Editor’s note: Gloria is taking a week off from her column to spend time with family. This week’s column first ran in January 2019 and features a ham and cheese soup recipe.
As I contemplated what areas to fill you in on this week, I thought, “Well, there’s not much I enjoy more than writing about family life.” In spite of the constant demands of motherhood, there really are more blessings than I could ever tell. Take 10-month-old Elijah: he’s just brimming with smiles, new accomplishments and eight new teeth. Ya, even his whole rows of brand new teeth are a pure joy to me each day, not to mention his curly hair just like Daddy’s! You should have seen the show in our living room last night as Daddy got him to take his first steps! I’m really not sure who was the most delighted, Daddy or Elijah!
At 14 months old, Jesse is just a bit ahead of Elijah in being able to express himself, repeating words and running all over. It is evident that Elijah doesn’t want to be left too far behind as he watches Jesse, then tries to copy him. Recently one morning just after Elijah had learned how to shake hands, as we always do on Sunday mornings at church, he was standing in his crib when Jesse ran into the bedroom; reaching up as far as he could and Elijah stretching down as far as his plump little arm allowed him, they shook hands between the rails of the crib. “Look at that!” I exclaimed to Daniel who was nearby. Together we savored another special moment of our rapidly-learning boys. God really knew what he was doing when he blessed our home with two boys; from Julia’s perspective, a girl would be perfect, should God ever add another one to our family!
Julia has always done outstanding with the boys. In return, they love her to pieces. Even Jesse loves to go through her lunch box, looking for a snack leftover from school! Yesterday I took two of the children with me to visit Julia at school. I arrived just in time to watch Julia have a class with her “Learning to Read” book. I slipped in, sitting on the bench right next to her. Yes, that’s one advantage of having a little country school: when we visit we just kinda slip in and can be a part of it. I watched with interest as her teacher explained the long “E.” Next, her teacher had her recite some of the rhymes she had learned to help her remember the sounds and blends. With each rhyme, there was also a little hand motion to go with it. Each morning before school, Julia takes responsibility to fill our water jug, sweep the kitchen floor and pack her lunch bucket. I’m here to help her as needed, though she does an excellent job with it. We like having baggies with cookies or energy balls in the freezer, ready for her to grab. These cookies will stay good in the freezer for several months. We have found that it works well to place the cookies in individual sandwich bags, then place them inside a freezer bag and keep it zipped shut. Something like peaches in small containers or a banana also simplifies school mornings. Generally, she’ll fix a half sandwich with something like a grilled burger from the fridge or ham salad.
Austin is all boy and growing up faster than I can keep track of. Last night his expressive eyes popped with delight when Daddy informed him that he is getting to be old enough that we need to start thinking of getting some chickens for him to feed and gather the eggs from each day. Austin could hardly contain himself as he continued to explain to me how he’s gonna have baby chicks and help them hatch. I gently explained to him that if he’d help the chicks break out of the shell, they could never grow to be strong. His eyebrows puckered with his usual “Why?” It’s like I said yesterday, he’s bound to grow up to be an inventor with all the questions he pops up with that leave my own brain spinning on a good answer. “Mom, where does steam go?” or “How does sound travel through telephone wire?”
Rayni is talking Dutch quite fluently, though we also don’t want her to lose the English she learned before she came to our house. She is learning her colors quite well and loves writing when she spies one of us with a pen in hand. As with the rest of the children, she loves time spent with Daddy, especially when he takes them outdoors to do the chores. She is a songbird at heart. Recently when I was having a rough time with the children, her sweet voice sang out, “Oh yes I’m working the road, making it easy for those behind!” Bless her dearest little heart, she had no idea how much I really needed to hear that right then. God knew.
Now, thanks to hubby who is watching the children so I can get in touch with you all. I need to run along and take a turn with them. And what are my plans for the day? Like always, take care of the darlings, fill love tanks, read stories, spoon yogurt into hungry little mouths and most of all, lean on my Jesus.
A family favorite during the winter months is a creamy cheese soup. As a young girl, I made it countless times for our large family. No two batches turned out the same. Your imagination will be the limit. From leftover eggs to rice casserole or hamburgers, they all got chopped and dumped into the pot. Liquid smoke or any herbs or seasoning will add your own authentic touch.
Ham and Cheese Soup
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup chopped onions
3/4 pounds ham, cubed
2 cups cooked potatoes
1 cup cooked carrots
1/2 pound melting cheese
Melt butter, keep heating until butter turns nice and brown. Stir in flour. Add milk, seasonings and onions, stirring well. Boil for 2 minutes. Add ham, potatoes and carrots; heat and serve. Be careful not to boil after cheese has been added.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427