With the High Price of Vanilla Beans, Should You Make Homemade Vanilla Right Now?

I’ve been making Homemade Vanilla since 2009. Why?

  • To save money
  • So I can trust my vanilla to be pure and healthy
  • Because Homemade Vanilla is ridiculously delicious

How To Make Vanilla Extract

See, most vanilla extracts on the market have sugar added. I don’t want that, of course. Also, most have been watered down, so they aren’t as strong and flavorful as I’d like. But Homemade Vanilla is completely pure, extremely flavorful, easy to make, and makes awesome gifts! However…

The price of vanilla beans has risen drastically.

In the past three years, the price of vanilla beans has gotten crazy high! Making Homemade Vanilla used to be super cost effective, saving oodles of money compared to buying it. Since there are so many other benefits to making it, it became a no-brainer to me!

But now there’s a major vanilla bean shortage, so the price has risen dramatically. (This stinks for those of us who want to make vanilla, but my research tells me that this is a much worse situation for farmers whose livelihood depends on good crops. We are simply inconvenienced; but these farmers are hurt deeply by this. With this news, suddenly my concern for my homemade vanilla price takes a back seat in the world of “what actually matters.”)

With the high cost of Vanilla Beans, does it still make sense to make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Does it still save money to make Homemade Vanilla?

Having said all of this, I wanted to share that I recently crunched some numbers again to see if it even made sense to make a batch of homemade vanilla right now. I was pleasantly surprised, and want to share my findings with you!

The upfront cost still seems high, but read all the way through to discover how to get the most bang for your buck.

It is most cost effective to make a gallon of Homemade Vanilla at once, instead of making a small batch. A gallon will last a very long time, or you can use it for gifts! (Homemade Vanilla is an awesome gift at Christmas for friends, family members, and teachers!!)

Price Break-Down to make a gallon of Homemade Vanilla

50 Vanilla Beans: $200
3.5 liters of 35% alcohol Vodka: $30
Total Cost: $230
Price per ounce: $1.80

This makes an 8-ounce bottle cost $14.40.

Remember, the quality of vanilla is ultra strong, not watered down, with no added sugar.

Cost of High Quality Purchased Vanilla

Imitation Vanilla is made of nothing real, so I recommend avoiding it even though it’s cheap. The best pre-made “pure” Vanilla Extract I could find at Azure Standard costs $2.20/ounce.

This makes an 8-ounce bottle cost $17.60. This is more expensive than homemade, but more importantly —–>

Note the ingredient list of this purchased vanilla (listed in this order):

  • water
  • 35% alcohol vodka
  • vanilla bean extractives

Not only is purchased vanilla extract more expensive, it is watered down, so not nearly as strong.

So Homemade Vanilla Extract wins the prize for being lower in cost and entirely pure.

Which leads me to my best advice and even better news about the cost:

Use Half the Amount and Cut the Cost in Half!

Because the Homemade Vanilla Extract is so very potent, I recommend that you use half the amount called for in a recipe. Doing this will double how long an 8-ounce bottle will last!

Therefore, the $14.40 it costs to make 8-ounces of Homemade Vanilla will last you twice as long, giving you what store-bought 16-ounce bottle gives. In this way, you can think of your 8-ounces of homemade vanilla being broken into TWO 8-ounce bottles which cost only – drum roll please –

$7.20 each.

And with that, I absolutely recommend that we all still make Homemade Vanilla Extract!

vanilla_beans

I forgot we get 20% off!!!

Good grief. I can’t believe I wrote this entire post and forgot to figure in the fact that Olive Nation gives Heavenly Homemakers readers 20% off! Time to crunch new numbers! I’ve been working with them for many years now, and they are happy to give us a discount. (They’ve been keeping me up to date on vanilla bean shortages and prices too. I love working with them.)

Get the best quality vanilla beans at the best price here. Use the code home to get 20% off, a code made exclusively for Heavenly Homemakers readers! Get free shipping when your order is over $50.

Discounted cost for Homemade Vanilla Extract

50 Vanilla Beans $160.00
3.75 ounces Vodka $30.00

Total cost: $190.00 (woot!)

