We wanted to share this recipe in honor of being back from our Peace Corps experience in Jamaica. It’s fun to look back on the pictures of us making big batches of these delicious treats for our Jamaican host sister’s wedding.
According to Facebook, many of you actually tried these out at home last year! For my family (Michelle), cinnamon rolls are a traditional part of our holiday celebrations, and I’m looking forward to sharing these rolls with my family in both Oregon and Hawaii this Christmas. I like to make the miniature-sized rolls for this recipe to counteract the generous helpings of cinnamon-sugar and cream cheese frosting it calls for.
Sometimes when I read a book, I wish I had the power to make it required reading for a certain population. This is one of those books, and the chosen population is: America.
When my friend shared 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess with me, I could see why she thought I’d be interested. But for some reason, I put off reading it. It sounded like work. Was I ever wrong. Now that I’ve finished the last page, I’m ready to read it again. That never happens.
There is something about the way this Texas-pastor’s-wife writes that is both hilarious and inspirational. Author, Jen Hatmaker, is witty, authentic, and bold as she takes you and her family along on a 7-month “experimental mutiny against excess.”
About the 7 Experiment
For one month each, Jen and her young family of five creatively fasted from: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, and Stress. For example, in month one they could only eat 7 foods (spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat bread, eggs, avocados, apples, and chicken). Month two, she kept a rotation of only 7 items of clothing. Month three, they gave away 7 things from their home every day. For Waste, they recycled everything possible and started eating unpackaged goods from their new backyard garden. Spending involved limiting their purchases to only 7 locations for the month; and Stress month led them to take 7 daily pauses for prayer and start practicing Sabbath.
In each chapter, I literally laughed out loud. Then I’d turn the page and become either passionately fired up or emotionally choked up. As she shares her struggles to “walk the walk,” you can’t help but feel a fire under your butt to make some changes of your own.
If anything, this book is a call for American Christians to wake up and shape up. But it’s also addressing the needs of our society at large, which applies to anyone. Our lives are getting excessive – more busy and more cluttered – but it’s not making us happier, and it’s affecting our ability to be Christ’s hands and feet among the suffering of our world.
This book is not about making you feel guilty. I wish I could explain, but you’ll just have to give it a try for yourself. In the meantime, here’s a quick promo video for a corresponding Bible study where the author gives a brief overview of the 7 Project:
Every now and then, Michelle and I want to share with you some “Things We Love.”
As minimalists, lovers of unconventional living, and very intentional about most things, we also believe in sharing information that has had a big impact on our lives. There’s often a misconception that minimalistic and simplistic living means cheap, or owning nothing, which is not the case. For us, it means being very intentional about the things we purchase, own, or use. Something that benefits/supports your life that is free is an added benefit. We see these “things” or services as tools to live the life that we want. Often when we buy or use “Things We Love” they follow these principles:
Does it Meet a Need or Fulfill a Want? This is a question we ask before making any purchase or adding anything to our lives. It’s probably best that things meet your needs vs. your wants. However, if it does both, then it’s even better.
Functionality The more multifunctional/versatile, the better. For example, a backpack that can hold my laptop and comes with it’s own rain-fly for unpredictable wet weather is extremely multifunctional and versatile.
Value Regardless of cost, does the item or service give you what you wanted and more? I often use this reasoning with Michelle who sometimes focuses mainly on cost. For example, I’m willing to invest in a nice computer (Apple) that may cost more up front, but will last longer than computers from other brands (that also have that other operating system).
Affordability It’s always a good practice to buy something you can actually afford. Avoid using credit or loans as much as possible.
Ease of Use/Excellent Design
We love simple, straightforward, intuitive design. Things should just work the way you think they should. For example, if you buy a can opener that doesn’t open cans – we should be able to agree that it’s poorly designed.
So every now and then, we will feature a product or a service that has helped us to live simply and intentionally. We hope that this information will help your lives and we ask that you help us:
If you end up using something we shared, let us know how you like or don’t like it.
Share these posts with others if you like it (on FB, Email, Twitter, etc…)
Share with us “Things You Love.”
Our First “Thing We Love”: WUNDERLIST
What Is It?
Wunderlist is an amazing application that helps you make “To Do Lists.” It’s a task manager and a great one at that. You make lists and add “to do” items to those lists. You check these items off as you go. It’s that simple.
First of all, we love it for all the principles we mentioned above but here are some of the main features:
Works on a computer desktop and with a smartphone. It syncs any changes you make.
Works with a wide range of operating systems/across platforms. For example, if you have a Mac computer but and Android phone, it will still sync between both.
Extremely easy to use and setup
Lists can be organized by priorities. You can move one list higher than another.
You can set deadlines and reminders for items within a list.
You can view all items from any lists based on when you set a due date for them.
Anytime an item is added, modified, or completed, you receive a notification (with an option to turn off notifications)
You can use the “inbox” feature to create tasks that aren’t connected to a list. Just simple reminders.
It Gets Better
Here’s what makes Wunderlist even more AMAZING to us:
You can share lists with someone else as long as they have a Wunderlist account.
(ie. Michelle and I share a grocery list. She adds brussel sprouts to the list, it shows up on my phone, computer, etc…)
You can share one (or more) list(s) with multiple people.
(ie. We can add anyone else to the grocery list if we wanted.)
You can assign a person to each item within a list.
(ie. If brussel spouts is in our grocery list, I can assign Michelle to pick them up, or she can assign me to pick them up.)
You can create notes and sub-lists for each item as well, in case you need to add more details to the task.
You can view all tasks assigned to you as one list.
Best of All
It’s FREE!!! There is a pro version for large businesses and organizations (which is worth the affordable pricing), but most of the best and most important features are free. Especially for individuals, families, and small businesses.
How to Make the Most of It?
Check Wunderlist first thing in the morning and a couple of times throughout the day.
Set reminders and due dates for tasks with time constraints.
Create daily tasks or notes using the inbox when on-the-go. Sort as needed later when you have time.
Use different lists for different aspects of your life, ie. grocery, financial reminders, work related, birthdays, etc…
Share certain lists with others for collaboration and project management.