Simple White Hot Chocolate

Pardon the pun, but we are going to fudge just a little bit on this Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe.

white hot chocolate22

On second thought, do not pardon the pun. Puns are great. Puns make life more fun. Embrace the pun. Long live the pun.

puma pants

But for real.

So back to fudging on the Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe. We fudge on this {chocolate} recipe because it contains actual sugar. I hereby declare that at Christmas, we can let our hair down just a little bit {insert rabbit puns here} and enjoy a sweet treat or two. Should we overindulge? I certainly don’t recommend it. I actually only suggest indulging on the treats that are your favorites and really, really, really appeal to you {insert banana puns here}.

white hot chocolate12

white hot chocolate34

white hot chocolate44

If you’re a white chocolate fan, this one is for you. And no doubt, if you are a fan of easy recipes (who isn’t?), you will definitely love this delicious holiday drink!

Simple White Hot Chocolate

Simple White Hot Chocolate
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat milk and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook and stir until chocolate is melted (do not boil!).
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Serve right away!

*I get my White Chocolate Chips from Olive Nation. They offer some with a little bit cleaner ingredients and I love their quality. (Yes, there’s still sugar in these. It’s Christmas. Enjoy the treat. Just don’t drink the entire pot.)

By the way, Olive Nation loves Heavenly Homemakers readers so much that they give us a 20% discount on our orders! Shipping is free when your order is $50 or more. Use the code home for the discount!

For a fun twist, add a teaspoon of Peppermint Extract to this Simple White Hot Chocolate recipe!

Simple White Hot Choclate

Want more fun holiday drinks?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

My Favorite Things Giveaway – Christmas 2016

It’s the 3rd annual Favorite Things Christmas Giveaway! I’m sharing one here (wait till you see!), plus you’ll want to click over to the other 14 wonderful bloggers to enter their giveaways too!

1. Thriving Home // 2. Happy Home Fairy // 3. Nourishing Joy // 4. Intoxicated on Life // 5. Chaos to Peace // 6. Mommy Hates Cooking // 7. The Nourishing Home // 8.Young Wifes Guide // 9. Martha Martha // 10. Heavenly Homemakers // 11. The Realistic Mama // 12. Keeper of the Home // 13. Kitchen Stewardship // 14. Gwen’s Nest // 15. Make Healthy Easy

favorite-christmas-things-collage-2016

What can you win from my giveaway this year? Some of my forever favorites, of course!

This year’s giveaway here at Heavenly Homemakers includes:

10 Vanilla Beans from Olive Nation
MadeOn Hard Lotion – 3 Pack Skin Care
Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip
Tropical Traditions – Coconut Oil and Palm Shortening Bucket!
Simple Meals – year long subscription

favorite-things-2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will end Sunday, December 11 at midnight. I’ll draw a random winner Monday morning the 12th!

Click on the links below to learn more about the bloggers!

Thriving Homethriving-home-logo-FINAL-WEB

At Thriving Home, Polly and Rachel strive to encourage moms to thrive in every area of home life. They try to keep it real when it comes to sharing about healthy recipes, raising little people, growing in their faith, freezer cooking and various other topics that motherhood and life may bring their way

mhclogoMommy Hates Cooking

Mommy Hates Cooking is a national cooking and lifestyle website that encourages families to take back the dinner table. Through her easy-to-prepare (yet looks like you spent all day in the kitchen) meals and her knack for breaking down meal planning, Kristy has become the busy-mom’s resource for the modern family.

chaos2peace_logo-170x170Chaos to Peace

Jennifer and her family live in the South. She and her husband, Fred, have three boys ages 13, 10, and 7, and one unruly dog named Dash. Chaos2Peace is a blog designed to bring peace in the midst chaos by providing organizational tips, menu planning, simple recipes, and a whole lot of laughter. Join us on the blog today as we do life together, one step at a time

logoHeavenly Homemakers

Laura Coppinger and her husband have four sons ages 11-19. HeavenlyHomemakers.com is dedicated to inspiring women daily with healthy (and easy!) recipes, homemaking tips, spiritual encouragement, and good ol’ clean fun.

iol_header_design_no_taglineIntoxicated on Life

Intoxicated on Life is a blog about raising strong families – body, mind, and soul. We believe, with the right education, busy moms can be equipped to make small changes one step at a time, transforming the life and health of her family. Join us on a journey as we raise holistically healthy children: nurturing their bodies, cultivating their minds, and inspiring their souls!

tapinfluence-logoMake Healthy Easy

Jenna Braddock is a registered dietitian nutritionist, football coach’s wife, mom of boys, and entrepreneur. At Make Healthy Easy she shares real life strategies for better health and doable and delicious recipes. As a MHE reader you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing your daily health struggles are normal. You’ll also get a little dose of family and football through the eyes of our Friday Night Lights life.

hhf-logoHappy Home Fairy

Happy Home Fairy is a resource of fun ideas, simple recipes, free printables, holiday traditions, and encouragement to help moms build happy homes

kitchen-stewardship-header-for-newsletterKitchen Stewardship

Katie Kimball has shared her journey to real food and natural living for almost 8 years at Kitchen Stewardship, a blog that encourages moms to keep their families healthy without going crazy.