Per ounce breakdown: $1.48/ounce
Price for 8-ounces of Homemade Vanilla: $11.84

vanilla

Make Vanilla For Christmas Gifts

One last note! Most everyone loves receiving Homemade Vanilla Extract as a Christmas gift! Because it takes 4-6 months for vanilla beans to “extract” I recommend you start a batch right away to have it ready to give in December.

I think that about covers it. Any questions? (I’m actually at church camp right now so answers will probably be delayed!) I’m so glad I finally crunched the numbers instead of continuing to cringe over the bean prices!

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!

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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.

Big Discounts on Vanilla Beans and Coconut Oil

Typically now I only post deals like this directly to those on my Homemaker’s Savings Club list – but when the prices are this good and are being offered for two of my very favorite and most loved items – I’ve gotta share them with all of you!

First – Vanilla Beans are 20% off for three days!

This is perfect timing because June is a great month to begin making a batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract. It takes 4-6 months for the extract to “brew” so if you start now, you’ll have delicious vanilla extract in time for Christmas gifts and baking!

I always buy my beans from Olive Nation because they are the best quality for the best price. Getting 20% off is huge, so take advantage. Use the code SAVE20 through June 15. As long as you don’t add anything else to your cart, you’ll also get automatic free shipping!

vanilla_beans

54-Ounces of Coconut Oil as low as $11.94!

Amazon is offering a 25% off coupon for Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. Plus, you can pair it with your 15% subscribe and save discount. This takes the already low price of $19.89 all the way down to $11.94 – which is amazing! I’ve taken advantage of this deal several times because it’s too good not to. The quality of this oil is great!

spectrum coconut oil

In other fun news, I’m currently playing with two fun and refreshing summer recipes that are huge money savers and very delicious! Or at least they will be delicious with a little more tweaking. I’m still experimenting. :) One of them calls for two teaspoons of the Homemade Vanilla Extract I talked about above. That makes the recipe what it is!

Stay cool (assuming you’re experiencing the heat wave we are here in Nebraska)!

This post contains my 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.

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:

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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.

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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.)

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Vanilla Bottles and Beans – Free Shipping, Plus a Vanilla Bean Discount!

How’s your batch of Homemade Vanilla Extract coming?  You are making some, aren’t you?  It’s too fun and too delicious not to try!

How To Make Vanilla Extract

Here is a picture tutorial on how to make homemade vanilla.  I always buy my vanilla beans from Olive Nation because their prices and quality are the best.  So here’s this week’s scoop on bottles and beans:

~~ Olive Nation loves Heavenly Homemakers readers, so they give us an exclusive discount.  So nice!  If you buy vanilla beans from them and use the code home, you’ll get a 10% discount.  Shipping is always free on their vanilla beans.

~~ Through March 18, Olive Nation is offering free shipping on everything else in their shop.  This means you can buy the vanilla bottles you need to finish your homemade vanilla project and save big bucks on what it typically costs to ship them to you.  For this, use the code MARCHFREE.

$$$$$BONUS MONEY SAVING TIP$$$$$

You can only use one coupon code per order.  If you need both bottles and beans, I suggest placing separate orders so you can get free shipping on your bottles plus 10% off vanilla beans (which come with free shipping anyway).  Make sense?

Enjoy making (and using) your homemade vanilla!

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I’m Giving Away $200 Worth of My Favorite Things!

Actually, I’m keeping all of my favorite things. Sorry.  They are my very favorite items and I use them constantly. However, I am going to give one of you a package full of duplicates of many of my favorite things so that you can enjoy them too!  How fun is this?!

Now, the trick is that all of these favorites have to fit inside a stocking. This is why I’m not giving away my husband or children. (Not even their monthly grocery bill would fit inside a stocking.)  Plus, I really want to keep them around.

I also decided not to include butter in this give away.  Butter fits inside a stocking, but sending it in the mail?  Well, I decided to skip it.  I do think it is fitting to ask that every time you use butter, you think of me with a smile.

So, no butter, no family members, and you also can’t have my personal Bible or my recliner.  (Again, stocking size restrictions, obviously.)  But enough about what this giveaway does not include.  What are these amazing items I’m choosing to giving away???

