Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I don't wanna know, wait - yeah I do..

So I was innocently reading a yummy sounding healthy hamburger cheese dip and read one tiny little line......

Oh dear, so many (most?) crock pots; have lead in the ceramic???  I'm in the process of checking into this and seeing what are the options.  Argh.  Right this very minute I have a yummy local chicken slow cooking in my crock pot on my counter.

Really?  Sometimes I wish I didn't pursue things.  But I want to do all I can to provide a safe home for me and my family.  So, what about my crock pot?  I'll let you know.

Love, Carra

Monday, December 26, 2011

I (heart) green juice 3.0

So on Wednesday, our little guy will turn ONE! I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown by. For his birthday week, two things are happening...

1. He will be receiving a more masculine/gender-neutral room color. We went ahead and put the girls back together to share a room, and Zade has moved into Faith's old room. The color of her room is called "queen anne's lace." Not a bright pink, a subtle, gentle pink, ...but pink. So Pete can no longer stand it, I'm finding it inhibiting for decorating, and we have a smidgen of space between the encounter winter conference (beginning tues) and the beginning of the spring semester. Colors? Green (leftover from the kitchen) and possibly one cream wall. All his furniture is black (see previous crazy furniture painting post).

2. He got introduced to "green juice." Dr. Ben Kim's Greens, mixed with vitamin C and diatomeceous earth (that's a whole other post). No juice, just gritty thick vitaminy water....and you can see... he loved it!!!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas!
Love, Carra

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Looking for some time to relax!

This should probably subtitled - essential oils are welcome everywhere in our house. I recently read this book called "Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be" by Donna Partow. It's a "normal" book but she surprisingly seems to have some granola leanings. I like it.

One of the assignments (it's a 90 day journey) was to incorporate a cleansing bath at least once a week. I am not a "bather." I like my shower -its quick and doesn't make the bathroom messy. Both my girls get baths (usually together) but those involve soap and scrubbing off the layers of earth built up from their dirt cake endeavors. Zade is kind of bathed on an as needed poopy-directed basis.

But now we are trying to add a weekly cleansing bath for each of us. I call it a "soak bath" for the girls. I don't use soap for them on that one. I add baking soda (cupish) and some lavender and eucalyptus essential oils (3 +/- drops of each). They sit in the bath and play with their cups and washcloths until the water gets cool. I use about the same amounts but add a cup of Epsom salts for me.

If you do this - drink lots of water because this definitely has a detox effect. I'm just ready to go straight to sleep after this bath - lovely!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Baby Food, sort of

I suppose I have a philosophy of feeding babies. You probably know I am pretty fond of many of the "old ways." I remember my great aunt saying, "well, the old people used to..."

One of the things the "old people" used to do was to wait until a baby began growing teeth before adding solid foods. Not an arbitrary 4 months (wow that seems young), 6 months or whatever.

So Zade grew some teeth about a month ago. His fourth tooth just came through. And he was happily nursing, now he nurses just as much and *loves* food-food.

With the older girls we did arbitrarily wait until 9 months, then added grains in the form of organic cheerio type cereal. Then I read two books in the meantime...

Real Food for Mother and Baby by Plank (sp?)
Nourishing Traditions by Sally --(?)

There is a wealth of info there & will challenge you a lot. My takeaways for feeding the little man??

Basically I am avoiding all breads that have been processed. He only eats soaked sourdough my friend SE makes for me each week. Zade eats meat (roast beef, chicken, turkey and fish). I haven't given him any fruits or pastas.

He loves meat, SE's bread, sweet potatoes, all kinds of vegetables, eggs, oatmeal and brown rice. He eats so much that the idea of cooking something, putting it into ice cube trays etc is useless. I cooked a ton of sweet potatoes, cooked then, packed them into jars & froze them. I just keep a jar in the fridge at all times. It's easy just to scoop some in a bowl.

For traveling, I like the "happy baby" brand food. His favorite is super salmon. It's hard to find in stores - amazon carries it. It's more than I would pay for his everyday meals, but super handy to have on hand for "on the go."

So when you see me and there's a little orange handprint...just ignore it...it's my mommy badge these days.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beyond the desk...

So Saturday (& all weekend) I started to paint a desk. I kept finding more pieces that needed painting. Here's the room full of oak furniture and the room filled with gray primed furniture.

Things I learned:
1. Painting an entire room (walls) takes half the time of painting a room full of furniture.

2. Cribs should be painted with a sprayer. It's like 18 little rungs just on one side...and painting long, round, thin posts is tedious!

3. Painting objects inside a room should not completely fill the space. One needs room to reach all the parts of the furniture (see #2).

4. Painting is still something I love!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekend Warrior? Naw, Homemaker

So here I am dressed for renovation. These pants are not the most fashionista of my collection. However, I think they are perfect. I can look down at my pants and see the green of my kitchen, cream of my hallway, white of my cabinets and black of my funiture. It's a fabric record of my projects.

I really hate to ruin clothes. And it seems like I ruin them a lot. Even though I wear "old clothes" to work, an apron to cook and try to be careful....I always seem to drop something on myself. So I figure that one pair of "painting pants" should give me the freedom to renovate with abandon. Ok I actually have two pairs of painting pants. The others used to be yard pants, but now the two are pretty much interchangable.

So why am I all fancy for a Friday night? Because I have a window of time I can make some messes without bugging Pete. What's on the agenda? This desk (and several more pieces) I discovered at the Salvation Army. I'll send along the afters hopefully by Monday. Have a great weekend!

Love, Carra

Monday, October 31, 2011

Confession #31 - The scariest day of my life

It was.  Terrifying.
I sat quietly in the car. No one could tell.
My heart sank, my mind raced.  I was undone.  I realized somehow that all the stuff I had been doing to be pleasing to God was failing.  I was failing at being good enough. And I knew.

