Thursday, December 29, 2011

Addictive Elderberry Syrup for Your Health

I was introduced to elderberries when I met the Engineer.  He shared not for the benefit of my health, but to increase my repertoire of memorable quotes.  The first fragment of a Monty Python movie my green ears heard was the following retort,

I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.


I’m not sure why having a father smelling of elderberries is altogether offensive, but I do know that any pathogen would turn tale and run due to the elderberry’s antiviral properties. 

For this reason, the elderberry has entered our home.  We have been fighting sickness since before Thanksgiving.  And I want to eradicate this unwanted disruption from our immune system.

A combination of several factors allowed the germs to migrate and take up residence in our home.  Factors contributing to this ambush are a combination of any one or more of the following:

  • irregular bedtimes
  • frequenting the children’s area at the gym
  • homeschool co-op
  • a greater than average usage of shopping carts
  • the entrance of an unwanted enemy that was difficult to defeat:  white sugar
  • a large family
  • thumb suckers
  • skipping supplements (i.e. vitamins, cod liver oil, and probiotics)
  • not washing hands upon returning from errands
  • A lack of Thieves Oil anointing our feet
  • swerving from the ways of whole food cooking-- nourishing, diverse and colorful meals

When you begin skipping protocols that aide in health, sickness is just around the corner.  Once one member of the family becomes sick, it really is a matter of time before the entire house has shared germs. 

We have been fighting our unseen enemy through prayer and homeopathy. 

To boost our bodys’ immune response, I have added a new food based supplement . . . a new weapon.


Elderberry Syrup

(recipe is courtesy of Cara from Health Home and Happiness)



Place elderberries, rose hips, cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger and vanilla bean, and water in a saucepan. 


Bring water to a boil and then simmer for approximately 20 minutes. 


You want the water to reduce by half or have the remaining liquid appear syrupy.

A word of caution, should you tarry and allow your entire house to smell of elderberries then you may find that said berries will slurp up all of your remaining liquid leaving you . . . still sick.

Moral of the story:  don’t become too distracted when making this elixir. 

Separate the syrup from the ingredients.


After you have allowed the contents of your pot to moderately cool, add honey.


I didn’t immediately pour honey into the hot pan because I want my honey to retain its beneficial health properties. 

Eat honey, for it is good; the droppings of the honeycomb,
which are sweet to your taste.

Proverbs 24:13

Stir and pour into a Mason Jar.  Keep contents in the refrigerator. 

Usage:  Cara recommends that adults ingest 2 teaspoons daily and children 1 teaspoon each day.  Please remember that it is not wise for children under the age of one to ingest honey. 

For more great recipes from Cara, including grain free menus head on over to read about her GAPS friendly monthly menu plans.  They are 30% off right now if you use the coupon code SUPERSALE (valid until  the evening  of January 1, 2012).

Winners All Around

We have a winner . . . a Dayspring winner . . . $35 to spend at the store.  I told our winner that I wish I had won my own giveaway!  But alas . . . that wouldn’t be very fair – and Dayspring already sent me the free goodies

So Wendi knows . . . she found out on her anniversary “get-a-way” . . . but I also wanted to let you know that Dayspring is having a sale


Several times this Christmas season, I heard or read the following verse:

Through the tender mercy of our God,

With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;

(Luke 1:78)

Dayspring is defined as dawn, the coming of morning, or the return of the Messiah who will bring healing . . .

So . . . as you purchase your gifts or decorations for your home, whatever the season, I challenge you to make selections that remind you of the Messiah that has come . . . and is returning.

Consider browsing . . .

But only purchase . . . if . . . and only if . . . it is something that will promote a meaningful family tradition that causes you to ponder on Christ our Savior . . . or is a gift that will help the recipient reflect upon God’s love for them . . . and you actually have the money in your bank account.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus

Our family has chosen to host an intimate birthday party for Jesus, though we know that December 25th is not His actual birthday.


We invite you to join us.  To make Christmas meaningful.  Different.  Reflective . . . but fun.

A extraordinary wonder . . . a delightful memory that beckons your children and your heart to be inclined towards the star . . . leading you on a journey to the Savior.

Read the Christmas Story.  Be a part of the Christmas Story.  It’s written for me . . . for you . . . for the world. 


A party.

A birthday party for a Savior.


Join me over at Sharing the Journey to read about our very special birthday cake.


Here is a sneak peak:

Christmas is the one day of the year when our children restrain themselves and stay in bed longer than us.  They wait.  Their mouths salivate.  There is much anticipation.

This one day . . . the only day out of the year, they are served breakfast in bed.  And it isn’t just any ordinary breakfast.

They are treated to wholesome cake . . . at 7 AM.  Birthday cake.

Click here to read the rest! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Simple Woman’s Daybook



Outside my window... the sky is a pale purple, like playsilks died with Kool-Aid.

