Lovina and Family Enjoy Another Christmas Gathering

January 24! First of all, happy birthday wishes to sister Liz, who turns 54 today, and also to daughter Susan, who shares the same birthday. She turns 27 today. It’s unbelievable that our secondborn is that old already. A lot has happened in her young life, but with God’s help she was able to go on and accept his plan for her. It hasn’t been an easy road, but with God’s help it’s so much easier to handle.

My husband Joe also had a birthday on December 22 and he also turned 54. Daughter Lovina and I made lunch for the 50-plus workers who work where Joe does at the Metal Shop. After lunch Joe gave us a tour of where he works and what he does. He works with my brother Albert. Joe has been there two years now. It was interesting to see what he does every day.

Last Saturday our whole family, sister Verena, and sister Emma’s family all gathered at Emma’s house for a delicious brunch. This was a late Christmas gathering. Emma and I take turns hosting it each year since our move to Michigan 19 years ago in March. We were a small group back then but now are a total of 39. The tables were set for 36 in their attached garage and the babies were in high chairs, with the youngest of all, Jazlyn (daughter of niece Emma and Menno), who is 12 weeks old, in her bouncer.

On the menu was fried eggs, potatoes, scrambled eggs, biscuits, sausage gravy, bacon, sausage patties, cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk, coffee, and donuts. Everyone helped bring something for brunch and/or snacks.

After dishes were washed, we played bingo. Emma had a table with nice gifts for the winners.

Then we exchanged gifts. We first made everyone guess to see if they knew who had their name. I didn’t have any idea who had my name. It was son-in-law Dustin. He gave me a board that you can put puzzles together on. It has drawers on the side to put the pieces in. I always wanted one like this, since I like to put puzzles together and so does the family. With more grandchildren, though, the puzzles tend to get messed up or lost. Now I can easily put it away until we want to work on it again.

Everyone enjoyed snacks and pizza before going home. It was an enjoyable day, but our loved ones were missed. This was the first time Emma hosted our Christmas gathering without her dear husband there.

Once again God has called some family members home. On January 11, Joe’s cousin Barbara’s husband Johnny died after losing his battle to cancer. He was 55 and left his wife and family to mourn. We were unable to attend, but our thoughts and prayers were with Barbara. They live in Ohio. Then on January 20, Joe’s uncle Roman from Berne, Indiana, passed away. Joe and I attended the funeral. When we arrived at the funeral, we found out that Joe’s aunt had unexpectedly died out in Berne that morning. Nancy was 72. She had been to the viewing of her brother-in-law Roman (his wife Flossie is her sister) the day before and went to the motel for the night with her brother and wife (Uncle Johnny and Susie). Nancy was never married but lived on the same property as Johnny’s do.

Lord willing, our plans are to attend Nancy’s funeral in Dundee, Ohio, on Saturday. It is almost five hours from here.

Our sympathy goes to Aunt Flossie and her family and to Nancy’s many relatives.

Our children all remember who Nancy was. When she came overnight here one time, she kept them entertained. I remember Joseph was just a young boy, and I had told him he had to fix his bed, as I had washed sheets that day. It was bedtime, and Aunt Nancy was here. She told Joseph she’d help him. He was so glad he didn’t have to fix the sheets himself. The next morning Nancy was out playing basketball with the children. There was never a dull moment when she was around.

May they all rest in peace and may God help their families through this difficult trial in life. We know the feeling well of losing close loved ones. God bless!

I will share the Taco Salad recipe used at the wedding.

Taco Salad
1 pound hamburger
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup chopped onion
1 head lettuce, shredded
1 8-ounce package shredded cheese
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 15–16-ounce can kidney beans, drained
1 16-ounce bottle Thousand Island dressing
1/4 cup sugar
1 9.75-ounce bag Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed

Brown the hamburger with chopped onions and 1/3 of the taco seasoning. Drain the hamburger mixture. In a bowl, mix lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, beans, and hamburger mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the Thousand Island dressing, sugar, and the rest of the taco seasoning. Just before serving, mix the dressing with the lettuce mixture then top with the crushed chips.

