Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Season's Greetings! May this post find all of you well. I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with your families.

Our children woke up Christmas morning to quite a shock. They all enjoyed their gifts, and the little kids are still working on their stocking goodies.

Getting to church today proved to be a little difficult. In addition to the snow showers we are having, the heavy windchill makes things even colder. But the Bontragers had their garage heated up and thankfully the ministers kept us all awake. I think they must have been cold too, as they didn't seem to go as long as they sometimes do. Of course most of the ministers preached of the birth of our Savior and the true meaning of Christmas.

Afterwards at the meal, it was good to finish passing around some of the Christmas cards I still had, and greet friends and neighbors. And we had a real treat when the host family announced the young singles would be doing a short singing for us. Normally the young singles do their singings on Sunday nights. But since it is a holiday weekend, the family talked the singles into singing during the meal instead.

They sang a few of the hymns from the Schwartz's Song Book and some Christmas Carols as well. It was really nice to hear celebrations in song, as Jesus is the reason for the season.

God Bless,

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well, it's that time of year when everyone seems to be bustling about for holiday preparations. Bunny had a crew at her house yesterday in the forenoon. They were hanging twinkle lights all around. The children like to look at her twinkle lights from the upstairs bedroom window. Lora Lee says it looks like Angel kisses, and Esther Sue says they look like stars dancing on Bunny's roof.

Jacob and I have finally decided what to get the children for Christmas this year. Here is the plan:

Jr & John Levi - New fishing poles. They have had the same ones since they started school, and Jacob says Lehman-Chucky told him about a good deal on poles at a shop over in Goshen.

Ruth Ann - being 12, Ruth Ann said she just wants some new dresses. I've already sewn her a new one for church, but the big surprise will be that I am buying her a handbag too. I found a nice black one over at the WalMarts and there is a cute black wallet with an embroidered flower on the clasp that I think she will like.

David Jay - We are getting him a basketball. He is always out playing with the neighbor boys and for his birthday last year, Jacob put up a basketball hoop out on the back of the garage. So, now he won't have to use his brother's old ball.

Jed & Malon - are both going to get their own pocket knives. They don't have one yet, and that is about the age the other boys got their first pocket knife. Jake says Varns & Hoover has some really nice ones the boys would love.

Sarah Jo, Esther, Lora Lee, and Gracie - are each getting a new baby doll to play with. They will also each get a new church dress as well, and I am just about done with the last one.

Oh, and the boys are all getting a new knit cap too. So, this Saturday, I will use some of the egg money I've been keeping in the coffee can for Christmas and Jake and I will go into town and do our shopping.

I know not all Amish families do this, but we have the children bring their socks out by the wood stove Christmas eve and Jake and I fill them with treats. Each of the children usually get a candy cane, an orange, a chocolate bar and a package of nuts. They just love it.

I know it is a little vain, but I am so excited, I can't wait!

God Bless,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Plucking Simon

If your husband brings home a Turkey from the shoot, or if you are raising them yourself, here is how to get it ready for your Thanksgiving table.

First, don't be overwhelmed. It really is quite simple. Many people try to dry pluck (like a duck), however you will want to water process like you would for a chicken as plucking out the larger feathers are easier on a warm bird. The only difference between plucking a turkey and a chicken is that a turkey is bigger. I also wear rubber gloves and a full apron when doing this process. Many people don't have a pot large enough for a turkey, but what I use is a big wash tub that I keep out in the back shed. Oh my... I'm starting to get ahead of myself. Okay, here is how to pluck your turkey for your table:

1) fill a large tub or pot with boiling hot water...

2) with gloves on, grab the dead turkey by the ankles and dunk into the tub of scalding hot water.

3) use a big wooden spoon (Jacob actually made me my own wooden paddle for this process) to help saturate all the feathers and keep the bird under water for about 10-15 seconds.

4) Lay the bird on some plastic or a towel and begin plucking by the small handful, being sure to pull WITH the direction they lay on the bird. Be careful not to overdo it, as you don't want to rip the skin.

5) Any "peach fuzz" or tiny pin hairs can just be wiped off after all of the feathers are plucked.

6) Dunk the turkey in cold water to help the bird cool down faster, allowing you to work with it more.

