Five Years of Stories

Five years ago, I contacted Tammie Toler to see about publishing some family stories. She agreed and in December of 2012 I started publishing stories about family life and life in general. As I begin my sixth year I want to say, “Thank You” to all of you who have written to me or commented either through email or my blog. I also want to say thank you for letting me share the ups and downs of a large family in our crazy, mixed up world.

As most of you know, Tammie is a wonderful person, and I have the privilege of writing to her every week to turn in my story. I couldn’t ask for a better editor or mentor. When I write something less than positive, Tammie writes and commiserates or encourages and always, always makes me feel better.

My column started many years ago when our children were very little. I would write a story during the day and read it aloud at supper to entertain the kids and to make them feel special. They were always eager for the story to be about them. Some of the stories sound fantastic but I have learned over the years that the old adage “Truth is stranger than fiction” is certainly correct in a houseful of children.

There are times I look back and wonder how in the world we all survived. The stories started out as “Six” in the morning because there were six children every morning to dress, feed, and get into the van for school. We have added one to the herd, and for about fourteen years our grandson lived with us, so we count eight. We are down to three in our house BUT have now added GRANDchildren to the mix.

When our kids were little, we started the numbering system. We counted them leaving the house to make sure no one was left behind. We counted them after church to make sure no one was left behind. We did lose one at church once. Everyone was helping us look. Turns out he had gotten into the wrong van and was asleep on their seat! I hate to admit but in those counting years, I also left one at school but was reminded by another astute counter, as I turned into the driveway that I had forgotten someone.

Counting systems also worked when we wanted to discuss someone and not let them know. “Your # 3 got into trouble at school today.” Unfortunately, it didn’t take them too long to figure that one out, so we turned to pig latin for a few years. Once the older ones figured that one out they taught the younger ones and it was no longer effective except to make someone laugh.

And we did laugh over the years. Our holidays are filled with stories of how the old rooster chased # 6 around the house screaming or how # 5 was going to be a sportscaster and practiced on every event in the day. Or how #’s 2,3,4,5, and 6 went out to cut the dead snake to bits to feed the ants way out in the ditch down the road and # 1 danced her way over hot coals in the backyard. ONE time. The others declare that #’s 7 and 8 are totally spoiled and they are – exactly like #’s 1-6 were spoiled.

I have a sign in my kitchen that reads, “Having children is like being pecked to death by a chicken.” I can’t really add to it because it is so true. One either laughs or cries. I have always found it easier to laugh over absurd things that happen in a house full of children. Not that I haven’t cried. I have cried buckets and nearly worn out my knees talking to God.

God is a big part of our lives and my constant source of comfort. The teen years were/are trying but I think we are all going to be fine. # 1 has her own company selling real estate and mothering three of our grandchildren. # 2 is finishing college and engaged to a wonderful girl. # 3 is an amazing mother and photographer. # 4 has returned to us for a short while and is aggravating # 8 for us. # 5 is protecting others in west Texas. I totally support our Policemen. # 6 is in college and blossoming. # 7 is back living with his parents. AND # 8 is keeping us young with his DAILY trombone practice.

Our world is changing, and I don’t always feel as young as I once did. I get discouraged and think all is going to ruin but then, I attend a band concert and see the smiling faces of 53 Jr. High kids blatting and shrieking out their first Christmas concert and I realize that as long as we have family and God, nothing else really matters that much.

Thank you for letting me share our stories with you for the past five years.

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Dumpster Checking

Thanksgiving flew by and now we are waddling towards Christmas. Our visit with our children was great, but as usual we all ate too much. It didn’t help that our oldest son saw a picture on the front of a magazine that showed a pie plate with a different type of pie for each slice. He thought it would be grand to take home a pie just like the magazine cover. We all agreed to help him so on thanksgiving morning we got up early and started making pies.

We made pumpkin and German chocolate pies first because they took the longest to cook, then we slipped a pecan pie in beside them. While I worked on the cornbread dressing he peeled apples for an apple pie. His biggest shock came when I informed him that the recipe for the Wonderful Pumpkin Pie that I make all the time came from the back of the can. As we worked together in the kitchen, we got in each other’s way a bit, and had loads of fun.

