Things I Love Lately

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I’ve made lots of new discoveries of fabulous products lately. Here are just a handful of my many latest favorite that I thought deserved some love.
Limited Edition Birchbox - From the Garden

From the Garden Birchbox – Birchbox is a nifty site for those of us that love to try new products. You can get a monthly box subscription for just $10 a month that includes trial-sized samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems for everything from beauty products to home and garden. There’s currently a four week waiting list for the women’s monthly box and a two week waiting list for the men’s.However, in the meantime, you can browse their shop and even pick up their limited edition From the Garden Birchbox filled with seasonal picks. It’s an $89 value available for just $32. I purchased this exclusive box for myself and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. I’m also on the waiting list.

They also offer free shipping on products from the current month’s box, free shipping on full size product orders of $50 or more, free returns within 90 days of purchase and free samples and gifts from their bonus shop.

Adagio Thai Chai Tea – It wasn’t that long ago that I purchase a 40 oz. glass pitcher from Adagio Teas along with some Mango Iced Tea pouches when they were offering a special bundle at a reduced price. You simply add one iced tea pouch to the pitcher, fill with cold water and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you have delicious iced tea with almost no work. This has now become my new favorite way to make tea especially since the fibro can make some of the simplest task one of the worst chores.However, you aren’t restricted to their iced tea pouches. You can use any tea you like. I’ve done with with other teas from Adagio that aren’t offered in the iced tea sized pouches as well as teas from other brands. If you buy the 40oz. (4 cup) glass pitcher, simply use four tea bags and allow to “steep” overnight removing the tea bags the following morning. For a plastic quart sized pitcher, use eight tea bags.

Love iced chai? I’m particularly fond of Adagio’s Thai Chai Tea (pictured.) I simply put four tea bags in my 40 oz. pitcher, fill with water and leave overnight. The following morning I fill my glass water bottle three fourths of the way with tea, add a dash of half and half, and a little bit of sugar, then shake. Then I take it with me to work for lunch!

I love that Adagio offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more or the option of low flat rate shipping of just $3.75 for all other orders. Shipping is always super quick and they also offer a rewards program where you can earn points toward free gift certificates.

Eco Friendly Reusable Snack & Sandwich Bag Set from Colorful House – If you’ve been looking for more ways to go green then I recommend the handmade reusable snack and sandwich bags from Colorful House. The color combinations of these cotton bags are modern and all grown up and the inner water resistant ripstop nylon shell keeps food fresh for lunch. Colorful House also sells super cute children’s stuffed toys – including stuffed Dachshunds! – and children’s room decor.

I also love the affordable unpaper cloth napkins from Little Green Nest.

Divide and Conquer Purse OrganizerDivide and Conquer sells an entire line of brilliant handmade purse organizers in all shapes and sizes to keep the purse digging to a minimum. I think these are especially brilliant for busy moms who carry everything for those “just in case” moments and fashionistas who like to have their beauty products handy at all times.

For more of my favorite finds, be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

DIY Organic Handmade Chai Tea Recipe – A Wonderful Handmade Gift Idea

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Christmas Gift Idea DIY - Organic Chai Tea Mix Recipe

I absolutely love loose leaf and chai tea has long been one of my favorites. So I decided that for Christmas this year, I would make my own hand blended chai tea! Making chai tea is incredibly easy to do and makes a fabulous handmade gift idea! I made mine using certified organic, fair trade spice and tea ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs.

DIY Certified Organic Handmade Chai Tea Recipe - Hand Blended Loose Leaf Chai Tea for the Perfect Handmade Holiday Gift

Hand Blended Loose Leaf Chai Tea Mix Recipe

Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons Organic Fennel Seeds
1 Jar Crystalized Ginger
Directions:
Certified Organic Fair Trade Whole Anise Star Pods

Start by breaking your Cardamon Pods in half and crumbling the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces. (You can also buy the cinnamon sticks already broken into pieces.)

Certified Organic Fair Trade Chai Tea Spices

Next, place the Cardamom and Cinnamon into a large dish with the Peppercorns, Fennel Seeds, Coriander Seeds, and Cloves. In a pre-heated 350 degree oven, heat your spices for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then crush the spices as much as possible using the bottom of a glass or cup.

How to Make Organic Chai Tea - DIY Hand Blended Organic Chai Tea Mix Recipe

In a large bowl, combine the tea, candied ginger, and spices, then mix well with your hands until ingredients are evenly dispersed. You can find spice sized jars of crystalized ginger at The Fresh Market or a Co-op. Target sells it as well, though it was $3 more per jar at Target than The Fresh Market. Alternately you can substitute a smaller amount of Organic Ginger Powder.

Hand Crafted Organic Fair Trade Loose Leaf Chai Tea - Handmade Gift Idea

Now fill two Eco-friendly Kraft Poly-Lined Bags with tea. I used a scale to fill my bags equally. This recipe yields approximately two 6.75oz. bags. Alternately, you can fill individual Empty Press ‘N Brew Tea Bags with one Tablespoon of tea. Finally label your containers with ingredients and brewing instructions. I used OpenOffice to create my own simple labels and used a custom font with my and Brian’s own handwriting. You can create your own fonts very easily at http://www.myscriptfont.com/ Now all that’s left is to decorate your package for gift giving! I used a free printable label from Hey Look  and washi tape to decorate mine. How would you dress up yours?

Brewing instructions: 
Bring one cup of water to a boil then pour over one Tablespoon of Chai Tea. Allow to steep for five minutes, strain, then add milk and sugar to taste.

Love homemade food gifts? Also be sure to make and gift some delicious homemade vanilla mocha coffee marshmallows!