Elderberries during cold and flu season

elderberry syrup


Despite us all being immunized, we had the flu run rampant through our house for the first time earlier this year.  I even missed my first day of class because all I could do was sleep, shuffle to the couch to take my temperature, drink a little chicken stock, shuffle back to bed, and repeat. It was especially scary when my kids got it since at the time my youngest was under a year old, but thank God the symptoms were nothing more serious than the general suckiness that is fever, achiness, and fatigue caused by flu.

When our family first started getting hit with the flu, we took a kid (whichever was sick first; it’s all a blur now) to a clinic (because of course she got sick on a weekend).  They did a test to tell us that yep, she had the flu and asked if we were interested in Tamiflu.

I’m not averse to medicine.  I’m a chemist, and I know that there are so many new drugs that can save lives.  But we asked the doctor how Tamiflu would benefit our child before we agreed.  We were told that the treatment would shave about 12-24 hours off the course of illness, and that there were side effects associated with the drug such as nausea and vomiting or (very rarely) even mental and behavioral effects.  The risks didn’t seem worth it to only take a day off of the illness, so we decided to forgo that route.

I started researching natural remedies and preventative measures we could take to avoid getting sick and to shorten illnesses with fewer side effects.  And by research, I mean I asked Dr. Google.  I found a lot of people recommending elderberries to boost the immune system.

What I read sounded promising, but I couldn’t help but wonder,  Is this legit, or is it just hype? After all, “natural” doesn’t always mean “effective” and sometimes is actually dangerous.  So I decided to deepen my search and see what I could find in the scientific literature about elderberry use. (more…)

Teaching assertiveness to girls – why “nice” isn’t enough

strong little girl

How do we empower our little girls to be strong and thrive in today’s world? It seems like being “nice” doesn’t pay for women. So many of us have been taken advantage of, hurt, or assaulted all because we were being “nice.”

And this needs to change for our next generation of girls. What can we do as parents? How do we equip our daughters for this world, knowing we need to start when they’re still small?


How your child can help with dinner prep (tasks by age)

preschooler knife skills

Getting kids involved in dinner preparation, whether by letting them cook or set the table, is so important for them developmentally. There’s so much for them to learn, feel, and see!

But getting kids involved in kitchen prep can be scary. After all, there are knives. And hot ovens/stoves. And heavy pots and pans. The kitchen can look like a disaster waiting to happen.

Plus, you may be wondering where to even begin! How old do your kids need to be to start in the kitchen? When can you give them a knife? When can they use the stove? How do you keep them safe? (more…)