From Traveling to Camping to Potlucks, Gardening, and Saving Money – These Are My Favorites, and It’s Not Too Late

Before I start writing this, let me remind you: I’m not going Paleo. An exclusive Paleo diet doesn’t work for me, for my family of growing sons, or for my already enormous grocery budget. I wrote all the details about how I love-paleo-recipes-but-am-not-going-paleo here.

What I also shared there and on almost every post I’ve written the past few years is my love of nourishing food. My focus is not on the DO eat and DON’T eats as much as it is on this: Our bodies need nourishment!!! Let’s not make it hard. Let’s just eat good food. And please somebody hand me a strawberry. (Seriously. Last night I dreamed I got a price-match on strawberries. I was so excited that I bought a cart-full and then I woke up and there were actually no strawberries in my entire house. I was so sad, but then I made coffee and all was right in my world again. But if strawberries don’t hurry up and be in season, I don’t even know what.)


I dream of strawberries!!!!!

Today I want to remind you about the package of free resources being offered right now by PaleoDork. THEY ARE FREE and they are going away at midnight Friday. I’ve spent the last several days working my way through these books and videos – and you guys? It doesn’t even matter what you think about the Paleo diet. Maybe you eat that way or maybe you’re like me and eat those foods with a side of potato or bread. But these sources are worth having – and they are FREE so just go get them. There’s not even a catch.

If you’ve been waiting, I understand. But you can’t wait anymore because Feb. 12 is it for this offering. If you don’t get this now, you won’t be able to get it later. Want to see my favorites in this package so far?

Eat Beautiful ($0.00)

I can’t even believe we can get this for free. It has 273 pages of really great recipes. Some are more complicated than I choose to tackle – but many are amazing and perfect for my family. This is the book I’m most impressed with so far as I make my way through the list. The recipes list everything from sweets to main dishes.

eat beautiful

Family Camping Handbook ($0.00)

Katie’s books are always amazing. I’m struck not only by all the great recipes in this but even more with all the great tips and ideas she shares –  like camping with babies and toddlers, making homemade wipes, and ways to save money.

family camping

Apartment Gardening ($0.00)

This book shows that almost everyone can have some sort of garden!! I’m loving how simple this book lays out the basics of gardening. Plus, I’m really hungry for a fresh strawberry, but we’ve been through this already.

apartment gardening

$5 Meal Plan ($0.00)

This one includes 6-weeks worth of really simple recipe ideas that are very low in cost! Enough said, right? Of course I love this one.

5 meal plan

Eating Out and Traveling on the Paleo Diet ($0.00)

This resource is great for our family because we are on the go many Saturdays because of sports. We pack a lot of food to-go, and it’s great to have more sandwich-free options. My favorite part of this book is the fantastic list of 30+ foods to take to a potluck or party. What a great, healthy resource to have on hand!

eating out

I am really enjoying several of the other books too – but these rise to the top for me as I search out great tips and recipes for my fam!

There are over 50 resources in this package, all of which are free. I don’t need and won’t use about half of them, which of course doesn’t matter in the least – I simply won’t download the ones I don’t need.

Hurry to get your free package here – and have fun! Not having to pay a penny for these resources is like a big present handed to every single one of us as we work hard to put great food on the table for our families.

Remember, this offer expires midnight February 12!!!

This post contains referral links.

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Valentine Breakfast in Bed? Or Just Breakfast.


Heart-Shaped Pretzels.
I don’t have time to make these this year. Maybe you can.

Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year is messing with me. Some people are like, “Yay, Sunday! I’ll have more time to make it special.” Me? I’m like, “Oh goodie. I get to try to make something special out of our busiest day of the week, which is followed by a day away from home at basketball games, which comes at the end of a crazy busy last ten days.”

Pity party much, Laura? Eh, more like simply trying to find my wits while figuring out the logistics of making Valentine’s Day fun for my fam. Sure we could wait and celebrate on the 15th – except that we can’t because that is Justus’ 16th birthday and we’ll be all about Justus that day.

Making Valentine’s Day special is going to be a family affair this year – which works just fine because our boys are big and capable. We’ve all been in cahoots, and if you recall, we plan to make a big fried chicken dinner together that day. This is ultimately a terrible plan for a Sunday meal for us since it takes so long to prepare and we are all usually starving by the time we get home from church. But whatever. I guess we’ll come home from church, start the chicken frying, then eat our salad course while we wait. I plan to have the mashed potatoes made ahead of time. The boys can make a dessert on Friday before we go to basketball games. There, that oughta do it.

