Lovina Remembers Baby Marilyn

Thirteen years ago today—September 14—sister Emma and Jacob were blessed with a daughter Marilyn. She died eight and a half months later, leaving heartbroken parents and siblings. We were so close to her—how hard it was to go tell Jacob and Emma’s children and my own in school that day that their little sister/cousin had gone to be with Jesus. Often through the years, when we have seen girls her age, we wonder how Marilyn would look at that age. But it was God’s will. From the sidelines, though, I know how Emma and Jacob hurt. Such an angel! Emma was still breastfeeding her, and her arms felt so empty. Marilyn’s stay on earth was short, but she received lots of love in that time. Emma miscarried twins a few years later but wasn’t able to have more children. She is blessed with two girls and three boys. She misses her dear husband, Jacob.

We found our 18 1/2-year-old horse Ginger dead in the field one morning. Ginger put in a lot of miles pulling our family through the years. We have her daughter Midnight for our main horse. Joe trained Ginger and Midnight. Son Benjamin has her half sister Beauty for his horse.

Ginger was born six days after we moved to Michigan. Her mother, Itty Bit, was also a good horse. It’s always hard to part with a horse that has been around a long time, and you grow attached to them. She was a leader in our group of horses, so they all looked a little lost for awhile.

Our garden is all cleared out and ready to till. The garden beds still have tomatoes, green peppers, sweet banana peppers, serrano peppers, and cucumbers. We plan to can serrano peppers today, along with more pickles. We canned twenty quarts of pickled red beets on Monday—ten quarts for us and ten for Dustin and Loretta. We serve these red beets at our church lunches when we host the services.

Niece Emma and Menno are hosting church on Sunday, at which we will be having council meeting (preparatory services for communion). Lunch is usually served during the services, as the service lasts until early afternoon. A couple dozen people at a time will go in to eat until everyone has eaten. Tomorrow my daughter and I have plans to go assist Emma with whatever she needs help with for church services on Sunday.

Saturday evening we went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for Abigail’s birthday supper. She was excited to have everyone come for her sixth birthday. Elizabeth made cupcakes and had six candles for her to blow out. Supper menu was grilled hamburgers (along with all the add-ons such as lettuce, tomatoes, etc.), potatoes (cooked on the grill), cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream. We played games after supper.

Granddaughter Jennifer (Susan’s daughter) started school this week. She seems to like it. Abigail (Elizabeth’s daughter) said she’ll take care of Jennifer if she’s scared. Abigail, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn (Ervin’s daughter) all seem to be enjoying school.

Yesterday I attended a Tupperware party hosted by daughter Verena’s friend Laura. She’s a neighbor to Susan and Verena. I took our horse Midnight and our buggy to the party. Afterwards I went to daughter Susan’s house for a few hours. I wanted to be there when Kaitlyn and Jennifer came home from school. Abigail had been dropped off already. Isaiah (Ervin’s son), 4, said he goes to school, too. When they asked him what his teacher’s name is, he said Jesus. He sees the others going to school and wants to go, too.

Ervin (Susan’s friend) is now a homeowner here in Michigan. He bought the farm around the corner from Susan’s house, around a half mile from there. Next month will probably be busy, getting his things all packed again and moved to his new place. This will be so much easier for Susan and Verena to watch the children while he’s at work.

I’ll share the recipe for pickled red beets for those interested in canning.

God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina canned 20 quarts of pickled red beets, to serve at church lunches when they host. Photo provided.

Pickled Red Beets
10 quarts raw beets
5 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
6 cups sugar
4 teaspoons salt

Boil beets until tender, 10–15 minutes, then drain, peel, and cut into chunks. Mix together vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Pour brine over beets and cook for 10 minutes. Put in jars and seal. Process in a boiling-water bath canner according to USDA guidelines suggested by your local extension office or the National Center for Home Preservation website.

This recipe makes a brine for 10 quarts of beets. If the vinegar is strong, you may adjust the brine ratio to 1 cup of vinegar to every 3 cups of water.

 

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.

Birthdays, a Baptism, and Farewell to a Friend

Canning season is in full swing around here. We are a week into September already. September 10 is granddaughter Abigail’s 6th birthday. Her birth brought us much excitement, as she put Joe and me on the grandparent list. Every grandchild brings excitement, but that first grandchild makes a change in your life.

Last night all the family were here for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cucumber salad, cheese, cookies, and canned peaches.