final-logo-cmykYoung Wife’s Guide

Young Wife’s Guide exists to encourage and equip Christian homemakers to form Gospel-Centered Homes. Jami Balmet shares about her own struggles with running and managing a home and hopes to provide Biblical resources for the struggling homemaker.

gn_square_logoGwen’s Nest

Visit Gwen’s Nest and discover simple home remedies, in depth holistic health articles, healthy recipes, & Gwen’s health & weight loss discoveries. Come meet Gwen, and enjoy the funny, holistic, and friendly-efficient way of life in her nest!

koth_logo_final_2016-03Keeper of the Home

Keeper of the Home is a resource and community for women and families in all seasons of life who are striving to be healthy – body, mind, and soul. It covers a wide range of topics from healthy recipes, cleaning practices and self-care. Our inspiration begins with our faith. Stewardship inspires the way that we approach our homemaking. In fact, it’s the foundation of what you’ll find when you pull up a chair, grab a mug of something delicious, and come share this journey with us!

The Nourishing Hometnh-logo

The Nourishing Home provides family-friendly, gluten-free, whole food recipes; free weekly whole food meal plans; helpful cooking tips and techniques; and lots of encouragement to help you in your journey to live a more nourished life.

logo-headerMartha, Martha

Peace and Productivity coexist at Martha, Martha, a blog for busy women who, like biblical Martha, often get distracted by life’s demands and lose sight of Jesus! Devotional thoughts, productivity planning, simple recipes, and more will help you stay focused on the “one thing {that} is needed”

The Realistic Mamatrmcoloredwatermark

The Realistic Mama is all about family, how to spend more time with your family, activities you can do with your kids, how to create an online business that benefits your family, and more! You’ll find everything from saving money, parenting tips, kids activities, easy recipes, and DIY to online entrepreneur ideas, and more! Our tribe of moms and family-oriented entrepreneurs is one-of-a-kind. The connection, transparency, and trust are just a few of our favorite things about our community!

logo-with-avatar

Nourishing Joy

Nourishing Joy is dedicated to real food and natural living. We’re on a mission to equip and inspire busy parents with the tools to make intentional, thoughtful decisions easy. Or at least easier.

Answering Your Vanilla Bean Questions

Since I shared about the 20% Vanilla Bean discount going on right now (today’s the last day, by the way!), I’ve received several questions I wanted to address while the discount code is still valid.

vanilla_beans

1. Have the prices of vanilla beans gone up??

Unfortunately, yes. The owner of Olive Nation let me know several months ago that the price of beans was really skyrocketing. He still has the lowest prices for the best quality in my experience and research, but prices are definitely higher than they used to be – for everyone.

2. Does it actually save money to make homemade vanilla extract?

I had done the math several years ago when vanilla bean prices were lower and found that it did save money to make this extract at home. One of my readers was kind enough to do the math yesterday with current vanilla bean prices. Her findings are that it doesn’t actually save money to make it yourself right now.

3. So why make homemade vanilla?

Here’s where I land. First, I take advantage of a 20% off sale when Olive Nation offers it because that takes a nice chunk off the price. (They also always offer free shipping on their vanilla beans, no matter the size of your order.)

Next, I know that the vanilla I make is pure and rich – not watered down like most Vanilla Extracts on the market. Therefore, I know that I can easily use half the amount of vanilla called for in a recipe without compromising taste even a little bit. That right there makes the homemade vanilla go twice as far, which saves money overall.

Last, if the price of vanilla beans is going up everywhere, that means the price of commercial vanilla extract is also going to rise. I think in the long run, homemade vanilla is still going to save us money. And since the flavor is so incredibly amazing, I can no longer go back and use anything but homemade. I love it way too much!

I shared all the details here about how to make Homemade Vanilla Extract. This makes great Christmas gifts and tastes incredible. (You’ll also be surprised how easy it is!)

Last day for the discount

If you would like to try making homemade vanilla, be sure to take advantage of the discount Olive Nation is offering, which expires the end of the day today, June 15. Use the code SAVE20 on any order over $25 – and remember you’ll get free shipping as long as you don’t have anything but vanilla beans in your cart.

Have you made homemade vanilla before? Do you love it?

This posts contains my affiliate links.

Favorite Summer Things Giveaway – 2016

It’s fun to gather up many of my favorite things and put them all together into one big giveaway. That’s why I’m joining this fun group of bloggers again this year. Enter my giveaway – enter them all! You could win some pretty incredible packages and get to know some great bloggers too. Here’s what the giveaways all look like this year:

Favorite Summer Things

Sweet huh?

If you’re new here, welcome!

If you’ve been hanging out here for a while now, I’m glad you’re here too. :) :) Everyone is invited to join us for these fun features:

You’ll get fun freebies with each of those, plus I’ll keep sending encouragement, deals, and freebies your way.

Here’s what I’m giving away this year to kick off the summer

Take note: Each of these companies were kind enough to sponsor this giveaway!