Tips: Sometimes the dye of the larger feathers will remain on the bird after the feathers are gone. This is ok, as you can rinse most of this off with the cold bath anyway. Also, if you are raising turkeys on a farm, etc., whatever you do, do NOT name the turkey(s) first. Sarah Jo has been calling this turkey Simon for quite some time now and heart broken when she saw me give "Simon" a "bath!"

Oh, and if this post made you squeamish, I reckon you daren't ask what I do with the feet or the carunkles! Aye-oh!
God Bless,

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Myth: Amish Kids Don't Do Halloween

Most Amish kids probably don't trick-or-treat for Halloween, let alone dress up in a costume. However, I have always let my kids participate. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, my scholars attend public school and not Amish School. Most of the classrooms always have parties. We also have a few English neighbors, such as Bunny that always invite the kids to come and trick-or-treat at their place.

I don't buy costumes or even sew them, but I tell the children each year if they want to come up with a costume, that is just fine by Jacob and me. Mostly, they dress like hobos, or old people, or fat people. They might put a little mud on their face, or some talcum powder in their hair, or stuff a pillow under their shirts. A few times the boys have borrowed a nightdress of mine and usually the girls will dress old, like Mommie. It doesn't really matter, because mostly, they just have fun.

Bunny says living out in the countryside, they don't see too many trick-or-treaters so when my children show up at their door with their empty pillowcases, she usually fills them right up with candy bars, popcorn balls and whatnot.

This year Bunny had on a long red dress and a red cape and some devil ears. It was a good thing she wore the same amount of make up she normally does or else she might have scare't the younger ones.

God Bless,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hen Party

I had some little sewing projects and hand crafts that I have wanted to work on, but just haven't had the time lately. I talked to Etta-Sue (my Sister-in-law) and we both agreed that we should schedule a time to get together to devote on our projects. Of course when she said that, I immediately agreed and then we both looked at each other smiling and at the same time said, "Hen Party!"

When Bunny came by this morning, I told her that several of the women would be coming in the forenoon for the Hen Party, and Bunny seemed particularly intrigued. She said she was surprised that Amish women had Hen Parties. I didn't know why she thought it would be odd for Amish women to have a get-together to work on their sewing or other crafts. I told Bunny she was welcome come. She said she could not wait to see what would "go down at an Amish Hen Party" and that she would definitely come! I was quite surprised, actually.

My sisters Caroline and Josie came and they brought Mommie. Of course Etta-Sue was there, and she came along with one of her sisters who is also in our church, JoAnn, and another sister who lives over in Nappannee, Lora. I invited a few of the ladies from church, and though sometimes I don't care for Jonas-Mary's bragging, I invited her and she came. She was actually quite pleasant today. Maybe she is coming around.

Bunny came and chatted with a few of the ladies and finally asked who was getting married. I didn't quite know why she thought someone was getting married, and neither did the other ladies. Bunny finally explained that a Hen Party is what the English sometimes call a "female-adult-only" bachelorette party and it usually involves lots of alcohol and what she called, "naughty games". Boy, did the ladies cackle about that one.

I explained to Bunny, that the term "hen party" just means a party for women only, and that for the Amish, it's usually when we get together to sew or craft or quilt or something. We had another round of cackling and Bunny laughed right along with us.

God Bless,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Caramel Apples.
Baked Apples.
Apple Butter.
Apple Cider.
Apple Cake.
Apple Cookies.
Oatmeal Apple Cookies.
Apple Dumplings.
Apple Cobbler.
Apple Pie.
Apple Cream Pie.
Sour Cream Apple Pie.
Dutch Apple Pie.
Shoestring Apple Pie.
Apple Pancakes.
Pork and Apple Stew.
Grilled Cheese & Apple Sandwiches.
Apples. That's what we've been up to the last few weeks. How about you? Oh, and the children really like eating the Grilled Cheese and Apple Sandwiches for breakfast or a snack.
It probably isn't very "Amish", but it is so simple and easy, you should try it.
My mom used to make these for our breakfast every Fall.
Grilled Cheese & Apple Sandwiches
Swiss Cheese (or any white cheese)
Thin Slices of peeled apples
Cinnamon & Sugar mixture.
For each sandwich: Butter one side of two slices of bread. Place one slice of bread, buttered side down, on hot skillet. Place a slice of cheese on top of bread, followed by a few thin apple slices, and sprinkle with Cinnamon-Sugar. Top with the second slice of bread (Buttered side up). Use spatula to carefully turn sandwich over, grilling both sides until cheese is melted and bread is lightly toasted. Eat warm! Yum!
We have made this with Jack cheese, provolone, farmer cheese and butter cheese. They are all good. I hope you give it a try!