Son Kevin turned 17 on September 2. Daughter Lovina and I made him a horseshoe-shaped cake. We celebrated his birthday a day earlier, as our family gathered here for a farewell supper for our dear friend Jodi.

Lovina and Daughter Lovina made Kevin this horseshoe-shaped cake for his 17th birthday. Photo provided.

Jodi, whose husband Dan was killed in same accident that took the life of daughter Susan’s husband Mose, has moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista and family. We have come to be good friends with Jodi and will really miss her being close by. I understand that she wants to be closer to her daughter, though.

We made a haystack dinner for Jodi and her son James and family. It was nice to spend a night together before she headed south.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim are glad that church services at their house are now over. It’s always a good feeling to have everything cleaned again. A baptismal service for son Benjamin was held there on Saturday. After most of the people left, sister Emma’s family and our family helped pack up the dishes in the bench wagon, and the men put all the benches back in. The tent was taken down and packed up in the tent trailer to be pulled to the next ones that need it.

Tims served a good church lunch of homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter mixture, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, grape jelly, coffee, iced tea, and a variety of cookies.

It was a nice, sunny day to have services under a tent. The sun warmed up later in the day, making the iced tea sister Emma made taste extra good.

It always seems to make a parent’s heart so thankful when another child takes that precious step in life and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. May God continue to be Benjamin’s guide as we travel into the unknown future.

Today my husband Joe stayed home from work, as he has several appointments. First we will go to the doctor’s office to find out the results on some blood tests he took. Then we will head over to the hospital, where he has to take a stress test. Joe has been having some health complications, so we hope to get good results. I can’t believe the cost of doctor and hospital visits, but like everything else, the prices go up. We will take one day at a time and trust in our Heavenly Father above.

I want to apologize to readers who have written letters to me that didn’t receive an answer yet. I managed to get a few more answered this week. If you have a stamped envelope with your letter, you will get a reply, but I can’t promise when. Also, if you are requesting recipes that I haven’t had in the columns, then I will try to print those in a future column to save time. I appreciate all the kind, encouraging letters I receive. Daughter Loretta appreciates all the get well and baby cards and gifts she has received. May God bless you for your kind deeds. Until next week… God bless!

This recipe was requested by a reader.

Whoopie Pies
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour milk (2 tablespoons vinegar added to sweet milk to make a cup)
1 cup hot water

Cream filling:
1 3/4 cups butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
10–14 ounces marshmallow crème

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; in a separate bowl, cream eggs, sugar, shortening and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture, then add hot water last. Buttermilk can be substituted for the sour milk. Drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees about 8 minutes or until done.

For cream filling, cream butter and powdered sugar; whip until fluffy, then blend in vanilla. Fold in marshmallow crème until combined. Chill for 20 minutes. Put two cookies together with cream filling in between.

 

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 Helps Clean to Prepare for Church Services

Today is the last day of August. This summer is flying by so fast, it seems. I have tomatoes, pickles, and red beets to be put in jars. I will probably make salsa with the tomatoes that I have picked. The plants are loaded with more. How thankful we can be for this bountiful harvest. We can now enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Last week we canned 42 quarts of V-8 juice, which makes a good drink. I make ours spicy by adding extra hot peppers, but I also make some that isn’t spicy so I can use it in soups when the grandchildren come home.

Lovina recommends adding hot peppers to make the juice spicy. Photo provided.

Yesterday daughter Lovina and I and daughter Loretta and seven-and-a-half-week-old baby Denzel went to daughter Elizabeth’s to assist her with her cleaning. We used our horse Midnight and Dustin and Loretta’s buggy. Their buggy is pretty neat. It has a lift in the back run by a battery charged by a solar panel on the buggy. So I could push a button, and it lifted Loretta and her mobility scooter into the buggy. There were many times when Loretta didn’t want to leave because she didn’t want us to have to lift her in the buggy. So now she can leave with us when Dustin isn’t along.

Daughters Susan and Verena were also at Tim and Elizabeth’s helping, and so were Susan’s friend Ervin and the children. Ervin mowed the grass, and we cleaned the kitchen, bathroom, and windows. Church services will be held at Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Saturday instead of Sunday. This will be baptismal services for son Benjamin—Lord willing. Services will be held under a tent.

Elizabeth was glad for all our help. With four children ages five and under, it’s hard to get everything done. I want to go help her Friday again.