  • A “Night Owl” Flexi-Clip from Lilla Rose, valued at $14.00, to keep your hair pulled up off your neck
  • A Half-Tee Tank from Deborah and Co., valued at $17.99, perfect to wear under sun dresses in the summertime
  • 1/2 pound of Vanilla Beans from Olive Nation, valued at $39.95, so you can get a batch of Homemade Vanilla started for Christmas gifts
  • Bug Block Stick and BeeSilk Stick from MadeOn, valued at $16.40, to keep the bugs away and your skin soft
  • Herbal Salve from Apothacary Kids, valued at $11.95, for bumps and scrapes since we’re all outside more during the summer
  • A Quart of Coconut Oil and a Gallon of Palm Shortening from Tropical Traditions, valued at $64.49, perfect for cooking –  plus rub on some coconut oil if you get a sunburn

Total value? Almost $165!!

My giveaway

My Favorite Things Summer Giveaway

Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other bloggers’ giveaways!

1. Thriving Home // 2. Tried and Tasty // 3. Intoxicated on Life // 4. Nourishing Joy // 5. Happy Home Fairy // 6. The Nourishing Home // 7. Heavenly Homemakers // 8. Keeper of the Home // 9. Living the Nourished Life // 10. The Realistic Mama // 11. Chaos2Peace // 12. Martha Martha // 13. Young Wife’s Guide

thriving-home-logo-FINAL-WEB copyThriving Home

Thriving Home is a food and lifestyle blog where Polly and Rachel strive to encourage moms to thrive in every area of home life. They try to keep it real when it comes to sharing about healthy recipes, raising little people, growing in their faith, freezer cooking and various other topics that motherhood and life may bring their way.

chaos2peace_logoChaos2Peace

Jennifer and her family live in the South. She and her husband, Fred, have three boys ages 12, 9, and 6, and one unruly dog named Dash. Chaos2Peace is a blog designed to bring peace in the midst chaos by providing organizational tips, menu planning, simple recipes, and a whole lot of laughter. Join us on the blog today as we do life together, one step at a time.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 12.56.28 PMHappy Home Fairy

Julie Brasington is the wife of a South Florida Worship Pastor, mom of 2 busy boys, preschool teacher, and lover of {{dark}} chocolate chips. She is also the creator and author of Happy Home Fairy, a popular blog focusing on encouraging and equipping moms to choose joy on the parenting journey. She shares easy craft ideas, FREE printables, simple recipes, corny jokes, holiday fun, thoughts on raising kids, and honest, heartfelt messages to uplift the weary mama.

heavenly homemaker logoHeavenly Homemakers

Laura Coppinger and her husband have four sons ages 11-18. HeavenlyHomemakers.com is dedicated to inspiring women daily with healthy (and easy!) recipes, homemaking tips, spiritual encouragement, and good ol’ clean fun.

TNH-Grab-button-150x150The Nourishing Home

The Nourishing Home provides family-friendly gluten-free recipes, free weekly whole food meal plans, helpful cooking tips & techniques, and lots of encouragement to help you in your journey to live a more nourished life.

tnt-square-logo1_1024

Tried and Tasty

Tried and Tasty is a recipe website where fun, conversational writing is paired with top notch food photography. Join Yvonne as she warmly welcomes you into her kitchen and shows you how to wow your tastebuds!

header march 2015The Nourished Life

The Nourished Life is all about approaching health and wellness from a place of balance. Getting healthy should not be another source of stress in your life! We tackle everything from metabolism to body image to emotional wellness to DIY beauty. If you’re ready to break up with stress and body hate, and embrace a healthier approach to, well, being healthy, then our community might be the perfect fit for you.

TRMlogoFINALThe Realistic Mama

The Realistic Mama is a go-to parenting blog that covers a little of everything but always focusing on spending more quality time with your kids. You’ll find parenting encouragement and kids activities but you’ll also find things like easy recipes and even entrepreneurial tips because through these you will then have more time for your family.

KOTH-logo (1)Keeper of the Home

Keeper of the Home is a resource for women and families who are striving to be healthy – body, mind, and soul. It covers a wide range of topics from healthy recipes, cleaning practices and self-care. Keeper of the Home is a community of women in all seasons of life. Our inspiration begins with our faith. Stewardship inspires the way that we approach our homemaking. In fact, it’s the foundation of what you’ll find when you pull up a chair, grab a mug of something delicious, and come share this journey with us

logo with avatar 400Nourishing Joy

Nourishing Joy is dedicated to real food and natural living. We’re on a mission to equip and inspire parents like you with the tools to make intentional, thoughtful decisions that work for YOUR family easy. Or at least easier.

image1Martha, Martha

Martha, Martha is for busy women looking to live a more productive and peaceful life based on faith in Jesus. Household tips, life strategies, easy recipes and devotions come together as we focus on Jesus’ words to Martha “only one thing is needed.”

Mailchimp Header - YWGYoung Wife’s Guide

Jami Balmet has a heart for encouraging women in their roles as homemakers and that what we do every single day matters. She blogs about this passion at Young Wife’s Guide with practical tools, tips, and inspiration for Biblical Homemaking and Christian Living. Come join our community for encouragement and to chat with like-minded women in all seasons and stages of life.

IOL_Header_Design_no_taglineIntoxicated on Life

Intoxicated on Life is a site dedicated to bringing readers quality resources on raising strong families – body, mind, and soul!

 

These giveaways are open through Monday, May 30 at 12:00am CST. Watch for an email letting you know who the winner is! The winner will have one week to reply to the email and receive her prizes. Some of these links are my affiliate links. 

