was happy to see it done when she came home from work.

4:00 p.m. Verena and I leave for town as I need some groceries.

6:00 p.m. We are back. Chores are done and the boys are out in the field line-driving Beauty. Beauty will be Benjamin’s horse once she’s trained. She will be his eighteenth birthday gift from us.

7:00 p.m. My sisters Verena and Susan are home from their jobs. They had extra cleaning to do so they worked later than normal.

A surprise for Susan’s (Lovina’s sister) birthday.

7:30 p.m. We are having pizza, ice cream, and a cake for my sister Susan’s birthday. She was surprised when she came home to see the cake, flower, and balloons we had for her. Loretta’s friend Dustin, Mose, and daughter Susan joined us for supper.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is ready for bed. Dustin, Mose, and Susan left. Now I sit here trying to stay awake and write this column. I feel sorry for the editor that gets to edit the column this week. My writing is showing exactly how tired I am.

We were glad to meet with column readers at Dorothy’s Hallmark Bookstore in Warsaw, Ind., last Saturday. I heard so much encouragement. May God bless you all! And thanks to Dorothy and staff for once again treating us so well. And also to Ruth Boss furnishing transportation and support!

Asparagus Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter
1 cup colby cheese, cubed
4 cups soft bread, cubed
1 cup asparagus, cooked
2 cups chicken meat, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Melt butter. Pour over cubed cheese and bread cubes. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put drained asparagus on top of bread mixture and chicken on top of asparagus. Mix can of soup with milk and pour over chicken. Add remaining bread mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not cover.

 

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, 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.

 

 

 

Verena’s vacation memorable, but she’s happy to be home with family

Dear Readers,

This is Verena, age 19. My mother asked me to write the column this week. Recently my life has been so busy with working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the daycare. I also babysit for my friend’s three little boys whenever they need a sitter. I love children, so it makes me happy that my job includes taking care of many sweet little angels! With most of the children at the daycare being age five and under, it takes lots and lots of patience. The children are at such a tender, young, innocent age. I feel blessed to be able to care for them.

I recently took a trip to Rhode Island with a lady I work for at the daycare center. We traveled with a group. Our trip started on April 2. We left Michigan before daylight, traveling through Indiana, Ohio, and on into Pennsylvania. We stayed the first night in Pittsburgh. We had such beautiful scenery from our eleventh-floor hotel room. The hotel was twenty stories high.

Verena loved creating a special crayon wrapper for baby Abigail at the Crayola factory in Easton, Pa.

On Monday, we traveled to Easton, Pa., and toured the Crayola factory. We were able to play a few games and work with art. I was able to make two crayons of my own and could name the color on the crayon. I chose the names Abigail Elizabeth and Verena for my colors.

That evening we slept in New York City. The lights after dark are absolutely amazing. There is such a big difference between the lifestyles in a big city and the lifestyle I know as an Amish country girl!

On Tuesday, we left New York City around 6:00 a.m. and drove to Newport, R.I. By the time we reached Rhode Island we had traveled through nine states. We drove along the Atlantic Ocean and then crossed the bridge to Rhode Island. The scenery was such perfect artwork created by our wonderful God. The ocean is always amazing to see and makes us feel so small.

We stayed in Rhode Island two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) in a nice hotel. We enjoyed swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. A few from our group took a three-mile walk along the ocean. I walked along the beach and saw seashells scattered about.

While in Rhode Island we went to the Audrain Auto Museum. It was quite something to see. We then drove to Shawnee on Delaware, in Pennsylvania. Shawnee on Delaware is an unincorporated community on the Delaware River, a part of Smithfield Township in Monroe County. We stayed in a cabin in the woods at the Shawnee Village Resort. It was a very nice place to stay.

Saturday, April 9, we started out and were going to stay the night in Ashland, Ohio, but decided to drive all the way home instead. I was so glad to reach home that night yet. I missed my family so much. It is nice to go on a vacation, but there is nothing like home and family. I was thankful that we had safe travels and a safe driver. I will forever remember this trip.

