Lovina Savors the First Hints of Spring

We have entered the first week of February, though it would be hard to tell by the weather. Yesterday was sunny and 50 degrees. I hung all the laundry out to dry, and most of it could be folded and put away the same day.

Happy birthday to Grace (son Joseph’s special friend). Her birthday is today (February 6). Yesterday would’ve been son-in-law Mose’s birthday. Rest in peace Mose. We will forever treasure the memories we have of you. Gone but never forgotten.

Sister Verena is back home after staying a month with sister Emma and sons. Daughters Verena and Lovina took advantage of the nice weather and went to Verena’s house to visit with her awhile.

After they came back home, the girls made a taco supper. We usually have Doritos, taco hamburger, tortilla soft shells, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, sweet onions, salsa, and ranch dressing for a taco meal. It’s easy and always a favorite meal here in our household.

This morning, daughter Verena left to go help daughter Susan clean out cabinets. She will stay there until later tonight. Ervin and Susan will attend the parent/teacher meeting at Kaitlyn’s school. Verena will stay with their children while they attend the meeting.

Saturday, we had a nice surprise when my friend Ruth stopped in for a short visit. It’s been a while since I had seen her, so it was nice catching up with her. Ruth and her husband Jim keep busy with their family, and time has a way of slipping by.

I am holding 6-month-old Byron (daughter Loretta and Dustin’s son) as I write this. He is getting tired and ready for a nap. He sure can chatter already. Denzel, 18 months, is trying to talk to him, but it’s actually annoying Byron more than helping. These two little boys will be playing together before we know it in the next year or so. Or maybe I should say getting into trouble together. They are a joy to have around. Denzel has this habit of throwing the plate on the floor when he gets done with his plate of food (when sitting in the highchair). So of course, all the leftover food he has spreads all over. We need to find him a plate that suctions to the highchair tray. Never a dull moment with him around. Haha!

Sons Benjamin and Joseph worked until dark last night. Benjamin was cleaning out horse stalls and Joseph was putting up the purlins on our new pole barn roof. It is now ready for the roof metal, which should arrive this week from the metal/truss shop that Joe works at.

Last week, the shop had a great turnout at the customer appreciation dinner. There was hardly ever a break in the line of people coming through the food line from 3–7 p.m. Hundreds of people came to this event. We served grilled pork burgers and chicken patty sandwiches, pork and beans, french fries, ice cream, fry pies (strawberry, cherry, apple, black raspberry, and peach), coffee, and lemonade. It was all delicious! Joe and I arrived back home around 8:30 p.m.

Granddaughter Andrea has a small fracture in her foot. She jumped off a piece of furniture she had crawled on and injured it. It’s hard to keep active little children from climbing. The doctor put a wrap on it and said to limit activity but that is hard to do for a two-year-old. She will be two next week. Until next week… God bless!

 

Once out of the oven, these cinnamon roll bites will be ready for the sweet glaze.

 

Cinnamon Roll Bites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until a dough forms. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up the dough tightly and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place the bites on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle over warm cinnamon roll bites.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Remembers Lost Loved Ones

The ground is covered with snow again, which will probably be gone by tomorrow. On Sunday morning the ground was also covered, but it was gone by afternoon. Other than the cold spell the other week, we have had a pretty mild winter so far.

Daughter Loretta doesn’t mind if there isn’t any snow on the ground when she drives her mobility scooter over every weekday morning a little before 4 a.m. Dustin started working back in the RV factory since being low in work for several months. He walks over every morning with Loretta and Denzel, 18 months, and Byron, 5 1/2 months. He carries Byron and Denzel sits on Loretta. Some mornings Denzel will go “brrr brrr” when he sees me when it’s cold outside. Loretta sleeps in the recliner with Byron and Denzel sleeps in the crib. They usually sleep until 7:30 to 8 a.m. Denzel is getting old enough that sometimes he doesn’t want to go back to sleep when he sees Grandpa in the kitchen eating breakfast. He’ll sometimes sit on Joe and eat a little something, too, then he’ll let me put him back to bed after Joe leaves. Last week Joe was yodeling, and little Denzel sat beside him trying to yodel too. We had a good laugh about that.

