Vanilla Pudding, Chocolate Pudding, and Warm Vanilla Soother ~ Share Your Story

I love hearing your stories about how you’re using the recipes you find here at Heavenly Homemakers!  Please take pictures and send them to me along with your stories so that I can share them with readers here for everyone to enjoy. :)

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

I’m sharing two stories today since the recipes are quite similar.  We’re going with a pudding theme today.  Delicious comfort food in a bowl…or a mug.

From Erika:

I love your pudding recipes! They are so delicious and so much better than boxed instant pudding. I was never much a fan of pudding in general until I made your vanilla recipe. Great stuff! I attached a photo of our desert tonight: Layered Heavenly Homemakers vanilla and chocolate puddings with crushed oreos on top. The oreos aren’t exactly wholesome, real food so just look past that part! :)

pudding story

Oreos? I don’t see any oreos.  That dessert looks beautiful though!  ;)  My boys saw this picture, and what do you think they’re asking for now?  I may just have to give in and make this. :)

Now for the warm, drinkable version of this pudding recipe, here’s a story of how Meredith served Warm Vanilla Soother to her family:

Hi Laura !! After a 2 a.m. tummy trouble tea party with a tremendously talkative two year old and waking to a dark drizzly Seattle morning, we decided that the warm vanilla soother would be the perfect start to our day !! I enlisted my favorite 3 1/2 year old to do the stirring :) I decided to try adding a bittle lit of imitation rum extract to try to make it a warm eggnog soother. We couldn’t really taste it but it was fun to experiment :) It was a hit ! Some of us really REALLY got into it.
Thanks again for another amazing recipe !!   Meredith

soother story 1
This brings back memories of my little boys climbing on a chair to help me stir.  {happy sigh}

soother story 2

I have yet to make Warm Vanilla Soother this fall.  I am now very inspired to whip it up. 
(Read: I’m totally hungry for it after seeing all the pudding and soother pictures.)

soother story 3

 She is soooo sweet! 

soother story 4

Could her grin be any bigger?  I think she likes it, Mom.

You guys have no idea how thrilled I am to get a glimpse into your lives.  Thank you for honoring me by sending your pictures and stories.  Keep ‘em coming!  Send me your stories!

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New Coupons at Amazon ~ And Changes to Amazon Mom Discounts

It’s always fun for me to check out new Amazon coupons the first of each month!  Be sure to read this page which explains more about how Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom and subscribe an save works.  When you put all these together with coupons offered, you can get some great deals delivered to your door with free shipping!

Here are some coupons and deals I found that you might be interested in:

This coupon helped me get a case of Matt’s favorite Larabars for 81¢ each!

larabar core coupon

There are many Plum Organics items you can get with this coupon.  I ordered a case of these bars for sports trips.

plum coupon

I love the convenience of having TP delivered to my door.  I ordered with at a 20% discount with subscribe and save, plus got the $1.00 off with coupon.

angel soft coupon

Making Homemade Chewy Granola Bars is best for you and saves you the most money, but if you prefer to have pre-packaged bars on hand, Cascadian Farm is a good choice.  Get 20% off with the coupon, plus another 20% off if you purchase this along with at least 4 other subscribe and save items.

cascadian farm coupon

This Kashi 25% Off Coupon can be used on quite a few different items.  You can look through them all here.

kashi coupon august


You may have seen that Amazon is changing their Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom benefits after November 11.  Before that date, you will get an additional 20% discount if you purchase 5 or more subscribe and save items.  After that date, the discount goes down to 15%.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’s important to note.  I’m finding that I want to take advantage of the 20% discount one last time for my October subscribe and save order.  So I’m stocking up now!  Our October order will be a big one!

Be sure to check our Amazon Deals page often.  We update every time we find a great deal to share with you!

Were you disappointed to see the % change?  Do you use Amazon Prime/Mom?

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Lazy Dogs ~ The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

The Make-Ahead Lunch Box

Find all of our Make-Ahead Lunch Box recipes and ideas here.

You might laugh at this recipe for several reasons.  It is a little different from those I typically share.

First of all…hot dogs?