I have been cooking and baking for many years, but our son is a TV trained Chef and has pointed out on previous visits that Gordon Ramsay (British celebrity Chef) would do things differently. Of course, when he corrects my cooking techniques he does so in a pompous, dodgy British accent. “Oh, mooothhherrr, Goordddoonn does not whip his eggs with a simple fooorrrkkk.” He sniffs and we all laugh.

At one point I turned to him and said, “Oh, Gordon, do you brush egg and water on the edges of your crust?” To which he replied, “Of course not Mother, Gordon does not concern himself with pie crusts, he is not a pastry maker.” I nodded and said, “Of course, silly me.”

Between our son and his fiancé – she is also TV trained –  I got many words of advice on how to properly bake my pie shells before adding the wet liquid, how to properly add flour to water to make roast gravy, and the pros and cons of every spice in my spice cabinet. At any rate, we all ate too much, and number one son went home with plastic bowls full of food and a round cake pan full of four different kinds of homemade pie.

And because of the plethora of pies over Thanksgiving, we are now waddling towards Christmas. Literally. BUT hubby has reinstated our diet plan. We started this plan back in early October and it has been somewhat helpful.

Our new office complex is a bit out of the way, so a bagged lunch works perfectly into the diet plan. We have three rotating lunch ideas. First, we buy those tiny little packages of tuna which costs about a dollar and contain about a Tablespoon of tuna. He counts out six crackers to accompany the tuna and there are times, I freely admit, that I peel open my tuna packet and lick the inside. The second rotation is a little plastic cup of natural fruit – 100 calories – and about ½ a cup of cottage cheese. And, naturally, six crackers. The third rotation involves stopping at the grocery store on the way to work and getting ONE salad bar salad. We split it. The six crackers add a salty, crunch to the entire effect.

I can’t really say that either one of us are losing a lot of weight and we talk about feeling better and doing what is right for our health and so on, but I must confess that I do sneak a piece or two of the chocolate candy from the reception area while he is busy seeing patients.

And I don’t feel bad about it either because of the exercise portion of our daily routine. When we began working at our new place we parked close to the building and it was easy to carry in our drinks, lunch sack, purse, and other things we needed such as office supplies and so on. BUT in all his brilliance, hubby thought we should get a little further out in the parking lot.

AND so, we did. A little further each day. Now we park next to the dumpsters, out where they make the early morning drug deals. Seven hundred and thirty-two (732) steps to be exact from our spot by the dumpster to our office door. Seven hundred and thirty-two steps at least twice a day and on the days the scale doesn’t agree with him we walk out to the dumpster during lunch to “check on things.”

I bought some soft, squishy shoes just like my mother wears for these walks and I am seriously thinking about adding a headscarf like my grandmother wore if the scale doesn’t change soon.

This might sound bad, but I am truly thankful that the TV chefs will be going elsewhere for the Christmas break and the skinny minnies will be coming home for Christmas because, well, checking on things way out at the dumpster in January really, really pushes the boundaries of a long, safe marriage.

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Chicken Wire to the Rescue

Last week I broke down and decided that I needed to clean up the backyard and get ready for winter. The summer warmth has lingered and lured us into believing that we will never have winter, but I suspect that it will eventually turn cold. We still have inflatable balls scattered about the fence line along with the bits of a remaining pool noodle. My vines are dragging down my nifty metal support cages purchased from Lowes early in the spring.

I worked all morning throwing away and picking up. I could hear the table saw running in the barn and the neighbor’s leaf blower going. I was also determined to get the chicken pens cleaned out. Over the summer we had raccoons and skunks visit and try to make my Rhode Island girls into their dinner, so we created all kinds of extra fences and blockades to keep them out. We had chicken wire tied to about a zillion pieces of board and more chicken wire wrapped around all manner of metal contraptions designed to let the girls bask in the sun during the day BUT keep the predators out at nights.

Once the predators were taken care of, we let our small flock run loose again. However, we still had the contraptions and cages out in the open. I unwound and clipped and yanked chicken wire. I stretched it and cursed it and rewound it into nice bundles. I moved all the bricks into a neat pile and hauled the boards back to the barn. I cleaned out the chicken house, changed the water, and spread new shavings in their nesting boxes. Then I sat down to rest for a minute.