On Saturday evening, daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel had our whole family for supper at his house where he rents. I hadn’t seen the house since daughter Verena’s belongings were moved out and Daniel’s moved in. That house holds many memories for our family, with it being daughter Susan and Mose’s first home.

On the menu at Daniel’s house was grilled chicken, vegetable soup, potato salad, chips, Swiss roll bars, Jell-o, and homemade chocolate ice cream. Of course, we all took a dish of something to help out. After supper we played games.

Sunday was a quiet day, with just Joe and I home and daughter Verena and her special friend Daniel Ray. I made a brunch consisting of fried eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, cheese, hot peppers, toast, butter, and strawberry jam. It was nice and relaxing to just have a quiet day at home.

Plans are for my daughters and I to go help daughter Susan clean tomorrow in preparation for their upcoming church services they will host in March. Ervin’s mother plans to go help too.

January 31 will be three years since sister Susan passed away. Sister Verena has been staying with sister Emma and sons this past month. They both have lost a close loved one, and that makes lonely days. It is nice that they can comfort each other.

Also on January 31 six years ago, brother Amos passed away. They are both still missed so much.

Last night daughters Verena and Lovina stayed with daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s four children while they went to town. So getting supper was left to me for Joe and the three boys. I made grilled cheese, eggs, and ham, which was an easy but good supper.

On Thursday, I am planning to go to the metal/truss shop where Joe works. They are having a Customer Appreciation Day and will serve a meal to everyone that comes. I am going along to help serve if they need my help. God’s blessings!

Potato Salad
4 cups cooked peeled potatoes (diced or sliced), chilled
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup salad dressing
1/3 cup mustard (yellow prepared)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons milk
4 hard-boiled eggs, cooked, peeled, and chopped

Combine potatoes, celery, and onions in a large bowl. In another bowl mix salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, salt, and milk. Mix into potato mixture. Add eggs and toss.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Enjoys Games with Grandchildren & Pole Barn Progress Continues

First of all, a happy 28th birthday to daughter Susan on January 24. Also a happy 55th birthday to my sister Liz. I wish both of them many more happy and healthy years. I don’t get to see Liz too often. I think I only saw her a few times in over a year and not very long each time. There is over one hundred miles between our houses, and we both are busy with our families. Liz and Levi have ten grandchildren who keep them occupied. They sure are a joy to have around.

On Sunday afternoon, Joe and I went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for an afternoon snack after church services. Their four children were excited to have Grandpa and Grandma come to visit. They brought out their games and wanted us to play with them. Abigail, 7, wanted to play Uno and Timothy (T.J.), 5, wanted to play Trouble. I haven’t played Trouble in quite awhile, but T.J. kept me straight in the moves. He let me know when I could go again or if I didn’t make the right moves. It was so cute, and it’s hard to believe how much they already know at their ages.

Allison, 4, is a quiet little girl and is contented sitting in a corner playing with her dolls or whatever she has at the moment. She is talking to her dolls, and it’s interesting sitting back and listening to her conversation.

Andrea (she will be two on February 14th) is all over the place picking on her sisters and brothers. She is a little sweetie and can win over our hearts so easily. She started crawling on the toilet and doesn’t want to go on the “little potty.” She is doing good for her age with going to “potty” without her mother reminding her.

On Saturday we were very glad for all the men and boys that came to help set the trusses on our 40-foot by 80-foot pole barn we are in the process of building. This project was intended to be done before the winter weather began, but it all takes time and money. We cannot store hay in our barn due to the roof leaking too much. The foundation isn’t the best, so we decided to put up a pole barn for storage.

We served lunch to everyone, which consisted of scalloped potatoes, grilled chicken, meatloaf, baked beans, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, brownies, coffee cake, jello, sugar cookies, and ice cream.

It was a cold day, with the temperature being only 10 degrees when they started with hanging the trusses. But the sun was out, and it warmed up to almost 20 degrees. We appreciated all their effort to help.

Joe’s work has been slow at the truss and metal shop where he works. Hopefully it will pick up again once the weather is better.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph and nephew Benjamin must not have had enough cold after helping with putting up the trusses Saturday. They went ice fishing for awhile afterwards. The lake had a lot of people on it ice fishing.