 

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 Celebrate a Late Christmas

On January 14 we had our family home for a late Christmas. With the preparations of daughter Susan and Ervin’s wedding, we decided to wait until later. We told everyone to be here around 9:30 a.m. for a brunch.

Our brunch was simple but still good. We had a breakfast casserole made from eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, smoked sausage, sour cream, Velveeta, and onions—all mixed together and baked. Then we also had sausage gravy and biscuits, cinnamon rolls, cookies, milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, apple juice, coffee, and V-8 juice.

Our family total is 25, so the table was set for all of us. We added two six-foot tables to our 10-foot dining room table. Andrea, 11 months, was in a booster seat, and Denzel, six months, was in the highchair.

As the children arrived, they were attracted to the table with their gifts. They would look for the one with their name on it, then hold it and turn it over and try to guess what it was. Seeing their faces light up was so precious. They were almost too excited to eat breakfast.

After dishes were washed, which was very few since we had paper plates and cups, etc., we passed out their gifts. We then played some games where they could win extra small gifts.

Around 1 p.m. we set out the snacks, which was a good variety including fruit and dip, veggies and dip, cheese ball and crackers, popcorn, chips, cheese dip, peanuts, candy, etc. We played games such as Marble Chase and Yahtzee as we snacked. The day went much too fast.

Thanks to some of you readers who sent money so I could do something for our family. I ordered pizza from town to be delivered so everyone was able to eat before heading home. It was one way to treat everyone.

It was another Christmas down in history for the Eicher family. We truly have so much to be thankful for with all the blessings God sends. We have a few sons-in-law who are off from the RV factories for over six weeks. With groceries being so much higher, it doesn’t make it easy to support a family. This is affecting a lot of people. We put our full trust in God and know he will provide a way.

The evening before the family Christmas, Joe and I attended the Christmas dinner at the metal shop owner’s house for a delicious meal. The employees had a cornhole tournament. All employees were given a cornhole game to take home, among other gifts. Joe didn’t have one yet, so that will be nice for him to have his own.

On January 6 (Epiphany or Old Christmas), the neighbors were all invited for a 5 p.m. supper at our neighbors Richard and Erma’s house. They served us a delicious meal of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, and poor man’s steak.

After supper we played games in their attached garage—cornhole, Rook, Uno, and canasta. Then snacks were set out for everyone to eat, including homemade ice cream. It was a fun night of fellowship.

On Sunday, January 15, our family gathered at daughter Susan and Ervin’s house in honor of granddaughter Jennifer’s fifth birthday. She was so proud that everyone came and that she could blow out the candle as we sang Happy Birthday to her. She helped daughter Verena decorate her cake.

Granddaughter Allison’s birthday was December 27th while we were at the community building preparing for the wedding. We all sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She later told daughter Elizabeth (her mother) that “they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and blessed me too.” Such sweet innocence.

Recently, daughter Elizabeth had to take four-year-old Timothy (T.J.) to the doctor for his asthma, and he has an inhaler now. One morning he was breathing heavy and said, “Mom I need my haler cause my breath is heavy.” Ha ha! God bless!

Mocha Pudding
2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (24 cookies)
3 tablespoons butter (melted)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons coffee concentrate
16 ounces whipped topping
1 cup instant pudding (vanilla)
2 cups milk
Chocolate syrup for decorating top

Mix the crushed cookies with the butter and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13-inch Tupperware pan. In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir it in. Add the condensed milk a little at a time, mixing each time. Add the chocolate syrup and coffee concentrate and mix again. Add the whipped topping. In another bowl, mix the instant pudding with the milk. Then add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the pan, on top of the cookies. Pour chocolate syrup over the top length of pan. Swirl with a knife the other direction.

 

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 More from Susan and Ervin’s Wedding

A brand new year lies before us—2023. What does it hold in store for us? Do we thank God enough for all the many blessings he sends to us?

This is now 11 days since the wedding of daughter Susan and Ervin. The five children are enjoying living together in one house. It’s like having their friends come to stay all the time. Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan moved in with Ervin and children Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis. It’s not “his” children or “her” children now…it’s their children. They are a well-blended family already. May God give them many happy years together.

