Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Car Crashing into our House Update

So it has been a couple of weeks since Thanksgiving.  So far, we have been visited by a structural engineer, two city inspectors, contractors and assessors.

Here's our living room right now.  As you can see in the right side of the picture, the wall has no longer been merely boarded up, but framed for becoming a "real wall."

This morning a city of Greensboro inspector came to check over the work.  We have been so blessed and impressed with how quickly the city has been to check over work.  And Paul Davis Restoration (PDR), our contractor, has been great to work with and accommodating to do the work around our family's needs.

It looks like we will only have to move out of the house one more time (when they refinish the floors) but that will be longer than the original hotel living of six days. I think we may move between two hotels just so we can bother the maximum number of guests and hotel employees!  (Just kidding!)  But it does look like we will be back in the living room and dining room sometime mid-January.  As far as the outside masonry - no idea how long that will be.

Here's some other photos of our lives right now. This pile of broken pieces include a cedar chest that has a rug full of glass laying across it.  It was a really nice cedar chest filled with baby blankets made by my mom, my grandma, my great-aunt and my great grandmother.  Those precious things were the hardest to see amongst the rubble.

But PDR is doing their best to clean them and we will be keeping them (and not using them on future babies just in case of glass embedded somewhere).  The white object is a stand we used in our wedding (almost 12 years ago).  Neat thing though...the table (it's hard to tell it used to be a table) is also laying halfway on the bottom of the lamp was directly in front of the window.  It was (obviously) completely shattered and the items on top of it were thrown across the room.  Everything in the corner (from the table to the cedar chest to the globe) were damaged or completely obliterated.  ...except...

Here's a photo of our living room about 10 days before the accident.  We had decorated for Thanksgiving and Gracie wanted to take some photos.  Isn't that awesome?  It has definitely helped with the insurance situations.  If you look in the right hand corner, you'll see the globe, lamp, glass top table and cedar chest that you see the parts of in the above photo.  Notice right behind the lamp, you'll see our wedding picture.

Our wedding picture.  It was on the table.  It must have been launched into a pile of baby blankets,the loveseat, into the pile of dirt from the peace lilies that sailed across the room or some other soft place.  It's scratched up but not broken.

I don't know what to say - but it makes me happy to see our wedding picture still in tact.  In spite of being in direct harm, God chose to keep it unbroken.  It's just a photo.  But there is something extra sweet that it was protected.

God protected our family from physical harm.  He protected the gentleman in the SUV from injury.  He has blessed us with insurance and favor from city officials, contractors.  He has poured our blessings, prayers and gifts from neighbors, friends, church family, home school community, family members and fellow Cru staff.  We are extremely grateful.

Thank you for your prayers.

Love, Carra

P.S. Next time, I'll try to share how we are making our den into living room and dining room among it's previous roles as home school room, play space, my office area and meeting space. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

When a car crashes into a house on Thanksgiving Day

We weren't home. To say "Praise God" doesn't quite express it. When Zade's favorite box of toys were literally thrown across the room. When Faith's favorite couch was shoved so hard that it broke a table and prevented the front door from opening. That is much more than a "higher being" watching out for you.  That is my God who is protector, provider, sustainer, and Savior.
Thanksgiving Day. One week plus ago. A gentleman who was on his way to dinner at our neighbor's house went to repark and his accelerator got stuck and he hopped the curb, made an arch and a reasonably large hole in our house. He's okay. He could have hit the tree and he would have been badly hurt. He could have hit the center part of the living room and according to the structural engineer the upper floor would have likely fell in (Gracie and Faith's room).
Five feet. One car width give or take. But God allowed him to hit the window, and some brick. Oh it did some damage....but could have been so much worse.
I'm not sure how I feel. It's a pretty surreal experience. I do not like returning home from Thanksgiving weekend (we knew what had happened b/c we have awesome neighbors!) & going directly to a hotel. Even a nice one with breakfast. It feels so disconnected.
But now yesterday the structural engineer came, our assessor form Farm Bureau, our new friends from Paul Davis Restoration (who answered the phone on a holiday)....and we were cleared to move back home! We don't have use of our living room or dining room but that's okay. We put the baby gates back up to keep Zade out of there because of the glass shards.
We decided yesterday to work through our own homeowners insurance (& stop trying to get a major propery repair done through the auto insurance liability). The driver's insurance will still pay up to whatever liability limit he has, but this way we don't have to be the learning curve on this. It feels way better. Our assessor knows the business and how to make homeowners feel cared for. I appreciate that.  I promise...more updates as we go along.
Love, Carra

