So You’re Allergic To Corn

So you’re allergic to corn, now what?  A corn free lifestyle is life altering.  It’s so much more difficult than any of my other allergies because it’s in 99.99% of everything in our modern world.   If you’re anything like me, you might go through several stages of grief.

Stage 1: Innocence
It’s No Big Deal, There Are A Lot of Things To Eat!
Realizing you are allergic to corn.  Meh, corn isn’t so bad.  So I’ll just skip the corn booth at the state fair.

Stage 2: Shock and Denial
Corn is in What?!
This might happen a few days or weeks after when suddenly you realize-corn is in EVERYTHING.  You will be shocked by how corn is in every processed food and even on fruits and vegetables from the grocery store.  It’s in diapers and air fresheners and stuffed animals and clothes and in water and in the air and, and, and…. Your brain will go numb as you realize the possibilities and you might even deny it to yourself for awhile.

Stage 3:Anger
Corn is EVIL
You will get so upset and angry.  Seriously, why is corn in everything. Corn is EVIL.  I hate corn!  It’s in this?!  HOW can it be in this?!

Stage Number 4:Bargaining & Self Pity
Please, I’ve Got to Eat Something!
Why Me?! Maybe if I go corn free for awhile, I’ll grow out of it and I’ll go back to normal.  Maybe if only eat a little bit it won’t hurt me.  Maybe if I eat organic corn I’ll be ok.  Maybe if I eat corn light I’ll be ok.  Nope.

Stage 4:Depression, Reflection & Loneliness
I’m Never Going to Eat Again
You will realize how fully encompassing corn allergies are.  The sheer magnitude of the corn world is overwhelming and you will feel defeated.   You will feel isolated from your friends and family who have no understanding of the depth of corntamination and you might isolate yourself from everyone.  You’ll reflect on your pre corn and post corn life with thoughts of hopelessness.  You’ll hit rock bottom.

Stage 5:The Upward Turn
Ok, I’ve Got to Eat
After hitting your lowest point, you’ll have no choice but to pick yourself back up.  Take a deep breath, friend.

Stage 6:Reconstructing and Working Through
Seriously Though, What Can I Eat
At this point, you’ll probably start researching like crazy.  You’ll join a few corn support groups, you’ll scour the internet looking at different websites, you’ll even be brave and research and try recipes to make from scratch.

Stage 7:Acceptance and Hope
There is Life After Corn, After All
You’ll come to a point where you are not a victim of corn, you are a corn free warrior.  You know that other people can and do live corn free successfully and so can you.  You’ll start gathering safe foods and household supplies and begin to change your entire world for the better.  You’ll learn how to bake and cook like they did way back when.  You might grow a garden and make buddies at the farmer’s market.  You have learned that life without corn isn’t so bad after all.


After we first figured out that we had corn allergies, it took awhile for us to not only process, but to figure out what was safe and not safe for us.  We made a lot of mistakes.  We were accidentally corning ourselves with things we had no idea were corny.  It took at least a year to figure out the basics and then another year to adapt and grow.  It’s been almost 4 years and we are still making changes to our allergy lifestyle.

I hope that you don’t feel discouraged if you find out that you or a loved one has corn allergies.  I hope that you find hope, inspiration and comfort here.  Maybe you can learn from our mistakes and adjust a bit faster than we did.

Are you allergic to corn?  Have you gone through the stages of grief?  If you are a pro, how long has it taken you to adjust to a corn free lifestyle?


52 Project, Week 3: Silence

52 Project, Week 3: Silence

When I think of silence, I think of the woods in winter.  The woods are so quiet when it snows.  I learned recently that falling snow actually blocks sound.  The science behind it is kind of cool.

There’s something wonderful about being in the hushed woods while it’s snowing.  It feels like I’m in a glowing snow globe.  The air is crisp, cold and clean.  Every tree is highlighted with white, glittering crystals.  The very ground itself is smooth, sparkling and soft looking as if it’s a blanket I could pick up and wrap myself in.  It feels safe and comforting.

The only sound in the woods is only audible if you listen closely.  If the snow is falling, you can hear it, softer than raindrops, louder than falling feathers.  It’s like music that is so hushed, only the completely still can hear.  Once you move, the low crunch of your footsteps is satisfying and muffled enough that it doesn’t disturb this cherished place.

What comes to mind when you think of silence?  Do you like walking in the woods when it’s snowing?

52 Project, Week 3: Silence

Cat’s 52 Project, Week 3: Silence

Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 2: Cold
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 4: Socks
Main Page for 52 Project

52 Project, Week 2: Cold

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

52 Project, Week 2: Cold

I love winter.  I even love the cold.  I would happily take a cold winter day over a humid hot summer day.  Once it started snowing, I knew I had to run out with my little Princess for this week’s photography project.

