The last week in January is already upon us. We still are having single-digit temperatures.

All of this cold weather makes me ready for spring, but I need to be patient and accept the weather God sends.

The last week in January is already upon us. We still are having single-digit temperatures.

All of this cold weather makes me ready for spring, but I need to be patient and accept the weather God sends. It just seems like we have boots, coats, gloves and scarves all over the house. I think this is what makes the coming of spring so special to me each year. That is when I can start gradually storing all the coats and other clothes away until the next winter. Sometimes I think with the years flying by so fast, there will be a time before I know it when my children are all grown and gone from home. I would much rather put up with the clutter and have my family all still together at home. I hope and pray that what they have learned from us parents stays with them all their lives. In a fast-changing world, we feel the need of God more than ever.

It was a nice break for me last week when daughter Elizabeth offered to write the column. Before I knew it, though, another week had gone by again, so I want to write the column before the deadline sneaks up on me. Daughter Susan entered her teens on Saturday. We celebrated her birthday with cake and homemade ice cream. We didn’t have a gift for her yet, but we told her we’d get her a baseball mitt. This is something she has always wanted.

After dinner, I let her skip doing the dishes and go outside with the pony, Stormy. Stormy pulled her and the other children on the sled. So I could surprise Susan I had told her I didn’t have the ingredients on hand to make a birthday cake. While they were outside sledding, I quickly mixed up a cake, but it was still in the oven and not quite done baking when the children came inside. Susan peeked into the oven and saw her surprise before I had it frosted and candles put in.

On Friday, we will take daughter Verena, 11, and son, Benjamin, 9, to the hospital to have surgery done to remove their tonsils and adenoids. Verena’s tonsils are so enlarged she has a hard time eating. She has almost choked a few times due to the small opening. Benjamin has nosebleeds often, so I do hope the surgery will be a success to both. They will be out of school at least a week.

They won’t be allowed to run or jump for two weeks. This will be extra hard on Benjamin. He has been enjoying all the snow we have so much. With Verena being home at the same time, I hope they can keep each other entertained. I will just be so relieved once the surgery is over with and all is well. It is hard to see your children have to go through pain. I would much rather take the pain for them, but such is life. None of them has had any surgery done before, but they don’t act like they are scared about it.

My husband Joe is home again this week due to no work. They will go back Monday and 24 more people will get laid off. With the country’s economy not being good, we need to trust in God to help us get through these hard times.

We still have been working on the 1,000-piece puzzle whenever we have a chance. Mostly evenings is when we find time to work on it; I would say it is halfway done. Usually we would have it done already, but this Is a more difficult one. We are enjoying the challenge, though.

We had this casserole yesterday, which is very easy and quick to make. Fresh peas and homemade noodles can be used. The recipe is listed using store-bought ingredients to make it easier for most readers.

Ham and Noodle Casserole

1 (16-ounce) package of noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup diced ham

1 cup frozen peas

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9- by 13-inch pan, layer noodles ham, peas and cream of mushroom soup. Put on your favorite seasonings. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Log onto this week to watch The Amish Cook’s editor visit an Amish bakery and bulk food store in Fountain City, Ind. To send letters to Lovina, mail to: Oasis Newsfeatures, P.O. Box 2144, Middletown, OH 45042.