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Parenting...in a new light

I have a son. I have been living with daughter/s for well over eight years. Gracie has certainly given us some scares and two trips to the ER.

However, there is a spunky kind of dangerous delight that seems to dwell in our son of 20 months. Zade loves buttons. He seems uneffected by disciplinary measures. He has learned how to turn on the dishwasher. He has learned how to unplug (and unfortunately plug back) electrical cords.

This week he learned how to give his mama a freakout. I lose him pretty frequently but mostly inside our house so I know I'll locate him eventually. But today he was outside. I had seen him less than 2 minutes ago and now he was gone.

I can now tell you that Zade has learned how to unlatch the rabbit pen and crawl inside. Completely inside. Gratefully he has not (yet) learned how to close the door behind him. Boy found.

Now about the picture...Pete noticed today that due to the number of repurposed items we have in our house, our den has the potential of trapping a small boy inside. We have doors that came from other places. Locks that require keys. Keys we do not own. Given his propensity for curiosity, one little "push" or "twist" and Zade very well could lock himself in our den leaving us no choice but to destroy a perfectly good repurposed door.

So it's Tuesday, it's Duggar night on TLC and I plan to be sitting on the couch at nine. But between getting the kids to bed, I'm changing the door lock on the den. Tomorrow he might discover a new way to cause me to flip. But tonight, one less opportunity. And I guess I better hurry over to Lowes to see if they have a childproof lock for a rabbit pen.
Love,
Carra

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shiner

Well sometimes a big sister,  swing, a slide and a little brother combine to form a minor head wound. Here is Zade with a bit of a bonk with a side of scrape.

We immediately put an ice pack on it (which he hated). Because it is an open wound, we did not apply an essential oil (also too close to the eye). I gave him some Arnica to help with inflamation. Then Pete sprayed it with collidal silver (which he loved). So he was sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. This picture is while he's looking for the next spray. See the happy anticipation.

Granted, he looks a little beat up but he happily ate all his dinner (mexican casserole of sorts) with green beans. So another happy granola family story ends with effective homeopathic intervention.

Love,
Carra

Thursday, September 6, 2012

More about Silver

"Thanks to eye-opening research, silver is re-emerging as a wonder of modern medicine. An antibiotic kills perhaps a half-dozen different disease organisms, but silver kills some 650. Resistant strains fail to develop. Moreover, silver is virtually non-toxic." -- Science Digest, "Our Mightiest Germ Fighter" by Jim Powell, March 1978

"All of the organisms that we tested were sensitive to the electrically generated silver ion, including some that were resistant to all known antibiotics…In no case were any undesirable side effects of the silver treatment apparent." -- Dr. Robert O. Becker, M.D., Syracuse Medical University

It is pretty amazing gift - colloidal silver. Here are some ways we have used it.

1. When we bought a generator from the silver edge (which is a great site that I pulled these quotes from), it was partly due to an article Pete read. As most of you know, I had two miscarriages between Faith and Zade. (I share about that experience here and here.) He had read that one speculation of a miscarriage was due to a low lying infection in the mom.  Since there was really no adverse effects, during my pregnancy with Zade (and recovering from the miscarriage). I took about an ounce of CS (colloidal silver) most days.