Granddaughters Abigail and Kaitlyn came home from school together. It was so cute to see them with their backpacks. They are really getting attached to each other.

The little boys enjoyed the day together. They were playing by the window well, and Ryan, three, slipped into the well. There was a toad in there, and he was screaming because he was scared of the big toad. When Loretta went to see why he was crying Isaiah, four, and T.J., three, were pulling Ryan out of the window well. It was so sweet how the two little boys were helping Ryan.

Granddaughter Andrea, six and a half months, gets around everywhere in her walker. I was cleaning the stove, and she kept coming up to the stove, trying to grab the racks I had sitting there. She’s a sweetie and has the biggest eyes and smile.

Jennifer, four, and Allison, two, were playmates and kept each other entertained. Most times, they play doll, and Allison is Jennifer’s little girl. It’s funny how the little girls and little boys have different interests. Curtis, two, likes to hang close to wherever Susan is. He’s really attached to her already. He also likes to play with baby Denzel and Andrea.

Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis are Ervin’s children, but they already seem like my own grandchildren. They are so easy to love.

Loretta went to see the doctor again, and she still has some blood clots in her leg, so she still needs to take a blood thinner and keep them elevated often. She will have an ultrasound done again in the future.

Meanwhile, Denzel seems to keep growing. He weighs almost 10 pounds already. He really smiles and is very alert.

Friday, September 2, our youngest child Kevin will be 17 already. It’s hard to believe!

God’s blessings to all!

V-8 Juice
15 pounds of tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 celery stalks, cut in half
4 carrots, diced
4 onions, diced
4 cucumbers, sliced
4 green peppers, each cut into about 8 pieces
4–6 hot peppers, jalapeños, or whatever your preference; left whole with stems removed
6 garlic cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 20-quart kettle over medium-high heat. Cook until soft, stirring often (around 30 minutes). Remove celery stalks. Put through a Victorio strainer and pour juice into jars. I add 1 teaspoon of salt to every quart of juice. Seal jars and process them according to recommendations from your county extension office or the National Center for Food Preservation website.

 

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 Celebrate Two Birthdays

We are in the midst of canning season. Yesterday, we canned 16 quarts of sweet and sour dill pickles. Now I want to make dill spears yet. I’ll use the rest of my cucumbers to can some for daughter Loretta. This way, she’ll have pickles whenever their turn comes to host church services. I am running low in dill, so we will ask the neighbors if anyone has extra. The recipe calls for two dill heads per quart, so that takes quite a few. I use Palace King cucumbers to make my pickles. They are a firm cucumber and make nice crispy canned pickles.

Next on the agenda is to make V-8 juice. My tomato plants are loaded and need to be picked.

Son Joseph, 20, is gone this week. He’s working in Traverse City, Michigan. They never do this, but someone wanted a pole barn built by their crew, so they decided to travel the four hours and stay at a motel while they do the job. Joseph called home, and it sounds like they are ready to finish up today. They will do some sightseeing before heading home on Friday.

It seems empty without Joseph here at night. He does so many errands for me after work on weekdays. He has helped me keep the flowers on the porch watered because he knows I’m bad at keeping them watered. The flowers need water which shows I’ve come to depend on him.

Granddaughters Abigail and Kaitlyn are enjoying going to school. Granddaughter Jennifer came here with daughter Verena yesterday and said she wants to go to school too. She said Kaitlyn brings books from school.

We attended Kaitlyn’s birthday party. We met her grandparents and some aunts/uncles on her mother’s side. We also met more of Ervin’s family. Kaitlyn was so excited to have everyone there for her. Daughter Verena filled a piñata with little toys and candy for the children. They had fun hitting the piñata until it broke.

Before we went, my husband Joe grilled chicken to take along for supper. Also on the menu was tater tot casserole, corn chip salad, peaches, watermelon, mocha pudding, cake, and ice cream.

Monday, August 22, was my sister Verena’s 56th birthday. We took supper to her. Son Benjamin mowed her grass for her. Quite a few of the church people dropped off some goodies for her. She doesn’t have a garden, so the fresh fruits and vegetables are good for her. Someone also had a nicely decorated cake along with other things dropped off at her house. Dustin, Loretta, and baby Denzel also joined us to have supper with her; daughter Verena did too.