Have fun! Hope you win!

Simple {Practical} Homemade Gift Ideas for Teachers, Co-Workers, Ministry Staff, Neighbors, and Friends (For Less Than $2 Each)

Simple and practical homemade gifts…the only kind I can handle!

lavender tea bags11

My mom was a super crafter. She had entire “craft room” with big shelves of totes filled with fabric, plus two of every craft supply found at Hobby Lobby. I loved looking through all her supplies, and I loved admiring all the detailed crafts she was making for people. She made everything from hand-pieced quilts to elaborate counted cross-stitch. Everything she made was gorgeous.

You’d think I would have the same crafty genes as my talented mother. You’d think. 

Laura only got the cooking genes. These are also good genes to have, but they don’t have the patience or the skill to turn out beautiful crafts. I’ve come to terms with it. I will forever admire the handiwork of others while I set out plates of homemade muffins. It’s a win-win.

Still. Every single Thanksgiving I get an intense hankering to craft something. I absolutely know that this hankering comes from the tradition ingrained in me from all my Thanksgivings with my mom when I was younger. We’d make it through the holiday feast, then she’d pull out the latest craft she had in mind for us to make for Christmas. She did all the tedious parts. I did all the no-brainer parts. (Laura: Place pine-cones in a basket. Mom: Make the pine-cone basket look like it came out of a magazine.)

Once again, this year I found myself needing to make crafts during Thanksgiving break. I even thought ahead and ordered supplies. The ideas I’m about to share truly are “if I can do it, anyone can” crafts. They are so easy, I actually had fun and didn’t want to scream, pout, or throw something while I was making them. (I might have crafting-anger issues. It stems from trying to follow counted cross-stitch patterns. I can’t talk about it.)

So my friends, here are three of the easiest crafts on the planet. As an added bonus, these crafts make great gifts, they all cost less than $2, and they are all practical and fun. Sorry. I just can’t not be practical. (I mean fun. I can’t not be fun. I am always so much fun. Except for when I’m following a counted cross-stitch pattern. Please, let’s not talk about it.)

3 Simple and Practical Homemade Gifts

3 Easy Homemade Gifts for $1.75 or Less

First I made the most adorable Lavender Oatmeal Bath Tea Bags (adapted from The Humbled Homemaker). This craft consists of mixing three simple ingredients, funneling the mixture into tea bags, ironing the tea bags closed, and then tying a ribbon around a few bags for a gift.

Do not the let ironing step throw you off!! This is actually the step I loved the most, and I hate ironing. It’s just that ironing the tea bag closed made me feel like an actual crafter. Plus it was fun to see that the little flap on the tea bag sealed when ironed for 8 seconds. I am now a professional tea bag ironer! I want to make more of these just so I can iron tea bags.

Lavender Oatmeal Bath

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup Lavender
1/2 cup Epsom salts (purchased at Wal-Mart)

Pulse ingredients together in a blender until they are well combined and in small pieces. Use a funnel to transfer 1- 1 1/2 Tablespoon mixture to small tea bags. Fold down tea-bag flap and press to seal with a hot iron (like a boss). Tie a few tea bags together along with the free printable gift tag below.

This recipe makes about 20 Lavender Oatmeal Bath Bags, which is enough for 5 groups of 4 tea bags. I realize you could have done the math on that yourself, but it is holiday time. We all have enough to think about right now. Today I shall make crafts and do short division. I am on fire!

Make Lavender Oatmeal Bath Gift Packs for Less Than $1.00 Per Gift

Download FREE Lavender Oatmeal Bath Tags Here.

lavender gift tags

After my bath pouches were complete, I spent about five minutes pretending that putting cranberries and oranges into cellophane bags is actually a craft. The “star anise” in this recipe is optional (for those who think anise smells like a jelly bean gone wrong). But if you ask me, the anise stars triple the cuteness value of these pouches.

Christmas Potpourri Pouch

1/2 cup cranberries
1 small orange
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tablespoon Mulling Spice
2 Tablespoons Star Anise

Place all ingredients in a bag. (I used these Clear Cellophane Bags.) Tie up with a ribbon and a free printable gift tag below.

Make a Christmas Potpourri Pouch for $1.75 Per Gift
Download FREE 
Christmas Potpourri Pouch Gift Tags Here.

Christmas Potpourri Gift Tags

Finally, I found a way to iron more tea bags (be very happy for me). I had a lovely pack of Chai Tea from Olive Nation. I researched how to make the awesome Chai Tea Drink people rave about, then put together some Chai Tea Kits. Total cost per gift set: 98¢. Getting to once again experience the ironing of the tea bags: Priceless.

Chai Tea Kit

Funnel 1 -1 1/2 Tablespoons Chai Tea into a tea bag. Iron flap down to seal(!!!). Place a few prepared tea bags along with 3-4 Cinnamon Sticks into a small gift bag. Tie with a ribbon and a free printable gift tag below.

Make Chai Tea Gift Kits for Less Than $1.00

Download FREE Chai Tea Kit Gift Tags Here.
Chai Tea Kit Gift Tags

Supplies List for these Gifts

I had plenty of ribbon on hand, as well as a big bag of Epsom Salt from Walmart. I got most of the remaining (really cool) supplies for these crafts through Amazon or Olive Nation.

