Fire cider, master tonic – whatever you call it, you need to make yourself a batch today. Seriously. Don’t wait until you are already starting to feel a bit peckish as fire cider needs a bit of time for all the ingredients to come together.

So what is fire cider really? Fire cider is basically an apple cider vinegar based health tonic that includes a bunch of ingredients with immune-boosting effects. Fire cider is also great for digestion so it’ll help keep you at your best during cold and flu season. You can buy it online but I like to make my own so I can have a better control of what goes into it (and plus, it is so super easy to make). Fire cider has a wonderful (and potent) sweet and tart taste to it that can be a little off-putting the first time you try it.

 

 

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Fire cider includes some of my favorite ingredients to help with colds:

  • Ginger – Ginger is great for nausea, bloating, gas and a whole host of other digestive issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant. Plus, it is simply delicious!
  • Garlic – I love garlic. Garlic helps to strengthen the immune system and is full of antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
  • Onions – Onions are naturally high in sulfur and contain antibacterial benefits along with prebiotics that help feed the existing healthy bacteria in the colon!
  • Turmeric – The health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reduce gas and bloating, decreased congestion, and improved skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne (another one of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in golden milk).

I think that fire cider might have a little too much of a kick to it for a lot of younger children so I recommend you check out my elderberry oxymel as an alternative. Also, if you don’t want to take fire cider straight, a delicious way to make sure you are getting your dose is by making it into a salad dressing! Simply mix 1 tablespoon of your prepared fire cider with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour over your salad and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Fire Cider
This isn't so much of a recipe as a melding of ingredients. It does require a little bit of time to sit so start making it now!
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Instructions
  1. In a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar, layer your ginger and horseradish at the bottom. Add your garlic, rosemary sprigs, jalapenos, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, onion, and turmeric powder on top. Then place your orange and lemon slices.
  2. Using a clean spatula, press firmly on all of your ingredients to pack them down. Add your apple cider vinegar, making sure that you fully submerge your ingredients. Seal and give it a quick shake.
  3. Store your jar in a cool, dark place making sure to give it a shake every day or so. After about 6 weeks, strain out your liquid and stir in your honey.
  4. You can store your finished fire cider in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 months. For adults, take one or two spoonful's a day during cold/flu season to help ward off illness or when you start feeling under the weather.
Recipe Notes

* If you are using organic ginger or ginger that is harvest from the ground, then you can leave the skin on. Otherwise, peel the ginger using a spoon to scrape the skin off.

** I like to remove some of the seeds/membranes of my jalapenos. It is completely up to you if you want to remove them or leave them in for an extra bite.

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This past Saturday, I found myself breastfeeding in public for the first time. Well, public in this sense. I have breastfed Caleb in the car many, many times when we have either been coming or going somewhere. It’s not like I have been avoiding breastfeeding in public, it’s just one of those things that never needed to happen. When I’ve gone somewhere, typically I will feed Caleb before leaving. Now that he’s a little bit older, we usually are able to give him a little something from our plates.

On Saturday, however, a local coffee shop welcomed a group of breastfeeding women as part of the Global Big Latch On.

Global Big Latch On events take place at registered locations around the world, where people gather together to breastfeed and offer support to each other. 20,562 children were counted as breastfeeding during the one minute count (and quite many more were attending but snoozing during that moment). The purpose behind the event is to promote and support breastfeeding families. There were a couple of lactation consultants attending this event available for question.

All in all, there were 17 babies attending this event with about 12 breastfeeding at the same time. Our local newspaper was present to cover the event and we even had someone taking pictures of the moms and their babes. It was great getting to meet with other women and share our experiences with one another. It’s been hard for me to find other moms to connect with in person since this is a small town. There typically aren’t a lot of opportunities out there for connecting.

These photos were taken by Amanda Kielar Photography. She took a ton of great photos that you can view on her Facebook page. These are just some of the ones featuring me and little man (there are a couple more on her page).

I’m so glad that I was able to attend this event. I had a hard time breastfeeding when Caleb was first born. To be honest, without Robb encouraging me and pushing me, I think that I would have given up. Yes, I do give Caleb formula on occasion at daycare (when I’ve had a stressful day at work and just can’t pump much) but at home, he is 100% on the breast. I use a special organic formula sourced from Germany that I’ll feature in another post.

Wow. Caleb is 6 1/2 months already. I absolutely cannot believe it. While we think that he started teething back when he was 3 months old, we still haven’t had any teeth break through the surface. Every time I feel around in his mouth though, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a tooth poking out. We’ve been keeping a few items in the fridge to help soothe his gums (and him on these hot summer days) so I thought that I would share a few of our, or rather Caleb’s favorite items to help him through his first teething experience.

Is your little one having issues teething? Check out the Hippie and the Hunter's suggestions for teething helpers!