On Saturday we moved some more of Susan’s belonging to their house and moved all of daughter Verena’s belongings to Susan’s house. It tugged at my mother heart, and a few tears were shed, to have another child fully moved out of our house. Life goes on, and we must accept the changes. Verena is brave to attempt living on her own, especially with the extra challenges she has with her muscular dystrophy. We wish her many happy days as she adjusts to yet another different living arrangement. She has a lot of good neighbors, and Ervin and Susan are only a few minutes’ walk away. Ervin has horses in the barn there, so he goes over to do the daily chores.

Ervin and Susan had a very nice wedding. We appreciate all the support they received and everyone that helped in any way. A big thank you to my friend Ruth, who ran after all the last-minute errands and furnished transportation, took photos, etc. She and her friend Dawn made all the centerpieces for the tables. We were glad for their help!

The menu was grilled chicken (350 pounds of boneless thighs), mashed potatoes (16 eight-quart kettles), buttered noodles (20 pounds of noodles), dressing (three batches of the recipe included in column today), corn (60 quarts but had a lot left), taco salad (30 heads of lettuce and 30 pounds of hamburger—we had way too much), mocha pudding, peanut butter pies (25) and pumpkin pies (25-plus), and wedding cake.

Sister Emma and her daughter Elizabeth did a great job being head cooks and lining up jobs for the women that came the days before the wedding.

On Tuesday, Ervin and Susan’s family gathered at the community building to set up tables and benches, unload all the groceries, etc. Everyone brought a dish to eat lunch there. The cook wagon and cooler were set up Monday afternoon.

On Wednesday, over 20 women came to help chop vegetables for the dressings, make mocha pudding, and all the little jobs needed to be done.

On Thursday, another 20-plus women came to help, baking the crusts for the peanut butter pies and baking over 25 pumpkin pies, plus a lot of other jobs that needed to be done. Both days everything was done early.

On Friday, over 40 cooks were there to make the meal. Wedding services were in the other section of the building. Sarah’s father Omer had the opening of the wedding, then Mose’s father William read a chapter from the bible. Our bishop Marlin married the couple. They were married around 11:30 a.m.

After the wedding meal and visiting with the guests, it was time for cleanup. By 5:30 p.m. everything was back in place. Ervin and Susan had rented an enclosed trailer to take everything back and forth. We went to their house and helped unload the trailer and get the food put on the tables in the cold pole barn so they could put it in the freezer the next day.

Ervin and Susan spent a few nights in White Cloud, Michigan, at The Shack. It was a short honeymoon, but they didn’t want to be away from their children longer. Daughter Verena and Sarah’s sister Regina stayed at Ervin and Susan’s house with the five children. They had a nice time together but I’m sure five children six and under kept them busy.

Ervin and Susan want to thank all the readers that sent cards and gifts. May God bless you for your kindness.

I have quite a few readers that have received mail back because they sent it to the old address. Please send all mail to P.O. Box 234, Sturgis, MI 49091.

Dressing for a Wedding
1 cup chicken base
5 quarts chicken broth and pieces
10 loaves bread, cut in small pieces and toasted
2 quarts celery, diced
2 quarts carrots, diced or shredded
1 1/2 quarts onions, diced
4 quarts potatoes, diced
4 quarts milk
4 1/2 dozen eggs
1 cup dried parsley
1/2 cup seasoning salt
1 cup butter, melted (browned optional)

Dissolve chicken base in broth. Then mix broth and all remaining ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until set. One batch makes four roasters.

 