God Bless,

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Getting Soft(er)

I have gained about ten more pounds.
If I don't stop I'm going to be fat enough to eat on Thanksgiving!

God Bless,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I've Been Sailing...

... Garage Sailing, that is. Or perhaps it's Garage Saling ...

There is a huge subdivision that has an annual neighborhood garage sale every year over Labor Day weekend. Etta Sue and I happened on it about 8 years ago. Here is what we noticed. This neighborhood is filled with huge homes and people tend to do so much redecorating, they are always getting rid of perfectly good, and "nearly new" items if the items no longer "go with the new decor".

Bunny has been driving the girls & I to this garage sale for the last four years. I think this year she was actually looking forward to it more than other years. Bunny's husband drives a big vehicle. I think she called is an SUB or an SUV or something. It might have been SUB... come to think of it. Big enough to resemble a submarine. Anyway, Bunny said she was thrilled because "the man" was out of town and she would be able to "run his tank all the way to empty". I informed Bunny we would of course pay her for gas like we always have. Bunny refused. She told me and the girls that she was "making the man pay" cuz she is tired of "paying the price for him refueling elsewhere." And then she cackled louder than any hen we've ever heard. I don't know if we really knew what she meant, but we all laughed anyway...she just seemed so funny.

So a week ago Saturday, we drove up to Bonneville Cove, for what Bunny called the "Hoity-Toity-Palooza". Again, I don't really know what she meant, but she was making wise cracks and giggling, so we laughed too.

I found a new set of dinner plates, 4 ice cube trays (that I needed as mine were all cracked), church socks for the boys, nearly new dish towels in a pale sage green, and lots of scrapbooks that were still in the plastic coverings. Etta Sue got a huge rug for the living room floor and lots of baby onesies and sleepers. I think that was her way of saying the next one is on his way!

Bunny met up with us afterwards. As usual, she came back empty-handed and as usual she said she spent most of the day eavesdropping from the "plastic ladies" to get the "latest scoop".

Oh my word, that Bunny is a funny one.

So, did any of you have some good finds this summer?

God Bless,

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tips for Milking

  1. Tie the cow to a sturdy post.
  2. Clean the teats with warm, soapy water to "bring down" the milk. Dry gently with paper towel.
  3. Place bucket underneath the udder.
  4. Sit so you can move away quickly if the cow becomes upset.
  5. Apply Vaseline to your hands.
  6. Wrap your hands around two of the teats.
  7. Squeeze the base of the teat.
  8. Squeeze down to push out the milk, keeping your grasp at the base. Be gentle but firm.
  9. Repeat with your other hand. Most people prefer to alternate (right hand, left hand, right hand, etc.)
  10. Continue until the udder on the side that you're milking looks deflated.
  11. Move on and repeat process with other two teats.

I admit, at first it seems "udder-ly" impossible...(tee hee)...but by and by you'll get the hang of it.

God Bless,

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back To School

Busy day today. Older children back to school. Made sure they each had their new tablets and pencils. Finished the last few hems on new trousers and dresses. Packed their lunch pales. Got them down the lane in time to catch the school bus.

Now, for a little peace and quiet...I hope.

God Bless,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy Day

Picked tomatoes as they were ready. Took the clothes off the line. Ironed more yet. Took the horse up to Mommy's as she has been ill. Cleaned her house and got her supper ready. Planning a candle party for Saturday in the forenoon. Took some butterhorn rolls and a plate of supper over to Bunny. Haven't seen her around much lately. She says "The Man" has been filling his oil lamp elsewhere. She was wearing sunglasses indoors. I thought that was really strange, but I held my tongue.

