health and wellness, Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup




I had a make and take at the house a few weeks ago.  We had so much fun catching up with each other and talking health and wellness.  We made elderberry syrup.  I had been to a friend’s house last year and watched her make some.  That is when I started taking a teaspoon every day.  Elderberries are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

What are some reasons to take elderberry syrup?

  • to keep your immune system strong
  • for improved bowel function
  • to build your immune system back up after an illness
  • to help shorten the duration of an illness

According to, a cup of elderberries contains the following vitamins and minerals: 870 milligrams of vitamin A, 406 milligrams of potassium, 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C, 9 milligrams of folate, 55 milligrams of calcium, and 2.32 milligrams of iron.

I purchased a 1 pound bag of freeze-dried elderberries and some raw honey.  I also set out several Young Living vitality oils to add in for extra support.  It is really easy.  I loosely followed a recipe from I will post what I did below and also the link to the recipe I followed.

Here is what I used:

1 cup of elderberries

4 cups of purified water (I have a Berkey)

2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup (add more or less to taste)

Young Living vitality oils  (orange, lemon, thieves, clove, ginger, cinnamon, etc…)

Why put Young Living vitality essential oils in?

Well for one, flavor.  If you want a kick, you could put in cinnamon, clove, or thieves.  If you would like for it to have a citrus flavor, orange or lemon would be good.  Another reason to add vitality essential oils is for the added health benefit.  Clove, for instance, is a super strong antioxidant, so it is a great immune system support.  Cinnamon is high in trans-cinnamaldehyde.  Research it.  Good stuff.  Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and D-limonene.  Orange is another immune system boosting oil.


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  1. Add 1 cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water.
  2. Simmer on stove for 45 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the stove and allow to cool until just warm enough for the honey to melt.  This will preserve the properties of the honey and essential oils.
  4. Strain berries through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Pour into glass containers. (We used 8 ounce mason jars)
  6. Add in honey (or maple syrup, if using) and vitality essential oils
  7. Enjoy!

Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Adults take 1 tsp a day, children 1/2 tsp a day.



Here is the link to the recipe that was used at the first elderberry making class I went to.



Snake Oil


You know how different things come and go with your circle of friends and within your community, like shoulder pads, fidget spinners, low-fat foods, step aerobics.  Yes, I had a step.  It was green.  Don’t judge.  Some of the things worked, and well – some of them didn’t.  They just didn’t.  Some of these fads we try, and some we just observe and keep it movin’.  That is how I felt about the essential oil thing when it popped up everywhere.  I mean everywhere! Church, work, and boutiques I shopped at, the grocery stores.  More and more Facebook posts by friends talking about oils for scrapes and upset tummies,  better sleep, and anxiety.  I just didn’t believe in it and figured it was another fad that would come and then fade away as something else took its place.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It’s funny how once you have exhausted all other options, you are more open to trying things you never thought you would be open to trying.  Our middle child has severe eczema and was in a very bad flare last year.  We have frequented the dermatologist over the years and have used oral medications, as well as all kinds of steroid creams to try, and get things under control.  I wasn’t aware, at the time, that stress can cause an awful flare.  It was her Senior year of high-school and she had a LOT going on.  She finally started to clear up, after 4 months of an anti-biotic and several refills of a steroid cream.  Of course, our concern was and still is the long-term effects of these strong medications she was taking.  That’s when we discovered a friend from church had been dealing with some eczema issues and was using Young Living essential oils and they were working.  We asked her if we could try what she was using and she graciously made us up a roller bottle of oils and we tried it…and it worked.  Lauren came up to me just a couple of days later and said she was out and needed more.  I was surprised 1. that it really did work and 2. that she had used it up so fast.  So, her friend made up another bottle of the oils and Lauren continued to see positive results.  Well, I knew we couldn’t just keep using up her friend’s oils, so I asked how we could buy them ourselves and that day we entered into a whole new world of health and wellness that we had never ventured into before.

