Monday, September 24, 2012

Health Findings, A Celebration Sidestep

Lately, in my blog I've been talking about the various health discoveries I've come across in an effort to strengthen my immune system. My tip for the day is prayer, because I did not stick with any of my new rules for eating, BUT with good reason...

My Boy and I, he's the best gift every year!

Breakfast with a friend - had a wonderful twist on a Denver Omelet which came with hash browns. It was at Bravo Farms in Traver, and I love their Sage Cheese so they added that to my omelet.

Lunch - met with some local youth pastors for our monthly lunch meeting and enjoyed some great local Mexican food. (it has cheese :)).

Dinner - Went out with the hubby to Brewbakers and had a wonderful Cobb Salad and Garlic Fries as well as a beer (which has yeast, which I was trying to stay away from).

The big kicker: Dessert

My sweet sister, Catie, sent me a basket of goodies (a small cake, cookies, cake pops, meringue pies, and fudge), so that kind of hurts my current no processed (or low processed) sugar rule. We also had the parentals over for a chocolate cream pie. Typically, I go for the All-American Chocolate Cake from Costco, but if you know this cake - its huge! So that would have been way too much temptation for me.

I had a slice of pie, a cake pop, a bit of meringue and half a snickerdoodle. That is falling off the wagon my friends, and yet had I not been trying to find some restraint, I probably would have inhaled much more.

It was a great day and now before heading to bed, I am drinking a glass of the Bragg's ACV and water and taking all my vitamin suppliments. I will probably need to juice in the morning (carrots and spinach is what I have at the moment). Good Night and Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Health Findings - Part 2

If you are just tuning in, I am on a search for better health. I am struggling with a weak immune system. You can read more in my earlier posts. Here are some of the latest ideas I've stumbled across.

1. Detox your body in an apple cidar vinegar bath (there seems to be some debate as to whether or not one can use filtered - it is cheaper). Use 30 ounces of vinegar in your bath and sit in it for 30 minutes. It draws the toxins out and even aids in the look of your hair.

2. Eating a Rainbow of Colors in you fruits and veggies. Here's a few examples of foods from each color, for summary of benefits, check out the Bragg website, this article at Whole Living, or do a google search.

Remember your rainbow colors (ROY G BIV)

Red: Cranberries, goji berries, red cabbage, red peppers (all varieties), tomatoes, red apples, raspberries, strawberries, red cherries, red grapefruits, red grapes, pomegranate, watermelon, kidney beans.

Orange: Oranges, tangerines, turmeric, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, peaches, apricots, winter squash, cantaloupe, papaya

Yellow: Yellow snap beans, corn, walnuts, peanuts, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pineapple, yellow bell pepper, golden zucchini, butternut squash, bananas, golden apples, grapefruit, lemons, papayas, Jerusalem artichokes, soybeans, sesame seeds

Green: Artichokes, asparagus, green snap beans, Italian green beans, lima beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, fennel, turnip greens, collards, kale, dandelion greens, mustard greens, lettuce (the darker, the better), leeks, okra, green bell peppers, spinach, chives, zucchini, green apples, avocados, green grapes, kiwi, limes, pears, mung beans, wheat grass

Blue: Blueberries, blackberries, dark grapes, currants, black beans

Indigo: same as violet

Violet: Acai berries, purple wax beans, beets, purple broccoli, red cabbage, Chinese purple eggplant, purple kale, turnips, ruby seedless grapes, plums, prunes, passion fruit, purple artichoke

Tuck this list in your purse or keep it in your car and make sure get something from each color when you are at the store or farmers market. Eating a variety seems to be the key in getting all your nutrients. Vitamins are good, but your only getting the best nutrients from foods. Stay healthy.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Health Findings - Part 1

Today I wanted to cry pushing my cart through the grocery store as familiar packages looked at me from the shelves and I walked on by, not putting them in my cart. It was almost as if they were calling my name, but I had to say no. No, I'm not dieting, but I need to make a change in my diet. This realization has brought to light the reality that I am addicted to food. I love it. Yes, there is nothing wrong with loving food, but I love food that is bad for you.
Recently, I have experienced some health issues and my immune system doesnt seem to have what it takes to recover, and so that has sent me on a search of what I can do beyond get on yet another antibiotic.
I've decided to record my journey here and allow others to benefit from my research and trial and error. You may not agree with all that I decide to do, but gather what you can and let the rest go. Are you ready? Here we go.

