Archive for September, 2012

Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

Thank you for all your comments and questions on my past post’s.  I really enjoyed and appreciated them.  To answer your question-yes we still have quilting bees.  Most of the time quilting bees are held are in the fall or winter after all the crops are harvested and things have sort of settled down-but we do have one going now for the former teacher and her husband. 

As their marriage came as such a surprise to us without an advance notice-we are now making their wedding quilt. We hope to surprise them with it. Quilting bee is what the men call: “The ladies day out.”  We get ready ahead of quilting bee day so we get all chores done.  Also, we make sure that the men have a lunch ready for them at noon time plus a few snacks.  Also, we defrost and make up what we can for supper the night before so when we get home from quilting we can put it in the oven.  Us ladies also each bring a snack or finger dish to the quilting so we have something to snack on.

After we get our breakfast dishes done – we leave for quilting.  Those that have small children or babies bring them along.  One or two of the older girls watch the little ones while the rest of us quilt.  Our children are taught quilting at a very young age.  My girls are older, but like Jean’s Susan is age 6-learning how to do quilting. She still has a lot to learn but we let her put a few of her stitches in the quilt as it is her former teachers.  We are trying to let each of her former girl students that lives locally put in a few stitches-but I am getting ahead of myself.

At the quilting bee we can have as many as 20 to 30 ladies or as small as 3 to 4 ladies.  It all depends on who can come.  Right now we are getting about 5 or 6 ladies at a time.  With the planting, harvest, Farmers Markets, etc. some are really busy right now.  The quilt is laid out in one persons house. It stays there until we get it done.  When we first come, we sit and chat until we have a group of us there and start working on the quilt.  As we work, we chat.  

At mid -morning we stop for coffee or tea and part of our snacks-then continue on until lunch time.  The woman’s whose house it is at puts on lunch-after which we get back to working again.  In the afternoon, we have a mid-snack-then back to work.  We usually end working about 3 or 4 so we can get home when our children come home for school (which is not a problem now) and we can start dinner. 

During our current season-some of us come and go as we must because of harvesting, etc. that I previously mentioned.  As it is staying at this woman’s house-we bring snacks plus , sometimes, a dish to pass for lunch so she doesn’t have to do that for all the quilting’s.  We want her to enjoy our company and help on the quilt-not spending all her time making food for us. All of us have a really enjoyable time at quilting.  Some of us are better than others at quilting, but we all work together.  

Sometimes I have to take out what I put in and do it over as I haven’t done this as long as the other ladies have.  We all have certain things we are better at than others. Most of us are either Old Order Mennonite or Amish.  Once in a while we have a local lady join us who is an Englisher.  They either know the person who the quilt is being made for or they want to learn quilting. Canning is similar to quilting in some ways.  We all show up at whose ever house it is with our children.  

Again we have as many as 10 to 15 or as few as 3 or 4.  After a cup of coffee or tea with a roll or brisket – we start in. It looks like we have a lot of canning to do, but with us all together makes time pass faster.  Each person has a job to do and we get it done.  Also, we have our breaks and lunch depending on how much someone has to get done.  Sometimes we switch jobs after lunch so we aren’t doing the same thing all the time.  Once the canning is done, labeled and on the shelf-we plan whose house will be next and back home we go. 

Sometimes we do two canning’s at one house.  As Jean is not quite up to par yet-we did strawberry canning at Jean’s.  I also brought some of our strawberries over so we did her canning and mine at the same time.  We all bought a dish to pass and snacks so Jean’s maude (maid) didn’t have to prepare us lunch.  We all had a great time.  Now to the next house.

Funny you should ask if we have a canning workshop.  As I said in another post a while back, we have youth groups (Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.) plus adults come to our home to see how we make apple butter, cider, pies, etc.  We also do this same thing at maple syrup time.  People have asked us if we have canning workshops.  In past years we haven’t-but are thinking of starting it this year.  

We thought we might try with a Girl Scout Troop first and see how it goes.  Also, we would sign up a group of maybe 5 adults for another canning group.  Then we could see how these work out.  If adults and young folks really like it, we may make it a regular every year.  Just so you know men adults have asked to learn as well as women.  Please feel free to ask me any questions.  I would be glad to answer them for you,
Be With the Lord, Martha

            Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake    


3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon                  
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a dark pan, preheat to 300 degrees.

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice tighter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

3. Add the maple and pumpkin and combine.

4. Alternately add the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting with the flour. (Adding the flour and milk in stages will better balance the batter.) Add the chips. Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack.

6. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake after it has cooled. Recipe from

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1959 Admiral Portable TV original vintage advertisement. Admiral announces the world’s first portable TV with wireless remote control. Push a button – click – there’s your channel tuned perfectly from your easy chair. Admiral – mark of quality throughout the world.  Image courtesy of

Sloppy Joes

A recipe from the 50s!

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion diced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 can Campbell’s Original Vegetable Soup

Sauté the beef with the onions, breaking the beef up. When it is almost done, add the garlic powder and pour in the can of soup. Mix together well. Let heat through. Serve on buns.