So breakfast.

There will not be time for me to stand at the griddle making our traditional heart-shaped pancakes that morning before church. Plus I’d prefer not to dirty up the kitchen at breakfast, rush out the door, then come home to make fried chicken around a bunch of breakfast mess.

I’ve decided instead to make one of our family favorites: Oatmeal Breakfast Bars – with a few chocolate chips sprinkled in (because chocolate chips turn these into something Valentine-y, right?). I can bake them Friday since I’ll be gone all day Saturday. If I have time Sunday morning, I’ll make strawberry smoothies to go with the bars.

While thinking about breakfast for Valentine’s Day, I remembered a menu planning resource I created a few years ago. This has 31 Real Food Breakfast Ideas, all of which are linked to the recipes you’ll need. Help yourself! Hopefully it will give you some breakfast inspiration if you need it (for Valentine’s Day and beyond)!

31 Days of Real Food Breakfast Ideas

I wanted to also remind you of a fantastic gift for Valentine’s Day that doesn’t involve the kids. (I mean, we love ’em – but Valentine’s Day night we anxiously shoo them off to bed so we can finally have some alone time.)

A MELT Massage For Couples package is so much better than any other gift I can think of. Most other gifts are eaten (chocolate) or die (flowers) and become only a memory. The MELT series is a forever gift. You can enjoy it on Valentine’s Day, the day after that, every other Tuesday, during times of joy, during times of stress… See? A forever gift.

I love (and need!) massages, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. Matt and I have really enjoyed the MELT Massage For Couples videos and lessons. As I’ve said before – these are very tastefully done so you don’t have to worry about anything weird. They simply teach great massage techniques to bless your relationship!

The Melt Video Series (which is usually $147) is being offered to Heavenly Homemaker’s readers for just $89 now through February 14. It’s a sweet deal and the final time MELT will be bundled at this price. Time is ticking on this deal! You can get all the details here!

Melt - facebook

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20% off Vanilla Beans (plus free shipping) for Your Homemade Vanilla Extract!

This is a TODAY only deal!


Olive Nation (my very favorite…well my only place to buy vanilla beans) is offering a 20% discount code through February 10 only. I’ve bought beans other places and none of them compare to the quality of Olive Nation’s vanilla beans. Their prices are better and their customer service is fantastic – so that sweetens the pot.

Use the code BAKE20 to knock 20% off your order. Vanilla beans always ship free! (If you include other items in your cart, you’ll have shipping fees. It’s just their tea and vanilla beans that automatically ships free.)

Why do you need vanilla beans? So you can make Vanilla Extract! We offer ours for sale here, but to save you money, we really recommend you make your own. You will love this stuff!

How to Make Vanilla Extract

Grab your vanilla beans here!

This post contains my affiliate links.

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I’m Going All out on Valentine’s Day By Staying In

A huge thank you to MELT Massage for Couples for sponsoring this post!

fried chicken

Winner, Winner, Valentine Dinner

It was actually my 14-year old son’s idea.

“Mom, you know what we need to do sometime soon? We need to put together a full fried chicken dinner. We need to serve it in different ‘courses’ like with salad and rolls first, then the chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and all that stuff, then a dessert.”

Wow. He’d been thinking about this, apparently. That and he was obviously hungry for fried chicken. (We roll chicken legs in whole wheat flour and sea salt then fry it on all sides in an electric skillet in palm shortening for about 45 minutes . It is so good.)

We decided that this was a perfect Valentine’s Day meal plan for our family. I told him we’d need to all work together to make it happen and that we could go all out to put together all the courses. Again, let me just say that I am amazed my 14-year old even came up with this.

Balancing Family Time and Couple Time on Valentine’s Day

There was a V-day a few years ago that I planned nothing and did nothing for our sons. Why? Because I assumed they were too old and too boy to care. Would you believe – that afternoon when they all realized that it was Feb. 14 they were all like, “Mom!! You didn’t make heart pancakes this morning! Where was the special red and pink lunch? Aren’t we doing anything for Valentine’s Day this year???”