From Amazon:

From Olive Nation:

As an extra special treat, Olive Nation is giving us all 10% off any size order! Use the code CINNAMONGIFTS for the discount. Plus, if your order reaches $50, you’ll receive free shipping. AND!!! Your order of $50 or more entitles you to a free gift at check-out!! You can choose from any that they offer, but you should know that for this special promotion, they put together an extra big package of free cinnamon sticks – just for us! (It’s a pack of 10!) For all the fun gift-making purposes mentioned in this post, I’d pick that freebie if I were you.

I shall now continue to find more excuses to iron tea bags. I got Oolong Orange Blossom Tea in my Olive Nation order last week, so I’ll probably need to play with that. Beyond tea and tea bags, I made homemade Apple Cider in the Crock Pot last week with my cinnamon sticks and will be sharing the recipe soon. This time of year smells so good!!!

Are you making gifts this year? Are you a crafter?

This post contains affiliate links.

20% Off Vanilla Beans and Extracts at Olive Nation!

If you’re wanting to make Homemade Vanilla Extract for Christmas gifts – this is the perfect time to start a batch. It takes 4-6 months for the extract to “brew” so June is vanilla month at our house. :)

Through Monday, June 15 Olive Nation is offering 20% off all of their extracts and flavorings, which includes their vanilla beans! This is my favorite vanilla bean source, and 20% off makes their already reasonable prices even better (obviously). Plus, they always offer free shipping on vanilla beans. Bonus!

You’ll need 1/2-3/4 pound of vanilla beans to make one gallon of vanilla. Here are the details on how to make vanilla extract. If you haven’t tried this before – go for it. It’s so delicious and fun!

How To Make Vanilla Extract

This 20% off deal is also good for all of Olive Nation’s extracts. They have so many different kinds – it’s amazing and inspiring!

Use the code EXT20 for the discount at check-out. Free shipping only applies to vanilla beans.

This post contains affiliate links.

The Most Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie (with a Dairy Free Option)

Be sure to check out these ten great ideas for how to use fresh cinnamon sticks. And now, idea number 11 for how to use fresh cinnamon sticks. Trust me that when I say Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie – I really do mean amazing. Wowza.

Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie 2

When I came across a recipe similar to this, it claimed that the smoothie tasted just like a fresh cinnamon roll. Hmmm, really? Because have you ever had a fresh cinnamon roll?? I mean, nothing is quite the same as a fresh, warm cinnamon roll straight from the oven dripping with gooey… STOP! That’s just not nice to tease people with talk about freshly baked rolls of cinnomony-ness. Not nice at all.

Let’s very quickly focus on the negatives of freshly baked cinnamon rolls so that we can all stop craving them.

  1. They take forever to make. Hours and hours. A very long time.
  2. Making homemade cinnamon rolls creates many, many dirty dishes – not to mention a crusty counter-top.
  3. Cinnamon rolls can be addicting.
  4. Cinnamon rolls are full of empty calories and sugar. Just think of the stomach ache to follow the indulgence. Misery, it is.

Bleh. Ick. Nothankyou. We absolutely do not want a freshly baked cinnamon roll not even a little bit, no way, nuh-uh.

Clearly, I should have gone into psychology because this tactic is working very, very well to make us believe that fresh, hot cinnamon rolls are disgusting.

(Just now I had to look up how to spell psychology so I guess I’ll stick with writing and recipe creations.)

Now how about this Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie? Here are all the positives and the wonderful reasons we should make these instead of cinnamon rolls:

  1. This smoothie can be made in about two short minutes.
  2. Making this smoothie only dirties a blender and a glass. Fine – and a straw if you’re feeling fancy.
  3. Instead of making you say “okay, but I’ll just eat one more” (three times) like fresh hot cinnamon rolls can do – this smoothie is quite satisfying with one delicious glassful.
  4. Every part of this smoothie offers nourishment.

I’m sure none of us want a fresh hot cinnamon roll anymore. I’ve talked us all out of it. Cravings be gone! Right? Right. Absolutely.

Either way, just go make this simple – no sugar added, by the way – Cinnamon Smoothie. It’s super delicious and you really can make it in about two minutes.

Amazing Cinnamon SmoothieYum

The Most Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie (with a Dairy Free Option)
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole milk or coconut milk
  • 2 ripe, frozen bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients until smooth.
  2. Serve right away.

(I’m pretty sure homemade cinnamon roll instructions are just a tad more lengthy. Just sayin’.)

Amazing Cinnamon Smoothie

If you’re still wanting a homemade cinnamon roll (a real one, like the kind that comes out of a pan in the oven) – I recommend this Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll recipe. Not that you are. After all, you’re about to get up and make this smoothie.

Click over to this post to learn more about picking up some free cinnamon sticks to use in this recipe and others. You’ll also learn how to make Cinnamon Extract, Cinnamon Infused Sugar, Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup and much more. :)

Now, raise your hand if you definitely do not want a cinnamon roll. 

Favorite Things for Summer Giveaway

favorite summer things 2

Want to know my favorite thing about summer? Well let me think…SUNSHINE!!! (You know I love it when I interrupt myself to blurt out my answer.)