I am thinking... how funny . . . ironic . . . that the one morning I arise early to read my Bible, my eldest comes down the stairs and croaks in his morning voice, “Is it too late to be up?”  Inwardly I groaned that my first alone time in weeks was interrupted, but his presence did help me focus on my intended task . . . and not my inbox.

I am thankful for... the Engineer having an entire week off!

From the learning rooms... cursive . . . Truth in the Tinsel . . . and a lack of learning . . . just healing.

From the kitchen... a bird recently baked with turmeric and cumin late at night, copious amounts of chicken stalk, countertop yogurt, and soon . . . cheesecake, muffins, and French Silk Pie.  (I regret to say that I am deviating from wholesome goodness . . . momentary pause in whole foods).

I am creating... piles of Amazon boxes.

I am going... to enter the world of people and frantic shoppers . . . and I’m not looking forward to it.

I am reading… The Help, the Book of Matthew with Kay Arthur, and Montessori at Home.

I am hoping... to date the Engineer tonight, use his vacation as a time to plan and prepare for his return to school, and soak in a bath in 8 weeks in my very own bathroom. 

I am hearing... a little boy talk with a stuff nose, Ezra hum, Ruth’s toenails on the hardwood floor

Around the house... there is coughing, dust, anticipation, restoration.

One of my favorite things... Naomi singing, my Bible, honest and vulnerable comments, packages (even if they aren’t for me)

A few plans for the rest of the week: lots of time with the Engineer, a trip to the Children’s Museum, family, reflection upon our Savior

Here is picture for thought I am sharing... my very first attempt at beef stock.


  Talk about gelatin . . . and fat.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Seeds of Turmoil: A Review

Unfortunately, Seeds of Turmoil by Bryant Wright, has sat in my Bible basket for months.  Several times I have opened it up, but failed to become engaged in the historical data that is compiled in this biography of the “Biblical roots of the inevitable crisis in the Middle East.”

I am really kind of surprised that I didn’t just dive into this well-documented book . . . due to the fact that I am fascinated and drawn to any information and knowledge that I can gain regarding the Middle East and its history. 

Give me anything Joel Rosenberg and I gobble it right up . . . even when he is writing a non-fiction book (I do read more than just vacation reading, I’ll have you know.)

Nevertheless, this book serves as a primer and even tutorial to the “average joe” who has not researched the cultural and geographical reasons for the tension in the Middle East. 

For a well-versed Bible scholar, this would NOT be the book for you.  BUT for the individual who doesn’t have a good handle on Scripture and desires to know the REAL reason for all of the fighting over such a tiny amount of land, then this book would be a good purchase.

I review for BookSneeze®

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blood Clotting

You never want to hear your child come thumping down the stairs issuing a blood curdling scream.

However, today I was inducted into this Hall of Fame Club that some moms are blessed to be a part of, whether they wanted to be or not. 

While folding clothes, a certain brother decided that it would be a good idea to slide the retro mirrored door over Ezra’s foot.  Apparently, said little brother failed to realize that

1) Ezra wasn’t wearing steel-toed boots.


2) This wasn’t such a good idea. 

The result?

A screaming brother who brought his throbbing, profusely bleeding foot to his waiting mother full-of-dread. 

I didn’t have time to take before photos.

And bless Ezra’s heart, he says to me . . . Mom, I didn’t know I was bleeding.  I just knew that my foot got run over and I had to come see you.  I didn’t know it was bleeding.  I felt the door run over my foot and it hurt.

My warrior.  My future Navy Seal.

And this is why I am thankful that I bought this oil.


Helichrysum.  I thought I had run out.  I prayed.  One drop eked out. 

It stopped the bleeding.


I knew it would.  That’s why I used it.

Let me know if you would like to know more about Young Living Essential Oils!

Wordless Wednesday: Singing

She likes to sing.


And open her mouth.


Sing some more.


And I guess . . . smile for the camera.  Because when I pulled the camera out – she opened her mouth.


O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 

(Psalm 51:15)

For other Wordless Wednesday posts, head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love Came Down: A Giveaway

Last night we met for Bible study. 
As the sun approached the horizon, I found myself sidestepping a nervous dog, jumping over a rather inconvenient bean bag housing one Ezra traveling towards the sickness that had already overcome Asher, and a pile of dirty dishes lining up to enter the dishwasher. 
Meanwhile, Gabe talked for attention and grabbed his fourth pair of pants for the day. 
Thankfully, my little girl slept.
The kitchen?  I wondered how . . . how would it get clean?  The ladies were each bringing their favorite treat.  And I had the counter covered in Christmas Spirit Sugar Scrub
Tonight was supposed to be a party.  A Christmas party . . . and I with no cheer.
I was still stinky from my workout at the gym.  My hair was two days old.  Dinner hadn’t even made it to the checklist.  There were supplements to be administered; herbals to be prepared; and essential oils that must be anointed upon ailing loved ones.
I still had to call someone and apologize.
Quite truthfully, I thought to myself, is this what Christmas is about this year?
Business?  Sickness?  Hosting?  Cooking?  Baking?
However, every morning for the past two weeks I am reminded that it is not.
My morning mug tells me otherwise. Love came down.
And my afternoon mug seeks to remind me.  Love came down.
Love came down.
When I remember or am available to lead our Advent devotions . . . I am reminded there too . . . 25 days of being remindedLove came down.
I desperately want to grasp this concept.  A baby.  A beating heart.