I knew at that point.  Just riding in the car.  If we wrecked, if I died, I would go to hell.
I know that may sound a little overdramatic.  But it was my true experience.  I felt the weight of my failures, I knew that though I had convinced everyone else around me, I was dead in my spirit.

So from gripping fear, my emotions went to desperation.  I suddenly didn't care whether people thought I was a nice girl or not.  All I cared about at that moment was that I needed to be at peace with God.  My sin, my choices, my imperfections....all crashed around me and I wanted freedom.

I had lived the "church girl" life, I knew what the Bible said.  I realized that I had gone thought the motions but never surrendered my heart.  Desperate for relief from the weight of conviction.  Desperate for relief from the pretending I was good...it was exhausting to "be good" with my limited human capacity.

So I did what I had heard preachers talk about.
I cried out to Christ.  I prayed, "Save me from my sins.  Forgive me.  Take my fake "good girl" life and make me real."

He did.
The most terrifying day of my life. I feel the feelings even as I share them here with you right now.  But with the huge difference.... I feel the peace.  I feel the love my Jesus my has for me.  I live with the reality of my continued sinfulness - my "junk" if you will.  But within the reality of my junk is the reality of my freedom and His forgiveness. If you've stayed with me throughout the month of confessions, you know I am far from perfect. But instead of trying harder or pretending, I now get to live in gratitude that Christ doesn't hold that against me.

I was reading a friend's blog and she referenced this video.  It is a little urban so the country may not relate to it as much.  But if you can handle it, I think you will find it some good stuff.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Confession #30 - Things I want to do by Thanksgiving

Well this is what Better Homes and Gardens suggests as a Thanksgiving Countdown.  I love what a comedian said once.  You know Better Homes and Gardens?  Yeah, than means better than your home, better than your garden!

Well, in the spirit of admitting things, I do read Southern Living.  I asked for a subscription about three years ago for the express purpose of developing myself as a homemaker, hostess and decorator.  This is definitely a place I feel a weakness.  When Pete and I first married, I was somewhat intimidated by my in-laws.  They put tablecloths on tables for weekday lunch, fussed for an hour trying to get the centerpieces just right for a birthday dinner, and added little pieces of parsley to the plates just for the beauty of it.

For a while I just rejected it.  I had the attitude - tastes good, good conversation, isn't that enough?  Well, the truth is --- I rejected all the "frou-frou" because I was not good at it.  I didn't want to try because I feared I would not succeed. But after some honest conversations, honest look at my attitudes, and God teaching me.... I am slowly learning how to do some of this stuff ...and that it has value.

So armed with about 50 sheets torn out of three years of Southern Living magazines, a binder of ideas, notes, budgets, etc. I am getting ready (thank you CB for your Christmas notebook idea that I adjusted for Thanksgiving/Christmas!).

So what do I (the confessing natural mommy) plan for Thanksgiving?  Here are some of my countdown items:
  • Cook a local, grass-fed turkey that I put a deposit on at my local farmer's market.
  • Paint our den with the Mythic non-toxic paint so it is a brighter place to spend time.
  • Cook and freeze sweet potato pies, yeast rolls, muffins and waffles for breakfasts (using natural sugars and organic flour - some of it I will be milling myself)
  • Make a batch of homemade turkey sausage based loosely on Heavenly Homemakers recipe (less hot stuff, more sage in mine)
  • Scrub the bathtubs with Shaklee Scour Off.  This stuff is awesome, but trust me - the stains are long-standing and will take some serious time and elbow grease. 
  • Switch all the kid's bedrooms around.  I know that sounds nuts, but it will be a better fit for us long term and a good thing to have in place before we have guests.
  • Make a decorative wall of family photographs...on the cheap.
  • Decorate the whole house.  Seriously.  bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, living room, front porch.  Not going to do bedrooms per se, but I know my crafty kids and there will definitely be decor in the bedrooms.
I'm thinking of doing a short series on my Thanksgiving list progress.  I only have 24 days.  Tomorrow I'll be sharing about the scariest day of my life! Boo!

Love, Carra

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Confession # 29 - Blog about nothing

I set a goal.  To blog everyday for the entire month of October.  I've already made it 28 days.  Today has been strange.  So this blog is just about a little random nothingness.  This week has been tough.  Last night Pete and I talked a while before bed.  We talked about our week and about doing something fun as a family. 

Then, we went upstairs.  It was cold.  The hvac for the upper floor (we live in a split level) was not working. We pulled out space heaters for the kids and added extra blankets for us. I woke up this morning with a cold nose LOL!

Pete spent the day trying to check connections, reading the stuck-together-due-to-moisture-becasue-it-was-left-in-the-crawl-space... manual.  The heat/cooling units are like 20 years old.  We can't get parts because appliance stores are only open weekdays.  So Monday - heat the other half of the house- we hope and pray. At this point, we're still hoping Pete can fix it.

But yay! - the downstairs is warm. So, tonight the girls will be camping out in the den.  Zade and Pete and I will use our two space heaters.

So I confess, I have nothing much to say.  Pete worked all day on the heat.  I tried to clean and get things moved around so he could work.  Right now, I have strawberry muffins in the oven and spaghetti on the stove.  I am so grateful that God provided a house with two heating units. I'm looking forward to some chill and rest (maybe even an episode of Amazing Race online.  I hope your (and my) tomorrow is a wonderful restful Sunday.

Love, Carra

Friday, October 28, 2011

Confession #28 - Marital Conflict, Part 2

I appreciate your feedback on the "thing" in my dining room.  I do believe that I received more advice about my marriage than about the "thing."  However I did get some good ideas about it (and marriage).