Ervin and Susan’s children have had fun sliding on their pond since it’s frozen. They enjoy when Ervin goes out there with them. Maybe in the next few years they can learn to ice skate.

Ervin and Susan will host church services in 7 1/2 weeks. They didn’t know they were getting it this fast, so they will be busy preparing for that. With six children ages 7 and under, that can be a challenge. We want to go help them. Baby Ervin Jay is two months old now. He’s doing very well!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Diabetic-Friendly Dessert
2 cups water
1 small box sugar free jello
1 (6 ounce) container yogurt

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, stir in jello, and then stir in the yogurt. (Try to match flavors of jello and yogurt.) Place in refrigerator until set.

Note: Daughter Elizabeth was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She would be glad for any recipes that are diabetic-friendly. She is doing a great job of keeping her blood sugar to normal, although anyone that shares this diagnosis knows it’s not easy.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Keeping Warm in a Cold Spell

At 10 a.m. the temperature is still only at zero degrees with a wind chill of -17 degrees. The last several days we have had even colder temperatures and wind chill down to -27 degrees. It’s been a challenge to heat for everyone. It seems the wind gets in everywhere.

Grandson Ryan seems to be doing okay but is still on antibiotics.

A happy birthday to granddaughter Jennifer. She had her sixth birthday on January 15. Daughter Lovina made her a cake. She was so excited to blow out her candles on the cake.

When Jennifer was born, daughter Susan and Mose had been living in an old house that didn’t heat well so they moved in here with us. It was fun to help Susan with her firstborn and of course to spoil little Jennifer. I still remember how Mose would sit there and hold Jennifer and smile at her. At her first and second birthdays, Mose held her when she blew out the candles on her cakes. Then, less than a month before her third birthday, Mose was called from this earth. God had other plans for this little girl. In the short years Mose was here, he gave this little girl lots of love, and she loves to hear me tell her stories of Daddy Mose. Jennifer has this mischievous grin on her face all the time, and her smile lights up the room. She was so excited that she lost her first tooth. My grandchildren are all so precious to me. My children think I spoil the grandchildren more than I did them, but that’s what grandmothers are for. Haha!

The whole family came here for Sunday lunch in spite of the cold temperatures. Son Joseph and son-in-law Dustin grilled twenty pounds of chicken. I told them I could fry it, but they said they can stand inside our heated pole barn and check on the chicken on the grill outside every once in awhile. That helped me out. We had mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, chicken, cheese, hot peppers, and onions. I sliced onions and put them in apple cider vinegar—does anyone also do this? We love them like that. Dessert was Jennifer’s cake, ice cream, jello, and doughnuts.

The afternoon was spent playing games, and some worked on a 1,000-piece Amish Country puzzle that we started recently. Some of the grandchildren, with the help of daughter Verena and special friend Daniel Ray, were putting together 100-piece puzzles. That was much easier for them to figure out.

We love the Amish Country 1,000-piece puzzles and always like to look for a different one. I usually use those peel and stick sheets to keep the puzzle to hang up. I’m using my puzzle board for the first time. It was given to me from daughter Loretta and Dustin for a Christmas gift last year. It has a swivel under it so the board can easily be turned and has four drawers on the side to keep the extra puzzle pieces in. I love it very much, and it makes it so much easier to put away when you aren’t working on it. The children didn’t seem to bother the puzzle on Sunday. I can remember so often when children were younger and we would have a puzzle on our table that we would work on when we had time. It seemed like the toddler that could climb on a chair would find the puzzle and mess it up. Then we would have to start all over again. Sweet memories!

I’ll sign off wishing everyone God’s blessings. Stay warm!

 

Chicken Loaf
2 ½–3 pounds of chicken, cooked and cubed or shredded
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup milk
1 cup bread cubes
2 eggs
1 cup celery, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in center of loaf.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Hosting the Amish Men’s Choir and Caring for Family

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay healthy and safe! God Bless!