I love sunshine coming in through my windows. I love sunshine beaming down on my face. I love warming up in the sunshine. And I love laying in the sunshine, soaking up Vitamin D. (Responsibly, of course. Don’t go all “harmful UV rays” on me. God made the sun, the sun is good, we need Vitamin D from the sun, amen and amen. I don’t overdo it, but still, sunshine is my very favorite thing about summertime.)

Now, women shall not live on sunshine alone. (I mean, we also need butter. Duh.)

In celebration of summer (and sunshine!) (and sure, butter. why not?) – I’ve teamed up with 11 other bloggers to share many chances for you to win some of our very favorite things for summertime. What’s included in our Heavenly Homemakers favorite summer things giveaway?

  • A “Night Owl” Flexi-Clip from Lilla Rose (valued at $14.00)
  • A Half-Tee Tank from Deborah and Co. (valued at $17.99)
  • 1/2 pound of Vanilla Beans from Olive Nation (valued at $39.95)
  • Bug Block Bar, BeeSilk Stick, and Peppermint Lip Balm from MadeOn (valued at $29.10)
  • Stainless Steel Fruit Slicer, Pastry Blender, and Mini Slotted Turner from Paula’s Bread (valued at $24.99)
  • My very own Oh, For Real Cookbook (valued at $25.95)

Altogether, that’s over $150 worth of my favorite items for summertime. You can win all of it!

summer giveaway4

Why are these my favorite things for summer?

  • I keep my hair pulled back in my Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip all summer long.
  • I wear my Half-Tee Tank from Deborah and Co. under my summer dresses and tank tops for modesty and comfort.
  • I start a batch of homemade vanilla extract with Vanilla Beans from Olive Nation in June so that it will be ready to give as gifts at Christmastime.
  • I safely protect my family from mosquito bites with MadeOn’s Bug Block Bar – and I use BeeSilk Stick, and Peppermint Lip Balm every single day of the year.
  • I use a Stainless Steel Fruit Slicer, Pastry Blender, and Mini Slotted Turner from Paula’s Bread for fresh summer produce and fun summer dishes.
  • I use my Oh, For Real Cookbook pretty much alllllll the time.

Simply leave a comment on this post for a chance to win this entire package. I will draw a random winner on Monday, June 1. Be watching for a post stating the winner!

Are you new to Heavenly Homemakers? Sweet! I have the greatest readers ever, and I’d love for you to be one of them. Subscribe (for free!) to receive our daily(ish) newsletter which includes everything from easy real food recipes to encouragement in your marriage or parenting to really ridiculous thoughts that you should read at your own risk.

Here’s my latest craze: coming up with recipes that are delicious but low in sugar. Check out the low sugar treats I’ve come up with so far, then be watching for this Low Sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait recipe coming within the next week or so. It is incredible!

UPDATE: Here’s the recipe!

Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait - Coming Soon

See you back here soon!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Want a chance to win even more of these wonderful Favorite Things for Summer Giveaways? Click around on all the blogs below to see what they love about summer and to enter their giveaway too!

1. Thriving Home // 2. Happy Money Saver // 3. Happy Home Fairy // 4. Heavenly Homemakers // 5. Kitchen Stewardship // 6. Nourishing Joy // 7. The Nourishing Home // 8. Intoxicated on Life // 9. Tried and Tasty // 10. The Frugal Girl //11. Mommy Hates Cooking // 12. Stephanie Blue

 
favorite things summer 1

Here’s a little bit about each of these bloggers:

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 8.26.03 AM

Thriving Home

Friends and stay-at-home moms, Rachel and Polly, began Thriving Home in 2012 as a way to encourage and equip moms in several areas of home life. They share healthy kid-friendly recipes, evangelize about freezer cooking as well as documenting many other topics relating to running a home and family including a few spectacular parenting failures from time to time. Swing by to join in on their crazy journey through parenthood.

tnt-square-logo1_1024

Tried and Tasty

TriedandTasty.com is a premium and well established recipe blog with a friendly, conversational writing style paired with magazine quality food photography. The recipes are typically very health conscious, with rich and decadent desserts occasionally included for good measure. TriedandTasty.com has a loyal following of ‘foodies’ and is gaining new followers every day thanks to its recipes being featured on the websites of high profile magazines, news outlets, popular Facebook pages, Pinterest boards, and more.

logoHeavenly Homemakers

Laura Coppinger and her husband have four sons ages 10-17. HeavenlyHomemakers.com is dedicated to inspiring women daily with healthy (and easy!) recipes, homemaking tips, spiritual encouragement, and good ol’ clean fun.

logoMommy Hates Cooking

Mommy Hates Cooking is a national cooking and lifestyle website that encourages families to take back the dinner table. Through her easy-to-prepare (yet looks like you spent all day in the kitchen) meals and her knack for breaking down meal planning, Kristy has become the busy-mom’s resource for the modern family.