2. When we feel sick, we drop about three drops of CS in our ears (one at a time) and let it sit for seven minutes, then drain it out.  We have literally felt sick one evening, did ear drops and felt better the next morning!

3. Boo-boos, cuts, scraps, etc.  We use CS on all open wounds.  Essential oils on bangs, thuds and otherwise below the surface injuries.  Spray bottles that are amber colored are all over our house filled with silver.

4. Sore throat - spray directly. Zade loves having "spray" anytime.

5. Any skin infection or eye infection.  Silver was the only thing we treated Faith's sty on her eyelid and it was gone in three days.  She hated having anything dropped in her eyes, but she proudly says, "My sty is all better!"

Love, Carra

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sick Kid (I'm Pregnant and We Didn't Paint)

Well, you know I tend to blog about whatever is going on in my life.  This is no different.

Just an update - we didn't get to paint Pete's office :( It was sad that he will be spending another semester in a dark space (well, when he's home at least LOL). It was going to be transformed from all darkish wood to nice cream color with the shelves white. We have gallons of Mythic non toxic paint in the closet waiting for us.....

Ok, another part of my life --- "ta da" I'm not just gaining weight and getting paunchy. Coming March 25 (give or take) we will have baby number 4! I'll tell you some more about this pregnancy soon.

But the other main part of my life that is taking my attention is my biggest girl. My normally energetic 8 year old has been lethargic and complaining of a sore throat but no stuffy nose. I know you're thinking, "Strep?" I really hope not. Her fever is very low grade so that is a promising sign. In addition to consulting the ONE that created her (i.e. prayer), we have been employing homeopathic remedies.

How have we been treating it?
1. Rest!
2. Vitamin D (2000 iu twice a day)
3. Colloidal silver - half an ounce a couple of times a day, sprays as needed for discomfort as well as ear treatment (whole post coming this week)
4. Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark (before bed and middle of the night if necessary)
5. Garlic capsules (once a day before bed)
6. Water
7. Pineapple juice and warm water (1/3 juice to 2/3 water as warm as she can handle) couple of times a day.

These remedies are pretty much what we do for us as well - just increase the amounts.  And of course I chew raw garlic.

Love, Carra

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Parent Rap : So hilarious, so true!

The Parent Rap : Downloadable Video Illustrations at Bluefish TV

So glad I was stalking my friend Kitty's facebook - found this gem!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spirituality of Being Weird


I just read an amazing chapter in the Pursuit of God on meekness. A. W. Tozer wrote, "The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. Rather he may be in his moral life as bold as a lion and as strong as Samson; but he has stopped being fooled about himself. He has accepted God’s estimate of his own life. He knows he is as weak and helpless as God declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself - nothing; in God - everything. That is his motto."

I live in a world of misunderstanding.  I know we have some "wild ideas" about things, but they are not unfounded, mythical or unscientific.  However after reading the chapter about meekness, I am more profoundly tuned into how much I really care about the opinions of others.  

It's kind of laughable - given some of the choices we've made.  have our babies at home, utilize natural as opposed to synthetic antibiotics (remember how I chewed raw garlic?) etc. cause me to automatically be on the outside of most conversations.

But still it can be hard.  Not hard enough to go eat a hotdog.  

But seriously, I have begun assessing my own meekness quotient.  I recently had a conversation that the person on the other side had no idea how belittling they were toward me.  I had a long talk with Christ in my prayer journal this morning about that.  Meekness = rest.  I don't have to feel compelled to defend myself.  Our family choices are  result of research and prayer.  But I don't even have to say that.  As Tozer reminds me, "in myself - nothing; in God - everything."  I'm satisfied.

Now, I'm going to go install a re-purposed old door as a scandalously large desk inside a closet for a crafting space.  Good times.

Love, Carra

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Yard and a Garden

Our house in suburbia :)
We live in a city of approximately 275,000 people. We live in a neighborhood that is an older established "subdivision" but suburban for sure.  From our backyard, we can see six houses (just those that touch our property or at a corner).  All our neighbors are quite nice, but sometimes you just want a little more "boundary."  We have a lovely chain link fence which keeps the dogs out and the kids in. 