It's funny - I did just get my dream kitchen pretty much 100% as a result of the efforts of my husband. So yes, I should be fine releasing this "thing" - and in a manner of speaking I am.  not really because of the kitchen, but because of my role as Pete's wife.  Years and years ago I was privileged to me mentored by an awesome godly mom of three (two girls and a boy, imagine that! - but her's was girl, boy, girl).  CL took precious time to spend with me and give me guidance on the nuances of being a wife.

Many pieces of her wisdom have stuck with me over the years but one in particular stands out...  She reminded me that the purpose of the homemaker was to make the home a place of peace.  When her husband came home from a long day of giving of himself in ministry, she did her best to have the house fairly tidy and some sort of food in progress.  It was all for the goal of providing a place (and being a person) that is at peace.  A peaceful home is a beautiful gift.

I strive to create a peaceful home.  So many of you reminding me to not allow a two foot tall metal object to create a division between us... you guys were spot on.  As I thought about it...Pete doesn't think it's beautiful. It doesn't add to his peace.  So I'm removing it.

The cool news is...his idea (inspired by hearing all of your ideas) is to keep it for my craft items...in the room our friends and family stay in when they visit...where I keep my special chair...where Pete rarely goes. Yay, solved!  Thanks for your help!

Love, Carra

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Confession #27 - Trying to Learn a Weird Song

Just this year, we added to our home school life - Classical Conversations.  Actually it is misnamed, it should be Classical Silly Songs that Teach You Ridiculous Quantities of Information.  I guess that's a little long, though.  So we're learning some Latin, some English grammar rules, skip counting, science, music, art, history, etc.  Notice  I said "we."  I am having to really apply myself to learn as much as I can to help the kiddos review and "get" this stuff.  It is not easy!  But fun.

I am totally grateful for the program.  I think doing it independently would not be *impossible* but just keeping up with the program that has already been put together it challenging.  One thing I am really trying to get a handle on is the memorization of the entire of history (Biblical and secular mixed together) from Creation to Modern America.

I found some songs on youtube that we started using. Then my friend SC found this one.  Great 80's/90's vibe.  So if you hear me humming "We Didn't Start the Fire," I'm probably singing about about the unification of upper and lower Egypt under Pharaoh Menes.  Love, Carra

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Confession #26 - Politics, Religion, & Scouts

I don't know why ...but a certain friend seems to think that working for a library and being a Girl Scout is not the coolest resume of young adulthood.  What do I say to that? .....yuh huh!!!

I was a Girl Scout from first grade through graduation. I received just about every award offered including the Gold Award which is the highest award offered to Girl Scouts.  I then became a leader for a troop at my former elementary school, for my sister's troop and then sporadically volunteered off and on for years. I loved being a Girl Scout.  I wouldn't trade those experiences, the friendships I made (and still have) for anything.

But... looking ahead for my little girls...after some research... decided that we really didn't want to stay with the Girl Scouts anymore.  ...for two primary reasons:
  1. God has been really put to the side.  I was asked not to be outward about my beliefs way back when I was in high school working at a camp.  This sweet little brownie asked why people go to church.  I wanted to share but I didn't.  At that time, I didn't really know how to explain faith and I was concerned I would get in trouble with the leadership.  I pray for that little girl (now adult woman) that someone less intimidated than I - explained to her how to know God.

  2. The larger organization is a little too cozy with the pro-choice movement.  I don't want to get political (and I don't want my girls character building organization to get political either).  If you know me, you know I place a high value on babies.  I love what my friend CA tells her young sons, "God made you bigger and stronger so you can protect the weaker."  (Girl, I am so using that!)  You know I have lost two babies to miscarriage and feel extremely grateful for the children God has given us. And we chose our means of birth control based on our pro-life beliefs.
An aside: I've read several sources, but here is one that emphasizes my prime issues. It is a Catholic site and you probably know I'm protestant.  But I find I often align well with the Catholic pro-life stand.

So we opted for the newer organization called American Heritage Girls.  I love AHG.  It is a publicly Christian club for girls age 5 and up.  The girls are not required to be Christian, but all the leaders are must sign a statement of faith and pass a background check.  I can unabashedly express my faith and touring planned parenthood is not listed an acceptable field trip for elementary school girls.  Here's a comparison of the two organizations.

So, this is my American Heritage Girl.  We're doing weaving, beading, learning the flag ceremony, going Christmas caroling at a nursing home, going camping, singing ridiculous songs and all the great stuff that was really fun when I was a young girl.

I wish the Girl Scouts were the same as I remember them almost 30 years ago when I got my Brownie pin.  But gratefully there are alternatives like AHG.  And I confess, I am having a blast doing the "Strut Miss Lucy" again!

Love, Carra

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Confession #25 - More preppy-ness

I have confessed my love of the natural makeup.  Now I need to share my toes with you.  My friend SC is creeped out by feet.  I kinda like feet.  Not the super smelly kind, but a standard clean foot is fine by me.  If you don't want to read about my feet, you may want to read elsewhere today.

You should know by now that I am picky about random things.  I am super picky about my bed.  It has to be made daily. If it have a wrinkle in the sheets when I lay down, I will get up in the middle of the night to straighten it out.  Yes, I know... poor Pete.

Well I also need to keep my toenails neat and my feet smooth.  I use a pumice stone in the shower, lotion afterward and regularly file down and paint my toenails.  If I feel a "rough spot"on my toenail in the night, I will get up and file it to smooth. Yes, I know...poor Pete.

Did you catch that I paint my toenails?  I just don't feel pretty (even if no one sees them) if my toenails are not painted.  But there are chemicals in those polishes (not to mention the smell)!

I'm so excited - for about five years I've been using Honeybee Gardens natural nail polish.  These are a water-based polish.  I love them for the fact that I can paint my toenails indoors (Pete used to ask me to go outside when I used mainstream polishes).  I have enjoyed being able to "girly-fy" my little ladies even when they were really young.