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina and Family Gather for Christmas and Ring in the New Year

A brand-new year is before us. What does 2024 hold in store? A new year always feels like a new beginning. A time to try harder to break bad habits, a time to start fresh. Most importantly, to spend more time reading God’s words every day and remembering those less fortunate in life. We have so many blessings that far out number the struggles we face. God is good!

On Sunday we hosted our annual Christmas for my family here in Michigan with sisters Verena and Emma and her family. Along with our family, the total is 42 people. Babies Byron (Dustin and Loretta), 5 months, and Ervin Jr. (Ervin and Susan), 7 weeks, of course didn’t need a place setting at the table. Jazlyn (niece Emma and Menno), 1 year old, sat in the highchair. We set the table for 39 people. We put six tables (six-foot rectangular folding tables) together to seat everyone. We had a Haystack Breakfast brunch.

Everyone brought something for the haystack, such as biscuits, hash browns, scrambled eggs, chopped bacon, ham, smokies, sausage gravy, cheese sauce, green peppers, onions, hot peppers, tomatoes, and salsa. Along with cinnamon rolls for dessert, it made a great meal. Drinks were chocolate milk, orange juice, grapefruit juice, apple juice, V-8 juice, and coffee. Everyone brought the hot food heated up already and in insulated bags so we could start eating right away once everyone was here. It doesn’t take long to have a big haystack of food on your plate if you try a little of everything. It makes a delicious meal.

After everyone was done eating, we put all the leftovers in a roaster to make a casserole so nothing got wasted. After brunch we all exchanged gifts, and everyone found out who had their name. Then I had set up some games for everyone to play to win small gifts from Joe and me. It’s usually fun for everyone.

Joe put a turkey on the grill and it was ready by afternoon to have with snack time. Everyone helped with bringing snacks in the afternoon. There was a nice variety of snacks. Lots of different games were played. We hosted everything in our pole barn, which is where we also held our family Christmas on Christmas Day. On December 24 we hosted church in there as well, plus the annual church potluck. I am guessing we had around two hundred people here for church and potluck. We had eight casseroles, seven big salads, 250 ham sandwiches that we made, lots of desserts, and coffee and tea. After everyone ate we sang Christmas songs. What a nice time of fellowship with the church family.

On New Year’s Eve, everyone stayed until midnight except niece Elizabeth and Manuel. The children were excited that they were able to stay up until midnight and go outside and yell “Happy New Year!” Some left after midnight for home and some stayed for the night. We made room for everyone to sleep. The next morning, I heated up the Haystack casserole for everyone to eat breakfast before heading home.

This morning my husband Joe went back to work after a week off from the factory. He enjoys his time off but was glad to go make money again since the bills don’t get paid without working. I want to thank my daughters for filling in over the holidays and church services we hosted. They did a great job! I’ll sign off wishing everyone God’s blessings and a prosperous new year 2024.

 

Cabbage Cheddar Chowder
1 pound ground beef
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper
1/2 medium head cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup water
3 cups milk
3/4 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Fry ground beef and drain. Add celery, onion, and green pepper. Fry a little longer. Stir in cabbage and water. Cover and cook over low heat till cabbage is tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in milk, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Loretta Shares About Her Family

Dear readers,

This is Loretta. Mom asked if I would like to write her column. I would say I’m a little overdue writing the column, but I know it helps Mom since she is busy getting ready for church services. On December 24, Mom is planning on having us children stay the night and having Christmas the next day. I look forward to all of us being together.

I want to write about our little family; I know it is quite different having two children under the age of two. I’d say they keep you on your toes. Running after Denzel (16 months) wouldn’t be so bad if I was able to lose weight while running, but I don’t see much of that happening if I’m in a mobility scooter haha. Byron turned four months on November 7. He is a smiling baby, and it feels like raising Denzel all over again. Everyone says he looks like a Denzel Jr.

On weekdays before Dustin goes to work (his driver picks him up at 5:30 a.m.), Dustin goes out to do the morning chores and feeds our two horses Spirit and Skeeter. Skeeter will be coming with a foal next June. Dustin also feeds both dogs; Bailey is a female golden retriever, and Rascal is a male Pomsky. We gave Rascal his name because that’s what he acts like haha. Dustin then feeds our chickens.