Just last week, we visited some of Pete's cousin's in Vancouver - what a lovely place!  His cousin R & Y have the most beautiful (albeit small) urban yard (garden really) that I have seen by someone who is still working full time LOL! Sanctuary, oasis, cozy... Those are just some of the words that describe their little back yard.  So I come home inspired to develop our yard into a little oasis as well.

However, do not fear - there are still high ambitions for the urban homestead! I'm trying to blend homesteading with landscaping with frugality.  Here's what I've come up with so far...

1. We need some bushes or something for a visual barrier in the back of the yard.  In poking around google, I found some blueberry bushes that can be grown as a hedge.  It will take five years to get them to full height, but they should produce some berries even after the first year.  I love the idea of growing blueberries.  They are so healthy and can be frozen or dehydrated to keep for a while.

2. Creative shade plans.  If we can find some clumping (not hyper-grow-all-over-your-yard runners) bamboo that is affordable, we can plant that on the side of the yard.  It would be pretty beautiful (R & Y have some black bamboo in their yard). Shameless beauty.  Added serenity.

3. Dirt for free.  I need to exercise more. I need dirt for my garden projects.  We have dirt underneath our house.  Yup, that's the plan.  As long as I don't dig close to the foundation, I can dig out some dirt for my garden.  Random, I know, but super frugal.

There you go, the first three items on the list of frugal-serene-oasis-yard-garden.

Other ideas for creating a sanctuary/homestead includes eliminating (or at least greatly reducing) the quantity of plastic toys out there.  Seriously, if I'm all about this natural stuff, our kids should be playing with sticks and dirt. Hmmmm, I kinda like that idea.


Love, Carra

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Painting Plans and Ponderings

So here's my wacky little faith in front of the Marmoleum display at the Common Ground Building Supply.

It is a great little shop in Durham, NC.  All of our Mythic junk-free paint has come from there.  I love that there are so many colors available even in the natural stuff.

Right now, Pete and I are contemplating two big renovations. One is the painting of his office.  It is wood panel walls and very dark.  I spend a lot of time in there too (I'm actually sitting in his office right now balancing the laptop on my knees) especially when we're talking about ministry plans and strategies.

It is an interesting dilemma - where I should land for my office-y stuff.  It seems the location is a bigger reflection of my crazy life.  I'm cooking, schooling, gardening (sort of), naturalizing, etc. a big chunk of my life.  And I'm emailing, balancing, budgeting, strategic thinking, and planning another big chunk of my life.  When fall semester rolls back around (and it's coming quickly), I'll be regularly on campus again... so there's another chunk of my life.  My life is very mingled.  My head is mingled as well.  Where will I end up as my "base"?  I guess I'll see how nice the paint job turns out LOL!

Love, Carra

Sunday, April 22, 2012

20 min and $20 can save a baby's life

New Zealand did a campaign (beginning in 1998) to encourage parents to wrap their baby mattresses. If you look at this link, there’s about 8 facts that show the history of their campaign: (http://www.babymattresscovers.com/crib_death_summary.html)

Over 190,000 babies sleep on wrapped mattresses in New Zealand.  There have been 0 deaths in of babies sleeping on a wrapped mattresses.  In other words, for over 10 years, wrapping mattresses has been 100% effective in saving babies from SIDS. 

If you research SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) you’ll find that some experts say that breastfeeding and sleeping with your baby helps prevent it, other experts say it increases the likelihood.  In 1994, the American Academy of Pediatric launched a campaign to encourage parents to have babies sleep on their backs.  The response to that was a dramatic drop in SIDS deaths.  But they didn’t go away.  If you look at a graph showing the drop of SIDS, you’ll see that while it dropped in response to back sleeping, it has leveled off.  Deaths from SIDS have not decreased since 2001 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Back_to_sleep_plot.png). 