Quality: I have tried several colors over the years. Some do better than others.  My favorite is "Desire" which is a nice deep, pure red.   Mocha latte is a cool color but doesn't last very long.  Fairy dust is almost clear, so we've switched to Valentine (very pink).  Hippie Chick is a great bright lavender/purple - a true win for the 3 to 7 year olds (or the 36 year old on a bold day).  I've bought them from various places.  Sales vary so pick your colors and then just Google search your favorite online stores.

About my natural makeup...And I discovered that Buff Natural Nail Salon has no link to their makeup line on their website.  They really sell it! If you're in the Triad, NC - it's definitely worth a look.  They will do a "try it out" makeover thing for free but definitely call for an appointment!

Love, Carra

Monday, October 24, 2011

Confession #24 - Not looking for the fountain of youth

 My grandmother has cancer.  Doctors gave her a life expectancy of 6 months to live.  That was getting close to two years ago.  Hospice was brought in for over a year, but has now stepped out. Because she has Alzheimer's, the docs cannot do a followup scan (couldn't get her to understand that she would need to be still) and we certainly do not want to put her under (what little function she has could be lost).

So this unknown cancer, two bouts with breast cancer (result: double mastectomy) and this is my grandmother.  Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and a host of other ills run through my family in addition to cancer.

The more I read and research, the more convinced I am that our eating, our environment, our use of chemical drugs are a big part of our illnesses.  There are many days I would just rather take Motrin for my headache.  But the causes are probably poor diet, dehydration, exhaustion and hormones.  I can "fix" a lot of that but there is the 15 minute "fix" that is so tempting.

So why do I pursue this natural stuff?
I don't want to live forever.  I look forward to the day of my Savior's return.  I am grateful that Christ has rescued me from all my failures and being with Him is the prize now and at the end of my life.

But what am I here for?  I want to have the energy and strength to do all the things He has called me to.  I want to be strong and feel well.  I want to have energy for my kiddos.  I want to give my children a good health basis for life.  I want to grow old.  I want to grow old with strength and clarity.

I think medical research has given us a wonderful array of options.  But don't discount the wonderful array of options offered by natural medicine.  Prevention, not cure is the best approach.  There is a lot out there that's way off and weird and sells you products instead of educating you about issues.  But there's really good information out there too.

Two places I'll recommend:
1. Dr. Mercola.  He does sell products on his site (and we have bought a couple of them) but he does an excellent job of responding to current studies and brings well documented research to bear.  He has a free newsletter that I receive couple of times a week.  I don't always read them (don't have the time).  But when I see a topic that interests me, I go ahead and check into it.

2. Grassroots Health.  Here's an excerpt about prevention of breast cancer (you can imagine why this one caught my eye):

Breast Cancer Prevention Month Initiated by GrassrootsHealth

GrassrootsHealth is changing the current Breast Cancer Awareness Month to Breast Cancer Prevention Month with a focus on taking action to prevent breast cancer with vitamin D testing and education.
"It's time to take action, women are already fully aware of breast cancer and its consequences," says Carole Baggerly, director of GrassrootsHealth. "When you can project that fully 75 percent of breast cancer could be prevented with higher vitamin D serum levels, there is no justification for waiting to take preventive measures such as getting one's vitamin D level up to the recommended range of 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L)."
According to Dr. Cedric F. Garland of the Moores Cancer Center and the UCSD School of Medicine:
"This will potentially be the most important action ever conducted toward prevention of breast cancer. The more women who participate in this study, the greater the chance that we will defeat breast cancer within our lifetimes."
Women across the world are invited to enroll in a 5-year Breast Cancer Prevention Study initiated by GrassrootsHealth. To be eligible to enroll, you must be at least 60 years of age and have no current cancer. A free vitamin D home test kit will be provided for the first 1,000 women to enroll. The study aims to fully demonstrate health outcomes of vitamin D serum levels in the range of 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L) and will examine the occurrence of breast cancer among a population of women 60 and over who achieve and maintain a targeted vitamin D serum level in the bloodstream. In addition to breast cancer prevention, short-term effects of vitamin D such as hypertension, falls, colds and flu will also be tracked. More information can be found at www.grassrootshealth.net.

I take vitamin D regularly. It helps with kicking colds now, hopefully cancer later.
Love, Carra

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Confession #23 - Naturally Sleepy

So you probably realize by now that I have three children.  I home school.  I teach them lots of things.  The first number they learn is the number eight.

I like to have a quiet house before 8:00 a.m.  On Saturdays (and some Thursdays) I like to sleep until 8:00 a.m. Most mornings I have my time with the Lord between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.  If the house is "awake" it's a challenge for me to read the Bible and prayer journal.

The first number my children learned was the 8 as displayed on a digital clock. I told Faith when she was around 3 years old that she could get up at 8:00 in the morning.

At 2:38 a.m. I heard a little voice declaring that it was eighty clock and she was getting up.

So I found some masking tape.... and here you go....

Now I will need to do a little reconditioning as we're learning to tell time. Good thing I home school!

Love, Carra

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Confession #22 - Trying not to Stink

Since puberty, I've had this reoccurring issue.  It's called sweat.

Research has shown a correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer's. So deodorant / antiperspirant with aluminum is not an option for me. (Alzheimer's has occurrences on both sides of my family - no extra risks!)

So what's a girl to do to arm herself against stinky-ness? (pun intended)

I was doing some random research and googled, "Have you ever used toothpaste as deodorant?"  Some yahoo answers guy replied, "No, but I've used deodorant as toothpaste!"

I was talking with my sister one day and told her about the funny yahoo answers guy.  She laughed, then stopped and said, "you're serious?"

Yep, I've never used deodorant as toothpaste, but I have used toothpaste as deodorant.