How silly was I to assume they were beyond caring about my yearly attempt at lopsided heart-shaped pancakes?? My bad.

Ever since that year, I’ve made a few festive foods to make the day special for the boys. I love that they actually care. I love that this year we’re doing a little something different with our Fried Chicken Dinner and that we’ll all be working together to make it special for each other.

So what about making Valentine’s Day special for just Matt and me?

If you’ve read here long, you know that Matt and I don’t buy each other stuff on Feb. 14 and we rarely go out together to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s never been our thing. Typically Matt cooks a spaghetti dinner for us without any help from me. I love this. He loves this. It’s been good for our boys to see Dad doing something sweet and special for Mom – even with all six of us sitting around the table.

But later…

It’s fun to plan one-on-one couple time – and believe me when I say that now that our kids are older and busier and stay up later – Matt and I have to be intentional about finding and creating alone couple time.

Through the years, Matt has become my personal master masseuse. I am so spoiled by this. My shoulders would frequently be in knots if it weren’t for him taking the time to give me thorough massages. Me? I’m not as skilled as he, plus I am not even close to as strong physically. But I still give it my best shot. We both know that Valentine’s Day massages await us after our family Valentine time. (Fried chicken and massages. Does life get any better?)

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Remember when I shared about the MELT video series a few months ago? This is how we have been learning to give the massage of all massages. Matt and I really appreciate that these videos are so tastefully done. We’re learning massage skills and techniques without feeling weird. We continue to access the videos from time to time to learn more or to remind ourselves of what we previously learned. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and will keep on giving because massages? Yes please forever and always. (Fried chicken dinners are also welcome.)

For You and Your Spouse

It’s fun to hear about different couples’ Valentine’s day celebrations and traditions. Some love going out – some love staying in. Either way, ending the night (any night of the year!) with massages is a win for everyone.

If you’re interested in giving your spouse a gift that will last way beyond one romantic dinner or box of chocolates…oh my goodness MELT is where it’s at. I wanted to let you know that the Melt Video Series (which is usually $147) is being offered to Heavenly Homemaker’s readers for just $89 now through February 14. It’s a sweet deal and the final time MELT will be bundled at this price. Think your spouse would love this gift? Definitely check it out!

So in summary, we’ll be having a fantastic Valentine’s Day which includes none other than fried chicken and ultimate massages, with a few ugly heart pancakes thrown in for good measure. Staying in to enjoy special plans is my very favorite way to celebrate a holiday.

How about you?


Melt - facebook

Learn more about the MELT Couple’s Massage sale here. Best date night ever!

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How Much Coconut Oil Do You Use?

How much coconut oil would you say you go through in a month’s time? In three months? In a year?

Our family goes through about a quart every 2-3 weeks. We use it for all kinds of cooking – stirring it into everything from muffins to popcorn. We loved the stuff! It’s great for more than just baking and cooking. It’s fabulous to apply to the skin or to use as a carrier for essential oils. My doctor recently recommended that I eat a teaspoon a day – straight coconut oil on a spoon to help with my overall health. It sounds weird, but when I eat the good brands, it actually tastes like candy to me. (Maybe I’m the weird one??)

If you are like our family and go through a significant amount of coconut oil, you definitely want to check out this gallon bucket coconut oil deal at Tropical Traditions this weekend!

tropical traditions oil

They have their gallon-sized bucket of Gold Label Coconut Oil marked 50% off through Sunday, January 31. PLUS they are offering free shipping! It’s a sweet deal! If you don’t think you’d use this up quickly enough, I recommend splitting it with a friend so you can still enjoy the deal!

You’ll find this 50% off bucket on this page, but you’ll have to scroll down to find it (under all the great information about the benefits of coconut oil).

How long does coconut oil last before going bad?

Typically there is an expiration date on coconut oil which is about 1.5 years from the time you purchase it. Coconut oil rarely goes bad though, so it can still be good and useful for several years past its expiration date. If you’re questioning if you could use up a gallon before it goes bad, I can almost guarantee that you can. I’ve never once had coconut oil go bad (especially TT brand).

1/2 Price Gallon Bucket of Coconut Oil

You’ll want to grab your 1/2 price coconut oil bucket before the sale ends on Sunday, January 31. Use the code 11162 at checkout for free shipping to apply. Free shipping ends Monday, February 1.

