Walking through a day in the life of the Eicher family

3:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I get up, unlock the door and wait for Dustin, daughter Loretta and their two boys to arrive. After getting them settled down for a nap, Dustin leaves for work at the RV factory. Son Joeseph gets up too. He’s leaving earlier today to do concrete work.

Joseph and I pack his lunch. I make him a breakfast sandwich: grilled cheese with an egg and sausage patty.

4:30 a.m. — Joseph leaves and my husband Joe gets up. He refuels the coal stove in the basement while I make his breakfast and pack his lunch. Nineteen-month-old Denzel isn’t quite asleep and hears that Grandpa Joe is up. He stands in his crib, begging Joe to get him. Of course, Grandpa can’t say no to his little sweetie. Denzel sits beside Joe, helping him eat his breakfast.

5:15 a.m. — Joe leaves for work, which doesn’t make Denzel too happy. He cries and wants to leave with him, but I hold him awhile and put him back in his crib, and he falls back to sleep. I take a nap on my recliner while all is quiet.

7:45 a.m. — Denzel wakes up so I get up, too. Those extra two hours of sleep feel good to me. I make Denzel breakfast, as he’s not as patient to wait until everyone else is ready.

Son Benjamin’s work was canceled for today. He goes out to do the morning chores and refuel the coal stove in the pole building. First, though, he teases Denzel and holds 6-month-old Byron for a while, who’s always full of smiles.

8:30 a.m. — Everyone is ready for breakfast, which is easy this morning: grilled cheese, eggs and cereal. It’s such a nice day with temperatures much warmer than usual. I want to hang all the laundry out to dry and everyone helps gather the clothes. We have a cold air return vent to the basement that we use as our laundry chute. Denzel loves to help throw the clothes down there. We just have to make sure the vent is back in or else toys and anything else that fits gets thrown down there as well.

1 p.m. — Laundry is drying on the lines. Daughter Susan comes to bring daughter Verena to their house. Verena will stay with Ervin and Susan’s five oldest children while they go to the hospital to see Ervin’s dad Perry, who’s 55. He had a seizure Sunday morning (which he has never had before) and has not been responding since. He’s in the ICU and was transferred to a bigger hospital. Doctors are doing all kinds of tests to see what is going on. Please keep Perry, his wife Esther, and family in your prayers. Ervin and Susan are preparing to host church services in two and a half weeks, so they have a lot going on right now. I want to go help again this week.

2 p.m. — Dustin, Loretta and the boys leave. Son Benjamin goes to get some gas and a prescription for son Joseph, who has poison ivy and needs a stronger cream for it. Benjamin then leaves to help his friend with some work.

3:15 p.m. — Joe is home from work. The laundry is dry and we’re folding it. Verena will stay the night at Ervin’s, then go from there to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s and babysit for their children on Tuesday night. Not sure if she’ll stay until Wednesday or not.

4 p.m. — Joseph is home from work. He is working on the new pole barn. We had help last week for several nights and then on Saturday again. The roof and metal sides are on. Windows are in, along with the framing for the overhead doors, and more.

On Thursday evening, our whole family was here helping. Sisters Emma and Verena; nephew Benjamin, his wife Crystal and son Isaiah; and nephews Jacob and Steven also came along. They were all here for supper. I made cheesy ranch potatoes and meatballs. The menu also included lettuce salad, cheese, chips, chocolate chip bars and ice cream. Sister Verena stayed here for the night.

6:30 p.m. — Chores are done and supper’s ready. We are having leftovers of creamed potatoes, fried chicken and meatballs.

8 p.m. — Everyone is done for the day. Once again, we thank God for another day. We have so much to be thankful for. May God bless each of you and good night.

Butter Tarts

Pastry dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup lard (or 1 1/4 cups butter)

1 large egg

1/3 cup cold water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


4 large eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups dark corn syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

10 tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups raisins, walnuts, or coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan.

To make the dough: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir to blend. Add the lard and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg, water, and vinegar and stir with a fork until the dry ingredients are moistened. Form the dough into a ball and divide that into three balls. Form each ball into a disk and roll it out on a floured surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Use a glass or 4-inch cookie cutter to cut out rounds and place them into the muffin tin. Cut off any excess overhang.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, vinegar, and butter until the mixture is creamy and thoroughly mixed.

Spoon the optional ingredients into the bottom of the unfilled crusts. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry crusts until three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is firm. Makes 20 tarts.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight who lives in southeastern Michigan. Her two cookbooks, “The Essential Amish Cookbook” and “Amish Family Recipes,” are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at Lovina’s Amish Kitchen, P.O. Box 234, Sturgis, MI 49091 (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.


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