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 and Ervin Get Married

I am Lovina’s “English” friend Ruth, and I had the opportunity to help Lovina the week of Susan and Ervin’s wedding by taking photos of the wedding prep, running a few last-minute errands, and also attending the wedding on Friday, December 30. Typically, Amish weddings are held in the shed (pole barn) of the bride’s parents’ house, but with it being winter Susan and Ervin decided to use the CYC (Community Youth Center), which is a beautiful building that is used primarily for the youth to gather on Saturday nights for social activities but is also available for the Amish community to use for special events. It has two large rooms (the size of a gym) plus a fully furnished kitchen. This building has solar power, and the kitchen even has electrical outlets, which are not allowed in Amish homes even if they have solar but are allowed in the CYC building. The one large room was set up for the wedding ceremony and the other large room was set up for the noon meal after the wedding.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before the wedding, friends, family, and church members came to the CYC to set up for the wedding, to prepare food for the noon meal, and to support Susan and Ervin. More folks gathered early Friday to start the cooking for the meal.  Each morning when Lovina and I arrived for the preparation, Susan and Ervin and the children were there before everyone else to get started on that day’s list, and they were the last to leave each afternoon. They greeted everyone as they came in with smiles and words of gratitude for the help given. Many of you know Susan lost her husband Mose about two years ago, and Ervin lost his wife Sarah a few months before Mose passed. What I found so endearing was that both Sarah’s and Mose’s families were not only supportive of the marriage but came to help with the wedding prep. On the day of the wedding Omer and Rose (Sarah’s parents) and William and Rosanna (Mose’s parents) were seated at the head tables with the family. Susan and Ervin also were intentional about honoring and acknowledging Sarah and Mose as they started their new journey as husband and wife.

A typical Amish wedding ceremony goes from about 9:00 a.m. until noon. It includes preaching by a number of local ministers, some singing, and finally the pronouncing of the couple as married near the end of the service. Before the service begins, the couple and their witnesses sit near the door where people come in and greet all guests as they arrive. Then they go to a private room to meet with the Ministers, the Bishop, and a deacon to receive advice on having a good marriage and to pray. They are then seated in special chairs in the middle of the room where the wedding is. The bride and her witness sit across from the groom and his witness.  After the ceremony there is typically a noon meal, a 5:00 p.m. meal, and a meal with the youth at 7:00 p.m. Susan and Ervin only had a noon meal and limited the guests to family, church members, and some close friends. Even with cutting back, there were still about 425–450 people there.  Typically everyone sits down and table waiters pass food to everyone, but only the head table and immediate family was served this way. Everyone else walked through a buffet line to get their food. It was done very efficiently and we were all served quickly.

A beautiful wedding cake to celebrate the marriage of Susan and Ervin. Photo credit: Ruth Boss

Susan chose jewel tones of burgundy, purple, red, and green for the wedding. The cooks wore hunter green, family wore burgundy, Susan, her and Ervin’s children, and the mothers wore purple, and Ervin wore a black suit and a white shirt. Susan’s cape and apron were white, as were Verena and Sarah’s, who were witnesses. Susan chose sister Verena and brother Kevin as her witnesses, and Ervin chose his brother Nelson and his wife Sarah as his.

The décor was red and white with Christmas-themed touches of evergreen, pine, poinsettias, and candles. The “Eck,” or corner table, where they sat was set beautifully with china, special glasses, and candles. Lovina will write more about the wedding in upcoming columns.

My impression of the week and the wedding was that Susan and Ervin are loved and supported by their families and community, and that was shown by the gifts of time and words of encouragement they received. It was clear that Ervin and Susan love each other and love their children, both their own and each other’s. May God continue to bless them richly as they begin their new life together and may their home be filled with love and laughter.

 

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 Lovina Shares Humor and Fond Memories

Dear Readers,

I hope everyone is doing great! This is daughter Lovina, and I decided to write for Mom again.

It’s a cold Tuesday night here. My brother Ben is grilling ribs for supper. Dad, Mom, and my brother Joseph are in the shed making deer jerky, and my brother Kevin is sitting across the table telling me jokes. (Most of them aren’t funny, but at least he tries.)

Yesterday, Dad talked me into helping him in the shed with meat processing. He said he only needed help with “one thing.” Then as I was doing that “one thing,” he’d say, “oh, and while you’re at it . . .” And that’s how it continued.

Luckily, I had a game plan. I told Dad that I needed to go inside to grab rags, and when I got inside, I told Joseph that Dad needed his help. As long as Dad got the help he needed, he wouldn’t bother me. I just had to pretend like I was busy helping Mom every time he came inside.

Today after doing the housework, I considered cleaning the bathrooms too. Then I came back to my senses. I’m proud of myself for even considering it, but I’ll leave that for another day.

I went outside to help Dad again instead and then came inside and mixed up a batch of monster cookies to bake in the morning. We like to have homemade cookies on hand to go with our coffee in the early mornings.