Then, Dustin likes to come in and take his morning shower to get his day started out fresh. While Dustin does that, I change both boys’ diapers and get them dressed. It takes longer in the winter when I have to get them all dressed warm just to go across the road to Mom and Dad’s. Dustin walks over with me and both boys and helps us settle in before he leaves for work. Yes, it makes for some busy mornings. I stay at Mom’s with both boys; it helps when Mom and Lovina are there to help me. Of course, Denzel likes to play in Mom’s cabinets instead of playing with all the toys. He discovered that when he goes up the stairs at Mom’s that I can’t get him or reach him, so he gets fun out of that. I laugh about it, but I won’t let him see that.

Dustin normally comes home around 4:30 p.m. Construction is more hours than what the factory was. Dustin quit the factory last year around the time before I had Byron and had appointments every week because I had a high-risk pregnancy. Life is busy and expensive, but I will not complain—we are very blessed we have the children, and we both love them very much. Dustin and his brother Daniel are starting an excavating business as a side job right now until they can start full time, but that won’t be until spring.

Tomorrow, all of us girls will be going over to Mom’s to help clean for church, and my aunt Emma and her two daughters Elizabeth and Emma (and her children) and her daughter-in-law Crystal will be there to help as well. My aunt Verena has been staying there since Sunday, so she will be there too. Dustin helped me make breakfast burritos to take to Mom’s tomorrow morning for everyone. I also enjoy going there to spend a day with everyone.

We will be going to Dustin’s parents on December 16 for Christmas and will spend the day there. Dustin’s parents live about six to seven miles from us. It seems longer with all the big hills we have to go up. It’s rolling country, which makes it feel longer when the horse needs more time for the hills. Most of the time, we take our handicapped buggy that has a lift in the back to lift me up in the buggy with my scooter. It makes it much nicer now that Dustin doesn’t have to lift me into the buggy anymore. We used to have a trailer behind our buggy to pull my scooter around and a cover on the scooter. The trailer was bouncier and made my scooter quit a lot from the bumps, and I had to buy a new scooter more often. They’re not supposed to get rained on or snowed on either. Now we have the handicapped buggy, and I’m so glad we don’t have to do that anymore.

We have a night routine whenever Dustin gets home. He gets me and the children and helps us home. We decide on what to have for supper, and he has to help with most of making supper while I wash the dishes, sitting on my scooter and folding laundry. Dustin washes the laundry and hangs it up. Dustin will sweep the floor while I mop from my scooter, so I would say we make a pretty good team. There’s running after Denzel too hahaha.

Then Dustin will do the chores again at night. We sometimes get behind on the housework with us being gone most days. Mom will always offer to have us stay over for supper, so we do that too; plus, it’s hard to refuse a good meal.

In the summer, I’d say it’s busier when we have the garden and mowing grass and all that to do yet, and with me needing help making supper. I’d say Dustin is a busy guy. There is stuff I could do, but we aren’t set up for my handicap all the way yet. In spite of it all, I still like summer better than winter. Dustin made us raised garden beds, so I go out there and help weed and pick stuff off the plants. This year, we canned hot peppers, red beets, hot pepper butter, tomato chunks, pickles, and more. I’m thankful for Mom’s help too. I like to be as independent as I can with a positive attitude.

I’m running out of news, and it’s bedtime for me and the boys. We will be thinking warmly of each of you and wishing your family an extra measure of comfort, joy, and hope this Christmas. Have a Merry Christmas, and the best to you all in the New Year of 2024. God be with you from Loretta, Dustin, Denzel Michael, and Byron Liam.

Chicken Roll-Ups
Boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
Sour cream
Lemon pepper
Garlic powder
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Medium tomato, sliced

Topping Sauce
Mayonnaise
Mustard
Ranch dressing

Cut each chicken breast into three pieces. With a sharp knife, cut each piece in half lengthwise but not all the way through. Lay open the piece and season with salt and pepper; then spread with a thin layer of sour cream. Season with lemon pepper and garlic powder; then cover with shredded cheese and a half slice of tomato. Roll up and place in glass pan. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, and ranch dressing to taste to make a sauce to pour over the roll-ups. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Susan Shares about a Month Full of Plans with Family

I’m Lovina’s daughter Susan. I wanted to help Mom out and write an article for her. I’m not sure how Mom does it, knowing what to write every week. I have a hard time just doing one article.

