Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Bake

This was a new and special dish this year and Little One called it “honey” all day and he loved it and he gobbled every bite. Adorable.
And my girl adored it too. It was a wonderful success! This is our own recipe. I searched sweet potato recipes last night after a last minute SOS to my beloved sister failed. So many recipes were “Grandma’s Own Special Sweet Potatos” and so on… so I joked after our meal today- that this would be the Grandma recipe of our family… when I’m a Grandma- I’ll be passing down my sweet potato secret…;) Course Todd had to embellish it with a whalloping ole “Grandma Borger” and that threw me… not quite at the Borger part I guess. Grandmas have different names in my life right now…

So- I searched recipes, and then we created our own- and we added four eggs (one recipe I saw had three) cause we LOVE eggs. 🙂 and I thought- if it makes the pumpkin cake so nice and the pumpkin pie so nice… it can only help this dish- plus after sampling it BEFORE eggs we agreed- it needed a little more oomph. So-


Here it is:

Sweet Potato Bake with Marshmallows
6- 8 Large Sweet Potatoes
½ cup brown sugar
1 TB maple sugar
½ cup vanilla soy milk
2 TB margarine
1 TB vanilla
1 ½ Tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
2 bags marshmallows
Cook 6 – 8 Large Sweet Potatoes on Low in the Crockpot overnight. Peel skins and cook in about 8 cups of water.
Grease a 9 by 13 baking dish.
Mash sweet potatoes and add sugar, syrup, soy milk, margarine, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whip nicely using a wire whisk, fork, etc. Beat in four eggs.
Layer half of sweet potatoes in dish. Layer one bag of marshmallows. Layer the rest of the sweet potato mixture. Top with marshmallows.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thanksgiving Menu 2010

It was fun to go back and see what we did last year… I realized we had quite a few more dishes requested for this year.
Some family members had some definite requests… and then I think Asher has come so far with his food allergies- we have so many more options and are just more comfortable making special foods!

We had a delicious holiday. This morning, very early, while still dark, before Little One stirred… I rolled over and a delicious wave washed over me… Todd was home today and off! Toe curling, stretching delight…. the next minute Little One was up… and it was off to the kitchen to cook, cook, cook. Fortunately, I find cooking very relaxing- so I enjoyed myself.

The kids enjoyed an adventurous mountain traispe mid morning- while I kept plowing through recipe requests. One came back wounded, but with soap, flushing water, and a band-aid, all was made well.

We showered and dressed “up” for our meal. Enjoyed a relaxed time around the table. Very nice.

We miss our family- and we drink deep the minutes of Todd’s day off…

It was so warm and the wind chime has sung all day and now in the darkness of this night. And I am looking forward- and have been all day- to this time with Todd- vacation time together… me and him.

The kids and I are on a “mini” school break until Monday- so tomorrow- we’ll do some more crafts and maybe reenact a Thanksgiving drama…
(We’ll see…)

Now onto the menu for 2010!!!

Thanksgiving 2010
23 pound olive oil rubbed Turkey
Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Bake
Fresh Green Leaf Salad
Steamed Yellow Corn
Cranberry Relish
Winter Fruit Salad
Deviled Eggs
Mashed Potatoes (made by Todd- using the Kitchen-Aid no less!)

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin “Pie” Cake
Apple Crisp

The Things They Say

Little Girl melts down over phonics. Tears and frustration from every pore.
She is told to go take some time to calm down and come back.

We were working in The Reading Lesson.
Her choice, by the way.

Strong Seven (soon to be Eight) hears the ruckus. He appears from where he was assigned to be working…

“And remember,” he says, in a strong, confident, manly voice, “I didn’t learn to read because of the Book (The Reading Lesson- it was what he learned with). I learned to read out of jealousy.” He contributes this- feeling that somehow her angst is related to the Lesson book and he must add his disclaimer. And the memories spring up round the room- that the first book this child read on his own was a Sugar Creek Gang novel (an advanced reading level) because he was just so tired of being the only boy in his room who couldn’t read…

He stalks off dramatically, having giving me this sage reading advice. The memories.

“I learned to read out of jealousy.” Competition, sometimes it does a boy some good.

The things they say.

Tribute 2

Memories spin round.
She brings her tea
And he brings the “Erg.”
Three boys time the minutes
With watches.
Little Girl snuggles cozy in delicious robe
And is tucked sweetly
Under a new bedspread.
Kids walk around
With “Trios” in hand
And take pictures and movies,
Play golf and play chess.
And they laugh and they laugh.
One son- he sings Greensleaves
at the top of
his voice.
Unaware. The ear phones block
his sound from him.
Little Girl- she sits down
With Little Two and somehow-
She alone
Manages to play Mancala for Kids-
Not just once
But twice with him.
Ficus gets a bath- and indeed it is a renewed Ficus.
The laundry gets “de-fire-hazarded” too.
I make lots of food that only upholds my reputation
For making it tasty- but maybe not so visually appealing.
Little Boys play Moon Sand again and again
(you should see how they love that cement truck!)
And Playdough and cars, trucks as well.
Ama and kids visit the Bamboo forest
And Grandad and the kids and Daddy
Hike the mountain in the dark.
And we feast
And we talk
And we make some good memories.
And it is so warm- we open the door to the deck. Screen only.
And Todd and get time out together- which is a much cherished
They help and they bless
And the kids love all their minutes
As do I.


Blogging late at night- when the house is quiet.
The moments are rare.