At that point – when I was finished – the kids came out to the yard to join me and we sat on our rickety, webbed lawn chairs to watch the hens peck and scratch. We discussed the raccoons and the skunks and the two deer who come up to the house at nights. Midway through one conversation the youngest looked over and gasped, “Mom! Your arm is bleeding.” I looked down and sure enough there was a line of blood from my elbow nearly to my wrist. I suppose it was from the chicken wire as it wasn’t deep, and it didn’t hurt.

College girl reached over to touch my hand and took on a solemn attitude. “Poor Mom, you have a shooting scar.” We laughed over that and I told them that I thought it was from the chicken wire. I sighed deeply and told the kids that we had some more to do before we could declare the backyard ready. Before I could even finish the thought, they were back inside. I didn’t mind because I liked being outside and I like being alone at times.

I don’t know why but as I worked I began to think of all the things I was grateful for and for how long had I relied on these simple tools to make my life easier. I started, of course, with chicken wire as I was holding a small piece of it. I thought, “It is always nice to have a small roll of chicken wire.” It is easy to work with even though it can scratch and cause one to ahhh, mumble, ahhhh, unsavory words under one’s breath. But all in all, chicken wire comes in handy in so many places and has been helpful over the years.

Years ago, we had a small batch of kittens who crawled their way into the dryer vent and died. We only ever used the dryer in the winter because we dried outside on the clothesline most of the year. It had gotten colder, and the kittens would huddle under the dryer vent to keep warm when momma cat was out and about.

After the episode, dad needed just a small bit of chicken wire to create a barrier, so any future kittens could not crawl up the dryer vent. He turned to our oldest son, then about third grade, and asked him to go get a small piece of chicken wire. He was gone a good little while but when he returned he had the wire cutters in one hand and a square piece of chicken wire in the other. We thanked him and made him feel big for being able to go to the barn and get what we needed.

All was well until I went out to lock up the chickens for the night. Smack in the middle of my chicken pen “wall” was a large square hole. Right about the height of a third grader. It was nicely cut and fairly even on the edges. I had to fix the hole in the pen before I could go after the oldest son. Turns out that we had asked him to get chicken wire but did not tell him where to get it and he thought that it would be FASTER to cut it out of the pen “wall” rather than to go into the barn and find the roll and cut it from there.

Really? I would have never thought cutting a large square out of the MIDDLE of my chicken PEN wall was faster!

Third grader is now a Veteran and as far as I know doesn’t use chicken wire much these days, but I am waiting patiently to teach his children all about the FASTEST way to obtain wire should the occasion ever arise.

Happy Veteran’s Day to all Veterans! Thank you for your Service.



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The Barfly Mysteries

As most of you know I love to write. I can write nearly as fast as I can talk. The best thing about writing is that I get to go back and edit what I have written and hopefully make things sound just as I have intended. The bad thing about writing is that once it is printed it can be kept forever and there is no opportunity to explain further. The audience gets to interpret and make comments or decisions not only about the content but also about the writer. While a bad conversation can lose significance because there is no proof that it was actually uttered, a badly written document is there seemingly forever.

Most of us talk throughout the day and never think a thing about it but a writer must give some thought to the words that are committed to paper. Let me re-phrase that to say that a writer SHOULD give thought to the words that are committed to paper. Consider the recent news surrounding e-mails. They can be kept and they can be printed and they are waiting to condemn or acquit. Lots of verbosity surrounding the bits of paper but still they remain as part of someone’s story.

Stories are the fabric of life. Some are true, and some are not. Nearly everything that goes through my mind is processed as a story. For instance, when I sit at a stoplight I look around and see people and create mini-stories about them. It does not have to be a stoplight, it can be at a restaurant or church or a ball game. Wild things flit through my mind. I can start a crying jag just fleshing out my setting. Mysterious, fleeting thoughts buzz through all tangled up with hilarious dialogue. For the most part these gems pass right through the memory zone and don’t get recorded on paper.

Now and then an idea sticks and either makes its way to the paper trail or keeps me awake at nights. Lately I have been having a nagging fit to write a story about a Barfly. Not a barfly as in a buzzing, pesky fly that is swatted in a bar but rather the cloak and dagger stuff from yesteryear about the blonde dame who sits at the end of the bar and sees everything through a smoky haze.

Listen for the voice of the guy from the old TV show Dragnet telling the audience about the dame. The Barfly.

