Ice cream ensures open house pleases even littlest attendees

Happy birthday to my sister Verena, whose 52nd birthday was Aug. 22. We wish her God’s richest blessings and many more happy, healthy years!

This is Thursday morning and it seems the hours are going faster than I can keep up! School doors opened Tuesday, Aug. 21, with son Kevin in seventh grade and daughter Lovina in eighth.

Lovina decided that she would like to attend school again instead of doing another year of homeschooling. I think she missed her school friends. Kevin is also glad to have his sister back at school.

We were helping Susan yesterday. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were also there helping. We washed her laundry and washed off her kitchen walls, ceilings and cupboards. We also did some other odds and ends. On Saturday, we canned pizza sauce and hot peppers for Susan.

Baby Jennifer was fussy this week, so it’s hard for Susan to get her work done. I think Jennifer senses that her mother is extra busy.

Last night was the open house at the school. Little Abigail cried when we were leaving Susan’s house, so we decided to just take Abigail with us. Daughters Verena and Loretta told Elizabeth they would bring her back home after the open house at the school.

There was an ice cream social at the open house and Abigail loved the birthday cake flavor. She also loved playing on the swings and slides at the playground. She didn’t want to leave. It is so precious to have her come home with us. Needless to say, she gets a lot of attention here.

We did our first canning of tomatoes this week. We canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice. At the end of this column, I will share with you the recipe, which comes from my earlier cookbook, “The Amish Cook at Home.” This is a good drink for breakfast or anytime of the day. It is healthy, given all the different vegetables it contains.

I don’t always add every vegetable in the recipe. Sometimes I add potatoes and sometimes I don’t. I add more hot peppers than the recipe calls for because we like it with a spicy flavor. Daughter Elizabeth doesn’t add many hot peppers so she can use it in soups and it won’t be hot for little Abigail.

Today we will wash laundry and then can some peaches. I have a bushel that needs to be done today. I’m not sure yet, but I may also freeze some that we can use for lunches.

Son Joseph, 16, started his new job at the RV factory. He is only allowed to do some small jobs because of his age. He enjoys it and is excited about having a job again and earning money. My nephew Benjamin also works there, so the cousins enjoy spending their breaks and lunchtime together.

I really miss Joseph’s help here at home, but I understand that he needs to get a job. It’s part of growing up.

So many people take for granted that everyone can work any job. But when you have a disability, jobs are limited. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to our girls that they can’t go out and earn money like other girls. Life isn’t fair, and God has a reason for everything. We don’t always understand it, but someday we will. Keeping our trust in God is the best thing we can do.

My husband, Joe, is on four-day work weeks this month, so he can help Mose with his work. Things are falling into place in preparation for hosting church services there on Sunday. The church tent will be set up at Mose and Susan’s house tomorrow. Services will be held under the tent since they don’t have enough room in the buildings for the service.

I’ll share the vegetable juice recipe I used this week.

Homemade Vegetable Juice

15 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks

4 onions, diced

4 green bell peppers, seeded and diced

6 large jalapenos, diced

6 small potatoes, peeled and diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 cucumbers, sliced

2-3 teaspoons garlic powder

salt

Combine all ingredients except the salt in a three-gallon stainless steel pot over medium-high heat. Cook until soft enough to go through a Victoria strainer, about 30 minutes. Strain and put into sterilized quart jars and add 1 teaspoon salt to every jar. Process according to your canner’s directions. Makes 14 quarts.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She, her husband, Joe, and their family live in southeastern Michigan. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her latest is “The Essential Amish Kitchen,” is available at 800-245-7894 Contact Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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