God Bless,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Iron Woman

Today took the clothes off the line. Ironed and folded. I hate ironing. I know other Amish women who take pride in their ironing. Not me. I hate it. It's a blessing however, that we are dealing with a cold front just now. Otherwise heating the iron on the stove in the middle of the summer is just awful.

In case any of you missed it I hate ironing!

God Bless,

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Think I CAN

Cherries! Everywhere I look, I see cherries! I am up to my elbows in Cherries!

Mommie and my sisters, Josie and Caroline along with my sister-in-law Etta Sue are coming down to help me can today. I think the children and I have picked over 50 lbs of cherries from the trees so far, and that's what actually made it into the pales. That should give about 22 or 23 qts of cherries. Except I think we will probably end up doing about 7 qts of cherry pie filling. I'll ask the girls and see what they want to do, since I always divide them up for each to take a share home.

Speaking of canning, Etta Sue was telling me over the 4th of July weekend that she cans grapefruit. Have you ever heard of that? I'll be... Grapefruit...

God Bless,

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th

A few years ago, when the farm was doing much better, Jacob and his brother, Levi, each went and bought a 2 bedroom cottage on Lake Wawasee. The cottages are right next to each other too. Oh sure, when some of the other Amish in our church heard that we bought a cottage, there were several tongues clucking. One man even told Jacob he was becoming too much of the world by purchasing a vacation home. But Jacob isn't one to listen too much to what other people think. Trust me, these are not fancy by any means. They are very basic cottages; like park model homes, but they suit us. We like to go up there each 4th of July with the kids. The kids love swimming and fishing and most of all they love watching the fireworks over the lake.

The first year, it seemed we were the only Amish out there on the lake. But now I've noticed a few more here and there. Last year we decided to do what Levi does and rent out the cottage. Mostly, we just rent it out by word of mouth, and mostly just to other Amish, since we don't keep electric in the cottages. That money, in addition to the money we make from the Flea Market, has been a big blessing to us as it has been enough to make up where the farm has suffered this year. I feel like Jacob and Levi were truly inspired to buy when they did.

There are a few weeks we don't rent out, and the week of the 4th is one of them. We like to keep that open just for our family. The kids have loved it and look forward to it.

This year we got our choring done early and headed to the lake. We had a weenie roast with Levi, Etta-Sue and their five children. Of course they all spent the day in the water as well. After cleaning up supper, we let the kids roast marshmallows while waiting for the fireworks show. They oohed and ahhed and even the little ones managed to stay awake this year.

Even though it was a lot of work, I feel well-rested. I guess it has been a while since Etta-Sue and I got together. We just laughed and laughed. I'm thankful to the Lord for such a wonderful country, such a wonderful family, and for such a wonderful weekend.

I hope you each had a wonderful 4th of July as well.

God Bless,

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Flea Market

Hope this update finds all of you well. We've had a busy summer so far. Jacob makes rocking chairs "for fun", as he calls it. And each week we load them up on the wagon and take them into Shipshe for the flea market. It's been quite time cunsuming, and even though it is good for the children to learn the value of work, how to make change, etc., it can be tiring. It is one of the largest flea markets in the country and tourists come all over for Amish "finds". I've also been down to help Dorretta Sue on Mondays. She has a roadside bakery out on the Middlbury-Shipshe road and I help her bake on Mondays. It's not much, but the extra money is always welcomed. If any of you are out at the flea market, stop in and see us!

What's keeping you busy this summer?

God Bless,

Monday, June 8, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

I am ashamed to say this, but I am so glad that Jacob's parents live in Ohio and only come for a visit once per year. I have been so stressed and busy preparing for their arrival that I fear I haven't had much time to journal on the blog.

Don't get me wrong, I do love Jacob's parents. It's just that I never have his mother's approval. I admit, I am not the best housekeeper. Most Amish women pride themselves on their housekeeping skills. But, I would rather spend my time with the children. We still have a lot of chores, and I do straighten the rooms on a daily basis. But after the afternoon naps, I spend time reading to them and we usually play a game or two in the evenings after supper. My mother-in-law does not approve of my "style" of housekeeping. She doesn't tell me so, but let's just say I wouldn't have been surprised if she had done a white glove test on every surface while I wasn't looking.