Kitchen Stewardship Chalkboard Logo - BlackKitchen Stewardship

The mission of Kitchen Stewardship is to present healthy living in bite-sized baby steps, challenging people to make positive changes in their kitchens without being overwhelmed, and providing tools to balance a family’s health, budget, time and the environment. Katie Kimball and her team share family-friendly whole foods recipes, weekly challenges, and science-geek research on what’s healthy and what’s not.

logoNourishing Joy

Nourishing Joy is dedicated to real food and natural living. We’re on a mission to equip and inspire parents like you with the tools to make intentional, thoughtful decisions that work for YOUR family easy. Or at least easier.

happyhomefairy facebook pageHappy Home Fairy

Julie Brasington is the creator of Happy Home Fairy, a popular blog focusing on encouraging and equipping moms to choose joy on the parenting journey. She shares easy craft ideas, FREE printables, simple recipes, corny jokes, holiday fun, thoughts on raising her 2 boys, and honest, heartfelt messages to uplift the weary mama. bbb

Happy Money Saver

Happy Money Saver is a website that has a growing population of readers who are passionate about saving money, homesteading, gardening, cooking from scratch, freezer meals, DIY projects and embracing their dreams.

logo3Stephanie Blue

At Stephanie Blue, I blog about my passions: natural living and essential oils. My purpose is to bring hope to moms and help them discover ways to strengthen their families physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.


frugal girlThe Frugal Girl

The Frugal Girl is all about living cheerfully (and well!) on less. Get recipes, DIY tips, painting ideas, photography tips, green living inspiration, and more from Kristen, a homeschooling mom of four.

IOL_Header_Design_no_taglineIntoxicated on Life

Intoxicated on Life is a resource for families who are looking to raise healthy families – body, mind, and soul. They cover a wide range of topics from healthy gluten-free recipes, to godly parenting, homeschooling resources, and more!

TNH Grab buttonThe Nourishing Home

The Nourishing Home provides family-friendly GF recipes, free weekly whole food meal plans, helpful cooking tips and techniques, and lots of encouragement to help you in your journey to live a more nourished life.

Leave a comment on this post to enter to win our $150 package of my favorite things for summer. Now let’s all go outside and get us some sunshine. Woohoo…summer!

This post contains affiliate links.

Cinnamon Sticks for Summertime ~ 10 Great Uses and 10 FREE Cinnamon Sticks (Through Wednesday Only!!)

I have had the most fun day today. We bid farewell to the last of our graduation guests yesterday (sniff), then I spent the entire day today playing with cinnamon sticks.

cinnamon sticks flower pot 2

Say what??! Trust me. I’m pretty sure you’ll want to spend a couple of hours playing with cinnamon sticks too after you read this.

Olive Nation Cinnamon Sticks

My Cinnamon Sticks came from Olive Nation. I could tell a big difference in the quality of their cinnamon sticks – so big a difference that I took a picture of them side by side. Olive Nation’s sticks are bigger, more fragrant, and just overall much, much nicer than others I’ve purchased from other sources. This doesn’t surprise me. Olive Nation products always rise above the rest. (Yet their prices are still reasonable. I love this.)

I typically think of cinnamon sticks as something to use in the fall. This led me to do a little research. What can we do with cinnamon sticks in the summertime?

THIS is the part where I become giddy. I have found so many awesome uses for these this summer! Not to mention I’ve discovered that cinnamon sticks are wonderful for our health. Cinnamon can help lower cholesterol levels, aid in pain relief,  help with digestion, help us avoid bladder infections, and help regulate blood sugar levels. And that’s just the beginning.

10 great ways we should all use Cinnamon Sticks this summer.

Special thanks to my son Asa who used his talent with his brand new camera to help me get some wonderful shots of our cinnamon projects today.

10 Great Uses for Cinnamon Sticks - The Summer Edition

10 Ways to Use Cinnamon Sticks in the Summertime

1. Use Cinnamon Sticks as a Natural Insect Repellent.

Insects don’t like the smell of cinnamon (silly little bugs). Plus they don’t like the feel of powdered cinnamon. Grate a cinnamon stick then sprinkle it around any place (inside or outside) you’re trying to get rid of ants or other annoying bugs. You can even sprinkle it around your kids’ sandbox to keep the bugs away. Brilliant!

Want to avoid mosquitoes? Put a small citronella candle inside a jar. Tie or clue cinnamon sticks around the outside of the jar. Light the candle outside while you’re sitting around visiting and enjoying the summer weather. Insects are turned off by the smell of the cinnamon and citronella, and you can enjoy the scent plus the freedom from bugs!

Cinnamon Stick Citronella Candle

2. Treat an insect bite.

Bugs already got to ya? Mix up a little bit of honey and ground cinnamon. It will alleviate pain and itching. At the same time, this honey/cinnamon combination will disinfect the area while moisturizing and healing. Amazing.

3. Make a Cinnamon Stick Flower Pot

This is not only a great way to repel bugs inside and outside – it is super adorable! Hot glue 25-30 cinnamon sticks around a flower pot. Tie a ribbon around the cinnamon sticks to complete the project. I can’t stop staring at my flower pot in all its cuteness!

Cinnamon Stick Flower Pot

4. Make Cinnamon Apple Infused Water for a refreshing detox drink on a warm day.

Or use fresh or frozen pineapple with cinnamon sticks instead. Either way, you’ll have a cool, refreshing drink that is good for your system. Simply slice one apple (any variety) into a quart jar. Add 1-3 cinnamon sticks. Fill jar with water. Allow mixture to sit for a few hours to infuse. Chill and serve.

