Cupcakes and Sunshine

Friday, January 18, 2019

We're Jammin'


It's Friday, and we're jammin'! I attended a wedding a couple of weeks ago and as we were leaving, we were gifted sweet fruit jams/jellies.

And then after having toast for breakfast almost every single day (one avocado toast + one jam toast + coffee) since that wedding, decided that I should make some of my own since my diminishing supply of jam wasn't going to keep up much longer with my daily breakfast habits.


This recipe is EASY. You could even say the making of this breakfast jam is totally "cheating." The cashier in Walmart (the best place to get these mini mason jars, worst place to go at 4:00pm on a weekday) even said so when he commented on the frozen fruit I purchased to make it. Something along the lines of, "I see you're making jelly...you do realize you're cheating. You can't use frozen fruit."

It's fine, we're fine. We're going for simple here. :) Easy jam is better than no jam, sir.


I'd love to make real jam- where you boil your jelly jars, slice fresh picked berries/fruit, use thermometers to measure temp, etc. But with all the busy of the New Year, that just wasn't happening this time.

This jam is sweet and you use pectin to thicken it. If you were to make it and "preserve" it, there would be a lot more steps. But this jam only lasts a week. (that's why you go to Walmart at 4:00pm on a weekday to buy mini mason jars- to share with friends before the week is up!)

Here's the recipe I used:
2 lbs of frozen fruit (I used a mix of strawberry, peach, pineapple)
2 TBS of Pectin
1/2 cup of water
1 1/3 cup of sugar (this is a lot of sugar. reduce at your own discretion)

Add frozen fruit, water, and sugar in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Add 2 TBS. of pectin and stir. Reduce to a low boil for ~15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for ~10 minutes. You have to be really exact here ;) Then pour frozen fruit mixture into the blender. Once blended, pour into Mason Jars and let cool on the counter for ~20 minutes, and then place in the fridge.

*This jam does need to stay refrigerated since we didn't take all of those extra preserving steps.

Serve on toast- I suggest one avocado toast + one jam toast + bottomless cups of coffee.









Thursday, January 10, 2019

Favorite Natural Products for the New Year + Simplicity/Intentionality


I love the month of January- a time to refocus, restart, and set some intentions for the year. Every January, I find myself coming up with so many new ideas and goals- more water, gym time, books, cleaning, travel, no spending, extra saving, more friend gatherings, more no's, more yes's, etc.

I don't know if it is the big break between Christmas and New Year's that gets my thoughts spinning and churning, but I can easily get caught up in so many "resolutions," that I forget about simplicity, rest, and grace.

This year, I'd love to focus on simplicity over "doing more." It's not all about the hustle and to-do list. I'm sharing some of my favorite simple products today that focus on natural ingredients and have reminded me of simple intentionality in each day.

Skincare: 



I've been loving BioClarity's skincare line. It is a 3-step plant based, vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free line. Parabens are preservatives in many skin care products/washes that we don't need. Love that this line was created without harsh chemicals.


Some of my other favorite simple care skin tips: wash pillowcases and sheets often, don't press your phone (germs!) to your face when chatting, and sip on iced lemon water throughout the day. No crazy rules or checklist have-to's. Just the simple things.


Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel is another one of my favorite skincare products. In addition to smelling like a fresh rose garden, this natural toner cleanses + soothes. It naturally relieves irritation, and calms inflamed skin. I love this stuff, and use a clean cotton round to apply in the morning and evening.

(Also^^ that TheraBreath mouth rinse is incredible. It's a little more than I'd usually pay for mouth wash, but it is all-natural, certified gluten free 🙌, and doesn't contain any alcohol or artificial flavors)


Makeup: 

I found out I had Celiac my sophomore year of college, and you wouldn't think that many lipsticks/lip colors contain gluten, but unfortunately this is not the case! I started looking for a gluten-free makeup brand and came across Tarte, which has won many awards and has some pretty incredible products that I love. Most every makeup product I buy now is from Tarte.