Princess is my little shadow.  She loves doing everything with me, sleeping, cuddling, cooking, cleaning, playing.  No matter what it is, she’s content to be right by me.  Honestly, I could say this about any of my kids.  They love to pile around me like little puppies.

I bet you’re wondering WHY I love the cold.  Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life.  I can’t tolerate heat very well.  My ideal, happy temp range is 15 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  I can be comfortable in the 70’s, but the 80’s are uncomfortable.  The 90’s are intolerable.  You might find me hiding in my igloo, er, house with the air conditioning on full blast.

Did you know that Minnesota is one of the coldest states in America?  On average, year-round, Alaska beats us for the coldest temperature.  We beat Alaska for the coldest winter season though!  Last week Thrillist put out an article where we won the number one most miserable winter.  Yet, even if it’s -35, kids still go to school and life functions like normal.

For us, if the weather rises above zero, that’s reason enough to take off a layer or two or leave your jacket open.  Once it reaches the 20’s we don’t see the need to wear a warm jacket, a good sweater or a light spring jacket will do.  In the 30’s, you’ll find people walking around in shorts and t-shirts.  I’m not exaggerating.  Although I do make my children bundle up, even though they fight me to strip down like everyone else.  We are polar bears and arctic foxes.  Our blood is thick and the cold is where we feel happiest.

Not everyone feels this way.  You’ll still find a couple of people who would rather be in a warmer state.  For me though, Minnesota is my home and I couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

For Cat’s cold challenge, we headed down to the river, looking for inspiration.  We found a beautiful field that looked perfect.  Cat and I had a lot of fun amongst the soft grasses.  I snapped a couple of cute images of her while she was capturing her shots.

How do you feel about the cold?  Are you a fan of snow or do you prefer the heat?

Previous Week:Project 52, Week 1, The Bible
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 3: Silence
Main Page: 52 Project

Whipped Eczema Body Butter

Eczema is the body’s warning bell that something is wrong.  I occasionally have eczema flare-ups.  For me, it means I’ve been exposed to corn, which is something I developed an allergy to about a year ago.  It shows up on my right hand almost immediately following ingestion of something corny.

An immediate flare-up is usually hot and painful.  It can itch terribly, especially as time progresses.  First, I tried coconut oil, my usual dry skin relief.  Unfortunately, it was not enough to soothe my angry skin.  Looking for something more effective but also allergy friendly and non-toxic, I found Dr. Axe’s recipe.

After making a few jars of whipped eczema body butter, I found that the amount of honey the original recipe called for was too sticky.  With this next batch, I’m going to change a few things.  I’m hoping that by using a tsp of honey instead of a tablespoon, it’ll be less sticky and more smooth.

Although the original recipe was sticky, it worked wonderfully.  I’ve found it soothes the itch and lessens the severity of damage.  A little goes a long way.  I keep a jar in the fridge for the fluffy whipped texture.  I also keep a container in my bedroom and a small container in my purse.  At room temperature, the mixture falls flat, but it’s still effective.  It works so well, I share little jars of it with friends.

Whipped Eczema Body Butter

Whipped Eczema Body Butter

1/2 cup raw shea butter ( I use this)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp local honey
30 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops tea tree essential oil
5 drops geranium essential oil
3 drops myrrh essential oil
3 drops frankincense essential oil

Blend with a whisk, on low, until shea butter and coconut oil until well combined.  Add remaining ingredients.  Whisk on medium until fluffy.  Use a spatula to scrape sides of the bowl and mix lightly again.  Divide into containers and refrigerate.

What do you use for eczema?  Have you tried this recipe?  Let us know!

52 Project, Week 1: Bible

52 Project, Week 1: Bible

When I was younger, I used to choose resolutions for New Years.  My family would stay up till midnight while making homemade pizza and playing games.  We would also come up with a resolution.  Normally I’d forget about my resolution within the first week.  I’ve stopped celebrating New Years and making resolutions.  I don’t feel I need to wait for the new year to start a great new goal.  I can do that any time.  I have, however, come up with a theme word and quote for the year.

This year, Cat helped me come up with our theme word.  Our past words have been pretty simple, haha, literally.  With four children, I found the need to simplify everything.  In 2013, the goal was to simplify our schedule.  After having been on bedrest for half of my pregnancy, I had already somewhat adjusted to doing less.  Learning to minimize our schedule was still a balancing act for a while.  2014, I loved what simplifying our schedule did for our life.  I wanted to continue focusing on that and and also simplify our routines and possessions.  2015 was a continuation of that.  In 2016, I joined a Minimizing group on Facebook and began to make big changes in minimizing our belongings.


For all the things that were written beforehand were written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4


It goes by in the blink of an eye.


Ohana means family — no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten.


The Love of a Family is Life’s Greatest Blessing


The joys of a family of 6.