While Jacob's mother gives a lot of head-shakings and "tsk-tsks" over the way I cut my onions, discipline the children, or the order in which I wash my dishes, Jacob's father is a bit more outspoken. "Jacob, do you really think it necessary for children to have something as outlandish as a trampoline? How do you expect to teach them the value of work if they are too busy jumping around on that thing?" and so on and so forth.

Bunny stopped by the other night to return some of my pie tins as I took her some shoe-fly last week. Boy, you should have seen the look on Jacob's mother's face when she came to the door. Bunny's bosom has a way of peeking out some days, and his mother's eyes were so bulging so big, I thought for certain they'd bust out of her head. Aye-O, it was so funny. Then after Bunny left, my mother-in-law just shook her head in disgust and repeated several times, "I can't believe it. Oh my word, I just can't believe it."

A few times, I could tell Jacob was looking at my direction and it was all I could do not to catch his eye. For I knew as soon as I did we'd both have busted up laughing. I'm not sure, but I think Bunny's appearance was more than a coincidence. The look in her eye told me she was after ruffling some feathers that night; 'specially after I done told her all about the in-laws the week fore they arrived.

I don't think I have muttered the phrase "this too shall pass" under my breath as near many times as I did whilst they were here. But now they're gone, and we can breathe a little easier...till this time next year, anyway.

God Bless,

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fishing Trip

Jacob took the older boys on a fishing trip this weekend. He says the lake they are going to usually has lots of trout, so that is what I am counting on. I don't know why, but when I think of summer nights, I always think of fish for supper with some lovely string beans from the garden, and berries and cream for dessert. Mmmm... I can't wait for them to come home.

I don't really have a recipe for my fish fry, but here's what I start with, adding more or less as I go. Also, I may add a few other spices, just depending on what I have on hand.

Fish Fry:
1 C cornmeal
2 tbsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp chili powder, more or less
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Mix dry ingredients together. Take each fish fillet and quickly brush with milk and then coat in fry mix. Fry in hot oil in pan. Drain on paper towel.

Buttered String Beans:
Snap ends off string beans and then wash and pat dry.
Steam string beans as usual, leaving slightly crisp. In large frying pan melt 1/2 stick butter and add a little garlic. Saute garlic. Add beans and stir-fry, adding salt to taste.

God Bless,

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What For!

Today I had to take the horse and buggy into town to pick up a few things. The scholars only had a half day of school today so the teachers can prepare for testing the rest of this week. I was grateful the older ones would be home and could keep an eye on the younger ones. I don't mind too much letting the children come along at times, but it makes my running around longer.

The prescriptions at the drug store weren't quite ready when I arrived, and the lines at the registers were quite long. It must be due to the holiday weekend. Needless to say, what I thought would be a quick trip into town turned into an afternoon adventure, not to mention it rained the entire way there and back, making the horse go a little slower.

Oh my stars! When I got back, everything in the house was reversed. Junior and John Levi had in mind to play some pranks. At first Ruth Ann didn't want to go along with it, but at the pleadings of the other children she finally gave in. They ended up swapping all of the furniture to the opposite sides of the room in the living room, dining room and in my bedroom. I couldn't believe it. I had in mind at first to give them all "what for" since I had already had a long day. But then I saw the looks in the children's eyes; so pleased with their clever idea. I laughed along with them instead.

I actually, told the boys they could keep the arrangement in the living room, as it was quite nice. But they agreed to put the other two rooms back together.

What else are ten children supposed to do on a rainy afternoon before chore time? I don't know how in the world I am going to keep these ten imaginations occupied by and by this summer.

God Bless,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Raining and Pouring

It has been raining here the last several days. On Friday Lora Lee continued to stand by the window watching the rain come down. Finally, she asked me, "Where are the cats and dogs?" I said, "What do you mean?" She replied, "Dawdy said it was raining cats and dogs, but I don't see any." I had a good laugh over that before I could explain that her grandpa just meant it was raining and pouring.

God Bless,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Flop

I don't know what happened, but I made rolls for supper last night, and they flopped. All of them. They didn't rise like they were supposed to. We ended up eating some, even though they felt heavy. I think I will cube the rest and perhaps use them for dressing later this week.

What have you made that flopped?