Yes, hot dogs.  Remember how I’ve told you that I really love me a good, all beef hot dog?  It’s true.  I love sweet peppers, apples, strawberries, and asparagus better.  But a good quality beef hot dog tastes really yummy to me.  What can I say?

Second reason to laugh at this recipe:  This is not exactly the most inexpensive recipe I’ll ever suggest that you make.  I didn’t find my hot dogs on sale, and I got the best quality dogs I could find at the store that don’t contain nitrites.  So…cha-ching.  I used real cheese, not American cheese slices, which is obviously, more expensive because it’s real.

I did save by making my own whole wheat tortillas.  But other than that?  I’m not telling you how much each of these Lazy Dogs cost me.  I’ll do it better next time by waiting for a sale on hot dogs.  (If you have my Oh, For Real cookbook, you’ll find the tortilla recipe there.  It’s also in my Totally Tortillas eBook.)

So if these Lazy Dogs are a little more on the pricey side, why am I sharing this recipe with you?  Because these Lazy Dogs taste good.  Because they are still less expensive than eating out.  Because they are a fun, kid friendly (and apparently Laura friendly) food.  And because you can make them ahead of time and put them in your lunch box.

I can’t take the credit for this great idea.  When I posted my Taco Quesadilla recipe, “Busy Mom in AL” shared this:

Another of our “wraps” are some that we call Lazy Dogs!  We boil some hot dogs to plump them up, roll them up with some cheese in a tortilla and heat them up in the oven until the cheese melts!  Very good, even cold!

I loved the idea and made them for our soccer games and travel that very weekend.  Once I had the tortillas made, the boys got in an assembly line to help put the Lazy Dogs together.  Just like that, our to-go meal was ready.

Lazy Dogs

Tortillas (I use homemade whole wheat tortillas)
Cheese Slices (I use Colby jack slices)
High Qualtity Beef or Turkey Hot Dogs (I found Oscar Meyer Angus Nitrite Free Dogs)

Boil the hot dogs just long enough for them to plump.  ( <— what a weird sentence.)  Lay one slice of cheese on each tortilla, top with a hot dog, and roll it up.  Bake in a 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Make these ahead of time!  Warm them in the oven, then serve.

Lazy Dogs ~ Perfect For Your Lunch Box

We found that we preferred these warm instead of cold.  Still, if you want to pack them to-go, simply bake, wrap, and pack.  Easy and fun!

Are you a hot dog lover?  What is your favorite kind?

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Gratituesday: Practicing Our Spanish With Gladis


Our older boys have been learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone software for three, going on four years.  It has been fantastic!  Asa was really able to use what he’s learning when he went to Ecuador this summer.  We love it when these great skills can be applied to real life.

Last week, Matt took advantage of a perfect teachable moment.  We received a letter from Gladis, the little girl we sponsor from Honduras through One Child Matters.  It is written first in Spanish with help from Gladis’ teacher.  Then it is translated to English for us to enjoy.

I typically pull out the letter and start reading it to my family (in English, obviously).  But Matt started reading it, one sentence at a time, in Spanish.  The boys then got to have fun working together to translate it as he read.  They did really well!  It was a fun activity with our lunch, and hearing the phrases in Spanish made it seem as though we were getting to know Gladis more fully.

“The girl Gladis is very happy for your present, and is very happy for your prayers.”

gladis head shot

I find it amazing that I can feel so connected and love someone so dearly even though we’ve never met face to face.  Praying for someone will certainly do that for you!

I’m very thankful for One Child Matters.  Because of them, children’s needs are being met.  Most importantly, these children are learning about Jesus and finding hope.  While our family has the opportunity to bless this little girl, we are finding more and more that she is the one blessing us.  I love how God works!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?

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Always Go to the Store When You’re Hungry

shopping cart 2

Yep, it’s just like Grandma used to say:

  • Be sure to go outside with wet hair on a cold day.
  • If you can’t say something nice, be sure to say it really loudly.  While sticking out your tongue.
  • Sit very close to the TV.  It’s good for your eyes.
  • Always go to the store when you’re hungry.