Wink Naturals Cool Gums Teething Gel 

I picked up this teething gel long before the FDA released its warning in May about teething gels with benzocaine. The Cool Gums Teething Gel is a natural, drug-free formula containing zero numbing agents and it helps soothe tender gums. It has a great flavor to it and Caleb really seems to enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll even put it in the fridge for a little bit to get it a little extra cool. Fun fact: you can also use it on canker sores yourself!

Use “EELLIOTT15” to get 15% off of anything in the Wink Naturals shop!

 

Baby Buddy Silicone Finger Toothbrush

I’ve mentioned this product before but it is too good to not mention again. This is sort of like a starter toothbrush for those first teeth but it doubles as a gum massager to help with sore gums. It’s never too early to start your little one on the right path to good dental hygiene! The finger toothbrush is super easy to use and it almost seemed like a game to Caleb for me to use it. It’s a completely different sensation to have against your gums and I think he found it funny!

Mary & Kate Benny the Bunny Teether Rattle

This wooden rattle is made of European beechwood and is such a fun little rattle to play with. I love the sound of it. It’s durable and safe for babies to chew on. Studies have shown that wood can naturally eliminate even most harmful bacteria like e-coli or salmonella from its surface within minutes, so you don’t need to sterilize some wooden toys. Just rinse them under running water or wipe clean. This rattle was designed Montessori style to stimulate baby’s senses, encourage learning and social skills and promote grasping and fine motor skills development.

Go GaGa Squeeze & Teethe Elephant – Kiki

Finger!

One of Caleb’s favorite things to gnaw on is my finger! Or rather… my knuckle to be more specific. I don’t mind, especially since he doesn’t have any teeth yet. Even better – fingers are free and easily cleaned!

Essential Oil Blend

Yes, there IS an essential oil blend that may help with teething. To 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, add 1 drop of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of roman chamomile essential oil. You’ll want to massage a small amount on the OUTSIDE of your little one’s cheek along the gum line. Again – OUTSIDE. Essential oils are potent and should be treated as such!

What are some of the things that helped your little one when s/he started teething?

 

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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Breastfeeding can be hard for so many women, myself included. I still have days where it hurts or I just feel drained, literally. Typically those days come after a long night and in my hurry to get Caleb back to sleep, I don’t take the time to make sure that he is properly latched. On those days, I find myself switching out one of Caleb’s normal feedings with a bottle of formula just to give myself a break.

Those days are thankfully fewer and fewer now that I realize how to correct that issue. Overall, I believe that breast is best but when it comes down to it, I’d rather make sure that Caleb isn’t going hungry.

My biggest piece of advice to you as a breastfeeding mom (or mom-to-be) is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. If you find yourself having a difficult time breastfeeding and are in pain constantly when you nurse, don’t be afraid to speak with a lactation consultant in your area.

These are some of the products that have saved my sanity when it comes to breastfeeding.

Kindle E-Reader with Built-in Light – When you’re breastfeeding, there really isn’t much else you can do at that moment (unless you have a sling or a carrier and then it’s game on). My Kindle has been a lifesaver, especially at night when Caleb needs to be fed and I don’t want to cut any lights on. It’s easy to control a Kindle with one hand and it allows my brain to relax/focus on something else for a bit. I’m currently working my way through Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family which was recommended to me by Robb’s cousin.

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner – The Boppy pillow was one of the first items that I added to my baby registry. I didn’t use it as much as I thought that I would the first week or so but I’ve been using it more and more lately. It helps me put Caleb in the perfect position to feed. It also gives my arms a break from holding him and Caleb likes to rest in his Boppy pillow.

Milk Drunk – Chocolate Protein Powder for Breastfeeding – This is a delicious protein powder for smoothies filled with lactation-boosting ingredients such as fenugreek, flaxseed, brewer’s yeast, and oat flour. Bonus – it’s vegan! I also recommend Mother’s Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals as well for lactation support. I’ve used both to help boost my milk supply. I still haven’t managed to have enough extra milk to start storing some for when I go back to work but that’ll be my goal for February.

Nursing Bra – I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see the need for a nursing bra until I actually purchased one for myself. When I’m at home, I don’t bother with a bra unless I feel that I am needing the compression support. But I’ve found that with a nursing bra, I can wear it out in public for just in case or wear it around the house and it leaves me feeling a little less exposed to the elements. With the temperature in the house around 65°, that’s a pretty nice feeling to have.

Medela Tender Care Lanolin Tube – There are dozens of nipple creams out there for your tender bits and I recommend that you have something to keep your nipples from being chapped. I’ve been using Medela’s because I have received so many samples of it (nearly time I went to the doctor, I received more samples). Medela lanolin (lanolin is wool wax) is a thick, almost salve-like consistency that provides  soothing relief. I’ve also developed my own nipple butter that I will transition to once I’m all out of Medela lanolin (coming soon to my Etsy shop).

Did you have any issues breastfeeding?