Homemade Vanilla Extract + Cyber Week Deals

I don't know about you, but I love baking. 
I go through A LOT of vanilla extract each year. 
Real vanilla extract is expensive! Anywhere between $8-$12 a bottle. 
Years ago I heard about making your own vanilla extract, and it is so easy! 
You only need 2 ingredients. 
I thought I would share how to make it and it also makes a great gift idea for this time of year.
Who wouldn’t be happy to receive a bottle of this?  
It makes the perfect hostess gift when you are invited to a Holiday Party, a great gift for your child’s teacher, office staff, neighbors, etc! 
Here is what you need to make 12 (2oz) bottles of Vanilla Extract:
  •  Vodka (use the cheap stuff!!!) Make sure it is at least 80 proof
  •  10 Vanilla Beans (make sure they are B grade) I got mine HERE
  • 12 (2oz) Glass Bottles. I got mine HERE
  • Mini Funnel. I got mine HERE
  • Personalized labels. I got mine HERE (Nancy is amazing to work with!)
  • Bakers Twine
  • Scissors
  • Thin Black Sharpie
Wash & dry your bottles (either in the dishwasher or with soap & water) 
Cut the Vanilla Beans in Half. Then cut them in half again.
(You can split them down the middle if you want, but that isn't necessary)
Place 3 cut pieces of Vanilla Beans into the bottle:
 Get your mini funnel and pour the vodka into the bottle
 I filled them almost to the top.
I like these funnels because they are small & have an overflow section.
 After you have filled up your bottles, put the lids on tightly.
 Now it's time to put on the labels...I can't tell you how wonderful it was working with Nancy. She has TONS of labels & other types of customizable stickers in her shop. I ordered these labels right when the California fires were going on & USPS was delaying a lot of our mail, so the labels I ordered got lost in the mail for awhile. Nancy felt bad and sent me out another batch of labels free of charge. My original order finally showed up yesterday, so now I have 2 sets of labels...that means I will be making more homemade vanilla!
 Her labels can be completely customized. I like how there was a space for the Batch Number (you don't have to have that on there, but I liked it and I put 112818...I made this batch of vanilla on November 28, 2018. It helps me keep track of when I made it, so I know when it's ready.
 I tied some bakers twine on the bottles to make them look more festive :)
 Your homemade Vanilla will be ready to use in 6-8 weeks. Every few days for the first month, give the bottle a shake.
For this batch, I had 1 extra vanilla bean, so I added it to my sugar container. 
 I've been putting a vanilla bean in my sugar for over 10 years..it makes the sugar taste and smell amazing.

 When I give these as gifts in the next few weeks, I will tell them it won't be ready to use until January. I meant to make this homemade Vanilla last month, but never got around to it.
 It’s easy to scale this recipe up or down. 
The proportions are 3 whole vanilla beans per 1 cup (8 oz) vodka OR
1 1/2 vanilla beans per 1/2 cup (4 oz) vodka OR what I used
3/4 vanilla bean per (2oz) vodka.
 The longer the beans stay in the vodka, the better the vanilla flavor (which is why you keep the vanilla beans in the glass jar)
 This homemade vanilla is good for 5-6 years. If you run out, you can keep the same vanilla beans in the bottle, add more vodka and it will be ready in 6-8 weeks. It's the gift that keeps on giving. 
I am keeping one of these bottles for myself because I am sick of buying store bought vanilla extract. 

I have 6 Holiday parties in the next month and I can't wait to give these as a Hostess Gift. 
I'm going to put them in a cute burlap bag and attach a cookie cutter to it. 

Hope this tutorial was helpful and have fun making your own Homemade Vanilla!

Just a reminder my Rodan + Fields Cyber Week Sales end tonight at midnight!

I have 3 deals going on & these are good for anyone...Current, former or new customers.

Deal #1
 FREE eye cream when you buy a regimen! 
That is a $60 value for FREE! 
Our eye cream is one of our most popular products, helps with crows feet & puffiness. 

We have products for all skin type, Reverse is my personal favorite.
 Click HERE to find out what regimen is best for your skin!

Deal #2
 Lash Boost for $30 off retail pricing! $120 & free shipping!
Lash boost is AMAZING and one of my favorite products! 
You will notice longer lashes by the New Year!