Tomorrow, I’m going to sister Verena’s place for the night. She and I always have a lot of fun when we’re together. We used to stay up late and make brownies at midnight when we couldn’t sleep.

Kevin’s still telling me jokes as I’m writing the column. He said, “why are they called apartments if they’re built together,” and he’s now been laughing about it for a couple of minutes.

Years ago, when Kevin and I were just small kids, we walked to our aunts Verena and Susan’s place with some of our older siblings. Verena and Susan live just down the road, and all of us siblings loved to walk down there. (They always gave us a bunch of candy.)

One time, Kevin and I brought back one of their puppies, and when Mom told us to take it back, we put it in doll clothes to make her think it was a toy. We couldn’t understand how she still knew it was a puppy. Good thing my IQ is a lot higher than it used to be. I can’t speak for Kevin (just joking!).

Anyways, I better wrap this up. Thank you all for the nice comments on my other column. I read them all and had to laugh at the one that said, “Haflingers are workhorse wannabees; they just forget to keep growing.”

Have a great week! God bless!

Monster Cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 pound peanut butter
2 1/2 teaspoons soda
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
12-ounce package chocolate chips
1 cup M&M’s

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in baking soda, then add oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&M’s. Add more oatmeal, if needed, to make a stiff dough. Form into tablespoon-size balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Do not 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 Shares Four Snack Recipes

This week I will share some recipes. Everything is extra busy with preparations for the wedding of daughter Susan and Ervin. Plus, it’s right around the holidays. Our church district will have services on Christmas Day and a potluck afterward. It is always a nice time to have fellowship with the church family.

Lovina is cutting out and sewing new clothing for the wedding of Ervin and Susan.

As we draw close to the holidays, let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Rejoice in the miracle of Christmas and take comfort in his peace and grace.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a new year full of promise!

Sweet Crunch Mix
8 cups Chex cereal
3 cups popped popcorn
2 cups broken pretzels
1 cup peanuts
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Karo syrup
1 teaspoon maple flavoring

Mix the cereal, popcorn, pretzels, and peanuts in a large bowl. Combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup, and maple flavoring in a pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour over the cereal mixture, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated. Bake for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.

 

Mustard Pretzels
2 pounds pretzels (tiny twist)
½ cup butter
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
10 teaspoons (heaping) powdered sugar
10 teaspoons dry mustard
1 ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon turmeric

Melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard together on the stovetop or in the microwave. Place the pretzels in a large bowl and pour the butter mixture over the pretzels, stirring until pretzels are well coated. Spread the pretzels out on large cookie sheets. Sift the powdered sugar, dry mustard, garlic powder, and turmeric together several times; then sift some over pretzels. Stir and sift more over pretzels. Stir well. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir often while baking.

 

Cinnamon Popcorn
3 quarts popped corn
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Place popped corn in a large baking pan and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Remove from heat. Add to popped corn and toss lightly to mix well. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and crisp.

 

Taco Bean Dip
8 ounces salsa
8 ounces sour cream
16 ounces refried beans
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup lettuce, finely shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced

Mix together or layer and serve with tortilla chips.

 

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 Verena Reflects on Life’s Transitions

Hello! I am Lovina’s daughter Verena. Today (December 10), I turn 25 years old. I used to think a birthday was just another day and another year older. Which is true! But after losing three loved ones within a year, I look at birthdays a little differently. Now I believe that every birthday should be celebrated. It is another year that you had down here on this earth with your loved ones and friends. To me, that is a blessing!

Starting in January, I will be living on my own, God willing! I never fully moved all my stuff out of my bedroom at my parent’s place. It is sad to move my stuff out, but I need to know that I can be independent and actually live on my own. I also want to know the feeling of having the responsibility of taking care of myself without anyone helping. I’m sure I will still need a lot of help from my family and friends. Hopefully, I can always return the favor in some way or another. It is hard to move away from my parents. I think I see more now what they have done for me than I ever have. I cannot thank them enough.

Two years ago, sister Susan and I were sitting out on the porch swing at Dad and Mom’s place. Susan said she had this feeling that husband Mose would not pull through. She said she didn’t like having that feeling but needed to know if I would be willing to move in with her. I told her I couldn’t even think about that and that Mose would get better. We were both crying and trying to believe he would get better.