1. A friend, Cecelia Mainord, recommended adding Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar to my life. I've imbibed the water and apple cider cocktail, but apparently the key is getting raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Bragg's just happens to be what our stores carry. So now I drink Bragg's in my water three times a day. One of my struggles is sinuses, and raw apple cider vinegar helps thin the mucus. If you want to check out the other benefits, check out the Bragg's website.

2. Reinstate regular (twice a day) the use of the netipot. I am using a baking soda and Kosher salt mix in the pot to flush out my sinus cavities. Its not so fabulous to do but it does help me from getting overly congested and cleans me out. After suggested by my friend, Jen Rachal, I now use it in the morning in the shower; its a bit easier that way. If you don't know what a netipot is, it looks like a genie bottle, and you mix water and the mix listed above inside and then breathe through your mouth and pour the water into one nostril and let it flow out the other. Fun huh?! (Sarcasm)

3. Did you know that excessive dairy consumption can cause chronic sinus infections? Well I am the dairy queen. I love cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, milk, ice get the picture. So apparently I will need to cut my dairy consumption (more on that later).

4. Due to being on antibiotics and nursing my son, I have gotten thrush, which results in overproduction of yeast. So that begs the question, how to get rid of the yeast? There are homeopathic and medical ways to resolve the problem. I am trying a bit of both. I've heard some disagreements on diet. Yeast feeds on sugar, so some have said cut my sugar and carb consumption so the yeast will go away, but others have said not to, because then once I reinstate my old eating habits, the resurgence of sugar will cause the yeast to come back.

I am taking Acidophilus and L-Lysine and have gotten Infant Probiotics for my son. I am also taking the Diflucan pill as prescribed by my doctor as well as a Nystatin Cream. I am cutting my processed sugar intake, but still eating limited fruits and carbs.

That is all for now, but I have had two enlightening conversations with two good friends that have shared what works for them and their solutions are drastically different. Stay tuned for those conversations in my next entry.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Connecting with Jesus in a New Way

Today while reading "Walking With God, God's Way" by William Wyatt, I read that our purpose is to be transformed into God's image. Because God doesn't need us, our steps in ministry are to walk alongside God in what he is already doing. Each step of life is about knowing God and becoming more like him. I also read that when we go through awful things (the author shared a story about a missionary rape victim) we get to share in just part of the suffering Christ experienced on the cross. It just got me thinking. The horrible experiences are a connection with the horrible suffering our Savior lived out on the cross. Its an offering of intimacy. Now I am not saying God zaps us with tradegy. Don't forget our God is good, but he allows it and hopes that through it we will find him and know him in a new way.

I have a story that captures some of this, it may be something I've already written about in a previous post. Many years ago, my mom was married to a man named Kurt. Kurt had a difficult childhood. He was exposed to pornography and child abuse from his dad. His mom would just sit back and watch while this would occur. Kurt drank. That is how he coped with tumultuous emotional agony he journeyed. When he drank, he hit my mom.

Our lives with Kurt included hiding, yelling, fighting, pushing, hitting, and inappropriate touching. However, Kurt found God through our life with him. Fast forward about 20 years. Kurt was sick, and dying. Eventually he died. My mom officiated the funeral. Weird, yes, but amazing at the same time. Kurt at one point almost killed my mom. As a girl I watched him try to stab her with a screwdriver after beating her mercilously. Years later she had to have back surgery as a result of the injuries she incurred in that marriage. She will forever be marked physical due to the marriage, but God has healed the heart. God replaced pain with forgiveness and empathy for a hurting man. As I walked through my emotions during all of this, God revealed to me that the worst years of my life, were the best years of Kurt's. I realized that those years showed him God, and I came to a place in my heart of gratitude and acceptance. It was worth all the pain if Kurt found God through it. Those feelings weren't there for any other reason except God put them there.