Best advice ever, right?  Good ol’ Grandma.  How’d she get so smart?

Obviously, I’m a little mixed up on what I remember hearing from Grandma.  Cold day…stick out tongue…  I think what she actually said was that when I go outside on a cold day, I should always stick out my tongue to lick the fence post.  Yes, that was it.

Before I get any more carried away, let’s set the record straight:  Don’t go outside on a cold day with wet hair or stick out your tongue (fence post or not).  Never say unkind words or sit close to the TV.  There, now you can’t sue me if your kid reads this and says, “That Heavenly Homemaker Lady said I should.”

But going to the store when you’re hungry?  Now that’s a different story.  Grandma never gave me advice about this, but I’ve heard it from plenty:  “Don’t go to the store when you’re hungry.  You’ll come out with a cart full of junk food you don’t need.”

I beg to differ.  Just hear me out.

Always Go to the Store Hungry

Last week, I went to the store before dinner.  I wasn’t “passing out hungry” because I do know my limits and realize that the grocery store manager would appreciate it if I don’t faint beside the display of plums.  I had snacked, and I was just on the verge of “Mmm, food is starting to sound pretty good right about now.”  You know that feeling?

That is when you should go to the store – to the produce section.  For the love of Doritos and Dolly Madison, do not go to the cookie aisle, the bakery, the bread aisle, or the potato chip aisle when you’re hungry.  But I dare you: Go to the produce section of the store when you’re hungry.

The pineapple, the asparagus, the cucumbers, the mixed greens, the apples, the pears, the fruit you’ve never heard of before much less tasted – it will all look fantastic to you!  You will begin to crave it right then and there.  You will imagine crisp slices of cucumber, dipped in fresh ranch dressing, and you will think that you might die if you don’t have some this very night.  You will long for vegetables roasting in the oven.  You will have to fight the urge to bite into a Honey Crisp apple right there on the spot, but for goodness sake, don’t do it because we all know Grandma told us we always have to pay for food before we eat it and that is the absolute truth.

Don’t cross your eyes.  They might stay that way forever.  But do go fill your cart with fruits and vegetables when you’re hungry.  Buy them.  Don’t complain about the price.  They are cheaper than junk and our bodies crave nourishment- so don’t even get me started.  Bring fruits and vegetables home by the bag full, then start crunching.  Eat your fill.  Enjoy the goodness.

Then wait 30 minutes before you go swimming.  Grandma knows best.

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Menu Plan For the Week ~ With Caramel Popcorn

Now here’s something I haven’t made for several months:

Caramel Popcorn With No Corn Syrup!

Caramel Popcorn isn’t something I think of to make for a treat in the summertime.  Now that it’s fall, it seems perfect.  I’m making a huge batch to serve the teens tonight who are coming for Bible study.  Easy, inexpensive, filling, and fun!

Speaking of something I don’t think to make very often…I rarely think to make breakfast for lunch or dinner.  Why not?  I have no idea.  It’s easy, it’s inexpensive (usually), and it doesn’t take much time.  I decided that today for our Sunday Dinner, we would have pancakes and bacon.  No one will complain, I guarantee you that.  :)  Do you have breakfast for dinner very often?

Sunday, September 28
Raspberry oatmeal bars, apples
Quick mix pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, pears
High school huddle – Tator tot casserole, tossed salad, carrots with ranch, caramel popcorn

Monday, September 29
Cinnamon swirl bread, fried eggs, clementines
Bean and cheese burritos, pineapple mango smoothies, sweet peppers, olives
Lamb chops, cream scalloped potatoes, tossed salad, green beans

Tuesday, September 30
Pumpkin pancakes, applesauce
Hamburger patties, cheesy cauliflower cakes, steamed broccoli, raspberries
Alfredo sauce with pasta, Italian chicken, tossed salad, roasted asparagus

Wednesday, October 1
Bacon cheese muffins, cantaloupe
Popcorn chicken, ranch potato wedges, peas, carrot sticks
Homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, green beans

Thursday, October 2
Scrambled cheesy eggs, strawberry smoothies
Spicy avocado dip with chips, sweet peppers, nectarine cream cups
Grilled barbeque chicken, honey glazed carrots, tossed salad, fried okra

Friday, October 3
Giant breakfast cookies, apples
Baked potatoes in the crock pot with ham, cheese, and broccoli; olives, cucumbers
Homemade pizza, tossed salad

Saturday, October 4
Crepes with blueberries and cream cheese filling
Lamburgers, homemade fries, carrot sticks, peas

Get free fall menu planners here and here.  We’re working on designing new and different planners to use with different methods of menu planning.  Watch for those later this week!