Makes enough for four, but can easily be doubled or tripled. Recipe from

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Susan had her Birthday,  She is now seven years old.  This year we had a small party of family a few of her closest friends. 
Happy Birthday Susan from Amish Stories

Edward also had his birthday and turned 15 as Michael will in October.  As Edward did not want a large party, we had a party of his closest friends and another with the family.  Clothes was not a problem as he had them, but he did not have any activity items.  His friends gave him a fishing tackle box.  Michael knew it was coming so we added to what money he had to buy Edward a fishing rod and reel.  David and I got him a gift certificate for ice skates and snow skies along with boots, “etc”  From David Jr. And Susan he got a new chess game.  

My parents bought Edward a new rifle.  Michael told Edward you will get a lecture and my Dad did tell Edward about safety and use of a rifle-the same he gave Michael when he bought him his.  David’s parents bought him a year pass to Bristol Ski Resort like they will probably Michael on his.  Now let’s hope we get snow this year better than last year.

Edward wanted to go see his Mother’s grave so we let him and Michael take the bus into Rochester, New York where she is buried.  It took about half a day to go up there and back, but it was worth it because Edward felt better.  He also said, that he felt like a man without a country as he had no real home. 

David and I talked about this, and we had a family meeting.  We asked Edward if he would like to be adopted into our family.  David explained that means you are member of our family-through the good times and the bad times.  He gets chores like everyone else, but goes fishing, hunting, ice skating and more.  He was surprised, but said “yes, yes, yes”.  We asked the family if there were any negative reasons no.  No one had any.  If fact, Michael was thrilled.  We voted and all agreed.  

The only thing is Edward would like to keep his family name so say his last name was Jones and ours Smith (not our real names)-his new name would be Edward Jones-Smith.  We are just starting the adoption process.  Part of what is cutting red tape is our adoption is going through on Michael.  Social Services has sent letters to his relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) explaining that we have applied for adoption.  So far they haven’t had any negative replies.

So this year Michael will legally become our son-hopefully next year Edward will be an addition to our family.  Susan is happy that both Michael and Edward are coming big brothers, but still adds the next one we adopt better me a girl.
Be With God, Jean
Art Image by Amish Stories. Old order Mennonite buggy from Lancaster county.


        Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake

  Cream the sugar, butter and eggs until fluffy. Mix in the buttermilk. Combine the cocoa and coffee in a saucepan, adding the liquid very slowly to prevent lumping, then mix into the creamed mixture. Moisten the baking soda with the vinegar and stir in with the salt and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour, beating until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured 13″ x 9″ cake pan. Bake the cake in a preheated 350° F. oven for approx. 45 minutes. Cool Ice with your favorite icing. 2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. boiling hot, strong coffee
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cider vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
2½ c. sifted all-purpose flour

Up-Home, Down-Home represents the cultural development of recipes from the most intimate, formal setting to the easy-going, spur-of -the-moment family dinner. Quick, easy to prepare dishes include many favorites from the Chefs at the Groff’s Farm Restaurant. Fully illustrated, some in color, 208 pages. Hard-cover edition. Betty Groff’s Up. To order Betty’s book please go to

 Don’t miss a Special post from old order Mennonite Martha this Friday folks, as she discusses how she and the other old order woman get together to quilt and what goes into making one. With a recipe for Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake 

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1945 A & P Supermarkets original vintage advertisement. More and more women agree that A & P Supermarkets are the modern, time saving step saving food stores. For here, under one roof, they can shop for all their foods for every meal, be assured of fine quality and save money too. It’s time to turn to A & P!  Image courtesy of

This is the cake that the old A & P Grocery Stores used to sell.          

A&P Spanish Bar Cake

4 cups water
2 cups raisins
1 cup shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup nuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add water to raisins and boil for 10 minutes.

Add shortening and allow to cool.

Sift together sugar, baking soda, flour, spices and salt and add nuts.

To dry ingredients, add cooled raisin mixture and blend well. Add beaten eggs and stir well. Bake in two 13 x 10-inch pans for 35 minutes. Frost with confectioners’ sugar icing if desired. Recipe from

Next Friday a new post from old order Mennonite Martha!

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               Potato Doughnuts

Scald milk, then stir in shortening, sugar, and potatoes. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. yeast over 1/2 cup warm water and stir until dissolved. Add to first mixture; stir in eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients, then gradually add. This is a soft dough. Let rise until double. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut and deep fat fry in oil. Glaze with powdered sugar and water or roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Makes 3 dozen.

1¾ cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6½ to 7 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt

When Norman and Marlena Miller, along with the entire Evart, MI Amish community, set out to compile their family favorites, they did so with a song and plenty of inspirations. And that’s exactly the recipe they used for Cooking With Praise. 

This cookbook has a delicious spread of Amish favorites: Potato Salad, Poor Man’s Steak, Tator-Tot Casserole, and Oreo Pudding, to name a few. Then there are the seven sections for those who watch their diet. Then like a good cook who adds a pinch of this and a dash of that, bringing the taste to perfection, the Millers have added hymns and inspirational thoughts throughout. 