I felt the amazing glow of 2 Corinthians 4:7 in my own life:

"We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves." (NLT)

My suffering in those years (and a few other issues in my life) have allowed me to share with others and be empathetic to the life experience of those around me. May God bring you to this place as you have walked and continue to walk in a place of pain. May God be your rescue, your guiding light and your sacred companion. Let that light shine through your cracks, and may you find comfort in his understanding as he held all of that pain on the cross.

Friday, August 31, 2012

What's For Dinner?

I tried something new tonight! It was good, so I thought I'd share.

I bought thin chicken breast fillets to skip a step. I made a filling in my Cuisinart food processor (cream cheese, garlic, baby bella mushrooms, fresh basil and Italian parsley), prepped the chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper, put a dollop of filling in center of breast, and fold chicken. Wrap bacon around breast opposite from the fold in chicken to hold in filling. Place in greased baking dish, pour red wine over breasts and cook at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

While it's cooking, cut zucchini and more mushrooms and salt and pepper, when theres 10-15min left on chicken, cook veggies in olive oil and red wine. Then when they are almost done add any leftover filling to veggies.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The First Year Happens in A Flash

Okay so this is 6 months overdue, so I am finally publishing this. I was waiting for more pictures, but I will just do a part 2 later with more pictures. This was so fun!!! A great theme for sure! - Carrie

Caleb's party was completely fabulous! I had a lot of fun with the photo themed party! I loved the "It Happens in a Flash" launch to a photorific party. I must say while I added my own touches, I definitely benefitted from the fabulous ideas of other bloggers. Hostess with the Mostess and Pennies on the Platter aided me with their parties of the same theme.

The photo backdrop was almost identical to that of Pennies on a Platter, but it came in a three pack at Target and was a great match to our color scheme.

The theme was seen on the self made labels for the water bottles & in labeling the food.

The kids loved Pixie Sticks and I loved the play on words, "MegaPixies."

The rest of the menu included popcorn, fruit, dips, pizza bagels and a few other things. I also placed food on picture frames to go with the theme.

The one deviation from the theme was a family tradition being passed down, the cake. It was the Kaleidoscope Cake, which was a cake I had as a child and once my mom did it, became my cake every year. The colors of the cake was what decided the color scheme of the party.

We had a kiddie corral with toys for little ones, a bounce house, and a kid table covered in butcher paper with crayons.

The tables were decorated with pictures of Caleb and photofetti

I made some collages of Caleb and put them around the room. It was easy with Costco Photo - you could add up to 30 pictures on one 8x10 or larger size picture so I made 4 - Sir Smiles A Lot, Sleeping Prince, Silly Caleb, & Family Photos. They made great keepsakes for the grandmothers.

I made a timeline of birth to 12 months, month by month that hung over the food table and had a time capsule for people to write notes for Caleb to open on his 18th birthday.

Though the most fun was the photobooth. It was a blast. The best was my dad with my mom and step mom.

Our Family!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Carrie in the Kitchen

I typically cook most nights of the week. I usually plan meals for an entire 2 week pay period, I don't always stick with it, but it makes it easier if I have a plan even when I deviate. Here are a few of my deviations this past week. Monday was Memorial Day. My husband said he would barbeque some tri tip and make twice baked mashed potatoes (delicious by the way) if I would take care of the vegetable. I chose to make a garden salad and my Aunt Julia's bean salad (black & pinto beans, cilantro, green onions, frozen corn, red bell pepper tossed in a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, salt and pepper, & oregano), and an old favorite of mine - Chocolate Zucchini Cake (orginally from Saveur Magazine)! So here's the cake recipe: 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated, then wrung out in a cheese cloth
Then Preheat oven to 325. Use a tbsp of butter to grease a 9" cake pan. Sift 2 3/4 c flour, 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa, 1 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp salt Set aside Beat 8 tbsp of butter (at room temperature) and 1 1/2 cups sugar with electric mixer until fluffy, add 1/2 cup corn oil, and 2 eggs - 1 at a time, add in 2 3/4 cups flour and 1/2 cup buttermilk (in 3 alternating batches), then stir in zucchini.
Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes clean (1 hour, 20 minutes).
Remove from oven and set aside to let cool. Invert onto a plate and dust with confectioners' sugar. Eat!
The other deviation was to my mom's quiche lorraine recipe. I didn't have all the ingredients so instead of swiss cheese and bacon it was bacon, mozzerella, brie cheese and artichoke hearts with fresh thyme. It was fabulous!

