Oldest son’s birthday delivers happy memories

July 14 — today, as I write this, our oldest son and fourth child turned 22 years old. How the years fly by. Happy birthday, Benjamin!

I had Benjamin at home with Joe’s aunt as my midwife. Benjamin weighed only 4 pounds, 13 ounces and was doing pretty well until he was 2 weeks old. He caught the flu and started dehydrating, so we ended up taking him to the hospital for a few days.

After that, he gained and never had many health problems. By the time he was a year old, he had easily passed the weight of the girls at age 1.

While I was having Benjamin, our three oldest girls, Elizabeth, Susan and Verena, stayed with my dad and sisters. Mom would always come to be there for me. After Dad found out that we had a little boy, he told the girls that they have a little brother and he’s going to be able to handle all three of them.

I remember that at first, they weren’t too thrilled about having a brother that might be able to outdo them. My dad loved to tease the girls.

After bringing them home, they soon fell in love with their tiny brother. After seeing how small he was they said, “Grandpa told us he could handle all of us, but he’s way too small.” My dad laughed when he heard that they had taken him seriously.

Eleven-and-a-half months later, daughter Loretta joined our family. I think between Benjamin and Loretta, those two got into more things than any of the rest. They were two lively little ones and they kept me busy. For two weeks every year, Loretta would tell Benjamin that she caught up to his age.

Benjamin always looked out for Loretta. One day, I put her in the playpen so I could go outside to do something real quick. When I came back in, Benjamin had crawled on the countertop and found my scissors in the cabinet and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could get out. He would use the drawer handles to climb up on the cabinets.

I was scared to think what could’ve happened with him having the scissors. Needless to say, Loretta was happy to be turned loose again. After that, I knew they weren’t safe alone for even a few minutes. I also had to get another playpen because the netting was ruined.

Today, we will again go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. Sister Verena came last night for supper to help us enjoy all the fresh goodies from the garden. She stayed the night, and we will take her home before heading over to Elizabeth’s house.

Our menu last night was fried chicken, steamed red potatoes, buttered red beets, cucumber salad, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cheese and homemade sour cream. Daughter Lovina made some chocolate crunch brownies to take to Elizabeth’s today, so everyone sampled them. They are delicious.

The potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes are all from our garden. We are enjoying the fruits of our labor. Zucchini is also ready and sweet corn should be soon. Hot peppers are ready as well.

The rain has done wonders to our gardens, but it also makes the weeds grow. We try to keep up with everything else going on.

Tomorrow, July 15, my husband Joe and I will be married 28 years. Do we appreciate enough to have that many years together? My thoughts go to daughter Susan and others that only get a small number of years together with their spouses. It is all God’s plan, and we must not question His ways. Let us trust and keep the faith.

God’s blessings to all.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

6 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme

2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup peanut butter

3 cups crisp rice cereal

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and cocoa. Add flour, vanilla, and salt.

Pour into a greased 15-inch-by-10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cake is set.

When cool, spread marshmallow creme on top.

In a saucepan, mix peanut butter and chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal. Spread on top of marshmallow creme.

Note: Lovina doubles the marshmallow creme and uses 4 cups of rice cereal. Marshmallows can be used instead of the marshmallow creme, but if using them return the pan to the oven for a few minutes to melt.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight who lives in southeastern Michigan. Her cookbooks, “The Essential Amish Cookbook” and “Amish Family Recipes,” are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply), or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.


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