Dentarome has been the most effective (albeit somewhat pricy).  You can only get this from Young Living Essential Oils.  However it only takes a tiny bit.  It also leaves you nice and minty fresh.  LOL!

I have bought some basic salt toothpaste made by Welda which is about half the cost.  I alternate between the two but Dentarome is what I make sure I have on for important occasions.  I have tried homemade kinds.  I used to use some made by some Amish friends.  But there is some component of it that gets on my clothes and stains.  So unless I'm just working around the house in clothes I don't really care about... My choice is toothpaste.

In fact, I'm wearing some right now...

Love, Carra

Friday, October 21, 2011

Confession #21 - I'm a Diva (periodically)

If you are a guy and have found your way to my post today, may I invite you to surf elsewhere?  I mean, if you are totally fascinated by the cyclical nature of women and the products they use... be my guest.  But don't say I didn't warn you!

So you know I've shared about our natural birth control, natural makeup, etc.  Continuing along the vein of natural "personal life" -- I want to tell you about the most amazingly cool invention for women!! - the Diva cup!

A while back I was happily using always, kotex and their cousins every month for a week.  My friend CB said she had started using all natural tampons and said they were great.  That was a good reminder to pay attention to that area downstairs.  I already used 7th Generation diapers on the bottoms of my babies because of the bleach, etc.  I hadn't really thought about what I was using with all those chemicals.  So I bought some and switched.

Happily I was using my natural tampons during the day and wore and 7th gen overnight pad for the night.  I just didn't feel comfortable with wearing a tampon through the night because you could get TSS and die.  I've been trained well to avoid that.

So last year my friend DC emails me and mentions, "you probably already use this but..." and referenced the "Diva."  I had read about it a bit but never knew anyone who actually used one.  So I was skeptical.  Well DC is as hardcore Diva as I am about essential oils so her enthusiasm rubbed off on me.  I researched it, selected the appropriate size, ordered one and waited.  It took a while since I was still nursing Zade.

Well, I'm on my fifth cycle since his birth.  I know exactly how many cycles, how long, etc. because of using FAM.  The first one was a little weird.  You mean, I can leave this thing in like 8 hours???  Yes you can!  It's not like a tampon so it's not holding the "stuff" next to your "areas."  It's actually letting everything flow out, just catching it right before the "exit."

You only have to empty it twice a day (but I do three times just because I'm curious).  And you can sleep in it!  And it is as easy as a tampon.  And it cost $20!  And you don't need anything else!!!  I wear a liner when I work out or I know I'll be moving around a lot. Other than that - I really don't leak.  I used to spend $20 every couple of months for the various pads and tampons.  What a huge cost savings!!!  So ladies, are you ready to try the Diva Cup?  I am.  Really, I am right now.  Now that's a confession!

Love, Carra

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Confession #20 - I rested on a Thursday

Sometimes I realize I am desperately tired.  Sometimes Pete notices that I am desperately tired.  I remember Sundays as a child.  We got up, went to church, came home and ate a big lunch with one of my sets of grandparents.   I don't remember doing much else.  Maybe driving over to visit some older friend of the family.  Played outside, read books, played with Barbies.

It has changed so much.  Sundays have just gotten so....busy.  There have been weeks on end where I just "had to" work.  The house was a mess and needed help, hopelessly behind on laundry, programs to get the kids to, snacks to prepare, ministry stuff to do. Well it has been a while since I've had any semblance of a "day of rest."  I usually think, well, this Sunday I'll really try to get everything done on Saturday so I can really have a day of rest.  If it doesn't happen, well better luck next week.

Well today I got up feeling like I was walking through mud.  I cleaned out the van yesterday because I was horrified by the idea of someone seeing the mess to find the spare.  I had a flat tire yesterday at UNCG but gratefully parking services was able to inflate it to I could get home.  Whew, near miss.

So when I got home, I started cleaning out the van.  The contents of the van are in my kitchen.  The contents of the leftovers to put back in storage from the Fall Retreat are in my hallway. The contents of outreach materials for the next round of campus events are in my den.

So Pete said this morning, let's take thsi day of rest.  We had already canceled our regular staff meeting because we all worked the whole weekend with Fall Retreat.

Rest? on a Thursday?  with the house looking like this?  Somehow God gave me a peace about it (and the heart to submit to my husband).  It has been lovely.  I made brownies.  I fell asleep on the couch.  We all read together as a family.  We canceled homeschool for the day.  Scandalous... and desperately needed.

Now maybe I have the energy to tackle the mess of clutter of items entering and exiting my home...but not until...tomorrow.

Love, Carra

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Confession #19 - Effects of Working at the Library


I picked the 19th on purpose to save for this post since I began working at the library when I was only 19.  Wow.  Those were some crazy times and some awesome times.  I wish I could easily put my hands on the photos (not digital).  Alas...  Here are just a few of the effects of nearly a decade of working for a public library...

1. I discovered I enjoy eating broccoli, tomatoes and apples (although not at the same time).  Each of this foods were introduced to me while I was extremely hungry and felt I had no choice bit eat or die of starvation.  (remember I was a late teenager when I began working there so drama still hung around a bit LOL). Each was offered from a friend (and co-worker) at the library.  Who knew, healthy eating?

2. My vocabulary widened a ton.  Some highlights?  Wunderbar!  (who knew I would be later marrying into a predominately German family?, mishugina (Jewish term for crazy, was a nickname for a co-worker...fairly accurate).  I also incorporated snafu for a while until I learned what it stood for. ....oops!

3. I learned how to put together a costume.  I got to dress like Captain Hook, a unicorn from Harry Potter and Austin Powers for various Halloween and book events.  Now I know, ...you are beginning to wonder about your friend....

4. Learned how to write a grant, how much coffee to make for 180 people, how to care for, transport, set up and teach from a mobile laptop lab.  I learned I had some good ideas and I learned that there were people who encouraged me to try.  BTW, we did get that grant!