This Monday morning, the children are all in school except Ervin Jay. He’s sleeping in the swing right now. He loves the rocking motion! With this quiet moment, I decided to quickly write something.

Yesterday, I attended church for the first time with Ervin Jay. We were all excited to take him to church and show him to everyone. He was a good little boy and slept most of the time. I had plenty of babysitters. It has been four years since I’ve taken care of a baby, so I had to learn all over again.

On Thursday, December 7, my husband Ervin’s family all came for family night and to meet Ervin Jay. It was really an enjoyable night. Supper was brought in, and it was a relaxing evening for me.

On Friday, December 8, Mose’s family came to see the baby. They also brought supper.

On Saturday, December 9, Ervin’s brother Steven and his girlfriend Marla; Ervin’s grandparents; his Aunt Liz and Uncle Christy; Aunt Beth; and two of Ervin’s cousins (who are Christy and Liz’s boys) CJ and Lyndon and girlfriend Rhonda brought supper in and also wanted to see the baby. I enjoyed not having to make supper for a while. It seems I eat better if I don’t make it.

Thursday, December 14, will be three years since Mose passed. I often see Mose in our children, Jennifer and Ryan. Grief never goes away; it just gets easier to handle. Even though our lives have moved on, Mose will always still hold a special place in it. We love to have conversations with the children about Mose and Sarah, and it keeps the memories alive. Precious memories—how they linger.

Ryan still holds on to Mose’s church hat that Mose would wear every time to church. I still remember Ryan would beg Mose for his hat, and Mose would let him play with it. I would warn Mose that he shouldn’t let Ryan play with it because he’d make it dirty and crunch it. Sunday morning, Mose would be sitting there scrubbing his hat so it wouldn’t look dirty before wearing it to church.

I’ve learned to not take our loved ones for granted. Be with them while they are here with us, and don’t wait until it’s too late. It can change in the blink of an eye. God’s plans aren’t always our way.

We have a busy month this December. On December 24, Mom and Dad will have church services at their house. Then the plans are that we will stay for the night, and we will stay for Christmas day. On December 30, we will go to Omer and Rose’s (Sarah’s parents) for Christmas with all of them. Omer and Rose are really nice people. They treat me like part of their family. I feel comfortable with them and love spending time there. All the children love going.

On January 6, we will go to Ervin’s parents’ house for Christmas. It will also be Ervin’s Mom’s birthday the same day.

December 17 is Mose’s family Christmas gathering. We are afraid we won’t make it this year. Sometimes we can’t make it to all four family’s gatherings, but we try our best.

With six children, life can be overwhelming, but that’s okay. I love each and every one of the children. They are a blessing from God. Without God, our lives would be empty and cold hearted. God is love.

I think I’ve written enough. I’m not as funny as sister Lovina or as interesting as Mom! I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’ll share Ervin’s mother’s pumpkin bars recipe. She brought the bars on family night, and everyone loved them; there weren’t any left.

Pumpkin Bars
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix oil, sugar, pumpkin, and eggs until well combined. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice in a separate bowl. Stir dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread batter into greased 13 x 18-inch pan or two 9 x 13-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

For frosting, mix together the cream cheese and butter until smooth; stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread on top of the cooled cake.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Shares Six Cookie Recipes!

In this column, I will share cookie recipes. I hope you will enjoy them!

Brown Sugar Cookies
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup lard or butter, softened
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups sour milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

Cream together brown sugar, lard or butter, and eggs. Stir baking soda into sour milk. Sift baking powder, salt, and flour together. Add milk and dry ingredients alternately to the creamed mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7–8 minutes.

 

Molasses Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 cups dark baking molasses
2 cups buttermilk
6 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cream together butter and sugar. Add molasses and buttermilk. Stir in flour and baking soda. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8–10 minutes.