The wedding day of Alvin and niece Leanna was a very nice day! My sisters, I, and one of Alvin’s aunts made a lot of gravy for the meals. The menu was barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans topped with bacon bits and cheese sauce (corn was served instead for the evening meal), chicken lettuce salad, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, fresh fruit mixture, mocha pudding, pecan, peach and white chocolate pies. The wedding cake was served at night.

I met quite a few readers, which always encourages me. It is interesting to me to meet them. And of course, it was nice to see family again. We wish Alvin and Leanna a long, happy married life together.

We now have an invitation for another niece Rosemary and Josiah. They set their wedding day on October 1. This would be daughter Loretta and Dustin’s first anniversary. Also, another invitation we have and I’m really hoping we can attend is the wedding of Elmer and Wilma. Elmer is cousin Susan’s son, and this wedding would be in Monroe, Indiana. This wedding will be on September 2.

I’ll share the pickle recipe. God bless!

 

Sweet & Sour Dill Pickles
Sliced cucumbers (I slice them about 1/4 inch or a little thicker)
2 cups vinegar (I use white)
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons salt
4 garlic cloves (per quart)
2 dill heads (per quart)
pinch of alum (per quart)

Put sliced cucumbers, dill heads, garlic cloves, and alum in jars. Heat vinegar, sugar, water, and salt until sugar is dissolved, and pour over pickles. Repeat this step until all pickles are covered. Process in a boiling-water canner. Check your county extension office or the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for the current recommended canning time.

 

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 Helps Prepare Pies for a Wedding

It’s Tuesday, and it’s almost time to start supper. I am not sure yet what I’ll make besides sweet corn, cucumber salad, and sliced tomatoes. For me, that is enough. I love the fresh veggies from the garden.

Last week daughter Loretta and I canned peaches for her and Dustin. I also want to can pickled beets for her. Her mother-in-law is canning corn and green beans for them. That will all help them to have vegetables in jars for future use.

Lovina and her daughter Loretta canned peaches together. Photo provided.

Loretta and five-and-a-half-week-old baby Denzel are here right now. She’s elevating her legs and feeding the little sweetie. He weighs eight pounds two ounces now, so he’s gaining well. It is so fun to get him smiling that sweet little smile.

Dustin is mowing hay. It’s nice weather for that right now.

Today, I went to help with preparations for niece Leanna and Alvin’s wedding. It will be at her parent’s (my brother Albert and Sarah Irene) house. Sisters Verena and Emma also went with me to help.

My job was to roll out dough for pie crusts. Two of Alvin’s aunts were also helping me. We rolled out around 70 pie crusts. Some were baked empty, and some were put in the cooler to have ready-to-bake pecan pies tomorrow.

Sisters Liz, Emma, and I will have to make gravy at the wedding.

The tables are all set, and everything looks like it’s coming into place for the wedding Thursday, August 18th.

August 18th is also daughter Susan’s friend Ervin’s daughter Kaitlyn’s sixth birthday. We will go to Ervin’s house for a birthday party for her on Friday night. Kaitlyn is such a sweetheart. She’ll come hug me when she sees me and say, “Grandma—I love you, and I missed you.”

I haven’t met Kaitlyn’s mother’s family yet, but they are planning to be at her birthday party too.

Granddaughter Abigail and Kaitlyn will start kindergarten next week. They are excited about it. Nephew Benjamin and Crystal’s son Isaiah will also be in their class. They all get along really well, so I’m sure they will have fun together.

Sunday, August 14th, was daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s seventh anniversary. Our family went there for lunch in their honor. Tim made fish and fries in the deep fryer outside. Along with that, we also had coleslaw, cheese, watermelon, peaches, chocolate pie, brownies, and ice cream. Everything was delicious!

It is now past my bedtime. Dustin and Loretta left for home. They were here for supper. Daughter Verena also surprised us and came home for supper and will stay here for the night. It’s always good to have her home.

Son Joseph went over to help son-in-law Tim with his hay. Son Benjamin left with his horse and buggy to pick Joseph up and bring him home. I always feel like I need to wait up until everyone is home and in bed.

Daughter Loretta had another stack of cards from readers. This means so much to her. Thank you for all the cards and gifts being sent to her. It is greatly appreciated! May God bless you!

I wanted to get this column written tonight, so I can start sewing in the morning. I still need to sew Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding on Thursday.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Pie
3 cups finely chopped or grated zucchini
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons lemon juice
pat of butter
9-inch pie shell, double crust

Mix all ingredients and put in an unbaked pie shell. Place crust on top and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It tastes like apple pie.

