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?


Fabulous Resources to Help You Organize Your Home & Health in 2015!

Social Media, Family Resolution Revolution GraphicI’ve been nearly bursting at the seams with all of my excitement over so many great things to tell you! I’m going to wait until next week to share my own exciting blogging plans, but for now I want to let you know about a fantastic eBook bundle!

The Family Resolutions bundle is here and it’s coming at the perfect time of year since many of us are making New Year’s Resolutions & promises of living healthier in 2015. I’ve taken a peek in some of these books and they look absolutely fantastic.

From organizing your home, to fitness, to healthy recipes and essential oils, this bundle offers something for everyone, and at an incredible price – it’s an $820 value available for ONLY $39!

And since I’m on my own quest to reorganize my home and fitness routine in 2015, I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this Family Resolution bundle!

Now for the eBundle details…

FAMILY RESOLUTION REVOLUTION BUNDLE:

40 Real Food and Healthy Lifestyle Resources PLUS Tons of Discounts for Only $39

Are you looking to revolutionize the health of your family in 2015? Are you sick of setting goals and feeling overwhelmed on how to tackle them? Are you ready for change in all areas of your life?

   Family Resolution Revolution - What's Included

The Family Resolution Revolution bundle has you covered! Weve gathered the very best resources and brought them together in one perfect package to help you create change. The absolute best healthy living bloggers have teamed up to share their bestselling eBooks, workshops, meal plans, calendars, printable worksheets, magazines and more so that every family can create a healthful, happy life!

contributorsFRRfinal-2

The Family Resolution Revolution bundle includes 40 life changing resources, available at $0.97 a piece, and is available for ten days only – Friday, December 26 through Sunday, January 4!

All 40 resources (PLUS THE BONUS DISCOUNT PAGE – including fourteen exclusive discounts) come in PDF form and are available for instant download. Access the e-books, workshops, meals plans, calendars, worksheets and magazine subscription from your computer, phone and e-reader of your choice!

Family Resolution Revolution - Buy NowEach of the 40 items included in this bundle were carefully selected to provide support in total wellness and health for every member of the family – and including the fourteen exclusive discounts, this bundle is valued at $820!

Family Resolution Revolution - What's Included

(Click the titles to learn more about each item!)

Transition & eGuidebooks with Shopping Lists, Plans & More (a $97 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Transition & How To Guide Books

> 3 Phase Paleo by Paleo Parents

> Work Day Eats for your January Challenge by No Cook Paleo

> The Paleo Approach Dinner Club E-Book by The Paleo Mom

> 28 Days of Low FODMAP AIP by A Clean Plate

> The Safe Starch Cookbook by The Domestic Man

> Grain-Free Meal Plans Freezer Cooking Guide by Health Home Happy

Kid & Family eBooks (a $36 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Kids & Families Books

> Make Your Kids’ Party Paleo by The Merry Maker Sisters

> Real Food Nutrition for Kids by Food Renegade

> Joshua’s Primal Lunchbox by Primal Bliss Nutrition

Meal Planning Programs (a $55 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Meal Planning Programs

> Once a Month Meals, 1 Month Pro Membership

> Real Meals by Healthful Pursuit

> Winter Watercolor Calendar Printable Bundle by Colorful Eats

> Paleo Plan 30 day Membership

Online Magazine Subscriptions (a $35 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Magazine Subscriptions

> One Year Digital Subscription to Paleo Magazine

> One Year Digital Subscription to Paleo Living Magazine

Online Programs & Workshops for Fitness, Self Love, and More (a $151 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Programs, Workshops, Self-Love

> 21 Step Body Image Remix by Summer Innanen

> 30 Days to a Life Made Full by Shanti Landon

> Skincare and Skin Healing from an Ancestral Perspective by Dr. Natcha Maithai

> Chaos to Clutter-Free by Davonne Parks

Real Food and Paleo eCookbooks (a $47 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Real Food and Paleo Cookbooks

> Well Fed 2 by The Clothes Make the Girl

> Keeping It Real by Delicious Obsessions

> Blend | The Basics by Everyday Maven

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> Slow Cooker Soups and Stews by Peace Love and Low Carb

> Easy Paleo Gelatin Treats E-Book by Grass Fed Girl

> Modern Paleo Cuisine by Planks, Love, and Guacamole

Snacks & Treats eCookbooks (a $64 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Snacks & Treats Books

> 34 Single-Serve Desserts by Fit Foodie Finds

> Grain-Free Simple Sweets in 5 Ingredients or Less by My Heart Beets and The Real Food Guide

> The Grain-Free Snacker by Ditch the Wheat

> We Can ALL Scream for Ice Cream by Predominantly Paleo and The Real Food Guide

> Paleo Treats and Healthy Sweets by Taylor Made It Paleo

Healthy Living and Informational eBooks (a $115 value!)