My Favorite Things Giveaway

The winner of this giveaway will receive:

BeeSilk Family Size Hard Lotion Bar ($12.95)

I haven’t stopped raving about these since I started using them several years ago.  They are completely non-toxic and healthy for the skin, and they have saved my hands!!!  I love this stuff and don’t go a day without it.

beesilk hard lotion bars in hand

1/4 pound Vanilla Beans through Olive Nation ($19.95)

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract has been one of the most fun and delicious adventures in my kitchen since we switched to real food.  Everyone needs to make this.

vanilla_beans

Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip ($13.00)

I wear Flexi-Clips almost daily.  They are crazy easy to use and so very pretty.  They don’t pull or break my hair like cheap ponytail holders.  I absolutely love Flexi-Clips.  The winner of this giveaway will win an extra-small Snowflake Flexi – perfect for young Frozen fans and their moms.  :)

lilla rose fav giveaway
Polder’s Old World Market Spurtle
($39.00)

Ever heard of a Spurtle?  It’s like a spatula, spoon, and paddle all in one.  Not only is it a super handy kitchen gadget, it is beautiful and the best quality utensil I have in my kitchen.  It is hand made – pure walnut.  The winner of this giveaway will receive an Original Spurtle Spatula.  These are fantastic!

spurtle

Half-Tee Tank from Deborah and Co. ($17.99)

While this isn’t a winter item, you will be very glad you have this Deborah and Co. Half Tee Tank come spring and summer.  I love mine so much I’m going to need to order more next summer.  They are wonderful for comfortably adding a modest layer under tanks and dresses – definitely one of my very favorite things.  (I just learned that this week only in the U.S., Half Tees are shipping for free!)

deborah and co 3

Hand-Made Slippers from The Purple Lamb ($80)

Seem like an expensive pair of slippers?  Well, you get what you pay for.  Regular $20 slippers from the store don’t last long since I tend to wear slippers all day long several months out of the year.  I’ve had my Purple Lamb slippers for over two years and they still look and feel like they did the day they arrived.  I cannot say enough about these amazing, custom, hand-made slippers.  They are so well made, so perfect for my foot, so warm and comfortable – they are amazing.  The inside of the slippers feature New Zealand Shearling – seriously the softest most luxurious thing ever.  They include suede soles and are made from 100% wool.  You will love these.  (Available in up to an 11 inch foot.)

Oh, For Real! Cookbook ($25.95)

You know my cookbook is one of my favorite things.  ;)  I use this so much that my copy has splashes and stains on it by now.  It is a cookbook full of our family’s favorite recipes, as well as all my best tips for keeping life simple (and healthy) in the kitchen.  I want you to have my cookbook!

ForRealBookCover6

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win this fun giveaway of many of my favorite things.  I will draw a random winner on Thursday, December 18.  Be watching for a post stating the winner as you will be responsible for contacting me if your name is chosen!

If that isn’t exciting enough, wait until you hear this:

12 other bloggers stuffed stockings with their favorite things too!  Not only can you enter for a chance to win the package I put together for you – you can enter 12 more wonderful giveaways while you’re at it!

Giveaway collage

  • Check out the Stocking Giveaway Collage featuring 12 other beautiful bloggers and their Favorite Things stockings.
  • Enter to win my Christmas Stocking Giveaway at the giveaway below (just leave a comment!).
  • HOP to all the other sites and enter to win their stockings!
  • Look around and enjoy the sites of these incredible bloggers. I love this hand-picked group of blogs. They all love the Lord and their sites and content reflect that. If you like Heavenly Homemakers, you’ll surely like these blogs too!

1. Thriving Home 2. Happy Home Fairy 3. The Nourishing Home 4. Heavenly Homemakers

5. Meaningful Mama 6. Slugs and Bugs 7. Seeds Family Worship 8. Jennifer Ebehack

9. The Generous Wife 10. The Modest Mom Blog 11. My Humble Kitchen 12. Kara Chupp

13. Motherhood on a Dime

If you’re new to Heavenly Homemakers, I’d love for you to sign up for our free newsletter.  The fun never ends around here!

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