Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe| Amanda Nicole Photography

How I make homemade Elderberry Syrup for flu prevention

Elderberry Syrup

Homemade Elderberry Syrup


Elderberry syrup is our go to when it comes to cold & flu season. The dried berries of the Sambucis Nigra plant are naturally high in immune-boosting compounds that are specifically shown to help beat the cold and flu more quickly. They can be used to make a variety of remedies, my personal favorite is the Elderberry syrup (my kids LOVE the dummies, but we will get to that later!)  Black elderberries (sambucus nigra) have been shown to prevent flu and speed recovery in those who have the flu. Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A,B and C and stimulate the immune system.


2/3 cup black elderberries (<<link to purchase dried elderberries)

3 1/2 cups filtered water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons Fresh ground ginger (or ground ginger root)

1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder (I have made this both ways and they both seem to work the same!)

1 cup raw honey (we got ours from our local farmer’s market)

Step 1:

Pour water into medium saucepan, add elderberries, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Bring water to a boil, cover then let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (you want the liquid to be at half of what it originally was)

Step 2:

Drain- Drain the liquid from the elderberries (I mash mine a little to make sure I squeeze all the good stuff out) Throw away elderberries and leave liquid to cool to luke warm.

Step 3:

Once liquid has cooled to a luke warm, add your 1 cup of honey and mix well. Once mixed pour mixture into a glass jar and pop in the fridge!!

*** TA-DA you made your own elderberry syrup! Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

How is this more cost effective you ask? Well elderberry syrup from our local nutrition store is roughly $20. For a 1 lb. bag of organic dried elderberries its $22.70, Honey is $11.99, and the spices you probably already have…now the initial cost is more than 1 jar of elderberry syrup which doesn’t last longer than a month (for a family of 4). But my 1lb. bag of Elderberries will last us for well over a year, so i should only need to buy honey every now and then when we run out (we use honey A LOT!). So for us it was worth it PLUS no high fructose corn syrup or added preservatives, and using local honey has TONS of great benefits!

0 comment

Newborn baby boy- Family of 5

Newborn Baby Boy-Family of 5

As most of you are now aware we just had our beautiful baby boy Cruz Alexander Knox, August 18th, 2015. He was 7lbs. 8oz. and 21 1/2 inches long. And it was a wonderful birth (see previous blog post if you want to read all about it!)

Cruz was my “harder” client, the baby that would NOT sleep, would not pose, when he did fall asleep and I laid him down those eyes popped WIDE open. So needless to say, 3 different session attempts…and a few pictures here and there I was finally satisfied. Naturally your own baby is always the hardest….so true but, I am also so happy with what I got, so all the sweat, blood and tears (ok…no blood) was beyond worth it!

I knew what I wanted our set up’s to be before he even arrived. I had set up the studio in between 38-39 weeks so I didn’t have to do it while recovering. I made pants and a few pieces of clothing specifically for his session, I bought fabrics to match and made custom name hats (and even bought one hand made). I LOVE colors, and patterns and got to incorporate all of my favorite things into his session. I went with some neutral as well, and I of course still feel so unfinished.. I feel as though I always want MORE. We didn’t get any sibling shots because..well…only one (our 3 year old) would participate so we figured we would wait until he is a little less fragile. We will also get family pictures done around this time. Here are my favorites from baby Cruz’s newborn session! Enjoy!!!

0 comment

A Natural Birth- Cruz’s Birth Story

11896493_543254715823112_8435216700695257943_o-1 11046505_542711689210748_4973107410450404347_o

A Natural Birth- The Birth Story of baby Cruz

Here we are, two weeks after our amazing natural birth and I am finally able to sit and share our story. First let me start by saying, there is NO wrong way to birth, I think all birth is amazing! I was so eager and excited to have a successful natural birth and I can finally say it went exactly as I prayed it would.

I know my blog is very focused on my photography and my business but these last few months have been consumed with everything pregnancy, new baby and post pregnancy. We will be continuing back to our normal routine posts and back to more photography as usual. For now, here, is my birth story.

Monday August 17th…a couple days post Due date, eager and ready were all I was feeling. The pressure from everyone around was becoming frustrating, “When are you going to have that baby?” “Just get induced already!” “Can you have that baby today so we have something to do……..!!???!!” UMMM WHAT….I talked my WHOLE pregnancy about how I didn’t want to give out my due date so people didn’t expect him to be here by a date…because as I’m sure you are aware..babies don’t know dates :O. Crazy right??!!?? I was in no hurry (although everything hurt, and naturally I couldn’t sleep anymore) I knew he would come when he was ready, and what was a few more days..it had been over 40 weeks anyways (*rant over*). So back to Monday the 17th, I had my post DD doctors appointment, and decided to get my membranes stripped since I could tell my body was trying (for about a week) to go into labor, It couldn’t because Cruz was sunny side up, which can prevent your body from going into full blown labor and I knew I was on the verge. So my appointment was at 11:30, after I decided to go on a walk (per my midwife’s suggestion) so I got home, walked for 45 minutes, ate lunch and walked target to finish getting a few things I knew the boys would need before the time came. Well come 12:30 (YES one hour after my appointment) IT started…A contraction…strong enough for me to say…OUCH…maybe I should call my hubby and give him a heads up..and then some other stuff started but, I will save you the gory details.

