Of Braces, Baby Booties, and Vanilla Beans

Well, yesterday was the big day. After 6 months of braces (I can’t believe it’s been that long!)  I got the baby tooth extracted and now have a bracket on that elusive adult tooth. The dentist said the tooth was in a good place to come down and so far it’s going quite well. I feel like I’m all wrapped up in a warm blanket of God’s Grace and Goodness – nice and cozy.

Tera brought me home some beautiful flowers which are sitting on the table in front of me…



…Along with a bunch of cookbooks Grandma sent home for me to browse through and my latest knitting project.


I knit my first “real” scarf in November and when I say knit, I mean knit, since I didn’t know how to purl or do any other stitch. A dear lady, who is also a cleaning client, graciously invited us girls over and taught me how to read a simple pattern, purl, and “yarn over” so my second project was a buttoned neck warmer. From there I challenged myself with this lace scarf from The Purl Bee, a lovely site with free patterns. I have finally re-knit the same amount that I had to take out from a bad mistake, so I’m pretty happy about that. Hopefully, I’ll make it to scarf length before another disaster like that!

I finished another project last week that I have to share with you all – Mary Jane Baby Booties! We’re expecting a little niece this month (extra special since it’s my birthday month too! :D) and I wanted to make her something warm and cozy for her first winter months.


I had just finished trimming out a sheepskin parka I’ve had for years and had enough left over for a pair of booties and a hat.


Aren’t they darling?


I found the shoe pattern on Prudent Baby. They were so easy and only took a couple hours to hand sew. The hat I just made as I went since I couldn’t find a pattern. It’s hard to believe that these won’t be too small for a newborn. It was so much fun making tiny things! I have some sheepskin leftover – I think I’ll try something else. :D Addicted!

So, by now you’re probably wondering if this is still a cooking blog, right? It is, I assure you. In fact, guess what I’m making now…


That’s right! My own homemade vanilla extract! I was inspired by Cenk over at Cafe Fernando and, while I don’t use near as many vanilla beans as he does, I had a few in the cabinet that were slowly drying out. What better way to use them up than to douse them with vodka?


Here’s the beauty of making your own vanilla –

A 32 oz bottle of vodka costs 14 dollars.

10 Organic vanilla beans Grade 1 extraction (these beans are drier, therefore cheaper to get) for 8.99 from Amadeus Vanilla Beans (or a 1/4 lb for 17.99)

Total cost – 25 dollars. Compare that to buying Pure Vanilla from Penzeys (16oz for 40.99) or the store ( 4.95 for 4 oz.) and you save yourself approximately 56.98 for a 32 oz bottle of vanilla that will last most people a very long time. We go through about that much every year. My brother’s fabulous vanilla lattes are practically spiked with vanilla. :D

The other benefit to making your own vanilla is a bonus that comes with all things homemade – you know exactly what’s in it! Do you know how many “pure vanilla extracts” have corn syrup in them? Yeah, I don’t either, but I know McCormick’s does and a few other brands I picked up as I was looking in the grocery store. They sneak that heinous corn syrup into everything!

Well, that puts an end to my rambling post. Hope you all are having a phenomenal January!

14 thoughts on “Of Braces, Baby Booties, and Vanilla Beans

  1. You. Are. Amazing.

    Seriously. If I didn’t love you so much, I think I would be disgusted. Is there anything you can’t do?!?!?!

    The shoes and hat are amazing. The lace knitting is way beyond what I can do.
    The vanilla looks so good. Can I buy some from you?

    You’re ridiculous.
    And I love you.

  2. Here I am the first to comment, like I usually am, and you are sitting right across the room from me… ;) I’ve already told you how adorable the little booties and hat are and I’m so glad you posted pictures of them! And how amazing it is that you took that incredible photo of the vanilla outside this very morning when everything has that bleak January look to it. You are amazing, Sarah and I’m proud of you for so many, many reasons! <3

  3. I can’t wait to try your vanilla!!! And that hat and booties is WAY too cute! Love your scarf too! Hang in there…your teeth will be back to normal before you know it! (I know, easy for me to say)

  4. I haven’t been on here in a while, so I’m back tracking this evening. I’m so excited! The kids and I made a GALLON of homemade vanilla this month. I was able to buy a half pound of beans from Olive Nation for twenty bucks and I put them all in the gallon jar and fille it up! I can’t wait, I’m so excited. I should have enough vanilla for everyone! Will you use yours a second time? I read that you could use the beans twice, just let them sit longer the second time. And, then you can strain the beans and make vanilla sugar. :)

    I can’t knit, yet. Hannah bought all the supplies for me to try it out for my birthday. So far, Amos has started a little pair of socks and Zackary is learning to cast on. I read the first few pages of the book. That’s it. I always think that I would like to do things like knit, and quilt, and sew, and paint…but I just can’t seem to do it. :/

    I adore the booties and hat! I didn’t even know about your little niece until a post of Tera’s recently…or maybe not so recently, I can’t remember. Congrats to all of you! :) I have less than six weeks left myself and am spending time making lots of herbal products for the baby and myself.

    I know this is a couple weeks late, but I hope you are doing well. I miss you all! <3 Paula

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Paula! Six weeks! Well, that would actually be five now, wouldn’t it? I’m so excited for you all! I haven’t been able to see little Addison yet, as I’m fighting a cold. :( They just get cuter from here though. :D That’s my only consolation.
      So cool that Amos and Zack are learning to knit! I can imagine it’d be difficult for you to find the time for that right now.
      Yes, I think I’ll use my beans again. In fact, I read that you can just keep adding vodka to your batch as you use it, so I’ll probably do that for a while…then the vanilla sugar! Yum! :D

      Miss you all too! We need to get together sometime soon.

  5. Pingback: Summer’s Eggnog: Pumpkin and Peaches Ice Cream | Stir It Up!

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