Deal #3
When you buy our newest product Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid, you get a brush for FREE! $35 value!

Radiant Defense is so light weight, has SPF 30, won't clog pores and protects your skin.

These are some AWESOME deals and you don't want to miss out...they end at midnight!
 All deals come with free shipping and a 60 day, 100% money back guarantee.
Message me or Email me to place and order or if you have questions!


What's Up Wednesday :: November 2018

It's the last Wednesday of the month, that means it's time for our What's Up Wednesday Link Up!

Link up with  me, Sheaffer & Shay the LAST Wednesday of each month so we can read about What's Up with YOU!

Here we go!
What We’re Eating this week..... 
Monday: Spaghetti & Garlic Bread

Tuesday:  Chicken Taco Soup 
Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday: Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Friday: Friday Night Pizza Night

Other things I am making this week:
It's rainy all week, so I made a batch of Split Pea Soup to have for lunch.

We have our cul-de-sac Christmas Party this weekend and I am in charge of desserts.
I am going to make Peppermint Ice Cream Cake 
 I am also making a batch of my Salted Caramel Brownies:

What I'm Reminiscing about.....
Because it was Thanksgiving last week I have been reminiscing about last Thanksgiving when we went to NYC see the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!

It was a Bucket List trip and one I will remember forever! I blogged about each day we were there.
You can read about our trip:
Day 1 HERE 
Day 2 HERE
Day 3 HERE {Thanksgiving Parade Day}
Day 4 HERE

What I'm loving.....
So, I did a thing this year...I got a 2nd tree so that we could have one in our family room/kitchen area. This is where we spend most of our time and I wanted to be able to see our tree while we have dinner & watch Christmas movies.

 Kate and I decided to make this tree a “pretty adult tree” and it only has silver & gold ornaments on it. I love it. The kids decorated our other tree in the living room by the fireplace and it has all our other ornaments with memories & color. The kids did a great job on it, I let them have full control over it and they did the whole thing. I love that tree also & I really love that wherever you are in our downstairs, you can see a Christmas tree.
We got the house is 100% decorated this past weekend...stay tuned for more photos!

What We've been up to.....
 November was a very strange month.
The Northern California Paradise fire that started on November 8th caused terrible air quality here in the Bay Area until Thanksgiving Day. For 2 weeks, we stayed inside. Students couldn't go outside at school, PE and sports practices were cancelled and they even cancelled a day of school because the air quality was so bad.
We watched a lot of movies, played board games & read books.
The air cleared up on Thanksgiving and we headed to the horse races at Golden Gate Fields with Kevin's family. They have been going on Thanksgiving Day for over 50 years.
Then we went to my parents for Thanksgiving Dinner....my favorite meal of the year.

On Friday night I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert with my Dad and some of my aunts, uncles and cousins.

 So many childhood memories listening to them on family roadtrips!

We had a blast!

They've still got it!

Saturday we went to the Colorado vs. Cal football game.

If you would have told me 5 weeks ago (when Colorado was undefeated at 5-0) that we would lose the next 7 games, Coach Mac would be fired & we wouldn’t be going to a bowl game...I wouldn’t have believed you.

The Buffs keep breaking my heart, but we will keep cheering them on and staying hopeful for next season.

What I'm Dreading.....
Nothing right time, I just love this time of year!

What I'm Working On.....
Addressing envelopes to mail out our Christmas cards.
I LOVE Christmas cards, but I don't love the prep work of them. LOL!
I still hand address them, I've been meaning to make a spreadsheet/labels on our computer for years now, but just haven't done that yet...maybe I will do that this weekend!
My goal is to get them mailed out by early next week.

What I'm Excited About.....
CYBER WEEK Rodan + Fields Deals!
These are good for anyone! If you are a customer or not!
  FREE eye cream when you buy a regimen!
That is a $60 value for FREE!
Our eye cream is one of our most popular products, helps with crows feet & puffiness.

 This brave consultant only used the eye cream on one eye for 3 weeks.

It's less puffy & she doesn't have bags under that eye! 

  We have regimens for all skin types.
 What is your biggest skin concern? I'm here to help!
Take THIS quick 5 question survey to find out what is best for your skin! 

R+F results are incredible. Unblemish is one of my top sellers!

  My personal favorite is Reverse...it got rid of my pregnancy melasma & sun damage brown spots.