I can see her in my mind twizzling her drink and throwing back her head to laugh at something the bar tender says. Sultry is the word that comes to mind and I begin to think of the different ways I can paint her as a sultry dame with a smoky voice, sipping on a cool drink. In a bar of course.

Unfortunately, my personal story hasn’t got much background to inform my new fictional story. It makes sense that a blonde Barfly with a Beehive hairdo would want to sip on a drink. Perhaps something greenish with a twizzle stick of course. I don’t really see her sipping along on a dark brown, carbonated drink through a straw. Although she could lick the Dr. Pepper off the end of the straw now and then. I will have to work on that part of the story.

I don’t have many bar memories to draw from but two distinct bar episodes pop into my mind when I begin to flesh out this story. The first was an old bar out in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico between Ruidoso and Plains, Texas. We were coming home from a trip to the mountains and I absolutely had to use the bathroom. On the dusty plain amidst the tumbleweeds sat a small shack with several motorcycles in front of it. I think a large yellowish Caterpillar was out to the back and one corner of the tin roof was flapping in the wind.

“There is a place to stop!” I screamed at hubby. He screeched to a halt and I vaulted into the bar. It was small and dark. I scared the guy behind the bar in my rush to find his bathroom. He nodded towards the back and I yanked open the door under the half-lit Coors sign. Relief at last.

The second bar was when we got lost on the way to a wedding up in Michigan. Same story. I had, had, had to go to the bathroom. We were lost on the backside of the wrong kind of neighborhood, but we found an old bar on the corner. We bumped across several potholes getting to the door and I rushed in towards the back, took care of business and rushed right back out, found the wedding, and had a great time.

Drawing on the VAST experience from my own story I offer the first line of a new story:

The honey-blonde batted her green eyes as she patiently waited for her drink. Her polyester Beehive was hanging on valiantly to the back of her upswept “do.” The room was quiet except for the soft scratching of a leather, pointy-toed boot upon a skinny shin bone.  “What’s a dame gotta do to get a Dr. Peppa in a joint like this,” she whispers under her breath.

…To be Continued…



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Profiling Humanity

I used to be one of six and one of four respectively. I guess, at times, I was really one of eight. I am the youngest of six children. Two boys and four girls. So, eight in our family, six kids, and the youngest of “the girls.” To further classify I was always one of the “little” girls because the two oldest sisters were the “older” girls.

Most of us look very similar and have similar body types. As the youngest of six I was instantly profiled at school. “Oh, you are one of the Dent sisters,” they would say, and then automatically assume that I was going to be exactly like my older sisters and make the same choices that they made.


Most of this was OK because I have fun and wonderful sisters, but there were times I just wanted to be myself. I suppose most younger children have the same feelings that I had growing up. I wanted to find my own space and not be constantly compared to others. And yet, I loved having that comfort of knowing that I belonged in a group.

Our sister group was, and still is, tightly knit. Several years ago, I lost my life-long partner in the “little girl” group and I still feel that keenly on some days. Other days I am busy being my unique self. Over the years our groupings have gotten married and created newer groups within our own families.

Nowadays, we are re-profiled as moms and grandmothers. No one knows our given names anymore. And if they called us by our given name they would get into trouble. Not that they haven’t tried it and found out very quickly that only a few are privileged to call me Mom and they better stick with the safe route and call me “Mom” and not “Fawn.” I love my mom profile.

I can be shopping in a large grocery store and when any young voice calls out, “Mom!” I immediately turn and look for the child as do many others in the store. The mom profile is universal and hard to beat. There are times, however, that I step back from the mom profile and shoo them on to someone else – mainly their dad. “YOUR child got in trouble at school today.” He chokes on his supper and says, “Since when did he become MY child? You are the mom go and fix it.”

Our lives are inundated by different groupings, profiles, and other categorizing. Some we tolerate and others we despise. While I like being Spiritual, I don’t really want to be classified as religious. I love being in the mom group, but I am not ready for the AARP group even if they do send me colorful mail almost daily. I prefer being in the healthy group over the sick and needing prayers group.

Some groups we aim for but never quite get into. I am hardly ever classified in the calm and quiet group. Somehow, I end up in the loud and ornery group, but I must say that we usually have fun in that group. And I am never immediately placed in the serious group even though I can be pretty serious about some things.