Refreshing Apple and Cinnamon Infused Detox Water

5. Start a batch of Cinnamon Extract for Christmas gifts.

I am so excited about this one!! After all my years of making Vanilla Extract, I’m venturing out to make other extracts – beginning with Cinnamon Extract. (Watch for other fun extract recipes soon!)

How to Make Cinnamon Extract: Place three cinnamon sticks in one cup of brandy, rum, or vodka. Store in a dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet). Shake the jar about once each day for two weeks. Voila. Merry Cinnamon Extract Christmas to the family this year. (Don’t tell them how easy and inexpensive this is.)

Homemade Cinnamon Extract

6. Make All Natural Cinnamon Orange Cleaning Spray.

Here’s a fresh idea for non-toxic cleaning!

Fill a quart jar about 3/4 full of distilled white vinegar. Add 3-4 cinnamon sticks and 1-2 oranges worth of orange peel. Secure lid. Store in a dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet) for two weeks, then strain out cinnamon sticks and orange peel to transfer liquid to a spray bottle. This is so simple and inexpensive!

And here’s another great cleaning option: Put a Cinnamon Stick into a cleaning bottle with attached sponge (like the purple one pictured below) for a fresh, cleaning fragrance.

Cinnamon Orange All-Purpose Cleaner

7. Grate a piece of cinnamon stick into yogurt or add it to a smoothie for a refreshing summer meal or snack.

What a great way to add deliciousness to a cool treat! You can also grate cinnamon into your coffee or tea.

8. Make Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup

Yes, yes, yes. Make this. Bottle it up for gifts or enjoy it at your own breakfast table. It is super easy to make and crazy delicious.

Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup Recipe

1 1/2 cups water
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 cup sucanat

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and allow mixture to steep for 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks. Store Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup

9. Make Cinnamon Infused Sugar

It does not get any easier than this. I’ll be including a jar of this sugar with my Christmas gifts of Cinnamon Extract. I should also include a loaf of bread and a stick of butter – then my recipients would be set.

Cinnamon Infused Sugar Recipe

1 cinnamon stick
2 cups sugar, brown sugar, or sucanat

Put the cinnamon stick into a jar. Cover it with sugar. Secure a lid on the jar. Shake the jar once each day for two weeks. Use cinnamon infused sugar on buttered toast, in coffee, or any way you would typically use cinnamon sugar. Continue to refill the jar with sugar as the cinnamon stick will continue to flavor it for quite some time.

Cinnamon Infused Sugar

10. Boost your energy!

Feeling tired, lethargic, or low on energy? Pull out a cinnamon stick and give it a whiff. It’ll help you find your focus. Who knew? Easiest energy boost ever. From now on, I’ll be keeping cinnamon sticks at my desk. Hmmm…just took a whiff of one right now. Perfect.

You Can Reuse Cinnamon Sticks

Save $$. Get more than one use out of your cinnamon sticks!

To reuse your cinnamon stick, simply rinse it under hot water then allow it to dry. Run the stick over a grater a few times to release the flavor. Do this up to 5 times before discarding. Way to get a lot of bang for your buck!

A Discount Option:

For high quality, reasonably priced cinnamon sticks, I recommend Olive Nation. They are great to work with us here at Heavenly Homemakers. Here’s what they offer:

  • Use the code home to receive 10% off your entire order.
  • OR, if you spend $50 or more, you can use the code FREESHIP to avoid paying a shipping fee altogether. (Free shipping is always the way to go if you ask me. I love these cinnamon sticks so much and I super love the Olive Nation vanilla beans. I have gifts to make with cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans.)
  • You may only use one coupon code per order, so figure out which is best to go along with your free cinnamon sticks: Get 10% off with the code home; or get free shipping on a $50 order with the code FREESHIP.

A Freebie To Go With These Cinnamon Stick Ideas!

Download a page of free printable labels to go with the gifts you might choose to make: Cinnamon Extract, Cinnamon Sugar, Cinnamon Orange All Purpose Cleaner, and Cinnamon Pancake and Waffle Syrup. Attach them to your jars and bottles, tie with a ribbon, and you’ve got an adorable, inexpensive, and useful gift!

cinnamon printable

Download Your Free Cinnamon Labels Here.

Leave a comment to tell us what you’re going to make first!

20% Off Vanilla Beans Through March 30!

When vanilla beans are offered at 20% off at Olive Nation, we have to take advantage!  They always offer free shipping on vanilla bean orders, so that’s a great bonus.

Read here about how to make homemade vanilla extract.  I mean, why else would I suggest you buy a bunch of vanilla beans?! :)

Making my own vanilla has saved me so much money over the years.  Plus, I know that my vanilla is absolutely pure.  Olive Nation is the only place I purchase vanilla beans.  Their quality and prices are best.  I just took advantage of this 20% discount so my savings is even greater than normal.  Super exciting!

vanilla_beans

Find the discounted vanilla beans on this page at Olive Nation.  Use the code EAST20 for the 20% discount to apply.  Get your homemade vanilla started and love the deliciousness!  (Coupon code expires March 30, 2015.)

This post contains affiliate links.