 

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 About Daughter Loretta’s Recovery

It’s Wednesday morning at 4:40 a.m. and a cool 57 degrees outside. Daughter Lovina walked over to Dustin and Loretta’s house shortly after 4 a.m. to be with Loretta while Dustin’s at work. Son Joseph just left for work. They are building a barn nine miles from here, so he’s not working too far. Usually, they work one and a half to two hours away. Daughter Verena is probably a mile from here, staying with Ervin’s (Susan’s friend) three children. Son Benjamin leaves for his work around 5:30 a.m.

My husband Joe won’t go work until after his doctor’s appointment today, so he gets to sleep in. I will go with him, so I need to get this column done before I leave.

Daughter Loretta gave us quite a scare when she was hospitalized for six days with a massive blood clot the whole length of her leg. She also had one in her lungs. Surgery was done to remove parts of the blood clots on her leg. Doctors are hoping the blood thinner will break up the one in her lungs and help dissolve the ones in her leg. She will go in again in five weeks to have tests to see how the clots are. If needed, another surgery will be done to put in a stent. We are hoping and praying it won’t need to be done.

This was to be baby Denzel’s outfit for the wedding of nephew Benjamin and Crystal, but he didn’t get to attend.

Dustin and Loretta could not attend nephew Benjamin and Crystal’s wedding as she was still in the hospital. Daughter Verena stayed here and helped daughter Lovina and me. We had four-week-old baby Denzel here while Loretta was in the hospital. Verena took care of him at night. He did pretty good but likes to wait to settle down until after midnight. He’s such a sweetie. He weighs 7 pounds and 13 ounces now. Loretta missed him so much. We took him up to her for a while, and she cried when we took him to go home again. It was like medicine to see her newborn baby.

On a happy note—Benjamin and Crystal had a very nice sunny day for their wedding. It did get hot later in the day.

Their lunch menu was mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, corn, barbequed chicken, pasta salad, cinnamon pudding, Key lime pie, Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie, pecan pie, bread, butter and jelly, and candy bars. The supper menu had Poor Man’s Steak instead of chicken and ice cream instead of cinnamon pudding. The wedding cake was cut and served at 7:00 p.m. supper. The tradition at our weddings is that the bride and groom’s fathers carry out the cake to be cut and passed out. Since Benjamin’s father Jacob passed away a year ago, Benjamin picked my husband Joe to take his place to carry the cake with Crystal’s father.

Jacob died on August 8th, 2021, so this week is a year. Sister Emma said it feels good to have Crystal and her son Isaiah moving into her house. With the house so empty after her husband’s death, it’ll help fill the void. Benjamin, Crystal, and Isaiah will live in with Emma until they make living quarters in her pole barn for now. Crystal’s parents will miss five-year-old Isaiah after having him at their house since birth.

I went to help prepare for the wedding Wednesday, and my job was to bake 30 pecan pies. Neighbor Barbara was also there to help me make them. The Saturday before the wedding, Joe and I went to help set the wedding tables.

Tonight, our whole church is invited to neighbors Joas and Susan for a fish fry. Joas loves to fish, so every year they invite the church one night for a fish fry. Everyone brings a dish, so there is plenty of food to eat.

I want to thank all of you readers who have sent cards to Loretta and for all the prayers. They were felt, and what a comfort to have such great support! May God bless you for your kindness! The doctors say Loretta has a long road of recovery, but we are so thankful she is still here. Her leg was swollen twice its size. She has to keep it often elevated, so daughter Lovina helps her while Dustin is at work. He is working only three days each week, which makes it tough on the young married couple as well. God bless!

Key Lime Pie
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh Key lime juice
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the first 3 ingredients. Press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake the pie crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned; cool. Stir together sweetened condensed milk and lime juice until blended. Pour into prepared crust. Set aside.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer just until foamy. Add granulated sugar gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until soft peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes). Spread meringue over filling. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 28 minutes. Chill for 8 hours.

 

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.

Holding On to Precious Memories

This week I have been busy sewing for nephew Benjamin’s wedding, which will be next week.

Once again, I put off my sewing until it was too close to the day. I sewed my dress, cape, and apron on Tuesday. Yesterday I cut out dresses, capes, and aprons for daughters Verena and Lovina and sewed Verena’s dress. Today after laundry, I want to sew again.

