Tag Archives: Old Christmas

Getting to work in snow and ice when you’re Amish—and more

We are having a thunderstorm this morning: not at all normal weather for January. The temperature is hanging around 34 degrees so some places could be icy.

Daughter Susan has to be at work by 9:00 a.m. She was going to drive the buggy but called a driver instead (“drivers” are non-Amish people that we hire to take us to and from work or town if we can’t go with a buggy and horse) to take her this morning. Son Benjamin isn’t working today so he’ll go pick her up with the horse and buggy this afternoon when she is finished with her work.

Benjamin plans to haul manure out to the fields today since the temperature has warmed up this week. He also worked at that yesterday. Our horse, Mighty, pulls the one-horse manure spreader. Our old horse, Diamond, was always the one we used to haul manure. We miss having him around after having him over twenty years.

Our new chickens have been laying an abundance of eggs. We still haven’t butchered the old hens, so they are also providing eggs.

The table is ready for a big gathering for “Old Christmas.”

Friday “Old Christmas” (January 6) that I wrote about last week ended up being a very enjoyable day. My sister Emma, Jacob and family, my sister Verena and Susan, and our family were all here. Nephew Benjamin had my name in the gift exchange. I received some dish towels and a mop bucket on wheels with a spin mop. This makes mopping so much easier for the girls. No bending over to squeeze out the mop and the bucket has a dolly with wheels to push the bucket around.

Lots of nice gifts were exchanged. Son Kevin received a game called Quick Cups which some of us played. I never heard of this game but it was fun. Each person had five different color cups and everyone took turns flipping a card. Whoever stacked the cups in order of the colors on the cards first, rang the bell and could keep that card. The person with the most cards at the end of the game won. We also enjoyed playing Mad Gab. That is always a loud, exciting game and lots of fun to try and figure out what the card says. After a haystack breakfast for brunch we enjoyed snacks in the afternoon. Veggies and dip, fruits, and venison summer sausage and venison snack sticks were among the snacks. We like to add some healthy snacks instead of so many sweets.

Saturday Joe and I and some of our children spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth and Timothy. Joe and Joseph helped Timothy lay a new hardwood floor in their living room while Verena, Lovina and I washed off the walls and ceiling and cleaned furniture from the living room. Church services will be there in two and one-half weeks so lots of cleaning is being done.

Lovina, Joe and family enjoyed putting together the biggest puzzle they’ve ever attempted.

We finished the 2000 piece puzzle we got for Christmas on Sunday afternoon. It took us two weeks to complete it. This is the biggest puzzle we have ever done. We want to glue it and get a frame made for it. Challenging but fun!

Yesterday friends and family gathered for a late Tupperware wedding shower for daughter Susan at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Lunch was served afterwards. Susan received lots of nice storage containers to add to her kitchen. She appreciated everyone that contributed and also for Elizabeth opening up her home to everyone. The recipe this week comes from the woman who demonstrated the Tupperware products at the shower, which we enjoyed sampling at the end.

God’s blessings to all!

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple slices, undrained
5 maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and brown sugar. Mix well, then spread evenly over bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice; set aside. Arrange pineapple slices over sugar mixture, then put a cherry half in center of each pineapple slice; sprinkle with nuts. Add enough water to pineapple juice to make 1 1/3 cups liquid. In a bowl, combine cake mix, liquid, eggs and oil; whisk until blended and smooth. Pour over fruit mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Carefully loosen edges of cake and invert onto 18×12-inch grooved cutting board or other large flat plate and cool slightly. Decorate with whipped topping using a frosting bag and tip, or just spoon dollops of whipped topping around the cake. Slice and serve.



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.

Eichers usher in new year by doing puzzles, coloring, and celebrating Old Christmas

A brand new year—2017—awaits us. What will it hold for everyone? Although it doesn’t have to be a new year to make resolutions, it’s a good time to start. It amazes me how fast one year after another goes!

When the children were younger, winters seemed to last forever. Now it seems like I don’t have enough cold months to stay sewing at the sewing machine. It’s so hard to keep up with sewing pants for the three boys. Kevin, 11, seems to grow taller every month. Joseph, 14, is taller than Benjamin, 17, so there are no more “hand-me-downs.” Benjamin works in construction, so his pants get lots of wear and tear.

We had a very nice Christmas together with our children. Everyone gathered here on Christmas Eve and stayed for the night. It was baby Abigail’s first time sleeping at our house. So sweet to see her wake up in the morning and then give such a bright smile!

We all enjoyed breakfast together and then washed the dishes. Then we gave gifts to each other and enjoyed watching each other open them. How precious these family times are. They mean even more to me now, with two of our children no longer living in our house.

