What’s in Your Basket? {This Chocolate Cake Recipe is in Mine!}


I’ve always considered myself an introvert, but sitting on my back porch with a mix of close friends and near-strangers makes me reconsider. Deep, vulnerable parts of me are soothed. Laughter is often and loud. Occasional tears hush the chatter as we listen, nurturing the heart of the one who shares about her struggle.

As the last, lingering guest parts ways, I am recharged, picking up items and sweeping chocolate cake crumbs. Wondering. Musing about myself. Am I possibly part extrovert?

I still don’t know.

What I do know is this: During a Teaching from Rest book club meeting, we discussed our baskets that Sarah Mackenzie talked about in her book. She shared about the time Jesus fed the 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44). She also mentioned that Jesus didn’t perform the miracle with nothing. He had His disciples bring what they had, so they filled their baskets with a few meager fish and some loaves of bread and Jesus did the rest.

Sarah then encouraged readers to think about what’s in their own basket.

What’s in your basket? I asked my friends as the ceiling fan rustled the pages in our books. What are you naturally good at that you can bring to your homeschool?

Today, dear reader, I’d like to ask you the same questions. What’s in your basket? What things are you naturally good at that you enjoy doing? And how can you use your skills and interests to contribute to your home?

While you’re considering these things, I encourage you to whip up this moist chocolate cake in your kitchen. My friend Kelli gave this recipe to me when I was looking for a delicious and easy cake, and it is so good that I just have to share it with you!

Even if baking isn’t normally in your basket, this cake can be. And I promise that if you try it just one time, you will never return to a box chocolate cake again!

Print

Moist Chocolate Cake

This incredibly easy and moist chocolate cake recipe is perfect for everything from family dinners and birthday parties to potlucks and wedding showers.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 2 round cakes
Author Kelli and Davonne

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (all purpose or gluten free)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter (regular or Earth Balance buttery spread)

Instructions

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients (flour through baking soda)

  2. Mix in eggs and butter

  3. Pour into 9x13 baking dish, 2 round cake pans, or 26 cupcake molds

  4. Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean or with a few moist crumbs attached (about 20 minutes for cupcakes and 30-35 minutes for cake).

Recipe Notes

I recommend frosting the cake or cupcakes with Wilton's Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream frosting. The cake is so moist that it's also delicious simply topped with powdered sugar after it cools. You could also mix powdered sugar with a tiny bit of water to create a simple icing. Kelli likes to half the recipe and ice her 8" square cake with simple peanut butter frosting made by mixing together 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter, and 3 tbsp milk.

I’d love to hear: what’s in your basket? Share something you’re naturally good at in the comments!


How to Care for Yourself without Being Selfish

{When we’re busy every second and continually running on fumes, then our homes, our children, our relationships, and our jobs suffer. So we need to refuel. This is the final article of a 4-part series about how to do just that – read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.}

 

A few weeks ago, I shared about when I became so sick that my world stopped while I spent 5 days on the couch, in fevered pain. And those 5 days felt like a gift. Because, finally, I had a reason to rest.

I bet some of you can relate – we don’t rest until someone gets sick or breaks a bone. And sometimes, not even then.

Being a life-giver started with God, when he breathed life into Adam’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7). And now giving life to others continues through you and me. Starting at home. Let’s fill our cups in a healthy, non-selfish manner so we can flourish as we become the women God created us to be, blossoming exactly where He has planted us.

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But nobody else is going to force us to refuel. Nobody is going to shove a book in our hands and say, “Sit! Read this now, and don’t get up until you feel refreshed!”

Filling our cups is up to us. But we need to be careful.

We are absolutely better wives, mothers, employees, friends, and homemakers when we take time to refresh and uplift our spirits. But, while rest isn’t something we should suffer without, it’s also not something we’re entitled to.

Because when we fill our cups to the detriment of our homes or our families, we’ve lost perspective and have put ourselves on a stolen pedestal.

Do you see how either extreme can be damaging? When we’re running on empty, we’re often shorter tempered, tired, and worn down. But when we only concern ourselves with “me time” to the point of regularly neglecting everything else, we can easily slide into selfish attitudes that demand more and more time off.

Let’s seek the balance. And when we swing too much to one extreme or the other, let’s repent.

Now is the time to turn the TV off, set our phones down, and spend 15 – 30 minutes doing something that renews the spirit. This isn’t time to photograph our Instagram-worthy resting activity or to share updates on Facebook. This is time to be alone, refreshing, without feeling a need to justify or explain our rest.

How to Prepare for Rest:

When we’re in the daily grind of life, sometimes we get so busy doing things for others that we start to lose ourselves. We forget to rest. We don’t think we have enough time.

But everyone can find 15 minutes in their day.

Filling our own cup needs to be on the priority list, but it doesn’t have to be an elaborate time-consuming affair. It can be simple. Obtainable.

I encourage you to prepare yourself in advance for rest, so that it’s more likely to actually happen. You can do this by making a list of simple things that refresh you. Keep your list somewhere you won’t lose it, like your bathroom mirror or taped to the inside of your closet door.

I’m showing you my list to give you some ideas. Use this as a springboard when you’re thinking about simple ways you can fill your own cup.