Daughter Loretta went to go buy her material for her suit, so I’ll cut and sew that for her too.

Then two weeks after nephew Benjamin and Crystal’s wedding is niece Leanna and Alvin’s wedding. This will be held at her parents Albert (my brother) and Sarah Irene’s house. Loretta, Verena, and Lovina all need new dresses, capes, and aprons for that wedding. I will wear the same dress I wear to Benjamin’s wedding because it is the same color but only different material for Leanna’s wedding.

At Benjamin’s wedding, daughters Elizabeth, Susan, Loretta, and I will be cooks. Daughters Verena and Lovina and sons Benjamin and Kevin will all be table waiters. Son Joseph and his special friend Grace will be witnesses for Benjamin and Crystal. They usually have two couples for witnesses. Nephew Benjamin and son Joseph are the same age and have always been close cousins. Joseph was surprised and feels honored to stand with his cousin/friend when he gets married.

There will be an empty spot at the wedding without Benjamin’s dad, Jacob. Also, for sister Emma to be at her child’s wedding without her dear husband.

Sunday, son Joseph was 20. His birth always brings back memories of my dear mother. Joe’s Aunt Sylvia was my midwife, and Mom was there too, as she was with every baby I had. Joseph was baby number six for us. My sisters had the other five children on that hot July afternoon. Mom kept chilling and asked for a coat. Sylvia kept taking her vitals and tried to make her comfortable. She had a heat stroke and was probably cold from having a fever, which we later found out.

Joseph was born at 6:35 p.m. weighing seven pounds six ounces. After he was born, my sisters Verena and Susan came with our other children to meet their new brother/nephew. Jacob, sister Emma, and their four children came to see the new baby that night. We had made Mom go lay down in the other bedroom, and she was covered with blankets. Jacobs, Verena, and Susan stayed for the night because we were all worried about Mom.

Little did we realize that in eight weeks, we wouldn’t have her with us anymore. My sisters Verena and Susan and Mom had gone to some book signings in Kansas and Missouri. Mom was in a motel in Blue Springs, Missouri, when she died from an aneurysm in her stomach. What a shock when we heard the news. Precious memories are our comfort!

Sunday evening, our family was here in honor of Joseph’s birthday. We also celebrated son Benjamin’s birthday, which was July 14th. We never had cake for him, so we had a cake for both boys.

Lovina and her family celebrated the birthdays of Joseph and Benjamin. Photo provided.

Our menu was a Haystack Meal with cake and ice cream. Homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, and chips as well.

A haystack is made with Dorito crumbs, crushed saltine crackers, taco-seasoned hamburger, cooked spaghetti, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, onions, salsa, ranch dressing, then topped with cheese sauce.

Baby Denzel is at six pounds 10 ounces now and is getting a lot of attention with Grandpa, Grandma, uncles, and aunts across the road.

Grandson Ryan was three on July 27. Susan’s friend Ervin had our family all at his house for Ryan’s birthday. Ervin lives a mile from us, so it’s close by. Ryan felt so proud of all the attention when he blew out his candles. God bless!

Pumpkin Chip Cookies
2 3/4 cup pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup lard or shortening
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-6ounce package of chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (if desired)

Mix pumpkin, sugar, lard, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add gradually. Mix well. Stir in chips and nuts, then drop by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 14 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 Verena Shares Her Train Adventures

Hello, this is Lovina’s daughter Verena. It’s Tuesday evening, and I decided to write Mom’s column. The sun is shining nicely, and there’s a nice breeze flowing.

I keep looking back at life at the age of sixteen. I was so excited to turn sixteen, and life seemed to go so slow. Now I am at the age of twenty-four and life seems to be going too fast. I wonder what I will be saying at the age of fifty!

I recently got to experience going on an Amtrak train. I left with friends Samuel and Wilma and their three-month-old daughter Kimberly. I enjoyed the train ride—the only part I didn’t enjoy was trying to sleep. It wasn’t too comfy. We left the morning of July 11. We then arrived in Colorado at Samuel’s brother Freeman and his wife Sarah’s house the evening of July 12. That is where we stayed until July 16. Samuel’s sister Laura and Laura’s friend Liz drove back with us on the train. Laura and I shared a seat. We sure had an enjoyable time.