5. Learned you could have some of the best buddies and work yourself so extremely hard and for not the ideal paycheck (it was a government job in the 90's/00's after all) and be totally jazzed about work the next day. I love my life now.  Wouldn't trade it!  *And* loved my library life!

 Love, Carra
P.S. - I already knew how to properly pronounce the word "library" not "lie-berry."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Confession #18 - Fresh Produce?

Maybe it's third kid syndrome.
Maybe it's a lazy mama.
Or maybe...
Here's little man hanging out with me while I peel some potatoes I just got in my CSA from Faucette Farms. I know they are organic. But I wouldn't let him gnaw on even just any organic veggie. That's what I love about knowing where my food comes from (literally, I've seen their fields). If you haven't pursued a CSA or other local (organic or no sprays) farm, I highly recommend it.
It may seen like summer (and fresh produce) is behind us, but if you live in the south, you really will have fresh produce year-round. In fact, one of my favorite powerhouse foods is grown even in the dead of winter here. I'll share how my sister-in-law taught me to make kale chips once that delightful green starts showing up in my bag.
And if you are really going natural, follow Zade's example and just grab a raw potato and have at it! I prefer mine cooked with sea salt and real butter.
Love, Carra

Monday, October 17, 2011

Confession #17 - When I blog...

Email can be guilt. I don't feel like I have time. But when I see three crock pots on the stove, I get inspired.  Before you know it, I grab my phone, snap a photo, attach it to an email, text a bit, and boom - blog post.  I blog a lot when I'm waiting for something.  It's as easy as texting.  So I begin typing random thoughts into my phone and later...they just might become a blog post! :-)

I just washed my face, sprayed colloidal silver on it (my face) and thought about my friend Casey.  She had just told me about this idea.  I'm going to spray silver on my face with the hopes of controlling hormone-induced breakouts.  I just tried it for the first time so I'll have to get back with y'all in a few months about my experience with effectiveness.

So that's the deep and detailed version of my process of blogging.  Random idea + random photo (if possible) + random musings. Hope you're enjoying the ride!

Love, Carra

Confession #16 - When in doubt, I rub it with oil!

OOOOPPPPSS!- I did this post yesterday but realized this morning that I pressed "save" instead of "post" so here's yesterday's post and I'll post today's a little later.  

I have a crazy cabinet full of supplements, remedies and medical assessment equipment of various sorts.  However for most things I usually put some sort of oil on it.  Essential oils are amazing.  Coconut oil is amazing.  So I don't always check the books of what is recommended.  If it hurts, burns, itches, puffs up, prickles, tickles or tingles....I put oil on it and almost always tea tree or eucalyptus.  If there is any openness in the wound I dollop it with coconut oil.

It usually works.  If at first it doesn't succeed, I'll go read the directions.

Love, Carra
P.S. - I purposefully waited to post today with the hopes that you would comment on my weird piece of art that I blogged about yesterday.  I really would love to know what you think of this thing! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Confession #15 - Marital Conflict

Yes,  things are not always rosy in our marriage. One thing that I tell our students who are headed toward nuptials, that you will have conflict (fights, issues, disagreements).  One thing our Sunday school teachers in our newlywed class told us 10 years ago has certainly held true... You only fight about three things or so.  The same three things will continue to resurface in different ways.

One of our issues is about sentimental items.  Pete has sentimental things that fit into boxes under our bed or on the shelf in his office.  I have sentimental furniture.  I have a chair - a pretty big chair that was my grandparents.  It doesn't quite match anything.  I've tried recovering it but it was one of my first projects and complicated and didn't turn out so well.  But we have it.  I want to keep it. Conflict settled but it will be back later.

Another item is this one in the picture.  It's the four tiered cast iron thing sitting on the table.  By the way, the cream urn thing is a water dispenser so that the girls can get filtered water easily.  It belonged to my grandparents on my mom's side.  The sad thing is - it's not really sentimental.  I just like it.  But Pete doesn't like it.  We have agreed to accept input on the thing from you guys - our blog family of sorts.

  • Is is cool or just old?
  • Would you paint it?
  • What would you use it for?
  • Is it an indoor or outdoor object?
  • Do you think it is in the right place?


Friday, October 14, 2011

Confession #14 - Too much!

I just don't have time to blog today! Between coming off a stomach bug, Fall Retreat and the ***Father-Daughter Dance*** I just don't have time to blog a confession.
Here is one "daughter" getting her curls on. I made them the old-timey way. Take a 1.5 inch by 6-8 inch cotton rag. These are made of an old sheet. Take a small clump of hair and wrap the hair to the ends, then roll downward toward the scalp. Tie a single overhand "knot" and there you go... rag rollers!  I'll try to post a follow up after tomorrow.
I did think of a great take on an old phrase,
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we overcommit and try to achieve"
See what I mean when I said I just didn't have time to blog today?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Confession #13 - Slow cookin' - life's little joys

I'm crock pot obsessed. Do you see in photo that I have not one, not two...but three crock pots running simultaneously?
I'm not picky about my rice, so one has brown rice. The next has a roast bought from my local farmers' market. The third (on the stove) has black beans.
Black bean soup is awesome!  My children eat it plain, with cheese, with tortilla chips and sometimes rice.  It has got to be one of my favorite super easy, super cheap go-to lunches (and it has starred as dinner too!).

Black Bean Soup
(this is a take off from a recipe of a lady I worked with back in my days at the library - yep I worked for a library system for almost 10 years. Next week you'll hear more about what happens in the stacks).  Here's my version:

Half a pound of dried black beans
Fist full of leeks (onions if you must LOL)
Two cans of tomatoes (or if you are blessed with family that cans or you can your own veggies, put in one quart jar of home canned, home grown tomatoes)
1/2 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne (more if you're daring)
Cover in a big crock pot and cook on low overnight.  Your house will smell yum in the morning!  Add some salt to your taste preference. 