9 Ways I Fill My Cup in 15 Minutes or Less:

  • Read a chapter in a good book (See the books I’ve read so far in 2016 here)
  • Ride my bike
  • Play the piano
  • Bake muffins or a cake (See my favorite chocolate cake recipe here)
  • Write (hand-written note to a loved one, rough draft of blog article, or journal entry)
  • Sip a cup of tea
  • Watch the sunset
  • Sit on the porch and listen to nature
  • Lay in a dark, quiet room to think, pray, or nap

Tips for Your Own 15 Minutes:

1) Don’t worry about relaxing perfectly.

For a long time, I wouldn’t play the piano at all because my skill level had dropped so much since high school. I was discouraged because I felt like I needed to play the hardest songs I’d ever learned in order for it to count.

But, really, I just needed to play.

Not to be great. Not to impress anybody. But because my soul is filled when my fingers glide across the keys. So I pulled out easier pieces and felt the tension release from my body as I created music.

It doesn’t matter that we no longer do something at our greatest potential. What matters is that we’re doing something we love, just because we love it.

2) Think about what you loved as a child.

If you don’t know what will refresh you, think about what you enjoyed doing as a kid – did you love reading? Maybe digging in dirt or taking walks was your thing. Maybe you loved playing an instrument or singing. Whatever it was, write it on your list and try it out!

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3) Be realistic about what you can do in 15 minutes.

Scrapbooking or crafting may refresh you, but can you really pull out the supplies, make progress, and put everything back away in just 15 minutes? Me either!

Let’s save those projects for when we can carve out an hour or more, and focus on the 15-minute items for now so we’re not left with a huge energy-draining mess when our time is up.

4) Set up a Relaxation Basket

Did knitting or crocheting land on your list? Or hand-lettering? Gather all of the supplies you need to do that activity and place them in a pretty basket. So the next time you have 15 minutes, you can spend all of that time actually working on the activity instead of setting up or cleaning up!

5) Don’t touch that phone! (And pay attention to how you feel after you relax.)

How many times have we had a few minutes to spare while dinner simmers or we’re waiting in the car-pool line? And then used those minutes to scroll through Facebook or Instagram, browse the Internet, or play games on our phones?

But let’s start paying attention to how we feel after – are we really charged up and feeling awesome after we spend 15 minutes looking at everyone else’s highlight reel on Facebook? Or are we more refreshed if we take that time to write a letter to an elderly relative or read the next chapter in a book, instead?

Really paying attention to how we feel after – not just during – an activity will give us a lot of insight to the items that should, and should not, be on our 15-minute list.

Related Articles

Friend, I have enjoyed this series so much – writing it and preparing photos has filled my own cup, and I hope you’ve been blessed by it as well! If you’ve missed the other three articles in this series, definitely check them out by clicking the links below:

Part 1 (Introduction): Fill Your Cup: Resting When the To-Do List Isn’t Complete
Part 2 (For the Homeschool Moms): 5 Books that Will Help You Slow Down, Savor Your Kids, and Rediscover Your Love of Homeschooling
Part 3 (For Every Woman): 8 Books that Will Help You Break Free from a Too-Busy Schedule
Part 4 (Today’s Article): How to Care for Yourself Without Being Selfish

And don’t forget to check out my favorite recipe for an 8-ingredient, incredibly moist chocolate cake that tastes amazing, won’t mess up your kitchen, and will turn you away from box mixes forever!

Share in the comments: What revives your spirit? How can you find time in your day to nurture your soul?


Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer GIVEAWAY

Mother’s Day is right around the corner! It’s that one day out of the year we really want to make the moms in our life feel extra special – a time to honor them, pamper them, thank them, and bless them.

So I’ve gotten together with a fantastic group of bloggers in the hopes of blessing TWO moms this Mother’s Day. We’re thrilled to be giving away TWO KitchenAid stand mixers. This seems to be one of those items that moms would love to have but hesitate to buy, so let us do the splurging for you!

Mother's Day Giveaway - Win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer - 2 Winners

I was handed down one of these mixers a few years ago and it has been a valuable tool to have in my own kitchen. I use it for everything from cookie dough and meringue pies to homemade bread and marshmallows.

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

And I’d love to hear about you – how many children do you have and what’s the first thing you would make with this mixer if you win the giveaway?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. Colors and models of prizes may vary from pictures. Giveaway ends May 7th, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.


$500 Cash Giveaway!

The Christmas season is upon us! And while this is a joyous and festive time of the year, it can also be a time of financial stress and worry for some.

That is why I’m teaming up with 25 other bloggers to bring you a Christmas Blessings Giveaway for $500 Paypal cash! We understand the stress of fulfilling our kids’ Christmas lists, or having an unexpected bill to pay, or even just having enough money to put gas in the car and coats on our kids.

Christmas Blessings Giveaway

We hope to lift some of that burden for one family and bless them with $500 Paypal cash to use for whatever their family needs. Whether it’s for Christmas gifts, to pay off bills, or to save for a rainy day, we hope this giveaway will bless a family this holiday season. And we are blessed to be a blessing as well.

Enter Below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from Monday, December 7th through Sunday, December 13th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.

I’d love to hear – how would you spend an extra $500 this Christmas season?