On July 17, we had to get off and go on another train. While we were waiting at the train station, we decided to go find some food to eat. I saw the escalators and I got a wild idea to try one out with my mobility scooter. Without thinking of any consequences, I took the scooter up the escalator. It did a good job, so I wanted to try going down. So I did, and it worked perfectly. Although it didn’t impress the caretakers of the station. They had to put over the intercom that wheelchairs or any kind or scooters are supposed to take the elevators, not the escalator. It was a fun and funny experience. I do not suggest anyone tries it though!

Around midnight on July 18, we arrived an hour from home—just to discover our driver forgot to pick us up and had been fast asleep. Now we had to find a way to call home and find another driver. We finally were able to do that, and the driver came around 3 a.m.—we arrived home around 4 a.m. I did not sleep right away, either, so I definitely lost a lot of sleep, but it was definitely worth it.

Laundry day at Daughter Susan’s house, where Verena lives. Photo provided.

Sister Susan’s boyfriend Ervin moved up here into a rental house. It’s six miles or so from Susan’s house, which has made life much busier and brought more changes. The changes are good though. I’m very happy for Susan and Ervin. I’m also happy for the children—they sure have adapted well together.

Every morning, Ervin’s work driver picks me up around 3:10 a.m. That means I have to get up by 2:45, at least. Ervin makes sure to have my mobility scooter sitting out there so I can just drive it into the house once I get there. Ervin’s three children are still fast asleep, so I lay down close by them somewhere. They normally get up around 6 or 7 a.m. I then get them breakfast, then I wash the breakfast dishes and of course entertain the children. Around 11:30 we have lunch, and then I put them down for a nap. After they are napping, I wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and mop the floors if needed. Not all that gets done all the time before Ervin gets home. I then have a driver take me back to Susan’s after Ervin is home. Ervin gets home normally around 1­­–2:30 p.m. I also make sure to have supper prepared for him so he doesn’t have much to do.

Today I loaded all three kiddos up on my scooter and we drove to my parents’ house. Mom made breakfast for us, and the children loved it. We then went over to my sister Loretta’s house to see baby Denzel again. He sure is growing, and is doing well.

Wednesday, July 27, my nephew Ryan will be three years old. Ryan is Susan’s son. Ervin offered to have our family there at his rental house for Ryan’s third birthday.

I hope you are all doing well, and God’s many blessings to you all!

 

Garden Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

 

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.

Celebrating More Summer Birthdays & Anniversaries

On July 15 our family all gathered here for supper in honor of our 29th anniversary. (July 15 is also brother Albert’s 58th birthday.) A delicious supper was made on the grill, including banana poppers, wings, and chicken. Daughter Liz and Tim brought a nice, decorated cake. Abigail, 5, was so excited to give us a big helium balloon with “Happy Anniversary” written on it. Susan’s friend Ervin was here, but his children Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis were spending a few days with his wife Sarah’s parents. I am so glad they can still have that relationship with their grandchildren and still spend time with them. It can’t be easy to lose a son or daughter.

This week, Lovina and family celebrated her 29th wedding anniversary, along with other family birthdays. Photo provided.

July 19 was sister Emma’s 49th birthday—her first birthday without her dear husband by her side. She needs our prayers. Friday in two weeks will be her son’s wedding, and she won’t have Jacob by her side for that. Memories are all that is left!

On Friday evening, daughter Susan will host Mose’s family for a family night supper. That will also be different without Mose there. I am so glad that she still has a relationship with his family and that Jennifer and Ryan get to see their grandparents. It means a lot if family accepts change and will support it. They all need our prayers.

On Monday, July 18, I had a voicemail from Aunt Lovina, who lives in Ohio. She wanted to let me know that she is thinking of us on my mother’s 86th birthday. Lovina is a sister to my mom. I want to call Lovina back today, as it is her 83rd birthday if I remember correctly. It was nice to hear her voice again. We have many precious memories of times spent with her family.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s brother Benjamin, Miriam, and family from Ohio. It was nice to visit with them. Their children are growing up so fast. Time certainly does not stand still.

Daughter Verena is back home from her Colorado trip. She is staying a few nights with daughter Elizabeth. Son-in-law Tim had the chance to go fishing in New York with his co-workers at the sawmill. It is an expense-paid trip. Grandson T.J. was going to go along but ended up being sick so granddaughter Abigail went instead. They left Sunday afternoon and will start home Wednesday morning. One night when Tim called home, Abigail said, “Mom, I’m catching more fish than Daddy!” I am sure she will have plenty to talk about when she gets home.