A living person.  Not just a person . . . but God! 

God!  God . . . I shout.

But I’m struggling to hear.

Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones write in their book, Lady in Waiting,

Too many women have been involved in a form of religious worship, but have never had a vital, growing relationship with Jesus.

I am stuck right there.  At some point . . . somewhere between summer and fall, my interaction with Jesus became religious, rather than a relationship.  I became a Pharisee . . . bent on rules and doing the right thing.

Keeping up appearances. 

But when you are FORCED to consider who Christ is . . . when you are surrounded by Him in your home and even on the radio . . . I consider those words this season. 

Love came down.

Though one popular song artist has changed the lyrics to an old Christmas hymn, I know that there is power behind the real words.

The Word.  It’s not just a book.  It has the ability to know our hearts . . . transform our hearts.

So each morning, I am drawn to Him.  This Jesus.  This man that an ENTIRE day is celebrated.  More than a day.  A month.  Though we see evidence of a morphed holiday . . . tinsel, presents, Santa and his elves, cute reindeer . . .

The fact remains.

Without Jesus . . . no one . . . no one would be celebrating Christmas.  Black Friday wouldn’t exist, nor would Cyber Monday.

It is because of Him. Love came down.

People have tried to change how that Love is expressed.  But when it comes down to it . . .

It is Jesus. 

Lord Jesus . . . fill me with that wonder and awe of you.  God, draw me back to you.  Help me defy the pull at my apron strings, my mental to-do list, my tiredness, my lack of desire to serve . . . wake me up physically and spiritually of a morning.  As you grew from a baby to a man . . . Lord God . . . grow my faith.

Lord, come down into my heart.  I’m trying to build a crèche for you.

*****Let me invite you to enter to win a $35 gift certificate to be used at the Dayspring Store? *****

Mandatory (pick one):

  • Where is your heart this Christmas? (Besides in your chest.) or
  • What is your favorite Christmas decoration?


  • Follow me on Google Friend Connect
  • Subscribe to my blog
  • Tweet about the Giveaway . . . Let me help you out:

Enter to win a $35 gift certificate at Dayspring via @GranolaMom4God…

DaySpring has sent me this product for free to review and that all opinions stated are my own.  I will notify winner via email on December 26th.  You will have 24 hours to respond.  Coupon will be valid until the end of December for anything in the DaySpring Store.

FYI:  There will be an “after Christmas” sale at the Dayspring Store.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Whose Birthday Is It?

There is a tendency to supply the Christmas tree with many gifts, as if the gifts were the needles that fell off of the heavy boughs. . . .

To read more . . . please, join me over at Sharing the Journey, as we discuss whose birthday we are celebrating this Christmas season.  Chelsey has been hosting a great series titled 25 Days of Christmas Traditions.


Can’t wait to read your thoughts!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peanut Chicken Stew

This was one of the very first recipes that I cooked when we made the transition from a SAD (standard American diet) to a whole foods diet. 


I had been skeptical.

Tomatoes and peanut butter . . . on the same plate . . . in the same dish?


No way.

Yes way.

Peanut Chicken Stew



  • Sauté the onion and garlic in coconut oil. 
  • Stir in the chicken when the onions are clear.


  • Add salt, pepper, tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.


  • Add red pepper and peanut butter.  Stir well.


  • Serve over rice or millet.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Sustainable Child Safety

If you would like to practice sustainable child safety, I would highly recommend what I discovered in my kitchen yesterday.


In lieu of purchasing child safety locks . . .you know, those annoying clips that screw into the inside of your cabinets . . .  that make you grit your teeth every time you go to open a drawer when you need something quickly? 


Like I said, in lieu of child safety locks, consider using extra or not even extra utensils from your drawers.

Spatulas make effective locks against sweet babies that enjoy cleaning out cabinets.


Apparently, Asher has gotten tired of cleaning up after his sister.


(Though not the best picture of Naomi, you can see all of the objects she has pulled out of the cabinet.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Once Upon a Book ~ Tell Me the Christmas Story




Tell Me the Christmas Story

Honestly, Tell Me the Christmas Story, only briefly dips into the true meaning of Christmas.  This sweet board book is perfect for a 1-2 year old.  Naomi (age 1) would delight in the book and I should have targeted her rather than Gabe (age 3).  The images are sweet and the content is simple, so while I enjoyed reading this book to Gabe . . . we needed to add some meat to our reading.  That meat showed up through our daily “devotion” using  Truth in the Tinsel.  The scripture and crafts compliment Tell me the Christmas Story quite well. 

Find out how well!  Head on over to Totally Tots to see what activities we did for this sweet book!