The links in this post are my referral links.

Anybody else snack on coconut oil??

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Lilla Rose Sale – Tuesday and Wednesday

Lilla Rose Jan Sale Paula

It’s a Lilla Rose Valentine’s Sale!

10% Off Both Early-Release Flexis-of-the-Month!
10% Off Both Early-Release Bobbies-of-the-Month!
PLUS: FREE* Vintage Heart You-Pin set on orders over $50!
*While supplies last. Free item will be added to last page of checkout of qualifying orders.

Check it out here!

Sale ends Wednesday, January 27th at midnight PST

(How sweet are these??)


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Christian Prints I Love for just $3.00!

I have been so excited to show you these instant downloads from Stephanie at Loved Unrationed!

They are beautiful, inspirational, encouraging, and I love them! Stephanie offers them in her Etsy shop as instant downloads for just $5. Annnnd, she’s giving Heavenly Homemakers readers an additional 40% off!! (That bumps each print down to just $3 each, which makes it hard not to put every single one of them in my cart.)

The download is inexpensive, then we can grab a simple frame to complete it. We all need truth, scripture, and encouragement in our lives. How fun that these are gorgeous too!

Here are some of my favorites:

christian print1

christian print2
christian print5

christian print8

christian print7
This one is my favorite, favorite:

christian print6

I dare you to look through her shop and not find at least 10 prints that you love. What a fantastic business!

Use the code HH40OFF for a 40% discount on your order.

You’ll find the Love Unrationed Shop Here.

Love Unrationed is one of our January sponsors here at Heavenly Homemakers. A huge thank you to Stephanie for the work she’s done and the wonderful discount she’s offering.

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15 Delicious Ways to Use Chocolate Chips and an Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Coupon!

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

It’s always fun this time of year to find discounts on my favorite Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips! Companies avoid shipping them out during the summer months because they arrive in the mail messy and melty. Therefore the price always goes up when it’s warm. But winter? Well, this is one reason to like winter. If we can’t enjoy warmth and sunshine, at least we can enjoy chocolate. (One must choose to seek joy in all circumstances.)

Today I found that Amazon is offering a 15% off coupon, plus their price just went down. (I still got a good deal with the coupon this morning, but the price has been docked even more since then! Enjoy it on my behalf, will you?)

Why the Enjoy Life brand? Because they are soy free. (And also dairy and nut free if that is a need for you.) They taste just as yummy as any other brand, and we have the benefit of avoiding soy!

Right now (but who knows how long this price and coupon will last??) you can get a 6-pack of the chocolate chips for as low as $18.69 with the coupon. That makes each package just $3.12 – and amazing price for these gems! You’ll see a bright green 15% off button right above the price. Click it and they’ll take the discount off at check-out.

enjoy life six pack

Want some chocolate chip recipes?

15 Recipes That Use Chocolate Chips

Malachi has been helping in the kitchen more lately, thanks to the Kids Cook Real Food course. At this point, he’s mostly motivated by dessert – as in, he would prefer not to “waste time” making boring ol’ scrambled eggs or ranch dip. I’m going to need him to get over that very soon, but to keep it light today I asked, “What do you want to make?” His answer? “FUDGE.”

Okay then.

I had him make this Peanut Butter Honey Fudge recipe, but with almond butter instead of peanut butter. It doesn’t get any easier than this 3-ingredient recipe. Though we’ve decided that the result tastes more like a Tootsie Roll than fudge. Still awesome.

malachi fudge 1

Our other favorite recipes that include chocolate chips are:

Giant Breakfast Cookies


Chewy Granola Bars

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Coconut Flour Muffins

Baked Oatmeal Cups

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


(…which can also be made into Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Peanut Butter or Caramel Truffles

Delicious Homemade Truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies




(No Flour) Monster Cookie Bars

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

Easy Peanut Butter Snack Bars

peanut butter snack bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

There. I gave you 14 excuses to eat chocolate chips. Plus a lovely discount on my favorite brand of chocolate chips. Plus a lot of pictures to make you want chocolate right this minute. You’re welcome or I’m sorry – take your pick.

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

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Save Your Hands This Winter With a FREE BeeSilk Lotion Stick (Just Pay Shipping, Two Days Only)

Renee at MadeOn knows how much I love her BeeSilk products. She knows that many of you love her BeeSilk products. So she’s giving all of us a free BeeSilk product. No catch. No questions asked.