Pinterest project

I saw the post tutorial of how to turn a v neck t shirt into a one shoulder shirt. I tried it with a scoop neck, but I think it turned out okay! Check it out!

Monday, May 28, 2012

My Latest Project - Garage Mudroom

I've wanted an area for all our incoming junk for a long time. We enter the kitchen through the garage and there is really no place to put stuff aside from the floor and kitchen countertops which ends up getting cluttered, fast! My neighbor gave us a bench toy box for Caleb that we really don't have a place for just yet (he still have a nursery, not a big boy room), so I thought why not use it for my entry station for now. So I set out on my plan. Here's all the before shots:
I first painted the bench with a combo of black spray paint and chalk board paint (had some leftover from another project).
Then I decided to use the rest of the chalkboard paint to do the wall behind the bench. I bought a 1" foam pad and got a cute gray and white chevron fabric and made a bench pad. Since it opens at the time, I attached the pad to the bench with velcro and because its in the garage, I made the cover like a pillow sham so that I can slip it off and wash it. Next I got a wall letter hanger (great deal at Marshall's) and some cute paper I had and labelled each slot, then used a old creamer container, cut it down, washed it out and painted it to use for chalk holder. I got some hooks and two cute cabinet knobs to hang stuff up on the wall. There you have it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Today a good friend told me, "God is talking, are you listening?" For someone like myself, who talks a lot, its easy to forget to listen. Listening is an important part of communication, in fact in my study of Communications at TCU, I took a class solely on listening. The bible even tells us, be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). I guess I've got a lot of learning to do in that area. So God here I am closing my mouth and silencing my chatty thoughts and asking you to speak. I'm listening.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Walking It Out

The past few weeks have been exceedingly hard on me. I desire to share my struggles and the journey I take through life with others who may be facing challenges but often find it difficult to share the process without giving out all the details - details that often include others. I want to respect everyone in my life as I walk out the steps that lay before me. That is a difficult balance to attain. So here I am just saying life is hard.

A little over a week ago my mom was hit by a car - not in a vehicular accident, but she was walking and was struck by an SUV. She lives on the other side of the country so to be so far away, I found this news debilitating. Later that day I received news that left my heart feeling like it had also been hit by a car. I felt frozen in a state of semi-consciousness. Two days later my husband left for Kenya for two weeks, and now I was on double duty in life with some extra work responsibilities, two kids on my own and an emotional state that rendered me helpless. How does one proceed? The days the followed brought more bomb shells and emotional instability with more information that rocked me to my core.

I had to find the strength just to do life - take out the trash, go to work, cook meals, do laundry, change diapers, give baths, etc. I would find myself break down without warning in at times very inconvenient moments. I was broken, heck, I am broken. You see I just completed week one and now face week two. The trials don't go away when my husband returns, but bring a new aspect of the journey, but all I can see now is making it first to that two week "mile" marker. Then I will re-evaluate and see what lies ahead.

When I think about where I was and where I am, I know what has gotten me through it thus far has been a great group of girlfriends and family and my relationship with God. I have been a Christian since I was a little girl, but my journey with Jesus has had its own struggles along the way. The difference this time is that I never questioned him, I just leaned into him. When my heart feels like an crater that was just blasted open by some celestial phenomenon I cry out, "God fill it" before I have a chance to try to fill it with something that won't do the job or heal the wound. I often preach at the church I youth pastor and I find I must live out the words I preach. I have to mind my words, speak with faith and trust that God will do the job. When I find myself trying to take control of the situation, I must let go, and read the Bible for grounding words.

I don't know what lays ahead of me but I am encouraged by Isaiah 50:10-11 that tells me when life is dark, I can trust God and follow his voice because if I don't, I will "lie down in a place of pain." When I feel the need to go defend myself, I stand by Exodus 14:14 that tells me the Lord will fight for me, all I must do is BE STILL. I have to surround myself with voices of truth and encouragement so that when lies hit me in the face, I know to wipe it off and move on.