 

Aunt Mary’s Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
2–3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter and add dry ingredients. Drop large spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press with a floured fork to make a crisscross. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until brown on the edges. Leave on cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

 

Overnight Refrigerator Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour

Mix butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix in soda, salt, and flour. Shape and roll into a 2 x 3-inch roll. Chill overnight. Slice and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

Monster Bars
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
3/4 teaspoon corn syrup (clear)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons soda
4 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup M&Ms

Cream together sugars, peanut butter, corn syrup, and eggs. Add soda and quick oats. Fold in chocolate chips and M&Ms last. Spread in a 10 x 17-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until slightly brown.

 

Mocha Chunk Cookies
1 butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add instant coffee dissolved in vanilla. Add eggs. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Don’t overbake!

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

 

Lovina and Her Family Announce the Name of Midnight’s Colt

Daughter Verena will be 26 on December 10. Grandson Timothy (T.J.) will be five on December 17, granddaughter Allison will be four on December 27, and my husband Joe will be 55 on December 22. Happy birthday to all of them!

Church services will be held here in three weeks on December 24. There is so much to do yet. As the children leave home and have their own work to do, it seems like it gets busier and harder for this “Grandma” to keep up. It doesn’t help that it is also the holiday season with many gatherings.

Church services will be held here with a potluck meal to follow, Lord willing. Then on Christmas Day, our family all plans to be here for our family Christmas. So, with cleaning and shopping, we will be kept busy.

Let us not forget the reason for the season. Let us take time to reflect and be thankful for all our blessings.

Friday was the Christmas dinner for the metal shop where my husband Joe has worked these past three years.

A co-worker and his wife picked Joe and me up around 11:45 a.m. When we arrived, they started the ping pong tournaments for the workers. After that, they had cornhole tournaments as well. Tables of good food were there to snack on all afternoon. There were barbequed wings, jalapeño poppers, clementines, summer sausage, cheese, crackers, a variety of homemade candy, Rice Krispie treats, lots of other candy, and other options. And to drink, there was coffee, pop, water, tea, juice.

At around 4 p.m., we saw a show by Jasen Magic. He was quite a good entertainer, and it was probably different for him to entertain in an Amish home for mostly Amish people. He had us all laughing at his many tricks; he is a great comedian as well.

After the show, we were served a very delicious supper consisting of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, mixed vegetables, meatballs, ham, homemade bread and butter, and a variety of pies and ice cream. It was all very good!

The owner Daniel presented all the workers with gifts and a speech. We appreciated the hospitality we received.

After supper, the cornhole games continued among other games.

Joe and I arrived home after 9:30 p.m.

To all you readers that sent names for our colt, we finally decided on a name. We picked the name Jett. Thank you for all your suggestions. It was a hard decision between Sarge, Major, and Thunder. We hope we will have Jett here on the farm many years. He will be six months old in a few weeks and will be weaned from his mother Midnight.

Son Benjamin is driving his two-year-old in the buggy for short rides now. He named her Star. She has done really well so far. His buggy is ready now at the repair shop from his accident. He has another checkup Wednesday.

Baby Ervin is three weeks old and over eight pounds. He is doing well. Before he was born, Kaitlyn and Jennifer were saying they wanted a girl because they already have three boys. I knew it was going to be a boy, so I asked them if I could have it if it was a boy. They said, “Oh no, we still want him, but we would rather have a girl.” I think now they don’t even mind what it is. They just enjoy him so much already. They’re such good little helpers.

Our hearts are sad as we received word that my cousin Joey, age 67, passed away. Also, what a shock to hear of the death of Susan, an old friend from years ago. She was only 54. Our sympathy to both families as they mourn their loved ones. May God comfort them. God’s blessings to all!

Butterfingers
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white syrup
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
4 cups slightly crushed cornflakes
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 250 degrees. In a heavy saucepan combine sugar and syrup. Place over heat; stir constantly until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Turn off heat; stir in peanut butter. Add cornflakes; blend thoroughly. Press mixture into a 9 x 13-inch pan. Top with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Bake until marshmallows and chocolate chips soften. Remove from oven; swirl marshmallows and chocolate chips; let cool. Cut into 3/4 by 2-inch strips.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.