My favorite?  Scooped into a bowl with a dollop of sour cream and a scandalous amount of diced local vine-ripe tomatoes and a few tortilla chips crushed over the top. My daughters like to have it with cheese on top and  scoop it up with blue corn torilla chips.  Many days (like the last few I've had a stomach bug) my hubby is just excited I made food!

Love, Carra

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Confession #12 - Frugal and picky

So if I were just frugal, I would use the whole loaf of bread (even the heels) for toast and sandwiches.
But I'm also picky. I don't like heels for toast and sandwiches. But I don't want to be wasteful.

So what can I do? Make breadcrumbs! As we use up loaves, I pop the leftovers into the freezer. Once I run out of room in our freezer door, I take out all the bread pieces and lay them out to "dry."

Once there's not the concern of condensation, I pull out the food processor. Blending this "day old bread per se provides nutritional boost to my meatballs (it is soaked whole wheat sourdough sold by a lady at my local farmers' market after all). And these bread crumbs make my fish crunchy and delicious.

I store my breadcrumbs in the freezer so they're fresh long term. Still promising by the end of this week...natural product for you "punctuation" as Heavenly Homemakers puts it.

Confession #11 - Birth Control, part two

So yesterday I shared my story of discovering that birth control pills could be an abortafacient.  If you don't have strong pro-life positions, that may not be a problem to you.  For me, it was definitely something I didn't want to have to wonder about.

Since I've been pregnant, healing from miscarriage, pregnant, healing from miscarriage, pregnant, healing from birth and nursing....I haven't had to consider my options for "not getting pregnant" for quite some time.  But on one of our last visits, I asked my midwife what would be a good option.  She suggested Fertility Awareness Method.

FAM IS NOT natural family planning (NFP), but it has some similarities (another post with more details here).  I bought the book ($20 which is a lot for my book budget) and printed out some blank tracking sheets.  Let me just say, I have been having periods for over twenty-five years, birthed three children and lost two others. But in the two weeks it took me to read this book, I learned more about my fertility and cycles than all the rest of my life and experiences!

The program is not hard.  You take your temperature and you pay attention to what your body is doing.  It's just a habit.  The first two months were not habits and it was really annoying trying to remember to take my temperature before getting up. But once I got the hang of it - no problem!

And since I learned that I'm only truly fertile a few days a month, we can make choices that don't involve fear or worry about the consequences.   Now no birth control is 100% but if you take the time to learn it, pay attention and track it, it is a fabulous alternative to the standard birth control pill. FAM has also been a huge benefit to those trying to conceive a baby.  Since you "tune in" to your fertile time you can tell when (or even if) you ovulate.

I have recommended it to single non sexually active friends and family (female only of course) to begin tracking just to clue into the curious workings of the woman's cycle.  To know your body well enough to predict your period, etc.-- that's a pretty powerful tool.  Speaking of cycles, later this week...oh yeah, natural ...ahem...y'know... :-)

Love, Carra

Monday, October 10, 2011

Confession #10 - Birth Control, part one

My Pill Testimony:

I took birth control pills for several months early  in our marriage (10 plus years ago).  I gained some weight and felt bloated most of the time.  But we didn’t want kids (at the time) and so I  did it.

Pete had just started a new job and became friend with a guy named Rick.  Rick (who boldly brings up personal topics) brought up the subject of us using birth control.  He challenged Pete to research the pill and pray about finding the truth about the dangers of the pill.  We first dismissed it.

But after a while we finally checked into it. I found and read the actual clinical summary published by the pharmaceutical company that produced my “pill.”  Way down the article was one small line that changed everything about my perspective toward birth control pills.

It was a tiny phrase that (sorry I can’t remember the actual wording). It said sthat the function of the pill did all these things to suppress ovulation, thin mucus, etc.  But it also said that in the event of fertilization, it would prevent implantation.  That’s what got me….If we were to accidentally create a life (fertilization), this pill would prevent implantation (in essence, aborting it).  A cold chill went down my spine as I thought about what might have happened in my body.  I never took another pill.

The next time I went to my OB practice I asked about the pill.  One of the gynecologist confirmed that they were a pro-life practice.  I somewhat challenged him with my questions about the actual mechanics of it.  He finally said, “…it only matters if you’re a purist.” ...and I decided that I am.

We decided to use condoms for the time we are most likely fertile. Yes they cost money, but my hormones were mine again and we only had to use them when were “together” rather taking something all the time. --- And it gave us peace of mind.

Just recently I have found the Fertility Awareness Method and I’m sooo excited.  That means for a good chunk of my life I can freely experience being married w/o fear or guilt.  In love, I ask you to consider it.


Tomorrow more birth control confessions and how the Fertility Awareness Method is awesome!

Love, Carra

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Confession #9 - Labeling Lunacy

Oh how I love a good label.  Here are a couple of examples of the extreme home labeling (I could have a reality show).

So this photo is our "medicine cabinet."  We have a small quantity of herbs, homeopathic meds, colloidal silvers, supplements and diagnostic equipment.  No, it's not neat, but it is moderately organized and certainly labeled!

The top shelf is extra floradix (found on sale - that vitamin is expensive!) and raspberry, mint and various other tea leaves (bought in bulk because it's cheaper).

Here are my spices.  Did you know you can buy organic spices from Earthfare in bulk?  You can purchase spices in small glass jars (avg $6 each) or from the prepackaged baggies (avg $3 to $4 each).  But you can save significantly by scooping your own (avg. $2 each).  Tip: at least at Earthfare, those are in the kept on supplements aisle.