I want to pay tribute to my parents.
I appreciate their love for us and
They commit
To visit us. And they come. They come fall
And they come Spring.
And We Love.
Child voices ring loud announcing their arrival and
Happy feet pound through house down steps
Down road
Tears mist.
Tears mist
At the welcome sign of car inching down
Steep mountain drive
And those joyful, joyful voices
Shouting love.

They set an example for me.
They come.
They come even though
It is not their first choice
We are hours and hours away.
They come
Even though they don’t agree
With everything.
They come and they love
And they care
And I drink up the days
With them.

And even though it hurts to leave
And she doesn’t like that-
Not at all. Not one bit.
She still comes. (Thank you)

I am thankful that they do not
Leave it just to us
To keep that relationship
And I am thankful that we (Todd and I)
Are still part of “all the kids” just part
Of all of us even though we are the most
Removed of all.

And we, kids and I, we love Ama
And we love Grandad, and we soak in their stay.

They leave their indelible mark.
And I am glad, glad

It means so much that they come.

First Snow

First Snow

This morning greeted us with the first snowfall of the season.
It was crisp and chill-
And a light white layer of sparkle covered
The pansy faces
And the
Remaining leaves
And edged each blade of grass.

In a little while- we will “celebrate” with
Snowballs (popcorn balls)
And four favorite stories.

Snow (Cynthia Rylant)
First Snow in the Woods (photographic fantasy)
Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening (Jeffers/Frost)
And per my daughter’s request:
Snowmen at Night (Buehner)

This is the earliest snow I have ever experienced in North Carolina
And I think my blood is thinning-
Because I am cold, cold, cold.
It is taking layers, and coffee and even kicking up the heat for a little
While to warm me through.

We are so unprepared for NC cold. So used to mild weather…
The winter supplies are packed away-
And I can’t find them.
Help! (Todd).
The ladybugs have clustered in large masses in our house and several woolly bear caterpillars
Have crawled on small hands and fingers.

Is this going to be a harsh winter?

It is fitting that the first weekend of snow, and daylight savings time,
Is also the first weekend of six day weeks for us.
The long, cold days and nights are here again.

Trying to find joy,

Pumpkin “pie” cake

This recipe is an adaptation from Joy’s pumpkin cake recipe.
I took her recipe- and worked it “our way.”
We love it!

1 15 ounce canned pumpkin
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degress. Grease and flour two round cake pans. Combine the dry ingredients. Add the rest (wet) ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into pans and bakd 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out of middle clean. (I have now made this twice and it has taken at least 40 minutes both times.)
(Actually I have made this three times and the second time I doubled it using a 29 ounce can of pumpkin. That did NOT turn out very well for some reason…)

1 8 ounce container Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
Several cups of confectioner sugar (to preference)
1 tsp. vanilla extract.
A TB. or so of vanilla rice milk, water, ect. to moisten sugar.

Soften Tofutti. Add vanilla. Add 1-2 cups confectioner sugar. Mix. Add a TB or so of liquid to moisten. Mix well. Continue adding sugar and possibly rice milk (etc.) until frosting is desired quantity and consistency. About three cups of confectioner sugar should make enough frosting to frost the layer cake.

This makes a very yummy, dense, deliciously rich cake… with a remembrance of pumpkin pie about it. Enjoy!

Endless Gifts

I didn’t receive Holy Experience in my feeder for a week. It took a week of silence- before I finally made my way to the actual site and discovered the blog host had changed and it was no longer feeding into my reader. I was amazed at how I missed those posts. I was stunned by the “shock” I felt- at suddenly- with no word, being left silent.

I was more amazed by how much this gratitude journal is already changing me from the inside out. Finding God in the real, in the every day, in this earth, and with these flesh, in this place… it is like a river of peace and beauty and grace. And it is a balm for my soul.

And it is…. Real.

Endless Gifts


Pansies picking up their bright faces after being brow beaten by the rains. They are nestled well. The columbine are settled too- and I can’t wait for their blooms.

Walking up the driveway with a friend and I am stunned by shadows swirling in the sun across our path, our feet. I look up and leaves have just- sprung free, twirling in golden masses. The trees are soon to shake utterly free, their final glory, and now is the time when they fall in masses twirling, and we catch them in our hands.

Shadows are lengthening. Tall birch trees stretch straight- and I notice long shadows stretch black against a mountain hillside. A dark pattern in bright sunlight.

I drive down the road and start to see things I haven’t seen before- or haven’t seen for a year. That house was there? What is up that hill? The gentle leaves no longer cloak and hide. Surround and shield. The landscape changes.

I hang a wind chime. It sings gently.

A sweet friend here- with whom I feel- entirely myself. Sometimes sorrows temper the spirit and the deep, golden fruit wells bountiful. In that heart, there is a feast, although all around trials purify and refine.
And she- she enters my home and utters… beautiful. And I am so touched- because I sense… I know- that she is responding to what the Lord Himself is working in my heart that I am trying to flesh out in this place. It ministers … so much to me. And I remember it long. And I remember to be thankful…. For all that I have. These Endless Gifts.

A beautiful piece of Scripture artwork that is now gracing my counter with precious lambs feasting in a green pasture… and part of the 23rd Psalm… and it says- He restores my soul… And I soak, soak deep in those words. He is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. And He is… He is- restoring this soul… in this place.
And I tell Todd-(in so many words) I am that sheep and I need to feast on the greenness in my own pasture- and not concern myself with where I am “supposed” to be, where I am going, and what kind of grass I should be eating.
To humble myself- learn meekness (which is a post brewing, brewing for another time) and feast contentedly in this pasture. He leads me…

The familiarity and sweet routine of family bible. It is good to be together. That rhythm should stay strong. Too many nights missed and … there is an emptiness.

holy experience