What’s on your menu this week?

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150 Jars of Applesauce With the Victorio – You Go Girl!

Once you get a Victorio to use in making applesauce and tomato sauce, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

I got mine two years ago (after many of YOU recommended it to me!) and fell in love with it right away.  It makes the process of “saucing” so much easier than anything else I’ve tried.  I loaned my Victorio to my friend Jenny, who also fell in love with it right away.  She ordered one of her own, and the rest is history.  We are now both crazy for applesauce and tomato sauce making.

This fall, Jenny made it a goal to stock her pantry with 150 jars of applesauce.  Yes, her family is serious about their applesauce consumption.  Anytime either one of us heard of a good source for fruit, we were on it.

It was fun to hear her applesauce updates.  I was super impressed when she hit 71 jars, and she just kept going.  This week, she emailed me with this celebration picture, stating that they had done it!  They had 150 jars of applesauce preserved for this winter!


I asked if she minded me sharing the picture with you.  I think this is super inspiring, plus, those are some of my very favorite people in that picture.  And that applesauce all over their countertop?  Well, who doesn’t want to stare at that, ooing and aahing for several minutes?  It is SO PRETTY!!!

Another word about the Victorio:  Jenny’s little guy, who is barely 3 years old, loves helping make applesauce with the Victorio and is very capable, even at his young age, to turn the crank.  See this is how easy it is to use a Victorio.


Check out this next picture.  Here’s what Jenny emailed about this one:

Did you catch the sibling with their hand in the shoot that spits out the skins and seeds? (bottom left corner)  They like to eat the skins–nothing goes to waste!  And, I discovered that the Victorio was a little tougher for a lefty; he did fine switching to his right hand.


If you want to make your own applesauce or tomato sauce, I really encourage you to look into a Victorio.  The investment is soooo worth it and will save you money in the long run when you have homemade applesauce to feed your family!

Have you done much preserving this fall?  I’d love to hear what you’ve stashed away in your freezers and pantry shelves!

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A Great Deal on Rice, Recipes Using Rice, and How to Cook Brown Rice

You know why I love brown rice?

  • It is a real food
  • It is wholesome
  • It is affordable
  • It can help stretch a meal, saving lots of $$
  • It can be eaten plain as a side dish, or stirred into a casserole, or made into a pudding
  • It’s naturally gluten free – a perk for those who need to avoid gluten
  • It tastes good

So blah, blah, blah…rice.  An entire post about rice.  Life does not get much more exciting than this.

Unless there’s a sale on rice!!!  Now this is turning into an exciting post!  (Not really, Laura. We’re still talking about rice. Keep trying.)

texmati brown rice

Amazon is offering a $5.00 off coupon for a 4-pack of 32-ounce jars of RiceSelect Texmati Brown Rice.  Plus, if you have Amazon Prime/Mom and order at least 4 other subscribe and save items, you’ll save an additional 20% on this pack.

With the discounts mentioned above, I got this case of rice for just $12.77.  The rice ended up being $0.10 per ounce.  Sweet!

I told you this was exciting!


Well, while I’ve got you, I would like to share that cooking brown rice is very easy.  Here’s a full tutorial if you’re new to brown rice.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Below you’ll find many of my family’s favorite recipes that include rice.  Admit it.  This post is making you giddy.  Talk of brown rice is as exciting as talking about vacation plans and chocolate cheesecake.  Yes, it is exactly like that.