That night, I went to bed, and I prayed and prayed. The next morning when I woke up, I knew I could move in with Susan if the worst happened. Susan and I drove the horse and buggy over to their place. Not long after we got there, we got the call. The doctor wanted Susan to come up to the hospital. They had some bad news to say about Mose’s condition and didn’t want to say it over the phone. When Susan went, she found out that Mose was brain-dead, and the doctors had no hope of his recovery. Mose died on December 14.

I would have never thought I would live with my sister and her two children. I grew so attached to Jennifer and Ryan. I do not know the feeling of having my own children, but they are the closest it gets.

Now Susan will be getting remarried on December 30. She will live only a little less than a half mile from me, but it’s hard for me to think I will not be in the same house as Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan, but I know everything will be okay. I am very happy for Susan and am thankful that her children love Ervin, just as Ervin’s children love Susan. It helps to accept the change.

Tonight, some of my friends are coming over for my birthday. I plan to make a hamburger potato casserole and french fries, pickles, chips, etc. We had thought about going out to eat at a restaurant, but I do not like to go out in this cold, snowy weather.

I will share the cookie recipe that Ervin and Susan made for church services on Sunday. It’s his mom’s recipe that she uses. They mixed gelatin and sugar, then dipped a glass into that mixture and pressed it on each cookie before they baked it.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless!

Ervin and Susan shared these sugar cookies at church.

Sugar Cookies
3 cups sugar
2 cups shortening
5 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in the order given. Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs until light and fluffy for a softer cookie. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are browned.

 

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.

Continuing Preparations for Ervin and Susan’s Wedding

The menfolk have left for work, and I need to pen this column before getting started for the day. On my agenda today is to cut out my dress, cape, apron, and also daughter Lovina’s for the wedding. Ervin and Susan’s wedding is in three weeks, and it seems I keep pushing the sewing off.

Last week, I canned 34 quarts of chicken broth for daughter Susan. They need some for the dressing at the wedding. I also canned some soup for us. I put chicken chunks, potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery in a quart jar. Then I filled it up with chicken broth. This will make an easy meal. I can also add a quart of this to some noodles.

Lovina and her family have been canning chicken broth, which Lovina uses to make an easy soup.

Yesterday daughter Loretta and I canned 34 quarts of chicken broth for them. I hope to can some chicken broth for us too, but I will wait until after the wedding and the holidays.

Tomorrow I will go help Ervin and Susan shop for any groceries needed for the wedding meal. It is much easier since they will only have one meal, but there is still a lot to get.

Last week sisters Verena and Emma, nieces Elizabeth, Emma (and her three children), and Crystal, daughters Elizabeth (and children), Verena, Susan (and children), and I all gathered at Ervin’s house. We put our brains together and figured out how much of everything would be needed for each recipe.

For a few examples, this list includes 40 eight-ounce boxes of cream cheese, 23 pounds of butter, 15 gallons of milk, 19 dozen eggs, and the list goes on and on.

Niece Elizabeth brought a casserole for our lunch, and everyone else brought something too, so our lunch was easy. Susan has a lot of her things moved over already.

On Sunday, son Joseph and daughter Lovina went to church with their special friends Grace and Daniel. The rest of our family all came for lunch here. The menu included grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, noodles, corn, cheese, hot peppers, ice cream, sherbet, cookies, and cupcakes. We spent the afternoon playing games. Before everyone left, we set out snacks such as venison sausage, popcorn, chips and salsa, cheese dip, cookies, apples, clementines, etc.

I had bought some writing tablets on clearance at Walmart for 50 cents, so I gave each of the children one. They were quite entertained writing and drawing in their tablets. Kaitlyn, Abigail, and Jennifer wanted Grandma to see how they could write their names. They are learning so much in school. They grow up so fast. May God always be their guide as they continue to grow older. Such sweet innocence, and oh, how precious each one is. They all have something unique, and I love listening to their stories.

We have been busy butchering deer. Tonight, son-in-law Dustin, my husband Joe, and sons Benjamin and Joseph have plans to dress one of the pigs Dustin raised. We will grind it into sausage so we can add some to our venison summer sausage. It isn’t quite as dry with sausage added.