Elizabeth, T.J., Allison, and Andrea spent the night here Sunday. Monday morning I made breakfast burritos. Elizabeth and children and I walked over to Dustin and Loretta’s house before she headed home. I took some burritos to Loretta and Lovina for their breakfast. Daughter Lovina is still assisting Loretta with her housework. Of course we had to hold sweet little Denzel. He is doing great. He had a checkup on Monday at the pediatrician and everything seemed to be well.

Yesterday daughter Verena spent a few hours at Dustin and Loretta’s to see Denzel since she hadn’t seen him since he was one day old. I walked over to visit with Verena since I hadn’t seen her since she was back from Colorado.

I will share a recipe this week for Zucchini Egg Bake. It was our supper last night and I used hamburger. I think adding sausage instead would make a good breakfast dish. Everyone loved it, so I’m sure we will have it again with all the zucchini we are getting from our garden. Until next week. God bless!

Zucchini Egg Bake
4 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
1 pound hamburger or sausage, browned and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
seasonings to taste
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix everything but the cheese and put in a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Add cheese and bake a few additional minutes to melt cheese.

 

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.

Welcoming a new grandchild

I am excited to share the news of the birth of our seventh grandchild. (Although I consider it number 10, as I include Ervin’s three children.)

Daughter Loretta and Dustin were blessed with their first child on July 10, 2022. Denzel Michael was born at the hospital at 3:30 a.m., weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long. He has already won our hearts and is the new “boss” at their house. He is such a sweetie!

Loretta and Dustin went to the hospital Saturday morning and I joined them around noon. Denzel took his time coming but he finally arrived at 3:30 a.m. He was born by natural birth. With Loretta having muscular dystrophy, we were thankful that everything went well for her. It went better than I expected and I was glad I could be there with her. It’s amazing how God created us. Loretta did a great job with delivering and Dustin is already in love with his sweet little son. They are experiencing sleepless nights and finding out what parenthood is all about. Daughter Lovina is helping out over there, and I also go help whenever I can.

Last night daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children brought pizza to Dustin’s for all of us. Daughter Susan and children were also there and are spending the night here. Grandson T.J. was so excited when he heard Dustin and Loretta’s baby was a boy. He wants the boys to catch up with the girls. We would have four granddaughters and three grandsons but with Ervin’s three it makes it five of each.

Plans are that Ervin moves all his belongings up here in Michigan on Friday from his parent’s house where he was living. He will actually be our neighbor, renting a house owned by our bishop and his wife. It will be nice to have him closer. Daughter Susan will have his children while he goes to work. Somehow we will make it work.

Ervin and Susan appreciate all the encouragement from everyone. It’s not easy to move on, but life doesn’t stop, and we need to leave everything in God’s protecting hand.

Daughter Verena left early Monday morning with friends and traveled to Colorado by Amtrak train. She is staying with her friends in an RV at their relatives. She will attend a friend’s wedding in Colorado. The RV she sleeps in had a visit from a bear the night before. She is hoping she will get to see a bear while she’s out there.

Verena was able to see baby Denzel before heading for Colorado. She didn’t like that she will miss out on his first days, but there will be time to bond with her new nephew after she’s home.

Last night after we walked home from Dustin’s, Jennifer asked if she could sit on me to go to sleep. I rocked her, and she was soon fast asleep. Allison, 2, cried after we left because she said she wanted to go home with Grandma, too.

Tomorrow, July 14, is son Benjamin’s 23rd birthday. From July 1 to July 14, him and Loretta are the same age.

Benjamin harnessed Susan’s horse up before he left so she doesn’t have to this morning. He might go spend the night over at her house tonight since Verena’s in Colorado. Susan says she’s fine by herself, but I think she likes the company. And of course the children enjoy when Uncle Ben comes. He’s always teasing them.

We are getting lots of zucchini from the garden so I’ll share a zucchini recipe.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Relish
10 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
5 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds red and green pepper, chopped
5 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups vinegar
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 1/2 cups sugar

Cover the first 4 ingredients with cool water and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse with water. Mix and heat the remaining ingredients in a large pot. Add chopped veggies and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Seal in jars and process in boiling water bath for 5 to 15 minutes. Makes 6 to 7 pints. Good with roast beef, hamburger, or hot dog sandwiches.

 

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.