Free Bee Silk Stick!

If you have trouble with dry skin in the winter (or all year, like I do), and you’ve tried every other lotion on the planet (like I did) and you’re frustrated because nothing is helping – I think you’ll find BeeSilk Hard Lotion to be the answer (like I have found). Nothing works for me to avoid dry, cracked, bleeding hands like BeeSilk. It truly is an amazing product, and it is wonderfully safe for your skin (only three ingredients!).

I’m not only gushing to you. Ask my husband what my hands used to look like all winter and how much I still go on and on to him about the marvels of BeeSilk. I stay stocked up on the Family Size Hard Lotion Bar, and keep a BeeSilk Stick in my purse. At all times. 

Renee is super sweet to give us all this freebie!

Click on this special link she set up, then put the free BeeSilk Stick in your cart (worth $7.65). Shipping should cost less than $5 – but I’m adding a few other items to my cart to make the shipping cost a little more worth it. Our whole family uses BeeSilk, plus I often share BeeSilk Pocket-Sized bars with others. So if I work it right, I’ll end up with enough in my cart to get free shipping with my free BeeSilk Stick. That makes this deal even better.

I’d love to hear from those who use MadeOn products. Do you love them like I do?

This free offer is only good today and tomorrow (January 8-9). Grab your free BeeSilk Stick!

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That One Time I Handed Out Knives to All My Kids


It is a real thing that once your kids know how to cook, you can holler at them at meal prep time and say, “Hey, I need you to go cook dinner for us tonight please.” Then you can go about your business of running other household tasks while your children efficiently cook a meal.

It’s one of the coolest things ever, and I’m not just talking about handing them boxes of mac-and-cheese.

As the mom of four sons currently ages 11, almost 14, almost 16, and 18 – all of whom can cook at various skill levels – I can’t say enough about the importance of teaching your kids to cook. Is it easier to just go into the kitchen and do it yourself? When the kids are younger, absolutely. There were many times I banned all my little boys from the room so I could just get it done. But allow me to remind you about sentence number one up there. Our kids need to know how to cook! It is worth taking the effort to teach them to cook when they are young so that when they are older they can wait on you hand and foot (and also feed themselves well and all that).


Boy #2 always walked around on the counter-top (close to the stove) while cooking.
He has grown out of this habit. We are grateful.

It’s been fun to revisit some pictures of my little cooking angels from back in the day. For some teenage reason, they don’t like me to take pictures of them cooking now. I mean, I think they’re still cute when they’re slicing and scrambling, but they usually say something about “hair not fixed” and “really, Mom?” so I put the camera away and let them go about their boiling and chopping. But cooking with these little guys has led to being cooked for by big guys, so I’ll just treasure it in my heart and leave my camera in my office.




My children with knives…





Walking on the counter-top by the stove aside, let’s talk about kitchen safety. Knives are almost always involved in cooking. There are so many questions about this! At what age is it safe to give kids a knife? What is the best way to teach them to cut safely? What should they be allowed to cut?

At this point in the mind of a parent, we get too scared to risk it and banish the kids from the kitchen (to play in the street). It seems safer.

Don’t give way to fear, and don’t hide the knives! You simply need to teach your kids how to use a knife safely. Just released today, here’s a fantastic free tool for us!

kids cook real food 1

Katie from Kitchen Stewardship put together a FREE Knife Skills Training for Kids Video Series. In fact, she has put together an entire, incredible eCourse on teaching kids to cook because she is nothing short of amazing. Through January 18, Katie is kicking off her eCourse by offering this Knife Skills Training course for FREE!

Malachi (my 11-year old) and I just signed up and watched Video #1 from start to finish. It is super! I love how Katie put catchy names to the different knife safety rules and methods to help kids remember the safe way to hold and use knives. (My favs are Top Chop and Up and Over Soldier – you have to watch the video to know what these are and to see how her methods make so much sense!) She created free downloadable flashcards to use along with the lesson too.

Sign up for the FREE Knife Skills Training for Kids Video Series here. It is so good!

This is how we work ourselves out of a job, help our kids appreciate the hard work it takes to prepare a meal, and keep all their fingers intact. Join me?

What have been your experiences with your kids in the kitchen?

This post contains affiliate links.

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