We played games, and some enjoyed coloring. A person can never get too old to color! We also started a 2,000-piece puzzle that daughter Susan and Mose gave for a gift to my husband Joe and I. We always put together 1,000-piece puzzles, so Susan wanted to challenge us even more. We now have the puzzle more than halfway done. It is a picture of a lighted cabin and two deer standing by the woods. We would like to glue this one and frame it.

I think it’s so relaxing to sit and work on the puzzle after supper on these cold winter nights. It gives a person a chance to unwind. I remember well how often, years ago, our puzzles would get pushed off the table or messed up by our little children. I imagine it won’t be long until we will have grandchildren who are old enough to enjoy trying to mess them up. Life goes on!

One day while Joe and the children were on Christmas break, we had company stop by. It was Ruth Coblentz and Rose Chapman. They are both cousins to Joe’s dad. Ruth’s husband, Dave, is deceased but was a cousin to my father. Brother Albert had sent us some pon hoss, a fried dish from leftover hog meat, from when they butchered hogs. We were having that for a late breakfast, so Ruth and Rose got to taste it too. The children love coffee soup and eggs with pon hoss. We had a nice visit with the cousins.

The Eicher family enjoyed opening gifts together on Christmas Day and then again on “Old Christmas,“ celebrated on January 6.

Friday, January 6, is what we call “Old Christmas,” and the Amish in this area honor that day. We will have my sisters here in Michigan for a gift exchange and to spend the day together. We are a total of 25 now. We already have the tables set up to seat 24 people. Abigail doesn’t need a place setting yet. Our children are always excited to set the table for all of us.

These pecan pie bars are a great snack and a family favorite. Happy 2017 and God bless!

Pecan Pie Bars

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup corn syrup
dash salt
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

In a small bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended. Pat into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–22 minutes or until golden.

In another small bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt until smooth. Pour over crust; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 40–45 minutes longer or until set. Cool. Cut into bars.

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.


Haystack brunch and Old Christmas/Epiphany gatherings mark beginning of 2016

The Christmas holidays and family get-togethers are now over for another year. Yesterday, January 6, was Old Christmas (Epiphany) so everyone was home for the day. It was a day well spent with family. I had a baked meal with the menu consisting of meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, lettuce salad, cheese, dill pickles, hot peppers, applesauce, sugar cookies, and zucchini bread. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy joined us for part of the day. Of course their dogs Crystal and Izzy came along. The dogs are always so excited to come here and the children are equally happy to see them.

In the afternoon we played the game Life on the Farm. It is always a fun game even though it can last for several hours like Monopoly. The players have to buy cows but can lose them again. The first player that owns 60 cows and has $10,000 wins the game. Always an exciting game to play. Kevin, 10, and Lovina, 11, had fun playing also. Other games played were Aggravation, Connect Four, and Checkers.

On New Year’s Day we went to Jacob and Emma’s house for a haystack brunch. They had the tables set for all of us. Sisters Verena and Susan, Elizabeth and Timothy, and all the girls’ special friends were there as well. Besides haystacks there were all kinds of desserts but no one was hungry after the haystack meal. We enjoyed snacks and desserts later in the day.

After dishes were washed we exchanged gifts. Nephew Steven had my name and gave me a 32 x 55 inch cutting mat to cut out clothes. I have a small one but am really going to like this bigger one. Daughter Lovina had my husband Joe’s name and gave him an ice auger to drill holes in the ice when he goes ice fishing. This year so far it looks like he won’t get to use it. I’m sure we will get colder weather yet. Son Joseph was given an ice fishing pole by son-in-law Timothy so he is also hoping for ice fishing weather. After the gifts were all opened we played games. A new game I played was Apples to Apples.

Jacob and Emma had the final inspection of the addition to their house approved. Their children have moved their clothes up to their new bedrooms. They were excited after living in a ranch style one-story house.

We all ate the haystack brunch in the new attached garage. They still have some remodeling to do as they want to tear out the bedroom walls and make a bigger kitchen, dining room, and living room. I am sure they will be glad when it’s all done.

Church services are set here for January 17, so we have been kept busy cleaning. Sister Emma, her son Jacob, and her daughter Emma came on Tuesday to assist us in cleaning. We cleaned most of the basement and washed clothes. Saturday we will have more help so hopefully everything will get cleaned in time. We are heating our new building where we will host church services (where Tim and Elizabeth’s wedding and church were held this summer).

I hope all of you had an enjoyable and safe holiday and may God bless you all in 2016 and always!

I’ll share my sister Susan’s cinnamon bread recipe. She brought this bread to Jacob and Emma’s on New Year’s Day.


Soft Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

On a lightly floured surface, roll thawed bread dough into a 10×12 inch rectangle. With a pastry brush, paint the dough with the water, and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon evenly over dough. Top with raisins if desired. Roll up jellyroll-fashion beginning on the 12-inch side. Seal all seams and ends and place in a greased 8×4 inch loaf pan. Let the dough rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from pan to cool. When cool, brush with melted butter.


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.