There are still approximately 2000 babies that die in the US every year due to SIDS.  It is the leading cause of death for babies under one year and typically occurs between 2 and 4 months of age.  So babies sleeping on their back helps, but there must be some other reason. I believe that it is the foam and fire retardant chemicals that slowly off gas and break down coming from the mattress.  Older babies usually are fine because their lungs are more developed.

There is something we do which is not mainstream but totally easy, cheap and potentially life-saving.  It can be done in 20 minutes and never have to be done again and will provide protection for your sweet babies for the entire time they sleep on their baby mattresses.

My posts about it including how to wrap a mattress:
So maybe you are on the fence about the validity of this. I know I'm a bit on the passionate side...  But really, what's the harm?  It's $20 (less if you split a roll of plastic with someone) and takes so little time.  We buy baby monitors, plug protectors and set up baby gates over stairs.  We protect our babies from what's obvious.  Why not protect them from something not so obvious?

Love, Carra

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting antsy about things





I get antsy sometimes. 
I'm currently antsy.

My life has been on whirlwind high for almost a year.  I miss the lower levels of simply "hectic" or "crazy-busy."  There are just a few weeks left of the semester and then I think I'm going to paint something.

I might redo my blog again (this was the layout and colors before this one).  I think I want more green and purple in my life.  I had the craziest idea today to paint an outdoor table a really bright color.  I think I might just do it.  Since it's outside I think I might live dangerously and use some chemically paint (frugal side talking).  I'll wear a respirator mask and do it while the kids are inside.

I have a twin headboard and three chairs I am eager to paint (non toxic).... 
Curtains to cut off and hem....
Basil to purchase and plant....
Something else to purchase and plant that I have not decided what it will be yet to fill the other side of the garden spot....
A pantry to clean out and reorganize.....

Homemaking is calling.....I must put her on "hold" a couple more weeks.
Then just wait for the blog sharing to commence!

Love, Carra

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dirt Days

When I was a teenager I hated dirt. My parents had a garden (not a yard garden). We farmed acres of tilled soil that produced watermelons, tomatoes, squash and canteloupes (that we sold). I was awakened at terribly early hours of 6 am to go work in the garden. Sorry to say, my attitude was less than stellar.
Well how things change...
I love dirt. I love the smell of freshly tilled up soil. And I love it particularly early in the morning. It's an early spring and I'm ready. Here is Zade beside where I was in the process of repotting some of my houseplants before I began preparing my "yard garden" for my summer veggies.
I had a bucket of water for planting. Zade thought it was pretty awesome...until he accidentally dumped it on himself. I had my back turned so I have no idea how he got it on the back of his head. He wasn't thrilled by the water. But the dirt.....oh, the dirt. I'm pretty sure he thinks it's pretty awesome too.
Love, Carra

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chicken Story, part two

So I didn't get back to tell you more about chicken. Sorry to leave you hanging! I want to show you the bounty that a whole chicken offers. If you are so fortunate as to have access to a farmer willing to sell you a whole chicken, go for it!
This chicken was raised by a 10 year old boy. He built the pens himself and cared for the birds until time to "process" them. And he helped with that! That is soooo rare - I am so impressed.
Once the chicken cooked for about 24 hours, I strained the broth, let it cool off and picked off all the useful meat. Isn't there a bunch of meat? Here's how I use it:
* Sandwich - isn't that that hilarious? I seriously am a huge fan of a yummy chicken sandwich on some fresh soaked sourdough bread. While the chicken is still warm, yum!
* With warm homemade biscuits, some chicken just pulled off, some of this week's vegetables from our csa with faucette farms.
* With brown rice - I cook the brown rice in the broth - extra healthy, extra flavorful. One of the baby's favorite things to eat:)
* Chicken pot pie. I make a rue using broth and milk to create a thick, rich cream sauce (instead of using canned cream of whatever soup) and mix it with chicken (usually the dark meat), leeks, garlic, potatoes and carrots baked with a biscuit type crust.
* Stir fry - steamed cabbage, shredded carrots, leeks, peppers, zuchini (whatever is in season) sauteed with soy sauce, ginger, etc.
* Chicken soup - make some more cream sauce from the broth, add leftover rice, leeks, shaved carrots and whatever chicken is left.
Seriously, from this one chicken - God provided the base for all of this good, healthy, healing food.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Whole Chicken