God Bless,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Husband-Wife Names

Some of you have asked a question about the way I have referred to some of my neighbor women by name. I will do my best to explain how we do.

The Amish many times will place the husband's first name in front of the wife's to distinguish which woman by that name to whom she is referring. This is common, because many Amish stick with the same old fashioned family names or biblical names and therefore share the same names.

Some people might think "why not just use the last name?" Well, many last names are the same as well. If the last name isn't as common than it would be fine to say Rebecca Stutzman to differentiate from Rebecca Stuckey. The number one last name where I grew up was Miller, followed by other common sir names such as Yoder, Troyer, Kauffman, etc. A man I know named Sam Miller was one of at least twenty Sam Millers in the county. I also know two Ernie Lambrights and two Lorene Millers in the same extended family.

So, for example, if there is more than one Rebekah/Rebecca, and I wanted to tell you about the one that is married to John and not Marvin, I would say, John-Rebecca came to help me quilt today. Then you would know which Rebecca I am talking about.

Hope this helps.

God Bless,

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Chiropractor and Leopard Pants

I had an appointment with my chiropractor this morning. Bunny offered to drive, but told me she wouldn't accept any payment. I figured like someone said before, she needs to feel needed. I told her yes, but only if I could do something in return. She said she would think about it.

Johnny-Sue took my little ones to tend, and off we went. Bunny promised she wouldn't drive too fast, but I think I still gripped the handle of door just as tightly as ever. She has a red sports car, and it felt like we were just a flying down the roads.

She dropped me off at the chiropractor while Bunny went to do a little shopping. When she picked me up, I noticed her back seat was full of lots of shopping bags. I asked her if it was someone's birthday. I had never seen one woman with so many bags. Bunny said it was her reward for putting up with 'The Man'. I daren't ask too many questions, but I will say that her husband is very dedicated to his job as he is rarely home.

Of everything she managed to purchase, Bunny was most excited to show me a pair of what she claimed were pants. I didn't know what to say, as first of all they looked like they were made for a small child, and second of all, they were leopard print. 'Fore I knew it I exclaimed, "People actually wear those?" Bunny laughed before tossing them back in the bag.

I thanked Bunny for driving me today. I feel so much better after my visit to Dr. Troyer.

God Bless,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Golden Deed

Was able to work a little in my garden this morning. We've had so much rain I can't believe how fast the weeds are coming in. I just hope this means the vegetables will be nice and big this year too. It's been a lovely day so far, and this song has been stuck in my head all day...

Each day I'll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need;
My life on earth is but a span
And so I'll do the best I can.

Life's evening sun is sinking low,
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done,
Where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day
My light must shine along the way;
I'll sing His praise while ages roll
And strive to help some troubled soul.

This song always makes me want to do something nice for someone. I think I am going to take some daffodils over to Bunny today. I've also made some Shoo-Fly pies to go along with supper tonight. Maybe I'll take along one of those too.

God Bless,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wash Day and Trades

Today is wash day. I know I shouldn't complain, but my back isn't what it used to be.

Wonder if Bunny would consider a trade... washing our clothes in her big fancy machines for a week's worth of homemade bread and apple butter.

Of course Bunny would probably just have her housekeeper, Flor do all of the work. Then I'd feel bad. Once I asked Bunny if she thought she overworked Flor. She sort of whispered, "that's what illegals like to do." I don't really know what that means, but somehow I don't think it was a compliment.

Sometimes I feel sorry for Bunny. She has no work to keep her busy. I suppose I am grateful I can still do the washing, in spite of my bad back.

God Bless,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Snitz Pie

Some of you have requested my Snitz Pie recipe. These are both good recipes. I prefer the second one because I think lends a little more flavor. Try them and see which one suits you best.

Aunt Clara's Snitz Pie

1 qt. dried apple slices
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Double Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover dried apples with water and soak overnight. Cook apples in water over low heat until soft. Mash apples along with the juice they were cooked in. Add sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Put in unbaked pie crust and add top crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.

