Butternut Squash Cake

In the last many months, we have greatly enjoyed the delights of cake made with different squash. I have made summer yellow squash cake, a squash and banana cake, and a butternut squash cake. The butternut squash cake quickly nestled itself into our hearts’ favorites. Amazing!

I spent some time searching for this recipe as I did not write it out or save it to my computer the last time I made this. So here it is! A new family favorite:

Butternut Squash Cake

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups sugar (coconut sugar for a healthier alternative, coconut sugar is amazing paired with squash)

1 cup oil (coconut, olive, or other)

2 cups butternut squash puree (roast one butternut squash at 350 for an hour or for 25 minutes at 400 degrees- let cool slightly or all the way, and scoop into a blender. Puree. A large squash makes enough for two cakes)

1 tsp orange zest (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (sprouted flour or whole wheat pastry flour for a healthier alternative)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 by 13 baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, oil, squash, zest, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until fork/toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Frost with Dairy- Free Cream Cheese Icing.

Celebrating the Season,




High School 2016

My high school students are moving forward: grades and 11 and 10 this year.

This year we have continued with an outside the home co-op learning experience for several subjects. Nathanael joined Micah there this year. I am very thankful for this opportunity and the way it has and continues to sharpen these older students of mine.

Micah and I have begun exploring college options and plans. Just recently, some things started to come more completely into focus for me and I am thankful. So far, we have not participated in community college dual enrollment- instead continuing to utilize co-op and our academic oversight through the local Christian school. Micah will graduate with the local Christian school, with the co-op (if we continue next year- which thus far, we are), and with us- who have schooled him since the day he was born. 🙂

One of the greatest challenges of high school, for me, is keeping up with everything- particularly the subjects I am guiding at home- not through co-op. It is very easy in this age bracket for things to slip by undone, not completed, forgotten, etc. Then there is the relationship aspect of working with young men and being teacher/Mom. It requires grace and patience. For everyone.

High school is composed of more than just the academic workload for each student. We choose extracurriculars thoughtfully and they participate in required service hours. They both are a tremendous help at home as well and I am blessed in my relationships with them.

11th grade:

Bible(at co-op and with me), Chemistry with Lab (Apologia with a fabulous tutor), Algebra 2(Teaching Textbooks), Spanish 1(Avencemos with tutor), Government and Economics(Notgrass), Great Books- Modern(English 11 with American Literature(Am lit with me) and History credit , the whole Great Books course at an academic co-op), Advanced Technology(created with Khan Academy).

10th grade:

Bible(at co-op and with me), Biology with Lab (Apologia with a fabulous tutor), Geometry(Teaching Textbooks), Great Books-Medieval (English 10 with British Literature(Brit Lit with me) and History Credit- at an academic co-op) with Notgrass World History text as an overview resource, Latin 1 (Visual Latin), Fine Arts Credit in Cello Studies and Performance

Bible Resources:

11th: John Piper’s A Peculiar Glory; Piper’s William Wilberforce; Evidence Not Seen; and co-op resources

10th: Eric Liddell biography: Pure Gold; Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, Everyday Battles by Bob Schultz, co-op resources

British Literature: David Copperfield, Beowolf, Canterbury Tales, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, King Lear, Sir Gawain, Sense and Sensibility, Pilgrims Progress, L’Morte D’Arthur

American Literature: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, My Antonia, Billy Budd, The Scarlet Letter, Alhambra, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, Classic American Short Stories





Endless Gifts- October ’16

Gold and Russet October

the warm smell wafting, hand-made by me, chocolate chip cookies, perfectly soft in the middle, crisp on the edges, warming the house in October

the unexpected benediction of bright orange floating and twirling one brisk morning, one last Monarch

bluebirds on the lamp post again

Won-Ton Soup with my love

a flute, restored

grace in the days

the blurry, tired vision cleared and all is grace. Love.

special time for my girl celebrating a precious friend’s 14th birthday

Brunch by Todd and resting, restorative weekend

cupped gold, welling light

wind that whips me round

the big white van

leaf scatter

how she brought me nature’s gold, one pointed taut yellow leaf, from a backyard adventure, and her grin

a friend who feels like the catalyst for all good things

a text from a friend and then her flowers for my mom and provisions for me

being overwhelmed in the new Wegmans ‘near’ to me: truly the land of plenty and those lovely boxes of Fig Bars! 🙂

a face forward and focused journey

a small settling in, like a wee soft sigh in Maryland

rejuvenated piano for my first born

hottest tea, steaming

an Aquarium field trip for children who were too small to remember our Georgia experience

a young son on his first troop camp site weekend that is being run by his own three older brothers

hunker down, cold October and restful Thursday

read aloud rhythms

sweetest email and a tasty applesauce cake recipe! (and it was good!)

her delight in the first frost, and how she wants to be out in it… in the ice crystals and chill

Girl Club(s) of all sorts

choosing to turn again and again to the ministry before me and put my heart into building its richness, life, light, and truth

-finding my way, in October-






Endless Gifts- October Real

When everything, spirals, way, way down… when you hear the whispers of the neighbors eyeing up your greening gray white fence, when you shudder at the life you can’t call your own, when the heart gets pricked so raw, every splinter just wings its way right home, when the mind gets blocked so miserable tight, its hard to find the goodness, and every snappy overflow just wants to slip right out the lips, when its just face down on the table, when its the morning with all the thoughts run wild, when its all shame, its shame:

(Psalm 44:5 All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face)

remember the gospel, preach the gospel, (what is the gospel?) 