Clean



There's not much competition here- Mrs. Meyer's is what we use in the kitchen! I love the sweet scents, and this company's focus on real ingredients and no crazy chemicals. I purchased some generic store-brand simple + free laundry detergent & sprinkle Mrs. Meyer's laundry Booster powder (a little more budget-friendly than purchasing just their detergent) in before washing to keep my clothes smelling fresh. The lavender scent is pretty dreamy.


Learning about essential oils and all of their benefits is intriguing- oils have been around for 100s of years, curing ailments and even helping prevent the black plague! I love diffusing lavender and lemon oil each night when I'm sleeping, or while working each day. I am going to look into making some essential oil cleaners/sprays in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

I'm always down to hear about natural products and solutions. I'd love to hear your favorites, and New Year's resolutions as well!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Best of Days- December 2018


These past few weeks have been incredible (aside from flu 2018!). From friends, to celebrations, to good food, joyfilled reunions, and lots of laughs in between. Here are a few quick snapshots of life lately:
Grandmother's recipe for Buckeyes- the best! similar recipe HERE

love this faithful friend! Abby, you're a gift! 

and the best dance partner too!!

Cruisin' into 2019


Came prepared with lots of books. Check out previous post to see what I've been reading this month. Do you have any good reads to start off the New Year?! I'd love your suggestions!




this team! Love these ladies!

Favorite mid-day stop!! 
2nd favorite mid-day stop!




They let me third wheel - 52nd Anniversary lunch


No matter where we are in the U.S, you'll probably find us here!


Once flu 2018 passes over (quick- get a flu shot on your way to grab your last minute gifts if you haven't yet!), some homemade chocolate chip cookies and cocoa are the plan. Thankful for this time to rest and reflect on 2018 and to celebrate friends, fam, and most importantly this advent season and the birth of our Savior. Hope it's been a great December. Merry Christmas, friends!



Saturday, December 8, 2018

December Reading List


There is nothing better than a sparkling evergreen candle, twinkling Christmas lights, a cozy cup of coffee, and a good read. These are the books I'm reading this December, and I want to know what you're reading too!

1. The Nesting Place:


Love this book! (and the semi- sequel Cozy Minimalist Home is on my wishlist!) I love reading Myquillyn Smith's stories on simple decor ideas, creativity, and that it's not all about perfection. This book is one of my all time favorites.

2. I'm doing some traveling this December, and ordered these two since there will be limited internet access (🙌) for a few days! I'm so excited to unplug,  and dig in. (Have you read these? Let me know your thoughts!)




3. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality


Wow, this book is too good. I had a friend send it to me on Audible this past week, and I had all intentions to listen to it while traveling. However, I started it a bit early, and couldn't stop. I'm about a third of the way through, and now wish I had it in hard copy too. So much wisdom here- get this book, friends!!

Any books you're reading or some that are on your Christmas wishlist? I'd love to hear! Happy weekend, friends!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Advent- Home Sweet Home: Intentionality (& Cozy) in the Everyday


Waking up this morning with a happy, full heart! (& pot of coffee)


Last night, we gathered together all of our things and had the best night decorating for Christmas. Advent season is the sweetest as we watch the way Jesus came, lived and loved, and remember the reason for the season - Emmanuel, God with us.

Paint a wreath on canvas, and add a classic red bow for an easy indoor project! You can switch bows out seasonally
In the midst of busy, it is so good to be home and mindful of simplicity and joy.

The first of many Hallmark movies + mugs full of cocoa (all month long) 
A collection of Christmas cookie cookbooks make for a simple kitchen centerpiece

Bandit may actually be my favorite Christmas decoration


My Grandmother quilted/sewed this advent calendar for me this year and filled it with sweet treats each day! Love that I get to treasure this for years to come!!

Filling glass flower vases with inexpensive Christmas ornaments is an easy way to add some sparkle to a cozy corner! Chalkboards add a personalized, handmade touch! 


Cocoa cheers to you!! I'd love to hear some of your favorite Christmas crafts, decor tips, and memories!


Advent studies:
IF Advent Study (sent to your email!)
IF Emmanuel Study
Paul David Tripp Advent Devotional 



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