By 2:30 The hubby came home, my mom and grandmother took our big boys home with them so I could labor and focus on my contractions with out the chaos of a 1 and 3 year old. We hung out, walked some more and around 5 when contractions where 2-3 minutes apart I thought we should head in. We arrived at L&D and checked in, and i got the news I was basically exactly what I was at my doctors appointment earlier (3cm)..a HUGE disappointment since my contractions where close and STRONG. Per their advice we walked for an hour and there was a tad progression but not enough to make me stay…they suggested “Go home, rest…(HAHA) and I’m sure you will come back tomorrow in labor” so we did, we left and got home around 9:30, went ahead and got more of our bags ready because I just knew this was it. We did some relaxation techniques and my contractions spaced back out so I took a bath and decided to hit the bed, once I started to fall asleep my body said NOPE…and the contractions got HARDER, I had Chris grab the timer and start counter pressure on my back because the back labor was so incredibly painful. The contractions stayed 8-12 minutes apart and never evened back out, it was so frustrating because that was what was keeping me from going back in. I could not sleep with the pain so I hopped into the shower, I don’t even know how long I was in there but I will say once my last contraction in the shower brought me to my knees, I knew we had to leave. Something told me to go-NOW. I woke Chris up who fought me on how “my contractions weren’t even regular”aka-i want to sleep but, I told him to trust me and we were off, by this time its roughly 2:30 in the morning. We arrive back to L&D and quickly get checked (it was fast since we were there earlier) and am immediately told “oh lets get you a room” I was a little over 6cm. They walk me back to a labor room, hook me up to a monitor (I was required to be monitored for 30 minutes while they filled up our labor tub.) Horrible, worst 30 minutes EVER…you cannot just LAY there and naturally labor this far into things…its terrible,and, as soon as the monitors got hooked to me I hit transition (7+cm)….HARD…i started shaking, vomiting and my water started leaking. I knew what this was because I had read about it in all our natural birthing books. Once our tub was FINALLY filled Chris and I jumped right in, it was glorious. It did NOT take away the pain but was a wonderful distraction and helped me relax and get into a state of meditation I didn’t even knew I could This moment was beautiful (from the outside) as my husband rubbed my back, kissed me and told me how amazing and how strong I was. about an hour-ish into our tub laboring I couldn’t do it anymore, I was yelling “I CANT” at the very top of my lungs and then I knew what that meant…I WAS THERE, he was almost here, I was at the VERY END. My midwife grabbed my hand and said, “you’re almost there, you’re doing so wonderful,” I was so hot in the tub (they accidentally got it to hot and it wouldn’t cool), I felt as though I was going to pass out from the heat so I decided I needed to get out and went with my gut which told me to go to the bed and get on all 4’s…I started pushing in the tub prior but nothing was happening. Once on the bed I started pushing again and my midwife had to finish breaking my “incredibly strong water bag” so I could get this baby out (mind you I was fully dialated and in a ton of pain). I then felt him move down and pushed like hell for 30 LONG minutes… and he was HERE. I flipped over faster than I ever imagined so I could grab my beautiful little boy. It was the MOST incredible moment. I had been yelling for who knows how long “I can’t do this” and I DID…so now naturally I was saying with pure glee “I DID IT, I DID IT!!!” Cruz Alexander Knox was born at 5:15am, 100% natural weighing 7.8lbs. and 21 1/5 inches long.

I hear far to often “Why would you want to go natural..its not like you get a reward/medal for it…” and let me tell you, when its something you want so bad, its more than getting a reward…you now have this incredible bond with your body and your baby, you know what you are capable of and Its a whole new level of something you have never experienced until you experience it yourself. I have never been so proud of myself, and in such awe of what my body can do. I remember feeling Cruz kick so hard to move down and help with labor, doing stuff he wouldn’t have been able to do if I were to have had any other labor. I did get a reward, it was the amazing birth I prayed so hard for and a beautiful healthy baby boy <3.