On Sunday I stayed home and rested all day while the rest of the family went to church. Later in the day our family—sister Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail, Mose and Susan, Dustin, and aunts Verena and Susan—all went to Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma’s for supper and an egg hunt. I was happy to see my little niece Abigail again. It was a great night with family. Like usual, we all enjoyed looking for the eggs. Supper was campfire stew, fresh grilled ham, cheese, crackers, cherry delight, Swiss roll bars, fruit dip, apples and grapes.

I’m getting excited for Saturday. I will be getting my Teacup Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky. I have his bed and everything set up for him.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. God bless!

I will share the recipe for skillet casserole. I made if for our supper tonight. I don’t add the carrots and I wait to add the cheese until the potatoes are soft. It’s a very good casserole!

Skillet Casserole

1 pound raw ground beef
5 medium potatoes, grated
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 or more cheese slices

Spread the ground beef on the bottom of a large skillet. Place potatoes on top of meat and then add a layer of onions. Pour the soup over top, and add slices of cheese over the whole casserole. Cover skillet and simmer for 40 minutes. Optional: diced carrots can also be added as a layer on top of the potatoes.

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, 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.

 

Spring break brings emptier nest for Eichers; plus exciting birth to announce!

It has been rainy and cool all week—not the best weather for the children while they are on spring break from school! I was hoping we could get the yard raked up this week, but I’m sure we will have nicer days to work outside. There is plenty to do otherwise. The boys have been getting the barn cleaned out.

Our cow Bessie decided to have her calf on the last day of March. We had the veterinarian come out and check on her the night before, as she was ten days past her due date. He thought it might be a few days yet. But the next day while Loretta was finishing up with washing the breakfast dishes, she saw that Bessie was trying to deliver out in the field. Son Benjamin was home, so he tried to get her to come up from the field to get her in the barn.

Bessie gave birth to a healthy calf this week, right out in the field.

She wouldn’t move, so I called the veterinarian and he said to let her where she was and told me we should help her. Benjamin, Verena, and I tried to help her, but we needed another guy to help, so we asked our neighbor. With all three of us, we were able to help Bessie deliver a big bull calf. We were glad all was well with Bessie and the calf. Bessie is a good mother, and the calf is lively out in the field during the days when it’s not raining.

The house seems empty this week without daughter Verena home. She is in Rhode Island right now, but they stopped at places of interest on the way to Rhode Island. She traveled through nine states on the way there. They slept in Pittsburgh one night and in New York City the next night. She was able to tour the Crayola Factory in Easton, Pa. I am sure she will have many stories to tell us once she’s home. We really miss her!

The house seems even emptier the last few days. Daughter Lovina is at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. I am sure she’s having fun entertaining Abigail. They will come here today. I am hoping we can get some wedding clothes sewn. Verena is tablewaiter next week in niece Emma and Johnny’s wedding and needs to wear a dress of green apple color. I am a cook and will wear a dark tan dress. It will be nice to see the family again.

I don’t have too many details yet, but my oldest nephew Ben (son of sister Leah and Paul) had a scare recently with his wife Rosemarie. Rosemarie had a baby girl (by C-section) named Elizabeth. A few days after she was home, Rosemarie was rushed to the hospital because a blood clot traveled to her lungs. My sister Leah took care of the newborn while Ben stayed with Rosemarie in the hospital. Rosemarie is back home and I haven’t heard how she is doing recently. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery. Our prayers are with them.

On Sunday we enjoyed a haystack dinner at my sisters Verena and Susan’s. Jacob, Emma and sons Benjamin and Steven, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail and Loretta’s special friend Dustin were also there.

God’s blessings to all!

Overnight Cookies
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and blend. Divide into three parts and form into rolls. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Slice off cookie-sized pieces and bake at 400 degrees for eight minutes or until done. Pecans or walnuts can be pressed into center of dough before baking.

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, 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.