Mommie's Sunday Snitz Pie

3 c Dried apples
2 1/4 c Warm water
1 ts Lemon extract
2/3 c Brown sugar
Double crust, unbaked

Soak apples in the warm water. Cook over low heat until soft. Mash apples and add lemon and sugar. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Cover with top crust. Seal edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes; then at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Precious Ones

Some of you have asked about the family. Jacob and I have ten children; five boys and five girls. They are

Jacob Jr. - Age 14
John Levi- Age 13
Ruth Ann - Age 12
David Jay - Age 10
Jed Monroe - Age 9
Malon Josiah - Age 8
Sarah Jo - Age 6
Esther Sue - Age 4
Lora Lee - Age 3
Gracie Kay - Age 2

Well, as today is Wednesday, I've got yard work to tend too and a basketful of trousers that need mending.

God Bless,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Worship

Yesterday we had Church and it went just fine. We had 4 ministers and 2 bishops come. Taking Bunny's advice I plan to explain a little bit about our church, though I don't expect it will make sense to all of you.

The church goers start to arrive around 8am. We sing from our Ausbund. During the singing, the ministers and bishops will decide amongst themselves who will give the two sermons that day.

Our ministers are different than in most churches. They do not write their sermons out ahead of time, they simply preach by inspiration and include mostly teachings from the Old Testament.

About 8:30 the first sermon will start. This is the shorter of the two sermons, lasting about 30 minutes. Then there is more scripture and prayer before the second sermon, which is the main sermon. This sermon is usually about an hour long. Following the main sermon, the other ministers and bishops add a few of their words to help emphasize the two sermons. We usually spend about another 20 or 30 minutes singing and praying. It is not uncommon for church to last for three hours.

Yesterday the ministers who preached were very emotional and powerful as they preached about loving our neighbors as Christ loved everyone and judge not that ye be judged.

Following the service we held the luncheon. Even though it is a lot of work to get ready for church, I feel blessed that we are able to welcome our friends and neighbors to come and worship. Though, I will also admit that I am glad it will about another year yet before we have church again.

I am sure there is a lot more to tell, but that is the basics. I hope you all enjoyed your Sunday worship as well.

God Bless,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Final Church Preparations

Well, it has been a busy week and we have worked our fingers to the bone. I am so grateful for the cousins and my sisters, and of course Mommie who have been here all week to help me get ready for church.

Tomorrow will be the final preparations. The boys will help Jacob unload the church wagon and set up the benches in the garage while Mommie and I will see to the food preparations. Gracie Kay had a slight fever this morning, so I put her down straight away after breakfast. I have Ruth Ann watching after her and the other little ones while we finish up.

The almanac says the weather will be overcast with a chance of showers. I hope the rain holds off until we can at least get everyone fed and on their way back home.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Planting Today

Yesterday we got all of the wash off the line and finished the ironing. We also washed all of the walls, baseboards and floors. Mommie came again to help and said her arthritis was a little better. My other sister Josie came along with Caroline too.

Usually, Wednesdays are my sewing days and during the spring and summer my gardening days too. However, we will forego the sewing today.

Today we plan to spend time turning the soil in my vegetable garden. I've got to get my seeds in and the last few weeks the ground has just been too cold and too hard. Today is a perfect day and I've enough hands to help. We must finish the planting today as tomorrow we plan to give the garage a thorough cleaning and that will take just about all day. Good thing the cousins will come to help tomorrow.

Friday we will bake the pies and the church cookies and finish any cleaning. Then Saturday we will make the final food preparations with the sandwiches and such, while the men and boys unload the church wagon and set up all of the benches and tables.

God Bless,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wash Day

Mondays around here are wash day. Today I must wash all of the clothes and bedding not to mention the curtains and rugs to get ready for church.

My sister Caroline is coming in the forenoon to help. The scholars will be at school of course, but she'll have her two small ones in tow. They play nicely with my little ones, and Mommie will come to help as well. Her arthritis is flaring up, so I will mostly keep her busy with the children and making dinner (what you call lunch) for the men when they come in from choring.

Mondays are also the days I make bread. I will start the dough as soon as I get in from milking. Then it can rise while we do the wash and be ready for baking just after lunch. I usually make six loaves per week for my family, but with church we will be making an additional twelve.

God Bless,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Bicycles

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my very own eyes. Jonas & Mary Lehman from the next farm bought brand new shiny bicycles for all thirteen of their children! It wasn't enough that they got their brand new pony cart for Christmas, they had to get new bicycles too!

