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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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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Another Northeastern NC Craft Workshop has come and gone! I love attending this yearly workshop. Since this is my 4th year attending, I’ve come to expect certain individuals to appear there each year. One of those individuals did not attend yesterday but I’m hoping that everything is alright with her and she just decided to attend today.

My chosen course this year was Embroidery taught by a lovely woman by the name of Glenda (her husband teaches the decoy carving class) from Virginia Beach. She was full of knowledge and was a great instructor.

She had already traced our patterns and chosen the colors for our “masterpieces” which left us with the hard job of piecing it all together. We learned several stitches – Lazy Daisy (my least favorite), the French Knot (which I didn’t like at first but came to love), the Back Stitch, the Satin Stitch, and there may have been another one.

Our prepaid lunch was provided by the delicious Golden Skillet over in Plymouth, with choices of salad, chicken and pastry, and fried chicken. We were also able to purchase cookies – which I definitely took advantage of.

So this is the outcome of my 6 or so hours of work. Upon wetting it, the blue pattern should fade. You can certainly see where I struggled (the flowers) and how I improved on the french knot as I went. It’s funny – my shoulder was getting sore by the end of the day!

I’m undecided what I will do with this – I’m thinking of bringing out my granny’s vintage sewing machine and maybe filling it with lavender and turning it into a sachet of sorts. I discovered that I enjoy embroidery and am already daydreaming of my next project.

It’s great getting to try out skills that I might not normally get to try. I’m crossing my fingers that maybe next year I will be able to take two days off from work to try out one of the two day courses!

Back in 2013, I was looking for something to do during two days off from work. House-sitting while my mom was out of town, I had taken the time off to enjoy a hot summer day and planned to relax and grill out. I ended up stumbling across the Northeastern NC Craft Workshop.

The NENC Craft Workshop is a two-day event that offers a variety of classes such as stained glass, decoy carving, embroidery and more. Registration is first come, first served meaning some classes tend to fill out rather quickly.

After my first year of attending, I fell in love with the event and have always been eagerly anticipating the next one. Though my schedule doesn’t always allow me the time off to attend (such as when I started a new job or when someone else was already scheduled to be off of work), I have tried my best to attend.

Here are some of my creations!

2013 – This was my first year attending and I decided to sign up for the bonsai class.

Unfortunately I forgot to take an after picture. My green thumb was still in the works during this time and my bonsai died not too long after. :-/

2014Garlic Basket! I enjoy basket weaving even if my patterns didn’t always come out right.

Garlic basket all done!

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2016 – My sea grass stool. This was a class I had been trying to get in for a couple of years so I was pretty excited to be able to attend.

@ NENC Craft Workshop. Seagrass stool before picture. 🙂

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What is really neat about my sea grass stool is that we have a nearly identical one my grandmother made during a different event years ago.

Though it’s easier for me to take the one-day events, I do want to eventually try Decoy Carving/Painting and Fishing Fly Tying! I love that these classes introduces me to skills that I may not normally have been able to try out. What’s also pretty neat is seeing some of the same people return year after year.

Registration is open now, by the way. There is a little fee attached to each class, but if you click the link below, it’ll clue you in as to how much.

For more information, please visit https://currituck.ces.ncsu.edu/2017/02/northeast-north-carolina-craft-workshop/.