Monday, October 28, 2013

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Fall brings a lot of wonderful things, but it also brings on cold season. Last night was a reminder for us, as my husband and I took turns rocking our coughing little boy. Nothing breaks my heart more than his sweet little face twisted in discomfort and sorrow. So, today, I made elderberry syrup. It's been on my to-do list for a while now, and thankfully, I had just purchased some elderberries at Kramer's Spice Market at Central Market.

So before I share the recipe, I want to share the healing properties of each ingredient in this amazing syrup:
~ Elderberries are often used for their wonderful antioxidant properties that help boost the immune system in order to fight coughs, the flu as well as bacterial and viral infections.
~ The healing properties of raw honey are too numerous to list. Simply put, honey is considered a cure-all remedy for nearly everything. From burns to bones to immune systems, it works magic all around. For this recipe, however, raw honey boosts the antioxidant properties of the syrup and it helps stimulate the immune system to fight infections such as colds and other bacterial or viral infections.{NOTE: local raw honey is the best and can be found at your local farmers' market or health food store. If you cannot get local raw honey, make sure you purchase raw honey, as the integrity of the product has not been refined, removing all of the good healing properties.}
~ Cinnamon contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which help aid digestion as well as help raise the body temperature which combats breathing problems. As a result, it is an excellent addition to this syrup, as it helps fight coughs and colds.
~ Cloves contain both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory healing properties {among many others} that aid the effectiveness of this syrup.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup
~ 2 oz. dried elderberries {or 4 oz. fresh}
~ 4 cups water
~ 3/4 cup raw honey
~ 1 cinnamon stick
~ 1/2 Tbsp. ground cloves

Combine water and elderberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil {uncovered}. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. Add cinnamon stick and cloves and stir to combine. Continue simmering, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes, or until reduced by about a third to half. Remove from heat and strain liquid into a bowl {I used cheesecloth}. Allow liquid to cool to about room temperature. Add honey and whisk to combine. Pour syrup into an airtight glass container and store in the fridge. It will keep for a few months in the refridgerator. Recommended dosage: 1/2-1 tsp every 2-3 hours for small children/toddlers at the onset of illness, continuing only for a few days {not more than 5}. For bigger children and adults, increase the dosage to 1/2-1 TBSP every 2-3 hours.

** Never give to infants under 1 year since it contains raw honey. And, as with anything, I encourage you to do your own research! This is an excellent source on the topic.

Friday, October 11, 2013


We all look forward to someday. It's natural and probably inevitable.  
Someday I'll be... 
Someday I'll have... 
Someday, when we have...then we'll... 
If I just had...then I could... Someday...
And looking forward to someday can be good. Really good. But not if it's limiting your today.

This is a lesson that has really penetrated my heart lately. Ben and I both realized that we were putting so much expectation in this someday that we weren't really living fully in the present. And the worst part is that we know what we were created to do and yet we were saving it for this someday event, as if we couldn't somehow begin right now. But the conviction to live fully present right now has spurred change. A change in our hearts and a change in our perspective and a change in our actions. And change is good. Really good.
For the past year-and-a-half or so, we've been saying that when we get our farm, then we'll have plenty of room to entertain. To have an open door. To do...and... We've always looked at our house with limitations. It's small. It's really small. And it has gotten smaller and smaller as our family has grown. But then it hit us hard. If we don't start now--if we don't steward well what we have right now--then we'll never do it when we have more. Think about it. How many times have you heard, "when I get a treadmill, then I'll finally lose weight" or "when I get my raise, then we'll be able to start saving money" and the list goes on and on. And when that someday comes, our sights are set elsewhere and following through doesn't always stick. We're always looking at some future event as solving all of the problems that currently face us rather than looking at the problems with a different perspective.
So we have decided that no matter what--no matter how small, how cluttered, how lived in our house may be--we are opening our doors now. It's an open invitation to anyone and everyone. If you are hungry, come and eat. If you are thirsty, come and drink. If you are tired, come and relax {as much as you can with two crazy kids wanting to play with you}. If you are lonely, come and find friendship. If you want a place for your kids to play, bring them over. If you just want to be nosey, you are welcome too! And if you want to buy our house, then you are definitely welcome!! We have been so blessed these past few weeks by the people who have come into our home to break bread with us. It is our pleasure, our desire and our destiny. And it feels so good to let the expectations of someday fade in importance and trade it for a richer today.
You can find us at 322 W Newton Ave., York, PA 17401. {But please, if you stop by between 12-3, don't use that lovely door knocker! Let's savor the sweet silence of sleeping babes!!!}

photo credits: Ken Bruggeman

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We've Got You Covered

I'm over on the new Central PA Kids blog today talking about Perrydell Farm, one of our favorite stomping grounds. 

So what's the Central PA Kids blog all about? It is your new resource to family fun throughout the region. My friend Lauren over at A Lovely Lark {everything she creates really is lovely, you should really check her out!!} wanted to give parents {and grandparents, aunts, uncles...} a fresh resource for family fun in our area.  She has invited me to be one of the contributors along with some other fabulous ladies. You can check out Meg's humorous (mis)adventures over at Oh, Bother! Blog and Emily's lovely life at Blueberry's Blog

Hop on over to read all about our trip to Perrydell Farm and make sure to like Central PA Kids on Facebook to stay up to date on all of the happenings around town. {You can check out the calendar here.} xoxo, Tabitha