Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
It's Sunday afternoon and were are cruising down Interstate 70, heading for Hocking Hills. We have another 230 miles until our arrival. Yes, we're traveling again. We're taking the whole family because there was no one we wanted to leave back with a baby sitter, so all seven of us packed up for our three day trip to Daniel's family gathering in a large cabin tucked into the hills in Logan, Ohio.
Six months ago Daniel and his brother John made furniture for this cabin. The agreement was that we would be entitled to two nights and could bring the entire family.
Now, for the past few months, Julia and Austin kept asking, 'When will we go to that cabin with a swimming pool?' As you know, time tends to go as slowly for excited children as it speeds away for busy parents.
Getting ready for the trip required some extra efforts this time. We had Sunday school at our house this forenoon just before we left. I had to think of what my grandma would say, 'A person can manage just about anything if they plan.' Perhaps I should add, ' … and by the grace of God.' Things just seemed to fall into place amazingly well. I know it must have been God, as I couldn't make things work out so well on my own.
Now as the last German song was sung, our driver pulled into the driveway with his 15 passenger van. Soon we were loading up our luggage: five car seats, snacks to eat along the way, some activities for boredom breakers for the little ones, and last, but not least, our five little darlings.
I was touched as friends gathered in our front yard and helped us get loaded and wished us a good trip. As we waved goodbye, deep gratitude welled up in my heart. Truly we are blessed with tremendous support on all sides. Next, we picked up John, his wife and their three children.
Now here we are, about three hours into the trip and four more to go. So far the children have done quite well. Their naps help a lot to cut back on travel-time for them.
OK, we're back home again. I didn't get to write while we were there, but the children got priority with Mama. It seemed like the youngest three missed not being home with familiar surroundings and at times needed me more than usual. Hats of to Daniel. He did wonderfully with them as well as the rest of the family. It's just that at times the little ones need some extra reassurance from mama, which is perfectly fine. Yes, it was a good trip, and may I add, it's oh, so good to be home again.
On Sunday, as we neared our destination, those last winding roads resulted in some carsick children. We were all very ready to get there. The children did well, yet it was time for them to get out of their car seats and run off some energy. The cabin was beautiful, clean and perfectly accommodating for all 26 of us.
When I saw the bedroom we'd be using I fell in love with it. Just last winter Daniel hand made the queen sized bed with aspen logs. The room also had a matching bunk bed which worked well for the three youngest while Julia and Austin planned to sleep with their cousins and their beloved Aunt Mary in the bunk room.
The children were quite intrigued by the thought of sleeping in the beds that Daddy made in the shop. Austin is always interested in knowing where the furniture will be going, and when I explained to him that Daddy and John made all these beds their eyes grew large with delight.
We took turns helping with preparing and serving the meals. The first night we were free, so it didn't take me long to head for the hot tub with Austin. At last, he could see what these swimming pools were like. There was a large swimming pool and a hot tub, both on ground level, just outside the back door. The patio was all decked out with grills, patio tables, lawn chairs and everything needed to host a bunch of people.
The following day it rained and drizzled all day, so there was nothing left to do but make the most of things and still go splashing in the pools, rain or shine. Daniel and his brothers also enjoyed other indoor games such as pingpong and pool.
Some of my most enjoyable moments were those spent singing and reliving memories of bygone days such as the time I surprised Daniel at 3:30 a.m. when we were dating, and he lived in Ohio. It was a blast, but the story is too long to relate at the moment. Perhaps I'll fill you in on it next week.
The meals we had while at the cabin were fantastic: they were delicious, yet nutritious. It was such a treat to enjoy the food prepared by my sisters-in-law. For brunch on Monday, we had biscuits (one of my favorites), gravy, eggs and the most beautiful yogurt parfaits. They almost looked too pretty to eat. In clear glasses, we layered homemade granola, parfait yogurt and fresh fruit. Everything was just superb.
Supper was our turn to help Tobias and his wife prepare the meal. Daniel and Tobias grilled chicken and veggies under a canopy to stay out of the rain, and it worked out well. As I began helping with meal preparations, I was needed with the little ones. A special thanks to Mary and others who then filled in as needed.
Along with the grilled goodies, Mary also furnished two cheesecakes. She has a way of coming up with unique cheesecakes for special occasions. 'This one,' I told her, ' Is probably my favorite so far. I'm gonna have to put this recipe in the column to share with readers.'
So, thanks to Mary, here is the recipe for you to try.
The Amish Cook's Lemony Chocolate Cheesecake
1¼ cup flour
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
½ stick butter, chilled and cubed
4 — 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
1¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
10 ounces white baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Place a 9-inch spring form pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil (about 18 inch square) securely wrap foil around pan. Set aside. In a small bowl combine crust ingredients until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and one inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cream and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs, beat on low speed just until combined, stir in white chocolate and lemon peel. Pour into crust. Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch hot water to the larger pan. Bake for 65-85 minutes or until center is just set and to appears dull. Remove the pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen sides. Cool one hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from sides of pan before slicing.
Yield: 12 servings