The other Cyber Week deal is Lash Boost for $30 off retail pricing!
$120 & free shipping!
Lash boost is amazing...the results speak for themselves.

One tube will last 4-5 months.

The 3rd Cyber Week Deal is when you buy our newest product Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid.
When you order this, you get a brush for free! $35 value!

It goes on so easily & it so lightweight. I never wear foundation, but I am loving the Radiant Defense. You would use this in place of foundation. I am seriously obsessed...it covers up the scar on my nose from my skin cancer surgery. I don't even need to wear concealer on my scar anymore.
  This is me with Radiant Defense on in shade 3 (Sand):
 One bottle of Radiant Defense will last 5-6 months.
Comes with a 60 day empty bottle 100% money back guarantee.
Radiant Defense is good for all skin types, has SPF 30 and won't clog pores...it's good for your skin!
 If you are interested in Radiant Defense, you can find your shade on my color matcher HERE.
Message me to place an order. These deals end on Friday November 30th

What I'm Watching........
Hallmark Christmas movies! 
Did you know they have an app?
 You can track what you have watched and it tells you all the new movies for the season and what times they will be on TV.

I have Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel, so that is 37 new Hallmark Christmas movies I need to watch by Christmas :)

 I can check them all off on my app & it tells me when the next showing is.
What a time to be alive! LOL!
Download it!!!!!

What I'm Reading.....
I only read 2 books in November. 
 China Rich Girlfriend

This is the 2nd in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy & I liked it also!
4 out of 5 stars.

The Perfect Mother
This was just okay...I wanted to like it more.
3.5 out of 5 stars

What I'm Listening to.....
Christmas music playing in our house 24-7
These are my top 3 favorite Christmas albums:

Jessica Simpson (HERE)

Mariah Carey (HERE)

Michael Buble (HERE)

 What I'm Wearing.....
We have had really mild weather this month. It's been in the 60s here in Northern California.
It's chilly in the morning, then it warms up and is really nice.
THESE are the booties I have been wearing....

They come in 4 colors and they are SO comfy!

I am leaning towards getting this color as well.

My favorite is THIS denim jacket. I wear it at least once a week.

It comes in 3 shades of denim, I have the one above and the one below on the right.

It doesn't get too cold here in California, so these jackets are perfect for us here in all seasons.

What I’m doing this weekend.....
 Gingerbread Making Party
Neighborhood Christmas Party

What I'm Looking Forward to next month.....
Justin Timberlake concert!!!!
2 weeks off of school & going skiing in Tahoe

What else is new.....
Claire got her ears pierced!
Our family “rule” is you have to wait until you are 10 to get your ears pierced. Claire’s 10th birthday was 2 months ago, but it was right in middle of soccer season which meant she had to wait until soccer was over to get her ears pierced.
 It finally happened earlier this month and she couldn’t be more excited!
If you need a place to get piercings, I recommend going to a tattoo/piercing shop. They did Kate’s 2 years ago & now Claire’s.

Question of the month is:
What are your Elf on the Shelf ideas?
We don't do that many "creative" Elf on the Shelf poses, we mostly just move the Elf to different spots around our house.
This is your friendly reminder & PSA that you can delay having your Elf appear for a week or so because they are in the N.E.T.P (New Elf Training Program) and they are off training other Elves.
I posted about this last year, so wanted to remind you about it because one less week of the Elf is the best! Kevin and I started delaying the Elf by writing these letters a few years ago. Last year, I wrote this letter at the end of November and our Elf didn’t appear until December 6th or 7th...it was the BEST. Working on this years letter now, so wanted to remind all of you about this. Even if you’ve already gotten your Elf out this year, just leave a letter one morning letting your kids know your Elf will be gone for 4-5 days (or a week!!!) training another Elf. It will give you a nice little break. Thanksgiving was so early this year. Don’t want to deal with moving the Elf everyday for a month.

Here is the original letter I wrote 3 years ago:

Feel free to copy! 
 If actually need a creative idea for the Elf, I do have a fun one called  "Magic Elf Seeds"
If you need a good laugh, read my Cautionary Tale HERE  about planing Magic Elf Seeds and you can also get the free printable for Magic Elf Seeds!
I did this 2 years ago & think I will attempt it again this year.


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Feel free to follow along! 
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Can't wait to read about What's up with all of YOU!


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