I would like to say a huge shout out to an incredible birth photographer Liliana Leahy Photography. I am going to include our amazing slide show of our birth (<<<video here) she made for us, ENJOY! Please contact this wonderful woman to photograph your birth if your looking for a birth photographer. I was so amazed with how she captured EVERYTHING i ever wanted. http://www.lilianaleahyphotography.com


Family of 4-sleepy baby boy {Newborn Photographer Roswell,GA}

New Family of 4

A week ago I had the pleasure of photographing a new family of 4! They arrived at my studio with their sleepy baby boy and we had a fantastic session. I’m so happy they chose me after becoming friends in our local MOMS club, I also did her maternity session! I knew they would be great to work with :) Baby L’s gorgeous mama loves vintage colors so my photography style was a perfect fit with blue, mustard and gray with white were absolutely perfect. The family also came ready for lots of family photos and we got to use grandmother/Aunt in the session too. Congrats Mora family! Here are a few favorites from our time together – Enjoy!

1 Comment

Prepping for a healthy Pregnancy and First Trimester



Prepping for a healthy pregnancy!

As most of my followers know I am 36 weeks pregnant with baby boy #3. I get asked a LOT about things I do during pregnancy. This led me to the idea to start a new blog post (and post weekly) my personal favorite ways to prep for a healthy pregnancy- This post is based on pre-pregnancy and first trimester. This post is by no means medical advice or to be used as medical advice, I am not a medical professional. These are steps I took to personally try and have a healthy, easy pregnancy. Enjoy!

There are so many exciting things going through your head as you and your significant other decide its time to start trying for a baby. It can also be an overwhelming time. Here are a few tips I learned through 3 healthy pregnancies to help make things a little easier (and healthier).

First: Folate: a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for normal growth and development. If women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy, it can help reduce their baby’s risk for birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects (NTDs). (information from: http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/take-folic-acid-before-youre-pregnant.aspx)

-I personally start Folate at least a month prior to conceiving (recommended 2 months) to ensure the folate is already in my system, once pregnant I then switch to a prenatal high in Folate (not to be confused with Folic Acid). My go to prenatal is Garden of Life Kind Organics (I buy them when Whole foods has the big bottles 50% off!!).

Second: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea


This is probably my favorite tea out there since it has so many wonderful uses and benefits. It’s also naturally high in magnesium (which is great for that first trimester nausea). It strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles which some midwives say leads to shorter and easier labors.

Prior to pregnancy I drink this tea up to 3 times a day, Once pregnant I reduce it to once daily in the first trimester. The tea is also high in vitamin C which makes it great for fighting off and preventing illnesses (great for those cold months).

To Brew: I boil 8-12 oz. of water, pour over my tea bag and steep for roughly 10 minutes. I then like to add about 1/2 a tbsp of honey to make it easier to drink, (the tea has a naturally bitter taste). On hot summer days I boil an entire pot of water and steep 3-4 tea bags with about 2 tbsp of honey, let cool,and then pop the tea in the fridge and consume 1 cold glass a day in the first trimester (I bump up consumption per trimester).

Third: Diet (The Brewer Pregnancy Diet)


I start a more “high protein” type diet (I try to follow the Brewer Pregnancy Diet) during these times. I try and eat 100 grams of protien a day…but lets be honest, that is SO HARD….especially in the first trimester when my meat aversion is in full force. But a diet high in protein means high in amnio acids (which is what your baby is built from), although it’d be nice if your baby could just be build from all the extra stuff in our hips/butt.

Protein examples: Dairy, Eggs, Greens, Meats, Nuts, Beans, Veggies.

Meal Example: Breakfast: Yogurt, 2-3 Scrambled eggs and buttered toast. Lunch: Chicken Salad with spinach, strawberries, slivered almost, dried cranberries, carrots slices and (my favorite) raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Dinner: Salmon, Wild Rice and a sweet potato!

Fourth: Exercise 


I am not a running, lifting weights, or being in the gym type of person, actually, I am the LAST person you will find in the gym, BUT, I sure do love to have a healthy body for pregnancy and to ensure my body is up for the tedious task of carrying/delivering. Here are the very few things I do in prep for pregnancy and in my first trimester.

Kegels, Daily walks, Squats, and the occasional summer swimming.

Last: Magnesium


I swear by magnesium, I start this right around the time I know I am probably pregnant or find out I am in fact pregnant. I noticed during all my pregnancies that If i didn’t take it I would start showing the typical first trimester nausea symptoms but as soon as I drank this supplement I almost immediately felt better. All it took was for me to drink it daily and for the most part those pesky first trimester symptoms we all dread, were far less than what they would normally be. I like to think I was fixing a deficiency (since most people are magnesium deficient anyway). My go to magnesium supplement is Natural Calm.

I hope this post can be of some help for any ladies about to try for a baby or newly pregnant mommas! Look out for my post next week on my personal Second trimester tips, experiences and more!

Thank you!!

0 comment

1 2 3