“Forgiveness of sins and justification are good news because they remove obstacles to the only lasting, all-satisfying source of joy: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not merely the means of our rescue from damnation; he is the goal of our salvation. If he is not satisfying to be with, there is no salvation. He is not merely the rope that pulls us from the threatening waves; he is the solid beach under our feet, and the air in our lungs, and the beat of our heart, and the warm sun on our skin, and the song in our ears, and the arms of our beloved.”(excerpt from John Piper’s What is the gospel)

count the gifts. The gifts are the grace, the grace in the days, and no one and NOTHING can take them away…

and that is one reason why: sometimes its a sacrifice, sometimes its a pouring out, sometimes its the every effort to turn the downward face UP. To look with seeing eyes.

To find the pleasure and the beauty and the flaming color in the rain. IN THE RAIN.

(Psalm 50:23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to the one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God!)

Little blue. The sweet, speedy little car gifted for Micah and all Borger children who will be learning to drive. It has been a blessed transit for me, too. And all, all, all the grace there. Thank You, God.

The ginormous slug Abi found and was brave enough to cup in her hand.

Streusel topping on blueberry bread on a wet, autumn day.

The savory smell of Bacon and Bean soup: thrift, nutrition, economy, efficiency, plenty, marvel.

Dark Chocolate covered Almonds

Fig Bars and Granola Bars for hungry high school kids

Lighting candles in my darkness

Oolong Tea

BJs and filling a cart overflowing with my best shopping helper

A flute soon to be refurbished


The yearly visit to the eye glasses store – done. Thank God. I dread that visit so much. It is no fun for me to stare at a hundred frames and try to help children pick with economy and grace/fashion, while little ones wiggle and squirm and everything takes twice as long as we wish it would. And I stand there, thinking of my fashion savvy sister and all her deep delight in these external accessories and how she always puts it all together with sha-bammm. Not me. Big sigh relief. Just have to get through the fitting part. Shew. I am glad it is done. It took me a month longer to get there than I wanted.

September’s Gold

One last Monarch, released – to head south-

A visit from dear friends, and homeschooling alongside each other. I learned a thing or two, too.

Prayers in the car drive and Bible Time on the days I am at home

Abi at Acro

The Instagram feed of Christie Purifoy who wrote this book: Roots and Sky. The flowers! Her photos are a means of grace (Beauty!) in my life.

Preparing for Monday, preparing for hot breakfast and candles, preparing for fancy clothes and tutoring, preparing for grace

Blues skies of October

Woolly Bears on their fingers, Pet Bugs, and its sequel

Handcrafted woolly bear habitat

Three little girls out on the deck with me, to breathe October skies, and pansies (pressed and adorning), their velvet faces still a source of joy and serendipity

an unexpected slightly sleep-in morning

Thursdays. And Fridays. A new found grace in Thursdays.

Leaves down on pavement beneath our feet

The gold turning October, turning warm, red  wine 

on tiptoes for a kiss

How weeks before he would ever choose, I chose Morning Has Broken(he never knew) for a morning hymn, and he chooses it, too. And all that hymn means to me. And this is real, real here – snare drum buzzing in the backround. Piano all full of book stacks. Life.

grace in a community group and broken down walls; conversations opened

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

Pumpkin Spice Tea, black tea, my favorite (well, one of my favorites)

hearing the songs again of Faber 3. So, so glad, heart-swelling glad.

Hot breakfast- the way to their hearts

the full hearted abandon to Jesus and He is more than enough and I lay life down again and again and again and in my fear and in my uncertainty, I seek help. I walk on.

John 1:16 For from His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace.




An Autumn Bicycle Ride by Owen Barfield

O! I love this poem. Sharing it here, cheers! to October

“An Autumn Bicycle-Ride”

The leaves, grown rusty overhead,
Dropped on the road and made it red.
The air that coldly wrapped me round,
Stained by the glowing of the ground,
Had bathed the world in the cosy gloom
Of a great, red-carpeted, firelit room;
It filled my lungs, as I rode along,
Till they overflowed in a flood of song,
And joy grew truculent in my throat,
Uttering a pompous trombone-note;
For this elegant modern soul of mine
Was warm with old Autumn’s rich red wine.

Note: This poem was possibly written in 1919 and is transcribed from the typescript at the Bodleian Library (Barfield Papers, Dep. c. 1103).
found at: http://www.owenbarfield.org/poetry/

Breakfast: Oatmeal Bars


For our record, our memories, and my dear friend and her beloved family who shared breakfast with us:

Oatmeal Bars

1 Cup Coconut or Olive Oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 cup coconut palm sugar (can use brown sugar for a less healthy but tasty! alternative)

1/2 TB vanilla

1/2 TB cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 cups oatmeal

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 9 by 13 baking dish.

Combine oil, sweeteners, and eggs. Mix well. Add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add. Mix well. Press into large, glass baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked thru.