We purchased a starter kit with 11 oils, a diffuser, and a couple of sample packets of a drink with oils infused into it.  We also purchased a couple of other oils that didn’t come in the starter kit, so that we could make up the roller bottle for Lauren to use.  That was the only reason I purchased this kit.  It’s not like we were going to do anything else with it, other than make up this one concoction we knew about.  Ha!  Little did I know the path God was taking us down.  Looking back now, I realize how many areas of our lives He was moving in.

I let that kit sit for 6 months.  I did get out the diffuser and diffused some lemon and peppermint in the morning, but that was about it.  It was April of last year and Springtime allergies had us all a little stuffy.  It seemed to help Michael’s stuffy nose.  He would be able to blow his nose and breathe better.  I liked the uplifting scent of the lemon.  Steve said the peppermint smelled like candy canes.  Soon, school was out and we were very glad because Michael’s 7th grade year was rough, to say the least.  I felt it was a miracle that I still had hair and spent the summer dreading the next school year.  You see, things had not gone very smoothly last year.  Homework was beyond a struggle and communication with the school had not gone well.  I had no idea how we were going to get through the 8th grade.

Summer rocked on and the beginning of the school year came.  Yep, more of the same.  I was in tears, he was frustrated and I just did not know what in the world we were going to do.  It was September, we were at church, and I ran into the mom of the girl with the oils.  I remembered her telling me about those two drink samples in my kit and how much benefit her family had received from incorporating it into their family’s lives.  She said they were good for boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation.  So, I asked her what to do with them.  She told me to put them in the fridge to chill, shake one up and then drink one during the day.  So, I took one to work and drank it after lunch that day.  I had good afternoon.  I was focused on my work and then went home at the end of the day.  I didn’t think much more about it.  I took the other pouch to work the next day.  I had a great numbers day.  Actually, both of the days I had the best numbers I had ever had at work.  I looked at Steve and said how I had felt laser focused and wondered if it was just a coincidence or if that little red drink actually helped…and if it had helped, would it help Michael.

We bought 4 more of those pouches and we started giving Michael half a pouch every morning before school.  We had also started him on some vitamin C and vitamin D, as his pediatrician had found that he was low vitamin D.  Now, you have to know Michael and his typical week.  Michael is autistic and it takes every ounce of energy he has to just get through the day at school.  So, by the end of the week, he is exhausted.  I usually find him laid out on the couch, either asleep or just staring into space.  Worn out.  When asked about his day, he is not able to tell you much of anything.  He tries to remember, but just can’t.  Well, I walked in the door from work that Friday night, and said hello.  I was walking through the kitchen when Michael met me and asked me how my day was.  He was up.  Walking around.  I was kind of surprised and said, fine and asked him how his day was, expecting the usual one word answer, fine.  He began to tell me everything he did at school that day.  How cool the science experiments were and what they sang in choir.  I looked at Steve.  He looked at me.  We went to pick his sister up from college to see us for the weekend.  She got in the car and I turned around and asked Michael to tell Lauren how his day was at school.  🙂  Same thing.  I looked at her and her jaw dropped.  No.  It definitely wasn’t our imagination.  He was better.  He had more energy.  He was focused.  He could remember.  That was six months ago.  We have incorporated that little red drink into our daily lives.  He has since told me that he sleeps better and feels better.

Since then, we have diffused other oils and tried new ones.  We have learned so many amazing things about the lifeblood of the plants that God has given us and the many benefits they have.  That little red drink is called Ningxia Red.  The wolfberry is the main ingredient along with many super fruit juices and infused essential oils.  It has been a game changer for us.  Michael finishes much more of his work at school.  As a result, he has less homework, and what he does have, he is able to get through easier.  Now granted, he still has some rough days, but this year has gone much more smoothly.  Lauren decided to purchase her own kit this past December and is experimenting with different oils.  She loves grapefruit to help with the occasional blemish, as does Michael. Lavender really is good for supporting sleep, as well as, Cedarwood.  I love that there are no long-term negative side effects and our wellness is being supported in a natural and healthy way.  So much for my snake oil theory.  If it is just a placebo effect,  I’ll just keep on believing all the things about these oils and keep reaping the benefits.