Daughter Verena will have her 25th birthday on December 10. She still lives with Susan and the children. Her life will also change after Susan’s wedding. She has grown so attached to Jennifer and Ryan after two years of being with them daily. May God bless her for being there for them when they needed someone.

December 9 will always bring us a reminder of that morning of the accident which took the life of Susan’s husband Mose and turned our lives upside down. As time goes on and we let God lead the way, we can see that life must go on. Not in the ways we expected, but we know He has a plan. I am glad to see Susan happy again.

It’s not that she loves her dear Mose any less but has found that love again. My continued prayer is that they will have a long, happy life together. They would appreciate your prayers.

God bless!

Taco Chicken
8 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package taco seasoning

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix salad dressing, juice, and taco seasoning. Brush each breast with mixture. Place in baking pan and bake 60 minutes or until tender.

 

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.

 

A Full House for a Happy Thanksgiving

We had a very nice Thanksgiving holiday. We hosted a dinner here for our family, sister Emma’s family, and sister Verena. We are a total of 39 now. The table was set for 36 people. Andrea, 9 months, was in the highchair. Denzel, 4 months, was in a seat, and baby Jazlyn, 3 1/2 weeks, of course, was laying down or getting passed around. We opened our kitchen table to the extended 12 feet, and we added four tables (each 6 feet long) to that to make room to seat everyone. This extends from the dining room into our living room.

Emma has four grandchildren and we have ten, and all are 6 and under. It makes for some interesting moments.

We furnished the hot food for the dinner and everything else was brought in. Three turkeys were prepared. Son-in-law Dustin deep fried one and my husband Joe and sons grilled the other two. That helped to not have to bake them in the oven.

Also on the menu was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, a vegetable blend of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (steamed), cheese, hot peppers, and pickles. Then coming in from the others was overnight salad, dinner rolls, pumpkin roll, pumpkin pies, blueberry and blackberry cheesecakes, donut bars, cherry delight, vegetable tray and dip, fruit tray with dip, and sugar cookies. There was way too much food. Chips and dip was also brought in, and we had that along with all the leftovers before everyone left for home.

The afternoon was spent playing games such as Phase 10, Marble Chase, 10,000 in dice, and the younger ones played Chutes and Ladders. It was an enjoyable day, and it went much too fast.

Son Benjamin recently spent a night and morning at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house hunting. He shot a doe, and Tim told Elizabeth that Benjamin shot a nice doe. Well, little T.J., age 3, was told that you only can shoot the bad does. It bothered him, and knowing they were bad made him feel better. So when he saw me he told me, “Grandma, did you know Benjamin shot a nice doe?” He was really concerned. It was so sweet. He told Elizabeth, “I like when Uncle Ben comes…he makes me laugh.”

Recently we had a nice visit from Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister). She is 81. Coming with her were her daughter Sovilla and husband Leroy, her daughter Martha and husband Merlin, and her son Amos and wife Marilyn (Marilyn is Joe’s cousin). We had a good visit with them. They had picked up sister Verena and went to visit sister Emma. Our family was home for supper that evening, so they all got in on the visit. I have many fond memories of times spent at Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house. They had a pond, and we had many picnics back there. I have one bad memory, and that was almost drowning in that pond as a little girl. Cousin Milo (Elmer and Emma’s son) came to my rescue, and all was fine. I always did have a fear of water since but wanted my children to learn to swim. When a friend was giving them swimming lessons, she said she will need to leave me home. She said I was scaring my children of the water. So after that I stayed home, as I knew they were in good hands.

Uncle Elmer died over three years ago, so Aunt Emma has many lonely days. Her family is a good support to her. Seeing her brought back memories of my dear mother.

We are busy getting ready for daughter Susan and Ervin’s December 30th wedding. Since it will be held at the community building it makes less work for that. Tomorrow, sister Emma and her daughters and my daughters and I will get together at Ervin’s house to plan for the wedding meal and make a shopping list for food.

God’s blessings to all!

Pumpkin Roll
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the eggs, pumpkin, and sugar in a bowl, then add the rest of ingredients and blend together well. Pour into a 15 x 10 x 1-inch greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Flop out the pumpkin cake onto towel when it comes out of oven. Roll up like a jellyroll; let cool.