As I have gotten older I find that I enjoy my groupings more. I know who I am and where I belong. That is comforting for me. No more trying to be someone I am not. No more trying to get others to like me. No more getting upset if someone chooses another path.

Maybe I am just old, but I find the culture we live in to be very sad indeed. Many of the basic groupings have gone virtual. Friendships are maintained online. Neighbors stay indoors. Grocery shopping is going online for Pete’s sake. I love to grocery shop to see all the folks that I haven’t seen in a while. Movies are online. Bill pay online. Recordings. Recordings. Recordings.

The online groups might be faster, and we don’t have to get dressed, but we miss so much humanity along the way. Calling real people for appointments and listening to their encouragement. Handing over a check or cash for a product and chatting it up with the cashier – commiserating that they don’t get Thanksgiving Day off. Hugging another at the park after walking the trails. Looking at the handwriting on a note. Smelling a newborn. Or at least, the Johnson’s baby lotion. I am not ready to give up on the “real” group just yet.

In fact, I am going to take a knee at the next ballgame I attend and protest the use of classifying humans as account numbers. I am not just an online account number.

I am a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a quilter, a spiritual person and I firmly belong into the loud and ornery group. And I might belong in the AARP groups but am protesting that as well. 


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Left Out

When I attended graduate school I was taught many different things. Different ideas and ways to think were impressed on me as well. Along the way, morals, beliefs, and political leanings were discussed openly and hashed over. I was taught different formatting skills for every possibility. I learned how to cite from outside sources and how to craft my own work.

I learned to build websites and fill them with appropriate content and I learned that an argument is not really an argument as most folks see it. An argument should put forth new ideas and new ways of looking at things in an attempt to better understand the issues. Both sides bring out their information and try to sway the other side to come over to their way of thinking or perhaps they both learn something and a new way of understanding is achieved.

Whether I was working on websites, written documents, or oral presentations, one concept continually tweaked my brain. Because I am a “doer” and work at whirling dervish speeds, the concept was a little more difficult to grasp than some others. The concept is that the stuff we leave out is just as important as the stuff we put in. GASP! I was being asked to fill page after page with words and ideas and thoughts and charts and headings and, and, and, and they wanted me to think about what I left out when I was struggling to fulfill the assignment by adding all that I could possibly think about.

The more I worked on things, the more I thought about that concept. I graduated and began teaching. The concept became more important as I taught students to pick only one or two fonts at most when I read through resumes or cover letters filled with curlicues, pink text, and many fonts. Then I impressed upon my students the idea that what we leave out can be more effective than the things we leave in.

Amidst all the ruffled feathers of the NFL, the natural disasters, the horrific crimes, and all the Trump bashings on mainstream media, I am even more aware of the importance of leaving things out. Seemingly our culture wants immediate and complete disclosure of every event happening world-wide. At times, our military have been put in jeopardy because of this cry for all information all the time. However, in many instances when more was needed, the information was conveniently left out to the point it is virtually impossible to know what/who to believe.

Last week I read a report showing that cellular usage by teens corresponds with higher instances of teen suicide and depression because so much information is shared publicly. Nothing is left out. Teens make a mistake at school and the whole world knows about it in just a few seconds. Someone breaks up with someone and the cyber bullies are at it before the heartbroken one can even process the news. Images, texts, and thoughts are not edited because it is easy to crucify another when it is “just online.” Everything gets published and nothing is left out.

As I ponder my life these days I am even more aware of the importance of things left out. Perhaps we should keep our opinions to ourselves a little more often and perhaps we should strive to find out all the details before making swift judgments. My sister used to tell me, “No matter how flat the pancake there are still two sides.” Sometimes we don’t have all the information and sometimes we don’t need it. Sometimes, what is left out will hurt others and sometimes what is left out is truly not important enough to mention.

Our world is filled with information and we must act, daily, as human filters. Can we believe this? Can we believe that? What makes this person do this or that? What information don’t we know that would make us think differently?

The concept that we have a choice of what to put in and what NOT to put in can become mind-boggling if we let it. Information is just one area for this concept to work. Our life can be looked at in the same manner.

What do I leave out and what do I NOT want to leave out?

Of course, I would like to leave out ugliness, untruth, and selfishness. I would like to NOT leave out kindness, grace, and integrity.  Like the writer who deliberately leaves out certain words, phrases, and thoughts, I, too, can wake up every morning and make deliberate choices about my life.