The truth is I have good days and days when getting dressed is a major challenge. I am working on feeling my emotions and owning them but not reacting out of them. That is hard. I request your prayers as I walk out this scary time in life, and ask that if you need prayer that you send a request my way, so that I may pray for you. Let's walk together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Religious Freedom

Sometimes I think I would have been a much better Old Testament Jew than New Testament Gentile Christ follower. I know that may sound bizarre, but as I read through the Bible and see the straightforward rules and regulations put on the people in Levitcus, despite the cumbersome ritual of it all, it seems easier. You know when you're on or off course.

Religion is easier than relationship, but relationship is more fulfilling and rewarding. Relationship meets our needs where religion can't. I often struggle in my relationship with God because it requires me to be present. Religion or ritual is easier on days when I just want to go through the motions. Christ offered us so much more than a "Get out of Hell" free card when he died on the cross.

Navigating through life to find Christ-centered balance isn't always straightforward it takes trust, faith, wisdom, and humility. Meeting the letter of the law is mundane and burdensome, but takes little emotional energy. At the end of it all I'd much rather put the work into a relationship and accept the gift of Christ than constantly be on point, sure it's scary, but rewarding with an eternal connection.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What Really Matters - I DO!

This weekend I did a wedding and was reminded what really matters. THe couple approached me needing to do a ceremony stat, as the groom's grandmother was ill. We planned a date with only weeks to do the wedding.

I stood out in our church's courtyard the day of the event with 20 of the bride and groom's friends and family and thought this is what its all about. The bride found a dress and shoes, we asked a florist friend to make a bouquet for $20 and she brought unity sand. The couple's friend plugged in a playlist from a laptop and we were a go. My dad performed the ceremony.

It was beautiful, simple and about more than a price tag and of the moment decor. It was about the couple, their love and new life together. Pure wedding moment that was a breath of fresh air.

Don't get me wrong, I love planning perfect moments for couples, but sometimes the details take precidence to the truly important part - a commitment for life.

Party Palooza

This year I get to experience what happens when I have a baby in the same month as my husband and stepdaughter's birth month. Christmas came and went but my pace stayed holiday speed. New Year's Day brought my husband's 50th birthday. His actual birthday included a few friends and family over with an homage to his mother. You see before my mother-in-law passed away 2 years ago, Kevin's birthdays were spent watching sports at her house with Bloody Mary's, stuffed jalapenos and sometimes crab legs. So the past two years we've made some of Kevin's favorite, hot, foods and had Bloody Mary's.

The following weekend was his party. I found a great collage of pictures in the shape of 50 on Pinterest, originally from - and here's my rendition.

We had a great celebration! I did a slideshow and asked people to answer questions on butcher paper on the wall like - what's your favorite thing about Kevin? One Memory of Kevin? A Word to Describe him. After the party I typed up what was said so he could keep it.

The next weekend was Katie's birthday. I said no party but actually ended up doing more. We went to Fresno for dinner at CPK, then the next day had cake and ice cream at the house.

I had a weekend off, and now I am getting ready for Caleb's first birthday! We are doing the "First Year Happens in a Flash" theme. I will definitely post pics of the party to share afterwards.

Crazy month! Definitely Party Palooza!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. It's not that I don't believe in bettering oneself, it's just that I believe the time to make a change is when you know there is a problem.  That moment can come January 1st or first thing in the morning, but it can also come at 2 o'clock on any random Tuesday.  making a change is a big deal, it's a commitment and it comes in response to a life of one always seeking to be the best person possible.

Change involves a plan and too often people just jump on the January bandwagon of new path and it's not too long until they've been booted off by some bump in the road.  Seeing a problem only gets the ball rolling.  Routing your journey is essential in road trips and in life.  Knowing yourself and figuring out what works for you gives you a better shot at success.

Change involves accountability and that  involves community. Too often we run out on our own in hot pursuit of the preverbal carrot missing the mark because we didn't involve our support network.  We were made for relationships and the teen years alone demonstrate how the right or wrong people can motivate our choices. 

So maybe that ball dropped and as you said, "Happy New Year," you realized you needed something to change, or maybe you are like me and you had a good night and just continued the course.