Family Resolution Revolution - Healthy Living & Informational Books

> DIY Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes by Mommypotomus

> Real Food: Making the Transition from Processed to Unprocessed Living by Unlock Better Health

> Disease-Free Revolution by Ron Garner

> 10 Things You Need to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy by Whole New Mom

> Yoga for the Everyday Flow of Life by Rx’d Yoga

> Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits and Vegetables

> Oh Lardy’s Guide to Keeping Backyard Chickens

> The Healing Kitchen by The Dabblist

> Grain-Free Grab and Go, 30+ Recipes for Portable Meals by Health Starts in the Kitchen

PLUS THE BONUS DISCOUNT PAGE WITH FOURTEEN EXCLUSIVE CODES – TOTALING A MINIMUM OF $220 WORTH OF SAVINGS!!!

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Dont waste another day, month, year, dreaming of a healthier, balanced life for your family. Make that life a reality – purchase the Family Resolution Revolution bundle today!

Family Resolution Revolution - Buy Now


When You’re Not Quite Ready for Christmas

NotReadyChristmas

I want to encourage you today. Maybe your house isn’t clean, your gifts aren’t wrapped or you don’t have the finances to purchase gifts, and you won’t have time to bake the cookies you wanted to make. It’s okay. Christmas will come and go, and more than our family wants us to have everything perfectly done, they want us to be present and pleasant.

And you know, there’s so much beauty in the undone. There’s beauty in the imperfect. And we can find joy amidst the mess and the tight budgets.

If you need a few last-minute ideas or encouragement, here are some things you may like. Don’t read all of these articles. Just pick and choose a few that will help you the most:

Encouragement

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Embracing an Imperfect Holiday – on Beauty through Imperfection.

The Christmas Cookie Disaster – Sometimes it’s easy to think that other people’s Christmases are perfect and beautiful all the time, but that’s simply not true. In this post about my nearly disastrous cookie baking experience, I share how I finally realized that my attitude matters more than the circumstance.

Why We Simplified Christmas This Year – by Money Saving Mom.

Dealing With Difficult Relatives During the Holidays – on Worshipful Living.

Gifts

ThemedGifts

22 Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – If you’re trying to think of a last-minute gift for someone on your list, then read this article. Not only are there 22 great themed ideas, but each idea is also frugal and (mostly) clutter-free! Plus over 30 other gift lists are included in the link-up on this post so you’re sure to find some fantastic inspiration.

10 MORE Themed Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List – Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, need a last-minute co-worker or family gift, or just want a little fun inspiration, you’ll definitely want to check out these neat ideas.

Celebrating a Memorable Christmas on a Zero-Dollar Budget – by Brandy at the Prudent Homemaker.

How to Frugally Fill Awesome & Clutter-Free Stockings – Enough Said 🙂

Scheduling, Cleaning & Organizing

SanitySavingGuide

Last Minute Holiday Sanity-Saving Tips – If you need to simplify your holiday to-do’s but aren’t sure where to start, then check out this article for practical tips and encouragement.

How to Keep Your Kid’s Christmas Gifts From Taking Over Your House – This was one of the most brilliantly simple ideas I’ve ever had and I just had to share it.

How to Fake a Clean House in Less Than 20 Minutes – If you want a cozy feel amidst the chaos in your home this Christmas, or if company is coming on short notice, then you’ll definitely want to see the tips in this article.

Crafts, Recipes & Decor

Christmas Dinner

Simple & Elegant Christmas Dinner Menu – This is what I’ll be making for Christmas Dinner this year. Maybe you’ll see a few ideas that you like?

25 Frugal Days of Christmas – Check out this link-up for crafts, recipes, and other fun ideas.

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments – My friend Stephanie introduced me to these Christmas tree decorations, and they’re absolutely wonderful! These are so easy that my five-year-old can make them almost completely by herself and these beautiful ornaments make the house smell amazing.

A Cute and Easy Way to Display Greeting Cards – If you’re looking for a quick way to display your greeting cards, then simply put them on a bookshelf or try this idea. And I’d love to know: how do you display your greeting cards?

Christmas In The Midst Of Our Mess – by the Nester.

More Christmas-ing

You can read all of my Christmas articles here or see my Christmas inspiration board on Pinterest.

What’s one thing you do to simplify Christmas preparations?