DIY Elderberry Oxymel [for Colds]

The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

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Caleb’s Teething + Baby Buddy

Disclaimer: I’m a Brand Ambassador for Baby Buddy which means I get free products in exchanging for promoting them. I wouldn’t promote a product that I didn’t believe in and use myself, but I may get a percentage of sales if you click on their link.

Caleb will be 4 months old on Thursday and I think that he’s started teething. I feel so bad for him. The poor little guy has been exessively drooling for the past few weeks and has been gnawing on his hands and toys. I picked him up an amber teething anklet to wear while he’s home and some teething gel but it’s time for me to start thinking about the future.

I’m vain about my teeth. Even though I’ve never had braces, I’ve always gotten compliments about how pretty my teeth are. I go to the dentist regularily and make sure to floss my teeth almost every day. I want to make sure that I get Caleb started off on the right track as well and develop good dental hygine. I’ve already been using this silicone finger toothbrush from Baby Buddy to help massage his sore gums which helps him to get used to the routine of having his teeth brushed.

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush with Carrying Case

I think that he enjoys it. But I need to start thinking ahead for when that first tooth actually breaks through the surface. Baby Buddy has these things called ‘Tooth Tissues’ which I think are going to be super easy to use. Tooth Tissues are bamboo wipes that are bubble-gum flavored and fluoride/paraben free! They are perfect for ages 0-16 months. Even better – you can stick one in your fridge to chill it to help with sore gums (or adults can even use it when they are on the go).

What I like most about Baby Buddy products is that they really seem to care about their customers. They’ve put a lot of time into the products they sell to make sure they are producing high-quality items. Their passion lies in oral care for little ones and it shows!

Check out the video I shared of me using the gum massager on Caleb:

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Enter to Win: Fit Momma Giveaway!

Mondays are always better with a GIVEAWAY! I’ve teamed up with some girlboss champs to bring you this Fit Momma prize pack valued at $750!

The prizes include: Baby Jogger City Select LUX Stroller, Workout Outfit, Running Shoes, and Water Bottle!

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This giveaway is in no way administered or endorsed or sponsored by Instagram, Facebook, or any of the hosts, sponsors, or companies included. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

Grove Collaborative [Review]

It’s only fortuitous that I stumbled upon Grove Collaborative during my prime nesting time. Just ask Robb. I don’t really like cleaning but all of a sudden, I found myself excited about cleaning products and getting our house spotless before Lil Bean arrived. Ever since we started dating, I would occasionally get bitten by the organization bug (typically when he’s out of town so that he doesn’t see what I’m tossing as I’m cleaning the pantry or linen closet) but that has certainly increased during my pregnancy.

I think that he’d love it if I didn’t come up with a new project for him to do every time I started organizing something.

I’ve always been a little funny about my cleaning supplies. I prefer products that are non-toxic and have not been tested on animals. Not that we’re introducing a little one into our home, it is even more important that I focus on that. I do make a lot of my own products, such as toilet bombs and a linen spray but it is nice to have some other options around the house, especially if I’m feeling lazy.

Enter Grove Collaborative. Grove Collaborative is an online service that allows you to pick out the best natural products and have them delivered to the door. They are a Certified B Corp which means that they have passed the most rigorous standards for businesses that prioritize social, environmental, and community well-being (other companies include Patagonia and Seventh Generation). Not only do they featuring cleaning supplies but they also feature items for children (such as toothpaste, vitamins, and diapers) and other personal care items.

There’s no fee to join and shipping is a flat rate of $2.99. They do have a VIP program that provides you with free shipping along with some other perks (such as free items) but you really can’t beat $2.99 shipping.

So here’s what I got:

Can you believe that I got all of this for only $20.91?? I receive a free four-piece gift set with my first purchase AND they added in the glass spray bottle as an extra bonus.

  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Surface Scrub (Lavender)
  • Glass Spray Bottle: I can’t wait to use this spray bottle for one of my own cleaning blends.
  • Method – Tub & Tile Spray (Eucalyptus Mint): I was running low on energy by the time I started to clean the shower but this spray smelled amazing and I think it made a difference. I still need to get down and dirty with the shower.
  • Full Circle – Grunge Buster Grout and Tile Brush
  • Method – Daily Steel Cleaner: This item is the one that I was most excited about receiving. All of our appliances are stainless steel and they always end up so smeared with fingerprints and general grime. After using the cleaner just once, I was amazed at how shiny our appliances were!
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Hand Soap (Lemon Verbena)
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Dish Soap (Apple Cider)
  • Mrs. Meyer’s – Multi-Surface Cleaner (Lemon Verbena): I decided to use this cleaner on our pantry shelves as I was organizing. I love the smell and it isn’t overpowering.
  • Walnut Scouring Pad

While some of these products do contain fragrances, they are non-irritating, non-toxic and fully biodegradable. Until I get to the point where I make all of my own cleaning supplies, I feel like this is a step in the right direction!

Use my referral link to get an extra $10 off your order after signing up.

DIY Lavender Linen Spray

I’ve mentioned in a few of my recent pregnancy updates that I’ve been having trouble sleeping. While I have been sleeping better lately, I still haven’t been sleeping like I’m used to. Some nights I just can’t get to sleep (either sleep has escaped me or I start thinking about all the baby-related things I need to accomplish), other nights I wake up sweating or I’ll wake up and have to pee and simply can’t get back to sleep.

I need my sleep. When I don’t get enough sleep, the next day drags by and I find it tough to focus or get anything completed. It feels as if I’m having to mentally, and psychically, trudge through quicksand.

So I ended up throwing together a quick spray with lavender essential oil to use on my bed linens. I sprayed it on my mattress/mattress pad, sheets, and comforter but avoided spraying it on my pillows just because I didn’t want to overwhelm my sensitive pregnancy nose.

Lavender is a great essential oil to use to help you sleep and its calming scent also helps to relieve stress and reduce anxious feelings. It’s one of the oils that I keep on hand almost all of the time, not only for personal use, but for use in the products that I create for The Southern Belle’s Garden.

– For example, my Lavender and Calendula Hand Salve –

It’s commonly believed that some essential oils are safe to use (in moderation) during the second and third trimester but make sure to ask your doctor before using. Lavender is considered to be one of the more acceptable essential oils because of its gentle nature, but many avoid it during the first trimester. Also, avoid using essential oils in areas where pets are – cats especially can have adverse effects to some oils. Do your research!

Ready to give it a shot?

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DIY Lavender Linen Spray

makes about 4 ounces

  • 1 ounce witch hazel
  • 10-15 drops lavender essential oil (I tend to lean a little more to the 15 drops but for a lighter scent, use closer to 10 drops.)
  • 3 ounces distilled water

Combine all of the ingredients into a small spray bottle and shake well before using.

Spray on your pillows, sheets, towels – I’ve even sprayed this on our couch cushions when I thought that they needed a pick me up. This spray will keep indefinitely and I store mine in a small glass spray bottle either in the medicine cabinet or on my headboard for quick access.
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