It’s going to be a good year.

Although I want to continue to minimize our belongings this year, I felt the need for something different.  2017 seems to be a year of big change.  Our local congregation moved and merged with Cottage Grove.  January 1st was our first day at our new Kingdom Hall.  Each of the kids has been adjusting to new schools.  There are changes I want to make.  The children have their own goals and struggles as well.  I keep thinking to myself that I need to take a leap of faith, place my trust in God and everything will be all right.

I asked Cat what the word of the year should be and she said “Faith”.  It’s perfect.  Faith is what we need to get us through hard times.  Faith is what we need every day.  Faith lifts us up.  For us, having the Bible is a great first photography project.   It’s not one of our random words, it’s the perfect symbolism for our first week.

Cat’s 52 Project, Week 1: Bible

Next Week: 52 Project, Week 2: Cold
Main Page for 52 Project

52 Project

52 Project

I have always wanted to challenge my photography with a 365 or 52 project.  I’ve tried taking an image a day without officially having a 365 project or having a theme.  I missed days, I waited until the last minute on many days and ended up photographing my kids in bed and some days I had no idea what I would do.  This time, I want to do it right.

As a photographer, I rarely feel satisfied with my own work.  I always want it to be better.  I believe this pushes me to keep improving.  There has always been part of me that feels that my work is not good enough to be able to complete a 365 project and have it be something I can be proud of.  Sharing my work publicly feels almost as though I am baring my naked soul to the world.  I finally feel as though I am brave enough to commit to a project and share it.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to flex my creative muscles, learn some new things and have some fun images.

I chose a 52 project instead of a 365 project because I know that with my busy schedule I wouldn’t be able to commit to a daily project.  One photograph a week is attainable and fun.  I’m hoping it will give me more time to plan each image carefully, edit it and post it within a reasonable time frame.

This is not just my project, it’s a mother, daughter project.  We will both be taking our own images.  Since my oldest daughter, Cat,  is taking photography in high school, I have been able to enjoy seeing her grow as an artist while she photographs projects for class.  She often models for me and assists me during some of my shoots, so working together is not new.  Doing a photography project together gives me great excitement and joy.  I’m thrilled to be able to share something I love with my daughter.  I’m hoping that doing this together will help keep us both accountable.

We both chose words for our list.  I’m planning on letting Cat make her own interpretations of the words and how she would like to photograph.  Since she has a good grasp of using the camera and adjusting manual settings, I’m excited to see what she comes up with.  I’ve welcomed my other children to join me, but they will have to have me adjust the camera to the appropriate settings so they can focus on composure.

52 Project Photography Challenge

52 Project, Week 1, Bible
52 Project, Week 2: Cold
52 Project, Week 3: Silence
52 Project, Week 4: Socks
52 Project, Week 5, Warmth
52 Project, Week 6: Hair
52 Project, Week 7: Blankets
52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees
52 Project, Week 9: Ice/Snow/Frost
52 Project, Week 10: Mother/Daughter
52 Project, Week 11: Art
52 Project, Week 12: Reflection
52 Project, Week 13: Kindness
52 Project, Week 14: Favorite Scripture
52 Project, Week 15: Hobby
52 Project, Week 16: Multiple
52 Project, Week 17: Light
52 Project, Week 18: Spring Trees
52 Project, Week 19: Jewelry
52 Project, Week 20: Favorite Color
52 Project, Week 21: Simplicity
52 Project, Week 22: Self Portrait
52 Project, Week 23: Green
52 Project, Week 24: Words
52 Project, Week 25: Patterns
52 Project, Week 26: Watermelon
52 Project, Week 27: Flip Flops/Sandals
52 Project, Week 28: Water
52 Project, Week 29: Summer Trees
52 Project, Week 30: Glitter
52 Project, Week 31: Love
52 Project, Week 32: Silhouette
52 Project, Week 33: Relaxation
52 Project, Week 34: Hot
52 Project, Week 35: Walking
52 Project, Week 36: Animals
52 Project, Week 37: Apples
52 Project, Week 38: Happiness
52 Project, Week 39: Explore
52 Project, Week 40: Hands
52 Project, Week 41: Pumpkin
52 Project, Week 42: Autumn Trees
52 Project, Week 43: Favorite Outfit
52 Project, Week 44: Comfy
52 Project, Week 45: Boots
52 Project, Week 46: Black and White
52 Project, Week 47: Scarf
52 Project, Week 48: Baking
52 Project, Week 49: My Cup
52 Project, Week 50: Natural
52 Project, Week 51: Hope
52 Project, Week 52: White

Check out the completed project collage!
Things I’ve Learned From Doing A 52 Project

Have you done a 52/365 project?  How did it go?  You are welcome to join in and post your own images as well!  Post them on our Facebook page.  We’d love to see what you come up with!