I bought two flats (12 each) of these one cup jars and lids for about $12. (and yes, these little jars are in alphabetical order).  So you can use organic spices in all your cooking, consider buying in bulk (alphabetization optional :-)

Love, Carra

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Confession #8 - Fungus in the fridge

So this is how our fridge looks most of the time.  I cleaned up the WHOLE kitchen to take photos of the completed renovation.

However we are now in confession time and this is our reality.  It used to be worse, but I've moved most of our magnets to the deep freezer in the laundry room.  Some friends have a lot of stuff on their refrigerators but somehow it looks whimsically full.  I think ours (at least in this photo) looks a mess.

But I digress... The fungus.

We bought this fridge for $50, maybe $100 - I don't remember at the time. It was during one of my recent pregnancies.  Anyway... it was an amazing deal left over from an insurance claim.  It has fire damage.  Just a tiny bit and we really don't care about a little discoloration.  You see the front of it, shouldn't that point be obvious?  LOL!

So the fridge was a deal but it had to sit in a warehouse for while during the whole insurance claim part.  When we received it, we cleaned it really well inside and out.  And of course we replaced the water filter.  We have a more substantial water filter for the water we drink daily, but for guests and ice - wanted to provide fresh water.

After a friend clued us into the strange taste, we started periodically tasting the water to see if it was improving.  No.  The water was getting worse and worse.  My dad likes ice in his beverage (Diet Dr. Pepper) but he actually put the ice into a sealed ziplock bag inside his glass so the "whang" from the fridge ice wouldn't damage his drink.

So he (my dad) and Pete (my husband :-) took out various tubes and cleaned them, they removed this part at the back of the fridge...nasty water prevailed.   ...until last spring...our deep freezer died.  We called an appliance repair person to come and take a look.  They declared it more expensive to repair than the purchase of a new one.  As long as we had to pay the fee for coming out, we asked about the yucky fridge water.  He took a look inside the fridge and asked if we had replaced the reservoir tank.

Nope, didn't know it existed.  He said we could probably order it online and replace it ourselves.,  Generous guy.  Anything else outside of family appliance repair ability, we're calling him :-)  I'd tell you his name, but he might in trouble with his company.  So Pete researched online, found this thing the size of a child's shoebox, replaced it and yee haw... you can drink the water!

It's a little gross and embarrassing to know the fungus flavored water existed in our home for so long.  When your children run over the any guests and say, "no, don't get that ice!  that water is yucky!" for over a year.

But.... new filter, new reservoir, I left my children put the ice directly into their hot soup....it's ok...if I offer you a beverage....it should taste fine :-)

Love, Carra

Friday, October 7, 2011

Confession #7 - I can't spell or type

Ok, I am trying to be a "real" as possible and let you see the truth of my communication skills. I am a really porr typicst.  I told myself that i would not use the back key or spell checj.  Alas, here is the truth.  i am a really poor speller too,  I am so depemdent on my children.  Now some of hte ther these mishtakes are jst that i am a poor typist but if i tried to spell som e of my challenfing words like nauseous or wow - i did it! or perpendsicti, not even gonna try.... LOL!

Anyway - if there wa were no computersor internet,m i'm not sure what kind ogf horrible communicator or holeschooler i would nbe.  i remember being a kid and sasking my mom... how does a camera work?  she knew!  gracie asks me how a camera works, i find a video using google.

i think i did used to know how to spell better.  when i write a letter using a pen and parchment LOL - I often sit at my computer adn look up words to make sure i'm spoelling them properly.

well there it is....embarassing...LOL as i see the red scquill - squiggly lines everywhere!!!

may this bring a laugh to your day!

Love, Carra (at least I can still spell my nme!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Confession #6 - My House Stinks

Really stinks?  well... yeah sometimes it does.

One time we had a student come over and say, "Wow your house smells like Earthfare!"
I'm not sure if that's good or bad.  She said it was a good smell.  I guess so.

We gave up using scented "stuff."  No scented candles, no scented garbage bags, and definitely no air freshener.  I could buy some natural air freshener from Earthfare, but I don't really like my choices (remember my confessions of pickyness?)

So to make my house more "odorly" inviting, I try to clean with Shaklee cleaners.  They are all natural, lasts forever (well a long time) and have a pleasant smell.

Also I spray tea tree oil in our trash cans to keep them smelling better.

If I want a real pleasant smell, I cook something with cinnamon.  Since I make our granola lightly cinnamon-ed, that helps most weekdays.

So if you want to make your own "scent" for your house, try this:

"Make my House Smell Nice - Naturally"
Inexpensive Spray bottle
Essential oils you find pleasant
My favorite one is 5 drops of peppermint, 5 drops of Bergamot (citrus)
About 1.5 cups of water.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can vary it as much as you like.  I'm also really fond of vanilla but it's not a good house-scent because it makes me want to eat cake.

Is that like a double confession??  Probably!

Love, Carra

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Confession #5 - Preppy Granola

Ok, this is big....this is me with no makeup. I know the makeup / no makeup is not terribly dramatic.  But it sure is to me. I wish I didn't care as much, but I really do.  Alas....I am a preppy granola chick.

So the first picture was taken at 7 am when I got back from spin class.  After a shower and makeup (I didn't have time to dry my hair so it's just pulled back), I snapped the second picture.

I do love my natural, local makeup! It comes from a natural (and high end) nail salon in Greensboro called "buff." I had  great coupon for a basic manicure or I would have never gone in there.

The makeup is called staus.  It's a mineral makeup, natural and made locally!!  You can go in to do a try-on which is nice, fun& girly.  They do sell online and they will do exchanges if you get an off color.  The prices are cheaper than most.  $20 for foundation.  Blush & eye shadow are $15 or $17 and last forever. I've had to buy more foundation but it lasts and lasts.

So unless you are in my spin class at 6am or drop by the house right before I go to bed --- you will find me with at least eyeliner. I confess....

Love, Carra