 Cooking With Praise is ready for your table and your guests. 450 recipes. 254 pages. Spiral bound with laminated covers. Fully indexed.   cooking With Praise. To order this book go to

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

One of the questions I was asked is “does Old Order Mennonite have rummsprings”?  No we do not practice Rumspringa  like the Amish, but again young folks will be young folks. The Old Order Mennonites have dinners where all the young folks between the ages of 16 and older attend.  They are usually games like soft ball and volley ball there.  Also, they do singing.  Once in a while they may go on day trips like to Niagara Falls, Corning Glass Works, and others.  Also they have maybe get a group together to go fishing.  

It use to be that just the boys went fishing, but now some girls go also.  During the winter they may go skiing or sledding.  What I have told you is just a few of the things the Old Order Mennonite have for their young folks.  They do this so the young folk will stay away from the ways of the world. Parents or newly married keep an eye on these activities. Many of the young folks meet their future spouse’s here and do not go out in the world.

Not all of them. Recently one of Martha and Joseph’s son’s, who had bought a car, took some of his friends to Niagara Falls to see the man walk the tight rope across the falls.  He told them where he was going, who was with him and when he would be back.  David was telling me he would never let David Jr. do that when he got older.  I couldn’t help but laugh as David owned a car and had his drivers license when I first met him.  We also smoked cigarettes, went to movies and friends parties that parents never knew about-or so we thought.  At one time or another we had at least one drink.  

When David and I started courting – he sold the car, and turned in his drivers license.  We stopped going to those places.  No smoking.  No movies.  No more parties without parents there and more.  The funny part is that after we were married, David’s parents told us they knew what we were doing including the car.  We had our time in the outside world.

What worries us is there are worse things in the world today.  Drugs were only in the big cities when we were young, now it is everywhere.  Violent people are also another we will have to watch when our children getting older.  We have guns for hunting, but that is the only time we use them.  We watch over Michael and Edward more because of these.  

Be With God,

Ground Cherry Pie

Ground cherries, also known as husk tomatoes, produce tiny tomato-like fruits in papery husks on low, lanky bushes. This is an old Mennonite recipe with a crumb topping.

2 1/2 cups pitted ground cherries
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water
1 (9-inch) pie shell
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash ground cherries and place in unbaked pie shell.

Mix brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour and sprinkle over cherries. Sprinkle water over top.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons flour and 3 tablespoons sugar. Cut butter in until crumbly. Top cherry mixture with crumbs.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for 25 minutes. Recipe from

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Old order Mennonite buggy owned by Amanda Graber

Click here to view story: Woman Injured in Horse and Buggy Accident – YNN, Your News Now

I read about a buggy accident where a lady and her grandson were riding in the buggy when the horse got spooked and took off. The grandson jumped off, but the carriage tipped over and the grandmother got dragged in it for several feet.  When the horse was stopped, the lady was taken to the hospital.  She is now recovering at home.  Her address was in the paper and as it was only three towns over from and where I did not know Amish and Mennonites live, I went over there and found her house.  

Her granddaughter was selling canned goods and vegetables in one of the barns and allowed me to take pictures of their buggy.  This is not the one that was in the accident-it was a total loss-but just like it.  Also, inside where I bought the canned beets and potatoes were the lovely rag rugs that they had for sale.   These rugs were made by the lady that was in the accident before she got hurt.  The family is selling them to help pay for her medical bills.  

I plan to go back there around the first of September to buy a rag rug for myself and see if we can’t work something about me obtaining some to put and sell on eBay.  All the money would go to their family to help pay the bills.  I asked if they still had the horse and the girl said-but they are selling it.

Like I said, I will check and see if I can work out something on the rag rugs.  I will also be putting some Amish/Mennonite magazines on my eBay plus I have some Amish/Mennonite dresses and prayer caps for sale.  Marilyn

Amanda Graber’s home 

A sign pointing to Amanda’s home

 Amanda Graber’s garage: And some of the rugs that she makes and sells.
Front view of her buggy

Birds in a farm field
A small market where some of the old order Mennonites and Amish sell their produce.

Chocolate Cake

 Combine boiling water and cocoa; bring to a boil. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda. Add remaining ingredients. Bake at 350° F. 

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
2 t. soda
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
pinch salt
Fix up your favorite meal and enjoy the beauty of quilts at the same time with the new Amish Quilting Cookbook. Its 130 pages are packed with 316 favorite recipes from 58 of Lone Star Quilt Shop’s quilters. Twenty of their finest quilts are featured in color throughout the book.  The book is wrapped in a concealed spiral binding to help avoid spiral tangles while it keeps all the conveniences of traditional spiral.  Fourteen sections from Amish wedding foods to snacks.  136 pages.  Amish Quilting Cookbook . To purchase this book please go to

Click the link below to go to Marilyn’s eBay store to buy classic copies of the Amish/Mennonite publication Family Life, and gently used  Beverly Lewis novels.

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