I am trying really hard not to covet. However, it puts a real bee in my bonnet when I see the Lehman's with their fancy new pony cart, new work boots, and now new bicycles and our farm is struggling. Some months it seems it's all we can do to buy new tablets for the children's school work.

I'm feeling sort of guilty about spending my egg money now. Jacob would really think me foolish if I confessed. Bunny said I should remember now that thing which I always tell her: "This too shall pass". Bunny says I am a kept woman, kept by this farm and the laptop was a gift to myself and well-deserved. I don't completely agree, but either way, I can't so much as return it now. After all, I've been hiding it in the barn and it sort of carries that smell of hay and cow-patties. I will admit, that writing has helped me feel a little more sane this past week.

At least we have our dairy cows that still provide us with an income. In the meantime, no more fancy lotions and the boys will just have to wear patches on their work pants a little longer. I am grateful that I am richly blessed with my own family. These ten kids are precious to me. I reckon who needs new bicycles when I have my family?

God Bless,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Getting Ready For Church

This next week will be a busy one for me as we will have church at our house a week from Sunday. Bunny said I should explain about our church, since many of you might not know how the Amish do.

Amish church services are held every other Sunday. We are divided geographically by where we live into church districts. Since church services are held in homes, not in church buildings, each family normally hosts church about once, maybe twice a year. Currently our district has 25 families. We will have about 150 people here for church.

In order to prepare, I need to wash walls, wash floors and all baseboards. I need to clean all of the curtains and wash all of the windows. The bathroom needs a good scrub down as does the kitchen. The furniture needs to be arranged to make room for tables and extra benches. This is all in addition to our regular chores. Two of my sisters and three of my cousins will come to help me this coming week.

We will have to move the buggies out from the garage and give it a good scrub-down too. A typical Amish garage is much larger than an English garage or carriage house. Bunny says it would be like a 4 or 5 car garage, whatever that means. Anyway, Jacob built the new garage last year and made it big enough so we could hold church there when it was our turn. This is where the benches will go for the church service. Then following that, we will move some tables in and have a light lunch. Some with small babies and children will eat in the house while most will stay out in the garage (buggy barn).

Lunch is usually a simple light meal so that it can be prepared ahead of time. We will probably have the usual bologna or lunch meat, breads, traditional "Amish Peanut Butter Spread", jams including apple butter, cheese, pickles, pickled red beets, cookies and probably some snitz pies.

Here is the recipe for the Amish Peanut Butter Spread if interested:

1 C light Karo syrup
½ C peanut butter
¼ C marshmallow crème

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Store in airtight container. May refrigerate; let sit at room temperature a few minutes before using for sandwiches.

God Bless,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trip to Town

Today I went to town with the horse and buggy. Thunder, the black horse had a spook and started to take off. Oh my word! I thought for certain we'd have a wheel break. I am thankful to the good Lord that didn't happen. Esther, Lora and Gracie were frightened. I daren't let on that I was a little frightened too. I just grabbed the reigns tighter, said a quick prayer and luckily Thunder calmed down.

Esther's eye glasses were ready, so we picked those up. Also picked up Jacob's new work boots and whilst in the drug store, I found a bottle of lovely smelling lotion. I bought some. I think Jacob won't mind too much as it was only $1.99. It was just a little splurge, and my hands tend to get so dry after washing dishes nearly four or five times per day.

It was a fun trip to town and the little girls enjoyed coming along.

God Bless,

Monday, April 13, 2009

Church News

At church yesterday Eli-Johanna gave me a new recipe for Sunshine Rolls. I think these will be perfect for Jacob and the boys in the mornings to go along with their breakfast when they come in from choring. There is a hint of orange zest in the frosting.

Updates and News. Samuel "Stubby" Frey's barn burnt down last month. They announced yesterday in church the new barn raising to take place in 3 weeks.

God Bless,

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Today it Rained

Today it rained. I wasn't able to make the ground ready for planting.

Churned butter. Baked bread. Darned Jacob's socks.

Today's Tip: When churning butter, really get your hips into it. It takes the pressure and stress off of your upper arms and lower back. Churn until you think it is creamy enough. Then churn a bit longer, give or take.

God Bless,