I did not expect so many of my friends to be "turned off" by a whole raw chicken. I suppose if I was dealing with it, trying to cut it up, etc....that could get a little yucky.
But a whole chicken is an amazing thing.
You can buy them at a regular grocery store or your healthfood store (whole foods or earthfare type). But soooo much better are the ones raised even in your county! Find these little (or big) jewels at the farmers market.
So I'm going to share with you a chicken story and how many different (and not yucky) ways you can use this uber- versitile animal.
Begin with a huge stock pot. With my frozen chicken (most farmers market birds will be frozen since they keep better), I added 2 and a half gallons of water. Turn the burner on simmer and leave it for at least 12 hours.
Here's my chicken all frozen and docile. Once it cooked for a few hours, it no longer was weighed down by it's frozenness so it appears to be trying to escape. After it cooks further, it settles back down into the pot. Notice that deep rich yellow broth. That is some excellent-tasting, highly versitile, healing stuff.
That's day one of my chicken story.
Love, Carra

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

America's Got Talent, yes I auditioned...

So Saturday I tried out for America's Got Talent reality TV show.  Mainly as a dare, but for sure to help my sister Abbi get a shot.  My dad is the instigator of this whole thing.

I was going to type up (actually started to give you a play by play) my day's experiences.  However, I just reread my release agreement so I can't say a whole lot. LOL!

It was fun. Make sure you watch the show this summer on NBC.  You might just see me! Watch for the hat!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Trees

I just hung brown curtains in a green room.  I'll take a photo and show you sometime,  But that's just paint and fabric.  As far back as I can remember I have loved trees. I climbed them, fell out of them, sat in them and  under them.  I used to stand at the edge of the pine woods behind our house even in the elementary grades and look up at the trees.  I was fascinated and terrified as wind blew them into each other making huge cracking sounds.  I used to lay back in the leaves and listen the million "crinkles and crunches" as my body settled into the pile.  When I was in middle school I memorized "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. When we were deciding where to go for a visit, my Gracie asked, "...but does it have trees?" Praise our Father who is so bountiful as to provide us with trees.

Love, Carra

Trees by Joyce Kilmer
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
  
A tree that looks at God all day,         5
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
  
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
  
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.  10
  
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Scrabbo (uno & scrabble)

So my family (sister, cousins, dad) invented a new game on Christmas day. We had to leave early so I missed this creative experience. So here it is New Year's Day. My family came up to visit and right now we are playing "Scrabbo."

Highlight:
Horrible racks of all vowels.
Just when you strategize the next word, you have to pass the rack to the person on your left.
Just when you can do nothing at all, you receive a rack of worse letters!

This is a hilarious game. Wanna play? All you need is a Scrabble game and a set of Uno cards.

Begin Scrabble like normal (7 tiles each). After each turn, the individual picks up an uno card to tell how many tiles they get.
* red - 1 tile
* yellow - 2 tiles
* green - 3 tiles
* blue - 4 tiles

Yes, that means that after the first round, everyone has different numbers of tiles. But regardless of number of tile, if a person uses all of their letters on one round they get 50 extra points.

The coolest part are the crazy "other" cards.
Wild- get to place a word anywhere on the board on a subsequent turn.
Wild, draw 4 - pick 4 tiles and place a word anywhere.
Draw Two - give back 2 tiles
Reverse - hand over your entire rack one person clockwise.
When one person runs out of letters, the game is over & scores should be added up. Hilarious!!! You should try it!

Happy New Year!!
Love, Carra