Lovina Remembers 20 Years in Michigan

As I write down today’s date, many memories flow through my mind. Twenty years ago we left Geneva, Indiana with all our belongings and headed north to our new home in Michigan. We had six children at that time: Elizabeth, age 9, Susan, 8, Verena, 6, Benjamin, 4, Loretta, 3, and Joseph, 20 months. The years have passed so quickly. Daughter Lovina joined our family eight weeks later, coming three and a half weeks earlier than expected. I was sick in the hospital for a week, and she was delivered by emergency C-section. We were not unpacked yet and not at all prepared for a newborn.

Then fifteen and a half months later, our last child joined the family—Kevin. He will be 19 in September. Kevin has muscular dystrophy, and we are in the process of getting him a power chair. I really hope this will be much more useful to him than the mobility scooter, since it will let the seat rise higher and also recline. He will also be able to stretch his legs out better. He’s over six feet tall, so he needs more room for his long legs.

On Sunday, daughter Susan and Ervin hosted church services for our church district. It was a cold, snowy day, so it took a lot of propane to heat the pole barn. After services were over, six tables were set up to feed everyone in two seatings. We fed a total of 11 tables, which held 16 at each table. The babies and the toddlers don’t eat at the table, so I am guessing there were around two hundred people there. We made a noodle soup for the younger children that don’t eat sandwiches at the table. The lunch menu consisted of homemade wheat and white bread, ham, Colby cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, jelly, butter, coffee, spearmint tea, and four different kinds of cookies.

While dishes were being washed, baggies of popcorn were passed out to everyone. It took a lot of coffee on a cold day. I made 150 cups of coffee and a 20-quart pot of tea. There wasn’t much left of either.

Susan and Ervin invited mostly family back for supper. I had helped Susan make two big roasters of pizza casserole the day before. So along with that, on the menu was potato salad, deviled eggs, bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, a variety of pies, cakes, pudding, jello, etc. A lot of us took a dish so it made an easy supper for Susan. 

I am so glad this is over for Susan and Ervin. It was a little rough getting ready, but now she can relax that all her closets, walls, ceilings, furniture, windows, etc. all had a good cleaning.

On Saturday son Benjamin and I went to help Ervin and Susan with last-minute prep. Daughter Verena and her special friend Daniel Ray went to get Kaitlyn, Jennifer, Isaiah, Ryan, and Curtis and took them to Dustin and Loretta’s house for the day. Verena and Loretta gave all the children a bath and washed their hair. Verena and Daniel Ray took them back home in the evening. It was much easier cleaning for Susan with someone else looking after their five children. Of course Baby Ervin stayed home, and this Grandma would stop working once in a while to cuddle him. He’s such a blue-eyed little sweetie. He can give the biggest smiles. He’s short on patience though, when he’s hungry.

My husband Joe, son Joseph, and son-in-law Dustin dressed a 1,000-pound beef, and it’s hanging in our cold pole barn. That’s on our agenda this week. Dustins will take a half and we will take the other half. God bless!

Cheesy Chicken Chowder
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup diced celery
4 cups water
5 cups diced cooked chicken
4 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon salt

Combine the vegetables and water in a soup pot and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Add the chicken and butter. Stir in the flour, then gradually stir in the milk. Add the cheese and salt and stir until the cheese is melted. Spoon into bowls and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

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.

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