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll cooled cake, then spread with filling and roll up again without towel and refrigerate.

 

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.

Happy Thanksgiving from Lovina

I need to get an extra column written so I won’t need to send one the week of Thanksgiving Day, which is next week already. I will do a one-day diary.

3:50 a.m.: I get up with daughter Lovina, 18. She will go help daughter Loretta this morning. She always goes before or right after Dustin leaves for work. I always step out on the porch until I see she’s almost to their house. It is a cold morning, and the ground has a layer of snow on it.

I then start packing my husband Joe’s lunch and make him breakfast. Breakfast is a tortilla shell with a sausage patty, egg, and cheese in it. Lunch for Joe is a leftover egg omelet topped with sausage gravy, jerky, a piece of cake, an apple, and a protein shake for break. I also fill his water jug with ice and water. Usually instead of cake I put in cookies for him to have with his coffee, but we are out. I need to see if Lovina would bake some more. Joe always refuels the basement stove with coal for the day before he leaves.

4:45 a.m.: Joe leaves for work.

5 a.m.: Sons Benjamin, 23, and Joseph, 20, get up to do the morning chores. One of them feeds the horses while the other refuels the coal stove in the pole barn. We heat the one side to keep the solar batteries and inverter from getting too cold. We keep it cooler out there than the house. It also makes it nicer to use the phone when it’s warm in there. (That is where we have our phone.)

I make Joseph breakfast, but Benjamin doesn’t want anything. Joseph’s breakfast is a grilled cheese sandwich with a sausage patty and egg in it. His lunch is a turkey sandwich, an apple, cake, and chips. I also get his water jug filled. He works outside most days. Right now they are tearing down an old barn.

5:30 a.m.: Both boys leave for work. I take a break in my recliner with intentions to read but fall asleep. An hour and a half later, I wake up feeling more rested.

7:45 a.m.: I make a pot of coffee. Then I get some mail ready for the mailbox—mostly bills needing to be paid. We had the rest of our coal delivered, so that needs to be paid, which isn’t cheap. We had to have a new battery pack put in for our solar system, and another pricey bill. I’m sure you can all relate, that there is always something needing repaired, etc. That’s life! We have so much to be thankful for and shouldn’t complain. We have a warm house to live in and plenty to eat and a loving family. We too often take everything for granted. God has been good to us! Let us not only thank him on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, for all his blessings.

10:30 a.m.: Lovina comes back from Loretta’s and washes the dishes, since I have been doing other odds and ends around the house and didn’t do those. Kevin is also home, and I don’t even remember what time he came down. Lovina makes an early lunch for us since we didn’t eat breakfast. Kevin usually takes the mail out and gets it in for me with his mobility scooter, but it’s not working right so I get to do that. The fresh air and exercise don’t hurt me. Kevin doesn’t like to walk out in the snow, either, or on unlevel ground too much.

I spend the afternoon getting recipes around for Susan and Ervin’s wedding. I’m making a grocery list for all the things we will need to get. That takes a lot of concentration. I also write my family circle letter so I can send it along to work with Joe. Joe works with brother Albert at the metal shop. A circle letter is a packet of letters that you read, then take your old letter out and put in a new one. I have a few with friends and then one with my siblings. This is common amongst the Amish, where a lot of them don’t have phones. I have been in a circle letter with some friends for over 36 years. We were all born in 1971, and most of our parents are cousins. We were in our early teens and now we are all grandmothers. It is quite interesting!

3:20–4:30 p.m.: The menfolk are all home from work. I am going to run out of room to write everything, but I will just finish with the room I have left.

Dustin shot a 9-point buck last night and will give us the meat. He shot an 8-point buck last week. We will be glad for it! My favorite is the jerky Joe makes.

We are praying for our friend Jodi. She is in the hospital and not too good. Her husband Dan was in the same accident took the life of Susan’s husband Mose. We wish her a complete recovery! We miss not having her here in Michigan. She moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista. She has had many lonely days without her husband Dan.

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for God’s many blessings.

 

Pumpkin Pie
For one nine-inch pie
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat egg, then add all remaining ingredients. Stir until mixed well. Pour into shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until set.

 

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.