Be kind or be ugly.

Be gracious or be an old goat.

Be a whiner or get on with life.

I hope that what you leave out this week will be a blessing to others and I hope that what you choose to leave in this week will be a blessing to others.

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Fall Yuuummm

I love fall. I love the cool mornings with the mist/dew hovering over my plants in the garden. I love how spider webs appear in the light from the sun and the leaves begin their transformation from green to orange, red, or bronze. I especially love the streak of bright yellow as the school bus roars past our house in the mornings and afternoons. Fall is the point of going forward.

We move from growing to harvest in the fall. I love the harvest time because it takes me back to so many good memories of my life. Pulling the baskets off the wall and walking up and down the rows of peas, beans, and cucumbers to bring in the harvest is the best point of going forward. We pick, pull, snap, and shuck so that our families will be fed in the winter. We mash, peel, and chop to our hearts delight in the fall.

Nothing makes me prouder than my rows of red and green filled jars marching along on my pantry shelves. Add in the grape, peach, and cherry jellies and I am ready for anything. Fall brings such a feeling of satisfaction. The cool lifts our hearts and the eagerness of the kids hopping off the bus in the afternoons restores my spirit. Life is ongoing and it is good.

The coolness of the fall also brings about an irresistible urge to bake. Carrot cakes, pumpkin cakes, apple pies, pear/cranberry muffins bring about such memories. My banana nut bread is from an old recipe that I got from my grandmother’s sister. It makes huge amounts of banana bread but I would never use a different one. My peanut butter cookies are from an old recipe my sister gave me. Her brother-in-law was a cook for an old country school and he made these cookies for hundreds of school children over the years. Now I make them for mine. I suppose that over the years of pleasing our families we cook certain things at certain times because the activity and aroma are firmly tied to a memory.

We have certain cookies and quick eats that we only make at Christmas. There is no reason we can’t have them at other times but we have them down as Christmas and that is when we enjoy them. Iced cookies are enjoyed at Christmas and Valentines. Pumpkin pies are just not the same on July fourth as they are on Thanksgiving. Sausage balls are fun to make and eat but we usually only make them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am sure they are yummy in June but in June we are into melons and berries and sausage balls don’t even sound appealing!

Fall has its own recipes. Apple cake, pumpkin bread, baked turkey, chili and cornbread, beans and cornbread, pineapple upside down cake in the cast iron skillet. Warm things to help us get through the new, chillier evenings. When baking, I almost always bake from scratch and for the most part I use recipes from old as well. Some are written on paper with splots and splashes of vanilla or chocolate powder. Others have been copied several times over onto little cards. Some pages of my cookbooks fall open to selections because of the goo leftover on the pages.

I have little notes written in beside the ones I make the most and if I get a recipe from a friend or relative I usually note the name of the person I got it from. I have snapped many of these writings on my phone and sent to grown kids wanting to establish the recipe into their own homes and memories. Sometimes, I replace the oil with applesauce and sometimes I add in shredded carrots instead of mashed pumpkin or I toss in a bit of cloves with the cinnamon to add a deeper flavor but the basic recipe remains the same. I prefer to use eggs from my own chickens and I believe that all cookies go best with a cold glass of milk.

So, fall is here and my college child came home for her first weekend and asked for my pumpkin cake. “You know, the one you make every year. I can’t wait to have it again.” I hugged her tight and promised her that we would make it before she had to return on Sunday evening.

The Pumpkin cake was delicious and I thought I would share it with you here. On old friend gave me the recipe years ago. I have it written on a little scrap of paper with her name on it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Pumpkin Cake

4 eggs

2 C Sugar

1 C oil (you can use ½ oil and ½ applesauce)

2 C flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon (I add sprinkles of nutmeg and cloves when in the mood)

½ tsp salt

1 can pumpkin (I use the smaller can)

Beat eggs and sugar. Add oil and beat again. Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt and beat again. Blend in Pumpkin. Spray pans before filling. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

I make mine in loaf pans. This is a thick cake and needs to bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I also like to use several smaller loaf pans and make smaller cakes. When cool, I wrap them in foil and freeze them. I mark the date on the top and then I send them to teachers or to the office. Unfortunately, there are times that the teachers must wait until the next batch. Enjoy!


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