Our six youngest children left for school at 7 a.m. This is the third day now that Loretta has taken the regular bus. She can make it all day at school without her wheelchair, although when she comes home she is ready to rest. The handicapped bus has been picking her up since her surgery six weeks ago. Her braces will be ready Tuesday and that is also when her therapy begins.

This has been an extra busy week. We have been painting the living room ceilings and walls. We moved all the furniture over to the dining area. After all the painting was done we moved everything back into the living room giving it a thorough clean in the process. Sister Emma and daughter Elizabeth assisted us with our work. Emma and I painted while Susan and Elizabeth washed all the dishes in my cupboard, and cleaned furniture and floors. Now today, Susan and I will work on putting more things back in place, including putting all the books back in my bookcase. We had very nice weather to do the painting. Temperatures were in the 70s and it was cold and rainy. The thermometer shows 45 degrees. Looks like today’s laundry will be hung on the lines in the basement. We will wait to paint the dining room and kitchen until I can get everything organized again.

Wednesday evening daughter Elizabeth’s penpal, Sharon, from Dayton, Va., along with her parents, Uncle, Aunt, and cousins stopped in to meet Elizabeth and all of us. We had a nice visit with them. They are readers of this column. It was interesting to talk and compare our ways of life. They are Old Order Mennonites and also have horse and buggy as their transportation. Those families are dairy farmers. The children were glad for the bucket of monster cookies that they brought. Sharon’s mother, Lucille, gave me a rug she weaved herself. It is very nice and I already have it at the front door. It will be useful as I use a lot of rugs with this many feet going in and out every day.

 We are hoping to be able to go to Sugarcreek, Ohio, in the near future to visit Joe’s Uncle Solomon. Solomon is in the hospital after breaking quite a few bones after falling 11 feet at work. Our prayers are for him to have a complete and speedy recovery. I would also like to visit Aunt Lovina, whom I was named after. She also had a difficult summer, having a heart attack. She had to have two stents put in. We wish her better health in the future.

Joe’s Uncle and Aunt, John and Susie, have always been kind to offer us a place to sleep when we come to Ohio, so we might take them up on their offer. Joe has a sister, brother, and more uncles and aunts living in that area, so hopefully we can see everyone if our plans work out.

The firemen were at school this week giving the children lots of good advice about fires. Son Kevin, 7, has been telling all of us what we should do if there is a fire. This is a good thing for children to know, but we just got a laugh out of how he was trying to give us lessons. He said “and don’t leave toys laying on the stairs,” then he went over to check our stairs and saw one of his small toys laying on the steps. He quickly picked it up and stuffed it in his pocket thinking we wouldn’t notice. His chatter has entertained us quite often.

I will share a simple cornbread recipe for this week:

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 /4 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 /4 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients just until mixed. Put in a 9 inch pan and bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is Old Order Amish and lives in Michigan. Readers with culinary or cultural questions can write to Lovina at: PO BOX 2144, Middletown, Ohio 45042.