Our Favorite Rice Recipes

What are your favorite rice dishes?  Chime in by leaving a comment.  This conversation is clearly shaping up to be the most fun we’ve all had in the past three minutes.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Banana Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting ~ Share Your Story

Stories of how you are using the recipes you find here have been coming in rapidly, making my day every time I get one!  Do you have a story to share? Take a picture or two, then email me with the details of how you use your favorite Heavenly Homemaker recipe. Share your story!

Share Your Heavenly Homemakers Recipe Story

Today’s story comes from a gal who loves cream cheese as much as I do.  Check it out:


We use your recipes A LOT!  And LOVE them…especially the ones with cream cheese as an ingredient.  :)  Recently I made your Banana Cake for my littlest girl’s first birthday.  You can tell it went over well by the photo.

Thank you for sharing,

share your story 5
I declare this baby to be sweeter than the cake she’s eating.

You’ll find our Cream Cheese Frosting recipe on the same page as our Banana Cake recipe.  :)

Now your turn!  Use our recipes, take a picture or three, send them to me along with your story.  I love this!

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How the Story Ends

Ephesians 210

I am the mother of a high school senior.  Can you guess what the question of the year is from every family member, church friend, grocery store employee, neighbor, and person we just met five minutes ago?

“So Asa, what are you going to do next year?”

Mmmhmm.  It’s a fair question.  People are curious, and in fact, I appreciate that so many care enough to ask.

It would be nice if we had an answer. It would be great if there was plan in place.  But right now, the answer is a solid, “I don’t know yet.”

Not only does he not know, I mean – he does not know.  The options are pretty much without limit, which makes the decision both very exciting and occasionally very overwhelming.  The months building up to this school year as I was figuring out his senior year curriculum just about did me in.  What should we focus on?  How much should we work to improve his ACT?  How should we guide him?  What will be best for him?

All are valid questions.  But when I started losing sleep and noticing a shortage of oxygen at the very mention of Asa’s future, I recognized that I had taken this all upon myself and landed myself in a pool of worry.  I hate it when I do that.  I know better.

So I’m wrestling.  I’m walking a brand new path and learning as I (let) go.  I started to tell someone recently, “Hopefully, this time next year we’ll have a great story to tell about how God opened and closed doors to lead Asa to whatever he’s going to be doing.”  Then I stopped myself.  Hopefully?  Hopefully?!!?  Have I not experienced God at work before?  Do I not know the truth from Ephesians about God preparing works in advance for us?  How about we switch the word “hopefully” with “definitely”?  Definitely, this time next year we WILL have a great story to tell about how God opened and closed doors to lead Asa to whatever he’s going to be doing.

He will.  God will do it.  We will have a story.  Our job is to trust.  And maybe to cry a little here and there.  Hey, he’s my firstborn.  You want to try and tell me it’s easy to think of launching this fantastic kid out of the nest a year from now?  (I know.  11 months from now.  Hush.)

One particularly weepy day for me last week, God put a dear friend in my path whom I haven’t visited with in several months.  I didn’t tell her I was wrestling with this.  In fact, I didn’t use many words at all.  I didn’t need to.  Just sharing the words “senior year” was enough for her to read my mind and heart.  See, she’s done this before…four times.  Her youngest graduated last year.  She knows.  She knows.  God used her to bless me, encourage me, and to remind me of what I already know to be true:

God already has this figured out.  He will make it happen.  Our job is to listen and walk with Him.

She told me about a fun card someone had given her last year when she was going through a difficult time with her dad’s illness.  I loved what it said and decided to recreated it for you (and me).

I hate to spoil the ending...

Yes, yes, yes!  We know this.  We’ve experienced this.

The end of the story?  We already know how it’s going to turn out.  We might not know the specifics, but we know it’s going to be great, because God is in charge, not us.

Oh, God.  You’re so good.  You know what we need, and you bless us constantly with your truth.  Help us to hear it.  Help us to live it.  Help us to accept your continual gift of peace.  We trust you.


If you’d like, feel free to download the images on this page to print and use.  Click the links below:

I Hate To Spoil the Ending ~ Create a Card

I Hate to Spoil the Ending ~ Full Size Wall Print

For We Are God’s Handiwork ~ Full Size Wall Print

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